Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

God's work?

As I was spending time with God this morning this portion of the scripture passage I was reading stood out to me:

30 Happiness or sadness or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God's work. 31 Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away. 32 In everything you do, I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. 1 Corinthians 7:30-32A (NLT)

I found myself moved to ask forgiveness for my attachment to the things of this world and for the Holy Spirit to convict me when I am getting too attached.  Then I found myself asking What's God's work for me in my life right now?

 I want to spend some time thinking on this today.  Some stuff I know are God's work for me:

* To continue to impact the lives of my sons (ages 20, 21, & 26). None of them live at home right now.  So I call & email them regularly.  I feel good about that part.  But I'm impressed to spend more time praying for them.  Oh Father, show me how to pray more for my sons.

* To be a helpful and encouraging wife to John. I'm convicted to be more positive and not let work and life stress impact me in such a way that I complain to him.  I have to be so positive at my job that sometimes I kind of take stuff out on him. Oh Father, empower me to have a steadfast heart for John.  Help me look for and see the ways I can be a help and encouragement to him.  Please put a guard on my lips Holy Spirit to keep me from being a negative, complainer toward him.  Help me come up with positive ways to approach problems in daily life.  Help me know when it's best to just let things go.

*To be a light for Christ at my job. Oh Father I thank You for my job.  I thank You for your favor on me and the ways I've been able to get things done. Help me be smarter than I am and learn all I need to learn.  Please help me pursue and achieve excellence and find even more ways to give the glory back to you. Oh Father, make me aware of the hearts of those around me.  Give me insight into ways each day I can encourage the people around me.  Show me practical ways I can extend your love at my work.  I need your great wisdom and I thank you for it. Christmas is coming and I feel impressed to write a special note on a Christmas card for each of my direct reports.  Oh Father give me the thoughts and words so that it may be meaningful to them and accomplish what You desire. 

*Women's Ministry at church. Do you still want me there Lord?  Please make it clear to me if You want me to do something different.  For now I  know I'm supposed to continue facilitating this specific Bible Study on Thursdays until we're finished.  Oh Father, may this study be Yours.  Please accomplish what You want thought it and help me not get in the way.  May I follow Your leading.  The results are Yours Lord.  

* The people at my last job. I don't feel finished there Lord.  I still feel connected to, and love them.  Show me how to stay in touch in Your way.  Thank you that Kimberly reaches out to me still.  Show me things I can do with her or how to minister to her.  She doesn't even believe You're real.  There are so many Believers in her life, wonderful people, she's attracted to You in them but just doesn't know it.  Oh Father use me there.  And Jonathan.  You had me invest in him professionally and he says he's yours but he seems so immature in Your ways Lord - is there anything you want from me there?  

*Is there something else I'm supposed to be involved with or doing that I am missing?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Two weeks and a day

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It's become a habit.  Every morning about 10 minutes before our stand up meeting starts I walk into the admissions coordinators office and ask, "So,...what's our census?  Medicare?"  Then we talk a bit and I go on to the meeting. She follows after she finishes what I interrupted.

Today when we're talking she asks how long I've been here.  I tell her two weeks and a day.  She responds "You've done more in two weeks than the other administrators did in the whole time they were here!" My heart overflows.  These are words I love to hear!  Out loud I say something about sometimes you don't see what administrators are doing; hoping that I come across humble.  Inside my head I'm rejoicing.

Lest I get too impressed with myself I remember that they've had 6 administrators before me during the past two years.  So none of them were there long.  None the less.......I'll take the good when it comes my way.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Only God

I've not posted in a long time because I've been writing, writing, and writing some more for school.

But I just had to share about how God blessed me!

I've shared here about all the tribulations I've been through with my jobs.  Since 2009 when the economy tanked, I've been underemployed and making around 60% of what I used to make.  I've tried to seize opportunities where I've been working to make a difference. I've sought to be a person of gratitude.  Sometimes, by God's grace, I've been successful in these two endeavors.

Recently this is what God did:

  • I was not seeking a job or applying for work or even talking about getting another job.
  • The Clinical Director of a small management company with whom I used to work contacted me.
  • We scheduled an interview on a  Friday that she had to cancel.  We rescheduled for the next Tuesday and I was going to leave work, drive out to Victorville (close to a 50 mile trip), and then go back to work and make up the time.
  • I prepared.  I researched the facility, got together an outfit, got a sharp looking notebook to bring in to the interview, read up on tips for effective interviewing.
  • Monday DPH showed up at a building where I am training the new administrator for their annual re-certification survey so I called the clinical director on Monday and explained and asked to re-schedule.  She said yes we'd do it the next week.
  • Tuesday I arrived at work at a home in Riverside at 6:30AM which meant I left home at 5:30AM.  I'd arrived home from work the prior day at 9:30PM.  I left the house with wet hair.  It was a hot day, my jacket was wrinkled, I had on sandals and looked rather dreadful.
  • The clinical director called me and said herself and the company owner would drive to where I was at and could I just meet with them for 10 minutes.  I felt I had to say yes so I gave her the address of a Starbucks nearby.
  • They arrived around 4PM, after DPH had left for the day.
  • I talked with them for around an hour.  Instead of it being a typical interview they told me all about the job and the kind of person they wanted and what they expected of that person.  I asked a ton of questions -but not the interview type - just sincere questions in response to what I heard. My deficits from not having ran a geriatric building were out in the open.  I think that I presented myself as exactly who I am-none of the make-yourself-look-good stuff that the literature suggests  you do in interviews.
  • The owner asked if I had any more questions and I said no.  No one seemed to be ending the interview so I thanked them for their time and I had to go back to work.  I told the clinical director I'd call her.
  • 5 minutes after I got back to work the clinical director called me. She asked me how much I wanted for salary and when I could start.  I always hate that question about how much I want so I named a number.  She said no don't ask for that and said a number $10K higher.  She talked with the owner and came back with a salary $5K higher than I'd originally named.  The owner had also included a bonus of $1K per quarter for any quarter in which there are 50 or more medicaid patients (they are currently running in the low 30s) every day of the month.  
I did not make this happen in any way.  Only God could have made this happen.  By the way there are only 3 nursing homes in the high desert area and this one is a 5-star facility.  I am grateful.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rethinking what I believe about women in ministry

I grew up in a southern Baptist church.  I was born in 1960.  Both of these events have contributed greatly to my view of women in ministry.

A few years ago my youngest son asked me about women in ministry.  I went to the Word to answer him.  I even wrote about  it here.   As much as I want to say that it's all about the Holy Spirit leading me when I read the word, it's not that simple.  Other things affect me as I read the word; among them are my culture,  frame of reference, experience and how much time I'm willing to invest digging in and studying.  In all these things I trust that God will work to lead me to His truth.  Sometimes I understand truths over time.  Sometimes I am not able to understand them at one point in time but am able to understand later.

Maybe it's that way about the whole women thing.  Maybe not. I'm not sure yet.  But I am open to whatever God wants to show me in His Word.

I find a series of articles put out by Fuller seminary on women in ministry worthwhile. 

Today I've got other things I need to be doing but plan to spend some more time thinking about this topic and doing some research in future days.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine Thoughts for John

Sometimes love is shown best in the little things.
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Whenever he is home on week days, John helps me in the morning. Except for on those rare occasions when I'm up before him, he makes my tea and brings it to me. He makes the tea that I take with me for the drive to work.  He  goes out and warms up my car for me.  If there's snow, he gets my car all ready so all I have to do is get in and go.  His thoughtful actions make the start to my day so much better. 

When I mess up in some way he never makes a big deal about it. If I stay up way late reading because I'm into a good book, he never complains.  If I'm too tired to cook at the end of a long day at work, he adjusts.

There are things about John that encourage my faith.  He has a gift for evangelism and it's a way of life for him.  He's constantly sharing his faith. He's constantly reading, listening, and watching theology, apologetics, and mystic teachers.

He's always willing to read my papers for school and provide editorial advice.  Even though I doubt that the subjects are of much interest to him.

I'm grateful for John.

Valentine's day is the day we celebrate love.  I'm sure grateful that God's given me John.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine Thoughts for Dylan

Dylan is my middle son.  He turned 21 this past November.

I'm grateful for all God has done, and is doing, in Dylan's life.

Dylan is a people person.  He's silly and funny and outgoing.  He's smart.  He's good at analyzing things and figuring out the best way to do something.

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He's my son that gave me the hardest time during  part of his teen years.  From around the middle of his junior year in high school through his first year of college it was tough.  I always loved him but his actions broke my heart.  He was a real knucklehead and got into smoking dope and a lot of other  bad pursuits.

Then when he was 19 his girlfriend got pregnant.  Dylan was already crazy in love with her so he asked her to marry him.  She said yes but they've not actually wed yet. God used their child (they named her Lillian Eden), to motivate Dylan to change the way he was living.

During the tough times in his teen years I wondered if any of the good things I'd tried so hard to make a part of our lives had any influence on him.  Today I can see that they did.

Dylan stepped up to the plate and moved in with his girlfriend.  He totally gave up smoking dope and partying.  He became both a financial and emotional support to his girlfriend during her pregnancy.  Today he works just under 40 hours a week and goes to school full time.  Every day, Monday-Friday, he stays home with Lilly and takes care of her while his girlfriend is at work.  Then he goes to work four evenings a week. He's an incredible father!  I'm awed and amazed every time I see him with Lilly - he's just so good with her.  He's learned to be frugal with money and is very conscientious about their lifestyle.  He's a good leader in their home.  He's doing well in school and is committed to getting his degree in accounting and eventually becoming a CPA.  I never hear him complain about the fact that his life is pretty challenging right now.  I frequently hear him speak about how much fun he has with Lilly and how much he loves his girlfriend.  I respect him.

Valentine's day is about love.  My husband and sons are my heart.  With the approach of Valentine's day I'm filled with thoughts of love and gratitude for Dylan.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine Thoughts for Kelsie

Kelsie is my son Dylan's girlfriend, fiance, and mother of my one and only grandchild Lillian Eden.

Kelsie came into my life at Thanksgiving time in 2011.  Dylan brought her home to visit.  Kelsie is the type of person that you immediately like.  She's small, cute, quite, and pleasant.  She's a hard worker and her old boss was crazy about her because of her skills, diligence, and desire to grow and learn.  She works in the health care industry because she likes helping people.

I don't know Kelsie very well yet and I look forward to getting to know her better.

I'm so grateful for what a good mother Kelise is to Lilly.  When I think back to how I was when my sons were babies and watch Kelsie with Lilly, she's so much better at it than I was.  Maybe it's partly due to the fact that at one time in her life she worked in a pre-school. Maybe it's just because of who she is.  Whatever the reason - she's terrific with Lilly!  It's obvious how much she likes Lilly and is grateful to be her mother.  I've never seen her tiredness, feeling bad, or the stress of daily life make Kelsie impatient with Lilly. I've seen Kelsie vomit repeatedly during the night due to her own physical distress and yet still be loving with Lilly when she had to get up with her.  I've seen Kelsie be up during the night with Dylan and Lilly both being sick, deal with her own not feeling physically well, and still get up and go to work the next morning.  I admire the mother and employee that Kelsie is.

Valentine's day is about love.  My family are my heart.  With the approach of Valentine's day I'm filled with thoughts of love and gratitude for Kelsie.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine Thoughts for Daniel

Daniel is my youngest son.  He'll be 20 years old on May 29th.

Words can not express how grateful I am for the godly young man that Daniel is.

In the current world that we live in so many young men are caught up with pursuing pleasure and self gain.  By the grace and power of God Daniel lives up to his namesake in the Bible who lived righteously in an fallen
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Daniel believes in sexual purity.  He is a diligent student and not only receives practically all As in college, but he actually delights in learning.  He's studying to become a chemical engineer and has an interest in missions. At the local university of California there is an international student program. Daniel has gotten involved through his church with becoming a conversation partner and meeting with an international student once a week to hang out and learn about one another's culture.  Daniel hopes to be a good friend and also to get to share his faith with his conversation partner.   Daniel leads a Bible study with his team mates. He faithfully attends his local church each week even though he goes alone.  He's the kind of a person who is aware of the areas where he is weak and willingly seeks help and counsel from people who he sees can help him.

I'm repeatedly grateful to God for all He's doing in Daniel's life.

Valentine's day is about love.  My husband and sons are my heart.  With the approach of Valentine's day I'm filled with thoughts of love and gratitude for Daniel.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine Thoughts for Devon

Devon is my oldest son.  He's 25 years old.

I respect the man that Devon chooses to be.  He is a man of integrity who holds fast to his values.
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He loves our county and wants to serve.  He graduated with honors from USMA Westpoint in May 2010.  He branched infantry and is currently working as an executive officer at Fort Brag in North Carolina.  He spent 9 month in Afghanistan but hasn't really talked much about it. I respect that he sincerely believes in duty, honor, and country.

I admire the way he's handled some disappointments that he's encountered in both his career and personal life.  Some rather major things did not go as planned with regard to his career with the army.  Three years ago his wife of a few months decided not to be married after all. No matter how much he tried to encourage her not to, she filed for divorce. I admire that when these things happened he chose not to wallow in self pity.  He didn't deny his pain, he just chose to move forward.  He chose to believe that through it all God has a plan and he can trust God even when he doesn't understand.

I'm grateful that recently God has blessed Devon with a wonderful woman named Rachel.  Rachel is like a burst of sunshine.  She's got a smile that takes up her whole face and lights up any room she walks into.  She's intelligent, funny, musical, friendly, and gracious.  She loves God and wants to do what is right.  She's pretty in a way that has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with who she is on the inside. The best part is that she's obviously crazy about Devon.

I adore watching how Devon is with Rachel.  He respects her.   He always opens her door.  When we visited my other son and his girlfriend at Christmas time they assumed that Devon and Rachel would share a room.  Devon didn't say anything but I couldn't help but notice that he joined me out on the couches in the living room that night.  He listens to her.  Devon is one of the most intelligent, well informed, and opinionated people who I know.  Sometimes he can get a bit intense and perhaps not be as sensitive to others as would be best. Rachael softens Devon.  They're good together.

Valentine's day is about love.  My husband and sons are my heart.  With the approach of Valentine's day I'm filled with thoughts of love and gratitude for Devon.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Some benefits come with age

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Yesterday my boss and I drove a bit of a ways to interview a prospective client to come live in one of the homes I oversee.  The drive was about an hour each way and it gave us time to talk.

I think it was one of those divine appointments.  My boss was asking about my views on things to do with our faith.  He asked specifically about time spent in scripture reading and study, small Bible study groups, church attendance, the practice of tithing, and spiritual leadership. 

My boss is a really good guy.  He loves his wife and kids.  He works diligently at a job that helps others and provides for his family.  He is crazy about his sons and spends tons of time with them, coaches their sports teams, and takes them to a mid week church program.  He speaks highly of his wife and they routinely attend church together on Sundays.

Although he didn't exactly come out and say it, it was obvious that his wife has been giving him a hard time regarding those topics he was asking me about. He was especially interested in how my husband John views those topics.  Apparently my boss is not where his wife believes he should be in relationship to those issues.  She was in some way chastising him about not being the spiritual leader he "should" be to his family.  He basically sees himself as a good guy and was puzzled why his wife doesn't seem happy with him.

I encouraged him that when I was younger I may have thought that way too.  But as I've gotten older I've come to see more clearly that we're all running our own "race" in this relationship with God.  Repeatedly the Bible tells us not to compare ourselves to others.  We have to give our loved ones the space in love to grow and develop into the individual God wants them to be - not who we think they should be.  I did answer his questions but was somewhat evasive on my views on the topics because I told him that I believe we each have to read the scriptures for ourselves and come to the truths the Holy Spirit gives us. I explained that it's not that I see truth as relative, and that when it comes to certain topics such as tithing I do have my own views. However, my beloved John has different views and I am not so arrogant to assume I am the right one.  All I'm called to do is to run my race and be obedient to God as He leads me.

I felt like maybe I was helpful and encouraging to my boss.  I realized that it was only because I am a woman who's enough older than him to not be looked at as a "woman" that we could be having that discussion.  I'm grateful that through all the too-many-to-count-mess-ups I've made in my life, I've learned some things and can encourage others.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Favorite Holiday Memories

Before the holidays are totally gone I want to capture some favorite holiday memories from these past few weeks:
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  • I've adored the morning times I've had with God.  Searching the Word and meditating on the themes of the advent season.  It's helped me keep the real meaning of what it is all about uppermost in my mind.
  •  Rachel.  Rachel is my oldest son Devon's girlfriend who came for a visit.  This was my first time to meet her.  She is truly lovely in every way.  She has a huge smile that lights up the room.  She's got clear, beautiful, blue eyes and I've never seen her wear make up.  She's smart and is working for a financial advisory company while she's getting her MA in accounting and working to become a CPA.  She dresses cute and feminine and modest.  Your first thought when you see her is pretty and positive.  She loves God and wants to serve Him with her life.  She's most obviously crazy about Devon and it's just as apparent that he's a huge fan of hers. She's the answer to my prayers.  Devon has only had 2 prior girlfriends in his entire 25 years of life.  The last one broke his heart three years ago.  It was terrible.  I spend countless hours in prayer for this son.  About a year ago I felt an urge to pray for God to bless him with a woman to be his wife.  It just seemed that he needed a special person in his life.  Devon's a different kind of a person.  He's definitely a man who is willing to step up and take leadership.  He's intense and can seem to be kind of smart and crabby.  He's the most politically well informed and conservative person I know.  He's super patriotic and works as an executive officer for the United States Army and has been stationed at Fort Brag North Carolina for the past few years.  He spent 9 months in Afghanistan but has spoken exceedingly little about that time.  In contrast, he has a soul that adores all types of music, theater, and art.  He's a voracious reader. He's a different kind of a person and finding a person with whom he can relate is not so easy in our current culture.  But Rachael is just his type.  I'm so grateful for Rachael!

  • The administrative holiday party at my work. We were in a separate room at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  The feeling was one of dim lights, old beautiful furniture, and Christmas time gold n glitter. All of the administrative staff were seated in a horseshoe type arrangement. There were 24 of us and it was intimate and party crowd at the same time.  My counterpart, Kimberly, mentioned that during this past year she'd made it a goal to at the end of each day to think on two good things that happened that day, no matter how small, and choose to be grateful.  She asked if, as a group we'd like to comment on two things for which we were grateful during this past year at work.  She said she'd start.  One of her two things was me - she said how she was grateful that I'd come back to work with them and that she was grateful to work with me.  When it came to my boss Carl's turn he ended up  saying a few words about everyone in the room.  His words to me touched my innermost heart.  He started with words about how grateful he was to have someone with my background and experience working with them.  But it was what he said next that brought me a sense of deep humility and joy.  He commented on the fact that he knows I am of faith and he can see the difference that it makes in how I do my job.  He said that it is felt and appreciated by everyone.  God is so good!  I want my faith to make a difference and it was gratifying to hear that boss at work thinks it does.
  • Learning to play the card game Rummie on Christmas day night.  My mom and sister had gone home.  My husband John was just chilling on the computer in our great room.  Devon, Rachael, my youngest son Daniel, and I were at the dining table in that same room.  Devon was teaching us all how to play Rummie.  We enjoyed so much laughter, silliness, and fun. To make the whole experience even more funny we played with a unique deck of cards.  It was the only deck of cards we could find at our house and I've no idea where we obtained these cards.  The back side of the cards was the old time camouflage pattern.  The front side featured  middle eastern enemies of the United States with their names and a brief description on each card. We may have spent as much time talking and sharing funny stories as we did playing cards. It was one of those wonderful times.
  •  Devon, Rachael and I's road trip.  We drove to visit my second son Dylan and his girlfriend Kelsie and their baby Lillian Eden.  The drive was just a bit over 6 hours.  Devon played the sound track from Les Miserables
    Devon, Rachel, & Lilly
    and they sang along during the first part of the drive - definitely a unique experience. We left the day after Christmas and arrived at Dylan's place in time to bring them dinner and share it together. We enjoyed the evening together which pretty much centered around being entertained by watching 10 month old Lilly. The next morning Kelsie had to go to work.  Dylan works evenings and watches Lilly during the day.  Rachel and Devon made us an incredible breakfast and we just sat around talking and playing a game.  We had to leave around 1PM that day.  I was so grateful for this time.  Devon's never met Lilly yet and I could see that she captured his heart.  Rachel captured Lilly's heart; every time Lilly saw her she laughed.  We drove the 6 hours home and just before we got home I took Rachael and Devon out to the soup plantation.  Since my sons are all young adults with busy lives and the older two do not live close by, I especially treasure the moments with them.
  • The text message I received from Daniel yesterday: "Happy New Year.  May we grow in our relationships with God in great ways this year.  I love you".  What a blessing to have a 19-year old son who sends these kinds of messages!
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