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

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

turtle on a post

Today I am feeling kind of like this post turtle.  Oh not the way the story has been circulating in e-mail.  President Obama has taken a bit a guff with this poor little creature.   I know there are times that I would much rather not live in a fishbowl.  I am sure that Obama’s family feels the same way and even more so.     It is easy to second guess people or pass judgment when you are not walking in their shoes.

 I digress, getting back to this post turtle, life can sometimes feel like I have been placed right smack in the middle of a situation that causes me to look around and ask, “Um, what now?”     “How did I get here?”   “Who is to blame?” “What should I do?  No matter what I do, this is going to hurt.  Maybe if I just tuck my head in, the problem will go away.  Nope, that didn’t work.  Now what?”

Sometimes there just aren’t any easy answers.  In some things I just have to go on faith.   God is very much aware of what is going on.    To forget that is to have all joy and peace disappear.

As I found myself getting aggravated today I stopped and thought of this post turtle.  Getting aggravated is not going to solve anything.  It won’t get the turtle off the post.  It won’t change the situations I am in.  It won’t  help with figuring out what to do with mom.  It won’t cause  our check to double.  It won’t help me lose weight.   It won’t make it so the kids can come home.  No, getting aggravated will not help.

So while I sit on the post – I will trust.  While I find myself dealing with financial issues and budgets – I will trust.  While I seem to be getting nowhere  – I will trust.  For I know that someday God will remove this fence post and I will be stronger because of it.

til next time

February 28, 2010 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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

what if…. are you a player?

What if…….?

Ah the game of what if.  Many people play it.  People worry about all kinds of different things.  Health, family, and finances are the big three.   A lot of wasted energy is used in worrying.

Worry will rob me of living today to the fullest.  Worry will hinder my from trying new things.  Worry stunts my growth. 

My mom, for the first 80 years of her life, wouldn’t dare think of getting on an airplane.  What if it crashed?  Then 9/11 happened and I thought that had settled it for good.  We would never get her in an airplane.   My siblings and I had been trying for years to get her to fly to Florida to visit my brother and his family.  Worry of all that could go wrong was the thing that was stopping her.

She has now flown four times.  She loves the window seat.  God has proven so faithful to her.  She has a story of His intervention each trip. 

Faith silences worry.  As I  have grown in God, my worrying  pretty much has diminished.   I truly believe God is in control so then what is there to worry about?  Nothing takes God by surprise.  He may allow situations that are tough, to come my way.  However, He will turn it around.  He will make a way.  Not only is He able, but He is willing to help.  He is Jehovah Jireh – my provider.  My life is in His hands. 

Sometimes, for a moment, I can get caught up in the old habit of what if…..  My focus will have sifted to the storm and not the one who calms the storm.  Ah, but God is so good.  He gets my attention and once again worry disappears.

I have changed the rules of the what if game.  Here is my list of what if questions.

What if today I look at people through the eyes of love (God’s love)?

What if today I let my words be gentle?

What if today I overlook that comment?

What if today my attitude is “I get to go to work today“?

What if today I look for opportunities to be a blessing to someone?

What if today I do what I can to walk in peace with those I encounter?

What if today I choose to trust God completely?

What if today I walk in the freedom Christ has given me?

What if today I walk in the power of the Holy Spirit?

til next time

June 8, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

storms

Storms come into our lives in many different forms.  It might be a health issue.  It could be a financial situation.  It could be a relationship that is strained.  There are times that the ‘wind’ really picks up.  We can find ourselves facing one gigantic storm.  Sometimes the storms even over lap.  (In the natural realm I find it impressive to see thunder and lightning while it is snowing.   It is not impressive when personal storms piggy back)

There are times God calms the storm.  I love those times.  When *woosh*  and just like that the storm has subsided.   Some try to reason it out.  However, some things just defy reason.  God is not limited by our understanding or our reasoning.  When He says “Peace be still” to the storm it always amazes me.

There are other times that the wind keeps a blowing and God calms us, His children.  Those times are pretty great too.  To have peace in a situation that from the world’s stand point there should not be peace, is an absolutely amazing thing.  To be able to look the “storm” in the eye and be calm – now that is the power of Almighty God flowing through us.

No matter what we face, God is there with us.  He is greater than any storm that comes our way.  So whether God chooses to quiet the storm or if He chooses to instead let it roar for awhile, we can rest assured that He is very much aware of what is going on.  God has a plan that is far greater than our understanding.

In all things God’s peace is there for us to rest in.  Nothing could be better than to rest in the knowledge that God is with us and watching over us.  The key is to take our eyes off the problem and keep them on the One who is greater than the problem.  To not fall victim of the negative trap, but to stay positive.  God is in control. 

God will make a  way.

til next time

January 9, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

it’s a penny?

jarWhat’s the big deal about a penny?  Is it good for anything?  Lots of people have penny jars.  In fact a few years back there was a push for people to empty their penny jars and get all those pennies back into circulation.  Um,  I still have my penny jar. 

I’ve heard it said that it takes more than a penny to produce a penny.  Silly huh??

I’m old enough to remember penny candy.  (yes it was still around in the late 60’s)  It was great to go down to the neighborhood store and get a handful of candy.  Sometimes the owner would sell two piecepennys for a penny.   It was living high!!

My dad would say, upon finding one, “Ah, 99 more and I have a dollar.”   He always picked them up.

I don’t pick them up anymore.  I might stop to pick up a nickel or a dime.  For sure I’ll stoop to pick up a quarter.   On a different thought,  I love to  put my two cents into the conversation.  Old habits die hard.  (click here <- life is complicated)

 There is a new reason why I don’t pick them up anymore.  It is no longer because it isn’t worth the effort.  The penny has taken on a new meaning for me.  pennyIn God We Trust is engraved on the penny.  Now when I see a penny, I pause for a moment to  remember that God is who I trust.   It is now a huge reminder to me.  I leave it right where it is so that maybe it will be a reminder for the next person.

Just the other day I was a bit stressed.  Finances were a bit of an issue.    I generally don’t worry much about money.  We faithfully tithe 10 % of our income.  We give above and beyond that for offerings and missions support.  God has always been faithful to us.  His word tells us in Malachi to try Him and see.   We are a living testimony to God’s faithfulness. 

{On a side note -Tithing is huge.  Learning to discipline yourself and live on what is left is also huge.  A budget is very helpful to know where your money is going.  However, just having a budget isn’t any big deal.  Sticking to it takes discipline.  The benefits are worth it.}

So I didn’t even realize I was a bit stressed about it until I happen to look down and see this penny.  It was God’s love all wrapped up in a little penny.  That was all it took for me to realize first off that I was a bit apprehensive.  Secondly to lay all that down at Jesus feet and to let the peace of God flow through me. 

So a little penny is a symbol for me.  At the strangest times, in the strangest places I have found a penny staring up at me.   It brings a smile to my face and refreshes my soul. 

Where do you see pennies?  Maybe God is trying to remind you that trusting Him makes a difference

In God We Trust

til next time

December 31, 2008 Posted by | life lessons | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

bail out

Now the auto industry is wanting a bail out.  Latest I heard is that they may be getting a band aid, not a bail out.   Should they get anything?  Should they get more?  Some are saying ‘if we don’t do something, they may no longer exist’.   What would that look like?  How many jobs would that affect?  I can’t even wrap my head around how  that would trickle down and what effect it would have.

It does make me wonder what is in store for us in the coming year.  The biggest problem that I see (in my small section of the world) is that people are not living within their means.  So many have existed on ‘buy now, pay later’  and living from paycheck to paycheck, that the idea of even having a savings is a foreign concept to them.

A long time ago I heard a ‘formula’ that I really liked.  Tithe 10%, save 10%, and live off of the other 80%.   As you may have read in other blogs of mine, I do hold strongly to tithing.  It’s all God’s anyway, but tithing is my way of reminding myself of  Who I trust.  

Tonight at a gathering I was at, one of the pastor’s made a comment along the lines of,  – we need to trim where we can but not succumb to being stingy and to not let fear guide us.  

For me, little has really changed.  God is still God.   He is still in control.   I will not be ruled by fear.  Now I have looked much closer at purchases.  The whole ‘need’ vs ‘want’.   I’ve done more thinking lately about ‘storing up my treasures in heaven.’   Do I really need a new t.v.??  (Andrew would say ‘YES!” )  However, the old one still works which makes it a ‘want’.

til next time

December 8, 2008 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife | , , , | 4 Comments

Finances

It seems every time I turn on the TV I am bombarded with woes about the financial ‘crisis’.  This is indeed a very serious problem.  Is this latest bail out plan (over 100 pages) the best thing?  What impact will it have?  Who will really pay for the lack of sound judgment that lenders showed?  Who will pay for the spending spree of irresponsible people?

I knew there was a problem when Chris started college.  He got a credit card based solely on the fact that he was going to college.  He was a freshman and that made him a great risk??  Last I knew many, many, freshman drop out and show no financial intelligence.  Yet every week we get a handful of applications for another credit card for Chris based solely on his college status.

Andrew wasn’t going to go to college. He was working 2 part time jobs – one of which he had worked at for over 2 years and yet when he applied for a card – he was turned down.  Now that makes sense.  Give the kid who is going off to college with no guarantee of a job, a card and the one who is working – making money – gets no card.  Jump ahead 3 months, now Andrew is going off to college and ‘surprise’ now he can get a credit card. 

I should mention that both boys handle their money well.  They pay off their credit card at the end of each month.  Yes, they were a good risk.  However, the lender had no way of knowing that based on the information they were given. 

Need vs Want.  There is a huge difference.   

We live in a society of buy now, pay later.  Only it seems many are not paying later they just keep buying now.  Something does need to change. 

We are on the brink of change in this country.  The election, either way, history will be made.   Just what change will take place due to this bail out?  Many people are nervously awaiting, wondering what will happen to their retirement, job, savings…  I am grateful that I have learned to depend on God as my provider.  I trust God to see us through.  Whatever happens I know that He has a plan and that He will go with us through it.  Whatever the future holds, I am not afraid.  God will be there.     

For more on economic security click here

til next time

September 29, 2008 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , | 1 Comment