I recently discovered what it feels like to have something getting on my nerves. Now that I have experienced nerve pain I won’t take that statement lightly again.
My pain was caused by the shingles virus. It started with a rash on one leg that wasn’t as much painful as prickly.
The diagnosis was an unpleasant surprise. I’d heard some nasty things about this virus and didn’t want them confirmed. After a brief pity party, I made the decision to remain positive.
A few hours later a co-worker contacted me to say she’d be willing to work the next few days for me if I wanted time off. My initial response was to tell her thanks anyway, but no thanks. After all, I was fine! When I realized accepting her offer wasn’t a sign of weakness but an opportunity to take care of myself, I accepted.
By the end of the day, I couldn’t tolerate clothing touching my leg. Shingles is usually concentrated on a single nerve band. In my case, three nerve bands were involved. What a time to be an overachiever!
My concentration and focus weren’t ideal but I didn’t want to miss my self-imposed writing deadlines. Within twenty-four hours of my diagnosis, I’d completed my monthly newsletter and a regular blog post. After they were published I discovered both had spelling errors in them. Normally I’d beat myself up about this. Instead, I cut myself some slack. I knew I’d done the best I could under the circumstances and that was good enough.
I can’t change the past any easier than I can eliminate this virus. All I can do is change how I react. Since I am responsible for my own experience, there’s no need to let things get on my nerves.
It was time to let go of some items not used in our home. After deciding on prices, my husband took pictures and posted the items for sale online.
Responses started coming in almost immediately. We knew the value of what we were offering and priced everything lower than that. Even so, most inquiries included the phrase, “Will you take less?” They might suggest a lower number or in some cases asked what our lowest price would be.
I found it amusing when one woman told us of her experience selling things online, stating she never negotiated her asking prices and then turned around and asked if we’d take less!
My mind went to times in life I’ve settled for less than I am worth. I have often sold myself short. When I’m not confident of my value, it’s difficult to expect others to appreciate it.
The truth is my life is of great value, as is yours. God loves me so much that he sent his son to die for my sins in order that I can live in Heaven with him forever. He wouldn’t have paid such a high price for me if he didn’t believe I was worthy.
Each day is a gift from him, filled with beauty, challenges and opportunities. The adventure I’m on with the Lord is like nothing I could ever have imagined. Knowing this, how could I possibly settle for less?
“Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God’s dear children. And that’s what we are.” 1 John 3:1 GWT
Earlier this week multitudes of people put their lives on pause to witness the solar eclipse. During the eclipse the sun disappeared from view, either completely or partially, depending on your observation area.
Since I didn’t have the proper viewing glasses, I chose to watch it on the television, rather than risk burning my eyes. It was interesting to see the sun gradually become hidden as the moon passed in front of it.
I started thinking of the times in my life where I’ve found myself in increasing darkness. Something has eclipsed the light in my life.
Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing. Here are a few questions I’m asking myself.
What have I been eclipsing for years? What dreams, goals, wishes, skills, etc have I put off and never realized? Maybe now is the time to remove the blockage I’ve put in place and just go for them!
Am I eclipsing something right now? What am I afraid of? I spent years feeling it was safer to remain unseen than to risk finding my light. It wasn’t the truth!
Is there a reason I’m not shining my light? Is it because I’m afraid I’m not good enough? Who is missing out because I’m hiding out? What if I’m depriving more than myself?
Are there areas where I am not letting in the light? Am I refusing help when it is readily available? Do I open myself to new experiences? I wonder what I might be missing out on by choosing to stay in the dark.
If I’m totally honest, there may be a few areas where I am eclipsing my own life. Are you also guilty of putting your life on pause, moving slowly into darkness while watching the brilliance of someone else?
It’s time to remove the blockages and step into the light. I’m ready, how about you?
I’ve often heard people say that time slipped away. In my case this was a literal statement when my watch slipped out of my hand, hit a concrete floor and ended up in three pieces.
After several attempts I put it back together, minus a little plastic part that would no longer fit. The second hand started moving in its normal rhythm and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Later I glanced at my watch and was pleased to see how much I’d accomplished in a short time. Wait, something wasn’t right. The time hadn’t progressed since the watch had been dropped. Although the second hand continued its sweep, the message wasn’t getting to the other hands.
Over the next few days, I was surprised at how often I checked my wrist for the time. It was a habit more than anything. Although I wasn’t constantly being updated by a clock, I still had the same amount of time to use each day.
It’s up to me to either use it wisely or squander it. Is the importance of making the most of my time getting through to me or am I like that broken watch, going through the motions with nothing to show for the effort? Time should be made up of captured moments which turn into treasured memories.
The Bible tells us there is a time for everything. I’d hate to think I missed mine by letting it slip away.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)
Brian and I walked to the lakeshore to watch the sun set. Its bright light reflected on the surface of the water as it slowly moved toward the horizon.
We wondered if the sun has its own thoughts, or reflections at the end of the day. Did it warm people as it shone on them? Did moods brighten at the sight of it? Did its heat cause some to seek shelter?
Maybe I should have the same kind of reflections as my day draws to a close. Would I be more aware of my attitude and activities if I asked myself a few simple questions every night?
Did I shine light and happiness on anyone today? Did my smile brighten a life? Were my words enough to warm a heart?
On the opposite side to this, was I harsh and unforgiving, causing those in my path to seek shelter rather than get burned?
I don’t expect each day to have clear, blue skies and no problems. That would be unrealistic. Clouds appear in everyone’s life. But, as most of us have observed, the most beautiful sunsets come when there are some clouds in the sky!
“Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer to your goal.” – Elbert Hubbard
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” – Robindranath Tagore
Brian saw it first. There on the top of one of the tall towers supporting power lines, was a huge eagle nest.
We pulled over and got out the binoculars to have a closer look. The black speck we could see from a distance was actually a young eagle standing slightly to one side of the nest. Upon scanning the area, we discovered an adult eagle on a nearby tower, keeping watch.
I looked at the tremendous height and thought of those eaglets learning to fly. This doesn’t happen quickly, it’s a process. I’ve been told the immature eagles often stand at the edge of the nest, frightened to take the risk to fly. When the parent thinks the eaglet is ready, it will push the young one out.
Sometimes I’ve done the preparation needed but have been afraid to take the risk to fly solo. My faith is still immature. In cases like this, I’ve appreciated a push that forced me to trust in my ability to soar. God has many ways of giving me the push I needed.
Like the adult eagles standing guard over their young, I know that God is always nearby, watching over me. Even when I’m not aware of his presence, he is there.
He teaches me what I need to learn and I am confident when he asks me to step out in faith, one of two things will happen. Either he will catch me when I fall or teach me to fly.
…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wingslikeeagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)
We saw them as we were walking along the beach. Three children had dug a hole in the wet sand and were now sitting in it, slathering themselves with mud.
Brian and I remarked on their obvious joy. A woman was standing nearby watching and I said, “They sure are having fun.” Her disapproval was obvious when she replied, “They’re so dirty. I’m glad they’re not my kids.”
This seemed such a sad statement. Their play was not a disturbance to those around them. We actually gained pleasure by just watching their fun. They were busy enjoying their mud baths, oblivious to the opinions of those around them. It was the children and not the adult who had the right idea.
I looked back to see one boy run into the lake, wash off and then return to his friends to paint arms and legs with mud once again.
Oh, to be like a child, free to ignore what other may think and just have fun. Sometimes I need to relax and not concern myself with maintaining a spotless image. It’s ok if my hands get dirty or I get mud on my face. There may be people who disapprove but there just may be more who want to enter the fun with me.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
Oh, the joy of annual inventory! In a gift store with many small items, the job can seem overwhelming. By the end of the second day, I was getting frustrated with myself when I forgot my tally and had to recount several items.
What I found interesting was the number of items I had forgotten we had. Some that had been tucked away need to be put out on display again, while others are best discarded.
After I had counted physical items, I decided to take inventory of my life. Holding onto past hurts, disappointments and regrets is a waste of valuable time and space. I need to let them go. Instead, I should be focusing on the many blessings in my life. They deserve to be put on display.
God has blessed me with a loving husband, and close relationships with our children and grandchildren. We are healthy, happy and productive. I have time to work, time to rest and time to play. I’ve been given inspiration to see the world in a positive light and to share that with others. I have a roof over my head, water that flows when I turn on a tap and food in my pantry.
I could go on and on as I count my blessings. They are far too numerous to list here and I know I will not grow tired of counting them.
All that I am and all that I have are gifts from God. By far the greatest gift is the joy I have in knowing I’m a much-loved child of my Heavenly Father.
Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. (Psalm 21:6 NIV)
Do you ever talk back to your GPS? Not only do my husband and I talk back to ours, we challenge it on a regular basis!
When I stop to think about it, the technology in these devices is quite remarkable. They pick up a signal pinpointing my location and then analyze routes to find the best one to get me to my destination.
Why would I pay for one of these units and then disregard what it tells me? The short answer is because I think I’m right!
We recently looked at a map to visualize our route before putting the address into the GPS. It didn’t take long before the familiar voice (we call her Susan), told us to turn and we said, “No, that’s not the right way.” It recalculated and gave new directions, which we also ignored. We carried on like this for close to two hours.
After reaching our destination we discovered the route Susan wanted us to take would have been more direct. There was more than one way to get to where we were going and the one we stubbornly stuck to was not the best one.
How often in life do I seek advice and then ignore it because I’m convinced I know best? When I’d rather be right than listen to other options, my objectivity suffers. Who knows what I might learn if I take the opportunity to listen to others? My lesson this time is that I’m not always right!
“There is no one as deaf as he who will not listen.” Yiddish Proverb