“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”

It seems that this pandemic has brought out the best and the worst in people. I have heard stories and seen people hoarding things with not thought for others. I have also seen neighbors getting food for people at risk and offering whatever support is needed.

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This quote from Charles Dickens seems to sum it all up:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

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This says it all and fits as well today as when it was written. It sums up succinctly everything that is going on. All the foolishness, all the wisdom, all the greedy people, all the giving people.

Nothing seems to have changed since the time of Dickens.

Flowers and friends

Nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small it takes time–we haven’t time—and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. Georgia O’Keeffe

We often hear the phrase “take time to smell the roses.” The truth is we seldom do take the time. There are some people who do but most of us don’t. Georgia O’Keeffe painted the flowers and she took the time to really see them….on a level most of us never will. Do I ever see the beauty? Do I ever experience the smell or the shape of the petals? Not often.

O’Keeffe compared this to the time it takes to have a real friend. Seeing all the things about a person and understanding them takes time. Accepting  who they really are takes more time and the ability to see beyond the surface. We don’t often take that time but that is how we find friends who understand and accept us as we are.

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Stop and really look at that flower. Absorb everything about it. Take the time to do the same things with those who could be real friends.

A thank you matters

Recently I have received two notes from people I saw often when working for the church. The notes were so affirming of my ministry when there. It was such a surprise and a joy. It touched me so to know that my time there meant something.

It reminded me of how important it is to affirm those who have meant something to us. It is so easy to make complaints when things go wrong but we forget to give thanks and praise when things go right.

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It try to thank those I meet daily even if it is a small task…thanking a waiter/waitress or someone who works on our car. Thank you for doing a good job means so much to someone who has had people putting them down all the time.

Take the time to be appreciative. It can change someone’s day or their life.

Happy Valentine’s Day

There are stories about where Valentine’s day originated. Most versions have to do with a Valentius. All the stories agree that he was a hero who helped during the early Christian days in Rome whether by marrying young men against the orders of Claudius II or by helping Christians imprisoned by the Romans. February 14th may have been chosen by the Roman Catholic Church in order to coincide with a festival dedicated to one of the Roman gods. During its history the church did this for several holidays to make it easier for cultures to shift to Christianity.

None of this matters in the big scheme of things.

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Hope your Valentine’s Day has been filled with joy and love!

Food and kind thoughts

Our church makes up bags of goodies for homeless people. It has a variety of items in it…some food items, hygiene things (like toothbrush) and a $5.00 bill. I try to have one in my car at all times. Several places that I stop at a light there are people wanting a hand out of some sort. Every single person that I hand a bag to has said “thank you and God bless you.” I know the bags don’t solve the problem but even small things can make a difference.

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If you can manage it keep something in your car to give to those in need. It doesn’t have to be as complex as what the church makes up but it will be received with gratitude. I have a friend that has some small food items she carries. For those who are hurting anything will help. Add a note with a kind thought to it. “God loves you, you are important, you matter.” Whatever you can come up with. Those notes do make a difference.

Grow friendships

friends timeToday was the day that I finally relaxed from all the holiday, surgery, visitors, granddaughter’s accident stuff. I think I just let go. I am tired but this kind of tired feels good. It is nice to have all of that behind me and look toward what is next.

Routine is calming. As we get older calm and peace can be better than excitement. I still do things that challenge my status quo. It is important to not get stuck but, for me, a little bit is enough.

I depend on friends. They are the backbone I can count on. Life would be bare without them. We don’t need a lot of really close friends. A few will do. That doesn’t meant that we don’t have others who are an important part of our world. They just aren’t the ones who are part of the heart.

The only way that you find those kind of friends is by opening yourself to them. They will not stay close and grow with you if you don’t share your deepest self. If someone doesn’t accept that then you don’t need them.

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We also have to make the effort to communicate. Someone said don’t let the path grow up between your houses. Today our friends may not be that physically close but the idea is the same. Don’t expect others to keep the path open but do it yourself. We have to take the responsibility to keep reaching out. Friends don’t become close over night. The work must be put in to grow them.

Friends are a crucial part of life. Take the time and effort to share, communicate and help the link between you to grow. It is worth it!

Life is fragile…accidents happen

Our 2019 ended….badly. Our 21 year old granddaughter was in a serious auto accident and ended up in surgery. She was very blessed that when the surgeons went in the only thing damaged was her spleen. Her spleen was removed and she is recovering. She does have a bruised lung which makes breathing painful. It will be a few days in the hospital barring any infection or other problem.

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This was early in the day and was not alcohol related with either driver.

Life is so fragile. One moment everything is fine and the next it can be taken away at the snap of a finger. It truly reminds me to treasure each and every day. Even when things are not perfect it is still life!

If only we could live so that we don’t let our minds move us into places we don’t need to go. The worries and anxieties can remove all the joy and we spend each day struggling.

Just to live each day in thanksgiving and peace. That is really the driving force behind worry less journey. To worry less and experience joy and peace more.

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May each of you have a blessed new year!

A great place to meet

Our knitting group meets on Tuesdays. The place we meet is so nice. The friendship Coffee Company. There are couches and comfortable chairs in addition to the regular dining tables. If we can we try to get the couch. Sometimes the group is just two or three and sometimes more.

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The atmosphere in the cafe is such that it seems to encourage people to talk to one another. It is not unusual for us to meet new people almost every week. Reaching out to strangers we find so many with lots in common with us. The conversations and interesting and stimulating.

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It is a wonderful thing to have a place where people feel so comfortable that they can converse with those around them and meet new people.

Not at home yet

find the roadThere are some times when I wear my feelings on my shoulders. Since coming back to my husband’s church I have not really felt at home there. It is not anything about the church but about me. After 20 years of working in a church there is so much I could share but I can’t. I offer to help and usually end up stepping on someones toes. Other people need space to do things…my turn is past. I don’t want to be in charge if anything…just offer experience. Even after several years I feel as if part of me is missing. The only change has to be made by me. (the hardest person to change)

The frustration I experience when I am at the church is painful. The best thing may be to go somewhere else for a while where I don’t feel that pull. If everything is unfamiliar I may not have such a strong reaction. At least it is worth trying to see if it helps.

As we get older we have so much to share and don’t often get the opportunity to do so. This blog has been a wonderful way to at least offer my experiences in the hope that they may help others. It has kept me centered and moving forward. This is a blessing.

 

 

Small acts of kindness matter

 

Sometimes one small gesture can give us the strength to do enormous things. From “Call the Midwife” Season 7 Episode 4

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Recently I have gone through discovering my thyroid needed to be removed…setting up Dr. visits and having surgery. Not exactly what any of us want to do at any time….especially in the weeks before Christmas when there is so much that we want to do.

I wasn’t looking forward to it but knew it was important. I have also learned through the years that getting things done quickly is actually easier than dragging my feet. So I scheduled visits and surgery and began the process. I dreaded it…but what happened was unexpected.

The surgeon was cheerful and personable. (If you know anything about surgeons this is not the norm. They are nice but mostly see their patients asleep.) He put his hand on my shoulder (also unusual) and helped me to feel his caring about my case. He agreed that the surgery needed to be done.

I was sent to the scheduler who was friendly, pleasant and wanting to help me schedule so it fit my life. She knew I wanted to have it done quickly so as to get it behind me. A date was scheduled after Thanksgiving. The following Monday she called to say the surgeon had decided to work on Friday and she called me first to see if I would like to move to that day. That was perfect for me and I was touched that she remembered.

When getting the prep labs etc the nurse and I had an amazing discussion about our views of faith and God. She had been to Tibet to visit religious sites. She was another along my journey whose caring made my day better.

This all was more than one small gesture but each of them helped me to move forward with confidence and an expectation of success.

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Remember what your attitude and demeanor can mean to the people you connect with each day. We can make someone’s day better!