Adrift

Relaxed

Relaxed

I can hear the water as it tickles the bottom of the boat; a comforting sound.  The sky is a bright blue with snippets of white puffy clouds and the sun is hovering around its 4 pm eastern position on this lovely day.

My book is splayed open in my right hand for ease in reading and the beach towel rolled up at the end of the boat seat provides an agreeable resting place for my head.  The late hour of the day allows me to lounge on the metal seat without burning my legs.

Floating aimlessly behind my house, I can hear faint sounds of my younger brother and sister playing with our German Shepard, Yahtzee.

I am 13 and I am in my favorite place, doing my favorite thing in peace and relative quiet.  Adrift and loving it.

Adrift

Later

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LATER

I will tell him I love him later,
I will whisper it in his ear
Not now, but I’ll do it later
He knows, but he still likes to hear

I will call and apologize later
Right now I’ll just sit and stew
It’s not my fault that she took it that way
We just have different points of view

We will play catch outside a little later
After the dishes are done
When your bedroom is back in order
Then I promise we’ll go have some fun

The frustrating thing about later
Is that later sometimes doesn’t come
So let’s do it right now and not later
Please don’t wait til’ the sinking sun

Optic Flow

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At lunch today, I enjoyed warm sun, a nice breeze and fresh air; an elixir guaranteed to induce tranquility and on occasion deeper than normal thought.

The chair I was lounging in was positioned so that I could look across the creek to a more densely wooded area.  Although there is a small clearing, the foliage is pretty dense, so I have never seen much except a few birds and a lone raccoon foraging for food.  Birdsong is plentiful from that direction though and today with me having just scared all the black birds away from my cardinal feeder and scattering over there, it was exceptionally loud.

There are always multiple bird species around, but today I noticed something I had never paid attention to before.  I was watching a particular bird fly from somewhere behind me into the wooded area and I noticed that he flew into the foliage and managed to dodge branches without even slowing down.  Having just watched the raccoon pick its way along the branches and move along carefully, the difference was made all the more obvious.

So, once again, I sat amazed at the wonders of our Creator.  I googled it later and found out that birds do this by a trick of the eye called optic flow.  Optic flow is the way our eyes perceive motion as we travel thru a landscape.  It is the illusion that trees and buildings are passing us by; the greater the optic flow the more quickly things seem to be moving.  Below is a short pbs.org video, in case you are interested in knowing more.

Optic Flow Video

As I sat and thought about this, it reminded me how the bird fully trusts his Creator; he forges on ahead using the talent God gave him.  And as God cares for this little bird, He cares for me.  He sees every obstacle ahead and prepares me to meet them head on.  I just have to do my part and trust Him every step of the way.

Matthew 6:25-27 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

The Anything But Ordinary Day

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Today started out like most ordinary Fridays, with me peering through half closed eyes at the clock to check the time, then realizing its almost seven and feeling like I’m wasting the day away.  I stumbled to the bathroom and on to the kitchen for coffee.  Thursday is my Friday, so today I allowed myself to sleep late (for me) and take my time getting the day started.

Most Friday’s I do errands and this day would be no exception.  As I journeyed to town, I took the time to thank God for the beauty all around me and to ask for His mercy throughout the day.  I thanked Him for loving me and loved on Him as I enjoyed the view and the drive.  I felt such peace and such a spirit of gratitude enveloped me.  I determined in my heart that nothing would take that perfect peace away today.

I thought of a quote I had read this morning that said something about how we could be standing right next to someone who is completely broken and never even know it.  I would approach others with this thought in mind and show love.

As I drove on, I didn’t sense any agitation over other drivers or traffic.  I had a busy day ahead and many things to do, but I turned up “The Message”, sung along and resolved to do each errand without rushing and with patience and kindness.

Part of my list today included picking up some of my granddaughter’s medications.  This can be a test in and of itself because often they aren’t ready, doctor hasn’t approved yet, they require a specialty pharmacy or a compound pharmacy (all things I would have never known about until Cali).   I called the farthest pharmacy away (the compound pharmacy) and although that one wasn’t ready yet, they said they would text me when it was.  My first actual stop was another pharmacy.  The prescriptions weren’t quite ready here either, but they told me to come in and by the time I got to the counter, they would have them.  They weren’t all covered by insurance, but the cashier offered to find a coupon that saved me $20.

One of these meds needed to be refrigerated, so I bought an inexpensive cooler and ice and was on my way to grab lunch.  My hubby’s business needs required my next two stops and I found what I needed without delay and readied myself to kill time waiting on the other prescription.  But, I got a text hours earlier than anticipated and proceeded to the other place, where everything was ready.

I went on about my day and every single conversation and experience was a pleasure.  Traffic seemed to be waiting to give me the best spot in line; everyone was kind and helpful and returned my smiles.  At my last stop, I talked to lady who was busily stocking shelves and she gave me a much appreciated compliment and then at the checkout I got to hear a story about a man who is helping build homes in earthquake devastated countries.

I left there with a grin on my face and the realization that today had been an extraordinarily good day; a day filled with peace and laughter.    Many days are filled with impatience and agitation.  Some “errand Fridays” I complain about traffic, rude people, long lines and anything else I can think of.  Today, I didn’t!

Yes, I know that all days aren’t amazing and bad things happen, and we are faced with trials and troubles.   However, I also know that how you approach your day makes a big difference in the outcome.  Oh, the problems are going to show up.    It’s how we deal with them that matters.

If I mediate on and implement the scriptures that say “love is patient and kind and long suffering” and the ones that say “think on good things” and “say things that edify others and build them up”, I know without a shadow of a doubt my day is going to go better than if I gripe, grumble and complain and look for the bad.  If I meet others with a long face or a scowl, guess what I will probably get in return?  If I greet the day with a grateful heart, thankful that I am saved by grace and given this precious gift that comes with such amazing peace I am much more likely to stay on the positive side of things.

As I sit here, errands done and the day winding down to a close I am thanking God again for His many blessings and for this anything but ordinary day.

Facing Fears

 

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I just wanted to have a little fun today so I tried a little different style than normal.

She began to shake from her insides out, or so it felt.  She clasped her now sweaty palms together under her desk and felt as if she could squeeze the very blood out of them if she tried.  Her feet seemed glued to the floor and her socks were damp with moisture.  It was difficult to get a deep breath so she began to feel lightheaded.

The moment had come, the day of reckoning.  Could she do this?  Would her trembling legs support her thin frame?  If she opened her mouth to speak, would words come?  As she stood on shaky limbs a sudden feeling of nausea overwhelmed her.  She picked up the lone piece of paper from the desk and gripped it a little too tightly, her damp hands smudging the print.

Eyes wide with fright and all of her senses on edge, she heard a voice that sounded like it was far, far away.  “Lilly, did you hear me?”  She managed a tremulous nod and began moving forward at a snail’s pace.  She felt the eyes upon her as she walked the short distance to the place to which she was being beckoned.  The walk seemed to take forever and that was okay with her.

Every part of her longed to run but she had to face this fear.  Lilly Underwood was no coward.

When she reached her destination, she stopped, turned and planted her sneaker clad feet, facing the class.  It was finally her turn.

She began.  My book report is on Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White…….

 

 

Daily Prompt:  Tremble

Come, Elegant Autumn

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I’ve said before that God created seasons because He knew we were fickle creatures who would get bored easily.  My favorite one is Autumn so when I saw that the Daily Prompt was Elegant, I thought about the distinct beauty and grace of the season and wrote down a few of my very passionate feelings about the coming of Fall.

Come, elegant autumn and show off your style.  I have been eager for your dignified arrival for months now.

Envelop me like a comfortable sweater and display for me the beautiful foggy nights by your harvest moon.

Tantalize me with the classic aroma of pumpkin and spice and not just on Thanksgiving Day.

Surprise me with briskly changing foliage before the colorful leaves are poised to plunge gracefully to the cool earthy ground at the first windy day.

Bring on your slight chill so we can forage in our closets for the stylish leggings, cozy boots and colorful scarves.

Let my eyes feast on the beautiful cornucopias, pine cones and amber colored candles smelling like apple cinnamon. 

And be content to stay for a good long visit, you wondrous golden visitor.

Related stories:  Come Autumn and especially October  and Goodbye July

Daily Prompt: Plop

The Daily Prompt was unusual but I gave it a shot anyway.  My offering for “Plop”.

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This old guy waits patiently for my husband to come in from fishing

As the leftover bait plopped into the water, the pelicans fought to be the first to snatch it up.  You would think they hadn’t been trolling for fish all day long the way they knock each other out of the way to be first.  I watched as the winner greedily snatched the bait and marveled as it seemed to threaten to burst through the elastic looking pouch under his bill.  God’s creatures never cease to amaze me and they always remind me of His sense of humor.

I walked barefoot over to my favorite chair; the one I have sat and watched what I call “my” cardinals and mockingbird in for a couple of years now.  The thing is… I haven’t seen any of them in months.  The only birds I see frequently besides the water birds are crows and doves.  The big black crows drive me nuts with their incessant cawing as they eat the stale bread a neighbor throws out for them daily.  Lately, the doves are the lone visitors to my bird feeder and they are extremely skittish.

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My friend said that she caught a snake eating a cardinal under her bird feeder the other day and so I mentioned this to my husband.  He said, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen that rat snake hiding in the shrub right by the feeder.  He blends right in”.  I’m aghast that he knew this was going on and didn’t do something about it!  He could have run the snake off or something, right?!?

In light of this disturbing news, I googled it and lo and behold, feeders do often attract snakes which makes sense now that I think about it.  Now I have a decision to make.  Do I continue to provide seed and hope the birds are stealthy enough to avoid Mr. Rat Snake or do I remove the feeders entirely for fear of unintentionally luring the poor birds to their death?  The very shrub the evil thing likes to hide in will soon be sprouting berries that are particularly loved by the mockingbirds.  If the same mockingbird visits that did last year, he was mean and territorial.  Maybe he will run the snake off to another yard.

I’ve spent hours in my chair, enjoying the birds while I spend time with Jesus and bask in the sunshine or watch the sunset.  This will be a difficult change for me.  I’m saddened even thinking about removing the feeder and tossing the rest of the seed out in the open.   Maybe someone has an idea that will save the day.

 

What lies beneath?

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Today’s prompt hit a nerve as soon as I read the word….surface.  My mind immediately began to form poems about layers and things hidden deep within.  It affected me because it reminds me of a topic that I’ve been contemplating for days.

A few nights ago, I taught on Motives; those deeply private and often impure reasons we do the things we do.  As I studied in preparation, I thought a lot about my own motives.  I asked myself questions like, “What is hidden in this heart?” and “Are my motives usually pure?”  I know better than to ask “always” because I think we all know that our hearts deceive us sometimes and there are other times when we have just allowed the wrong things in and our actions correspond.

I knew I had written on this very topic before so I did a quick search on “motives” and lo and behold, I find Check My Motives.  This post was from 2014!  So two years ago, God was dealing with me on the same topic.  I’m thankful for God’s long-suffering towards me as obviously He is re-addressing this with me once again.  I am either a very slow learner or my human heart just needs a reminder from time to time.

We do find ourselves with messy motives though, don’t we?   Have you ever done something for someone else with the hope that someone else will notice and praise you?  Would you do some of the good things you do if there was to be no visible payoff?  Do you hide behind social media and post something with a motive to hurt someone or embarrass them, but tell yourself you are innocent of such?

In all seriousness and honesty, I really do want to have pure motives all the time.  In order for that to happen my heart has to be pure, because out of the abundance of it, the mouth speaks (or writes, or posts).

Sometimes things done with insincere motives unwittingly benefit others and often we don’t even realize where our motives are coming from when we act.  It is a topic definitely worth reflecting on in your quiet time.

Proverbs 16:2 says, “People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.”  We know God looks upon the heart, but we may forget what that means.  He examines our motives.  If that isn’t reason enough for me to examine my own, I don’t know what is.

 

 

 

Life is a saga

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Life is a saga, a long and complicated story with many details. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you live very long at all this applies. Our life begins on page one, with our birth and if you have ever been in a room of women discussing childbirth, that can be a saga in itself. We live, we learn, we grow and we change.

We all have a story but it’s what we do with our stories that can make a difference. I was discussing this a little bit in my Sunday school class this morning. We go through things sometimes that make no sense, seasons filled with trials and tribulations. They are going to touch each one of us, but oh the difference when we allow God to teach us through them instead of sinking and wallowing in a big warm pile of self-pity.

I’m not saying not to grieve or that it’s wrong to cry, but when we’re done, get up and move on and let what we have learned, even when it was a tough, teach someone else. Some of the things I have been through in my life have allowed me to counsel or encourage other mothers or wives who are now going through the same thing. Can God really take that year of weeping and hurting and use it to impart healing in someone else? Why, yes He can and I can attest to having been on the giving and receiving end of both trial and help.

At times we try to pretend like we don’t know the meaning of grief or affliction and I’m not sure why, as we all are familiar with its sting. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, as long as we are this side of heaven, we will encounter difficulty. It’s how we deal with it that sets us apart.

Wouldn’t it be great to know that your saga didn’t end at your death because even after your demise other lives were still touched because of you? I think we all want to leave this world knowing we have imparted wisdom, hope and truth into others.

I was cleaning out a closet the other day and found an old journal of my mother’s. I’m sure I saw it and positive that I would have looked inside near the time of her death. The other day coming across the old treasure again I opened it up and saw that old familiar handwriting on the yellowing front page. For some reason I leafed through the other pages and buried in the middle were about five more pages that I had never seen before. They were written in and around December of 95’ and into the first months of January 96’. Mom died in June of 96’ so these “new” words were like gold to me. They were a new discovery of some of her personal thoughts in her final months. More of the saga of her much shortened life and they meant so much to me. They touched me and as I read them, I again felt her faith and strength. She imparted another precious gift to me almost twenty years after she met Jesus.

I was blessed to have a mother whose wisdom and guidance has served me well over the course of my life. Whether we are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or friends, we too can choose to let our stories help us grow into better people and use their lessons to love on others. Isn’t that part of what love is all about?

 

Daily Prompt:  Saga

Daily Prompt: Pensive

12183926_10153666325746763_7447737793838516270_oThe Daily Prompt was pensive; below is my humble offering….

She sat there, dreamily staring out the window; both hands around her favorite cup, which was still warm from the hot tea he had watched her pour earlier. She was in a pensive mood.

He was familiar with her moods and he’d seen this particular one more after the kids were gone. She would stare out the window, a hint of sadness on her face, sometimes wiping a tear from her eye. He was pretty sure he understood how she felt, but sometimes he wasn’t quite sure how to help. She had also mentioned some lady issue that started with an “m” that made her a little more moody on some days.

He walked over to her chair and embraced her in a hug and said, “Are you missing the girls, babe?” She said, “Yes” with a shaky voice. He gently pulled her up from her favorite chair and she melted into the arms that had held her close for over 20 years.

After a long embrace he asked, “How about we go across the bay and catch dinner?” The smile twinkled in her eyes before it reached her lips and he knew he had brought her back from the walk down nostalgia lane. She ran to grab a jacket and he smiled knowing he had been her hero once again.

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