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31 Days of Faith, Family, Home and Joy – Day 11 – Worthy – An On-Line Bible Study Based On She’s Still There – My Notes Week 3 – Chapters 12-15

12 Oct

You’ve got to pick up this book.  My blog can only hit on the BIG things that captured my heart.  There is so much stuffed in this easy to read book.  It is so good, and I am wearing it out and loving every single page.

Chapter 12- Sleeping By The Window – Nurturing Your Soul 

Chrystal talks about sleeping by the window on the floor even as she grew older, and reminds us that somewhere on the way from being a child to an adult we move away from the window that nurtured that girl inside us.

One reminder I loved was that she says, “we work too hard and play too little………….we forget what it means to simply be.”  Ponder on that – what does it mean to simply be?

This chapter reminded me of all the to-dos and my need to-dos.  I was and am still doing all the time.

What was I doing?

  • Full-time job as a Contracting Officer
  • Housework
  • Cooking
  • Carrying two kids to school, sports,  (soccer, volleyball, baseball, football, cheerleading) and an hour and a half round trip to school from our home.
  •  Church duties of singing in the choir, pre-school director, 4s and 5s teacher, church clerk, associate pastor’s wife………
  • Helping with an elderly Mom after the loss of Dad with many nights in the hospital

NOTE:  I miss sports with the kids.  I miss having them here.  I miss my Mom and Dad most days – so many memories.  I don’t miss my high stress job, but I miss friends I made there, and do get to meet some of them very occasionally for lunch because retirement has been a busy, invigorating, fun time for me.

What I’m doing now

  • Retired and loving it.
  • Watching our five grandchildren when I am needed and that’s usually two or three days a week.
  • Substitute teaching.
  • Volunteer Coach for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies – Have changed my life.  That’s where I am doing this study.  Our next one starts on November 4 and is Max Lucida’s Anxious For Nothing.   Come join us!
  • Trying to organize my house, and it is not going well.

So how do we learn to embrace life and love ourselves and delight in the simple joys?  She shares three ways – your senses, your significance, and the Spirit.

SENSES

Why did God create us with sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing?  She says it was God’s way for us to “perceive and experience your world.”    For her it is a “favorite book, watching athletes at the top of their game, hear music that inspires, or touch the soft fur of a puppy, and Bath and Body Works smell of “spa”.”

For me I do love books, don’t love athletes unless it’s family, Christian music especially when I’m cleaning or walking.  I really don’t want a puppy and all that goes with it, and I need to go check out “spa.”

Her Mom loves sunsets, flowers, and Cadbury Fruit and Nut chocolate.

I love sunsets, sunrises, flowers and chocolate.  I really need to try that Cadbury Fruit and Nut.  I love watching and listening to our  grand babies learning to sit up, crawl, stick out their tongues, walk, and even sleep, and our toddlers running around the den chasing each other.  I also love seeing animals,  butterflies, dragonflies and remembering Mom, kissing my husband goodbye in the morning and hello in the evening, folding his clothes and praying for him.  I love watching the rain come down and the birds all year-long – red birds, hummingbirds, doves, and blue birds.  There are always some year round feeding on the feeders my husband gave me when I retired.

YOUR SIGNIFICANCE

Chrystal says, ” relationships fill our cup – relationships with people who know us, value us, and treasure us.”  She also reminded us that significance is not only a gift to be received, but also to be given.

My relationships primarily center around family and my on-line Bible study sisters.  I can share with those folks because I’m not a real trusting person after being hurt by close family and friends.  Who can keep a trust – my husband, my kids, but honestly I haven’t found a friend that can.  Still looking for her, but I have found sisters in my studies that I can share some of my heart with.

Giving significance to others is easy for me.  Like Chrystal it’s easy to give a smile.  I’ve learned to stand in the hallways of school and smile and greet every child walking by.  I love waving when I am out walking to neighbors and school busses.  This morning one of the three busses that passed me stopped and opened his door as I waving and I said I was just saying good morning.  He said, “good morning and thank you.”  I learned when someone is on my mind it’s so easy to text, message, email or call.

THE SPIRIT

Chrystal reminds us that “the joy that can fill your soul through your senses and significance is temporary, and that kid of joy doesn’t last.”

True joy and peace for me comes from my Savior.  Let’s face it life is hard.  People disappoint us, they hurt us, don’t notice us, betray us, offend us.  His joy and peace are there for us no matter our circumstances.

How do we get that joy and peace?  She reminds us that we have to “cooperate by opening your Bible, making time for prayer, and walking in obedience.”

All these years I went to church and opened my Bible at church or to prepare for a children’s class.  It was not until I retired, found on-line Bible studies, and changed churches where we have women’s Bible studies that I truly learned to open my Bible.  The Word has come alive and I’ve found joy and peace no matter what I’m walking through.  I didn’t say it’s easy – it’s not – but it is amazing that when I am walking through tough times that He always sends a special verse, the right Bible study, or Christian song to bless my heart.  I feel Him daily.

His joy is my strength.

Chapter 13 –  A Labor of Love – Finding Purpose In Your Pain

Pain.  There is so much of it in life.  I’ve seen it over and over – miscarriages, infertility, death, sickness, disease.  How can it be a labor of love?  I know because I have found purpose in my pain.

Some of my favorite things from this chapter – too many to list them all.

  • “If we skip the pain, we skip part of the process.”
  • “Your pain is part of your journey.”
  • “Our pain affects how you see the world, and therefore how you see yourself.”
  • “It’s part of your experience, the stuff God allowed to impact your soul.”
  • “God wastes nothing.”
  • “Never forget that it’s in the darkest of spaces and places that the light of God’s hop can shine the brightest.  He is a master of making miracles out of our messes.”
  • “Pressing through your pain is always a push for life.  And ultimately, that push for life is a labor of love.”

This morning after writing all this I had to go get some of my favorite stone ware I hardly use and fix a cup of that “rockin’ hot chocolate” with a little cool whip on top.

 

 

Chapter 14 –  Rockin’ Hot Chocolate – Do What You Can With What You Have

You’ve heard that.  I’ve heard that, but what do we do with what we have?  We are reminded to not “delay making memories or sharing your life with your friends.”   She says, “do what you can to live your life well with what you have.”

Have you delayed making memories because your house is too small, too dirty, you don’t have the right dishes, don’t know how to cook?  I think we’ve all been there over the years as we were starting out.  So how do we live our lives with what we have?

I wonder, too, how many of us don’t pull out the good china, the cloth napkins, the crystal saving them for another time.  I’ve learned to enjoy those things.

I loved this – “We’re tempted to wait until just the right moment to do the right thing or a “big” thing.  And while we wait, we do “no” thing.”  I thought about this.  We do “no” thing and someone dies, gets sick and we never do anything.

What has God placed on your heart?  Do it.  I know I’m guilty.  It is not about the house for me, but it is time.  I have been talking for a year about having neighbor women over for coffee/tea brunch.  I have not done it.  It just needs to be on my calendar, and I am thinking I need to do this during Christmas holidays when school is out.  We can have some of that “rocking’ hot chocolate”.

We were reminded about Mother Teresa and how famous she is.  Chrystal reminds us that Mother Teresa embraced opportunities.  Let’s embrace the opportunities that God places right in front of us, but we are so busy we miss those blessings.

Chapter 15 – An Answer, Not The Answer – The Process of Your Progress

What are you doing today to make tomorrow better?  For some of us we are looking for answers, and we do not know how to make a life happen for ourselves that we will be proud of.

Let me remind you what Chrystal says, “Your job is not to find the answer that leads to a master plan or purpose.  Your job is to move forward as you become aware of an answer that you can act on.  You must accept that an answer is part of the process to getting to the answer.”

What have you become aware of?  What have you been afraid of?  Oh let me tell you this girl has been there, but it’s been small steps even when I was afraid for all my life.

  • Working through high school, after school at a furniture store
  • Typing and shorthand classes in high school preparing for a job.
  • Upon graduation took a job with the Navy in contracting using my typing and shorthand.
  • College – a few night classes here and there while my hubby was working part-time and finishing his degree, and eventually completing my business degree.
  • Willing to take risks and apply for new jobs in my office working my way up to one of the first two women who were Contracting Officers.

I had no master plan, but the Master did, as I continued to move forward and act on things that came about.  I never thought I would finish college – that all happened once I was as high as I could go in my office as a Team Leader and a Contracting Officer without being upper management one grade higher and that was not something I aspired to do.

Enjoy the rest of my 31 Days Series below:

Day 1 – 31 Days of Faith, Family, Home, Fitness, Coffee and Joy

Day 2 – Love

Day 3 – Did Someone Say Coffee-eeee?

Day 4 – Worthy an Online Bible Study of She’s Still There – My Week 2 Notes, Chapters 6-11

Day 5 –  Books I’m Reading, Cuppa Tea and Joy

Day 6 – His Mercies Are New Every Morning

Day 7 – Things I Love About Fall

Day 8 – Free Printable Lunch Box Notes

Day 9 – Prayer Walk

Day 10 – Refrigerator Thingy Notes – Free Printables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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31 Days of Faith, Family Home and Joy – Day 2 – LOVE

2 Oct

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This is Day of 2 of the 31 days writing challenge.  As I am deciding what to write, a message on my iPhone just relayed  that a shooting has occurred in Las Vegas.  My heart cries out reading that more than fifty people have died and 400 injured.  My heart cries out knowing the solution is not to get rid of guns and other things.  The only solution is love. My prayer goes out to each one of these families who have lost loved ones, and have injured loved ones.

Love  entails all the areas I plan to write about, and is a reminder from a sermon I heard a couple of Sundays ago as our pastor began a series speaking on the Fruit of the Spirit.

Love is the very first fruit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.  Why?  It is the most important.

What is love?  I went to the Bible to see how it explains love.

These are some of my favorite verses.  My husband reads them at weddings.  I can pretty much quote them, and I love putting my name in place of the word love, and she in place of the word of it.  Try it inserting your name and she.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NASB)
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; [a]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails………

I feel a bit guilty reading that with my name inserted.  I am not always patient, kind, not envying, not boasting, not proud, not dishonoring others, not self-seeking, not easily angered, not keeping record of wrongs, not delighting in evil, rejoicing in truth, protecting, always trusting, always hopeful, always persevering.

In 1 Corinthians 13, we are reminded  how faith, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.

Love is not self-seeking.  It is not self-centered.  It is always considerate of others.  To me this is one of the issues in our nation now.   We are inconsiderate of others, we seek our own agendas, we think we are entitled, and we are self-centered.  Love is being emphatic for others, not taking advantage of others.  For some it is all about me, me, me – not others.  Self-seeking is not God-seeking.  It’s not seeking our own way.

Leviticus 19:17-18  “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.”
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love 1 John 4:8 (KJV)
Matthew 22:37-40,  “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

In the book of Ruth we see how much Ruth loved Naomi.  When Naomi returns to her home land after both ladies are widowed, Ruth leaves her home land for a foreign land because she loves Naomi so very much.  Here are some verses  from Ruth of her conversation with Naomi.  My husband also has couples getting married repeat this to one another simultaneously.

Ruth 1:15-17 (KJV)
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:   Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
1 John 4:8  (KJV) “ He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
A scribe asked Jesus  which is the greatest commandment of all.  Jesus responded Mark 2:29 -32 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

I leave you with this song by Sara Bareilles:

What The World Needs Now Is Love

I found this on You Tube.  She sang this 2016 Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular published on You Tube by María José Rodríguez on July 6, 2016.

Here are my other 31 Days Posts:

Day 1  – 31 Day of Faith, Family, Home and Joy 

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31 Days of Faith, Family, Home, Fitness, Coffee and Joy

1 Oct

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The countdown has begun for the 31 day write project.  Crystal Stine is leading this years 31-days.  When I think about writing for 31 days again this year, it is a bit overwhelming and picking a subject well ….. how do I do that again?  The last three years I’ve blogged about Fall.

I love Fall, but can I really write for 31 days again about Fall?  I think NOT, but I can write about things going on right now in this season of Fall, and who can’t write about faith, family and coffee?  I’m challenging myself to write about fitness because I need to lose some pounds.

Can I keep up?  Life is crazy, busy, hectic and fun right now.  We will see on October 31.

It all starts today, Sunday, October 1.   How did that happen?  Where has 2017 gone?  I’ve chosen to use some free writes and see how much I can say about Fall, inspiration, family, home, coffee, fitness and all that is amazing in my life.  Perhaps I will even share that pumpkin bread recipe from my Mom.

On this first day I’m sharing a little about me.

  • I’m a born and raised Texan with a small 3-month stay in Oklahoma.
  • I married my high-school sweetheart and yes we’ve been together for 48 years.
  • We have two grown married children and five grandchildren ages four and under.
  • Four grandsons and one granddaughter.  Three of those babies, twin boys and a little girl were all born in March.  See why I’m busy.
  • Those babies are miracles and perhaps I’ll share some about them and how God has blessed this family through infertility, miscarriages, and so much more He has brought us through.

Loving life today and every day.  I love my family, my home, blogging, leading on-line Bible studies, substitute teaching, walking, reading, working in the yard,  tracing my family tree, and I love coffee y’all.   How about you?

You can join us here.  Click here to join Crystal and the gang.

Enjoy the rest of my 31 Days Series below:

Day 1 – 31 Days of Faith, Family, Home, Fitness, Coffee and Joy

Day 2 – Love

Day 3 – Did Someone Say Coffee-eeee?

Day 4 – Worthy an Online Bible Study of She’s Still There – My Week 2 Notes, Chapters 6-11

Day 5 –  Books I’m Reading, Cuppa Tea and Joy

Day 6 – His Mercies Are New Every Morning

Day 7 – Things I Love About Fall

Day 8 – Free Printable Lunch Box Notes

Day 9 – Prayer Walk

Day 10 – Refrigerator Thingy Notes – Free Printables

Day 11 – Worthy – An On-Line Bible Study Based On She’s Still There – My Notes Week 3 – Chapters 12-15

Day 12 – I’ll Worship Him In The Waiting

Day 13 – A Trip To The Dallas Arboretum

Day 14 – Fitness Bible Verses – Free Printable

Day 15 – Worthy – An On-Line Bible Study Based on She’s Still There – My Notes Week 4 – Chapters 16-21

Day 16 – Anxious for Nothing – An On-Line Bible Study – My OBS Story

Day 17 – If My People – 1 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

Day 18 – My 2018 Planner

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Am I Collecting People Or Things

25 Jul

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Am I Collecting People or Things?  As I ponder that question over the years I think you would agree we all spend so much time collecting all sorts of “stuff”.  For me it’s been anything from the latest laptops, phones and iPads, gadgets, clothes, jewelry, shoes, purses and so much more.  WHY?

Now don’t get me wrong.  We can be frugal around here, and I shop sales.  I am shopping now for a new washer and dryer.  My old Maytags are still going and I bought them when our son was a baby over 37 years ago.  I’m looking at Speed Queens because they say they are built to last 25 years and if that is true they will out last me.  I can be thrifty, but I also don’t mind spending money on things that last.

I admit I have gotten much better the older I get.  The older I get, the more I realize how important people are – not my things.    I can go shopping and come home with nothing.  I do it often because the house is full of too much “stuff” I don’t need, and truly I need to purge and purge.  I have spent the summer trying to clean out closets, and still trying to find the time to work on them.  So far I’ve donated a trash bag of shoes and a trash bag of clothes, and I took some nice work outfits to the resale shop.  There is a box upstairs collecting all kinds of things for donating.  There is still so much to purge – like 3 closets of clothes, 2 closets of coats, and eight chests of drawers of mostly my stuff.  I suppose us women fill up the house, and our men fill up the garages, their sheds and barns.

When we lost my Mom a few years back, I learned what happens to all the stuff:

  • You take a lot of it home so you have more stuff.
  • You have several garage/estate sales, and in the process you bring in some more items that remind you of Mom and Dad.
  • You give away and give away and give away to friends and neighbors and organizations.
  • You store it for more sales that never happen,  and then you give more away.
  • You throw away and throw away and shred and shred.
  • You wear yourself out going through all the “stuff”.

I also learned when we lost Mom and Dad, and many other loved ones it is not the things, but the memories of all the times we spent together making memories, and all the little things that I brought home that bring back memories – the pictures and the little teacups and a few dishes, an old radio, and old wall phone, those precious Christmas ornaments Mom gave us each year – little things that remind me of them.  Memories, pictures, moments, smiles are what matter.

I also learned that our kids are not going to care about most of this stuff that I cling to so I have been tossing and throwing so they don’t have to.  While I’m cleaning I have those thoughts of what mess am I leaving them.

Collecting People – Not Things.   What are we doing that will last a lifetime because those cars, houses and gadgets won’t?  Or how about that closet of clothes and shoes and purses.  Cars get old, gadgets crash, and homes have to be remodeled over and over (unless you are buying new ones all the time), nice dishes are never used, and those clothes and shoes go out of style.  At what cost have we or are we,  harming our families because those things can become more important than them?

Collecting people – not things.  Your husband has his eyes on a ball game, a fishing show or even that awful RFD channel.  Does it drive you crazy or do you take the time to enjoy it with him?  Sometimes I try and usually give up unless I am sitting here blogging (like now), tracing my family tree on Ancestry or working on my Bible studies and doing my own thing,   BUT at least I am sitting here next to him and not in another room watching something else.  People more than things.  When he turns on a movie or program I like, I love laying my head in his lap and enjoying the movie or sometimes I fall asleep.  Naps are a great way to get a little snooze in, but an even better way to get a lot of cuddling in.

Does your spouse have to compete with your cell phone, your computer, or your television when you go out to eat?  Honestly, I try not to answer the cell when we are at a meal or doing something together unless we are expecting an important phone call.  

Collecting people – not things.   I substitute teach and see so many students and parents placing emphasis on things – tennis shoes, shirts, pants, purses, backpacks, cell phones.  I’ve even listened to kids make fun of another’s  tennis shoes when I am subbing in gym class. It’s sad judging someone by their shoes or clothes.   Is that how they are being taught at home, rather than judging one by his/her personality or heart?  I still remember a girl walking up to me in school when I had a new, cute dress on, and she commented it was out of season.  It was September and it was beautiful green colors (not summery at all)  so not sure why, but I’ve never forgotten it or the rudeness of it.  For the rest of the day I was miserable in my new dress.

Oh how must our Lord cry out “people are more important than things.” You might hear me talking back  in a nice way to someone at school putting another child down because of their clothes.  Oh how I wish I could talk to them about Jesus like my teachers were allowed to do.  How different would this world be if we could love like Jesus and share His love!  I just want to cry sometimes because a child is hurting and I want to say, “Jesus loves you and died for you.”   I can’t but our students can.  Oh to share the love of Jesus and not the love of things breaks my heart most days when I’m at school.

You might also hear me giving a lesson on phones.  Last year I asked to borrow a charger.  Not one single student in any of my classes that day had a charger for my “older” phone.  They made fun of my phone because they always have the latest new iPhone.  Mine was an old iPhone 4 as they called it.  I do now have the newest phone out, but I don’t go out and buy to have the newest.  When I buy it’s because I can’t download an app anymore or for me the last one was because my Bible study app had stopped working, and we were about to have new grand babies and I was wanting a new phone for me and my hubby to take better pictures.  By the time school starts another phone will be on its way in and mine will be old again, but it will be here as long as it works and I can read my First 5 devotions each day.

Collecting people – not things.   People put down those cell phones when you are out with family.     I mean really people, why can’t we put them down for thirty minutes.  Aren’t people more important than things?  Isn’t that smile from a grandchild or a comment from your family more important than that text pinging on your phone?  Can we just feast on real life with our friends and family.  I am thankful our family does ignore their phones.  My husband even commented on Christmas Day about all of my family and how they were involved with the games we were playing and not sitting there texting but enjoying family.

Collecting people – not things.  One last thing, but probably the most important.  Don’t look at a cell phone and drive.  How can we even think of it with someone else like children in the car, or other cars around you.  Are you guilty?  Please don’t do it.  If you have to look pull over.  I do talk on the phone in the car, but my car has a phone so both hands are on the wheel and eyes on the road.  If the cell phone pings or I need to dial a number it can wait until I stop or pull over.  Don’t go through the tragedy of losing a loved one because of a second on a phone, or causing so much pain to another family by taking their loved ones.  Every single time we are on the highway we see people with a phone reading or texting.  You can always tell when you are about to pull up beside someone doing it. It’s scary at 65-75 mph seeing someone weaving.  You always know you will see a cell phone if you have the courage to go around.

How can we collect people and moments – not things?

  • Have lunch/coffee with friends, neighbors or family.  Turn your phones off.
  • Get in the floor and play with your kids or grandkids – blocks, puzzles, cars, etc..  Turn off the television unless you are watching a movie together.
  • Go for a walk or run with someone.  Hold hands with your hubby.
  • Go for a drive and visit while you do.
  • Visit a neighbor.  Take them some cookies or cake.  I especially like to do this for a recent widower and his daughter.  Find a widow or widower in your neighborhood or church.
  • Sit down and read a book to your kids or grandkids.
  • Call someone and really talk instead of texting.
  • Snuggle up and watch a movie with your loved one.
  • Have a date night and ban the phone.
  • Cook a romantic dinner and sit down and really talk.
  • Call your husband/wife at work and ask how their day is going.  Focus on them and stop fussing about your day.
  • Meet your loved ones at the door and welcome your spouse with a kiss as they walk in the door.  Kiss them as they leave in the morning.
  • Pray together as a family.  Sit down and ask for requests and pray.
  • Visit a nursing home and take some small jars of flowers and visit some folks who don’t have family.  Ask the nursing home.  They will share with you who you can visit.
  • Take a meal to someone who is shut-in.
  • Offer to keep some children so a couple can have a date-night.  Many young adults in your neighborhood or church don’t have family around to help.

Let’s stop basing our happiness on things and base them on others.

“Love people, not things; use things, not people.”  Spencer W. Kimball

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Listen, Love, Repeat – Week 2 – Chapters 3 and 4 – My Bible Study Notes

18 May

CHAPTER 3 – IT’S ABOUT TIME – Giving of Yourself    

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“Because our day planners are full of activity, our lives are often void of time spent loving other people so when someone does clear his or her schedule in order to make time for a loving gesture, the impact of the gift is magnified.”   Karen Ehman

It’s all about time.  It truly is as I look over my planner, and see how I  rush about doing things – some of them things that don’t really matter in the Kingdom.  I do see that most of those days on my calendar are full of keeping grandkids helping to mold them, to love them, to show them Jesus, and spending quality time with them.  Other things that fill up my calendar are housework, volunteer Bible study work, blogging and things I know matter in the Kingdom.

Joy is not found in accumulating stuff.  Joy is found loving others and giving of yourself.

We are a nation striving/working our rear ends off  to have it all – a big house or houses, a nice car or cars or trucks, a job that pays well, closest full of clothes (yes, I have three of my own), our kids involved in everything at school, and just on and on and on.   How do we put on or clothe ourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, meekness (gentleness) and long-suffering (patience)?  How do we change that mindset to echo the heart of our Lord?

Karen shared this quote by Charles Spurgeon:

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 But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.”  Psalm 31:14-15 (KJV)

Our time is truly in His hands.  What we do with our time here on earth is what matters.  Giving of ourself matters.

Karen shared how a friend drove several hours to her father-in-laws funeral.  Why did that matter?  Karen says because “it cost her something that is very dear to all of us these days time.  Have you stopped what you were doing to bless a life, touch a heart?

It’s hard sometimes with our schedules to stop and amend them, but amend we must if we are giving of ourselves.

Just this week I had kept my two-month old granddaughter and her 2 year old brother, and then picked up my 3 year old grandson.  I learned that day of a former supervisor who lost his 23-year old son, and well the memorial was that evening.  I pondered over going up there in the rush hour traffic – about an hour away and rushing to get dressed after the kids left leaving me only an hour and a half to shower, dress, and drive in whatever the traffic might send.

I decided to go, and my husband called and he was going to the hospital to visit a guy who worked for him who is dying – only 53 years old.  So rather than our normal doing things that matter as a couple, we parted in two different directions.

What a blessing to hear my former boss speak!  All though years I worked for him, I had not really known him and his love of God.   I sit there and listened to young men speak about not staying in touch and I sit there a little guilty because I am so busy and I have lost touch with some wonderful people I used to work with.  I am retired and as all my retired friends said that evening their calendars are full.  Mine is packed full of “good stuff” and some days there is not any wiggle room.

As I was leaving that evening and hugged Mr. Flowers goodbye, he said, “you will never know how much it means to me for you to come.”  I pray it truly was a gift to him to see so many of us there stopping our lives to touch his families hearts.

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Here are some ways that Karen shares how we can carry one another’s burden or just share our busy lives with others:

  • Check off something on their to-do list.  For me here are some simple things I’ve done. Right  now I pick up my toddler grandson from Mother’s Day Out, while my daughter-in-law is at home not having to load up twins to go pick him up, and sometimes the five grandkids might stay over for my daughter or daughter-in-law can pick up some groceries or take a nap.  It can be something like painting an older woman’s toenails/fingernails – yes my mother-in-law asked me last week, mowing a yard for a neighbor – especially one that is in the hospital or who has had surgery
  • Lighten a domestic load.  Show up with a few laundry baskets and kidnap laundry.  Do some housecleaning.  For me, I have gone over and allowed my daughter to work or clean while I watch the baby and toddler.
  • Spend a little of your time helping someone else save some of theirs.  Running errands can help a shut-in.  I use my shopping time to sometimes pick up things for my mother-in-law or the kids like trips to Costco.
  • Think in multiples of two.  Cook once.  Eat twice.  Karen suggests making a habit of doubling and freezing.  I am not good about that.  I did recently cook three meals at once to take my daughter and daughter-in-law when they both had three new babies in March a week apart.
  • Speak the powerful words of “me too”.   Karen quoted C. S. Lewis “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too?  I thought I was the only one.'”
  • Listen For Those Heart Drops and Respond.  Take inventory.  Live alert listening for heart drops.  Who is the Lord calling you to bless today?

Last year on my birthday I wrote about being a gift, and some random acts of kindness that I did on that day.  You can read about those ideas here.

In this chapter, Karen shares a story about a neighbor nine doors down.  It is sad.  She had seen a lady during her morning walks who would be out watering.  Karen would smile and say hi, and pop her headphones back  on, and keep walking.  One day she was driving home and saw flashing lights.  Her neighbor had died – no more waves and no more smiles.

That story resonated with me because I walk, but unless it is neighbors I know it’s hard for me to say anything much less hi, but my next walk I am going to see what happens.  Karen reminds us to give a “how are you” rather than a “hurried hi.”

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  Mark 12:31 (KJV)

“When God knocks on our hearts, we can knock on their doors.”  Karen Ehman

CHAPTER 4 – WHO MAKES YOUR DAY – Noticing The Necessary People   

This chapter teaches us how to show people we love them, and reminds us to love the necessary people – our mailman, school teachers, garbage men, hail stylist, grocery checker and sacker, etc..

One of my favorite paragraphs in this chapter reminds us who they are in God.  Karen said, “every day and every week, our lives naturally intersect with many people, all of whom bear the image of God.  When we look beyond ourselves-and beyond the flaws and quirks of others-we see God.  We have an opportunity not only to greet these necessary people face-to-face but to witness God’s very image in them.

WOW!  How often have I forgotten that when looking at others.  When I look at others do I see Jesus.  When others look at me, do they see Jesus.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Graphics: Personal and PicMonkey

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