God’s Reminders!

Colossians 1:3-5 — A Reason for Hope with Don Patterson

This morning I was woke up to my phone ringing…it was Ron as our boy was having internet connection issues and couldn’t get online to do his school work. I mumbled I would be right down. I couldn’t figure it out so called the school to let them know he would be online as soon as we figured things out.

I never could figure out what was going on so I connected him through our hot spots on our phone…I then fixed me a glass of water and came into the living room to spend some time in the Word. And the Lord met me right where I was with the phrase “God has been patient with you, be patient with others!”

August 28, 2016: “Run Hard. Rest Well.” (Deuteronomy 5:12-15) on Vimeo

And then I opened my daily devotion with the above scripture. In the devotional it states we live in a culture of rushing!! Hurry and do this, instant gratification, and like a two year old we so often want what we want when we want it which is right now!! But God calls us to work hard, be consistent and yet he states many times over “Keep the Sabbath” “rest in me” and then Pastor Charles’ words come to mind

JUST BE!

And so I sit here, listening to some worship music and give thanks for how the Lord provides for me…I have always struggled with “having my quiet time.” Getting up early is hard for me, give me a warm bed and sleeping in any day and yet after many years the Lord has allowed me to have a job where I am encouraged to be in the Word and spend time building my relationship with the Lord…I now have every school day morning where the kids we are responsible for are doing virtual school…and that gives me time to read, pray and study….thank you Lord for granting my desires!!

I wrote in my prayer journal this morning: Give GRACE to others as God gives Grace to me. What is grace: forgiveness, love, peace and calmness…God has brought me so far and I need to remember to give him thanks for His faithfulness. Ron and I often say “God has never failed me and we don’t think he will start now!”

As I read back to what I’ve written I realize I have had a spastic conversation here…as Ron says I’ve never met a word I didn’t like.

The Life-Changing Power of God's Grace - Wisdom Hunters
4 Characteristics That Define the Grace of God
A Prayer for Grace - When You Need God's Help

I don’t know where my thoughts are going or if my writing is important to anyone else but I do know that I like to write and share how the Lord has and is working in my life.

I told a friend the other day that I would like to take all my journals and put them into the computer. I have always wanted to share my story of how even in the darkest of days and moments God has protected me with a thought or a call from a friend or a memory and I still want to do that I’m just not sure that is what I should do. Then I think about a word Margaret shared with me once when I asked her “how do you know you are doing what the Lord wants you to do?” Her reply was “just take a step, take another step, praying for the Lord to open doors for you and if He wants you to go another direction he will shut a door and open another one. I still think of that conversation often and just keep trusting the Lord that He is leading me where he wants me to go and do.

I’m feeling like I am going in circles in some areas of my life and yet I know I am doing what I want to be doing, well for the most part and so I will continue to keep trudging along and write when I am led.

And I AM

I'm thankful for . . . - Cassandra Hathaway

Thinking and Reflecting

I woke up this morning thinking of a woman who I haven’t thought of in years…her name was heavy on my heart. I prayed for her and for whatever situation she is in right this minute and I sent an email to some mutual friends to see if they have had contact with her and also caught them up on us and where we are and what we are doing.

I then spent some time on Facebook and then picked up a journal from Spring 2016…I want to take all my handwritten journals and put them on the computer ~ well that’s what I think I want to do ~ anyway, I opened the journal…it’s called Every Day Blessings. I opened it to the second entry, 4.10.2016…my weight is the same as it was five years ago…guess that’s good at least I haven’t gotten any fatter!!!

The first line I wrote: “Once again it has been over a month since I have picked up my Bible and spent any quality time writing” nothing seems to have changed much though I do get into the Word about every two or three days now…OH NO, I just admitted I don’t read my Bible every day!!! Farther into my writing that day I wrote “I feel like I have so much to do and yet seem to have no time to do anything, working long hours, feeling tired all the time and just wanting to relax after work. I have paperwork to do, house to clean, laundry to do, things to organize, commitments I make and yet I seem to fall short at getting things done, even at work, projects on top of projects yet it seems I am always behind. I know I am an organized person or can be ~ yet it seems I am always falling short.”

Though the situation has changed…we were co-managers at an Over 55 community and now we are house parents at a teen shelter, we worked 5 days a week with two days off and now we work 7 days on/7 days off…it seems like I am always playing catch up or feeling like I have so much to do and no time to do what I want…but that isn’t exactly true…I have found we make time for what we do want to do and push aside the things we say we want to do but don’t do.

What I do know is different is my attitude towards life…I used to be so negative and angry at the world. Just the other night one of the kids asked if we had any pictures of us when we were younger. So we got out the laptop (Ron has scanned most of all our pictures and we have them on our laptop!) and we started looking at pictures. R made the comment “Ms Ali you looked so old and angry back then … she was referring to pictures taken between 1975 and 2000…and now you look so young… how can that be as I’m 63 years old now??? And you look so peaceful and happy. A few minutes later in the conversation she said, I know what it is…you look so soft and at peace!

And that is what is different…I am no longer the angry at the world person, looking to blame others for all that is wrong…I look for the good and see how God has blessed us. Another conversation we had this past week was with friends who showed up at our hotel room the other night. (We were staying at a hotel since we didn’t have water at the trailer). The phone rang in our room and we were asked to come down to the lobby so Ron had gone down to see what the problem was…we thought it had to do with our bill as we had had a problem at check in. So Ron went downstairs and the next thing I know he is coming in the door of the room and saying “someone hit the truck and they are here.” My response was “oh no, we’ve only had it a couple of weeks” and then quickly saying don’t let them in I don’t have any pants on…remember we were relaxing in the hotel room LOL! and after I got my pants on I was being hugged by two friends…friends we hadn’t seen in over a year and they happened to be here in NC and had stalked us (via Facebook) to surprise us!! And then our friend laughed and said “Ali you were so calm when Ron said someone had hit the truck. We thought for sure you would be screaming mad and all you said was “oh, it’s just a truck.” They were expecting the response to be what and how I had responded so often before…angry. Later at dinner we were chatting and he said I remember the last time we saw you, you were so anxious and everything seemed to set you off but you just laughed and was so calm even when you thought someone had just hit your brand new truck!

I replied, it’s all the Lord…HE has healed me from so much anger and anxiety. And I added “well I did do the work, but it was the love of the Lord and a hubby who showed me about unconditional love” that has taught me that life is too short to be angry and seeing only the negative in things. And life is so much better now…I am at peace and feel calmness most of the time.

And so reflecting this morning that though some things feel the same, I say statements that are the same in reality life is different…I am enjoying life and where we are. I love the JOB we have…being paid to stay home and be parents and caregivers and being an encourager to others and sharing that though things look bleak at times really life is good.

I’m not sure how to end this post, but Ron is up now and so I will get off the computer and get onto doing what we need to do today…being together and enjoying each other’s company and just relaxing enjoying our little home on wheels.


*****
What are you doing for yourself today?
What brings a smile to your face today?
What brings a smile to your heart?

Early Morning Thoughts

Definition of Steadfast:
1a: firmly fixed in place : IMMOVABLE
b: not subject to change
2: firm in belief, determination, or adherence : LOYAL
her followers have remained steadfast

This jumped out at me as soon as I opened the email: be firmly fixed, stand firm…not sure why but this morning I woke up early, couldn’t go back to sleep so thought I would get up for the day…came out to the living room and just see chaos and mess…don’t get me wrong. I love our little house on wheels but it seems so messy, so full, so cluttered. And that’s how I’m feeling inside: messy, cluttered, confused…

My heart aches for all the hatred and violence erupting around the country. I try to voice my thoughts and yet feel like when I do I am attacked for thinking, thinking out loud I should say…I have asked this before “what has happened to us that we don’t allow others to share their thoughts, ask questions, speak about what’s laying heavy on their hearts without being ridiculed or attacked.

A simple thing like wanting to gift something to someone and being told “sell your stuff” “stop giving it away” “let people buy their own stuff”…I just don’t get it…what happened to being friendly and just loving or blessing someone just because you want to.

I’m feeling unsettled where I am…trying to get settled into a new job, thinking about the motive of things being said, trying to feel comfortable and just be…but feeling like there is so much to do and not sure even where to begin.

And then I opened my email for Verse of the Day…steadfast…be steadfast, be firmly fixed and I am reminded that I am who I am, daughter of the King, right where He wants me to be. Working with others who have the same goals as me: live in peace and calmness, be content with what we have, where we are and in what we are doing. And stop letting others tell me what I should or shouldn’t be doing…know what I know, know what I need and keep on loving as the Lord leads.

So my prayer this morning is “Lord, thank you for another day to live for you. Help me to see YOUR beauty in the little things, aren’t they all little in the big scheme of life? Help me to continue to trust that I am living my life as You would have me to live…loving on others in how I speak to them, blessing others as you bless us and remember that what I can get done today is enough…enough. That I am enough, just like I am … I am enough. Lord as I go through this day let my love for you show in my contentment. Help me to spread peace to others and in my little home. Help me to focus on what must get done and know what I do is enough.

Words to ponder today:


What word are you focusing on today?

Goals

I have been trying to focus on what I want 2021 to be like for me. I want to find BALANCE in my life. I have many things I like to do and if there is one thing I have learned over the years it is that I have to be intentional to make things happen. Just wishing for them doesn’t and won’t make them happen. I recently read the book

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

and decided to set up goals in the same manner…listing them one by one and then being intentional in focusing on each one as least once a week, some hopefully more than others.

My goals for 2021 include (not in any particular order):
* Writing ~ one thing I did for myself was to join a group participating in a the course “A Year of Writing to Uncover the Authentic Self”by Rachel Astor. It is 52 lessons, one shared weekly. My plan is to set up a separate page on my blog for doing this course.
* Daily time in the Word ~ last Sunday, January 3rd we attended Generations Church and the sermon title was “Detox in 2021” and at the end of the sermon Pastor Troy challenged each person with two things: 1) to be in God’s Word daily. He said you don’t have to read, just to read or to say you read the Bible. Let God speak to you through His Word by a verse, a chapter, a passage, a daily devotional…just something. He reminded us it is not a race to see how fast we can read or how much we can read but to BE in the Word.

This is something I have worked on for so many years…some years I am better at reading on a regular schedule more often than not, other times it is like a shot in the arm, every once in a while. So to get myself into the habit of BEING in God’s Word daily I picked up “Our Daily Bread” that is a small daily devotional that has a scripture reference and a little narrative.

The second thing Pastor Troy asked was for people to make a commitment to the Body of Christ. He was mentioning it in the context of being connected to a body of local believers. This got me to thinking about Ron and I, our work schedule of 7 days on/7 days off and so what would the picture of being part of the Body of Christ look like. One of our responsibilities as a house parent is to encourage the children in our care to have a relationship with the Lord. This can be through daily devotions, attending church regularly and those are two things we do while working. We have worked the last two Sundays. Sunday before last we went to Sonrise Baptist Church and the two residents we had in our care. This past Sunday, as I mentioned above, we along with the three residents in our care attended Generations Church. Our dilemma is that on our week off we like to plan trips which may or may not include going to church somewhere else. We have found that things can be awkward if we attend the same church as the residents in our care especially if they are younger children. So a lot of times on our week off we just don’t go to church anywhere.

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t connecting with the Body of Believers…we may connect via phone, email or video chats…all those count as connecting with the Body of Believers in our eyes. What do you think?

**** well as time would have it I need to cut this short as it is almost time to go into our staff meeting. Stay tuned and I will write more later…

I will leave you with a few questions…how do you fellowship in and with the Body of Christ?

…do you set goals? If so, what are some of them? Do you reward yourself when you accomplish a goal or is the reward in the actual completion of the goal?

Take care and Blessings to all who read this post.

Playing Catch Up!!

Sunday as Ron and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary I made the comment “what a ride it has been!” Our journey from Yoakum, TX to Southport, NC has definitely been that!! We left Yoakum, TX on Friday, December 11th. We ended up staying the night in Beaumont, TX at a rest area. On Saturday we arrived at our campground in New Orleans late in the afternoon. We got set up and then just crashed…I think the past 2 1/2 weeks were finally catching up with us.

Sunday morning we got up and went into New Orleans to Bourbon Street and walked around for about 2 hours. We then drove around a few different parts of New Orleans and decided we definitely want to go back and stay in a hotel in heart of things. Just before noon we decided to drive across the Pontchartrain Bridge…26 miles from one side to the other. It was amazing. We then found a little cafe, https://www.facebook.com/crazypigsouthernkitchen, Crazy Pig Southern Kitchen…I chose it for the name.

Oh my goodness was the food delicious!!! Definitely will go back there again.

I had two kinds of egg benedicts…yummy!!!
This was our appetizer…brie fries: roast beef
Ron had a Skillet breakfast. Everything was yummy but the biscuit was way different from anything he is used too.

We sat outside while eating…it was a beautiful day and a fun way to spend a day relaxing. We left New Orleans Monday morning and went to Jasper, AL for the night. Tuesday morning we drove the rest of the way to Arley, AL where we stayed at Hidden Cove RV Park, a Thousand Trails park. The park was nice and we look forward to going there again. The highlight of our time in Arley was spending time with our friends, Jerry & Lynda and Len and Phyllis! So good to see friends that we hadn’t seen in years!!! We stayed in Arley till Friday morning when we got back on the road and headed to Milledgeville, GA.

We arrived late Friday evening and spent two nights with our friend, Merel. Merel and I have been friends since we were both pregnant with our boys…Brandon and Jeremy are now 40!!! So thankful for Merel’s friendship, great to see her Mama and of course share some much needed hugs and laughter.

*****

Closing for now…as tomorrow is our first school day here at Providence Home and 5:30a comes super duper early. Stay tuned for more news in the days to come!!!