blackout

This poetic piece of awesomeness is a finally-finished post I began writing a month ago… Enjoy!

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A  month ago, we experienced our first Portland blackout. We were without power, internet and phones for 6 hours. <gasp, I know> We couldn’t watch the tele or cook or use the internet or make phone calls or go on Facebook or participate in any other nonsense we need electricity to take part in, and guess what…?

We survived. 

How, you might ask? 

We played outside soaking up our last bit of evening sunlight, we snuggled under blankets and read books by the light of a candle. We talked. We told silly stories. We laughed. We played games with the flashlights… and then we went to New Seasons for dinner.

We survived #Portlandblackout2014 by having fun and going to the grocery store. YES. You read that statement correctly. I said, we had fun going to the grocery store. 

We are experts at surviving blackouts.  

We’ve been thru several blackouts before. From Ohio to New York City. Remember #Northeastblackout2003? Yep. We survived it. We were living in NYC at the time and working at our church. When the city went dark, everything shut down… except for the people. People were still on the move. We responded by handing out water to thirsty tired travelers from the steps of our church in mid-town Manhattan. The city air was thick with August humidity and millions of people sweating their way thru the city. People were still on the move. They needed to get home, to pick up their kids. People had basic simple needs – like water.

The truth is – we are experts at enjoying simple things – such as going to the grocery store. In fact, the simpler, the better. If a task is too complex, detailed or complicated – forget it. Anxiety will overtake me and… the end. I will shut down. 

When there’s a blackout, life shuts down. There are fewer options and simplicity takes center stage. When there’s a blackout, I can only see what’s right in front of me. In the dark sky, I can see the moon and the stars. Oh, how I long to take joy in seeing the simplicity in front of me! Take it all in. Breathe in the wonder. Trace the stars. Stare at the moon. Soak in the sounds of my children. Slip into the arms of my husband.

I come alive when I ‘shut down’ and enjoy the simplicity of who is in front of me… My family. My friends. My neighbors…  The blackout forces life to slow down. To darken our ‘world view’ momentarily. To take hold of what we can see. The blackout changes our lens to purely see. An unfiltered view. To truly see. What is right in front of us.

In the blackout, life can shut down… And in the simplicity, we can thrive.

Do you thrive in simplicity? Please share! Our story rages on… In Him, Leslie

The {Gift} of Time…

The sound of the clock ticking.

The sight of the clock moving. 
The swirl of thoughts worrying.
…about Time.
If time is your enemy, it will hurt like a bad break up.
Time moves on without asking.
Time gives no regard to your emotions, thoughts, opinions.
Time goes where it’s headed next, with or without, you.
Time functions outside of any ones control. 
You can follow time, but if time is your enemy, it will break your heart over and over again.
Time can be the enemy of our souls. 
Or…
Time can be a {gift} to be treasured, invested, and spent wisely.

Every person is given the gift of 24 hours a day… 
We can choose to {enjoy}, or loathe, the hours we are given.
Winter has settled upon Ohio… 
Snow has fallen ~ slowing everyone down, causing school delays, late to work statuses, and road closures.
In the middle of our winter snow and our holiday hustle and bustle, we have been forced to reckon with life slowing down and time speeding onward... moving ahead, time never looks back. 
Time lost is a reality, stranding some in a pattern of regret and pining. 
Time lost will never be regained. 
Use your {gift of time} beautifully, wisely, wholeheartedly
In winters past, I have struggled with the snow. 
Stranded in my own home, snow days meant I’d lost my freedom. 
I am grateful now to love the snow… to see its beauty, its wonder, its possibilities… 
I know how to use the snow shovel and get myself out of our long steep icy driveway…
I know how to appreciate the time at home, content with simply being at home...
This winter, we have enjoyed time together making memories going sledding.
This takes effort. 
Putting everything else pressing aside, for those precious moments with our kids… 
In the time we spend sledding, nothing else matters, only wholeheartedly enjoying our family time. 
We look not at our watches, phones or to do lists… 
As soon as the snow flakes begin to fall ~ 
We anticipate… the adventure of sledding… the hills, the thrills, the hikes up and down, our boots trekking thru the snow, the laughter, the fun.
We fly… down a simple hill… full of belly laughs, snow flakes in our faces, spins, twists, turns and twirls on a simple $10 sled. 
We breathe… inhaling the cold winter air… the space, the moments, the memories created. 
Time is to be stewarded and used wisely ~ housework, job work, school work beckon… but they will never end. 
Effort is necessary for anything we spend our gift of time on… 
This time spent enjoying each other is irreplaceable, the value is priceless, and worth every. single. minute. 
Time has to be received as the {gift} it is meant to be, or it will be taken for granted. 
***
How are you using your gift of time? 

Thank you for reading, sharing and following 🙂 In Him, Leslie 

Hiking with Hobbits…

A few weeks ago I went hiking… 
with Frodo Baggins…I mean, Adam Babcock…
but I’m sure that Frodo was around somewhere, lurking in the woods… 
possibly behind us??? the picture is kinda fuzzy… can you see him in the background???
We weren’t in New Zealand, on the set of The Lord of the Rings, but it felt like it.
We were hiking the Soda Falls at Cascadia State Park in Oregon.
The hike was… ‘So Frodo’!


We LOVE hiking.
I’ve hiked in many beautiful places, throughout California, around the Grand Canyon, and part of the Continental Divide in Colorado. Mountains are breathtaking.
Since we don’t have any mountains in Ohio, we boast of a place called The Hocking Hills.  
It’s beautiful place and we love going there… 
but… Hocking Hills ain’t got nothin’ on Soda Falls.
Hiking is rewarding in so many ways. 
We love to go as a family ~ our kids love hiking (almost) as much as we do.
I was so thankful to go on this beautiful hike with my best friend. 
Here are more pictures from our amazing journey a few weeks ago…

Any chance you get, no matter where you live, I hope you get a chance to hike somewhere beautiful.
So get off your butt, get into nature, and
Take a Hike.
Who knows… you might run into Frodo Baggins?!

36 minutes

What can you do with 36 minutes?

Watch a t.v. show… run an errand… eat at meal… have sex… (but please, only if you’re married.)

There are a countless number of things you can do with 36 minutes.  We are given 1,440 minutes in a day.  With this time, there are things we need to do.  We need to work.  We need to accomplish tasks.  We need to eat.  We need to sleep.  (Ecclesiastes 3).

This time is a gift.  Through freedom in Christ, we are not be bound by time, but we are called and challenged to use it wisely.

Can you change your life in 36 minutes?   Yes.  I believe you can.

In 36 minutes, I can waste a lot of time.  I can walk around my house in circles, deciding what I need to be doing, and end up doing nothing.  I can stress out about the nothing that I did when I should have been doing something.  I can look at the pile of clothes that needs to be put away and see the dishes stacking up and stare at the mop that is rarely used.  I can zone out for 36 minutes and then snap out of it thinking, “Where has all my time gone?

Or… I can change my life.  I want to wisely use ALL of the 1,440 minutes given to me today!
In 36 minutes, I can run 3 miles.  6 days a week, most weeks, I run – or walk fast on days I don’t feel like running 3 miles.  Now, it’s not like I wake up every morning thinking “Yea!  I get to spend 36 minutes with my treadmill today!”.  Though the days when the weather is nice and I have the time to run outside, I do say “Yea, I ♥ Running!”  And it takes me less than 36 minutes to run 3 miles outside.  “Yea, more minutes in my day!”  Still most days, I’m with my treadmill.  And it takes discipline.  I know if I invest 36 minutes a day exercising, I will feel better, and ultimately focus less on myself and more on others because I feel good about my health.

But my 36 minutes isn’t only an investment for the outside.  

I can invest my 36 minutes on my soul.  I can pray while I am running.  It’s genius, really.  Multi-tasking.  God has given us the gift of a relationship with Him.  I can spend time talking with Him in prayer while I am running.  Sure, I will probably be a little more winded and out of breath if I’m talking/praying while running – but He understands.  He knows my heart.  Better than I do.  (Ezekiel 36:26).
And my 36 minutes is not all about me.  

In 36 minutes, I can spend time with those I love and those I am called to love.  I can spend quality time with P.A. and our wee Babs.  I can love the person in front of me, as Christ would do. I can spend my 36 minutes focused on someone else’s life.  This is a life-changing investment.

In 36 minutes, I can read the Bible.  This is daily discipline.  It is not always easy.  Spending time with God and learning and studying and meditating on His Word is a life-changing investment.  36 minutes in the Bible will always CHANGE MY LIFE.

Time is a God-given gift.  Every 36 minutes we have is a gift.  How will you invest 36 minutes today?

Noted. By Les Babs

timewasters

I have one word for you.

Netflix.

Have you ever heard of it?  It entered our lives some 10 months ago.  And I’m so glad it did.  I’ve never wasted so much time in my 30 some years of life, since I met Netflix.

I’ve always been proud of my television boundaries.  We don’t have cable.  I am a fan of The Amazing Race and random PBS documentaries, but I usually don’t get caught up into too many t.v. shows.  I was faithful to The Office until Steve Carell left.  But I don’t get sidetracked by Oprah (or the like), I hate watching sports and the news is just depressing… I did spend a few years on Alias & then on LOST (which turned out to be a WOT – waste of time – after seeing the cheesy endings).  Thanks JJ Abrams.  I had higher expectations.

Then I met Netflix.

It changed my time-wasting capabilities and caused them to increase exponentially.
I now know more about the Tweto family surviving storms on “Flying Wild Alaska”, and Paul Watson stewarding the Sea Shepherd to save whales from the Japanese whalers on “Whale Wars, and how to become a loser prospector like the Hoffman crew that never finds gold on “Gold Rush Alaska”, than I ever thought I could.

I know too much.  I’ve wasted too much time.
But God can redeem my time.

The truth is I loved watching those shows.  I got sucked in when I thought I never would.  The reality of the Tweto’s, the Hoffman’s and the Sea Shepherd crew was so intriguing to me.  Until I was bored.  I was bored with watching the Tweto’s fly in in-climate weather, and the Sea Shepherd crew throw stink bombs onto the deck of the Japanese whaling ships, and the Hoffman’s dig 1,000 feet into the earth to find merely a fleck of gold.

I was bored.  I rarely use those 3 words, but I was.  I needed something new.  I always have something to do, or something I need to be doing.  I lead a busy life.  It was time for me to stop wasting it.
I needed new boundaries.  With Netflix.

So in the evenings, when P.A. and I normally settle into our spots on the couch to chill out after the wee Babs are in bed, I began something different for “my time”.  I played my guitar.  I listened to a sermon online.  I read my Bible.  I called a friend.  I called my parents.  I wrote in my journal. I started blogging.  P.A. and I would have “home dates” and spend time talking and hanging out, and sometimes watch a movie.  I didn’t mop.  I didn’t vacuum.  I didn’t pay bills.  I was allowing God to redeem my time.

I want to learn everyday.  I want to grow everyday.  I want to spend my time well.  With God, I always can.  His Word is never boring.  It is always new.  When I am spending time in the Bible, I am always learning something.  When I am focused on Jesus, I am growing.  When I am with God, it is never a WOT.
Spending time with God compels me to be a better wife, a more attentive mom, a more caring friend.  My precious time with God redeems every part of my life and with every person I spend time with.
I’m sure I will find something else to waste my time on in the next 30 some years of my life and I may look back and say I wasted time on x.y.z.

But I will never look back and regret the redeeming time I spend with my amazing God!
What are your time-wasters?  What would you rather be doing?  Allow God to redeem your time… He always does.

Noted. By Les Babs