Intentional Rest

In the aftermath of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, quiet is what I long for. The dog lightly breathes as she sleeps and all else is still in my house. I need sleep, I know this, but the coffee I made myself at 3:30 at work wasn’t drank until almost 5 pm. My stomach, angry from holiday eating, is finally calming down. I long for quietness more than sleep. Sleep will come soon enough. For now, I choose to be restfully still. Being this still is an act of willful intention. It is something I must learn to become better at. My mind, my body, my soul…at rest.

I am already prayerfully considering my focus words for the upcoming year. I had thought they might be joy or intentional, but maybe it’s rest.

When I rest, I savor the quiet. It is in these moments of intentional rest that I listen. 

Life is not a series of perfect performances, but a chance to grow, to seek, to love, and to live more alive and full.

This week between Christmas and the New year leaves me expectant. 

The quiet is exactly the gift I have been longing for.

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Merry Christmas!

May we hold dearly to those simple yet profound moments that matter most this time of year and always…

A box of Wisconsin cheese arriving on my doorstep from dear friends.

A peaceful winter walk with my son’s new dog.

The fireplace lit, the stockings all hung, and my family close by.

A long kept Christmas surprise of a magical family vacation finally able to be shared, and he was so surprised!

The magic of a white Christmas.

Being perfectly okay with changing up traditions just a bit to accommodate work schedules.

And the most important part of this time of year and always…the greatest gift of all…the babe in the manger.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. I am so grateful for my blogging community!! 

What makes your Christmas magical?

Journey with Courage

I love as I begin to type in the word “courage” in my title, my phone suggests the word coffee. Yes, these past few weeks and months have been a whirlwind, and coffee definitely has fueled me on my journey!!


Perhaps a little too much lately. My posting has been more sporadic since the Write 31 day challenge ended in October. Life has a way of shifting priorities. 
Ever been there before?

I remember a pastor stating very clearly that sometimes the very thing standing in the way of God’s will in our lives is ourselves.

Living by faith is a daily, moment by moment journey. It is not easy. I know this in my heart, but when life gets crazy then sometimes I just want to say…I can’t do this anymore… it’s just too hard.

I have felt a bit on auto pilot recently. I have the “To Do” lists. I knock the items off one by one. I press on. I am tired. I want to embrace the joy of the season, and I do in captured moments, but they don’t seem to sustain me. 

Enter Joseph. The Christmas story often focuses on Mary and of course, Jesus, as it should, but do we spend enough time thinking about Joseph? The pastor today dedicated his message on Joseph. We talked about the extreme faith, trust, and obedience Joseph demonstrated. He trusted God’s Word. He honored and loved Mary. He protected her and this baby, Jesus.

Joseph journeyed with courage. He was willing to go on an unknown journey to trust the provision of God and His direction.

Which brings me back to my present state of mind and where I am.

Do I have the courage to follow the call of God in my life? 

Do you?

With our finances? With our jobs? With our health? With our families? With those dreams so dear and precious to us that we dare not share out loud?

Are we willing to trust God on the journey He is calling us to take?

Life offers too much to live on autopilot.

When we step in obedience and stay alert listening to His direction, He is faithful and will be with us each step of the way.

May we have courage in our journey as Joseph did so many years ago. 

The Moments…

Some things are almost certain as a mom of boys.

  1. You will at some point experience the excruciating pain of stepping barefoot on a Lego.
  2. You will find the most random of things in pants pockets when you do laundry.
  3. You will be caught off guard from an unexpected Nerf gun dart when you least expect it.
  4. You will hear yourself asking…did you put on deodorant… daily in those preteen and even into teen years.
  5. Boys do things to surprise you. Often.

As I sit here and linger for just a few more minutes enjoying the tree, I focus not on the fact that my son will awake in an hour asking where he left his shoes but rather on the moments from the weekend that make me go wow. 

My son went to the basement this weekend and brought up all the Christmas decorations without being asked. He just did it. He started decorating and patiently waited for me to finish what I was doing so I could help. Then, he cleaned up and took it all back downstairs.

His college age sister had to buy a car this weekend. They sat beside each other in the front as my husband and I sat in the back as we drove around to see Christmas lights. My husband leaned over and whispered to me, “Our children are getting along.” Our son later declared he was going to work really hard when he was old enough to get a job so he could buy a nice car like his sister.

My little chef made a double layer cake yesterday. He improvised. Our cake pans were two different sizes. Oops!

As I dropped off a dear 93 year old lady whom I take to church every Sunday, she hugged me tightly and told me to enjoy every moment with my children. “Don’t wish the moments away. Even the hard ones. They go by so quickly.”

As we head into the Christmas season, may we stay focused on the things that matter. Let’s not be so busy that we miss the special things our children do, the whisprered words of our spouses, the wisdom from dear friends, and the greatest Gift of the season…our Savior Jesus Christ.

Don’t wish the moments away, even the hard ones.

What are your favorite things about this time of year?

Familiar Friday

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and I am home. I decided to take the day off so I could catch my breath before jumping into the busy season of the holiday.

I also decided to spend the morning leisurely getting ready at my own pace. While so many others are out braving the crowds and lines at department stores, I am choosing to stay nestled inside under my favorite blanket with a cup of coffee enjoying the familiar and writing. I am linking up with Five Minute Friday for the first time. Today’s prompt…familiar.

As I think of all that goes with Christmas…the cards, the wish lists, the shopping, the baking…it makes me tired just thinking about it.

For me, I want to embrace the familiar this time of year. I don’t want anything new this year. I long for the familiar-simple time with my family, my favorite coffee cup, my favorite blanket, and the familiar simple Christmas decorations in our living room.

So whether you are braving the Black Friday shopping, enjoying a lazy day, preparing for the Christmas season, or having a normal Friday, leave room for the familiar in this season.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday

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I Need a Silent Night

We’re almost officially to the Christmas season although the retail world has been promoting it as soon as those Halloween items were marked down for quick sale.

This morning on the radio on the K-Love morning show, they talked about Christmas music. A recent survey suggests many people actually find Christmas music as a trigger of stress and anxiety. I actually enjoy Christmas music and turned my playlist on in my Jeep. (I do draw the line at Let it Snow… I am not ready for snow!!)

As I listened, the song I Need a Silent Night  by Amy Grant came on. The words really resonated with me in the present reality of my life. I am tired, really tired. I am not here to whine and complain of my fibromyalgia flared ups or my crazy workload right now, but I will say, I listened to those words and thought… I do need a silent night.

The past few years I have tried really hard to scale back Christmas to focus on what it truly means. A silent night or a silent morning…time to focus on quiet time to reflect, to spend in the Word and in prayer and just to be still.

As we approach the busyness of the Christmas season, I hope you will seek and find your own silent night amongst the busyness….even if there is some snow on the ground.

The Gift of Christmas Year Round

Today is the day after Christmas. I hope you enjoyed a blessed Christmas celebration amongst family and friends. In a few short hours, I will be on my way to yet another family Christmas celebration. Right now, I am enjoying the quiet by the Christmas tree as the rest of my family sleeps.

So much hype, anticipation, and expectation lead up to Christmas. It can result in feelings of let down after the excitement of the day is over. I want to share with you some reflections from Christmas Eve services this year that speak to my heart of the gift of Christmas year round.

Since our home church does not have a Christmas Eve service, our family has always chosen to attend Christmas Eve services at a local church. We used to attend a beautiful musical service at a church close to our home where we could walk. Although the service was beautiful and walking home in softly falling snow was magical on Christmas Eve, I admit I can no longer stay up until after midnight on Christmas Eve especially since I always work a full day on Christmas Eve. This year, since Christmas Eve was on Saturday and I did not have to work, we opted to attend an earlier service at a church we have never attended. I am so glad we did.

The Christmas story does not change. The meaning of its message does not change. I believe, though, that there are different angles and different personal messages that God may have for us to hear in a different light. This year, that very thing happened to me as the pastor emphasized the ordinary in the extraordinary events of that night.

The pastor began the message sharing about some homeless men in a rural area. As he journeyed deeper into his message, these homeless men became the shepherds on that night so long ago in Bethlehem. He shared the Christmas story message in Luke chapter 2, and about God’s favor resting upon these men, the lowliest in society. He also shared how God chose to use Mary and Joseph, common citizens, as well as the wise men who were wealthy and well-respected men in their society. The point…God uses all people. As the message continued, he highlighted and emphasized Luke 2:20…Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard.

The shepherds had been blessed with the gift of a front row seat with backstage passes to the greatest event of time, yet they did not leave that manger scene with a sense of entitlement. They returned to their flocks. As the pastor reflected…God did not make them smell better, did not elevate their position in society, did not shower them with financial blessings…rather they returned to their flocks of sheep with changed hearts full of praise and love for God and His gift to them.

When you look at the Christmas story through the eyes of the shepherds, you can’t help but acknowledge that God’s ways are not our ways. His way is not the way of the world. God does not value the things that the world values. He does not define self-worth and success through professions, bank account balances, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the houses we live in, our titles, our mistakes, or our failures. Our worth rests in Him. Whether we are tending His flocks of sheep or leading an organization as CEO with integrity, God loves us all the same. His gift is available to every single person at Christmas and every single day.

May His joy of this season live on every single day in your heart and life.

shepherds