30 May 2008

Changing week

There is nothing like living in the middle of a remodel. Right now the store is undergoing a floor to ceiling remodeling job. Loud noise levels, lots of dust, paint fumes and things constantly moving are the norms for the days. All of this has kind of brought home the fact that in the last month I have had many changes in my life.

It made me think of something I heard once for which I have no source;

Change is inevitable, but growth is intentional.

All of us are always having changes of many types in our lives. Choosing to seek growth from those changes is a personal response. I am finding the freedom of living alone is a great growth factor. I had a friend stop by on her way home from work tonight and we spent an hour together catching up and encouraging one another. I have already had two different occasions for people to spend the night. One middle of the night consoling session. Friends and fellowship over dinner one night. A new neighbor came for conversation and homemade pudding. My small group of dedicated prayers came and sat on the various boxes that first week so we could bless my home and all who will find their way here.

I had felt it difficult to grow in my previous circumstances. There is only myself to blame for that. I had placed myself on a very fine line of wanting to grow but not wanting to rock the boat. Choosing to seek to grow and not just deal with life's changes is the best thing I can do for myself. I am finding it easier to be me again and I am sorry it took so long for me to realize just what I needed to do to put myself here.

Looking forward to all the changes in me that growth gifts,


26 May 2008

Little Visitors

Last night was the first time for my favorite Burpeau gals to come and spend the night in the new digs. They came late in the evening and inspected all the nooks and crannies. Each had their own opinion but decided I had done alright with the decorating. Or as one put it "I think this is the best you can do with what you have." We watched the Disney version of Robin Hood and had foot massages.

The movie sparked debate on the best way to be a King. Meredith said if she was Queen everyone would get paid enough at the job to have everything they wanted and nobody would have to pay taxes. I told her I didn't think that was an achievable goal outside of Heaven.

The two younger girls went with me to church this morning. As I knew we would be having communion and was uncertain of their knowledge of the same, we had a discussion in the car of The Last Supper and how it relates to the observance of the Lord's table. Julia wanted to know how Jesus knew it was going to be His last supper and Meredith wanted to know if it was really blood in the cup.

The above is the post I was working on last night when I received a call from my sister. I stopped right where I was to hear the dreadful news that my niece was missing. She just took a couple of moments to pass along a few facts and then needed to make other calls. As the news slowly made it's way from my head to my heart I began frantically praying. Needing to feel like I was doing something to help I started calling my prayer buddies to get them on the job. We each took a moment to pray together and then I prayed on my own.

My niece has always been a thoughtful responsible young lady, but in this instance I was praying and hoping that her situation was the result of a supremely stupid decision and not something more sinister. I asked God to give her His wisdom as it seemed she had abandoned hers. I am relieved to report that after a nerve racking time I learned that she was O.K. I don't have all the details nor do I need them. I am just happy to state she is well. I will continue to pray for her as I pray for all of my family members daily. I pray she will learn what she needs to from the situation and she will seek God's wisdom in the future.

Grateful for answered prayer,


22 May 2008

Candy Holidays

Did you know tomorrow is National Taffy Day? I must confess it slipped up on me and caught me by surprise. I don't have any decorations up and not a piece of taffy in the house. I guess I'll have to wait for the next candy holiday to roll around.

According to the National Confectioner's Association I'll have to wait until June. That is National Candy Month with Fudge day thrown in on the 16th for good measure. Since my birth was in June maybe that is why I have a sweet tooth.

All kidding aside, and knowing it is only a marketing ploy, why do so many people feel the need to add drama to their lives. I sat down to dinner tonight with a friend who had had a rough day. He works with a woman who will manufacture problems in her life when none are there. We were talking about the situation and he wondered why anyone would place so much "busyness" in her life. I said that sometimes people use life situations to avoid life itself. You know; someone who will create a problem so they don't have to deal with what is really wrong in their life. He asked why would someone who knows Jesus do this. I replied that some people only know of Jesus and don't know Jesus. There is a real difference and it shows in how you live your life.

I think I'll save up all my excitement for National Chocolate Day on July 7th!


21 May 2008

When I grow up

I got a call last night from my friend Joanne. She and her dog Jozey left Houston last Thursday at 5 a.m. and got to her sister's house outside Philadelphia at 5 p.m. on Friday. She goes to see her sister every summer and to help her out around the house. Doesn't sound too remarkable does it? Until you know that Joanne is 75 years old, is a three time cancer survivor, had the lenses in both eyes replaced last year, and doesn't feel comfortable driving in the dark. Then you might realize that this trip made alone might take someone like her way out of her comfort zone. If you think that is true you don't know the real Joanne.

You see, Joanne is never out of her comfort zone. She takes it everywhere with her. She didn't want to be an old lady afraid of technology so she bought a new computer last year and installed a GPS navigation system in her car. Whenever anything new comes up at work she is always eager to be the first one to learn. This past year she has gotten involved with several single ladies new to her neighborhood and they have had many game nights where they all have a great time and are up until after midnight.

But the greatest thing about Joanne is she wants to make sure you know she loves Jesus and she wants you to have that as well. In every aspect of her life she always says, "thank God I can do this." That is why when I grow up I want to be like Joanne.

18 May 2008

here and there

All the boxes are gone, now it's just a matter of getting things hung on the wall and settling a resting place for everything in the closet and under the bed. I am working on deciding what is best at an upper level and what will I use the most often so it can go at a lower level.

I had Saturday off again so I could attend a dance recital with my favorite little girls in Houston. It's been a real treat to watch their progress over the years. From the first shuffling of feet to the all out dance moves of yesterday.

I went over later to spend the evening with them and the conversation ranged from bobbing kittens to original sin. I can't exactly tell you how that happened, the mental convolutions alone wore me out.

At our sharing time Julia said she was going to try to be a better girl. Her older sister pointed out I had taught her you either do or don't, there is no try. (Yes I stole that from Yoda) Meredith chimed in that the only things you try are new foods and shoes. Julia reiterated she just meant she hoped to do better this week. We all decided that was a grand idea. Sara said if she prayed more often during the day it would probably help. Meredith added it didn't matter how many times you prayed if you didn't mean it. Fearing another deep theological discussion to forestall bedtime I was finally able to get everyone back on track. We thanked God for the day and asked for His blessings for the next.

All in all it was a superb day.

Still meeting new neighbors and we are moving from the "smiling as we get in the car" phase to the "come sit on the front stoop and chat". I spent some time today with an older gentleman named Paul. He has a lifetime of stories to tell and invited me to drop by again any time. Now that I am back to using the laundry room I get to see a regular crowd of ladies and we are becoming quite close. Well, when you converse as you fold underwear conversation can get personal.

Enjoying God's gift of new people in my life,


07 May 2008

Hopping leads to fulfilled hopes

My former roommate counted the steps from my old place to this one, it is 100 steps by her count. I had been keeping count of the journeys back and forth across the street while moving. I gave up the count after the 168th. The first night I slept here after everything had been moved in I spent some time in prayer asking God to reveal to me where these steps were going to lead me. After all, I had taken a leap of faith and it found me making a hop across the road.

For the last couple of years I have felt I needed to reassess where I was committing myself. I am blessed by being placed where I have had a chance to reach many others with God's love. I am grateful God has given me several people at work with whom I can share my faith. It is so exciting to be someone God uses to tell of His love. As the joy of that has been the high point of my life, I wondered what I could do to make more of my life that way. I have been leaning fairly heavily on a few friends who were willing to make an investment in me by offering their time, love and prayer. Through their guidance I felt God leading me away from what was easy and unproductive, to what is hard and uncertain. Not having a roommate to help with the bills is frightening. Having increasing physical difficulties on my own is also a little scary, but already there have been great rewards.

One night last week a friend who is going through a rough time in this phase of her sobriety needed to talk with someone who understood her problem. Her sponsor was out of town and she called me. She knows I may not understand everything she is going through but am familiar with her journey. My first nursing job was working in a treatment facility. To hold that job I had to go through the 12 steps of AA myself. This time when she called instead of me having to get dressed and meet her somewhere, she was able to come over here. She had always been afraid of waking my roommate. Now she came freely and as we sat amongst the boxes sharing I got a glimpse of how this change is already a blessing. You see she is just coming to terms with a power greater than herself, she hasn't yet come to see God. I am so happy she feels free to call me knowing I will share how God is working in my life.

I had my second late night visit this week. My little sister was making her way back from the Kentucky Derby and was road weary. She needed a place to catch some down time before continuing to West Texas. As we sat around my table and prayed over late night soup I felt such peace. There is no greater gift than holding hands and taking both of your hearts and their concerns to God's altar together.

God has already given me opportunities to make use of being on my own. I've met a few new neighbors and we have been helping each other. I already know many people in the buildings around me. I look forward to continuing those relationships. I have been reading Just Walk Across the Room, by Bill Hybels. While I don't agree with everything he has written, I find this book confirming many things I hold to be true.

I quote.

"If you ask a hundred believers whether they have friends or family members who are living far from God and who face a Christless eternity, they will say yes.

And if you ask the same group if they agree that our goal is to walk into heaven with as many of those people as possible by building relationships, understanding where they are in their faith journeys, and seizing opportunities to tell of the story of God's love for them, again most will agree.

But sit that group down....look them directly in the eyes, and ask whether they are actively doing the work of telling them about how to have a relationship with God. What do you think they will say?"

I am afraid that most of the folks would not be able to respond in the affirmative. Later on in the chapter he details the day of most Christ-followers as such; prayer and quiet time in the morning, encouraging emails to and from other Christians, Bible study and church activities, fellowship with other believers and then bed. The next day is a repeat of the same. Every Christian can agree that evangelism is important, where they disagree is in understanding we are all called to this task.

You will not find in any of Christ's teachings the following qualifiers

  • if your gifts are such
  • if you don't fear rejection
  • if you feel totally comfortable
  • if you have no uncertainty

....then you can share my love.

I am looking forward to all the ways this hop across the street will allow me to further share His love. I know He has many plans for me and I am eager to see where they lead.

Hopping for Christ,