Deane's Blog

Family

Unhitching from the Crazy Train

Faith, FamilyDeane Watters8 Comments
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It was late in the day during my visit with our son & daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Costa Rica. The kids came into the house after school extra tired that afternoon. Something happened that made Charles need time in his room so his mom went in to hold him while he worked it out, loudly and mournfully. Annie was with her dad, seemingly heartbroken and powerfully making her feelings known.  Lucy moved to the front porch and started crying loudly about something that felt dismaying to her in that moment.  I followed her there and asked why she was desperately unhappy about this seemingly unrelated thing, but of course, she couldn't logically think about why and continued to melt down. All three were SUPER miserable, all at the same time. I felt like we had just taken off on the crazy train.

Realizing that this was not my responsibility to fix, I quietly sat down. Joel and Rachel are experienced at calming storms and before we knew it, all was back to normal, smiles on faces and peace in the house. (How do they do that?)

Unhitching from the Crazy Train is a book I haven't read, so I'm not recommending or reviewing it, but I LOVE the title. Joel and Rachel have learned to manage their young children without acting crazy themselves and I admire them greatly.

But I wonder sometimes about how I manage my own crazy.

Living in a house with only two people in it is very different from a home with young children.  But crazy knows no age limits; the source just changes. Mine has to do with boundaries, priorities, schedules and my own overwhelm. Maybe that is why these verses spoke so gently to me this week:

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Psalm 23:1

These words slow me down and open my heart to being led to quiet and rest instead of the constant need to get something done, figure it out, or accomplish the next task...only to forget about my own soul.

How do you unhitch from crazy and let God care for your soul? 

I find that starting the day with intentional quiet leads me toward the one who truly cares for the soul he created within me. My alarm goes off and I wake, feeling unwilling or unable to move. But a thought enters my mind that persuades me to get up and out of that comfortable bed.

I get to meet with God!

I wonder what He has for me this morning?

Starting with coffee, a lit candle, my Bible & my journals, I head to my quiet place and open up to what's next. 

Because my word for 2018 is open the door, I've been starting my time by reciting the verse from Revelation 3:20 

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.

If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, 

I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (NIV)

I love the image of Christ standing at the arrival of each morning, knocking at the door of my determination and resolve. Hoping to hear from him, I find myself eager to open the door and invite him in. Saying yes to his divine whisper I wait for him to speak. Sometimes I hear him in the Psalm I read, or in the prayers I pray, in the liturgy of other people's prayers, or in the silence of the early morning hour. 

When I open the door  I'm not in control. I'm not directing or even searching. He and I are "eating" together and he is nourishing my soul. Not in ways that I understand or that I can check off a list, but in ways that he sees fit.

This quiet and calm time seems to be the "key" to dealing with the "crazy" when it comes at other times of the day. I have some "still waters reserves" from which to draw. I don't always choose to lie down and be still, but I know it is an offer, a place to go, a way out. I only need to remember and step toward what he is offering.

How about you? Have you found a time to "unhitch from the crazy train?" It can be a time where the Shepherd of your soul leads you to be internally quiet and there you can remember who he is and how he created you and what he has to say to you. There he is rest and rejuvenation for your soul. 

The way Joel and Rachel help their children come back to calm is very much like the way the Spirit leads us to our Shepherd...with quiet assurances, without condemnation and with an ocean full of love. It starts with his invitation to step off the crazy and to step into the quiet assurance that he is near and eager to commune with you.

It's how I want to live. I pray he will enable me to say yes whenever the offer comes.

Five Things I Learned...this Fall

Things I Learned..., FamilyDeane Watters3 Comments
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Do you ever feel like you're just making lists and getting stuff done while time races by? Before you know it the next season is already upon you and you wonder what happened. I feel like that all the time. Have you groaned at least once this month, "Is it December already? What happened to November?"

As a way of not letting time get the better of me,  I decided to go back a bit and gather a few things I learned in the past couple of months. Writing it down slows time and gives me a way to feel confident that I didn't mindlessly walk through my days. I did learn a few things! 

After thinking it through, I picked five things to share with you.

 

I learned...Spotify is great! Last summer our daughter set me up with a Spotify account. I have been rather passive about music but this idea of getting any kind of music I'm in the mood for and then making up playlists to suit my own tastes, appealed to me. I have several lists of nice autumn music. If you'd like to find a fun Folksy Christmas with NO TINNY TUNES, only soft music, full of variety,  tap here. I've been totally enjoying it!

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I learned...My sister's thoughts and words have a powerful affect on me. As a writer, I have been unable to  write as regularly as I'd like and blogposts were often months apart.  No one seemed to notice so I just plugged along getting to it whenever an idea came along. Until one day... my sister left a comment (which she often does, and I love) saying that she misses me when I don't write. For some reason that little comment was big to me. I decided to return to an earlier goal of posting once a week. I realize that realistically, I will be unable to post every week always, but I'll do what I can.  I love it. Thanks, Sis. You helped me by telling me how you felt. I love you!

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I learned...that God is faithful and a person can go through some very difficult stuff and still trust Him. I have a good friend whose husband developed a brain tumor a year ago. They were on the mission field at the time and came home to get treatment and to gather faithful friends to pray. This sad story has a shining glow for one reason. In this year, my friend held tightly to the God she has come to know and love. Every morning they woke up and together recited, "This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." Each day they searched the scripture for ways to praise and trust Him and to pray for others. Several times she invited friends to come to their home and bring scriptures to pray. When he died in October, her faith enabled her to continue to trust God as she grieved the loss of a very special husband. It's a lesson we all would do well to note. Because of Christ's promise of life after death, dying with dignity and without fear is the crowing glory a Christian holds onto during such difficult times.

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I learned...I seem to have a high threshold of pain. Several months ago, I started to experience pain on the right side of my jaw. The tricky thing with jaw pain is that there are nerves that run along the lower and upper jaw and connect with nerves running to the ear, neck and side of the head. So it is hard to figure out the cause! But after hoping it would go away, having my dentist, doctor and physical therapist look at it and when the pain became too intense to endure, I went  to my dentist a second time and insisted that she look again. Sure enough, one tooth responded to the pain tests. She referred me to an endodontist who, the next day, performed a root canal on my very "angry" tooth. And I don't care how many times he had to poke me because I am PAIN FREE now! I am just rejoicing.

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I learned....how to live far away from my family.  On August 21st our son, wife and three grandchildren moved to Costa Rica to join in a ministry for college students in San Jose. I was eager for them to say yes to God's invitation but at the same time i wanted those little ones close. This felt too big for me to handle and I struggled. The week after they left, Brian and I went away for three weeks.  As I experienced what God had for us in the amazing beauty of the mountains, the fresh air, our deep breathing and beating hearts as we hiked, I rested my fear.  I found a trust I didn't think I had and my trust had a place in which to dwell...with our good God who loves and enables us to do things we think we are unable to do. We have done a lot of talking with our family on WhatsApp, writing emails and texts and I pray in new ways for these dear ones doing this very courageous thing.

So, I had quite the autumn season. What new things have you been learning? Look back and see what you know now that you didn't know last summer.  You might be surprised at how much you learned while  time was flying you by. 

 

 

 

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX8c93KtGDPub

Planted to Give Away

Family, RecipesDeane Watters2 Comments

Looking out my kitchen window, I watched as the Mercury station wagon pulled into our driveway.  It was the same every time Brian’s parents came to visit. His seventy-five year old dad, Paul,  would carefully step out of the car, walk around to his wife's door, open it and help her out.  Slowly she would emerge,  take his arm and walk slowly into our house. After getting her safely into the kitchen, Paul would return to his car to retrieve his box of whatever it was he brought to share with us.

Some days the box contained large round golden melons, the kind that just melt in your mouth with a sweetness not found anywhere but straight from the garden.  Being a summer joy, we’d eat them for breakfast everyday for weeks.

Other times the box was overflowing with large fresh brown Grundy County potatoes, dug from the black dirt mounds in his garden. He didn’t mind getting his hands dirty.  He loved the earth and he had us in mind as he planted and harvested. Years ago he had a contest to see which of our kids could dig up the biggest potato. Our student from Ukraine, Olah, won the prize, a full fifty cents.

From the large grove of apple trees growing on the farm’s western property line, he would bring apples so we could make applesauce and preserve it for winter eating - while they were in Arizona, feasting on fresh oranges and grapefruit. He loved to give apples away, many neighbors benefitted yearly from his generosity.

For many years, I looked forward to these seasonal boxes of edible treasures. The food was always fresh, usually picked the day he delivered them, and we put every bit to good use. But the box I most looked forward to was the one overflowing with his home-grown butternut squash. My eyes would light up at their oh-so-golden bulbous pale skin with their hidden dark orange flesh, gigantic, and filled with a promise to be delicious.

He’d bring them in, set the box on the back porch and remark with a little grin, “These should last a while."

And last  a while they did! We ate those squash all winter long!

Paul’s generosity was subtle. He gave quietly, without fanfare. Being one extremely careful with his money, he was extravagant when it came to his produce. These he planted to give away. 

 

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Proverbs 11:25 says, A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

During these holidays I encourage each of us to find ways to be generous, to freely give away what we’ve been given to give.  We could give of our time to visit someone sick or lonely. We could get on our knees and pray for the many needs around us. Taking a meal to a grieving or sick friend would be appreciated.  Writing notes of encouragement to people who tirelessly serve is another way to be generous. God's Spirit could lead us to give away money. There must be a million ways we could be quietly generous.

 There are blessings ready… joy filled and satisfying…humbly offered from love deliberately planted to give.

 

In honor of my father-in-law and the generous sharing of his beautiful butternut squash, here is a new soup recipe that we prepared and enjoyed this past week.

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Fast Chicken Chili with Butternut Squash

3 Tbsp canola oil, divided

2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash

2 Tbsp minced garlic, divided

1 cup chopped yellow onions

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp black pepper

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

3 cups unsalted chicken stock

2 (14.5 ounce) cans unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided

3 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast

3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves (optional)

1 tsp grated lime rind (optional)

 

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add squash, saute’ 8 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides. Remove squash from pan; set aside.

 

2. Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the pan. Add 5 tsp garlic, onion and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) to pan; saute’ 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add stock; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

 

3. Place 1 cup beans in a small bowl; mash with fork. Add missed beans, remaining 1 cup beans, and reserved squash to pan. Cook 3 minutes. Stir in chicken; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

 

4. Combine remaining 1 tsp garlic, cilantro, and lime rind in a small bowl. Top each serving with about 1 tsp cilantro mixture.

 

Serves 6

When I'm 64

FamilyDeane Watters4 Comments

Back in the sixties while watching the Ed Sullivan show, my siblings and I sat mesmerized as a group of handsome guys from England sang their songs to a screaming crowd of fainting girls! We'd never seen anything like it! We loved their music, their long hair and oh that Paul McCartney!!

Little did i know, back when  When I'm 64 came out,  that one day I would actually be 64. It seemed so far away and so very old! Well the day has arrived and here I am.

I played the song for Brian this morning and he assured me that he'll be the one to still love me when I'm 64 but he wasn't sure about the feeding me part. He said he'd go get the groceries though! Ha! 

So here's to another action packed year! 

The highest highlight was the birth of Oliver James White on May 24th. And the harder highlight was the moving of Joel and Rachel and the kids to Costa Rica on August 21st. Both top my list as the most important, most heart felt, and most God infused events of this year.

The scripture that gives words to this year is Psalm 13:5-6: But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD'S praise, for he has been good to me.

In honor of my day, I thought I'd post a few of my favorite photos from this past year. As I pick them out I sit here amazed at God's good work in the midst of my little life.

 

This is my favorite photo of the year: Thank you Hannah White Photography  for capturing this moment I never want to forget.

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