Another Favorite Day

Dear Diane just reminded me today is another of my favorite days of the year.

February 15: Valentine chocolates go on sale!

I’m kidding. Sort of. I began an intense diet the first week of December 2018. I’m not impressed with the weight loss so far, but I feel remarkably better (despite life’s bumps and bruises). So, it’s not another epic fail.

I get lots of practice failing. Okay, maybe not exactly failing, but I’m well experienced in unexpected outcomes. Too bad that doesn’t sound as impressive on a resume.

Today let’s stick with diet and exercise. I’ve tried lots of ways to lose excess weight – not all were healthy and some made me feel awful. But with help from good friends like David at Chape Fitness I’ve condensed them all to a simple plan.

Ready?

Here goes:

Burn what you eat.

Okay, we can’t blame that on David (mea culpa, Bro). My weight has raised and lowered my whole life, so empirically, it’s not quite that simple. Last year I again found more extra pounds than I want to admit. Despite running myself ragged all summer and feasting mostly upon the super-sized vegetable garden, as the holidays approached I hadn’t shed the smallest fraction.

I had however, let slip the practice of doing nothing else but eat during meals. I’d also stopped paying attention to the combinations of what I ate as well as the times I ate. What’s more, I lost sight of why my diet is important to me – loving myself slid way down the priority ladder as well. These small details, left unchecked can combine to become a big problem.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I can fumble likewise in my relationship with God. I’ll put off my devotion time for any number of logical reasons, like:

  • to take advantage of the sunlight hours,
  • to get a head start on tasks, or
  • do my shopping while sane people sleep in,

Seems smart. Right? Yeah, but before I know it, days passed and my soul and spirit were dry. I never got around to what’s actually most important. The evidence was unmistakable. Instead of contentment I soon found myself:

  • Jumping to conclusions,
  • Flying off the handle, and
  • Definitely pushing my luck.

These are far from the best workouts. Fortunately my brakes still work well.

I’m still learning to simply slow down a bit, strategize my meals and activities, pray more and stress less.  As I do I not only feel better, but once I shed this extra weight I’ll be able to enjoy some of the little things in life more without blowing up my long-term goals.

Chocolate freezes. Right?

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”

Romans 12:1 (NLT)

 

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On Love

valentine-heart-5992x2227_22848

 

I believe in living by example; doing everything in such a way that what I believe is clear to all. Even when people misconstrue or they just don’t get it, God does.

I believe Jesus said it best:

“So now I am giving you a new commandment. Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34 (NLT)

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Blessed Variety

The warm weather gave in to more normal winter weather for us this week.

On Wednesday:

On Friday:

 

 

Frolicking in snow is pure joy for GoodGirl. ChihuahuaTwo however is not the least bit amused.

 

I adore variety.

Count your blessings, friends!

 

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)

 

 

 

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Wait… Reblog

It’s so good to know it wasn’t merely a mood swing. I felt it too:

Reblogged from Stuart M. Perkins, the Storyshucker ( https://wp.me/s3EzSK-wait ):

Wait…

I’m watching from my window today.

For a few minutes more, at least. Saturday errands call, but right now the view into the garden has my willpower paralyzed. Soothed by the peaceful nothingness happening out there, I stare blissfully through the glass a little longer.

Oh well. I need to start those errands. Yawn, stretch, and one last glance outside before I begin. I stand up.

Wait… I sit back down.

There’s a bird. A little yellow bird. He flits and darts to the top of a frost-covered evergreen. Stops, hops, poses, and drops to another branch to repeat his mesmerizing moves. He struts and prances along several branches then flies away in a blur. Gone. How lucky I was to have shared that moment!

It doesn’t matter.

I have to get the car inspected. It’s too important not to. I stand up.

Wait… I sit back down.

Those leaves. Those five little leaves left clinging to a twig on the winter-bare crepe myrtle. They were yellow a second ago. Wow look! In one fluid move they drift from yellow to gold to fiery orange as a shifting morning sun illuminates them from behind. Amazing to have seen that magic display!

It doesn’t matter.

I have to get to the post office. It’s too important not to. I stand up.

These errands and many others! Now I have to hurry! So much to do today! Urgent rushing and running!

Wait…

Just wait. Maybe I’ll get the car inspected tomorrow. And the bank is open next week. What’s one more day for a few insipid tasks?

How often does a yellow bird dance in the trees for me while the sun turns tiny leaves into fire? Moments like these happen every day, but I won’t see if I don’t watch.

I really should watch. It’s too important not to. I sit back down.

Saturday errands call but I know what they can do.

Wait…

I’m watching from my window today.

By Stuart M. Perkins, Storyshucker

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”

Psalm 62:5 (ESV)

 

Feature Image courtesy Pixabay

 

 

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Fire and Ice

The morning after our first snowstorm I drew back the drape from the small window that faces the east. Immediately I recoiled from the startling cold. Condensation had formed and frozen between the screen and the pane. A heartbeat later I was mesmerized by the kaleidoscope images from the rising sun.

Feeling the chill against my face and the heat from the stove at my back, the world is a marvelous place.

  

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.”

Psalm 19:1 (NLT)

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Feel Warmer Yet?

We interrupt this cold spell to remind you summer will be here before you know it.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.”

Romans 8:18 (NLT)

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Splash Down Time

Recently on Facebook:

Don’t ask me how we managed our lives without our cellular devices – not only the phone, the constant contact with the people involved in our day-to-day lives, but the apps that have replaced calendars, watches, cameras, alarm clocks, news radio, books and the fun of doing simple math. I’m guilty. The frequency with which I use my phone astounds me.

I relish the times when I’m in town and my phone runs at cyber-speed (as compared to the unreliable signal at home).  The phone connects me to my shopping list, coupons, product reviews as well as social media to research things that might streamline life… As if we aren’t already going fast enough, doing enough, cramming more and more into each hour of every day.

So, after my phone clanked off the porcelain and thudded onto the rug for the third time today I, well, gasped – again.

And then I stopped.

I realized I’d been inundated with tasks and going too fast for too long. So fast I’d overlooked removing the phone from my back pocket before stopping for a moment in the bathroom. Again. We’re talking about the phone I cannot afford to replace (even with insurance). At one time putting the phone on the counter was as instinctive as washing hands before leaving the room.

Every aspect of my life is moving at cyber-speed. As I checked off the To-Do list in my mind, I realized I could hear my pulse in my head.

Enough.

*

I must lower my blood pressure, breathe more intentionally, recover my spontaneity and channel my endorphins toward an exotic retreat. I’m thankful I didn’t miss anything important as I charged ahead, leaving God in the dust. I don’t need to deep clean (again) before spring arrives, I don’t want any more stuff to fill my space and my arm is healing as expected. And yet I race around as if time is running out.

Silly human. God’s got this.

Today I gave myself the day off. Not for any particular occasion or event, but because I need to intentionally slow down and hang out with the best friend ever – the Holy Spirit.

I might do it again tomorrow.

I want God to run my life instead of life running me.

I’ll text you how we’re doing tomorrow in a few days.

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”

Proverbs 21:5 (NLT)

 

*Image courtesy Jennifer Caravalho via Unsplash

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Winter Waning

*

With much of the country covered in snow and ice I can’t complain about our mild winter. Still, appreciating the shorter days continues to be a challenge.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” — Anne Bradstreet

“To shorten winter, borrow some money due in spring.” —  W.J. Vogel

“The problem with winter sports is that–follow me closely here–they generally take place in winter.” — Dave Barry

“I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream… I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.” — Mark Twain

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently?” — Lewis Carroll

“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” — Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Sunshine cannot bleach the snow, nor time unmake what poets know.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’”

Job 37: 5, 6 (NIV)

 

*Image courtesy John L. Green, Jr.

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Trust

As winter drags on:

 

Image (c) 2018 RapturePractice! Publications

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Reality Still

Shadow MLK
*

I’m not always the brightest bulb on the string. Sometimes I grope and grovel around to realize I must tighten my seat in the socket.

I occasionally misjudge – especially myself. Okay, I do that a lot, and can make myself fairly miserable in the process. Still working on NOT overthinking. My problem today is, again, fear – seeming like cowardice.

The latest shocker:

Meekness, non-violence is still often mistaken for weakness or cowardice. I recently confirmed this after yet another harsh self-judgement.

Digging into it I found the source of this particular fear; shame. I am sometimes ashamed for having occasionally responded to bullies and abusers ferociously.

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.“*1

Today me having to continuously confront my potential for violence may surprise some. It’s true. Preferring to avoid confrontations developed from those fears.

Constantly developing my trust in God helps me overcome that reality as I practice the way of the cross – strength through nonviolence.

Horrifying world events, and like many others, being “one paycheck away from becoming homeless,” I too could be steps away from crossing the line into madness, committing atrocities, and make deadly mistakes. Daily I must carefully consider and choose my way.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” *2

That’s my reality today. More than ever before I thank God, the Source of strength I easily take for granted.

Gandhi strong

**

I can live with appearing cowardly. Being slower than many people I admire is okay. Sure, to be a great thinker of stuff like many of my friends would be wonderful. I’m not. But I’m not alone either. God uses flawed humans, our friends, our heroes to shine into our lives. So once in a while, I have bright moments too. We are continuously faced with choices. Today I choose to make friends with my fear.

lincoln enemy friend

Practice makes perfect.

 

Reblogged (edited) from What Next 2016/07/21

*1 Romans 8:1 (NLT)

*2 Philippians 4:6,7 (NLT)

Images courtesy *FreeNeoWallpapers **Gandhi and Lincoln Images courtesy

 

 

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