Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Boy Howdy!

My husband is having way to much fun with my last post. (And to think I thought it actually had merit. ha!)

For those of you who are unaware of what I speak, I posted a graphic on my last blog post that was pretty terrible. It was purely, completely, TOTALLY an accident. I thought I was just posting some random Chinese graphic to go along with my post. The graphic even said to turn your head to the right (which I never did). But, boy, howdy, when a friend alerted me to the fact that I needed to look at the graphic again, I did... Let me just say, I've been mortified all day! I apologize, friends.

It reminds me of the time I got a dress with a loud print on it only to discover that the loud print was a bunch of naked women. Shoot, I just typed in "learning Chinese" into Flickr and chose that stinkin' graphic.

Thanks for believing the best about me. My gracious. Trust me, that is not the kind of message I'm wanting to get out! There's bound to be a lesson in there somewhere... I'm up to learning it if anyone has a clue what the lesson is. : } I think I'll go without a graphic tonight...

Rather pink,

Monday, March 30, 2009

Celebrate Every Gorgeous Moment

The artist who calls herself Sark said, "Celebrate every gorgeous moment." Love that.

When others ask me about my day (especially if it is a work day) my usual harried response is "busy." I'm quite bored with that response, to be frank. I even say it in such a way that I think they are going to want to glimpse into my life and really want to see exactly how busy I've been. Bor-ing (said in a sing-song voice).

We're all busy. I'd like to instead be more focused on the fact that I'm celebrating "every gorgeous moment." Now, that's something worth talking about.

Today I had several gorgeous moments. A resident came to see me. She is usually a sour person and when she had a seat in my office, I inwardly sighed. But, we had the most delightful conversation. I learned that she felt she had to continue learning. How exciting and enlightened. I also learned that she had learned to speak Russian and had attempted Chinese! I learned that she has a love for roses, too and we had a delightful conversation about different varieties. That was a gorgeous moment . . . and very unexpected.

Another gorgeous moment I had was with another resident. He's going through some medical trials and tends to be a bit of a curmudgeon. I tease him every time I see him and tell him to "be extraordinary." I think he lives to tell me what "extraordinary" thing he did. Good.

And yet another gorgeous moment I had was when someone offered a "kick" in my direction. Usually, when this person does such a thing I get all bummed. But not, today. I remembered that turkeys will be turkeys and bunnies will be bunnies. And...I'm not a turkey. : ) It didn't even phase me. That was a gorgeous moment.

When I can see the truly gorgeous moments, I'm seeing things in a way more like God. Oh, to have his eyes, his heart and his ears.

That is my prayer,

Please note that no real names or photos of residents at my facility are ever used in this blog.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Labyrinth Learning

Tonight I was meeting Vann for dinner and was a few minutes early. (That never happens.)

I had just enough time for a walk around the labyrinth at ACU. The wind was blowing hard as I walked the path. I realized that life is like that. At times, the winds blow and try to take you off course. Sometimes, they actually do get you off the path. But if I keep my eyes and purpose on the path, God is faithful to help in the midst of the winds of change.

Another takeaway from my time on the labyrinth was that you don't always have to finish something to get benefit from it.

I was about 3/4 of my way through the labyrinth walking when out of the corner of my eye I saw two children barreling down the hill bound for "my" labyrinth. They ran across the labyrinth and started talking excitedly and loudly as children sometimes do wondering where to start the maze. When they saw the start of it they, you guessed it, decided to walk it as quickly as possible.

My initial irritation turned to peace as I realized that I don't always have to complete a task to gain benefit from it. I left the last 1/4 of the labyrinth "unwalked" for today. That's o.k.

God is teaching me when OCD is good and when it doesn't help me.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, March 21, 2009

She's a Beautiful Piece of Work

I've mentioned what a great week my oldest daughter, Katie Lea and I had last week. Vann and Caroline were on a mission trip during spring break to New Orleans and Katie Lea and I were machines, I tell ya!

Katie Lea painted three rooms during the day and I worked. At night we would get together for a quick bite of dinner and start putting the rooms back together. We completely re-purposed the two attic rooms and gave a brand new look to our bathroom.

In addition to the painting and redecorating, we also prepared for a garage sale and gave a successful garage sale on Saturday!

During the beginning of the week I noticed our waterfall was slowing down. Us pond owners know that means we have to clean out the pump. As wonderful as a waterfall and a pond are, cleaning out the pump is not so wonderful. It means sticking your hand down into the murky water to retrieve the pump and clean it out. I won't go into much more details as I think most of my readers are women. Let's just suffice it to say, ewww...

Anyway, I told Kit that I needed her help to clean out the pump. I needed her to plug it back in. I was going to give her the less gunky chores since I know she is a whole lot like I was at her age. :)

Well, I couldn't get the stinking thing to working right and our daughter who has never liked putting her hands in a sink of soapy, wet dishes, dug her hands and up to her forearms in ooky water to get that pump going right. It didn't even seem to phase her! I was stunned. I thought some alien had inhabited her body, but I sure liked this alien!

Several months ago Katie Lea discovered I had a tattoo. I had not ever intended to tell anyone and she discovered it much to my chagrin. She was so touched by learning that I had a tattoo that she said she saw me in a whole new light. She said she was having to figure out who I was all over again and she liked this new person. wow. Funny thing is that I was still the person I always had been.

Well, that was the way it was for me when I saw our daughter not even flinch and stick her arm down in that fish poopy water. We had such a beautiful bonding week together. I think it was our best week ever. I'm so thankful. It will be a week we'll both remember for a long time, I'm sure. God is growing her up.

He's growing me, too,

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Life is a Puzzle

And God is the master designer...

I used to tell my older friend, "Sylvia"that I wanted to be like her. She had such a close relationship with God and was so loving to others. But, I didn't ever want to go through what she had to go through in order to be like her. She spent many years with her husband jailed for a crime she contended he didn't do.

There have been countless others I've wanted to be like but would not want to go through what they went through in order to have the qualities that refined them.

When we moved to Atlanta many years ago, I got a job as an Assistant Director at the County Community Council on Aging. As a college Social Work major, I never once listed working with older adults in my top ten wish list. Handicapped, mentally ill, poor, etc. But never did I want to work with older adults.

Shortly after I got that job I was offered another job as a manager of a senior citizen's high rise. I didn't want the job but took it because it was a good opportunity. Many years later I was the Administrator of that same high rise. That first job was 1982! Yes, all these many years later I'm still in this industry. I believe God knew me well enough to know I'd have a hard time being an older adult and wanted to saturate me with experiences to prepare me. (Yep, that would fit.) Today, I can say I see God's hand in my work experiences all the way through.

I've often said that working in this industry has allowed me to see what I want to be when I grow up - - and what I don't want to be. : }

Today I saw where my experiences at my job in Atlanta helped in my job today in Abilene, TX. Some of the issues I had there really helped with a situation I was faced with today.

Life really is a puzzle at times, isn't it? Sometimes it seems so clear. The edges of the puzzle are in place and the middle is starting to make sense. Other times, someone comes along and throws their homework on top of the puzzle and pieces scatter to the floor.

Do you remember the movie "Signs" with Mel Gibson? Everything in that movie began fitting together. I was scared by that movie, but also touched. God's hand.

God's hand is everywhere. Even when we can't see it. Even when we choose not to see it.

Today I'm sitting here very thankful that today...at least a little...I was able to see God's handiwork in my surroundings and in me. It's my prayer that he opens my eyes and heart to what he sets before me each day.

Working on the edges,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Living Until We Die

Isn 't she adorable?

I heard a thought provoking comment many years ago that still resonates with me. "God gives us the biggest challenge until last. Living until we die."

I've often used that in my career with older adults. But now, I'm realizing, I am an older adult. Ew.

But what does "living until we die" really mean? To me, it means clarity of thought, purpose, direction. It means looking someone in the eye and really trying to understand what they are saying (or not saying). It means seeing with my heart the things that God has put smack dab in front of me to be grateful for. It means seeing things in a new, exciting way.

Last week our oldest daughter Katie Lea (Kit, Kitty, Kate, Kittenfur - all names we use for her) and I were hard working, well oiled woman machines! I wish I could say I was a little buffer or slimmer for the effort, but, ah...no.

Katie Lea painted 3 rooms. She painted Blue Heaven. It's still Blue, just a softer blue. See previous post. She painted Bliss - a new name for Caroline's bedroom and our new guest room. Care has informed us that she is basically on her way out. (My goodness, the audacity of our 20 1/2 year old!) Kit also painted our 2nd floor bathroom. It's a beautifully soothing "spa green" as Care says. Kitty also painted the ceilings in these rooms and I like it.

Anyway, back to the main trail and off the rabbit trail...

Tonight, as I sit with my computer in my new office and creating space (Blue Heaven) I noticed for the first time in the 4 years and 2 1/2 months we have lived in this house that I have a magnificent view of McMurry's chapel tower out of my Blue Heaven window! The tower is lit and magical. How have I missed this? Curtains. (I just now looked out my window again and saw it. tee hee!)

How many other things am I missing? A lot, I'm sure.

I have some more thoughts, but will save them for another post. Too much is too much.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Soft Glow of a Conch Shell

I'm excited about this week. This is the week we're repainting the attic rooms.

Caroline's old room (now a lime green) will become a beautiful pale beige pink . . . the palest color of a conch shell. It's the close to the color circled on the shell above. I'll use silver, brown, taupe and cream accessories and it will become a serene guest bedroom and room for Caroline to retreat to when she is home. We have an antique chenille bedspread the same color. I need a new name for that room. Ideas?

The other attic room, Blue Heaven that I've written about, will be painted a much airier blue. See the photo of the tree and sky above. It's close to the color in the circle. The color of fresh air. It will still be Blue Heaven, just serene blue.

Life has been so busy lately that I'm craving the serenity of soothing colors and things. I'm excited about these changes. I'm also even looking forward to the garage sale next Saturday. Finally, a chance to clean out! Simplifying is freeing.

Now, let's just hope I don't have jury duty all week.

Freer than air,

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fifteen Minutes to Insight

I love a labyrinth as it is not a maze that can confuse and frustrate you. In a maze there are many different paths. In a labyrinth, there is one way.

I've wanted to walk the new labyrinth at ACU (Abilene Christian University) and got a chance this morning. It's a lovely area close to the lake and fountain. They've done a wonderful job of landscaping the grounds with vibrant tulip trees and great west Texas grasses. The labyrinth itself is engraved in thought provoking words along the path...endurance, patience, devotion, etc.

I almost didn't go this morning though I had planned it. The wind has been ferocious today. I imagined a sinus headache that wouldn't go away until next Wednesday if I went. The headache didn't happen, but clarity and insight crawled up my legs and worked their way into my head and my heart as I was journeying the labyrinth.

Some takeaways from this morning...
  • Life is unpredictable as hard as we try to make it predictable.
  • You may not see how you are going or have the "big picture" but if you just follow the path, you will get there.
  • "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
  • Stop trying to figure it out. Just know you'll have more understanding of whatever when and if you are supposed to.
I worked with a lady named Ann once who always seemed calm. Even in the midst of chaos or rude or mean people. I asked Ann what her secret was about staying peaceful in the midst of upheaval. She simply said, "Susan, you just do the next right thing." Indeed.

Results of labyrinth . . clarity and peace.

The winds whipped, but my spirit calmed in the midst of the battering wind. My wish for you this day is


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What Makes our Spirits Soar?

Have I mentioned how much I'm enjoying my art class? My new friend, Jo Ann, taught it. We worked with acrylics and I learned a lot of new techniques. I like it even better than watercolors, I think. You can make mistakes with it and cover them up. You can't do that with watercolors.

Beginning tomorrow night our group is going to get together just to paint - - not real instruction as such, but I can't wait until then!

When I paint, something wonderful is released in my spirit. I took a watercolor class when our girls were small and I felt the same way then. It's been too long since I've painted. It's like your spirit being constipated. (Sorry, I just couldn't think of a more "ladylike" way to say that.)

I let commitments get in the way of refreshing "me time." I forget to take care of myself. You've heard (probably many times) about how important it is to put the oxygen mask on yourself before putting it on the child in an airplane. Seems cruel. But, how can you take care of the child if you can't breathe.

How can we take care of those we love if we are running on empty? We can't.

What makes your spirit soar? What makes you feel alive? Really alive?

For me, it's art. Sometimes it is writing. Sometimes it's reading. Always it's laughing.

Last week I went up to Blue Heaven (my favorite attic room in my house) and just sat...for 30 minutes! I didn't have a note pad. The television or radio weren't on. In fact, I don't even have those things in Blue Heaven. I just sat there. I prayed some. I looked around the room. And, I just sat. Meditated. It was the most clarifying 30 minutes. It was oxygen. I was just being.

After that I could see more clearly. Respond more appropriately. When I take time to just "be" my spirit is calm enough for God to speak. Rather...when I take time to just "be" my spirit is calm enough for me to Hear God speak.

What sets your spirit to flying? What makes your heart sing? My friend, Sarah feels she was born to be a writer. (I think she is right. She's quite good. Check her out.) What is your spirit soaring dream. If we speak it, we are closer to realizing it.

Don't be shy,

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hi Friend

I apologize for not coming up with some poignant, life altering, insightful musings lately. : } (Not that I ever really do. Anything good comes from the Father anyway.)

For the past while, I've been putting a lot of energy into "doing the next right thing" - - namely my job. I've been working a lot of hours. (Can I hear a collective sigh? ha!)

God is reminding me daily that I can crawl up in his lap when I become overwhelmed, frightened or just weary. I take him up on his offer, too!

I hope to have something more stimulating or at least "ponder worthy" to share soon, but my extra energy when at home has been going into being creative with beautiful things I can see. That feeds my soul. The other time has been spent on being with my sweetheart. And yet the other little bit has been spent on taxes. blech. There just hasn't been a lot of mental or emotional energy left over to process. That's o.k. For everything there is a season.