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1, 2, 3, Go!

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just five minutes on a one-word prompt without heavy editing and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “start.”

My 20-month-old grandson has a little plastic slide that he likes to climb on and sort of slide down. I say “sort of” because he likes to put his sticky little feet down and therefore stop himself before he actually gets to the bottom. But when he is at the top, he will look at my expectantly and say something that sounds like “1, 2, 3, go!” because that’s what he has heard me say when he’s up there.

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Then he’ll push himself down, get to the bottom and say “weady?” and jump off the end onto the carpet. He feels quite proud of himself for his accomplishment. Every time.

Jesus encouraged people to have childlike faith, and I would submit that having childlike enthusiasm would be a good idea as well.

How many times have you just sat on the couch and thought, “I should just get up and take a walk” or clean the house, or make dinner, or take a shower. The list of things we procrastinate on goes on and on.

So next time you find yourself procrastinating, say out loud, “1, 2, 3, go!” and then actually get up and get started. You can’t accomplish what you never set out to do. That may sound obvious, but it’s not always easy.

Nike had it right. Just do it. Let’s get this party started.

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We Are Family

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a 1-word prompt without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “hospitality.”

Once upon a time I took a spiritual gifts test which determined that I had the gifts of administration and hospitality. Being fairly young in my journey with Jesus, I didn’t completely know what that meant, but I did know that I was pretty organized and good at keeping things going, and that I liked to be with people.

Is that all there was to it?

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As the years have gone by, my home has become one in which people like to gather. It’s not huge, it’s not fancy, it’s not even all that clean (I had a friend describe it as clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy), but people are welcome and they know it.

Every Christmas we have a huge gathering of friends for Christmas dinner. At last count we were at 50-something, I think. I have people call and say, “We don’t have plans, can we come to your place?” Even when the number seems overwhelming, nobody is turned away. Most of us have moved far from our family of origin, so our friends have become that family to us.

Every time that I think about maybe scaling back and tightening our circle, I look around at the faces and there’s not a one I would consider losing. How do you purposefully cut off a hand or a foot?

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And so we continue setting tables on the back porch, thankful for the mild December weather in Florida, and rejoice in the bounty of our friendships.

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Family of Five

Today’s post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a 1-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what we come up with. Today’s prompt is “Five.”

I’m going to tell you a little bit about my family of 5.

IMG_6427My husband, David, and I got married in 1991. That was the start of it all.

Five-plus years later, we added Justin David to the mix. He’s now 22 and a college graduated, restaurant-serving father of my grandson, Zayne. He’s a great dad, learning the ins and outs of a committed relationship, making his way in the world with a bit of advice from his old parents along the way.J&A

A little more than 2 years later, Nathan Allan made his appearance. This 20-year-old college student has spent much of the summer as a counselor at a camp in Alaska. He’s a lover of the Nathanoutdoors, but not so much in Florida. This opportunity has been so great for him.

Three and a half years and 2 miscarriages later, our daughter, Morgan Claire, came along. She will be 17 in about 7 weeks. She’s currently making biscuits and chocolate gravy (it’s a thing, trust me) in the kitchen. I’m blessed to have her home most of the time doing high school virtually. And she just got her first job!IMG_1422

After having dealt with infertility for several years, we are beyond blessed to have our 3 kids, and now a grandson in the mix. Our family of 5 will keep growing, I’m sure, but the core will remain. So much of what I write about, so much of what I’ve learned, is because of my family. Today, on the 12th anniversary of my mom’s death, it seems apropos. I wish she was here to see it all play out with my family of five and my sisters’ and brother’s families as well.

So there you have it. My little family.

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Feeling The Distance

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s word is “distant.” 

I took my husband to the airport today for a one-week trip to a conference in Colorado. This conference is for the ministry we both worked with for more than 30 years, and that I left 2 years ago.

I know I was right in leaving when I did. God has made that abundantly clear in the past 2 years, but I can’t help being a little sad as most of my good friends gather without me in Fort Collins.

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Photo by my son Nathan. This sunset pic was taken at 12:25 a.m. in Soldotna, Alaska.

And I have a son in Alaska. And another good friend on a trip to Japan. And the last of our close-knit group in Ohio.

Everyone is in a distant place. Again. Last summer the majority of our little friend group was on a trip together to Hawaii. I wrote my feelings about that here. Not being envious and discontent is a struggle. To top that off, I’ve got a writing assignment that is supposed to take people on a journey through the mountains.

Talk about piling it on.

me and ZayneAnd so I sit in my distant chair in my distant house, not completely alone (it’s me and my 18-month-old grandson, 16-year-old daughter and 76-year-old mother-in-law holding down the fort), but bracing myself for the slew of Facebook and Instagram posts that will come in the next week as my friends enjoy each other in a place with beautiful scenery.

They are far away, but God is near.

Thanks be to God.

 

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If You Are Willing

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “willing.”

“While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him” (Luke 5:12-13 NASB).

I have a friend, Marcey, whose 22-year-old daughter, Julia, became very ill. After many weeks, a large mass was discovered in her abdomen that was pushing all her organs out of the way. She was in excruciating, debilitating pain. Surgery was performed and 90+ percent of the tumor was removed. Within 6 weeks, it had grown back.

The doctors were stymied. Even the top tumor experts were not able to figure out what this tumor was. It had never been seen before.

As friends were rallied to pray, radiation and chemo therapies were applied. At one point, Marcey told me they thought they were going to lose her. She was so weak. There didn’t seem to be any hope.

And yet we prayed.

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Julia sporting her new wig (photo courtesy her mom)

Just two days ago, Marcey reported that there has been a turnaround in Julia’s prognosis. The chemotherapy is working and the tumors are shrinking. The doctor’s are jubilant as is her family. Today she is off her pain pump and trusting God for a future that just weeks ago she wasn’t sure she would have.

She’s a walking miracle.

We asked God to be willing to heal her, and His answer was, “Yes.”

But we know that’s not always His answer in this life. But He is always our portion. Whether healed in this life or not, we always have our hope in Him.

Even though my 5 minutes are up, I’m going to add a note here that this is a way bigger subject than can be tackled in just 5 minutes. This story is fresh on my heart and I wanted to share it, but I know that there are so many people who have not experienced healing of either themselves or a loved one. I lost both my mom and my grandmother to cancer and have known many others who have succumbed to this dread disease. There are no guarantees of physical healing here on earth, but I stand on the fact that God is good. Whether His healing happens here or not, He is good and He redeems all things. If you or someone you love is in need of God’s healing touch, keep praying: Your will be done.

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If Someone Offers A Gift—Take It

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes without heavy editing and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “Take.”

I’ve lived the better part of my adult life as a missionary supported prayerfully and financially by the gifts of others. If people don’t give, we get no paycheck. So I have learned over these 30+ years that if someone offers something, I take it graciously and just say thank you.

God has always met our needs and we have abundantly more than we need, so I know the power of receiving a gift, not only because it meets a need for us, but also because of the joy it can bring to the giver.

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We have living room furniture because friends didn’t need it anymore. We have a kitchen table and chairs because friends wanted proceeds from the sale of ours at a yard sale to go to our son’s missions trip (I know, it’s kind of a complicated story). We received tons of baby stuff when our grandson was born because of the generosity of a group of young moms who just wanted to be able to pay it forward.

We can give generously as well because we have received so much. If we refuse to receive, we dishonor the giver. Yes, it’s humbling to admit the need, but it’s good and it’s necessary. We don’t go through this life alone, and we shouldn’t pretend like we don’t need the generosity of others.

“God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:28-29).

Arrows Not Answers

Today’s post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “Question.”

What I’m about to say I’m taking directly from fellow Redbud Writer’s Guild friend Emily P. Freeman. In a podcast from last year, Emily talked about the fact that we’re always looking for answers from God. We want clarity, we want details. But God doesn’t tend to answer our questions in that way. So her podcast episode was titled “Look for Arrows (Not Answers).”

emily freeman podcastI thought that was brilliant.

I also loved a prayer she prayed near the end. It included this line: “We are looking for a plan but then You offer us Your hand. May it be enough today.”

We want plans, He offers His hand. We don’t always know where He’s taking us. Most of the time we have more questions than we do answers, but if we trust the character of God, we will take that hand and let Him lead.

Ever gone out looking for yard sales on a Saturday? Many times all we see are signs with arrows drawn on them. Go this way. When you need to turn again, we’ll let you know. Meanwhile, keep going. There will be treasures at the end.

Yard sales don’t always end in treasures because, you know, yard sales. But we know that if we walk with God, we will find the treasure of His presence wherever we go.

Take His hand. Keep walking. You can ask the questions if you want to, but don’t be surprised if He doesn’t answer them all.

Find this podcast on Emily’s website, emilypfreeman.com. The podcast is called The Next Right Thing. Subscribe. It’s really good. That’s where I got the image above.

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