Five Wednesday Randoms … more or less….<3

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Some quick randoms for a Wednesday…

  1. Summer is really still in full swing and we should have a good six weeks of summer fun left before we think about pumpkins and all things Fall…but no…the odious Back to School displays are already in our faces and forcing us to feel like we have to hurry up and cram in all the popsicles and trips to the pool. 

      Don’t let the hype steal your joy! We have plenty of summer left…just take a deep    breath  and enjoy every lovely, hot, humid second of it!

  1. Why do waiting rooms insist on having a television going? Is it possible we have reached a place where we can’t sit and entertain ourselves quietly for five to fifteen minutes?? It’s not like everyone isn’t on their phone as well … and making comments amongst the group about what is being said on the show blaring over our heads. 
  2. Can you tell I have to go to two waiting rooms this morning and I am already having to apply Lavender and Serenity oils in liberal doses just thinking about it?
  3. In my Sheila Walsh study, The Storm Inside, she had this great quote…”Your level of disappointment will equal the amount of hope you have invested in something .” So obvious, but impacting to have someone say it. Proverbs 13:12 puts it like this: Hope deferred makes the heart sick. I look at my biggest disappointments and realize not only did I lose something tangible, I lost all the expectations around the thing, person, event, dream. So to apply truth to that, I am praying to learn to separate myself emotionally from the expectations I had placed on the thing I lost and just grieve the actual loss. 
  1. I am preparing myself to do another VBS week here on the blog…I certainly enjoyed it last year and from responses, I think there were a few of you kids-at-heart that had fun at camp …so stay tuned.
  2. BONUS….I left the numbers just the way they are because seriously!!! You would think I could figure out how to number and space things on this site!
  3. Maybe I can ask the folks in the waiting room when Hoda and Kathi Lee go to commercial break…
  4. Be blessed and have a great Wednesday!!!

Tuesday…Tuesday…<3

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So scheduling the carpet cleaners on the Monday following Birthday-Palooza seemed like a good idea.

Until I lived the entire day with the moveable contents of three bedrooms, the living room and an office stacked in the kitchen, two bathrooms and on top of large pieces of furniture…ie…our upright piano which is covered in baskets of music, a file box and eight manilla folders of uber important papers I haven’t looked at for years, some assorted books and a small waste basket. 

I ran two box fans on high all day which ramped up all the chaos and disorder of a home that looked like we were having an indoor garage sale with items staged on any hardwood or tiled surface. 

Either that, or like we were fleeing a flood…or the country….which I may have considered doing at various points of the day.

If you haven’t noticed, my mind spends a lot of time on the spin cycle as it is…so I crave order and quiet in my environment as much as I do coffee and dark chocolate. 

Yes…completely turning our house upside down and into a wind tunnel the day after a weekend of mucho socializing and intake of sugar … not one of my brighter moves.

However on an up note, I do believe the Lord has given me a level of maturity and grounding, because I actually managed to talk myself down from blowing off the whole day (no pun intended) and successfully convinced myself that I could function purposefully in the midst of the mess.

I even found it possible to ignore the constant hum of the fans and the annoying whoosh of air around me…

ok…

I never did get quite used to that because I was pretty eager to click everything off the minute Russ asked if maybe we could watch the Home Run Derby without having to anchor ourselves to heavy pieces of furniture. 

I exaggerate. 

But only slightly. 

All in all, it was a good day…carpets are clean, I got some things checked off to do list and went to bed without needing therapy. 

Maybe I am maturing…it’s probably about time. 

I know I am setting the bar kind of high, but I am going to attempt to carry on this pattern today…without the fans…stay tuned and I’ll see you tomorrow <3

And so 60 is in the books <3

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Good Monday Morning to you <3

Our family and a couple of close friends are keeping their phones close in case I need intervention for what they are calling PBLDS….Post Birthday Let Down Syndrome

…but so far I am doing okay.

The fact that I have to move all small pieces of furniture off of all carpeted areas before 9:00 is helping keep the adrenaline rush steady because… the carpet cleaners arrive in a short 48 minutes.

So here’s a quick rundown of how #60 went …

or as my new favorite baker in the whole wide world said it…

the “new 30″….

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We kicked off the celebration weekend with our annual “twin birthday dinner” with this sweet one ….

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Not the best pic…but not much lighting at The Burg that isn’t neon <3

From then on it was family that feels like friends and friends that feel like family so here are the highlights…

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John treated us to late night Escape Room adventure so Zach could join us when he got off work. www.laurareimer.net

We did beat the room with an extra five minute grace gift from the guy who worked there. He said we were so close to beating it and it was only a 10% success rate room so…he had to let us finish it out.

I was maybe a little less than 10% helpful since most of the time I was still trying to finish reading the clue when the rest of the team had solved it, opened the lock and …mooooved on…oh well..it was a blast and I loved every second of it.

All 3,630 of them  <3

Sunday Russ arranged to have brunch for everyone at Tuscany’s…

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Thankfully Rachel did not follow her google map…

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and it was kinda nice of Caroline to coordinate with my dress…

making her solidly my favorite granddaughter <3

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After lunch we came to the house for yard games like…

ball bounce…

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and..

empty the cooler…

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…because we are fun like that.

We gathered for cake…

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at the exact moment my west coast family called to sing to me..

so it was a high tech song fest of silliness..

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Please note the first aid kit on the counter because it wouldn’t be a Reimer event without some kind of chaos.

We took a few zillion group photos…

and you may have noticed we are missing Zach, who had to work, and the rest of the Corley bunch…

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Couldn’t figure out why all the littles are looking at Tia but she set the timer and then would run back to get in pic…and I think they were just highly impressed with her.

So were we.

But we were too cool to act like it.

Then there was this attempt at a jumping pic..

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which proves that John has regained his skillz at imitating Air Jordan…

and no, Sarah is not using a trampoline…

that’s just her…

and once again Joel and Caroline can’t take their eyes off of her…LOL…

And then there is this…

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for which I am so very thankful.

Have a happy Monday.

I promise I am going to just settle down now and get on with regular life.

Thanks for celebrating one of the big ones with me <3

 

 

 

The Great Belonging <3

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Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

Thanks for indulging me this week to share my heart in some observations about categories of life that affect each one of us in 2018 as I have sorted through thoughts and ponderings and perspectives in honor of ending five decades on planet Earth. 

So today you all get to jump in on the last one for the week as I muse on the Church and what it means to me.

As I have done all week, I pray for God to speak something clear through the muddle of thoughts swirling in my brain and give you a word of hope and encouragement today.

First off, I love church. 

I love the organized, local body of Christ church and I love the universal Church of believers through the ages and around the world. 

I do know for some there are woundings from betrayals within the walls by leaders or people in the pews and this breaks my heart if it has driven anyone away from the fellowship of believers. 

While individuals have caused harm and I do not love that this has happened, I am speaking of the Spirit-filled, Christ-following community of believers who have made up the Church since Christ commissioned the first congregation on a hill outside Jerusalem and who wait for His return.

I love the fellowship of believers gathered in a variety of churches I have visited across this country on vacations…

I love the Church in all denominations…

and styles…

from pipe organ led hymns and a minister in a long robe to a worship team made up of kids who look like they just rolled out of bed and a pastor in torn jeans. 

I love the experiences the Lord has blessed me with to worship with the Maasai in a concrete block building jam-pack full of bodies or sitting out under the blazing sun with the same saints while church ran for three hours and ladies served us glass bottles of Coke and Orange Crush. No ice…of course…because…Kenya.

I have loved loving Jesus with the believers in Cuba and in Mexico where, even though I should not have been able to understand a word since I do not speak Spanish, I felt more at home than I do in other places right in my own town.

I love the words of those who were the Church in generations past that stir my heart to love Jesus more authentically in my day…Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, Charles Spurgeon, Madame Guyon, Francois Fenelon, Hannah Whiteall Smith…Paul, John, Peter…those who belonged to the True Church of Jesus Christ. Those who spoke into the cultural paralysis of their time here and urged believers to worship in spirit and truth.

My most precious memories of my dad are leaning against the sleeve of his suit on Sunday mornings and having him slip me a sour ball candy out of his pocket when the sermon went on a little longer than my attention. 

I can still hear my mom and my aunt singing loud and an octave higher than my voice has ever been able to reach every single time the strains of How Great Thou Art kick in during some service. 

Though we sit in padded chairs instead of pews now at our church, there isn’t a Sunday I don’t remember three little Reimers spread out across our laps or feel the echo of a young arm looped through mine as I take sermon notes. 

And just saying, anytime I hear The Old Rugged Cross it is a guaranteed two-tissue minimum experience for me.

When some newscaster or politician sneers as he or she says something about “the Evangelical Christians” like we are some kind of freak show, I respond in my gut with the same kind of Momma Bear crazy I get when someone picks on my family.

Because the Church is my people. 

Imperfect? You bet.

Quirky? Then some and more.

Frustrating? Quite often.

Cliquish? Yep…we often migrate towards the ones we feel more comfortable with.

But all those qualities? 

You find them in every group of human beings, every social club, every office, every playground and around every dinner table. 

And yes, there are those who have gone out in the name of Christ or the name of His Church who have done damage…and continue to do damage…even under the guise of “new revelation” about His Word in our day and age.

But the Church…the True Church.. is different because in the Church of Jesus Christ we are all brought together with all our tendencies and wiring, all of our short-comings and flaws, all of our misconceptions and misunderstandings…all brought into unity under One Head. 

And that head? 

It wore a Crown of Thorns. 

It bent low as it gasped for breath and looked through eyes that squinted through dried blood and asked for forgiveness for all of us. 

All of us who love Him and all of us who don’t. 

The Church of Jesus Christ is made up of anyone who recognizes that He paid the price for our sins and by His sacrifice, we are made right with God. 

HIs Church is made up of those who will receive this. 

I love the Church because Christ loves the Church and He gave His life for us. 

If you have received Him…you belong. 

The Great Belonging is through Jesus Christ. 

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.    

Ephesians 2: 19-22

From one blood…He made us <3

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Last night our Rachel texted me with news that a small plane had made an emergency landing along the edge of one of our local interstates. It clipped a car in landing, but no injuries and whew…but still…

What the heck?

And all of this knowing Russ had just buckled himself into the seat of a much larger plane for the flight from O’Hare to Springfield. 

Life comes rapid fire these days, doesn’t it?

And for me I am often left sitting on the sidelines of the latest surge of chaos, trying to sort through all the thoughts that run through my head as I try to make sense of much that will never really make sense in this fallen world.

I keep going over a conversation I had last week with a guy who cleans windows for downtown merchants. 

As he does frequently on his stops in our store, he walked in the door talking to me like I was the owner. 

True to the pattern of his visits, it wasn’t until he was standing right on the other side of the counter and we had talked for several minutes that he said…”Oh, you aren’t her.”

And then he told me how he knows “you all” think we look alike, but we think the same thing about you.

“You all” being white people.

Awkward pause, right?

Because this gentleman is black and as he stands and makes observations and assumptions about how I think, I flounder with thoughts that I don’t know how to express.

Let me give you the three simultaneous ones that rose up in my head quickly, but thank God did not fly out my mouth last week.

  1. I don’t think all black people look a like…however I do get some black, some white and some of all races mixed up when I don’t know them well and they have any combination of similarities in their size or facial shape or personality or haircut or whatever.
  1. I wonder if I were to have said that to him, if he would have perceived me as racist and offensive  and what are the ground rules for who can say what?
  1. What else does he assume about me just because of my race, gender and age?

I was curious and perplexed and have mulled this whole thing over since it happened.

Racial tension and the offensive/defensive postures it creates is a huge elephant in the living room of our culture today.

While I do not understand the violence and the anger, I have to acknowledge and accept the truth I have not experienced the issues which have created the turmoil.

I do cringe when I look at old text books and even encyclopedias that feature eager young students and see only one race represented. Mine.

I notice things like photos from events in the history of a company or even vintage greeting cards feature only white people.

I watch a documentary on Jackie Robinson and hear the ugly words and realize this all happened a short decade before I was born and I feel ill.

I see film of the activities of the Klan and I die a thousand deaths of fear and pain that such hatred existed and to know it still exists. 

I remember that it was only forty short years ago people still thought it was okay to segregate between races…at water fountains, on buses, in the military, in schools…in ways we must hang our heads over. 

I have heard the crude comments of others who are the same skin color as me, but I have also seen the manipulation of those who would use racial tension as a means to their political ends and the brokenness of all of it leaves me feeling helpless.

I wonder how we embrace the concept that our country was founded on the principle  all men are created equal, and yet realize the flaws in the thinking of those who penned those words. 

And it leaves me knowing that the richness of my belief that God created us male and female…that He made all the tribes and all the nations…it is in this context that I relate to people, all people, as individuals. 

I have  to admit I do harbor prejudices based on experience, and understand others have prejudices based on experience, as well.

But when I strive to view each and every person as one created by God, in His image, and ask Him for His mind and heart regarding the encounters of each and every day…when I confront the subtle patterns of the worldview I have been programmed to accept in myself, when I extend grace because I don’t know the experiences that have shaped another person’s viewpoint…and when I realize I am ignorant and I will make mistakes…I become a vessel the Lord can shape and mold and transform. 

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwelling, so that they should seek the Lord in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us.

Acts 17:26

In these times of conflict between so many, when a spirit of offense would cause us to seek shelter in a “them versus us” stalemate…may we be people of the Cross.

People who seek the Lord, groping for Him in the midst of these desperate times. 

We have been placed in this time and this place to seek Him and we can know with great assurance, no one race…no one person…is left out of this great promise of Him who created us all.