Cold Hard Ground

The forecast last night was for a low around 20.  I woke early and without checking the temperature, headed out the backdoor in flip flops to see how things were faring in the unheated garage.

As soon as my foot touched the ground my entire body knew something had changed about it.

Yesterday when I stepped off the porch onto the ground there had been a spring as the earth beneath my foot responded to my touch.

This morning, there was no give from the ground beneath me.  It was hard…rock hard.

The impact of foot striking hard ground was felt throughout my body with each step I took.

The ground was cold and hard – unforgiving, harsh, unresponsive – like a heart bereft of love.

…bereft of love…. Love is the warmth that melts cold, hard hearts.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. 

The Message

Wiggle Room

There’s not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to acknowledging another person’s beliefs, thoughts, way of living.

I thought for a while this was true only within the ranks of conservative groups. Not so.

Don’t believe me? Log into your Facebook page and scroll through the pages of your friends (or read your own posts).

Those who think differently are often looked down on, judged, and labeled as heretics, fools, and just plain wrong.

There’s no wiggle room and little room for meaningful discussion.  Someone always has to be right.

And, before you point a finger at me or this post, take a moment and think of why you’re pointing the finger.  It’s because you’re certain YOU are the one who is right.

I read what people write and listen to what they say. People speak (either in written form or verbal) for a reason – to give expression to something within.  And, that something within involves their belief system, thought process, past experiences, and future hopes and dreams.

If my experiences and understanding lead me to believe other than you do, does that make me wrong?

If I hold conservative views and take a narrow line (or embrace liberal views and draw no line) – and you don’t, why am I automatically the one who’s wrong?  Am I not entitled to my opinion…my belief?  What happened to freedom of speech…of religion?

If I choose to set boundaries, or set none at all, why does that offend and anger you? I respect you and your decisions.  Why can’t you respect me and mine?

Why can’t we just be friends…family?

Must we disagree?  I’m open to hearing your side.  Why are you closed to understanding mine?

And, why denigrate me for what I believe?

“Hypocrite” – that word flies both ways, you know.

You are opposed.  I am open.  But, you probably see things opposite.

Must it always be EITHER / OR? Can’t it sometimes just be AND?

Did you just call me liberal?

See what I mean? We’re quick to judge and slow to understand.  We close doors when we should be opening conversations.

I’ve learned to leave a little wiggle room.  And, as a result, I’m growing – evolving – expanding – becoming.  My views change as my understanding is enriched and my belief deepens.

We need a little wiggle room – but in all honestly, it’s probably good we don’t have any.  We’d probably use it to settle ourselves more firmly in our position and set up defenses all around….

More walls. More barriers. More closed minds.

Seeds of Hope

The day was rainy, the air was warm and it smelled of the promise of spring.  But, the forecast warned of frigid cold, of lows near 0 and highs of barely 20.

My thoughts, of late, have turned more and more toward the gardens and work that awaits me when weather clears and time permits. I’ve not touched either garden since I pulled the last tomato, purple pod pea, and cut the last okra before the first hard freeze turned everything brown.

There is much work to be done before Spring planting and I was feeling that familiar itch to dig in the soil.

Warm days and the scent of damp earth stirs something in me that’s basic and natural. I find it hard to confine my thoughts and self to the four walls that surround me when all that’s in me screams to be beyond them.

Winter – it’s either too wet to work the ground or it’s too cold.  (OR, it’s the Holiday Season and there’s NO TIME.) But, Winter lasts only 3 months and those few months are best spent planning and preparing for Spring’s arrival.

With rain falling and frigid weather coming, the Rare Seeds catalog pulled from our mailbox couldn’t have come at a better time.  I couldn’t work outside, but I could surely work inside – planning and dreaming of an heirloom garden filled with delicious and healthy non GMO vegetables.

Though in my possession only a few hours, the seed catalog is dogeared and marked up.

Winter winds may howl and the ground freeze and heave, but the seed of hope has sprouted within me and I think beyond what is – to what can be.

Pope Francis Asks 10 Things of Vatican Employees

– “Take care of your spiritual life, your relationship with God, because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”

 

– “Take care of your family life, giving your children and loved ones not just money, but most of all your time, attention and love.”

 

– “Take care of your relationships with others, transforming your faith into life and your words into good works, especially on behalf of the needy.”

 

– “Be careful how you speak, purify your tongue of offensive words, vulgarity and worldly decadence.”

 

– “Heal wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness, forgiving those who have hurt us and medicating the wounds we have caused others.”

 

– “Look after your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and with a spirit that knows how to thank the Lord.”

 

– “Be careful of envy, lust, hatred and negative feelings that devour our interior peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people.”

 

– “Watch out for anger that can lead to vengeance; for laziness that leads to existential euthanasia; for pointing the finger at others, which leads to pride; and for complaining continually, which leads to desperation.”

 

– “Take care of brothers and sisters who are weaker … the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and strangers, because we will be judged on this.”   Catholic News Service Blog

Add Ten

As Summer slipped into Autumn, I noticed the number on the scale begin an upward creep.

A half pound is not much.  Weight vacillates.  Too much salt, weight goes up. Dehydrated, weight goes down. I’m accustomed to watching the scale relate my fluid balance on a daily basis.

So, when my weight showed an inclination to rise, hold steady, and then rise again, I took immediate action.

I upped my caloric intake and reduced my activity.  And, since the season of all things sweet was nearing, i began to celebrate with sugary treats.

While active in the Summer, I was able to eat anything and all I wanted and still lose weight.  But, with the coming of the cooler, slower, less active months, my metabolism slowed because I slowed.

And, here I am on the back side of New Year’s wondering what happened and how – and what to do about it.

Cut calories, kick sugar to the curb, eat natural, push myself physically….yes, I know what to do and I know how to do.

It’s a matter of doing it.

Outside activity revs my engine and burns calories.  Inside…I just want to sit (here at the computer) and build a layer of insulating fat.

Spring? Where are you?  Yet three months away…by the time it arrives I will have packed on 10 more pounds.

Losing 10 pounds creates enough angst.  The thought of losing 20, well…let’s not go there.

Truly.  Let’s not.

What took me 3 months to pack on will take me 6 to take off.  It’s time to stop making excuses, lace up my shoes and head out into whatever the weather….

Nuff said.  I’m up from here.

Hmmm…. Where did I put those long-johns??

It All Comes Down to Choices

2015 arrived.

With bells, whistles, and fireworks the ball dropped in NYC as confetti filled the air. Hugs, kisses, and well wishes were shared.

We went to sleep.

We woke up.

And, now a brand new year stretches 365 days before us.

What will we do with it?

Will we make resolutions? Will we welcome change…force it…fight it?

What will 2015 look like as we stand at the cusp of 2016 and look back across it?

Will we smile at the journey the past 365 days took us on? Or, will we sigh because we spun our wheels and never got anywhere?

In truth, it all comes down to choices – those we make and those made by others.

We can’t do much about choices made by others that affect us.  But, we can do something about choices we make.

Where do you want 2015 to take you?  What choices need to be made to point you in the direction in which you want to go? How willing are you to choose wisely those things that will bring about the changes you desire and the direction you prefer?

Hard questions for my sleepy head this morning, but important ones if I’m to live fully into who I’m created to be, filled with hope as I celebrate each breath as a gift from God, and each sunrise as a new opportunity to begin again.

Happy New Year!