Thursday, June 15, 2017

Better with Friends

Have you ever done something or got in the middle of something and thought, "this is crazy?" It sounds fun at the beginning. You began with energy and excitement and then you begin to wonder what you have gotten yourself into.



I am in the middle of one of those things. I am too far in at this time to quit and really I do want to finish it. It might be crazy. It might be time consuming. It might be hard but I think it is rewarding. I say I think because I have not finished it yet.

It all began in January a friend posted on Facebook about a 100km walk and was anyone interested in doing it with her. In talking with my friend I decided why not. I can do it. My friend had volunteered last year and was impressed with the people that did it, not the athletics but the people that worked hard and walked lots, the people that you cheered when they finished. She came back with the idea, "if they can do that, I can do it." So she recruited some friends to join.

So the crazy thing I am doing is a 100km walk. 50 km on one day, a night at base camp and then we get up the next day and do 50km again.


For the past few weeks we have been walking on a Saturday morning. Some days it is beautiful and some days it has been cold and wet. We even had a day of sun as we began and then rain but that is English weather.

We have gotten lost, scrambled down rocks as we couldn't find the path, jumped across a stream, fell in a stream (just one of us did that though if you hear the story it might be described as a raging river), drank cups of coffee, ate some cake, talked, laughed, and did it with friends.

We have begun the countdown to the race, less than a month. We have been training in our hills and hopefully that will make it easier when we walk. One day I had over 250 flights of stairs on my Fitbit. I have set a few records on the Fitbit.


I have enjoyed the company and the accountability. I think if I didn't have some meeting me on the corner to begin the walk there would have been many Saturdays that I would have just stayed in bed.

I have to say that this is Better with Friends.

That is my crazy thing for this year. Maybe for this decade. Have you ever done something crazy?

Beth
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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Margin in Life

I learned to type on a manual typewriter. I know that ages me but I was about 10 or maybe 12 when I learned to type. I remember sitting at the typewriter and practicing jjff kkdd llss ;;aa as I learned the home row. As you began typing, one of the things that you needed to do was set the margins. Then with your fingers on the home row and you would begin typing. As you get near the end of the line, a little bell would chime telling you that you needed to move to the next line. You physically had to reach up and move the lever so the paper would go to the next line. If you did not do this when the bell chimed, you could just keep typing and go into the margin and then even off the page. What is typed beyond the page is unreadable.

Margins are there to give space around a document. It gives white space to make the document easier to read.


Margin in life gives us space. It gives space to have down time, space to reflect, and space to be still. Margin in life allows us be able to meet needs in our own live or in the lives of others. Margin allows us to have time for the unplanned and unexpected.

Do you push each day to see how much you can get done? Do you have a to do list that is longer than possible to do in a day or week?

Margin doesn't just happen. You need to plan margin into life. Give yourself time to sit, time to dream, time to reflect. Sit and meditate on God's word, pondering who God is and what he wants you to do.


Look at your week and see when you can add margin into the day. Use the margin to refresh yourself, spend time in prayer or use the margin in ministering and serving others. Have margin so that the unexpected of life doesn't push you to the maximum and you have no extra time.

Do you have margin planned in your week? How do you use the margin that you have?

Beth
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Books on Prayer

One of my goals for this year was to read six books on prayer. I figure that is one book every two months. I want to read books that challenge me to pray more, give me new ideas on how to prayer, and deepen my prayer life.

Praying the Bible

I want to share these books with you as I read them this year.

The Bible - I will just include that in the list. I am reading through that this year.

Enjoy your prayer life by Michael Reeves - This is a short book and easy to read, just 46 pages.

"Prayer the chief exercise of faith" - John Calvin

"If prayer is 'the chief exercise of faith', then of course everything -- the world, the flesh and the devil -- conspires against prayer."

No wonder prayer is hard work.

"It is the word of God, the gracious message of Christ that awakens faith and so prayer -- and so that must be the basic shape of our everyday communion with God."


Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney - This is a nice small hardback book. In this book the author walks you through how to pray the Bible beginning with the problem with our prayers and how praying the Bible is the solution. He gives you a method to do this.

This book really spoke to me as this reflects some of my thoughts. I have wanted to get behind a "shopping list" or giving God a "to do list" prayers. Learning to pray the Bible helps us to speak God's words back to him, we see God's heart.

I have a few more on the stack and I will share with you when I finish reading them.

Beth
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Meal Planning Evening

For me this began in January when I was talking to a friend and said, "I want a brainless meal plan." I know there are meal plans that you can buy but I am cheap and find that they don't work with our options here. My friend said, "Why don't you create a meal plan for the month." That was all the challenge that I needed I printed a calendar page and sat down and prepared a menu for a month. I was in love. I loved having a plan. I loved knowing what was scheduled. I loved feeling like I could balance my meals both nutrition and cost.


A few weeks ago my small group was together to fix some meals for one of the new mums. I think we did more coffee drinking and talking than fixing meals. In the conversation meal planning came up and the challenges so I decided to host a meal planning evening.


The theme for this event was quick and easy. Everyone was asked to bring 8 copies of a quick and easy meal. My goal for the evening was every to have a menu for a week.

The question I asked as we began was, "Why do you want to plan meals?" Is it to reduce your stress, reduce your grocery budget, improve nutrition, to easily be able to answer the question, "what is for dinner" or maybe you just came to get out of the house on a Monday evening. Knowing why you want to do something helps.

Then for fun we played match the person to the meal. Everyone wrote the last meal they prepared and we matched the meal to the person. We scored 100% on that.

When I began my monthly meal plan, I made a worksheet of as many meals as I could think about in different categories. So I gave everyone 3 - 4 minutes to do that based on whatever categories they wanted. The winner got 17 meals listed and won a prize from the prize table.

I had printed a collection of free menu planning pages that I had printed off the internet. Everyone picked a page and got to work planning their meals.

Things are better with friends. So people were sharing other meal ideas, asking for a recipe for fish, giving ideas for where to buy things, and just chatting. I think everyone walked away with a menu for a week. We all have some new recipes to try -- Chicken and Tarragon bake, Mum's Secret Chicken curry, Coconut Thai curry, Oven-baked risotto, Japanese Curry and a sausage recipe.

Yes, curry is a favourite dish here.

We also shared our "go to" cookbook. I have a few books to add to my list, Bill's Everyday Asian, Nigella Express. Delia's Complete Cookery was the "go to" book for two people. That is one that I have purchased since moving here and I do use it quite a bit.

I am already beginning to think of my next event.

Beth
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day


When you pause and think of all the things that mothers do, you quickly realise that the list is long, and  hours are long. Mothers are there to comfort, to teach, to care, to love, and so many other things helping children. Mothers are examples of giving, serving, sacrificing, and loving.

I am thankful for the godly example from my mother. Her love and care has continued. Every now and then I listen to myself and think, "that sounded like my mother." That really isn't a bad thing. I am thankful for her example.

When I think of my mother, I think the of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich that she makes. I think of all the sewing she has done through the years. I think of her spirit of adventure traveling to visit me. I think of her worn Bible filled with notes.

I am thankful to call her mom. You have been a great example. I pray that I can be that kind of mom to my own children.




Beth
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Blind to Blessings


I don't like to think that I am blind but if I really pause and think about it there are times that I am blind to the blessings that God is giving me.

I am blind to blessings when I do not see it as from the God but rather just something that happened or just the result of something that I did. I think that is easy to do when we quickly satisfy our desires.  We discover a need or a want and instead of pausing and waiting and allowing God to provide we purchase it and have it delivered in two days.

I am blind to blessings because the blessing is not the way I wanted it or how I pictured it to be. I picture in my head what the blessing will look like and what I think to me means, "I am blessed"and reality is that God blesses me in a different way because he knows what I need and he has a plan for my life that is more than I can imagine.

So look for blessings, wait on the Lord and be blessed. realise that the blessings might not look the way you want them to look but it is God's best for you.

One of my blessing this week was a bag of clothing from a friend that is moving. What blessings have you received this week?

Beth
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Opportunity


Do you see that tray of plants? Do you know what that represents?

Yes, it is an opportunity to add some plants to the front garden which needs some colour and green.

Yes, it is an opportunity to proof that I have a green thumb. That might be a stretch as so far my success rate with plants is one lone lavender plant that has survived for the past few years. I have killed most other plants.

While it is those things, it is much more than that. It is an opportunity to begin a relationship with someone from different background.

I was out for a walk this morning. I was tempted to just keep walking but felt a prompting to pause and just talk. She was working in her garden and so I said, "your flowers are lovely." That lead to an offer of plants that she had in the back. So we went back and she gave me this tray of plants and an offer to come get more.

I am glad I took that opportunity of beginning a relationship.  When is the last time you talked to someone from a different background or different beliefs?

Beth
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