Nobody Home – Invisible

I know I am not rejected. I know it is just part of getting older. Is anyone home to take my call or answer my email?

I have heard it from so many who are elderly in nursing homes when I worked there. Their sad faces could tell the story. Loved ones long gone and friends too. Now even the home they once lived in has been sold for them to live out the rest of their lives in one shared facility with strangers and a single bed at night to lay their head.

I check emails and none get a response but for those from an acquaintance I may have just met on the internet who shares my same hobby.

Texts come in from family if they need something. I confess, I rarely hear my phone anymore because often times I set it down in another room and forget to take it with me to the next. I hate phones. I love face to face.

I ask an old aunt if she wants company on a particular day. It doesn’t seem to work out. I used to have many older women I could spend time with when I cleaned houses. They were like adopted moms to me since mine was gone and we never were close anyway. She had her favorites and I was not one of them.

I do have my hobbies, my housework, my baking if I want to finally make that carrot cake tonight. Yes, that is a good idea. My company is coming tonight to finally try the BOOYA they missed out on when they forgot that I was waiting for them.

It is overcast and cold today but my heart is joyful. I really do like to be alone in my home by myself. I will work on that piano piece I wanted to perfect. I am happy to be alive and glad that Jesus walks with me. I am never alone and always have someone who loves me.

Do I spend too much time thinking about my own self? Is that the problem? I just need to accept my life can only get quieter than this so get used to it….I think. Maybe I will spend more time crocheting.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

Messy Me – Lifetime Struggle

A messy desk, messy kitchen, messy workroom, the messy nightstand is nothing unusual about my home. I was never that way at my place of work, messy.

I just like too many things, perhaps, reading (hence the books pile up everywhere), crocheting (I am learning Amigurumi crochet), my plants now brought in from my gardens. (Just the ones that are still pretty, and ones I will store over winter.)

When I was working, at a job site, you would never see nick-nacks brought in to decorate my surroundings or find stacks of paperwork at my desk. I am not materialistic and did get my work done routinely.

My counters were immaculate as were the floors when I worked in a dental office as an Assistant. You would never find snacks hiding in my drawers anyplace I worked. No framed photos setting out of pets or family members could be found. No crazy cracker-jack toys or miscellaneous souvenirs, to show off. Basically, I am not a show-off in any way.

So I ask, why are things so unmanageable for me in my own home? The stuff around me, I mean. I still know when the laundry needs to be done, the dishes in the dishwasher should be emptied, the lights should be off.

I guess I need someone telling me what and how and when to do something. No that is not true. I just need someone strict in charge of me. My husband is too kind.

He is the neat one and will fold the laundry I didn’t get to folding. Things are usually laid out flat, so they don’t wrinkle until I get to them. I must have been distracted. I moved on to the next thing that got my attention.

I think when I get very comfortable in a place, I let my guard down. I tend to be more relaxed and work according to my own schedule. I do best when I even have a schedule. Maybe I should get back to writing a list. Oops, I forgot to write one today!

In high-school Geometry class, years ago, I got a “D” letter grade one semester. I was an A & B average student. This teacher let us work at our own pace and for me, it made all the difference.

After that one semester, I changed my ways but it was hard work for me. I had to be my own coach to press me forward and on toward the task at hand. I do better when someone is demanding, has high expectations, and is strict with me.

I am no longer a child and should be able to manage things better on my own now. I don’t want to be married to a brute. I think it is just self-discipline I need and the humility it takes to ask God for help. I have been doing this lately more and more.

I have shed tears over this issue which may sound silly to someone who is not bothered by distractions. For me, it is debilitating. I can’t move. I seriously want to get control over my surroundings instead of my surroundings controlling me.

Today I find myself remembering a game my dad played with us to get us to help clean up. “Just pick up five things and put them away.” He would tell us. Or, “Take something up (where our shared bedroom was) before you go upstairs.” Our arms needed to be full.

Dad was the one who cleaned the countertops in our kitchen and gathered the messes that we, in turn, put in their place. Mom was too busy cooking, doing laundry, washing floors etc. I guess I got a little bit of the habits I have formed from both of them.

I am busy with so many different things because God gave me such an interest for the arts. I love to create. Dad taught me my organizational skills, rather, just watching him I picked something up.

Dad was secretary for his Golf Club, treasurer for his Bowling League, and a Commercial Artist at the Studio where he worked full-time. Mom did a great job of making sure we always had clean clothes, haircuts from one of her best friends, a clean house, and pretty good food to eat.

Mom got neighbors together to bake bread, canned vegetables, and make Christmas cookies. She always had friends for coffee every morning but on the weekends. I admit she loved to gossip and made sure she shoed any of us little ones out to play if there was something we did not need to hear, or just for the sake of privacy with her friends.

That is a little history of my parents, and perhaps a clue as to why I am the messy girl I am. I still am trying to figure it out. I think maybe creative, interesting people generally are messy. Ha! Ha!

Today I played a game and picked up five things off my kitchen counter and put them away. In the last room, I was in I told myself I could not leave without picking up five more things to put away, which I did. Now in another room, I picked up another five things and proceeded to put these things away.

I took a look at just the little bit I did and thought, I should write about this. Before I would forget, I sat down at the computer and here I am. See how easily I get side-tracked? My husband would tease me and say, “SQUIRREL!” to me when he saw that happening, which is often at our house.

Another version of the game, which would help me, and maybe someone else, is that I could set a timer for an hour and spend the hour picking up “just five things” in every room I ended up to see how far it would take me.

Just one hour of cleaning a house (picking up things) is not so bad when I can make a game of it. Otherwise, this kind of cleaning gets me side-tracked so easily. A person like me could see a lot of “squirrels” if I were not careful and determined to stay on task.

I wish I weren’t so easily distracted. I would get so much more done. My husband will ask me, (after I tell him, “Sorry the house is a mess still, I didn’t get much done.”) “But did you have fun? Did you have a good day?”

For me, a good day is when the house is neat and organized. I will show him something I did complete, or a room I cleaned. I am hardest on my own self. I am not sure where this comes from. I know God loves me just as I am and so does my husband.

I spend time with God each day in the morning, first thing. I read devotionals or my Bible, or play a spiritual song on my piano just meditating to the Lord. I know this is the most important thing I do each day. I need him so much because otherwise, I would only have my own thoughts. They take me to places that benefit no one.

God bless you and I pray you will have peace today and put your trust in God alone!

Are you a messy type of person too? Is it different for you at home than at the office?

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;” (2 Corinthians 4:8)

Trying To Find My Next Thing

We all need a vacation from being too busy, but I have been wanting to get back to doing something, for far too long. This is the dilemma I am finding myself in, now that I am retired. So what have I been trying out this time, you might ask?

As the season of planting and growing things in Minnesota is coming to an end, I have been bringing in some of my flowers that I keep over winter. I have yet to plant my tulips in the ground before the frost. Maybe that will happen today. It is on my “list”, as that too is something I have been working at to motivate me during the doldrums of this period.

I am grateful I have my health and still grandchildren I get to babysit. Yesterday I took three of them (all the same family which included a seven month old) to the pet store in another town. They live in a more rural area so it was a bit of a drive for me in traffic.

I tested many of the things I hate that day. Traffic, driving in general, hectic schedule with baby needing a bottle, diapering, and her feeding schedule that had to be met, in the middle of picking her brothers from school. I fed her before the pet store, but only after picking up brother number two from his school.

I left the door of the car open and baby in her car seat while I fed her out of her baby food jar. I had packed plenty of snacks for the boys too. As we all enjoyed ourselves being fed, a hornet made its way into the car, bothering the oldest in the far back seat.

I was in the midst of opening doors to let the boys out so none got stung, yet this grandma could not do things fast enough and the tears were flowing, not mine but the elder son’s, from the experience of it all. Complete chaos was the scene, yet I was not unraveled.

I stayed calm and let the boys out on the sidewalk where we were parked and there were no casualties after-all. Bees are hungry this time of year and the sweetness in babies food was all it took to attract one.

I was grateful God had given us a very windy day. The hornet had no chance of sticking around long with the breeze filling our vehicle thanks to the now open doors.

Once back in the car, and baby well fed, we were on our way to the pet store and had a lot of fun! There were three cats which are my elder grandson’s favorite pet, if he could ever have this kind of pet.

We watched the Chameleons, that were awake and moving in their cages, and plenty of them to see. The tarantulas arrived too that day when usually their cages are empty with a sign “coming soon” on them. Fish, birds, guinea pigs and other things entertained the kids for quite awhile and they didn’t really want to leave.

I let them each pick out a soft pet toy they could keep, in respect for the owners of the store putting up with our entertainment they had to offer, and the restroom I was happy to use for babies diaper changing and two boys needing it too!

They were good sports about ending the visit, and I had no choice but to get back in traffic, which was sadly now, rush-hour. I always pray, out loud when with grandchildren, so they can hear me ask God for our safety back home. I want them to know we can talk to God just as we would a friend or our own parents.

I think life will be ever too quiet for me when babysitting grandchildren won’t be needed anymore. I know that day will come, if God gives me the time on this planet earth, to see them grow to adulthood.

This is one reason I am always looking five, ten or more years down the road. I am looking to see what I can do to contribute something to someone. If I have nothing to give someone, I feel useless. So, I have been spending more and more time writing lists, and also time in my sewing room, hoping to be inspired.

Inspiration does not seem to come so easily these days. I am not sure why. I used to spend more time listening to music and looking at pictures. It helps move something inside of me when I do but eventually we all have to get up and use the tools we need to do the thing God wants us to do.

I know I have a stockpile of fabrics I really need to make into totes or pillows. No one wants pillows, and if they do, they can find them anywhere for very little cost that I would like to ask to make mine and sell. But two pillows lately I did make and want to give them away.

The first one needs an adjustment on the face of it. It looks a bit crooked. I will fix that! Otherwise, perfectly sewn and washable.

One pillow was made from the front of a T-shirt my daughter was going to donate. I just added the fabric around it and the zipper to make a pillow. The insert is also not store-bought but made by me.

FREE GIVE-AWAY – 16″ x 13″ Pillow – You only pay shipping!
Orange chevron print used.
Zipper installed – Orange textured back fabric (seersucker)

The second pillow was made from a fabric sample I found in my daughters office trash can. Yes, I am a scavenger! It is a sample from FSchumacher. The pattern is from the collection: Happy Together. It is Palmetto Print 177451- Ocean.

FREE GIVE-AWAY – 15.5″ x 15.5″
You pay shipping.
FSchumacher Fabric
Zipper installed – showing white fabric on back

There you have it, all the info about the sample. Because it is not “centered” on the pillow, as it was not possible, being a sample, my daughter did not want it. That is her prerogative. Interior Designers are persnickety that way. I think that is funny, I think it is pretty. The back is made of a white textured fabric I have plenty of in my workroom.

Anyway, I am seriously giving these two, although small sized pillows away to anyone who contacts me. You pay the shipping. Christmas is coming and you will have two originals, never to be duplicated, custom-designed pillows. Contact me if you want to be a recipient of one of these pillows. (One person per offer.) Just mention this post.

I am happy to give away things now that I create with the scraps, remnants and extra yards of goods I have in my workroom. If people pay the shipping, I will be blessed in other ways just to give away my creations. Life is short and I realize I am at the other side now of my life span but am ready for what comes next.

At least when I get to heaven God will have plenty of work for me to do. Work is a blessing. If you find work, you are blessed. The work I will have in heaven will be perfect for me. I hope it involves children and working in God’s gardens, but he knows even more than I, what are the desires of my heart, and all things I find delightful!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Among Saints Your Message May Be Welcomed

I live and breath the Savior who is near and dear to my life. I’m not perfect. I just know how much I need Jesus or I get messed up easily.
I like to bring him into a conversation if I feel someone might benefit from his message of hope, healing and restoration.

Being a grandparent for the first time was wonderful. I am still excited to be around these family members and like to talk about them if ever asked. It is easy for all of us to speak of people we love and admire.

Now with our 12th grandchild just six months old, my camera is always near as I want to savor those special moments that take you by surprise. I enjoy it when I am with her and her brothers.

Just as talking about grandchildren is easy for me when asked about them, I like to bring hope and the love of Jesus to a listening ear or to someone I think may need it. Jesus is Living water we all need.

If someone is hurting, I like to bring an encouraging word or let them know of a time someone or something helped me. Usually, it was Jesus who was the someone. Yet, someone had to bring him to me before I knew him personally as Lord and Savior.

I try to listen more than talk as I have learned, and sometimes the hard way, over the years. Listening is the highest compliment you can give someone. Taking precious time to stop whatever you are doing and hear what only they can tell you.

I know it is best to just listen, but it is hard when it is a text message, email, or (does anyone do this anymore) letter or card in the mail. These types of messages, I think, are awaiting a response.

Maybe it is a memorial service you will be attending and you want to give a card. Do you just sign your cards or add a personal word of heartfelt sympathy? I find it strange to not share a word that hopefully, God has helped me formulate. I wait and listen, then write what comes to mind at these difficult times.

There are also other times, you want to share a snippet of comfort or thoughts that come from the heart, but you can’t do it without mentioning the name of Jesus. It is not a name we should apologize for mentioning, or bring on the feeling of shame or embarrassment, yet, the reaction we get from others, even their silence, makes us feel somehow rejected.

I have gotten this response from not only my own family members, even my own children and siblings, but also, neighbors, and strangers.

The response leaves me thinking; this person does not know Jesus or rejects him on purpose, or sees me as some sort of extreme holy person. However, I do, even though it is rare, get a believer welcoming my thoughts and thanking me for my encouragement.

Today a friend, I thought needed some encouragement texted me about some worry she was having. I reminded her that God can keep us safe. “Do you trust God?” I asked. I really wanted to know where she was at with God in her personal life. (Ooops, I should not have asked the question, I guess.)

After much lingering minutes went by, which I thought unusual but that she might have had to leave to do something. Then, I finally got a ping on my phone notifying me of her incoming message.

It read:

“I do pray and do believe. I believe you can pray anywhere,” she replied. “Religion is personal.” replies my friend.

Jesus did come up in our prior conversations before. But again, she never added to it, agreed with it or continued any discussion. That is always a clue where people are at in their faith. At least, whether or not they want to share with you or keep it to themselves.

Each of our lives with our God is unique and there is nothing wrong with being quiet about it, because there are more ways to shine our lights than just words. But without “hearing God’s word”, how can anyone come to Christ? Some are called to be pastors and teachers and evangelists.

I guess some things you can discuss with some people that are closer to you. I just find I can talk about Jesus with any Christian on the planet whether stranger or not. We are ONE in Spirit. It is what sets us apart. We are brothers and sisters in Christ.

How can I keep silent about the Lord who has done so much for me? Did I say something wrong? Was it just the mention of Jesus being too forceful?

I text to her, “Jesus has nothing to do with religion. He has everything to do with a person, a human being, God and Spirit.” (I should have just said “relationship”.) I mentioned, “if not for my own sister, I would not have come to know Jesus that way. I too was raised Catholic, like you.”

I continued in my text, “Yes, some things are personal. For that, I agree. And we can pray anywhere because God is everywhere. But when Jesus ascended into heaven, after the resurrection, and after appearing to his disciples and 500 witnesses, he told them to ‘Go into the whole world and make disciples.’ (my short version of Matthew 16:15, Matthew 28:19,20)
But, I will now digress. I am not here to convert anyone to my way of thinking. I don’t want to be a bore.”

I guess if we don’t tell people about Jesus and what he has done for us, they may not come to know him in a personal way. They may just think he is this perfect being we must cower to and do our best to please or we will receive his wrath upon us. That is my opinion. People may see Jesus differently, of course.

If we tell others about the “personal” Jesus who we know, they would be able to see that they too can “relate” to him in a personal way. It brings more meaning to their prayers. We must see Jesus first as our Savior before we can worship him in Spirit and Truth as our LORD above all else. Do you agree?

Humility will break down walls of fear, shame, deceit and any pretenses we have about Jesus. Why are so many people afraid, embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about Jesus? Are you?

If I bring up Jesus too much for any reason it seems I turn others away. I find more and more people avoiding me. Friendships never have a chance to develop.

Text messages end. Letters I write go unresponded to. Phone conversations have dead air on the other side, “Are you there? Did I lose you?”

It is not that Jesus is all I talk about, it is just that when I see a good opportunity to bring him into a conversation, I am not shy about it.

Dear LORD, please change hearts and minds towards you. Help us to not be ashamed of the gospel. Send people of courage to tell those lost about Jesus and to encourage their brothers and sisters in the Lord. Don’t let me turn my back on you. In Jesus’ name, I pray.

He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.” (Isaiah 53:3)

The Right Attitude Goes a Long Way

Sometimes I have to start my day by just asking God to help me have the right attitude. It does not always come easy for me and I don’t want to make any more enemies than I do have.

I don’t want to lose friends but most importantly, I don’t want to let the God whom I serve down. I am supposed to be his representative.

I may not like the plans I have to do today.
I may not like where I have to go.
I may not like the people I will be surrounded by.
I may not like the message I will be forced to listen to.

I don’t know how to dress for this.
I’m not sure what to bring.
I’m not happy about the length of time I will have to spend there.
I’d rather crawl in a hole and can now only imagine how lonesome in this crowd I will be.
I’ve been in this situation before.

Today must not be about me.
I have to think of others more than myself.
Today is in honor of someone else, not me.
The accolades will be for them and what they have done.
Their life will be illuminated as mine grows dim.

I must think of their loved ones left behind.
I must listen well and speak little even though I am always tempted to interject my thoughts into their conversations.

It is better to be quiet, than to speak loudly and have nothing important to say, or even to be heard. I don’t like to make a point even if it corrects their foolish notions, and gets no reaction. I want to become invisible then. This is an embarrassing moment worse than being accused of something.

I know I will sit and compare myself to others at this gathering which is a dangerous place to be. Keep me Lord from my critical spirit. Help me to not judge others but love them as you do.

I pray, and ask God to keep my mouth quiet and only put his words in my mouth if I speak at all. Words that lift others up and encourage them. Help me bring comfort to them. Thank you, God, for loving me.

Thank you, God, for choosing me.
Just as I am, flawed and imperfect, yet you love me.
You died for the good and the bad. You suffered for the ugly and the beautiful people. You are all I need. Help me to honor you today by what others can see of me.

Give me the right attitude and change my heart even before I come before the assembly. Make your light shine upon me today and always.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

(Psalm 46:1-3)