Friday, January 26, 2018

Let the Ice Cubes Fall Where They May

Although I’m an introvert, I like to fit in and feel included, and I understand it requires getting involved.
Calvary Community Church, Sumner, Washington
To that end I attended a women’s Bible study that began yesterday at a church nearby.

I love women’s Bible studies and this one is called Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. I know I will enjoy the lessons and learning. And based on my previous experiences, it’s a good way to connect with other ladies especially if the group is small enough. The class had probably several dozen women attending but the church set it up so that women can sit in groups of eight or so at tables. I felt quite welcomed at the table I was escorted to by one of the ladies in charge and enjoyed a lovely conversation with another gal who was new to this event.

But then! It was ice-breaker time! I confess I am so not a fan of plunging into what could be a freezing environment via the Similarity Bingo game. You’ve probably played a version of it a time or two. You are given a list of likes, dislikes, activities, traits, etc, and the goal is to find one person in the room who shares a commonality with you for each item on the list.
Anyone born in Bellingham? Anyone? Anyone?
Bedlam ensues. Some people opt out of playing. Usually I’m one of them. I’m not afraid of approaching people I don’t know especially in a church setting. So it’s not fear that would make me choose to sit it out. If the end result is for people to get to know each other, I’m all for it. But this kind of activity, at least for me, feels like a waste of time in that regard. I knew I’d get names on my sheet of paper but I would likely not remember the people attached to those names. But yesterday I chose to interact and let the ice cubes fall where they may. Why?

Well, it’s been a month since we moved and the only people I’ve talked to, other than my husband, kids and grandkids, are the staff in the apartment leasing office, store personnel, and librarians. And those have been mostly just in passing. So it is time for me to break out of my own shell and move past any isolation I’ve put myself into. Even if I didn’t establish a long-time friendship with this activity, I felt like I came to understand myself a little better and it was what I needed to do for my own growth. 

When the game ended, I slipped back into my chair and was warmly greeted by the new friend I’d made earlier. She’d opted to sit out. That will be my choice next time.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Find Friends

This is the devotional I wrote and shared with my writing group this past Saturday:

“I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” (Psalm 121, NLT)

When we last saw our heroine, she was lost in a maze of moving boxes. Two months later and she has emerged, grateful for the destination God has provided. For her and her hero, being in their castle together after living in two separate realms, is most satisfying.
Our new neighborhood

Hey, in the middle of this move, we weren’t sure where we were going to be, or even when. The apartment application process took more time than usual due to needing various work and wage confirmations so we weren’t expecting to be able to get into it until after Christmas, if at all. Then suddenly things fell into place and we could move in before Christmas! It meant a bit of a scramble but were we ever grateful when after days of rain, the morning broke bright and sunny on December 23rd, our moving day. We were even more grateful we weren’t moving after Christmas when Whatcom County was in the throes of Icemageddon!
Moving Day! Snow on the ground but blue sky above!

Being in Bonney Lake made celebrating Christmas in Enumclaw with some of our kids so much easier. Only a half hour drive instead of three hours. Our friends that my husband was staying with for three months, were having family come for Christmas so the bed he vacated was much appreciated. Our friends had surgeries scheduled for January as well so I think it’s a relief for them to be without an extra boarder as they recover. 

My husband’s job involves him going out on sales calls to home owners that could be anywhere in Washington state. He is given his list of appointments via email first thing in the morning. There isn’t time for him to share them with me but we recently learned how to use a particular app on our iPhones. It’s called “Find Friends”. So at any time of the day I can tap on that app and see where he’s located. At least as long as there is a cell tower near him. There’ve been a few times when all I get is “Location cannot be found.” The first time that happened I kind of freaked out. My lucky sister was the one who got the slightly panicky P.M. from me to, “Please pray.” My imagination had me picturing a car-jacking, or a home invasion and his phone being destroyed. Now that I know sometimes service is interrupted and that he’ll show up on the app eventually, I’m all c’est la vie. 

This move has been an exercise in patience and trusting God to show us one step at a time. He had His eye on every tidbit of the process, He oversaw the apartment application, the missing employment verification forms, our friends’ surgery schedule, and the weather! And because the Lord Himself watches over us, He doesn’t need a Find Friends app!