Tag Archive | Personal

Let's Begin With a Cliché

I know its cliché , going into the year 2020 seeking “New Vision”.

But seriously, at least for me, that’s a pretty important thing.

Some things I’m pretty clear on, while other things are as clear as mud.

I have found that if I divide my life into sections, and deal with reach separately, I can get to a pretty clear conclusion.

Then, by adding all of the conclusions together, I can come up with a plan to make things happen.

Anyway, what are those sections?

1A Personal, which involves spiritual and physical self care.

1B Personal, which involves writing, photography

2A WorkCorporate, which involves working with local, state, and regional members in a group that I’ve been in for twenty years.

2B  WorkVolunteer – as a member for the non-profit that my husband operates.

2C Work – As in home

3. Relationships – both personal and corporate.

1. Personal care, has taken much time in scripture, as well as just being quiet; settling down the recalcitrant child inside.

It has also taken much time with dealing with past traumas and dramas; airing them out, painfully I might add, going through them one by one, and asking God about the truth in each one.

It’s odd how we can see things so differently than they actually were.   

The personal work, the “Inside job” has been a real treat for me.

It has suited my introverted parts really well.

Although admittedly, there were times I just wanted to cry.  

It has taken a long time to change the filters, but I can see much more clearly now.  

The second part of personal care, the physical part, has involved being in an exercise class for the past nine years.

There have been times I had to drag my sorry butt to that class kicking and screaming, but all the while knowing that if I didn’t, I would turn in to a pile of dust.

Writing all the time is a good thing, sitting around without moving, can be deadly.

2. For personal work on an actual work level, as in day to day work; I have spent very few dollars through the years on education after high school.

I’ve been self taught on pretty much everything.

On marriage, on parenting, on keeping a home, on running a business, on spiritual matters (dealing with the trauma and the drama).

Since about 2012 or so, I’m being self taught on writing and photography.

Slow and steady wins the race, and tenacity gets you there eventually.

Honestly, 2B  (Work – corporate) can really give me fits, and it has, for as long as I’ve held the position I have.

To be totally truthful, this section has eluded me for the last several years, but every year I face it again.

I found out just this morning that this year I’ll have some help, so moving through this section can begin in earnest.

I have told myself that when others are in the mix, things can’t always be the way you want them.

That is only partly true.

Yes others being involved is a thing, but I’ve come to know that timing is an important factor as well.

What if, perhaps, I thought I had it all together before?

And it wasn’t the right time, and things still didn’t work out, or they worked out poorly, and some of the nuances would get lost in the shuffle.

(Can’t be losing those nuances!)

To be sure, there would be things learned from the experience, but there is also much to be learned through tenacity, and holding on – being a necessary place holder.

2C (Working – volunteering with my husband’s non-profit) is always a work in progress; constantly growing and changing.

3. Relationships are interesting because we need to find out why we respond the way we do to others, and what makes them respond to us the way they do?

When we figure that out, we can find that those relationships may or may not work out, and that’s OK.

We can move on, or we can make different decisions on how we deal with them from that point.  

Making the time to get to know one another is essential.

Often I find if I have an adverse response to someone first off, when I take the time to engage with them, I find that we have something for each other.

There are times when this doesn’t happen.

Sometimes what they, or I, carry on the inside of us, just doesn’t mesh, no harm, no foul.

If we didn’t take that time, we would never know which way it might turn out. 

So to summarize what’s worked for me;

I begin with a visit each of my sections, thinking them through, analyzing each, and where they are at this time.

Each year begins at a spot further down the road than last year.

Then what it really boils down to scheduling, (then keeping the schedule).

I literally have an Excel sheet divvied up by half hours for each week.

This works for me!

I can give as little or as much as each one needs.  

This is not to say that just because it is on the sheet it is carved in stone, (stuff happens) but it is to say that I DO have a certain time allotted to do each thing.

There are days I throw the schedule to the wind, and do something else, but never more than one day in a row.

Doing nothing isn’t on the list, but it should be.

Sometimes taking a nap IS the best use of your time.

But for me, more than one day is how bad habits start.

It’s easier to get OFF the path than back on it again.

I hope that you have found this helpful.

Do you have anything to add?

Please do so in the comments.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here’ to 2020 vision! …

What's grabbing You?

Who are you quoting?

What thoughts are you having?

What life are you living?

“We go where we look” Tim McGraw

“If you build it, he will come.” Kevin Costner

“Inside of me there are two dogs. One is mean and evil and the other is good and they fight each other all the time. When asked which one wins I answer, the one I feed the most.” Sitting Bull

“If you feed them they will come” Bruce Martin – About church functions.

We’ve all heard these kinds of sayings.

Do we take them seriously?

Probably, but only for a moment.

Then our usual habits sneak back in, and we find ourselves doing the same things over and over again.

It takes some real tenacity to continue on the road to success; whatever you deem that success to be.

What I’m about to share with you is basically the same thing.

Whatever you give you time to, helps to create who you are.

So with the next two quotes, I’ll give you my personal recommendation.

These two ideas were placed in my head several years ago, (2008?) they grabbed me, and have had me ever since.

This is not to say that I get them right all of the time, but it is to say that I have found them tremendously helpful.

The person speaking was Graham Cooke.

First; “If you don’t like the thought you’re having, then have another thought.”

Second; “Opposition attaches itself to what you do not remove.”

So how does this removal work?

How can I do that?

By reinventing your walk in the Fruit of the Spirit.

People spend copious amounts of time trying to reinvent themselves, only to find themselves the same, or worse than they were before.

Only by REMOVING the old thoughts, can the new ones take over.

I refer you to the Holy Bible,  Galatians 5.

The whole chapter is enlightening, but I point you to verse 22-23 which says; But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Against such things there is no law; simply means you can’t go wrong!

This means to me that there is great power in these fruits.

So here’s the thing;

If in your life you are seeing the opposite; hatred, bitterness, anger, strife, jealousy,

(The list is long I suppose, and different for each of us.)

then I would encourage you to choose the “Fruit” that is opposite of your issue, and

“Have another thought”.

Look where you’re going.

Feed the right thing.

Build a place inside you where the “Fruit” can be attracted to and grow.

Feed the right things – and more will begin to appear in your mind and in your heart.

One last quote;

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet, and the books you read.” Charlie Tremendous Jones

I encourage you to choose your reading, your friends, and your thinking wisely.

It makes all the difference.

Until next time.

**http://Grit & Grace: Train the Mind, Train the Body, Own Your Life; by Tim McGraw

** Kevin Costner as Ray – Field of Dreams – 1989.

Are You Hearing Voices?

I’ve gotten out of the habit of hearing His voice.

I have some questions here;

First of all – Who is “He”?

Nehemiah 9:6 from the Holy Bible says this; “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

If that’s the case, and I believe it is, then that is a voice I really want to hear!

Why do I want to hear His voice?

Beginning to hearing His voice, for me anyway, began with an intense longing inside of me to find out what more there could possibly be to my life.

You know, the life that goes through the same cycles of disbelief, low self esteem, caring so much what others think, at my own expense.

Expensive, because the voices I was hearing were telling me just how worthless I was. I had a longing to hear just one good thing about myself that I could hang my hat on. Something I could believe and hold on to.

That longing wanted to know who I was; all the while knowing that I could believe a lie, just as easily as I could believe the truth.

To avoid the lie, I had to find the right voice. There are cacophonies of voices out there just trying to be heard. Which one is the right one?

I believe it’s the maker of heaven and earth!

How do you hear His voice in the first place?

In order to sort through that longing, there has to be quiet.

Now MY quiet, will likely be different than yours.

When I want to get to this place of hearing, I require three things.

  1. Absolute quiet.
  2. My Bible.  
  3. A pad of paper and a writing utensil.

The absolute quiet is to get my mind off of everything that distracts. Even lovely music can be distracting. (I’m finding that now even while writing this)

I need my Bible. It has a great concordance (an alphabetical list of the words present in a text, usually with citations of the passages concerned.) in the back, so I can look up scripture by words or topics. I can search out any topic that is on my heart.

Then I can meditate on this word.

This meditation is not the same as emptying the space between my ears. Instead, it fills up all the empty space inside, by telling me the truth; about me, about God, about my life; past, present and future.

The pad of paper? My brain is notorious for running me off in a different direction while I’m trying to concentrate on being quiet. Anything that pops into my head and interrupts gets written down.

It’s safe on that paper, I won’t forget. I’ll pick it up later.

It’s calming, when you know you won’t forget every little nuance at it passes by your brain.

How do you continue to hear His voice?

I hear his voice by being quiet enough to let the words I’ve read roll around in my heart and mind.

I let them roll until they make sense. Until they become real to me.

I really dislike the way the word meditation is used in some forums. I’m speaking of the meditation on God’s word, and what it means to me. Not meditation that is emptying my mind. That is a whole different thing.

Instead, I prefer a meditation that asks; What do these words say? What do they mean to me? How can I put them into practice?

Once you have hear His voice, you will recognize it when you hear it again. John 10:27 says clearly; My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Wow. He knows me – I want to know His voice!

How do you get back to it again after being away?

The dangerous part is in the drifting away. You release the habit for a day, and then a week, and then a month. No big, drastic changes.

You still hear His voice. But here’s the catch; after a month, the voice gets quieter, and you realize (maybe) that you have been going on memory, and that you haven’t “heard” anything new for quite some time.

Memory, like muscles, can get flat after periods of not being used.

Notice, the first thing I said was that it is a habit. It is most definitely a habit.

The first step to take is to get back to your DAILY reading. It need not be chapter upon chapter. Just a few paragraphs maybe.

We used to have a pastor who told us to “Read till you burn.” That sounds funny coming from a pastor, whose job is to insure that you don’t burn 🙂

But what he was trying to tell us, was that we needed to read the word until something came alive in our heart; until our heart caught that spark.

When that happens – You’re hearing God’s voice. He is speaking to you.

I’ve read the same thing several times over my lifetime, and then one time I will read it, and it is like the words jumped right off the page.

They bring something to life in me. They spark a realization in me about _________________! Whatever it is I’m reading about.

When I begin to roll those verses around in my heart and mind, they become a part of me. My soul and my spirit; my insides; are renewed. I can see an action that needs to be taken, or a mind set that needs to be tweeked.

James 1:22-25 (ICB) says this; Do what God’s teaching says; do not just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. A person who hears God’s teaching and does nothing is like a man looking in a mirror. He sees his face, then goes away and quickly forgets what he looked like. But the truly happy person is the one who carefully studies God’s perfect law that makes people free. He continues to study it. He listens to God’s teaching and does not forget what he heard. Then he obeys what God’s teaching says. When he does this, it makes him happy.

This quiet time, this hearing His voice; it gives me peace, and it carries with me throughout my days.

It makes it so that even the harshest of circumstances can be faced with some sort of calm, peace and joy.

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.

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

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