Category Archives: Unordinary

“It’s Simple, but it’s Not Easy”

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I have a friend who is an internationally known body builder and health trainer. I once told him I was ready to get in shape, I was ready to lose some weight, and I asked him for some advice.  He said I can tell you what to do, “it’s simple, but it’s not easy”.

Simple: Eat less, exercise correctly.  Easy? No. It was tough to eat less, it was hard to do exercises that worked my body correctly. Though I tried to stay strong and focused I sabotaged myself. I made cookies, one cookie wouldn’t make a difference.  Then, one cookie became 3 and then it was even harder to go back to simple and finally I lost sight of my goals, and then just stopped following his advice, because it wasn’t easy.

I’ve thought about what he said quite often “It’s simple, but it’s not easy”. Many important and life changing things are simple. But not very easy. Why?  Because Easy doesn’t strengthen us, easy doesn’t encourage us, easy doesn’t build character … expecting something great while the way to get it is easy is one of Satan’s more well used and popular tools of deception.

God gives us straight-forward, seemingly simple, commandments; Love the Lord your God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength and the other is like unto it, Love your neighbor as yourself.

In our most fundamental doctrine we’ve been given the knowledge that we are children of a living God. The scriptures teach us this in many ways:

So, I asked myself some questions … Do I believe I am a child of God? Do I act like I am a child of God? Do I treat everyone with kindness and compassion knowing they are children of God? Do I reach out to my neighbors without a goal to convert them? Am I afraid to reach out to my neighbor because I think they might try and convert me? Am I welcoming and loving to everyone I meet?

I thought, yes? That Yes has an attached question mark. Then I thought about the word all. We are all God’s children. Well, then I thought … What about the people around the corner with 27 old cars out front that I criticize every time I drive by? What about that screaming child kicking the back of my seat in the airplane? What about people who have different political opinions? How about those people that just rub me the wrong way? How about people that … well you get the idea.  I didn’t like my answers … they weren’t a solid yes! My answers were  ‘well’, ‘kinda’, ‘sorta I do’, ‘maybe’, ‘sometimes’ …

How do we forget this fundamental doctrine? Because it’s a simple truth. We know we are children of God, but it’s not easy to remember and act upon when we aren’t focused on it, because the natural man sees with the eyes not the heart.

Satan works very hard to keep us separate. He works to keep us focused inward on ME and to forget WE.  Looking around on social media, listening to the news, even conversations within our own families we can see he’s been very successful in creating an environment of Us versus Them.

I want to focus on 3 ways or ‘weapons’ that Satan is using to blind us and stop us from seeing & treating God’s children as our brothers and sisters.  Then I will share with you the Secret, Not-so-Secret weapon God has given us to defeat Satan in this on-going war.

The first weapon Satan is using is Contention.  This is so blatant that the Lord gave us specific scriptural warning to beware:

“He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me [saith the Lord], but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another”.[v]

Contention stops us from seeing everyone as a child of God by separating us into groups so we comfortably live our life in our own bubbles; contention breaks our personal peace and causes us to harden our hearts and blind our eyes to everyone not like us. Who look differently, live differently, believe differently.

President Russel M. Nelson taught us how to combat contention[vi]

He says, “…show compassionate concern for others. Control the tongue, the pen, and the keyboard. Whenever tempted to dispute, remember this proverb: “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” (Prov. 11:12; see also Prov. 17:28.)

He goes on to say: Bridle the passion to speak or write contentiously for personal gain or glory. The Apostle Paul counseled the Philippians, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philip. 2:3.)

But the ultimate step lies beyond beginning control of expression. Personal peace is reached when one, in humble submissiveness, truly loves God.”

He then directed us to Heed carefully this scripture:

“There was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.”

A second tool Satan is using is Pride

I never thought of myself as prideful. But I was so excited when I bought the next best car to my dream car which is a 1963 corvette … my new car was a nice little silver blue Z3 … it looked like the old ‘vette. So, one day I’m driving down the road, feeling all, this is cool, when I realized I wasn’t feeling this is cool, it was I’m cool. I was comparing my car with those around me. It was like a punch in the stomach.  I was like the Nephites!

Most of The Book of Mormon is seeing the rise of pride in the Nephites. We read about their Pride in their wealth, pride in their clothing, pride in their homes, and pride in their own strength… The pride which was their downfall.

First I tried to talk myself out of that thought, I’m not prideful! But after that day almost every time I got in my little car I remembered that feeling and those thoughts. Finally, the ultimate reason I sold my car was because of those feelings.  I’m not saying driving a nice car makes a person prideful, but I was prideful when I drove that car. After that moment of knowing; I saw many other places I had let pride in; like being at work and thinking I can do this better, more efficiently than anyone here in this meeting … why do I have to listen to what they have to say?

The Guide to the Scriptures describes this hurtful Pride as:

A lack or absence of humility or teachableness.

It goes on to say: Pride sets people in opposition to each other and to God. A proud person sets himself above those around him and follows his own will rather than God’s will.  Conceit, envy, hardheartedness, and haughtiness are also typical of a proud person.

In the New Testament, James (2:2) teaches us how pride separates us from one another and how to combat that pride within ourselves.

For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, though shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well:

But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

Mormon also teaches us to combat pride through yielding our hearts unto God:

Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God”.[vii]

And another tool Satan is using to blind us from seeing and treating one another as brothers and sisters is Unrighteous Judgement.

President Thomas S. Monson in his 2010 General Conference talk Charity Never Faileth, told this story:

 “A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.

“‘That laundry’s not clean!’ Lisa exclaimed. ‘Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!’

“John looked on but remained silent.

“Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.

“A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, ‘Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.’

“John replied, ‘Well, dear, I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”

Although we are warned about judging un-righteously we do need to judge daily about many things and people.

From True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference we learn:

“Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your life. The Lord has given many commandments that you cannot keep without making judgments…

Judgement is an important use of your agency and requires great care, especially when you make judgments about other people. All your judgments must be guided by righteous standards”.

Elder Lynn Robbins in his Oct 2016 General Conference talk The Righteous Judge taught us to follow Christ’s example of righteous judgement.

“In His mortal life, Jesus Christ was a loving judge, uncommonly wise and patient. He is known in the scriptures as “the righteous judge”, and His counsel to us is to also “judge righteous judgment” and to “put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good … [and] to judge righteously”.[viii]

Heavenly Father commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He has given us the best tool or weapon to combat Contention, combat Pride, and combat Unrighteous Judgement. Really, it’s the tool to combat all that Satan throws at us.

It is God’s love. This is the Secret, not-Secret weapon God has given us to defeat Satan.

  • We see he told us the weapon to use against contention is to “Fill our heart with God’s love”,
  • the weapon against pride is to “pray and fast and yield our heart to God”, and
  • then, to combat unrighteous judgement rely upon Him and “trust in the spirit”.

My family is a microcosm of the world … as its grown it has become truly diverse in every way. Even though they are adults with children of their own I have struggled, and do struggle with their choices; I struggle as to how to reconcile my beliefs and theirs, my lifestyle with theirs, my viewpoints and theirs.

At one point I gave in to anger, judgement, & frustration. I was angry with them, I was fearful for them, I often was ashamed of them.  I would feel guilt, shame & more frustration. It was overwhelming and heart-breaking. I could hardly be with some of them, or even talk to them. There was little or no love in my heart or between us in our family.

On my knees praying for help, praying for forgiveness, asking for guidance … begging for God to help me understand them, and begging to know what I could do, what I should do … The Lord answered my prayer so profoundly that I am not the same.

He told me that it is not my job to judge them. He told me that he knows them, He knows their paths, he knows their plan, and He knows what they need.  They are His, as am I. My job is only to Love them.

That answer to my prayers taught me and helps me remember to treat and love each one in my family circle as a precious son or daughter of God. I don’t always succeed, but God’s love helped me separate their actions from who they are, his children … and love has returned.

Over time, I’ve come to understand that His words apply to everyone I encounter. Heavenly Father wants us to remember that He knows everyone. He knows everyone’s paths, He knows everyone’s plan. We all are His. Our only job is to love one another. Everyone. Not just in church, not just those who like what we like, or do what we do, but everyone.

How has he taught us to love one another? How has he taught us to love our families? Love our neighbors?  The stranger? The refugee? The prisoner? The homeless? The sick?  Those of different religions, colors, creeds, tongues, lands and people?

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

And he also taught us

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; …

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?[ix]

God’s not so secret weapon is that we are to love and serve one another. We are to love with God’s love, and we know that God’s love is the pure love of Christ, which pure love is Charity. And we know that God’s Charity Never Faileth.

In the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Moroni gave direction as to how to be filled with Charity …

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; [x]

President John Taylor, the third president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught the importance of not only believing, but practicing the Savior’s plea to love our neighbor.

Love one another, and work the works of righteousness, and look after the welfare of all, and seek to promote the happiness of all. That is what God is doing.”   

“When you get the Spirit of God, you feel full of kindness, charity, long-suffering, and you are willing all the day long to accord to every man that which you want yourself. You feel disposed all the day long to do unto all men as you would wish them to do unto you.”[xi]

Going back to what my friend told me, “It’s simple, but it’s not easy” … Simple: treat everyone as a son or daughter of God.  Love thy neighbor as thyself. But to remember and do that is often not easy because we are only men and women and are not perfect.  I believe that as we follow Moroni’s guidance to pray with all the energy of [our] heart for the gift of Charity and the guidance of the Holy Ghost and if we follow Nephi’s counsel to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men  we will see everyone as they truly are, we will treat them and serve them as our brothers and sisters; as children of our Father in Heaven  … As God knows and sees us.

May we always remember we are all our Father’s children. May we all desire and pray for the gift of Charity, and may God’s love enable us to overcome Satan whose only desire is to stop us from returning home to live in Celestial glory with our Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ.

I testify that we are, all of us, the sons and daughters of God; our Father in Heaven knows each of our names, each of our needs, and knows our heart’s greatest desires. He loves every one of us with His infinite love, no matter our circumstances, where we were born or live, our trials, our opportunities, or our choices. For the Father offered even his son, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life as an example to us.  Our Savior, Jesus Christ, died and atoned for our sins, the sins of everyone, in every place, in every time, in every circumstance.

Hands Across America 1986 — Philadelphia

Hands Across America 1986 – Midwest, USA

 

 

[i] Moses Chapter 1:13

[ii] Psalms 82:6

[iii] Acts 17:29

[iv] Doctrine and Covenants 76:34

[v] 3 Nephi 11:29

[vi] The Canker of Contention, by Elder Russell M. Nelson

[viii] The Righteous Judge, by Elder Lynn G. Robbins

[ix] Matthew 25:35-47

[x] Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ  Moroni 7:48

[xi] Teachings of the Presidents of the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), President John Taylor, Chpt 3 Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

Charlie the Dog goes Walk-About

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Last Friday I went skiing … the snow was so-so and after a few runs in the fog I headed home. Well, that’s not too unusual in my world, but that day would turn out to be nothing like the chill bucolic day I was planning.

When I headed out that morning I took my mother’s dog Charlie (the little white house dog we’ve been fostering) down into the Sweetie’s shop so he

“Aren’t I Special”? thinks Charlie the Dog

could hang out with Mala our Pudelpointer. After about half an hour of his scratching on the door Sweetie let him out to wander in the front drive area … which he’s done for the past 7 weeks.  Nothing unusual there either … except … Charlie decided to “go walk-about’.

When I walked in the door Sweetie said, “I lost Charlie”.  Oh no! I thought, my mom is going to have a stroke or something. So off go the ski boots and I went into I’ve got to find Charlie mode.  You should know though that Charlie is his own dog (read SPOILED) … when you call he goes the other way … like catch me if you can ….   You also may remember that here in Council the shop is in the middle of 97 acres of burnt dirt, rocks, and sage brush and rolling hills.  At this time of year, with unusually warm weather the ground is swampy from snow melt.  I climbed hills, took the binoculars out and scanned the hills for movement of any kind, I called, I walked looking at snow patches trying to see if there were Charlie prints anywhere.  Nope.  Quail prints, horse prints, man prints … big dog prints … no Charlie prints.

Then I drove up and down Highway 95 … well, if the little guy could make it that far (1/2 mile) to the main road, maybe someone picked him up. I drove up and down the highway a LOT .. sloooowly with my emergency flashers blinking while I was on look out for  “a body” … Nope! No body. Wheww! Home I went and made up lost dog posters and plastered them at all the gathering spots around Council. I put info on Facebook, I called veterinarians in a 60 mile radius (like Council is in the middle of nowhere so 60 miles is a good circle).  I messaged found animal services.  The result? Nothing, notta, nope, no sign of the little white house dog that doesn’t listen. And I prayed. I called my mom, I called my sister I said, pray .. and they prayed, and friends prayed and sent good thoughts.  I prayed every time I thought of that “stupid” dog.

Saturday I was all in a twist about him … it had rained the night before. I was sad, I was worried because my mother was heart broken. As I was praying, driving again down the road, I had a sense of peace calm me down and I felt that Charlie was okay.  Thinking he had been found and that someone would see one of the adverts and contact us. Talking to my mom she said she felt the same way.  No news Saturday, or Saturday night, or Sunday … someone called and said he may have been at a vet in Weiser.

… that’s 3 days of praying and watching for a gathering of crows (the body thing again), but no news is good news? I continued to feel that peacefulness and figured, well, he’s okay.  He’s either with God and he’s okay or with someone and he’s okay. Fast forward to Sunday evening (3 days after the little white dog took a powder) and 2 minutes before the end of the Superbowl.

I thought i heard a scratch at the door … we were screaming for the Eagles in those final minutes and I wasn’t certain I’d really heard anything. I went downstairs, but didn’t hear any scratching or noise. But, a thought came to mind to just open the door.

After 3 days walk-about … “Kibble! I’ll eat kibble”!!

I opened the door and that little white dog dragged himself though and stood there, head down and shaking. Some how, where ever he had been he found his way back. I yelled upstairs, “Charlie’s back”! Total shock echoed throughout the group … I picked him up, carried him upstairs and had Sweetie take a picture of him to send to my mother. He was shaking and sighing (yes, a dog can sigh). I put him down and the dog who doesn’t eat kibble unless bribed ate 2 plates of kibble, some chicken jerky, and some philly cheesesteak and probably drank a quart of water.

Where he went, how far he walked or ran, how he avoided being a coyote appetizer, or giant barn owl dinner we’ll never know. What stories he could tell. His feet are still sore and he’s sticking pretty close to the front door when he has to go out.

His return is a miracle. Charlie’s safe return is a testament to sincere prayer and faith in a loving Father in Heaven who is always aware of each of his creatures, no matter how small.  God is Wonderful.

On a separate note: Charlie will be heading back to live with Mom in a few weeks, she’s decided to return home … she says the people at the independent/assisted living apartments are OLD and though she won’t say it out loud … I don’t think she trusts us to keep Charlie  close so he won’t go walk-about again.

Life is good, isn’t it?

Indian Summer … “I gather sun rays”

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Taking a break …

My prayers have been answered! Indian Summer keep on coming!! On Wednesday in the warm sunny it was a little fishing while Sweetie went bird hunting and Monday if the weather dudes have it right we’ll be wadin’ a river, tossin’ a line savoring time.

Today Mala and I took a short hike over the hills and dales on a chunk of state property behind the pastures out back. No hurry, no rush just wandering inhaling the perfume of broken sage, sun warmed soil, and listening to the pop and rustle of die-hard grasshoppers.

Leaves are almost gone from branches, seed heads are dipping toward the ground in the slight breezes and deer tracks wander wraith like through the grasses. It’s a good place for a walk. I am grateful for this moment to build memory for the dark and snow filled days ahead, like Frederick by Leo Lionni “Frederick, why don’t you work? they asked. I do work”, said Frederick. “I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days”. When the darkness of winter closes the doors with drifted snow, and colors are hidden by white piles and grey clouds I will remember this day; the dusty motes of sage floating in the golden rays of sun, the brilliant reds and oranges of leaves letting go of branches to drop into piles below, the green tops of carrots lonely in the garden box, red globes of tomatoes in shining jars, and I’ll remember turquoise blue water bumping a sandy shore while my fly line drifts gently with the river’s tug.

Take a moment and find Frederick, read it today then read it again in the darkest of winter days and your heart will spill out all the brightness of this Indian Summer day.  Until later my friends, I’m reveling in another day of Indian Summer … such days are truly a blessing.

 

 

 

Zone of Totality …

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So there was this thing about 10 days ago that created a sensation across the states (and the world) … the total solar eclipse. Now I’m not an astronomer (I tried, but I can’t stay up all night), and it’s taken me almost my whole lifetime to learn the names of and recognize the phases of the moon. But I LOVE eclipses; total or otherwise.  I haven’t traveled across the world to watch one (or I haven’t yet), but after being an eye witness in the Zone of Totality I just might.

We’re ready … total solar eclipse 2017

Check the light, the sun is about 1/2 covered and the night wind started blowing.

When the hype started 5-6 months ago I realized that our little ‘ranch’ although not in the exact center of the path was in the zone and I immediately thought PARTY!! And what a party it was … 17 peeps made a 7 hour trek to experience totality, plus our next door neighbors (next door meaning they get in their truck to get to our place).  The hype and Facebook and twitter and newspaper articles are awash with photographs … I heard folks were disappointed they didn’t turn into vampires, at least that was one rumor floating around… yeah, well … it’s what I heard.

This is soooo cool!

So, just 2 days before the eclipse I was talking to my little sister about how I wanted to experience things and stop seeing them through my camera lens … My point was I spend too much time ‘capturing’ the moment rather than ‘living’ the moment. So, what did I do? I wasted precious time trying to ‘get a shot’ of what my eyes were seeing (which didn’t work) and I wasted time that I could have seen the stars that came out, I could have, I could have … but I didn’t. But I will when I see the next total eclipse August 12, 2045 which goes dead-center over Utah, and after all I’ll only be 91 … guess that’s something to put on my I need to see and experience again list.

What else do you do at Grandpa’s ranch but ride the 4-wheeler

Just so you know that I did invite everyone I know and talked to in Boise and surrounding areas to come up and see the Total Eclipse … and what did I hear? “It’ll be 99.5% total here, why should I drive 2 hours north and get stuck in traffic”? What’s the difference? What’s the difference? It’s like running 26.195 miles of a marathon and stopping because 99.5% is good enough”. It’s like Neil Armstrong peeking out the window of the lunar module and saying, “this is close enough”.

In the Zone of Totality
Photograph Credit: Wyatt Taylor (yes, he’s my gson) Follow his Instagram @ High_Peaks_Adv and webpage

We were Here! We experienced the light dim to colors I’ve yet to have words to describe, to feel the temperature drop 15+ degrees and the night winds start blowing, to keep tipping solar viewing glasses up and down to see the light change, to look at the corona, to see the colors change again.  Then to watch that brilliant blast of solar light as the sun exploded into the beyond just as the moon slipped infinitesimally past  totality … it was a diamond ring.

But I missed stars! and I WANTED to see the stars. What a hard lesson that was … again.  My lesson? Be Here Now!

What an AWESOME display of the perfection of the universe and of God’s love to put the planets in such perfect alignment that on August 21, 2017 we were in the Zone of Totality … we saw & felt a Total Solar Eclipse!

The fam & friends had packed and were on the road before the end of the light show .. attempting to make it to the interstate before the throngs plugged the 2  lane running past our house.  It was a good plan, but an hour south they became part of the miles of traffic stoppage with other like-minded folks.

The total eclipse was worth it, and to add to our excitement Saturday night we had a 3 hour find Max the Schnauzer (dog with a heart condition) scavenger hunt. After many tears and recriminations he was found under a bush 100 yards from the house after a search of 90+ acres, and several miles of the rails to trails.

Idaho Eclipse Weekend Artifact; found in clothes dryer. Finder quoted saying, “I thought I said NO”.

Not to be outdone, Sunday was the evening of the RATTLESNAKE ! My theory is the old school gangsta rap they were listening to called the snake across 30 feet of burnt dirt and rocks, to hunker under the trailer & coil up next to the boombox between two girls.  Later the daughter discovered that No to a 10 year old son isn’t no to his grandpa.

Isn’t Life Grand?

Where will you be for the next Total Eclipse? https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/future/

 

#nochristmasbeforethanksgiving #wanderingkeriwins

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My #nochristmasbeforethanksgiving was successful! 30 days of Thanksgiving and No Christmas BEFORE December 1st … that was the journey  I started 30 days ago.  Did you join in?

Dang,  but it was hard to avoid Christmas decorations and the advertisements especially when I had to shop for essentials.  I have become a pro at ignoring the gauntlet of elves, trees, glitter, and HoHoHo’s down each aisle, near each cash register and the insipid all Christmas music stations  playing over every AM/FM band that started in NOVEMBER.

I’m certain I’ll pay a bit more for the few gifts I’m giving this Christmas season, but it was soooo worth it.  Actually thinking about and focusing on my blessings, mentioning something new each day for which I am grateful and thankful for opened my heart to even more thankfulness.  It opened my heart to realize how many, many more blessings I have than I ever thought possible.

In these last hours of the last day of November looking back over my 30 days of thanksgiving and it’s true, for each day of thanksgiving I posted … I thought of 10 more that would mean just as much.  Some things were silly, others heartfelt, and some  at the time seemed quite ordinary … but now I realize, nothing is truly ordinary, is it?

Most of us ... missing ... Steve, Aarin & Bayla ... Pam & Jeff, Clayton, & Breena ... & Chris' wife Cindy

Most of us … missing … Steve, Aarin & Bayla … Pam & Jeff, Clayton, & Breena … & Chris’ wife Cindy

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Ali (holding Mala) , Greg, Peter, and Tessa

November 1: I am grateful for all the wonderful souls in my life. (I can’t put all y’all’s pics here … but you are stuck in my heart forever!)

 

I Pledge Alligence

I Pledge Alligence

Nov 5th: I am soooo thankful to be living in the United States of America! I am grateful to the inspired founding fathers design of a representative republic and the constitution and bill of rights. Don’t take them for granted.

 

Who needs water? Trevi Fountain ... Rome

Who needs water? Trevi Fountain … Rome

Nov 6th: I am so grateful for my sweet husband … he’s a great traveling companion and my best friend!

 

743d8790e9248eb211ac7d6f9ce079d012th: I am so very Thank-Full and Grateful for 20 years of sobriety. Thanks be to God! Even after all these many years, it is still One Day at a Time.

 

6fa1b3ee50b284cc6dbc0b9a13d47e6fDay 13: I’m grateful today that I’ve learned not to take myself so seriously. Life is tooooo short for that!

 

Dad & Mom at the Cabin

Dad & Mom at the Cabin

18th Day: I am in awe and gratitude for the parents I was blessed with. They gave me all they had to give and more … miss you every day dad and I am grateful for a mom who continues to love and cheer me on.

Day 30: I am so grateful for eyes that can see beauty, a heart that loves and can feel love, ears that can hear giggles, the symphony of nature, and kisses. 🙂

I am eternally grateful for my testimony and love for Jesus Christ, my Savior. I am so thankful for the peace that came with repentance and turning my heart to Him. I know that He lives and that He knows me, and knows my name as he knows you.

Thank you for joining me on my 30 days of Thanksgiving journey. I am grateful and love you all! …  Life is Good and We are Blessed!

 

 

Bilbo Baggins is my Hero

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You gotta have a motto!

You gotta have a motto!

If you’ve kept up with my last few posts you’ll notice a theme … I’m feeling a bit, what’s the word? Retired? Yep. Retired. Accepting that word as opposed to the phrase ‘Not Working Anymore’ has been much to hard to accept.  Creeped me out actually.  When I quit working I left a career that I absolutely loved working for the U.S. Forest Service. Twenty-one years of absolute joy, excitement, and adventure. The last 5 years were pretty close to hell on earth.   I didn’t just quit working I escaped and that made the transition to ‘not working anymore’ a relief. It was a thank goodness I’m alive relief … more than that, thank goodness I didn’t toss anyone down the stairs relief.  But now it’s time to put those last 5 years into a box, tape it up and toss it into the incinerator. I just have to let it go and remember the 21 years I loved working and making a difference … maybe that is what I am sensing is missing … making a difference?

It’s starting … the 12 week book adventure I’m going on … Julia Cameron’s  It’s Never to Late to Begin Again:Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.  I’ve started reading. Today I am starting with morning pages, a walk, and a mental walk-about … to seek and find something more, something new, something old or find just me..

I admit I’m feeling a bit like Bilbo Baggins leaving Bag End the second time … knowing the time is ripe for change and new adventures.

The Road goes ever on and on 

Down from the door where it began. 

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say!*

*Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Book 1, Fellowship of the Ring

Loving it All

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IMG_2305Welcome Monday! … my To-Do list has additions, the fruit trees blooming in the yard smell delicious, the sun is shining, the lawn mower is calling as is the mini roto-tiller and there are about 10 hours today to ‘git ‘er done’. Garden beds are calling and birds are singing and I’m sitting on the couch writing. Much is on my mind and in my heart.

Do you wonder sometimes why there are ups and downs in life? What tips the scales from good to bad in a minute or how we get on the slow slide into the blahs? Yep, life is just like that … it’s meant to test and try us. Yep, life is meant to help us become our best today, tomorrow, and always.  Yep, life is just like that … there is bad that goodness shines brighter in our hearts, sadness so we may know joy, tears so that laughter has meaning, and  …

Many of my life choices have brought me tears and heartache, the choices of others brought devastation that I had no control over … coming out on the other side of such pain, fear, and despair I gained much and can see the good in the horribly bad … I gained strength, courage, forgiveness, hope, optimism, joy, and most importantly love. I learned I can do hard things, but do not have to become hardened. I can forgive as I have been forgiven. I can see the sun shining behind the storm and know that it is always there and I need not fear the darkness.

I’ve learned that nothing can sustain true intensity forever … just as a tornado dissipates, an earthquake shakes only so long, a flood eventually recedes, calm does return. Though often it takes quite a while to clear the debris left behind and after the healing has started … I have learned that after the mess is cleared, the view is infinitely more beautiful … especially if I don’t go searching for the junk the tornado, earthquake, or flood washed away and carry it back into the yard.

Today the sun is shining bright in my life, challenges still come and I expect they will forever.  I have learned the most important thing … that I have never been alone. In the darkest of my nights, the deepest pits of my pain, in the face of my stupidity and fear I was always protected, guided, and loved by Christ my Savior who carried me when I didn’t know him, when I rejected him, when I was wandering in the wilderness. He saved me from myself, he rescued me and gave me life, joy, happiness, faith and hope.

IMG_2303He is the light in darkness. He is who He said he is: The living Son, of the living God.  He knows me, He knows my name, He died for me, He lives for me … and you.  Always.