Discouraging words?

“Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day”

After a modified Christmas, we ventured towards Billings, MT. We planned a tour of the college over the break. We saw lots of deer and antelope playing on the way. There were a few discouraging words from the back seat (ha ha). A tour of the town and driving through campus in person is much different from what you can see on a web site. It’s difficult to get a true picture of size, cleanliness, safety and over all feel of the college (and town) from the pretty pictures on the web site.

As long as we are this far west, what else should we see? This sparked a conversation that led to a last minute trip 2 hours west to Bozeman and a campus tour. The town is beautiful, the campus was larger and he really seemed to like the area.

Do you remember deciding what you wanted to do after high school? I do. I changed my mind and my major several times. I changed colleges twice. I heard several discouraging words. My high school guidance counselor said I should not go to a technical school for radiology tech because my grades were too high. I was told I couldn’t be a physical therapist because I got a B my freshman year. I thought of becoming a counselor until I was a resident assistant in the dorms. I ended up with a Mass Communication degree but scheduling and planning manufacturing production lines.

It’s a balance between finding what you love to do and being open to other options. Allowing your kids to be able to spread their wings is one of the most wonderful and frightening moments all at the same time. As we toured the campus, they had a statue of a bobcat named “Spirit.” Surrounded by snow capped mountains, it seemed so peaceful. And, as “cheesy” as it sounds, I knew the spirit would always be with him. I hope he listens to the nudges from spirit as he navigates adulthood. I’ll try to limit my discouraging words.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. May you seldom have discouraging words as we head into 2021.

Missing pieces?

2020 is certainly a year unlike any other. It will likely be one of those moments in time you will remember. Similar to the Space shuttle explosion, JFK being shot or 911 attacks, people remember where they were or what they were doing at the time. Except this was more than just a moment in time, it was a whole year. With 18 million Covid cases in the US, you likely know someone who has contracted it by now. It’s changed almost everyone’s life in one way or another.

As we approach Christmas, you may feel like you’re missing some puzzle pieces. You may be missing a tradition, an event, a gathering, a trip or even a family member. My youngest son has a bunch of Christmas/holiday suits and he normally loves to wear them all month long. This year they remain in a tote. Our big group holiday baking day was replaced with individual baking day(s), not quite the same. We don’t have a Christmas program or a winter concert. Our whole family won’t be together for the first time in several years. When we were in college and first married, we had to work over Christmas, and had to celebrate at a different time. It seemed like no big deal. Now the lack of control makes it feel more difficult.

The very first Christmas was simple. It was small. There were no fancy Christmas outfits, no big buffet meals… just a young couple and a baby, some livestock and shepherds. Maybe this year is our reminder to keep it simple… to think back to the true meaning of Christmas. I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, but if you do, Christ’s birth should be top of the list. I like the Gospel of Luke.

Luke chapter 8: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

I can’t imagine this happening today, can you? I can believe the “no room in the Inn” part happening today, but if someone said , “Hey, follow me to see the son of God.”… I’m guessing some people would pause. Maybe that’s the piece we need to put back together. The Christ in Christmas. Or if you aren’t a believer, maybe Hope and Peace are your missing pieces.

Whatever your missing piece, the love of Christ can always fit in. I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Merry Christmas & happy holidays!

What if?

Butterscotch posing for a picture with her new scarf

So you’re probably sick of me writing about being in a “funk”… but honestly, am I the only one? Probably not. What do you do when you’re in a bad mood or just out of sorts? I am not great at remembering, but being outside AND smiling really help me. So today, at lunch, I went out to visit with my ladies and tried some scarves on them. They weren’t big fans. Only two had them on, and honestly not for that long. But I gave them treats & told them they were good chickens.

Sometimes we need to look within. What if we just loved ourselves? What if we stopped the internal chatter that is so mean, we would never say it to another human? (Although I think some people on social media really would say this) What if we looked in the mirror and said, “I love your curly hair,” or “Your eyes are beautiful.”? What if…

  • What if we appreciated the laugh lines because it means we laughed a lot?
  • What if we appreciated our grey hair because it means we got to spend a bunch of years on earth?
  • What if we were thankful for the toothpaste in the sink & the inside out socks on the floor because it means we aren’t alone?
  • What if we were thankful for smelly teen clothes because we knew we won’t always have them around?
  • What if we paused and took a deep breath because it reminds us to be present & thankful for life?
  • What if we were thankful for for rain because it brings rainbows and nourishes the soil?
  • What if we looked people in the eye when we checked out at the store because it would let them feel “seen?”
  • What if we stopped expecting pastors & teachers to be perfect and realized they are normal people like us?
  • What if we stopped waiting for “someday” because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow?

I’m just as guilty of these as anyone else. I’m too hard on myself, too shy to look people in the eyes and too self absorbed to notice things around me. None of us are perfect. We aren’t meant to be.

Many of our kids are distant learning or partially distant. Many of them are struggling, missing their friends and the stability that school brings to their life. Many of our teachers are working in person and remotely or having students with a combination of the two (while trying to care for their own family.) Many of our health care workers are stretched thin, worn out and tired. Many of our small businesses are struggling to get by. There is a lot of crud & struggles & mess, but I don’t believe we are doomed.

What if we found the thing that makes us smile, and did that? What if we showed love to ourselves so we can fully love others? Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup… it is especially important to remember that around the holidays. I wish you peace on your journey of enough. May you have some “chickens in scarves” moments to brighten your day. Hang in there!

So close…

Ever feel like this pool ball? So close… just on the edge, but not quite there? Sometimes are aren’t ready yet. Sometimes we don’t feel safe. Sometimes we need support in order to make that last push forward. Just a small tap to get to your goal. New year’s is just around the corner and I’m not ready for more goal setting.

Somehow, it’s already December. Calling it a strange year is a monumental understatement. I’ve run through a variety of emotions, sometimes all on the same day. I have been the highest weight ever and have shed 20 lbs. I frequently have no idea what day it is, and I really want a vacation. I sent out some Christmas cards, but I haven’t done much baking. I put my tree up much earlier than normal. I grew to love yoga pants. We had a successful farmers market, despite a late start and obvious challenges. We planted earlier than we have in many years. We got rid of our roosters, but our hens are doing well. I was able to go to Texas in February and the rest of the year’s trips were canceled, postponed or modified. I sewed hundreds of masks. I baked more pies than ever before. I have a senior in high school and an 8th grader. We are managing through distant learning, then hybrid, then distant learning all while working from home (and then not, and then home again.) Oh and figure out what the senior will do after school. We’ve seen people come together and people more divided.

Did that seem random? Yep, that’s how the year has been. Celebrated 5 years cancer free, but learned of my dad’s cancer diagnosis and diagnosis of a friend of mine. Celebrated 25 years of marriage but couldn’t really celebrate. Some days I tried to work on personal growth and other days I was just trying to get by. Even though it’s early December, I feel like the New Year’s resolution time will be here before we know it… or maybe it will seem to take forever.

I frequently feel like the pool ball… On the edge of “ok” or not ok. Anyone else? I think we will all remember 2020. Nothing is normal and so much has changed. I still have a lot to be thankful for. I try to focus on those things when it feels like I’m walking uphill in quicksand.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Just keep in mind… someone else may be having a “pool ball” kind of day. Show them some grace- you don’t know what they are going through. If you are having a pool ball kind of day yourself, hang in there. You have a purpose & you are loved.