Seemingly Insignificant Choices, 33 Years Later

Tonight, John and I went out for Mexican food on a date night. I picked tonight specifically because July 20, 1983 was on a Wednesday and it was the night that we met. He worked at the Alpine Slide at Ski Broadmoor in the evenings and on weekends. My sister and I decided to go ride the slide that night, as I’d never been and she had gone the week before and said it was fun. John was the lift operator and the one who punched tickets and put people onto the lift. Our first conversation went like this:

John (to Susan and me): Did I punch your tickets?

Susan: No.

Me: Yes. (hides ticket behind back, flirts with cute guy in OP shorts and a polo shirt asking if he’d punched the tickets)

John: If you wanted a free ride, why didn’t you say so?

Me: Why didn’t you tell me?

John: Do I have to tell you everything?

Me: No, I guess you don’t.

broadmoor_alpineslideAnd there you have it. A seemingly random decision to go ride the Alpine Slide on a seemingly random Wednesday evening. A seemingly random and flirty conversation and 33 years later, here we are about ready to celebrate 30 years of marriage (next month) and still very much in love.

You never can tell where your choices will lead you. Some may truly be insignificant. Others might affect you forever.

Manna Living

When God provided the children of Israel with manna, it was a daily provision (except on the 6th day, when He gave them two days’ worth so they didn’t have to work on the day of rest, the Sabbath). But any more than just what they needed and it got wormy and stinky. The point was to trust God for His provision each and every day, knowing that He had already promised to provide for them.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Exodus 16:4-5

So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer (2 quarts or 3 1/2 quarts or 1/2 gallon dry measure) for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.'” Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Exodus 16:15-20

Interesting – I never noticed this part until typing the verses out, but in verse 4 the Lord says,

Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them whether they will walk in My law or not.

Will they trust Him? Will they obey what He has said? God gave the promise and the provision. It seems that some did and some didn’t. Which I suppose is indicative of my own walk today. Do I trust Him? Well, let’s back up a moment. Do I know what He has said? Do I know His promises? And when I do learn of them, do I trust Him and His word? Does He provide situations in which He is testing me? No doubt. Not sure how well I do, though. I know of more times that I mess up, probably because my focus tends to be on the negative side of things.

Where I often struggle is that I want to hang onto today’s provision for tomorrow and the next week and next year, because it was so good and such a blessing. His Word today might’ve spoken volumes to me, so I want to hang onto that. A particular Bible study really ministers to me, so I must hang onto it, too. A teaching I listened to brought conviction and encouragement. So I need to hang onto it as well.

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But what if I could look at life through the lens of Manna Living? Yes, that was the word I needed to hear on that particular day – and certainly it can still speak to me the next day and the next. But it doesn’t mean that it has to be memorialized and preserved forever. Because tomorrow I will likely need a different word from God. While keeping records and journals can be good, and certainly it’s a blessing to go back and remember what God has done and the stories of our lives, it has to be balanced with living here and now, depending upon God for today’s manna, and trusting Him with tomorrow’s needs.

Even in the Lord’s prayer, we’re told to pray for daily provision – “Give us this day our daily bread.” Provide what we need today, Lord. Not looking to stockpile for next week or next year. Does that mean it’s wrong to plan ahead and make preparations? I don’t believe so. The same God also says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which having no captain, overseer, or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8

In Genesis 41, “And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.” Clearly He has them plan ahead and store food here. But I believe that there are a couple of issues at hand:

  1. We have to trust God to provide – in whatever way HE chooses to provide. It may be daily, it might be through storing up and planning ahead. But not matter HOW He chooses, we have to keep our focus and our trust in Him, and Him alone. We are not to begin to trust in the reserves that we have stored up.
  2. We can only know God’s desire for us as we spend time in our relationship with Him. We can’t know which He would have us each do if we do not communicate with Him AND listen to His leading.

It always comes back to our relationship with Him and our faith and trust in Him and His word.

Need to Create

I recently started working at a store which sells all sorts of good supplies for creating stuff – mixed media pieces, planner decorating, scrapbook pages, cards, and a myriad of other things. I am surrounded by creativity 12-15 hours a week.

I also follow people on Instagram, read blogs, and see Facebook posts containing massive amounts of creativity. I love seeing all the creativity. And I love to create things.

Last night, my coworker asked me what my style was and what kind of things do I make.

I realized that I pretty much make nothing. No. Thing. Ever.

I have sewn. I sometimes dabble in doodling and hand lettering. I photograph. I’ve learned mixed media techniques. I’ve scrapbooked. I’ve journaled a few pages in a Bible. I’ve stamped. I’ve attempted watercolor. There’s probably more, though they escape me now.

But right now? Not a darned thing. I create nothing. I have no style to describe what I don’t do.

Whoa.

I even scrolled through a ton of photos on two phones to see if perhaps I had created something which I forgot.

Nope.

So apparently my style right now is blankness.

And sadness.

I need to start making things.

Something.

Anything

Daily.

But God help us, born to this canvas and paint, if we do nothing with it, sign our name on its empty off-white surface and hang it on the wall, after a long succession of lookalike days leads us to our graves, content merely not to have made a mess of the canvas. Who will gaze on that unmarked rectangle on the wall, next to the million others, all of them differentiated only by the names scribbled in the corners, and do anything but sigh? Perfectly safe. Tragically wasted.

~from David DuChemin’s post Fill Your Canvas

Hope

Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, there are things or people in which we hope. Some may be for minor joys, others for something more significant. When I become disillusioned and frustrated with certain matters, I can sometimes step back and remember that my hope is not in any person, event, or thing; my hope is in Jesus Christ. This thought brings me peace and a better perspective.

But the other day I was listening to Day 3 of Emily P. Freeman’s Seven Days of Still Moments in which she speaks about waiting for healing (John 5:1-15) and where we place our hope. While I may be able to both say and believe that He is my hope in some matters, I realized that there’s quite a list of other things in which I have unspoken and misplaced hope. But the reality is that my hope should not be in:

  • a successful photography business

  • mature children

  • less stuff and clutter

  • debt-free life

  • less weight

  • a simpler life

  • living pain free

  • more fun

  • a prettier home

  • fewer potholes

  • less traffic

  • kinder, smarter people

  • or anything else I wish for or which frustrate me

Sure, those things would be nice. They could make my life more comfortable or enjoyable or easier. But my ultimate hope is in Jesus and Him alone. And that brings more long-lasting peace, joy, and comfort than any of the things on my list ever could.

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Change of Season

Here we are, three days into June 2016. Supposedly summer. Well, meteorological summer, anyway. Until the last couple of days, that was questionable, given the rain, clouds, and cooler temperatures. I’m not sure where the previous five months got off to, but the time it sure does fly.

I started a new job in May. I’m working part time at a local scrapbook and paper crafting store, which is pretty fun and right up my alley. I’m finding that it’s causing me to want to do more creating at home. Even though you would think it might not be all that busy to work in that type of store, there is always something to do – and no, it’s not creating things. More like unboxing, checking in, pricing, putting out merchandise, tidying up, pulling empty hooks, returning unpurchased items, putting back tags out, and answering the phone. Oh yeah, that’s when you’re not answering questions, looking for products, or ringing up a customer’s purchase. Or learning the new POS system. Or running into an old friend. Or any number of other things. Kind of like how time flies by, the tasks quickly fill my 4-5 hour shifts. It’s a good thing.

John closed down his business of the past seven years and has gone to work for a local RV dealership. I’m not sure either of us saw that one coming yet, but it turned out it was time. Ironically, it’s because his business was too big and too profitable. Things you usually want to happen. Go figure.

Our youngest son started a new job this week, too. It’s pretty tough on him right now, as the physical demands are greater than he knew. We’ll see what happens with that. He’s still looking around for something not quite so tough.

Our oldest is finally about ready to test for his driver’s license. At 22 1/2. After years of not wanting to drive, he’s coming around. I think he secretly likes it. Sometimes, anyway. There are still times, though, that he would live without driving, if at all possible. Next steps will be a job and a car. He’s been working part time with John, but that chapter has ended, too.

My niece is starting a job at Starbucks in a week and a half, following in her mom’s footsteps. My brother-in-law is soon to begin a new job, too.

A whole lot of change. New chapters in life. Sometimes it’s just time.

And on a completely unrelated note, a photo because I can’t not. It made me outburst laugh.

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The Gift of Friendship

I was so excited to be a part of the book launch team for my friend Dawn Camp and her new book, The Gift of Friendship.

The Gift of Friendship is a collection of stories highlighting the beauty of those valuable relationships with those we call friend. Just as each of us is unique, with various backgrounds, life circumstances, and needs, each of the brief stories is unique and tailored by God. You’ll find stories about community, hospitality, vulnerability, and so many more.

GiftOfFriendshipI am so blessed to have some wonderful friendships with a lot of overlapping circles amongst them. Even sweeter is that two of my best friends are also family – my mom and my sister. We are all in different seasons of life and there’ve been times when I got together with my friends regularly and often. But right now it seems that we’re in a phase where everyone is heading in myriad directions and it has become too easy to let those relationships slip to the back burner. I think about them and think about planning something, but then I get busy, or else I know that they’re busy, so I don’t.

But reading The Gift of Friendship has reminded me of the value of my friendships and that they are worth the investment. Since starting it, I’ve scheduled coffee/tea dates, a girls night out for Mexican food, hung out more with my mom and sister, and am planning a couple get-togethers with other friends – all things that I enjoy with people that I enjoy, but have allowed life’s busyness to crowd out.

287949_GiftofFriendshipCamp_Posts38I highly recommend The Gift of Friendship with its short, engaging stories from women of all walks of life. I believe you, too, will find sweet encouragement and reminders for your own friendships, whether current and active, not yet begun, or in need of a little TLC.

The Gift of Friendship & The Beauty of Grace – Dawn Camp Books

February 2016

Where, oh, where art thou, fair January?

Well, there was the temp transcription job with all the typing, typing, typing in most every spare moment.

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There was the volleyball with its day-long tournaments out of town.

There was the bookkeeping, data entry, and tax gathering for hubby’s business.

Pretty sure I prepared some meals, did some laundry, and paid most of the bills.

Coffee with friends, dinner with family, and Bible study at Starbucks.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Air and space museum photoshoot followed by Mexican food.

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Italian food and a downtown photowalk.

And in a flash it was gone.
 
 
 
 

Now February shows up with a bang.

Monday. Snow. More snow.

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February 2016, leap year, with its extra day. A day that is not likely to slow down another sprinting month. But we’ll see. Only God knows what my future holds. Zipping past or dragging by, I will trust Him with this new month.

That’s now halfway gone. HA!