Speeding through Life

I took a bike ride day before yesterday.

I joined one hundred forty other riders to roam the rolling hills of Aiken County, South Carolina. This event had several routes/distances from which to choose.  The longest distance was a full Century Ride which is one hundred miles. I have ridden almost 275 miles in the last three weeks, but the longest distance I have clocked in a single day was 43 miles. I felt like riding a full one hundred miles would have been a foolish stretch for me so I chose to ride the Metric Century which was 100 kilometers (actual 62.1 miles) or, in this case, a 68 mile ride. Nearing 70 miles would be enough to challenge but, prayerfully, not injure my body.

My goal when I exercise or participate in an event/race is always, ALWAYS the same;  (a) finish (b) without hurting myself while (c) bettering my time or distance by some degree. An unspoken undergirding of this combination rule is to have fun along the way.

So, Sunday morning, I rolled out of the Odell Weeks Recreation Center parking lot at 8:15 in the morning and I rode my bike for seven straight hours. The only exception was that I stopped at every rest stop offered (four, I believe).  I also stepped off the road about four other times along the way so that I could drink, and swallow down a fistful of something nutritious while stretching my hamstrings. So, I averaged a three to four  minute stop (yes, I used a timer) every thirty minutes. Every independent stop was prompted *deep delicious sigh* ….. by beauty. I stopped when
I absolutely
had
to take a photo.

There are times when I stifle the desire …
and I often reminisce about that “lost” photo …
the capturing of  an emotion stirred within my spirit.
I remember the sight …
the smell …
the emotion.
I almost feel like
I left a piece of myself behind
or neglected to bring that emotion
(as seen through my eyes and a camera lens)
into my present
in some tangible form through pixels on a screen.

The average pace of most riders is probably somewhere between 15-20 mph. I have found that my speedometer usually shows that I am traveling around 12 mph.
I run slow (11.5 minute miles, average).
I pedal slow (10-15 miles per hour, average).

WHILE I’m running
or pedaling,
my slower-than-average-speed bothers me not.
But, when I get into conversation with others about speed,
I feel a tiny *twinge* of
inadequacy … especially if they are critical of me in tone or word.

My friend, Anne, has been riding longer than me. She’s long-legged and lean. She’s a long-distance runner. We have attended a few events together of late, but we have not ridden together in the event. In fact, she finished yesterday’s race two full hours before I did.

At one point last week, some chatting was going back and forth on Facebook about Anne and I doing this event and I responded to another friend that Anne and I would not ride together. In fact, I said something like, “Oh, no. Anne and I won’t be riding together. She’s much faster than me. In fact, she will be showered and in her pj’s back in Augusta, sitting on the couch eating bonbons and watching old black and white movies LONG before I even FINISH the event.”

She and I chatted on the phone about the ride after it was over. She ended up riding with a guy who challenged her to pick up her speed a bit and she admitted that she was fairly sore and spent. I shared that I had ridden the entire length alone and was pleasantly surprised that I was not sore at all. I had no neck/shoulder tension. My legs were not tired. My fanny wasn’t even sore from seven hours in the saddle. In fact, had I had my running shoes with me in Aiken, I would have probably run a few miles after I reached the rec center.

Anne pointed out that I had reached my goal. I had finished without injury to find that ….
I had not been pushed physically
so
the next step …
might be to try to ride faster.

As we continued to converse, though,
she mentioned that she remembered the ride that she m.o.s.t  e.n.j.o.y.e.d
of all the rides that she has ridden.
It was a ride where she allowed herself to ride a bit slower and
stop along the way to snap photos.
She pointed out that she somehow felt a little uncomfortable
as more focused riders would whiz by her
stopped there on the side of the road …
camera in hand.
She mentioned that she thought about that ride as she rode yesterday
being challenged by this new male friend
to go faster ….

I was reminded of the quote by Emmerson ….

I can relate to her feelings. I’ve written before about how I love to leave early for a trip
and travel alone
because I am then afforded the sweet, gracious freedom
to stop on a whim to take photos along the way.
This makes me soooooo happy. It pleasures me. It fills my soul with richness.

And isn’t that important? Shouldn’t we make allowance  …
truly buffer our lives with time for fulfilling
that which causes our soul to soar.
We are each built with at least one strong gift that
makes us tick, fills our life with richness, stirs us to life.
What is that gift for you? Are you nurturing it?
Do you pad your life slices of time to slow down and foster that endowment?
Do you find ways to share that special present?
Of all of the activities that fill your days,
taking … making time to nurture this gifting
will help your life become richer and more meaningful.
It will energize you for all of your other duties and responsibilities.
It will help you discover a fulfillment that other activities sorely lack.
For how empty is our life … our journey, if we RUSH through it and spend no time
sharing our gifts and encouraging others to share theirs, as well?

As I rode yesterday, I thought about my speed. I rode alone
and I was okay with that …
because I stopped to take a few photos
and I spent seven full hours thinking about spiritual/physical parallels,
life, motivation, relationships, dirt, disappointment, muscle structure, and rain.
I prayed out loud, again pondered JUST.HOW.MANY shades of green God has created,
and considered line upon line from Mary Chapin Carpenter and Alison Krauss
that lilted from my iPod to my ever searching heart.

Soon, I will attend another biking event. I am forming strategies so that I will not be the very.last rider to cross the finish line (like spending less time at rest stops), but I am more comfortable than ever
covering 10-12 miles per hour
and knowing that I will finish injury free
having fully enjoyed every revolution of my pedals.

Yes, this life is a trip … it is an event.
We can rush through it focusing on performance
comparing ourselves to crowd around,
or we can let the pack whiz by …
and make sure to take the time to do that which
fulfills, motivates and invigorates us.

I choose to be slow … on foot, while pedaling, in my speech and most actions.
And I choose to take the time to snap photos along the way.
I want to live an intentional life. I want to impact in a positive way.
I want to share. I want to encourage and uplift … edify and empower.
I want to ask questions that challenge and make people think.
I want to focus on enjoying the ride
more than finishing the event.

Makes Me Happy Monday : SAG Wagons

As with any organized event involving exercise and hundreds of people, there tends to an accident, emergency, or struggle somewhere along the way.  Bike events often cover long distances and have several routes that travel in different directions. To keep riders safe, there are people who drive the routes in their cars carrying help for anyone in trouble. They often have bottles of water, food and supplies like a bicycle pump and first aid kit to offer assistance. Most vehicles are mounted with a bicycle rack to carry the bike (and rider) in serious trouble to the finish line, if need be.  Because these helpers are carrying “supplies and gear,” they are referred to as SAG wagons.

There is usually an assigned SAG wagon to sweep the route, making sure every rider makes it to the end safely.

Meet Robert.

He was the SAG wagon driver for the 68 mile route that I rode on Sunday on the Aiken Bicycle Club’s event called Aiken to Ride.

Having a terrible sense of direction combined with the fact that I am a very, very slow rider always leaves me trembling out on the road. I know that I have the potential in any event
to get lost
or completely left behind.
But, Robert was faithful. By the end of the route, we had spoken at every rest stop and he had passed me several times while I was out pedaling. I gave him the “thumbs up” sign repeatedly …
but it was so comforting knowing that ….
should I need help,
he WOULD be coming back to check on me.
And if he didn’t see me, he would search for me.

We all need a SAG wagon in our lives, don’t we?
We need someone who is watching out for us
and will come along with a wet beverage to hydrate
or an encouraging word to energize.
God didn’t put us on this big blue and green globe to live solitary lives.
He filled our world with others.
At times we drive the support car ….
and others we are the lone pedaler pulling up the rear of the crowd.

I am thankful that Robert was out there on the road yesterday.
His presence gave me great comfort.
Oh, that I might be a SAG wagon to those around me
who might be weak or discouraged ….
and that I might be humble enough to reach out
when I find myself in need.

SAG wagons Make Me Happy today.
What makes YOU happy this marvelous Monday morning?

 

 

“I got this”

It was 5:00 a.m. on Saturday when I logged onto Facebook and saw a status update from Claire mentioning her sadness that she wouldn’t be able to attend her husband’s first road race.

There it was.
A 5k that I could run …
close by and soon.

I’ve been running (again) since last February.
(Almost a year!! *throws glitter in the air* Yay!!)
I run  ….. almost …..   everyday.
I don’t run fast … or far. But, I move.
In fact, I was pretty confident that my average speed
is around 10.5 to 11 minute miles.
Not fast … but consistent for me
and better than my speed if I spent my mornings sitting on the couch.

I also go to the gym a few days a week. I’m probably in better physical condition than I have been in a long time. I still have weight to lose (two or three 5lb bags of sugar that I carry around my waist), but I am consistently working to improve my physical health. I do not have health insurance since my divorce and know that caring for my body is incredibly important. I certainly feel better emotionally when I rev up my system each day. Endorphins are our friends!!

So, Saturday morning, I knew I had time
to get ready and head over to the canal for the event.
I already knew my goal: run without stopping.

Because, typically, on the two days a week when I tackle the three-mile stretch, I almost.always walk two times. I only walk for a bit. I try to walk no farther than the length of one person’s yard. I’ve been able to work to a point that I walk less and less. Improvement is the weekly focus.

The morning was perfect. We had nice weather with almost a hundred runners participating.

I tried to pace myself. Because I wasn’t on my everyday run course, I wasn’t sure if I would run at my average speed. If I ran too fast, I would  wear myself out before the end of the affair, and thus, not be able to make my goal. I tried to focus on running a comfortable pace – especially for this race. It’s been several years since I’ve run in an event so I knew I wanted to reach my goal: finish without stopping.

The event went well. Even at the half-way point, I was feeling pretty good.

I was able to run the entire 5k miles without stopping at all. I even managed to sprint just a bit at the end. My time was 35.10, which is close to the time I usually spend on the street when I run the three-mile loop during the week at my house. I was satisfied … pleased, even!

When I got home, I pulled out my conversion chart. I had forgotten that a 5k is 3.10 miles. I did the division and found that
my time
per mile was 11.32.
*palm to forehead*

Well … my course at home isn’t perfectly mapped. I used the car to try to figure out the distance. And some of the time I walk a small part of my course. I stop my watch then … so it’s not perfectly accurate for timing my pace to the distance. I’m thinking all these things through …  and talking to my Joy Bucket after I worked the conversion
explaining to her that I am quite dismayed ….
when my lip started to quiver.

I was so angry
and disappointed.

I was angry because I have been working so hard
and found that I was less than I thought.
And I was disappointed
because I had believed in my puffed up idea.

Or maybe,

I was disappointed because I have been working so hard
and found that I was less than I thought.
And I was angry
because I had believed in my puffed up idea.

Either way, I teared
and I slung things and slammed cabinets
and Joy didn’t understand.

But, it was more than just about the race
it was about
my heart.

 Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.

This was the second reminder from God, of late, that my “I got this” attitude isn’t His desire.
I say with my mouth and think with my head
that I believe with my heart that I am allowing
Him to be the strength 

that directs, enables and equips me.
But, when the truth is exposed
and the exterior is pulled away ….
when the inner workings are revealed,
when the really tough situations arise
my “I got this” set jaw is stronger than my “Lord, help me” cry … every time.
And the crazy thing? I don’t even seem to be aware of the need
to cry “Lord, help me!”

So, maybe that’s the point. I need to LIVE there …
not just cry out when things get tough. 
 
I want to free fall. I want to jump off the ledge … with both feet.
I want to let go of the tether that holds me to anything
other than Him
and .. J{US}T .. hold onto Him.
But, I’m just not sure that I know how.

So, there ya have it. Me … talking about how God
has once again shown me
that I just don’t cut it.
I’m so thankful that He loves us enough
to never, ever give up.
Praise Him.

Now, if you’ll excuse me
I need to go run. *wink*

Perfect Timing

As I run the sidewalks of my neighborhood, I watch history repeat itself. I know which side of the street is best for running … some neighbors being more meticulous to keep their portion of the walk clear of debris … acorns, sticks, pines traw and cones. I know which yards have the bigger dogs that stick their noses right up to the top of the fence and could easily clear the hurdle, should they so choose. I know that my crossing Mr. Delgado’s drive will cause his alarm sensor to “ding-dong” like a doorbell and he will know that I am temporarily present. Seven and a half years of these side walks, streets and neighbors have been burned into my memory.

As I run, I know to expect new pine bark beneath the jungle gym and tire swing at the playground in February when the trees are bare … except the pines that keep Georgia partially green year round. I know that spring will bring brisk breezes and a welcome warming. Summer greens are fully lush. Humidity is high. My skin is supple from the moisture. I embrace running even when the sun rises to 80° or higher. Fall is colorful and crisp. Huge, round acorns will litter the sidewalk on King’s Chapel Road near the Avondale corner and in front of my friend, Carin’s home. And our winter will be short with deep intensity for only a small portion of time. We’ll dip below freezing some, but rarely lay as a city below a cloak of white.

Yesterday marked the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter. I give her capitals because she is a monumental holiday. I celebrate her with joy. As the days shorten, I struggle. But this year has been easier than any other I remember in my adult life. I have continued to move and felt much less sluggish. In some ways, my recent freedom has been very good for my spirit.

I remember writing another year about the nearing of spring.  Year after year, I notice … always around the end of February or March when the days are longer, temps milder and sun brighter … that the trees blossoms are close to throwing themselves open in joy. The Dogwood and Tulip Trees are the two deciduous that catch my eye. They can’t be missed .. blooms balled  tight …. but full of anticipation that the day will soon arrive to throw glitter and golden dust into the air as the flowers announce the arrival of spring. They will dance in the spring arrival, leaves still tiny sprouts but flowers waving grand, reaching for the crisp, blue ceiling. The Tulip Trees will blossom and even shed before the Dogwood is quite ready, but back to back, they are the harbingers of spring in wearing bark and leaves rather than feathers.

But,
last week
as I ran my daily course,
I noticed ….
I saw …..
And I was surprised. 

These blossoms … blooms … tight buds
that I spy each spring ….
don’t wait until late January to form.
Even now … in December … they are ready
and waiting
to bless us with beauty and sing joy.
:: now ::

They have been ready for weeks … months even …. and will continue to wait …
formed and in position … but preparing for the day.
They will sit tight during the cold ahead.
They will wait through snow that might sprinkle
or during those days below freezing.
They are there … readying … preparing ….. as the days have inched shorter from June until now.
They have been in place …
but un-noticed …
at least by these eyes … by this spirit.

How can this be ….
that on the nearly-fifty spins on the axis of life
that I have neglected to see
the preparation and anticipation
waiting and ready … assembled and in position ….
until I was the one ready?
…. until I expected the joy?
…. until I  knew that the time was appropriate …
for life to cry out “beauty” … “joy” … “celebration!!”

I scratch my head in wonder.
I have my own expectations of the how and the when?
Maybe …
just maybe
this is the way I live my entire life?
The buds are tight and ready …
they are waiting to sing back to the heavens …
but I don’t even notice their existence
because I am not expecting to see movement just yet.
I.do.not.even.notice their presence!

I accept this new revelation … this spiritual/physical parallel as a reminder from Him
that I do, in fact, live my life blind
of the richness, joy and beauty that is to come,
but He has it all planned out
to be revealed in His perfect timing.

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.
He has blossoms readying in the cold.
They may still yet find themselves
hidden by a
veil of white
before the winter melts away,
the spring breeze escorts in the warmth.

But, they are there …
… blessings that shout “JOY!”
… gifts that cry “Holy!”
…. presents that bawl “FOR YOU!!”

I know that I live blinded.
I know that He is right.
And maybe this might even be His plan …
for if I could see all that is to come,
I might be so distracted with the “upcoming”
that I miss “today” …
the lush greens of summer …
the harmony of autumn color …
the bare beauty of winter …
followed by the burst of fresh life in spring.

Yes, it all has a purpose. The pain and struggle, the weakening and strengthening, the birth and death, the joy and celebration. It all works together to give us a full, rich, beautiful experience on this spinning orb of azure and green.
Thank you, Lord, of the reminder that there are always blessings being prepared for me,
and I will see them, know them and enjoy them
in Your perfect timing.

Gathering and Hunting

It hit me on Monday.
I have to get away.
i.have.to.get.away.
I almost feel like a cornered rabbit
looking for a direction to dart.
I decided I would camp this weekend  …. alone again.
Tuesday, I noticed the brilliant full moon
hanging in the still, dark sky.
I could feel the relief
just.in.having.begun.to.make.plans.
I could picture leaves of gold and mahogany
floating weightlessly on dark, glass water.
I knew I needed to go.

And then I began to realize that it was exactly one year ago
that I first camped alone.
In fact, it was October ….
the same week
when the moon hung full in the sky
bright against the dark night.
I felt this same entrapment
and need to escape
then.

Surely, it is a seasonal thing …
this agitation …
but, I will settle down quickly.
It is a simple, seasonal adjustment.
We people … are built for seasons and cycles
the returning to the same
and doing the repetitive
like the planets, plants, and animals around us
riding round and round within this galaxy, encircling that fiery orb of gas.

Today begins the fifth day of steady, soft rain falling on my world.
Time and again I see people commenting on Facebook
that they need a nap by mid-day.
They are having trouble getting out of bed in the morn.
They are struggling to make themselves exercise.
I remind them that it is seasonal … we’re slowing down to hibernation-mode.
And they balk at me and give me reasons that I am incorrect.
But, it’s everywhere!
How do we deny
the obvious
so easily?
Why can we not admit that it is natural, normal, expected
and good.
*rest*

After readying to camp,
I was invited by The Sweet Nightingale   to join her for a hike across mountains.
I am so thrilled. Her conversation is intentional, diverse and colorful
like a palette smeared with wet autumn pigment.
We will talk of God and His movement in our lives.
I know … we will cover marriage, relationships and husbandry …
pain, healing and release.
I will take a Bible … or at the least, download a version to my iPhone.
I know … some exciting something will come up
and I will want a verse reference.
God.is.good that way.
It will not be camping alone to escape and renew …
it will be better, richer, deeper …
she and I and Him.

I talk to her with excitement in my voice
telling her that I feel on the edge of my seat.
It is time to gather.
I will take my cameras in my backpack.
I easily bear the weight of big and small,
with added water and a few snacks ..
because I know that the weight is necessary to collect the treasures
for the next year.
I will come home with a pocket full of rocks,
pixelated memories
leaves tucked away safe,
and memories of sweet fellowship and opulent conversation.
Autumn comes but once a year
with its brilliance, depth and strength.
Like Frederick the field mouse, I will collect images
to carry me through the next three hundred sixty-five and a quarter days.
I think I will take my book along to read to Sarah
and we will hunt and gather in fellowship.

To be Irresistable

Sometimes … I just want to keep it light
when my thoughts are not.
I am analytical. I process. I wonder, ponder … ruminate.
Other bloggers write about tough stuff ….
but, I worry that I … should be careful.

Fear.
I let it rule my decisions sometimes.

It has occurred to me
that watching Jeff and Della’s relationship
has damaged me.
Maybe “disillusioned” might be a better word.
Maybe others don’t even see
what I see.
I see him …
watch her
and love her with his eyes.
I see her toy with him
and his response.
I see them touch
from across the room.
And I want that.

I’ve always wanted that.
But …..
I was never
nice enough
thin enough
beautiful enough
I was never enough.

Maybe all those “happily ever after”
Disney movies
where he is enthralled with her
are written by women …
like me.

My aspiration should be
that God loves me deeper, fuller, richer …
that He knows me so intimately ….
that I give myself to Him so fully …
that HE finds me irresistible.

The reality is …
He does love me that way …
no matter how I behave … or how I look.
He loves me irresistibly
and unconditionally.

I am, in fact, MORE than enough for God.

I’ve written several times about perspective
and its importance in our lives.

Some of this is seasonal … this struggle …
as my body settles into a more introspective time
and leaves behind the active, moving summer.
It’s a good thing … to think things through.
I need to embrace this settling in.

I think it’s time for another introspective fall camping trip
like this one.
One that allows me to be still and listen
and enjoy my God and His creation …
to photograph all that is beautiful, lovely and autumnal …
time to listen to His still quiet voice
and hear Him.
Because I truly want to be irresistible to Him.
I want HIM to be irresistible to me.
Praise be to God … for drawing me closer.
Ahhh … that fellowship with Him would be my greatest desire.

A Father’s … absence

I am blessed with many friends, but she’s been a constant in my life longer than any other.
Sunday, I watched her gather ’round her husband to help her children celebrate.
Her own father, passed away when we were both in high school.
Possibly her most cherished gift
is this cross-stitched treasure.
Years ago, her husband, Jeff, took a tattered newspaper sliver by Erma Bombeck
to an artist of thread
and had it designed and stitched for his bride.
I still remember his pride …. him showing it to me before he gave it as a gift to her.


It hangs in the most busy and prominent hall in their home.

Erma Bombeck tells how her father did important things like oil her roller skates and tighten her mother’s clothesline … how he brought the car around when it stormed so her family wouldn’t be drenched in the rain … and how she was afraid of other Fathers, but not her own. She used to play with dolls. The father doll would say he was going to work and she would toss him under the bed. When Erma was nine, her own father got sick …. and unexpectedly died.

She brings to light
that she never realized how painful his absence would be
… until he was gone.

Della’s father passed away when she was in high school. He had brain cancer. I didn’t know her well, at the time … our friendship just beginning to blossom.  When I heard that her daddy died, I went to the hospital, just two or three blocks from my childhood home. I reached the lobby as her family was leaving. I still remember them … a mass of huddled, mourning …. walking together … arms and hands and bodies intertwined, holding each other as they walked.

This past weekend, I made an impromptu trip to south Georgia. The trek takes at least five hours. If I was that close … on Father’s day weekend …. I felt I couldn’t NOT go see my own Father.

Saturday, I made that forty-five minute surprise drive from Cairo to Recovery.

My daddy is the fire chief for the volunteer fire department in his little community, Recovery, Georgia. He had a special class to attend that morning. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to “sneak up” on him, but with the help of my mom, I caught him on his lunch break as he dined with other fire fighters at Subway. To say that he was surprised … is an understatement.

While dad finished up his class, I headed over to spend some time with my sweet mama. Dad made his way home fairly quickly. We got to spend several hours talking. It was a wonderful afternoon.

My own father is a man of selfless leadership, constant, consistent support and endearing faithfulness.

I don’t know if my older children contacted their father this weekend.
They have had a bit of a falling apart since the divorce.
I have decided that they are adults and I am doing my best to lay aside my direction.
When they ask me for it, I offer it … but
I am only being honest when I tell you that I am tired …
tired of trying to mend relationships
that are not mine to heal.

I thought a great deal about fathers and fatherhood over the weekend.
I watched Jeff and Della … miss their own fathers, and celebrate Jeff –
an active, strong physical and emotional presence in their home.
I enjoyed my own daddy and celebrated his faithfulness.
And I thought about my own children and their loss.
I was reminded of the joy of presence and the pain in absence.

And like Erma Bombeck,
I never realized how painful a father’s absence might be
… until he was gone.

Makes Me Happy Monday : Harbingers

Robins make me so happy.
Drab little birds
wearing worn asphalt gray overcoats
with a gracious slathering of burnt umber on the breast
are the harbingers of spring.
Long before the Canada Geese are heard overhead.
Long before sprigs begin to push their greeness forth from cold, bare branch.Robins appear.

This was one of three flocks, each with as many as seventy-five or more avian.

They don’t flock the rest of the year. They are seen solitary here and there.
But …. every faithful spring, they group, herd, gather.
… they flock.
They flock to travel, to dine, to rest ….
as they head
wherever they are going
silently, symbolically announcing along the way,
“She’s coming … spring ….. she’s near now …. be encouraged!”Grass won’t green for another month or two.
But a winter of rest is  s . l . o . w . l . y closing its doors.
We stretch and yawn  … and for my youngsters, an insatiable appetite returns,
as we feel the pulse and energy stir.
And wait and watch
for soon we will hear the geese
and see the sprigs
and know that another season of growth has arrived.

Robins … the feathered, first harbingers of spring
Make Me Happy.
What has made you smile of late?

Makes Me Happy Monday : Slumber

The shadows are more intense,
sky more clear,
air more crisp.

Nest and Light

Over the weekend,
it occurred to me that we only have twenty two days left until the winter solstice.
The days will no longer shorten, but we will be heading into spring by lengthening. Within just four to six weeks after December 21st, green will start to show up on some trees and shrubs as buds unfurl on twigs and tiny blooms get ready to burst forth with springs splendor. Though the world will still “feel” still, there will be movement … a quiet, and slow awakening.

It’s hard to believe.

The moments … turn into hours, days, weeks and months …. quickly.

I have struggled through the winters off and on through the years.
Some winters were much more difficult than others.
I’ve always been able to function well enough.
But, I would sleep more than usual and
– here’s the key – berate myself with self-loathing
… including self accusations of laziness and lack of initiative.

In the past five or so years, I have figured out some important things about my body’s function which, alone, have helped me to be less frustrated with myself. For me, understanding the “why” is as or more important to knowing any “what.”

BrierThis year, I am thoroughly enjoying the autumn creeping into winter.  If I’m sleepy, I take a nap.  And I sleep much longer at night. I still go to bed “on time,” (i.e. 8:30-9:00 pm),  but I  get up a few days a week at six or seven, rather than summer-energy days of three-thirty to four.

Here is the wonderful thing for me: I am e.n.j.o.y.i.n.g the rest. Rather than drudgingly dragging myself through each gloomy day of late fall and winter, I am enjoying my days … fully. I look forward to going to bed. I rest well and frankly enjoy snuggling in sheets and blankets with fabric heaviness holding me down, keeping me toasty and railing me from the chill of the night. And I am as happy in the morn for my feet to hit the floor as I was for them to slip between fitted and flat cotton the night before.

Acorns on the sidewalk - fall goodnessAnd I have to say that this is one more area that I feel a new freedom that I’m enjoying.

But, this year,  I am embracing shorter days, sweeter rest and indulgent naps.
I am resting up for another year of energy, activity and growth.
And I’m thankful for an acceptance of me “as I am.”

I am God’s creature, created like other life around me.
I amble from autumn into winter and rest.
I  leisure from frosty nights into spring with gentle reawakening.
I flutter from spring into summer’s lush days of green.
And as summer comes to a close, I cascade into amber, olive and rust.
Seasons change, energy ebbs and flows, and it is all natural
… all part of God’s design and order of life.

We cannot live our lives at full-force ahead.
Well, we can, but it won’t be beneficial.
Like the trees that sleep barren,
bulbs that hibernate underground
and critters that hide away,
we, too, should find a way to cut back, hunker down and rejuvenate.

What might you be able to put aside for a season, so that you can rest and relax more this winter?
Could the crockpot be your friend so that you can get dinner on the table with more ease?
Are there television shows that you could put aside for a bit so that you could go to bed earlier?
Could you save some project for spring or summer’s calendar so that you could rest a bit this season?

Listen to your internal clock. See what small changes might make a big difference in your life.

*whispers*   . . . rest . . .

I am definitely finding that snug, sound slumber makes me very happy.

What makes YOU happy this marvelous Monday?