Slow Down and Take a Deep Breath…

Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in ...

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It’s Monday and I already know it will be a very busy Monday. I have much to accomplish today, lots to check off my mental to do list. I can already feel my body tensing, and my mind racing at top speed. How can I be most efficient with my time? How will I get everything completed?

Not enough time! Not enough time!

Slow down. Take a breath.

Say thank you.

Breathe in the joy of the everyday.

Exhale… thanks.

A gift. I need to slow myself…and appreciate, be in awe of the fleeting moments.

I have a sign hanging in my kitchen, a sign my oldest son gave me as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. I keep the sign up year round.

It’s a Wonderful Life” , beautifully matted and framed.

Yes, it is the title of a favorite holiday movie…..but, it could… and should be my motto.

Because thankfulness does bring joy–  And joy makes for a wonderful life.

A daily reminder.

* Emerald green, springtime grass

* Wet smell after the rain

* Eggs and toast for breakfast

* Long hugs from my child

* My husband laughing

* A good nights sleep

* Opportunity

* Friendship

* A floor that needs swept

* A bathroom that needs cleaned

* Errands to run

* Candles in the windows

* A full eucharisteo board

* Bare feet on concrete

* The smell of coffee

* Hands and fingers that type without pain

* A smile
I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.  Psalm 69:30 

Won’t you take a moment and drop by? Visit with others who are sharing Multitudes On Mondays?


Hard Thanks…

~Did She Cry ~

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All the reasons to be thankful….Click on the Multitudes On Mondays graphic on my right sidebar to read more.

Dear Reader,

I’ll be honest with you. I’m not feeling very thankful today.

Mondays are never my best day of the week, and today seems especially “not very thankful”. I feel guilty. I struggle.

Right now I’m seeing all “the holes” in the canvas of my life.  When concentrating on the holes, the rips, the tears… I find it difficult to see the beauty. I know that is a poor attitude, you don’t have to remind me. Believe me, I know.

All the things I wish were….and aren’t.

All the things I want…and can’t.

All the trying to measure up….and falling short.

All the dreams…dashed.

All the little things….that become BIG things.

All the words thought….but never said.

All the wishing….not coming true.

All the obstacles….not overcome.

All the life beautiful…is really broken.

We live in an imperfect world.

 

Life IS broken. Isn’t that true for us all?

Aren’t there days when we each wonder, the why?

When our vision is full of gray, and the colors seem dulled?

When we want so much more, but get so much less?

 

God knew we’d have days like this. Hard days. Painful days. Days of longing for something else. Something that is seemingly just out of reach. The frustration. The grieving. The seemingly unfairness of it all. He knew. He always knew.

Giving thanks through the difficult times. The broken times.  Ann Voskamp calls it the “hard eucharisteo”. The giving of thanks when we are searching through the darkness. The saying “yes” to God, when we don’t understand. The trusting that this hard place we are in, is not the final destination.

Ann goes on to say, “Grace + Thanks = Joy”.  She’s right, you know

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything. Not about life plans. Not the wondering. Not the worrying. But in everything That is a big, all encompassing word. By prayer and petition God hears us!  With thanksgiving Always thanksgiving…even when it is the hard eucharisteo. present your requests to God. He wants us to talk with Him. In the good times and the not so good times. He is there.

And on a day when it seems dark, not just because of the storm clouds, I can say thank you. I can give the thanksgiving to the One who hears me even when the words aren’t spoken aloud. I am thankful.

 

Joy In The Everyday

Open Hand

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***Join us over at Faith Barista Jam. We’re discussing joy, today. Click on the graphic on my right side bar to read what others are writing about joy.***

Joy (noun)  a source or cause of delight—

It’s interesting that Bonnie, at Faith Barista, would choose the topic of joy, for this month. I’ve been thinking about joy a lot lately. I’ve been on a “joy journey” of sorts. About two and half months ago I heard about a book called One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. She talks about joy in her book. Joy… in a way that I hadn’t thought of it before. She talked about joy in a way that would change me. Forever. For me, changing my perspective, really is changing my life.

I, like many people, tended to blend joy and happiness together. They are really not the same thing. I’m also figuring out that I can have joy–if I choose too. It really is a choice. It’s not always something that “just happens” to a person. People, in general,  are not “just lucky” in the joy department. Joy can be intentional.

What I am learning about joy is a challenge. Sounds contradictory to the definition, doesn’t it? On pages 32-33 of her book, Ann hits me squarely between the eyes. Right where I am at. Her words sting me.

“That has always been the goal of the fullest life—-joy. And my life knew exactly how elusive that slippery three-letter word, joy, can be….   Is the height of my joy dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo thanks? (to God)….As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible…..joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! (in the here and now of daily life).

Grace….Thanksgiving…..JOY.”

Joy in the everyday. Joy in the here and now. Joy in my messy kitchen. Joy in the van driving kids. Joy in snuggling into bed at night. Joy in laundry. Joy in the sunsets. Joy in pet fur all over the floor for me to clean. Joy in reading. Joy in preparing dinner. Sounds crazy, right? But, if I can have thanksgiving in the daily things….in ALL things….then there will be joy. Joy will no longer be some elusive or esoteric feeling that I am constantly searching for. It can be real. Real to me in the daily grind.

And isn’t joy what we all long for?

So, for me, I am working on joy in my every day by giving thanks (eucharisteo) to God. Always thanks. Thanks for each moment that He has allowed me to experience.

It’s all by His grace. Every. Single. Moment.  I am thankful….and I experience JOY.

Snow. Again?!

Snowflakes!

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I just returned from a two day trip. As I was driving back into the state, I saw that it was snowing. What?! It’s a wonder we don’t all keel over from this crazy weather. We’ll all catch our death. Just a light jacket one day and then it’s snowing. Should we all get our parkas back out? My mom bought me some super cool zebra print boots for the Spring mud season. I suppose they would work in the snow too. Ugh.

As I sit here at the kitchen table I see the big, fat flakes falling outside. A lot of them. This is crazy. April Fools Day isn’t until Friday, ’cause this is a joke, right?

(P.S.) To those of my loyal readers that have been following the mouse saga….I hear them again.They are back. I guess I need to serve up the “green pellet” buffet again. If you are a mouse lover, don’t talk to me. Joe,the cat, caught one too. Mice reproduce way too fast. Just sayin’. And now with all this new snow they will be cold outside, and want to come in to warm up. Listen up little micey, this is NOT the Motel 6!!!!  I love all of God‘s creatures with the exception of small little field mice that want to become my room mates.

I will blog tomorrow after I unpack, and after giving a pep talk to the cats about needing to “patrol the perimeter” for incoming rodents.

Saturday Morning In My Kitchen

Candles and warm light in my favorite nook.

Hmmm…What to fix? The possibilities…

.

Writing down daily thanksgiving on the family Eucharisteo board.

It’s all grace. Every bit of it.

Even this…

This is one of the first things I see….Lonnie refused to eat his nutritional bits.AGAIN.

Precious Memories—Happy Birthday

birthday cake

Image by freakgirl via Flickr

Special : readily distinguishable from others of the same category

Some people long for it…others strive their whole life to obtain it….and yet, a few, rare people are just born with it. That special something that makes one unique. That makes one different. That makes that person, absolutely one of a kind.

I’d like to tell you about one such person.

Today is her 75th birthday, and this day I dedicate my blog to celebrating her….. the lady that has had such a huge impact on my life, as well as the lives of my entire family.

My aunt Dorothy.

My cousins and I always knew that she had time for us. When we were very young, and she was our “Dor Dor”, to Aunt Dorothy when we got older…she was the one who took us on Saturday afternoon drives (and got ice cream if were lucky), made sure she was at all the ball games to cheer on whichever child was playing at the time, opened her house as “command central” for multiple family get togethers, birthdays, and holiday celebrations. She attended graduations, celebrated marriages, anticipated the births of new family members.

Her love continued on to the next generation of children.

Aunt Dorothy continues to give us all the valuable gift of time…. Her time. Priceless.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUNT DOROTHY. HERE IS TO CELEBRATING YOU!

1-1-11

New York Times Square New year celebrations in...

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Last night, I watched the people in Times Square, New York. That is as close as I ever want to be to NYC on New Years Eve. Seriously. When I was much younger, I enjoyed going out on New Year’s Eve and celebrating. Those days are gone. I am now old. I’ve embraced this fact.

1. First of all, I tend towards claustrophobia. I would start freaking out if I had to stand in that crowd.

2. Number two, and most importantly…where do people go to the bathroom in Times Square? This is a HUGE consideration for me, as God gave me a temperamental bladder.

3. I feel for the poor people that have to clean up all the confetti/ticker tape. Can you imagine the mess from all that?

4. At midnight everyone in Times Square was kissing. I wonder if they were kissing people they knew? Or just whoever was around? Just sayin’. People get caught up in the excitement and might go on a crazy kissing jag. That could be embarrassing. Or not:)

5. Here, back at the ranch, my husband was already in bed…sound asleep. He wished me a happy new year before hitting the sack.  The kids, my father-in-law, and I brought in the new year in the comfort of the living room. After wishing everyone a Happy New Year, I went to bed.

6. I have not made any formal resolutions. I’m very goal oriented anyway, so I will just keep plugging along…and that way I won’t break any resolutions. Makes sense, right? Resolutions…yada, yada, yada,

7. I like watching the news on New Year’s Day. All the trends from last year…the big news stories… As morbid as it is, I’m always intrigued by who died the previous year.

8. I don’t watch the Rose Bowl parade or any football games. Don’t hate me.

That’s all I’ve got right now.

The family is going to a New Years get together today. Food, fellowship, and fun. A great way to start 2011.

 

The Last Day Of The Year

Chiot's Run 2011 Calendar

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TIME

Seconds to minutes

Minutes to hours

Hours to days

Days to weeks

Weeks to years…

Here I sit on the last day of the year, wondering where all the time went. I contemplate what I’ve done this past year. I analyze the details of my life. I smile at all the things I have accomplished. I fret about all the things I’ve left undone. I believe I could have said more. I wonder about what I should have left unsaid.  Aahh…we all walk a fine line, don’t we?

Each day brings new opportunities. Sometimes I grab the opportunity. Sometimes I let it go. Sometimes I’m glad, other times I have regret.

There are people that are gone from my life. New friendships were made. Some individuals faithfully remain.

I’m one year older and hopefully at least a little wiser.

Tonight is the end of the old and the beginning of the new.

It’s always exciting to think of starting a new year with a clean slate. The possibilities…. The opportunities…. The path less taken.

Happy New Year!

 

A New Chapter

Times Square Ball - New Year's Eve 2008

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The end of one year, the start of another. The possibilities, the choices, the opportunities.

In my life, I’ve been accused of thinking too much. I take  this declaration with a grain of salt. Too much thinking? How is that possible? What is the result of thinking too much?  Or not enough thinking? Or at all? I like to mull things over. Long after a conversation…I’m still going over the content of what was said.

I like to ponder what this new year will hold. I become contemplative during this time of year.

Each year brings new possibilities. Not because New Years Day is some sort of magic key, but because it is more like a door to the unknown. None of us really knows what will happen to us this year. We can have our plans, but many times life does not go as planned. Sometimes it careens off course. We end up on a road that we never intended to travel.

Sometimes things that seem “bad”, turn out to have lessons that are good for me. Other times I’ve made poor choices and I’ve suffered through the consequences of those choices. Sometimes it is a bitter pill to swallow. Yet, sometimes events happen that are completely out of my control. I could not have changed them even if I desperately wanted to. One just never knows how things will turn out.

We all hope for a good year, abet, even a great one! We all want joy in our lives. Moments that matter. The opportunity to make a positive difference. Fulfillment. Friendships. Love.

I can plan. I can make changes. I can try to be even more organized and productive. Ultimately, God is the one who chooses how this year will proceed. It is He that is sovereign. It is He that makes life interesting and worthwhile…and I can rest in that.

You Know You Are Losing It When…

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Those of you that read my blog know I am a Christian, wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. I’m a writer, ponderer (is that a real word?), romantic, nostalgic, and a teacher. I have my blond moments, melt downs, and flip outs. I prefer organization and can lean a little towards being compulsive….but, only about certain things. Believe me on that.

So, today has been crazy for me. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. Or am I here or have I already left the building? You know what I mean? Haven’t we all had those type of days?

You Know You Are Losing It When

1. You find yourself standing at the kitchen sink, holding the sink strainer, and  are actually wondering what that gunk IS in there? And worse yet, how did it get in there?

2. Your elderly dog takes glucosamine. The meds are orange flavored. You contemplate tasting it to see if it really DOES taste like orange. Like the dog cares. He thinks it’s a treat.

3. You start to watch the news while making dinner. Instead of truly listening to what is going on in the world, you find yourself staring at the news reporter, thinking that he has a huge forehead and he’d look a lot better if he styled his hair differently.

4. While driving into town today, your child mentions that something stinks in the mini-van. You sigh….and then turn up the talk radio station even louder. It helps to drown out the thoughts about what could be rotting in the back cup holders, or under the seat.

5. You “skate” across the kitchen floor in your socks, while holding a spatula, singing Christmas tunes…and your family members don’t even consider that strange.

6. You sprayed way to much Yankee Candle, mistletoe scented spray on the fake Christmas trees. For the love of Pete would someone throw open a window…I think I’m getting a mistletoe buzz.

7. The collie (not the older dog) keeps dumping the entire bowl of dog food in the snow. Then hides the bowl.

8. You start to believe that you actually look pretty sexy in your “Clifford the Big Red Dog” apron, as you fix dinner.

9. You try not to think about the fact that the ground beef you are browning for dinner used to be a cow at some point. Sniff. Sniff.

10. Okay, so maybe I’m not certifiable…..unless you look under the word MOM. Then you realize that  losing one’s mind comes with the territory.

By the way, the cat is staring at me as I type. HE KNOWS.