Monday, August 31, 2009

Speaking of time ...

omg ... where does time go?
It's been almost a week since I wrote part 1 about time. I was planning to finish part 2 in a few days, but that hasn't happen. But now hopefully, it will be up in a few days :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Time

Time - I have 24 hours in a day, no more and no less. Time is something I think about from time to time :) Everyone has the same amount - young or old - from presidents to refuges to celebrities to nomads. What do I do with the time I have? Do I use it wisely? What is a wise use of time?

I wonder if what I call a wise use, is really wise. Do I fool myself into spending time doing things that I consider wise or worthwhile, but that aren't? Most other things I lose in life, I can eventually find again or regain somehow.

I lose car keys. I can hunt till I find them or I can go to the dealer for a new set. I lose my wallet. I can go back to Target an hour later and find it untouched in a shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot - yes, that happened last week. If next time, I'm not so fortunate, I can replace all the valuables that are in my wallet. It would take way too many phone calls, but all could be replaced.

Even if I lose money and don't find that money again, I can replace it by earning more or spending less elsewhere. Though it's tough, there are usually options to finding money again.

Time is different. Yes, I have many time-saving devices (thank God!) but I can't regain or replace lost time. It's gone. It's history.

I've been fascinated with time for a long time and after almost dying five years ago, I really wondered about time and how to spend it. Sometimes, the thought of what I do or don't do with my time almost caused me to worry. Gosh, I could have died, but I didn't, so I can't waste a moment. I must be productive all the time!

This was discouraging as I was recovering from major injuries, because productive in my mind meant actively working. I thought that was the only way I could consider my time spent wisely.

Questions are a specialty of mine, so my question became, "What is a productive use of time?

Thankfully, I came to realize that not wasting time doesn't mean being productive in the normal sense of the word. I still don't want to lose or waste time, but what I call being productive with my time has changed.


I don't surf, but I like this quote about balancing time.

"We have these big brains, and a limited amount of time. So what to do? A lot of people spend their time making money, sometimes with the hope that they'll be able to do what they want after they make it. But you never get that time back. Theoretical physics is the most abstractly beautiful and challenging pursuit there is. It's what I want to spend my time thinking about, so that's what I do. But all thinking and no action would make for a dull life. So I surf." – Garrett Lisi, theoretical physicist, Aug. 5, 2007


Part 2 - "My Thoughts on Use of Time" coming soon ....

What does using your time productively look like to you?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Smoothie

It's a new day - a new day to take care of my body by eating healthy, so this will be my breakfast.

Delicious Smoothie
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 banana
1 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
1 packet splenda
Dash of cinnamon (optional)
2 cups ice

Mix in a blender - enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hope is ...

Without hope, it's almost impossible to keep going on this roller-coaster of life. Many days, I’ve lived on the thought that, "Tomorrow will be better than today" - that's hope. Hope in something I don't see, but I believe in.
I recently read these thoughts about hope.
In Erma Bombeck's book called "I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise - Children Surviving Cancer," a group of kids who had cancer were asked to describe 'hope' as if it were an animal. Here are a few of the responses:
  • "Hope is about two and an half feet tall."
  • "He is covered with fur and it's fluffy."
  • "Hope giggles."
  • "When it talks, you're the only one who can hear it."
  • "Hope raises its voice sometimes. It has to talk louder than fear."
  • "Occasionally, Hope is shy and likes to hide."
  • "If you don't take good care of it - it can die."
  • "It will come to you only when you need it."
  • "Hope has offsprings like any other animal. They're called 'Hopelets.' You don't keep them. You share them with other people who need one."

Kids can be profound. I found something in each of them that made me say, “Yes, that’s right!” I think my favorite is “Hope giggles.”
After reading those kid’s descriptions, I wrote my own. My descriptions for hope are -
  • Hope is as comfortable as a soft, fluffy blanket.
  • Hope helps you breathe.
  • Hope can be knowledge - such as: knowing that broken bones heal.
  • Hope is priceless.
How would you describe hope?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Turns in the Path of Life

The path of life has many turns - and one thing about turns is that we should always keep learning or we'll get lost and confused. Sometimes I learn things fast and other times, I learn incredibly slow - slow like the coffee pot on an early morning.

One thing I heard often as I was trying to come to grips with lifelong effects from injuries were the words of Romans 8:28, "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him ..."

Being slow to learn at times, plus being medicated for a few years post accident, caused me to be confused about this verse. This is what I used to think - God is good and God works in all things, so all things are good.

But I didn't feel good, I hurt! I had constant pain. I was tired all the time. My scared legs made me sad. I couldn't do what I used to do.

Because I was suffering - other suffering in the world lay heavy on me. (hint, don't share stories of suffering with someone that is suffering)

And I was to see all this as good?

No, it wasn't good and if God is 'good' like this, why should I love and/or follow him?

There were many steps and turns to a new understanding of that verse. Here’s one step in that process. I’m always open to learn more - hear me out, then share your thoughts.

One day, I heard a wise man say, "God does work all things for good, but that doesn't mean all things are good!" - Dr. Art Wilt

Physically, I had been saved by paramedics - now spiritually, I was saved by Dr. Art, my pastor who used to be a paramedic. I began to understand how backwards I had been looking at that verse.

Accidents/injuries/diseases/abuse/bad choices - none are good! But God is love and God is good and he has the power to make something good come from them. I can be real and honest about the disappointments and pain of life - I don’t need to pretend or force myself to think its good, when its not!

God is good and God is love - he doesn't cause all things to happen, but he can use something from all things for good. This thought made me want to seek him again and ask him what good can come from this nasty turn in my life.

I’ve learned a lot and have seen good come from it. I still wish I could have learned what I learned in another way, but I'm content to trust him to show me what good can continue to come from it.


Your thoughts?

Photo -Siesta Beach, FL 2007

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Be Still*

Surgery on my foot, followed by a cast and crutches, forced me to sit more than normal for about two months. The time passed with ease at first as I enjoyed reading and watching movies.

But after a while everything annoyed me - the cast, the pain and the options I didn't have.



Photo by Janet - 2006


Then I read this quote … Some blessings will be ours only if we stop chasing after them and let them come to us, like the butterfly that eludes our grasp when we try to catch it, but comes to perch on our shoulder when we stop chasing it and sit still. - Harold Kushner

I wanted to catch butterflies of blessings so I pursued learning about being still. I mediated on the writings from centuries ago in the book of Psalms … Be still and know that I am God.
Other translations from the original Hebrew say ...

Cease striving and know that I am God.
Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God.

Cease striving and let be - those words spoke to me. Yes, the time was still long, but I choose to quit allowing the annoyances to rule my days. I quit striving to change what I couldn't change and instead focused on changing my attitude. I looked for butterflies to catch – more time in prayer, reading to my son, sending cards, making phone calls and long conversations with family and friends.

With time, I realized I was also catching other butterflies. Butterflies I didn't even know I want or need. Butterflies/blessings of truth, of compassion for others, of love and a deeper connection with my creator.


*Repost - written in 2006

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Closed Eyes

Yesterday I closed my eyes and drove over an animal. Let me explain - I was a million miles away in thought and ... yes, I saw that groundhog come running across that road, but I didn't do anything to avoid it other then leave off the gas for a second - I didn't brake.

And I closed my eyes. Yes, while I was driving, I closed my eyes. (it was okay, I only closed them for a few seconds)

Then I hoped that I would miss it. Doing anything else would mean I would have to stop my train of thought to focus on something I didn't want to focus on.

I did not miss it.

I felt THE bump.

I knew what happened.

I knew what I would see as I looked in my rearview mirror, so I only glanced in it for a second to confirm. Yes, a dead groundhog lay on the road. I looked away quickly, then planned to go back to my thoughts that had been so rudely interrupted by this uninvited being.

But I couldn't reenter that stream of thought - all I could think about was my reaction to this being that I thought didn't fit into my world at that moment. I closed my eyes to avoid it.

Is that what I do to people that come into my life unexpectedly?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Morning Like This ...

A morning like this has the potential to cure many ills, especially of the mind and spirit. Hopewell Lake is in French Creek State Park - this morning I watched the sun come up here. (a privilege owed to taking a son to work nearby at 5:30AM)

Walking at the lake’s edge, I discover I’m not the only early riser. There’s a unique joy in being there with others as the world wakes up. As the mist covering the lake evaporates, I watch three men set up cameras on tripods to try to capture this divinely created morning with man-made gadgets. As expensive as their equipment looks and as experienced as they seem (I overhear conversations about settings/numbers/exposure) I know their pictures won't be able to fully capture this morning at this place.
At the boat dock, a woman unloads her small fishing boat efficiently. After parking her truck and trailer, she gathers her supplies - fishing line, bait and cup of coffee. The surface of the water breaks only briefly as her electric motor pushes her quietly across the water.

“The best sunrise I’ve ever seen,” one of the photographers declares loudly, as if anyone there might be missing it. “I’ve set my camera to - blah, blah, blah.” Camera speak is a foreign language to me, but I’m sure the setting is the one he thinks will allow him to share the beauty of this sunrise with others not privileged to be there.

After staring in awe at the big orange ball climbing into the sky, I unload my bike, ready to involve my physical body in the morning. I planned to bike the local roads, but find myself not wanting to leave the lake and the park. I opt for a trail that allows glimpses of the water and circles around the lake to Hopewell Furnace - a nearby historical site. The roots and rocks of a few sections of the trail are more suited for hiking then biking, but with some pushes and lifts, I get my bike to the top. Biking through this restored "iron plantation" is worth the work.
The mist from the heavy dew lifting over the multiple layers of tree tops is peace - pure absolute peace. I hold my breath at the sight of three deer under apple trees in a stream of sunlight. I brake to get my phone to snap a picture, but they hear me and react. My chests hurts with beauty watching them run and leap away. The whites of their tails, their slender legs, the trees, the grass and the easy, effortless way they move - it’s beauty in motion.
After the ride - as the sun climbs into the clear sky, a shaded picnic table gives me a spot to write this. I watch a content kayaker fishing near the lake’s edge about thirty feet from me. His cigar smoke circles over his head and his relaxed manner shows he doesn’t have a care in the world at the moment. He watches with a smile as five geese come in for a landing nearby. They have perfect formation until a few feet from the water, then formation breaks as each lands at a different time or place.

It is a perfect morning - the birds are chirping, a slight breeze is stirring and the fragrance of nearby flowers drifts my way. (cliche intended) But real life intervenes and I almost jump at the sound of a weed-eater behind me. My perfect moment is the beginning of another workday for a park ranger and he has jobs to complete.

I prepare to return home, grateful for a morning like this - to help put the rest of life into proper perspective. The issues that seemed so big and overwhelming are reduced to a more manageable size. Life’s problems don’t disappear, but the intensity of them shrinks and I have hope again. Hope - not in me, not in mother earth, not in a person - but hope in the knowledge/feeling that it will be okay. I don’t know what okay means, but I know I like this feeling and I rest in the comfort that this feeling comes from the creator of all this beauty.