Life Is More Enjoyable

Why is it when I long to slow down, the rest of the world seems to speed up? Do I really want to jump on this merry-go-round that spins me until I feel sick? Faster and faster until I have to get off….

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As a young adult, I used to think I had to be where the action was. The real party didn’t even start until late….and I had to stay up to enjoy it. Life was meant to stay busy. Do things. Stay up. Stay out. Stay moving. Life, with all of its ups and downs, has certainly changed that perspective.

There is so much more to see and experience when I slow down to savor the moments. Slowing is not boring, nor is it always easy, but it sure does make life more enjoyable.

  • Shadows of sunlight in the early evening
  • Summer sunsets
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Bubbles
  • Laughter with my husband
  • Freshly wiped down counters
  • The smell of lavender
  • Cats purring
  • Giving the dog belly rubs
  • A new phone case
  • Checking things off my to do list
  • Sipping tea
  • Emailing family
  • Bare feet
  • Purple nail polish
  • Darkness at 9 pm (which means Fall is on the way!)
  • Grown children that hug and say I love you
  • Help with dinner
  • Folded blankets
  • The warm glow of salt lamps
  • The smell of freshly cut grass

I’ll Just Take It Slow

“…..I later learned that thinking about living is not the same as living” 

Erin Loechner’s words hit me like a ton of bricks.

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How many times have I said (or at least thought to myself) life would be better if. If I finished my graduate degree. If I did some serious deep cleaning. If I got rid of stuff. If I lost weight. If I’d faithfully exercise. If I got a new haircut. Ate whole food. Read more classics. Kept in touch more. If I was a better parent. Friend. Daughter. Wife.

Always those ifs. Draining me. Causing anxiety and stress. Doubting. It is the ifs that will surely kill me.

But, I want to live. I want to live my life slowly and intentionally with purpose.

I want to live in the messy and broken and still see the beauty. I want to be more aware of the gift of time so that I don’t take precious moments for granted….and aren’t they all precious? I want to learn more and read more and highlight the good stuff. I want to be less in a space where I can breathe. I want to live in a house full of love even if my closet looks like a bomb dropped in it and the counters aren’t always clean. I want to live and be healthy because I know I’d feel better and be stronger, not because the numbers on a scale or the ingredients on a package tell me who I am….or Whose I am. I want to live and have fun whether my hair is short or long, lavender, blond, or a golden brown….because the great thing about hair, it always grows back. I want to reach out to family and friends while I still can. Share laughter. And tears. And inside jokes and out of the box thinking, and I love you’s.

A life well lived doesn’t require perfection.

So, I’ll just take it slow.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

 

Saying Goodbye…

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This Saturday in early August started out rather cool and breezy. A robin’s egg blue sky, with white fluffy clouds. The sun was shining and the humidity was low. My husband and I were taking out grandson back to the airport. He had been visiting with us these past two weeks from Texas. At fourteen, he is a big boy, but he has an even bigger heart. He told us he had fun and he would miss us. He confided, “Grandma, don’t tell me goodbye, just say ‘bye…..because goodbye makes me think it is forever”. Sweet, sweet boy.

He is right, sometimes goodbye can be for forever. Well, goodbye isn’t always for forever (and in his case, it is not!)….but, sometimes it is. Sometimes… it… is…

Goodbye. It is a hard word to say. It often gets stuck in the throat. Letting go is never easy. Oh, sure. There are times when saying goodbye is the only real answer, but even when I know goodbye is good, it still is hard.

*Saying goodbye to habits that took years to form. Habits I was comfortable with holding on to, even after they no longer served a purpose.

*Saying goodbye to stuff. Too much stuff. Clothes I will never wear again. Books and magazines I will never read again. Things that will get dusty and musty because even though I know they are no longer necessary, it is painful to let them go.

*Saying goodbye to relationships or friendships, that have changed through the seasons of life, time slowly unraveling them.

*Saying goodbye to dreams, that won’t ever become a reality because they just don’t fit anymore.

*And the hardest and definitely most painful goodbyes, are to those we love. When their chapter has ended, but for the rest of us still here, the story continues on without them.

Continuing to work on making changes as I continue to chase the slow…….

Making Room To Breathe

Chasing Slow already has my attention. The author (Erin Loechner) had me at the very first sentence of chapter one. “I married a man with an expiration date”. Her husband has a brain tumor, my (late) husband had an incurable heart condition. She married him knowing he had an inoperable tumor. I married mine, having no idea.

Life has a funny way of working things out. Or not. Funny might not be the word, maybe I should describe it as “interesting” instead. Challenging? Difficult? Exciting? Mundane and marvelous at the same time? As a young person, I remember thinking (and sometimes saying out loud), “I wish I knew what decision to make. I wish I knew how things would end up”. I was naive.

Knowing the ending would cripple me…. It would stop me in my tracks. I might give up if I could see the obstacles ahead of me. Often times it is those obstacles, those mountains, in life that have trained me in perseverance and steadfastness. To keep my eyes on He who knows no boundaries. No, I readily admit I don’t always know what I am doing. There are more days than I care to admit that I just find myself “winging it”. But, I do know this… I serve a God that is not chained to calendars or clocks. He is the Master of the big picture. The Creator of the perfect plan. The One who is the midst of the day to day and all its struggles, as well as the glimpses of the divine.

I look forward to reading this book, and to practicing chasing the slow. Chasing the slow isn’t about the frenzy, it is about the slowing down. It isn’t wondering why this happened, or how I got here, but searching for what and Who is real. Appreciating. Celebrating. Elevating, the moments I am given. Cleaning up and clearing out, and making room to breathe. It is making a conscious effort to slow down and savor this one life. Choosing to walk away from the harried to make room for the Holy.

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Slowing Down and Being Intentional

I am so excited.

Over a book.

Yes, a book. I read the first bit of it online.

I’ve been wanting to get this book since it came out earlier this year. It will arrive by Wednesday.

It is the book, Chasing Slow, by Erin Loechner. She talks about appreciation. Gratitude. Being intentional.

Yes. I have been attempting to work on those very things for the past several years, but who doesn’t need the reminder? To know there are others that struggle with these things too?

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As I sit here typing, my eyes glance around the kitchen. Notes and magnets askew on the refrigerator, the Keurig needs the water tank refilled, pet nose prints on the windows, and finger prints all over the stove and dishwasher. The counter needs to be wiped down, again, and my feet feel the grit on the floor. Why are my eyes always drawn to the negative? Instead, I want them to focus on my granddaughter playing in her high chair, smiling like only an 11-month-old can, a glass of cold green tea, and the feel of cool air conditioning (after having just recently been fixed).  I am choosing to make a change.

My soul craves the slower life, the more intentional life. I have been blessed with so much, and yes, I am thankful in a big way. But, am I thankful in the-everyday-way? Do I own my things, or do they own me? Do, I schedule my life, or does my calendar rule me? My life often feels hurried and I’m left harried. That is just not what I want.

I don’t want a wild race to next week, or next month, or even next year. I long to slow down and be intentional. I want to savor the days and make them what I want, not what I must. Slowing down is about more than just getting rid of “stuff”, it is also about changing my mindset. I am sure I will try and fail, then have to dust my self off and get back at it. What am I motivated by? How can I make this one life something I enjoy and not just one I strive to get through?

Over the next several months I will be working hard on simplifying, slowing down, and letting go. I plan on posting periodically about this journey.  You will read about the triumphs as well as the messy stuff. I suspect this journey to slow will not be an easy one for me……

What Makes A Perfect Life?

Today I read an article entitled,  Appeal to the United Nations. The article, dated November 2015, discussed how more couples are choosing elective abortions when they find out that their baby has Down Syndrome. The article went on to state, couples who went through screening and found out their child had Down Syndrome terminated the pregnancies at these rates:

United States: average of 68%

Europe: average of 98%

Netherlands: 74-94% after Down Syndrome was diagnosed in the last 23 years

Iceland: during the period from 2008-12, in which Down’s was diagnosed, 100% of the pregnancies were terminated

Denmark: 98%

Beyond just my sadness over voluntarily choosing to not continue with a pregnancy because a child isn’t “perfect”, are the ethical and moral implications of this decision.

When is it okay to say, “this child won’t be born perfect, therefore it is okay to not have this child”? Who has the right to determine the quality of life or what makes life worth living? Does a genetic difference make it okay to stop a pregnancy?

 

 

Does perfect genetics equate to a perfect life? I don’t believe so…

No one is perfect, and in fact, it is often times our imperfections that make us so unique.

I believe all life is valuable and worthy.

Matthew 18:1-2, 10  At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them…See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

A Decision That Changed My Life

 

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Each of us lives in a world made up of milestone moments. Those moments in time that stand still, like a monument, even as the rest of life rushes by. Those special moments that, when woven together, help to create our story.

One of those moments happened to me right before my eleventh birthday in 1979. It was a sunny Sunday morning in May when I walked down the aisle of my small church and told the pastor I wanted to accept Jesus into my heart. You might be reading this and thinking, what does a fifth-grader know? How could I possibly understand what I was doing? I can tell you, I was old enough to know that I needed Jesus. Although I had grown up in a Christian home, and for my family attending church was a weekly occurrence, I still realized that I needed a personal relationship. Not my parent’s relationship with Jesus. Not my grandparent’s relationship. It was not even about attending church and sitting in a pew each Sunday. I loved Jesus, but I wanted to know Him. Even as an almost eleven-year-old, I knew I needed a Savior….even if I wasn’t able to verbalize all the reasons why, at that point.

That decision I made almost 38 years ago, has affected all subsequent decisions throughout my life. There is no other decision that I’ve made that has been more important. More life changing. More eternal. I am not here to say that life has always been easy since that day so many years ago. I have had many hard and difficult things happen over the years. I’ve cried. I’ve been angry….and I’ve often wondered why? Being a follower of Jesus Christ doesn’t mean that life is easy or always happy. It is not about never having very real problems. The difference in having a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus, is that He gives hope to the hopeless. He loves the unlovable. He has compassion for those who know they don’t deserve it.

His grace truly is amazing.

Becoming a Christian

God Loves You!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

God has a wonderful plan for your life!
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10b)

Walking Down the “Romans Road” to Salvation . . . .Because of our sin, we are separated from God. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23) The Penalty for our sin is death. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23The penalty for our sin was paid by Jesus Christ! But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) If we repent of our sin, then confess and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved from our sins! For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  (Romans 10:13)…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9,10)

***http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/about/becoming_a_christian.aspx

 

 

 

 

Around The Bend In The Road

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One of my passions in life is to listen to people’s stories. To know people through their stories. To see people through their experiences. To try and understand the meaning behind the expressions.

Everyone has a story inside them. With some, the story leaks out slowly, while with others, it pours out, causing a flood of emotions. Some stories bring sweet memories, and some bring bitter tears. Funny, sad, mesmerizing, sweet. Stories of what is right, as well as some difficult lessons from regrets. Anyone that has lived for any amount of time on this spinning orb, has that story.  Their story. The story that only he/she can tell.

The stories become real and personal. The words wind their way through time and memory, etching meaning into the mundane as well as the miraculous.

This week I am going to begin to tell a story. My story.

I hope you will join me.

 

Finding Beauty

The older I get the more I want to find beauty. To see it in people’s faces. To recognize it in their laughter. To find it in their tears. Life is a struggle (for us all), and so many times I find myself weighted down with all the things that are going on in the world, but yet still…I look for ways to list all the ways that people are beautiful. The smooth, sweet smelling skin of my five month old grand daughter, her contagious laughter instantly changing my mood. The older lady in the store parking lot, smiling at me. The UPS delivery man who is always so friendly and kind, even though I know he is tired. My husband who works hard for me and for his family. The neighbors who offered help, and unconditional support when we lost our beloved dog. My friends who know me, and know my heart, and I theirs. There is beauty. I just keep my eyes open for it.

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I enjoy being outside. I like to take sky pictures… And field pictures… And animal pictures. And yes, people pictures, in my search for beauty. The other night I walked out on the deck, waiting to call the dogs in for the night. The cold, crisp winter air was still as I peered up. The sky was blacker than ink, with sparkling glitter. I find moments like this to be holy. I am reminded how small I am, and how big God is. The intricate workings of the Milky Way, created by the sound of His voice. Beautiful.

Scented soap homemade from a friend, texted messages and voicemails from family and friends, iced tea, and iced coffee, holding hands and holding hearts, baby laughter, and giggles, good books and timeless stories, friendships that have withstood both time and distance, children who are now adults, but still say, “I love you”, pictures on the refrigerator, and smiles from strangers at the grocery store, dogs that lay their heads in my lap and lick me until I pet them, wedding rings and commitment, love and loyalty and fun. God is so good and He chooses to gift me with beautiful people and beautiful moments and ……..

I am so thankful.

 

 

That’s Hygge

It has been awhile, friends. Life has been extremely busy for me, over the past several months. Teaching, tutoring, working on my masters degree, presenting at a monthly parents (of children with special needs) support group, being involved in church, being a wife, Mom, and Nana is just…well…exhausting! Many nights I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. That all said, I still enjoy blogging and writing, and reading, and taking pictures of my country life (you can follow me at gibsongirl247 on Instagram).

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As I type, I find myself looking out the window. It is a cold, gray, January afternoon. There are still remnants of snow on the ground, leftover from a couple of days ago. Yes, I am one of the “weird” people that loves winter. My warm weather friends don’t understand me, and that is just fine. I choose to do my weather complaining from mid-June through early September when the temperatures and humidity are like living in Dante’s seventh circle of hell. Just sayin’.

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I am a sweater person. I am cozy socks person. I am a colorful mittens type of girl. I think in another life I must have been Scandinavian. I am drawn to the Scandinavian decorating style. I think the Finnish truly understand how education/learning is supposed to work, and my latest infatuation is with hygge (that is pronounced hoo-ga) The Danish people have this extremely cool word (in my opinion) that doesn’t even have an English translation. It sort of means, creating a warmth and intimacy even in the smallest of things. I can see where this would be wonderful year round, but especially during the cold, dark months in this northern country. Think of padding around the house in thick, warm socks and comfy clothes. Think hot chocolate with a big, fluffy marshmallow. Think a crackling fire in the fireplace and a good book or a movie with friends and family. Think flannel sheets and snuggling. Think candle light. Think board games. Think a handwritten note to a friend. Are you feeling it?

That’s hygge.