Saturday, December 30, 2017

What would next year look like if....?

If I lost weight, exercised regularly, drank more water, prayed daily and left my troubles to my Creator...or whatever your wish list may look like. Maybe you want to get more sleep, stand up for yourself, take a class in something you feel you have no talent for, speak up for justice, give a speech or presentation, find your soulmate, take a chance on love, stand firm in your beliefs whether they are currently popular or not, realize you are more than a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend...the only label you were born with is "human being" and that leaves the door wide open for soooo much more. Don't let fear stand in the way of you becoming something wonderful. And the key word here is : becoming. We never fully arrive, we are all just in the process of moving along a path toward our potential, as long as we keep trying.

"The only thing keeping you from what you want, is the story you keep telling yourself about why you can't have it".  Anthony Robbins

 Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the Lord, then it will succeed.
 "'Dear God,' she prayed, 'let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.'"
—Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Advice for the New Year from Blogger, Author Sarah Bessey

There are times when you get a glimpse – just a glimpse – of the abundant life you believe in so deeply. You are daring to stand between what is and what will be and what longs to be, you know this.
There are times when right in the middle of the hard and the impossible you find yourself thinking, “I’ve never felt more alive and I’ve never been happier than right now.”
There are moments when you feel the needle moving, when you feel the arch of the universe actually bending towards justice and love and shalom.
There are days when you feel like you’re in the right lane and you feel a whole cloud of witnesses cheering for the race you are running.
But other days….well, the heavens are rather silent and you feel like you are plodding along in a dirt track without an end game.
We know we’re more than conquerors. We should be strong and courageous. We know that we will reap a mighty harvest if we faint not. We know that with God all things are possible.
Those grand words can feel far away from our lived reality sometimes.
And then the greatest act of faith I have in my arsenal is my stubbornness.
Keep not quitting. 
Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep showing up. Keep praying, keep standing, keep working.
Even if there are days like today, days when you feel like the only success was that you didn’t quit, then you are still there – I call that a victory of its own.
You are working the muscles of perseverance and selflessness, of service and dogged hopefulness. You are a sticker. You’re not someone who shows up when it’s easy and leaves when it’s time to dig in. You are committed to seeing mountains move. You are not undone by powers and principalities. You are choosing life.
You are declaring in a defiant act of faith that there is no futility, not to God’s economy where nothing – not even our failures and our discouragement and our disillusionment – is wasted..
Victory doesn’t always look how we thought it would: sometimes the victory is the seed that falls to the ground and dies for new life to be born. Some rewards only come after faithfulness. An old preacher used to say, “Without battles, there is no victory.”
This is not the end. Keep not quitting for today at least.
Cultivate joy and rest and renewal as an act of resistance.
Don’t underestimate faithfulness – or stubbornness. 
Small acts of faith are still acts of faith.
Keep not quitting: holding fast in the face of the storms and the silence and the sorrow is its own sort of victory.   Sarah Bessey's Blog

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Today I am grateful for....

...Fill in the blank_______________. Being grateful, which is kinda hip right now, is the current version of your grandma saying, "count your blessings, name them one by one"....and proves that when a nugget of wisdom is true, it is always true for all folks, all the time. And Oprah says, that "gratitude is its own energy field" and I believe she is so right on that point. Gratitude or Grace changes the way you see your life and so how you experience your life, and finally how you live your life. So, if you woke up tomorrow with only those things you were grateful for today, would you have enough of what you need to live a good life?

If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get. Frank A. Clark

Thursday, December 21, 2017

From the blog, No Sidebar

End Your Year Intentionally

You can end your year intentionally like I did. Just block out a half hour or so during the holiday season, pick up something to write with, and ask yourself ten questions:
1. What makes this year unforgettable?
I’ve found there’s always something memorable about each year. Maybe it’s a milestone like a special birthday. Maybe it’s a new person you’ve connected with. What would come to your mind first when you think back on 2017 in the years to come?
2. What did you enjoy doing this year?
Did you start a new hobby? Make time for laughter in your days? Look back at what activity brought you joy in the last 12 months.
3. What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?
When I’m busy, I often forget to give thanks for my positive experiences. Every day becomes a hurried pursuit for the next success. When you and I practice gratitude for the good stuff, our lives become simpler and happier.
4. What’s your biggest win this year?
Remember what you’ve achieved that made 2017 better and give yourself a pat on the back. Even if the year wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t all bad.
5. What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year? The content we consume inspires us, shapes our thoughts, and helps us reach our full potential. Some podcasts I’ve subscribed to and a documentary I watched have given me a new perspective, for example. For you, it might be a book, a movie, or even a show.
6. What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?
I always have some worry in the back of my mind at one point or another. I’ve worried about my job, a friend who’s having a tough time, and so on. It feels natural to stress about things I can’t control, but I’ve realized a lot of my worries are unnecessary in the long run.
Looking back on what I worried about and what actually happened reminds me not to dwell on my doubts and fears. I hope it’s a reminder you’ll benefit from too.
7. What was your biggest regret and why?
We’re not perfect and we all make mistakes. It’s an uncomfortable truth we don’t like to think about. But facing our failures helps us in positive ways. When we admit and accept our mistakes, we grow. And best of all, we’re less likely to repeat them.
8. What’s one thing that changed about yourself?
The fact that we can change is wonderful. There’s freedom in knowing we’re not obligated to be who we always were. We can explore our limits and live in new ways when we want to.
For example, I cared differently this year. I cared about my relationships and became more patient with people around me. I cared about the environment and how my choices affected it. I also learned to care less about what people thought of me.
How about you? How did you change in 2017?
9. What surprised you the most this year?
Life is surprising, and this question always reminds me that’s not necessarily bad.
A surprise can show us how unpredictable life is, but it can also add fun to our everyday. It can be little and amusing, like how I found I loved a good espresso when I was a dedicated tea drinker pre-2017. It can be big and significant, like how relieved you felt after letting go of what weighed you down unconsciously.
Whatever surprised you this year can be a real delight.
10. If you could go back to last January 1, what suggestions would you give your past self?
Is there a lesson you learned that you wish you’d known before the year started? Though we can’t really speak to our past selves, we can internalize these lessons. We’ll need them today and in the year to come.
Going through these questions is one of my favorite rituals at each year’s end.
I still get excited about what the new year brings, but I’ve found ending my year like this helps me make intentional changes. It’s cut through the noise of a busy life, and guided me to match the way I live to my values.
I hope you join me in answering these questions before 2017 ends, and that it helps you design a simple and meaningful life.

the blog: No Sidebar     

Thursday notes....

I was hurrying through my morning, feel already behind schedule when it occurred to me to stop and refresh my spirit. I knew that a spiritual "pause" would help me to settle and move forward in my day. I was reading John 8 in the Gospels, where Jesus is speaking of freedom and slavery. And it really caught my interest. Seems most of us are slaves to our beliefs...Christian and non Christian. I have seen self righteousness in atheist and well as Believers. It seems a universal flaw we all have in common and smug piety is not exclusive to any one group. It takes a lot of deceit to be self righteous, a lot of work, and fear keeps us from taking a hard look at the hold it has on our lives. To confront a lifetime of destructive beliefs is like standing on the edge of the abyss for some, for others it means confusion, bewilderment and instability. But the edge is brave place to be, with God holding your hand because He will keep you from falling and for the asking, help you journey to a more stable place in your life where Truth guards your heart.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him....

This time of the year, despite rampant commercialism, a lot of folks pause and consider the spiritual aspect of Christmas, even if they realize they don't have one. I think of it more when we sing old Christmas carols in church, like we did last night at our annual Christmas Church program. The words to most of those old carols are like poems...poetry about the dark blue and glittering Nativity. The tiny haloed baby in the manger, who grew to manhood and allowed His life to be cut short to send us an Eternal message of forgiveness, love and new beginnings. I can never forget the gift of starting afresh, the slate wiped clean and the first step on the new journey to wholeness. The only Gift that matters is the one that loves unconditionally, totally and calls us to return home. I can't sing a note, but I am a prolific reader and I plan on reading the Christmas poetry of love written in the carols.


Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.
This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

As the New Year approaches

As the new year approaches, I already feel nostalgic about this Christmas season and the rapidly closing year of 2017. Like all years before it, there have been good, bad, great and awful moments. But time does indeed march on regardless of how we would like to hang onto what is familiar or safe, so I am looking forward to a fresh calendar of 12 months of possibilities, hard work, hopes and dreams.

As I was thinking this over today, a couple of words or phrases kept coming to mind. Words like: uncomplicate, lighten the load, simply, intentional...and that is kind of where I have been the past year. Maybe it is my age (baby boomer) or a bit of hard earned wisdom, but I have been decluttering my house bit by bit all year. This year I hope to continue that, but I want to also declutter my thought processes as well. As I have put useless clutter "to the curb", I also hope to unload unforgiveness, fear, self righteousness, selfishness.  I know I will never have a perfectly appointed house or heart, but I am willing to work hard at reducing as much "junk" as possible from my life. So, let's get started!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday evening....

Today I potted my amaryllis...a bit late. A storm is brewing outside. Temps are dropping fast. The winds have really picked up. We have feasted on fresh oyster pie and sit lazily by the fire. A very seasonal evening. I like that!

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!"
–Hamilton Wright Mabie

Thursday, December 7, 2017

First weekend in December....

...And the weather is seasonably chilly. We have our tree up, most of the shopping done and when I am relaxing I am bingeing on Hallmark christmas movies or Longmire!

 "I know what I really want for Christmas. I want my childhood back. Nobody is going to give me that. I might give at least the memory of it to myself if I try. I know it doesn't make sense, but since when is Christmas about sense, anyway? It is about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of our hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simpleminded and terribly vulnerable to joy."
–Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

From Blogger Sharon Able, The Simply Luxurious Life

...In other words, the change you seek is possible even if the journey doesn’t make sense the entire time. After all, if it did, everyone who be charging forward confident that what they wanted would be theirs in no time. No, you and I are the courageous minority, but us courageous minority exemplify the possibilities of a life which attains contentment and true fulfillment without the need for outside approval or extreme excess. A most beautiful and priceless gift we can give ourselves and others who watch us strive forward and be encouraged that the unknowns need not intimidate.

“No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” —Epictetus

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Small Beginnings....

Let’s not despise small beginnings because when we are faithful in what God gives, more is sure to come. (Luke 16:10)

Living Now...while drawing on the riches of your past and future

There are many books written about being "present" in the moment, something I find hard to do...but I admit it is an admirable goal. Whining about the past and dramatizing the future will drain your inner resources and steal your energy for living in the present. But there are some advantages to using your past and your future to improve your present mood. Consider making a conscious effort to recall and immerse yourself in pleasant past experiences. Anything pleasant will do...a moment when the sun shined down on you and you felt your place in this world was a good fit, a week's vacation when you absorbed the refreshing sights and sounds of another culture, the night you got engaged and believed yourself to be loved by someone you loved, the birthday cake you baked that everyone smacked their lips over, that morning you got up early and met the sun with a cup of steaming coffee and all your hopes for the day seemed realistic and within your reach....childhood memories of what it felt like to have two parents you loved and trusted to be in charge of your life, freeing you to live without fear, or when someone you barely knew looked you in the eye and you felt a stirring connection.  Now switch tracks and think about your future...imagine how good it could be...what if you make a few, small  changes that would greatly impact your everyday experiences. What if you went to bed earlier, got up earlier and spent those morning moments reading inspiration material, praying, doing some yoga stretches, writing in a journal...? How about if you took a part of your lunch time and walked around your building,  practiced a new skill (knitting, drawing, letter writing), one that in time would give you a sense of accomplishment. How about planning your weekend to take in some new local sights that you  captured with your camera or cell phone...then shared on a photo site with others. Maybe you imagine the benefits of new responses to the same old troubling situations. Could you practice hope, optimism until it felt a bit more natural and the results of challenging negative thought patterns proved worth it?  Let's say you are sitting with a friend, reminiscing about the past, sharing hopes for the future while taking a moment to comment and enjoy the present company...It can all work together to weave a strong tapestry for the story of your life And it seems to me as your present moments improve, as you pay attention to them and experience them unsullied with "negative what ifs" your past will become be a treasure trove of real experiences and you will anticipate the future with more hope...My two cents worth....

Small Beginnings....

Let’s not despise small beginnings because when we are faithful in what God gives, more is sure to come. (Luke 16:10)

The wonders in your own backyard...

...and above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it....Roald Dahl

Contentment, From the Blog, The Simply Sophisticated Life

“There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.” —Swami Sivananda

Recently I overheard someone describe their weekend as boring, using the descriptor in a negative tone (remember this post on my thoughts about being boring?). Being someone who revels in what outsiders consider boring behavior such as reveling in the responsibilities of the tasks I have chosen for my life (doggie mama, tender to my sanctuary, chef of my appetite, etc.), I inquired as to what she did. Without going into specific details, it was a weekend at home without demands on their time, permitting them to mosey about and just have free range to do as they pleased.
As many of you may be, I was smiling, as such a weekend sounded glorious.
Our everydays, our stay-at-home weekends make up the majority of our lives. The underlying premise of living simply luxuriously is making our everydays extraordinary. Now that doesn’t mean, everyday will be a celebration of momentous successes, grand good news or unexpected bonuses, but rather we appreciate the simple moments that we have constructed into our everyday routines.
As Sivananada shares above, the cravings will always try to place themselves at the forefront of our minds. We are inundated with marketers, even fellow friends and family, but our culture as well, which ever nudges us to do more, be more, see more, acquire more. So long as we can recognize the bombardment and not fall prey to it, we will open the door to observing how magnificent contentment can be. And the magnificent realization is that contentment can be found in every day we live. Thus happiness (my term of phrase – joy) can be found readily at our fingertips no matter how outstanding, or lack thereof, our lives look to the outside world.
Where and how to seek contentment?
1.Develop a health routine you enjoy
From the exercise regimen you embark on throughout your week: is it a class with an instructor that soothes your mind or inspires you to sweat more than you could do on your own, a peaceful weekly kayak outing down the nearby river, a meditation routine each morning that sets the tone for the day; to your approach to eating: making grocery shopping an experience to dazzle your tastebuds, explore seasonal produce, try new recipes, cook with excitement and your food and those you share will feel and enjoy it more than you might imagine.
2. Say hello to nature
Feed the birds, stop and gaze about on your walk, stop and sit on a stump while outdoors and just close your eyes to soak up the sun, water an indoor plant, welcome an orchid into your home.
3. Create an end of the day winding down routine
Designing an evening routine is something you will not only look forward to as your day at work or outside of your home begins to unwind, but it will also ensure that something is within your control no matter how harried the day may have been. And if the day was spectacular, your beloved evening routine will be an additional bonus of goodness.  Have a look at a glimpse of my evening routine here.
4. Design opportunities for experiences rather than time to buy more things
Whenever a day or even an afternoon presents itself in which a movie will be showing that I am eager to see, I plan the afternoon around that experience. Not only do I go see the movie, but I plan the before and after as a date with myself to just enjoy the outing all the more. Maybe afterwards I will bring a journal and head to a local coffee shop (if I go see a matinee), or enjoy a nice lunch before heading to the theater. Recently, when I was visiting a good friend in Eugene, we went for a short walk when the rain abated and then sat down for tea with her neighbor and just caught up while the rain came down. Afterwards, I took out my book and just relaxed until it was time for the dinner party that had been prearranged.
As you can see, create opportunities for experience, time to relax, time to engage and time to simply enjoy and let go of time.
5. Create and design a welcoming space
Upon walking into the door of my home, I am often greeted with fresh flowers, an abundance of light filling the dining room and living room and two bubbly pups excited that we have been reunited again. A dear friend of mine has curated a home in which upon walking into her cottage, one is greeted with a pair of high-backed tufted suede sofas engaged in conversation, a wood burning fireplace and a vast picture window that over looks the neighbhood. I gravitate immediately to that space with her company or on my own to just unwind.
Whether you are able to curate your entire home or simply just a room of your own to always be welcoming, taking the effort to do so will offer priceless moments of appreciation in your everydays.
6. Do something to let your mind escape 
From an easy reading book, an activity that is a habit which allows your mind to relax or even a nap, better yet, a moment of meditation, care for your mind because it becomes exhausted too.
7. Make progress on a project, no matter how minimal
Whether it is something as grand as completing a significant task to edge you ever closer to your goal, or just adding an idea to your journal to ensure you do not forget the aha moment that presented itself during your day, do something that keeps the flames of your dreams and hopes alive.
8. Express love
In some form or fashion, express love to someone, something, the world in general in a means you are capable and comfortable doing. Part of the reason I know living on my own for so long has been a breath of fresh air is because I do have the opportunity to express love to dogs, to make their lives happier and more enjoyable and see the glee on their faces when we go for a walk. As well, giving to your neighbors, sending an email to someone who danced across your mind and you wanted to say hello. No matter how seemingly small or large, exhale love and you will always be able to feel it around you.
At the core of cultivating contentment is you and how you choose to go about your days with the choices you make, the attitude you bring to each moment and the flow your daily life takes no matter what the outside world may expect or desire from you. While we may want happiness, the truth is happiness is something outside of ourselves and it is the contentment that we build in our lives that provokes more and more moments of happiness to be savored.

“The difference between pity and compassion: Pity just feels sorry. Compassion does something about it.”

If you’ve ever felt the hug from someone who seems to feel the pain you are going through nearly as deeply as you, you know what kindness feels like. Conversely, if you’ve ever received a helping hand from someone who would only give it to you when you were down but never when you were standing strong, you know what pity feels like.
Kindness is warm, ongoing and felt long after the person’s physical presence has left the room. Pity is false and fleeting, leaving you in the aftermath wanting to shiver to shake off the insincerity and hollow comfort you received with trust.
Examples of kindness appear whether someone has fallen or is soaring to their most desired dreams. Those who are givers of kindness applaud your successes, celebrate when you are giddy with incredulity of what you have achieved. As well, they are there when you stumble, when you seek warmth and a safe place to shed your tears.
Those who offer pity are stuck within themselves, unable to stop comparing, unable to love their truest selves and set themselves free, unable to recognize that when others rise, so too can they with the tide. Instead, they are fearful, errantly thinking that they will be swept under and dismissed.
If you are able to offer kindness, in little ways and large (which includes giving kindness to yourself), your health benefits, your heart benefits, your relationships benefit, your everyday experience benefits. You are a human being that betters the world for all other human beings. And if we all can practice being kind and come to feel its warm sanctuary, the world gradually becomes a far more loving, safe and far less fearful place to live, shine and enjoy.
The difference between Pity and Kindness . . . 
Pity looks down in acknowledgement and obligation. Kindness looks down and pulls the wounded up.
Pity is relieved that someone is hurting the same if not more than they. Kindness assesses no comparison and reaches out to help.
Pity places value and limitations. Kindness gives what they are able regardless of the height those they help they will rise to meet.
Pity is selfish. Kindness is selfless.
Pity mistakenly believes helping would hinder their journey’s progress. Kindness, having set boundaries knowing what they can give, gives what they are able without worrying about their journey knowing it will continue as it should.
Pity reveals insecurity of oneself. Kindness reveals ease with oneself.
Pity remembers. Kindness looks forward.
Pity is expressed out of obligation. Kindness seeks no recognition.
Pity chooses their actions based on the recipient’s character. Kindness chooses their actions based on their own character.
Pity wishes to keep the hierarchy in tact: I must remain stronger than you. Kindness wishes to support as high as the supported wishes to soar, even if optically, the giver of kindness is surpassed.
May today’s thought to ponder fuel your journey to reach the great heights you are capable of reaching. Have a lovely Wednesday.
~View more Lifestyle posts from TSLL’s Archives here.

The Aftermath....

After the holiday, coming down... I had a good Thanksgiving. But now I am ready to appreciate a normal week, with regular chores, a decent bedtime and some time alone. I have no doubt eaten too much, spent too much and slept too little, so being quietly productive seems appropriate. 'Specially since Christmas is just around the corner!

. "Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!"
–Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Eve....

Today is a day of preparation...for the holiday meal, for the company that will come and for the good family times we look forward to all year. In some ways, our Thanksgiving is as big as our Christmas, but without the gifts.

So after getting up pretty early this morning and working in the house, I stopped for a mental break and to try some "breathing" exercises, guided by an app on my iphone. I definitely felt softer and more relaxed after my 5 minute practice. And being in that teachable mood, I read a few lines from a new book I have, The Wisdom of Sundays, by Oprah Winfrey and friends. A couple of lines from her conversation with Rob Bell struck me...this is Rob talking about how modern folks are plugged in to their gadgets and gear, and they may feel they are too contemporary for a God, but he reminds us it might just be the most relevant thought we can have. We when think: I have come to the end of my rational powers, there is too much I can't sort through or understand and I am drawn to the mystery of all I can't fathom, and that is God. We can't stifle the yearning for the answers to the puzzle of our existence. And, God doesn't show up for us, we show up for God....

The complete answer, wrapped up in the most unfathomable innocent child, author of heaven and earth, sprung out from the Heavens from under the Earth, unutterably wise in His wisdom, a babe without utterance, filling the world, lying in a manger...

Monday, November 20, 2017

Laying down the heavy weight of resisting change....

"But in our steering away from legalism, I wonder if we left the road to holiness or began to forget that God also cares about what we do and how we do it and why.
Conviction is less about condemnation than it is about invitation. It’s an invitation into freedom. It’s an invitation into wholeness.
Perhaps our choices towards those invitations from God are really an intersection for our agency or free will and the Holy Spirit’s activity – maybe that’s where transformation begins."
From Sarah Bessy's blog

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday thought

...whatever it is God is doing within us speaks volumes to someone who needs to hear it.
from The Sabbath Society

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Leaving room for change and growth...

For the last year or so I have been decluttering my house, closet and life. This process is taking much longer than I thought. I mean, I never was a  "hoarder", but I was more of a collector. Mostly those collections were rooted in hobbies, or lifestyle changes. The crafts: yarn, knitting needles, sewing machine, material, artist supplies, bags, closets, drawers, under beds. And then there is the different decorating trends: the country knickknacks, the modern, edgey stuff, the family heirlooms, and the "so cheap I know I will find a place for it" items. So, years of all that stuff. OH, and holiday decorations...lots of holiday decorations. Then there was pet products:cages, kennels, beds, leads, collars, toys, brushes, etc....and of course clothes and accessories. Clothes I could no longer wear, but hope to wear. Clothes I could wear but weren't "right" for me. Expensive clothes I had no place to wear. Shoes that hurt my feet, shoes that were ugly or unflattering, see where I am going? Then purses...large totes, small cell phone string purses...leather, pleather, vinyl, wool, cotton, handbags, shoulder bags, backpacks....jackets, coats, all kinds of outerwear. Anyway, you can see the burden and the hard work of going through all this. And when it was gone (donated to a shelter) I really enjoyed the cleaner closet but wasn't sure what to replace it with. I was trying for a capsule wardrobe, but I am still working on what that entails...And of course my passion and my work, photography, whole cupboards are filled with my gear. And I do use it, most of it, but this too is area that needs redefining.
But while was in the process of cleaning out my physical life, I begin to see the need to declutter my emotional life. A much harder process, more painful and disturbing. But the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to promise a much brighter existence. So....even this week as the boxes have been leaving my house I have been thinking about how to distill my emotional life and the daily life I live here at home. And of course I picked the Christmas season  to start this part of the process!
I have started by examining my daily routine. And I had found I spend soooooo much time on line. When I stop cruising the web I felt bored and empty. It's like I am missing out on some wildly informative or entertaining news that will change my life....How to take better pictures, how to do a craft, live a more productive life, be more stylish or healthier.... I try to keep up with everything my friends are doing: what they are selling, who is sick, who graduated, who has a birthday, who is having an online feud who had a baby...of course I am adding my two cents worth in there. My pictures, my plans, my recipes, my political opinions, ugh! I am on facebook, instagram, flickr and more. I am convinced when I see a great photo that I need THAT camera to become like THAT photographer. I need software, actions, gear, websites, a large online presence, I need selfies showing off my new leather camera bag that makes me look so "pro". I get a glimpse of how the cool folks live and find they travel all over the world, like a rock star photog, sharing photos from their expensive Leica's or the latest iphone and I feel envy. Most of them are really talented. But I really have no idea of the quality of their lives, it just looks so darn cool. The wedding photogs seem to only show weddings of folks that are lovely and getting married in amazing venues....Other online blogs specialize in their homes or clothing and then you realize they are getting sponsored, but you will pay handsomely for that look in your home or in your closet. I have bought gear and gadgets from Amazon after hearing someone tout how amazing they are...within minutes, hoping to grab some amazement for myself.
And none of these things are bad in and of themselves. It's nice to be inspired by talented people who freely share their lives. It lifts me up. My problem was  I just realized I was spending way too much time looking at the lives of others and doing less about living my own.
So, now I am decluttering my internal life. Still working on the closets and cupboards, but asking myself a few questions before a purchase and still more questions on how I spend my time. To be honest I am a bit sad about this change of events. I loved becoming excited about someone else's live and being able to purchase a part of that for my own. It made me feel "included" in something vital. But of course the only vitality I can really thrive on is to be found in the energy of my own life. So...I am looking in new places for inspiration.  Each time I perform a task, find myself stymied by some work, I am asking myself: do I need to do this? how can I do it better? how does it add to my life? Other questions include: do I need a blog, a website, a facebook, instagram, flickr account? Do I need so many apps, software, gear, gadgets etc? I did find there are some things I don't have or need more of, like luggage, a robe, flatware, bedding, a nice tote, more savings, more exercise, a better diet, more quiet time, more sleep....Things that have currently helped me are: walking my dogs, praying, audible books, re-organizing my "stuff" and unloading most of it, stopping to really appreciate my family, the seasons, and my our life. Now with the Christmas holiday upon us, I am trying hard to give my heart and home some holiday cheer with out too much stress, photo taking or doodads. This is a hard one for me. I love the excess of the holidays! I am having a hard time thinking of what gifts to put on the family list because I really don't need anything. But if I am being honest here I like to open a present as much as the next kid on Christmas morning, so I am putting a lot of thought in what might be a good gift for me...and I am thinking hard on what I will buy others. I really get a kick of giving gifts, so I am not trying to do away with this tradition, just be more mindful of the whole process.
So as the holidays approach, and the New Year looms just around the corner I hope to be steadily working a new framework for my life. In an idealistic nutshell next year would find me, slimmer and healthier, more active, saving money, spending less time online, developing a more creative side, digging deeper into my spiritual self, becoming more optimistic, more organized, and more forgiving. That is a tall order, but if not now, When???

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thursday's Thought...

“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” — Roy T. Bennett 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Close and available.

One morning lately, I got up, had my coffee, and read some scripture, while sitting on my deck. I saw blue tree shadows, and spangles of gold and glittering sunlight across the yard. Two house sparrows came close and sang with abandonment, My presence didn't bother them. The were unafraid, too busy singing to even notice me. I thought what a gift they were! Then  I realized I didn't create the birds, God did, but I created the opportunity for their visit, for their song, by filling my feeder and making myself available. I am hoping to make myself more available for  God's gifts by drawing close to Him and being more open to His presence.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


“November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.”
― Clyde Watson

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday....Communion and pot luck lunch

This rainy Sunday could have been a washout but it was made special by taking communion and sharing delicious food and conversation with fellow church folks over a plethora of home cooked dishes.
Communion always feels good to me. I like rituals and in taking part in this ancient mystery. Invoking the spiritual occupation of my heart and soul steadies me and reminds me of the faith I place in forgiveness, and the sweet comfort of bread and wine, the "medicine of immortality" [Tozer]

“Faith is not knowledge of an object but communion with it.” 
― Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday....a day of eagles, church and homemade soup

This morning started off like most of the mornings this week...damp and grey. I kept turning the air conditioner down to dry out the moist air in our house. I felt...damp and grey myself. What had started off the first of the week (cozy and housebound by the rain) gradually turned into lazy and moody. After church, when I could stand myself no longer, I made a trip to town for iced coffee, and whether by coincidence or the high octane coffee I drank, the sun came out, I hustled around and got some chores done, we walked our dogs under a blue bowl of a sky dotted with white puffy clouds soothed by a fresh breeze. I saw eagles soar overhead, a snake crossed the road in front of us and and our dogs were as happy as clams for our afternoon stroll. I came home with a different frame of mind, planned the week ahead and filled up on homemade soup.

Ten Good Quotes from Marc and Angel

1. Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality. So pay close attention to the thoughts you choose. They have a way o...