Posted in Thankful

Thankful Thursday – Post 3

My gratitude list this week is all about my weekend.

I am thankful for a busy, crazy, but fulfilling weekend. I’m grateful I could be a part of helping to transfer this room from this …

to this …

Love all the green flowers

The candles on the fireplace

A few of the 80 jars of flowers used

I love flowers and eons ago, I took a floral design class, so it was put to use helping with the decorations at a friend’s daughter’s wedding. (See her professional wedding pics here.)

Beautiful Women!
Mother-of-the-bride ~ Bride ~ Sister-of-the-bride

Couldn’t have done it without the help of this man – Thanks Jerry!

And this woman – Thanks Patsy!
Our emo bathroom mirror shot … taken after the work was finished and we had about 30 minutes to change before the ceremony.
Love her place cards.

The wedding favors were a jar of home-canned pickles in
memory of the bride’s grandmother.

I’m thankful for friends, a helpful husband, flowers, beauty and new beginnings.

Your turn – what are you thankful for?

Photos courtesy of Linda Wingard and Patsy Horning
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Posted in Uncategorized

Less is More

Too often we all want more. I want more, you want more. We think if we had more, then life would be good.

More stuff, more money, more coffee, more time, more, more

So we have supersize, timesaving, credit cards, huge closets/garages and storage bins.

Are we happy?

Echoesphoto © 2009 Pascal Champagne | more info(via: Wylio)

 

No … because less is more.

Some of us don’t believe that for one second. Others think there is something to it, but change is hard, so we keep gathering more. Some of us think it might be true, but haven’t tried it enough to really believe it. Others know it’s true, but find it hard to make it our lifestyle.

I know it’s true — less really is more — and I want to live that way.

I have lived with the less is more attitude and it was so freeing. In ’03 we sold our business, house and property. We bought a motorhome and packed it with essentials for a year-long roadtrip around the country. The rest of our stuff we stored in my mother-in-law’s extra garage. I did not want to store junk, so as I packed the boxes, I asked myself one question. “Will I be happy to see this when I unpack this box?”

If the answer was not a resounding “Yes!” … I did not pack it. I gave it away or threw it away.

It was a freeing process and when we moved into another house after the trip, it was a joy to only unpack things I wanted.

I thought I would continue with that mentality, but over the past few years, clutter has crept into my life again. Now I’m making a concentrated effort to live with less again. I want my whole life to be less cluttered, but my focus at first will be stuff. Every time I plan to buy something, I will stop and ask … do I really need this? Why? Could I live without it?

How do you feel about less is more? Do you think that is true? And do you live that way?

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Posted in Thankful

Thankful Thursday – Post 2

It’s Thankful Thursday again.

I couldn’t see anything to be thankful for during my depression two to three years post-accident. It took me awhile to go down into that dark, bottomless pit (my stubbornness managed to ward it off for a time) but when I went down, it was ugly/overwhelming/lonely — how many miserable adverbs do you need?

Nothing was right with me or with the world.

I had lost the me I knew before and I didn’t like the new me.

So what was there to be grateful for?!

With help from counselors, mentors and books I learned how to let go of expectations and find joy living in the moment. Slowly I crawled out of that pit. One thing I did that helped was write a list of things I still had to be thankful for.

I never want to go back into that pit, so I will continue to write list of thanks. Every Thursday. Here. Just for you.

This week I am thankful for:

  • A weekend of laughs, sun, friends and fun at a Hot Air Balloon, Wine & Music Festival.

  • For a neighbor that texted me to come taste-test pumpkin bread she was making. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it …

  • Enjoying a movie I watched with my high school senior. A movie that I thought would bore me still has me thinking.

  • Books. I have (at least) four going right now — Snow Day by Billy Coffey and Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist and Razing Hell by Sharon L. Baker and The Necklace by by Cheryl Jarvis.

  • Seth Godin, who writes a great blog post everyday. (how does he do it?)

  • Your turn – what are you thankful for?

    Posted in Blog Carnival

    Condemn Dragons or Get to Know Them?

    I participate in a Blog Carnival bi-weekly. Today’s word is condemnation. What! Why? I was thinking I’ll skip this week, because I didn’t feel like writing about condemnation.

    But then a dragon came to my rescue.

    Yes, a dragon.

    Dragons usually aren’t a part of my life. I grew up in a strict Pennsylvania Dutch world and there are no dragons in that world. They are much too sensible for make-believe — it’s all about hard work. Along with being PA Dutch, my family was super-traditional Mennonite, so there was no TV, radio or fairy tales. Therefore no dragon had ever rescued me before … but that all changed last night.

    The story begins with my high-school senior having the flu and a new movie.

    He has always liked dragons (I left the boxes of my childhood, so make-believe has been a part of his world) and after seeing a scene of “How To Train Your Dragon” play at Wal-mart, he promptly bought it. (this time I’m glad he forgot about all my advice not to spend money impulsively)

    Yesterday he was home from school with the flu and asked if I wanted to watch the movie with him. A cartoon movie about dragons on a Monday afternoon? No, not really. That’s what I thought, but did not said … even when my childhood tried to rear its head and remind me that I should be working.

    I settled in to learn how to train a dragon (expecting to be bored, so I kept my laptop close by)

    The vikings had been at war with the dragons for years. The viking’s goal was to eliminate all the dragons and live in peace. Over the years hundreds of viking and thousands of dragons had been killed. The vikings weren’t any closer to winning than before … but each generation was sure they would be the one to solve their pesky dragon problem.

    All viking children heard endless stories about the dangers of dragons and knew dragons were condemned to die, so they eagerly went to dragon-fighting school hoping to become a hero by slaying the most dragons.

    This was a problem for adorable young Hiccup. He would rather draw or go for walks than hurt anything. Actually he couldn’t hurt anything even if he tried. He got weak all over and his knees buckled under him. He tried to be mean and tough like the other kids … but he never succeeded.

    But he had no choice since his dad was a leader in the community and expected his son to become a great viking. So dragon-fighting school it was. The boys and girls (yes, this was an equal-opportunity dragon-fighting school) mocked him. The teacher (who had both a hook arm and a peg leg) had to save him from the mouth of dragons more than once.

    After an embarrassing day – with the teacher annoyed, his dad angry and his friends laughing at him – he escaped to the woods berating himself for being a wimp.

    As cartoon movie fate would dictate, he met an injured dragon in the woods that day. Through a series of fumbling, bumbling events, Toothless and him became friends. (by now my laptop was closed)

    Hiccup realized that dragons weren’t vicious — they were only aggressive because their lives were constantly threaten by the Vikings. Once he took the time to get to know a dragon (which no one had ever done before) he knew they shouldn’t be condemned to die.

    First he shared his secret with a friend (the girl that he admired) and then he risked his own life to show everyone else that dragons are cool.

    He became a hero and now all the children have dragons as pets and everyone lives happily ever after … because once you really know a dragon (instead of just knowing handed-down information and oft-repeated stories) it’s much harder to condemn them.

    Are there any dragons in your world that you should get to know instead of condemning?

     

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Chilean Miners and Unplanned Events

    The news about the Chilean miners being rescued has been everywhere. As it should be, because it is an amazing story.

    On August 5th there’s a collapse in a Chilean mine … 33 men don’t make it out.

    Some put crosses at the mine entrance assuming the men didn’t survived. But the people in charge send probes down through solid rock where there is a shelter that the men could be … if they survived.

    On August 22nd (17 days after the collapse) the probe reaches the ‘room’ – 1/2 mile deep in the mine. The rescues think they feel a tug. They pull the probe up and celebrations begin when they see a note tied to it.

    “All 33 of us are well inside the shelter.”

    Two more probes reach the men … now they have three routes for communication, ventilation and transferring food/supplies.

    The men had made their three-day emergency supply rations last more than 17 days while they waited in those dark, hot, damp tunnels. I assume they prayed/screamed/cursed/cried as they wondered what their future held.

    But in the midst of the unknown they got to work … dividing themselves into three groups. Each working eight-hour shifts on chores such as cleaning, clearing debris, measuring oxygen levels and reinforcing mine walls. And they set up an exercise program.

    Think about all the dynamics is this story …

    • The rescuers spending endless money/time/energy sending probes down with no idea if the men lived and/or if they would reach them.
    • The miners accepting the reality that the collapse blocked their only way out.
    • Rationing their supplies … even though they had no idea if/when they’d be found.
    • 17 days of no communication with the outside world.
    • 33 men — that’s 33 different ideas on how to survive this unplanned ordeal, yet they seemed to agree on the essentials.
    • Knowing exercise would help them … body, mind and spirit.
    • Praying
    • Not depending on prayer alone to save them, but …

    Doing what they could, with what they had, where they were! - Teddy Roosevelt

    I think both God and Teddy are proud of them … as is the rest of the world. Watching them being rescued after 69 days was priceless. Think of what all you did and where you’ve gone since Aug 5th … kind of takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

    So how do you and I react when an unplanned event/obstacle seems to block our only way forward?

    Posted in Thankful

    Thankful Thursday

    A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues. – Cicero

    I believe this quote by Cicero and I like to be thankful during both the ups and downs of life. But sometimes I forget (when my crappy self takes over) so over the years I’ve discovered writing a gratitude list is good. Sometimes I write it daily, sometimes it goes months between them.

    In the spirit of trying to be the same person online as offline, I decided since it’s a part of my world, I will include it in my blogging world. Plus then I’d do it weekly, because my blog will hold me accountable.

    Each Thursday I will do a Thankful Thursday post of things I was aware of throughout the week that I’m thankful for. And I’d love to have you add your voice in the comments by listing something you’re thankful for.

    This week I am thankful for:

    • Biking through fall leaves – Though I dread the upcoming winter, fall in southeast PA is gorgeous.
    • Blogs – Yes, I can waste too much time reading blogs, but they sure have expanded my world.
    • Dream Year – The coaching program I’m involved with this year that is helping me move forward in my speaking/writing goals. Info here. You (yes, you) could apply for 2011.
    • Healed foot – My foot I injured in August has healed and I was able to do a 5K on Sunday.
    • Catalog Living – For the laughs.
    • Another Birthday – Yes, I’m odd, but I value my birthdays, since my 38th one was almost my last one here on this third rock from the sun.

    .

    Your turn – what are you thankful for?

    Someone To Talk To

    There are many, many people that have helped me in life. One in particular is ‘Saint’ Audrey. I have to use the single quotations because she will protest saint. (which tells you something about her already)

    Audrey doesn’t have an official title in a church or an organization, but she has mentored many women in various seasons of life … whether it’s through a crisis or boring mundane times of life.

    Audrey’s path and mine intertwined after she sought me out at church and wondered how I was doing.

    “Recovering,” I answered flatly. I was in the middle of major physical recoveries after horrific injuries from an accident had changed my life.

    She read between the lines, “how’s the rest of you doing — your mind and spirit?”

    I mumbled something about being fine, then paused. The emotional and spiritual trauma of adjusting to a new normal was tougher than I ever imagined it would be.

    “Would you like someone to talk to?” She asked.

    “Yes!”

    She heard the desperation in my response and invited me over the following day. That started weekly visits that saved me. Saved me from myself. From stuffing my true feelings and pretending all was okay, when it wasn’t. Saved me from making some bad decisions when my anger at my husband, others and God threaten to explode.

    One freeing thing she told me was that being angry is okay. Feeling all my feelings is okay! It’s what I did with them that mattered.

    Audrey was God’s ears and voice for me repeatedly. Not that she told me how to live or what to do. She did the exact opposite.

    She listened.

    She asked questions to make sure she understood my (rambling) train of thought. She gave me books to read and quotes/verses to think about. She encouraged me to be still.

    To ponder. To pray. She trusted me to hear from God.

    Though we don’t connect regularly anymore, she still occasionally sends me a note or a Facebook message (That’s another thing I love about her — over 50 ;) and still learning new things!)

    Audrey — I appreciate you!

    PS. I’ve also written about Audrey here (on my old blog)
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    Posted in Uncategorized

    Need to Run …

    For the past seventeen years running has helped keep me sane — except for four years from ’04 to ’08 when ‘a few small’ injuries prevented me from running.

    It’s been rewarding (and sometimes painful) to get back to running the past two years. But along the way, I remembered why I ran pre-accident. I love being outdoors. I love running alone and I love running with others. I love the feeling of accomplishment at making my body work. I love to eat, so running counterbalances that. I like the way it clears my head. The running high truly is my prozac.

    Then in August I bruised an old injury, so the past few months I couldn’t run. I filled in with some other exercises, but only got back to running two weeks ago.

    Yesterday I (#1597) ran/walked a 5k with a few friends. It was so good to be back. The weather was perfect. I felt terrific. And I realized (again) how much I need running to keep me sane.

    I can’t deny it (and my husband confirms it) I am easier to live with if I run regularly. And I like myself better. It balances my body, mind and spirit. As my body works, my mind and spirit sort out life’s issues. (Which helps restrain me from writing angry posts/status/tweets about the fact that certain people call yoga demonic. Do you have any idea how vital yoga/stretching/therapy have been to my recovery?)

    Running helps make me – me.

    I feel more fully alive when running is a part of my world.

    Running is what works for me, for you it might be something totally different, but I assume we all need something.

    What balances your body, mind and spirit? What makes you easier to live with? What’s the thing that helps makes you – you?

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Sunday Saying – My Life On The Run

    Today’s saying is about running because I am doing the Reading Hospital and Medical Center 5K this morning at 9AM with a few friends.

    Recently, I’ve read Bart Yasso’s book My Life On The Run. He autographed it with a popular saying of his, “Never limit where running can take you.”

    In the opening chapter he writes, Running may be the connective tissue but the true essence of the sport is a passage to a bigger world. So open the door and run through. Just don’t be surprised if you arrive in a place you only dreamed existed.

    If you don’t run, apply this saying to whatever sport/craft/art/trade/dream that helps make you feel alive. For me that is running – running makes me feel fully alive.

    What do you do (or dream of doing) that makes you feel fully alive?

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Time To Laugh – #3

    Happy Friday!

    No laughing (or even smiling) when you watch this.

    What have you seen or heard this week that has made you laugh?