Friday, May 31, 2013

Imagine the Life

Five Minute Friday
Five Minutes. Write, five minutes, the words smooth and flowing, the ideas, a discovery.

Today's topic: Imagine.



Imagine. Goals. Plans. Visualize. Dream. Dream Big. Vision.

I have a notebook. Pictures cut out, pasted in. Things I want to do, to have, a life I want to live, a goal to work toward. Looking forward, out there, in the someday. Fast forward to then, when life will be all I imagine.

But wait. Hit pause. Today. Now.

The bean sprouts in the garden, reaching for the sky. The piles on my desk telling me I am far from bored. The snoring from the bedroom, the son still cuddled up with his cat. The high cloud cover this morning, filtering the sunlight, coloring the fresh greens of spring. The ideas, the flow of thoughts as I read and write this morning. The smile, the touch as my husband says good-bye and heads off to work. Music to play, to hear. Plans for the weekend, the garden tour, time to sit out on the deck and read, weeding that wants to be done. The fan overhead brushing cool air across my desk.

This life, now, here. This is to be lived in the fullness of all I imagine. Love, joy, peace, rest, beauty - it is all here, now. Not in some imagined perfect future. In perfect today. And I smile, seeing it all in a new light, a fresh perspective, a deep gratefulness for all that is here, now.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

Switch it Around

We have lived in this house for eleven months, almost. A few months ago I felt like the kitchen arrangement just wasn't working. The kitchen isn't that big, but there were a lot of unnecessary steps. For several weeks, I thought about how I used the pots, the baking stuff, the pantry goods (we don't have an official pantry space here). How could I make it better, more efficient, more practical?

The end result? I turned the kitchen over on its head and switched around the contents of  the cupboards, drawers and cabinets. The silverware went into the drawer closest to the table, reversing spots with the measuring cups and spoons, moving them into the drawer on the island. The pots and pans went into the deep corner cabinet with the turny thingy. The pantry goods moved from the turny thing (I'm sure it has a better name), to under the island where the pots and pans had been and where my smart husband added metal wire shelves supported by blocks of wood on either side. Impermanent, flexible, made from pieces we had in the garage, cost, zero. And it doubled the storage space in that cabinet. The cereal drawer switched with the flour and baking supplies.

 The next few days I heard lots of, "Where did the coffee go?" "What did you do with the cereal?" We all settled into the new placings quickly, showing how much better organized it all was. Once in awhile we do still go to the island drawer for the silverware. Old habits die hard.

Every time I open the corner cabinet for a fry pan or a pot, I smile and think, yes, this is where these should be. When the cans and boxes of macaroni and jars of whatever were in there, something would fall off when I spun it around. This is much better.

What things in your life could benefit from switching them around? Maybe the stuff on a closet shelf would work better somewhere else. Or, even better, thinned out and headed out the door. In the months we have been here, I have enjoyed the results of all the thinning out we did when we moved. But the time has come to go through things again, eliminate, clear out, and enjoy more empty space. So much better to have space to breathe, space to grow. What could you switch around?



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thirty-Eight

A moment out of moments

of a life,

thirty-eight years together.

We still ask, "What do you want to do?"

More a time to be, be together,

than to do.

To look back to the hike that day

when he asked,

and I said, "Yes,"

thirty-eight years ago.

Today's hike,

plan, dream

wonder at life, together.

Still say, "Yes."

The scenery ahead,

mountain highs

valley lows

storms brewing

 turbulent waters

clear skies.

Wander through the next thirty-eight years,

together,

hand-in-hand.


scenery from our anniversary weekend at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pollyanna

We finished reading Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter, aloud, together, again. It is one of my pet peeves that this book has become a tool to make fun of those who attempt to keep a heart of gratefulness. Her name has become associated with the definition, "an excessively or persistently optimistic person" (Webster). Is that really a bad thing?

One friend of mine wouldn't allow her children to read the book because she said it made fun of church. Well, yes, it does make fun of the Ladies' Aid Society and their bickering and fussing about new red carpets and their ultimate concern in having their name at the top of the donation list. Yes, it does poke at actions done for the sake of righteous duty without a heart of love. At its core, this book is deeply Christian, about the love of Christ and His heart of love reaching out to each of us.

Pollyanna, with her childlike heart, only sees the love and beauty in those around her. She hangs prisms in windows to splash rainbows across the walls. She fixes up a sick woman's hair and adds a flower to make her pretty. She connects with people she meets, talking openly and making friends with those considered unfriendly. She bounces from one home to another, spreading laughter and joy and gladness. With her sunny smile she laughs and talks her way through the days and into the hearts of the townspeople.

Not because her life is simplistic and easy. Orphaned. Sent across country to be dumped on the doorstep of an unwilling aunt. Of the scanty possessions she brings, the most important is The Glad Game. Her father, a missionary pastor in the west, taught it to her before he died, and together they sought to have a perspective of gratefulness no matter what happened. He told her that he found eight hundred "rejoicing" verses in the Bible, and that if the Lord told us that many times to be glad, He must have wanted us to listen.

From her perspective, all is good. She never questions that her aunt doesn't want her. She never doubts that he aunt's generosity won't extend to cats, dogs and little orphan boys.

The test of Pollyanna's Glad Game came when she herself was bedridden. She cried as she learned she was paralyzed, "...if I can't walk, how am I ever going to be glad for - anything?"

The friendships, the connections she made, the lives she touched, all came together to encourage her and open an opportunity for her healing, and for the healing of other strained relationships. Because of her bubbly enthusiasm, even in (especially in) tough circumstances, homes were restored, families strengthened and hearts encouraged.

"...he told me to tell you that he hadn't stopped being glad over those eight hundred rejoicing texts that you told him about. So you see, dear, it's just you that have done it. The whole town is playing the game, and the whole town is wonderfully happier - and all because of one little girl who taught the people a new game and how to play it."

Need some encouragement? Read Pollyanna. She'll make you smile. Maybe even glad.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Look Up


This weekend we visited the first gallery where our artist daughter displayed her work. This is pencil, on canvas.

Love the perspective here, the familiar sight, yet a different angle.

A reminder, our perspective makes a difference: how we view life, the world, those around us.

Be small. Look up.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Trailer Travel


I have a new fascination with trailer travel. Recently, a friend sent me a link for tiny trailers. Not sure I could go that small. But that led to links about restoring vintage trailers. Which led to links about other trailer options. I was off in a world of imaginary travels.

We used to joke that when our kids were all grown and in homes of their own, my husband and I would get an RV to live in and visit them around the country. We are not at that point yet, but someday?

Have you had a trailer? Any thoughts? On our recent road trip I was impressed by the variety and quantity of the trailers out there. My theme song of traveling lighter could be well lived in a cute little trailer...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Worth the Risk

Before 
Two weeks ago, before our ten day trip, I wrote about the risks of planting my little seedlings outside when there was still a chance of snow and frost. The morning we drove away, dressed in shorts and sandals for our desert destination, it was twenty-seven degrees. I hoped my little plants would stay snug and alive under their fabric cover, blanket of straw and spring sunshine.

The results? Beyond my expectations and well worth the risk.



The lettuces, chard, beets and kale (and the weeds!) grew several inches. The nasturtiums are smaller, but still alive.

This week, I will plant more seeds in the garden soil. We should be past any chance of frost now - but this is Colorado, and an odd year of weather. I bought seed for rainbow chard - look forward to watching those colorful plants grow.

The biggest challenge for me in taking risks is fear. What will happen if I fail? Will I look like a fool? To focus instead on what I can learn, even in failure, to see creative options and opportunities for faith, to step outside of the familiar - those risks are worth taking.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Home Again

A 3,000 mile circle, ten days, six states. A celebration, family visits, spectacular scenery. The beauty, the family times, all a tiny foretaste of heaven.



10,000 feet in the Rockies



Home. Sometimes it is wonderful to leave, to travel, to expand your horizons. Even better to come back to.

Home again.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tune My Heart

"Come Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise His name - I'm fixed upon it -
Name of God's redeeming love."

Come Thou Fount, by Robert Robinson


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's Risky

Yesterday, I wavered and wondered and debated and wishy-washed, should I, or shouldn't I?

And the questionable issue? Do I wait to plant out my baby seedlings with snow predicted (again!), or do I risk it and put them out? Now, obviously, this is not a life critical problem. But it got me thinking about taking risks, about my attitudes and fears when I come to a risky situation.

  • what is the worst that can happen?
  • how much would I lose?
  • what could I gain?
  • why am I afraid?
  • how could [this] be worse than [that]?
  • how could [this] be better than [that]?
  • what could I learn?
  • what are my options, how can I think creatively?
  • will the consequences require faith (a good thing)?
What other questions would you think of?

Once I analyzed my resistance and the potential consequences, the decision was easy. Plant the seedlings. 

The worst that can happen is they will freeze and I will have to replant. Not a huge deal. This is the first time I planted seedlings inside under a florescent light, and I learned a lot - those lessons will stay with me even if the plants don't.
Am I afraid the experiment won't work? If I'm afraid to try anything new, I'll never get out of bed in the morning (which some mornings, might be tempting...)
If I leave them under the florescent light while we are gone for ten days, they will probably dry out, shrivel up, and I'll lose them anyway. If I plant them outside, they might survive and actually be bigger and stronger when we get back.

Judging by the crazy weather this spring, with a snowfall every week in the middle of eighty degree days, the plants will have plenty of warm days - if they survive the freeze tonight. I can take the precautions of mulching them heavily with straw and blanketing them with a cloth covering which will give them a ten degree advantage.

Because we are living in a new climate, I need to stretch my boundaries and knowledge of what plants will do here. Which means trial, and of course, error, and not to be afraid of the error side of learning.

You may laugh at my over-analytic, wishy-washy thinking. Over a bunch of little seedlings. The lesson I am taking away from this, is that, too often, I put off making a decision. I wait for more information. I wonder and wander and debate myself out of making a choice. Instead, I need to ask these questions, form answers and make the choice. Get rid of the baggage of vacillation and move forward, traveling lighter.

I planted all the seedlings. And yes, it is snowing today. I took the risk. I hope they will stay warm and snug under their blanket of straw and fabric cover. When the sun comes out again, they will perk up, stretch toward the light, and grow.

Me, too.