Picking Up Where You Left Off

My dear and precious readers, you make me smile.

You make me smile!

I have found in life that there are times where I get disconnected from people or projects that I wish I had been dedicated and more disciplined to.  As I pick back up or attempt to get reconnected there is often a strong desire to apologize, repeatedly, profusely, for not being better about following through or staying connected.

Sometimes an apology is appropriate.  Especially if open messages and requests were left untended to, or responsibilities were abandoned without notice.  But sometimes I think we try to apologize too much and spend too much time dwelling on what wasn’t.

Here is an example.  I have a friend who I did not heard from in a while.  Life’s responsibilities and paths have taken us down different roads, no hard feelings on either side, just a time where our roads diverged.  Then we were blessed with an opportunity to reconnect.  My friend felt the need to apologize, apologize, apologize about not being better about staying in touch.

I was so excited about reconnecting that it did not matter to me how long it had been.  I just wanted to pick up where we left off and hear that stories of where their journey had taken them.  I suggested that instead of starting with an apology or an “I’m Sorry” we should begin to reconnect by saying, “You make me smile.”

“You make me smile.”  It would be a type of code phrase between us that would encompass all of the apologies, the wishes that we would have stayed in touch better and the opportunities that we feel we had missed.  Four little words that would allow us to just pick up where we left off.

You make me smile!

My sweet readers, I really have the desire to apologize for how long it has been since I have written.  I feel as though I have let you down by not writing as frequently as I would like, but also that I have let myself down.  However, I do not think that dwelling on the confession or regret, or to drag you through excuses is what you would like to read.  It is certainly not what I want to write.

If our roles were reversed, I’d just be delighted to read your post, excited to see that you had written.  Amidst the burdens and responsibilities and stresses of an average day, you would make me smile.

That is the blessing that I want to focus on today; the blessing of picking up where we left off.

The last time I posted was May 19th.  Yikes, how did that much time go by between postings?

The answer, time went by the same way it always does.  Sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.  What was my time filled with?  Probably the same as yours.  Many things that took longer than I thought they would, things that I never saw coming, good times, sad times, fun times, frustrating times.  Items that seemed important in the moment that are now forgotten, small moments that turned out to make a lasting impression.

I have been wanting to write, I have set a goal to write, I have thought about writing, but I just haven’t got around to doing it.  Until now.

How about we pick up where we left off?  My sweet reader, you make me smile.

For some reason I woke in the middle of the night.  As I type these characters it is only 4:18am where I am at.

Believe me, I did not try for this.  I am truly exhausted and am probably going to have to make time to get a nap in or go to bed early tonight.  Writing was not actually the first thing on my mind when I woke up.

In fact, I spent a good deal of time attempting to go back to sleep.  I found my mind kept drifting back to yesterday and a situation in my life that has left me with a horrible blend of feelings of failure, abandonment and grief about was has happened with a dash of terror, a measure of stress & anxiety about what will happen in the future.

I was tossing and turning in a stinky stew of worry over questions that should not be answered in the middle of the night.  Can I quit completely?  How can I get out of this?  Why does no one appear to care?  Am I wasting my time?  Why I am trying so hard and getting so little in return?

I knew that train of thought would not take me to the land of peace filled sleep and sweet dreams.  So I prayed a short prayer akin to pulling the emergency breaks on a train, “STOP!  Lord, help me have a new thought right now.”  I smile because I think God may have heard me say, WRITE now instead of RIGHT now.

Believe me, it was not on my calendar to spend the wee hours of Monday morning writing.

After I prayed my prayer, I was blessed with a flooding of thoughts about you my dear readers.  That made me smile.  I thought of so many of the words that I have wanted to share with you, but have yet to commit to characters on a page.  For a moment I felt so sad.  I was overcome by regret that I have not done it.

Then there was a moment, a new thought, that I should just pick up where I left off.  A simple concept that we seem to be able to overly complicate in our lives.  Let’s just pick up where we left off.

Last time I wrote, I was sharing about what an incredible opportunity I have to minister to others through the ways that I love my husband, Eric.  Who by the way, stopped into our office area to let me know he was headed out for morning chores at 4:36am.  He may have also been wondering where I got to when he woke up alone in bed…

He makes me smile too.  While I am not usually out of bed when he heads out for chores I try my best to wake up enough to give him a kiss, tell him I love him and to say be safe during chores.  I kind of think of the “be safe” comment as more of a little prayer or blessing over him, rather than a command, but hey if it reminds him how important he is to me and to think twice about what he is doing, and that prevents an accident we’ll go with it.

I had a real success yesterday in the focus of loving my husband.  We had our monthly adventure date.  Each month we try to take some time to do something that we don’t normally do.  We call them our adventure dates.  This is one of our goals for our marriage moving forward.  We came up with it at the beginning of the year when we wrote our family goals.  Then we called it 12 Crazy Dates.

We came up with a list of things that we had been meaning to do or that just sounded like fun.  Our dates had become regular outings to restaurants.  Good, but not very adventurous or memorable.  Our adventure dates are not dramatic or expensive or even have a lot of flare to them, but it adds some variety and gives us time together to make new memories.

You may laugh at what we did yesterday.  We went to the South Dakota State Agricultural Heritage Museum.  The featured exhibit right now, The Unspun Tale: Sheep in South Dakota.  It was awesome! (I’m not joking, it really was)  We had a blast!  It was hot outside, but the air conditioning was crisp and cool.  Which, is actually pretty incredible since the museum is in the Stock Judging Pavilion on the South Dakota State University campus, built in 1918.

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It was unrushed time for us to be together.  To pick up where we had left off on being a couple in love instead of just partners to lead this household, parents, employees, farmers, volunteers and all of the other roles we have.  We learned a few things, had a few laughs, saw a different way of life and pondered some things for us.

You may be wondering what our other adventure dates or crazy date times have been in the year.  In January we went “moose hunting”, well we went through all the little shops around town trying to find the cutest moose for sale.  You should know that I just adore moose, caribou, and elk.  They make me smile.

In February we went on a progressive dinner having one course or menu item at each of three different restaurants.  In March we bought a new card & dice game and spent an evening playing it.  In April we went out for a long breakfast at 5:00pm in the evening at Cracker Barrel.  In May we repainted our bathroom.  That was quite comical as we have a rather small bathroom to have two people painting.

These are not big things or expensive things, but it is purposeful time for us to be together and to get out of our normal routine.  So far, they have all been very memorable.  It gives us an opportunity to just pick up where we left off, and gives us something to look forward to.  It works for us.

Let’s just pick up where we left off…

This philosophy works in so many relationships; in marriage, parenting, family connections, friends, with colleagues, or old classmates.  It also works with projects.

I have what feels like a HUGE number of unfinished projects in my life.  I have found that what helps me to best pick up where I left off is just a simple post it note that says “Next Step” so I can tell myself what is the absolute next thing that I need to do on this.  It keeps things moving forward for me.

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If I don’t do this, I have a habit of looking at the project with dread, staring dumbfounded because I do not have a clue where to go or what to do.  Which, leads me to do nothing with it other than spend that time convincing myself I should procrastinate longer.

It can kind of be the same thing with people.  Let’s say a name pops into my head.  Gosh, I haven’t heard from them in a while, or talked to them in a while.  What do I do with that?  Should I call?  Should I write?  Email?  Text?  Facebook?  That can quickly spin to thoughts of gosh, it’s been so long I don’t know what I’d say…

How about trying this…

You make me smile.

It works.  I’ve had success with this one through any form of communication.  Note card, post card, letter, call, voicemail, email, text message, facebook message…just tell someone that they make you smile and it’s amazing how fast you can get a smile in return.

You know what?  I think God does this for us too.  I think we can get so worked up wondering what we should say to Him, how we should start a prayer, and getting stuck on all we need to apologize for, that we let time drift by that we could be spending with Him.

Sometimes I think I avoid quiet times to listening to God or reading scriptures because I have worried myself into thinking that it will just be a great reminder of the areas I fall short in, the things I need to repent of, and all of the things I am not doing right.

While convictions, repentance and proper perspective of my roles all have their place.  I can over exaggerate them in my mind.  So often when I do spend time with God, He is quick to remind me that I make Him smile.  I think one of the things that He really wants from me is for me to just tell Him more often that He makes me smile.

All of this writing has been such a joy for me this early morning.  I smile as I read through my life verse one more time today Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV), 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Let’s not give up meeting together.  Let’s not give up on our progress.  Let’s not overwhelm each other with apologies or excuses.  Let’s just pick up where we left off, because

 

You make me smile!

Dearest and Beloved Lord,

You make me smile!  Thank you so much for all of the times that You have shared that message with me.  Lord, thank You so much for all of these amazing and incredible readers who are willing to just pick up where we left off. 

Thank You for drawing me out of my worry, tossing, turning and fretting about yesterday & the tomorrows that lie weeks ahead of me so that I may write.  You make me smile!

Lord, for my incredible and precious readers, may they know what a treasure they are to me.  May the smiles they give to me be multiplied and poured over their hearts in return.  Please give them a great start to their week. 

Help them to let go of whatever preconceived notions and thoughts that may be holding them back and just help them in that next step, whether it is with relationships, projects, at work or home or in their communities, may they just be able to pick up where they left off. 

In the sweet name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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