Saturday, August 10, 2013

His Grace in Expanding Time

Several years ago during a gathering of my small group, my friend Melissa prayed that God would expand the time of one particular member, who had a lot going on, in order to enable her to get everything done that she needed to get done.  That prayer has always stuck with me, and I've often prayed it for others.  And a couple of weekends ago, I saw how the Lord answered that unspoken prayer in my own life.

That particular weekend, I had big plans to start in on my to-do list on Friday as soon as I got off work.  But after I put in a load of laundry and ate dinner, my stomach didn't feel well.  I ended up in bed before 7 p.m.  Not the start that I was planning on.

But Saturday morning, I woke up feeling great.  I did a load of laundry and watered plants before I met a friend to go for a walk.  After our walk, we went to two farmers' markets, dropped off some books for a friend, and drove the car through a car wash.  When I got home, I vacuumed the car and the house, drafted a budget, paid bills, cleaned out some files in the file cabinet, cleaned the bathroom, hand-washed the pile of "hand wash only" clothing items, mopped the floors, did all the ironing, put away dishes from the dishwasher, took a load of donations to Goodwill, completed some computer work, wrote some cards, and started on my Bible study homework.

Maybe all of the above is a normal day's work for you; if so, my hat is off to you.  I'm seldom that productive in one day.  I decided to nickname this my "Responsible Saturday."  It was one of those rare days when time seemed to stand still; at different points during the day, I couldn't believe how much was already done and that there was still lots of time left in the day. 

It was obvious to me that God's fingerprints were all over this particular day--from giving me the health and energy to complete tasks (some of which had been on my list for quite a while) to orchestrating events to fit together in a timely manner to expanding the time to not make the day feel rushed or hurried.  Responsible Saturday was truly a gift.

Have you experienced God's grace in His expanding your time?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Belated July Update

What I've Learned 

Even after all these years, my mind and body are still on a school calendar, and they miss old-fashioned summers at my grandparents' house.  Before I was old enough to stay home alone during the summer, my mom would drop me off at Granny and Pa-Pa's house on her way to work, and I would spend carefree days there with nothing planned other than having lunch at the Senior Citizens' Center and watching General Hospital at 2 p.m. (The latter was a habit that Granny remained faithful to until her nineties, but which I gave up when I went to college.)  The rest of each day was spent reading, doing needlepoint or counted cross-stitch, napping, shelling peas, playing dominoes, or eating watermelon and whatever baked goodies Granny had on hand.  Those were some relaxing days with no responsibilities, and I miss that. 

Another thing I've learned over the past month is that I don't like blogging on Sundays.  I originally thought it would be a great opportunity to use my Sabbath time of rest to reflect on God's work in my life and connect with Him.  But it hasn't felt like that; it's felt like an obligation or a task to do on Sundays when I want to rest.  So, I'm going to try to figure out a better blogging day.

What I've Been Up To

My friend Ashley and I toured the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and ate lunch at CafĂ© 43.  This is a must-see visitors' stop if you are in the DFW area.  


In mid-July, James and Betty Robison celebrated their 50 years in ministry by hosting the Awaken Now conference.  This was such a steal; for $10, we were treated to incredible teaching by Dr. Mark Rutland, Dr. Tony Evans, Peter Pretorius, Christine Caine, Dr. Ben Carson, Andy Andrews, Robert Morris, Samuel Rodriguez, and many others.  (I missed Beth Moore and Mike Huckabee due to a sinus migraine.)  Such a powerful three days, which I'm still thinking through.  Mom came up for this conference, and it was such a treat to enjoy this conference with her.

(Couldn't get a good shot of Dr. Ben Carson)

Last Sunday, I attended the Longhorn Foundation Dinner and took advantage of the open seating by grabbing seats at the head table.  It's always a bit hard to attend these dinners because Mack Brown gets us all excited about the season, but it's still almost a month away.  Counting the days!

What I've Read

My avid summer reading program slowed down after I finished The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, which I loved.  I then started reading A Prayer for Owen Meany, but it's over 600 pages and is very slow going.  It has received rave reviews, but I'm still on the fence about slugging it out to finish it.

After getting stuck in that big book, I started The Memoir Project, and it has been great.  No writing exercise, just practical advice for writing memoir.  I hope to put her advice to practice one day.

Four months ago, I started reading a Psalm each night, and so I'm about 25 days away from finishing.  I've really enjoyed reading them as a group. 

This past month, a couple of friends and I started Priscilla Shirer's study on Gideon.  It has only seven video sessions, so it's perfect for finishing out the summer in the Word.


So that's my July in a nutshell.  And now that I find myself four days into August, I'm taking inventory of the list I set out to accomplish at the beginning of the summer and plotting how to work in some more fun before the summer is over.  Anything I need to include before the days get shorter and my weekends fill up with college football?