Finding Beauty in Uncertainty

img951445

There is a knot in my gut this morning. Which is the reason I decided to write. Maybe I’ll find some fellow troopers on the path of uncertainty out there.  Life is like that… Sometimes you think you are “up for something,” and then lo and behold, you find you are not so “up” after all!

My uncertainty is simple. My husband has taken a new job 2000 miles away. And waking up the first morning home without him is…well lonely and strange .  Even though my adult son is here (so I’m not really alone)– and we talked about how to make this work and how it can be a good thing for awhile…. I didn’t expect this knot in the gut–because I’m just an easy going, flexible person, and God has my back (He does!), etc…   However,  we did not expect that Rick would wake up to SNOW in Laramie the day after Memorial Day.  Or that some annoying issues would pop up the first day there with paper work and parking, and some items he needed would be, uh, back here.   Hmmm…lots of adjustments for a Carolina guy.

But, being on the back side of fifty (old…) ,  I know that humbling events are actually good, even though I don’t like them.  They SCARE me.  They also might make me look and feel incompetent–and I might even BE a bit incompetent (God forbid!).  However, when this happens other things also happen–like: 1) I pray more honestly   2) I ask others for help, and maybe make a new friend  and  3) I learn that feeling anxious doesn’t actually kill me–especially if I talk and pray about the specific thing I dread the most.

So like this snow my husband took a picture of back in April on his way out to visit Laramie…there can be beauty in facing uncertainties in life.  I am hoping to encounter them head on in the coming months—-feel free to join me if you, too, have a knot in your gut.   Who knows, the journey might just be fun and we can loosen that knot together!

Lent: A Season to Reconnect

backlit cemetery christianity clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Do you remember life before Smart Phones? Before that voice in your head was always saying things like: “better check my _____ site”,  “my ________ page”, or “see if _________  replied?”  Frankly, that’s a lot of blanks!  And even more frankly — there seems to be an ironic DISconnect because of the constant use of sites and devices designed to keep us connected.

Once upon a time we got home from work, opened the mail, returned a phone call or two–and bingo–we were done with messages for the day! Almost miraculously (it seems now), we could enjoy the rest of the evening relaxing with our families. Now, we have an endless battle with messages:  voicemail, email, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and snail mail! We are NEVER done checking messages, because with 24-hour access the day simply never ends. And we are always accessible.

For example, have you noticed when two people meet for lunch, there are way more than two people there? “Ding. Oops, gotta check this…Sorry. What was that?”

And even if we are dutifully ignoring our phones–honestly, where is our brain? Worried about what needs to be responded to.  All these obligations – are to what? And to whom?

That is the question of today.

And no I don’t have the answer. But I do know one thing, I am not going to sit around and simply be swished downstream in the ever-widening flood of omnipresent social media. Pretty soon a talking head will appear in my bath water!

Hence, my decision to engage in a primary fast from social media for the season of Lent. Why? My hope is to spend time reconnecting with God– to learn again how to be quiet enough to hear His voice (rather than mine). And then to pray for better connections with friends and family, too.

Thus, for the 40 days of Lent I will:  A) not post anything      B) not spend spontaneous time scrolling social media sites  and C) will purposefully do “spot checks” twice a week (with a timer set for 5 minutes)–to scan for major life events such as funerals, weddings, etc.

I have learned that nothing takes precedence over relationships: our relationship with God and our relationships with others. And whatever we can do to enhance these…well, it is simply worth trying.

Just how to get there… more thoughts after Easter!

” For thus said the Lord God… in quietness and trust shall be your strength.”             (Isaiah 30:15)

 

 

 

 

 

Between Yesterday and Tomorrow

photo of children playing with dry leaves

Photo by Michael Morse on Pexels.com

In the wonderful book– ironically titled The Joy of Missing Out–Christina Crook describes the pleasure of a young child who hasn’t yet lost the knack of living in the moment:      the seven-year-old, who with all the “carelessness of childhood” has mastered “the embrace of beauty, time and place.”

Don’t you want to go there?   I do.

On a long drive to Tennessee, I thought about the New Year–and of course, resolutions began to pop in my head.  But I kept going back to this–how learning to live in the present would be quite the accomplishment in this world of constant digital distractions  –not to mention the normal obligations of life.

And then little irritating experiences (which seem to happen a lot!) made me want to grumble–and gave me cause to ponder, too.

So rather than my typical “do-good’ resolutions: Organize, declutter, and do “X” more often.., I came up with two very basic (sort of) resolutions.  If you like them feel free to borrow.  Research says we only keep the other kind 6 weeks anyway!

So here they are:

  1. Remember that the moments between focusing on your “to do list” for the week–and what happened yesterday–is your Life. You better get in there and enjoy it.             
  2. Give others grace, instead of griping.   (In case you aren’t familiar with the word         Gripe, it’s used a lot in the South.  According to Google, it means: “to grumble about  something, especially something trivial.”   And if we have out basic needs                     covered…then technically most everything else is trivial, right?

There’s nothing like growing older to make you long to be more like that child so beautifully described by Christina. And, now I understand better why Jesus said we must become “like little children” in order to get into the kingdom of Heaven (Mt.18.3).  Childlike joy and trust.  So…

Yes! In 2019 I’m looking forward to trying out these resolutions.

Sometimes less really is more.  🙂

Treasuring Advent

 

IMG_20181209_081350_745

Yesterday was the second Sunday of Advent, and I found myself at home (due to an overnight snow that cancelled pretty much everything for us Carolinians! Although I was enjoying my warm cozy home, I realized I would miss that time of worship and gathering together to focus on the Advent themes of Hope,  Love, Joy, and Peace.

When I was a child the church I attended celebrated Christmas, of course, but we did not particularly mention Advent and these themes in a structured way. So, I am just now beginning to appreciate the visual symbols, like the Advent wreath– and how it helps us focus on these wonderful things. So I looked around my home and found some things to take pictures of to help me treasure the realities of Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace– that the Christ Child brought to us by becoming Immanuel –  “God with us,” – that great Christmas miracle. And then how He grew up and willingly became the Lamb, too, making sacrifice for all our sin on the cross to reconcile us to God.

Christmas is a wonderful time for reflection; and I am praying this year to enjoy that, and allow wonderful traditions like Advent to help me…

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mt. 1:21)

The Place Where the Light Enters

Encouraging words, from one Mom who found Christmas hard to bear

Meditations in Motion

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.Rumi

Meditations in Motion

I have to admit that I never have been a “Christmas person“. Oh, maybe when I was a girl I loved Christmas, but as a young mom, there was always so much stress.

There were family obligations to juggle, the house to decorate, meals to plan and execute and, of course, gifts to buy. My husband and I married and had children while we were still quite young. We lived on a very tight budget. It was not easy to find the money to buy presents for three little boys, our parents and each other, even though I put aside a little bit every week into a Christmas fund. Somehow we managed, but every year, it was difficult to pull all the pieces together.

As my kids got older and left the house and money…

View original post 940 more words

The Magic of Gratitude

20160320_185226.jpg

Thanksgiving is upon us in all its Wonder. I believe there is no greater satisfaction on earth than being truly thankful for something and having the chance to express those feelings precisely. By precisely I mean to the right person, or persons, or Person –who is rightly responsible for the good thing you have experienced–or the gift you received.

For Gratitude itself is a gift we all may give, but when we have offered it freely to others we somehow  find it to be like a quiet magic that gives back–soothing and satisfying the soul, and filling spaces we did not know were empty.

 

Blonde Blunders…just a laugh to live by.

 

WELL…It’s the evening of “The Day After Elections.”  And so, I think some humor is in order.  How about you?   And no political puns–or put-downs,  Right-Left jokes, and no…not even Lawyer jokes (too close to political).  So how about we nominate “Day after Elections” as National Blonde Blunders Day?  You know–confess to all the distractible dumb things we did this year?

Of course, I can’t confess to all of mine…I’d have to write a book. Ask anyone who knows me.

Like one of my best friends–who is actually a “closet blonde”–masquerading as a brown-eyed Brunette.  She shares a secret support  group with me; it’s for women with Menopausal Distractible Disorder (MDD).  Go ahead–look it up.  I’m pretty sure it’s nowhere but in our heads.

However, MDD is quite distinct from ADD.   Because I don’t think ADD kids drop their smart phones in the toilet (which my friend did the other day); nor do they wear their brown leather shoes with light gray slacks–(which I did the other day)–being so…well, DISTRACTED when dressing,  that I did not discover my shoes were brown until I was literally stepping into the office.   OH, WELL.  I’ll just speed-walk.

And also this week I dropped the corn.  I mean a huge dish of it–on my way into a funeral dinner, and sloshed the juice all down my leg onto my nice, funeral clothes dress pants. And, I was helping with the dinner, so no chance to ditch and run.

Well, good news– I CAUGHT THE CORN (thank God).  And no one seemed to smell me.  (As the whole place smelled like delicious dinner–Or…was everyone just too nice to say “Gee, Kam, you sure smell like a bunch of…CORN today…and what’s that giant, wet smear down your left leg?”

So look at that–I just proved there are still nice people in the world. No one made fun of my clashing brown shoes– or my messed up corn-smelling funeral clothes.

What a week! Perfect for Post-election Day recovery–and to remind us we are all people who put on our pants–and shoes–matching or not, and face each day one day at a time.  If we can remember what day it is, that is.  🙂

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” Proverbs 17:22 KJV

 

Waiting Out Florence: Painful but Grateful

20180918_121734

 

As Florence battered our coast and I sat–listening to the wind howl and the rain pound—I tenaciously typed, thinking about “Blasts from the Past”–like Fran and Charley and Hugo, that had come our way.  I sipped my coffee and wondered when the power hit would come.

Almost miraculously, my home escaped long term outages and severe damage this go around—but thousands around me did not.  And many of those folks will be in long term recovery, especially our friends and relatives closer to the coast “down East”, as we say in North Carolina.

Today, almost a week after Florence hit, waterways all the way inland to Raleigh are still cresting—though this morning the sun shone again, bringing that wonderful sense of hope.  We will all remember Florence for one thing: she brought new meaning to the old phrase…“It ain’t over till it’s over.”  Who knew a hurricane could move so slowly–good grief?!!

But EVERYTHING isn’t bad—things like feeling humbled–and talking to neighbors about how to help each other—that’s the good that lasts.  And seeing all those first responders, poised and ready—spring into action to bring the help folks need at crucial moments—that has been downright inspiring.

Of course, with every hurricane we lose some battles.  And any loss of life and homes is tragic—there’s no way to sugar coat that.  Yet, somehow the strength of spirit we feel as we pull together is good. And we know it would be much worse without everyone chipping in to help—before, during, and after.

In the end, when the work to rescue and rebuild has subsided, those stories of heroism and sacrifice will slowly surface, being sown in the throes of common hardship.  And, yes, there will be tears—but there will also be unexpected joys.

So, let us pray we face painful days with hope–whether it be a hurricane day, or a cancer day, or some other pain that comes unbidden–but still remain grateful for each other and the beauty of a blue sky on a Carolina morning.