Refreshment · Sabbatical

Our Sabbatical Weeks and How You can Create a Period of Rest for Yourself

My sweet husband made this breakfast feast for me on the first day of our sabbatical!

You may never have a sabbatical, but at the end of this post I’m going to share how you can create your own times of rest on a weekly basis, so keep reading!

As of yesterday, July 1, my husband and I completed our month-long Sabbatical. Wow. Our hearts are so full of all the things the Lord has done during those precious 30 days! You can be sure that I kept a journal each day to recount what was happening, what we were doing, and how the Lord was speaking to my heart.

I thought perhaps you would be interested to see how we spent some of our days. I mean, what do you do with 30 days of no ministry when it normally fills every day of the year?

We got outside. We got to choose the month for our sabbatical, and we chose June for a couple of reasons – one being that we love summertime and being outdoors. We took opportunities for drives to beautiful spots where we saw the hand of God. Here it is beautifully displayed in this double rainbow at Watauga Lake!

We enjoyed celebrations. The first day of June was Tennessee’s birthday. Jonesborough is the oldest city in the state, so the governor here came to speak briefly to the large crowd that gathered. The Oak Ridge Boys were there to sing the anthem and a couple of their oldies. It was the perfect beginning event! They were really popular in 1981, the year we were married, so their songs were pretty nostalgic. Anyone remember Elvira?!

So patriotic and fun to enjoy Tennessee’s birthday at an outdoor event!

We rested and read. We spent about five wonderful and quiet days at a lake cottage friends of ours graciously loaned to us. There’s no Internet; that in itself makes it a vacation! The beauty surrounding the cottage is always breathtaking and so relaxing!

One thing I prayed about were the books I should read. The Lord clearly led me to each one – even the fictional book about a pastor who takes an interim pastorate at an island church. There were so many parallels in our lives. But just having time to read was so wonderful!

We invested in our marriage. My husband chose a month-long devotional for couples that he found on-line and we read it together each day. It was on the love languages. You would think that at 40 years, we would each know the other’s love language, but this was a real learning time for both of us! Just having time to talk as a couple with no distractions, to read this devotional and pray together was another huge blessing.

We visited churches. Each Sunday we visited a new church in the area where we were. That was a blessing and also a time of learning. When you’re always in your own church, you don’t see your blind spots. As we visited other churches, it made us aware of things that might need change or adjusting in our own church. The preaching and worship (in most cases) were a true joy.

Now, how can YOU create your own regular period of rest in order to refresh yourself and be ready for the work ahead? Remember that we rest so we can work. It’s easy to think “I’ve worked hard; I deserve a rest!” But God’s directives to His people were that they would rest on the Sabbath so they could work the rest of the week. I began taking a “Sabbath rest” early last spring. Here’s my formula for refreshing myself each week:

  1. Choose one day a week for your Sabbath. For ministry families, Sunday is generally the busiest day of the week, so my day is Friday. It doesn’t have to be Sunday. Choose the day when you can really rest.
  2. Determine to spend quality time in God’s Word and prayer.
  3. Keep your busyness and chatter to a minimum.
  4. Decide what kind of things will fill your time. This doesn’t mean filling your day with busy things, but if you normally are doing work with your hands, then choose things that would work you mind. Read, work a puzzle, memorize a passage of Scripture. If you are normally working with your mind, do work with your hands. Work in the yard, organize or clean, work on a project.
  5. Rest. Allow yourself time to sleep in and/or take a nap.
  6. Get outside. Take a walk, ride bikes, go swimming. Sit outside and read.
  7. Spend time with those that will aid your rest.This isn’t the day for planning events or giving counsel. Spend time with others who will refresh you and you them.
  8. Plan ahead so your meals will be “easy” meals. Either prep a meal ahead and have it ready for the oven, or go out or pick up carry-out.

Does this Sabbath rest appeal to you? Does it seem do-able? I’d encourage you to pray about it and ask the Lord to help you come up with the best plan for you and then implement it as soon as possible!

Refresh yourself with a Sabbath rest!

discipline · Discipline · Godly Character Traits · Refreshment

It’s the Little Things That Help

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Ever heard that it’s the little things that count? It’s so true!

I look at people who spend an hour or more working out at the gym and I groan.  That’s just not my style of working out.  Instead, I choose to walk the country roads of my neighborhood.  I also do a 15 minute calisthenics routine in attempt to tone my muscles.  While I might not be making the fast strides that those folks at the gym are making,  those little times of working out do help

I don’t spring clean my house each week, but every day I do something.  I may dust or mop the floors, clean the windows or scour the kitchen sink.  Also each night before I go to bed, I make sure that things are tidy and put away.  I might not clean everything all at once, but those little jobs keep my house in order every day.

Each morning for years I have read the Proverb for the day (there are 31 chapters, one that can be read each day of the month).  It doesn’t take long, but since I’ve made this a habit for so long, I can finish many verses before reading it.  Those little times of pouring God’s Word into my heart haven ingrained those practical truths into my heart. 

Memorizing Scripture passages takes time and I can only memorize one verse at a time.  I might only get one or two verses a week in my memory, but eventually I get the whole passage memorized by doing little bits, one verse at a time.

I attend women’s conferences twice a year and they are a blessing, but in order to help my spiritual growth, I create my own little daily “conference” by listening to Revive Our Hearts and Love Worth Finding.  That little time of hearing God’s Word while I get ready in the morning has probably done even more for me than conferences!

It really is all the little things that make my life richer – especially in spiritual matters.  It’s a reminder to me that I have no excuses for not doing what is right!  It doesn’t require BIG amounts of time (though when I can take more time, I want to take advantage of that!).  It really only requires making habits of doing little things consistently to have a life that is fulfilling and fruitful.  

When I look and see a tiny little bit more of a toned arm or a clean kitchen, I see how rewarding those little things were. But even more rewarding are the little things that push me towards being like Christ.  They all matter.  They all make a difference!

Are you taking time to do the little things?  If you’re not in the habit, pick one and watch the difference it makes in your life!

Refreshment · summertime

Live Each Day of Your Life

One year I made a greeting card for my son-in-law’s birthday and wrote on the inside,

May you live every day of your life.” 

Some folks just don’t know how to do that.  Do you?  It simply means to get the most out of every day – to enjoy the moment! Do you know how to do that or do you merely slug your way through each week and each month of the year? Do you know how to seize the moment? My husband is so good at this and he helps make our days so enjoyable because of it!

If you’re not following what I’m talking about, here are a few examples ~

  • Take a nap when a rainstorm brews up
  • Stop for ice cream when you’re on your way home from church
  • Enjoy a free outdoor concert on Friday night instead of staying home to watch television
  •  Make a run to get french fries – even though it’s after 10:00 pm! 

A good way to give you some ideas for living every day is to look at what the National Days are and take your cue from them.  This Thursday is July the 1st. Listed below are some National Days for the month of July:

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July 1 – National Creative Ice cream Flavors Day – You could whip up a batch of homemade ice cream and try a new flavor!

July 4 – Of course we know it’s Independence day but it’s also National Barbecue Ribs day! Don’t grill hamburgers!

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July 6 – National Fried Chicken Day – Go out for your favorite version of fried chicken!

July 10 – National Kitten Day – If you’ve thought of adopting a kitten, today would be the day to jump on that! Or you could visit a pet store or just buy a special toy for your cat!

July 15 – National Cow Appreciation Day – You could:

  • Make chocolate milk for your children
  • Take them to Chick-Fil-A where cute cows pictures are everywhere!
  • Cook hamburgers or steaks out on the grill

July 17 – National Peach Ice Cream Day – You could:

  • Make your own homemade ice cream
  • Stop in and order your favorite flavors at an ice cream shop
  • Buy a half gallon and a box of cones at the grocery store and invite friends over

July 22 – National Hammock Day – Dig out the hammock and set it up in a shady spot!

My twin sister and her granddaughter know how to enjoy the hammock random style!

July 24th – National Tell an Old Joke Day – You could:

  • Take your children to the library and let them check out joke books.  Let everyone find one to share at suppertime

July 24th is also – National Amelia Earhart Day – Why not go to the airport and watch planes take off and land?

July 29th – National Lasagna Day

July 30th – National Cheesecake Day

July 31st – National Father-in-law Day – Do something special for your father-in-law today!  If nothing else, just give him a call and tell him you appreciate him!

So, go ahead and live today, Friend!  The Lord gave you this day.  Honor Him in all you do, and enjoy the day He made. The greatest joys are eternal ones, found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Without Him all of life is simply vain. When we know Him we have fellowship with our Savior, times in His Word and prayer, Scripture memory, and fellowship with believers, to name just a few of the eternal joys!

I’m looking into creating a holiday of my own – National Comment on a Blog Day.  It’s today!  So why not stop in and say hello and tell me you were here! It might not make your day special, but it will sure be a blessing to mine!  =)

Thanks for taking time to read!  I do appreciate you so!

I hope you’re making plans to be refreshed in your local church this Sunday. As my husband told someone this week, “You can’t practice all the One another’s if you’re not with one another!'”

Live today!

Refreshment · Spiritual Refreshment

A Time For Rest

I doubt I’ll ever forget the frightening experience of the accident. While we were dating, my husband and I both lived a couple hours from the ocean and we drove to the beach for the day in a borrowed vehicle. It was a sport Jeep – the convertible kind, perfect for the outing we were taking! However, all our fun turned sour when, in the middle of the day, my fiance’ ran into the car that stopped in front of us.

Crash!

A dented fender was the only damage, but there was damage to a vehicle that didn’t belong to us! You know that sick feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something like that happens? It led us to head home where my boyfriend worked hard at fixing the car the best he could before he had to return it and “fess up.”

That situation would have been sad if it was our own car, but because it belonged to someone else, we felt twice as bad about it being damaged. When you’re caring for someone else’s property, I think there’s a greater feeling of responsibility.

That’s how I feel about caring for my body. It doesn’t belong to me! I just read in my Bible reading this week ~

What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you and which ye have from God, and that ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. I Corinthians 6:19, 20

When I read those verses, I was reminded about the responsibility that I have to care for this body that doesn’t belong to me. I feel a responsibility to the Lord to care for it in the best way I can (without going overboard!). I want this body to take me through all the years the Lord will give me with strength and health. I can’t control everything, but there are some things that are in my charge. So, I…

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain my weight so I can function without huffing and puffing
  • Get regular exercise
  • Get eight hours of sleep each night
  • Take a weekly rest from responsibilities

During the month of June my husband will be officially on Sabbatical (period of rest) from all his responsibilities at our church. I’m not on staff at our church, but I do many ministry tasks each week and am praying that I will be able to also rest with him. We will be close to home during this time. We love our home and find it the best place to rest, but we will take a few excursions not too far away. I will be blogging during this time, but I may be reposting some things from years past. I have serious doubts that most will even remember seeing these things before, so please stick around and check in Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I may even share a few pictures from our times of rest!

What are YOU doing to care for the body God has entrusted to you? Remember, you’re given the responsibility to care for it so it will enable you to serve the Lord well.

Which of the bullets I mentioned do you need to put into play in your life?

Refresh yourself as you care for your body,

Refreshment · The Scenic Route · Winter

Beating the Winter Blues

The winter blues are a real thing and I find it crucial in the middle of these winter months to make special effort to stay encouraged. Simple pleasures can go a long way in perking up my dreary spirits. Here’s a sampling of some of my recent winter day activities that helped beat the blues.

The best way to defeat being down is to have my heart lifted up through the Truths of God’s Word. This year I’m reading through the Bible using a chronological plan. Already I’ve seen new truths, been comforted about God’s care and presence, and have been reminded that God always has a plan for every person in every situation. That means right now in 2021, during a pandemic, on a dreary winter day, He is at work!

My husband and I played a round of Rummikub on Sunday evening. It was a cold night, so we set up a small table in front of the fireplace and enjoyed the warmth of the fire while we played. It was warm, it was fun, and we had time together!

We had a sunny day this week and I was determined to make the most of it. This was my radio recording day, so I headed out early so I could get my Jeep washed and also do a little shopping beforehand. It was a needed morning out!

I’ve been working on redoing our family room since September and the last piece of furniture I need for that room is a love seat. I’ve been looking for months and just couldn’t find what I wanted. We took a drive to Greeneville, TN to Robert’s Furniture Store and I found this lovely piece that is going to be perfect in my newly decorated space! It will be delivered later this week and I can’t wait. I am going to paint a wall, then I’ll be anxious to make a reveal here on my blog!
If you’re in East Tennessee, you need to visit Robert’s. It’s a locally owned business with the sweetest people and quality furniture. I can’t say enough about our experience with them!

Doing what we love, my husband and I took the scenic route through the country to go to the furniture store. The views are so pretty and the drive just made my heart smile! The sky on the way home was gorgeous…

I also spent some time in the kitchen this week. I’ve made several new recipes for supper, baked some bread, made more Rice Krispy Treats (for our small group) and also some Chicken broth in my crock pot. It feels good to be productive in the kitchen!

I pray that your winter days are being filled with blessings that you recognize as gifts from God’s hands. He’s the giver of them all.

P.S. I mentioned my radio recording – in case you don’t know, I do a daily broadcast on a local radio station. My church has all the recordings on their website. I linked it earlier and I’ll link it again, here, in case you’re interested. There’s a plethora of subjects from character traits to homemaking advice. Each broadcast is 15 minutes long. It is aired each week day on WHCB at 2:30 (recently changed) and on Saturday at 3:45. This is a ministry that the Lord placed in my lap, and I feel like the most unlikely person to be on the raido! There are days I wonder if anyone hears it, but I j ust know that I’m obeying the Lord in His direction in my life. So there you have it. If it can encourage you, than I’ll rejoice!

Tell me about one of your activities that helped you beat the winter blues!

Stay refreshed this winter,