Tag Archives: attitude

Fruity

Almost as soon as I rose, I was a mess. My bandage was stuck to my pillow case, not my forehead and my neck hurt from sleeping on my other side. I almost always begin my day by saying aloud, “Hey, thanks, God!” But instead I was all, “waa, waa, waa…”

Clearly I needed caffeine – and prayer.

Priming the pump, I thanked God for every little thing I could see. Soon that became a stream of praise. My physical pains dissipated into oblivion, and before long God and I shared a good laugh. Yeah, at my expense. Yet again.

Today’s confession: As I brewed a pot and got my prayer journal, my feelings made me miserable. The pain, the dread, the fear, would it ever end??? I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was as if a cloud of dissatisfaction blocked any light into my soul. I didn’t recognize the scary, haggard old woman watching me from the hat rack mirror by the door. And I didn’t care if she saw me.

So, what’s funny is I’d been writing about the fruit in our lives. And suddenly that morning I could see where a few of my apples had fallen and become wormy.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22, 23 (NLT)

I often wonder if the average person goes on this insane roller-coaster ride – or as frequently. Those of you that do can commiserate with me for a moment and then feel free to snicker or laugh out-right. It’s as if we don’t know from experience what we’re like when we’re tired, wrung dry, trying to live wholly holy without sufficient Holy Spirit time.

I can see it in the mirror when I need some one-on-one time with God. Those worry lines, the furrowed brow, shoulders sloping and neck bent… Not flattering, impressive or the image of a victor!

Laugh lines are so much better. So God and I laugh at me – a lot more than I like to admit. But as I learn to laugh at myself more, take myself less seriously, I also learn to forgive myself for not being perfect. Despite a rough beginning, thanks to God I’m quite content to be good today.

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:43-45 (NLT)

8 Comments

Filed under A Door Ajar

Wrestling

I’m new at farm and ranch life, so I’m learning a lot. Much of the new lessons provide great insights to everyday life.

  • As entertaining as they are, chickens are silly, entertaining creatures, but they eat weeds, bugs and provide good protein food.
  • Smelly as cattle can be, among the other benefits that will come later on, they now provide excellent fertilizer.
  • The mare was trained for herding cattle. Even without a saddle, bridle or a rider, when she sees me carrying a rope toward the pasture, she brings the cattle in. I especially appreciate her late in the day when I’m tired.
  • And did you know cows rub against anything that stands still – especially the ever-available sprinkler heads? Unless I want to toss hay, checking for broken heads is kind of big deal.

Brother and company back in the day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are no pigs on this ranch. Aside from seeing them at the county fair and driving through pig farm country on a humid afternoon, I’ve never been around pigs. But I’ve learned some about them from Brother. He raised and showed them in his youth. He knows about pigs.

Recently, as Brother mulled aloud his concern for an anonymous friend that’s going through a wringer in a romantic relationship, my mind kept returning to something I heard some years back.

“I learned long ago to never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”  George Bernard Shaw

After assuring him he told me that, he stared at me blankly for several moments. Once the point set he said, “Yep.”

Today I overslept. After coffee I quickly began scrambling to catch up with the day. Out of nowhere I remembered where that conversation with Brother went;

“If you don’t mind the slime and the smell you can go wrestle that pig. It’s a workout. But when you realize you’re not getting what you want, you get outta the pen.”

Sometimes life not going the way I expected weighs on me;

  • not seeing my offspring, my sisters and old friends feels lonely sometimes,
  • having to wait on the order of projects to finish settling in to my cottage,
  • not having the funds for things like a new mattress and a good storm door (without running up debt).

I wish I could honestly say I always keep a firm grip on reality, my expectations are consistently reasonable, I’m constantly in balance, and that I don’t worry. But like Brother’s friend, I waste a lot of time, do myself discredit by fussing and fretting about things I can’t control.

It’s all good. My new experiences and some old lessons are setting up well. Aside from recognizing when the water troughs need a power spray, I hardly notice pasture smells anymore. I’ve been close enough to pig farms and other people’s squabbles I know to keep my distance. And when prayer and quiet time with Father God remains my first priority, I can enjoy life so much more:

 

  • Gazing at the stars after a hard day’s work, enjoying the fragrance of petunias and sweet alyssum,
  • Brother’s company,
  • a relaxing walk with the mare,
  • clucking around with the chickens,

And I lose weight without wrestling pigs.

“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.” Philippians 4:6, 7 (NLT)

9 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

Changing Things Up

 

20170110_100153

This morning started out amazing.

First, I slept. Yay! Then I woke up feeling exceptionally happy for no apparent reason.

With my next heartbeat I felt extraordinary gratitude. Rather than bolting out of the bed to check the wood stove, I pulled the goose down comforter over my shoulders. Annnd that familiar pain shot through my arms.

I didn’t care. I snuggled in and had a long talk with God.

I started by thanking Him, beginning with the obvious blessings in my life: good health, comfortable bed, a warm home, firewood, a variety of food…

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.” *

Soon I asked for specific blessings for my family, friends and essentially everyone I know. Before long I was back to telling God how great I think He is, how good it is to know Him.

I gotta tell all y’alls, this scenario is rare. I typically begin my days with prayer and thanksgiving for my life – from my desk or armchair with a Bible, a freshly brewed latte or mug of tea, a good fire crackling in the stove…

Me lingering in bed rarely happens. During this exceptionally harsh winter my morning dialogues have started with “Thank You, Jesus. Now, please help me,” just to get out of bed – and then I hit the floor running. Today without thinking or planning I changed things up a little.

img_1828

What’s more, I think I’m better for… Wow. Sunshine!

And good just keeps on coming.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38 (NLT)

*Psalm 100:4  (NLT)

8 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

Run – Bliends

My marvelous friend and Sister, Jacqueline shared the joy of achieving a yellow belt in Karate-Do recently. Her recap of the story reminded me why I run.

Honestly, I’m not fast or graceful. Imagine Phoebe Buffay, only wrinkly, silver-haired in cut offs, tank top, loud electric blue Sketchers running shoes; that would be me:

In my quiet time today, before I checked my inbox, among the many other things clamoring around in my head I’d been thinking about the circumstances at home; Erin and I are as similar as a desert and an iceberg: a devout liberal and a hard-core libertarian. Comical. Right?

Arriving here this past April, the work necessary to fit me into the property seemed to loom above us like a tidal wave. We’ve made progress in our relationship, but the property is another story. Sometimes I feel like we’re trying to turn the Titanic on a dime!

Challenges trip me up daily – hourly stirring the longing for order and my usual routines.

Determined, I reflected on Paul’s words in today’s study of Galatians’ second chapter:

“I went there because God revealed to me that I should go…  I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing.”[1]

I’m not a missionary like Paul in the traditional sense, but if I’m not reflecting the love of Jesus, I’m wasting my time and energy.

I’m not fast nor graceful. Uncomfortable in public, finding a smooth pace is sometimes laborious. Occasionally, I feel embarrassed as youngsters whiz past me, chuckling out, “on your left…”

I’m sure Erin and the cats sometimes see me as an alien. I don’t expect them to understand my need for an allergen-free environment. They don’t feel my constantly congested sinuses and the pounding inside my head as I grope around the kitchen for food, tea, coffee, etc. or my need for order and routine.

As I read on, the study led me to Hebrews (again with the running);

“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.”[2]

Sin can be an attitude. I can only imagine the so-called Entitled Generations[3] miss the joy of serving others. I too must constantly be on guard against negative attitudes that can so easily overshadow my purpose here, love for my crazy family, my friends and gratitude.

Eyes on the goal, I’ll keep heading toward the finish line. Love endures.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.” 1 Corinthians 13:4

 

Friends episode clip courtesy of YouTube

[1] Galatians 2:2 (NLT)

[2] Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

[3] I notice the entitled mentality, a habitual behavior, is not exclusive to Millennials. Members of several current generations tend to behave as though they are more entitled, spoiled, and essentially self-serving.

 

6 Comments

Filed under A Door Ajar

How to be Happy – Reblog

I hope What’s Next readers enjoy this delightful reblog by my blogosphere buddy Mitch Teemley:

being happy

How to be Happy

My holiday comedy sketch The Thanksgiving Fairy features Rick and Toodie, a married couple who are having one of those “nothing-to-be-thankful-for” days. Ever had one of those?

The setting is a laundromat:

To read more see the original post at Mitch Teemley’s blog, The Power of Story

Leave a comment

Filed under Notes from the Apex

More Change – Part II

Hopefully you’re feeling more tranquil and assured having read Change is Inevitable; Attitude is Everything; and you’re ready for more.

Here’s the Part Two installment of Michelle Malone‘s Series:

Source: Change is Inevitable; Forgive and Remember

“No matter how formidable our life’s challenges become, there’s always hope for a better tomorrow. The Lord our God is always with us, and he is mighty to save. There’s no other help I know. Because I’ve gotten to know him a lot better in recent years, things that seemed hopeless and incapable of being resurrected a few short years ago are now alive and thriving thanks in part to God’s subtle, repetitive suggestions that I surrender a few things to him because my mortal power couldn’t fuel the necessary changes that I could only hope for. He took seemingly simple situations to teach me how to forgive and remember rather than forgive and forget.

In my mind, I thought I had mastered forgiveness. I figured if I uttered those words and meant them, then I had offered forgiveness to those I felt had hurt or offended me. Little by little, God showed me that I didn’t yet have the strength to forgive completely.  I was clueless.  I always held onto a sliver of hope that I’d find closure — that my offenders would come to their senses and apologize or beg for my forgiveness.  I know it’s silly to think that anyone would go to that extreme except in movies. What God revealed to me is that his hand is in all things — the offense as well as forgiveness.”

Happy Reading!

Source: Michelle Malone, Two are Better Than One – Partner Up; The Malone Zone

 

1 Comment

Filed under A Door Ajar

More Change is Inevitable

Typically I like to post on Tuesdays and Fridays. It’s been working for me, however this week is a challenge.

I’ll be hanging in the air most of tomorrow with lots of running around and catching up when I land. Because of the most recent changes in my part of the world, I especially appreciate Michelle Malone’s wonderful series recently published on Two is Better Than One – The Malone Zone. Michelle’s slant on how we manage change has encouraged and empowered me throughout this particularly challenging week. Iron sharpens iron, so I’m passing these excellent posts on to those who haven’t yet discovered the deep wisdom Michelle offers.

michelle malone

Source: Change is Inevitable; Attitude is Everything

…The best part of all this is realizing that my whole attitude has changed.  A few years ago, all of this upheaval so early in the morning would’ve had me frazzled. Though on the outside, I may have appeared unflappable, that wouldn’t have been the case in my mind. Today, very little can jolt me. I don’t worry about my job, finances, others’ perception of me, or anything that is beyond my control. My job is just that — a means to earn money to take care of my family. My finances are adequate and fueled by the revenue I take home as well as how I manage it. Others’ comments about me — whether negative or untrue, are not my business. All I need to be concerned with are things that are in my purview.”

“Philippians 4:6 reminds me not to worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.”

Read the entire article at The Malone Zone

 

“The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.” Proverbs 11:30 (NLT)

2 Comments

Filed under The World According to Roo

Reblog: Not Today, Satan

Some day I won’t say, “Been there, done that.” However today I’m in good company with Michelle.

Mid-Week Motivation

Some days we wake up energized with a song in our hearts ready to take on the world.  Other days we wake up grumpy and focused on the dark cloud looming above us rather than its silver lining.

Ever stub your toe first thing in the morning and greet the day with a few expletives or euphemisms for expletives? Run into your ex and his  perfect, new girlfriend at church? Drop a ring down the garbage disposal that you borrowed from a friend?  What about getting up on the wrong side of the bed?   Perhaps it’s 12° outside, your gas tank is running on fumes, and you left your wallet at home. Yeah, that was my reality this morning. To all those things, let’s just say “Not today, Satan!”

Source: Not Today, Satan

5 Comments

Filed under A Door Ajar

Life On A Need To See Basis: I’m Emily Litella’s Kid Sister!

I enjoyed exceptionally good vision most of my life. I could clearly see things both up close and at great distances that most people only imagined. Those that spent any time with me quickly understood I had Superman vision – without that x-ray thing.

Perhaps that’s yet another aspect of how I find the aging process so entertaining. Honestly, while failing vision disturbs some, and others have lavish budgets (or excellent private insurance) that pay for corrective surgery, this humble starving artist gets through the present with humor.

Today for example was my one and only foray outside the walls of our home for the week. To most readers that sounds a little sad and unimaginable to some, but this is me today. I was so happy about getting out and about I somehow forgot to take eyeglasses with me. Granted, I have backup readers tucked away in my purse – too much to dig out when I can get some kind stranger nearby to read small print for me – yeah, I go there.

So, driving northbound on 380 I noticed the electronic marquee over the HOV lane, advising drivers that use of the HOV lane will cost $8.25. My first thought was “That seems exorbitant,” followed by, “Mercy, are tolls in Texas that expensive?” And finally, “I wonder if there’s a ceiling on tolls.”

Before I could bring the subject up with Roan, who was driving (in her usual, get-outta-my-way-so-I-get-there-without-bloodshed style), we were close enough for me to see the sign correctly, and discover it actually read HOV Lane $3.25. I laughed out loud. Roan asked, “What?” My response, in true Emily Litella fashion, “Never Mind.”

Roan didn’t get it.

A little further on as traffic slowed, my heart rate quickened as I watched a hawk approaching above us. The amazing bird seemed to be holding in its talons what I imagined was prey… Then it appeared to be leather straps – hmmm… maybe it’s a domesticated hawk. Oh. It’s actually a heron. How lovely.

Classic SNL clip of Gilda Radner as Emily Litella and Chevy Chase

But I came upon my favorite illustration of this subject on the return drive home. Back on the highway, barely moving along, I noticed nice, enormous blue letters across the face of a large building proudly advertising Physicians Open Stand-Up MRI. At that point we were stuck in traffic with that particular scenery. That’s when I noticed what looked like a drive-through alongside the building. I’ll admit it, one of my many next thoughts was how technology has advanced! Imagine taking an MRI in a drive through!

Of course I took a photo.

MRI Drivethru

Only now that I see it was actually private, covered employee parking, I confess that I couldn’t get my head around the idea of a drive thru MRI. Not really!

So now I’m home, the groceries put away, I’m considering what to post about today. But instead I can’t help but wonder if my grandparents appreciated Gilda Radner’s Emily as much as I continue to do, or if they took more of a Jane Curtin response to her. I think I’m in good shape since I still clearly envision them all today!

I love you forever, Gilda!

Leave a comment

Filed under Notes from the Apex