Wednesday, July 29, 2015

reminders

Often the smallest seemingly insignificant thing can bring joy. The joy that comes from the memory of a thing... not the thing itself. This little mug brought me back to a happy place today. I don't normally look at it since it is kept in a lower cabinet.... but it seemed just right for me today.

Edd brought this mug and three others like it back from Malaysia on one of his trips as a little gift to me that said he was thinking of me. They came in four different colors. He often chose to use it for his afternoon coffee, I think because of the smaller size. I doubt it was because of the hearts since he wasn't really a hearts kind of guy! I'm the one who usually wants a larger mug.

So when choosing a cup for some comforting green tea today, I also took comfort in a memory. A love that still exists. It never really went away. I know that because I still feel it and I'm thankful for the reminder.



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

perfectionist I'm not

I got out in my yard yesterday and found one thing after another that needed tending. Flower beds that were not surviving the heat needed to be dug up and soil turned. Weeds which don't seem to mind the heat needed to be pulled! I fluffed up the mulch in areas with a rake so it would look a bit better until more is installed next week.

As I worked it came to my mind that I was definitely not a perfectionist. My yard looks nice and whatever I do I try to do well, but I am far from having a perfectly kept home and yard. Better than most but worse than others!

Perfectionists aren't usually too fun to be around so I think it can be a good thing. Ever around someone who has to eat perfectly created meals, exercise perfectly, have a perfectly neat home, perfectly manicured lawn, every hair in place? Perfectly behaved children? Everything under control and seldom able to relax? Often we can feel that energy.

I guess some occupations call for more of a perfectionist's skill, like airplane pilots. I kind of would like a perfectionist at the controls then! And what about skydiving? You need to be a perfectionist in your thinking before jumping out of an airplane... Maybe that's why I've never had the a desire to skydive!

It's okay to be a perfectionist in some areas of our lives I suppose!

But, yes, back to gardening. If I was a perfectionist it wouldn't give me half as much joy as it does. I wouldn't want to be upset and anxious each time a new weed sprung up or a leaf or twig fell on my lawn.... but I can do something. Just care a little bit. Or a lot. But just not insist on perfection.

What I do believe in is making things better than they were. Improving a situation. Wherever we go we can leave a trail of good. Maybe if that were our goal every day it would make a huge difference in the world. I think it would.

When I recently visited my dad I spent time doing what I could.... vacuumed, dusted, changed batteries in outdoor lighting, made some meals and desserts, had his internet back up and running, got him a better computer, changed sheets, did some laundry, changed tablecloths... and more. I told him I sure wasn't a perfectionist, but I can at least make things a little BETTER.

We can burn out if we try to do everything, but we can usually do SOMETHING.

I think that leads to peace more than requiring all to be perfect.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

wrong intentions

Every once in a while I wonder how I could have made such an unwise decision. Usually I'm very careful and can spot a phony a mile away... and I'm thankful for that. On the other hand I would like to trust people and what they say...until they prove me wrong. At that point I'm gone... outta there. In my family and the experiences I grew up with people could be trusted. It was expected. That was my reality and the norm for me. I am not naturally skeptical of others' intentions.

Sadly, I need to be.

I trusted someone to do some work for me... thought they were legit.

Our words are so important aren't they?... but some don't really pay much attention to that and just say what they think we want to hear for their own selfish reasons.

I'm thinking that I could never live that way. God has graced me with a sensitive conscience and I couldn't deliberately and intentionally take advantage of another person... but it sure does happen doesn't it? It's the world we live in. I'm reminded of a verse in Proverbs.... 20:17... that says "Ill-gotten gain will turn to gravel in your mouth".... I'm thinking there are quite a few people in this world chewing on gravel.

Sigh.

I can take it. I can cover my losses. But some people can't as easily. And that makes me sad... and mad. Shame on those who take advantage of others. I don't wish them well and I don't wish them sleep at night.




Wednesday, July 1, 2015

a place of contentment

I began this blog many years ago and named it simply memories and musings. I still think that is the perfect name because sometimes I muse about something and sometimes I do a little remembering. I guess today I'll muse.

It's July already!

Time marches on. 

And I'm in a place of contentment.

Some things haven't necessarily changed.. Good things are still good. Difficult challenges are still there. Some difficult situations haven't been resolved, but it's okay. Some of the more difficult situations that are out of my control I have given myself permission to step away from. Not in anger. Not in resentment.... but needed detachment nonetheless. That makes sense doesn't it?  Why fret over what we cannot control or change?

What a learning experience that is though. Some of the more important things we learn in life take time to settle into our brains. Time is often the necessary ingredient for wisdom. As long as we remain mindful that is. And wisdom gleaned produces change. We may not be able to change situations, but we can change our responses to them.

Another thing. I couldn't be more grateful for my health. My yearly exams and tests come in the summertime months and the results came back pretty good. My health is something I don't take for granted.

So I have joy today!

There are so many things we could get bummed about aren't there? Yet today I am focusing on the many things to be thankful for.






Monday, June 29, 2015

you'll be okay


I'm a bit of a worrier. Maybe not more than most people but I admit it goes way back.
I think I wrote about this before but I remember being in kindergarten and not wanting to go to school and be away from my mother. I was afraid I'd get sick and she wouldn't be there. Every day before I left the house and walked down our long driveway to the bus stop I would ask her a question. 

"Am I going to be okay today?" I'd say.
"Yes, you are going to be okay" she'd reply.

That's all I needed to hear and I knew I'd be alright. My mom's words proclaimed it. God forbid I forgot to ask her. I did forget once and had a fretful day thinking the worst would happen! I told her I never wanted to forget to ask her again and she replied, "Well this is for all the times you forget to ask me. You will be okay on those days too. This will cover all those times in the future. Just in case. Remember. You will be okay."

I had a good mom. A wise mom. A mom who wanted me to feel safe
 and loved... and okay. More than okay. 
This week as I inwardly fretted about this or that I had a revelation and began to laugh out loud. I even spoke out loud to no one in particular although Norman seemed to be amused.

"Mom, that is why I am worried all the time! You are not here to tell me 
everything will be okay! It's your fault I'm such a worrier!" 

But no, she told me her blessing spread into the future. It gave me joy to think of this and to remember the little five-year-old girl who needed her mother's reassurance.

Memories. Aren't they great? Good ones anyway.

I wish for others a stable place. A place of peace. A place to feel safe. Even during some of 
my darkest days I have been able to find that safe place.

She said I will be okay... and she is right.


In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~Psalm 4:8


Sunday, June 28, 2015

daydreaming

I listened to a program on the radio recently that discussed daydreaming... and whether we do enough of it in this day and age. We have cellphones that demand our immediate attention whether from a text, social media site or app we can't seem to live without. News is broadcast 24 hours a day.  We live in a false sense of security thinking all is okay as long as we didn't get a message or text or email telling us otherwise.

Years ago people would leave their homes and their telephones when out doing other things. If there was news it could wait a while. I have found we often make better decisions if we don't respond immediately to "news" but take some times to think things over before responding in a knee-jerk way.

How many of us can't sleep at night because we lay wide awake thinking. It's the time we are the most still and quiet... and our minds can wander. Often my best thoughts are at this time, but it's not when I want them to come. I want to sleep!

When I take a walk I also have my best creative ideas because I am not distracted by other things coming at me...like other peoples' thoughts or ideas ... from TV, social media, texts, emails, phone calls, etc.

These things aren't bad but there is a time and a place for them.

I remember once asking Edd in the morning how he slept. He said he hadn't slept well but then told me it was okay because he solved a few work problems as he lay there awake. It seems my mind wanders the most at night and keeps me awake because I'm thinking on things I didn't give myself a chance to during the day. There were too many things I was allowing myself to be distracted by. We have some of our most creative, original thoughts and problem-solving abilities when we are still, quiet, and undisturbed.

As I look around I see people never far from their cell phones as though they are going to miss something. We are afraid of being cut off and unaware of what is going on....when in reality we are often missing what is actually happening all around us.  We become worried and anxious without our little electronic crack. It really is an addiction of sorts. We are okay again once we check our phones and see no one called or texted us with bad news, etc.

I'm guilty... or should I say I am prone to be a little too attached to my phone. Maybe those wires weren't such a bad thing years ago that kept a phone in its proper place. At least we didn't lose them or drop them in the washing machine or the thousand other ways people waste money having to replace them!

But I plan to change that. I am becoming more mindful of its over-importance in my life and I am going to detach. Walk away from the phone more. Have it with me for emergencies but make a conscious effort to leave it in the bottom of my purse, OFF, more often. Leave it in a certain place at home. Have some original thoughts. Remove Facebook as an Ap. Done. Do I really need to read all that stuff from my phone anyway? No. I don't.

And so it begins. I may be on to something. I will daydream more.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

a few thoughts about the week's events

Gay marriage is now legal in all 50 of our states. I really don't understand why some are so uptight about this. They feel so threatened and combative. As though God isn't going to be in charge anymore if gay marriage is allowed. As though they are being forced to believe differently. As if their faith is being attacked. They make it into an ugly fight. Those claiming to be followers of Christ don't have to agree with the ruling but shouldn't they still be kind and "love our neighbors as ourselves"? They (we all) can still believe what we want to believe. What is changed is that some feel threatened and insecure as though they are being forced to change their own beliefs as society changes. 

You can still believe whatever you feel to be right, but the hateful comments by those claiming to be the moral consciousness only pushes people away from wanting to be like them. It only breeds arrogance and unkindness and everything that love is NOT. Loving one another is always the right choice. I know, I know, some believe this is only the beginning...that soon we will not be able to practice our own "religion" and our freedoms will be taken away, but I don't really buy that. Prayer taken out of school? Yes, that was unfortunate and certainly didn't make the school system better, but I can still pray in school. No one can stop me from doing that. In fact, now I can homeschool my children if I want to. I am free to do that. I can still bow my head. I may not be able to stand up and pray leading a group in a formal public setting in some instances, but I can still pray! Maybe those praying quietly and sincerely without all the fanfare are accomplishing more because of their gentle spirits anyway. Just maybe.

This world is not our home. It's not our heaven. We are only passing through. We can only do what we can do on a personal one-person-at-a-time basis. Check your own attitude. Is it loving? It is kind? Or is it arrogant and self righteous and hateful. Are we representing the Christ we profess to believe in and follow? Are we going to throw stones when Jesus clearly showed us another way?

God is still on the throne. He really is.

I love the movie, book, play, Fiddler on the Roof. The father had such a hard time with change. And if we live long enough the world will change for all of us and we are always having to reevaluate what we believe. We don't have to change our beliefs with society's norms, but we can still accept and love those who are different. We CAN. God will sort all of these things out one day. He will.

I remember a story told by Corrie ten Boom. Her family hid Jews during World War II in Holland. They had such a love for all people. When she was a ten year old girl riding on a train with her father she asked him, “Father, what is sex sin?” He turned to look at her, as he always did when answering a question, but to her surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over their heads, and set it on the floor. “Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said. “It's too heavy,” Corrie said. “Yes,” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.” And she was satisfied. More than satisfied – wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all her hard questions. For now she was content to leave them in her father's keeping. (From The Hiding Place)

As is the case with many issues in society, some things are still best left in our Father's keeping.