Lent, Give Up or Add In 19 February 2020

Elaine and Sally’s Dessert Crepe

It’s almost Ash Wednesday and time for the season of Lent. I’m always torn when Lent comes around about either giving something up or adding something positive as a new habit.

 

 

 

I can come up with a good size list of things I should give up:

  • Obsessing over things out of my control
  • Not standing up for things that should be in my control
  • Unhealthy “foods” I eat too much of
  • Making negative comments about others (remove the log in your own eye…)
  • Staying silent and shoving emotions down
  • Distractions that move me away from my goals

I have a healthy list of things I should do too, and some of them are difficult to write down because now you know too:

  • Re-establish my daily writing routine
  • Count more blessings
  • Let more stuff slide off my back
  • Breathe, observe, then proceed
  • Make more crepes and fill them with goodness
  • Do some little thing every single day for someone else
  • Figure out what “open and honest” communication looks like

I guess it’s a good thing Lent lasts 40 days.

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Refusal to Move 12 February 2020

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Did you ever have one of those tantrum moments as a child where you planted your feet, hands on hips and refused to move?

With most things, I’ll just shift over to accommodate whatever force is trying to move me. Sometimes I do it without even noticing, but other times I notice and don’t appreciate the subtle or not-so-subtle shove. In those instances, I will still move, but with a “look” that makes it clear that I’m not thrilled. Well, at least it seems clear to me.

Sometimes, before I move, there are strong words and stiffness that approaches the hands on hips, but then I move, stiffly, accepting the inevitable. I know I won’t have any real say anyway and that unwelcome invisibility shrouds me. I don’t know how to find my way out.

Refusal to move. Certain things call for that firm stand, yet I’m not good at being that grounded. The conversation is there, in my head, but cannot find the right synapse to fire.

I’ve signed papers I never should have signed, out of fear, plain and simple. Out of naivety, thinking surely I must count for more than whatever I signed away. I’ve remained silent when my faith alarm bells have reverberated through my bones telling me to speak.

How does one learn to refuse to move? Not with hands on hips, but with grace?

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Brightness 7 February 2020

I have a desktop calendar where you flip the page each day. It is a kind of “fitness” calendar for mind, body and spirit. Today it says, “If you’re looking for that one person to change your life, take a look in the mirror.”

It kind of hit me upside the head and reminded me of that other saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Like David, I do a lot of gnashing and weeping and crying out to God. And I believe God will answer, though I may not appreciate the perspective or the answer.

But I also know that God didn’t make no dummy. I am created from the dust of stars! So are you.

I want to be like the snow sparkling in the bitter cold brightness of day, changing the world from grey to so bright it hurts to look for very long. Can I change the whole world? Probably not, but I can make a difference in my little world and hopefully for the better.

PS. The bottom of today’s calendar message said to eat raw veggies and hummus for a healthy snack…I went with dark chocolate salted caramels.

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Invisible 30 January 2020

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Do you ever have those times in your life where you feel invisible? Or you see yourself functioning, but you aren’t really there?

What is it that we do or that others do that make it so a human being gets the idea that they are superfluous? That it doesn’t matter how much they have contributed because for whatever reason, it doesn’t count. Someone can devote their heart and soul, mind and body to a community, a family, a friend and find themselves on the outside, wishing they could be a part of a whole.

So I ask myself, where am I doing that to another? Who am I not seeing or loving? Why am I allowing others to come between? Where am I lacking grace? Who is waiting for that one little touch to know that they are so worthy? I don’t have the answers, but when I pray, I pray for God to put those invisible ones in my path and smack me upside the head to reach out them.

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An Icy Wind (2) 17 January 2020

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Meg stumbled along and kept reminding herself how well she knew this road and how many times she’d taken that path to the barn. “Please God, help my feet find that path,” she prayed into her shirt, pulled up over her nose and mouth. She figured the chance was better to notice any difference in the surface under her boots if she walked along the edge of the ditch. Wait, had that been it? She didn’t turn around, just backed up, not wanting to lose her sense of perspective or direction. The swirling snow made it so she couldn’t see past her knees, but there was a smoothness that told her feet this was different than the uneven footing on the side of the ditch. She took a chance and turned into the wind.

All she could do was bend forward or be blown back. It wasn’t a matter of picking up and moving one foot forward at a time. Dragging each foot forward was all she could manage, and she had to let go of her shirt, exposing her face to the abuse of the wind and driving snow. Meg tried to keep her mouth closed to breathe, but every third or fourth breath, it felt like her lungs were being pulled out from inside of her and she had to stop and get air again. She wasn’t making any progress at all. She was shivering violently. Keep going, she told herself over and over.

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An Icy Wind 13 January 2020

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Icy winds blew cold across her face as she struggled to walk west and to home. When Meg left the house, the sun was out, and she figured the prediction for snow and wind had been off as usual. The last four predicted storms had yielded no moisture. It seemed wind-only events were going to come their way, drying out every last drop of water in the parched brown winter earth.

Meg hadn’t meant to go quite so far, but the story she was listening to had her feet continuing at a clipped pace and she hadn’t noticed the miles she’d put behind her. The one saving grace was that the roar was out of the north, even though the tiny icy particles kept hitting her in the eye just above her left cheek. She figured, hoped, she had about a mile and half to go to the west path leading north to the barn. If she could hit the barn, she’d be fine. If she missed it, well, she better not miss it. She knew it would be a mistake to try to find the house; the barn was lined up with that west path though it would be a fight against the wind.

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Connections 9 January 2020

I posted this and had some good results.

So, I’m an online English teacher as well as a writer. I teach language arts and English to middle and high school students and beginning comp to college students. The course work is far more rigorous than most people/students realize.

Most of my students are just back from winter break for second semester. Some of them are off and running already with a fantastic start. But the majority have not shown up yet and that is a riddle I need to solve. I find that if I can get them to at least read one of my weekly goofy emails “from the farm,” they will engage with me and get to work. But that is more difficult than you’d think. These students are at home and mostly unsupervised and they have access to video games and YouTube. Why would they choose to read a lesson in English each day?

I need new ideas in order to compete, in order to know these students and have them know me. I have to find ways to let them know that I care, that I see them, that I want them to love learning and to be able to do what they want with their lives.

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