Family life · refreshment at home · Refreshment in marriage · Rest · Sabbatical

Fun, Family and Finishing Strong

Who doesn’t love a week full of fun and family? That describes our last week of sabbatical so well, but it’s also a reminder of a truth I hope to pass on to you. Stay tuned.

You might think that 30 days of sabbatical would fly by, but the Lord answered my prayer and allowed it to go nice and slow. What a blessing that was! We enjoyed each day to the max and allowed ourselves time to rest, spend time together as a couple, and focus on what the Lord wanted to teach us as we got ready to head back into ministry.

When we got to the last week, we celebrated our 40th anniversary. My husband did a fantastic job planning our celebration and took me to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
Oh. My. Goodness.
What a special time it was!

The food was amazing!

The setting was gorgeous!

We got to take our time and enjoy every bite and every minute. We were at the restaurant for about three hours! We cried as we shared memories from our 40 years of marriage during the meal. I told my husband they were going to think we hated our food because of our tears!! It was a truly magical day, full of love for each other, fun times and many blessings!

Ready for our dinner at Ruth’s Chris!

This last week allowed us to enjoy an early July 4th celebration with Paul and Whitney in their adorable small town. It was so patriotic and fun!! There was beautiful music, Uncle Sam on stilts, and parachutists jumping out of airplanes with flags making for a great event!

We went home early in the evening, then later drove to a parking lot nearby to enjoy their fireworks. It was perfect!

We also got to see Paul in his work setting, which was super fun.

The last church we visited was Paul and Whitney’s. What a blessing to worship together and hear the sound preaching of the Word! After the service we went to a lovely little restaurant, The Bleu Porch, in their town and enjoyed a fabulous brunch! My Stuffed French Toast with warm Blueberry Sauce was delicious, but having brunch together as a family was even sweeter!

We spent the last few days at some quiet spots – lakes and mountains vistas – where we could reflect about what the Lord had spoken into our hearts. We did much journaling so as not to forget our lessons and the changes we each needed to make.

This mountain view is more amazing than this picture shows!

Now here we are nearly a whole month later! I’m enjoying the new schedule the Lord guided me to practice. My days and weeks are full, but the Lord is so gracious to allow times of rest just when I need it most!

Even without a sabbatical, we can each find times to rest. Even when dinner is not Ruth’s Chris, but grilled hot dogs, we can find time to be together as a family! Simple events can bring the fun life needs when days are tough. Ladies, we’re often the one who needs to create the fun, so let’s get planning! We need one another!

I’d also encourage you to find regular times to unplug, be still, and listen to the Lord through His Word and in prayer. We are not meant to run on empty without time with the Lord and minimal time in His Word. We need Him!

What do you have planned to refresh your heart? How will you refresh your family?

Unplug and have some fun family time this weekend!

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 · Rest · worship

Your Need For Rest

livingroom rest a.jpg

I am really good at staying busy.  Are you?  It’s to the point that if my family sees me just sitting on the couch they ask if I’m feeling sick.  I’m not proud of that; it’s just true.  But I’m learning to rest.  God knew I needed it and He provided Sunday for our day to lay aside the normal activities and focus on worship and rest.

While Sunday is probably one of our busiest days because of being in the ministry, I have learned a few things that really help the day to be more worshipful and restful.

  1. Go to bed early on Saturday night.  I try not to schedule anything for late in the day Saturday so I can get a good night’s rest.
  2. I take a “Media Fast” on Sunday.  I don’t check Facebook, Instagram, or even my email accounts on Sunday.  It’s a wonderful break from all the “stuff” of social media,” and it helps my worship to be more focused.
  3. Take a nap on Sunday afternoon.  Even if it’s only fifteen minutes, I need this rest!
  4. I do no housework on Sunday, except cooking and cleaning up the kitchen.  Laundry can wait – and so can all the dust and crummy floors.
  5. I don’t like to even do any shopping on Sunday.  It’s a distraction to me.
  6. I attend the morning and evening worship services at church.  This is God’s Day, and I desire to give Him the whole day.  What blessings I would miss if I stayed home from any of the services !!
  7. Enjoy fellowship with others.  Even if we just go grab a sandwich after the service, or have friends over, the  fellowship with others is an added blessing.

I’m writing this at the beginning of the week so you can consider your Day of Rest that’s coming this weekend.  How will you plan to use it wisely to make it all God wants it to be?  I realize that work schedules make it difficult, but your day should prepare your heart for worship, and then have you ready for the busy week ahead.  Perhaps one reason we’re running ragged is because we’re not utilizing this day as God intended.

Six days may work be done;

but on the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD:

Rest.  Worship. We all need it.  Why not make plans for them both this Lord’s Day?

Denise Signature 150 px

Family life · home · refreshment at home · Winter · Work

Making Leisure Days Productive & Restful

Snowy day a.jpg

Tennessee finally got a snow day!  I’ve been waiting for this since Christmas time!  In honor of all restful Snow Days, I’m going to wait to post a video today, but will get one out next week.

Let’s just do a fun post today about ways to make leisure days restful, but still productive. We all know how to rest, but how can we take a rare day at home both productive and restful? Is it possible?  Yes!  Here are a few ideas:

Let’s start with what we need to get rid of in order to rest:

  • Television
  • Facebook
  • Computer “stuff”
  • Texting

Let’s lift our face out of a screen and up around us at the people and place where we are!

Leisure activities:

  • Pick up a magazine and get inspiration for decorating your home.
  • Go through cookbooks and mark new recipes you want to try.
  • Read through an old journal and be blessed at the memories you recorded.
  • Read a book – one you’ve started and not finished or one you’ve wanted to get into.
  • Take a nap – Of course!

Things to do with others:

  • Play board games
  • Read aloud
  • Go outside
    • On snowy days – walk in the snow, build a snowman, shovel someone else’s sidewalk.
    • On warmer days, clean up the yard.  Take a walk.  Sit on the porch swing or rocking chairs.  Read out there!
  • Bake together

Around the House:

  • Work on a project you’ve neglected – hemming jeans, sewing buttons on, crafts like stamping, calligraphy or memory books.
  • Rearrange the furniture – a favorite of mine!!
  • Redo the decor on a mantle or bookshelf.
  • Straighten out drawers.
  • Oraganize something that is messy – a closet, a pile on the counter or floor.
  • Freshen up the kitchen by decluttering the countertops.

Don’t let snow days or leisure days be wasted by just hanging on the couch all day.  A little rest is good, but leisure days can be productive rest!

Have you had snow this week?  What fun things did you do while you were home?

Happy snow days to you, my friends!

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian Life

My Schedule for Today is to be Unscheduled

planner 1.jpg

Last month when I had the blessing of speaking to a group of pastor’s wives, my subject was on REST.  I encouraged them from the life of Jesus who told His disciples in Mark 6:31, where He said,

Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while; for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

We can all push ourselves so hard for so long that we find that we, like the disciples, scarcely have time to sit down for supper!  We eat on the run.  We try to play catch up with the laundry on Saturday as the mountain of clothes in the hamper resembles that of Mt Everest.  We feel deprived of time with our spouse.  We haven’t had a whole paragraph of conversation with our kids – only phrases like, “Where’s your homework?  “Did you brush your teeth?” and “What time is your game tonight?”  Our spiritual life is shallow and leaves only guilt instead of joy and peace.

Something has to give.

The suggestion I’m going to share is one I learned this summer during our sabbatical.  It’s one that is harder to do than say, but it’s needed, and may I also add, it’s necessary if we’re to live out fruitful lives for God’s glory.

Schedule unscheduled time.

Sit down with your calendar, a red pen (and your spouse, if you’re married) and find regular times you can be “unscheduled.” I would recommend that you spend these times as a family or just as a couple.  It doesn’t have to be a whole week or weekend – it could be just one whole day.  But take that red pen and put a big red “X” over at least one day every couple of weeks where you are

unreachable,

uncommitted,

and

unscheduled.

  • Try to stay unconnected while you’re away, meaning don’t plug into the Internet. Don’t text with friends.  Don’t send emails.  Instead, try to:
  • Rest – Sleep in. Take a nap.  Go to bed early
  • Play – Have fun! Play games.  Go to a concert.  Enjoy a snack.  Take a drive.
  • Read God’s Word
  • Write in your journal
  • Spend time in prayer
  • Make meals easy if you’re at home or staying somewhere where you still need to prepare meals.
  • Work on a project that is different from your normal tasks; work on a hobby you enjoy, for example.

Even just a day away from your normally hectic routine will energize you and help you to be ready to return to the demands that await you.  After Jesus and His disciples returned from their rest, Jesus was immediately moved with compassion on the crowd that met Him because they were as sheep having no shepherd.  We, too, will have a renewed love to minister to those in our lives after we’ve taken time to schedule being unscheduled.

Do you need to mark out a day in red ink?  Ask the Lord how, where and when, then do it!

img_8101