The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Don't look back

This week I was thinking about so many things. But mostly I was reliving memories. I was thinking about my old job and how lucky I was to be able to travel and see the whole United States with my husband and get paid for it. We really enjoyed that job. 
Before that I spent a year working as a resident assistant in a nursing home. It was a very satisfying and rewarding job. 
Before that job I spent many many years driving and working around school buses. It was a good job that fit my needs at the time my kids were growing up.
While I worked at these jobs, I liked them well enough, but there were days when it was not my favorite places to be.
Then I was thinking about my kids. They are all grown and living their own lives. But I was remembering times when they were younger and we had such good times playing games in the yard, hiking adventures through the woods, and just enjoying being a loving family.
We had such good times then.
But if I am totally honest, there were many times that we played in the yard and had adventures in the woods as ways to distract the kids from realizing that we couldn't afford real vacations like other families.
Memories are funny because as I am remembering the wonderful, traveling adventures with my husband I am forgetting about the traffic jams, the cancelled loads, the sitting around between loads, missing my home and family.
We always tend to hang onto the good memories and let go of the bad ones. I wonder why. And because we do, our past life always seems better than our present life.
It makes my think about Lot's wife in the Bible. She is mostly thought about in a negative light because as she and her family were hastily fleeing from their home, she looked back. She just looked back. And God turned her into a pillar of salt. 
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:1-3, 12-13, 15-17, 24-26 ESV)

The Hebrew for “looked back” means more than to glance over one’s shoulder. It means “to regard, to consider, to pay attention to.”
I do not want to be looking back at any part of my life and wishing for "the good old days." I have got to be living in the moment and living joyfully as God would have me to.
There is nothing wrong with memories. And there is nothing wrong with enjoying my memories, but when I am fearful of the present, or dissatisfied in my current situations and I get to longing for the past, I am in danger of sinning against God's will and direction for my life.
Life can be hard and/or upsetting sometimes, but if we live a while longer, these days will be looked back on pleasantly. 
Lord, help me to live in and through the now. Teach me to trust you. Help me to be disciplined to live joyfully and be the salt of the earth that is good.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. (Matthew 5:13 ESV)
Salt is a preservative and an enhancer. I want to be a preservative to the world of sin. I would like to help keep others from being spoiled by the rottenness of the world. And I would like to enhance and influence people for Christ.
So memories are ok, but longing for the past isn't.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A to E

As you know I am at a new job. Last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday I had training with a man from Washington, DC. We spent three days in an atmosphere of distractions. His phone rang constantly. We had other workers in and out the office all day. My drivers still had to be dispatched and kept running, so learning the tedious data entry program seemed to loom large like Goliath over my head.
My job consists of compliance to the laws, keeping trucks compliant, keeping drivers compliant, keeping trailers compliant, providing trucks and drivers to satisfy the buyers and customers, and each of those areas have data entry into the computer, the logistics. 
On the Monday following my training I realized that I had learned very little regarding that aspect. I tried to enter data. I strained my brain trying to figure it out.
I was very frustrated.
I was very upset with myself. I felt stupid. I was discouraged, very discouraged. So much so, that I gave up and began to clean the break room and the bathroom. (Any of you ladies ever acted out your frustration by cleaning?) 
*sidenote: Imagine if you can, a workplace of 21 men, no women, working with scrap metal on a dusty, gravel lot. Now imagine 4 years of that kind of dirt! That is what I tackled instead of the computer entries. 
I did that because I was feeling so unaccomplished that by doing that, I could leave work feeling like I did something worthwhile. It was the only thing I knew how to do that day.
And when the day was over, I cried. I cried the whole way home. I cried all evening. 
On Tuesday I went to work, humbly. I needed to confess to my boss that perhaps I was too old or too dumb to learn the program.
I got to work at 7:30 am. At 7:31 my phone rang. It was the man from DC that had come up to train me. 
He was calling to apologize. He could see from his computer that I had desperately tried to enter the data. He could see that, clearly, I had no idea. He said I was not to blame for not knowing. He said that apparently he was not a good teacher. 
So for these last three days I have worked with a wonderful woman named, Robin, over the phone. She walked me (baby steps) through every entry into the computer. At the end of the first day, it was beginning to click. I was understanding! On day two, I did the entries while she watched from her computer, cheering me on all day. 
On day three,  I worked alone, only calling her when I found some entries that I hadn't performed before.
So, I am not an expert by any means, but I feel so much better now.
And Robin and I speculated about why I understood her training. She said it's because Bob wanted me to learn by starting at A and going straight to E. Robin taught me how to learn by going A, B, C, D, then E. We laughed.
"Yes,  that is how men are wired, I guess." She said. 
"Unless they're in the hardware store." I said, "then they go A, B, C, D, and E, and women just want A to E." We laughed some more.
She agreed. She said that she just asked her dad to hang a picture on her wall. She said he got the level, the tape measure, the stud finder, the exact nails and almost 2 hours later her picture was hung. Hahaha.
Oh well, I learned that people learn in different ways. Different people need different techniques. 
This is why Jesus taught in parables. Paul taught by using analogies. 
We need to be sharing the gospel with others. But we must be teaching them in ways and means that they can relate to and understand. 
Too often people turn away from hearing because someone has gone from A to E with them and they feel stupid, overwhelmed, unaccomplished, discouraged, and like they will never get it. 
Jesus was very gentle and caring in his teaching. He took the time to meet with people. He took the time to see to their needs. He loved beyond measure. He truly cared. 
Jesus met people on the mountain, by the sea, at the well, from a boat, in the tombs, in the gardens, in upper rooms, at a wedding, by the pools, in the crowds, everywhere.
We need to use our every opportunity to share Jesus. But teach and share in a way that they can follow. 
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Baby steps

So in learning all the minute details in my new job I have found that an old dog really can learn new tricks.
But instead of "old dog" talk this past week I have heard a lot of baby analogies. I was AT work all last week but all I did was "observe." And after that it is very clear to me that I cannot learn by osmosis.
On Saturday the whole dispatch was handed off to me while all the "bosses" took the day off. I was the only one in the office and I was expected to set up the dispatch for Monday.
As I sat there struggling and at my wits end about what to do, I remembered a conversation about grandkids from the previous day. My manager was talking to me and said, " sometimes you have to stand a baby up and let go of them. They will fall down but you keep picking them up and trying again and again, until one day, they pick themselves up and take off walking."
It was an aha moment. He was referring to me. So, here I was last Saturday, the baby, standing alone and unsure of how to move my feet.
Well, I made decisions, entered it into the computer and left. I worried about it all weekend.
On Monday when I got to work, a few things had to be changed but it all worked out ok.
I was assured that I would "get it." That I wouldn't learn it in a day or a week and probably not even in a month.

But I had been a dispatcher before, for many years. I dispatched school buses. And if any mistakes were made there, you had kids standing out in the cold. At least in the scrap metal business, I don't have to worry about kids standing in the cold.

So as this week went on, each day I learned more. I was taking baby steps, and often needed to lean on others, but I am learning. I will get it and soon, I will be running.

That's the way of it, we learn in bits, we accept and grasp what we are able, as we are able. But we don't stop learning and growing or we will forever be walking baby steps. Can you imagine wobbling and stumbling your way through life?
Yet many people come into church as "babes in Christ" and never move beyond the milk of the word.
They come on Sunday mornings, sign their kids up for the youth programs, maybe even participate in the "willing workers" group themselves, but never get involved in a deep study of God's word.
It's time to move into the meat. Chew it, digest it. Dig into it. And grow. Don't remain unstable babies. 

Lord, create in us a desire to learn and grow.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— (1 Peter 2:2 ESV)
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14 ESV)

God desires for us to learn and grow in His word, yet He will sometimes "stand the baby (us) up and let go of us.
“ God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.”
2 Chronicles 32:31 ESV 

Do not be afraid when faced with spiritual challenges and trials of life. Lean on what you know from God's word, trust Him because of His past care for you,  accept the challenge and face it with courage and strength.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

God have mercy

I have been feeling more and more distressed the past few days as no matter where I go or who I am around, all I hear about is killing, rioting, protesting, and rebellion against the government. It is so disturbing to me that I literally sometimes feel sick to my stomach about it.
I fear for the future of our nation. What kind of people are we becoming? 
Hatred and violence are spreading rapidly.
But none of this escapes the notice of God. 
Pray for people to wake up and come to the knowledge of a loving, kind, good Father. Yet one that is also jealous, just, and rebuking. 
He can, has, and maybe will again use captivity to change the minds and wills of His people.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


My husband and I have determined to lose weight and feel healthy. By living in a truck for six years we have lost a lot of flexibility and have very weak muscles. Even though we tried to walk between 2-4 miles a day, we rarely moved our bodies much more than that. 
So he researched (his favorite thing) diets and eating plans. 
I told him that I wanted something realistic that did not eliminate any food groups, such as fruits or carbs. Because I want a plan that can work from now on, not just until we reach a goal. 
My goal is lifetime health, however long that might be.
So after a whole month, yes! A whole month! He fixated on a plan that he thought would work for both of us.
So almost three ago now, we began. 
I must say the food part is very easy and very doable for us. We like all the fruits and vegetables, etc.
But the exercise part that accompanies this plan is very hard for us. After the first day, which we could only manage doing about 1/3 of the exercises, we were so very very sore. We awoke during the night with cramps. But we continued. Each day of the week was a different DVD. We struggled, breathed hard, limped, and exhausted ourselves as much as we could manage. 
By week two, we were doing a little better. We could almost keep pace with the girl that does the modified exercises for out of shape people. We are still getting some cramping, and still somewhat sore.
By now, near the end of week three, we are still having some muscle tightening and tiredness but we are getting through the complete workouts each day.
On Sunday we do a yoga workout. There is a position called, corpse pose. You lie flat on your back with your arms down by your side and your legs somewhat spread apart, and you lay very still for 30 seconds. That is our favorite exercise, lol.
I am so glad that we are in this together. It is so much easier for both us. There are days where it would be so much easier to just eat a bowl of cereal. There are many times where I would have just given up the exercising for the day or probably even altogether if it wasn't for him and his encouragement. Really, who likes to push themselves beyond the limits?
At the end of the day, we laugh together at our weaknesses and feel a sense of joy in overcoming them.

This is also the way of our Christian walk. There are struggles daily, throughout each day. We get tired, we get beat up, we get weary. It would be easy to quit or just do part of it. 
Do we research how and what we need to do to be spiritually healthy?
Do we follow the plan even when, no, especially when it gets hard?
Do we seek out others that are on the same plan to help inspire and encourage us? Are we inspiring and encouraging them as well?
Do we continue after being so beat up that it feels like we cannot possibly move?
Do we look back in joy at the obstacles that we got by with God's plan and the help of others?

I am praying that we, together, can push each other on toward that goal, the heavenly prize. Hopefully, the scriptures below will be spiritual encouragement for us.

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8 ESV)

But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue. (1 Corinthians 9:27a AMP)
Note: this is ˈbə-fət\ to drive, force, move, or attack by or as if by repeated blows. NOT  bəˈfā a meal consisting of several dishes from which guests serve themselves. Lol.

For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God's will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. (Hebrews 12:11 AMP)

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV)