Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Walk Alone Can Slow You Down

Today I Went for a Walk



You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess. Deut 5:33 ESV

Now a walk might not seem like anything to write home about. I’m sure many of you went for a walk today too. But for me it was a bit of a reawakening to the world around me.

You see I’ve been busy! I’ve been going from work to fun activity to more work and more fun…in fact between my husband’s party to celebrate his doctorate and my birthday weekend, there have been weeks of awesome good times with friends and family mixed in with time spent juggling the many work hats I wear.

I confess…I’ve been rushing past, rushing through, going from thing to thing. 

Many of them good things. But I have missed some simple beauty along the way. And this morning’s walk reminded me of this.

I didn’t choose to walk today. I had to walk because there was no car to get me from my home to my bible study. Normally, I’m doing “something” (my husband refers to these as secret chores) up until the last minute before I rush into my car and rush off to a meeting, engagement, chore, activity. It could be straightening my room, loading the dishwasher, reading a quick devo.

But today, I needed to plan a little more. In order to walk to my destination and get there on time, I had to leave a few minutes earlier than normal. And for this always-running-late-and-trying-hard-not-to gal, that requires discipline and focus (Anybody??).

So I donned my sneakers and headed out the door with a very light load of my purse and book.

I felt like something was missing, a little unsettled. I felt funny…uncomfortable. It was so quiet. There was no one else out walking. Usually if I walk, I walk with my husband and occasionally a sister or friend. And if I’m not walking with someone, I am at least walking my dog. Today I was ALONE!

Should I put my earphones on and plug into my phone and make a phone call? Or maybe put on some music or a podcast? I know, I can pray. I can't just walk, can I, allowing my thoughts to drift? There must be something I can do along the way…something to make this walk count for something. Something INTENTIONAL. Something USEFUL. 

There must be something else I can do while walking. Something I can check off my To-Do list maybe?

I decided not to do anything but walk.

And that little walk became a gift. The gift of allowing my thoughts to turn to what was right in front of me. <==Click to Tweet









I noticed the many flowers along the way…the hydrangeas are in full bloom. I noticed some gardens are getting crowded with weeds. There were cardinals swooping past me, along with common sparrows, and a mocking bird. Some sidewalks were bumpy and in need of a little TLC. Some were brand spanking new. There were lawns trimmed with the utmost precision and others straggly and scattered with clover. A few construction workers dug a ditch deep into a front yard, sweat glistening in the morning heat. When I got to an intersection, there was a woman and her dog, a mama with her mama and a new baby in a carriage. Little slices of life all around me. They brought me joy in the quiet of paying attention.



My little walk may have seemed like an inconsequential means of getting from one place to another…but it was so much more!

It was a reminder that:
·       All my time does not have to be filled with conversation, learning, doing, purpose.
·       As I rush from thing to thing, I am missing the simple quiet pleasure of being in the moment.
·       My mind needs a break, a little space to just wander.
·       Even this extrovert needs a little time alone.

I have been to busy again. It’s a trap I can easily fall into. I’m thankful for my walk today. It woke me up to the beauty of simplicity that is right in front of me.

Are you missing the beauty that’s right in front of you?








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Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Day We Saved $1000

How a Little Change 

Can Really Add Up!


And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

So for pretty much the 30+ years my beloved and I have been married, we have been “working” on our finances. Initially, it was just a matter of trying to be responsible with our money and not get in over our heads with debt.

As the years went by and my hubby and I grew in faith and Biblical understanding, we committed to be good stewards of what God gave us. We tithed and put together a responsible budget, even meeting with a Crown Ministries finance counselor and following the principles of Larry Burkett’s book Debt-Free Living.  

Truth be told, our success was short term. Some of this was circumstantial – unanticipated life and salary changes threw us for a loop. But, really? We overspent.

Chris and I discussed our different theories of spending, saving, and giving.

The conversations often escalated when we actually sat down to go over our budget. But eventually, we would get through what we considered the grueling work of pulling together all our expenses, assets, and debts…and we would attempt a cash box. That’s literally a shoebox with dividers and envelopes for each category of expenditure. For example, Home is one envelope and Electric and Gas is another, Water bill is yet another, etc.

Each week we attempted to gather our cash weekly, but something would come up, like the busyness of raising our kids and handling all their schedules; the cash box would fall to the wayside.

Please continue reading at CirclesOfFaith.org...


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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Are You Proud of Your Kids?

Confidence In God Alone



The question took me a bit off guard...

Hanging out in the kitchen after a family birthday party, Lauren, my stepdaughter asked me, “Are you proud of all your girls?” She was referring to her three sisters, my birth daughters.

“Yes …” I hesitated just a little, “I am proud of them. And I’m proud of you too.”

Lauren is a passionate dedicated inner-city art teacher married to my wonderful son-in-love Tony and they have our first beautiful, spectacular, amazing (okay I’ll stop…) grandbaby Ema. Farrell, Catie, and Amelia are in varying phases of their twenties and all doing well. My firstborn is enjoying a successful acting career in a stellar production of Fiddler on the Roof in DC. My middle is working on a Masters degree in music therapy, while co-directing a bell choir made up of adults with disabilities, the Joybells, who performed and produced a CD with the Chamber Orchestra of Philly (and even appeared on the Today Show with Kathi Lee and Hoda on Christmas Eve). My youngest is doing well in college, standing up for justice and spending a semester in Cuba. Pretty exciting stuff.


Thinking while I answered, I continued, “Yes, of course, I’m proud of you all, but more than anything, I’m happy you are using your gifts.” Continue Reading Here...


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Friday, April 24, 2015

Are You Too Tired, Too Comfortable to Make New Friends?

The Gift of New Friends




Do you ever feel like you’ve got enough friends to keep up with? And besides, making new friends can be a little uncomfortable…awkward even.

Well I’m generally a people person. I like people. I grew up in a tribe of five. I am genuinely interested in people’s stories and I like to know what makes them tick. I am blessed with a lot of friends. I love them, but I feel like I don’t get enough time with them as it is. And then there are the women I’ve connected with online and at writing and blogging conferences. Time to just settle down and enjoy the friends I have.

So I kind of thought I was done making new friends.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kim Hyland, the founder of the Winsome Retreat, at the Allume conference in the fall of 2014. She was so sweet in reaching out to me and encouraging me to come to her event, so I did. I didn’t know anyone who was going from my area, so I saddled up the horse…or at least put some gas in my car…and made the four-and-a-half-hour trek alone through the Pennsylvania countryside.

I felt a little nervous as the sun set and darkness fell over the miles of beautiful farmland and windy roads. Continue Reading @CirclesOfFaith.org...

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

When All-of-a-Not-So-Suddenly Our Dreams Come True

A God-sized Dream Post

on Waiting



On Saturday, January 31, one of my deepest desires and greatest dreams came true. It’s the day we took Circles Of Faith offline and had our first Live event. It was perfect!

I am filled to overflowing with the goodness of the Lord.

Last month, I talked a little here about the journey to and through CirclesOfFaith.org. At times it has been hard to persevere. Thankfully, I work with a team who holds one another up and gives and receives encouragement as the need arises.

A few months ago, Wodline joined our team. She’s a wedding and event planner. We knew we wanted to have live in-person events, so we were grateful to have her on board. And she was ready to jump in. We started meeting, planning, praying together. We scouted out a few locations, weighed our options for food, worked out timing, and put together our agenda. We came up with a name we liked too – Women of Influence.


Our vision for Circles of Faith – Women of Influence was to:



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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Would You Consider Trading Your Resolutions in for One Word?

What's Your

One Word for the New Year? 





It’s not too late! If you haven’t made any resolutions and don’t plan on it, you might want to consider choosing One Word for the New Year instead. This is a word that acts like a compass, a reminder, an anchor for the unfolding year.
This is the fourth year I’ve chosen One Word for the New Year. Past One Words have included Now, Change, and God. I love the process of choosing the word and then being mindful of it the whole year through. It’s so simple and clear, void of the possibility of disappointment and failed resolutions.

This is the way I go about choosing my One Word…

In the busy days of the Christmas season, I start thinking, praying, seeking, asking, Lord, what is my One Word for the New Year? What word would you have me consider, carry, claim?

I know God will give me something when I make a little space for quiet, to listen.

As I mentioned, last year, my word was “God.”

It seemed like an awfully big word, maybe even a little audacious. But God is so good. He had something so simple for me. Simple, but not easy.

I had strayed a little from God, Himself. I was active in prayer groups, bible studies, and read devotionals. But God seemed to just want a little more of me. A little more quiet time together. Just me and Him.

How amazing is that? My eternal, creator of the Universe, Alpha and Omega Father God called me into a year of Him. 

He always calls me to Him. Oh He does. But I get lost, caught up in the shuffle of life. In the To Dos, the dreams, the plans, the goals. I get busy and I shift my focus away from God.
How can I do that? How can I ignore that still small voice, calling me to sit beside Him, welcoming me to come on in to His sanctuary? How can I stray from my center? My rock? My strength?
Well, I can and I do. Then I become off kilter. And God in His mercy always calls me back. He waits. He steadies me.

He proves to me over and over again that He never leaves. 

So I’m thankful for this past year of reminders that God desires to be Number 1 and I need Him to be Number 1. It wasn’t a blaring loud clanging booming voice, but a consistent little nudge. Come to me!
In the days before January 1, a few words made their way into my thoughts but they were fleeting. You know those thoughts, the ones that occur when we’re driving, or exercising…shower thoughts. I didn’t write them down but they returned on January 1 during our annual New Year’s gathering, the one where I meet family and friends to share our One Words.

The possibilities floating around up until that day included…
Risk
Burst
Push
Believe
Intentional

God made that One Word known to me. It was the One Word that I couldn’t get away from. PUSH.

So we’ll see what God has in mind for me in light of PUSH. I have some thoughts, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. It was shortly after that that I came upon scripture that I believe will guide me further.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

Seems like God may be calling me to grow up a bit.

How about you? Have you chosen One Word? If you have and you’ve blogged about it, LinkUp with us below. If you haven’t, we’d love for you to share it with us in the comments. 

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