The Bloomin' Blog
Happy New Year's Day!
I am looking out on a welcome sight this morning--a blanket of snow. As we have not yet invested in a snow shovel upon our return to the Midwest, it might seem strange that the white flakes bring me such comfort...but they do. I think anyone who has witnessed the drought in Kansas and the rest of the Great Plains would accept moisture in any form right now.
Droughts are difficult to plan around because one never knows exactly how long they'll last. The same might be true for life circumstances that are totally beyond our control. The financial setbacks, health concerns or heart break that come out of the blue and extend beyond our resources to cope.
This year, I will focus on being better prepared for all things. We still have a plan...a plan to get out of debt; rebuild retirement savings; help the kids with college and to improve our drafty, dear old house. But I know for a fact those plans can all fizzle.
It is how we cope when our plans hit roadblocks that I believe sets the stage for how the story of our lives unfolds. And for those times we need to be prepared.
I think there are three things that will be critical to laying the foundation that not only will help me stand the buffeting winds that erode plans, but also to be stronger, more consistent and more intentional as I move forward into the second half of my life.
Peace. Purpose. Playfulness.
Here's why I've chosen these as the words to light my way in preparing myself to be my best in all situations.
First, it's an alliteration. Hello. Mimi Mathers Meredith from Merriam St. in Miles City, Montana...I adore alliterative structure. It is also easier to remember and forms a mantra with which I can breathe...or sing...myself through life.
Second, in reviewing the triggers that shut down my personal channels of goodness, I can see that they are situations in which I fail to focus on these three things.
When I allow my own sense of drama or the world's chaos to claim center stage, it can be fun. As a fairly articulate and lively person, I can build on those chaotic elements and command attention; generate energy and build a wave to ride for a day, a week or a month. The wave can be one of anger, or perhaps a sense of entitlement--the theme song of Victims United.
In contrast, when I am able to maintain a sense of peace in those situations, I find a truer space for discernment. I learn more because I listen from a true desire to understand. It isn't as exciting as all that dramatic hullabaloo, but it is better in every sense. I share the stage or even just work backstage to support an outcome that is beyond my own design and features God's handiwork through many capable actors. It is a richer, calmer and more productive existence.
How is that a preparation rather than a plan? Well, I personally never know when those situations are going to arise that can throw me into a whirling dervish mode. But I can prepare my spirit and my heart for them by embracing a more peaceful approach in every situation.
The same is true of honoring my purpose. I am not sure if or when it will ever be clear to me that I have achieved my purpose. I think I have an inkling now and then of how it feels. When I connect with people I am close. I know this thing...this thing I'm doing right now is nearer to my core than virtually anything else I do. So I know I shouldn't neglect it. I've just never successfully named it. Over the last year, I've mostly neglected writing, and my spirit has not been the same. I will ponder on this in the months ahead and see where it takes me.
Finally, I will be more playful. I know I have a great sense of fun and am good humored, but truly, I make less time for play than anyone I know, even if playtime is time to read or sit. I told my friend Tim at Christmas that I was going to put myself in timeouts more often. While this sounds like a punishment, to me, it is bliss.
How did I discover this great truth? Gel nails!
I had nail polish that is virtually indestructible applied to my nails for a Christmas party. Three weeks later, my nails had grown out and the polish simply had to come off. But I was in Red Lodge, Montana, on a mountainside that I did not care to slide down to the nearest salon for the sake of my vanity. So, I had to sit and soak my nails in acetone polish remover for ten minutes. Ten minutes of sitting without moving. I couldn't even sip my coffee. It was soooo relaxing!
My yoga friends have been practicing the art of meditation for years. I just never have been good at it. I put a peaceful expression on my face and then let my mind cheat. And I never sit for the prescribed time. After five minutes, I find myself thinking, "alrighty then, that'll do!" Perhaps a playful spirit begins with practicing silence. Whatever playfulness means to me at the moment...I want to get better at allowing the space in my crowded being for it to be a priority.
Greg just left to buy a snow shovel. He's prepared.
And you, my friends...how will you prepare yourselves to grow greater goodness in the world? Let's encourage one another as we move onward and upward into this new year.
It is 3:46 a.m. on December 12, 2012. It has been 203 days and 18 hours since representatives from Thomas Transfer & Storage, an agent of United Van Lines, arrived at our new house in Hutchinson.
It should have been a great day. We were moving out of a one-bedroom studio apartment, where my husband and I, our 16-year-old daughter, and our 80-pound black lab had been rubbing elbows in about 800 square feet of living space to a wonderful old five bedroom house built in 1929.
I was especially excited by the prospect of having furniture again. For more than a month, our furniture had all been in storage in Wichita and we had been living with four folding chairs and our queen size bed as the primary components of the space to which we came home to at the end of every day. Even though we had sold quite a bit of our furniture before the move, As Maureen O’Hara’s character said in The Quiet Man… Click here for the rest of the post, I was ready to “have my things about me again.”
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I’m having coffee with the queen this morning. This is courtesy of my sons and their recent trip to Great Britain. It’s interesting to have HRM staring back at me as I write. I tell myself she is beaming her approval.
I have encountered many stop and think moments regarding forgiveness lately. I noticed the pattern, but largely ignored it as there was no recent hurt I needed to release; no injury I needed to pardon.
Earlier this week, I heard a great interview on Sirisus XM’s The Message with the group Tenth Avenue North… Click here for the rest of the post about their new song, Losing. The lyrics echo the words of Jesus from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” against the plea for grace to forgive, even when we feel like it means we’re losing. I almost switched channels when I heard the interview begin. While there is some Christian music I love, I often find the banter irritating, simplistic and preachy. These guys were articulate and interesting.
And it’s true, when we truly surrender the hurt of
Some of you may have an immediate sound associated with this image. The end of the last track on an album either triggered the arm to return to its resting place, or to just run in place playing the same static over and over.
Our minds work in much the same way. We program ourselves to move from one track to the next. Occasionally, we allow life’s little nicks to create ruts and we don’t move on. We repeat the same behavior that leads to the same response that creates the story we believe to be the truth about our existence.
I love it when a song catches me by surprise with exactly the message I need to hear. U2′s Stuck in a Moment should play in the background of this post.. Take four minutes to give this… Click here for the rest of the post a listen. It will be the next best thing to being in the car with me!
Now I know there are all sorts of clinically real diagnoses that limit one’s ability to change his or her attitude. But for most of us,
Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking back at me.
Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, from Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See.
What do you see?
I saw loads of reasons for self pity this Manic Monday… Click here for the rest of the post. I felt heavier and heavier as the day went on.
I know some of you are there…maybe you, too, are worried about the what nexts of life…how will you pay for-who will come-what will happen if-why don’t they call-who cares-why didn’t I…those prickly worry scarves we knit that we wrap around ourselves hoping for protection and comfort until we can’t bear the weight of them one more second. Tonight, I was there.
Quite honestly, I think I’m weary. I have had a year that began with non-stop travel, to non-stop change, to chirpy “I’m fine! Great! Blessed beyond measure!” regardless of the question.
My friend Lori Friddle told me a great acronym for the word fine. But it begins with a word I shouldn’t use, even in such understanding company, unless
If music came to mind, I hope it was the John Mellencamp version that will be playing through your head. I prefer it to Bruce Springsteen.
But I didn’t sit down at the keyboard today to wax prolific on the music of my youth (Small town came out my last year of college.) In fact, I was going to shut down the website this week. After all, I no longer need a website, and I felt that the anonymity afforded me in Phoenix made it much safer to blog than I would experience since moving back to Hutchinson, Kansas in April.
… Click here for the rest of the post
Hutchinson is a place where it is not at all unusual to hear a review of your life plans and a recap of how you spent your weekend from an acquaintance you haven’t seen for months (or in our case, years) while you’re waiting in line at the local supermarket.
This phenomena was very intriguing if not a little unsettling to Mary Charlotte when we first arrived.
“How do they know?” she asked.
“It’s just part of living in
I remember when I was taking my last walk around our beautiful 10 acre property in Kansas, before we moved to Arizona.
It was December 1999. I heard a cardinal call in the distance, and…in my not surprising, but-oh-so-dramatic way…I thought to myself, “Well, that’s it then. The last bird song I’ll hear. They don’t have this in the desert.”
And, sure enough, I haven’t ever seen a cardinal in my back yard in the 12 years we have lived in Phoenix, Arizona. I have watched Road Runners skitter across my path; greeted the arrival of the quail parade each year; listened to owls hoot me to sleep and awakened with the mourning doves. I have never heard a cardinal here.
Each place in our lives, whether literally or figuratively, has its own song.
And now, I’m returning to a strain that is familiar, yet different.
Here’s what has happened in the past three short weeks.
We have gone from thinking I could make a separation from my spouse; a career vault that suddenly had no pommel horse (see What’s … Click here for the rest of the post
Remember the power of taking the phone off the hook?
Short of someone coming to the door (which happened back then), you had the power to isolate yourself. You could nap. You could let your babies nap. The rest of the outside world might just wonder who you were on the line with for so long, but they were still…outside.
Whether it’s because of all the communication technology at our disposal, or just our frantic need to stay informed, we have lost the art of disconnecting. We are lousy at drawing boundaries. And as a result, we are some frazzled folk.
Here’s the latest scoop…
Remember when I thought it wouldn’t be likely that I’d have any work as a facilitator over the next two months? Well…all that pathetic pity party was misplaced, because I picked up four weeks of substituting that will take me across the lower part of Florida (hello Bill Dorman… Click here for the rest of the post) and eventually to Atlanta (watch for me Laura DeMars!)
I just got back from the first week of travel. It was fun. I love meeting