Christmas and the New Year is always a time when I find myself digging through “old stuff”. This is partly because, as I acquire various gifts for people throughout the year, I put them in “special places” which I then forget about. Therefore I have to search high and low for them, which leads me to look in places that I don’t check into normally. And so top shelves and boxes and bottom drawers yield a treasure trove of gifts, new gems, words that I have squirrelled away that now come to light to be shared with others. Enjoy!
“When working with others, leave the results to God.” (Anonymous)
“What makes us special is the signature of God on our lives.” (Max Lucado)
“To expect life to be tailored to our specifications is to invite frustration.” (Anonymous)
“Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” (Erica Jong)
“Fatherly and motherly hearts often beat wise and warm in the breasts of bachelor uncles and maiden aunts; and it is my private opinion that these worthy
creatures are a beautiful provision of nature for the cherishing of other people’s children.” (Louisa Mae Alcott)
“Contentment is the philosopher’s stone, which turns all it touches into gold; the poor man is rich with it, the rich man poor without it.” (Proverb)
“Life is like a blanket too short. You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulders; but cheerful folks manage
to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable night.” (Marion Howard)
“The longer I live the more I am convinced that the one thing worth living for and dying for is the privilege of making someone more happy and more
useful. No man who ever does anything to lift his fellows ever makes a sacrifice.” (Booker T. Washington)
“Grant to me that I may be made beautiful in my soul within, and that all external possessions be in harmony with my inner man. May I consider the wise man
rich, and may I have such wealth as only the self-restrained man can bear or endure.” (Prayer of Socrates)
“I’ve learned to hold everything loosely because it hurts when God pries my fingers from it.” (Corrie ten Boom)
“The burden of suffering seems to be a tombstone hung around our necks. Yet in reality it is simply the weight necessary to hold the diver down while
he is searching for pearls.” (Julius Richter)
And this last one is truly one to ponder on:
“Never underestimate yourself or what God can do in your life because remember, professionals built the Titanic, but amateurs built the ark!”
The other day a friend called asking if we could get together. I opened my planner and started checking for my next available free time slot. As I shuffled through the pages I began to feel a hint of panic rising in my chest. I had nothing available until after Thanksgiving – at least a week after Thanksgiving!! Feeling guilty, I took a few deep breathes and managed to squeeze a small space of time for a cup of coffee together.
When I got off the phone, I took my planner and went and sat in the lanai and just breathed in God’s air for a few minutes. There is nothing calms me down quicker than sitting out there, surrounded by God’s creation, and just breathing. Then I slowly checked through my planner. Yes, it was very full but I could see that some chunks of time were carved-out-for-me (and husband Rich) time, and I breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed and enjoyed the outdoors for a few more minutes before I went on with my day.
I think the panic had come because somewhere inside of me there was this little voice saying, “so you still haven’t learned the Time Lesson yet?”. This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn on my life journey, to rest and pause and give myself some dedicated time to relax and restore. My life has been so much about doing for others and being busy and productive. I was a do-er, not a be-er. I was always taught not to waste time, and some of those lessons die hard, even when they no longer serve me.
This all got me thinking about how even more busy life seems to get around this Holiday Season, and I think that’s what caused the panic. I thought I had fallen into the old trap of getting ridiculously over-busy just because it was the Holiday season. However, a whole week of time is a mini vacation for me and Richard. Right now I’m also enjoying a sort of two-day vacation in Orlando as Richard is involved in a conference and I’m “along for the ride”. And on the way home from here on Friday he will drop me off in Sanford for my Audire program instructional weekend.
I have time slots marked down for Christmas card making, and other spaces for doing my Audire homework. I have some para-professional appointments with people and a doctor’s appointment too. Scattered in and among these appointments are my Pilates classes and a massage appointment; I have most definitely learned to take care of me even in the midst of busyness. There’s a concert with a friend and a Christmas party, even if it is an “official function” connected to Richard’s job.
I know I have written several postings about resting and pausing, sharing some of the reflections from the books I read each morning. Just a couple of weeks ago in the October Daily Word, I read:
When I am out of alignment, my body feels out of sorts, my mind races with thoughts of yesterday or tomorrow. I feel unsettled.
At such times, I have not lost my connection to Spirit, I’ve just become distracted. In conscious awareness, I pause, say a prayer and step away for a few moments in the silence. I immediately begin to feel the Spirit flowing within and through me.
I don’t think we can have enough reminders to “be still and know that I am God”. Fortunately I have a good husband, friends, and many tools that I use to remind me constantly of the need to give myself time, to just simply be. Thanksgiving and Christmas are times to be enjoyed, times to relax, times to give some thought as to why we are here in the bigger scheme of things. Frenetic shopping and filling our calendars with too many activities are not conducive to our inner peace or the harmony of our souls. I encourage everyone to make a commitment to plan some personal quiet spaces in the busyness of the upcoming Holiday Season.
What joy it was to get out to the beach at St. Augustine today. Of course, we made our usual stop at Zhanra’s for a scrummy breakfast. If you haven’t yet tried their Sunday Brunch it’s time to treat yourself. An incredible buffet of cooked-to-order omelet anyway you want it, quiche, scrambled eggs (plain or dressed up), apple wood smoked sausages and bacon, chorizo soup or gumbo or cheese grits. (I don’t like grits, but these are to die for!!) Then there are fresh biscuits and sausage gravy, and home-made fries. And that’s just the cooked section. Turn the corner of the counter and there’s a whole array of bagels, Danish pastries, fresh fruit, muffins and fresh garden green salad.
Your waiter takes your drink order and also asks if you would like pancakes or French Toast to order. I highly recommend the French Toast. I’m sure the pancakes are wonderful too but I so enjoy their French Toast that I just can’t not have it. This has to be the best Sunday Brunch in town and it’s a deal at $9.99 plus your drink.
So with satisfied stomachs we headed to the beach. It had rained some while we were at breakfast but by the time we headed out it had cleared up and was just a perfect mix of cloud cover and sun. At the beach it was also wonderfully breezy and my soul sang out as the seagulls screamed. Lorelei was already there busily drawing a labyrinth in the sand. After hugs all around I readied my stick and, carefully following Lorelei’s paper design, I drew another labyrinth next to hers.
There is such a focused feeling of peace as I draw a labyrinth. Perhaps it is because I start the design with the central cross section and lay down my words of intention immediately. Today’s words were Hope, Love, Balance and Harmony. Then the gentle circles unwind as I walk and draw the design. As soon as I had completed it, I walked my first meditation. Some people walk the labyrinth quickly. I prefer a slow measured step.
As I walk, I think of what or/and who I want to take into the center and pray about/for. As these thoughts form, other words of intention surface and I stop and inscribe them inside the pathways I have created. Today some of those words were, Delight, Laughter, Compassion, Spirit, Creator, Live, Serenity, Light, Energy, and Enchanted. As I stepped into the center the word Joy came to mind and so, alongside a heart design, I inscribed that word. To complete the center I inscribed the names of those I wanted to enfold within the blessings of the labyrinth.
Shortly after this we noticed an unusual sun-dog form in the sky. Normally sun-dogs carry tinges of rose and yellow. This one was a very luminescent blue-green, and the clouds were swirled around it almost in circles. There were lots of people on the beach today and many of them joined us to walk the labyrinths. Lorelei was very creative today and drew a total of five, which with mine made six. There was a special energy in the labyrinths today as many children danced and ran their way around the circles, some of them asking accompanying parents what the words said as they passed them on their way.
All too soon it was time to head home. We embraced Lorelei and thanked her for her time and energy. Part of me wanted to remain on the beach, that same part that sometimes wants to hop on a plane and just leave. So within my heart I said a centering prayer and returned to the reality of the present moment. I thanked God for my time at the ocean and for good friends and headed home.