Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Were We Dating?   Leave a comment

I haven’t posted a story from my old dating days in a while.  I have no desire to date at present, still being very much in love with my dear departed husband.  But this dating story is from at least 15 years ago, way before I met my wonderful Randy.

I had met Mitchell (not his real name) through a friend.  He was a friend of her boyfriend at the time.  My friend told me a bit about Mitchell, in retrospect I figured it was probably a way to get me interested in him.  Mitchell had been dating a girl for several months and apparently she had been pressuring him to have sex.  He wanted to take things slowly and date more, but the way I was told the story was she pressured him and so he gave in and had sex with her. And she promptly dumped him.  So, he was hurting and sad.

The first few times I met Mitchell were in group settings and it was all very casual and no pressure.  I talked with him but didn’t spend all my time with him, nor he with me.  He was not bad looking, and he seemed like a nice guy.  Had his own house and business.  He just didn’t do anything for me, really.  I didn’t get any red flags – I just wasn’t attracted to him.

At some point (the details are a bit fuzzy after all this time) he started calling me.  Now up to this point our interaction and contact had all been friendly and casual.  So when he started calling I really didn’t think much of it.  It would be pretty short conversations – maybe 7-10 minutes long. “How was your day?” kind of thing.  This went on for maybe a week or so.  Then one night on the phone he asked if he could stop by that Saturday night.  I thought, “Why not?”

He came by the apartment I was living in at the time, which was actually about 4 minutes from where he lived.  We sat in the living room on different pieces of furniture and he asked if there was anything on TV that we could watch.  The only thing I could find was an old Elvis movie, which we watched all the way through.  We barely talked the whole time and the movie was so…. bad.  Ug.  I’m not a big Elvis fan, and this was not a good movie.  When it was over I was thinking how I could ask him to leave and he got up and said goodnight, and as he was going out the door he said, “Next time, let’s talk some more.”  And I said, “Okay!” cheerfully while ushering him out the door, and it wasn’t until I closed the door that I thought, “Next time?  There’s going to be a next time?  Huh??”

Then I started thinking of our nightly conversations, and wondered if he was interested in me.  (I know, seems obvious now, looking back.  But honestly he was so casual about everything I didn’t know.)  The nightly short phone calls continued.  One night I got home a bit early and decided to call him first.  He was obviously surprised when he answered the phone and it was me.  So I went through the same routine he had been using – “How was your day?” kind of thing.  Near the end of the conversation, hesitantly, he asked me if I minded calling him.  I said, “No, not at all.  Sometimes I call my friends, sometimes my friends call me.”  He kind of stuttered at that, and we said good night.

We met two more times for activities together, and at neither of those times did I have the slightest clue (from his body language or words) that he was interested in me other than just a casual friend.  He had multiple opportunities to hold my hand, put his arm on my shoulders, say something affectionate to me, etc.  He gave me no indication he was physically attracted to me.  It was like dating my brother.

Later, as months passed and I thought about that time, I think I figured out what was going on.  I also had one or two conversations with my girlfriend about all this that filled in some clues.  I think that, because of the abrupt breakup he had experienced with the other lady, and thinking he had gone too far too fast, he wanted to pull back and take his time with the next girl he was interested in.  He wanted to make sure he didn’t jump into anything too fast.  The problem was, in the end, he went so slowly and carefully I truly didn’t realize he thought we were dating.

I thought back over our months of … interactions?  Friendship?  Communication?  Whatever you want to call it.  I thought about it and wondered if I had done or said anything wrong, and wondered if I could have done something differently.  I should have talked with him about it.  I should have been upfront with him that while I liked him as a person and he was fine as a friend, I wasn’t romantically interested in him.  Lesson learned!  But that is the story of how I dated someone without knowing, really, until afterwards, that we were dating.

Posted July 27, 2017 by Maureen in Being Single, Memories, Musings

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GOD CHUCKLED   Leave a comment

This past week we had another week of early morning prayer at the church I attend.  6:00am to 7:00am.

I did my usual thing — I wander.  It is hard for me to sit and pray, or kneel and pray. I need to stand, to walk around.  In circles, or up and down the aisles.  Its a kinetic thing, is the only explanation I can come up with for why I pray that way.

One day this week I was at the front of the church and I remembered to stop talking TO God and just stand and listen to what God might have to say to me.  But being me, I had to preface that with once again asking God to lead me and guide me according to His will, and to keep me in the path of His commands.  Then I said (this is all internal, you understand) what I usually say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

And God said, “You’re doing a good job.  Keep it up.”  I am always taken aback when I get a word from God, and I feel Him talk to me.  It is an awesome feeling to have the God of the universe talk to you.  Being me, I started in again, “Oh – thank you God.  I love you so much.  Please let me know if there is anything I need to be doing, or not doing.”

And God chuckled.  And He told me He loved me, and once again told me I was doing a good job and to just keep on doing it.

I’m so glad God understands me and puts up with me, and can chuckle at my foolishness.

Posted July 8, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Uncategorized

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BLUES   Leave a comment

Have you ever attended a church camp or retreat, and the leader(s) warned you about the “let down” after you went home?  You get all pumped up and fired up and hopefully Holy Spirit-filled and inspired while away, and then you come back home and you don’t sustain that same feeling.

I get the Sunday blues.  So many years I’ve battled the Sunday blues.  When Randy was alive I didn’t have to worry – I had him as company and we often did something or talked after church.  Now that he’s gone, the Sunday Blues are back.

The whole afternoon and evening seem to stretch before me, without anything to keep me busy and take my mind away from how much I miss him and my grief.  I had forgotten to make plans, to make a list of things to do.  So I came home today and all I want to do is crawl back into bed.

I’m not going to.  I will continue to struggle the rest of today.  There is always something to do around the apartment.  I am blessed that I have a church that I can go to in freedom and be lifted up, spiritually, and taught and grow in my relationship with God.  Just, the blues are hard.

Posted May 28, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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LIKE A LITTLE KID   Leave a comment

I have been volunteering as a teacher or assistant in Children’s Ministry at churches I attend for…. wow – 16 years.  I didn’t quite realize how long it had been until I wrote that.  One of the things I have always heard was that to be successful in children’s ministry you have to be kind of a big kid yourself. And I have never really thought of myself as a big kid.

So this week was kind of a chuckling eye opener for me.  On Wednesday nights I trade off teaching the Grade School kids with another teacher.  We finished our curriculum last week and the new one has not come in, so we had a party.   Since she’s the Children’s Minister for the church she did all the work, bless her heart.  She bought snacks and drinks and set up games for us.

I came into the Kids area and a big grin spread across my face.  Ping Pong!  I LOVE ping pong!  Corn Hole!  I LOVE corn hole!  A carpet bowling game!  I LOVE carpet bowling!  Tiny cupcakes!  Pretzels!  YEAH!!!

I wrote her the next day how much I enjoyed it.  I was just being honest and letting her know her hard work and planning had not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.  She wrote back, “One of the things I love about you is that you are truly a kid at heart.”  It made me smile.  ‘Cause, I guess I did sound like a little kid in my email.  And I guess I really am a kid at heart when you get right down to it.  And since Jesus said we should all have the heart of a child, that is okay with me that I am that way.

Posted May 26, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Uncategorized

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OLD and NEW   Leave a comment

Easter is coming soon!  I love this time of year, though for now and forever it will always be linked with my dear husband’s death.

But life goes on and time continues to march on.  I have a niece getting married on what would have been Randy’s 60th birthday.  I love this niece and would have dearly loved to be there on her day, but this is the first birthday without Randy and I just can’t do it.  I only have so much emotional reserves, and I can’t paste on a happy face that day.

I got out my Easter things.  I don’t do a lot of decorating at Easter – not like Christmas.  I do have some favorite things I put out, and this is a picture of one of them:

I absolutely adore ceramic things.  And I never buy them.  I am very careful not to fill my house with too many “things”, and all the beautiful things made out ceramic I could buy definitely fit that!  But, I found this basket on sale years ago and so I bought it.  The cardboard painted eggs nestled inside it were from my mother.  She may have had them when she first got married — I am not sure, but they are least 60 years old and may be older.  I love combining old and new like this.  And for the next few weeks I’ll enjoy looking at my beautiful ceramic Easter basket.

 

Posted March 26, 2017 by Maureen in Musings

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NOTES FROM LENT REFLECTIONS   Leave a comment

I may have mentioned this before, but a few years ago I signed up for Lent and Advent daily devotional/reflections from Goshen College.  I so enjoy it!  I recommend signing up — you can get a gem in your email inbox during Lent and/or Advent.  I have been super busy at work and have met myself coming and going and have not had time to write blog posts like I want to.  But I did pull from the Lent devotionals a few things from just this week alone that I’d like to share with you.  Think about it, reflect on it.  Make it personal for your life.

“Remember how you were sustained before.  Remember”
Exodus 17

“No one party ever has a monopoly on Truth.  It is with this sense of wonder that I accept neither a sedating grace, nor a self-bestowed grace, but a “costly grace” that simultaneously comforts, discomforts, and calls us to follow the Incarnate God.”
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

“Brokenness happens in life.  It is not what we desire or hope for, but challenges and fractures befall us.  Looking at restorative processes in nature is a helpful reminder that renewal in the midst of brokenness does happen.  Jesus is the orchardist who is committed to acting in our lives.  Christ is the one who brings salve to our wounds. We are made right by the loving, Creator God.”
Romans 5:1-11

“This Lent, may we be able to see the strangeness of Jesus, the ways in which he pushes cultural boundaries.  May we be able to look beyond the surface of the familiar stories and be drawn in by Jesus, who confuses our expectations.  May we be so compelled that our lives speak of this Jesus.”
John 4:5-42

Posted March 17, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Uncategorized

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Daniel’s Parents   Leave a comment

The church I attend is starting “The Daniel Plan”, based on the Rick Warren book.  As part of that, we are studying the book of Daniel and talking about it.

My mind many times goes to ‘the story behind the story’ when reading the Bible.  And I was struck by how Daniel’s parents must have influenced him.  His friends also, but I’ll focus on Daniel.

As near as we can guess, he and the other young men that were taken to Babylon with the first invasion of Jerusalem were probably around 15 years old.  Daniel was born during King Josiah’s reign, so there was a great revival in Israel during that time which much have influenced his parents and him in his early years.

I like to think of Daniel’s parents being friends and even perhaps business associates of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah’s parents.  I picture all the boys as being friends, perhaps living in the same district in Jerusalem.  Playing together, going to temple together, being taught by their parents.  Celebrating Passover together, and the other feasts.  Living a good, carefree (one would hope) life.  Until the years before the first invasion by the Babylonians, when it must have been difficult to continue to live as an orthodox Jew.  The people were falling away from their worship of God and following other gods.  They must have seen shrines, and idols.  They probably saw and heard rituals and practices of those who worshiped the other gods.  Maybe some of their friends stopped coming to temple with them, stopped talking to them, because their parents started following these other gods.

I can’t imagine how difficult it was to hear of and then see the Babylonian army come against Jerusalem.  How frightening that must have been!  And yet, I think that Daniel’s parents had started planning for this.  Instilling in their son the teachings of the Torah, and helping him to learn as much as he could.  I think they knew what an exceptional son they had.  And I think they knew it was a good chance this son of theirs would be taken from them and be brought to Babylon.

I’m imagining that Daniel’s parents, his father especially, had talked to traders and anyone else he could.  Asking them about the Babylonians.  Asking about what happened to people taken to Babylon.  And so he prepared his son.  I think he exhorted his son in the strongest terms to hold tight to his faith and belief in Yahweh, and no matter what, to  continue to pray and live as he should as a follower of God.  As the army came against Jerusalem and there was no more hope that God would save them as He had done before, I imagine that Daniel’s father, as well as the fathers of his three friends, took the boys and talked with them about what was to come.

They would make a long journey.  They would be taken care of, since they were to go into service for the King of Babylon.  They would be brought to the palace grounds, into the service of the chief of the eunuchs.  I am sure they explained to these boys they would never father children.  The King would want them to be eunuchs so they would devote all their time and energy to his kingdom and its business.  Can you imagine a teenage boy hearing that?  What must have gone through their minds?  What they must have been thinking?

I think the fathers encouraged the boys and told them to use the gifts Yahweh had given them to bring glory to Him.  To do the best they could.  To stand firm.  And these boys, being intelligent and quick to learn, used to following their parents and obeying, probably drew strength from their fathers.

There must have been tears.  Everyone must have been frightened. But the Babylonians did take the boys, just as the fathers said they would.  And everything happened as they had been told.  They made a long trip, but they were taken care of.  I imagine on the trip the four boys continued to pray and worship Yahweh, talking among themselves and helping each other to stay positive.

When they arrived and were made eunuchs, Daniel became their spokesperson.  He knew they should not be eating the food or drinking the wine that had been offered to idols and were unclean.  I’m sure he sent up prayers to God for help, and then he boldly spoke up, and was granted favor.  While the other young men ate the unclean food and drank the wine, Daniel and his friends stayed strong.  And they flourished.

If you notice, Daniel and his three friends are talked about during the book of Daniel, but all the other young men “without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand” – they were never heard about again.

 

Hold tight to God!

Posted February 3, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Stories

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