Just Because

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I know it's Tuesday, but I want to talk about the weekend!

After sleeping in a bit on Saturday and being all sad missing my grandparents and my brother and my friends in New England, I realized that I could watch the big parade happening in Plymouth online. I spent the morning enjoying the parade and baking cinnamon rolls, just because. 

The rest of the day was spent enjoying some bingo, a hamburger, some nachos, and visiting with my mom and friend Jay. Five hours later I had two bingos to my name!!!

Sunday Jay threw an early Thanksgiving at his house. After church we put the finishing touches on the meal and the table and then we ate, and ate, and ate. 
We settled in for coffee and then some pie and then we pulled out old records. When we came across a Bing Crosby Christmas one I couldn't resist. The player he has is so fancy it hardly sounded like a record player at all. 
There were games of Skipbo and Speed. We talked about the 50's and looked at old pictures from his travels around the world. 

Last night, I made some food I've been craving and watched "Meet Me In St. Louis".

The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are getting colder, and 2013 is coming to a close. 

The joy of Christmas makes me happy but it is also sobering. 

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, I cannot help but think about ALL of the sin....The battle has already been won and yet, I continue to cling to sin. My sin is devastating. The sin going on all around me, gets me down. 

How was YOUR weekend? 
What is on your mind this time of year?  

The Most Helpful Distraction

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2013 is here. 

I have to be very honest. My mind is absolutely JUMBLED right now. Yours probably is too, so I doubt I have to explain myself. 

There are two times when I attempt to DISTRACT myself from the things that have me constantly trying to catch up. These times are Sundays and every night after dinner. 

During those times I don't even THINK about what needs to be done and what it will take to get them done. During those times, my mind is at rest. 

I read, pray, think about other things, play games, catch up with friends, bake, sleep, or watch something.

It's really good to do....BUT, it got me thinking. 

During those times I succeed at turning off my "I MUST" and simply focus on what is happening at any given moment. 

The "distraction" is really just Victoria living moment by moment with God. 

It led me to ask myself the question: 
Why do I only purpose to make those moments happen during times of rest? 

They do happen, so obviously the grace of God is there...I need that same grace during my times of work as well! 

Today I'm thanking God for the fact that when I rest, I seek Him. I'm also asking God to bring me to the place where I seek Him while I work as well. 
It's easy to get jumbled, and weighed down by life. 

I want God to work in my heart so that I live moment by moment with Him in spite of all the chaos begging for my attention. 

As I set goals and accomplish them, as I make commitments and keep them, what I really want to be focused on and be "distracted" by is Him. 

Do you have times you set aside to tune out to the stuff that makes you feel crazy inside and tune into God in order to calm your soul?
I'd love to hear about it!!! 

A Walk Can Teach Us

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I just got back from a walk. Even though it's getting rarer with each passing day, the sky is a deep blue. Almost every tree is bare. Leaves are still sprinkling the ground and most every lawn is still a vibrant shade of green. 

Things were surprisingly quiet....

I came across two boys on scooters. They thought I was a teacher from the school. I get mistaken for this teacher nearly every time an elementary age child sees me out in public. 

The boys were racing and making siren noises and, as it happened, getting all the dogs in the neighborhood to bark. 

Next, I came across an old man. I don't actually know his name, but I've watched him age A LOT over the last few years. He and his wife were always together. Sitting on the porch, or in the window in their chairs, going on errands. I loved knowing that they were there watching the world go by together. She isn't there any more. I'm not sure if she died or just moved to a nursing home...And he is slowing down. I've watched as he's started to stoop over a little more all the time. His movements have become less sure.
Somehow, he continues to press on. I still see him sitting on the porch, shuffling to the house from the car, or doing his yard work. He declines help the few times I've asked, so I think it gives him purpose. 

Today he had a rake and a garbage can. He was carefully, slowly raking leaves and edging over with the rake to pick them up. As I struggled to keep up a very fast pace, there he was, struggling to just bend over and pick up some leaves. 


A few houses down I noticed a tree. One side was completely bare and the other side from top to bottom had tons of leaves on it. Strange? I thought so. 

And then I saw another old man. He's been fixing up a house for several years now. First it was the roof. Then it was the yard. And now, it's the porch. His method involves ripping things up and starting from scratch. Almost everyday for the last few years he spends his days working on the house. 
Every time I see him, I wonder things like where did he come from? What does he do in the evenings? What does he think about while he works? Has this always been a dream or has he spent his whole life doing these kind of projects? 

Today I learned something about him. He does that quiet not quite a whistle but more than simply blowing air out of your mouth thing...And it made me smile. My grandma always did that. It was always a tune of some kind, louder than a hum but much quieter than a whistle. I wonder what song is his favorite? 

And then I just walked. I didn't see any more people or hear any more children playing. I passed old houses that I haven't walked by since this time last year. I thought about the people that do live or have lived in many of them...

And then I saw a woman in her kitchen window drinking her coffee. And heard the boys who had ditched their scooters and started playing soccer behind a fence. And breathed out because I was almost home. 

The quiet was still there, but now I had seen and heard. I had observed and remembered and questioned life. 
And the simple things that happen everyday all around me looked like something different. They looked like God putting people here and blessing them with so many things. It looked like perspective...
A walk can teach us something. 
I am here and He is there. And yet, all of these details and all of the details in the universe, are His. 

Setting Goals

Monday, November 11, 2013

Have you noticed how many writers were captivated by fall? Jane Austen helped me to notice, in "Persuasion" she wrote :

My favorite piece outside of this is F. Scott Fitzgerald's "life starts over again when it gets crisp in the fall." Now, I know, it snowed the other day, BUT, it's fall until the day after Thanksgiving. 
Like Austen, "every poet worthy of being read", Fitzgerald, and probably even you, fall inspires me.

Fall is a time for me to reset. Resetting looks like reflecting on what has happened and resolving to adjust, change, or continue. 

This year, my fall resolves or goals look like this:

* Get the last few credits I need to FINALLY complete my degree. (College got off to a roaring start for me back in Jan 2008. I worked sooo hard through 2010. The last few years have obviously been spent NOT doing school.) - Math credits and Public Speaking credits have been waiting. 
* Study writing and set aside time to write. This is my "reward" after finishing ^that^. I'm putting together a list of resources that I plan to go through. 

* Find a "from scratch" recipe for alfredo sauce

* Begin journaling recipes again.

* Get your hair healthy, trim a tiny bit every six weeks no matter what. (Since I cut my own hair, it's not about saving $$...I just need to do regular trims.) 
* Keep DRINKING from that fountain of living water that God has led you to! If you haven't been reading, this just means read the Bible and asking God to use it to show me more of Him. 

What are your goals? 
Do you have a favorite quote about fall?

Even when...

Friday, November 08, 2013

You don't know how happy I am to be linking up with Amy for Frankly Friday.  This idea that she came up with was GENIUS. Writing these posts about whatever I want with that banner flying over them letting you know that you're going to hear something frank, is perfect.

Last night I was kicking around ideas. I saw a beautiful picture of the sun and I remembered something my friend Alice told me once.

It has been GRAY here this week. Yesterday I had some driving to do, it was the middle of the day and the fog was so thick that I had could barely see ten feet in front of the car...The house has been dark and I wondered when the sun was going to come back. 

Seeing that picture of the sun shining somewhere else reminded me that the sun HAS been shining, I just couldn't see it. 

And that's where Alice comes in. A few years ago I was at her house and we were talking about something. All of a sudden, she corrected me. She said, "Remember, the sun is always shining, even when you can't see it!" 

I stopped. And I realized that Alice was right. Even on the darkest of days, when the fog is so thick you can't see more than a few feet ahead, the sun is shining. 

God created the universe and we can be sure that the sun will rise and the moon will set and the tides of ocean will come in and go out. 

For some reason, it's very important to Alice that she remember that. She rests in knowing that what God wills will stand. She rests in knowing that the rising and setting sun are reminders that God's word is sure. She knows to trust Him.

Let the sun and the fog be a reminder today. They are His. In His hand you are secure. 

You can be sure of them, just as you can be sure of Him.

 By the way, I can see the sun again today. Somehow, the certainty faith delivers is more precious than the certainty sight insures. 

Some Things to Click On

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

via Desiring God
 Here are a few links that have had my attention lately:

* This article on praying Matthew 7:1-5 explains what I meant about living the way of the gospel.

* Here you'll find a Scripture to go back to over and over again to find truth and hope no matter what. Jesus met the conditions, just GO to Him.

* A reminder of HOW Jesus loves us. It might not be how you thought He did...

Also responsible are the books I've been reading. I finished both "Full Disclosure" by Dee Henderson and "You Don't Know Me" by Susan May Warren on Sunday. Though they are fiction, I took my time reading them.

 There was commitment to God and the caution with people in Henderson's book. Writing seems worth the trouble. Communing with God really is the main thing. And people...I'm still wrestling through my thoughts on what I learned about relationships with them from this book.

 The pain in "You Don't Know Me" had me bawling. Saying goodbye can be so difficult, even when it's best. Wishing life had a pause button doesn't change anything....Knowing it doesn't might help you enjoy the good and press on through the difficult. 

Would you do me a favor? Share a link to something you've enjoyed lately with me.

What have you learned from a book lately?

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

November 5, 2013 that is....The first snow of winter 2013. A brown sugar cinnamon mocha. Time to sit down and write about what's been on my mind.

I've read a lot of good stuff on the internet this week. (I'll post some links for you another day.) My thoughts have been ALL over the place.

* I've been thinking about Advent. Last year I put together a set of cards with Scriptures and activities that went along with John Piper's "Seeing and Savoring Christ". Any suggestions for this year? I'm debating on using a book, an advent guide, or maybe just putting together something of my own around a theme or text. What do you do during Advent? 

* GOALS for the rest of 2013.

*My brother turning 21 this weekend. You know what the kid asked for? An eating plan, recipes, kitchen tools he might need for said recipes, a mug, and some different teas. Hear me out here, he was a lineman in football (the kind that made people flinch), he's over 6ft tall, he lives in hoodies and athletic shorts, our Grandma called him a "bull in the china shop". He's no hipster, no lady-like sissy...He's a tough guy and THAT'S all he asks. I love that kid!

* God is HAPPY. I know some people have a problem with that word because it seems fickle and fleeting. Sometimes I'm one of them. Yesterday morning I took a little bit to really think about God being happier than we can even imagine. I am a pretty serious person, I smile a lot but I'm always thinking. In my head, God is holy and just and full of joy. But, happier than I can imagine? I never thought about that....I'll be kicking this one around for a while. 

*Living in "the way of the gospel". The way that see's the wickedness in my heart and in the world and responds by calling it out and graciously continuing with mercy and hope. If it's my sin, I can confess it and go right to God. He will give me grace and mercy and with that comes joy and hope. If it's a friend's sin, they need me to help them do the same and show them what God has already been giving me. It's the gospel being the good news all the time. It's the gospel received and shared over and over again.

*The presence of God. The place everything makes sense. The place I belong. The place that keeps me living in the grace and sharing that grace with others.

*The Holy Spirit as mentor and companion. He is there. I haven't been living like it. Living without regular Christian fellowship wears on me QUICK. I've been feeling the pain lately. I've been realizing what's really missing, my communion with Him. Jesus promised that His Spirit would be the one to Help...Why haven't I been going to Him?

*God's love and provision comes without condition. It was a sunset over a wheat field that made this truth wash over me a few weeks ago. So many times things in life are based on conditions. I throw the conditions out and rid myself of the drain they place on my life. With God, HE took care of every condition and loves and provides freely and gladly. I have Him and He holds me. No matter what. He is better than anything else. He holds me better than anyone else ever can. 



So, it's snowing. The years are FLYING by. And God is showing how GLORIOUS He is, how far reaching His love is, and how He is calling His people to imitate Him. 

What's been on your mind lately?