Sunday, August 21, 2016

What Saved Your Life This Summer?


So ... where did summer go?  

Fall tchotchkes have been displayed on local store shelves since the beginning of August.  The kiddos are corralling their brand new school supplies and heading for the buses.  September weekends are filling up with lovely events.  An evening walk in this neck of the woods now invites a windbreaker to come along for the ride.

But before we hustle into autumn's high gear, I want to slow down and linger before summertime slips away too quickly.  Yeah, the weather's been a hot steamy mess, but yet I'm in no hurry to see these golden days fade.  So before we kiss this season good-bye, let's consider Episcopal pastor / professor Barbara Brown Taylor's superb query, 'what's saving your life today?'

Or rather ...

What were God's unexpected blessings, compelling invitations,
 refreshing wellsprings, or life-giving oases during these recent months? 

Here's the 3 graces saved my life last year.  And for this summer?  4 come to mind ...

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DOING A 5K WALK


Yep, I stopped with the excuses and have been walking up a storm this summer, actually venturing out to do a 5K ... my first one ever.  So what if I was the last one to cross the finish line?  I walked while everyone else was running and the racing horde literally left me in the dust, my 7 and 9 year old grandkiddos effortlessly zipping miles ahead of me.

But just making the decision to embrace the challenge was significant for this decidedly non-athletic / wanna-be-healthy / just-about-61-year-old woman.  My family cheered me over the finish line ... and yes, my feet are still paying the price.  But this personal victory was worth every single step.


DESIGNING A BUSINESS CARD


You might remember I told you last month that I know God has something 'round the bend.  I'm still not at all sure of the what / when / where / how.  But my resume is updated, my letters of recommendation are in hand, and 250 business cards are patiently holding court in my desk drawer. The details are still murky at best ... yet I'm confident He'll be unfolding the path I should take in the days ahead.  And that's good enough for me.

Talk about a leap of faith, huh?


1 - 1 MOMENTS WITH THE GRANDKIDS



Sure it's fun to have the whole gang together.  But my most prized moments are those rare quiet ones as just two of us stroll or color or read, nosh or cuddle or play with our tablets.  I cherish those 1-1 random unplanned encounters where we simply do a bit of life together.  And it's amazing how in those solitary moments, they often open up and share what's on their tender hearts or rattling around their always active minds.

It just doesn't get better than that.


SHORING UP MY DEVOTIONAL LIFE



All that early morning online running around too easily morphs into a weird striving that pulls me away from a rich quiet time with the Lord.  His invitation to get serious about focusing on Him has become a gently persistent yet gracious tug on my rather self-absorbed heartstrings.

These days I'm figuring out what it looks like to develop a more meaningful sacred relationship with Jesus, saying 'yes, please' with greater enthusiasm to the One who loves me best.  I'm finally getting a bit more creative and ramping up my devotional life by purposefully choosing a different medley of Bible study, worship music, intercessory prayer, devotional readings, journaling, artwork, prayer walks, or biblical meditation that delightfully varies every time I meet with Him.

For He is so very worthy ... and I am so very needy of His gracious loving presence.

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So ... how 'bout you?  Let's talk about what God's used to save your life this summer!



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sharing life with

46 comments:

  1. those sweet Grandchildren... must melt your heart... we are heading into spring... just that knowledge fills my heart with joy! moments with my family! time spent in the garden... pets... a new tenant in our cottage... new ideas... <3

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    1. Jandi! I appreciate this sharing of a lovely little snippet of South African springtime ...

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  2. Congratulations on your 5K walk! I find it interesting that it is in Kilometers? I thought you were on miles? Anyways, just a little unknown for me! And your business card looks wonderful. There was an unexpected surprise for me this summer as my daughter who has been engaged for three years decided in July to get married in August! I'm not a heat person, so liking that I now need to grab a 'windbreaker' for the evenings, and back into writing and school again for the fall.

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    1. Maybe some runner out there knows why they measure these races in kilometers not miles!

      Anyway ... I can't wait to hear your mother-of-the-bride stories, Lynn! And maybe a sooner date will cut down on all the stress of endless decision making sagas and dramas!

      Enjoy every minute!

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  3. That's wonderful.. glad you had such a great summer.

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  4. Congrats on your 5K, Linda! Walking or running, it's the same distance. Good for you! I'm glad God continues to give us opportunities for new things to "save our lives."

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    1. I liked how you put it, Lisa -->'Walking or running, it's the same distance.'

      ;-}

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  5. Love the business card, Linda! Great design, clean and crisp and professional.

    It's not 'what' saved my life this summer, but who. Sylvia and ladron, my service dogs.

    1) They did CPR on me when I collapsed, and got me to breathe, and my heart to beat again. My chest still hurts but I m not complaining.

    2) When I went down outside (still breathing), they did not think I should stay into the hot New mexico sun, so they dragged me into the shade. Through some cactus, yes, but I'm still not complaining.

    They are teaching Strawberry the baby Bullmastiff to act as their relief. Strawberry already knows how to shut the laptop if I seem to be tiring. And Mastiffs don't go in for half-measures; I have to be quick to pull my fingers away.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/08/your-dying-spouse-196-team-of-one-fmf.html

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    1. You've got some fine companions surrounding you, friend. Just gotta get it through their furry heads that encountering a bunch of cactus doesn't work for you!

      And I'd love to see Baby Strawberry handle the laptop. Good boundaries, that pooch, knowing when enough's enough!

      ;-}

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  6. Your grandchildren are absolutely adorable, Linda!
    I'm glad you've had such a rejuvenating summer with many joys and challenges. Mine has come with lots of changes, all unexpected, and not all bad, but changes nonetheless. I must admit, I'm ready for the hot temperatures to wither away in light of fresh autumn breezes.
    Blessings to you and yours!

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    1. I hear you about those unexpected changes, Martha. They sure can throw us for a loop ... and cause us to desperately lean on the One who's not at all surprised by what's happening.

      Will be praying for you as God leads ...

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  7. Linda, congrats on your first 5k!
    The line that will stick with me is how He is so worthy ... and we are so needy.
    More of Him, less of us. More of His sweet presence.
    Thank you, friend. : )

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    1. Much much more of Him. Much much less of me ...

      Amen.

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  8. Love all of it! Hooray for the 5K and taking the leap - I just know grand things are ahead. Your grandchildren are a fine looking bunch. I enjoy 1:1 time too with my sons, although it's harder to come by than I'd like. Can wait to see what's around your next corner! Being more prayerful (and quiet) is so important!

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    1. You're so right ... those quiet moments are harder to come by than we'd like. Oh to grab them whenever they appear ... even if it's inconvenient for us.

      Much of what we're busy busy doing can wait, can't it ...

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  9. "For He is so very worthy ... and I am so very needy of His gracious loving presence." This line really touches my heart, Linda. So very true. He is our "life-giving oasis." A beautiful pic of your grandkids! Aren't they just so precious? Every moment with them is such a blessing. :) And congratulations on braving the 5K. Way to go, Grandma! Your business cards and your leap of faith are inspiring, too. :) Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Your bounty of encouraging words has blessed me, Trudy. I'm so glad you're here ... and am looking forward to you writing again. Enjoy your time off ... it sure is fleeting.

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  10. Cycling has saved my summer. Seeing my grandson has saved my summer. Watching the church grow (in spite of me) has saved my summer when traditionally the church goes into a lull. Taking life slower saved my summer. Congrats on the 5k

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    1. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Your church family is blessed to have you shepherd them. You surely have a pastor's tender yet wise heart.

      Grateful you're in this community here, too ...

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  11. What a beautiful post, My Friend! Proud of you for your 5K---I always told myself my gift to the world was coming in last and it gave me plenty of time to enjoy the run/walk. As for those grands---there is just nothing quite like them! If I were closer, I would be your client--could definitely use some straightening out!
    Blessings, My Friend!

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    1. Keep in touch, Lulu ... I'm thinking about offering some coaching-by-phone in the days ahead!

      ;-}

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  12. What a great question! I actually had kind of a hard summer, BUT many good things happened. Valuable family time before my son went back to school, time with friends, AND I also kind of slowed down my early mornings to spend more time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study. So glad I did. Not sure how I'll continue with that into the fall and homeschool, but it reminded me all over again of the priority that has to be for me.

    And congrats on your new steps into the unknown. Love your business card! Jeremiah 29:11 is true for us too, not just for the spring chickens!

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    1. You make a good point, Betsy, that's it's easy to enjoy those sacred morning invitations when life is slow. Pulling everything together when schedules get jammed up is another story altogether.

      I'd love how you navigate this as school starts again!

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  13. Lot of good things to be found in one post. So excited for you and what God is going to do through your counseling ministry. Best of luck and many good wishes!

    I'm SO ready for fall, ready to break out the light jackets and not sweat when I go out to check my mail. What really saved my sanity this summer? Vacation with my family.

    The time away to think put things in perspective. So, I'll be taking a blogging break. Not really sure when I'll return except for a post here or there. I need to do more living for the words to flow again. And...I'm working on my Real Estate license. Each day finds me neck deep in words and definitions of licenses, encumbrances, contracts and so on. Pray for me and this new adventure?

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    1. I hear your heart, Alecia. The change of seasons often ushers in new opportunities ... like pursuing your real estate licence. How exciting is that! I pray that this new adventure will reveal all your talents and giftedness and that God will infuse you with a delightful confidence that you just KNOW is from His hand.

      Please keep me posted, ok?

      ;-}

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  14. Sounds like a good summer. Exciting to see what God has in store for you, and well done on completing your 5k!

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  15. I'm sad to see summer go too, my friend. But Fall holds an unusual promise of new adventure, so I have to say I am looking forward to it as well. A HUGE congratulations on your first 5K - WOW! It sounds like the Lord has been holding you very tenderly and lovingly through this season. And the business cards look FAB - so you're ready for the next season He has for you, too! So thankful to see your blessings piling up! I've spent a good part of the summer planning my Dad's memorial service (to be held next month) and battling some medical issues. Both difficult in their own right. What's saved me? Clinging, resting, trusting Him. He is loyal. He is faithful. May God bless you as summer fades to fall, my friend!

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    1. Oh June ... I'm sorry that this summer has been such a challenge for you. I'll be holding you up in prayer as you remember your Dad in a significant way even while dealing with your own medical issues.

      You were such a huge blessing and support to me last summer when my dad left this earth. I would love to do the same for you. Please let me know how I can pray for you, sweet friend.

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  16. Great pics of the kiddies. Children are God's best gift.

    What saved my summer:
    1-having Luca here for a month and enjoying the great hospitality and tour guiding of you guys and Kory
    2-"Knowing the Word" through mission119.org. I learned that there was a reining queen of Israel, I understand more about how God used Jeremiah and Ezekial and walked more deeply with my Redeemer.
    3-swiiming laps in an outdoor pool....how refreshing and I soaked up the Vit D
    4-realizing I don't have to rescue my brother

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    1. #4.

      Praising God for miracles, trusting Him to do more than we've asked or imagined.

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  17. That seaglass on your business cards . . . so beautiful and what a perfect metaphor for all that God has brought you through in His amazing process of smoothing and perfecting. Thank you, Linda, for sharing all this.

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    1. Gosh, Michele ... I never ever thought of that metaphor. I'm off to look for some seaglass this morning ... and I'll be thinking of you the entire time.

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  18. Linda,
    I am so impressed about your 5K -- that is a tremendous accomplishment and it had to feel so good too! Summer has always been my favorite season (so I'm glad I moved to Florida where it's always summer!) and it always does seem to go far too quickly. What a beautiful photo of your grandkids and I love what you said about ramping up your devotional life! I'm excited to see what God reveals to you and which direction he nudges you to go! xo

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    1. Honestly, Valerie, you're one of my most sparkly and consistent cheerleaders! Thanks for the great big hugs every Wednesday. Your steady presence and encouraging words are such a huge blessing in my life.

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  19. Congrats, first of all for the stellar business cards, Linda. You need to add BBBA to your card as well - Best Blogging Buddy Around! ;-) Also, love the pics of the kiddos and the news that you're settling into some great time with God as well.

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    1. Ah, I think there's enough letters after my name!

      ;-}

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  20. Linda, thank you so much for those kind words on my blog post...fan the flame! I do love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the study of His Love Letter to us! So glad to find you here at your new site. You are always such a wonderful encourager to me and so many others, I love your new business card specialties..."emotional healing, spiritual growth, and vibrant living"...yes, please! Your thoughtful comments give us a glimpse of your very needed and helpful work. Many blessings to you!

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    1. Welcome back, Beth! I'm really happy you found me!

      ;-}

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  21. I rested and read books for fun this summer, and just hung out with my girls. We had a day at the mall, watched movies, and went to the pool. It flew by too fast, as it does every year, so I try to soak up the days they want to be with me! :)

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    1. Sarah ... that sounds like the absolutely ideal summertime schedule! Ratcheting down the schedule is something we all need ... and maybe our kiddos more than we realize ...

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  22. 5K! You're amazing.
    What a beautiful summer you have, Linda. Nice!

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  23. Congrats for doing the 5K, Linda. I've only ever done one (with my Molly when she was in third grade). I will always cherish the memory and have no desire to do another! I love your business cards ... and the possibilities the future holds for you. And those sweet children? They are blessed to have a grandma who cherishes one-on-one time with them.

    I think what saved my life this summer was this line from a John Lennon song: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." I thought of it often as I repeatedly put my plans on the back burner and just took one day, one week, one unexpected development at a time. It was nice.

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    1. Oh yeah, Lois. Let's hear it for putting our agendas, even the good stuff, on that back burner and doing one day at a time. Sure beats endlessly gazing into the future like we've got some kinda crystal ball, huh?

      Thanks for that wisdom, friend ...

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda