Wednesday, November 7, 2018

5 Choices That Are Saving My Life This Fall

Every once in a while, I like to jot down a few life-savers that are bringing some sort of stillness or sanity or grace to my daily routines.  Forever a student, I'm learning to be more fully present to what's going on right in front of me rather than being distracted by every random happening that wanders through my brain or intersects with my field of vision.

Multi-tasking is so last year, ya' know?

And the older you get, the lousier you are at doing it well.

I'm learning to focus on one thing at a time, preferably the person right in front of me.  I'm getting the knack of letting go of things that aren't mine to fix or control.  I'm listening to my body telling me what it's yearning for.  A drink of cold water.  A short afternoon snooze.  A healthy snack.  A brisk walk in the leaves.  An evening with absolutely no screens up and running.  A great big hug.

A hefty piece of chocolate.




Here's 5 choices that tend to recalibrate and redeem my days:

1.  Invite light to shine bright.
New England can be a gray place to be this time of year.  So the shades in the bedroom go up right after my feet hit the floor.  Every window in our home is curtain-less and I like it that way.  Two Yankee Candles in a luscious sweet fig scent get lit mid-afternoon.  Candles in the windows and the dining room chandelier get put to work around dusk ... which these days is shortly after 4 pm.

2.  Tuck a small book in your bag.
A bit weary of endlessly scrolling through my phone or paging through 4 month old magazines in waiting rooms has led me to bring along a little something to read while idling time away.  Keeping me company while waiting for a haircut yesterday was Maria's winsome and practical I've Been Thinking: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life {especially the prayers at each chapter's end}.  My next carry along will most likely be a re-read of Anne's already beloved I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life.  {My review is here.}

3.  Get outdoors each day.
Even 10 - 15 minutes is better than lapsing into permanent couch-potato mode.  Catching a few rays.  Tending the remnants of flowers that refuse to give up hope.  Sweeping the patio of leaves and debris.  Great big bonus points for chatting with a neighbor or going for a long walk.

4.  Reach out via pen and paper.
It's become way too easy to shoot off texts right and left.  I'm resurrecting all those pretty note cards that have been tucked away for far too long, pulling out the colored pens, stamps, stickers, and occasional bits of confetti {when appropriate} to slip quietly into an envelope.  This week's notes have included a few thank-you's, a get well card, several 'atta-girl!' notes to granddaughters, a very few carefully chosen words to a grieving new friend.

5.  Agree with what God is doing.
In stilling myself and my schedule, I'm better able to listen for the Holy Spirit's nudges to pray for someone.  Chances are I've already told Him how I feel about a situation and what I hope He will do.  More and more I'm abandoning my laundry list of things He should be aware of {like He doesn't know?!} and my tendency to want to figure out and control outcomes.  So these prayers are turning out to be more agreeing with what He is doing, praying that His will be done, and offering up praise, praise, and more praise in the process.  Especially when I'm not able to understand His mysterious plans and can't fathom His timing.

I'm curious about what's saving your life this fall ... do tell!

P.S.  You might like



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41 comments:

  1. I'm with you on the multi-tasking Linda. Although they say most men are terrible at it anyway. :) I have never been good at being divided with my attention. As for what I am doing: I am continuing to ride my bike. I have been asked to ride in an MS ride in March in Arizona. That can only happen if I ride in the winter here so I am continuing my exposure to the cold just in case I do ride in AZ.

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    1. Arizona! Wow! Sure beats biking in Indiana in the winter. How exciting the way God has equipped you to bounce back from your injuries last year and opened these doors for you to soldier on.

      So impressive ...

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  2. I've found out multi-tasking isn't all it's cracked up to be.

    There's something to be said for single-minded FOCUS!

    I'm with you on light. I have candlelight in my kitchen windows and love lighting them when dusk appears.

    Oh, and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate when you drop by the Journey. Friends like you are so encouraging!

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    1. There's something very cozy and welcoming when we light those candles, isn't there!

      And you're so right, Jerralea, blogging is especially designed for encouragement, for community. I appreciate what God does through our interactions along the way.

      ;-)

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  3. I like to listen to an audiobook or music while my hands are busy, but that's about my limit of multi-tasking. I used to bring a book with me for any anticipated wait time (like a doctor's waiting room or waiting on a child to get done with practice, etc.). Now I have a Kindle app on my phone, but I do tend to do more scrolling or game-playing at those times.

    There's nothing like a handwritten note in the mail, a rare treat these days.

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    1. Absolutely, it's so seldom you find a pretty card or a hand written note awaiting in the mailbox.

      I miss getting them. Sending them.

      I want to do my part to change that up!

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  4. These are all great tips and ones we can easily do if we will be intentional about it. It's a dreary cold day here in Alabama so I need to pick one or two of your tips and do it right now! Thanks, Linda.

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    1. Maybe 'intentional' is the secret, Lisa.

      Some days that's my middle name. Days like today? Not so much.

      Although I sure loved taking a good long walk in the sunshine ...

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  5. The days of even attempting to multi-task are far behind me, thank goodness! Retirement has been a blessing for me in so many ways. And I really hear you about agreeing with what God is doing. If I'm praying for someone's healing, and there are many on my list, I ask that His will be done in every case, because that is what will happen, won't it?
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here today, Linda. Blessings!

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    1. Yes, Martha, yes to asking God for His will to be done. These are the most freeing prayers after we've wearied ourselves trying to figure out every last detail of someone else's problems and crises.

      Or our own.

      He lifts the heavy load that was never ours to carry to begin with.

      Praise His name ...

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  6. I live multi-tasking! I couldn't do what I do otherwise. My biggest change is that I have finally learned a little technology so I have 4 different calendars - home, work, family and other - that morphs into one calendar, but in different colors. I am also using my to do list, with these calendars, so if I need to remind myself of something that needs to be done in a few days, weeks or months - I add it immediately so not much is falling through the cracks the way it used to. It has brought some peace of mind since I'm not worrying about what I am forgetting!

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    1. You know I'm quite impressed with how organized you are, Mah. Your life is incredibly packed these days and you're doing it oh so well.

      It's amazing how much energy God gives us when we truly need it.

      Praying for you. And hoping for a quiet couple of hours so we can share a couple cups of tea together. Maybe I'll make some scones, too.

      Meanwhile, I do love a good TO-DO list. It clears my head and keeps things on the table so they don't get lost in the daily shuffle.

      xo

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  7. My multi-tasking skills are weakening with age, too, Linda. :) I can't handle cold weather or candle smokes and scents, but I am grateful our home has lots of natural light. I love putting heart stickers in cards. :) I have variously-colored, raised ones with textures, even soft and furry. :) I especially love the #5 choice of agreeing with what God is doing, but I remain a work-in-progress. Thank you for this encouragement to seek out things that make our days better. :) Love and hugs to you!

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    1. For sure, we are ALL works in progress. I know not one single soul who has arrived.

      ;-)

      That's one of the gifts of doing community together ... with great relief we find out that we're not the only one who's still learning, still growing.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation, Trudy!

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  8. Hmmm....sounds like many of the lessons I've been learning too, Linda. All good though not always easy. My sweet husband is a life savor for me more than he knows. That's saving me a lot these days. That and some early morning walks. Maybe when we retire we'll be able to to walk together :)

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    1. I'm guessing we're in similar seasons, Debby ... and you're so right, many of the lessons God continues to teach us are borne from difficult scenarios.

      Praying for you this evening as I tap away here. Bless you in the midst, friend ...

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  9. Ah, the note cards! It's always so great to receive a letter instead of a bill in the mailbox! I've been procrastinating so I think journaling will be what could save my life this fall. Or at least presently! Also a learner and multi-tasker, I can have a lot of projects on the go and then things start to get mixed up to the point I stop them all. So journaling helps keep clarity around them all.

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    1. I absolutely hear you about journaling, Lynn. It could have / should have been #6 around here. Yes, those written conversations bring clarity, purpose, hope ... especially as they morph into prayers.

      * I have a journal giveaway coming up I think you'd like, friend!

      ;-}

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  10. Daily choices do make our day. Thanks for sharing some of yours. A few of mine would be: 1. Choosing to focus on being healthy over the number of steps I am getting each day. (Even though I still want to do a happy dance if I get 10,000) 2. Choosing to get up earlier so my schedule matches my husband more and it gives me more morning time before school starts. (Still a work in progress) 3. Choosing to not get all out of sorts when the electricity goes out and just see it as extra time to possibly read on my kindle.

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    1. Choosing to be healthy. Yes, yes! More and more as I get older. Unfortunately, my choices don't always reflect what I say is important.

      Like that emptying bag of candy corn in the corner cupboard.

      * sigh *

      Happy reading to you, friend. I love that you make lemonade out of lemons. Cool ...

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  11. I'm just sitting here saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," to so many of your life savers. I love the feel of writing actual words on actual paper to a friend, and the fresh breeze in my face has changed my whole day more than once!

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    1. I'm happy to spend a bit of this dreary Saturday morning with you, Michele. A shared pot of tea would be lovely indeed ...

      ;-)

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  12. I have electric candles in my windows at this time of year also. They make the darkness seem cozy. I agree with your go outside at least once a day also. It can get hard if you are at work and come home in the darkness. Sometimes I sit out on the porch in the dark after dinner and listen to the night.

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    1. Kara, that idea of sitting out on the porch even on these cool evenings is kind of intriguing. I'd need my scarf, gloves, a quilt, and a big hot chocolate!

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  13. I love your simple and down-to-earth way of encouraging us here, Linda. I'm taking your cue and I'm going to add in some of the little rituals and practices you've mentioned that you do in your day. It gets rather gray and gloomy here in the midwest in the fall and winter too! ;-) Hugs to you, my friend!

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    1. I love that we can encourage each other, friend. That's what life is all about ...

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  14. Hi Linda,

    Great list. #4 and #5 is what I've also been doing. Here's a worship song that reminds us that praise and thanksgiving are how we fight spiritual battles https://youtu.be/vx6mfAgHDsY
    Praying God continues to bless you with peace and joy, my friend :-)

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    1. Thanks for bring praise to our day, Dolly. I love that song. Oh yes, more and more, that is how I fight my battles ...

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    2. bringing not bring

      I have the flu ...

      ;-(

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  15. I love your list, Linda ... especially #1 and #5. What’s saving my life right now? Letting go by praying for God’s will (as often as it takes) and, when I start to get overwhelmed by all the unknowns facing me and my loved ones, asking “what do I need to do TODAY?” Tomorrows work and worries can wait until later.

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    1. Absolutely, Lois. There's some days when we're lucky to get 1 thing done.

      And it's amazing how few things are urgent.

      Praying for you as you navigate the unsettled unknowns. I hear you well...

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  16. Multi-tasking is so last year! You are cracking me up. I couldn't agree more. I've been trying to learn more focus. One thing saving my life is more evenings at home than I used to have. So nice and calming after busy days.

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    1. I love a whole bunch of evenings at home in a row, Betsy. Makes me smile ...

      ;-)

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  17. You are my sister in thought. All those things you mentioned ae things that I am enjoying and doing. Would love to spend more time on my porch swing, only it now has snow on it. So my outdoor time now is all moving. :)

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    1. Winter is coming far too fast for my liking, Theresa. I'm just beginning to accept the fact that autumn is here!

      A porch swing sounds mighty fine right about now ...

      ;-}

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  18. I can relate to your list so well here in Connecticut! But I must admit you had me with two things: books & chocolate! ;)

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  19. Hey Linda, decorating is saving my life right now. I love seasonal decorating, and decirating for the holidays is lighting my fire.

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    1. Tiffiney, I'm with you. There's something so very nurturing that comes to us {and others} when we take the extra time to dress up our homes.

      Even just a bit here and there ...

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  20. Stilling yourself and your schedule - oh yes! I was on vacation last week and it was the perfect time for pausing and renewing. Thank you for your wisdom!

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    1. I'm guessing it was a much-deserved break, friend ...

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Dear Reader ~

Technical glitches happen.

* sigh *

Doesn't seem to be a place to leave your comment? Or your comment doesn't show up within an hour or so?

I'd love if you'd email me your contribution ... I'd be delighted to hand post it as soon as possible.

lindastoll @ juno . com

My apologies. And thanks for the grace ...

Linda