Monday, December 14, 2015

Peace at Christmas Free Devotional Week Three

Here is week three of my Peace at Christmas devotional. Leave a comment and let me know how you are surviving the holiday.

Monday, November 23, 2015

I Got You

My 2-year old goddaughter is afraid of the vacuum. She is pretty much afraid of anything that makes loud noises. Not unusual for children that age. All my children were afraid of the vacuum at that age. My husband and I try to make sure it’s hidden when she visits. But if we forget, she lets us know as soon she arrives at our house.

One day after dinner, we discovered that we needed to use the vacuum on the rice grains that fell from the table. My goddaughter was warned that the vacuum was coming out. She promptly began to run and hide. My husband scooped her up in his lap until the vacuuming was done, telling her, “I got you.”

It was an interesting picture. My husband is very muscular with broad shoulders. My goddaughter is small for her age since she was born premature. Big man protecting a little girl. My goddaughter sat in my husband’s lap, watching the vacuum, calm and without shedding one tear. As I watched this scene, I was struck by how much my goddaughter’s attitude towards her fear changed. On the floor with the vacuum, she was terrified. But in her godfather’s lap, she wasn’t.

This brought to mind how Christians relate to God. Oh, to climb into God’s presence and calmly and peacefully watch the things that once terrified us. God is big, strong and is willing to hold us when we’re afraid. The scene with my goddaughter just reminded me that my Abba Daddy is will scoop me up when I’m afraid, no matter how irrational my fear my be. I’m thankful for the reminder that I don’t have to be afraid. I just need to climb in my Father’s lap and hear him say, “I got you.”

Friday, November 6, 2015

My Life in Stitches: Accidents Happen

A little while ago, a woman in my knitting group accidently bought a lot of yarn through an online shop. She was recovering from a sickness and on medication when she did it. She didn’t realize what she had done until later. I admit I laughed at her story. She got some amazing yarn, so it was a happy ending. It was an odd story but I thought it was her unique story.

…Until I accidently bought yarn.

No medication or sickness was involved. I was completely cognizant. So it started, like most things, with Facebook. One of my favorite online yarn shops, Jimmy Beans Wool, put up a post on mill end Cascade 220 on sale. I hopped over the site and browsed. And I admit, I added stuff to my cart.

One of my favorite yarn stores!
One of the thing I love about Jimmy Beans is that they give 5% cash back on purchases. They also offer coupons for free shipping to loyal customers. So after added what I wanted to my cart, I tried to log in. My goal was to see if I had any cash back and free shipping coupons to use.

But I missed one important thing. In order to streamline people’s yarn addiction, Jimmy Bean Wools added a one-click button. So instead of logging in, I purchased 7 skeins of Cascade 220 mill ends. And like my knitting friend, I didn’t realize what I had done until I got the confirmation email thanking me for my purchase.

I could have returned them, but they were such a good deal. I decided to keep them. Besides, now I can say I accidently bought yarn.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Discovering Writer Me

Self-discovery is the unexpected benefit to writing. Being creative on demand requires you to know how you work and what gets the words flowing. Over the years, I’ve discovered a few things about my writing process. I can’t work with writing software. I’ve several different ones but for a reason I haven’t discovered, they don’t work for me. My suspension of why leads me to the next thing I’ve discovered about myself: I am a global writer. I need to see the whole picture of my novel.

I’ve discovered that although I consider myself a tech girl, my writing life is better with as little tech as possible. Give me a poster board, a spiral notebook, some Post-it notes, a mechanical pencil and a black ballpoint pen. The only tech I need is my Mac so I can actually write the novel and do research.

This year, I made a new discovery, although I feel a little silly calling it a discovery. I’ve known it all along, but I never really acknowledged the truth.

I am an autumn writer.

Something about turning leaves, cooler temperatures, and pumpkin flavored everything inspires me. I feel cozy and invigorated. No other season does that for me. I feel more alive in the fall than in any other time of year. And my words flow freer during this time, whether it’s blogs, journaling or novels.

In contrast, I cannot write in the summer. Something about that season makes me want to go outside and play. I guess the adult me hasn’t relinquished the carefree laziness summer. I don’t want to create, I want to watch storm clouds roll in and breezes rustling green-leafed trees.

Now that I know this about myself, I will pay more attention to how the seasons impact my life. Winter and spring are up next. Wonder what words will flow out of them…

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Call to Ministry

Here is a conversation I've had many times. People tell me that they feel called to "the ministry." After they inform me of this, they tell me about their plans and what they think this ministry is going to be like. I enjoy hearing about people's callings but there is something I began to notice. People threat ministry like it's a destination and once they reach that place, they’re calling will start.

I know of people who have an idea of what their ministry will be but they aren’t doing anything until the scenarios in their minds have been met. They are waiting for the perfect conditions to begin what they feel they should be doing. Their talk about pastoring a church or evangelizing but most time they have a singular picture of what that ministry will be.

I understand that God gives pictures and glimpses of what we are supposed to do in the future, but what about right now? Can we do something now? We have to remember that ministry is a calling and not a location. We do not have to wait until we've "arrived" to an expected destination to start ministering.

Now that I have “arrived” in the place I am called to, co-pastoring a church, I can see that my ministry started the moment I accepted my calling. God lead me to experiences and opportunities that gave me a glimpse of what I would be doing now. He led me to pray for people, teach, disciple and encourage in every stage of my life. There was no waiting to come to a certain place in my life. My ministry began immediately.

Of course I didn’t realize it at that time. I didn’t see that ministry have different levels of execution and platform, different seasons and times. Now that I’m looking at it in hindsight, I can see that it began even when I didn’t think the conditions were right.  

The word minister means to serve. Based on the definition, our ministry, our service can begin at any time. We all have gifts and talents to serve others. If you can reach out and help someone now, or tell someone about the gospel right where we are, we are fulfilling our calling. You don’t have to wait for some perfect time to do it because that will never come. Follow your calling right now and walk in your ministry.

Friday, October 30, 2015

My Life in Stitches: Floor Full of Blocking

My knitting has fallen victim to my new job. Not that I have one of those exhausting jobs, but that my 9-5 is occupied and I can’t knit as much as I would like to. Before I had dedicated times of knitting. Now, I knit on 15-miniute breaks, while I’m stuck in traffic or any other moment I can steal.

The problem with this is over the summer I started a number of projects to wear once the weather changed. I had a sweater, a shawl and a poncho on my needles at the same time. I thought I had enough time to finish them all before now. I did manage to finish knitting two of them but I didn’t block them, and according to my husband, they’re not finished until they’re blocked.

This past Sunday was my wake-up call. When we left for church, it was barely sixty degrees outside. And the building we meet in is county-owned, so the thermostat is set until someone comes and turns the heat on later this year. I nearly got hypothermia during the church service. I needed the things I knitted but they weren’t blocked.

I realized the error of my ways and blocked all three garments, in addition to an item I knit for a swap partner and a scarf my husband knit. Right now, they are keeping my living room floor warm but soon, they’ll keep me warm.