Wednesday, November 23, 2011

a free spirit

Who doesn't love Maria's outspoken joy and vitality in The Sound of Music?
Or when she twirls around at the foot of the Alps:

To me, Maria was the epitome of a joyful, free spirit.

My friends and family have always told me I was born with a free spirit.

Growing up, I didn't even try to meet others' expectations -- I was truly an unhindered, free spirit -- sometimes to an unhealthy degree, where I wasn't responsible in the everyday things of life. I brought a lot of heartache to myself and others. But also great joy and fullness. I lived deeply and passionately, experiencing things that some people only dream of.

Over the years, my free spirit was slowly smothered.
Maybe it was due to the subtle decline into
meeting others' expectations for approval and acceptance,
also to an unhealthy degree at times.
Especially in the past two decades or so; in my 30's and 40's.

Some was due to trying to achieve "Christian reserve,"
as the Anabaptists call it --
a very valuable character trait in their eyes.
The thinking is that it's prideful to express yourself
so we have to strive to be "sober" in personality (i.e., somber).
It's looked down upon to laugh loudly
or to express too much emotion.
Sometimes it would even be preached from the pulpit.
Very repressive.
It seems so absurd now, looking back.

But, over the years, through our many different life experiences,
I've learned that it comes down to balance,
as my loving Uncle Butch has reminded me in the past.
I'm learning the meaning of TRUE freedom.

I'm getting my free spirit back
and becoming joyful and passionate about life once again.
I made the mistake of throwing out the "good" while throwing out the "bad."

Another free spirit:

When I read the Psalms, and come across the word "delight,"
this is what I've always pictured --
Snoopy dancing with his head up and his arms out.
Pure delight and freedom.
A free spirit.

Linking up with Imperfect Prose today!

Be-Bop-A Blog Hop Wednesday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

on balance

I was asked a hypothetical question once, as an ice-breaker in a group --
you know, to get to know each other better. The question was this:

"If you could be any tool, what tool would you be and why?"

One said a hammer, one said a saw, among other answers.
I wish I could remember the reasons they gave but I can't.

I didn't have to think twice and automatically knew which one I would be.
I would be a level.

Because I've always strived to be level-headed and balanced.
Not that I always was, but that's been my goal most of my life.
Maybe I craved it since I came from a chaotic and unbalanced childhood.

I still have a long way to go on achieving balance,
but I try to keep it in mind even when I make little everyday decisions.
It's really challenging for me at times to remain balanced.
But I think I'm pretty level-headed.
(I'm sure some may disagree!)

My friend Heather knows of my quest for balance,
as we've shared our thoughts on it.
She gave me a quote in a frame that encourages me. It says:

To bring into harmony the things that matter most in life.

When I pass by it,
it reminds me not to spend a lot of time on things that don't matter.
That's a huge subject, because what matters to some may not matter to others.

For me, it's remembering to take time to breathe,
time to bond with my loved ones daily in a meaningful, deep way.
It's connecting with others.
It's also taking time for solitude,
time to connect with God.

Of course, we gotta get our stuff done too -- our work.
But even that can be enjoyable
when it's balanced with all the other things in life.
And all the other stuff shouts for our attention.
It's not like we have to be sure to make time for it.
It'll mostly always get done.

I read in a book once that the three essentials we need
to balance and make time for in life are
- work (our occupation)
- service (to our community and those in need)
-play (leisure and free time)

Yes, a level would be a handy tool to be.

What tool would you be?

blog it forward

Linking up with Blog It Forward Tuesday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spiritual Nourishment (Real Freedom)

"There is only one thing that will set us free,
and that is the truth.
Yet that is the one thing we have a hard time dealing with."
J. Meyer

Here is some spiritual nourishment I received today that I thought I'd share. If I didn't know it was someone else who wrote it, I'd swear it was me. (Somebody done been readin' my mail!)

"It was difficult for me to face the fact that I was insecure, I didn't like myself, and I needed God's help and healing in my life. If I had refused to face the truth, I would still be in bondage. I would still be trying to please people, addicted to approval in order to keep a position that I probably would not even like. As it is, I am free. I know who I am in God apart from what I do. I want to please people, but I am not devastated if they are not pleased with me. As long as I know my heart is right, that is sufficient. If I am doing the best I can and people don't approve, what they think will have to be between them and God."

"I want approval, but I am not addicted to it. I enjoy it, but if I have to live without it, I can. I went through the pain of facing truth and change, and it brought me freedom. The only way out of bondage is to go through what we need to go through as we move toward freedom."

Prayer: "God, help me to face the truth about my life that I might be set free from any bondages that hold me back. Help me to change what needs to go".
J. Meyer

Read about one of my personal experiences in this area

Linking up with
Sunday Citar today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Colors of Autumn

It was a beautiful day Saturday.
My son, Michael, and I took a nice walk
and were awed by the brilliant colors.
So I tried to capture it.

Fall, Leaves, Fall

by Emily Jane Brontë

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Autumn Woods
by James S. Tippett

I like the woods
In autumn
When dry leaves hide the ground,
When the trees are bare
And the wind sweeps by
With a lonesome rushing sound.
I can rustle the leaves
In autumn
And I can make a bed
In the thick dry leaves
That have fallen
From the bare trees

Grab a cup of coffee and head over to Sweet Shot Tuesday
to peruse some great photography from other bloggers.

Sweet Shot Day