We are so busy accumulating possessions that the storage business is BIG business. Even amid the minimalism movement, we still buy, store and buy some more. Don’t get me wrong, I love my stuff like everyone else. I particularly love my electronic devices, books as well as art and needlework supplies. The daily use of these things give me pleasure. But are they necessary? No. But they sure make life more fun.
I am writing this blog post from a booth at a breakfast restaurant. Thanks to technology I can take a Bible with me everywhere I go. An app for my blogging platform allows me to snap a picture and write whenever the spirit moves me. This is a wonderful thing. I never know when God is going to move my heart and I don’t have to risk forgetting; I can share anytime, anywhere.
I know that God is with me always…but now I can spontaneously share where He leads and what He is teaching…and so can you!
So much of what I think will nourish me and provide purpose and meaning to life only ends up leaving me empty. It makes me think of the song “Lookin’ for Love.”
I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places
Lookin’ for love in too many faces
Searchin’ their eyes
Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of
Hoping to find a friend and a lover
I’ll bless the day I discover another heart
Lookin’ for love
I’m not looking for love, I found that, I’m looking for daily purpose in my life. I hop from hobby to hobby, always trying to turn those into a business only to get tired and move on to the next thing. I’m seeking a sense of fulfillment and purpose…I’m just looking in all the wrong places.
I found my answer in the words of Jesus. As I continue my journey of reading and studying the words attributed to Jesus, I find that all the answers I need are right in front of me. He set the ultimate example. I just try to make it way too difficult.
My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.
In a previous post I wrote about the work each of us is given to do. Doing that work is doing the will of God. Being the wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister and friend that God created me to be, is doing the will of God. Showing Jesus to the world in the way I act, speak and behave, that is doing the will of God.
In a world filled with dopamine rushes at every turn it is easy to think we are missing something in our lives if we don’t get that high from all activities. Those moments of pure joy that come with doing something and feeling the reward…those are gifts from God to let us know we are on his path. But just like eating cake or winning a video game, too much of a good thing makes that thing mundane.
Be you. Be kind. Especially be kind to those who are not kind to you and let God handle the rest. That’s what Jesus did. He went where he was sent and took care of what was right in front of him. The more we live like this the more opportunities God will bring across our path to experience the joy of true nourishment.
In today’s highly connected, technological world, it is so easy to become discouraged. Social media creates the illusion that, it seems, there is a life out there we are not only missing out on, but that none of us can ever live up to. It is a conundrum for me. I enjoy engaging with folks who have similar interests as I do; I love sharing what I am doing; but I detest the inevitable discontent it breeds.
I am a creative person and all of my hobbies, in my mind, become possible business opportunities. I allow this mindset to suck the joy right out of everything I do. I am constantly pursuing validation through the work of my hands.
This morning I read this verse:
God in heaven appoints each person’s work.
No, I don’t believe God finds us our next job. But I know that we are all created with a certain set of abilities, gifts and talents along with the personality to use these things for good. In my case I am a nurturer. Though I never became the teacher or the mommy I always wanted to be, but all of the strengths needed for both of those were put to work in every area of my life.
I became a medical assistant so I could work in a doctor’s office; several years later I became a licensed nurse which led to working as a school nurse. I stopped working and came home when my step daughter’s mother died and I was needed here. That led to many years of nurturing her and then her children. And now, we have our oldest granddaughter living with us as she navigates her place in the world.
At sixty-four I spend much time analyzing where I’ve been as I look to where I might go next. It is clear to me that God appointed me as a caregiver to the next generation. One day when my work inside my family is done I will step out once again and care for the children and youth in need in my community. I don’t know where or how, I just know that God put that work on my heart and it will be my work for life.
May you find and know your worth and purpose; it comes from God and no one can separate you from it.
I’m not sure when I decided that October was to be my favorite month of the year. Thirty one years ago I got married in October. That could have been the beginning. Or maybe not. At what point in life do we mature to the point of not taking hours, days, much less months for granted?
I think back to my life in my twenties. It was not the most outstanding decade of my life. Married eleven days after turning twenty, I spent the next seven years growing up and realizing, though I loved my husband as a nineteen year old, the reality of building a life with someone takes more than I had to give. I was too immature to deal with the life issues required of such a relationship. By the time I realized how out of balance our relationship was, there was no recovery possible. So I left.
During those years and the few that followed I was caught up in working, paying bills, making a new marriage work, trying to be a step mom and grieving not being a biological mom. I burned out on one job only to move to another that, while providing me with wonderful opportunities, also caused me great personal stress. The stress of that job was then compounded by becoming a full time step mom to a sixteen year old grieving the death of her mother. I left the job to be home full time. There was only so much stress I could handle. I felt God calling me home to create a safe, nurturing environment for my daughter and husband. This was no easy task, but it was where I was supposed to be.
I still had not learned to relish the precious moments of life. I was still in survival mode. In fact, I feel as though much of my adult life has been spent there. Being the safety net for this broken girl to heal and grow as well as for her equally broken father, well, I think that was my calling from God at that moment in time. There are more details to our story. Details that, when viewed in retrospect, seem to point to me having been chosen for this family long before we said ‘I do.’
I stayed home for a couple of years. I love being home. But then I felt the pull to go back to work when I saw there was an opening for a receptionist at a local church. This again was the hand of God guiding me to where I needed to be at that moment in time. I was in the right place for the birth of our first granddaughter and the passing of my dad. It was a job that helped support our daughter so she could stay home for the first nine months of her daughter’s life, to bond and nurture her first born. Then it was my turn. I left the job and came home to spend a year filling the maternal emptiness inside me. And still I was so busy with the day to day of life that I don’t remember dwelling on the things I ponder today.
As many children do, ours left and returned several times before being ready to stand on her own. God has pressed into my heart that she would not permanently leave until she was mature enough and had found the man to spend her life with. A man who would love not only her but her three daughters. This process took many years. I was well into my fifties by the time I could rest knowing that she had indeed arrived at that place in her life.
So, here I am. I’m sixty two and spending most of my time relishing in the simple pleasures of a beautiful day, my husband, dogs and the various creative endeavors that bring me pleasure. I have finally let go of the constant need to produce, anticipate trends and stay ahead of anything and anyone. While I marvel at how young some people figure this out, I wonder…have they really got it all together or do they just know how to put up the facade on social media? Now, I make what I like, sell something here and there, or not. But it is all about the process and making the most of each day. And sometimes, making the most of the day means sitting outside soaking up the sun while listening to birds and swatting at flies.
Therefore, in retrospect, I think I have just now learned to treasure each moment of each day as I realize how fleeting these days really are. God has blessed me richly with the ability to be able to live this way and to Him goes all the credit for opening my eyes and heart as well as providing all the blessings I enjoy.
I pray that whatever season of life you are in right now, find simple ways to find the joy in each day. It might only be a moment, but I promise it is there. This is the true secret of making a life.
No recipes today. Yesterday did not go as planned, so I am punting.
The weather yesterday was absolutely perfect for a trip to my favorite local nursery, Enchanted Gardens, and maybe find some inspiration for my backyard. As is always the case when I go there I was overwhelmed, in the best possible way, and had a hard time making any kind of a decision. I made one full pass, stopping to visit the goats and chickens, then went back for the things I thought I might like to have.
A good friend advised me to just jump in and start on the yard. Don’t overthink. She knows me well. Over thinking is what I do best. So, this morning I sat here, looking at the way the sun shines on the yard and thinking about what would be best in both corners. Analyzing what is already here and how the property lies, gave me the answer I had been struggling with. I had (and it is shown in the sketch I posted last week) a certain layout I wanted. However, when I really looked at the sun/shade pattern I realized that is not the best choice. Not my will, but thy will.
That corner, just beyond the marigold is the southwest corner of the yard. It receives wonderful sunlight most of the day . This is originally where I planned on putting my writing shed, but now, that just doesn’t feel right. The randomly selected plants I purchased are all sun loving and that might just be the perfect corner for them.
This lovely, shady little corner (with an old cushion blocking the dogs from visiting our neighbors) is THE perfect spot for an outdoor seating area. There is already a vine growing that I could train to move up and over an arbor; and how lovely would my nature loom look here as well? I am rethinking the writing shed. The whole purpose of this backyard remodel is to be outside. I can find a space inside the house to write when the weather does not permit me being outside, or if inspiration hits at night. I find I am most inspired outside, in the fresh air, listening to the birds and watching nature at work and play. I want a garden that attracts nature. I want the suburban wildlife to have a new home here. I am merely setting the stage for them to flourish. And then I get to watch, listen and enjoy the show.
As I walk through this season of my life I am constantly reminded the work of my hands is sacred. When I yield myself and do the tasks I am given then the glory is not mine it is God’s. There are no words adequate to describe the feeling that comes from living life in this manner.
Isn’t it amazing how, when control is relinquished, a path is clear and the destination is in sight?
May you discover your path and find joy in the journey.