Category Archives: Relationships

No sour grapes…or milk <3

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I have already been to the grocery this morning, have dinner in the crock pot and need to be in my car and headed north in 15 minutes…20 if I want to grab a coffee on my way through the small town 8 miles north of here. 

And I do. 

I very much want to do that. 

So here is the thought o’the day.

I don’t know if I can credit my mom, my dad or both of them or some comedian my mom heard and retold the story enough that I thought it was hers. 

But she would laugh at the concept of the way we react to milk being possibly sour. 

The joke goes that someone takes a drink of milk and then hands the glass to someone they love saying, “I think this has gone bad. Taste it.”

At our house we were all like…yeah, no. I’m good. If you think it’s sour, let’s go with that as our truth. 

It occurred to me recently that a similar thing happens in my conversations. 

Someone does something kind of rude to me or hurts my feelings and my first response is to tell someone else what happened as if to get a second opinion on the validation of my feelings. 

I am not saying we don’t need to share our feelings with others, but asking them to taste the raw bitterness so we can feel justified in our assessment of what happened is not fair to that unsuspecting friend or family member. 

God is teaching me as I age, and hopefully gain some wisdom, that He is really the only one I should take the first full cup of sour milk to and ask what just happened. 

Evaluating the situation and processing my response in His presence FIRST is a much better plan. 

It seems when I take this approach, we either work things out in a holy space and I can leave it there, or He raises up the right friend at the right time in the right way so that with a right heart, I can share my struggle without excessively maligning or highlighting someone else’s error. 

Just a thought and now I must be on my way! 

For auld lang syne, my dears <3

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Happy last day of 2019!

What is your tradition or mood as we wind up a year? 

Are you all about the celebration of the New Year…or are you more interested in the reflection on the old one…or a lovely mix of both?

I find this week between Christmas and New Years to be one of looking back seeking insight as to how things went down and a sense of expectancy and hope for what lies ahead and a crazy zest to purge and clean and organize. 

While my soul-self would be content to drag this year’s journals off to some quiet retreat place, my heart and body are preparing to spend some last minute memory-making with family and friends. 

So basically…today is like every other day in my life…torn between my love of people and my need to refuel in places of solitude and quiet. 

We have miles to go before we sleep so I am just going to take a minute to thank each of you who make this trek with me throughout my daily ponderings. 

Thank you to anyone who has taken a minute to send me a note or tell me in passing that you read this. 

You keep me going. 

Thanks to my sweet family who tell me they read it and don’t ever make me feel like I shared too much or too little. They are my tribe and I love them so much, but often I love selfishly and they are so kind and forgiving <3

Thanks to my friends who faithfully like and share and don’t hold back in friendship for fear I will post about them. You know who you are and you mean the world to me <3

Thanks to my Declare Sista’s who encourage me in the professional aspect of this calling and help me understand that what I do is really a thing and not just a figment of my imagination. Your Marco Polo’s and texts and prayers are manna from heaven <3

Thanks be to God for the way He speaks to me and then holds my hands while I type so what comes out is something to you that He would like to say through someone like me. 

Thanks for the freedom I have to post my thoughts and thanks for grace when I don’t do it well. 

Thanks be to God for the year that has passed and the ways He has worked and thanks be to Him for the days yet to come. 

I pray a blessing over each of you – over your homes and your families and your lives. 

I pray that you know deep down in the farthest reaches of your hearts and minds and souls the love of Christ for you. 

Happy New Year! 

Monday reflections <3

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This weekend our women’s ministry team hosted the first ever retreat in a local setting. 

We kept it in house, with speakers from our own church and the whole theme was about pausing from our busy-ness to connect and refresh and get closer to God and each other. 

It was lovely. 

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Let’s just say when you bring 80 plus females together on a beautiful outdoor campus in perfect fall weather…there will be a lot of personalities, sharing, talking, eating, laughing, crying and all the feels.

Our three teachings centered on removing distractions so we can fully worship God, coming to terms with repentance from ways we have walked away or refused to obey and then just being still and knowing His voice. 

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I was made aware of some heavy needs and longings that have been added to my prayer list and I feel like I know some of the women who attend our church in a deeper and better way. 

Yesterday as we sat in service and I saw several new friends and old friends and pondered what it means to be in community with the Body of Christ, there was a point where the children were brought from their classrooms and led up on the platforms of both meeting places so that our pastor could pray a blessing over them. 

We watched them in all their wiggly cuteness as they climbed up on the stage and as always, I loved watching them as their eyes scanned the many faces out in front of them.

As one by one they recognized a parent or grandparent, a huge smile and wave would indicate they had found them. 

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I was reminded of a time when Sarah was in high school and I attended a huge concert at one of the local school auditoriums. I had gotten there early and found a seat near the front. 

The rows filled up quickly all the way to the back and there was a large number of students who had attended as well as families. 

As the orchestra eventually came in, Sarah was seated in the front row and I watched her as her eyes scanned the rows above me. She was looking for someone and I wondered if she had some special friends who were attending or perhaps a fellow who had caught her eye at school and she was interested in seeing if he came. 

I could tell she was searching and then lo and behold her eyes rested in front of her own chair and she saw me and her smile brightened and chased away the furtive searching look. To this day I am humbled to tears that it was me she had been looking for. 

Notoriously late, she would have assumed I had to sit way up at the back…so she had been looking to see if I was there. 

I have always been reminded of the joy that swelled in my heart when she found who she was looking for and it was me. 

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I think how God, our Father, must sit at times waiting for our eyes to finally search Him out of the crowd of options and faces and what sweet communion it is for Him and for us when finally we focus solely on Him and we cease all striving and just take Him in. 

Be blessed today on your journey. 

You will find what you seek. 

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Seek Him with all your heart. 

He is right in front of you <3

Saturday night live <3

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It’s a foggy and overcast Monday here in the Midwest. Yesterday was an absolutely perfect fall day and Saturday was a super-soaker. 

It was raining when we woke up and I don’t think it stopped the entire day. 

I worked downtown and listened to it hitting the back door and watched it splatter on the sidewalk out front and conversed with customers about how miserably wet and cold it was from 10-4. 

Russ was up north since Zach was working as well on Saturday.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend services Sunday morning due to travel so the plan was that I would go the 5:00 on my way home and we would meet up after that to eat leftovers together.

Thankfully the typical gale force winds did not accompany this day of showers and so I was able to use my umbrella to get safely to the truck two blocks away. 

But as I unloaded my bag in the back and climbed up in the front seat, I felt the chill of dampness down in my bones. I turned on the wipers and engine and turned the heat up high as I navigated away from downtown. 

Every ounce of me wanted to just head right on past the puddled parking lot as people were making their way into our church. 

I was alone…it was dark and soggy…and I had worked all day.

Besides, we have a live feed of the service now and I could just sit in the comfort and warmth of our home and watch that while I waited for Russ. 

But I felt drawn to go to real live church and so I told my flesh to hush and I pulled into a space. Before I could change my mind, I grabbed my dripping umbrella and headed in. 

Not seeing anyone I knew, I took a seat by myself down front but then I saw someone across the way I have been trying to track down.

I went over and chatted with him. One of the couples I know well were sitting in a pew right in front of that conversation. They spoke and the husband greeted me and as he shook my hand, he slipped me two little Hershey’s Pot-of-Gold bars. 

They laughed at my surprise. 

I went back over to my lone seat just as another friend and her husband came down the aisle. I asked if they had room and moved my stuff to sit by her.

I don’t get to see this friend as much these days and my heart filled to the brim to be able to just stand shoulder to shoulder with her and sing words of praise to our God. 

We know quite a bit of each other’s stories. We know the deep cries of each other’s hearts and we also know some of the incredibly amazing ways God has done the impossible. 

Behind me was another family of friends. They were celebrating their son’s birthday, just as we were celebrating Joely’s fourth on the same day. 

Again, my heart was filled with gratitude for the lives and ways God has worked in that friendship. The way He weaves our stories together.

And I would have missed it if I had just driven on and tuned in on my computer while I sipped a hot tea. 

I am thankful for the technology our church has been able to acquire so that when we are sick or traveling we can “attend” church. 

Last Sunday Russ and I listened to the service as we got ready in a hotel in Austin. 

But an online church will never take the place of the living Church – the Body of Christ. 

Flawed, yes.

Made up an odd mix of people? 

You betcha. 

Imperfect men and women and children, seeking to know and serve our Perfect God. 

Being perfected and transformed more and more into the image of His Son. 

This is the Body of Christ.

And it is too beautiful to miss for any reason <3

Our a-maze-ing Tuesday <3

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Thank you Auntie Lisa for telling us about this find at TJ Maxx…huge hit!

On Tuesday I spent the afternoon with these gems and what a day we had!

Due to the driveway being blocked for some work that had to be done in yard, PLUS the fabulous fall weather, PLUS a puppy and two school boys with excess energy to burn….

we packed up water for everyone…must stay hydrated…

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loaded up the crew….

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and then realized why Lola was having a terrible time rolling this party van out of the driveway…

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So plan B…we had the men move their equipment, transferred everyone to the motorized vehicle and headed off to pick up Thing one and Thing two.

We had planned to go to the pumpkin patch anyway so we headed there and on the way Joel asked if we could do the Corn Maze.

I said I thought it cost extra and so, no…we would not be doing that. He insisted it was free…the older two started telling him it wasn’t…Joel hadn’t napped…long story short, Lola had to pull the van over and do intervention.

Which means I put on my mom-voice and said, if it costs we aren’t doing it – if it’s free, we are. End of story. Period. We are done with this discussion.

Well we got to the gate and asked and sure enough it was free.

Joel led the way to the maze…which turned out to be the large silo filled with corn kernels…which IS free and would have made my life much easier if he had not thought that this little diversion is NOT a corn maze but a grain bin….sigh.

Too late for us though because the woman at the gate had made us sign in for participating in the corn maze so that if we got lost and didn’t come out they could send a rescue squad.

I have no idea why she thought we would get lost…they gave us a map…

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According the nice man who sent us on our way, we just needed to enter at #3 and follow the clouds and around through the barn and it would lead us right back out in 20 minutes.

Right.

I can’t read a real map…take a gander at the pic in Joel’s hand and imagine navigating it from this vantage point…

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After the first few times they asked me which way to turn, I gave up and said…go with your best instinct boys…if we aren’t out by dark they will come find us.

We turned one nightmare corner after another….with Joel constantly reminding me not to step in the mud…thanks Joel…

and finally, with great rejoicing in my heart I heard the boys holler that they had found it!!!

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Turns out what they had found was this outlook post that supposedly is like the “halfway” point….

this was our view…

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I started laughing uncontrollably as I realized how far we were from the start/exit…and how hopeless the whole prospect of getting out of there before bedtime was…and what in the world had prompted me to think we could do this…and best.day.ever. all rolled into one hilarious moment.

I felt we should just go back from whence we came…but my navigators insisted we blaze on down the other side of the stairs and so we did and eventually…

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we made it out.

And don’t worry….

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this one did too, but she was no-how and no-way going to stick around for a picture because the band of brothers was making big talk about doing the challenge path next….

another day boys…another day.