Tag Archive | mindfulness

One Thing I Missed

As many people do, at the beginning of the year, I’ve been considering the year just finished, and digging deep to find how the year I’m entering can be better; more productive, more quiet, more adventurous, more of whatever it is supposed to be.

Like a hastily taken photograph, there has been a lot of noise in this picture.

I have been able to narrow that noise down to three top priorities.

I posted about them here and here.

In short, they are; 1. Use my writing to help others to heal from their trauma. 2. Take my photography to a higher level to show God’s magnificence and 3. To help people in a more person to person sort of way.

All of these simply mean that I need to stop making excuses, and carve out more time to work on each of these things.

All this past month or so, a different kind of thought has been surfacing around me.

It manifests in different ways and places, but it means the same thing.

I simply MUST take more time to be quiet.

Remain still.

I don’t mean just idle, we all know how to do that.

What I mean is taking that time to quiet the noise inside, so that I can think more clearly.

If you know me, you know that I am a big proponent of “Quietude”, even to the point of making little YouTube spots to help in the process.

Truth time; For the past six months or so, I haven’t been making those spots, or even using them for what they are created for.

It happens.

Life takes a turn sometimes and gets crazy.

When the crazy comes to an end, it takes some time to get back to where we (read I) need to be so we can gain some strength back – mentally, physically or spiritually.  

Enter oversleeping, overeating, over social media-ing, binge watching TV.

This isn’t all bad; the trick is to know when that time is here to stop it, and then do something about it!

One of the ways that it is being made clear to me that it’s time is through a little daily devotion that I read.

Over the last little while, it keeps talking about time, and how it’s been difficult, busy, frustrating and somewhat stagnant.

It also has been encouraging in regards to priorities, entering a new phase of life, knowing I’m not the only one, and resisting the urge (or the habit) of staying hidden away.

These devotions have talked about the significant (I like that word!) changes that have taken place during this time; and now it is time to accomplish what these changes are bringing to pass.

Coming out of this place of retreat, can seem overwhelming.

The habits that help us to be calm, take time to bring to the surface again;

The New and Improved Model!

It seems slow, even one step ahead is always preferred.

But it all makes me want to run forward.

Then today two things came in front of me almost simultaneously;   

  • I heard a friend speak (on Facebook Live) that I hadn’t heard in a while. He was talking about “Zoning out”. His word for “Quietude”. And how he must do this every day, to quiet the noise, to turn off the world we live in, so he can think; the silence speaks volumes. The “Mind of Christ” becomes clearer to him at these times.
  • Today’s devotion was this; January 14, 2020:  Take a breath and settle down, says the Lord.  I know your sense of urgency and impatience to get a move on, but right now I need you to be tolerant and long-suffering.  Otherwise, you will remove yourself from the flow of divine destiny.  Keep yourself in My Spirit and take life as it comes with the grace I will provide.  Romans 16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Oh my goodness.

Gently and kindly I’ve been being pushed in this direction – and then today……

It didn’t seem very gentle.

It seemed very firm and deliberate.

Listen up.

Take the time.

I used to teach people that even if you start with five minutes, it could help.

Then you can move the time out as your grow in strength.

But God can work with ANY time that we give Him.

How did this get left off of my priority list?

Well its back on there folks.

Beginning today!

“Quietude” first!

The results will be amazing!

I’ve experienced them before, those “Quietude” moments.

And look forward to enjoying them again!

Thanks for staying with me.

Until next time!

Just Notice

The last post I posted in 2019 was about three things that I have put on high priority for the year 2020 and beyond. Year End Ponderings

  1. Helping people
  2. Writing
  3. Photography

Notice. This word keeps coming back to my mind. Notice.

The official definition of the word was much more involved than I first thought.; Written announcement – Warning – Attention – Review – Observe – Perceive – Mention – Recognize – Discern – Detect.

Oh my goodness.

So much more than I thought, so much more than meets the eye.

So where do I want to go with this.

My original idea was to just NOTICE what is around me.

Hmm. I’m still there, but there has to be more, just by virtue of the scope of the definitions.  

The words that are most directly connected to my own thoughts on the word NOTICE, are the following; PERCEIVE, RECOGNIZE, OBSERVE, DISCERN.

*When I was growing up, I had very little if any ideas of my own.

I’m not sure I NOTICED much.

I did only what was expected (barely) and what I was told (I was afraid not to).

I was taught WHAT to think, not HOW to think.

When I had children of my own, a new PERCEPTION began to rise in me.

I RECOGNIZED that I actually had choices that I could make for myself, and I also RECOGNIZED that I could teach my children the value of making good choices.

(To this day, I can hear my daughter, sending her teenagers off to school, calling out – “Make good choices!)

Later on, I began journaling while I was reading my Bible.

Much of that was simply about what I NOTICED in my Bible.

It began simply by writing out, word for word what I was reading, if it made sense to me.

Eventually, I was able to begin OBSERVING I was having some thoughts about what I was reading.

I was RECOGNIZING how God’s word could apply to my life.

So my journaling began to look a little differently.

The bullet point OBSERVATIONS became more like real sentences.

Real sentences became more like real paragraphs.

And low and behold, I OBSERVED that I could help people with my words.

So those words turned into a blog.

A blog in 2012 that was very different from one in 2019 and beyond.

Here is where some DISCERNING came in.

DISCERNING what is needed, what to share, what will be the most helpful to the person out there searching.

I began to NOTICE along the way, that there are folks who need to be loved, honored, taught, and yes, NOTICED.

And I am happy that I can be capable of some of that.

*These are some of the same things I NOTICED when I began just taking photos on my phone a few years back.

I PERCEIVED that there is a lot of beauty out there that others never get to see.

I RECOGNIZED that all my years I have been a lover of sky watching, far away landscapes, and enjoying beauty in general.

I RECOGNIZED that by photographing things, I could lift my own mood, so DISCERNMENT came in right here too; why not use that enjoyment to help lift the moods of others.

The fact that a photographer often OBSERVES things in a different way than the general public looks strange to some, but for real, it is a gift to those who do not possess it.

It is just one of the myriad ways to help bring peace to an upset countenance.

*Finally, with the same process, I PERCEIVED that through all of my life, I’ve been able to RECOGNIZE those around me who have been somehow traumatized in their lives.

Not all have been able to find the way to mental or physical health.

DISCERNMENT helped me to NOTICE/REALIZE that not all PTSD is combat related.

I learned through study, that it can also be caused by multiple kinds of trauma; mental trauma, sexual trauma, trauma from an accident or loss, or a host of other things.

There is no end to the things that cause harm to people.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

I OBSERVED that sharing my story, in whole or in part, can help some to find a step to begin on, and even a soft place to land, when things don’t turn out the way they should.

I can indeed be a “basket holder” while their pieces are flying off (because they will fly off).

When they stop flying, I can help in some way to put their pieces back together again.

DISCERNING when, where, and how, is a gift, and it can be PERCEIVED if I am quiet enough.   

In Isaiah 54 the Bible speaks of the Covenant that God makes with those that love Him.

My favorite verse is #17a KJV – No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.

It does not say there will be no weapon – like depression and sadness, or trauma and PTSD, bad physical or mental health – it says they will not prosper.

Until next time.

Review Your Bubble

Long ago (2016), I wrote a blog post all about living life in a bubble.

You can read it here;

https://significantencounters.com/2016/08/30/living-life-in-a-bubble/

Somewhere in there, was the thought about “Holy discontent”.

Has your discontent caused you to hide in that bubble?

Or has your discontent helped you to find a way out, and on to something new?

And about considering your bubble – Is it a comfy place? Or a prison?

Recognizing the difference is really important.

Here is where we need to be able to discern the difference between hiding,

and simply taking time away to understand where our contentment lies.

Don’t become stuck.

Don’t get too comfy.

Growth and discomfort – they seem to go hand in hand.

Learn from your discontent – it may push you further than you might think possible.

We tend to learn more when the storm is raging – if we don’t hide from it.

Let me encourage you, as I have had to encourage myself, to see your bubble for what it is.

Stay there for as long as is healthy, then,

Step out of it.

See what God has in store for you on the other side.

Screen Life

Late in the Summer, our church always has a huge service/picnic at a local park.

It’s a great opportunity to not only be outside, but to gather together and hang out with other church goers in a way that isn’t always done.

In a word, it’s refreshing.

Here is what I noticed;

Note that the pastors are standing in front of a large screen.

It’s there of course so that folks can see even if they are far away.

Here’s the thing;

Even though I was up close and personal, I still found myself looking at the screen instead of the pastors.

I must admit that I find myself looking at the screen even when we are gathered inside.

While inside in Israel, I found the same thing.

Note that the lovely Jane is also on a screen.

(In my defense I was in the back of the room, and the screen came in very handy)

I’ve since been looking around everywhere I go, and I see the same thing.

I know that you do too.

Screens are predominant.

They are every where, being held by every one.

Look what we are doing here even now, looking at a screen.

It can be said that we are creating relationship, and in a way we are; but there is a large drawback;

I’m speaking for myself when I say this;

It is far easier for me to talk to others, from the other side of a screen.

It’s easier for me to watch a movie or a video than to read a book.

My concentration level has been greatly decreased since the advent of screens everywhere in my life.

So what can we do?

Personally, I have had to say yes to more “Social” things than I have in the past.

Places where I have to leave my phone in my pocket, with the volume turned off.

Places where I am expected to actually speak instead of type.

Photo from Google

Our kids have more screen time than is healthy for them, many are provided with laptops instead of regular books.

Now I don’t mind telling you that sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat!

I do however have training that came from a time BEFORE screen time and 280 character rants.

For this, I am grateful; at least I know it is POSSIBLE to read and write.

This is the only world my grandchildren have ever known.

Looking a screens, speaking in memes and emojis.

Are we spoiling our children’s ability to read, and comprehend?

I have noted, and actually heard it said, that when trying to memorize Bible verses, one can do it much better in an actual Bible than on some kind of device.

Is it like turning off the device turns off your brain as well?

So reading and memorizing is tactile as well as mental?

I gave a postcard to one of my grand daughters after our trip to Israel.

She commented that she could barely read cursive; but just enough to know what I had written on the card.

Do you have any ideas that you would care to share about how you handle screen time in your life and realm?

Please do share with us in the comments any ideas you may have on this topic.

Perhaps we can make a difference here.

Until next time….

Directionally challenged

My Grandpa had this hat.

He was such a card!

“He watched where everyone else was going, and went the other way.”

Mike Rowe

“Half the miles on my truck are from turning around and going the other way.”

Frank Iliff

It’s all fun and games until we’re talking about eternity.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:1


And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28 (ESV)

We get a choice. We get to choose which way we go.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:8-10 (ESV)

I have chosen the scenic route for most of my life.

Yesterday I heard someone say “Give us the hard way and the easy way, and we’ll take the hard way every time.”

He was joking, but he certainly was making a good point.

And why not? The scenic route is also the most informative. (and challenging and difficult) but it is through that route that we learn what does and does not work, and how to go about life in a better way.

If we are a Jesus follower, it is during these times that we find out how strong we can be through Him, and just how close He walks with us if we choose to let Him.

My encouragement to you is this; when eternity is at stake, to choose wisely.

When the end is here, that choice is all that matters.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

Until next time.

Make a Moment

What state do you find yourself in these days?

I don’t mean like the state of Iowa or California, or Indiana.

I mean in your heart and your mind.

Truthfully, I find my self in a state of holy dissatisfaction.

I call it holy because I believe it is God ordained.

At times, the only way I can be convinced to move forward!

Commercials do it all the time!

They convince us how dissatisfied we are with a given product on a given day, so that we will move on out and purchase their products.

Holy dissatisfaction = displeasure, discontent, disappointment, unhappiness, frustration.  

My previous post I wrote about Cave Dwelling.

This post is more about what pushes us into and/or out of that cave.

Don’t get me wrong.

Contact is fine, that leaving the cave.

But in truth, it isn’t always energizing, and sometimes it’s simply exhausting.

People can be loud.

People can be out of order.

People and be stinky and ill mannered.

(And maybe they think I am all of those things!)

People, like myself, are just trying to get back to their caves.

When it comes down to it, the reality is that people are not noticing the people and things around them that have nothing to do with their day, unless they happen to get in their way.

We’re all just trying to return to our cave dwellings.

We live all together, yet alone.

In other words, you really can get too much of a good thing.

Too much time presiding contentedly in our caves can indeed become excessive (or obsessive) to the point of being “too much of a good thing”.

It can turn us into self centered persons, who are really unappealing.

This condition I’ve found in myself has caused in me something I will call “Holy dissatisfaction“, here is an example;

-I have a favorite shirt. I wear it all the time. It starts out pristine. It becomes comfortable. After time it begins to break down. It becomes threadbare. It no longer serves its purpose, “dissatisfaction”, has been achieved, and the shirt must be replaced. I get to choose at this point whether to replace it or not. If I don’t, it will further disintegrate, causing sadness and possible regret for me not being able to make the change. If I venture out for a new shirt, I may find that there are others out there that I can enjoy just as much.-

Seeking out others can be loud, and messy, and exhausting; but isn’t that what we’re here to do? Reach out to others?

  • What if I see out and about in town today, and I manage to “get in your way”?
  • What if I greet you pleasantly instead of growling?
  • What if I can help you reach that item high on the shelf?
  • What if I let you in on that line of traffic, or buy your coffee in the drive thru?
  • What if I could give you just one good thing to smile about today?

It really wouldn’t cost me much of anything extra.

That would create a wonderful moment for each of us.

But I had to leave my “Cave” in order to make that happen.

So let me encourage you – Make a moment. Make two.

Heck, let’s make it a habit!

Making moments until next time.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20 (ESV)

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 (ESV)

Cave Dweller

I’m a “Cave Dweller”. I love being at home, in my “Cave” while communing with God and His creation.

Quiet. Blue Sky. Green Earth. Ever changing seasons.

Communing = to experience a deep emotional or spiritual relationship with something.

Now cave dwelling is fine for a season, but it may be time to get out of here for a while.

I can argue that God has provided me with a pretty cool cave, and that I am comfy here.

To which I hear, “Comfy is what you come back to, to rest. But to come back, you have to leave first.”

I once used my 400 pound Strong’s Concordance, (remember those?) to research all that the Bible said about caves.

Caves were used for many, many things. Living, storage, hiding, burial…..

I did find that my self imposed solitude can turn into loneliness and isolation.

Here is where I find myself, one more time.

It is again time to transition to level-up.

An upgrade, if you will.

There is a growing “Holy dissatisfaction”.

It comes from learning the new thing, leveling up, upgrading; learning a new thing, and then getting really comfortable with it.

I believe the “Holy dissatisfaction” comes from knowing your subject, or in my case, where you are, so well that it is no longer a challenge.

If I am happy with that, then I can never grow or change, or become different or better than I currently am.

To find out what that is, there are a few things that I require myself to do;

  • Set aside an early morning time to get quiet – before the day begins calling my name
  • Revamp my schedule to have a few quiet, listening breaks during the day. (He’s always speaking, I’m just not always listening.)
  • Read biography’s. Stories of people in history or culture that I admire can be helpful to me to see more possibilities
  • Leave my house; go places, see things, meet people, enjoy creation.
  • Take a breath. Then another. Then another. Consciously.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12 (ESV)

Here is hoping that my ramblings may open up new thoughts and possibilities.

Until next time – Do something different!