Transformation Tuesday

Transformation is not for the faint-of-heart, this I can say with certainty.  Bending steel takes strength. Likewise, bending the will takes determination and grit.

THE MANY FORMS OF CHANGE

A changed life manifests itself in a lot of different ways.  I have observed that change taking form in these ways…

Purposeful renewal and altercation

Disease and rehabilitation

Death and beginning again

Physical, Spiritual, and Emotional shifts

Digitally and Vocationally

A FEW CHANGES            

This past week mister and me wrangled with several changes across various platforms. Among them, these:

We hosted two wee ones for four days.  It was both heavenly and taxing.  Any shift in our routine affects our sleep and living habits, of course, and for me more than he, but him too.  We were paid for our troubles with hugs, kisses, and smiles that would melt your heart, so the trade off was worth what we forfeited to make it happen. We came away from our weekend feeling joyful, after changing our quiet home for the hustle and bustle little boys always bring in their wake.

Our daughter-in-law lost her grandmother this week, to a stroke.  A shift in family dynamics is inevitable when death occurs, and those left behind are powerless to do anything about it, but adjust.  Death is no defender of the status quo.  It comes, it changes things forever, and it leaves us with dim memories to satisfy our longing.

Two of our three vehicles are now out of commission.  The third is hanging on by a thread.  We joke about our house being the last stop for cars before the junk yard, because we squeeze every ounce of usable energy out of them. We literally drive them into the ground (or at least pieces of them).  If there is one area where we are extremely frugal, it is with our automobile purchases.  Coming from a farming community, I learned as a child to fix what you have until you can’t any more, then borrow the neighbors.  I think there might be a new car purchase in our future, like it or not.

My rehab for the back/leg is producing some good results. When I rose this morning, it was without pain!  In fact, I didn’t have much pain until about 2:30pm today.  There have been other days when I held off taking pain meds, but felt pain all day.  Today, the pain didn’t start until early afternoon.  Hoorah, progress!  A much-needed change in my physical status.

PROJECT IN SUPPORT OF MINIMALISM THIS WEEK

I don’t have pictures to share regarding my minimalism project today, but will post them tomorrow as if they were posted today.  My project this past week was to paint the metal bed frame we have in our guest room and begin de-cluttering that room and getting rid of superfluous items that have collected there.  This will be a work-in-process for a few weeks, since I have to think about what will replace the shelving units we presently have in this room and figure out what to do with all the bedding I purchased because we had extended family come to stay with us one time and I didn’t have enough sheets and blankets to go around.  That has never happened again, and it was probably nine years ago now that it did happen.  Time to get rid of all those extras that we don’t need, don’t use, and don’t want to store anymore.  Someone will be blessed to have them, but I just want them gone.

When the kiddos were down this week it felt good to have more open space to spread out.  The uncluttered counter tops were filled quickly enough by them, but when they left, so left the clutter.  We are now back to clean lines and easy cleaning.  I am loving this newly evolving minimalist life!

What changes have you seen taking shape in your life recently?  Are you happy or sad about them?

 

Transformer Tuesday

Transformation can be tough. Ask anyone whose ever tried to be someone else, or change vocations, or continue to keep their marriage strong, or break a nasty habit.

My goal this year:   To quit copying the behaviors and customs of this world, while cooperating in a process that will change not only the way I act, but the way I think.  There are three important components to this transforming process, for me:  spiritual, emotional, and relational.   My faith that transformation will occur is based on my strong desire to further develop  as a person, my rock hard belief in the power of habit formation, and my confidence that as I become a more willing participant in God’s plan for my life good things will come of it.

Partnerships are always good business!

Today, I want to write about THREE current projects underway in my life. The first addresses my ongoing attempts at living a simpler life, ie: minimalism. The second includes my efforts to step back from previous commitments, to pursue a more balanced life. The third is about The Healing Journey, a 7 month commitment I made that I am hoping will equip me to lead others to greater victory in their lives. I want to help them get un-stuck. First, though, I have to figure out how to do that for me.

SIMPLER LIVING 101

This past weekend’s de-cluttering, donating, and doing-it-up-right project included tackling the long ignored and dreaded pile of paperwork that has been haunting  our home.

First, the TJ Maxx bag of doom…

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That bag, no kidding, weighs about 20 lbs, or so it seems.  It is HUGE and it was overflowing.  Note: Hope Word-WAS!  The bag wasn’t all there was to tackle. Oh, no!  There was also this…

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That’s about six months of neglected mail shoved in there.  Oh, and that stack below the mail holder–that’s overflow and “stuff” the mister has collected, but neglected to put away.  We apparently decided to weigh it down (read: hold it in place so it doesn’t go all over the floor), with his Bible.  :/

But wait, we still aren’t done.  There was also this!  A basket full of books, cords, cleaner attachments and maps and tourist pamphlets from a vacation we took three years ago.  Yep, we kept it all. Why? Who knows!

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This is what we had to deal with once all the hidey-holes were cleared and the phone directory drawer was emptied.  This table is approximately six feet long, and the stack was four inches high!

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Here’s a close up view of my mess.

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And this…this is the ONE container that was left after I had sorted through that mess piece by piece and separated the “important” papers that remained from the sentiments (card, notes, and pictures the kids have drawn).

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All those papers on the right are owner manuals we might need to reference and important retirement paperwork relative to mister’s now-lifelong vacation.

This is the ever-growing stack of books I have decided need to find a new home.  If you see anything you’d like, let me know. We can work out a way to get them to you.  All I ask if that you pay the postage.  Those that remain after gifting some to friends will be donated to area churches, libraries and finally, Good Will.

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TIME AND TIME AGAIN

While de-cluttering my home has been a practice in pleasure for me, trimming personal time commitments has brought the most peace.  I recently stepped down from teaching, something I have enjoyed for decades.  Doing research, building a lesson plan, and delivering my findings to grateful “students” has been a passion of mine for longer than I can remember, but this past year it has been plain hard.  Inspiration had waned, and I have become increasingly convinced that I was headed in the wrong direction.  The research no longer held my attention. The class time experience equally fell short. Pretty soon I was resenting the study I needed to put in to feel properly prepared to teach.  Eventually, I realized that it was time to quit.  It was hard to walk away from something that others say I do well, but I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. The lessons didn’t matter as much to me. The flame had nearly been extinguished.

What I have discovered as a result of giving up something that had grown increasingly trying was that I gained extra hours in my week that could be used to bake bread, read, enjoy luxuriously long conversations with family and friends, and escape the criticisms of people who don’t do what I do, but think it comes easily.  Everyone’s a critic, but criticism is not why I stopped teaching. It was just time.

As a result of trimming back on activities that were not all that joyful anymore, I have begun to dream again and my intuition seems to have gotten a kick-start.  I’m writing fiction again, experiencing the wildest and wackiest dreams during my sleep hours, and feeling more relaxed than I have in a long, long time.

THE HEALING JOURNEY

Last night we began this intensive study (no, I’m not leading it).  I think THJ is going to challenge me emotionally, spiritually, and relationally!  Woohoo!  It involves group study, individual study and practice, and group discussion–all things I love!  It promises to push me in areas where I’d rather not be pushed, but also claims to bring a new peace  and sense of authenticity to my life.  Most thrilling of all is the sense I have that through this study I will be introduced once again to the Lori that transforms her world, instead of being conformed to the dictates of others.  I can’t wait to see her rise from the ashes.  She’s been gone too long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What is your wildest hope for yourself in one year, five years, or ten years from now?  When you are emotionally, spiritually, or relationally challenged, where do you turn for help? 

 

 

 

 

Remembering to be Sad

Memorial Day plans changed, so mr and me will be hosting others this coming weekend instead of walking along the lake alone.

I think I’ll just sit here and wallow for a while today!

The Good News: We both love our families, so its not a hardship to entertain them. Not at all!  I just regret having to postpone our vacation, but it won’t be forever. Just for now.

When has a change of plans upset your apple cart?

Nothing’s Different, but…

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I felt connected to this quote by Charles de Lint when I saw it while searching for something else on line.

I, at first, found it sad. Sad, because in my world things are so often not different.  Life is mundanity, even for jet setters, but surely for cowgirls in NEPA.

Here in the north country we go to bed pretty much the same way every night. Then, when the alarm clock sounds, we get up the same way as we did previously.

We make our coffee.

We get dressed.

We talk to people. They talk back at us.

We shuffle along, doing lil tasks until they are done, or at least done to our satisfaction.

We  put routines in place, then we follow them.  Much of every day is the same.  It’s not different, because we aren’t different.  We are habitual creatures, and changing those habits we have developed over time is hard, but every once in a while something changes.

Someone challenges us.

A project comes along that requires more than our certain abilities.

God’s finger points over there, and we wonder, will he make a way for us to get there?

This past weekend my friend lost his barn to fire.  Not just his barn, though, but all the cattle and livestock inside.  Eleven cows ready to birth calves any day were lost in that fire.  Many calves already born went up in the blaze, too.  Dozens of piglets died, along with momma hogs, and rabbits and chickens, and the family dog.  How sad is it that the family pet was killed in this tragic blaze?  My heart cried for his four-year-old daughter who lost her puppy.

Bales of feed, hay, both round and square, were a powerful accelerant for the fire.  Two silos full of silage also burned, acting like giant chimneys for the raging barn and it’s inhabitants.

We are thankful that the house did not catch fire, though the roof will likely need to be replaced, the tiles having been singed by lumps of hay that took flight and lighted on the roof.

Yesterday, the sun came up once more.  The wind continued to blow.  Coffee perked, and men and women, celebrity or no, put their pants on the same way: one leg at a time.

Everything is the same, but everything is different for my friend.  Everything is the same, but change has shaped a new horizon for him. Literally, the horizon from his back door is changed forever.

Will my friend recover from this loss?  He will, but it has forever changed him.  His faith is strong and insurance heals some wounds, but that blaze, that night, it will forever be a part of his memory and it will no doubt ignite some fears.

Sadness is a certainty!

When did everything change for you?  What shape did that change take, and how did you handle it?

 

 

 

Emotions are a Part of the Journey

000emotionsThis week has been a mixed bag of emotion for me:  frustration, relief, concern and confirmation.

I’ve been frustrated with my goals, choosing to not exercise in the morning since Sunday.  It’s just too painful!  I don’t know what I am doing wrong, but I cannot continue to do these same exercises day after day and be miserable and in pain all week long.  Life is too short to do that to myself.  I am thinking about other options and will make a decision about the new exercise routine sometime soon. Right now, I’m resting my back and leg, and I’m encouraged by the lack of pain I’m feeling. Earlier this week I felt my feet going cold. Not good. Pinched nerve or inflammation in the nerve back there, I’m guessing. I really do need to make that appointment with the neurologist. Ugh!

Relief has come my way this week in the form of less physical pain and a greater degree of satisfaction with my eating.  I’ve been watching what I put in my pie hole and I’ve been doing well with my food planning and calorie counting goals.  I’ve been eating intentionally.  Yay, me!  Its looking good for my 3 Goals Thursday update this week. That update will be posted late, though, because I’m speaking to a group of moms tomorrow morning about self-confidence.  I will be sharing about my goal setting experiment with them. Pray it goes well and they feel heard and encouraged.

I’ve felt concern this week for my son, who has been increasingly uncomfortable and frustrated in his work as a graphic designer.  His company was recently purchased by another company, so he is going through some of the growing pains my own company is experiencing at this time.  I have confidence that if my son jumps off this ship and on to another that is waiting in the harbor for him, everything will be okay.  But change is always hard and he’s my son, so I’m naturally concerned.  I think he is underpaid, but was appreciated in his current position (by the old ownership). The way things are looking for the future, his type of work will change to less creative, and more cookie cutter in scope with this new company.  If it does, that’s a deal-breaker for him.

I’m thankful for confirmation in response to our prayers for life concerns this week.  You know I believe change is possible, and you know I believe in God’s provision for my life. I don’t talk about it a lot, but I have a strong faith that I think comes across in my postings here.  This week, that strong faith has been rewarded with several confirmations that me and mine are moving in right directions as we are making choices that will most certainly affect us now and in the future.

Change is good.

Change is certainly possible!

Change challenges us to be better than we are now.

Change keeps us on our toes.

Change is to be embraced for its changiness and it’s potential.

I’m glad I’m facing all these changes with a strong faith in a Power greater than I to get us through.  Sure makes things easier when I know I’m not in this alone.

Have you had some concerns for the future this week?  When, if ever, have you had a strong confirmation of your faith appear when you needed it most?