Clay Balls

I received this forward in my email today. I don't know who wrote it but I liked the message and thought it was worth sharing...

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock . Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left.
Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.

We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.
There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

I am so blessed by the gems of friendship I have with you.. Thank you for looking beyond my clay vessel.

Trying to Heal

This week's Sunday Scribblings writing prompt is "healing". The past two and half years of my life have been just that... a time for healing. The years prior to that were spent in a destructive relationship that was devastating. The extent of this has become more apparent since John came into my life. How hard it has been to learn trust him... to trust his kindness, his goodness, his motives, even his love. It was even hard to come to the belief that I was capable of maintaining a good relationship, or worthy of being loved.

I believe that psychological abuse causes as much, if not more damage to an individual than physical abuse. In such situations, and especially if one has been involved in multiple abusive relationships, the very core of one's personality and belief system is worn down and torn apart, leaving you to wonder who you really are and if anything is really good or really true.


A Change of Pace

So often when I pray about something my prayers are answered in ways I never would have anticipated that are even better than I could have hoped for. John is the finest example of that! Recently, another has come into play, just a small thing but it's making such a difference for me...
Since I began my job here I've been working 9-6 Monday thru Friday and Saturday mornings. Business has been very slow in recent months so the company has cut overtime. I am the only one in the office on Saturday mornings and after 5 on weekdays so they need me to be here then. To eliminate overtime, my new hours were to become 10-6. I asked if I could work 11-6 instead without taking a lunch break, and my supervisor and boss agreed. I've been doing it for a couple weeks now and I love it!

At first I was worried that it would be hard to work seven straight hours without a real break, but the truth is that the day seems to go by faster. To come in at 10 and then go to lunch two hours later doesn't make sense. Now I am only away from home 8 hours a day (including driving time) instead of ten. An big plus is that I eat breakfast at home and then bring a sack lunch to eat at my desk mid-afternoon. This eliminates the expense (and obvious health issues) of breakfast burritos, lunch out, and afternoon vending machine snacks. The savings nearly compensates for the lost overtime and I am eating healthier. Also, it's hot outside and now I don't have to go out and melt during lunch hour. I can stay inside where it's nice and cool!

Most importantly, I am still getting up at 7:30 AM most mornings, but now have time to make a little breakfast for John and visit with him before he leaves for work (I used to go before he was out of the shower.) I can make the bed, wash a load of clothes, do a bit of cleaning, run errands or grocery shop, schedule an early appointment, and still be into work on time. I am loving it!

In recent months I had become increasingly frustrated by the lack of time to accomplish very much at home. We have yet to finish organizing the house since we really only have Sundays to work on it. Most evenings find us tired and ready to relax rather than kick it into high gear with projects. Also, after 18 months of living on my own, I missed having a bit of quiet alone time to read, respond to email or whatever. I am a morning person and I love starting the day out slowly, playing with the cats and just collecting my thoughts for the day. Since it gets so very hot here during the day (already over 100 yesterday), I will now also be able to go for a morning walk while it is still a bit cooler. I need to get myself motivated to start that!

Already I am feeling more relaxed, and like some progress is being made with the housework. The workday feels shorter and it is also nice for the office to have me here to cover whenever either of the other two admin folks want to go to lunch, run errands or whatever. We don't need to schedule around each other's breaks. Since it is slow right now, is also an hour less to fill time each day (though we are allowed to read, play games on the computer, or whatever).

I am so thankful for how God continues to meet my needs and respond to my wants in such good ways. Yes, the paychecks will be smaller, but they are so small already compared to what I used to earn that it hardly matters. I have learned to live with less. A change of hours seems like such a little thing, but it is indeed a very big blessing in my life!