Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflections

Reflections

Ten things I learned from living in 2014.






 “Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.” 
- Arthur Schopenhauer

 Things I’ve Learned in 2014


    1.   Be grateful for good health. Kidney stone and gall bladder surgery stole a lot of my “good” months for exercise and fun. Now, I have blown the meniscus on both sides of my knee.  I am grateful that all these things can be fixed.

 2.   Give hugs and affirmations to those around you. In one breath, they can be on their eternal journey. We lost two dear relatives and a neighbor this year.

3.   Pray often. Prayer sustains. Prayer heals. Prayer comforts. Prayer gives me a conversation with God when no one else cares to listen.

4.    Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing, which lie and plot to take your money and give you nothing in return.  Do not buy a time-share ever; especially at Stormy Point in Branson.

5.     Forgive and pray for those who hurt you. Yep, I was devastated the first two days after we were scammed, but on the third day, I began to intercede for their souls.  Strange how giving it to Jesus, made my life return to order and peace.

6.     You’ll see whatever you are looking for. In pain, despair, or joy, I was looking for Jesus ,and He always showed up.  I was looking for love and found it as I extended it to my mate, my children, my grand children, and strangers too.

7.    Dinners shared make us all happy. Whether sharing a beach picnic, porch party, or a simple bowl of beans with my love of 48 years, having others to eat with make a simple dinner special.

8.    Nothing brings more pleasure than creating. Oil paint, turpentine, brushes,and canvas create the opportunity to share my soul in pictures.

9.    Breathe deeply. Be where my feet are planted. Live each day well and whether it was filled with trials, misunderstandings, frills, or silliness, cherish its worth and lessons given.

10.  Learn from our feathered friends. Sit and observe, wait your turn, defend your territory, and be blessed when strangers care for you.








Cardinal Rules.


               Cardinal Rules.










Birds Are for Teaching.  

  I have been taking an online class called Project 137  facilitated by Patti Digh, author and speaker. I first met Patti in Indianapolis, where she was doing readings from her book, Life is a Verb. I immediately liked her as much as her books. She taught at the Midwest Writers Workshop that year, and I observed a woman with a quiet spirit and wise soul. So, I was eager to be a part of her class.

     The online class offered prompts to encourage participants to observe more closely. We attempted to live each day fully and love deeply by remembering to take life-filling breaths, use our creative nature, and make intentional choices, and carefully observe the life happenings around us.  One cold winter day, I looked outside at my bird feeder and learned these lessons from my cardinal family. 

    While watching three red cardinals on my feeder, I visually detailed each brilliant crimson feather and how it blended into a softer red belly. I marveled at the exactness of their black mask around a yellow cone shaped beak. Their crest on the top of their head could go up and down. The great Creator marvelously designed them.

    I recognized that the ladies always allowed their mates to eat first. The female sat on an empty branch waiting their turn. They just sat and looked content.  I am trying to learn that kind of contentment. They loved their mate or understand the rules so well that they were content to just be, silently sit, and watch all that is around them on that branch that moment. I know love requires silence even when I don't think the order is correct. I know true love requires me to sit and observe, not correct or suggest that my way might be better. I see, just like the soft reddish brown cardinal with much less color in her feathers, that I have an important mission. Because I am not dressed with intense colors does not mean I am less important, just different. Because my purpose is to wait my turn does not mean I am less significant, I am just on a different branch. Because I cherish watching every insect, feeling the roughness of the branch underfoot, and mentally stretch to memorize the exact hue of the azure blue sky that caresses me from above, makes me grateful that I appreciate the universe that surrounds me with beauty and awe. I realized that there are many lessons to be learned by our fine-feathered friends, who live between heaven and earth.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

One Manger




My favorite artistic version of that night in Bethlehem.


     I have worked diligently for three years to downsize and rid our home of “extras” or found collections of too many vases, shoes, pens, teapots, dishes, or makeup. Clutter happens slowly but builds into mounds quickly. Paradoxical as that may seem, the heaps of stuff become burdensome.  So, again this year when I pulled out the Christmas d├ęcor, I asked myself, which of these decorations are extra or don’t spark my joy? 

     In a short time, I had three boxes ready to deliver to the Salvation Army for someone else to enjoy.  Some were old, some new, but all these items took away from the beauty of the decorations that sparked my joy. I wanted my favorite pieces to shine.  There was no doubt which manger scene I would keep.  A stained glass artist in Muncie, who died shortly after I purchased this from him, made it.  Every figure was made important through color and design. He designed a wrap around mirror as the backdrop, which makes the images three dimensional.  A simple candle or light makes the Christ child become the focus of the scene.  I have sat many mornings learning from that child surrounded by a family who loved him and wise men who sought him.  All of the nativity characters listened to God, believed him, and followed his directions.  They suffered that they might share in the blessings of the King.  

     So, if your night seems dark and cold, follow the Star of Bethlehem.  There you will find light, comfort, and the joy of this season.