Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

what’s stopping you?

Sometimes all that is stopping me is me.
My thoughts
my feelings
my partial understanding of a situation
my ‘rights’
fear
laziness or overly busy
complacency
avoidance
These things can all stop me in my tracks.  They can also greatly affect my joy, peace and hope.
So what to do?
Get out of my own head — get into the Word. Purpose to live this day walking with Jesus — that means laziness, complacency, avoidance, and fear has to go. Overly busy needs to be re-evaluated. (To help with priorities, I highly recommend the book “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst)
For me, planning down time is a necessity – right along with scheduling exercise. Rarely do either of those two things happen by chance. Yet, both are valuable to living a healthy full life.
I don’t want to live my life in a small way.
2 cor
So for today I am entering the wide-open spaces. I choose to live this day openly and expansively.   I wonder what will God be up to as I unfold this day with Him?
What about you?
What will you choose to do with your day?
til next time
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March 22, 2017 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

spring is playing hide and seek

Would spring ever get here?  We have lived in Iowa for over 20 years and this seems like the longest wait we have had for spring to arrive.  As of Friday, I still had my electric blanket on the bed.

Then Saturday arrived.  It finally felt like spring.  Windows opened, laundry on the line, and yard work being done was a good indication that, for at least that day, Spring was here.   My vegetable garden is ready to be planted.  All but one of my flower gardens are cleaned out.  Our  Christmas flag is put away and a Spring one is in its place.  I know, pathetic but I do love my Christmas snowman flag.   Sadly, the forecast has the “s” word in it for tomorrow.

After a fabulous day of weeding, trimming, and cleaning up the dead stuff from winter it was time to usher spring in with a trip to the Ballet.

P1070739

Getting all dressed up was half the fun.  I then remembered that I had the perfect clutch to carry.  It was my mom’s.  I don’t know as she ever used it.  It still had the stuffing inside and the tag was in the little pocket.  She gave it to me a long time ago.   I guess there is something about her no longer being here that makes me want to use it.  There is just something about getting all dressed up and carrying a little purse that reminds me of that little girl who would play dress up and dream of one day her knight in shining armor picking her up to take her to the ball.  (My husband clearly played his part well.)ballet

“Spring is in the Air” was the name of the production.  How fitting to attend it on such a gorgeous day.

Such beauty.

Such grace.

Such gentle movement.

The orchestra was wonderful.  It practically grabbed you and carried you with each note.  I enjoyed that almost as much as the actual Ballet.

Today it pretty much rained all day.   Spring is playing a mean game of hide and seek.  Tonight it could get cold again with a chance of snow.  Ah, but I am grateful for that gorgeous day to get yard work done.  Weeds and debris  will no longer taunt me when I walk out the door.  The next nice day my patio is ready for me to enjoy.

Thanks God for each new day!  Psalm 118:24   “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

til next time

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April 13, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

48 hours

I don’t know if it is that life seems to be flying at warp speed or hormones are all over the place (thank you perimenopause) or that some how I have shrunk the margins in my life but I am finding myself tired a lot lately.

Margins are necessary spaces  that give me room to breathe.  Just as margins and spaces are needed when writing a letter, margins are needed in life.  It is allowing myself some wiggle room.  Recognizing necessary boundaries is another way to look at it.  What it isn’t is filling up my days with so much activity that exhaustion is a  common result.

IfIweretowritealetterusingnospacesitwouldbedifficulttowrite.

I want to live life to the fullest.  Yet in life if I am not careful I  meet myself  coming and going.   My  to-do list can stretch on endlessly.   The demands of the job, others, or demands I put on myself can be mentally exhausting, not to mention unhealthy.   Even fun activities require energy.

My wonderfully smart husband decided that it was time to slow things down and take some time off.   We cleared our schedule and took some much-needed time off for rest.

48 hours to be exact.   After work on Thursday we drove out to the campsite.  Nothing on the agenda for the next 2 days except rest and relaxation.

Going from full speed ahead to coming to a halt was a bit difficult for me.  Then add to it that we were the only camper in the whole park.  Yes, that was just a bit creepy for me.  Not to mention that  it was rainy and cold.    However, Curt put on a movie.  (Yes, we were roughing it.)  The campers heater finally kicked in  and some how I made it til morning.  Everything looks better in the morning.

We have this great deal, my husband and I.

Camping has not always been a good experience for me.  In fact some of the worst times of my life have been while camping.   So, the arrangement we have is that if I will go camping with him then he will be my knight in shining armor and I am queen of the camper/tent.  This particular trip I was mentally exhausted and he was indeed my knight in shining armor.

In addition to watching a couple of movies, I read an entire Louis L’Amour book and did some studying on rest and the importance of proper margins/boundaries in my life.

Chris and Galina came out for supper Friday night.

We played UNO and Galina was on a winning streak.

While Curtis on the other hand liked to collect cards.

As you may notice we don’t sit next to our mate.  The reason for this is that the men in my family like to play cut throat and it is just better for the spouses to not be on the receiving end of that.

Finally Curt did win a game.

What Curtis really  excelled  at Friday night was pie making.

Or was it pie swording?

Um that isn’t a sword, but I did feel like I needed to grab the other one for defensive maneuvers.    Boys will be boys!

On Saturday it was nice enough to sit outside.

Returning to the Merry-go-round of life it is now  up to me.  Will I allow myself to return to  charging full speed ahead or will I install some margins back into my day?  I do believe that God gave us an example to follow when it comes to resting.  Genesis 2:2 “By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.”    Taking time to rest is important to over all health both mentally and physically.

48 hours  – yes sometimes you just need to clear your schedule and get away!

til next time

October 21, 2012 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, perimenopause | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

God can use chocolate

Sometimes reminders come in sweet little packages.

I love Dove chocolate!  Sometimes it is just the reminder that I need.  God can use chocolate.

“Get a good nights sleep.”   This one was a shocker to me.  I had never, nor have I since, gotten another Dove wrapper with that on it.  On that particular day I was really struggling and asking God for wisdom.  Wala…..it came by way of Dove chocolate.

“It’s ok to not do it all.”  I have gotten this one a few times.  Hmmm?

“Don’t forget that after darkness comes light.  Don’t give up the fight.”   (Psalm 130:5-6)

“Always bring your own sunshine.”  This one pretty much says it all.  Where ever I find myself, I try to affect (in a good way) the atmosphere around me.  In the same way that crankiness can be contagious, so can cheerfulness.  After all I am a child of the King and God goes with me everywhere.  He is the reason I can bring my own sunshine!

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  I’ve heard it said that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you handle it.  Problems will come — God is still God.  “He is an ever present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1)

“Happiness is the experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”  On my own I could not begin to walk this one out.  However, with the love of God in my heart and as much of His passion as I will allow to flow through me,  I can live every minute to the fullest with love, grace and gratitude.  That said, I do not always manage to do that.  As with most things in life, it is a learning process.  I am closer today than I was last year.  That is really what counts.  I am growing.

By the way, I opened that particular Dove on a day that I truly needed to be reminded to walk in love and grace.

“Do all things in love.”  see above notes

“Live every day up to your expectations, not others.”  Wow, this one was so timely.  There was a particular individual that was letting me know that I was not jumping to her timetable.  Sometimes being a PW is quite challenging.   Two of my expectations — Walk in obedience to God’s will ….. More of Jesus and less of me.

“You do not have to clean like your mother.”   You could eat off the floors in my mother’s house on any given day at any given hour.  Enough said!

“Indulge in the moments that matter most.”  Why is it that we sometimes find ourselves too busy to enjoy life?

“Live on purpose.”  Again a reminder to make the most of the day.

“Dare to dream.”  Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”   Don’t put God in a box.

“Love yourself”  Sometimes I can be my own worst enemy.

I love Dove chocolate.  The way it melts in my mouth reminds me of how my problems melt at the feet of Jesus.  However it does me no good  if I just let the chocolate sit there covered in foil – even though I know that there is yummy chocolate underneath that wrapping — I still need to take action and  unwrap it.  In the same way, it does me no good to ‘know’ that Jesus will help me if I refuse to unwrap my problem from my fingers and leave it with Him.  Again, I have to take action.

I think I will go find me some Dove chocolate.

til next time

January 7, 2012 Posted by | life lessons, ministry, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

lookin’ good

Pruning is an unpleasant task; at least that is my opinion.

I don’t like to prune our bushes.  It leaves me exhausted and with a huge mess that someone has to pick up.  It used to be that when the boys were young, one of their chores was to pick up all the branches and weeds that I had piled everywhere.  It sometimes astounded me that there could be so many weeds when I had ‘just’ weeded.  UGH!

However, if I want to get the best out of my bushes then pruning is a must.

A few years back I tackled our lilac bush.  Any branch bigger than my thumb was cut off.   The poor bush looked pathetic when I was done.  I was a tad concerned that I had gone too far, but it wasn’t producing like it should.  Something had to be done.

The next year it produced more blooms than ever before.  This year it truly surprised  me.  The thing  is huge and exploding with blooms.  What a beauty!

Full of blooms !

I got in the picture so you could see just how big it is.   Our 2 1/2 car garage is really behind it somewhere.   Pruning was just what this bush needed.  Hmmm, pruning is what I need at times too.

When God prunes His kids, it isn’t a fun process.  Yet He does it out of love.  God knows that there are things that get in the way.   Sometimes even good things get in the way.   ‘Good enough’ can be a trap to keep you from being the best you that you can be.

God gets out His pruning shears and cuts away.   The process can be painful,  but when all is said and done the end result speaks loudly.    A life in full bloom!

til next time

May 15, 2011 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

getting out of Dodge

Sometimes you just have to get out of Dodge.   This is true for many people.  It is especially true for ministers. It seems there is always something that needs attention or one more thing that needs to be done.

On Friday, I talked Curt into getting out of Dodge.  It didn’t take much convincing.  We had recently been discussing the lack of spontaneity in our life.  When you both work two jobs, there isn’t room for much spontaneity.

Here is the plan.  Yes, with my husband you still need to have some sort of a plan.

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride.

I would pick where we eat lunch and our first stopping place.  He would pick the next stopping place.  Then it would be my turn and so forth.

My pick for lunch was Taco Bell.   I love Taco Bell!!

Then it was off to the local zoo.

Last time we were there I couldn’t decide if I wanted to start a new collection.

I have fallen in love with the giraffes.

See my baby giraffe?

A new collection has been started.

Our living room now has a wild animal theme.  It works!!

Curt’s turn to pick.

His pick was this little ice cream parlor.   It is family owned and has been open everyday for the past 100 years.

The owner was a hoot!  His wife came in before we left and whispered to me that he was 90 years old and not ready to quit.

He makes the ice cream and candy.  It was wonderful.

I love fountain pop and this was the real deal.

From there I chose the Amana’s.

It was a bit of a drive but it was such a beautiful day for a bike ride.

As we were going down the highway at 70 mph,  the semi we were following blew a tire.  Scary!! This was a first for us.  It was loud!

Thankfully, Curt doesn’t follow real close and he was able to swerve around the tread.

Peace Park!

Just what I was looking for when I felt the need to get out of Dodge.

Walking around the Amana’s was a big help too.

The weather man was wrong again.  It wasn’t to rain until midnight.  The sky was changing.  Do we head for home or continue?

We decided to go ahead and eat supper with the hope that the storm would blow over.

Curt’s pick for supper was one of the local restaurants.  German food at its finest.

However, the rain didn’t blow over.

In fact it was a cold rain.  We were quite a ways from home.  It was a long drive.  Yet I wouldn’t trade the day for anything.  What’s a little rain?

til next time

September 15, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, motorcycle | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

journey

It’s been over a week since I made the life changing decision that rushing was no longer going to be a daily part of my life.   I would like to eliminate it completely from my life.   However,  I will settle for just not having it be a constant companion.

I recently received Francesca Battistelli’s CD.   “Free to Be Me” is a great song. It pretty much describes my life when I was 20.

Wait, what am I saying?  It is a great song for my life right now.    I’m still trying to put the pieces together.  I am  trying to avoid a mid-life crisis.  Perfection is my enemy,  I have a tendency to be clumsy, and most important God still has great plans for me.  I am free to be me.

Ah, but I am not 20 anymore.

In fact, I recently had a birthday.   It was a great time for reflection.  Am I where God wants me, doing what He wants, and living the abundant life that He has for me?  Great questions to ponder.

I remember one year really struggling with the word abundant.  Just what is the abundant life that God talks about in His Word?  At that time it sure didn’t seem to describe my life.  Now, I’ve come to realize that it has much more to do with the heart than material things.  Ah, but that is for another blog.

Francesca sings another song “Beautiful“.  She sings about how God looks at us and sees who we can be — making life beautiful.

The thing I have noticed most in this last week is that rushing/hurrying were tools used to hinder the enjoyment of my life.  The thing I regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.  Yet I know that God will take that regret and make something useful out of it.

Some songs really resonate with me.  “Beautiful” is one of those.

“…. mercy reaching to save me…..”

God’s mercy does reach out to save me, especially from myself.

“…there’s a joy inside I can’t contain, but even perfect days can end in rain…

The biggest difference I have noticed is my joy is back.  It’s like my joy was buried under the heavy schedule that I ran with.

“I have come undone, but I have just begun —  changing by your grace….”

God is always at work in my life.   By His grace is the only way I know how to change.

What is God trying to do in your life?  Say yes!  It is an amazing journey!  A journey that I am taking time to enjoy and not just rush through.

Here is the song “Beautiful”

Enjoy the journey!!

til next time

August 14, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

waiting……..

  “Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.”    Plato  

Every where I look there are people facing mountains.  Some of them are really huge.  Others may not seem huge to me, but then again I am not facing that particular thing, nor do I have all the details.  Sometimes it is the combination of a million little things that pushes us to the edge. 

 “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5)   Oh, but sometimes it seems as if the ‘morning’ is never going to get here.   

How long?      

I feel Your presence
yet the storm roars.
I think I’m ok …
only to plunge once more.
 
In my head
I know You are there.
In my heart
I know You care.
 
How much longer though,
will this go on?
When will the night end?
Where is the dawn?
 
While the storm rages
To You O Lord I cling.
The morning IS coming
when again my heart will sing.
 
I continue to trust Your Word.
You are working things out.
You are in control,
of this there is no doubt.

Have you noticed that there are a number of songs out now that deal with facing hard trials?   I love this one by Mark Schultz.  Here is just a portion of it 

Love has come

I know this life is filled with sorrow.  And there are days when the pain just lasts and lasts.  But I know there will come a day when all my tears are washed away. With a break in the clouds and His glory coming down.  Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that God is love and love has come for us all.  Every heart set free, everyone will see that God is love and love has come for us all. 

  Or this one by Casting Crowns “Praise You in this storm.”    

I was sure  by now that You would have reached down and wiped our tears away.  Stepped in to save the day.  But once again I say Amen and it’s still raining. ….  I praise You in this storm.   I will lift hands, You are who You are, no matter where I am.  Every tear I cry, You hold in Your hand.  You never left my side and though my heart is torn  –I will praise You in this storm.   

I find myself  ‘waiting’.  Waiting for:   the storm to end, the rain to stop, the  emotional roller coaster of perimenopause to cease, life to slow down, problems to disappear, pain to be gone,  a day when all goes right (had to throw that one in),  and on and on it goes.  Yet life is messy and complicated — always has been and always will be.   Somewhere along the way I forgot a key element.   

In acceptance lieth peace. 

My life is in the hands of the Almighty God, the creator of the universe.  If He allows it then there is a reason – I may never know what that is but truly that is not important.  God is in control.  I am not.

So for today I am going to practice acceptance of what comes my way with expectation that God has a plan and He will work things out His way.

til next time

 

 

 

July 19, 2010 Posted by | life lessons, perimenopause, relationships, spiritual reflections, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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

spin cycle

My thoughts are spinning around in my head like a spin cycle that has gotten off track.   When my washer gets out of balance it sounds like it is about to go through the floor.  It tends to knock things around also.  Yes, my thought pattern seems to be pretty close to a spin cycle gone wrong.

That’s where blogging comes in.  It makes me take time to either redirect my thoughts or just get them out there so that I will have room for more.   In keeping with the whole washing machine analogy, it is similar to what happens when you cram the washer way too full.   It doesn’t do what it is intended to do.

In the last 30 days I have dealt with my mother’s issues of health and placement, my son has gotten married (out-of-state), we have been short-handed at work, organized a wedding reception here, dealing with pre menopause  issues, and moved my mother (from out-of-state)  to an assisted living facility in our town.   All of this while trying to work two jobs and stay on top of things at home.  

Then I had someone say to me the other day “You just aren’t your normal jolly self.”

I just smiled.   I won’t share what I was thinking except that it started out with “Ya think??” 

Although even as I write that, God gently reminds me that my joy is in Him and not dependent upon things running smoothly.  I didn’t handle things perfectly but through it all there was only one time that I said something that now I must apologize for. 

One of my mottos for life is that I will not say or do something that I will feel the need to apologize for later.   It really is helpful when I find myself in stressful situations to remember this motto.    In the case I am referring to, it wasn’t what I said but how I said it.  *heavy sigh*  That is material for another blog.

On our trip to drop off Chris and Galina and pick up my mom, we were blessed to see a double rainbow.  It was amazing.

It stayed for quite a while. 

Both ends were visible.  Very rarely do I have the privilege of seeing both ends.  God was making sure that I got the message.  His promises are true. 

God knows the future.  He has us in the palm of His hand.  Sometimes it is hard to see His hand.  This is where trust comes in.  As the song goes, “when you can’t see His hand, trust His heart.”

As I flipped up June’s calendar I was overwhelmed.   This morning it dawned on me that I am in charge of my calendar.  (Why must I keep learning this particular lesson?)  Sure there are things that God intends for me to do.  There are many other ‘good’ things that want my attention.  Wisdom is knowing when to do what. 

I know that if a washing machine continues to spin out of control damage is done.  Sometimes an overhaul is needed.  Sometimes just removing a few things causes it to return to normal function.  One thing is for sure, it was not meant to be stuffed to overflowing nor to be filled unequally.  So it is with my life, stuffed with way too much or living too long without the balance of rest and relaxation causes stress on the body.   My down time has been sorely lacking.

This whole thing with my mother has changed me.  I have only scratched the surface of that change.   When she didn’t want to come down here, I told her we are going on an adventure.  I repeated this several times.    I am sure I will repeat it many more times. 

Yes, blogging is very helpful to me.  Now I have room for some new thoughts.  Hmmm, I wonder what is in store for today?

til next time

June 2, 2010 Posted by | menopause, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments