Friday, June 23, 2017

Steady

Slow and Steady Wins The Race

The tick tock of the metronome is steady. I find comfort, safety even, in staying within the beat. The tempo is too slow but my fingers magically find the keys because my practice is teaching them where to land.


I move the weight lower so that the speed of the metronome increases just a fraction. It feels the same tempo even though I can see I've made a change. This is steady practice where change happens slowly. Eventually I will navigate this Bach Two-Part Invention closer to the intended velocity, but for now I am still discovering how the notes intertwine. As I progress I hear a different emphasis on the left hand notes. The faster tempo brings new power to the lower voice making it push the higher. It makes me feel connected to this German man who had a gift to bring voices together in perfect harmony and temperament.




 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Worth

Are people who agree with our world view of more worth to us?

My Christian heart says "of course not!" But, in truth, I find that friends, family, and strangers who see things differently challenge my trust in them. Will I be rejected if I say what I feel is really important to me? Is being right more important than seeing worth in the soul?  



   
I know that I have sins which weigh me down yet I often feel the love of God when I am not worthy. I have learned, through the spirit, that I am always worthy of love and belonging, always. Can I extend that knowledge to others? Even those who try my patience or revile my approach towards them? I hope to keep my heart open to see others as He sees them. 


As the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ views disease in His sheep as a condition that needs treatment, care and compassion.
Elder Dale G. Renlund



 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Expect

         What can I really expect of myself?
  
  I publicly accepted a challenge. As part of an online piano teaching class, I announced that I would learn the Bach Two Part Invention No.8 in ten days. So what do I expect of myself? 
   

  I expect:

  1. My practice time will be limited
  2. I will have to set the fingerings from day one
  3. I will have to slow my tempo down to play without mistakes
  4. I will feel discouraged with fingers that move with less agility than when I was younger
  5. Some measures will be smooth as silk and others will bump and often crash
  6.  I will have many, many repetitions with mistakes
  7. I will get discouraged at day six
  8. I will learn to love this piece with every fiber of my being


This process is not so different from my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am limited, I need a strong foundation of ways to connect to him, I will often feel discouraged as I make less than stellar choices, and I will learn to love him with every fiber of my being if I give myself to Him.


 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Nurturing For The Wrong Reason

Nurture-the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something.

Have you ever watched a TV show or movie with a character called "a fixer"? They are advertise that they can make something go away or make something happen. They can change the destiny of a person or an organization. What a powerful role. It may be that I confuse the role of mother with that of a fixer. 


The word nurture is a verb so it carries action within it's meaning. There are so many right reasons to nurture but I believe there are some wrong reasons, as well. I like to think that I am still nurturing my family, even though my children are all over thirty, with families of their own. Sometimes my family does not respond in the way I anticipate. The irritation that creeps up with my family is a red flag that I may be nurturing a role of "fixer", instead of mother.

This Saturday will be very busy on the island where I live. Visitors will travel by ferry to be part of ballets, drama performances, even sheep dog trials which fascinate so many people. I picked this day to have a piano recital. I have grandchildren participating who must travel by ferry. The "fixer" in me wants to warn, admonish, and even arrange rides from the boat to the recital venue. Will they make it? Sure, this sounds like I am helpful. But, I don't worry much about the other students arriving. If they encounter a hang up and come late or, worse, don't show, I feel sorry but not personally responsible. I know I am nurturing "the fixer" when I want to take control of the outcome. This kind of nurturing does not provide strength and support to my family, it puts stress and potential disappointment into an already stressful day. This is an example of nurturing for the wrong reason.

This month I will be looking a little closer at the possible dark side of nurturing. 





To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.





Friday, June 2, 2017

Future

When you are young you dream of the future and when you are old you reminisce about the past.

Scripture reminds us to look to the future. Heavenly Father sent messengers, prophets, to unveil what lies before us. But, scripture also reminds us to remember the past. 


 Knee replacement surgery looms in my not so distant future. I prepared for this for years, exercising my arthritic joints so that I could have strong muscles to support a new knee. The choice to replace is a choice to dream of a better future. A future with easeful walking and a steady stance. I remember my Dad struggling to deal with pain in his joints. He did not have a choice to replace his knees or hips. He bravely faced a future of pain. I am grateful and hope to arrive at my dreamed of future.





 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Moderating My Negative Thoughts

Most Negative Thoughts have Little To Do With Truth

Negative thoughts pop up uninvited. But, in truth so do positive thoughts. Moderating them becomes vital. 


Last week I found thoughts of my ineptitude and my lack coming on a regular basis. These thoughts seemed to follow difficult conversations with my students. As I observed them arise I looked for kernels of truth. It helped to ask questions of myself. Did I feel unease because my students were not progressing as I planned? Did I need to change my approach?  Was I expecting too little or too much of myself? 

I liked moderating my thoughts. There was power in sifting through and seeing what had evidence in reality. I learned that negativity about myself arises more often when things don't go as I planned. The furturizing I do about what is going to happen often leads to disappointment. Perhaps it would be wise to admit that I have less control of the outcome as I would like to think.

There is a line in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin where her father and Lizzie are discussing the scandalous affair of her younger sister. Mr. Bennet admits that he is distressed but that the feelings will likely dissipate as time goes on. He is seeing himself as weak at that moment. Well, feelings do change and knowing what feelings are actionable is essential. How can we know? How can we know that a thought is true and needs our attention? Experience tells me that patterns emerge in our thoughts. When a recurring pattern arises it needs analysis. Does this pattern reflect my better nature? Does it require that I change? Is this a pattern I should embrace and nurture? 

Nurturing moderation has proven to show me that setting limits in my life gives me power, that I have changed and can continue to change, and that moderating my thoughts can reveal patterns which can be nurtured or altered.






To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.




Friday, May 26, 2017

Visit

Coming Into A Community Changes From First Visit To Long Time Connection

I visited Five Minute Friday because I found the writing of Lisa Jo Baker. She gathered me in with many others. The first post I shared was three years ago, almost to the day. The word prompt was hands and I was reveling in the joy of using my hands to hold brand new twin grandchildren.


I searched for other Christian women who could share the journey they traveled,  writing about their exemplar, Jesus Christ. I was shy at first to write candidly, but each visit made me bolder. I made friends, some I follow to this day. It was uncanny how I could see the growth in these women from week to week. Improving my writing voice was second to learning about all of you. Thank-you, Lisa Jo and Kate for keeping us together.





 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Setting Limits


“We had entered an era of limitlessness, or the illusion thereof, and this in itself is a sort of wonder. My grandfather lived a life of limits, both suffered and strictly observed, in a world of limits. I learned much of that world from him and others, and then I changed; I entered the world of labor-saving machines and of limitless cheap fossil fuel. It would take me years of reading, thought, and experience to learn again that in this world limits are not only inescapable but indispensable.” 
Wendell Berry

May, for me, is a Month to nurture moderation. Setting limits gives me the freedom to maintain a moderate and healthy life. I would love to expound on the notion that we have no limits but, I fear, for me it is not so. So where do I limit myself?



Experience has shown me that tracking my food intake is very helpful. A mindset of limitless food intake is a death sentence. Sometimes I exceed my limits but having a goal is vital. There are some foods and drinks that I don't use at all. They have proven to take a huge toll on my health. 



  I started a bullet journal this month and a habit tracker page helps set more nurturing limits of how I use my time. Years ago I identified six habits of happiness for myself. These are still viable today and they make my days most enjoyable. 




   Moderation, in a crazy, fast world is nurturing. It may not be popular but it is sustainable over a long time. Even my six habits of happiness can be detrimental if I go to an excess. 



Five months of unpacking the word "Nurture" leaves me wanting more.





To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.



Friday, May 19, 2017

Truth

Truth: As we build our lives, sometimes essential pieces go missing.

I was putting together a challenging puzzle. It had three sizes, extra large, large, and really small. The bigger ones were easy but the smallest pieces required too much concentration.



As I was putting in the pieces I thought of a funeral I'm attending tomorrow. A twenty-five year old father and his 3 month old daughter were killed in a head-on collision. His wife was traveling in another car in front of them and avoided  the oncoming car but was injured as her car rolled. This young father was a student of mine for four years, attending a religion class I was teaching every school day. He was quiet with a sweet smile. 




  For his wife, there will always be pieces missing in her life. We might ask, "How could God let this happen?" That is the wrong question, I'm sure. But, truly, I don't know what a better question could be? Maybe, it would be simply, "How can God help us survive?"






 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Nurturing Monday- I've Moderated Much

    Nurture: the process of caring for 
and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something 

Do you ever look back and appreciate the changes you have made? I believe it to be nurturing to recognize the improvements each of us have made in our lives. Thirty years ago I was was quick to anger. Sometimes a rage would rise up inside of me that took me by surprise. I was a young mother of five, limited financial prospects, and I harbored many unfulfilled expectations. A good recipe for learning to moderate anger. And, I have. 


   My children matured, my hormones leveled out, and I learned to see that hard times change and become stories of overcoming. I still get mad but I can moderate more quickly.
   Thirty years ago I watched soap opera's everyday. I noticed that the plot lines stayed in my head long after the TV was turned off. Sometimes when my husband arrived home I transferred the plot of the cheating husband onto my man. I felt resentment that did not come from his actions. I gave daytime viewing a kick in the pants. I nurtured moderation of my free time. 
  Thirty years ago I talked on the phone, a lot. My kids were shushed and dinner delayed if a friend needed to talk. Now we text and I am more moderate about letting my devices rule my day. 


   I'm not feeling smug just happy to know that I can change. 









To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mom

                            Wear Your Joy


My mom was well dressed. I didn't fully understand her style until this week. It wasn't until I joined a week long "Wear Your Joy" project. 
                             http://www.kellyraeroberts.com/wear-your-joy/

Each day this week I considered my wardrobe and decided what made me feel good and what was just material to drape around my body. In the process I heard words my mother used to say about what looked good on me and what did not. 



She was tiny but I inherited my father's genes. Her voice dictated rules related to appearance. I felt compelled to lift that voice out of the picture to consider what brought me joy. In the process of sifting out what was my voice and what was her's, I noticed her very particular style, a style she developed in Germany in the midst of war. Above, in her early twenties she wore pleated skirts and a bow tie around her blouse. She worked from the time she was 14. Money was scarce but she looked great.


In her sixties she wore suits that she sewed herself. White with a contrasting dark color was a favorite. 


   Even in her nineties her style was distinct. White pants with a frilly white blouse and brown loafers. I believe she would tell me today to find what feels joyful and comfortable. Even if that means polka dots and stripes.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Moderation In Thinking

“Thinking has, many a time, made me sad, darling; but doing never did in all my life... My precept is, "Do something, my sister, do good if you can; but, at any rate, do something".

Elizabeth Gaskell, North And South 

In my pursuit this year of nurturing I choose May to nurture moderation. I could use some moderation in my thinking. I observe my mind gathering evidence that a situation will be a certain way. Sometimes my perception is that the situation will be hard. My mind is taking a hard line, so to say. But is it really?





   I am experimenting with the practice of thinking less about the outcome. My idea is that I will in the moment look for the "ease". As I check my calendar and see the long day of teaching piano students ahead I choose to notice the quiet of the morning hour and the stillness in just breathing. I don't stop preparing, just mentally stop the obsessing about needing my day to go a certain way. My husband teases me about my inclination to worry about my grown children and their children. 
   "You can't stop bad things from happening by worrying over them."
   "But if I'm thinking about them then the worst can't happen. Right?"
   "I'm not sure I see the logic there."

   The practice is "look for the ease".

 See the beauty of the dandelion and stop worrying about the hundreds more popping up behind it.









To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Should

                   In theory, this should work.

   I like a formula. Give me steps A, B, C, and I can get my head around it. A formula has the promise that if you do each step you will get the desired effect. 




  But, when the results don't materialize I am disappointed. Most often I blame myself. I was not committed enough. I didn't fully subscribe to step B. I was distracted and took my eyes off the ball. What I fail to realize is that every formula has variables. When the variable is another person the validity of the formula goes south. 



  "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

The formula is, do the training and she will not depart from that training. It should work, right? So what are the variables? The training, what should be done, the child, what is the child choosing, the path, is the path secure, these are all the variables. Even the outcome has a variable. When will she be old enough? 
So is there a promise there in Proverbs 22? I am consoled by the conviction that these are relationships and not math formulas. The first relationship is the one with God. Do I trust Him? The second is my relationship to my child. Do I love her? The third relationship is time. Does it have to be solved now? Can I wait on His timeline? 

I should be able. But I must fall to my knees everyday in weakness because I am scared that it won't end up the way it should.






 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.



Monday, May 1, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Moderation

Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide. 
Marcus Tullius Cicero

In April I used the sub-heading of nurturing reality for a theme. I asked hard questions about what that would mean and one of the answers I perceived was that I could use more moderation as I often stretch reality when it comes to my relationship to food and the use of my time. 
In May I will use the camera to document ways that I could nurture myself by being more moderate and ways I am successfully meeting that desire. 



Losing ten pounds in the last few months is fun for me but I am still  scarfing down extra calories at one meal and adjusting on the next meal. What is that inward craving to take more than I need?




  When I finish work I instinctively turn to a distracting activity. Can I find more moderation by setting time limits to mindless surfing on a device? 
Good questions and if I find better answers I will certainly nurture myself with more equanimity. 









To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

More

Give Me More, Lord



If it can be verified, we don’t need faith…

Faith is for that which lies on the other side of reason.

Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and

ambiguities and sudden, startling joys.

– Madeleine L’Engle






  I pulled up my knees to my chest, sitting on the window seat. The light was slowly moving across the valley but yet the sunrise was still minutes away from coming over the mountain. Give me more light. I smiled about my obsession with morning light. I poised my camera on the mountain peak, ready. Not yet. How slow the minutes passed. The sun was sure. it would come, it had for the past 63 years. And yet I wait.  

                        Give me more faith, Lord








 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Nurturing Reality- Problem Solving

I would always choose a life without problems

       Friday started out to be a glorious day. I wanted to see the sunrise. As the light was just coming over the horizon I jumped out of the car to catch the glow on camera. After some minutes of feeling nurtured I returned to the car to find the keys locked inside. I think I walked around the car three times before I allowed reality to fully permiate my mind. 

         

I am nurturing reality this month. What a perfect  exercise. Too far to walk home, I called my daughter for a ride. She was not thrilled to be a awakened at 6:00 am. Once back home I started problem solving. I could call AAA and renew my membership and then they would come unlock my car. But, earlier in the week my account was hacked at Amazon and so I canceled my credit card. I called my husband to get the info on his card but he was not available for a while. I was curious how my mind kept going to the place of not believing that this happened. A wash of shame interfered with my ability to take the next step. How could I let this happen? Eventually all resolved itself and to my shock it was only 8:00 am. In a short amount of time the world was right again. The perception of my reality changed several times in two hours. 

Can I nurture the resilient spirit within me to stay centered on what is now and let go the craving for all to be well?








To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Sing

Some experiences in life bring us to sing in praise.

While visited my brother in Utah last week I made a trip to the Thanksgiving Point Ashton Gardens. Quite to my surprise I found a new installation which, honestly, is a miracle. The miracle is not that I found it, but that it exists. A sculpture garden entitled "The Light of the World" was installed in the Fall of 2016. 


John 4:4-42
 Amongst the most beautiful natural settings, the life of Christ sits in bronze. There are 35 statues in 15 different settings, all larger than life. 


Luke 7:36-50
 I saw it's profound effect on little children. The sculptor, Angela Johnson, almost always placed Jesus on eye level or lower with those he ministered. Children found his lap irresistible.


Matthew 8:1-4
The detail in the faces and clothes was amazing. I could feel the movement of each statue. As he touched the blind man with his hands it was as if he touched me, too. 

John 12:1-34
 Great boulders were brought in to create backdrops for the bronze statues. The tomb of Lazurus was especially dramatic. He lay at the bottom looking up through the archway at his sisters and Jesus. This event fore-shadowed his own rising from the tomb.

Mark 14
While looking at him dragging the cross, a little girl sang. She was praising with words she learned at church. Tears rolled down my cheeks.

John 20:11-34
When Mary found her Lord resurrected, hovering above the ground, I sang, too. He is risen!
   The artist, Angela Johnson, made these bronze statues in six years, having only started this art form a decade earlier. I felt the closeness she had to divine help. This garden truly is a miracle.





 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Testing My Ability

"Eyes wide open, I zoomed out and refocused on the reality beyond fear's tunnel."
Issac Lidsky

Part of nurturing is letting go. Nurturing reality means testing myself in situations that are scary. I stepped beyond thinking and writing and took a trip out of my comfort zone. You see, I don't like flying. Planes, airports, weather worries, all raise my anxiety levels. I am happy to report that my focus on reality has improved.


    The most helpful tool in my tool bag was looking around and being aware of my surroundings. In the airport I looked at faces and tried to see what others were doing. I noticed the mother trying to help her son find more bandwidth for his computer game. I watched a handsome business man re-adjust his baggage and don his cool sunglasses. I wondered if he was nervous, too.
   On the plane I listened to conversations, watched how others helped their neighbor. When faced with going down a steep decline to disembark the plane, I graciously accepted the offer of a kind gentleman to carry my bags. I tried to look him in the eye and worry less about being incompetent to do everything by myself. 




   The carousel of life can seem out of control and reality can become hazy but I feel a tiny bit more secure that I can hold what is real. I'm back at home and on familiar ground. 






To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.