Tag Archive | relationships

The Value of a Day

I’m a proactive worrier. A planner. I want to understand all the contingencies and be ready.

Life doesn’t always allow that though and nothing I’ve worried about has ever come to pass. I’m not superstitious enough to believe that my anxieties and preparation had anything to do with that.

Worry robs me of peace and joy. It takes me out of the present into an invisible (to me) future.

Leaving worry aside and focusing on the here and now can bring me greater contentment. That is if I truly value the work I’m doing right now.

As I’ve grown older, (not grown up), I’ve had to re-think what’s important. I’ve always been a doer and getting things accomplished were a measure of my worth at least in my own myopic perspective.

God has brought me to a place where I can savor more of the less remarkable moments. Yes, I sometimes make a list of all I’ve done to reassure myself that I wasn’t lazy at the end of the day when I don’t have anything tangible to show for the time that’s passed.

Getting work done around the house, completing projects and even finishing a book or having one come out are all tasks that recycle. They never end. There’s always more laundry to do. The dogs track in mud on a freshly washed floor, my daughter needs something for school right away and the grass keeps growing and when that stops the snow will keep me busy. When the kids were younger I struggled to find value in keeping them clean, clothed, and fed. And there are more stories and books in my head than I can possible accomplish in the time God has given me today.

While I still need do all the necessities of daily life, cleaning, grocery shopping, looking after kids, paying bills, helping my husband, and doing contracted writing/editing/teaching work, I’ve found that sometimes the seemingly smaller things are more important:

  • My time with God each day.
  • Hanging out with my dying father even while he sleeps.
  • Giving my mom a break so she can get away from the 24/7 burden of caring for my dad.
  • Playing mini-golf with my husband or sitting and watching television together and date nights.
  • Spending time with my daughter shopping or working on something together.
  • Girls-night out (or in!)
  • Hosting the small group that meets in our home.
  • Having people over for dinner or playing cards.
  • Being aware of people around me wherever I go. Who would God have me bless?

I’m finding that while the daily stuff is important, making time for the eternal stuff, the relationships, is even more so. Even though I hope my stories will impact lives, encourage people to grow in faith, or see the world a little differently, and they may outlast me, I firmly believe relationships are more important than all of it. When I teach writers I emphasize this often. Don’t overlook the people in the rush to accomplish a task. It’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way.

I like to get things done. But sometimes sitting back and valuing the moments in a day with another person, even if it is silence, has the greater value. It won’t happen unless I’m intentional about it.

I doubt I’ll ever have regrets about a dirty house, or a messy lawn when we are in the process of making changes. I won’t regret the dust that sits undisturbed. At the end of my life I won’t think about any of that. All that will matter are the people. If this were my last day on earth would I be happy about how I left the people around me? Would they know without a doubt how loved they were?

I’m not saying to abandon cleaning and caring for those around us and for the material possessions God has given us. I’m suggesting we find greater value in the people than things or tasks. It isn’t easy and I still don’t always do it well, but I’m growing in it.

What are you learning to value in your day?

Polarization Pollution

Black and white. North Pole vs South Pole. Both examples of polar opposites in our world. We can accept these as valid and real. Interesting how no one wants everything all black or all white – the lack of color is limiting. Grey however is a good neutral ground and acceptable, but even then, it is often, in clothing and decorating added to with pops of color. Grey days are usually gloomy, although some people love them while others prefer the sun. Sun all the time without the darkness of night can be wearying too.

No one lives comfortably at the North or South Poles, or even close to them—they are too cold. And living along the equator is too hot for others so people often live in between either, and even then weather patterns can make life challenging. There is no one “ideal” place to live since the Garden of Eden.

I was pondering all this because of how polarized our culture has become, especially in the United States. Cries of racism and a growing segregation of people of color vs those with less melanin in their skin. But what about those in the grey area? Those of mixed heritage and culture? We are all essentially one race and this is not a “race” issue but a cultural one. What else could we pick on? Are people with blue eyes perceived as superior to those with brown? Or are people with curly hair more frivolous than those with straight? Are people with a higher BMI less valuable than those with less? We can all make judgements based on visual cues that have nothing to do with the reality of our value as image bearers in God’s eyes. I can forget this too sometimes.

I’ve been guessed as Hispanic or Italian based on my appearance, but in reality, I’m in the grey area. My heritage genetically is from a variety of other places but those two aren’t in the mix. I’m a mutt as it were. But I’m also exactly who God created me to be.

Modern medicine has us polarized as well. It has also given us unrealistic expectations, and some have made it their hill to die on. Vaccine or Non-vaccine. That’s it. No colors in between, or are there? Individual choices are questioned and condemned without understanding the other side’s perspective. And it may not even be based on what you think. Cursing someone’s choice however closes the door to understanding.

Or have we made a different judgement? Who controls the power over life and death? Is it Dr.  Fauchi with his ever-changing flip-flopping on things? Or the World health Organization with its own political agenda? Or is it the Centers for Disease Control which also might have underlying precepts that some might disagree with? All led by fallible human beings with their own way of looking at things which, sadly enough, can skew data or the way it is shared to accomplish a particular goal. Trust the numbers, it’s science. Maybe so, but statistics can be flawed if one isn’t careful to see the bigger picture of how the numbers are arrived at. But what do I know? Maybe my professors misled me when they taught me about that kind of thing? They taught me to be critical and discerning…numbers can lie. There is a history of science being skewed…and even wrong.

There are a few other things that concern me…and even I struggle with these. Have we expected too much of modern medicine? Have we made it our idol? Some have made alternative medicine their idol as well. I live in the grey, seeing benefits of both. And neither one can save your life when the LORD of the Universe determines your expiration date.

But something worse happens than physical death in our American society at this present time. It is relational death. The division of people based on superficial constructs—skin color, medical position on vaccines, or political party. (gasp!)

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. (James 3:17, HCSB)

Maybe right now some of you are perceiving me as that awful pillow or comforter a relative made for you, with clashing colors that make you wince. Maybe so. Muddy waters aren’t pretty either and I’ve stirred the pot a little more.

What I’m really urging is for us to relax. Take a deep breath. Try to understand the perspective of the other side even if you disagree with it. Politics and Covid aside, the reality is we are human beings created for community. Fight against evil! Always. But be careful what you determine as evil. Is it someone who disagrees with your well-researched opinion? Instead of throwing mud at the other person, perhaps sit down, face to face, to find out how the other person came to their perspective, without judgement, argument, or debate. Ask questions, and even if you don’t agree…love them right where they are at.

Kindness and love are better than black and white or even grey on any day.

Versatile Blogger Award Winner

A Thank You

I want to thank CD Meyers for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award. His website is: http://countrylifediscipleship.wordpress.com/   It was very sweet and I’m glad you found my blog and enjoy it!

Fifteen other Blogs

Now, as part of this lovely award, I have the assignment to pass on to you fifteen other blogs that I personally visit and enjoy as I nominate them for this award as well. Nominating for this award is all that has to be done to win it – so not only are they nominated – they win! So, drumroll please, my personal pics for Versatile Blogger Award are:

  • http://www.thebarndoor.net/   “Seeing the world through Midwestern eyes.” (sometimes you’ll find a story from me here as well).
  • http://notafraidtotellmystory.wordpress.com/  Athena Dean shares her journey out of a cult where she lost everything to fall into the freedom and grace of Jesus.
  • http://goinswriter.com/about-me/  I like Jeff’s authenticity as he writes about writing and  challenges to a living faith.
  • http://wakeupmyfaith.wordpress.com/about/  Kevin Adams is living life on the edge of faith. Wanna be challenged to get out of the boat? Follow him.
  • http://elisabethcorcoran.blogspot.com/   Elisabeth is spinning gold from the pain of a broken heart.
  • http://www.chipmacgregor.com/    He’s not my agent, but he writes great stuff about writing and life. He has shown a boldness to speak truth when attacked by a cult regarding a publishing takeover (see Athena Dean’s blog listed above).
  • http://www.leslievernick.com/  “Enriching relationships that matter most,” Leslie writes from the perspective of a biblical psychotherapist and she does it well.
  • http://christianregency.com/blog/   This is a blog for those who love inspirational Regency fiction, one of the genres in which I write (and love to read). Many posts are on tidbits about the time period but recently they had a celebration where the various authors who participate wrote one story together. It was fun to read.
  • http://www.vondaskelton.com/   This lady is a hoot but don’t let her humor fool you – she is dedicated to empowering and encouraging others and she does it with the most beautiful smile.
  • http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com/   Edie Melson is a sweetheart who writes about writing and has become a social media guru. Lots of good info on her blog.
  • http://southernwritersmagazine.blogspot.com/   You don’t have to be Southern to appreciate the wealth of wisdom compiled in these pages.
  • http://michaelhyatt.com/   “Intentional Leadership”  I’ve enjoyed this blog for a long time now – lots of wisdom for leaders as well as writers. I don’t know why I bought his book “Platform” when everything in the book is here on the blog if you only look for it. Oh, he knows the industry too having been CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers for many years.
  • http://www.marydemuth.com/  “Live Uncaged” I love Mary’s heart and her willingness to be vulnerable and gut-wrenchingly honest about life, abuse, healing, faith and writing.
  • http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com/  This is by a dear friend and writing mentor Lisa Lickel.
  • http://lillygracebrown.wordpress.com/  She writes to those struggling in difficult marriages. If you know of anyone who is there – connect them with Lilly Grace.

Seven Things

As part of the award I’m to share seven things about myself. So here goes…

  1. My favorite color is red-raspberry, or magenta, or fushia or whatever you want to call a bright bold pinkish/purple.
  2. I used to do ComedySportz in Milwaukee. I took workshops there and worked for them as a second job for awhile. It was a great place to be wild and crazy but boy did we work hard. Fond memories of my time there. I speak fluent jibberish.
  3. I love people who are willing to admit to the truth of a chronic mental illness or any weakness and struggle they have. Maybe because that’s the population I worked with. Maybe because I have major depressive disorder. Maybe because we’re all just a little bit crazy.
  4. My moniker “silygoos” came when I was getting personalized plates for my van. It was one of three choices (actually number 2) but what I ended up with (SILY GOS). To save money in our budget I no longer have those plates on my car. I tried to argue it was biblical to have them but my husband didn’t buy it. “Vanity of vanity, all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes). *sigh*
  5. I’m an early to bed girl. Sleep has always been something I value and make time for. So if you call me after 8:30, I may not respond.  I get up early as well as it’s the only quiet time I can often get in my day. I have a friend who nicknamed me “Snoozin.”
  6. I’m the original runaway bride. Two cancelled weddings (one on the morning of) before the actual one really happened. Long story, maybe it’ll show up in one of my novels someday.
  7. IMG_0074After years of being told I was allergic to dogs – I finally own my own dog. Spatzle is a maltese mix and a sassafras (that’s what I call him along with “poochi-poo”). He’s my dog even though I share him with the rest of the  family. He was a rescue and has been a huge blessing in my life. No is ever as happy to see me as he is so he’s good for my ego. Oh, and I’m not allergic to him at all.