New Year’s Ramblings


google images/yesterdays

google images/yesterdays

January is a great month. At least I think it is.

I know we can start anew anytime we want, but January seems such a perfect time. In Michigan the days are long and cold and dreary for the next two months. Unless you ski, which I can’t, it is a great time to reflect.

For me that means examining  my habits, my relationships, my desires, etc. It also means looking back and figuring out what brought me joy and what didn’t. What were the situations that rocked my boat or caused me angst. What can I do in the future to avoid that? Are there attitudes I need to change? Are there people I need to distance myself from? Are there people I need to draw closer to? In what ways do I need to expand my life? In what ways do I need to draw my life in?

Even as I write, the questions and thoughts flow from my mind right to my fingertips and right on this keyboard with little conscious thought on my part. I love that. I love how blogging seems to be almost magical for me. I write things I didn’t even know I was thinking. Blogging is perhaps the most efficient and self-revealing activity I do. Sometimes that’s good and sometimes it isn’t. It always worthwhile however.

So today I encourage all of you to take time this month to think through this past year. I’m a firm believer that life worth living is the life that is examined now and then. Why stand still when we can grow? And let’s be sure of one thing.  We are generally either moving forward, moving backward or remaining stagnant. Stagnant anything is usually “stinky”.

Remaining stagnant is not being at peace. Some people confuse the two. When we are at peace, we are not stagnant. Peace requires decision and decision is an action.

One resolution I made last year which was to let a couple of friendships settle into a natural rhythm rather than me trying to make them something they’re not,  I have done a pretty good job of keeping. It wasn’t easy and even today I’ve been reminded that this resolution will be carried into the year 2015. But this year, I hope to accomplish it with even more grace and acceptance.

Anyway, that’s my New Year’s Ramblings for today. As I progress through this month you will be updated as to  my final Resolutions for 2015. I may not keep them all. They will probably be redefined as life changes, but they are always a good place to start.

Let me know what resolutions you are considering. I would love to hear from you.

Happy New Year.

. .

has it been that long, or is it just Christmas?


Christmas lights

Wow. I’ve never gone this long without posting.  One thing I know for sure, if you’re female and you’re reading this, you’re not wondering why it’s been so long,  you’re wondering how I’m finding time to post a little over two weeks out from Christmas!

I’ve been busy. No, past busy. We were at my daughter’s for four days. We had a wonderful, carefree Thanksgiving. Couldn’t have enjoyed it more.  Between taking care of my mom, shopping, making presents, trying to decorate the house, AND deal with constant pain, it’s been a whirlwind. Seems like Thanksgiving was months ago.

But I’ve enjoyed all of it,. (not the pain, of course but nothing I can do about that)

I love making gifts. I love decorating the house. I love the hustle and bustle. I would enjoy it even more but when every step hurts, it puts a damper on things. But then I think, “Hey, at least I’m still walking.”

So what have I been making? Well, the pictures will remain unpublished till have Christmas as some of my followers are recipients of said gifts. But I’m liking how things are turning out.

This morning during my “quiet time with God” I asked that He continually  remind me about what this season is all about. I want to experience the “peace that came to earth”. I don’t want to cheapen the cost of that gift by getting so caught up in the busyness of the season that I forget to  unwrap it.

I’m not one of those who take the concept of commercialism and lay a guilt trip on anyone, including me.   Commercialism doesn’t just exist at Christmas time. It’s just more concentrated. Sure, some people, (those crazy ones you see on the news shows grabbing items out of someone else’s hands) go over board.  But most people I know are simply trying to show their love for the people in their life the best way they know how.  They’re enjoying the process.  They’re enjoying  searching for just the right gift, They’re enjoying creating that perfect gift.

Today my hubby and I are baking dozens of cookies. Anzac cookies. They are an Australian cookie we fell in love with when in, you guessed it, Australia.. Everyone loves them which is why so many. If you want to make them be sure to look for the original recipe from Australia.  The others are OK but the original is the best. They’re a cruncy cookie so don’t over bake them. It’s very easy to do.

So if you’re feeling swamped, enjoy it. Enjoy the process not just the end result. We’ll get ‘er done. Remind yourself that you’ve felt this way every Christmas and every Christmas you’ve manged to pull it off. And even if you can’t convince  yourself, speak the words anyway. it will help. Speaking words of encouragement always helps and we should speak them to ourselves as well.

Hope to be back before Christmas.

an alphabet of thanks “R”


google images

google images

Today I’m thankful for rain.

Rainy days seems to suggest I should putz around the house and indulge myself in hot tea and a book.

Rainy days give me pause.

Rainy days remind me the sun will return.

Rainy days make me feel peaceful.

Rainy days remind me Who is really in charge.

an alphabet of thanks, “H”


 

Today I’m grateful for my hair. Mine is pretty manageable. I have plenty of it and the color has gotten better with age.

And, as every women knows, a good hair day is a good day all around. When  you think about it, women and their hair are more inextricably tied together than almost anything else. Hair is  one of the first things we notice about other women. When we get sick, it’s our hair that shows it the most. Washing our hair is the single most mood=lifting action we can take.

Losing our hair is one of our greatest fears. Our hair defines us. It’s been that way since the beginning of time.

I’ve come to peace with my hair. After trying to straighten its slight wave, I’ve given up and let it do its thing. There might be some great cosmic message here-something about if we can learn to be at peace with our hair, we can learn to be at peace about a lot of things.  It’s a thought.

Did I vote my convictions or not? You decide.


(Please read my post here  to better understand this follow-up.  I promised myself when I started blogging that I would never be anything but real. That I would be willing to admit when I didn’t follow through on something. You decide for yourself what you think of how I handled this situation in light of what I said in the earlier post.)

images (4)

First of all, I was right. The candidate was voted in before the vote was even taken. It was unanimous except for the two abstentions. (Do you need to ask?) You had to be there to know what I mean.  The chairperson was directing the vote with every word he spoke. I’ve never been in a meeting where the process of deciding on a pastor was accomplished with almost no discussion. Was there a moment when we could’ve spoken up? Honestly, I’m not sure there was and considering how the evening was going, I’m not sure it would have served any purpose. Their minds were made up. My little voice would have made no difference except to plant a seed of doubt. I prefer to be like Joshua and Caleb rather than the ten “nay”sayers.

When the time came to vote, Continue reading

insomnia


december downloads 169

insomnia

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning yesterday and couldn’t get back to sleep. What I did next is important. Here’s why.

Insomnia is often a trigger and a symptom of depression. When I couldn’t get back sleep within about thirty minutes, I decided to get up and go downstairs to the sofa. I had very quick moment when I almost panicked——but I didn’t.

Here’s what I did instead.  I admitted that there was something that was bothering me which I can do nothing about. It  is not my dilemma but it can certainly affect me but,

I will survive.

Besides, pain is as much a part of life as is joy. If it ends up hurting me, I will let it hurt. I refuse to let it make me bitter or mad. If I do it will last much longer and hurt much more. Pain is like the weather-sometimes it’s sunny, sometimes it’s cloudy.  I appreciate the sunshine because of the rain.

Beside, rain doesn’t destroy anyone.

I eventually fell asleep feeling a sense of peace. I have too much good in my life to be hurled into the pit again. I guess I’m feeling a little protective of my own heart. (By the way, God says we should guard our heart.  I understand that to mean that I don’t have to put myself in harm’s way. I can let other’s actions and their consequences remain with them. I need to be concerned with my own actions.

I woke up this morning still feeling peaceful. That sense that I will be fine has stayed with me.

how do we know?


IMG_1160how do we know

……..when we’re making the right decision?

Sometimes, it’s so easy. Our thinking, our circumstances, God’s direction all fall plainly into view. We just know. I love times like that. I’ve always found decisions easy to make for the most part. I take the view, that making a decision is usually better than making no decision at all.

But then there are those times, like right now, when I’ve exhausted every possible avenue in my “tired of thinking it through” mind. I’ve thought through every possible angle, read every possible  Scripture verse that applies, been praying for days. I’ve decided one way and then another and found justificationion to support both opposing views. I’ve felt great peace and then no peace. When I made my final final decision, my hubby asked me, “Are you sure?” 

(Sure? Are you kidding?)

“Of course, I’m not sure.”

There are some decisions we will simply never be sure about. Even if everything turns out o.k.  And even when it doesn’t, it may not mean we made the wrong decision. No amount of Monday morning quarter backing will make it any clearer either. That’s why sometimes we just have to make our decision and live with the consequences of our decision. When it directly impacts others, we just need to be as sure as we can.

In this case, I’ve done my  homework. I’ve  worked through  every possible scenario. Unless God makes it clear I’m heading down the wrong path, I’m going on the assumption that my decision-making process has been directed by God and my decision meets with his approval. Everyday I ask for wisdom for whatever comes my way. God promises that wisdom is ours for the asking and I sure have been asking.

I know it’s possible to convince ourselves of anything but when I look back over the decisions I’ve made over the years, I feel a certain sense of confidence in my decision-making ability. Often those of the Christian faith refer to having “peace” about their decisions. But there is such a thing as a “false” peace.  We can talk our selves right into a  feeling that mimics peace but it’s not the peace that comes from God. (Jesus, whether you consider him savior or just a great teacher said there is his peace and then there’s the peace that comes from the world.) 

The peace that comes from God is almost never accompanied by a feeling. It’s more of a quiet confidence that he is in control because you’ve asked him to be. In fact, we can be making the right decision and still be  uneasy about it . God never says doing the right thing or making the right decision will always be accompanied by positive feelings. In faith issues, we too often let our emotions get in the way. I posted a few days ago about “dizzy” emotions being a good indicator of how we’re living our lives. I don’t have any of that “dizziness” going on inside so that makes me feel good.

We’re human. Most of us try to do the right thing.  Sometimes we do.  Sometime we don’t. We can feel good with the first and we can learn from the second.  In a few weeks, I’ll know the results of my decision. Whether it was a good or bad decision I will perhaps never know. Sometimes decisions are neutral. I’ll let you know what this was all about and how it turned out.

 

thankfulness/Q


Noise?

Noise? (Photo credit: AGrinberg)

Quality, qualify, quake, quarrel, quilt, quiet, quirky.

Today I am thankful for quiet. (Quiet doesn’t necessarily mean lack of noise. We can be quiet within even when it’s noisy around us. But for this post, I’m referring to quiet as the lack of noise.) I’m not one of those people who need someone around all the time. I don’t mind being alone especially when I can have quiet time. I find I listen and think better when it’s quiet.

Religious leaders from all faiths have extolled the importance of quiet for meditation. In Christian vernacular, quiet times refer to the times we set aside to read our Bibles and pray.  Although I still read and study my Bible, there seem to be more and more times I remain quiet and just listen. Every once in awhile I like some extended time of total quiet. When even my own voice is not allowed to break the silence.

There has been considerable research about noise and stress and the conclusion has been that noise is a huge stress factor in the world. It certainly didn’t use to be that way. Life was simply quieter a hundred years ago because life was, well, simple. Of course we can turn off the noise if we choose. We just seldom choose. But complete quiet is hard to get used to. Most of us are uncomfortable with quiet. There are reasons for uneasiness.

When we are quiet, the chatter in our head subsides to a whisper. That’s when our demons can come to haunt us. We are faced with our fears and insecurities. That doesn’t scare me like it used to. I’m learning to be comfortable with the “quieter” version of me.

Most of us are going to go through a period of quietness before we leave this earth.  Due to the infirmities that accompany old age, we will have no choice.  Being comfortable with “quiet” and being unafraid to face ourselves will prepare us. I hope this doesn’t sound maudlin but the truth is unless our lives are “interrupted”, we are going to experience old age. If we want to be a serene, contented elderly person, we need to be a serene contented 20, 30, 40, etc year old person. 

The future always begins with the present.