What Are We Without a Dream?

A holiday weekend is upon us though I hadn’t realized until I looked at my calendar yesterday. Another fact about living alone in retirement: there are no plans for family outings any longer, so unless I have an appointment penciled in my Christian Planner, the days slip by without recognition. Some mornings I forget what day it is. This morning I had a brief thought while waking that it was Saturday. Then I remembered today was Skype day with my daughter who lives in Wisconsin. Friday. Laundry. Thank goodness for routine!

Our routines evolve as our lives change. I’ve never been a spontaneous kind of person. I’m smiling now remembering vacations and how hubby wanted a schedule of what every day would involve. He couldn’t wing it. The best vacation we ever took was a 10 day road trip. I planned exactly where we would stop each day, booked hotels in advance, and we ate at roadside rests from a packed cooler.

That vacation was relaxing, fun, and I wish we had done this more often. As I continue to age in my quiet days of routine, I sift through memories of the good times. A little longing enters. If only I were a little more courageous, I’d like to get in my SUV and take a trip to visit my brother and sister. I’d listen to audio books while I drove once I could no longer get my Christian radio stations. But, alas, it isn’t safe to travel alone, especially as a member of the “golden years club.” Stopping at roadside rests to eat would not be wise. Traveling alone with health issues wouldn’t be wise.

Some tell me to get on an airplane. There were years when I flew quite frequently for business. I enjoyed those trips. Now the thought of boarding an airplane gives me a panic attack. I trust God, but I find it difficult to trust placing myself in the hands of strangers especially in today’s world. I don’t want to fly again until the rapture!

And so, I dream of enjoying traveling alone, seeing myself as a strong, brave woman of age. The dreams will have to be enough. In reality, I enjoy my time in the quiet peace of each day, knowing God is with me and He holds my future.

Lifting my cup of tea with a sigh and closing the dream to inhale the fresh morning air, to see the beautiful light blue sky, feel the warmth of the sunshine, and give thanks to God for blessing me so richly.

Media Impacts on My Life…Thank Goodness for Coloring

There are times when I want to unplug my television and never turn it on again. Why? I don’t like the time I spend for winding down and relaxing to be a bombardment of things that are just the opposite. I believe in Jesus and stand on the truth of the Bible.

For the past couple of years I’ve been watching shows on Hulu instead of live. Yesterday I changed my subscription to no ads, because even the ads disturb me.

I don’t want to avoid what is happening in the world, so don’t misunderstand me. When my son was in Desert Storm, I glued myself to news constantly. I became very anxious and was unable to sleep. I clung to the worst of the worst media shoved at me and I suffered. One can be aware without being sucked in. Without living life in fear and hopelessness.

I worry about what the young children are dealing with. When all they see is the hatred and anger, the destruction, what are they learning? Are they learning to be better, productive people? Or are they learning how to commit crimes? How to release their fear and anger in the wrong way?

With all the distractions going on, it is easy to focus on the negatives instead of focusing on what we should be doing to prepare ourselves for eternity. See, the good news of the Bible is this: Jesus died on the cross and took my sins with Him, I am forgiven, and when I die I, too, will be resurrected to live eternally in heaven. The commandment I want to live by is to love God with all of my being, and to love my neighbors. If I do these things, then I will live the best life I can here on earth and I’ll be learning how to love the way Jesus did.

I sit here rereading what I’ve written and I almost want to delete every word and write something funny, or inspiring, or “fluffy.” But I needed to get this off my chest. My intent is not to offend anyone. It is just a brain dump of my personal thoughts. How I wish we could all learn to just love one another and find peace. I know this isn’t going to happen. The Bible is a living testament to this truth. But I can choose. I’m given that freedom. So I may choose to unplug.

So last week, I took some time off. Down time. I colored less. What time I did spend coloring was mostly with markers instead of pencils. I needed to destress and relax. Here is what I completed:

Rose Windows coloring book by Creative Haven. Illustrator Joel S. Avren
The following three mandalas are also from this book and illustrator.

 

 

 

 

Happy to report that the Rose Windows book is completely colored! Two books so far this year on my finished shelf.

 

Book: Chibi Girls Grayscale 2 books in 1 by Jade Summer.

 

Free extra design from Colouring Heaven as a prelude to the new book release Fairy Stories Special illustrated by Fabiana Attanasio.

 

I’m disappointed in the last picture I colored with pencils. I think I will print it on card stock and try again using markers. But I still had fun coloring her and am excited to receive the book. Unfortunately, due to delays in shipping from England, I still haven’t received the February release yet.

I wish all of you the best and leave you with these words taken from 1 Corinthians 13:7-8. “Love. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” May your lives be filled with love given and received. Until next time…

 

Conform or Be Transformed?

Church sermon today was part 2 of Unshakeable, following the story of Daniel. The big question to ponder after is: Will I conform to the world, or let my mind be transformed by God?

I’d like to say when confronted with choices such as Daniel was, I would remain strong and true to Christian values and morals. But would I?

If I look at Lot’s wife, she became conformed to the world after her family left Abraham and settled in Sodom. What a strong difference between that culture and the way they had been following with Abraham in their travels.

Did she easily conform? Was it a culture shock? I wonder if she found it easier to follow the crowd than to stand alone amid such sin.

Those decisions are part of my everyday life here in America where the general public seems to be against everything the Bible says. The ten commandments are ignored. Murder has extended to  innocent unborn children. Marriage is not always between a man and a woman. Sleeping together outside of marriage is acceptable. Sigh. But we see this as commonplace in the television shows, movies and even advertisements that we and our children view daily. Murdering others in video games is a sport children participate in with parental approval.

Everyone is doing it. So does that make these things acceptable to God as well as the world? Or have we filtered God our of our daily living activities? Have we begun to succumb to the world and then attend church on Sunday and believe we are living as Christians?

When Lot was told to leave Sodom before the city was punished, he did so, but bargained with where he would live next. And Lot’s wife…she was still being pulled by the Sodom world, she could not help looking back. Was she longing to stay?

How about us? Do we feel so comfortable conforming to the world, that we don’t want to change? When did we stop thinking about eternity and exchange it for current pleasure?

These are the thoughts running through my mind today as I self-analyze my own life and actions. I know I want to be transformed. In order to do that, I cannot conform. What changes will I need to make? What about you?

Another Long and Quiet Sunday and I Miss…

Sunday. Some Sundays tug at the deepest emptiness in my heart. Not every Sunday. But when those long and quiet Sundays drag on, I can feel the tears building behind my eyes. That’s the me I hide behind a smile when I am with others. I’ve perfected the smile as part of the widow’s mask.

It has been 7 years, 3 months and 15 days since my hubby’s soul went to heaven. Not a day, hour, or minute goes by that I don’t miss him. Most days I keep busy and bury the sad thoughts with happy activities. I am blessed to have family and good friends. Jesus is my daily companion. So, why this long and quiet Sunday?

Ah, those good old Sundays when hubby and I would have brunch after church and then head to a little fish joint to enjoy a senior dinner together where we met new friends and often reunited with old ones. Life was fuller then. We had each other for company. We shared hugs. We kissed. We loved. And then he was gone.

The reality of living alone settled on me and oh, how I struggled to find a new normal. I’m not sure I’ve found it yet. What my days consist of are hours of keeping hands and mind busy so the absence of voices isn’t the loudest thing in my home.

Perhaps the blessing is that I’ve always been a bit of an introvert. Never enjoyed the party scene or being in a crowd of acquaintances and strangers. I much prefer a smaller, intimate group of friends. With the pandemic, it has been a plus that I’m used to living alone. But, those long, quiet Sundays emphasize I’m alone with my thoughts.

I miss my family. The impromptu drop-ins, the conversations, the smiles, the hugs, the love. Have you ever felt alone in the midst of family? Have you ever hurried to pick up your mobile phone when you hear a text come through hoping it is a contact from a family member? Have you ever tried to explain you don’t mind living alone, but miss the company of others? Sigh.

But God…

When I’m feeling Satan tap on the lonely part of my heart, I can find comfort from God. I pick up my Bible and read. I pray. I shed tears.

And I blog . . . because it is a long, quiet Sunday and I miss . . . voices.