Category Archives: Musings of a blonde brain

Two thumbs up <3

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On Sunday afternoon Russ and I decided to take in a movie so we went to see Breakthrough

Many of our friends have recommended and we both enjoyed it. 

I am still mulling it over, of course, because..it’s what I do, as we all know.

So whether you have seen it or not, here are a few of my takeaway’s as a believer. 

#1. There were so many levels of relational issues with families and kiddos that were not glossed over. 

The tensions we dance through as our children begin to enter the teen years and that fine line between parenting well and keeping the lines of communication open were exemplified through the efforts of the mom to continue to show love and care as her son shut her out.

It also showed the learning process we go through as we know we have to let go of our “babies” and figure out how to move into the next phase of their lives.

Also through various scenes and dialogue, you could see the way this season can put strain on a marriage as each parent continues to grow in an autonomous relationship with the child while attempting to hold to the marriage covenant and have a unified front. 

There is a raw refining that takes place as a husband and wife find new levels of saying the hard things to their child and to each other. 

Not easy. 

#2. In the fellowship of believers, we sometimes ask one another how people go through difficult circumstances without the Lord. 

We usually say this when we, ourselves, are passing through a particularly painful trial.

We look around us at others we know who are going through things without the prayers, love and support of a church family and no hope of the tangible touch of Christ in a mind-numbing situation and we don’t mean it as holier than thou…we really are concerned for anyone who is facing troubles alone. 

Because truth is, even as we wade through deep waters and pass through fire, it is a breath by breath existence as we lean hard into God and ask Him why and cry and pray and dissolve and rise again.

Over and over.

The movie shows what should happen when we face the roughest of times by taking hold of God even when we don’t understand what He is up to.

One of my favorite scenes was both uncomfortably and poignantly familiar, regarding an aspect of faith-based living that might be overlooked by us and yet is probably our greatest testimony as to the power of God. 

Because while it was incredibly amazing that the mom prayed and the miracle happened and the music swelled and the medical team was stunned, there is something bigger that God does for believers when we go through trials.

It was on the roof when the broken down and weary woman came face to face with her pride that God did what He does best. 

Forgiveness.

Restoration.

Transformation. 

The characters portrayed all had flaws…just like every single person in the world does. 

Good traits, bad traits, strengths and weaknesses…just human beings making their way through the ordinary and extraordinary of life on planet earth. 

But yielded to God, we become different and better and more conformed to the image of His Son.

#3. Finally, I also appreciated the acknowledgment that as believers we struggle with rejoicing when God does a wonderful thing for someone else, but not us. 

Though I have not incurred the shocking and unexpected loss of life of one in my immediate family, I have suffered losses that I prayed would not happen. 

And I have watched as God seemed to answer quickly and miraculously for others what did not come to us. 

Watching the guilt and pain and mocking that comes from NOT rejoicing with others played out on the screen, was a stark reminder to me of why God asks me to have a big heart for everyone. 

To live humbly in the blessings that are more evident in my life…to surrender in the blessings that come in the form of trials…to comfort those who mourn and rejoice with those who celebrate. 

This is what sets us apart and makes us different. 

Our salvation was one and done. 

Our sanctification is a day by day…hour by hour…event by event…process as we yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in us. 

Read any good books lately?

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Saturday evening we attended the Summer Mission trip fundraiser for the youth at our church. 

I have been careful to choose healthy eating for six weeks now and as I faced a plate of lasagna and garlic cheese knots followed by amazing chocolate chip cookies, it was a reminder of why I love all things cheese/carb and caloric and since it was for a good cause I am quite certain not a single bit of it harmed me. 

We sat with some old friends and met some new people, all around our age and as we were talking near the end about getting older and such..because we all are…one of the men commented on how one of the nice surprises about reaching certain stages of life is that he doesn’t really mind that he can’t do certain things anymore. 

I get that. 

Coming to terms with the reality of life, its longevity and brevity and all of that, has a way of motivating me to set priorities on how I spend my time. 

I recently cleaned out a couple of bookcases and made a stack of “keep”, “give” and “oh my gosh I never read this one”.

Ok…so the “give” stack was the smallest…and the “oh my gosh…” was the largest and actually was more like three very tall stacks. 

I set those in a closet in the spare bedroom and have been determined to work through them. 

Two were bible study type books and after spending a couple of weeks working on them and realizing they were not teaching me anything nor encouraging me nor enriching me…I felt no sense of regret in donating one that was just a book…and pitching one that had entries from me and therefore would not bless anyone. 

So whether you are my age or quite a bit younger, let me encourage you to not waste time on reading something just because you purchased it or received it. 

Not all books have to be read nor studies completed. 

Now on a positive note I have a recommendation of a wonderful book that has been touching my heart in powerful ways. 

Actually two, because when I tracked down which friend had given me the first one she informed me she had another by the same author and dropped it off on my front porch a few days later. 

This might explain my large collection of books, by the way…I have people who feed my habit. And I love them for it <3

But about those two books.

Both are written by Shauna Letellier:

Remarkable Faith and Remarkable Hope

Shauna has taken biblical accounts that we are familiar with and by studying other literature written around the time and culture she has filled in the details to bring the stories to life for us. 

She acknowledges that this is not “scripture” but her musings about how the real life human beings experienced their personal encounters with Christ and were transformed by His love and mercy and grace.

I have found them inspiring and relevant to walking out this faith journey in my own life. 

Cultures, clothing, politics change…but human beings have the same struggles from generation to generation and God offers the same comfort, guidance, hope and help with the same power that extends from creation to restoration. 

What are you reading/studying right now?

Is it a chore or are you hearing God speak to you and is there fruit being developed in your life? 

Resources:

https://shaunaletellier.com/books/remarkable-faith/

https://shaunaletellier.com/books/remarkable-hope/

PS on those randoms

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As we continue to recover from our whirlwind trip to Austin and have logged quite a few hours of drive time for various sports, errands and a concert…here are the two randoms I left off yesterday:

#1  My cousin Betty has a thing for helping other people develop strong communication skills. 

She has written a couple of books, started a business and even hosted a conference this year. 

You can find her information here –>https://www.cornerstone-ct.com, but I wanted to pass along a genius thing she shared with me on a recent Marco Polo chat. 

Simple words…great impact. 

She told me she had received coaching advice herself on being more disciplined in the work she has been called to do. 

Treat what you do like it was a job, not a hobby. 

I think about this blog, the prayer ministry teams I communicate with at our church, the class I teach and the house and family I care for. 

And I realize that because there are no set hours or expectations placed on me by outer influences, I tend to feel like what I do is a “hobby.”

Something to squeeze in as time allows. 

Only time doesn’t allow. 

Time gets snatched up here and there and the things I know I am called to do are not given the focus and attention they need to be effective. 

I am not disciplined to complete projects because I don’t have a human boss, or an organization with a time clock or a job description mapped out and filed in the HR department. 

In my own mind, I have made what God has assigned me to do as unimportant because it doesn’t seem like legitimate work. And that’s all on me…because the people who love me go to great lengths to remind me that what I do matters.

Betty said she is putting feet on this counsel but making some changes in her schedule that include office hours. 

I have some other friends who do similar “work” to what I do and I know from their example that they take their ministry work seriously, even though they don’t have a W2 or a supervisor in house. 

It is the hardest thing to feel like you have a legitimate “job” when there is no system in place to hold you accountable. 

So just passing that along to you all who may struggle with the same tendency to procrastinate until you have a deadline looming and then you feel like you have the okay to put the time in on what God has called you to do. 

www.laurareimer.net

#2 I have written about this topic before but it bears repeating. 

Somewhere along the toting of children and their backpacks and sleeping in a hotel bed and lugging my own 50 pound carry on in and out of planes and cars, I have managed to develop a pain under my collar bone that had me googling “pain under the collar bone” at 3 am Monday morning. 

And I was reminded again of the massive concentration of muscles for the entire pectoral region that call that little piece of my body home…and also about trigger point pain…and how when a group of muscles get over stressed, the pain can be quite..well…painful.

All the rounded shouldering of the extra baggage I was loading on has produced a tenderness as this muscle group was aggravated and irritated. 

Stretching, rest and massaging will work the tension out eventually. 

In the meanwhile, simple movements necessary for dressing myself and doing tasks send shooting pain through my chest and arm. 

A reminder that I was not meant to carry more than a certain amount of extra baggage…you see where we are going, right?

Sometimes in life, we do take on other’s burdens. And we do so willingly and out of love, but it takes a toll on us. 

If you have been walking through a time where God has called you to shoulder the backpacks of others or lift that one weary soldier right up in your arms…remember to take care of YOU too…rest…refresh…hand as much of the extra weight over to God as you can…let Him massage and tend and care for your aches as well. 

#3 And finally…this is a bonus…I got a great suggestion for a book related to what I wrote about yesterday with prayer and the news so passing this along from my friend Gerry:

https://www.amazon.com/Praying-News-Your-Prayers-Powerful/dp/0830759263

Peace out…have a good day <3 

Three randoms for Wednesday…because I got wordy and five would have been too much <3

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I can’t blame my brain fog on too much sugar because nary a jelly bean nor a Reese’s Egg was consumed this Easter by yours truly. 

I am also adequately caffeinated and fairly rested so that can’t be the issue and I had my hair done yesterday which gives me a bonus day today because hairdressers use unicorn magic and whatever they do with the sprays and gels and hairdryer makes me look like I have a legitimate hair style two days in a row so…there’s that going for me. 

But it just seems on this overcast day with a zillion things to do in the next 48 hours that we need a dose of randoms….so here we go in no particular order:

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<3 Just as surely as I love to embrace Lent as a time of reflection and inner soul cleansing and Easter as a time of joyful celebration, the week after has me reflecting on the post-Resurrection week accounts in Scripture. 

Peter’s restoration. Thomas’s doubting. Jesus popping in and out of rooms, cooking and eating fish…all of it. 

Right down to the two angels standing in front of the slack jawed disciples as Jesus nail scarred feet slid farther up into the clouds and the way he addresses them so matter of factly…

Why are you staring up into heaven….He is gone just like He told you. And He will come back…just like He said.

I can relate. 

When I hear God’s voice it is usually direct, to the point and effective to make me move forward and do something. 

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<3 Speaking of not eating chocolate on Easter. (I warned you this was going to be random)

I finally got serious about changing some very poor eating patterns and signed up for the Weight Watchers app on my phone. 

It has helped me become aware of how unhealthy my choices had become and has not in any way diminished my love of all things fried and caloric. 

However, I am finding healthy alternatives to some of my favorites and yesterday I would have loved to have eaten an entire Italian meal but satisfied that with the following little made up recipe that I am going to share with you. 

And no. 

This is not becoming a health nor a food blog…it was just yummy and easy and so I am sharing.

I sliced a Zucchini in half and then thin slices down the length – so not circles…

I sprayed a pan with store brand pam and lined it with the slices.

I quartered a handful of cherry tomatoes and laid on top of the slices followed by about a half cup of precooked turkey sausage (in the bacon aisle at the grocery).

I topped this with about three pinches of low fat Mozzarella cheese and dusted with oregano and basil. I baked at 350 for maybe 20 minutes. 

It totally satisfied my pizza/lasagna craving. 

Honest. 

I loved it and it made my heart happy. 

Dairy free friends…use goat cheese. 

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<3 The thing about randoms is, I understand I jump from the trivial to the very serious and important and I apologize for the abrupt shift, but I am still shocked and stunned by the horrible loss of life in Sri Lanka on Easter. 

Over 350 dead. 

If you are unfamiliar with the events, please google and pray for this country. 

I am also stunned and shocked by how little we read or hear of it as opposed to when more “popular” tragedies occur. 

It makes me realize that there is a system in place for promoting news stories and often an agenda in how and what the events in and around the world are delivered to us. 

Ever more the need to pray for wisdom and discernment as we filter through all that we are told and all that is kept from being told. 

Live wisely friends. 

Even the sympathies towards the burning of Notre Dame have now become a huge controversy as critics rise on both sides of people’s responses around the world.

It is easy to get caught up in “trendy news” and get all worked up about something because it is being marketed in a way that plays on our emotions. 

I have been known, more often than I care to admit, to get on a soapbox about something that I was mis- or under-informed on. 

As we take in the news each day, it would probably be best to respond first by praying for the situations that are concerning us and seek God’s direction for how best (if at all) our activity and words should be added to the fire. 

Blessings to you <3 

Takeaways Part 2 …. <3

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Did you really think I was done pondering my notes from the Intentional Church Conference?

Oh…think again my friend.

While some have minds like steel traps, mine is more like a crock pot.

Stewing over things…mulling them around and holding mini-debates and imaginary dialogue in my head long after everyone else has packed it up and headed for home. 

So for Part 2, I am going to share a couple more quotes that got my attention and then tomorrow I have a plan to share my own heart responses or at least a few. 

Again from Ben Cachiaras –

 “We live on a mission field. The culture war is over and we lost – now all we have is the Gospel.” – said with a kind of half laugh because of course…it’s all we ever needed. 

You may not like how that sounds, but think about it and I will comment tomorrow.

“As leader missionaries it is time to recapture our missionary spirit and remember the mission is to:

  • Leading people to Jesus
  • Raising up new leaders and starting churches”

“We need to create an environment and space where others can find Jesus. The squeeze of persecution is going to finally force us to go out into the mission field.”

“The Church is more despised than every and yet it is needed now more than ever.”

For those who are living outside of the will of God, he has heard this statement:

“The ones who preach Truth and the Gospel don’t accept us and the ones who accept us don’t preach Truth and the Gospel.” 

Ok – there you go…something to chew on for today and I look forward to thinking them through with you tomorrow. 

Have a good day <3