Monday, October 31, 2016

31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2016 - 31: "Only"


 
GO!  

I hate diets that say ONLY eat this or that.  Since when is leaving out whole food groups healthy for anyone?  For example, people who say not to eat carbs forget that eating ONLY fruits and vegetables is a carbohydrates ONLY diet.  And don't get me started on the banana girl on YouTube.  Food plans should never be all or nothing.
-----
IF ONLY...how many times have we said that?  Anyone who says that they've lived their lives with no regrets either blames everything and everyone else for his problems, or hasn't really lived.  We all have regrets; big ones, small ones.   The key is to acknowledge them and move on.  Don't live in the IF ONLY.  I did it, and you won't dig it.
-----
Do you sometimes feel like you are the ONLY one going through something?  In our Sunday School class yesterday, we talked about how praying for each other was a way to ditch the I'm the ONLY one feeling.  When we hear what others are struggling with, we don't feel so alone.  We know that there is someone who understands;  maybe not the exact thing we're dealing with, but the feelings of hopelessness are the same.  We are there to give each other hope and encouragement.

STOP!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 30: "Cut"


 
GO!  

Cut it out.

Cut a rug.

Cut and paste.

Cut from the team.

Making the cut.

Cold cuts.

Hair cut.

Director's cut.

Are there things I need to cut out of my life?  Sure.  We all have them.  Some things we need to delicately prune like a skilled gardener.  Some simply need to be hacked off like Alabama Power cutting limbs away from a power line--ugly, but it gets the job done and keeps things safe.

Sometimes be best piece of technological advice is to "cut it off and turn it back on."  If that doesn't fix it, you're in real trouble.

You know, there's only one more day of the 31 days challenge.  I hope tomorrow's post makes the cut.

Oh, my brain!

STOP!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 29: "Date"


 
GO!  

From bouquets, to eating, to dates...hmm... are the mommy bloggers up to something?

I've got a date.

Save the date.

Date is also a fruit.

Date of Birth.

Blind date.

Dates, dates, and more dates.  We have to keep up with so many of them.  When's our next doctor's appointment?  When are our library books due?  When is payday?  All this we have to keep up with, yet from the date we are born until the date we leave this earthly life, do we keep up with the really important time factors?

Ephesians 5: 15-16 says, "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."  Meaning, as you plan your other dates, keep God's timetable in mind.  Give gaining Godly wisdom a place on the to-do list.  In doing so, you not only "save the date" but save your eternity as well.

STOP!

Friday, October 28, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 28: "Eat"


 
GO!  

Oh, must we?

Food and eating is something I really don't like to talk about.  For me, food and eating has too much emotion attached to it.  Food is love and hate all at the same time.  I'm still trying to learn to enjoy eating--haven't gotten there yet.

I think the whole "women don't know where they want to eat" thing is stupid. 

Can you tell this 31 days thing is starting to get to me?  I'm rambling because I'm running out of ideas.

Maybe this process is eating away my brain.

Oh well.  It's almost over.

Let's go out with a bang and not get eaten up with confusion.

STOP!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 27 - "Bouquet"


 

Window Garden:  16 x 20 Acrylic on canvas.  Interested in purchasing?  Send an e-mail auntiesworkshop@outlook.com

Isaiah 40:8 - The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.  (KJV)

Each season, God provides beautiful flora and fauna for us to enjoy.  Spring bursts with azalea and dogwood blooms.  Summer is a symphony of color from huge yellow sunflowers to tiny pink dianthus.  Autumn is filled with the changing colors of leaves and pots of mums.  Winter rounds out the year with violas and pansies.  With each season is the reminder that though the beauty of last season is gone, there's more to come.

Our walk with God is like that.

Each season of struggle against satan's attacks is replete with stunning bouquets of God's grace that make us "more than a conqueror" (Romans 8:37).  Song of Solomon 2:1 calls Jesus the "Rose of Sharon" and "The Lilly of the Valley."  However, he's no mere perennial favorite--His love, His beauty, is everlasting--a continuous feast of extravagant elegance amidst the dead brown ugly that is this sinful world.

Jesus said in John, chapter 15, "I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener." 

What a beautiful garden he tends, and we get the benefits of it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 26: "Confront" - The Weekly Hodgepodge

Want to join the party?  Come on over to From This Side of the Pond  for the Hodgepodge link-up!


Besides your very own house, describe a place where you feel most 'at home'?
Whenever I'm playing a musical instrument.  Everything in my world could be going wrong, but all that stress and anxiety is meaningless as long as the beat is going. 
When did you last 'hit a home run' with something? Explain. 
The latest painting I completed. 
"Window Garden" - 16 x 20 inch acrylic on canvas. 
Though painting is not new to me, this particular type of painting was.  It was a fun challenge.  I'll write more about it later on my sister blog.
Tell us about something you love in your house or kitchen that is 'homemade.'
I can't think of anything, sorry.
'A man's home is his castle'...which of the world's ten most captivating castles (according to The Travel Channel) would you most like to visit and why- Mont Saint-Michel (France), Edinburgh Castle (Scotland), Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany), Glamis Castle (Scotland), Windsor Castle (England), Chateu de Chambord (France), Hampton Court Palace (England), Prague Castle (Prague), St. Michael's Mount (England), Leeds Castle (England), and Swallow's Nest (Ukraine)
Oh definitely Edinburgh and Glamis Castle in Scotland.  Years ago, former (and should still be) host of the Late, Late Show, Craig Ferguson did shows from Scotland and included mini-documentaries on the castles (with humor thrown in of course). 
What's a recent or upcoming plan or project that's required you do a little homework before getting started? Did the homework cause you to abandon your plan or adjust it in some way?
Again, I've got nothing.
In your opinion, is homework an unnecessary evil or a valuable practice? Should schools be done with homework? Why or why not? 
You're asking a former teacher this question?  OK, to be fair, I taught preschool and don't have any kids, so I don't have a dog in the fight. BUT... I see homework like a musician's practice--if the homework reinforces a concept or sharpens a skill, then yes, it is necessary.  If it's simply busywork, forget it!   By the way, when I was in school, I don't remember homework taking so long.  Unless it was a major project like a research paper or a book to read, I had time for homework, band practice, dinner, and a little TV time, and still got to bed at a decent hour.  Not sure what's going on with today's schools.
Share a favorite memory of your childhood hometown. 
Being a college town with a top notch college marching band, Jacksonville, Alabama prides itself on hosting many band-related competitions and exhibitions.  Each year, Jacksonville State University and the Marching Southeners host a band day during a home football game.  Bands from all over the county show up for this event.  In 1990 when I played for the Marching Southerners, at the end of the band day game (which we won), the band lined up on the field and played several songs.  All of the band kids and their parents piled onto the field with us and had a blast watching and singing along to the songs that had words (the fight song, Quilting Party, etc).  That's one of the times I was proud to be from "JackVegas."
Insert your own random thought here. 
 
Today's 31 days word prompt is "Confront."
 
 
 

GO!  

Is it possible to confront something or someone without being confrontational?  Probably not, but I thought I'd ask.

Anyway...

I don't really want to turn this into a big "need to confront my issues and fears" post (I'm sure y'all are tired of that), but that's the first thing that popped into my head.

**clock ticking**

Well...confront is such a strong negative word...

**clock still ticking**

Um...

**clock ticking even louder**

Oh, heck, I don't know!

STOP!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 25: "Sign"


 
GO!  

Sorry, but this is the first thing that came to mind...


Sign of the times.

All the signs are there.

Sign on the dotted line.

Warning signs.

I was talking to someone at work who's much younger than I am, and she's already having warning signs of health issues.  I told her not to do what I did--wait until the warning signs nearly kill you before you do something about your health.  That's what warning signs are for...to WARN!  It makes getting healthy much harder when health issues invade a fitness program.

STOP!

Monday, October 24, 2016

31 Days of 5 Day Free Writes 2016 - 24: "Global"


 
GO!  

My world is too small.

I need my vision to go global. 

I want the small things I do to grow and affect hurting people around the world.

Global thinking reminds of something my former Pastor said.  He said part of what Mark 16:15 means is to go into "every man's world" with the Gospel message of God's love and Christ's sacrifice.  We all have our own "worlds."  Those within that world need to know the truth, and know that someone cares deeply for them.  We also must enter into the "worlds" of others and share the Good News.

That is what going global is all about.

STOP!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 23: "Blowout"


Blowout - Definition 6 (slang) a lavish party or entertainment.

GO!  

I know I talk a lot about wanting my own house, but I think it's something most of us who've not yet experienced it long for.

The day the papers are signed and the closing is complete, Auntie is having a blowout (probably several).  I'm not waiting around for someone else to decide to throw me a housewarming party, I'm inviting over my friends and we're going to party like it's 1999.  I'm going to meet my new neighbors and throw the neighborhood a barbeque.  I'm talking jumpy castles for the kids and everything.

OK, maybe that's overkill, but you get the point.

I don't care if there's no furniture in my new house and the yard looks like an okra patch, I'm going to celebrate!

STOP!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 22: "Off"


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 
 
Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)


GO!  

The Biggest Loser is one of my favorite TV shows.  A couple of things on the show stood out to me.  In one episode, trainer Bob Harper wanted to know what it felt like to be morbidly obese.  That year, he had a team player who weighed over 500 pounds.  In other seasons, the finalist had to participate in a challenge where they put all their weight back on.  As they completed different stages of the challenge, they were allowed to slowly take OFF the weight.

In both instances, putting on the weight was traumatic, they couldn't move or breathe well, and they were in pain.  As the weight came OFF, they felt light and free, moved faster, and breathed easier.

Sounds like life, doesn't it?

What is weighing you down?  Like me, is there physical weight slowing you down and stopping you from moving freely?  Also like me, are there mental weights taking a toll on your psyche--weighing you down in depression, bitterness, or anger?

If so, like the show's participants, get help to cast OFF that weight.

STOP!

Friday, October 21, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 21: "Park"



GO!  

When I read the prompt, two trains of thought ran through my mind.

The first is how beautiful parks are.  Around here, there are several great parks where the kids can play and the grown ups can relax.  Just bring you some toilet paper...and a shovel.

Another thought was the verb "park."  How much of my life have I parked and never taken out of the driveway again?  Lots.  In my quest to be more proactive in my life, I've still put too much on hold.  Fear, doubt, anger, all of this has put me in "park." 

Yeah, it seems obvious, but a life in park doesn't go anywhere anymore than a car in park does.

But what do I do?  I don't need to slam it into reverse and head back there again.  Neutral only makes me coast wherever the momentum takes me--bad idea.  No matter which drive gear I chose, I will still be going forward.  I think it was Michael Hyatt who said in life we can both walk and run as long as were going forward.  I think he's right.

Let's get it out of park and drive!

STOP!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 20: "Weekend"



GO!  

Weekends can be a fun restful time of relaxation and rejuvenation.  Some of the best social media posts and Instagram photos happen over the weekend.

My question is:  why can't weekdays be just as fun?

The saddest state of being is to spend more than 70% of your days doing a job you hate, then going home to sleep it off and starting again.  I know from experience, not from theory.  Yes, I know that everyone can't fall into their dream job instantly and we can all feel stuck.  However, if we trudge through the week in the hopes of cramming our genuine lives into two days on the weekend, we need to reevaluate what we're doing.

We shouldn't just live for the weekend.  There's so much more life out there.

STOP!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sense and Sensibility: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Want to join the party?  Come on over to From This Side of the Pond  for the Hodgepodge link-up!


What would you say is your strongest sense?
My hearing.  My friends tease me that I can hear a rat pee on cotton across a field. 
Do you believe in the idea of a 'sixth sense'? Why or why not?
Not exactly.  I think the Holy Spirit makes us privy to things.
When do you most feel like a slave to time? Explain.
We had this question back in 2013, but the answer is still the same:  At church.  I want to fellowship with and get to know my church family but with worship practice, rushing out of Sunday school to get ready to play, and everyone else rushing off with their families as soon as the last "amen" is said, I become a slave to their time.  Sorry, but a quick, "Hey, how are you?  How's ya' mama 'nem?" isn't cutting it.
Have you ever worked in a restaurant? How would you rate the experience? If you could own a restaurant what kind would it be?
One summer, I worked at the now defunct Hardee's in Piedmont, Alabama.  I never felt like I did a good job and didn't enjoy what I did.  I would never own a restaurant.  A coffee house or a bed and breakfast?  Maybe.
Ever traced your family tree? Share something interesting you learned there.
Nah.  My friend Ginny's husband, Don, is really into Genealogy and found an old school record of my father's online.  Nothing new, but neat to see.  I'm not sure tracing my family tree is possible.  Records were very poorly kept, if at all, in the poorer black communities my parents lived in.  I think if I could trace it, the findings would prove to be very depressing.
What did your childhood bedroom look like?
We lived in the projects.  All the rooms were painted with an ugly lime green and the floors were white linoleum tiles that were nearly impossible to keep clean. It did have a double window, so it was bright (when I opened the shades).
Anyone who knows me knows I love_______________________?
Books.
Insert your own random thought here.
Have a great rest of the week, y'all.  And, as always, thank you so much for reading.  You don't know what it means to me that you actually read this stuff.  :)

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 19: "Notice"



GO!  

Did you notice her?  The girl with the sorted past who's scared to death, pale and shaking in the back row of the church.
Will they judge me?  Will they call me out and make me tell every bad thing I've done.  I've got to get out of here!  Run! Run!
And yet she stays, fixated by the words of love and wisdom coming from the songs and preaching.

Did you notice him?  A black man in his 20's tired of the peer pressure to go along with the violence of the gang he hangs around with, but too proud to say he needs help.  He's got his arms folded, a look of utter disdain across his face.  He sits in the front row just daring someone to say something he doesn't like.
I don't need this God business!  What I need is a hit and some time with my lady.
Yet tears flow over his scarred cheeks as he longs for the love of God the Father to fill the empty space left by an earthly father he never knew.

Did you notice them?

I've noticed a lot of garbage said about the church in general lately.  No, not by those outside the church--we expect that--but from those who claim to be followers of Christ.  There's a whole "Christian" podcast dedicated to gleefully tell us everything that's wrong with the church. 

STOP!


...and I must continue...

I'm sure there's more than the one, but one was all I could stomach.

Sure, there are things wrong with the church; there's human beings involved.  However, let me ask you something:  If you are married, would you like to publicly blast your spouse by nitpicking everything that is wrong with him/her in front of thousands?  Would that bring you joy?  If you are worth your salt and you care anything for your marriage, the answer is a definite no.  Then why, oh why, do we find it necessary to do the same to the Bride of Christ?

Why is this important? If we spend so much time nitpicking the church, we don't have time to BE the church and NOTICE hurting, scared people.  The tide is shifting, there are more and more noticers of the pain of others and the goodness of the God who heals that pain by using the hands and feet of His church.

Let's look for that.

Let's notice that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 18: "Neighbor"



GO!  

When I was a kid, my family knew all of the neighbors.  We knew who to trust and who to avoid.  We spent fun times at each other's houses.  We knew how to act at the neighbor's house because we had a 2 for 1 deal--you get your tail tore up at someone else's house, you get it torn out of the frame again at home.

What happened to being neighborly?  Are we all so much in our own little world of four walls and internet that we don't have time to look people in the eye and connect? 

I've noticed a trend with many of my friends, they are ditching the idea that cyber friends are enough.  They are not!  People are turning off their phones, getting out of the house to meet the neighbors, and planning times to spend with real people.  I like it.

Will you join the new trend?

Won't you be my neighbor?  **Zips my sweater**

STOP!

Monday, October 17, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 17: "Study"



GO!  

II Timothy 2:15 - Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

I'm an odd bird.  I think I read and study more now than I did when I was in college.  However, my studies aren't just sitting around with a book all the time.  I'm also a tactile learner.  I like to get my hands into something to learn it.

There's so many things I want to learn and study:

The Old Testament
Prayer
History
Different computer software programs
Kinesiology
Photography
Business
Spanish
Playing other musical instruments
Digital editing
Drama
Art and Design
Woodworking...er... SIMPLE woodworking

There's so much out there.  Can I get it all in my brain?

STOP!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 16: "Little"



GO!  

Little things mean so much.

The hug of a friend.
The laughter of co-workers.
A fresh cup of coffee.
A card that says "I care."
Strangers opening the door for you.

The Bible says that the little foxes spoil the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15).  While very true, I believe that reverse is also true.  Little lambs--little bits of kindness and caring make people grow.  Sometimes I get caught up in wanting to do the BIG things for God (the "exploits" spoken of in Daniel 11:32), but I'm seeing lately that a whole lot of little things done to honor God and love people pleases God, mean the world to others, and does wonders for my own psyche as well.

Little adjustments mean a lot.  Just like it takes a very small correction of a degree or two to get a huge jet back on course and keep it there, small adjustments can get my life back on course and keep it there.

STOP!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Auntie's 2016 Bookworm Challenge 12

Book: The Lord's Table

Author: Andrew Murray

Info:  Copyright 2015:  New York:  Scriptura Press (Originally published in 1897).

Where acquired: Amazon download.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 hashtags): # # # #

What it's about: Andrew Murray takes the reader on a spiritual odyssey of the Eucharist--the observation of the Lord's Supper.  Using scripture passages and prayers, he attempts to take Communion from mere ritualistic sacrament to a sacred renewal of spirit.  The odyssey begins the week before partaking, goes through passages and prayer referring to each element, and ends the week after partaking.

Favorite Quotes:

"The problem of self-examination is simple. According to the apostle, there are but two conditions, either Jesus Christ is in you, or ye are reprobate: one of two. There is no third condition. The life of Christ in you may still be weak; but if you are truly born again and a child of God, Christ is in you. And then as a child you have access to the table of the Father and a share in the children's bread."- Location 187.

"Christian, prepare yourself for the Holy Supper by thinking of your sins. Be not afraid to make mention of them by name before Jesus. Point out to Him that which you desire He should change in you. Sin which is not confessed is also not combated. When a saved soul goes to Jesus to speak with Him about sin, and to make it known to Him, it breaks sins power and makes Him more precious. The very same light that enables you to feel the curse of sin more deeply, enables you also to discern the perfect and final victory over it. The experience, utterly lost, prepares the way for the experience utterly redeemed."  Location 246. 

"God is too little honored by His people.  A joyful, thankful Christian shows that God can make those that serve Him truly happy.  He stirs up others to praise God along with him." - Location 624.

"It was to bring to us this heavenly life that the Son of God descended to earth.  It was to make this life accessible to us that He died like the seed corn in the earth, that HIS body was broken like the bread grain.  It is to communicate this life to us and to make it our own, that He gives Himself to us in the Supper." - Location 697.

"Food involves quickening and joy.  Eating is not only necessary as medicine for strength, but is also in itself something that is acceptable, and imparts pleasure.  To observe a feast in the spirit of itself equivalent to food.  Obedience to the will of God was Jesus' highest joy." - Location 760.

What I Liked:
  • Murray himself says this his volume is not a replacement for Scripture, but a study guide to the particular subject of Holy Communion.  He guides you to the Bible, not away from it to his own words.
  • The prayers that accompany the devotional passages are not only poetic, but deep in substance.  They truly take the believer to a place of fellowship with God when prayed sincerely and purposefully.
  • I wanted to time reading this book with when my church observed the Lord's Supper.  However, the book can be used for personal communion.
  • This book is for any Christian of any denomination.  The author doesn't go into specific ceremony, but lays out the deeper meaning of the sacrament.
What I didn’t like: 
  • Years ago, I had purchased a print version of this volumeHowever, it was so riddled with typographical and punctuation errors and incorrect scripture references that I got frustrated and ditched it.  I decided to try again this year and found a free PDF version.  Again, no editor took time to correct these errors.  But, I figured, it was free, so I expected too much.  So I paid for the Kindle version.  I was disappointed to see that this version also contained the same errors.  I wish the publishers understood that correcting those errors does not diminish the text or message at all.  In fact, having a corrected copy would enhance it
  • The Kindle version doesn't have real page numbers.  It really looks like the publisher simply slapped this volume together. So, any negatives are not with the content of the book, but how it was formatted and presented.  Just because it's Christian doesn't mean that it should be mediocre.  In fact, more care should have been taken in preparing it.
Takeaway:  I'd recommend this book to anyone who desires a deeper walk with the Lord and wants to take his participation in communion to a higher spiritual level.  I most likely won't read it every time I take communion, but I would like to go through the devotional at least once a year.

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Wirtes 2016 - 15: "Move"



GO!  

This week's Wednesday Hodgepodge focused on moving.  I've only physically moved a few times.  I'm more ready than ever to make some moves for the better in my life.

I'm ready to move on from past hurts that continue to affect my present joy.

I'm not ready, but it has become a necessity to possibly have to move on to new computer equipment and programs...or at least make the move to learn to rebuild a desktop computer.

I'm continuing to move forward in my healthy lifestyle.

I need to move into a life where I take more risks.  No, not dangerous ones, but risks that get me out of my comfort zone.

I need to move forward on finishing up some projects I started.  I know, don't we all, but they're sitting there, staring at me saying, "Hey, remember me?"

My goal is to truly move into the life God intended for me.

It's time to move it!



STOP!

Friday, October 14, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 14: "Mail"



GO!  

"You've got mail."  (For any of you who even remember AOL).

"Here's the mail. It never fails.  It makes me want to wag my tail.  When it comes, I want to wail MAIL!" (If you've been around a child under the age of five, surely you've been forced into a few episodes of Blues Clues.)

I rather appreciate the personal letter.  E-mails, texts, and internet messaging are good, but taking the time to organize thoughts on paper, placing it in an envelope, and applying postage has a more intimate feel.  One of my goals for the next year is to send more handwritten letters and cards.

STOP!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 13: "Aware" [Thursday Thirteen]



GO!  

I've seen so much ridiculousness on the internet in the name of "raising awareness."  From the ice bucket challenge for ALS to a woman running a marathon during her menstrual cycle with no feminine protection for a point no one understood (that was nasty), this nuttiness brings more attention to the person posting than the actual cause.  Below is a list of things we really need to be made aware of--or re-aware if we've forgotten.


(Almost)

  1. Glaucoma - thousands are blinded by this disease every year.
  2. Orphaned baby girls in China - many churches know about their plight.  Do you?
  3. Adult illiteracy - yes, there are still people in this country who can't read.
  4. Depression and mental illness among functional adults.  It's readily visible among those who are debilitated by it, but what of those who appear normal?  Case in point; Robin Williams.
  5. Eating disorders.
  6. Sickle cell anemia.
  7. Kids with fatherless homes - How about some of you men mentor these kids and teach them how not to repeat the cycle?
  8. Type I Diabetes - Type II gets all the press.
  9. Religious persecution of Christians - we hear in the media about persecution of other religions, but not this one. 
  10. How about your neighbors who are in need?  We need to be aware of  and do something about that.
STOP!

So, I didn't make it to 13, but do you get my point?  Don't let social media be your only source of awareness.  There is suffering everywhere.  Let's be agents of change, rather than adding to the agony.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 12: "Sky" - The Weekly Hodgepodge

Want to join the party?  Come on over to From This Side of the Pond  for the Hodgepodge link-up!


What would you say is the best and worst thing about moving house?
I can't really think of a good thing about my moving.  For me, the worst thing has been that where I was going wasn't a place I could call my own.  Plus, each time I move, I have less and less to take with me.  My next move may only contain books, electronics equipment, and a few craft supplies.  However, I'm willing to risk that if my next move is into my own house.
What's moved you recently?
I'm nearly finished with a devotional on communion by Andrew Murray called The Lord's Table.  (If you would like, come back to my blog Friday for the review).  I timed the reading of the book with my church's observance of the Holy Eucharist on Sunday.  The book takes this from mere ritual to the spiritual experience it was intended to be.  I was deeply moved by Christ's sacrifice and the true meaning of communion.
Do you feel your life is moving forward, backward, or is on hold? How so?
Oh dear, do I have to answer that?  I see Joyce wagging her finger at me. Many areas of my life are on hold and I feel stuck.  There are decisions I can't make because of it.  Relationally I feel that I'm moving backwards; I don't feel that I have any close friends or people to fellowship with.  It wasn't always this way. I'd hoped that my working to change for the better would make people want to be around me more.  Apparently not.  I don't feel that I'm moving forward on much at all. 
On the move, move mountains, get a move on, it's your move, or bust a move...which phrase best applies to some aspect of your life right now? Explain.
As I said in the previous question, my life isn't really moving, so I need to get a move on.  The question is: how?
What song makes you want to get up and move?


Your favorite snack to grab when you're 'on the move'?
Almonds.
What one accessory makes your house feel like home?
Do my books count as an accessory?
Insert your own random thought here.
I'm in the throws of the 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes this month.  Today's word prompt is "sky." 



GO!  

View on the Ladiga Trail
today.
I took a walk out on the trail this afternoon.  It wasn't my best and I was in pain, but the gorgeous blue sky called to me.  Fall temperatures, clear skies, and the crackle of the leaves made it all worth it.

As a painter, capturing the sky at different parts of the day in the various hues God paints it is a treat to try to recreate.  I've painted a lot of still life lately, but next year the sky's the limit with landscapes.

Morning sky is my favorite.  It's one of the benefits of being up so early for work.  When we've not been busy, my boss has let me go out on the front porch at the Y and see the beautiful early morning sky.  I need more sunrise skies in my life.

I took my first flight several years ago.  As we broke through the clouds and leveled off on our way to California, I thought "this must be how God lives!"  Being high up in the sky was glorious.  A song lyric comes to mind:

I wish that I could fly into the sky so very high, just like a dragon fly.
I'd fly above the trees over the seas in all degrees to anywhere I please.
I want to get away.
I want to fly away.
 
Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz

STOP!

Monday, October 10, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 10: "Unknown"



GO!  

The most tiring life is one full of the unknown; everything is in limbo.  There is too much unknown for me.  Those more powerful have the reigns of my life.  The unknown of how to break free without losing it all weighs heavily on me.

Most of the unknowns from the past I have released--there's nothing I can do about them.  But, the unknowns in the future?  Those are some of the tests I spoke about fearing to fail.

My purpose is unknown.
My value is unknown.
My health is an unknown.
My place is unknown.
My status is unknown.

Sorry guys, I'm so not feeling it today.

STOP!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 09: "Post-it"



GO!  

To post-it or not to post-it.  That is the question.

Most of the time, the answer is to not post-it.

Many issues have floated around the internet.  I have definite opinions, most based on common sense.  But, no one has asked me to butt into their diatribes.  So, I made the decision not only to refrain from posting, but also to ignore most of the anger spewed out.  I've better uses for my time.

Yeah, so repeating the sabbatical I took from social media is looking tempting...at least until after Christmas.

I have some other post-it's I'm trying to decide about sharing.

I have so much inside me to share, but do y'all really want to hear it?

STOP!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 08: "Muddle"


Muddle - (verb) to mix up in a confused or bungling manner; jumble.


GO!  

For one who is fairly intelligent, I find the muddling of my thoughts exhausting, inexcusable, and all too frequent.  It is not the facts that generally get muddled, but the heart.  I am often confused about my purpose and direction.  I get bogged down in reconciling what God says and what humans seem to imply is God's will (marriage being the main culprit).  Yes, God is to be pleased above all, but He did make us creatures of community and accountability.  I'll not betray my godly principles for the pleasure of humans, but I would like to have real friendships that last longer than a commercial break during the Alabama game.

How does one un-muddle? (Yeah, I know that's not a word, but work with me)

God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33), so what am I missing here?

Hey, I said I would do my best to be positive, but I didn't pick the word prompt, so don't blame me for being honest. ;)

STOP!

Friday, October 7, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 07: "Test"



GO!  

I thank God that His tests are always open book, otherwise, I'd never feel like I could pass.

Often the fear is that I'll fail the test of life--that I won't have lived my life as God intended. 

What is it about tests that frighten us so?  Maybe the grade feels like an indicator of worth, rather than a simple evaluation of whether we learned anything.

I had a professor at JSU (I'm looking at you Hardy Jackson) who's tests always unnerved me.  Not only did he always give essay question where he expected his students to regurgitate everything--and I mean EVERYTHING--he'd ever said, but he would also get up every five minutes and write how much time we had left to finish.  Imagine being in the middle of a thought and hearing the SCREECH! of a piece of chalk (he didn't have a white board) rasping across a blackboard!  I wanted to pinch his head off!

Sometimes my life feels like that.  The reminders that time is running out and that I'm not getting any younger are incessant.  The feeling that I'm going to have to retake many tests I failed in the past haunt the daylights out of me.  And will that get me the same thing I got in graduate school;  an expensive piece of paper that's totally useless?  "Yeah, you passed, but you took too long, so there's really nothing for you."

STOP!


Thursday, October 6, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 06: "You"



GO!  

"I see you."

"Thank you."

"You are my sunshine."

"It's not about you."

"It's all about you."

"Who are you?"

That's a question I've asked myself a lot lately.  Who am I really?  How can I live a genuine life where the "you" I see in the mirror is the same "you" I present to the world?

Part of the answer to for you to learn to accept all of the parts of "you" -- the pretty ones and the not-so-pretty ones.

"I'm ashamed of you!" 

Learning to not be ashamed of "you" is your process of freedom. 

"You" are not perfect, but you are serving a God who is changing you little by little.  "You" are who He says you are whether you can see it right now or not.  "You" are not on this planet by accident though you feel you are.

You must embrace "you." 

You must love "you."

STOP!


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 05: "Silence"



GO!  

Auntie is in desperate need of a few days of silence.  For the past couple of weeks, it seems that no matter where I am, every ounce I've peace and quiet I've tried to squeeze out has been insanely disturbed.

For example:  last night, I was deeply asleep then BOOM, a transformer box up the street explodes and catches on fire.  All the lights go out, so there's warning bells and whistles that the power is out.  The fans and air conditioning stop, so I can hear EVERYTHING outside; every barking dog, every siren, everything.  I get back to sleep and a while later, the noise of everything coming back on awakens me.

All of this has made me awfully tired and extremely edgy.

I'm a people person, but I also need the balance of peaceful silence and solitude.

STOP!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Auntie's 2016 Bookworm Challenge 11

Book: Cassidy.  (Big Sky Trilogy #1) 

Author: Lori Wick

Info:  Copyright 2007,  Detroit:  Thorndike Press

Where acquired: Library check out

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 hashtags): # # # 1/2

What it's about:  Set in the late 1800's, Cassidy Norton, the town's premiere seamstress, is beloved by her church family and well respected in the community of Token Creek.  She seems to have it all, but a dangerous secret threatens to destroy Cassidy's world.  Plus, will she choose rich comfort or true love?

What I Liked:
  • Usually I don't like sappy love scenes, but the scene where Cassidy's beau proposes was the beautiful kind of sappy.
  • There was enough action to keep the book from being boring.
  • Wick brings in romance and sexual tension without being explicit or nasty.  The physical expressions of love are tender, rather than rapey and pornographic.
What I didn’t like: 
  • Many of the interactions between the characters were trite.  They all seemed to start with "How are you?" "Fine."  Come on now.  I've eaten bread fresher than this dialogue.
  • One of the characters left town because a character married someone else.  Really?  Is there only one girl in the town?  Can these guys not put on their big boy panties and suck it up?  Sorry, but I rolled my eyes at this one.
Takeaway:  Good book. I can't wait to read book two.

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 04: "Brew"



GO!  

The first thing that came to my mind when I read the prompt was beer.  I come from a long line of alcoholics, but don't drink.  So, I had to think of something else.

Or do I?

Hmm...

To brew is also "to contrive, plan, or bring about."

What have I got brewing?  Nothing out of the ordinary...at least not now.

Hold on, I've got to find something sensible here...

**clock ticking**

Um, I like coffee.  You brew that, don't you?

**clock still ticking**

It's around 5:00 in the morning at the Y.  I've counted my drawer to start my workday.  Friendly customers come in.  Customers not ready to be as friendly this early in the morning come in.  To all, I raise my cup of fresh brewed coffee and smile.  My smile isn't simply because of the caffeine (that doesn't kick in until later), but the joy of what that warm soothing cup represents.  It represents a purpose for the day.  It represents the people I see every morning whose only smile and sincere welcoming greeting may come from me.  It may sound cheesy, but my brew represents warmth in a cold world, a doxology where praise can't always be found, and comfort from the outside forces where peace is often stolen.

So let's have a cup of fresh brewed coffee and sit down for a spell.

STOP!

Monday, October 3, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 03: "Wardrobe"



GO!  

It has been observed that those who suffer from depression get to a point where they stop taking care of themselves--they stop taking the time to groom themselves properly and they stop dressing well.

I've been there.

I'd not even given myself permission to buy new clothes for years.  Settling for ill fitting hand-me-downs and thrift store cast offs was all I would allow.

Recently, I began slowly building a wardrobe I was pleased with. I'm no clotheshorse by any stretch of the imagination, and I am still very price conscious.  However, when I wear pieces from my new wardrobe, I feel better--mentally because I chose these pieces rather than settled for them; physically because the clothes fit well and suited my shape.

Soon it will be time to hunt for cool weather outfits.  I look forward to it.

STOP!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 02: "Paint"



GO!  

I've been painting since 1998.  I enjoy the giddy excitement of opening a new blank canvas or pulling off a new sheet of watercolor paper.  The creative possibilities are endless.

My favorite compositions are of still life, particularly flowers.  My paintings are but mere amateur copies of the Creator's genius. 

God's creation
My copy of His creation
Some of my most peaceful times are when it's just me, the sounds of my favorite music and of my brush grazing across the canvas, and my mind settling down to focus on nothing but strokes of color--my version of coloring in a blanket fort.

STOP!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2016 - 01: "Walk"


Well, here we are again.  At first, I wasn't going to take this challenge.  Last year's 31 days challenge found me in a very dark place.  This year, I feel that my mental outlook is better.  I will endeavor to be honest in these posts while attempting to maintain a positive outlook.  So, without further ado...

GO!  

Walking has its rewards.

Yes, it's exercise, which rewards the body with strength and stamina.  But, it also has other wonderful benefits.  Walking gives me access to beautiful scenery, fresh air, and time with friends.

Today, I walked the Rock and Run 5k in Gadsden, Alabama.  Part of the race course traversed a bridge overlooking the Coosa River.  The view was gorgeous.  It was hard not to stop and click a photo with my phone.  I thanked God for such a sight.  Getting up early and taking a 3 mile walk amongst elite runners also had a physical reward.


I got my second piece of hardware--third place in my age group.  Simply by getting up, getting outside, and doing my best walk, I was rewarded.

STOP!

Do you like walking?  If so, how are you rewarded?