Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lent Begins Tomorrow - Already

Being an old-timer in many ways, I tend to like to follow some old traditions. For example, I find it very satisfying to give something up for Lent. Making a small sacrifice for those 40 days and 40 nights means a lot to me.

These past few years, my sacrifice has been to give up chocolate for Lent. Because I am also a devout chocoholic, this is a real deal for me. Still, I've managed to do it for a few years now. The trick, for me, is to keep enough other snacks in the house so that I do not feel unable to resist the temptation.

I don't want anyone to think I am a martyr when it comes to this. It still leaves me jelly beans, caramel popcorn, and lots of other "stuff." But I can control my intake of those much better than I can control my intake of chocolate.

So tonight I put whatever chocolate I had left (candy, cookies, whatever) into a "safe place." I made sure I would have to make a more-than-passing effort to get at them until Easter morning.

Doing this helps me to think about Lent in general. 

When I feel a yearning for chocolate, it reminds me that my tiny sacrifice is nothing compared to what Christ did during his 40 days and 40 nights in the desert and mountains.

He endured the solitude. He endured the food and drink deprivations. He endured the temptations.
He also spent that time in touch with the Father, and contemplated his immediate future. He knew what was coming. First there would be the joy of Palm Sunday. Then the misery and pain of Good Friday. And finally, the glory of Easter.

Father, thank you so much for enabling me to have this small but sincere tool of Lenten sacrifice with which to think about your Son's sacrifice, all those centuries ago. Each time I am tempted to hunt for a piece of chocolate, remind me to consider what Lent really means and what He did for me, and for all of us.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Our Charity Crafting Groups Distribution for 2015

Even though I haven’t posted much lately about our Friday morning Charity Crafting group, we have been active. I was happy to post our 2015 distribution totals in our senior mobile home park newsletter this month. 

We are always amazed to see how many items we have made and distributed by the end of each year for the local needy. 

Homeless hats and ear warmers 508
Homeless scarves 154
Homeless gloves 25
Baby hats 56
Baby blankets 31
Baby booties 6
Baby jackets 24
Baby bibs 3
Hospice afghans 35
Hospice shawls 9

When you consider there are only about a half dozen of us, that makes us feel it is worth doing. It all adds up, little by little.

When we started almost 7 years ago, we never dreamed it would add up to these numbers. We also never dreamed it would feel so good, and that it would be so addicting. The side effects of this addiction are good ones: warm fuzzies.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Feline Peculiarities and Preferences

This morning, I sent off a 9x12 padded envelope with some cotton yarn coasters for a couple I know in NY.

I tucked in a little crocheted mousie that I made and it's lightly, very lightly, sprinkled with home-grown catnip (my neighbor). Maybe their handsome Sampson will like it.

Silkie doesn't like it because she only likes toys with benefits. 

She loves her 2 different treat balls (she gets treats from them). 

She loves her furry store-bought mousie (his belly has a Velcro opening and I can really STUFF it with catnip). 

She likes the laser pointer whenever I feel like I've got the energy to play with her (she goes through spells where she does nothing but lie there and stare at it, sort of stalking it). 

And she likes to chase the Bissell hand-sweeper when I try to do a quick-sweep (to pick up the little pebbles from her fave clay litter).

But this little mousie that I crocheted with love, with my own old hands, just for her - nope - nada - there's no reward (sigh).

I think I've said this before, but if there is anything at all to reincarnation, I'm comin' back as a cat to a house that adores cats. Cats do not have to do tricks. They do not have to beg. They do not have to fetch. They just ... are!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hi-Tech Approach to Life Goals

I was thinking today that it is already the end of the first month of this new year. I had so many plans for this month. I didn't even manage to finish half of them.

However, that does not mean that I am giving up on the ones I have left on that list.

There was a time, years ago, when I had a chance to take a free Franklin Covey Planner course. They taught me how to use a planner (paper, back then) and how to prioritize your tasks. The thing I loved about it was that it also kept those plans and tasks in front of me, always. 

If I didn't get to something one day, I could always bump it up a day, or a week, or whatever. But if it was still important at the end of the goal-day, and un-done, I had that option.

These days, I do not need something as big as that planner. I do still, however, have tasks and a to-do list.

Bumping those tasks to another day or week or month is like re-booting my to-do list - a hi-tech solution to my goals.

Yep - I like that. So, I just re-booted my un-done January tasks and they will pop up tomorrow on my to-do list. 

Nobody ever said that we should discard a task or a goal just because we did not get to it when we planned for it. There's always another day. Or we hope so.

The thing is, if it is important enough to still be accomplished, then a re-boot will keep it on my list.

January to-do's are now re-booted!

The Truly Important Things in Life

Most of you know I've been financially challenged for the past few years. Sometimes you've seen me post for prayers for specific issues. That doesn't mean that I dwell on those matters all day long, day in, day out, night in, night out. Usually, I hit a bump on life's road. state it (often to let others know they have company on these bumpy roads), say a prayer, and then move on with whatever I must do that day. I try to leave the untangling of life's messes up to the Lord.

I think I've also mentioned that I've been reading a chapter a day of the Bible. I've read it all the way through at least 3 times in the past. This time I started with the New Testament, for some reason. Anyhow, I read these at night. Sometimes a chapter is only a half a column; other times it is a page and a half. 

In last night's chapter, I read this:
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:8

The faithful were being told that this is all they really need in life.

This is true and I am happy to have read it. I know I've read it at least 3 other times in my life but the Bible is so complex and so massive and has so much to absorb, that I apparently just slid right over it the other times. 

Or, maybe the Lord knew I wasn't ready to accept it at that point in my life.

So, this affirms to me that I am truly blessed. 

I have food, and I have clothing. Plus, I have shelter, and a fur baby, and friends, and the Lord, and so much more. When I think of all those on this earth who do not have food, or do not even have clothing, I feel ashamed of the times I do the "I wish I had..." bit. 

I am not a jealous or envious person. My sins and faults lie in so many other areas, though. But I do admit to sometimes wishing I could go to this live show, or eat at Red Lobster, or go visit my brother in another state, or ... well, you get the picture.

Father, thank you for the nudge last night. I will hold those words close and remember them for a while. I am not foolish enough to think I'll remember them forever. But for a long time to come, I hope they will guide me as to what is really needed in my life. Thank you for providing that for me, always.