Neglecting the practice of giving thanks has darkened their minds.
~ Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
This I know is true; focusing on the negative is blinding. Following the February death of our parents, I found myself in a blue funk, a gloomy place with little interest in what normally brought pleasure. Yet today, as soft fluffy clouds float across a baby blue sky, nearly naked trees stretch their arms heavenward, and the smell of Mom’s stuffing tickles the nose, I find myself excited with anticipation for the day’s traditions and the making of memories with family and friends.
Be thankful for dirty dishes, they have a story to tell. ~ a message on a marquee
My least favorite household chore is washing dishes. As a child, it always was and remains so today. Why, you ask. I cannot tell you. The reason escapes me. To this day, I would rather clean the bathroom than wash dirty dishes.
At each holiday dinner, the most important question to my mother (at least in my mind) is, are we using the dishwasher today? However, after reading that message, dirty dishes and their need for washing are beginning to change my perspective. Their stories of well-fed bellies instead of hunger give reminders this basic need met is what some take for granted while others crave.
Today I am thinking of childhood vacations at Barnegat Light, NJ with Great-Uncle Everett and his family. Why, I do not know. Maybe it is the desire to feel giddy with anticipation while standing with our backs to the surf once again. Yes, I know it sounds crazy. What is so exciting about knowing you are about to be taken under water? There is nothing fun about seawater and sand rushing up your nose as the surf violently rolls you onto the beach. Yet, stand there we did as Great-Uncle Everett encouraged us “don’t look”. Don’t look to see the next wave coming, don’t look to see how big or forceful it is, don’t look. In the not looking, we just trusted, trusted that after each wipeout, he would be there smiling as he grasped our hand as we attempted to ready ourselves for the next breaker. In that grasp was the promise of surprising fun as the seaward pull of water away from the shore carried with it the fear of the next wipeout.
As we stand on the beach of 2013 with the surf of 2014 tickling our feet, do we catch the next wave with excited anticipation or fear the undertow of past failures and defeat?
It is the time of year when our minds gravitate from the holiday season of meals and parties, shopping, decorating, gift giving and getting to the season of how to lose what I did not want to gain. With the abundance of self-help resources competing for our desire to “fix” not only the holiday weight gain but also the many problems in our lives, it is hard to choose which will give us the best in long-term results.
Better to eat the fruit than drink the juice.
An interesting quote by a friend on Facebook in response to a video she shared, a video about health and “the difference between an orange and a glass of orange juice.”
Amazing how a simple choice can greatly affect one’s life.
Why do we settle for a variation of the original when we can have the very best from the Source?
It was a frigid December morning as she grabbed her keys with the intention of warming up her trusty silver chariot before work. As she opened the front door of her toasty abode, recollections of the previous night’s weather prediction sprang to mind causing her to question her attire; freshly shampooed hair wrapped in a towel, pajamas with button up fleece providing her body scarcely enough protection against the expected freezing rain and hard-soled slippers donning her feet. How surprised was she when the expected icy glaze was seemingly absent. With confidence, she strode across the covered porch reaching for the handrail but missing it by inches as her foot revealed a nasty deception, black ice-covered the porch steps and patio leading to the waiting vehicle. Without warning, her foot shot out causing her to violently wrack her elbow while skidding down the steps, across the patio to nearly beneath the car, legs in line with each other and extended in opposite directions; a gymnastics position this girl was never able to do her entire life.
I can chuckle about this experience now because it must have been a comical sight for any onlooker. However, humor is lost and an icy fear grips the senses when there is the expectation of ice on walking surfaces, an almost paralyzing dread born in deception. Yet, I am reminded by the events of Holy Week how wrong I am to allow fear to gain a strong hold because it was defeated at The Cross and put to death with Easter’s warming serenity at The Empty Tomb. (Proverbs 10:9, 2 Timothy 1:7,Luke 24,Romans 8:38-39)
A section of my daily work commute never ceases to amaze me with its beauty; ash, oak, and maple stand majestically with their arms arched over either side of this route. The last few days while dressed in winters finest, their limbs tirelessly stretch to reach as far across as possible creating a canopy for travelers that is just as visually pleasing to look at through the rearview mirror as it is through the windshield. The New Year and the Old Year are much like those hardwoods; persistently working so carefully to create a beautiful merging of the past and what will be. It is the shaping of who we are. We look back through the shade of the previous year to see triumph and failure, health and sickness, joy and tears, birth and death. Then as we peer into the uncertainty of the new, we hope for more of the good and less of the bad. However, it is not the circumstances that create the beautiful vista, but how we deal with them. (Proverbs 11:14, Proverbs 16:9,Galatians 6:7-9)