Be It Resolved

There are 31 days left in this year.

Thirty-one.

Only thirty-one.

Forget about how many days until Christmas for a minute and focus on what happens AFTER Christmas is over, as time marches forward and a new year looms on the horizon.

Do you remember your New Year resolutions made 334 days ago? your plans to make 2013 the best year ever? the goal to live healthy (physically, mentally, relationally, spiritually)? the promises made to save money, end clutter, be better, change habits, improve?

What happened?

Did you keep them?

Or did you fall back into your old pattern, finding it easier, more comfortable, better suited for non-change?

I’ll admit – I made resolutions. Be it resolved….

Did I keep them?  Not all and not to the degree that I’d hoped, but I did hang on and hang in there and eventually, on some things, could say, “I’m resolved.”

Change is hard. I’m inflexible. This old dog hates new tricks.

But, come January 1, 2014, I’ll once again have my Be It Resolved list, and on it will be highlighted “continue with X, Y and Z.”

You see, X, Y and Z are the changes I’ve made.  It took me this long to get this far and be it resolved that each day I’ll move forward, embracing the changes and making more as I go.

Change is a process that’s more involved and difficult than simply changing the calendar or flipping the page to a new year.

As you look beyond Christmas and consider the new year, think big then think small.

Be it resolved that I will…. That’s thinking big. Now, think small…tiny baby steps lead you day by day by day closer to your big goal.

If you think big then start small, by this time next year you will be 334 days into making your resolution a reality.

Hey, so what if some days you find yourself taking two steps forward and three steps back?

Think a bit smaller:

  • downsize your steps temporarily
  • change your pace
  • pause where you are and wait a few days
  • consider your progress
  • adjust your direction
  • envision the next step
  • find joy in the journey

Keep your eye on the goal and face forward.

Forward is where life happens and it’s where life awaits you.  Yesterday is past. You live in the present. Face forward and lean into the future. That’s where your goal will be realized.

Be it resolved that in 2014 I will….

Whatever came to mind as you read that…go for it! And, know that I’m your biggest cheerleader!

I’m Dreaming of a White…Thanksgiving?

...FIRST POTENTIAL EARLY SEASON SNOWFALL ACROSS MIDDLE TENNESSEE
BEGINNING LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TONIGHT...

That’s how the Winter Weather Advisory began Tuesday morning.

It went on to say:

...A RAIN...SLEET...AND SNOW MIXTURE IS EXPECTED INITIALLY...CHANGING OVER TO ALL SNOW BY
TONIGHT...WITH THE POTENTIAL OF AROUND ONE INCH OF TOTAL SNOWFALL ACCUMULATION ACROSS 
LOCATIONS GENERALLY WEST OF THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU REGION...

And, continued with:

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO
MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT...
* GEOGRAPHIC AREA...LOCATIONS WEST OF THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU.
* TIMING...3 PM CST THIS AFTERNOON TO MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT.
* MAIN IMPACT...ONE INCH OF SNOWFALL...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS
  POSSIBLE.
* OTHER IMPACTS...SNOW-COVERED ROADWAYS WILL MAKE TRAVEL HAZARDOUS
  FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TONIGHT.

A warmer and wetter than average winter has been the general consensus among human prognosticators. However, Wooly Bears are saying the opposite. The three I’ve seen bear no orange band. Instead they are solid dark brown from front to rear. 😉

Of course, this is AUTUMN…not WINTER. I keep telling myself that this colder than normal pattern isn’t necessarily a harbinger of things to come.

Monday afternoon even the weather folks were surprised by snowfall and falling temperature – big beautiful flakes fell hard and fast enough at 33 degrees that they coated everything but the roads and walkways.

When I went to bed Monday night weather.gov assured me I had nothing to be concerned about…no accumulation when the next cold front moved in on Tuesday.

I felt safe…secure knowing I had nothing to fear…no concerns apart from thawing the turkey, cleaning house, and making ready for celebration and thanks giving.

When I woke Tuesday morning, it was quite a shock to learn the forecast had changed drastically and a winter weather advisory had been issued.

Snow fell on Monday, three days before Thanksgiving. And, if the weather followed the forecast, there would be snow on the ground, here, on Thanksgiving Day.

As I type this, I look out on a snow-free, dry landscape.  Snow fell – a lot of it.  But, it didn’t fall here.  Points East and Northeast of us – WOW…a white Thanksgiving, a white Black Friday, a white weekend…. That’s a lot to contend with on the heaviest traveled holiday of the year.

It’s a good thing my trust is not in weather prognosticators.  All they can do is give it their best guess and their best effort based on what they see and know.

Like me, they’re only human. We see what was and what is, then base what could be on what was/is seen and known.

And, that’s fine when things remain true to pattern and there’s no deviation from normal.

But, when deviates dictate, I need more than human wisdom…more than guesses.

I need something sound, immovable, unchanging. I need someone I can count on, trust in, depend on.  I need to be connected to wisdom that speaks from past, present AND future experience.

When ill winds blow and storms descend and I find my next step is uncertain and fraught with peril, I need more than a best guess or a forecast that’s going to change however the wind blows.

I need Jesus.

Thanksgivukkah

As early as 1721, here in the U.S., thanks-giving celebrations were held in November. (Read more.) In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanks-giving to be held on the last Thursday of November. Subsequent Presidents followed his lead and in 1941 the U.S. Congress declared the 4th Thursday in November a legal holiday – Thanksgiving Day.

Around 164 B.C., in the land of Israel, an event (some say a miracle) occurred during the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem that gave rise to the annual Jewish Festival of Lights that runs for 8 days in the Hebrew month Kislev.

This year, 2013, these two celebrations coincide. A quick Google revealed:

  • The last time this happened was in 1888.
  • The next time will be…over 79,000 years from now – WOW.
  • It’s more complicated than 1888 and 79,000+.

The celebration of Thanksgiving is part of my tradition and history.  I am not Jewish and have never truly given thought to celebrating Hanukkah.

But, this year, I find myself intrigued by it.  There’s so much online about combining the two. There’s even a Facebook page devoted to it.

Tolerance, understanding, forbearance, harmony, fellowship, acceptance, cultural blending, peace…isn’t this what the world needs more of?

Some say yes.  Others say…not so fast.  For a less than mainstream take on Thanksgivukkah, check out No Thanksgivukkah by Allison Benedikt. It’s well worth the read.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Hanukkah (Chanukah)! Happy Turkey Day! Happy Thanksgivukkah!

As much as it’s within your power, make it a good and happy day.

Thanksgiving Eve

One day til’ Thanksgiving and all through the house
Not a dust cloth was stirring, I felt like a louse;
The clutter lay scattered – I’d delayed to prepare
And as I surveyed it I soon felt despair.
As the to-do list swirled around in my head,
My patience? It dangled, attached by a thread.
And just when I thought, “Enough of this crap!”
Mom settled my brain with a long fingered tap —
“Reach into the cupboard and hand me a platter,
And don’t fret about housework – it just doesn’t matter.
We’ll serve up the turkey with so much panache,
They won’t see the clutter. Now, take out the trash.”
( © 2013 Suzan Hutchinson )

All too often we lose sight of what’s truly important – family, friends, love and a thankful heart.

The turkey and dressing?  That’s just the trimming. The main course is thanks-giving served up with love.

And, this can be celebrated every day of the year – independent of calendar date, turkey dinners, a clean house, and perfect planning.

Let love rule today as you make preparations, and, tomorrow as you feast with family and friends.

A heart filled with thanks-giving has no room for grudges, pride, or hurts.

Let go and love.  Forgive and be free.

Give thanks for all things.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom was born on Saturday, two days after Thanksgiving, 86 years ago. Her mother, having never experienced labor pains, thought the discomfort she felt was from turnips she’d eaten a few days before.

With her birthday falling so close to Thanksgiving, and with us all gathered at her house for the Thanksgiving meal, it’s been traditional to celebrate her birthday as part of our thanks giving.

What better time to celebrate her life and her legacy than on the day when we offer thanks for so much and for the many blessings so evident in our lives!

What a blessing Mom is to me, to my family – to her family and friends.

I love you, Mom.  Happy birthday!  Thank you for blessing me, not only with life, but with love and laughter and with the day to day living that means so much to me.

Thank you, God, for the blessing of my mother.

Happy birthday, Mom!

Homegrown Broccoli

This is my first time to grow broccoli – the first time to ever see it growing and experience firsthand what it does and how it does it.

The third week in July, I purchased broccoli and brussels sprout seeds, extended the garden, and planted the seeds. Within 7 days it looked like every broccoli seed I’d planted sprouted.

I thought of thinning the plants by plucking the sprouts and enjoying them on a salad, but I opted rather to let nature take its course and watch the strong prevail over the weak.

Within a few weeks, I noticed 15 plants had increased in size enough to overshadow the smaller weaker plants.

By the first of November, the only broccoli plants visible were these 15 – tall, strong, vibrant, and growing.

Here we are now, near the end of November…a full 4 months since planting.

Broccoli heads are fully formed on the top of several stalks. These will be harvested, steamed and immensely enjoyed.  The smaller heads will be allowed to grow, and those plants not yet showing heads will be given time to produce.

Ever since I first saw the little broccoli heads form I’ve had to slap my hands to keep from picking one and popping it into my mouth. There’s nothing like home grown goodness and I’ve never tasted homegrown broccoli.

But, once it’s picked, it’s picked.  It won’t grow any bigger.  And, bigger is what I want when it comes to broccoli heads.

Patience is a virtue and waiting is rewarded.

But, waiting too long causes waste and disappointment.

You see, broccoli will bloom.  That’s why broccoli creates heads.  The heads are clusters of immature buds.  Wait too long and those buds blossom into small yellow flowers.

Gardening is all about time. You can’t rush things and you can’t delay.  Everything in its time.

Birth Control Pills Increase Risk of Glaucoma

Ok Ladies…add glaucoma to the list of risks increased when taking birth control pills.

Research indicates that women who use oral birth control are at greater risk of developing glaucoma than women who don’t.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected data on 3,406 women over the age of 40.  It was found that:

The women who had taken oral contraceptives for more than three years were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with glaucoma. (Read more.)

More than twice as likely….  I find this concerning.

And, especially so when I consider an article published in 2011 that cites findings from the Nurse’s Health Study, which followed 79,440 women aged 40+ from 1980 to 2006:

…we did find an adverse relation between longer duration of OC (oral contraceptives) use and POAG (Primary Open Angle Glaucoma). …there was a 25% increased risk of POAG  associated with 5 or more years of OC use. (Read more.)

All too often we are prescribed medication and take it without thinking of our individual risk factors or giving thought to long term effects the medication may / can / will have on our bodies.

Know your risks. Weigh them carefully. Choose responsibly.

I got mine, did you get yours?

An email appeared in my inbox.  It’s a rare occasion when I read instead of delete emails of this sort, but something in the preview piqued my interest.

I’m glad I took the time to read it. You’ll be glad you did, too.  I’ve taken the time to break the links present in the email below, and I’ve underlined the important parts.

I got mine – I want to make sure you get yours.

Attention: Beneficiary,

My name is Ms. Carman L. Lapointe, Head Of United Nations Under-Secretary- General For Internal Oversight Services. You will get more information about me here. http:// www .un.org/Depts/oios/pages/usg.html

Meanwhile, I wish to inform you were among the scam victims listed to be released their overdue funds by the UNITED NATIONS in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the last encounter we held concerning your funds. As directed by UN secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in collaborations with the IRS, I wish to state categorically that a transfer of $10,500,000.00 drawn on First Citizens Bank will be made to your bank account as almost 99% cost associated with the transfer of your funds has been pre-paid by the U.S. Government. The only fee you will pay is the cost of processing a “Fund Clearance Certificate” by First Citizens Bank. The “Fund Clearance Certificate” is required in accordance with the U.S. Monetary Transfer or deposit Policy and it is the only fee you will have to pay before your funds can be transferred to your account.

After you must have paid for the above mentioned certificate, First Citizens Bank will process it and send a copy of it to you for your perusal. Note once again that your overdue payment worth $10,500,000.00 only will be credited into your account you will furnish with the First Citizens Bank without any delay as approved and instructed by United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and United States Government.

NOTE: I have received numerous e-mails saying that I went to Nigeria concerning your funds. Please ignore such e-mail because I did not travel to Nigeria for such objective. I am here in the United States of America. Nigeria is No.1 fraudulent country and almost 50% Nigerians are impostors. They values impersonation immensely. Right from this moment, I will advise you to stop all further conversation with whomever you might be in contact with, promising to transfer money to you, either through Lottery Winnings, Act as a Next of Kin, investment plan, dating from any social websites or any other related issue that involves transferring money as they are all nothing but a fake.

Urgently respond with your full name, full address and direct phone number so that I will furnish you with the First Citizens Bank operation director’s contact information. Remember, they will instruct you on how to send the money to them as soon as you contact them.

You can also e-mail me on carmanlapointe12 @aol.com

Yours Sincerely,

Ms. Carman Lapointe
Head, United Nations Under-Secretary-
General For Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS)

I got mine…did you get yours?

Laugh, that is.

Thankful for Small Favors

Rain was falling hard and fast.

What’s the temperature outside?”, Hubby asked.

“Low 60’s,” was my reply.

And, then I said, “I guess we should be thankful for small favors. If the temperature were in the lower 30’s, we would be getting a lot of snow right now.”

Small favors – the often unnoticed and unexpected good seen in bad situations when we make the effort to look for them.

Look back over a bad event you experienced and see what small favors you can see. You might be surprised.

Where it not for the grace of God, small favors wouldn’t exist.  Let’s thank God for each one we see, for every one we experience is from God’s hand.