Gathering My Thoughts (and Wits)

 

Orange Leaves Day 13

“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” — Ephesians 5:20

Listening to::

The sound of quiet chirps from early birds and the hum of the laptop as this Sunday unfolds slowly with the time change.  Thankful for the cool temperatures and for the rain we’ve had this weekend, making everything finally feel like autumn.

Pondering::

What it is to be thankful even at times when workloads are stressed and relationships are strained. Satan waits for such trials and tribulations.

Aware of how difficult it is to render my heart quiet. How much harder to step back, giving myself distance and perspective to evaluate my part in any given situation. No situation, no circumstance, is ever one-sided. Every action has a reaction. Every cause an effect. I cannot believe in God and not acknowledge the existence of Satan. It’s easy to fall victim to Satan’s prodding at any given moment. We all do. I do. As time goes by though, who will we continue to serve?

I grapple with doing and saying what comes easily, too easily, instead of what’s harder — standing firm, taking the higher road, extending grace.

Every day we see slogans promoting cutting off, or cutting out, jobs and people from our lives. The underbelly of the world that promotes quick and easy satisfaction. If it makes us feel good, it’s positive. If not, it’s negative. It’s much harder to nurture and tend to, to stay the course, to work towards sustaining healing and growth when I have to get in the dirt and dig.

I am called to thank Him for all things — all relationships, all situations, all circumstances — all. things.

And it’s not always easy.

001

002It’s uncanny, really, how He knows how I’m feeling and offers me the right Words at the most needed times.

Reading::

Finishing up MISPLACING GOD (and finding Him again) by Joanne Heim for the Book Club / Bible Study I’m currently in.

“Make your own list of encouraging verses — the ones that lift your spirits and give you renewed hope and faith,” Joanne writes. “Renewed hope and faith.” I thought of these four words on several levels as I read them. Hope and Faith — how do you renew what, at times, feels broken beyond repair? According to Joanne, you persevere in prayer, and that is exactly what I am doing.

Half way through, AN AMERICAN STORY by Debra J. Dickerson. She speaks about Ayn Rand as being her “spiritual guru” at one time early in her life. I’ve met Ms. Dickerson. She spoke and held a book signing at a college I attended. She had a hard childhood. Then a hard military stint. Then she attended Harvard Law School. I admired her tenacity and drive, but she was hard. I don’t believe you have to be hard to succeed in life. It helps knowing that Ms. Dickerson came across the writing of Ayn Rand when she was young and disappointed in the world and the people in it, especially her family. I don’t know a lot about Ayn Rand. I did watch a movie loosely based on her life a few months ago. I’ll admit that I have a few of her books and have yet to read them. Perhaps I should though, so I can have better insight into the mindset of those who choose to follow her “spiritual” teachings, like Ms. Dickerson.

“Artful Blogging” — I’ve been subscribing to this magazine for over a year and absolutely love how it’s laid out, interviewing bloggers (artists, designers, entrepreneurs, and writers) and highlighting their work and sites.

Dia de los Muertos

 

All Souls Day

Living Liturgy::

Today is Dia de los Muertos, All Souls Day. A celebration of life after death.

“The souls…are in the hands of God…they are in peace. For if before men, indeed, they [were] punished, yet is their hope in immortality…greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.” — Wisdom 3:1-3

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Taking care of::

The bump on my head and bruised sides from a fall I took on Friday afternoon. I lost my balance and smacked the back of my head on the corner of the table above. It hit so hard that the table was pushed back against the wall. Though the rocker stunted my fall, my left and right sides were bruised from it. I am thankful that, to my knowledge, I did not break any bones. I’ve had a headache and have been tired but, realistically, it could have been much worse.

Anticipating in the week(s) ahead::

Writing my book. I’ve signed on to the annual November National Novel Writing Month challenge for writers (NaNoWriMo). It’s both exciting and scary to be read and critiqued by writers across the nation. However, it’s extremely beneficial.  If you’re a serious writer, or blogger, at some point you have to come to terms with the fact that when it comes to writing, your writing, family is often too critical and friends generally too kind.

On Friday, November 7, I am celebrating twenty-seven years of marriage. Who knew? All I know is that it is a wonderful feeling to be imperfect and still be loved by someone despite your faults and occasional falls from grace. To know that someone is willing to see past the occasional ugly on the surface and, instead, chooses to look at the image of Him on your heart.

I’ve set aside a day on the calendar to make tamales with our youngest daughter. She has become rather proficient at Mexican cooking with the help of her mother-in-law and our neighbors. I’ve had a Tamale cookbook on my shelf for nearly a decade and have always been slightly intimidated by it. When I was in my twenties I attempted to make tamales for my [then] husband and his family — who have Mexican / German roots. I soaked the corn husks and made the filling. What I didn’t have, or make, was the Masa layer that holds it all together. As they unfolded the corn husks and the filling plopped onto their plates, they graciously ate the tamales and, afterwards, made me aware of the one ingredient I left out. We all had a good laugh, though I was embarrassed at my naiveté in the kitchen. It ranked right up there with the first time I ever cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner and left the bag of giblets in the neck cavity because I didn’t know to look for it there.

Since our middle daughter moved to Nevada with her husband and children, she / they have been making the drive back here for various family functions. They will, no doubt, be doing so for Christmas — for the large gathering of extended family and for our small clan’s celebration.  For several years now, a few of our daughters have toggled between our family and their in-laws’ every other year for the Thanksgiving holiday. Since this is the year where most of them will be spending Thanksgiving Day with their in-laws, my husband and I have decided to go to Nevada and celebrate. It will be a nice change of pace for us, as well as a mini-vacation from our daily routines.

Blessings, dear readers

 

 

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