patience and promises

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I have a little friend that saved my schedule everyday. This friend reminds me what I need to do, things I need to mail, work training events, doctor appointments (there are always those).  This little friend is my planner.  It’s a paper planner.  I learned of my need for one of these in high school.

I used to forget things all the time. I’ve shown up late and a week early to events more than once in my life. Only in the last four years have I gone back to the planner. Although I’ve always had a home calendar with all things written, I needed something I could take with me.  Enter my recent planner obsession.

My best-laid plans still fail.

A few day ago Josie had physical therapy.  We signed in, waited a few minutes, and out came the therapist to inform us that we were an hour and a half late.

Perfect.

Thankfully, he had another patient not show up at all.  We had our session.  Driving an hour to see the PT didn’t turn out bad.

The very next day I wasn’t so lucky.  I drove another hour to take Isabel for oral surgery.  This time the mistake wasn’t my fault.  They informed me that we were a week early when I know that I didn’t schedule it on that day since I am scheduled to work then.

My favorite.

Isabel wasn’t too sad about it.  She hasn’t been looking forward to the surgery.  I for one was not excited. I could think of nothing but the fact that I on;y came to town for this.  I wasted two hours of my life driving for nothing.  Nothing.  I was so upset by this mistake.  I have so little “extra” time in my life right now.  Shall I mention how disrupted school was because of this?

Driving home I was reminded that I’m impatient.  God is always reminding me of this in His gentle way.

He reminds me that I need to release control. I need to relax.  He whispers to me to let things be.  To rest.  His soft prodding compels me to sabbath.  I’m so task-oriented.  What I took from the hour drive on the way home was the promise of his presence.

He’s there when I’m checking things off my list.  He’s there when I’m sharing moments with the kids.  Still, He makes himself known during a scary call at work.  He’s there when I royally mess up.   He gives me victories through his grace.

His promises never fail.

He promises to never leave me or forsake me.

He knows that plans He has for me to strengthen me and prosper me. To give me a hope and a future.

He is with me, even to the ends of the Earth.

I know these truths.  These are the thoughts and verses that come to mind when life seems overwhelming.  Life is so hard, and busy, and tiring.  God is so easy, and still and restoring.

Our lives aren’t meant to be flawless.  The Holy Spirit guides and directs us the The Father through all situations, if we are keen to listen. Do you need to hear this now?  I know I do.   I constantly need the reassurance that I’m not stepping out-of-place in my walk.

I thrive on knowing that patience is being worked in me through all the hurdles that come my way on this race of life.

I rest and refresh in the promises of God.

Just when I am at the peak of frustration and inconvenience, God paints a rainbow across the farm.  Our happy place of the world that he has provided so well for us.  The peace of coming home after a day’s travel to see the reminder of all that hope that is in Him, works just a tad more patience in this wild heart of mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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back where we thrive

We’re back.

Back at our farm. Back to homeschooling. Back to what we love and thrive at.

It is completely where we belong.

I shared already about our decision to go back to homeschooling here. We are three weeks in, and I am pleasantly surprised and relieved that things are going very well.

Yes, I still work FULL time and I work outside the home.  I haven’t had a mental break-down or screamed at any precious humans.  In fact, I would say the opposite is happening.

I sat on my porch this morning and listened while sipping that magnificent first cup of coffee. I listened to the distant hum of a center pivot slowly watering a crop of cotton.  Birds of all sorts were chirping and flitting back and forth.  I even enjoyed the birds that were louder and slightly annoying.  You know the sort, right?  The ones that squawk. Yeah, even they seemed nice today.

Coyotes howled and screeched as the early sunlit horizon warmed my face.  Hornets buzzed and floated on the (less warmer then usual) air.   I’m certainly not going to call it “crisp”, “Fall”, or “cool”.  It’s still Southern AZ I live in.

This may sound terrifying to those of you who didn’t grow up in the Southwest.  Coyotes, hornets, squawking birds in September. Fear not! I was in no harm.  I was in my blissful place.

The point is this.  I haven’t sat in such silence for a year. I haven’t heard the sounds of nature and farming country for too long.  Something that refreshes my soul has been gone.  Nature.  I really can’t do too much city.  I feel closest and most appreciative of God and who He is when I see it everyday in this form.

Gratitude and peace overwhelm me here.  I heard, feel and witness that glory of creation daily at the farm.  Maybe that’s what I personally need.  I see so much devastation and destruction in my line of work.  I see the worst people in society, I see the moments in humanity that impacts the future of a family.

A lost life, a mangled arm, a new life.

The most amazing and tragic days are my job. Also, some pretty disgusting humans are out there to grace me with their issues.

I need a refresh. I need a long drive to unwind, and to prepare.

I think that’s why I breathe in the refreshing scenes and sounds out here.  I breathe deeply and often.  Intentionally.

I know I’m not alone.  The kiddos took roughly 30 seconds of living out here to soak it in and get right back to catching toads, frogs, and bugs.  Day one there was a teen eating dinner in the tree.

They PLAY!

I can’t tell you how much having a rock backyard the size of a postage stamp muffled the energy out of these five children.  Their energy was turned on each other- not in a great way.

Now they all have room to spread out and explore, create, have fun.  Together.  They are choosing each other!  It’s like a miracle has occurred here.

Listen when I say this.  They still bicker.  Space doesn’t cure everything.  It just has given them more options.  :)

I love how they can open the door and go outside.  I’m not worried about them getting kidnapped from our yard.  I’m not worried about them getting hit by a car while riding their bikes.  I’m not worried that someone is going to come into our yard at night.  I’m not worried that they are playing too loud.  I’m not worried about my dog barking.   I’m not worried in general.  Some may think that living out in the middle of nowhere is scary.

Isolating.

Unsafe.

I would argue that the more people you are around the more unsafe you are.

We have all isolated ourselves in the “safety” of our city house for a year.  Going outside has been planned instead of organically happening.  You can’t go to the park without an adult.  We have driven around the streets of a neighborhood that is “family friendly” for a year.  You don’t see families in their yards.  The streets are vacant. No one sits on their front porch.  I wouldn’t recognize more than 3 neighbors.  I never saw even a glimpse of them.  They drive into their garages, shut the door, and are never seen.  Seriously!  Who have we been living next to?

If you are a city person, that’s great!  I’m not.  I don’t know how to feel the same things and live the same way with all the crowds.  I’m so thankful that we aren’t being called to that right now.  We have seen what the city has to offer and we have declined.  We have come full circle to the place we have all loved for so many years.  We have grown here, just as lush as a beautiful garden.  We have lost here.  We have become different here.  We have loved it.  Every bit has changed us into the family that we are now.

I feel a stirring again inside.  I movement that causes reflection.  I can hear a whisper of my voice coming back to me.  I haven’t felt like this for so long!

Maybe it was the stress of college, life, busyness of the city, goals.   Whatever it was, it’s going away.  My love for writing has never left me, but my ability to express it faded for too long.  Maybe I just had nothing to say.   This place sparks instant inspiration.

We are simply free here.  We are free to play, learn, refresh our souls.

We are free to thrive in an environment that tells us daily, ” You belong here”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

when life laughs at you…persevere

I think it’s important not to take yourself too seriously.  In light of my last post, a follow-up is necessary.  For the past few months I have been the front-of-house manager for one of most popular restaurants in our area.  I mentioned in the last post how much I love the problem solving, right?  Yes.  Did I also say how much chaos is my thing?  Yeah.  I did.  Oh. My.  I love when I eat my own words.  It’s tastes great!

Here’s the deal.  I like to take crazy and make it make sense.  I’ve been pretty good at my job thus far.  Busy days are my favorite.  I like the feeling of stepping in when everything hits the fan, fixing it, and no guest in our restaurant even notices.  I usually laugh hysterically when several people come to me at once with what they feel are end-of-world problems.  I don’t laugh at them.  I laugh at how nuts things can get.  I usually take a deep breath, roll up my sleeves, and start putting out fires.  One by one in order of priority, I fix things.  Yesterday, things got a bit too much.  Even this chaos-seeker couldn’t get the fires under control.

It all started at noon.  I got a call from the busser.  Car problems.  He’ll be an hour or so late tonight.  No problem here.  Due to budget cuts, I was scheduled as the hostess.  No big deal.  I can buss and host.  Solved.  When I got to work, more little fires. BAM!  Taken care of in the first hour.  I was thinking it was a crazy start to a Monday, but things were quiet.  Business was slow.  A sick server’s shift got covered, another needed the next day off.  No problem.  Move this one here, and that one there.  Done.  Sometimes things get hairy.  That’s the way it is in the restaurant biz.  Just Saturday I was talking with a cooks’ father who was in town from Florida.  He’s had a successful restaurant in Syracuse for thirty years.  We chatted about how it is hard at times.  It’s just the way it is.

Everything at work stayed quiet the rest of the day.  Too quiet, in fact.  By four PM I was so bored I actually said out loud that I wished to bar would explode so I’d have something to do.  To give you some background on that statement, let me tell you that my first day managing we had a loud gun-shot sound in the middle of the dinner rush.  Turns out the bartender caught the edge of the bar glass with a wine bottle.  A six foot section of the bar burst into a ba-gillion tiny pieces.  Right under a hotel insurance adjusters’ dinner.  Yeah.  It’s gets crazy.  It always happens right when the restaurant is full too.

So, I’m so bored yesterday that I asked for an explosive mess.

I got it.

The busser let me know that he’ll be even later.  The restaurant was starting to fill and my servers were getting a bit frazzled.  I let him know to just get in when he can.  They would love his help cleaning up later.  I proceeded to the bar to make some drinks, wondering where the bar tender was.  At this point I was wondering if he was coming at all.  As I made a few drinks, the look on the servers faces was getting panicked.  The restaurant was filling very quickly.  I was tending to the bar folk to relieve their stress.  I was getting that feeling that things were slipping from me.  I couldn’t leave where I was…too much to do.

Muddling drinks in the midst of a “situation” feels like waiting for water to boil.  The time seems to never end.  I knew I needed to walk the floor and check on my servers, but the drink orders kept coming!  I got up and couldn’t get out from behind the bar.  I spied the pizza server and knew she could make drinks.  I called her over and let her loose.  I served pizzas for her and ran through the kitchen to check the schedule.

Just as I suspected.  Bar tender was an hour late, and now fired!  Okay, no bar tender tonight.  Things are getting nuts!

Throw in the fact that the service is getting slower, we’re on a wait list, and another local restaurant owner was very unhappy with his experience…that all adds up to this manager feeling like a failure.

Who’s that I spy?  An off-duty bartender walking in the lobby?  Get in! Punch in, and send the pizza girl back to her side.

Here come more and more people.  Food is in the window and needs running.  Here I go.  The bartender is doing his best.  I check on cups and run more to him.  Who’s that I see?  That’s right.  The thirty year restaurateur.  He asks how I am.  Uhhhhh.  Things are a little messy tonight.

“I know.  I could tell when I walked in.”

Defeat is an ugly mental state.  It was on every face of my people that night.  Times like that you just have to push through.  I was holding on to the idea that the busser would show up at any minute to smooth things out a bit.

Then I saw a text.

He’s not coming.  Just couldn’t get here in time with all the set-backs.

More defeat on the faces of my servers.  That meant that after all the rude people, failed team member, stress of knowing you didn’t give your guest what you wanted to give, you’ll now be taking on all the closing cleaning of the busser.

I  stayed to close because I knew my servers need a lift after all that beat-down the night gave them.  I figured that if we pumped up some old-school hip-hop after closing we could get the pep in our step back.

The service settled.  The guests went as fast as they came.  When the last one left, I went straight to the music.

It wouldn’t work.

And that was the night.

At every expectation of relief or hope of it getting easier, it failed.

Isn’t life like that?  There are certain seasons, days, years, that feel so defeating.  I was downcast in my heart while still trying to  encouraging to my staff.  I determined to just push through the crappy night.  There’s a word that I learned early in my Christian walk.

Persevere.

That word has a way of lifting me and propelling me.  Sometimes by one more day.  Sometimes by one more hour.  Just a bit longer.  I have a verse on my wall that I look at and consider almost daily.

In short…persevere.