Tuesday, January 31, 2017

10 Years from Now

From the time I was able to put pencil to paper, I've been a list-maker; in fact, I've been known to make lists of lists I need to create! As a result, I'm excited to participate this year in Moorea Seal's 52 Lists Project; look for my list every Monday.

Week 4: List what you would like your life to look like 10 years from now.

That I would be:

  1. Living in continual, personal relationship with God

  2. Filled with peace and joy not based on circumstances

  3. Enjoying a (continued) close relationship with my son & daughter

  4. Physically strong, healthy, and active

  5. Making a positive impact on those around me and possibly an even larger circle of people

  6. Retired and "comfortable" financially

  7. Living in the moment

  8. Living simply, surrounded only by *things* that are useful or that bring me joy


 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Walking, not Marching

Last week was an emotional one for our country and for me. As I watched the events of the latter part unfold on television, I sometimes wept.

Sentimental tears, Joyful tears, Sorrowful tears.

The tears dried quickly, of course. My sorrow over what I witnessed from the comfort of my living room lingered.

It was hard to reconcile the fact that far too many people who would consider themselves nice, normal people apparently feel that violence is a way to respond to disappointment. That those people feel it's appropriate to hurt people, damage other people's property, etc., just because they didn't get their way on election day.

It saddens me that their years-long demands for tolerance and respect were, quite frankly, hypocritical and self-serving.

It saddens me that they are incapable of realizing that when they resort to disrespectful and violent behavior, they become the very thing they proclaim to abhor.

Another thing that saddens me is the behavior and comments of many of those speaking at the women's march in Washington and in other cities across this great land. I am appalled that a woman would stand up and proudly proclaim that she has thought of committing a terrorist act that would result in the death of many people and that women who applaud and cheer such a comment.

I'm saddened that another woman, outraged by the sexist and crude comments of one person, would then go on to say that this person probably has "wet dreams" about his own daughter. And again, women applauded and cheered.

It saddens me that these women, like the vandals who violated the law the day before, fail to recognize that their own comments do not distance them from the person they criticize; rather, their comments put them right there on the bench next to him.

I'm saddened, too, that a couple of my own Facebook friends publicly applauded the actions of "all" (their word, not mine) those who participated in one or both of these so-called protests. I asked two of them to clarify if, in fact, they really did approve of all of the activities -- the violence, the criminal acts, the threats, etc. Both women said they did.

I'm saddened that, as a nation, we have become more divided than perhaps at any other time in our history. I'm saddened that those perpetuating the division refuse to see their role in creating the chasm.

I'm saddened that when one man makes sexist and even disgusting statements, many people who are justifiably horrified by his comments respond not with strong but peaceful tactics but with words and actions that are just -- and even more -- despicable.

And they see nothing wrong with that.

Yes, I'm a woman. But I am defined far less by my gender than by my spiritual beliefs.

As a result, I rest in the absolute trust that in the end everything will work out as it should.

The tears long dried, the sorrow fading, I turn away from marches of violence and hatred. I far prefer a walk of peace and love.

I want to make very clear that I do not condone sexist, racist, etc. language or actions on the part of anyone. I respect the beliefs of every single person, even those when they are diametrically opposed to mine on every single issue and at every level. It is disrespectful and criminal words and actions that I do not respect, no matter the beliefs of those from whom they come. 

 

 

 

 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Let the Music Play (52 Lists Project)

From the time I was able to put pencil to paper, I've been a list-maker; in fact, I've been known to make lists of lists I need to create! As a result, I'm excited to participate this year in Moorea Seal's 52 Lists Project; look for my list every Monday.

Week 4: List the soundtrack of your life right now.

  • "All by Myself" by Eric Carmen

  • "Let it Be" by The Beatles

  • "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey

  • "Up" by Shania Twain

  • I Hope You Dance" by LeeAnn Womack

What songs would you choose as the soundtrack for your life right now? I hope you'll share via a comment. Thanks and have a gorgeous Monday!



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Refine (Five Minute Friday)

I'm very excited to again this week join a talented group of women bloggers in an online, unedited flash mob free write. Week after week, these women produce insightful and inspiring posts based on a word-prompt given to us by our fearless leader Kate Motaung (whose wonderful blog can be found at katemotaung.com). My timer is set for 5 minutes; let's see where the word "refine" takes me.

Elegant ladies -- and I mean ladies -- in dazzling gowns and shimmering jewels. Dazzling and shimmering yet tasteful. Men in tailored -- not rented -- tuxedos. Both speaking in well-modulated voices and behaving only in ways that would make Miss Manners nod in approval.

Refined.

Fine wine, Precious metals purified by fire.

Refined.

Tested by trials and tribulations and not merely surviving but surviving with grace and courage and coming out on the other side a better person.

Refined.

I'll never be an elegant lady; of course, neither can I ever be wine or a precious metal. But I can be a person who handles adversity with grace and courage, who is a better person because of it.

Sadly, I must confess that I haven't consistently responded to a life challenge in a way that meets my definition of refined. No, I've cried, whined, retreated, brooded, gotten angry, and obsessed over what I perceive as horrible situations that have befallen me.

Even worse, I haven't walked away from each of the trials a better person. All too often, I haven't learned a thing and have gone right back to may old ways.

But time and experience has had its way with me in more ways than just wrinkles and some physical aches and pains that remind me of my age.

I'm also more likely to heed the warnings of small difficulties, to stop and consider what lesson those difficulties might have to teach me. I know full well that things will go better for me if I do, because if my attention isn't caught by a small problem, larger ones are just waiting in the wings.

Refining is a process.

I'm being refined every single day.

It's not always fun; sometimes it's downright painful. But I'm thankful for that process. Thankful I'm being refined.

Grateful to the Refiner.

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Janus, the 2-faced god

While on any given day I can't remember where I put my car keys 15 minutes before or whether or not I've taken multivitamin, I can remember an amazing amount of what I learned in Mrs. Malahy's Latin I and Latin II classes from . . . . well, let's just forget how many years ago that was, why don't we?

I can conjugate verbs, read and understand "Winnie Ile Pu", and sing more than a few Christmas Carols in Latin. And, of course, I remember most of the Greek gods and goddesses and what it is they rule.

That's why, every year when I turn the December calendar page and begin noting appointments on the first page for the new year, I think of Janus. The namesake of our month January, he is the 2-faced god of beginnings, gates and doorways, transitions, time, and endings, among other things.

Of course, it's fitting that the first month of the year -- a time when people reflect on the successes and failures, joys and sorrows of the previous 12 months and plot out a course of action for the coming 12 -- be named after such a god.

Looking back is important, of course. It's important to reflect on what worked, what didn't, and even on what we ardently wish had never happened at all. We learn from our pasts. That's why we study history.

Some of us spend too much time focused on the past, however. We chew on past slights, silly little goofs, or other minor issues like the proverbial dog with a bone. We simply cannot let go of things. We're so busy daydreaming about the past, rewriting scenes so that we're more favorably reflected, that we miss out on the present.

Similarly, it's important to look ahead, to lay the foundation for the time ahead. But just as it can be dangerous to focus too much on the past, always looking at tomorrow at the expense of today can create problems.

It takes careful balance, this act of living in the moment while at the same time learning from the past and prudently preparing for the future.

I've been reflecting the past couple of weeks on 2016, on what I learned about myself and life in general. I've focused, too, on what I hope 2017 to look like.

But I'm done with that. I'm ready -- more than at any other time in my life -- to live in the moment, in the day at hand.

I'm ready for 2017 -- it's going to be a wonderful year . . . no matter what it brings!

 

 

 

 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Good Times! (52 Lists Project)

From the time I was able to put pencil to paper, I've been a list-maker; in fact, I've been known to make lists of lists I need to create! So when I first heard of Moorea Seal's 52 Lists Project, I was intrigued and rushed to check it out. I paged through the book and knew I wanted to participate in 2017. To that end, every Sunday I will post my own list for that week's topic.     

List 3: The Happiest Moments of My Life so Far

1. September 16, 1984 -- the day after my wedding, with all the hoopla behind me, enjoying a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game at the now-old Bush Stadium with my new husband

2. August 23, 1986 -- at the end of a long, very exciting day, sitting in my quiet, dimly-lit hospital room with my 7-hour-old son, holding him and sharing with him my hopes and dreams for him

3. March 22, 1989 -- watching from my hospital bed as my husband held my son, who held his 5-hours-old baby sister

4. Every moment the four -- and more recently, the three -- of us have been together 

Oh, What a Character!

From the time I was able to put pencil to paper, I've been a list-maker; in fact, I've been known to make lists of lists I need to create! So when I first heard of Moorea Seal's 52 Lists Project, I was intrigued and rushed to check it out. I paged through the book and knew I wanted to participate in 2017. To that end, every Sunday I will post my own list for that week's topic.   Note: I was out of town and without internet service on January 8, so I'm posting this list a week late. 


List 2: List your favorite characters from books, movies, etc.

1. Sheldon Cooper -- the theoretical physicist and king of social awkwardness on The Big Bang Theory

2. Katherine Mary Flannigan -- the spunky, inspiring protagonist of Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

3. Salem Grimes -- the earnest, bumbling, totally-unique heroine of Kim Hunt Harris' "Trailer Park Princess" series

4. Sherlock Holmes -- as portrayed in *both* the BBC's Sherlock and CBS' Elementary -- I know, I know . . . supposedly there's some huge internet controversy over which Sherlock is the best. People get quite heated while defending their preferred version of the famous detective, but I like them both!

5. Ove -- the socially-awkward and well-meaning protagonist in A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

6. Anne Shirley -- the spunky red-haired orphan from "Anne of Green Gables" book series

7. Izzy Spellman -- the complicated and quirky private detective in Lisa Lutz' "Spellman Family" series

8. Winston Valentine -- the delightful patriarch of the Valentine family in Curtiss Ann Matlock's "Valentine" book series

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dairy and sweeteners and meat, oh my!

For the 2nd consecutive year, the church I attend is opening the New Year with a call to 21 days of prayer and fasting.

Deciding to participate was easy. Deciding what type of fast to commit to was, on the other hand, more difficult. Paradoxical creature that I am, I love having choices, freedom, but at the same time, that same freedom and those choices often cause me more than a little stress.

I want to make the right choice, the perfect choice, even. As a result, I do my research, weigh the options, eliminate those that I can, ask for the opinions of trusted loved ones and friends, and then . . . I do more research, weigh the remaining options, eliminate any that I can and . . . finally make a decision.

This year, I decided to do a modified Daniel Fast. In the authentic Daniel Fast, a person abstains from eating meat, dairy, all sweeteners, and all drinks except for water.  Thankfully, there's nothing legalistic about this 21 days of prayer and fasting, so I felt comfortable modifying the Daniel Fast and am giving up meat, dairy, and sweeteners; I will be drinking tea (unsweetened, of course) and almond milk.

Perhaps I'm just a contrary soul, but once I can't have or do something -- even something I rarely have or do -- that's precisely the time I really want it.

For example, when I was growing up, a storm of almost any size meant a loss of electricity. I don't know anything about the whys or hows; I just know that if a decent-sized storm moved in, our family would be without television, lights, and various devices until the storm had passed and power restored. Of course, as soon as the power went out, I had a strong urge to use something I hadn't had a desire to use before the storm hit -- and, of course, that something relied on electricity!

The same has been true the first two days of this new year. I rarely -- once or twice a year, in fact -- eat a corn dog. Every September when the SEMO District Fair rolls around, I enjoy one; the fair just isn't the fair without eating a corn dog and following it up with cotton candy. I might also have one at a popular fast-food restaurant one other time throughout the year, but that's about it.

Yesterday, though, I craved a corn dog. Even though I don't really like hot dogs all that much, I wanted one, dipped in batter and fried to golden perfection, with all my being.

And that wasn't all! I haven't had a Sprite or Sprite-based drink in well over a month (I gave up colas years ago but only recently cut down my Sprite consumption) and hadn't given it much of thought. But yesterday, I wanted a Sprite to go along with my corn dog, and I wanted them both in the worst of ways.

So here I am, 2 days and a couple of hours into a 21-day fast, and already, I am craving "forbidden fruit".

I don't want to give in, and that's why I decided to write a post about this. I wasn't going to, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to need the accountability that sharing publicly provides.

I'll keep you posted. And if anyone wants to go with me to Sonic at 12:01 a.m. on January 22 to enjoy a corn dog and a Route-44 Strawberry Limeade, let me know!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Goals and Dreams

From the time I was able to put pencil to paper, I've been a list-maker; in fact, I've been known to make lists of lists I need to create! So when I first heard of Moorea Seal's 52 Lists Project, I was intrigued and rushed to check it out. I paged through the book and knew I wanted to participate in 2017. To that end, every Sunday I will post my own list for that week's topic.     

List 1: List your goals and dreams for this year

Goals:
1. To stop merely wearing the label of and identifying myself as a Christian and instead live in intimate, authentic, and continual relationship with God.

2.  To digitalize all of the photos and memorabilia that I plan to use in scrapbooks for my now-adult son and daughter. When I see how many years I have to convert (1986-2010), I question my sanity in setting this goal, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

3.  Accomplish each of the 12 monthly challenges I set for myself in 2017.

     I'm the founder and administrator of the Facebook group "17 in 2017". Participants set 1 mega-challenge and 12 monthly challenges, and they select 4 quarterly rewards (1+12+4=17). No legalism or stringent rules -- just encouragement, support, etc. If you're interested, check us out at  https://www.facebook.com/17-in-2017-1606398529668434/

4. Arrive at 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2017 in much better shape physically, emotionally, socially, and financially.  My current condition in every category isn't dire or anything, but there is room for improvement in each area, and I want to make that improvement a reality.

5. To find an affordable ("free" would be a real dream-come-true) class B camper and travel around the U.S. as work allows.

6. To write a book and be published, or at least be under contract for publication.


Dream:
1. To become part of a group of women who gather regularly -- once a week would be heavenly -- for no other reason than friendship.





Goals & a Dream

From the time I was able to put pencil to paper, I've been a list-maker; in fact, I've been known to make lists of lists I need to create! So when I first heard of Moorea Seal's 52 Lists Project, I was intrigued and rushed to check it out. I paged through the book and knew I wanted to participate in 2017. To that end, every Sunday I will post my own list for that week's topic.     

List 1: List your goals and dreams for this year

Goals:

1. To stop merely wearing the label of and identifying myself as a Christian and instead live in intimate, authentic, and continual relationship with God.

2.  To digitalize all of the photos and memorabilia that I plan to use in scrapbooks for my now-adult son and daughter. When I see how many years I have to convert (1986-2010), I question my sanity in setting this goal, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

3.  Accomplish each of the 12 monthly challenges I set for myself in 2017.

I'm the founder and administrator of the Facebook group "17 in 2017". Participants set 1 mega-challenge and 12 monthly challenges, and they select 4 quarterly rewards (1+12+4=17). No legalism or stringent rules -- just encouragement, support, etc. If you're interested, check us out at  https://www.facebook.com/17-in-2017-1606398529668434/


4. Arrive at 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2017 in much better shape physically, emotionally, socially, and financially.  My current condition in every category isn't dire or anything, but there is room for improvement in each area, and I want to make that improvement a reality.

5. To find an affordable ("free" would be a real dream-come-true) class B camper and travel around the U.S. as work allows.

6. To write a book and be published, or at least be under contract for publication.

Dream:

1. To become part of a group of women who gather regularly -- once a week would be heavenly -- for no other reason than friendship.G