2018 One Word Wrap Up

My post today is doing double duty. My Awwww Monday photo is so cute and you’ll surely think it’s an awwww-worthy selection for today.

The second is because it’s New Year’s Eve. For quite a few years, I’ve ditched the New Year’s resolutions in favor or picking one word to focus on for the year. Some years are successful, some…not so much. Here’s a recap since 2015 when our lives were thrown a major curve ball.

One Word for 2015: Fearless: In late 2014, Entrepreneur was diagnosed with renal cell cancer. I believe I’m stronger now by focusing on trying to be less fearful of the future.

One Word for 2016: Present:  I wanted to focus on being present without the distraction of social media. Despite mixed results, I’m more conscious now of how much time my eyes are focused downward instead of outward or upward.

One Word for 2017: Joy:  This one was a spectacular FAIL. Joy was elusive to me. Entrepreneur’s cancer revisited us as a brain tumor in February, so setting the tone for the rest of the year. Post surgery physical and mental deficits, radiation, a 9-month bout with Bells Palsy, and oral chemotherapy pretty much sucked the joy out of life. While 2017 did have some happy moments, I’m afraid I lost my Joy in the middle of the muck.

One Word for 2018: Shalom: A word I desperately needed to focus upon given Joy’s disappearance in 2017. Daily, oral chemo was still a regime for Entrepreneur and I watched my husband of 38 years lose 20+ pounds and continue to suffer chemo fog and related, devastating side effects. But, in the middle of it all, beautiful, loving, caring prayer partners came alongside us both physically and emotionally to help navigate the challenges. The result was a sense of calm that enveloped me in the middle of the chaos. I did a couple of women’s bible studies and read two especially helpful books. I highly recommend both of these books for anyone facing the hostilities of life.
1. Not by Sight by Jon Bloom: a book about trusting in the promises of Jesus, and following him into the unseen and unknown.
2. Be Still My Soul by Nancy Guthrie: a book with short commentaries exploring the age old question of why God allows pain in our lives. And, how to trust the promises of Jesus in the middle of pain and suffering.

Peace is dependent on the absence of something and is always fragmented. Shalom is more all-encompassing. It’s a positive force, not dependent on the absence of anything. It’s the gold standard of contentment in the middle of chaos, anger and despair. This kind of lasting peace, or shalom…wholeness, completeness and harmony…can only come from Jesus.

While I’m not completely there yet, I think my state of mind has more shalom than before. I still get anxious about what the future holds, but can feel a sense of calm in my soul. Am I giving up and giving in? Hardly. We will fight the good fight, but realize the outcome is ultimately up to God’s plan for our lives. I have a specific scenario of what that outcome should be, but surrender the final decision to the One to whose life I belong.

Check back on January 1st to find out what word I’m choosing for 2019. 🙂 Until then,  hope your 2018 was filled with good memories with family and friends.

Blog hopping today (after too long a hiatus) for Awww Monday with Sandee at Comedy Plus.

 

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Photo Blogging Challenge: Different Lens

While PJ’s intent over at A ‘lil Hoohaa  was to use a different camera and/or lens for this month’s challenge…that’s a challenge in itself for me. My beloved Canon SLR died on me a couple of years ago and I replaced it with a smaller, more compact Canon camera (big mistake). So, aside from the camera phone (which has challenges of its own), a different lens is not really an option for me. Soooooo…….

I’ve decided to interpret the challenge in a different way; taking a more esoteric approach to the word, “lens,” which i think fits nicely with my blog’s name, Peripheral Perceptions. So, stay with me and I hope my wanderings will become more clear.

Let’s begin with the word, Paradigm. Everyone has their own lens in which they prefer to view the world. Those lenses, or paradigms, shape how we believe things should work or be done in our version of a perfect world. We all bring knowledge and personal experiences when forming our individual worldview. But, sometimes it’s beneficial for us to look at our worldview through a different lens. In doing so, we just might be able to make a shift away from those ingrained thoughts and expectations. In using a different lens, we experience paradigm shifts that can unmask stagnant thinking and help us look at ourselves and the world in a completely new way.

To further make my point, I’ve chosen five quotes that will, hopefully, help reflect the direction I chose to go this month.

Different Lens #1
Paradigms are like glasses. When you have incomplete paradigms about yourself or life in general, it’s like wearing glasses with the wrong prescription. That lens affects how you see everything else. ~Sean Covey
Entrepreneur is having a major paradigm shift with this recent bout with cancer. The lens in which he views his life has changed…and he would not agree it’s for the better. Looking at life through the lens of brain surgery and chemo pills is affecting how he’s viewing life and how he’s contemplating his future. One thing is for sure, these two little pocket rockets are the best lens correction anyone could ask for!

Different Lens #2
Just one step. Just one mile. Just one dollar. Just one kiss. Just one person. When we look at life through the lens of ‘one,’ everything becomes that much more attainable. ~Mick Ebeling
The paradigm shift mentioned above and the different lens used right now is one of “one day at a time.” The goal being to do one thing each day that makes life feel a bit more normal.

Different Lens #3
You see things through a different lens when you have a child. ~Kevin Nealon
Photographing children forces one to look at life through a different lens and try to capture the feeling of a fleeting moment in time. It’s much more than just point and shoot…and hope something of value wanders into your lens field. And, when you look at life through the lens of a child, everything is a wonder!
  

Different Lens #4
Art is kind of the lens through which I think about God. ~Dan Colen
There are many different forms of art. Drawing, painting, sculpting, photography, mixed media, textile, writing, performing, etc…the list goes on and on. God created the universe and everything in it, We were created, so it follows logic that the need to “create” is ingrained in our DNA, and is a reflection of our Maker. It’s been that way for millions of years. Peanut realized this when we went to a museum of art and archeology where she saw artifacts humankind created dating back to 5500 BC.

Different Lens #5
In life and in politics, it’s helpful to try to perceive the other person through the most generous lens. ~Megyn Kelly
And that, unfortunately, doesn’t happen a lot anymore in our culture; maybe not in any culture. We’re so quick to be judge, jury and executioner for anyone and anything that goes against our opinions. Our current political climate is a perfect example. There is no photo to literally portray this quote, but I hope closing with something beautiful will motivate everyone to try to be kinder and more generous, and choose to look at situations from different perspectives and lenses. Perhaps in doing so, we can let go of our judgmental, critical minds and focus on looking at life through the lens of appreciation and generosity—treating all people with respect, and giving others the benefit of the doubt.

One thing for sure is we all use different lenses interchangeably when looking at life. Paradigm shifts may force us to change lenses, but it’s in the refocusing of our lens that makes all the difference.

Hope you enjoyed my interpretation of PJ’s prompt this month. Now you can visit his page and see the lens in which others viewed this topic.

 

 

Dear Younger Me

If I knew then what I know now…….how often have we said that? Or, I’d go back if I could take the brain I have now with me.

Do you ever wonder how different life would be if your younger, more stupid self had been sent a letter by your older, much wiser self?

We’d be able to see what younger self was about to do and warn them, Hey dumb-@$$, don’t do what you’re thinking about doing or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. How awesome would that be? We could avoid a lot of pain, suffering and hardship.

And yet, all those stupid mistakes my younger self made…and the lessons learned….has molded me into who I am today. Okay, maybe I could do without some of those aspects but, on the whole, I know all those experiences happened for a reason. They all were part of a bigger plan and served to skool me in much more than academics.

lisa1976And yet…..if I could warn my younger self about life, here’s what I would say:

Dear Younger Me,

Love yourself. Regardless of what that tag on your clothing says, love the person inside those jeans. If, in your opinion, the packaging needs work, then take measures to become a  healthier me. And remember, you are more than a number on a pair of pants.

Stop being afraid to take a risk. But what if it’s a mistake? Then, it’s a mistake. The awesome thing about life is there’s always the opportunity for a do-over when the sun rises. Don’t look back when you’re 60, 70 or 100 and say, I wish I would have done…….

Life….your career, your marriage, your children….will be a roller coaster ride most of the time. Sometimes it will all feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle, and other times it will feel like an out-of-control, downhill race to the finish line. And there will be those loopy-loops in the middle that make your stomach lurch. But the good and the bad serve a purpose, even if that purpose is above your pay grade at this time. So, don’t be afraid to live, laugh and love….a lot.

Don’t obsess over the small stuff….or small people. Everything from traffic lights to idiot drivers to that five cent error in the checkbook. Life is much too short to be angry or worried over these things. And, likewise about small-minded people whose mission in life is to make you feel inferior and inadequate. These are part of those character-building experiences your parents told you about.

Don’t wish away the pain. Emotional, physical, psychological. You’re going to feel all of it more than you’d like. It sounds trite, but the pain is there to teach and, if you let it, mold you into the best version of yourself. Rarely are lessons learned from the easy, good times in life. Life lessons are mainly learned through pain, heartache, struggles, challenges, devastation and loss. You may not like it, but that’s the way it is. So, embrace the pain and discover what you are supposed to learn from the experience and then move forward…not backwards.

Your faith will wax and wane like the moon. Life experiences will bring you to mountain-top epiphanies, but will also lay you flat with doubts. Through all of this, do whatever it takes to understand these are challenges designed to refine your faith and strengthen it. But even if you walk away and do unspeakable things, remember it’s never too late to turn around and come back. You are never too far gone for forgiveness and grace if you truly desire to have it. God may have just let you wander around feeling lost for a reason.

Some day it will all make sense. But, perhaps not in this life. And that’s okay. You don’t need to figure it all out. Trust that things happen for a reason and God has a specific mountain valley abyss path you need to take. Pray for guidance, and use your head and heart to make the best decisions possible. It will all get sorted out in the end.

With love,
Your Older, Much Wiser Me

And then I’d leave Younger Me with this music video.

Sharing with Life Through the Lens

Walk with me?

So, what is this thing called blogging and how does it work? Once again, I’ve been MIA for far too long. Life events the past few months feels like we’ve been drinking from a fire hose and I gotta tell you, we’re T.I.R.E.D. I’m slowly trying to get back into the swing of things here in the blogosphere.

But today, I’d like to stroll with you around the grounds and chat a while. Along with the stress the past few months, I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with world events. How about you? The election is looming and our choices are a narcissistic opportunist or a criminal so slick she seems to get a pass for very questionable activities. It’s really sad this is the best the two main parties can come up with for candidates. Where are all the “statesmen”? I’m extremely worried about the future of our country regardless of which one wins. The debates and non objective follow-up analysis from the media should be entertaining frustrating nauseating interesting.

morning glory

This? This is a Morning Glory. I saved some seeds from last year and threw them in a pot last spring. They took their own sweet time coming up but are going strong here at the end of summer. The cool blue color is refreshing against the 90+F temps.

Going back to politics for a moment…..I don’t understand why anyone would want to run for office in this day and age. It seems like as soon as someone announces their candidacy, the skeletons simply cannot fall out of the closet fast enough. And that’s all the media want to focus on. Let’s just ignore anything of substance….let’s focus on how much dirt can be uncovered,  how much mud can be slung, and what new, catchy, derogatory names can be adopted. And have you noticed, when a candidate has absolutely no plan, their focus becomes primarily on character assassination of their opponent?

bee

The Rose of Sharons are completely out of control. For 15 years, one Rose of Sharon bush lived peacefully in a flower bed off the driveway with a cedar tree, perennial geraniums and day lilies. However, in the last few years, Sharon has started proliferating like a bunny. That bed is now almost completely covered with volunteer Rose of Sharon bushes, which would be okay except they are starting to grow into the cedar tree, and are crowding out the perennial geranium ground cover. But the bees and hummingbirds love them. This carpenter bee was so laden down with pollen, it was flying in slow motion.

A new semester has begun and I’m, once again, an instructor for Strategic Campaigns. This is the capstone course for students graduating in the strategic communications department. I have 17 students this semester who really have no idea how much work awaits them. And I can already see managing client expectations is going to be a problem.

rose of sharon

Twix is two and a half and continues to keep us on our toes with such phrases as, I can do it!; Let me do it!; Don’t help me! Her newly-found independent abilities is entertaining….and frustrating at the same time. Her problem-solving abilities are mind boggling. Every time I turn around, she’s carrying a chair somewhere in order to get to something that has been put (what we thought was) out of reach. And the complete sentences that come out of her mouth will make your head spin. She began a sentence the other day with, Actually…….

mantis

This little guy hitched a ride on Entrepreneur’s car and ended up relocating to our yard. I’m sure he found a smorgasbord to whet his appetite. I also have a toad that lives in  a couple of aloe vera plant pots. Mental note: check the pot before brining it inside for the winter.

pantry

So you might wonder what I’ve been doing that’s kept me away from you all for so long? Well, here’s part of the reason. The garden yielded 17 quarts of canned green beans, a mixture of quarts and pints of pickled beets, pickled okra and dilly beans. The corn, once we got it tied up after the rains, rewarded our effort with 10 quart jars of golden deliciousness in the freezer, plus we had more than enough for corn on the cob dinners. But, no bell peppers….which made me sad. On the other end of the spectrum, the okra is still going gangbusters and I swear one could stand and literally watch it grow. I’ve started giving it away as I have about ten, gallon bags frozen in the deep freeze already and two more gallon bags in the frig. I’m looking forward to putting that little plot of ground to rest for the year.

Are you looking forward to Autumn? I think I might be ready for it soon. I seem to be hearing the call of cute boots and cuddly sweaters from my closet.

lantana and chair

So, The Recruiter, Peanut and Twix are now officially moved into their newly-renovated home. Peanut started a new school and is less than thrilled about the situation. But, I’m hoping she will adapt, in time. Twix comes to our house during the weekdays while mom is at work and, mercifully, still takes naps. 🙂

So, that’s where I’ve been for many, many weeks. I’ve tried to stay active on Facebook, but that’s more like “hit and run” postings. Perhaps once it gets colder I’ll have more time to contemplate deep thoughts and put into words. I have a lot of those thoughts floating around in my head. But, for the foreseeable future, I think I’ll be living hand-to-mouth and trying to keep my head above the time commitment waters.

How was your summer?

 

 

 

 

May you carry an ever green, invincible summer in each of your hearts

pine snow72
Texture by Kim Klassen: Franklin and Benjamin; 100% soft light

In the depth of winter I finally learned that
there was in me an invincible summer.
~Albert Camus

We all face the depths of winter in our lives. Sometimes these winters are mild, and other times they’re white-out condition blizzards. We all know those kinds of winters. The ones where we seems isolated from all joy with nothing to warm our souls.

These times are marked by sorrow, fear, disappointment, worry, loneliness, frustration, hopelessness and death. Times that steal our happiness and block our desire to enjoy the goodness of life. In fact, it’s the depths of winter that sometimes succeed in convincing us there isn’t any goodness left.

And all we have to do it look around. The depths of winter surround us on a daily basis, regardless of the temperature. Broken relationships, dysfunctional families, natural disasters, homelessness, poverty…it doesn’t take long for the darkness to wash over us and leave us feeling like it’s impossible to make a significant difference.

And then we’re expected to put on a happy face, sing songs and wish each other Happy Holidays!”and “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.” It’s easy to understand why we may feel  the depths of winter more acutely this time of year.

Is this really the most wonderful time of the year?

Yes, it is.

Advent season is almost finished. The time designed to prepare and anticipate a very special birth. A birth that, by design, pierces the darkness of our world and gives hope to the lonely, frustrated, fearful, depressed and disappointed.

Advent and its sibling, Christmas, can create an ever green, invincible summer in each of our hearts if we allow their message of incarnate grace to take root. With the birth of Christ comes hope, peace, joy and love. When we carry that invincible summer in our hearts, the depths of winter are met with the promise of greener, warmer days.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~Isaiah 9:6

 

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. ~2 Thessalonians 3:16

 

Linking up with Quotography, Texture Tuesday and Texture Twist.
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Standing the test of time

It’s not the beauty of a building you should look at;
it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.
~David Allen Coe

Claysville post72

As we were waiting for a table at our favorite off-the-beaten-path, homestyle eatery, I glanced down at the floor of the porch. This is what I saw. AAAACCKKK! I was amazed the porch was still in place because, by all logic, it shouldn’t be based on its appearance.

The building itself has been around in one form or another since the steamboat era. The interior has undergone massive reno to become the awesome place where deliciousness is served today.

Claysville Store

I suppose the porch has been this way for decades and it’s still standing, so something strong must be holding it together. Or divine intervention. I’m not sure which one it is.

Foundations can be tricky. To look at this building, it seems to defy all logic that it’s still standing. But it’s been in this exact spot longer than any of us have been alive. It’s been through storms, floods and gradual ground shifting as the river relocated itself over time.

On the flip side, how many times have we seen beautiful buildings that are built on shallow foundations. Buildings that can’t withstand the trauma of nature and stress of their environment?

What kind of foundation is holding you together?
How confident are you that your foundation can stand the test of time?

Belief systems serve as foundations for our lives. The stronger the belief system, the more stable our lives will be when we’re thrown into that inevitable storm. If we have a firm foundation, we will not fall or slide into the abyss.

Think about how many people you know that look fabulous on the outside. It appears they have it all together and headed for the top. Now, when a crisis rocks their world, how many of them crumble to pieces and can’t cope? How many turn to substance abuse/addiction or some other external coping mechanism to help face the reality they’ve been dealt? When push comes to shove, their weak foundations can’t support the weight. And they begin to crack an crumble under the pressure.

Now, think about those who seem to have an inner strength that helps them face trials and storms without falling to pieces. The ones who adjust their sails when the wind changes. The ones who, when life seems to repeatedly hand them lemons, will trade them in for limes and make mojitos?

Belief systems. Whatever they are, they serve as the core foundation for how we handle life. It’s not how we look on the outside. It’s what we’re made of underneath; it’s what supports us in a crisis; it’s what holds us up when the ground shifts.

And it’s what keeps us standing firm and strong over the tests of time, against all logic.

So this is what the Sovereign Lord says, 

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,

 a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;

the one who relies on it

 will never be stricken with panic.”
~Isaiah 28:16

Linking up with Quotography and Tuesday Muse
Quotography  Tuesday Muse

Bloom wildly

lily vintage-TT-72
Textures by Kim Klassen: Edith, 65% screen; Elevate 100% soft light
Selectively erased the center buds and applied a vintage action

Live Simply. Bloom Wildly.

Blooming wildly is something, I’m sure we all want to do. But how? How do we live up to the potential we know we have, deep down inside ourselves? How do we explode with color and show the world what we’re capable of accomplishing?

First we get rid of all the baggage we’re toting around. Yes, you do know what I mean. Mentally clean house and take out the trash we’ve been collecting over the weeks, months or years. Critically analyze what is going on inside our pretty little heads. Keep the best and lose the rest. Lose the insecurities that keep us from feeling confident. Lose the self-defeating trash talk. Lose the low-bar expectations. Lose the mindset that I’m only just a……

Next, we get out of our comfort zone and away from those security blankets we tend to wrap ourselves in when life gets a bit scary. Let’s be honest. We all like spending time in our comfort zones. Call them bad habits. Call them crutches. Call them insecurities. But they need to be called out and kicked out. Too much comfort and security can lead to stagnant living. How can we do bold, wildly exciting things in our lives when we retreat to only the things we know best?

Here are some of the things that usually keep us from blooming wildly:

1. Filling our time with easy, non-challenging tasks that don’t stretch our creativity or intelligence.
2. Not stretching our minds to learn new things; being content with our current skill sets.
3. Not taking the risk to meet new people and expand our circle of friends and influencers.
4. Holding on to those bad habits that shield us from dealing with reality and reaching our potential; excessive shopping or smoking or drinking or prescription/illegal drug use or overeating or….(fill in the addiction)….

All these things can become a hinderance to our potential. All these things keep us trapped in a life that doesn’t exceed expectations. When we tote around all our baggage and wrap ourselves in security blankets, we end up complicating our lives more than they need to be. Live simply. Clear everything out that doesn’t serve a constructive purpose; get rid of the things that don’t propel us to the next level of excellence.

Then, go forth and Bloom Wildly!

Linking up with Texture Tuesday
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