Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ironing as sanctuary

Ironing is a rare occasion for me. Other than these jeans, it rarely happens. But, every time I wash these great jeans I got at Goodwill, the fly needs to be ironed smooth so the zipper doesn't show. I know, details.

So, I pull the ironing board down from it's home behind the laundry room door. I take down the iron, too, and plug it in, and make sure it's on. I've learned that having it on is a bonus. While I wait for the iron to heat up, I fold clothes and towels that have buzzed me from the dryer then throw the washer load into the dryer and turn it on. 

I lay my jeans on the ironing board rather awkwardly to get at the fly right. I grab the iron, making sure not to touch the zipper with it because then it would be too hot to put on. As I run the iron across the fabric, I give it a puff of steam, just as an added surety that the fly will get smooth and stay that way. 

I had been struggling with a bit of anxiety off and on while getting ready. I had been trying to practice deep breathing. Telling myself to stay calm, that there was absolutely nothing to fear this morning in my own home. 

I noticed something as soon as I started ironing my jean's fly right there by the running dryer. I started to get calmer. Just automatically, my breathing relaxed and got deeper and more steady. I started to pay attention to the way my body felt in the surroundings of my laundry room. Warm running dryer, hot moist iron with warm steam rising to greet my face. The feel of the warm denim under my hand as I guided it for pressing. 

As I was standing there with warmth touching my face, I thought of my mother in law with all of the t-shirts she used to iron for her three boys and husband. Yes, I've mocked her for that. And it dawned on me. Ironing for her was probably her sanctuary. Her place to find peace in the midst of a hectic and busy household.And, why not? Hands gliding over the fabric that clothes each loved one. A heart to serve her family. A heart to serve God. 

Ironing felt like that for me today. A sanctuary of calm and delight. A place of simple joy. And, I felt God there. I actually ironed three more shirts to stay in that place longer.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

a minute to thank YOU

Tonight, I want to take a minute to thank my viewers. Yes, that's YOU! 

God has picked me up off of the ash heap of life more times than I can count right now, and it is my passion to share what I've learned over the years with you. It is my hope that by sharing with you, I may help to shed light on an issue you, too, might be facing. To give you hope. To help you travel this road called life with a little more peace in your heart, which hopefully will put more spring in your step. 

As I look at my stats page, I see that there are people from nine different countries who have viewed my blog over the past several months. I can't tell you how much this excites me! I just want you to know, I really appreciate you! Even if you read, but don't comment, I still appreciate you. I know I do a lot more reading of blogs than commenting, and that's okay. All right, I do like it when someone shares what they thought of a post, but it is also okay not to comment. I have faith that there are those of you out there (and I don't really care how many) who are reading and hopefully finding something that will help you breathe just a little easier. 

So, tonight, if you are reading this, I want you to know that from the deepest part of my heart (and from the middle of little old Iowa), you matter to God and you matter to me. You are a child of the Most High King and He created you to have a purpose. He created you because He loves you. 

May your sleep be sweet, or if you are just getting up for the day, may your day be filled with peace and joy!

Tuesday evening blessings to all of you!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The fruit of lips as offering

Lord, sometimes I don't feel like thanking you. My flesh is so weak.

My God says to me,

Peace, peace to him who is far off [both Jew and Gentile] and to him who is near! I create the fruit of his lips, and I will heal him [make his lips blossom anew with speech in thankful praise]. Isaiah 57:19

God says He is the one who creates the fruit of my lips in the first place. He is the one who created me and He is the one who deposits in me the ability to praise. I don't have to rely on my own human strength to praise Him. He sewed this strength to praise Him into the fabric of my being by His Spirit. I need the freshness of the Spirit. I need His healing. His help to praise.

My words of thanks are pretty important to God. When I come to Him, He wants me to come with my words. 

Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips." 
Hosea 14:2

Bring words, which are the fruit of my lips.

and again...

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name. Hebrews 13:15

Again. The fruit of lips. Thankfully acknowledging and confessing and glorifying His name is the fruit of my lips. My offering to God.

When I don't feel like thanking Him? Something tells me my Heavenly Father is all the more pleased in my giving.

When it is hardest for you to give God a sacrifice of thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Learning to deal with the reel

When I have an experience, good or bad, I have a secondary tape reel that begins to roll. Recorded on the tape are images, feelings, impressions stemming from way back when I was just a wee babe in the cradle. I am probably not aware of what is on that tape. Not unless I've been doing some digging.

As I dig, I am realizing more and more how powerful that tape reel is to my current emotional health. If I think I am angry with someone, am I dealing with just the current anger I'm experiencing, or am I dealing with old anger from the tapes buried under the new anger and causing even more pain? 

I've been reading and paying a lot more attention to my secondary reel (or my subconscious mind) and how it has been having a mind of it's own. I think I am dealing with the current situation at hand and the emotions that go along with it. But, alas, I am also dealing with the reel.

As I sit here at my computer, my breaths are shortened. I find myself anxious. I stop to concentrate on my breathing. I am not even breathing well. Just short breaths that aren't doing much. So, I breathe long and deep. I do it again. I lower my tense shoulders. What is my second reel playing right now that causes my breathing to be shallow and my muscles tense? All I think I am doing is sitting here writing. Something I really like to do. But something on the secondary reel is making me tense.

That's the kind of thing I'm wanting to get beneath. To understand the second reel and how it is affecting how I deal with current relationships, current issues. I don't want to be ignorant anymore about anything that may perpetuate pain in my body, soul and spirit.

Lord, help me learn to deal with the old reel. The new is hard enough alone.

Monday, November 12, 2012

remembering my dad

I've gone through most of the day today and not even thought about the fact that it is Veteran's Day.

It got me to thinking about my dad, though. I've written a couple of blogs about him. Dad and the Old Folks and also one about how he immigrated to America at age sixteen.

Today, I remember, Dad the army man. After he had been in America for a few years, he wanted to join the United States Army. He was not a US citizen yet when he joined, but the paperwork must have been started, because his citizenship was finalized while he was stationed in the army in Korea. 

Growing up, I knew that dad served in the army as a young man. He told few stories and as a young person I didn't really think it was all that important to ask. Now that he has been gone almost 23 years, I wish I would have asked more. All I really knew was that he drove a "cat" in Korea and made roads for heavy duty equipment to pass on. He was also stationed in Japan for awhile. I remember him talking about the little Japanese children he would see and the word they used for "bathroom". Kind of a grunting noise and then "benjo". I can still see my dad telling me that and then having a good laugh about it. 

With my dad passing away in 1989, I don't have him around anymore to ask him to tell more army stories. If he were still here, I would want to know what prompted him to want to join the United States army. His native country was Sweden, and yet he immigrated here and joined our army. That is something I'm proud of my dad for. For wanting to serve a country that was newly adopted as his own. 

Thanks, Dad. Thanks for serving your country. Thanks also for being an awesome dad. I love and miss you. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

another chance to choose joy

Another headache this morning. More pain. I don't tell you this to complain. I'm just telling you because of what is to follow in this post.

Another chiropractic appointment. More chances to practice choosing joy. I think I failed my choosing at 2:30am, and again at 6:30am. I'm pretty sure hormones are involved here. This time in life is a wild ride. I'm pretty sure some words escaped my mouth at 6:30am that I'm glad my husband didn't hear because he was already at work.

Between the chiropractor and Starbucks is just a few blocks. I ended up following a hearse most of the way there. The hearse held a casket with a floral spray. I think I saw daisies through the back window.  I am not sure, but I wonder if the hearse was traveling between the funeral home and the funeral? Someone's mother, father, son, or daughter was in there. Someone in my town is grieving right now. Many people are grieving losing someone they love. Maybe that happens to be you.

The day after the election many people I know are not too sure they like the outcome. Even I am not too sure about it. But, following that hearse put more than one thing into perspective for me.

I am alive.
I have access to a chiropractor a few blocks from my house.
I have a Starbucks a few blocks from my house. 
I can afford both a doctor and a chai latte.
I live in a free country where I am free to vote and make my voice count.
I own a van that I drove to both places. not crazy about the minivan either but it gets me safely from point A to point B. And, it is reliable.

Has anything happened to you lately to put things in perspective? I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

When joy is hard to come by

Waking up with a headache today, joy's been a bit hard to come by. I just posted last night about how I need to choose to believe. To believe God is good. I guess I need to choose my joy today, too. 

It's a difficult thing to grasp, this joy thing. In Galatians it says that joy is a part of the fruit of the Spirit that is already in me as a daughter of God. But, I still need to choose it? I think I remember talking about this in my Sing yourself happy post. You can see I still do not have a handle on this. 

Most of the headache is gone, but my joy meter is still running on empty. What do I do? What do I choose?

I prayed.

God, help me with joy. Help me to have joy. I know that the joy of the Lord is my strength and stronghold and I want to be strong.

Then, I heard in my heart, What brings you joy?

I think the Spirit wanted me to start rehearsing the things that bring me joy. So practical is my God!

getting my hair done
chai tea latte's from Starbucks
making my home look beautiful 
flavored water
encouraging someone else

Those are a few of the things that came in to my head right away. 

Now, I can choose some things from this list. 

I called for an appointment to get my hair cut and colored. Turns out I can get in tomorrow. I texted my daughter, "yay!" Something small to rejoice over.

I'm drinking a SoBe flavored water. happy face.

I'm going to do one thing to beautify my surroundings. I have tons of stuff I could do, but my first thing will be small. Like light my pumpkin spice candle.

My spirit is lighter just thinking about some of these things I can do. 

Thank you, God, for the Indescribable Gift of Your Spirit in me reminding me to choose joy and lovingly showing me how to do it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

When it's hard to see God's face

I choose to believe.
to never give up hope.
God is good
He's in control.

These lyrics to Phillips, Craig and Dean's song resonate through me. They go on to say,

and even when His face is hard to see, 
I choose to believe.

There are definitely times in my life that God's face is hard to see. His voice is hard to hear. I know that doesn't mean He is not there and that He is not in control. But, this song moves me. It touches my heart and reminds me that God is always in control of my circumstances, no matter what it going on. It reminds me to never give up hope.

I do have to choose this however. It is my choice whether to trust that God is good. To trust that He is in control and to trust in Him enough to keep my hope. 

It is my choice. 

I had lunch with my college daughter today. I asked her a question that was posed in my Alpha group a few weeks ago. I asked,"How do you answer someone who asks the question 'what does your relationship with God look like'?"

She said that sometimes she has to choose to read her Bible, or choose to worship or choose to pray, even if her feelings don't match up to that. "Every good relationship has to have time put into it. I can't just meet with them once in awhile and expect that relationship to be a close one. The same is true in my relationship with God." Very wise words from a girl of nineteen.

God is indeed a good God. 
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