Thursday thoughts

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

That opening always makes me think of Charles Shultz’s classic cartoons of Snoopy sitting on top of his dog house typing away.  It is a pretty accurate description of the scene outside my window at the moment, as well.  God seems determined to end this Mississippi October with a bang.

I’ve been doing lots of packing and choring around here this week and I haven’t had the opportunity to write as much as I’d like. While I am absolutely certain that you can all manage to live without my postings, I thought I’d share one of my favorite quotes from the day with you just so we wouldn’t lose touch.

This one was posted on Facebook by Pastor Tony Evans today and I just love it!  Are you ready for it?

“It’s hard to see your future when you are staring at your past. Move on.”

 

This isn’t about forgetting where you come from or ignoring the people who love you where you are.  It is all about getting ready for what God has in store for you next…and being grateful for it.  There’s more to life than where you’ve been!  God has amazing plans all lined up just for you–don’t miss them by keeping your eyes on things from the past.

Tomorrow starts off the month of November.  Many people I know take the month to write a list of blessings each day for which they are thankful.  I keep a running list in my head moment by moment, but it occurs to me that you might like to know that you’re on my list.  I am grateful for each one of you!

Thanks for stopping by, for keeping up, for praying for and with us about this move, for sending those encouraging emails and for just being the fabulous you that you are.  May God bless you greatly!

Bring on the month of Thanksgiving!  We’re moving on!

 

 

 

 

Lead with THAT, why don’t you?!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

Yesterday I received an email with a listing of about 26 things that the assessor felt needed to be addressed prior to my house being put up for sale.  Seriously…26.  I counted.  The majority of these items carried an estimated price tag from $150-300.  Included on the list was a note that the new steel door leading from our garage to our living room would need to be replaced because it had a window in it and the window meant that the door would not prevent a fire from reaching the rest of the house if a theoretical/imaginary fire should take place in our garage and burn for over an hour.  (As if fire will only enter a home through a doorway or that ANY door would keep the rest of my home from going up in smoke if a fire raged for an hour in my garage!!) Seriously.

Now, keep in mind that I don’t blame the man who came to inspect my house.  My problem with some of the recommendations comes from the lack of intelligence/common sense in those who passed the regulations about these things to start with without taking into account that all homes were not built yesterday and the materials with which they are built will all go up in smoke given the opportunity.  Those kinds of things drive me crazy!

Attached to the list was a message from one of the people assigned to assist us with the move which read (in part), “ALL listed defects must be rectified before any sale can be completed.”

Right after I quit shaking my head at the insanity of the regulatory statutes and had a mini-panic about the financial ramifications of the list and the logistical nightmare of trying to get all of these things done, get the house in show-ready condition so it can be listed by the end of the week–not to mention trying to get a new place to live lined up, furnished and moved into on the other end of things—I actually went outside to just walk around and breathe for a bit.  I needed a break.

Within the hour, we were on a conference call with someone who could really assist us with this process.  Her first words were something along the lines of, “I just got the list and I knew that I’d be hearing from you soon.  First, let me say that I’m waiving X, X & X, etc. because they don’t apply to your home and they are not considered to be defects.”

Why not say that in the email?  Why not lead with the good news?!  Why send out an email or start a conversation or share information—with me or with ANYONE!– that is dire, scary or difficult to process without taking into account that the information is incomplete or irrelevant…especially if you already know that the information is irrelevant!

That’s why I started this post off with the verse from John 3:16.  That’s good news for everyone!  It is applicable to everyone.  It is relevant and necessary information!  It applies to me and it applies to you!  It is truly the best news I’ve ever heard and I want to make sure you hear it, too!

God loves you!  In fact, He adores you!—so much, in fact, that He took extraordinary measures to make sure that you could spend all of eternity with Him!  He wants you around…not just then, but now!  Yes, He leaves the decision up to each of us, but He’s already told us how He feels and what He wants our decision to be.  The way is His.  The choice is ours.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

It doesn’t hurt to end with good news, either!  (grin)

*Incidentally, we will have to address 4 of the 26 things listed…and they won’t cost anywhere the projected cost on the email.  Go, GOD!

For your weekend…

Once again it has been a very busy week.  Everyone I know can say the same thing.

I’ve used a bit of my down time (what little there was!) to look at quotes that would inspire me to keep going.  What I kept finding surprised me greatly:  I seemed most drawn to the ones that decried busy-ness.

Our society has made it almost manditory, you know.  We must stay busy, nose to the grindstone, work hard to get ahead…or just to stay even.  We must produce in order to prove our worth, our importance…maybe even our social status?  Our main means of competition these days can often be seen in the comparisons of whose calendar is most full.  I sometimes think that we lose quality of life at the expense of quantity of activity.

It takes a great deal of resolve to do life differently.  To deliberately slow down, take your time, actually be aware of your surroundings…and the people you love…to do love deliberately.  That’s not a typo, you know.  Love is not just a feeling.  It is both subject and verb.  We must DO love, not just give it lip service.  Love is action…that sometimes needs to be expressed by a cessation of activity.

Think about that this weekend.  What can you eliminate from your schedule in order to show love to those you hold most closely in your heart?  What can you DO to show them that they are more important than the items on your to-do list?  What can you NOT DO in order to give them proper priority?

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

There’s a reason these verses are in there. It is a choice. Will you make it with me?

(And she says all of this just before she runs out the door…because, yes, there’s a lot of choosing to be done here, as well.)

Grace & Peace! (grin)

Paint fumes and memories

My house smells like paint right now.  That’s because I’ve been painting.  Isn’t it amazing?  We tolerate all these tiny imperfections in our homes–tiny paint nicks and too many nail holes from moving art around with the seasons, blinds that need cleaning and dust hiding in places we never even think about looking at…until it is time to sell.

Suddenly, we’re consumed with making the house perfect for strangers as if they are somehow more worthy of the effort that we are.  It is wrong.  Wrong, I tell you!  (yes, the paint fumes are taking over!)

What I’ve found particularly amusing today is the way that different paints smell.  That’s NOT the fumes talking, now, I promise!  I opened up a can of deep red wine-colored paint and was immediately transported to the first time I ever used that color on a wall.  I still love it.  I’d forgotten the smell of it–deep and rich–almost as if the color came directly from a real wine.  The heady memories in this can…in this room…under these lights:  the laughter of friends and family, the smell of really good food and the joy of knowing such love to surround us.  I love the warmth of this color and I’ve loved the warmth we’ve lived out in this house.  Nephews playing chase and hide-n-seek, chalk drawing contests out on the driveway along with countless games of Monopoly at the table and croquet in the yard…there are lots of great memories here.  I’ll pack them with me when I go and they will all be colored in this amazing shade of love.

Standing on a small chair once used in the elementary school where my father attended, I painted out the tiny imperfections over the arch and I noticed that a small drop of the paint had descended from on high to land on the chair.  The deep fabulous color streak stands in stark contrast to the weathered wood.  I plan to leave it there.  When the chair and I leave this place we’ll take a memory with us of good times and continued usefulness…and I, for one, will be grateful for it.

I’ll get this place about where I want it…just in time to turn it over to the next owners.  They will no doubt make lots of changes and wonder why I bothered to color in the nicks…if they even notice it at all before they open their own can of paint and begin to create their own memories.

As for me, well, I’m already looking forward to feathering the next nest…after all, there’s no place like home.

What if…?

Ever play that game?  The “what if…” game?  Everyone does at one time or another.  Some of us play it more than others.

The way you play makes all the difference in the world!  For example, IF all of your “what ifs” are about

  • trying to mitigate circumstances that haven’t happened yet…and may never happen…
  • the things you want, but don’t have…and may never have…
  • the people who are causing you grief or frustration…
  • wondering why you’re gong through the stuff you’re dealing with today…
  • asking why other people always get what they want…

Well, I think you see where this is headed.  Anxiety and negativity is guaranteed when we play by these rules!  While we all wonder those things from time to time, spending lots of time on those kinds of questions just leads us blindly past the blessings we’re already surrounded with and right into a really bad place.  Who needs that?!  More than that, who wants to be around it?!

Today, why don’t we play by different rules?

What if we…

  • counted blessings instead of problems…
  • gave thanks for the strength to face our challenges today…
  • chose to think about how we could bless others as a way to lift our own mood…
  • decided to be responsible for our own happiness instead of depending on others…
  • deliberately chose to be grateful for what is and what is not…
  • chose to pray about our problems instead of worrying about them…

What if…God is right? (grin)

“Anxiety leads to depression, but a good word encourages.” Proverbs 12:25 (CEB)

What if…?

Impersonal?

My throat no longer hurts and I’m breathing much better!  I am making slow-but-steady progress on the mountains of paperwork entailed in moving!  (Major praise for both of those things!  God is very good!)

As I’ve gone through the paperwork listing what was purchased when and all that goes with us and all that stays, I’ve been taking breaks every now and then to “de-personalize” our house and help get it ready for the new owners-to-be to walk through (hopefully one day very soon!) and suddenly and miraculously recognize that this is where they should spend the next years of their lives.

(Ok, perhaps I’ve watched a little too much HGTV while I’ve been doing this, as well.)

In any case, that’s been the prayer…along with asking God for them to be good neighbors to our wonderful ones and that they would be especially kind to Jake (the neighborhood dog).   I don’t feel silly about praying this way.  I believe God listens.  I believe He cares what we want.  I know He does, actually.  I’ve seen Him in action before.

One of my many favorite quotes, in fact, addresses this very situation:

“Once you’ve experienced the awesomeness of God, you come to expect it.”  ~(major apologies!  I can’t find the source today!)

As I’ve been making our current home less personal, I’ve been even more aware of how very personal my God is.  He has been right here with me.  Helping me recover from this cold, giving me strength to do an amazing amount of work each day, helping me overcome the feelings (like when I packed up all the photos of the nephews and our times together here!) that overcome me from time to time as I remember how God has used this place to bless us and by just giving me peace in the midst of the waiting and wondering—these are just a few of the things God has been doing for me this past week!

I love that He is here with me!  I love that He has a plan for me!  I love that He is in charge…even on the days when I momentarily wish I were…but not really.  You see, I’ve seen my planning skills in action.  I’m very aware of what I can do…and what I cannot do.  I need God to show up and be personal for me in all of this!  I’d need Him to do so even if we weren’t going through so many big changes, but I really need Him on things of this magnitude!

You know something else?  I love that somewhere in Georgia, there’s someone else who is probably doing the very same thing I’ve been doing…and one day (perhaps very soon?) I’m going to walk through her de-personalized space and see what God has in store for us there, as well.  Impersonal God?  No way!  My God is seriously involved!  Just get ready to watch Him work!  He’s about to do something really special!

Share with me?  How is God showing up and showing out in your life these days?

Word games with a Friend

“…For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”  Romans 7:15b

I’ve felt closer to Paul than ever this week…and not for the reasons you might imagine.  His quote in Romans 7:15–in proper context–is about sin and how it can be extremely difficult to eradicate from a life.  For me, however, I’ve had this one floating around in my head as I’ve filled out reams of paperwork, held countless phone call meetings, met with contractors, inspectors, realtors, etc…and didn’t get to do some of the other things I’d rather be doing…you know, really fun things like laundry and grocery shopping! (ha!)

I’m not misusing Scripture, but it has entertained me that God’s word still speaks to me and makes me smile even in the midst of all the controlled chaos that preparing to move and put a house on the market can bring.  I love it that His Word is timeless and that He can bring it to mind at just the right time…and that He can do it in such a way to make me smile when I don’t feel like smiling.  It is a reminder that my God is alive and that He is personal.  He is not some distant potentate waiting to pounce and pronounce judgment, but a loving, personally involved Friend who cares enough to lighten my load…and my mood…by using words written so many years ago.

God has a great sense of humor…and I’m glad He’s let me in on the joke this week.  I’ve needed that.

(By the way, being friends with God is a very good thing.  You should try it!)