Being Easily Offended

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Life is full of interruptions and trouble–don’t take offense and stumble. Life Point, Joyce Meyer

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been several occasions when I was either offended or I offended someone. So this morning when I settled in with my coffee to watch my favorite speaker, life coach and preacher Joyce Meyer, I wasn’t at all surprised to find that the top four topics that had been added to the line up was on the subject of being offended.

What I found fascinating was the ending of the last one where she listed all the characteristics of people who take offense. They really made her point that:

Offense is totally unproductive;

it steals your peace, your joy, your energy, your power;

and can even steal your health.

And yet, it produces nothing.

People that take offense are:

Selfish–only thinking of ourselves.

Insecure–believe everything is against us.

Negative–creates a negative environment which fosters more negativity.

Easy Mark–leaves us open for unproductive results.

Miserable–makes us unhappy to believe we are offended and makes those we offend unhappy.

Hinders God’s Plan–God can’t take us to the level He wants to lead us to.

Unwise–Avoiding the teachings that God has for us from authority, family, friends, co-workers.

Not Free–Anger keeps us bound and chained.

Another wonderful life point was:

Your value should not be determined by how somebody else has treated you.

This brief missive, plagiarized from my favorite speaker, life coach and preacher Joyce Meyer, is put out here for your benefit. Maybe you are being offended a lot lately, or offending others. Consider the non-productive results of these actions and make corrections. She likened being offended to stumbling over a large stone while traveling down your path.

It is never too late to make amends. In fact, Joyce says the sooner you recognize the offense or speak to the person who offended you, the better. Asking for forgiveness and putting back on the coat of love and compassion is the fastest way to get back on track and ready for that next level you need to achieve.

Stop stumbling, walk the path you need to be on. The one specially designed for you by God.

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A Sporting Life with Food

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Trout2

TroutI had heard of Roaring River off and on since arriving back in Arkansas and last week on a day off my boyfriend Larry and I took a drive out to see it. I read on the website that they released fish every day, stocking the river with trout. What I did not expect to see was several narrow canals filled to the brim with trout swarming over each other. The water was so thick with trout that in the photo I took of one of the canals the fish are almost indistinguishable from one another. And of course there were the casualties, floaters gasping for oxygen, slowly giving up their life. No photos, please.

 

Trout3Then we got to nirvana, the place that when a fish makes it here they are safe. The mouth of the cave where the spring surfaces and creates the beginning of the river. An immense beautiful blue clear pool, with overhanging ledges, dripping water and ferns, And swimming in this area were the ones that had made it; fat and lazily swimming, and yet…not quite trout like.

This is one of the solutions to help folks feed themselves that someone came up with. To give people a place to come and fish for a sure bet; you will go home with fish even if you are a lousy fisherperson. It is impossible not to catch them. Trout 4

I was listening to NPR on the way home yesterday, and they were interviewing folks who believed that insects were the next perfect way to feed people. Almost two billion people already eat insects as a daily part of their diet. They even had sound bites of people crunching on crickets and katydids and red dragonflies–feedback: crickets kind of yucky but red dragonflies tasted like, no not chicken, shrimp in garlic butter!

In theory it sounds like a good idea to eat grasshoppers; well, not good–insects do not appeal to me. As one person on NPR said, two cash crops instead of one. Pick your veggies and pick your protein–those visitors that try to eat your veggies. They are enthusiastic and passionate about their beliefs. And as they load their freezers with the insect catch of the day, it only takes an hour for the insects to die in the freezer, they write their recipes and proposals of yet another almost certainly best way to feed the world’s hungry folks.

I wonder what sports equipment will evolve out of this new food source? Specialty nets for catching those beautify red dragonflies that have such a wonderful flavor? Bug jars that allow kids to help their parents catch supper? Oh, and don’t forget fish bait!

Life, just one big sporting event, and always with food!

 

 

 

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Looking at life through rose colored glasses..

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Hay Bale 1

“It means someone is idealistic and don’t see reality for what it is, they see the world as good and perfect which is very unrealistic.” Random google.com result for “Looking at life through rose colored glasses.”

My current favorite pair of sunglasses is a pair of Maui Jims with rose colored lenses. The effect on my surroundings is low key, not too much pink but just enough to make it a really nice tour of the countryside to and from work. My commute takes about 35 minutes, down country highways and county roads.

Each day I see something different; wildlife and scenic views that sometimes take my breath away. Like this scene above; for several days I traveled past it marveling at the golden hay rolled up in the soft green fields. Stopping one day I captured it with my Canon; and I placed my rose colored glasses in front of the lens. The above photo is the result. I love the look but it isn’t the view I see everyday–the lens exaggerated the rose coloring.

The photo below is how the scene looks through the lens without the rose filter. Both are beautiful. Hay 2

The point being? So what if you look at life through rose colored lenses. Life is to be enjoyed; to view it in its best light and color.

Otherwise, what is the point? Am I being unrealistic to always look for the good in life? I say no. I say those that are always looking for the worst in life are unrealistic.

Buy you a pair of rose colored glasses and travel down the roads of your home town. Let your glasses show you the beauty that is really there, the life that is meant to be lived. Then live it as though you are wearing them all the time!

 

 

 

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Riding in the Passenger Seat

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It is nice to have a driver; riding in the passenger seat reveals things before unseen.

The lovely man driving my car in this photo has introduced me to a whole new world; the view from the passenger seat, for one. After decades of being the designated driver, I now have a fellow traveler who wants to drive.

This photo represents more to me than sights I miss while driving and only revealed while riding in the passenger seat; it points out new vistas in the arena of love.

When you say you love someone, how far does that love go? When you see that person you love (family, husband, child, boyfriend/girlfriend), do you see them with limits? Do you only love them up to a point? Do you have a line that if breached you no longer love them? How far are you willing to walk that journey of love with a loved one?

We say “love you” so many times in a lifetime. I remember the first time I said it to Larry, the man in the photo above. It was barely a week into our relationship, and as I got out of the truck I said “love you”, then made a beeline to my front door, embarrassed that I had slipped and said something out of habit that I didn’t mean at that point. Now I mean it. Love is a good habit; the caveat to that is not to use the term casually. Love is something that is heartfelt; implications from the declaration are vast.

The view of love for me has altered greatly since I have changed passenger seats in life. Before, married 24 years, it was taken for granted; now, I see relationships of love cannot be taken for granted. Love must include the other person, not one that is dreamed up or imposed on them. Just as we as loved by others change and grow, so do those we love.

So what does having a different view from the passenger seat have to do with love, unconditional or otherwise? Love isn’t about being in the driver’s seat. So sit in the passenger seat and enjoy a whole new view; it is the only way love can truly grow.

Yesterday, while driving, I heard a song that talked about God’s love of us. It struck me that if God could still love me after all I’ve put him through how could I possibly put limits on anyone that I declared to love. Think about it.

 

 

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Tawny Yellow Lioness

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I had a dream the other night featuring the tawny yellow in last night’s post-storm sky. I was standing in a dark room looking through a doorway, watching a very large lioness being tugged on by someone on the other end of a leash. The color of her coat stood out against the wall color, vivid and healthy looking. After much tugging and no result, a woman appears in the frame of the doorway and talks to the lioness, urging her to get up and follow her. The lioness looked at me and with a look that seemed to say, “Well, if this is really what you want…”, got up and followed the woman out of the frame of the doorway. It was obvious the lioness killed the woman, even without me witnessing the event.

Throughout my life many dreams stuck with me. At one point I began a dream journal; for about six months I wrote down every dream that I could remember. From the strange to the boring, these dreams remain in my collection of diaries to be reviewed on occasion to determine if any one of them actually was a portend to something in my future. So far nada. But other dreams have been very literal in their meaning. The first home we built in Maui we planted three signature trees; one in the side yard and two in front of our fence between the sidewalk and the roadway. Signature Trees have root systems that snake across yards and under sidewalks, destroying lawns, drawing moisture from other plants and cracking concrete. They get they name from children writing messages on their broad leaves and the leaves remaining for a long time without dying. We sold the house and one morning I woke up with a very vivid dream about those trees being ripped from the ground leaving gashes running through the yard. I drove over to the house later and that was exactly what had occurred.

Other dreams, two in particular that stand out, warned me of events about to occur, preparing me emotionally and giving me the strength to walk through it without the upheaval that comes when we are taken by surprise by events. With this knowledge about dreams that remain with you after you wake for weeks, months and even years, I have been pondering this dream of the lioness. Upon initial consideration, the obvious conclusion is that I’m trying to force something to happen that doesn’t need to, that in fact will backfire, or worse, do damage. There are several areas in my life that this could apply to; from my work to my family to my relationship with my boyfriend. And there were a couple of areas, one in particular concerning my home life, that this dream was about.

Dreams can reveal stress, you are being too pushy, or a situation needs your attention. A dream I had a few nights ago was about work. One of those ‘can’t find your homework’ dreams. I couldn’t find the light switches, the tourists weren’t coming in, then a giant rockslide occurred and for some reason I knew we would have more business because of the disaster. Ending with the oddest scene where an employee walked by another employee who is highly gluten intolerant and tossed flour all over her, prompting me to scream “YOU’RE FIRED!” This dream was all about stress and reminding me that calmness and order are necessary if a business is to be successful.

Dreams are important; pay attention to them. They are cheaper than a therapist! Or divorce attorney!

 

 

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Spring! In like a Lion out like a Lamb?

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The wonders of this world. Out of the smallest patches of earth, comes beauty.

I’m home today, only my second day of work missed since I began working for the Mill last July. My first day was day before yesterday. Home with a cold the first day, today it is with a cold and topped off with laryngitis. Looking out my window at the grey skies, the thunder and lightning done but rain falling steadily, I realize this is the 9th day of Spring.

About a week ago I was driving down a side street in town, and was stunned by the sight of a beautiful tree, huge and in full pink bloom. Spring is here even though the cold temperatures and snow of last week have tried to keep it at bay.

Soon we will be into Summer and complaining about the heat. But for now, Spring has sprung and in a couple of weeks will be in full bloom. Thoughts of gardens, swim suits (my granddaughter is already thinking of shopping for one), and longer days fill our heads. The kids are counting the weeks (6) till school is out for summer.

The seasons capture my full attention since returning to Arkansas almost two years ago. Maui has two seasons, warm and slightly warmer. The seasons help to mark the year, to set landmarks on events, and my wardrobe consists of more than slippers and shorts.

Spring, in like a Lion, hopefully out like a Lamb. Happy Good Friday, and thanks to the Lamb for all He gave. Without Him I would be lost.

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Tuned In, Tuned Out

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Over the past 5 years, I’ve noticed a growing phenomenon: apparently we can’t eat dinner on a special night out without multiple televisions pulling our attention away from our family and/or friends. And the need to check email and Facebook and Instagram has taken over the need to spend quality time with our family.

The television in restaurants culture first got my attention at one of those chain restaurants you find all grouped together at exits on interstates and major highways. In 2006 traveling became a big part of my life. I would spend several months on the mainland (I lived in Maui) traveling to various places and exploring. It was on one of these trips that I stopped in at one of those restaurants described above.

I sat at the bar as I was alone and service was always quicker. As I settled in I realized there were no less than 12 televisions within my view. Six or seven were lined up around the inside of the bar area, the others scattered throughout the restaurant. All had their sound on. As a special feature, there was a little control box that allowed me to change the channel of the closest television AND to adjust the sound so I could hear. Now, that was odd enough. All the televisions had volume control and the ramifications of that could be quite deafening. On top of that, there was music piped into the restaurant, and a different music system piped into the bar. So you had televisions all tuned in to channels of various types at various volumes, and two piped in music systems.

That trip I found a few restaurants that had this going on. Now, every restaurant I go into there is at least one television. Those with just one are oddities. The one I was in last night with my fella on a date that topped off a day filled with visiting friends and then a movie, had a television at every booth and several placed strategically around the room. Fortunately, the booth we were at, and I assume at all, there was a remote control. I turned ours off. But there were several still on in our view, in particular one right in the line of sight of my date. Now, we had a lovely visit, and enjoyed the food, but every few moments his attention was pulled away and into the screen of that television, which was broadcasting a program with captions.

Then there is the iPhone culture. In the last few years, for some reason we find it impossible to leave the house without knowing every text, email and Facebook or Twitter post that happens during out time out with family and/or friends. And we now have a new traffic accident statistic: accidents caused by drivers texting while driving.

Funny thing is, I remember not too long ago when we had no qualms about leaving the house and not knowing if there was an email coming in on our computer, and it was still considered rude to answer your phone while visiting with family and friends. Heck, not so long ago we didn’t travel with a phone! I love my phone, don’t get me wrong. And I am also guilty of checking texts while visiting with folks. But the photo above got me to thinking about the ramifications of that and I want to break that habit.

Maybe this missive will get some folks to thinking and make comments to their favorite restaurants that the televisions blaring while trying to eat are not appreciated or needed. Maybe this missive will help those daddies out with their kiddies and their wife all dressed up, realize that his attention is needed outside of his palm. Maybe.

And I’m really curious as to what these restaurants think they are achieving by bringing in televisions. Do they really think that folks will stop coming to their restaurant if there is no television???

 

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There is just something about this photo.

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Nothing to say about it, just love it.

Sometimes, life turns out a really nice image. Just ordinary, day-to-day living. A simple photo of a simple act like ordering lunch. I love those kind of moments.

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All in a week

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The week started off with a going away party for a friend that I have known for only a few months. She appeared at the writer’s group gathering one Monday afternoon, and became a fixture in my life. Now she is leaving, moving back to her beloved California. She said last night that she was having some moments of doubt, that she was prone to impatience and maybe had not waited long enough to acclimate. Her life in California spanned several decades, and she has many reasons to go back. She will miss Arkansas she said, especially her writer friends.

Next came the snow. The party was on a Monday afternoon, and the following Wednesday we experienced the most beautiful snow. As I lay in bed, I watched the snow fall and collect on the road that you see here. This is the view from my bedroom, and since moving to Fayetteville in the summer of 2011, there have been many changing seasons and weather conditions watched from the safety of my bed. The kids were sent home early from school but the forecasted freezing rain and more snow did not materialize.

Within a few days I was driving back to work on a chilly but beautiful sunny day, and just before I arrived at the Mill spied two Hawks in a tree. By the time I got my camera out of the trunk (I know, the trunk?), one had flown off. A photo of a hawk in a tree is boring in my mind; two hawks sitting side by side, a good one. However, I missed it and was left with the photo of one hawk in one tree that will not be published anywhere but for blogging purposes today.

Each photo, snapshot if you will, of a moment in a day in a week, holds many stories and moments that were no doubt significant but yet failed to make it onto the page of this blog. These snapshots help me to remember the week, and the details remain in my memory.

Yesterday my friend Mary asked me to stop by her house after work, that she had something for me. It was a beautiful bowl she had bought years ago in China. She wanted me to have it to remember her by. The snow photo holds memories of snows of my childhood in Arkansas. The Hawks remind me of all the animal adventures I have experienced since my employment at the Mill, my drive to and from work taking me through wooded and rural areas. A bobcat I thought at first was the largest cat I had ever seen running along the road and disappearing over a hill; the doe dancing in the pasture as I waited on the road for her to decide what she wanted to do, which was to run out in front of me; the dead fawn with at least 20 Vultures feeding on it–defiantly standing their ground but finally flying away; the Owl flying up out of a ravine on a dark night and into my car, doing a somersault over the top and landing in the middle of the road, finally gaining his senses and flying off as I waited.

What a wonderful life I am blessed with. And spring is just around the corner. The birds are confused and some are beginning the process of building nests and great flocks of mixed birds fly across the road as I drive. When I see beautiful photos of very familiar places from Maui, where I lived for 21 years, I sometimes get a homesick yearning. But only for a moment; because what I have gained moving back to my beloved Arkansas helps me to quickly get past those feelings.

Arkansas. Oh what each week offers!

 

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Beauty, Doom & Gloom

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Our Side Yard, a View of a Spooky Nature,

in Almost a Snow Storm

For about the past week or so, each morning I have opened my eyes to the remainder of odd dreams floating around. A good part of it is related to work; inventory, product, customers’ requests. There has even been the typical dream of arriving at work in my slip (and I don’t even wear slips), trying to do inventory on products that have no labels and the jars are filled with a clear congealed substance.

Then the astroid that hit Siberia happened. Was that real? Seeing that video of the astroid put me in mind of the film starring Bruce Willis, Armageddon, where he and a group of oil drillers save the earth from an astroid that was on a trajectory of destruction. A story of a group of individuals with issues and shortcomings, being the ones that end up saving the earth from catastrophe.

The photo of our side yard again says to me that what you see isn’t always what you get. That snow storm looked dramatic and exciting and kind of scary in this photo, but a few hours later the sun was shining and the temperature was up in the high 40’s. But why this feeling of heaviness each morning before I even open my eyes? I have just opened my blinds so that at least some light can come in, albeit grey and fog filled. The weatherman says a storm with ice, snow and freezing rain is on the way. But that is just weather. It is February after all.

Maybe it is just the realization brought on by that astroid that hit Siberia, reminding me that at any moment we could no longer be a living being on this earth. But that really shouldn’t worry a person. Anyway, not the person that could be here one moment and gone the next. Those that are left behind have to deal with all the junky stuff that comes with losing a loved one. But the one leaving, they are free.

Each generation has had beauty, doom and gloom, happiness, health, wealth, sadness, poverty and sickness. Devastation has hit each generation in its own form; keeping us reminded that if we look at what we think we see instead of listen to what is the true nature of our existence, we will live in fear and trepidation.

Today I remember that and say, “I see the beauty, the truth of God’s love, and the promise of a good life. However it may end.”

But that astroid, wasn’t that the freakiest looking thing?

 

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