Blogs I Follow
Top Posts & Pages
I received a generic/informative email today from my son about a family member. It was a reminder that we all might have differing political, religious, emotional or environmental interests and beliefs but that we are still family and need to treat each other with respect.
It was a reminder to me of how to use and treat Facebook. Facebook is also like a big family. We have friends, coworkers, acquaintances and family all blended into one huge family. We share our lives, our family pictures, our outings and keep in touch with those far away. We share news and reports of interest. Some are legitimate articles or news, and some are purely for entertainment with a huge dose of tongue-in-cheek thrown in. We share memories and things that happened in the past. We share new things, and unexpected illnesses and ask for prayers and support. Amidst all of that, we sometimes get caught up in politics. That is always a topic of interest with incendiary possibilities lurking.
Within my family are people of many religious choices. Most are Christian, but some are undecided. My husband was brought up Southern Baptist and I was a Lutheran. We tried each others church and ended up not going for a time. We are both now Catholic. I embraced and became friends with some special Charismatic Nuns and the belief in the gifts of the Spirit. I pray in tongues in my private prayers.
Some of us are conservative and some are quite liberal. Some are straight and some are not. Some are married and some are not. Some are Republican and some embrace the Democratic party. Some are extreme in pro environmental issues or in recycling while some are actively seeking equality in personal choices and acceptance. But they are family and I love them all.
I have friends and coworkers of many races. My last job, I was in the minority. I was the white person. It took me many years to even notice because we were women first of all, coworkers with a common goal, and friends. I now have a new work environment. It is also varied with women and men, many races and many age groups, from the very young to the elderly.
Every where we go, in whatever we do, we find people who have different beliefs, different political beliefs, different backgrounds and different religious affiliations.
Some of my very close friends were avid lovers of Obama. We managed to work together for most of those 8 years without any contention. We were friends, coworkers, and shared work, values and respect. We kept politics out of the work arena. But because of these friendships, I try to be careful when I post things on Facebook.
I post things I see that I believe in. I also post controversial things of interest. Sometimes I believe in them and sometimes I think they are “out in left field” and just find them fascinating. I try not to post extremely damaging articles about things I know are important to some of my friends. It is more important to me to have friends than to attempt to mold the world into a mini ME or convince them that “my way is the only or best way”.
Who we are and who we become develops over our entire lifetimes and we are constantly changing. Things I thought were important when I was younger are not so now. There are things I did once that would raise eyebrows now. We learn like children. We try something to learn and to grow, and then we have to decide what is the most important to us. We have to decide what is the most beneficial way to live and what will create the least amount of drama or stress in our lives. After all, we want to work, to grow, to be creative, to give of ourselves, to share what we know, and to learn from others and enjoy life while doing it. And thus, hitting someone over the head with our personal passions or beliefs is not the way to create and live a happy life.
We all are different. We are made different. We think differently. Different things touch our souls or move us, or encourage us to want to make a difference, or to make a change or to help in some way. My passion is not yours. Each of us have different passions and the urge to improve our world in our small way. But my way is not the only way and we all can help or bring change within our own passions.
We all can be stubborn. We all can be obstinate. We all can be adamant and rigid. We all can be angry. We can be rude and we can be loving. But we can also respect and admire our family and friends and coworkers for what they have become, the accomplishments they have made, the trials gone through and the strengths they have gained along the way. We are first and foremost, people. And people want to live and to grow and to be productive and be creative and to love and be loved. During our search for all of those things, we may temporarily embrace new things to “try them out”. There will be some we keep and there will be some we discard as we continue on our journeys.
As a believer in the Triune God, personal spiritual relationship and prayer is extremely important to me, but that is also part of the journey. I believe strongly that we cannot live without a relationship with Jesus and survive. We all live in different “seasons” of our lives. Each season has its own lessons to learn and goals to accomplish and hurdles to overcome. Some are personal and some are Spiritual. When it is time to move from one season to the next, we will.
What motivates one person is not what might motivate another. But, we are still all people, who want to live and earn a living and feel useful and to find happiness. How we do that is a lifelong journey that each individual has to make. We all will make mistakes and we all will be obnoxious and we all will be offensive. But hopefully in the end, we will be kind, compassionate, and recognize we are all alike and facing problems or situations that color our behaviour. We can live with each other and love each other and respect each other and still not agree or embrace each others passions. Sometimes it is better not to speak than to start a war that will last a long time.
The ones close to us know what we feel, what we believe and whether or not we might approve of their choices. It is not always necessary to attack them to reiterate our beliefs. Just because our passions or beliefs or political leanings are different does not mean that we are stupid, or illiterate, or uninformed.
So, I am conservative. I tend to be Republican. I am a Catholic, but am also a Christian and a Charismatic. I recycle some, but not avidly. I give to others and to charities, but sometimes look out for me or family first. I can see both sides of the situation and see good in both sides, but sometimes I wear blinders. I am white. I also grew up middle class verging on poor. I can’t help that any more than others can help what color they are. That doesn’t really matter. That is just skin. It DOES mean that we were probably raised differently, maybe with different opportunities or within different belief systems or environments. I had no control over that either.
Those things are just things. They helped to develop and shape us along the way. And the people we met, and the choices we made helped to form us into who we became.
That is how we live. We might be white, or black, or oriental or brown, but we are people. We have to understand that others might not see us as we want to be seen because they have not traveled along our path. Their path was different. It taught them different lessons. They didn’t experience what I did, and it is not their fault.
But that doesn’t mean we cannot be friends and coworkers and enjoy each others company, insight, life experiences and share in failures and successes. They are part of the journey as well.
And so, I am a daughter, a mother, a wife, a sister, a grandmother, a woman, white, conservative, Catholic, and Republican. I also like chocolate, chips, mexican food, diet coke, being useful and productive and creative, and wish to be as independent as possible. I am kind, compassionate, empathetic and dependable. I am loyal. I can’t tell a lie without stammering. It is not something I ever learned to do. I read, I watch tv. I work. I spend time with my husband and daughter. I keep in touch with distant family by phone, text, messenger or Facebook. I try to be kind, but sometimes I am tactless. I try to be understanding, but sometimes I am selfish. Those are just some of the things I am. I am many things and do many things and enjoy many things. But most of all…I am just me.
When I was young, I was brought up in the Church. I have memories of my father sitting in the corner reading out of his Bible. That didn’t mean I was perfect, or knew what it meant to be a good Christian. It just means I was aware of God and Jesus and to me, that was normal.
I wasn’t taught to openly share my faith. My mother was a reserved woman and felt our spirituality, or our beliefs were extremely personal and not really to be shared. I grew up thinking my faith was a portion of who I was. It was partitioned off from my everyday life. There was my every day secular life and there was my Sunday spiritual life, but they didn’t really coincide.
I didn’t learn until much later in life that there is no such thing as a separation. What we are and what we believe is all intertwined together to make the whole. Even as adults, when others depend on us to take charge, to support them, to provide for them, we realize deep down, that without that underlying security blanket of our faith and dependence upon God the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit, we would be helpless to accomplish much at all.
In thinking of this as I watched the streaming version of Christmas eve Mass by my Church, I remembered this statement that went around years ago: “If you were on trial for being a Christian would they have enough evidence to convict you?”
Do people tend to turn to you when they need prayer? Do people tend to avoid sharing off-color jokes with you or are you the first one to hear and the first to share? Do people apologize for bad language around you or refrain from using those words in your presence or do you have the reputation for cussing? Do R rated movies turn you off? Does the profanity in PG and PG13 movies make you uncomfortable? Do you cringe when you hear the Lords’ name used as a curse word? Or have you become accustomed to it and you no longer notice?
Remember this passage? “Romans 12: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
That just means we are a part of this world. We live here, work here, associate with people and are able to influence them, but we are not supposed to be influenced and brought down to their level just so we can “fit in”. We are supposed to strive to live holy lives, and not compromise just because “everyone else does it”, or “that’s just the way it is done now” or “that idea is so old-fashioned”. We must strive to keep our spirits and souls separate and pure from the distractions and enticements of this world. There is much to keep up from prayer and from fostering our relationship with Christ, but in the end, that is all that will matter.
We need to be an example to others. We might be the only example of Christ they ever see. Matthew 5 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Let your “light” shine. Let the best part of you, the part that seeks to emulate Christ, shine so others can see God in you.
All hidden from myself,
But falling out in unexpected ways.
Uncertainty, feelings stumbling around
Trying to be heard.
Where did they come from?
What are they trying to say?
It’s a mystery with lingering emotional fallout
that sprinkles over everything like ugly confetti.
Not happy, but perplexing, annoying.
Causing an inner unexplained anxiety without a safety valve to release the overflow.
The wave carries me along and I don’t resist.
Sometimes it’s easier to lay in it and ride the current to see where it goes.
But the end is just as confusing as the beginning.
There is no explanation, no purpose, no resolution.
Just the remnants of unexplained wisps of moody voices fading away.
Vague memories of melancholy, sadness and despair
turning into transitional vaporous mists of the new day coming.
11/9/2016 Esther York
The past 2 months have been a whirlwind of emotions for all of us. My husbands new diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure caused a lot of changes and left us with uncertainties.
He began wearing a defibrillator vest that monitors his heart 24/7. If you aren’t familiar with one, it’s what we call his ‘man bra’. Tucked into the vest are 5 different leads that monitor his heart. One under each arm, one under each breast, and a back piece consisting of two larger pieces that can administer an electric shock if the vest recognizes an irregular heart rhythm.
It is attached to a battery pack which he is tethered to and carries slung by strap over his shoulder or on a strap or clip hanging off his waist. If one of the leads is not touching his body properly and reading the info it needs, a “gong” will sound alerting him to the problem. His monitor will show him in pictures which lead is the problem so he can adjust it.
If the gong is ignored, it can escalate to a ‘siren’ sound and a voice will announce for people to stand back and don’t touch the patient. It assumes he has passed out and that there is a problem with his heart and that he is unable to respond. It will give him an electircal shock just as if he was on an ER table getting the ‘paddles’. If he can push two buttons on his monitor it will stop the siren and reset itself.
Sometimes, just stretching and the movement the garment will make as you stretch will cause the lead to move and not be positioned correctly causing the gong to sound. Sometimes when he roughly changes position from one side to the other during the night, that will cause things to shift and the gong will sound. You can’t know how exciting it is to be awakened in the night to either the gong or the siren and that stern voice! Each time it has happened, he has just reset the monitor as per instructions. He takes it in stride but it causes me no end of anxiety. Sometimes I even yell for him to respond making sure he actually CAN respond.
He was put on an extremely low sodium diet because his heart function is so low. That has caused some change in eating habits and as a result he has lost about 25 lbs. That also caused a problem with the vest fitting properly and he had to get a smaller size which was a little too tight and not very comfortable. Wearing the vest has been a major adjustment. For instance, sometimes he will forget his tether and start walking off without it and it will tumble off of where he set it to wash his hands.
After 3 months evaluation and monitoring by the vest, they will look into how to help his situation best. He may get a defibrillator/pacemaker combo implanted. We are just not sure how they are planning to address his ‘bundle block’ problem. That is when some of the electrical impulses telling the heart to work its job are not doing their job and they are not firing.
He had no warning of his problem. He works 50 hours a week as a manager and we assumed his being tired was because of the hours and the after work errands he is required to do to help me because of my limited mobility. One weekend, he could not catch his breath. He felt like he had just run a race and was breathing hard and could not catch his breath and it scared him enough to go to the ER. That is where this all began. They discovered he had some heart damage, fluid buildup in his lungs, and that his heart output was only working at about 20%. He has not had a heart attack and doctors are not sure what has caused the heart damage. He is slightly diabetic so that is a possibility, and sleep apnea might be another possibility although he has never had a sleep test done or been diagnosed with sleep apnea. It is still an unknown.
And so, it is now 2 months later and we all have had to cope with the changes. They could have labeled this disease better I think. Just receiving the news that you have ‘congestive heart failure’ sounds like there is no hope and you might die at any moment. I can’t imagine the emotional toll that diagnosis can cause. My husband is pretty closed mouthed about it all.
And now, he has used up all of his vacation time on unexpected trips to the ER. Once, when he began this journey, another time, he became severely dehydrated until he got more information telling him about how to curtail his fluids and reduce his sodium and still drink enough to not get dehydrated. And so, his employer requested a form from the heart doctor about his condition and its requirements and/or ongoing treatment expectations. It is a generic form and a lot of how it is worded does not apply to my husband or his job.
The doctor put on the form that he needed light duty and would not be able to continue to do his job without certain restrictions and that he might be needing more time off in the future. My husband is a manager of a small convenience store. He does paperwork, runs the cash register and does some stocking. The vendors unload the trucks. There is never any heavy lifting. He has continued working and hasn’t had any problems other than adjusting to wearing his new vest and monitor/battery pack.
Hubby picked up the certified copy of the form last friday after work from the post office. The wording of that report has caused him to be told he will most likely go on 26 weeks of unpaid medical leave and then can be reevaluated. That in effect, would take away our livelihood and our car and our insurance. With the possible loss of our main income abruptly and with no warning or planning, you can imagine how our weekend went.
Now, tomorrow he has an emergency appointment with the doctor so he can explain his work situation and requirements and hopefully we can turn in a new copy with no restrictions so he can keep his job. His mind immediately thinks of all of the worst case scenarios and how we will be 66, with medical challenges, no insurance and no way to pay our monthly expenses and no car. I refuse to look ahead at that but the worry hides inside and festers. Both ways are horrible and create much anxiety. Hopefully this new roller coaster ride will end as abruptly as it began and we can continue our lives with a little less stress.
I don’t like change. I never have. There is a certain amount of comfort to be had when you can pretend you have some control over how things happen in your life. And the way we do that is to have structure in our lives. It may just be something as simple as our normal daily routine. Whatever it is, it gives us a center, a resting place, a place our lives revolve around. Everything is structured around that or progresses from it and when it changes, there is uncertainty once again.
I suppose it is that feeling of uncertainty that is so unsettling. The idea of not knowing what is going to happen next, or the fact that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring is not something we like to face. The routine gives us the illusion of the path ahead with a clear-cut direction. Uncertainty is confusion and the sense that time is passing us by while we are trying to get our bearings.
We learn to trust in the routine. It helps to give us a purpose. If something happens to upset that certainty, it feels as if something important has been removed from our very being and left behind an emptiness that causes us to falter in bewilderment. What are we supposed to do now? Which direction should I go in? Is there a solution? Where should I look to find it? People say “just keep on keeping on” or “the journey begins with one step”. But which way do I turn? And how do I do that? Everything has changed. And I never liked surprises.
When I was younger, the teaching that we must “become like little children” didn’t make a lot of sense. It’s beginning to make more sense now. Our tiny illusion of control is really just that. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know if there will even be a tomorrow. Should we give up in despair because we can’t fight the surety that there will be uncertainty?
No, we learn to live our lives within the tiny illusion. We must live as if we will always live. We must love and play and learn and do and continue to grow and continue to become whatever it is we will become. We have to nurture that trust in God and know that we will never know all the answers and that it is okay not to know. We have to nurture that faith which gives us strength and becomes that center and that certainty. It may get shaken from time to time, but it is always still there. And that gives us that inner peace and quiet which enables us to live.
Joni Eareckson Tada is sounding an alarm about a very dangerous message in a film released this summer.
When I was younger, I was immersed in the present and assumed things would always be somewhat the same. I was taught to learn, seek goals, whether it be marriage and love, or job promotions and advancement. There were certain things that were just “the way things were” and life happened. I didn’t think much about anything further than the near future I could see.
But there are seasons to each life. I’ve passed through a few of them. I got married and had children. 46 years have passed. I am still living in that season but there have been others within. I lost friends who were too young. I lost a father. I lost a younger sister. I’ve had cancer.
In the beginning, there was a time of growing, learning what it meant to become an adult. I remember after my 2nd child musing that “I must be a woman now.” There was a time of independence. I decided to buy a car on my own, without my husbands’ help. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something without his guidance. I was very proud of my baby doo doo yellow Toyota.
There was a time of losing my naiveté and learning about life, and work and how others live in the world. I learned how to cuss. There was a time of brokenness, of emotionalism and a time of therapy. There was a time of spiritual seeking. During that time I rediscovered and found again my love for God and met Jesus.
That time began a journey in a new direction. I felt and tasted the presence of the Holy Spirit and wanted more. I met a community of Charismatic Nuns who became mentors and friends and lifelong prayer companions. I had a season of prayerfulness which forged a habit and love and dependence upon prayer which has sustained me and strengthened me, and taught me how to live the rest of my life.
Now I am in a new season. If it has to be defined, perhaps it is a time of aging, a time of disability, a time of learning dependence of a different sort. Through it all, I have used and been sustained by the prayerfulness I learned before. I am eternally thankful for that season of learning about prayer. I couldn’t have gotten this far without it and without my faith.
And as I look ahead, I also look behind. I can see some mistakes and some times when I was more seeking than I am today. I have learned a little about living with resignation, but still grasp onto the vision of hope and a better and stronger future. Perhaps now it is time to once again seek for more.
Two years ago when I had to quit work suddenly and “became handicapped”, I had to make certain adjustments and self realizations. I could no longer be self-sufficient. I could no longer be independent. I now had to rely on others for help. I had to allow home health care into my home to give me physical therapy and ongoing monthly care.
It was a huge adjustment. I have always been a hermit. I never had close friends. My sisters were my closest friends and I didn’t need anyone else. I grew up always feeling “on the outside looking in” and that people, especially women coworkers. would always judge me on my house, my furniture, and how clean or messy it was. My house was my sanctuary from the world. It was where I could go and be safe. It was never shared with others outside of family.
Now, I was required to let strangers into my house, and they were usually women. Already apprehensive at life changes and unknown waters, I now had to trust strangers with my personal care and my personal space. Years of increasing immobility had added to my procrastination and inability to “keep the house presentable” and in perfect working order. Years of neglect and compromises were now being scrutinized by outsiders. This added a level of stress and discomfort to an already anxiety-ridden situation.
I soon learned that most of these caregivers were kind, compassionate, understanding and empathetic. I began to relax my guard somewhat. And then a few months ago, my home health care provider decided to regroup and no longer wanted to continue that service. They merged with a new company and an abrupt and sudden new change began.
I was used to a certain level of care and understanding. Now, there were unknown changes in protocol and operating procedures. I used to know when the nurse came, that she would come back the next month, on a certain day and what time. She was assigned to me personally. She knew my house. She knew my quirks. She knew my body and what I needed and how to accomplish that.
When the changeover began, I was once again apprehensive until I met them and found they were just as compassionate and eager to serve as I was accustomed to. And then, I would get phone calls the night before telling me they wanted to come by. The nurse who came the month before was new each time. I had someone new coming into my home every two weeks and never knew who it would be. Sometimes they would know my routine and sometimes they wouldn’t.
My former nurse had taken extensive notes and made sure she transferred them to my permanent records. Everything about me, how we “did” things, and what supplies they needed to bring were all there. Each time a new nurse came, they were always surprised. They would bring wrong supplies and say, Oh I didn’t know that. I learned to retell everything I could think of each time I got that evening phone call. And still, they constantly didn’t know things or were nonplussed at the care I needed. I’m sure there is not a “standard” for each patient. It became stressful and frustrating to continue to never know who would come and whether they would be ready.
I mentioned once that I didn’t like not knowing ahead of time and felt like I was never informed about my own care. I said that the previous month, the nurse was so nonplussed at my way of doing things that were different from what she was accustomed to, that it was not a pleasant experience. That actually got me a steady nurse for maybe 3 visits. I began to count on my “regular”. Having a change of catheter once a month is an intimate thing and having someone who was used to me, my handicaps and my physiology made things easier.
Once again, a new nurse called me tonight to tell me she was coming tomorrow for an assessment. I was immediately on the defensive. I asked ‘for what?’ And she replied ‘the “normal” nurse visit,’ though I can’t remember the exact term she said. I said ‘I was expecting a catheter change soon. not an assessment.’ She said, ‘that’s right.’ I then said ‘but that is not what you just told me.’ So, just to make sure she had seen my records and knew what to expect, I started asking questions. I made sure she would bring the correct supplies and she said yes and listed what she would bring. Well, that was wrong and when I corrected her, she said ‘oh I didn’t realize. I don’t have access to all of your records.’
I can’t tell you how comforting that statement was. The stranger who was supposed to come care for me, change out my catheter, did not have access to information I felt was need to know? In my frustration and anxiety I am sure I was a little short with her. Upshot? She ruined my evening for a couple of hours. It did cause me to make an online statement to the home health care agency about the changes and how the continuing uncertainty was affecting me as a patient. I don’t know if that will make things worse or not. Time will tell…
I had country music videos on the tv as background while I was on the computer. Tim McGraw’s new song “Humble and Kind” came on. It’s a really good one. I’m glad for him. Anyway, it made me flash back a few years ago to a work situation.
I worked in a multi-racial shop. It wasn’t something I noticed most of the time. I tend to notice someones’ morals or work ethic before I notice skin color. Several women were black, many were Mexican american and I realized in amusement that I was the only white person in the shop. But what was always special, is we were all just women. Mothers, sisters, aunts, wives, some the only support for their families, we were all just women working together to do a job to help our families. We all had problems with home or kids or how to pay the bills and all worked together and helped each other when we could.
The one time I felt odd, was when we got a new employee. She loved to begin speaking spanish with the others every time she went into one area of the shop. I could hear their words in the background but couldn’t understand. It made me notice for the first time that even though we all worked together towards a common goal, we were all very different. We came from different backgrounds. We were raised in different environments. And the language gathered some together into a clique and isolated others. It was an interesting observation of how “kind tends to stick to kind”.
My mind then jumped to when I was new to some of the employees and an oddity. I was older, in a chair, and obese. There was an air of distance or “hmm does this mean we are going to have to help her? That wasn’t part of my job description. or is she in that chair because she’s lazy?” It was uncomfortable for me, as if I had to prove myself to them.
I was the one who decorated the wedding cakes and did a lot of hand work; making fondant accent pieces or figurines, and this could all be done sitting down. I did frequently have to ask for help in lifting things, or getting things down off of shelves and sometimes tried to do more than was easy for me, causing things to topple and fall onto my head instead of asking too often. It was a balancing game I had to play and sometimes it added to my work stress. I had to ask for help to keep myself safe, but didn’t want to add too much to others workloads by asking for help too often.
I realized that always saying thank you was a huge thing. It was something I was always taught to do, say please and thank you and said it easily. It took a few months, but one day I noticed others also saying thank you for simple every day small things we tend to take for granted.
I realized that the very small things are what we tend to take for granted and also what can be valuable to others. Just a simple thank you can go a long way in showing appreciation for someones help in day-to-day things and show that we notice their contributions no matter how small.
A smile can lift a spirit. We never know what burdens others are carrying. Most of us try to leave our home problems at the door when we go to work, but they are still there stewing around. A smile of appreciation or a simple thank you can do wonders to make us realize we have more than just problems.We are noticed. We are appreciated. We have value. We are important.
And the simple courtesies work both ways. We can lift our own spirits by giving a simple smile to someone. That might be all that we can muster on that particular day, but we will usually get a positive response which can also lift our own spirits and soothe fragile emotions.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? Open a door for someone. PIck up something someone dropped and hand it to them with an empathetic smile. Say excuse me. Say, oops sorry. Say thank you. And mean it. And don’t forget: someone is always watching you and judging you by how you treat others. Simple courtesies. The are catching and they will enrich everyone.
Just reading the list makes me roll my eyes. There is so much on the list that sounds impossible. And it addresses not just physical stillness but mental stillness as well.
For several years before I retired, I found it very difficult to sit still and just watch tv without doing something with my hands. At work, I was a wedding cake decorator. I was constantly doing something with my hands; making fondant accents, icing cookies, icing and decorating a cake, making candy. There was no such thing as being still and there never seemed to be enough hours in the work day to get everything necessary done.
When I spent my days off, I often felt odd, like I should be making something or doing something with my hands. Even now, I usually am making a rosary, or a piece of jewelry, or typing on my computer. It is only if I want to really concentrate on a new movie that I can just sit and watch.
Stillness of mind is even more difficult. It is just not something that comes easy with most of us. Our minds are always churning and pondering and cogitating on something. To read a devotional or to read the Bible, or to pray, it is often difficult to quiet our minds and get rid of outside thoughts enough so we can concentrate on the present moment.
Even when I’m working on something, there is something else happening. I usually have the tv on as background, or music. Even when I nap I have music on. I remember spending time laying in the grass looking at clouds, but I was a child then. One of my favorite things to do was to take a long soak in a bubble bath. I miss those days.
Perhaps it is time to search for some stillness in our lives. We need to refresh ourselves and have quiet to gain perspective and to recharge. It is a way have balance in our day-to-day lives. Look for some quiet time, or at least some alone time. We need that to stay healthy and to stay sane. We are just as important as everyone else in our lives, and they will like us better when we can remain balanced. Stillness? I’ll have to try it.
This was prompted by The Sandbox Challenge
PARIS — The swollen Seine River kept rising Friday, spilling into Paris streets and forcing one landmark after another to shut down as it surged to its highest levels in nearly 35 years. Across the city, museums, parks and cemeteries were being closed as the city braced for possible evacuations. The Seine was expected to…
Balance? Everyone talks about it. It sometimes appears to come easily to others. Have a career? be a mom? spend time with siblings? take time for yourself? Give to spouse? Volunteer? Keep up with chores?
Sometimes we feel we are being pulled in a million directions. And something has to suffer. It’s a given. You have to learn to walk on those slippery step stones, taking one step at a time, shifting, and just keep from falling.
Everyone learns to juggle just to remain sane. I have compiled my list.
- Pray a lot. Make a prayer closet. Read a daily devotional. Always add something into the day to get you started and a place to deposit the junk of the day at night so you can get good rest and begin again.
- Stay mentally organized. (you notice I said mentally.) If you start melting down when surroundings get too cluttered, try keeping the clutter to a manageable level. Pick up after yourself. Put things in their proper place when finished with them. Keep your work area organized and periodically get rid of something that has accumulated and takes up space. It will make you feel better and lessen the stress and frustration.
- Pray a lot.
- Avoid drama. There will always be drama in your life whether it is at home or at work. Avoid the unnecessary drama. Don’t get sucked into the life drama of every single person you know. You can only affect what’s in your own life. Otherwise, it’s just gossip and some of it will be depressing. You can be sympathetic, understanding and can offer empathy without opening yourself up to be Dr. Phil or Father Confessor.
- Pray a lot.
- Smile. Smiling at someone will coax your own mood to rise. Tell someone they look nice today. Use simple courtesy like thank you and I appreciate that. It will touch others on many levels. It will smooth the mood of your surroundings.
- Pray a lot.
- Listen to calming music. Listening to rap or metal will NOT keep you calm. It is designed to agitate the senses. How about oldies or instrumental? Personally, I prefer Christian. I can get encouragement and be uplifted while I jam in my chair. Listen to something affirming on cd. I sometimes listen to the audio Bible. Anything that can become background and not stimulate you is what you are looking for. An oasis in the storm.
- Pray a lot.
- Learn to say no. Sometimes we agree to take on more than is humanly possible and we tell ourselves we’ll figure it out somehow. Too many ‘irons in the fire’ just causes extra stress. It’s hard enough focusing on the important things without stealing time and energy to stick somewhere else, especially if we dread doing it or recognize it’s going to be sloppy. It’s all important? Then you have to take a step back, decide which is MORE important and prioritize. Let others help you accomplish tasks. You are only one person and you have to learn what your limits are. You really aren’t Wonder Woman or Superman.
- Pray a lot.
- Make absolutely sure you steal some time for yourself. A bubble bath. A manicure. A steam. A run. A nap. You have to be able to give to yourself and get refreshed before you can give to others.
- Pray a lot.
What works for me might not work for you. That teeter totter some of us live on moves with every breath we take. You have to find out what works for you. Things will only get better when you strive for the balance.
This was prompted by the sandbox writing challenge.