loving or hateful?

The reality was that the day would be as hard I made it. Or as pleasant.
There was nothing I could do about my circumstances but accept them. “It’s always my choice,” I reminded myself. Not necessarily to like whatever life throws at me, but to try to catch the ball.
After all, success in life is not how well we execute Plan A; it’s how smoothly we cope with Plan B.  And for most of us, that’s 99 percent of the time.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

I didn’t sleep well last night. And as I was attempting to get in a last few zzz’s my beloved cat, Toby, became a royal pain in the patootie. First he woke me up in the wee hours by putting a claw inside my nostril. I’m sure he tried patting me on the face first but when I didn’t wake up he resorted to claws. I fussed at him and promptly rolled over and went back to sleep. Then he woke me again (I don’t know how long I was asleep – it felt like 1 second) by patting on my face with his claws extended. I pushed him off the bed. Like a boomerang he bounced right back up again. I finally got the message and petted him a few times, loved on him and went back to sleep. He left me alone for a while and then he started the game all over again. The result? A sleep-deprived and very grumpy human.

When I finally woke and started my day I was annoyed at the four-legged creatures that live with me. The first 15-20 minutes of everyday is devoted to them and for the most part I’m fine with it; but on mornings like this, well, it’s hard. When I was finally finished with their needs, I sat down and asked God why was I so miserable, why was I so grumpy to my love-babies and to help me see the answer.

Eventually I remembered that not every day can be a high; there have to be lows to balance everything out. But I had a choice with what to do with my day. I could either choose to go into it very grumpy and mean. Or I could choose to go into my day with grace and love. I prayed for grace and love. I don’t want to go Wa-Wa’s for coffee and be grumpy to the sales clerk; it’s not their fault I’m in a bad mood. I can’t afford to go to work and be grumpy – I could lose my job if I lost it with a customer.

Everyday is a choice. It is a choice to be grateful or to hate my life. It is a choice to allow God to flow through me or to refuse Him. It is a choice to be, simply put, loving or hateful.

I pray each day to make the right choice – the choice for love, grace and God.

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too busy for God

She is a wise woman if she also remembers that these material objects of the season which she sets out are beautiful and worthy carriers of what is holy. But they are not God. She can prepare and put forth a form to catch something of the spirit, but she cannot also go ahead and supply the spirit.… Prepare, organize, plan, shore up, make firm, but remain open to the unexpected; do not seal out the spirit and do not think you can provide it.Trying to supply the spirit manifests itself in bossy behaviors rather than in wise leadership. 

Gertrud Mueller Nelson, To Dance with God

Even though this quote is from a section of the noted book on Christmas celebrations, I think it is nonetheless good advice for everyday life. When I fill every moment of my life with stuff to do, places to go and people to see I leave no room for the unexpected. I leave no room for God to work His beautiful blessings into my life and spirit. And without those blessings my life is very poor and dull.

 Being too busy has more than just a negative effect on me. It makes me crabby, angry and tearful. I lose whatever grace God has generously offered me and become a mean person.

Filling my life with things to do means I don’t see the blessings of my furbabies – all I see are the endless dog walks and litter boxes that need cleaning. I see nothing but endless plates of food to prepare and water bowls to fill. I see yet one more hairball hacked up and one more accident to clean up. And it makes me frustrated.

Overworking and over stuffing my life means I am grumpy with the human loved ones in my life and am selfishly unwilling to meet their needs and if I do I do so grudgingly and with a lot of noise. No space, no grace.

I have to make a conscious effort to loosen the reins a bit, let go of control, not overfill my day and make room for God. Sometimes it means saying no to something; or it may mean sleeping all day; or taking a step back internally and praying for guidance; or it may mean simply stopping, taking a deep breath and breathe out a prayer or blessing for someone else.

She is a wise woman and he is a wise man who makes room for God in their everyday lives. We all will be the better for it and the people (or furbabies) in our lives will be blessed as well.

 

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clay feet

Postures of the body often give courage to the soul. Smiling dissipates fear, raising the chin diminishes inferiority and a positive answer emboldens the heart. The words we say (“I know I can if I try.”), the attitude we embrace (“It may be difficult, but it’s possible.”), and the action we take (“Let’s give it all we’ve got.”) are postures of confidence that give God a chance to show what He can do.

Niki Anderson, What my Cat has Taught me about Life 

My grandmother used to remind me as a child to sit up straight and walk with my head up, not bent, looking toward the ground as I normally do. Even today I constantly remind myself to sit up when I find myself slouched over or to look up at the world around me when walking when I realize I’m looking at the ground. When I do those simple things, my attitude changes.

When I slouch or look down, my body is telling my soul and spirit and mind that life is bad and I am defeated by it. But when I tell myself to stand tall and sit tall, I am physically saying my life isn’t as bad as all that and I refuse to be defeated by it.

LadyBird, my Chihuahua, came to live with me in fall. When I would take her out in the morning (3.15 am) I would find myself trying to stay warm and trying to hurry her up. By the time winter had arrived I really hated taking her outside because it was so cold. I would huddle up in my coat, look to the ground and say things like, “hurry up!”  But if you have a dog then you know they really don’t pay attention to their humans during their ‘toilet’.

Then one morning I looked up – not just straight ahead – but straight up – at the sky.  I saw how beautiful the sky was on a clear, cold morning and most importantly – how quiet it was, how still the neighborhood was and even the interstate (which is just down the street and provides a constant white noise background virtually 24 hours a day) was silent.

At that moment I realized how I was wasting not only those precious silent minutes but also how much I still look down at my clay feet and how little I look up to God. When I look at my feet I am reminding myself I am a human with no help to move through this world. But when I look up to God, I am telling myself I may be human, but with God’s Love and Help I am able to move through my life and not be defeated or downtrodden by it.

If you find yourself with a bad attitude or in a bad mood then ask yourself – where am I looking? Down at my feet or up toward God? It may make all the difference in your day and maybe your life.

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