Monday, July 27, 2015

When you don't appreciate them enough...

 "I have a good husband, but I don't appreciate him enough." Alice* uttered these words while hanging out with a group of women from work.

We were talking about husbands. Sally* is in the process of getting a divorce and Carol* had just said what a wonderful husband she had.  Carol went on to say that she had been fortunate enough to have two good husbands because she had been widowed 20 years earlier at age 33.

Then I said, "I know I have a good husband. And if I ever forget Sally* is quick to remind me!"

Sally said, "Mary's husband is kind, has a good sense of humor, is considerate, nice..." She continued rattling off my husband's good qualities. 

That is when Alice said what she said..."I have a good husband, but I don't appreciate him enough."

I know Sally is right, but I wonder if I fall into the same category as Alice.  I know I do not tell my husband that I appreciate his good qualities.  I don't tell him thank you for being a caring husband. For being a godly example to our son. For always putting me and others before himself. I don't tell him thank least not as often as I should.

We have been married for 33 and there is no one that I would rather spend time with than my husband. Truly. We enjoy good conversation, a nice bottle of wine, a walk in the neighborhood, sitting outside enjoying the weather.  We love to have a entertain whether it is a small dinner party with a total of 4 people or a party for doesn't matter what we do, we just enjoy being together. (And he is great a cooking and cleaning up after the party!)

Still...I don't say thank you for all he does. For all he IS.

It is easy to get in a rut. Easy to slip into "auto" mode where we go through our days without really talking.  Without doing more than a peck on the lips and an "I love you" in passing. I no longer have kids at home and it happens to me. I can only imagine what happens in marriages where there are kids, soccer practice, dance lessons, school activities, piano lessons, church activities...the list goes on.

John and I try to make each other a priority, but sometimes we fail.

A few years ago I read Praying God's Word for Your Husband by Kathi Lipp. I even did a book study on it with some women from my church. All of the women that read the book and participated said it made a difference.  Maybe I need to read it again.  

*not their real names
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Monday, July 20, 2015

The day a bird reminded me of Jesus' presence...

There is a bird house in my yard and I can see it from my family room window.  Eastern bluebirds are in this house and they have baby birds right now. For the last few days the male bird has been coming to the family room window and clinging to the screen.  He does this every morning between 7 and 9 a.m. and then recently I saw him in the evening doing the same thing.

He clings to the screen and tries to turn his head back and look at the bird house.  Sometimes he successfully clings to the screen in a manner that allows him to see while only twisting a little bit.

He wants to keep his eyes on the family.

He wants to make sure he knows what is going on.

Rain or shine he is close to the house and his family.

My heavenly father is that way.  Rain or shine he is watching over me. He is as close to me as I allow him to be...but even when I think he is far away, he is watching. 

He is close. 

He is always present.

A bluebird reminded me of that today.  

Has something reminded you recently that Jesus is 
always there...always watching...always caring?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The road may be the same, but the journey is not...

It was an ordinary Sunday. I sat in the pew, a visiting a church in a town we were passing through. The priest was talking about how we as humans like to be in control.  And he is/was right. At least for me because I do like to be in control! It really wasn't something new. It certainly wasn't the first time I'd heard what he was saying, but it might have been the first time I LISTENED to what I was hearing.

We DO like to be in control. At least I do.

He said that sometimes it is hard for us to listen to and follow through with the leading of the Holy Spirit. Hard to do what the voice of the Lord is telling us to do because to do so seems like we are not in control.  

What it comes down to is this: we aren't in control. Ever.

Then he said something that hit me...if the Lords tells you to say something and no one is listening, then say it anyway.

Why say something if no one is listening?

For me, this translates to doing...if the Lord tells me to DO something, I should do it even if it appears that it means nothing. Even if it appears that whatever I am being told to do does not make sense.

The fruits of doing or saying what the Lord asks of us will yield results in HIS time.  Not in mine.

The results may not be seen or heard for days, weeks, months or even years.

But if the Lord is telling me to do something, then I should DO it.

It comes back to that simple business of obeying.  A hard concept for some of us...certainly for me.  

This is something I have been wrestling with for months. My story is not unique.  Oh, it is mine and I own it, but many people have similar stories and have dealt with similar issues in life.  While my story may not be unique, the wisdom and lessons I have learned ARE unique to me.

We may travel similar roads in life, but our journey is uniquely our own. The wisdom gained while traveling life's road is something exclusively mine. 

I am in the midst of trying to determine where I am going with this blogging journey. If I could get a clear sense that it was OK to shut down and not blog, then I would do that.  But that I not what I am I will continue on the bumpy, uneven path of trying to see where this goes.

I'll look only a few steps in front of me and try to share my unique story.

When you feel the urge of the Holy Spirit to do or say something, 
do you find it hard to follow through when it appears no one is listening?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

We may drown in the storm, but Jesus will be there with us...

By the time this post is published it will have been 13 days since I published a post in this online space I call blog home.  Prior to that it had been about 40 days since I had written and published a post.

Not much of a writer, that's for sure.

But things have happened.

Some of them not good.  I have had to stop and live life and deal with problems.

And getting my house ready to sell.

And aging parent issues.

And the list goes on.

Some days I feel like I am drowning.  Other days I feel like I am bleeding money.

And some days it feels like I am doing both.

You know, Jesus never said we would not have trouble. He never said our faith would be a license to an easy life. What he did promise is that he would be there.  

When we are drowning. When we are bleeding money. When we are doing both, he would be there.

He will calm the storms of my life, but the calm may not look like I want it to.

John Kavanaugh puts it this way, 

"Our faith is not a guarantee that we will not go under. 
But it is a promise that, even if we nearly drown, 
Jesus will be with us."

So, in the midst of my storms I am going to remember that it is OK to feel like I'm drowning.  But I can take comfort in the fact that Jesus is there with me - in the midst of the storm.

Tomorrow morning I will be boarding a plane headed south. My mother will be having heart surgery in Nashville, TN on Wednesday. I would appreciate your prayers.  She is 92. The matter is complicated by a number of factors, not the least of which is she doesn't live in Tennessee...nor does any of my family. We are traveling there because it is one of the places this particular surgery is done in the United States.  So...please pray for safe travels, for the surgeons and the medical team and for my family.

For the record, I was supposed to already be there, but my flight was delayed due to weather. Oh my, the air travel stories I could tell just for the month of June 2015!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know I owe an answer/conclusion to the saga of my job. A series I started earlier this year.  The short answer is I will be staying if they reconfigure the job. If not, I will be leaving. Everyone understands this because I have been very up front about it. I'm told the job will be reconfigured, but no one knows exactly what that configuration looks like.  So...I'll wait and see what happens.   

I am hoping to be back home in a week. And then, I am hoping to be back in this space on a regular basis.

Thank you for your patience and continued reading...


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

When the salt adds flavor...

The sun is rising on a new day.  A brand-new 24 hour window that I can do with whatever I want.

Yesterday was Amy's birthday.  

I think it was the first time I have not posted on her birthday in several years.  Then again, I am not posting much at all these days.

But I am working on that. 

Yesterday, I started my day by going to mass.  The gospel reading was from Matthew 5:13-16 where Jesus talks about being the salt of the earth.

Salt is used to season and preserve.  Without salt our food can taste rather bland.

Our life-changing experiences can be likened to salt...they season our life and make it interesting.

Losing Amy was certainly one of the hardest things I have ever experienced.  But the experience taught me a lot. Things that I would not have learned without living through the birth and death of a child and then moving on to live life without her.

I believe each of us has a salt experience.  At least one experience (probably more than one) that "made us who we are" that was a defining moment in our life.  An experience that shaped what we thought.

What we believed.

How we react to situations.

Certainly, Amy's life and death was such an experience for me.  But there have been others too.

For several months, I have been listening to Jacque Watkins' Mudstories podcasts.  In a recent episode she mentioned that almost everyone she talks to says they are grateful for their mudstory.  They wouldn't necessarily want to relive it, but they are thankful for it.  They see the value in their life story because of the mud.

Whether I call it the salt of my life or a mud story, the experience shapes and flavors me. The experiences add depth and dimension.  They add color and shape to my life. 

And I wouldn't want to trade them for anything.

For some reason, this is the scripture that is speaking to me this morning...

And when we obey him, every path he guides us on is 
fragrant with his loving-kindness and his truth.
Psalm 25:10 (The Living Bible) 

This is the path he has taken me on in this life...
and when I look for the sweet fragrance, it is there.

Have you listened to Jacque's podcast?
Do you have a podcast you would recommend?