Patience is a Virtue I am Lacking

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The main part of our kitchen this past Christmas

My patience is being tested to the end! For the past week, I have been living in chaos. We’ve been in our home for over sixteen years, moving into the house between Katie’s fifth birthday and Morgan’s birth a month later. My father-in-law built my kitchen, and it was a beautiful kitchen. But, as with all things, it was time for an upgrade. The floors throughout our first level were in terrible shape, as happens with cheap flooring and a houseful of kids and dogs. The kitchen cabinets were showing a lot of wear, and Ken and I were ready for a change. Rather than do the downstairs in bits and pieces, we dove in headfirst, ordering new cabinets, appliances, and floors, all at the same time. And we still need to think about paint!

I’m pretty sure I’m the most impatient person I know, and I have a strong need to always be in control. Imagine living for almost three weeks without countertops or appliances
(not to mention the first week of not even knowing where to find a spoon). Now imagine that you are only beginning week two. I sit here and type along with the cadence of saws and hammers and crewmen calling across the room to each other. My upstairs office is away from the mess but not from the noise. Our microwave is precariously perched on the disconnected dishwasher in the garage, surrounded by flattened cardboard boxes, dismantled cabinets, and the other appliances. This is where I make my oatmeal and tea every morning. The contents of my kitchen are spread throughout the downstairs, including on the front porch and in the sunroom. I know that I will go to bed tonight with the sound of incessant banging ringing in my ears. Oh, and the chirp of the smoke detector that keeps alerting me to the overwhelming presence of sawdust in the house.

Today’s responsorial psalm for the Mass is from the 40th Psalm. In the psalm are the lines, “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, To do your will, O my God, is my delight.” In the midst of all the chaos surrounding me, I am reminded that I cannot always be in control and that I should bow joyously to God’s will. Sometimes, I have to let things happen slowly, to let situations come about of their own accord, to deal with the dust and the dirt and the noise of this everyday life without trying to make things happen in my own time and in my own way. I have to remind myself to delight in what God has in store. And it’s so, so hard.

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We’ve come so far, but we’ve got so far to go! Mosquitoes are taking over the house (thank Heaven the door goes back on today), and the counters won’t be here for another week. But the wine is out and ready!

Patience is a virtue. We hear it so often that I think we forget that there is truth in the saying. I know I do! Perhaps God enjoys throwing us curveballs, blocking our path, or forcing us to endure long, drawn-out trials, both large and small, in order to remind us that we are just one small presence in this world. We are to live our lives for Him and for others, finding patience when we are being tested and acceptance when we cannot be in control. I know that, by the end of next week, I will be overjoyed with my kitchen. Until then, I need to bear all things and be satisfied with each small step, looking forward to what is to to come. God is in control in all ways and in all things. I need to remind myself, when my stress level rises, that He has this.

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. 

James 5:7-12

What I was writing about one year ago this week: The Five Reasons We Allow You To Date.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles, which has outsold all of her other books worldwide and ranked as high 600 on Amazon. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available. Amy’s novel, Summer’s Squall, is on pre-sale and will be released on December 1, 2017.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017)

Longing for a Little Sleep

IMG_0085Have you ever noticed that a child can sleep anywhere? How about that guy on the plane next to you who is asleep before the plane takes off and slumbers soundly until the plane touches down? By the way, that’s my husband. Oh, how I wish that was me. Actually, forget sleeping in a car or on a plane. I just want to be able to sleep in my own bed.

At some point every night, I wake up. Sometimes, it’s because Ken wakes up, and since I can’t sleep through the sound of a drop of rain on a blade of grass, that wakes me up, too. Sometimes, it’s the sound of the wind against the house. Sometimes, it’s because I hear Morgan get up to use the bathroom, or our dog, Misty, softly padding across the carpet. Sometimes, I have no idea at all what causes me to stir. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Once I’m awake, there’s no going back to sleep, even if it’s only midnight.  I lie in bed for the next two hours, four hours, six hours, just praying that I can go back to sleep. My body longs for restful slumber, but my mind refuses to shut down.

It’s not that I’m worried or stressed. I just can’t seem to stop the thoughts. I’ve written entire chapters with engrossing scenes and witty dialog while lying in the dark, my eyes closed, but my mind open. I’ve planned days and trips and parties. I’ve rehearsed conversations I intend to have family or friends. Mostly, I pray. I pray rote prayers I’ve known since childhood as well as long streams of consciousness that roll through the foggy recesses of my mind. There never seems to be an end to my prayers–asking for good health for my parents and Ken’s, asking for wisdom and happiness for my daughters, for success with a project, for traveling mercies, for the intentions of friends and loved ones. I pray more at night when I’m trying to sleep than I do during the day when I’m fully awake.

prayerWhich brings me to wonder… Maybe I’m trying too hard during the day to do things on my own, to fit in too many things, to honor too many commitments. Maybe I’m supposed to be doing less and praying more. Maybe I need to spend less time focussing on myself and more time focussing on God. It’s not something I ever thought of before, but maybe it should have been. 

Glancing at the clock, I have several more hours to go until bedtime. Perhaps it’s time to take a break from this world and concentrate on the next. Maybe then, I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

What I was writing about one year ago this week: Learning from the Past, Changing for the Future.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles, which has outsold all of her other books worldwide and ranked as high 600 on Amazon. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now on pre-sale. Amy’s novel, Summer’s Squall, is on pre-sale and will be released on December 1, 2017.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

A Little Time to Spare

Yesterday, I was out running errands while Morgan was at field hockey practice. I just got a new car, and I wanted to organize the storage space in the front seat, so I ran to my favorite home organization store – the Dollar Tree. If you’ve never done home organization shopping at the Dollar Tree, then you are missing out. Every room of my house has the perfect containers, all purchased for a dollar each! Anyway, I was standing in the back of the store, weighing my options and trying to decide what would work best, when an older man stopped nearby to look at something.

“Hmm, sugar free chocolate. I wonder if it’s any good,” he said to himself.

Glancing over, I saw the display of Baker’s Chocolate that had caught his attention. I winced.

“Only for baking,” I told him. “You definitely do not want to eat it. It’s very bitter.”

He looked at the box for a moment, and then I saw understanding dawn. 

“I guess the name should have given that away. I’m diabetic, and the words ‘no sugar’ jumped out at me. I sure miss eating chocolate.”

Before I knew it, this man launched into a story about his younger sister who had eaten a whole box of ExLax as a child. It was much more information than I needed to know about this stranger and his family, but I smiled and listened. When he finished his story, I nodded, picked up the plastic containers I’d been eyeing, and began to turn away. But I didn’t get far. 

“I have three kids,” this man proceeded to tell me. Before I could say that I, too, have three children, or rather, before I could escape and run down the aisle, he began telling me about his children and his grandchildren. Twenty minutes and several stories later, I smiled, told him I enjoyed talking to him, and wished him a nice day. The entire time he talked, my mind was screaming, “Don’t you get that I have things to do?” But my heart was saying, this man needs to talk.

Perhaps his wife has a medical issue and can’t hold a conversation with him. Perhaps he recently retired and is at loose ends in his life. Perhaps he is just so filled with joy at this stage of his life that he wants the world to know it. Whatever the reason, he chose me to spend close to a half hour regaling with stories. In the end, I paid for my stuff, ran to the grocery store, and still had time to sit in the school parking lot and organize my car. What could have been seen as lost time in my otherwise very busy day, ended up being just a few minutes that I had to spare.

It’s crazy how busy we all are. My days seem to roll by at a constant speed with little time to take a break. If you had told me yesterday morning that I’d spend part of my day listening to a stranger tell me how he feels when his grandson lays his head on his lap and looks up and says, “Grandpa, I love you,” I would have told you no way, I had no time for that. But, as it turned out, I had plenty of time. In fact, I had more than enough time. It’s amazing how sometimes, when we’re open to it, God allows us to make time for little things like listening to a stranger. And that makes me wonder.

If I had been on my phone, if I was one of those people who walks around with earbuds in my ears all day, or if I had simply ignored this man’s comment to himself about the chocolate, the conversation never would have taken place. Would my day have changed? Not at all. But would his? I’ll never know. But God does. He knew that I was meant to be there at that time. He knew that this man needed someone to listen. He knew that my day would turn out just fine if I spared a few minutes for a stranger. He knew that I’d still be thinking about it today. Maybe that man is still thinking about it, too. And maybe it was just what he needed.

when-you-give-someone-your-time-rick-warren

What I was writing about one year ago this week: America, Our Ship is Sinking.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles, which has outsold all of her other books worldwide and ranked as high 600 on Amazon. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now on pre-sale. Amy’s novel, Summer’s Squall, is on pre-sale and will be released on December 1, 2017.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

A World Without God

My father is a firm believer that we are living in a world without God and that God, angry with us, is showing us His wrath. I don’t believe in a vengeful, wrath-filled God. Jesus dispelled that when He was here on earth. However, I do believe that, where God is not welcome, evil fills the void. We, as a nation, have turned our backs on God. He is not wanted in our schools, our government, our hospitals, our military, our public spaces. I daresay, He is not welcome in many private spaces either. We have shoved Him out of our lives and left the door wide open for evil to enter in and take up residence. 

I don’t care if you believe in Satan or demons or anything like that. That’s a theological debate that has been ongoing for centuries. However, there can be no doubt that, call it what you will, there is pure evil in the world. How else do you describe a massacre like the one that just took place on Las Vegas? If that isn’t evil, I don’t know what is. Murders, rapes, drug addiction, family violence, and a horde of other evils plague us every day, and it’s only getting worse. How can one not label that the work of an evil presence in our midst?

We live in world where God is mocked, where people are told to do as they wish, where pleasure is seen as the only thing worth obtaining, and where we value things, including celebrity and power, over virtues. We live in a world where people claim to be “spiritual but not religious.” What does that even mean? I was fascinated by the most recent results of the Pew Research Center study of religious landscapes. Those who said they were “spiritual but not religious” were mostly under 40, unmarried, childless, and making less than $100,000 per year. Most had some college or less. Almost 85% rarely or never attend any kind of religious service. 

Why do I bring this up? Because I think it’s a good snapshot of where we are in America today. We have lost our foundation. So many young people are no longer getting married and are choosing to have one child or none. Many never read or hear or learn about God. And while the vast majority of these “spiritual” people believe in God (over 91%), they really have no idea what or who God is, how to relate to Him, or why He is important. We are raising a generation of people who believe that they are their own god, that only their decisions matter, and that being “happy” can only be found through self-gratification. Is it any wonder that evil can so easily slip into and become commonplace in our lives?

St FrancisThe next question is, what can we do to combat the evil that has taken up residence in our world? The answer is so simple it sounds trite, impossible even. Be kind. Be loving. Be patient. Be compassionate. Be forgiving. BE CHRIST. Be Christ to everyone. More than once, I’ve written a few blogs about bringing peace, being a person of encouragement, and kindness (Be Kind and “In the End, Only Kindness Matters”). Many others have as well, but a few words written down will never make a difference. What will make a difference is you and me and others, spending every day of our lives trying to make this world a better place. On this feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, let’s all strive to be instruments of peace, to treat other with kindness and respect, and to be Christ to the world. 

I pray for the people killed and injured in Las Vegas. I pray for those suffering throughout our country and our world. I pray for those who are lost and hopeless. I pray that we find a way to let God back into our lives. He is waiting for us. All we have to do open the door and ask Him to come back in.

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What I was writing about one year ago this week: Nine Reasons Why Saying Yes is Not a Weakness.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now on pre-sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)