Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Answer to Prayer

I am reflective and introspective by nature. I love to reminisce and look back to see where I have been, and where I am now. I also like to look at the same process in the lives of others. The active presence, love and grace of God are so clearly evident with a little time lapse perspective.

I think back through my prayers of months past: for myself, and for others. I have seen mourning turn to dancing, hardened hearts beginning to soften. I have witnessed total transformations and subtle but significant changes as days pass. I watch children grow, and adults grow. I see those seeking balance, peace, joy.... God. And I see God stalking them, waiting for an opportunity to touch a heart.

I have seen marriages strengthened, precarious pregnancies stabilizing. I rejoice with the family of our eight year old friend who has just run for the first time following her brain surgery last September. I see in others and feel in myself the desire to go deeper still into relationship with God.

I am grateful to see answers to prayers beginning to come. Situations are changing, evolving, resolving. Many are still works in progress, and some still struggle. Some still hurt... bad.

I continue to pray without ceasing, and have faith that all things will work together for good. I have hurt and I have struggled. I have also realized, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God has always been there, beside me - protecting me, encouraging me, loving me, guiding me. Waiting for me to acknowledge His presence and open my arms to grace.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Must stay.... Must go....

It has been interesting to me to watch this process unfold. As I have begun to accept that there needs to be a dramatic change in my life - in terms of my schedule, anyhow - I have been given opportunities to experience the difference between things that "must stay" and things that "must go".

Things that "must go" are almost intolerable. Even the the things that seem like perhaps they SHOULD stay - either because of the length of time they've been in my life, or some link they hold to the past - I just gotta step away from.

In their place, I am finding opportunities to experience the things that "must stay". As my friend and I walked 5 children and an adolescent chocolate lab the mile and a half around our neighborhood, we said "we MUST do this more often". It was wonderful, wonderful time. Kids laughed, ran, walked, biked and scootered. We all got a little exercise and some wonderful fresh air.

Another "must stay" presented itself this evening. I've been drawing the reigns tighter on my son with his DS use. Tonight we played a little monopoly (he won), and then I had the opportunity to spend some extra time with him, doing a little slow, soothing massage on his back and legs. We talked and prayed together, and decided that he was willing to get to bed 5 (or 10) minutes early, if I were willing to rub his back for that time. Seems like a win-win to me (especially if it helps his sensory issues and keeps him in HIS bed at night!)

And, you know, the funniest thing.... I'm finding there are really only two questions I need to ask to ascertain which list an activity falls into:
  • Does ________ support/improve the quality of our family life?
  • Does ________ support/improve the quality of my/their relationship with God?
If the answer is no, it's gotta go.

Thank you God for the clarity thus far as I sort through the events of our day to day life. Be with us. Lead us. Guide us.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Ps 119:105 KJV

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I am so amused.... at the time, I could barely contain myself. My poor friend. God love her!

I woke up with a strong desire to spend the day cleaning my house. Trust me when I say, that is not a common occurrence, so I grab it and run when it hits me. It wasn't one of those "overwhelmed with the chaos" feelings; it was an inspiration to clear out the stuff that we don't use and sift through the stacks of paper that have taken over my desk. I WANTED to clean....joyfully!

The kids had friends coming over for the day, so housework was an ideal project for me. I stuck in a load of laundry as prepared breakfast. Not too long after that, my phone rang. It was a friend of mine whose washing machine had died upon their return from their spring break vacation. She wanted to know if she could haul some of their laundry over and use mine. "SURE! bring the kids, the more the merrier!"

So, she did. The kids played, I sorted through stacks of paper, and then she and I did a couple of the "two adult" jobs I have here. Suffice it to say that it takes two adults and an extension ladder (used as a bridge!) to change a light bulb at my house!

Long story short, as she pulled her last load of clothes out of the washer, they were damp - REALLY damp. We had just returned from taking the kids and the dog on a walk around the block, or we probably would have heard the "CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK" that happened during the spin cycle... without the spin, of course.

"NO WAY!" she said. "What?" "I just broke YOUR washing machine". That's when I lost it. I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. "It's not funny....", she said. Oh... but it is.

It's not like the thing is new... I mean after 15 years of use, it's pretty much been living on borrowed time. I knew I'd replace it one day. As I told her, if it hadn't been her load of clothes, it would have been mine... and honestly, being able to laugh at the irony of the situation, kept me from feeling the frustration that would have hit me if *I* had broken it!

I belly-laughed from time to time, long after she and her kids had returned home.

Thank you God for the gift of laughter.... and the twists and turns that irony brings that keeps life from being just straight out boring.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Gift of Laughter

It was the end of a busy (and somewhat frustrating) week - and the end of a busy day. One of my friends had invited me to join her at an "ASL coffeehouse". Translation: a bunch of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing-people-who-sign were going to meet at Panera Bread for dinner and conversation.

OH MY GOSH... What a blast! I had the most fun! Good food. Good friends. I haven't laughed so much in a long, long time. I so needed that! (On "the list", laughter stays!)

Laughter is so good for the body and the soul. It shakes up all my tightness and tension, lets the "feel good" chemicals flow, and decreases "stress" hormones. And, since Wikipedia says that "Greek researchers have found through an experiment that 10–15 minutes of laughing burn from 10 to 40 calories, which leads to a weight loss of almost 4.5 lb (2 kg) per year", I'm pretty sure I came close to burning off the cookie I ate while I was there!

The other thing that was good for me - it got me out into the deaf community. More practice with my receptive skills and an opportunity to raise my hands to communicate.

But, mostly... good friends... and much laughter!

Yea God!

Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Gift of Service

I woke in a pretty foul mood, but it didn't surprise me. The events of the previous afternoon had left me mentally struggling with "what just happened?" "Did it really just happen AGAIN?" I was stunned. And I was angry.

With no likelihood of change, I wanted out of the game. I resigned from ten years of previous voluntary responsibility. In the current scheme of sorting through the "stuff" of my life, it fell onto the "not providing any meaningful sustenance" list - especially with the associated drama. So.... done. (SOOOOOO done.)

But, it would likely mean changes to the status quo - especially with the associated drama (I'm sensing a theme here!). As I fell asleep, I promised myself I would trust in God's plan... at least for the time being.

Still, it was late (or early, depending on perspective) when I finally dozed off and the little sleep I did get was interrupted by a child wanting to snuggle. Morning arrived sooner than one might hope, and - not surprisingly- I was pretty grouchy. The day definitely called for the "Don't-mess-with-me" shoes!

I showered to start the long day, drove the carpool, then headed to my Mom's in Touch group, with two cups of coffee in hand. Stealing some milk from my friend's refrigerator, I sat down to begin our prayer group. Cautiously, one of the woman asked, "uhm... How are you, Linda? Could you use a hug?" (YES!) I wiped my tears, sat down and added the whole situation to our prayer request list.

Following the meeting, I ran home, packed lunch and headed to the elementary school for my weekly "helping hands" day. There, began my day of service. I glued 23 pink cotton balls onto the backside of the 23 rabbit boxes we'd previously assembled. After lunch with my children, I joined the group cutting lengths of yarn, and die-cutting over a hundred "y"'s and "o" 's (as in one "yo-yo" for every kindergartner!), as well as the letters for "We are blossoming into 1st graders" in red construction paper.

At the end of the day, signing my children out, I got to see the principal for the first time. "How ya' doin'?" she asked. "Grateful for the opportunity to serve", I replied. She chuckled to herself, "I just love you." "No. Seriously, "I said, "I came in here in a *really* bad mood. And now, it's all good again..." She laughed again. "Yeah, it's hard to stay in a bad mood around here...."

Thank you Lord, for the opportunity to serve. THIS has purpose in my life. THIS makes a difference in my life, and in the lives of many....

Service stays on the calendar!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Friendship Garden

I was wandering through the yard, on one of the wonderfully warm early spring days we've had lately. I checked on the sprouting spinach, the hosta, the rose of sharon. Finally, I arrived at the clematis.

I'd learned after she died, that clematis was one of my friend Karen's favorite flowers. It was one of the first flowers I planted in my new yard, that hadn't moved with me from my previous house. I have been moving bits and pieces of previous gardens with me for decades now. From the womb-house to the married-house, from the married-house to this house. Many of the plants that move with me originated at my mother's house (where I grew up), or her mother - my grandmother-'s house.

I brought with me hosta, and irises, and unusually colored violets. Daffodils, from the womb-house, and off-shoots of a bridal wreath spirea - a wedding gift from a dear friend who now lives in Oregon. My friend just a little west of here gave me some cute little "bee balm" - which, in the full sun of my yard, are much taller than those in her shaded lot. Tall or short, the hummingbirds love them, and they remind me of her.

I love to walk through the yard and remember where the plants have been, and to whom they have attributed meaning. My younger sister loves irises - at least she did - and they remind me now of her. My daughter has claimed the newly planted peonies as her favorite. Up until recently, I'd have said "daisies" for me, but having seen the smiling faces of the (mammoth) sunflower as they dance in the breeze, I'd have to vote differently now.

But standing, looking at the sprouting leaves and the flower buds already bursting forth on the clematis trellis, I had an idea.... I will plant a Friendship Garden. To the best of my ability - those who share their favorite flowers will be represented. It will take time, but with any project of the heart - seen to completion - it will be beautiful!

(feel free to add your favorites in the comments!) Those pictured about are the little bee balm...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Love of Friends and Neighbors

We'd been in our house about six months. Finding it had been a gift from God - so had the process of purchasing it. We had met the neighbors briefly, and realized a few of our friends from the Y lived in the same neighborhood (Later that fall, we'd realize that six of the students in Jacob's kindergarten class live within our subdivision).

It has been a great blessing living in community. Our previous house was hidden down a hillside. It was perfectly, wonderfully private... but kind of lonely. No one ever bothered us - but no one ever waved as they drove past either - they couldn't drive past. It was at a dead end. Not so here. The neighborhood is very much alive! Friends and neighbors wave and beep as they pass our house, and wave and laugh (and tease me!) as I walk the dog.

It was late spring or early summer. I pulled into our driveway briefly to change clothes and gather a few things before heading to a yoga class. It had been a long day, moving into a busy, but relaxing evening. As I stared into the back yard, there was a nagging voice of awareness: "SOMETHING is DIFFERENT...." I stared for what seemed to be forever, my brain scanning through every detail I knew about the house and the yard. Suddenly, I knew. "Someone mowed my grass..." I was stunned. Pleased - very pleased - I was preparing to push-mow nearly an acre the next day. There were no traces, yet I knew who had blessed me with that generous act of kindness.

I walked next door and thanked my neighbors....repeatedly! "It's hard enough raising children," she said, "don't worry about your grass..." That was three years ago. In all that time, I have mowed the entirety of my yard once. One more example of why I feel "blessed beyond my wildest imaginings".

Thank You God, for friends and for neighbors...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And now.... The work begins....

Spring is here... officially. Both the calendar and my yard bear witness to that! YES!! The violets are blooming like crazy (and so are the dandelions!) and the grass is a lush, lush green! (in the front anyway!)

I have had the privilege to take some time and sit the past few days. It is amazing to me how that restores me. To just sit and listen to the birds at the feeder, feel the breeze in my hair and the sun on my face. Absolutely delightful! This, I love.

I find myself moving throughout my yard, checking the "growth status" on the various plants and trees that live there. The violets, as I mentioned, are in full bloom - the ones that line the front porch, anyhow. Those scattered throughout the lawn and in the shaded areas are still poking their leaves up. The maple in the back is beginning to bud, while the one to the side of the house has it's red "flowers" out. The petals of the neighbors' Bradford pears fall like confetti in the wind. The bridal wreath spirea is fully leaved, with some flower "wreaths" beginning to form. The pansies have resuscitated nicely, and the Rose of Sharon plants I transplanted last fall have signs of life as well. Thank You, God!

The harshness of winter has passed, but, as spring comes, so does some work. Most of it is enjoyable - at least to begin with - and it all has a purpose! It encourages life and beautifies my yard in the process. Both of those calm my soul and settle my spirit.

As spring turns to summer, I am sure I will not be as enthusiastic about mowing the grass as I was recently! But, as summer appears, I become more and more grateful for my neighbor. (I'll share that story tomorrow!!)

As it is in my yard, so it is in my life. The long dark nights and harshness of the days, the period of apparent nothingness changes. It warms and softens, and new life springs forth...year after year...again and again.

I trust that the work that gets done in my life brings results similar to those in my yard. It took time and effort to push-mow my front yard, but looking at the results.... beautiful!!... and well worth the trouble!

(OH, and I SO hope I am not being prophetic with the title!!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Creating Sacred Space

I spent the day in the yard: moving stone, spreading mulch, planting pansies. Wonderful, wonderful work! It does my heart, body, mind and soul good. There is nothing that fills me more than "tending the earth"

On the agenda was creating some sacred space. A place to go and sit. A place to be still. A place to talk to God.

As I fit the stones and spread the mulch, I thought about what a gift it is to have the space, the ability and the desire to be out there. The day was beautiful, and my heart was joyful! The pansies, they were a little wilted, but I'm hoping they'll resuscitate well with a little TLC.

As spring progresses, I expect the bleeding hearts and the peonies I planted will grown and bloom. I will continue to move the violets and snowdrops scattered throughout my yard into this area. The area will evolve, with time, with care and with inspiration.

As the budget allows, it will also expand. I have hopes and dreams of increasing the size of the stone patio and the mulch garden area. I can see the final result in my head, and will make slow but steady progress until it is complete.

I wonder if it's the same way with God toward me.... He knows the final results.... it just takes some time, some work, some love and some care for the process to evolve. He COULD, I'm sure, just * create* me in that final image. But, like the creation of the sacred space and garden. The joy experienced in the process would be lost.

What a gift to journey, to evolve, to grow.

Thank you God!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Embracing Our Differences

I spent the day Saturday at an interpreter workshop. The leader was fabulous - I really liked the way she presented her information and the way she engaged the audience. I got to meet a few new people, challenge some of my thinking, and work on some of my "receptive" skills.

At one point in the early afternoon, the leader asked everyone to write down "pearls of wisdom" they would pass on to someone wanting to enter the field of interpreting. I thought to myself for a while - How could I POSSIBLY even BEGIN to answer this question? I don't work "in the field". I haven't ever been a part of an official "Interpreter Training Program"... two semesters in college (YEARS ago!) and weekly meetings with my mentor, that's it.

And that was when I remembered a conversation I'd had earlier in the day. I'd met another woman who knows and works with my friend. We were talking about some signs and the way she did them - and how beautiful it is to watch my friend and mentor interpret music. There was something I'd wanted to tell her, but the workshop had restarted already. .

My "pearl", I'd realized after several months of interpreting at church - nearly a year, truth be known. For months before, as the music was playing and I was signing, I'd see my mentor signing from her seat. Generally speaking, if I'd get stuck on a word, phrase or concept, during some of the non-musical portions of the service, she'd "feed" me the sign. At first, I thought this was what she was doing.

I was aware of the fact that our signs didn't always match. At first I though "I must be wrong", and would try to figure out my mistake as the music pressed on. And then I realized, she's wasn't critiquing me. She wasn't even paying attention to me. She was worshiping. The signs she had chosen to express the same concept were just different. Not better, not worse, just different.

We all have different life experiences, different "filters" through which we receive, process and express words and concepts. On one hand, it makes life "interesting" (to say the least)... on the other hand, it keeps life interesting... Thank You God.

If we were all the same, we wouldn't be able to learn so much from each other! We wouldn't challenge each other to become our best selves.

My Pearl: "Just because she does it differently than I do, doesn't mean my way is necessarily wrong."

I spent many years trying to "become like" this person or that person. Now, the goal: Becoming the ME that God has created me to be.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blue and Gold

I've been a little delayed in posting this....it's "old news" now... but it doesn't mean that I love him any less. My boy-child participated in his first Blue and Gold ceremony the beginning of this month.

I have enjoyed watching him grow this year as a cub scout. He and his dad, working together on projects and activities that have earned him the rank of Tiger Cub. He grew physically taller, but also developed an internal strength that parallels his depth of character. He is a delightful, lovable child - with an unquenchable curiosity and spirit of wonder and joy.

This year, he and his dad have visited fire halls, gone cave camping, and participated in their first pinewood derby. Together, they created the car - a red and black 'zebra striped' pencil-car. Their first attempt ended up winning "Best design" and 3rd place for speed. "Thrilled" only begins to describe how he looked at that moment...

It is such a gift to be his mother. He models much - day to day - love, joy, enthusiasm, perseverance. He reminds me of the power of words, and the power of touch. He is an encourager who loves to hug! (to a fault!)

He is an "old soul" that comes out with the greatest nuggets of wisdom. Especially as it pertains to God. He lives his life exemplifying generosity, empathy and service.

Thank you God, for my son. Thank you for allowing me to be his mom. I am a better woman because of it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Retiring the Cape...

Just the other day, as I sat quietly on the bridge, staring out over the water, I learned that it is time to retire the cape. One of the things I had been "pretending I not to know" is that I cannot do it all. Not only can I not do it all, but I can't even keep the current schedule. Superwoman, I am not. I need to pare it down a bit.

I've been thinking about this for a long time, actually. But thoughts and actions are two entirely different things. Apparently the fire behind me is hotter than the fire in front of me, because, I am now walking. I have started to cross things off of my calendar.

I want to live intentionally. I want to cherish the moments. I want to come home and not collapse and say "I cannot do one more thing!", while there are dishes calling from the sink. I want to do things because I WANT to do things - and I want the things I do to have a purpose or value in my life.

I want out of the rat race. Little by little, I am making steps in that direction.

The thing that is amazing to me. Thus far, I haven't really done that much, but I already feel more rested and more relaxed. There is some peace in knowing I have an evening at home; that we're not rushing off somewhere else. I feel like I have a little more breathing room. And a little more quiet time with God.

I am prayerfully considering it and listening for His direction in what else shall go... and I will wait for confirmation before I willingly volunteer for or accept any other commitments!

I can breathe! YES!!

"When the fire in front of me is hotter than the fire in front of me, I will walk"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Donning the Full Armor of God

Today, I am very cognizant of the need to wear the full armor of God: Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation. They are more than words. Much more powerful than words alone. "Words have meaning."

I have been spared much - and for that I am grateful! - but I know the hearts of my family are heavy. Today, I pray without ceasing. From dawn to dusk, I pray. For peace beyond all understanding and for a strength that is undeniably His.

For those who stand up for truth on behalf of many and those who have babysat wolves, I stand with the full armor of God and cover you in prayer. May you feel His presence as you continue your walk. May you know that you are not alone. May you glorify Him in all you say and do!

Ephesians 6:13-24:13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

(The Message): Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

God in Nature...in my life

Sometimes I feel like young Cole in the movie, "Sixth Sense". He sees dead people.... everywhere.

I see God.... everywhere. Especially this time of year. Between the daffodils and the Bradford pears in full-bloom, and the warming spring breeze that enters my kitchen window to breathe life into my home, there is no denying it!.

It is palpable. It is real. He is real. He is active... literally life-changing! Life is springing forth again, just as it should. Buds are beginning to burst on trees and the grass is returning to a lush green. Baby birds and baby rabbits will soon be commonplace in my yard.

Everywhere I look, there is evidence of Him. This is good... very, very good. Especially this week!

May the presence of God surround you. May you see him acting mightily on your behalf. May you know that He walks before you. May you feel His hand on your shoulder, and the full embrace of His love.

May he who has ears, let him hear...

Listen... Look! See! There is no better....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Patiently, I Will Wait....

I never cease to be amazed at "timing". Yesterday I wrote saying that I am "waiting" - which, honestly, took me a bit by surprise to see that word there, but it was there, and wouldn't leave. As soon as I hit "publish", I put the movie "Fireproof" into my laptop. I'd heard good things about it, and knew it was time to see it.

Much of the movie, I could relate to: the marriage, the importance of God's active presence in my life, and how that can turn a perspective 180 degrees. My story didn't turn out quite like Caleb and Catherine's, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. (for those of you who know me, it was a "6 Kleenex movie"- which is actually significantly less than expected!)

Of everything in the movie, the part I loved most was - surprise, surprise - a song. "While I'm Waiting". I'd never heard it before, but let me tell you - it was responsible for 80% of the Kleenex usage! Powerful.

"I am waiting on You, Lord"

"I'll be taking every step in obedience"

"I will serve You while I'm waiting"

"I will worship while I'm waiting"

It says nothing in there about idly passing the time, or implementing plans of my own. Not one word about whining and complaining. It does say it will be painful, and not easy, yet, I'm not to run away.

It says I'm waiting on God. It says I'm hopeful, bold and confident. I will be walking in obedience. I will be serving and I will be worshiping. I will not fail.

More instructions.... I love instructions...

Thank You, God.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Stalk him.... Stalk me...

"Please tell me", I had asked "tell me what I am 'pretending not to know' ". I waited. I asked again. Later, he replied: "When you are still...."

I knew exactly where I needed to go - the old trestle bridge, where we'd met over a decade ago. As I drove the road toward that part of town, I thought to myself "I really need to keep some boots - or sneakers at least - in my car for this kind of thing". I was not prepared for a serious hike - fortunately, it was a short walk, on level ground.

As I parked, I noticed the daffodils I had planted on the hillside between "The Womb House" and the trail had multiplied greatly and were in full bloom. Planted years ago, and left in His care, they had thrived.

As I neared the bridge, I anticipated the breeze. It didn't come. A small gaggle of Canada Geese cackled loudly. Ah, distractions of the world... "I know You are here!" I said aloud. "You are always here!" At the near end, I slipped off my shoes and socks, and walked barefoot across the wooden boards that lined the floor of the old railroad bridge.

I found the spot where I'd spent so much time in the early years. I signed a verse and a chorus of "Word of God Speak". Then, I stood silently and watched the trees and the water. I looked up as I heard the rustle of the wings of birds fly overhead.

Then I kneeled - and prayed. "I am here, Lord. I will be still. I know You have heard me, and I will wait..." I shifted my position so that I was sitting crossed legged, peering at the ripples on the water through the rails of the bridge. I sat for a while, and then, I nodded. "Yes, You are right... I know...."

Tears ran down my cheeks, but were short lived. There is hope. Of that I am certain! I sat quietly for a while. Then a young man walked passed. "Peaceful place, huh?" he said. "Very." I replied.

I was not used to meeting people on this trail. I wasn't much up for conversation, either. I continued to sit quietly staring out over the water. The breeze began to stir and brush my cheek, my hair. I closed my eyes.... peaceful.

And then it began.... "You come here often?" I chuckled to myself. "No... not anymore" I said aloud, and "no, no, no, no, no..." I said silently to the clouds. But it had begun, and it would continue...

For the next hour, I heard this young man share his story - legal issues, broken home(s), homelessness,... and the Grace of God. He didn't speak it directly, but it was there, woven between the lines of his story.

At one point, his story turned... "... and then I found Jesus..." From there on, the story focused on - in his words - "doing right", and prayers answered. He hasn't mastered it, but neither have I. We're both "waiting"...

Driving home, I just chuckled and laughed at how crazy-funny God is sometimes... and then I was reminded. Maybe he wasn't there for me. Maybe it was the other way around.

Prayers for you, Paul, as you continue to "do right". If and when you head overseas, know that you are in the palm of His hand.

May He continue to "stalk" you.....

.... and me.....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What are you pretending not to know....?

Saturday was a dream day. It was the first official day of Spring Break. The first day on the calendar with nothing written on it. It was a "no alarm clock" kinda day! Ahhhh....YES!

I took full advantage of the ability to sleep in! When I awoke, the kids had situated themselves in front of the TV and computer and were ever so proud of obeying the "don't wake up mom" rule! I took time to make them french toast for breakfast, and set some eggs in to hard-boil. As I was cooking, I was very aware of the feeling growing inside me. "Clean. Sort. Discard."

Oh yes - it would be one of THOSE days! THAT was good, I really needed one! On and around my desk are typically stacks of papers - mostly needing filing, or having something that I need to refer back to, or transcribe elsewhere. There are scattered, partially completed, "to do" lists (written on index cards), and other miscellaneous things that either need a home, or need to be returned to their home ("when I get time").

I sat with the first pile. Toss. Toss. Save. File. Toss. Shred. Toss. Oh yes! LOVING it. I was nearly dancing inside! There is hope - my ever-running brain will feel a little less scattered! Files were created, papers were filed. WOW. Looks good! Feels wonderful!! Order. Peace.

And then my eye caught some words on a group of papers tucked into the organizer at the back of my desk. They've been there for a while (like months). As I go through life, and find a quote that I like, or "gets me", or I have an idea for a blog topic, I write it down. In a "free moment", I transcribe the quotes into a notebook that I have for exactly that purpose. I've sat, looking at these papers frequently - multiple times a day - for months. Today, my brain connects the letters into a complete thought.

"What are you pretending not to know?" Oh boy. I look away. I try to get back to the papers I'm going through, but this phrase becomes an object at which I don't want to look, but I can't help but stare! "What are you pretending not to know?" (look away! look away!)

I think for a minute... I don't know....

....I have the feeling I'm going to be shown...

God, be with me...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How Did I Get So B.U.S.Y?

I went to the Christian bookstore yesterday to get a birthday present for a friend's daughter. While I was there, I found a copy of the book "How Did I Get So Busy?" OH YEAH! I can relate. I grabbed it off the shelf, and tucked it under my arm. It was one of those things that reminded me of a guy I knew in college. He say "If you have to ask, you can't afford it". Didn't matter what this cost, it was coming home with me!

It's subtitle grabbed me and wouldn't let me go: "The 28-day plan to free your time, reclaim your schedule, and reconnect with what matters most". Sign me up. I'm there!

Flipping through it, it looks like a book I'll like - a few pages to read (every day for 28 days), checklists, 5 minute journal question and a minute meditation. I can do that.

I've already got the mental checklist of things that need to go - from my house to the church for the yard sale, from my house to others in the community, and from my schedule. (Ironically, mostly what I need is some time to sort through the rest of the "stuff" to get to the things that matter!)

During the few brief days when the weather was warm, I remembered once having the ability to just SIT out on the deck in the morning, the evening, or mid afternoon; doing nothing but watching the starts or the birds or the kids. I don't know that I would be able to do that today. I know that I need to be able to do that.

So, that must change. Losing my self and those things that are truly important to me and to my life to the business of a schedule or to do list, is not worth it! No way. Can't happen! They don't call it "Burdened Under Satan's Yoke" for nothing!

"Coincidentally".... the only thing on the calendar for today is "heartworm pill" (for the dog, people!) YES!

Thank You God!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Word of God Speak

I have got to tell you... I can barely contain myself as I sit to write this.

Wednesday evening, I spent with my interpreting mentor. We were going over scripture for the service coming up this week. Specifically, Matthew 11:28-30. It's a well-known couple of verses:

"28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

It's beautiful in English. But, the problem then becomes, how do you SHOW it in American Sign Language. What does it MEAN? We had several translations of the bible out on the table, and were reading each one and discussing it.

When I got home, I continued the investigation - primarily for the word "yoke". I understand the whole "binding together two oxen with a wooden neck-harness, to enable them to do together the work that can't be done alone", but - do I really want to SHOW a wooden neck harness? Me and Jesus - harnessed neck to neck? No, I don't think so...

Long story a little shorter, it was very late (or very early, depending on your perspective) when I went to bed... but I had a thirst to dig a little deeper and understand a little more. One of the last things I said in an email just before I crawled into bed was "How I got here (in my spiritual journey) is a mystery to me".

I woke up Thursday morning, pretty exhausted but with a sense that "OK, here we go again. God and me in a little one-on-one, in-depth instruction time". In other words, the reprieve I have had from His active "stalking" is done. It's time to get back to work. Oh boy. Here we go. Hold on!

Thursday evening, I was due to go to a meeting - and had planned a little "mental health time", which means I had scheduled the sitter for a few extra hours, so I'd get a little breather from the responsibilities of motherhood.

The meeting was (unbeknown to me) canceled, so I had yet a little more time. I wished the beautiful spring weather we'd recently experienced had continued, but no, it was snowing. If it were warm, I'd have gone to the church to sit beneath the beautiful stand of oak trees and continue my bible investigation. (I had brought my three translations, and my current study book to pass some time)

With no other viable options of where to hang out with three open bibles, I decided to head to the church anyhow. It is really convenient, as it is less than a mile from my home. It is peaceful, and the grounds are beautiful. But, the car would be cold - I'd have to run the engine from time to time for heat.

As I pulled into the driveway - lights. "YES!!" I cried aloud! "Band rehearsal!" I'd forgotten. I gathered my bibles, study guide, unsweet tea and headed to the classroom where I'd been the night before.

I could hear the band as they practiced the songs we will sing on Sunday. As I lay my bibles out on the table, I thought, "Hmmm... maybe this would be a good time to transcribe the notes I'd written in my older bible, into my newer one". So, that was the task at hand.

Flipping through Genesis, Exodus, I underlined in the new what I had highlighted in the old. I transferred dates and notes I'd inscribed. Not too far into it, I noticed a theme. I wondered how many times I had underlined the phrase "Do not be afraid". A LOT.

The next phrase I came upon was Joshua 1:5 - "I will not fail or abandon you" OK. Got my attention! I continued to underline, copy, and transcribe. The verses that really struck me in my core, I also copied onto the sheet of notebook paper beside me.

Next for the paper: Micah 7:7 - "But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will certainly hear me" There lies my appropriate response. I will look and I will wait. My God WILL hear me.

I made it through the Old Testament and into the New. When I hit Matthew 13:11, I put my New Living Translation aside and pulled out the old King James Teaching bible I was given over a decade ago. The NLT had used the word "secrets" (of the Kingdom of Heaven). The KJ used the word "mysteries".

I came full circle to my statement from the night before - "a mystery to me". The foot note defined 'mystery' to mean "a purpose or plan hidden in the heart of God until the appointed time of Divine disclosure to man".

And that is when I knew. "Word of God Speak" - Not just an upcoming song to review for Sunday, but a plan for the evening.

"But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will certainly hear me." And He will speak.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Comforter...

Food has long been my comforter. I recall finding an audio tape of myself when I was three years old. My first request, after being scolded, was "a cookie and a bottle of milk". It goes way, way back. And, as you know, "old habits are hard to break".

But, break it, I must. For a while now, I have known that God has been calling me to turn to HIM when I need comfort. Seeking comfort in food is not His will for me. Quite honestly, it is probably one of the things in my life that most easily turns my eyes away from Him. It's a "quick fix", but, it doesn't last...and I know that.

As time passes, the convictions come more and more frequently. He has called - again and again. Occasionally, I have listened. Most often, I return to my old friend, and then feel awful.

Yesterday, I had written a prayer request in the Riggs Family Blog, "Pray for Me, Pray for Others" weekly column. One of the the things on my mind as I wrote "...that I follow in His will for me" was my inclination to turn to food.

That afternoon, I headed out to run some errands. As I left, I was feeling a little unsettled. No clear cause, but unsettled, none the less. I had fully intended to drive through McDonald's for lunch - anything and a LARGE FRY sounded really good to me - but as I neared the turn that would bring me there, I thought "nah....".

I headed to Wal*mart. Again and again, I'd picture something in my head that I really wanted - something I was sure would 'settle' me. But, again and again, as I headed in that direction, it was as if He stood between me and whatever it was and said "THAT is not My will for you, Linda..."

I left there with a love-hate battle going on within me. I LOVED it that He would stand between me and the thing that would disconnect me from Him. I know that is a huge gift. I KNOW it is. But, OH how I WANTED it at the time, and HATED that I didn't get it.

Time has passed and I am grateful for the intervention. I pray that it would continue, for every day that it does, brings me closer to a habit broken. Every time I am shown that I won't die if I don't get it, loosens its stronghold on me.

Pray for me....

Be with me, Lord... comfort me...

May I seek You alone...

Pray for MeWe participate in "Pray for Me... Pray for Others" on the Riggs Family Blog. Check out their blog to add your prayer request. Join a community of friends who care about you, and hope you will care about them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Message Ministry?

It's interesting how things develop.... especially when * I * don't do it... intentionally, anyways...

I didn't realize what WAS happening until the other day when I was discussing feeling like I was 'dodging arrows' with a friend of mine.

"Of course you are!" she said, "your friend was meant to feel like she was all alone, and you ruined that plan when you came up beside her and loved her". And when I thought about it. I had.

It started about a week ago - my friend was having a really hard day. I sent her a text message letting her know that I was thinking of her, praying for her, and that she was loved. And then, the next day..., I did the same thing. And the next.... Every day, as I sat and lifted her up in prayer, I sent her a text. In a nutshell - "I'm here. I love you. I'm not going away."

A few days later, another friend of mine left for a mission trip in Panama City Beach, Florida. It's called Beach Reach. Sounds like a dream, huh? A week of witnessing in sunny Florida. But, uhm, not so much... apparently, the college kids there for much spring break partying, aren't so interested in hearing what they have to say. It's been described as "dark" and "really hard". So... I texted her. Just to let her know I was thinking about her and praying for her. You are not alone in this. I am with you (in spirit). I love you.

Then, another friend... sick. I've sent her messages day to day, let her know I'm thinking of her and hoping she's feeling better. (yes, she is.)

And, you KNOW there was yet another - "Hold tight to God..." I sent.

It's taken just a minute of my time, but, it's been time well-spent. I truly believe in the power of words. I believe in the power of reaching out past our selves. I believe in telling those that I love that I do, and I believe in expressing gratitude. As often as I can.

"Thank you" and "I love you". Five little words. In the texting world, a total of nine and ten characters respectively. But they are a powerful combination of letters! I do believe they contain great healing.

"I'm here"
"You're not alone"
"I love you"
"I appreciate you"
"I'm glad you're my friend" (or "my boy" or "my girl")
"You are special to me"

It only takes a second....

Take a second...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ah! New Life!

I have had a WONDERFUL opportunity to tend the earth. After a long, cold winter, I forget how much my spirit is lifted by a spending a day in the yard, and the first few are especially precious. The task at hand was to prepare the vegetable garden for planting.

I'd neglected it in the fall, so there were still tomato cages with dead tomato vines, and the grass that had grown in the fall remained. As I knelt beside the raise bed, I though how perfect - spending the next few hours 'on my knees' - because, certainly that is how tending the earth feels to me: a prayer before the very presence of God!

I pulled out dead plants, I pulled out dead grass, and grass that was trying to sprout. (I left the snowdrops that will bloom in the next week or so - then I'll transplant them to where I'd really LIKE for them to grow!)

I ran my fingers through the soil, searching for crabgrass roots. I stacked tomato cages, and bean poles and envisioned the planting for this year. There will be smaller raised beds within the large frame, for squash and spinach. Another new raised area will become the dedicated asparagus patch, and perhaps rhubarb or strawberries (or both!).

Of course there will be tomatoes - likely more than I can eat (but I think my friends kind of count on that :) ) Beans, perhaps broccoli, and I'm not sure what else we'll try this year. I still have a little time to dream and consider the options.

I catch myself laughing aloud. Consider the scene: there I am, kneeling at the edge of my garden, singing aloud to my ipod - "Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to Thee...." Remember, * I * am the only one hearing the music!! Occasionally, a word or a phrase comes off my hands in sign language! What would the neighbors think....? (I so don't care!)

Ah yes.... a wonderful, wonderful day. Joy and Laughter, hands in the dirt and in the air, heart and soul singing to God. My spirit is ALIVE.... I couldn't be more blessed.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Winds of Change...

I'm beginning to see some changes.... in my life and in the lives of those I love. Perspectives, attitudes, actions. All beginning to change course.

Some feel like the direct answer to prayer, and others feel like the sometimes-gentle-sometimes-not-so-gentle proddings as God encourages us to move forward. Let go of the past hurts and habits and move into a new future. Winter is over - Spring has come! Let it go!

The windows are still open, and the spring breeze is still welcome and stirring in my home. As I sit here, the rain begins gently tapping on the roof. I think back to when I invited the Winds of change into my heart - how soon it comes! I expect there will be tears that will accompany the internal stirring.... some grief, some joy.

But, like the spring rains, it will prepare the soil for new growth. Life will come forth abundantly, as the harshness of the winter dissipates.

It is an exciting time. I will watch for signs of life in my family, friends and self, just as I search the trees for swelling buds. It is coming... it is coming!

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air!!

I fully appreciate the expression now! We've had our first truly warm, beautiful spring day! Windows throughout my house are raised to the max! The breeze is coming in from all directions! YES!! A breath of fresh air!

When I come in from getting the mail, I realize how WONDERFUL it smells - spring, life, hope, joy - in my house! Instinctively I take in a deep, deep breath, and then another. Oh - I love this. I LOVE this.

Yes, the wind blows the notes and papers stuck to the fridge with magnets onto the floor. Yes, dust and pollen will be covering my appliances soon. Feeling this fresh air, I don't care. I don't even want to think of it.... and it CERTAINLY won't cause me to close the windows again!

I step back outside, past the dog kennel, toward the garden. Arms extended out to my sides, head flung back, I spin and laugh. Thank You, thank You, God, for returning spring to me!

I take a moment to consider the fact that the same is true when I open the windows to my heart and allow Him to breathe new life there as well. Yes, things get strewn around a little bit - or even a lot! Yes, it makes it more susceptible to dust, pollen and other annoyances to collect there, BUT.... opening the windows to my heart - allowing a breath of fresh air to stir things up a bit - to bring hope and joy and cause me to breathe deeply and spin around like a child... OH MY GOD... it is so worth it! So worth it!

Open the windows of my heart, Lord - come in and blow some things around! Bring me a breath of fresh air, and allow me to dance!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Song of the Mockingbird

It is night-time. As I sit here and consider what to write to post tomorrow morning, I sit and listen to the Mockingbird song. The windows are open (YES!), and I can hear him singing. His song is sweet and varied. It draws my attention away from this page as I listen more closely and get lost in his voice.

I remember first being aware of the nocturnal song of the Mockingbird several years ago. It was during the time between when my ex had moved out and our divorce was final. As I'd lay in my bed, the sweet song of the mockingbird would become my lullaby as I drifted off to sleep. If I'd wake in the night, I'd often hear him as well. Comforting, lyrical notes drifted through my window to surround me.

I see them frequently throughout the day, singing proudly from the tip top of my roof or the holly bush. Scampering across my lawn. All day long they sing, and play.

They are the state bird of Tennessee (Texas, Mississippi, Florida, and Arkansas as well!) and a reminder to me of the joy in song, dance and play. They remind me to stand up tall and sing with all I've got. They remind me what a gift it is to be living in this world, surrounded by creatures that so freely offer their gifts to the world.

May I be like the Mockingbird, raising my voice, offering all that has been given to me, back to my God and those around me!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Angel of Prayer

I love the Willow Tree angels - always have. Perhaps it is their simplicity, and their ability to represent all people with their featureless faces. I don't know. I do know we have a connection, Willow Tree and I.

If I weren't living on a single-mom budget, I'd have dozens more. All in all, I have four. Two were gifts: "Angel of the Heart" and "Angel of Healing". The other two, I bought for myself.

"Happiness", who stands tall with arms outstretched for bluebirds to land, I bought following the most incredible massage. I walked out of the session, standing tall, with my arms outstretched. As I spun around on the path that lead from the office to my car, I thought "WOW - this feels GREAT!" About 30 minutes later, I was standing in front of the figurine that fully captured my emotion. "Happiness".

My most recent purchase, I found as I was shopping for my Aunt's birthday - She'll get "Happiness", but don't tell! Once again, I stood face to face with a figurine that had the ability to display exactly what I was feeling.

I may have been standing in the store, talking with a friend, or teaching a yoga class, but deep within me was different. Deep within me, I've been on my knees with my hands pressed together at my heart, head bowed. "Oh hear me, God!"

I know You do, so I continue to bring forth my prayers. Day after day, moment after moment, prayer after prayer. At the cross, on the stage, in my home, in my car. "Pray without ceasing". Prayers of gratitude, prayers of petition - for myself, for others. Formally, informally, I pray.

Sometimes, I think, "All I can do is pray", and wish there were something more tangible that I could be doing. In reality, it's probably the BEST thing I can be doing. So, pray, I will.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A New Day

It is amazing what 24 hours, some prayer, a walk and a nap will do for one's perspective.... specifically MY perspective. Tuesday evening, I was grieving. When I awoke Wednesday, I was tired, and angry. I decided, despite the seemingly unending list of things to do, a nap would be in my best interests.

I awoke a few hours later, feeling a little better. Walking the dog was next on the "to do" list, followed by a shower, a trip to the bank and a quick stop by the elementary school. As I made progress through the list of tasks, I felt better and better.

Mid-afternoon, as my children returned from school, I noticed them. The first violets of spring. By the corner of the porch, they bloomed. Leaves barely unfurled, in the midst of the winterized grass, bright purple!

YES! Thank You God... Spring is coming! Hope! Renewal! New Life. YES! (just in time!)

I can't even begin to tell you how much better I feel! I am so grateful for the friends that I have talked with, prayed with, and the now daily reminders that spring is just around the corner!

Thank you God!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Missing My Friend

I realized today - I am grieving. It's amazing how quickly it hit.... again. It's something that I had worked through at the time, but I guess there's now another "layer" to process.

One of the situations I'm witnessing reminds me of my friend, Karen. Or, more specifically, it reminds me of MY journey walking through similar "stuff" with Karen walking beside me.

She had an uncanny ability to see the big picture, and to know - even through the computer screen - when something wasn't QUITE right, or I was being "just a little bit" evasive. She knew me - and loved me - well enough to call me on it. She'd point it out, and stand beside me as we sorted through the mess. All from 650 miles away.

This was a decade ago. She died in 2003. It's amazing to me how different my life is now. How much I have changed. How much one person could influence change in my life - through patience, truth, and love.

I pull out the picture of the wall I created back then. Construction paper "stones" of different colors, all "named" and stacked on top of each other. It was a "getting to know me" project, to look at the different aspects of my Self - "positive" and "negative" - that I used to "protect" myself from the rest of the world. Through that exercise, I realized how much it merely isolated me from any meaningful relationships.

Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, the wall has been disassembled. God has brought people into my life - online and in "real life" - who have helped me to grow and to trust, and to be willing to come out of hiding. To become vulnerable enough to risk standing outside of my wall.

It's not all fun and games out here. I do sometimes long for the days of isolation and anonymity. But.... I'm not lonely anymore. I have connections, I have community. I have joy and I have peace. I also have the depth of emotion to grieve.

As I put together the pieces I hear and the pieces I see of the situation at hand, I sure wish I could talk with her, and hear her perceptions. I miss that. I miss my friend.

God has sent others for me to talk with - heart to heart - who love me enough to hold up mirrors with patience, truth and love. He has also reminded me, through her life and her death, that "love never ends". It is with me always.

I thank God for that.

This picture I took during a gathering in 2002, when Karen and I - and some other friends - spent a weekend hanging out in a cabin at one of TN's state parks. The thing that I love so much about it is not only does it capture Karen (with my daughter) - but I didn't see it until after she died in the summer of 2003. I found the roll of undeveloped film, turned it in, and was given this gift.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mistaking the Urgent for the Important...

I was working on my bible study, when the question was asked, "How do we find a healthy balance between [tasks] and [relationships]?" It's times like these that I really appreciate the "voices in my head" - sometimes I feel a little crazy talking about them, but I do appreciate them! This voice comes from a woman who was more present in my life during a previous season. She would frequently remind me - and others in our group - "Don't mistake the urgent for the important!"

Her voice resounds in my head when I am faced with both a sink full of dirty dishes, and a little girl who wants to snuggle. "Don't mistake the urgent for the important!" The dishes are urgent - the sitter arrives in 15 minutes! I don't want the world to think I can't keep up with my dishes!

Honestly, I can't. Dishes and laundry - the bane of my existence! No sooner than I have them all clean, more are dirty! Same goes for the playroom. It's designated as such - and fortunately out of sight from the main living quarters! Periodically, I sort through and tidy up. Vacuum. But for the most part... it's a well-loved playroom.

Now, my daughter - she wants to snuggle. My boy wants to play cards or a new version of a search-for-hidden-objects computer game that he has. That is important. Those moments won't last - and if they are missed, I miss a great opportunity to nurture a relationship with my children.

One day, I said aloud. "The dishes - urgent. But you, Amelia, are important!" The grin the took over her face as I pulled her to my lap was unforgettable!

May I be given wisdom and eyes to see the important before me!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Floods and Tornadoes

This certainly has been an interesting week. I've been dreaming of floods and tornadoes, as I witness friends near and far entering and enduring struggles of various degrees. Some are beginning, some in the midst and others reaching the end of their processing with one.....last.....piece....of....work. "Now I'm free, Now I'm free!" (Lyrics from Sunday's worship, of course!)

As I interpreted the music Sunday morning, I found myself praying along with the words. As I signed "Savior, He can move a mountain..." I thought "You can move a mountain, please comfort my friend". As I signed the words to "I surrender all", I thought of myself and my on-again off-again (mostly on-again!) struggle to let go of the "control" I think I have in my life...(In my moments of clarity, I know that there is very, very little I truly control) Song after song brought person after person to mind.

Of all the songs, though, "I surrender all" was what I most needed. I can control none of it. None of it is even "my stuff". ("My stuff" is settling down! YES!!) But, it doesn't make it any easier to witness. Not that I would ever DREAM of turning away from it. No way! (God is at work!) I've been told that to witness a struggle is a gift: It makes me "uniquely qualified to speak the truth" of what I see. I'll try to remember that. Reframe it. A gift. Feels like.....a gift? (not yet)

I know with time, I'll have gratitude about it again. Feel honored to be a part of it all. But, today, I'm grieving... and holding tight to my faith that God is bigger than ALL of this.

Today, I ask.... pray for me, as I walk the line between loving my friends and giving them the space they need to process... and pray for them. God knows the details... He knows their hearts, and their needs. He knows the plans He has for them... plans to prosper and not harm them, plans to give them hope and a future... And I have faith, that whether they know it or not, He is right there, closer than can be imagined.... "stalking" them until they hear, they turn, and their hearts overflow with joy.

Thank You, God... for knowing and loving my friends..... and me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Living Deadline to Deadline

There is something a little disconcerting about living paycheck to paycheck, or deadline to deadline. I am one who considers myself a "planner". People say I'm "organized", and multi-task well. Generally, I'd agree with them, but the past six months or so, I feel like I've been living deadline to deadline. Things are getting done, but just under the wire.

I like to start a project when I get it. I like to have a time line in place - it doesn't have to be in stone (any more), but I like to have it established at least generally speaking. And I like to have time scheduled for the unexpected.

And that is where I struggle with the "deadline to deadline" living. It's the same as paycheck to paycheck living. As soon as I feel I'm getting caught up, something else shows up requiring my time or money.

I spent my Saturday night doing the finishing touches of consignment sale tagging. I finished well after bedtime - and certainly after "winding down" time. But, I think... I truly think... that's it for a while.

I'd have to check the calendar to be sure, but I think the next "deadline" I have is my Aunt's birthday in 10 days. I just need to shop for a gift and a card, and send it on it's way. Oh yeah, and renew my massage therapy certification. Piece of cake.

I will take a day (or two) to rest, and be still, spend some time on my bible study, hang out with my kids - maybe even take a nap! By then, spring should have sprung and there will be a great adventure in the backyard!!

Thank You for meeting me in the details, for finding those "last five minutes" that I need sometimes - even when they don't seem to exist.

I look forward to my quiet time with You. Help me to be still...