I had an interesting experience tonight. The Accountant and l went to a pizza buffet for dinner. We don’t normally go there due to the cost, but we had flyer from our insurance guy stating that buffet was only $3 for a customer appreciation special. When we got to the buffet, the cashier told us we had to get the discount meal ticket from the folks at the table in the back of the restaurant. I should have asked which table, but l didn’t. Instead l marched to the back of the restaurant and said hello to the people at a table. They turned out to be a group of preachers not the insurance company.
Me: I’m here.
Preacher: That’s great. I’m sure God has brought you here today.
Accountant: Amee, you’re at the wrong table.
Preacher: We are a group of ministers and we’d love to pray with you.
Me: Okay. I’m not going to turn down a free prayer.
Preacher: Do you believe Jesus is your personal Savior?
Me: Yes. I do.
Then the table of ministers reached out their hands and all said a little prayer for me. I’ve never been prayed over by total strangers at a pizza buffet before. I liked it. It made me feel really loved and important. It was a sweet experience.
I’ve never liked the movie Pollyanna. She was always so glad and happy about everything. I don’t think it is humanly possible for a normal person to always be happy.
Despite my dislike of Pollyanna, I do a gratitude challenge every year. During the month of November, I think of one thing I’m thankful for each day and write it down. I’ve learned two key lessons about gratitude by doing this challenge year after year.
#1 I don’t have to be Pollyanna.
Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes life is Really hard. If my dog dies and my car gets stolen on the same day, I am not going to be happy about it. If a well-meaning friend tells me to be happy about it and to write a list of everything I’m thankful for, I might just yell at them. Bad stuff happens. That’s life. Gratitude is not pretending that life isn’t really hard sometimes. It’s not sweeping the pain and real grievances under the rug. It’s acknowledging and feeling the pain. Sometimes you have to feel the pain before you can start to heal. When I realized that I didn’t have to be “happy and grateful” all the time it opened up the possibility that I could be happy and feel gratitude some of the time. That made a huge difference and helped me to learn a second lesson on gratitude.
#2 Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness
There is goodness in the world. There are good people who are doing good things to make the world a better place for all of us. Gratitude is believing in that goodness. Yes, there is also badness and bad people in the world. We’ve seen a lot of that badness in the world the last few months. Gratitude is taking a minute to stop and see the good. You might see the good for a minute, for an hour or for a day. The important thing is that you stop and look for it. There is something magical that happens when you start hunting for the goodness. You will find it.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1)
What will you be grateful for today?
Lesson #1 If you don’t water your garden, it will die.
Lesson #2: If you think about watering your garden, but then don’t do it, it will still die.
Lesson #3: Don’t grow kale if you hate kale.
Lesson #4: The kale will somehow live even though you stopped watering it on purpose. You will be stuck eating kale for days. Reread lesson #3 before buying any more seeds.
And now the really good news…
Lesson #5: You can start a new garden every season.
It’s time to replace the word “garden” with the word “dream”.
Lesson #1 If you don’t water your dream, it will die.
Lesson #2: If you think about watering your dream, but then don’t do it, it will still die.
Lesson #3 and 4: Life will sometimes give you kale. Be gentle with yourself. You did the best you could with the knowledge/information/situation you had at the time.
Lesson #5: Remember you can always try again. Tomorrow is a new day.
Here’s a picture of the newest addition to the garden.
And a picture of the kale that just won’t die.
I also have to give a BIG thank you to my Accountant for his help in the garden.
Help Wanted: Peacemakers
The world is seeking kind, loving souls to be peacemakers. No prior experience needed. Just a willing heart and a desire to see others as people will get you this job. Apply today and start working tomorrow. Actually, start working today. We have a staffing shortage and could really use all the help we can get. Salary: A better world for all of us.
I am deeply troubled by the events in Charlottesville and the other acts of violence and hate that I have observed in the news the last few months. The world needs peacemakers. We need people to walk across the party lines, socioeconomic backgrounds, religious and cultural differences and all the other divides. We need to love and support each other. We’re going to have differences, but killing each other and hating each other is never the solution. At the end of the day, aren’t we are all just travelers on this little spinning planet?
Jesus said it best in the Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God”.
I love this time of year. There is so much excitement in the air. Paper and pens go on sale. I get a new group of young minds to mold. All of my friends post cute back to school pictures on social media. Here’s my back to school photo. This is what the teacher looks like after the first day of school.
It’s going to be a great school year! Cheers to the 2017-2018 school year.
Have you ever met a champion fighter? I have. Meet Mandy.
Mandy fights for her daughter Makayla by making sure she gets the experiences at home and in school that will help her grow and learn. Mandy is teaching her daughter how to be strong herself so she can be her own fighter someday. Mandy is a fighter for the sick and lonely by working as a caregiver.
These battles alone would warrant the title of champion fighter and a seat with the great Wonder Women of the world. However, Mandy is also a fighter because she fights for herself. She fights for her own health and happiness. And that is the greatest fight one can fight.
Mandy is a Wonder Woman.
It’s July. This should not be happening at the grocery store.
Way too early! We are skipping over all the other important holidays like Back to School Popsicle Day on July 25th and National Hot Day on August 26th. What! You have never heard of Back to School Popsicle Day? You poor thing. How did you survive your entire life without eating frozen sugar water on a stick every July 25th?
The candy display really made me think. How often have I missed the present moment, because I was too busy waiting for some future event? It’s really easy to say that you will be happy when a specific thing happens. I remember doing something like that in college. I told my roommate that my life would be complete when I had a cute boyfriend, a great job and $250 in my checking account. Guess What? Those happy events came and went and somehow my happiness bar had been raised. I didn’t appreciate the moment when I got that cute boyfriend, great job and $250 dollars. It’s okay to have goals and work on them just remember to keep those eyes open. You don’t want to miss the beauty in the every-day moments all around you.
Mother Teresa has an awesome quote that really sums it all up. “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin.”King Solomon in the Old Testament said it this way. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8)
Be present. Be here. Live in your season. You can plan for tomorrow but remember to live in today.
(In case you were wondering, National Back-to-School Popsicle Day is my own creation. I made it up as excuse to eat a treat. If any of my dear readers work at the popcycle company, you can send me a royalty check for the free advertising. After all, tomorrow is Send Amee a check day.)
I’m currently doing a 13 day challenge where I try to live in the moment. Each day I choose one activity and try to be fully present to the task. Today I tried to be present while doing some yard work.
I did some yard work today. I did a great job being present while pulling weeds in the garden. I watered the lemon and grapefruit trees just fine and took care of some outside tasks. I felt the sun and just focused on taking care of my yard. I was feeling quite proud of myself on how attentive, mindful and at peace my little head had been during my hour of yard work.
Then I saw this hideous creature sitting on my back patio like it was taunting me.
It’s dead now. I spent the next hour hunting for its friends. I didn’t find any, but I cleaned my house grumbling the entire time about why we have roaches on Earth and worrying that the roaches are planning an invasion into my home.
You can’t mindful when roaches are involved. It’s all out war and I plan to win.
I’m currently doing a 13 day challenge where I try to live in the moment. Each day I choose one activity and try to be fully present. Today I tried to be present while brushing my teeth.
Every day I brush my teeth. (I bet you are glad to hear that.) A few years ago, I decided to splurge on myself and buy one of those fancy electronic toothbrushes where you can replace the toothbrush head every month or so. The toothbrush makes this awesome buzzing sound as it goes swivelling around in my mouth. The buzz sounds like the bass of a little jazz song which makes me want to dance. I’ve caught myself swinging my hips a few times and bopping my head to the toothbrush dance. While I brush my teeth, I also have the habit of rehearsing my daily to-do list and criticizing all the facial blemishes and double chin. Dancing is good, but the second habit isn’t a great way to start and end your day.
As I thought about what to do for my first mindful moment, my tooth brushing routine seemed like a great place to start. This morning I just focused on brushing my teeth. No criticizing my face. No to-do list making. Each time a little thought popped in my head about my acne, brown age spot near my eye or the many other things that pop out to me when I look in the mirror, I would focus on the physical sensations in my mouth. The bristles felt pokey. I hadn’t noticed that before. The toothpaste is kind of slimy. Who knew toothpaste was slimy? And yes..I still danced because who can’t dance when your toothbrush is buzzing out a song for you.
Martha Graham, a very famous dancer, once said this about movement. “Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body”. If that’s true, than my body has found her groove with toothbrush dancing.
When I was a young teen, my mother decided her kids needed to have more culture in their lives. She read us a book about the 50 most influential people in the world of art. After listening to Mom read about each artist, my siblings and I would suddenly take an interest in becoming whatever we had just studied. We wrote plays after reading about Shakespeare and made little sculptures after learning about Michelangelo. We didn’t have any clay lying around the house so we improvised by taking the bag of sandwich bread from the top of the refrigerator and squashing it until it turned into what we thought was a giant glob of clay. We then made our sculptures.
My dear mother was such a good sport about it. Money was very tight and we had just used the entire loaf of bread. She didn’t scold us though. She just laughed and then told us that we would have to eat our sculptures the next day with peanut butter for lunch. My Mom was living in the moment on that day.
It’s easy to forget to live in the moment. Life is busy. I have a to-do list a mile long and it’s easy to worry about tomorrow instead of living today. For my next challenge, I will pick one activity each day and really stop and enjoy the moment. I will force myself to be fully present with the moment and treasure the experience.
Will you join me on this challenge?