Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

LEARNING   Leave a comment

I haven’t been feeling well recently.  Normally I am a very healthy person; I rarely get sick.  But I really did feel awful, off and on for months. Then in August I began to feel really bad.  Bad enough that I went to the doctor, which is rare for me.

Many, many tests and procedures later, I have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.  I am not happy about this, but it is what it is.  In educating myself about this condition, I realized I have had it for a long time, and it didn’t just “pop up” as I first thought.

As a woman, it is pretty normal for me to just keep on.  Feel tired?  Feel lousy?  Just keep pushing!  Come on, don’t be a wimp!  There is work to be done!  I am used to being the one to do things, to get things done. I rely on God and myself, not others. If I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.  Does this sound familiar?

My body had been telling me to take care of it, and I hadn’t been listening.  Or, I listened but didn’t do anything about it.  And, I really can’t do that anymore.  I don’t ever want to get a bad flare up like I had in August again.  So I am having to slow down some.  I am having to say “Yes” to myself sometimes instead of always “No”.  I need to be better at relaxing.

So, recently I took myself out to breakfast.  I went to a live play.  I booked a couple of days in a small cottage in a place I have never been before.  All those things cost money, but not a great deal of money.  I’ve changed the way I eat, and what I eat. And I’ve lost weight.

I’ve been praying that I can be a good steward of all God gives me. That includes this body.  At my age you would think I would have learned these things and have already been taking better care of my body.  But, again as a woman, I am much better at taking care of others than I am of myself.

Advertisements

Posted October 10, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Uncategorized

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

Tagged with ,

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

Tagged with , ,

PRAYER   Leave a comment

I gave my heart and life to God in September, 1986.  Or it might have been 1987.  At any rate — a long time ago.  One thing I heard right away from God was “pray”.  Which I have done all these years.  I have read books on prayer, heard sermons on prayer, attended numerous prayer meetings, and been on prayer chains.

Isn’t it great that God always has something new for us to learn?  At the beginning of each year it is the practice at the church I attend to start off the first full week with early morning prayer, and then about the middle of the month to the end of the month, our Pastor calls us to fast.  He teaches about both these things before we do them, and encourages us to participate during January.

This year he decided to have the early morning prayer hour each month, during the first full week of each month.  And I have attended each one.  It works out well with my work schedule and I have enjoyed it very much.  God has given me visions for myself and the church and my theme has been “Further Up and Further In”, meaning strive towards the goal, the prize.  Try to know God better and deeper here on Earth and share that with others.

Through all this my prayer life has gotten deeper and… has had more clarity. I feel better, through and through.  I didn’t think I needed it, but God has shown me that I only thought I was praying before.  My prayer life has gone further up and further in towards God and my relationship with Him.

Go Further UP. Go Further In to God.  And with God.

 

 

Posted May 13, 2017 by Maureen in Uncategorized

REMEMBER   Leave a comment

We remember, Jesus, what you did for us.

We remember, Jesus, the beatings and disrespect and the blood you shed for us.

We remember, Jesus, that you took our sins upon yourself.

We remember, Jesus, that you loved us so much you did that for us.  The wretched, cracked, broken, and leaky clay vessels that we are.

Thank you, Jesus.   I remember today.

Posted April 14, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

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

Tagged with , , ,

RENEWAL & HEALING   Leave a comment

It has been nine months since my dear wonderful husband Randy passed away.  Just before New Years I felt a healing by God over my grief.  I still miss my Randy just as much as I ever did.  I still think about him and even talk to him.  But the daily crying jags and the horrible pain of my loss has lessened quite a bit.

I had the last two weeks of December off, and spent it at home.  I did some things outside my apartment of course but I didn’t make any trips or go out of town.  One of the new things I tried this year (or, retried would be a better way of describing it) was to try paint-by-numbers kits again.

When I was around 10 – 13 years old I did a lot of paint-by-numbers.  You used to be able to buy these kits for very little money in the Five and Dime stores.  Those were the equivalent of Dollar Stores today, for those of you not old enough to get the reference.  I did a lot of them.  Mostly they were horses, since I was horse mad and I enjoyed the pictures.  I don’t know for sure if it started then, but I have always had a love of painting.  Using watercolors and acrylics.  I truly do love to paint, and I am truly bad at it.  I am not being modest – I really am.  I have tried and tried over the years to get some idea, some vision, some memory down on paper or canvas in watercolor or acrylic.  And I have always failed miserably.  It has been pretty frustrating to me, but my love of painting has spurred me on to keep trying.

So when I stumbled across paint-by-number kits on a web site I thought, “Hmmmm….. I wonder if I will like doing this as much as I did when I was younger?”  Turns out, the answer was YES.  As you might guess, they have made a lot of improvements in the paint-by-number kit market in the 40 odd years since I last tried one.  I bought one that was not on the cheapest end, but not in the middle price range either.  And started working on it.

While I can’t paint, I can follow instructions to paint a specific color of paint in a specific area of a canvas.  And when I was all done?  It looked like something!  It looked like what it should look like!  You can actually, you know, recognize what it is!  And the thing is, I found that I enter into a kind of zen state when I paint.  In fact, I found that there were times I sat for four hours at a stretch, painting.  So I have had to set the alarm, and purposefully get up more often.  Painting does something to my crafty, artistic soul.  And I believe it was God-led.  I do believe God pointed me in that direction because He knew I needed it.  He knew what good it would do me.

One of the things I did on my vacation was to go to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  It was something I had wanted to do for a long time, but Randy wouldn’t have been able to do all the walking and standing.  I had been there before, about 6 months after it had reopened, and really enjoyed seeing everything again.  I found myself talking to Randy as I made my way slowly through the exhibits, and it was very comforting.  When I was there they had a special showing of minerals and gems, and Randy really loved that stuff.  We had a long conversation about the stones as I looked through all the display cases.  In the rain forest, they had several glass cages set up for newts.  And I heard him clearly in my head reciting the lines from the Monty Python movie: “She turned me into a newt!”  “You’re not a newt”  “I got better”.  He could do the accent, and his timing was perfect and every time he said those lines it cracked me up.  It cracked me up again when I stood looking in at the newts.

My time at the CalAcademy was sad, yes, but it was also fun and loving and warm and … comforting.  It did not make me cry, it made me smile.  It made me happy.  It made me grateful, yet again, that my Randy was in my life and enriched it in all the ways he did.  And that was a blessing, and a healing from God.

Here is a picture of the second paint-by-numbers kit I completed.

tree-pbn

Posted January 9, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Memories, Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,