Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Friday, April 11, 2014
My day "off" started off not with a bang, but my teenager's gentle voice around 6:30 in the morning: "Mom, I missed the bus. I tried to let you sleep as late as I could, but I need a ride to school." Huh? What? Oh. Up I go. Change into day clothes, keys in hand, we can do this. Let's enjoy the beautiful sunrise and a little time spent with a very sweet son. I'm a mom of 10 with seven still living at home, so one-on-one time is precious.
I got home in time to make sure my youngest daughter's hair was combed and that my youngest son was out of bed. Keys in hand, off to the elementary school several blocks away. Then home again in time to eat some breakfast and take another daughter and a neighbor to their middle school bus top several blocks away. Done yet with driving? I thought so...
But no. Within minutes, I got a text from my daughter that she had left the Cheetos for a class party in the van. Could I bring them to school for her at lunch time? Sure, why not. Not so far away, eh?
And then, and then, I got a call from one of my adult daughters asking for a "big favor, Mom." Could I bring the set of her paint brushes she had left on her bed? As soon as possible, please? I had to laugh. Yep, got it. I took a shower, threw some laundry in the washer, printed out my To Do list for the next few days. Keys in hand, off to the college to bring my amazing artist her tools. (I can't wait to go see the college's juried art show opening night next week. She had six pieces accepted for display, out of the 60 total. Did I say she is an amazing artist?)
On the way back from from the college, I decided to take advantage of being in that end of town and stopped by an antique store I spotted. The owner was just unlocking the door, a half hour past the regular opening time. Chatting with her in the store, I discovered her morning had been much like mine, running around town taking care of stuff for her adult son's family since he was sick. We both smiled and agreed: "We do for family." Yes we do.
It's been a day. A good day. A Mom day. But now, my keys are in my purse!
Oh yes, those books! Here is such a relevant snippet from one of them, starting on the very first page.
"And it's not uncommon to find ourselves wondering, How does this whole crazy puzzle fit together? Anne Morrow Lindbergh observed somewhere in her timeless little book, Gift from the Sea, that most of us don't really mind pouring our lives out for a reason. What we do resent is the feeling that it is being dribbled away in small, meaningless drips for no good reason." For me, one of the greatest frustrations of walking through the "dailiness" of my life is that I don't always get to see how the bits and pieces of who I am fit into the big picture of God's plan. It's tempting to see my life as a meal here, a meeting there, a carpool, a phone call, a sack of groceries -- all disjointed fragments of nothing in particular. Yet I know I am called, as God's child, to believe that they do add up. That in some way every scrap of my life, every step and every struggle, is in the process of being fitted together into God's huge and perfect pattern for good (Romans 8:28). As difficult as that is to "live into" daily, it had become for me a transforming truth, adding meaning to the mundane and purpose to the plodding." (Kaleidscope: God's Pattern in the Bits & Pieces of a Woman's Life by Claire Cloninger)(I picked up the book because the concept of the kaleidoscope is one I've been pondering lately. You can see more here: Kaleidoscope.)
Grace and peace,
Thursday, February 20, 2014
In a mental fog? Feeling sluggish or forgetful or distracted? I’ve been there, too! Our brains are amazing, complicated organs, affected by so many factors. I’ve been working on various areas of brain boosting over the past few years and thinking lately about how to increase my mental accuity and focus even more.
I've been planning to write this post for a while, but my memory was jogged this morning by these electronic sign messages outside my son's high school about preparing for the upcoming standardized writing tests.
Great reminder, but it's not just for students preparing for tests! We all need to remember to care for our brains!
- How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day by Michael J. Gelb: This book takes a long look at how da Vinci approached life and learning, incorporating curiosity, learning through experience/persistence, cultivating sensory attention, embracing ambiguity, balancing between the arts and sciences, nurturing the physical body, and an appreciating interconnectedness.
- No More Brain Drain: Proven Ways to Maintain Your Mind and Memories by Readers Digest: Based on more than 100 scientific studies, this easy-to-read, visually pleasing book is full of practical and innovative ideas for boosting your mental edge – foods, exercises, mental games, sleep tips, etc. Please note that there are other books with similar titles. Maybe they're good, too!
Aim for eight hours of nightly sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room. The ideal hours are before midnight!
Oh, and don't forget to drink plenty of clean water! A body that is not properly hydrated can feel sluggish and tired! How much water? Take your weight in pounds. Divide that in half. Drink that many ounces per day. That's a lot of water, but your body needs it for so many reasons!
Exercise - especially aerobic - gets your blood and oxygen flowing to the brain, and improves mood and general stamina. It also increases physical awareness, such as hand-eye coordination, that is crucial to strengthening your mental muscles. It helps posture and flexibility, and, done correctly, can alleviate pain. It releases calming hormones like serotonin and dopamine, reducing stress. All of these will help you think better, too.
Can't afford a gym membership or just can't get out much? Lace on your sneakers and take a brisk walk in your own neighborhood! Walk with a friend for extra motivation. Or buy yourself an exercise DVD to use in your own home! I just bought the "Keeping Fit in Your 50's" DVD set at Sam's Club, but I need to go to the chiropractor before I start using it!
Monday, February 10, 2014
- Read all the way through Colossians. It’s a wonderful book, full of both inspiration and practical instruction. Take it a little section at a time. Meditate on it. No need to hurry. When you are done with that, work through the Gospel of John.
- Jot down your impressions. It doesn't have to be formal or fancy or even terribly profound.
- How do the words speak to you right where you are at in life?
- While the words in this chapter were written in the context of a larger ministry setting, how can you, as a mother, apply them as you seek to disciple your children?
- Busy, Dizzy and In a Tizzy: Christian Contemplation for Moms
- Words of Promise, Comfort and Encouragement
- Sanctuary (Big Words)
- Teaching Our Children to Walk With God
- The Thessalonians Prescription
- Bella Sophia (Lady Wisdom Sets Her Table)
- Trust and Obey
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Nearly two weeks ago, I had the immense privilege of attending a Refresh Retreat hosted by my friend Sandy Traugott. I'd like to share it with you through pictures and captions. It's funny that "Refresh" was my "one word" for 2013, and I still need it now more than ever.
|Sandy is a veteran home school mom|
whose children are all grown.
She is a seasoned saint,
well-acquainted with the trials of life,
but filled with a flourishing love of Jesus.
She inspires me.
|Drop your cell phones here!|
This is a day to get away
(But it's there if you need it.)
|A time to breathe and stretch,|
in a posture of devotion and worship.
It's called DoxaSoma, an integration
of Christian prayer and movement.
Pray and praise with body and soul.
I loved it. Sandy brought the mats.
|After a time of listening |
to worship music,
we each sat with our own
Bibles and journals,
turned to Colossians,
and asked God to speak
into our hearts
as we reflected on his Word.
This was not a lecture and workshop retreat.
It was mainly a silent retreat.
|Communion was available |
to take in solitude as we wished.
|Plenty of healthy snacks - strawberries, |
hummus and gluten-free crackers,
lemon water, a variety of teas...
We also brought our own lunches.
|Only six ladies come to each retreat.|
One of my fellow participants
is my son-in-law's sweet grandmother.
Chatting on the porch with her,
I find that she hosted dozens of ladies' retreats
at her mountain cabin in North Carolina.
Between that and visiting missionaries,
2,000 people from 20 nations
stayed overnight at Higher Ground
which is now available for week-long rentals.
She is also active in homeless ministry,
as are most of the others who came that day.
Shirley's hospitality and grace astound me.
I am so grateful for the
family legacy she lives
for my soon-to-be born grandson Lucas.
|Art time with lots of supplies - |
a way to creatively express
who we are in Christ,
and who we want to become in him.
|Everyone else made |
collages from magazines.
|Our view out the window |
of the condo clubhouse...
I went outside later
to take pictures by the lake.
You can see them here
in this related hymn post:
What a Friend We Have in Jesus.
What a refreshing day!
If you live in the Orlando area, and would like to attend one of Sandy's free day long (9 AM - 4 PM) retreats, please visit her web site here: Refresh Retreat.
Note on February 10: I finally finished journaling through Colossians 4. Here are my Good Words!
Grace and peace,
P.S. Please enjoy one of the songs of worship from the retreat... "I Need You Now" by Matt Redman. I downloaded it for my iPod, of course.