Tag Archives: positive

God Unplugged & In Real Time

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love others as you love yourself.” But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always critical and catty, watch out! Beware of ruining each other. Galatians 5:14-15 Life Application Bible.

Recently, and after a long separation from God I have returned to my faith. More will be written on that journey in future posts, however reading back through this blog will provide a snap shot of the last few years journey.

This morning I am reflecting on the above Bible passage and its real life possibilities and implications.

To love others as we love ourselves always confused me, because as someone who really doesn’t feel a whole lot of love for myself (but I am getting better) I wondered why on earth I would want to treat others the way I treat myself.

Since reading and studying more on this passage I have come to understand it this way. We all have, an inherit instinct to preserve ourselves. The need to eat when hungry, sleep in a warm bed when tired, and live in a decent clean environment. These are our basic needs we love to take care of for survival. And this is the very minimal way we can show our love and support for others. We all know a person lacking in any of these carnal needs will find it very difficult to feel or learn about love and compassion.

The second verse of the above passage warns about being critical and catty. This truth I have come to know on a personal level through interactions with many people and God willing I can summarize effectively below.

Having met with different types of people and knowing we take away grains of their beliefs I noticed something very interesting. There is a multitude of people who tend to be flippant, catty, critical and manipulative (the language of shame) in their approach to correcting what they perceive as a “wrong”. When met with one of these people I notice it triggers feelings of defensiveness and shame in those who do not understand their true identity in Christ.

This type of council leads to thoughts of rebellion and can cause the receiver to act out in ways opposite to the message the sender was trying to convey. Rebellion is part of our natural instinct so it is probably unhelpful to trigger that instinct when attempting to
help someone who’s actions are harmful to themselves or others. This is evident in cases of bullying that lead to feelings of depression and in extreme instances, suicide.

There is a second type of person who takes an entirely different approach to supportive correction. They are kind, loving, humble and and supportive (the language of guilt). While they offer critical direction and support toward growth, they are not critically judgmental. This type of teaching tends to stick and produce a real and positive change for many (myself included). Guilt when used as guide post to help us correct our wrong actions is a great way to improve the lives of ourselves and others.

Of course this is all dependent on the receiver. If a student desires to be kind, loving humble and supportive their natural sense of rebellion will not be triggered by someone who is using the language of guilt vs. the language of shame.

I know myself I tend to ask more questions of the second type of person, and take a curious interest in what sorts of things helped shape a person of this caliber. A person who is humble enough to realize they have no worthy judgement against anyone.

Sheila Walsh – Guilt tells you, you’ve done something wrong. Shame tells you, you are something wrong.

Anyway the two extremes are just examples and for discussion purposes. I think many of us are somewhere in between and can be catty and sarcastic one day and more loving and supportive the next. It is all part of the human experience.

For me returning to faith in God allows me to read, study and meditate on these simple nuggets of truth. And when I find myself putting them into practice more and more frequently in my life I thank God. I thank God that it allow me to reach out in loving, kind, humble and supportive ways more effectively.

So there it is in a simple grape seed. “To be catty, smart mouthed and critical is human while actions of humility, love and kind supportive correction is divine.

Blessings

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Frugal & Creative

This winter was a long and cold one. And actually it was perfect weather for one of my favorite hobbies, crocheting. Not only is crocheting creative, it can also be quite inexpensive.

Below are pics of some items I made over the winter:

485552_213434898866098_601066370_n 971886_210003905875864_463550576_n 988475_218713511671570_5441330476542192490_n 1498005_218946074981647_3653091506292146424_o 1511732_170263979849857_1455914344_o 10015062_218945944981660_3459898313074354460_n 10171292_213137945562460_686363748_n 10249711_218499638359624_472578492736908865_n 10250253_218750348334553_8046801952445703678_nCheap can be very good!

 

I’m An Orphan

I realized tonight it has been quite sometime since I lasted posted to this blog. Normally I enjoy posting inspirational, uplifting and of course frugal pieces here.

Tonight I would like to share my current situation as it will (I am sure) lead into more positive and motivational words in the near future.

Just over a month ago on February 13th 2014 my father passed away. This was not really a shock in terms of suddenness as he had been sick for some time. It was more a shock in the realization that I was now parent less having lost mom 5 years ago.

When my mother passed it hit me pretty hard as it was unexpected. It took a few years to really come to grips with the loss. Sadly, I guess it is true what they say, we can pretty much get used to anything because I find myself accepting the loss of my father far more easily and with less pain and confusion.

I find my thoughts fluctuating these days between the sense of losing both parents and the feeling of peace that comes after facing such a tremendous fear as the death of ones parents.

I am beginning to sense a sort of wisdom and patience I didn’t previously have. It is the belief that so many little things just are not that important anymore, and certainly not to be feared. I go through my days with greater clarity of the things that need to be done, and get them done.

Is there a metamorphosis occurring here? I guess time will tell. But for my readers I just wanted to touch base this evening and share where my head, heart and spirit are currently residing.

Be well all, there is lots more to come!

Christmas Ice Storm 2013

The area where I live was hard hit by an ice storm on December 22nd 2013. It was like nothing we have ever experienced, and honestly I hope to never see again.

Saturday December 21, 2013 was the first hint I had that there might be an issue. I was watching the weather channel and getting ready for Christmas. The weather person said, “a 1-2 degree fluctuation in temp, once the precipitation begins could be the difference between freezing rain capable of reeking havoc on the area, or merely rain that  can wash away the accumulated Christmas snow. I looked out the window. A tree in the backyard had lost a branch.

The backyard:

SAM_0440“It’s only one branch, maybe the tree was dead,” I reasoned. Most of us are happier being complacent and taking on a “wait and see” attitude when it comes to weather predictions. I mean what else can you do with news like that, right?

I slept restlessly that night and kept waking up to vague noises coming from the park behind the house. I needed sleep as Sunday was going to be a very busy shopping day. Although the Christmas presents were ready to go, well most of them anyway, there was still a lot of fresh produce, meats and fishes to  purchase for Christmas Eve/Day festivities.

I awoke Sunday morning and stretched expecting to find a few downed trees outside the house. I sat up and looked out the window. Something was VERY different. Why was I looking at grey sky when I should be seeing the branches of the 50 ft Maples splayed just outside the windows across the horizon. Disoriented I got up and went to the window.

I started to cry as I tried to comprehend what I was looking at.  Each of the tall trees lining the back yard and those beyond in the park  had shed many of their large branches and were lying on the ground. Not just one or two , but most of them. Everywhere I looked the beautiful mature trees had lost many of their branches.

The park:

SAM_0451The Backyard:

SAM_0508I have a lower roof that obstructs the view of the backyard from our bedroom window. Feeling a little disoriented, I went downstairs to get a better view. What I saw when reaching the windows brought a fresh flood of tears. The backyard and garden I write about in a gardening blog was completely devastated. Large branches, the tops of the missing skyline trees I usually see from the bedroom, were lying across the yard creating an impenetrable barrier between me and the garden. Thankfully the house was spared from damage.

The Backyard:

SAM_0470“Oh no,” I thought. “What about the old maple tree on the front lawn?” I opened the door and peeked outside, not really interested in seeing a branch laying across the car in the driveway.
I experienced a moment of relief. Although caked in an inch of ice, the maple was intact. Its branches hung precariously under the weight of ice but were still attached to the main trunk.

The Front yard:

SAM_0529 We started calling around and checking on the kids and friends/family to ensure everyone was o.k. My daughter along with our granddaughter came over and we spent the day together as my husband went out with the rest of the guys to help with the removal of trees from roads and driveways. Honestly I was quite upset at the sight of the storms devastation and so happy to have them there with me. They are wonderful girls and I want to say thanks and “I love you and guys!”.

We had coffee and watched the news. Hundreds of thousands of people across the area were without power. No serious injuries or fatalities had been reported. I said a prayer for all to stay safe.

While we tried to carry on with some degree of normal routine it was impossible. Branches were crashing down outside, bouncing off roofs and hitting fences. With each thud, I jumped out of my skin. If I never hear that noise again it will be a blessing. It begins with a crackling of ice as the branch starts to give way under the weight, turns into the harsh sound of wood tearing as the branch separates from the tree. Next the sound of ice chunks falling and hitting the frozen snow, and finally ends with a sound I can only describe as similar to a traffic accident.

The Park:

SAM_0500 Each thud made my heart sink. I wished I could stop it, and knew that wasn’t possible. For a few hours the branches were breaking off every few minutes, and we just watched helpless to do anything about it. I was terrified one of the branches still clinging to the tops of tall trees in the backyard would come down on the house or car.

After a coffee we dressed and ventured out to see how neighbors were doing. We kept to the middle of the street avoiding trees full of ice on front lawns. I was amazed how much debris had barely missed several cars.

The Street:

SAM_0455SAM_0460People were outside shoveling and trying to clean up the mess. Everyone we spoke with was safe and had amazing stories to share about the storm.

Sadly we heard on the news the next day of several fatalities related to improper use of BBQ and generators during the storm. A result of those without power doing their best to keep warm. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones due to the storm, or its aftermath during this holiday season ice storm.

We Canadians are for the most part a hearty bunch able to withstand and recover from Mother Nature’s quirky whims and furious temper tantrums.

The following day my husband told me to look out the window. I really didn’t want to see the devastation again. He coaxed me over to take a peek. What I saw was a beautiful, stunning and blinding sight. The sun had finally come out and its rays were hitting the ice covered trees turning it into something beyond a scene on a Christmas card or anything technology can mimic or cameras can accurately capture. It was absolutely glorious. Each and every branch covered in twinkling diamonds of ice. It was so brilliant we had to shield our eyes in order to see it.

The Backyard & Park:

SAM_0539There is beauty in everything, or so they say. The beauty of our Christmas Ice Storm 2013 is in the way community came together and supported each other and the stunning view the storm left behind in its wake.

After loosing December 22nd to the Christmas Ice Storm, we were still able to pull off our Christmas Eve/Day celebrations. We lost Sunday which created extra work, however Christmas arrived, storm or no storm just as it always does!

I want to wish friends, family, fellow bloggers/readers and all who stumble upon this blog a wonderful and safe holiday season and only the best this coming year has to offer.

Cycling Through The Winter Blues

The weather turned icy and cold here today as it normally does around this time of year in Canada. Gone are the warm summer breezes and brisk, bright autumn days, replaced by winters’ icy touch.

With the colder temps setting in it is time to store the bike. I will miss that little piece of metal on wheels. We started a new adventure together this year and I learned about possibilities. It also reminded me how to feel like a kid again.

It was a good fall season, no worries or regrets because as soon as the weather warms up and the ice melts I will be out there pedaling along the streets and down through the parks once more, offering a smile and sincere “Good day” to those I pass by.

The winter time in Canada brings with it darker and colder days and for those of us who live in this climate, exercise is crucially important. A couple of months without sun can lead to depression, aka cabin fever.

With the bike tucked away in the garage, I turn back to the treadmill. It is perfectly situated beside a window overlooking the park. As I have done for many years over the winter months I will spend hours walking miles while watching snow storms and winter winds blow.

I have used that machine to walk through many a winter blahs. Worrying, at times, that there was nothing more for me. Thinking I would spend the rest of my life on a treadmill leading to no where.

But there is more, and the cycling adventures are proving it to me. Life is a journey. There are steps to be taken in order to grasp more of it.

Walking the treadmill built strength in my legs. This strength allowed me to hop back on the bike and continue the journey. A journey 4 years ago didn’t cross my mind.

Life has ups and downs, and sometimes we want to give up. Maybe it is true what they say, “we just have to keep going.” And when an opportunity to do something new presents itself, go ahead and give it a try.

“Step out, risk, live, love and laugh.” These are more than words, or pretty cliches. They are real time events to be experienced each day.

What new thing can you try today?

Debtless & Cheap – Free Advice & Happiness

Cheap Advice and Happiness

I am a little, or should I say I “WAS” a little pissed off this morning.

Since I needed a post for today to keep up with the NaBloPoMo challenge I thought this is as good a subject as any.

The experience:

I was talking to someone, we’ll call her Anne, about riding the bike today. Anne was all bundled up as if the temps had already hit sub-zero. She suggested, “it was rather ambitious of me to continue with the cycling considering the drop in temperature.”

It was +5C today.

I replied, “no big deal as long as you’re dressed for the weather.”

Well this response failed to deter her from the desired result I guess. She went on to share with me how a cyclist had fallen to their death over a bridge. The bridge I use to go to and return from my destination on these outings actually.

It seems Anne really wanted to put me off riding today with all this lovely and well intentioned (giving her the benefit of the doubt) negative chatter.

I said “goodbye” to her and toddled off to pack up my stuff and pull out the bike.

Here’s my problem. Anne did get me worried. Actually her horror story had me fearing for my safety. When I ride I am alert, watch the traffic and obey traffic lights etc. Although I had taken this route many times over the last few months, anxiety began to fester in the pit of my stomach.

Now I believe well placed fear can be a powerful motivator that can keep us safe, however when misused it can become a very dangerous emotion to feel while doing a task that is usually simple.

I knew I needed to change the thought. On the ride over that bridge I reminded myself, “you can just as easily get killed in a car on the highway. Actually far more have been seriously injured and killed in cars than on bicycles.” Yes I know the law of averages.
More cars than bikes… I had to stop comparing these dark facts and statistics if I wanted to be safe and fear free.

“I am cycling today because it is great exercise, increases energy and the sense of well being and I’m saving money,” I thought.

Immediately I started to feel better and enjoy the ride again. I noticed the more I practice law of attraction, changing negatives to positives, is happening quickly and easily.

I am reminded to accept good advice and leave the fear behind. This way we keep moving forward toward whatever life has to offer. Moving beyond the fear of “I can’t” and toward that  possibility “I can” increases our chances to succeed at whatever we can envision, and act upon.

This resistance I experienced from Anne is another rule of law of attraction. The greater your desire to succeed the greater is the resistance you experience.

A final thought:

I have a blogger friend who experienced a wicked cycling crash and is just now getting back on the bike after some time. To me this shows courage and strength of character. Both traits I highly admire and respect.

How do you feel the fear and do it anyways?

Debtless & Cheap Save $2400/Year

In the spring of 2013 I took a good hard look at our bills. You know the ones, basic hydro, gas and internet.

The hydro bill was o.k. in terms of the monthly amount we were spending. We did manage to cut it back by 10% using common sense tips. Turning off unnecessary lights and switching to energy efficient bulbs etc.

Next came the gas bill. After speaking with neighbors and others I discovered we were paying twice as much for gas as others. Our furnace and water heater were comparable and efficient. What the heck was going on?

I carefully scanned the bill. There was a whole home warranty package and a water heater rental charge, as well as our rates were much higher per cubic metre than our local gas company was currently charging.

I called up our current supplier and told them two things. First I want to buy out the water heater and second I want to cancel my contract with them. After some huffing and puffing both requests were granted. Oh and the water heater buy out was a whopping 25 dollars. I can live with that.

We moved our business back to the local gas supplier who’s rates, while they will fluctuate,  are a few cents cheaper per cubic metre right now. With these changes made I cut our gas bill in half.

My final act was to call up the internet provider. Having been a valued customer for many years I couldn’t understand why my internet charge was so high. After negotiationg with them we got the monthly charged knocked down by 35%. Again I was satisfied with this, although it did take months before they charged me the correct amount. It was still worth those all the calls
I had to make to get it right.

Oh, almost forgot there was one final bill I received while all this was going on, the car insurance. They had raised the yearly rate by 35%. While there had been no claims or tickets the amount went up, why? Anyway I didn’t bother questioning the insurance company I talked around found a reputable company that offered the best rates and switched.  This needs to be done at renewal time to avoid cancellation charges.

By pulling my head out of the sand and doing the work, I managed to save us a total of $2400 for the year.

I am excited and you betcha we are looking for more and more ways to save. Call me a cheapskate if you like. I call it some of the best work of my life.

I have been reading great tips and tricks on how to cut your grocery bill. This weeks challenge, cut the amount I spend on groceries by 50%. If anyone reading this has I’m all ears, er eyes.

A final question. I was watching extreme cheapskates last night. A family is living by lantern to save money on electricity. Is this too extreme for you? Where do you draw the line between frugal and crazy?