Savor

I delight in today’s collection of moments.  This one spent with the dog, snuffling his warm beagle smell until I’m full with the scent of him.  That next moment spent in absorbing a book I’ve been meaning to read. Another appreciating our house full of boys – knee-deep in testosterone and already anticipating their departure to their own lives. There’s enough time later for work – so this moment, this one right here – I’m spending on the porch, pen and notebook in hand, sun on my face, still and at rest from my life’s almost constant motion.

I can hear a cardinal calling and the rain of acorns cascading into the road from the tree across the street.  One of our neighbors runs a saw and just down the road, a mower starts its back and forth path across a lawn scattered with yellow, orange, and red autumn.  It’s in these ordinary moments of work, rest, thought, and sun soaking that I want to live.  These nothing special barefooted and full-hearted moments of Sunday or tomorrow’s Monday are where I will find my hope and happiness.

My life’s next moment is still a minute away.  I only have this one here and now –  guaranteed.

Some moments test our patience, our strength, our willpower, and faith.  It’s in these moments we spend our time anxious, worried, uncertain, and filled with doubt.  These are dark minutes, tossing and turning our nights and twisting our sheets.  We wish we could hurry past these moments to break through into the light of tomorrow’s dawn and the return of another chance to get it right.

Some of our moments are spent with hands reaching out in friendship or service to others.  We use one or two of our of our moments for a kind word.  A phrase of encouragement.  A compliment.  A noticing of someone else’s proximity to and importance in our living. It’s a choice to – however briefly – walk in the shoes of another.

Other moments we gather for our very own – knowing full well we cannot hold them forever – but still, we can try.  Can’t we?

Our life’s moments can be heart-stopping or heart-sustaining, but either way, these are the moments that make up a life.  These grains of sand through the hour glass, beads on a string, and knots on our counting rope are the summary and accumulation of all the people we’ve been in one or another of our moments of time.

I want to savor and taste each and every moment of mine.  Moments filled with a range of emotion, dreams, rays of sun’s compassion, clouds of confusion, and the breath of a fresh air breeze.  Each come and go with an inhale and exhale of the day’s rhythm. Regular as the tide and certain as the sun’s rise and set.  It’s more than being present or being intentional – it’s being.  Pure and simple. Here. Now. And now again.

I must train myself to roll each one of my moments like M&Ms around on my tongue so I experience the full flavor and sweetness of each. It is here we live our lives … in the moment before each leaf falls, it’s moment of downward drifting, and the one just after the leaf lands.

A Sprinkling of Some Hope

Despite any and all of my intentions, plans, or deepest resolve, stress sometimes elbows its way uninvited into my life. I try to keep it out. I try and then try some more. I’m ordinarily the queen of self-talk, looking on the bright side, and force feeding myself some gratitude (for goodness sake!)

Still, stress and its partner in crime, woe-is-me, whines into town on one random Tuesday, and takes over. I become someone I don’t want to be – or even worse, someone I do not choose to be. I am momentarily possessed, a victim of my own circumstances. This petulant me pouts her way through the day, unresponsive to encouragement and temporarily ignorant of reason. I am horrified by this body and mind snatcher of a woman, embarrassed to admit she is me.

Please understand. I am aware of and feel so disappointed in this bratty version of the (usually) more optimistic person I am. She’s just not me. Today. She’s just not me today. Today, I am the stranger in town. I recite wrongs. List annoyances. Tally all my hardships. Not only can I do no right, all I can do and be and think is wrong.

I cannot find my bearings or my way out of the dark hole I’m hanging out in – at least not at the moment. For now I need to sit it out and wait it through to the end. But my reality today is just as relevant  a part of my life as whatever’s on tomorrow’s horizon or whatever may have sailed off into yesterday’s sunset. All of the women I am day in and day out add to the sum of my living and the total of my learning.

I cannot prevent the bad days any more than I can gather only the good in my basket. Each and every day I’m granted has something to teach me and if I’m reflective enough, I may just discover whatever it is I’m supposed to know. This new awareness may not come in the unsettled moments of this bad, worse, worst mood. But I’m willing to wait and watch for it.

Today’s dilemmas will be revealed in their own good time with a little luck, a lot of prayer, and a sprinkling of some hope.

Tomorrow is, after all, another day.

Finding Calm

Finding calm is not the same as finding peace. Peace, for me, is at some deeper level of my soul pool – longer lasting and a factor of being alright with who I am and my place in the world. No, calm is a current and in-the-moment place of mind. A stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off  pause of time … an ellipses smack dab in the middle of my hectic life sentence. I need to look for it when I’m feeling all sorts of squirrely and tense and in need. And calm can be found in the most ordinary and humble places of home.

In water … When our children were younger, I once read some parenting advice: “When your children are cranky, put them in water.”  We followed that advice fairly regularly because we discovered … it worked! The public pool, a shower or tub, even the hose or sprinkler … all reverse the crankies … and it works for adults too! Soak. Steam. Shower. Swim. The more bubbles the better.

In the sink  … hot soapy water and a sinkful of dishes to wash is oddly soothing. Drying dishes doesn’t give me the same satisfaction, but I love the clear shine of glass and watching the soap slip from plates. Clean anything creates calm.

In the laundry room … fold warm from the dryer and find there’s calm in the rhythm. Reach. Fold. Stack. Reach. Fold. Stack. Your calm increases in direct proportion to the pile. If you know you’re going to be stressed later, plan ahead and wash/dry an entire load of towels. Neat. Tidy. Straight. Satisfying.

In the bedroom … make your bed every morning and you will find calm there every evening when you return.

In the office … clear the desk. Move those piles somewhere else for the moment. Wipe it clean. Start fresh. There’s calm to be found on a clean flat surface.  You’ll suddenly be able to hear yourself think and remember what you forgot. A clean sheet of paper helps too. A smooth surface opens my mind and unties knots of thought.

In the yard … all of outdoors engages all of your senses at once … crickets and birds and breezes and grass tickles and sun warmth and rose blooms and juicy tomato seed dripping deliciousness. Count the clouds adrift skyward and send those cares of yours aboard for the ride. Get busy feeling and tasting and hearing and smelling and seeing – you’ll have no time left for stress or anxiety or hurry or worry.

In the kitchen … a drink of something cold or hot. A nibble of this or that. Something fun and child-like like a popsicle will cheer and delight and you’ll smile your way to calm.

Make your day.Take a break. Find your calm. And carry on.

Saturday Hope

There’s a delight in the day that is Saturday.  It’s a wide open wonder of a day, full of hope and possibility and breathing room.  Life’s load feels lighter to carry and although Saturday’s got work to do and wears overalls, there’s a leisure to my pace and a happiness in my heart.

Saturday feels full of choice and a chance at good fortune.  Fling wide the window.  Turn up the music.  Light a candle or two.  There’s gratitude for the good grace of home.  There’s time to revel in.
Air to breathe.  Sun to feel on my face.  I’m holding all the cards and get to choose which ones to play.  Monday through Friday responsibilities are back there somewhere and all today is my future.

What feels overwhelming on Wednesday feels totally do-able on Saturday.  I’ll find clean sheets for the bed and fluff the pillows.  Saturday morning shopping fills the fridge.  I like the hum of our washing machine and dance with our vacuum.  My mind wanders and my spirit recovers.  I am energized, capable, and filled to the tippy-top with happy.

It’s Saturday’s nourishment which hopes me through the rest of the week.  Sunday’s worship strengthens and resolves me, but Saturday’s hope inspires me.  Every other day of the week I wake with Today I have to … but on Saturday … Saturday I wonder, Shall I?

Shall I sew or bake?
Shall I write or walk?
Shall I read or nap?  Or read and nap?

I know Saturday’s shine dulls a bit with Sunday’s foreshadowing of the week to come so the gratitude of today, right this minute, fills my balloon and sweeps the clouds from my skies.  It’s on Saturdays I live most in the moment.

I am present and living and loving my very best life on Saturday.

Wishing you Saturday hope and happiness.