Three Goals Thursday

dsc_1092Jumping back into the deep end with some goal-setting this week after five days of vacationing and travel.

That picture up top was taken in Meredith, NH last week and has nothing to do with goal-setting, except maybe as a reflection of some planning I did to meet a goal for eeking out some alone time with the mister.

THREE TEENY, TINY GOALS TO WORK TOWARD FOR THE NEXT 7 DAYS

1  Replace the windshield in the car and get it inspected.

2  Create a concrete Plan of Action to aid in staying focused over the next three months with my diet, exercise, and efforts I make to live a simpler life.

3  Begin again with daily oatmeal eating and exercise.

OBSERVATIONS

I’m not the best planner in the world, which is strange because I love to organize things.

Automobiles can be hard to figure out, especially when you have a mystery problem to solve and you’re an experienced procrastinator.

Decompression therapy helps. I may actually be able to move again soon without dehumanizing pain.  Woohoo!

What is vision-casting anyway?

A writing exercise I tried, MY PERFECT DAY, has been an eye-opening experience.  I am definitely not where I want to be right now, but I have a better idea of what I need to do to get there.

What goals will you set for yourself this week?  What would your perfect day look like?

Proof of a Good Time

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.   Mark 6:31

What does the Bible have to say about vacations?  I wondered, so I did a search and found this passage in Mark’s gospel.

It’s refreshing that Jesus recommended his followers take time away from the maddening crowds.  He knows we are dust and that the winds of this world can get to us and wear us down. Like sand scraping across the dessert floor, our peaceful landscapes shift with the winds of work.  If not attended to, soon we’re unable to recognize anything familiar on the horizons of our lives. The mounting sands hve changed everything and we don’t know which way to turn.  In our exhaustion we cry out, “Where is true north?”

Last week, me and mister went on vacation to New England.  It was time.  Past time.  We needed some place to come away by ourselves and rest a while.

On our vacation we went to New Hampshire…

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We went to Vermont…

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We went to Maine…

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We relaxed and we goofed off.  We had a great time!  Some of the places we visited seemed pretty desolate, but most were just plain relaxing.  I hope you enjoy seeing some of the pictures we took along the way.  We sure enjoyed taking them!!

Where do you want to go on your next vacation?  Where is your all-time favorite vacation spot?

 

 

Home Again!

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I’m home once again and wanted to share with you a few shots from our time away.  Here, I’m seated on the top of Cadillac Mountain, above Bar Harbor, Maine.  This is the view from Acadia National Park.

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.”  1 Chronicles 29:11

 

This is a shot of Bob at the top of the world.

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He’s so handsome, and look at that view. Then there was this…

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And this…

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That’s the amazing Atlantic out there.  I could have gazed on this all day, but there was also this, from Meredith, New Hampshire.

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and this (also Meredith)…

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and this (also Meredith, The Inn at the Falls).

DSC_1089.JPGWhen in New Hampshire are we not going to eat Ben and Jerry’s?  Come on!

I will share more vacation pics in the days to come, but today I wanted to pop in to say that God is good and His world is gorgeous. I hope you’ve had a chance to see a little of it this summer.  If not, fear not, for the spectacle of fall is upon us.

You still have time!  Get out there and celebrate this miraculous planet.  It’s God’s gift to us all, let’s take it and run with it!

Where have you been this year?  What was your favorite spot?

 

 

 

Taking Refuge, Feeling Glad

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This desk calendar was gifted to me by a friend, Meredith, mom to my daughter-in-law and extended Hoose family from my perspective.  I’m not sure how many years it’s been since I first started flipping the pages on this daily reminder, but I’m betting five or more.  I’ve kept this calendar when others have gone by the wayside, because it offers the best encouragement of any calendar I’ve had, it’s the NIV translation of the Bible, and it’s only dated and not stamped with a day of the week.  Thank you, Meredith!  This one is a keeper.

Today’s message was perfect for me! Maybe for you, too?

Who wouldn’t want to take refuge in God, and be glad?

Who wouldn’t want to sing for joy when He is a part of the equation?

Who wouldn’t want to rejoice at the prospect of God spreading his protection over them, so that their lives could be made safe and life could be enjoyed unhindered?

Who, indeed?

I feel blessed to be living in the time I’m living, and to have my faculties with me as I encounter God through this  Healing Journey. What a blessing to have my eyes opened to new levels of His favor, His love, and His protection over me and those I care about.

Things are happening in my life right now, exciting things, and I couldn’t be more pleased.  I’ve taken some action, asked for some help, and am beginning to realize a new-found freedom and grace growing up around me.  This experience has made me more open to God than I have been in a long time.  This past Sunday I actually connected with the praise choruses that were being sung in church, instead of being annoyed or distracted by this or that while trying to find that sweet spot that tells me God is there in the lyrics.

Does anyone but me struggle with that, or is it only me?

I don’t think anything around me has changed. I think I’ve changed!  I guess that’s the whole point of a healing journey, hunh?  Self-Change, orchestrated by our big, big, and beautiful God!  I’m so thankful!

What are you thankful for today?  What little thing reminds you of the immensity of our God and his big, big heart?

Baffled!

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Temptation is something that completely baffles me for a while, [so that] I do not know if the thing is right or wrong.  -Oswald Chambers

I have to agree with Oswald Chamber about temptation.  It baffles me.

I wonder sometimes why I’m still tempted to do anything that is willful and bound up in my desires, and contrary to God’s explicit will for my life?

Why do I want to do it?

What’s the pay-off for me?

What good do I think will come of it?

Why would I risk offending God, or worse yet angering Him, for the chance to experience a momentary pleasure that in all likelihood I won’t enjoy and will immediately regret once I have gone ahead and taken that bite of apple?

In addition to finding the whole idea of temptation baffling, I wonder at how little temptation it takes to produce horrifically significant sin.

A wink turns into an affair.

A spoonful of something turns into a binge.

A moment of unattended anger and someone is in the hospital.

It’s shocking how quickly we can be tempted to turn our backs on God.

How does that happen?

How are faithful, conscientious, loving beings convinced to turn tailcoat so quickly?

It baffles me!

Sin is an invasive weed, and it’s seed pod is temptation.

Thank God, we have a Savior! Thank God, He’s redeemed our souls.

Thank You, God, that we have a Champion to call upon in Jesus!

Are there consequences when we give into temptation and do wrong? You bet!  But there is also forgiveness…grace-filled, beautiful, complete and everlasting forgiveness in Christ.  Do you know it today? If not, let’s talk.

Here’s the thing:  Temptation isn’t taking a holiday any time soon, so we must learn how to deal with it.  We must learn how to surrender to God’s provision and His grace.  Our future joy depends on us mastering this skill.  Let’s practice it together.

Hallelujah, Jesus is ours!  Hallelujah, What a Savior!!!

Do you wonder about temptation’s allure for Christians?  Is it more intense or about the same for non-believers? How are you handling the temptations that come at you?

 

Three Goals-Sept 15

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LAST WEEK’S GOALS

As you know, I had three very small goals last week. They were:

1 Pursue a path of recovery with the new chiropractor, doing all he asks me to do in order to help myself in the most effective and efficient way.

2  Continue to learn new methods for paring down, in order to minimize my propensity for indecision.

3  Eat as cleanly as I can, incorporating as many veggies as I can and as much water as I can into my Action Plan for the week.

HOW I DID!

We’ve had another great week over here in NEPA!

Goal No. 1  EXCELLENT!  I can confidently report this week that I have followed the path of recovery laid out for me by professionals, and I did all that my chiropractor asked me to do.

Goal No. 2  EXCELLENT!  I’ve started to feel comfortable with picking a different simple-living project to focus on each weekend. During the week I’ve continued to read and study about minimalism, and I’ve shared what I’ve learned with others.

Goal No. 3 STELLAR!  I didn’t give myself an excellent rating on this goal, only because I don’t have an Action Plan that is formally styled, typed, and displayed for reference.  I have, however, made concerted efforts to eat the rainbow and water consumption is up. Woohoo!

OBSERVATIONS

My chiropractic treatments have not been achieving success quickly enough for me.  On Thursday of last week, I held an extended gripe session with myself.  I’m impatient.  I’d been at this for all of three weeks and figured I should have been feeling better by then. Of course I know this kind of injury takes time to heal, but in the midst of my misery I wanted it to go faster, so I whined to God about it.

Don’t you know that on the following Saturday, last Saturday, I had no pain all day!  No numbness, no hot spots, no tingling and with no pain meds, all day and through the night! Bamm!!!  Take that, Lori!!

Note: God does not talk to me this way. He is ever gentle with my failings. This was Lori chiding Lori, and nothing else.

The bad news: The pain returned on Sunday and it’s still with me, but…I am seeing improvement. I am sleeping better.  My mood is improved.  And my doctor is moving me on to the next phase of my treatment. We tried a new machine last night.  It hurt while I was undergoing the treatment, but afterward, heavenly relief.  I guess I best start focusing and living in the solution, and being more grateful in the future, hunh?

As my sciatica pain has been slowly improving, so has my connection to spiritual vibrancy.  Part of that can be attributed to my participation in The Healing Journey, and having a new set of comrades praying for me every day. Further evidence is seen in my recent ability to write a short piece of fiction that got rave reviews, and my experience with fearlessly journaling about some personal issues that ended in a satisfying way.  I have also experienced a rare piece of intuition that although it was not spot-on, led to the fixing of a hidden problem with our car that could have been a serious issue. Serious enough that I would have had to purchase a new car.  These are true encouragements to my soul and help to bolster my faith in the process.

THREE TEENY, TINY GOALS

Keeping goals the same for one more week.  These are too good to mess with right now!!!

What are you asking God to help you with this week?  Would you share one goal you are pursuing with us?

Help Me Out

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I’ve been wondering about a few things…

Where can I find bloggy advice on selling household goods that I no longer need/want?  Have you ever tried selling on Amazon or Ebay, and if so, did you make money on those deals?

Where can I find a resource for the purchase of reasonably priced almost-real silk or satin houseplants?  I kill all living greenery, but I really want to pretend like I don’t.

Who has some ideas on Christmas decorating around the house along a minimalistic theme?

What one house cleaning substance or method works best for you?

I have the hardest time mopping my kitchen floor, so I hardly ever do it.  The mops I have tried have all been cumbersome or didn’t work.  I usually end up getting down on my hand and knees to do this job, because I can’t figure out how to do it any other way and have it look really clean.  Not simple and not time saving, at all.  Tell me what you use and why it cleans the floor in a spiffy way every time.  I have a swiffer sweeper mop, but I do not like it. It flips on me when trying to move the mop head back and forth–A LOT. Ugh, so infuriating!

Where can I get a good digital frame that won’t cost a million dollars?

Any and all help you can give me in answering these questions is greatly appreciated.  I’m relying on your real-time, real-life experienceS to guide me.  Thanks for chiming in with a comment below.

 

 

Sowing Simply-Sept 13

This week’s Sowing Simply project addressed the paper clutter in our home, but first, our guidance from God, to get us started.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  Matthew 6:19

COMING CLEAN

Below, is evidence of a bag full of paperwork that has sat on my bedroom floor for months, maybe more than a year!

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This bag is from TJ Maxx and it’s HUGE!  Here’s a close up.

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Everything in this bag is paper, except for that address book in blue at the top.  Seriously, this is 20 lbs of paper that has to be sorted piece by piece to determine which is to be kept and which is not, but wait.   There’s more…

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We’ve got some serious overflow going on here, and there’s even more…

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This doesn’t include paperwork stored up top, in the attic.  All this stuff is taking up space in our home and my heart. Why?

Once I’d collected up all the clutter, this is what I had…

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From another angle.

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Be thankful I didn’t show you the drawer where we keep our phone directories.  You’d have nightmares.

This table is approximately 6 ft long.  Piece by piece this mountain had to be sorted and sifted to determine what was valuable and what was not.  Could I do it?  I was ready.  I was determined. I was going to get ‘er done–or die trying.

I did it!!!

Here is what was left after it was all said and done.  This, and one little drawer (see on right of photo), where I put cards and notes sent by family and friends over the years to encourage us.  I particularly love the notes I received from our DIL before she our first-born were wedded.  What a treasure–I’ve kept them all!

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The best part of finishing up this project is that I now know where to find what I’m looking for, when I’m looking for it.  Yay!

A side benefit of this experiment in simple living is that we are all being more proactive.  I can definitely see a change in mister, as he addresses “stuff and messes” quicker and with more confidence.

WHAT WAS FOUND WHILE DE-CLUTTERING THIS WEEK

–The $50 gift certificate Mister received from BIL and SIL two (?) Christmas’ ago. Thought that sucker was lost forever.

–$25 in cash that a friend had given me and I had set aside, intending to come back to it later.  It came back to me!  Yay and Bazinga!

–Mister’s Blake Shelton CD, that he thought was long gone.

–(1) tape from a No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency audio book set I received as a gift. I didn’t even know it was missing.

–Important retirement paperwork.

–Tax documents and receipts.

–A recipe for no-knead artisan bread I am so going to try!

FEELINGS!

It felt INCREDIBLE to see this job done. I literally feel 18 lbs lighter!   I have walked around that bag, or kicked it out-of-the-way, or grumbled about it being there, untouched, for months. No more!

IN PURSUIT OF A SIMPLER LIFE

This week my efforts to live more simply resulted in this:

–I attended my first Sunday School session in forever wherein I did not need to prepare ahead of time.

–I spent a leisurely day Saturday with my Love, doing what he loves–meeting people and chatting them up at Patriots in the Park.

–I bought (2) 96 cents caddies that I am using to store bathroom and kitchen items under the sink.  I also bought one under-the-bed storage bin that I used to store the paperwork I sorted through.  I want to work toward the goal of sweeping and dusting through the entire house in 30 minutes or less.  In order for it to become a reality, I need to rid my counter tops and sink vanities of “stuff”.  Everything looks cleaner, sleeker, and fresher now.  I feel I needed those storage bins, even though I know I keep saying I NEED nothing.

–I saved money by not buying a planter and frying pan I had been tempted to buy. More on that later.

–I culled another dozen or so books from their hidey-holes in our home. More cookbooks. I wish I had back all the money I spent on these over the years, especially those I never used.

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TEMPTATIONS

I went looking for a frying pan with a flat bottom and high sides this weekend. Those I found were reasonably priced and of good quality. They would have lasted forever, but did I NEED one of them at home?  I didn’t. As I have said before, I NEED nothing!  I left them at the store.

I was also searching for a square planter this weekend. Had I found one that fit the parameters of my search I’m pretty sure I would have bought it. I did not.  Temptation averted.  Money saved!

I still haven’t gotten a feel for how I want these Sowing Simply posts to go.  My formula doesn’t seem right to me. I feel like I’m herkey-jerkey and all over the place with my explanations of what I’m doing.  I’ll try to reflect on that this week. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below.  In the meantime thanks for reading, and remember to stay out of the stores!

What are you doing to make your life simpler?  Do you buy cookbooks you never, even use?

 

 

Patriots in the Park 3

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This past weekend mister and me headed out to Mt. Pisgah State Park for the third annual Patriots in the Park event.  It rained early Saturday, so I was expecting it to be a lousy day, but no. The rain stopped, the cloud parted, and everything was sunny –a beautiful fall day.  I wanted to share with everyone some pics from our time on the hill. I took my camera, but mister told me straight away, “Let’s not take too many pictures today. I don’t want to stand in front of the camera, I want to enjoy this.”  Message received.  Pictures may be taken, but not of him.

Here is one of the few shots I got of Mr. Grumpy. You can tell how deftly his stance reflects his mood that morning.  He’s right, though. I do take a lot of pictures.

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The park recently erected a new flag pole, so there was a ceremony that was conducted prior to and inclusive of raising the new flag.

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She looked so good, once the NEPA breezes began to blow over her stars and stripes.

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I loved how respectful the crowd was of this symbol of American freedom. Nothing like a group of vets to get you feeling all patriotic and teary-eyed.

No sitting on the bench for anyone when this beauty went up!  No siree!  Only those who could not stand remained seated, and some of those stood, with help, as the flag went up and  the Troy choral groups sang the National Anthem.

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At one point the vets gathered into groups per their representative military service designations and stood behind flags the park provided.  Hubby is wayyyy down on the end, representing for the army/infantry. His is the boonie-capped head just peaking over that white flag at the far end.

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There was a young-ish officer there that spoke to the group on behalf of the marines. He did a great job.  I almost cried for the second time.

I think Patriotism is suffering in this global world we live in, but not for this guy.  If I heard him correctly, he said that of the 200 plus years we have been a nation, we’ve not faced a military conflict of some kind for only 17 or those years.  Wow, just goes to show that humanity does have a sin problem, just like Jesus said.

I found it humorous the E9 was worried about how his uniform was holding up at the event.  He spent a few minutes fussing with the back of his shirt and his belt to make sure all was in order before speaking.  Hey, if you’re gonna represent, represent well, right?!

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I gotta say he did look sharp in that uniform!  Look at those creases in the shirt.  Perfection!

Bag Pippers were also on-site for the big event.

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They did a great job.  I also wanted to capture a few pics of the grounds and friends we met at the Nature Center.

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Fox.  These made me think of our youngest grand, who for the longest time has moved in and out of baby fox mode.  He’s so cute!  Our grandson, I mean. 😉

We also met a momma Bobcat and her kit.  Is that what they call baby bobs?  I’m not sure.

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It really was a beautiful day and time well spent with my love.

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Big sky country did the park proud this day.

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Down there in the cleft of the trees is Stephen Foster Lake.  Gorgeous!  The event offered Canoing, Kayaking, and those surf board things you paddle on while standing.  Yeah, we did not do that!

Some of you know that I’ve been struggling with a spiritual disconnect of late.  I stepped down from teaching Sunday school because I could no longer hear God in my study times, nor did I find the levels of inspiration I needed to continue to do what I was doing, confidently.  Some folks think I’m experiencing burn out from all the years of teaching, and that it might soon pass. I don’t know, maybe.  Or did God know the only way I would redirect my efforts was through silence.  I mention this now because I wanted to share a moment with you when I was at the park, on top of this beautiful site, surrounded by men and women who left the comforts of home and family to defend our country on foreign battlefields.  As I sat there, looking out on folks much braver than I, I felt this peace and warmth flood over me and a whisper of a Voice inside say, “This feels right.”  It did.  It so did.  I haven’t felt that relaxed and serene in a while.  What a beautiful day. What a gift!

Thank you, Friends of Mt. Pisgah State Park, for making my vet and many others feel extra special during this third annual Patriots in the Park event.  We had a great time and will definitely attend another year!

What fun thing did you do last weekend?  When has God whispered comfort to you while the blue skies overhead shouted His glory?

Nothing is Impossible with God

 

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In a letter to the Galatian brotherhood the apostle Paul wrote this now famous rhetorical question/declaration:  “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” ( Galatians 1:10).

Think with me for a minute on the question.

Who are you trying to please today? Anyone? Everyone? Someone with unrealistic expectations?

Is your life and service centered wholly on Jesus, with Him front and center and all around you as you serve, or are you being distracted by other things-other people?

If our number one priority is Jesus, why do we worry about conflicts that might erupt when others don’t understand our service priorities?

It’s easier said than done to reshape ourselves into servants who care nothing for what the other servants around us are saying or doing, but if we try, we can do it.   Right?!

We can!

Nothing is impossible with God!!!

What is your worst people pleasing tendency?  How has people pleasing spoiled an otherwise fun time for you?