free to run

23 09 2012

Bella enjoys a walk anytime and anywhere. Because she is so well behaved and likes to stick close to me, I can sometimes let her run without a leash. We have developed a habit of taking her leash off when we get to a portion of North College Road that has a wide span of grass that is on the safe side of the ditch. She likes to explore along the edge of the ditch but sometimes I get concerned that she will over step her boundaries and get too close to the traffic on the road. That is when I call her back to me. Ninety nine percent of the time, she comes when I give her the command, “here” and point to my foot. She runs back to me and touches my leg with her nose as if she were checking in. On the one percent of the time that I have to go get her, I put her leash back on for the rest of the walk. I don’t do that to punish her or to prove that I am the Master. I put her leash back on because it is my responsibility to keep her safe. Her freedom has boundaries. In this case, freedom without boundaries is a tragedy waiting to happen.

Bella is smart, well mannered and obedient but at the end of the day, she is still a dog. She does not always see the danger of being in the road when a car is coming. So, it is my job to keep her safe. Pretty simple, right?

Thank You Lord, for allowing me freedom. I am grateful that you have provided boundaries that will keep me safe in my freedom. Although I may not act like it in the moment, I am grateful for the times You put my leash back on because I know that Your priority is my safety. I am listening. It is my desire to be wise and obedient but, at the end of the day, I am still human. Thank You for keeping me safe. Amen

six things it has taken six decades to learn

22 09 2012

Photo 56

These are things I know:

  • We are all just passing through this life, we can not hold onto anyone.
  • God is the one constant that I can not do without in this life.
  • It is important to tell the truth.
  • Honesty can be mean if it is not accompanied with love and humility.
  • No army can defeat me and Jesus together.
  • That quiet voice inside is telling you the right thing to do.

What have you learned in your decades on this planet? I would love to know. Let’s share and encourage each other.

brown leaves

22 09 2012
This morning, I get to do one of my favorite things. I am on my back patio with a cuppa joe while I read my inspirations for the day.
This cooler weather has turned the leaves brown seemingly overnight. My little doggie is barking and chasing lizards. Once upon a time, they all had tails. Now, only about half the population still have their tail.
Oh, but I was reading my morning meditations. “Your life cannot become a glorious adventure while you continue to play it safe.” Hmm. Make a mental note of where Bella just ….  My concentration is the pits this morning. Maybe I should just grab my scoop and pick up that dropping before I forget where it landed. It’s a good thing I saw her because, oh, that is a brown leaf. Brown leaf, brown leaf, brown leaf. I feel like I am in a game of Where’s Waldo. Brown, HA! There it is. Stupid brown leaves.
Now, back to that thought about a gloriously adventurous life. Mmm. This is a robust cup of coffee.

Looking for the rainbow with a crushed heart

18 09 2012

After the war the term, passive aggressive, found its way into civilian psychiatric practice and for many years was listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the bible of the mental health trade. According to the revised third edition (DSM-III-R, 1987), someone had PAPD if he displayed five or more of the following behaviors:

(1) procrastinates, (2) sulks or argues when asked to do something he doesn’t want to do, (3) works inefficiently on unwanted tasks, (4) complains without justification of unreasonable demands, (5) “forgets” obligations, (6) believes he is doing a much better job than others think, (7) resents useful suggestions, (8) fails to do his share, or (9) unreasonably criticizes authority figures.

This term sparked my interest about a year ago when a co-worker called me passive aggressive. I truly thought it was humorous when I called her “princess” after she had verbally attacked me and was acting like a spoiled brat. It was my way of jabbing her without actually knocking her block off, which is what I really wanted to do. Hmm, sounds passive aggressive to me.

Although her behavior after that remark got her fired by the producers of my show and put a possible irreparable rift in our relationship, she did me a favor. I took her name calling to heart and decided to take inventory of myself concerning my attitudes. I discovered I was often, indeed, P.A. I do not like this character trait and so I have purposed to change it. I am learning to say what I mean but still keep the balance of respecting the person I am speaking to. Respect and dignity are extremely important in any relationship. The lack of respect for me is what has put the rift in my relationship with this person. There was a lot of behind the back, negative talk coming from this “princess”. (I still think that is funny.)

This past week, I had to put some words to a very uncomfortable situation. I had to forgo any P.A. vocabulary and talk straight in an eye to eye conversation. It has been gut wrenching for me but I spoke in truth and love. It did not result in an acceptable solution, but I was as honest as I know how to be.

Since my husband passed away in April of 2011, I have been forced to re-invent myself. I no longer have the safe covering of a husband who had only my best interest at heart but I have the assurance that God is my covering and my protector. I am learning how to listen for His voice in my spirit. He gives me the courage and the dignity I need to keep moving forward. He has given me a stern warning that has raised up in me the courage to obey, no matter the cost.

I am reminded that He alone is my safe place. He has promised to never forsake me. He gave up everything to come and rescue me. He is my hero. I am still looking for the rainbow even though my heart is crushed.

…. light the corners of my mind

9 09 2012

There is a great story about the trees Ed planted in the front of our home. When we had this house built, we took down all the scrub pines around our property. They were scraggly and when they grew tall, the hurricanes either up rooted them or blew them down. The constant dropping of pine needles and pine cones were a nuisance to clean up. Ed decided to replace the ones in front with some nice, thick evergreen shrubs. He assured me they would grow to about 5 feet when they matured. We liked the idea of having two 5 foot Christmas trees to put lights on during the Holidays. The first year, the shrubs were kind of spindly looking so we decorated with one set of lights on each tree. I say we, but Ed really did all the work. I say “work” because my husband was gifted in many areas but handyman work was not one of his areas. And so it was work to him but he did enjoy the fruits of his labor. Every night, he would turn on the lights and remark on how they made him feel the joy of Christmas.

By the third year we were adding strings of lights and using a ladder to get them around the top. I was out there helping Ed and the Christmas lights became a family chore. I say chore because….. well, you know how it goes. But, we still got much joy each time he lit the trees.

What we never bargained on was the fact that these shrubs were going to keep growing every year until we could no longer get anywhere near the top. I don’t know which year it was that Ed couldn’t even get the lights off the trees and so, in utter exasperation, he decided to just leave them there and we never plugged the lights in again.

twenty years later:

this is how big our two shrubs have grown!!!

Today, I noticed that a lot of the inside branches are dead. I have no idea what to do about it. I am hoping that it doesn’t mean that the trees are diseased and are going to fall on my house sometime soon. I could feel the anxiety beginning to rise in me as I pondered what to do. And as I peered into the tree, i saw something that made me chuckle.

If you look close at the middle of the bare spot, you can see the green cord with evenly spaced, small, white bulbs hanging off it. That old string of Christmas lights conjured up the memory of my love, out front one day, wrestling with an evergreen tree until he finally gave up and let the tree keep her captured treasure.

When I am gone and this home becomes someone else’s, I hope they laugh when they find the string of Christmas lights strung on the inside of their giant trees. Maybe they will be inspired to make up there own Christmas story of how the lights got there.