Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Celebrating Christmas

I did finally decorate. Just in time for Christmas.
I'm having fun practicing with my 'new' Olympus camera too.
Some of our ornaments hanging from a beam in our living room. Our little tree doesn't hold them all.
 This is very like the nativity scene my family had when I was a kid. I was thrilled to find it at a 'gift-give-away' at the Wycliffe center early in our marriage.
St. Nicholas the original Santa Claus.
Yes, the candle on the right is a Pilgrim girl. These little candles came from my Mom's house. I remember carefully setting them out each year when I was a kid. They each had their own companion then. I don't know where the others went but I am delighted these two survived anyway.

This nativity scene belonged to my Grandma. My Mom treasured it after it came to her. Now I get to enjoy it.
May you have a blessed Christmas Season and a Happy New Year.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Real pictures from my real life

Despite my determination not to be anxious or perfectionistic, I'm feeling overwhelmed! Some of the "big rocks" seem too big and horrible and I don't want to do them. Meanwhile the little ones are  piling up at record rate.

This morning after breakfast, I gave in to the temptation to enjoy just a little bit more of the latest Sophie Kinsella book I'm reading, "My Not So Perfect Life." I was hoping a little escape and a few more laughs would help me get psyched up to tackle my to-do list. I didn't expect it to work so well or so quickly.

It was this quote from Biddy, one of my favorite characters in the story--the level headed and loving stepmum--that stopped me and got me going at the same time:

"No one's life has to be perfect."...Don't put so much pressure on yourself, love. Whoever started the rumor that life has to be perfect is a very wicked person, if you ask me."

I agree! And just what I needed to hear too.

Katie, Kinsella's heroine, is so desperate to have the perfect life and career and meet everyone's expectations that she even fakes things sometimes. She has a tendency to post fake pictures and make up stories on her favorite social media site to make her life seem better than it really is, a lot better. But when she loses her dream job in the city in a humiliating way and has to move back in with her family in the country that she finally starts to shed some of the fake images she has for herself and really starts living.

With that in mind I would like to share a few real images from my own not so perfect life:

The coffee table where our Christmas tree and miniature train usually are by this time!

The only decorating we've done so far this Christmas. John said our trees keep getting smaller.


Monday, December 18, 2017


I recently realized that much of my life has focused on meeting everyone's expectations--including mine and what I thought were God's.  Of course I couldn't. I can't even meet all my own expectations of myself, let alone what I think others expect of me. That is a key thought: what I think others expect. Chances are what I think they expect isn't really what they expect at all.

But does it really matter what other people expect? The apostle Paul said in Galatians, that if he was still trying to please other people then he would not be a servant of Jesus Christ.

In an attempt to counter my tendency to be ruled by the urge to try and meet everyone's expectations, I am trying to focus instead on the big things. For example, rather than meeting my expectation of always getting the kitchen cleaned and all the dishes washed each morning, I instead think about and pray about what job is most important. It usually is something that takes a fair amount of energy, like shopping. And like shopping it may be something I am reluctant to tackle. I really don't like to shop! (I know that's strange!)

I've been using this approach for several weeks now. It is really helping me get more done. Like the well known illustration, I get more of the big rocks in my jar. Then it's surprising how many of the little ones I still manage to fit in. The dishes do eventually get washed. I may not have a pristine kitchen first thing in the morning, but I am getting more of the truly important things done. I am also having more energy overall. As someone who has struggled with fibromyalgia and other fatigue producing conditions for a long time, that is huge. (And yes, I am praying and hoping for healing!)

Even though I really dislike shopping I found it energized me to get out in the morning and shop. It was probably partly the sunlight that did it. Also the boost in my confidence level when I conquered what felt like an insurmountable task. It helped, I'm sure, that it was partly to buy fun things. Here is a photo of some things I got a few weeks ago for our RV.

I got, among other things, the cute little rugs, the kitchen towel hanging from the oven door handle and the pot holders hanging from the hooks above the stove.

I also got this vacuum: Dirt Devil Power Stick Carpet & Hard Floor 4-in-1 Cyclonic Vacuum for our RV. The vacuum maneuvers well in small awkward spaces. It also has powerful suction which is great for someone, like me, with dust allergies. And it does well on both carpet and hard flooring. There are a few things I don't care for particularly how difficult it is to disconnect the main cleaning head from the stick when switching to one of the other attachments. I also wish it had a dusting brush attachment in addition to the crevice tool. I haven't yet emptied and cleaned the canister so I don't know how difficult that will be. (I didn't receive any discounts or payment for advertising this. I just want to help other newbie RVers such as ourselves.)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Water Forget Me Nots - God is in the details

I photographed these tiny little flowers at the National Rhododendron Garden in Olinda, Victoria, (that's near Melbourne) Australia last year during our furlough.

I found a photo on-line of myosotis scorpioides that looks like my photo, only much more detailed, when I was trying to identify another flower.

Myosotis scorpioides are also called “water forget me nots”. I don’t know why “water”. The ones I saw were not in the water. They were more of a ground cover. So I don’t know if the ones I found are a different variety. Nor can I tell the size. *Mine* were very tiny.

Anyway I love the intricate detailing on the flowers. At first glance they are just simple little blue flowers. But when I looked closer I noticed detailing that reminded me of intricate embroidery or finely embossed stationery. They made a delightful contrast to the large showy flowers on this colossal rhododendron bush they were across from.

Here is a close up of one of those flowers:
Also beautiful of course! But I especially like tiny flowers. 

I've always loved miniature things. 

"God is in the details" a friend once said and tiny flowers are a good example of that. To lavish so much of his creative energy and expertise on something that most people never notice, and may even walk on without realizing it, amazes me. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

When I say 'no'...

I wrote the following several weeks ago. It was Spring and now it's Summer. I fully intended to post this. But I wanted to add a few more photos. Then it was time to make dinner and then before I know it two months roll around... sigh.

I really do want to get back to blogging. So here it is... "When I say 'no'":

I keep waiting for that magical moment when everything will come together and I'll know this is the time to blog again. Ever since we got back from furlough I keep hoping I'll feel all caught up and completely settled. Then the Red Sea will part before me and a yellow brick road will appear and I'll know this is the way walk ye in it, or something. It just occurred to me that's not likely to happen. Ever. If I don't just start then I never will. There will never be a time until I die when I am all caught up. In fact every time we return from furlough there is always some stuff that never gets dealt with. Some pocket of left-over papers that never get sorted, filed or acted on. In fact I usually eventually put them away. I hope to get to them sometime, but instead eventually forget about them until next furlough rolls around. So maybe they weren't that important after all!

I seem to be surrounded by over-achievers who fill up all their time and mine too if I let them, and I usually do. (My husband is no help either. I was hoping when we married that he would help set boundaries and protect me from myself. But he is worse than I am.) Then there's the unexpected people, like yesterday when E asked me for a ride. I should have looked at the clock more closely. I thought I had enough time to get her to DeSoto and still make it to my appointment in Plano. Then I realized after we were on our way that it was not looking too good. Why is it that my brain goes to jelly when people ask me for help. It's not like she was bleeding to death or something. No one was going to die if I said, "no". Anyway I did somehow make it to my appointment. But only because I drove like the proverbial bat.

So now that I am finally writing, what should I write about?

Recently I had a discussion about sin with my friend S. Particularly sins we tolerate. We Christians are pretty good at spotting some kinds of sins but sometimes miss others and don't realize they even are sins. Or we don't think they are very bad. I realized later I've been tolerating too much ingratitude in myself recently. I still write in my thankfulness journal most days. But the rest of the time my attitude has been more grumbly than grateful. If I remember right God has some pretty strong things to say about that. In fact one could say he is fairly intolerant of grumbling. Didn't he send some plagues because of it? Anyway, I admit my attitude is stinky. Sorry, God.

Then I realized that I may be even less likely to get what I want from a certain person if I stay mad and cranky. Of course he can't read my mind, so I need to tell him what I want. Saying what I want when it means saying 'no' and going against the stream of others' expectations is really hard for me. I even read the book "When I say no I feel guilty" but i still feel guilty when I say no! It seems like at my age I would have grown past this wimpy-ness by now. Sigh


Here are some photos from our time in Australia. I took these several months ago. It was Spring there then. It is Spring here now, so I guess that works.

These cute little puff balls are Wattle Tree blossoms. at the Wycliffe Center in Kangaroo Ground, Victoria
Saw these in a private garden near Brisbane. Yes it bugs me too that I don't know the name of them.

Galah in flight at a park in Brisbane
Yarra River, hiking in Warrandyte State Park, Victoria
flowering bush outside our front door at Kangaroo Ground

Another bush outside our Kangaroo Ground unit. I don't know the name of either one.

At the National Rhododendron Gardens near Melbourne.