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.

Counting My Blessings

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been away on a mission trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands (if you’re interested, I blogged all about it while we were there).  We got back late Sunday evening, and I have to say, as beautiful as the island was, and wonderful as the people were, it’s good to be home!

I went outside Monday morning to see how the garden had fared while we were away.  Plenty of weeds, to be expected, and TONS of green beans, ready to be picked.  The bowlful in the picture above is from only one of the four rows we have planted!  Then I headed to the chicken coop to say hello to my feathered friends and collect the lovely treasures they leave for me each day.

As I came inside and washed the bounty that I had just gathered from my own backyard, I couldn’t help but think of my friends back on the island.  Providenciales, the island we stayed on, is pretty small.  They have no natural resources, there is no manufacturing, no farmland, no way to raise livestock…everything has to be shipped in.  And everything is expensive.  That bowl full of beans and handful of eggs fresh from my own yard is truly a gift.

Let me tell you, I looked at my dinner plate with a whole new appreciation that night!

How Majestic is Your Name in All the Earth!

There’s something about visiting a different part of this planet that makes your take a fresh and revitalizing look at this world Our Lord created.

I’m on the island of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, on a mission trip with some of our church family, hubby and dear daughter at my side.  This place is beautiful.

The water here is a shade of blue that I’ve only ever seen in gemstones, and just as clear.  The people we’ve met embrace and welcome us as if we are dear friends.  And the worship…

“Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!”

Psalm 150:1,6

Even more than the beauty of creation, is the beauty of souls united in worship.

“Oh, LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Psalm 8:1

The Next Stage

Change is not fun.

Even if it’s good change, it still leaves a little hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach.

That’s how I’ve been feeling this week.  Not unhappy or even nervous, just a little off.

Why, you ask?  What’s going on?

Hubby and I had a “state-of-the-union” discussion and decided that it was time for me to seek employment outside of the home.

It’s been twelve years since I wrote a resume…it needed a lot of updating.

With one kid heading out-of-state to go to college, and the other working and socializing so much that she’s gone more than she’s home, our family’s needs are changing.  And with a 21-year-old house that needs re-roofing and siding, it’s time for Stay-at-Home-Mom to make way for Working-Mom.

Don’t get me wrong…my first and primary job will always be Wife and Homemaker.  Trouble is, those jobs don’t pay very well…at least not in the type of currency we need to fix the house, pay for dental work, replace the stove, repair or replace the van…

You catch my drift.

I have to admit, after completing my resume, even I was a little impressed with the wide range of skills and abilities I have to offer.  I’m not bragging or anything, it’s just that, when you’ve been at home with your kids for the last 8 years, you start to forget that you can do anything else.  When you’re not getting quarterly reviews, cost of living wage increases, promotions, or bonuses, it’s easy to lose sight of how valuable your job really is, and how skilled, intelligent, and  capable you really are.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, all you stay-at-home moms out there, you home-schooling moms, those of you who have been blessed to be able to stay home to nurture and grow your budding family…you have one of the most important jobs on Earth.  Don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise.  The experience you gain in being chief cook and bottle washer, household manager, superintendent of schools, head teacher,  buying specialist, product analyst, child welfare officer, assistant CEO,  dog catcher, public relations director, head nurse,  chauffeur, life coach, morale officer, executive assistant, activities director, sanitation officer, diplomat…that  experience is beyond compare and invaluable.

“Stay-at-home” does not equal “unskilled.”  Never forget it, hang in there when it gets hard…it’s SO worth it!

O.K., so this post was supposed to be about the changes this family is making, but it turned out to be a motivational pep-talk instead…I’m glad it did.  And I don’t think I’m going to go back and edit it to be a more cohesive piece of writing…this blog is about the real me talking to the real you about real stuff.  So here it is, un-edited.

Blind Intersection

We were driving home from church the other day and Hubby saw this sign, only about a half mile from our house.

“When did that get put there?”  he asked.

It’s been there for a while now; it’s just that we drive past it so often that we don’t even notice it, and now, with the summer foliage, it’s partially blocked from view.

I’m not really sure why we noticed that sign the other day when usually we don’t, but I couldn’t help thinking about it this morning as I was contemplating some decisions we’ve made recently.

The truth is, life is full of blind intersections.

Intersections aren’t necessarily bad things…like the intersection that turns off toward the ice cream place, or the one that goes to the beach, or to a friend’s house.  But it’s a little disorienting when you come upon them unexpectedly, like when your exit on the highway comes up faster than you realized and you either have to slam on the brakes, praying to avoid a collision, in order to make your turn, or pass it to drive another 10 miles before you can legally turn around and head back to it.

Or when you’re driving along and you know your turn is coming up but you’re not exactly sure where, so you drive as slowly as the vehicle behind you will tolerate, craning your neck and straining your eyes to catch a glimpse of your turn-off before you pass it.

Yah, life can be like that sometimes.

Then again, if I push over to the passenger seat and let the Lord drive, we’re sure to get exactly where we’re meant to go exactly when we’re meant to get there.

This could be fun!  I LOVE road trips!

Fun on the Fourth

Picnics, parades, fireworks…that’s how most folks spend their Independence Day.  Me…I sew.

But today, I sewed for myself.  That counts for relaxation and recreation, right?

With our trip coming up, I’ve been thinking about making a purse to bring with me that’s small enough to comfortably carry around all day, but big enough to hold everything that I just can’t do without.  Plus  I wanted something trendy and summery.

May I introduce…”The Tourister!”

I am SO happy with how this bag came out!  It doesn’t always work out that my first attempt at a new design comes out exactly as I planned.  I usually have a tweak or two that I want to make the ‘next time.’  Not so with this purse; I’m as pleased as can be with it!

There is one thing I’ll do differently next time, and the only reason I didn’t do it this time is that I couldn’t find the right hardware; I’ll probably have to order it.  Anyway, what I would like to do is make the strap so that it’s adjustable.  I designed the purse to be worn cross body, so the strap is just a smidgen too long to be worn as a shoulder bag.  If it were adjustable, it could be worn either way.

I made this purse for myself, but I’ve got more fabric, so I’ve listed the style for sale in my Etsy shop.  Maybe someone will decide they need a new purse for their vacation this summer!  🙂

Going Abroad

You may remember me mentioning a trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands that we’re getting ready for (if not, you’re welcome to check out the blog we started for the purpose of documenting the trip).  And a trip abroad means digging out the passport.

I’ve been meaning to make passport covers for quite some time, but didn’t get around to it until now.  Pretty much the entire mission team chimed in when I asked if anyone wanted one.  So I’ve spent the last couple of days choosing fabrics, planning my design, and finally constructing 10 of them.

Now we’re stylin’!

Have you got any travel plans for the summer?