IDK…Is Not An Answer

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One ticket… really? Says it all. Funny, but we all have many layers too. I gave students a paper discussing and instructing the topic of emotions . All boys, mind you. Many asked if they could write “IDK” for an answer.  They were good-natured about it but not-self aware. Most were missing knowledge of some layers, but then aren’t we all.

The psychology behind this thought is peeling back the layers like an onion. Strip away one layer to find another layer waiting to be explored and peeled back. It is a process. It is life. There is no end just an exploration of the layers, but we can’t explore or stay on the path of discovery if our answers are continuously “IDK.” That stalls the process. We have to go a direction for there to be contrast. This movement in any direction gives us information upon which to base our next move. So, when in doubt … make a decision and see where that takes you. Then another, then another, then another.  Keep moving, keep going, keep seeing contrast and living through it and making the next best decision. Ask, What’s my next best step? It will give you information so you can know what to do next. Keep going. No “IDK” here.

A Cold and Barren land? or Naw?

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Barren Land is defined as the following:
“incapable of producing offspring, seed, or fruit; sterile: a barren tree. 2. unable to support the growth of crops, etc; unproductive; bare: barren land. 3. lacking in stimulation or ideas; dull: a rather barren play.”

Barren | Define Barren at Dictionary.com

Isaiah 41:18

17“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the LORD, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them. 18“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water.

This picture I took at the lake where I walk reminded me of this verse. The lake ebbs and flows with abundance and lack of water from season to season. The water level again is down but it will rally. There is hope. This is life for all of us. We arrive with nothing to offer but cries and demands and we often exit the same way. Some go peacefully, so go kicking and screaming, but we all…go. Just like the water, and the leaves, we will bear fruit for a season or perhaps many seasons. There is not a human alive who does not produce which is part of the ultimate plan. What will our focus be? Shall we focus on the measurement of productivity or the delight in the process?
I look at the picture and somehow find it remarkable that even when the land is bare there is a faint and distant nudge toward the thought that somehow, someway the water will one day again flow. The crops will be abundant. The children will all be fed. The parched will thirst no more. And to that horizon we look in awe of abundance we all may access. May all who thirst drink deep of life and know the God of Israel will not forsake us.

Old Dirt Roads…More like Gravel

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There was a long gravel road down to Granny’s house and over to our house which later became Uncle Larry’s house.Not just the small gravel wrapped in the fine dusty grey dirt but the big sharp white rock pieces that could split your knee cap open when you fell from your bike. I did split my knee cap open a few times and elbows and palms of my hands. It was all good, because I loved that road. It was like freedom to me being young but having somewhere to travel, somewhere to go and explore for the day. I loved my life, but wasn’t aware that not everyone had a road to play on that was only traveled by grandparents and other extended family members. Sometimes a group of “church folks” would come a “visitin’.” But the majority of the day that road was mine. I didn’t know it then, but I do now.

We played for hours upon hours upon hours along that road. We raced up to the Highway 51. I wished it could have been 100 Highway. Everyone talked about that Highway. It was curvy and people had died on it. It was famous, but no, we just lived next to Highway 51. Who knew that someday that road led to where I live now for most of my big kid and adult days. My Uncle who never left Adair county lives down that highway, up and down a few hills from where this road to Granny’s was, where I spent these growin’ up days. We knew better than to get too close to the Highway, but up to the edge was fair game.

As you came down the road you could stop at the trailer house that was once an Aunt and Uncle’s house for a bit, then another Aunt and Uncle lived there, and maybe a cousin that wasn’t married yet, then I can’t remember from there the many inhabitants of that first stop.

Next you passed a cottonwood tree to the right down a slope to the burn pile. We spent many an hour stopping by the side of the road to roll down the hill. We didn’t care about ticks and chiggers. Finding them was the mom’s and our Granny’s job at the end of the day. The grass was cool and plush with clover. No real stickers like here in the red dirt part of Oklahoma where I live now. Never found a four leaf but I sure looked a lot. Made chains with them too. Necklaces and bracelets and wreaths for my hair. I don’t remember being taught how to make them. We just did it.

Farther down the road it branched off. If you went straight you would end up in the Grandfolks driveway next to a Rose of Sharon bush. I loved the smell of the blooms and the pretty flowers that budded. Now I wish I knew who planted it. It meant a lot to me growing up. I’d jump off the front porch or pull other crazy shenanigans from the height of the front porch and run smell the Rose of Sharon blooms. That’s just what I did over, and over and over.

Now here is where the road curved a bit and led to the house where we lived for a few short pieces of time. Then my Uncle lived there and put up a fence. It never looked the same after that. But out in front of that house was a sun lit field. It looked big then. Now, not so big. We played ball in that field and sometimes church folks would come over and play a round of softball. Well, I was little and just remember watching wondering if I’d ever get big enough to play.

We rode bikes down that road and up to the highway and back and marched and skipped mostly barefoot. I don’t remember wearing shoes ever as we went back and forth, back and forth until time for supper. We lived outside and on that road. I have many memories of that time.

I went back a few years ago to see it after my family’s land next to the junk yard was sold where these houses stood after Granny and Granddad had passed. The road wasn’t really a big road like it had seemed when I was 6. It was more of a very long curvy driveway, but it had been full of wonder and learning and jagged rocks. What do kids that age do now while growing up? Where do they spend their time? I was blessed. Most of my best memories came from an old dirt road.

Cloud Burst Psalm 19:1

 

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American King James Version
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Blessings from above fall into this post. May our spirits be lifted in the mundane to the greatness of the elements. We have no control over how the clouds burst open and shine light on us. I am grateful for such  surprises. In our most trying moments being outside for the simplest tasks can take the burden of the moment and turn it into a gift of energy. The ancient words “Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be open to you…” Matt. 7:7-8. When we allow ourselves to notice these gifts they offer healing to our very spirit. I love the tradition of the Orthodox Christians who use the words from The Nicene Creed as follows:

“We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

Wow! There is so much to this creed. Look for one moment to the “God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made;” speaking of Jesus. “…Light of Light…being of one substance with the Father…who for us men, … came down from heaven…” Now think to the Light as “Very God of Very God…” Think to the energy we are given daily if we only open our spirits to receive it. There is so much in this writing I do not do it justice by picking and choosing what to illuminate, but I sit in awe of our source and our heritage. We are one, we are united. We can accept it. We can know because of where we have originated and who our creator is, we can “…look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen”

Next time you go outside look to see if there is a hint from the cloud burst to the very essence of all life-giving force, spirit, God. Let that picture burn into your essence how we walk as spirit in human form rather than the opposite. May the earth and the sky and the water and fire and ice and all the elements give your spirit the boost it needs to finish strong. Give thanks to the “Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.” Let it be so.

More is Better? Or is it simply More?

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More flowers are beautiful in a field outdoors under the expansive sun filled sky! But one rose will often do so much without uttering a single word. So, is “more” better? Or, is it simply more? They both have their place in this life.

We need more love, more patience, more joy, more peace, more kindness, more goodness, more faithfulness, more gentleness and more self-control. These can never be duplicated and spread fast enough. They are intangibles. You can’t run out and you can never have enough, so to pursue them is a noble cause. They don’t clutter the house or make the fridge messy. They never take up too much room in the closet. So when talking about the fruits of the spirit, we can never get enough.

Now, in this place and body we reside, more of anything, is just simply more. It clutters, it makes messy, it piles up. It begets hoarding, and storing and paying to be stored. It lurks in garages and sheds and closets and cupboards, bookshelves, containers, and drawers. There are those that proclaim to store and stockpile, to conserve, to save and grow and multiply for times might get tough. Rainy day funds, a container of certain screws and grommets, a basket of light bulbs really are helpful during the year, yet has humanity sped up to the point that to slow down long enough to head to market for some groceries might put us out-of-pocket so that we miss the next big deal. Will we become losers for taking time to care for ourselves and others? Never a day off lest we appear not dedicated or loyal to the owners.

This line from the movie “Sabrina” when she took photos of the Larrabee’s cottage which expresses this very thing. Sabrina says, “More isn’t always better, Linus, sometimes its just more.”

In this world of acquisition the emphasis is on “more.” “More” can be empty. We acquire only to desire more or different. So, if we acquire only to add to what we own, then we walk away in need of “more” and bigger and better, but if we work toward a new pursuit or experience then we find wisdom in our journey. Make “more” a blessing to yourself unlike acquisition only.

Proverbs 3:13-18

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. …

Do you remember?

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What do you remember from the earliest days? I remember being sad for my big brother because the dog died. I don’t remember the dog, but I was so sad for my bro because he was crying and hurting over this loss. I was little kindergartener leaning against the door frame. Another memory was when my younger brother was burned badly from the grease in an electric frying pan he pulled off the counter. I don’t remember that part of the trauma, but I remember that I was waiting in a car late that evening, watching and looking up to the upper levels of the hospital windows wishing to see my family. Then I remember seeing someone female I thought using an ironing board to iron. Okay, so was I  really at the hospital? I don’t know that either, but my mind always remembers it around that incident. There are other memories, but earlier ones are more sketchy than that.

What about school age? Here is one for you. My dad was a pipeline welder and we moved with the pipeline, so I did not go to kindergarten because of these moves and such was the time. I moved 41 times before my 7th grade year.  So, one time, when we had settled back next door to my granny’s house for the cold weather, I went to my “first” day of 1st grade. The other students had been there for days, but this was my “first day” ever in an institution of education. The youngsters were seated and quiet as they used pencils to mark papers. As I sat down I looked around for some visual clues as to what I was supposed to do. The teacher, Mrs. Worsham, walked by and hit my hand with a fly swatter and told me to “quit cheating.” Again, I repeat, this was in first grade, on my first day of school ever in my short life, yelled at and hit and told to quit cheating which I did not even know how to do. Thus my introduction to education.

Jump forward about 50 years. Now, I rarely look back unless my spirit taps me on the shoulder and prompts me to remember. This month I was tapped…on the shoulder and pointed in the direction to pay attention. These are not easy tasks but I try to obey. This one knocked the wind out of me. As happens on FB from time to time, not often, but once in a while I am tagged in a pic from long ago. The pics that surfaced were from a summer Bible campaign in the NE with select college students from surrounding sister colleges. I had not thought of these people for some time. I experienced lasting lessons from a couple of the trips I had taken along the NE coast which shaped who I am today. Yet, many of the people and faces I had forgotten. As I looked through the memories chronicled there I started remembering. Some names came to me, and I connected soulfully again to those whose smiles were infectious. I couldn’t resist the pull to reach out to those easy to locate and the ones who made me laugh. So far I have only heard back from one. That is fine. I obeyed the tap. The outcome is not mine. The action to do as I was led is. I look forward to the day some of the timing for this makes sense. But if that day does not happen on this side I will continue to act on the prompts. I believe that I am here to do that.

What do we do with memory, some great, some good, some we long to never be prompted to revisit? I personally live in the moment, but when the brain waves spark with memory I look to it to give thanks even in the unknown surrounding it. I lean into the stimuli behind it, accept the rush of sentiment, and try to process the emotions escorting it. I’m not sure if the frequency of these recurring memories are a part of the aging process or because they enlighten and move me to more compassion towards others. I would like to think there is a reason, but, again, I’m not privy to the scope of that particular info from the spiritual realm.

Today I will give thanks for the flood of beautiful memories, faces, places, and learning that took place for my good. I wish I could “replay” and “redo” as in a computer game. I would be more kind and understanding of all the players including myself. I would say “Thank you” more, and “God bless you!” I would tell people they were fine right where they were and perfect in God’s eyes. I would tell them forgiveness is there’s to accept. I would see them as a first love sees with wonder and awe into the depths of the precious soul directly across from them. The old photo’s captured exact moments that reminded me to cherish the present much more. Thus, maybe, the tap on my shoulder to revisit the pics as I did and see then, where I offered people and those times my service, I now will do so with much more awe and adoration for the moment at hand. I do wish I had told those across from me then how special they were. But, there are no “do-overs.” There are, however, new opportunities in the present to show more love for those who sit across from me.

Memories serve us even if we do not revisit them much. They will guide us to be better if we allow them. What do you remember? I remembered love so I end with this.

1 Corinthians 13:13

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 

What Color is Creativity?

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What is your passion? What creeps up in your thoughts everyday? I don’t mean the ego that reminds you of yours and others unsightly flaws or that picks your spouse/family apart. Or the negativity of any situation that plagues you. I mean, what when the thought occurs, gives you a moment of pleasure? A slight smile? The thought or memory that sparks imagination. What is it that even when days go by it comes back up in a flash and other creative flow follows? What is it? What is that one thing or two or three that fuels you with energy when you allow your mind to faintly wonder, or hope, or plan, or remind, or muse?

I personally think that is where spirit lives within us. The still small voice that hints and reminds and tugs at us to set in motion the things that sometimes terrify or gives us a feeling of butterflies. It’s like meeting a lover but without any harming repercussions. Really, if we could shut down the ego’s voice we could heal…I will go out on a limb here and say…the world.

Wow! That is why I love this blog. I wish more peeps could see it. I love to write about walking at the lake. I love to write the stories that pop in my head as my fingers fly. I love to encourage. I love to think and then deliver in type what inspires…mostly me. I reread these posts from time to time and I’m glad that I did.

I am not so unique that I should think no one else would be uplifted by words of encouragement. That is the crazy, wonderful, most insane mystery around how putting ones thoughts out there for God, universe, flow, or energy to allow the winds of change to give it flight.This bible verse comes to mind…

1 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”

Isn’t it true. We go out and set tangibles in motion, but the great wisdom of our creator directs the path and so much more of that which is intended for good. If I can avoid allowing my limited linear thinking to stagnate my life flow of creativity, there is so much to do and experience. It is usually in movement though. Putting into action. Not out of being busy for busy sake, but taking deliberate steps to deliver the idea that surprises you. No worries about the exact final picture, but just begin the process. It will take shape or lead to the next step. Have faith that the idea came from wonderful grace filled expansive space. God gives. We just have to be the conduit!

So what about the title for this post? What color is creativity? What modality will creativity take for you? My mom makes the best fried chicken and my dad loves it so much! She takes great delight in making it for him. So her creativity was in making the best fried chicken among other great dishes for which she will be remembered. She would never call herself an artist, but she is one of the most creative souls without knowing it. The label of creator is not necessary. We are all given the ability to create. What color we use is up to us.

Today my color of creativity is pink just because. Tomorrow maybe brown, blue, green… I plan on getting back to the Walk and Talk Time. I’ve been away for a short time. Now I am stronger and will get back at it! I will enjoy the colors of creativity. How about you? What color is yours?