Who Makes It Happen

I saw the dilapidated gun cabinet for sale on a local facebook buy/sell site.  Almost immediately I "saw" a possibility.  I posted the process of its transformation on my Thrifty Style blog.  In the process of composing that post, I realized it was not what I saw, but who made it happen that was important.

Immediately, I saw another Life Lesson!  Maybe you can see it, too...

God began doing a good work in you, and I am ·sure [confident; persuaded] he will continue it until it is ·finished [completed; perfected] ·when Jesus Christ comes again [on the day of Christ Jesus; the final day of judgment and reward]  Philippians 1:6 

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, 
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2:10

It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. 
What's important is that God makes the seed grow.  I Corinthians 3:7

It wasn't about what I saw, but who made it happen.
It's NOT about what I see, but WHO makes it happen!

Mid-August Reading

 After reading the light and totally delightful Unusual Uses for Olive Oil
by Alexander McCall Smith last week, I began another piece of light fiction that had been recommended on another blog.  It failed to "hold" me.
So after giving it what I thought to be a fair try, I decided to close it up and move on.
(Do YOU ever do that?)
I picked up a small paperback I had purchased at a thrift store some time ago.
I began by reading it aloud to my husband as we traveled yesterday.
It challenges my eyesight with its small print;
heightens my curiosity about that period in history;
brings tears to my eyes;
inspires me...
I read it with pen in hand.
I wonder if this will be one of the very few books I reread periodically?

"...the man and the hour were matched." 
My prayer:  "Father, match ME to the hour!"

Update:  Curiosity set in.  I googled to find out some information re. his family life
and became a bit disenchanted.  Sigh.  I shall continue the book, however.

Lake Days

 It doesn't get much better than spending a couple of days at the lake
 with good friends,
 good food,
 leisurely walks,
 unscheduled time,
 silence except for cicada songs,
thoughtful conversations, board games, sleeping on the sunporch
and watching a storm blow in and cross the water.

A Thousand Candles

Life lessons abounded here yesterday (along with candles)! I approached Sorting Day 4 by gathering candles from their storage places throughout the house.Then I faced the daunting task of deciding which ones to keep, where to store them, which ones to throw away, which ones to give away and how to actually get rid of them. All the while, I was thinking of life lessons from this semi-embarrassing experience of acknowledging and correcting some less-than-admirable personal traits.

I guess the primary lesson came from the Bible verse I've known for a long time:   Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  (Hebrews 12:1).  Clearly candles aren't a sin in themselves,  but the thoughtless accumulation of them MAY be.  They definitely are a "weight".  They (and other such accumulations) distract  me, and it was PAST time to eliminate them.

I threw away stubs and crooked ones.   I sorted by color and decided to keep red, white and blue ones - not so much a patriotic decision, but those were colors I actually may use.  I advertised the rest as being free to anyone who would come pick them up.  I already have a taker!  She is going to give them to her father who makes fire starters from them.


I am SO over candles! 

Free Verse

 There is a grief that begins imperceptibly
and builds so slowly it could easily be ignored
were it not for occasional 
unpredictable and uncontrollable breakouts.
Such grief as this extends long, expands widely,
and anticipates an end where other griefs begin.
rlg, 8/13/2015

Yes, I am grieving.  It doesn't matter grief's source.  Grief is grief, I believe, though its types may vary.  Today, sitting by her bed, I tried to describe mine.  On paper.  This (above) is the best I can do for now.

"Sorrow and grief drive you into God 
and show you resources you never had and never knew you needed." 
 (Tim Keller, Twitter)

Journaling Still

 Nearing the last pages of my old, red journal, I seized the occasion of my husband's retirement
to transition to a new, black one.  About the same time, I read an inspiring  post by Alicia Britt Chole
that gave me fresh perspective on the journaling process.  I especially was interested in the various motivations for writing that she listed.  I believe at some time or another throughout my journaling practice I've written for every one of them!
I recently pulled a book off my bookshelf to reread. 
 Bits and pieces of it will be incorporated into my current writing.
I've posted before about my journals.  You could refer to them via the label list in my sidebar.
Truthfully, I don't have a lot of original or new habits to share.
I simply recommend the practice for any and all the reasons Alicia cites in her post.
Do YOU journal?  And, if so, what is your current motivation?

First Things First

I've enjoyed my husband's recent retirement.
I've viewed it (and used it) as a "new start" for myself.
So far, I've taken on and completed three sorting projects which I've chronicled
in more detail on my thriftystyleatsixty(six) blog.
The third project resulted in finding this long-forgotten jigsaw puzzle. 
I emptied the contents of the plastic bag it was in onto our dining room table.
I'm curious to know if all the pieces are here since it clearly was purchased used.
We've spent random minutes there the past two or three days.
Ordinarily, our approach is to piece together the border first.
In this case, that seemed impossible.  Most of the pieces were dark.  Very dark.
Almost indistinguishable from one another.
This morning I was struck by what WAS possible and my spirit was instructed.
First things first.
And when all else is dark and difficult to piece together......

 What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. (Hebrews 2:9-10, New Living Translation)

By the way, does anyone know the name of this painting or the artist?
And am I wrong in thinking this is the Christ Child?
Update:  A facebook friend informed me - Adoration of the Baby by Gerrit van Honthorst.

Retirement is Beautiful

 Today it felt like I imagined retirement might feel!
 My husband golfed all morning.
I spent the time sorting through WAY TOO MUCH jewelry!
It felt good to untangle chains, pair up earrings, and bag up a bunch to give/throw away.
 It also felt good to pick up my computer from the shop
(the second time)
and find it working!
 Late this afternoon, we headed to Fort Wayne to stroll around the Extension Gardens.
 These are the sights we saw!
 Afterwards, on the way to Taco Bell, I realized it was Friday evening 
and I had not "worried" about selecting the songs for worship, what needed
to be included in the church bulletin, or many of the other details that used to occupy
my mind throughout the week as I worked alongside my pastor-husband.
 Overwhelmed with gratitude I am!
Retirement IS beautiful.

Whatever "Normal" Is

I've been gone.
A computer crash and my husband's final sermon & retirement celebration last week
were followed by a mini-vacation.
We crossed the Mississippi River
to gather with our three children and their families....
including our eleven grandchildren.
The time together was short,
but we packed in a visit to a great zoo (St. Louis) on a VERY hot day,
games (Bedtime Bingo, Bible Outburst, Racko),
and a lot of swimming.
My favorite photos?  These two....
Cousins' Connections
Zoo Wonders
I have my computer again, but everything needs to be reinstalled.
Few processes appear the same.
It might be awhile until I'm back to normal!
 (Whatever "normal" is.)

Hitting the Reset Button

One of several clocks around our house that need reset...
While visiting a blog that I frequently find interesting, I read the following:  In Japan, one’s lifetime is measured in 60-year cycles. When you reach the age of 60, you celebrate birth once more, returning to the world as a newborn baby.  Mikio Hasui says this year, when he turns 60, he will hit the reset button on life.

Somewhere along the line, I think I forgot to hit the reset button! (And where HAVE the last six-and-a-half years gone?!?)   So this morning when I read the following challenge from St. Alphonsus de Liguori, I decided to HIT it!

Let us make up for lost time.  Let us give to God the time that remains to us.

Perfect in Imperfection

While strolling through our yard, viewing the latest blooms (and weeds),
my husband took this photo.  
I couldn't get over the beauty in spite of the petals that had been broken off.
Perfect Imperfection is the title I gave it.
The next morning I traveled the familiar miles to visit my mother
in the Special Care Unit of a retirement community.
On the way, feeling a bit ordinary and wearing the "same old, same old",
I stopped at Dollar General to pick up some shaving gel for my husband. 
The young clerk complimented me on my outfit!
Later, while sitting at the dinner table with Mother, 
one of the residents at another table stared at me and said,
"What a beautiful color of green!"  (My shirt)
Not too much later, one of the nurses complimented me on my hair style.
Maybe the Lord knew I needed a "pick-me-up"!
Each comment made me feel special.
Three in a day added up to make me feel - well - "Perfect" in my Imperfections.
Lesson?  Never underestimate the power of a sincere compliment 
the Perfection of Imperfection!
 "So then, encourage one another and build each other up, as you are doing." 
I Thessalonians 5:11

Back and Forth

"Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company." (Lord Byron)
"Then letters came in but three times a week: indeed in some places in Scotland where I have have stayed when I was a girl, the post came in but once a month,--but letters were letters then; and we made great prizes of them, and read them and studied them like books.  Not the post comes rattling in twice a day, bringing short jerky notes, some without beginning or end, but just a little sharp sentence, which well-bred folks would think too abrupt to be spoken."   (Elizabeth Gaskel, My Lady Ludlow)
"I consider it a good rule for letter-writing to leave unmentioned what the recipient already knows, 
and instead tell him something new." (Sigmund Freud)
Frankie lives but a few miles up the road from me,
but her health and age limit her social life.
When I discovered this, I became more intentional about letter writing.
Back and forth; back and forth.
I'm not sure which one of us enjoys it more...
"A little groundhog came up the ramp to my door last week--
Guess he just wanted to say 'hello'--"
"To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart." (Phyllis Theroux)
"Hoping you's will have a nice July 4th.  I'll spend my 4th at home--"

“Becoming an effective letter writer means analyzing each situation individually and choosing the form of correspondence accordingly.”  (Scribendi, How to Write a Letter)

Hovering Here

White, billowing clouds
Hovering lazily
Without clue of origin
Or destination
Calm and majestic mystery
(rlg, 7/1/2015)

This is yesterday's sky over Fairlawn Haven Retirement Community (a fine-sounding name for nursing home/independent living/special care unit/rehab facility, etc.).  My mother and I spent an hour or so sitting under its canopy.  I am so "lost" in this week--have NO idea what day it is. I feel like one of these huge clouds that hovered lazily in the incredibly blue sky seeming to have come from nowhere and going nowhere. (Of course, I DO know where I came from and where I'm going.....just not where I "am" at the moment).  

Bent but not Broken

Bent but not broken
Fields of corn
Silently waiting the future
That only He knows. 

We looked out solemnly as our car passed miles and miles of fields on Sunday.
Saturday's storms (rain and wind) had clearly taken their toll.
The next morning, my pen met paper.  Once again words formed themselves.
When I laid down the pen, I reread what I'd written, 
I realized  these were more than words about fields of corn.
Meanwhile in our back yard, plants compete with weeds for space.
It's too wet to do anything about it. 
These are puzzling days.
Days for reflection.  Days for prayer.  Days for trusting.

This Morning

...outside our front door...
Rain falls.
Like tears from a broken heart.
(rlg, following SCOTUS decision 6/26/2015)
...a field of tears/one of many here in NE Indiana...

Why Not?

Why not?  This lamp shade was collecting dust inside the house.
I may center it on the stump and place the bird on the stump in the background,
but I think I'm going to leave the shade outside to add interest to the shade garden we're developing.
(I know I "stole" this idea from SOMEone.  Just can't remember who.)

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said:  'It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.'"  (Jim Jamusch)

In the end, "History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new."  (Ecclesiastes 1:9, New Living Translation, Bible)

Yes.  I like this better...

Three To-Dos

On what would have been travel-home day of my Gethsemani week (see previous post), 
my husband and I spent a couple of hours at Barnes and Noble. 
 I settled in with a stack of magazines, my journal and four-colored fine-tipped pen.  
I ended up taking a few photos which I've already posted on another blog
 and recorded three (yes, only three) "to-dos" in my journal.
Placing this bird on this stump was one of the three--
the only one accomplished so far.
In commenting on my prior post, Terra thanked me for my honesty about following
and not following my plan. To this I replied:
"Had I made no plans, I probably would have never lit a candle,
would have pigged out on sweets, prayed and journaled less than I did etc."
While I hope to get to the other two items I jotted down at Barnes and Noble,
I'm ahead of myself just by having accomplished ONE of the three!
At least that's the way I look at it.
Reminder to self:  Don't be discouraged by not accomplishing EVERYTHING on my lists.
Oh, and while I was out there placing the bird on the stump,
I pulled a bunch of weeds and called in the reinforcement (that would be my husband)
to cut off some branches that had been damaged by the storm the night before!
Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3

Writing a Song a Week #3

Writing a Song a Week #3
♪ I wait for the Lord; my soul waits and in his word I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning ♪ (Psalm 130:5-6)