Married Life

A Time For Everything/A Time To Uproot, A Time To Quit

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Faith, Married Life, Mother, Seasons, Time | 46 comments

#74 final blog

 

Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, said it best, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens – a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

The past month has catapulted me into a season of sobering introspection. Watching my mother die challenged me deeply in unexpected ways. From how I use my time to examining my pocketbook – everything has been split open for scrutiny.

As a result, my husband and I agree it’s time for some changes. The “time to die” has beckoned us to “a time to uproot”.

Our first decision was to uproot from where we live. After four decades in the same house, we’re moving to a dramatically different community even though it’s only 10 miles away. We’ll be leaving the house we purchased when we first married to occupy the home my husband was born in. It’s actually quite exciting.

Leaving our safe, fairly static neighborhood with virtually no diversity to join a population with extreme diversity and non-stop activity should be interesting. I guess we’re doing it a little backwards – instead of moving from chaotic to quiet, we’re choosing to rev up the pace and dive into hectic.

Our new neighborhood is sweet and comfortable but the community it’s in is laden with people and with needs. We feel called to this new season and look forward to the integration.

The other significant uprooting for me is my decision to shut down my blog.

I have truly enjoyed the journey of blogging I began a little over a year ago. I’ve met amazing people and seen God do incredible things through it – but the season is changing and my keyboard will be closed for now. I hope to continue writing in other venues and plan to keep in touch with many new friends I’ve met here.

Please remember – it’s always my pleasure to pray for you – I can still be reached through the Let’s Connect tab on this website.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so faithful to read and communicate with me. It’s been a blast but “the time to be silent and a time to speak” is now initiated.

Parting thoughts:

Go with God. Trust him like never before. Seize opportunities to listen and care. Guard your heart against callousness, envy and judgment. Treat the weak with respect. Cherish wonder. Find Jesus in the face of a stranger. Let children be children and adults be children. Be a child yourself – his child.

With Much Love, Pat

 

 

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Money Changers in the Temple

Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Faith, Married Life, Money | 18 comments

cindee 11

 

Mornings in the Baer house are fairly predictable most days. The smell of fresh brewed coffee usually lures this sleep-worshiper downstairs to join my early rising husband. I typically find him reading or studying, at least one cup ahead of me.

This week he’s been preparing a lesson for his Men’s group on the second chapter of John which includes the story of Jesus’ reaction to the money changers in the temple.

As always, our current reading material generates a lot of discussion while the sun slowly creeps up over the mountain outside.

Brendon tends to enjoy and retain facts. I usually fan out to the personal application of the topic we’re haggling over. The balance is good. One without the other can lead to the same misguided thinking highlighted in the story of the money changers.

As you might recall, Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and was joined with throngs of other pilgrims converging on the temple. When he arrived he found commerce barricading communion.

The scene of greed within the walls of a place designed for worship caused a reaction that stunned many observers. The tables were overturned spilling their profits to the floor as the unassuming teacher took his rightful place in his Father’s house.

I can’t help but wonder how far we’ve deviated from the practices we were instructed to follow in worship.

I wonder if Jesus physically attended our gatherings if he would be pleased and comfortable with what he saw.

Up until Jesus arrived, people who attended the feast knew what to expect. They knew their money would be exchanged for another currency that included an unfair tax. They knew and accepted the fact they would probably be asked to purchase a “more acceptable” animal to sacrifice at an unreasonable price. But they did it anyway because they loved God and wanted to follow the expected ordinances.

Like helpless sheep they adhered to what was customary. Do we do that?

Henri Nouwen writes this: “Jesus, the Son of God, hungers and thirsts for uprightness. He abhors injustice. He resists those who try to gather wealth and influence by oppression and exploitation. With fervor he proclaims that the way to the Kingdom is not in offering many sacrifices but in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting the sick and the prisoners, Matt 25:31-46. He longs for a just world.”

As I sip my coffee, mulling over facts, I’m challenged to consider my personal practices. Am I able to overturn the money changer’s table in the sanctuary of my own heart? I wonder.

Do I overtax my soul, breeding resentment and thus offering shallow sacrifices?

Do I mindlessly adhere to practices I know are wrong simply because they are customary?

What furniture do I need to rearrange so Christ can take his rightful place in my temple?

 

I wonder about these things as sun rays seep through the trees outside on another ordinary morning.

 

(Many thanks to Cindee Snider Re for sharing her photo)

Linking up with #GiveMeGrace

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Dirt, Work & Waiting

Posted by on Oct 11, 2013 in Humility, Married Life | 6 comments

fall for blog dirt post

 

My husband and I spent the bulk of the day yesterday working around our house. He worked on it and I worked in it.

Our jobs were nothing alike. He labored to encase electrical wires in a tube on the side of our garage while I cleaned inside. I dusted, waxed, vacuumed, climbed step stools, washed windows, scrubbed toilets and did laundry.

It’s probably safe to say we both worked equally hard. And at the end of the day, we both felt like our day had been productive.

The blaring difference between our tasks however, is the obvious. His job will most likely last more than a week. He can walk away from his investment of time and energy with a different kind of satisfaction than I can. If he did the job well, it will probably never need to be done again. I have to say I envy that.

I honestly detest housework. If there was any way to eliminate it forever I would pay whatever price necessary to do it. Take away all the furniture – even make me walk through a sterilization chamber to get into the house – I would do it. At face value, cleaning house offers me no lasting satisfaction.

I often wonder what life would be like without dirt.

Dirt does however – even the cleaning the house kind of dirt – remind me of my mortality. Nothing we do is truly lasting. Even my husband’s job will one day be obsolete or forgotten.

Every day is a sacred gift and no task is menial or without purpose.

While visiting a skilled nursing facility the other day I overheard one women talking to another. They were reminiscing about the life they once had. They didn’t mention missing their jobs. They didn’t talk about their accomplishments or titles. They didn’t even miss their youthful bodies – they missed the ordinary tasks of life. They missed cleaning their houses. Imagine that.

When I consider the privilege God gave us to care for the soil of this planet, I’m humbled.

When I remember the large portion of the population who do not have homes to clean, I’m pricked with conviction for my own complaining. Dirt, even dust, reminds me who I am and where I come from.

Some days are filled with moments and projects that give us a sweet sense of accomplishment. But other less meaningful days feels as though we’ve done nothing more than remove a layer of dust no one even sees.

God has saved the dirt-free environment for our next home. His world will not simply be sterile and absent of the menial tasks we’ll regret leaving. Whatever substances his kingdom will consist of, I am certain it will be life producing and perspective generating, just like dirt does in this life.

God has a way of transforming our dirt into life-producing soil.

Work can become worship in the temple of our temporary while we wait for his invitation home.

 

Digging up an old post to link up with #TellHisStory today.

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The Road to a Solid Argument

Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 in God Speaks, Married Life | 4 comments

capitola morning beautyYou’d think after decades of married life we would run out of material to argue about, but of course, we haven’t.

 

It’s the mental wrestling matches over the most trivial issues that really get us. For example, we recently argued about which was the best route to take when going from Point A to Point B. Whenever we visit a particular friend’s house approximately 20 minutes away from where we live my husband insists on going the longer way. Some might think it’s a debatable and ridiculous argument. The differentiation in time is probably between 3 -5 minutes on any given day and could lean in the favor of either direction depending on traffic conditions.

 

The ongoing argument is actually less about the route than it is about my idea on what saves time. His route has stop signs and mine has signals.

 

I guess I’m a gambler. I’m also probably less law-abiding than my husband. In my opinion it’s OK to speed up over the limit in order to race through a yellow light. I hate delays and dislike waiting even more. And then there’s the stop sign dilemma. Although I know it’s the law to come to a full stop at an intersection it hardly seems necessary when no one’s at the cross street. Short stops seem equivalent to a yellow light to me.

 

The stop sign route is a safe bet. There’s no guessing whether the light will change and not much variation in speed since the route is riddled with the annoying signs. My route is a clear shot to our destination unlike my husband’s which winds through town and past the ocean. My way includes a stretch of freeway with a 65mph speed limit.

 

Today when I was headed to the controversial destination by myself I chose to go my husband’s way – just because. Maybe I secretly wanted to clock it while I was behind the wheel to prove my point once and for all.

 

Instead of placing my bet against an upcoming light I found myself daydreaming and less concerned about time or speed. I could see the tortoise and hare scenario playing out before my eyes. The slower way was definitely inching along in a more rapid pace than I had experienced when I was arguing my point in transit with my husband.

 

And then there’s the ocean. Had I really been so set on winning my argument and capturing a couple extra minutes that I’d missed the ocean variable in the equation? Really?

 

What a waste of time silly arguments can be. If we’re only given so many days on the planet and so many moments – maybe it’s best to go slow. Maybe a steady path that takes a little longer has worth, in and of itself.

 

Like it or not we’re all headed for the same destination. Our plans, our platforms and our time will one day come to a screeching halt. We won’t be able to avoid the ultimate stop sign waiting for us.

Deciding to take the long way was a good idea. It taught me moments are gifts. Not the minutes I was trying to gain, but moments I was missing.

 

Moments are given to be fully lived, completely embraced and tenderly shared.

 

So, I’ve changed my mind on the best route to get to our friend’s house. Whether or not I tell my husband is another discussion.

 

 

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Celebrating Us Today

Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in Love, Married Life | 6 comments

I love you Brendon Baer. As I sit across the living room watching you sleep during a movie you swore we’d both love I’m struck with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for you. I can’t remember a time you weren’t in my life. After all, I was fifteen and you seventeen when we first met.

I knew and loved you before you were a believer. But I have to say you are one of the most compelling examples of a spiritual conversion I’ve ever witnessed. The minute you came to Jesus your stony heart and hotheaded nature tenderized and melted into him. You are non-pretentious and genuine. You’re loyal and impartial.

I have witnessed generosity for people you don’t even know many times. I’ve seen you fix cars, paint houses, repair appliances, clean yards and numerous other acts of kindness – expecting nothing in return. You’re quick to forgive and slow to judge. You’re honorable.

You are such an amazing father. I could never have tackled parenting without you. You taught our children integrity and a strong work ethic. You taught them how to play. You were the one who read Bible stories to them each night. All the important lessons came from you. Whether you were teaching them to clean a bathroom, listen better to me or ride a wave – it was always in love.

 

There were some rough years – lots of them. But you hung in there. You never gave up on us. I love you more today than I ever thought possible.

Happy 40th my love. Let’s go to Catalina and pretend we’re 21 again.

 

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The Ride

Posted by on Apr 13, 2013 in Humility, Married Life, Play, Questions are Good | Comments Off on The Ride




 

Because I love him, and since he asked, I agreed to ride bikes with my husband today. To be clear, we love bike rides – just not down our long road and not on the busy streets I ordinarily drive my car.

Riding a bike on the same street I’ve driven down forever gave an entirely different perspective on things. For instance, I never realized how many houses had dogs, barking dogs. I never noticed the gradual hills  and long meandering turns. Today I saw newly planted flowers and budding trees I usually speed right past. And the smell of fresh cut grass was intoxicating.

I also didn’t realize someone lived at the end of our street just over the guardrail. I must drive past his humble camp every day. His tent, neatly stacked bags, and camp stove were pitched in a grove of weeds. I found myself wondering who he was and how long he’d lived there. I wondered where he came from.  

Perched on top of my humble bike seat – secretly hoping no one I knew would see me I was forced to ponder how valuable my bike might be to this person camping in such an undesirable place.

Each morning I ask God to search my heart, to keep it soft, pliable, and open to his voice. But each day I find myself safely belted into my own driver’s seat racing past a world of needs. How many individuals are camped nearby in a need I could easily meet – just beyond the guardrail of my life?

God’s voice is soft. I’m grateful He spoke to me today. I’m glad I took the challenge to venture down the path of uncomfortable and unfamiliar. 

God’s voice is never accusatory. His voice is gentle and purpose-driven. He loves indiscriminately. We’re never beyond rescuing and reshaping. Today I thought I was pleasing my husband and exercising my body. God did that and so much more for me. I’m left wondering what else I miss when I move too fast. I feel selfish for more. My heart aches to feel humanity the way God feels it every day – every moment. My eyes want to see.

The exhilaration of my racing heart and burning thighs felt good. My heart and soul also crave exhilaration. What a marvelous mystery – to be fully spent by slowing down.
 
And by the way – his bike was blue and his name, James.

Luke 10:27 “He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer, muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” The Message

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