Posted in anxious, care, God, heart, listen, Martha, Prayer, quote, renew, rest, scripture, serve, silence, solitude, spirit, woman, worry

What Captures My Heart

These retirement days are far from lack of tasks and attention-getting chores. What reels in my attention, keeps my focus, takes my time? What captures my heart? Maybe what I spend time on is where my heart is. The Holy Scripture says it like this …

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~ Matthew 6:21

At times social media and electronics can take too much of my time. Answering emails, deleting emails, Goggle searches, text messages around the clock, catching up on the news online and local television station, word processing recipes for the next culinary class, Words With Friends challenges, etc. Then there are household distractions, a bathroom needing freshening, dishes to get in the dishwasher, laundry to wash, mail to open or pitch in the trash, and bills to pay. There is a place for each of these chores, but I have higher priorities to attend to.

“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; renew my life according to Your Word.” ~ Psalms 119:37

Then there is quiet time. What a treasure just sitting, listening to my breathe, closing my eyes to meditate, counting my blessings, praying to my God for my loved ones, and reading His Word. Refreshment for my soul. After all these years, I still find myself busying myself too much to sit down for this quintessential quiet time. “Just do it, Anna, sit down” I tell myself. Like the story of Mary and Martha, Jesus is quoted in saying,

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10: 41 & 42

“Martha served … the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” ~ John 12:2 & 3

Martha is referenced in the gospel of John as well. “Martha served” dinner just before Mary anointed Jesus’ feet. A servant’s heart, Martha had, and I still have today. I need to stop long enough to smell the fragrance of the perfume. Let my “house be filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” And that is the heart of the matter right there.

Posted in answer, anxious, believe, children, choice, day, empty, failure, faith, Family, give, God, grace, heart, house, life, love, mother, people, Prayer, quote, rain, resources, rest, saints, scripture, Spiritual, understand, water, worry

Take, Lord, Receive

It has been a summer touched by St. Francis, St. Joseph, and St. Ignatius. Their lives still live in God’s people today including in me. A stray puppy became a part of my husband and I’s life one week in August before finding the perfect family to adopt him. After several weeks of packing, donating, moving, repairing, scrubbing, and just plain hard work, we finally put my mother’s villa on the market with the St. Joseph statue buried in the yard. Several willing buyers offered contracts more than what we asked for within 24 hours of being on the market. The closing is in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Dean and I have some major household upgrades. We replaced a furnace well over 20 years old, a roof maybe as old, and gutters failing their job even when removing leaves and debris on several occasions this spring and summer. We have had plenty of rain even over the summer. One wall was showing some leakage during a storm prior to the roof and gutters being replaced, so some plaster work will be next. St. Joseph intercedes while God oversees the details.

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.”St. Ignatius of Loyola

I awoke one day singing from my heart the spiritual song, Take, Lord, Receive. I sang all day long, beginning with my shower and while I worked around the house that day. This song is based on the quote above from St. Ignatius, co-founder of the Jesuit teachings and Spiritual Exercises. I knew I was singing this for someone else besides me. A phone call from one of the kids revealed who. But the words welled up in my heart for myself, too. A yielding I need right now. A yielding of my own heart matters. Worry about things I cannot control, anxiety about the future of those I love, and my lack of understanding for some of God’s people placed in my life. Take, Lord, receive. My liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will. All I have and call my own … To You, Lord, I return it. Everything is Yours. Do with it what You will. Please Lord, give me only Your love and Your grace, that is enough for me. Amen.”

Posted in change, day, faith, Family, God, grandchild, health, life, Prayer, quote, rest, trust, write, writer

Soar Above And Through

This summer brought change, several of them. I retired from my full-time job right into culinary day camps to teach, a week of writing camp for myself, multiple family gatherings, grandkids and grand dogs staying over, moving furniture and home goods, and prepping my mother’s villa for the real estate market. Life isn’t rosy even in retirement. I have had some adjustments to my new job demands. My per diem job requires a devotion and creativity to lesson plans, and with timeliness. Making more time for writing is still a challenge. That week away in June to write and recipe development was so nice. Hard to capture those moments in my home, but discipling myself to keep to pen and paper most days. The house still needs repairs, loved ones’ bodies and souls need healing, and more of Jesus in our lives. Good news, my PVCs have subsided. The meds and part-time rather than full-time employment have been key as well as prayers.

Where is life going? It is a question I ask often. I am a planner, but I must rest in God’s plans, not my own. Faith. Trust. In God, not myself or others. While I have launched into this new season, I spent part of July in quiet, just not doing anything some days. In these contemplative hours, I considered where I have been, and then where life is going for my loved ones and I. I cannot dwell here very long as I begin to think things too much, try to figure out God. I simply need to pray, trust that He is caring for me and my loved ones in every minute of our days. “What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul,” Corrie Ten Boom has said. Soul, fly and sail through this busy month of August, soar above and through all the unknown and unanswered details with God’s guidance. Father God be with me.

Posted in age, answer, connection, day, give, grandchild, heart, husband, lesson, life, listen, love, night, old, refuge, rest, secure, silence, stillness, strength, wisdom, world

Messages

Messages are uttered in so many ways. Bold statements blurted out from the too familiar, boisterous co-worker, stranger on the street, billboard, or TV commercial. The grandchild that pops a question of “aha” magnitude. The Sunday sermon from the pastor or the simple architecture of a chapel set in the woods. The faithful spouse who knows your every fault, but loves you all heart and soul anyway. The quiet utterance of a sunset or springtime walk into fresh sprouts of greens and purples in the woods. The songbird singing his lovely tune to the world. Oh, the shout of that big Texas moon on a spring night! The stone structure or tree still standing despite time and weather. Messages are all around us everyday. Are you listening?

Posted in blessings, body, community, creative, flower, garden, gardener, God, health, nourish, quote, rain, rest, scripture, strength, water

Well-Watered Garden

Rain (and snow) are part of a cyclical watering process.  This is what we count on to water our gardens and the earth.  Sometimes those rains are far and few in between.  And other times, we think the infamous ark may come in handy.  I spend many minutes that turn into hours attending to plants for pleasure and stress-release.  The soil, greens, and flowers’ colors nourish my soul.  From these rains nature’s waterfalls and garden fountains flow life-giving water.  The birds, squirrels, and deer gather to drink.

I, like the garden, need a drink from the rains to nourish my body and soul.  Daily.  The droughts last too long.  And the floods overwhelm.  Author Dan Buettner writes about the COVID crises, “like most hardships, it will materialize as a blessing in the rearview mirror.”  I can say this is the case for me.  Staying home, working remotely has given me time for my thoughts and soul to collect raindrops; get plenty of sleep, eat healthier, walk daily sometimes two times a day, and to reach out to others in creative ways.  “The Lord will always lead you. He will meet the needs of your soul in the dry times and give strength to your body. You will be like a garden that has enough water, like a well of water that never dries up.” ~ Isaiah 58:11 (New Life Version).  The hymn Rain Down …

Rain down
Rain down
Rain down your love on your people
Rain down
Rain down
Rain down your love, God of life

Faithful and true is the Word of our God
All of God’s works are so worthy of trust
God’s mercy falls on the just and the right
Full of God’s love is the earth

Rain down
Rain down
Rain down your love on your people
Rain down
Rain down
Rain down your love, God of life

We who revere and find hope in our God
Live in the kindness and joy of God’s wing
God will protect us from darkness and death
God will not leave us to starve

Rain down
Rain down
Rain down your love on your people
Rain down
Rain down
Rain down your love, God of life

God of creation, we long for Your truth
You are the water of life that we thirst
Grant that Your love and peace touch our hearts
All of our hope lies in You.

Rain down
Rain down
Rain down your love on your people
Rain down
Rain down
Rain down your love, God of life

 

Posted in accept, challenges, change, comfort, courage, daughter, differences, Family, God, health, peace, people, Prayer, rest, scripture, son, strength, wisdom, worry

Let Go, Let God

Remember the serenity prayer …

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

In other words … let go, let God.  Easier said than done.  And why is that?  I will speak for myself.  There are times, even some days I am not present moment with God.  I think too much.  I think I can take this one more thing on, figure it out on my own.  God gives us a brain and wants us to use it.  It is also Him who gives us the wisdom on how to use it.  But sometimes I overstep God.  “Here let me do this so it gets done”, like God is not fast enough to answer my prayers or He wants me to do everything but pray.  Or “I know what is best”, like I am placing myself better than God!  Or  how about this one, “doesn’t God hear me?”  God is Omnipresent.  He hears and knows everything even before I verbally speak the words or know what the need is.

Serenity Prayer

I am writing these words to myself today.  A reminder of what I know already, but need to know today as The Truth For Today.  There are so many needs within the family as well as the people God has surrounded me with.  “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”.  Serenity means “the state of calm, peaceful, untroubled, and tranquil”.  I cannot change the health conditions of my daughters, my sons, my siblings, my cousins, my friends, my colleagues.  I am praying for Your comfort and Your healing touch to each of these people on my heart today.  There are many, God.  My heart is heavy today.  Lift this heaviness as I give each of them to You. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7

 

Posted in body, capture, change, courage, day, differences, faith, God, grace, heart, hope, husband, life, light, meditation, night, old, pain, Prayer, rest, scripture, silence, solitude, spirit, strength, understand, vision, walk

Clearer Vision

During this week off from the everyday grind, I am present moment many moments of my day, and days plural.  My senses are wide-open.  I hear my husband’s heart beat in the silence.  My vision becomes clearer by the hour in the solitude.  What a difference capturing a subdued vacation dedicated to the rejuvenation of the mind, body, soul, and spirit.  Old thoughts are changed to clearer vision and direction. Faith in my God and myself restored.  Life is punctuated with grace, hope, and love.  Courage and strength for the walk ahead.  I see the path.  One of prayer.  Pray the Word of God.  Meditate and then pray Psalms 119.  Today’s verses 11, 18, & 148 …“I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You … Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law … My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises.”

Posted in body, darkness, day, house, job, life, meditation, mind, Prayer, rest, spirit, Spiritual

Rest From My Weariness

I am a planner by nature and vocation. Letting things go for a whole day is not easy. I think the Lord designed the Sabbath for a reason.  I am not faithful to take that day of rest each week. And it catches up sooner or later.  I have a quiet time each day where I meditate, pray, and just sit in the quiet.  But a whole day of this refreshes my body and mind.  My spirit needed it, too.

At my little cottage house I created my boudoir, designed with a comfortable chaise and vintage forget-me-nots such as comfy pillows, a lace-paneled screen, brimmed hats, scarves, hosiery, aprons, gloves, a pearl-beaded clutch, and special evening attire.  It is tucked in one corner of my husband and I’s large bedroom.   I turned on the mood lights picking green to illuminate my boudoir matching the plush green outside the window this summer season. It invited me for an afternoon nap, a day of rest from my weariness. The dark memories of days from over 20 years ago fainted away.  “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” ~ Psalms 116:7.  The pitter-patter of the rain on the window panes serenaded me to sleep.

A week’s vacation is finally coming next week.  And a retreat may be in order for this autumn.  But also a sabbatical.  Traditionally, this is a 1-year recess for every 7 years worked.  I cannot see this happening until I retire from full-time employment.  So maybe a whole month off next summer, before I move into another chapter of my life’s work?