Sometimes we just need something Sweet~

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Last week my heart felt so heavy as I watched and heard about so many devastating events that caused death and sadness to countless people in many parts of the world. I watched the news in the morning and listened to the news while in my car while out doing a few errands. I could feel the weight of the concern on my heart.  I prayed. I cried. I prayed again.

Sitting at a traffic light a young Jr. High boy, riding on a scooter, stopped at a cross walk, he pushed the button and when he did he noticed an older homeless man a little way up the sidewalk.  Without hesitating, this young man pulled out his wallet, grabbed $20.00 dollar bill and handed it to the homeless man.  He turned, jumped on his scooter and headed across the street to the other side.

That little sweetness lifted my heavy heart.

I like to treasure hunt, when I can, at our local Goodwill.  This particular day I heard one of the employees loudly say ” Hey, there’s the birdman.” Then I watched a wonderfully kind interaction between them.  The “Birdman” was a tiny, hunched over, toothless man who comes into Goodwill to find bird houses.  In his hand was his treasure for the day ~ a bird house made completely out of rocks~ he was beaming!

As I made my way through the store I looked up and only the “birdman” and I were alone in the  same aisle.  He walks my way, puts his hand on my shoulder and says “honey, have you ever imagine the stories that the old items in this store could tell?  Stories of joys, memories, sadness, and celebrations?  Isn’t life precious?”   and he walked away.

That little bit of sweetness lifted my heavy heart!

Sometimes we just need something sweet, something precious, to remind us to appreciate our lives and the people in it.  I was grateful to have experienced these “sacred moments”.

In the midst of reports that break our hearts let’s not forget that there are still multitudes of precious, good people! 🙂

I wish you “sweetness” today.

Abundantly Grateful~

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Today when I awoke from my soft, comfy bed I made my way to the kitchen for a cup of warm coffee.  I sat down in a quiet space and picked up my Bible, which I am free to leave sitting on my coffee table~ I read and prayed freely.

Later in the day I drove on safe roads while I made my way to a grocery store with an incredible assortment of groceries; never once did I have to fight anyone for the “last” of any item.  So many choices.

Towards afternoon I had the freedom to enjoy a few television shows without having government control what I could watch; even read a fun magazine freely. Not once did I fear for my safety today!

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Today I didn’t wake up in a worn-torn area where bedding and warmth are impossible to find.  I did not have to drink dirty water out of an old plastic container because there is nothing else available.

Today I didn’t have to rummage for a few pages I had found from an old bible; hiding away in a dark corner just to read their words of life; praying not to get caught.

Today I did not have to walk to the old dump to rummage for bits and pieces of edible food along with many others without viable ways to feed their families.

Today I wasn’t inundated with Government rants and photos of leaders plastered on every large building wall. I wasn’t warned that if I wasn’t 100% compliant with my Government I would stand the chance of losing my life.

This is why I am thankful to be an American.  Though we are not a perfect nation and we are continually challenged with ongoing issues; we are still enjoying so many freedoms that others around the world would never dare to dream for!

This 4th of July~ I am abundantly grateful for those who fought for my freedom.

Thank You~ 200th Blog Post!

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A few years ago I decided to risk writing a blog to begin to chronicle the many lessons I gain from everyday living. Challenges, changes, observations, and coaching moments could probably sum up the content of my Blog~

“Seasons and Assignments”

This will be my 200th blog post!! I am now officially convinced that our lives are full of wonderment and celebrations, fresh understanding and opportunities to grow.  As I read through the lessons I’ve been learning and have documented in my blog posts, I can relive my sad experiences, growth points, and fresh revelations about God, life, leadership, and relationships!!

I wanted to take the opportunity in my 200th Blog post to say “thank you” to my faithful readers who have commented and encouraged me every step of the way.  Your feedback has been priceless and inspiring to me!

It is my desire to be a source of fresh ideas, amusing stories, and tools for life. It is my hope that my experiences will help to build hope and direction as you walk out your own life experiences!

I wonder if you might be willing to, once again, give me some feedback.  What blog(s) that I have shared have meant a lot to you over the years? Which topics have spoken the most to your own life experiences? What themes would interest you in the days ahead?  Your feedback will help to keep me on track, inspired, and ready to “share life” with you for another 200 blog posts!  🙂

Again, I thank you for walking through the Season and Assignments of life with me!

Thoughts for the New Year~

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Life can be so busy, right?  We run here and there getting through our list of tasks each day with barely a margin to catch our breath. At least I have found myself in this situation more often than I care to admit!

This year, while considering a meaningful New Years Resolution, I felt impressed to make a concerted effort to slow down, acknowledging and appreciating those who serve my life in so many ways:  Airline stewardesses, waiters, retail clerks, grocery baggers, gas station attendants, etc.

I have learned some interesting things in the process:

1.  It takes extra time and intentionality to slow down enough to look someone in the eye and ask how they are doing.

2.  People rarely hear a “thank you” in service work and are really taken aback ( in a good way) when they receive an expression of appreciation.

3.  It takes courage to be intentional and express appreciation.  Even when I feel grateful I might not verbally express it.  I get a little nervous, to be honest.

4.  When people feel you are sincere in asking about them, they will open up in really surprising ways.  In doing so I have learned so many stories of those with whom I have interacted. Really special.

5.  Once appreciation has been expressed, the interaction takes on a whole new feeling when we see one another again. 🙂

I have worked in the service industry in my life and know how it feels when my days were full of grumpy, busy, or entitled people.  It’s tough.

How about we all slow down a little bit in the coming year and encourage those who serve us in so many ways. How about we express our appreciation in creative and kind ways.  It’s amazing what we can learn about people, and ourselves!

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The Joys and Challenges of being a Pastor’s Wife~

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Years ago, Greg and I had the privilege of working with Focus on The Family in their pastoral support department.  Leading a couples retreat with H.B. London was a joy, and yet during this event I had a stark reminder of the joys and challenges of being a pastors’ wife.   There was a point in the event where the wives and husbands split into separate rooms for a teaching time planned specifically for them.  H.B. London was in my event with the woman and he risked asking a challenging question there, ” how many of you have 1-2 women in your congregation who you would consider close to you; someone you can fully trust?”  I sat there astounded when only 2 women raised their hand in a room of 90 women!  My heart-felt so grieved as I was reminded of what I had already come to know through my coaching with Pastor’s wives; her role is full of joy and challenge.

Thom Ranier, a contributor to the Christian Post, did a survey on his blog, Facebook, and general conversations with Pastors wives.  Among the challenges were; being a conduit for complaints for their husbands, frequent moves, husbands being on call 24/7, and being expected to be at each and every event at the church.

Juianna Morlet, in her blog “Dear Pastors Wives”, expresses her thoughts this way, ‘ As women, we already struggle with daily pressure to be perfect inside and out, but then adding the spiritual, emotional and physical weight from your husband’s pastoral job and heightened attention, both intentionally and unintentionally, on the demeanor of you and your family, it can be a lot for one woman to bear. ”

In an article sent to me just this week titled; Nine Secrets Your Pastor’s Wife Wishes You Knew, Christina Stolaas posed a simple, open-ended question to a panel of pastors’ wives in different states, from different denominations, with various years of service, “If you could tell the church a few things about your role as a pastor’s wife, what would you say?”  She got honest responses.  Many wives acknowledged that being completely honest was difficult.  Some of the challenges they expressed was the challenge to have consistant family time, the loneliness that came with her role; finding it difficult to have true friendships. Another challenge, and not necessarily a surprise, was that Sundays can be really stressful, especially depending on her involvement or the amount of services held each weekend.

As a pastor’s wife for 16 years I fulfilled numerous roles and responsibilities for which I am so grateful. However there were often times when the expectations, lack of privacy, and unending schedule caused me personal angst.  Navigating all the elements of my role took patience, prayer, good council, and much grace.  I even had to learn the word “no”.  The role is a unique one; one of sweet opportunity but also challenges.

The Pastor’s wives who were interviewed expressed that they loved their churches and felt blessed to be given the opportunity to have impact in the lives of those who worshipped there. These women want to serve alongside their husbands making a difference for their church, their family, and the community.

At the end of the day, your pastor’s wife, though imperfect along with the rest of us, deserves to be respected and shown kindness, grace, and friendship.

Perhaps there is something you could change in your relationship or expectations towards your Pastor’s wife.  Perhaps she’d like to go to lunch, or maybe a card would make her day.  Your prayers for her might cover her in a situation that feels over her head.  Consider your role in helping her navigate her role.  🙂

We are HOME!!! :-)

Honestly, I love the sound of a room full of people sharing a meal, conversation, and hearts!  Nothing fills my soul more!  It is with this heart that I decorated my wonderful new home.  I wanted a place where my loved ones felt at peace, cozy, and welcome.

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It was huge for me to create a space for any children that might enter my home; a place created JUST for them.  Imagine being a child coming into a home without a place to “hang”, to play??  I created that place.

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My husband and I are truly blessed to enjoy the home we have purchased; many miracles have brought us here.  Because of this we know this home will be rich with memories of laughter, tears, teaching, and prayer.

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How about you? Can you see your home as a place of love and warmth? Have you created an atmosphere that would welcome neighbors and friends alike?  Consider seeing your home as a place of love and outreach in a world that often times is cold and closed!

We are the light of the world…….our homes can be a great place to shine!

We are blessed and because of that we pray that we will also bless others.

I am a Millionaire~~

I am on vacation with my family…On the island of Kauai. This fact alone is enviable and I apologize if it even remotely appears I could be bragging.  However, this trip is not what makes me a millionaire! Rather, it is the people I am sharing this experience with that makes me feel incredibly rich!

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Today we spent 6 hours on a lovely beach; the sun, palm trees, and amazing, warm waters were sincerely lovely BUT the sweet conversations, deep laughter, family banter, rough housing, and the love expressed remind me again, I AM RICH!!

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My family fills my heart.  These individuals are kind, smart and interesting. Watching them interact, respond kindly to those we encounter, and listening to their thoughts and engaging ideas, make me a MILLIONAIRE! It does!  I am deeply grateful and I do not take this precious family for granted!

I pray that when you experience your own families you feel so rich, so fortunate, so blessed~~ Aloha, my friends! 🙂

STOP Rushing Me!!!

My mother is a wonderful artist and has painted some amazing pictures for me. Most recently is a fantastic European setting that is so beautiful and inspiring.  Deserving a perfect framing job; I took the large painting to Micheal’s Craft Store to be professionally framed.  They do a good job!!

However, I walked into the building passing all the summer items on sale, 75% off…When in the first week of August is Summer over??  Stunning and sad news to me!!

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As I passed a few aisles I encountered pumpkins, goblins, Bats, and Apple Cider Candles…seriously? Why are we setting up shop for next October??  This is August, it’s Summer, C’mon people!!!

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And then the biggest stunner of all…..an aisle full of Christmas Ornaments!!! Are you kidding me??  Why does retail PUSH us so quickly??? Arrgh!

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Then I began to think..how often to we live for tomorrow, a better season, a new day?  What would it look like to be fully present and appreciative for this day?  I love Summer and when it IS Fall I will love it. When the Holidays arrive I will enjoy every sweet minute of it!  But Today, just don’t rush me!!

” Choose happiness by taking life day by day, and being thankful for all the little things that mean so much!  Ritu Ghatourey

ENJOY THIS DAY!!!

Happy Birthday to a man I admire~~

013April 6th is my father, David Wray Jr’s,  birthday.  My father is a precious man.  If you could all spend one hour talking with him, you would know what I mean! My father is a man of wisdom and yet he is a man with a great sense of humor.   My dad is very kind hearted but can also be quite firm on what he values.

I wanted to take a moment to point out the elements that make a man a wonderful father:

1.  He allows you to make mistakes and loves you anyway.

2.  He is consistent in what he believes and stays true to his values.

3.  He shows affection often, listens well, and gives meaningful advice.

4.  He prays for his children.

5.  He makes time for his children.

6.  He loves his children’s mother.

7.  He doesn’t have a bad temper.

8.  He loves to create shared memories:  backpacking, fishing, vacations.

9.  He has a love and trust for God that is evident in all he does.

10. He is interested in his children’s lives and does all he can to be involved.

All of these represent the father that I have been richly blessed to have. It is my hope and prayer that my life is one that exemplifies that of a “loved” daughter.

Dad, thank you for overcoming obstacles, persevering when being a father of 6 daughters must have been overwhelming, for loving our mother so well, and for leading us, ultimately, to knowing that God is loving and trustworthy.

I love you.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!  🙂

Do you have a HOUSE or a HOME?

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This week I have enjoyed the unique opportunity to assist my son and precious daughter in law as they get re-settled in CA for a new life there~ a new adventure.  What I have loved the most has been watching them transform a “house” into a “home”!

Nate and Kate are no strangers to setting up house as their short married life has already had numerous moves.

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Furniture, bedding, dishes, and blankets are all needed in order to set up house. However,  Pictures and memory-based items make a house a home!

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As I have spent this past week alongside these two I have observed the MOST important aspect of what makes a house a home. KINDNESS.
In the midst of boxes, unfamiliar streets, new noises, and the idiosyncrasy’s of a home build in the 1920’s, I have seen these two show incredible kindness to one another.

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Whether you live in Bend, OR., Seattle, WA., or Palo Alto, CA~ You can make a house a home IF you are intentional about doing so.

Today–look around your home….does is represent your family with all it’s uniqueness’s?  Is your home full of kindness and care?  I pray that it is and that your house is indeed a HOME!  🙂