Thursday, October 16, 2014

When I Asked My Husband for Advice: Finding the Good

Okay, here's the truth.  In the past, I have been accused of being, shall we say, a "type A" personality.  I call it tightly strung.  Intense.  It works for me most of the time.

However, sometimes a person can tear herself to shreds with just her mind.

Sometimes a girl can over think things.  Just a bit.

In the last few months, as most of the major things in my life have changed, I have done a little over thinking.  Most of the changes have been big beautiful blessings, but did I mention that I tend to over think things?  Just a bit?

Yesterday, my mind chewed on my hopes and dreams.  I chewed on how to stay focused on the potential future and not sell it out for trifles today.

I might have undervalued the gift of Today.

I don't want anyone to know this carousel of thinking that leaves me tired and reeling so I hide it as best I can.  Write or wrong, I make the big decisions deep in my heart and often alone.  Then I share it all over the internet right here because I trust you people.  And also because I have no real idea who you are though I strongly suspect that most of the people who come here share my DNA.

Anyway, the other night, I look up at my husband while he is sitting in his "nothing box" harmlessly watching TV and minding his own business.

I barge right in with this beauty, "So, if you had any advice to offer me, what would it be?  About anything, just one sentence.  What do I need to hear?"

He turned his face to me and just looked for a few seconds.

I looked back.  I smiled a smile that I hoped looked doe-eyed and beautiful but I am afraid resembled The Joker from Batman.

"Quit thinking about tomorrow," and he turned back toward the TV.

What?  Quit thinking about tomorrow?  This from The Man With the Plan?  From the stubbornly conservative person who bought a whole life insurance policy before he was thirty?  Quit thinking about tomorrow?  We have three kids and the four of you hungry people are all going to look at me in about forty-five minutes to find out "what's for dinner?" and I WILL give you an answer because not only do I think about tomorrow, I think about EVERYTHING that happens next whether it is likely or not!

You are agreeing with my husband now, aren't you?

In her Bible study on the life of Gideon, Priscilla Shirer says:

"...what lies ahead in your journey is not nearly as critical as where you are right now.  Wherever you are now is where you are meant to serve now...your greatest impact will be done here--in the ordinary rhythms of your daily living."

I believe what I wrote yesterday, about not selling eternal Tomorrow for junk Today.

However, the gift of Today must not be despised or discarded while I spin my wheels in imaginary Tomorrows.  

Today, right here, my impact is real.  Tomorrow, my impact is unknown.  There is treasure and balance in both times.

Today is real, it is the bird in hand.  It is finite and like a good meal, it will be consumed or spoil.  It must be savored, every moment, before it is too late. 

Tomorrow is potential and magical.  Tomorrow will show the harvest of the seeds sown Today.  Expectation and dependence on one particular Tomorrow will likely disappoint.  Whichever tomorrow comes, it must be accepted with the gifts it brings.

Its funny, sometimes I think I was more "together" when I was younger.  Maybe I was just too foolish to even know what I didn't know.  So I continue trying to work it all out, to learn and grow and love and laugh.  All this is possible because Today and whatever Tomorrow brings, I have hope and a future through faith.

More like this?
Bloom Where You're Planted
The Truth...and I saw it right there in Sunday School
Superman's Secret Identity

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hold Out: Finding the Good

The subtle voice whispers almost constantly in my ear.  To be honest, I want to listen, I want it to make sense.  I want it to justify and speak the words I want to hear.

The air is cold and damp, it stings my fingers.  The voice tempts me, "You can have whatever you want today.  You can get it yourself."

The offer is tempting.  I could use an easy road right now.  Uphill gets old.

Restlessness weighs heavy today as I walk the curved path.  The best part of the walk is ahead.  The path changes from too bright sunlight to rich dappled green and teases off into the woods.   I have walked it for weeks now and I know good and well where that path goes.

Seeing it though, seeing it is like a trick of the soul.  This part never gets old.  My breath catches like a kid whose eyes finally behold what the heart has been anticipating.  The path tricks me every day and every day I imagine that it goes somewhere new.

"What is the cost?"  The words float in my mind.

"You can have anything you want.  You can have it today.  Just sell Tomorrow."

And there it is.  The only part of what the tempter says that is truth.  I can have whatever I want Today, if I just sell Tomorrow.  

Surprise sparks in my mind when I experience a blessed moment of clarity, seeing the lie for what it is instead of swallowing it down.

I take off my sunglasses to see in the shade of the woods.  Everything looks different, the green is more intense, the light dances through the cottonwoods leaves, and the creatures can't hide from me anymore.  I drink up the peace in this place.  And I hear a different voice whispering of hope and future and holding on to what you know is good.

Today is finite.  It ends.  Yes it is beautiful and what Today offers should be seized and lived in and celebrated because it ends.  But it still ends.

Tomorrow is eternal.  Some people say it never comes but they're wrong.  Tomorrow is born fresh over and over.  We just get confused because it changes its name each time.  Make no mistake though, Tomorrow never really ends.  It is eternal.

Selling Tomorrow for chattel Today would only make me a bondwoman, a kind of slave.  

I can have a spotless home today if I sell part of my bond with my children, one precious hour at a time.

I can have a bigger home today if I sell a dream and stop planting the seeds and stop doing the work  that will make that dream grow real.

I can have esteem today if I sell a hundred little moments that I simply won't have time for in a different tomorrow.

I can spend money on whatever draws my eye if I sell the time it takes to care about you and yours.

Now hear me, our Todays and Tomorrows are different, you and I.  My dreams and loves do not judge yours.  We are both safe in this backyard.

This jumble of nonsense and vague ideas is just about holding on to what you know is true, holding on to what is significant and of real value.

Holding on and holding out for real gold instead of running to town with a hand full of shiny worthless rocks like some fool.

The path hasn't changed and it is real Today.  I can seize this moment and love it for what it is, here and now and real and use beautiful Today to do the work for Tomorrow.  I do not have to trade true value for the easy road.  Besides, Today may have an end but it teases and delights with its own surprises.

The merganser duck with the late brood of chicks has only one left.  I don't know where the rest are but after two cold snaps, dogs, turtles and whatever else lives in water, the chick is a little miracle.  It makes me unreasonably happy.  The kid in my heart catches her breath as she sees the fuzzy shape, half yellow, half brown, waddling awkwardly around the duck as an older woman feeds the flock.  The woman points her cane directly at the orange bill of the big obnoxious goose who, all of us park walkers know, is solely responsible for the new warning sign about aggressive geese.  The goose seems to nod his head as if saying to the flock, "Respect the cane."  

Yes, for all my babbling, Today is beautiful too and deserves to be fully occupied, while its still around anyway.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ugly Beautiful: Finding the Good

The big, black snake gliding through the water at Soldier Creek creeps me out.  Can't help myself though, I move closer, fascinated.  The snake cuts through the water with hardly any movement at all.  I am close enough to see the dull black scales across the thick back.  An older man steps of the path to see.  He moves sort of sideways, not blocking my view but sort of protective in a way.  It's nice, not patronizing and I doubt he knows he's doing it.

The snake is hypnotic, fascinating, ugly and beautiful all at the same time.

Sometimes our days in this house can be rather antagonistic.  Sometimes we five choose to fight when we could choose to play.  

Sometimes twenty minutes of homework is like an emotional war fought with weapons of words.

We five can fuss so much that we are driven to shut each other out, at least for a time.  Eight got plain sick of her brothers messin' her stuff up so she made a sign.  

Keep Out: Girl Might be Mad or Sleeping.  

Amen sister, amen.  Consider yourself warned.

Reality is not always beautiful.  Life is not all sweetness and light, no matter how hard we try.

Truth is ugly and beautiful all at the same time.

  So are people, even the ones we love. 

The ugly can point the way to the beautiful, if you have eyes to see.

At the end of the long day, you find what you are looking for.  

posts about thriving...
Schooled by a Wyld Angel
Bloom Where You're Planted
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Glass Half Full: Finding the Good

Thanks to The Nester for inspiring and inviting us to link up and share our passions!  This is the first post in a series about gratitude and seeing the extraordinary in the everyday.

This start is humble, but off we go nevertheless...

A warm breeze pushes my skin this morning while I walk.  The dog and I are going for a little over two miles, just enough to work off whatever chocolate might beckon later today.  It's a regular thing, walking at the park after the kids are dropped at school, but it hasn't gotten old.  It's just a nice place with a couple of playgrounds and acres shaded by old pecan trees.  Squirrels crowd just out of reach of a six foot leash and the old folks feed them by hand.  Boston the dog rescues toddlers from aggressive geese.

A few weeks ago, I stopped taking my earphones.  

I just walk and listen and say, "Good mornin" to the people who pass on the sidewalk.

It makes me strangely happy.

The route I like best runs along Soldier Creek.  A third of a mile down, the sidewalk enters a tunnel of trees.  This is the best part.  Off to the side, a man with a sleek, spoiled doberman stands fallen tree limbs up in the shape of a massive teepee.  Vines wrap around it and hold it together.  His dog watches as he works.  The first teepee appeared over the course of a week or two and he has started on his second.  I hope fervently that no one takes them down or tells him to stop.  I hope they just let it be.

Some of the regulars are missing today.  Winston-who-gives-sniffems and his man aren't there.  The snarly terrier must be grounded for her bad behavior.  Callie the Yorkie is at home or late but the shy Aussie with one blue eye greets Boston sweetly.

Blue Jays call, the breeze rattles cottonwood leaves and one baby squirrel makes what I can only describe as "tiny noise" at the edge of the creek.  He is so stinkin' cute its just unbelievable.

The peace is shattered.

Whooping, over and over from up the hill.  WHOOPING, I say!  Like a crazed teenager jumping off a bridge or an entire football team celebrating after a touchdown.  WHOOPING!

A blue tractor flies through an empty parking lot, its big scooper thing raised and a man sitting in the seat, whooping like someone who just won the lottery.

Unnecessary judgments push into my mind.

Is that man drunk?

He sounds happy.

Someone should call the city.

Someone should let him be.

What's wrong with him?  He could...

be grateful for his very life today?

Glass half empty, glass half full.  Choose this day the glass from which you will drink.

As for me and my house, we will choose the glass half full, even if it comes riding in the scoopy thing on the front of a blue tractor.

...singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...Ephesians 5:19-20

finding good today,