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Showing posts from 2013

Another 30 Days

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Nope, not my 30 days of something, but my daughters 30 Days of Thankfulness. I think this is the perfect immunization against the virus of holiday mania that strikes this time of year.

Ashley will be pondering and posting on the topic of thankfulness for the month of November, and you can subscribe to her blog here.  I recommend that you do, you will really enjoy it!

Day 31-Finding Enjoyment in Finishing

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I did it!  For 31 consecutive days I posted something on the topic of enjoyment.  I can't believe that one whole month has past, and this is over as quickly as it began. 

I confess when I started this, I really wasn't confident that-

1. I would find 31 things to post and 
2. That I would actually post for 31 days.

When I started, I was most inspired by what I had been reading in the book of Ecclesiastes, and I thought my posts would take a more spiritual tone, sort of unpacking what the Lord showed me in that book.  Maybe, if you know me, that's what you expected, and instead you got a lot of ramblings about food and other things.  Sorry, but I hope you enjoyed it. 

I have really enjoyed pondering enjoyment this past month.  It started out easy, got harder, and even in that, I found an enjoyment in the challenge.  In the ruthless editing.  If you think what you got wasn't very good, you should have read what I deleted.  

And now, I would challenge you.  Take the next thirty …

Day 30- Finding Enjoyment on the Road

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I love a road trip.  I grew up in a Sunday drive family, with a dad who loved to get out of town.  If there is a back road in San Diego county, chance are I was on it one time or another in my life.  My dad was from Dubuque Iowa, which I imagine today is far different than it was when he was born there 92 years ago. When I was there at as a young kid, it was still fairly small, with the Mississippi River on one side and Iowa corn on the other. The filming of "Field of Dreams" took place not to far from there.  It was a world away from Southern California and I loved my Iowa summers.

I loved getting to and from there as well, my dad was Goggle before Google was invented.  If there was a unique, out of the way, off the beaten path place, my dad knew about it.  He was a voracious reader, a lover of facts, and I don't think anyone every had a boring conversation with my dad his whole long life.  Road trips were fun because of where we went, and how we got there.

It's a g…

Day 29- Finding Enjoyment With Less

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I love the desert.  I don't mind the heat, as long as you don't want me to dig a ditch, and I certainly don't mind that it looks the same for miles and miles and miles.  I love the emptiness.  

Of course, the desert isn't really empty, there is plenty there if you get out of the car and look around.  I remember the first time I drove across the Texas Panhandle as an adult and all I could think was "There is so much ROOM out here!"  I loved the vastness of it.  When we crossed into Texas, I had to get out and take a picture of the "Welcome To Texas" sign, which I would have posted but that was in the days when there was a thing called "film" and I can't find it right now.  

Which is why I am currently finding enjoyment with less.  I'm really tired of the conversation that begin with "Do you know where....?"  I'm tired of unpacking an entire drawer or closet to find the one thing I need.  Anyone relate?  We are at that st…

Day 28- Finding Enjoyment in a Place

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This is my granddaughter Audrey.  Her parents have two of these ottomans in their living room, one is filled with Audrey's toys, the other has a blanket in it.  Every now and then, Audrey pulls the blanket out and gets in, either with Trader Joe's "O's" cereal or a book.  It is one of her favorite places.  

Every one has a favorite place.  My husband and I have a couple, and they are secret, because we don't want to see you there.  We love you, but we don't want to see you there.  I call them En Gedi, the oasis that David went to for rest.  Sometimes, you really need an oasis. Sometimes, you just need a good storage ottoman.

I have a fiction series I really enjoy, by Jan Karon.  It centers on a small town in North Carolina, and the main character is an Episcopalian priest in his 60's.  He starts out a bachelor, finds love, and you have to read the series yourself to find out what else happens.  I recommend that you do, you'll enjoy it! 

Father Tim an…

Day 27-On Being Alive

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"In a very real way, anything we do on earth that brings true joy or delight or fulfillment was made possible by death, by Love's sacrifice on a cross. Discovering what makes you come fully alive isn't the goal of life, but it is evidence of life.  To be fully alive is impossible without the resurrection work of Christ."  Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways. 
The Empty Tomb, Indio, 2013

Day 26-Finding Enjoyment in Silence

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I spent a good part of today in relative silence.  I say relative because I was on the back of a motorcycle which most people wouldn't consider silent.  It sort of is for me, because I'm a white noise person, I like a single sound that drowns out all others.  A more than 1350 cc engine on the open road is a perfect white noise.  
That noise helps my my mind rest, and my thoughts become ordered.   Lots of the people we ride with have bikes with more technology than NASA, or they ride with an iPod or Bluetooth. There's nothing wrong with that.  For me, the bike is one of the few times I can resist the temptation to answer a phone, write an email, clean something or run an errand.  It is forced relaxation.  
Years ago, like 25 of them, my office overlooked a railroad track. Every day when the afternoon freight train came by, I would stop, turn away from the computer and force myself to watch the train go by until I couldn't see it anymore. That was my break.  My only break.…

Day 25- Back Roads

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Day 24-Finding Enjoyment in Reliving the Past

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I had forgotten how much I loved Fanta Orange soda until one hot day at a McDonald's in Barstow.  

It wasn't an enjoyable trip that day, we were on our way to Bullhead City in Arizona so Dave could do a memorial service.  It was a service for the sister of a close friend of ours, a woman younger than me who shouldn't have died as she had.  I wasn't looking forward to it.  We had stopped for a quick lunch amid a forest of fast food places and as I stood before the soda dispensers, I saw that they had Fanta Orange.

Maybe it was because of the then recent loss of my dad and the fact I was on my way to a memorial that triggered the memory. Since my dad died I realized I have a lot of fond, food related memories, and most of them centered on something I did with my dad.  5th Avenue candy bars as we watched Adam 12 every week.  Bologna sandwiches and a thermos of hot chocolate on the winter time weekend drives.  Fanta Orange during football games.  He would have his one can of…

Day 23- Finding Enjoyment in...VACATION!!

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This could be the demise of my goal of posting for 31 consecutive days.  My husband is on vacation this week, and I am too busy enjoying myself to write about it.   
I actually struggle to enjoy vacation, because I have a tendency to see every free moment as an opportunity to get something done. I've spent the last two days biting my tongue in an attempt to keep from saying to my husband "Hey, you know what we have time to do?"  He on the other hand, keeps saying "Hey, do you know where we could go?"  
So Monday we did a little doing, and Tuesday we did a lot of going. Tomorrow we will probably do a little of both.   But for the rest of the week, it'll be some of this:
And then it'll be some of this:

Time flies when you're trying to have fun.  We're going to eat up some highway this week, and enjoy every minute of it.  I love a road trip!

Day 22- The Source

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Day 21-Finding Enjoyment in Others Joy

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My husband has been doing pre-marital  counseling with a young couple who intended to have someone else perform the actual ceremony.  After spending some weeks meeting with the Amazing Dave, they decided they really wanted him to do the ceremony. Oh, did I mention the wedding was in two days? And the Amazing Dave was leaving town, and wouldn't be home until about 12 hours before this wedding?  

He called me on his way out of town, with instructions to make sure his suit was clean, and to pray.  I did, and today, under a brilliant blue sky I watched a bride I don't know walk down the aisle to meet her groom.  

You don't have to know the couple to catch their joy.  The moment the bride appears, there is hardly a face without a smile in the place.  Among the women, some remember when she was a little girl and can't believe how beautiful and grown up she looks. Some remember that day when, with a mixture of nerves and excitement, the door opened for them and they took those …

Day 20-Finding Enjoyment in Him

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Day 19- Finding Enjoyment in Taste

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Two years ago my husband and I took a trip to Monterey.  He had never been, I had been as a child.  Some sweet and generous friends gave us loan of their car, another loaned Dave (the actual photographer in our family) a nice camera so he wouldn't be bored during my picture taking and we were off. 
The first day we went up the coast, stopping in Carpinteria for gas and lunch.  It was then I had the bright idea to use Yelp to find a place to eat.  That decision changed everything.
I found a little deli in a strip mall with really good reviews, all of them well deserved.  After a sumptuous repast of a fresh roasted turkey sandwich with the best coleslaw I ever had in my life, we made a pact.  This trip, we said, we will eat at no chains, only local places we find on Yelp. 
The crepe place just off Cannery Row in Monterey and Salinas City BBQ in the tiny house on the outskirts of town were unforgettable.  We hit a couple of forgettable places to be sure, but ever since that trip, ever…

Day 18-Finding Enjoyment...Oh Martha...

Yesterday the blog world lit up with fiery indignation.  Martha Stewart, queen of the the Good Thing, allegedly has come to the opinion that bloggers are people who should not be trusted. Here's the a quote from a video of Martha that has surfaced:

"Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors at Vogue magazine. There are bloggers writing recipes that aren't tested that aren't necessarily very good, or are copies of what really good editors have created and done. Bloggers create a kind of a popularity but they are not the experts. We have to understand that.”

I don't know the context of these remarks, and I think that's important to remember before we get too offended.  But it seems lots of bloggers are offended, for a variety of reasons. They accuse Martha of being bitter because she is losing money when people blog and share instead of buying her books and magazine.

Maybe.  I do know this-there are a number of Pinterest Fail blogs popping up, where someo…

Day 17-Finding Enjoyment in Looking

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A few years ago, my doctor told me that I needed a hobby.  Apparently work and worry is not considered a hobby.  That was my first clue that I wasn't very good at finding and having enjoyment just for the sake of it.  Pretty much everything I did, even the things I once enjoyed, had become stained with work, the way every mug I own is stained with tea.
I thought football was a hobby but my husband declared the season wasn't long enough to count and said a hobby was for relaxing, not screaming wildly for three hours.  During a long discussion with him over what I used to like to do before I forgot how to have fun, I dredged up a few options.  One, as you know by now, was writing.  Another was crocheting and cross stitch, (Crocheting ultimately saw a rebirth when my daughter was pregnant last year) car races, photography, body building (I know, who knew?).   My husband immediately said I needed a camera. 
I had a camera, a 7 megapixel point and shoot that I used primarily from th…

Day 16-Learning to Listen

Lately I've been using a NLT bible for my devotions. Some years ago I went through a gospel with a group of gals using a New Living Translation and it was driving me nuts, because so much of what was familiar text seemed to be in a different language. I was constantly going to my New King James Version to compare.  It was a good exercise; it helped me to learn to hear the text in a different way.  When I prepare a teaching for women’s bible study, my favorite starting point is to read the text in multiple translations.  But I've never used anything but an essentially equivalent translation for my daily reading.
Now that I am, I'm finding a fresh enjoyment of familiar passages, and fresh understanding as well. New themes are being made clear, but whether from the different season of life or different translation I can't say.  I would think some of both.  I've already alluded to hearing the book of Ecclesiastes in a different voice this year, lately I was struck by a …

Day 15-Halfway There

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The month is just about half over, and so is my 31 day challenge to finding enjoyment.  I don’t know where this comes from, but one of my friends has the same tendency I have when we hear a word or phrase-we burst into a song that contains that word or phrase in the lyrics.  Too much Name That Tune when we were children perhaps.  If you were 13 to 30 in the late 80’s or if you’re my daughter, you may know where I’m going with this….
Whoooah, we’re half way there.. Whoa! Livin’ on a prayer Take my hand and we’ll make it I swear Whoa! Livin’ on a prayer….
Ah, Bon Jovi.  How big was your hair in the 80’s?  While you won’t find this song on any Christian album that I know of, it the chorus does capture that hope-filled anthem of believers-we’re almost there.
Where? Why, Heaven of course.  I love how God weaves something He wants me to think about through different channels in my life to help me hear Him.  In the last weeks there has been a lot of reminiscing about the Jesus Movement of the 70’…

Day 14- Enjoying Places Over Presents

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The beginning of the month was my birthday. We had a really fun time going to my favorite burger joint, and then to my daughters house for my favorite lemon cake.  We did the present thing which is good, because if people didn't give me things, I would carry a ratty purse and never wear anything but jeans and a black t-shirt. 
I noticed something in recent years both at my birthday and at Christmas.  When someone asks what I want for a gift, more often than not, I respond with somewhere that I want to go or something that I want to do, rather than something that I want to have.  Not that jewelry isn't always appropriate.  Because it is.  Always.
This is particularly true when my husband asks me what I want.  This year, as it’s been for the last several years, he has planned a romantic birthday getaway for me.  It’s one of the best gifts I've ever gotten.  I look forward to it every year.  The first year he surprised me with it, and it was a new experience for me, something …

Day 13- Enjoy the Music

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Bask in the truth of His delight in you....

Day 12-Slow Down

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Day 11- The Twelve Days of Birthday

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There is a huge backstory behind this photo...who these men are, where they are, why they are on razor carts, and why I care....I know the story, you probably won't care unless you follow Formula Drift.

I love the boyish joy on the faces of grown men who are already living the dream of driving fast cars for a living.  

Tomorrow I will have my picture taken with at least one of these men, (probably not on a Razor) and then watch them drive sideways at around 100 mph.  I will take 400 photos and leave smelling like burnt rubber and it is the best birthday present a girl can receive.   In our family, we tend to celebrate the 12 days of birthday, because we can't stop giving each other gifts.  What a joy it is to give, what a joy it is to share experiences, what a joy it is to love.  

What can you give that will be a gift of joy to someone today? 

Day 10- A Little Light Reading

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This is what my nightstand looks like most of the time.  There is always a Bible or two, and a variety of books I'm meandering through for various purposes.  Some of what I'm reading is usually for the purpose of previewing product for our church resource ministry.  Sometimes I'm going through a book with somebody or I've been asked to look at it to make sure it lines up with scripture.  Some of what is there I'm reading because I want to and in all of my reading, I'm enjoying it.   I have been an avid reader since I could hold a book, but I realize many people are not.  You probably are because you are reading a blog, which is longer than a tweet, so you must be okay with more than 125 characters.  I used to read a lot of fiction, which I rarely do now, and I have always loved a book that I could learn from.  
In the fall of 2011, most of what I enjoyed in life went into hibernation, like a sleepy bear getting drowsier and drowsier until one day it was in a dea…

Day 9- Finding Enjoyment in Friendship

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I have spent the last three days in the company of somewhere around 900 women.  I know probably less than 20 of them.  It is interesting to me how women can become friends in less time than it takes to make a soy chai latte.  Because of that truth I now know  21 of them.  That's pretty good for me, because I'm a real introvert, and there is very little about being in a group of any size that makes me comfortable.  Even writing about this makes me vaguely uncomfortable.
This is a pastors wives retreat, so we have some unique ties that bind, joys and challenges that most women will never experience.  Some years ago, maybe even the first year I attended this retreat I went to a workshop that was about being a Spirit filled pastors wife.  The speaker made a statement that always stuck with me. "Let the Holy Spirit pick your friends, He knows the ones you need."
Among these 900 women are my Holy Spirit friends.  They are women with whom I have surprisingly little in common.…

Day 8-Dirty Baby Feet

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Two day a week I have a pair of dirty baby feet running in and out of my house.  This picture is early in the day so it doesn't really represent what a full morning at my house produces on the bottom of her feet.  My whole house is tile, and we've yet to find non slippery cute shoes for the busiest 14 month old you'll ever meet.  At some point, the back door gets opened and that's the end of clean feet.  Nobody cares, not her, and certainly not me.  

Neither does her mother, who wrote this over on her blog, the Motherhood Memoirs.  She knows a little something about enjoying life, especially with a side of dirt. 

Day 7-Enjoying the Season

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I was at Trader Joe's today and almost every end cap display was pumpkin related.  It is October, after all, even if it is 80 degrees in SoCal.  I even bought some pumpkin butter, and I recommend you do as well, since it rocked on whole wheat toast.  I like most things pumpkin, except pumpkin pie which is really a weird texture thing rather than a flavor thing. Apples are a different thing all together.  I'm not sure there is any apple related thing I don't like. There is homemade applesauce cooling on my stove as I write.  For a while apples were the main item in my fall home decor before I decided to simplify, which is a whole other post.  But my favorite fall thing about apples is Honeycrisp apples, and especially Honeycrisp apples on sale.  

Every day for the last week, I've eaten a Honeycrisp apple and a piece of bread with peanut butter for lunch.  Some mornings, I also had one at my granddaughters second breakfast, which has become her habit at my house.  She doe…

Day 6-Spurgeon Says...

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Day 5-How I Jump Started Enjoyment

This journey to finding enjoyment really began a while back, when I read this blog post on Emily P. Freemans blog.  Emily P. Freeman wrote what has proved to be one of the most painful yet enjoyable reads of my year thus far, Grace for the Good Girl.  Painful in it's troweling of my heart and psyche,  enjoyable to find out what was stunting my growth and joy.  Don't let that scare you, go read her book. 

I started following her blog soon after that, and read this post on what is called The Morning Pages.  In case you are too lazy to hit the link and read the post yourself (which is a bummer because it's much better than mine),  morning pages are sitting down first thing and writing three pages of longhand, any-thing-that-comes-to-mind thoughts, sort of a clearing of the cobwebs.  Don't freak out about the first thing in the morning thing, Jesus won't be mad if you try something new and the morning pages people won't come after you if you do it after devotions.  …

Day 4-Winning at Hide and Seek

The secret to finding enjoyment is simple-are you awake? Look, there it is!
Finding enjoyment is a little like playing Hide and Seek. Well, it’s really like playing Hide and Seek with a four year old. You know, they hide, but usually some body part is sticking out from behind a chair or they giggle, so it’s not hard to find them.  It’s easy to win when what you are looking for is right in front of you.
There are more than 15 verses in Ecclesiastes that speak of enjoyment, pleasures and happiness. None of those verses refer to those things in the negative sense, as if they are futile pursuits; in fact most of them are instruction.  We’re told that enjoying food and drink and satisfaction in work are pleasures from the very hand of God.  Twice we’re told that to eat, drink and enjoying the fruits of our labor are gifts from God.
Are you experiencing the gifts of enjoyment that God has given you?
Hmm.. Having trouble identifying what those gifts might be in your life?  Here’s a few from S…

Day 3-A Parting Gift

Pastor Chuck Smith has entered into the joy of his Lord.  I never met him, never sat directly under his teaching but as part of a Calvary Chapel and the wife of a Calvary Chapel pastor, there is an undeniable influence in my relationship with God that has been imparted by Chuck and Kay Smith.

My favorite Chuckism is a story he related in one of his books, I don't remember which one. In it he spoke of shaking his fist at someone on the freeway and remembering that he had a personalized license plate that said something about Calvary.  Having the temper of a cobra I was encouraged that even Pastor Chuck shared in my freeway frustration.  It is easy to think of men like him as someone who never struggles, never gets in the flesh, never fails.  But they do. He did, at least once on the freeway.

Joy and enjoyment are the things that most emanated from the Chuck Smith I experienced.  He spoke briefly this past year at a book conference I attended and his joy in the midst of trial was …

Day 2-When Enjoyment Isn’t Fun

It was just about a week ago that I discovered the 31 Day challenge on The Nester.  The objective is to post on the same topic every day in the month of October.Actually, I don’t remember if they call it a challenge, but the thought of writing something every day for 31 days on a single topic certainly sounded like a challenge to me.I was inspired.
It didn't take long for me to decide what I wanted to learn and write about, it was fun to think about fun and enjoyment.  I started making notes and drafting posts, and I was surprised at where my head went with the topic.  I was surprised at how the ideas flowed. I was surprised at how easy it was. 
Part of the challenge is to link to The Nester blog so that your posts show up there under a category you choose. You do this via a button with a grab box and a permalink.  Right after that, you perform brain surgery. Well, according to the tips on the blog and other tutorials, brain surgery seemed the next logical thing I’d be asked to do,…

31 Days of Finding Enjoyment

Every now and then, for the last several years, I will have a moment of deep quietness.  It is in those times that I remember how much I like to write.  It's similar to the feeling I get when I remember how much I like a food I haven't eaten for a while, or a favorite book I haven't read for years.  Familiar pleasure.  And it makes me yearn.

Cultivating pleasure doesn't come easily to me. It's not that I don't enjoy things, it's more that because I have such a warped sense of responsibility,  I default to the priority of making the world right before it occurs to me that I should do something for the sheer joy of doing.  Now, I am realistic enough to know I can't make the world right, and I have plenty of biblical knowledge to explain who can.  But I have lived a long time with the need to do one more thing before I indulge in the things that except for pleasure, don't really accomplish much. 
The greatest One who ever mused, dreamed and created never…