Sunday Morning Coffee: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball

I’m not a baseball fan. It bores me. Such long intervals between pitches leave me itching for something else to do.

I do understand, however, that there is art and athleticism to the game, and if you love it, then you’ll understand why I’ve chosen a curve ball as an analogy for this post.

Curve balls are tricky. They catch you off guard.

Life tossed us a curve ball this week. I’ll spare you the details, which are really private and personal. Just–to extend the analogy–understand that we weren’t sure how to bat it, and we’re still learning.

One of the things we learned is that we’d have to depend on the rest of the “team.” That would be legal and professional people, as well as family, and people we may never meet who have extended a hand of help toward us.

Never overlooking the teammates who are supporting us in prayer, we are also looking to the Coach, Who has promised to “uphold us with the right hand of His righteousness (Is. 41:10).

We’ve never been dealt this particular “pitch” before, and it did take us off guard. But as we began to makes contacts, gather information, get the help we need, we realized that there are many kind, helpful people out there who are willing to direct us and be on our team. It has been delightful, also, to reach out to people we’ve never met and find that they are believers, and so can understand more deeply how to help us.

It is just past 7 a.m. here, and I happened to glance out our front living room window. It faces north, and the sky is just cloudy enough to be an intense pink-orange shade fading to pastels as the sun rises east of us and paints the sky with glory. It’s as if God is saying, “Good morning, Dear One! I’m here, I love you, and it will all be well. Trust Me. Always trust Me. If I can control the universe, I can certainly control this curve ball you’re dealing with. Besides, I knew a long time ago that it was coming. Don’t be afraid.”

Life goes on. There will be other curve balls, fast balls, strikes, balls, outs, and home runs. Our job? Keep working, and trust God.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Comfort

Image result for restless leg syndrome cartoons

Or, for a real giggle:

restless leg syndrome cartoon

Actually, it’s not funny. At all. You lose sleep. It drives you nuts, awake or asleep. It feels as if your leg is going to go wandering off without you, and sometimes you wish it would.

So I put out a call to my Facebook friends, and they came up with several really good ideas. I’m taking a magnesium supplement. I’m drinking tonic water.

And I got a weighted blanket.

100% Cotton Weighted Blanket

That’s pretty much what mine looks like. It feels like a full-body hug. It relaxes, soothes and comforts. There are lots of online options. I got mine at Walmart.

Since I got mine, I’ve been learning about this amazing creation. Originally used to comfort autistic children and other nerve-related disorders, it has since become used just because it feels so good.

I’m sleeping a lot better.

I’ve been thinking about the wonderful feeling of comfort and security as my blanket settles down over me. I’ve been thinking about how many times I would wake up, unable to sleep because of the jumpy legs, and how I would get up and pace the length of the house, often praying that God would touch my legs and help me relax. Sometimes, He did. I could get back into bed and finally sleep.

So was my faith not strong enough, that I had to finally search for other cures? I don’t know. I’ve never doubted that God can do whatever He chooses to do. I really don’t think I even question WHY He seems not to answer my prayer.

But, see, I think He did. He answered it His way, not mine. A friend who is a nurse suggested the blanket, and the jumpy legs are no longer a problem. Along with the other things I’m doing, also suggested by friends who love the Lord, I’m doing so much better.

There is great comfort in prayer. There is great comfort in the counsel and concern of friends.

There is great comfort in sleeping without my legs driving me nuts.

Thank You, Lord, for calm and peaceful sleep.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Sleep is Sweet

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This verse, memorized a long time ago from the KJV: “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”

When Terry had a job that took him away from home overnight, I had a hard time sleeping. Every creak and groan, every blast of wind coming across the prairie and slamming into the house, kept me awake.

I was teaching full time, and desperately needed to sleep. As I look back on it now, I realize I was struggling with anxiety as well, partly due to the lack of sleep.

One night was particularly frightening. There had been a very severe blizzard, leaving those Midwestern roads a mess, covered with black ice. I knew he was on the road, and I worried. I slept in snatches, and when I finally got up around 5 a.m. he still wasn’t in bed with me.

That’s because he was asleep on the sofa. He’d come in around midnight and didn’t want to wake me, so he just crashed in the living room. While I worried and prayed and visualized terrible things, he was sound asleep in our living room.

After I quit pounding on him and trying to smother him with a pillow and screeching, “DO YOU KNOW HOW SCARED I WAS!!” I left him begging for mercy while I got ready to drive to work. That was when the phone rang, and I got the message that school had been canceled.

I told him I was going to bed. He was responsible for whichever kid came stumbling out of a bedroom. Above all, no one–absolutely no one!– was to bother me.

If you believed that bit about screaming for mercy, you’re very gullible. He was convulsed with laughter. Terrible man.

Well. Those were the good old days. Now, I have trouble sleeping because of restless leg syndrome, and I’ve finally found some solutions. But the most important thing I’ve found is that I’m not alone. Lots and lots of my Facebook friends have the same problem.

You don’t realize how precious sleep is until you aren’t getting anywhere near enough.

God intended for us to sleep. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d forgotten about that wonderful verse, memorized when I was a newlywed and alone for a couple of weeks while Terry went to annual training. It helped me then. And, finally, it’s helping me now. I’m a practical person, and I’m not going to give up my weighted blanket, but I will also pray when I climb into bed tonight and ask the Lord to calm my mind and my heart.

He is the ultimate sleep treatment.

A Snare to the Soul

Prov. 22:24-25.

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:

 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

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Anger is a dreadful habit. It makes the angry person miserable; it scares small children and animals, and it makes him impossible to please.

Nothing is ever good enough for an angry person. Critical, negative, nit-picking and explosive, their anger often degenerates into physical violence as well as verbal, emotional, mental and spiritual abuse.

The only antidote I know for anger is to identify the cause, pray, and forgive the hurt that caused the anger. It is not necessary for anyone to be controlled by someone else’s anger, especially once they become old enough to leave the home of the angry person.

There is so much that I could say about all this. It’s a deep and abiding problem, and there are people who feel they have a right to what they call righteous indignation. And yes, there are things we should be angry about. Abortion. Sex trafficking. Drug and alcohol abuse. Political abuse. There’s a very long list, actually. But none of these things give us an excuse to blow up like Vesuvius, pouring molten lava all over the people around us.

Solomon said we could entangle ourselves in a snare. The word snare is used to describe controlling an animal by putting a hook in its nose! That is what anger can become to us—it hooks us by the nose and leads us where we should not go.

It’s never smart to allow emotions to lead our thinking and behavior.

Don’t spend time with an angry person. You’ll start to act just like he does.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Changes

We have a dogwood tree in our front yard that I can see from “my” chair in the living room. Its leaves have almost all changed from green to orange just in this past week. When we drive to church this morning I know we’ll see evidence of the coming season all along the way. I keep hanging onto the fact that we have about a week until summer is officially over, but the blending of one season into another is undeniable.

I do love fall. Here in my corner of PA, it’s almost always temperate. The humidity in the air goes away, and we are left with crystalline color that simply takes one’s breath away. The mosquitoes turn tail and fly to warmer places; I hope they die there before they can reproduce 🙂 Warm days, cool nights, great for cuddling under a puffy comforter.

People are starting to talk about pumpkin spice lattes, although I have to say they’re not my personal favorite. Too sweet. But the roadside farm market stands are chock full of corn, tomatoes, and pumpkins already.

Friends posted pictures of going apple-picking yesterday, so there will be lots of applesauce, apple butter, and apple pie in kitchens all over this area. The bounty of the harvest is always exciting. Out in Amish country, you can stop at just about every farm and sample the delicious apple cider; fruits and vegetables overflow the market tables.

Fall lasts a long time here. We don’t have winter really setting in until after the New Year, usually. Growing up, I was disappointed if it hadn’t snowed by Thanksgiving. Now, I’m thankful that it almost never snows that early 🙂

Something else we see in abundance: Yard sales, garage sales, neighborhood sales. We seem inclined to get rid of stuff, maybe in anticipation of the glut of Christmas that the stores are already promoting. If you love yard sales, you’d love living here right now!

Looking at all of it brings music to my mind. No surprise there–I almost always have music running in my head. This morning? “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come!”

Sunday Morning Coffee: A Picnic

Every year, the owner of the counseling center I worked in invites everyone in the office to a picnic at his place. Today was the day. It couldn’t have been better weather, with moderate temps, a slight breeze, and a lovely country setting.

Image result for an early September day in southeastern Pennsylvania

As I enjoyed the weather, the food, and the people, I found myself just listening to several conversations at once. Of course I could only follow one at a time, but the thing that impressed me was that matters of faith were high as a topic of conversation. Family, work, children. Sometimes there were actually conversations around some counseling issues, but no one was talking politics. What a relief!

There was laughter. There were silly jokes. There were questions directed to me: What are you going to do with your time now that you’re retired? Did you miss being at work this week? Are you bored yet?

Well, let’s see. I want to keep working on my book. That’s primary.

I teach a women’s Bible study at my church every week.

I teach high school kids in the homeschool co-op my church supports, starting next Friday.

I’m teaching the high school girls in Sunday school right now.

No, I’m not bored. I have a zillion jobs around the house that I need to get to. And I have a whole bunch of unread books just waiting for me to pick them up.

Not bored. Never bored.

Thankful, though. Thankful for days like today, enjoying fellowship with friends who do the same work I did, and who understand how exhausting it can be.

Thankful for a husband who has always been my biggest cheerleader.

Thankful for a church family that has taken us in.

Thankful for all four of my kids, in-laws, and nine grands.

Thankful for relatively good health.

Thankful for my salvation, and the sure knowledge that heaven awaits, and that soon I will see Jesus!

Life is good.

Sunday Morning Coffee: The Lord is My Shepherd

It’s been a good week, a different week, a busy week. Here’s my happy dance in honor of my retirement:

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Terry came up on Wednesday after my last appointment and helped take the rest of my things out of the office. I’d already taken home a lot of things over the last several weeks, so it was just the big stuff. My chair, my printer, the beautiful calligraphy my son Ken did for me several years ago, along with some other miscellany. It was a very quiet exit, really, since everyone else had left earlier than I did. It’s just strange, though, to stand and look at an emptied-out room where you’ve spent so many hours each week. Not my office any more.

Yesterday, I journeyed northward to spend time with a dear friend. We went out to lunch, gabbed and laughed, played some Mexican Train, and she had a “happy retirement” cake for me.

All these events in our lives mark the passing of time. I’m told that I’ll probably start having trouble remembering what day of the week it is now that I don’t have to go to work any more. That really won’t be much of a change, though. I have trouble with that already! Did you ever wake up and wonder, “What day is this? Do I have something going on today? What did I do yesterday?” as you try to orient yourself to reality. Happens to me a lot.

Driving up to my friend’s place was a new experience. I’d never been there on my own, and I went prepared with paper directions as well as programming the GPS in my car. Made it with no trouble, and felt quite proud of myself. I don’t like driving in places where I don’t know the traffic patterns. Makes me nervous.

And with all this random stuff, not for the first time this week, I’m thinking about the things I’m sure about. My husband loves me. Unconditionally. I have wonderful friends. I had godly parents. I’ve been privileged to see some gorgeous places this summer, and I have wonderful kids and grandkids. I have a good church with a good and godly pastor. It is a privilege to have a ministry there.

And I have a mighty, loving, gracious, and holy God Who sent His Son to be my Savior.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want!

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