A Day Off

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

February 4, 2014

On Monday, Zach and Monica drove over to spend the day with us. I had been planning a few different options for the day, but when I heard that they were coming, I gladly pushed everything else aside and looked forward to being with them. My youngest brother turned 18 on Sunday and their trip was inspired by that, so the day felt like another chance to celebrate.

We laughed over old times. Had heart to hearts about the days ahead. Played games and ate and enjoyed every second we had before they had to leave. Monica and I made the most of the sunshine and blue skies with what might have been a 3 hour walk.

It was Martin Luther King Jr. day, so nobody had anywhere to be and every errand sat forgotten. They're the kind of friends that are easy to just be with. They don't require entertaining. They'll let me feed them tacos with canned refried beans and toast and tell me how good it all is. And they'll  even help me make it. We've all known each other so long that we pretty much can't remember not knowing each other.

Being with them was kind of like the shopping cart full of goodies. And it got me thinking and realizing that that's what I'd put in my cart...A day to just be with the people I love.

We'll eat and laugh and talk and play games. We'll make messes and tidy them up. We'll enjoy fresh air and probably a walk. We'll be quiet. We'll listen and ask questions. We'll remember.

All it takes is a day off.

What would you do with a day off? 

The Promise We Forget

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

January 25, 2015

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's suffering, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

We're all familiar with suffering and affliction. None of us can escape it. When we go to the store, we see people who appear to be struggling with all kinds of things. When we sit in the doctor's office, we rub shoulders with people who have received news that leaves them stunned. When we pick our children up from their activities, we chat with other parents who are questioning their ability to do right by the ones they love most.

Suffering and affliction are everywhere.

As Christians, we know that none of it is wasted. We know that all of it falls under the "all things" that God has promised to use for our good and His glory. We know that we're being made into the image of Christ. And so, we press on. Or, at least, we try.

We talk through it and pray through it and listen through it. We lend a hand when we can and accept help when it's offered to us. We do our best to hope in Him even when the situation leaves us wondering how we're ever going to muster the strength to get out of bed.

We know the truth and we beg Him to help us live like it.

Like so many other verses that we hold dear, we forget about something that's very important. We forget about what comes next, what comes after, what is tied directly to the very things we preach to ourselves on our darkest days. At least, I have.

As I face uncertainties and surround myself with reminders of God's truth and soveriegnty and the prayers of those who know what it is I'm up against and offer up prayers of my own for those who have let me into their suffering, I have completely missed the words that come next.

So, I'm here to share some news with you that you might need to hear as much as I did this morning.

We prepare for suffering and we do our best not to be undone by it, knowing that it is promised to us. But, do you know what else is promised to us?


Not just any comfort. Like the suffering, which is in God's hands and promised to accomplish His will in His people, this comfort is comfort that comes from Him and has a specific purpose.

We will be comforted by God. We ARE comforted by God. Right now, in the midst of whatever you're going through or whatever you're watching someone else go through, that thing in you that puts a smile on your face and a skip in your step and allows you to say, "You know, things are a mess, but somehow, I'm actually okay.", it's the character and presence and truth of God comforting you.

You might barely be able to say that you're okay or that things are going to work out for the ones you love, but the thing is, you can say it. You can always say it. And you will always be able to say it.

Because God is who He says He is and He does what He says He will do. He was with Christ and worked through Him and didn't let His suffering go on for a millisecond longer than it needed to to accomplish His glory and Christ's good. He was there comforting Him and that comfort is what got Christ through.

That same comfort is ours. Right now. Tomorrow. And forever more. He means for us to share in the suffering and the comfort and the hope together. With Christ and with one another.

After all, He is our God and we are His people.

What I'm Into Right Now

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

January 3, 2018

It's the first Wednesday of the year. I've been cleaning and doing laundry and brushing dogs (we're watching a friend's dog this week and there was SO MUCH HAIR) and squeezing in a quick visit with a friend and taking a precariously slow walk and losing (AGAIN) in a game of Ticket to Ride. Ordinary days like this one are kind of my favorite. They're not too full. You don't really know exactly what they'll hold, so you just move on from one thing to the next. 

From one thing to the next. Some things are hard. Some things are good. There's always some kind of next just around the corner. Here's a little round up of the nexts I've come across lately and found especially enjoyable. 

*Pretty much every video these people put online. Here's just one example

*Piper sermons on repeat. I listened to this one yesterday morning. 

*Movie marathons. I've watched more movies in the last few weeks than I have in the last six months. The Hobbit. Maze Runner. LOTR. And random movies that seem like the perfect thing to watch in twos. 

*One of the pairings was Nerve and the soundtrack got stuck in my head. These are my top four songs from the album. 

*Speaking of songs...I've also been listening to these songs by Trip Lee and Tedashii and NF.

*Copying down and hanging onto Scriptures like this one.


*Oranges. And fresh fruit in general. 

*Getting up early, opening the curtains, and taking coffee back to bed to watch the glimpse of the sunrise I get. 

*Writing in public places. I can really do it now without getting totally distracted. 

What have you been into lately?

Living That Way

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

February 15, 2013

It's the second day of a new year. The first day of business as usual. It's time to get ourselves back together and resume the lives we were leading before we got all distracted by all of the holiday shenanigans.

As I've clicked around the internet the last few days, I've seen post after post about what people are hoping for and planning to accomplish in this new year. Some have been super heartfelt, some have been very practical pieces offering five simple steps to take with you, and others have been quick little reflections.

They all got me thinking.

For one thing, I'm actually pretty happy with who I am and where I am and the habits I call my own. I'm always hearing people ragging on themselves about how they just don't sleep enough or don't drink enough water or would love to exercise, but just can't find the time. I hear them talk about how they procrastinate and hate cooking and cleaning and keeping up on life's minutiae. Every time I hear these kinds of comments I think, "WHY? How hard is it to do what's important to you, especially when you know it'll be good for you?"

I've never stopped someone mid rant. I've never looked at them with raised eyebrows and exclaimed, "Wow. You're a mess." I mean, that's what they're trying to tell me. They're a mess and they know it. And they want to change it. Only, they don't realllly want to. Otherwise, they would.

It's the second day of a new year and I'm in a different place than I have been in over two years. I have a contract waiting for my signature. Once I sign my name to the solid line, I'll know for sure, that I will be in this town at least until the spring of 2019.

Ever since August of 2015, I've been in this weird in-between place. At first, I thought my life was going to consist of going back and forth between The Queen's Cottage and our old town every three months or so. Then, it became clear that that wasn't going to happen, but I assumed that eventually we'd go back for an extended period of time. And then, we never did. We only went back to pack up the house and within a few months, we had a buyer. By the fall of 2016, they had the keys. After that, reality started to sink in. We didn't live in that town anymore. We LIVED here now. This was truly my next "home for now" place.

I wondered how long we'd be here. I gave up on finding my people even though I'd kind of found them like three times over again. I pushed my arms out and went back to being the homebody I used to be. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I volunteered and drove all over hill and dale getting people to where they needed to be. For all the changes and uncertainty, I took a lot of comfort in the fact that MY daily life hadn't changed much at all. I clung to the familiar rhythms of cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping and doing laundry and having a garden.

And then, in the summer of 2017 I did a few things for myself. I entertained the possibility of working outside the home and just as fall was getting started, I agreed to two positions. We took a break from theatre and I took a break from every non-essential while I threw myself into figuring out how to do MOST of what I had already done as well as I could now that I had about half as much time to do it in. It wasn't a difficult adjustment. My family is great and I didn't have a choice other than to be patient with myself.

Anyway...Back to this whole new years thing. I know I'm not anywhere close to perfect, but I'm actually pretty happy with who I am and how I spend my time. For the first time in two years I have a bit of a long range picture of where I will be and I've finally agreed to do a few things while I'm here.

I won't be trying to get to bed earlier or to drink more water or to be more active. I won't be trying to buy less junk food and more produce or spend less time on the internet. I won't be trying to read my Bible regularly or spend time actually praying for the people I told I'd be praying for. I certainly won't be trying to lose weight or do a better job of eating out less. I won't be trying to care about people more or doing better at putting them first. And the fact that I can honestly say all of that has me grateful. It's nothing to brag about. It's not because I'm this awesome person who has it all together. The steadiness in my life isn't a work of my own drive or makeup or effort.

All of it, every good habit, every smile, every ounce of dedication, all the willingness to pursue and apply wisdom come straight from God. It's His grace poured out and worked out in me. All I have to do is look to Him in eager expectation and keep looking and then obey.  And even those things come from Him.

So many of us run from living that way. It boils down to thinking that our way will be better and make us happier. We can't and won't follow Him until we hear Him beckoning to us.

I'm going into 2018 with a single word on my mind and the resolve to keep pressing on. One day at a time. One good habit at a time. Sure, there are things that I can work on and I'll  be sure to do that. As I do, there will be one line running through my head, namely, it's God that's getting me through.

Two Days

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December 15, 2017

This year, I have the shortest Christmas break that I think I've ever had. Between the show we're just finishing up and the next few shows on our list (we're back to having multiple shows going on at the same time) and work and commitments, I have exactly two days with my family. And even those aren't going to be without interruptions. I'm looking forward to cooking some FOOD and maybe watching a Christmas movie or two. I'm hoping this SNOW is joined by some sunshine so that I can take a long walk in it. I'd like to play some games and I'd like us all to put everything else aside for at least part of one day just to BE together. 

It's Christmas Eve and another day of me waking up far earlier than I need to. The words are here, so I'm doing what I've been doing. I opened the curtains and turned on a couple of lamps and crawled back into bed with a cup of coffee to make the most of these hours I'll have to myself. With Christmas and New Years and Epiphany all stacked up, it's easy to think back and to think ahead in wonder at the same time. There are people and times and traditions that we're missing. There are hopes and dreams that we're still hanging onto even all these years later. There are special plans that we're looking forward to. There is rest we know we'll be enjoying very soon. 

This time of year has always been my favorite. There's something about closing out the year with holiday after holiday dedicated to food and family with our minds set on what's really important in life. 

October 31st reminds us of the dual between dark and light. The legacy of those who labored so hard for the truth becomes real to us again. Then, at the end of November, we turn our minds to just how much we have to be grateful for. 

No sooner is the food put away, than we pull out the lights and the music and start rounding up the wrapping paper and those boxes full of memories that we hang all throughout our homes. We smile and there's a little dose of magic in the air. December becomes the month where so many of us quiet our souls with reality. Christ came and He's coming again. 

Before we know it, it's all over. The year. The parties. The breaks. Another January begins and we all resolve to put our best foot forward. Five days later, a few of us remember the wisemen and the trip they made and we thank God for the gift of faith He gave them and that He is giving us. 

We all celebrate in our own ways. Many of our traditions are passed down to us. Others are works of our own imagination. We mark the days and set them aside and fill them to the full with whatever it is that each one calls for. There's a skip in our step even though we all know things are the same underneath. Each of these days is just another day, but somehow, they're special. 

As they should be. 

Wherever you are. Whoever you're with. I hope this holiday season has been and continues to be a time of refreshment. May the time to be with the ones you love grant you perspective that will be helpful in the year ahead of us. Whether you have two days or two weeks, there's room for what's important. 

There's always room. 

Merry Christmas!