Lent, Seasonal, Uncategorized

An Awakening

Today is Ash Wednesday. It is the first day of Lent, which is the 40 day period before Easter. When I think of Lent these words come to my mind: awakening , reflection, gratitude, repentance.

Lent is more than an ancient tradition observed by some. To me it is a time of “setting apart” for the next forty days. I find that I am more focused, more attentive to the where I am spiritually in my life. I allow myself to take extra time for this reflection. It is no coincidence that as this awakening begins in me; the earth is awakening from the cold, long winter. The earth is in the process of its own rebirth. I tell myself no matter how hard and long the winter may be, Spring always comes. Each day there are more and more signs of it.

  The birds are louder and their songs sounds more joyous because the sun is coming up sooner, warming the ground, making it easier to find food.

Spring reminds us that God made a promise after Noah made a sacrifice “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22.

Lent can allow us to make a sacrifice in thankfulness to this promise of the new season.

Perhaps by observing Lent, it gives me the opportunity to be more aware of God’s goodness and his beauty. I can reflect on his sacrifice, to repent of anything I’ve allowed to come between us and to love God with an undivided heart.

How do you observe Lent? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions .

-Nancy

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gratefulness, unselfishness, letting God, Uncategorized

A green velvet couch

All week I had been waiting for the weekend. No work, no school, we got our tax returns back and could finally buy a couch! I had it all planned out. I woke up that morning with a joy and excitement that I hadn’t had all week. I sat down on the our old broken down, “free” couch and began to write, sipping coffee, taking my sweet time, and basking in the slow morning where I would probably make a huge breakfast and enjoy it while listening to a podcast by Yoga Girl, versus my usual rush out the door with a piece of peanut butter toast and throwing together a dinner in the crockpot. Suddenly I get a call from my co-worker. She pulled her back out while working and needed me to cover for her today. I sat on the couch annoyed to the point of tears. It had been a week full of exams, work days full of trudging in the mud because it hadn’t stopped raining all week, and coming home slightly pissed off and dissatisfied. “Why did she have to pick today to pull her back out?” I asked myself reveling in my selfish annoyance. I slapped some toast together, got ready and headed to the farm to work. As I was driving I felt God say to me, “Are you grateful?” Those words hit like a knife sliding down my gut and getting caught in the tough places. I thought about it for a moment and then I begrudgingly texted my coworker saying, “let me work all weekend for you. A pulled muscle takes a long time to heal and I know you need rest.”

I didn’t want to send that text. But I did it. And immediately my heart calmed. It was pouring rain at work and I was knee deep in mud and manure but I felt happy as heck. My heart was light and I thought to myself, “Is this what it feels like to let go of my control and just let things be?”

After work my mom and I were on the hunt for a couch. I had been telling her that it was hard moving to a new place and not having a place where my husband and I could both just sit and be together. It somehow didn’t feel like home yet. It’s hard in general moving somewhere new and I just wanted a little bit of consistency and the idea that this was in fact my home. We went to four different used furniture places. I loved all the high end, expensive couches and Perrin had to keep reminding me that our budget was incredibly low and we couldn’t spend our entire tax return on a couch. I again, dug my heels in and pouted and decided that if I couldn’t get a nice couch that would last a long time, then I wasn’t going to find a couch today. It was pouring rain and I was just frustrated with the entire day and how it hadn’t gone according to my plans. But my mom had one more idea. Lot 25:40. A salvage building that collects donations of furniture and other nicknacks and all the proceeds go to homeless. I walked in and saw a bunch of couches that were in decent shape and had amazing prices, but they all had been sold and were on hold. Mom and I walked around and then I reached an antique little vendor in the building and there was a cute and funky looking Victorian/70’s couch. I loved it. It was not the high end I was looking for, it was not the generic couch I had imagined, but I was in love with it. I looked at the price and it was within our tiny budget. I asked the man if I could put it on hold so my husband could come by and see it. He walked over to the couch flipped the price tag and said, “ma’am you do realize it’s 40% off of the original price, right? You might want to make a decision today.”

As he said those words I noticed writing on the floor directly in front of the couch and it read: “And my God will meet all your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19

I felt like someone had slapped me across the face. This life wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about my schedule or my agenda or what I thought was right. It was about God. It was about messiness and disorder and maybe things aren’t going to pan out the way we had hoped. Maybe instead of the neutral average couch, I’ll find a green velvet one. Maybe instead of staying home and not working all weekend, I’ll work and I’ll do it with joy. Maybe life is about giving. About others. About living each day as if it’s the weekend. Waking up with an excitement and a joy and an anticipation that this life is really the best ever. We don’t only live once, we live everyday. And I can promise you it feels so much better when you wake up with hands opened from their tight fist, teeth unclenched and eyes wide open. Accepting everything as it comes and everyone exactly as they come. It’s uncomfortable and it’s very unnerving because it means they’re is no more control. But I can honestly tell you…it is beautiful. So this week, live like it’s your day off. Wake up with anticipation for whatever God is going to give you and say thank you. You might find what you were looking for.

Cheers to today!

Blogpost by Nan Ketchum nanbystillwaters.wordpress.com

Family Life, Motherhood, new year goal

Here’s to a peaceful 2019

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” Isaiah 26:3. This is the verse that helped me survive, grow and become stronger in 2018. It was a crazy year of unknowns, death, disappointments and lots of travel up and down I85. But it was also a year of births, adoption, a wedding and many celebrations. Through it all, the hard and the good, I had the support of my husband and family. And I love that God promised me perfect peace because I trust in him and try to keep my thoughts on him. This was my mantra last year. One of my daughters asked me how I was getting through all of these things and I shared with her this verse. It will be my verse for this year too. Part of being healthy is to live without stress or fear. Therefore my mind has to stay on Jesus and it will be my life’s goal to try to live in God’s perfect peace. I know it doesn’t mean the absence of trouble, but peace while in the turmoil. Thank you Jesus!

So Happy New Year!! May 2019 bring each of us closer to Jesus and to our families and friends!! “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, …guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7.