courageous mug with frothy hot drink

A Post Dedicated to My Mom

courageous mug with frothy hot drink

This is a special day, as I write and share the 100th post of my blog, Simply Flourishing Home!!!

My blog has taken a “back seat” lately, mainly because of injuring my finger, making it difficult and time-consuming to type. With my 100th post coming up I had wished to make it significant, but have been disappointed to honestly just not have it in me physically and emotionally to come up with something spectacular.

Often when we are in a difficult or challenging place, the best option becomes to just “do the next right thing”. So when I saw this week’s Five Minute Friday word prompt, I decided to do just that.

With this background, I’d like to dedicate this, my 100th blog post, to my Mom. ♥

I can’t think of a more deserving tribute on this Mother’s Day, 2017.

*****

Sometimes I find it difficult to figure out what sentiment to write on a greeting card, especially for someone as significant, appreciated and loved as my mother. After fifty years, I often hesitate, struggling to come up with a better, new or more meaningful way to say what’s in my heart. But words are often inadequate.

For today’s Five Minute Friday post (which will undoubtedly push the five-minute “limit” with my finger still recuperating from surgery), I’d like to take some time to tell you, Mom, some of the things that have made you a special mother to me over all of these years.

It all started on June 14, 1966; well, actually let’s not forget all of those exciting, yet tiring and overwhelming months of pregnancy, as well. I don’t even know many details about how that was for you, but I know it takes a great deal of sacrifice. Neither did I realize just how hard delivering a baby could be (as expressed in my first words to you after giving birth to my first son, “I owe you, Mom!”)

As a child I have so many fond memories. Although hours of details and moments seem shrouded by the forgetfulness of my many years, the ones that are clear to me are mostly wonderful.

I remember enjoying growing up on two country acres and all of the fun and learning that growing a large garden and mowing big fields brings. I appreciate being taught important skills, often just by watching you, but also being given the freedom to run and play and enjoy my long childhood. I remember the joys of planting, harvesting and eating fresh vegetables and scrumptious strawberries, and appreciate all of the work you did to preserve much summer goodness to enjoy all winter from our big chest freezer.

I appreciate the gift of having you home with myself and Rebecca (when she came along six years later), a gift that is becoming more increasingly rare in our modern culture.

Even when we were old enough to get ready for school on our own, you would get up and leave us some breakfast food, in order to make our busy morning run more smoothly. It also reminded us that you cared.

Our family vacations in the long summer days make up a large part of my childhood memories.

We were blessed to enjoy more time together as a family with Dad being an experienced teacher, and I appreciate all of the work you did to make those trips happen. Even while we sometimes helped out on vacation (and probably should have more than we did), I thank you for taking extra responsibilities on yourself so that we girls could enjoy freedom and the wonders of nature while you prepared many of our meals, or just one more swim with dad while you packed up most of our camp to leave for home.

I thank you, Mom, not only for you and Dad taking us to church all of our lives, but for modeling what it means to live authentic, though imperfect, Christian lives. I appreciate all of the times when you (and often Dad) calmed my fears and helped me to sort through my own conflicting emotions and thoughts in a loving way.

Thank-you for every mess you cleaned up, every tear you wiped, all of the “undesirable” things a mother just does every single day.

Another huge part of my favorite childhood memories was how we celebrated special times and holidays, but especially Christmas.  I’m glad that you enjoyed it, but I know you did so much work to make these family memories even more special.  The elaborate but inexpensive creative decorations, gifts, and treats made the season simply magical. I’m so happy to be able to pass on a part of these loving traditions to my own family.

I love your creativity that you shared with your family, through hand-sewn clothes, homemade Christmas decorations, and cards you made for us at Valentine’s Day.

I am so grateful that you shared your love of music with me and taught me how to sing harmony.  I love how you and Dad took us to “Jesus festivals” to hear the early artists of Christian rock music, and how as seniors, to this day, you still love and appreciate quality, “upbeat” music, such as the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Although it was hard on both of us (and eventually we decided I should take a break, then learn from another teacher), I appreciate your sharing your knowledge of how to play the piano with me, and enjoyed hearing you play for enjoyment yourself.

Another thing I appreciate is how I was made to feel special and important, because my feelings always mattered.

One such occasion was the morning when your father, my grandfather, passed away. Even as you were grieving your own loss and watching the pain of your own mother, you and Dad let me know that it was OK to be disappointed to not be leaving that morning as planned on our family vacation.

Another time was years later when I was a young adult. As I expressed feelings of guilt over something seemingly insignificant really bothering me when you were suffering with the sickness and painful treatment of cancer, you responded yet again in such a caring, “motherly” way. I’ll never forget your letting me know that just because my concern was “less serious” than cancer did not make it any less real to me, and that it was OK for me to hurt even when you were suffering so greatly.

You demonstrated courage and faith as you passed through the difficult months (and years) of cancer and how it affects all of one’s life.

I love how when my teenage friends came to our home, many times they would “borrow” your ear to share something that you made them feel comfortable enough to share, even though they were a guest. I have so many memories of the time, care and sacrifice that you and Dad made in ministering to youth and young adults, teaching Rebecca and I to love God, the church, his people and his work throughout our lives.

Another special little “gift” to me were the times you simply washed my long hair in the kitchen sink (although it’s slightly embarrassing to admit my teenage laziness for some reason about this). I was perfectly capable of doing it myself, but it made me feel loved and “spoiled” (in a good way). I don’t think it has hindered my growth in any way, but it helps me to remember a practical way that you showed how much you cared for me.

You continue to be a “mom” to so many other individuals whom God has brought into your life, even while your children live far away.

Since I’ve “grown up” (do we ever really?), married, and had children, you have still been a loving, helpful and supportive mom for all of these years, and for that I still thank you.

You have often continued to calm my fears, helped me to work through my adult struggles, prayed endlessly for me and my husband and sons, and helped to create so many more special memories.

We are grateful for the added blessing of sharing these memories with your grandsons, our own family.

Mom, I’ve only touched on a small percentage of my thoughts and memories for which I wish to express appreciation and gratitude, but I hope that it brings you just some of the blessing you deserve today.

So Mom, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

I know that you will never stop being a mother, my mother, and I only pray that God gives me the strength, courage and wisdom to be the mother to my sons, and to all those God brings into my life, that you have been to me.

I love you. ♥

*****

 

God will supply all my needs

Be Sure to Make Time to Breathe

God will supply all my needs

Today’s post is written for the link-up at Five Minute Friday. Join me there as we write for five (mostly-) unedited minutes of writing on the prompt, “breathe”.

*****

If only I could just find a minute to BREATHE…..

 

Do you ever feel this way?

Or perhaps a better question is how do we avoid feeling like this for much of our necessarily busy lives???

 

I’ve had a hectic month. While January is usually busy as we “undo” from the holidays and get back into the daily swing of things, this year I have felt especially over-scheduled and overwhelmed.

Due to some family transitions and responsibilities (nothing critical or life-altering; just “normal” family busyness), it has simply flown by. And I’ve felt so behind and not on top of things.

I’ve finally managed to put most of the holiday stuff behind me, but am still sorely feeling the need for more time and space to work on goals, resolutions (if you will), and just general overall life scheduling and planning.

Well, today I slept in, and despite the feeling that there aren’t quite enough hours left in this beautiful day, I have been blessed with a quiet day at home.

My dear (and wise) husband left me with his Jesus Calling devotional open on top of my computer, which was the perfect “hint” to put first things first today.

Here is the reading for this day:

Devotional about anxiety and focusing on Christ

I was aptly reminded that my anxiety is based on my focus being in the wrong place. When I simply look at what’s visible around me, I fail to recognize that I belong to a God who will never leave me, who promises to be always by my side, and who cares for all of my needs.

My “verse of the day” from the YouVersion Bible App is also appropriate for me today.

 

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

-Philippians 4:19

 

When we turn our eyes and our hearts from what we can simply see around us, and intentionally place our focus on the One who created, knows and loves us best, we can sit back and rest assured, and breathe.

It’s so important to not only carve out some time from our busy schedules to stop, think, plan, pray and rest, but also that we place our focus firmly in the right place.

God has provided all I need.

I need simply to stop to breathe and take it all in.

*****

 

 

 

 

 

pink blue sky with tree branches and snowy roof

Freedom in Learning the Balance of Control

 

 

pink blue sky with tree branches and snowy roof

Today’s post is written for the link-up at Five Minute Friday. Join me there to read other writers’ brief, unedited thoughts on the prompt, “control”.

*****

Control.

So difficult a word for some of us. Or is it really quite simple?

I like to feel in control. My personality is most comfortable when I am the one in control.

I don’t always live with intention to control the things I can, such as my time, energy, attention, words, thoughts, and actions. This is an area that I am determined to change.

But there are so many things I cannot control.

It was so much easier when my sons were little. A parent can do well to provide a good deal of control when their kids are too little to understand what they need to do.

But teens and young adult offspring are not only harder to control; they also need to learn to live their own lives with intention.

It’s tempting to try to control those around us, even other adults (ask my poor husband), whom we have no ability nor business to do so.

I’d like to control my circumstances, but aside from using what God’s provided in this season of my life intentionally, I cannot control most of what the ebbs and flows of life bring.

But perhaps it’s really not as complicated as I make it out to be.

I can only change the things I can change. I’m learning to live more intentionally, but have a long way to go.

The rest I must leave to God, trust others to do their part, and chose my response or reaction with love and grace.

I guess this prayer really holds more wisdom and truth than I realized:

Serenity Prayer image

 

By learning to live this way, I may just find freedom.

*****

 

 

 

 

 

gold refining process

Refine

*****Today’s post is written for the link-up at Five Minute Friday. Our prompt for today is the word, “refine”.*****

 

gold refining process

Pouring Liquid Gold

Today I’m thinking about the word, “refine”, and the first thing that comes to mind is the process using fire that refines gold.

According to Oxford Living Dictionaries, the definition of refine is,

“Remove impurities or unwanted elements from (a substance), typically as part of an industrial process”,

or

“Make minor changes so as to improve or clarify (a theory or method)”.

This is enlightening to me. What will I allow to refine my life?

I have many “unwanted elements” (weaknesses and shortcomings) and “impurities” (sins) that I would wish to have removed from me. I also wish to continue to make small changes to improve my life.

I can study and learn to work at it myself, and that may help some. I can spend time with people I admire and look up to and glean both from what I see in them and from what they may share with me, and that may help me to grow.

But most of all, I want to allow God to refine me.

The best ways I know of to do just that are spending time communicating with him in prayer (both speaking and patiently listening), and reading the Bible. Many say it is like a love letter from God to us, and I also like to think of it as an instruction manual for life, written by the One who created me.

There are also negative forces all around me that would seek to divert my attention and distract me, drawing me away from God and doing what’s best for me and those around me.

I need to be intentional with my time, my thoughts, my words, my actions, and even in helping to direct my wavering emotions. I desire strength to withstand the onslaught of negativity and evil that exists in the world around us.

Lord, help me to allow you and the good influences you’ve provided all around me to refine me, making me more and more into the person I was truly created to be. Then I will find fulfillment and be a blessing to those around me, and shine like gold that comes out of the fire refined.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” – Romans 5:3-5, NLT

 

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fall sunlight through trees with barn

To Those Who Are Hurting

 

fall sunlight through trees with barn

I see so many around me hurting.

Some of them I know, and some are still strangers, but they’re out there.

We’ve just come through a tumultuous election and it seems the discord, dislike and distrust are still rampant. There are many with fears and those who seem to have lost hope.

darkening sky at sunset

But I know many who are experiencing an even greater sadness. Recently, they have lost someone dear to them.

More than one family that I know are living in the aftermath of an unexpected loss of a loved one. And that is one of the hardest griefs to bear.

fall field grass

We sang this song in worship on Sunday. I was ministering with our worship team, so I heard and sang it over and over.

And when I got home, I realized there was a message of hope and help in it that could bring some small healing to the hearts of those I care about.

Listen to this version of, “Lord I Need You”.

The lyrics, “I need you; oh, I need you” are a familiar refrain to many of us who have sung them from our youth.

But they are ever true.

sun hitting bare tree branches against blue sky

When we are experiencing a loss or in the midst of grieving we may feel this “need” more acutely, but in reality it’s always present.

I am reminded of the wise words of one of the former presidents of the Bible college I attended.

He was a stately man of Welsh decent, and had a gift for articulating thoughts in such a meaningful way. He was the type of man who could speak truth so succinctly that it would give you something to think about for days, and even stay with you for life.

One such time was in chapel after we had just sung the words of an old chorus, “As the Deer“, which come from the scripture in Psalms 42:1.

“As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after thee”

You can read the story behind that chorus here.

barn and pasture in late afternoon sun

Our president shared that the intent of the scripture wasn’t that the deer waits until it’s almost too late or it’s been without water so long that it can barely go on, but that the deer desperately needs the consistency of water every day of it’s life.

So are we with God.

We may feel our need for God more passionately in times of stress, hardship and pain, but what the Bible is getting at is that we need God and his Word in our lives always.

It needs to be as the food we eat and the air we breathe.

And just as all living things need water to live, so we will die without him in our lives.

He is our Source, our Comfort, our Strength, and our Song. He leads us and goes before us, carries us when we are weak, gives us the strength and wisdom to carry on, and stays with us at all times.

If you are in a season of uncertainty or pain, let me leave you with a few lines from “Lord I Need You”.

 

“Without you I fall apart.

You’re the one who guides my heart.”

 

Every hour I need you.”

 

“When I cannot stand I’ll fall on You.

Jesus, you’re my hope and stay.”

 

Our hope has never been in the people who lead the country, nor in the circumstances of our lives.

My prayer for you is that in your greatest hour of urgency as well as in your daily need, you will call out to God, let yourself fall on him, and put your trust in His mighty, unending, sacrificial love for you.

 

*****

 

homemade blueberry pancakes with butter and syrup

How To Make Easy, Healthy, Delicious Homemade Pancakes

 

homemade blueberry pancakes with butter and syrup

Homemade fresh blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup.

Happy Fourth of July, friends!!!

Today I realized that it would have been nice to share a festive, patriotic recipe with you, but truth be told, I didn’t make any special holiday recipes this time (sometimes life just happens), and what I really had planned to share was a recipe for homemade pancakes.

Well, this is the beauty of this homemade pancake recipe. They are they quick and simple to mix up (with basic ingredients you probably have in your pantry), they can be made much more healthy than store-bought pancake mixes (by using part or all whole grain flour and healthy add-ins), and they’re economical. And what’s more, with the addition of an endless variety of ingredients, they can be changed up to suit any special occasion or holiday!

pancakes on griddle

The pancakes in my photos are made with fresh blueberries, but you can leave them plain or include any number of different add-ins to create the pancake of your liking. I’m including a list of many ideas for add-in ingredients for your homemade pancakes, but the variety of options is really endless! I often separate out some of the batter and make two varieties at once, just for fun.

If I were planning ahead for the Fourth of July, I would probably add blueberries and strawberries to my pancakes, and serve them with some nice, white whipped cream. Or leave the pancakes plain and top them with fresh blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream. Or put blueberries in the pancakes and top with strawberries and cream. For Canada Day (July 1st), I would just use red raspberries or strawberries and cream. You get the idea.

I got the original recipe for homemade pancakes from a good friend of mine, who is easily the best baker-mom I know of. She and her now older daughters are always posting photos on Facebook of such delicious recipes and baked goods that I’m often tempted to put down what I’m doing, jump in the car, and drive the roughly three hours to get to her house to “share” in the deliciousness. The recipe was jotted down on whatever note-pad paper we had hanging around at the time when she was at my house. For sentimental reasons, I will probably never throw away that original, food-stained, but cherished, hand-written page.

handwritten homemade pancake recipe

Homemade pancake recipe from my dear friend, Donna.

 

A few helpful notes before we begin (if you’re really hungry, you may skip ahead to the recipe below, but I think it will be worth the read):

  •  Although it seems to be cheating somehow, I usually just add all the ingredients to my mixing bowl in almost any order, and thoroughly mix them together. No need to dirty two bowls and be all fancy about the order of ingredients.
  • In an effort to use healthier oils, I prefer not to use liquid oils such as corn or canola (although you certainly can, and I did for years), but instead, melt a little butter or coconut oil to add for the required oil. ( I did find out the other day, however, that if you wish to use coconut oil, you’ll need to be mindful of the fact that it will start to harden and form little lumps in your batter if it comes in contact with cold ingredients.)
  • I like to make these healthier by using at least half whole wheat flour, and very often add some ground flax meal. We are at the point in our family that pancakes made with plain white flour actually taste a little bland to us, so ramping them up with whole grains is, in my opinion, the way to go!
  • The milk measurement can be adjusted according to your preference for thinner or thicker pancakes. Factors such as the other ingredients you use and even temperature may affect the thickness of your pancakes, so I recommend trying a smaller amount of milk at first, then adding more if you decide your pancakes are too thick.
  • Surprisingly, I don’t think I’ve tried this yet, but I’m sure that alternate milks such as almond could be used. I’ll try that soon and let you know.
  • I prefer to use a griddle to speed up the process of making a large number of pancakes, but of course a good, old-fashioned frying pan is fine. I have a nice quality non-stick griddle, but many folks are opting for cast iron (such as this one). I am told that cast iron is wonderful, but as of yet, haven’t used one regularly myself. With cast iron, you may even be able to cook pancakes on your grill outdoors!
  • You may need to experiment to learn your ideal temperature for cooking your pancakes. Generally, medium heat is best. (See this article for more great pancake-making tips.)
  • I cook my pancakes in butter for best flavor, also eliminating the need for serving additional butter on the pancakes (but you may still add some if you like).
  • I love to use my largest cookie/baking scoop from my set (from one of my favorite direct marketing companies) to scoop out the batter. You can find a similar set on Amazon here (for a top-rated, but expensive set), or here, (for a less expensive, but functional set). I would love to try this pancake batter dispenser.
  • I usually make four times the amount called for in this recipe, since with my two tall older sons and 6’4″ husband, a single batch would not even feed us any more. Also, I love to have leftovers. So I will make life easier for you by including a second ingredient list with measurements for a quadruple batch as well. You’re welcome. 🙂
  • To keep your pancakes warm (while you cook up the rest), place an ovenproof casserole or cookie sheet in your oven set to a low temperature (200-250 degrees F). In warm weather (if you just can’t stand to turn on your oven), you can put the casserole dish in your microwave and close the door, or into a large toaster oven like mine, set on low heat.
  • If you have any left over pancakes (or purposely make extra, as I do), you can keep them in the fridge for a few days, or freeze them for later use. Save your money, and serve your own healthy, tasty pancakes from your freezer on busy or lazy mornings, instead of purchasing inferior store-bought packages!

So, without further ado, here is the recipe for homemade pancakes. I hope you discover as I did, that it’s so much better than using a mix from the store, and almost as easy. It’s definitely worth the extra five minutes or so!

pancake ingredients

What you will need (plus sugar….see next photo).

 

making homemade pancakes (batter)

Adding the brown sugar.

 

making homemade pancake batter

Adding nutritious flax meal to the batter (optional).

 

adding fresh blueberries to homemade pancake batter

Adding some fresh blueberries.

 

Healthy Homemade Pancakes

 

Ingredients (single batch):

1 egg, beaten

1 cup flour (I use at least half whole wheat flour)

1 Tbsp sugar (I prefer brown)

2 Tbsp. oil *

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. baking powder

3/4 to 1 cup milk

(* Plus additional butter or oil in which to cook pancakes.)

 

Ingredients (quadruple or my “normal” sized batch):

4 eggs

4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil*

2 tsp. salt

4 Tbsp. or 1/4 cup baking powder

3 to 4 cups milk

(* Plus additional butter or oil in which to cook pancakes.)

 

“Add-in” ingredient ideas:

  • vanilla or other flavored extract
  • ground flax (or flax meal), for added health benefit
  • fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, or other berries or combinations
  • sliced bananas (or mashed ripe banana)
  • fresh, frozen or dried cranberries (or other dried fruit/berries, such as dried cherries)
  • chocolate chips (or other flavored chips)
  • cinnamon and chopped apple or applesauce
  • pumpkin puree (store-bought or homemade) and pumpkin pie spices
  • chopped apple and almond (use a little almond extract and slivered almonds)
  • coffee granules and chocolate (powder or chips), for mocha flavor
  • peanut butter (or peanut butter powder) with banana or chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients. Fold in any “add-in” ingredients of choice. Heat griddle or frying pan to medium heat. Add butter (or oil) to melt. Drop desired amount of pancake batter onto hot griddle. Cook until pancakes bubble and edges look a little dry. Flip and continue cooking until golden brown.

Hold pancakes in a warm place. Add more butter as needed to cook the remainder of the batter.

Serve with pure maple syrup or other desired toppings. Enjoy!

making homemade pancakes with bubbles before turning

Pancakes are ready to flip when they are covered with bubbles and the edges seem dry.

 

cooked homemade blueberry pancakes

Hot homemade blueberry pancakes.

 

Optional topping ideas:

  • pure maple syrup or other syrup of choice
  • flavored syrups or jam
  • fresh, cut up strawberries (or other berries) and whipped cream
  • applesauce
  • yogurt
  • peanut butter or almond butter

 

homemade heart-shaped pancake

Freestyle heart-shaped pancake.

 

heart-shaped homemade pancake

Sometimes I finish off the last of the batter by making a giant or heart-shaped pancake (which usually goes to my husband). 🙂

 

homemade blueberry pancakes -2

Yummy!

 

Now that you have the recipe, what are you waiting for?

Enjoy your delicious, homemade pancakes for breakfast, brunch or even a “breakfast-supper”!

*****

Please let me know how you like this recipe. If you are a cast iron griddle user, please share your experience with us, especially for cooking pancakes. Do you have any personal ideas for add-in ingredients or toppings to share?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

little mint plant in ceramic pot

Protect

little mint plant in ceramic pot

So many things we must PROTECT.

As I think about the theme, “protect”, I am considering the plants I have been working with these past two years.

I was a teachers’ aide for ten years until a couple of years ago, when circumstances changed and I was no longer needed in my position. At that time, I helped to protect little (and some bigger) lives and souls in a loving Christian school.

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work in an indoor microgreens farm, and am currently working in the greenhouses of a “regular” farm.

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about plants.

Little plants need much protection in order to grow and flourish. They require good, nutritious soil to nourish them, consistent watering to quench their “thirst”, and sun (or light) to help them reach their full potential. We also protect them from insects and animals who would eat them for lunch or a snack. Plants also require physical protection from the extreme temperatures and natural dangers of the weather and environment.

Like plants, we also need protection, and to provide it for those in our care.

I need to discern who and what I am to protect, and do it wholeheartedly.

But we need help.

My first help comes from the Lord, the source of all protection. Secondly, it’s good and healthy to accept and invite the help of others around us with their love and wisdom.

I also need to protect myself, in order to grow and flourish to be all that God wants me to be, and in order to be the protection that others need.

As I accept the protection I need from God and others who love me, I can in turn, reach out in strenth and offer shelter to those around me.

I close with a Psalm that speaks of God’s protection.

Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

(NLT)

*****

I’m linking up with many other bloggers today at Five Minute Friday. Feel free to join me there and read more views and ideas on today’s theme of “protect”.

 

dock on lake in fog near Algonquin Park

Finding True Rest

dock on lake in fog near Algonquin Park

As I sit in front of my computer contemplating the meaning of rest, I realize and have to admit that I really need it. I was so excited to find a new place to link-up and share this morning with a wonderful group of bloggers (hosted by Kate at Heading Home).

I proceeded to spend a little quiet time reflecting while I went out into the beautiful new-summer weather to water my plants and feed my little hummingbirds. Then I came in and attempted to do something technical, and after what seems like way too long, I am feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. I am frustrated that I have so much trouble with technical things, and overwhelmed because my day is quickly going by and I feel behind.

Am I the only one who has days or moments like this?

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

 – Matthew 11:29 (NLT)

How appropriate to write about the word “rest” today! And I find it even more timely to be given the opportunity and the challenge of writing for five minutes without editing. For this recovering perfectionist, that’s big. And it begins to speak to me of what rest is really all about.

What is true rest, and why is it such a struggle to find it in our modern lives?

I know that for myself, rest is primarily about two things, which are intricately related. It’s about my relationship with God my father, first and foremost, and secondly, it’s about caring for myself.

In order to experience true rest, I need to stop and do just that…..rest.

My first priority is to spend time with the One who knows and loves me, because he created me. I need to take time to listen for his still, small voice and read the Letter he left for me. The Bible is truly the personal road map for my life.

When we spend with Christ, both talking and listening to him, we will find true rest for our souls in his quiet presence.

I also believe that in a practical sense, we also need to give ourselves permission to rest. No; we need to make sure we prioritize rest. Especially as women, we have a natural tendency to take care of everyone and everything, and while this is a God-given gift, it can easily become an overwhelming responsibility.

The need for sleep, quietness and time alone, time with people who love and encourage us, doing something creative, taking care of our health, and sometimes getting away from it all, is something we cannot take too lightly. Even our Creator set the example to take time to rest.

In truly resting, we will find our true selves, our purpose, and the motivation and energy to live a life of purpose that glorifies God.

Lord, help me to trust you and find rest.

*****

I’m linking up today (for the first time), with a wonderful group of bloggers on Five Minute Fridays. Please join me here and see what some others have to say about today’s word of the week.

 


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