Monthly Archives: January 2013

Don’t Miss Liz Curtis Higgs*, LIVE!!! NEXT Monday January 28th, at Book Club! (Beating Busyness Part 3 coming next week…)

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*Here’s an event you do NOT want to miss if you’re anywhere near Louisville, Kentucky next MONDAY, January 28th, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. !!! Liz Curtis Higgs will come and speak to us at Book Club! She’s coming to Middletown United Methodist Church on 11902 Old Shelbyville Road.  You may RSVP at (502) 245-8839.  Everyone is welcome.

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Liz  will be discussing and signing her newest novella, A Wreath of Snow.  You may also ask her questions.  If you’ve never been blessed to meet her or hear her speak, NOW’s the time to grab this opportunity!  She gives God the glory while making you laugh and cry at the same time.

You’ll experience one of my all-time favorite Scriptures:  Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the day approaching.”

You may  bring a treat to eat if time allows.  Come join us for food, fellowship, and  a time of learning from Liz Curtis Higgs. (Please see blog post about Branches Book Club for more information.)

Yes, well, uh, I know I owe you part 3 of Beating Busyness this week, but guess what?  I’d be the hugest hypocrite on the planet if I even attempted to write about this, this week…

John and I’ve been blessed to have two of our three boys home this weekend so the washer and dryer’s been a whirlin’, the iron’s been hot (and THAT’s a miracle in and of itself as I’ll do ANYTHING to NOT iron!!!), even the stove’s been hot!  Scary!  Cooking and ironing by this domestically challenged girl?  Really?

the boys

Bonus:  While we’re on this “detour”, or perhaps we should call it a “pause” as in a “margin stop”, allow me to offer you a fun-and-easy-kid-friendly dessert when we finish. **

Ahhhh, but you KNOW if you have older children, when they do return to the nest, you want to do all you can on these rare occasions to spoil them.  Thence this is the first moment I’ve had to sit down to the computer. (Today’s Martin Luther King day and it’s 5:00 p.m.!!!)

That being said, during a few minutes of margin, I’ve been studying up on our part 3 of 4 of Beating Busyness and it just so happens it’s about our calendars controlling us.  Just so happens my calendar’s controlling me this week. (I confessed to you in part 1 I’m preaching to the choir…)

There’s a stack of books, all excellent resources, currently staring at me. I’m staring back at them.  Note Gracie “helping” me below… Next week, I’ll be sharing some of these along with some crazy stories.

Eliz and Gracie

What I DO want to offer us all this week, are a few Points- to- Ponder regarding  controlling our calendars.  Then we’ll be ready next week when we tackle them.

Recommendations for us to help us control our calendars: Try  choosing just one this week to ready you for next week!

Where can you make more “white space” (margin) in your calendar?

Learn to say “no” …(We’re going to get some advice from Mary and  her hilarious-but-also-helpful book…) 41L0o5HgqtL__SL500_AA300_

Mark in specific time for yourself—whether it’s a nap, time to read a book, manicure, pedicure, whatever.

Take a coffee break and/or take a bubble bath.

Do the math:  Do you really have TIME for everything in your calendar?

Stop and pray:  Pray for balance, and Pray to ban overload.

I’ll be praying for ALL of you, myself included this week!

**Fun-and-Easy-Kid-Friendly Dessert:

This past Sunday night, we threw together a last-minute dinner for a crew of nine.  Keep in mind our boys are now 26, almost 23, and 20.  When they saw this dessert chillin’ in the frig, I nearly had to lock the refrigerator door!  I hadn’t made this in forever . We whipped it up in no time flat.

Gordy calls it “Matches Made in Heaven”, but I’d probably dub it “Layered Pudding and Cookies Dessert”, while Husband John calls it “Awesome”!

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Here’s what you need:

2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding

Bag of marshmallows

Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 packages of Pepperidge Farm Double Chocolate Nantucket Dark Chocolate Cookies (or the chocolate chip cookie of your choice)

Large container of Cool Whip

You’ll want to layer this in a trifle dish.

So this happens really fast:  Mix up the pudding and milk according to directions.  Whisk for a few minutes ‘til farily thickened.  Break up pieces of chocolate chip cookies for the bottom layer.  Then pour in pudding to cover.  Then sprinkle marshmallows over pudding.  Then add a layer of Cool Whip.  Then  add a generous layer of chocolate chips (chocolate lover that I am).  Repeat all layers one more time, ending with the Cool Whip and chocolate chips.

Chill in the frig for at least an hour before serving.  Serve with a ladle and bowls.  This vanishes fast!  There were nine of us for dinner last night and we didn’t leave too much!  (You can make this to your liking, adding other layers—we later said bananas would have been yummy. Get creative!)

‘Til  next time!

(This week’s blog post is dedicated to The Energizer Bunny.  Seriously.  I’m crashing.  Just  need a little re-charge.  Tired,  but a good-tired.  Lovin’ the  Mom thing.  Thanks for grace and your patience.  See y’all next week!)

Don’t forget Jesus’ invitation from Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 

R-E-S-T…..ahhhh…and THAT’s what we’ll talk about next week!

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Filed under Book Clubs, Margin

But, I Don’t Have TIME to Pray! (Beating Busyness – Part 2 of 4)

How do you say “no” to one of your children’s teachers?  I was pondering a big “no thank you” when one of our son’s teachers called the parents in and drove a hard bargain.  She asked each of us to sign up for a weekly visit to teach memory verses!   A gargantuan deer-in-the-headlights expression consumed my face.  Problem is, I’ve been known to fear Scripture memory*, much less teach it!

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At the time, these were fifth graders, so what’s the big deal, right?  But…. fifth graders are pretty savvy.  Plus I discovered the simple-but-endearing verse “Jesus wept” had already been taught!  Bust!

Good news:  I Thessalonians 5:17 had not yet been taught, and it too was only two words! (“Pray continually.”)  Powerful verse, pitifully coward-like attempt on my part, I know, but that’s the exact verse I marched in with.

I took blue pieces of paper (to remind us of a blue sky) and taught these little darlings what an “arrow prayer” is.  We all drew arrows pointing heavenward, and recited “Pray continually” together.  We talked about the letter “a” also standing for “ambulance” and how we can shoot up arrow prayers for the patient inside when we see an ambulance.

These astute learners added the  letter “a” also can stand for being on the” alert” for anything or anyone who may need a quick arrow prayer.  They even came up with “a” for “antennae”—as in we should have our antennae up!  Who was teaching who here?!!!

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This week, we’re going to address Beating Busyness by applying margin to our lives in the area of prayer.  Last week we talked at length about margin (But I Don’t Have TIME for a Bible Study!), learning margin is the space between our load and our limits.

When we spread ourselves too thin, we push out God and our closest relationships.  Best news: margin beats busyness and we’re discussing four ways, one each week, to do that.

Many of us claim there’s not enough time in the day to add prayer to our list, but I’d like to show us all it is very possible.  Our friends and family will be blessed!

When asked about the secret of his evangelistic crusades, Billy Graham said, “We have three secrets:  Prayer, Prayer and Prayer!”

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Let’s begin by praying for a friend near and dear to my heart.  Many of you know Kristen Sauder.  She’s my younger-but-wiser friend, is married to Kurt and they have four children.  She’s written excellent Bible studies, hosts a wonderful radio program (“Excellent Things”, weekdays here in Louisville on WFIA FM…), is a gifted speaker, and teacher.  She’s recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Lord, we come before you today to lift up Kristen and Kurt Sauder.  You have gifted them to minister to so many of us.  Please guide the doctors, aid the radiation to diminish the cancer, strengthen Kristen to endure, comfort her family, and enable us to minister to them.  We praise you that you are in control and we trust in you.  In  Jesus’ name, Amen.

 Kristen Sauder

That’s more than an arrow prayer, obviously, but just that paragraph took only eight seconds.  See how this can be done?  We all can help so many by praying for them.  I Kings 8:28 says “God listens to our prayers.”  And Proverbs 15:8 tells  us “God delights in our prayers.” (See below for more Scripture on prayer.**)

Bill Hybels wrote an excellent book on prayer called Too Busy Not to Pray.  In his chapter Slowing Down to Pray, Bill  says “Busyness is akin to something the Bible calls worldliness—getting caught up with society’s agenda, objectives and activities to the neglect of walking with God. ”  Whoa.  Surely we don’t mean to neglect God, do we?

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Therefore, taking time to pray is paramount to our Christian lives.   Bill adds, “Prayer unlocks God’s consistent and prevailing power in our lives. Prayer is a bridge from despair to hope, from fear to confidence, from spectating  to participating.

Bill offers another excellent tool for prayer beyond an arrow prayer.  He highly recommends, as do many of my faithful prayer warrior friends, keeping a journal.  Am I hearing some of you groan?

Journals aren’t for everyone, so not to worry.  However, if you like seeing answered prayer, this is the way to go.  You’ll then realize the value and power of prayer.  NOTHING is impossible with God! (See Luke 1;36-38 in The Message.)

Writing journal and pen

Journaling slows you down long enough to think about  for whom and for what to pray.  “Journaling  gives the body a brief rest.”  (We’ll be talking more about the importance of “rest” in a couple of weeks.) “Journaling focuses the mind and frees the Holy Spirit to operate, if only for a few minutes.  It’s time to slow down, reflect, and listen.”

One of many favorite books on prayer is Catherine Martin’s Passionate Prayer—Discovering the Power of Talking with God.  Catherine really feels strongly about taking the time to pray.  She says, “Step away from the life of hurry and find the rhythm of walking and talking with Jesus.”

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She talks about “When someone asks how we are doing, our response of ‘fine’ really means:

“Fine”  according to the  world:  Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.”  Uh, that would be me on occasion.  You?

“Fine”  according to our prayer livesFaithful to God, Inspired by Him, Nourished by the Word, Empowered by the Holy Spirit.”  Slight difference, huh?

Savor these words from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6-7:   Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Dave Stone, Senior Minister at Southeast Christian Church preached an excellent sermon recently on the above verses plus a few more.  He maintains our focus is key to navigating this world.  He showed us in Philippians that Paul did not allow the world to change his focus.  (To watch the sermon, “Live With It:  Focus”, go to www.southeastchristian.org )

The Life Application Bible says, “Paul’s advice is to turn our worries into prayers.  Do you want to worry less?  Then pray moreWhenever you start to worry, stop and pray.”

Catherine Martin adds, “When we pray, the world can see the change in who we are and what we do.  Enriching our lives of prayer is WORTH the time and energy.”

Next time you tell yourself you don’t have time to pray, take a second, literally, and ask God to help you.  Talk  to Him.  See from James 4:8** below that when we draw near to Him, He draws near to us.

Finally, let’s return to that hammock picture from last week.

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Look at it, picture yourself lying in it, swinging back and forth with a lovely warm breeze in your hair.  Now,  enjoy this visual from Ole Hallesby, a Norwegian theologian:  “To pray is nothing more involved than to lie in the sunshine of His grace, to expose our distress of body and soul to those healing rays which can in a wonderful way counteract and render ineffective the bacteria of sin.  To be a man or woman of prayer is to take this sun-cure, to give Jesus, with His wonderworking power access to our distress night and day.”

Next week, we’ll be discussing the need to diligently guard our calendars.  White space in your calendar equals more margin in your life.

‘Til  next time!

(Today’s blog post is dedicated to my prayer warriors:  Becky Pippert, Jane Chilton and Doris Bridgman.  They’ve taught this “Doubting Thomas”  the power of persistent, unrelenting prayer.  Numerous times over the years, they’ve been a life-preserver to my sanity, all by simply offering to pray.  Thanks, girls!  Love y’all.)

Prayer Warriors

*Three  great resources on Scripture memory:

Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts  is memorizing one hundred and eleven verses from Matthew 5,6, and 7, plus has the Romans Project on Chapters  1, 8, and 12.  She’s giving us, the readers, great ways to do this on her blog:  www.aholyexperience.com plus she shares about a new i-phone app called Scripture Typer.  Check it out!

One Thousand Gifts

Rob Morgan has authored an excellent book 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.  Billy Graham talks about Rob and this book in his book, Nearing Home.  Both are powerful.

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 Kristen Sauder, whom we prayed for earlier, wrote a super neat Picture Scripture:  Bible Memory Like You’ve Never Seen it Before notebook with excellent visuals, depicting lots of Scriptures. Great  way to memorize. You can find this via www.furtherstillministries.org

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**A few favorite Scriptures on prayer:

 James 4:8a  “ Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (This and all the below Scriptures are in the  NIV version.)  The NLT from James 4:8a says, “Come close to God and he will come close to you.” And the NKJ says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all  the Lord’s people.”

Luke 18:1  “ Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Matthew 18:20  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Colossians 4:2   “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

James 5:16  “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

 

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Filed under Friends, Life Lessons, Margin, Scripture, Uncategorized

But I Don’t Have TIME for a Bible Study! (Beating Busyness – Part 1 of 4)

If my Mother were still with us on this earth, and she knew this tough topic I’m about to broach, she’d cross her arms and say, “Well now, THIS ought to be REAL interesting….”

She used to get a kick out of sitting in our kitchen, watching our three boys come and go while I attempted to feed them, put coats on, tie shoes, coordinate carpools and hunt for the next necessary piece of sports equipment. She said it was like watching a funny tennis match. Hmmmmph.

Eliz and her parents

At Mom & Dad’s 50th Anniversary Brunch, 2002

 

So, I confess I’m preaching to the choir. We shall get down to business. We are going to attempt to beat busyness. We will apply a little “margin”* to our lives, our calendars, our sweet, smiling faces. No frumpiness, no frowns, no frustrated sighs allowed. And yes, we do have time for a Bible study. Stick with me…

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After a boatload of research from being 100% convicted, no thanks to Priscilla Shirer, I’m convinced we all  need a lil’ margin. Good news? Margin beats busyness.

It all started with a conference I attended with eight thousand other women a couple of summers ago. Priscilla was one of three speakers, the other two being Kay Arthur and Beth Moore. All were powerful, but when Priscilla began to teach on margin, I felt as if I was the only one in the room. Biggest “aha moment” to date. (Her message can be found in the chapter entitled “Sabbath Spaces” in her excellent book Resolution for Women. We’ll be talking about this more in Part 4, later in the month. Meanwhile, checkout her website for more information: www.goingbeyond.com)

Resolution for Women

*What is “margin”? Margin is the space between our load and our limits. Breathing room. Best definition I’ve heard comes from Andy Stanley in his Bible study Pushing it to the Limits. He says, “All good things happen within margin…such as your relationships with others, and with God. And, because we are human, we all have limits on our time, our energy, and our money. So, if we push our limits, spreading ourselves too thin, we push out God. Therefore deleting any margin we may have had.”

Note the warning…pushing out God deletes margin. Skipping quiet times in the morning would be a good example of margin-less living. Yes, we’re getting to that excuse about Bible study…

The guru of margin, Richard A. Swenson, M.D., has written numerous books on margin. I’ll be quoting him frequently over the next few weeks. Richard opens our eyes from the get-go in his book, Margin-Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives:

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“Margin-less is fatigue. Margin is energy.  Margin-less is anxiety and worry.” (Worry’s one of my special sins, you? Please forgive me AGAIN, Lord.) “Margin is peace. Margin-less is our crazy culture. Margin is counterculture. Margin exists for relationship.  Our relationships are being starved to death by velocity. No one has time to listen, let alone love.” Ouch!

How ’bout a couple of real-life scenarios?  Margin-less is hurry, frantic frenzy, speeding tickets!!! (Anybody?) Margin is slowing down, being still, being calm, basking in a bubble bath, taking a nap, reading a novel, meditating on Scripture….(Catching on now?)

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Why do we need margin? Because God did not create us to be spinning in a thousand directions, out of control. He created us to yearn for more time with Him, to learn more about Him, not the world in which we live. Remember He’s the One who created rest. (See Genesis 2:2-3** below.)

In 1915, an Australian by the name of F.W. Boreham said: “I believe that a supreme goal of one’s life should be to secure a margin. A good life, like a good book, should have a good margin.” Poor man would flip over today’s culture, huh?

One of my favorite devotionals is Jesus Calling by Sara Young. Flip over to October 24th’s entry if you have a copy. Sara uses Psalm 23:1-3**, Genesis 2:2-3** and Luke 1:79** to encourage us. Remember she writes as if Jesus is speaking directly to us:

Jesus Calling

“…Learn to unwind whenever possible, resting in the Presence of your Shepherd. This electronic age keeps My children ‘wired’ much of the time, too tense to find Me in the midst of their moments. I built into your very being the need for rest. How twisted the world has become when people feel guilty about meeting this basic need! How much time and energy they waste by being always on the go, rather than taking time to seek My direction for their lives.

I have called you to walk with Me down paths of peace. I want you to blaze a trail for others who desire to live in My peaceful Presence. I have chosen you less for your strengths than for your weaknesses, which amplify your need for Me. Depend on Me more and more, and I will shower Peace on all your paths.”

Notice, He notices when we are too wired from being “always on the go”…Let’s look at one of Jesus’ invitations from Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (The Message says, “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Love that!)

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HOW can we build margin into our everyday lives? I’m going to give you a sampling of a plethora of ideas from Dr. Swenson’s book on Margin.  He offers excellent details, twenty-two for example, on margin in physical energy, fourteen on margin in emotional energy, sixteen on margin in time, and sixteen on margin in finances!!! We’re going to tackle only four, one each week.  These will include:  Bible study, Prayer, Guarding our Calendars, and Rest (which is directly tied to keeping the Sabbath.)

This week’s answers the title of this post:  “But I don’t have time to do a Bible study.”  God’s Word answers:  “Yes, you do.”

Are you good at coming up with excuses? I could teach a class on such. Not a boastable attribute… The first time I was invited to a Bible study, I received four  invitations, three of which came from family members. Talk about pressure!

But guess what I learned? Every time I tried to study the Bible on my own, I failed. When I joined a class, with friends and accountability, Bingo.

Author and Bible study teacher Angela Thomas says Matthew 6:33 is her life-verse: “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  www.gospel.com,  spells it out for us: “It’s often the case that we put our spiritual life on a lower priority than other ‘pressing concerns’…Jesus is telling us that a properly balanced life is one that puts Him above our other concerns. He’ll take care of them.”

I can’t explain it in the physical realm, but when we put God first, He somehow supernaturally, exponentially adds to our day. Don’t take my word for it. Try it.

Another cool thing happens when you read God’s Word (and we know the Bible is God-breathed from 2 Timothy 3:16**). You’ll get to know Him better and you can hear His voice speaking to you straight from Scripture.

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For example, one of my dear friends y’all hear me talk about all the time is Liz Curtis Higgs. She’s written  just a few  books. (She’s well on her way with #31! Check her out at: www.lizcurtishiggs.com)

When I read her writing, because I’ve gotten to know her, I can  hear  her voice, as if she is reading to me. So it is when you study the Bible…

Robert Bugh, in his recent release, When the Bottom Drops Out—Finding Grace in the Depths of Disappointment, maintains that “long before a crisis hits, IF we’ve been deeply rooted in the Word of God, THEN we’re equipped when difficulty comes, or ‘when the bottom drops out.’” Bible study readies you for daily living.

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Adding a Bible study to your calendar is just one way to build margin into your day. We’re on our way to beating busyness! (Bible study recommendations are listed at the end of this post.***) Next week we’ll talk about prayer. What an invaluable resource.

‘Til next time!

(This week’s post is dedicated to Priscilla Shirer, an amazing wife, Mom of three boys, Bible study teacher, speaker, and writer. Let’s pray for her! It’s a miracle she does all she does and she is living proof of Matthew 6:33—see above. Thank you, Priscilla, for haulin’ all those belts to Freedom Hall. You set me free! Not quite ready for a home inspection, but I’m workin’ on that 14%!!! We’ll be talking more about your inspirational message in future posts. May God bless you and your precious family.)

**Genesis 2:2-3By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Psalm 23:1-3The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

Luke 1:79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

2 Timothy 3:16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

***Below are some recent Bible studies I’ve done which are well worth your time:

Bad Girls of the BibleThe Girls still got it

The Girl’s Still Got It–Take a Walk With Ruth and the God Who Changed Her World and newly revamped Bad Girls of the Bible (due out July 16th) by Liz Curtis Higgs

James Mercy TriumphsDavid Seeking a Heartbelieving god  Stepping Up

James: Mercy Triumphs; David: Seeking a Heart Like His; Believing God; and Stepping Up–A Journey through the Psalms of Ascent all by Beth Moore

Brave

Brave — Honest Questions Women Ask by Angela Thomas

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Jonah: Navigating Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer

No other GodsNehemiah

No Other Gods: Confronting Our Modern Day Idols; and Nehemiah: A Heart that Can Break by Kelly Minter

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Filed under Book Reviews, Life Lessons, Margin, Scripture

NEVER Wrestle with a Shop Vac* — a Preamble to Beating Busyness

Ahhhhh…… Monday mornings.  Some are dreadful.  Some  delightful.  Monday, December 10th was a record-breaker in this house, hands down.

John was ready to leave for work when he decided he’d make a last-minute trip to the basement for something.  Let’s just say the next few mutterings rising thru’ the vents clued me in to a terrible discovery.  WATER  IN THE BASEMENT.

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Because our home was added on to, we have two small basements.  One  “new” one, and one ”scary” one.   “Scary” translates: old and cellar-like. (Main part of our home was built in 1908.) Both of our basements are currently storing my parents’ furniture waiting to fill new homes when our boys get married, among other “treasures”.

Wood furniture standing in an inch or more of water is not an ideal combination. To the rescue, I offered to fetch the shop vac.  Naturally it was over in the “scary” basement.

John said, “No, don’t you go,  I’ll get it.”  Quite confident I could accomplish said task, I emphatically said, “No… I’ll get it.”IMG_3974

This is the shop vac Tim-the-Toolman-Taylor would have excitedly featured on his show  Home Improvement.  With a girth rounder than Santa’s, I managed to get the tool-of-all-tools up the first half of the stairs.  Negotiating the turn on the landing, I attempted to lift it up the second half.  “Hurry, hurry!  Time’s a wastin’!!!”

There’s a teensy shelf on the stairs where we store six-packs of glass bottled ginger ales.  (Don’t ask me why.  Just because.)  As I heaved the shop vac up the first step, my elbow caught one of the six-packs.  Yes, it dove rapidly, spiraling onto the top of my bare foot.  (I was wearing flip-flops.)  Let’s just say my mutterings rising thru’ the vents clued John into the fact I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing.

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Searing pain shot up thru’ my foot, my leg, into my head and out of my mouth.  One of my writer friends, Robin from Indy, has a great Christmas talk called “Advent or Advil?”  Let’s just say Advent wasn’t in my head at all.  Please forgive me, Lord.

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This particular Monday morning also happened to be the gift-wrapping party day I told you of in another post…. (SURE CURE FOR A BAH HUMBUG ATTITUDE) which really is THE best day of the season, in my opinion, prior to Christmas Day.  Fearing a date with the Emergency Room, I kept praying, “Lord, please don’t let my foot be broken.  Please don’t let it be broken.”

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I quickly put on tennis shoes, certain they’d “fix” any future swelling.  After all, I could walk. Trah-lah-lah…

John managed to transfer the  shop vac to the new basement, vacuum up all the water, put the dehumidifier on, and get to work.

“Let’s start this day over!” I begged, as if nothing had happened.  Patiently biting his tongue, John simply shook his head.  With an I-told-you-so- look, I felt slightly scolded. Still scurrying, I readied for the wrapping party.

Scolded puppy

There you have one pitiful-poor-preamble to our desperate need to beat busyness and secure some margin into our schedules.  Rushing around, to the detriment of ourselves (and sometimes our bare feet),  is never a good idea.

As we ring in the New Year and lay open before us a brand new calendar for 2013, we’ll learn what margin is, why we need it, and see how WITH it, we CAN beat busyness.  You’ll be surprised to learn we’re wired by God to rest.  He created rest!   Each week in January, we’ll discuss one of four ways to keep some much-needed margin in our lives.

Perhaps not a total-cure-all scenario, but at the very least one to make us all mindful of our margin. We ALL have margin.  Whether or not we keep it (!!!) is the challenge du jour.

Meanwhile, I pray you and your family have a most Blessed, Happy and Healthy New Year and that 2013 will be one of your best yet.  I’m ready for a brand new beginning.  You?

Happy New Year 2013

Let Lamentations 3:22-23 brighten your day:  “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  The Life Application Bible explains: “Trusting in God’s faithfulness day by day makes us confident in his great promises for the future.”

*The Lesson?  Besides NEVER WRESTLE WITH A SHOP VAC, the lesson for us all is to quit rushing.  We’ll learn what the Lord desires for us straight out of Scripture.  Your eyes will be opened! 

Additionally, don’t miss a wonderful children’s book, Never Tease a Weasel, by Jean Conder Soule, which led me to this week’s blog titleThis was a favorite book of mine growing up and John and I both read this to our boys.  Teasing among siblings ran/runs (!)  rampant.

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Favorite line:  “NEVER tease a weasel.  This is very good advice.  A weasel will not like it.  And teasing isn’t nice!”

‘Til next time!

(This post begs for yet another plea of forgiveness from my sweet husband.  John and I are going on twenty-nine years of marriage and he gets the “Most-Patient-With-My-Wife” Award.  Amazing grace. May God continue to bless you and our marriage abundantly. )

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