Appreciation

This photo was taken at a quilt show in Sisters, Oregon.

As many of you know I love to travel. My exuberance, obsession, and inclination for participating in a variety of part-time and full time employment is pushed by a forceful and robust desire to travel the globe venturing beyond the borders of the United States.

I have learned through the years that travel is only a topic of conversation with those who share in the ability and zest for globetrotting. Others’ who aren’t as “tuned in” will listen as long as a three-year-old and not without some behavioristic moves on my part to include refreshments, before their expression glazes over to a look of “will this ever end”. However, I do appreciate their thoughtful attempt of encouraging me with my adventures with the understanding that they are off the “hook” in five seconds or less. Thus, I stick with those who truly appreciate the wonder and exhilaration of travel.

Among the questions that I receive is usually “Which country in your favorite?” I used to hem and haw about answering that question. I loved all of them for different reasons. It was a difficult question to answer off the cuff without some serious reflection.

Lately, I find myself with time to ponder such a question. You may be surprised at my conclusion, then again perhaps not. The hoopla around “kneeling” when the American Flag is being honored has given me a great reason to think about my favorite country and why it is a favorite.

Hands down, I stand tall and shout that the United States is my favorite country. I have lived in several communist countries for a number of years and experienced first hand what dictatorship and tyranny really means. Not once while living in the U.S. has my internet ever been censored, my telephone conversations monitored, or have I needed to ask permission from the local police station if I could move from one apartment to another. This is truly the greatest country, and I for one am very cognizant of the privileges that we as U.S. citizens enjoy.

Our founding fathers were extremely intelligent and “future sighted” when they created the United States Constitution. I am forever thankful that they were not afraid to establish freedom and equality for all, empowering us with rights and freedoms that many other countries do not allow their citizens to experience. I will be the first one to rise to my feet and honor the United States flag and all that it represents.

 

 

Listen to the Warm

 

Listen to the warm. What does it mean to listen to the warm? This is a phrase that Rod McKuen developed in the 1960’s. That phrase was a joke to my girl friend and myself when we were in middle school.

One of us would say, “listen to the warm” and robust hackles would be expressed with a dignity that only teenage girls could perform. I had no idea at the time what the phrase meant.

Today, I would like to think that I am becoming more in tune to the most relevant meaning of “listen to the warm”. Just today I experienced a scene where demands were made and unreceptive arms were held closely intact across chests acting as a shield to hold in emotions and negativity. In my silent void I reflected back to a calmer and less entangled atmosphere.

A life filled with an exuberant “listen to the warm” existence that neither understood nor cared about the systemic demands, illogical and unrelenting edicts made from those who demonstrated power.

In my silence, I reflected on a calmer world where time was spent on observation and reflection. A time spent in silent meditation and interaction with the spirit within me, the author of the universe.

The spirit was guiding me to look around and be enveloped by the rich glow of golden highlights on the leaves scattering as if to mark my path. The muted hues slightly peeking from behind the fading green, waking up to start a new season. I experienced the crisp breeze circulating the musty smell of an earth preparing for a new adventure. To notice all of this was truly a “listen to the warm” experience.

In your sessions interacting with a world that celebrates efficiency above relationships, my prayer is that you take some time to “listen to the warm.”

 

Talking Therapy

This is the post excerpt.

 

In the educational field that I am surrounded with, live, and breathe is a therapy model that is entitled cognitive behavior therapy. Essentially an easier way to remember it is the “talking therapy.” You are, act, and have an attitude based on what you think. If your home is immersed in conversations based on your inadequacies, and imperfections, then you start to think of yourself as a person of little worth. On the other hand, if you are in an environment where you are encouraged daily that you can achieve anything you want to, if you work hard, then your self esteem is probably higher and you will be an individual who will take more risks and achieve to a higher standard than one who constantly hears that inner voice saying “you can’t do it, why try!”

I had both of those worlds growing up in a household of siblings and parents who were perfectionists. Half of them had the attitude that you will never achieve that, why try. The other half persuaded me with comments like, “I know you have the potential, why not go for it.” I often live in both of those worlds today. I can think of all sorts of grandiose challenges that I think I might like to try next. The instant I think one of those far reaching thoughts, another voice tells me what a stupid, immature idea it is and to just forget it. Then I start to worry especially if I have already started to move toward that goal. Fear of failure sits on my shoulder shadowing my performance and my attitude. The “what ifs” begin to rule my life, and anxiety keeps me in a foul mood and awake at night.

It is during those times, that I have to “tune” back to the family members who were always an encouragement to me, prodding me on and reminding me that making mistakes is the best possible thing that could happen. Perhaps you are discouraged right now because of a recent failure.

I don’t know what your situation is. Possibly,  you lost your job, received the fifth rejection letter in the mail saying, thank-you for applying, but we had a zillion applicants and we did not choose you, or the negative side of your family is in your face. Turn your thoughts on Jesus who is on your encouragement team. He is the controller of all.

Think about Moses who was placed as a baby in a basket to be protected from being murdered. I am sure that many individuals told his mother what a stupid, immature, move that was. However, she did it anyway and Moses was raised in a palace groomed to be a leader. He became a very influential individual, directing and bringing the Jews out of Egyptian bondage and into a land that God had promised them. He listened to the encouragement, not the negativity.

What if Moses had thrown up his hands in the middle of the desert and said to the Jewish people “I’m not playing this game anymore, I’m out of here.” Thankfully Moses did not do that and the Jewish people finally arrived to establish the nation of Israel.

When your circumstances envelop you and deem to be so daunting that they control you remember that Romans 8:37-39 says, Know, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.