Thursday, January 31, 2013

Acceptance and a Quiet Heart

Amy Carmichael, a missionary in India, wrote,
"In acceptance lies peace."
Accept [even this]. We (at least I do) immediately start a list of qualifiers. But not [this] or certainly not [that]. Nope. Accept [even this].

One of our daughters compared this to a making a fist, or the contrast of an open hand. She wrote,
"I did a study on acceptance and that really helped my outlook on life. The opposite of acceptance is resistance, and resistance consumes a huge amount of energy. Someone compared it to when you clench your fist, how it takes strength and energy to clench your fists. But, if you open your hands and relax them (let go), it takes no strength and no energy. Acceptance, letting means you stop using your energy on things you have no control over so you have energy for the things you do have control over (mainly yourself). It's a wonderful thing!"                      -Ginny
 Remember in the Charlie Brown Christmas movie when Lucy is telling Linus why he has to get rid of his blanket? She says, "I'll give you five good reasons." Holding her open hand hand in front of his face, she tucks in each finger, counting, "One, two, three, four, five," ending with a tight fist, a fighting stance.
Linus says, "Those are very good reasons." And with what we know of Lucy's character, she was not one to back down.

An open hand is relaxed. Turned upward, it is able to receive.  A peaceful stance.

The contrast of a smile or a frown illustrates this concept, too. A peaceful, calm, relaxed smile. Or, a tight-lipped, jaw-tensed, scrunched-up forehead. Ask my family which I wear more often. My goal, a relaxed, quiet smile.

Like a surfer catching the waves, the goal is to stay on top, loose, fluid, and relaxed. Balanced. A surfer doesn't control the waves. But s/he can accept the strength and power of the wave and it becomes a tool, a means of travel.

Traveling lighter. Let go. A quiet smile. Acceptance. Balance. An open hand. The strength of  a quiet heart.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Still Quiet

At the end of December, when I decided to make January a quiet month on this blog, posting a photo each day and few words, I did a crazy thing. I sat down and wrote out a list of projects to do to fill the days and weeks with productivity. I organized the list by week and color coded the to-do's.

Not very quiet. And, this month, I needed to be quiet.

At the end of the month, I have checked three things off that list, most of the first week's tasks, but only one thing from the rest of the list.

What have I learned? Being quiet is not always about being silent. Rather than being silent, there is quiet strength and energy in being still. I took the time to step back, rest, and take more time with the sons here at home than with the stuff.

"He leads me beside still waters."
Psalm 23: 2
A cross stitch our daughter made for me - it hangs on our office wall
Still waters, not agitated.
John Henry Jowett, in My Daily Meditation, says, 
"...contemplation determines character."
"Love is the lens through which I discern the secret things of God."
I pulled out Keep a Quiet Heart, by Elisabeth Elliot, to read as my devotional. Because the quality, the quiet of our days is determined by how we think, where our hearts are focused, and by the lens through which we view life.

In my planner, instead of a heavy to-do list, I copied a list of "quiet" synonyms from the Thesaurus. Besides the obvious, familiar definitions, I found: restful, untroubled, unruffled, composed, steady, unexciteable, imperturbable, contented, mellow, subdued...

I have much to learn.

I'm afraid I am more like the storm front moving in, a frown across the sky.

I can learn to be quiet like the steady, gentle, drifting snowflakes. Or, I can be quiet in the middle of a rowdy rambunctious wrestling match of happy brothers. Or, I can be quiet in the middle of a day when things are not going the way I want and the frustration level rises. Again, I have much to learn, with a quiet smile. More ideas to share tomorrow.

Still quiet.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Need a Laugh?

Unless you have little ones around, you probably haven't heard this in years. Enjoy!
Our daughter sent this to me yesterday -  I don't know how Julie Andrews does this scene without laughing. We try, and it can't be done.  This may not be appropriate for my quiet theme, but - hey - quiet doesn't always mean silent, and sometimes joy and silly laughter just bubble out. Or blasts out, as Burt says.

 I will finish up the last two days of January with a few words on what I have learned this month about my one word for 2013, Quiet.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Five A Month

I'm finishing up the January reading, with February's books ready. My goal is to read five books a month:
  1. a biography,
  2.  a novel, 
  3. a how-to about writing, 
  4. one organizational/motivational/home/decorating, and 
  5. one new style, or a classic.
 Also, the Daily Bible reading, ESV this time around, and a spiritual/devotional, which for now, is Keep a Quiet Heart, by Elisabeth Elliot.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

He Knows Every Curl

"But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."

Matthew 10: 30-31

joining the quiet Sunday Community

and with Sandra at

and with

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Boys' Toys

One way I am traveling lighter in January: few words, a photo each day

Friday, January 25, 2013

Again, Again, and Again...

Five Minute Friday

Today's Five Minute Friday, brought to you by LisaJo Baker, with the prompt word, Again. She inspires a passel of us to write for five minutes, putting ideas to words and fingers to the keyboard.

I stand at the kitchen sink, the coffee dripping into my mug, gazing out through the bare tree branches toward the east. The sky, a dim gray, lightens in the few moments I stand there. The line of gray changes to light blue, then a dusty pink, and a yellow spot glows like someone lit a smokeless fire.

Another chance. A fresh start. A new day. A gift each morning as the light chases away the dark. Looking at the word, "again," I see two words. A Gain. Each new day is a chance, again and again and again, to gain. Not a materialistic gain, but a deep sense of peace and trust. A chance to love. An opportunity to say grace. A day, again, one more day, to live with a quiet heart. Again.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

...on the wings of the morning...

title from Psalm 139
one way I am traveling lighter in January: few words, a photo each day

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cold Feet?

One way I am traveling lighter in January: few words, a photo each day. Okay, two today, I couldn't decide...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Isaiah 40:8

"The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever."

Isaiah 40:8 ESV

joining Deidra and the quiet Sunday Community

and with Still Saturday,

Saturday, January 19, 2013

One Approach to Life

One way I am traveling lighter in January: few words, a photo each day

photo source, an insurance ad

Friday, January 18, 2013


The theme word for this week's Friday Five Minutes is cherished. This month, I am traveling lighter by writing few words and posting a photo each day. This necklace, a gift, based on Psalm 139:14, has four sides, four words: created, celebrated, chosen, and cherished.

Some days I need the reminder.

  Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Do You Feel Like You Are Pulling This Wagonload?

January, a quiet month, few words, a photo each day.
Photo source: an old post card, Frances and Mary Allen, Deerfield, Massachusetts, c. 1900

Sunday, January 13, 2013

And Counting

"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds."

Psalm 9: 1
my list, written in this book, and at a counting of one thousand gifts
joining the quiet Sunday Community with Deidra

and with

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dive In

Five Minute Friday
This week's Five Minute Friday prompt, DIVE.

The only way to accomplish a tough project? Dive in and start. Piece by piece. Connection by connection.

Afraid? Dive in.

January is a quiet month for me, few words, a photo each day.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Gladness Here

"Write it down, when I have perished:
Here is everything I've cherished;
That these walls should glow with beauty
Spurred my lagging soul to duty;
That there should be gladness here
Kept me toiling, year by year...
Every thought and every act
Were to keep this home intact."

-Edgar A. Guest

joining the quiet Sunday Community

and with

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Quiet Opportunity

Five Minute Friday

January, for me, is a quiet month, few words, a photo each day.
The theme word for Five Minute Friday, is opportunity. This photo, my quiet contribution.

Thursday, January 3, 2013