Forward

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“Forgetting what lies behind…”

Not forget, like “don’t even bring it to mind ever again,” but forget like “don’t cling to it, or let it cling to you.”

Sometimes it’s the “good” things I need to forget.

Sometimes, dwelling on how good things used to be brings me down, because now seems so much harder.

The trouble with dwelling on how things “used to be” is that it makes it tricky to see the blessings in how things are now. Harder isn’t always worse, in fact, harder is often where the best joys are found.

So my word for this coming year is “forward.

“…straining forward to what lies ahead,” because ahead is where hope is found.

Ahead is undiscovered and unblemished.

Ahead is the prize…the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Forward to all the blessings and joy the Lord has in store, regardless of the road conditions.

Forward.

Still Small Voice

DSCN1446.urbaneStanding in the kitchen at the end of a long day, dinner simmering in the skillet, I happen to look out the window and a bright spot catches my eye.

The early evening light has caught the tips of some yellowing leaves, illuminating them like glimmers of gold.

“Are you listening? Do you see?”

That Still Small Voice, that I too often forget to listen for.

“I love you.”

I love You, too, Lord.  Thanks for reminding me.

Firefly Joy

Image courtesy of Denae at http://arippleonthewater.blogspot.com/2012/05/bugs.html

Image courtesy of Denae

So I started this joy dare thing, 31 days of joy for the month of October, and I’m on day three which is to think of “a gift caught, let go, mid-way.”

That got me thinking about fireflies.

Do you remember those warm mid-summer nights when your back yard was full of little blinking electric lights?  Remember how you’d catch them and put them in a mason jar, poke air holes in the lid, and spend the rest of the evening marveling at the super-natural glow emitting from the tail end of those little bugs?  And then, at the end of the night, mom or dad would say, “OK, time to let them go.”   That was always a bit disappointing, mostly because it meant it was time for bed, but also because it meant letting the source of that evening’s enjoyment go.  Of course, we knew it was best that we did let those fireflies go, otherwise they would die.  But it was still sad to take of the lid and dump the jar out.

There’re things in life like that, joys that we aren’t quite ready to be done with, even if we know it’s best.  I’ve had friendships like that, and recently had that experience with my Etsy shop…right smack dab in the middle of the enjoying, for one reason or another, I had to let it go.  I know the Lord had my best interest in mind, but it was a little sad.  Sometimes I understood the blessing in the letting go, sometimes not; guess that’s where faith comes in.  The point is, I need to remember to count the time I did have in the enjoyment as a gift, without letting the loss steal new joy.

It’s also a good reminder to not hold our blessing too tightly.  Some gifts are meant to be enjoyed for a season, so dive in and soak up the joy, but never hold them so close that we can’t let them go when it’s time.  Hold them like fireflies…those memories last a lifetime, and always bring a smile to my heart!

Crafting with Kelly

New job, new friends…another of the few things that is great about my job (I work with some pretty fantastic folks), and one of them, Kelly, likes to sew and knit and read and craft…just like me!   :-)

So the other day, during a random-thought moment, I told Kelly that we ought to make some felted acorns.  “Sure!,” she said.  So we Google-d “how to make felted acorns out of wool,” learned what we needed to do, and after work that night, went to our locally owned and operated yarn shop and bought some wool.  The next morning, after my run, I collected a whole bunch of acorns from our yard and got ready for some fun!

photo 1A couple of nights later we got together at my house, did some more Google-ing, and found a great video to review the process.  After a few trials and errors, we started making some pleasing progress:

photo 2Junior was home for the week, and he joined us, too!

Here’s what the finished product looks like:

photo 3Sweet, huh?!  Now we just have to figure out what to do with a several dozen felted acorns!

Still Finding the Thread

Believe it or not, I’m still here…got a little sidetracked, but I’m still here!

I’m not going to bore you with a year-in-review update. How about just a few pictures to capture some of my favorite moments?

Happy day! Got to see my big little brother for the first time in 22 years!

aaron and me

…and met my niece and nephew in person!

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One of the few lovely things about my new job…the lunch-break sanctuary.

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Another happy day…got to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary while attending the marriage of a lovely young couple from church.  I do believe this is the best ever picture of me and my dearest!

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So much fun! A group of folks from our sister church in Ontario came down to help us out with a week-long summer kids program. Met some pretty amazing folks!

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Summer lobster feed is a great time for an updated family photo…for once, we were ALL there!

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Dearest daughter with her young man.

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And a moment from our day in Boston with Junior to celebrate his birthday…farmers market, Faneuil Hall, Boston Aquarium, Mike’s Pastry, and a LONG walk to Barnes and Nobel…great day!

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There’s so much more, of course, but these are the best moments…the ones I like to dwell on.  It’s been a long year, a bumpy ride, and a great adventure, all rolled up in one….and I still haven’t found that darn thread, but that’s all part of the journey, I guess, so we’ll keep on keepin’ on.

Until next time (and I’m hoping “next time” is sooner than next year), be blessed!

Around the Bend

I know I’ve been negligent with my musings…I’m sorry.  Life’s just been a little bit up-heaved recently…a good kind of upheaval, but upheaval none the less.

August pretty much flew by without me even getting a chance to notice, but it ended with a SUPER successful craft fair day with my dear friend, Shanna Tice.  God blessed our socks off, that’s for sure!

And September started with a bang…

Labor Day weekend we had a huge family lobster feed (btw…I LOVE LOBSTER!).  Three days later we delivered our son and youngest child to his first ever college dorm room, and three days after that…I GOT A JOB!

I’d been on the job hunt for two months at that point, getting more and more discouraged as every application, resume, and follow-up call was met with either silence or denial.  I’d even applied at two different temp agencies to no avail, until, finally…

Eight o’clock in the morning, already showered, fed, and ready to start the day, I was standing over the sink, working on breakfast dishes when I get the call.

“I’ve got a potential assignment for you.  The client wants to know if you can come today to do a 3 hour job shadow.”

I was ready and out the door in less than an hour.

I ended up staying the entire day and have been back  every weekday since.

It’s a pretty intense  job, with lots of details, new skills and vocabulary to learn, but I’m getting there.  And the girls, rrr, ladies that I’m working with are super sweet, patient, and eager to help me get up to speed.  I’m pretty sure I’m gonna like it there.

And, while I’m not exactly sure what’s up ahead around the bend, I’m looking forward to seeing where this part of the road of life leads. Going from stay-at-home mom to a full-time job has led to some pretty drastic changes to our home routine, but everyone has been stepping up to the plate and doing their part to keep home a happy place.

All summer long I’ve felt like God has been saying to me, “Do you trust Me?  Then wait.”

I feel like the waiting is over now.

This next phase is going to bring new life lessons.  Right now it feels like I’m going to have lots of practice with this little gem of a scripture:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Here’s to the journey…this is gonna be great!

Bloom in the Holding Pattern

I’ve been in a bit of a funk recently.

I’m ashamed to say that I can get like that sometimes, when life ahead seems uncertain, with no clear direction, no noticeable results from what I’ve been doing, when I’m not sure which direction to head or if I’ve been going in the right direction at all.

But this morning, while I was having my quiet time, I was reminded that God is always at work, even when we can’t see it.

That thought reminded me of something that happened last week on the way home from our island mission.

We had just landed at the airport where we had a lay-over and were taxiing into the terminal when the captain addressed us over the speaker system telling us that we were going to have to sit tight for a bit.  Apparently “something” was going on at the gate we were to debark on and it needed to be sorted before we could deplane.

We had no idea what was going on.  We couldn’t see anything, we didn’t have a radio to hear any of the communications about the issue.  All we could do was sit there, hot, tired, anxious to be on our way, and wait.  Just wait.

But, despite the fact we couldn’t see it, work was being done to prepare the area for our arrival.  There was very likely a whole crew of very busy folks scurrying around, clearing things out, setting things up, getting ready for us.  We couldn’t see it, but it was happening.

That’s what life is like sometimes.  You can’t see what God’s doing behind the scenes, how He’s laying things down in preparation for what’s coming.  You might even be in a holding pattern, sort of wandering around, not being terribly productive, hangin’ in there, just waiting until you get the “all clear” and direction for what’s next.

The important thing to remember at times like these is that God IS at work, even though we can’t see it.  He’s preparing the way, getting ready to keep His promises.

That got me thinking about what promises I could be holding onto right now, while sitting in my own holding pattern.  Jeremiah 29:11 came to mind:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Now, my pastor has always taught us…when you’re looking at a verse, in order to understand its full meaning, look at the passage surrounding it.  So, when I opened up to Jeremiah 29, I started in verse 1.

Jeremiah wrote a letter to the people recently exiled to Babylon, giving them a message from the Lord.  “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.  Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.  But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”  (vs. 5-8)

I read this passage and a thought immediately came to my mind…

“Bloom where you’re planted.”

We’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating, and it certainly gave me a boost this morning.  While I’m waiting, I can be busy “blooming.”

And the really neat thing…the thing I can cling to while I’m waiting and blooming…God made a promise.  He’s busy right now, working things out, and in the right time, just the right time, He will reveal His plans and give me direction for my good and His glory.  He says it right here in His word.  All I have to do is hang in there and keep blooming.