Midweek Question: What is your Focus?

For the last several months, I’ve focused on being attentive and grateful. My focus word was “Savor.” I wanted to Savor my blessings, my silent, quiet moments, my new courses, textbooks, colleagues, learning partners, professors, parents, and even the mistakes I had made in my life, because these led me to the point of Savor.

What is your focus?

It is time for me to refocus my focus. With the extended hospitalization of my mom I have had to get up-to-speed on medical terms, new faces, new professionals, new opinions, new treatment vocabulary, new healthcare guidelines, and so much more.

My New Focus Word is Gather.

I have begun to Gather my energy. Gather my supplies. Most importantly, I Gather my faith.

God is bigger than any diagnosed medical challenge. But if I am holding tightly to my perceptions, my watchdog advocacy, my intention to “be on it,” then where can He squeeze in? I learned this from my new prayer warrior friend, Rachel, who I met at the new Rehab hospital for mom. Rachel also quietly brings dinner to me now. Dinner is a great concept.

The Learning Curve for me is steep. But over the weekend I spent my first night back at home since January 20. I am in Gather mode. I’m gathering my team. My team includes the doctors, nurses, aides, companions, PT/OT/ST professionals, the insurance reps, the government workers at Medicare, my friends, and most importantly, my prayer warriors.

What is your Gather Mode? What are you Gathering?

Might you also join my Gather team?

FocusWordGather

~~~

Previous Focus Words

Previous Midweek Questions

Photo by Anne McCrary

This Weekend~unHurry~Can you Do It?

“Hurry rushes toward the destination and fails to enjoy the journey” ~Alan Fadling in his book An Unhurried Life*

A sudden winter ice storm caused me to do it today as the roads became slick with frozen reminders that we are not in charge.

Perhaps the early sunset will cause you to do it.

Perhaps a cold, or other wintertime illness with cause you to do it.

Or a traffic jam,a long line,

Or a brief encounter with beauty:

sunset

Whether or not it is intentional or unintentional, might you take time to take your time this weekend?

Might you unHurry?

Pause

Savor

There will be time to jump on the conveyor belt of busy…

But, perhaps, this weekend, especially today when many flags will fly at half-staff,

it is a good time to engage in the unHurry, in the uneventfully vital.

Sit and watch/Stand and see/kneel and pray/

unHurry for a respite.

~~~

I first learned about Fadling’s book from this post at Domestic Serenity

More weekend ideas

Photo  by M.Webb

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~ Continue to Savor

savor

Take a little time this weekend to Savor the landscape of your weekend.

Perhaps you will:

Look intently at a sunrise, cloud formation, sunset, or star-filled sky

Listen to the sounds of laughter, nature, conversation, or music around you

Feel the warmth of the blanket, the softness of a hand holding yours, the cushion of grass under your bare feet

Breathe in the aroma of food cooking, a candle burning, a cup of steaming chamomile tea

Taste the last bite of a good meal, the coolness of ice, a sweet treat that might be waved away

Thank Him for all of these blessings that arise from Him…
And the Lord smelled a savor of rest…Genesis 8:21*

What will you Savor this weekend?

After each act of creation in Genesis 1, “God saw that His new creation was beautiful and good.” When creation is nearly complete, God not only declares it “good” but is described as “savoring its beauty and appreciating its goodness” (Genesis 1:31) Ecclesiastes 7:19,

~~

More weekend activities

*GNV translation
**the voice translation

Picture Source

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~November 8~Postpone

postpone

Perhaps it is that I/we spend so much time avoiding procrastination that the act of avoiding it, in itself becomes a spiraling kind of procrastination. Perhaps all the “to-do” and “to-don’t” lists are a form of distraction procrastination. And the non-attainment of my/our list completion ushers in guilt and frowns toward myself/ourselves.

Well, perhaps, for a short while this weekend, just give in to it. Make an intentional decision to postpone that decision, that chore, that assignment, that activity.

And…just…for a moment…savor

There will be plenty of time to re-enter the spinning wheel.

~~~

More weekend activities

Monday words for the Soul~Savor

Courtesy of the Brave Girls Club:

Dear Persevering Girl,

It might not look like it, it might not seem like it, but that BIG THING that you are working on that you ahve been workin on for SO LONG, that you have put our heart and soul and wishes as prayers into, it really is happening. It might be going slower than you want it to go, but it IS HAPPENING.

Be inside of THIS PART of the journey today. What will happen when you get there? To that place you are working to be?

Once you are there, you will look back and wish you would have savored each moment of getting there, because there’s so much fabulousness wrapped up inside of every step of difficult, long journeys. So many lessons, so many miracles, so many new and wonderful people that show up exactly when they are supposed to show up. So many tears and hard days. So much FEELING. You can’t REALLY feel the good stuff unless you know what the bad stuff feel like. Good days feel SOOOOO beautiful after a string of really hard days, don’t they? You sure wouldn’t appreciate them as much had you not had that string of difficulty. Life is so cool that way.

Keep going. Don’t you DARE give up. You are closer than you know. Look around and see just how far you’ve come.

You are absolutely phenomenal. And THAT is the truth

You are SO LOVED.

~~~

Additional words for the Soul

Monday Words for the Soul~June 10~uneventfully vital

Take comfort in the uneventful; it prepares you for what’s to come.

watersplashingruby sleeping

Just for today: shine and savor
Because of Grace, you were created by a King!

~~~

More Words for the Soul

Focus Word: Belong

focus word belongMost of the last few months I’ve wondered where I belong and to whom I belong. I always knew before.

Before.

I thought I belonged to vows of marital belonging. These are said with concrete intentions. They are explicit.

I thought I belonged to contractual-type, implicit vows of occupational belonging.

I thought I belonged to health and nutrition.

When these vows break, unfaithfulness enters, jobs end, malignancy then surgury intrudes, the question blares with Neon insistence, blinking incessantly:
Where do I belong? And to who?

The books of Numbers and Leviticus address in minute detail, over and over, about where people and things belong. Where was I in those passages? I read the question of Boaz asked about Ruth and shuddered that I had no answer for myself. Ruth 2:4-6

“Who does that young woman belong to?”

Have you ever felt the same way?

I took forays and trips to places I thought I might belong, I could belong. Should I belong? There were ascensions to ideas and practices to which I thought would be good to belong.

i must belong somewhere

Slowly, very slowly, I received great comfort in The One power that never changed. Never wavered. Never accused. Never blamed. Never rescinded an offer. Never was unfaithful. Never lied, but offered the embrace of Belongingness. To me, who belonged.

The Belong. In the end, the nurturing came from God’s belonging invitation.

All of this did not fall into place for me in a linear progression. When I write that slowly I received great comfort, it was not the comfort that came slowly but my realization of the comfort.

I am nurtured by The Belongingness that is God. This is not boasting but realizing that what I received has always been there and never left in blaming abandon.

Posts on Belonging: April 29

Bible Verses that spoke to me of Belonging:

Ephesians 1:4 God chose us to belong to Christ before the world was created. He chose us to be holy and without blame in his eyes. He loved us.

Isaiah 44:5 Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’

Ezekiel 18:4 For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me

Malachi 2:15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit.

Romans 14:8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Hebrews 10:39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

This video: Jason Gray – Remind Me Who I Am

This blog: Grit and Glory

These books: Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

sometimes right back where you started from is right where you belong

Most of the last few months I’ve wondered where I belong and to whom I belong. I always knew before.

Before.

I thought I belonged to vows of marital belonging. These are said with concrete intentions. They are explicit.

I thought I belonged to contractual-type, implicit vows of occupational belonging.

I thought I belonged to health and nutrition.

When these vows break, unfaithfulness enters, jobs end, cancer intrudes, the question blares with Neon insistence, blinking incessantly:
Where do I belong? And to who?

The books of Numbers and Leviticus address in minute detail, over and over, about where people and things belong. Where was I in those passages? I read the question of Boaz asked about Ruth and shuddered that I had no answer for myself. Ruth 2:4-6 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ruth+2:4-6&version=NIV

“Who does that young woman belong to?”

Have you ever felt the same way?

I took forays and trips to places I thought I might belong, I could belong. Should I belong? There were ascensions to ideas and practices to which I thought would be good to belong.

Slowly, very slowly, I received great comfort in The One power that never changed. Never wavered. Never accused. Never blamed. Never rescinded an offer. Never was unfaithful. Never lied, but offered the embrace of Belongingness. To me, who belonged.

The Belong. In the end, the nurturing came from God’s belonging invitation.

All of this did not fall into place for me in a linear progression. When I write that slowly I received great comfort, it was not the comfort that came slowly but my realization of the comfort.

I am nurtured by The Belongingness that is God. This is not boasting but realizing that what I received has always been there and never left in blaming abandon.

Posts on Belonging: April 29 https://becauseofgrace.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/a-word-from-the-sponsorapril-29/

Bible Verses that spoke to me of Belonging:

God chose us to belongto Christ before the world was created. He chose us to be holy and without blame in his eyes. He loved us.
~Ephesians 1:4 New International Reader’s Version

Isaiah 44:5 Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’

Ezekiel 18:4 For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me

Malachi 2:15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit.

Romans 14:8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Hebrews 10:39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

This video: Jason Gray – Remind Me Who I Am  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSIVjjY8Ou8&feature=youtu.be

This blog: Grit and Glory http://gritandglory.com/

These books: Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

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Beloved Video


Knowing the truth of your story is a powerful antidote to the shame, doubt, and the negative voices of others that have infected the story you tell yourself.  God wants you to know the truth.
Our pain often diverts us from His promise .

And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. 1 John 4:16

Just as I am… Just as we are.
Might you listen to the beautiful in the video above and keep listening until it hugs you to knowing…Loving us is not just something God does . . . LOVE IS WHAT HE IS …I John 4:16  

~~~

Music is the song “Delight” by Isa Couvertier

belovedTeague

Focus Word: Beloved

When you feel unloved, God says: You are LOVED.
“You are precious and honored in my sight, and . . . I love you”  ~Isaiah 43:4

beloved you do have a love story

The Life of the Beloved

Beloved picture

Previous Focus Words

Focus Word~Affirm

Affirm  My focus word to begin 2012 is Affirm. I am going to affirm daily what God says about me. Affirmations are declarations of something that is true. Bonnie Gray reminds me that God says I am delightful. Here are Affirmations I know to be true. Would you consider adding yours in a comment box below?

  • I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)
  • The Son has set me free. I am free indeed! (John 8:36)
  • My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
  • He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
  • There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
  • Nothing can ever separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:38-39)
  • In all things God works for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)
  • God is faithful. He will not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear.(1 Corinthians 10:13)
  • God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.   (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • My light and momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
  • He is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within me. (Ephesians 3:20)
  • God is for me! Who can be against me? (Romans 8:31)
  • God knows me. (Psalm 139:15)
  • add yours here!

tree affirmations

Biblical affirmation cards

Focus Word: Enoikeo

Perhaps you have noticed. Perhaps you saw a pattern at this blog. The posts here have been shorter, derivative.
A continuation of others’ words in the absence of my own.

I have been going through something.
I have been wrestling with circumstances/questions.

*How Long?*   *At What Point?*   *Is it Your will, Lord, to stay or go?*

*Red Light?*  *Green Light?*

Your will be done, Lord. Always.

But…what…is….Your Will?

Reveal.
Reveal it to me, or, at least, let me buy a vowel.

And, slowly, as the clutter and noise abate,

Slowly, the answer forms.

It was always there.

Dwell.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Psalm 84:3-5

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly… Colossians 3:16

Enoikeo.

“The word enoikeo is a compound of the words en and oikos. The word en means in, and the word oikos is the Greek word for a house. When the two words are compounded together, they form the word enoikeo, which means to dwell in a house…someone
who takes up permanent residency in a home. The person is so at home and contented in this new location that he has chosen to make it his permanent dwelling place for the rest of his life.” ~Rick Renner, Sparkling Gems from the Greek, page 61

The believer is to so yield {herself} to the Word that there is a certain at-homeness of the Word in {her} being. The Word should be able to feel at home in {her} heart. ~Kenneth Wuest as quoted in Grace for the Good Girl, page 150

Because of Grace, Draw me to it. Let the radiance of dwelling in Your Enoikeo draw me, not as a moth to extinguishing flame, but as a timid deer to life-restoring water.

I  wonder…In what ways do you focus on the Enoikeo of His grace?

enoikeo

Books mentioned in this post:

Sparkling Gems  Sparkling Gems Book

Grace for the Good Girl grace for the good girl

Every Moment A Cathedral

Every Moment A Cathedral from becauseofgrace on Vimeo.

Related Post: Focus Word, Praise
Carrie Underwood/Vince Gil, How Great Thou Art

Focus Word~Praise

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:1-2

Praise is about loyalty of the heart. Praise is focus. On God.
Not. On. Me.

 “Skill Set” is a phrase flung around a lot. Skill sets are the collection of talent that a person has learned, received, and polished to the point of integration. Skill sets appear on resumes, job descriptions, committee vision statements and personal journals. There is a caution in touting skill sets as cemented talents, available as solutions to every problem without consulting The One who anointed us with them.

I am working to push Praise~~~Praising God~~~to the top of my skill set. This change may not be visible on my LinkedIn resume, but on my heart.

King Jehoshaphat is a great example.

Joyce Meyer, in her book The Battle Belongs to the Lord, describes the example of King Jehoshaphat in leading his people. In getting ready for battle, instead of moaning about the task ahead, concentrating on his fears, or asking God for his battle plan,

King Jehoshaphat put praise first:
“O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? And do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In Your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You.
~2 Chronicles 20:6 (continue reading through verse 11)

“Our part is to focus on Him and His mighty power, worshipping Him and praising Him for the manifestation of His solution and listening for a word or direction from Him” Joyce Meyer, The Battle Belongs to the Lord.

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.
~ Hebrews 13:15

Make every moment a cathedral giving glory…Ann Voskamp

How is this continual praise cathedral-building done?

  1. Christy sets several timers on her iPhone during  the day to prompt her to praise
  2. Bill has praise verses on cards he carries in his suit pocket
  3. Charlene keeps praise music quietly in the background of her home and office.
  4. CB has a folder called “Praise” in her Outlook so that when she is on a phone hold, she can scroll through it
  5. JR has an iPhone Bible app, with praise verses highlighted
  6. Garrett tweaks blog posts of gratitude and praise to reference

Would you add to the list?

What are some specific ways that you are offering continual praise to God?
and/or
What are your Go-To verses of Praise?

How Great Thou Art” Video, Carrie Underwood/Vince Gil
Ann Voskamp Quote Source

Focus Word: Chosen

Chosen“You are part of a royal priesthood,” her words came out deliberately, yet tentatively as from someone addressing another who is not completely known.

In February, after a particularly abrupt truth was revealed to me, I went to the Prayer Team and asked for prayers. Prayers for discernment, for strength, for rest, for escape.

And she told me, I was royal. From a royal priesthood.
Others did not think so and their actions clawed at me, dragging me to the swamp of blame and rejection.

But, Because of Grace, God is bigger than my misperceptions of myself. God is eternal. The opinions of others are not.
Five months later, I am strong enough to claim this truth that the prayer warrior expressed about me. She held the expression until I could catch up.

Maybe, now, I could hold this expression for you?

But in the present and the future, we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).

“We may still make mistakes of impulse and instinct,” Jon Walker writes,  “falling back into sinful thoughts and actions — what Corrie Ten Boom refers to as echoes of the past.”

Because of Grace, the Holy Spirit teaches, then gently reminds us, that we are chosen. Chosen.

Previous Focus Words: Gentleness, Wander, Embrace, Choose Joy, Accountability

Day 21~Gentleness Digest~Be Gentle Be Love

gentlenesspicIn a squishy definition of the concept of  “Day” 21 in Be Gentle Be Love’s focus on Gentleness one day became a week. Here is a digest of the week’s  posts.

Day 1:  Proverbs 15:1

Day 2:  Images of Gentleness

Day 3:  Pausing for Gentleness

Day 4:  Gentleness Do This First

Day 5:  Gentleness What Does Not Work

Day 6:  Gentleness Despite Hurt-What Does Work

Thank you for your comments and thoughtful emails…toward a more gentle weekend for all of us! :)

Focus Word: Wander

wander

“Now shall I walk or shall I ride? ‘Ride,’ Pleasure said: ‘Walk,’ Joy replied.” * 

When my focus concentrates on wander, I adopt the definition, “to move or cause to move in a circular course” and to “go via an indirect route or at no set pace.” For a person like me who makes and idol out of “to-do lists” this is a challenge.

It is an anomaly of our language that there can be widely different definitions for the same word. Wander can also mean “move about aimlessly or without any destination,” and “digress, lose clarity or turn aside especially from the main subject of attention as in ‘her mind wanders.’” These definitions are not my focus.

And since I really do keep an 18-month calendar for each fundraising event, to wander through the Psalms, the antique store, the morning is a nourishing challenge.

I think our God wanders purposefully too.

 *quote by ~W.H. Davies

Focus Word: Embrace

embrace

Because of grace there are enveloping embraces  to
catch and remember. Remember when you give the
feeling of being sublimely protected and shrouded. 
Snuggled and held close.

This time, please also recall the feelings and thoughts
you enjoy when you receive an embrace, when you
are embraced~~by a friend, a spouse, a thought,
a memory, an act of kindness.

Take yourself back to an embrace you received.
Savor that feeling and memory. Return to that…
Focus and breathe with it~~~

“a time to embrace…” Ecclesiastes 3:5

Focus Word: Choose Joy

joy collage

created by helen

 

Love this description of joy:

Joy:
the unwavering trust that God knows what He’s doing and has blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of it… not despite what’s happening in my life but because of it. When everything earthly feels heavy He gives me an internal lightness that can’t be touched. Read the entire blog post

How Would You Define Joy?

 

 

Focus Word: Accountability

HB with shadow

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