Saturday, December 17, 2011

THE EXPECTANT ATTITUDE OF FAITH

Once again a statement from my morning devotion struck me as an important one for my life.  A question actually and one I need to work on the answer for.  I know it has been a question I have not been able to answer in the affirmative for a very long time. I think once I could and I want to be able to say yes once again.  I want to be able to say yes without reservation, but I don't think I'm there yet.  The question...

"Can you get the expectant attitude of faith?"

The devotion goes on to explain what is meant by this with another quesation.  It is what actually caught my attention.  

"Not waiting for the next evil to befall you but awaiting with a child's joyful trust the next good in store?"

It's been a long time in my life since I have trusted that good was in store for me.  Even when I knew there was good I always waited for things to go bad, because in my experience they always did.  Good never lasted forever.  It always ended and that was life.  Even now as good as life has been for the two months I find myself not trusting it.  Waiting for the "other shoe to drop".  I know there are still mountains to be climbed and challenges to  be faced in my life.  Many things are not yet settled, but why not face them with an expectant attitude of faith trusting that good is in store not more pain?  Past life would tell me this is naive.   God would tell me this is true trust and faith in Him rather than faith in others, myself, and the world.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

FIRST SIGHTING!

Yesterday I had my first sighting that told me "Yes you do live in Florida".  I was coming home in my golf cart after watching the Christmas Parade which was held at the polo grounds.  (It by the way was wonderful.  I will try and get some pictures up here of it.)  Suddenly I saw a group of golf carts pulled off into the grass by a pond.  Being the curious person I am I stopped as well to see what was going on.  (You can do that when traveling by golf cart.  You just pull off onto the grass.) Everyone was pointing and there were a few cameras out.  I happened to have mine with me since I had been at the parade.  Off in the distance, not too far from peoples back yards was a gator sitting out and taking advantage of the afternoon sun. He was a pretty good sized one too!  This is one of the reasons I wouldn't pay a premium to be living with a pond or lake in my back yard.  Another would be slithery things that like to hang out in the tall grasses along the pond.  YUK! I like my nice small, just another house behind it back yard.  Suits me just fine!

Friday, December 09, 2011

STILL FINDING QUOTES

I just finished a book by Sue Monk Kidd.  It is called Firstlight.  The very last couple of sentences in the book are a keeper for me.

"Ultimately we are  reborn to love, because in this expanding, gracious space within us, we arrive at the astonishing presence of God at the core of our life.  We blunder into the heart of God and find our own. "


Thursday, December 08, 2011

IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS.......

 
My little Christmas tree is up and decorated.  Candles are placed.  A stocking is hung, though not by a chimney.  the nativity sets are displayed.  My home is ready for Christmas or at least as ready as it will be.  I even have a snowman hanging outside my front door.  Though my decorations are somewhat simple I can't say the same about many of the outside decorations on the homes in my neighborhood, and decorations in my neighborhood pale in comparison to others found elsewhere in The Villages. 

Here are a few pictures I took on an evening walk a few nights ago. 

The snowman head on the top of  a lamp post is seen throughout The Villages.  Many people have these and they have them for other holidays as well.  At Halloween and for Thanksgiving many lamp posts were topped by pumpkins.

One of these nights I plan to get into my golf carts and take a cruise around The Villages to see other decorations up close.  The newspaper is going to have a map of some of the best displays I think tomorrow so I will use that for my guide.  There are several locations I know that are not only large but they are synced up to music that you can tune in on your radio.  Of course my golf cart doesn't have a radio so I will miss that part.  But that's okay.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

COOKING WITH GAS AND DRIVING WITH ELECTRICITY

One of the challenges for me here in my new home is learning to cook with gas.  I've been an electric girl my whole life.  It's not all that bad and I'm getting used to it.  I'm very happy with how the oven bakes.  This banana bread is yummy!

I'm meeting new challenges almost every day.  Some are more difficult than others.  One of the other challenges I have met and am really enjoying is traveling by golf cart.  For about two weeks the cart intimidated me.  I have now mastered it and love it.  I'm even driving it a night now.  It is a very relaxing way to travel.  Speed is not a factor with golf carts.  Especially not with electric ones.  I think my top speed is about 15 miles per hour.  I've also noticed that one sees so much more of the area you are traveling though when going by cart than by car.  As I get to know The Villages I've started taking a Sunday drive.  Going no where in particular, but just enjoying the sights of The Villages, discovering new neighborhoods and really enjoying being out in the sunshine and fresh air.  These little excursions remind me of Sunday drives from my youth.

Monday, October 31, 2011

TODAY'S TASK

Before I get to what I accomplished today let me say I think this place must be Camelot!  I woke up this morning at about 7am to pouring rain.  It was really coming down hard.  After listening to it for a while I decided I needed to go get the days newspaper out of the driveway before it was totally soaked and unreadable like my paper in MD was if caught in the rain.  On went the rain coat over the PJ's and I ran out barefoot and being amazed at the warmth since the sun had not yet come up.  There was no need to worry about the readability of my paper.  It was wrapped so well nothing was going to soak through.  Very, very nice!  The morning news said it was supposed to rain pretty much all day, but stop by early evening in time for trick or treating.  Well not in The Village!  Dawn came and by 9am the rain had stopped and by 10 the sun was out!  Another beautiful day in TV. 

Now on to the organizational task for the day.  One of the few pieces of furniture that I brought from Maryland, other than craft room stuff, was the desk that lived in the bedroom.  I took everything out of it to move it and not only had to put that stuff back but had found more to go in.   This is what it was looking like in its new home along the dining room wall. Not a pretty sight!  So I pulled up a chair and got to work. 



It took a while to find a place for everything, but after about an hour here is what it looked like.  Much improved!  Everything had a designated location.  One thing is for sure.  I don't think I will need to purchase any pens, pencils, markers or paper pads for the rest of my life,  I have more than enough......probably I have enough for several lifetimes.

One thing that I really like about this desk is that it has a lot of good work space when open, but when you don't want the whole world to see your paper work it closes up into a very compact cube. 



This is how it will look most of the time.  I will only open it when needing to work at it.  It really doesn't look at all bad sitting in the dining room while closed.  The picture sitting on the top of the desk is a very special going away gift given to me when I left Covenant UMC.  It is an amazing shadow box picture of the church's sanctuary.  It was made by the Church family.  They are all amazingly talented and I have counted them among my friends for over 20 years.  It will be cherished.

At this point pretty much everything is in place.  I still need to get a tall book case and a computer desk.  I'm going to look at a couple of the local furniture consignment stores.  I really am tired of building furniture.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I DID IT!

I did it!  I've conquered my concerns over driving my golf cart.  Friday afternoon Pam came over and "held my hand" while I took my first spin around the block.  Well she didn't really hold my hand since both my hands were on the steering wheel, but you know what I mean. She encouraged me with periodic :you can do this" comments and little tips on what to be doing to ensure safe driving.  Like everyone had been telling me it was pretty easy.  The biggest things I had to get used to were no side view mirrors and no power brakes of steering.  After going around my neighborhood we headed father out and went to Lake Sumter Landing. 
Of additional import is that today I headed out on my own!  Check out the bag on the front seat.....groceries!

About four this afternoon I headed out to Sweetbay, one of the local grocery stores and the closest one to my home.  I made it without any issues.  I was going to go in and pick up some milk and jam when I thought why waste a perfectly good golf cart outing and headed back out to Johnny Rockets at Lake Sumter Landing.  I had a coupon for a free burger with the purchase of a milk shake.   I decided that would be my reward   for driving to grocery store in the cart rather than my car.  Now I need to find another route to somewhere else.  May be tomorrow I go out and just roam around a bit. 


Another major accomplishment today is I've pretty much gotten the craft room organized and in place. For pictures and a description of what I've done you will need to head over to my craft BLOG Stampin' & Kwiltin'.

 Tomorrow I may even allow myself time to play in the craft room though I should organize the desk which is in the dining room. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

OKTOBERFEST

The Villages is famous for its ability to have fun and celebrating life.  Today was the celebration of Oktoberfest. I decided I needed a break from unpacking and the challenge of finding a place for everything.   At 3pm I headed out for Spanish Springs where a parade was to begin at 4.  Something told me that I needed to get there plenty early to find a good viewing spot and hopefully a chair or bench to sit on.  Boy was I correct!  The area around the Square was already packed with people when I arrived.  The parade was something else.  It lasted over 30 minutes and included all elements needed to make it a fun event.

There were floats........






........walking units and also bands,  Speaking of bands, I'm not sure what connection bag pipes have to German culture, but there was a rather large group of bag pipers complete with the proper attire of kilts.   There were also horses and lots of flags.





 After the parade there was entertainment at the pavilion as well as at other venues around the Square. The entertainment was kicked off by a performance of The Village Cheerleaders.  They were so fun to watch and there were probably around 60 of them. The group actually has over 130 but many of them are snowbirds and are not yet down here for the winter.  I had heard about this group last week and wondered about cheerleaders that were over 55.  Actually I would say they are more a Pom group. but whatever they were fun to watch and they were obviously have fun.  

Then came the music and the dancing.  There is always dancing at the Squares when there is music. There were several couples like this one dressed in ethnic German attire and having a fantastic time as they waltzed and did the polka around the gazebo. 

I wandered around and listened to some of the music at other points around the Square then decided to head over to Lake Sumter Landing to see what Oktoberfest had to offer over there.  When I arrived I discovered it wasn't so much what they had to offer but what they didn't have. There was no power!  The main thing this lack did was cause the stores along Main Street to close up and restaurants weren't serving food but were still doing a booming bar business.  Most of the vendors who were around Market Square and set up for Oktoberfest had generators so they were up and operational.

I ran into Pam and Allen, some friends here and then after a chat with them went off to find some dinner.  Since I was celebrating Oktoberfest I bi-passed Chik-Filet, Sonny;s Bar-b-Que, and Greek food and had Beer and Brats with a funnel cake for dessert!  Then after a bit more music and watch a bit more dancing I headed back home after a fun afternoon and evening.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

LIFE IS VERY BUSY

My life is very full and very busy right now, but I wanted to declare myself officially moved.  I no longer live in MD but have move to FL and a community called The Villages.  If you have never heard of The Villages I must tell you it is like nothing I have ever seen before.  People are genuinely happy here and they are so friendly and welcoming.  I went out for a walk this morning and not only did other people out walking say "Hi" but those in golf carts did also and even a few driving by in cars smiled and waved.  I've met several neighbors and attended a very nice church on Sunday.  In the word of a quilting and cruising friend "Life is good!"  It's been so long since I have been able to say that and it feels real good to be able to do so and mean it. By no means is everything perfect or resolved but it is good.  I think the daily dose of bright sunshine and delightfully warm weather has a great deal to do with this.  So do you want to see where I live.......


This is how I will travel about The Villages when I get up the courage to get behind the wheel.  Everyone tells me it is real easy, but for some reason it intimidates me.  Maybe tomorrow I'll give it a try going around the neighborhood.  For now I either walk or drive.  Today I walked up to my mail box which is up at the neighborhood pool.  I love walking here.  It's nice and flat.  And if you go out early enough in the morning it's not too hot.  Even at 75 when it is so sunny out I've discovered you can work up quite a sweat.  It was about 65 when I went out to mailbox.  It took me about 30 minutes to get there and back.  Also while up there I got a local newspaper.

The rest of my day was spent working down this pile in the garage.  I'm about 3/4 done with the unpacking.  Some of the boxes will not be unpacked.  I don't have any book shelves for the books so they will stay boxed up for now.  I think they will be fine in the garage until summer and maybe by then I will figure out where to put them.  I also don't really have anywhere to put the items I brought from the china cabinet.  I may send a few boxes of that stuff back to NC with my sister when she is down here next week.  I'll get down on my knees and beg......PLEASE!!!!!  Store them for me. 

At the end of a long day if I stay home this is where you will find me.  It's also where I can start my day.  When my friend Thelma was still here helping me unpack and get set up we took a CD player out and had our afternoon sangria and chips with salsa.  It was delightful. 

So this is where I am. Tomorrow I get to experience my first big celebration at the market squares.  It is Oktoberfest.  There will be a parade and strolling entertainment of all kinds as well as German foods and beer.  I will try and get some pictures.  I'm told there will be a lot of ethnic attire and loads of fun. 

Oh if anyone wants to find out more about The Villages check this out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ONCE AGAIN JUST WHAT I NEED!

Once a gain God has heard my prayer and he sent a message through my daily devotional "in-basket" that he knew I needed to read and hear at this time. It was in the form of a poem written by Sam Hamilton-Poore  I don't want to write out the whole thing do to copywrite issues but here are the first few lines.

MAY THE SPIRIT of life move you
from apathy to action,
from observing to doing,
from despair to hope. 

To read the rest you can go to the Upper Room Reflections site.It deals with the pain and joy of change. The Devotion is for October 12

This is my prayer for today.  I currently have 4 days left to call the state of MD home.  Sunday I will be leaving to start a journey to a new life.  At the moment I find myself fighting apathy brought on by the despair of all going on.  There is so much I need to do and all I want to do is go back to bed and pull the cover over my heads and make it all go away.  For a while know I have been in a state of observing.  Its too painful to allow myself to feel and be moved to action.  I pray that God's spirit will live with me and grant me the strength for the days ahead.  

I am looking forward to next week at this time.  I will be in my new home and I pray I will be a bit more happy, content and relaxed as well as excited to discover all that is in store for me in my future.  




Monday, September 19, 2011

AIMS & GOALS


"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our
aim is too high & we miss it.  Rather, it's that we aim
too low & we reach it."   
– Michelangelo

Saturday, August 27, 2011

WHAT A WEEK!

First a earthquake that literally rocked my world and now a hurricane that brings us in MoCo tropical storm winds and rains.....bring it on Irene.  I'm ready for you I've been through worse!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

READING ALOT!

Yes, I am, reading a lot these days.  I don't sleep so might as well read and then that puts me to sleep for an hour or two then I wake again and read again and repeat the cycle.  I'm also trying to read books I don't really want to move but do want to read.  Most of them hav e been on my shelf for way to long. I just finished a book that I remember years ago that someone , I think it was Stephanie, told me was really bizarre.  It's Our Lady of the Lost and Found by Diane Schoemperlen.  It's a bout a visit by the Virgin Mary to a writer, and yes it was rather bizarre.  Not so much for the story, but more how it was written.  However, as is usual when I read lately I found a quote in it that I don't want to lose.  So here it is.

"....the hardest person in the world to forgive is yourself.  And..the hardest person in the world to have faith in is also yourself.  I am still trying to reconcile who I am now with who I was then.  I know my former self is still there, waving to me through time just like a phantom limb.  I am still trying to figure out how I am both am and am not the person I was then, the person I appear to be now, the person that I think I am; how I both am and am not the person that I will eventually become.  If who I am now is the "real" me, than who was the person I used to be; an impostor, a fugitive in disguise, the out -of-focus shadow of my future self?  If who I am now is the :real" me, than who is the person I will be twenty or thirty years from now?"

Yep?  Just who was I, who am I and who will I become?????

Monday, August 01, 2011

BROKEN LIFE????

Well as the days progress more things in my life continue to break down...two weeks ago health broke down and shingles broke out....last week car broke down.....this week wireless system in the house seems to be dead.  Ah that is life.  The good news is the the shingles have receded....car is fixed, of course at a major cost,...I do have a wire that I can use to still get on the Internet AND soon everything will be or will have broken and there will be nothing left to break down.  Fortunately at the moment my sense of humor is still in tact and I will just take things one moment at a time......and look toward what I hope will be a "fixed up" future. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

I found this on a friends FaceBook status this morning.  She had read it on one of her friends FB pages.  I needed to keep it somewhere safe to be able to read on a regular basis; at least for the next few months or so.  At least till life settles down for me which it has to do sometime......well it better sometime! So of course for me there is no better place to keep things but here.  So here it is:
"There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."
Thank you Melissa for reposting this from your friend.  This morning it seemed to be a message meant for me!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

HOT! HOT! HOT!!!!!!!!

Yep the heat has moved east......today got up to 100+.  Tomorrow is to be hotter and the humidity is well lets just say tonight you if could wring out the air you could get lots of water out of it. From my drive down the interstate this morning to get to a Doctor's visit my unscientific observation is that as the temps go up it seems drivers speed goes up as well.  I was driving along in the far right lane minding my own business when suddenly I thought geez I must be too relaxed and impeding traffic by going slower than I thought.  The cars in the three lanes to the left of me were whizzing by leaving me in the dust.  Quickly I checked my speedometer....I was doing almost 10 miles over the speed limit!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So glad I was on the road this morning and not at the height of the heat!  Funny thing is.  I wanted to stay on my car as long as possible.  No need to be in a hurry to get anywhere.  The A/C in the car is much colder than that in my house!

Monday, July 18, 2011

MEDITATION I NEED TO PRACTICE

This morning as is my usual practice I went to my e-mail and first read the Upper Room Reflection for the day.  Often this short devotion seems aimed directly at me and my needs.  Today was a case of this.  The devotion reminded me of a bible verse I have posted on my refrigerator and that I have been trying to live by since 1998 when I began to work of our church and things where in a struggle there.  I began praying it and claiming in as a verse for the church.  Over time I claimed it as my own.  The verse is Jeremiah 29:11.  It is highlighted in my bible. Probably I have written about in in past posts on this BLOG.

"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope."

This is where my refrigerator magnet ends.  But as I read it today I realize that I need to go on to verse 12-14.

"Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.  When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord,  and I will restore your fortunes and gather you up from all the nations, and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you in exile."

Jeremiah is speaking in these verses to the Israelite people who have been taken out of Jerusalem and into captivity by the Babylonians I believe,  He is giving them hope that they have not been abandoned by their God.  That God indeed does have a plan for them and it is a plan for their good.  Jeremiah is also calling the people back to God.  Calling them to turn to God and seek him.  I believe God does no less for his people today.  That he does no less for me.  The Israelite people felt abandoned by their God.  Yes, I at times also feel abandoned.  Yet God does not; he can not abandon his people or me.  I need to remember this no matter how dark my nights get.  I need to remember Jeremiah 29:11 it daily.  I need to not just walk by as it sits on my refrigerator.

Ah....but what does all this have to do with the title of this post. Not really anything.  My ADD kicked in and I got sidetracked from where I began.  At the bottom of the daily reflections devotion are a series of weekly suggestions for other helps in daily living with faith and God.  Among the helps this week was a link to an article on Meditation for Distress, Disease or Pain by Robert Corin Morris. Having a lot of all three of these things in my life at the moment it caught my attention.  I read it thought maybe this is something that could help me get through the coming days and months.  I don't want to forget where it is so the best place to put it is here.  The title of the BLOG post has a link to the article as does it's mention here.  So hopefully I will remember it is here when I need it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

WHAT WILL THEY DO?

Our President and congressional leaders are meting tonight.  What will they do?  I feel they are playing a major game of  "chicken" with my life and my future and that of many Americans.  This really scares me and really ticks me off.  Yes, I agree America need to comes to grips with their spending beyond their means.  However why must it always be the little and middle folks that have to bear the brunt of the cuts and financial down turn.  What exempts the wealthy from sharing in the solution?  I am by no means part of the lowest class of America, but neither am I wealthy.  I am just an average American who is scared to death that all I have strived and saved for is going to go up in a puff of political smoke.  Members of  congress should live no better, have no better or sure health insurance or retirement than the people they supposedly  represent.  Notice I said represent not the people who have the influence or funds to buy them their position in congress.  Am I bitter...maybe...am I terrified for the future of the average American....YOU BET!

Monday, July 04, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

It's the 4th of July; America's birthday.  It's a day where Americans join together to celebrate the freedoms that we enjoy in this country.  It's a day of family, friends, picnics, and fireworks.  I hope it has been a special day for you.  Right now I'm watching A Capitol Fourth on PBS.  It certainly looks as if the people downtown on the mall are having a wonderful time.  The heat and humidity doesn't seem to be bothering anyone.  Soon it will be time for the DC fireworks.  I remember the fun times we had as a family down on the mall exclaiming over their beauty. We only went two or three times but that was enough to create memories that will last.  Then there were the times watching the fireworks sitting on the hood of the car at Lakeforest Mall.  Yes it was a good life
Maybe next year I will find someone to share the enjoyment of fireworks with. They just aren't the same solo.  Somethings are meant to be shared.  Actually I've discovered most things in life are meant to be shared.  At least that's my experience these past 18 months.
Ah it's time for the 1812 Overture  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A NEW QUOTE FOUND

I think we all know how much I love finding quotes that I want to remember. The best place I know to put them is here on my BLOG.  I tag them as a quote so when I want to review the quotes that have meant something to me over the months and years of writing I can find them again.  This morning I read a quote that definitely is one I need to remember and review often.

"Let go of what you THINK life should be so you can experience the life you have."
~~Rhonda Britten.

This needs to be my mantra chanted every morning when I wake up!   I spend way to much time dwelling on what I thought my life was or what it should be that I am afraid I am missing out on what it is and seeing the good in it.  I may not be living the life I envisioned for myself, but I have a life I am living.  I need to live it and I need to trust that it is in all its imperfection a good life. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

FATHER'S DAY 2011

Ah, Father's Day.  A day when families come together and celebrate the fathers in them.  What can I say but how much I miss having a father to celebrate with.  Its been a day of remembrance.  I miss being with the various fathers that have been in my life.  We are all separate be it by miles, physical death, or death of a relationship, but the memories are all still intact and for those I am grateful!  A big thank you to the Father's and also Grandfather's in my life.  I love you all!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

FROM...THE LETTER

As I've been working to clear out the house of 28 years of accumulated stuff I've been reading a lot of books to try and relax in the evening.  I really enjoy reading and try to make time each morning and evening to do a bit.  It was interesting that in a devotional I read earlier in the week the thought was presented that in every story we read God can be found.  I think the authors premise was that where ever there is protection, love, help, serving, and such it is God that is behind those acts.  The author of the  devotion challenged his readers to look for God's presence in everything we read and everything we experience during a days time.  Not sure if I follow his thinking about God being found in every book I've read, but it an interesting thought.

The book I am reading at the moment is The Letter by Richard Paul Evans.  It is the last book in The Christmas Box collection. I've already read The Christmas Box and The Timepiece. All are easy and quick reads and for light reading they are enjoyable. There were several statements made by one of the characters in the chapter of the book as he tried to help a friend deal with the pain of separation that stuck me this morning.  He said "We all got things under our skin.  Everybody does.  Like a glass sliver. Can't see nothin' there, but it works its way in deeper until it gets to festerin' and hurts so that we are ready just to cut the whole thing out."  Yep I guess I would have to agree with Lawrence.  I think at some time of our lives each and everyone of us has a glass sliver that has to be cut out or the festerin' gets real back and infection sets in.  If not taken car of the infection can kill us.  A shot while later Lawrence responds to David who has just said his wife  fell out of love with him, " David, you talk 'bout love like it a hole.  Somethin' you can fall in and out of."  David responds, "Isn't it?" Lawrence answers,  "That ain't love at all, just squirrel fever.  Just a storm of emotion....Real love ain't that way.  It's more like a tree or plant or somethin'....Grows if you mind it.  But it takes work and sacrifice.  No one stand back of a neglected tree and watch it die and say, 'Guess that tree just ain't suppose to live.'  Only a fool would talk like that.  But people   do it all the time with their love."

Maybe not God found here, but maybe a message I need to hear. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

IT'S INTERESTING....

So what's interesting might ask.  Well of course a lot of things are.  Tonight, for me, I am finding it interesting all the things in my life that I at one time thought were important enough to save. Things such as old calendars, old DayTimers, half used spiral notebooks, clothes decades out of date, tiny scraps of paper and fabric, old greeting cards that celebrated holidays and love, report cards, pictures from nursery walls, and the list goes on.  Some of these things may have some use still in them such as the old clothes, but they certainly won't do anything to raise my self image; or the scraps of paper and fabric but I have enough left over tiny scraps do I really need them all?  Some of the items like the calendars and DayTimers provide a small window into my past activities such as it was March of 2002 that I broke my left arm during a stage practice of Gypsy, but most of the entries are rather mundane and even more of the pages are blank. Old report cards????  I have mine and each of the kids.  WHY?  As for the cards.  I guess I kept them because someone once told me that when you get down and feeling sad its nice to have past greeting cards to pull and remind yourself of the good times and love people had for you.  Well some times that works other times.......not so much.
So why do we keep so much?  I don't believe I am the only one who does.  If I was people wouldn't moan about having to clear out a relative's home after they pass on.  So I continue on my quest to sort through a life time of memories and accumulations and I do my best to determine what is truly important and what is just stuff.  The stuff goes and a lot has gone.  The truly important stuff is savored and then put back on the shelf.  I doubt I will ever get down to 100 items like some minimalists achieve, but I will reduce the detritus of my life considerably.  The old framed pictures from the nursery walls are going but the homemade Mother's Day cards with a child's hand prints and those hokey poems are right back in the memory box and there they will remain.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY!

Each days Upper Room devotional reading has a Thought For The Day at the end of it.  I think today's thought is very pointed to me.  It is:
Make a list of the signs of hope around you.
Actually this is probably one of the most important things was all could do each day.  Today I will make this list because even before I read it I was for the first time in a long time aware of the beauty of the day today and the hope I have for a future.  Funny that I should have been feeling that way on the day that some are saying will be the beginning of the end of the world.  

So here is my list of signs of hope as of this morning:
  1. The birds are singing a beautiful song outside my family room window.
  2. There is a wonderfully cool and fresh breeze coming in my family room window.
  3. After a dreary gray week of rain the sky is a beautiful blue.
  4. My lawn has just be cut an even with the profusion of clover and weeds is a gorgeous fresh green.
  5. I actually have a day off from work that has no plans for it at all.
  6. My mom is home and well.
  7. In my sorting and cleaning I found a friendship ring given by my grandfather to my grandmother and am now wearing it. It's made of copper I think and though there are those that say that copper does not help joint pain this ring is helping the joints on the hand I am wearing it.
  8. I actually am looking forward to a day devoted to housework.
  9. Next weekend is the wedding of my nephew and I look forward to celebrating love.
  10. I have a good Shepherd who is walking with me through this life and all it brings my way and he will see me through the "valley of the shadow".  I am currently re-reading A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 and this was the focus of  today's chapter.
So I will go on into today with these thoughts and I will look for other signs of hope in my day. Why not look for them in yours as well.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

MORE TRIVIA FROM MEMORIES FOUND

Tonight I continue to go through boxes of memorabilia these boxes go back into the mid and late 60's:
  • My Senior pictures in 1968 cost $31.00
  • Senior class fees amounted to $15.75
  • Round trip air fare to London in 1967 cost $353 on BOAC (anyone remeber that airline???
  • A passport in 1967 cost $2.50
  • I was not a stellar jr high student....except in Chorus
  • Lowest report card grades through out HS were math and science yet on college entrance exams highset scores were math and science????
  • Matches from 1969 restaurant visits still light
  • A custom made prom dress cost $50 in 1968 
  • A 1966 pay stub found from job at local pubic library.  $11.40 for two weeks work.
Next up going through memory box from college years........

Sunday, May 15, 2011

ALWAYS A SCRAPBOOKER!

Scrapbooks are full of memories and also interesting information.  In sorting through the contents of boxes I have found scrapbooks I made 40 years ago and more. To think that young women today think they have stumbled across some new activity.  From what I can tell its just a much more costly activity today!  No stickers or designer paper in my old scrapbooks.  Simply hand drawn pictures and hand written notes.  There is lots of cards and memorabilia in them and very few if any photos. 

It is very interesting seeing how people signed their cards.  Also it is interesting to look back and see who the cards are from.  Lots of people who were friends, but whom have faded out of my life over the years.  There are some sad or bittersweet memories found inside really old scrapbooks.  Lots of wedding invitations from the early 70's and to the best of my knowledge only one marriage is still intact.  Not a good commentary on the children of the 50's and 60's.  Or at least not a good commentary on the people I befriended. Fortunately I can say that to the best of my knowledge only a very few friends represented in these scrapbooks has died. 

Now for a bit more trivia fund in looking through these scrapbooks:  Hotel rooms in NYC could be found for $30 a night and in Watkins Glen for $16 a night; Broadway tickets could be had for $6.50; Guided tours of the UN cost 50 cents.  All this in fall of 1971.  Disney World in 1972 cost $5.95 for an 11 attraction ticket book and one day in the Magic Kingdom (of course all there was there was the Magic Kingdom); parking there cost 50 cents a day; You could visit and take a bus tour of  the Kennedy Space Center for $2.50.   Also in 1972 Cypress Gardens was still in operation.

I still have more scrapbooks to go through.  They can't be kept and I guess why should they.  They represent ancient history at this point and there will be no room for them in my future.  If there were photos I might think other wise, but you know its interesting how Hallmark cards have not changed over the decades other than the price that is....in 1972 a special card cost 50 cents! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

CONFIRMATION

From today's devotion and bible reading:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick:
a wish come true is a staff of life.
~~Proverbs 13:12
I've found lots of wisdom in reading Proverbs.  Also some advice.  Chapter 13 is very interesting reading.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MEMORIES

Memory is a child walking along a seashore.  You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things.  ~Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal

 Going through a home that has been lived in almost 28 years and contains memorabilia of a lifetime has become almost overwhelming.  I have discovered many "pebbles" that have been picked up and stored away over the years.  The dilemma is what memory to keep with a physical representation and what memories can survive simply in the heart.  There just won't be room as I downsize to keep all memorabilia that has been collected.   

There have been so many vacations, so many milestones, so many life events.  Which ones are most important to memorialize with things, or are the things attached to the memory just clutter.  What to do with that special quilt, the shelves of photos, the slides, the postcards and letters, a grandfathers rocking chair...the list seems endless and every drawer opened reveals more.  Some memory items go back generations.  But the  sorting must be done and the decisions must be made....keep this; dispose of that.  

I keep trying to tell myself I am not dismantling a life, but preparing for a continuation into a new phase of the life and there needs to be room for new memories: That this sorting and disposing of things from the past doesn't destroy or denigrate the past.  I tell myself memories are more than "pebbles" picked up along life's path.  They are things stored in the heart and the heart has an endless amount of space for them. 

Oscar Wilde shares a thought on memories in The Importance of Being Earnest--

 Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us.  

I can do this.  Its not quick and its not easy, but I can do this.  I pray I make wise decisions on what to keep in form of a memory item and what to keep in my heart unattached to a thing.  More impotantly I hope I don't accidentally dispose of  someone else's memory. 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A DAY FOR LOVE AND DREAMS COME TRUE!

A yes it seems today is a day for love and for dreams come true. From early morning to late at night, today all the news revolves around young love and the possibility that any young girl could one day meet her prince charming and become a princess.  I've been somewhat amazed at the amount of time that has been spent in looking and re-looking at the wedding of Prince William and Katherine.  They say over 1 MILLION people in the streets of London all trying to be part of this wondrous wedding and estimates of up to 2 BILLION people watching the wedding live on TV.  What is the drawing factor of this event?  Why is it that I really couldn't get into being a part of the event in real time?  I don't know.  Am I jealous or jaded about love?  Do I want to ignore others love since I seemed to be a failure at it myself?  Have I given up on the belief that dreams can become reality. Or is it simply that I am just to busy living my life, such as it is, to want to spend early morning hours celebrating this wedding.  I  have no idea what makes me unaffected by this wedding when it seems the whole world is enthralled and enchanted by it.  I wish I could feel thrilled and excited by it, but I just don't. Does this make me a bad or sad person?

Monday, April 18, 2011

DREAMS

A blog that I follow and receive e-mails from had some things for thought about following your dreams.
The writer of the blog asked the question "If you knew that tomorrow you could not fail, what would you put on your drawing board today?"  Then she went on to ask "What's holding you back?  Fear? Time? Money?"

Interesting questions to ask yourself.  I think that I will spend some time today while on the train trip from NC back to MD mulling these questions.  I'm not totally sure what I would put on the drawing board today if I knew I would not fail, but I don't even have to think about what would hold me back.  Probably all of the above; fear, time and money.  I definitely have a strong fear of failure.  Time is definitely a factor when combined to energy levels.  Then there is the money issue.  There is truth that we find both time and money for what is really important to us.  I have seen that in my life if I am honest about it.  So I guess it comes down to the fear factor.  What did Mary have to say about fear?  "If your fear of a negative outcome is keeping you from even trying, you will never succeed."

So I  have lots to think about today.  Is my fear of failure to keep me in the future from even attempting to make my dreams come true.  Can I step out in faith and go into a new tomorrow confident in my dreams?

Oh, the Blog I follow and got these thoughts from is Laying Some Tracks
Mary Hunt always has great tips for living life to the fullest yet within your means.  Check you her web site Debt Proof Living.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

ONE DOORWAY FROM HEAVEN

I just finished a book by this title written by Dean Koontz.  In the book a character asks the question "What will you find behind the door that is one door away from Heaven?"   Every person that was asked this question had an answer, but only one got it right the first time asked.  I'm not sure there is one right answer to this question.  It may be that different people would find different things.  I'm not sure what my answer would be, but I love the answer given by Leilani: "If your heart is closed, then you will find behind that door nothing to light your way. But if your heart is open, you will find behind that door people, who like you, are searching, and you will find the right door together with them.  None of us can ever save himself; we are the instruments of one another's salvation, and only by the hope we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into the light."

We need people to walk this journey called life with us.  To walk the journey alone is to live in darkness.  We need to live our life in a manner that gives others hope.  Without hope life becomes, I think, meaningless and very dark indeed.  

Friday, April 01, 2011

PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME INTO SOMETHING I AM NOT!

I just had a birthday.  Not a biggy, that was last year, but none the less I received many cards from friends.  A number of them besides wishing me a "Happy Birthday" also commented on my strength in the past year that has been an inspiration to them.  I'm happy that I can provide inspiration to some, but please don't make me into something I am not.  No pedestals please, the fall from them can be very painful.  To those on the outside I may seem strong.  I may come across as in control.  I may seem happy and excited about my future, but don't be fooled.  I am no different than anyone else.  I am human.  I am scared. I am alone.  I don't know which way to turn next and I have no idea how I will face the future other than putting one foot in front of the other and taking each moment as it comes.  One moment at a time.
This morning I awoke to a phone call letting me know of the death of the husband of a friend.  The wind was knocked out of me like I'm sure it was out of many who were hearing the same news.  I couldn't think....I couldn't speak.  At best I could cry inside my head "God not again! No more I can't handle any more pain, loss and suffering for myself or anyone else.  Where are you?  Have you turned your back on this world?"  My pain was minimal compared to that of Cindy and her children, but it was pain none the less.  I'm sick of death.  I'm sick of loss.  I think it would be fair at this moment to say I'm sick of life.  2011 sucks!  There is no way around it.  At least not for me today, April 1.  I can only wish this is all only a sick April Fools joke.  Unfortunately it is not.....It is life. 
I can only hope that tomorrow will be a better day.  I will continue to put one foot in front of the other and move forward.  I will hope that the future will be brighter than the present.  I will try and believe once again in love. And yes I will continue, I guess, to put on a brave front.  I guess that's what I do. I guess that's what lots of us do.  It's whats expected of us.  Please though, don't put me on any pedestals. I don't want to one day fall off.  I am only human and the fall would be more painful than I could bear. Just keep me in your prayers and I will keep you in mine.  Maybe God will listen and the rest of 2011 will be a little less painful, confusing and lonely.  Maybe just maybe he will help show us all how to make some sense out of what has happened in the world so far.  Just maybe........

Monday, March 28, 2011

NOTHING TO BE SAID

There is nothing to be said tonight but cough...hack...cough.  And ouch!  I think I've coughed so hard I've pulled every muscle in my upper body.  Even my forearms and wrists ache!  What ever this is it is not fun!
With pollen popping things will in all likelihood not get any better soon.  :(  Now to watch the President.  I'm sure that will cheer me up........NOT!  More reasons just given be at yet another war that is not a war.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

OLD MOVIES

As part of working to clean out the house so it can be readied for sale I am going through old VHS tapes.  You know those ones that we used to record those TV shows and movies on in order to watch them at a later date.  It is turning out to be a very interesting activity.  This technology of the 20th century did not allow the skipping of advertisements or news briefs.  Currently I am watch movies recorded in 1991, 10 years ago.  They probably were recorded when I was too busy or tired from raising  10, 8,  and a 6 year olds to watch TV at night without falling asleep. Oh, they may have been on a night I was working at Julie's Quilt shop.  So here are some interesting history I am being reminded of.....George Bush senior was president of the USA at the time.  The minimum wage was raised to $4.25.  People were be encouraged to continue using generic drugs even though there were some manufacturing problems with certain of them; from the way this story was read it sounded as if generic drugs were a relative new thing.  The Soviet Union still existed but was soon to fall.  By the end of 1991 it no longer existed.  Now for those who think prices have gotten out of control....The Red Lobster ShimpFest was being advertised for $10.95.  Frank Herzog was also still doing sports on ABC here in Washington DC.  Oh and the movies were recorded from the ABC Monday Night Movie.  Ah yes those were the good old days!  I never thought I would say I wish I could go back, but I think I maybe do wish I could go back and do a few things differently.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ANOTHER VACATION???

Yes I said another vacation.  I've already had two this year and I am ready for another one.  I was ready the day I got home from my last. I've done a lot of thinking as to why this is.  Vacations are fun but being at home should be also fun and one does need to work AND I do enjoy my various jobs.  So why do I want so leave again.  Is it just running away?  In a way yes it is, but it also is running to something.  What I like so much about being on vacation is that when I go to bed at night there is someone to say good night too and when I get up in the morning I just need to walk out of the bedroom to find someone to say good morning to.  In other words on vacations I'm not alone when at "home". 
Even when I cruised to the Bahamas in a cabin by myself I just got dressed in the morning and headed to the dining room where I had a table full of people to great the day with.  On vacation meals are eaten with people not in front of the TV or in a chair by myself. 
So yes I've already had more vacations than most people at this point of the year, but I am ready for another. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ACCEPTANCE

The word for yesterday and today seems to be "acceptance".  It is showing up everywhere in my reading of devotions, magazines and books.  Two quotes that pertain to is are from Paul Tournier.

  • Acceptance of one's life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices.
  • At the heart of personality is the need to feel a sense of being lovable without having to qualify for that acceptance.
These two quotes approach acceptance from two different sources. 

The first is a self acceptance of  what life throws at you. It comes from with-in.  I'm glad to have found this because I think that I have struggled with acceptance of circumstances that I don't want or like as being a form of resignation. I was thinking of that a lot yesterday when my devotional reading had the quote "It is as it is".  The devotion was talking about dealing with unexpected and nasty things life throws at us.  When negative thoughts about the unwanted life event come the writer suggested repeating "it is what it is"  and then with God's help moving on, but he also stressed that acceptance and resignation are not one and the same.  He went on to say yesterday is history and it can not be rewritten.  By praying "it is what it is" the author suggests our heart can be opened to tomorrow's hope.  So from Paul Tournier and the devotion I learn acceptance does not equal resignation, but that acceptance can lead to hope.

The second Tournier quote deals with an acceptance that comes to us from outside sources.  The feeling of being lovable without having to do something to qualify for that love.  The I'm OK.  It is true we need to accept, love, and be OK with ourselves; but equally it is important to be accepted by another outside of our self.  That acceptance is I think critical to who we are and who we become. I think Paul Tournier would agree.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Psalm 62: 5-6

"For God alone my soul waits in silence for my hope is from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken." 
~~Psalm 62:5-6

I can not honestly say that I have reached the point in my faith journey where I can not be shaken.  I wish I could, but that would be hiding from reality.  Last night and this morning I have to accept the fact that I have been once again shaken to my core.  I wait and I place my hope in God, but I do so, I think, not so much that I trust him, but out of the sense there is no where else to go.  At the moment nothing makes sense to me.  There is too much pain not only in my life but in the lives of so many friends.  There is so much uncertainty.  There is so much despair that never seems to end.  Even when you think it has it simply comes back in another form.  Today I will live with this verse.  I will try my best to carry it with me through the activities of the day.  I will work to make it my own: to get to the place where I can declare with confidence that God alone is my rock and my salvation; I shall not be shaken!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

From my morning devotional once again....

"The deepest comfort in our mourning is to know that God not only has compassion but actually feels our suffering with us." 
~~Flora Slosson Weullner from her book Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey

I have thought and wondered about this concept often in the last year.  The idea that God might actually feel my suffering with me.  I know and fully accept that he knows my suffering, but the understanding and acceptance that he "feels" my suffering along with me is harder for me.

As I understand it one of the purposes of  God sending his Son, a apart of himself, to earth was so that we would have a means by which we could learn and know the nature of God.  As humans we struggle to know God, if for no other  reason than he is God and we are human.  Jesus came and dwelt among us and he was BOTH God and human. God allowed himself to take on the traits of and experience being human.  I'm not so sure that is any easier for me to understand than the nature of God, but I accept it on faith and I look to Jesus to learn about God.

Jesus, from what I read in my Bible experienced every emotion that I have felt.  He cried; he experienced others wanting him to become something he wasn't; he felt pain; he had the need to pull apart for times alone; he felt impatience; he felt sadness; he felt rejection.  The list can go on, but this morning while meditating on this devotion this last item struck me.  Jesus felt rejection! 

Yes, God knows what I am feeling.  He can and does feel my suffering.  Does this make my suffering any less?  No not really, but I think it does make it a little easier to bear and is does make it a little less scary.  Most importantly it does make me feel a little less alone.

The introductory thought from this mornings devotion, also from the same book and author was...

"Pain and sorrow are never wasted when given into God's hands, and their transformation is far beyond our imaginings."

I look forward to that transformation. I get glimpses of it now and then but we humans have, or at least this human has, a hard time putting things into God's hands and leaving them there.  It seems that not only do I need to continue to work on seeking and understanding of God's nature, but I also need to work on fully and totally trusting him with my life and my future.  I try to do both daily.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

TWO THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY!

It's not even 10 am (okay for some people I know that is late, but I am a night owl not a morning person) an I already have been given two thoughts to mull over as the day progresses.  Of course from my devotional readings......

"Even to your old age I am he, even when you turn gray I will carry you. I have made ,and I will bear; I will carry and will save." 
   ~~Isaiah 46:4    
Nice to be reminded that God will be with me by my side even as I grow old.  Can't comment on the gray as I already am that.  I try not to think of myself already as old, but I remember going to my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary when I was around 22 and had been only married a year and thinking.  'WOW....there is no way I can make that and they are so vital even though they are so old!  They were probably only in their late 60's and while I was right I will not see my 50th anniversary I'm getting  close to that age!  Where did all those years go?????

The second thought is:
"I often imagine that life would be like if I hadn't made so many mistakes. But then I imagine what my life would be like if I overcame the guilt and moved on.  Maybe I could be stronger than ever."
                ~~Nakia Gater

This was taken from a devotion written for teens, but it certainly is a thought I need to embrace and probably most of use would do well to ponder.  Guilt over the past serves no purpose but dragging down our future.  God did not create us for guilt. I believe guilt is a man made concept.  I think it is one developed by those who want to keep control over the people they continually remind of their failing. We learn guilt at an early age and it becomes part of us. 
So with God's help I plan on overcoming the guilt that has been heaped on me an I have allowed at times take over my life.  The past is past.  I can learn from it but I can not change it.  It is what it is and I need to look forward to today and what my future can be. When it comes to guilt I can become my own worst enemy!  No more.
                                                 

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

BLIND QUILTER

This woman is amazing and what an inspiration!
I had to share this here so when I get down or I am tempted to think there is nothing that I can do to make a difference I knew where to come to see that everyone can make a difference and limitations we face are of our own making.  WOW!  What an amazing woman and what an amazing God!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

WHO AM I?

We all wear masks in our lives.  I think that is just part of being human.  Especially being human in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Everywhere we turn the media, bosses, friends and yes even family are putting expectations on us that force us to put in a mask and be even for a moment or a season what we are not.  Sometimes we take these masks off after the season is past.  Other times they stay in place and we start to believe that this is who we really are.  Rarely I think are we totally comfortable under the mask, but taking it off becomes to risky.

Today is my first day back in MD after a wonderful 2 1/2 week trip.  During that time I experienced for the first time in many many years, 5 days of being in a situation where no one knew me.  I was a total stranger to all.  I tried to be who I was minus any masks.  Alas I discovered even I didn't know who I really was any longer.  Thoughts would come to mind as I watched the sunset or listened to music that I tried to understand if they were mine or that of a hidden person or event from my subconscious telling me "this is how you are supposed to think to be accepted and to be a "good person".  I think it will take considerably longer than 5 days to uncover who I am under the various masks I wear. 

In thinking about all this I uncovered a quote from e.e. cummings that says a lot:

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."  

The book I found this quote in says he was 63 when he wrote it.  So if he was discovering this at that age I guess it is not too late for me to discover it.  Today I begin and exploration using various means into rediscovery of ME.  It may sound selfish, but how can I know where to head in the rest of my life if I don't know who I am.  Probably should have done this years ago, however I was too busy putting on the masks of life to figure it all out.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if I found out I wore no masks at all but really was true to myself and how God made me, but you know I doubt that will be the case. 

One encouraging thought is that wearing masks and trying to please people did not work.  It did not place me in the life position where I wanted to be at this point. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

LIFE'S BIGGEST TRAGEDY

I found this quote in today''s devotional reading.  I think it bears some thought:

"The tragedy in life is not in the fact of death but in what dies inside us while we live."
~~Norman Cousins from Human Options

What have I allowed to die within me and what am I still allowing to die?  Can things be resurrected one we have allowed them to die?  
I am a strong believer that with God's guidance and help I can change.  I need to believe this, and can do so because it has happened in my life in the past.   Believing this, I do believe things that we have allowed to die with in us can be resurrected, but we can only work to resurrect things within ourselves.  We have no power to resurrect things that have died within others.  They must make those choices and changes for themselves.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

NOTHING MUCH TO SAY....

Well if anyone thought I have anything to say these days they would be wrong....my brain is totally and utterly frozen.....either that or it's just plain worn out from dealing with daily shtuff.........this winter can not end too soon for me.  I also could use a bit more sun than just a random hour or two.....maybe later something will come to mind but I kind of doubt it.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

NO WHERE TO GO BUT UP!

Okay, so it is only 1:10 pm on New Years Day and already 2011 has no where to go but up.
  • Only managed 3 1/2 hours sleep last night and even it was restless
  • First thing this morning Ott light, the main source of light in family room went off.  Thought it was bulb having burnt out....of course it wasn't the light itself died....$110 later I can see again
  • Settled in to watch Capital One Bowl and my MSU Spartans play only to discover you have to have cable and get ESPN in order to see it; which of course I don't!!!!!
Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.......at least it isn't freezing cold out as well.  So common 2011 cut a gal some slack you are supposed to be better than 2010.........

Edited to add:  I guess it was a good thing that I couldn't watch the Capital One Bowl.....sounds like it was a pretty depressing game if you where a Spartan fan.  Still love Sparty though.  I will not be a fickle fan.....just a sad one.  :(   Even the Rose Bowl is no longer on braodcast TV......but the way that game was going I guess that is good as well....Big Ten Football may you RIP!