Tag: thankfulness

peaceful

an alphabet of thanks, “Q”

 peaceful

Today I am thankful for quiet.

Quiet doesn’t necessarily mean lack of noise. We can be quiet within even when it’s noisy around us. But for this post, I’m referring to quiet as the lack of noise. I’m not one of those people who need someone around all the time. I don’t mind being alone especially when I can have quiet time. I find I listen and think better when it’s quiet.

Religious leaders from all faiths have extolled the importance of quiet for meditation. In Christian vernacular, quiet times refer to the times we set aside to read our Bibles and pray.  Although I still read and study my Bible, there seem to be more and more times I remain quiet and just listen. Every once in awhile I like some extended time of total quiet, when even my own voice is not allowed to break the silence.

quiet

There has been considerable research about noise and stress and the conclusion has been that noise is a huge stress factor. It certainly didn’t use to be that way. Life was simply quieter a hundred years ago.

Of course, in our own home, we can turn off the noise if we choose. We just seldom choose. But complete quiet is hard to get used to.

Most of us are uncomfortable with quiet. There are reasons for our uneasiness with quiet.

When we are quiet, the chatter in our head seems to get louder and that’s when our demons can come to haunt us. We are faced with our fears and insecurities. It’s hard to hide from ourselves when our minds aren’t bombarded, when we aren’t thinking about that next thing on our list.

That doesn’t scare me like it used to. I’m learning to be comfortable with the “quieter” version of me.

 

Most of us are going to go through a period of quietness before we leave this earth.  Due to the infirmities that accompany old age, we will have no choice.  Being comfortable with “quiet” and being unafraid to face ourselves now will prepare us for those times when we will have nothing but our thoughts. I hope this doesn’t sound maudlin but the truth is unless our lives are “interrupted”, we are going to experience old age. If we want to be a serene, contented elderly person, we need to become a serene contented person now.

The future always begins with the present.

Don’t be afraid of being quiet or being alone. Learn to be a friend to yourself. I think all of us would do well to incorporate real quiet in our lives.

We are approaching the busiest few weeks of the year. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “I’ll incorporate quiet later. Certainly, not now.”

But I would suggest that now is the best time. If ever we need to take some time for quiet, it is during this season.  You might be surprised how taking some to be quiet and reflect might actually energize you.

peaceful

God bless and have a quiet day.

options

an alphabet of thanks “O”

Option one over option two. We even have toilet paper options.

Choice

I don’t like playing guessing games with life.

I like concrete answers.

I like people who are open. I don’t like people who have an agenda; you never know where you stand with them.

I like to organize-things, my schedule, my life. I don’t like chaos. I could write volumes about each of these but I’m going to settle on “OPTIONS” because “options” is really just another word for “choices”.

And I’m a big believer that we all have choices about most things in our life.

We’ve updated our big old farmhouse over many years. I had a general idea where I was headed. I wanted to ditch the heavy, wood-grained look and go for something crisper. I have made a lot of painting color choices.  At one point, I had nine, nine, samples of white paint. I never realized there were so many different whites.

Painting the furniture, however, was a no-brainer. I had studied decorating websites and magazines for months and months and when the time came to decide, it all just kind of fell into place. I am fairly confident in my decorating abilities as it is one of my passions. It’s been my experience that when we’re passionate about something we’re usually good at it. I feel like I make good decorating choices. At least most of the time.

I have a cousin who is passionate about cooking and she’s a wonderful cook. I’m not passionate about cooking-enough said about my culinary skills.

But when it comes to people, our options are crucial. Things are just things but people can hurt us and they can be hurt.

For example, relationships can be damaged forever if we choose the wrong words.

Sometimes there are more options than the obvious but they usually only show up after we’ve let some time-lapse.

Many decisions can sit on the back burner for a while.

Often situations resolve themselves if we let them sit and simmer. That’s the wonderful thing about options. We even have options about our choices!

The holiday season is fast approaching. We are faced with all kinds of options, what to buy, what to bake, what to wear. It’s relatively easy to see these options. But we have options about everything. So let’s choose:

  • politeness over rudeness
  • kindness over meanness
  • love over hate
  • tolerance over injustice
  • helpfulness over selfishness
  • giving over taking
  • generosity over stinginess
  • initiation over laziness
  • courage over fear
  • respect over disdain

If we remember we have options, life can become so much easier.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

 

 

naivete

An alphabet of thanks “N”

(In case you’re doing the math, these posts are one day off. This should really be posting on the 14th. But “D” and “E” posted the same day because I didn’t wait for one of those posts to update before I turned off my computer, and I didn’t catch it till the next day. Just sayin’)

Today I’m thankful for my naiveté.

naivete

My family is always kidding me about how naïve I am about some things. For example, if a family member tells me something outlandish, (like there’s such a thing as a Michigan peacock) I’m very apt to believe them because of course, they wouldn’t lie. I easily fall for practical jokes, therefore, people love to pick on me.

The first definition for naïve in the dictionary is “inexperienced”. That’s not me, though.  I’ve experienced enough of life to know its reality.

Another definition is “youthful”. Young people are generally considered naïve. Young people generally trust and believe in people. Young people believe in possibilities. Think, I’ll take this definition.

I trust and believe in people, to my detriment at times. I often walk into situations where I can’t win no matter what because I always believe people can change. I’m naïve enough to believe most people like me. I’m always surprised when people don’t play fair. I guess I really am naïve.

But that’s o.k. I rather be the one picked on than the one that does the picking. I’d rather be easy to play a joke on than so unfriendly and distant that no one would dare. I rather be naïve and see the wonder of life, than so jaded I can only see the ugly.

I’ll admit it. I’m naïve. I’m naïve enough to believe that God still performs miracles. I’m naïve enough to believe that my prayers really matter. I’m naïve enough to believe that God is who He says He is, that He can do what He says He can do, that I am who God says I am, and that I can handle anything God allows in my life. Call me naïve want. I call myself smart.

God bless and have a good day.

Alphabet of thanks: “M”

Today I’m thankful for MAGICAL MOMENTS.

Moments that interrupt our routine and cause us to catch our breath. I’ve been lucky in that I can immediately think of two.

My husband traveled extensively for about ten years and I was fortunate to tag along a few times each year due to his seemingly infinite number of frequent flyer miles. One such trip was to Bar Harbor, Maine.

bar harbor 1

bar harbor 1

We walked around the town, browsing in the shops.  We stopped for lunch. The weather was sunny and warm. Pretty much a perfect day all around.

In the afternoon, we heard music coming from somewhere so we followed the sound. Our journey took us to the harbor where we sat down on the grass, munching some goodies and enjoying the free concert. There were a few small boats in the water.

Suddenly a fog enveloped us. We could barely see even a few feet ahead of us. We lingered because the band kept playing despite the drifting waves of fog. The music was soft and kind of haunting. Beautifully eerie.

Eventually, the fog evaporated. As we looked out over the bay, it was as if a curtain was being drawn back ever so slowly and what emerged was nothing short of magical. Moving shapes, barely discernible, came into view.

It was a caravan of “tall” sailing ships.

All this time the music was playing and just as the music reached its crescendo, the fog completely lifted and all the ships came into view, gliding across the water, sails billowing softly.

tall ships

tall ships

One followed another until they filled the bay. It couldn’t have been better orchestrated had it been a movie. It was surreal.

No one moved.

No one talked.

We were all spellbound.  I will never forget it.

The second magical moment

The next magical scene was in Amsterdam.

It was my first trip to the Netherlands and I was looking forward to seeing the massive collection of spring tulips lining the streets. However, we landed in Amsterdam during a very rare snowstorm. There hadn’t been one in over forty years and never this far into the spring.

We sat on the field for quite a while as the plane was de-iced. Finally, we departed the plane and headed into town via taxi. It was dark and so we didn’t see too much. I was aware of the snow on the ground but was more concerned that I didn’t have any warm clothes.

We checked into our hotel, a very weird designed room, but it was right on a canal so that made it perfect. Exhausted but hungry, we decided to brave the weather and find a restaurant.  We layered on extra clothes and headed out. We followed a narrow brick road winding between the old, tall, lopsided buildings.

We turned a corner and it was as if we’d stepped back in time.

What we saw took our breath away.

People riding bikes were everywhere even though the snow was fairly deep and heavy. Bikes are the common mode of transportation in the Netherlands but who expects people to bike in deep snow? How is it even possible? But there they were. That might have been enough to mesmerize us but it was more than that.

It was how the riders were dressed. Fur hats, long wool coats, colorful scarves, leather boots. Many of the female riders wore dresses. No jeans, no name brand outerwear. The clothing looked vintage.

I thought I’d stepped into a Hans Christian Anderson book.

The scene had a soft, hazy glow interrupted only by the huge lazy flakes dusting the riders. Once again, we were spellbound and speechless. We looked at each other as if to say, is this for real?

When we got back to our weirdly designed hotel room with its sloped ceiling leading down to a two-foot wall so we had to sit on the floor to see outside.

It was breathtaking. The canal, the centuries old houses, the old barges, the snow-covered bridges, we could have been looking at another era.

I probably haven’t come close to describing these two experiences. Words truly do fall short.

My husband and I still get breathless when we think about those two experiences.  There have been others but these two immediately came to mind.

I wish this for all of you.

Magical moments.

And magical moments don’t have to be big. They can be so small as be almost unnoticed.

They happen anywhere and at any time. I think God might call them “grace” moments. Those moments He allows us to experience something beyond ourselves and reminds us Who is the Creator.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

little things

an alphabet of thanks, “L”

goe images

“L”, “L”, “L”. What begins with “L”. Leopards, little, lazy, lop-sided, love, laps, luxury, lettuce,……..

Today I pick, nope, not love, way too easy. I pick “little”. We all have different criteria for what we consider “little”. To me, it’s all those “little” moments in life.

  • The first cup of coffee in the morning.
  • The hug from my husband at night as I nestle into his arms.
  • Moments of nothingness
  • Kindness from a stranger.
  • Kindness to a stranger.
  • Moments of no foot pain
  • God’s small voice
  • Newborn baby
  • A hummingbird outside my window
  • A moment of self-awareness
  • Shadows
  • Kittens
  • Puppies
  • Finding the right pair of jeans (No, that’s BIG.)
  • Having a good hair day
  • When my “original” recipe turn out great.
  • Warm bread
  • Warm cookies
  • A Dove chocolate square
  • A moment of quiet
  • Little books
  • Little demitasse cups

It’s good to make up your own list of “little” things you are thankful for.

Oh, I almost forgot, my “little” red cabin in the woods.

God bless and have a great day.

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