Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition...

.. .. .. . .. . ... . .... .. . .... .. . .. . .. ..  .. . . . . . .
Here we are.  Our last gift... 
It's nice knowing there are things we can give away that can bless way more than a tangible, "costly" gift.  Amen?

I hope you enjoyed this mini series.  I had a lot of fun putting it together and am grateful for your patience and grace - while it SLOWLY came together.  See!  more gifts. :)
We're mid-week between Christmas and New Year - and the bulk of gift-giving, for most folks, is over... but I KNOW that true gift giving continues...

And, with this last one.  I truly HOPE it will continue.


The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition.

This is certainly one beautiful gift.  And, I had a hard time picking just one reference to share with you.  Because there are many, MANY friends and faces that come to mind... but, we'll go with this one.

I have a certain, favorite Mom and Pop type of gift shop that I like to frequent.  The thing is, I only recently discovered this store, though it's been around for a long, long time.
But what truly draws me to this store is absolutely not her "stuff" - although it sure helps, because,  I do LOVE what she has for sale.  I love her style.  The way she "decorates" her store... I love the old, uniqueness of the building...
The sights, the smells, the sounds...everything!!

However, do you know what it really is?
It is the shopkeeper's Cheerful Disposition that is what truly draws me in and keeps me coming back.
This woman is so friendly, amiable... very chatty - but heartfelt.  She's authentic.. even while sharing about hard times... she still has a smile!!
I appreciate that I don't feel like I have to purchase anything... rather, just being in her presence makes me feel so blessed.
I want to be like this - all the time - with everyone I meet.   Oh, to be known for a cheerful disposition!!

Proverbs 17:22 says,
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.


***
And, this concludes our mini series on gifts that don't cost you a cent.  To read the other seven gifts - click HERE!!!
I hope you enjoyed reading along!!



Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Gift of Solitude or Time...

 . .. .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... .... ... .. . .. . . . . .
Down to sharing two more gifts that don't cost you a cent!!  I was trying to get these in before Christmas - but, here we are.  On the Eve of Christmas... and I'm just getting to this second to last one now.  We can still give gifts after Christmas - right?

This gift is one I for sure - savor!!   I want to say it is one of my love languages... one where I feel the most loved.  Someone giving me the gift of time?   Ahhh! I love...
The Gift of Solitude or Time.

Are these two, time and solitude, the same thing?  Yes and No!

We often hear the phrase " to give of your time" is a valuable and valiant thing to do.  As you can guess, it happens on rare occasion for me.
I know I would appreciate that gift even more than I am already blessed with and by it.
But I do think that the Gift of Solitude is a really special thing.
However, I'm not too sure it can be given as much as it needs to be taken.
It's like solitude almost needs to be found or discovered.

Solitude is definitely a gift and yet if you don't have the time to enjoy it - is it really anything?

Let me tell you - if you ever find yourself in a moment of quiet, peaceful solitude... take a minute, or five, or ten and simply enjoy it.
It truly is a gift!!

Wishing you and yours a Quiet and Peace Filled Christmas!!
***

Click HERE for more gifts that do not cost you a cent!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Gift of Encouragement...

. .. .. .. .... . .. .. . ... . ... . .. .. ... . ... . . . . . . ..
 So, yes! This gift feels closely related to the Gift of a Compliment, doesn't it?
 I actually had to think about how to differentiate the two.
There isn't a whole lot of difference.


Now.  I thrive on encouragement.  I'm sure most of us do.  As well, this isn't something necessarily easy to do, either.  To encourage others.  But, we're called to do it.

I'm going to share a bit about my 9 year old son today.  
Fourth grade has pretty much whipped his hyde.   He's doing fine... way more that he thinks he is, but he won't always hear it.  If you know what I mean?
He needs constant encouragement.  And on one tough night, recently, when I told him that he lights up like a Christmas Tree every time he receives a compliment (see, I told you the two go hand in hand. Compliments.  Encouragement.) - well, he didn't know if that was a good or bad thing.  So, then, I had to encourage him all over again - that, YES! - this is obviously a way that makes you feel loved.  

Compliments.  Encouragement.  Words of Affirmation. 
They all go hand in hand.

We all need daily doses and some of us need more than others.
Back to the whole compliment  side of things.  I'm serious.
Sometimes being told your appreciated is one of the simplest and most uplifting things you can ever hear.

I need to remember to encourage others as much as I know I need it myself.


**this photo was taken the night of Caleb's Winter Concert - with school.  He sang in the choir and ALMOST ranked up to play in the band. ;)  He plays 1st trumpet.  And, is doing fabulous... if I must say so myself.   I'm very proud of my boy!!!!

He loves to play it for everyone - and honestly, it is never a chore to get him to practice.  I can hardly complain of the "loudness" - but he gets it.  He's doing great.  I wish you could hear him play... unfortunately, the video (he asked me to make and to show all my friends... :)) wouldn't load for some reason.

***
Click HERE to read more on the Eight Gifts that do not cost you a cent.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Gift of a Compliment...

. . .. .. . ... . ... .. . .. .. .. . ... .. . . . .. . ..  ..  . . 
We all know the blessing of a well-rounded compliment - don't we?  
It kinda fills our bucket...doesn't it?


I believe each one of my kids, in their kindergarten years, has come home from school with the story of how we need to be "bucket fillers" in each other's lives - not bucket dippers.
You know this story, too, don't you?

Well, today something interesting happened.

You know how every Christmas - outside of all the prominent retail stores you hear the familiar ringing of bells as the Salvation Army representative is sitting or standing there with their bucket - waiting.  Waiting to fill...

As I entered this particular store I didn't have anything at the moment to share, but I wanted to be sure to drop something in on my way out.

Now, this man, attending - was a jolly, friendly fellow wishing ALL, he saw, a Merry Christmas - but I also noticed he was not shy in speaking LIFE (compliments) to ALL he met, as well.  It wasn't awkward.  Rather, genuine.

When I came out of the store - I had my "gift" waiting and ready to add to his bucket - but, at the same time he caught my eye and filled mine.  In other words... he gave me a compliment - saying something about my smile being something really special and not to lose that.  Now, I've heard this compliment many, many times before and I'm not sharing this to brag - just saying... when someone "new" notices and it continues to be noticed - I sincerely hope that it continues to be a blessing!

I may or may not have have walked away with a tear in my eye... appreciating all over again the compliment that continues to remind me to wear my smile.  What's fun - is that it always catches me off guard - that someone will notice a simple smile and say something about it.  Maybe not enough people are doing it.  Smiling, that is.

Are you a bucket-filler, or a bucket-dipper?
Don't let others steal your joy - but rather give it away 1st - if you can!!

And, remember.  This is yet another gift that will not cost a single cent.

***
Click HERE to read more of these posts on the eight gifts that do not cost you a cent.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Gift of a Written Note...

.. .. . .. ... . . .. .... .. . . .. . .. . ..... . . .. .. . . .
The kitchen table is strewn with cards. Both coming and going.  It's Christmas!  The time of year when the exchange of love and care is sent on it's way to loved ones far and near.
The names can be often hurriedly scribbled appearing as if to beat the mailman to the box - rushed - but "off - on their way" just the same...

Or... this.

And, it always amazes blesses me when the sender has taken the time to jot a few personal lines - handwritten thoughts of care and concern.  Thoughts of memories and moments they wanted to share.

It's a gift of the Written Note!!
One of my favs.

I'll admit - I struggle, at times, with taking specific care to share a few thoughts, more than my name.  Even if my name, and that of my family, is tidy and neat... sometimes a few more added (thoughtful) words are SOOOO important and are uniquely needed.  Maybe more than we'll ever know.

It is a gift.  Sharing and caring through pen and paper...
Something, I don't want to lose.

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.  ~ Proverbs 12:25

Tell me.  Are you a card sender; a note-in-the-box kinda friend?


If you're anything like me, you love receiving this gift - way more than giving it... and I sure do like to give this sort of gift.  Though, I'm sure - I don't do it near enough.

***

Click HERE to read more on the Eight Gifts that do not cost you a cent!

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Gift of Laughter...

.. . .. . ... . .. ... . . .. . .. .. . .. . ... .. . . .. . . . 
Ahhh... the sweet gift of laughter.
Now, I KNOW I have talked about this before.... that laughter - as in, the easy roll-from-the gut sort of laughter does not come easy for me.   :(

I do like this gift.  Because when it happens... it sure feels good.   I have kiddos' that laugh really, really easily, especially Jayne - which I love!!! It makes me chuckle to hear it flow so easily for them.   In other words  - it blesses me. :)

As in, that is my style of laughing... I chuckle silently; simply snickering or smiling...

I am blessed to have a husband, that keep me laughing, as well as, other friends, which is so welcomed.
Oh, how I need them ALL in  my life.



You know when and where there is a deep-seated JOY in one's life... there is great peace.
And we know a peaceful heart gives life to the body.

I know that - because of that - it is when laughter naturally spills out.

Laughter is the best medicine...for ourselves and for others.  Amen??

***

Click HERE to catch up on other post in this series.


***

Have a Blessed Weekend!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Gift of Affection...

.. .. . .. .. .... .. . ... .. . ... . ..... .. .. . .. . .. . .  ..... .
Are you a naturally affectionate sort of person?  Good for you!!  I struggle in this area... and in particular when my kiddos' beg for a dog... it's simply not in me!!

Affection.  A trait I wish I was gifted in.

Every year - at Christmastime - I pull out the decorations and out comes this book...The Tall Book of Christmas!   One of my favs.

There is one story in here that is a must-read for my little family.  It chokes me up, each time - I read.  Which, on one hand, surprises even me.   Obviously - affection is a gift!!

I thought I would share part of this story with you here today... as a way to share in this gift of affection.
You may have heard of the children's story called;  The Puppy who Wanted a Boy, by Catherine Woolley.  

I'll simply paraphrase the story, just a bit...


It's a sweet story of a puppy, named Petey, who wanted nothing more than a boy for Christmas.  He was a good puppy that year - well, sorta.  He only frightened the cat a little and he only chewed on a shoe a teeny-weeny... but his mother said alright.  She guessed he could have one and she would look for a boy!!  
When there were simply no boys to be found...
Petey decided that other gifts offered by his mother would simply not do. 
 He had to have a boy.

He decided to venture out on his own.  He had to find a boy.  Perhaps another dog would give up his boy for Petey.
But when Petey politely asked the collie, who's boy was riding a bicycle, if he would give up his boy - the collie dreadfully growled he definitely didn't want to.

Next he saw a Setter playing ball with his boy.  Then a Scotty carrying a package, for his.  "Oh, if only I had a boy to play ball with or to carry a package for.." thought Petey.  Yet, for each dog he found he mustered up the courage to ask if they would be willing to give up their boy - and each one would answer... "NO!" - they definitely didn't.

Where would Petey find a Boy?  His tail fell limp.  His ears began to droop.  He was so tired from looking e v e r y w h e r e...
Mother was right.  There were no boys to be had.

As he heads home, that Christmas Eve, and on the way at the very edge of town... He sees a sign hanging over a door. that reads.

Orphans' Home

Knowing what orphans are (for they are children who have no dog to take care of them) Petey decides to see if there were any boys here...
He pads slowly up the sidewalk barely able to put one paw in front of the other.
He stops because he hears music.  Looking through the window he sees a lighted Christmas Tree and children singing carols.

But, here... sitting on the porch... he sees a boy, looking all sad and lonely.  Petey forgets about being tired.  He leaps onto the boy's lap and wiggle-wag goes his tail.  Licking the boy with his warm, wet tongue...
How glad the boy was to see Petey!  He puts both arms around the little dog and hugs him tight.

All of a sudden the front door to the Orphans' Home opens and a lovely lady calls for Dickie, the boy, to come on inside to the Christmas Tree...

Dickie looks up at the lady and says, "I've got a puppy.  Can he come, too?"

Of course he can...

Before Petey knows it - he is inside - and the crowd of boys who were playing around the tree all rushed at Petey.  They all wanted to pick him up.  They all wanted to pet him.
Petey simply wags his tail and his fat little body is frisking about... kissing every boy who came near.

"Can he stay?" the boys asked.
"Yes," said the lady. "He may stay."

"Come on, puppy." Dickie said, "Get your supper."
"We'll fix you a nice warm bed!" cried another boy.
"We'll play games with you." said a third.

"Who ever would think." said Petey to himself, "that I would get fifty boys for Christmas!"


***
Ahh...this story... the epitome of affection.  Everything I am not and all that I want to be!
I can't say - "I want a dog."  I KNOW my kids, do - especially my eight year old daughter.  I just wonder if I could or would have the same response as the Lovely Lady... for she is who I would want to be.  She is who I like to think I am... saying "yes!" But sadly... well, I am ..uhhh... and, I think you know what I'm going to say...

All that to say - it really is a heartwarming story... full of dreams, desire and discovery all garnered through means of... affection.  Can we say it delivered?
**

Thank you for reading along in this eight-gift series... Click HERE to read the other posts in this series.


Tell me.  Are you one who easily gives the gift of affection?

What is it that you are longing for this Christmas?

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Gift of Listening...

. .. . .. .. ... .. ... .. .. . .. . .. .. . .. .. .. . ..  .. . . 

To fully give someone a listening ear is the best thing someone can do for another.  It's not easy to stop and always give someone the full, apt attention they need, or that they're asking for. 

As a mom... this following quote-for-thought has given me pause.

Do you listen to understand?  Or, do you listen to reply?

I can remember my youngest - Jayne - a couple of years ago.  Imagine, the baby, seeking to "be heard" amongst everyone else's chatter and clamoring...
She'd be sitting on my lap and would try to be telling me something... then, because I wasn't listening, she would take her chubby little hands and grab my face - turning my whole head towards her own... so that I would really have to LISTEN to her!!  
(smile)

I can remember on more than one occasion my own "demand" for a listening ear.  I had a dear friend who would willingly take hours into the night, sometimes, just to listen...to me ramble and pine and dream...
It was a season, for sure.  One that didn't last forever.  And yet, I'm sure that I took way more of her time than necessary.

But, she had a gift.  The gift of listening...
Her friendship was dear.  And, still is.
It's something I'll never forget.  A blessing I'll cherish long into forever!

I do want to be this "gift" to someone else.
Willing and ready to set life aside; to truly listen to someone - with where they're at.  With kind understanding.  Listening with questions that draws them out even more...
Obviously, for this mom, this starts at home!! 

In all of that, though, the above mentioned quote - reminds me of how and where I need or want to grow.  I realize I reply to readily... and am not patiently listening.

I'm so quick to be thinking of a reply - my reply - while someone else is talking - that I really miss what they are saying.  It's humbling to have to go back (within seconds of the conversation) and say, "I'm sorry - what did you just say?"   I've done this on more than one occasion...
I have so much room to grow...

**
So - this Christmas Season... with this Gift of Listening... 
To master this...what do you say we slow down and really turn our gaze to the one who truly LISTENS!  I know I need His help.

Listen to what the psalmist David says in Psalm 5:1-3...

Give ear to my words, O Lord, 
consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help.
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you 
and wait in expectation.

The Psalms are full of examples of prayer and petition... to the Lord.  Here's another, of David's words, found in 

Psalm 27: 7-9
Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; 
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me, 
O God my Saviour.

Oh friends...in JESUS, we have the greatest example; the Gift of Listening!!!

Doesn't that give you such peace?
**On a side note...
Have you ever stood outside on a snowy night and truly took in the quiet of the moment.  Snow softly falling.  If you hold your breath, pause.. and truly listen.  I promise, you can almost hear those snowflakes falling...one right after another.

That too is such a gift.  Try it sometime, you'll see... it stills you and all is right with the world!!


Click HERE to follow along with the other posts in the series..

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost You a Cent!! {mini series}

. .. . .. .. . .. . ... . .. . . .. .. . . .. .. .. .... .. . .  .
Hello Friends... are you ready?  Christmas Time's a Comin'.  The season we all love...of gift-giving, celebration, family and friends and yummy food!  Of course, Jesus is the REAL reason for the season (the Greatest Gift) and I don't say that lightly.
 He is mine for sure...

I got to thinking what this particular season may look like for our little family.  Our kids all know that Christmas will be a little "light" this year, in terms of (tangible) gift-giving, simply due to the fact that we're wanting to buy a house.  It makes it easier to explain all of that, and abide by it- since we're all a part of the impending decision. :)
It also marks one year that our landlord passed away... which adds its own dimension in and of itself.  It's now a season with even more (raw) mixed emotions and change... but God is so good!!

In the past - here on the ole blog - I had a couple of meme's that I would do for and throughout the month of December.  One year was of sharing favorite Yuletide Carols (2013), another was the December Photo Project (2011)...or, of course there were favorite Holiday cookies sprinkled throughout.   Do you remember any of those?  lol..

This year, I thought I would dust off the old keyboard and share my thoughts regarding Eight Gifts that don't cost a thing!!

Not one single cent.

So, over the next couple of weeks - hopefully, I can keep up and get them all in before Christmas - I'll be posting a little more often (smile), as I share these eight different gifts that have made a difference either in my life or that can be given to bless someone else for this Christmas-time of year!!


Do you want to know what these gifts are?

1. The Gift of Listening
2. The Gift of Affection
3. The Gift of Laughter
4. The Gift of a Written Note
5. The Gift of a Compliment
6. The Gift of Encouragement
7. The Gift of Solitude or Time
8. The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition

***

So, do you think you'll join me - as we reflect on this gift-giving season? ** these may or may not be coming to you in this order...

Perhaps, you can think of a few gifts yourself - that won't be costing you a cent.
I would like to hear your thoughts..



To him that gives generously... He himself will be refreshed.  
~ Proverbs 11: 24-25 (paraphrased)


HAPPY 1st DAY of DECEMBER!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

More Each Day!

... . .. .. ... . .. . .... ... . .. .. . ..... .. .. .. .. .. . . ..
I needed this gentle reminder today....

Today you know more than you did at this time yesterday.  
Today you are one day closer to becoming the person you were meant to be.  
Today you have more experience, and more wisdom than you did just one day ago.
So, what's the best thing to do today?  More!

You are more today than you've ever been before.  
What a waste it would be to ignore that!
What a waste it would be not to make full use of it!  
Now that you've become more, it's time to do more.

Right now, you have what it takes to put more effort into your work, more love into your relationships, more discipline into your actions, more passion into your life.
The tools and opportunities available to you have grown.  
So use them to improve your results and make your life grow, too - not next week,
 not in a few days, but right now.

What can you improve just a little bit today?  Those little improvements add up, compounding each on each other until you've soon forged your life into a masterpiece.  
You have more today than ever before - so make more of this day than you've ever done.

Today is a truly golden opportunity
 to let your life shine
 more brightly with each passing moment. 
~ author unknown

Friday, November 18, 2016

{BagsbyBevy} Do I still have it in Me?

..... .. .. . .. .. .. .. . .. . .. . .. . . ...  .. . .. . . . . . .. 
Oh My!!
By the title of this post, you know what's coming.  A long-overdue post regarding BagsbyBevy and if you don't know or remember what that is - it's because, I haven't posted about it in a long, long time or, else, you're very, very new here.   Thanks for coming by, if that is the case!
BagsbyBevy?  So.  It's my etsy shop.
Don't looking for it - right now.  Well, you can... but...
It's "on vacation" - because!!!

I'm heading out to do a Show and Sell (sort of a Christmas/Holiday Sale) with our church.
Which takes place Saturday Morning - ahem!!  Yes, tomorrow morning.  I'm really looking forward to it.  It's been awhile - Ladies Breakfasts and get-togethers are always a good time!!

I just thought, maybe, I'd show you a sneak peek of some new additions...

I promise.
If they don't sell - they'll be added to the shop!!


Do I still have it in me?

I know one thing!!  It did feel good to "get back in the saddle" again.  Sometimes, I do my best work - at last minute and this was the case.   Five of these items were made in the last two days...

You have yourself a wonderful weekend!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Changes Marked with Gratitude

.. .. .. . .. .. . .. .... ..... .. ... . .... . .. .. .. . .. . . . 
You know how they come up!!  Sometimes too fast, sometimes slow.

Changes.

Here we are facing some "new" ones, all - in our face - again.
Oh, they've been expected.  It's just that when it's happening - you don't always feel as ready as you'd like to think or hope.

Why do I talk about this so much?

Because, it's where we're at.  The challenge of change.

{I'm so glad my kiddo's got a chance to see the Supermoon of 2016 - this morning!}

However.  Here is what I'm learning - through these changes.

If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you!!


It's amazing... 
When you choose gratitude in the moments that are hard... then, the changes that come aren't so severe in the making.

Here is what's going on.  My Mother-in-law has found a place to relocate to.. so she is moving from her little apartment, beside us. She is a ball of mixed emotion, and rightly so.  Missing us and yet longing to feel truly settled "one last time" (she swears she's not moving again!).  

The thing is.  We'll be moving, too.  Though we don't know when or where.  We think we'll ride it out until we absolutely have to move... but, the days are ticking down for this.
We've got word - about this land (property), that it will be developed...

and, that too is change.  The kind I don't like.  The process will still take time.  So, a lot of unknowns... for sure!

Back to gratitude.  We're just grateful for God's timing.  That we can trust HIM.  Because, he never changes.   We're grateful we can count on his blessing.  His goodness.  And, he knows...
He knows our need before we even ask.

This is what He says.

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord,
"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.
Plans to give you a hope and a future."
~ Jeremiah 29:11

**
In the meantime, Life goes on.  It must.
But, my challenge is to keep my days focused on HIM.  Being ever thankful... grateful for his blessing that never ends!!

Thank you for your continued love and prayers!!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Be Different

. . .. . ... . .... .. . .. .. . .... .. .. . ... .. . . . . . . . .

It's time for another analogy.  :)  I like these. I need the reminder just as much as anyone else.

Earlier this morning - I was hanging laundry on the line, and noticed the majority of my flower bed had succumbed to some hard times.  The recent frost got to them.  But, not the snapdragons.
They're still beautiful!!  Amazingly.

I wondered about it, for a moment.  And, quickly thought...
You know? I am like this flower...SURROUNDED by the dead and dying.
Hard times have hit and devastation is everywhere... Yet, I CAN still make a difference.  I WILL continue to bloom...offering HOPE; bringing life and light, when and wherever I can.  I WILL bloom where I'm planted and continue to make a difference (of influence) with whomever I come in contact with.  Whatever my sphere of influence is.  On the job, at home, out and about...

This is my prayer.  At least.

Look at that!  All around - is "darkness" and decay.  Yet, through the dismal, and in what looks like a war-zone, are those that stand firm.  Strong.  Alive.  Radient.  Ready to keep going..

So, WHO is my greatest example of this?  Jesus.  Like the lyric of the old hymn says; When all around my soul gives way... He then, is ALL my hope and stay.

What a blessed thought.  Amen?


Makes me wonder.  Do I have what it takes to stand out and be different?  Let alone, make a difference for the cause of Christ?  I SURE hope so.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Black Dot

. .. . . .. .. . .. .. . ... ... . .. . .. . .. .. .. . .. . . . .
There is something to be said about grabbing the camera, early in the morning, and really taking note of the bigger picture.  I hope you enjoy the photos, as you read along today!!  I found this piece, this story, which I am sharing with you, to be rather fitting and appropriate for my heart... in the season, in which I find myself, today.  I hope it encourages you, just the same.


I read the story of a professor who entered his classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test.  They all waited nervously at their desks for the exam to begin.  The professor handed out the exams with the text facing down, as usual.  Once he handed them all out, he asked the students to turn over their papers.  To everyone's surprise, there were no questions - just a black dot in the center of the paper.



The professor, seeing the expression on everyone's faces, told them the following: "I want you to write about what you see."  The students were confused momentarily, but eventually they got started by writing a few things down.  At the end of the test, the professor took all of the exams and started reading each one of them out loud in front of the students.  All of them, without exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position in the center of the sheet.
After all had been read, the classroom grew silent and the professor started to explain: "I'm not going to grade you on this," he replied, "I just wanted to give you something to think about.  Nobody wrote about the white part of the paper.  Everyone focused on the black dot -- and the same thing happens in our lives...

We insist on focusing only on certain things -- the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend.  The dark spots are very small when compared to everything else we have in our lives, but those few issues are the ones that permeate our lives."
That story raises the question: What are you focusing on?  Are you allowing yourself to see the whole picture, or are one or two things robbing you of peace and contentment?
The more we narrow our focus to that one thing, the bigger it becomes, crowding out the pleasant and desirable.  


When a child hurts themselves, we often try to get their focus away from the pain and onto something pleasant.  That doesn't mean the pain goes away but at least it doesn't get all of their attention.
Somehow, as adults, we forget to use this same formula we have used with our children, an instead of trying to keep the pain in the background we insist on bringing it to the forefront and sharing it with all who will listen.
You can probably repeat almost verbatim the aches and pains of the that coworker or family member who insists upon telling you how much everything hurts.  It seems they have the mindset that if they can repeat it over and over often enough it will lighten the load.  And, it should... that is what friends are for; but when you hear the same pity party enough of times it eventually becomes a black dot for even the best of listeners.


 I believe the professor saw something that we all need to grasp.  Life consists of many different experiences and circumstances.  We can't ignore the difficulties and just sweep them under the rug, but when we give them undue regard and allow them to control us, we lose some of the joy other situations could bring
Perhaps we could liken the black dot to things and the blank sheet of paper to quietness and  and stillness.  When we focus on the quiet stillness that God brings in our lives, the other things become less noticeable and lose their importance.  Allow your eyes to rest on the white space, the beauty, the joys and the blessings.
This doesn't mean that the black dots will completely disappear, but your focus and attitude about life will be greatly enhanced.  ~ M. Gingerich (the fishwrapper, October 2016)

***

Life is like a camera.  Focus on what is important and you will capture it perfectly every time. ~ unknown
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...