Friday, August 31, 2012

Loving you, loving me

On the heels of yesterday's post about The Five Love Languages,  I want to talk about loving and being loved.  I cannot over-express the importance of not just loving but of making sure others know you love them.  Remember Dean's need for quality time?  Juxtaposed against my need to be alone; I have to be very purposeful in fulfilling this responsibility to my husband.  And yes, it is my responsibility.  We are currently smack-dab in the middle of a quality time challenge!  (Maybe that's why I'm thinking so much about this!)
We are, at this moment, in Alabama.  Ala-freaking-bama.  We are here to visit with my mother-in-law.  Oh Lord.  My mother-in-law has never been my biggest fan.  She and I aren't besties.  We are also here to attend a family reunion.  With a bunch of people, that I dont' really know.  I don't particularly like spending time with people I know and love! 
I am gonna need some major Quality Time Bonus Points this week!
For most of the last 20 years, when the Mr. went to Alabama to visit his parents, I stayed home.  He never fussed about it, always invited me and made it clear it was no big deal if I didn't go.  And I didn't go.  After all, I am perfectly happy going about my business on my own so honestly, I figured the same was true for him.  He'd get to visit with his mom and she'd be spared my company when truly she only wanted to see her son.  Over the last few years, I've gone with him.  I'd be content home alone with a book, but it's my desire to show him my love for him that instructs my decision. 
On the other side of the coin?  Receiving love.  I'm tough to love!  I am not a chickflick kind of chick.  I don't dissolve into tears over anniversary cards.  I'm a loner, I don't need to talk over my every emotion.  How discouraging must that be for try to express his love for me and get minimum response!  I have to confess that I pride myself on not being needy.  I don't like needy.  Gives me the shivers.  Makes me puke.  Makes my hair fall out.  Well, some of that might be an exaggeration but you get the idea.  When I'm in the presence of a needy person, my primary goal is to find the exit.
When we love someone (and I'm not just referring to couples,) it is demoralizing to feel that no matter what we do, it doesn't seem to reach their heart.  With my personality, the more content I feel, the quieter I get.  Maybe that's why over time, the Lord has added the need for more physical touch to my personality.  It's a tangible thing, concrete.  He holds my hand, I feel loved.  And I respond.  Dean has said that one of his favorite things is when he puts his arms around me and feels me relax.  I'm wound a little tight, I have permanent knots in my neck.  So when I let myself fall into him, he knows he's loving me in a way that works. Additionally, I'm not a touchy-feely person.  The expression of physical touch is just between us.  Other people can provide acts of service for me but the ability to diffuse my heart...that's all his. 
As important as it is to know what others need from us to feel loved, it is important that we learn how to receive love.  If we seem to be wrapped in a wall that no one can scale, people will give up.  Don't be so not-needy that those who love you are hurt by your independence. 
Teach others how to love you and then...receive it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Love languages

Recently the Mr. and I reread The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.  We've read it a few times over the years and it was one of the books I put in the bathroom when the kids were teenagers (my favorite method of covertly pouring wisdom into their lives!) It's a good book.  Not really a marriage therapy book so much as a "stop and think a minute" kind of book. 
When I first read The Five Love Languages as a young wife, I was fascinated by figuring out the Mr.'s love language and how to better express my love for him.  That is, after all, pretty much the point of the book.  A few months ago when someone mentioned that they were reading it, we decided to have a little refresher and, out of curiosity, discover what different perspective we have 20 years later. 
If you aren't familiar with the book, the premise is that there are five basic ways in which people feel loved: affirming words, acts of service, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts.  There's a short questionnaire at the end to help you narrow down your love language. With my particular personality, I'm not generally interested in formula type methods of relationship management but this insight can be significant.  We discovered that my primary love language is acts of service.  In short, this means that I don't need a diamond bracelet or a bouquet of flowers.  I need partnership in building my vision of our lives together.  Simply put...keeping the lawn mowed, home repairs, don't throw your underwear on the bathroom floor and leave it there.  Some of you are married to guys who do all of the above already, it's the way they are wired.  Those are the guys I kept pointing out to the Mr. as examples of what he needed to be!  When we both understood that those care-taking acts made me feel safe, loved and cherished; it took on a new meaning to us.  One example in our relationship is that I never pump gas.  In our almost 30 years together, Dean has always put gas in my car.  I'm perfectly able to pump gas but it's something he's just always taken care of for me.   When we realized the significance of these acts of service, we were able to redefine my nagging as my need to feel loved. 
Dean's love language was affirming words.  Not surprising that I was lacking in this area since I was forever reminding him of the stuff he wasn't doing!  I made a commitment in my heart to fill his ears with words of appreciation and admiration.  To thank him every week when he mowed the lawn and all winter long when he shoveled the side walk.  I bragged on the fact that he kept my gas tank filled (still a fact that causes jaws to drop.)  I told daboyz, in his presence, what a great dad they had.  I made sure he knew that I was his biggest fan, out loud & proud!
Now, twenty years later, we wondered if our love languages had changed.  Apparently, they usually don't but it's possible.  In our case, there was a slight shift.  With Dean attending to my need for acts of service consistently, I felt confidant in his love for me but a second love language now had a tying score...physical touch.  This is something that I hadn't historically focused on but now, in middle age, I find that I love holding hands, snuggling on the couch and just being close.  It isn't all about bedroom intimacy, it's a constant connection.  With the Mr. making it a point to kiss me good bye in the mornings and to do simple things like putting his hand on the small of my back when we're walking together; I feel a deeper sense of security and love.
The Mr.'s love language has a close second now as well; quality time.  I'm really bad at this!  You know me, introverted/stay-at-home/nose in a book/stop talking to me Sara! I groaned inside when quality time was my new goal.  I'm great at "love you baby" text messages!  You want me to actually leave my house?  Well, I'm working on it.  I'm asking him on a date early in the week and being flexible when he wants to go out to a movie on a whim.  When I realized I needed to step it up in the quality time department, I immediately texted him at work, "Let's have a date night on Friday.  Nice dinner out at a restaurant we've never gone to and a movie."  He was thrilled (an amazed!)  Surprisingly, I found myself thinking, "I can't wait for Friday!"  We had a great time and I didn't implode after all.   At this point in our lives, quality time together isn't an escape from little kids and housework, it's like a celebration of our love.  It's a few hours of turning our attention towards one another and nothing else. 
There's an interesting tidbit in The Five Love Languages and it is that we usually express our love in the way we wish to be loved.  Even if you don't read the book, try this little experiment.  Pay attention to the way you express love and see if it fits into one of the five categories.  Are you a care-taker (acts of service?)  An encourager (affirming words?)  A hugger (physical touch?)  A giver (receiving gifts?) A planner (quality time?) What can you learn about yourself and what can you teach others about what you need to feel truly and completely loved? 
Once you've learned how to identify the love languages and how they are spoken, look at the people closest to you and see if you can figure out their love language.  It's the same concept in reverse.  Are they expressing one of those five languages?  Sometimes we'll see another person focusing on something that seems so utterly unimportant while it feels like they are ignoring us.  I bet we're just misunderstanding one another.  Are you longing for a hug from someone who keeps showering you with gifts you don't want?  Hmmm.  Maybe they express love through giving gifts.  Try turning their own language back on them, give them small gifts and watch for the impact it has.  Then when they are feeling secure and loved...gently teach them how to love you back in the ways that mean the most to you. 
Try it.  You might find some simple changes create a full heart.

The Five Love Languages is available on audio book, Kindle or old fashioned hold it in your hand versions.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Whatsoever things...TJ Maxx

I love TJ's!  No so much their clothes, it's their home goods....oy, the homegoods!  Great prices on higher end brands.  Unusual stuff that isn't a cookie cutter version of the what every other store has.  Even some food stuffs like gourmet oils and herbal teas.  It's my favorite go-to when I want to buy someone a little gift without spending a ton of money.  Also my favorite go-to when I want a little gift for myself!  I'm tellin' ya, Jesus gave us TJ Maxx!  LOL!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Just a little roadtrip

I'll be off line for a bit as the Mr. and I are going to Alabama for a visit with his mom and to attend his family reunion.  It's about a 12 hour trip from here to there so we will stretch it out over two days and enjoy the time together on the road.  There are few things better for "us time" than to be on the road, just the two of us.  One of my absolute favorite things.
Another happy aspect is that our precious friends, Jerry and Heather, live very close to Dean's mom so we get to spend an evening with them.  We were all friends in high school and had not seen one another since then until last year.  Through Facebook, we reconnected and discovered that we would have the opportunity to meet for dinner during our Alabama trip.  Between last year and this, Heather discovered she had breast cancer and has just completed her treatment.  Truly, a celebration to be had thanking Jesus for his overwhelming goodness!
Can I share something with you?  I'm so proud of my husband.  Although his parents were happily married until his dad's death, Dean comes from a broken family.  His dad was married and had four children before marrying Dean's mom.  Those four half siblings and Dean were never close, sadly the two families never found a way to become one.  As Ben (Dean's dad) was dying, the Mr. and his sisters, Diane & Jeannie, promised one another to mend the cracks in their family.  His older sisters have reached out and reintroduced us to cousins and aunts and uncles that had long been lost to us.  The Smith Family Reunion happens every year over the Labor Day weekend.  We'd never attended because, well because we'd never been invited!  Since his mom moved back down south, the Mr. has decided that he would schedule yearly visits with her to coincide with the family reunion in the next town.  Last year was our first time to attend and, goodness, the love and immediate acceptance of the family was almost overwhelming.  Since then, Dean's brother Dennis has passed away.  All the more reason for us to gather ourselves together and honor the blessing of family. 
There have been a lot of hurt feelings, resentment and distance over the last 40 plus years.  There was some talk after Ben's death of everyone finally going their separate ways for good.  In many ways, that would've been easier.  But Dean has squared his shoulders and is reclaiming what the enemy tried to destroy...a family.  His surviving siblings have opened their arms to embrace him.
Truly, this trip to Alabama is a celebration of God's faithfulness.  Friends reunited, healing received, family holding one another closer and rising above the hurts of the past. 
I've never been all that anxious to take that 12 hour trip.  My perspective has changed.  It's like a glimpse of heaven...loved ones waiting to welcome you home.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psalm 25:10

Saturday, August 25, 2012


1. Baby shower today!
2. Dinner date with the Mr. this evening.
3. Just about fed up with watering flowers!
4. Getting ready to head to Bama this week.
5. I have a cold sore, since when do I get these?  Unattractive!
6. Feeling better about my job, God is so good.
7. Looking forward to hoodie weather.
8. I need hoodies.
9. I have had a sinus headache every day this week, still going strong.
10. Time for a home-pedi!

Monday, August 20, 2012


1 Kings 8:38 & 39
...and when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people Israel—being aware of the afflictions of their own hearts, and spreading out their hands toward this temple— 39 then hear from then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men)...

I've found one of the things that interferes with my ability to quickly forgive someone is my presumption to understand their motivation.  When we try to analyze someones heart, we are way out of our depth.  We aren't able, we are supposed to and we create a whole lot of trouble in our relationships when we do it. Consider this, you call a friend, leave a message and they don't call back.  You decide they didn't call back because they don't care about you.  Is it harder to forgive the phone call or to forgive your friend for not caring about you?  Your husband doesn't pick up the milk you asked him to.  You decide he never listens to you.  Is it harder to forgive the empty milk carton or your husband for never listening to you?

I come from a long line of motivation analysts.  My gramma could watch a national news cast and tell you all about the reporter's heart based upon her hair style.  Seriously.  When the Mr. and I argue, it's the stuff I attach to the particular issue that really puts up roadblocks to grace.  Women are particularly skilled at stringing together 30 years worth of events to prove that their husband has always been ____________.   

Of course, we can look at actions and draw conclusions that are entirely accurate.  Serial killers are hateful. Hitler was evil. People with big hair love Jesus.

The point isn't that we can't figure it out correctly once in a while, it's that the heart of people is not for us to judge.  The essence of Christ-like forgiveness is that it is undeserved.  In other words, whatever motivated the offense is unimportant.  To forgive is all that matters.  To open our own hearts to extend mercy is where the heart and the mind must be in sync.  Our own hearts. 

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test...

There is such a thing as too much information, as digging too deeply.  It's our job to forgive the person, and God's to fix the heart.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Matthew 8:26
Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn MI
1. Going to the Henry Ford Museum later to check out the Titanic exhibit.
2. Have a lovely day of homemaking planned for tomorrow.
3. Peanut butter toast for breakfast!
4. Autumn in the air, nothing better than autumn in the Mitten.
5. Planning on taking advantage of the cool evenings with a fire tonight.
6. Need some new work clothes.  I hate shopping.
7. I have my office half-way packed, moving to a new one.  Half-way packed isn't good.
8. I have, at this advanced age, developed seasonal allergies.
9. Good thing, at this advanced age, I don't care about wearing mascara.
10. I have cramps.  Did you enjoy that bonding moment?

Friday, August 17, 2012

359 ordinary days

Where I work, there are six recognized holidays.  The other 359 days are just plain old days. 
That's a pretty accurate analogy of life.  Too many people are wallowing in frustration because they expect to wake up every morning to Christmas morning.  They want every evening to be New Year's Eve and every relationship to be the 4th of July.  They are looking for a life of long weekends and picnics and parades and they are disappointed when there are no bands marching down their sidewalk. 
You might think that we need to make every day a holiday and find something to celebrate.  I don't think that way.  I think we need to learn to live happily in the quiet in-betweens.  We need to find our satisfaction in building a home and nurturing our relationships, not imagining that those six days are what life is really about.  Looking for a basket of candy every morning is going to make for lots of disappointment. 
Sparkling trees and holiday trimmings are beautiful, breath-taking even.  I love a celebration.
But to imagine holidays are what makes life pretty is to have it backwards. 
To love and be loved, to forgive and receive pardon, to laugh while pulling weeds together or to share a cup of coffee on the back porch...
To know the touch of your loved ones, the feel of your grampa's whiskers and the scent of your gramma's perfume...
To live inside of a soul that realizes how extraordinary the ordinary days are.
That is life lived in sacred places.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Whatsoever things...self-less-ness

Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The Mr. & I have been meditating on Romans 12:1 & 2 for the last few weeks.  Every morning we take about 10-15 minutes to read this passage of scripture and then submit ourselves to God's will for us for that day.  What do you think of when you consider "conforming" to the world?  Alcoholism?  Adultery? Pornography? 
If we try to make a list, it will go on forever.   And each of us will have a different one as the Lord speaks to our hearts individually.  Ultimately, we can sum this up in a single thought...selfishness.  The pattern of the world is selfishness.  In large ways and small, without eternity and holiness to instruct our steps, we have little motivation to be selfless.  At dinner the other night, the Mr. shared an insight he has gained as he has meditated on this.  It wasn't a bolt of lightening or the audible voice of God but a new wisdom that sort of gently bubbled up in his spirit. 
For the last few years, we have turned our focus financially toward retirement.  We have a few major goals we need to achieve before Dean can comfortably retire.  We have been on a sort of schedule that was to culminate in his official retirement in about five years.  But over dinner, he told me that he had realized that this master plan was selfishness on his part.  Because, you see, having entered the workforce later than he did, I am not going to be eligible for retirement at the same time.  So, he informed me, he is going back to the drawing table to figure out how many extra years he can work to close the gap allowing me to retire earlier...and together. 
"I was thinking selfishly, only of my own desire to retire.  But when I hit that 30 year mark, we'll be hitting it together.  You spent the first half raising our children.  We're going to do this together," he said.
Selflessness is truly a whatsoever thing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Turning toward grace

1 Peter 5:2-4  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Do you ever take the bait of unpleasant people?  Look for that sweet opportunity to give back what they've been dishing out?  No?  Well me either! 
Except, yeah, actually...yeah.
Having a particularly spiritual moment, I decided to be not a hearer only but also doer of the word by praying for those that despitefully use me (Matthew 5:44.)  I was being sincere as I asked God to soften my heart and to bless those who had offended me and who I felt had treated me disrespectfully. I prayed that I would rise above my own frustration and short temper and stop noticing the words and attitudes that aggravate me so.  I wanted the Lord to make me softer and sweeter.  Instead, God gave me some advice.  I don't always follow God's advice, but this time, I'm trying. 
Set the example.
If you wait and watch, eventually those folks will do something that will justify being treated just as nastily as they've treated you.  And that, my friends, is when you...
Set the example.
Instead of looking for that opportunity to point out their shortcomings and try to make them feel the way they have made me feel, I am looking for that moment to demonstrate grace.  To speak in a way that presumes innocence on their part and if I can, to teach them a better way.  I'm giving my heart into the hands of Jesus so that I can release the desire for petty revenge and look farther down the road.  If I show kindness, if I speak and act differently than they would, maybe I can influence someone to do the same.  Maybe then, when that moment comes that I am the one in need of grace;  my adversary will know how to pour it out over my life.  Surely, they will have no store of grace to share if I don't first pour a portion over them.
And we will both be the better for it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crushing butterflies

Isaiah 38:17 Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

So there I was, minding my own business changing the bed linens and being a good little homemaker.  There I was when God, out of nowhere, says,
"Do you think I like everything you do?"
What?  Where did that come from?  I'm just changing the sheets over here!  But no, now that you ask.  No, I don't think you like everything I do.  I'm short-tempered, I'm selfish, I'm all kinds of a jerk.  So, ok, I need to do what?  Be more holy?  Ok.
Nope.  Be more aware.  Be more purposeful.  Don't work on the symptoms, let Christ cure the disease.
I have always considered prayer not just supplication to God for favors but simply a fancy way of saying this is how I talk to God.  When I'm talking to him, it's prayer.
It now occurs to me, that from God's perspective, every thought is a conversation with him.  Every emotion is a response to him.  When my cares are held tight to my heart, they become ulcers.  When they are lifted with open hands toward him, they are like beautiful butterflies flying toward their Creator.  The release is what makes them lovely. Held in my fist, they are crushed and ugly.  Like bleeding ulcers, for example.
I am a Christian, I have intentionally declared my surrender to God and accepted his redemption of my eternity.  God is not worried about the list of sins he can record against me to prove that I am not worthy.  Our relationship has matured, now he is done with my symptoms and ready with my cure. It is not a matter of finding several methods by which to bring myself under submission.  For everything that he does not like, there are only my open hands to fix it.  To say, "Here God, here's my moment, my today, my weakness and nastiness and here..dear is my small faith that causes my fist to close tightly around my own heart."
Joy is not captured with grasping desperation, it floats gently into open hands.  By letting go we fall into the miraculous.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Saturday, August 11, 2012


1. Went to Mitchell's Fish Market for dinner last night....scallops!
2. Saw Hope Springs; not a kids movie but really good.
3. Today my folks are coming over and we're cannin'!
4. Gonna make flat bread pizzas on the grill for dinner.
5. Lower temperatures in the Mitten.
6. Might just have a fire outside tonight.
7. Favorite text of the week from one of daboyz..."Home in 20, don't want to walk in to something that will scar me for life."
8. I'd need to quit my job for the next 2 months to have time to can all the stuff I want to can.
9. Hair is long enough for a pony, that makes life remarkably easier.
10. Going to sit on my back porch and snap green beans while the sun comes up.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

I will not depart

Romans 1:11  I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—

The little girl sat in my office looking at the framed photographs scattered about.  "Who is that man?"  she asked pointing to a picture of the Mr. & me.  "That's my husband."  "Are you gettin' a divorce?"  "Nope." 

"Why not?" she wondered.

My God in heaven.  There is a generation growing up before our eyes who cannot comprehend staying married. 

If you're a regular visitor here, I doubt I need to convince you that divorce hurts kids (and adults.)  I'll spare you that particular sermon.  There are people in my life who are divorced and who I watched battle to save their marriages.  People who were living under such intolerable circumstances that I wanted to yell at them, "Walk away!  You deserve so much better!"  But I couldn't, because they were waiting for God's permission.  When they received His blessing, they ended their torment.  No, those are not the people I'm thinking about.  Those are the ones who bear the scars they received trying to shield their children from the pain they were enduring.

I'm not talking to anyone in particular.  I'm just sharing a moment of social commentary.  We are more fragile, we mortal men, than we realize.  My prayer today was that God would send people into my life to impart peace and wisdom so that I, in turn, may impart something beautiful into lives that have turned ugly. 

I don't expect everyone to take responsibility.  I will only hold myself accountable.  In a world where children watch their families depart; I will impart...

Something to make them strong.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Whatsoever Pesto

 Today's whatsoever thing is pesto!  I love pesto and after having pesto flat bread pizza in Traverse City I decided to come home and make some. Daboyz love it too, the Mr. not so much.  But it could not be easier and if you love fast fresh and homemade...pesto is your answer! 
You just need fresh basil, olive oil, Romano or Parmesan cheese, garlic and a little sea salt.  Most recipes call for pine nuts but I don't use 'em. 
What do you do with pesto you ask?  You can make flat bread pizza, lasagna, spoon it over fettuccine, make a pasta salad, whatever you want!  Look at this lovely dish for example!

That guy

This is the little boy I was praying for when, as a little girl, I asked God for a husband.  I wanted somebody with dark hair who was cute.  That was pretty much it.  I was never one of those pretty, popular and outgoing little girls.  I was awkward, shy and I wore corrective shoes.  I figured I better start praying early if I wanted a cute husband with dark hair.
When I was fifteen, this is the teenage boy I met at church.  He had dark hair and he was cute.  He was a musician and he was funny and he was kind and he loved Jesus.  This is the teenage boy who asked me to go steady in 1982, his senior year and my sophomore year in high school.
This is the 21 year old young man I married, the 23 year old father of my first baby and the 24 year daddy of my second one. 
This is the 39 year old man who worked seven days a week to put me through nursing school. 
This is the 47 year old man I asked God for when I was too young to know about love.  He's the guy with salt & pepper hair and he's still cute.  He's the one who text messaged me at work today to tell me the hardest part about the end of vacation is missing being with me all day.  He's the one who sets the example of getting up early to pray and read the Bible to remind me to do the same. 
This is the guy who thinks I'm asleep when he comes home from practice and kisses me good night softly on the head.  He's my babydaddy.  He's the grandfather of my future grandchildren.
Yeah, he's that guy.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Living sacrifice

The much-dreaded first day back to work after vacation is behind me.  Oh boy, it's like I never left!  Can I be transparent and admit that I've been struggling with my job lately?  This causes me great frustration, I've always loved being a nurse and frankly, I've been a really good one :)   But these last several months?  Rough.  Rough enough to have me wondering if it's time to move on, go part time, do something...anything else.  Hence the hole in my belly, the constant headaches, the over-eating, the insomnia.  So this past week's vacation was not just a little break in the routine, it was some much needed medicine for my soul. 
The Lord is ever faithful to lead us in righteousness for our good and his glory, but that's easily forgotten when one is feeling overwhelmed.  In prayer this past week the Holy Spirit revealed himself to me in the fullness of his gentleness and compassion by giving me a sense of freedom to resign.  It was with this sense of freedom that I went in this morning, reminding myself that I don't have to do this anymore.  I'd like to say that when I arrived I had a new found sense of purpose and realized things weren't as dire as I felt a week ago, but no.  As I said, like I never left.
I didn't resign.  I humbled myself before God and asked him to teach me, lead me, make me into the person he wants me to be and if that person is to work in this job; all the more I will need him and all the better. 
I settled myself into my office and worked slowly through the accumulated tasks.  Slowly is an important word here, part of my self-destructive tendency is to do nothing slowly.  I talk fast, I walk fast, I think fast. I push push push and have a subconscious drive to get everything on the list done in a day.  It's much easier on the mind to work slow and steady (wins the race I've heard.)  I gave myself permission to work at a reasonable pace and leave at the end of the day satisfied with my work.  When I was informed of staff in need of counseling or redirection, I let that be their problem. The issues that is. My job is to do the counseling and correcting, not to take responsibility all the way down to my marrow for other people's errors. When people demanded my attention, I prioritized their needs against my tasks and told a few that they wouldn't be on today's schedule. I don't usually take a break but today, although I didn't take a lunch, I did stretch my legs.  Had a glass of ice water, watched the clouds from my window.  The world didn't end.
I haven't had an epiphany exactly.  But I do think that if I take myself off of auto pilot and hold fast to the wisdom that the Lord is showing me, I'll be ok after all. 
A final thought?

Romans 12: 1,2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

While we were on vacation, the Mr. got up every morning and read these two verses and spent time in prayer giving himself to God, seeking each day what the Lord would have of him.  I decided to do the same with no particular agenda other than it sounded like a good idea.  This, I believe, is where my spirit opened to receive what I needed so much.  Although I had never considered my work stress sin, surely this unhappiness and unhealthiness was not God's daily plan for me.  If anything, the negative impact of my job was me being conformed to the world...directly affected by and responding to my worries instead of being transformed into someone who glorifies God even in life's storms. 
When God asks us to give our bodies as a living sacrifice, it is not so that we can be crucified as martyrs by an unkind world.  It is so that we give him purposeful permission to make us new over and over again.  Every day, submitted to him I will become more like him.  Only in his shadow are my labors of any value.
In this I may prove (become evidence) of the good, acceptable and perfect hand of God on mortal flesh.
My reasonable be made new.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:5

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Vacation snapshots

Mac, the Mr., Jay overlooking Sleeping Bear Dunes at Lake Michigan

1. Beautiful weather with overnight thunder showers.
2. Side trip to Traverse City.
3. Drive through the Sleeping Bear Dunes State Park.
4. Dinner on Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan.
5. Swimming, reading and coffee on the porch swing.
6. Watching daboyz climb dadunes :)
7. Quiet mornings with the Word and the Lord.
8. Smoked salmon flat bread pizza in Traverse City.
9. Breakfast made by the Mr.
10. No ulcer flare-ups! (until this morning.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Whatsoever Wednesday

Up North

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8