Tag Archives: character

Proclamation

One of my top 10 favorite bloggers recently posted about What Your Bookshelf Says About You. Without thinking I boldly went where no Roo has admitted to going before.  Yeah, I put myself out there to risk being examined. It’s all good. Another one of the beauties I especially appreciate about this blogging community is how it attracts polite, kind-hearted people (my personal favorite).

However, doing this was not always like me. Former Me would also have participated because, well, books – what’s not to love. But rather than simply looking around, I would have created a list certain to impress others. What’s more I would likely have spent hours gathering titles in the list or creating binder images of the books I borrowed. It’s okay to laugh. It’s no secret I can still be a very silly girl.

So now, if this post goes awry I’ll obviously blame it on CJ. She started it by sighting what is now also one of my favorite recent reads, My Ideal Bookshelf.  Well, that and The Right Wrong Man thanks to Jacqui Murray.

 

Left Nightstand

 

Right Nightstand (notice books much nearer bed than the tv/dvd remotes)

 

The Book Exchange Club shelf

What my book collection today doesn’t say:

– Christi’s post brought to my attention I no longer possess my first editions and books of special interest collection. Slightly sad Roo.

    • But then again, you can’t take it with you and my space here in the cottage is limited. The texts are readily available when I want them, so I’m fine.

– I’ve been reading more digital media (ya gotta love Libby) and enjoying it more.

– After years of coaxing, Erin is now on Fb. We have years of photographs to catch up on. This justifies the craft table that’s covered with boxes of photographs in various stages of being sorted. This has been taking up a quarter of my living room (and gathering dust) since, ahem, early summer. My new challenge is to not begin another book until I complete that project.

Most notable – I either:

    • no longer care about dust, (okay fine,) I’m way too busy to care if anyone notices dust,
    • realize I am astoundingly confident in God and therefore real good with the Present Me He created. I no longer rarely feel the need to meet anybody’s standard but God’s to feel good about myself. I shot without staging – that includes dusting,
    • life is better on a need-to-see basis – too bad humans must age significantly to appreciate this fact,

OR:

  • I (finally) actually do have my priorities in their proper order.

I’m not positive, but thanks to God, annnd after many a long series of trials and errors I’m quite comfortable going with option #4 today.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

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Character

Stuff happens. How we deal with the stuff defines us.

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12 NLT

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Experience

grandpas-hatchet

Helper, Captain Morgan at the helm.

Captain Morgan at the helm.

I laid awake most of the night, tormented over breaking Cole’s old Coleman hatchet. Yeah, the one I hammered into a wet, rather green log until the head broke – right at the notch (so handy for pulling nails from construction wood).

 

The upset tortured me while I should have been sleeping. All. Week. Long.

Cole was completely cool about it. I systematically timed telling him I’d broken the hatchet he’d given me on our first cold morning here. The moment arrived as I presented him with a fine, shiny-new, Estwick Sportsman hatchet with all the bells and whistles.

I rarely get to give Cole anything of value. I was initially giddy until I jokingly said the words, “the hatchet you gave me… …worn out…” and “…broke.” Instantly his entire demeanor changed dramatically – merriment abandoned my presentation. His words, “…my grand pa’s hatchet… he’d used it for years…” shot the loss and hurt straight through me too.

I get it: My siblings and I inherited very few, mostly valueless, common things from our parents. Those humble heirlooms are precious to each of us. Destroying something invaluable from Cole sickened me.

After weeping privately I texted him “I’ll make it right somehow,” (forgetting he was working in town). I’ll never forget his immediate reply: “Oh stop it-only made me sad for a min-it has done its job for a long time.” And then moments later he texted he’d gotten more wood to get me through while the grove is still snowed under.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment…” *

While I may annoy Cole with more words than he prefers, I learn from him. Things like his grandfather – who cut wood into his nineties with that old model, Coleman hatchet are important to us both. Had I known, I would have retired the Coleman and bought the new ones immediately.

The experience stung us both, but to me it revealed the character beneath Cole’s cast iron veneer. He is a treasure indeed. I hope for more, far less painful lessons.

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21 (NLT)

*Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

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Expectations

house picket fence pixabay

 

 

When I was young I longed for a home, family, a simple life; like the neighbors and my classmates.

I was in primary school when I realized I am different. Root, branch and leaf, my family tree is complicated.

 

It would years before I remotely understood the astounding gene pool from whence I came.  Rather than portraits of nice, normal-looking people in their Sunday best with handsome smiles, our foyer was more like the one in Disney’s Haunted Mansion in Anaheim.

 

 

haunt mansion port 1 pinterest haunt mans port 2 pinterest  *

After my second high school reunion I felt like a failure.

Thinking about it, okay after agonizing over the event I noticed a few things:

At the reunion chatting with some of my classmates, the affluent especially seemed to have their lives prepared for them. Many divorced because of boredom. Some lived on alimony or careers laid out for them with “Daddy’s organizations.” There were some whose sole contribution to society was their fashion sense. Some boasted of homes in the better neighborhoods, clothes, handbags, shoes, etc. Those were nice, but didn’t say much to me about the characters, the individuals that owned them.

After my first tour of the room I had a great time with the group in the corner that shuffled shamelessly through photos of their kids and danced like nobody was looking.

I began to understand I had set myself up for years of bitter disappointment. I had wanted what the former set of my classmates had.

About that time I met Jesus and discovered the wisdom of the Bible. One verse above others stuck with me in those early weeks,

“…I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away.”  Job 1:21 (NLT)

That was my turning point. I began to realize when I was young the elements that felt like they would crush me, my hardships actually made me strong and independent.

Sure, my life actually was hard, tougher than most people I know. Anything I inherited isn’t noteworthy, but God gave me strength, grit, determination and ultimately taught me to respect and love myself.

I pray I never stop forgiving, appreciating every aspect of my life and never stop working to be a better human. Amen!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

The House With Picket Fence image courtesy Pixabay

*Disney Haunted Mansion Images Courtesy Pinterest

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Likeminded

I’ve settled in enough to miss old friends. Some slipped into my past, but others remain close no matter where in the world I pause.

Therese etcI met one of my favorite people the first week in the new apartment building in my new village of Fox Lake. She stood there in the hallway as though she’d been waiting for me. Moments after basic introductions, Therese blurted, “We should start a Bible Study in the building!”

 

We hadn’t mentioned church or matters of faith, yet she reaffirmed the old saying like attracts like. From that happy meeting we got together several times a week. Each time we excitedly share something new. We talked to God alone about the Bible Study.

sean and thereseTerry is a master quilter, something I’d always wanted to try. We’d get together a few times a week to enjoy one another’s company and explore new patchwork designs. Each visit Sean, Terry’s lively, WWII veteran and professional vocalist husband annoyed her entertained us with jokes (usually bad) or song (always wonderful). We quickly learned to have the computer or the TV on in the other room.

Every week we excitedly shared stories about what God was doing in the building and our community. We understood the Bible Study would happen in God’s time. We stayed busy.

Two years later I took my latest quilt project to Terry’s apartment. My mind was in a patchwork maze and my caffeine levels were dangerously low. But when she opened the door we both blurted together, out of nowhere, “Do you have any ideas about the Bible Study?” Her eyes widened, and she said, “I found this book that would be great to start with.”

BGB LCHOver the next couple of days she put together a syllabus, printed flyers and I passed them around the building. We started with eight women, each from different faith backgrounds and experiences; a genuine melting pot. Within weeks the group grew so we had to move to a larger room.

Sean and Therese BrooklynI moved out of the building a year later. Just before I left Terry finished chemo therapy for breast cancer – after fifteen years of remission God and she beat it again.

It’s a safe bet we keep in touch. As busy as she stays, when my brother passed away, Terry was my go-to girl, my touchstone. We hadn’t talked in three months, but you’d never know I ever left the building. Good friends are like that.

soh fb

 

 

 

Three years later, Terry reports the Bad Girls of the Bible* Group is still as diverse as ever and going strong.

 

 

“…If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:19,20 (NLT)

 

*Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs image courtesy Google.Books.Com

Images courtesy of Therese and Sean are not to be duplicated or otherwise shared without prior written permission. Thank you!

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Writing – Listening

keyboard garyrabbit

“Learn to listen, not with the intent to reply but with the intent to understand.”

 

This quote from Pears Before Swine was exactly what I needed the particular moment the article arrived. Typically my phone is set on silence while I work. I believe Providence had a better idea today.

I’d been working on a series that stirred deep, strong emotions, tripping over scenarios from decades before when my phone grabbed my attention. Needing a break, I immediately read the linked article for a breath of fresh air. The post brought another obscure, but important lesson to mind:

“Did you listen to what I told you?” Grandmother asked me. Truth is, I hadn’t. I was about five years old at the time. All I could think of was the sour balls. All I could see was the beautiful candy dish; the icon of a visit to Grandma’s house. But from that moment on, when Grandmother spoke, you can believe I listened. I listened to her voice, studied her face and her body language, took in the tone of the room and I noted to her every word. The candy was my motivation.

In today’s scenario I’d entirely left the point of what I’d been writing. I’d lost touch with my character and stopped listening. I’d been describing every unimportant detail of the scene, floundering aimlessly as verbosity took over. I’d left my motivation in the dust somewhere.

Shaking it off, settling in, I envision my cover art, my new candy dish. I listen carefully, and soon the right words flow again.

 

 

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Not Just Football

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”Vincent Thomas Lombardi; June 11, 1913 – September 3, 1970

stadium steats

The first football season in our new home was disappointing. Not only did my family’s beloved Green Bay Packers not make it all the way to Super Bowl 5-0, but our household had landed in Dallas Cowboy country. No one ever saw that coming.

While this season Packers are 6 – 1, I’ve been following along – including all the local media hype. I am delighted to notice distinctive character that seems to have noticeably waned with other NFL teams. Though the Cowboys are having a hard season so far (2 – 5), I appreciate the team’s overall good sportsmanship I witness in the local newscasts after the games.

Nearly a week later, I can’t forget the news clip from the locker room after last week’s Dallas v. Seattle game. A Cowboy responded to tweets hailing him for rudely mocking the injured Hawk’s player, saying “Oh hell no, that ain’t right. I’d never do that… When I saw he was hurt I prayed for him. People making up mess like that, that just ain’t right.” I don’t mind saying it’s not the first time I noticed the Cowboys, win or lose, present good attitudes no matter what hits them.

They get up.

And then… U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (AZ) exposed not only the Cowboys and the Packers but the Jets, Falcons, Ravens, Bills, Bengals, Browns, Colts, Chiefs, Dolphins, Vikings, Steelers and Rams have all accepted some of the $6 million the Pentagon and the Department Of Defense paid to promote Veterans as Home Town heroes. Veterans must be recognized, respected and appreciated. Period. I agree, our government paying sports teams to do what they should do anyway leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. Spending taxpayer’s dollars like that – that just ain’t right.

Let’s see how they all get up.

Go Packs!

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Me – According to Social Media

Most of the time I have a pretty good grasp of myself; where I came from, where I am going, what makes me happy and what I don’t appreciate. Still, I’m open for improvement.

Recently, while looking in on my family via social media, I noticed one of my girls declared that her ideal home is in Bali. Honestly, I first thought, “I want to go too.”

The post was a self-promoting result of a quiz. Naturally, I’m curious how they come to the results based on the multiple choice answers provided – some seemingly unrelated and others just plain silly.

The next few hours became an entertaining exercise in what I can learn about me.

200xNxfree-quiz-questions.jpg.pagespeed.ic.uF92ZquxDt

What Social Media Quizzes determined about me/my selections from the provided responses:

1. What Does Your Family Name Say About You?
I am a visionary:
– I predict the future

2. What 60’s Song Describes You?
The Sounds of Silence, by Simon & Garfunkel:
_ An analytical thinker
_ A Critical eye
_ Not fooled by appearances
_ Always one step ahead of others
(I must have been working on my Budget)

3. What Age Do You Behave?
I act as though I’m 26:
_ Definitely still in touch with my inner child
_ Can also be serious when I need to be
_ Laid-back and practical all at once

4. What is Your Hippie Name?
My hippie name is Breeze
_ Like the wind, I go wherever life takes me
_ Settling down is not an option
_ People find me to be very calming and probably come to me when they need to de-stress
(I should write that down)

5. What Color Is Your Personality?
I am purple:
_ A Visionary (Again with the visionary)
_ Highly ambitious
_ A creative, free spirit
_ Individualistic, with a need to create order
_ Perfectionistic

6. What fairy Tale Character Resembles You Most?
I am my own fairy tale:
_ “You are your own person, so write your own story.”

7. What Flower Are You?
I am a rose:
_ An eternal romantic, a firm believer in the power of love
_ A thoughtful and caring friend
_ Beautiful, with a few thorns
_ Grounded and balanced
_ Able to manage the serious issues in your life with fun
_ Noble and sophisticated bearing and a healthy sense of humor

This result describes who I try to be, but don’t actually see myself there yet. So, I took this one again, still selecting honest options:

I am a daisy:
_ Cheerful and fun.
_ Bubbly personality,
_ More to me than meets the eye.

And rose it is.

8. What Spice Are You:
I am basil:
_ Value deep, authentic relationships
_ Deeply spiritual
_ Basically good with myself and the world
_ Unpretentious and natural
_ My soul shines through in the way I treat others
(Awww)

9. What Drink [cocktail] Are You? Note: water, coffee or tea were not options.
I am whiskey, on the rocks. (Oh, that kind of spiritual)
_ Tough and I know it.
_ Hard to get to know. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
_ Not overly concerned what people think about me.

10. What Color is Your Aura?
My aura is green:
_ Love all forms of life
_ Essentially benevolent
_ Love being outdoors
_ My needs are simple: warm breezes, good songs, and old friends
(And to think I was a grandmother before I heard people could have an aura)

Though mostly accurate, I am rarely bubbly. Still, I imagine exploring the questions and the responses provided and what other information determines the results. I also wonder if my response to the provided options would differ on another day, under other circumstances, conditions, etc. But then that project wouldn’t be about a list.

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Character? Check Yes or No

It’s been a while since I purchased real estate or a new car from a dealership. Still, I remember the stacks of forms during the process.

I typically annoy busy customer service reps, especially during health care transactions. I have always actually read everything before I sign – and I ask not only what a passage means, but how that’s different from Page x, y and z. Even twenty years ago the paperwork required for major expenditures concerned me. At the time I felt like signing my name somehow compromised my integrity.

In 1983 I drove my brand new Chevy off the dealership lot with only a handshake, my word to sign the loan documents “soon” and a phone call to my insurance broker.

Today it’s hard to remember simpler times when I kept a running tab at my town’s food and liquor store, mostly to spare me time waiting in the checkout line. I also ran a tab at the bar and grill. That was in Los Angeles County – not an obscure hamlet.

bar n grill

As recently as 1999, I presented my driver’s license to rent a moving van and learned it had expired years before. Mainly because the manager was on sight, my oversight cost me a couple of hours at the Motor Vehicle Department on moving day. Needless to say I detested my ID photo for the next few years.

Though we had credit cards even then, consumers commonly wrote paper checks to purchase goods, sometimes we swiped an ATM card, so I hadn’t shown my identification in years. People in the community knew me. But the fact that I never lived anywhere more than three years in my adult life makes that mind boggling.

And don’t get me started about how my hackles rise when doctor’s offices ask about my insurance carrier before they ask my name.

I long for the world where yes meant yes and no meant no; “Will you pay this when you get your check?” “Of course I will.” Once I accidentally bounced a check. The payee first assumed it was an accident and I confirmed it when I resolved the matter with a couple of personal phone calls. Once a victim of a forged check, I entirely recovered, cleaned up and forgot the whole incident in a couple of weeks – without involving a collection agency. Now I grieve for victims of identity theft.

people malled

So, now that we have advanced into the digital age, complete with cyber crime, global cyber espionage, social media stalking and identity theft, we are rarely certain about anyone. What have we gained when we have sacrificed character for the sake of convenience? It’s as if we no longer value character at all – it’s all about credit scores.

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