Bloganuary 25

Bloganuary 25 – Write about what makes you feel strong

What makes me feel strong? My first thought was something like finishing a nice afternoon 5K run in the heat of the summer, sweating, breathing heavy, feeling good that I did it, happy with my time.

My second thought was along the lines of a full day of work out in the far backyard area, clearing honeysuckle and dead branches, mowing the grass, restacking piles of firewood, burning brush, working on fence projects, trimming and edging around trees. That’s the kind of day where you break a sweat, use your muscles, even muscles you didn’t know you had (or don’t use very often). Then you look out at your yard in the evening and see the accomplishment, the finished product of your sweaty work that day.

Those are physical things that make me strong. I started to think of whether there’s anything mental or maybe emotional that makes me feel strong. I know problem-solving and working through some detailed project at work that requires a lot of concentration makes me feel smart or accomplished, but not necessarily strong. I think I associated the word ‘strong’ more with physical strength than mental or emotional. Even when tested emotionally or mentally, if I keep myself composed and react appropriately, I don’t naturally think of that as a strength thing.

How interesting. Interesting that I connect strength to physical more than mental or emotional aspects. But mental and emotional strength or toughness are also very important qualities. Maybe I need to develop some more ‘noticing’ of areas where I’m strengthening my mental or emotional muscles.

Is strength discipline? Does strength grow discipline? Or does increasing discipline grow strength? I think creating or growing your discipline in an area is going to grow and increase your strength in that area. Like working on muscle groups. If you have consistency, a key part of discipline, and you work certain muscle groups regularly, then you are going to have improvements, increased strength in that area.

Always a work in progress, we humans are.

I hope you find some bit of joy today, something that makes you pause or smile or chuckle to yourself.

With Peace and Joy.

Monday thoughts

I get emails from Chrystal Evans Hurst regularly, news about her podcast, newsletters, events, and things she’s hosting or doing. If you don’t know her, you might recognize her dad, Dr. Tony Evans, a well-known Christian pastor, speaker, author, and founder and senior pastor at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. Chrystal is great – she offers down-to-earth advice and guidance for living a good life full of faith and love. She encourages people and does it in the kindest way, not turning her nose down to anyone. She’s pretty awesome, and I imagine she is a great friend to everyone she meets.

I know Chrystal has many quotes credited to her. But this message, these sentences from her latest email really resonated with me, and I am treating the whole thing as a quote from her. It’s that good:

Every moment of every day brings a fresh beginning and another opportunity to start fresh. So don’t give up on the goals and dreams God has placed on your heart, okay?

Haven’t accomplished everything you set out to do today? That’s okay. Any day can be Day One! With each new day God gives you, choose to move forward and press on as you pursue Him and all that He has for you.

It’s 2022, my friend. Give yourself some grace! It’s been a rough patch the last couple of years. Today and the rest of this year, you have the awesome opportunity to choose to really live, truly learn, and intentionally love your life.

Chrystal Evans Hurst

It’s been a rough couple of years. Amen. There’s been lots of heavy things to carry. And reading this earlier this morning made me feel a little glimpse of rest or ease or resetting.

I’m also recalling a line from Adele’s new song, ‘Easy on Me.’ That phrase ‘Go Easy on Me’ should really be ‘Go Easy on Yourself, take care of yourself, take a rest, it’s OK, it’s going to be OK.’

One of my quotes right now is from Ram Dass, ‘We’re all just walking each other home.’ Life is this journey and we are all headed in the same direction, home. And we can help each other a little along the way, with some kindness, sharing food or love, carrying a load for someone to give them a break.

I hope you find some joy in your world today. Maybe it’s a smile, a sunrise, a sunset, some birds singing outside your window, some crazy early daffodils that are confused about Spring and Winter. Whatever it is, pause a moment and take note of it.

This is my small attempt at writing for the day, blogging in January – #bloganuary for WordPress. I’m starting small, so I have lots of room to grow from here on out.

thinking lately

Update: I started this post back on July 9, 2021, and went back to re-read it.

(7/9/2021) Here’s what I’ve been thinking lately: I’ve been eating way too many carbs! Mostly because we have had too many carbs (cookies, cake, frosting, etc) in the house. Usually I can walk by it and not give in to the temptation. And certainly, if we don’t buy it and don’t keep it in the house, then it’s much easier for me to NOT eat it. And ice cream – lately, for some reason, I’ve had a taste for ice cream. Maybe it’s the summer heat. I’m not sure. But, I have had more ice cream ‘treats’ (small bowls in the evening before bedtime) in the last few weeks than I’ve had in the last 5 years combined.

So, that needs to stop. I know I don’t need the extra carbs. I’m not even hungry. I just want ‘a little something’ which turns out to be 200-500 extra empty calories…

But I think there’s something underneath my extra snacking. It’s some combination of boredom and fear. We are slowly becoming ’empty nesters’ as my daughter is slowly moving more and more of her stuff out and gradually moving in with her boyfriend. Which is OK. There’s no big, logical reason why she shouldn’t. Except that she’s my baby girl. She’s always been here in the house, part of the comings and goings, part of the action. Who also happens to be 21 and graduated college a few months ago.

So, where does that put me? What’s the next chapter or season look like for me?


Back to present, 11/18/2021: That blog post I started back in July is pretty much exactly the same as today! I am still struggling with eating too much sugar, and too many extra treats that I don’t need. And still wondering what the next chapter or season looks like.

Today I have run across Mary Oliver’s famous quote ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do, with your one wild and precious life?’ TWICE! The first is an article from the Good Trade ‘What if I Never Do Anything Prolific?’ And then second is from a video that focused on Creativity. So what is my intuition telling me about this? Still thinking on this a bit.

From the article on The Good Trade, Henah Velez writes:

“That excerpt from The Summer Day about our “wild and precious life”? It’s a great one, popular for a reason. But we never see the earlier lines, which read: “I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?”

Oliver wasn’t telling us to live our biggest, most aspirational lives; she was reminding us to slow down, to see the beauty in the everyday, to be present and observant, and to focus on what’s most worthwhile—because life is fleeting.” 

I so appreciate the context of that quote now! I think it’s pointing us to the ‘now’ and living each day as if it’s the only one. Mary Oliver is telling us to find the Joy and the Beauty in the everyday things, live in the present, and be the best me I can be today.

I may still eat too much sugar today, but I will try to eat less than I did last week, and maybe skip the ice cream. 🙂 I am a somebody, and I’m going to strive to be the best me I can.

And I want to encourage you to be your best too. Make one small choice or take one small step today towards being your best.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

100%

I have been noticing my phone battery a lot lately. That little number that tells me how much charge is left in the battery, how much talk time and screen time I have left. I notice my Fitbit watch battery a lot too. I want it to be at a substantial charge before I go out for a run so that it can track my steps and distance.

If I don’t pay attention to those numbers, how much battery is left, then I could find myself with a dead Fitbit halfway through my run. Does it even count then, if the Fitbit didn’t track the whole thing? 🙂

If I let my phone battery get too low, then I risk it running out completely and not having a means of communication if I’m out shopping or driving somewhere. I don’t think I have ever just let my phone run down to 0% on accident. I keep a close eye on it. Is it at 34%? How long will that last me? Until the evening? Am I going out, should it be charged up more? I feel like I want a bit of cushion with the charge. I don’t want to go out for the evening at 26% and then be worried about my phone running down to 0% before I get back home. When I’m traveling, I’m even more watchful. The airports have little charging stations scattered throughout. And the chairs at the gates have all been adapted to have electrical outlets, so you could charge up there too. Most cars nowadays have USB plugs built right in, for convenient charging on the go.

So I find myself making sure to plug my phone in during the day and give it time to charge up completely. I’ll plug my Fitbit in at lunch, so it will be fully charged and ready for my after-work run.

And all of this thinking about charging my phone, and my Fitbit, and even my laptop has made me think about me. What kind of recharging do I need for my batteries? How long does my energy last without the proper recharging like sleep and food and water? If we go and go and go like the Energizer bunny, then eventually our batteries run down. And we won’t be able to give our best to the world. We won’t be able to concentrate and do all the mental things we do all day. When we are run down and low on energy, our immune system is weakened, and we are more at risk for illnesses.

Sleep and naps and rest are so important. Healthy food, fresh air, plenty of water. All of these are important and critical ways to recharge our batteries and keep our bodies functioning efficiently.

And in the darker season of the winter months, more rest makes sense. It’s a time for the ground to rest before the spring planting season. It’s a time of hibernation for some animals.

This well-known Bible verse, Matthew 11:28-30, talks about rest too:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” –New International Version

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” –The Message Version

I included the Message Version because I like the relational language and the reference to the ‘unforced rhythms of grace.’ That sounds like being in the gentle flow of life, resting as needed.

Wishing you some extra naps and good sleep and rejuvenating rest in this season. Take care!