Friday, October 30, 2009

My family might tell you I have a habit of recalling events by reminding them, “A month ago at this time we were …..” or, “A year ago we were ….” Maybe it is my own unique way of marking the passing of time.

In her amazing book Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach has addressed “Secret Anniversaries of the Heart.” She writes, “Today I am thinking of singular rites of passage, the secret anniversaries of the heart. These are the anniversaries we never talk about, kept in silence and apart. You might remember a first kiss, while I can’t forget the last time I held my father’s hand.”

This month marks a personal such anniversary. Not a Big Event, exactly; rather a cluster of scenes, warmed by time and space. So, how does one observe a Silent Anniversary? Some light candles. I might raise a glass in salute. Most probably, I’ll just smile in quiet thanksgiving. It’s enough to remember, the way we were.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Isn’t the Bible chock-full of the concept of minding our thoughts? (Certainly, that’s something I struggle with on a daily basis!)

Proverbs says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” And all the way at the other end of scripture, Paul says, “What is good, whatever is noble, whatever is honorable (depending on your translation), think about those things."

Our Father knows what we ask before we ask it. To me, that means that I don’t get to show up at a certain place one day of the week and visit God. “The Kingdom of Heaven is in our midst”, as they say. So who am I trying to kid? It is time to really be truthful about what I want and what I feel, because that is what I’m going to get.

Charles Fillmore said, “There are no unmanifested thoughts.” Every single thought creates my life! The ones I say on Sunday when I’m happy, and the ones I say when I’m cut off in traffic! It’s a little bit scary, isn’t it? What an awesome responsibility!

So, how can we use this power in the right way … in the interest of love, to make more of what we want to have more of?

Take an inventory, then take out the garbage! Is there stuff going on we don’t want any more of?

It might mean forgiving. It might mean saying to some people in our lives, Thank you because you taught me. Maybe you taught me what not to do, but thank you all the same, and God bless you…. and I’m done.

It might also mean forgiving ourselves. Saying, you know what? Whatever I put myself through, whatever it took to get me to right now, I’m here now, and that’s all that matters ... so I’m done.

Where we are going, what we want to do and have happen, we have to travel light. The best example of this in Scripture that I know of is the story of Noah and the Ark. Life has a wonderful protection mechanism within it; sooner or another, we’ll get to the point of growth. So, if it hurts, if we feel “sooo done"... maybe that’s God’s way of asking, “Can you tread water?”

It is time for a cleansing, and what does God tell Noah? “Take two of every animal.” I interpret this to mean, take with you what you want to reproduce in your life. What thoughts and feelings do you want more of, and what are you ready to have washed away? What can we do differently, what can we say differently?

I love this quote .... “Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent. (Mignon McLaughlin.)

I hope everyone is blessed with a hope-FULL new week!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I think you can learn a lot about God's love from a dog.

As one essayist wrote, "I am convinced that God made dogs to enable us to see grace from the grace-giver's perspective, rather than our usual position as a recipient of grace."

So, what does living with dogs teach us about God's grace? Dory illustrates:

He loves us even when we're yucky.
~ Aren't we like that sometimes before God? Sometimes we think we have an idea of our "yuckiness" before Him, but we don't know the half of it! Yet when we come before Him, He welcomes us anyway.
He works on just a few problems at a time.
~ God gives us what we can handle, and no more.
He knows what we want and need better than we do.
~ We think we know best what we want, but God knows better, and gives us every perfect gift at the perfect time.
He loves us even when we forget to be grateful.
~ God is pleased to provide for us, even when we forget to say "thanks."
He welcomes us back even when we've been away for a very long time.
~ Too long we neglect the Word and prayer, and yet when we remember God, He is there, willing to spend time with us.
He doesn't complain about how much trouble we are.
~ He never makes us feel that we aren't worth the trouble.

A Dog's Prayer for His Owner

O, Lord of humans, make my master faithful to his fellow men as I am to him. Grant that he may be as devoted to his friends and family as I am to him.

May he be open faced and undeceptive as I am; may he be true to trust reposed in him as I am to his.

Give him a face cheerful like unto my wagging tail. Give him a spirit of gratitude like unto my flicking tongue.

Fill him with patience like unto mine that awaits his footsteps uncomplainingly for hours. Fill him with my watchfulness, my courage, and my readiness to sacrifice comfort or life itself.

Keep him always young in heart and endowed with the spirit of play, as I am.

Make him as good a man as I am a dog.
And make him worth of me, his dog.

-- Anonymous

If dogs were like people they might eventually give up on us .. but they never do. Do you suppose, just perhaps, that God made dogs to show us a little something about Himself?

Maybe, "man's best friend" is really pointing us to the One who is truly our very Best Friend.

Monday, October 12, 2009

So what’s new?
.....Glad you asked!

While I’ve always supposed I’d get to meet fellow bloggers someday, never expected they’d hail all the way from Missouri!
Must confess, when learning of Rita and Frank’s “Last Hurrah” cross-country adventure, I had a notion to stick out my foot and trip ‘em, long enough to say “hi.” But no, they actually wandered my way on purpose …. wow! Can you say, de-LIGHT-full?… Don’t know when I’ve ever met folks who SO personify “the joy of living.” (Just a hunch, but I’d bet good money, these two could make a good time out of an IRS audit!) They certainly made my day … and, if you’ve not yet met Cash Jocky and The Old Salt, run… don’t walk, on over (!

Crazy then, after such an emotional “high” that things could turn Ugly, so soon. I’ve a rule not to talk about work in public, but suffice to say, we’re not immune to the economy. As such, more changes are coming -- to include my own hours. Uncomfortable, scary … you bet-cha. Like that old saw goes, “When Life Gives you Lemons….”
While I’d prefer lobbing ‘em right back at Life, I’ll adjust. In fact, this might be a grand time to begin that work-out program I’ve been promising myself for the last two years!

Talk about scary! DH’s “innards” have been staging a revolt of sorts for the last week; Saturday night they mandated a run to the ER. In times of stress, I’ve been known to take a mental “vacation.” Being I couldn’t “do” anything useful, I preoccupied myself eavesdropping on our neighbors in triage … sad stories, even comical – how DO staffers keep it together?!
.....Belatedly wondering why we hadn’t availed ourselves of the complimentary face masks kept in the lobby. (Nothing says “paranoia” like being a naked-faced minority in flu season!)
Thank God, the labs and CAT-scan came back negative. Still, my SIL cautioned DH, “You’d better be nice to Myra; she might still turn you in under the Lemon Law!”

So OK, after a period of snit-turned-prayer, I’m thinking I’ve got my moxie back … ready to rumble. (Whatever the heck a granny-rumble looks like!)
Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Still, Small Voice

My cousin("in-law", actually) is Senior Pastor of a lovely congregation in Wauwatosa, WI. Here is an excerpt from their monthly newsletter that touched my heart and made me smile:

A week ago my friend, Maurleen, called with sad news: Her cat, Walter had disappeared. She feared he had jumped off the balcony of her second floor apartment while she was filling the bird feeders. Walter had disappeared before. This time, however, he was not to be found. Friends and neighbors walked and drove around the neighborhood searching; pictures were posted. They surrounded her with care and concern.

Maureen commented that Walter's loss was "just one more hurdle." Her husband had died some months before. So Walter had been company and comfort to her.

This afternoon I received another call from Maurleen: Walter had been found ... in the drawer of her old oak filing cabinet! While sitting in her bedroom, weeping, she heard the slightest sound. She opened a drawer and there was Walter! He seemed OK for a cat that had been without water or food for a week. A checkup with the vet the next morning confirmed that Walter was, indeed, OK.

After we ended our conversation my first thought was "what was lost, now is found" and of the Biblical stories of the widow who searched for her lost coin or the shepherd searching for the lost sheep.

And then I thought of how remarkable it was that when Maurleen was so sad, so lonely, a small voice called to her and she heard. Maybe she paused in looking long enough to listen.

In their book, Spiritual Literacy, Frederick and Mary Ann Brussart write about the importance of listening. "We begin our lives listening to the many sounds surrounding us in the womb. When we are dying, the last faculty to shut down is usually hearing. In between, there is so much to see that we seldom take time to cultivate the art of listening."

My four-year-old granddaughter, Gracie, is a chatterbox and I think she realizes that we sometimes "tune her out." So, when she wants my serious attention she says, "Grammie, can I tell you something?" And I listen.

It is as if God is saying, "Can I tell you something? I love you so much I am sending my son to tell you even more. Are you listening?"

Friday, October 2, 2009

Over the Top ... Really?!

Color me, tickled pink to learn that Mary (over at Pile of Smiles) thought to honor me!
Then again, how can you not love the gal behind the title ... makes me smile, just saying, "Pile-of-Smiles" -- real fast, out loud!

Yes, I'm happy to participate. Here are the rules:

1. You can use only one word (I know ... darn it!!!)
2. Pass this along to 6 other bloggers
3. Alert them that you have given them this award
4. Most importantly ....Have fun!

Here goes! ...

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Your hair? #5RB
3. Your mother? Angel
4. Your father? Heaven
5. Your favorite food? Hamburger
6. Your dream last night? Office
7. Your favorite drink? Coffee
8. Your dream/goal? Serenity
9. What room are you in? Bedroom
10. Your hobby? Blogging
11. Your fear? Health
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? RV-ing
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren't? Coordinated!
15. Muffins? Cinnamon
16. Wish list item? Laptop
17. Where did you grow up? LosAlamos (ha! - 1 word)
18. Last thing you did? Napped
19. What are you wearing? Sweats
20. Your TV? Tempermental
21. Your pets? Dog
22. Friends? Priceless!
23. Your life? Stressful
24. Your mood? Optimistic
25. Missing someone? Mom
26. Vehicle? Camry
27. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
28. Your favorite store? Hallmark
29. Your favorite color? Yellow
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday
32. Your best friend? Debbie
33. One place that I go to over and over? Bathroom
34. One person who emails me regularly? Joan
35. Favorite place to eat? Mimi's

And now, I'm to pass this award to 6 other bloggers and look forward to their answers:

1. Monica @ Changes in the Wind
2. Rita (and Frank!) at Cash Jocky & "The Old Salt"
3. JeanMac at Welcome to our World
4. Ashley at I'm Just too Too Jazzed to Sleep
5. Sharon at Sharon's Stuff
6. Karen at Nittany Inspirations

Do treat yourself and drop in on these gals to say "hey."