Friday, February 26, 2016

Good Morning! (Five Minute Friday)

I'm very excited again this week to join a talented group of women bloggers in an online, unedited flash mob free write. This week, the word-prompt given to us by our fearless leader Kate Motaung (whose wonderful blog can be found at katemotaung.com) is "morning". My timer is set for 5 minutes; ready, set,

This used to be me:

wakeupearlySaturday

For years, I struggled 5 days a week to wake up at 6:30. Didn't the world know I was a night person? Didn't my boss realize that I do my best work after 7:00 p.m.? Sadly, high schools in my area didn't offer night classes, so I was forced to "rise and shine" far earlier than I would have preferred every single weekday. I hated mornings. Despised them with every atom in my sleep-craving body.

At the end of every week, without fail, that blissful thing we call a weekend would arrive. on Friday night, I'd reset my alarm for 8:30, giving me plenty of time to get ready for whatever activity my children had planned for Saturday and for church on Sunday. But without fail, I'd wake up without the benefit of the alarm no later than 6:15. Wide awake, no less!

I couldn't figure it out. It was as if my body was playing a joke. Every single week.

I hated mornings.

I don't know what happened, but a few years ago the relentless cycle ended. Maybe my body forgot about playing it's little prank every week; perhaps it joined my mind in forgetting stuff. Just part of the fun of entering middle-age, right? (Yes, I said "entering" -- it's called poetic license!)

Whatever the reason, I began waking up during the week just a few minutes before my iPhone -- the world's most expensive alarm clock -- blasts the tune from Happy Days.

Not only do I wake up before the 6:00 blast to the past, but I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. And I do the same thing on weekends. Every morning, I enjoy a leisurely morning of devotion, prayer time, a cup of hot tea, and  the view from the dining room window.

And now, this is me in the morning!

smallerjoy

 

 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Silver Hearts

Today is, of course, Valentine's Day'

For some, it's a wonderful day, marked by a Hallmark card, a nice dinner, and a gift of some sort -- chocolate, a stuffed bear holding a red heart that says "I Love You", or maybe even a piece of jewelry.

For others, Valentine's Day has not been so wonderful. In fact, it's a day they've been dreading and trying to ignore from the moment the stores replaced their Christmas decorations with red and pink hearts and streamers.

As I reflected this morning on the February 14ths of my life, I realized that Cupid had done his thing for about 1/2 of them. Several years, I had a relatively steady boyfriend when mid-February rolled around, 1 year I was engaged, and for 25 of those years I was married.

Of course, I can't help but think today about those 25 Valentine's Days spent with my husband -- and most years, also with my children. The earliest years, when my non-romantic husband was forced to work with a very tight budget; the years of little ones and hand-made cards he helped them make; the later years, when some of my "romance" training had begun to bear fruit and the budget had a bit more wiggle room.

And then, there was our last Valentine's Day. When I think of February of 2009, I don't think of Valentine's Day at first. Instead, my mind goes back to the Saturday before the big day. My husband and I had driven to the city to spend the day with our college-freshman daughter.

We wandered in and out of some cute little shops, browsing and enjoying each other's company. In one of them I saw a gorgeous silver bracelet with several strands of different sizes and styles of silver beads and a few dangly silver hearts. My husband and daughter were elsewhere in the shop at the time, so neither saw me hold it around my wrist and discover that it was a perfect fit.

I wanted that bracelet, but I didn't want to flat-out tell my husband I wanted it. I wanted him to see it, think of me, and buy it on his own.

That wasn't likely, though. I knew that my husband wouldn't look at the jewelry and therefore wouldn't even see the bracelet, much less think of buying it. I was going to have to hint.

Just after I replaced the bracelet on the black velvet t-display, my husband joined me and asked me if I'd found anything interesting. Ahhhh . . . the perfect opportunity had presented itself.

I pointed at the bracelet and casually commented, "Just this bracelet. Isn't it pretty?" He glanced at it and responded that he guessed it was. Just then, our daughter came up and said she wanted to show him something, and off they went. Drat!

I stayed in the vicinity of the bracelet, knowing he'd return to the area, which would give me the opportunity to drop another hint. A few minutes later, he did just that. I picked up the bracelet, draped it over my wrist, and said, "I really like this. And it actually fits!" (I have tiny wrists, so most bracelets are so large they fall off if my arms are at my side or slide almost up to my elbows if my hands are up -- neither look is a good one).

Over my husband's shoulder, I saw the saleslady; she had been watching my efforts at subtlety, and she smiled at me with a bit of pity when my husband responded, "Yeah, it does. That's nice", and walked off again.

Not deterred, I remained in the general vicinity of the bracelet; because the display was near the front door, I figured I'd get one more opportunity to get my point across as we prepared to leave and go on to the next shop.

Just then, my daughter and husband approached and indicated they were ready to go to the next store. It was time to be a bit more obvious, I decided. I reached out and touched the bracelet one last time. "I really like this. And it would make a lovely gift," I said, smiling at my husband.

The saleslady covered her laughter with a snort and my shoulders dropped when he replied, in all seriousness, "For who?"

My daughter just looked at her dad, open-mouthed and wide-eyed. I gave up. As we walked out of the shop, my daughter leaned back and mouthed at me behind her father's back, "Wow!"

That memory never fails to make me laugh. It is a classic example of my husband.

It is also a classic example of my daughter that, while I visited the restaurant restroom to wash my hands before lunch, she explained to my husband what all the bracelet-comments were about and that sometime that day, without me noticing, she went back to that little shop for her dad and bought the bracelet.

I acted surprised when I opened it on Valentine's Day. And when my husband casually said, "I knew all along. I just acted like I didn't know, so you'd be surprised," I acted like I believed him.

I wear that bracelet other days, of course, but I always wear it on Valentine's Day. In fact, if you were sitting here right now, you might be a bit surprised at my outfit -- thick wool purple socks, Uggs slippers, and thick fleece bright blue with purple polka dot pajamas, accented by, of all things, a gorgeous silver bracelet with beads of various sizes and shapes and dangly silver hearts.

Happy Valentine's Day!

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Living with Limits (with relative grace on my part) -- Five Minute Friday

I'm very excited again this week to join a talented group of women bloggers in an online, unedited flash mob free write. This week, the word-prompt given to us by our fearless leader Kate Motaung (whose wonderful blog can be found at katemotaung.com) is "limit". My timer is set for 5 minutes; ready, set,

Kate, are you hiding in my house, looking over my shoulder as I read my morning Bible devotion and write in my prayer journal? I ask because, once again, the word you've chosen dovetails perfectly with my morning meditations and an issue I've been dealing with. Let me explain.

As I think I've mentioned before, if you'd known me the first 40+ years of my life, you would have described me as someone who had to have all her proverbial ducks in a row, all the details worked out and noted in my Franklin-Covey planner in a tidy little daily schedule. To put it mildly, I didn't do well if I didn't know the plan for action ahead of time. And, if truth be told, I felt most comfortable if the plan that was going to be followed was one that I had devised.

The words "control" and "planner" fit me likely a custom-made leather glove.

If you have followed my blog, you know that 6 1/2 years ago, my carefully laid-out plans took a hit -- no, two hits. The first, which I thought at the time was a major one, was a minor prelude to the second.  For almost two years, I did little planning, and I rarely felt in control. I didn't care, though; I was living on auto-pilot in a grief-induced fog much of the time that wasn't consumed by work.

Of course, the fog finally lifted, and I began living what I refer to as my "new normal". I slipped back into using a day-planner (not a Franklin-Covey, but a wonderful "system" that I absolutely love and will share more about on another day), but without the need to control the circumstances around me. Not because I didn't have the desire -- no, it was more that I didn't bother with it. Hard to explain, but true.

Lately, though, I've been faced with 2 really big, exciting opportunities. In the past, I would have chomped at the bit to plot and plan in anticipation of ultimately executing my plan.

But I'm not. Instead, in the last year or so, I've made a very deliberate decision to follow God's plan instead of my own.

The problem is that I don't know what HIs plan entails. You see, he has placed limits (you thought I was never going to get back to today's word, didn't you?) on what I can see.

In short, I don't have a clue as to what step I should take in moving forward. Not a single clue. I can't see a single foot in front of me. My view is limited.

In my former life, I'd have long ago given up waiting on God -- heck, I wouldn't have left things in HIs hands to begin with.

Now, though, I'm waiting. And I'm waiting pretty darned patiently, if I may say so myself.

Part of my waiting involves my morning devotion because -- wouldn't you believe it? -- they have focused for the past week or so on seeing earthly things through the eyes of eternity, following God's plan instead of my own.

And so I'm not chafing at the limited sight I have. I'm waiting. For direction. God's. 

Phew -- that was a fast and furious five minutes. I don't think I've ever written that much for a Five Minute Friday post! If you are so inclined, I ask that you keep me in your prayers in the days ahead, in the days before God reveals to me the next step He wants me to take. I don't want to share what the 2 opportunities are or what decisions I will need to make. I've learned that when I do that, people are more inclined to offer advice than to add me to their prayer list. Not to be rude, but I don't want human advice; I want Godly direction.  And when I receive it, I'll share here where I'm going next. Thanks so much!