3.27.2010

Honoring the Sabbath

I have learned from hard experience that the Lord had a very good reason for making the Sabbath for man.  We need the rest after six busy days!


It used to be that I would do carryover work from the week on Sundays, trying to catch up, but would find that come Monday, I was tired before the new week even began!  Seemed like I could never catch up.


But in keeping with a new understanding the Lord has been giving me of walking in His rest instead of my works, I decided to make our Sabbath be more what the Lord intended--a day of rest.  I'm not talking here about keeping Shabbat as the Jewish people do; more the spirit of the Sabbath.  A time to stop and refresh, focus on the Lord and His Word, rest.


It's hard!  Church life often makes our Sundays one of the busiest days of the week.  But, together with my hubby, we've decided to keep the decks as clear as possible.  I was reading a couple of weeks ago in Exodus 16 in the account of God giving manna to the Israelites.  They were commanded to gather twice as much the day before the Sabbath as none would appear on the Sabbath.  It occurred to me that I could ask the Lord for that same kind of thing--help on Saturday to get all my work done as well as preparation for Sunday.  Here's some of what I do to get ready:


-  I cook ahead, maybe even from Friday, and cook extra so that on Sunday all we eat is leftovers.


- I set up breakfast before bedtime Saturday night.  Sometimes I make a breakfast casserole or waffles ahead of time so that it's just a quick warm-up in the morning.


- Fresh placements and napkins out to look pretty and special for the Lord and my family.


- Giving or tithe check written and ready.


- Church clothes picked out and ready.


- A quick house pick-up and dishes put away.


It's so wonderful to wake up and not begin the day in a frazzled rush, getting us out the door to church.  I'm able to have my quiet time with tea and actually have my spirit prepared for worship service!  What a concept.


Another thing that has contributed to a peaceful Sabbath morning is Hubby's involvement.  It seemed that I was the only one who could read a clock on Sunday mornings.  No matter what time we got going, we were always in a late, mad rush out the door to church.  My indigestion and irritation did not help me receive much from the Lord!


So after some discussion, Hubby agreed to take over the leadership of Sunday mornings.  He set times for all of us to be up, showered and dressed, and when I had to have breakfast on the table.  It's incredible--we actually now have extra time in the morning, to the point that we have leisurely family talk over breakfast!!!  It's wonderful.


So all taken together, our Sabbath is becoming what it ought to be, little by little.  I look forward to it now, knowing I have 'permission' to not do my to-do list for one whole day.  If it must be done, it just might have to wait until Monday!


 


3.23.2010

Snow and school

It's a cozy night to stay home...a snowstorm rageth outside (16" predicted over the next 24 hours!)...a fire crackles in the fireplace.  It's a typical Colorado spring snowstorm, wet and sticky and heavy.  Lots of shovelling tomorrow, prayers for Hubby as the makes the trek to work, hot soup and a quiet day of school (if we can concentrate!).  We might need to build a snowman, don't ya think?


It's been a good week.  Though all the credit goes to the Lord and His mercy, it also helps to have the prospect of a long and lovely spring break ahead of us.  We're headed for a visit to AZ in a few days to see our families and enjoy that famous sunshine.  All three of us have been showing definite signs of needing a break!  So I can rather smugly smile at the snow piling up and know that it might well be the last one I'll see this winter.  Ask me if I'm sorry. 


SweetPea and I have been studying the pre-WWI era in our studies, the tangled and desperate affairs across the globe that erupted in that horrible war.  We've had some really great discussions this week about governmental leadership, the 'masses' and what moves them to go one direction or another, slavery, and these end times.  Truly, history does repeat itself, and it seems also that the great and terribly hard-won lessons of one generation don't carry over to the next.  Why is that??


She's also been reading through a book of short biographies of all the presidents and has been quite struck with how rare it was to have one who really governed with wisdom and left a legacy of good.  Again, we've had a chance to contrast man's idea of 'ruling' with what God has instructed in His Word.  Plenty of points to bring up about our own times!


I love homeschooling!  What a wonderful opportunity to help our kids become thinkers, to understand the deep issues of life and see them by God's light.


With high school beginning in just a few months, I'm starting to research what I'm supposed to do and how.  I found a wealth of stuff on the HSLDA website, and I'm digging into Barbara Shelton's Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La.  Wow, what an amazing resource!  It'll take a while to process all that's in it, but I love her focus on really being led of the Lord for each step, for new and fresh thinking about His design for my daughter's education.


Time to call it a day.  Thank You, Lord, for Your wonderful love and kindness.  It is a very great privilege to belong to you and to be the object of Your tender care.


 



 


3.15.2010

Vanity, thy name is woman

I spent the early years of my life in the sunny climes of Arizona, happily sunscreen-less for years.  I was a poster child for the desert life—bleached blonde hair, brown, glowing skin.

Alas, I’ve paid a bit of a price in later life.  My fair skin has developed age spots that no amount of cover-up covers up.  So I was intrigued when our family doctor’s practice sent a brochure announcing their services for all kinds of skin care, including age spots treated by laser.


Now I admit I’m really naïve when it comes to stuff other than wash-n-go skin care.  I was thrilled in the consultation to hear of a 20-minute treatment where I might feel a sensation of a snapping rubber band on my skin, then voila!  Permanently fixed.  I studiously counted the main spots at home in the mirror and figured on six or seven big snaps.  Piece of cake.  Small price for my return to the flawless glow of youth.


I settled back in the comfy chair and gave myself up to the nurse’s pre-treatment facial.  Ah, bliss.  Some things are just worth the price you pay.  Next came a cooling gel to help the laser do its job.  Then some special protective goggles to protect my eyes.  Nice, I thought. 


A twinge passed through my brain when she said she’d start with the most sensitive area, my forehead.  I couldn’t remember one of the spots being up there that high, so of course I asked.  “Oh,” she said.  “We don’t do just the spots, we do your whole face.  There’s all kinds of spots under the skin you can see, so this takes care of them all.”


Now my brain was really twinging.  My whole face?  How had I missed that little item?  I was trying to picture what a rubber-band snap on my whole face would feel like.


Then deep concern settled into the pit of my stomach when she handed me a rolled-up towel.  You know, the stick-between-your-teeth kind of thing.  WHY would I need this?!  I clutched it, suddenly dry-mouthed, with alarm bells sounding in my brain. What have I gotten myself into?


Well, I was soon to find out.  Lights off, machine whirring, a cold metal thing pressed to one side of my forehead, a blinding flash of light (yes, through the goggles), then a searing pain.  My whole body jumped like a defibrillator had just been let loose on me.  Rubber band, my foot.  Before I could react, she went to the next incremental spot on my forehead and shot me again, proceeding across that vast expanse a millimeter at a time. 


Before she was one quarter of the way through the first quadrant, I was panicking.  Pain, we’re talking pain.  You know what it feels like to burn your skin with your electric curler?  This was more like laying your regular iron on your face.  Not that I’ve actually done that but you get the idea.  All I could think was how much face we had left.  By the middle of my forehead, I was thinking, Okay, I’ve done childbirth.  This is much shorter. I’ve just got to get a grip.  Pain.  Blistering pain.


Groaning and teary-eyed, I nodded a frantic yes to her suggestion for a little break.  I didn’t want to let her know what a wimp I was, but she might have figured it out by my convulsive bodily response to each shot, the death-grip on my towel, or the sound effects.


I tried deep-breathing, but that didn’t work.  My mind went to some of the WWII stories we’re reading in school, the ones about torture in the prison camps.  I prayed.  A machine malfunction gave me a merciful break halfway through.  I, of course, couldn’t bolt as I wished, for what would I do with half of my face swollen and red (after-effects she warned me of), or half speckled and spotted like Jacob’s goats?


She comforted me with the announcement that she’d turned the machine down and that it would be better on the rest of my face.  She was right; we were now just a hair over the line from intolerable.  Somehow, we came into the home stretch, when she saved the worst for last.  Apparently the dip between your upper lip and your nose is really the most sensitive part of your face in this procedure, to which I instructed her forget it.  Never in my life had I had an age spot there and didn’t intend to ever grow one.


We were done.  I was exhausted.  She applied cooling gel that takes your surface skin temperature down ten degrees in three minutes.  Then lotion.  Then make-up to minimize the red so I wouldn’t scare my daughter who had patiently waited out front for an hour.  Instructions on how to use the ice pack and take ibuprofen to deal with the “sunburn sensation.”  Comforting words that in a week to ten days I would be radiant and youthful once again.


Well, I’m happy to say that God got the last word.  I didn’t get red, I didn’t swell up.  I didn’t need ice or pain-reliever.  The spots aren’t gone yet, in fact they are quite brown now in their death throes.  But I’ve paid the price and the worst is over.  And if any of them ever dare to come back, I just might never do this again.