Monday, January 23, 2012

Slow Me Down, Lord

Today was a long, busy Monday. I got up a little later than I should have this morning, so I hurried to get ready. Left a little after 8am and rushed to school. My full day of classes finally ended at 3:45. I left immediately after class and headed off to put 4 hours in at the office. Hurry hurry hurry... rush rush rush. From one thing to the next. Tonight, a patient gave me a copy of this prayer. "Slow Me Down, Lord." How appropriate. May we all s l o w d o w n.

Lord, slow me down.

Slow me down, Lord
Ease the pounding of my heart by the
quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of
the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amid the confusion of the day, the
calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves and
muscles with the soothing music of the
singing streams that live in my memory.
Help me to know the magical, restoring
power of sleep.
Teach me the art of taking minute
vacations - of slowing down to look at a
flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to
read a few lines from a good book.
Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to
send my roots deep into the soil of life's enduring
values that I may grow toward the stars
of my greater destiny.

-- Wilferd A. Peterson

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"I thank you, God, that I have lived."

A professor shared this prayer in class this afternoon and I wanted to share it with you.

Prayer penned by Elizabeth, Countess of Craven (1750-1828):

I thank you, God, that I have lived
In this great world and known its many joys:
The song of birds, the strong, sweet scent of hay
And cooling breezes in the secret dusk.
The flaming sunsets at the close of day,
Hills and the lonely heather-covered moors.
Music at night and moonlight on the sea,
The beat of waves upon the rocky shore,
And wild, white spray flung high in ecstasy.
The faithful eyes of dogs and treasured books,
The love of kin, fellowship of friends,
And all that makes life dear and beautiful.

I thank you, too, that there has come to me
A little sorrow and sometimes defeat.
A little heartache and the loneliness
That comes with parting and the word “goodbye.”
Dawn breaking after dreary hours of pain
When I discovered that night's gloom must yield
And morning light break through to me again.
Because of these and other blessings poured
Unmasked upon my wondering head,
Because I know that there is yet to come
An even richer and more glorious life,
I thank you God that I have lived.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lessons Learned in the House

Last year, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to rent a house with 7 of my best friends. While living together we kept a little notebook of lessons learned in the house. I found the list and thought I'd share it with you!

* If you back your car in the ditch, put it in neutral and push from the front.
* The freezer cools the fridge. So, if the freezer goes out, so will the fridge.
* When living with 8 girls, be sure to cut the hair out of the vacuum after each use.
* Set a mousetrap inside a brown lunch bag. Then all you have to do is grab the bag to dispose the mouse.
* Thaw chicken before you bake it.
* If you notice there is a giant block of ice by the fan in your freezer you probably need to get that out. Use a hairdryer to melt it.
* Clogged shower drains can be a bigger problem than just clogged hair. Wear gloves, put your hair up, use a plunger, clean off the overflow drain... If your drain starts to spew up black much.. shut the door and call a plumber.
* Being hit on by your plumber is not a good thing. Don't be the only one left home and if you are, unlock the door so you can bolt if needed.
* If the garbage man won't pick up your yard waste, just make an unofficial compost pile in the backyard where no one else can see it.
* Bees don't like it if you try to sweep them up with a broom. If stung, remove stinger immediately and apply ice.
* A can of diced tomatoes is not a can of tomato soup.
* Water should drain down the sink. If it doesn't, it probably won't fix itself. Fix it yourself, or call your landlord.
* If you receive mail for someone that does not live at your house, write "Return to Sender" on the envelope.
* Flushing the toilet while someone is showering is mean. If you hear the toilet flush while in the shower, prepare to be scalded.
* Sometimes there are no free rooms to make phone calls -- if it's not too cold, sit outside. Or, bring a blanket and sit in your car.
* You are required to share the details of your dates with your nosey roommates. They will be waiting for you when you get home.
* It costs money to heat a house. The purchase of an electric blanket might become necessary.
* Getting homework done in the "study room" is nearly impossible.
* Yes, you can parallel park.
* Mowing the lawn in an unpopular requirement.

Oh and there were more lessons learned, I'm sure.
It was a memorable year filled with many lessons learned and unforgettable times.
Just like I will never forget these house lessons, I will never forget the blessing of college friends and the year spent together under one roof.

Miss you girls <3

Monday, May 9, 2011

Get up off the curb

Once there were two girls. They each had the same dilemma. They were both interested in a boy who was showing no signs of returning the affection. Tragic but oh so common. Though their dilemma was the same, their stories drastically differed. One girl chose life beyond the boy. She got up, started walking, started recognizing possibilities, opened her eyes and started seeing a bigger and more beautiful world. She began walking in a new direction. Claiming new dreams and living fully and joyfully. The other girl sat still. She stayed close, frozen in place. Ready and waiting for the boy to move. She remained seated on the curb. Seeing nothing but him and her limited surroundings. Missing out on her own life and dreams and possibilities. Waiting on a boy who may never want her in return.

Please don't be the second girl. Get up off the curb and wander, explore, embark on your own journey. We live in an amazing world full of interesting and beautiful people to meet and incredible, unbelievable places to go. Meet them. See them. Don't limit yourself to waiting on a guy, or whatever else it is that holds you back. Break free.

Take a chance. Extend your hand and ask the boy to dance. If he reaches back - it's time to create your story together, but if he doesn't... curtsy kindly and start the dance alone. Take a risk. Dare to live without him. Dare to let him go.

Skeptics might suggest that by sitting closely, waiting patiently, the second girl will eventually win the boy. Maybe. But at what cost? It is my opinion that the first girl is going to end up with the right guy for her in the end as well, but will be able to figure out who she is, what she loves, where she wants to go and have a whole trail of memories along the way.

Each person has one life to live. One story to tell. How do you want yours written?

The world is a big, beautiful place that invites you to come, see and live. What a shame if you only see it from your seat on the curb.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Just thinking...

When I first created this blog, I titled it "Just thinking." I intended this to be a place for me to take my thoughts, put them to words and share them with whoever might be brave enough to tune into my though process every now and then.

Thinking. We all spend a considerable amount of time thinking. Thinking about the past, the future, what we want to do or eat, who we'd like to meet or where we'd like to go. Thinking about our goals, failures, conversations, weaknesses, dreams etc. Thinking is a good thing, a natural thing a necessary thing. After stupid mistakes or poor choices, it is normal to hear the phrase, "What was she thinking!?" Or "I just wasn't thinking." So, it's imperative that we think... but also that we think wisely.

You see, thinking (though necessary) can also be incredibly cruel and destructive. I'm reminded of a quote from Beauty & the Beast.
Gaston: Lefou I'm afraid I've been thinking...
Lefou: A dangerous past time.
Gaston: I know.
It is a silly part of the song, but I've realized that this concept holds some serious truth.

It's important to recognize which thoughts are beneficial and which are harmful. Start taking the time to identify what you spend your time thinking about. Be good to yourself. Reject the urge to think negatively. Spinning your weaknesses, failures and frustrations over and over in your mind is terribly unhealthy for the body and soul.

I'm reading an interesting book called, "EAT PRAY LOVE" by Elizabeth Gilbert. (Recently a movie starring Julia Roberts). In the book, she discusses the "impossible task" of controlling your thoughts. She makes a vow to monitor her thoughts and repeat the saying, "I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore." I love how she makes sense out of good thinking and bad thinking. I'll share it with you.

She writes, "A harbor, of course, is a place of refuge, a port of entry. I pictured the harbor of my mind - a little beat-up, perhaps, a little storm-worn, but well situated and with a nice depth. The harbor of my mind is an open bay, the only access to the island of my Self. This island has been through some wars, it is true, but it is now committed to peace, under a new leader (me) who has instituted new policies to protect the place. And now - let the word go out across the seven seas - there are much, much stricter laws on the books about who may enter this harbor. You may not come here anymore with your hard and abusive thoughts, with your plague ships of thoughts, with your slave ships of thoughts, with your warships of thoughts - all these will be turned away. Likewise, any thoughts that are filled with angry or starving exiles, with malcontents and pamphleteers, mutineers and violent assassins, desperate prostitutes, pimps and seditious stowaways - you may not come here anymore, either. Canniballistic thoughts, for obvious reasons, will no longer be received. Even missionaries will be screened carefully, for sincerity. This is a peaceful harbor, the entryway to a fine and proud island that is only now beginning to cultivate tranquility. If you can abide by these new laws, my dear thoughts, then you are welcome in my mind - otherwise, I shall turn you all back toward the sea from whence you came."

Guard the harbor of your mind. Set up your own rules and regulations. Be a strict harbor-master. Protect yourself from unwelcome intruders that will only steal from your spirit, destroy your contentment and leave you wounded and alone.

One final piece of wisdom on this topic. Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

These things... are worth welcoming in to your harbor. Worth thinking about. Worth asking to stop by and stay for a while.

But those are just my thoughts... Just something for you to think about I guess.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Since I've been gone... apologies & poetry

Oh no... I am ashamed to admit that I did, in fact, completely neglect my blog. No, I haven't completely neglected my writing... just the posting part. Maybe I'll try and get back to it. Until then... I found some poetry that I wrote within the last year. Poetry is an interesting animal... it's kinda weird. Kinda makes the writer seem eccentric. Kinda makes "normal people" nervous. So... at risk of making anyone too nervous, I'm gonna share some of my favorites. I suppose it is kinda weird and I am kinda eccentric. Oh well.

All the pretty girls
With perfect curls, brand new shoes & shimmering eyes
Have a hand to hold, chose
By the nice boys, walking close side by side.
Giggling, floating, dreaming, seeing nothing
But him.
And only the plain girls
With wind blown hair, borrowed shoes & squinted eyes
walk all alone, spinning
‘round to not miss a thing,
Artists capturing the skyline, dancers lost in the breeze.
Eyes to the sky taking in the city lights,
The sparkle illuminating her every step.
Stopping to hear the music,
Seeing the water spill from the fountain,
Tossing in a penny, wishing to see more.
Thinking How beautiful. Does anyone notice?

Giggles seep beneath her door
The “someday” poison introduced
Days pass. Hearts break. Dreams wait.

Pages fill with hopeful words
Too deep, a risk to speak.
The plague ignites and carries on,
The days longed for far off.
The here, the now, forgot.

Moments missed or just ignored
The life desired is coming.
Choked by the drug of “somewhere else”
The present; lost, rejected.
Clocks tick. Hearts sick. Dreams dying.

Living starts when hearts can see
That life and joy is now.
Health and hope renewed, refreshed
When dreams are lived today.
Time’s here. Choose joy. Live now.

Once you dared to change the plot.
Threw out your lines, leaving me
My turn to speak there was nothing there.
The flawless dialogue, storyline
It was perfect, how I wrote it.
It was mine. How you ruined it.
Missed your cue, or just ignored it,
Forced to ad-lib
I froze.

Just then I saw you sitting comfortably
In my old directors chair.
Is this your story, mine forgotten?
Is all I worked for lost, abandoned?
So I’m an actor, this not my story,
I’m told to simply play my part.
No purpose fighting, on the stage now,
Confused and doubting lines not mine.

Surprised I found this role refreshing.
Not my job to run the show.
Captivated by the story, I got
Lost, forgot my worry.
There’s joy I found, when just
Performing. Acting, living impromptu.
No missed lines, no plot to follow
Just twist and turn and watch it flow.
So thank you, life, please come and join me.
Join me and enjoy the show.

Oh.... and you may notice that a couple of these poems are inspired by previous blog entries.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I have always wanted to be independent. I longed to be the girl that could thrive all on her own. Needing no one, happy and capable alone. This ideal isn't supposed to sound lonely or sad... it has just always been my desire to cut loose the ties and stand on my own. To feel truly independent. I was never sure when I would get there, what it would feel like or how I would know.

Just over a month ago I moved to Chicago. I went with a hope that this adventure in the big city would make me feel truly independent. That walking down the busy streets and taking public transportation and living in an apartment under my own name would confirm to me that yes indeed, I, was truly an independent woman. Well, there have been a few times that the city life seemed to convince me of my independence... but until a few days ago... I was really never sure.

A few days ago I found myself alone, on a train, feeling terribly nauseous. I seemed to have picked up some sort of flu or food poisoning over the weekend in the suburbs, and it started to hit on my trip back to the city. I remember sitting on the train holding my bags and trying to figure out where the most appropriate place to vomit would be if that should become necessary.

Finally, I made it back to my apartment. The rest of the night was spent lying on the bathroom floor... alone. This is when I realized what it means to be on my own. Goodbye ideals and hello reality. As the hours slowly crept by and I did my best to take care of myself, I remembered the days of being sick at home. The days when my mom would hold my hair and rub my back and try to make everything seem okay. The days when my sister would play nurse and I would drink tea and eat homemade soup. The days when being sick meant just lying still and being completely dependent on those around you. Then, I wondered why that was something I was so eager to get away from. Why did I want to try and live all on my own?

I called my mom that night around 3:00am. She was hours away and there was nothing she could do... but in that moment, I just needed to know someone was there. In that moment, the last thing I wanted was independence. I wanted someone to take care of me, to whisper softly and hold me close.

As I recovered over the next couple of days, making my own soup and disinfecting my own bathroom, I started to reevaluate my desire to live independently. I began to realize the deep need that I have for people in my life. I thought about how unnatural it is to rely only on myself. I found my perspectives shifting. In my low days of being sick, I was finally aware of how silly it is to want to be on my own. I also realized that it isn't just when I'm physically sick that it is better to have others to lean on. Life isn't meant to be lived alone. Though I may be capable of getting around by myself or taking care of myself or being completely on my own... why should I want that? Why not surround myself with people who will be there when I'm dragging, run with me when I'm energized and make memories with me along the way? No longer will I pride myself in my independence. Instead, I will be thankful for those who enrich my life... hold me up... take my hand... show me the way... and help me live life as it was intended to be lived. Together.