Thursday, March 31, 2011

my life is quieter these days

I no longer carry my phone w/ me everywhere… expecting THE phone call at any moment.

I no longer wake in the middle of the night and look at my phone … to see if I missed THE phone call.

I no longer jump to answer the phone when it rings… thinking it’s THE phone call.

I no longer drive 30 miles south a few times a week… and no longer get to have Saturday morning breakfast with my Grampa.

I no longer have that extra quiet time in the car… to process the daily grieving and think through the family issues related to Grampa’s end of life.

I no longer spend extra money on gas… and yet in a heartbeat I’d spend it all over again for one more trip south to see my Grampa.

Having family around more often over the past few months has been cathartic.

Even in the hard times we were laughing… that’s just how we roll.

The laughter with the family will resume… once we come together again to spend time with each other.

Until then... it's quiet these days.

So in the absence of the phone ringing (and long conversations with family) and the long drives and the enjoyable & necessary family time… I now catch up on "reading people and meeting books".

These were just a few of the things on my ‘to do (eventually)’ list… and now my time has been freed up a bit so that I can resume checking off the list. This week alone I have taken 3 naps, finished 3 books I was in the middle of and have actually made dinner every night...

Other items on my 'to do' list: scan in old family slides, host a girls’-only dinner in the backyard, enjoy my Saturday mornings at home (my favorite time to be at home – if you know me well you know I protect this time as much as possible), etc.

Life resumes… but now without Grampa.

And while I miss him dearly everyday I’m kind of jealous that he has been reunited with Gramma. We love you both and know that you have smiles on your faces once again…

life is good...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How {GREAT} Thou Art

I remember lying on the floor of my childhood living room with big puffy headphones on. There was a record playing and I was reading the lyrics inside the tri-fold record liner, the notes on the producers and the musicians and the history on the company who produced this record (in case you were wondering, my favorite albums as a kid in the early 1980’s were Bullfrogs and Butterflies, Music Machine: Fruit of the Spirit, Ants’hillvania, Sir Oliver’s Song and I Am God’s Project). I even hung up the a poster from inside the album cover of I Am God’s Project on my bedroom wall.

I just cringe thinking at how I most likely sounded while I was belting out songs (with headphones on – so the rest of the household couldn’t even hear the music). This would go on for hours, I’m just sure of it. Oh the joys of childhood…

If it wasn’t already obvious, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: music has always been a big part of my life.

But it wasn’t just “white noise” to me. It’s much more than the sound of the music that I love. It’s about the lyrics and the meaning of that story, the vulnerability of the writer coming through… it’s about the feeling of the music, the emotion behind the soul singing.

So this morning when I was diminished to tears at the lyrics of this classic hymn I wasn’t surprised. Crying, joyful/thankful tears, I sat at my desk (at work) and paused. This is a song I have sung a thousand times (at least). And this morning I am reminded of the significance of those lyrics.

How Great Thou Art
Lyrics ~ Carl Boberg, 1859 - 1940
English Translation ~ Stuart K. Hine, 1899 -

Stanza 1:
O Lord my God,
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all
The works Thy Hand hath made,
I see the stars,
I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy pow'r throughout
The universe displayed;

Stanza 2:
When through the woods
And forest glades I wander
I hear the birds
Sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down
From lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook
And feel the gentle breeze;

Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!

Stanza 3:
When Christ shall come,
With shouts of acclamation,
And take me home,
What joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow
In humble adoration
And there proclaim,
"My God, how GREAT Thou art!"

But the real story is in the full story of the writer of this song... and what inspired this song.

For more on the story of the writers and the inspiration behind the song:
Click on this link - Hymn: How Great Thou Art

life is good...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Working {for the Lord}

Colossians 3:23-24
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

As someone who has dedicated a good portion of her free time serving various ministries in various churches I have struggled to truly “unpack” a Sunday morning message from Pastor Sam at Mission Hills Church. Let it be known… it’s taken me about a year to unpack this one (in fact, just over a year). And it has been life-changing…

Here’s a synopsis of what Pastor Sam shared:

  • In Colossians 3 the Apostle Paul confronts a common belief, and yet it is a muth. This false belief has run over into the church environment. The common myth about serving God: “The church is my primary place of service to God.”
  • He goes on to urge that churches have “tended to communicate (consciously or not) that the best place for church members to exercise one’s God-given abilities is within the institution of the church (within the four walls of the building). Often it is communicated that getting involved/plugged into the church means that to some varying degree you must take on an additional part-time job in service to the church. This belief that “you are only serving God when you are serving the church” is a tragic mentality. This mentality leads to burn out, to individual despair; to stress in the family… the tragic list goes on. When in all reality we spend more time outside of church than we do within those “four walls”.

It’s simply not true that we only serve the Lord within the four walls of the church building… only one day a week. Every minute of every day God uses the skills He has built into us to serve His kingdom. This goes for at home, at work, in line at the grocery store, on Facebook, etc… when we work for the Lord we are working for Him in every minute of our lives. And He has given us the strengths and abilities to do just that.

But before I go on, please allow me to digress for a minute and share this: I recently learned a bit more about myself. (Confession: I think, deep down inside, I already knew this). I was given the opportunity to take a strength deployment inventory. I’m not sure if I can do much justice in an explanation of what it is, but I’ll give it a go. By answering questions of how I would respond in certain circumstances, and in certain environments, the results show me what motivates me to respond (and how I respond). This test revealed for me what I think I already knew. However it gave credence to what I was feeling and thinking. The results helped to ground me a bit more and guess less about what drives me.

I have often felt an internal struggle about whether or not I should 1) be more focused on administration/detail-oriented projects (an obvious strength of mine), or 2) to analyze details and work solo to solve problems (which I love, love, love), or 3) to work more closely on a team and truly connect with others. So, what did this inventory confirm for me? That the aforementioned struggle is just that… a struggle. But it showed me that it is also natural… due to my motivations. My motivations show that I’m able to move in and out of each of those areas, as the need is evident.

So, let me get this straight {I’m not really confused}: I’m just able to be flexible?!

Aaannnd… we’re back to the topic that brought us here in the first place.

As Pastor Sam unpacked the message from Colossians 3 (verses 23 and 24) I put my pen down and just listened… and thought. And the following realizations flooded my mind…
- I know this: God created me for His glory
- When God created me He gave me specific strengths (and unfortunately some non-strengths too)
- He has gifted me … ME!
- God is entrusting me with something that only I can do for His glory
- What am I waiting for?!
- Have I REALLY never thought of it this way before?!
- I’m 30-something years old and JUST NOW realizing this?!

And if all of that wasn’t enough, Pastor Sam shared the following quote from an author I had yet to read: “The place where God called you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meets.” Frederick Beuchner

What does this indicate to me? That what I LOVE doing is what God created me to do. I love solving problems. I love analyzing things, putting puzzles together (literal and figurative) and the critical thinking part of life. Question: What makes me happy? Answer: Making a difference by utilizing the skills given me.

And to drive it all home Pastor Sam urged us into more contemplation with these tidbits:

“If the church teaches us anything… it should be to see all of our lives as lived under the watchful and caring eye of the Lord Jesus. And that to live out of our new identity is His goal for us – in every place that we go (every sphere of our life: homes, work, etc). There is no corner of creation that is not under Christ’s supervision. And there is no station in life that He has not blessed and redeemed as a place of meaningful service to Him. If you are not prepared to serve Christ in your homes and workplaces you are not prepared to serve Him here at church.” – Sam Paschall

“Our families are to reflect the life of God himself. We want to work as if we’re serving the Lord himself. He wants to remind us how to work. Work heartily. And lastly, He wants to remind us what it is we are working for.” – Sam Paschall

Come to think of it… you should just go listen to the message (that is, if you're into that sort of thing). It’s on our church website. Under Sermon Audio, search for Sam Paschall or the name of the message “The New Self at Home and Work”. You might learn something completely different from it than I did. And if you did, I’d love to hear what that is.

Note to Pastor Sam … I love your teaching style. You’re philosophical and yet goofy. You’re deep and yet easily easy-going. And I believe God has gifted you in a way that is going to bless so many lives in your day-to-day ministry… not just in your “job”. Thank you for your service to our church, the students you minister to daily and in the way you love your family. You’re pretty cool.

Lastly, thank you for introducing me to Frederick Buechner. I’ve now read 3 of his books, with 2 or 3 more to go…

life is good...

Gramma's Pearls of Wisdom

Several, several months ago I received a card from Gramma Helen.
Inside of it was a bookmark...
a bookmark I've kept close by, in fact right in front of me
It is propped up on my desk at work
I read small portions of it daily
May I share it with you?
I love my Gramma Helen!

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk

Learned lessons old and new

And now this wisdom of my life

I’m blessed to share with you

Let kindness spread like sunshine

Embrace those who are sad

Respect their dignity, give them joy

And leave them feeling glad

Forgive those who might hurt you

And though you have your pride

Listen closely to their viewpoint

Try to see the other side

Walk softly when you’re angry

Try not to take offense

Invoke your sense of humor

Laughter’s power is immense!

Express what you are feeling

Your beliefs you should uphold

Don’t shy away from what is right

Be courageous and be bold

Keep hope right in your pocket

It will guide you day by day

Take it out when it is needed

When it’s near, you’ll find a way

Remember friends and family

Of which you are a precious part

Love deeply and love truly

Give freely from your heart

The world is far from perfect

There’s conflict and there’s strife

But you still can make a difference

By how you live your life

And so I’m very blessed to know

The wonders you will do

Because you are my granddaughter

And I believe in you

Did I say "I love my Gramma Helen" yet?!
life is good...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

After the storm...

San Diego County has been under a deluge of rain, hail (and in some parts even snow!) and more rain. So this is what I could see from a few blocks down our street. If you don't know our locale in Southern California you may not understand how unusual this is.

If you hadn't guessed, this is highly unusual. Our average temperature this time of year is much warmer. And that snow level there? That snow you see is down to around 2000 feet! Unheard of in these parts.

So crazy... so, so crazy!

To see local freeway signs AND snow in the same glance... so crazy!

An added benefit? Lake Hodges (a local reservoir) is now overflowing. I seem to recall that the last time this happened was over 5 years ago. What a treat!

So I took the long (and scenic) road home so I could drive by the Lake ... and of course stop and take pictures!

We sure are blessed here in San Diego County. We don't get MUCH weather... but when we do we appreciate it.

Actually, I should say I appreciate it. (Some of my friends, and even my husband, whine when it rains.) But I welcome it!!! In fact, I'm gleeful it's going to rain again tonight!

Literally gleeful...

weather or not, life is good...


All images are © Lori Tisdale, 1990-2011 unless otherwise noted. Images are posted for your personal inspiration only and may not be copied/pasted into emails to share with anyone else, posted on other sites, copied for publications, contest submissions, or monetary gain. I'd have to track you down and who knows what would happen then?! Thank you for being considerate.