Adding and Subtracting

Even now, Labor Day weekend reminds me of the first day of school, and still feels like the beginning of a new year. This year finds me adding and subtracting once again.

I’m not sure why I felt blindsided by this past year. I shouldn’t have been surprised when family health emergencies, a graduate school workload, and running multiple businesses took a mental and physical toll. For months, my approach was to just try harder. But wise counsel from my dear husband John helped me to untangle my thoughts and begin to listen to my own inner wisdom.

It starts in the garden, or a walk with our dog. A patch of earth, a solitary flower, or a ripening apple will catch my eye.

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My mom taught me to silently thank the flowers when I see them. I recall what my teacher and mentor, herbalist Susun Weed said: “Every breath is a giveaway dance between you and the plants.”

Here’s what else I’ve learned:

Not everything I like to do has to turn into a business. So I am closing my online handcraft shop and returning to what I love to do most — make things by hand for my home, my family and friends, and myself. Now it’s fun again!

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I can redirect the energy that I had spread among three businesses into my independent recruiting business — a new and real blessing! I can feel my blood pressure decreasing already.

I am a member of the body of Christ, who reminds me to rest in Him. I’ve returned to my home church here in Boise, where I was baptized in 2015. After many months away from church, I began to feel a tug and went to Maundy Thursday service this year. Haven’t looked back.

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I don’t have to force every moment into “something productive,” as if nothing else is enough. And isn’t that a thing that manages to nag at all of us — “am I enough?”

I’m returning to me, beginning to believe that just maybe, I am enough.

I pray the same for you — because you are enough.

 

 

 

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Monday Skies

It all started with a simple trip to the store to pick up a few groceries. As we were putting the groceries in the car, a gentle but steady rain refreshed us. When John started the ignition and the sun started to shine through the drops, I wondered out loud if we’d see a rainbow.

Good thing I had my phone camera…

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About an hour after we got home, blue skies broke through the clouds. This time, I had my trusty Nikon D5100, so I was able to practice taking some HDR shots.

Good reminder to keeping looking up!

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.” Psalm 19:1-6

 

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The sun and clouds will be trading places in the sky all day today so I’ll have plenty of chances to take more pictures. Love that sky!

Five-Minute Friday: Last

Five Minute Friday

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “last.” At Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog, we gather each week to share our nonstop, unedited, five-minute writes. Hope you’ll join us!

Here’s mine:

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The last thing I remember before falling asleep is the peace of hearing you breathing. The last thing I remember before waking up is the remnants of a dream I don’t even remember.

Now that I am wise for my years, I know what is made to last: memories of laughter as a child, the soft beauty of grass under my feet, love that took a lifetime to find. When I drink in an exquisite sunset with its orange symphony, the wonder of colors lingers into the next morning.

When I meditate on the truths that set me free, that bring peace and joy, and grace and mercy, I learn that these are the things that are made to last.

With a humble and quiet heart, I see God’s gifts with new eyes every morning, no matter what dreams disturbed my sleep. I thank God that the last thing I hear is your peaceful breathing, and my thankful prayers.

Multitude Monday: 156-163

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If we listen and watch, God teaches us through the creation. Take plants, for example. Here in the dry, hot South Central Texas summers, we can learn a lot about gratitude from plants.

156. Reaching out to friends in other states and even other parts of the world. Sensing the warmth of friendship, in spite of all the miles.

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157. Resilience and hope that brings growth and healing, whether mending bones or hearts.

158. Reaching down deep, knowing that the living water will sustain us, even in dry times.

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And there are many personal reasons for gratitude this week.

159. My husband John’s good report from his 8-week post-op appointment. No more neck brace!

160. A day trip with John after he was cooped up in the house for weeks.

161. Witnessing the success of a writer friend who inspires and encourages.

162. Seeing our cat asleep in the crook of John’s arm, watching me with one sleepy eye open. Not having the heart to take a picture and disturb the snoozing kitty.

163. Unexpected inspiration from a quote by Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), fellow New Hampshire native and author of An Island Garden:

“There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.”

For more Multitudes on Mondays, join us at A Holy Experience. Savor the summer and have a beautiful week!

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Multitude Monday: 135-140

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Happy first week of summer, friends! Some of my reasons for gratitude this week:

135. Aroma of spaghetti sauce from the kitchen…not just any sauce, but my husband John’s awesome sauce. He’s a terrific cook, and he hasn’t been able to cook since his surgery a month ago.

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So we worked together to get the ingredients in the pot for lunch.

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Smells amazing in here!

136. Refreshment and renewal that comes with changing seasons.

137. Answered prayers and confirmation. Hope for our future!

138. Enjoying the weekend with John, pursuing our photography interests.

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Practicing with different settings to take pictures of the night sky…

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…and new crape myrtles in the terrace garden.

139. Going grocery shopping with my mom. It’s always a fun day out for us…she has a way of making ordinary days fun!

140. Green grass and green trees…a very big deal now that we’ve had rain here in south Texas. Everything had been brown and crispy the previous couple of summers. We had no idea how pretty the view was from our living room window until now!

Join us at A Holy Experience for Multitudes on Mondays!