No good deed…

Hi Everyone,
I hope your week has gone well.

Mine has been, uh, difficult…no, hurtful.

I write this blog every week for several reasons. It’s a way for me to look back and track my progress with my artwork, it’s a journal of sorts about my life in particular and it is a place to speak to experiences we all have as human beings.

This week, this quote came to mind.

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

by Clare Luce Boothe

Why does it seem that when life is at its most stressful people take the opportunity to be the most hurtful? You try to do the right thing in life and take on monumental responsibilities while trying to carry on semi-normal life and what you find coming at you is not support, but arrows of criticism, gossip and actions taken behind your back that in no way help the situation?

I was raised to be a nice person. In spite of all the good I was told it would do me, I cannot truthfully say that it has. Often while I have been trying to take into consideration other people’s feelings those very people have not returned the courtesy. My trust is betrayed by those I thought I could trust. It has happened time and time again. I should know better by now.

Danny and I are in a row boat in an ocean of complication that has a history and backstory the depth of the Mariana Trench, yet people who have only a cupful of knowledge about the situation keep gossiping and throwing stones and making waves. It does not take our focus off our true priority which is the well being of another human being, but it makes the journey cold and miserable.

I am truly and deeply thankful for real friends and family that regularly call, text or hug us and tell us we are doing a good job and they are there for us. Those are the rays of sunshine that mean so much. We are navigating difficult waters. Decisions we make that people might not understand very well may be for a long term reason, not the short term.

I find some peace in simple things right now. Picking beans in the cool morning, watching Danny training a horse, knitting a pair of socks and laughing at someone’s silly joke over dinner as we forge a new family. We are tough people. We have survived worse. All of us.

May you find yourself surrounded by those who shine light, not cast shadows.

 

Photo credit
Tim Marshall

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Unsocial Media

Hi Everyone!

If you read last week’s post you know I am now a week behind myself.  So let’s catch up on life.  How are you?  Hope all is well in your world and that you have things under control better than I do.

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I have been taking a Facebook sabbatical.  Has anyone else run screaming away from the social media mess?  I had hoped after the election that people would calm down and return to the lovely people I used to know BUT it hasn’t happened.  There is still all this ranting and raving and ugliness being thrown at people who don’t agree with them.  These are supposed to be FRIENDS! At least on Instagram most of the people I follow are not actually FRIENDS and I can let them rave on without it piercing my tender heart.  So far, the only thing I am missing about Facebook are the cute animal videos.

What have I been doing with my time now?  Let’s see… 1) reading REAL books from a REAL library  2) I have made myself two new tops for my wardrobe 3) I have been putting in some serious time on drawing and painting 4) starting to paint our guest bathroom and second guest bedroom 5) herbal medicine studies and 6) more cleaning out of stuff.  I have been accomplishing a lot more now that I’m not reading posts by out of control people and watching cute animal videos.

I plan to go back to Facebook in a week or two, but I really did need to take some time and get away from the crazy.  My plan is to go in and hide the posts from the worst offenders.  Most of these are people I have respected and liked over the years, though a few of them are very young people just getting involved in our politics.  If I were their parents I would be giving them some advice on how to express political opinions in a more civil way.  As for the older folks…they will be hidden until they can act their age.

Am I wrong for wanting us to just be mannerly and civil again?  I have no problem with opposing views.  Some of my dearest friends and I do not share political sides, but we have managed to love and care for each other through many, many administration changes over the years.  Are people not teaching kids basic manners anymore?  Would they really say some of the things to the face of a friend and expect to stay friends?  Maybe I’m just showing my age, but I’m thinking our social structure is beginning to crumble.  How can a society thrive when we can’t even get along online??

I do not want a political discussion on here and quite frankly, will not approve comments of a political nature, but I would like to hear your opinion of how things are on social media and how do you think we can improve this enormous way of communicating with each other if you would like to express them.

Have a socially safe week out there!

 

Photo credit

Hurricane Matthew

Just a quick check in this week. Thursday brought both of my kids home as they evacuated the coast. Along with them came two friends and two dogs. We have been cozy in our small house but it has been good to see them and know they are safe.

Right now I am listening to the wind blow and buckets of rain fall. Last night the rain and wind brought down a tree in our back yard that barely missed the house. We are almost in the mountains near the Virginia border.  If we are getting this much rain and wind I don’t want to be anywhere near what they have been getting on the coast.

With all the company, dog refereeing and cooking, there has been no time for writing. I will be back at the end of the week. Until then, my thoughts and prayers are with all those who are facing a daunting clean up this coming week. image

Christmas came early

Window

I’m sitting here watching it rain buckets, but the town’s “Blinkie” lights and the Moravian stars are keeping my mood festive.  I am not a big celebrator of holidays.  That probably comes from the whole commercialization aspect that has taken hold of our celebrations.  I hate shopping and dislike the obligatory gift giving.  I would much rather buy a gift for someone at a random moment that would actually be special than having to figure out what they might want or need at the end of every year.  And who doesn’t like an unexpected gift? That is much more fun for the giver and the getter than the Christmas gift gluttony.

Having been the Grinch/Scrooge many times over the years I finally decided I needed an attitude adjustment.  I quit beating myself up for not having a budget for extravagant gifts.  I discovered Etsy and Amazon (no affiliates here folks) thus ending the need to fight through crowds.  I simplified the decorations to what I really liked and took little time to put up.  I stopped trying to cook ridiculous amounts of goodies that none of us needed.  Instead I perfected my Chex party mix recipe and live off of it for one month, once a year.  I quit trying to win Most Beautiful Package of the Year with my gift wrapping. Now I don’t even put on bows. They just get squished.  Most importantly, I quit looking for Christmas “cheer”.  The expectation that all was wonderful and bright about the season.  Ok that sounds pretty Grinchy but let’s be real.  It’s stressful not cheerful most of the holiday season.

All these changes had the effect I wanted.  I’m rarely stressed now at the holidays. Instead, I get to appreciate what Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year should be about in my opinion.  If you thrive off the hustle and bustle, go for it and celebrate on!  I’m a low-key, introvert, borderline hermit.

Yesterday my Christmas came early. Not the gift giving, but the Christmas spirit.  We celebrated the life of my uncle Chester who passed on Saturday.  I know that sounds strange, but bear with me a few more minutes.  First, Chester was 88 years old.  Most of those 88 years he was the life of every party and a prankster extraordinaire. For about the past year he had been confined to life with a feeding tube. I don’t think any of us wanted him to continue on that way for much longer.

His funeral was more laughter filled than tear filled as just a drop of his many antics were shared. The Christmas spirit part for me was the time I got to spend with family and old friends.  I rarely get to spend more than a couple of hours Christmas day with my aunt, uncles, cousins frantically trying to catch up on each other’s lives.  Many have stopped coming to the family gathering as their own families have grown and new traditions are made.

The funeral was held at my home church in the community where I grew up.  Thanks to Facebook I manage to keep up with some people there but so many others I don’t.  Though very brief, the hugs and conversations were wonderful.  I even discovered a couple of them read this blog.  Thank you, my highly patient and tolerant friends and cousins! I left the funeral with those all too rare warm and fuzzy feelings that come from tears, laughter and love.  I think uncle Chester was enjoying it immensely too.

Have a wonderful hug filled week!

Thanksgiving

 

We are celebrating our day of Thanksgiving in the United States.  Here are a few photos of a typical Thanksgiving day and a blessing for the day.

 

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Wishing you all peace, safety, health, comfort, love and laughter.

O God of all Creation: You have cared for the earth, and have filled it with your riches. Abundance flows in your steppes, through the pastures and wilderness. You provide for our land, softening it with showers, bathing it in light, and blessing it with growth.

The hills sing with joy; the meadows are covered with flocks; the fields deck themselves with wheat; and together they glorify your name!

On this occasion of our Thanksgiving, we as a nation take rest from our labors to consider your many blessings. We thank you for our freedoms, and for the opportunity to contribute our skills, our attributes and our values toward the good of society.

We thank you for the mixture of our cultures, blending us into one people under God. Help us to be a light unto other nations, and to further the cause of freedom and justice all over the world.

We remember those who are less fortunate than we. We lift up in prayer the victims of poverty and racism, and all those who suffer from forms of political and economic oppression. Let the word that goes forth from our mouths speak of your peace, and let us proclaim our hope in Christ as Savior of all humankind.

We pray that you will bless all those who gather here, as we have come to experience your presence among us. Give us your guidance, O God, and empower us for your work. For we claim nothing for ourselves, but return all honor and glory unto you, and offer our thanks and praise. Amen.

From “Prayers for God’s People”
Thomas P. Roberts, editor

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Football photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/70806177@N00/15294277764″>Happy Thanksgiving from Levi’s Stadium</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Parade photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/22463037@N00/3162773680″>Trumpet</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Pie photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/28928375@N07/4147801863″>mmmm&#8230;.pie</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Family photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/47264866@N00/5215359628″>Give Thanks to Family</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;