Tag Archives: peace

Gift Upon Gift

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Joy upon Joy.

After I posted last Wednesday something beautiful happened. I got an email offering me a JOB singing WORSHIP music. There are few things I enjoy more than singing, and no singing I love more than music that focuses me on God.

You know, Jesus tells those He cares about not to worry. But that post on Wednesday was related to worry. Maybe someday I’ll tell you the story, but this is not the right time. Anyway, here I am stuffing my emotions and eating my emotions, and not ready to talk to God about my emotions. I mean I know I need to pray, but it was just one of those times I didn’t feel like talking.

So in the middle of all this angst the call comes for this job I applied for. The worship pastor hires me to sing in the church choir. He needs a section leader type who can help carry the sound. I’m thrilled. I mean, really? I’ve been asking God for a little extra income knowing I am not supposed to take a full-time job because He’s asked me to enter more fully into the writing and speaking He asked me to do. For years I’ve also told Him I miss singing. So there He is, LOVE in ACTION, giving me a job that feels like play.

The worship pastor says he knows it is late notice, but I’d be welcome to come early for the church dinner and a lenten service. Now because of this big thing in my life I was trying not to worry about I’d decided about 3 pm to put on my jammies and lose myself in one of my favorite BBC mini-series. Instead I’m putting on makeup and rushing out the door. The soup and salad is wonderful, the people precious and welcoming.

Then the service begins.

I’m not overly familiar with liturgical worship or church calendar, but have sung a lot of high church music over the years in choirs and as a music minor in college. The service was only 30 minutes and a gentle, simple time of reflection. Peace washed over me in the words sung in the liturgy.

God is in control.

He sees.

The pastor encourages us to write out a prayer and place it at one of the crosses at the front of the room. I lay my burden down.

No emotional processing, crying,  or hours of journal writing (which is often my MO). Instead a simple laying down. Trusting.

“Sorry I’ve blown you off all day, Lord,” I whisper.

I feel His gentle answer. He understands a momma’s heart. He knows sometimes it’s just too deep for words. He’s not offended. He knows I couldn’t talk about it yet.

He removes all guilt. He doesn’t comment on my emotional eating or how I should know better. He doesn’t chastise me in any way. That’s simply not His character.

His character is to love even when I don’t open myself up to that love.

Even though I couldn’t seem to formulate a prayer, He answered the wordless prayer of my heart. He set it all up, my Sweet, Sweet, God. Pouring peace and joy in unexpected ways.

He soothed the deep waters of this little momma and made it all okay.

How I love Him.

Until next time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

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Refreshment

20140722_093918-1The breeze brushes my face, wispy fingers cooling my questions.

It’s funny what conquers the ragged places. You think it will take something big–like getting the answers you want–but sometimes it’s the simplest relief.

Like this light wind whisking away the heat as we sit beneath the shade trees of our backyard .

It doesn’t answer the questions I asked last night. It doesn’t change the circumstances of frustration.

But it is LOVE.

And isn’t this life full of Him when I open my heart to see?

Conviction hits with that statement. It’s not always about my ability to open my heart. Last night’s questions weren’t coming from this happy, open place.

The breeze, this quiet moment away from the sweltering heat of my home and the suffocating heat of my heart is a gift. I didn’t earn it by being some goody-goody person living open and happy.

I have cultivated the notice of such by an intentional decision to say thank you. I did ask God last night for help when I felt the doldrums coming on. But I didn’t make the breeze. I didn’t force my heart open.

I think only God can open the heart. My will can ask Him to. My logic knows it is good for me. But the heart? That’s something different all together.

The heart is where HE lives. And He is hope. Joy. Peace. Love. All the things I long for. He opens this place to the Good.

When I cried out in the sweaty night, hot and tired, unable to sleep, He granted my body rest and awoke me to this day. This moment.

I’ve no doubt that His Spirit tempted me outside. It started with notice of wilting basil leaves, so thirsty.20140723_124649 Then the act of running up and down the stairs, back porch to plant watering jug in hand, awakened me to the possibilities.

Sam’s hot and tired, too. Maybe even more than I with all of his aching surgery hip and sitting in front of TV and gaming station, being tied to crutches, mostly trapped inside.

So we breakfasted in the breeze. Talked of everything and nothing. How this summer was his favorite summer of baseball ever. He thanked me for his childhood, precious son that he is, as we stared at the swing set which sits mostly still these days. I guess kids reminisce, too. Even as I silently mourned the decaying tree house, the lack of shrieking, giggling little ones, he celebrates the good, sees the big yard and the tire swing and dangling climbing rope and remembers. Happy. (And yes, I hear the lesson in that.)

Now we sit side-by-side, lap-tops perched on the patio table that speaks love, too (It once belonged to Bernice, and I know she would rejoice in seeing us here). We let the fresh air clear our head, cool our bodies, lift our spirits.

A pure, white butterfly flits by. Lands on the rose bush.

Bird song wafts on the breeze.

We believe again in season, in ups and downs, and how the downs don’t last forever. His crutches will soon be abandoned. The stuff that weighed on my emotions last night will pass. We remember that even in those downs there is relief. We discover gifts. Embrace love.

I am happy, too. Son beside me. Cool breeze refreshing.

Hope you’re finding joy in the simple pleasures, too, my friends.

Until next time,

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Just Life

20140527_183112It got worse before it got better.

I’m talking about the kitchen floor saga.

For days we had the fan running. Finally we had to give up and take out the entire kitchen floor. The stove ended up in the living room, the huge side-by-side refrigerator in front of the microwave, floor boards stashed here and there, kitchen chairs on top of each other, topsy-turvy.

We lived this way for a week. The only saving grace was there were a lot of nights I didn’t cook. But even without the stove there were many, many dishes to do by hand. I know. I should be grateful we had food to eat and dishes to eat them on. Let’s just say that wasn’t at the forefront of my mind while drying dish after dish.

But ife doesn’t stop ’cause a girl’s kitchen is in chaos. Last week we turned a blind eye to the mess so we could enjoy:

A rehearsal dinner at a park while the sun set behind mountain peaks

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A good-bye lunch so we could send our “boy” off to work in those mountains for the summer

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A  wedding where my oldest son’s best friend finally married the amazing woman he’s been in love with since he was 16. Not only was it a gorgeous ceremony on a lush green lawn,

20140530_184355 but we had a blast dancing in the cabin complete with a shining wood floor. This momma also delighted in hearing her son give the best man’s speech.

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Our other two boys were ushers, and there was a bit of a problem with shoes. The bride told Sam and Stephen she didn’t care what they wore as long as they matched. They couldn’t agree on whether to wear Converse or dress shoes and showed up like this. There’s one (or two) in every crowd, especially with Moldenhauer boys around.

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Saturday brought wedding #2. If you’re a Bronco fan you’ve heard of Mile High Stadium. But if you look closely, there’s a wedding party posing right there on the field! Cool huh?

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This beautiful marriage, another example of young love surviving over years, took place club level in this famous stadium.The ceremony actually looked toward the Denver skyline, not the field.

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Hubby especially enjoyed the venue. I admired the china. We both enjoyed the food, including amazing raspberry-peach cupcakes, a little too much.

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It was fun hitting romantic venues this weekend. Good preparation for our 25th wedding anniversary coming up in just over a week. We couldn’t resist getting a picture while we were all dressed up.

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Sunday meant church (and an amazing message which I’ll share more on another day) and then . . . a baby shower for a sweet young woman I taught years ago when she was about eight! Now she’s a married woman and about to give birth to their first child. How time flies. Had to share this picture. I thought the fruit was presented especially well. ;O)

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We rushed home from the shower to watch our youngest play baseball at the high school field. You know, the crack of the ball on the bat, the cool evening air brushing our faces. Sounds like an all-American weekend, right? But after all that wonderful stuff, we returned home to reality.

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We agreed Monday morning held a baptism back into real life. We would conquer the disaster. The goal? To do it ourselves and not spend money on anything. I wasn’t exactly excited about getting up this morning.

When I forced myself out of bed I sought hubby out in the office where he was already working at his computer. This is often how I start my day, and Jerry never fails to welcome me onto his lap. This morning was no exception. He smiled and opened his arms to me, and I snuggled in. Then he told me today was going to be a good day because he got to spend all day working next to me.

And with those few, precious words he turned my attitude right around.

Things got even better when our oldest son told us he had some experience at this stuff from working with a friend. Together the three of us put the jigsaw puzzle of a floor back together. Seth and Jerry did the hard part. I was mostly there to veto the boards that were especially warped and to pick the boards with the least flaws for the most visible spots. If you don’t look too closely you’d never know that some of the seams are no longer smooth. The worst boards are placed carefully beneath appliances or where rugs go. It’s not perfect, but it actually looks pretty good.

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It’s late. The day is drawing toward tomorrow, the clock ticking to midnight. I should be in the kitchen using my new-to-me dishwasher (a $25 find on Craig’s list) and enjoying the fact that for the first time in days I’m not hand washing. I could also be moving everything from surrounding rooms back where they belong. Or maybe I should simply be sleeping. Honestly, I’m not sure why I’m here typing instead.

Maybe just because things turn out okay. Because real life is full of the juxtaposition of pain and pleasure, of leaky dishwashers and beautiful, fancy weddings. It’s full of jigsaw pieces that we’re not always sure how to fit together, even as it offers open arms to help us through.

Chances are next time I’m upset I won’t remember this lesson. But tonight I am grateful. My heart is quiet.

And I trust.

Until Next Time,

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Hush

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I love that word. It says so much more than quiet or still or silent.

It’s a breathless space. There is peace mingled with anticipation.

Yearning mixed with tranquility.

It’s calm.

There is no disturbance.

It’s a mood of the heart.

It’s part of inside-out weight loss.

Shedding of the hurry, at least for a moment.

I didn’t grow up in a tradition of Advent. Actually there was no Christmas worship of any kind.

I’ve come to treasure Advent’s hush. This year my quiet span has included a book of daily readings from a Celtic Advent tradition–which means 6 whole weeks instead of four.

Each week I lit a new candle symbolizing Father, Holy Spirit, hope, peace, joy, and love. In a few days the final candle will burn, signifying the light of the Christ child, my Lover and Best Friend, Jesus.

In this span of hush my heart is quieted, yearning without disturbance. And when the crush of struggles invade my peace, this restful space helps me realign with all that is Good and Holy.

With Him, the Three in One, the Creator of all.

There has been no moment as precious as these to me this season.

For a short time, at least, I am able to turn from the cares that invade my day and simply rest.

I light a candle, “Praise to You, Loving Father, Creator of All, Most Powerful.”

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And my heart kneels, submitting to One wiser than I.

I light a candle, “Praise You Holy Spirit. You are my Teacher, Guide, Counselor, and Friend.

I need Your direction today.”

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And my heart kneels, welcoming His Guiding Presence.

I light a candle, “Thank you for hope.”

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And my heart kneels, choosing belief over despair.

I light a candle, “Thank you for peace.”

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And my heart kneels, releasing worry, embracing calm.

I light a candle, “Thank you for joy.”

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And my heart kneels, claiming singing, dancing, swirling joy,

asking that He teach me to live like that.

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I light a candle, “Thank you for love.”

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And my heart kneels, receiving acceptance from the One.

Giving self permission for love. Allowing Love to permeate the parched places.

And soon I will light the last candle.

Breathless space, anticipating hush.

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Complete in Jesus.

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As the countdown to Christmas ticks away, my you embrace a quiet hush.

Weight Loss Journey Day 28

Since I’ve returned home I’m trying to live a little like I did at the beach. I splurged on salad stuff instead of waiting for the discount store to have some that looks fresh and make a point to fill at least a third of my plate with it at the dinner table. I try to add a little beauty to our family meals, like candles or a tablecloth or pretty food.

And best of all . . . sometimes I walk as the sun sets.

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Or break from my rushing to slip into the backyard to watch it descend over the mountains

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Or pause and gaze through my kitchen window as the orange filters through the tree branches

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Real Time Update:

It’s hard to think about the important things in life–like sunsets or pretty food–when life gets busy. But I’m still looking for ways to embrace beauty, to pant after joy, to let peace envelop me. And I’m still eating salad!

This weekend was amazing. I attended a BeNew celebration in downtown Denver. I was asked to be a runway model for the product (not really as glamorous as it sounds, but super fun.) It’s been a long time since I had to find my inner ham while on stage. I have to admit having dropped 32 pounds helped me be willing to flounce across the stage! (Did you catch that? The plateau is over! Yay! The scale has started moving again!)

How About You?

What little every day pleasure are your purposeful about enjoying? As you’ve lost weight, where have you noticed more courage or confidence?