Checking In With God

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” ~ Carl Sandburg

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It is customary in most jobs to have a performance review or a progress report done annually. This allows goals to be set, and allows both the employee and the employer or supervisor to monitor progress towards the goals. Pretty simple concept.

Often in my walk of faith, I check in with God for a progress report. Usually done in quiet, this gives me a chance to see if I’m doing well, if there are things I need to change, new ideas that may or not may be in alignment with His plan, etc. It’s not a scheduled event, just something that occurs when I feel a certain heaviness or restlessness.

This time, the tete-a-tete occurred in the quiet stillness of a misty night while sitting alone in the hot tub. As I glanced around at the silhouettes of bare trees against the grey sky, I first marveled at the seasons and how each feeds into the next. (Cue the “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, here if you choose.) This segued into the idea of the seasons of our lives – infancy, childhood, teen years, young adult, mature adult (give or take), older adult, even wiser and older adults. We start out taking in infancy as we rely on others to meet our every need, but (hopefully) as we get on in years, we are giving more than we take, guiding and mentoring those who are younger.

My next thoughts were, ‘Am I doing enough?‘ Being an overachiever with OCD and a propensity for perfectionism, I’m very concerned with no doing ‘enough.’ Who gets to arbitrarily determine what ‘enough’ is, I’m not sure.

To what standards am I holding myself? There are many. Proverbs 31 describes a great role model for women. Titus 2:3-5 gives instruction for older women. From a young age, I’ve been an avid reader of biographies of strong women: Corrie ten Boom, Amelia Earhart, Gladys Aylward, Jessie Benton Fremont, Louisa May Alcott, Wilma Rudolph, Florence Nightingale, Lillian Trasher and Joanna Gaines. Most assuredly I am not perfect, nor do I aim to be. I have made more than my fair share of mistakes and will own my part in them willingly.

As recent upheavals and life events have started to settle down, my next question is, “What’s next?” Life is never dull; it isn’t to be viewed as an observer but a full-fledged participant. While I don’t exactly know what’s next, I know that I am more than likely already on my way to the next set of adventures.

Being Thankful

Ever have those times where you are so simply and perfectly happy, that you try to hold the moment in your head and your heart as if it were a photograph? Memories that can be pulled out, dusted off and reviewed when things are painful or difficult are important?

While I hate medical diagnoses, I think sometimes that’s what it takes to make us truly appreciate the life that goes on around us. When you realize that our time is finite . . . . I guess what I’m thinking is that some of the things we THINK are the most important are really not that important, and the things we take for granted are some of the MOST important.

Take for instance — weddings. People spend thousands of dollars on the reception, the honeymoon, flowers, the dress. Months are devoted to planning the venue, the wedding party and the menu. Is it the ceremony that is so important, or is the years that follow — making memories as a couple? There is usually photographic evidence of the ceremony as well as the license and of course the rings. But those moments that are precious — stepping into the first home, celebrations of personal milestones, arguments and make-ups, or just moments of pure happiness — those are the things that are really important.

Graduations are just as bad — ceremonies, photos, diplomas, parties. Not that the accomplishment isn’t important. The work is generally difficult and time-consuming. The certificate and/or honors are well-deserved. Of greater importance is the aftermath — doing something with what was learned. What is the point of obtaining greater knowledge if we accept the diploma and then stop?

The holidays in our household aren’t always traditional. Sometimes we are with family, others we aren’t – it may just be me, or me and one of the kids, or all of us in one place. Regardless, it is a time to make memories. Some of my best memories of Thanksgiving are the years that we were invited to go to our pastor’s house. They had this huge, beautiful old Victorian farmhouse (maybe that’s when I fell in love with old houses). It was one of the few times that I can recall being in a crowd of people and not feeling as if I were drowning or as if I were an alien out of place among strangers. Thinking about it more in depth right now, I think it was the house that played the main character in my memories more than the people or even the food.

I don’t know when my finite time clock of life will run out, but I sure as hell know that when I go, it will be with a head chock full of memories that make me smile.

Subdued

“Stay low key. Not everyone needs to know everything about you.” ~ Unknown

Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on Pexels.com

I’ve been rather quiet lately. Not that I have nothing to say, there is plenty . . . there are just no words to say it. No one with whom I particularly need to share it.

I’m not mad, not sad, not unhappy. Just busy. I have a lot on my mind; there are many year-end things that need to be done. The holidays are coming up quickly. I have many things occurring that require my attention and time.

Once again, because my personal life is private, I have no need to delve into the particulars of all the things weighing on my mind. There is probably no one single person that is aware of everything going on in my life at this time. There are several who know many and different things, but no one who knows all. That is as it should be. There is no one that needs to know everything about me.

With the barrage of reality television shows, and programs that have tell-all guests, it seems people believe you should spill your guts and air all your thoughts, grievances, or disturbances.

Yes, I share a lot of what I think in this forum.

Yes, I have point blank aired disturbances that affect my family and attracted the interest of the FBI (due to the naming of my minor daughter and the crossing of state lines). This is an arena that I know the offender monitors and was the only available venue I had of reaching her.

However . . .

I reserve the right to take time away when I have things that arise that I must tend to personally. I have jobs that require meetings, and educational outreach as well as the daily business of living.

I also reserve the right to monitor and address my health. I detest drama. My daughter once told her husband, “You know . . . if my Mom had two weeks to live, she wouldn’t tell anyone until just a few days before the two weeks was up and then it would be very nonchalant . . . ‘hey, not to bother you, but if you’re not busy next Thursday we’re going to have my funeral. No pressure. Not a big deal. If you’re busy, I understand.” And she’s exactly correct!!**

When I am busy thinking or overwhelmed with events, I turn inward. Much like my zodiac sign, the crab, I tend to become quiet and introspective. Focused on what needs to be done or the goals that need to be reached, I spend less time on things that don’t relate to those goals. It may be a few days, it may be a few weeks.

I’ve had three people in the last few days ask if I’m upset with them. I’ve talked to each one of them daily. For the love of the Christ child and all the saints, I haven’t felt well and I have multiple things going on that require my attention — I don’t have time to be mad at anyone. Not to mention, if I’m upset with someone, they will know it in no uncertain terms.

** Amendment ** — I usually write my posts and schedule them to be published the next day. This gives me time to rethink and add or subtract from what I’ve written. After thinking about my daughter’s comment – she is right but not because I’m hiding anything. Because I can straight up tell people something without excessive emotion, they are disbelieving, or they aren’t listening or they think I’m joking. Just because I’m not all weepy and dramatic or non-stop talking about something doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Being subdued is just an effort to conserve energy. It was pointed out to me that I have a very logical and analytical mind (it happens with Asperger’s). There are things I’ve been dealing with for 10 years, some for 6 years, some for even longer . . . it is what it is. My MO isn’t to be emotional about events or occurrences, it is to take it in, spin it around and over and up and down in my mind, assess the pros and cons of the situation and figure out a plan of action. If talking about the problem or situation isn’t going to help it or will just create emotional angst . . . I’m out. I’ll be over here dealing with my shit. Call it subdued, assume I’m angry . . . whatever.

Motivation

“Some people will never become who they want to be, because they’re too comfortable being who they are today. How’s that working for you?” ~ Lisa Nichols

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The comment was made to me the other day, “You’re just more motivated than I am.”

Hmmmmm . . . that made me stop and think.

And then, this evening, I was watching a video on which Lisa Nichols was speaking (and I’ll share it again here): “Some people will never become who they want to be, because they’re too comfortable being who they are today.”

I have so many things that interest me. Books I want to read, movies I want to see, projects I want to do, and interests I want to pursue. If I don’t push myself to accomplish those things . . . they’ll never happen.

No one . . . NO ONE . . . is going to hand out engraved invitations to change your life. If you aspire to be someone different than you are today, or learn something or achieve a goal — you have to put in the work.

It may be hard.

It may be boring.

It may be uncomfortable.

It all depends on how bad you want to effect the change.

Les Brown says, “Live full, die empty.” I like that. A few days ago, I made a post – 10 minutes. I mentioned that we all have the same amount of minutes and hours in each day. While we don’t all have the same guarantee as to the number of years we will live, for the most part we have the same amount of time each day to get things done.

I don’t want to end up on my deathbed, wishing I’d done more. Experienced more. Tried more. Accomplished more. Someone once said that I live life out loud. I dunno ’bout all that. It’s just my life.

In my search for motivation prior to writing this post, I found an article here about the 12 Habits of Extraordinarily Motivated People. I hope you enjoy it.

10 minutes

“You can do so much in 10 minutes time. Ten minutes, once gone, are gone for good.” ~ Ingvar Kamprad

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Time is something we all have in common, every single one of us. 365 days a year. 52 weeks in a year. 24 hours in a day. 7 days in a week. Even scarier . . . 1,440 minutes in a day, 10,080 minutes in a week, and 524, 160 minutes in a year.

I compartmentalize quite a bit. It’s easiest to “do the things” in timed increments rather than open-ended, mindless, drag-it-out episodes. Having a set idea of how much time I can spend on something seems to enhance my productivity. If the event is something I don’t enjoy, having a time limit encourages recognition that although something may be an unpleasant experience; it will not last forever.

Sometimes, things that we procrastinate doing actually take 10 minutes or less to finish. Such as:

  • Vacuuming or sweeping the floor
  • Doing dishes
  • Cleaning out the refrigerator
  • Taking out the trash
  • Putting on my make-up
  • making the bed
  • Putting away clean laundry
  • Folding laundry
  • Scrubbing the tub
  • Mopping the floor

There are multiple things than can be done in 10 minutes or less. I plan to work in the yard for 10 minutes because I feel like I’m too busy or have other things I need to do. Those 10 minutes will stretch into 30 or 40. The key is being flexible and loose in the planning.

Tonight, even though I had worked all day and was exhausted (both physically and emotionally), I took about 10 minutes to work on cleaning my Franklin treadle sewing machine. Returning it back to it’s lustrous beauty will be a long process requiring patience.

Tomorrow will be a electronic device-free day for the majority here. I will probably check it in the morning and then again later in the afternoon and evening. I need that time away from meaningless drivel to focus on some things needing to be finished here at home.

What things do you avoid that could be completed in less than 10 minutes time?

Hashbrown Casserole

“Casseroles are those intensely comforting foods, prepared and baked in the same dish, that inspire fond memories or dark recollections.” ~ Karen Steele

Photo by Anna Guerrero on Pexels.com

Per my usual, I forgot to take a photo of the actual casserole whose recipe follows below.

It had been a long day. The offspring had been to the orthodontist’s office to have her braces tightened and bands placed. I was tired. Her mouth was sore.

This was a night that called for easy to bite into and chew . . . comfort food!

Hashbrown Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1# ground beef

1/2 a small onion, chopped

1-2 T. minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups frozen hashbrowns, slightly thawed

1 c. chicken broth

1 can Cream of Mushroom soup

1 c. cottage cheese

1/2 – 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350. In a skillet**, combine the hamburger, onion and garlic. Cook until ground beef is no longer pink. Stir in 1 c. of chicken broth, the can of Cream of Mushroom soup, the hashbrowns and cottage cheese. Stir until well combined. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

**I use a cast iron skillet so I can brown the meat and stir everything else in yet still slide it in the oven when it’s ready.

Navigating the taste preferences of a teenager can vary from day to day. At the risk of receiving a snappy response, I suggested this meal and was rewarded with a “that sounds really, REALLY good!” Yes! Success!! I was quite pleased that she had two servings at dinner.

Leftovers were consumed the next day and were just as tasty as when it was first made!

What are some of the comfort food casseroles that you remember from YOUR childhood?