The Land of Shoulds & Oughts

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The Land of Shoulds and Oughts is run by a Mayor I have never seen. His rules are “you should do this” or “you ought to do that”. But, why, I ask? No one could ever give me an explanation, other than, “because you should.” I searched for the Mayor, to ask him directly, but he was nowhere to be found.

There are lots of inhabitants in the Land of Shoulds and Oughts. They frantically run about to the stores of This and That, buying things that have little to do with their actual lives. I think, do I need this or that? They say, “you should get this. You ought to get that.” But I am becoming more and more aware that the price for such things is too costly.

On my daily jaunts around town, I discovered a quiet little cove on the outskirts of the Land of Shoulds and Oughts. I had heard that this cove was a dangerous place, for the people who often frequented this little cove, were seen less and less in the town. Eventually, they disappeared from the Land of Shoulds and Oughts altoghter.

Therefore, it is widely known that one should not go there.

As I sat in this little cove, alone, my spirit began to settle and then stir within me. Thoughts began to swirl. Thoughts like, “I was made for more than this and that!” “I ought to go back, but I don’t want to leave this peaceful place.” So, I sat.

As I looked around, I saw a piece of paper, tucked under a rock. It was tattered and well worn. Curious, I picked it up and read it.  It said, “Look up. Look inward. Look to your left. Look to your right. Choose a direction and go. Find your freedom. Listen for the Voice of the One who has been calling you. If you are reading this note, then that means you are in the “Cove of More”. You have responded to the sound of His Voice. You have complete freedom to come and go as you please. You can return to the Land of Shoulds and Oughts, if you wish, but the more you come to the Cove of More, you will become less settled in the Land.

When you are ready, look and go. Know that on your journey, you will meet others who have gone before you and have left the Land of Shoulds and Oughts. Learn from them. You will also encounter those who have recently left the Land. Be gracious. Be honoring.

Refrain from should and oughts, because like you – they are on their own journey and are responding to The Voice.

So, love. Be honorable. Be gracious. That is who you are.

Listen to The Voice and go when you are ready.

Peace to you.”

Signed, 

The Former Mayor of the Land of Shoulds and Oughts. 

PS – it will be nice to meet you, fellow traveler. And please put this note back for the others who will come. 

The Power of Kindness

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For the last couple of years, David and I have water and snacks on our porch. That makes it sound like that’s what we do – have water and snacks on our porch. We do have Story Time, nearly every evening, but I need to get off this rabbit trail.

The water and snacks are for delivery people and our mail carriers. Recently, we had some work done on our cottage and Eric brought his son, who is four.

With wide eyes, this little cutie asked David why we had water and snacks on our porch. Instead of offering some to him, which is what I would have done, David opted to give a lesson on kindness.

David told him who they were for and why. “Just like your daddy works hard, so do the delivery people in the big trucks and the people who deliver our mail. It is such a good thing to show people kindness. We do that by leaving them the water and snacks, as a way to say thank you and to make their day a little happier.”

This little guy was quiet for a moment and said, ”You do that for everyone?”

David said yes. I still would have given him everything, but a momentary snack would not have the same impact as a lesson on kindness.

David is so kind and maybe, just maybe, a little four year old little boy is dreaming of driving big trucks or delivering the mail. Both noble careers!

Hope in the Silence

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I am honored to have been asked to share this writing with the incoming guests at our Harbor Light Center at The Salvation Army. Upon entry, guests receive a welcome kit. This poem is part of their welcome!

Hope in the Silence

The silence has settled in like the fog
It is quiet here
Silence is new
A welcome respite from the noise of the world
Which is chaotic and harsh
However, the silence demands a price
I feel the pull of the silence
To take from me what is beginning to stir in my spirit
I refuse to pay this price
I will not give you my Hope
I will hold onto it
Tighter and tighter
And I will blow on this ember of Hope
Until the ember becomes a spark
And the spark becomes a flame
And the flame,
A light by which to see again

Safety and Risk

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Safety and Risk
Opposite words that go powerfully together
It’s not security and danger
Or, protection and peril
But, safety and risk
The safer I am
The more I’m willing to risk
Isn’t that crazy
Thinking relationally, that makes sense
The safer I am in my relationships
The more willing I am to be my true self
That’s risk
I’m not the brave kind of soul that can say
I don’t care what you think
I do care
I care a lot
Which is both healthy and unhealthy
But in pairing these two words together
I find strength

HUGS!

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HUGS!

I love hugs.

The other day, at work, something unusual happened. I experienced three hugs all before 11am! Later that day, I was a bit more aware that I was having a “good” day.  As I reflected on my day, I wondered – was it because of the hugs?

Initially, that seems like an absurd thing to think about.  Work is work.  My days are full of all sorts of tasks. Most of them last minute, which is so frustrating.  As that day unfolded, the style of my day didn’t get any better. It was a typical day. Work. Scramble. Task, task, task. Could it be that those three interactions really did make a difference?

If you know me, even a little bit, you know that I am extremely relational, even though I am ½ introvert and ½ extrovert.  I love people.  On this particular day at the office, each of these moments involved a heart-felt conversation that went below the surface of the daily superficial conversation that goes like this:  “How are you?” “Fine” “Great, see you later”.

Could it be?

Could it be that a brief but sincere moment of relational heart-to-heart goodness made a difference?

What if HUGS could be defined as:

  • Hope &
  • Understanding
  • Give
  • Support

Just a thought…

It’s Nice Growing Old(er) Together

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We have no idea how old we are!

We really don’t keep track of such trivial things,

Until my knee pops and I stretch it and then you yell, “Omaha!”

And, oh how we laugh.

 

Like the other night when we were reminiscing about how long we’ve known someone.

What age were we when we met them?

We both subtracted their current age from our current age and came up with 21 for you and 17 for me.

And we were like – what?

We weren’t even married then!

And, oh how we laughed.

 

I love running to greet you at the door when you come home from work.

Well, ok, we both know running is a stretch.

How about I love doing a short sprint to greet you at the door when you come home from work!

 

We’ve got so many memories together.

  • You proposing to me…twice!
  • Me saying yes both times.
  • Three yellow VW Beetles
  • The stainless steel bathroom on Nantucket, in winter!
  • Fish jumping
  • Napa Valley and our California adventures
  • The Lake House
  • When you surprised me with our fire pit
  • The many nights by our fire pit with each other and with friends

 

We met when you were 19 and I was 15, when there was no dating!

We started dating at 25 and 21.

We got married at 26 and 22.

 

It is nice growing old(er) with you.

It is secure.

It is happy.

And, oh how we laugh together, every…single…day

 

Our lives are full of love.

Love for God.

Love for our friends.

Love for one another.

Advent, the Gift of Simplicity

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Our little Vineyard Church is full of powerful men and women. We love deeply and we really are one another’s champions.

Here is a link to our Advent Writings. So many of my friends will write posts for this Advent Season. Today is only Day 2, so feel free to either follow us or check this link for my other amazing writer friends:  https://thevineyardadvent.com to read as the season progresses.

My post is on Simplicity.

Simplicity needs to encompass my soul while I am at work, and for the rest of my days.

Challenge accepted!

Hope this encourages you.

Much love to you!

Your friend,

Delana

 

 

Keep Swimming

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Well, it’s certainly been a while since I posted something. Life has been so crazy! There’s been so much that has happened, and I didn’t want to whine, so I just kept swimming.

HOPE pizapThrough all of the ups and downs, David and I have remained. We have one heart and it is in tact.

Here is some of the stuff:

May – Sept. 2016:  David’s jeep broke down. He fixed it.  David’s jeep broke down. Decided to take it to the shop.  My car broke down on the same weekend.  Friends came to our rescue and loaned us a car!!!!  David opted to fix his jeep and we took my car in.  Taking my car in was a monthly $$$ occurrence from May through Sept.  We are currently committed to paying off that debt before we investigate getting me a new-to-us set of wheels, but sadly that time is quickly approaching.

June 2016: David got a concussion.  Too long of a story but he keeled over on one of those blistering hot Saturdays while he was working for his BBQ grill cleaning business.  Check out http://IndyBBQgrillcleaning.com.  It took David until Sept. to really begin to function well. You can also find his page on facebook as Indy BBQ Grill Cleaning.

July 2016: Celebrated 34 years of marriage!  Brightspot!!!

Sept. 2016: I was told my job would be reduced to part time, no benefits.  WHAT!?  I’d been there almost 10 years!  Went on scheduled vacation after that news, because if we cancelled that vaca we would have given in to fear. Going away was a miracle cure for our hearts. Went back to work and found out they made a mistake and gave me my job back!

October 2016:  Don’t remember it. Not because I’m old and just celebrated a birthday but because it went by too fast! But I did celebrate my birthday with some dear friends and got my love-tank filled!

Now we are in to November.

What conclusions have I come to after walking through those months of stress?

The Love of God is my strength.

Jesus is my only Source for anything and everything.

David is my everlasting soul-mate and eternal best friend.

I need my friends.

I can’t control anything. None of us can. If we try to do that, we only make things  worse for ourselves internally. 

I may want to isolate but I need my friends.

Don’t waste time by being sad, whiny, isolated. None of that is helpful. Go to the Source.

Breathe.

Sleep.

Drink good wine.

Take time for myself and for us as a couple.

Laugh.

And, finally, keep swimming. 

 

 

 

Guest Blogger … Our Summer

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Guest Blogger … Our Summer

Well, our Summer has not been a fun one.  My darling little 2000 VW Beetle has been in the shop so many times.  With each repair, we think THAT’S GOT TO BE IT!  We think, okay, we’ll start to look for a replacement vehicle.  And, it seems that is not going to happen because the repairs keep coming faster and faster and we can’t seem to get ahead. So, now – as of this moment, we have her back from the shop and we are committed to paying off all these repairs and then looking for another car for me.  Sigh.  Can’t have a car payment and debt payment.
David recently wrote what I’m about to post here.  Guest blogger!  He’s a very smart guy, my friend, my husband!  But, for him to get to this place to actually talk about his feelings, well, it sums it up – this has been one doozey of a Summer!

“Are you a Waffle or are you a Pancake? Say what…?”

When it comes to life, emotions and such things, I often make the comparison between waffles and pancakes. I am a waffle. Delana is a pancake. Think about it. If you pour syrup onto a waffle, it can pool up in each individual square if you want it to and the syrup can stay neatly contained until you cut into it, or overfill the squares. Just like my emotions, I often compartmentalize.

With a pancake, on the other hand, the syrup spreads all over and there is no stopping it. This is Delana.

That is a way of describing how we live out our lives. Everything is affected here, because of there. Syrup = life. Waffle = compartments. Pancake = free flow surface. I compartmentalize and for Delana, it all runs together.

This summer has been a time where it appears waffles and pancakes have been served up every day.

Here’s just a brief run down of our events. Both vehicles in the shop with one still not correct and going back in. Costly in both dollars and emotions. TV got fried in a storm. Microwave died. Dehumidifier and basement fan both dead and we are now wondering about high moisture in the basement. To add a little fun to the mix, I even had a concussion and have been told I have pre-diabetes symptoms, due to the meds from my kidney transplant.

My waffle is now full of syrup and looks like tiny little pools of sticky but messy goodness. Thankfully, my foundation for life is so solid but I think I want an omelet for breakfast tomorrow instead!”

We’ve lived through kidney failure, and more and we’ll get through this!  God is good even in the midst of all this added pressure.  He is our Source!