Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Exciting times!

I announced some cool news to my closest family members today, and now I will share it with a somewhat wider group.

First, BASS announced today that Gene will be their conservation director starting Jan. 1. He was in Michigan today as preparation began for a Bassmasters Elite Series tournament, and that's when it was officially announced. He will take early retirement from his job with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation at the end of this year. And no, he will not have to move to Birmingham, where BASS is based now, although he will travel there and other places for them quite a bit. He will work from home. Very exciting!

And I am going on a 9-day European cruise as a travel junket for the paper. I will fly to London, where I will board the Crystal Serenity, and sail to Barcelona, with stops along the way at ports in France, Portugal and Spain.

This will be the fourth amazing trip I've been able to take in my 30-plus years at the paper. As is always the case on these trips, it's pretty short notice, and timing had to work out just right. And when those kinds of things happen, I feel grateful and humbled and perplexed. My perspective always is that good things don't come apart from God -- and that when they come, I want to be sure to respond in a way that glorifies Him. (For the record, my perspective also is that when seemingly bad things come, I want to be sure to respond in a way glorifies Him.)

Anyone who knows me or has followed "That's the Spirit" may realize just how crazy this all seems to me. I struggle to pack for an overnight trip to Texas to see my mom or a weekend trip to Arkansas to see my brother and his family. Truth be told, it's good I don't have weeks and weeks to plan for this trip, because I always end up waiting until the last minute anyway and would just feel bad about not being better prepared. At least now I have an excuse!

I have much more I want to write about these bits of exciting news, but this is where I will leave it for now, except to add a couple of Scripture/devotional references. In both of these instances, even with the excitement of the opportunities, I could easily have let fear, doubt or uncertainty keep me from saying yes or being supportive. It's only through praying, letting God's words through Scripture sink in, and trusting God that I have confidence in our choices and decisions.

The Scripture from last week's post is fitting again tonight: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5–6)

And from today's Jesus Calling: "You are walking along the path I have chosen for you. ... Do not worry about what other people think of you. ... Stay on the path of Life with Me. Trust Me wholeheartedly, letting My Spirit fill you with Joy and Peace."

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22–23)

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