Thursday, October 26, 2006

Timing


Dennis and I had a day off together yesterday--we were so thrilled to get a chance to just be together. What to do? There was a whole list of fun day trips, projects, movies, topics to discuss, we didn't know what to do. And it was a beautiful fall day.

We settled on a little bit of everything. We went to the gym, out for breakfast, cleaned the garage, organized the laundry room, had a friend over, went out for a walk, had cider and donuts from QD instead of going to the cider mill at St. John's. We made dinner out of venison steaks that a friend from work gave Dennis and some salad and sweet potato slices sauteed in olive oil. I went to help out at ESL. What a day--we had a little fun along with the chores. It really didn't matter what we did, as long as we were together.

Garage cleaning seems to be an annual event, along with clearing the gutters, planting tulip bulbs and putting hoses and patio furniture away before winter begins. All summer long, we keep adding to the clutter in the garage through projects and outdoor activities, and by fall we can't fit both our cars in anymore. In the mid west, people actually use the garage to park their cars. It saves time taking off snow and warming the vehicles up. The emptiness of our garage sort of was depressing. Buttercup spent some time in there occasionally, and her stuff needed to be put away. It was sad.

The sadness we felt continued on as we took a walk. We usually walk Buttercup, so it was strange not to have her along with us. We nearly went to Petsmart and pick up a dog, but we didn't. Maybe later. We want a puppy, but don't want to housebreak it during the winter.

Timing is everything.

"To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born , and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace." Ecclesiastes 3:2-8, KJV

I spend most of my days with my eyes on the clock, trying to determine what the best time to do things are. To take out garbage before it gets dark. To give my team their breaks at work. To say a difficult thing to another friend. To get involved in someone else's life. To listen to a peer as she pours out her heart. To pray. To bake. To run away.

And it's hard, because every choice has consequences down the road. If I focus on one part, another part gets left behind. And one never knows what's going to happen.

Hence, more prayer is required. Because, I don't know everything. God knows. He is sovereign. He is good. He doesn't drop any balls. I need to know what He thinks.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My Song


It's about my bed time--I start work at 5am tomorrow. Dennis will be home in an hour and a half--I've missed him all day. I'm starting to realize that this is temporary, and I can accept the stituation and make something work through it.

We're studying 1Thessalonians with some friends. The chapter we analyzed was the fourth one where, for me at least, a main theme of sanctification was prominent. My question was, how does one go through this process? My correlating verses on the subject took me to John 17:17, where Jesus prays, "Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth." So, my application came to spending time in the Scriptures, not only to gain more head knowledge but to live in it and let it live in me.

It's like having a favorite song that really says it all to you. Couples pick a song that is "our song". Everytime they hear it, not only does it bring back old memories of good times, it kind of defines who they are. Or, what they hope their relationship can be. It's their song because not only do they believe in it, and know it, but in so many ways, they've lived it and hope to continue to live it. And on a very simple level, the Bible is like that sometimes to me, by the grace of God. Of course, it's more than that. I really believe that God's power through the Holy Spirit strengthens God's word in our hearts. And how that happens, I can't say. But I know that it's real.

The fourth chapter also deals with confining our sexual conduct within the bounds that God established. That this isn't even the church's idea but God's will. The strongest language in the New Testament addressing the subject is in the verses from 1-12 in this chapter.

The main truth I get from this passage is that the way we view sex is affected by the way we view God. The higher my esteem of God, the more holy and pure He is to me, the higher my esteem of sex is. And the more I protect that area of my life, the more freedom I have to really enjoy my relationship with my husband. And the more I desire to respect sexual boundaries with other people. That the best way to enjoy life is having moral lines drawn about what is proper and right and what isn't. Sex is not a game. It is joyful, it is pleasure, but it is seriously needful of protection and honor.

This is my fourth verse by verse analysis of 1 Thessalonians. And looking back, I never appreciated this particular passage like I do now. I took the these truths seriously, as always, but they speak to me like never before.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Working Through It


The last few days have been good, despite the negative emotions sometimes. A few friends have come over, and we're having a progressive dinner for international students this weekend. Dennis and I are walking in the Breast Cancer Awareness walk Saturday morning. And I have nursery duty this Sunday. Lisa has an educators conference in town and is staying with us over the weekend.

More importantly, Dennis and I discussed where we are at and where we need to go. We have a lot of the same kinds of feelings and thoughts. We helped each other with what is blocking our perceptions. We agree on a lot of things, and disagree on a couple of things. We want some time off together. It won't happen until after the holidays, I think.

I've also looked over what is happening with my spiritual life. I really need to pray more. Someone once said that prayer is not a monologue, but actually a dialogue. I feel I haven't spent enough time listening to God. In the book "Hearing God" Dallas Willard quotes Lily Tomlin in that when people talk to God, it's called prayer, then why when people hear God, it's called Schizophrenia?

Hmmm. Why is that?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Where It Hurts


I've been feeling stuck lately. It's painful, not being where I've wanted to be.

Tomorrow, I have my glucose intolerance test. Find out if I'm diabetic. Then, there are changes I need to make for my health. Get unstuck there.

I may go and get my resume started at the job bank in town. Get unstuck at work.

Organize my closet. Unstuck my wardrobe.

Call for some marriage counseling. Get unstuck in communicating with my husband.

I need patience. Now. These issues will not get resolved immediately.

I had a long talk with my friend, Donna, on the phone about some hurts I've been feeling. I'm unhappy and I need to understand that the pain is telling me something. Life can hurt sometimes and I am in this rut.

I'm tempted to run away.

Maybe that is why Bob Dylan fascinates me. He has gone through all these changes, and explores different aspects of music. He gets out of ruts all the time creatively. He uses his pain to write a song. He doesn't run away from life's hurts but uses it to work for his music. For example, during a performance on the David Letterman show about 20 years ago, Bob has an issue with his harmonica in the middle of "Jokerman"--he actually leaves the band on the stage to go get the harmonica in the right key. When he gets back on stage, he channels his fury into his harmonica, like he's cussing through it and using body language to direct his musicians. He doesn't stop until he's spent. The song finally ends, and he looks like he's in a daze. He went somewhere else throughout his performance and he took his audience there with him. I also felt it while attending his concert in July.

God took away my dog (through death) and my husband (through work schedules) from me and I'm faced with my loneliness. Do I love God more than Buttercup? More than Dennis? More than anything or anyone else? More than my job? What can I do to grow spiritually? What will it cost me? My reputation? Relationships? Feeling good? Feeling significant?

Ahh. The cost. There's potential for even more pain. Who says that believing in God makes life easier? From my experience, belief is like holding a knife over my sacrificial lamb, my Isaac. How did Abraham manage to lift his arm up? My grasp on the knife is very weak. My faith doesn't even amount to a hair on a mustard seed's head.

I've shut down in so many ways lately. But where there's pain, there's hope. I do have open doors to healing. And growth. Will you bless me even now, Father? I see deserts, no ripening wheat fields. Will you even bless me in the wastelands?

I've got opportunities to expand at my job skills. So, I will. That is an open door. I will focus on myself and how I relate to my co-workers and how I do my job. If there is anything I can change for the better, I will. If I don't keep growing, I will stagnate. Then, I'm in real trouble.

And that is why Bob Dylan, or at least my impression of him, fascinates me. He's private about his spiritual beliefs or doubts, at least as far as he can be while writing songs about them. So, in that arena, I know nothing about him. But his music career is a picture of growth. He's not afraid of asking the hard questions or saying the hard statements.

And at my age, I need that.

"I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths." Proverbs 4:11

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Little Appreciation (Goes A Long Way)


Things I'm appreciating right now:
  • An email from my sister Fran today
  • Bath and Bodyworks Brown Sugar and Fig lotion
  • A call from my boss about a job opening up in my field within the company
  • Total quiet in the house for the last hour--it relaxes me not to have tv or music on sometimes (I work in a noisy place)
  • Hubby did the dishes this morning before going to work
  • An awesome sale on chicken at the supermarket (69 cents a pound for drumsticks or thighs) and pork spareribs (99 cents a pound)
  • Good hair day
  • Day off tomorrow (except for a couple of meetings)
  • Singing "Help" (by the Beatles) to Erin at work today, because she hates asking for help
  • Josh A. and Stephanie helping me with my schedule
  • Raspberry Lemonade Splash Icebreakers in my pocket
  • Making pumpkin pancakes for Hubby's breakfast tomorrow morning

Why do I make these lists? One, I like lists. Second, I've been sad lately. Dog died on me (old age). Friends having hard times. Husband works opposite hours of me. Co-workers who don't like me. Health problems. No more sunshine today. Life here on earth can really suck sometimes. But God gives me gifts everyday that I miss, so this list helps me keep looking towards Him and hope in Heaven.

"Well, my heart's in the Highlands wherever I roam; That's where I'll be when I get called home. The wind it whispers to the buckeye trees of rhyme: Well, my heart's in the Highlands, I can only get there one step at a time." Bob Dylan, The Highlands

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Welcome to my blog



I started a blog this summer and after I deleted it, I found that I missed it. I called it "Thealater" after the nickname someone gave me in junior high. This name "Thea's Ideas" was a name that I had for a consulting business in California. My mom thought it up. She came up with it really fast. Like, she had this phrase in mind for a long time.

Blogs serve a purpose. My previous blog's purpose was connecting to my family, but no one had time to read it. They prefer an email. A phone call. A visit.

This particular blog will be less about reaching out and more about my thought life and spiritual life. My observations. My heart. My questions.

You are welcome to comment.