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Archive for August, 2013

God’s Perspective

I love looking down from a jet flying over the countryside watching what appears to be toy cars creeping along on those ribbons called highways.  I’m always amazed at how tidy the countryside looks from a few hundred miles above.  It’s almost as though, from that perspective, nothing is overgrown or overwhelming.

Rick and I are currently facing another move.  He was phased out of a job about 6 months ago and has been diligently looking for another.  Suddenly last week, after weeks and months of interviews with various companies, God has brought him back to what Rick dearly loves once more.  He will be the textbook manager for Washington and Lee University (not an out-sourced company) and we need to sell this house and move north.

This morning as I contemplated all that needs to be done in the next few short weeks I felt completely overwhelmed and almost disoriented with what to do first and in what order it all needs to happen.  Thankfully, I have enough years under my belt to know that when I feel like that, the first thing I must do is stop and pray.  As I prayed and tried to make my mind stop coming up with new things to add to the list, suddenly I heard that oh-so-familiar whisper say, “Judi, you’ve been in a plane looking down before.  Remember, the perspective is SO much different than when you’re in a row of beans pulling weeds!  Stop looking around from down there and imagine you’re up here with Me.  The perspective is totally different.  Trust Me and just be obedient.  From up here I can see the end as well as the beginning and all that’s in between and nothing is outside of my control.  Just take a deep breath and trust Me!”

Of course, immediately my ‘source check’ went into overdrive and sure enough, the scripture that followed was Proverbs 3:5,6:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”  After a calming sigh and whispered ‘Thank You!’, I relaxed my shoulders, grabbed my list notebook and took time to start prioritizing.  And all day long I have felt God guiding as things begin to fall into place.  Yes, there’s lots and lots of things to be done.  Yes, I’m only one, weary, not-so-strong person.  But my hand is firmly planted in God’s guiding hand, and I don’t plan to let go.  Alone it’s overwhelming, but when I start hyperventilating, I plan to stop and remember how it looks from God’s perspective.  Then I’ll go back to ‘pulling one weed’ at a time!

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Experience

It occurs to me that experience is worth more than just about anything else.  It’s worth far more than education, than knowledge, than money.  It is invaluable and it’s a commodity that is overlooked much in today’s society.

Today Rick and I are celebrating our 41st anniversary!  Forty one years fly by SO fast!  But it makes me sad to think of all the folks that give up too soon.  When the going gets tough they either lose interest or give up and call it quits instead of using the hard times to learn lessons and grow.  They do not benefit from their experience or use it to their own good and they miss so much!

Our years have been far from perfect.  There were times we didn’t really even like one another too much.  But we always held on to the commitment to love one another through it all, and we are SO glad we did!  Because the truth of the matter is this: with all the hard times, we’ve had SO many more good times.  We’ve enjoyed far more laughter than tears; far more hugs than cold shoulders; much more fun than work.  What can I say?  It’s not always been easy, but it’s been good!

Rick just sent me a link to Kenny Roger’s ‘Through the Years’ and I wept through the romantic rendering of a lifetime together with the one you love and it’s just so true.  Here’s the link if you want to listen:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skEKXN9ADH0  Better have the tissues handy!

And so, today I am setting my focus on the next 34 years!  Since our goal and our hope is to reach our 75th anniversary together, I realize that we’re barely over halfway there!  I know there will be struggles ahead and possibly health issues for one or both, but our Lord walks with us and so we do not fear but have perfect peace.  And for today, I’m simply going to be thankful:  thankful for the love, thankful for the forgiveness,  thankful for the fun, thankful for the years.  God has been SO good to us!  Happy Anniversary, Rick!  I love you to pieces!IMG_1380

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The Games People Play

I just returned from a day of running errands.  I had several items on my list and had to make a number of stops.  By the time I was finished and on my way home my sighs had turned to groans, and this article was well on its way in my head.

Have you noticed that literally everywhere you shop anymore the store wants you to apply for not only their credit card, but their ID card!  Apparently, by owning one of these cards and having it scanned each time you shop in that store you will either accrue points or receive special discounts or be treated in some gloriously special way or other.  What started 50+ years ago as couponing has gotten WAY out of hand.  If they had their way, my purse would be filled with their silly cards.  And how, I can’t help wondering, would I ever remember what I was eligible for where?!

Just as I’ve found couponing to be more wasteful of my time and brainpower than is anywhere close to worth the effort it would take, I also find these games they play with cards and phone numbers and scanners absolutely disgusting at best, and extremely frustrating at worst.  And when I try to explain my thinking to those people trying to push this lifestyle on me, their mouths drop open and they stare at me unashamedly.  But it’s true.  I simply don’t have time or interest for their silly money games!

If I had my way, their bottom price would be on each item and we wouldn’t have to scavenge for a coupon and remember to use it.  We wouldn’t have to have a purse full of cards for them to scan that supposedly accumulate points or dollars or whatever for some future purchase that never happens for the most part.

Years ago I decided that couponing was simply not worth the time and effort for me.  I would see people spend more time in a week on couponing just to save a hundred bucks (on items they otherwise would not have even purchased) than they would if they had a job, spent the same number of hours and earned $500 or more.  I guess each person has to do what works for them, but for me, I’d rather spend my time on things that have more eternal value than the almighty dollar that we’ve been taught to worship and cling to powerfully.  And I’ve found that when my mind is not filled with how much items cost as much as how they are used and needed, those very items are enjoyed more and bless more people than if I looked at it and remembered how much I’d spent on it.

I know I’m a freak.  In today’s society (at least in the U.S.) people love bragging about how little they spent on items.  Nothing irritates me more than when I tell someone how lovely their shirt or shoes or whatever is and they quickly tell me how much it cost and where they bought it!  You’ve had it happen I’m sure!  Who cares?  Why do they think that is relevant?  What ever happened to the courteous smile and “Thank you!”?  Why, oh why does money matter so very much?

Rick and I still chuckle through gritted teeth about the time we were invited to Sunday dinner (years and years ago) and as we ate, the host told us how expensive the meat was!  I was not only disgusted and shocked, I wanted to lay mine back on the platter and tell him to enjoy it himself!  We hadn’t asked to come for dinner.  Why would he say that?  Obviously he served the almighty dollar unashamedly!

My challenge is this:  cut up all your discount cards and throw away the coupon papers.  If you need something, buy it if you have the money, and if you don’t, then wait until you do.  Use the time you’d otherwise use comparing prices with visiting with friends or shut-ins or call up someone just to bless them or spend more time in your Bible reading and quiet time.  Stop thinking about what things cost and just enjoy the blessings God has given to you.  Share every time you get the opportunity and never, ever think about the cost, because the truth that Satan tries to hide from us is that we don’t have because we scrimp and save and pinch and pilfer, we have what we have because our Loving Father has chosen to bless us far beyond what we deserve.  Instead of spending brain power on how to save a dime, instead spend it on how to bless someone else with something fun you’ve just found and purchased.  Share, my friend!

Luke 6:38 says: “Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Matthew 10:8b says:  “Freely you have received, freely give.”

Open your hand, my friend!  Share!  Give!  Enjoy!  You’ll be amazed at how God will bless!

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