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Look out!

A wonderful friend, faithful blog reader, and frequent blog commenter, recently shared some laughable pictures, suggesting I might be able to do something with them in an upcoming Mondays With Mimi post. And boy, was he right!

Out of all the pictures, this is the one I loved the most. Just look at this industrious fellow painting his walls. Concentrating as he “cuts in” neatly where the ceiling meets the wall; he’s ever so careful to create a straight line so the end result is just perfect. Taking his time. Being fastidious. Doing a job he and everyone will be proud of.

What could be wrong with that?

Well…everything, if he’s doing it like this!

I can so relate to his circumstance. Someone recently remarked that I’m like a hummingbird, flitting around doing this and that. I think that person is correct in a way. While I can certainly waste time with the best of them, when working, I make my list, going through it one by one, and so enjoy getting things accomplished and checking off each and every entry until I’m finished.

There’s a problem with that?

Oh yes, there can be big time problems with working like that. Often, in my hurry-up way to get things done, I’ll skip common sense (like the man above) to save time or effort. I’ll throw caution to the wind, or safety to the skies, and proceed. I’ve been known to climb on counters to clean a top kitchen cabinet shelf, use a long handled wooden spoon to coax something off that same tall shelf, tipping it over so it will fall (hopefully) right into my waiting hands. I’ve used rolling office chairs to reach something up high, climbed on a bed to better reach an area of cobwebs.

You catch my drift.

Rather than take the time to find the appropriate ladder in the garage (which would take all of one minute!!!), I just find whatever’s handy and get to work. But safety? Oh no, my friend. That’s a forgotten word.

So, while I laugh at the absurdity of the painter standing on an open door to reach the ceiling, I can still relate. It’s comical to see his silliness, but at the same time breath-holding knowing it could lead to injury.

Even our guidebook, the Bible, speaks directly to such foolishness in Proverbs 14:16. “The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.”

Big gulp. Boy, that has me pegged.

Out of balance? Time to slow down.

How about you? Ever find yourself in a similar position? Taking short cuts, throwing caution to the wind, figuring it will all work out in the end? As one who often operates in the extreme of over-planning, I can lose out on the joy of spontaneity. So, I’m talking about balance here.

In the long run, some things have no eternal value, such as painting a wall, choosing a color for your new car, deciding where to vacation. But for the things that matter, such as relationships, my prayer (and goal) is to never lose the moment to the planning for the moment.

What do I mean?

If my life is over-planned and I’m unable to put those plans aside, then I might miss out on spontaneous moments of doing hair and makeup with my granddaughters or making finger shadows on the ceilings with my grandsons. I might miss getting together with a neighbor over (gasp) store-bought cookies thinking the visit won’t be the same if I can’t offer fresh-baked ones. And I could miss out on one-on-one time with the hubster if I’m unwilling to put down the laundry and just take a ride to nowhere with him.

You see what I’m saying?

There is not a thing wrong with planning. And in the case of the above painter, better planning would have been a great idea. But let’s not let our methodical planning ever get in the way of relationships. In the end, a completed to-do list is just that. But time spent with others can truly have eternal value.

Let me know what you think? Can you relate?

Mimi

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So proud of my husband.

Look at my brave guy. It’s been about 28 years since Greg has tried a brussel sprout. Last time was when we had a Russian immigrant living with us for several months. Another church member who spoke fluent Russian was helping us communicate with Lydia, something we were so thankful for. He and his wife invited us to dinner where they served some typically Russian food.

First up was borscht. While Greg will loudly complain about it, it really wasn’t that bad. Just a different kind of soup. But following that, we were served the biggest bowl of brussel sprouts we had ever seen. There must have been hundreds in that bowl and yet there were only 5 adults at the table.

Wanting to be polite we ate those little cabbagy looking things. Eeww. Still sends shivers down my spine.

In any case, despite hearing from others that roasted brussel sprouts are quite delicious, neither Greg or I have eaten them since.

However, this weekend our precious daughter-in-law served them to us with dinner. I was determined to try and like them. And I did. But Greg was going to take a pass, remembering vividly the giant bowl of them from 28 years ago. But he girded himself with resolve and not only did he eat one…he ate all that were served! Way to go Greg.

Did he like them? No. Nope. Not at all. Will he eat them again? Don’t count on it. But at least he tried.

We often form conclusions about things without much knowledge. Like the brussel sprouts, it may be a new food we won’t try because it looks strange or has a funny name. It might be a social situation we pass up simply because we get anxious about meeting new people and wondering what we’ll talk about with them.

With our kids or grandkids, we urge them on as they try new things but as adults we often find the we give ourselves permission to sit back and not face some of these new challenges…mostly because of fear of the unknown.

And what a shame that is. We actually can end up on the losing end when we let caution rule supreme. Yes, we definitely need to use the wisdom of our years and good old common sense to help guide our choices. And caution can be a great partner in helping make those decisions but if we let it rule simply because we’d rather stay in our comfort zones, then we may end up missing out on a whole world of wonderfulness just waiting to be discovered.

So I hope I continue trying new things, stretching my wings, and making new discoveries. I hope I can set a good example for my kids and grandkids as I face new challenges. And you can be sure I’ll share the results with you.

How about you? Tried anything new lately? A food? An sport? A new genre of music? Please share; I’d love to hear all about it.

Mimi

I’ve been adopted; and it feels so good!

Hubby and I have recently been “adopted” into a nearby neighborhood group of people who live on the same street. Most moved in around the same time and didn’t know anyone else so one person started things off by inviting everyone on the street to come to her house for a Saturday morning get-together. Simple and easy.

From there, the group has morphed into a monthly get-together with a published schedule for the year so everyone knows in advance whose house and what type of event. If there’s a holiday, the event will most likely center on that such as Valentine’s Day for February, and an Independence Day celebration in July. And each family takes turns hosting so no one family feels overburdened.

Despite only knowing a few of the ladies and Greg knowing even fewer people, this group welcomed us with open arms. They saw us as invited guests rather than moochers who were there for the great food.

Ever since this group started, I’ve thought how easy it is to do this. A general invitation via phone or handout distributed to the folks on your street along with a simple first meet-up such as coffee and donuts or dessert. And voila! A new social group is formed.

And you know something? I’m now greatly encouraged to do for the neighbors on our own street. Soon they will each be receiving their invitations to much more than food and a good time. They will be receiving invitations that will hopefully lead to personal connection with others.

As adoptees, Greg and I are now quite welcomed at any of their events. We get to bring food and eat the food others bring. We get to enjoy the social interaction. Though we live in a completely different neighborhood, we are treated as if we live on their street.

Our adoption into the family of God is similar. He extends an invitation for us to join His family and once we do, we are in. Completely. We have the full set of privileges others enjoy and that are outlined in His word. We have full access to the host (God Himself). And we get to enjoy wonderful fellowship with the other guests (the family of God).

The cost to join the neighborhood group is living on the street. Similarly, there is a cost to joining God’s family. We must repent of our sins and we must accept the redemptive work God’s son Jesus did on the cross to forgive those sins.

Once we do, we become adopted into God’s forever family and enjoy the ultimate: fellowship with Him.

If you haven’t yet made that decision, won’t you consider making it today? And if you want to chat with me about it, you can email me through my contact page HERE.

If you have already been adopted into the body of Christ, please join me today in taking an extra minute to thank Him for that amazing opportunity given to us. And rejoice in being able to know Him personally.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.

This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5 NLT)

 

Mimi

Thankful, grateful, and truly blessed!

For months, maybe even closer to a year, I’ve been feeling very, very grateful. Just in general. For everything. So, when I came upon this piece of artwork, I knew it needed to be in my house… on a wall where Greg and I would see…it all day long.

I assume experiencing these feelings has to do with getting older and understanding more each day what’s really important.

I see pictures of my grandkids, and overcome with love for them, experience thankfulness to God for the blessing they are in my life.

At meals I’m so very grateful for food. For the ability to go to the store and just buy whatever I want. For having a full pantry. For not having to worry about where my next meal will come from or if I will even have one.

After Greg’s recent experience with blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, I feel blessed. Truly blessed. Blessed that despite having very few symptoms, the doctor so quickly got us to the hospital. Blessed that there was a procedure to help him recover quicker. And blessed that a medication taken regularly for the rest of his life will ensure these clots never again cause a threat to his health and life.

And, of course, there’s the stuff. I have stuff…some of it I need, some I think I need, and some I don’t need at all, but still I have it.

I have not one, but two cars in my driveway. I live in a house with heat and air conditioning. I have clothes in my closet. My attic has suitcases that are used to take trips to visit family and to see places I’ve never seen before.

Churches surround and offer me my own choice of where to worship my Lord.

And every day I wake to new possibilities.

Indeed… God has been good to me. So merciful. So kind.

But even without health, or stuff, or a nearby church, I would feel just as thankful, just as grateful, and just as truly blessed.

Why? Because I have Jesus but more importantly, because He has me. For all that He’s provided through His life, through His death, and through His resurrection…I am thankful. I am grateful. And I am indeed…truly, truly blessed.

How about you? What are you grateful for today?

Mimi

Are you kidding me?

So…I had quite the adventure this past week.

It all began last Tuesday when I tried to donate blood for the second time in three days. You get your mini physical, they test your hemoglobin and if the number is high enough, you get to donate.

Part of the process is having your identity verified in their system which is done by showing your driver’s license. So, I dutifully pulled it out, got tested, was rejected again, but made the best of it by picking up a few packages of cookies on the way out, vowing to return soon.

The next day I pulled out my wallet to use a credit card when it became immediately noticeable that my license was missing. What?

Phone calls to the blood center and other places I had been that day all yielded nothing. Three looks through the purse and car, followed by countless checks throughout the house also yielded nothing.

Since I had been online freezing my credit with the three reporting agencies (due to the recent Equifax fiasco) Greg asked if I had used it for anything I was doing. I replied no.

Early today I returned to the blood center to look for myself. It definitely wasn’t there so I drove right to DMV where I had a wonderful experience getting a new license. I kid you not. It was great. Total time was 10-15 minutes. A side bonus is that I recently cut my hair short so the new license picture reflects my current look!

Another bonus is that afterwards, I returned to the blood center to be retested and happily was able to donate today. Once back home, I proudly showed off my new license to Greg. End of story. Or so I thought.

An hour later, I had to scan a document and as I stood in front of the printer I had this déjà vu moment that I might have scanned my license the other day. One of the agencies wouldn’t accept my online credit freeze. Instead I had to print all sorts of documents and use snail mail to submit them.

You guessed it. When I opened the lid, there was my old license! The timing was perfect and quite ironic, wasn’t it, as I had just gotten my new one. The license is now in the shredding pile and I’m still laughing and shaking my head.

While I feel rather silly, I am also quite thankful because the DMV experience which can often be horrid, was actually pleasant. But more importantly, I’m thrilled my license isn’t floating around somewhere for someone else to find and possibly use illegally.

I don’t always sail through such an experience with a smile on my face but this one actually had me laughing at myself.

I don’t think I’m alone in being forgetful occasionally or in running around trying to fix things that actually don’t need fixing at all. And I’m sure there will be more “fun” times in my future, but for now I’m considering it my dose of spiritual medicine as is mentioned in Proverbs 17:22a “A cheerful (or merry) heart is good medicine.”

Mimi

Prickly or Peachy…Being Perfected in God’s Love

One of the things I enjoy doing on my somewhat daily walks through my community is to observe: people, cars, landscaping, etc. I find it so fascinating to see how common things are used so differently from place to place.

On today’s walk I picked up yet another pine cone. We have many different pine trees and the pine cones are just as different. And they all appeal to me. But today I picked up a closed one and immediately was pricked with the unopened spikes. To add insult to that, sap smeared all over my hands that several washings with soap have yet to remove. Hmmppfff. Not so nice is it.

Compare that to my other two pretty, opened pine cones that I found last week. I was thinking how much nicer they are…and yet, there’s still something about the one I found today that draws me to it.

And finally, of course, there’s my pine cone wreath which I’ve shared with you before. A completely different use of them, that resulted in something unique and beautiful.

Like the pine cones, people are different. Some are prickly; they just rub you the wrong way. Others are sticky; their negativity is hard to remove and seems to stay with you. Some are open as if to say I’ll happily share my life with you. And others are somewhat open meaning they’ll be transparent to the degree they are comfortable with. Others seems to already have been put to a unique use and they look pretty and inviting.

And to throw in a little twist, I present you with a peach. Smooth, inviting, sweet-smelling, delicious inside, tender…all in all a perfect fruit. Of course, there is that large pit you have to deal with!

All that to say, God doesn’t call us to be loners. Despite our many differences, despite our personality traits that can be off-putting to others, despite that our outside may not in any way reflect what’s truly going on inside, we’re called together. To love one another. To counsel one another. To bear one another’s burdens. To rejoice with each other and to mourn with each other. Most of all, to love one another.

It may not be easy to throw your arms around a prickly pine cone of a person, but that hug is probably just what they need. And you may be rebuffed if you see a somewhat open pine cone of a person only to find out they’re willing to share only so much of their lives. And beware the peach. They may seem fine on the outside and you may be drawn to them but remember, even they have large pits inside they’re dealing with.

Let’s be willing to share our lives with each other in big ways, in small ways…but all with the love of Christ. Not only will it bless those other pine cones and peaches, but you’ll be blessed as well.

Dear friends, let us continuously love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

Mimi

Family Love

The hubster, my dad, and I recently enjoyed a trip to beautiful upstate New York to spend time with my brother and his family. The occasion was the high school graduation of my twin nephews Mike and Matt.

They were born the year Greg and I moved to Florida so we’ve missed their whole growing up years other than occasional visits. While that saddens me tremendously, what gives me great joy is that despite that, we enjoy a close, precious relationship with the entire New York family. And for that I’m very grateful.

The best thing about the weekend was simply all the family time. Long talks, sharing laughter, attending the graduation, running errands, and doing some home projects—it didn’t matter what we did, just that we did it together.

What I miss most about not seeing people I care about as often as I would like to, is the everyday stuff. I don’t need a fancy vacation or to be entertained; I just want to do life with them. And that’s just what we did in New York; and it was beautiful indeed!

I’m feeling fulfilled, happy, content, and quite blessed to have had that time with my brother’s family. Maybe I should create a new holiday: I Love My Family Day. Like with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, this day would be about appreciating our families and letting them know how much we love them. What do you think? Are you with me?

Mimi