Tag Archives: God

God Has Confidence in Me

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about minding my own business. It was called Keeping My Spoon in My Own Bowl. Since then, a few more things have happened that have me scratching my head in wonder.

I’m not sure if it’s this long winter and the toll it is taking on me or others, but honestly, I’m feeling like I need a long vacation. I seem to be ticking people off and not in a good way. It’s been a very trying couple of weeks.

So what do you do when your words or actions are fodder to the fire to another person? I know what I used to do. Admit to nothing, deny everything and counter accuse. I literally could do no wrong. Never looking at my own part in any conflict used to be the norm, even when I might have had that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

What is the difference now? When I upset someone, even if I mean no malice or ill will, I will apologize. If I feel truly in my heart I did no wrong, I will still say “I”m sorry” if someone takes what I did as a personal attack. With this action, I pay attention to my side of the street. I keep it clean.

I do this because I know deep down, God has confidence in me. If there is a lesson to be learned, then let me learn it. Perhaps I am being used as an instrument for someone else’s lesson. Whatever the reason, my soul is restored through honesty and the willingness to look at the log in my eye instead of the splinter in everyone else’s.

The maladies I caused myself by my own past thinking, stinking thinking as I like to call it, were numerous. Sore back, restlessness, discontent, sleeping problems, irritability. It was because my slate was not clean. I carried around burdens and behaviors that I didn’t know how to get rid of. Only through deep introspection and revelation to trusted individuals were these burdens removed. And then apologies doled out, the sweet antidote to my troubled ego.

I fight this of course. Don’t think I go around apologizing and then feeling all cozy and warm. My head fights with me, I chastise myself for getting into situations and not thinking more clearly. But, who is to say that my challenges were not exactly as God planned them? Maybe they were meant that way for a reason.

DSC_0036So I keep plodding along, putting one foot in front of the other, waiting for spring, waiting for the promise of renewal. I will watch for the snow drops soon; they will begin to come up in my back yard. I embrace the sunrise and the sunset because that gets me closer to the beauty of a new season, a fresh start. I go easy on myself because deep down, I am keeping the faith.

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Keeping My Spoon in My Own Bowl

Bowl Stack

Hence, in this life we shall attain nothing like perfect humility and love. So we shall have to settle, respecting most of our problems, for a very gradual progress, punctuated sometimes by heavy setbacks. Our oldtime attitude of all or nothing will have to be abandoned. Grapevine 1962

So as usual, God has an interesting way of teaching me a good lesson in humility.

Something I did recently, with no harm intended, triggered a domino effect of major proportions. This has served as a reminder to me that a desire for control will sometimes present itself in the most creative ways. And sadly, an issue that could have been solved in a quiet and kind way, ended up bruising my ego and yes I admit, my heart.

I am surviving this by remembering what an old friend taught me years ago. I need to keep my spoon in my own bowl. It is a hard thing to do but truly I think, therein lies the secret to serenity.

When I have my spoon in my own bowl, I cannot pay attention to what is going on in other people’s bowls. Minding my own business becomes easier. It helps me set boundaries and parameters that keep my head in line with my heart. I remind myself, “What other folks do, or think of me is really none of my business.” My own mental health becomes a number one priority.

Bowl SingleYears ago, I had a terrible falling out with a close friend. She was under a lot of stress and one day, called to read me the riot act for a good 5-10 minutes over something I did. During the course of the conversation, she continued to berate me even though I apologized several times. I almost hung up on her but out of respect for our long friendship, I held on until the end.

It took a week or two but I sent her a card. I thanked her for her honesty. I tried to think of that note as act of humility, not a humiliating act.

Our friendship suffered greatly because of this incident. Eventually, I let go of the pain. I didn’t spread any gossip nor did I try and get other friends to take sides. That would have been the easy road. I could have avoided our whole group of friends so I wouldn’t see her. But I was not about to give up my other friends because of what had happened. I continued to show up at get togethers. I just kept my distance from my old friend.

Years later, it was she who reached out to repair our relationship. I welcomed her with open arms. We are dear friends again and I would do just about anything for her.

While driving home today a thought crossed my mind. Could my own humility be a God lesson to someone else? Is it possible that in my own self centeredness, I fail to stop and consider what someone else might learn in a challenging situation? Who knows? I try not to really think about it because after all, my spoon is in my own bowl.

Bowl Multiples with Red Vase

(all photos by me and my lovely Android cell phone!)

How do you practice humility?

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Make A Joyful Noise

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Beside them the birds of heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. Psalm 104:12

The holiday season is upon us and though it seems the nature world is quiet, it is really not. Birds are still singing and deer are crunching along on the snow covered spots in my backyard.

I’m not a big fan of winter but this year it doesn’t seem to be bothering me. After the past few years of hot flashes, the coldness is a welcome relief and my sleep has been deep and comforting. This is something to be thankful for.

I bought a big bag of birdseed and when it snowed last week, I fed the birds from my backyard feeder. They put on a show for me and I am comforted by their presence. I think their colors are a beautiful backdrop to white snow.

DSC_0666Something interesting happened on Monday. I am reading a book that I will be reviewing, and it mentioned sending an “intention” out (more on this when I write the actual review!). So I did. I don’t even remember what the intention was, but it had something to do with my wedding planning business.

That night, I had a dream about a bride and a wedding. I did not recognize the bride but she was lovely. In the dream I was a part of her wedding. The next day (I kid you not) I received an email from a young woman, asking me to assist her with her wedding.

I have no idea if it was the intention or the timing or maybe a little bit of both. Perhaps it is just faith. I am approaching this business, my event planning business, from an entirely new position. Years ago, I was fairly aggressive when I was self employed. Things were good; I was successful and happy. This time, I am determined not to be a bothersome pest. I believe that if someone needs me, God will put me in their path.

JOYLast Christmas, you may remember that I received a word at a gathering of friends. That word was JOY. I have to tell you, it has been a joyous year despite many challenges, including my mother’s illness and my departure from full time employment. I kept JOY in mind all the year through and I am grateful for the many blessings I have received.

I hope you are living joyfully! How have you been?

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What I Am Grateful For

Pine Trees Winter 2013

Pine Trees Winter 2013

Here it is- the first big snow of the season. Today is Thanksgiving in the USA and the Northeast is in the grips of some pretty cold weather. Thankfully, I am not traveling. I am the chef du jour, making most of the gratitude dinner with a little help from my friends.

My mom has been with me for a few days. I gave her a lecture a month or so ago about snow. If we are expecting any big accumulations I said, you have to come over. She didn’t argue with me when I told her Monday morning I was coming to pick her up.

So she and I have been spending some quality time together. I decided to put up my Christmas tree on Tuesday because I had a whole free day (and it snowed all day!) and those little lights just bring a lift to my heart. The nativity set went underneath right away. I have to keep in mind the reason for the season.

Region 1 DVD cover

Region 1 DVD cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We indulged in a whole recliner session of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It occurred to me how Rudolph was bullied- no playing with the others in reindeer games, all because of that red nose. I seriously shed a tear when the program was over and Santa said “Merry Christmas!” from his sky high sleigh.

So as I think about Thanksgiving, there are many things I have to be grateful for. I wanted to share my list with you and I’d love if you’d leave a comment and tell me what you’re most grateful for.

1. Family- Where would I be without them? My husband Jim, my kids Michelene and John, my grandson Gavin, Gavin’s dad Jonathan, my mom Katherine, sisters Mary and Cally and their beautiful partners Starr and Raymond. Jim’s family and both our extended families. My beautiful yellow lab Jordan. They are my greatest treasures.

2. Friends- Oh they have seen me through some troubling times. As has my family but my closest friends are privy to my thoughts, words and deeds of high and low. I owe my salvation to my recovery friends and their infinite wisdom on life and teachings on practicing these principles in all my affairs.

3. Faith- Deep as the ocean, infinite as the sky, my love for God only grows and grows each day. I realize how walking a spiritual path has changed everything. It makes me understand that I am not in control and God is.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! If you are alone, give me or a close friend of yours a call. We should all be together on Thanksgiving.

I wish you a happy Thanksgiving of great blessings! Tell me, what are you grateful for?

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I Love What You Are Doing

Beautiful Things Grow from Fertile Ground

Beautiful Things Grow from Fertile Ground

“I will be generous with my love today. I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go. I will do this knowing that my words are like seeds and when they fall on fertile soil, a reflection of those seeds will grow into something greater.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

I made a couple of small speeches over the weekend. Nothing big. I had prepared for them, written them myself and got through both events with a little help from above.

Apparently my words touched a few people because I got some really good, squeezy hugs from my friends. And one of my dearest friends actually crossed a room to get to me. He made my day when he told me how much what I said meant to him.

I can sometimes tell exactly where people are in their mental and emotional state just by how many compliments they give. People who are not in a good place will likely not give compliments. How do I know this? I was one of those people.

When I was jealous, I did not give compliments. When I was stressed and overworked, I did not want to see someone else full of spirituality and grace. This actually would tick me off. How dare they be in such a good place when my life was such a challenge?

What I realized is the path into the light includes compliments. You just can’t get around it. When I look at others through my spiritual lenses, they are a child of God. I see their attributes, not necessarily their faults. If I see their faults, they are masked by the person’s own hidden potential.

And so I compliment. Nothing phony. The real thing. You look lovely today. I love what you are doing- you are an instrument of God’s great love. When I say it I mean it.

And, I try and be a good compliment taker. In other words, when you compliment me I will hopefully say thank you. I will smile at you. You will probably make my day.

What kind of person do I want to be? I want to be the kind of person who is happy for others. For what they have accomplished and what they feel good about. I want to take those good points and bring them out into the light. There they will gather speed and bring more good light into the world.

“You are the Light of the World” Matthew 4: 14-16

(Pay a compliment to someone today!)

How do you feel about compliments? How do you feel when someone compliments you?

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Everything I Own Has Alittle Bit of Doghair On It

 

Our favorite dog Ms. Jordan

Our favorite dog Ms. Jordan

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
Josh Billings

I put a jacket on the other day and there it was. Golden yellow flecks of dog hair.

I put a pair of black pants on to go to a special event- there it was again, more dog hair.

Everything I own has alittle bit of doghair on it.

Do I say with this impatience, aggravation or anger? No. As a matter of fact, I have complete and total acceptance of dog hair.

Our yellow lab Jordan is a member of our family. We have had her now for eight years and it seems like she has been with us always. I try and remember life without her and it just doesn’t seem the same.

My daughter found Jordan (or Jordan found her) when she went to pick up her son one day at his father’s house. Michelene said when she came back out to the car, Jordan was sitting next to the car wheel smiling as if to say “Here I am! What are we doing next!?”

Thank goodness Michelene had the nerve to go to Jordan’s house of origin and ask if she was available for adoption. The family said “Hold on a minute” and came back and said “You can take her.”

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I fell instantly in love when I saw Jordan. Lab pups are too cute and the bond between Jordan and us was immediate. We had a border collie at that time too. I don’t think Lucky was initally excited about another competitor in the house. Thankfully he got used to it and they played like brother and sister.

Chicken PictureJordan is outside most of the day and is our official “protector of the chickens.” That is, we have a coop with twelve chickens and she protects them from hawks and wildlife. In the late afternoon we let the chicks out to roam. Jordan is ever watchful, ever vigilant. For her devotion, she gets a fresh egg reward.

To watch Jordan eat an egg is like being a witness to a spiritual experience. She handles it like glass. Gently taking it in her mouth, she lays it down on the ground. How she cracks it open so perfectly I don’t know. When she licks the egg out you know she is savoring it. Finally, she eats the shell and finishes the treat.

If anyone raises their voice at our house alittle too loudly, Jordan walks over and nudges them. She is uncomfortable with upset people, us or guests, and she has become an emotional baromater for our household. Get alittle too excited and Jordan will gently touch you and make you calm the heck down.

Are you worried about something? Jordan will come and look at you with her big eyes, silently requesting a head scratch or belly rub. By the time you are done, your problem will not seem so big.

I consider Jordan one of the most precious gifts in my life. She keeps me company when Jim works a long shift. It is just me and her some nights. I am fine with that.

 

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Living Generously

Mom and her delicious Finikia!

Mom and her delicious Finikia!

“Give , and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

I would have to say that my mother has set the best example for me of living generously.

She does not have all that much but what she has she will share with you unselfishly. Preferring not to spend money on herself, she will lavishly offer to spring for lunch or try to give me money when I buy her something that is really a gift.

Case in point, my sister Mary is coming to town in a couple of weeks and my mom already has the itinerary pretty much finished (this is why I am an event planner!). One day’s activities involves going to our church’s mini food festival and mom has already told me she is paying for dinners- lamb, pastichio, stuffed grape leaves, etc.

Over my objections (it does no good) she has told me she will take care of the food bill that night.

I used to think my mom financially cut herself a bit too close at times but as I get older, and closer to God, I think honestly she has the right idea. Everything she needs has been provided to her. She is well taken care of and in good health now (thank you!). Happy to be with her simple things, she is content to have just enough.

I firmly believe the old wives saying of “you can’t take it with you”. I love how wealthy people are giving their money away in clever and creative ways, not leaving it all for their children but making them earn it themselves.

I found this link recently to an article about wealthy people who have decided not to leave their fortunes to their kids. Warren Buffet for instance has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth either during his life or before he dies. He has already pledged 83% of it to the Gates Foundation.

What about simple folk like me? I am still finding creative ways to be generous, despite my limited income these days. Giving of my time (without expecting payment) to good causes is my favorite generous act of late. I also like to treat to things that are only a few dollars- coffee or dessert for a friend, a nice book from the used book store. I love these forms of generosity; they keep my feet firmly planted where they need to be, in service to others.

If I am tempted to be selfish with my time or money, I remind myself how generosity will come back to me multiplied.

Blessings to you today! What is your favorite act of generosity?

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Pondering Some Sweet Things

One of my new friends! Sweet Bites Cookies

One of my new friends! Sweet Bites Cookies

I’ve met some interesting people in the last couple of weeks as I venture out and promote my wedding and event business.

There was the group of local women business owners who invited me to a networking event last week. Included in the bunch was a lovely woman who brought her magic cookies and shared them with all of us. I was so impressed with Diane that I’m adding her to my business website! (Click on the link under the cookie picture to check her out)

I also went to see a local farm- Destiny Hill– that does weddings on their real working lavender farm. And they design bridal flowers pulled from their own flower beds! I was in love with the place from the moment I drove up the driveway!

There was something interesting too that happened to me last week that I’ve been wanting to share with you. Here goes….

Can you see them?

Can you see them?

I was driving on a road just minutes away from my own home, engrossed in thinking about my business. (I’ve been doing that a lot lately!) So catching myself, I took a minute for a gratitude prayer and then asked God for assistance with my new venture. In the next minute, the car in front of me slowed down. I glanced up to see what was going on and there was the source. A gaggle of small turkeys, slowly making their way across the road, completely stopping traffic. As they reached the other side, the lead turkey decided she really didn’t want that side, she wanted the other side.

So they all turned around and went back across the road.

I pulled my car over to the berm, so excited about the turkeys that I grabbed my cell phone. Not wanting to scare them, I kept back and was able to snap a picture or two. Other cars sped on as soon as the turkeys were off the road. I stood a moment or two until they disappeared into the brush.

What does this beautiful nature sighting mean? To me it was an instant affirmation that God is with me. S(he) is watching over me and hears my prayers. All I need to do is believe and things will work out as they should, not by my plan but by a divine plan. To see my favorite creatures in such multiples, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the sight. To me, it is a sign of future abundance as long as I am willing to keep a grateful heart.

What’s your favorite creature of nature? I’d love to know!

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The Last Little Bits of Summer

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“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”
William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Here we are, the end of August and summer is winding to a close. Where has the time gone? I remember writing my late spring blog post, eagerly awaiting summer’s full glory, anticipating the slow, warm days I was so looking forward to.

As I look back, it has been an amazing summer. Beauty has abounded in my area, despite weird weather like too hot, too cool, too much rain. But somehow through it all, I managed a slight tan, many back yard campfires and lots of juicy peaches.

IMG_2510My cousin Christina came from New York with her daughter Ariel and we had two glorious weeks that included trips to the local farmer’s market and our favorite, the Fiestaware outlet. We couldn’t get enough of Chris’ guacamole and made it no less than four times while she was here! There were lots of salads, grilled vegetables and fresh tomatoes from our garden to enjoy. I’ll never forget her glorious lentils, bean soup and our endless cups of coffee in the back yard, as we caught sightings of the local mama deer and her two baby fawns at play.

I went to Chicago for a wedding, my only real getaway, and what a real pleasure that was. Riding along with my aunt and uncle (my mother’s only brother), I hung out with their teenage grandchildren and never knew how really cool they were. The Chicago cousins were so hospitable I feel like sneaking back there for a visit all my own. (Get ready Deb!)

Through all of this, I felt the faith, the presence of grace all the time. If I momentarily forgot it, I remembered it in the sight of the baby hawk flying over my house, the random phone call from a friend, and the early morning sunrise. I realized the preciousness of time, the ability to take this time to rest, rejuvenate and get ready for whatever will be ahead.

School is beginning next week for my grandson. He is going to the seventh grade (wow, where has THAT time gone?) and Labor Day is just around the corner. I’m looking forward to promoting my new business, looking for still more partners and always searching out great event ideas.

I saw a few red leaves on the ground lately and I know fall is just around the corner. Enjoy these last few summer days with a sentimental heart!

DSC_0090Thanks to Christina for all these beautiful pictures!

How was your summer? Are you looking forward to fall?

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Realizing the Dream

Jess and Jake's wedding

Jess and Jake’s wedding

A dream is a wish your heart makes….Cinderella

The beautiful couple above really started the whole thing. Meet Jess and Jake. Their barn wedding took place on a lush farm about an hour from the city of Pittsburgh a few years ago.

I had been working for a religious institution planning and organizing programming and events, including weddings. Though it was interesting, I longed to be there for the actual unfolding, something that was not required of me in my job.

So when I heard Jess and Jake were getting married, I asked them if I could supervise their wedding. Thankfully, they said yes.

Jess and I met a few times to go over details. I went early to the farm on the day of the wedding and made sure the set up was accurate. I timed the bridesmaids walking down the lawn. I stuck around all night to insure everything was taken care of. I was in charge of paying the vendors and I also made sure all the gifts and cards were put in a safe place.

When Jess and Jake returned from their honeymoon, we went out to dinner. They gave me a present, a plaque with a poem titled “Those Who Serve.” It was absolutely beautiful.

The owner of the farm was watching me the night of the wedding. She offered me a part time summer job. The next year, I did six or so weddings at three different farm locations. The outdoor wedding bug bit me hard. I fell in love with barn weddings.

And I still love weddings, all kinds. Whether they are Orthodox, Jewish, Catholic, Methodist, indoor, outdoor- I love them. Maybe it’s because I believe in the “Happily Ever After” or maybe it’s because I just love that moment in time, when two people decide to join together and make a commitment to each other. I love all the families being there, wishing them well. I could go on and on….

So I began to think about starting my own business, planning weddings and special events. When my mom fell ill and I quit my full time job, that dream came closer and closer. I talked it over with a few people and decided to go for it. Business cards were made, a few “Partners” said YES!, and my event planning website went “LIVE” last week. (Hang on, I’m going to share the link with you at the bottom of this post!)

This leap of faith I am taking is inspired by grace. Instead of feeling fear, I feel an inspiration to give this long desired dream a chance. I pray that I will again be led in a divine direction, to go where people may need me most. The people I have met already who want to be a part of my new business are well, just heaven sent.

So tonight, raise a glass and please make a toast to my new business, Katherine’s Daughter Events. Your blessing and your prayers will mean more to me than anything else. After all, this is a joint project. You are part of my life.

Check out my new website HERE!

What’s your most unforgettable moment from your wedding, or a wedding you’ve been to recently?

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