surviving ordinary

Are you devouring your guacamole leftovers? Did you utilize the fire extinguisher to dampen the blaze the jalapeno poppers stoked in your stomach while you watched the big game? Thinking of a post-Super Bowl diet? I was…..then I ate two homemade chocolate chip cookies. Diet-schmiet. Don’t want to leave anything around to tempt the Texan. He’s skinny. I’m thoughtful like that.

Hmmmm…..first of February…Christmas is a blurry memory and we have another holiday excuse to eat chocolate coming up in Valentine’s Day. I’m anxious to get outside, but the groundhog says we have six more weeks of winter. Cold, dark, trying not to fall asleep at 9:30 pm winter. Ugh.

Want to know what is elevating my spirits during this ordinary time? Noooooo, not vodka, chicken-breath! I have an artsy and thoughtful neighbor who left a little tree lit with red sparkly lights since Christmas. Our neighborhood is pretty spectacular during Christmas season and lots of townsfolk make the drive to our enclave to view the festive lights. When things go suddenly dark after New Year’s, the view can be depressing.

Here’s the spunky tree from my bedroom window. (forgive bad cell phone pics, please)

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Do you spot the little red tree? Nothing very colorful in this view. bleh.

I think that I shall never see…….oh, never mind. When I’m in bed, I gaze out the window and see the festive tree shimmering in the darkness. I imagine it as a gleaming celebration of ordinary time. There’s nothing spectacular to celebrate, really. The crimson lights are all ablaze proclaiming we’re alive. The barren branches defiantly shake sapling tree-fists at darkest winter. It sparkles simply because our eyes enjoy it and we’re breathing. The bright red splits the blackness because we have a skinny Texan and a snuggly wiener dog next to us, and the littlest grand is out of the hospital, and our bed is oh-so-comfortable. Mundane things. Humdrum happenings.

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I think I’ll tell my neighbors ‘thank you’ for the cheery, red tree.

 

It reminds me of all the people who might enjoy seeing a fun red tree, but can’t because they are sick. Or they are serving in the military far away. Or they are too depressed to open the blinds. The uplifted branches call me to remember those who can’t enjoy the radiance right now. Can my gratitude for the tree honor them? I hope so.

The tree inspires me to decorate something in my yard in celebration of ordinary time and as a way of showing solidarity with my red-tree neighbor. Maybe I will. You will be the first to know, OK?

What helps you survive ordinary time? Do you have a red tree? I’d love to hear.

Enjoy-the-view love to all.

 

the right diet

Intended to share with you how I did ‘it’. Our church was involved with The Daniel Plan during the season of Lent and I participated along with many other church members. I gave up sugar and white flour for the season of remembrance. Went on a low-carb eating plan and continued with my usual exercise routine: spinning, yoga, and some weight training. Lost a little weight, my clothes fit better and I feel good, but writing about it now feels shallow. Blah, blah, meh.

femalecardinal
This female cardinal has nothing whatsoever to do with this post. She’s been pecking at my windows for three weeks. I love her.

Let’s face it. I don’t have a big problem with diet and exercise. I’m weird…I LIKE exercise. I can thank my parents and other ancestors for a basically slim build and a built-in ‘off’ switch in my appetite. I’m lucky, grateful and without easy answers. Other areas of my life? Things aren’t always as easy.

One of my fittest friends at my gym (a doctor in his early forties) recently suffered a heart attack. This guy is skinny and he enthusiastically exercises every day. He’s obviously very strict with himself and with his diet. Wham.…two stints required. What the ?!

My minister mentions his love for chocolate-covered doughnuts quite regularly. He’s a big guy and he’s an avid long-distance cyclist. Talks about competing in the ‘Clydesdale’ division in bike races. Ride on, Pastor Burt!

Your body is a temple, because the spirit of God lives in you. If I want to see God, experience God-I can take a look at you and behold His majestic creation. You’re the priceless lost coin, you’re the sheep He’s calling home, and you’re a precious recipe of gold, frankincense and myrrh carefully folded together.

If you’re thin and look fantastic, hallelujah. If you’ve got some ‘middle aged spread’, you’ve surely earned it. If you like chocolate doughnuts, I hope you savor every last cocoa-morsel with the taste buds God gave you. If you are like the Texan and ice cream is your passion, thank God for the sweet, creamy delight in each chilly spoonful.

It’s altogether easy and familiar for me to rely on rigid thinking. Do ‘x’ and ‘y’ and I’ll get z!   I can quickly fall back into feeling like that lost child of alcoholic parents. I learned being good doesn’t stop your parents from drinking.

Today I’d tell that confused child, ‘you’re wonderful’, ‘you’re trying and doing the best you can’ and ‘you are incredibly strong’.

graham

My wish for you right now….whether you are fat or thin, healthy or unhealthy, sinner or saint, gay or straight, black, white, red, yellow or any other combination of colors, young or old….

Feel God’s embrace right where you are. He’s trying to tell you you’re pretty cool. Believe it.

Grace-for-the-week-ahead love to all.

 

down time

I’ve been away from the blog for a while.

One day I’m blogging my chipped fingernails to the quick. The next day…week…month...BAM... I’m sick.

Sick people don’t care one whit about fashion, blogs, amusement parks, horned toads, changing seasons or wiener dogs. OK..maybe they still care about dogs, but not much else.

thermometer

I’ll spare you all the feverish details and the ensuing poking, prodding and radiating of the ol’ bod. So far, I’m getting better and I’m profoundly grateful. Anything major changes and I’ll let you know. I need to get busy-there’s important stuff coming up!

One evening, during a dark nadir in my illness, I couldn’t sleep. I shuffled into the living room and collapsed on the sofa to play the endlessly fun, yet wildly unproductive ‘What If...’ game. What if this is cancer, what if this illness costs tons of $$, what will happen to my family if something happens to me? blah, blah. You know the story. Deep in the midst of my fun pity party, I hear the clickety-click of doggy toenails on the floor tile and the bump of the dachshund’s front feet on the sofa’s edge.

Roxy-Doxy, (whiny voice) there’s no room for you. Go back to bed with the Texan!

She was having none of it as she waited for me to pick her up. She promptly dug her way under the blanket and wedged herself between my leg and the sofa cushion.

The warmth of the little dog was reassuring. Made me feel not so alone and her presence lightened my thinking. Even in the dark of a feverish night, Roxy sniffed me out and came to me. I was too preoccupied and anxious to simply turn on the light, but she found me in the darkness. Even after I scolded her and told her there wasn’t room, she waited patiently ’til I picked her up. Could this aging sausage dog be teaching me a lesson about someone who comes along side me when I am weak, pitiful and afraid? Someone who is always there, even when I turn Him away?

And the dyslexic atheist says there is no d-o-g.

He hasn’t met Roxy Doxy.

robanddoxy
The wiener (l) and the Texan (r). My loves.

You’re-never-alone love to all.