Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Still Blooming

My hibiscus has been brought indoors for the winter, and it's still blooming. Seems like it only gets at most one to three flowers open at a time, but then they are so pretty each bloom can be thoroughly appreciated that way. This photo was taken by a different camera than the first I shared here.

Just wanted to clarify that when I write about negative thinking, depression, anxiety, and so on, that doesn't mean I'm presently having big problems with any of those. They come and go, but mostly I'm fairly content these days. But at times my thoughts are too many to put in a short comment or email, so they become blog posts! :O)

From This Day is the Lord's by Corrie ten Boom:

Faith is an activity; it is something that has to be applied. 

Absolute dependence is the essence of the faith of the angels; it should also be ours. 

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may ... find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 (as found in the above book)

Keep blooming ... wherever you're planted!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Thoughts on Anxiety, Especially Job Anxiety

A jigsaw puzzle my dad and I put together. He put a backing on and preserved it.

I'm no expert, and my thoughts in this post are based on my personal experience, but I don't think too many people will argue with me when I say anxiety is no good. It's about as much fun as getting a root canal all day, every day.

My dad holds me, and my mom holds my older brother.
Aren't I a chunk?! Talk about fat cells! ;O}

Anxiety differs from depression in that it's being in a state of relentless agitation (a lack of peace). Often it's mercifully understated, but it's there nonetheless. Left unattended, the tension spring winds tighter and tighter. Sometimes it screams to be sure we're paying attention. "Do something!" it says. What it means is "Do something different!" because the same-o, same-o isn't soothing the anxiety beast and releasing any pressure build-up. Years ago I had to leave a job because my extreme anxiety and stress didn't subside one whit over evenings or weekends (vacation was non-existent); it just kept building. The workload was utterly impossible. When it gets like that, Friends, it could very well be time to get out while you can walk out and not wait until "the big one" sends you out the door on a stretcher.

A watercolor done by a classmate of my grandfather.

However, anxiety is like depression in that if one needs medical treatment, one best seek it out asap. For instance, mitral valve prolapse has a strong connection with anxiety. I'm sure an online search would turn up many more medical connections. (So if you're experiencing anxiety, please be sure to talk to your doctor about it.)

And being that these are anxious times we live in doesn't help matters. If we think we're not anxious about anything, ever, we'd better pinch ourselves to make sure we're alive. 

An unfinished painting in acrylics done by my mother.
The kitty was named Holly because she was a Christmas present.

I wonder how much anxiety folks of old felt ... in fact, folks clear up to just before the information age maybe. I mean sure, if we're being chased by a bear, we're terrified until said bear lumbers off. But constant anxiety? I think in part it's so bad now because we've been robbed. Well, that's my theory anyway. Robbed of precious time and quiet to pursue activities that produce tangible results. Results we can look at as often as we like and say to ourselves: "I made this."

A sweetie, even with her unfinished face.

It seems to me we need an outlet that's a good distraction, something totally different from our job, that will "take us away" from our work and daily stress (no, not even Calgon is enough help!). I'm liking the visual arts because then I have something tangible to keep and show for my time. And there are soooo many options. Once we find the one or two or maybe three hands-on activities that are so enjoyable to us we lose track of time and our anxiety, we don't feel so "defined" (or pressured) by our jobs, but defined more so by the wonderful things we enjoy doing and look forward to doing in our free time. (I guess if one is fortunate to find "the one thing," that makes it a passion, and a couple things can become our bliss. I've never been able to whittle it down to one or two things, but I've come to accept that about myself!)

My beautiful mother (and handsome father and younger brother) at my 4th birthday celebration: 1956!

There are always going to be deadlines and stressful days at work, concerns for loved ones, snarled traffic jams, crummy weather, financial and health challenges ....  IMHO, the best tranquilizer is to be crazy-in-love with Jesus (whether one is male or female because it's a pure, chaste, "brotherly" love; also I'm not the least bit against tranquilizers if one needs them and takes them appropriately). But maybe the next best tranquilizer is finding a creative outlet that makes you feel on top of the world! Trying out the possibilities is part of the fun! (Sports and exercise are options, but for me something like that would feel like an obligation, plus I want to see immediate results. Maybe that's just me!)

A little woodworking.

Please tell us about your hobby or passion in a comment. We can make this a repository of your ideas/suggestions for readers to refer to in the future. When we need help in life, let's not forget to use the tools at our disposal!

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward.
Proverbs 12:14

My love to all, especially my precious family!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Some Wise and Encouraging Words

She looks like she could use some encouragement. Painted by my grandfather.

Even when life seems hard we still must carry on, and eventually we will reap the benefits of doing so. For example, Corrie ten Boom, in her book This Day is the Lord's spoke of experiencing illness and suffering as being in training for higher service. She also warns:

"Giving too much attention to little symptoms is playing into the hands of the enemy. He uses illness to depress us, until we see things out of all proportion to their real value."

That's something to watch out for. And sometimes we just need a reminder that life doesn't have to be all bad. Here is the great Tony Bennett singing the standards "Put on a Happy Face" with James Taylor, and then "Smile" with Barbra Streisand. There's just a bit of talking on the first one, but it's still a joy to hear. If you haven't heard these wonderful songs for awhile, indulge and enjoy and take note of their wisdom!

From Winston Churchill:

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."

From Harriet Beecher Stowe:

"Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."

And from Corrie:

"Suffering is God's thorny but blessed road to wonderful victory. We must learn to remain faithful."

A watercolor by my grandfather, with a glimpse of a pencil sketch by my great aunt.

You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him,
for you are his personal concern.
1 Peter 5:7  Phillips

Enjoy your weekend,