Get What You Pay For

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Story One:

It was a blustery Sunday. Not a typical spring evening at all. We were in the middle of our painting project and had finished the first coat of paint throughout the entire area. We felt a HUGE sense of accomplishment and we were hungry.

“Who’s hungry? Janet are you getting hungry?” I asked a friend who had come to assist my husband and me in this kitchen project.

“Sure! I could eat.” She responded. Michael placed an order for our favorite things we often get and some of her desired choices as well.

As we unpacked the bags of take out chinese food, my husband set each carton on the counter and we noticed that one of the dishes we ordered was missing. We both looked inside the bag as if expecting it to suddenly appear.

“Oh bummer, they forgot to include my order of mei fun!  I think I heard you ask for that dish.” I affirmed him. “Look on the receipt it’s stapled to the bags. Did we pay for it?” I inquired.

“Yep! It’s listed right here!” He insisted. “I’ll call back and have them send the delivery guy back out. I’m sure they’re swamped on this snowy night.”

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You should get what you pay for, right?

Story Two:

I was privileged to stay in a beautiful friend’s condo in Door County, Wisconsin for a girlfriend weekend away. We laughed, ate, read, slept, watched a movie, led each other in a time in God’s word and of course, shopped. We hit some of our favorite boutiques, the candy store, the local consignment shop and a few other highlights along the way. When we had seen enough or had spent our cash we looked at each other and said, “Ya ready to go home? Are you finished shopping?”

As we returned to the condo, we parked in the driveway and unloaded our treasures.  I immediately glanced in each of the shopping bags to see which ones belonged to whom.

“Okay, this one has the towels in it. That’s mine. Here is Jan’s jelly she purchased at the first place we stopped.” I pulled a few bags closer from the back of her SUV and peered inside. “Who bought this?” I asked pulling out the contents for a brief inspection and identification.

“Oh, that one is mine!” Jeanne acknowledged her treasure she had nearly forgotten.

It took just a few more minutes to sort all the bags then we gladly marched back into our cozy “home” for a brief rest before dinner.

As I pulled out the bags I remember thinking. You would never take a bag that belonged to someone else. It doesn’t belong to me. I didn’t pay for it. You should get what you pay for, right?  

SO Jesus should get what he paid for, right?

HE paid for all our sin, all our disease and all things that weigh us down and burden our lives. He even invites us to come to him. and give him our burdens and He will swap our burden for his. HIS BURDEN IS LIGHT!

Do you carry a load of regret, mistakes, sins, shame, condemnation, anxiety, guilt or sickness? Don’t carry these things around with you. Jesus paid for it and he wants it back. It’s not for you to carry. HE paid for it … It belongs to him now and he should get what he paid for. Give it back. Don’t take it, it’s not yours to own or lug around. Just the way we wanted our full Chinese take-out order and I wouldn’t take a shopping bag from the trunk if it wasn’t mine.

I love the old hymn, “Jesus paid it ALL.”

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

The modern hymn says:
“Oh, praise the one who paid my debt, who raised this life up from the dead.

I’m quite certain Jesus should get his full reward for the price He paid. So, if He purchased my life and yours, we should give him all of it and stop carrying around anything he already purchased.  Our role is to trust Him and respond with gratitude. I believe Jesus should get his full reward for what he paid for.

  • Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5 (emphasis mine)

 

  • I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.  Galatians 2:20-21  (emphasis mine)
It is very personal. Do you sense it? It is marvelous to think of what He has done for you and for me. Jesus paid it all.

 

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Choice Overload!

I grabbed the car keys, my purse, sunglasses and bolted to the paint store to purchase my final selection of wall color before I changed my mind again. JUST GO GET ONE! 

The decision of selecting a paint color for the kitchen paralyzed me and indecision had become my friend.  I’d painted the kitchen cabinets early last summer, with the help of my honey, but now it was time for the walls.

Part of the problem of starting this project was I know painting the kitchen will cause a domino effect throughout the ENTIRE house. That’s a good thing of course, but it all requires decisions, time and resources as well.

“Well, our ceilings really need to be painted before we even begin with the walls Rachel.” My husband commented, “So let’s start there.”

“He excitedly climbed his new ladder and began to tackle the job. I love the way he attacks things and sticks to it. It was late at night when he began so he had to stop before he would have liked. More work is still required on that front.

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I’d been mulling over the decision of color choice for a few weeks now.  In the most recent days I have kicked it into gear. I have:

  • Selected multiple color swatches
  • Solicited advice while attending the Home and Garden show.
  • Driven to a friend’s house to look at a color she recently used.
  • Received a partial paint container to “TRY IT OUT.”
  • Marked the backs of paint chips with notes.
  • Taped up colors on the cabinets and watched for changes throughout the day.
  • Asked for advice and polled colors used from my sister and multiple friends I trust.

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Just this morning I called and dear  friend and said, “I need you to walk me off the ledge about something quite shallow compared to some of the things you deal with. I know this  is a first world problem, but I want your advice on a paint decision for my kitchen.”

“What cha thinking?” she asked.

” I know the rage is grey with white. But I’m pretty sure I want just a white. You know how ridiculous it is to select from the whites. It’s like choice overload, right?” I sighed.

“I’ve got a color that may work for you let me text you its name and brand when I get home. We need to talk later and just catch up.”

“I know, I really appreciate you taking my call to talk through this.” (She knows I’m a verbal processor and she listens well.) “Sounds good. Love you, Bye!” I hung up.

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I have had more paint chips taped to my white cabinets in the last few days than I care to tell you about. My poor, patient husband, I’m sure he didn’t know what to do with me. I would ask, “Hey, honey look over here. What do you think about this color?” Then I’d run over to a different area in the room with the same color for point of reference and comparison. “How about in this light, do you like it?” I’d ask.

” Mmm, too dark.” He’d chime in.

I’d then whip out another chip and compare it. “How ’bout this one? I really like this BUUUUUT it’s a little blush colored. Maybe this one? Is it a little too blue? Here, now this one has warmer undertones. Nah, it will to end up looking a little yellow, I think.”

Michael smiled at me, probably thinking,  JUST CHOOSE ONE!

I stopped at a paint store and brought home even more choices of  grays and whites. I was glad I could rule out so many immediately as I stood in the kitchen.

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After all that agonizing about a color… should it be gray, would beige look good? I’m not sure if I will paint the wood work yet.  I better make sure I like it either way. Trim painted or not! FINALLY,  I selected a paint color!

Will wonders ever cease?  Are you ready? Wait for it. It’s called CHALK DUST. Perhaps my past teaching days contributed in the color choice. I know you’d laugh if you saw it.

So after I made my decision, grabbed my stuff and drove to the hardware store, I waited patiently as my first gallon was shaken in the machine. The can was carefully pried open by the precious, helpful, young woman who assisted me. We both peered into the can as she released the lid to reveal the color. We looked at each other. Simultaneously we smiled then blurted out, “It’s…white!”

She bagged my paint tray liner and a couple of paint sticks, “It’s always a good idea to give it a stir! There you go,” She handed me the bag. “Have a good one!”

I drove straight to a Starbucks drive-through on my way home and I treated myself.

A voice came across on the speaker. “Welcome to Starbucks! What can I get for you?”

“Hi there, I’ll have a grande, decaf, coconut milk latte, with two packs of honey please.” I smiled at the menu board.

As if I thought the decision making process and having chosen a paint color was worthy of some sort of celebration, I sipped my coffee and drove away, pleased.

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“Let the project begin!”

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3 NIV

The Futility of Worry

I felt anxiety bubbling up with a threat of worry about to come over me. It wanted to wrap me in its unknowns like a cocoon. Have you experienced it? Let me state from the start that I am not a typical worrier nor am I plagued with anxiety.

My concern, however, was about the upcoming visit by my parents and my sister and brother-in-law. The many logistics that could potentially be a concern, but I was equally delighted to have them visit the weekend of my son’s birthday and also for Easter.

During a walk with a friend we prayed about all the logistics. I admitted. “I know it’s going to be fine, but this is the first time I’ve had my mom here since she is using a walker for stability.

I hope she can navigate all of the steps in my home and get in and out of the restaurant and our church on Easter morning.”  Blah, blah, blah. I rattled on for a bit then said, “Let’s pray about it. I know it will work out.”

We prayed about my family coming and the overall visit. There were many moving pieces to the weekend. I was slated to sing for the services which meant rehearsals and added time away.  I would also lack time to fully prepare Easter dinner. We also planned to meet at a local restaurant to celebrate my son’s birthday on Good Friday together.

Even though we had prayed about it, my mind looped over the logistics. I mentioned worrying about my mom’s mobility to my son when my daughter-in-law said, “Oh, there is underground parking and the elevator is right by the restaurant. You can park there, take it up and be right at the entrance of Cafe Hollander.”

“I didn’t know that. Wow! Okay, I’ll do that, thanks.” I said.

Between when she mentioned the helpful information and the time of the actual event my mind was concerned about these things:

 SPECULATIONS & WORRY

  • forecasted to rain
  • never been to the parking lot nor used the elevator
  • wait time at the restaurant, the last time was 90 minutes
  • standing for a long time waiting for a table – will my mom be okay?
  • getting to our table with my mom’s walker- will we get through?
  • arrival time to meet the my husband and our children.

I once heard Pastor Bill Johnson ask his congregation this, “You know the verse- Be anxious for nothing? Well, everything I was ever anxious about WAS nothing.”  (Meaning it NEVER came to be…It was nothing. Never an issue-came to NOTHING! It’s a bit of a play on words but I liked it.)

That is my testimony too. I was concerned about everything. BUT my anxiousness was FOR NOTHING! Instead, This is the way it panned out.

REALITY & FUTILITY OF WORRY

  • It did not rain
  • drove directly to the well-lit underground parking
  • parking – first handicapped space.
  • the elevator – directly in front of us.
  • arrived at the hostess station – seated immediately.
  • received a text from my kids be there in ten.
  • rode the elevator again to get to our table – upper level.
  • settled in – no problem getting through with the walker.
  • my son and his wife arrived – only moments later.
  • my husband made it safely on his motorcycle, he came in with a grin on his face and a kiss for me!

My anxiousness was for NOTHING! I’m NOT kidding, everything about that evening was accomplished lickity-split, easy as pie, smooth as silk and slick as a whistle! My…BE ANXIOUS was for absolutely NOTHING!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I like the way the New Living Translation states it:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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This is just one tiny snippet of the way my Easter weekend was divinely orchestrated and completely blessed. I could go on and on about Saturday’s events and Sundays too, but that’s for another blog, I guess. I saw God come through above and beyond all I could have asked or imagined. He is so faithful and He promises to do it. (Ephesians 3:20)

I wanted to remind myself and you of the futility of worry. Yes, we may be tempted to worry or be anxious. God knows that. It’s probably why he commands us not to. He cares about us too much to waste our time. Worry is a time EATER! I fully believe he cares about every little detail in our lives and delights to go above and beyond what we could ask or imagine in all the areas we bring to him.

So as the verse says: “Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6a

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Father God, Help us to see the futility of worry, anxiety, fear and distraction. Help us to see how you are active in the details of our lives. Thanks for who you are and how much you love us. You are such a faithful God. Help us to be anxious FOR NOTHING! In Jesus name, Amen.

Consider these words of Jesus. “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” and later he says. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  Matthew 6: 27, 34

 

 

Life like a children’s story

When my kids were young we often read them children’s books one of our favorites was, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Mumeroff illustrated by Felicia Bond.  The premise of the book is described on the inside cover of the book this way:

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(If a hungry little traveler shows up at your house, you might want to give him a cookie. If you give him a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. He’ll want to look in the mirror to make sure he doesn’t have a milk mustache, and then he’ll ask for a pair of scissors to give himself a trim.…

The consequences of giving a cookie to this energetic mouse run the young host ragged but young readers will come away smiling at the antics that tumble like dominoes through the pages of this delightful picture book. HarperCollins Publishers.)

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  • I cannot tell you how much the energetic and distracted mouse reminds me of myself!   Like today, a day set aside to write, I tried to clear my distractions, but before I sat down I did these things and more:

 

  • 6 am coffee date- girl friends
  • breakfast with my husband
  • time in the word with my honey
  • made the bed
  •  phone conversation with my son
  • 3 mile prayer walk with friend & dog (See blog post Pick and Save)
  • made lunch
  • cleaned the kitchen 
  • soaked in God’s presence listening to instrumental worship music
  • found some ice-cream to eat in the frig
  • started at load of laundry 

I try to clear my distractions so I can focus on the task at hand. BUT it never really works completely. The scenerio falling dominoes that If You Give a Mouse a Cookie talks about could play out in my life this way.

If Rachel takes a walk in order to expend some energy before she sits down to write her blog. She may return from the walk thirsty. If Rachel drinks lots of water she is going to have to use the bathroom to relieve her full bladder, when she is in the bathroom she’ll notice the laundry basket is getting full so she’ll go start a load of darks. While she is in the laundry room she’ll notice a… You get the picture. This was me today. No, no, the truth is, this is me EVERY day.

Years ago, I admitted my constant struggle to focus to a friend. I joked a bit as I told her, “SueAnn, it can get pretty bad. So, for instance, if I want to clean my family room, I have to chant, ‘stay in the family room, stay in the family room, stay in the family room!’ repeatedly. Otherwise I’ll see something, like a fork that belongs in the kitchen, but when I go to the kitchen I’ll see a few dishes and start to wash them instead of returning to the family room to pick up the toys and vacuum the carpet.

So I out smarted myself. I put a laundry basket near the exit of the family room. Then if I was tempted to leave I would just drop whatever I found from a different room in the basket instead of exiting the room-otherwise, who knows when I’d return to finish vacuuming!”

She reassured me, “Rach, You crack me up! I get-cha, I find myself doing the same thing sometimes, so I’ll try it.”

After all these years, I have learned to accept the way my brain works and the amount of things I accomplish in a given day. I just do NOT get them done in a sequential order at all.  I may drive an observer nuts who is trying to track me or a person working alongside me. I used to get so frustrated at myself and now I have realized it is the way I am wired and I appreciate the way God made me. I a fearfully and wonderfully made-His works are wonderful I know that full well.  So I roll with it!

When I have to, I can stay on task.  I mean seriously, I am able to drive and get from point A to point B so I know I can do it. I can maintain a conversation with people and do accomplish quite a great deal in a day.

But accomplishing tasks is not all we’re made for, right? I remember a phrase my father would quote from a colleague  of his, “Do! What do you mean, what do I do? Why do I have to DO anything? I’m a human being, NOT a human doing!”

Take that comment for what you will, but sometimes it is important to clear the tasks the  TO-Do lists and just BE. This has been one of my actual tasks this week. in light of this being Holy Week, I have tried to slow my  pace and not overload myself so I have time to reflect on the events of the last days of Jesus life.

I have the privilege of singing for the Easter Services and because of that my schedule is pretty full. I am not adopting shame over my failed attempts to “BE” more than “DO”, but I am aware of the continued desire to practice the presence of God in the daily life I live and clear my mind of distractions and stop some of my tasks in order to not be run ragged by the life I’ve chosen to lead.

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This is my prayer for myself and for you.

Father God, you made me and love me. You know how I am wired and what I’d like to accomplish and what I feel needs to get done each day. Thank you for ordering my steps along the way. Thanks that I can keep in step with your Spirit.

You are good and I am incredibly grateful for this Holy Week, the cross of Jesus Christ and the victory you won over sin and death. I am so grateful for empty tomb and the resurrection power you’ve given me to live my own beautiful and easily distracted life. Thank you for life eternal. Thank you so much, thanks! In Jesus mighty name I pray, Amen.

 

 

The Struggle and Ordered Steps

I was all bundled up with double mittens, my hat and a parka. Yep! That’s my style. I hate to be cold.wylhxlteqigsu0ouzfwua.jpg

As I walked briskly along, I chuckled to myself because I spied a young man running towards me with shorts on!  He also wore a tight long-sleeved running shirt and his baseball cap backwards. His cheeks were flush. He nodded politely and sprinted past me with his dog on a leash running beside him.

“Hello.” I said.

Burr! He makes me cold just to look at him. But I’m finally beginning to warm up. No, I am actually getting hot the farther I go in all these clothes! I have to unzip my coat a bit.

I was nearing the end of my walk, when I saw a car slowing down. I glanced to the left and I realized it was a precious friend of mine. FunnyI was thinking about her earlier! She lowered her window.

“Hey, Girl!” she said.

I walked from the sidewalk into the street where she had pulled over and stopped.

“Hi friend!” I said. “I’ve been thinking about you. Congratulations!”

“Aw!  Thanks. The new baby and new mama are doing well.” She responded with a grin.

We chatted about the delightful new grandbaby in her life and about some of the struggles she’s facing too. Sensing both her joy and concern, I said. “Hey, let me pray for you.”

She sighed. “Oh, Thanks.”

I reached inside her car and placed my hand on her shoulder. Who knows what I prayed. I don’t really remember. I do know the Holy Spirit did the praying on her behalf. We’ve become trusted friends and prayer warriors so I added my own weighty concerns to the prayer. I knew she would be okay with it. She would agree with me in prayer and she did.

“AMEN!” she said.

Just before she drove away, she sat back in her seat, exhaled and said, “Well this was a God ordained moment in my day, I’ll tell you! I sure needed to pray like that today.”

We smiled at each other. “It was so good to see you.” I waved as she pulled away.

Man! That was great fun to meet right here on the road. She has the most beautiful and twinkly eyes ever! I am delighted! God you amaze me!

God, we are both facing trials that are developing a new level of trust and dependence on you. We’re surrendering the struggles and submitting our wills to yours. We agree your way is best. We’ll keep praying and trusting. Thanks for hearing us.

Is the struggle real for you today? Perhaps it concerns:

  • a child
  • an illness
  • a job loss
  • some legal entanglements
  • an uncertain future
  • a financial deficit
  • your spouse

Know that God knows what you are struggling with today and he hears your prayers. I know God heard our prayers there at the side of the road because He promises to hear our prayers:

  • The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry. Psalm 34:15
  • Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

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Sunday is Palm Sunday and I thought about how not too long after His triumphal entry, Jesus submitted to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane. And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed saying, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39

I am amazed by the way God ordered my steps.  I know we were both on God’s mind (the truth is we always are) and he brought us both down the same road at the exact same time because He knew we both needed it. The struggle is real. The weight can be lifted and He orders our steps. I so am amazed and grateful.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in his way; Psalm 36:23  

 

 

Simple yet Profound

I turned the door knob and opened my bedroom door this morning.  A bit surprised, I was immediately and delightfully hit by brightness. So much light streamed into my kitchen windows. The sunshine was like a congenial greeter at a fancy hotel welcoming me to a brand new day.  Aw! It’s a beautiful day. I’m a huge fan of light and sometimes it’s the little things that help us enjoy the journey, right? This was true for me today.

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Here are a few simple things which filled me with joy today:

  • Waking up from a great night’s sleep in a bed with newly changed clean sheets. (Heavenly)
  • Eating a piping hot blueberry waffle made by my honey! (Delicious and thoughtful)
  • Breakfast enjoyed together with him and not alone. (Important)
  • The crisp March air filling my lungs as I walked outdoors with a friend. (Invigorating)
  • Praying as we walked and enjoying God’s presence. (Vital)
  • A friendly reminder text on my phone “Good morning Ms.Blogger today is blogging day!” (Needed)

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As I started to write today, I had so many things in mind and I couldn’t get my mind to land on anything. Then when I finally sat down to write all thoughts and ideas that had been ping-ponging around in my head vanished. “POOF!”

Shocked by my mind’s completely blank canvas, I sat.  What? My mind is NEVER blank. I’m always thinking about something. Why am I at a loss for words? Well, Rachel if  you don’t know what you’re thinking how are you going to articulate any thoughts to anyone else?  Oh, just grab the laptop and get started anyway. 

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I opened my laptop and entered the password, but something caught my eye beyond the screen. I saw a small stack of verse cards with a green bow tied around them. These verse cards we had used when our three children were tiny. I found them in a cabinet months ago and have used them from time to time. I flipped through a few again today. Maybe I was stalling or looking for inspiration. I ‘m not exactly sure. But I landed on one. It hit my spirit today.  It was a zinger!  In quietness and trust is your strength.

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This set is called “Foundation Verses” It contains a note to the parents on the first card. Here’s part of the note:

(Children are never too young to begin memorizing Bible verses! Although their minds may not understand every word, our prayer is that their spirits will be touched. As their life experiences add to their understanding, these verses will come to mean even more to them. Foundation Verses are intended to be used with preschoolers but may also be used by others. These verses have been chosen for the basic truths they contain. God bless you, David and Sally Michael.)

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Sometimes it’s the little things that matter. These simple truths are so important not only for the preschooler but to ME. They may be short enough for the pre-schooler to memorize but that doesn’t mean they are any less profound. (As their life experiences add to their understanding, these verses will come to mean even more to them.) That sentence in the note to parents rang true in my mind. It was incredibly impactful to me.

My life experiences have taught me the importance of these verses and do mean so much to me. This is exactly the lesson I am learning. I’m learning to trust God in many situations and quietness is a great companion for trust.  In quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15

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 Here are a few “Foundation Verses” I’d like to share:

  • The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

 

  • And do not forget to do good and share with others. Hebrews 13:16 a

 

  • What is impossible with men is possible with God. Luke 18:27 * I needed this one too!

 

  • I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 411 b

 

  • This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

 

  • Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17

 

And I’ll repeat and conclude with the simple yet profound verse I needed today:

  • In quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15

 

Maybe you needed one or more of these above mentioned foundation verses today. Select one and say it aloud because as I mentioned in last weeks blog post, it’s good to talk to yourself.

What verse or passage has been helpful to you recently? Do share!

 

Do you talk to yourself ? Try it!

I talk to myself a lot. Many years ago I attended a photo scrap book workshop with my friend Caroline. She looked at me from across the table filled with photos, scissors, colorful papers, stickers, and trims and said, “Rach do you know you talk to yourself while you’re working?”

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“Do I? I’m sure you’re correct.” I nodded.

She went on to tease me as she gave her best impression of my logomania. “Oh, I could use this photo over here and that would make room for these two right here. Or I could put a piece of red paper underneath this one to tie in the photo of Michael’s red shirt on the right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that would balance nicely!”

She clapped her hands together rapidly the way I do when I’m excited and continued. “Yay! That looks great. Boom!” She crinkled up her nose as she snickered to herself because of her good impression of my diarrhea of the mouth.

Caroline hit the nail on the head. I do talk to myself. I heard it was a sign of intelligence. Hey, I’ll take that. Do you talk to yourself? Try it!

I talk to myself in the car too. If  I go that way it will be quicker. The light is turning red I should turn right here and go to the grocery store. Today I did a bit of talking to myself in my journal. I guess that’s called writing.

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Thank you God for being:

  • My Strong Tower
  • Deliverer
  • Shelter
  • Way-Maker
  • Shepherd
  • Guide
  • Rescuer
  • Friend
  • Wonderful Counselor
  • Almighty God
  • The Lover of My Soul

Then I went on to talk to myself through a few of His promises.

Promise: God plans good for you:

  • For the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18.

 

  • I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. Jeremiah 32:40

Promise: God will be with you in hard times.

  • When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. Isaiah 43: 2a

Promise: God will not bring any unnecessary suffering into your life.

  • Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. Lamentations 3:32 – 33

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I also talked to myself with this list:

  • The LORD will work it all out.
  • God loves me.
  • Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.
  • His grace is sufficient for me.
  • Everything works out for good in the end – so if it’s not good it’s not the end.       ( Romans 8:28 loosely quoted by Kris Vallotton)
  • God is for me – he’s not against me.

Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17. When we hear ourself talk we are able to build our faith in the unfailing and faithful God. Do you talk to yourself? It’s key. Say a few of the the promises above aloud. Talk to yourself. Try it!

 

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http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/why-talking-to-yourself-out-loud-might-be-just-what-your-brain-needs

 

Pick and Save

I’ve had a radical change of habits. “What’s changed?” you may ask.  I’d answer, “I’m frequently walking with a dog!” It has become a norm for me because my friend Jeanne and I walk regularly and she brings her precious and friendly dog Gabe along. (Gabe recently had his 12th birthday. Happy Birthday Gabe!)

I’ve noticed something about Gabe’s behavior when he needs to go poop. This playful  golden retriever will sniff around for a while. Then he’ll circle around and around, chasing his tail a few times and vacillates back and forth, while his head swings left and right. Finally, he sort of marches up and down until he finds a place suitable to “do his business.”

The weather has changed recently here. It’s actually become balmy.  It was in the upper 50’s° the other day. Yay! Spring is on it’s way. It is no longer all snowy and white outside.

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The snow has become icy like pellets of ice so when Gabe does his famous bathroom dance the trampled snow makes crunch crunch sounds. When the noise stops, it’s a signal that Gabe’s about to poop.

This poop march, coupled with the response of my friend, Jeanne is like a well choreographed dance. After Gabe squats to poop and finishes, Jeanne removes a plastic bag from her right coat pocket. Swish. She places the bag over her hand for protection,  claws up the dog poop, inverts the bag and ties a knot in the plastic bag in one fluid motion and we all go on our merry way.

Recently, I noticed she used a tan plastic bag from our local grocery store called Pick-n-Save. The green store logo was written on the bag as clear as could be.  As I witnessed Jeanne’s poop removal skills in operation I laughed, “Well now, that gives a whole new meaning to PICK-N-SAVE.”

Jeanne gazed directly into my eyes, puzzled and asked, “What?”

I repeated, “That gives a whole new meaning to Pick-n-Save. Get it? You gotta pick up the poop and save it until you get home to throw it away.” She marched forward, the poop sack dangling from her right hand and swinging like a pendulum. 

“Oh, Rachel! You crack me up!” She said. “I will never think about Pick-n-Save the same way again.”

I slapped my leg laughing. I got to thinking about pick and save and my silly pun. I thought I was so clever in the moment. Honestly, there have been a few times on our walks when I am able to smell the poop even in the sealed bag.

I often say. “We’ve got to mind our minds and think about what we’re thinking about. Sometimes we have stinkin’ thinkin’. When it comes to our thoughts I have to ask myself and I ask you too, “What do we pick and save?”

Go ahead! Yes, do pick up things that are the things we should think about and save them safe in our minds. However, other things we need to not pick up at all.

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Consider this verse from Philippians. It comes on the heels of Paul telling his listeners not to be anxious then he wraps up with this:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8 

So, let me ask you, what are you thinking about? I always say… “mind your mind and think about what you’re thinking about.” Have you picked up a poopy thought today or recently? Do you have stinkin’ thinkin’?  Let me implore you, DO NOT SAVE IT!

Remember…We don’t even need to pick up the poopy thoughts that come our way and try to enter our minds to pollute us, make us anxious or attempt to steal our joy. LEAVE THE POOP ALONE.  JUST LEAVE IT THERE.

The kind of thoughts we want to pick and save are the kind we should grab on to. Think about what God instructs us to dwell on. Let me encourage you to pick and save only things that are true, noble, right, lovely, admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about (“pick and save”) these things.

*I hope I’ve not offended you by the amount of times I’ve had to talk about 💩 in this post. But it is what it is. So there ya go! That’s my fresh perspective for everyday life.

No Citation…Released.

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My friend Jeanne is a gift to me and she possesses the gift of laughter. She giggles at all of my jokes. (It’s not the only reason I enjoy her, but it does top the list.)

She lives nearby but today I drove to her house. We planned to take a walk then  wanted to run an errand afterwards so I knew I would need my car. We finished our normal trek in less time than usual. We were glad because we still had full days ahead.

We stepped inside briefly and unbundled ourselves. “Whoa, that was a pretty good workout!” Jeanne said.

“Yeah and we finished quickly. We were booking it! It’s chilly and my nose is running. Let me blow my nose, use your bathroom and I’ll be ready to head out.” I said.

I emerged, “Oh, man! I really am kind of sweaty now.” I admitted.

Jeanne agreed, “Yeah, me too, but we already decided we’re just going like this.”

“Yes, for time’s sake. Although, you know I don’t like to go out dressed like this.” I explained.

We embarked upon “the hunt.” I wanted to try to find a particular item at Goodwill. As we exited the house, I was thinking. I am breaking my own cardinal rule – or clothing commandment!

Here’s the background. I don’t usually wear athletic clothes out and about. I think it is partly a shoes thing. It’s been a weird deal of mine probably since high school. I’m more of a costumer. When I select a piece of clothing I think about the setting I’d wear it in. Well, maybe not EVERY piece but most clothes and shoes, I do.

For me, certain garments and shoes have particular purposes and should fit the scene. So If I’m wearing walking or running shoes I feel like I NEED to be out for a walk or run.

Anyway, Jeanne knows I have a rule about that. But each day only has so many hours in it and I was in a time crunch. She talked me into it. “You can handle being seen in workout clothes today Rachel”

“Okay, Fine!” I said.

We both hopped into my car. The one with the newly installed driver’s window. (See  my last blog. “Oh no! Plan B)

“How’s the window working?” She immediately asked,

“Like a charm!” I replied.

“I’m glad.” She commented. “I read your blog about it. I think I should read it to my neighbor Bill since he was featured!”

While, I didn’t find what I was hunting for, we had a good time looking. On our way back home, we passed the school yard. There was so much activity. Cars and buses were parked in front of the elementary school and lined the streets. Children streamed out of the building as crossing guards lead them safely across the intersections.

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“It must be an early release day. It’s only 1:50.” Jeanne said.

I pointed out the window. “I’m glad that’s just a crossing guard and not a policeman.”

“What?” she asked. “Why?”

“Maybe I’m going to get a citation for wearing this outfit on this outing.”

First he blows his whistle and hollers, “Hey, lady! Pull over, I need to issue you a citation.  Excuse me ma’am. Do you know why I pulled you over?”

“No, not really,” I would admit. “Is it this outfit and shoes I’m wearing? Is that it?”  Ugh! I KNEW IT! This was a poor fashion choice.

” Really Jeanne can you picture it?”

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Jeanne laughed at me, sighed and said. “Oh, Rachel!”

Actually, I felt released and a bit liberated from my own silly fashion rule.(commandment)

  • It saved us time
  • was quite painless to endure
  • was done without any repercussions or citations
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The Greatest Commandments

Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” Mark 12:28b-31

Now that’s a true commandment to follow.

 

 

 

Oh, No! Plan B

I’ve heard Kris Vallotton say, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.”

The plan was set! I grew more and more excited as the minutes ticked byThere was the threat of a winter storm making our plan a bit iffy. The morning proved we did have added snow coverage, but not enough to interfere with the plan. My car trunk was packed to the gills  and so was the back seat.

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I gave him a kiss and hopped into the car. “Thanks Babe for loading all this stuff. You really are my forerunner.”

“Have a great time! See you when you get back.” He waved as I drove away.

Man, I really love my guy!

As I pulled into Jeanne’s driveway, I noticed all the snow was cleared. Hmm? She told me she needed a bit of extra time to clear her drive. It really looks good. She’s been a busy beaver.

We loaded Jeanne’s things in my already full car. I had that “an adventure’s about to begin” feeling. I backed out of the beautifully cleared driveway. We hadn’t even gone two houses when she said, “That’s my neighbor Bill who came over with his snowblower this morning to finish clearing my driveway. He’s so good to me.”

Oh, it makes sense now. She had a neighbor’s help. I’m so glad. It was a lot to shovel. 

I looked to the left and saw Bill. He pushed his big orange snowblower proudly out in front of him. His heavy black coat stood out against the all white winter backdrop. Black earmuffs protected his ears either from the cold or the noise, I’m not sure which. He approached the end of the drive.

I lowered my window and hollered, “Thanks Bill for clearing the snow! Have a good day!” I raised my chin up and smiled. I wasn’t sure he heard me above the hum of the snowblower.

“Yikes! It’s so cold.” I squeeled.

Surprised by the cold’s forceful tumble in my warm car, I desperately wanted to put my window up to protect myself from the elements. I reached for the button to power the window up. Then, there was a clunk sound and an noise after it. It was an ineffective hum. I sat frozen for a moment, frozen in time. Crud! 

“Jeanne, I can’t get the window back up.” I admitted as she sat in the passengers seat unaware.

“What?” She replied.

“Seriously! I can’t get it to go back up. And it’s freezing!”

We just sat in the middle of the street. I tried to push the button but it still wouldn’t work. I tried various other things too. Nothing worked.

I called my husband. He had a few suggestions and a question. I tried them immediately.  He’d already been so helpful to load my car, but one question he asked during our brief conversation ticked me off.

“Did you really have to roll down the window? You couldn’t just wave and smile at the neighbor?” He asked.

How is that question helpful? Why are you shaming me? Yes, I MEANT to lower the window. It was intentional so I could say, “THANK YOU!”

I didn’t truly hang up on him. I just said. “Okay. Bye!” I knew he was in a hard position as he was half way to work.  BUT I was in a pickle of a situation too. His hands were tied.

BUT my front driver’s side window had sunk to the bottom of the driver’s door and was not coming up at all. I was not too happy about it. (First world problems, I know.) But adversity introduces a man to himself.  RachelDon’t loose your joy! You’ll figure something out. God knows all about your weekend and every need.

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Wow!  Oh, how the imagination runs wild.I  pictured traveling 90 minutes in the frigid temperatures with wind-blown hair and icicles hanging from our nose hairs. Next, I could see a good thing happening. I envisioned us getting the window up. YAY!  Only to have it fall back down again during the drive. BOO- HISS!  I could also see the forecasted snow we were supposed to get on Sunday all coming in my open window. As it sat abandoned in the parking lot for the weekend I pictured a foot of snow on my seat.

Neither Jeanne nor I are incredibly automotive savvy. “We can’t stay here in the middle of the road. Just back up.” She instructed. “Rachel, We can take my car if we need to.”

We both waved at Bill, like goofballs and drove back to Jeanne’s driveway. I did NOT want to unpack all of the stuff we had just packed. (Although Michael loaded most of it.) There was SO much!

I suggested we try to get the window up by reaching into the door and pulling it up. We tried with our fingers. Index and thumb weren’t small or strong enough to hang on. I couldn’t keep a good enough grasp. My hands were so cold and stiff.

“Do you have a set of  piliers or something?” I inquired.

“I’ll see what I’ve got inside.” Jeanne said as she walked away.

When she went in,  I called Michael back. I knew I needed to.”Babe, I know you are on your way to work and I’m sorry. I was short with you, but your question didn’t feel helpful.

“I know.” he said. He too apologized.

Jeanne emerged with some sort of tool that was too flimsy for the job. I suggested a piece of rubber to hold the grip.

“You know like what you use when trying to remove a lid from a glass jar?” She had a rubber piece and we tried it next, but it didn’t do the job..

Jeanne also handed me a small red bag clip. The kind you seal a package of  potato chips  with. It was way too flimsy and was plastic. Why did she give me this? What in the world good will this baby do? I’ll give it a try I decided. As Jeanne walked back inside to find something, I broke the bag clip in two seconds flat.

I just stood there. I had a busted window, a broken bag clip and no way to get the window up. We did some jockeying of  position with cars. She pulled her car out of the garage and I drove mine in. Next, we unloaded ALL of the items I had in my trunk and transfered them into her car:

  • cooler
  • guitar
  • suitcases
  • hanging bags
  • Baskets of T’shirts
  • Luggage of product and jewelry.

It was quite an ordeal. But we did it! Adversity introduces a man to himself. I kept thinking. Plan B wasn’t really that bad. It truly all worked out.  We had overcome adversity and we didn’t allow it to rob our joy.

The rest of the morning and afternoon was smooth and went according to plan. Actually, it went better than planned because God had His hand on the plans. He planned good things for the weekend and for all the women in attendance including Jeanne and me!

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PLan B included:

  • Fantastic weather with sunny skies
  • Everything fit into Jeanne’s vehicle
  • No problem with directions- until the very end. No biggy!
  • Loaded everything in the conference center early
  • A beautiful restaurant available without leaving the resort
  • Salads and butternut squash soup
  • The waiters undivided attention because it was so early and not busy

 

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