Wednesday, June 30, 2021

A Simple Switch

 My paragraph formatting problem has been remedied! 

Yes, again but hopefully this time for good.  You see this time, Cody taught me how to make the change if the problem recurs.  Once we looked into it more closely, there was a simple switch that needed to be changed for my format. VIOLA, it was corrected!  

Don't you wish all the major problems of life could be remedied by simply flipping a switch?  Pushing the reset button?  Changing direction?  I want to share three such switches we flipped that have brought great peace to our lives.  As you read, I'll bet you'll think of many examples from your own life.

  1. Frank and I recently realized we needed to dial back even more of our morning tv.  Our morning routine used to consist of coffee, devotions, breakfast, at least one or two news reports, then off to work.  Unfortunately, the news reports would cause frustration which set a bad tone for the day. So, we Flipped the Switch.  Now we do coffee, devotions, breakfast, prayer together, then off to work.  Let me tell you the level of PEACE this has yielded is amazing.
  2. When our girls were little, I quickly became a yelling mom.  It made me unhappy with myself, it frightened the girls (and anyone standing around at the time), it sounded like I had lost control.  So, I Flipped a Switch.  Instead of yelling when the girls were misbehaving, I made myself whisper.  I was shocked by their response.  Lowering my voice caught their attention more quickly, it made me feel more loving, it sounded calmer to others around us.  The PEACE was measurable.  
  3. Lots of adults have fond memories of sleep overs and long vacations spent with their grandparents. But Frank and I didn't have that experience as children and our nine grandchildren all live right here.  We've had some sleep overs but when they get together all at one time, it's loud and chaotic.  In fact, I have a magnet that says, "Our family is one tent away from a full-blown circus!"  So, we Flipped a Switch.  Once the babies turn five, they are treated to a special annual birthday lunch at the restaurant of their choice.  They have Noni and Papa's undivided attention for the length of our meal.  That simple decision has brought us such PEACE. Here we are with two birthday girls just this week.

What I'm trying to say is that sometimes we get all worked up hoping to find a solution that seems impossibly difficult and completely beyond our reach.  Then suddenly we discover that all we really need to improve the situation is to flip a simple switch and viola, Peace!  

Please don't misunderstand.  Simple does not always equal easy.  But even if it's difficult and takes time, it will be 100% worth the effort.  So, flip the switch.  Do the work.  Enjoy the Peace.

Thanks again for stopping by today.  We would enjoy hearing the kind of simple switches you've flipped to improve your life.  Please tell us about it in the comment section below.  

Monday, June 7, 2021

A Deep Breath

I hope this picture shows up correctly. If it does, I can almost promise it will cause you to take a deep restful breath. This is the beach in NC where Frank and I lived for six years as we pioneered a church on the coast. Not every day proved to be a serene as this picture looks. In fact, each day at the beach has its own personality. Needless to say, this kind of day with blue skies, sunshine and a lovely breeze is always my favorite kind of beach day.
This lady (and her 86th birthday) was the primary reason for our trip this past week. Mom Hawley still lives in Dunn, NC where she was born, went to school, married, worked for decades, raised five children and eventually retired. In 86 years, she has never lived outside the city limits of her much-loved little town. In this century, that truly is an unusual situation especially given that we just met a couple who have lived in 34 different homes during thier 36 years of marriage. Talk about Contrast!
We took her with us to Ocean Isle Beach for the Memorial Day weekend and she thoroughly enjoyed herself. Frank and I preach for both the beach service and for the chapel service. Then we have the blessing of staying in a baech house they provide free of charge. What a gift! It's always such fun sharing with people from all over the country. Even though it was cold and threatening to rain Sunday morning there were still almost 200 people who brought their lawn chairs and coffee thermoses to hear a sermon. Frank usually has me do the beach service. This is a picture he snapped as I shared.
Now, the beach itself isn't Mom's cup of tea but the house we stay in has a lovely porch overlooking a large canal. She watched the boats, the fish jumping, she enjoyed the sunshine and salt air breezes that kept things cool. Of course, she also enjoyed the shopping and eating out we did each day. One day we picked up sub sandwiches then went to a spot where we could sit in the car and enjoy a clear view of the ocean. We put the windows down and let the wind blow through the car making it a proper picnic - minus any ants.
This was one of my favorite photos from our time together. Frank has always been a dedicated, loving son; it's part of what attracted me to him. My mom had taught me that the way a man treats his mom is usually the way he'll treat you. Good advice! Frank was Mom's firstborn and it was just the two of them for about three years after the divorce. So they share a special bond. (Sure glad she and I decided to be friends right away.)
We also got to meet the newest member of the Hawley family. Lynlee just turned one last weekend. She is the first grandbaby on both sides of her parent's families so I think the celebrating will continue for another week. Isn't she adorable?
In all honesty, this is my favorite way to experience the beach. Frank and I usually enjoy a cup of coffee together as we watch the sunrise and share our prayer time. Then after right breakfast, we change into swimsuits, pack snacks, chairs, sunscreen and an umbrella and head for the strand. Reading, stopping to gaze out at the beautiful waves, watching people and pondering for a while; hitting repeat. What more could one ask for?
During one of our missions trips to El Salvador, Frank forgot we had already purchased a hammock at the local market the year before so now we have THREE! Yep, three hammocks and no where to put them at our house. Consequently, we take them with us to Ocean Isle each year and at some point, I swing.
One evening after taking Mom back home, Frank and I went out to dinner at a favorite restaurant and reminisced about life at the beach when the girls were little. Inevitably, we always circle back to the same conclusion: God was incredibly kind and faithful during our years in Ocean Isle. Here's a final picture to close:
Now you can see why we enjoy the porch of our beach house, too. I hope you find opportunities to rest, reflect and regroup this summer. It's not an extravagance, you know; it's an investment in your health and well-being. Here's to many Deep Breaths all summer long. Blessings! What is your favorite summer get-away? We'd love to hear about it in the comment section.