Tag Archives: gratitude

Stumps

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

John 1:3 (NIV)

 

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Filed under Latent Poetic Tendencies, photography

BoldFinger

If you’ve been following What Next you are aware I’m laboring under some exceptional technical difficulties.

1) I’m awaiting parts for my four-year-old notebook which torments me by flashing like a slow-mo strobe in a discotheque (Gen X’ers, Gen Y’ers and Millennials click here).

2) In the meantime I try to keep abreast of the Blogging Community and Facebook via my not-so-trusty old (retired) cell phone.

What this means to you:

Typos. Many of them.

Commenting on the plethora of captivating posts by even more phenomenal bloggers from my phone is always exciting. Not only do my fingers fluctuate between bold, beautiful and entirely inept on the nanosized keypad, but it can randomly choose to further humiliate me by posting without warning – sans proofing, etc. Annnd lost signals. That’s always fun.

While this experience could be incredibly frustrating, I admit it’s actually become a source of amusement. I remind myself frequently how gracious this amazing blogging community is, in between praying for my new friend with mad hardware skills. Through it all I’m actually happy with the progress on my chapters lately on the very, very old Windows 7 laptop.

It’s good to slow down sometimes. Random House, get ready.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6, 7 (NIV)

 

 

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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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Squirrely

So, for the third time since fall CableCompany is telling us demon squirrels have destroyed the FIFTEEN-OR-SO-YEAR-OLD lines. Now they say they are replacing all the cables in our entire area.

Whatever.

What this means to us:

Our strongest INTERMITTENT speeds have been even less than our usual sub-standard (1.29MPS down/1.08MPS up) all week. So, I’ll be taking a long weekend to continue working my mobility and dexterity. I’m glad to realize improvement over last week. I also want to say that if I was sure 60% is God’s will I’d accept this as my new normal.

Not. Feeling. That.

I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

 

Image courtesy Pinterest

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Gray Pearl – Walk #1

As we turn into the last stretch of winter I reflect fondly upon the unseasonably warm, sunny days of the Advent season here. As the sun rose I caught myself wanting to complain about yet another dark, overcast morning. Then I noticed the moon hanging over the trees in the pearl gray sky.

Awestruck. Whine diverted, I can wait on the sun.

 

Winter wonder by God.

Image by Roo (c) 2019 RapturePractice! Pub.

 

 

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Filed under photography

Retired. Right?

I can’t actually be retired when I daily work more now than I ever have. Oh wait, I’m talking about retired phones.

Part of the mystique of how I manage my life with such modest resources is first, trusting God my provider for everything. Then, showing my gratitude (while I dream about having a 50″ TV, tablet or new laptop I could put to good use – soon), I employ 3 cell phone devices.

My life is not really as complicated as that may sound, but my resources are limited. To maintain a very good credit score (despite many setbacks – jes sayin), I pinch every penny till it screams.

Electronic devices are an investment, so I take great care researching before funding something that can so easily be lost or destroyed. For example, I take into consideration I rarely watch television. I can’t stay up that late for programming in our area that I care to see. I actually use my 32″ flat screen as a computer monitor and both houses utilize old-school indoor antennas. Yep, Cole uses rabbit ears.

Since we only pay for cable internet service I am thankful for Hulu, Netflix and CBS-on-line to keep me attuned to life outside the ranch.

So every couple of moves, after changing carriers I also upgraded devices and “retired” my previous phones. This means I continue to use them for almost everything except talk and texting. Most apps work fine without cell service and some without a WiFi signal.

This will work even better for me once we hard wire the router into my cottage – past the metal roof and siding. Until that happens (hopefully this spring) I make do with a repeater. I can also leave my comfy little nest to work in the main house while Cole works in town. SchnauzerOne and ChueyTwo appreciate the company.

Yes, though Samsung recently released the Galaxy A9 and the Tizen OS, my vintage S3 (from 2012) brings me hours of digital and audio books, radio, weather and news.

But wait there’s more. I use the retired 2016 Samsung Galaxy Core Prime (a knock off) for Social Media, including the WordPress app, Gmail, Google calendar, alarm clock and banking.

This all frees up my current knock-off phone which is connected to the local knock-off  server (mobile virtual network operator – MVNO) for less costly talk, text, video chats and photography, of course.

Except for the GS3 this all extends battery life between charges. No worries, I acquired 3 extra GS3 back-up batteries and an outboard charger while they were available.

 

While a new iPhone X R 8, a Tablet or a Kindle Paperwhite would be nice, I thank God I may look rather impressive (at the senior center) when I’m actually making the most of what He gives me.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

 

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Thanks?

For what?

So what?

What next?

 

Happy Thanksgiving Holiday to one and all!

 

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4 (NIV)

 

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Faceplant

Kyle Idleman’s book Not a Fan seriously tripped me up at first.

This kind of trip is good – challenging our attitudes. With multiple media pushing and pulling us in so many directions, regular neck up check ups are invaluable.

So on that particular morning what I expected to be an elegant swan dive into the book at the top of my stack became a shocking face plant instead.

“Here’s my point: many of us are quick to say, “Yes I’m a follower of Jesus,” but I’m not sure we really understand what we are saying.*” 

**

Thinking about it I suddenly wanted to explain myself to Jesus.

Maybe you navigate through life effortlessly. I don’t. And typically me getting out of sync with Jesus guarantees a sudden, cringeworthy stumble.

Immediately I realized that by racing to get caught up I had been forfeiting one-on-one time with God. Yet again. (Audible, heavy sigh.)

I suppose that makes me a fan.

I have been a Cubs fan as long as I can remember. Over the years as I moved around the country I half-halfheartedly followed other local teams. Still, I didn’t lose sight of my Cubbies.

So maybe I’m that kind of Jesus Fan.

But then again, Not A Fan later suggested I might be a marginal follower. As I read on my follower rating improved – some. And dropped again. And rose.

I don’t walk around with a Bible under my arm or interject Book, chapter and verse into every conversation. Okay, maybe sometimes, silently to myself. I use a Bible app most every day. But that’s not because I’m so religious (lost in church world or in Mosaic law). It’s because I LOVE people so very much I easily stray into their lives, lose sight of my own course and sometimes wind up offending someone.

Most important, while I maintain that connection with Jesus, I’m good. He sends the alerts I need. As I listen carefully He helps me hear myself, keeping me on track. He encourages me onward constantly, faithfully leading me right where He wants me – with or without my smart phone.

What’s more, He lets me think that I made good stuff happen! Good or bad, when we get together Jesus first shows me how He loves me. Then He shows me how much He loves me. He shows me what I blew up when I veered off course toward my understanding – and where He steered me right back.

And He shows me he’ll make it okay, I should try again.

Maybe without the faceplant.

Have you experienced what a wonderful God He is lately?

“… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

 

 

Music video courtesy YouTube

*Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus

**image courtesy Productivetothemax.com

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Intermittent

With exceptional ISP challenges continuing to frustrate folks almost as much as the Presidential Alert trickle down this week, I’m spending extra time helping with seasonal chores.

This week among other tasks that come around in autumn but are best done before the first freeze or snowfall, we addressed the woodpile. While this can be physically exhausting work (less so this year with the new log splitter), I’m glad for the way it helps me realign my priorities. The wood stove, my heat source not only keeps me warm all winter, lends a pleasant ambiance but, like it or not, it forces me into a whole-body workout daily.

The fact is I actually like the work. As many of my peers are slowing down substantially I’m delighted I can still keep up with the youngsters and run the cottage on my own.

“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him.” C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Despite the most recent disruptions, I’m assured that I’m exactly where God wants me today. When beauty grips me in the most remarkable places I often believe I can feel God’s presence surrounding me.

At the woodpile, for example:

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 – 13 (NLT)

 

All images (c) 2018 What Next: Behind Roo’s Ruse, div. Rapture Practice! Publications, Invaluable Beauty 1/18/2018

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Filed under Notes from the Apex, photography

Extremes

Have I mentioned how I adore the weather in this region? Even when the triple-digit weather arrives, memories of summers in Phoenix, Arizona and the bitter-cold winters in Chicago-land remind me this climate is like a walk in the park. Besides, here the extremes of both intense heat or cold only last weeks and usually include milder parentheses.

As temperatures rose I noticed how the livestock and plants all cope in their individual ways. The horses and the steer all developed a new appreciation for early mornings and the sprinklers in the early evenings.

The chickens are mostly still much of the day and are laying about 50% less than they do in cooler temps. They only get excited in anticipation of fresh offerings from the garden and the kitchens when humans approach. We’ll see what impact a chicken tractor has soon.

To the east around the lawns the rose, begonia, nasturtium, snapdragon and hydrangea blossoms suddenly grow, mature and wilt astoundingly faster than usual.

Highlights of last evening’s walk included a trio of fledglings enjoying the cool concrete of the shaded patio while the flora also recover from the day’s heat. That was until giant, wingless beings arrived making the strangest chirping ever. I’m sure they were relieved after we moved indoors to listen to their chirps. We were also glad to hear they remembered how to fly back to their nests – safe from cats lurking nearby.

In my visit to town I noticed some people complaining about the heat. I also noticed they sounded much like the people that complained about the cold during the winter. They got me thinking about Job, “…Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?*”  Shall we accept fair weather and not harsh?

Personally, I like variety and especially appreciate that the extremes here last only a short while.

“Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God…” Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NLT)

*Job 2:10 (NLT)

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