Planning With Jesus

After rearranging my home when all my guests departed, I spent a week doing not much of anything. We all need time to relax and recuperate from time to time. I find as I grow older, this becomes more important.

As a birthday present to myself, I purchased a new Bible. It’s a Holman CSB Restoration Bible–Embracing God’s Word in Difficult Seasons. There are 7 Restoration Principles in this Bible:

  • R – Rest and Reflection
  • E – Eternal Perspective
  • S – Support
  • T – Thanksgiving and Contentment
  • O – Other-centeredness
  • R – Relationships
  • E – Exercise of Faith

I began reading the 30 day devotional in the front of the Bible on the 1st of November. In December, I will read Luke, one chapter a day through the 24th. The remainder of the year, I’ll be praying for God’s direction for my word for 2022 and my vision board in my 2022 Christian Planner. This will be my 4th year for using a planner from this company. I use it every day. I write all my sermon notes inside, too.

These last two months of the year I’m reflecting on what has transpired and the hopes I have for the upcoming year. I’m going to be working on Christmas cards a lot this month and won’t be spending as much time coloring. I want to color a couple more fall pictures and then I’ll begin working on some Christmas pictures. And, of course I’ll be working on the historical autobiography book. The past week I only colored one picture. I wanted to experiment with using watercolor pencils my daughter gave me this week. I’m looking forward to trying these with some pictures that have landscaping type of backgrounds in future.

Lifting my cup of tea with a full and happy heart as I look forward with hope to this new week ahead! Until next time…

God’s Calling to Volunteer

Attending our church’s newly launched Sweet Life dinner for seniors enlightened how much I miss working in a church environment. I spent nearly 4 years working as church office manager where I had the opportunity to pray with people who called or dropped in needing help. I enjoyed helping in all capacities, especially in interactions with people.

When I retired, I fell into a comfortable routine of being a senior accepting a quiet life of rest. The lockdowns from the pandemic helped to cement the “finality” of retirement. Don’t get me wrong, I believe this is necessary. I don’t have the stamina I used to have, but I know I need more than this stationary life.

God has shown me it is time to reach out and volunteer. My life isn’t over until He calls me home. In the meantime, I know I want to be part of spreading love outside the walls of my home.

Lifting my cup of tea and thanking God for gently opening my eyes to the opportunities awaiting in the future.

The Aged Candy Box

This is the box my mother gave me in 2005. Inside were three letters written in pencil on lined notebook paper. They were sent by my father when he was in the Navy and shortly before he was killed by a Kamikaze pilot in a battle in the Philippine Islands.

I know this must have been a box filled with candy that he gave her. Once I found her sitting on the floor with this box, holding a picture and crying. I was around 10 years old. She handed me a picture, which was also inside the box, and told me it was my dad. She said he was the love of her life.

This will be included in the book I’m writing this winter. As I dig into history, I’m finding more information about his family. I never really knew them. I also didn’t know my biological grandparents on my mother’s side, only her aunt and uncle who adopted her after their deaths. I loved my grandma and grandpa a lot. I’ll be including stories of growing up with them in the book as well. So many stories to be told. I don’t want the history to die with me as most of it did with my mother.

Lifting my cup of tea and thanking God for the gift of opening history for me and showing me glimpses of life in the past. Often I’ve thought of writing a fictional book about my parents, weaving a love story during World War II. Maybe, if God is willing, that will come to fruition.

Lifting my cup of tea and wishing you all a day to think about your history and if you have shared enough with your family to be passed down through generations. God is good!

A Peaceful Place to Rest

I was reading Isaiah 32 this morning and found comfort for this time. The chapter is all about Israel’s ultimate deliverance. It helped me to understand that God is at work even when I don’t see what He is doing. Verse 18 (NLT) says: “My people will live in safety, quietly at home. They will be at rest.” This is where I find my life. My home is my quiet place of rest, a place where I feel safe. Why? Because God’s presence is with me.

The chapter ends with verses: 19 and 20: “Even if the forest should be destroyed and the city torn down, the LORD will greatly bless his people. Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up. Their cattle and donkeys will graze freely.”

Lifting my cup of tea as I give thanks to God for the blessing of a peaceful place to rest.

An Art or a Lifestyle?

The art of living a senior widow’s life isn’t really an art. It’s a lifestyle, one I inherited suddenly. One day I was part of a couple, where days were spent together with conversations, laughter, hugs, kisses, love. We went everywhere together. I had someone to cook for. There was double laundry. Life was happy. And God was at the center.

Yes, there were three and a half years where I was mostly a caregiver, but it became part of our life. I was encourager, nurse, and always a wife who loved her husband deeply.

Then suddenly a morning came with the chaos of a squad in the house, a rushing away of the ambulance, and my calm gave way to confusion and fear. I lost my husband that day, though he lingered in the hospital for 10 days on a ventilator as his body began to shut down.

One day I returned to the empty house knowing it would remain empty. I had a new title of widow. No one to talk to, no laughter, no hugs, no kisses, and no one to care for or cook for. The world says time heals. That is false information. The only healing is an easing of pain through having a relationship with Jesus. With knowing my husband’s earthly journey had ended, and he no longer suffered. I knew where he was. He wasn’t lost. Just absent for a time.

Learning to cook for one is an art. Filling the hours in the day is an art. Learning to navigate alone is an art. But the overall lifestyle is not an art. It’s just a different life. One can make of it whatever one wants. Some fill their hours with outside activities. I fill my hours with indoor activities. As such, the art of conversation is stifled. I spend quiet hours hearing only the sounds of the house. I miss the talks with my husband.

Yet, I’m not lonely or sad. I’ve adjusted. Moving to a new home helped. Mostly God helped. I have the reassurance that my husband is now pain free and living with Jesus! I have the reassurance that I will see him again. My lifetime has known many heartaches through the death of loved ones. I know it is part of life. The loss of grandparents and parents is to be expected. Not so the loss of a child. And though I knew death would part my husband and I from the moment we said “until death do us part,” there was no guideline as to who would pass first.

I’m grateful my husband went to heaven first due to his health. He couldn’t have taken care of himself alone. His bodily tent was wearing out. I miss every part of him, both the earthly tent, and the beautiful soul that resided inside. He would be proud of me. I know that, and it gives me the courage to continue forward in this new lifestyle, this new closeness with Jesus.

Lifting my cup of tea with a melancholy smile and a grateful heart for the years God gave us together.

I Am Abundantly Rich

This morning I am feeling abundantly rich. I have a comfortable home and enough money to sustain it. I have food in my pantry and refrigerator. I have a connection to the outside world through the internet with the funds God provides. I have clothing in my closet and dressers. I have a laptop on which to write. There is running water in my home and a toilet that flushes.

I have paper and pens, Bibles, and books. Coloring books and supplies, diamond paintings to complete and puzzles to work. I have family and friends. I have a cat who loves me and provides companionship. I am healthy.

I am not rich by the standards of the world, and my discretionary income is lacking, but I know that God always provides what I need. I am truly a rich woman in all things that matter because God loves me.

Lifting my cup of tea this morning with a smile and a heart filled with gratitude!

The Joy of Changing Seasons

I am delighted Autumn has arrived! I slept so soundly under my comforter as the outdoor temperature plummeted to 40 degrees. I haven’t used my A/C or heat for two months now. There’ve been nights when I’ve struggled as the inside temps rose to 80 degrees. Thank goodness for overhead fans! Now it is a comfortable 70 degrees inside.

Last winter there were many times when my body temperature dropped and I shivered and couldn’t get warm even though the inside temperature was 70 degrees. I am going shopping for thermal underwear because I’m setting my heat to 68 degrees this year in response to the rising costs of natural gas.

Oh, if one spends time watching news, there is danger of growing fear over inflation, supply chains, and such, but what good is it to worry? Worrying only means one doesn’t trust in God. I do. He gave us common sense, but many don’t use it.

There are people saying Christmas isn’t happening this year! Why? Because of supply chains. Crazy, right? The world wants to make Christmas a commercial holiday. I’m not buying into what the world has to say. Christmas is a holiday Christians celebrate to mark the birth of Jesus Christ. Supply chains can’t deter that!

As for my cat, Templeton, he is doing great! His digestive system has calmed down after many months where he continued to decline and I feared he would die. He is now eating a digestive health canned food along with his dry food. Life is back to normal for him and me. I’m humbled by answered prayers.

I’m enjoying my small group Bible study and the camaraderie of these beautiful women. Every Wednesday I have lunch with a dear friend, and on Sunday after church she and I have lunch together. I spent a little time with my daughter on Friday and she presented me with a gift for my upcoming birthday–a fantastic outfit. My favorite part is a very warm, cuddly long cardigan! I’ll be wearing this a lot as the weather continues to change. It’s perfect for snuggling in when I’m reading!

Last week I did a lot of reading. When I get caught up in reading, I have difficulty tearing myself away from the story. As such, I didn’t work on my Christmas cards, nor did I do any research for my winter book project. I did work on a puzzle in short spurts of time, but it’s going to be another week before it is finished. I colored a few pictures, too.

As Autumn brings beautiful colorful changes into view, I’m happy to enjoy every moment with gratitude. And I realize how special each day is, bringing unique opportunities. I’m thankful to learn new things as God teaches me how to age gracefully. Lifting my cup of tea and leaving you with these words: The Word of God should be the source of truth for our lives. Until next time…

The Old Rolled Up Mat

A few days ago, I started seeing the carpet in the leg well of my desk was not flat. Immediately I opened the Amazon app to search for carpet mats for desks. When I saw the prices, I remembered I still have one I’d retired two years ago due to it not staying in place. I’d rolled it up and stored it in my garage. Oh, my. It was impossible to get it to lie flat. I used my heat gun, but it did little good. But I remembered the motto: Consume it, wear it out, make do or do without.

There was nothing wrong with the mat. It had simply conformed to being rolled in storage. It’s now on the floor in my office and I know it will eventually be what I need it to be and I can remove the heavy objects flattening it. When I look at it, I’m reminded how we can be changed and conformed in today’s culture. Sometimes we curl into ourselves because we are overwhelmed and confused. We withdraw from life rather than turn to God for direction. We can become like the rolled up mat in a dark corner.

God doesn’t forget about us! He can transform us, remove all the lumps and bumps with truth. He often sends help through another person. He will find a way to draw us out of the dark corner we have created into His light. The things of this world can be confusing and difficult to find the right answers to our questions. We won’t find answers in the world. Only in God. Only in trusting Him.

Things that are in direct conflict with the Bible are easy to spot. Things that are not, the things that truly tie us in knots, are those that can cripple us with indecision. Those are the times when we should turn to God. Pray. Read the Bible. God will show the way if we remain patient and diligent.

“Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.” Colossians 2:8 CSB.

Lifting my cup of tea with gratitude and thankfulness for the rolled up carpet mat now gracing my office. And thanking Him for taking this tightly knotted and rolled up woman and reshaping her into who He created her to be.

GIVE IT TO GOD

One of the most difficult things I’ve learned over the past few years is how to give my concerns to God. Easily said, but not always easy to do. I used to tell God I was giving Him something, but found days or hours later, I was worrying and fussing about the same thing all over again!

I have a prayer wall. On it, I hang scriptures that speak to me, prayers, and my concerns. These concerns are the things that can suck me into fear and worry…things I can’t really control. God gives me wisdom to know there are steps I can take to assist with certain things like health and finances, but in order not to worry, but to trust God, I need to put my faith in Him and let Him carry these heavy burdens for me. God gives me a peace I cannot describe other than as a peace that passes understanding about these things…once I have given them to Him.

What is the key to giving all these to God and NOT TAKING THEM BACK? For me it was remembering I would not give something to any of my earthly friends and then snatch it back again. Being able to give God our burdens is a privilege God grants us. So we give back to Him by trusting Him to take care of them. Taking them back means we don’t trust Him.

Lifting my cup of tea as I watch dark storm clouds pass overhead in a heavily overcast sky. The darkness moves across the sky but not a drop of rain falls. I’m always amazed when I watch what God is doing through my office window. He is powerful. He can do what He says He can do. So I expect to see God do greater things in the days to come!