Coincidence? I Think Not …


 

I RAN INTO A FRIEND, AS IT OFTEN HAPPENS, whilst shopping at Safeway. I haven’t seen her since I was at her house—about a month before I left for my trip to the UK, so it was a delight to find time to chat. Aaannd boy, did we chat! There was so much to talk about.

It wasn’t a chance meeting. Nope. There’s no such thing in God’s world. We were meant to bump into each other. It’s never just a coincidence. There’s always a purpose. Discovering that purpose can be a challenge at times, but I’m never disappointed when I delve deeper to find it. This time, it was easy. In our long conversation, I kept hearing a specific word used again and again—one I felt like I needed to embrace.

Sustain
Suh-steyn
—verb (used with object)
•to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.
•to bear (a burden, charge, etc.).
•to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding.
•to keep (a person, the mind, the spirits, etc.) from giving way, as under trial or affliction.
•to keep up or keep going, as an action or process: to sustain a conversation.

There were at least ten definitions in my iPhone dictionary, but the first five were the point of the discussion my friend and I were having—as in, God sustains us. It was like having a mini-bible study in the middle of a very busy store. It was kinda cool. And a blessing—for both of us.

We all have problems—whether personal, financial, health, or whatever … and we juggle the rest of our life around them. Some of us feel we must “marshal on”, doing the best we can with what we have—and feel the burden is ours alone to carry. We whisper to ourselves, “I can do it myself”. Like my recent ankle injuries … my stupidity (not paying attention to my surroundings, so I twisted my ankle and fell), my problem—right? “I’ll manage.”

Then, there are those that know from the get-go that they have someone very special they can draw upon—dare I say lean upon—to help them get through any situation. Not unlike each time my husband was rushed by ambulance to the ER. I never hesitated—I wanted Him to be in control of the situation, so I prayed. And gave the entire situation to Him.

Personally—and usually without realising it, I see-saw back and forth between those two very real “attitudes”—and sometimes somewhere in between. In most cases, it finally dawns on me and I eventually hand it over to Him—but not always (and sometimes I steal it back …). He waits—waits for me to realise he will gladly take the burden and carry me through. He wants to sustain me. But, I must remember to ask—to willingly give it to Him; to turn over the problem to Him. Until I do, I’m literally on my own.

Perhaps, by remembering that phrase—”He will sustain me”—making it a mantra until it is ingrained in my mind, then it will be second nature to give all of my problems to him in the first place and not waste a lot of unproductive time trying to do it by myself. This is a good week to practice, that’s for sure. I’m juggling way too many things, and in the process, some of the “balls” have been dropped, creating a poorer-quality than desired result. I didn’t give it to God … <insert severe eye-roll> … when will I learn?

Two events loom—Friday night (tonight!) and Saturday—and I am ill-prepared. It’s never too late to ask for help, but I must also be prepared to take on the consequences of my fumbling. I am willing. The events will go well, just not as well as I envisioned, God willing.

Have an amazing Friday and weekend … and may you find a balance between “doing it myself” and giving it up to that higher power in your life. May it be a blessed week … and if you are local and have time, please do drop by one or both events:

Open Ground Studios: Making Our Mark
1230 Fremont Blvd, Seaside
Friday, September 21  5:30-7:30pm
Artist collective group exhibition. Featured work by:
Alyssa Endo
Bonnie Rose
Cindy Davis
Deb Burke
Denese Sanders
Dora Lisa Rosenbaum
Helen Sakkaris
Koko (Donna) Kooyman
Kristin Peterson Guertin
Linda Lay
Noriko Constant
Paul Richmond
Renata Carettoni Abma
Susie Berteaux
Terese Garcia
Yvonne Gorman

Book Signing and Art at Gilroy Sidewalk Sale and Craft Fair
Downtown Gilroy on 5th Street between Monterey & Eigleberry Streets
Saturday, September 22nd. 10am to 4pm
Books • Art • Crafts
 Authors dj jameson smith and Joyce Oroz will be participating in the craft fair portion of this event. They will have their fantasy and cozy mystery book series available for purchase. Joyce Oroz has a new children’s book available—and she just finished another mystery (location is in Gilroy and Morgan Hill), which will be available very soon—find out details on Saturday. Author dj jameson smith will also be wearing her Painterly hat on Saturday and will have photographic and photopolymer prints on display, along with blank photo note cards—all for sale.
Come join the fun, poke around all the booths along 5th Street—we’re sure you’ll find something to your liking.
Event is free; family friendly.

More?

[This little gem was gleaned from a Note post I made on my personal Facebook page August, 2013. Because it’s still applicable, I’ve only made a few minor changes, then expounded upon it. Enjoy.]

SIGH. TODAY IS ONE OF THOSE ‘MORE‘ DAYS. You know the kind I mean.

When I woke up, I felt like I needed more sleep; after consuming a 6-cup pot of coffee, I felt like I still needed more coffee. My “energy” in a cup. After my shower (and nearly draining the hot water in the tank), I felt like I needed more time under the hot shower … and then a massage!

So, what do you do on those kinds of days? Many times, I’ll make another pot of coffee, or crawl back under the covers in an attempt to reclaim some lost sleep … but today, I think I’ll do something different.

Instead of more sleep, I’m going to exercise. Crazy, right? Reports say it gives you more energy. We’ll see …

More coffee? Nope, I’m going to stick with herbal tea and lots of water.

A hot tub would be nice, but aside from the obvious fact that it is prohibitively expensive, that would mean far more work than I’d like—just to maintain it. Instead, I opt for layers of nice snugly-warm ‘comfort’ clothes for both body & mind as I work on the last bit of my manuscript before submitting and preparing for the next phase.

Since I wrote this, back in August of 2013, a lot has happened. With these philosophical changes and new mind-sets, I managed to lost weight, became less dependent on coffee … or even tea (the herbal tea kick didn’t last long—nice black breakfast tea from Ireland for me, thank you very much) except on days where I still don’t get much sleep and need to get moving right away (then I need only one cups of tea—or coffee—to get my engine going). I fell in love with walking again—lots of walking—and finished my first … then my second book. And the third is nearly ready to publish plus now I’m working on the fourth in the series. Wheee!

In 2014, I managed a seriously walking-heavy trip (groan—but it was awesome!) in Wales, Ireland and the UK and am now planning for another trip to Scotland and England (to include a group trip to Cornwall, which will most likely be another walk-heavy adventure) and a maybe for including Ireland and N. Ireland) for 2016. I did gain a little bit of the weight back over the holidays—oh, bother—but I’m attacking it with proper diet and it’s on the downswing once again with walking. I got out of the habit over the holidays and it’s taken six months to get my act together. I’ll be rarin’ to go for next year’s trip—just you wait and see! I can hardly wait! Most of my trip is still in the planning stages, but I’m excited already.

I still think about the hot tub when my thyroid battles with my immune system (hmm … maybe that’s supposed to be the other way around) when I feel like I’m living at the arctic circle (when in fact, it’s reasonable weather). But for now, I’m enjoying the summer weather—next few days are supposed to be nice and warm. I didn’t used to like warm—or hot … but as I get even older, and with my wacked thyroid, I certainly do like the warmer climes.

Now, instead of overdoing, I’m learning to moderate. Well (as I think back on yesterday’s activities), most of the time at least. You’d think I’d have learned that lesson long ago. Ha! Moderating the food I consume (it allows me to have things that would be taboo if I Ate-The-Whole-Thing …), and after I did something to my ankle (insert very grumpy face), I’m reminded to not go the “all-or-nothing” route when I walk. Slowly build up my time and distance serves me much better. Now if I can only remember that one, I’d be good to go …

All of these things are so basic and easy, yet for some (me … raises hand energetically) it is so easy to forget. Plowing ahead without thinking. Enjoying life a wee bit too much … without thinking about the consequences. Sigh.

I do love my life with all of the complexities I’ve created within it. With all the complexities God has provided for me. With all of the beauty, great and small, natural and man-made that surrounds me. I cannot get enough of it. Despite my needing more of this and that now and then, really … what more could I ask for?

How about you?

 

Movement

WHAT IS MOVEMENT? THE DICTIONARY has plenty to say about it: (noun) 1) an act of changing physical location or position or of having this changed; the general activity or bustle of people or things; in a particular place; the progressive development of a poem or story; a change or development in something; the quality of suggesting motion in a work of art; 2) a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas 3) music a principal division of a longer musical work, self-sufficient in terms of key, tempo, and structure; 4) the moving parts of a mechanism, esp. a clock or watch.

When I think of movement, the first thing that comes to mind is everything in nature surrounding me: the breezes create a rustling movement in the trees; wave action in the fields of grass and on the oceans; breezes catch hold of tops of waves, creating the brushed effects of tiny droplets of salty water misting up and away. The magical shooting stars as they flash across the sky, dissolving into nothing; the slow, ever changing sunrises and sunsets; the graceful gait of a deer loping across the field; the scurrying of squirrels, hopping from tree branch to branch; the birds soaring along the unseen currents in the air. (Have you ever seen a bird in flight, in slow motion—any bird, whether the tiny hummingbird or majestic condor? To watch the intricacies of their movement is amazing. Truly amazing.)

It’s all God’s handiwork, things that are pleasing to our eye, for us to delight in.

There are other ways to look at movement.

We humans do a pretty good job, lumbering along on our two feet. I’ve seen footage of runners in slow motion, of vaulters and other athletes as they perform. Dancers preforming as they float across their stage. When you realize what is involved in forward motion, it is pretty amazing that we are able to put one foot in front of the other. Really.

Where movement for most is a rather mundane, ordinary daily occurrence, there are some that struggle with that seemingly simple task because of physical disabilities. Disabilities that cause pain with movement. Disabilities caused by unresponsive limbs, due to nerve damage and disease.

I have discovered over the course of this last year, that an amazingly high number of my friends on Facebook are dealing with some pretty severe issues with pain and other health issues. It has put my pain problems into perspective. Seriously humbling me. Keeping me from complaining (most of the time). Feeling blessed that I can and still do so much (yes, my body talks to me during and/or afterwards, but I can do plenty of things to keep mobile) without having to pump my body with medications beyond Tylenol and an occasional Aleve to function, or require mechanical devices to move me. For me, movement is a good thing—it may hurt (sometimes more than I’d like to admit), but osteoarthritis needs movement to keep the joints from locking up. I thank God that I am still self-sufficient, capable of doing so much. I am blessed that there are so many more good days to bad days. And I pray for those of my friends less fortunate than I am, for them to garner all they need to get themselves through their days.

It’s easy to ‘not see’ many of these sometimes invisible or semi-invisible disabilities, to discount or become impatient or irritated with individuals that may not be moving quite a fast as the average person—unable to keep up with a group, or they might be a bit grumpy at times (but nobody is perfect)…or perhaps even ignore those that are obviously incapacitated in some way because it is uncomfortable to watch or see.

Personally, I root for those with disabilities. It takes a strong person to move forward in life, making each day count while dealing with their personal obstacles.

It’s way too easy to have a “poor-me” attitude. I discovered this early on in life. In my junior year of high school, I had a friend that was blind and another friend that was deaf. This concept of ‘disability’ was all very new to me. At previous schools I’d attended, individuals with disabilities were “hidden” from the mainstream student body. At this mid-west school (and as an adult, I applaud their progressive stance in the 1960’s), disabilities were not hidden—but I digress…that’s a story unto its self.

Blind from birth, my friend was a very capable young lady. She didn’t let being blind get in the way of learning, getting through her daily life or making friends. Once, when we went to a concert to celebrate my birthday to see Paul Revere and the Raiders—now, I’m really dating myself, I didn’t think twice about inviting Jan. It turns out she had more fun than any of us because she was able to just sit back and listened—taking in the incredible music, while we were distracted as we all jockeyed to see the musicians over the people in front of us. The funny thing is, we were up in the nose-bleed seats, so we couldn’t see much anyway.

My other friend’s deafness, I discovered quickly, was her crutch. Though not completely deaf, when she did poorly in her studies, she complained she couldn’t understand or see what was on the board, that the teachers kept turning so she couldn’t read lips. Complaining instead of trying to find solutions so she could do better. (Before you rag on me about the fact that the teachers should have done more—yes, they could have, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make.)

I loved them both, supported both, and have learned some valuable lessons from all of my friends, (past and present, both on and off of the internet): taking life as it is served up (with all the ups and downs) and making the best I can with what I’ve been dealt. Enjoy what I have, not complaining about what could or should be. Be an inspiration to others. Help others when and however I can. Loving and accepting people where they are now in their journey.

Count my blessings. Praise God. Celebrate life.

How do you want to spend your life?

Until next time, may your life be full and blessed.