Thursday, May 30, 2019

Sometimes I'm Amazed

Sometimes I amaze myself. More often, life amazes me!

This is the view of one of my two spare bedrooms yesterday morning. It's a mess, of course. Until a few months ago, all of this stuff -- yarn, craft supplies, photos and memorabilia, etc -- was neatly stored in boxes and bins, ready for me to deal with this summer. A few months ago, on a rainy weekend, I decided to get a jump on the chore. I began unpacking boxes, but life interfered mid-way through the task, so I shut the door and ignored the mess.

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours finishing the job. That's not the amazing part. But to explain, I need to go back in time just a bit.

In a blog post from over a month ago (Taylor Swift and Me), I shared that on May 30 I would be making an announcement.

My daughter had just told me she and my son-in-law are expecting their first child (and my first grandchild!!), and I was bursting at the seams to share the news. But I couldn't.

Their plans at the time were to tell close family only, but to hold off on telling extended family and friends until May 30. That meant I could share the news with my own friends on that date -- 05.30.  That was to be my exciting announcement.

I should have known better. My daughter, by her own admission, has never been able to keep a secret. Family lore is rich with cute stories of her spilling the beans about Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, Mothers Day and Fathers Day gifts . . . I think you get the point.

So I wasn't all that surprised when they decided to share the good news on Mothers Day.

As I began sharing with my own friends and on social media, I realized I now had nothing exciting to share on 05.30, but I figured something would come up.

It did. And as a result, I spent a couple of hours yesterday sorting through the stuff on the floor and in the boxes and bins in the spare bedroom. I packed some things back neatly, put quite a few items in the garage for a sale in June, and discarded a large trash bag full of stuff. Now the room looks like it did before.

I didn't sort through all the stuff and tidy the room in order to create room for a crib and other baby supplies.

My daughter and son-in-law have asked if I'd be willing to move to where they live and babysit their precious little one after he/she arrives. After prayerful consideration, I knew it was what I needed and wanted to do!

So I got to work on the spare bedroom and decided late last night to write this blog and share the news today.

And then I looked at the calendar. I was amazed.

You see, I'd given up on having something exciting to share on 05.30. I was planning to sort of slink on past the day, with no announcement, hoping that nobody would call me on the fact that I didn't deliver as promised.

But now I do have an exciting announcement -- I'm going to be selling my house and moving!!

A little thing perhaps, but I see it so often when I pause and look back over even the simplest chain of events.

I make my schedule and my lists, and I think I have things all lined out.

Then something or someone comes along and throws my well-ordered plans into disarray.

But while I'm dealing with the mess, trying to tidy things into a new neat schedule and lists, something amazing happens.

It all falls into place.

Without me.

And it's better than my original plan.

It's amazing!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Bake a Cake & Sharpen a File

I'm a criminal.

Not just the type that zips down the highway more than the excusable 5 mph over the posted speed limit.

I'm also a hypocrite. 

I'm a stickler for academic honesty, for giving credit where it's due, and for the past umpteen years I've taught classes about citing sources responsibly. Sadly, more than a couple of disgruntled former university students can attest to the fact that I've significantly marked down (think "zero") student papers that a quick Google search proved to have been deliberately plagiarized.

Yet I am guilty of using other people's artistic property dishonestly.

When I first began blogging, I simply wrote and wrote. A lover of words (and not very adept in using various social media platforms like Pinterest), I believed that what I had to say was "enough".

Then I began reading and following other people's blogs. Some sites drew me in more than others, and I found myself wanting to make my own posts more visibly appealing.

And that's when I crossed the line.

I began adding images, almost always from Pinterest.

As I learned last week, that is not okay. In fact, it's illegal.

It's illegal even though I often gave cursory credit ("photo courtesy of Pinterest") in a photo tagline. It's illegal even though the photo or meme had already been used inappropriately by other people before me.

One could argue that what's done is done or ask what's the worst that could happen. It's not like there's an "image-stealing jail" I could be sentenced to, right?

I mean let's be honest here. In the vast blogging universe, it's unlikely that my little blog will be noticed by anyone who might discover what I've done.

But the truth is, I know.

And despite the (attempted) levity in this entry's title, I take this very seriously.

So, amidst all the hoopla that makes up my life right now (more on that next Tuesday -- how's that for a teaser?), I will be spending the next few days removing all images from my blog.

Forthwith, I will be using only photos that I have taken or that I can share legally.

But today I have no images to offer.

Only my apology to those whose work I've inadvertently used dishonestly.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Opportunity (FMF)

I'm very excited to again this week join a talented group of women who connect each Friday in an online, unedited (so excuse all errors) flash mob free-write based on a one-word prompt from our fearless leader Kate Motaung. My timer is set for 5 minutes; let's see where the word "opportunity" takes me.

If you were to go to a site like or Pinterest and do even a very quick search using the keyword "opportunity", you would be inundated with quotes -- some glib, others quite profound -- on the topic of what Webster calls "a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something". 

Perhaps my favorite quote about opportunity is this one by Albert Einstein: 

If I said that I have been able to recognize this when I've been in the midst of a trial, that would be a lie. When in the midst of a trial, I'm not thinking, "Yes, this is a difficult time for me, but really, there are lots of opportunities here."

No, I'm thinking, "What!? God, get me out of this!!"

But the proverb about hindsight being 20/20 is so true in this case.

As I look back on the difficulties I've faced, the tragedies that I have weathered, I can now see that with each one of them came opportunity.

One example in particular stands out to me. In the Spring of 2006, a huge storm -- tornado strength and devastating -- entered my life.

Long story short, that storm presented me with a valuable opportunity. And so much of the positive things that happened in the aftermath of my husband's death three years later would never have been possible had it not been for that storm.

It cleared away debris from my life. It created a new path both in my spiritual life and in my vocational life.

Now, when difficulties seem unavoidable, I remind myself to remain remember Who is in charge and to focus on the opportunities the difficulty will no doubt bring.

It's not always easy, of course, and

Time's up! Please join in the conversation by sharing your own thoughts or experiences via a comment. What difficulty have you endured that brought you opportunity? Could you see that at the time of the trial?