Sunday, February 11, 2018

My Word for 2018: Connection

Looking back, my last word of the year (Deeper) was in 2014.   It ended up being the perfect word for a year of evacuations, loss, and flexibility.  By the end of the year, we had a deeper trust in God and deeper commitment to the call He had for us in that season.  Our family was also closer than we had ever been, but I still longed for deeper relationships with others around me.  

The years after 2014 had no official word, but looking back I see a theme for those years.   2015 and 2016 were years of transition and endurance while 2017 was a year of settling.  We settled into a new normal.  I was able to make our house more our own with throw pillows, art and some other personal touches.  We started hosting people more.  I found my niche as education coordinator and what I wanted my school to look like.  

Now I feel God nudging me for something more-something deeper-connection.  Somehow I have come full circle since deep and connection have so many things in common.  Connection can mean so many things, and I am excited to see what God is going to teach me this year.   Connection is something I long for after too many years of battling loneliness off and on.   It has so many facets whether connection to God, self, others, or even to God's creation. 

We all know that connection with God is the most important.  It is from this connection that I can truly connect with myself and others.  The trouble is I don't always start there.  That is why I was grateful for an invitation to join a online book club that is reading Invitation to Silence and Solitude by Ruth Haley Barton.   It gave me a push in the right direction.  In the weeks ahead, I hope to share more what I am learning, but right now I am just soaking it all in.  If you are interested in the book club, visit Linda Stoll's blog or if you are just interested in some insightful posts on silence and solitude, head over to A New Lens.  Here is a link to one of her posts

This year, I am both excited and scared about connection.  Even though it is something I long for, it is also something that I feel so inadequate at doing.  My first posts on connection will be musings about what I am learning about connection from silence and solitude.  I hope you will join me this year as I try to blog more consistently. 

Thank you for stopping by.  Do you have a word for this year?  Or even though you may not have had a word for last year, did you see a common theme of how God worked in your life?  I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Friday, February 02, 2018

What's Keeping Me Sane (February 2018 edition)

Some seasons especially the winter season can seem longer than others.  I remember feeling like winter would never end when I lived in Central Asia.  Here I only have two seasons-rainy and dry, but it often seems like rainy season goes on forever.  Lucky for me, I am in dry season and enjoying it.  

So why am I doing a post on keeping sane?  1) Modern Ms Darcy is having a link up about what is keeping us sane.  2) Being sane is a year long process.  Hopefully some of the habits from this season will get me through the next also.

Sane: 1) Proceeding from a sound mind. 2) Mentally sound. 3) Healthy in body ( from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition)
How are you taking care of yourself especially your soul? 

Here is what is keeping me sane...

1. The Psalms

Most mornings I read at least one Psalm to start my day.  The Psalms are great reminders of who God is.  I come away with a high view of God and a more accurate view of myself.  The Psalms are a great way to begin my prayer time giving words of adoration but ways for me to  pray for myself and my family.  This practice keeps me mentally sound.

Some mornings I read the Psalm and spend time sitting and savoring the words. Other mornings I dig in a bit more by either using one of the studies from SheReadsTruth like this or this.  I  also find The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Psalms: Glorifying God for Who He is by Warren W. Wiersbe helpful for background information on certain Psalms.  

2.  My Morning Exercise

I walk three days a week with a friend which allows us to stay connected with each other.  For the past month or so, I  started using two of the other days to try out running again.  At first, I would run/walk/run/walk.  Now I am able to run most of my route but still walk for a few yards in the middle if my heart rate is getting into the peak zone.  I will not being running a marathon or even a 5K anytime soon, but I love how I feel after a run.  Running used to be a big part of my life, and I enjoy having it back even if it is on a small scale.  According to my fit bit on the days that I run, I sleep 19 more minutes at night.  Who couldn't use more sleep?

Besides running, stretching is more a part of my morning exercise.  As I grow older, my body gets creakier.  I usually do a few yoga poses and simple stretches and if I have time some sit ups or push ups.  It is not a lot but enough to make me feel more limber for the day.  The stretching has also helped my hip which can be a pain in my side (literally) some days be less stiff.  These practices are helping me keep healthy in body. 

3. Apple Music

Our family subscribed to Apple Music a few years ago after trying it out for a free trial period.  Big D loves music so this is a gift that keeps on giving.  He can keep up with all the new music plus have his old favorites.  For a bit more, the whole family is able to get in on the fun.  In the past due to slow internet, I only downloaded a few albums here and there.  Now we have faster internet, and I am loving getting to stream music.  I especially love the For You section where Apple makes up playlists based on my music tastes or I can choose from other ready made playlists.   

Music always seems to make life better and can be tailored to fit any mood.

4. Figuring Out What I Want

Back in November, I listened to a podcast from The Next Right Thing.  In it, Emily takes about how we need to voice what we want so we can see what our expectations are. By naming them, we can either give them back to God if they are not in his will or we can figure out a way to make it happen. 

Since Christmas 2016 didn’t quite go as I would have liked, I decided to do this for Christmas 2017. This was my list…
1. I wanted to connect with my kids and mom
2.  I wanted to make some from memories while they are here.
3. I wanted to have some time to just be…

To make this happen, I planned ahead. What could I make for menus? What could we do? What should W bring in?  This gave me margin while they were here. Then I had to be intentional about making time to have conversations and make those connections.  We didn’t always stick with the plan which is okay but it is easier to modify a plan than to come up with a whole new one.  I enjoyed my time playing ping pong with Big D, walking along the beach with mom, and swimming with W.  We watched way too many movies, ate too much sugar, and laughed as we played games.  There were glitches but that is life.  But I felt like I was able to focus on the important things-connecting and just enjoying my family.

Now I am looking at the summer.  Big D and I will be in the states for June and July.   What do I want out of that time?  What is a reasonable expectation? What is not? What does God have for us?  Hopefully this will give me a framework as I pray and think ahead knowing that all plans can change in an instant.  

So as I look at new situations and opportunities, I am doing a better job of thinking through what I want and what this new thing will entail and require of me.  It helps me see the expectations I have about the situation but also the expectations of others.

5. Stickers

This is something little that adds a smile to my face as I journal.  I have some extra stickers from a friend that are finding their way into my journal and even my bible. 

What is keeping you sane or saving your life right now?  I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Father Waiting Musing

Right now my husband is waiting by his computer for our daughter to contact him.  He has information that will help her on her journey back to the States.  You see, she is in a European airport and due to a delay on her first flight, she has missed the next flight on her itinerary.  Her father knows her next leg has been rebooked.  We don't know if she knows this information as we wait to hear from her.  

I wish you could see the love my husband has for our daughter as he waits.  It is hard for him to concentrate on his book that he is using for distraction.  His love for his daughter and wanting her to be okay are prominent on his mind.  He knows there are some things she needs to learn on her own but that also she is still at an age that needs guidance.  

So two things could happen....

1. She could stand in line for a few hours to find out what her father knows that she already has a ticket for a new flight.


2. She could find wifi to check in with her father and see his messages that will save her time and possibly a headache.  

In the Bible, we see God as a father waiting.  In the gospel of John, he is portrayed as father in the parable who is waiting for his prodigal son to return home.  In the OT, he is a father waiting for his people in exile to repent and return to him.  But David also shows us a father who wants to help in our time of trouble (Ps 91) and guide us beside still waters. (Psalm 23)   James tells us of a father who longs for us to ask him for wisdom not doubting that he will answer.  (James 1:5)  God the father is waiting for his children to call on him whatever the reason.

This Father God does not have to stay by a computer.  He can hear us when we call on him day or night.  This Father knows if we have our next ticket or not.  He is sovereign.  Lastly, this Father loves us more than any earthly father ever could.

The question is why do we so often try to do things on our own when His help is just a prayer away?  How much easier it would be if we (I) would go to the Father first.  

By the way, our daughter did get her ticket for her next flight.  Hopefully the rest of the journey will go well.

Dear Father, Thank you for your love and care for us.  May I come to you first thing in all of my cares, joys, failures, and victories.  Amen