Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tea Cup Exchange

Hello!  I am so excited to share of a wonderful Tea Cup exchange I got to participate in.  Below is the amazing gift I got from Denise.  She was so thoughtful and I love all the wonderful things.

Tea Cup Exchange hosted by The Enchanting Rose

This is the 10th annual Tea Cup exchange and though I had just heard about it, it was so much fun.  I shopped for the woman to receive my gift at the local antique shop.  The ladies there were so excited I had 3 of them hunting for a small silver spoon and doilies.  They even let me in before they were open, to help me hunt!

I must say, my favorite is the book Tea Time with God.  It is all about an afternoon break, with God, and resting and rejuvenating before the evening hours.  The amazing teacup and tea have been a wonderful treat to use while reading it.

And you see those cute note cards...she made them! WOW!

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I love the idea of a teacup exchange, even if it's with someone at church or a couple neighbors.  I'm learning that women don't give themselves "permission" to enjoy the little things in life, like a beautiful tea cup and a quiet moment with God.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Cutivating Happiness

In recent days I am reading "The Joy of Living" by Orison Marden and the chapter that has caught my attention is called Happiness can be Cultivated.

I am so moved by this that I have pondered a lot about what he writes and am starting to put this into practice.  I have already seen a difference.  Let me share a bit with you.

Early on in the chapter Mr. Marden writes: One of the most difficult lessons of life is to learn that we are largely the product of our thought.  This got me to thinking of the phrase I've heard "Change your thoughts and you change your life" and "Changed attitudes can aid recovery".  Mr. Marden goes on to talk about how the brain CAN change.  Even if we were brought up with "stinkin thinkin" as I like to call it, we can practice and choose to look for the positive or happiness in daily events.

It's hard, no doubt.  But possible.

I love this thought that Mr Marden writes:

 "It is a curious fact that most people think that while they are obliged to spend many years preparing for and developing a specialty in there careers, happiness, which means more to them than almost anything else, should be a haphazard development that it should come with practically no training, no special study, while everything else in life is worth while requires such infinite pains.

It is a great thing so to cultivate the art of happiness that we can get pleasure of the common experiences of every today.  The happiness habit is just as necessary to our best welfare as the work habit or the honesty habit."

The habit of complaining, criticizing, grumbling, or wallowing is unfortunate.  And while most naturally tend to lean on the negative, it is of great virtue to practice looking for the blessings and happiness in things.

Our hearts get lifted and before we know it, happiness is the product of our work.

Today, as I said, I am practicing this.  We lost our beloved little dog Koda 2 weeks ago, and the same day my husband injured his back.  Now, with my physical healing still and limits, this was a lot to take in. I found myself over tired, overwhelmed and sadness kept trying to take over.  I found myself in sweats and wanting to give in to the sadness.

Then I read this chapter.  Um, finding happiness?? In the loss of my dog, and my husband injuring his back (and I had to drive all the time for about a week).  I struggled, so I turned to my husband and asked.  How? How do you do this?

My husbands says "Well, Koda is not in pain anymore.  He was very ready to go.  And my back, well, I get the chance to live a much slower pace of life and give praise to God for the days when my back is great.  There are many people who live with this."

I was stumped. Why couldn't I see that?  So I have made it my work.  To cultivate happiness.

Today I found I was in a lot of pain and wanted to stay in sweats all day. I did too much yesterday and my body is letting me know it. (Also learning to cultivate a slower pace of life)  But as I lay there resting, all I could think of was a pact I made with myself.  No sweats or lounge clothes from lunch on.  No matter what.  I am to get dressed and do something that makes me feel pretty.

Wow! What a shift in my thinking and attitude!  I immediately got up, showered, dressed, did my hair, and even a spritz of my new favorite perfume. And with it I have been able to look for the happiness in my pain and discomfort.

Making lunch for my husband and me.
You see, in my change of clothes, my thinking started changing and rather than focus on what I can't do or how much pain I'm in, I have been practicing looking for what I can do.  Like practice my new hobby of silk ribbon embroidery, or read the rest of this chapter, or sketch out some ideas of craft projects I am wanting to make, or even get the little crochet Easter baskets done for my grandkids.

I see happy faces in the oddest places, but they always make me smile.

You see, I could cultivate happiness.  But it starts with making the choice.  For me, today, that choice was to stick to my pact of no sweats by lunch.  (I usually change after my walking in the morning) And always make sure the laundry is hung to dry by lunch.  If I do those 2 things, it shifts my attitude.

We almost have a duty to ourselves, to our spouse, to our kids, but most of all to God to cultivate happiness.  To find ways to chase off the negative and give Him praise for all His gifts.

I will close by this quote from Abraham Lincoln (who I have learned in recent years is a relative!)

                "Most people are only as happy as they make up their minds to be" 

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Whatever is pure, lovely and true

Seeking shelter from the rain. 

"What danger is there if you don't think of any?" Thoreau

I have been pondering this for days.  I am working my way, slowly, through Walden and I came upon this.  He was speaking of those who worry.  Worry about sickness, worry about others...what ever we may think of that is not right now.

If we don't think on those things, we can change our thinking to "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure and whatever is lovely." Phil. 4:8

Think about that for a moment. I have.  What ever my mind is on, what ever future worry or future conversation, or whatever is not right a worry.  And I am missing what is happening right now.

Thoreau's writings on being present to what is going on right now, the sun rays through the trees, the visitor that happens to drop by.  He is present in that moment.

As my journey to listening to Him and "balance" continues, I am learning to be in this moment.  To be mindful of my thoughts and to practice or choose to think on those things that are pure, lovely and true.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Enough hours in the day

I have been thinking a lot lately about the Scripture verse in John 11:9 "Are there not 12 hours in a day?"

Though He was using it in a different context, God put this on my heart for a reason.  I tend to try to squish 20 hrs in my "12 hour day".  And as a result have struggled with adrenal and hormonal imbalances.

You see, I have learned that even though we may not have physical stresses, we can create them in our mind.  Pushing ourselves to do more, getting that checklist done, rushing here and there.  Truly though,  we don't get anymore accomplished and we are actually harming ourselves physically and emotionally.

Lydia of HomeLiving often writes on the need to do some work, but just as important is to take time to rest and rejuvenate.  As women we have a lot on our plates.  It almost becomes imperative that we do take the time to rest and rejuvenate, each day.

For example, I can create a "perfect" schedule that I can accomplish all the things I want done that day at home, an errand or event at church, and try to cook 3x that day.  At the end of the day, where does that leave me when my husband gets off work.  I'm exhausted, grumpy, and really not interested in him or his day.  How does that help me, or my marriage?

Yesterday the Lord put the hours of the day subject on my heart again.  I am seeing how much I try to force me will into the day and hardly have time to "listen" to Him and see where He wants my attention and work.

A daily reader I use says this:   "We forget we need deal with only one day at a time, and try to crowd too much into the waking hours of that day - or we even extend it beyond the point of weariness."  Later it speaks of living in the 12 hours we are given, slowing our pace and, this part I love, "If I am under pressure and setting myself deadlines ...I will stop and think, for this one day what can I do."

This too was a recent addition to this insight: Chinese medicine says we should live according to the day given, the seasons.  Rising with the sunrise and resting when the sun goes down.

All of these are really causing me too look at all the things I try to get done, according to my will.  And seeing how I feel at the end of the day, how my body reacts to such constant stresses.  As a homemaker, I joke that I am busier now than I was when I worked full time!  How true, but a shame.

When I worked long hours I used to dream of keeping a tidy home, decorating, a nice simple meal set at a table with a pretty place setting and being happy, dressed with feminine flare, and a smile when my husband came home.  As soon as I started making a schedule that was too full, I lost that.  All of it.

I'm not saying don't make a schedule, they are invaluable to me.  I'm saying God gave us 12 hours to do work and be active, the other times are meant for resting and rejuvenation.  Quiet time reading a book with my husband reading his book is an amazing way to end the day. Or he watches football to unwind and I do some crafting.

Just two nights ago my husband shared all the "things" he got done that day, and while he got a lot done he felt frazzled and was looking forward to down time.  Thank goodness I had dinner done and I too was needing quiet time.

Changing my thinking, changes my choices in my day. Another tip I've learned from Lydia is to make a list, just a few things, get them done before lunch, then I have the afternoon to myself.  That is what I try to do.  That gives me a chance to rest in the afternoon and do something that lifts my heart.  Like tea time with a pretty cup and snack!

I'm seeing that so many things I want done, really don't need done, I just want it that way.  Is it worth the stress on my body? Is it worth loosing my peace and my smile over?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Light in the midst of Winter

Today I want to write about a neat idea that relates to Christmas.  Christmas is traditionally right around the Winter Solstice. The time of year that is the darkest and cold.  Seems awfully dismal.

Yet when we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate Jesus' birth, the Light of the world.  The One who brings promise and love beyond our imagination.  He IS the Light of all. How appropriate then, that Christmas (the Light) is near the Winter Solstice (the darkest day).  Jesus is our Light in our darkest times and our coldest times.

Now, growing up, the weekend after Christmas we took down decorations and the house was empty.  After all the beauty and twinkle lights for weeks, gone.  Blank. Empty.  Right after we just celebrated one of the two most important holidays of the year.

Several years ago it was brought to my attention about the 12 days of Christmas.  These days are the days FOLLOWING Christmas.  They go to Jan 6th when the Epiphany is celebrated, also known as the day the Three Kings came.

The continued celebration (hundreds of years ago) went until Feb. 2nd. Traditionally known as Candlemas or the Presentation of the Lord.  The day He was presented to the temple. The day Mary would have completed the required time for Purification (Old testament) after giving birth.

We have in the past left our decorations up until Feb 2nd.  But I am WAY over all the decorations for that long.

I have found a new way to celebrate the Light of Christ coming during this long winter.  We take down everything except the white twinkle lights on the tree.  You can see from the picture, no decorations, just the tree.

It is so bright and cheery every night to turn on.  This is something I enjoy and so does my husband.  We will leave it up until Feb 2nd.

Then on Feb 2nd, Candlemas, we have beeswax candles (or any candles if available) blessed...enough for the year, and each night during dinner we light it. As  a reminder that Christ is our light and we give thanks.  The candle is worked into what ever table decoration we already have, or one I create.

It is such a joyous time.

I share this as a way to bring joy and light to the home in the midst of what we hear "the dead of winter".  Winter is the time to snuggle in, to rest, to ponder what we will grow, or places we will go.
It's also a time to find joy and celebrate Christmas beyond one day a year.


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

New Year

I am so excited for this new year.  Many people talk about resolutions, but I have learned that resolutions for me equals failure.  I like the term I have heard about goals.  Having goals and working towards them.

Last year I met most of my goals, except camping.  We only camped once...the week before Memorial Day and it was 30 degrees.  That sort of put a damper on my camper spirit.  The other goal was to find the root cause of why I have felt so bad for years.  I did.  It was two layers.  The first being, I had Lyme. Note the word HAD.  Please praise God for His goodness.  The second layer is that I have a hormone imbalance that I have had most of my life, and these last few years I have experienced worse symptoms, but never knew because of the Lyme.

God is so good!  Now that the Lyme is gone, I have found a practitioner to help me with the imbalance of hormones, and she understands hyper-sensitive people.  Yeah!

This year, I am looking forward to balancing those hormones, decluttering our "stuff" to the things that bring joy or are useful.  My mottos is "Beauty and Useful".   Another goal is to read more inspirational books and less health related.  I find the power of inspiration to be....inspiring. 😊  I love how we can change our world by changing our perspective.

I hope to turn this journey into a blogging adventure.  I don't get on here much anymore, but have enjoyed looking back at years past.  A sort of online journal.  Not someone else's thoughts, or trying to please the reader, but honesty and simple.

I pray this new year will bring many blessings to you.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Wild flowers from roadside

It's so exciting here to see the changes that slowly occur just before the seasons change.  Little signs that the earth is preparing for least in our part of the world.

Each year just before Fall the roadsides are sprinkled with these cute little sunflowers.  They are wild and grow everywhere.

The closer Fall get the more there are.

Just today we where in town and the tips of a few trees are turning yellow.  And neighbors say a trip farther up into the mountain reveals the trail paths are full of color.

We try to take a trip farther north to see the colors, they are so bright yellow, orange and red you almost need sunglasses to go sight seeing.

I love to find ways to bring nature inside and decorate in some way.  This is my centerpiece this week.  I love to be creative and try something, even if it's a small thing that no one else notices....I do.

It's those small things that when we listen to our heart and honor them, the joy that fills us is Grace!