Archive for October 2010

Get Out of Your Lunchbox

As I gaze out my window overlooking the park, I realize what a mild autumn it has been.  The leaves have been changing for quite some time, we have not had a freeze or even frost – yet the leaves are now sparse.  The trees know it is time for change.  Perhaps we, too, need a small change – just enough to see or try something new.  Last Friday, a co-worker invited me to go across the parking lot of our office building to a church bazaar.  At first I came up with a few reasons why I couldn’t go – like not wanting to take much time and needing to buy something quick for lunch since I hadn’t brought mine that day.  Of course, she had an answer for both.  They were serving quick lunches and I could leave whenever I wanted.  Reluctantly I agreed to get out of my box.  My first impression as I walked in was “what a bunch of junk.”  My eye quickly caught sight of these huge decorative fans.  Someone told me they were only a dollar and very “retro.”  Then my eye caught an area of vintage clothing.  Holly did her bit of shopping, then came to tell me she had already bought our lunch.  I just needed to come and eat.  We sat down at a table full of elderly people working the bazaar.  Now mind you, I almost qualify for the senior citizen discount at McDonald’s so you get the picture when I say “elderly.”  They quickly included us in the conversation, one funny line led to another.  I don’t think I’ve laughed that much at lunch in years.  As we got up to leave, I realized we had taken a little longer than normal for lunch that day, but I returned refreshed and probably more productive; and the Frito pie hit the spot!

Do you need to get out of your lunchbox?  If so, beware, you might just return with five fans and an evening formal from the 1960’s, but the laughter will be well worth the trip!

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful …”  Proverbs 15:13

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Oh Well

Yesterday I heard that a business associate is going through what I have come to call an “Oh Well” event – one of those experiences when life doesn’t make sense – in this case death, untimely and unexpected.  We all face it at some point.  I began to term these life experiences as “Oh Well” a couple of years ago when a friend lost her son just before his high school graduation in a freak fishing/swimming accident.  As I waited my turn to greet her prior to the funeral, I thought, what can I possibly say?  I simply said, “I am so sorry.”  As we hugged, she whispered in my ear, “Oh well.”  Those words stuck with me.  Afterwards, I gathered up all of the newspaper articles and obituaries I had collected over the years of these unexpected, untimely deaths of people who had crossed my path and put them in a folder labeled “Oh Well.”   When you think about it, we can assess, evaluate, and surmise the remainder of our lives and still not have the answer.  Instead, we need peace; and somehow for me “Oh Well” is a cry for peace.

From time to time, I pull out the folder and have a personal memorial day.  I remember each person, how they touched my life, and how fragile life is – that we really do need to live each day as though it were our last.  And then, I am reminded to ask the Prince of Peace to continue to impart His supernatural peace to the ones who remain.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  I Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)

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Be Still My Soul

When life is difficult, you have probably been told by well-meaning friends: “life is not fair” or perhaps they will remind you to look around for someone facing even greater hardship than you.  Of course life is not fair, and of course there will always be others topping your situation.  But that doesn’t mean that you aren’t hurting, that your pain is insignificant; and I have never found these comments to bring comfort.  Recently, rather than settling for these empty words, I have chosen to reflect on an old hymn:

“Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side . . . Leave to thy God to order and provide, in every change He faithful will remain  . . . Through thorny ways, leads to a joyful end . . . The waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”

My medicine when life hurts:  listen to Selah’s version of this old hymn.  It’s my lullaby at night and my wake-up song in the morning. You don’t have to settle for “life isn’t fair.”  I think I’ll go take a dose.

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Fanning Your Flame

A few weeks ago, I set a personal goal to complete my book by Christmas and verbalized this to a couple of individuals encouraging me in this endeavor.  With limited time each day to devote to this project, I began to waver and thought perhaps I should not hold myself to the deadline.  However, something caught my attention that I could not ignore.  I was a few days late in flipping my calendar over to the month of October and was anxious to see the new picture and read the quote.  The first thing that caught my eye was the bold autumn colors, especially the bright orange, then this quote from Brian Tracy: “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.”   It seems appropriate to say this fanned my flame.  Have you flipped your calendar yet?

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Simple Things for the Future

A pleasant memory crossed my mind today that warmed my heart and brought a gentle smile to my face. I like those unexpected feel-good moments, the ones you least expect. One of my sisters captured a “free” trip we took a few years ago to Lake Tahoe on CD – pictures to the music of Jim Brickman. I hadn’t watched it for quite some time. The scenery photos with the music are absolutely mesmerizing; and the personal photos with my sisters, mother, and cousin remind me of the fun “girls” week we enjoyed – climbing the rocks along the water and wondering if we would make it back down, the fabulous view on the gondola ride, the crystal-clear water, the spectacular tree-studded mountains, the bald eagles, and oh that music. It seemed fitting she ended the CD with the song Simple Things. As I placed the CD back in the case, I noticed she had titled it “Lake Tahoe – 2005.” Has it really been five years? Although heartache and difficulty have been my companion the past five years, I realized at that moment – wow, I’m still here! Enjoying the simple things has helped me through the difficulty. I may never return to Lake Tahoe, but I can step out and look at the star-studded heavens, feel the warmth of the sun on my head, feel the gentle autumn breeze when I walk through the park, then listen to inspiring music with my family and friends. Today I am experiencing that unexpected, feel-good moment for the future, so I think I will enjoy!

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