Friday, October 29, 2010

A bit of silliness, and a bit that isn't...

Yahoo periodically has these little animations on their page, "advertising" a holiday or event. Right now, I love their Halloween animation of the headless horseman. The pumpkin's facial expressions are fun.

It's difficult to let go of things that once felt right but no longer do, saying goodbye to "friends" that once held a spot of warmth and gladness but now bring more sadness than joy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maybe not so odd...

On my morning walk, as I almost reached home, what do I see? Another shooting star! How cool is that? Still smiling. The world is changing, and I may choose: Stand alone and live in fear, or live in faith and stand with God. I choose faith.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One of those odd little blessings...

I was up early this morning to go for a walk and work on trimming the blackberry bushes. It was still dark. I glanced up at the sky, and there was a shooting star. Thanks God, it made me smile all day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Carpe diem... fantastic weekend...

Last Thursday, I flew to L.A. for the Tolkien Forever Hall of Fire. What an incredible undertaking. Bless all those who put in so much time and effort. I'm very good at doing simple tasks that don't require any creative input, but we had a couple of true artists who could take "junk" and make it really cool. Amazing!! Rocks and cloth and lights became Gollum's pool. Old trays, candlesticks, tea sets, plastic Mardi Gras beads, decorative pebbles, plastic "jewels," gold plastic chips, and more cloth and lights became Smog's horde of treasure. Wow! There was a lot of singing and dancing and simply the joy of associating with people who all love Tolkien and LOTR. After the party, the next day was spent cleaning up. I'm very good at cleaning up. :-) It was a delight to be a part of something so loved and enjoyed. My friends also made sure I was able to visit the beach. And we talked and talked and ate well. I came home, today, feeling better than I have in a long time. Work is now all caught up. I'm almost all caught up on emails. I'm caught up on most of my websites and figure I'll simply start tomorrow with most of them, without trying to catch up on what I've missed. I'm unpacked, and ready to start the day, tomorrow. My folks took me to the airport and my younger brother picked me up and took me to pick up my work for the day as well. A very productive day and past week. God blessed us with cool weather so setting up and cleaning up weren't unbearably uncomfortable. It was beautiful all weekend with some incredible rain. Not often do I have the opportunity to see the Misty Mountains. :-) And finally, today, I filled out my sample ballot so I'm ready to vote, next week.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thank God for...

~Blessed rain.
~Blessed cool.
~Good books.
~Good friends.
~Blessed opportunities.
~Good weather.
~Good work.
~Blessed inspiration.
~Blessed Savior.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gandhi quote...

Saw this, today, and it touched a painful spot in me, healing it a little.

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they *fight* you… then you win.”

And reminding myself that Gandi's definition of fighting is not with fists but with patience and standing firm.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Carpe diem... a good day...

Made cookies, read a little, wrote a little, caught up on this and that, packed a box for mailing, enjoyed a bit of emailing with friends. Overall, a lovely day.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thank goodness it's Sunday #27...

~NASCAR on ABC! So I was actually able to watch the race! Though I'm very grateful for Yahoo's chat where Jay, Jay, and Nick keep us pretty up to date on what's happening, it isn't quite the same as watching for myself.

~Fantastic football, this weekend! Overtime I enjoyed and overtime I didn't, but not complaining.

~Church was uplifting from the very first song, one of my favorites: Count Your Many Blessings. Not the title but the theme. Love it!

~Fun family visiting.

~Looking forward to visiting friends!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Confrontation...

I hate it when God decides to drive a point home. It's annoying. Almost like rubbing one's nose in it. However, it's also incredibly effective. Worse, I asked for it. Consider carefully what you're asking when you ask God to help you learn something. He will take you seriously.

Last week, I had an unsettling event. I emailed my counselor asking for advice. I managed to figure it out on my own, but my counselor asked a valid question: Why were you surprised? I realized I wasn't surprised by what happened, but I was unprepared for the timing. I felt ambushed. A little time to think things through, and I settled, realizing I needed to simply let it go.

Now for the nose rubbing: I've watched with interest the brouhaha over Bill O'Reilly's appearance on The View. I don't watch much of Bill O'Reilly. I find him abrasive and condescending, but it sells, so I have the right to not watch him, and we're both happy. I don't watch The View either. I also find them abrasive and condescending. I don't watch either program regularly, but I do know the general script. Let me repeat: I know the essential script for both programs without watching either one regularly. I've caught bits and pieces. Now, we come to what happened the other day. Clue 1: Bill O is Bill O. Clue 2: Bill O is known for saying what he thinks. Clue 3: Bill O is promoting his book Pinheads and Patriots (that title alone is a clue). Clue 4: The View is The View. I know they promote their panel as being well balanced between liberal and conservative, but everything I've seen has had a definite liberal bent (the reason I choose not to watch). It's like lighting a match next to an open can of gasoline and being surprised when it blows up. Why is anyone surprised by what happened? Why is anyone shocked? The View is ultimately the one responsible. They invited Bill O. They got exactly what they wanted: Confrontation. Drama sells.

Now, to circle back to my own lesson. I shouldn't be surprised when I have been given clue, after clue, after clue. God's clues start out tiny, usually. Yes, I have been stubborn enough that He's had to work His way up to the proverbial 2x4 to smack me up side the head. I'm endeavoring to not push Him that far as often. How often have I heard "Pick your battles?" I'm endeavoring to take responsibility for the messes I instigate because I want something that God has tried to tell me isn't what's best for me. There is unavoidable confrontation, but there is also avoidable confrontation. I'm endeavoring to recognize the clues and make my choice before I'm stuck with no choice but to fight. Confrontation will find you, so why go hunting for it if it isn't absolutely necessary? I'm endeavoring to learn to walk away when it doesn't really matter, and learning what I need to know so that I'll have the strength and courage to stand when I need to hold my ground.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Carpe diem... this and that...

I sorted through bills, prepping for tax time. I did laundry. I made pancakes. I've done a bit of reading. I caught up at Beck U, so I'm ready for the new semester, starting this Wednesday. Feeling a bit scattered, but 'tis to be expected, and in spite of that, blessedly, I managed to accomplish more than I planned.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thank goodness it's Sunday #26...

~Walk for the Cure. This was my fifth year walking with my sister, a nine-year survivor. My niece and her team Because... joined us for the third year in a row. Amazing to see all those people joined in a common cause for good. Sad to see how many had lost loved ones; wonderful to see all the survivors.

~Arnica, great for bruises.

~Anne Gracie, romance writer. I haven't done a reading list in a while. I've been reading a lot of new authors, exploring styles and ideas, and wondering why I enjoy romance novels. Anne Gracie's latest book was released this week. I pre-ordered so it arrived fast. She has a wicked funny sense of humor that always catches me laughing out loud. Her characters are admirable and vivid. She has a gift for being able to write a lot of characters distinctively enough that they don't blend together. I could tell you the names of the five younger siblings of the heroine, the aunt, brothers and friends of the hero, the Rev and his wife, the weasels, and myriad friends and servants. I own all her books, and only lament that she only writes about one book a year, but the care is clearly there, and worth the wait.

~The chance to start over. Re-starting the 40 days/40 nights challenge.

~Cooler weather. Yay!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bits and Bobs...

Buttermilk Syrup made without the vanilla is still delicious, simply a milder flavor. I need to trust myself. The syrup didn't look quite right, and I couldn't figure out why. I figured my memory was faulty. It wasn't. Details matter. However, it's good to know that if I don't have vanilla, the syrup will still taste yummy.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling. I read this through the first time, months ago. I struggled with it, not understanding at least half. I've done a lot of learning, and now it scares me silly because I understand. The only thing I needed to look up was "Feminian Sandstones." At first, the only place I could find any reference to this phrase was within the poem itself. A little more searching, and I learned it refers to a building material used to construct medieval churches. And it makes sense. It's a dark poem that comes from a dark time in Kipling's life, and yet I find in it a call to stand more steadfastly on God's side. In the world being created by those who believe in the good of the collective, I have no place. The choice is mine: Live in fear or live with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.

Food is a mammoth struggle for me, with more pitfalls and traps than a Dungeons and Dragons maze. The history is ugly and riddled with nonsense, guilt, and survival, but I haven't given up hope in my ability to tame this particular dragon. I stopped investing in diet books or even reading diet articles for the simple reason being that the first thing they suggest is eating whole grains. I don't know anyone besides me who is allergic to bran. No whole grains, of any kind, whatsoever. White flour, white rice, no problem. It's been a blessedly quiet week, and it's given me the opportunity to focus, and I've learned a few things, which I've been putting into practice. If it isn't a permanent change, it won't make any difference what I've done. But neither will I beat myself up. I'll keep searching.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weathertop...a significant date in the history of Middle-earth...

For those of you unfamiliar with the reference, Weathertop is where Frodo was stabbed by the Witch King, in LOTR. Frodo is never quite the same after this event. Unfortunately, in the movie, Peter Jackson felt the need to portray Frodo as a cowering bundle of nerves, dropping his sword, and trying to hide by putting on the Ring. Not so. Frodo is afraid. He does put on the Ring because he feels compelled to do so beyond his ability to resist. Then he sees the terrible visage of the Witch King, and though he is afraid he still attempts to strike the monster with his sword. It isn't clear if Frodo actually succeeds in hitting the Nazgul's foot or only his robe. It doesn't actually matter since no serious damage would have been done. However, it does bring out a perspective I have long held. Though Frodo gave in to the compulsion to put on the Ring at Weathertop (a foreshadowing), and he finally gave into the need to claim the Ring at the end, it does not negate that he was courageous and what he accomplished only he could do, as flawed as it was, and it benefited all of Middle-earth.

I've oft heard quoted "God will not give you more than you can bear." Here's the actual scripture in 1 Corinthians 10:13: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it." (Please note that it specifies temptation not trials. The two are not one in the same.)

Too often we are the ones who set the limit on how much we can bear, and when we "fail" our own expectations we castigate ourselves for not doing better. This is when we must remember another scripture in 1 Samuel 16:7: "For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

God sees our full potential. Only He knows what we are truly able to bear. How do we know our full potential if we don't ever reach the breaking point? Then again, we are more than capable of putting ourselves in the way of temptation beyond our ability to bear without any help at all. We are weak sinners, every one of us. God knows this and that's why He prepared a way before the world was. He provided a Savior. Despite our stumbling through this life, God is more than able to bring our very existence forward to the good of mankind. The question is, at the end of it all, are you able to look back on your life and say with all honesty that you truly tried to follow where God led you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Carpe diem... a good day...

Rain blew threw this afternoon. Needed and appreciated.

I've been catching up with some reading I've wanted to do, including reading up on the Props that will be on the ballot in November. I saw a sign that advertised voting no on a list of props to protect the state constitution. Then I saw at AZshooter that the same billboard was mentioned and someone they knew had done the homework to find out who was behind it. Saved me the time. So I've looked at those Props myself now, and I will vote for several of them to protect my constitutional rights. When I worked for the airlines we acquired a new computer system that was so easy anyone could operate it. All you had to do was RTDT: Read The Darn Thing. So before November, read the Props! Find out what they really mean. And whether it's a yes or no vote you need to make to accomplish what YOU want.

I've become amused by the campaign ads because of how often facts are twisted. Ads give me information to investigate. I will not be a sheeple, led about by ads and those who think they know better than I do. Do your own homework!

The question was asked: Is America special? This is what I wrote to a friend last May: When I originally went to England, I only planned to stay six weeks. I took a week tour of Scotland and planned to come home. I'd finished travel agency school, so I was between school and entering the work force. Once I arrived in England, I began to realize just how close France was. I'd taken French in college, before going to Thailand. It seemed ridiculous to be so close and not actually go! So, I talked to the parents and arranged to stay eight more weeks, including two weeks on the continent, several days in Holland, and then down to Paris. I was only in Paris about a week and a half, staying half the time with different friends. I frequently likened myself to a poor little rich girl, except I wasn't rich. I lived on practically nothing, ie, my own money which was almost nil, but I stayed with friends who lavished me with their kind hospitality. It was amazing.

I've also traveled all over the US and lived in Yellowstone one summer, and it's nothing like living abroad and coming home. Coming home from Thailand, I had spent 16 months meticulously not comparing the countries because I wanted to be able to focus on my missionary work and pining for home wasn't helpful. When I went to Europe, I allowed myself to see the differences. I loved my time there, but I cried when we touched back in New York. I was home. There are times I wish I had taken my uncle's opportunity to help me get a green card and work in England, but I was doing the best I knew how, at the time.

There is a spirit in America that exists nowhere else on earth. A sense of freedom and opportunity to grow and explore. With the way our government is ballooning, I have considered moving, but there's nowhere I love as much as here. So, I stay and endeavor to stand, in my own quiet way, to uplift and encourage the basic premise of this: my Home, freedom, courage, the right to choose, the right to fail or succeed, and the right to pick myself up when I fall and try again, without someone else taking all the credit for knowing what's best for me without knowing me at all. It's something I'm already all to familiar with, so I recognize the signs. God bless America and grant us mercy we may not deserve but desperately need.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thank goodness it's Sunday #25...

~Seasons. Still hot during the day, but cool at night. Whew! Changed my desktop to a fall picture since I won't be seeing any leaf changing myself.

~Computers that keep me in touch with dear friends and allows me to follow my interests with ease.

~Books, of course, especially when they inspire me to think and question.

~Yummy cookies! I really like THE cookies. And there is something about cookies and milk....

~God's everlasting patience.