Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Oh, I feel miserable. This new strain of flu going around hit my son first, then me (yesterday), and my husband had to come home from church today. He was fine when he left but a wave of flu symptoms overtook him about a half an hour after church started.

I have chicken soup simmering on the stove right now (made with a rotisserie chicken, a few stocks of celery, and one small onion cut in half). I'll soon add some frozen noodles and wallah... homemade chicken soup to soothe the body and soul (the "recipe" came from my good friend, Belinda). So... my tea today will be peppermint and I'll serve hot soup instead of scones. Which is a good thing, considering how cold it has become again... brrrrr.

My ponderings lately (probably brought on by a busy week) have been of the need to redeem my time... or said another way, capture the moments. I realized the busier I get, the more my life often flows in a different direction than I had wanted. I feel like salmon swimming up stream against the flow of rushing water. I know I've used that analogy before but it is often with me.

If I don't think of what I'm doing once in awhile, I will have too many weeks where I have given up what is important at the altar of the urgent. I learned long ago that it is in capturing the moments of our lives that our days are made, our days become weeks... months... years. I'm not talking about never resting or letting ourselves watch a rerun of an old show on TV (my husband laughed for a full half an hour at a M*A*S*H rerun yesterday... laughter is good for the soul, too).

It has been that realization (again) that I must make time to get alone and think through my day, to better plan my hours. I know there have been seasons that it was harder than others like those when I had very young children in the house (turn your back on a two year old for just a few minutes and you may need a plumber!) or when I worked full time outside the home. But... my time is basically my own to schedule these days and I still have weeks go by when I wonder what happened and where they went!

My soul needs time alone with the Lord reading the Bible and letting the Life it contains be absorbed into every cell of my spirit, soul, body. I actually covet good Bible teaching by teachers I trust. These days such instruction is absolutely necessary as we are surrounded by many words in books, radio, and television... some of whom are those who "tickle our ears" by teaching that leads us away from the true values of the Faith.

I need to make room in my life for "continuing education" for the role in life for which I spend my hours and days. Just last week I learned new things about cooking that I never knew before. I spend a lot of time cooking and cleaning and it is a very good thing to make time in each week to learn how to do each in such a way to be efficient, make full use of time and money, and... not to mention... taste wonderful in the area of food.

For instance, it is a very good thing for someone who cooks a lot (be they male or female) to budget their money for a couple good magazines which give recipes and instructions in our favorite cooking styles, to "budget" time to watch excellent teachers on PBS or The Food Channel... how fortunate we are to be able to learn the basics of cooking in such a way. Of course, the best teacher is usually Mom or Grandma but I lived away from my mom most of my married years.

It is by taking notice and learning about quality brands in clothing, cookware, home furnishings, etc. that I know what are real bargains at thrift stores (or when I find a good sale at a department store). Time spent in such learning comes back many times over in savings of money.

Sitting in a long row on my bookshelves in my living room (and a few less in my bedroom) or books about keeping a house, decorating, budgeting, sewing, etc. All favorites left after numerous downsizing of all my books... those that either give me the best information and/or just make my heart sing.

I spent years reading everything I could about homeschooling and collecting books by those men and women who most spoke to my heart. Not to mention just collecting (hundreds?) of books over the years about all kinds of subjects we found interesting to learn more about. Fortunately, I began homeschooling when such books were often a quarter each at library sales. (All of them have now been divided between son, daughter, and donations to the library.) My only recent purchases... a few of Sally Clarkson's CDs from her Wholehearted Mom conferences. They will end up being gifts to my daughter, after I first listened to them. There is always more to learn. :)

When I was a young mother, my bookshelves overflowed with books about being a wife and mother, with many books on early childhood education... teaching my little one to walk with Christ... instilling values as they grow... nutrition for children... being the best mom I could be. I don't need these books as I did then but I still love to read books by women like Edith Schaeffer (having read them over and over and over and over through the years) and other favorite authors for I am still a wife and mother... just older. :)

Why do I find myself coming back to these books over and over? Because they are at the heart of the calling for my life. It is no different than the pastor who collects books and tapes about theology, always wanting to learn more from those who are living now or men who lived in centuries past... good Truth passed down from generation to generation. They are drawn by the Calling on their hearts. I enjoy such teaching, too, but they will take up a much smaller place on my bookshelf and CD library.

When my husband still worked as an engineer, they were required to get re-certified every few years. By requiring this continuing education, their professional organization new they would find it necessary to keep up with all the new information coming out which they would need to know to be most efficient in their jobs.

Life can be hard at times and often unpredictable. We are faced each day with many demands on our time and attention. If we don't stop and think... ponder the Calling ... we may not be able to fully take advantage of this season of our lives. We are a finite people who daily watch time passing us by at an alarming rate.

This week, I plan to take the time to pray more about how God will have me use the precious gift of time He gives me each day. What can I do... read... watch... listen to... which will benefit that with which He has called me to do in this brief time of space we have on this planet?

This path of thinking He has led me down has caused me to make a few changes lately. I've begun to write down appointments and errands on a weekly calendar again to keep them under control. (I had purchased one in August and hadn't even used it!) I'm giving more thought to my reading... right now spending time on a couple of interests... history that I've longed to learn more about. I purchased a special edition magazine about cooking last week (which is where I learned something new already).

My goal? How I want to reach the end of my life having done as much as I can to fulfill the call He has on my life. I want to hear "well done, good and faithful servant". I am so far from doing this perfectly. It is a good thing He does not judge by what we should have done, or who we could have been! He really does "know we are but dust". There will always be a balance between what we should do... who we should be... and who we really are. But that is what Grace is all about.

In the meantime, I will make an attempt to better control my time... my thoughts... my actions. I will have to lay the rest at the feet of the Saviour and let Him take that which is imperfect and make a thing of Beauty.


smilnsigh said...

Sorry you have the flu, again....


Terri said...

I hope everyone there feels better very soon. My husband has been battling something the last few days. He's upstairs taking a nap now, poor guy!

I found your post very thought provoking. I will have to consider my own use of time as well.

Oh, and I like the C.S. Lewis quote on the side bar too!
God bless.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Dear Brenda, I am praying for healing for you and all your family, but I also believe that the time of healing and recovery can be just the sort of quiet time to think that is filling your mind just now...I have been doing some reorganizing at home while listening to a Debbie McComber sort of memoir, I think it is called Knit Together, and it is about God's call to each of us to the life he has planned. Since she is a writer, hers is about writing and about not giving up, so far. (I haven't finished it.) I picked this CD up at the library and perhaps you could find one at yours. Peace to you and all your family.

And like the last poster, I really like the C.S. Lewis quote.

Cathy said...

I pray you and your family will be well soon. And God knows our hearts, Brenda. :o)

Anonymous said...

My heart is knit with yours, Brenda. I, too, love Edith Schaeffer's writings and own some of her books, which I re-read and which I recommend to younger women. Your post was the perfect one for me to read on this Monday morning, specifically about managing time well. Just before I went to bed last night I read a quote, loosely given here: "To get something done, stop talking about it and start doing it." Of course, the thoughts must come first. Then we MUST, finally, ACT. I pray you are feeling much better today. Desert Lady

Anonymous said...

This was a great post, Brenda. I always find myself on the same page as you...(: I am praying for you...feel better soon.
Blessings, Patty