Time to Think

Has God ever put someone in your life who said exactly the right thing at exactly the right time?  This week has been exhausting and I haven’t written for a couple of days because I was tired and because if I had written, there would have been a LOT of grumbling.  Since I’m trying to do less of that, it seemed better to just keep silent.

One thing I realized today about the time I spent lamenting and ruminating about certain things that transpired this week, is that it prevented me from thinking about stuff.  It’s not that I wasn’t thinking – I was just thinking about all the wrong stuff.  The stuff that keeps spinning around over and over again in my head as I have imaginary conversations with people or hop up on a figurative soap box to tell the world just what’s what. 

There’s no refreshment or renewal in this kind of thinking – instead it’s more like enslavement.  The beautiful thing about writing is that it allows me to be creative, to put the right words together or to tell a story, and in that act of putting words on paper, I’m rejuvenated.  It’s difficult to explain, but even if you’re not a writer, it’s the feeling that you get when you’ve created or accomplished something that was an expression of yourself.  Writing is virtually impossible for me without first having the time to think. 

Today I was talking with a friend and she mentioned that her husband had been at a retreat and had the opportunity to do nothing but think for a couple of hours.  Hearing that gave me a mixed feeling of jealousy and trepidation.  It would be so awesome to have a chunk of time where I didn’t have to do anything but think!  At the same time, it would be pretty frightening to have a big chunk of time with nothing to do but think! 

The conversation wasn’t really about me, but it made me realize that I need to do a better job of making time every day to think.  All the work and errands and chores and cooking and other to dos I try to cram into each day are meaningless and fruitless if I don’t find some time to simply be still.  There’s nothing wrong with watching TV and reading and checking social media, but they distract my mind instead of opening it.  I must create an empty space so that it can be filled with whatever God wants to speak to me.

It would be nice to have confidence that I’ve got this down now, that I won’t fall into this trap again, but I know better.  But I also know that when I get off track, God will place someone in my path to help me find my way.  Thanks, Murph!

Recipe: Oatmeal Squares

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a bit of oatmeal at my house. It’s not a bad thing, but I have been very busy finding new things to do with all this whole grain goodness. 

Oatmeal

These are not a healthy version of some recipe that I’ve modified, nope, they are full of sugar and butter and peanut butter chocolaty goodness. 

You don’t have to take my word for it, give them a try yourself.  If you’re low on oatmeal, let me know – I can give you a cup or two. 

Oatmeal Squares

3/4 c butter

1/2 c brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 c milk

3 c old fashioned rolled oats

1 c chocolate chips (I may have used slightly more . . . )

1/2 c peanut butter

Measure all ingredients prior to cooking as things go quickly once you get started.  Butter 8 or 9 inch square pan.  Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan – I use a cast iron one.  Add brown sugar and vanilla.  Stir thoroughly and add oats and milk.  Cook and stir for five minutes, remove from heat.  At the same time, melt peanut butter and chocolate chips in another saucepan.  Put half of the oatmeal mixture into the buttered pan and pack it down with your hands.  Add a layer of chocolate, but reserve a fair amount to put over the top.  Add remaining oatmeal mixture, top with remaining chocolate/peanut butter mixture. 

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Cut into squares and keep refrigerated.  Enjoy!

Okay, time to move it along – I will be breaking my forty-nine day TV fast shortly with the season premiere of Scorpion.  Hope it’s worth the wait! 

Waiting

Have you ever had to wait for something?  Sometimes it’s something good, like plans you have for the weekend, or a vacation, or something wonderful like your wedding day.  Other times it’s the other end of the spectrum – waiting for the doctor to call with test results, waiting on someone else to make a decision, waiting for a loved one’s final breath so they are no longer suffering.  Or it could be waiting on an answer to prayer, wanting direction, guidance, answers, but all you hear is silence.

When I’m playing with my grandkids I have unlimited patience.  It’s no problem to build a tower out of blocks dozens of times only to have it knocked down again and again.  Show someone how to tie a shoe?  I’m your girl, even if it takes an hour.  If I’m training someone to do a task at work, I will work with them as long as it takes for them to understand what needs to be done.  Most of the time I don’t even get exasperated when I have to tell people things over and over. 

That all goes out the window when I’m waiting for something I want.  Because when I want something, I would like it now, thank you very much.  It’s so uncomfortable not knowing what or when things are going to happen and if they are going to be what I want (or what I think I want!).  It’s easy for me to fall into a state of paralysis – if I don’t know what’s going to happen so I know what to do, well, I’m just going to do nothing! 

There was a little bit of that happening here this weekend.  I’d start something, get distracted, talk myself out of that and into something else and on and on it goes.  Finally I remembered a song about this very subject that helped bring things back into the proper perspective.  While I’m Waiting by John Waller helps me get there. 

While I wait, I need to keep doing the things I was created to do, serving, worshipping, and running the race put in front of me.  It’s not easy, it’s sometimes painful, but I need to keep moving forward, being obedient to what I know is truth.

No, I’m not going to do this perfectly and that’s okay.  I trust that when I need a reminder, one will come, whether it’s in the form of a song or the encouragement of a friend or loved one.  I’ve already listened to the song about ten times while I was cooking and cleaning up the kitchen tonight, but I’m going to give it one more listen before I call it a night.

What do you do while you’re waiting?  Feel free to add a comment at the top of this post and let me know.