Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

adjustments

This new chapter in my life will require some adjustments.

I was awake at 5:30 yesterday  morning.  No, my alarm did not go off.   My body is programmed to wake up early on Thursday because I open the office at 7:00.  Make that I used to open at 7:00!   Yes, this will take some adjustment.

I found myself rushing around picking up this and throwing laundry in the washer and then realized that I didn’t have to be any where until 12:30.   What a wonderful adjustment to make.

I have given lots of prayer and thought to what my new schedule will look like. What does it mean to finally place my focus on home and ministry?

One thing I know about myself is that I will have no problem filling up my schedule.  The possibility of being even more crazy busy, than I was as a bi-vocational minister, is very real.

I have no fear of laziness or boredom setting in.  That is just not how I am wired.   Knowing this about myself is why I am taking a couple of weeks to regroup and not adding anything to my schedule except study time and some much-needed house work.

swapping this office

swapping this office

for my new office

for my new office

what a great place to study -- my moon flowers make a beautiful wall

what a great place to study — my moon flowers make a beautiful wall

the flowers open up in the evening and close up during the day

the flowers open up in the evening and close up during the day

surrounded by beauty

view from my swing –  surrounded by beauty

as you can see the flowers are as tall as my clothes line pole

as you can see the flowers are as tall as my clothes line pole

 

Sure I have an office inside the house – two of them in fact.    I also have an office at the church that I will be using.  For the next couple weeks, though, my office will be the one pictured above.  One more adjustment that I am ready to make.

Of course there will be a financial adjustment to be made.  I am grateful for a husband who is a financial guru.  Long ago we made the decision to not buy on credit.  We live off of  a budget.  Most importantly, we depend on God to be our provider.  We are firm believers in the principle of tithing.  We trust that God will bless the remaining money (after tithes and offerings) and cause it to meet our needs and even some wants.  We are blessed!

Jeremiah 29:11-13  (NASB)

11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Following God, no adjustment needed there.  I learned the truth of this scripture years ago.   His plan is so much greater than anything I could come up with.

The key is to follow God’s leading, to not let fear hinder you, to not be in bondage to needing answers to all the ‘what if’  questions,  and to let your faith rise up removing the doubt that would try to stop you.

God has a plan for you!

til next time

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August 2, 2013 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

to get rid of or to hang on to?

It has been over a year since I started to declutter.  (click here to read how it started)  The unthinkable has finally happened.

Yesterday as I was baking it dawned on me that I really didn’t need these huge containers anymore.  When the boys were younger I got so tired of running out of sugar that I bought a container that held 5 (yes 5) bags of sugar.  I did a lot more baking back then and we went through a lot of kool-aid.

Just to show how big they are I put one of my favorite knick knacks in front of it.  (‘Simple Treasures’ is 1 1/2 inches high.)

This got me to thinking about my old canister set.   I love Tupperware.

I asked Curt to go on a hunting expedition.  In our basement one never knows what you will come across.  The last time I went down there I almost stepped on a dead mouse.  That did it for me.

Sure enough he came upstairs with my beloved old set.  I was excited to see it but then it hit me.   The reason my mom would hang onto things was because you just never knew when you might ‘need’ that.

Now this comes along and on the one hand I am so glad that I still had my old set but on the other hand I should have gotten rid of it long ago.  How many things have I gotten rid of that I am going to miss later?  Should I really get rid of this item? ……….

We have gotten rid of over 1,100 items.  I say we because the guys have gotten on board.  It has kind of mushroomed into a family thing.   (I keep track because it motivates and challenges me to reach the next hundred.)

The greatest change that has come out of all this decluttering  is the huge decrease in items that come into our house.  Impulse buying has practically disappeared.  This is a huge plus for my husband and his (ok our) budget.

The clear set does stack inside each other so I could hang onto them.   I am sure there is room in the basement.  However, this time I am giving them to the Salvation Army.  I am sure some young mom will be thrilled to get them.

It almost derailed me but I am once again motivated to give gently used things away so that some else can actually use them.

On a side note the pecan pie/cake that I made yesterday is already gone.  Guess I shall go bake something else today.

til next time

FYI– my blog ends here.  Apparently wordpress is now into advertisements and it has come to my attention that they are posting them right at the end of the blog.  (Cleverly disguising them to look as if they are a part of the original blog.)

November 12, 2011 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , | 7 Comments

february 6, 2011

This week I found myself in the nursery for both services.   That makes it a bit difficult to do sermon notes.

However, there are two lists that have come across my desk recently.

Grab your Bible, as I won’t be posting all of the scriptures.  I  feel that it is important to look the scriptures up in your own Bible –  to stay familiar with the love letter that God has given to us.  (If you don’t have a Bible let me know.)

The first list has to do with our mental outlook!

6 STEPS TO STAYING POSITIVE!

1.  Start the day with faith – read Psalms 5:3

What comes out of your mouth?  David and Goliath — all the others were saying –just too big, I can’t kill him.    David was saying –He’s too big I just can’t miss!.

2. Look for good in the situations – read  Romans 8:28

3 Give our problems to God – read  2 Corinthians 1:8-11

4. Eliminate negative words  – read  Ephesians 4:29

5. Associate with positive people  – read 1 Corinthians 15:33

Paul was an optimist.  Philippians 1:20   When  we expect the best we honor God.

6. Remember your future -read Ephesians 3:20

The second list has to do with how we handle our money.

Financial difficulties?

Want to be debt free?  Lucy Swindoll from Women of Faith shares her 12 steps to getting out of debt and staying out!

1.  Tithe on the gross

2.  Live within your means

3.  Take care of what you have

4.  Wear it out

5.  Do it yourself

6.  Anticipate your needs

7.  Research value, quality, and durability

8.  Make gifts

9.  Shop less

10.  Buy used

11.   Pay cash

12.   Do without

There you have it for this weeks sermon notes.   If you want to check out last weeks – click here.

til next time

February 9, 2011 Posted by | ministry, sermon notes, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

i’d rather laugh

Black Friday, to some,  is a day to stay away from any and all stores.   Not us!

We (my sister, niece, daughter, and I) were up before the dawn.

That is    O’dark thirty to some.

Coffee or energy drink in hand – whichever was the beverage of choice and away we go.

This year was the first year that mom was unable to go with us.  😦  I tried not to give that a lot of thought.   This day was about fun and laughter!

The traditional breakfast at McD’s.

By this time we have already done what seemed like a days worth of shopping.

We had to make a pit stop at the house because the back-end of the vehicle could hold no more bags!

This was a first for us.

Although I did manage to stay in budget.

(Maybe I should mention that 4 rather large bed pillows were  purchased. LOL)

Here we are taking a break.

Black Friday is all about doing the unusual!

Matching socks and bracelets = lots of laughter and a little snickering from Curt.

So Galina decided to throw something at him.

She didn’t realize just how great a shot she was!

Priceless!

This, in turn, brought about yet another round of laughter!!

God knew we could all use a day of laughter and certainly that is what it was.  No doctor visits, no thoughts of doctor visits, just pure joy with people we love. 

We ended the day with pizza at Curt’s sisters.

A ‘friendly’ game of dominos?

With this tribe I use the word ‘friendly’ loosely.  Ah, but as you can see it was filled with laughter!

Now we are quickly approaching the Christmas season.   May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance!!  (Jude 2)

til next time

December 8, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, relationships | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

you have stress?

It seems that everyone I talk to is under stress.  For some it is one or two really huge things.  For others it is a bunch of little things that have piled up on top of each other causing an overwhelming sense of despair.  Whatever it is — stress seems to dominate many conversations.

Much  stress is a result of poor decisions.  Sometimes we make bad decisions and sometimes those around us make bad decisions that causes us stress.

Relationships are a huge source of stress.  Romans 12:18  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  This is great advice for reducing stress.  We cannot control another person, but we do have control over what we say and do.

Family dynamics can be a huge source of stress.  Whether it is spouse, children, grandchildren, in-laws, siblings, etc — their actions can have an impact on the whole family. This one, in one way or another, seems to be the most common.  Maybe it is because we can choose to step away from friends who stir up strife, but family will always be family.

I consider it one of the highest compliments I can receive when someone implies that they don’t think I have any stress.   Now it may take me awhile to process it but the end result is that it is a compliment.

For the record, ministers are not immune from stress.  Truth is, they have the ‘usual’ stress that comes with living and then there is the stress involved in ministry.

There is a spiritual battle going on.  Ministers lead by example and are right there on the front lines.   If the enemy can take out the minister and/or family, he has won a great victory.  Much damage is done to the cause of Christ when a minister falls.

So what can you do about stress?  Take ownership of your own actions.  Whatever is happening to you – you are still responsible for how you handle it.

The Serenity Prayer is  a wonderful tool.  Use it!  Be sure to read the rest of the prayer.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

Truth is stress will always be a part of life.  How you handle it will determine if you live stressed out or you live with purpose.  Don’t forget – God has a plan and He is in control.

He will work all things out for the good to those who love Him.  This is a promise we can depend on.  God isn’t stressed about whatever is going on and He wants us to lean on Him and trust Him.

Is it easy?  Not always.  But it can be done.  This is why I consider it a huge compliment when people imply I have no stress.

til next time

November 13, 2010 Posted by | life lessons, living in a fish bowl, ministry, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

easy, simple, inexpensive snacks

I am always looking for a new hors d’oeuvre or snack that requires  little effort and is easy on the budget.   My post on 5 simple, yummy desserts – (click here to read) has gotten a lot of hits so I thought I’d do another one.   

This is one of my favorites. Preheat the oven to 350.  Spread  small pretzels out on a cookie sheet.  (The small circle pretzels work too.)  Place a Rolo on each one.  Place in the oven – keeping a close eye on them as it doesn’t take but a  moment for the Rolo to begin to melt.  You do not want it very soft.  Pull out of the oven and place a pecan on each one – pressing firmly but not too hard.  Wa laa!!!  Enjoy — make plenty to share.

Almond or chocolate bark is a great base for many yummy snacks.   Buy a package of bark.  Place 1/2 of it in the top of a double broiler pan and stir occasionally as it melts.  Once melted,  the fun begins.  Grab your favorite pretzel stick, any size, and dip one end into the melted bark.  Place on wax paper and sprinkle with candy crystals – if you want.  This works great with both almond and chocolate bark.  

Once bark has melted you also can add peanuts and rice krispees.  Drop by spoonful on wax paper.  Mmmm, good.  Rice krispies are added to make it easier to bite and to be more cost-effective.

Another thing you can do with bark is –  once melted – add your favorite cereal.  Trix, Fruit Loops,  Fruity Pebbles, Cap’n Crunch, Kix are all good choices.   I recommend just using the almond bark for these.

Quick, simple, and reasonably inexpensive.

One last thing to do with bark – once melted – take a circle cracker ( I use whatever is cheapest – as I have found it really doesn’t make any difference) and spread peanut butter between two of them.  Dip the cracker sandwich in the bark, flip and then tap fork lightly on pan to remove excess bark and place on wax paper to dry.  This is great with either almond or chocolate bark.

Now that I have awakened my sweet tooth I better go see what I have in the house to eat.

til next time

July 13, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , , , | 3 Comments

money – do you have enough?

What role does money play in my life? 

Money consumes some people.  There are those who are in financial disarray.  Financial matters are one of the leading causes of  problems in marriage. 

Money is a part of every day life.  Ask just about anyone these days, and you will see that changes have been made in how they handle their money or they are drowning in debt or that money is at least an issue.  Stress over money is on the rise.  I don’t have to look far to see that ‘cut backs’ are happening everywhere.  Prices go up and wages go down. 

Hubby and I have been re-evaluating our budget.  This is not something I enjoy.  However, I do enjoy not living in debt.   So when the money coming in decreases then the money spent needs to decrease.  Oh if only the government would catch on to that. 

Compared to a lot of people, we are extremely good budgeteers.   Yet there is room for improvement.  I realized  this past week-end that if  I compare myself to my sister-in-law then I have much room for improvement.  I don’t generally play the compare game.  Yet sometimes it can be helpful.  I believe God was showing me that good enough is only mediocre. 

It is my desire to be a great steward of the money God has blessed us with.  I heard about a bumper sticker that says “Living with less so we can give more.”     That just resonated with my whole being!!!  

God is allowing our finances to be juggled.  Along with the inspiration from Di, on that return trip I read the book  “Take God at His Word – Experience the Power of Giving” by Dr Kregg Hood.  Coincidence?  I don’t believe so. 

The Bible is the best book on money.   There are a lot of other books out there on this topic but I am not impressed with most of them.  However, Dr Hood writes in an easy reading style while getting to the heart of the matter.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is

We don’t give to be blessed, we give because we are blessed.”  (p.30)

The book is about taking God at His Word.  There are four main Words that Dr Hood addresses.  

 Word One “I will make you rich in every way.” 

Word Two “I want you to tithe so I can reward you.” 

 Word Three “I trust you to manage material resources.”  

Word Four “I will help you give more than you can imagine.”  

 After each Word there is   a ‘think it thru’ section at the end.  It is useful for applying what the Word says to life.

Since my first babysitting job, I have practiced tithing.  My parents led by  example and demonstrated  the importance and the benefits of tithing.   God tells us to “test Him in this.”  (Malachi 3:10)   

I also tithe because of the consequences of not tithing.  There are many Christians who struggle in this area and have allowed fear to hinder their thinking.   It is a huge trust issue but I can think of no one that I could possibly trust more than God.   He is my source, my provider.  Giving back to Him is my expression of that trust and faith. 

“If you’re experiencing great financial difficulty, have you considered the possibility that you might be living under an easily reversible curse? ”  (p.37)

If you haven’t a clue what the Bible says about money or if your finances are a mess I highly recommend that you pick this book up.  It will change how you look at money. 

The book is also helpful to those of us who are good stewards of our money.    It has encouraged me to press on to be a ‘great’ steward of all that God has blessed me with.

til next time

March 19, 2010 Posted by | spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

something has to change

Any of these sound familiar?

Something has got to change!

I don’t know how much longer I can do this?

All I do is work, work, work.

How much more of this can I take?

I don’t have time for me.

Or maybe something a bit more spiritual –

God does not call  His children to burn out.

This is not the abundant life the Bible talks about.

I must be doing something right cuz the devil won’t leave me alone.

Ok, so I have said all of the above at one time or another.  

Long about last April hubby found me starting to use the phrase “Something has got to change”  quite a bit. 

I am all about getting into the solution not wallowing in the problem.  Yet I hadn’t a clue what that solution was, so I found myself wallowing.   Some days were much more difficult than others – pretty much that is how life is.  Good days – not so good days.

I chalked it up to pre-menopausal issues.  It was a viable excuse.  Yet I have heard that this (menopause) can go on for years.  I certainly did not want to  battle such emotional days – at least not in the ineffective way that I found myself dealing with them. 

I began to look at peace very closely.  During my menopausal days it was my peace that was out of whack.  Stress level high – peace level low.

A few months back I begin to entertain the idea of going part-time at work.  It would open up some much needed time.  Yet I didn’t want to give up sick time, holiday pay, etc.   I couldn’t see past the NEED for my income so I brushed it off, gave myself a good pep talk and carried on.

One day at work (happened to be working on my day off)  it was like God removed the blinders to my problem and clarity landed.  Looking back I think He was trying to do that all along, but it didn’t make sense to me and so I would brush it off.   

Finally it became crystal clear that I was working too much.  I am older now (ugh I never thought I’d use such a sentence) but it is true.  So with age should come maturity. You’d think with all this maturity I would remember that God does things His way.

It still did not make sense to me – oh it was clear alright just didn’t work out  on paper.  In fact, it made even less sense because Curt’s salary has been drastically reduced the last 3 months.  My income is needed now more than ever.  Yet, it was crystal clear to me.  A weight had been lifted.   I would talk with doctor about going part-time.

In making that decision many other issues were also settled.  It was kind of like a domino effect.   It can be easy to get out of balance.  For me it is always in the area of ‘doing too much’.    It is true, by the way, God does not want His kids to burn out.

I had my review last week.  It was amazing.   All I can say is that God showed up and handled it.  (I am grateful that I work for a boss who also loves God).  He did ask me to give him one more week as full-time.  That was a hard week because I wanted to shout it from the rafters, but I knew that he needed to be the one to tell my supervisor. 

Today I go to work and he has indeed talked with my supervisor so now it is official.  My first week as a part timer.  Yes, I have been doing a happy dance. 

How will the budget work out?  I don’t know, but I know God and He will make a way.  I guess this is my next step of faith in the journey of life.

til next time

January 25, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, perimenopause | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

blessed to be a blessing

Here I sit in my warm house with the sound of my 20 gallon fish tank in the back ground.  –Fish have been directly linked to reducing stress  —  It works for me until I have to clean the tank.  Ugh!

–It sure seems the older I get the easier it is for me to get side tracked.  This blog isn’t about my fish —

Ummm “Honey the computer just went down and the fish tank isn’t making noise?”

Curt was changing the light switch in our bedroom — happy sigh — but  somehow the power went out in the dining room.   ??  Imagine my surprise  when I rebooted the computer and everything was still up – facebook, wordpress and the first two paragraphs of this blog post had  saved.  Weird.

How appropriate though.  Here I am typing away in my warm house that is filled with expressions of love from my friends.   The electricity works (once Curt turned the power back on *~*).  I am blessed!

I am able to  go into the kitchen or one of my two bathrooms and get fresh water.  I did two loads of laundry without ever having to get dressed.   I am blessed beyond measure.

Tomorrow our church is taking an offering to send to Convoy of Hope to help them in their efforts to minister to the people of Haiti.  I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through.  The pictures look like something from a bad movie scene.

Yet it isn’t a bad movie scene.  It is real life drama unfolding in the lives of hurting men and women.  I can’t hardly think about the children.

I can do something.  I can make a difference.   You can do something.  You can make a difference.   It is a group effort.  Convoy of Hope was already there before the quake.  They were already feeding 7,000 children every day.    As we send our monetary gifts they will take that gift and be our hands extended to the hurting.  It will make a difference.

Oh, I know that money is tight.  Most everyone has been affected one way or another by our shifting economy.  We’ve taken a cut in pay the last 3 months.  It isn’t easy trying to adjust the budget.

Yet people still go out to eat and purchase things that are not a true necessity. (the whole need vs want — Oy don’t even get me started on the ways I have learned that lesson)  Yet I, for one, still  love to eat out.   My favorite place these days is Quiznos — they have a great Beef, Bacon, and Cheddar torpedo for $4.00.   Funny it doesn’t hardly seem like a budget cut either – but it is.  A meal at Quiznos or a meal at Red Robin??  You do the math.   Again I digress.

So tomorrow I am cutting into that portion of our budget so that others will be able to eat.   I am blessed to be a blessing!  God will take care of us.  He always does.

Matt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.

I’ve included a video of  Hal Donaldson from the Convoy of Hope.  Reach into your pockets and make a difference.  It is indeed more blessed to give than receive.

til next time

January 16, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

as the day ends

It is the start of a new day.  It will be filled with many choices.  When all is said and done I will not be able to redo this day.  There are no delete buttons.   So as this day starts I am also thinking about how it will end.   As the day ends there are some questions that I will ponder.  God calls me to represent Him, and the day to day way I handle life is a reflection of my relationship with Him.

1:  Did I choose to walk in joy?  It really is up to me to decide to make up my mind that I will enjoy this day.  It comes down to attitude.  Learn to find joy in the simple day to day things.  Dreading anything is a real joy robber. 

2:  Did I make the best of my circumstances?  Everyone has things in their life they would like to change.  Did I do those things that I could and not get frustrated over things I couldn’t do anything about?

3: Did I laugh today or did I take myself too seriously?  For truly life does not revolve around me.  Stress and taking life too seriously go hand in hand.  I need to on purpose add laughter into my day.

4:  Did I live my life in such a way as to silence the negative talk of others?  I can’t stop people from lying or wrongly judging me, but I can live my life in such a way that it disproves those statements.

5:  Did I compromise?  In other words did I settle for what was good enough instead of what was the best?  This can be most difficult.  Good can indeed be the enemy of best.  It can be easy to settle, may I raise the standard and not be content with the status quo or worse lowering the standard (compromise).

6:  Did I waste time worrying?  So much of what people worry about never happens.  It is borrowed trouble.  It’s traveling companion is dread.  (see # 1)  It is the opposite of trust and faith. 

7:  Did I harbor ill feelings toward anyone?  Hate poisons the soul.  Yes, there are people out there who do hurtful, hateful things.  The key is to release it quickly to God.  He sees, He knows, and He will take care of it.  Learning to walk in love – ah, that is the goal.

8:  Is there any regret connected with today?  Regret can rob me of joy both today and also tomorrow.  May I learn from it and then let it go.

9:  Did I help someone today?  It is so not all about me.  I don’t have to look far to see something that I can do for someone else.  Did I take the time?

10: Did I spend beyond my means?  Doing things at the cost of going into debt is not wise.  How I spend my money is a reflection of what is important to me. 

til next time

February 28, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments