an alphabet of thanks, “I”


google

google

Did you know that words that begin with “I”, as opposed to other letters, often have a negative implication.   INsincere, ILlogical, Inane, IMpatience, INtoleratable, INsane, INconsistent, IMpaired, and so on. However, IMpossible, while usually seen a dream killer might well be a concept that can encourage us to challenge its meaning.  I’m thankful for the “impossible.”

When I think of all the impossible things in this world that have proved to be possible, I’m inspired. ) Yesterday, I had my “thankful” letter handed to me  while checking out my groceries.

I chose what looked like the shortest line. Lots of people, but they were all together. They were buying two birthday cakes. Big ones. As the  young woman placed the second one on the conveyor belt, I noticed it was for a first birthday for a little girl. My powers of observations are practically genius. (Yea, right.  :)) It was pink and the words “Happy Birthday, Susie.” (not the little girls real name) were piped on in pink as well.

Anyway, the young mom and I struck up a conversation. She said, “She’s my miracle baby.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well, she was born five month premature and weighted one pound. She’s already walking now and  is perfectly normal”, the proud mom explained.” When she was born, the doctor’s said she wouldn’t make it. It wasn’t possible.” (Read that as “impossible.”)

Well, there you go. Impossible?

So for everyone who thinks a four-month fetus is just a gelatinous blob, don’t go there with me. Not ever! And don’t tell that proud young mom that either.

So today I’m thankful for all the “impossible’s” in this world.

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experimenting


In Color

In Color (Photo credit: phil dokas)

experimenting

Gosh, I hate to admit when I’m dense or slow to learn.  But would you believe after months of posting, I only figured out today how to set up my menu.  In the process, I messed up the categories on ALL my posts so I’ve spent the afternoon editing each and every one of them so that when a reader clicks on a menu, the appropriate post shows up.

However, I don’t know how to make a list for the “Books” menu.  Another learning curve again. Please bear with me as I continue to figure all this out.  And if anyone out there can help me out, please feel free to do so.  In the meantime, I’ll go back to my huge “Dummies” book and try to figure it out.  What’s particularly hard is that I don’t even understand the language.  I consider myself a very smart woman, but I’m starting to wonder.

Do you think I’ll ever figure out “CSS”?

If nothing else, this learning process keeps me from being depressed and there are some things looming in my life which just might cause a flare-up.

a messy life


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(I painted the picture above on YUPO paper. I have no idea what it’s supposed to be but l like it. It reminds me that life is ambiguous at best.)

a messy life

I don’t know about you but I find life pretty messy a lot of time. The perplexities, the questions, the downright confusion. I have a hard time understanding where God is at times.

Like learning today that a friend of ours, who was just diagnosed with lung cancer five weeks ago has stopped his treatment because the tumor in his lung continues to grow even after aggressive treatment. His journey on this earth is coming to an end very soon. He gives generously of his time and his money. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like him. Why him, I ask? Shouldn’t cancer be reserved for murderers, rapist, terrorists, etc? (At least it should in my world. Yes, I know how that sounds. Especially for someone who ascribes to Christianity. I’m just saying what a lot of people think.)

And yet our friend would be the first to tell you of his faith and why he still believes in a God who loves him.  This might well be his prayer as well:

(from http://tworiversblog.com/) “God, sometimes it is so easy to believe and sometimes… I know You are good. I KNOW IT, but sometimes… it just gets so hard to see it. You love me. You want the best for me far more than I even want it for myself. Sometimes I just don’t know how You are working good through the mess this life sometimes tosses me. In those times, as I seek understanding, help me to never lose faith.”

I hope this prayer finds a responding chord in your heart and encourages you in your faith.

Grace Unleashed


happiness

Grace Unleashed

Just a quick post today but an important one. Sometimes God (You may call your power source something else. For me, He’s God.) shoots grace our way  when we least expect it. We might not even recognize it till after the fact. We should, of course. Especially if it’s been a matter of concern.  But maybe that’s exactly why.

We get so entrenched in the problem, we don’t see the small sliver of relief when it comes. It’s kind of like an experience I had with a dear friend the other day. She has suffered some significant losses over the last few years and depression has set in. She  finally consented to short-term medication.  After having been on it for about three weeks, I could tell  that she was getting better by observing almost impercetable changes in her behavior. But I had to point it out to her.  She didn’t see it herself.  She was focusing on her depression. She didn’t see the little ray of sunshine peeking through that I did. 

Yesterday I had the same experience but it escaped my over-stuffed mind.  Right in the middle of  sharing the day with my husband, I grasped how monumental and much-needed the experience had been. The sudden realization of the grace that was sent my way pierced through all the layers of discouragement and gave me cause to leap for joy inside. The experience may seem inconsequential to you in light of what you may be experiencing.  But here it is anyway.

I took my mom (She suffered a fall six months ago, experienced severe vertigo, serious depression and a host of other things and has only been out of the house in the last six months for various doctor’s appointments and a couple of visits to family) to the ophthalmologist yesterday.  Afterwards, we went grocery shopping and out to lunch. We were gone over four hours.  That would have been a record even before the fall.

So today I’m feeing all warm inside as I reflect on our time together, on having had my mom “back” for a even the briefest of time. I know tomorrow might be a different story but I am encouraged that this might be the beginning of having her regain much of what she’s lost-even the contrariness and stubborness which will drive me nuts but which I will gladly embrace.

Grace gives us hope for tomorrow and breathing space for today.

So today I’m so thankful for the four-hour grace period that was gifted me yesterday.

Thank you, God, for the unexpected shot of encouragement.

baby steps


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baby steps

I love what Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”(By the way, I may be a Christian but God speaks to us even through those that are not, as evidenced by many a story in scripture.) I wonder if Gandhi suffered depression because this cycle of thinking, speaking and doing is the same cycle that must be interrupted in a depressive episode. If even one of them is damaged by depression, all the others are affected as well.

I found in my own recovery that stepping into the cycle anywhere helped but my greatest success came from changing my actions first-the doing part. I found that if I got up and moved and did something constructive, that led to other actions and pretty soon I was in better spirits.  

Overcoming depression is hard work.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that this alone will heal a serious case of depression. But it does lighten one’s mood and makes taking other steps easier.  It requires a herculean effort to do this when all you want to do is stay in bed and not face the world.  But if getting better is the goal. it’s a practical place to start. 

Try it just for today and see if it doesn’t make even the tiniest difference. I think we forget sometimes that depression didn’t just smother us in one cataclysmic moment. It was a lot of little things that incrementally pushed us over the edge and it will be little increments that get us out.  It’s not a process that can be rushed which, of course, is what makes it that much harder.

There are two people in my life now that keep asking “when are the pills going to kick in?” I try to be patient but I also remind them about the above stated process. I can remember asking the same thing which is what ultimately prompted me to “fly solo” in the first place.  Pills are part of the recovery for some people but they are not the only therapy that should be considered.  It’s a whole lifestyle, this battle to overcome depression, and must be fought on many fronts.

God bless.

open drawers and doors


 Leaving-cupboard-doors-open-507ac44d2cadf

 open drawers and doors

This is a quick post. I’m still considering my resolutions for the next year.  But something strange has been happening for a few weeks now I thought I’d share with you.  I see it as symbolic.  I see it as a way God might be trying to get my attention.  The book of Proverbs in the King James Bible concentrates on wisdom. It’s one of my favorite books and I read through it every month as there are thirty-one chapters which works out pretty convenient most months.   

Anyway, there are many verses in Proverbs that discuss how wisdom can be found anywhere and at anytime. Through anyone and through circumstances.  While most of my friends believe as I do, I’ve found God often rains down wisdom on me in the oddest ways and might I add, through the oddest people. Some who believe as I do. Many who don’t. That brings me to the title of this post.

I have found that for the past few weeks, I keep leaving doors and drawers open. Cupboard doors, washing machine doors, dishwasher doors, interior doors.  Doors in general.  I walk out of a room and when I walk back in it, there’s an open door somewhere. What’s so odd about that? Lots of people do that, don’t they?  Well, if I did it all the time, I wouldn’t think too much of it.  If it were an occasional door or drawer, I wouldn’t think too much of it.  But it’s not normal behavior for me and it’s not an occasional door or drawer.

At first, I was figured it was the holiday season and I was distracted.  But the holidays are way over. Then I just figured I was only doing it occasionally but quickly determined that wasn’t the case.  So here’s what I’ve been thinking.

Do you suppose the fact that I’m leaving doors open is some sort of God-sent subliminal message? Is God trying to get my attention?  I know this sounds weird but if God can talk to through a donkey, I guess He can talk to me through open doors.

If nothing else, it’s a sign to me that something’s up. Maybe I’m doing it to myself to alert myself to new opportunities.Doors of opportunities I’ve never considered.  Maybe I’ve shut the doors to some possibilities in my creative pursuits.  Maybe they are an unconscious prompting to try new things. Maybe the open drawers and doors are a very subtle message I’m sending to myself as a kind of “pep talk.”

What about you?  Have you ever found yourself doing something unusual and saying to , “Hmm, that’s not like me.”  But then you just move on. Maybe we need to take a closer look at the things we do or even say that are not typical of us and think them through a little. Not everything. Not all the time. But whenever you feel that just maybe Someone (even if it’s you)  is trying to get your attention.

That’s it.  Just wanted to share this little tidbit as I think it has something to do with my month of reflection and resolution making.

thankfulness/z, zoos


 

Zoo Parc Beauval

Zoo Parc Beauval (Photo credit: JoyTek)

                                                                    Thankfulness/Z

Zap, Zebra, zero, zipper, zeal, zealot, zit, zoo.

Boy, “z” is hard. For one thing, I’m on the train home from Chicago and don’t have the option of the internet to find words beginning with “z”.  So I’m having to wing it.

But I do like zoos, so zoos it is. Now I realize that there are some people who have an issue with zoos and I understand the logic. In a perfect world, animals should be allowed to roam freely in their native environment. But it’s also true that many animals are being slaughtered by those who are interested only in profits. I particularly love elephants and they are almost extinct due to man’s greed. So I’m grateful to those who’ve understand this and have tried to protect certain species.

Without zoos how would so many children, especially those who are limited in travel opportunities, ever get to see gorillas, lion, tigers, giraffes, elephants, etc.?  Books aren’t enough. Television isn’t enough. They need to watch and observe. I’ve been to many zoos, here in the United States and elsewhere.

However, I’ve never been to what I consider would the best “natural” zoo-Africa. Of all the countries I’ve visited, that’s the one I’ve wanted to see the most. I associate zoos with Africa although many of the animals we see in zoos are from India, South America and China. I just like Africa. So I tell myself if I ever get there, I’ll see all the wild animals  there are to see, even if I know I won’t. I mean really, a panda in Africa. I don‘t think so.

I like watching the monkeys cavort and pick fleas off each other and I really like watching gorillas. They, too, are being slaughtered mercilessly. The movie “Gorillas in the Mist”, will give you much insight into the gorilla and also the greediness of man.

What I don’t understand though are those people who think a wild animal can be trained as a “pet”.  There are numerous reports of privately owned wild animals turning on their owner. The animal is often killed even though it was simply doing what a wild animal does. How foolish to hold an animal responsible for what a foolish owner does.

Anyway, I hope you get to visit a zoo if you haven’t already. Not only are they educational, they’re fun

Yea!!!  I did it. A blog a day during the busiest time of the year isn’t easy. What was I thinking? There were often many different choices for some letters. Sometimes I purposefully didn’t choose the obvious, like love for “l” or family for “f”.  Sometimes, I chose something I really had to work hard to write about because I like to challenge myself. Sometimes it was painful, like yesterday. Sometimes I had little choice. (By the way don’t you find it strange that the closer you get to the end of the alphabet, like with x, y, z, the fewer the choices? I mean seriously, why? I don’t who created the alphabet but I wonder why an “x”, “y” and a “z”?  I did find words starting with “x” very interesting because many of them had some sort of reference to the color yellow.)

I am thankful for so much more than what I wrote about-God, family, friends, my old house, “teeny-tiny cabin”, my church. I’m thankful for hobbies and interests. I’m thankful for choices and challenges, hurts and hugs. For cappuccinos and travel. For work and play. If I tried to list every little thing I’m thankful for, like when it rains and the drops of water bead up on my Lady’s Mantle like little pieces of diamonds, I would probably be writing for weeks. 

Lady's Mantle after a rain.

Lady’s Mantle after a rain.

(I’m thankful that I was led to start a blog. (I wish I could be thankful that I’ve got it looking the way it should with all the bells and whistles I find appealing on other blogs, but I’m just not there yet. Probably need to upgrade. I love letters and words. I love reading. I even love dictionaries so balogging is a natural fit for me. I’m thankful for that, too.)

 

 

 

 

thankfulness/G


 English: Goodwill Industries thrift shop, 4193...

Thankfulness/G

Today is another easy pick. I’m picking Goodwill. Not the attribute, the store.  I LOVE Goodwill stores!

Except for a few pieces, almost all my furniture comes from thrift stores or second-hand shops. Other countries have them as well. They just have different names. Probably ninety percent of my clothes do, too.  From what others tell me, I do a pretty good job with putting my wardrobe together. And I’ve never had anyone dislike my decorating style and am often asked to help others make decisions regarding furnishings, accessories and how to put it all together. (You will soon be able to judge for yourself as I’ll be posting lots of pictures of my projects.) I’ll also post pictures of the remodeling we’ve been doing. I should probably say “decorating” not “remodeling” because “no walls were injured in the making of this remodel”.

When my husband and I were moving furniture and accessories out of the living room, I realized how much I liked my Goodwill pieces. It isn’t just that I’m cheap (which I am), but there’s something so rewarding knowing I put it all together myself. I didn’t just buy a whole room of furniture that someone else put together for a display. I realize it’s not everybody’s “thing” but it sure is mine. I love the creative process, whether it’s redoing furniture, repurposing items, putting together my wardrobe, writing, or painting. Creativity brings out the best in me.  When I have a challenge, every creative spark in my body comes alive.

That’s why I love decorating blogs as well. There are such creative people out in blog land.  And of course there’s Pinterest. Surely, anyone reading this blog knows about Pinterest.  If you don’t, you really need to check it out. “So many projects, so little time.” I get so geeked about all the possibilities; I hardly know where to begin.  

I will start a new category on my blog (called Goodwill, of course) and highlight some of my favorite finds whenever I figure out how to add categories. This blog still is not right but I’m trying.

Right now there are some naked windows asking to be dressed so I have to sign off for now. We can finally see the light at the end of the remodeling tunnel so I have to keep at it.  Everything is looking great and the furniture warehoused in our garage for weeks now will be moved back in next week.  I just hope no mice have taken up residence in the sofas.  J

See you tomorrow for H.

after the dreaded class reunion


After “the dreaded class reunion”

Well, I’ve survived my husband’s class reunion. Actually, I didn’t survive; I relished every moment of it.  I couldn’t be happier we decided to attend. (BTY, be sure to check in later this week for a post called…. “more acting as if” for more about that whole subject and how it worked for me that night.)

What a fun and revealing night.  Fun because I met some old friends of my husband’s, some I had met before knew, some I hadn’t.  Have already made plans to connect with one couple again. The husband was an artist when I knew him and has continued all these years.  We really connected as art is one of my fondest activities.  I dabble in all forms except sculpture. I learned a lot from him and am excited to see his studio and his art. How exciting.

Fun because I watched my husband turn into a social butterfly.  It was great watching him search out former classmates. Can I just say here that the teen-age years were not good for either one of us so it was wonderful seeing him reconnect with the good parts, his friends.

Fun because I got to dance-not as much as I would’ve wanted because after four foot surgeries, I have to be careful how much abuse I subject them to.

Fun because I got to meet some new people. I want to share with you what one particular man said to me.  I learned that he and his wife owned some companies that specialize in anything related to computers.  Having learned this encouraged me to tell him I had just started a blog, that my learning curve is very steep, that each week I ‘ve learned a new skill I’m able to implement. He was a quiet man but apparently he was listening.  I won’t quote him exactly because I didn’t write it down but my husband and I discussed it and think we’ve pretty much remembered it.  His name is Michael.

Here’s what Michael said.“There are people with a lot of knowledge on their shelves (his hands extended far apart at this point) but they don’t do anything with it. Then there are people with very little knowledge on their shelves (hands narrowing to about two or three inches) but they use it all.” (My personal shelves are of the hands close together example when it comes to my blog.)

What he said I’ve heard countless ways. My husband has said it to me in countless ways. It was the visual way he presented it that got my attention. You see, I have hundreds of books.  Books are evident in almost every room in our home.  I love that. It’s the one exception to my normal expectations of having the house look perfect. But I’ll never look at my bulging bookcases the same way again. All my books, all my reading, what have I done with it? (I am trying hard to finish my book.)

I personally believe God speaks to us all the time, generally through people.  For me, it’s often strangers. There are certain statements I hear and toss out almost immediately because while they’re inspiring, I feel I’ve already nailed that concept. There are others I hear and give a little more thought. More impactful ones I implement as needed but eventually I don’t need to remember them anymore.  They’ve become ingrained. Then there are those I hear that I know I will never forget, that I’ll remind myself of often because they’ve hit at the core of who l am and they are right what I need in the present moment. That what Mike’s statement did for me. I will quote him often.

Our family and close friends inspire us all the time but when it comes from a stranger, out of the blue, and hits us where we live, we take special notice. It doesn’t happen very often because those closest to us will always impact us the most. But sometimes I feel that God puts someone like this in my life because I haven’t been listening to those closest to me or God himself for that matter.

How about you? Has someone, especially someone you don’t know, said something to you that has impacted you greatly? Even changed your life? A better question might be, “Have I said something to someone else that has impacted them greatly? Even changed their life?  If I haven’t, why haven’t I? I want to remember this experience so that I, too, can be sure to be an encourager to others.

olympic challenges


 

I’ve been watching the Olympics. I’m impressed by the sacrifice these athletes have made.  The hours of training. The cost.  The determination. It’s truly admirable.

But what about the people we know who never achieve such fame but whose challenge is every bit as great? I know a number of people who deserve Gold Medals for various reasons. People battling cancer. Parents of children with special needs. Young couples struggling to make ends meet financially. Older people fighting loneliness.  Those suffering the loss of a loved one. 

I’m not diminishing the efforts of these Olympians. But sometimes we get so caught up in the drama and the glitz that we don’t see what’s right in front of us–people who deserve our applause no matter how small their stage.

So while we’re cheering on the athletes, let’s find someone in our own lives that deserve our applause. It could be that person you know who battles depression.  They are Olympian athletes in their own right but in their case, their heroic efforts are seldom noticed.

So today look around for someone to award a “Gold Medal”.  Give them your encouragement, your support, your applause.  And what about you?  Do you deserve your own medal?