saying thank you to God


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google images

My  husband and I received a blessing today. Here is what Oswald Chambers wrote for his January 6th devotion for My Utmost For His Highest. 

 

“Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love gift. Take time before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard a thing for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot………..God will  never let you hold a spiritual thing for yourself, it has to be given back to Him that He may make it a blessing to others.”

But how? Do I find a way to give back right away?  Do I wait and watch and listen for that prompt from God as to something specific?  How is it even possible to give a blessing back to God?

Some authors suggest an extra financial gift to a needy organization.

There are times when saying “Thank you, God”, just doesn’t seem enough. For God it probably is but do we always want to do just enough? Aren’t there times we want to do much more?Today is one of those days for me.

I have decided I will be alert for a special prompt these next few days but until then I want to do something today. So here it is.

First of all, would you thank God with me for this blessing we’ve received? (Details will not be included here as this is going out on Facebook. I can tell you we didn’t win the lottery though. Seeing as we never buy tickets that’s pretty much a guarantee. 🙂 I would love to think that the heavens are being inundated with praise. And secondly, as you go about your day, would you be alert to that stranger that might need a prayer? And would you offer one up for them?

Years ago when I was in Brazil, I sat poolside on the roof of our hotel and noticed an unusual bird flying nearby. I was feeling pretty alone that day as my husband was working and no one else was on the roof with me. I kept watching that singular bird and thought how much we were alike. Both of us by ourselves. But soon that bird was joined by a flock of birds and he was no longer alone. Other people showed up on the roof and I was no longer alone.

For some strange reason, I felt God “speaking ” to my heart that day and tell me to pray for those people on the roof. I had never felt the urge to pray for complete strangers before, but I did. I mean how does one pray for a stranger? I found it far easier than I would have thought and even today, years later, I often find myself praying for people I don’t know.

And just one last thought. Remember, that prayer you offer up for that stranger today may be the ONLY prayer that has or ever will be prayed over that person. That really puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it? (I’ll be sure to write a post about that soon.) We know that no prayer ever goes unheeded. God hears them all.

Notice that stranger today and let God lead you to the words you will pray. You will both be blessed and thus I will have passed on my blessing to you while you have passed it on to others.

God bless and let me know how it goes.

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an alphabet of thanks “Z”


Yes! I did it. This is it. Z

Another tough one but I got it. It’s zone. I like being in the Zone. I’m truly thankful when I find myself the zone. For one thing, it means I’m practicing “flow”, that wonderful sate when time has no meaning. When the hours slip away because you’re doing what you love to do. It has your complete attention. One is truly at peace when they’re in the zone.

The zone is different for each of us. For my friend, it’s sewing. For another, it’s construction. For my daughter it’s playing with her children. For me, it’s being with my family and anything creative, mostly writing and creating art. When I’m blogging, I’m very often in the zone.

So today I’m grateful for the those occasions I find myself lost in time.

an alphabet of thanks “W”


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google images

(Somehow my alphabet wasn’t turning out on schedule so I’m having to post twice today so I end on the 26th as does the alphabet.  What can I say? It’s the holiday season. )

I’m so grateful for ” Wonder”. particularly the wonder of this Christmas season fast approaching. What is it about Christmas that makes cookies taste sweeter, the sun shine brighter, colors more vibrant, coffee better-tasting, experiences lived deeper, people appreciated more?

But why shouldn’t it be that way? Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Wonder. The wonder of a prophecy come true.

But the biggest wonder for me is the wonder that the God I’ve come to know   continues to love me. The wonder that my experience is not unique,; God wants to love everyone who calls him Father. The wonder that no matter what happens in this world, no matter how evil seems to triumph, God remains in charge in the long run. ( I italicized that because one only has to look around them to feel that God that is not in charge. But that’s another conversation.)

Believe me I know that many don’t share my views because Christmas is a nightmare for you. You’re trying to dig out from financial issues, relationship issues, illness…………..There is no wonder in this season for you, except the wondering  why everything is a mess.  I understand that.  Not everything has always been right in my world either, but that doesn’t nullify the fact that the wonder of the season still amazes me.

Starting December first, I will look to see God show up in wondorous ways. It is my prayer that you, too, will be able to see the wonder of this season.

an alphabet of thanks “V”


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google images

(OK. I do know my alphabet. How “U” got published before “T”, I don’t have a clue.)

Anyway………today I’m thankful for all the “voices” in my life. The voices that encourage me. The voices that challenge me. The voices that make me grow up. The voices that soothe me. The voices that calm me down.  The voices that irritate me. The voices that make me mad. I’m grateful for all of them.

But mostly I’m grateful for the “The Voice”.  God’ voice.  I believe I hear Him in all the human voices I hear every day. It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking that God’s voice is always ethereal, mysterious, always “holy” sounding. But the more I learn to recognize God’s voice, the more I hear Him in the most ordinary people and in the most ordinary circumstances. Yes, sometimes I hear Him in the most magnificent of ways but not usually.

So today I’m grateful for all the voices I hear every day.  I hope I always listen to the most subtle of messages from the most unexpected of people. Those that aren’t like me, that don’t believe like me, that don’t think like me and even those that don’t believe like me.

Especially those that don’t believe like me.

an alphabet of thanks “U”


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As we’ve gone through this renovation, I’ve learned that the pieces I still love are the ones that were never mass-produced. They are the ones that I don’t see in anyone else’s home. I’ve got some pieces I’ve had for many years and they still “work” because they are unique.

Like the big copper bowl that sits on the lower shelf of a table. Like the chamber pot I use in a bathroom for my wastebasket. The old sewing machine table that has a mismatched top which has been repainted many times over the years. Like the crocks that sit on each one my steps going upstairs. The unique pieces we’ve collected on our travels. The sand, rocks and driftwood that sit in a bowl in my entryway. Or the birdbath above that is constructed from a discarded birdbath base, a tray from house, and a big rock. It’s so “zen”.

I think I like the unique and unusual because they prompt memories. The usual, the mass-produced don’t do that for me. Sometimes i even forget where they were purchased because they are that forgettable.

The pieces I’ve given away or are going to give away are pieces I’ve bought in department stores where there have been a dozen of them on the shelf. That must have been a period in my life when I thought my home had to look like someone elses’. Thank goodness I got over that.

There’s nothing I like more than to find a great thrift store piece and upcycling  it into something really unique. Almost every thing in my home has had my hand print in some form or other.

Redecorating my home has brought me back to what I love.  It has stirred my creative juices much to my husband’s chagrin. I’ve taken some pieces I’ve put aside and brought them back out. As I look around, I’ve probably eliminated almost everything that I purchased as new. The “old” has become new for me again.

I love the unique. In things, people, situations, art, books, etc. I’m thankful that God has made each of us unique as well.  Sometimes I forget that. I want people to act like me, thank like me, believe like me. But then I remember, if they did  wouldn’t be unique either!

what ever happened to Thanksgiving?


Seriously. What ever happened? Are we such a selfish people that we can’t set aside one day to spend time with family and friends and be thankful for our blessings? And even if you can’t find a lot to be thankful for, the fact that you are living in this great United States should be reason to pause.

We can’t blame all the stores that are now opening on Thanksgiving day rather than the day after. After all, they’re just responding to what they think the consumers want.

Or are they?

We’re often told that the media, for example, is only giving us what we want. But I don’t want graphic sex, extreme violence, or foul language, and neither does anyone I know, whether they are younger or older. The same holds true for stores opening on Thanksgiving. I haven’t talked to one person that thinks it’s a good idea.

But the answer is so simple. Don’t shop on Thanksgiving. Don’t attend movies that don’t meet your standards and walk out of them when you are blind sided.

I’m just getting plain tired of others telling me what I need, think, or want. I’m tired of having to turn off a TV show because decency has vanished along with the actor’s clothes or where the language is so bad I seriously question the intelligence of the writers. Let’s face it, it takes little intelligence to use common, vulgar words. Quite the contrary. We really are getting dumb and dumber.

And now we are being led to be financially dumb as well. No, there will be no better deals on Thanksgiving day than there will be in the weeks that follow. I’ve watched the ads for years and except for a couple of “doorbuster” items (which there are never more than one or two in stock anyway), nothing is cheaper on Black Friday. Nothing will be cheaper on “Black Thursday” either.

I’m staying home on Thanksgiving. I’m enjoying my family and friends. I’m going to eat leftovers and read the ads for Black Friday. Yes, I do like Black Friday. Not because I ever buy anything but because it’s just fun to watch all the insane people who have been led to think they need, they really, really,  need, the latest and the best. Sometimes I get caught up in the insanity of it all but it’s never because an advertiser has convinced me of anything.

I’m a really hard sell.

(Let’s have some feedback here. I’m including a poll. I’ll publish results.}

 

An alphabet of thanks, “B”


Words
Words (Photo credit: Southernpixel – Alby Headrick)

Thankfulness/B

Today is so-o-o-o-o easy.

I’m thankful for Books-B…B…B.  I love words. I love good writing. I love reading.  I love books. Good books.

I’m sort of an elitist when it comes to what I read. I admit it. I’ve never read a Harlequin romance. And no, I have no intention of reading Fifty Shades of Gray. I’m particularly fond of novels that take place between the fifteenth and eighteenth century. I’m always surprised that people were pretty much the same no matter when they lived. I admit though to liking John Grisham and David Baldacci. Sadly though, I seldom read a novel. It’s not because I don’t want to, it’s just finding the time.

I’m always reading though. I’m an incessant reader. Mostly non-fiction about a variety of issues.  Books have been my friends all my life.  Sometimes I pick up a book and feel a real connection with the author, like with John Ortberg or Beth Moore. I wish I could have lunch and a conversation with some of them because I feel we are “sympatico”.  Some of them seem to be speaking to me personally.

At other times, I’m thrilled because the author seems to be quoting me. At these times, I feel validated that my thinking is right on the money.

I find words fascinating. The words we use, how we use them.  I pay attention to my own words although sometimes I blow  it.  I admire people who have a great command of the English language. I am disdainful of those who only know how to use vulgar language.

Anyway, as I say today was so easy. I’m grateful for good books and good authors.

cleaning my closets


googleimages.com

googleimages.com

Today I had a marathon closet cleaning. It’s been a long time since I’ve cleaned it. I was appalled. I found items I didn’t even know I had. How about twenty black tanks! That’s embarrassing. I have a couple of boxes full of clothes ready to head to Goodwill or our local rescue mission.

I followed the rule of

  • if I haven’t worn it in six months
  • if it was misshapen
  • if it was too big or too small
  • if the color wasn’t my best
  • if it was just way too outdated
  • if I just plain didn’t like it.

If it met those conditions, it was history. No looking back. No trying to talk myself into believing any of the above wasn’t true. Purses didn’t have to meet that criteria because, well, I just happen to love purses. I can’t love shoes because of all my foot problems so I have to have at least one vice. Purses are it.

O.K., so here’s the thing. Have you ever read that if you look at the color of your wardrobe, it gives you a clue about what colors you might like to decorate with?

It’s not true. Not in my case anyway.

I almost never wear aqua or blue and yet those are the colors I’m leaning to in decorating my home. Throw in some red and lime green and I’m on a roll.

The clothes in my closet are gray, taupe, tons of black, some lime green and red, and brown. Not a blue in the bunch. Some lime green but only in t-shirts. If I decorated according to the colors in my closet my home would be pretty dark and austere looking.

I think the reason I wear these colors might be due to my skin and hair color. I’m very blond (yes, it’s natural) and very fair-skinned.. It’s seems just too predictable for a blond to wear pastels. Not to mention “old”.

I feel good about my progress. (Oops. just thought of something. I should have taken before, during, and after pictures. I keep forgetting that.) I have always arranged my closets in this order:

  • left to right: sleeveless, short-sleeved, and long sleeved by color
  • I keep lightweight knits organized in those soft collapsible storage bins and stored on a shelf. I have them all labeled as follows: neutral crew necks, colored crew necks, neutral colored v-necks,colored v-necks, neutral colored turtlenecks, colored turtlenecks.
  • I keep dressy clothes separated from everyday wear at different ends of the closet.

But when it comes to underwear and socks, I throw them all into drawers and don’t worry about it.

It felt good to make some necessary decisions about my clothes. I feel “lighter” if you know what I mean. Plus, it makes me feel good to think someone else will get better use of the clothes. They were certainly were doing no one any good just “hanging around” in my closet.

What about you? How do you decide what to keep and what to donate? I’d love to know.

God bless.

 

creativity and letting go


This has been a tiring day. Got up early and headed to my mom’s. Husband cleaned out her shed and we hauled some drywall, insulation and some lumber back to our house. She had fixed “Chili Mac”(kind of like goulash) the day before but it didn’t turn out very good so I “doctored” it for her for her dinner that night.

Came home and “re-did” a small table for upstairs landing. Can’t wait to show it to you. I had no idea what I was going to do to it until I started. That’s almost always the way the creative process works with me. I start working and the plan emerges from somewhere. It’s rare that I know ahead of time how I’m going to proceed. That goes for just about everything I do. I have only the sketchiest idea in my head.

I proceeded from that to painting a bunch of tin cans I’d been saving. I have a wonderful farm type basket/tray (I really don’t know what to call it) and the cans are going to sit in it on my kitchen table. I think I’ll put napkins in one can, maybe some silverware in another. Again, it will all come together as I putz around.

(I only wish I cold trust that life would come together that way as well. But it doesn’t does it?}

In the middle of all that, I continue to get rid of stuff, clothes I don’t wear, don’t fit, or are out-of-dated.. Of course, I shop Goodwill and thrift store so that explains a lot. Also, getting rid of all the material I’ve been saving for the next project which never comes.Then there’s the books, always the books. The half-finished projects. The Christmas dishes. (I could host a very large party with all the Christmas dishes I have.) The various dinnerware I’ve been collecting. Gosh, when I start to list it all, I’m overwhelmed.

Plus, I’m getting real about what I enjoy doing and what I don’t anymore. I’m finally starting to realize I can’t have it all or do it all, so some things and some activities have to go. My mother takes up a lot of my time as well. Not to mention there’s the cabin and bunkhouse that also require work.

I have to say though, I kind of like all this. It feels cathartic. I love Julie Morgenstern’s books about organization. Many organizing experts suggest that in order to make room for the new, you have to get rid of the old. I buy that theory about many parts of life.

Finally quit and hubby and I caught up on “The White Queen” TV series. Love anything from that period.

Tomorrow I’m going shopping. Gotta’ replace all that I’m getting rid of. 🙂

Here’s some pictures of recent projects.

Bought these items at one garage sale. Think I got them all for $1:00

IMG_3765Stacked them up in various ways and finally settled on this design.ThIMG_3772The blue fluted bowl doesn’t show up to clearly because I sunk it in the ground for stability. I’ll take a picture when the flowers have died back and that will give you a better idea of what it looks like. It stands over two feet tall so makes a nice statement.

Here’s another piece that I just love. I bought the pedestal base for $2:00 at a garage sale. Came home and used this metal tray to sit on top. Put a stone on top on it to hold the platter in place.Very “zen”, huh?

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contemplating our navels


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google images

Have you ever noticed how some people just like to “think” about doing things rather than actually doing them? It’s like they feel if they think about it enough and talk about it enough, they’ve actually done it. It’s a case of “contemplating their navels” and all it does it get at the lint.

My hubby hates it when I remind him of one of my favorite sayings, “Doing does it”. Isn’t that a great statement? There is so much in life to which we give too much thought and not enough action. It’s even worse than procrastination. At least with procrastination, a person usually knows that’s what they’re doing, or rather not doing.

Even though I generally post about depression on “depressionsgift.com”, I’m posting here today as well. I read a lot of blogs about a lot of issues. I’ve noticed there’s a lot of “talking” and “talking” and “talking” about issues. In some cases, it seems that’s all some people are doing.The truth is when it comes to depression or any mental disorder, talking about it only works in the short-run. Why do you think psychiatrists keep the “talking” to one hour? (Of course, who could afford more than one hour anyway?) It’s because they know that over talking and over analyzing is not productive We need to convert our words into actions.

I’ve known way too many people who talk way too much about their depression and do way far too little actually acting on their words. When all we do is talk about our depression, it’s an excuse to avoid working on it. We confuse our words with our actions and we convince ourselves we have in deed done something constructive about our illness. We don’t have to do anything because our many words have convinced us that we already have.

I’m not suggesting that talking things out can’t be helpful. It can, if it’s sandwiched between some action. I’m not talking from the top of my head. I did it for years. I kept talking about my depression as though somewhere in all the talking I’d accidentally stumble upon the solution. I never did. But when I started working on my depression by examining all the areas of my life that were functioning poorly, that’s when I started getting better.

Even now I’m careful about over-analyzing my moods. Instead I acknowledge that I’m human, that a bad mood doesn’t mean anything. But if I were to always be looking for a reason, I’d probably find one out of desperation just to make myself feel better. Yes, as I’ve said often, there is always a reason for our moods but there isn’t always a reason to get to the bottom of it unless we sense a serious episode is looming.

Quit thinking about your depressionand talking our your depression incessantly. Instead take one practical small step to get better.That first step will be the hardest but each step gets easier as you continue on your journey.

God bless.