A Pleasant Surprise


Each day I pray for a pleasant surprise to come my way and for the ability to recognize it when it comes. This weekend I had two but will only write about one of them today. It was a phone call from my sister, Mary, asking if I was alright because she hadn’t seen my blog for a week. Mary and I don’t talk all that often so I thought it very sweet of her to check up on me.  Not only that, it brought to mind a poem she shared with me a few months ago which I really liked and she gave me permission to share it with you. Enjoy.


  Beautiful and Feisty

A mouse that stands up to full height

Bares its teeth ready to fight

The cat stalking its prey

But mouse is not the entrée today.

A snake ready to fight to the finish

An eighty-pound dog that can’t diminish

It’s tenacity as it returns bite for bite

Not knowing when to give up the fight.

 It refuses to slither away

From a dog amusing itself for the day

But coiled and tattered the snake now I find

Is grateful to be dropped over the fence to unwind. 

The spider that drops on a thread stronger than steel

Quickly mummifying its next meal

And just as quickly hauling it home

To the top of its web to eat all alone. 

The baby squirrel that falls from its nest

And does what a baby squirrel does best

Cries for help from anyone near

Its cries do not fall on deaf ears.

Its parents come to determine the damage

And figuring a way to manage,

The dad pins it down and holds it in check

While the mother grabs its babe by the neck.

Up the tree she runs with great speed

To attend to this little ones need

A scratch on the head seems to be all

The little one suffered from such a great fall.

 The mourning dove that hits the pane

And rises up to fly again

A headache may be all it received

From the patio door that so deceived.

 The racoons with their bandit eyes

Ignore my frantic shooing cries

They think it is their right

To raid my garbage can each night.

The dog that boldly saves its cat

From a coyote looking for a fast snack

The coyote was the one to take flight

From an eighty-pound dog ready to fight.

The ants that moved their nursery inside

A stupid place for ants to hide

They covered most of the kitchen floor

Too many just to drop out the door.

I don’t know what they were hiding from

But I am sorry to reveal their eventual outcome

A long dark tunnel with no light in sight                                    

The vacuum canister ended their flight.

There are many more stories I could add

Some happy, some sad

For nature truly rings

With the beauty and feistiness of all living things.

©Mary Frances Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

On Lowering Expectations


These two words have preyed upon my thoughts lately and I’ve been weighing the pros and cons.

It is said that lowering one’s expectations leads to more happiness and compassion. But for whom? For the one whose expectations are lowered or the one who does not live up to someone’s expectations…or even their own? One online expert said, “We’re happier to accept other people’s difficult behaviors when we expect less from them.” Hmmm, I’m not so sure.

What actually is an expectation? One dictionary’s interpretation is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. For me it was adding the word wonderful to that something.

I have lived my life with this premise and nearly always had my expectations met, making it difficult to lower my expectations of anything or anyone. It would be like giving up hope.

The pros for lessening expectations seem to dictate that if you don’t expect the best from people or life you won’t be disappointed when the best fails to materialize.

On the other hand, the cons, at least for me, would be giving in to the feeling of apathy that accompanies losing hope and I can’t do that.

In many cases in my life, it was someone else’s high expectation of me that brought me through eighty-one years of fairly successful living.

When we were children, we expected our parents would always be there for us; we expected hugs when we needed them and scoldings when they were needed as well. We expected to be fed, clothed, counseled, nurtured, and sent out into the world to in turn, one day expect to do these things for others. As life goes on expectations change…not because they are lowered, but perhaps because we fail to see what is expected of us.

So, I think instead of lowering my expectations I will instead extend the time frame of what I expect to when I expect it.

That way I still have hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Are We Worth?


“I can barely tolerate my parents, now.” This from a middle aged woman I met in a supermarket not long ago. I was reaching for an item on a top shelf and she, being much taller, retrieved it for me. She asked if there was anything else I needed. The woman then guided me to the next item I had trouble finding.

“You are a geriatric person. I can tell,” I commented.

“Not really,” she said. And that was when she offered the opening comment, “I can barely tolerate my parents, now.They are in their eighties and showing their age.”

Yesterday, I read a post by Roger Baker, “The Worth of a Man”. It’s a tribute to a man celebrating his eightieth birthday and how some people have shunted him to the back burner of their lives.  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/24904117

And to those people he wrote a poem where one line stood out for me. “You spurn the soul what made you.”

“You spurn the soul what made you.” There is so much truth in that tiny sentence, as proven by the woman in the supermarket.

Some of us in this age bracket are noticing this phenomenon and wondering…what are we worth?

Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. Psalm 71:9 NIV

 

Accept, Learn, and Let Go


Here’s a quote that came my way yesterday. It may have made it to this blog before but, no matter, it is worth repeating:

“There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.” The author is unknown.

This makes me think of a young couple who are living this quote right now, right here in Ontario, Canada. Their three precious children, ages nine, five and two years old…two sons and a daughter…and their maternal grandfather were killed when a car driven by a drunk driver crashed into this family’s minivan last September.

This young couple has to accept that their children will never return to them. They have to learn how to live the rest of their lives with this knowledge. They also have to let go of the people they can’t live without. Heartbreaking.

The quote may also apply to many of us in our day-to-day lives if we stop to think about it…really think about it. Things that we don’t want to happen to us do happen and we have to accept them; there are things we don’t want to know but have to learn; and people we can’t live without but have to let go. It’s all part of life and all life is a learning experience.

We can only hope to get it right.

 

Sharing is Caring


Every once in awhile I come across blogs or articles that touch me so much that I like to share them. While clearing out my “in-box”, I came across this one from UP! A Daily Devotional by Matthew Ruttan (MatthewRuttan.com/Up). It’s about Holy Spirit. Matthew talks about how Holy Spirit can be vague or confusing to some people, or indeed, many people, and then goes on to write an analogy to encourage better understanding of this spiritual being. And so I give you “Come, Holy Spirit”.

August 26, 2015

Come, Holy Spirit

Psalm 51:11
“Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me” (NIV)

Thought
The Holy Spirit doesn’t get talked about very much.

And yet…

The Holy Spirit is God, a part of the Trinity, the Lord’s renovating personality and power… but we shy away from talking about him.

Why?

To some people the Holy Spirit seems vague or confusing—and so, not knowing much about him, they stop inquiring.

So today I want to encourage you like this:

Imagine I’m walking down the street with my son, Benjamin. Then I pick him up in my arms, tell him I love him, and hug him. We just enjoy each other’s company for a few minutes. Then I put him down and we keep walking.

Was Benjamin more my son when I held him in my arms than he was when he was just walking along? Of course not. But in terms of his awareness, there definitely was a difference. No question.

Why?

Because in my arms, he was directly aware of and experiencing his relationship with me.

This analogy comes from a 17th century pastor named Thomas Goodwin. And I love it. Here’s how it applies to you.

When the Holy Spirit becomes a part of your life, you can sense the embrace and love of your true Father. You are aware that you are his child. Therefore, you develop intimacy with him.

Today, why not invite the Holy Spirit inside of you, and ask him to make you aware of the embrace, love and steady guidance of your strong Father in every step.

It’s not necessarily a feeling—but it is a personal awareness.

Is that missing in your life right now?

If you’re standing in a room in the dark, the dimensions and furniture remain the same. But everything changes when you turn on the light.

Come, Holy Spirit…

by Matthew Ruttan

I invite you to extend the invitation…you won’t be disappointed.

Homes of the Brave


The funerals I attended this past week reminded me of the many parents I know whose children predeceased them. Some were babies, some were teenagers and some in the mid-stages of life.

To my mind, the homes of the brave are the hearts of these parents. They are my heroes.

Unlikely Interview


I found this on the Internet on August 31, 2001 and liked it so much, added it to my collection of quotes, prayers, poems and special writings. This seems like a good time and place to share it.

I dreamed that I had an interview with God. “So, you would like to interview me?” God asked. “If you have the time” I said. God smiled. “My time is eternity…what questions do you have in mind for me?”

“What surprises you the most about human kind?” God answered “That they get bored with childhood, they rush to grow up and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then use their money to restore their health. That by thinking about the future they forget the present thus live in neither present nor future. That they live as though they will never die as though they never lived.”

God’s hand took mine and we were silent for awhile and then I asked, “As a parent what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”

“To learn they cannot make anyone love them, all they can do is let themselves be loved. To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn it only takes a few seconds to open up profound wounds in those we love and takes a few years to heal them. To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. To learn there are people who love them dearly but simply do not yet know how to show their feelings. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently. To learn that it is not enough that they forgive one another but they must also forgive themselves.

“Thank you for your time” I said “Is there anything else you want your child to know?”

God smiled and said “Just know that I am here….always.”

What would you like to ask God?