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Category Archives: Inspiration

The Fine Art of Relaxing

Today as I listened to those around me there seemed to be a developing theme for the day. The morning started with reading my email as I usually do before work while drinking my morning coffee. One email I receive every day is Turning Point by Dr. David Jeremiah. It is a daily on-line devotional. The theme of this morning’s devotional was Crazy Busy.

In his book, CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap, Edward M. Hallowell wrote about the moment he knew he had crossed the dark side from busy to crazy busy. It was when he lost his temper at a rotary dial phone while on vacation. His cell phone wouldn’t work, and he just about went nuts waiting for the dial to return to start with every number. Then, calming down, he timed the process. The entire dialing process took all of eleven seconds. “What a fool I had become,” he wrote. “I had become a man in a hurry even when I had no need to hurry.”

After finishing up with a few things at home I headed into work and there was a salesperson waiting to see me when I arrived. She comes to our business once every month or two for a visit. We talked about my vacation a bit and then she related a story about their family trip to the Wisconsin Dells with her husband and two kids. They planned carefully for their trip time wise and financially before they left. She said everything went fine for the first two days because they were in one place but then she said that’s when the fun ended and it went from vacation to crazy busy even on vacation.

They spent the third day of their vacation hitting every tourist trap up and down the streets in the Wisconsin Dell area. They denied themselves nothing. They spent more than they had planned on stuff they hadn’t planned than on what they had planned. She said it was like the whole family was in a frenzy going from one thing to the next. It was not what they had planned for their vacation. They came home frazzled, broke and exhausted.

When I started on the work I had planned for the day I managed to get a few things done on my list but spent most of the day “putting out fires” as my husband refers to taking care of the urgent but not necessarily the important.

Some days we are too busy “putting out fires” in our crazy busy world that we neglect what’s most important-time for ourselves and our family. It’s important to build some solitude in your daily routine and rest. On the days when my husband and I get home late from work it is hard to give up the time for the things I enjoy and opt for the rest I need.

When my boys were young one of their favorite things to do was to hop up into Grandpa’s chair if he had vacated it long enough for the boys to notice. They loved to lean back and stretch out pretending to be just like Grandpa in his chair. Our grandson has started to play the same game. I hope that the next generation will learn how to slow down and enjoy the moment better than this generation does, at least that is my hope.

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Curiosity

This evening when we came home I looked up and saw this beautiful moon surrounded by clouds and I am reminded of all the beauty that has been placed on this earth and in the heavens for our enjoyment and wondered why? 

It certainly wouldn’t have to be filled with the extensive number of colors, textures, flora and fauna that cover the earth.  If the world contained any less of anything, would we have noticed or imagined it to be any less spectacular than we know it to be?

 

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Beacon of Light

Last evening I needed to kill a little time while my husband was at a racing meeting for the upcoming race season.  I decided to visit the local airport in Fergus Falls, Minnesota while he was at his meeting. I have often thought about flying to the airport but haven’t flown there yet.  When I am flying into a new airport I like to be as familiar with the surroundings as much as possible before I take off so I know what to expect upon landing. 

One of the most comforting feelings as a pilot is to see the rotating beacon in the distance as you approach the airport.  It lets you know you are almost there.  It projects a welcoming glow of safety to pilots much like the glow of a lighthouse identifies danger to passing ships on the water. 

Airports are not always easy to find if you are not familiar with the terrain and a lot of small airplanes like the Cessna I fly do not have GPS to identify my location.  I have other means to determine where I am at any given time that I learned in my training.  The rotating beacon confirms for me that I am on the correct path to my destination.

This morning my lesson for my Sunday School class of fourth – sixth graders was based on text from Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

I didn’t look at my lesson until this morning for my class today.  I love how last evening’s photo and this morning’s lesson fit so well together.  As a pilot it would be very difficult to find the airport without the beacon of light especially at night.  We each need beacons in our lives to show us the safe path to travel.  We also need to be beacons of light and safety for others. 

 This morning in class we discussed the fact that even though they are young there are still others that are observing them.  Many have younger siblings or classmates that are watching them for direction.  Young or old we can be a positive influence of light and safety into the lives of others.

 
 

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Bridge or Barrier Builder?

This past week as I was driving in my car I listened to one of my favorite cds by Phillips, Craig and Dean.  It’s the live version and I got it from a friend a few years ago for a birthday gift. 

One of my favorite songs on the cd  is Build a Bridge of Love.  On the live version of the cd one of the artists tells the story of his grandfather being a bridge builder.  He said that his grandfather told him that the same materials to build bridges can be used to build barriers, it’s a choice of how you use the materials.

Yesterday morning on one of our coldest days of the year I was in town and took this picture of an old train bridge in Little Falls, Minnesota.  It has always been a favorite bridge of mine because of the architectural detail and its age.

Build a Bridge of Love by Phillips, Craig & Dean

Isn’t it crazy, we haven’t spoken in years
We were the closest friends
Where did we part, when did the love disappear
We thought it’d never end
Just a causeless separation
A turn in the road of life
But now we’re nothing more than strangers
Don’t you think that it’s time to

Let’s build a bridge of love together
One stone of hope at a time
Let’s span the sea that comes between us
So join your hand and heart with mine

The timing is right for our differences to cease
O Father make us one
Let’s join in the fight to love all humanity
Our time has just begaun
We can use these precious moments
To tear apart dividing walls
And with those stones of separation
Build a bridge for all
Every race and every nation
United and unique
We’re all just links in a chain of love
I need you, you need me

The past week I’ve had a lot of time to think about relationships.  I’ve been home sick with the flu.  Relationships are hard work.  It is much easier to build a barrier one piece at a time with each hurt or misunderstanding until the barrier is so large you cannot see over it or too long and can not walk around it. 

Each day I have to make an effort to make the choices that will create healthy relationships.  I’m not talking about becoming a doormat but keeping the lines of communication open even when I don’t agree with someone’s choices. My usual way to deal with conflict is to run the other way.  I just don’t like it and I don’t seek it out.   But that in itself can be a barrier between me and another. 

I don’t want to start building a barrier so that if in the future someone feels like talking about something they can still find me accessible instead of locked up in my castle with the drawbridge drawn up and the moat full of crocks.  Not a pretty picture but it can happen one piece at a time until we have secluded ourselves from the very people on this earth who were put here to enrich it.

 
 

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Tinkering Fathers…Growing Old Gracefully

Last evening my husband and I were working late and had to make a quick trip over to a neighboring town to the body shop.  My parents live near Grey Eagle so I called them and asked them to join us for a quick supper at the local bar.  It was Taco Night. 

While we were eating my dad asked if we had time to stop at his office on Main Street just two doors down from the bar he wanted to show us what he had worked on there.  My husband said he wouldn’t be able to but I could since we drove separate vehicles.  I could tell Dad was excited about his latest project so immediately after we finished eating, we paid for our dinners and walked over to the office, Dean headed back to work to meet a customer at our shop.

When we arrived I followed Dad back to one of the offices near the back of the building.  He has a desk with a laptop computer in the room.  As I looked around the room I noticed a piano keyboard, a tripod for a camera on the counter and a piece of paper with the words Happy Birthday Elise printed on it.  I thought who is Elise?  Then Dad explained that Elise is one of the girls in his confirmation class that he teaches at church. 

Dad started tinkering with his laptop to show me what he has worked on.  He pulled up a file on his laptop and opened it.  It was a Claymation animation file.  Dad has taught himself how to do animation on his computer at age 74, almost 75.  His reason for learning is to make his confirmation class more interesting for the students.  The Happy Birthday Elise paper is his present project and first attempt at animation. 

He has learned how to write the words a quarter-inch at a time, take a photo of each step and convert it into animation so it looks like Happy Birthday Elise is being written all by itself on his computer screen.  He told me that the finished project at this point in time is 172 frames for the animation to write Happy Birthday Elise.  Elise has a birthday coming up and the week of her birthday he would like to start class with the animation on the screen wishing her a Happy Birthday.

There have been times in my life when I looked back at my Dad and thought that he was never around when I was growing up and that he was always working, too busy.  I suppose feeling sorry for myself for one reason or another.  It wasn’t about him it was more about me.  I don’t know what I thought he should have done and hadn’t, but it wasn’t a fair evaluation of the situation.  Dad’s project last night brought back many memories of growing up and special things that Dad did that I had forgotten about.

My brother was in Boy Scouts growing up and each year they had the annual Pine Wood Derby.  No one else had a chance of winning if my Dad and brother were in the race.  Dad and my brother worked for months on the pine car.  They were constantly working on the weight distribution and the contours of the car for the least amount of friction through the air as it traveled down the track.  It was a big event at our home for each of my three brothers.

Science fairs were also a big deal at our home.  Mom and Dad would both get into the project with which ever one of us six kids had a science project to work on that year.  One project that they helped my brother build was an apparatus that would test the effects of alcohol on a task.  The task was to move a handle with an eye hook on the end around a wire that looked like a roller coaster path.  If you touched the eye hook to the wire as you went through the course it would light up a bulb.  They had measurements along the course to keep track of how far you made it through the course.  It was a hard course but not impossible. 

Next they started consuming glasses of wine, one each hour, Mom and Dad, not my brother.  It was his job to record the results of their paths through the course.  They did several runs of the course without alcohol and then tested once each hour after their consumption began.  They did this for several hours one evening while we were watching a movie on TV.   My brother received a blue ribbon for the project but it was truly a family affair. 

One of the observations that I have made in the past few years as I was approaching the age 50 and beyond is that there are two ways to grow old.  One is to sit and think of all that might have been and feel sorry for yourself about all the things that you perceive to have been failures in your life.  It is easy to sit home and not be involved in the lives of others.  Waiting at home for them to come to you. 

 The second way to grow old is to do it gracefully.  Don’t resign from life as you retire but embrace it.  Don’t be afraid to learn new things and interact with other people.  My Dad at age 74 isn’t afraid of junior high and high school students.  He wants to take part in life. If that means learning something new to interact with young people he delves head on into it. 

I’m a long way off from retiring and maybe financially I may never be able to but I know from my Dad’s example that I will never retire from life, maybe my current job, but not my life.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in Family, Inspiration, Life Happens

 

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Word for the Year…Persevere

Last evening I was checking out some new links for photography blogs.  I came across a blog called Shutter Sisters.  http://shuttersisters.com/ I was amazed at how much content is on that one site.  It’s not only pictures but poetry, projects, and instruction.  It’s not just for photographers, I found it genuinely inspiring. 

One of the projects that they talk about on their website is the one word project.  It involves choosing a word, in their case to take pictures that prove their word, in life. 

“The first of the month always marks the One Word Project here at Shutter Sisters. It all began a few years back with inspiration from the awesome Ali Edwards and her One Little Word and since then we’ve dared to dream, wish, share, nurture and play. We’ve turned our lenses toward beauty, motion and gratitude. It’s been nothing short of inspiring!

As Ali has said, “One Little Word can make a big impact on your life” and we know it to be true.

There is no time like today to find a word that will help define the year ahead for you. Have you considered what YOUR word will be this year?”

I don’t know if I will take part in the One Word Project or not but it got me thinking.  What would my word for the year be?  After much thinking last evening and then again this morning I came up with the word persevere. 

Merriam-Webster defines persevere as: intransitive verb: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement.

MSN Encarta dictionary defines persevere as: persist determinedly,  to persist steadily in an action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite problems or difficulties

There were many different definitions that I looked at but I liked these two the best for the following reasons.  In Merriam-Webster’s definition I liked the portion of the definition that said “or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement”

 In a time when everything we hear on the news or from our neighbors is discouraging in regards to the economy and general outlook it’s hard not to be discouraged but its important to get up everyday and put one foot in front of the other and do our jobs whatever they may be in spite of what others are saying. 

In the MSN Encarta definition the portion where it says to “persist determinedly” really spoke to me as an attitude issue in perseverence.  I not only need to persist in what I do but do it with determination and purpose. 

So in this new year I choose persevere.  What’s your word for 2011?

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2011 in Blogging, Inspiration, Photography, Reflections

 

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Tell Me The Story

When I am out driving on the country roads I am always looking for interesting old buildings to photograph.  Yesterday on my way home from work I drove past this old building.

It is a building that I drive by nearly every day.  It sits on an abandoned homestead site.  I usually see it from the end as I drive by instead of this view from the south. 

Today I parked my car along the roadside and got out and walked in to get a closer look at the buildings.  It was already starting to get dark so the picture is darker than I would have liked.  I will have to go back to get some sunny day photos.

Whenever I see abandoned buildings broken and empty I can’t help but wonder what the stories are from the people who lived there.  Was it a family with children?  How did they spend their days?  What games did they play in the surrounding hills?

Tell me the story was something I used to hear from my oldest daughter.  The story she is talking about was the day she was born.  She loved to have her Daddy tell her about the day she was born.  She has two older brothers and she delighted in hearing how special it was to have a little girl at our home.

Her eyes would never leave my husband’s face as he told her the story about how he went with nurses for her first bath and how I was asking everyone where my little girl was.  Her eyes would twinkle as he told her how he held her all day long the day she was born and how she was his little princess.

I try to imagine what the stories were that were told in the empty homes.  Were they stories of hardship or delight?  Stories of pain or pleasure?  I’d like to know.  I think about the people who live in our old home and wonder if they think about who lived there before them.  I wonder who will live in our home when we no longer live here.  Will it be our children living in our home or someone unrelated?

When I look at this building I imagine a family huddled around a fireplace or wood stove trying to keep warm on a cold winter’s night.  I imagine the Dad of the family telling his children the story of how they came to live in cold Minnesota and what his dreams are for their future. 

I imagine the children exploring the hills around the home and games of hide and seek.  I imagine a Mom heating water to prepare a meal, to wash the family’s clothes or for a bath in a washtub.  Most of all I imagine a family blessed to have each other to share their days in the comfort of their home built with love.

As we approach Christmas this week I love to hear the story of Jesus’ birth and His plans for our future.  It is a story that never grows old with its telling.  Take some time in the week to come to share His story.  I love how His story is told in Matthew 1:18 – 2:12. 

Each year one of the oldest men from our church sits in a rocking chair in front of church with all the little children gathered around him on the floor.  He reads by candlelight the best Christmas story ever told with all the little faces gazing upon him.  A precious sight of delight!

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2010 in Family, Holidays, Inspiration, Photography

 

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