Friday, May 22, 2015

Dear Friday

Dear Garden, you sure do produce a lot of weeds. I didn't even work very hard last Saturday and still my shoulders were in agony for the next two days! You do look very beautiful when you're cleaned up, but still - do me a favour and fill in those blank spots with legitimate plant growth so the weeds can't get in. The 'gardeners' would sure appreciate it!

Dear Washing Machine, thank you for all your hard work. You've been in our possession for over 20 years now and still you keep going, washing all our clothes and making them clean. I will say that the Maytag repairman has not had a lot of work, thanks to you. I hope you live for a long, long time.

Dear Pastors, thank you for your godly leadership and Biblical teaching. You seek God's voice in all you teach and are faithful to the flock He has given you. Stay close to Him and your heartbeat will continue to match His. Thank you for the love and care you show us, being His hands and feet with a servant mindset.

Dear Small Group, D and I have so much enjoyed getting to know you over these last few months. Thank you for your leadership, prayer and support. Thank you for thinking about our family's needs and suggesting job leads for the kids. We are grateful for your thoughtfulness.

Dear God, Not last because You are least important, but because I always want to have You as my foundation. Thank You for walking through life with me, that I don't have to flounder and struggle through on my own. Today I am going to have to apologize to someone and to confront someone else (seems I've had to do a fair bit of both lately). I need You and You will be there with me, filling me with Your presence and helping me find the right words to say. Thank You that each new day is a day to get things right (or at least do things better) and that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You for being my best Teacher.

Five Minute Friday: Rise

My grandmother's favourite Scripture was Isaiah 40:31 'They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall rise up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they  shall walk and not faint...'  

Today I am waiting upon the Lord. I need His strength to see me through. I am walking a bit of a tough road - many demands on me, people issues, etc. It's impossible to please everyone, or at least so it seems. Maybe it's impossible to please anyone. Yes, I need the strength of the Lord.

And I need to wait on Him. I need His wisdom to say the right things, to plant seeds in the heart and brain of another, a person who is making destructive choices. I need His presence to fill me with His breathings as I apologize to someone I've hurt with my words. I am backing off of good things because I no longer have the time or ability to invest in them. I am saying no more often.

If you could whisper a one sentence prayer for me after reading this, a prayer that would rise to heaven, it would be greatly appreciated. And may God bless you and renew you for the kindness.
Five-minute Fridays are hosted by Kate Motaung. Please visit her site to check out the other contributors' links.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Once again I'm indebted to Paula at Smidgens, Snippets & Bits for today's writing prompt! I'm back in the throes of life so am greatly in need of all the direction I can get. But Paula's probably starting to think - 'stop copying me already!'

Hosted by Joyce at From This Side of the Pond, Wednesday Hodgepodge asks participants a series of questions to which we respond. Then link to the end of Joyce's post and go to visit our Hodgepodge neighbours. 

Here we go:

1.  Did you make someone laugh yesterday? Was it intentional?

I did make someone laugh yesterday! And it was intentional! As my daughter was perusing Facebook first thing in the morning, she discovered that the boy she was 'hanging out with' was now 'in a relationship' with someone else. Facebook official, with evidentiary photos :(She had already suspected something was up, but it still hurt to find out this way. I said, "Well, at least your kids won't have to learn to spell _______!" and made her laugh. Later I sent her a text with her grandmother's response to also make her laugh and got a big LOL in response. Sometimes boys suck. But I know God has a better plan for my girl.

2. What's a simple question with a complicated answer?

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

3. Rhododendrons or have to choose. Are either currently blooming in your yard?

I'm not currently growing either, but I'll vote for azaleas. Most rhododendrons are evergreens and can grow to 80 feet tall, a bit big for my tastes. Also, I've been reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, and the meaning of rhododendrons is 'beware, danger'. The meanings of azaleas are 'womanhood' and 'take care of yourself, for me.'

4. May 21st is National Waitstaff Day. Have you ever worked as a waiter/waitress? How would you rate the experience? What was the best/worst part of the job?

I have never worked in this capacity and have to admit I don't think I missed anything :)

5. What fashion trend for women should be outlawed? How about one for men?

For women, the tendency to expose so much skin. Completely unnecessary and often unattractive. For men, the Snoop Droopy Drawer look. You look like you have to go to the washroom, and heaven help you if you have to run from danger!

6. Name a writer who inspires tell us why.

This is a tough one; there are so many great writers out there. But I'll choose Nick Vujicic, the author of  Life Without Limits. Nick was born without arms or legs, but has gone on to have an amazing life and career as an inspirational speaker and writer. He's also married and has one child; his wife is expecting their second!

7. What well known quote or saying sums up your plans for today or this week?

I don't know how well-known it is, but Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” 

That about sums it up. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I think people most often get angry because they aren't getting their own way. What is it that's in us that makes us think the world should bow to our wishes, that we are owed something? James 4:1-12 says:
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? ...
 I like this admonition from Psalm 37:8:
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For additional Bible verses on anger, go here.
I suppose these weren't totally my thoughts, but the subject has certainly been on my mind and maybe these references will help someone else who is also dealing with the concepts of anger and entitlement. I'm sure I'm not alone!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ten on Tuesday: Commencement Address

Paula over at Smidgens, Snippets & Bits posts some cool stuff. Today she shared Carol Knits' blog hop, Ten on Tuesday. Today's topic is "10 Things You Would Say If You Gave a Commencement Address." What would you tell a college graduating class?

Off the top of my head (I'm sure I'm leaving out a lot of things I would actually say if given the real-life chance to address such a class):

1. I'm proud of you. You've worked hard and today we celebrate the results of your efforts.
2. Remember that although this is your achievement, you didn't get here alone. Thank the people who helped you along the way - your parents, your siblings, professors who built into your life.
3. Don't stop now. You've built up momentum, so keep it moving. Keep working hard. I'm sure you have plans for the future. Start implementing them today.
4. On such a joyous occasion, we don't always like to talk about money. But money is useful and money financed your education. If you have student debt, start paying it off as soon as possible, and get it paid off as quickly as you can.
5. These last few years, you may have neglected some areas of your life - maybe important people, maybe health and fitness or something else. Start caring for these areas, reconnecting with people, exercising, improving your diet. There's no time like the present to make a fresh start. 
6. You may not get a job right away, but be patient. Don't assume that you'll get more than an entry-level position right out of the gate. More than likely you'll have to work your way up. 
7. You may not even get a job in your field immediately. Again, be patient. Whatever job you get will provide learning opportunities. Make the most of them. Work hard - there's that phrase again. It will earn you the respect of your employer and provide a good reference when the next opportunity comes along.
8. Never burn your bridges. You never know when you might have to walk across them again. An impulsive action in  the moment may be one you live to regret.
9. Ask for what you want. The worst anyone can do is say 'no' or 'not right now'. And you might even get a 'yes'.
10. Be grateful for what you have and count your blessings. Today especially, be thankful that we live in a country where there are so many educational and career choices, where men and women both can pursue their dreams in a wide variety of professions. Be thankful that you've completed your degrees and that a new stage of life is beginning. This is an exciting time. Make the most of it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Check-in Sunday

So I'm back from my vacation and back to five pounds to lose. Let the games begin (again). 

Strategies, same as before: more fruits and veggies, fewer carbs and sweets, more exercise. Weigh in every day of the week. May have to log food intake if no noticeable improvement. Check-ins on Sundays for accountability. Review previous check-ins for additional weight loss tips.

Have a healthy week, beginning today!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dear Friday

Not sure who started this or if it's a legit Friday blog hop. I found it at Smidgens, Snippets & Bits. The idea seems to be 'sharing your week in letters' and I'll assume the week starts with the preceding Saturday. (Paula can correct me if I'm wrong). Here goes my first effort :)

Dear W family, after communicating by e-mail (with a few phone calls, cards and letters thrown in) for the last 15 years, it was amazing to meet you in person. Thank you, Debbie and Tim, for making the drive to Nevada, meeting us at a half-way point, and fulfilling one of the items on my bucket list :) You guys are awesome! It was also nice meeting your son and his family. Sweet of them to make us feel so welcome in their home! Maple syrup next time, for sure ;)

Dear Hoover Dam, you are huge! It was definitely worth the visit and taking the full tour. Alan does a great job of showing you off :)

Dear WestJet, thank you for well-trained pilots and attendants who got us safely through the skies. It was our first time traveling with you, but not likely our last. I will say that we'd been told that WestJet flights were more fun. I didn't notice that, but maybe you have to be going to a fun destination. All staff on board were professional, polite and helpful, though, so high points for that.

Dear Kids, you made out just fine on your own - good job! I think the chore chart helped, but still, kudos on taking care of yourselves, the dog and the house, and getting wherever you needed to be in a timely fashion. Also thanks for the birthday supper and card/gifts. A lovely welcome back!

Dear God, thank you for creating all the marvelous beauty we saw on our vacation. I felt like singing 'Majesty' more than once! How big is this God we worship, how creative and worthy of praise! Thank You also for safe travel and for watching over everyone at home while we were gone. You are faithful and kind!


Five-Minute Friday: Follow

I haven't done Five-Minute Friday since the beginning of this year's A-Z challenge April 1st. But I'm back! Today's word is 'follow'.
Remember the game 'follow the leader'? A group of children would imitate the actions of a designated 'leader', pied-piper fashion. S/he marches, they march; s/he fist-pumps, they fist-pump; s/he claps his/her hands, so do they. It was a simple and fun game. 
When we grow up - become pre-teens, teens, adults - we stop playing the childish version of this game, but we're probably still following someone. Imitating the things they do, say and think. At first it might be our parents, the people who have built their values into our lives. Or it might be our friends, our peers, who want to be 'unique' from parents but exactly like each another. We've all heard of the person who so completely follows the example of someone they admire that they become an annoyance. It can become a little creepy.
As adults, we may think we march to the beat of our own drummer, but we all  follow someone, even if we're the 'rebel' Gretchen Rubin describes in her book, Before and After. In my own life, I choose to follow Christ, and while I don't succeed perfectly (I'm human, he's divine), the better I get to know Him, the more I desire His ways.
Whom do you follow and what is so attractive about this person?