“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” – Havelock Ellis
“Let us be grateful to people (dogs) who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
Sasha joined our family today. Abby is thrilled.
A year ago, I lost my Samoyed Molly and then in October, I lost my Golden Retriever Lily. I have been looking for a Samoyed for almost a year and when it fell through a couple of times, I got a Golden Retriever in December.
Abby will be nine months soon and Sasha is four months. When the opportunity came up a few weeks ago with a breeder, I couldn’t pass it up. It just felt right. The “rules” would say you shouldn’t get two puppies. Wait, it’s too soon.
The one thing that I’ve learned in the past year after losing my Dad and two dogs within 5 months of each other is that life is short and the rules we make up really don’t matter.
God works slow and fast, in His own time, which usually doesn’t align with our own. There have been days that have dragged and months and months of waiting. Seemingly for no reason at all, stuck in the waiting. And then suddenly, something new comes together rapid fire. The waiting comes to an end and we’re tossed into the next chapter of our life in a moment’s notice.
All that has come before brings us to this day, whether we can figure it out or not. So when we let go of our rules, stop trying to “outsmart” God and trust Him, we can enter fully into what is and be in grateful awe of this very moment.
“Human life is as evanescent as the morning dew or a flash of lightning.” – Samuel Butler
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison
Lightning has been dancing in the skies for over an hour as storms take their time to roll in. It took me over 30 clicks to get this photo. It was a wonderful reminder to never quit and the wins come in the numbers, in consistently trying until that one time hits just right.
You are closer than you think. Keep going and trust that ongoing effort with time will create results. Lightning will strike. Catch some lightning.
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Teresa
I planted grass seed about 10 days ago. It’s starting to pop up, slowly. The first week, nothing. Kept watering and waiting and still nothing. Then I noticed more in the morning – it grew during the night. Now it’s filling in but still a bit patchy but working its way through the surface, taking root. More each day and getting stronger.
Plant some seeds and plan on some quiet waiting. The seed will take hold in due time, with water, light, darkness and of course patience. By all means, plant some seed, the only path to harvest.
“Talk unbelief, and you will have unbelief; but talk faith, and you will have faith. According to the seed sown will be the harvest.” – Ellen G. White
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleonora Duse
“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” – Michel de Montaigne
I imagine that we will get to the end of our days and realize that we did not rejoice enough. Simple delight, arms up in the air, cognizant of the many opportunities for joy before us each day.
We will regret acts and words unsaid as well as the unkind ones that were spoken. What we considered so utterly important will fade to nothingness and the measure of our life will be how kind we were and how much we loved, unconditionally.
Rejoice today and carry on each day so when you look back it will be with a deep sense of gratitude and completion, knowing in your soul that the treasure of your life was well spent. Rejoice.
“Well, that’s what life is – this collection of extraordinarily ordinary moments. We just need to pay attention to them all. Wake up and pay attention to how beautiful it all is.” – Alexander Payne
It’s been five years since I’ve done a big yard project. Last week, I rented the roto tiller and tilled up the weeds along the side and back of the garage. Yesterday, I finished the resetting the block edging, Today, the rock and dirt were delivered. Seven hours later, the rock is in its place. Dirt spreading and grass seed is on the agenda tomorrow.
Five years ago, the project was tilling and sod after the back yard tree was removed with a crane. Today, the missing piece in this yard project was Dad. And it’s days like these that I miss him most. He would have gone with me to the rock store after he measured the area and did the calculation to get the exact amount of rock that I needed. He would have handed me the shovel and held down the landscape fabric. After we were done, we would go grab a beer and toast to getting the job done.
“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” – Earl Nightingale
While I always appreciated the help, what I really valued the most was the easy conversation and time spent with my best friend and Dad. As I shoveled the rock into the wheel barrel today, I imagined Dad sitting in the adirondack chair just hanging out with me making the hard work enjoyable.
The daily moments and ordinary days are what we remember the most so don’t miss them while you are in the middle of them. Be present and deeply grateful for those oh so ordinary days.
“It’s a deep joy that comes from making intentional choices about how we’re going to live our lives despite our circumstances. Despite the darkness of our circumstances, joy does come in the morning.” – Laura Story, When God Doesn’t Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without
One of my favorite musicians whose music speaks honestly and authentically to the heart and spirit is Laura Story. Her song Blessings shifts my narrow view every time. One line that stands out – “what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.” I am finishing her book on the many trials in her life and one concept hit the mark – “joy that contradicts circumstances.”
It’s easy to be upbeat and happy in the good times. It contradicts all we think we know doing the same when we are amidst the trials we all have. We should be downtrodden, we have reason, we have cause. But when we allow God’s joy to enter our hearts, it simply transcends all reason and is filled with contradictions. It’s simply unreasonable and unfathomable. And that’s why God doesn’t make sense and is the only thing that makes any sense at the same time.
Be unreasonable and radical. Choose joy that contradicts circumstances. Joy blooms every morning, breath the beauty in, accept joy.
“In contradiction and paradox, you can find truth.” – Denis Villeneuve
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott
Walking after the much-needed rain, I thanked God for a good weekend, more accurately for the grace to notice that it was a good one. We pray for what we think we need or lack rather than being grateful for what we already have. Grace brings discernment. We suddenly become astutely aware of what’s authentic and what we already have present in our life in this very moment.
When the clanging noise of the world tells us we need more and we are not enough, we are quietly held as God waits patiently for us to take notice. Give way to awe and praise for what already is.
“My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another. Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear.” – Anne Lamott
“It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.” – B.C. Forbes
I’ve had two fifty year old trees fall and have to be cut down in my yard in the past 10 years. After clearing them, I immediately planted new trees, knowing that it wouldn’t be in my lifetime that I would see the same beauty and shade that those wise old trees had given.
As I looked out my window tonight on the pink sky with soft rain falling, I saw the outline of that little tree that was planted not so long ago and how far that it had come. It’s offering its own beauty and shade.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
When it comes down to it, we can hold to the past and long for what was, not moving forward or we can plant new seeds and anticipate new bounty and beauty for us to be nourished by.
Plant seeds each and every day and let time do its work. Suddenly, you’ll look up and there will be a lush tree where there was once seemingly barren ground.
“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore
There are many steps between starting and finishing. Starting is always the first step, so get to it. The secret to finishing is to keep going, moving through the stops, detours and falls. Our plans, the maps we draw out with great precision, so often don’t work out exactly as designed. Go where you are being drawn to and let go of the map when necessary. We so often are found amidst being lost.
So if your “plans” don’t seem to be working out and the finish seems far off, you are where you need to be in this moment. And you are closer than you think so keep going. There are not a lot of straight, short roads from start to finish on what’s most fulfilling.
The formula: start, stop, detour, lost, found, start again, finish. Most importantly, enjoy the journey, it’s a short one to be sure.
“Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.” – Albert Camus
“I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.” – William Stafford
The tension between bending and breaking – life is made up of both. We learn how flexible we can be when we bend and let go. We learn how soft we must become when we break and must start anew. Each has its place. Each has its time. You’ll be surprised how far you can bend and you will come out stronger from the breaking times. Both require relinquishing our ego, a fight not easily won.
Time for some tree yoga.