Archives

Small irritations can lead to big issues.

I’m a walker. It’s my preferred form of exercise. And I try to do it each day for 30-40 minutes. My pace is about 3 mph so I’m not really pushing myself but I sort of enjoy it and know it’s good for me. Therefore, I do it.

But of my two pair of walking shoes, one of them really gives me issues. In the form of teeny, tiny pebbles. I have no idea where they come from. Perhaps my insoles are breaking down and as pieces rub off, they eventually rise to the surface where I feel them.

Though I try to keep walking when I become aware of them, ignoring the discomfort and annoyance, most days I end up sitting on a curb, removing my shoe, and dumping the contents. Of course, as I’m walking it feels like a boulder is in my shoe. Yet it always, always turns out to be a barely seeable piece of sand or other debris.

It’s a BIG problem.

So, why can’t I simply ignore it and keep walking? Why can’t I put up with the annoyance and continue on my way? Because small as it is, it’s still a problem. And to the sole of my foot it seems to be a BIG problem.

I’ve been dealing with this for over a year. And it wasn’t until the other day that the spiritual application finally hit me. (Do I hear a big duh here that it’s taken so long?)

Simply put, little annoyances that aren’t addressed do not always go away. Better to take care of them before they grow into big problems with big repercussions.

The Bible has much to say.

The Bible is very clear about the effect of little things, both positive and negative. James 3:3-4:

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. So here we see that something as small as a bit in a horse’s mouth or a huge ship’s small rudder can easily change the direction of each. And that can be very positive.

But the opposite is also true. James 3:5-6 shows some of the dire consequences that can occur because of small things:

A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

So, what’s the point?

The point is that the ability of something small to accomplish something great is not to be missed. And it works both in a positive way and a negative way.

Back to the pebble in my shoe. Teeny pebble=big annoyance. Enough so that I have to stop every time and empty out the shoe. Teeny pebble=big life lesson and a reminder from God (as outlined above).

For me the point is that it is often easier to notice and take action on the big things that happen in our lives. But we should never lose sight of the little things. They can be every bit as important. The Holy Spirit can speak to you in a dream to pray for someone but that same Holy Spirit may simply nudge you to do an act of kindness for a neighbor.

I usually take note of the big things happening but can fail to notice the every day “little” things going on around me. I want to change that. I want to be vigilant. Sometimes those little things will be warning me about big dangers or changes ahead. Sometimes they are whispers of reassurance. And I need them all.

How about you?

Have any of you had to learn this same lesson about taking note of the little things? If so, please share. I’ve love to know more.

Mimi

Advertisements

Let me get this straight. It’s August but I can’t buy shorts. In Florida.

Hubby and I took a trip today to his favorite store the other day, Steinmart. He needed some new shorts. The weather forecast called for a high in the 90s with crazy humidity, and a super high heat index. Seems to me, it was the perfect day to buy shorts.

But no…

Upon arriving in the store, we split up, Greg to the men’s section and me to the ladies. I thought getting some new shorts was a great idea, too, so off I went. But where were they?

I turned this way and that, trying aisle after aisle, display after display. No shorts. Hmmm. What I did find were heavy sweaters, tons of longs pants, long sleeved shirts and dresses. Hats and scarves and hefty jackets galore, not to mention boots and closed-toe shoes as well.

I finally found a salesperson to ask and was quite surprised when she said, perhaps with just a bit of a head shake and attitude, “No shorts because we have the fall and winter clothing out now.” What? I simply couldn’t resist my follow-up comment “Because we need all of that clothing for our two weeks of fall, don’t we!” (Yup, I really did say that before walking away.)

What was I expecting?

Hard to believe, but this November marks our 20-year anniversary of moving to Florida. I really should have known better. If Hobby Lobby can put out their Halloween and Christmas items in July (oh yes, they did!), then of course Steinmart is allowed to think we have more than two seasons, put their shorts away, and load up on the bulky, cold weather items.

I also have to admit I really dislike clothes shopping so I rarely go. My clothes have to become really ragged before I’ll venture into the clothing department to try to spruce up my wardrobe. So, in my defense, I really didn’t know how much fall/winter clothing was and that it shows up in the stores in early August! And that explains why I truly was surprised that day when there were no shorts in the ladies’ department and very few in the men’s.

What happens when our expectations aren’t realized?

Thinking back on that recent shopping trip reminded me yet again about expectations. They can be so tantalizing: when you’re anticipating a special gift for Christmas, when you’re awaiting the birth of your first child, when going to your favorite restaurant and you’ve already planned what you’re eating weeks before you arrive. All carry an exhilarating expectation of what is to come and that makes the wait, however long, so thrilling.

But very often, our expectations aren’t realized. Something happens to change the outcome of what we were looking forward to. A sour stomach of dread now replaces the thrill of anticipation. Our hopes are dashed. Our disappointment intense.

Is there an answer to dealing with unrealized expectations?

Of course, there are answers and they have to do with trusting God with our lives. They have to do with believing His has good plans for us. And that God has everything under control.

The more mature we become in Christ, the more we’re able to deal with the disappointments in life. To understand that while those situations may catch us by surprise, God is never caught off guard by what happens or fails to happen.

Do we experience disappointment? Yes. Do we get hurt? Also…yes.

But what about hope? Can that remain? You betcha!

God is Trustworthy

God’s Word is full of reminders about keeping our eyes on God, trusting in His ways, and in waiting for Him to bring the right answer or resolution.

Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18)

The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. (Proverbs 10:28)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

No matter our present circumstances. Whether we’re relishing in anticipation of an upcoming event or if we’re experiencing disappointment in an unexpected outcome, hold on to the One who holds all your tomorrows in His very capable hands.

Easy? Sometimes…but many times NOT. Rest knowing this: God is faithful to His beloved. He’s got your present and your future. No matter what you see or what you feel, He is completely trustworthy and He completely and fully loves you.

Love to all,

Mimi

A Thrilling Announcement

I am thrilled to share with you the publication of my aunt’s amazing memoir I Was More Than One. It is now available in print and eBook through Amazon and other booksellers. This memoir depicts her lifetime battle with mental illness and how it offered her the protection and safe haven needed to cope with unimaginably tragic and difficult circumstances she encountered throughout her life.

That mental illness, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), is known to most of us as Multiple Personality Disorder.

The idea of multiple personalities at work in someone’s life is so tough to understand, but in Irene’s life, it actually provided a way for her to survive. When my aunt was unable to cope with the despair of sexual abuse by family members and other people in her life who should have been trustworthy, her mind created 16 different personalities, each providing very specific tools to help her survive her tragic circumstances.

Irene Chose to Overcome

At any time, Irene could have played the victim card; instead she chose to be an overcomer.

Her book reads like fiction but is an accurate accounting of her life and her struggle. The reader will experience a whirlwind of emotions as they learn of Irene’s hopelessness when sexually abused as a young girl, her ruined dreams of a successful marriage, and of her despair that caused her to attempt suicide, despite having a young daughter to care for.

But I Was More Than One will not leave you in anguish. Instead your spirit will soar as Irene begins her journey to health and well-being. And when you realize that instead of giving up, she chooses to fight for wellness, you will share her victory as she overcomes her circumstances and is able to integrate those 16 personalities into one whole person.

Done and Done.

For the past year, I’ve counted it a privilege to work with Irene as she did final edits and worked with a publisher to make her dream, this book, come true. As if her battle with mental illness and understanding DID wasn’t enough, it became her goal to capture her journey through a memoir and to have that memoir published. Done and done.

I Was More Than One may not be offered in your local library, so please consider purchasing either the print version or eBook through this LINK. No doubt, you will find as I did, that my aunt’s journey and book offers hope and encouragement in two ways. First, it offers hope for triumph to the many others battling severe mental health disorders. And secondly, it offers encouragement to the rest of us who when struggling with our own issues may need a good dose of it to hang in, not give up, and look for victory at the end of the fight.

Mimi

Going with the flow.

Going with the flow…a phrase you don’t often hear me say. And until 20 or so years ago, it was a totally foreign concept to me.

Going with the flow evokes a kind of spontaneity I’m totally unfamiliar with because I’m more of an orderly, scheduled person. The idea of flying by the seat of my pants, without a plan is both mystifying and at times uncomfortable to me.

But a few decades ago, it was lovingly brought to my attention that though being orderly and scheduled can be very good qualities, they can also be confining. They can stop the creative flow. And they can definitely get in the way of a spontaneous adventure.

Change has come.

I haven’t changed overnight, but I certainly have changed over the years and have come to embrace a bit of spur-of-the-moment fun. It doesn’t always come naturally or easily, but I find myself more and more willing to go with the flow of whatever is happening and enjoy the moment.

And just to prove how much I’ve transformed, I’m going to share something with you. Take a look at the two pics below. I’m not sure if you can figure out what’s going on but here’s the back story.

Last week, Greg and I spent the day with Kate. Greg’s plan was to paint Callan’s bedroom and mine was just to hang with our daughter. Knowing we would arrive at her house before she did, I came prepared to take a walk by bringing my exercise clothes: shorts, lightweight tee shirt, sports bra, and unders.

There was just one problem.

While changing into those exercise clothes, I discovered I had brought two unders and no sports bra. What a predicament. I really wanted to get my walk in and no matter how many times I looked through my bag, the sports bra was not to be found.

But since I’m much more able to go with the flow at this point in my life, I got inventive. And if you look again at the two pics, you’ll notice what I did: I turned one of the unders into a makeshift bra!

Once I felt fully covered and prepared, off I went, not at all self-conscious at all and actually feeling pretty good about myself and my great invention.

There’s nothing to worry about.

Really, don’t worry. I’m not going to let this become a regular thing or part of my walking routine. And it’s definitely not a new fashion trend I will be embracing. It was simply me being quick-minded and carefree enough to be able to take my walk.

And to that end, I’m claiming this verse from Exodus 35:35:

The Lord has given them (me) special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers.

I think the verse really fits, too. After all…my unders were blue, somewhat woven, and I designed a new use for them!

I’m just having fun with all this.

It was just a silly situation that I made the best of. I was actually proud of myself for not giving up. I easily could have stayed inside Kate’s nice, cool house playing games on my iPad. But I was willing to think outside of the box, perhaps look a little unusual, and go with the flow to accomplish my goal.

How about you? Do you have any go with the flow stories you want to share?

Love you all, Mimi

Memorial Day: A day when we remember.

 

Like many of you, I tend to enjoy our Monday holidays as a three-day weekend. A time for friends and family, for get-togethers, cookouts, down time. But these holidays are celebrated for a reason. And Memorial Day is an important one. It’s a remembrance holiday.

Memorial Day was first widely observed in May 1868. The celebration commemorated the sacrifices of the Civil War and the proclamation was made by General John A Logan. Following the proclamation, participants decorated graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it began in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. It has become a  day of celebration in honor of those who died in all America’s wars, as well as those who are Veterans and current members of the US military.

While I have no known relatives who died while in service, I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices of so many…those who served and those who gave their lives for my freedom. My words are small but from my heart. Thank you.

The end of an era.

 

The photo to the left marks the end of an era. It’s the last newspaper delivered to us since we’ve been married. For nearly 45 years we’ve been having the daily newspaper delivered but just as we did away with the house phone and switched to cell phones only, we’re giving up the paper “paper” and going all digital instead.

It’s taken some thought.

It may not seem like a really big deal to the younger generation, but it’s really taken some thought on our part. The paper has started my day for all of my married life accompanied by a hot cup of tea, a tall glass of OJ, or a bowl of oatmeal. As a busy mom raising kids, the morning paper was often read in the afternoon or evening. But in retirement, it’s been an enjoyable ritual I looked forward to each morning.

Interestingly enough, I began to notice something.

For about two years, however, I’ve noticed much of the day’s news was actually a bit old. My iPad newsfeeds keep me much more up-to-date than any paper possibly could. And except for a few local tidbits, I found I had already read many of the articles.

But what about the comics or advertisements and coupons? I’ve never been a comic-reading person and while I have to admit I’m a little concerned about missing out on coupons, I tend to subscribe electronically to specific stores that take great joy in keeping me alert to sales and coupons via emails and text messages.

The Ritual Will be Missed

I do still think it’s going to take time to let go of the daily ritual. For instance, I’m writing this on Sunday which is, of course, the day when the biggest edition of the paper is delivered. So, there was no lingering at the table this morning as in Sundays past. Instead I flicked through pages, still finding mostly “old” news, and finished up in record time.

Things Will Change

First noticed is that I tend to read through the paper in about half the time. Secondly, Greg said “We’re going to have to switch to a smaller recycling can.” And thirdly, when working on a project today that required a layer of newspaper for protection from the strong glue I was using, I realized the lack of newspapers would require a different protection strategy in the future.

Way back when…

Giving up the newspaper has also brought back some childhood memories. Newspapers were often used as school book covers until it became much cooler to use brown paper bags. Every October they collected the insides of our pumpkins as we carved them for Halloween. They were used as stuffing in our boots to help them keep their shape while drying out after a fun afternoon playing in the snow. And who can forget the many paper mache projects where newspaper was a main ingredient.

Time marches on.

But time definitely marches on and we learn to adapt to change. Only time will tell if this transition ends up being as easy as it was to give up the home phone. My hunch is that it will. So, tell me, have you given up your paper “paper” yet?

Mimi

Life is like a puzzle sometimes.

Happy Monday!

This week, instead of taking care of my to-do list I spent countless hours finishing a beautiful 1000-piece puzzle. It was like I was obsessed. And it was definitely challenging! At the end, I had about 6 pieces left that had nowhere to go. They just didn’t fit in the spaces available. And that meant only one thing.

Yup, I had some of the wrong pieces in the wrong places.

It took about 10 more minutes to find the ones I had inserted incorrectly and replace them with the proper pieces. But once I did that, voila! The puzzle was completed. And as you can see from the photo, it really is pretty.

But my actions were insane!

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I was actually doing just what the above saying talks about. For 15 minutes. I kept trying the same pieces in the same spaces wondering why they wouldn’t fit. I’d remove them, look at them, then try to insert them once again, only to fail. It wasn’t until I decided to stop what I was doing, reevaluate, and try something different that I realized there was nothing wrong with those pieces—nothing at all. The problem was with me: I had incorrectly placed many six of them.

Once I figured out the problem and corrected my mistakes, the pieces easily went in and the puzzle was finished.

Maybe life is a little like that, too.

How many times have I found myself beating my head against a wall (figuratively of course) over something only to discover I could have saved myself a lot of time and energy if I had simply been willing to step back to gain a new perspective. With me the issue is that I can get stubborn and want to finish what I started, thinking I just need to work harder or concentrate more. When all along it might be as simple as realizing I’m doing it the wrong way and need to change my course of action.

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15 NLT)

Here’s to being intelligent and ready to learn as the proverb says. And to being less stubborn while keeping my ears open to God’s direction.

What about you? Ever find yourself in a similar situation?

Mimi