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Archive for February, 2018

One of my favorite weekends ever…love my beautiful niece.

Ordinary Life Extraordinary Destiny

I’ve been entertaining a house guest this weekend. Stanley arrived a unexpectedly on Friday. I had heard of him from other people, but had never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. He’s a pleasant fellow, always smiling. He travels very light – no suitcase and basically just the clothes on his back (or more accurately, his front). He’s no fuss…he will go with whatever plans we have for him. Never a complaint and always that same smile.

It turned out to be a great time for Stanley to visit. We had plans for a weekend visiting family and friends, so I tucked Stanley in my purse and away we went.

Our first stop was in Ames to visit our son Sean. We hadn’t seen him since January when he returned to school so it was nice to hug his neck and take him out for breakfast. In all the…

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Pet Peeves. I’ve come to the realization that pet peeves are just subtle forms of complaining but acceptable because we all have them (plural). Many of us could make a list: Top 10 Pet Peeves (and still have plenty left over for a second or third list).

There are those who specialize in grammar, harping on “their/they’re/there” and “accept/except” and “lay/lie” and of course, “you’re/your.” These people have become more vocal as texting and social media posting have become the norm. At least once a day I see a post on my timeline bemoaning the lack of proper grammar on Facebook. Personally, I won’t repost any cute meme if it contains a misspelled word…I’m guilty of being a Grammar Czar.

Maybe you have issues with technology…more specifically, those of us who are trying to keep up with technology. Do you do an eye-roll when encountering one of us old people trying to learn a smartphone? Yes you do…admit it. Do you sigh in exasperation when you text and text and text, with no response…not even a “k”? Or maybe you deplore the overuse of emojis.

I have a tech pet peeve list: GPS that takes me to the wrong address, iPhone batteries that don’t hold a charge (Thank you, Apple), and computers that (fill in the blank). Enough already – that list could get long real fast.Pet_Peeve_Toilet_paper

Then we have those whose pet peeves surround their idea of acceptable behavior, always willing to judge others on bad parenting, disobedient children, too fast/too slow drivers, tardiness and loud public conversations on cell phones, etc… For every behavior, we have someone who doesn’t like it.

Let’s admit it. Pet peeves, especially those that surround someone else and their behavior, is judging. You are assuming you are right, in whatever opinion you have, and the other person is wrong. We would all agree that none of us are perfect (especially when it’s us), but we still want everyone else to be our definition of perfect.

In the morning I grouse about slow drivers on the interstate and on the way home, I complain about the fast drivers speeding by me. Thank God for the “edit” button on Facebook postings because I have typed so many grammatical errors, I could fill an English textbook.

In an ongoing attempt to make better choices, I’ve been working on my decision to complain, instead of expressing gratitude. I proclaimed a “no complaining day” this past week. It was mildly successful – mostly because I posted a “no whining zone” sign on my desk and posted about it to keep myself accountable. But every day? It’s hard. So, once again, I’m making the choice to give people (myself included) some grace. To show love, instead of judgment. To offer a smile, instead of a frown, when I see something I may not agree with. I’m not going to compromise my convictions…but they are MY convictions and as long as no one is being hurt, I can live with a little public cell phone conversation.

P.S. Scripture shows a history of complainers who got what they deserved…some major heat and a few extra years in the wilderness.

“Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.” Numbers 11:1

“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.” Psalm 45:1-2

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I try to take long walks over my lunch hour. One of my favorite spots is along the Cedar River. We have a beautiful downtown trail that hugs the river through town for over a mile, and will soon extend over the river in a beautiful bike/pedestrian bridge. We have all kinds of birds that use the river (and trail) as a food supply. As I was walking today I couldn’t help but think of the traits of some of these birds and how they mirror the traits of some people I know (no names, of course).

Year round, the Cedar River area teems with Canadian geese. They love the trail even more than I do…because they leave multiple deposits everywhere they go. They nest along the river, pecking along the grassy banks for whatever food geese eat. (This blog is not meant to be a science lesson on the habits of Midwestern birds.) And they are more than slightly territorial…especially at this time of year. When those male ganders see a pedestrian, they stick their heads pretty high in the air, make some serious hissing noises, and intimidate me to no end. Even if it’s all an act, they are very believable, and I go a different route.

We also have a crow problem. I’m mean a serious crow problem. Three years ago city workers installed dead crows in the trees to try to deter the living ones…maybe it worked to some degree, but not totally. As the snow is melting, it’s uncovering dead crows everywhere. Large, ugly birds…which I’m sure have a purpose on this earth…but while living, tend to be loud and obnoxious, pushing into others birds’ nesting areas and eating dead animals. Yuck!

Lastly, we have a large, but temporary, population of bald eagles. Last week I counted over 30 of the large, majestic birds perched on a tree along the river, sometimes swooping down to catch an unwary fish but more often, gliding beautifully up and up and up through the sky. Soaring_EagleI was mesmerized today by the three or four I saw on a different stretch of river. They were perched on a patch of ice, occasionally lifting off to glide just above the surface of the water, and other times, playing “chicken” with each other. One in particular kept my attention. At first he drifted above the river, close enough that I could see his beautiful white head. But as I watched, he soared higher, and higher, and higher, until he was just a speck in the sky. It was obviously a good day to fly.

I started thinking…what kind of bird am I? And, what kind do I want to become? Am I only interested in protecting what’s mine, taking over and leaving crap everywhere I go? Or maybe I’m loud and obnoxious, a bully that’s satisfied with taking what isn’t mine and pushing everyone around. No – I desire to soar on eagles’ wings. And that means I must place my hope in the Lord. Only He can cause me to rise above my circumstances, my fears, my disappointments. Only He can renew my strength and give me the ability to fly.

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

 

 

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Valentine’s Day. A day set aside to celebrate love. And sell cards. And flowers. And chocolate. And jewelry. And cupcakes. Valentine’s Day can be pretty expensive.

Valentine’s Day can carry a heavy weight of expectation. Wives expect their husbands to show their love with something from the above mentioned list. Maybe even multiple things. Guys are expected to plan the perfect date, with perfect dinner, perfect romantic ambiance. Rarely can anyone meet the lofty expectations placed on them for this one holiday. My opinion? The only truly happy ones are the florists, restaurant owners, jewelry stores, bakers, candy and card sellers. $$$

I love my husband dearly. Kris_Don_balloon_2014I appreciated the cupcakes he bought for me last night. They were delicious!! I always love the sentiment of the cards he buys for me (but even more, the love expressed in the little notes)…but, don’t tell him this, I would love him just as much even without the cupcakes and card. Because my love isn’t tied to what he buys for me. Long ago I decided that I don’t need a special day to celebrate his love for me…because he treats me so well every single day. I learned that placing high expectations on another human being sets him up to fail and me up for disappointment. No one can meet the fantasy we build up in our minds. Something always goes wrong…flowers die, chocolate gets eaten, even jewelry fades eventually. But the strong and steady presence of a true love is based on relationship…it cannot be bought.

So no matter your place in this world (dating, married, single again), lower your expectations for a particular day and raise your awareness of how you express and receive love. Because the BEST love is unconditional and sacrificial…without expectation for reward or perfection…perfectly expressed through the model God gave us through His Son, Jesus.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  ~ John 15:12-13

 

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Valentine’s Day again…I love my guy more than ever…31 years and counting. And yes, I know it’s Wednesday.

Ordinary Life Extraordinary Destiny


Today is Valentine’s Day. I hope you have someone to love and love you back. It doesn’t need to be a girlfriend or boyfriend, a spouse or significant other. Just someone who appreciates you and tells you.

I’m so glad for the man God gave to me 29 years ago. He is my best friend and my favorite days are the ones I get to spend with him. He fills my “love tank” with every love language and I couldn’t have a better soul mate.

But if you are alone today, I hope you’ll turn to the One who loves you most and knows you best. Let God wrap His arms of love around you and fill your heart with joy and peace. No person on earth can love you as He can. He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb and he knows you now. Give…

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I’ll be blogging again for the 40 days of Lent – but first, a reminder.

Ordinary Life Extraordinary Destiny

Nose

I have a cold. It isn’t horrible but my nose is either running or stopped up. It takes quite a strong aroma to break that barrier. Like Vicks Vapo-Rub – remember that stuff? Every time I smell it, I’m taken back to my childhood…when my mom would spread that goopy gel over my chest and on the bottoms of my feet. I don’t know if it helped, but the aroma was pervasive and brings back all those feelings of love and comfort from my mom’s nurturing care.

That’s the great thing about our sense of smell – the trigger of good memories whenever certain aromas hit our nose. I love the smell of freshly-roasted coffee beans and freshly-brewed coffee (taste too!). There’s nothing like the smell of warm cinnamon rolls, baking bread, peppermint ice cream, fresh cut wood, pungent orange peels, fresh cut grass, newly-turned earth, incoming spring rains, strawberry…

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