Tag: frustration

green vase

We can all be tempted to “spew”

(I posted this four years ago but it’s a good reminder that given certain circumstances, we can all be tempted to spew out harsh words.)


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I found this fun vase at a thrift store in Florida and I so wanted it to take it home.  But my husband and I had flown down to Florida and only had one carry-on piece of luggage apiece.  My husband bought it anyway and said he had room in his suitcase.  Seeing as it was carry-on luggage, we figured we could get it home unbroken.

We arrive at the airport and hand the boarding passes to the agent.  He waves me through and I head down the tarmac but my husband is not behind me.  I wait a few minutes and he’s still not there.  I go back to the entrance and my hubby is having a “discussion” with the agent about the fact that he (my husband) had one too many pieces of luggage and he would have to check the piece of luggage that is holding my precious five-dollar vase.

My hubby was carrying my computer case so he had three items. (I should add that my husband at this point had extensively traveled internationally and certainly knew how much luggage he could carry-on. However, this trip we didn’t use his frequent flyer status because the tickets were so cheap we didn’t want to use his earned miles.)

I offered to take my computer case but then I would have three items because the agent was considering my small purse as luggage!

We have traveled extensively and this is the first time my purse has counted as luggage. (Now I want you to know that our carry-ons were easily half the size of what most people carry on. We pack very lightly.) Our computer bags are also small.  So I tell the ticket agent that I can easily put my purse inside my carry-on as I have plenty of room.

Problem solved.

Right?

Wrong.

He was one of those agents one runs across now and then that seems intent on making a traveler’s life miserable. He said it was too late as he’d already tagged my husband’s luggage.  God forbid he had to do any work. At this point, I am so ready to call him a jerk when I realize that:

(1) I might never get on the plane,

(2) The flight has already been delayed two hours,

(3) It’s ten o’clock at night,

(4) We have a two-hour flight plus an hour-long ride home from the airport still facing us and

(5) We started this trip home eleven hours earlier and we’re tired. (It took us only two hours on the flight down.)

When we arrive at our destination, I took pictures of how much luggage some people were carrying and that made me even madder. We still don’t get why we were singled out and there’s a letter going to the airline for sure. During that whole two hours of flight, I was fuming the entire time.

Aren’t you wondering how this story turns out? Well, let’s just say my vase has a prized spot on my fireplace, all in one piece. Yea! (Of course, it’s no longer green.)

I came close. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I wanted to get home as scheduled, I could have easily succumbed to a tirade of angry words.

I tried to tell myself the agent was just having a bad day. That’s not an excuse, of course. We all have bad days. But I decided his bad day wasn’t going to become mine.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

 

630 WP drafts

Lessons learned from the past.

So….

I decided to clean-up some WP pages.

Guess how many “drafts” I have lying in wait.

630

That’s a lot of posts. The way I figure it, I shouldn’t have to “think” for almost two years!!!!

So I thought, why not share a couple with you from my very first days of blogging? You’ll get a good laugh out of this first one and although at the time

Here’s one from 2013

I had to quickly add this post.

I’ve really been feeling “down”, anxious. I was getting scared. Please, Lord, not after twelve years of living depression-free. Not a depressive episode.

There are some changes on the horizon that I’m not welcoming but they are not “bad” by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. I’m anxious because I’m worried how I’ll deal with it. But that doesn’t seem like enough of a trigger. BUT, I think the biggest instigator has been my frustration with getting this blog developed the way I want it to be.

The “Follow me button on Pinterest” is directing my traffic to someone else’s boards. Couldn’t get the “Pin It” button to work and then there’s the drop-down menu I’ve been trying to create for weeks. (I know, the rest of you probably breezed right through all of this.)

I’ve felt totally stupid and like the biggest loser e-e-e-e-ver.  I’ve been quite convinced that no on has had as much trouble developing a blog as I have. I don’t understand any of the technical language so even with precise instructions from the Word Press tutorials, I’ve been lost. I’ve read and read and read the same things over and over and over. I’ve experimented every which way I can.

Today the breakthrough!!!!!

I’ve come so far, huh? I can just about do anything with my blog now and seldom have to ask for help from the “Help” desk over at WP.

Here’s another from May of that same year. Why I didn’t post this, I haven’t a clue. I like it a lot and it brought back good memories.

What environment are you comfortable with? Do you like a lot of activity around you? Some people thrive on a caffeinated environment.They like the adrenaline rush they get from the go, go, go of life.

Others prefer a much slower place. They hate to be rushed. They like calm. In fact, they feel less energized if there is too much going on around them. It wears them out.

And it really doesn’t matter if they’re an extrovert or an introvert, although generally extroverts would fall into the first category and introverts into the second.

However, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, if you experience from bouts of depression, it might be a good idea to change it up a little.

Sometimes, we need a little something that is just the opposite of what we’re used to. We need to force ourselves out of our comfort zone, to challenge ourselves a little.

How many of you have found that once you’ve exposed yourself to a different climate, you’ve actually liked it? And in the liking, you’ve discovered something about yourself.

Last year, although we didn’t plan it, my husband and I found ourselves attending some events we never would’ve dreamed we would enjoy.  A Tough Mudders contest, a hot-air balloon festival, a Thanksgiving day parade in frigid weather, and a ethnic-based (not our ethnicity) music festival. Of the two of us, I’m the one who doesn’t like crowds. I don’t like being outside in really hot weather or really cold weather. I feel very self-conscious in large groups. However, put me in front of hundreds of people to deliver a speech and I’m fine.

But I have to tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of each of those events.

I surprised myself.

It’s good to “shake things up”. We discover new dimensions of ourselves. We surprise ourselves. Not always, of course.  Sometimes we come away simply more aware why we don’t like something. That’s good, too.

So with the summer looming, why not shake things up in your own life? It’s hard to do when your depressed. There is great comfort in the status quo. But sometimes, the jolt we need is in the unexpected. If nothing else, the more we put ourselves in unusual situations other than what we’re accustomed to, we have conversations with people who give us little snippets of encouragement.

It’s hard to do when you’re depressed. There is great comfort in the status quo. But sometimes, the jolt we need is in the unexpected. If nothing else, the more we put ourselves in unusual situations, other than the ones we’re accustomed to, the more we get a chance to learn ourselves.

We have conversations with people who give us little snippets encouragement when they had no idea they were doing so. Conversely, we encourage others by what we say. 

It really is a small world.

God bless and have a good day.

As I reread this last post, I thought about all the traveling I did when my husband was working internationally. I think back to the first time I road a train from a hotel in Bangkok to a huge shopping mall. My husband and ridden with me the day before so I could memorize the stops and know which number stop I was to get off.

To say I was scared when I did it myself is an understatement. But I did it.

Or even last year when I braved Lake Michigan in my kayak. (Of course, I was in knee-deep water, but still.)

And then blogging. Oh, my. What a disaster I was in the beginning. How I cried and almost threw the computer on the wall. How I almost gave up when my “followers” were scant. And now, over 1,000 of you.

Whoa!

If I post any of these drafts, I will let you know the original date.

Until then, God bless and have a good day.

 

 

Humility-what it is, what it isn’t

We were in Bangkok.

Bangkok skyline

There was a quiet knock on the door. It almost sounded apologetic.

I opened the door in response .  A timid young Thai woman bowed her head and mumbled some words. “Why was she bowing?” I asked myself.

She had on a uniform with the name of the hotel embroidered on it, so I knew her to be one of the hotel staff.

I let her in and in her broken Thai/English vernacular, she said, “Housekeeping, Madam.”

I understood what she said but still couldn’t figure out the “bowing” part.  My first instinct was to tell her to straighten up, but I knew I couldn’t make her understand what I was saying.

My second instinct was to gently place my hands on her head and lift it but I know better than to touch a stranger in a foreign country.

Over the next two weeks, I was bowed to so many times, I felt like royalty. My husband laughingly explained it was protocol for the staff at this particular hotel. I grew to like it a little too much, I’m ashamed to admit.

Fast forward twelve years later.

I’m at a motel chain in Atlanta, Georgia, a far cry from the Bangkok Hilton. On the flight there, I was reading a book by John Ortberg, entitled, “The Life You’ve Always Wanted”.  It’s a book that focuses on spiritual growth and at the end of one chapter the author suggests we ask this question, “Am I becoming judgmental or exclusive or proud?”

That question is what prompted me to remember my experience in Thailand.

When my husband’s job transitioned to internal travel, we knew it was important that we handle what others would view as a “WOW” in the right way. We knew people can be impressed easily and we didn’t want that.  We knew we were the same people.

So we decided early on that we wouldn’t broadcast the bit about the international travel. I remembered the times I’d heard other women talk of international travel and how I felt I had nothing in common with them.  I always felt a little inferior. That was my fault, not theirs but I didn’t want others to feel that way about me. It’s too easy to get a big head. Besides, the glamor wore off after about the third trip.

Humility doesn’t mean we can’t feel good about our achievements. We all feel good when we’ve worked hard on a project and it turns out even better than we expected.  I feel a healthy pride when one of my paintings turns out good.

Unhealthy pride almost always leads us to think we’re more valuable than the next person.

 We can judge unhealthy pride in ourselves by how we treat others.  

We can enjoy the fruits of our labor without feeling we’ve abandoned humility. Physicians make the salary they do because they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education, years of internship and often hold a patient’s life in their hands. Respecting someone’s expertise is very different from elevating them.  My husband earned every one of his frequent flyer miles the hard way: cancelled flights, long layovers, being away from his family and friends, being sick In a foreign country, having to rush every minute when he was home to see the people he needed to see, and never getting any time to enjoy his own pursuits.

When God blesses us with something we need never apologize for it. As long as we acknowledge that God is the ultimate source of every blessing and show our thankfulness in meaningful ways, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of our labor. Pride rears its head when we twist our thinking to convince ourselves we did it all on our own. That’s when we cease to be humble.

Many people confuse personality traits with humility.  Some of the most humble people I know are extroverts. Some of the least humble people I know are introverts.  Further, humility doesn’t mean we never confront or share our opinions either.  Christ was humble but he wasn’t meek or timid acting. Hardly.  He often harshly addressed the hypocrites around him.  Even during his trial, he never backed down from the truth.

(Remembering my promise to myself to keep my blog “real” and to be authentic I share this personal bit.) There are days, when during my quiet time, I say to God, “God, I think I made you smile today and that makes me feel good.” I want to know I’ve made God smile. Why would I want anything less? I don’t feel the least bit prideful about saying that. Maybe that’s because on other days I have to say, “God, today, I think I made you sad and that makes me feel awful.”

If you can look in the mirror and once you look away forget about yourself, you are well on your way to humility.  If you can pick up someone else’s mess without complaining, you are well on your way. If you can graciously offer your place in line to someone behind you, you are well on your way.  If you can visit someone who needs a visit even though they’re not the most pleasant person, you are on your way.  I believe as with most aspects of life we have to be intentional or we simply will let things slide

Deliberately put yourselves in situations that keep you humble.

I want to tell you a true story. Your first thought may be that this woman I’m going to tell you about was less than humble by sharing her story. That’s not true. She’s one of the most genuine people I know. It happened in a Bible class I was teaching and the subject was relationships. Her demeanor in telling her story was gentle and sweet and I could tell she struggled with sharing it for fear she would bring too much attention to herself.

It happened in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  She has four children. She and her husband were struggling financially. This particular day everyone was getting on everyone’s nerves. Her husband was becoming frustrated with the children and with her. This was very much unlike him. This kept up for the afternoon and she was to the point of tears.  She was also getting irritated herself with her husband’s lack of understanding about a few issues that were transpiring that day. She went into a room and prayed.

She knew what she had to do.

Everyone was gathered in the family room sulking, no one talking to one another. She went into the kitchen, filled a large round bowl with water, and gathered some soap and a washcloth. She entered the room, and without saying a word she knelt in front of her husband. She said that everyone immediately became still and quiet as they watched what she was doing. Her husband was so taken aback, he just sat there. Without one word, she took off his shoes and socks and gently and lovingly washed his feet.  Her family was so struck by what she was doing, tears came to their eyes. (Mine, too, as I listened.)

She never said what happened next. She ended her story very quietly and none of us spoke, even the never-at-a-loss-for words teacher. As I recall, the silence in our room continued for quite a while as we took in what she’d done. I will never forget it. It is to this day the most graphic example of true humility I’ve ever heard about.

She would have been justified in nursing her wounded feelings but she knew her husband was upset with himself and rather than chastise him, she took the opportunity to humble herself before him.

Those of the Christian faith are beginning to celebrate Holy Week, the interval between when Jesus entered Jerusalem till the day he rose from the dead on Easter. During that time there were a few trials, many betrayals, and finally a crucifixion. In Philippians (a book in the Christians bible), it says that Jesus humbled himself.  Christians believe Jesus, being God’s son, had all the same power his father did. He could have stopped his own crucifixion but instead, he humbled himself and fulfilled prophecy. No one had to humble Jesus. He did it himself.

 Humility isn’t an intrinsic quality. Humility is an action. Humility isn’t something we claim’ it’s something we give away.

Christ was our example.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

tile removal

Nothing takes the place of perisistence

(I wrote this post about four years ago.)

I want to share with you a quote from Calvin Coolidge, 3oth president of the United States.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more commonplace than unsuccessful men with talent.Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent.”

Flashback to yesterday. I tried to install a “Follow Me” Twitter Button on this blog.  Oh, my gosh!  It seemed so easy at first but I kept having all the html code show up in addition to the button.  I know absolutely nothing about programming. But I started playing around and after many hours I finally got it working.

My brain was fried.

Then I thought about the quote by Calvin Coolidge.

How cool is that? Here I was using that very persistence to accomplish what I needed. It wasn’t talent. It wasn’t genius. It wasn’t education. It was plain ole’ persistence and determination. I am going to make this blog good if it kills me. And after today, it just might!

Then I thought about the work we’re doing in our living room. No amount of talent, genius, or education could have pried up that tile. It took persistence for me to continue ripping up all this tile in our living room. I was determined to get ‘er done. No amount of talent, genius, or education enabled me to rip up the tile. Some things are accomplished by sheer effort only.

tearing up tile

I hope if you’re frustrated by something today you’ll find this post helpful. Persistence applies to all parts of our life, persistence in prayer, persistence in doing the right thing and thinking the right thoughts, using the right words, etc.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

Oh, no.  I just checked my home page and the “twitter icon” isn’t there.  I’ll figure it out, right? 

Peter

When you think you’re not a good Christian

I love this story in Luke, chapter five.

I love it not because Peter catches a lot of fish but because his faith is such that he can speak honestly to Jesus, “Duh, been fishing all night and haven’t caught a thing. This is the same spot, Jesus. But I’ll do it anyway.

Boy, is this me a lot of the time. “Really, God? You want me to do what? Haven’t I done that many times before? Haven’t I “fished” this spot before and come away “fishless? Now it’s supposed to be different?”Really, God? You just couldn’t let this one pass? Oh, all right. I’ll do it again.”

I sometimes I wonder why we can’t just “get it right” after the first time or should I say why I just can’t get it? Wouldn’t you think just one time seeing what God can do would settle it for us? I mean, how many answered prayers does it take before we believe?

I love the apostle Peter. He’s one of my favorites. He has to learn the hard way. But he also was the first one to step out in faith. He was willing to take the leap. The only time Peter showed cowardice was when he denied Jesus but I can’t fault him for that because I might have done the same thing under those circumstances.

But his honesty is what appeals to me the most. To be that genuine is a good thing. It’s how we all should be when we “talk” with God, totally honest and open. There was a time I wasn’t honest before God. I felt I had to pray the “right” words. I used words that didn’t reflect who I really am or the way I normally talk. My prayers then were probably much more impressive than they are now. Now they’re much more “raw” and unimpressive. They’re shorter, too. However much time it takes me to express my praise and my concerns is how long it takes. I don’t check the time.

Just like most of us, I wonder sometimes if I get it right, my prayers, I mean. Let’s face, we are emotional human beings and that is reflected in our prayers, the style, the length, the passion, etc.  It is rare that I come away from my prayer time feeling like I nailed it if that’s even a possibility.

Maybe that’s not all bad though. Maybe that’s what keeps me coming back every day, throughout the day, and during the night, the fact that I have so much to learn. Maybe that means I still consider myself a “student” of prayer, and not an expert.

So if you sometimes question your own prayer life, know that at least one other person feels the same way.

God bless you and I hope you have a good day.

 


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