Friday, February 27, 2015

Where have all the people come from????

Does Phoenix have an influx of visitors this month - especially this past week? Geez! Every single morning traffic has beenn terrible - what is normally a 35 to 40 minute drive to work has evolved into 50 - 70 minutes! And I'm still leaving at 6AM!! What's up with that? Who WANTS to be up and on the road at 6AM? Normally Friday is a much lighter traffic day - but not today - it took me 50 minutes to get here. I just sit back and take my time and don't stress over it. That's why I leave at 6AM and I don't have to be at work until 8AM. Yeah - I allow myself plenty of time. I have reports to get out first thing - but they get out when I get here. It's no biggie if I'm not even here at 8AM - my boss knows I'll be here when I can be. I like having that flexibility. But - back to traffic - I find it is much easier on my stress level to allow myself plenty of time and to just take the flow as it comes. It traffic gets beyond 25 miles an hour - yay! If not - it's ok. I like getting to work when I'm not running to get here but walking in casually.

But where have all these people come from and why are they up and about at 6AM? That's the big question. Could it be people from the eastern part of the United States decided they couldn't take the cold any more (understandably) and have come to Phoenix for a reprieve? I don't know.

But I do know that I like my regular paced driving versus people being idiots and cutting in front of people. With my relaxed attitude, I just let them move in - but I have seen many people have a bit of 'road rage' when someone cuts in front of them. I hate changing lanes and will only "squeeze" in between people if there is just no other way and my exit is coming up. I try to allow myself plenty of time.

As I write that last sentence the thought occurs to me that 'allow myself plenty of time' is what people think about their life span. They think they have plenty of time to turn their life around. To be the mom or dad they wish they had been. That they have plenty of time to spend with the children and help them grow mentally and emotionally in this life. Plenty of time to make a difference in their lives. Plenty of time to take that vacation. Plenty of time to be family. Plenty of time.......

Yet, we all know, that in a twinkling of an eye, Jesus will come, and those dead in Him will rise first, and the rest of us will be rise with them to be with Christ. I probably said that all wrong, but if you know your Bible, you know what I'm saying.

Reminds me of a book I have, that I have read a couple times and have been thinking lately of reading it again. The Bema. I don't remember who the author is, but it is a book about a man who wanted to be successful. And driving home one day from work the 'twinkling of an eye' happened and cars all around him were left driverless, or passengerless - and he is looking around trying to figure out what just happened. It's a story of a moment in time that he saw his life as it was. Real thought provoking. Yeah, I need to rethink my life.

And I've done that some, lately. I have a yearning in me to get off by myself for a couple days - just be alone. It won't happen, but I have that yearning. Maybe if I can I will go over to Canaan in the Desert this weekend for a little while. Maybe. We have things going on this weekend and have cancelled one thing already. With my luck, with all the extra cars I'm seeing, wherever I go, they will follow!

What about you? If that 'twinkling of an eye' should come and Christ should return today - would you be ready? If your life should end today, would you go with regrets? Something to think about this weekend.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Setting Goals

Here at work it is that time of the year that we have to set our goals for the year. I really dislike doing that - why? Because how can I set a goal when all I do is normal administrative things? Ok, so last year I chose to put down, I will complete minutes form the big meetings within 3 weeks after the meeting. I do that.

Another goal was to complete the binders by the night before for these big meetings. (whoopee) I am usually done 2-3 days before unless we have stragglers in getting the information to me.

Another goals was to take 10 "classes" on our learning tool system - which I think I took 12. These are either video or audio and take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes to complete. They tell you something then give you a little quiz to see if you understood it. Then you get a completed certificate.

But then what? I don't answer the phone for anyone. I don't type letters, as a rule. I create minutes, I put together binders, I make appointments, I order lunch. Not much else there. So, once again, I am having to sit and think. and think. and think. May end up putting all three of the ones I put last year - just reword it somewhat. I "exceeded" expectations. Duh.

Two of the higher up Corporate people are in our offices today. I doubt seriously if I will have any interaction with them at all - but my boss will be tied up with meetings all day with them. We cleared her calendar until 3PM so I think she is good to go. I wonder if we will have lunch. Sometimes extra is ordered - and since I am 'buddy-buddy' with the two admins who order the food - they always let me know when meetings are over so that I can come over and get food before the 'vultures' arrive. Another entire story. If not, I still have soup cans in my desk.

So if you had to set 3 goals for yourself this year - on a personal level - what would those 3 goals be? Personal goals are much easier for me to set versus business goals. Mainly due to the type of job I do. I don't have any quotas I have to meet.

So, personal goals - what would you choose? I think I will list three goals. And I'm going to try to NOT list the ones I always list. Can you identify 3 goals that you want to meet this year?

1) Be more intentional in meeting up with close friends. Invite over for dinner; go out for lunch - spend time with them.

2) Spend less. Pay more attention to what I spend my money on. Is it necessary? Is it needed? Can I afford it?

3) Read more. Don't just start a book - finish it.

Ok - there. I think I have chosen three good goals for this year - and I still have 10 months in which to complete them.

What about you?


Monday, February 23, 2015

A Fresh New Week....

and being in bed sound asleep right now sounds really good! I had debated last week about taking today off, but I decided not to. After all, even with "child-sitting" some of the grandchildren, I expected the parents to be home around 9:30PM or so. Well, due to plane delays, it was 11PM before they got to the house - and by the time we got out of there and home and in our own beds - it was probably at least around midnight. Barely 4 hours sleep and here I am at the office. I should have gone with my gut feeling last week. But, I'm tough and I will work all day and then head home. Or, if things are slow, I may just take off early. I'm so fortunate I can do that - I don't ever abuse that privilege and they know my time is already made up with coming in to the office about 6:30 every morning - and I only get paid for 8 hours - and I usually work through my lunch hour.

But even sleeping lately has been interrupted and difficult. Both hubby and I are still struggling with this coughing thing. He called his doctor last week and was told it was allergy to juniper trees since we only have sinus drainage down the back of our throat and horrendous coughing. So, upon the doctor's advice, he purchased Allegra and we both started taking that. By day 4 with no change, I quit. I don't like to put drugs in my body in the first place - and after day 4 with no change, I was done. We both are awake most of the night as we wake up coughing. Two nights last week I slept in the other bedroom so that one of us coughing did not wake up the other, which usually happened. The last two nights I have coughed so hard that I thew up. I know, TMI. And the last two mornings I have awakened with my mouth so dry that my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth. Maybe I ought to google symptoms to see if I have something. NOT.

Even with all those issues, I don't feel bad (other than sleepy this morning). It's that constant draining in the back of the throat that gets the tickle going. I even drank some COKE - the REAL THING - yesterday, with the hopes the acid would cut through the flim. It helped to put a taste in my mouth - but since the soda is basically all sugar anymore, it didn't really help much. I remember why I always chose Coke over Pepsi - to me the Coke would cut though all the flim in my throat with it's acid. Now you don't get that acid kick - it's all sugar - and is just like Pepsi. I can do without either one. But, I did try the coke last night with the hopes it would help.

And yet, I believe in the the Great Healer. As I prayed on my way in to work this morning I was thinking of some who came forward yesterday for annointing and prayer at the church service, an older couple whose son committed suicide 5 years ago and they have never gotten over it. Sicknesses in the body, job situations with family members, medical appointments with parents. We are a hurting people. And many of our hurts are beneath the surface. We keep them hidden.

We don't want anyone to see how hurt we are over abuses, over words spoken in anger, over losing loved ones that left us far too soon, over people lying because they are ashamed of what they are doing. It hurts. And it hurts deeply. But we hide that hurt because we don't want anyone to know. It's like the story of Arthur Lampitt. He is 75 years old and 51 years ago he wrecked his 1963 Thunderbird into a truck. While moving some big blocks a couple months ago something moved in his arm and it began to hurt and swell. Arthur went to the doctor who x-rayed his arm - which revealed a 7 inch long metal 'thing'. Arthur couldn't think what it could be at first - then remembered his accident.

The accident was so bad he broke his hip. He had other cuts on his body, including his arm, but the doctors focused on his hip. Arthur and his wife went home and looked through photos of the accident and in one photo they noticed something missing. The turn signal. Arthur looked at his wife and told her I think that turn signal is in my arm - and she told him he was crazy - but they went to the doctor with that thought and the doctor sent them to a surgeon. Sure enough, the surgeon took out the 7 inch long turn signal shaft out of Arthur's arm.

The doctor said what usually happens when something foreign enters our body, that location will swell and get infected. But Arthur's arm developed a coating over the metal and kept it in place for 51 years - and he moved it when moving blocks.

This is what we do. We keep things hidden, just beneath the surface, things that are hurtful to us. And we don't have to keep those hurtful things hidden. Our Jesus went to the cross and bled, so that we don't have to bleed and hurt on the inside, just under the surface. Reach out to Him and touch His cloak, and ask for His healing, so that you can be made whole again. It can change your life.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

I don't have a cold.......but.....allergies?

Hubby and I have been plagued with a hacking cough for the past week. It is annoying and even with taking Nyquil at night, we are wakened often with coughing. Hubby went to the doctor on Tuesday, I think it was, to get results of blood work. Got excellent results back. So he asked about the coughing. Seems that since we don't have a fever, watery eyes, etc. - and all we have is an annoying cough - the doctor has determined we are allergic to the Juniper trees which are blooming.

Say what?

Wouldn't that require some sort of test? Wouldn't that diagnosis require more than 'oh, you don't have a fever, no other symptoms but the cough, so you are allergic to Juniper trees because they are what is blooming right now?'

Yeah, doesn't make much sense to me either - but I have accepted it, just to have a diagnosis of why this annoying cough is staying on. Since Nyquil is not working to let us sleep, I think hubby is going to call for something to take that will let us sleep. I'm not going to the doctor - I'm not sick - just have this annoying cough.

And most people who have allergies are not only coughing, they have the watery eyes, running nose, etc. Not that I want that, mind you, but I feel like it was just a shot in the dark - whether true or not. Correct diagnosis or not (for hubby), I'm miserable with the coughing and not enough sleep - and so is he.

I come in to work today mainly for one reason - I have a meeting at which I need to take notes. Other things I can do from home. I get to work to find they cancelled that meeting. At least my part. I have lunch ordered - pizza and salad - so I need to find out if I need to cancel that. Probably not - they will at least gather to eat.

Yeah, doing the Lent fast this time. I gave up some of what I had the first of the year - but edited it and added one. I'm giving up BEEF and PORK (so I can still eat chicken and turkey if I want), Breads (my big addiction), desserts and chocolate - and coffee. Yep, I gave up coffee. I don't want to do a mindless fast - so every morning I am reminded that I am fasting when I have hubby bring me in a cup of hot water with lemon - versus a cup of java.

This fast is for 40 days - from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday. Not that I schedule these, but feel like I want to participate. I think hubby is doing something - but am not sure what he is doing.

Coffee was a little harder to give up. Even for 40 days. I like good coffee. I usually only drink on average two cups a day. One cup hubby brings me in the morning - and one cup after I get to work (which lasts all morning). But I do enjoy my coffee - hot or cold. But something a pastor friend of mine said one time really made me think about it. He loves coffee too - and his comment one year was 'I will never fast coffee' - or something like that. Yes, I'm still drinking my tea.

It surprised me, and often makes me think about that comment. Does coffee have that hold on him that he can not give it up for a time frame? I don't recall giving it up before - just because I didn't feel I needed to - but this time, I wanted to. I haven't had major headaches and shaky hands because of not having it. Today I have a dull headache, but I think it is more from not sleeping well the past few nights and from coughing so deeply. May need to go take a Bayer so that I can focus instead of squint.

My boss has gone to Tucson today so I am planning on leaving a little early - if I can get some things done before then. I don't have anything pressing for today - now that my meeting is cancelled. I think that I would have stayed home and worked - but reality is that I don't like to stay home and work. It's an inconvenience for hubby and I always feel I'm in the way. He is used to having the house to himself all day. But I will leave perhaps 1/2 hour early - I usually make up the time sitting in traffic anyway. I really, really dislike driving in the evening traffic - especially when it takes me 1 1/2 hours to get home. I'm only 21 miles from home! It shouldn't take that long!!

I started reading a book by John Hagee last night - Four Blood Moons by John Haggee. My sister kept telling me to read it so we could talk about it. I got into the first two chapters last night - interesting, for sure. Another book she wants me to get is The Harbinger by Jonathan Cath - I have read a chapter in it (sample) and it seems intriging.... I did order that book. It starts out like something my son would enjoy reading. After I read it, I will ask if he wants to. I'm glad he enjoys reading - I do too - just don't take that much time to do much of it.

I stayed off facebook last night cause I could easily lose an hour right there, just skimming through. I did play my WWF games. But then I got started on Four Blood Moons. I'm hoping to finish it over the weekend - maybe. It's on my kindle so I can carry it about anywhere.

Mind blank. Need to get up and move around. Guess it best I shut up for now.

Hope you have a good weekend! It's almost here!


Monday, February 16, 2015

and God showed up.....

I love it when God shows up. Not that He isn't everywhere around us, but sometimes His Presence is so much greater - or is felt so much greater. I love those times.

Yesterday I spoke at a RV park where we speak at on occasion. The message was on "Healing for the Hidden Hurts". I talked about how we have our hidden hurts, thinking no one cares - especially God - about those 'little things' that bother us. How we don't talk about our diseases, our sicknesses, our pain - because we think no one cares.

When someone asks us 'how are you doing?' we don't even pause but answer 'fine'. And we aren't 'fine'. Our heart is hurting over a breakup, or there are financial difficulties, or we are sick with a disease, or even just a cold - but we think they don't really care, so we just say 'fine'. And we lie. And we think they don't care, and we don't really care how they are either, but we ask, 'and how are you?' and they reply 'I'm great'. And they lie.

Yesterday I stirred the pot. This is an older group of people, well rounded in their denomination. I gave this message and I shared how we don't share what is going on, and keep our hurts hidden.

In Mark 5:21-34 we read the story of the woman with the issue of blood for 12 years. No one (except her doctors0 probably knew about it - and the doctors had made her do one treatment after another and took all her money.

Yet she thought to herself, 'If I could just touch Jesus, I will be healed'. In those times whenever a person with any issue or disease got within 10 feet of another person, they were to hold up their hands and yell 'unclean' - yet, she didn't this time. She snuck into the crowd, and made her way to get close to Jesus. And she touched Him. Then hoped she could fade back into the crowd.

Jesus turned and asked 'who touched me?' - and His disciples probably looked at Him at this question... and they asked 'what do you mean who touched you? Everyone is touching you!'. But Jesus knew healing power had gone out from Him.

And the woman came and knelt before Jesus and told Him everything. And Jesus said, 'Your faith has made you well'.

That doesn't mean that people don't get healed because they don't have enough faith. That's a whole nother topic that I am not qualified to discuss.

But this woman took a chance on disappointment, risked getting found out and being embarrassed, and touched Jesus. And she was healed.

When was the last time you reached out to touch Jesus? When was the last time you cried out to Him for healing, for deliverance, for hope? Why not today?

The woman got close to Jesus, and reached out to touch the hem of His cloak, and was healed. You can be too. Do you want to get well?

After the service I brought out a bottle of oil and asked anyone who wanted to be annointed and prayed for to come forward - there were about 20-25 people that came forward. It was amazing what God did in these people. I don't know if anyone was specifically healed of disease, but many shared this had never been done in that church, they were glad I was bold enough to do it, and they were going to let it make a difference.

God showed up. That's all I asked for. And He answered.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Time is flying by......

and it feels like I am getting nothing done. Some days, for me as well as for you, the days seem to blend into each other and there is no time left over to do things you enjoy doing. I guess because I leave the house at 6AM to beat the traffic and then don't leave until around 4:30-ish (give or take 15 minutes), getting home usually an hour later, then having dinner, by the time all that is over with it is usually 6:30 - 7:00 and then what? I'm too tired to do anything!

I've put myself in a challenge this past week to walk 20 miles a week. I'm up to 12 and last night I just couldn't do anything. I was fried. My shins hurt and I was tired. So while hubby was having his meeting, I curled up on the futon and watched Facing the Giants which is one of my favorite movies. Yeah, it's about football, but I enjoy the message of dependence upon God and it was a good reminder that if I do my BEST, God will do His part. The movie finished up about the time the meeting broke up so it was good. Then I remembered I have a huge chapter to read in The Seven Habits of Effective Leaders - Habit 2, I think it is, and got started on that. Our group meets this Friday so want to get it read before then.

And, of course I have my message for Sunday I need to finish up BEFORE Sunday. At least I'm at one location on Sunday - and the following Sunday I'm at another - so I can use the same message with a few tweaks. But, i do need to finish this one and get it together. I'm hoping to find time tonight to work on it. Hubby has church so I should have a little time to myself.

What is my message about? It is about Healing for Hidden Hurts. With my lack of experience in school to learn how to put these messages together, I need to go to other sources to pull messages, and then what I do is I "tweak" them to make them mine. I take out some things, I add some things, and it ends up something that is usable. I'm grateful God takes it and uses it. I certainly couldn't do it on my own. This week the scripture is on Mark 5: 21-34. It's about the woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years.

It's amazing how we let these 'issues' of pain, of hurt, take over our lives. Of course the woman in our story didn't cause the issue, but can you imagine that back in Biblical times anyone with sickness could not go out in the crowd - they must stay away from people, holding up their hands, and yell "Unclean" so that people could get away from them. Yet, when she heard Jesus was near, she snuck into the crowd until she got close enough just to touch the hem of Jesus' robe. And was healed instantly.

That's what Jesus does when we get close to Him. He heals us. It may not be instanteous. It may not be the healing we desire. But He heals us. He restores us. He cleanses us. He loves us. "Who touched me?", He asked. The disciples couldn't believe Jesus asked such a question with all the people around Him, pushing Him, touching Him, bumping into Him. But Jesus knew that someone had touched Him who needed healing.

When the woman came forward and said it was her, and told all that was wrong with her and that she knew she was healed the moment she touched Jesus, He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

Does that mean everyone who has faith gets healed? No. Some religions say that if you don't get healed, you don't have enough faith. That isn't always true. You can believe with all your heart that you will be - or are - healed. BUT, I feel that if it is God's will for you to be healed, with your faith, you are healed. However, if God wants to use you for another purpose, He may choose to heal you another way, by even death. Some very solid Christians I have known to have great faith, have suffered with diseases and died. Did they have faith they would be healed? Did they - and others pray for their healing? Absolutely. But we trust in the One who can deliver us - and if He chooses to use us that others will turn to Him, He will.

I often wonder what life would be like after I die. I guess I think of it more since I am older. Would it cause those who have turned from the faith to turn back? Will they become embittered and angry I was taken? Would they turn their life around? Would it make any difference? I don't know. My job is to be sure that I am ready when that time comes. I continue to pray, and will until my dying day, for those who need Him. I can only entrust their lives to Jesus. The rest is up to them.

I have learned over the years that nothing is of any value except serving and loving Jesus. Not just going to church, not just tithing, not just preaching occasionally. It's serving others and loving others unconditionally. It's making amends when I feel defeated, abused, crushed. It's believing that God will take my efforts and hold them to my account. A friend once told me years ago in one of our family disputes that if I have done all I can to make amends with that sibling, and I still get turned aside, that releases me from guilt. It puts everything in their corner. It took me awhile to make sure I had covered all my bases with this person, that I had apologized, that I had repented of any wrong-doings. That I wanted to be friends. It took awhile, but God took that and he turned the relationship around although it did take a few years.

And now my thoughts are rambling and I still need to get working on my binders so .... hope that you have a great day! Enjoy the beauty God has to show you today.


Friday, February 6, 2015

"Presence Unknown"

I was setting up meetings recently, clearing out 'old' names - people who are no longer with the company - and adding 'new' names of those we wanted to attend the meetings. As I came across one that was no longer here, a little notice popped up. It said "Presence Unknown".

Now most times if I put my cursor on someone's name, it will tell me they are in a meeting, or 'free' or 'busy'. That way I know whether or not I can interrupt them. Then I do whatever I want to do. Interrupt them, usually. :-)

But this one day the "Presence Unknown" struck a cord with me. I paused to think about it. Oh, I knew they were no longer with our company, but where were they now? What were they doing? Were they happy at what they are now doing? Did they wish they were back here? Do they have regrets?

All these things went through my mind as I gave it thought.

Then I turned those thoughts around to something else to think about.

How many people will go through life living however they want to live it - and when they die, people will sit around and wonder where they have gone to. I think of people I have known who loved Jesus, or said they did, and I think they lived like they did, and I want to believe they went to heaven.

Then there are others who do not profess Christ as Lord and live their lives as they want to and when they die, people say they know where they went. I find it interesting that people who want to believe the best in people, regardless of what that person believed or lived, will say they went to heaven.

No one wants to believe people are sent to hell. But they are. I believe that. Yes, there are the last second confessions of Christ as Lord and He does take them to live with Him. But if we wait until that last second to make that confession, what if we miss it? I mean, what if our death is instant and we don't have that last second? Do I want myself - or other people, to wait until that last moment?

Some people will shrug and say they don't care - they still want to live life however they want. But do they think of those they leave behind. Do they care about those they leave behind. Will the memories, the hopes and dreams, be enough for those left behind to believe the best?

I've heard 'horror stories', and I've lived through 'horror stories'. I often wonder if people who made life so hard for others will be where they think they will be .... will we be where we think we will be... tough questions to think about.

If someone put a cursor on your life - what would it say? Would it say "Presence Unknown"? Something to think about.

Have a good weekend.