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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Don't Just Do Something...Be STILL!

~ Sam and Gypsy ~
To read Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party post, click here.

If you're a female reader, them's fighting words, eh? Women are trained, from girlhood, to not only be busy but to multi-task. In my experience, and I've had a fair share, multi-tasking simply means we I reach burnout faster and more deeply exhausted. If you're a female Christian, and practice your faith, not merely go to church occasionally, you've probably been taught to, always, put others first. You know...JOY, Jesus first, others second, yourself last...and that's good...except when it isn't. Yes, always put Jesus first by having your devotions in the morning to prep yourself for the day and whatever is allowed to cross your path. You also need to get them out of the way.
GASP!

She didn't just write that, did she? Yep, I did. Again, in my fair share of experience, when I don't have my devotions in the morning, before most everything else, they usually get pushed to the nether regions of the back, back burner and, at bedtime I tell myself, "I do double tomorrow." That's just not good business or practicing Christianity because, throughout the day, I'm left with the nagging feeling (could it be my conscious? wry smile) that I could have done better, accomplished more and been more gracious or calm. 

Thistle Cove Farm has taught me some wonderful lessons...some terribly hard and others wonderfully grand. When Dave and I first moved here, I worked seven days a week because there was always work. This farm had not been owner occupied since 1948 and decades of tenants and no funds by the owners had left it looking sad and shabby and not in a shabby chic sort of way either. Also, in 1899 the house burnt to the ground and this replacement was built during the years of 1900-1902. Most of the barns and outbuildings were built in the 1800's and they looked worse than sad and shabby; they looked like they were standing on last legs. The fences were neglected and standing solely due to God's grace and lack of imagination on the part of the livestock.

Each morning, I'd fix coffee and breakfast then head outside where I'd work eight hours a day. It wasn't long before I was feeling a trifle resentful because it seemed the job was huge and I was small. Barns were filled with junk, the house was filled with junk and the carpenters were spending eight hours a day renovating the house and living here. Not only was I working on cleaning up the farm and house, but because we'd torn out the very old kitchen appliances, I was fixing three meals a day for upwards of fifteen people, using a Coleman two-burner camp stove, a charcoal grill and several large coolers. My sense of being overwhelmed came to a head very quickly, mostly, because I wasn't putting myself first. I was doing my own work, the work necessary to keep the workers working and it felt like I was putting in sixteen hour days!
So, I stopped.

Oh my yes, there was grumbling but you know what? No one starved, they ate breakfast and supper at home like they should have been doing in the first place. I still fixed three meals a day for Dave and I and lunch for the workers but I stopped fixing the rest of the meals. We still had two carpenters living with us but when I stopped doing it all, Dave stepped up and started fixing supper and that left me a lot more time to work on the farm and in the barns. He and I reached a place where our efforts were put to good use; I'm better in the mornings, he was better in the evenings. I'd fix coffee and a big breakfast; we'd have sandwiches for lunch and he'd fix supper. 

Dave died in November, 2011 and the work load doubled immediately. All those things he'd been doing now were my jobs as well as the work I already shouldered. Even so, the admonition of "don't just do something...be still" serves me well. Sundays are reserved for devotions, church and, sometimes, catching up with friends. The rest of the week I work but Sunday's are kept deliberately holy...remember the Sabbath and keep it holy...a time of rest, renewal, relaxation, recreation and a lot of porch sittin' time! Some Sundays, if I don't go to church, I'll spend the entire day without speaking to another human being; that can be a good thing, probably for all of us. wry smile

God has given me the gift of being, mostly, comfortable with myself and I enjoy His, and my own, company. On Sunday's, I don't do much other than keep still in order to face whatever He has in store for me in the coming week. If I have a bona fide emergency, I'll deal with it but that's all; I'll keep the rest of the Sabbath holy. I don't just do something, I stay still so I'm better prepared for the rest of the week and life.

Linking up with Soli Deo Gloria Party.

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein ~

Today's Miracles ~ blue skies ~ clean air ~ hay for the animals ~ wood for the stove ~ groceries in the pantry ~ food for the journey ~ stillness ~ 

34 comments:

John Gray said...

A thoughtful and illuminating post
Thank you

Ronda Walker said...

I think one of the hardest things to when your life is in turmoil is "Be still and know that I am God" that "be still" thing just isn't in my DNA .

Thanks for visiting my blog during the GYB party, good to meet you. Ronda

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, I loved this post; it gave me insight into your lives before I started following you last year. Wow, what a lot of work you've put in; thankful you take the Sabbath to rest. You are such a light to so many. Have a blessed and abundant day filled with His riches.
Noreen

Hartwood Roses said...

Being still takes determination, as all of our 'responsibilities' come at us throughout the day. The answer ... do what we can and must do, and don't do the rest. You said it so well.

My resolution for the year is to make a change in myself, to try to do less multi-tasking and more finishing. It's been a struggle, but I can already see that my own attitide is healthier for it. Let's hope that I can keep this up.

Jessica @ A Humble Creation said...

Thank you for visiting me at A Humble Creation. I'm so glad you did so I could come learn about you. You are clearly a woman of strength, which comes from our gracious Lord above. Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. I am now your newest follower! I look forward to hearing more of your life on your beautiful farm and of your walk with our Living God!

Quinn said...

So true, Sandra! I always tell people I need my "quiet time."

I thought you might like this 90-second NYT video about a woman whose home was damaged by a hurricane who shall remain nameless (heh).

http://nyti.ms/VIKXsB

Are you having bitter cold like we are now? If so, stay warm!

Tombstone Livestock said...

We all need some quiet / down time, need to take a lesson from the kitties too, curl up and take a nap once in awhile. It's hard to keep the farm going when your the only one, just need to take care of priorities.

Whimsey Creations said...

Very good post Sandra - I like it!

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Sandra:
Some wonderful words of wisdom here. It is so true that one can always find things to be done if one looks hard enough and one is often trying to prove that one really can be all things to all people. But, just being still and calm is so very energising, refreshing the soul as well as the body. We all need to take time to do this.

We have to confess, however, that when we think of your work schedule, we really are just lazy tarts!!!!

Hoping you are well and keeping warm. Take good care of yourself!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Thank you! Very nice! xoxoxo

Sandy said...

Great post Sandra! I too found myself super busy and overwhelmed when I lost TJ. It took a while, but I finally got organized and now I like to take Sundays off also. I usually take that time to relax but also to plan my following week.

Gina Gao said...

This is such a great post, I really enjoyed reading this.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

MamaTea said...

Beautiful post. Nice to hear the history of your place. Isn't it funny how its so hard to just be still? The way women are wired...I've always found that such a huge mystery...and yet I kind of think there is a reason for us. It's part of what we are supposed to figure out while we are here. :)

Carol OurSearsKitHome said...

Amen, amen, and AMEN!!!
You've hit the nail on the head with this one.
Also, I think of doing my devotionals early that I am tithing my first time of the day to the Lord, in addition to all the other truths you shared about doing them first thing.
This is a terrific post.
Thank you!

annie said...

A great post! i go with Albert, everything is a miracle. Haave a great week!

Di Lewis said...

Hello! I read every last word and am amazed by your path. Your inner strength must be a fortress! I am following you and thank you for looking at my spot. Your view is stunning I admire you! I ll be back! Dianna
porch sittin time for scooby

(GBS) NewsFromTheHill said...

That was a lovely post Sandra. You've given me a lot to think about. The last few months have been chaotic and I'm craving normalcy and routine.

If you ever are searching for a blog post, I'd love to see some photos of what the farm looked like when you began work on it.!

Grace

(GBS) NewsFromTheHill said...

That was a lovely post Sandra. You've given me a lot to think about. The last few months have been chaotic and I'm craving normalcy and routine.

If you ever are searching for a blog post, I'd love to see some photos of what the farm looked like when you began work on it.!

Grace

Rustique Gal said...

Sandra, thanks for visiting Rustique Gallery! You have a sweet blog here. Though I have a different faith, I can surely relate to the things you are going through and learning on your lovely farm. One thing I've learned is that I have to take care of myself, as no one else can do it for me! We women can take on so much, but there is balance.
Hugs,
Sherry

Dewena Callis said...

It is easier for me than for my husband to be still. I have always needed chunks of solitude and times to fill the well. What can be harder for me is to tackle my to-do list. My favorite verses are the ones to be still...in confidence and quietness, etc.

I enjoyed so much reading about your and Dave's life there on the farm and about its history. I am glad you moved there to love it once again. Even though I don't know you personally, I feel like I do from having gone back and read the past three years of your blog. I hope to keep working back to read more.

Your blog is a mix of so many important things and I learn so much. This week I am going to try to prepare and plan to deliberately set aside Sunday for time to be quiet--and sit still. Now if I could only get my husband to sit still!

Marlynne said...

Sandra thank you for visiting my blog. You might enjoy my second blog also: preciouscottage.blogspot.com My you have quite a story. Good for you that you have priorities and stick to them! I think it would be terribly hard to care for a farm by yourself! Marlynne

Louise Michie said...

I have been participating in the 2 Bags Full Grow Your Blog Party. What an interesting life you have. I have just clicked to be a follower and would like to be entered in your giveaway if that is still possible.
Love your tale of putting yourself last. This has been the biggest problem I have ever had to overcome. When I lived among people who held the same beliefs it all worked fine. But not here and definitely not any more. I like your way of saying that it is God's will that you look after yourself.

Timi said...

My favorite sentence is this: "I'll spend the entire day without speaking to another human being; that can be a good thing, probably for all of us.." :o) You are so right!!! It's so good to be alone sometimes and just thinking...being with God....
To be still...it's the most difficult thing to do sometimes...

" “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

rachel said...

I just love this! I had a season of illness which is still sort of ongoing and the biggest lesson I've learnt (ha! Still learning!) is that "just being" is the most important thing. No matter how busy or stressful life gets it is so important to find time (or even just a way in the midst of it all) to "be still, and know..."
So glad to have found your blog, you have a new follower here! xx

Sue H said...

Hello, kindred spirit! I, too, try to have my 'quiet time' alone with God at the start of the day, before the family and life in general gets in the way! And I DO understand what you mean when that practice get's interrupted or pushed to one side - the rest of the day always seems to run 'crooked'!

Thank you for calling in at my blog on the GYB 'hop'! I'm delighted to find you - now following! ;-)

SueH The Knitting Assassin!
Twitter – @Librarymaid

Donna said...

Beautiful thoughts and words....I have quiet time but find I need it more and more to quiet my life...

Pom Pom said...

Good words.
Deep thinking flows from your fingers, Sandra!
(BIG HUG!)

Charlotte Wilson said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. We all have sufferings to bear but you seem to have gotten more than your share.
keeping the Sabbath holy is something most people have forgotten. Reading a book called "While you were sleeping" reminded me of that. So on Sundays we go to church then home to a simple meal and just relax all the rest of the day. We do not shop or eat out, making someone else work.
Thanks for visiting my blog. I am your newest subscriber. Maybe I will get back in the game.

Pax Christ,

charlotte

Paula said...

What a thoughtful post! I shouldn't complain about my workload - nothing compared to yours.

I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you have your priorities straight - good for you!

Thanks for coming by to visit me at Home In Douglas - I am a new follower!

myletterstoemily said...

you are a wonder! i pray that your sabbath
rest restores you completely each week for
the work ahead of you.

Betty the Wood Fairy said...

What a great post - Im visiting via Grow Your Blog - nice to meet you - the song 'be still in the presence of the Lord' comes to mind. Betty

Gumbo Lily said...

You are wise. Sometimes the hardest thing for me to do is to be still and know that God is God! Good words.

Jan Vermillion-Thomason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Retired Knitter said...

Gosh, I just had a chance to read your story (after running around to see everyone's blog). How hard for you. But I am a big believer (no matter how trite it sounds) that God doesn't send you anything you can't handle. I did have a chance to have that tested as well in all of 2011. It was a very hard year for me too.

Glad to have found your blog.

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