Strength in Our Meekness

Hello, Thursday morning readers! January 2019 is leaving with a strong blast of frigid air. Except where it counts. It’s definitely colder outside than in my refrigerator this morning. We’ve lost most of what we had stored.

This issue has me thinking about power. And strength. A friend posted this morning about meekness: Don’t mistake it for weakness. No, meekness is harnessed strength. A “broken” or tamed horse may be meek, but don’t be fooled. That horse has great strength.

Controlled by the reins, strength reined in, the horse’s muscles ripple. Great strength. 

I can be meek, but strong in a given situation. Often, when strength is detected, promotion follows.

A meek person may not be a powder keg ready to blow at the slightest spark, but don’t be fooled. Don’t miss the ripple of strength below the surface.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”–Matthew 5:5

He knew what it meant to be meek. Strength reined in. Quiet strength, accompanied by inner peace and deep, spiritual joy.

That’s my aim today.

We’ve called a repairman to see if the fridge can be saved. As much as I would love a new toy for my kitchen, I hope we can put off that big purchase, because we have other priorities. Sometimes necessity laughs in the face of priority. We’ll see how this one turns out.

Remember to practice meekness today and Make Every Moment Count.*

*Dedicated to Rick Loyd

Endearing Traits

I’m always surprised by Wednesday, especially when I don’t have a post ready for Thursday. Like today. I always mean to write several posts and schedule them. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by, sparing a few moments from your busy, busy day to visit with me.

I just returned from a quick dinner out with my husband (Bob). He was uncertain what he wanted to eat and where he wanted to go, but we have dozens of good restaurants nearby to choose from. We’re driving and he says, “Hey, let’s go to that place with the big fan.”

I laughed, because this is classic Bob. He’s a smart guy, but he can’t remember names. Now, lest you think he’s on the road to memory loss, that might suggest he had something to lose. Where names are concerned, that is. It’s an endearing trait that provides ample opportunity for humor in our family.

We went to the place with the big fan. On the drive home, I was musing about all the other places he can’t remember. “Hey, how about the place with the horses out front?” Some of you may recognize that one.

“Let’s go to that place next to “chillis” (Chili’s—that’s another joke, but for a different reason). Chillis is how his mother pronounces the name of the restaurant. I guess the red pepper on the sign wasn’t an ample clue for her. It’s been years, but we still call it that. Bob doesn’t care for chillis, so we go to the restaurant next door.

Hey, don’t we know that guy?

It’s not only restaurant names he can’t remember. I often get an elbow in the ribs when we’re at church, or at a party. “Quick, what’s that guy’s name?”

I give him the “I can’t believe you” stare. “We’ve known him over forty years—he was in our wedding!”

“I know, but what’s his name?”

My favorite episode happened recently. We were sitting in a nice little Mexican restaurant when a friend walked in. She stopped by our table to say hello before taking her seat. We had to pass her table on the way out, so Bob wanted to speak to her. He punched me. “Quick, what’s her name?”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Oh, my gosh. You’re kidding me.”

He frowned. “What’s her name?”

“Her name is Betty.”

“No, really, what’s her name?”

I leaned closer. “Betty.”

We cracked up.

We’d been married barely two weeks when he forgot my name, while introducing me to a friend. At the time, I was shocked. “Really, Bob? How could you forget my name?” These days, I just shrug and smile. “Classic Bob.” I squirrel it away to tell later, when the family gets together.

Oh, and he’s directionally-challenged, too. But that’s another endearing trait for another day.

Thankful for the Busyness

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! No, that title is not a typo. Or maybe it is. Is it still a typo if it’s done on purpose? 🙂

The other day I was complaining (to myself–no one else was here), that I had so much to do, I couldn’t do it all, not in one day. And the days ahead looked every bit as busy. Would I ever catch up? So, I complained to myself, loudly. Whined. Woe is me.

When I finally got quiet, I heard this still, small voice inside: “Be thankful you’re busy.”

Some of this “busyness” pays. Some of it doesn’t pay $$, but it’s necessary to maintain a clean house and a happy husband. Happy family. Some of the busyness involves committees and groups, things that don’t pay money, but add value in so many other ways, like: friendship, fellowship, training and growth.

And then there’s the writing gig. If you’re a writer, reading this, I know you feel my pain. I’m torn when the inspiration hits and I’m on the job with too much work to accomplish to take even a moment to jot something down, or leave myself a voice message. Or write run-on sentences. Or breathe.In our overly-busy oft-interrupted daily lives, we sometimes yearn for quiet moments of leisure. A mini-vacation from the routine, away from phones and noise and the pursuit of $$.

That’s where my heart was the other day when I was…whining. And that still, small voice reminded me to be thankful. Grateful.

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; a strong feeling of appreciation.

It’s an attitude. Something I need to cultivate and remember in the trenches, when I’m sweating a deadline, whether it’s taxes due or my latest manuscript. Some people don’t have jobs or ways and means of supporting themselves. They long for the chance to be published. They’d love to serve on committees and lead groups.

So, here I am with a humble attitude, realizing that I’m flawed, but grateful. Thankful. Loving the busyness of my life. Happy in the moment. This moment, right now. Making it count.

In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.–Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Click to Tweet: In our overly-busy oft-interrupted daily lives, we sometimes yearn for quiet moments of leisure. Thankful for the busyness via @batowens #grateful #thankful

Resolution With Purpose Bears Repeating

I never do this, but after an especially brutal couple of weeks, I found myself thumbing through former posts, looking for inspiration. I couldn’t believe what I found. In fact, it was so significant (to me) I gave a sharp intake of breath.

It’s not that my first post of 2018 was so brilliant, but it spoke to my heart, especially at the end. Here it is:

Note to self: This is the first Thursday of 2018. Make it count.

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning friends! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. In a way, it’s difficult to believe the season is already behind us. Did your holidays rush past like a whirlwind, or drag by, like a tired sloth?

I hope the former is true, because that means you enjoyed lots of activity. Now, on to the business at hand.

I often resolve to do what’s right, but that resolve tends to dissolve a couple of months into the year. So, this year, I need to pay more attention to the small things. Toward the end of 2017, I became overwhelmed by all the to-do’s on my list. Too late, I realized I’d said “yes” too many times. My to-do list became a ball and chain.

I was so overwhelmed and discouraged, I even shelved my latest work-in-progress. Sound familiar? Why do we do this to ourselves?

Thankfully, all the kinks worked out. As soon as I set that WIP aside, the inspiration returned, and I was able to get back to it and finish before the end of the year–with hours to spare. 🙂

How do I avoid the traffic jam at the end of the year? It comes back to the paying attention. I need to be careful and prayerful about the things I say “yes” to. I need to think them through. I don’t want to be too hesitant, and miss out on things, but which ones are those? How do I determine what will end up on my list?

So my New Year’s resolution is to be determined. That sounds funny, as though I’m not sure what my resolution is, and I’m putting off the choice of one–TBD. That’s not the case at all. I aim to be more determined in my efforts this year. I want to accomplish the things I set out to do, whether that is taking care of my health, stretching myself intellectually, or spending more time with my loved ones. I’d love to do a bit of travel this year. Study the Bible, and share the love of Jesus more. Research a new book, and make lots of new friends.

These are the things that count in life. I hope you’ll do a bit of soul-searching, examine your heart and life and come up with something similar. Set your mind on it, and don’t give up. Keep yourself accountable. Leave me a comment, if you like. Share your resolution, or your word for 2018. Share your blessings.

Make life count.

Back in 2019 – The reason for my sharp intake of breath? A few days ago, I attended my cousin’s funeral after he died very suddenly of a heart attack at barely 61 years old. A few days before he died, I’d received a Christmas card from him. He’d included his favorite phrase: Make Every Moment Count (MEMC).

Rick was a leader in life. He literally started at the bottom and ended at the top. He was a friend to everyone he met, a mentor to many, who loved his family with abandon and made a difference in the world. He will be missed. But, he made every moment count.

When I wrote this blog post last year, I wasn’t thinking about Rick and his favorite line. I hadn’t heard it in a while. So, when I came across it at this particular time in my life, it seemed almost prophetic. Now, I pass it on to you…again. It’s a message that bears repeating. Make every moment count. Make life count.

In loving memory of Ricky “Rick” Odis Loyd 1957 – 2018.

A Challenging New Year

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Did you miss me last week? The holidays stole my schedule. I hope you missed me, but if you didn’t, it’s okay. I know how busy life can be and there are plenty of others to fill any spaces.

I’m up early, knowing I have nowhere to go today. Nothing on my calendar. I feel as though I have a wealth of hours ahead of me. Hours in which I can accomplish everything on my calendar.

But, the clock keeps ticking as I while away those hours, wasting all that wealth. Before I know it, the time has dwindled to mere minutes, and my accomplishments? Nil. Nada. Zip.

This wouldn’t be a problem if I was all caught up on my work and my writing. Alas, I am not. You probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

Here we are, at the beginning of a brand new year. We have 362 days left. Fifty-one-and-a-half weeks! That’s 8,688 hours. A wealth of hours!

Yes, I know, we are not promised tomorrow or even later today. But I’m taking this on faith. Hope is new every morning. I’m standing in a doorway of endless possibilities, looking at a brand new year.

Will I waste it? I hope not. I certainly don’t intend to do so.

I’ve joined with a few writer friends to “nano-write” my way through January.

Trying to catch up.

Trying to reclaim lost hours.

A deadline looms. I have a book to finish. A book that my readers are waiting for. I don’t want to let them down. Not only does it need to be finished, but finished well.

So, here we go. I’m starting the year with a plan. My house may suffer. My television will feel neglected. My husband may, too. But my manuscript will not.

My prayer this year is that I will make the most of the time I am given, whether it’s a little, or a lot. I pray for the strength and determination to stay on task and be productive. I hope to be a blessing and an inspiration. I hope to teach and encourage, but also to learn and be encouraged.

These things accumulate like gifts beneath a Christmas tree. Treasures stowed in a chest of faith.

Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. [Matthew 6:20-21 The Message]

May the days of your new year be fruitful and productive; blessed beyond measure.

Legacy #3

A review of Rebecca’s Legacy:

“Betty Owens has done an excellent job wrapping up the Legacy series with her latest character Amy Julianna Emerson.

When her father sends her to the country to spend time with her aunt, Amy thinks her life is over. But as the days pass, Amy finds herself enjoying farm life. But soon trouble finds her and Amy will have to decide whether to forge ahead in her new wisdom or revert to her old ways.

Like so many of us, Amy has to learn things the hard way. With the help of Aunt Rebecca and Matt Wordsworth, she finds the best thing in life isn’t always getting one’s own way but having your loved ones safe and near.

I enjoyed spending time with Amy as she learned the truths in life. I highly recommend Rebecca’s Legacy to anyone who loves suspense, mystery, and romance.