Friday Randoms <3

Happy Friday!

Have we had a random day recently?

Well, whether we have or haven’t we are having one today because…in no particular order….

<3 I am behind getting this little collection of thoughts on the blog this morning because I am doing a wonderful study and I was half a page away from finishing this morning so I could watch the video so I did take the time for it and so thankful I did…

If you don’t have time to attend a Bible study, may I suggest you take advantage of this one by Kelly Minter called All Things New that is being offered FOR FREE on the Lifeway site.

You do need to purchase a work book – but Lifeway is offering the video sessions free through the first part of December. It is a wonderful study of 2 Corinthians and Kelly is so personable and transparent. While geared toward women, I can assure you this is a good one for men and women!

<3 I took advantage of a free afternoon on Monday and hung out with this crew….

and can I say…they crack me up constantly.

I have several shots and Rachel’s face remains unchanged in all and yet the party going on around here changes with every frame…busy, busy, busy….

and then there is this one…

and no…I didn’t make the hat…but yes…Von Maur saw Papi and me coming when they set that little creation on the shelf a few weeks ago.

<3 In keeping with the family theme, we took Tuesday off to spend some time with this gem…

and it was good for the heart to just get to work alongside her in her yard and enjoy some of her delicious homemade soup.

She and her dad continued a tradition he started many years ago when we moved into one of our houses. We purchased it in the fall and so he took the kids over and helped them plant tulip and daffodil bulbs.

When spring came and those little green shoots came up, we were reminded of how far we had come in making the transition.

It will be her first spring in her new home and I may be already anticipating the morning she steps out and sees those new signs of life and sends us a picture …. and I may have just one or two tears seeping out of these weepy eyes already.

<3 I am painfully aware I have no picture of Zach nor John in this montage…but have no worries…I will more than make up for that absence when we are all together next weekend for someone’s second birthday-palooza….

So that’s a wrap for this week…

hope you have a great weekend doing things you love with people you love <3

Of trigger points and pain and such <3

I have had a tight spot in my upper back for several days and when I mentioned it to a friend today she said both she and her husband were experiencing pain in the exact same spot.

We marveled that all three of us had this same localized pain and, being prone to extremely imaginative hypochondriac tendencies, I began formulating possible viruses and bizarre scenarios of how this could be.

And then another friend came by who happens to be a nurse and when we described it to her, she nodded her head knowingly and informed us that area is called a trigger point; a centralized area where many nerves and muscles come together and sometimes these get knotted up causing the painful condition we were experiencing.

She explained that it needed pressure to work out the tightened muscles and associated nerves and suggested a few ways to accomplish that.

It occurs to me that I have trigger points in my emotions as well.

Places where there is a high concentration of collected memories and the feelings associated with them that when tweaked by everyday circumstances can render me debilitated by unexpected discomfort.

Something will trigger a fresh awareness of some emotions I think I have moved beyond and suddenly I am basically sidelined from being productive as I struggle with fresh waves of old wounds.

Suddenly I have a tight ball of pain that is taking up all of my time and attention; causing me to lose focus on anything beyond my personal discomfort.

Entering the holidays can set off just such a situation as my expectations for time with family and friends, plus memories from the past and realities of what life looks like now collide with a calendar that steadily fills up with commitments or…just as difficult…remains somewhat empty.

One of the suggestions made to me regarding loosening this area in my back was to raise my arms like a goal post and take deep breaths as I open up the chest area. (Thank you to Sarah for that one).

I have been thinking that this same posture most likely could be applied to my emotional trigger points as we begin this roller coaster holiday season that will end 2017.

Raise my hands…in surrender.

Open wide my heart…to allow God to enter in and direct all activities.

Breathe deeply….let His Spirit flow into me as I release all my emotions and feelings in one big exhale.

How about you?

What’s the trigger point in your soul?

What is that set of circumstances where your thoughts can get commandeered by your emotions and feelings and you can feel it all tightening into a rock hard place of tension and pain?

Perhaps if you find yourself getting balled up in a mood today or this week, you might try raising your arms and inhaling deeply as you release everything to the One who holds it all together all the time <3

And how exactly does this work?

Last week our church held special prayer services Monday through Friday at three different times.

Each day prayers were directed toward a particular place of brokenness to which we invited God to enter in and do what only He can do.

We started out with the nations and moved each day closer to home until finally on Friday we offered our own personal brokenness up to Him.

And the songs and the words of the prayer leader called this a pleasing offering to the LORD.

Laying down the places in my heart and life where my own sin, or the sin of someone else, or just the fallout from the fall has shredded me and left me ragged and ruined…and that this…is what makes up an offering that a perfect and holy and righteous and wonderful God like our God would lean forward and notice and receive.

I think how when I want to show someone my affection; I work so hard to make something beautiful to offer.

I search for just the right thing…the thing that I know he or she would love…something  mentioned to me in passing or something I have noticed about this one’s taste and style…

and I want to wrap it in the loveliest of colors tucked in a perfection of tissue with the best of ribbons, so that person knows when the gift is offered that I understand what is pleasing to the eye and soul of the one I hope to honor.

So when you tell me that to lay down the deepest places of sorrow and repentance and grief and pain as an offering…it seems a rather unsightly and pathetic gift to offer to the God of all Creation.

And then I get it…

the bruised and bloodied parts of me are why He came.

And when I quit trying to hide them until I can make them acceptable…pretty…fixed…

for they never will be so if left in my hands…

and I lay them down in all their mess of ugly…

He sees that I truly know His heart…

and believe His invitation to come.

It is my brokenness that He wants to take away and it cannot be taken away unless it is laid down.

And we can only lay down that which we offer to Him.

And on the altar all things are made clean and pure.

So come to the altar…bring all the broken parts of you and yes, believe that He will receive those precious shattered pieces with grace and mercy.

I am adding a link to a song that sums this up beautifully here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXXxLwxfo0U

But sometimes…my tech linkology doesn’t work very well…so if you can’t open it, google youtube Come to the Table from Sidewalk Prophets.

 

Have a blessed day.

<3

 

 

What I learned from a football game….

So on Saturday we went to watch a certain team play college football and I will be first to say that I know little to nothing about the intricacies of the game.

But I do know something after observing almost three quarters of this particular game.

Now I hope I don’t get too technical here…but it seemed to me that when one team handed the ball to a player and he ran up through the middle of the melee of other players smashing into each other around him…even to the point of the whole mass of helmets and jerseys moving simultaneously in forward progress until they could finally get him to stop…and he did so with intense energy and purpose and a physical posture that basically looked like a human canon ball hurtling forward…it was highly effective.

In contrast, when the other team, ahem….which will remain nameless…had the same opportunity and chose to run as wide a path out around the said crushing of defense and offense, it seemed most of the energy was spent going out to the edges of the playing field rather than producing any kind of advancement toward the goal.

And I can tell you.

Sitting in the stands, it was painfully obvious that if you wanted to score a touchdown, you were going to have to either figure out a way to sail that ball over the heads of everybody and hope and pray someone was down there to catch it.

Or you were going to have to put your head and shoulder down as low as possible, clutch the ball tightly and barrel your way through.

And it occurs to me that often in my life, I have a tendency to carry the ball in all kinds of directions that avoid conflict and sweat equity…wasting precious time headed for the safety of the sidelines instead of facing the opposition and pushing forward to the goal.

I don’t have a snappy way to pull this together…I don’t have a clever way that you and I could implement this…I don’t even have the audacity to pretend I have come up with some life-change about the way I will set goals and then work diligently to achieve them.

I just know that I saw me in the team that was high-tailing it to the sidelines to avoid contact and I didn’t like what I saw.

And maybe that discomfort is worse than the fear of getting slammed on the way to achieving some goals and helps explain why they still seem a very long way off.

So let’s encourage one another to continue on … no matter the opposition…no matter the confrontation…no matter the times we get knocked down.

If we have been given a ball to carry..let’s head straight to the goal and not be afraid to get a little scuffed in the process.

Blessings dear ones as you and I journey onward   <3

Something different to start the week…<3

Happy Monday to you <3

I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

These words came to me as I was walking during one of our more Fall-like days recently.

The crisp air and colorful leaves beginning to dot the sidewalk reminded me how much I do love the sights and scents and activities that come with Autumn; yet I was thinking back over the summer and different moments that were so special…and this set of lines came to me so I jotted them down.

For those of the poetic nature…perhaps it will make sense…for my sweet black and white concrete thinking friends…it may be a stretch…however it hits you…be blessed to know that I am smiling now picturing your precious faces on the other side of this screen <3

Summer Thoughts <3

And all the memories of summer were like colorful little beads strung side by side on a thin cord.

As the winds of autumn began to blow a chill across the evening skies, 

she realized it was now long enough to tie together into a lovely necklace.

And so she added it to the other necklaces she had gathered over the years.

All the summers and winters…

falls and springs…

all lovely little bits of beads that now were clustered into so many necklaces they could not even be counted.

And she breathed a humble prayer of thanks to her Father for surely He had blessed her with so many tiny fragments of joy…

so many extraordinary moments that had made up the ordinary of all the every days.