Sunday, June 28, 2009
Three months ago, our daughter Kristin called one afternoon in total shock with the news that Shawn had lost his job. His boss didn't want to let him go, but he had no choice. His business, like so many others, was suffering under the struggling economy. In the blink of an eye, Shawn became one of the casualties.
Since then, he's been working hard day in and day out to find a job in his field, and as many of you know, job hunting can be a roller coaster of emotions. What a blessing to know that Shawn and Kristin are trusting in God through it all. Even in moments of discouragement, they know where their hope lies. They know God will provide, that He will open a door at just the right time.
When I asked Shawn if I could post about their situation and ask for your prayers, he welcomed the prayer support. Please join us in asking God to bless his job search and open the door to the perfect job for Shawn in a place where Kristin can continue to use her abilities as well. (She is a professional pianist and currently collaborates with students and faculty at a university in their area.)
Some of you may even know of a job possibility or contact that might be helpful to Shawn. His field is in video production. He's hoping for an editing/producing or production management position but is open to related jobs as well. He even has some business and banking interests. Just contact me if you have any leads for him, and I'll get the info to him.
We all have times in our lives when we need each other's support and prayers. Charles H. Brent, an American Episcopal bishop (1862-1929), once said, "Intercessory prayer might be defined as loving our neighbor on our knees."
Shawn and Kristin aren't the only ones who need this kind of love right now. If you have a prayer need, please share it with a comment. Allow us go to our knees for you today! (And thanks so much for praying for my kids!)
"I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me." Romans 15:30
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Usually Don's alter egos take over when he's on break from his teaching duties, but the intense demands of teaching Micro as well as Anatomy & Physiology in a 4-week time frame require the energy and stamina of a superteacher. And that superteacher is none other than Don, my mighty Marathon Man.
Teaching these courses in the summer keeps him moving as fast and as hard as he can. Since he's in the classroom from 8 to 5 with only a break for lunch, all his prep and clean-up have to be done after the students are gone. With these particular lab courses, that translates into hours and hours of additional work.
This summer session has proved to be even more difficult than most because his classes are so large. More students means twice as much lab prep and clean-up. Many nights he doesn't get home until 9 or 10, and two or three times a week it's been midnight or one before he comes dragging in. He's had only two early nights the entire month of June -- one 7 p.m. and one 8 p.m.
Sometimes he's even had to go in early after those late nights to finish setting up lab tests.
I'm not sure where he gets the strength to carry on, but I know he's kept the finish line in sight at all times (by the way, it's this Friday!). He always knows exactly how many days remain and how many lectures and tests he has left. He simply perseveres and presses on toward the goal -- which this month has become making it out alive! Only a true Marathon Man could accomplish it.
I know some of you are running marathons of your own. You're wondering how you're going to face another day or where you'll get the strength to carry on. I encourage you to take a lesson from Marathon Man and keep the finish line in sight. Like Don, "...press on toward the goal to win the prize..." (Philippians 3:14)
And then? Give God the glory. After all, He's the one who gives the grace and strength needed to finish our marathons.
"I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I came upon this scene exactly as you see it above. I never did hear the story of how this little guy ended up hanging out with Gavin, completely at ease while several of us drew near snapping photos. For whatever reason -- whether he was simply content with a warm place to rest, scared to death, or maybe even sick -- he decided to trust himself to Gavin's caring hands.
Gavin certainly rose to the occasion, becoming very careful and attentive. Hands that busied themselves that weekend with everything from playing badminton to playing Wii to putting up bunny ears behind unsuspecting victims quieted themselves long enough to give refuge to another of God's creatures. And both, I might add, seemed quite pleased with the arrangement.
Does a refuge sound pretty good to you about now? We all need one in our lives each and every day. Sometimes we just need a warm and loving place to rest while at other times fear consumes us and finds us desperate for a safe place, a shelter from all harm.
That shelter, that refuge, awaits us in the hands of God. It's there for all who will accept His loving overtures, to all who will trust themselves to His tender and capable hands. If Gavin, in all his 7-yr. old glory, can provide a safe place for a little lizard, how much more will God, the Creator of the universe and the Lover of our souls, give refuge to all who will trust their lives to Him?
I don't know about you, but I'm going to trust my mighty God, my heavenly Father. I'm going to rest in Him. I'm sure we'll both be quite pleased with the arrangement. Join us, won't you?
"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him." Psalm 62:1
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It's so much fun finding out what others are reading, plus we get some great ideas from each other about what could be our next good read. I try to post something about reading two or three times a year so if you'd like to see some previous recommendations (post and comments both), check here and here as well as the link in the first paragraph.
I'll get us started and give my report first. For the past few months, I've been reading Jan Karon's Mitford Years series. Yes, I know I'm way behind the times, but that's the way I am :) (By the way, I began reading these after they were recommended here on the blog and have been thoroughly enjoying them.)
Currently, I'm on hiatus from the Mitford books :) because the next one wasn't available in the library. I decided this would be a good time to practice the "read widely" advice given in writers' circles and checked out a copy of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield. I'm finding it's not an easy summer read. I've even had to get my dictionary out a few times. Maybe that's why I haven't read Dickens since my college days :) It's good to be challenged, though, right?
Sitting on my bookshelf screaming "Read me! Read me!", I have Susan Meissner's The Shape of Mercy, Anne Lamott's Grace (Eventually), and Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. I've heard great things about The Shape of Mercy and won it in a giveaway on Carla's blog. Can't wait to read it. I like to read Anne Lamott because she's a great essayist, and I'd like to improve my skills in that area. And Gone With the Wind? It blew me away (no pun intended!) during my teenage years, and I think it's high time to revisit it and see what I think of it now.
For spiritual food, I've been reading the gospels the past few months. I'm in Luke right now and just yesterday read the first recorded words of Jesus when He walked the earth as a man. Is that amazing or what? What treasure we find in the Word of God!
Can't wait to hear what's on your summer reading list. What are you reading right now? What do you hope to read before the summer is out? Are you spending some time in that treasure chest known as the Word of God? Chime in with a comment, please -- your report is due! :)
"'When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight...'" Jeremiah 15:16a
Flickr photo by singsing_sky
Saturday, June 13, 2009
What's that you say? You don't think three successes constitutes overflowing? You may be right, but in the life of a writer (or at least this one!), three in a month fills my cup and then some.
You've got to keep in mind that it's not at all unusual for months to drag by without positive replies so when good news comes it's pretty darn exciting. When it comes in threes, break out the fireworks cause there's gonna be some celebrating going on :)
For those of you interested in details, here's the triplet scoop: 1) Blue Mountain Arts bought another piece of mine (this one for use on a Valentine's Day card) 2) my article "No More Lone Ranger" is in the June issue of Christian Communicator and 3) the War Cry, a magazine published by The Salvation Army, just accepted an article of mine for publication.
So there you have it -- my cause for celebration. I hope you don't think I'm bragging. On the contrary, I just wanted to share how God has blessed me the past few weeks and give you the chance to "Rejoice with those who rejoice..." (Romans 12:15a)
By the way, more than these little successes, I rejoice in God calling and equipping me to be a writer. What a privilege and blessing it is to possibly provide just the word that someone is longing to hear. I thank the Lord all the time for using me in spite of my weaknesses and for giving me words to share with others.
How about you? What are you praising God for today? Are you celebrating something? Tell me about it -- I've got the fireworks ready to go!
"[We] will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness." Psalm 145:7
Flickr photo by suneko
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Author, speaker, and columnist T. Suzanne Eller (known by friends as Suzie) stood side by side with two of the gals she's become acquainted with online -- me and Flea! That's right -- Flea! :)
And what brought the three of us together? My writers group, Fellowship of Christian Writers, celebrated its 30th anniversary Tuesday night, and Suzie, one of its past presidents, was our special speaker. We considered ourselves lucky, as she regularly teaches at writers conferences nationwide and is the author of six books and over 700 articles. Flea, a member of another writers group, attended ours last night especially to meet Suzie. Meeting me was a bonus :) We had more or less lost track of each other when the Boomer Babes site shut down.
Suzie, Flea, and I had more than writing on our minds yesterday evening, though. We were busy celebrating our friendship. Getting to see each other face to face thrilled each of us, and we took advantage of the time by sitting together at supper, taking some photos (thanks for the pics, Flea!), and grabbing hugs before we headed off to our own corners of the world again.
In one short evening, what had been friendly online relationships turned into real people, in-the-flesh friendships. I've experienced this a couple of other times with Renae and Cec as well, and no matter how you look at it, it's good stuff :)
Are you longing for a face to face with someone? I hope to meet many of you other online friends someday, but the real face to face I'm longing for is the one with Jesus, my Savior and friend of over 45 years.
Now, I'm not trying to hurry my time on earth. I'm just looking forward to the day when my faith will be made sight, when I will see Him face to face. I'm looking forward to heaven. Anyone else?
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12
Sunday, June 7, 2009
I don't know about you all, but June has certainly been bustin' out all over around here. We attended a beautiful June wedding yesterday (congrats to Blaire and Andy!), kids are out of school and keeping the local pool in business, ball parks are beehives, our church sent a group on a mission trip last week, and our own grown-up kids have already enjoyed mini-summer adventures. Yes, June is in full swing.
Other signs of June in our family include birthdays for Kristin and Shawn and summer school for Don. Birthdays equal fun, but summer school? Not so much.
Poor Don. He teaches two 5-hr. lab courses during the month of June. For those of you not familiar with college lab classes, that means he's in the classroom the entire day and must do all his clean-up and prep for the next day before he comes home at night. This past week, he didn't get home on Monday and Tuesday until around 9. Thursday night was the earliest at 7, but he didn't roll in until after midnight on Wednesday and Friday nights. Crazy ridiculous, huh?
If Don can just make it through his marathon month of June, come July he'll be rewarded with a serious change of pace. Oh, he'll have at least a week's worth of work just to get his office back into some semblance of order and then will need another week to prepare for the fall semester starting in mid-August, but at least the pace can be more relaxed. We're even planning a week's vacation -- knock on wood! Certainly don't want to jinx it by saying it out loud :)
The summer season holds a lot, doesn't it? Not only celebrations and all manner of recreation, but work and lots of it -- whether the 9 to 5, work around the house, or volunteer responsibilities. In the midst of all the "stuff" crammed into the disappear-if-you-blink days of summer, we would be wise to schedule some time for rest as well.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 in the Word of God tells us, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." Well, the summer season is upon us, with all its work and fun. How about carving out a season of rest within its days, too? Then, even if we can't say it in June, we'll be able to say at some point, "Ahhh, summer..."
**Just for fun, tell me what you most enjoy about summer or something you're looking forward to doing this summer season!
Flickr photo by Sophia Brightsea
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Birds are not the only ones tweeting nowadays. Twitter lovers tweet several times a day, sometimes several times an hour. It's the newest craze in social media -- unless something else has popped up that I'm not clued into yet. By the way, that's totally possible :)
I'm not going to try to explain twitter because I'm not a tweeter yet. I haven't even investigated it beyond looking up the site to provide the link above. That may have to change one day, though, since writers are being strongly encouraged to network and stay up-to-date on industry news through twittering and tweeting, but for now I've decided to stay Twitter-free. (In fact, the Twitter debate has been the topic of conversation the past few days on The Christian Writers View 2.)
Why Twitter-free? I'm not sure I could keep up with it right now -- my own tweets plus scanning everyone else's. And since I'm technologically challenged :), it would be just one more thing for me to try to figure out. Also, I can sometimes get so sidetracked by the things I'm doing to try to have a web presence that it interferes with actual writing time. So for now, I've decided to hold off on Twitter. My blogging along with Facebook will have to suffice.
I realize I may have to succumb someday, but until then, I'll be getting my tweets the old-fashioned way. Birds! That's right -- birds. I love poking my head out the door each morning to listen to them sing. It's pure music for the soul.
If you haven't discovered the joy of listening daily to the songs of the birds and other sounds of the morning, I challenge you to give it a try. It takes no longer than 30 seconds -- 60 if you really indulge. The beauty and refreshment God has provided right outside the doors of our own homes can minister to our souls if we'll only take the time to drink them in.
So let's step away from the computer and put our cell phones away. Let's not miss the best tweets of all!
"Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary..." Psalm 150:1a
Flickr photo by me'nthedogs