Nature. Animals. Babies. Grandparents. People who keep moving through grief and loss. People who love though their situation seems impossible. Ingenuity. Talent. Persistence. Dedication. I am in awe of these treasures. They inspire me to keep trying. Keep working. Keep smiling. Keep living. Keep the faith.
Hollow, used up. Unfulfilled. Devoid of life, joy, hope. Empty cookie jars, empty bank accounts and wallets. Vacant houses, vacant positions. Visit the nearest mall and you’ll encounter vacant expressions, sightless eyes, mindless activity. We sometimes find ourselves without direction, purpose or goals. There’s a remedy. Introspection, soul searching, meditation. Be still. Watch and listen. Allow time to pass you instead of just passing time. It’s a dangerous world, my friends and effort is required. Don’t lose your way. And you might think about taking the hand of the person next to you.
Today I’m looking for pearls. Not the fresh water, cultured or Mabe variety. I’m not that crazy about shellfish but if that’s the only way to obtain the pearls, then let’s get to it!
Pearls of wisdom…wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could find them in an oyster. Some days I’d be willing to dig through some pretty bad trash if I knew I’d find a few pearls. Ah, well, it’s just not that easy. Or is it? When was the last time you spoke to your grandparents, if you’re lucky enough to still have the darlings around? They’ve forgotten more than we know.
Grandmother (my spouse’s Grandmother) used to tell me about her family coming to this country (She meant southern Arkansas) from Kentucky in a covered wagon. They logged, planted, laid railroad ties, raised livestock, made quilts – these were people who knew the meaning of hard work. They were too tired for mischief at the end of the day. Grandmother married at 14 and by the time she was 32 she was a widow with 8 children. In 1950 the opportunities for women were scarce. Grandmother became a migrant farm worker. She and her children traveled via pick up truck from Florida to Michigan following crops and harvesting along the way. She put all 8 kids through school this way! When her children were grown she remarried and enjoyed several years with Grandpa Mac. She bequeathed many pearls of wisdom – work like there’s no tomorrow because there isn’t; handle your responsibilities with determination; life has a way of teaching humility – learn it quickly with grace and humor. Continue reading “The World Is My Oyster”
A sad word at times, conjuring images of something which has been torn down, demolished, taken apart, used, misused, abused. Tragedy occurs, but then, more often than not, the victims, shored up by friends, loved ones and, in our online world, complete strangers, take a step forward. Then two, four steps…gathering tools, courage, resources along the way. They search out remnants from the debris, refashion and rearrange them. A collage evolves. Time moves in its linear fashion and as it does so, a new structure – or perhaps a new person – emerges.
A shiny, squeaky clean, surface now covers the collection of found items gleaned from the remains of what was. All things are new – sort of. Those at the center of the rebuilding will tell you they are changed by the experience. How can they not be? Whether the impetus for rebuilding was an act of nature such as fire, flood, tornado or some atrocity one person has wreaked upon another, change is inevitable. We choose how to go forward. Each day requires strength, determination…we choose or the choices will be made for us. It’s a dangerous world, my friends. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Today we had a great pre-Lenten retreat at church. I learned so much about icons, the rosary and how art influences our prayer lives. Can we have too many methods to communicate with our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, our Savior? I don’t think so. Imagine being in a room where you’re the only English speaker. Think you’d wish you’d been more attentive in your Spanish, Portuguese, German – fill in the blank.
So, I’ve learned that Icons are a window to prayer. I know more about praying my rosary. I’ve learned about Lectio Divina. What a wonderful way to pray, meditate and talk to our Creator!
This post is short and sweet but I’m learning I don’t have to birth a novel each time I visit my blog. I pray that Lent will be a season of prayer and fulfillment for you. May God bless you abundantly, keep you in spiritual health and grant you the peace and contentment only He can bring.
She’s not well-known, but she is well liked by those who do know her. Her tiny stature is deceptive. She has a lion’s courage and her disposition is so very sweet. She doesn’t ask for much…a kind word now and then; an occasional hug, a rib bone – raw, please, baby back if you have it.
A couple of years ago, she was attacked by a mastiff. We were so scared by her injuries – large puncture wounds on her back. Today she doesn’t walk well, stumbles frequently and can’t make it up the steps as well as she would otherwise, and though she may be slowed by these inconveniences, she’s not deterred. That’s what made me think of posting about her this morning.
I watched her today hobbling along in the garden near the roses. Her face is so serene. When I call her name she looks at me with anticipation, complete trust, no fear. The giant dogs next door can bark the roof off the house but she isn’t moved by them or haunted with memories of her attack. I, on the other hand, am terrified they’ll knock the fence down!
Not Chula. She continues her walk in serenity, ambling along with her awkward gait. She refuses to allow her life to be determined by her injuries. She won’t be intimidated by those mightier than she is. At 5 pounds, she’s definitely not the largest dog on the block. She’s not the loudest. But, her determination and her refusal to be cowed brings me great joy and inspiration. She strolls the fence line calmly, while on the opposite side creatures 20 times her size howl and bark.
Chula is one of God’s best things. Why should I fear anything when I have her at my side?
It’s not fair. You’ve heard that before. Probably said it before. And it’s true. Orphan children, starving elderly, homeless veterans, drug dealers with no soul, addicts with no dignity, no self respect, no hope. It all strikes me as terribly unfair. Life is a vapor and death comes for all of us, but we determine how we live. God gave us free will. We can love or not. We can help or not. We can care or not. The world we’re leaving for our young ones mirrors our choices. God tells us He will know us by our fruit. He watches as we turn away from opportunities to make a difference. Have you dropped anything off at your local food bank lately? Performed any random acts of kindness? Do you smile at the grandmother in line at the grocery or look past her? When was the last time you told a veteran thanks? No matter your station in life, someone less fortunate exists. Life isn’t fair but couldn’t we level the field just a bit? Continue reading “This Is What I Know Of Life”
Where’s the moron who coined this expression??? There’s no such thing. Aging gracefully is an oxymoron. Like jumbo shrimp. Like clearly confused, pretty ugly, original copy! There’s nothing graceful about crow’s-feet, age spots, three chins or sagging skin. Nothing, I tell you! Our Creator allows us X amount of time on earth (I don’t have enough information to solve for X) and, should that exceed 50 years, (X is greater than or equal to 50) the curse that is aging will overtake you. He tells us our lives are but a vapor! James 4:14 is quite poetic in the observation ‘life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone’.
I was amazed when I found (in the course of my obsession over this topic) 10 tips for aging gracefully. And even more amazed with the discovery that there were 7 things I MUST avoid in my quest. Further research informs me that aging gracefully is an art!! Well, I’ve never claimed to be DaVinci…perhaps Picasso! But in Revelation 4:11, I”m reminded ‘You are worthy, oh Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things’. God is the Artist of our creation.
For the forward thinkers among us there is a modern guide to aging gracefully and, should that prove to be a bit too advanced, please consider the simple method to obtain your goal. The modern method might be preferable if the simple method is a product of the late 1800s. What did anyone know about aging gracefully then? Wood cook stoves, no A/C, no birth control, no Botox, being treated as chattel…no way!. Not difficult to understand why women would want to vote, have some control over their lives and bodies. I feel compelled to point out that neither method takes God’s plan into consideration. And He has one.
Possibly in an attempt to offer a hint of continental flair, the New York Times will even help you to age gracefully in the french way! That’s insulting! French women have been aging longer, perhaps? Ergo, they know more about the art of aging? We’re back to art. I don’t think an excess of experience will slow the process or alter the end result. But we overcome when we remember ‘God has given us eternal life’ (1John 5:11). This is His will for those who follow His teachings.
I understand the dread that comes with aging. I understand the frustration that comes with getting older. Our bodies betray us with aches and pains, limitations we aren’t mentally ready to accept. Fighting back with creams, lotions, injections, laser procedures and surgeries may slow the process, provide a sense of stalling what is unavoidable, but it’s an illusion. Far better to trust in ‘God’s mysterious plan’ – Collossians 2:2.
So, after much thought, I’ve decided I’m going to age with attitude! I had my hairdresser color my hair platinum last week…my way of living in fast forward. I won’t wait for it to get white! I’ll embrace each change as it comes, adding my own unique twist and creating my personal style for middle age, secure in the knowledge that God is in charge. His will be done.
It’s a dangerous world, my friend. God’s peace to you.