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What Next #MyFirstPostRevisited

first post

In response to the challenge from dear Oneta Hayes at Sweet Aroma, I’m humbly sharing my debut post, the way I threw it out there over on September 11, 2014. I defer assigning anyone to do the same, but encourage all bloggers to consider taking a look back (Rules follow the repost). It’s actually fun (mostly) 😉 .

What’s Next

The world is changing. The changes didn’t start on 9/11/2001 yet that was a distinctive milestone.

Yet despite the many changes, some important things are the same as when I was a child – a very long time ago. I’m talking about what makes the world go ‘round; what makes us happy.

Above all the violence, tragedy and the madness, more than ever before I see people care about people. The technological advances in my lifespan alone, the blogosphere all have presented us with more opportunities, advantages that were unfathomable as I was growing up.

We have gone global. Our family, friends, and neighbors – our community has become immense.

Honestly, from my limited perspective life occasionally seems overwhelming; health issues, ecology, economy, strife… We all have dark days when the world feels hopeless. And yet the globe continues to turn, the sun keeps rising on a brand new day.

My dear, sage friend Zoe once said it best: “Every day, you walk out your door, really look around you and help the first person you see. Sometimes all it takes is a smile, say good morning or maybe help carry out the trash…

…The possibilities are endless and it all begins with simply getting out of our heads for a moment, pause, ask the simple, forgotten question, ‘Can I lend you a hand?’ You continue on your way, but you did something.”

Even when it feels like we’re at the end of our ropes, we can get radical and possibly change the course of a day, a life – the world. We start by simply responding to the question, What’s Next? What can I do to help, right where I am right now? I suggest we do the simplest next right thing.

 

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Jesus, The Bible (NLT), John 16:33

Source: What’s Next

Obvious rules:

  • No cheating. (It must be your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…first post only.)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).

Other rules:

  • Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine but NO editing.)
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  • Tag…um…tentwotwelve five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  • Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include “the rules” in your post.

 

 

 

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Keep Juggling

A long time ago in a place far away an exceptional human became my friend. Arlene Powers has an infectious passion for living. We met when she picked me from a temp pool to work for her team of professionals. Months later we moved into different departments and then eventually left the Company, but God had glued us together forever.

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I don’t recall why we both call each other Bert – it simply works for us. Though she never said it, I suspect Bert recognized I was not your average Accelerati Incredebilis when we met. Always strong, stable, and focused, one would never know she too was familiar with trauma.

I’m frequently thankful most people can’t see feelings and confusion, but Bert does. Pain doesn’t intimidate her, no siree.

Bert recognized the clown in me and patiently coaxed her out. Regardless of my issues, she loved and respected me even when doing so was challenging. In our professional circles our dings were our secret.

Clowning was different from other performing arts I’d ever done, demanding far more work and commitment than I ever imagined. Bert’s passion for it was infectious and I came to love it too.

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But not like Bert did. As she typically accomplishes everything she sets her mind to, she designed and hand crafted the most stunningly, beautiful costumes for herself, her daughter and other clowns. Each one unique with lots of hidden pockets and props, they were works of fine, living art. Bert took the art of clowning to a higher level, mastering the craft and then collaborating on books about clowning, costuming and ballooning.

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Fellow Clowns, audiences and charities throughout the Southwest enjoyed Arleenie Beenie’s talents for years.

With Bert’s coaching I went to clown camp, trained, developed and copyrighted my face and costume, created props, helped develop skits and routines, together, solo and with other clowns. Adding pantomime, juggling, face painting and balloon art, we were your basic, all-purpose clowns.

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Learning to juggle, focusing upon only one thing, was difficult for me. For weeks Bert taught and coached me along patiently, employing an allegory that became my mantra:

A man weighing 190 pounds had to cross a bridge carrying three five-pound boxes. The bridge could hold no more than 200 pounds.

How did the man get all the boxes across in only one trip?

The answer of course, he juggled them.

The bridge is life. The boxes are our struggles, emotions and griefs. The only way across the bridge is to juggle the boxes. We can keep them all within our purview, but we must concentrate on catching each one as it drops. For me the allegory was a game changer.

Though Bert saw what I couldn’t, I’ll never forget the look on my teacher-Bert’s face as I added a third, and then fourth Hackey Sacks to my routine. She radiated the joy of accomplishment for us both.

I imagine that’s how God sees us; laughing with us when we’re just plain silly, and practicing our way through our challenges. Bert also coached me as I juggled my gushing thoughts and overwhelming feelings.

I gave up the Hackey Sacks, Nerf balls and rubber pet fish, but juggling became my personal foundational skill. While I occasionally drop some of my stuff along my way, I keep the boxes moving.

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Though I stopped performing publicly after a couple of years, Annie Roo became the biggest part of me. Over the years I became grAnnie Roo. Bert remains the Bertimus Maximus and still creates beautiful art, mostly of birds and she donates all proceeds to Liberty Wildlife and other sanctuaries. She’ll tell you she’s just doing important Bert things.

I have a living example of God’s delight in me, remembering Bert’s face as I jumped the next hurdle, mastered the next challenge.

In loving memory of
my eternal friend, Arleenie “Bert” Beenie/Arlene Powers

Signed, Bert

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)

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Networking Works – Bliends

Stuck in town I was able to access the reader and came upon Jay’s post. I’m a fan of networking and Jay Colby; Life, Inspiration and Motivation. Stop, browse around and share:

Networking + Share Your Blog

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Share – Bliends

j-gi-federizoHave you met my friend Jennifer Federizo at The End Justifies the Journey?

J.Gi is one of those super-techs who doesn’t mind explaining the ins-and-outs of cyber world, makes them less mysterious to non-tech people like me. Gi explained the mysteries of SEOs, Twitter and keywords, making them interesting as she described the gears. As busy as she gets, J.Gi makes time for friends.

Another new blogger friend thoughtfully commented to me (privately – I appreciate not wanting to embarrass me) that the photos in my posts can be too big to view.

Thanks to bloggers like J.Gi, me being a newbie blogger, I rarely know what other bloggers don’t – until then. “I’m all over this,” I thought. In private emails I got to tell her how to navigate around posts more easily. We got to chatting and I shared links to WordPress tips and tricks and Blogging U courses – which are wonderfully helpful as well as fun – I’m very easily entertained. Annnd then I noticed I’d forgotten to press “send” until now. Sigh.

Isn’t our blogging community wonderful that way? There’s some kind soul to encourage, help or give a heads up. We’re all in this together, after all. One hand washes the other.

I feel astoundingly accomplished now. I apologize in advance for my next faux pas.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)

 

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Indulgences

As Kiera advances[*] her stylish, world-class mom hat continues to adorn her entire persona. For Erin and me, Kiera’s bi-monthly (or so) visits are occasions for tea. I enjoy entertaining, take each opportunity to put on slightly more festive airs, and I continue to learn from her.

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Kiera and my mother were friends before the latter departed when I was thirteen. In her absence, Kiera and Newlyn stepped in aiding Daddy and our family whenever appropriate. For that we shall be eternally grateful.

Early after my arrival here I noticed that though any number of canine fur kids typically join their family, cats do not. Only the most stubborn, crafty feral felines dare challenge the pack of five Amstaff and Pit Bull Terriers to retain their standings in the family properties. Kiera is also allergic to cats.

Soon into Kiera’s visits here Erin will ask me for Benadryl. That would be for Kiera, who quickly becomes congested, her eyes redden and water, and soon afterward she develops headaches – much like me. I stock diphenhydramine for those occasions when elevated pollen counts disrupt my rest. I prefer to control symptoms of fur and dander allergies with more natural foods, a vigilant cleaning regime, exercise and supplements, but occasionally I too must pop a pill.

During the waterworks challenge I noticed Kiera resists our fur kids no better than I do, caving in to pet and scratch them. After asking how she does it, she explained, “Well Roo, I will leave soon and get over it. I’m just careful to not touch my face or neck after petting Coco and Lucky, brush my clothes and wash my hands – often.”

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While Erin is away the fur kids become pitifully anxious. Before long at all, empathy drives me to distract them if only to silence Lucky’s mrowling and hopfully dissuade them both from joining me in my room/office space. Over the months we’ve developed a routine of cooing, brushing, chasing a laser beam, and finally spreading dried catnip on the carpet – in the living room. Their antics with the catnip is entertaining for me too since vacuuming is a daily task no matter what other chores await Erin’s return.

I will continue to be congested, head achy, marvel over occasional, colorful rashes and my nose continually feels like it is lined with cracking concrete. No. Matter. What. I know, TMI. The point is, I afford it for my dear old friend and the beauty of the Western Slope.

At least misery continues to love company. I can always walk it off – every hour.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life [or sinuses] for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NLT)

[*] While she’s clearly finished child rearing but enjoying great-grand parenting, Kiera isn’t aging mentally whatsoever. In her middle eighties she is advancing.

Himmie image courtesy Cattime.com, Tabby image courtesy Google Free Images Public Domain

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Walk #7

I’ve been on vacation. I’d prepared my posts last week as best I could (new photos and poor internet connection notwithstanding). My only task until next week is to rest.

My primary focus this year has been to 1) pray and 2) live in the moment; enough with the incessant what ifs. I’ve honed my edge substantially, and yet this week proved for me to rest and simply be remains a challenge. The closest I get is walking the beautiful countryside.

Today’ relaxation:

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“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

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Away

With the first snowfalls in the higher Colorado altitudes I’m away from Garfield County this week. From the scenic grandeur of Basalt, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and El Jebel which embellish my dreams when I’m not here, I must sacrifice my internet connection. As I did when I first arrived on the Western Slope, I must tether my laptop to my cell. Those who rely upon Metro PCS, understand – it’s sufficient temporary service, but it’s not the best.

Without Erin’s company on this trip I missed many of the shots we would ordinarily have stopped to take. Different paths and all that.

Rather than bore anyone with the details and complications I’ll share some of the scenery. Under the present circumstances loading photos takes approximately 20 minutes apiece. You’re welcome!

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“The heavens are Yours, and the earth is Yours; everything in the world is Yours – You created it all.” Psalm 89:11 (NLT)

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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.

 

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Variety

First Danny at Dream Big Dream Often and then Anne Mehrling recently posed the question, “Do you have a favorite season?

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I wonder what makes any one season favored about the others. I enjoy them all!

Variety enhances life, especially seasonally. I thrive in climates with four distinctive, equal seasons. Early signs of the approaching season exhilarates me, but I don’t really have a favorite. I love bundling up to take in the silence of snowfall in winter, the invigorating, color displays and refreshing air in spring and autumn and warm, balmy summers delight me. But I especially like change when the current weather becomes tedious.

Following are photos from our recent visit around Glenwood Springs, Basalt and Carbondale, before autumn falls 😉

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“For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Christ our God, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.”
Folliot S. Pierpoint,in Lyra Eucharistica, by Orby Shipley, second edition, 1864

Four Seasons Tree images courtesy Pixabay

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Finale

Today’s walk demanded special attention. I recognized the first signs of autumn – summer’s finale:

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For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

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