Rain

RainWhat can I say about rain that hasn’t already been said?  Yet, I feel impelled to try to explain all that I know about rain on this day, at this moment.

Rain can bring darkness to the day, with a sense of calm in that darkness unlike any other.  It is peaceful.  The calm, steady rain soothes all that is bothering my soul.  It feels like God is sprinkling me with His peace.  Listening to the light pattering of raindrops on the roof, the steady pounding of water on solid ground, the drizzle of water cascading down a windshield, outside the window.  They all soothe and caress my emotions into something more fluid, more bending with life.  There is no more rebelliousness against what is good.  I can go with the flow of the rain and know that it will all turn out OK and tomorrow will be another day of surprises, and that’s OK, too.

Cold rain on my skin wakes up every nerve in my body.  Sending a direct jolt of life to my brain, it is like an electrical current turning on my thoughts.  Hello, Day!  How are you?  I am awake now!  Let’s do something crazy and joyful!  Let’s create the perfect plan to turn my life into the life I want to live today.  Let’s take at least one step toward that change, that change that will give me a future worth living in the rain!

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.   Langston Hughes

Even as a child, I can recall rainy Sunday afternoons in the summer when I would stretch out on my Flower Garden quilt covered bed with my Barbie doll and all her outfits, dressing her up to live an adventurous life of work, play, and sleep, all while listening to the rain falling with determination outside the open, screened window.  My imagination seemed to go to more places, further places, than it could without the rain.  The rain mattered.  It was nourishment to a young mind.  And it made me feel less lonely.

The rain today made me yearn to write.  I couldn’t wait to finish up what I was doing so that I could take a few minutes to put thoughts into a visual.  Rain does that to me.  It makes me eager to do things I love, and to feel more love in my heart.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s because of its soothing sound, or what it means to me, but it does.  I’ve learned at this stage in life not always to question why, but to just enjoy the process and be glad for its presence.

Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.   John Updike

When the fall of night brings quiet rain, it is a comfort.  Sleep is brought on by its’ calmness, by its’ very voice of a flowing lullaby.  Imagine a child wrapped in a soft, warm blanket, being held by the gentle arms of a loving mother and rocked to sleep.  That is how the night rain feels to me.  I am the babe being lulled to sleep by God’s tender touch of nature.

How does rain make you feel?  Does it calm you, or cause you angst?  If it is the latter, I challenge you to take a few moments to listen the next time it rains.  Listen, and feel.

Blessings

 

 

An Introvert’s Saturday Night

13092171_1049850765052020_9125567350055287945_nIt’s another Saturday, the last Saturday of April 2016.  It’s Spring time and many people are celebrating better weather (though it’s a bit chilly and dreary today here) and spending time outdoors with family, cookouts, and picnics.  Or maybe going out to a club or having dinner at a nice restaurant with a group of friends.

And then there’s another group of people, each of us celebrating our Saturday night’s alone, apart from the crowds and noise, and in our own ways.  Welcome to my Saturday night; an Introvert’s Saturday Night.

  • 6:00pm have nightshirt on.
  • 6:05pm let Maggie outside.  Stay inside the garage so neighbors don’t see me in nightshirt.  Feed Jonnie Katt so he can eat in peace without Maggie.  Hold and pet the boy while he purrs.
  • 6:20pm or thereabouts, Maggie comes back inside, tongue hanging out, hot from running all around the yard, feet wet and cold.  Jumps on me so I can get the full effect of the cold, wet feet.
  • 6:23pm give Maggie her supper.
  • 6:30pm Google what shows are on the three channels I get on TV tonight.  Notice there’s nothing worth watching.
  • 6:32pm check Facebook.
  • 6:35pm drag out my Art Journal and colored pencils or pens and doodle.
  • 7:30pm notice my doodling is not improving and looks like child’s play but don’t care.  I’m OK with never being an artist.   It’s my doodle.
  • 7:35pm pick out a DVD to watch.  Tonight, it will be Spenser for Hire, Season 1, Episode 2.  After all these years, Spenser and Hawk are still cool dudes.  Maggie snuggles up close and goes to sleep.
  • 7:37pm check Facebook.
  • 8:30pm let Episode 3 play of Spenser for Hire while reading a chapter of Unstuffed, by13139192_1049850411718722_8024304825355673105_n Ruth Soukup.  I make notes and highlight text.   Maggie snuggles against me and snores.
  • 9:30pm hope is renewed that I can get rid of “stuff.”
  • 9:31pm check Facebook.
  • 9:35pm feeling hungry and open the bag of White Cheddar Popcorn I brought home, accompanied by some ice cold Diet Coke.
  • 11:35pm wake up after having fallen asleep with my hand in the popcorn.  It’s sticky.  At the same time I notice my nose itches and wipe my sticky fingers across my nose.
  • 11:40pm turn the TV on to see who’s on Saturday Night Live.  Watch for a few minutes.  If nothing they say makes me angry, I’ll watch for maybe half an hour.  If they make me mad, like making a joke about God, then I’ll turn it off.
  • Midnight turn off the TV and start reading whatever book I’m reading from my Kindle.
  • 12:15am check Facebook.
  • 12:17am resume reading.
  • 12:30am out of popcorn and fall asleep, if I’m lucky.

And there you have it.  My wild and crazy Saturday night.  And I like it like that.

If you’re single and alone, how do you spend your Saturday night?

 

Blessings.

Beauty in my Eyes

We all have our own ideas of beauty.  What catches your eye may slip right by mine.  How do I define beauty?  I’m not exactly sure.  I know it when I see it, though.

12994311_1040268042676959_7205009825890081950_nPlanners and notebooks in both bright colors and basic black catch my eyes.  Throw in a pretty, comfortable writing instrument and I am in my element, floating high on a writer’s cloud.  It’s just paper, you might be thinking.  Oh no!  It’s not just paper!  It is the recipient of my thoughts and dreams.  It is the listening ear of my troubles and sorrows.  It rejoices with me when I share joys of the days or conversations with friends.  It is my traveling companion and my confidante on sleepless nights.  These notebooks have a heartbeat of their own, in my eyes.

No, I cannot really define my idea of beauty, but I can tell you my friends are beautiful.  All of them.  Each one in 303233_2397092091761_1825382099_ntheir own special and unique way.  Take my friend, Piccadilly the Clown.  Isn’t she absolutely gorgeous!  But be assured there is much more than what catches the eyes.  Her beauty runs deep, shares laughter, instigates smiles, and warms hearts with her love of people and God.  She is generous.  She shares of herself and expects nothing in return and that, my friends, is beautiful.

12987067_1040266269343803_264469149487097492_nMakeup is beautiful.  Oh my gosh, the colors are all over the place!  Put a pretty lipstick and blush in a bright, shiny makeup bag and I’m ready to step out the door into the light.  Some black mascara on the eyelashes frames the soulful eyes of a woman, and can brighten the sad eyes that cried the night before.  Strategically placed color on a woman’s face can change her mood from “all hope is gone” to “I can face anything!”  A little lipstick on these pale lips can mean the difference from someone telling me I look sick all day, to telling me I look like I feel better.  Oh yes, makeup is beautiful.

Have you ever sat down to eat feeling ravenous, looked at 13001267_1040268329343597_7368945132206482458_nyour food, and then all of a sudden lost your appetite?  I love salads, but if they look a mess with everything just thrown in with no thought, I don’t love them so much.  But I LOVE a pretty salad!  I love pretty food!  With each topping in its own special place on top of that lettuce, it’s a beautiful thing.  The mixture of colors, textures, and tastes can make the difference between just eating and really enjoying my food.  And let’s face it, we have to eat.  We might as well eat for the joy and beauty of it!

Certain colors are sure to catch my eyes.  Pinks and purples will snatch their attention every time.  I love bright colors in the Spring and Summer.  They make me feel happy and full of hope.  The days go smoother when there is a joyful color in them.  12990889_1038006399569790_3297011779775416156_nAnd if that joyful color happens to be on my handbag, I am one joyful woman.  A handbag is useful, yes.  It can be a workhorse, an accessory, a compliment to a pair of shoes.  But add a splash of color to it and it becomes a work of art.  Magenta.  I waited weeks for this color handbag to arrive.  It’s so beautiful I’m almost afraid to pack it with me fearing that something might happen to it, that it will become covered in grease or tomato sauce or stolen by an art thief.  But as I said, almost.  It will not be nearly as beautiful sitting on a shelf in my closet, or housed in a dust bag.  To really enjoy it, it needs to be close by, in my hands where I can touch it, and let it carry that beautiful purple cosmetic bag full of pretty makeup.  It all goes together.  Beauty builds upon beauty.  It all has its’ place.

Of all the beauty in all the world, there’s nothing more beautiful to me than my fur Maggie3family.  Maggie is beauty in my eyes.  She is warm, wiggly, sassy, and smart.  She lives and breathes beauty around me.  She is full of love and spunk and occasional treats.  Her ears have been torn and have ragged edges, but that just adds to her character and charm.  She snorts and snores and reminds me in the night that I am not alone.  She adopted me and saved my life.  There is nothing more beautiful in my eyes.

What is beauty in your eyes?  Take time today to look around you.  There is beauty in the everyday.  There is beauty in our chores and in our play times.  God has created beauty all around us, if we will only take a few moments to see it.

Blessings.

The Power of Nothing

  
It’s a busy world we live in. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the time we lay down to sleep at night, we’re constantly moving, doing, and thinking. And that can be a good thing. But I’m also an advocate of doing nothing, and doing it often.
I was raised on a small, 32 acre dairy farm in the 60’s and 70’s. Our family of six consisted of mom and dad, two older brothers, myself, and a younger brother who was born severely handicapped. My grandmother lived in a mobile home beside of our farmhouse. Besides the hay fields, corn fields, and cattle, there were always two large gardens being taken care of in the summer, with freezing and canning in late summer. Dad also worked a construction job most of the time. So there was always work to be done somewhere, doing something.
This was my problem…I was born a dreamer. My mind was always someplace else or wishing I was someplace else. I would escape into fairy tale worlds, or dream of riding away from everything on a beautiful black stallion, fading into the sunset. I loved the animals and taking care of feeding the baby calves. But to be honest, there was nothing I hated more than scraping cow poop in the barn or hoeing weeds in the corn fields or gardens. I didn’t mind terribly much carrying pails of milk to the cooler in the milk house, but I hated getting hay out of the haymow for fear of a big black snake being curled up on a bale. I loved spending time with mom and grandma during canning season, and didn’t mind shelling peas and shell beans, but shelling Lima beans made my thumbs so sore I could cry. Sometimes I grumbled and complained and tried, unsuccessfully, to dream myself away.
Taking care of my little brother, Joey, was a task I never fussed about. I loved him. And I would often read to him and he would listen to my voice. He may not have known what I was saying, but I think it brought both of us joy to hear a rousing tale of Three Little Pigs, or a poem from my little book of verses.
Now, Dad always said I was lazy. And I was when it came to all the chores I didn’t like to do, which are the ones he always made me do. I was blessed with two older brothers who mostly got to do all the heavy work. A good work ethic is a wonderful thing to have in life, and I appreciate having been given one from a young age.
With so much work to be done, my dad hated to see me doing nothing. Reading was my passion and what I tried to do every chance I could get, and later it included writing, too. And nothing made my dad angrier than to see me reading or writing because to him, I was doing nothing. Yet, even the sting of the hickory switch and the burn of his belt couldn’t stop me from trying to do “nothing.”
Fifty years later and I’m still hearing voices yelling at me for doing nothing. Until the last few years, vacations of any kind were nonexistent. I would have to plan chores or work to be done around the house or on a project. Guilt would engulf every fiber of my being every time I picked up a book to read. Every time I would pick up paper and pen to write, fear of being found writing would grasp my chest in a stronghold.
  
Oh, those voices of the past can still be heard. Slowly, I’m learning to silence them somewhat, or at least turn down the volume. I cannot change the fact I was born with this instilled need to dream, read, and write about fact and fiction. Some will still call me lazy. I accept that. But I also now accept this, that doing what I love to do, what some call “nothing,” is exactly what I need to do to survive. When I succumb to the voices, I begin to die inside. When I resist them and follow my passions, I am renewed.
Some of my favorite times of doing nothing are when Maggie and I escape for a stay at a cabin. We’re going back there soon, and I am looking forward to turning the volume off on all the voices from the past and doing absolutely nothing but dreaming, reading, and writing. Doing nothing brings me joy, and I’m no longer apologizing for it. I know when I return home, I will be renewed in body and spirit.

My prayer today is that you find some kind of “nothing” that brings you joy.
Blessings

Why Journal?

  
Journaling is the act of writing in a notebook.  It can take on different types of writing, from psychotherapy writing in which you may write about your deepest feelings of grief and hurt to ultimately promote healing, to a daily recording of events taking place in your life, or to something in between.

As a journaler for many years, I have used the act of writing to get myself through a bad marriage, divorce, grief, depression, a thankless job, sudden life changes, sickness, goal setting, and to record happy moments.  I’ve written in French notebooks, dollar store notebooks, moleskin notebooks, and leather bound notebooks.  I don’t think there’s anything more healing for me than the act of putting pen to paper and placing my thoughts and feelings into words.

Journaling has long been recommended by counsellors and therapists as a tool to use during depression and getting through difficult life circumstances.  Seeing thoughts on paper can bring new light and transparency to problems.  It can be freeing and life changing.

In a 2006 article from psychcentral.com, There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being. University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health.

  

There is proven healing in writing.  Often, I’ve not even known my true feelings about a situation until I begin writing about it.  One thought leads to another and before I know it, I see on paper something I didn’t even realize I felt.  Writing can get to the truth inside you.

Besides being healing, it’s also just plain enjoyable.  I love a pretty journal with bright colors that make me want to write in it.  It seems to beckon for my attention every day.   I also love the plain black pocket size moleskin notebook to carry in my bag.  I’ve got dozens of those things filled with my thoughts from years past.  Sometimes it’s interesting to glance through them to see where I’ve been and how far I’ve come emotionally.  Sometimes, it can also be painful, like remembering the death of a loved one.

Finding just the right ink pen for my journaling has also been important to the process for me.  I’ve experimented with many, from cheap to luxury.  My favorite is a modest PaperMate.  It writes well, the ink goes smoothly on the page, and it feels good in my hand.

For a writer, journaling daily can be significant in cultivating discipline. Knowing I need to write a few sentences each and every day keeps me motivated, and it keeps me writing.  All the thoughts that go into those journals are mine and no one else sees them, but they are invaluable to me.  They are a private part of me I do not share.  My heart and soul are laid right out there, but they are mine alone.

The start up cost of journaling is affordable for most everyone.  All you need is paper and pen and a desire to put them together.  The rewards are tremendous, and the value is priceless.

  
Are you a journaler?  If so, how has it helped you?

Blessings

Do You Know Your Gifts?

  
I love that quote.  How many of us have not done something because we didn’t think we would be good enough, not talented enough?  How many of us have been afraid to try?

When I was young, I sang all the time.  I sang loudly, because I thought I could sing.  I was creating a joyful noise everywhere I could; in school, on the bus, in my room, in the car, in the barn, and not one single cow in that barn complained about my vocals.  Not one.

Then, about fifth or sixth grade, we were going to have our annual play.  I loved being in plays!  It was always so exciting.  Learning new songs and music, costumes and makeup, rehearsals and maybe even a few dance steps.  That year, I wanted to be a little Dutch girl.  The Dutch girls got to sing and dance and all my friends were Dutch girls. But I was told I couldn’t be a Dutch girl because I was too fat, and because I couldn’t sing.  Wow.  To put it mildly, that was quite a shattering blow to this tender soul.

That marked the end of my singing and dancing.  I never took part in another play, I stopped singing, and even stopped playing trumpet.  I felt worthless.  I thought I had talent, a gift, but I was wrong.

But sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d never stopped singing.  I might not sing like Adele, but maybe I would lift my voice to the Lord in song without feeling less than.  Maybe there would have still been songs in my heart that needed sung off tune.   Maybe God would have been happy that I tried.

We all have gifts and talents that God placed inside us to be shared with the world.  When I no longer sang, I wrote, and I discovered a new voice within me.  Poetry became a passion and stories found a place on paper.  Books became even better friends than they were before, and in my mind, I could be a little Dutch girl and dance all day.  As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens.

Have you discovered your gifts and talents?  What brings you joy and makes your heart sing?  What door has opened for you because another closed?

Please feel free to share.

Blessings