Easy come, easy go <3

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Friday has rolled around again and let me tell you the past seven days have hurtled past in a blur of activity and responsibilities. 

I knew my time at home would be shortened this week as I only had Monday to accomplish any necessary tasks and we are headed to our nephew’s wedding this weekend.

One of the things I wanted to get done was plant flowers outside. 

I made two trips to the garden center and stayed on task, completing my project as the sun began to set Monday night.

True to my nature, I moved planters around multiple times and debated on what to put in which one with an incredible amount of overthinking. I finally got them the way I thought they looked best and when I opened the back shades on Tuesday morning I almost wept at how beautiful they looked. 

After being gone to either work or helping with the Fab Four up north the next three days, imagine please the utter despair I felt last night when I returned home after being gone 24 hours and looked out at empty planters save a couple of sprigs of ivy and one lone begonia looking back at me forlornly from the corner of our patio.

It seems our little rabbit family had a smorgasbord while I was away. Thankfully the pots off to the sides had flowers that were unappealing to these fellows…but they certainly gorged themselves down to the roots on the petunias I had placed to be my view during morning quiet time.

If you know me at all, you know I love the animal kingdom in a very conditional way. 

As long as critters behave, keep to their boundaries and do not damage or infringe on my space…great. I am all for them.

But when they dig up things, leave their waste matter scattered hither and yon on our property, and act like…well…animals…I get a little annoyed. 

The bunnies have been an exception. 

There is something about their soft fur and sweet little ears and faces that has softened me. 

So I didn’t feel angry at them. 

I just felt incredibly sad and defeated because I had worked so hard and it was like a slap in the face that these fuzzy critters that I have grown quite fond of decided to feast on the fruits of my labor. 

My investment of time, creativity and money was devoured and I was deeply disheartened at the loss. 

Maybe someone or something you love and care for has suddenly munched your petunias down to the roots recently. 

Maybe like me, you feel a sadness that does nothing to diminish your love. 

You aren’t angry. You aren’t feeling betrayed really. 

It’s just the nature of life and the course it has taken today leaves you feeling like the thing you thought you had accomplished just vanished into thin air. 

Your labor appears to have been in vain. 

I hope you know you are not alone. 

I hope you know that the God who made the petunias and the rabbits that love them and made them fluffy with  brown fur and big eyes that make me smile every morning as I watch them scamper around our yard is the same God who made me and knows the odd sadness I feel looking out at what is no more. 

I hope you know He will give us strength to go find some new plants, so to speak…geraniums I hear are not appealing to rabbits…He will give us wisdom to fill the empty places with something new that is good for us without harming the ones who, just because that’s what they are…petunia eating critters…did what they do. 

I hope you know that your efforts are not wasted and I hope you receive back more than you gave away. 

God bless you today. 

You are loved greatly <3

The ties that bind <3

www.laurareimer.net

This is kind of a crazy week and even as I type that I know I say it a lot, but it really is setting the bar at a new level. 

Several trips north sprinkled in with regular work and a side of a weekend out of town wedding with weather that is ranging from high 40’s to mid 80’s has me just slightly frazzled. 

Our nephew is getting married which has me thinking about family and how amazing the connections are as family trees add branches. Character traits and resemblances and even common mannerisms pop up whether you are around family much or little.

Russ and my cousin Kenny’s wife will laugh when we are together as apparently he and I, though we grew up on opposite sides of the U.S. and really were only around each other a couple of times growing up, have so many similarities. And obviously ones that don’t bother us a bit, but make our spouses nod their heads in sympathy.

I love watching his dad, my father’s younger brother, because it is like old home week. The way he puts his hand on his forehead, his laugh…even things he says…like a carbon copy of my own dad.

And again…they lived apart from each other and visited infrequently all of their adult life. 

That same uncle, after hearing a recording of our Sarah singing, marveled that she had my Aunt Eugenia’s voice…and ever after, I have realized that yes indeed…that laugh I miss so much from my aunt still bubbles up out of our daughter.

Even while I often think l hear my own voice on some video Russ is watching and then realize it is actually Rachel’s.

Our nephew who is getting married is no blood relation of mine and we think resembles his mom’s side….yet there are little bits of him I see sometimes in our Graham. How can this be but through Russ’s line?

How fun to glimpse that spark I have loved in our red-headed nephew twinkle in the eyes of our grandson.

And love.

Wow. 

I think of our nieces and nephews as just as much mine as they are Russ’s and yet – no blood tie exists. 

I look at our grandchildren and the way they already love and bond with family and while they share aspects of two family lines, they draw no difference between who is blood and who is just kin of the heart. 

Such is the family of God, you know.

We belong to this big extended family through the blood of Jesus. 

He is our common thread and it is His character and His love and His mercy that tie us together. 

We belong because He first loved us. 

We begin to resemble Him and people recognize Him through us as we love and care for one another.

Precious <3

Remembering our own Red Sea crossings <3

www.laurareimer.net

May is just about the sneakiest month, isn’t it?

It kind of slides in behind Easter and all the euphoria about the landscape changing from bleak winter bareness and brown as budding trees burst into action and we are marveling at tulips and daffodils and then all of a sudden we realize we have to mow grass and ball games dot our calendars as prolifically as dandelions are cropping up amongst the mulch we spread.

Suddenly the brevity of what summer will be is breathing down the neck as we attempt to figure how we are going to fit “Lazy” into the days of summer we have been so looking forward to.

Life is busy and days fill up quickly as years fly by. 

I have been hearing a theme of late in some sermons and devotions about the importance of remembering and declaring the good things God has done and so this morning I am acting on that by sharing with you a prayer once prayed and answered many years ago, but it is building my faith still today. 

I came across an entry I jotted in December of 2008. Five days before Christmas that year, I wrote in my journal “Next year, we will have two college tuitions to pay. I trust You to raise up how we will pay for that. I trust our years ahead to You.”

He did it. 

He answered that prayer. 

Sometime between the May graduation from high school and sending John off for his freshman year at ORU and Sarah to her senior year at Greenville, He made it happen.

I had two part time jobs that I loved and that summer I added a third. The hours meshed and still allowed me the freedom to be where I needed to be to keep up with our home, family and the ways I am called to serve others. 

It was exhausting and challenging, but God is good. So good. 

And every month when I calculated my three little paychecks, they covered one child’s tuition. 

Oh we would have made it without those jobs. We could have borrowed the money and paid off loans, but God heard the particular cry of my heart that I could ease the burden of that double tuition year. 

He understood that for me it mattered to be a part of the process. 

He knew the redemption and restoration working hard and maintaining the semblance of holding down real jobs could work in the soul of a woman who contributes more to the expenses than the income side of the family ledger.

All of her life. 

He understands the why behind our prayers more than we do. 

He meets the needs we were not even aware of when we asked. 

Write down your prayers.

Go back and look at them years later.

They are your personal record of His faithfulness. 

See what wonderful things the Lord has done and declare them to others. 

He is mighty and He is kind. 

Praise Him  <3

Maintaining consistency in our maintenance of what matters <3

www.laurareimer.net

I hope you have had a good week.

For me it has flown by but I feel I have accomplished a lot which is always a good feeling when Friday rolls around. 

Russ has been car shopping and so I will be saying goodbye to my second home and moving the kleenex box, phone charger, quarter for the Aldi cart and two little booster seats into a new vehicle in a few weeks. 

I have a lot of miles logged and a lot of memories echoing around that car and I love it dearly, but after I test drove a newer model and then climbed back into ours a few weeks ago, I had to admit it looks a little shabby. 

The finish on the steering wheel is worn off in the places I habitually grip it as I make my way along the highways and byways.

The floor mats can be vacuumed, but there are marks and dirt that no longer can be rubbed off. 

In the back, little tennis shoes have rubbed marks into the leather and there is a deep scratch in the front of the glove box where my OCD self just had to straighten the tilt on the propane tank Russ was taking to be filled…and I guess I didn’t realize he had wedged it that way for a purpose…whoops.

That vehicle is well loved for sure and has served us well, but I don’t take care of it like I did when it was brand spanking new. 

Back then I slowed carefully for speed bumps, I took turns cautiously and I eyed the road for potholes as if they were landmines. 

It’s funny isn’t it, how we treat new things with such care and then as they start showing wear and tear and get familiar we just are not as careful with them.

The newness wears off and so does our diligence to tend and be tender. 

Let’s not be like that with the things that truly matter eternally.

Relationships in family and with friends, our faith journey, our calling. 

Let’s not get lazy and allow neglect become the norm for our souls. 

Scripture calls it stirring up our faith and we are to do that in one another. 

In an age where encouragement can be as simple as a text away, let’s be quick to fan the flames of love and hope and joy for our fellow travelers. 

Well loved and well worn hearts are what the Gospel is all about. 

May the Lord bless each of you as you journey onward today <3

Save your energy for the real battles <3

www.laurareimer.net

I’m glad you stopped by. I really am. 

Today’s thought is a brief one and springs from something God showed me a number of years ago that came to mind as I was driving home from work yesterday. 

I was running late to the next thing on the day’s calendar, only because I tend to book things tightly together and forget I can’t beam myself places….Star Trek, you let me down on what the 21st century was going to offer.

As I was driving and stewing because…late again…my mind was also hopping ahead into the next couple of weeks and different things I will need to be prepared for and working through possible snags…because apparently I can beam my imaginary self into the future.

Anxiety began to cloud my vision as my emotions became engaged in things that may not even happen, and that’s when God reminded me of a lesson He taught me in May many years past.

I know it was May because we had experienced a rather significant relationship breach to our family and it was Graduation Season. 

For parents of teens, you know this as back to back open houses where you basically eat the same meatballs, veggies/fruit/cheese trays and cake at a variety of houses and venues with the same forty people over the course of three weekends.

As our family hauled our raw emotions into the minivan and headed off to the first of these events where most likely someone would ask us questions that would trigger awkward tears, I found myself almost hyperventilating from grief. 

And then God whispered a truth into my heart and reminded me that at the current moment in time, I was safely sitting in the sanctuary of our family circle. 

He asked me to look around and show Him the actual people and conversations I was getting all worked up about. 

No one in the car was talking about the situation. I was not required at that time to respond to anything. 

Our local Christian radio was playing worship songs, my wonderful better half was driving and we had our kiddos quietly sitting in the back. 

It was indeed well with my soul in that sacred space for that time. 

I felt Him press upon my heart the reality that I needed to just breathe and rest…to trust Him for whatever lay ahead that He would give me the words needed and the strength and if all I could muster were tears, then that, too, would be in His hands.

The tension slipped away and I learned an important lesson which I have to re-visit frequently. 

It comes from Scripture and it speaks to my soul regarding not worrying about tomorrow…or the next hour…or two weeks from now…how you are going to deal with this or that situation or confrontation. 

All we have to deal with is right now. 

We do not have to work up energy to deal with things we imagine might happen. 

All we need to do is exist in this moment. 

One breath at a time. 

And then another. 

Moment by moment, day by day….He is faithful <3