Taking the Back Road

Instead of sitting in our houses cooped up, why not decide to be more adventurous? We can only clean so much. We can only eat so much before the scale starts climbing up. When feeling particularly anxious, or down in the dumps, I’ve decided I would do something about it.

This morning after literally wasting an hour on social media I was mad at myself for getting sucked back in. I felt like I was an addict with a problem. I realized how hard it is to just say no! I put on my yoga clothes, and my baseball cap and decided that the cure for my boredom was to feel like I was living and experiencing something, anything at all that got me out of the house, away from the screen and out of my own head.

The sun was shining so the top went down on the convertible. I decided I would drive into Waxhaw and check out the Provisions Store there and maybe check out the little shops near by. I was going to get on the interstate, but then thought I would rather go a different direction. I took the back roads, and I’m really glad I did. On the way I came across a pop-up market, where I stopped and got my favorite home made lavender soap and saw some really cool jewelry that some vendors had made. I saw tree lined streets, an old bridge over a stream. Horse farms, and old wooden barns and an unexpected little white chapel sitting in a grassy field. I had no time constraints and it felt good to get out of my bubble.

My good friend and next door neighbor has a saying: “always have something to look forward to.” She’s so right. Why work ourselves into the ground and have no fun? Fun doesn’t always have to cost a lot. I felt like I had some sort of adventure therapy today. It was good.

I feel like getting outside and doing something stimulating outside and away from a screen lowers our cortisol levels, and raises are serotonin, leaving us more relaxed and at peace. Why not treat ourselves to that more often? Adventure leads to curiosity and that has to be a win-win.

Taking the back, narrow winding roads made me think of the scripture that says “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” It would have been so much easier to take the wide path, a quick interstate drive vs. the back roads, but what fun would that have been?

This entry was posted on August 22, 2020. 1 Comment

Feel the Bloat

I have been feeling pretty bloated lately, literally and figuratively.  The other day I told my husband that I do not know what more I can do to lose weight. I said I could go all day without eating and as soon as I eat something my stomach will look like I’m 5 months pregnant.  I decide that perhaps I need to keep a food diary to see exactly what I am shoveling in my mouth each day.  Maybe by the process of elimination I can see what is causing my “issue.”

 

I know some of it is my age, but I try so hard to eat clean and not eat a whole lot of processed food, dairy, etc.  It’s the sugar that causes me to crave and give in. At least that’s my theory. I see it and it looks so good.  The dark chocolate, the caramel, the sea salt.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.  Once my eyes see that sweet and salty goodness, my hands have no other option other than to grab it and indulge in its’ sweet creamy flavor and texture. I think I could honestly do a commercial for it and get paid millions.  Okay, I am getting a little off the chart there. Back to reality.

 

I remember when I was younger and in grade school music class, we used to sing a song called O Be Careful Little Eyes. When I was older, I would play the tape of the song in the car for my children while we ran errands.

 

O be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above, is looking down with love, O be careful little eyes what you see. The verses went the same for being careful about what we hear, what we say, what our hands do and where we go.

 

Such simple truths that can be applied to our lives today, don’t you think? What are we doing with our time each day?  What are we consuming with our eyes, and our ears?  What are we saying to others?  Are we building them up, or tearing them down?  What are we doing with our hands and where are we going with our feet?

 

My husband is a smart man.  He told me the other night that I need to give social media a break.  He said; “I just listen to the news in the morning to catch up on world events, then I focus on other things during the day.  He’s right, it can be so consuming that we miss out on actual quality of life.

 

What am I missing when I consume media like it’s that chocolate bar?

 

What am I missing when I listen to all of the name calling, and lies being spoon fed to us?

 

What am I missing when I constantly have my hands on my phone or on the tv remote?

 

What am I missing when I walk into my house to catch up on the news instead of taking a walk outside, ride my bike, or do yoga unconnected from all of that negative energy?

 

In much the same way unhealthy food can bloat our stomachs, the world and technology can bloat our hearts, minds, and mostly, our spirits.  Technology and social media can be like sugar is to the brain.  Once you have it, you just crave more and more, until that sugar turns your cells into cancer. Isn’t that what hate is?  It’s a cancer that is pervading our society as a whole.  The more we buy into it, the more it grows and grows.  Maybe we need to put our candy bar down (our cell phones) and take a walk.  Maybe if we do that more often, our eyes will be on our families, our friends, our hobbies and creativity.  We will be able to hear things that make us smile, do things with our hands that create or build something up.  We will use our feet not to run and destroy, but to run and exercise. Without distractions we can walk on a sandy beach and feel a sense of gratefulness that we are alive and well.  We need the quiet that tells us we are a small part of a large world that is made up of a lot of good.

 

Our internal world has an effect on our external world, so we have to be careful what we are consuming via media, food, etc.

 

Like the song says, I do believe He is still looking down from above and he sees’ it all.  I much rather He see us happy and treating each other with dignity and love, which we all deserve no matter what race, color or creed.

 

Namaste.

 

Sunflowers

There used to be a time whenever someone invited me to dinner or a get together, I would always bring sunflowers along with a side-dish. I brought sunflowers because they are one of my favorite flowers. How can anyone look at them and not feel happy?

With the state of the world right now, we need more of what makes us happy. We need more sunshine and sunflowers in the spiritual sense for sure. Did you know that observation is a skill? So many people seem to be lacking of that skill. The skill to observe with a questioning spirit, questioning our feelings, versus the facts. Questioning what we are told, versus common sense seems to be a fading skill.

Did you know that sunflowers are a symbol of faith, loyalty and adoration? Isn’t it interesting that while sunflowers are growing, they always follow the movement of the sun across the sky, from the rise of the sun in the east until it’s setting in the west? They need about six to eight hours a day of sunlight to reach their potential. Perhaps we should follow their que.

In Matthew 24:27 (NIV) Jesus tells his disciples “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the son of man.” Just as the sun rises in the east, so will the Son. Maybe we should shut off our media feeds and turn our face towards the Son. Maybe we should be thinking of all of the goodness he brings us and all of the blessings we have vs all of the hatred we see around us.

Philippians 4: 8 (NIV): Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

Not long ago I watched in horror, one of our elected leaders say on national tv “We do not need God.” I wondered to myself what was happening to our country and to people, right in front of my eyes. I believe we are seeing spiritual warfare playing out right in front of us on a daily basis. I may not be a biblical scholar but I know enough of it to see truth and to feel the energy of ugliness, hatred and destruction that is around us.

Getting back to sunflowers, did you also know that once they stop growing they will usually stay facing the eastern direction just to soak up the sun? However, there are usually a few rebels in the patch that will choose a different direction.

Take note: In Matthew 24: his disciples asked Jesus what the signs would be of his return. Jesus went on to say that we need to be careful that no one deceives us. (how many times are we lied to?) He said that we will hear of wars and rumors of wars (had a friend the other day tell me that she thinks there will be a civil war here). BUT, he also said to “see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places (had one here just last week which is very out of the normal). All of these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death. (Christians are being persecuted and treated terribly around the world. Christian statues are coming down, God is taken out of school, churches are being told they can not hold services while looting and lawlessness in large groups are being allowed). He goes on to say: At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false profits will appear and deceive many people.”

I’m an observant person and can see all of this. From the false profits to people turning away from each other according to their political beliefs. From the lawlessness that is prophesied in the book of Revelation to the action of people turning their faces away from the east and away from God. Rebels in the streets and liars on our screens.

However, along with that I also believe more than ever, that there is a large field of us that cover the country. We are like those bright sunflowers facing towards the Son, allowing his warmth to envelope us and not allow us to be consumed by the hatred, the strife and the worry that comes with this tumultuous world. We are strong and our beliefs mean something. They are the beliefs that our country was founded on and they are the beliefs that have made this country the beautiful, free place it has been for centuries. I know the end of the story, the end of the book. Knowing the end of the story allows us to not be alarmed and to have peace amidst this storm. After all, every storm runs out of rain, and at the end those of us who know his voice will turn to the east and see that he is near.

Lucky 7

I’ve been thinking about my grandparents and my great Aunts’ and Uncles’ a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about all of the morals and ways of thinking that were passed down from generation to generation and that somehow, before my eyes they are slipping away from our culture. I’ve been thinking about how common sense isn’t so common any more.

I’ve been thinking about how some of them fought to make this country free. Something that we all take for granted. This generation, for the most part have NO idea what they really sacrificed. I think about how noisy the world has become with it’s talking heads and anger and divisiveness. I think about how if your opinion doesn’t match mine, or mine doesn’t match yours, then we are no longer friends. We no longer have neighbor-hoods. We have stranger-hoods.

My grandmother was one of 7 children. (truly it was 8, but Santos died when he was very little) Some of the best memories I had as a child was everyone going to my grandmother’s house that had been there over 100 years, and sitting around the table and talking to each other. There were no tv’s on, no cell phones, no anger or divisiveness. Just love. That’s the only way I can explain it. We are missing that today. So many can say “I am against this or that.” But I ask you instead: What are you FOR? Doesn’t asking that question send out a more positive energy? Are you for love? Are you for kindness and peace? Because if you’re not, then you are against those very things.

Scripture describes the enemy as the father of lies and that he comes to lie, steal and destroy. Isn’t that exactly what we see when we turn on our tv’s? In the book of Revelation it talks about how in the end times there will be many false profits and lawlessness. Is this not what we see when we turn on the tv? False profits aren’t people in robes standing on street corners, if you catch my drift.

All seven of my Aunt’s and Uncles are now gone. They would have shaken their heads in disgust over what his happening to our country. They had critical thinking skills, common sense and they were generous not only with their possessions, but with their love. The world needs more of that.

Seven is an interesting number. It is referenced over 700 times in scripture. It is considered to be the number of spiritual perfection because it is a symbol of God’s work. Peter asked Jesus in Matthew 18: 21-22 how many times he should forgive someone and of course the answer was 70 x 7. In Genesis God created the earth and on the 7th day he rested to see the perfection of it all. There are many “sevens” in the book of Revelation. I also noticed that there are always seven colors in every rainbow I see. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Kind of interesting, considering God’s promise to never flood the earth again, was sealed with a rainbow.

I can’t help but think, that they are the lucky ones. Up there in heaven laughing and hugging one another. Reunited with Santos and my Nana and Nano. Picking giant lemons from their lemon tree in the garden and telling stories. How I miss them all, my lucky 7.

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This entry was posted on July 4, 2020. 5 Comments

They Called Me Sunshine

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

-Maya Angelou

My prayer was: Lord, I don’t know what my future holds but show me where I’m needed and I’ll go.

It was an eight week assignment at the assisted living/memory care facility. I was stepping in for someone who was out for surgery. I wasn’t guaranteed a permanent spot there at the end but decided I’d take the chance and the opportunity to do something vs. nothing at the time. The pay was half the amount I was used to but I recalled my prayer and decided to be obedient to what was being presented to me.

At first it was pretty daunting. I had never had a role like this before. With little guidance it was a sink or swim situation. So at first, shyly, I began to swim. I figured I would just be myself and do it the way my heart lead me. After all, how hard can an Activities Assistant role be? I thought back to all the things in my past that helped prepare me for this. I’ve led bible studies at my church and home , taught women at the community center how to arrange flowers, gone to yoga classes, headed up charity parties in the travel industry, learned to paint, etc. Surely I can enrich the lives of seniors for eight weeks. We had chair exercises, great discussion groups and game times with lots of laughs. People from the outside would come in and perform for them as well. I felt like for the most part, they were happy and well taken care of.

However. there were many things that bothered me. Even though the facility was lovely, I wondered if it was normal to smell certain things in that environment. There were lots of smells, lack of circulating air, a basic dimness. I also wondered why there weren’t more opportunities for them to have truly fresh fruits and vegetables at their meal times. Perhaps there were medical reasons why they were served mushy greens. It broke my heart when they would ask me, “do you think I’ll ever get out of here?” Sometimes they would sit in their wheelchair and look out the window by the front door, knowing they could no longer come and go as they please. I could see the turmoil in family member’s eyes when they would come to visit their loved ones. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for them as well. Having a parent that once cared for them is now incapable of caring for themselves.

I noticed how time seemed to be in slow motion there. The residents were never in a hurry. How could they be? They were always in the moment. That world is all they know now. It made me slow down as well. All they want is for someone to talk to and to know who they are. They are not empty shells like we see them. They all have a life that they lived and experiences that led them to this point. I also observed the workers and the way they lovingly cared and spoke to the residents. It gave me hope in humanity again in this culture where everyone seems to hate one another lately.

Another funny thing happened a long the way. While I was trying to enrich their lives, they unknowingly began to enrich my life. I learned all of their names which is a big deal for me. (My children often remind me how bad I am about remembering people’s names.) I also began to learn their stories and personalities.

I am amazed at how their faces would light up when they would mentioned a lost loved one and I would sit down and say “tell me about her.” I began to look past the things that I saw with my eyes and smelled with my nose. I began to see with my heart instead and it was a humbling experience. I even made one of the “tough” residents come to the activities and stay a lot longer than he normally would have. So when he smiled and actually started talking to the others, something inside of me beamed. When he would roll away in his wheelchair, the other’s would say: “how in the world did you get him to come?!” Two of the residents pulled me aside before I left and told me what a difference I made while I was there and that they’d never forget me. My eyes filled and I thought to myself, I will never forget you either.

I had four or five of the residents tell me I was like sunshine. Even one of my co- workers called me that. It made my heart feel happy. I hope I really did spread a little sunshine in my short time there and made someone feel loved, and important, because they really are.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you. Thankyou so much for following and supporting me through my journey of becoming a publisher author. It is something I knew I had to do …a calling if you will. I hope the book blesses all those who read it.

2019 had a lot of ups and downs. My sweet husband and his family lost his dad in July. He always made me feel special in little ways and I will always cherish those moments especially since I grew up without a dad. I know and believe without a doubt that he is watching over his family and is with Jesus now.

My children yet again went to a funeral of someone’s life that was so abruptly taken in a senseless act of crime. In a world of such turmoil we must remember how precious our time here with eachother is.

We lost our sheltie after 14 & 1/2 years. I never really considered myself a “pet person” but I have to admit, I loved that sweet little mellow dog with the bark that sounded like a wounded seal. I can’t tell you how many times I would hug him when I was lonely or worried or hurt by others. Maybe God is like that too. His love is so unconditional.

I admit, I may no longer attend church like I did when the kids were younger but the church resides in me. Instinctually I think that’s how it should be because whatever we hold inside of us, eventually radiates out of us, onto those around us.

Merry Christmas and may you all find unconditional happiness and joy no matter what your circumstances are today. ♡

This entry was posted on December 24, 2019. 2 Comments

Burnout Mode

I think worry and anxiety often times comes from the fast-paced lives we live in now. Over the last ten years I’ve seen it get worse in the workplace. Companies rather overload their employee’s with unreasonable expectations, than hire an extra person so the business has better productivity done by employee’s that give their best vs. their last morsel of sanity. Since they are paying that ten or fifteen- year employee a lot of (well-earned) money, who cares if they leave? Then they can just hire someone younger and pay them a lot less money. Meanwhile the tenured employee who put their heart and soul into being loyal, suddenly feels, burnt out, inadequate and let down to know that the company really didn’t care about loyalty at all. Makes you wonder if it’s all worth it, doesn’t it?
As a society, we no longer know how to just rest and renew our bodies, our souls and our minds. We just keep going until the point of exhaustion.
I knew this was the life I was living for years. I didn’t feel like I had the luxury of relaxing and resting. There were too many bills to be paid and things to take care of. Nobody was going to swoop in and solve all my problems.
So much of our days are comprised of our internal thoughts which in turn flow out of us with our words and actions. Common sense tells me that if we are constantly thinking negative thoughts, then that is the energy that will keep coming back to us. But what if you are doing your best to stay positive? What if you are doing your best and it still isn’t good enough for those around you? In your job, your family life, your finances, etc? Sometimes we can do our best and it still doesn’t seem to move the marker. It’s a defeating thought and reality at times, but you still keep going through the motions thinking things will change.
Before you know it, you are in burnout mode. Nothing feels joyful anymore and if it does, it seems forced. You find yourself counting down the days to the weekend, hoping that maybe you will be able to actually enjoy something. Life seems to be an endless toil of all work and no play.
In looking back now, I realize that my body let me know that enough was enough. For some it is stomach pain, others experience migraines, or have anxiety issues. Trust me, your body will always let you know. For me, it was a cancer diagnosis that stopped me dead in my tracks. From that point on my perspective on everything changed.
It changed the way I ate, the way I interacted or chose to NOT interact with certain people in my life. It made me want to clean my house and get rid of all the stuff I didn’t need or value any longer. It made me realize that we never really do know when our time will come to say goodbye. It made me realize that I rather make more memories than have more stuff.
It also gave me more power to chose what really mattered to me and what didn’t. I no longer care if I please this person or that, but I do care if I show love, even in hard situations. I no longer feel the need to explain why or why not to anyone, but then again that could be a sign of my age as well.
It also made me feel weak in a way because we are only in control of so much. Everything else will happen whether we want it to or not. The key is how we react to our situation. That is where the real power is. Does it matter if you work at a local coffee shop or that you’re a doctor or a lawyer? Does it lessen the significance of your soul or the role you were put here on earth to fulfill? NO.
The real power is writing your own script in your own movie that is called your life. The people who judge you are judging out of some darkness they feel towards themselves.
If you want to be a waitress, or go for that degree, ask yourself why? Is it to make you happy, or everyone else happy? Because last I checked, everyone else does not have to live your life, you do. Burnout mode is not living the life we were put here for. If things are hectic, take time to schedule your downtime, just like you would a work meeting. Take a day trip, or walk around your neighborhood. Do anything that makes you feel alive and connected. Spend uninterrupted time with your children without your phones or tablets within reach. Be present in the moment. We have forgotten how to do that.
Burnout mode robs us of joy and steals our health if we let it. We only get one life to live so why not make the most of it even if it takes small changes over a period of time to give us some relief. We all deserve some level of happiness. Sometimes we just have to create it for ourselves.

This entry was posted on December 4, 2019. 2 Comments

On The Inside

Sometimes I’m not as strong as they think I am. On the inside ..i’m afraid. Afraid they don’t really know my heart.

On the inside I reflect back to all the years, days and moments that they were my world. They still are.

On the inside I’m afraid that they don’t realize that time may be short and we don’t know it.

On the inside I am human, sometimes hurt by seemingly innocent, yet harsh words. But I remain silent while my heart breaks off into a little piece of jagged edge.

On the inside I still love as strongly as I did when they were little.

They don’t realize that as my nest becomes empty, so does my heart. Empty of the life I built for them, empty of the patterns our daily lives became.

But it’s ok. On the inside I know that nothing stays the same and this was the goal all along. To raise them, and enable them to spread their wings and live their lives.

On the inside I hope they don’t forget about me. All those car pools, birthday parties and back scratching marathons at bed times. All the scraped knees, hugs, kisses, fights and whining. All the temper tantrums along with all of the thousands of proud moments I had when I watched them grow.

May they know on the inside just how much I love them.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Dori

Are you there God?  It’s me, Dori.  I haven’t talked to you in so long other than a passing thought here and there. Although I guess there were my many requests to release me from the constant turmoil that my days ruminated in.  I remember the days I would walk around those walls that held me captive, begging you to release me, and you did. You released me in a very unexpected way,  but I thank you.  I thank you for the unknown road in front of me, and the husband you put beside me.  What a blessing he has been in my life.

Never in a million years would I have guessed this would have been your way.  Never in a million years would I have guessed I’d be sitting here today with this life.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The failures, the mistakes, the loneliness, and even the cancer.

Are you there God?  My eyes have water in them at the very thought of your magnificent power.  It has been said you are the Living Water.  Perhaps that is why our eyes fill with tears when our hearts break or even when we feel joy.  You are all around us and in us but the world forgets about you.  But today, Lord, as water fills my eyes I remember you.

Are you there God?   I see you when my husband squeezes my hand and tells me:  “Don’t worry we’ve got this, we will figure it out.”  He provides that unconditional love that I never thought I would ever be lucky enough to have.  You are there God, in him, in myself, and everywhere I am.  We are all right where we are supposed to be at this very moment.  I want to tell the world that you are there for everyone should they reach out and search for you.  (If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13 NLT)

Are you there God?  Are you silently waiting for us to shut off the radio or the television?  Are you there when we step outside into nature  and are surrounded by everything you created?  Yes, I believe you are, you really are.