Thursday, January 31, 2013

Monotony into beautiful waves.

As the ebb and flow of the tide go, so it is often times day in and day out in the monotony of my routine, only without the beauty of waves. However, recently, by choosing to see God in the little moments, the monotony can become excitement and opportunity. Viewing it that way can be challenging at times (ok, pretty much every day, it's a challenge I have to face to win). A classic example would be the part of my job where I "get" to polish silverware, plates, and glasses for private catering events. This has always been my least favorite part of my job. (Please realize that I am not complaining about my job...stay with me and you'll understand) That is monotonous! However, when I stop to use those moments as prayer times, it changes the monotony of the moment. Every plate becomes a person's request which has been unknowingly whispered to me through their conversation of their bad day or struggle in life; every rolled silverware becomes a heartfelt chat with God about my kids and Michael; every bowl and mug become a request before my Savior of what He wants me to become, and what I dream of; and Every glass becomes a mirror of His promises to to me....all this when I allow it. When I allow God to use those moments to become precious conversation between me and Him, the monotony changes into the beauty of waves on the ocean tide, and God spills over with His promises.
  It seems every where I've turned lately, there has been conversation about "dreams." Several blogs which I follow have been discussing the pursuit of dreams. A book I am reading is talking about fervently praying about dreams. It is becoming more and more difficult to ignore the topic. I've tried to push it down inside me; I've tried to ignore what I feel pressing inside me, ready to burst. I have tried to run the dreams out through the patter of my feet in morning runs. But the dreams burn in me. I'm not totally sure what God wants me to do with them, or even what it all means....but I am asking for Him to show me through this year.  I have always been a dreamer, to be honest. When I was a young girl, I dreamt of having a horse ranch out west. As I became a teenager, I dreamt of going into a Spanish speaking country and working with handicapped kids. As I turned into an adult, the dreams ranged widely-from teaching English to spanish speaking people to having kids. It was always my dream to be married and have kids, and God has blessed me with that one. I will probably never own a ranch in the west...but perhaps one day I will get to vacation to one! I did get the opportunity when I lived in Florida to teach my spanish speaking neighbors English. New dreams are being birthed in my soul. In the book I am reading, there is a paragraph that reads:
  Nothing honors God more than a big dream that is way beyond our ability to accomplish. Why? BEcause there is no way we can take credit for it. And nothing is better for our spiritual development than a big dream because it keeps us on our knees in raw dependance on God. Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn't just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God; it's a mechanism whereby God accomplished great things in us. 
  -The Circle Maker  by Mark Batterson.

I have a close friend pursuing publishing an E book this year; I have another friend attempting to get her degree; I have another friend getting married; and the list goes on of the dreams that are being shared all around me. It's my choice, to some degree, whether I sit on these new dreams within me, or whether I pursue them. Dreaming takes me to prayer. Prayer boosts my faith. It takes faith to see a dream come through. I have had dreams in the past which were my own dreams, and not ones which I sought God out on....and of course, those never work out. I have dreamed about going back to school for years...and each time in the last 2 years I have pursued it, God closes the door. Was it my dream and not God's plan???? Jeremiah 29:11 says, "for I know the plans I have for you, " declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you and hope and a future."  Perhaps it wasn't in my best interest to go to school.... and God knew that. It certainly has caused me to really evaluate His plan. That takes me back to the monotony of daily routines. If I'm totally honest with you all (which causes me to pause, knowing that some readers are daily customers of mine.) I would say that sometimes my job feels monotonous and like all I do is make coffee and I'm not making a difference in the world. That being said, I know it is clearly where God has placed me for this time in life...and those monotonous moments , through prayer lately of my dreams and prayer for those all around me there in my "world" during my 8 hour day, have become beautiful moments from God, which I am beginning to cherish. Sometimes, when I'm not conversating, I even pray for the person for whom I'm making a drink. That's not me...that's God working in me and through me. I do not know His plan for me....but that's ok, because He does. And I am beginning to pray harder about my dreams. As I pray, He is slowly changing me,  as the ebb and flow of the tide slowly changes the sandy shore. He has something big for me...but I am not sure just what that is yet or how it will unfold, but He is growing my faith in the process. As my favorite verse says in Isaiah 40:31, "Those (When I )who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they (I) will rise on wings like eagles and soar...." Being patient is not always my strength, but it is a quality of God's so I will lean on Him as I pray. Proverbs 16:3, 6 say: "Commit your actions to the Lord and your plans will succeed; We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps."  Taking time to give Him my dreams and allowing Him to guide the steps is not always I stated in a previous post, I tend to get excited and the cart gets ahead of the horse. But there is more reward in allowing Him to guide, than there is in my just making my own map.
 I realize I am not sharing my dreams out loud here...I guess there is a fear of the vulnerability in that. Vulnerability didn't use to scare me, but I pause more often now in that to make sure I am being vulnerable in the most appropriate ways.As I am taking time to diligently (my word for the year) pray about these things, there will be future posts about my dreams, if you are so willing to stay tuned. I will share one dream today, though it's not the one burning deepest in me, but it is budding a little more each day....I want to write more, and I want my writing to have an impact. I love to do it. I'm not sure how my dream unfolds in this manner....I don't foresee it as a book, but then again, the Lord determines my steps. I want my writing to have an impact somehow. Perhaps it's through more followers of my blog? Perhaps it'll be through an article? God has allowed an opportunity which only He could have provided. As I began at the beginning of January really praying about things, Cedarville University (to where the scholarship goes that is organized in memory of my mom) asked if they could do an article on the 5K, my mom, the scholarship. I cannot even tell you how much that excited me. The writer was fantastic, and I enjoyed sharing with her and meeting with her and seeing her excitement in writing. That, I believe, sparked a new excitement in me for what writing can achieve. I feel privileged that she contacted me for that, and that was a total God directed step. I committed the 5K and  to Him and look at what opportunity He provided. I could not have done that. The magazine will tell so many more people than I ever could have. Thus budding my desire to write more, and to have an impact like Carol (the author of the article).
 I have shared many things here, almost like crashing waves instead of a gentle tide, and the thoughts are continuing to jumble through my mind. As God makes them more clear, I will continue to diligently pursue and follow Him in them, one day , one step even, at a time.

Friday, January 18, 2013

64 years ago...

Reflecting...Remembering...Celebrating....Missing... Those words all describe just a few of the verbs I am experiencing in my day today. Today mom would be 64 years old. It is her birthday today, so it is a day which is impossible not to think about her. She was so wonderful.
 Last year was the first birthday without her, and making a cake for me didn't feel like the right remembrance, so I bought donuts and enjoyed those for breakfast. I believe that has become the new tradition to celebrate mom's birthday. This morning I will do the same. And I will also sit down at some point in the day and enjoy mom's favorite latte drink: a white mocha. Drinking coffee was something mom and I did often together, so it just seems appropriate for the day.
  I cannot begin to capture the emotions that pass through me on a day like today. It's not a deep sadness as once. I believe mom is likely playing games today in heaven and laughing hysterically as she always did. I believe mom would not want tears shed today, she'd want laughter and joy. And so I will strive to achieve that. It is challenging, however, not to let the tears fall a little bit. Mom's birthday was always simple, but she always had the most fun. (well, let's be honest...when didn't she??) Usually she wanted strawberrry cake and spaghetti. And she generally just wanted to play games and hang out.We never had a huge party bash, again, it was simplicity for mom. But we always had fun.
 There are some days which I miss mom with a stronger feeling than other days...and sometimes those moments take me by surprise. It's strange, but when my kids are sick, I almost always wish I had my mom to call on for advice or even just encouragement in my exhaustion. When I have a rough day at work, I wish my mom were there. Holidays are almost a given, to a point of expecting to miss her and therefore, I am more prepared for those little moments. I have found myself missing my mom strongly this week. I think it's partially because it's her birthday, yes. But I also think it's also because it's been a tough week for me in certain aspects, and mom always offered the best encouragement in discouraging times. Even if it was just to sit with me and let me talk, or perhaps it was just sitting over a cup of coffee together. In those moments, though, by the end of it, somehow we usually ended up laughing. Mom was one of the rare few in my life who have been able to bring that out for me on yucky days. (I am really striving to do that better, but it's a challenge for me, as tears come easier sometimes than laughter.) I have had some intense struggles in friendships this week, and being one who is such a people person, that is big hurdle for me to jump over and move past. It's been a little while since i've had a really "raw and honest" blog, and I sense that coming on here in the next few days...but this one is about my mom and celebrating her.
 I was recently given an opportunity to tell my mom's story a little bit, which will eventually come out in an article. Putting my mom into words is so challenging because she was so rare, so unique, so loved. I don't think I could put her into one word if I tried. But here are a few that described her:

My mom is in heaven now, where our true home is as well. But her legacy lives on. 64 years ago today, a wonderful gift was given to this world: my mom, Linda Ann Ferguson. I will forever miss her, but her legacy does keep on giving: through her scholarship fund; through the love she gave my dad, which continue to overflow to others in his life; I hope through me, through my 2 brothers and my sister; through the many lives she touched who will also forever remember her....
 Happy Birthday, Mom! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Looking back and pressing forward. 2013

Coffee cup in hand, mind clear, and snow falling outside, I am ready to come to you with my first blog of 2013. Yes, we are one week into the year already, and there is always much that could be said, but I have been taking a little bit of time to myself (well...sort of). I should say, I have been using my time in which I would normally blog to take time to be quiet and reflect, pray, ponder and project some goals for this coming year.
 I am still working on formulating those goals, but perhaps you are reading this over your cup of coffee and it might cause you to pause as well. There are 2 blogs which I follow on a regular basis, and those blogs have brought on some thoughtful moments for me lately. Those two blogs are :

I invite you to look at them as well, if you have the time. Anyway, as the year begins to make progress forward, I have been spending a little bit of time looking back on 2012. There were joyful moments, but there were many painful moments for me as well. It is through each reflection, I have been able to better see myself as I've taken the time to do so, and to think about what I want 2013 to be, within my power. Of course I have no idea what the year may hold. I have always been a goal setter, sometimes to the point of it driving me crazy. I have tried to slow that down a notch as I've grown older, becuase I have a tendancy to get carried away and then get frustrated with myself. I have learned what "realistic" looks like a little better as I've aged.

 It is good to look back and reflect on the past year. However, that has been much of an introspective activity and putting it into words here is something which I am finding dificult. I can say, I am ready to make some changes for 2013. God has been so faithful to me. I have seen Him in many ways in my life, but I would say I drew nearer to Him this previous year than ever. And as we launch into a new year, I pray He can use those things for his glory.
 As I have been introspective, I am still formulating my outlook for the year. But as I do so, there are things coning to mind which I am ready to share. Those include: I chose a word to help put some definition to the year. One of the above blogs talked on that and I pondered it for a while and, while it is difficult to choose just one word to define a year, I have landed on the word diligent.  
   Diligent is defined as: constant in effort to accomplish something;  attentive and persistant in doing anything.

 I want to be more diligent in my prayer life
 I want to be more diligent in my time with the Lord.
 I want to be more diligent with my time and how I use it.
 I want to be more diligent as  wife to Michael-and loveing him and being what God has called me to be in that aspect of life.
 I want to be more diligent as a mom-giving them more of my love and more of my attention and attending to them as they need....not as I feel I have time to or what I want, etc.
 I want to be more diligent in what God has called me to do, and knowing that will come through diligently praying
 I will be diligent in doubling the size of  the 5K, hence doubling the size of my mom's scholarship fund.
 I will be diligent in pursuing dreams...writing, school?, my career path.

The List goes on, but I also don't want to put the cart before the horse, so I am patiently asking God in enormous ways to show me how He sees these things in my life, not necessarily how I see them. I have a desire to return to want less and to just be more. Again, asking God to show me what that looks like for me.
 Paul said in Philippians 3, and I claim this as my own today, and every day, one day at a time:
Philippians 3:12-14
Focused on the Goal ] I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

One day at a time, I will keep asking Him to show me through this year how He wants me to diligently pursue each day. It's going to be a good year!