Learning to love – and leave – a schedule

Planning is the key to surviving seminary.

Learning when to scrap the plan is the key to living.

Today’s reading/work plan started with watching a video before work. Then, I planned to finish some reading on my lunch break and to watch another video this evening.

It’s now 9:43 p.m. I’m too tired to watch a video, but I might be able to pull off a little reading.

What happened?

Lunch over a plate over rewarmed spaghetti while reading a text on a Kindle turned into a celebration of a volunteer’s new job with a farewell meal at a local diner. Tonight’s video session turned became dinner out with Dad for the first time in months and a long visit with my 97-year-old Grammy.

There are days when you have to minimize the distractions, keeping to the plan to whittle down a  mountain of assignments into a manageable molehill.

Today wasn’t that day.

Today was marked with those little moments that make life beautiful – laughter, conversation, sharing memories, the rare day when you do no cooking at all.

Will I need to work harder over the weekend to finish everything I put off today? Yes.

Will I regret the time I spent getting to know my new coworkers better or visiting one of my Dad’s favorite restaurants with him or hearing Grandma tell me about her uncle’s fascination with the turnpike tunnels back when they were built? Never.

In the long run, the work gets done. That’s the way I roll. It will happen.

But, it’s what I do in the relationships in my life that make the work worth the doing.


This is day two of a series of posts on the life of a seminary student as part of the Write 31 Days blogging challenge.

Bike MS 2013: Anticipation

152 days.

Wintry gray will have given way to the colors of spring and the temperate spring to a sultry summer.

152 days.

With some hard work, I’ll have dropped a few pounds to make my task easier.

152 days.

To put in time and miles on the bicycle in preparation for the big day.

152 days.

Until bike MS: Mason-Dixon Challenge 2013.

Continue reading

Struck by the wonder of a faithful God

Grammy was not happy when she sat down next to me at church.

“I lost my hearing aid,” she said.

I knew what this meant. Even with the hearing aid, she barely could hear the pastor. Today, she would hear nothing and, yet, she came because it was that important for her to be with God’s people.

Thankfully, the service hadn’t started yet so I said loudly, into her better ear, “I’ll come home with you after church and look for it.”

When I arrived at her house, I asked the obvious question, “Where were you when you lost it?”

“In the yard,” she replied.

The yard? That big, double lot?

Needle meet haystack.

She pointed me to an area where she had been doing some yard work. I slowly started walking back and forth in the area and suddenly, inexplicably quckly, I found it.

“Oh!” Grammy exclaimed. “God led you right to it.”

Grammy’s like that. These litte, everyday experiences are tiny displays of God’s majestic grace and a sign of his deep care for even the mundane parts of our lives.

That’s also the message of Margaret Feinberg’s new book that releases on Christmas Day.

The new book and 7-session Bible Study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God is a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Wonderstruck will help you:

  • Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine
  • Unearth extraordinary moments on ordinary days
  • Develop a renewed passion for God
  • Identify what’s holding you back in prayer
  • Discover joy in knowing you’re wildly loved

 To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Video:

A Sneak Peek At Wonderstruck from Margaret Feinberg on Vimeo.

Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog. You can learn more about this great book by visiting www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble  for all you savvy shoppers.

So where have you seen the wonder of God in your life? 

Embracing humility, embracing the kingdom

I didn’t think Allume was going to happen for me this year. It sold out before I could get a ticket. There was little chance of having days off from work approved. And then there was the money factor.

Without getting into too many details, the money worked out and a ticket became available.

And I quit my job.

I didn’t quit just to go to Allume. There were other factors, not the least of which was the realization that what I was doing, as worthy as it was, ran against the skills and passions that God gave me.

Within a few days of walking out the door with no real plan for the future, I had a call, a superquick interview and a job that started less than a month before Allume … and they still let me take off two days!

I told myself it was confirmation from God. A reward for following his path and returning to a life of writing.

Next up? Building my blog, connecting with people who could help grow my blog and gathering posts into e-books.

Bigger, better, bolder!

And then came Trina Holden’s session, “Her Story  with Trina Holden – Your Blog is Not Your Endgame.”

Read the rest of the post over at Donna’s lovely blog, City Chick in the Country. Thanks, Donna, for giving me the opportunity to guest post!

Waiting for the storm

It’s just after 11 p.m. on Sunday. The Sunday after Allume. It’s quiet, but it’s not going to be that way for long and it wasn’t that way most of the day.

Last week, if you would have asked, I would have thought that I would be taking a really long nap the day after Allume. I’d probably start subscribing to blogs and following new friends on Twitter. I’d take a day of rest, honor the Sabbath and jump into doing all the housework on Monday.

But I didn’t. That storm that so many were talking about at Allume is on our doorstep. A meterologist on TV just said that Sandy would be “destructive, life-threatening and historic.”

Most of that devastation will, of course, be closer to the coast wherever Sandy comes ashore, but it’s going to be tough here in Central Pennsylvania. The forecast says we’ll have winds of 30-40 miles an hour with gust up to 70. The electric company is calling people to give them a message that the electric could be out for several days to a couple of weeks.

So I spent the day (after church!) putting things away outside, making sure my Grammy’s house was ready, cleaning out jugs and containers and filling them with water. I did a load or two of laundry and most of the dishes. Checked and double-checked the flashlights.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll leave my house and go spend the worst of the storm with Grammy. She’s an amazingly self-sufficient and healthy 95-year-old woman of faith but I don’t want her to be alone.

Now, though, now is the quiet. I can hear the beginnings of the rain outside though the real wind isn’t to come until tomorrow. My cat is sleeping and purring next to me as if all is at peace in the world.

After I hit the publish button, I’ll turn off the computer. I’ll head for bed. I’ll stop to pray for the quiet of the heart to last through the howling winds of the storm. I’ll pray for safety for my friends, family and my Allume sisters who find themselves stuck here because of cancelled flights. I’ll pray for God to turn the storm aside and to carry us through it if He doesn’t.

Join me in those prayers?

Deep and wide …

Five Minute FridayThis is another Five-Minute Friday post. Lisa-Jo gives us a prompt and bloggers write for five minutes without editing or revising. This week’s prompt is “wide.” Click over here to see what others have written.

Wide? With all due respect, what kind of prompt is that?

When I think of wide, I think of my waistline. Give me abreak, people, I’m over 40!

I also think of the children’s song, “Deep and Wide.” There’s a fountain flowing it, you know.

But what is it? What is deep an wide and why is a fountain flowing it? The song never explicitly tells us what exactly is deep and wide. I suppose we are to suppose that it is God’s grace, love, mercy, forgiveness – all those qualities of the Most High that are really difficult to explain to a toddler swinging his hands about as he does the motions.

But, those very traits of God have to be deep and wide.

There is a deep chasm between the Creator and his created, formed when our common ancestors succumbed to the temptation to make themselves equal to God by taking of the tree of knowledge.

That deep and wide chasm can only be filled by a love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and peace that runs deeper and wider than any divide that separates us.

Five Minute Friday: Focus

Five Minute FridayThis is another Five-Minute Friday post. Lisa-Jo gives us a prompt and bloggers write for five minutes without editing or revising. This week’s prompt is “focus.” Click over here to see what others have written.

Limited time has a way of defining my focus. If I have days to finish a project, I will dawdle over each dot and squiggle. If I have hours, I settle in with laser intensity until the project is complete to my standards, which are often unreasonably high.

But, we all have limited time.

There’s the immediate sense of limited time in that we have 24 hours each day to complete whatever sort of list we have developed for ourselves. The cooking, cleaning, sleeping, writing, study, getting together, have only 24 hours each day to happen.

Then there’s the longview. I have a limited time that God will allow me to live on this earth with an eternity to follow. Eternity is settled. Unlimited time to worship a limitless God.

Bu now, now how do I live? Do I live as if the days are short and take advantage of every opportunity? Do I focus on the One who matters?