A Time to Laugh

pansies
Spring pansies!

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


There is nothing like a good laugh and you can get a lot of laughs from one funny memory!

One of my favorite memories is when we were with my hubby’s family for Easter and the kids were all pretty young. As we were gathered around the communion table with kids in tow, one of ours piped up “Can I have one too?” which brought about a lot of stiffled laughter from our family of adults during the Lord’s Supper. On Easter Sunday. Thankfully it was not our home congregation but I am sure we looked like a bunch of irreverent worshippers. It was a really funny moment for us and very hard to keep it together.

I hope you have a funny situation that you and your friends or family relive on occasion. With all the seriousness in life, a good hearty laugh is necessary. Find a comedian you enjoy or a sitcom that cracks you up. The “I Love Lucy” show is so ridiculous it’s funny. Find something or someone you love and makes you laugh and spend more time there. It’s good for your heart, your body, and your soul!

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. [Proverbs 17:22 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

A Time to Keep

Flowers in Transylvania w
Flowers in Transylvania

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


There are so many moments I want to keep fresh in my mind. But as I get older I find they are increasing and so diverse. It’s hard to store them all away! That is a blessing of having cameras and being able to record special times. Although, sometimes the documentation can get in the way of the moment. I often struggle between being in the moment and making a record of it.

What moments in your life are you keeping? Are they worth the storage space? As you reflect on them, do they bring you joy or pain?

I love this quote about friendships but I think some of it is appropriate as we consider our lives and experiences  but my focus in this quote is the bolded words:

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts, nor measure words, but to pour them all out just as they are, chaff and grain together knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”  (attributed to a couple of people)

I only have a limited capacity for remembering. I don’t want to squandered it on things not worth keeping but sometimes my heart is on automatic pilot, for good and for bad.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. [Proverbs 4:23 NIV]

Our capacity for keeping is limited. Choose carefully!

On the way,

Liz

A Time to Uproot

Garden w
How does your garden grow?

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


Have you ever moved to a new place and tried to get to know what plants are in your yard? If you don’t know much about plants, it can be confusing because as things start to green up in Spring it is exciting. But not everything that is green is good. Sometimes the weeds masquerade as something useful but soon they choke out other plants you actually do want. Getting rid of noxious weeds isn’t always fun. But, left unchecked, they can overtake a large area in a short amount of time.

Root them out!

And while you are in the business of getting rid of those unwelcomed guests, think about other things you might need to dig out and eliminate. Allowing things like

  • impatience
  • anger
  • suspicion
  • lies
  • resentment
  • fear
  • hatred
  • assumptions
  • selfishness
  • envy
  • jealousy
  • perfection

to be a part of your life can cause an unwanted invasion. And those things can quickly choke out the good things God wants to grow in you. Digging out this junk can be a bit of work. It takes a conscientious effort to uproot and eliminate those weeds. But doing so brings more space and freedom for the other, more Christ-like, qualities to grow and flourish.

Take stock of what is growing in your life today. Sowing seeds that produce patience, love, trust, honesty, appreciation, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, faith, mercy, and gentleness will result in an amazing harvest for you and those who are in your presence. Be deliberate about what you allow to remain in your life.

Life is too hard and too short to be growing all that ugly stuff. Be intentional about what you are growing in your heart and life. As you radiate God’s good gifts they will be a blessing to those all around you!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. [Galatians 5:22-23 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

Tealeaves

tea2ew
Chinese Tealeaves!

I had some tea at my friend’s house the other day. I like tea but I had no idea how real tea really worked. I mostly just figured tea was tea. I never wondered about it, actually.

When my friend asked if I would like tea, she listed all the typical options. But then asked if I wanted real Chinese tea. She had been a missionary in Taiwan for over three years so she knew quite a bit more about how real tea worked. I was intrigued so that is what I chose.

tea1ew
These little guys are just a little bigger than a whole clove.

First she tossed a few of these little things in a special teacup with a filter. I like strong tea so it didn’t really look like enough but she assured me it was. Then we added some hot water. We dumped out the water after a couple of minutes and then added more boiling water. This was all new to me! But it was a necessary part of the process.

We were waiting for the tealeaves to open. It takes several minutes.

It turns out she had dumped in a few too many because as the tealeaves kept relaxing from their dried state they nearly filled the filter. But the tea was delicious. I kept adding more water to the leaves and they continued to provide me with tea.

I am surprised how dried and compact tealeaves are. They look so small and unassuming but then open up to be five times their size. It takes time for them to move from the dried state to being able to steep and provide flavor but once they are ready, they can provide multiple pots of tea. I know there is much more to learn about tea but I am glad to have added to my knowledge. I am sure my friend thought I was crazy because it was so interesting to me. I am glad she took the time to teach me some of what she knew about tea.

Dried tealeaves don’t look like much. The process of getting tea from them seems a bit like some events in life. Sometimes what you have to work with doesn’t seem like much but God transforms that “little bit” to be sufficient or even abundant!

Do you recall a time in your life where God’s provision was more than you imagined?

On the Road,
Liz

tea3ew
Steeping the leaves!

Are you coming or going?

I was thinking about the verse I want to rest upon during Lent. There will be a lot of movement in my life in the upcoming months so this one seems appropriate:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

And this one is always good to keep in mind because while we are not “of this world” we certainly are here in this world for a purpose:

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15

But here is where I have settled:

be-stillp

We are often coming and going and not taking enough time to reflect, rest, and be restored. The focus for 2017 Lenten PrayerPoints will be devotional thoughts that relate to being “On the Road”.  Certainly, a part of traveling means rest and standing still. Sometimes we choose our times of “still” and other times we do not. “Being still” might be an uncomfortable place to be–especially if someone is known as a “doer”.

If you decide to have a verse or chapter or book of the Bible to focus on during this season of Lent, I would love to hear what it is! Write it out, sketch it out, go to canva.com and create some digital art, or do whatever you need to do to connect with the verse and tuck it away in your heart and mind. And then pay attention! Whenever I do this, I see God’s connecting points for me in conversations with others, in sermons, in songs, and in my life. Ruminating on Scripture is always a good idea.

I am praying for all of us as we journey with God and spend time with Him during this season. May He find hearts willing to learn, grow, and change to reflect His love and grace and forgiveness more accurately. As we travel through life we will meet many travelers. We can give more to others when we ourselves are refreshed.

On the Road!

Liz

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

PrayerPoints ~ Saturday, March 12th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 121

I love the comfort of Psalm 121. And even though we can all look it up and read it, I am going to add it below because reading and typing it are all ways it gets into my brain. I would prefer writing it out on a piece of paper or putting it to a melody because those are also excellent ways to get it into my mind! I am practicing being more mindful of what enters my brain but also just more mindful of what I am doing. Maybe it is an age thing, but there are moments when I ask myself some questions–be sure to emphasize the bolded words:

“What are you doing here?”

Why are you here?”

What are you doing?”

“What are you doing?”

Sometimes I do things on “automatic pilot”– without much thought–and that isn’t always bad, but it isn’t always good, either. Being more intentional/mindful/thoughtful about what I am doing, saying, reading, and writing helps me to make better choices!

Psalm 121

“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.

He will not let your foot slip–he watches over you and will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you–the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day; nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (New International Version)

Amen!

PrayerPoints ~ Saturday, February 13th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 139

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”        Psalm 139:23

It’s interesting, I don’t recall that I have had a lot of anxious feelings during my life but I have experienced them more often in the last five years or so. I am not entirely sure what is behind them but I have noticed an increase. I also know a growing number of people who struggle with debilitating anxiety. You know, the kind of anxiety where one cannot get out of bed and enter into the day. That is some tough stuff.

I am sure people struggled with that level of anxiety in my earlier years but I don’t ever recall hearing much about it. I am so thankful that we are in a time where this can be discussed and treated. There is nothing like a good psychologist and psychiatrist, supportive family and friends, and God’s healing touch to help a weary traveler get back on their feet.

Once I did have a meltdown of epic proportions. I remember saying something like this to Don, my husband, “I wish I had a broken arm or leg because then you could see there is something wrong.” It was during a season of very young children mixed with some chronic sleep deprivation. There was illness mixed in with other things and I was overwhelmed at the thought of him going on a particular business trip. It felt very strange to ask him not to leave but I had to. He actually had a really bad cold too so it was better that he stayed home. Even if he wasn’t able to help with the kids, I knew he would be nearby and accessible. It made all the difference in the world to me.

Sleep deprivation makes a huge impact on the psyche and I believe it was at the root of my situation. But there are also so many crazy things happening in our lives and in our world that sometimes, sweet peace seems very elusive.

As I read through Psalm 139, I love the reassurance that God knows my thoughts, that He hems me in, and He created my innermost being.

Are there particular phrases that bring comfort to you?