Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Slow Down to Go Faster

Tuesday morning, I got to put that truth into practice. I had a ton of things to do - several with a morning deadline. I remembered what I'd heard again recently: we actually go faster, get more done, when we slow down.

It was tempting to rush through the morning: hurry and print out the letter, run it to the school, copy and distribute it to teachers' mailboxes all before my 9 am appointment. But then I heard those words:

"Slow down to go faster."

I stopped and took a deep breath. I made myself some breakfast, and ate it at the table (rather than in my car). I collected all the things I would need that morning -without running back and forth to gather the things I'd forgotten the first time.

Things actually got done. AND, I had a bit of time in the afternoon to prepare a little for Wednesday.

What a gift.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Speed of Time

The days and weeks are flying by. I can hardly believe it.

April arrives later this week, and Easter is Sunday. Lent is over - almost. Wow.

There is a definite warmth to the afternoons, and flowers and buds on many of the trees and bushes.

The grass has been mowed. All sure signs that Spring is coming QUICKLY if not already here.

There doesn't seem to be a way to slow it down. Though, for a moment, this afternoon, I did.

I sat and did nothing but breathe. OK, truth be told, I did throw a "Thank You" or two up to God for the sunshine, and a completed task, but aside from that, those moments were still.

And, yet, this evening, it has sped up again....

It's a crazy thing, time. Another something I don't totally understand.

I'm learning that there are many of those.... things I don't understand.

Now, to take a few more moments to do nothing but breathe....

Monday, March 29, 2010

He Knew....

I didn't think to much about it at first.

I was at karate and the instructor was talking about accuracy in strikes. My first thought was of David as a boy, landing the stone and slaying Goliath. He had God on his side. He knew it.

Two days later, still somewhat fuzzy-headed with sleep, the thought occurred to me...

God knew about Bathsheba when He landed that stone.

He knew about Uriah.

He knew the sin of the man and still allowed the boy to land the stone.

It's yet another something I can't completely wrap my brain around....

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Perfect Night

It is a perfect night.

Work was uneventful. The dog stayed within the fence. He and I have walked.

In the moments before I head off to sleep, I am sitting on the deck. The moon is nearly full. The clouds the pass by are backlit with it's yellow glow The breeze is still warm and carries the feel of an impending storm. My hair gets alternately blown into my face, and then brushed out of my eyes. Behind me is the sound of the spring peepers, and the smell of freshly mowed grass surrounds me.

So before I call it a night, I am taking a moment to enjoy what He has so greatly blessed me with.






Saturday, March 27, 2010

More and Less

More time counting my blessings means

Less time living in "victim"

More time stringing wire around the top of a fence means

Less time chasing a dog who has climbed the aforementioned fence.

More time enjoying the company of some girlfriends means

Less time to blog....

Have a wonderful, wonderful day.... :)

Friday, March 26, 2010


Little messages here and there keep popping up about balance. More. Less. Awake. Asleep. Service. Self-Care. Family time. Alone time.

I want to live intentionally. I don't want to be swept here and there by whatever comes to pass.

Opportunities keep popping up, and I must weigh the options. Is participating going to improve the quality of my life, or my connection with God. Is perhaps being involved going to minister to someone in some way? Is it the right thing to do?

Quite frequently, I'm finding the answer is "no".

I hear the garden calling - which is a definite "YES!" - so I must choose how to spend the remaining hours, in order to create some time to tend the earth.

As each situation arises, I must run it through the list of questions, to determine a yea or nay. Ultimately, the most crucial question must be answered: "Would You have me do it....?"

I don't want to go through the motions....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bit by Bit...

I'm seeing slow progress on many fronts.

I am encouraged beyond belief.

Slow and steady wins the race.

And I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Let it be so.....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Location, Location, Location

I've already shared that I don't like change. I especially am not a fan of geographic change, though, somehow, I managed to leave New England through North Carolina and end up in Middle Tennessee.

I could never be a "traveling nurse". I like to have a home base. Preferably one where I can set down roots - literal and figurative.

At church, I prefer to sit in a certain location. When I've changed churches, I've continued to pick the same general geographic location. It was a big deal for me - as crazy as it sounds - when I joined the deaf ministry. It meant I would have to move from my preferred seating area.

I knew it would happen when I started karate. You see, the "new kid" lines up on the very end, on the right, in the back row. The problem is, I didn't expect another "new kid" so soon. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad she's here, but she's kinda in my spot.

So, challenged again, I have taken two steps to the left.

Yes, of course I'll get over it.... and perhaps I will even learn a little bit about my tendency to stay in one place.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Worry.... or not....

I got a phone call Monday afternoon. It was to let me know that I had a certified letter waiting for me at the post office. They had sent a second notice. I'd missed the first one because of spring break.

I didn't have time to pick up the notification slip and make it to the post office before they closed. I would have to wait. (I don't like to wait!)

In the back of my brain, I was pretty sure I knew who it was from. It went downhill from there. Briefly.

I wondered if they sent mail certified for all responses or just "bad news". ..

I spent some time wishing the office had called me earlier, but realized that was just wasted breath.

I swung by the office and picked up both notices. The first one confirmed my hunch about the sender.

I felt the knot in my stomach tighten a little more... And then I sort of shook my head and laughed at myself. The letter had been sitting there for a week, but this was the first time I had felt anxious about it's presence. I had been (somewhat patiently) awaiting it's arrival at home, forgetting they would reply to the business address.

I was reminded by a friend that it is temporal, not eternal, and not to sweat the small stuff. I also discovered that the lesson in my bible study (that I was to do) was about "peace", and God being bigger then all the small stuff in this world.... even the small stuff that is disguised as big stuff.

Their decision was made well over a week ago. I must wait another few hours. Worrying about the contents won't change them, nor will it change what must be done afterward, if anything.

I will wait and I will trust.

God is bigger than this.

And, it might.... MIGHT.... even be good news!

Matthew 6:34 (New International Version)

34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Monday, March 22, 2010

We Have to Blog Now....

I have been enjoying the company of an old High School friend this weekend....

We've laughed, thumbed through the yearbook and shared pictures of our children. We've stayed up way too late...

... especially tonight, with school resuming in the morning.

So for now, I will leave you with a sense of the joy that has been this weekend....

It's been a gift! Thank You, God!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nail Holes....

We've been talking again at karate about nail holes.

The nail hole story illustrates beautifully the power of words and their lingering effects. The word, when spoken leaves a mark, as the nail does after it's pounded into the wood. Even sincere apologies, which may have the power to remove the nail from the wood still leave a mark - a permanent indentation where they landed.

Driving home, I began thinking of the nails that have been sent my direction. Yes, I'm sure I have fired some off myself, and this illustration has renewed my resound to use my words wisely, but this night I was thinking of those coming toward me.

Some have been single shots, others have felt like they were being fired repeatedly from multi-loaded nail guns. Others feel like they have been pounded again and again, over and over, and have been deeply embedded

I wonder what my heart really looks like from this perspective. I am sure there are marks in various stages of healing. Some, I am sure have healed over pretty nicely, and others have left some lingering scars. I wonder how many nails remain, and how many are there that I haven't fully acknowledged, or have more healing to go that I am not aware of.

I then began to think about the healing process. Our instructor mentioned people trying to fix them with drugs and alcohol (and I would add a list of other addictive behaviors!). I would dare say those are anesthetics rather than cures. The problem is that anesthesia doesn't heal, but actually delays healing, as well as create a whole host of other problems.

Ignoring the wounds doesn't heal them, nor does picking at them repeatedly.

Time helps. Acknowledging their existence helps, and for me, some tears help.

But, I really don't think that *I* can heal my nail holes.....


God can.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

FIlling My "Soul-cup"

I am a visual and a kinesthetic learner. That is, I learn best by watching and by doing. Knowing that, I find it strangely amusing to even wonder that God speaks to me through American Sign Language.

At our bible study* this week, Angela Thomas was talking about the empty hole inside of each of us, and proceeded to give us a visual example. She had previously reminded us our our human tendency to fill that hole with things here on earth - relationships, children, stuff. She challenged us through her demonstration to reach our Soul-cup out to Jesus to fill.

She held an empty glass, and poured water from a pitcher. At first, she filled it only part way - just a taste, not the full experience. She encouraged us to STAY THERE, until our cups were filled..... and then literally running over.

As I was leaving - sitting quietly alone in my car - I tried it in ASL. "Soul" "cup" that I then reached out away from my body. It's powerful stuff. Just as signing "all-of-me surrender", or physically laying something down at the foot of the cross and taking a step away makes the urge to take it back a little harder to act on, holding out my "soul-cup" - literally, physically - makes that space within me a little less nagging.

May I reach my "Soul-cup" to You, and stay until my cup runneth over.

(*Living Your Life as a Beautiful Offering)

Friday, March 19, 2010


The day has FINALLY arrived. I have been waiting - somewhat patiently - for it to arrive. We've shared the countdown of days through texts and Facebook and FINALLY, it's here!

One of my friends from high school arrives this morning! We have been in touch off and on through the decades since we graduated. But, no matter where we leave off, or how much time has passed, we always manage to pick up right where we paused and move on!

We talked and dreamed about her coming to visit - and then Southwest Airlines had a sale (thank You, God!).

So, here is to friendship and truth; memories and forgiveness; late nights and southern spring days filled with conversation, laughter!

(can I go to the airport yet?)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rest, Rabbit, Rest

I've never read the book, but I have a friend who refers to it - by title - every time I say I am "tired", or "worn out", or "exhausted".

"Rest, Rabbit, Rest", she says.

It's also something I've been hearing a lot when I look at my schedule at work. Periodically, we have some extra shifts that are available. When I can, I try to pick up a couple. (I've got this dream, you see, of being debt-free one day!)

But, these days, it's mostly on night shift. Nights would be one thing, if it were just me, but it's something TOTALLY different with a pair of kids who a) need childcare and b) aren't always the best in letting me rest before and after.

So, I consider it briefly, and hear "Rest, Rabbit, Rest". I also think to the number of times and places and through different sources and people I have heard lately: "slow down".

So, that's my goal, this spring-time. Slow down. Enjoy the weather, the yard, the kids. Be still. Dig in the dirt. Tend the earth.

Summer will be here before we know it, and I will have kid-free opportunities to work without ceasing.

Til then, I shall "Rest...."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not Enough Words...

There are not enough words to describe how much I am loving karate. Oh, yes, there has been a moment in each class so far when I look around the room and wonder why we've all signed up to DO this, but it fades quickly.

I love the drills. I love to punch. I love the sore I feel afterward.

I love the fact that kids - who weren't even born the last time I did a push-up - are able to walk me through the drill that they have clearly mastered.

I love the stories about words being like nails driven into pieces of wood. Sure, they can be removed/taken back/apologized for/repented of, but the mark remains.

I love the fact that at least once throughout the class Philippians 4:13 comes to mind.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Caring for Our Own

I have been very, very fortunate. I have spent the past twenty-plus years in nursing. The vast majority, I have spent working in a Level One Trauma Center, on the trauma service.

Oh, trust me, I've seen it all... I've heard stories and seen injuries that you wouldn't believe if HIPPA laws would allow me to tell. But, I have never experienced what the staff in our Emergency Department experienced Monday morning. Thank You, God!

One of their own returned to their care.

Yes, I've cared for nurses and 'medics - even extricated a few from their vehicles in my EMS days. But never, ever one of my co-workers. Hospital employees and their families, yes. MY peers, no.

She finished her shift and was heading home. Not long after, she returned to the care of the doctors and nurses to whom she had just said good-bye. I have no doubt that they mounted a valiant fight, but apparently, God has other plans for her.

I know she will be long remembered and her signature fish with the words "Have a Blessed Day" will be etched on the hearts of many, as it was on the dry erase boards she came across.

I ask that you pray for the staff. And for her family.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I sat struggling with a blog topic. Nothing came to mind. Several friends sent suggestions.... nothing fit.

Besides, I was preparing to distract myself with a mindless game of... oh, gosh, what was it that I never got to play?

About the time it finished downloading, a friend text'd me to tell me about a show on TV. They were designing a room for a deaf man. His wife was interpreting. She thought I'd like to see it. I went up and managed to find the channel. (She was right.)

At the first commercial, I reached for the remote. Oh. Yeah. This is "live" TV. I can't forward through the commercials like I do when I watch my DVR'd episodes of Grey's and Private Practice.

Obviously, I don't typically watch "live" TV - and aside from the those two shows, I really don't watch ANY TV. But, midway through the first set of commercials, I realized it. Deep down. Undeniably. The angst I felt having to sit through the advertising proved it without a doubt.

I. Am. Inpatient.

My father would tell you he knew that from the day I was born (two weeks early). Growing up, he says I was always looking forward to the next thing....

I hope, perhaps, I am a LITTLE better about enjoying the moment..... perhaps. I know I have moments when I am...

I think that is what I love so much about tending the earth. There's no time line that is set in stone. There is a focus and a purpose. There is usually the sun on my back or the wind in my hair, and this weed, then the next and the next...

But, overall, big picture.... I'll have to ponder that... perhaps on a day when there are weeds to pull....

Lord, help me to be still enough to enjoy the moment. Remove the angst. Let me Be. Here. Now.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Cleaning!

I have had the pleasure (seriously!) of doing a bit of Spring Cleaning. I wish it had been just a TAD bit warmer, so I could have opened the windows wide, but.... there will be time for that in the future.

I sorted through toy bins and dress up clothes, book cases and closets. Boxes and bags are in the process of being prepared for their destinations: friends, school, church yard sale, the dump. Dishes and clothes were washed, and except for the last loads, put away.

There are still some papers to file, surfaces to dust and corners to sweep... it is, of course, an ongoing process.

What I am most grateful for is a day to have the time to sort - to inventory - the "stuff" that surrounds me. It is as equally important as inventorying the "stuff" that is within me...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Day of Rest....

It certainly was a day of rest.

I opted for a nap after the kids went to school. Between the rain and my boy, my sleep had been interrupted. So I lay down and enjoyed a rainy-day rest.

My arms ache from karate. I have given up on the ability to brush the hair behind my right ear for the time being. I trust that one day I will regain that skill. I figured some rest - especially if I could do so with my arms tightly flexed - to stretch my triceps - would help.

By the time I woke, the rain had stopped. The dog and I headed out for a walk. It was at that point that I realized I felt similarly to the day I ran the Music City 1/2 Marathon. I knew that after the race, I would be "useless" the rest of the day.

And so I planned the rest of my day accordingly. Yes, I ran an errand or two before picking the kids back up from school, but aside from that, it was a do nothing kinda day.

Fortunately, it was "movie night" at our house. A quiet evening of snuggling my boy.

Exactly what I needed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Break!!


It begins....

For my children, it begins after school. For me, it begins as soon as I drop them off at school.

I noticed the other day there is NOTHING on my schedule for today. NOTHING. Yes, I must admit, I did have some panic about the fact that PERHAPS there really is something important to do that I forgot to write down. But, if there is, I have NO IDEA what it may be.

So, I'm going with "nothing".

The REALLY crazy thing is that Saturday looks the same...

And, yes, I do have big plans for the day.... Some quiet time for me, some time with the kids in the evening, and a few things on the "Never-ending To Do List"

Ahhhhh.... Yes!

Thank You, God!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Even This....

Driving home from Karate, I thought about the previous hour. I had endured what I thought I could not have. As we were practicing, two thoughts battled back and forth in my head:

"why would anyone DO this....... voluntarily?!"

"why did it take me so long to get here?"

As I turned down the main road, I thought, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me..."

"....even this...." I said aloud.

It is definitely going to be a challenge. But I'm a girl who likes a challenge.

Now, whether I use my arms well enough to interpret on Sunday is yet to be seen.

But "even this", I will trust to His strength and ability!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A New Lesson Plan

I attended my first adult karate class. I am terribly excited to finally be beginning this journey. For months now, I have been waiting for the official "GO!" Taking the class required some schedule manipulations and my resignation from my yoga teaching gig. It also required a willingness on my part to change.

Finally, it's time. Driving there, I ask for God to speak clearly. I have this love/hate battle going on inside as I make that request. I long for that, and yet, I know nothing remains the same after He does speak. I have heard Him speak before, sitting at the sidelines, watching my son's karate class. I hope/fear that He will speak again as I begin this journey. Deep inside, if I'm really honest, I *know* that He will.

I've sat through many of my son's classes, so I know some of the drill. I know the "new kid" stands at the back, on the end. I know how to stand at attention and in rest stance, and I know which is appropriate at certain times.

What I didn't know is that I can do a push-up. Yes, it was a "girly" push-up. But it was a push-up. Actually, closer to thirty. Some just regular, some with a punch, some raising both hands off of the ground, some tapping the opposite shoulder.

What I didn't know is how differently it feels to recite the student creed, rather than just hearing it. Something hits deep inside saying "I AM a dedicated student..."

Bring it on, God...

"I AM a dedicated student...."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh What a Beautiful Morning....

... Oh what a beautiful day!!!!

It was amazing. God's perfection in a spring day. AND, I got to enjoy it. The dog and I walked, I dug in the dirt - got sun on my arms and my face...

It couldn't have been any more perfect.... not even if my house were clean!

Thank You God for such a beautiful, beautiful day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

You Know My Story....

Sunday morning I left church feeling like God had been poking around in my heart. I wasn't sure exactly what He had done, and honestly wasn't sure I was ready to. Part of me wished I had time to just sit and ponder it, but the other part of me was grateful I did not. There were clothes and toys to drop off at the consignment sale.

Still, part of my attention - as much as I could allow and still drive safely - was elsewhere. I had been thinking recently about new beginnings - a point that was emphasized in our Sunday sermon. I had been thinking specifically about a time in my life, which I considered "fun" (in a worldly sort of way), but certainly not "righteous", or God-centered living. And honestly, if I look at the whole of it, it wasn't "fun" at all. Just one little bit, through the lenses of memory could be classified that way.

Driving, I sat amazed at how much my life HAS changed in the past two decades. Day to day, I don't notice it so much, but put a little greater time perspective on it and WOW. I couldn't even TRY to go back to re-living my 20's.

Yet, still I focus on that "one little bit" of fun. Inside, I alternate between wishing for one more beautiful spring night with those friends, and feeling the need to stand before God in whole-hearted repentance. Not that it was BAD - especially not by the world's view. But, from God's perspective, I was toeing the line and flirting with disaster.

But, I digress...

I turned in the clothes and the toys, and headed back toward home.

My thoughts continued to be scattered.... jumping from thought to thought: Past. Present. Then. Now. Somehow, trying to bridge the pieces together - connect the dots - try to figure out how I got to my present life.

The words of a song grabbed my full attention: "You know my name, You know my story...." I don't know what the next line really says, but in my head I heard "You love me anyway..."

The next song was lost to my ponderings. No clear thoughts, just some settling of that concept into my being.

The song that followed began and the introductory music caused my heart to skip a beat. I hadn't yet cognitively identified the song, but when the words began, and I nodded, still waiting to see which lyrics jumped out to me.

Within the chorus was the phrase, "somehow my story is a part of your plan..." I smiled. "Here I am, Lord send me. All of my life, I'll make an offering...."

Which, coincidentally, ties into the bible study that has just begun: "Living your life as a Beautiful Offering".

Ah, the God-moment I'd been missing.... past, present, future... All connected. Through Him.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Taking a Day Off...

Actually, a few... but just one from the blog...

Sometimes things just have to give....

Next week, it looks like my overtime, but today it's writing...

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Consignment Tagging

I have spent the past day in "consignment tagging hell". I have placed an index card with my seller number, a description of the piece of clothing and a price on each outfit, shirt or pants.

I appreciate the ability to buy gently worn clothing for my children, and earn a little money from their clothing as well. I prefer to be a little further ahead in my tagging....

But, a blessing it is, for me an many, many others.

Thank you God for this opportunity.

And now I must return to the pile of shoes that are yet untagged......

Friday, March 5, 2010

Washed, White as Snow

I had been given the task of trying to improve the sign language interpretation of a song we sang last week, and will repeat this coming week.

It's one of those Olde English hymn-y things, but I agreed to give it a shot. I'd just finished writing yesterdays blog - saying stuff like there not being any "Big God Stuff" going on right now - and opened iTunes, and began to play the song.

"I heard my Savior say, 'Thy strength indeed is small...'..."

I just sat and listened.... and watched. It happens with me in music sometimes, rather than hearing the lyrics in my head, I see the sign. I watched some more.... oooh... Good stuff. My hands copied the images to help me remember.

"Jesus paid it all. All to Him, I owe"

I kept signing...

As the chorus continued, began extrapolating on the words. "What to they MEAN?" I've heard over and over.

"Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow"

I lay down to try to sleep, and several things passed through my minds eye:

"Sin made me guilty. He forgives."

"Sin criticizes and condemns. He brings me back."

"Sin separates me from God. He reconnects us."

I lay there, without words. Forgiven, reconciled and reconnected.

Washed, white as snow...

I am so blessed.

Thank You God!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Seasons of Change

Spring and new beginnings are coming forth.

I can see the days lengthening, the daffodils beginning to grow - despite it being unseasonably cold.

I see shifts in my life. Many things are coming to a close, and other things are beginning their first steps.

While there aren't any "really cool God Things" that have happened lately, there are the smaller day to day moments when I know that God is in the midst of things.

I can feel Him moving, calling, leading. I try - the best that I can - to listen, obey and follow. Then "life" and laundry and papers stack up.... yet, I know He is there in the midst of the disarray as well.

To the journey! Lead on...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

**** PAUSE ****

I've found it, and I'm using it here today....

May you all have blessed day.



Thank You, God!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Finding the Pause Button

I was texting a friend to arrange a breakfast get-together. We both commented on how BUSY our lives had become. "I need to find a 'pause' button," I said. Or perhaps a "Time-turner", like Hermione Granger's.

There is nothing like that, exactly. There is the great word "no", that I have actually used once or twice recently. "No, I cannot possibly think about one more thing right now...."

We have just finished selling basketball concessions this past week and Girl Scout cookie sales will be over next week. So, things are heading in the right direction.

Until then, I am cutting myself some slack, taking in some good deep breaths. My last yoga class will I'm sure have a restorative focus, and until the tasks are all complete, I am praying that God "redeem the time".

Help me to use it wisely. It is precious.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It is Well... sort of....

I have no words today... just exhaustion. Physical. Mental.

Not only was it a full day, but close to three hours of it was spent in a visitation line. I knew his mom and had met others in his family a few times. None the less, I knew I needed to be there.

I hugged my son closely as we walked through the line. My daughter slept in a pew at the back of the chapel.

As we got into the 'final stretch' before greeting the family, a song from this morning's worship played over and over again in my head:
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well with my soul.
I hugged his sister, his father, his wife and his mother, but it was the card that touched me most.

Hand-colored by a four year old girl:

"I [heart] you. I [heart] you. I [heart] you. I miss you."

She had written it that morning, and her mother had tucked it beside her fathers head to be sure it got to him in heaven.

May "peace like a river" to "attendeth [their] way", and God surround them in the midst of this....