Monday, June 25, 2012

Ideal Balance

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of ladies at our church camp.  I wasn't given a topic, but came up with a couple that I felt would be meaningful, relevant, and comfortable.  However...God wouldn't let me get away from a certain chapter in Proverbs that tends to scare the bejeebes out of most women!  I'll give you three seconds to guess which one.  :-)

Because I knew that my topics could never be as good as God's, I set to work on Proverbs 31:10-31.  I begged Him for help, and then did my best.  I've learned something in the last couple of years.  If I feel overwhelmed with a project, I take it to Him.  I tell Him the things He already knows:
  • I'm scared
  • I'm insufficient
  • I need Him
  • I'll do my best
  • He must take care of the rest
And guess what!  He has never left me hanging!  Each time that He proves Himself to me, my faith grows and propels me to a new challenge!  I love that about my God.  :-)

Anyway, the point of this post is to share something with you that He brought my way during my  study.  The Proverbs 31 woman is very focused, driven, and productive.  Each verse in the chapter points to that. In fact, it almost seems that she was busy 24/7, and most of us just can't figure out how to do that without becoming a mess! 

Donna Partow, in her book Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be, says this, "She [the Proverbs 31 woman] achieved that ideal balance of a soul at rest and a body in motion.  Too many of us live the opposite way." 

I don't expect her words to strike a chord with every woman, but they sure did with me.  As someone who tends toward anxiety and suffers nocturnal panic attacks, my soul is often in turmoil.  And sometimes because my mind is working overtime, my body slows down and I actually accomplish even less. I really never thought about it like this until I read her analysis.  It makes perfect sense to me. 

You may be able to relate to Partow's statement, and if you do, here are some simple ideas to help you through this struggle:
  1. Fill your mind with positive, inspirational thoughts.  Music helps to calm my spirit, and draw my focus upward. 
  2. Commit your frustrations.  Dwelling on circumstances that heighten my anxiety is unnecessary and unproductive.  Write them down, and give God the list.
  3. Keep moving.  I must avoid the temptation to sit and think about how many tasks I have to complete, how in the world I will ever get them finished, or whether I even have it in me to do a specific task.  If it's mine to do, then God and I can get it done...if I keep moving!
  4. Savor accomplishment.  I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I know what God helped me to do yesterday and today, and I reflect upon that as an anchor to my faith.  I can do all things through Christ!  This isn't just positive thinking, this is reality!
So, these days I'm reminding myself...soul at rest, body in motion...I'm reminding God of the things He already knows (see above), and I'm trusting that He will prove Himself to me again.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy 38th Anniversary...

to my parents! Their relationship practically started at Pilgrim Holiness Church Camp about 40 years ago, so it's only fitting that their anniversary typically be church camp!

There are several specific things (in addition to many others) that I admire about my parents' relationship:

  • They are each other's best friend.  Only when their jobs or unique circumstances take them in different directions will you find them apart.  They love to be together, and even typically find a way to meet for a 30 minute lunch break during the workday. 
  • They support each other in their individual roles. My dad often does the laundry, and I couldn't tell you how many times I've seen him set the table or run the vacuum.  When my dad has a ministry opportunity to fill, my mom rearranges or adds to her very full teaching schedule, and comes along side to lift his load and add her touch to whatever it is that needs tending. 
  • They are affectionate.  Far too many kids don't visibly see that their parents are in love.  Mushy, gushy love.  Yup, I's gross, right?  But what better security for my little heart than to see that my parents are in luv?  :-)
  • I've seen them both humble themselves and admit their shortcomings and failures.  They have shown me that forgiveness is important and vital to a healthy marriage.
Don and Ruth (Yount) Nichols ~ June 15, 1974
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for protecting and preserving the strength, unity,
and love in your marriage relationship.  I celebrate that today!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sitting here...

Imagine that. We've been at youth camp for 3 full days, and I'm already feeding the washers with quarters. :-)

After a four year "time out" from PYC, I find myself back this year with a first-time camper. Ryan is finally able to experience what I look back upon as some of my absolute favorite summer memories.

I am aways intrigued when I see my children in new environments. I love to sense their emotions, observe their behaviors, and anticipate their reactions.

And trust me...this week has been full of sensing, observing, and anticipating. I've learned learned a lot about my son, and maybe even more about myself.

During last night's afterglow, as I was in the camper straightening and reorganizing (for about the hundredth time), my ears picked up a sweet sound coming from the nearby field. I paused to listen, and was overwhelmed with the harmony of 144 teens (along with a bunch of college kids and camp staff) lifting this prayer our Father...

Change my heart, Oh God,
Make it ever true.
Change my heart, Oh God,
May I be like You.

You are the Potter,
I am the clay.
Mold me and make me,
This is what I pray.

Change my heart, Oh God,
Make it ever true.
Change my heart, Oh God,
May I be like You.

This is why we believe in church camp. The recreation is great, the food is good, and the friendships are valued, but the concentrated spiritual emphasis and atmosphere has an effect that is eternal. It's worth every dime spent, every vacation day taken, every annoyance endured, and yes, even every trip to the laundromat.

So here's to you, Coin Laundry! By this time next week, you'll be my new bff!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Eat dessert first...

I awoke from my way too brief Sunday nap with the nagging feeling that something was missing. Within seconds, it hit me. This afternoon we participated in one of the most amazing church fellowship dinners I have ever attended (and we have some good ones)! While I had my fair share of bbq pork, mac-n-cheese, green beans, corn, veggie bake, deviled eggs, cheesy potatoes, tossed salad, homemade bread, and sweet tea, somehow I didn't remember to get dessert!

HOW does that happen?

Eat dessert first...not because life is short, but because you just might forget.  :-)

*of all the blogworthy posts that could have been written,
 I felt that this one should evoke the most sympathy

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Thoughts for a Tuesday...

It's been a different sort of day so far.  My washer and dryer are humming along in the laundry room, dinner is thawing in the sink, the boys are across the street playing baseball, and the girls are wrapped up in doll houses and make believe by our large front window.  The bird are singing, the wind is gently blowing, and the sun is hiding just enough to make it feel like a cozy, inside kind of day.

My laptop has been virtually untouched for the last six weeks, and so I thought I would take a few moments to print an e-book and browse some blogs.  Browsing lasted a lot longer than planned as I came across an insightful yet controversial post, and something like 180 follow-up comments.  :-)  I love reading what is on the hearts of women, and find myself inspired and challenged as I glean from their wisdom.

Our last day of school was two weeks ago today.  There is much work to be done once the students actually leave the building, but as you can imagine, days are much different!  The prayer of my heart is that each of our students grows closer to God this summer.  There are so many temptations that reach for the hearts and minds of our kids, and idleness often fuels the fire of curiousity.  How I beg God to keep them in His protection!

Greg's parents gave us an invaluable gift at the end of the school year.  They opened their schedules and their home to all four of our children for nine days.  The kids looked forward to this for months, and just two days after school was out, they left for Michigan!  Knowing they were in good hands and happy as little larks made it easy for me to let go.  Hopefully I will be getting some pictures of their trip to post at  In the meantime, here's what I did while they were gone:
  • used my Valentine's gift spa pedicure certificate (which had been lying on the counter since February 14!)
  • visited the library - without being drug upstairs to the children's department
  • indulged at my favorite coffee shop at least 3x
  • indulged at my 2nd favorite coffee shop 2x
  • browsed the Christian bookstore 2x
  • took an overnight trip to Ft. Wayne
  • arrived at Sunday School 7 minutes early.  :-)
  • slept in
  • worked at the school, gave a couple of piano lessons, did some counseling
  • ran the dishwasher once in 9 days :-)
  • took a day trip to Holmes County
  • worked at the house we will be renting
  • took an overnight trip to Cincinnati
  • played with the dog (ok...I must have been getting bored at that point!)
  • read 2 books in 2 evenings
  • walked the quaint and beautiful streets of Shipshewana, IN while waiting for the kids to arrive for the return trip home
  • spent an unbelievable amount of quality time with my amazing husband
  • wondered what I ever did in all my spare time before I had kids
It was a wonderful nine days, and I'm so thankful that God protected us and the children while we were apart.  It was good to see their smiling faces and feel their warm embraces as we reunited on Saturday.  They bring such joy and brightness to our home and our family!
Now we're back to real life (I believe the dishwasher ran 3 times yesterday), and summer has begun!

  A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.        James Dent