Saturday, September 30, 2017

206: taking right now blessings

I drafted this early this month. Finally posting.

Saturday early afternoon:
Lord, I want a husband.

Lord, I want a husband. But I thank You that today I have complete freedom (sans kids) so that I can go nap for 2 1/2 hours while the house goes to pot. That I can take my time lying here getting everything right with you while laundry is piled on the chair and floor, and shoes are strewing out of the closet. Thank You I can have 4 girl friends over tonight on no time schedule except worrying about getting up for church in the morning.

Lord, thank You for these things, today's gifts!

(Please also bring me a husband.)

Saturday evening:
Why is it when I'm with a group of girl friends that I really wish I had a guy to message? I don't get that.

Saturday/Sunday midnight:
That was a really fun time! I'm exhausted, but that was great!

Sunday morning during church: "Years and years of planning to get you here" --the pastor summarizing God's intentions in Joshua 24:3. Lord, I can see some of what You've done in me through this singleness, through [names an objectively negative thing], through [names another objectively negative circumstance]. You have done Your work with the clay of every undesired circumstance. So I can know these years are not wasted, my life still at home is not wasted--only because of Your sanctifying Spirit.

Sunday evening after a day spent doing fun things with 3 company friends:
That was such a wonderful time! But, it wasn't just a good time. These are the blessings of my singleness. I take hold of these blessings. I would not have had this day if I weren't in this season of life. Lord, I accept the blessings of my singleness with no shadows or regrets or "but it would be better ifs." Because there is no need to put a dark edge to it. It was truly a wonderful visit, and I'm unreservedly glad! I totally accept this holiday weekend as a gift.

A Giver IS glorified when we actually enjoy what we are given....

Sunday, September 24, 2017

205: bit by the autumn love bug

I've been bit.

Bit by the autumn love bug.

I can't blame it all on autumn, but the fact is, Friday was the first day of fall and Saturday morning I could feel it. The wistfulness of fall. The happiness of cool mornings, colorful scarves, pumpkin spice. The hope of . . . something new.

Funny how winter is all about death and darkness, but I always see fall as the coming of all things cozy and romantic.

Like big band music or Michael O'Brien's Something About Us love song album.

Long sweaters.

Apple crisp, apple pie, apple cider, Apple Hill.

My friend sent me a Scripture today. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."

Our hope is so much more than circumstance-based.

And sometimes I get so focused on someone I think I want--John Yates of Faith Bible Institute says, "the object of our desires becomes the focus of our hearts."

But what does a focused lens do? What does the sun do when it narrows in on a magnifying glass? It sets fire to the leaf underneath it, or so I'm told. It destroys.

I love autumn. I love romance. I love the hope of something new, something more.

I know well the mesmerizing agony of making an unattainable human the object of my desires.

Is it sin? I cannot say beyond how God convicts me. Not for all people at every time, otherwise how on earth would anyone ever get married? (but not via the inordinate, idolatry kind of desiring!)

But there is a time to step back from the magnifying glass, gaze at the falling leaves around, feel the surge of romance in the chilly air, set your face to the warmth of the light, and say, "You are my God and You alone. With You is the fountain of life. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

And go forth and enjoy the season.

And maybe, if you feel the freedom to do so, breathe in the hope of the unknown too.

Friday, September 22, 2017

204: confessing trust mid stress

This week--4th week of school--was a hard week for me. I'm not sure why.

This morning I had a parent in my class all morning, observing me so she can be my sub when I go to a Homeschool Alumni retreat in a couple weeks. I was already going into the day drained and fractured. And missing a copy of a test we NEEDED to take today. I didn't have a moment to unwind until after a hurried lunch when my mom arrived and we actually had time to gather our wits before the elementary "Fall Rotations." Fall Rotations went great! with each teacher taking about 10 kids in each classroom doing a fall-related lesson/activity for 30 min before passing them on and getting the next 10. It was an island of blissful fun amid stress. Short-lived however, because once I had my own kids again after a teacher-watched recess, I realized we did not have time *stress level building* to finish the tests (which HAD to be done!) or finish the book that I practically promised the kids we would finish today--it was supposed to be prep for next week's mega field trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium. My perfectly planned package of culminating the 4th week with ending a couple chapters and having everything complete for the field trip disintegrated before my eyes as I railed at the kids to hurry, and we literally do no have time, you have to finish this, etc. etc. until I finally had them pack up and then come to the reading area. Two students' tests lay incomplete. We didn't have time to read more than a page or two of the marine biologist book. Another assignment that had to be finished today would prove to have ridiculous spelling errors even though the proofread copy was right in front of the student to copy. But I had to apologize to my students. It wasn't their fault that I hadn't planned our time well. It was mine, and because I was seeing the day fall apart, I was taking it out on them and I was sorry. And, here's where the rubber had to meet the road. I confessed I had to trust that God would take care of the details. These tests that they now wouldn't finish til Wednesday, I would have to trust God with them. We'd have to finish this book next week (meaning the one girl that really was looking forward to it today will miss the last three chapters)--and I had to trust God with that. The rushed assignment that I couldn't proofread with my student before I send it off to our Kansas penpals--I have to give that mess over to God.

We're always talking in Bible about what our God can do.

Well, the one and only thing that could give me peace at the end of a maddening day as I faced my students knowing all the loose ends would stay frizzled was confessing trust in Him who can do all things, He who is able to take care of what is falling apart.

Note to self: My circumstance may not change. But He is creative enough to provide a way, to give a solution for the now.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Book Review: An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

It is so sad that the Hawthorne House series is over! I love this aristocratic family--Griffith, Miranda, Trent, Georgina...and Amelia. Times like these make me grateful a friend got me into reviewing books. I would never have discovered Kristi Ann Hunter's books otherwise. Here's the link to my review of her book about Trent, which I really had a hard time reviewing because I enjoyed it so much but I knew it had some mature elements. Actually, that's a lot like Roseanne M. White's Jewel of Persia that I just finished before starting the book below (Roseanne M. White is another author I was introduced to through Bethany House's review program).

An Inconvenient Beauty is the last installment of the Hawthorne House series, a delightful collection of regency romances revolving around the family of a duke. What a treat to get to know each character, and at last, here is Griffith's story, the imperturbable, authority-oozing, silent giant that we heard about in passing in all the other stories.

Now that all of those under his care have married, Griffith finally agrees it is time for him to do so as well. Although he will not break the family tradition of marrying for love, he doesn't see why he cannot go about this business of choosing a wife logically and without all the messiness his loved ones endured. Unfortunately, his choice seems to keep fainting or disappearing when he's around, leaving her beautiful cousin who is in town for her debut season a recurrent distraction from his goal. What happens when God seems to shut his plan down, and when messy emotions start confusing all his carefully planned logic?

Kristi Ann Hunter's romances are distinctly Christian romances, meaning the characters are usually forced to seek God's guidance. Her characters read God's word, pray (and listen!), and search for wisdom from trusted counselors. Her characters learn and grow.

Yesterday I had a sore throat, felt weak, and feared having to go into work tomorrow sick. Lying around most of the day (and night) entranced in the storyline of An Inconvenient Beauty was a definite treat in between the 3rd and 4th week of the school year. The only bummer is that today I finished it and now have to find another story to get lost in.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I honestly thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Friday, September 1, 2017

203: Lisa Anderson and at the end of life

I'm listening through Boundless' 500th episode today, and I listened to Lisa Anderson on a Focus on the Family broadcast the other day (the one with Gary Chapman talking about the 5 love languages and caring for ailing parents). Oh man, when Lisa Anderson cries...yeah, I cry too.

She was talking (on the Focus on the Family episode) about her fears that when she is older, she will have no one to take care of her. *raised hand, me too!* But she knows a lady who all through her life took family members in when they would have bad health and care for them, and now she is old and has health problems. A young family in the church has built on an additional room to their house and has taken her in to care for her. *goose bumps, tears*

This is our God. This is our God living through the lives of His people.

I do not know what will happen to me in the future. I AM concerned. I DO have a certain level of responsibility to plan for the future. I do believe in the parable in the gospels about building relationships now for when you have nothing.

But besides fear and besides responsibility, I have faith in the God who does take care of His own.

And now I have to go get some stuff done so I can hang out with my family's 60+ year old always-single friend who wants to do dinner tonight. :)