Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Screeching to a Halt


From March through September I'm going flat out planning one event after another. Then all of the sudden at the end of September it comes to a screeching halt. That's not a bad thing, but for a few days I'm not sure what to do with myself. 

Today has been noticeably quiet like that and it probably has more to do with the fact it has been raining most of the day. I read a couple of chapters in a required reading book for my consecration. I did lunch dishes and a load of laundry. I cleaned both bathrooms. And that's it. I don't really feel like sewing or doing much of anything. 

So I thought perhaps if I come on here and type up a to-do list, I might actually accomplish more than a couple of things.

Spiritual/Personal Development
1. Bible reading 5 out of 7 days - 2 days done
2. Reading for consecration - I just started Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds
3. Work on consecration questions


Family/Marriage
1. Date out with Dan - went out to breakfast
2. Make cookies to send to Emily

Health
1. Exercise 5 out of 7 days - 1 day done
2. Keep under 1600 calories per day

Church Ministry
1. Decorate church
2. Bulletins
3. Send out a couple of note cards

District Ministry
1. Mail "mama pack" items to church in Ohio. At our retreat the ladies put together 60 packs of baby items to be sent to Africa for a hospital for women and children. There is a church in Ohio who ships them overseas. I still have enough items for another 60 but need bibs before I can put those together.
2. Catch up on correspondence
3. Work on newsletter article

Household
1. Clean both bathrooms
2. Decorate house for fall 
3. Clean sunroom
4. Figure out what to do with jelly I made last week. It flopped because I used a box of instant pectin by mistake so now I'm not sure what to do with it.

Crafts/Sewing
1. Make 3 items for upcoming craft fairs

There you have it. I'm still not feeling motivated but tomorrow is a new day!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Joy-Stealers







Joy-stealers are around every corner. I always find it interesting that after every single retreat that I've planned that something comes along to snatch away the joy I feel. I have been the director of our district women's organization for 2 1/2 years and I've put together 11 retreats/events in that time and the same thing occurs after every single one. 

It may occur through criticism, someone being unhappy about something, one of my own family member's crises, something going wrong or a mistake that I've made. Whatever the cause, it threatens to unravel all the good that occurred during that retreat.

This weekend was no different. Someone made a beeline for me the first night as soon as the session was over. I thought perhaps she was going to encourage me that I did a good job in my talk or that the overall night went well. Nope; no encouragement. It was to complain that people in the back couldn't hear and that went on for quite a few minutes. 

After the retreat, I had to deal with a different problem. Then I got a text from my daughter who is going through a rough patch with someone. Sigh. There are all kinds of things that threaten that fragile well-being that I felt. But I also know they are coming in one form or the next so I'm no longer surprised when they happen and I work hard to try and not let it take away the joy I feel. 

So I'm thankful that today is Monday and I can look back over my week and count those many blessings that did occur this weekend. I am still feeling joy and I refuse to allow anything to take that away!

This week I'm thankful for blessings # 3,376 - 3,385

3,376. Getting my enormous to-do list done for the week.

3,377. A neighbor who brought over a basketful of tomatoes.

3,378. Everything I needed to bring for the retreat fit in my small car (barely). 

3,379. The young man who helped me carry things in when I got to my destination.

3,380. A friend who opens her home to me each time I'm in her town.

3,381. The gift of organization and not forgetting any of the details.

3,382. Those who do have the gift of encouragement.

3,383. Sales during the weekend. I sold $150 worth of merchandise and most of it $4 items. The profits are going towards our national project that is helping at-risk women around the world.

3,384. Women who generously gave to two of our offerings this weekend.

and finally...

3,385. Sleep! I took a nap yesterday afternoon and then kept dozing around 8ish on the couch. I finally moved to the bedroom and slept from 9 - 6:30. I feel great this morning!

Today's plan is to finish up some correspondence and take care of a few leftover tasks from the retreat and get my fall decorations up. Now that I have a few down months I can focus on the house and different things. I'm not going to let my joy be stolen!


Psalm 9:2 (NLT) ~

I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I've Got the Joy



 





One of the things I've been doing each morning as I read and pray is ask God to give me His joy for that day. And over the past few months that I've prayed that prayer, I do feel fairly joyful. 

Nothing in my life has changed and I still struggle with the same financial issues, children issues, ministry and life situations but my attitude is better. I'm happier and feel lighter. I'm trusting God to work out the different circumstances and I'm doing a better job turning things over to Him and leaving them there.

I'm finding joy is the little things in my life - walking through the sun-dappled woods, crafting for a retreat, household chores, little sights and sounds around me, even in jars of beautiful jam and rows of handmade soap. I am happy. I am content. I am peaceful. 

That doesn't mean I don't have those days or nights of anxiousness, but they don't last long and I can push through them better. It reminds me of the song I learned as a child, "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy; down in my heart!"

And that is a fantastic feeling!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wednesday Words of Encouragement: Work at Peace

Hebrews 12:14 (NLT) ~

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

How many times do we fly off the handle at someone because we didn't take the time to stop and pray? How often do we get angry because we haven't viewed a situation from another's point of view? And how many times do we make assumptions without knowing all the facts?

I know that there have been times when anyone of the above questions have applied to my reactions to someone. It's easy to give in to our gut reaction and lash out in anger. It's difficult to put ourselves in another's shoes to see why they said or did the things they did. And it's easy to assume we know all the details as we make a judgment.

I'm learning to pray first before I deal with a difficult situation because when I don't do that, I overreact. I get mad and often, my initial reaction is not a good one. This passage is a good reminder to pray for the person you are having difficulty with. It is a reminder to pray that you would work at living at peace, that you would look at a situation from another's point of view and that you pray God's blessing on that person.

When I have done this, I find things go so much better. I'm at peace and any anger or frustration I feel dissipates. As believers we have an obligation to live at peace with others and we are to live lives that are pleasing and holy to God. 

Let's continue to encourage and build one another up in this way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hurry Up, Fall Weather!










Dan & I went for a walk yesterday at one of our favorite nearby state parks. I needed acorns for a prayer station at my retreat and there are hundreds of oak trees there. So I got what I needed and then we walked. This time we stuck mostly to paved paths and roads.

I'm up to two miles now as I walk and I'm going much faster. My knee is doing okay, though the MCL (medial collateral ligament) still hurts quite a bit. The other day we were walking through the woods and a small branch got stuck right between my feet as I walked and caused my right leg to yank hard to the side, pulling on that injured ligament. I let out a shriek because of the pain that shot through it and then basically was only able to limp a short way further. Since then it's been bothering me more than usual. What are the chances that would happen? I really think there is a target on my knees! lol

I'm longing for fall weather because it truly has been so incredibly hot and humid for this time of the year. I love fall and it was nice to see the leaves turning, acorns and pinecones littering the ground and start to smell drying leaves.

Once this retreat is over, I'm looking forward to apple and pumpkin picking, decorating my house, and all things autumn. There is so much for which to be thankful! Hurry up, fall weather!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Comparisons


I come from a long line of women who are concerned about what others think. I remember my grandmother making comments about being embarrassed by something my mother did. And my mother still talks to this day about some goofy thing I did as a college student that mortified her because I did it in front of one of her friends. And I catch myself getting uptight when my children do the same thing. 

And you know what? It's exhausting. I view my husband and children through this lens of "what will others think about what they are saying, doing, wearing, etc." Our guest wanted to take a picture with us in front of our church sign. When I looked at the picture I got embarrassed and thought, "Why are they wearing those ratty-looking t-shirts while we are standing by the road?" I forget about the fact that they were just playing ball in 80 plus degrees. I ignore the fact that they are home and should be able to wear what's comfortable. I choose to ignore the thought, "Why does it really matter and who really cares what they are wearing?" 

I think women are more prone to worry about others' judgment, and are more likely to compare themselves to others. I view my children who seem to struggle with a variety of things and at times, compare them to other people's children who seem to be superstars. I start thinking, "What have I done wrong?" "Why aren't they further along?" 

Having a houseguest this weekend, and especially, a very encouraging one was a blessing to me. He reminded me of how wonderful my family really is! He came to me numerous times throughout the weekend and said, "You have a beautiful family." "Your boys are wonderful. They have been so kind to me." "Thank you for making me feel like a part of your family."

I want to stop the tendency I have to compare and filter myself, my husband and my children through other people's eyes and worry that we don't measure up. God looks at them and sees the unique way He created them. He loves them and wants to use them in a way that perhaps someone else wouldn't be used. I too, want to look at their gifts and strengths and take my eyes off their weaknesses. 

I'm so thankful that God looks at the heart. I'm thankful for these little reminders from time to time that help me in my own spiritual growth. And I'm so thankful that He loves my quirky family and uses us to further His kingdom.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Getting a Head Start on the Week











It's been a busy, busy week and I'm weary tonight, but it's a good kind of tired. It's the kind of tiredness that comes from working hard and being productive. I finished 99% of my to-do list for the week which makes me very happy.

This past weekend has been spent hosting our missionary this year. Carlos is from Peru, but he and his wife are missionaries to Paraguay and it has been a joy getting to know him. We were the first stop on his 9 week mission tour and we've enjoyed him immensely. 

It was neat to see things through his eyes. He was amazed at our grapes and after I picked what I could reach tonight, he and Nathan went out and got the ones I couldn't reach. He was thrilled with what he got and wanted me to take his picture with Nathan and the grapes. I guess I know what I'll be doing again this week! lol

I decided to jump on here tonight and type up my to-do list for the week. It's going to be busy because I have a retreat starting Friday and need to get all the last minute details done.

Plan for the week of 9/17-9/23/18:

Spiritual/Personal Development
1. Bible reading & prayer - at least 5 out of 7 days - 5 days done
2. Work on consecration questions - staying an extra day after the retreat to work on this
3. Consecration reading

Marriage/Family
1. Date night with Dan - this didn't happen this past week

Health
1. Exercise 5 out of 7 days - 4 days done

Church Ministry
1. Board meeting on Monday night
2. Church bulletins

District Ministry
1. Finish up prayer station needs for retreat
2. Pull together what I'm taking with me for retreat
3. Put together display board for retreat
4. Practice talk for retreat
5. Pick up last minute items

Household
1. Clean both bathrooms
2. Process grapes
3. Make grape jelly

Crafts
1. Drop soap off to a customer who bought some
2. Finish up note cards for retreat - 28 more made and 104 altogether
3. Pack up craft items to take to retreat for sale

If I think of something else I'll add it as I go. Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

1 Thessalonians 5:10-11 (NIV) ~

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Aren’t these wonderful words?  Christ died for us.  He gave up His life so that we would have eternal life.  The word “asleep” in verse 10 is talking about death.  We don’t have to fear death if we know Christ, because we will be with him forever.  That is wonderful news!

Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we need to encourage each other and build each other up.  Are you an encouraging person?  Do you speak words of love and kindness to your fellow believers?  We should be kind to everyone, but these verses specifically are directed to Christians.

How many times have you made a point at church to be deliberately encouraging in your words to someone. Do you consciously look around the room and say something positive to someone. Do you encourage those leading the service? What about the nursery workers?  The deaconesses? The pastor? The person in the seat next to you? Sometimes people need to hear an encouraging, spoken word.  

Let's be known as encouragers. Don't just assume that someone knows how you feel; tell them!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Stepping Away from the Edge


I often make plans, thinking that I can do it all, but then there is a point when I know that I've crossed the line from busy into insanity.

My "plan" was to participate in our town's local Fall Festival and craft fair on Saturday as a vendor. However, a couple of things happened that pushed me over the edge into insanity so this morning I made the decision to drop out of that.

  • I forgot all about a 2 1/2 hour meeting I have  at another church tomorrow that is going to require a 3 hour round trip so that's basically most of the day lost as far as getting things done.
  • I have an event I'm attending on Thursday night that is an hour away so I won't be getting back home until late.
  • I have a missionary staying with us on Friday and Saturday night and I was starting to feel badly about not being around at all on Saturday. Plus, I have to feed him Saturday night and after being at a craft fair for 6 hours I already know how tired I'll be.
  • I received a late night email which required me to have to do some rearranging of part of my retreat schedule. Needless to say, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night since this occurred after I had already sent the schedule out.
Anyway, after emailing the coordinator to tell him I wouldn't be coming on Saturday, and getting the schedule set so all involved are okay with it, I am back in my normal "busy," yet sane mode. I have stepped away from the edge.

My family is happy about that! 😉🤣 Sanity is wonderful!

Monday, September 10, 2018

It Smells Like Fall!


I discovered a large patch of grape vines as I walked around my yard and I've had my eye on them to see when the right time to pick them would happen. Of course, it landed on this week. I knew it was going to rain heavily today and I didn't want to chance them falling off the vine so I went out and picked 6 pounds of grapes last night. Within hours I could see fruit flies hanging over the bowl so I had to put aside other things to get them processed. 



This afternoon I picked them off the stems, put them in a pot and simmered them while squishing out the juice. They are still being strained through the cheesecloth but it looks like I'll end up with about 3/4 of a gallon of juice. I'll keep it in the refrigerator and make jelly at some point this week.



I'm loving the cooler temperatures. Yesterday was in the low 60s and today it's only in the mid-50s. Days like this make me feel like cooking and baking. We had beef stew with homemade dumplings last night.


Today I made apple-rhubarb crisp for a Bible study tonight. I made one pan of gluten free as we have a couple of ladies who can't eat gluten.



Stephen came in the door and said, "It smells like fall in here!" It's one of the few seasons that has a distinct aroma, and it is also my favorite season. I'm looking forward to the crunch of leaves, apple picking, pumpkins, colors of red, orange and yellow, fall festivals and apple cider. These are all some of my favorite things!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Busy Week Ahead










It's been an extremely busy week and I'm tired out today. When I look back over last week, I'm amazed that I got so much done, especially with losing 1/2 a day in taking Emily back to school and an unexpected, out of town meeting on Wednesday which took the whole day. I have more of the same for the coming week. We have a houseguest next weekend and I've been busy trying to get things into shape and ready for a missionary who will be staying with us for our church's missions conference. 

I've also been trying to get myself into shape so every day has been a time of getting out of the house and walking. I like those times because it helps to clear my head and think about different things going on in my life. 

One of the things I did this weekend which was not on my to-do list was to paint Emily's room. Before we moved here, Emily picked out the paint and the church painted for us. When we arrived, I was surprised to see how incredibly neon green it was! I was supposed to paint circles on her wall in different shades of purple and teal and got as far as drawing the circles on. But the green was so crazy that what I planned really didn't seem like it would work. Then I started with the injuries and never got the job done.

So I chose a seafoam green and we put on two coats of primer and then the new color. It really looks blue and not quite what I envisioned but it is so much better than it was. Emily isn't sure she likes it but too bad! lol It's on and I'm not painting over it. I still have to hang her things back up and put up curtains and a matching bedspread on, but we are all set for Carlos who will be here on Friday afternoon.

I also purchased a dresser for Stephen which somehow led to a whole lot of rearranging of things and using a bookcase that was in my kitchen. That led to rearranging the kitchen. These jobs really end up being so much than anticipated, don't they?

I cleaned up the floor and put the furniture back where it goes in Emily's room this afternoon as well as cleaning the bathroom. However, I am going to relax the rest of the day and then make some soup for dinner. I figured I might as well type out my to-do list for the week and get a head start on that.

Here is the plan for 9/10-9/16/18:

Spiritual/Personal Development
1. Bible reading & prayer - at least 5 out of 7 days - 5 days done
2. Work on consecration questions
3. Consecration reading

Marriage/Family
1. Date night with Dan
2. Make a payment on Emily's school bill

Health
1. Exercise 5 out of 7 days. - 4 days done
2. Call and schedule physical
3. Call dentist and schedule getting my tooth fixed. 

Church Ministry
1. Make something for tomorrow night's ladies Bible study.
2. Lead study on Monday night.
3. Bulletins
4. Change the bulletin board
5. Make soup for soup and sandwich dinner on Friday night
6. Make French toast casserole for men's breakfast on Saturday

District Ministry
1. Work on retreat which is the weekend of 9/21-9/22
2. Put together display board for retreat
3. Send agenda for our district executive meeting 
4. Send out detailed schedule to those participating in the retreat.
5. Attend speaking intensive training on Wednesday
6. Email the director of the conference center a list of our needs, final numbers and menu
7. Work on "director's challenge" for retreat

Household
1. Deep clean bathroom
2. Deep clean sunroom
3. Vacuum entire house
4. Hang pictures in Emily's room
5. Come up with meals for our houseguest. Some of the meals are covered with church events, but I need to come up with Saturday lunch and dinner, and Sunday lunch.
6. Make juice out of 6 lbs. of grapes I picked.
7. Make grape jelly
8. Grocery shop
9. Buy book case for Emily's room

Crafts
1. Make notecards for retreat - Made 30 cards

I think that's all I'll have time for this week on the crafting end of things. It's a lot, but I find if I work steadily then things get accomplished.

Have a great week!