Retirement Adventure #2: Time to Adjust My Thinking

June 26? The last week of June? Already? This month sped by. Where did the time go? What happened to rest, relax, and renew? I feel like I go, go, go. And still there are piles-literally piles-of things I need to do. I’m being interrupted by the urgent things we need to do to complete the sale of our house. And in my determination to s l o w  d o w n, I’m taking longer than I think I will to do things I enjoy.

I keep thinking I’ll get to things like daily writing, going through the turf in my office, cleaning out a drawer or a closet. Maybe even packing a box or two. When I have a couple of hours together, I promise myself. But so far, that hasn’t happened.

I want routine. A completed to-do list, items neatly checked off. A feeling of accomplishment.

And then I remember. I’m retired. I don’t have to hit the ground running at the beginning of August anymore. While I do have a deadline for cleaning closets and packing boxes, Van and I will do that together. Slowly, I realize I focused on the wrong list. Instead of worrying about what I haven’t done, I need to remember who I am in Christ. What are His priorities? It’s time to adjust my thinking.

Continue reading “Retirement Adventure #2: Time to Adjust My Thinking”

Steady, Only One Thing Is Needed

Why do I think life will go forward slow and steady? A straight road? I should know by now, it’s more like a roller coaster. Full of twists and turns. Sometimes laughing with delight, but other times forcing me to hold on and scream.

My Steady Life

For twenty-seven years, Van and I lived in the same house. We relocated just twenty miles away a few years ago, but stayed within range of our family, friends, and church home. This month we both retired and as soon as the brand new house we bought in Prescott Valley, Arizona is finished, we’ll leave California.

Thanks to my sister and brother-in-love, finding a home in Arizona was easy. And our house sold in only a week. Thrilled and excited, we started moving forward. Picking out carpet, tile, counter tops, doors, faucets. The list of choices seemed unending, but we agreed on everything. Moving seemed like an adventure. Easy and fun.

Changing Steady for a Roller Coaster Ride

But suddenly, this week, it feels like moving is a roller coaster ride. Calls and texts from our realtor, inspectors, the design center of our new home. Questions. Decisions. Changes.

Some of them challenges. Unexpected delays. Extra money we didn’t plan on.

I can feel the tension mounting. Uncertainty. Discomfort. Unknown. What to do? It never seems like I have enough time to think things through. Weigh my options. There is a timeline for every change in order for things to happen so we move on time.

One of the things I look forward to most is my laundry room. I won’t have to go into the garage when it’s 105° or 50°. Dust from the wind or when Van mows the lawn won’t be an issue. So when Van told me he needed the closet in my laundry room for his safe, I wanted to cry. Instead, I said I understood, and walked away to do something else.

Fret. Argue in my head. Complain. Tell myself all the reasons it wasn’t fair. That closet, I told myself, belonged to me. My plan includes a place for everything and everything in its place. According to my plan and my desires.

Steady, Only One Thing is Needed

In the midst of my self-imposed angst, I could almost here Jesus, “Debbie, Debbie. You are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is needed.” I stopped a moment, got off of my roller coaster, and reread Luke 10:38-42. Mary ignored all the hustle and bustle involved in getting ready for company. While Martha fussed, trying to make life perfect, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. Listening. Paying attention. Being filled with peace and joy.

I needed that reminder. My home doesn’t belong to me. It is a gift from God. To be used for His glory. His purposes.

Peace and joy come not from what I deem perfect, but from sitting at His feet. Putting Him first. Steady means I acknowledge God. I trust Him in every twist and turn. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells me how to steady the roller coaster ride. “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.”

Steady

What roller coaster are you riding on? Trust in the Lord. He will help steady your ride.

Linking with

Five Minute Friday

Dance with Jesus

Fresh Market Friday

Loved by the King: Celebrate Your Worth to God

On Tuesday, Van and I drove two hours to celebrate our granddaughter, Katie’s, promotion from eighth grade. Katie is a special treasure, precious and loved, so the trip was worth it.  We toted our lawn chairs and joined the other families spread out across the lawn for the picnic on the field. Balloons, flowers, and leis added to the festive atmosphere. Music from a live band of dads floated through the air. Families chatted while they enjoyed the late afternoon sunshine. Making playdates for the summer that stretches ahead. Sharing their child’s successes in school.

Katie attended a K-8 charter school, specifically for art and technology. She started at the beginning of middle school, as a sixth grader, but many of her classmates spent all of their school years here.  Every year, VCS does something most schools don’t do; they celebrate every student, from kindergarten through eighth grade. Each one heard their name called and walked across the podium. Big smiles lit their faces and there was a spring in their steps.

Teachers stood on the stage with the students, their faces wreathed in smiles. Hugs and handshakes and quiet words of congratulations acknowledged the strengths of their students.

The eighth graders, the ones the school nurtured the longest, stand out from the other students. Their class, wearing green caps and gowns, march in accompanied by Pomp and Circumstance and sit in a special section to watch the rest of the students.  Instead of a silk flower lei, theirs boast real carnations. In between the other classes introductions, several eighth graders spoke about their time at VCS.

Katie reached a milestone, but she is precious to me. The days I get to spend with her always make me happy, whether we’re celebrating or simply hanging out.

We are children of the King, adopted into His family through faith in Jesus. Although we did nothing to earn it, through His grace and mercy, He shows me us we are worth everything to Him. And that is worth celebrating every day.

We celebrate because

  • We are clothed, not in caps and gowns, but in the righteousness of Christ. I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10.
  • We are chosen. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
  • We are set apart as holy. We have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrificing his body once and for all. Hebrews 10:10 
Celebrate Your Worth

Don’t wait for a special occasion to celebrate your worth to God. Celebrate every day! With rejoicing. Declarations of His goodness. Sharing the good news.  Walk with a spring in your step. Light you face with a smile.

Celebrate Worth

Linking with

Five Minute Friday

Dance with Jesus

Fresh Market Friday

 

 

Letting God Work Here and Now

Every day my sister and brother-in-love, Judy and David, send pictures of the progress being made on the construction of our new home in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Yesterday, she emailed pictures of my front porch.

I want to go. Now. See what God has in store for us in this new place. I can feel the tension build. I try to imagine where furniture and pictures belong. But it’s not time to go. The house won’t be completed until September . . . or maybe October. We haven’t even started packing-we’re in the what do we really need and want to take with us phase. Shredding old tax records, rereading cards and deciding which few to keep, cleaning out old clothes and towels that really aren’t useful anymore. Deciding what to throw away and what to give to Goodwill.

God whispers, “Stop those anxious thoughts. That restlessness to move on. Focus on the here and now. I have plenty of things for you right where you are. Don’t miss them.”

Seeing God Work

Yesterday, He provided me with the opportunity to visit a lady from my church who wanted prayer before eye surgery. When I got to her home, she cried. Her dog got out of the yard that morning and she couldn’t find him. Unable to drive, she couldn’t go look for him. “He helps me,” she said. “He’ll comfort me when I get home from my surgery. What will I do without him?”

She couldn’t see the buttons on her phone. So I looked up phone numbers and dialed two animal shelters. We looked at a Facebook page set up for lost dogs in her community.

And I prayed with her. For God’s peace and comfort, that He’d bring the dog home, guide the doctor’s hand, and heal her eye.

Several hours after I got home, she called me. “Someone found my dog! They brought him home! God is good!” We prayed again, praising and thanking God for His love and faithfulness.

What if I ignored the visitation request because I’m leaving in a couple of months? I would have missed seeing God work.

Work Where I Am Now

While in captivity, the Israelites longed to return to home. God told them to settle in and make a life where they were. Just like He told the the Israelites, not to speed ahead, God tells me to do His work where I am now. Watch Him work. Listen and take note. Learn what He has for me. Because it is for my good. His plan is to prosper me and give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29: 11). But I have to do my part. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart,” (Jeremiah 29:13).

I chose He > i as my one phrase for 2017. I need to pay attention to what God wants for me here and now. Yes, I have a future and a hope, but the present holds lessons, joy, promise, and the opportunity to see God work. I don’t want to miss out on everything God has for me.

Linking with:

#tellhisstory, 

Coffee for Your Heart, 

Heart Encouragement

Chasing Community

Tune in Thursday

Expecting God on My Front Porch

For several years, I secretly longed for a front porch. Nothing fancy, just a small corner with a pot of flowers and maybe, hopefully, a swing. But it’s never been practical. So when I learned a front porch came with the new home we’re buying, my heart sang. You see, I’m expecting God to join me on my front porch. And I really need His help. I expect God to meet me on my front porch and help me with my 3 Rs of retirement.

Expecting God’s Presence

Something about being outside, amazed by God’s creativity, always makes me feel closer to Him. I worship in awe and wonder at His majesty. Even when I plan to read, being outside distracts me, draws me closer to God. I spend more time talking to Him and listening for His whisper as I meditate on His Word. I can see Him everywhere when I rest in His Presence.

Expecting the God’s Help in Creating Community

An introvert through and through, I feel some panic along with the excitement of moving into a new community. Meeting new people, reaching out and talking to strangers fills me with trepidation. God made us for fellowship. Not just with Him, but with others.

In my normal style, I pull my car into the garage, shut the door, and stay in my comfort zone. Me, my husband, a few good friends, and lots of books. Oh, I wave at my neighbors if I pass them, but I don’t know much about them.

So my prayer is God will nudge me to invite people onto my front porch. To sit and chat. Learn about one another. Develop relationships beyond a wave. Move me out of my comfort zone. Trust Him to work in my heart, growing and transforming me day by day.

And He’ll get me off of my porch. Get me up to say hello, start conversations with others. Build community.

I’m expecting God, and His people, on my front porch.

Linking today with Five Minute Friday.