Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cover Crush...The Art of Forgetting

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

This is a book I read years ago. I'd have to go back to my review to tell you anything about it, but I have always loved the cover. The colors, the lines. The beautiful form, an athletic dancer. Who is she? A dancer--present or past? What is her story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary VacationOf Quills and Vellum.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Weekend Reflections 11/11

Looking outside...it's overcast and wet, but the sun is peeking through.

Listening...to the bathroom fan, the fishtank filter that needs more water. The Doctor went to see patients this morning. The Boy is still asleep. He worked last night. The Artist is at the school at a rehearsal.

Loving...the days I can spend with The Doctor in his office and work together.

Thinking...that I'm not going to rant today.  I don't know who actually reads these posts, but writing helps me work through my thoughts, ideas, issues and yes, rants. I enjoy writing. I enjoy ranting. My husband says I'm quite good at it. 😉 But, I don't feel like ranting today. I want to enjoy the sunshine that just broke through the clouds. I want to enjoy my family and spending time together. I want to be grateful that I am alive. I want to enjoy this beautiful fall day.

In my kitchen...Crio Bru now and I'm not sure about dinner, yet. I'm never sure about dinner anymore!

Wearing...fuzzy Minion jammies, black turtleneck and black slippers.

Reading...what's that again? It takes so much effort. I'm still working on The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown and The Confectioner's Tale by Laura Madeleine. I'm really not feeling the motivation to read.

Today...Christmas lights. And The Artist has a rehearsal at the school. And I need to pay bills and clean my kitchen.

Quoting..."In my opinion the best thing you can you do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out of your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with." -- Juno

Feeling...reflective. We went to a wedding last night. It was lovely. We sat with friends and talked and visited. We observed. We reflected on our own 21 years of marriage. I am so grateful for The Doctor. I can honestly tell you I love him even more now, than I did when we were first married, and I never would have dreamed that was possible. But shared life experience bonds you for both positive and negative. And trials and challenges come. We have and have had them. But listening to each other is important.

Last night a video camera was passed around for guests to give advice to the newly married young couple. Our table advised them to communicate, among other things.

Communication is necessary and vital. Talking and sharing. But more important than talking is listening. Too often we don't listen to hear, we listen to respond. As couples, as friends and family and as a country, we need to do more listening to hear.

When I am asked for my advice on marriage, I often respond with something like: "Cherish each other, listen to hear, laugh a lot, and enjoy life together."

Planning...for Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. And so do my children, although The Boy pointed out this week that there were 15 days until we get to put up our Christmas tree. 

Gratitude...for those who do serve and who have served in our military. For those who sacrifice and give. For those who literally have given their lives in defense of this country and its people. My father was a veteran. I have friends who are veterans. I am grateful beyond words to live where I do.

From my world... 

In case he asks? Thor left his spare Mjolnir at our house. I found it on the recliner.

Thor: Ragnarok was fantastic. Loved it. 

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Пятница Ponderings: The Awareness Factor

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate 
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian

Last weekend, I had some thoughts in my Weekend Reflections post that I normally might not have shared, but did anyway. You can go back and read it, it its entirety if you want. In essence, I talked about my frustrations with serving and giving and doing, but feeling like your efforts are in vain. I talked about my frustrations with obligation. Feeling like you are obligated because of relation or associations. And, I talked about my frustrations with church.

And I know that people frown on actually expressing frustration or disagreement with their church. But, sometimes faith wavers. Sometimes you just get tired of organization. Because any organization comes with its hierarchy and management levels. In churches, they're just given different names.

People find their way into organized religion for different reasons. They want fellowship. They love the music and praise. They believe in the doctrinal teachings. They go because they were taught to go as children.

People also find their own joys and contentment in organized religion. For some, it comes very easily. They find their faith or their testimony and it never wavers. For others, they search and attend many different churches until they find the one that fits, whether it be the doctrine or the coffee shop in the lobby.

For others, they find the church they like and they ride that faith-filled roller coaster and it is full of ups and downs and twists and turns. And sometimes, a wicked corkscrew turn pops up and the sensation of falling and turning just makes you want to puke and get off as soon as you can. But, you can't quite get off the roller coaster completely. The ride hasn't come to a full and complete stop yet and jumping out mid-stream isn't the best course of action. So, you ride it out. And soon, you come to a smooth section that is almost pleasant. The ride is no longer racing and you can actually look around at the scenery. You even come up to a station and have the option to get off, but the ride is comfortable now and you decide you can handle it and you stay on. And soon, it picks up speed again. And you're trying to simply stay in your seat and not fly away. And people are calling to you and asking you to do so many things that you just want to curl up in the corner and hang on. But, you try and reach out and do what is asked anyway and the cycle just repeats. And in the twists and turns of that roller coaster, you see the same people over and over again. Some are next to you hanging on as well, and others have a premier seat to watch.

It's exhausting.

I have a strong faith in God. But sometimes, I don't have that same faith in church. To me, they're different. A church is the avenue by which belief is spread. God's teachings are true, but people in a church are human with faults and flaws and problems. I am weary of church. Because sometimes we take advantage of others at church. Sometimes we take those who serve quietly and well for granted. At the risk of upsetting people with this analogy, the Doctor and I call it the curse of the squeaky wheel and the shining stars.

In any church, you're going to have the people who always have needs above everyone else, whether they are emotional, financial or whatever. They are the squeaky wheels; they take energy and time. And then you have your shining stars. Those people who are always in a leadership position or whose children are always put before everyone else as the shining examples. Those people whose real claim is that they live in the right neighborhood or have a high property valuation, not that they are skilled or qualified. But they stand before us and shine. And then you have your regular people. Those faithful ones who do what they're asked to do, who always show up when asked to set up or take down chairs or drive the youth someplace, or teach a class or take someone a meal. Those people you know won't flake out on you. But, just because those people may not be out in front squeaking or shining, that doesn't mean they don't have needs. They do. They need to know they matter; they need to know they're heard. They will burn out too. And I'm weary of church responsibilities. I am weary of that roller coaster.

But, will I get off that roller coaster? Probably not. Because, like I said, I have a belief in God. And the belief I have and the teachings I choose to follow, come with this church and all of its human flaws.

And church life isn't all bad. My kids have had great leaders and experiences. I have friends here and I do enjoy opportunities to serve others. The Doctor and I team teach a Sunday School class of 15 year olds and we love those kids. But, I enjoy those opportunities more when I'm not so exhausted and burnt out. And I will admit that the burn out isn't only church related, but the church pressures don't always help. I enjoy most of my Sunday worship experiences. But, I struggle with people. And, I'm sure some of those same people struggle with me. Still, for whatever reason, if we stay with our church, we need to try and work together.

After I posted my reflections last week, it prompted an honest discussion between me and some blogger friends, several of whom have experienced their own religious frustrations, and all of us represented by different denominations. One of those friends shared my post and then said that she had been unfriended by a church friend who didn't appreciate that she'd liked or shared my post, but who wouldn't talk to her about why. That saddened me because had the other person been willing, they could have had a fantastic dialogue.

I don't think it's a bad thing to question, especially if that questioning strengthens what you already believe. And even if it doesn't, if that questioning helps you get to a better place, then question. And don't be afraid to talk about it. Sometimes talking helps.

Like I did last week, I ask today for you to be aware of those around you. Be aware of those with whom you work and serve, whether it is at church or your place of employment. Be aware of those in your family. Pay attention to the quiet person at church or the one who is usually more animated, but hasn't been for a couple of weeks.

Just because someone doesn't squeak and live out their troubles on Facebook doesn't mean they don't have them.

Be kind. Do good. Love is a verb.