Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lessons learned lately (two of them today):
1) Warm brownies cut best if you use a plastic knife in a gentle sawing motion.
2) Viz. is the abbreviation for videlicet, pronounced we - day- li - ket in Latin, or vi-del-i-sit in English. It means "that is to say" or "namely" (used especially to introduce examples, details, etc.)
3) I tend to panic first if I think I have too much to do and not enough time to do it; yet, the Lord comes through again and again (if we're doing what the Lord calls us to do). All I could think today was "How am I going to get the house cleaned, the lessons ready, and the last pan of brownies made for Sk8 Church tonight?" God had it all figured out: my two late afternoon tutoring students did not come today. I actually have time to spare. Well, not's time I didn't think I would have, but now that I have it, I need to use it wisely.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fixating on my own plans (and the lost papers needed to carry out those plans) blocks the Holy Spirit from getting through to me with creative ideas. Once I released my ideas of how the next day's lessons must go, inspiration flowed freely. Why do I think it (whatever activity "it" happens to represent at the time) has to be the way I planned it and the way I've always done it? This new idea may turn out to be the better lesson of the two.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Responding to Sandpaper People (from Pastor Tom Morris):
1) Remember that I may be a sandpaper person to someone else!
2) Realize God is working on me
3) Refuse the easy road -- run to the guns! (That doesn't mean to be violent!)
4) Resist retaliating.
5) Reject trying to please everyone.
6) Respect the ideas of others.
7) Relax; I don't need to fix sandpaper people. Speak truth into their lives, but let God do the fixing.
8) Redeem the untapped gift within them.
9) Return to gospel thinking.
10) Rejoice that God is not finished with them yet.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Looking at the written lines indicating recent posts has made me keenly aware of the importance of opening lines. I've always known an introduction is important, and a few authors come immediately to mind when I think of giftedness in this area: Austen, Nabokov, Wolfe (no, not that Woolf; although, her writing is exemplary as well-- Gregory Wolfe from Image magazine), James. Definitely not Trollope, poor fellow...or, rather not so poor as he was so prolific. He starts out boring as...well, real life, I suppose. Then, if we persevere, we are rewarded. Trollope's had a resurgence of popularity of late, but, in general, we like to be hooked from the beginning and you'd best keep on hooking us or we shall rip the hook from our mouth and move onto prettier hooks, leaving bits of our flesh as we go.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My reflection questions for my apprentice group this week were as follows: 1) Were you able to make a list of your blessings this week? If so, did you find it difficult? Why? 2) What, if anything, did you learn about God or yourself through the exercise? 3) What were some of the things that made your list that surprised you? Why?

First of all, I learned that I don't read questions any better than my students do! I made a "What I am thankful for" list followed by a page of what I noticed. It would have been a lot easier to make a list of blessings. Which may beg the question how are blessings different from what I am thankful for. Nonetheless, just so that I try to build a habit of blogging each day, and since I am not ready to blog on "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," I shall write here what I noticed. I noticed:

That I want to analyze why I am thankful
That I don't want to just write down whatever my eyes see and say I'm thankful for _____.
That I tend to say, "I'm thankful for ____________, even though _____________.
That I want to know what it is I'm not thankful for and why...and why I'm thankful for the things I'm thankful for.
Is what I'm thankful for also what I like? (And, is it because I don't like something that it causes me to not be thankful for it?)
Is there anything I'm thankful for, but I don't like it?
And vice versa: Is there anything I'm not thankful for but I like? (I think that applies to coffee, except I don't necessarily "like" coffee -- I like its effects...or I started out liking the effects and now I don't like the effects if I stop drinking it.)
I didn't like being laid off, but I was thankful (more so now than then).

What about thanking God in all times and circumstances? I think the emphasis is on God, not necessarily thanks for that particular thing, situation, person, etc.

Well, tomorrow I will try to do my homework the right way and see where it leads.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I am the oldest of seven siblings, so I grew up looking for that occasional place where I could retreat. If I was reading a book, the world could fall down all around me, and I would never notice. It was a shock to my system when I had children--four of them! Moms aren't allowed to escape. Now days I can lie still for five minutes of quiet in the morning or five in the evening, but back then I read to the children at night--everyone had to take a turns on whose bed I would sit and read. I would soon find myself asleep. Quiet time in the shower is also a good place (yes, I know there is the sound of running water, but it really is a good place for God to talk!) The best way, as a mom to be with God and nature was at the back of a stroller. I might not be still, but I could be silent.

I am blessed to have a big backyard with lots of trees, and I also live up the street from a small lake where I walk for exercise, prayer, and contemplation. Last week a night heron was sitting on a rock up close to the path. I have learned to enjoy sights such as this, but my tendency is to look for a lesson in everything.

I've always believed in seeing God at work daily, and that really became important to me last year when I was laid off from teaching. One day He encouraged me by having a red bird sit on my mailbox (so Hallmark card!!). I paused from driving my car down the driveway to contemplate what lesson God had for me in that bird sitting there. And, it was as if God said to me, "For heaven's sake, Debbi; it's this amazingly intensely red bird sitting on your mailbox making a beautiful picture for you to see and enjoy! I'm showing you beauty and grace because I love you. That's it! There doesn't need to be some hidden analogy, allegory, or allusion!"

So here I am. I enjoyed that night heron immensely, but I've turned that red bird into a lesson that there doesn't have to be a lesson. LOL!
Testing, testing, testing....