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Archive for March, 2011

Something awful happened last June. I was having some issues in my life that I felt I could not handle including some health and family issues plus the fact my eldest daughter had to be rushed to the ER one night that week and I could not be there for her… I am usually very strong and not shaken easily, but I needed help and I don’t ask for help easily either. I have faced so much in my life, but I became vulnerable and in my vulnerability something happened that I was not prepared for. I was attacked, not physical though I suffered physically, mentally, and spiritually. I have been trying to overcome this and hopefully I will regain what I have lost.

There was a person who wanted to engage in confrontation. I retreated trying to escape his wrath and anger but that wasn’t enough for him as he physically came after me until I passed out falling down steps and hitting my head. He went back into the room and closed the door leaving me on the floor. Someone found me and helped me. What if no one else had found me? I don’t know. I suffered health setbacks though I didn’t have a bleed but was confined to the downstairs level of the house for quite a while (no stairs). The headaches were horrendous so we had to watch and wait not knowing what was in store, if brain surgery was imminent, or if I would survive. It was a desperate time.

I first tried to recover from the physical pain and then deal with all of the problems that were going on before this terrible thing happened. Our family’s lives were forever changed that day and forgiveness is not forthcoming-it is difficult for me to forgive when he believes he did nothing wrong and believed he was further justified in his anger and rage. I will have to forgive him, but this is one of those processes of life. I have been making baby steps and doing better. After he was confronted about the incident by a member who witnessed the initial confrontation, he wrote me a letter. They expected for him to apologize and show compassion, but in it he did not voice concern about anyone in the family, offer help, or express any compassion. He particularly did not offer an apology either. It was just a continuation of that day. I could not believe this was happening! It did not seem real! And this person… let’s just say that he was a paid servant of the church-someone whose job it is to be speaker, leader, mentor, comforter, and spiritual leader. I hope with time I will regain what I have lost and become stronger for it. Right now, I am still dealing with getting better physically and emotionally. I guess the biggest question I have is how can someone treat another this way especially someone in the office he held? I have no answer. I seriously do not know.

What we do matters. How we treat others matters. I had put all my trust in this man and the job he held. He violated that trust. Sometimes the best thing to do is to apologize even when we feel that we are right. No matter what, he should have at least been comforting and compassionate in my time of need, but it was like he saw me at a time when I was most vulnerable and chose to attack. If we do not treat others well, we will not be treated well. There. I have said it-told one of the deep secrets I have been trying to deal with this last year.

Happy Gardening and may we treat others with care and compassion always.

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Kitty update

Simon Mar 30

Simon Feb 22

It’s time for an update on our four-legged friend, family member, and occupant. Simon has put on some weight though you may not be able to tell from this view. He has been in a playful mood lately (more than usual). All of his humans take turns and it is still not enough. The orange ball of yarn is one of his many toys that he enjoys putting into his water bowl (which took a bath just after this photo was snapped). We are still experimenting on canned food. He doesn’t usually like beef or chicken in a can, but we did try some of the Fancy Feast chicken and he loved it but…will he like it again? That’s the million dollar question. He has an appointment with the vet in the AM, so hopefully we can get some meds to completely shake what he has and he will get weighed again.

Happy Gardening and may all of your pets give you as much love as you love them!

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Maturity

 

by johnbostick @ webshots

Life is a process. We are not born knowing everything. We first learn in our seemingly small finite spaces and then as our environment grows (as we become cognizant and aware of our surroundings) we learn how to deal with more things. In church we speak of spiritual maturity and our ever-longing hope to achieve higher levels. In life we speak of physical and mental maturity though the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand :). So what is maturity and if we gain in maturity (advance), can we lose our level that we have achieved? Yes. Life is a process. Things happen to us. We do things to others. Sometimes it is good things; sometimes bad. How we learn to deal with these things shapes us and has direct bearing on our maturity level.

As very young children we learn what is RIGHT and WRONG, but as adults we are faced with more difficult choices. Everything is not always black OR white-RIGHT or WRONG. This is not to say that one can reason his or her way from all rules and laws. People having moral backgrounds understand the reasoning and consequences of choices. In psychology, one learns about Kohlberg’s six stages of moral development. The Heinz dilemma is one the examples from Kohlberg that I can relate to. In this part of the theory-or actual model-a man does not have enough money to obtain a drug from a particular pharmacy to save his ill wife and the pharmacist will not lower the price. He is faced with the issue of stealing the drug. His choice is not what is evaluated to see where his moral maturity level is but rather his reasoning behind the choice-or your choice as you are the one put into the model. Should he choose to steal the drug, the maturity level is shown when he is willing to accept the consequence of his actions though there is more to the evaluation and reasoning process. I identify with this model because making this particular choice and having this maturity level exemplifies selfless love for his wife. When we operate selfishly, we do not show regard for others. We need to think of others-always.

There are those who say it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you are happy. I disagree. I cannot hurt others in my pursuit of happiness if happiness is my goal. We all need something to work for, strive to attain, to have a goal we are reaching for. And, we need to think of others in our process.

Happy Gardening and may we remember others in the choices we make.


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by taleofahare @ webshots

 
The redo book or altered book as it is called is another project we got involved with at our little retreat. Personally, I am a member of the book police-you know, calling attention to dog-eared pages and such, but I put all of that aside for the moment. The idea is to create a scrapbook of sorts or personal journal using this book. I was skeptical at first, but I liked it because if one is careful in his or her choice of books, he/she can use writings in the book as part of the journal to help tell the story of memories, thoughts, and reflections. For example:  say you want to save mementoes of a love relationship with your spouse or significant other, you may want to choose a book about romance, weddings, poetry, or such. It’s all up to you. Perhaps the book will tell of a journey (not necessarily geographical-maybe spiritual).
 
We were provided with some older books from which to choose. Then we stamped in our books, punched, and embossed. We used special papers and stickers for decoration. I even made tabs to mark certain pages in the book. I also added some of the little things from the retreat to help remind me of our time that day. One can even add 3-D objects cutting outlines through several thicknesses of pages with an exactor knife. Just like a memory quilt or traditional scrapbook, make it yours by creating something new. I was a scrapbook-er way before scrapbooking was made popular with so many decorative papers, stamps, and such. I saved various things like receipts, chopsticks, napkins, movie ticket stubs, concert tickets, notes and cards, etc. I still have those scrapbooks from many years ago. They tell a story and bring back so many memories.
 
The altered book project or redo book idea is special even if it is “defacing” a book. It gives an old book new purpose, and it sure is a lot better than throwing the book away. The cover can also be decorated or changed. It’s whatever the creator wants. Just be careful in choosing a book. Some books are not made to last with pages fading and deteriorating not long after purchase-just be aware. Maybe you have an old book that you are planning on getting rid of. Why not try this out? It is a way to save part of the old with memories of the past. I like that! I like that a lot! And, it doesn’t take a LOT of money-just be creative and don’t try to limit yourself.
Here are some links to check out: 
Wikipedia on altered books –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altered_book
Great examples by Jenny Taliadoros – http://www.jennysartspace.com/alteredbooks/
More great examples at webshots for member taleofahare – http://community.webshots.com/user/taleofahare 
 

by taleofahare @ webshots

Happy Gardening in all of your creations!

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Hands

Table Decorations

At the retreat the other week we had a session on Hands which included a part about the importance of hands and how we use them in our daily walk; exercise and massage therapy for hands; scripture about hands; and how to ‘make’ a special lotion to use on our hands. The lotion was comprised of 30 oz baby lotion; 16 oz cream with aloe; 24 oz cream with vitamin E; and 10 drops of Rose Oil. You can actually mix the amounts you desire and add the fragrance you want. We were instructed to whip (to add air) the lotions and fragrance together and then pour into the containers of our choosing.

During the session, we paired up and massaged the hands of our partner. This may seem trivial, but listening to someone read poetry or enjoying relaxing music while you do this is so refreshing. This is really good for those of us who suffer from arthritis. As I remember back, I used to do this for my mom before she passed away. She suffered from osteo and debilitating RA – she lost 2 fingers due to RA. This was something she really enjoyed, and I wish I had done this more because it was something she really loved.

Maybe you have a friend or family member who is willing to pair up with you to do this every so often. Perhaps you have an older relative or friend who can benefit from this. You really don’t have to make new lotion-there are some good ones on the market already. This is very good therapy for you AND someone else.

Happy Gardening!

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On the way home

by veralebail @ webshots

On the way home the other day we stopped in Chattanooga or Nooga as my daughter refers to it. We had a nice lunch and visited a fascinating book store. There are several bad reviews about the owner and store, but I found her very nice, hospitable, and helpful. I love looking at old books-seeking treasures that only I would find special. I got through the entire store before I realized how much rug yarn she had-didn’t even see it! I didn’t find any books that I had to have but I bought some yarn-wish I had gotten more (there’s a story). She also had some old quilting fabric for a good price, but if I bought some there I would not be able to shop this weekend. I was very pleased with my purchase and with the older lady.

It’s true that she is rather short with people as she tries to get her point across. Many have remarked how mean she is, but I think she is just trying to make a living with what she has. She has so many obstacles in her way. Also, I wonder if people who visit are more in the “what do you have-let me get it and run” mode and do not take time to rub the dust off in order to see the real beauty. Just like when I first entered, I was so focused on BOOKs, but look what I left with – YARN! My day was blessed, and I hope hers was, too.

Happy Gardening and may your life be blessed every single day!

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Awakening

Mountain Redbuds in March

I got back late last night from our trip-about 7 hours away northward. It wasn’t really a pleasure trip but we had fun while we were there and on the way back. We had wonderful weather! It was soooo NICE! The area is at least a month behind-season wise. About the only thing I saw blooming was forsythia and redbuds. Back home we have azaleas blooming, dogwoods have been open for about a week, and some bearded irises are beginning to bloom-one of my favorite flowers especially the purple ones. The pine tree pollen (yellow cloud) has peaked but we need several rains to wash it away. Most of the preparations are being finalized for the big week-signs are up and street cleanup is in overdrive. Next, we’ll see those little ‘mobile carts’ appearing in front of every business with street vendors coming into town next week. I like the excitement building up to the event but I hate the crowds. All of the schools take their spring break because the area gets so congested and so many people are needed to help do things. Speaking of which…I have lots to do before I get back to my quilting.

As I traveled this week, I could see the differences of spring awakening just like covers slowly being pulled back. Trees, flowers, and bushes stir from their winter slumber revealing their new-sprung beauty. It is an excellent time for us to reflect on ourselves for a minute so that we might too shed the old dry outer covering to reveal our true inner beauty.

Happy Gardening in everything you do!

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Part 3 – Good Stewardship

Walking in the shoes of others is a frequent topic in my blog. If you want to read more you can check out these from last year, Have you walked in the shoes of someone else lately? and Humility, selfless love, and forgiveness. When we walk in the shoes of others we can better see what someone else is going through. It is a time of reflection. We may not be able to see all of the things in one’s past or future, but we can see a glimpse of the present but only if we take time to try. We tend to surround ourselves with people who make us feel good. I am guilty of this as well. It is human nature to be this way; call it survival, but as a caring humans we need to include others (not to give our egos a boost).

In first grade (going back a ways), there was a girl in my class who wasn’t in my immediate friend group basically because she sat on the other side of the room. One day, not long after we came back from lunch she asked the teacher if she could use the restroom. The teacher reminded her that she had time to go during lunch and if she went ‘now,’ she would have to give up her recess time later. The girl didn’t want to stay in so she tried to wait. Later, a puddle started to form around the girl’s desk. I felt so sorry for her, especially since people were laughing at her. I loved my first grade teacher and through the years I have wondered if there was anything that she could have done to have a better outcome.

When bad things happen, most of us empathize for others while some will say, “Better them than me.” How we treat others matters both publically and privately. What we say also matters. Walking in the shoes of others gives us a chance to see a different perspective. While me may not agree with others, we need to understand where they are in life; what issues they face. Please know that one’s glimpse into another’s life is only as accurate as someone’s willingness to share with you about his or her life. I urge you to find shoes belonging to people that you can walk in, and no, I don’t mean this literally. We all have something to give and we will all need something one day. Understanding helps us do that.

Happy Gardening and may you choose and hewn the tools that make you better individuals no matter what you do in life!

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Part 2 – Good Stewardship

Active listening is part of good stewardship, period. Other traits, talents, and capabilities are needed, but genuinely caring for one another is important. I don’t think one can be a good steward without the ability to hear=listening, and words like selflessness, humility, and selfless love are important in meaning. Not one of is perfect but we must keep trying to be better – and we cannot give up and settle. We have some problems in my church because there are some who put such focus on worship and forget that church is so much more. Someone said it best in an article I read not long ago when they said that as individuals we do fine but as a group we fail. I agree, but do we have to?

My church has an aging member population that has many needs-physical, financial, spiritual, etc. Our women’s group was trying to identify and answer some of those needs because there was a real lacking-a need-a great big whopping HOLE. When I got the courage to raise this issue with some of the leaders, they said someone has to tell them when a need arises. This is true to some extent but I think leaders need to be aware of the members and be in contact with them to know when things arise, when there are problems, and what they can do to give support. It’s called good stewardship. They don’t see this as their job (they said so). Many do not seem to care unless you are there at worship to put money into the pot. I take issue with this! I really do! We should all care for one another especially when families are having difficulties of any sort. And, we should not expect others to do things we are not willing to do.

So, I ask that you reach out to someone today, perhaps someone you haven’t checked on in a while or better yet, someone you have not reached out to in the past even if it is just to say, Hi, how are you doing? but … be prepared for a response and encourage one.

Happy Gardening and may the seeds you sow today yield good fruits for you to reap tomorrow!

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Part 1 – Good stewardship

I hope today is the greatest day for you! I really do! That is a sincere wish from me to you. Lots of people greet others with, “Hi, how are you doing?”, but do they really mean it? There are days at my church where I hear this over and over with barely a breath taken between. So, do we say things we don’t mean? Is it just the ‘right’ thing to say? Why does it matter?

What comes out of our mouths should equal what we are saying with our bodies and minds. I was having a really bad day last year when a leader in my church said, “Hi, how are you doing?” as he was rushing past never pausing to hear my response-and yes, I had one. Later, when I said something about it- that we shouldn’t ask if we don’t expect a response-he said that I should have physically stopped him. Yeah, I’m going to hobble after someone so I can tell him I am having problems? No, I don’t think so especially when I was having trouble standing at the time. This is an example of poor listening though there is more to the story. If we don’t have time to talk (and listen) we should not ask!!!  I don’t like words that are hollow. Mean what you say and say what you mean. And, we need to train ourselves to say nice and positive things and become active listeners even when we don’t really want to or feel that we don’t have time to do so. Life is a jigsaw puzzle but ever changing. We are made to fit together, one piece with another. But, we are living individuals there to support each other.

Note:  This is part 1 of a 3-part series. I hope that your life is blessed in some way by this series of postings ~and~ there may be some delay in my responding on my blog this week, but I’m still here. The family is off well, that’s a given 🙂 – but, no one is working or has school this week.

Happy Gardening and may your listening skills become sharper with age!

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