Friday, September 19, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~September 19, 2014

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Friday, September 19, 2014 
Outside my is almost 3:00 pm here right now.  About 80 degrees and it is a lazy afternoon.  The sky is bright and the shady trees are starting to shed their leaves.  Just a little...but autumn is definitely in the air.  There is always something so exciting to me about the fall.  I love summer at first but as things get hotter and drier, I just feel it wearing on me by the time September is nearly over.  Our days seems so long and evenings so short when Jim works outside until 8:00 pm or so.    So bring on the Fall!

I am thankful for....Good medical care and how blessed we are.  Our little Hazel had surgery on both of her tiny eyes yesterday and she did so well.  She has strabismus or lazy eye where her eyes don't always sync.  She's fourth generation in our family.  My father-in-law, Jim, our niece, Becky and now Hazie.  When Jim was little after he had surgery he had to be sandbagged for several days flat on his back.  Yesterday she had both eyes done and was in the recovery room and home within 6 hours.  She's doing great today!  Modern advancements are pretty amazing!  

From the learning room...How we perceive things is the governing factor to everything we do and who we are.  Paradigms can be changed, we can change but perception of something has to change first.  We have to filter our thoughts through good standards and values all the time.  We literally write our own story.

I am reading...The Agony and the Ecstasy...still.  My book has such tiny print.  Mistake!  I have been wanting to read it for a long time.  Stephen admonished me to do so.  It is so delightful to read after time spent in Italy a few years ago.  Who does not want to know more about Michelangelo? 

From the kitchen...All filled with healthy food...on the Weight Watcher trail again. Going to get it right this time.  This time is the last time.  Lots of veggies ready to go and fruits and lean protein.  I have learned for myself I am not able to tolerate any bad carbs.  Not any.  I have had one peice of bread over the last two weeks.  I noticed a difference.  I'm on it!

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...No matter how apparent something seems we cannot judge people.  We just never know what they are suffering.  I have a story I want to tell you about this in the upcoming week.  People struggle in ways we cannot even comprehend.  They are usually odd or ignorant or mean because they have issues.

I am hearing...Michael Ball singing a piece from Les Mis.  Love that man's voice and personality.   It has been over 10 years since he performed his concerts in the USA.  Time for a redo, Michael.  I may have to catch up with him in the UK in the late spring that's coming up.  I think I'll check his concert schedule before we book flights.

One of my pleasures...Being home.  I am a homebody most of the time.  I do have my wanderlust but home is my total comfort zone.  We are planning a couple of overnight trips in the fall and during the holidays.  There is a place up north that rivals the east coast for fall colors so we are heading up there.

Right before Christmas we are going to Long Beach, CA and staying on the Queen Mary for a couple of nights.  We are excited about that.

Pet Peeves...getting panhandled in parking lots by people in Nike tennis shoes.  Seriously so annoying and I must have a big X on my forehead.  Apparently it says ask me for money instead of getting a job.  I just say I don't carry cash because I don't!

I am true.  If you really want something you can have it.  Just do what it takes.

If I could change one thing it would be...that children never got sick or suffered.

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...Foyle's War still and tonight we are watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Always a fun one.  I have been watching Cedar Cove..that is a fun American series.  Andie Mac Dowell is so beautiful!  I think the second season is out now.  I want to be in the UK right now with Downton Abbey 5 starting Sunday night.

I am curious about...the coming winter.  I read that it is supposed to be a winter like we haven't seen in 75 years with record snowfall all over the country. Except here of course and the Gulf and Florida probably.  Just wondering if it's media hype or for real.

Plans for the rest of the week...tomorrow up early for WW meeting and then going to Room With A Past shopping with two great friends.  Sunday church in the morning and writing in the afternoon.  Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday working on various things. All family history related.  Some day this week getting my fall decorations out and up.

One of my favorite things...fall colors...they make my heart leap inside my chest.  L.O.V.E. It always makes me remember the year we went to the east coast in the fall.  I have never seen anything so beautiful. 

One thing that made me so happy this past week...I happened upon a fabulous sale at Hobby Lobby (yes we do have a brand new one here and also a brand new HomeGoods!)  I bought a new Christmas tree.  7.5 feet tall 850 lights absolutely full and gorgeous and 40% off.  I am doing the happy dance over here.  I also bought a 2015 calendar today.  What?  I know it seems like I am trying to hurry and usher this year out doesn't it?  Maybe so?

The most surprising thing this past week...our son asked me to critically edit a narrative about his career path for a Guggenheim Fellowship he has applied for this year.  Me?  His humble mother!!  It felt nice to be needed in that way.  Both Jim and I made suggestions and he was happy.  Deadline was today so it's a done deal.  Fingers crossed for you, Christopher!

A photo I am sharing this week...


Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's Never too Late To Be A Rock Star!

I've been thinking a lot lately.  Thinking about my life and the things that have been good and are getting better. Also on my mind are the things I regret or haven't done yet. Sometimes I feel like I am running a race to get it all in before I "rest in peace."

 Sometimes I feel like I could have used my time in better ways.  Or perhaps that I neglected some important things along the way as other things crowded in and took my time.  Reality is, I didn't always prioritize like I should have.  I'm betting none of us have that nailed down in our younger years for sure.  Possibly we are all still struggling with it.  Back then I was living in the present, head down, shoulders to the wheel, just to get through each day. Sometimes I'd fall into bed 3 seconds after the kids.  Sometimes there was barely time for a quick shower let alone pondering the big picture.

Sometimes I feel like I saved too many hard things to do in the autumn of my life.  Now I do not have the energy and stamina to do everything I want to do.  Sometimes in this season, I feel like I don't want to work as hard as I used to in the spring of my life.  I don't.  But I still work hard. Now I wish I had somehow been able to manage everything more efficiently then, so I would not have some of the bigger issues to deal with now.  You know, things like getting healthier, getting into something I have always wanted to do but never tried, writing more and publishing, more education, becoming a great photographer, reading all the classics,  etc.

In our youth the raising of kids, growing a family and creating a home, working full time, serving at church and caring for parents and everything else was exhausting.  In fact it was fatiguing to the bone.  I can't look back on it now and think when I would have done any of those things.  But I am sure there was a way. Perhaps it was working smarter?  The reality that bites is that I couldn't do what I did then now, even if I wanted to do so.  And that I still feel that same exhaustion when I do far less.  These days it takes twice as long, it is harder and I find myself looking for things I have misplaced a lot more.  C'est la vie.  As my friend says, "It is what it is."  We carry on!

It's a funny thing about aging. I feel the same inside and it really sneaks up on you.  It's kind of like cooking a live frog in a big pot of cold water.  (Who does that anyway?) You turn on the heat and one degree at a time as the water begins to boil the frog doesn't try to escape.  By incremental steps the heat goes unnoticed, so the frog doesn't sense the danger and leap out of the pot.  All of a sudden he is dead in the water and never even knew what hit him.

I suppose aging does have its perks in that you have more time and have control over what you actually do by setting your own priorities.  The fact is something else happens simultaneously in this society where youth is held in such high esteem.  As we age we do become slightly less visible and less is expected of us.  It is precisely at that time that I feel even more strongly that I want to do more.  I still feel I am capable of contributing and growing and learning and changing.  We boomers are not going down easy!  I am simply not ready for the rocker just yet.

These are the times I think about all I have left to do.  All that I still can accomplish and contribute to the world around me.  I want to feel my best, gain more energy and find the perfect balance.  I realize now more than ever that I have to guard my schedule well.  That way at least I have time to do the things I want and need to do at least part of the time.  And I am reminded that the only limits I have are the ones I place upon myself.  Nothing is set in stone if you have flexibility and a willingness to make changes.  As an example I just heard about a local woman that lost 296 pounds at Weight Watchers? Unbelievable, astonishing and apparently doable.  Change can happen.

Seeing who we really are and 
what we can become in a better light
often comes with the wisdom of aging!

I can change and improve anything that needs improving or fixing that is within my stewardship.   If I deal with something that I cannot change or is not my place to change, I can adjust my attitude towards whatever it is.  Mostly I am in charge of myself.  Everyone else is in charge of their own choices.  Once that attitude adjustment is working in my favor I can do anything I want to do.  I am in charge of my body, my choices, my education, my relationships etc.  This is the day which the Lord has made (for me) let me rejoice and be glad in it.

It is not age perse that kills a person, it is the lack of something meaningful to do.  It is the lack of love and hope in our lives, the lack of the will to keep going and learning and giving.  If we have lost all the passion in our lives we can reignite it.  If we are tired of the 'same ole same ole'...we can find something new.

I think about so many people that have accomplished so much well into their 90s.  Some famous and some not.  Some of them did not even start to pursue something until they were considered "old" by some standards.  They recognized that age is a state of mind. They had a plan and they pursued it with all the vigor they could muster.  They looked on the bright side of things in spite of their challenges.  I bet they gave up on the notion finally that life was to be a walk in the park.  Our challenges strengthen us and make us better people.

They didn't just roll up in a ball and wait to die.  They put all that moaning and groaning aside and went forward with a perfect brightness of hope and their aches and pains.  These are the Rock Stars of the senior set.  These are the ones that inspire me to have plans and work vigorously toward them.

Who knows how long any of us has left on the earth?  But one thing I know is true.  It is better to run out of life before you run out of plans.  Get up, get moving, and find a passion and let the love of it kill you.  Give it your all and find joy in the journey.  It is never too late to really shine in something new you decide to pursue.  Anybody who wants to can be a rock star with focus and effort and a great attitude.  And the notion that something doesn't have to be easy to be good...well, that helps too.

Seek the beauty in this life to the very end and beyond.  Be a rock star, you have it in you!  Being a rock star doesn't mean do all this to impress others.  It means become your best self, have no regrets for things left undone and remember it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings!

Monday, September 8, 2014

As For Me And My House...We Will Serve The Lord."

One of the important things about writing is that sometimes you can see things that are true more clearly than when you are not struggling with an issue.  I wrote this a few months ago and had no idea how much it could help me right now.  So I am doing a reprise for you in case you might need it now and for me.

This past couple of weeks I have had some new insights about the Pure Love of Christ or Unconditional Love.  When I feel those things floating around in my head and heart I must put fingers to sort, to discover, to understand.  So here are some thoughts to peruse and ponder on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Since I have been a wee child I have known the song, "Jesus loves me" this I know for the Bible tells me so...   How can it be that I am still assimilating this truth at this stage in my life?  Who is this Man of Galilee that knows me enough to love Me?  Not me, collectively as in all of us...but ME?

I was well into my adulthood when I began to think about this pure love of Christ or the unconditional love that He has for me.   I never felt I was able to be unconditionally loved or loving without fear of losing that love, until we had children.  That gave me a glimpse of what it felt like to love and be loved in that way. Until those three, I never felt anyone was mine in a way that no matter what they did, I would still love them (or they me) completely, purely or unconditionally.  It was as though my feelings, my wants and needs were not part of the equation, when I learned about unconditional love as I felt for our babies.  There was no pride or selfishness at all.

 I loved them completely because of who they were.  And I knew they loved me in the same way.  I was their Mommy, that was enough for them.  In all their imperfections and mine the love never wavered.   The astonishing thing was it came so naturally.  It was not a struggle, I didn't have to keep trying for it.  It just was and I never doubted it or questioned it, no matter what they did.  I know their Dad feels the same.  This is a kind of love that transcends the earth.  It is divine.  It is also quite interesting to recognize that grandchildren also inherit this type of love as well.  It is their birthright.

I remember the first time I felt unconditional love.  I remember the hour, the moment and the rapture of it as though it were a moment ago.  I was lying in a hospital bed around 10:00 pm in Las Vegas, Nevada. I had just given birth to Jennifer at 3:38 that afternoon.  Jim had gone home reluctantly, after visiting hours and our tiny girl was in the nursery.  The day had been filled with excitement, hard work and euphoria that would not let me sleep as I pondered what had just happened.

Suddenly I felt a deep sadness come over me.  The thoughts were along the lines of...this is the most important day of our lives together...why are we all in separate places?  It was not normal, or natural to the point of being physically painful.  It was not long after that that the nurse brought our little burrito-wrapped baby into to me for the first time.

She looked so beautiful with her dark hair long enough to be combed and curled over a nurse's finger before her grand entrance.  Her cheeks were so rosy and her eyes the deepest blue! Her irises covered her entire eye sockets, not even a glimmer of the whites of her eyes were visible.  I held her in the crook of my left arm and began to talk softly to her in the quiet of that cold, mint green hospital room. 

As I gazed into her eyes and she into happened. Just like a bolt of gentle and tender lightning our love was sealed to me.  It was spiritually electrifying.  By the time Chris and Laura were born it was there in all its glory, but not as dramatically presented because by then I was well acquainted with it.  That gift that is inherited by grandchildren may even come before their actual birth I discovered.  It is miraculous, penetrating, instantaneous and unconditional love!

Any number of things our children and grandchildren do may irritate us, saddened us, even offend us but the notion of withdrawing our love is not even an option, not even a thought.  This is different that worldly love, isn't it?  It is about God's Work and His Glory: to bring to past the immortality and eternal life of man, woman and child.  Our families teach us how to love unconditionally in the most conducive setting.  We are all a part of a family, past, present and future. 

That is how our Savior loves us.  As I try to comprehend that I can only compare it to the love of our children.  It is never intermittent, never faltering no matter what we do or how we think or how much we protest.  It just is, whether we know it, believe it or even want it.  He is the Great I Am and His love is perfect even as He is perfect.

It seems so completely different than the way we experience love in the world.   Hearts are broken constantly by a trust that fails when someone gives and takes back their definition of love at will. How many of us guard our hearts because of experiences like that that we have had?  I would venture to say most of us.  We learn to protect ourselves by expecting less of people who say they love us and then hurt or abandon us.  It can be parents or spouses or siblings or doesn't seem to matter. 

But the Savior will never love us like that.  There is safety and peace in His love.  And even more important is that He never misunderstands us or judges us unworthy of His love.  He never tires of doing all in His power to care for us.  He knows us without our having to prove ourselves by our words or deeds.   He just "gets" each of us to the depths of our heart and loves us, as is. No qualifiers.  No conditions.  Just Love, the kind we all yearn for from the deepest part of us.  We have that in Him.  What does He ask in return?  What is the greatest commandment, the one that all the laws of the Gospel hinge upon?  In Matthew we read.

"Matthew 22:36-40

King James Version (KJV)
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

As we learn to love the Savior as He loves us, we will learn to put our full trust in Him, in His plan, in His will for us.  Imagine what our lives could be like if we just had unconditional faith in Him and His will.  If we didn't kick against things that we don't think are fair or right or good for us and we just had unconditional faith in him, how different would life be?  If we loved Him that much, even as much as He loves us.  It we actually tried our very best to be perfect, or whole, just as He is.  If we knew Him like He knows us and could give over the driver's seat and let him be our pilot?  What if we would stop worrying and started trusting Him more?  

Why do we love Him?  The scriptures tell us because He first loved us.  Not only that but He shows us how to love so that we can get on to the next commandment which is like unto the first.  So that we might love our neighbor as ourselves.  

Because on these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets.  To me that is saying that if we can master these three things, life will be the very best.  

Love Him as He loves and teaches us, 
Love ourselves as He loves us 
and love our neighbors as He loves all of us. 

 It is the beginning and the end of a perfect plan.  Mastering that kind of love is key.  Love is what we give.  Just as Love is what He gives.  All the other commandments comes easier to us when we have the foundation of unconditional love in our lives.  First His and then our own for Him and for all His children including ourself.

That kind of love that looks outside of our own wants and needs and to Him and His children around us is the goal.  It takes a life time and probably longer.  It is not easy nor was it meant to be.  It is a refining process.  It is growing in His Gospel.  It is repentance and forgiveness, it is faith...lots of faith in Him.  It is learning to be humble and teachable.  It is forgiving ourselves when we fail miserably at His kind of love.  It is getting up, dusting ourselves off and keeping our eye on the target.  As we become more like Him we never want to hurt another person no matte what sacrifices  are required of us.  He has shown us what an ultimate sacrifice for another is by His atonement for us. 

It is simple and yet so profound.   I constantly find myself having to relearn this and I am so far from being where I want to be.  I guess the first steps are seeing His unconditional love for us, then seeing Him as our example and then following Him.  He is God; we are mere mortals with but a spark of divinity within us.  But we can make progress.  We have that hope and that faith for the very fact that He is our God in whom we trust.  And we see evidence in many around us who are farther along the path than we are.  Our Prophet, the Apostles, the very special and loved people in our lives that are closer to loving as He loves.  They are all around us to lead and inspire us on our way.

I am grateful for the chances and choices placed before me and I want to love as He loves.  I never want a person I love to doubt my love for them.  I want to be a person of tender mercies as He is.   It requires us to overcome the natural man inside of each of us.  It requires us to be obedient and trusting, and it requires work.  It is a good work to be engages in and it brings happiness in the struggles.  The greatest understanding I have gained of this kind love is through being a parent.  It helps me to know that the Savior loves us in that way and I find comfort in it.  I hope you do too in whatever way He teaches you.

So what do we need to do to be worthy of His love?  Absolutely nothing.  He simply does Love us unconditionally.  What do we need to do to partake of His promises of joy in our eternal life? Humble ourselves to follow Him, to be taught by Him and redeemed by Him and perfected or made whole in Him.  Does He coerce us and force us to comply?  No, He offers us all that He has and then allows us to choose for ourselves.   What a gift for us to be able to choose.  As Joshua said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~September 6, 2014

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Saturday, September 6, 2014 
Outside my window...It is a beautiful September morning, bright and sunny and our American Flag is blowing gently in the breeze.  I think it is going to be a good day.  At least that is the plan.  Jim is finishing up the detailing on the outside of his new workshop and preparing for the final inspection.  I'll be going to the farmer's market shortly and then home to do some work on a syllabus for an upcoming conference. Then I may go into Oakland for a class at 1:00...still thinking about that. So that is the plan...come what may.

I am thankful for....All the good things in this life and even for the not so good things that remind me of what is most important in our lives and how our foundation in Christ makes even the challenging things better. 

From the learning room...I believe it was Einstein that once said, "If you think everyone has the same heart you do, you will have a lot of sadness in your life."  I think there is a lot of truth in this.  Our expectations of others is often a stumbling block to our joy.  The trick is to be yourself, make personal progress, and do the best things you can in your own life.  Others do the same.  Maturity of your emotional state comes when you can accept the things that are not your responsibility to change.  The way you act and choose for yourself is your responsibility, as well as how your treat and serve others regardless of their choices.

The first kind of trauma and drama arises in your own life because of your choices-repent and choose a new course of action.   The second kind  is when someone causes trauma, offends or hurts you deeply.  You have a choice to make. In faith forgive them and love them as Christ would. Or let your bitterness destroy you.  Let the good principles you have learned of that are tried and true be your guide.  Recognize that these types of things nearly always come about by lack of understanding.  Seek first to understand, then to be understood as Stephen Covey says. The last thing is to recognize that the healing takes time and work and prayer and a desire to have it by asking God for it. That is the big cannot be rushed.  Keep patience in the process.

The third type of trauma and drama is caused by natural or personal disasters of some kind.  They are not your fault but nonetheless they affect you.  These types of things require extreme faith in the Lord and a working together with many others to repair the damages.  The silver lining in those types of things is nearly always that man's good nature surfaces to work together to serve one another and the healing begins.  Events like 9/11 and Katrina usually result in people having a renewed feeling of faith and gratitude for a time.  They feel a keener sense of their blessings until complancey rears its ugly head again.  9/11 was a perfect example of that unity that can come from disasters if only for a short while.  

I am reading...The Agony and the Ecstasy.  I have been wanting to read it for a long time.  Stephen admonished me to do so.  It is so delightful to read after time spent in Italy a few years ago.  Who does not want to know more about Michelangelo? 

From the kitchen...Just had the missionaries over for dinner.  I made beef stroganoff.  It was the best batch I've ever made for one simple reason.  I have used every cut of beef imaginable and the meat always gets tough.  Well I saw a blog that had the recipe made with cube steak and it was Perfecto!  Simply a brilliant idea and so I thought I'd pass it along.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...Stay close to the Lord and his word all the time.  Add oil to your spiritual lamp daily.

I am hearing...the washer and dryer..I need to turn on some music.  I feel like Lennon and Maisy this morning.   

One of my pleasures...time with good friends.  I love lunches out where there is a quiet environment and you can just relax and be together.  Without interruptions.  Carol and I went out yesterday and it was a real shot in the arm for me.  Surrounding myself with good people is the best.  There are so many spectacularly wonderful people out there, choose them.  And Carol is one of my all time favorites.  Thanks, dear friend, for a wonderful day.  Happy Anniversary today and Happy Birthday next week!

Pet Peeves...Hassles and interruptions.  I just like peace.  I guess that is not to be had in this life just yet.  Patience and Perseverance  are virtues I am working on.  That and praying and working  for it.

I am quoting...Pinterest

I just love the the quotes and inspiration I find on Pinterest.  There is a whole lot of good and uplift on that site.

If I could change one thing it would be...more time to do everything I want to do.  I sometimes get so frustrated with all the things I want to learn and master.  The Internet frustrates me in that way. I know the answers to all my technical questions can be found there.  It is finding the time for it that gets to me.

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...Foyle's War.  My new passion..Michael Kitchen. He has the most compassionate expressive face and I adore Honeysuckle Weeks.  She is so cute.  I just love British production quality and their character development.  Makes Hollywood seem so flat.

I am curious about...People.  What makes them who they are and how they tick is fascinating.

Plans for the rest of the week...Work, clean, study and go to a few doctor appointments. Pretty ho-hum isn't it?  Lots of genealogy...that is the fun part. Teaching a class on Sunday, Tuesday and helping someone privately on Wednesday.  I might drag out some fall decor.  It's time isn't it?  I'll start by changing my blog banner here.

One of my favorite things...writing. That is why I am trying to get back to blogging again.  It is so important to my health and well-being. I have been struggling with motivation to do it lately.  

One thing that made me so happy this past week...that I got so many responses to my starting a new private blog and people were interested.  Sometimes it is very hard to devote so much time to something when you get little feedback.  Thank you to Susie, Nellie and Marie.  I was shocked that so many friends wanted to read it.  I usually find most of my visitors are channeling in from all over the world.  I never know who they is bizarre.  I think Blogger should add a "like" button or an "dislike" button at least so bloggers could know anyone was there at all.  

The most surprising thing this past week...I decided after deliberating for more than a month that I will keep this blog as is.  Not changing it so as to restrict uninvited people.  The reason is that it is such a hassle for the readers having to sign in each time.  I don't even like those blogs that require you to copy down some mumbo jumbo in a box to show you are not a spammer.  So I am not changing to Private after all.  I have nothing to hide.  That is my theory...Live a good life and write your story.  It's all good.  And I like the fact that a blog is owned by its author.  So my rules, my story.  It is a kind of freedom found in few other places when you think about it.  People who are the same will gravitate towards it and the others will find a different path.  I'm good with that.

A photo I am sharing this week...

Chris and Missy and family enjoying their new digs in England with a visit to London. West Minster Abbey!  They are having quite the adventure.  Trip brewing for us in spring /early summer 2015.  It has been awhile since we have been over...looking forward to it very much.  This is one good family!  Cannot wait to see them there.


Monday, August 25, 2014

New Blog

I am thinking about retiring this blog and starting a new one.  I am thinking about privacy as well as starting afresh.  If you have an opinion that might sway me either way please let me know.  You can leave a comment here, or message me privately on facebook, or text me or sent an email if you have that information.  Thanks, Bonnie

Sunday, July 27, 2014

How Do You Feel About Your Photographs?

Something I saw on Facebook (attribution at end of article) that was quite refreshing. And brave.  And something we should ponder.  It touched my heart.  I am guilty of this. Always wishing for being physically different is not healthy.  I'm betting God gets pretty tired of our ungrateful thoughts for all the ways our bodies bless us even in our imperfections.   I'm not saying don't try to be as healthy as possible.  I'm just saying we need to stop beating ourselves up and be more grateful and we should allow ourselves to be happy just as we are. We need to focus outward and make a positive contribution to our society.  Success does not get measured in body size or type. We need to quit swallowing this nonsense and get on with living life authentically and purposefully and with joy. 
"Flipping through the pictures on my phone, I see it."
My first reaction is shock. Who took this hideous picture of me?
Self-loathing and disgust swell up and threaten to bring me to tears.
Just as I am about to hit delete, my boy walks in the room.
“Do you know anything about this picture?” I ask him.
I turn the screen so he can see it. He smiles huge.
“I took that of you in Tahoe,” he says. “You looked so beautiful laying there. I couldn’t help it mom.”
“You need to ask me before using my phone to take pictures,” I say.
“I know,” he says. “But mom, seriously, look how pretty you look?”
I look at the picture again and try to see what he sees.
My daughter walks over and takes a look.
“That could be a postcard mom,” she says smiling. “Your so beautiful. I love it.
I take a deep breath.
This is exactly what I needed.
My default mode is to see and focus on the flaws and imperfections. I’m starting to see a bit more.
I still see my dimply, fat thighs.
I also see a mom collapsed on the shore that just explored the lake for hours with her children.
I still see chubby arms.
I also see the arms of a mom that just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn’t hurt.
I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.
I also see an adventurous mom that loves her children something fierce.
Like many women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life. It’s not something that will ever go away for me. I don’t have a naturally slim body. Never have.
Right now I’m the heaviest I’ve been in 10 years. Yet…
I have not let my weight stop me this time. I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public. I’m running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.
Yes. You heard me.
“I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and bright.”
Well…not exactly. But something like that.
Is it because I’m getting older? Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look? Or maybe it’s because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes.
Really, it doesn’t matter.
I don’t hate my body anymore.
That’s huge for me to admit and hard to even wrap my mind around.
I’m not giving up on exercising and getting healthy. Those are things I will continue to strive for because I want to be around awhile.
Right now though, I just want to love my body where it is. I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.
Thank you kids.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~July 21, 2014

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Monday, July 21, 2014 
Outside my window...It is cool, breezy and overcast today.  Just perfect after a few hot days.  Refreshing and comfortable.  It is one of those days that would just motivate me to get a lot done if I wasn't taking a little break from the busyness of last week.  So I'm just taking it easy and doing my favorite thing.  Writing this Daybook on my blog, it having been sorely neglected lately!

I am thankful and friends and especially for those that are both.  I like to think about how with all the many people that have been and will be born in this earth life we are blessed with just such wonderful people in our lives.  It is almost like they have been hand selected to bless us, cheer us and help us become better people.  I am feeling very wealthy in the friendship department.

From the learning room...I am combining this with the next section.

I am reading...The Apocrypha right now.  Very interesting.  I just looked at it this morning after our cousin and friend, Stephen, referred to it in our conversation yesterday.  The Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books is a collection of ancient writings done primarily during the period of time between the Old and New Testament writings.  The word Apocrypha means hidden and they are not included in many versions and translations of the Bible. So in that sense they are hidden. They do appear in the Holy Catholic Bible.  The word Deuterocanonical means these writings are considered to be Second Canon in nature not canonized scripture in the traditional sense.  Canonized scripture is scripture that is deemed authoritative and has passed certain criterion established by the early church in order to have been canonized and considered as doctrine and authentic scripture.  The purpose was to unify various factions of Christianity.  You can see a simple article on this here: 

The Apocrypha is not only found in the Catholic Bible but also in some Protestant versions of the Bible.  Although the Lutheran Church is reported to have it I was never aware of it growing up in that faith.  They are not a part of the scriptures of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which includes The King James version of the Bible.  So these writings are new to me. 

I have been reading the Book of Tobias today as that is what Steve referenced in connection with marriage. We were all talking specifically about with how our in-laws become our parents upon our marriage.  I like that idea.  Steve said that was pointed out in the book of Tobias.  

I think the in-law designation should just be done away with (in the non-legal sense) once a family is united in marriage. Then we are all just family.  Plain and simple.  To me "in-law" implied a forced, duty-driven relationship by law. (I know some of you may be thinking "Yep" about now.)  Regardless of the quality of your in-law realationsips... to me it feels like a divisive term rather than inclusive.  I think it is one of the very things that often makes these relationships all  the more difficult.  

One of my many quirks i guess. I've just never liked it and Jim hasn't either.  I view it in the same way that married people say, "My son, my daughter, my house, etc. when the much more unifying term is "our."  These subtle things make a difference in how we feel and act.

From the kitchen...The kitchen has been doing overtime this whole past week so on R and R this week.  Going out to dinner someplace tonight.  Leaving for vacation and so cleaning out the frig.  

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...I have been thinking a lot about The Pure Love of Christ.  The kind of love that is a verb, is not self-serving or selfish, the kind that is pure and wholesome and good. The kind that just loves another person wholeheartedly and wants whatever they need, not what we need.  The kind of love that just gives and blesses another.  Christ's type of love. The kind of love the world needs a whole lot more of to be healthy.  The kind that brings no pain except when that person is absent through space and time or the temporary separation of death. The kind of love that brings joy for joy's sake. The kind that changes the giver and the recipient for the better.

I am hearing...Over The Rainbow by Eva Cassidy.  Beautiful song and beautiful vocalist.

One of my pleasures...reliving our memories and anticipating many more. Memory is such a lovely gift from Our Father.  May we never lose it!  And should we, He is kind enough to allow us to keep them in our what I'm betting. So that when the barnacles of our minds are swept away, only the beauty to which the heart clings will remain and bring us great comfort and peace. 

Pet Peeves...side effects of drugs to cure an ailment that bring on something new to take its place.  Sometimes the cure is worse than the presenting complaint.

I am quoting...Pinterest, love these they are my all time favorite quotes about family, friends and loving one another.

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined
 to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. 
The thread may stretch or tangle but it will never break.”
 - Chinese Proverb

If I could change one thing it would be...that we could understand others and they would not ever misunderstand us.  Wouldn't that be sweet?  And if someone's intent was to do harm or deceive their eyes would be red blinking signs of warning and their voices like shrill, piercing sirens to get our attention.   

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...Doc Martin, hands down.  Jim and I have never laughed so much as in this British TV series.  We never want it to end.  It's so dang funny, quirky, amusing!  Once you get in a couple of episodes you cannot leave it alone.

I am curious about...just about everything.  I wish I had been more curious in my youth when everything learned came easier and more quickly. 

Plans for the rest of the, work tomorrow, pack and head east for awhile after getting house sitter all squared away, etc. etc.  Enjoy time with our six grand kids still residing in the USA.  We have not seen the boys for a year so we are plenty excited about that.  And the girls are always exciting.  There is to be a mini-reunion with seven family members not able to attend.  There is also to be a lot of fun things and then camping.  The jury is out on that one for me but I am trying to keep a positive outlook for the enthusiasts in the bunch.  Bugs, dirt, bears...OK I'll not dwell on it.  Also on the agenda a quick overnight trip for Laura and I to Idaho to drop off Ross for a couple of days with his cousins on the other side of the family while Spencer attends classes at the Y.  It will fly by.  Everything that is but that crazy long, boring drive.  It doesn't fly, it crawls.

One of my favorite things...Italian serenades for little 87 years old ladies that bring them joy and a glimpse of their youth.

One thing that made me so happy this past week...entertaining quite a few guests in our home and yard.

The most surprising thing this past week...Having our cousin Stephen be able to come and spend part of Saturday and Sunday with us.  It was the best of the best weekends.

A photo I am sharing this week...a photo of Jim with Steve.  They share an Italian heritage that goes way back to a quaint little village in the Province of Genova, Italia.  Sweet reunion of the posterity some outstanding Ferreras of the past.  What a joy to behold.


❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon