Saturday, October 11, 2014

Prep Time

Isaiah 40:3  A voice of one is calling: "In the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for God."

My son and I, working late into a Friday night, prepare the fruits, lay out the fish, chop up the onions to make cive'che, and continue to prepare for a big fish fry fundraiser planned for tomorrow evening. 

I went shopping. Setting things in order, scraps quickly go in the garbage. I wash dishes and put things away, leaving space, making the way clear for his handiwork with a knife.

Without proper preparation, chaos in the kitchen and a less than satisfactory result could be our outcome.   

Corey set me up with the task of  rolling the limes, slicing and squeezing. Who would know that these little gems of deliciousness together, supply so much juice?

I am following my son's lead, as he has done this before. 

When I shared the event with a friend today, she surprised me by asking if I needed plates and napkins; she would gladly drop them off in the morning for our event. What a blessing! 

Earlier preparation included extensive advertising and of course, several fishing trips to supply and inspire our event. 

We anticipate a fun and successful day. 

Have you prepared your heart for what God wants you to hear--what He wants to stir up in your walk with Him? 

Some of us need more prep time than others.  We don't see the clutter, the garbage in the way. 

Things remain frozen and what we've "caught"...we don't know what to do with. 

Maybe you've "left things out on the counter," always with a good intention, but how things spoil fast!  

Sometimes it takes someone whose experience teaches us how to take a step, encourage us in the right ways to prepare. We begin to read His Word and study to learn, spend more time in prayer, actually attend church and get involved. 

Other times, a blessing comes unexpectedly and we see the goodness of the Lord. It makes us yearn for more. Gratefulness prepares us again into humbleness and to recognize more of His grace.  

When He's touched us,  inspired by the Holy Spirit to grow, sharing comes natural and with God, we boldly tell our story and  anticipate with joy, all He has prepared for us. 

Jesus, He's all about preparation: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

Clear what clutters, lay out your purchased heart before Him.  Allow Him to make you into a "gem of deliciousness," prepared to receive and serve all His goodness. 

Lord, thank you that you lead us into preparation for all you have for us. You show us, when we humble ourselves before you, where the clutter lies. You gather it and discard it, clearing the way for us to receive abundant life. The results are a bounty of Your goodness and wisdom from Your Word that continues to prepare us to walk everyday in Your light. What You prepare for us--indescribable!  Amen. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Of Hospice, Homecomings and His Peace.

Isaiah 26: 3-4a The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace because he trusts in Thee. Trust in the Lord forever." 

Hospice made their welcome in our lives this week, attending to my father-in-law. Considering his age, health and stress of the last 10 years, he declines each week. Memory only of the moment we're in or of a past in the old country far away, we prepare for the next phase.  My mother-in-law struggles to accept anything, any help, any reality;  her mind rages in fear and distrust, she too with scattered thoughts, unable to reason--the ravages of dementia. She fights the system we put into place, without peace of mind or soul. Unfortunately, this could mean Hospice may move my father-in-law to a safer environment. We'll deal with that when it comes.

It's worn on us as well, but God, our strength-giver, lights our path.  We know in our heart that we want the best in comfort and care in these days, to lessen the friction, struggle and pain; to have above all else, their peace as well as our own peace of mind.


Homecoming at the school I work at,  happened this week. Manning the ticket gate on the opposing side, I partnered with a new person I never met face to face on campus.  She works as a secretary in the asst. principal's office and fairly new to our campus.  I'm not in that office very much.

 Full of personality, we hit it off right away and before the first kick-off, she knew a lot about me and visa-vera. We bonded quickly over a common heartache, the loss of a son. Attending Chino High in her youth, she also shared the same class as Tim, my son!

Most of the time, I am a storyteller, but to be a storyteller, you must also prepare yourself for listening as well. She told me right away, that the passing of her 2 day-old son had a story.  She began sharing a very personal journey with me. Just meeting, maybe an hour earlier, her story, both sad and miraculous, weaves a tapestry of strength, courage, forgiveness and a family bond that reaches into eternity. She is at peace.

Believing we were meant to work together (as she was called in at the last minute) and meet, that made me feel awesome! I hope one day with her permission, I can share her story. I love meeting new friends!

A little later, the security guard from the district came up to chat with us, and I recognized that face. Danny Q. attended school with Tim from K-12! I introduced Danny to my new friend Nicole, as they did not know each other in High School. Danny, called in to provide an extra amount of manpower, to keep the peace among the fans, parents and outsiders, smiled as he remembered his friend Timmy in younger days.

Nicole and I did a very good job keeping youngsters from wondering out of the gates. Once in, you stayed in. I hope that gives some parents peace of mind.

Last week, we celebrated Tim's birthday, our son who passed away 7 years ago. As we were leaving to drive up north for our 2nd day of celebration, I noticed the flower growing from the divide between the cement of the driveway and the slab of the garage. Funny how a seed falls and finds its way, when seemingly inpossible, to send down roots and thrive outside a comfort zone, a less than peaceful spot where cars zoom in and out and people walk. It did and indeed,  blooms!

Peace of mind. When our trust is anchored to the Creator, the Lord God Almighty, we can be assured of His peace, no matter what the circumstances. When we pay attention to His workings, His divine appointments, even His interventions, we can know His peace. When our heart is troubled for lost loved ones, overwhelmed with care of the obstinate and diseased, the depressed and the disabled, let not our hope fade in Jesus Christ, our provider of peace. He will give us a peace the world does not understand and the will to carry on. You can choose to be angry, fight the ones you love for control and ignore God, the maker and giver of Peace, or you can surrender, lean into Him and ask Him to show you the road towards peace, peace of mind, peace of soul. You make the choice.

Father, Giver and Ruler of all that is Peace, thank you for Hospice and for trained professionals that can take charge when all is weary; when words struggle to make sense. Thank you for divine appointments that turn into testimonies and for reminders of youthful days. Thank you for peace keepers and promises of peace. Help us Lord to be peacemakers and to honor You with our stories and our own miraculous Peace that passes understanding through our testimony of faith. Every good gift comes from above, from Your Spirit and Your blessings in our life when we put our trust in You. Amen.