One in a trabillionzillion <3

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I was trying to think what to send you and I keep pushing away this little story, but it persists in rising to the top and so I am going to share it. 

Do you ever have things happen that are just so sweet and tender that you almost want to hide them away in your heart? I do.

I never want to betray the sacred ground of our family life for a story and yet God seems to give me such moments to share with you – maybe something you can relate to…maybe He has a word of encouragement for you…maybe just to make you smile and think on good things in a world that is becoming increasingly hard and divided. 

So here is my little gift to you today from my heart.

A couple of months ago when I was spending the day with our crew, Graham took a super close zoom in on my face and very sweetly pointed out that I had something on one of my front teeth. 

I asked him if he was seeing a little divot near the bottom edge of the tooth and yes, that was it. 

I told him I have always had that. Some dentist along the way told me my permanent tooth had been delayed coming in and that caused this kind of chipped spot.

 I don’t know if he was correct in that diagnosis, but over the years various other dentists have offered to fill it in if I would like but I told them no. 

Graham seemed fascinated that I would pass on having this little mar fixed. 

I can understand why he would be surprised since I can’t bear having a spot on my clothes or a mascara smear at the corner of my eye and can waste a huge amount of time stressing over a chunk of hair that is stubbornly refusing to join ranks with the rest of my head. 

As he looked at me like I had suddenly grown a third eye in addition to my chipped tooth, I explained to him how I kind of love that little blemish for some reason.

 It is like a familiar friend to me and I always felt like it gave my ordinary features something special and unique. It was how God made my tooth and I actually love my little chip.

I totally forgot about the conversation and for story purposes, you need to as well….

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and another day with the band of brothers and Little Miss Thing. 

We were driving in the van and from the far recesses of the back, Graham asked me if I ever noticed he has a bald spot. 

Well, I did know that he has a tiny place on the side of his head near his temple where hair just never has grown. I noticed it first a few years ago and had asked Rachel if he or another Kindergartner had taken a scissor to it because he seemed self conscious about making sure it was covered. She told me he had always had it and yes, he was embarrassed when people noticed and commented.

So with this memory popping up, I immediately began to downplay any recollection of having noticed this on his precious head. 

Instantly he stopped me in my tracks. 

Oh no Lola!!! I do have a spot…it’s like the chip in your tooth. God made me that way. It makes me special and unique.

Even as I tell you this, I have a big lump in my throat and tears brimming thinking of the joy in his voice as he shared my own words right back to me. 

I took a peek in the rearview mirror at his beaming face as I asked him…Graham! Have you come to love your little bald spot the way I love my tooth? 

Nodding enthusiastically he replied with a happy….. Yes

Oh my word…such a moment. 

There are so many things about myself I wish were not so. 

Not just physical things, but ways I am wired and driven. 

And yes, God is in the business of transforming me more and more into the image of Christ. 

But how fun when He helps me see that some of my flaws and shortcomings (not my sins…just my human “stuff”)  are just the ways He has made me unique and different from everyone else so that we can all come together and add our flavor to the Body of Christ <3 

What’s your little imperfection or quirk that God has shown you makes you unique and uses to encourage all the other works-in-progress who share the journey each day?

Can we learn to love how we were fashioned because we love the One who made us this way? I hope so. 

You are unique and one of a kind beautiful and you are loved <3

And then sometimes God gives you your word…

www.laurareimer.net

Good morning! 

I am super late getting a post up. I actually got ready first, which is unheard of…this new leaf thing is stretching me….hope it passes soon.

As I have been thinking about the “one word” thing…and I am quite certain that unless some random thought crops up that burns to be expressed we are done with it as of today…and it occurs to me that God is pressing a word on me.

Several words actually.

Do you ever find a verse or phrase or theme cropping up in a couple of locations and you start to perk up your ears?

Well, since we cracked open the 2019 calendar ten days ago, I have been smacked in the face by a passage A LOT.

It was featured in our Sunday School lesson, and then the sermon given by our pastor.

It has been in a couple of my devotional readings, from different sources and was thrown out by both a sermon podcast I listened to and a recorded teaching by Beth Moore from December 5th.

And if you feel like it’s hunting you down too, well then I find myself in good company this morning. 

I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God; that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  

Romans 12: 1 & 2 NKJV

I love The Message wording as well…

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 

Eugene Peterson adds this in the commentary:

“God doesn’t want a tithe from you, minced out of the pocket change of your life. He wants all of you. All of your heart. All of your mind. All of your time, your energy, your resources. All of your hopes and dreams. Every bit of who you are and what you have, he wants you to put on the altar as an offering to him.”

The Message Study Bible, Eugene Peterson; navpress, 2007, pg. 1761

Seems like a lot doesn’t it. 

Kind of fanatical. 

Very risky.

Until we remember that the very breath in our lungs is by His will and power and grace.

www.laurareimer.net

As Beth said so well at the end of her message I listened to (December 5th on her broadcast) and I paraphrase for you…

We have been raised from a stinking grave for crying out loud and we walk around acting like God has been holding out on us. 

God is calling me to renew my mind this year…to lay down before Him this every-day, ordinary life as an offering and then taking my hands off of what I gave Him. 

I am not loaning Him my life. I am giving back the life He freely gave me.

To stop conforming and to surrender to His transforming. 

What’s God speaking to you this year? 

Share. Please do. 

Oh sure…with me in the comments would be fun…but no… I mean SHARE it out there with others. 

Let’s be people who are effective witnesses because we have taken the time to really absorb and recognize what Christ has done for us. 

www.laurareimer.net

What’s in a word?

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Good morning! I am running around like a crazy person trying to get some dusting done, laundry caught up and me ready to head out the door ON TIME for work…because…new year equals new leaf attempts. 

I am mulling over this whole “one word” thing and I know you all are just sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear more about my word last year…okay maybe not…but here we go with a quick observation and then I am outta here!

I mentioned last year and again yesterday about this word “simplify.”

It kind of sounds like simplicity, which is so out of reach for me I can’t even imagine that one. 

I will most likely overthink everything til Jesus takes me Home or I totally lose all mental faculties. 

I am wired to ponder and add layers to thoughts and activities, and I am somewhat drawn to shiny things.

Also, since I have the heart of a story teller by nature, I would be short on material if I lived without the unending complications I encounter just navigating a day. 

Case in point, I just googled the word “simplicity” to enhance our conversation and I was immediately taken to the website for the Simplicity pattern company. This transported me back to Junior High Home Ec class…and it is with great effort and discipline that I am logging out of that rabbit trail and looking for the definition!!!

So…simplicity: the quality of being easy to understand and do

Yes – this is not me. 

I don’t understand things easily. 

I am often an enigma to those who love me most.

I do not go about any task the easy way. 

I make a lot of work for those same people who love me most. 

So while “simplicity” may be a stretch, I CAN CHOOSE to simplify along the way. 

To simplify is a process, and I am all about processes. 

The very name of this blog is “Journey Onward” because it’s about the fact that we are all making our way along a path.

Step by step.

And while I am prone to want lots of rest breaks and detours to scenic spots…and while I grouse about other times when I must deviate from the quickest route due to construction and delays…it is all part of the way I am taking through this life and the people who are walking alongside me in different seasons. 

And sometimes I tend to focus on the wrong things at crucial times. 

That is where I grew a little through employing my One Word last year.

I can look back and see where I let go of some of my perfectionism issues…where I challenged myself to look at the big picture instead of micro-micro-managing the teeny tiny details of how I did things.

I got brave and left the house with a hat on some days when the errand needed to be run. 

I learned to think less about what every one else might be thinking. 

Oh, this is huge. 

I forced myself to make quick decisions on totally unimportant things like what to order off a menu and what was really essential to throw in an overnight bag. 

If you don’t struggle with over thinking, none of this sounds like much…but to me…it was kind of a big deal to realize I survived just fine and lived to order and pack again. 

So there you go…my synopsis of last year’s word. 

And just in time to post and head out to work.

Bam! 

Have a good day and I will see you tomorrow!

Taking a look at the “one word” thing…

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So the thing the last few years that has kind of been added to the mix of goal-setting and resolutions appears to involve having a focus word.

You may have noticed that I have a tendency to use more words than necessary as part of my modus operandi. 

As Russ likes to point out, why use ten words when you can use a hundred…yes, that would be me. 

And if a picture paints a thousand words, then by all means…use both. 

Settling on one word seemed impossible until last year when I took the quiz and discovered the word “simplify” and it was like an epiphany moment.

And it probably wasn’t until well after the actual  Epiphany date on the liturgical calendar that I arrived at my word for the year, because besides being extremely verbal I am also rather slow to make decisions.

I wasn’t sure I would stick with the word very long since I tend to get bored and forgetful. 

But it would keep cropping up in unusual ways and I found myself pinpointing areas of my life I overcomplicate. 

I may touch on this more at some point…we shall see…

but since I did sharpen my ability to eliminate stress at certain points by not dwelling on EVERY SINGLE TINY DETAIL all. the. time….

I am skipping that for today and introducing you to a fun new perspective introduced to me by my friend Shelly D. Templin. 

Here is the link to her post about how she turned the one word idea in a new direction for 2019. 

https://www.shellydtemplin.com/encouargement/my-not-word-for-2019/

I am giving it a whirl…tune in tomorrow…but for now enjoy her clever way with words <3

It’s always the re-entry that gets me <3

www.laurareimer.net

Well, it has been a while and I have so many thoughts bouncing around that I am restrained to develop a Five Randoms so that I can get a post up and move on with the laundry, backed up paperwork and final migration of Christmas to their respective green tubs in the basement. 

So let us begin with the first five thoughts that spill off this blonde brain…

#1  I love Christmas and family filling up the rooms of our house.

I love the presence and yes, as we know…I love the presents…the giving and the getting and watching what others gave to siblings and parents…the food and the games…but it drains me. 

I need copious amounts of rest and quiet and nothingness to balance all of the above. 

And God provided for this in the most unusual of ways. 

A thiry-six hour bout with an odd virus that really brought no discomfort beyond some minor tummy issues and a mild headache. 

I was couch bound in a silent house while Russ and John enjoyed great seats at an Illini game courtesy of John and then dinner with some dear friends. 

And I rested. 

It was a game changer. 

So respect your need for rest – whatever that looks life for you.

Rest and refreshing comes in different ways depending on how we are wired but to rest is a command from God. 

Obey it.

#2   What happened to all the nice jolly people that were bustling about getting ready for Christmas? 

Too much sugar and overspending, I would presume. 

If you are finding yourself kind of irritable and crabby, please scroll back to #1.

And then rest.

Please.

We need you at your best out there…it’s kind of rough in January.

www.laurareimer.net

#3    We saw a couple of movies over Christmas and based on the previews, we have run out of ideas. 

The entertainment industry is recycling old plots and live animating all the cartoon movies. 

I have pondered from time to time that since there is a limited number of notes, there must be some sort of finite number of combinations and if the earth lasts long enough, we will surely have used them all up and all the songs that can ever be made will have been made.

We will run out of new ones.

It would seem the same holds true for ideas regarding story lines. 

We are there. 

#4     What do you love about winter? 

For me it is that cocooning we do in the evening, reading or watching a game on TV.

Soups and stews in the crock pot. 

Ice blue winter sky spread wide over the frosted stubble of the corn and bean fields. 

Soft blankets and comfy clothing…and no humidity. 

The way crystals form in a featherlike pattern on the corners of our windows some mornings and snow days…because even when you no longer have children in school…snow days are magical. 

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#5   I was reading in Lamentations 3 this morning and it struck me how Jeremiah openly acknowledges that God sometimes/often parent’s us with “tough love.”

It made me think of our current study in Sunday School and our discussion yesterday about how we have a tendency to skip over passages that don’t make us feel good about ourselves. 

So contrary to our culture. 

It’s all about feeling good about ourselves, isn’t it?

But as I read through verse by verse, I recognize that me feeling good again is not the point. 

If I am feeling bad about something and I feel like God is not paying attention to me, instead of looking for Him in places where He will affirm me…I need to be quiet and still and just sit before Him. 

Maybe He is silent because I have only been listening to what I want to hear Him say. 

As I sit and allow Him to discipline me, He gently or forcibly brings me to a place of repentance and it is there that I discover who HE IS…and that, my friends, is what it’s all about. 

I do so love the promise that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23-24), but am I also loving the reminder that I should, at times, sit and be quiet and offer myself to Him to learn where correction is needed in my thoughts and actions? 

Hmmmm……

I pray we walk in the fullness of His loving correction and redirection for each of us in 2019. 

Blessings dear ones.

It is good to be back <3