Wednesday, October 31, 2012

eyes wide open: to a renewed spirit {day 31}

During the past 31 days, I've met some new bloggers. That has been really cool. Let me tell you, there are some great writers out there! 

This morning, I clicked into one link up at The Nester that I hadn't before. I have to say that God used Christina at The Frugal Homemaker to breathe new life into my motivation to clean, rearrange and decorate my home. At least for today! Thank you, Christina!

I used to be a person who loved to rearrange my furniture. Rearrange my accessories. I used to decorate my porch for each season. Sometime in the past few years, though, I think I lost some oomph to do many of those things. Oh, I've kept buying the Do It Yourself, Cottage Living and other decor magazines hoping to find that perfect idea that won't cost any money or energy, but will turn my house into Better Homes and Gardens perfect. But, I haven't had the mental or emotional energy to put any wind behind my sails. Too many other things in my life have been sapping that energy right out of me.

Today, after checking out The Frugal Homemaker, I got a little wind back in my decorating sails. She showed pics of how her kitchen looked after just weeding out all the stuff on her fridge and decluttering her counter tops! I said to myself, hey, I could do that. Then, I looked in my living room adjacent to the kitchen and it needed vacuuming. Being careful with my healing back, I thought, hey, I can just vaccuum. I put on Michael Buble station on Pandora and started to get to it. 

One thing led to another and I ended up moving a chair and side table to the opposite side of the room, putting the blue exercise ball in the basement where it belongs, throwing away several old Bible study folders, and making a new fangled arrangement for the side table. 

The only way to explain this burst of creative energy is that the Spirit of God blew some fresh wind in my sails. And, He used another blogger to do that. 

Now, because my room is clean and a bit rearranged, it's made me feel renewed and energized. I'm going to start tackling some of the other rooms this week. 

Thanks for keeping up with me this month! I'll keep posting, just probably at a bit slower pace. :)

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

eyes wide open: a diamond in the snow {day 30}

Several years ago I lost something very valuable to me.

We had gone to a flooring store that night. It was wintertime and in the winter my hands get so dry.  I took off my gloves and my wedding ring and set them in my lap to put on hand lotion. I got out of the car when we got there. Got back in the car when we were done looking. And, we drove home. I got the kids ready for bed. I was lying in bed about to fall asleep and I realized I wasn't wearing my wedding ring. gasp!

Then, I remembered that I had put lotion on my hands in the car. I turned to my husband who was about to drift off, and told him I don't have my wedding ring!  My gracious husband got out of bed on a cold night and drove back to the carpet store to see if he could possibly find it. And, I stayed home in bed and prayed. I knew God cared about my ring.

About twenty minutes passed and I heard the garage door go up. I was hoping he had good news. He came back to our bedroom and said that when he turned into the parking lot, now empty of everything except snow, he noticed the light from our headlights glinting off of something in the snow. That's right. My ring!  

It had been snowing the whole time since we had shopped there. A snow plow could have come and pushed my ring into a huge pile of snow. A car could have run over it. Someone could have stolen it. But no, it was right where I had dropped it. And, it was in perfect condition. Do you think God protected my ring?  

Have you lost something valuable? Do you feel lost?

God cares about even the little things. God specializes in finding lost things.

Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Monday, October 29, 2012

eyes wide open: baptism, Batman and Elvis {days 27-29}

I wrote on Facebook today, Help! I've lost my motivation and I can't get up!  I know you know what I mean. I sat in my chair most of the morning reading different blog posts on my phone and drinking cup after cup of hot tea. I wrote a little, read a little, cried a little, felt guilty for sitting there a little. And then I kept sitting there. Sometimes, I need days like this. Especially after a high intensity weekend.

But, the weekend was filled full of abundance. 

Awesome teaching at the Alpha Holy Spirit retreat. Being "baptized" with a super-soaker by the pastor. Being prayed for by three different gals whom I had just met. And, that is just scratching the surface. 

My nephew's wedding and wedding dance provided more than a little joy. There was The Cupid Shuffle complete with batman masks. Dancing with my son. A conversation with my other son about renewed vision for his future in Forestry. Conversations with family and friends over booming bass.

We were told that we had to make a pitstop at the photo booth before we left the reception. I'm thinking, photo booth? So we go there and there is a brown backdrop taped to the wall and a table filled with different goofy hats, glasses, and other props. I made my hubby put on Elvis shades and a goofy hat. Can't wait to see how that turned out.

In between all of these things was the prevalent feeling of joy. I know God was there. God With Us. I saw him working in relationships that used to be broken but are now mended. I saw Him speak to people about His love for them. I saw Him at work in those around me.

I might be tired today, but I am full, and my life is full.

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Friday, October 26, 2012

eyes wide open: nice cars and Jesus {day 26}

Aunt Esther (far right) and ladies out for a drive

More digging around in my closet and I run across these two treasures. I love these pictures because of the stories they tell. 

The tire cover in the top photo has the name Holdrege, Nebraska on it. This is the town that I grew up in. The license plate says 1934. This would have been fourteen years before my dad would come from Sweden to live with Uncle Carl and Aunt Esther. And twenty nine years before I entered the scene. 

Aunt Esther has her arm slung around her sister's shoulder in my post on {day 7}. This time, it looks like she's probably out on a Sunday afternoon drive with a couple of other ladies, maybe her sisters Anna and Louise. Pretty certain that Uncle Carl was their photographer and chauffeur. Aunt Esther never learned how to drive a car.

Uncle Carl and his car

I can't help but notice my Uncle Carl in this photo with (I'm pretty sure) the same car. I get a kick out of the way he is casually posing by it. No stuffed-shirt posing for this man! This pose says, Dig my new wheels?

Did you notice the "Jesus Saves" bumper sticker in the rear window? What a hoot. Bumper stickers in the 1930's? This tells me a couple things about my Great Aunt and Uncle.

1. They loved Jesus
2. They wanted to show Him off

I'm glad to know my Uncle Carl loved his car. I'm even more glad that he loved Jesus. 

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Thursday, October 25, 2012

eyes wide open: when a tree whispers {day 25}

When I was old enough I climbed in her branches. The sap from her bark would make my little hands sticky. That didn't matter. When I climbed up and up, but not up too far, I felt like I was on top of the world. 

Wind whispering in her enveloping branches, she held me. She held the birds, too. Looking back on it, she was really a God-sent friend to shelter me and give me hope and time to think and dream. 

Little me in front of the Cedar tree
She said I was safe. 
She said I was valuable. 
She said it was okay to be me.
She said it was okay to have fun. 
She said it was okay to enjoy being alone. 
She was enough.

With passing years, my delight in her branches would come to an end. I would miss her, and yet not be fully aware of what I was missing.

I thank God for my sheltering tree. God was there with the tree and me in those whispering branches. He breathed strength into my small self for all of the hard experiences I would have in the future. 

I look back and I see Him nodding His approving yes.

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

eyes wide open: the present moment {day 24}

I want to become a  better noticer of what is going on inside of me and around me. That was my quest at the beginning of this 31 days of blogging, but I'm not sure I'm really hitting on what I want to hit on yet. I want to live in the moment I am in. To become more present.

Last night my husband said, "C'mon, we're going to see the sunset." So we hop in the van for a drive to a lake that is not too far from our house. Saylorville Lake. 

As I sit here tonight, I'm thinking of all the things I noticed last night at the lake.

The mini-waves lapping at the beach.
The gorgeous round orange sun getting lazy and closer to the horizon.
The crying sea gulls gathering on the warm parking lot, maybe for the night?
Three sea gulls flying silhouetted between us and the sun. 
Sun shimmering over still water. 

I don't remember what we were talking about on the driveway after we got back, but I remember really looking at my husband's eyes when he was talking. I noticed how blue they were. And, he smiled and chuckled at something I said. He was genuinely happy. 

It was one of those rare times that I just really looked and my mind was with the looking. I wasn't  thinking of what I was going to say next. I was not thinking anything except for that very moment.

I want to do this more often.

Living in the present moment is to be fully aware of what is going on inside me and around me. I believe this is part of the abundant life that Jesus meant for me. To be a noticer. I'm going to keep practicing the Present Moment.

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

eyes wide open: President Truman and me {day 23}

I have an addiction. The librarians probably roll their eyes. My husband and daughter think I've gone mad. My prescription eyeglasses keep needing improvement. 

I have an addiction to books. 

I confess that I have too many. That I check out too many at a time from the library. I don't mean I've gone over the library's limit for number of books. I mean I've gone over a reasonable limit. A number of books that I can actually finish reading before we take off on another library or Half Price Books jaunt. 

The ottoman in front of my reading chair is always full of books. Right now on my ottoman I have  notebooks with lined paper,
journals (one already full and my current one to write in),
two Bibles,
library books,
devotional books,
pens and highlighters,
a Pottery Barn ad booklet that I haven't looked at yet
and the church bulletin from two weeks ago.
I can't seem to help myself.

I've tried to clean off my ottoman. Hubby says, why don't you clear that off so you can put your feet up? I reason to myself that I should. So I do. I clean it off. I put the library books back in the basket intended for them, my Bibles and other books on the shelf. But, by the next day, I have books littering the ottoman again. 

I do somewhat beat myself up for this. I am not a neat freak, and I'm over that one. But, this one little spot (you would think) would be easy to keep clean. Nope.

I've been trying hard to figure out why I want all of my reading and writing materials within an easy arms reach of where I'm sitting. All the time. 

Last spring my husband and I visited the Truman Presidential Library in Liberty, MO. I was so encouraged to find out that President Truman was an avid reader like me. And, he also had to have all his books piled up around his reading chair. It's true. 

We toured the Truman Home and right there in the study was his chair they said. And, just like it was when he was sitting there for real the books were piled high. I cannot tell you how validating that information was. That the President of our United States of America had a reading addiction like me. 

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Monday, October 22, 2012

eyes wide open: when you miss the kiss {day 22}

With eyes of wonder, I clutched my dolly, Snuggles, as we waited in the airport. This would be my first airplane ride ever. We were going across the ocean to visit Grandma and Grandpa Aberg (pronounced Oberg). There is no way my four year old mind could wrap around how far it actually was to Sweden. But, I felt safe by my mommy and daddy's side. Snuggles in one arm, my other hand tightly clasping Daddy's. 

the flower girls (I am on the left)
My Uncle Birger (Bir-yer) was marrying a cute young lady named Karin. I was going to be a flower girl with my cousin, Ing-Marie. We had matching pink dresses, matching necklaces, matching white gloves and matching headbands with real flowers in them. I felt like a princess.

The beautifully ornate little church was filling with freshly pressed dresses and starched shirts. My mommy told me to be sure and pay attention during the ceremony because the bride and groom were going to kiss! As a four year old, I guess this was something as big as seeing Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disneyland. From my recollection, this event in the ceremony was the one thing to be sure to see. 

the famous "kiss"
Walking carefully down the aisle beside Ing-Marie, with basket of rose petals in my left hand, I took my place beside my uncle and I waited with four-year-old wonder. And watched. I waited and watched some more. The preacher spoke everything in Swedish. gibberish to my four-year-old self. All I could think about was when are they going to kiss? 

Then, I missed it.

 I don't know if I was zoomed in on the preacher's fru-fru robe, or if I turned to look at mommy and daddy in the congregation. But, at that precise moment when I looked away, it happened. I was so disappointed that I missed the kiss.


Somewhere along the way to growing up, I've had to learn to pay attention to wonder. It doesn't just happen the way it did when I was four. How does it happen that wonder slips out the back door when we're little, but then later beckons to be found?

 I now prize those four-year-old eyes that were so eager to see that one solitary wedding kiss. Eyes that were full of wonder. Something deep inside me whispers, even though you missed the kiss that day, don't miss the wonder.  

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Sunday, October 21, 2012

eyes wide open: all things new {day 21}

 The sun rises on a new day. Animals are waking. People are waking from slumber. It's a day that has never been in history before--brand new! The birds celebrate the new day with their songs. 

The new day has anticipated promise. Hope is still fresh and new for the good things that God will do during the day. Lord, I praise you for new.

I've been seeking for the past 20 days to see things with new eyes. (actually, it's much longer than that.) Today, I ask myself the question, what is so special about 'new'?

All of humanity seems to crave new experiences, new relationships, new things. Ever gotten a new book and you are the first to crack it open and touch the crisp, clean words? My hubby always likes to be the first one to dip into the new peanut butter jar.  And just look at babies. Humans, kittens, puppies.  I need say no more. There is something about new that is fresh. Untainted.

Is it because God makes all things new?

  • His mercies are new every morning. 
  • He turns those who believe in Him into new creatures. 
  • He will someday create a new heaven and a new earth.

I think there is something here. There is something inherently special and creative about new. 

The Lords lovingkindnesses  indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.   
Lamentations 3:22-23

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  II Corinthians 5:17

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Saturday, October 20, 2012

eyes wide open: to hope {day 20}

Hope: comfort, expectation, confidence, trust.

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.

What are you hoping for? Have your hopes ever been dashed to pieces? 

I'm hoping for many things.
I'm hoping for healing and wholeness.
I'm hoping that my family grows in the knowledge that God loves them.
I'm hoping for healthy relationships.
I'm hoping one day to continue my education.

There have been times that my hopes were smashed to pieces--which led at times to a feeling of hopelessness.  I also realize that not all of my hopes will be realized if they are in the wrong things. 

Even though I love my family deeply, there is no guarantee in this life that we will not ever disappoint one another.

I have found that there is only One object of my hope that promises to never disappoint me or let me down. God promises that He is my hope. His Word is hope. His kind of hope is an anchor.  I like the sound of that. A hope that is so solid that it becomes my pillar. My security. Something I can trust in no matter what is going on in my circumstances. 

I have found God's supernatural hope to be trustworthy. Even in my darkest times. His hope has allowed me to see beyond my current situation (hope) to better days. 

Romans 5:5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 15:4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled. 

Hebrews 6:19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary.

Are you disappointed today? Grab on to God's kind of hope. His anchor and security for your soul. He will never disappoint you. 

Psalm 62:5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.

Friday, October 19, 2012

eyes wide open: every day is new {day 19}

While I sit here at the computer, my little yellow canary, Gideon, flits about his cage. He stops to preen, then looks out the window at some birds in the bushes, all the while making those tiny jerky bird movements with his head. After that, he hops down to the clear plastic feeder and eats a few seeds. It is so amazing to me how little he eats. I guess that's where the saying, "he eats like a bird" comes from. He then hops over to the bell that is hanging under his swing, and makes clicking noises with his beak at his own reflection dangling there. 

Every morning, when I uncover his cage from the night darkness, he is already awake and has beckoned me to his cage with a few chirps. Sometimes even singing before I can get him uncovered. He is never in a bad mood. At least he doesn't show it if he is. I like that. In that way, I want to be like him. 

It baffles me that he seems as happy as can be in his cage. I feel bad sometimes that he lives in such a small space. But, my daughter reminded me one time, mom, remember, he has such a little brain that to him his cage is  just enough. He is not like us. You know what? She is very wise. 

What does talking about my canary's daily living habits have to do with eyes wide open: seeing with new eyes? Gideon reminds me each morning when I uncover him, that it is a new day. A day to make a fresh start. A day to rejoice in, to live carefree, and to enjoy the space in which I live. 

And, when evening comes and it's time to go to bed, just fluff up my pillow and with no worries, go to sleep.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

eyes wide open: when God puts you in school {day 18}

I ran across this list of ideas that I had written down in my journal as possibilities for the 31 days of blogging. You already know which one I picked. 

31 days of learning to wait well
31 days of learning to wait with a good attitude
31 days to healthier relationships
31 days to a happy heart. (Proverbs 17:22)
31 days of soul healing
31 days to heal your soul
31 days to soul peace
31 days to find your true voice
31 days to emotional freedom
31 days of learning to notice
31 days to soul freedom
eyes wide open: seeing with new eyes

Well, I guess the ideas were flowing that day! (yep, they are kind of repetitive--this was a chicken scratched, self-brainstorming session one day riding in the car) 

Each of those potential 31 day topics represent a specially designed God School tailored just for me. A school that God has put me in at one time or another over the past few years. To teach me how to wait. How to have soul peace and how to find my true voice. But, it hasn't been a cake walk! My grades haven't always been the best, but God always grades on the curve.  I've often thought God, when do I graduate? I'm ready to graduate already!! Could you let up a little?

Even as I've said those things to God, He has been faithfully teaching me through the experiences of life--the good and the not so good--the fears and disappointments. Thanks to His work in my life, I now have more emotional freedom than I did even six months ago. I am finding my true voice. It has taken way too long! And I'm finding peace and healing. Sometimes it feels like glacial speed, this growing.

I came across a verse just this afternoon that sums up how I feel about God's school, and the results of His school in my life. I give Him thanks for all He has done and is doing.

I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.

Psalm 40:1-2

God does hear my cries. He has drawn me up out of a pit and set my feet upon a rock. Without Him, my steps would not be steady and my goings would not be established. 

I wonder what school He'll have me in next. I'm leaning in to Him to find out. 

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

eyes wide open: to discover creativity {day 17}

I've been reluctant to call myself a writer. I will say, I like to write. Not, I am a writer. Saying that I am a writer seems like I am bragging. I don't feel good enough to acknowledge I am a writer. But, I don't think other people are bragging when they say they are writers!? 

Taking part in this 31 days of blogging has been challenging. But, very fun. I am learning things about writing the more I write. I am learning not to compare myself with other writers. I am learning that not only do I have a voice as in speaking, I also have a writer's voice. At least I am maybe just beginning to get a little tiny bit of a glimpse of my writing voice. It is a journey of discovery.

I mentioned The Mindful Writer book on day one of the 31 days. It is a little book that is a quick read and it had some of the most encouraging words to me as I struggle to find my writing voice. I learned from that author that I am not the only one that struggles to find their writing voice. I am not the only one who struggles with creativity. 

I also picked up a book that my husband had checked out of the library. It was on creativity. I didn't read the whole book (because it was one of those "guy" business books), but the author did have some great quotes that I wrote down in my journal. I've since reread them several times for encouragement in writing. Hugh MacLeod says:

**Put your whole self into it, and you will find your true voice. Hold back and you won't. It's that simple. (there's how to find my voice!)

**People respond to the humanity, not the form. (whew!)

**Whether you're writing to an audience of one, five, a thousand, a million, ten million, there's really only one way to truly connect. Write from the heart.

That's what I'm learning. I am learning to write from the heart and to put my whole self into it. This has not come easy. It took me a long time to gain the courage to even write one blog post. But, I started writing regularly here in May of this year. And, here I am seventeen days into blogging every day in October.  I will  continue on....with joy in the journey!

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

eyes wide open: to see beauty {day 16}

sunset from my deck

I'm obsessed with sunsets. For twelve years we've lived in a house I complained about when we bought it because it has a corner fireplace. What I didn't realize when we bought it was that it would have a spectacular view of the western sky.

Every night that it's not cloudy or raining, the colors splash themselves across the sky. A new pattern every night.  Blue, purple, yellow, pink, orange, and many other shades I cannot name swirl together in awesome beauty. 

It's like God gets out his easel and says, Tonight I'm going heavy on the purple and pink, with subtle shades of yellow. I'm doing it for my kids. Because I love them. In fact, I'm going to paint this one just for Anne to enjoy tonight.

Yes, I do believe God speaks loud and clear through His creation. Including sunsets. And, why not? He makes it for you. And me. He delights in delighting us.

Another beautiful one.

Tonight, find a place to see the sunset. Relish in God's beautiful handiwork that He paints just for you. And, give thanks.

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Monday, October 15, 2012

eyes wide open: open hands or closed fists {day 15}

Today, I don't want to wait anymore. I'm waiting on so many things. I'm always waiting.

 I"m tired of waiting. But, I have no choice except to wait.

I have no choice except waiting, but I do get to choose the attitude that I wait with.
Do I wait in faith that God is working behind the scenes? Do I wait in faith that He causes all things to work together for my good? That all things are possible with Him?

Or, do I wait in despair and frustration? Taking my waiting into my own hands where it feels like I have more control? But, feelings don't necessarily speak truth. They just are.

 It's basically my choice. I can either wait with open hands to what God has for me next, or I can wait with closed fists. Closed fists is a stance that says I'm taking the world on! Don't get in my way. Clenched fists say, I'll do it my way! 

Closed-fist-waiting leaves no room for God to work in my waiting.

Open-hands waiting means I am eager to hear God. To see Him work in my less than ideal circumstances. Open-hands waiting means humility. You are God and I am not.

Open-hands waiting is a deliberate choice to go past the demands of my flesh to the deeper spirit part of me.

The Spirit of God resides there in my spirit. If I can wait well, with open-hands, that means I am open to God's voice. Open to what He wants to teach me in this waiting. Open to His grace.

I don't want to wait anymore. I can't wait with a good attitude. 

I need you, Spirit of God, to teach me to wait well.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Sunday, October 14, 2012

eyes wide open: beauty and purpose {day 14}


Disconnected from its life-giving source,
beautiful in its vibrant color
it is nevertheless dying.

Yet floating.

As if on outstretched wings,
trusting in God's purpose for it.

Even though its earthly purpose is now past, 
it did not live in vain.
For a season it gave life to the tree from which it came.
And, even in the dying there is beauty.


May I be like the leaf.
For the season that is my life.

Realizing my ultimate purpose;
to glorify God in my body
to rest in my Father's care.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

eyes wide open: the space between {day 13}

pregame rehearsal
Today I woke up with my back hurting. Still. This is getting old, right? And, it's storming. The forecast for the day is rain and more rain.

I'm faced with a familiar dilemma. I absolutely LOVE watching my son perform in the Iowa State marching band. It is absolutely the highlight of my fall. Plus, he is a senior, so only two more possible times to go watch him at a football game. 

But it means walking about three miles by the time we walk from our parked car to watch the band, and then back to the car. Then more walking because we are band groupies and follow them around between tailgaters.

It means carrying an umbrella for about two hours. It means standing on concrete for about two hours. Not so smart in my current condition. 

 I'm stuck in the place between what is good and what is best. 

Door #1. Go and watch my son perform, and risk further back strain. 

Door #2. Stay home, and miss the band's awesome pregame performance. But rest my back and heal. 

Our son on game day
I finally say to myself, You're going to have to choose between good and best. What is best right now? Today. Knowing the condition of your back and the weather.

That space between good and best is a space I've often found myself in.

Do I call this person or not?
Do I bring up this topic with my husband?
Do I join this group?
Do I eat this cookie?
Do I go watch my son march?

In my heart of hearts I want to do what's best.  Always. For God. For my family. For others. For me. But often I feel stuck in the space between good and best. Because sometimes good looks best. And best looks worse.

A friend said recently of the human condition: We are a piece of work! I couldn't agree more.
I am a piece of work, caught often between good and best. Needing to choose. And it can be very hard.

What do you do when you are wedged in that space between 'good' and 'best'? 

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Friday, October 12, 2012

eyes wide open: heating pads, adult diapers and chai {day 12}

Remember, I said I hurt my back? 

This morning I move slowly between chiropractor and Walgreen's. I need to buy a heating pad. Have you ever been to Walgreen's in the heating pad aisle? In the same aisle there are snap-on plastic toilet seats, adult diapers and latex gloves. In this same aisle is Icy Hot, ace bandages and vomit/pee bags ew, didn't know those existed. Honestly, I got a little grossed out and depressed in this aisle.

Does God have a sense of humor or what? Showing me that this aisle at Walgreen's exists in the year before I turn 50? Not funny, God!

So, there are several heating pads to choose from. There is the basic 12 x 15 one for $17.99 with the ugly baby blue cover. Then, the 12 x 15 one with maroon velour cover. Then $41.99. You know what? I usually go cheap, but not today, I say!! I'm getting the the $41.99 one that self-inflates to fit the lumbar section of my back. It inflates to fit me personally. I deserve that, I say. 

After the heating pad aisle at Walgreen's I tell myself I deserve a venti non-fat chai tea latte for my trauma, so I drive over to the Starbucks inside my grocery store. 

I am conscious of how I am pushing back feelings of impatience to wait for a couple of elderly people and about five other people to cross the cross walk in front of my van at the store. I'm thinking about the irony of the aisle I've just been in. (No irreverence intended for the elderly, just irony.) I tell myself to just chill and be patient for everyone to pass in front of me on this gorgeous day.

I park and amble my way in for my drink. I thank God that even though I'm moving slow, it's sunny and I can walk and the lady making my chai is smiling. And, it's Friday.

Happy Friday, friends!

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Thursday, October 11, 2012

eyes wide open: taking the scenic road {day 11}

I had this awesome idea today for a post. I drive to the town where all three of my kids are in college and my husband works. Thirty miles away for lunch with my middle son and my husband. I get this great idea to blog about "taking the scenic road home.

See, I usually take the interstate for the thirty or so miles it takes to get there and home. But, there is a more direct way. It is a two lane highway. Instead of seventy miles per hour, the speed limit is fifty-five. So, it's slower. Well, at least it seems slower.

I make kind of a split second decision right before I get to the entrance ramp to the interstate. I think I'll take the highway. I'll bet it will be really scenic. I don't have to get home in a hurry. I'll take my time and enjoy the view.

And, you know what? The views were wonderful. My pace was relaxed. So relaxed that the guy behind me was so close to my bumper that I couldn't see his headlights in my rear view mirror. I thought, I'm probably ticking him off. So, I instantaneously speed up to sixty. I worry so much about what other people think. Even strangers. Kind of ridiculous.

I get out my smart phone and I find the camera app. I think, I'll take some pics all along this highway and make a post about the scenic road home. The pics will add so much. They will be so good.

But, alas, my phone software and my computer software decided not to get along tonight. The really neat photos of my "scenic road home" are stuck on my phone. 

So. You'll have to just imagine it with me. Two-lane highway. Sunny. Trees of gold, green, orange. Scant traffic except for the guy on my bumper that won't pass me. Wispy clouds. Silence. I decide I want to just take in the beauty of the drive with no music 
It was peaceful. It was beautiful. It was relaxing. No tearing down the interstate at seventy with cars passing me on the left. Just leisure.

How often do I take the scenic route in life and not worry about "getting there"? Usually I am running behind, so the scenic route is not an option. I'm thankful today, though, that I took the s-l-o-w route. The relaxed pace. Taking in God's. Fall. Beauty.

Let me know in the comments if you've ever taken the scenic road, just because. And how you felt. I'd love to hear from you!

Vowing to take the scenic road more often.

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

eyes wide open: how I became my own best friend {day 10}

I write letters to myself.  (see Letter to Teenage Me post)

I learned how valuable this tool can be in a class I took about eleven years ago called Christ Life Solutions (now called The Ultimate Journey). The idea is to become an ally (or friend) to the child you used to be, or the adult you are now. 

You can write to yourself about a current situation you are facing. Maybe you are so angry at someone that you just don't know how to proceed in the relationship. Writing a letter to yourself can give clarity that sometimes just plain journal keeping cannot. It can really help you see the situation differently.

I have written many, many letters to myself. You know, for the times when I just can't get my mind and emotions around something that happened to me. Or there's something that someone did to me, and I want and need to forgive them but can't for the life of me see how that could ever happen. Sometimes my emotions are too much in the way of making a good decision in a situation. Writing a letter to myself in those times has been so very, very healing.

What matters is that you tell yourself what a wise and awesome person you are. (smile) You affirm yourself about what you know in your heart the truth is about yourself and the situation you're facing, even if your emotions don't want to let you in on the truth.

When I was a young girl between the ages of about six and ten, I was pretty pudgy. I didn't feel good about myself at all. For some reason, I had a pink dress that had an elephant shaped belt buckle on it! Now, I ask you, who in their right mind would design such a thing for a young girl's dress? It is beyond me! Seems to me, that is a set up for getting teased. And, it was. And, it was hurtful. I am 49 and I still remember it and it did some damage to my young emotions.

 I still struggle with body image. But, I've learned a thing or two over the years. I've learned to affirm my younger self, instead of despise myself. 

I found this picture of myself with the elephant belt buckle on it a few days ago. I think nine year old Anne still needs to hear from me about this. She needs to know that she's precious. That God loves her and values her no matter what people say about her or her dress. She'll be getting a letter from me soon.

see day 1 for a list of all 31 posts

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

eyes wide open: everyday grace {day 9}

I shouldn't be floored when this happens. But I am.

I go to my scheduled appointment with my Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and he is kind. He smiles. He gives me the thumbs up that my sinus infection is no more. But, mostly he is kind.

I go to my scheduled chiropractic appointment. You know, for the low back that I strained doing yoga. And, my chiropractor is kind. He says to me "ahh, you brought the rain with you today, huh?" But, he's really joking, he says, because we need the rain. 

I go to an unplanned physical therapy appointment. You know, for the low back. She's right next to the ENT, so I stop in just in case there is an opening in her busy schedule. There is. She is kind. She checks my mobility. Gives me some muscle treatments. Gives me some exercises. She tells me her name is Jaime. She is kind

I do not take these kindnesses for granted. They aren't a given. I have had days where the folks I speak with in my daily affairs are not kind. That tends to stick with me in the wrong way. I have a hard time not letting the not nice people get under my skin. 

But, today, I relish in the kindnesses of the people that God has put in my life to help me. I think about that once in awhile. Everything I need, He provides. I need an ENT? I've got one. I need a chiropractor? I have a very kind one. I need a physical therapist? She happens to have a cancellation and I get right in.

These are not coincidences. These are graces from a very good God that promises to provide everything I will ever need. Thank you, God.

"And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

Monday, October 8, 2012

eyes wide open: breathing lessons {day 8}

"One of the greatest of spiritual attainments is the capacity to do nothing."
~Dallas Willard

For most of my life, I have been breathing wrong.

In a class I'm taking at church, the leader is spending some time talking to us about slowing down. Taking time to be alone with Jesus. Just sitting. And breathing. Breathe in, breathe out. Not shallow breaths, but breaths that come from the belly. I have a history of not doing this well. I have a history of breathing shallow breaths. Not using my lungs' full capacity. Deep belly breathing is the healthiest way to breathe and relieves anxiety and counteracts the stress response. I so desperately need this.

I thought I would share our daily homework.

  • Find a special quiet place in your home where you can meet with God (bring a notebook to jot down things that your mind won't let go of--like feeding the cat, folding a load of laundry, etc.--so your mind can be still)

  • Silence and Solitude--15 minutes a day

During silence and solitude we are to spend:
  1. Five minutes of palms down meditation (with palms down on your lap, the idea is to lay everything at Jesus' feet. Empty yourself of all cares and concerns.)
  2. Five minutes of silence. (don't do anything)
  3. Five minutes of palms up meditation, receiving the Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,  goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

I've been in the class for about 4 weeks. I have done this whole sequence only two days. I am used to spending time in solitude with God. But, this structured way of quieting my mind and breath is a new one for me. I did it this morning. I'm finding that it takes discipline to quiet my mind.

I need this. My body and mind need this. I'm going to keep practicing. I'm going to learn to breathe right. Even if it is hard.  

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