Speak, Lord, Your Servant is Listening

Speak Lord, Your Servant Is Listening in a New Season

It’s a new season for me. A new chapter, retirement. Next week, I move to a new city and state. I’ll be part of a new community and a new church. As I prepare to move, I pray, Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.

It’s easy for my task-oriented mind to make lists of all the things I think I want to do and try. My mind runs in a hundred different directions, contemplating possibilities.

But I hear God telling me, “Wait. Slow down! Don’t be in such a hurry to plunge in.” I remember my verse for this season,

In his mind a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

Speak Lord, Your Servant Is Listening about How and Where to Serve

What if, instead of the familiar-working with kids, GriefShare, visiting the sick in their homes and the hospital-God has something new for me? Speak Lord, your servant is listening. Whether You want me to serve in the familiar or something brand new, speak, Lord; I want to hear You.

Maybe that’s why I’m so excited about my front porch and the Turquoise Table. I’ve never been one to reach out to my neighbors. Talking to strangers is not part of my comfort zone. But already, I crossed the street when I saw my new neighbor outside on my last visit. Introduced myself. Listened to him talk about his family and church.

One thing I know-I want to listen to God. Walk in the light He sheds on my path. First, I think, I need to simply be there. Listen to others. Build relationships. Not do, just be. Who is this retired Debbie? How will I be different? The same?

Speak Lord, Your Servant is Listening about Walking with Her Husband

My life with Van will be different too. We’ll have more time at home together than we’ve ever had in our 40 years of marriage. We’ve never been this just us. Erin and the kids will be further away. Except for Judy and David, my sister and brother-in-love, we don’t have community. It’s a new beginning. A blank page.

I don’t want to run off without Van. Or he without me. I don’t expect to do everything together, but I want us. Praying. Planning. Exploring. Deciding. As a team. Together saying, Speak, Lord, your servants are listening. 

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith of Fire, Dance with Jesus, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings

 

Participate in Life: My Retirement To Try List

Adding a To Try List to My Life

Try

Today, I feel officially retired. Because today is the second day I didn’t go to work. No sitting in meetings, watching the clock, thinking about all the other things I should be doing to get my classroom ready for Monday’s first day of school. Instead of a list of things to duplicate, check, plan, I have a Retirement To Try List. Things I hope to try now that my days don’t include working.

I spent much of my summer getting my feet wet with how I want to behave during retirement. My first retirement adventure involved trying water aerobics-something I never thought I’d do. A planner at heart, I gave spontaneity a try when my daughter invited me to go with her for a weekend in the mountains. The joy of that experience encourages me to try spontaneity more often.

Retirement To Try List-So Far

As Van and I prepare to move, we discuss what to keep and what to give and throw away. We plan where our furniture belongs, the style of window coverings, whether we need a new refrigerator. We’re also talking about new things we want to try as newly retired people.

  • Kayaking-Prescott has several lakes, and since we both love the water, we want to make kayaking part of our life. Kayaking isn’t really new, since we’ve done it before, but we hope to buy a kayak and spend time out on the lake on a regular basis. On our last visit, we kayaked with Judy and David and loved every minute.

Try List

  • Ballroom Dancing-Judy and David took us to two concerts; one at the old opera house and one in the town square. At both events, we watched people get out of their seats and dance. Even though I may not have much rhythm, I want to seize the moment and participate in life instead of merely being a spectator.
  • Bike riding-It’s been a long time since I rode a bike. Van and I used to do a small amount of bike riding in the early years of our marriage. We hope to make biking in our beautiful new city a regular part of our life. Of course, we have to start with circling the driveway until we build up enough stamina, but we have all the time there is!

Whether you’re retired or not, seize the moment! Start a to try list. And then, act on it. 

What’s on your to try list?

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings

 

 

Collect Your Treasures in Heaven

Why Did I Collect That?

Van and I move from California to Arizona in six weeks. Every day, my sister-in-love, Judy, sends pictures of our new home. Yesterday, the drywall and stucco made the concrete, wires, and wood look like a real house. As I begin to fill boxes I wonder, how did I collect so much stuff? Stuff I don’t use, no longer want. I fill as many trashcans and bags for the Goodwill as boxes. And the only room I’ve touched is my office. Oh dear.

Our new home, slightly smaller than our current one, requires me to share my office with guests when they come to stay. That means really evaluating what I want to keep and what I can give or throw away. Why does it look like I collect office supplies? How many pens, highlighters, and post-it notes do I really need?

Sharing my space means sometimes I won’t have an office to myself at all. So I created a “portable office.” In a large basket, I placed my journal, favorite pens, lap top, Bible, and my current renew book, The Turquoise Table, where I focus on creating community in my new home by expecting God on my front porch.

Collect

Collect Treasures in Heaven

As I remember my 3 Rs of Retirement and sort through all I collected over the years, I remember God’s perspective on what I really need to collect.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

My portable desk contains what I need to rest and renew with God. Tools I need to deepen my relationship with Him. God, and my eternal home in heaven, are my true treasures. I don’t need to collect anything on earth.

Linking today with  Fresh Market FridayCounting My BlessingsFive Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Dance with Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

Retirement Adventure #4: Enjoy Spontaneity

Easy Spontaneity

The summer continues to speed by, each day full. I looked forward to a Saturday of quiet relaxation. Van wouldn’t be home, the house looked neat and tidy, and a new book beckoned. Little did I know an adventure born in spontaneity awaited.

My daughter, Erin, my son-in-love, Phil, and two oldest grandchildren, Zach and Katie, arrived late Friday night, using our house as a momtel on their way to a reunion of Erin’s high school youth group. Saturday morning everyone expected to leave the house by 9:00, leaving me and my book.

When I woke up at 5:00, Erin sat in the living room, wide awake. She works the graveyard shift and has trouble adjusting her sleeping pattern on her days off. I grabbed a cup of coffee and joined her for a rare chance at some face-time.

“Want to come with us, Mom?” Erin asked.

My heart soared with joy. Join my beautiful daughter and grandkids instead of reading on the couch? Absolutely. They planned on water skiing and rafting; I’d read while I enjoyed some sunshine at Big Bear Lake. I threw towels and my book in a bag, helped make sandwiches, and loaded up my car.

As soon as we arrived, hugs, high-fives, and a little catching up among old friends. Before too long, our family hopped on the speed boat. Erin and two friends got on the huge three-seater raft to get pulled behind the boat. Fun to watch, but not for me I thought. I enjoyed watching Erin laughing while she bounced up and down and the gorgeous scenery provided by God.

When the first group finished and everyone encouraged Zach and Katie to go next, they politely declined. I heard myself volunteer, “I’ll go with you.” But I sighed with relief when they still said no.

Adventurous Spontaneity

Once we headed back to shore, I watched Zach teach one of Erin’s friends how to solve a rubix cube and Katie share her art supplies with a four year old. At sixteen and fourteen, their patience and kindness brought a smile to my heart.

I spent time in the chilly lake chatting with Katie, and laughed when I went bottom over teakettle trying to sit on the floatie. What’s a little sand in my hair when I can hear what Katie looks forward to when she starts high school next month?

Finally ready to settle down with my book, I let myself be talked into riding on the raft instead. “It’ll be fun,” Linda promised. “We won’t go too fast.”

I didn’t let myself think too much. “Yes,” I agreed. And in that moment, another opportunity for God’s goodness arrived. Katie joined me. Linda kept her promise. We didn’t go to fast, and the laughter I shared with Katie is stored in my heart forever. A cherished memory I never expected.

Choosing Spontaneity over My Comfort Zone

God planned beautiful gifts for me over the weekend. But I needed to get out of my comfort zone and accept the gifts He offered. How often do we miss the abundant life God gives because we sit on the sidelines instead of grabbing life with both eyes wide open in gratitude?

What spontaneous adventure waits for you this week? I recommend you say yes when God reaches out with gifts in unexpected ways. I’d love to hear how choosing spontaneity brings unexpected blessings in your life.

Linking this week with: Glimpses of BeautyMonday Musings, Tell His Story, Ra Ra Linkup, Trekking Thru, Woman to Woman, Writer Wednesday, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Chasing Community, Salt and Light, Faith on Fire

 

 

 

 

 

Week Six of Retirement: Reflections

“Are you enjoying retirement?” I’m asked this question by everyone I talk to.  The easy answer? Absolutely! Except, so far, it feels just like summer vacation. As a teacher, I always had time off in the summer. Nothing seems different enough yet. My heart did smile today when I saw the signs advertising back to school sales. Part of my routine includes reflections on how life is going. What do I like and what do I need to change.

So what do I think about retirement? Six weeks into summer vacation, it’s starting to be real. Every other year, my brain would be filled with how to implement new ideas, writing lesson plans and worrying if all the duplicating I sent to the district office was ready and waiting. I still stop with a jolt when I remember I don’t have to do any of those things this year. My summer doesn’t end at the end of July.

Reflections on Changes

I slept until 6:00 instead of waking wide-eyed and bushy tailed at 4:00 for the first time this week. Most people would see that as an obvious plus, but I’m not sure I like it. I love my time by myself-once I give our Boston Terrier, Dolley, her greenie, she goes back to sleep-and for at least two hours, the house is silent. Just me and my thoughts. My time with God and His Word.

I’m not ready to set my alarm yet, but if I I need to, I will. I’d rather keep that work schedule and have time to think through my day with God than feel rushed into starting real life without Him. If I don’t plug in at the beginning of my day, I don’t respond to anything the way I want to.

I love not feeling stressed about getting all of my chores done on Saturday. Instead, I spread things out. And if I can’t get to something today, I know I can do it tomorrow. A week doesn’t go by, building up my tension. I don’t have to choose between chores and people. I can always choose people, knowing the chores will get done in a reasonable amount of time.

Reflections about Moving Forward

I long for routine. Getting ready to move means routine won’t happen for a while. That requires patience on my part. Instead of routine, I decided to do my own farewell tour. Lunch dates with friends before I leave.

A new home in a new state means a new church home. New ministries. Letting God lead instead of me deciding in advance what I’ll sign up for. Having to trust God isn’t new at all, but an honest look at myself shows a tendency to rush in and ask God later. Please, God, keep me from old habits. Take captive every thought and make it obedient to you. I need humility. Use me for what You want, how You want, when You want.

Retirement Reflections

Am I enjoying retirement? Absolutely. I’ll let you know how it goes when I have a little more experience.

Linking this week with:

Monday Musings, Tell His Story, Ra Ra Linkup, Trekking Thru, Woman to Woman, Writer Wednesday, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Chasing Community, Salt and Light, Faith on Fire