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Quiet Amidst the Chaos

April is spelled c-h-a-o-s in our house. Controlled chaos, but chaos none the less.

Rebuilding Together Muscatine County is the non-profit my husband began twelve years ago in our county.

In April, it is in full swing; rehabilitating homes for those in need. Ten projects in all just for this month. Changing the lives of folks who otherwise would have fallen through the cracks.

It is a wonderful kind of busy; but the grass still grows, and other household chores don’t just disappear.

Then we add the seven grandchildren and all of their Spring programs. Since we try to support them in all of their doings, there aren’t many blank spaces left on the calendar.

April is full of preparations for beginnings and endings; school years, graduations, summer sports, and conferences in other towns to plan for the future.

My April, is not unlike your April. The sub titles are just different.

So. How does one keep their thoughts straight, schedules in line, and their brains in tact?

I’m not sure how you handle all of this, but I can try to share a trick or five that I have found helpful.

Make a list

A week before, the night before, or the morning of. Having a list of things that need to be accomplished is most helpful. This will help you keep on track.

Referring to that list, keeps those things from jumbling around in your head, and lets you know when you’re veering off track. It helps to keep your mind quiet.

Use that note taking feature on your phone or other device. When you’re out and about, jot those reminders down so you won’t forget.

NEVER trust yourself when you say “Oh there’s no way I can forget that!”

Best use of your time

Each one of us have a time of day that works best for us. If I make appointments in the morning, then when I get back, it is a real fight to get my thinking turned on.

Do you do better with the thinking things in the morning, and the physical tasks later in the day? Before you eat? After you exercise? At midnight or at daybreak?

There are as many answers to that question as there are people. Find out the answer that best fits you, an stick with it.

Get help

It is not weakness to get help. In fact, it will make you stronger.

Each of us is simply better at different things.

Are you good at making that sign you need for your upcoming project, or does it take all of your strength and several days for this task?

Enlist the help of someone who loves doing it. Your strength will be saved, and your project will turn out better than you could have imagined.

Energy, frustration and brain cells saved. Leaving you with what you need for the next task.

Take time for yourself

I call this Quietude, or quiet time. Some call it Me Time. Call it whatever you like, but make time for it.

Quiet time energizes me, and helps my insides to remain calm no matter how busy the days become.

Some ideas for quiet time;

  • A soft chair, a clean window and a hot cup of coffee. This is my favorite.
  • Low light or natural light, either works
  • Soft instrumental music in the back ground.
  • Add a book to read, or a journal to write in.
  • Sometimes, only the first one. Taking time to just BE.

For some, the thought of all that silence is terrifying. They energize in an entirely different way.

Some ideas for them may be;

  • A short walk
  • A lively conversation with a friend
  • Group sports
  • Energetic music
  • Can you think of more? (Please share)

You may enjoy either one of these, or you may be somewhere in the middle. You might even be something totally different. (If that’s you, I’d love to know what it is that helps you.)

The point is – Take care of yourself! Take three minutes if that is all you have. Twenty if you’ve got it. More time if you can find it.

It may turn out to be several times a day in smaller increments. Whatever.

Know when to say when

If we allow ourselves to drain, we have nothing left and will only be miserable. We’ll feel guilt for all the things we do not have the energy to do.

If we take care of ourselves, then we can take care of others. We can then do all of our activities with a certain amount of peace inside.

When your mind and body say no more; you may have to make some difficult decisions. Decisions that will protect you later on.

Decide to give yourself time to recharge, whatever that looks like. Decide, and stick with it.

There may be fingers coming underneath that bathroom door – but take that time anyway – You’ll be happy that you did.

Apology from a Nurse

Handling all the issues of life at once.
Thank you to all of you.

WifeBlah

Dear Anonymous Reader,

I wrote this, because last night I had a patient that told his son that she wants to hold his hand. While the patient is holding his son’s hand she said, I feel very sad, this is the first human touch I had today”. This lady is dying. As a nurse it breaks my heart, we used to be called the “Angel of the sick room” but why can’t we offer a healing touch anymore? Why can’t we spend 10 seconds of our time to let our patient hold our hand and tell them everything will be alright.

What happened last night is a wake up call to me as a nurse. It seems that we as nurses turned out to be cold and automated like robots, because of these too much pressure and standards that we are trying to meet in our workplace.

… and…

View original post 670 more words

Introverted Observations

Tis the Season

Tis the season coming up quickly for proms, and graduations and for moving into adulthood.

It’s a time of being with friends and family in a whole new way.

The parameters have opened up, and many are just not certain what is next. It’s a rite of passage I suppose.

The anxiety. The uncertainty. The clueless-ness.

I’ve been to several events in the past couple of months. Band concerts, chorus concerts, and the like.

The difference is that for two of my grand children, these events carried the distinct designation of “Last”.

The culmination of 13 years of schooling. 13 years of always knowing (mostly) what comes next.

A New Designation

Along with the “Last” designation, comes a new one as well. “First”.

The “First” time of being really responsible, entirely, (mostly) for what comes next.

But that topic is for another time.

Here I wanted to share what I’ve observed during these “Last” times.

I’ll share it here with just a snippet of what I wrote in my journal.

Journal Entry

Being so much of an introvert is OK, except for at those over the top social events. You know, the ones that are supposed to elicit great shows of emotions.

When you are an introvert, not so many people flock to your good bye. Not so many are devastated by your departure.

Your family celebrates you, and at the same time, they mourn your advancement into a new place of life, away from them … but you? You kind of fade into it. Quietly dismissing yourself, and making your way back to the safety zone that you have created for yourself.

It is a sad thing perhaps, but maybe hard to remember, at that moment, that it is a world you have created for yourself. A safe place.

Why Was it Visible?

I noticed this occurrence taking place in quiet corners in more than one school district. In more than one cafeteria, and at more than one event.

Those who were more extroverted, and were able to wear their emotions on their sleeves for all to see.

Those who were more introverted, put on a brave front, appearing to be OK, yet their smiles, never really reached their eyes.

Then, sadly, oh so sadly, I saw (felt) those who simply gave up trying to put on the act, not having the energy to fake it even one more time.

The extroverts, wondering why they are so emotional.

The introverts wondering if they could attempt to fit in just one more time.

The others, biding their time until they could escape to their own comfortable nests.

I saw this. I knew this. I felt this. Again.

It took me until I was full grown adult to realize that I was just wired that way. Quieter.

The noisy, raucous kid me, was all an act. A protection racket for the part of me that I saw as flawed

My quiet side has kept me sane, but at times it has also kept me alone.

What to Do?

The sadness I felt back then, can still be accessed by me, but it does not have to be. It no longer rules my life.

And still, when confronted by this, when I see this in my vision, when I feel this in my soul, when I see the struggle going on in front of me, I do not know what to do.

Telling them that everything will be OK, will not make it so. Only life itself, lived on one day at a time, can do that.

But the quiet part of me still seeks another answer. One that can help the loneliness subside, or at least to feel tolerable. Sooner rather than later.

Until then, if you see yourself in this narrative, please know;

You are wired a different way. A special way.


You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalms 139:14

#100 Somethings

A friend of mine began a new challenge this month. It’s called #100DayProject.

I told her that I didn’t think I could do 100 days of anything. She told me to remember that it is not necessary to check in every day.

Her recommendation was to just do 100 of anything.

So here’s what I decided.

I will attempt #100DaysofSomething – Translated, that means I’ve begun a list of 100 topics to write a blog posts about.

Today I reached #13.

Whenever I use one of them for a post, I’ll tag them with #100DaysofSomething.

Do you have anything you would like to add to the list?

This challenge is truly a challenge for me. I am pretty tenacious about the things that I do, but still seem to have consistency issues with posting.

I’m believing this can be part of the remedy.

Care to add an idea?

Ready? Go!

The Down Side of Quiet

If you have been visiting here for long, you may know that one of my favorite topics is Quietude. Quiet. A little time for gathering the thoughts.

Even though this article is about noise, silence was mentioned as well. I thought this author had some interesting perspectives, pro and con.

I enjoyed the pros, of course.

I hope you enjoy reading it too.

Noise Cancelling: The Good and The Bad

Noise cancelling has it’s benefits and draw backs. We have to make sure we tune out the right things so we can best hear God’s voice.

Noise Cancelling
I travel a good bit these days, and spend a decent amount of time on airplanes.  Over the years, people have become more and more comfortable listening to anything and everything to block out the noise of the airplane, announcements being made, or crying babies.  Companies (BOSE, Beats, etc) have become better at creating headphones that can block out all noise around you so you only hear what you decide to listen to. And this doesn’t just apply to airplanes. People use these to focus at work or simply walk around outside.

People spend a lot of money on these headphones to accomplish one simple goal: block out distractions and noise. We want to have control over what we listen to or don’t listen to.

The Downside to Noise Cancelling

Airplanes:  If you can’t hear anything that means you cant hear any important announcements (safety, or emergency notifications).

Jogging/Running:  If you are completely blocked out from noise, a car could honk its horn at you, or someone could try and warn you about something around you, and you may not hear the warning signals.

The Lesson

Sometimes we decide that we know better than God does about what we should be listening to.  God gives us warning signs or direction through many different mediums throughout our lives.  If we don’t allow God to speak to us through a specific channel we are only hurting ourselves.  Using an extreme example, if you decide to block yourself off from anyone who isn’t a Christian in an effort to protect yourself and not be tempted, you are not abiding by God’s greatest commandment to “Go out and made disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20)  While we have protected ourselves from the “noise” around us, we have limited God’s ability to work through us.

Related Post: God is Calling Us All to Listen

I would encourage you to ask God to speak to you. Start to listen to His voice everywhere you go.  God can speak through anyone or anything.  Don’t block Him out.

The Positive About Noise Cancelling

With that said, there are times that silence is important and being able to cancel out distractions can be helpful.

Basketball Players:  If you’ve ever watched a Duke basketball home game, the fans do everything in their power to distract the other team and make them mess up or miss a shot.  Players on the floor have to find a way to block it out and perform to help their team.

Football Huddles:  Or think about a football team in a huddle.  The purpose of the huddle is to block out noise and allow everyone to understand the next play’s plan.

Airplanes:  Sticking with this analogy from before, think about the pilots of the airplane.  They can’t be distracted by the passengers.  Their job with all the noise going on around them is to get everyone to the destination safely.  They actually wear headphones to talk with each other and block out the actual noise around them.

The Lesson:

Christianity is similar in that there are times you need to clearly hear God’s voice and not be distracted by the enemy who is doing everything in his power to knock you off track.  I grew up with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) so I understood at a young age how the smallest of distractions could affect me.  I had to learn how to block them out.

When I want to hear from God, I need silence or an environment where God is welcome (worship, church, etc).  God doesn’t need complete silence to be able to speak to you, but sometimes you need complete silence to listen.

In those times, cancelling out your surrounding is a good idea.  After getting alone away from distractions, though, we should come back to full awareness of our surroundings so we can see and hear God move. Ultimately, it’s about doing what’s needed to be able to hear from God. We block out the distractions but lean in to listen to Him however, whenever, and wherever He chooses to speak to us.

So noise cancelling can be both good and bad. In the end, don’t block out God or limit His ability to use you or speak to you by attempting to block out others.

Written by Charles Hamrick

I am very simply a follower of Christ.  While here, I enjoy the passions that God has given me that include my family, friends, church, sports (specializing in golf), traveling and simply experiencing God’s creation to the fullest.  I additionally have a passion for writing and sharing what God is speaking to me on a constant basis.  I love the fact that our creator chooses to use the least of us to communicate His heart to others.

Whisper

The world we live in, will not just give us a quiet place.

We must find it, or create if for ourselves.

So if that is what you need, I’d like to help you with that.

A tiny slice of quiet time, just for you.

Any time, day or night. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you.

 

 

 

 

Quiet Time Musings

This week has been a breakthrough week in my mind.

Making a quality decision  to not ignore quiet time, and to put that time to better use.

By putting it to better use in this instance means to to use that time to create my own thoughts, consider my own beliefs, understand what things I think and why.

I can always find time to read someone elses words. I’m not saying that that is wrong, certainly not, because it does help to create questions for further thinking in my mind. I’m only saying that I need to find out what I, myself think about things.

One of my favorite/best ways to get my thinking to get moving, is to read scripture. It creates many questions, and answers many as well.

The place I landed in my thinking was about space. Quiet space. Loud space. Crampy space. Spacious space.

I then looked up my favorite verses about space, and realized yet again, why I love living where I live.

I grew up in a larger city forty miles north of here. Houses. Streets. Voices. Traffic.

White houses out my window in rows. Utility poles breaking every small stretch of sky.

Someone elses noise always, always, always filling my head.

Some people, and their different personalities, thrive on just such environments. I however did not. I always wanted to be out. Some place green. Some place that I didn’t feel smothered.

My Grampas’ house was like that, but as a child, not very accessible.

Psalm 31:8b (ESV) You have set my feet in a broad place.

Then we moved here. My children called it Podunk. It isn’t really. Podunk, to me, would be much further than the few miles we travel from here to get to town.

Psalm 18:19 (ESV) He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued  me, because he delighted in me.

It is close enough to be close, and far enough to be far. Away from the hum of the city.

I knew I always wanted to be where I didn’t see only rows of white houses, and poles scratching at the sky. I just did not know how much. Nowadays, a trip to town quickly makes me want to return home.

It was very difficult to find quiet space back then, and it often involved a camping trip, or a car ride to a empty country road. Not impossible, but often difficult.

I am positive that living here, has saved my sanity. I have now spent almost exactly half of my life here; and I’m grateful. I am grateful for the overstuffed chair, that sits by the window, and looks out over a really broad space.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV) Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Maybe to you this does not sound like a gift; Your personality prefers the hum of activity.

Psalms 139:13 -14a For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

(He knows how He made you – He will show you another way)
Maybe you are here just wondering when your gift will arrive; You’ve been waiting and praying.

Matthew 6:8…. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

(Hang on!)

Questions to consider;

  • Does my quiet time require total silence, or maybe some music or other ambient noise?
  • Do I require quiet EVERY day? Every week? More than once a day?
  • Does my quiet time involve time together, alone, with someone else?
  • Does it contain devotions? Book reading? Bible reading? Audio reading? A quiet video? Or just staring out the window – at my street, or at my space?
  • Does my quiet time release me from the stress and pressure of the daily grind?

Please feel free to leave a response in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Enjoy some quiet. It’s Under the Hill.

29jan2017