Tender mercies

Happiness isn’t complicated. It is a humble state of gratitude for simple pleasures, tender mercies, recognized blessings, and inherent beauty.
~Richelle E. Goodrich

Last week I had to cover for an employee who went on a well-deserved vacay. A job at which he is exceptionally good, but I don’t particularly like doing as it involves a lot of left-brain activity and customer service stuff. So, I did what I normally do in this situation.

I stress.

And when I mean stress, I mean full-scale anxiety, headaches and dread. Silly, I know because I can do his job….I was the one who helped train him to do his job. I just don’t like his job.

So, this is what greeted me last Monday morning as I headed to the office. A prism from the rising sun reflecting on the morning clouds. And, its meaning was not lost on me. It lifted my spirits and gave me some joy in my heart.

Tender mercies.

My week was full of them. My LORD blessed me with tender mercies all week with easy days with no major issues to deal with. I experienced relative calm and peace every morning as I headed to see what unexpectedness awaited me for the day…because any time you deal with customer service responsibilities, it’s a crapshoot as to what may happen. Plus, being a mac-brain person, I had to switch gears and work on a Windows PC computer all. week. long. UGH.

My week in the office is finished; our guy is back safe and sound at his post; I survived the week and my shoulders and neck are none the worse for wear. I’m grateful it all went smoothly and know exactly who to thank for that.

Blog hopping today with Awwwww Monday over at Comedy Plus.

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(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.
~Jenny Uglow

Thought is was about time I got re-aquainted with the manual settings on my digital camera. I used to have an all-manual SLR. College photography class taught me all the nuances of how film speed, shutter and aperture settings work together Digital cameras have really spoiled me nowadays.

While it’s easy to just put the camera on Auto and go, better shots are only a setting away. So, I’ve been trying to use Aperture-priority and (horrors) Manual whenever I have time to shoot and adjust the settings.

Blog hopping today with Sandee over at Comedy Plus for Wordless Wednesday.

Almost

I Believe In…..

Seeing is believing….but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.
~The Conductor on the Polar Express

It’s easy to believe in things I can see firsthand with my eyes. It’s harder to believe in things I cannot physically see. But does that mean they are any less real?

I can’t “see” gravity. What I can see is gravity’s effect.
I can’t “see” air. But, I know I cannot live without it.
I can’t “see” thoughts…even though I could look at the physical place where they originate.

I don’t believe any of us would dispute the “reality” of any of the above intangibles. Just because we cannot physically see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

I can’t “see” love. What I can see is the results of love and how it can affect others. And those results often come in the form of feelings and emotions….more intangibles that cannot be actually seen. Generosity, compassion, forgiveness, grace, mercy, hope….all things that cannot be physically seen but stem from the reality of Love.

We’re so quick to say, “seeing is believing,” but the most real things of this life can only be seen when we open the eyes of our hearts…and feel those wonderful intangibles life has to offer.

This is my contribution to Annie’s blog hop called Sparks.
“I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. Together, we can light up the entire world!”

Also adding a bit of “awwwww” for Awww Monday over at Comedy Plus 

Autumn’s endings

This might be my last post of the Autumn beauty in middle Missouri. I’m not getting out as much as I’d like, and have had to rely on a few hit and run photos this year. Time continues to slip away each day. It seems like I’m busy but at the end of the day, I can’t really point to accomplishing much of anything. Strange.

Autumn continues to be the season of reflection for  me. But, my reflecting has taken a shift with the addition of Entrepreneur’s cancer. A friend’s wife passed on November 1st after battling this horrid disease for more than a year. These types of events tend to intensify reflection…and reassessing priorities. There is so much in this world that is simply not worth bickering over in the grand scheme of things.

Time is such a fleeting illusion. Hours can sometimes drag, but then days, weeks and months are gone before we realize it. We all say we want to live for the moment….yet, we’re quick to squander those moments with activities that are counter-intuitive to that goal.

Autumn was a mixed bag of weather this year. One week it was like a summer day with sandals and shorts; the next, we’re hauling out the coats and boots. One thing for sure….I’m not looking forward to the cold. And, I can feel its presence much sooner than expected. I’ve discovered the older I get, the more intolerant I am to cold weather.

Believe it our not, I took this shot almost as an afterthought. Twix and I were puttering around the yard on one of those summery Autumn days. As soon as I saw it on the computer, I knew exactly which quote to pair with it!

I hope your Autumn has been enjoyable so far. I’m sharing today with others over at Peabea’s Pictorial Tuesday. 

Summer’s end and August musings

Summer is all but over unless there’s an “Indian Summer” hiding in September. And what a summer it’s been.

Entrepreneur is adjusting to his *new normal* with the chemo pills he takes every day. The Bell’s Palsy is getting better…slowly. We added a fur baby to our family in May….Cabo the Goldendoodle, who is 5 months old this month. The grandbabykins are back from seeing their dad in Alabama and school started a couple of weeks ago. We’re still taking care of Twix during the days, while attempting to do something that resembles work in our home office.

But all that pales when looking at what’s going on in our country. Today’s musings will be accompanied by a few uplifting captures from my summer garden and seasonal quotes I like. Hopefully, they will bring a smile to your face…in the face of all the ugliness of the news.

Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, TX last weekend and the devastation continues with water rescues and destruction of property. I was really hoping there wouldn’t be any looting, but the depths in which some people will descend never really surprises me anymore. In spite of those that steal and loot, there have been hundreds of stories about everyday heroes who are rescuing people with their own boats and taking them to safety. Humanitarians are trying to find and take care of abandoned pets. Below is a video of a line of cars towing boats en route to Houston to offer their help. This. Is. Awesome. These are the stories that renew my faith in humankind.

Which leads me to the Florida professor who tweeted Harvey was karma for the predominantly Republican  people in Texas. Really?! With that type of mentality, I suppose one could make a case that people living in the predominantly Democrat states in the Northeast deserved to be hit by Superstorm Sandy. Ludicrous. I was happy to read this professor was relieved of his position. Yes, he does have the right to voice his opinion (see the first amendment), but it should not shield him from the consequences of this really stupid remark.

I also believe those people who comment about presidential assassinations should be held accountable as well. Missouri congresswoman Chappelle-Nadal, who advocated President Trump’s assassination, should be relieved of her responsibilities as someone who was elected to uphold the laws of our country…which do not include assassinations. Last I read, the Lieutenant Governor has called for a special session of the Senate to expel her from the legislature.

This lace cap hydrangea grows every summer in the garden. It was blooming when we planted it years ago, but never bloomed again…until this summer. If anyone has a clue as to why, I’d love to know. I think this quote personifies the human will to survive in the face of natural disasters and other life challenges. We never know what we’re capable of until our faith, tenacity and resolve are put to the test.

Next on my @#$% list is ANTIFA. This group needs to be categorized as terrorists, plain and simple.

Terrorist
noun
1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism.
Everything I’ve seen and read about these people fits the definition of terrorist; especially in light of their assault on the peace rally in Berkley a few days ago. While reasonable people recoil at the messages of the neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, we need to be equally disgusted with the rhetoric and methods of these masked…..I don’t even know what to call them. While human beings, they react violently without any semblance of humanity towards anyone who disagrees with their views.
The only thing I can say about what’s happening in Charlottesville and other cities who have commemorated soldiers and historical figures who are on the wrong side of culture’s opinions now is that is makes me both sad and angry. I’m sad because I can understand how statues of Confederate and slave-owning historical figures can bring about bad feelings. On the other hand, this is part of our nation’s history. Whatever message is being perverted by the presence of a piece of stone will not be erased with its disappearance. Will we go so far as to rename every street, county, city, currency, school and building named after someone we disagree with in order to erase any and all reminders of our past that some find offensive? My personal opinion is if a statue has the power to destroy your psyche, perhaps you need to spend some time self reflecting on what’s really behind your rage, and how it could be channeled towards something more constructive and educational. On the other hand, if I were a Jew living in Germany, I probably wouldn’t like seeing a statue of Hitler on my way to work. Recently, I ran across an article about a brilliant response by a town in Germany where they pranked a neo-Nazi group who marched in their town every year to commemorate Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. Brilliant, and a much better response than the assault and destruction methods that seem to be the norm now for anything deemed “offensive.” When you stop and think about it, every ethnic and cultural group has something in which they can take offense. If every one of those offenses was appeased, where would it end? And, who gets to decide which offenses are legitimate and which are not? It’s a Pandora’s Box.

So, those are my musings on this summer day. Agree or disagree, I would hope we would be able to engage in dialogue as intelligent adults and either find common ground, or just agree to disagree.

Linking up with others over at Peabea’s Pictorial Tuesday.…on Wednesday.

Conflicted

Well, they are on their way to stay with their dad for a month. The Recruiter, Peanut and Twix left this afternoon to make the trek to Nashville for the hand off for the second leg of their trip to Alabama.

And I’m oddly conflicted.

On one hand, with all that’s happened since February, Entrepreneur and I need a break from the endless energy and incessant “whys” of a three year old. And, having both of them since mid-May when the after-school sitter left college for summer break has been both a joy and a challenge. AND, add the fur baby that arrived the beginning of June and…..well…are you tired yet? We are. We really do need this time to regroup and Entrepreneur needs this time to rest due to chemo fatigue. So, we’re down two children….but training a fur baby.

But, on the other hand, each time they leave, the relief is replaced with worry and concern. Call it parental paranoia or whatever. I’m counting the days until their return. When they hit the door again in mid-July, there won’t be much summer left before those back-to-school and after-school activities begin again. In the meantime, my house will be void of munchkin-size clothing lying around, half-drank beverages in the frig, books, crayons, pencils and toys on every surface in every room. Gone will be the bath toys in my soaker tub, and luvies within arms reach of every bed.

I feel guilty about looking forward to the break…knowing the time we have with them is a gift not afforded to every grandparent. Am I ungrateful for that gift if I’m relieved to be relieved of those child care responsibilities? What if something happens to them while they are gone? I would be devastated knowing I was looking forward to time in the empty nest…even if it was only temporarily.

Such is the life of long-distance visitation.

So we try to pack as much as we can into the few weeks of summer before they have to leave. We did picnics and playgrounds; pool time and popsicles; Peanut and I visited a museum and took in a movie; went to our church’s version of VBS (on steroids); and scheduled horseback riding lessons. Plus, we made sure there were times for just hanging out with nothing organized so the mind could wander uninterrupted.

Please enjoy a few early summer childhood captures of our grandbabykins.


A nosefull of posies.


Yes, she is that high. Zoom lens required.


Picnic pupper and his pal.


The University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archeology; artifacts and art ranging from circa 1550 BCE to the 20th century.


Pool time with Papa.


Sittin’ pretty in the saddle.


He loves me……..


An uninterrupted afternoon.


Mermaids do exist!


She was a little uncontrollable at the sprayground!


The epitome of summer relaxation.


Litter mates.

I think I got a little carried away with my pics. But, I’m sure you’ll forgive me. 🙂 I hope everyone’s summer is off to a wonderful start.

xoxo

Musings from an Outlander Addict

You know what a cult show is, don’t you? No? Well, let me clue you in. A cult show is one that sucks you in so completely that you become obsessed with it. It’s the show that causes you rearrange your schedule just so you don’t miss any episodes even though you have a DVR. My first experience with a cult show was LOST. There have been a few since then, but none as powerful as the one I fell completely head over heals for last year….Outlander.

outlander-dvd

I blame The Recruiter. It’s her fault for watching the show in my family room when she, Peanut and Twix lived with us. It only took one time and I was hopelessly hooked. So hooked that I refused to let Entrepreneur get rid of Starz when he downsized our satellite TV package. So hooked that I talked The Recruiter into going to Starz on Demand and downloading the first two seasons for me. Last summer I binge watched Seasons One and Two while Entrepreneur watched sports.

So, if you are not familiar with the storyline, here it is in a nutshell.

Claire Randall, a former British Army nurse, is enjoying a second honeymoon in Scotland with husband Frank Randall after WW II. Frank is a former English military officer and has taken a position as an Oxford historian. Unexplainably, through an ancient stone ruin, Claire is transported back in time to 1743, into a world completely different from her own. Because of her medical background, she is perceived as a healer. To survive, literally, she agrees to an arranged marriage to Jamie Fraser, a strapping Scottish Highlander and becomes caught up in the Jacobite rebellion against the English. After a tumultuous beginning, a passionate relationship develops between Claire and Jamie and her feelings become torn between two vastly different men across two centuries. Outlander is adapted from the best-selling book series by Diana Gabaldon.

Now that my binge watching is complete, I’m in the middle of what is referred to as “Droughtlander” before the next season begins later this fall, I believe the show has more to offer than a complicated, layered storyline, breathtaking scenery, hauntingly beautiful intro music, and Highlander eye candy (aka: Jamie Fraser). It’s the perfect mix of passion and romance paired with war, torture and rugged testosterone. Here are my observations and life parallels:

Love takes turns being the hero.
Both Jamie and Claire take turns rescuing each other from certain death at the hands of the British…more specifically, a British officer named Jonathan Wolverton (Black Jack) Randall, who has personal vendettas against both of them. They risk their lives for each other because their love trumps the possibility of living without the other. In successful relationships, the depth of commitment operates selflessly and without regard for personal safety, physically and emotionally. The well-being of the other person is of utmost importance and each will move heaven and earth to make that happen. The respect, devotion, gentleness and passion Claire and Jamie have for each other is enviable. It’s the platinum standard in relationships…real or otherwise.

Not everyone is capable of redemption.
Speaking of Black Jack Randall, he’s one of Frank’s (Claire’s 1940s husband) distant relatives. And where Frank is a kind and loving gentleman, Jack is diametrically the polar opposite. And to make the dynamic more complicated, they look exactly alike. The author and the actor succeeds magnificently in creating visceral contempt for this character. Just when you think there is a glimmer of hope in his moral character, he chooses to act in the most heinous way imaginable…and admittedly, without remorse. While my faith teaches no one is beyond redemption, a person like Black Jack Randall could make me believe some people may be irreversibly evil. The tricky question is, who gets to judge whether that is actually the case? The person I write off as hopeless may simply be a lost soul who hasn’t yet encountered the experience needed to change. Maybe I’m to be that experience? One thing’s for sure….I would not want to encounter a Black Jack Randall and be faced with that moral dilemma.

Feminism with femininity.
Claire is a progressive women of the 1940s. She is a veteran Army nurse and doesn’t put up with crap from anyone. She is opinionated and vocal. She takes that mentality with her to the 1700s, but quickly discovers this type of “strong woman” is not going to get her anywhere and could, quite possibly, get her killed. What results is a woman who becomes intellectually savvy and gives the appearance of restraint (for the most part). However docile she appears, underneath there’s a strong, cunning, resourceful woman who understands how to use her femininity (not sex) to her best advantage. Victoria’s Secret can parade those angels all they want; they’ve got nuthin’ on Claire Frasier.

Situations are not always as they seem.
Claire and Jamie would like nothing more than to see Black Jack Randall leave this earth….however, Jack is Frank’s ancestor and to eliminate him too soon could cause Frank to never be born. Enter, Mary Hawkins; a wisp of a girl who, according to Frank’s genealogy search, is supposed to become Black Jack’s wife and continue his lineage. The problem is, Mary loves Black Jack’s younger brother, Alex. Claire knows the genealogy of Frank and how Mary and Black Jack fit into it. She logically reasons Mary cannot marry Alex or Frank will never be born. So, she intervenes and talks Alex into leaving Mary. Months later, to her horror, she finds they’ve reunited, but Alex is very ill. Claire is begged to heal him, but she recognizes he suffers from tuberculosis and congenital heart failure. There is no known cure in this era. And, Mary is pregnant. Faced with his fiancé’s uncertain future with no husband’s wealth to provide for her, Alex’s dying with is for his decorated, military brother, Jonathan, to marry her. As abhorrent as this idea is to everyone, including Black Jack, Claire knows (according to genealogy and history) Jack going to die in the next day’s battle…so, it’s all good. Mary will not have to suffer at the hands of this depraved man. Claire breathes a sigh of relief knowing Frank’s future is secure.

My point? My point is sometimes situations just are not as they seem. There was a reason Mary and Alex were together….but no one knew what it was until Alex was on his deathbed. All of Claire’s efforts to discourage Alex and Mary’s relationship were misguided…and based on her assumption of what would/would not happen if she didn’t intervene. Sometimes, we jump to conclusions about situations before we know the circumstances. Sometimes our actions to steer events the way we think they should go are misguided and shouldn’t be pursued.

Things happen for a reason.
Dovetailing with the above observation is this one. The driving story behind Seasons One and Two is Claire and Jaime’s desire to change history and avoid the Jacobite rebellion. Believing Jamie will die in the Battle of Culloden, Claire’s focus is on how to alter the events leading up to that fateful battle. Jaime is on board and the two of them work towards disrupting Bonnie Prince Charles’ plans to overthrow the current king of England…. all the while appearing to be a supporter of the rebellion. But, despite their scheming and manipulative efforts, they are unsuccessful and the battle happens as planned.

As much as we’d love to go back and change some things about our past, events and experiences happened for a reason. For those of us who believe there is a plan for our lives and a path we must travel, it’s easier to accept this. Events are tied together for a reason; change one and you unravel everything because nothing exists in a vacuum.

I’m now (im)patiently waiting for the debut of Season Three to be announced. I admit, I’ve cheated a bit and gone online to read summaries of what we can expect to see based on the next book. And, I’m following Outlander sites on Twitter and Facebook.

Yep, definitely a cult show.

Playing along with those over at Life Through the Lens.