We’re Not in Kansas Anymore–Taste and See Sunday

kansas

As Dorothy said, “. . . we’re not in Kansas anymore!”

Tim and I are back home after spending the past couple of days in the small town of Fort Scott, Kansas, preparing for and participating in the wedding of our youngest son, Trevor, to his beautiful bride, Jordan.

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While we were in Fort Scott we had the opportunity to “taste and see” God’s goodness in so many ways. This little town is such a treasure. It’s filled with some of the greatest people in the world. People who seem to go out of their way to make us, complete strangers to most, feel welcome and at home instantly.

So if you ever have a chance to visit Fort Scott, it’s just an hour or so away from Kansas City, I hope you can take some time to “taste and see” what a deliciously wonderful place it is by checking out places like:

levine house
The Levine House Bed and Breakfast–Our stay here was the best! The Levine House sits on National Street right across from the better known Lion’s Twin Mansion. Under new ownership, The Levine offers four rooms upstairs and our extended family shared the space with us while they were here. Our host, Glenn, did everything possible to help us and our family enjoy our time with privacy and comfort. The rooms were spacious, comfortable and we were provided with everything and anything we needed at an affordable price.

Msjamies2
Ms Jamie’s Restaurant–Ms Jamie is a bit of a celebrity in Fort Scott and as a friend of Jordan’s family, we called her to do the catering for our rehearsal dinner, and we weren’t disappointed. We felt like family (even by those on her team who had no idea who we were!) Ms Jamie’s restaurant is open every day with great food, a fabulous staff and some of the most delicious treats ever. Her little place, tucked in neatly next to the State Farm office, does big business and is definitely worth a stop in.

cupcake
Kelli Woodring–Kelli doesn’t have her own place, but she does make some mean cupcakes often sold at. . .you guessed it, Ms Jamies. Kelli, and her husband Tim, is a pastor, but he also helps out at Ms Jamie’s, and he and Kelli are servants at heart. Not only did she make the most amazing cupcakes for the wedding reception, but when we were in a pinch, Tim made sure that we had what we needed to bring technology to our gathering allowing Trevor’s brother Connor come to us from Russia via video to offer a toast to Trevor and his soon to be bride, Jordan.

sugar foot and peaches
Sugarfoot and Peaches BBQ–The little place is nestled near the edge of town (well, it seemed like it anyway, but I am a bit directionally challenged) and quite simply the place is not to be missed. The BBQ was so good, the ribs-yum!, the smoked sausage-uh huh!, sweet potatoes fries-ohhh, and the sauces–so, so, so saucy! The owners were friendly, gracious, helpful and made our meal even better. If you are in town, be sure to stop in and tell a friend.

community christian church
Community Christian Church–As a children’s ministry director, I rarely attend a service alone or with the husband. So it was a great treat to get to attend CCC in Ft Scott. We got there a little early and were greated and made to feel welcome. The minister, Kevin Moyers, is a guy I happened to go to church with as a teenager, and it was pretty cool to sit by his lovely wife, Cindy and hear him preach/teach/share such a solid message on the truth of Christmas and our need for a Savior. It was honest, sincere, and Biblical, and if you are ever in town on a Sunday you should certainly consider checking out one of their services.

Everywhere we went, we saw God’s goodness. Everywhere we ate, we tasted God’s goodness. In every person we met, we experienced God’s goodness. And I think part of the reason is because Fort Scott, Kansas, is one of those towns like the one I live in that, although not perfect, is still filled with really great people with a desire to make a difference.

And when we slow down long enough, we get the chance to see the things that are actually always right there under our noses. That way we don’t have to just taste and see that God is good, we can “sense” it, too.

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I Can’t Drive 55–Take a Seat Saturday

I can't drive 55

Sammy Hagar was wrong. There ya go, I said it. The Red Rocker could, indeed, drive 55. He just didn’t want to.

Realizing that Saturday’s blog posts on rest are the posts I most often avoid writing made me stop and ask myself why. One reason, most certainly, is I am not good at resting. I am a doer. There ya go, I said it. The other main reason is that I have given into Sammy’s idea of “I just can’t,” when the truth is I just don’t want to.

“I just can’t rest. There’s too much to do.” Oh brother, what a lie. And just like Sammy could drive 55–it did take him 16 hours to get L.A. by the end of the song (I know some of you will be looking up his video just for old time’s sake), I, too, can learn to slow down. Praisallujah! You can, too.

Actually I’ve been doing a much better job at slowing down–that’s what 3 1/2 months of sinus infection will do to a girl! But outside of an inconvenient sickness, I am learning to make choices that are helping me to slow down, invest more in others and learn to appreciate more some of the things I had been missing in my busy lifestyle.

A few things needed to go missing though. I realized as I watched the Sammy Hagar video that a nonstop lifestyle often breeds other things like pride, rebellion and disrespect. Things I would never have thought characterized me, yet when I think about it probably were a part of my overly busy life. It’s time to put off those old habits and put on some humility, submission, and respect.

I can’t say it’s an easy thing I’m learning. BUT, and this is a big but, it’s the right thing I’m learning. It’s time for me to stop stealing someone else joy by doing things they might want to do. It’s time for me to stop serving my time leftovers to my husband. It’s time for me to invest in people more than projects.
It’s time for me to quit saying “I’m tired” or “I can’t. I already have another commitment.” It’s time for me to start submitting to God and His ways which are always best and right.

Sometimes those plans will still mean long hours and hard work. But sometimes those plans mean saying “no” to something good, and “yes” to quieting myself and my home and even my work time to rest in Him, hearing His voice and enjoying His presence.

Although Sammy Hagar and the boys in the band had to learn the hard way that they could drive 55, I’d rather learn God’s way that I can, should and will take time to rest, being still and knowing that He is God.

Don’t Bother Me, I’m Busy Resting–Take a Seat Saturday

shhhh

Oh! I make myself laugh sometimes at the silly things I say. Take for example the words in the title above. “I’m busy resting.” Even though it sounds like a giant contradiction in terms, I really think that for some of us, being “busy resting” may be one of the only ways we rest. Well, until we drop from complete exhaustion!

No matter how much I want to fight the truth. I need to rest. I need to slow down sometimes, and I don’t need to feel guilty about it. So I have learned that it helps to schedule in some times of rest. In order to stay sane productive, I schedule most of my week with certain days and certain times to get certain things done. I am much more likely to get the necessary things done when I schedule them in. I can then easily and honestly say “no” to some good things so that I can get the better and best things accomplished. And so it goes with rest.

When I schedule in times of rest, even small times, I am much more likely to actually rest. With rest time scheduled in, I am free to say “no” (yeah, that’s a word we can all say) to the same good things that keep me from this better thing.

I’ve also found that I have different kinds of rest needs. Sometimes I need to rest my body. Sometimes it’s my brain that needs a break–I can tend to over think sometimes. Depending on what’s going on, my emotions may need a break, and certainly my spirit needs time to slow down and rest in God.

By scheduling these times in, and by doing my best to keep those scheduled times, I am much more likely to keep my both my physical and my spiritual heart healthy, as well as my spiritual fruit growing, my purpose clear before me, and my joy overflowing. My relationships are better, my ministry is better, and my outlook and attitude are better. Things are just better when rest is part of the picture.

If fact, I think I’m going to grab a few minutes of rest now, so if anyone asks, I’m busy . . . resting.

Rest is Not a 4-Letter Word: Take a Seat Saturday

slow downRest is not a 4-letter word. Okay, maybe it is. But not the “bad kind” of 4 letter word, although it feels like it sometimes. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a little problem with slowing down. I’ve been working on it for a couple of years now. Trying to incorporate the oh-so-important day off into my schedule is a task I have yet to master. But I am working on it. My head understands all the reasons why I should, but my heart just doesn’t always get it. My passions for ministry and family often take over what should be my passion for obedience, wisdom, and setting an example.

I remember when the boys were little. Sometimes they would be so tired, but they just wouldn’t give in to sleep. I can remember saying to myself and to them, “Don’t fight it. Just let yourself sleep.” So many of us live in the same manner. We are tired, but we fight rest. In our confused state we forget that the God who served up a loaves and fish lunch to thousands can handle anything we have on our calendars. In the coming weeks, I hope to share some insights into why we fight rest and what we can do to help let ourselves surrender to it, and the One who created it. He has called us to rest. The first key for me in deciding to make changes in this area is based on this one simple truth: God said to. That should have been enough for me. But this is an area my flesh and spirit, and maybe yours, fight daily. My pride, my insecurity, my stubborness, and my inability to trust God to take care of the demands of the day cause me to stumble back in to the trap of the evil one in this sensitive area of my life.

The first key for me in deciding to make changes in this area is this one simple truth: God said to.

There have been times as a parent when my sole response to our children has been, “Because I’m the mom, and I said so.” I always thought I would never say those words, but I learned that sometimes they can have great impact. For our authority as parents was designed to have that kind of weight. In other words, at times, it’s necessary to simply say that because of my authority in the home, this is what we are doing. I know what is best and it is what I have decided.

God, as the ultimate authority and ultimate parent, also has the final word. Which is why, for me, before my heart could fully grasp the importance of rest, my head had to be willing to understand that I have to slow down, because God said so, and He’s God, and that’s reason enough to do what He has asked.

It’s a little funny that I have declared Saturday’s posts as “Take a Seat Saturday” because at the church where I serve, I have to go in on Saturdays and work. But it’s not about the day you rest, it’s that you take a day to rest, and my current day of rest is Friday.

Whether this is something you struggle with or have mastered, I’d love to hear your thoughts. ‘Til then. . . take a seat, and happy resting!

Nap Thirty

napthirty

Well, you learn something new every day. Recently I upped my cool factor by learning some of the new lingo all the cool kids are using. Okay, so the fact that I say that completely diminshes my cool factor, and I don’t know if the kids who are saying this are cool or not (well, I think one is, because he’s my son). But several times while he has been home over Christmas break the terminology “nap thirty” has come up, and I have come to realize that the boy is certainly on to something.

Urban dictionary revealed to me that nap thirty is, “a time when you get home from school and are very tired and just want to go to sleep.” The son further explained it can take place half past any hour or last about 30 minutes–I guess whichever you choose or whichever you need most.  Apparantly all good college students know that after staying up late studying and getting up early for class, “nap thirty” is an integral part of their day.

Recently I’ve been battling a little sickness. Well, okay, a lot of sickness. Although it’s been nothing major, it’s been majorly here to the tune of 22 of the last 27 days. (Yeah, I’m counting!) Today, I got myself a little “nap thirty” of my own in, and after waking up I headed from the couch to the chair to spend a little time in the Word with Jesus. It was then I  realized a connection between my chronic illness and some nap thirtys, or the lack thereof.

It’s no doubt many of us are sorely lacking in the sleep department and that we push and push and push until we wear out. And it’s no doubt that our most awesome God knew what He was doing when He not only commanded rest for us, but modeled it to us. And it’s no doubt that we need to get our listening ears on as we say in the preschool department.

Truth is, I’m excited to be learning from my son the important principle and discipline of rest. Plus, it’s kind of fun to say “nap thirty” alot around him and his older brother, so I can watch them roll their eyes at each other! But today, as I am home recovering not only from another crazy virus, but from a lack of rest, let me encourage you, whether you minister to your church, your children’s ministry, in your job or with your family and friends, to consider the principle of “nap thirty” before frenzied pace of another year catches up with you.

There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11