Sometimes lost time is lost, sometimes it is not!

As usual, I have found myself a year older and lacking blogging posts for 2017. I had such great intentions but not much follow through on things that I still find important.

I thought about blogging A LOT! Time took its toll, or I felt the topic too controversial; I found myself putting in too many hours at work.

I have a lot of excuses for not blogging, quilting, writing letters to my children or decorating my home for the numerous occasions for which I have knick knacks to put out. When it comes down to brass tacks , I have let a lot of important things go by the wayside.

The Background to this Blog

This morning, I was supposed to be going to a Show Choir event to take photos for friends. My daughter was a part of the Blair High School Show Choir when she was in high school and I was the person who took photos. I was asked this year to return to capture the bright eyes and smiles of the performers because there just haven’t been photos like I posted for the families. (but I digress!)

An ice storm canceled the school participating, so I found myself, at home, in an ice castle thinking how I was going to spend the day. Driving was out of the question. I decided that I wanted to find some inspirational words to start my day.

I got out my Kindle Fire and the first book that shows is  “40 Days with Wesley” by Reuben P. Job.  My mind immediately went to, ‘Well, even though Ash Wednesday was last week, I could read everything and get caught up to day 5 and then move forward daily.’ I mean there are 40 days in Lent. That was perfect! Then it hit me!

The Purpose of this Blog

Why did I feel compelled to get caught up? My brain was racing, thinking that if I just got caught up…But would I get anything out of the reading by quickly catching up? Was I reading to feel that time of reflection, or to just accomplish a step? I decided it was the goal, when I should have been focusing on the journey.

I thought it was great that I actually realized my error before I started reading. I didn’t even get the book opened before the lesson started forming.

I slowed my breathing. I opened the book and read the first day of my 40 day journey. It was not going to be a 40 day journey during Lent. It was going to be the 40 day journey in my life. It is going to be a time to reflect, revitalize and re-center my focus.

As I was realizing the error of my ways, my thoughts went to another job I have in working with children and youth with handchimes and handbells.  I realized I was not following my own advice.

My handchime choir is open to children starting in 2nd grade. I teach them how to use the instrument, how to read music and how to use their musical talent to be a part of music ministry in my church. One of the lessons I need to frequently remind my choir members is that if you miss playing a note, it doesn’t do any good, in fact, it is bad to try to “catch up” by playing that missed note quickly in the wrong spot. If you miss a note, just let it go and be ready when you are to play next.

I was trying to “catch up” but it would have been in the wrong spot and it would have served no purpose to read five days worth of readings, just to get to the right place. I have the luxury that I can start day one at any time. I needed to take the time and take in the words and take in the message of Job’s words.

How many times do we rush through something just to say we did it?  Sometimes you can get away with it. How many times have you said, “Wew, I made dinner; I got it done.” It may not have been made from scratch. It may have been a frozen pizza but you did it! Yes, in that case, rushing to get dinner on the table can be worth it. The ultimate purpose is to feed your body and spend time with family and friends. It is not always about the food, but it is always about the nourishment and the company.

I have fabric for a lot of quilt projects and it sits there uncut and patiently waiting for me to find the time. While I would rather be quilting, I do not have the time that needs to be put into a quilting project. I know my limitations when it  comes to quilting but it seems I lack that same discernment in other aspects of my life.

In 2016, I did not take the time to send out Christmas cards. In 2017, I spent the time and money to order cards but guess what? The cards are still in my home, no addresses, no festive words.  It was a valiant attempt and a total failure. I can’t get Christmas 2017 back. Every time I thought of taking the time to get them addressed, it was only a thought, no follow through. I can’t get that back.

I do not know how I am going to apply my mini lesson of the day to the bigger things in my life. There are only 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week.  I cannot add more time; I can only try to manage my time better. If an hour is lost, I cannot work harder to reclaim it. It is overwhelming.

As I write, I realize that I am doing something to get time back-to create memories to take me into the future.  In just over two weeks, I am taking my parents on a road trip. Coming along will be my son, who will be graduating college in May. We are heading to Savannah, Georgia. It is a fast trip, a mere five days. We’ll take a day and a half to go down and the same to get back. We will be two full days in Savannah and two partial days. It will be a whirlwind trip but a chance to spend quality time with my parents and my son. It is a trip my mom has wanted to take for years. We are all very excited. (And BTW, it took almost three years for this trip to come to fruition)

Just last week, I brought up the notion of heading to Spain to spend time with dear friends. I wrote about Jorge in a previous blog. I want to spend time listening to the stories of George and his wife, Janet and eventually write their stories and pair them with his paintings. I want to actually do something that I have wanted to do for ten years. I need to do this sooner than later because no one is getting younger. I need to act.

There are instances when you can make up for lost time. It can be a fine line. A lost note in a piece of music is lost forever. You can only work to try to not miss it the next time. That is what practice is all about. If you haven’t told someone you love them, do it while there is still time.

If your eating is unhealthy, you can change those habits and your body has some ability to rejuvenate. Sometimes, the damage is done. You can still improve yourself by looking forward and not at the mistakes of the past.

So, I need to quit fretting about those Christmas cards that are setting in my home. I cannot get the Christmas season back. It is too late to send them out now.

My 40 days started today. I cannot worry that they are not the 40 days of Lent but rejoice that I chose to start my 40 days of devotion.

I can really celebrate that I am taking time to spend with my parents and my son, and my son will be spending time with his grandparents. This is going to be an experience I will relish forever. There have been very few trips with my parents that didn’t include my siblings.

And I can move forward with my plan to spend time with dear friends in Spain, hear their stories and show them all of the love I can.

There have been times when “I missed a note” and I tried to catch up by playing it in the wrong place just to say I played all of the notes. I need to be more aware and not rush, but also to try to play all of the notes in my life.

Right now, I am going to work on a photo book that I started in November. While I missed getting it mailed out for Christmas, it is never too late to share memories and to show love to those people important to you in your life.

Ice storms, which are really bad, can also be a blessing in disguise.

Blessing to you today and I share with you, my Christmas card!

 

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Complaining to complain

And, no, I am not going to complain…well, I guess I am. But I am going to complain about complaining, We all complain – about people, about situations, about our body, our job, and the list can go on. Sometimes, you complain (vent) just to get things off your chest. Other times, the complaining is because of an injustice to you, a friend or family member, a religion, on and on and on. Possibly, you complain about other people/situations to raise yourself (which does not work by the way). Maybe you are a Negative Nellie. Whatever the reason, complaining is a negative, not a positive and being negative only pulls other people down with you.

What brought this to my attention was I recently listened to a poem recited by three teenage girls. The poem talks about certain books being outlawed from schools (“Catcher in the Rye” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”) while guns are not outlawed. And the girls recite the fact that the United States was built on the bones of the Chinese, the Native American and the African-American. The other item that comes to mind was the girls’ comment that the “Preppies” shop at thrift stores because it is cool, while others shop there because it is all they can afford. It was a bunch of complaining without any solution.

First of all, I hate generalities. Not all white people are racist, although everyone has an opinion. Not all people with tattoos or saggy pants are thugs. Not all rich people are snobs and not all poor people are lazy. You get the idea.

This poem was full of generalities and it propagates falsehoods. The high school students, in my community, read “Catcher in the Rye” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the school does not allow weapons on property. And how can you generalize a “preppy” from anyone else? Unless you are that person, you have no idea their place in life. People are people. Do not pigeon-hole anyone into a category! If it is wrong to point out someone deficiencies to “say who they are.” It is also wrong to look down on someone or categorize them because of their abundance.

The character of a person needs to stand alone. It should not be determined by your race or ethnicity. Although, if you hang around a group of people of bad character, you will be categorized with that group, whether you have bad character or not-“birds of a feather, flock together” as the old saying goes. I may be naive, but I just abhor, any writing, speech, or allusion that infers a certain race/ethnicity/faith/political association are all the same.

Secondly, I love how the country is built on the bones of only minorities in the poem. Indentured servants from Ireland were treated worst than slaves from Africa. But because they are not a minority group, they are the forgotten group.  http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-irish-slave-trade-the-forgotten-white-slaves/31076. Specifically, the poem tied the Trans-Continental Railroad to the Chinese, inferring deaths during the construction. I just recently watched a television show called “America: Facts vs. Fiction.”  It stated that it is fiction that thousands of Chinese were killed during the construction. Once again, the Irish suffered more death than the Chinese for various reasons. Irish deaths. The Chinese did suffer deaths but many of them were due to Smallpox. Click on “perished” on the website.

But for now, enough about the poem.

I live in a housing development that is run by a resident association board. At one time, my husband was the president of the board. He would get phone calls day and night from people complaining to complain. My husband finally got to the point that when people started their rant, he would say to them, ‘Do you have a solution to your complaint, or are you calling just to complain?’ If they didn’t have even an idea to solve an apparent problem, he would tell them he was done with the conversation. He didn’t want to hear people complain just to complain.

I think that is what is wrong. People want to complain, commiserate on circumstances, and not look at solutions to situations. OR complain about the past, in which NOTHING can be done to change it!

Being effective is looking at a problem and looking how you can better the situation. It is taking a negative and positively looking at how the negative can be turned to a positive. Complaining about injustices does not work towards a positive solution; Reliving the past, does not improve the future. I know that when I look at things negatively, I begin to see all things negatively. Being pessimistic takes away positive energy and you find yourself with a dark cloud over your life.

I am sure these young ladies think that their poem is a positive force to the injustices in the world. The only problem is they are only complaining; they are not providing solutions, or looking to the positives in the world. Not only that, they are only providing part of the story and putting everyone in the same category.

Maybe these young ladies are coastal. I have found that, living in the Midwest, our families may not face the same situations. I can only speak for my family, but we are church-going, service-minded, active in the community kind of people. We understand that there is a correlation with consequences to actions and respecting individuals is huge. We believe that book education is equal to life experience and the size of one’s wallet does not define one’s character. We believe that hard work is better than laziness but hard work does not always equate to “big bucks!”

I have written this before and I live it everyday. Find something, every day, in which to be thankful. Whether it is large/important, or minute, find at least one thing to be in praise.

People complain. If you look deep inside and find that you are a complainer and not a solution finder, try to change. When you want to complain about something, determine the reason for your complaint. Are there steps that can be taken to improve the situation? Is it just an attitude adjustment that needs to be made?

If there is a legitimate complaint, what can be done to make things better? Is it an attitude adjustment that someone else needs to make? Is it something that needs to be brought to people of authority-people who can make a change? And if someone needs to be approached, try to make a positive spin on your feelings. I know it is hard,but in trying to make things better, you will feel better and let’s face it, the world needs more positive actions, the negative seem to be taking over and that causes fighting, bitterness and ugliness.

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

I have set a goal to write every week. Some of my blogs may be frivolous but I hope that I can help make a difference. I am in praise that God puts situations in my life that I feel are relevant to real life. Today it is to be positive, next week it may be a recipe that I find fabulous. Whatever I write, I hope I make people smile, think, take action or just get away,for a short time, to another place in time or space.