Speak kindly to your soul

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Overheard a yoga instructor recently say she was going on a “mental diet.” She and her students were wearing armbands to snap their arm every time they had a negative thought about themselves, the world, judgmental thoughts, etc.

Kind of like a snap out of it deal.

I thought about my day with my Bestie at a very large nature park, and how I was ready to run (kind of hard as my ankle is still getting strong from its break back in March) and she was at one with nature.

Hearing gator songs on both sides of us, I was like, “feet, don’t fail me now.”

Later, we talked about this. One thing I love about her is she is brave, but not stupid.

She grew up in Florida’s parks and knows them well. And as part of her law enforcement job, she runs into “gator calls” once in a while. Sometimes, a trapper comes to remove the issue, depending on the size of the gator.

At first, I was like wow I feel like a failure. Like, “I am not brave.” A fear filled person. Where in the world is my faith? If I really had faith, would I fear what God’s creation could do to me?

It is also no secret that in news articles, we read about the occasional tragedy. But typically, it involves people or dogs wading into water.

So while my head waged a war against my lack of a spine when it comes to wildlife, she told me to stop thinking that way.

Someone once told me I was a city girl. I do like to shop, attend metro gatherings occasionally. But I do love nature. I also love farms and have often wished I had a chance to grow up on a farm the way my Grandma did.

As we talked, I realized I should clarify my thoughts about walks in the wilderness. I like boardwalks, more protected views of nature. Benches in safe places. I love, love, love bodies of water, trees and flowers. A dream for me is to one day own a pickup truck and pontoon boat so I can take advantage of our Chain of Lakes. (Not sure if that will ever happen because of the expense, but dreams have to start somewhere.)

This will not be our last wilderness walk, as I am determined to come to peace with wildlife and such fears.

I confronted my fear of public speaking. Confronted my fear of walking up to total strangers to ask their opinion or account of an event. Confronted my fear of failure by graduating from college.

Life is a series of such moments.

When I was a kid, on youth retreats in Indiana, I would always take off by myself in the woods.

What happened to that little girl?

 

 

 

Small moves count

An empty notebook and two pens that have somewhat shoddy ink is not a great place to start writing a best selling novel and your future bucket list, but that was the best I could do.

Three times I have “restarted” this book, Tales From Fergie Shire. And somewhere in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, my abstract creativity finally woke up, and here I am.

Like authors, entertainers and artists I know, I too had felt the heaviness of this crisis. Was it disrespectful to post something of hope in this time?

Thoughts swirl in my head just now .. I have much to do to catch up .. between writing what I hope to be my first fiction book series, recreating my blog, setting a course for my “why” and “what.”

Add to that also a spiritual rebirth, which perhaps contributed to this creative urge.

For a while, I shelved this project, supposing what would happen if I did write a best seller. My number one goal is that my grandchildren will love it. The rest is just added benefit.

I want them to know that it does not matter where you come from, whether you someday face poverty, loss, loneliness, abuse, a world filled with chaos, results of bad choices, no matter where you are in life .. you can create a new life for yourself, and be renewed, and learn new things, do things people said you could not do. That your Creator has endowed you with everything you need,

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and with God’s blessing, you can succeed.

Presently, I am rolled up in an old robe, surrounded by cats, a Bible, a journal and books. Later, the Bestie and I hope to find a nature trail and do some exploring.

Note to self: Find your pens that work and straighten your desk. Small steps are the beginning of dreams fulfilled.

Believe the best will happen

Coronavirus, devastation, political upheaval, increased crime, disorder.

The words of the day hitting headlines around the world.

Today, am enjoying a leisurely day off. Ordinarily, I would be running errands and other such community things. We in America have been told to stay home as much as possible, wash hands and monitor for symptoms of coronavirus.

I have never been a head in the sand person, ignoring the issues at hand.

But neither have I been a panic person.

Prepare, and wait.

There is in the human heart a room where we decide our outlook on life. I admire people who are perpetually optimistic. I try to be that way. It is a goal.

There is a mantra of “believe the best will happen.”

One circle says we will not believe the best .. we will dwell on the worst.

The other circle says they will cling to their faith, as they are believing the best.

In either case, preparation is a good idea.

I must say though, after making preparations and adhering to CDC guidelines, believing the best is uplifting.

I believe I will have a good day.

I believe the world is full of goodness and untold positive stories.

I believe in miracles.

And if for some reason, the cloud of sickness, or other issue comes near, I still will believe.

Life is life. Ups and downs. Sickness and health. Good and bad.

Belief is the sparkle of a thousand stars, the all encompassing ray of sunshine, new growth of green grass and flowers that push heavenward.

And more.

I hope none of us in Polk County get the coronavirus.

My science mind says yes it is possible and even probable beyond measure.

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My faith mind says “this too shall pass.”

Many prayers for those who suffer today, that they may be healed. That life would return with music and laughter in the city streets. That health would prevail and we would all remember how we survived.

A tangled ball of spaghetti

Our neighbor’s rooster is busy this morning saying hello to everyone. I write about him frequently, because honestly, I love that sound.

Other birds are chirping as well.

So part of my New Year plan for 2020, the Year of Light, is to be present to the moment, create, breathe, eat real food, and hear nature.

Like many people, because we are covered in constant exposure to the entire world’s problems on social media, the news, television, the radio .. sometimes I find my stress level rising, just by exposure.

We cannot, obviously, step out of the world per say. Because I work in the media, and have for some 13 years, I understand the pressure of always being “on.”

On. Doctors, law enforcement, counselors, teachers, reporters, and other outreach occupations understand this.

And nobody wants to talk about how your head can sometimes resemble a ball of tangled spaghetti.

Why? Because we attach, as a society, this stigma to that.

Oh. You have issues.

We all have issues. That is truth.

So how do you manage your head?

I love spaghetti. Cooking angel hair pasta. All that stuff.

But to make a good dinner, you really have to stay with it.

One woman I know said the test of whether it was done or not is slinging it against the wall and see if it sticks!

And if you drain the hot water and just leave it in the pan until you eat, all the starches seem to melt it together.

A computer system may do the same thing if it short circuits.

On my days off, I have purposely tried to back away from social media and the general whir of information that stirs around us.

And while I, for a while, thought this was a bad thing, because I felt I should stay connected, I am realizing that if I give my head a break from all the tragedy, mayhem, death, and so forth, it helps.

We can get so busy hammering out a presence on social media that we forget to just be.

Be. Spend time with your family and friends. Listen to conversation without glancing at your phone. Gently take those pieces of spaghetti and lay them straight. Look at the sunrise. Smell the aroma of your morning coffee. Listen to the birds. Connect with your senses.

I recently covered the Polk County Youth Fair and noticed that out of the thousands of people present for the event, I only saw two people on their phones.

I think they are on to something.

May you have a wonderful day. Release, create, be.

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Even a car needs personal time

The line was long and I was beginning to regret that I had designated this cool and sunny Monday to “car care” day.

“Your wait is going to be about 2 hours,” the dealership attendant said.

“I really don’t have a choice, it is my day off,” I said.

Having a good read tucked into my bag, I handed him my keys and fetched a cup of coffee in a little styrofoam cup.

Heading to a corner seat with a table, I took up residence for who knows how long, as it appears there is also a recall they need to take care of, re the backup cameras on my vehicle.

Sigh.

This oil change is free and so is the tire rotation. Part of the deal they gave me at point of sale.

Already, it has been a busy day. Picked up the kitchen and wiped the counters and refrigerator with bleach.

Goals of the day include paying bills, going to the store, putting gas in my car, and of course, car care.

When you pay a hefty car payment for the privilege of reliable transportation, it is one of those things you manage.

Keeping up with your life, it is.

So they will change the oil, rotate the tires and fix the camera.

Next stop will be the car spa for their cheapest swish, scrub and vacuum.

And so forth.

I see my car the way I see other parts of my life.

Myself. And you, as well.

We need some sort of down time. A re-set. Maybe that is a facial, time for a cup of tea and some planning or journaling.

A few minutes in the sun, or listening to some beautiful music.

I did not publish my New Year’s resolutions this year. I for sure wrote them in my journal.

But am keeping up with the 2020 theme, The Year of Light.

Today is Epiphany, and I celebrate it here at the dealership, waiting on my car.

Watching the Casting of The Cross ceremony airing from Tarpon Springs.

Blessings, all.

P.S. What are you doing to walk out your Year of Light?

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Everyone starts somewhere

It is very quiet outside, just two days before the New Year, as I sit here, rolled up in blankets with some sort of respiratory infection: again.

Our family has a tendency to get sick in November and December. Not sure why, but it seems to be so.

As the grey, dull days after the holidays settle into our spirits, likewise, we can feel grey and dull. Blech.

On my itinerary is a stop at the doctor today .. and I am just occupying my time until it is time to leave.

So I pull out a sketchbook, look at a drawing on Pinterest, and try to copy it.

I am

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mildly impressed that perhaps with some more study, I may some day learn how to draw.

One person comes to mind .. a friend of mine who started dabbling in art a few years ago as a way to deal with the pain after losing a child.

I watched her Facebook journey go from “what is that,” to “wow,” and “how much is she asking for her artwork?”

Likewise, another friend of mine has a small business in beauty product sales, and I remember her early “videos” and how they were a little rough .. not anymore. She is on point, she has learned multi-media marketing and found her sweet spot in the retail world, and hence, profits.

Both of these scenarios encourage me that it is never too late in life to learn a new skill, work a new hobby, or pursue an interest that lights up your world.

As we stand on the shore and greet the New Year 2020, the possibilities are endless.

My word for the year is Light.

More on that in the coming weeks.

 

 

Dig another well

Somewhere in the middle of Gerar, a town located in the land to the east of the Mediterranean Sea, a young man named Isaac was having issues with the Philistines.

The Philistine king, Abimelech, had just had a heated discussion about Isaac lying to the king about Rebekah, Isaac’s wife.

Isaac told the king that Rebekah was his sister, not his wife, because he was afraid that besides taking her captive, the Philistines would kill him.

When the king found out that was not the case, he was not a happy man.

But Bible history indicates (Genesis 26) that the land occupied by Isaac was his by blessing from God.

Isaac gets his wife back and basically, the king is like, hey .. get out of here.

Well Isaac was living before the invention of running water, and every tent owner would dig a well, or two or three, depending on their need.

Isaac became a very prosperous man, as God fulfilled His promises to him. He had “great” numbers of flocks and possessions.

“The Philistines envied him.”

I am 51 years old, and have read this passage many times.

Yet never noticed this.

“Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his (Isaac’s father, Abraham) had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth.”

Filled. Them. With. Earth.

And my mind, as I sip my coffee and pet my cat this morning, goes to those I know who are struggling to keep going.

Everything they do to try to bless their homes, their communities, their churches .. seems to end up with someone kicking sand in their well.

Discouragement is not easy to deal with. One soul I know said “you just try so hard. Seems like nothing works.”

Another person is dealing with a toxic family member. Everything stinks, nothing is ever good enough. All the world are “morons.” Their family is running out of steam trying to keep the peace.

I can’t imagine Isaac’s frustration at seeing his wells filled in with dirt.

So he moved to the valley, and dug another well. But it was not long before neighboring herdsmen had something to say about that.

It took him a total of three “tries” before he was able to dig a well without opposition.

You know, this life is hard sometimes. We dig figurative wells.

Outside of completely leaving a situation, the average person seeks renewal.

Dig another well.

What do you mean, dig a well?

What encourages you? What uplifts you?

We become guardians of the wells of our peace.

Someone pitches sand in, you pitch it back out.

I heard of one person who is regularly put down and called names by someone close to them.

In complete disbelief, I am like wow ..

Pitch the sand out of there, kiddo.

That is not the life for you.

We have no control over the actions of others.

Only over how long we are going to allow the sand to fill our reservoir.

Practical note: Someone says you are stupid.

You say: I am not stupid.

I am an intelligent being, with gifts and talents. I am a son or daughter of God. I was created on purpose. God has a plan for my life. My life has value.

Picture then a golden shovel, and dig another well.

Blessings to all today.

Here is sunny Florida, we have a rare cold snap today.

The cats have all snuggled up on fuzzy blankets and the fish are maintaining.

After all, fish do not wear sweaters. 🙂

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A new season it is

Outside my bedroom window, I hear the garbage truck emptying cans, making early morning clanging sounds as the long arm of the truck puts the can down.

Molly Moo, my cat, joined Winter Moo and Oreo for their morning treats. Last night, Molly had a frog cornered in the kitchen. I tried to pick it up, and she quickly fetched it herself. I almost hurled. Blecchhhhhh. Ran to get my brave friend, who grabbed a paper towel and retrieved said frog, who was of course, in bad shape.

Ordinary things. Ordinary day.

But as I sit in my bedroom, sipping my coffee, reading my Bible devotion, and studying my pink tree lights, I feel somehow, renewed.

I know it has been a bit since I blogged. I hit a couple of weeks where I just could not find words.

Writers always have words.

I get paid to create content at work, and I do.

Yet after work, many times, I find myself pulling into my self .. spiritually, emotionally.

How is it possible to be both an introvert and an extrovert at once?

After a couple of weeks where my creativity spark seemed to have grown cold, I have been renewed.

This is a new season. How many seasons can one human spirit have?

I look back on my life and realize there have been many, many seasons.

So what does it mean to be renewed?

Refocus. Rejuvenate. Recharge.

The “re” of those words puts forth a secondary motion.

Or “do it again.”

We are going along, lose our joy, lose our balance, lose our way or just lose our sensitivity.

Numb, they say.

“Re” implies getting back on track and doing the things we did before.

Focus, Energy, Creativity, Contemplation, Consistency, Application.

What does this mean for you, personally? How will you recharge?

Last confession of the morning ..

A few days ago, at work, I suddenly felt depressed.

A variety of things were on my mind.

So I clocked out, went to lunch (by myself, I did not feel like having company), drove to a local dig called The Purple Onion, placed an order for a soup and sandwich combo, and realized the place was busier than usual, and noisy.

I did not want to be with people, per say.

Plugging in my headphones, I turned on Spotify on my cell phone, played Celtic music. And pulling out my Purpose book, (bullet journal), started writing tentative Christmas gifts for those on my list.

The warmth of the soup and comfort of the sandwich, the rekindling of my inner fire glowed within me again.

I returned to work refreshed.

Music, food, planning time.

And my mind was clear to work again.

Anyway .. the sun is up, and I need to get ready for work. Morning contemplation complete, I am ready for the last day of my work week.

May blessings chase you everywhere today 🙂

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Hello and goodnight

The day flew past, and I did not blog.

So here ya go.

Wore my boots to a dairy farm.

Wrote 2 stories.

Went to church. Went to choir.

More on that later.

How about you?

Remember no matter what life throws at us, we get by with a little help from our friends.

Saying hello and goodnight now.

Will write more tomorrow.

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A Wonder Woman dream

Well that’s a first.

Dreamed I was Wonder Woman last night, trying to bring peace to a troubled world.

Wow!

At some point in my dream, a voice said that is why mothers and women everywhere are so important. Because they teach the skills necessary to overcome and not live a dark life, to make right choices and help others.

I chalk it up to my writing on Wonder Woman’s first female writer, Joye Murchison (Hummel) Kelly. And advertising I saw on Facebook about a Wonder Woman day.

Admittedly, today’s writing is slanted. I know there are many guys who have been house dads or they have had to carry the load of both mother and father. And those roles seem to be changing.

Any parent that has to do that is a superhero, in my opinion.

Although I am a career woman at this point in my life, I greatly recognize the value of having a strong, steady influence at home.

I think of ladies in my Grandma’s generation, who cooked real meals, ironed, washed clothes and kept the home.

Whether out of necessity or the drive in life to have “more,” women went to work in number after World War II. And today, probably in most families, both women and men have to work just to provide the basics.

Meals started showing up in packages and quick stir ins, instead of something to be nurtured all day.

The funny thing is that if you drop your baby at daycare or the sitter’s, someone is still setting a plate out and cooking for your child. Someone is having those important conversations with them. This really confronted me when I went to work.

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Many days I look at all of us, the “career” women, and ask, are we happier for it?

When crime soars through the ceiling, and you see that all of society is asking themselves, “who am I, anyway?”

Sigh.

I admit I am grateful for the time I was able to spend as a homemaker, homeschooling and raising my children.

Though I went to work when they hit middle school, at least I had some years with them.

Not saying here, lest the online tribe of head hunters run after me vicously, that people cannot work and build children who have a good handle on the future.

It is just that, even as Joye Kelly said, when she quit writing Wonder Woman, she had a little girl who needed her.

It is worthy to note that in some form or capacity then, she was still making a huge contribution.

We look around us and see the dividends of how people spend their time.

Muscle rippled bods show a lot of time in the gym (where great conversations and goal setting happens, fitness is good, of course). Houses in some areas may not be rich, but they are well kept, well swept and clean properties. Someone had to do that, it did not just happen. Clothes hang on a rack at the department store. Hands hung them there. Restaurants across the world put out a table, a plate and utensils, and fill it with food. Old, restored antique cars shine in their brilliance. Someone had to work on them, they do not stay that way.

We live in a world of upkeep as time marches on.

Let us not leave the children behind as we pursue our large living.

In my memory is a stove in a little house on Ritter Avenue in Indianapolis. A pot of green beans, potatoes and ham simmered, as coffee brewed for the afternoon. I stood on a stool and started to put paper plates on gas burners I just turned on, and Grandma caught me just in time to avert disaster. Handing me a real spoon, not a paper spoon, I received my first lesson in cooking and stove safety.

“Look” before you move. “Listen.”

As Joye Kelly said of Wonder Woman’s golden lasso, it was to “make you stop and think about what you are doing.”

Five seconds can change your life.

Perhaps that is a lesson we need to pass to our children.

Happy Tuesday, all. Molly is purring on my life, and I savor a few more minutes before I hit this busy day.