Today I’m sharing a piece from someone else who is so respected in the faith communities of the world. I share because I am so thankful for the lifegiving relationships and times of fellowship that I’ve been blessed to have in my life over the years. As Buechner says in this article, those who bring life to us are the true saints in this world:
Category Archives: The Pieces Fit
So, I missed posting yesterday, Saturday. It’s been a full weekend, though, and maybe I should only do one post on busy weekends.
I’m so thankful for favorite things. My favorite color is green, with purple running a very close second. Green captures my eye without fail, pretty much any shade of it except for minty seafoam green. I’m glad for green in this world. Thank you God!
Coke and Dr. Pepper are my favorite drinks, after water. I thank the Lord for clean water to drink. I’d be lost without it, and my kidneys would have produced more stones and I would have had a lot more pain and medical bills.
Sunrises and sunsets, fall and spring, regions where there are 4 seasons, white Christmases, noticing when the forsythia blooms, squirrels running around my yard and birds eating from the feeder all winter long, the beach and ocean water, being in the waves, walking through the woods after a rain in the fall, finding wildflowers in the spring and remembering their names, quiet times for solitude, the laughter of children running around my home, hugs (especially from friends who hug tight and hang on long), times when my whole family is together, WV hills…all favorites for which I am so grateful to God for being blessed with in my life.
A big family
I’m very thankful for my large extended family. In particular this evening, I love all my nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great-greats.
I’ve been privileged to be an aunt since before I was even conceived. One of my nephews was two years older than me. Therefore, being an aunt is my longest standing aspect of my identity, and I’m grateful for that.
It’s such a precious part of my life to get to love on all the little ones that come into our family. My older nieces and nephews were so much closer to my age that they seemed more like cousins/siblings/friends. Their children and their children’s children bless my heart every time they greet me with a hug, even the ones who have become teens and are slightly embarrassed to be hugged 😌.
Thank you God for the honor of being an aunt in this crazy, wonderful family of mine! ♥️
Is the glass half full or half empty?
“Some people grumble because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses.” Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
I’m spending November intentionally focused on thankfulness. I do love Thanksgiving, and not really because of the food. I’ve tried to make this month have gratitude at it’s center ever since my kids were little.
So really, being thankful is most often an intentional choice and very often it is simply a matter of one’s perspective, switching from looking at a circumstance one way so that you can see the positives instead.
The quote I’m sharing is one example. Another would be that I’m thankful for needing to rake again so I can get in some good cardio, OR, I’m thankful for all the leaves in my flower bed because they will protect my plants over the harsh winter.
I wasn’t always a glass half full kind of person. It took a very dear friend to help me turn my perspective around. There are still times I am tempted to think of the negative, but I fight against it actively. I’m so grateful for a persistent friend who impacted my life so positively!
What are some things in your life that you could grumble about today? Can you take a different look at those things and come up with something for which to be grateful?
Some of my biggest blessings in life are my 3 children, and today I’m especially thankful for our middle child as it’s his 26th birthday.
The meaning of his name, Noah, is rest. He did bring a calm into our lives when he was born. I was so grateful he was such a good baby!
Today, I continue to feel blessed to be Noah’s mom. I’m proud of who he is and the man he’s becoming as he seeks to help others, especially children , living it out this year in Spain teaching ESL. Thank you God for Noah’s life.
A grateful heart…
I’m turning towards November with my thoughts concentrated on thankfulness. My plan is to post everyday. To begin, I simply want to express how thankful I am for Fall, for colors, for all the birthdays in our family, for leaves that crunch and apples and cinnamon and all that Fall brings….
My husband and I love to decorate for Fall, and our yard just seems to cooperate right along with us in our decorating. Here are some pictures to try to express the beauty:
We are all unique minorities of one
No one has the exact experiences or traits as any other one person. The closest any person can come to having the same set of traits and experiences as anyone else is in the case of identical twins. Nature and nurture considered, circumstances and situations, personality types and mental capacities, every little nuance in each individual’s life means that it is pretty near impossible for anyone to be able to fully understand where someone else is coming from when they live, react, make choices, and journey through life’s ups and downs.
All that being said, no individual can pass judgement on someone else by comparing their circumstances and actions to one’s own. We can have a level of empathy from going through very similar situations at times, and some people have an empathic ability that can truly feel what someone else is feeling and sit with them in that feeling, even if that empath hasn’t truly experienced the other’s same set of troubles or sorrows. But, beyond that empathy, we don’t , in this life, truly know the other person’s nuances of experiences, character traits, family situations, reasons for choices, and so on.
Therefore, how can anyone assume to grasp what another is feeling and suffering and then purport to exclaim that the one who is struggling shouldn’t need to do so if they would just choose to live life the way that the other person, the one who is judging, has lived? How can any person make a blanket statement that generalizes the circumstances of another, or a group of others, casting judgements, stating opinions, and saying that those others need to be doing life differently, better, handling the blows of life more like the one who is making the generalizations?
Until we reach eternity and know as we are known, we would be wise to sit and listen to others, to consider their stories and the nuances of their lives, finding connections, yes, but reveling in the differences, learning from the varieties of perspectives of every person whom we meet. Welcoming each other in and all of our stories to be told is the essence of intellectual hospitality, and really, just plan ole hospitality. God ultimately made us for union with God and with one another, but the fullness of that reality will not be met until the other side of our current life as we know it. From this moment forward until we are beyond death and dwelling in the forever after, each of us as individuals can only reach towards unity if we are willing to forego our preconceived notions of how others “should” act and react, and then open ourselves to learning all we can of each other’s differences, the depths of the beauty and mystery found in each person’s unique minority.
No time like the present…
What seems like a very long time ago, and it has been over 20 years, I spent much of my time either dwelling on circumstances that had already passed or thinking of scenarios that might happen in the future. I would replay events and conversations that had happened, over and over in my head, or my imagination would create potential actions and words of conversations that I could have in my future. I was stuck in a cycle that kept me from actually living in the moments I was experiencing.
It took many years of God working through friends and books, through Bible studies and songs, and even some therapy, to get me to a place where I began to be intentional about living in the present moment. I consciously fought to shut out the what-ifs or might-have-beens, and instead, to focus on what was the reality before me. Breath prayers, talking with God throughout each moment of my day, and purposeful mindfulness pushed me forward.
These last couple of years, I find I am keenly aware of the present, and rarely do I find myself mulling over past moments or being concerned about the future. This place of groundedness and peace has not come easy, and the events of reality in our world at large, and sometimes in my small little corner of it, still tempt me at times to want to escape from the present moment. I confess I sometimes do escape by getting lost in a story on one streaming service or another.
Nature is one constant that can always bring me back to the present moment, whether it’s watching birds eat at the feeder out my back window in the winter or noticing all the beautiful flowers on my walk around our neighborhood in summer or seeing the squirrels playing all through the trees behind our house all year long. I can depend on creation to bring me back to my center because it always directs my focus to the Creator of all, who is I AM , the ultimate source of all that is the present.
Through the lens of love…
I had the opportunity to visit where our family used to live last week. A park is there that was created within and around the ruins of an old glass plant that had once been a booming business hub for the area. As you look at these pictures, it may simply seem like modern art, or one could easily dismiss them as the ruins they are. Another viewpoint would be to view them as a redeeming of what was lost and repurposing of these ruins as a place of beauty that offers the community a lovely place to gather, to exercise, to fish, to bike, to have fun as families and friends. How you view these remains is completely dependent on the lens you use…
It reminded me of the work of Jesus in my life and the lives of anyone who believes in Him as the Son of God, and chooses to follow His example of life, of service, of death, and of love. I see the same examples in nature as Spring bursts forth with flowers, new life from the old dead ruins from last year’s growing season. It’s that simple to grasp, no matter the complexities that evolve as we delve deeper into following Him, the starting point is simply a matter of a choice to believe and follow….yet again, completely dependent on the lens you use, how you choose to see it all.
May we continually choose to see through the lens of love….
Thinking about my dad….
This week marked what would have been my dad’s 100th birthday. He passed away in 1987, though, at the age of 65. I never had the opportunity to know and love him during my adult life, since I was 19 when he passed.
I almost died when I was 2 years old, from asthma. My earliest memory actually comes from this trauma. I recall being in bed, someone caring for me, and having difficulty breathing. At the time, I had no idea of the importance of all that was happening, of course. I really only know from the stories of others that mom and dad were so worried and it took a while for them to discern what was causing me to be asthmatic.
My dad raised doves. He had a large cinder block dove cage up on the hill behind our house. He would come in from tending them and I suppose I would hug him or sit on his lap. As it turns out, I was, and am, allergic to doves. I’m actually allergic to all feathers, even in a feather pillow, as well as all other animals with fur…except dogs.
Dad gave up the doves, letting them go to live in the wood on the hill behind our home. I got better, though I did have a lot of other allergy problems and was given dimetapp to get me through all the symptoms for all my years of growing up. I don’t have any clue why mom and dad didn’t take me to an allergist to get tested or have me put on allergy shots. I do know that my dad became hyperaware of anything that might affect my breathing.
When I became a teen and started messing with my hair more, and using hair spray, dad would often express concern about the spray. It aggravated me at the time, as most teens would react to well-meaning parental concern. I didn’t understand why he was concerned at the time, but as I think back, and now that I’ve been a parent myself for these past 28 years, I can get why he was worried, albeit misplaced.
My dad loved me, and though he wasn’t perfect, he showed his care for me, his pride in who I was, and his belief in who I was becoming. No, I didn’t know him as an adult daughter should know her father, but in my memories of him, I’ve had this wonderful gift. Everywhere I’ve lived over these years, there have been doves who nest somewhere close to my home. I hear them coo in their mournful way, and I am comforted, reminded of my dad and the sacrifice he made so that I could be well.