Monday, July 28, 2014

Surprise Lilies


Just a short post to share photos of some sweet Surprise Lilies (aka Naked Ladies) from the neighborhood. 

In late (?) spring, small bundles of long-leafed foliage appear, but nothing else happens. The plants even appear to die. One would be tempted to think she had a bunch of "duds." But then, 'round about now, all over town, beautiful pale pink Surprise Lilies appear. 



Worth the wait.




Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word
and believes him who sent me
has eternal life and will not be judged
but has crossed over from death to life.
John 5:24

If you're waiting for something wonderful to happen, hang in there. God is working!
Sending loving thoughts and prayers your way,
Bess

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Stoplight Cats!


My company took this photo (with a phone) of their kitties, and look how the eyes turned out! Interesting.

And my own Sweetie kitty is trying to help me as I type this. I'll be back with a new post in a day or two. And to my company ... miss you already! :O)

"The favour of your company has been much felt, I assure you. We know how little there is to tempt anyone to our humble abode. Our plain manner of living, our small rooms, and few domestics, and the little we see of the world, must make Hunsford extremely dull ... but I hope you will believe us grateful, and that we have done everything in our power to prevent your spending your time unpleasantly." (Mr. Collins to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice by the incomparable Jane Austen)

Stay cool!
Bess

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Just Wanted to Share a Photo ...


of my first Hibiscus flower to open! This plant was a gift, and I think repotting it gave it a shock. But now it has bunches of buds and this was the first to open.


Thanks for stopping by! Back in two weeks or so,
Bess

Friday, July 11, 2014

Company's Coming!

I added the trees in front, which is somewhat like the original photo.

So I'm going to take another break. I probably won't post again until toward the end of July. See you then!  ;-} 

Hope you are enjoying a lovely summer,
Bess

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Some Thoughts on Depression



Hello Dear Ones!

(I have edited this to clarify some thoughts. Might not have succeeded!)  :O)

I hesitate to even write this post because I'm certainly not a therapist of any kind. I'm not really even an "overcomer." But so far I'm a survivor, so I guess I'll let that be reason enough. However, another reason I'm sharing my thoughts on depression is that I know it is rampant among us these days. Perhaps it will be just a wee bit comforting for some of my readers to know they are not alone. It's also my earnest prayer that I don't offend or hurt anyone through this post.

First of all, depression runs in my family. For some of us it's very much a chemical imbalance and medication is a must. For myself, it's a bent toward being pessimistic, often full of self-pity, and at times "mopey." I would say mine is largely self-induced; however, over the last couple years there have been two or three days, for just an hour or two, that I have had an intense sinking feeling for no reason ... a sudden onset of profound sadness. I am hoping and praying that feeling doesn't start occurring more frequently. But if we need meds, we need meds, and we take them. We have to in order to even out the playing field before we even begin to deal with an upset, frustration, or pity party in our lives. So please know that I am in no way discouraging taking medication or seeking treatment or counseling for depression, by whatever words that follow.

As we all have, I've pondered life quite a bit (which doesn't really help, but more on that later). I believed for years that a fun, happy life was surely just around the corner. And of course, some periods were better than others. But the general trend was that what I wished for my life wasn't happening. (To be brutally honest here, probably a lot of my frustration and depression had to do with being financially-challenged. I blamed much on lack of money and lack of material things.) So I grew to think that Satan was messing with my blessings, and if I just had enough faith and hung in there sufficiently long, my blessings would rain down on me.

But now I consider the possibility that it hasn't been Satan "ruining" my life, at least not any more than anything else in this world is ruined by him, which of course is a lot. I think some of my difficulties might be, could possibly be ... God. Well, His doing in the sense that He allows them. For my own good, for my education, for my refinement, for my preparation. (In fact, over the course of my life there's been a time or two or three that I've been so wildly unsuccessful that I've begun to believe it had to be a God thing. Plus, looking back, I can see that being unsuccessful at attaining that something or other turned out to be the best outcome for me.)

So let's face it. Notwithstanding Ephesians 6:12, between Satan being an evil poop and God being a loving father, yet firm disciplinarian, there are unlimited trials and burdens at their disposal. The Devil sends a trial, but God uses that trial for good. On the other hand, God allows a battle or a burden to test or refine us, and that old crafty Satan tries to commandeer it for his benefit and our defeat. It's a jungle out there: It's as if ordeals were growing on trees.

For consideration: The Book of Job, of course; Satan has asked to sift you like wheat (Luke 22:31); believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position (James 1:9); the Galileans and the eighteen in Siloam in Luke 13 were not worse sinners than anyone else; "I will show him how much he must suffer for my name" (Acts 9:16); the man was born blind to demonstrate the power of God (John 9:3 TLB). I've especially found it enlightening that "the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor (Luke 7:22). What?! No miraculous money for us poor folk?! (Shows what's important to God, and should be to us, doesn't it!)

(I'm probably not able to explain my thoughts clearly enough. I'm not blaming God! I'm saying that He's ultimately in charge of ordeals, therefore there must be benefit to us by going through them.) For all of us on this planet, those nasty ordeals are not all that easy to avoid or escape. We've all got them. And that's the other factor ... us. In conjunction with who we trust, our own actions affect what happens to us.

Let's see. Oh yes, so the particular trial/burden/ordeal I was talking about is depression. Having acknowledged that ordeals are widespread (and there's no denying that they can be horrific), and that if we need meds we should take them, for what it's worth, here's my take on how to deal with depression:

Lift your chin up.

Take your position.

Ready. Set.

CHARGE!!!

Storm the stronghold and subdue it!

Uh, but how? Well, for starters, don't take "it" (depression) lying down. Literally. Remember, we're the third factor. God is waiting on and counting on our participation. A family member used to work at a nursing home and has told me about ADLs: Activities of Daily Living. That's brushing your teeth, making the bed, combing your hair, feeding the dog or kitty, and so on. The big goal was to help the residents perform their ADLs. That's because ADLs are extremely important, especially if one is depressed. Not only do they extend life, they are life-giving.

Whatever there is to do or whatever there is that you normally like to do, make yourself, force yourself, to do a little of it. My thing in recent months has been that when I catch myself sitting on the couch moping and going over my grievances, I get up and wash some silverware. Even if it's only a few pieces. (I don't have a dishwasher and dirty silverware increases exponentially!) While I'm doing that, I give myself a pep talk and start realigning my thoughts to what God would want me to think. He wants me to be cheerful, to count my blessings (be thankful), to fix my thoughts on Jesus, even to go and sin no more (and He was very displeased with the whining Israelites in the wilderness which is another reason to change my thinking). I know that because that's all in the Bible, the book in which God teaches me how to live and cope with ordeals. 


Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness [action] has genius, power, and magic in it!
Goethe

Then a funny thing happens. I begin to feel better. I think that maybe I'll go knit a couple rows on the dishcloth I'm making. Then I remember I need to wash my work clothes. I turn on the radio to Christian music and maybe know the song and sing along. I decide to dust my piano. Next I prepare a couple things for quick access on my lunch hour. Hmm, a cup of coffee sounds good. I'm back on the couch while I drink it. But now I'm relaxing and thinking lovely, beneficial thoughts. (You also might want to read this post from my sidebar entitled When You Need a Break from Life.) My depression is on hold for awhile and for as often as I participate in a version of this scenario. And in my life, this plays out as needed over and over and over again because I'm choosing it to.

Why? Well, I've got numerous posts on my sidebar where I share my thinking on how beneficial it is to be in control of our thoughts and not be controlled by negativity. Jesus bore the cross without complaint. I don't think many of us will be like Jesus to that degree in this life, but I believe God wants us to try. 

The world is in constant flux. Others might seem to be having better lives and more fun. They are simply at a different point on the continuum of human existence. Besides, things are not always as they appear. In this life we definitely have ordeals, one of which could be depression. We are tested, often to our limits of endurance. Yet God says we won't go through more than we can bear. So if we're still here, we can bear "it." As it is said, He'll either bring us through the trial or lift us out of it. 

The Lord has things for us to do and learn and battles for us to fight. The only free ride we get is the one Jesus paid for. We're here to serve at His good pleasure, to learn to do His will, and to come to know that we benefit by doing so.


We can be pitiful or we can be powerful.
Joyce Meyer

Just make sure you have Jesus.

Blessings to you and yours,
Bess

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Glimpse into My Daybook



I'm sitting at my computer, listening to pretty music, passing the time while the fireworks go off. They are still legal here and the locals are madly in love with them! As for me, I hunker down and hibernate until it's over. The above photo is from a year or two ago. My photos below aren't very pretty so I wanted to open with something lovely. :O)

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm sharing my daybook with you. It may be TMI, but you will get a peek at my hopes and dreams for 2014 so far. I found the daybook below from a third party on Amazon. It was a big savings to me at the time, but I believe there has been a reprint and they are available here (right sidebar). Kimberly seems a lovely person. Don't know how I stumbled upon her blog, but she lives what she believes and contributes many good things to benefit this world. She is a yoga teacher, but I simply ignore what little yoga is mentioned because I couldn't do it even if I wanted to (well, maybe some chair yoga), and as a Christian, I'm still undecided whether I would want to "go there" anyway. But as with Stoddard, Ban Breathnach, etc., I don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater when there's much that's good to be found. 

So with that introduction/disclaimer, let's take a tour through her daybook, and then I'll share some pages I've filled this year. Once again, I'm sorry for the dark photos!

The cover:

I think the cover has been redone now.




Table of Contents:


She gives eight tranquility tips each for monthly, weekly, and daily use:

I really like the watercolor paintings by Mary Catherine Starr.

There is an "at a glance" calendar page for each month, then weekly planner pages with room for appointments, projects, thoughts, photos, whatever:

MITs means Most Important Tasks

I haven't used the seasonal Wheel of Life pages yet. Must read up on how to use them, but I think they are supposed to show where we are out of balance in our lives:


On the back cover:


At the beginning and end of the daybook are blank pages to fill as one chooses. Here are a few of mine:




As I've been perusing old Victoria magazines, I found I had several duplicates. Therefore, I did the "unthinkable" and have allowed myself to cut up some of them for photos for this daybook and my other "Discovery Journal." In time I hope to fill the little blank spaces I have open. 

Finally, each month begins with a page to pen dreams for the month. Following are my pages for the first half of 2014 ...

January:

It says "filled with ginger ale!" under the glasses.
February:


March:


April:


May:


June:


I haven't done July's dreams yet. I like to spend an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon working on those pages. Some of my weekly pages have a lot written in, and others not so much. And sometimes a negative thought or two slips in, but I'm working on keeping things positive overall.

I call my process "daybooking": a combination of calendaring, scrapbooking, journaling, etc. This book has somewhat replaced my "retirement journal" I was writing in, but sometimes I do write in it and will do that more after 2014. I've just found this daybook very satisfying to work with ... and fun!


And remember:

Count yourself blessed every day... and you will find yourself living in a world of blessings. 
(from the desktop calendar I used in 2013 as described in this post)

The Lord bless you and protect you.
Numbers 6:24   CEB

And now, since the revelry will go on for hours yet, I think I'll do my own celebrating by having some ice cream! As Jane Austen would say: She was all happiness.   ;-}

And I hope you are, too.
Bess