Loosening my Strings

I gave up my store and my plans I thought were important.
I simplified my website to the barest of the minimum I need now.
It’s time to accept that I am supposed to live casually, live easy, live more slowly.
No guilt, no strings, no regret, just play each day and see what happens.

I have nothing to complain about. I have my health. I have my family.
I don’t have wealth beyond measure but enough for each day.
God has always provided just the right amount for me.
Never too much so I forget about him and never too little so I am angry.

I start each day with prayers of thankfulness to God for being alive and giving me another day with my husband and keeping my family safe. I read something from God’s word and it is amazing how the same scripture can come up while listening to a radio station or podcast. It was meant to be. God is so real to me. He shows me proof of his existence and his care for my life daily.

“Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Tonight my husband and I took out our paint-by-number kits we bought this summer. We each had never done one before. We thought it might be nice to try something new, together. Something other than our usual card-playing, or watching of the re-runs of old daytime family series like the “Walton’s”.

One hour was so much enjoyment but enough for our eyes. For me I had to use a magnifying glass. His is one of a train going over a bridge. Mine is a cat. Both are difficult for our lack of experience but enough of a challenge to keep our interest.

I decorated the main floor with Christmasy things I set out. But no Santa Clauses or Snowman’s or elves. My manger scene is most prominent but other pretty greenery and red candles too. A decorated sleigh is on the floor and a polar bear on the center table with a red cap. Kids see enough of Santa and that is alright by me but if they can see more of Jesus at my house it makes me happy.

I hope everyone is well God bless your day!

BOOYA for Thanksgiving

I like it when something that is generally routine, can be done differently. I thought I would surprise the family this year at Thanksgiving with some of my Booya, as an addition to the meal.

I never put peas in mine or corn! The featured photo is not my own and is of a vegetable soup, not a Booya. They are not one and the same. If you live in the Mid-West you know that about Booya.
I will have to add a photo of it perhaps, one day, to this post.

All by itself, it is a very hearty and healthy meal!

Yes, we will still have turkey and all the fixings but I had the day off today and was thinking of the last batch of Booya I made. I still had many of the fresh vegetables that I didn’t use, still fresh and in my refrigerator. I thought I would make another batch of it to use these up before they went to waste, and share on Thanksgiving Day with the family as a side dish (as if we needed one).

I cooked all day and actually enjoyed myself, but only because I didn’t put much thought into it beforehand. I know what an undertaking it is to make a good Booya. I could have easily put myself out of the mood.

I am trying to just do things on the fly these days because I do have lots of time on my hands. I am not one to sit in front of television or my computer to be entertained. I like to be useful and also have something to show for my day and maybe even surprise my husband.

I had a lot of pans and clean-up after all the chopping and cooking was finished, but I didn’t think too much of it. The aroma filling my as I tarried on in the kitchen, made my heart happy.

All the ingredients now will sit in the crockpot overnight and I will stir it occasionally in the meantime. I will add some barley to the mix on the last day of cooking to thicken up the broth a bit. The more broken up the vegetables get and the more tenderized the meat gets the better I like it.

My Booya has nine ingredients and the seasonings. Oh, I forgot to add some garlic. I will add that at some point tomorrow. It isn’t typical but I like the heart benefits from garlic in my recipes.

I will make some wild rice dressing to go with our turkey, my daughter will be bringing cheesy potatoes, of course, green bean casserole and cranberries will be served. I love a pumpkin pie and as much as I love my homemade pie crust, I wonder if my son will pick up one ready-made for dessert.

Whoever has room for dessert on Thanksgiving Day? We usually eat ours while playing cards. It will be a late-night and my husband and I are not used to staying up too late.

I wish the grandkids could stay overnight but I think they will be happier in their own beds. We will see what mom and day say about it, and of course, grandpa.

It is a 45-minute drive and someone would have to drive out again to either pick them up, or we would need to bring them home so that is a big consideration too. If it were just up to me I would play with them all day the next day. Grandpa likes things a little quieter though. It’s ok.

I have so much to be thankful for and God has been so good to our family. I hope you have a beautiful day over this Thanksgiving holiday if you are celebrating in the USA, otherwise, a blessed season!

Thank you, God, for loving me!

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Watch Your Thoughts

Sometimes a post I write is so painful I have to take it down.

It usually takes a few days or a week and things get sorted out and I feel better anyway.

I don’t like to stay in the doldrums too long.

I believe when I dwell on something and have to talk it out loud, as women tend to, it still doesn’t help me. Even when I write about it, it somehow seems to keep that dreary feeling alive. I’m not healed.

I have heard professionals tell us that it is good to write about some event that is bothering us. Just get it out. Otherwise it will fester and turn into some big bad thing within us like anger turning into an ulcer or even cancer.

Remember when you were a teen and seemed to break out at the most stressful times. Just when you didn’t want to see that pimple it would surface and make things worse.

Some say it is healing to release these thoughts and feelings and get them out into the open. I don’t get that. I feel like it is opening a wound or pulling off a scab. What is the point of that? Who wants to relive a bad event?

I have decided to just change the way I think about certain things in the first place. The cycle just repeats itself otherwise, and I feel like I have learned nothing. I continue to see myself as the victim.

To see myself as the one no one loves, the one no one wants to have coffee with, the one that is forgotten about when the family is planning the reunion. The one invitation that gets lost in the mail or replaced by another appointment.

I have always looked at myself as being invisible. I don’t have the loudest voice when all your friends are gathered for a sleepover. I am not the popular girl.

I never had one very best friend but seemed to be the third wheel. I saw everyone as having someone close but never me. Poor me….how sickening is that to even admit or to have another person read about me or for me to write about?

No, I have learned something this week. I am going to change the way I see the world. They, meaning those closest to me in my circle, are not out to get me. They are busy with their lives and it does not revolve around mine, as mine does not revolve around theirs.

I have felt myself a little stronger and happier now that I have overcome that last hurdle, last week. I handled it better than usual. I did not judge or criticize but although disappointed, I went right from that to acceptance.

I decided and said out loud, ” I am sure it wasn’t intentional.”
As if I were speaking to Satan to tell him I would not listen to the lies he wanted to plant in my head. The enemy always wants to paint the picture blackest in our mind. No light can get in.

It helps to remind myself that I am called to “be like Jesus”. I need to start acting like Jesus. How many times was he despised and rejected? “A man of sorrows and familiar with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)

If I stay in God’s word I will understand God more. I have a lot of time to myself these days and I thank God for that. I talk to him out loud sometimes and just thank and praise him because he is all I really need. What if I ever were in a situation where I had to be alone?

I think of those from the January 6th ordeal in Washington DC, who have been arrested for rioting (as they should be) and are still in jail. They are being treated unfairly with no due process, some in solitary confinement, and haven’t seen their family members for months. This is not unlike Communist China. What has happened to America?

No one knows what the future holds for any of us. I have to fix my eyes on Jesus and he gets me through every waking day. I read his word out loud and it helps to play Christian songs or find a station on the radio where I can listen to a preacher or evangelist.

God is the equalizer. He helps me get back on the right track. Satan would rather keep me there in the muck and mire, dwelling, contemplating, analyzing, trying to figure out my mental state on my own. Write it out then burn the paper. No…that has never fixed it for me.

Only God’s word, God’s thoughts, God’s ways, God’s promises, God’s guidance and laws. God’s love keeps me steady.

If we are in God’s will, his word and our mind is steadfast on him, nothing bad can enter our thoughts. The Holy Spirit gives us understanding.

“..looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Nobody Home – Invisible

I know I am not rejected. I know it is just part of getting older. Is anyone home to take my call or answer my email?

I have heard it from so many who are elderly in nursing homes when I worked there. Their sad faces could tell the story. Loved ones long gone and friends too. Now even the home they once lived in has been sold for them to live out the rest of their lives in one shared facility with strangers and a single bed at night to lay their head.

I check emails and none get a response but for those from an acquaintance I may have just met on the internet who shares my same hobby.

Texts come in from family if they need something. I confess, I rarely hear my phone anymore because often times I set it down in another room and forget to take it with me to the next. I hate phones. I love face to face.

I ask an old aunt if she wants company on a particular day. It doesn’t seem to work out. I used to have many older women I could spend time with when I cleaned houses. They were like adopted moms to me since mine was gone and we never were close anyway. She had her favorites and I was not one of them.

I do have my hobbies, my housework, my baking if I want to finally make that carrot cake tonight. Yes, that is a good idea. My company is coming tonight to finally try the BOOYA they missed out on when they forgot that I was waiting for them.

It is overcast and cold today but my heart is joyful. I really do like to be alone in my home by myself. I will work on that piano piece I wanted to perfect. I am happy to be alive and glad that Jesus walks with me. I am never alone and always have someone who loves me.

Do I spend too much time thinking about my own self? Is that the problem? I just need to accept my life can only get quieter than this so get used to it….I think. Maybe I will spend more time crocheting.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

Messy Me – Lifetime Struggle

A messy desk, messy kitchen, messy workroom, the messy nightstand is nothing unusual about my home. I was never that way at my place of work, messy.

I just like too many things, perhaps, reading (hence the books pile up everywhere), crocheting (I am learning Amigurumi crochet), my plants now brought in from my gardens. (Just the ones that are still pretty, and ones I will store over winter.)

When I was working, at a job site, you would never see nick-nacks brought in to decorate my surroundings or find stacks of paperwork at my desk. I am not materialistic and did get my work done routinely.

My counters were immaculate as were the floors when I worked in a dental office as an Assistant. You would never find snacks hiding in my drawers anyplace I worked. No framed photos setting out of pets or family members could be found. No crazy cracker-jack toys or miscellaneous souvenirs, to show off. Basically, I am not a show-off in any way.

So I ask, why are things so unmanageable for me in my own home? The stuff around me, I mean. I still know when the laundry needs to be done, the dishes in the dishwasher should be emptied, the lights should be off.

I guess I need someone telling me what and how and when to do something. No that is not true. I just need someone strict in charge of me. My husband is too kind.

He is the neat one and will fold the laundry I didn’t get to folding. Things are usually laid out flat, so they don’t wrinkle until I get to them. I must have been distracted. I moved on to the next thing that got my attention.

I think when I get very comfortable in a place, I let my guard down. I tend to be more relaxed and work according to my own schedule. I do best when I even have a schedule. Maybe I should get back to writing a list. Oops, I forgot to write one today!

In high-school Geometry class, years ago, I got a “D” letter grade one semester. I was an A & B average student. This teacher let us work at our own pace and for me, it made all the difference.

After that one semester, I changed my ways but it was hard work for me. I had to be my own coach to press me forward and on toward the task at hand. I do better when someone is demanding, has high expectations, and is strict with me.

I am no longer a child and should be able to manage things better on my own now. I don’t want to be married to a brute. I think it is just self-discipline I need and the humility it takes to ask God for help. I have been doing this lately more and more.

I have shed tears over this issue which may sound silly to someone who is not bothered by distractions. For me, it is debilitating. I can’t move. I seriously want to get control over my surroundings instead of my surroundings controlling me.

Today I find myself remembering a game my dad played with us to get us to help clean up. “Just pick up five things and put them away.” He would tell us. Or, “Take something up (where our shared bedroom was) before you go upstairs.” Our arms needed to be full.

Dad was the one who cleaned the countertops in our kitchen and gathered the messes that we, in turn, put in their place. Mom was too busy cooking, doing laundry, washing floors etc. I guess I got a little bit of the habits I have formed from both of them.

I am busy with so many different things because God gave me such an interest for the arts. I love to create. Dad taught me my organizational skills, rather, just watching him I picked something up.

Dad was secretary for his Golf Club, treasurer for his Bowling League, and a Commercial Artist at the Studio where he worked full-time. Mom did a great job of making sure we always had clean clothes, haircuts from one of her best friends, a clean house, and pretty good food to eat.

Mom got neighbors together to bake bread, canned vegetables, and make Christmas cookies. She always had friends for coffee every morning but on the weekends. I admit she loved to gossip and made sure she shoed any of us little ones out to play if there was something we did not need to hear, or just for the sake of privacy with her friends.

That is a little history of my parents, and perhaps a clue as to why I am the messy girl I am. I still am trying to figure it out. I think maybe creative, interesting people generally are messy. Ha! Ha!

Today I played a game and picked up five things off my kitchen counter and put them away. In the last room, I was in I told myself I could not leave without picking up five more things to put away, which I did. Now in another room, I picked up another five things and proceeded to put these things away.

I took a look at just the little bit I did and thought, I should write about this. Before I would forget, I sat down at the computer and here I am. See how easily I get side-tracked? My husband would tease me and say, “SQUIRREL!” to me when he saw that happening, which is often at our house.

Another version of the game, which would help me, and maybe someone else, is that I could set a timer for an hour and spend the hour picking up “just five things” in every room I ended up to see how far it would take me.

Just one hour of cleaning a house (picking up things) is not so bad when I can make a game of it. Otherwise, this kind of cleaning gets me side-tracked so easily. A person like me could see a lot of “squirrels” if I were not careful and determined to stay on task.

I wish I weren’t so easily distracted. I would get so much more done. My husband will ask me, (after I tell him, “Sorry the house is a mess still, I didn’t get much done.”) “But did you have fun? Did you have a good day?”

For me, a good day is when the house is neat and organized. I will show him something I did complete, or a room I cleaned. I am hardest on my own self. I am not sure where this comes from. I know God loves me just as I am and so does my husband.

I spend time with God each day in the morning, first thing. I read devotionals or my Bible, or play a spiritual song on my piano just meditating to the Lord. I know this is the most important thing I do each day. I need him so much because otherwise, I would only have my own thoughts. They take me to places that benefit no one.

God bless you and I pray you will have peace today and put your trust in God alone!

Are you a messy type of person too? Is it different for you at home than at the office?

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;” (2 Corinthians 4:8)