Tweaking … making fine adjustments

Why so Quiet …Shhhhhh, is anybody here?  Peeking around the corners hoping someone will noise the silence. It’s been very, very quiet around here lately.  Not much blogging going on.  This is definitely not due to the lack of thoughts floating around in my head wanting to be put on paper.  But, rather because having the time to write has been a bit patchy, to say the least.  This irregularity is primarily due to a life change – or better categorized, a season change.  As many of you know, I began a much needed sabbatical a few months back.  sabbiticalSabbatical – a period of time, when ministry leaders set aside normal responsibilities for the purpose of rest and renewal.  An all-inclusive release from the routine the ministry requires: physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. 

While on sabbatical (my own personal “TimeOut”) I had every intent to write more.  I was looking forward to all the things we were going to talk about.  I pulled out my scratch pad and was excited as I skimmed through the “TO” discussion list.  Picking and choosing topics the ladies had mentioned in earlier gatherings; they felt needed to be addressed….I was stoked.  Clearly, things did not work out the way I planned.  Yet, time away gave me the chance to shift through my life list of things that are good, verses things that are best.

Taking a“TO” was my chance to think about how I was doing life and if there were any parts of it that needed a little tweaking.

 I found there was much tweaking that needed to be done.

In 2009 my dad was diagnosed with dementia.  caregiverAlthough there had been signs of cognitive change, it was not until 2010, I – was given the gift – of being my dad’s primary care giver.  The idea of being a care giver sounded a little modestly doting at first thought.  After all, my younger years were spent adoring my dad and believing I was his favorite girl.  Today, dad and I spend the majority of our time in conditional care (all of dad’s care is in response to a condition), and we are currently transitioning into a phase I am yet able to label.  Now I know, that being a caregiver is more gallantly heroic than I could have ever expected.  (care giving perspective-tweaked)

With the most recent life changes in a clearer focus, taking a time out with “TimeOut” in 2017 will also look a little different than it had in the past.

logo new font 2Going forward, the “TO” wives only gatherings will focus on a marriage study, lesson, book, audio or video message.  The lesson source will be sent in advance, and the gathering will only be held at the conclusion of and in response to a particular lesson topic.  (“TO”-tweaked)

Also, “TO” hope to incorporate one evening that will include the husband of every woman who attends the wives only gatherings; understanding that no one can do married alone. 

The overall goal is to not only scratch the surface of marriage, but go deeper into the mystery of obtaining a healthy, thriving, God honoring relationship.  (marriages-tweaked)Ring5

Thought to Ponder

Take a time out and read Ephesians 5:22-33. Then tell me, is there any tweaking that needs to be done in your marriage? in your life? in your perspective?

 

 

Prioritizing

I work in an environment that prides itself on self-management, growth and development.  There seems to be a never ending supply of courses, classes, events, seminars and webinars.  All aimed to help every associate move forward in productivity and progress.  A few months back, I attended a Leadership Management seminar.  The objective of the seminar was to aid leaders on how to manage their time, their people, and their projects.

priorities3While attending the seminar, we were given a few principles to apply to our work life that could support us as we manage the countless tasks associated with our positions.  Oddly enough, weeks ago, I began a principle based women’s study on Sabbath rest that enforced some of the very same concepts visited during the seminar.  With the help of both, the seminar and the theological concepts God provided through the release of the Israelites from Egypt <Exodus 1>, I am learning to better work through what is most important to do, and elect to do those things.

 Thought to Ponder: Prioritizing can increase Sabbath time.

The majority of us have a two bucket view.  We have the things we believe to be needs/necessity, then we have the things we perceive to be wants.  Since I have deemed everything I do to be important, and I usually feel that everything really does need to be done, I have now put all my “To Do’s” in one bucket.  Actually,… all our “To Do’s” come with a certain amount of value.  At any moment, every item on our list can fall into the need category, depending on the day or the time.   

With that said, this is what I did to tackle the task of prioritizing my own Life “To Do” list.  But first, you must create a “To Do” bucket.  123

Now, spend some time determining how important each “To Do” is to you.  If you are like me and believe all your items are important, this process may take a while.  * High Items = urgent, required, critical. * Medium Items = required eventually; but can wait till later.  *Low Items = would be nice to have.

After determining the importance of your items, then prayerfully decide which ranking best fit each task. 

*Essential – This item is currently not adequate and must be changed immediately.  

*Conditional – This item can be changed or improved.  However, it does not qualify as inadequate if it is left as is.  

*Optional – This item may or may not be worth the time or the effort.

Even though I am not at all fond of 1-2-3 step answers, I pray this model give you a more clear view of your ever growing “To Do” list.  But remember, even as you work out the details …

 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  <Proverbs 16:9>

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Who will do it?

“We have so much to tend to, don’t we?  Children and spouses and projects and endeavors fill our hours and our brain space.  Somebody has to do them.  Somebody has to fill in the gap of effort required to get from the beginning to the end.  Most of the time, we assume that the individual responsible for it all should be us.  It has to be us.  Who else is going to do it?”  ~ P.S

 Thought to Ponder

Everything does not have to be done and you do not have to do everything.

Obey ……….God will take care of the rest.

Sabbath Resting

I do not recall ever hearing much complaint.  It was not unusual.  This was simply how things were.  Everyone unwittingly adapted to what was the norm.  We were all accustomed to the force of the still quiet.  Had there been any chaos in the days preceding, it too would soon be forced to comply.  The early morning sunrise seemed to have an invisible bell that quietly rang through the air without being seen.  There was no real indicator it was there, but somehow we were all certain that it was.  It was indescribable; a strange conflicting clash between humdrum and happy.

Everyone knew, if there was anything deemed necessary, it would have had to be pre-planned.  If anything was needing to be bought, brought, cooked, ordered, delivered, fixed, repaired, towed or included – it would  have to be done in advance or not at all.

 Because on Sunday, rest was the unspoken requirement; the day all were forced (or expected) to be still.

There would be families gathered together for dinner, communion and community.  There were Believers assembled together to commemorate the resurrection of Christ.  There were planned outings with one another, purely to build relationships and closeness.

There was time for worship.

Today, Sunday’s are inconspicuously stapled to the rest of the days of the week.  It is no longer its own special day, with its own special place.  Sunday’s have conformed.  There is no longer a distinct difference when compared.  For many, it has become a catch-all.  Any undertaking that was unable to be pressed into the prior six days can now be scheduled on the seventh.

In Exodus, the Lord commanded the Israelites against this very concept.  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  You are to labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God.  You must not do any work …..”

To not do any work is an idea many of us cannot comprehend.  Often, we find it difficult to give up our own agendas, our scheduled programs or our plans.

Like the Israelites, when they were enslaved, we too have been groomed to do all you can; to labor without ceasing.  That to stop and rest gives a notion of being lazy or slothful.  That to be idle is unproductive and a waste of valuable “to do” time.  That there is always something to do and you must always be doing something.

For those of us who are in Christ, we are not required to keep the ceremonial law of the Sabbath Day. <Hebrews 8, Galatians 4:10, Colossians 2:16>.  Yet, the principal the Lord provides through the Sabbath is a very practical model to the benefit of us all.  The need to stop and rest was crucial for them then and advantageous for us now.

Thought to Ponder:

If we are ever to profit from the principles provided through the Sabbath, we must first intentionally add Sabbath Rest – Sabbath Margin – Sabbath Time to our days.  “Remember, you were a slave in the land of Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out ….” <Deut. 5:12-15>

You are now free ….to take some time to rest…. in your acknowledgement of Him.

One to Another

The planning was over, every seat was accounted for and the event was a success.  white dressSixteen ladies, all dressed in white, gave their time – talent and – treasures without hesitation.  Totally willing to graciously share in the idea that healthy marriages and positive relationships are worth the extra effort they so desperately require.

These ladies know, firsthand, that being created as a valuable addition to the many relationships you will encounter in your lifetime is no slow stroll in the park.  On the contrary, if you are not attentive and intentional you could very well find yourself, years from now, still slow strolling; not adding any value to anyone.  But yet, here they were, God-enlisted “encouragers of doing good”; each one of them holding true to the focus point of the event: “One to Another”.

One to another was our focus, but “Why Do We Give?” was the apparent question.  Actually, underneath the obvious was the hidden thought of, “Why do we give …..  so much?”  Why is it that we do what we do?  Why do we give the time we claim we never have enough of, though it can always be found when the voice on the line sounds exasperated, unsure and in need of hope.  When she is in need of an ear, we listen.  When she needs our opinion, we lovingly share what would be best – opposed to what may feel best.  Why do we give that talent we are adamant about not yet mastering.  GIve backThat one thing we know we may not be the best at doing, somehow seems possible when the outcome is for the greater good.  That inexact ability ultimately loses its fear-provoking grip when there is a gap to be filled and she subtly ask for your help.  And why do we give, when all else fails; without overthinking its tangible value, what it will take to be replaced, how long it took to accumulate or if it will ever be given back – a portion of our treasure.  It all comes without question: if she needs it, it is hers for the taking.

Neither our time, talent, nor our treasures have preset limits when our hearts aim to encourage, build-up and support.

Thought to Ponder:  Each one of us has an active role in helping another woman reach her goal of being more than she could otherwise be when left at her own devices.  We were not intended to jog, walk or run the life race alone.  It is through the blessed gift of humility that one is inclined to ask for help when it is needed.  It is also through the blessed gift of humility that one is inclined to give help when it is needed.  In His abundant love for us, God did not leave us wondering about the part we play in the lives of those around us.Hammer-and-nails

  • “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)
  • “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)
  • “…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
  • “…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)
  • “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)
  • “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

With the aid of others, you and I are more capable of accomplishing all that God has intended. So why do we give? … Because we are better together.

With you – I am better than I otherwise would be.

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Did You Know?

Every year, over 50% of families are torn apart because of issues that lead to divorce. For most women, intervention, support and counseling are the only ways they are able Divorce

to rebuild that which has been weakened. Helping these women come with a great sacrifice of time, while counseling and support come at an even greater expense.

 help-buttonWe Need Your Help to Make a Difference in the Life of a Woman!

Join CharMaine & the ladies of TimeOut at our 2016 Breakfast Fundraiser Auction @ Spazio Westport on Saturday July 16, 2016 * 9:am til noon.

The success of our mission is dependent on those who understand the need for women to have necessary aid, resources and support.Time Out! 036 (640x425) - Copy

Encouragement, Hope and Help; One Woman to Another

Remember, proceeds from every ticket purchased will go to help women in need of personal or marriage counseling.

Tickets on Sale Now $15.50

Click HERE to Register


“Friends” Reconsidered …

Thanks to whiz kid like creativity and boundless technical savviness, being in-the-know has become easier than ever before.  Reaching out or being reached is now at the touch of a button.  With one click, you can have “Friends” by the hundreds or even thousands; those who are near and those who are not.  It is as simple as sending a request.  In times past, this was equivalent to, “How about we hang out some time?”  Today, this once full-of-thought offer comes without any visual expressions to infer.  Nothing to interpret prior to an accepted response, no time spent to confirm common interest, and little concern of the old fashion referral process.  Yet, once you are “Accepted”, you are immediately in the Circle of Know.

Yes, it is worthwhile to stay in touch and keep connected.  Life happenings that would otherwise be missed are now easily accessible for all to view.  The wedding of your cousin, your sister’s trip to Alaska, your best friend’s daughter’s first day of school, college graduations, Senior Prom, Homecoming, acceptance to medical school, and the much anticipated – we are pregnant – announcements.  With ease, everyone accepted as “Friend” readily appears in the scrollable news feed. Guard our heart

It is here – this scrollable place subtly alluded to as benign, that you are able to peak into the hearts and minds of everyone you have listed as “Friend”.  With freedom of speech and personal permission practiced as choice, confidence in expression is overly apparent.  There are no boundaries to uphold.  Limitations are endless and margins are wide.  Each “Friend” tagged under their own individualized headline, comment, story, bleep or outburst.  Whatever the yearning, thought, concern, or desire, – it is here – that it is revealed without restriction, in the scrollable news feed.

It is because of these freedoms: casually scrolling through the news feed is no longer a thoughtless luxury.  In a matter of seconds, without any warning, we can be subjected to the depraved whims of those we have enlisted as “Friend”.  At times, we are violated in our thoughts, dishonored in our morals and disrespected in our person. We naively accept with unknowing consent whatever our “Friends” have deemed permissible.

NOTICE: Being in the Circle of Know must be done with absolute caution. It is absolutely necessary that we consciously scroll through with guarded eyes and a pre-determined standard.

Thought to Ponder:

Iron

God has given instruction, “Watch over your heart with all diligence…for from it flow the issues of life” <Proverbs 4: 22-24>.  Just as iron sharpens iron <Proverbs 27:17>, so friends sharpen the minds of each other.

 May we find a commendable purpose in our relationships with those we allow in our – news feed – and consider as “Friends”.

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Next TO gathering is Friday October 30th. See you there!

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