Thinking with the heart…

These are not my own words. I received this in an email and felt the need to share. I hope you enjoy and that it makes you think – with your heart, not your head. 

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree.

The last class I had to take was Sociology.

The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with.

Her last project of the term was called, ‘Smile.’

The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake, Literally.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald’s one crisp March morning.

It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.

We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden
everyone around us began to back away, and then Even my husband did.

I did not move an inch… An overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved.

As I turned around I smelled a horrible ‘dirty body’ smell, and there
standing behind me were two poor homeless men.

As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was ‘smiling’

His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God’s Light as he searched f or
acceptance….

He said, ‘Good day’ as he counted the few coins he had been clutching..

The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation.

I held my tears as I stood there with them.

The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted.

He said, ‘Coffee is all Miss’ because that was all they could afford. (If
they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it – the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes..

That is when I noticed all eyes in the Restaurant were set on me, judging My every action.

I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray.

I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman’s cold hand.

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, ‘Thank you.’

I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, ‘I did not do this for you..God is here working through me to give you hope.’

I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son…. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, ‘That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope..’

We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.

We are not church goers, but we are believers.

That day showed me the pure Light of God’s sweet love.

I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in
hand.

I turned in ‘my project’ and the instructor read it.

Then she looked up at me and said, ‘Can I share this?’

I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.

She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed.

In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald’s, my son, the
instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I
spent as a college student.

I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn:

UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE.

Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to

LOVE PEOPLE AND USE THINGS –

NOT LOVE THINGS AND USE PEOPLE.

There is an Angel sent to watch over you.

In order for her to work, you must pass this on to the people you want
watched over.

An Angel wrote:

Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will
leave footprints in your heart

To handle yourself, use your head..

To handle others, use your heart.

God Gives every bird it’s food, but He does not throw it into its nest.

Green Acres is the place to be…Tuesdays with Donna, A Little Southern Comfort

Down here we call it life on the farm.  Two days this past week my phone has rung and it’s been Hubby telling me the tractor broke down – again – and could I come and tow him back. The first time this happened, I got to ride the tractor. That in itself was a feat. His tractor is awaiting the repairman as we speak, so he was using his friend’s tractor to bush hog, and when I tell you I could have used a step-stool, translate that into a LADDER, to climb onto this thing.

     Hubby told me to climb up and all I had to do was steer to keep it behind the truck. I walked to one side, and then to the other side. This was one high tractor! Hubby was beginning to get impatient and asked me if I was climbing up. I’m like, “Yeah! If I can figure out how!” So, Hubby, being the gentleman he is (this is the South), offered to help. I was looking at him and he was looking at me, and then he asks what kind of help did I need. I guess it was akin to, “I was looking back to see if he was looking back to see if I was looking back to see if he was looking back at me…” This, of course, made me start laughing, and when that happens, forget trying to climb on a ten-story tractor, I was lucky I wasn’t sitting on the ground from laughing so hard. The thought of poison ivy, which I already have, kept me standing.

After a good stiff look from Hubby, I managed to curtail some of the giggling and he hoisted me up. My feet didn’t even reach the floor when I was sitting in the seat. He climbed into the truck and proceeded to bounce me all the way back to the front of the back of the property (try to figure that one out.)

     Once, it seems, wasn’t enough. The second time the tractor broke, he was a mile back and this time HE got to ride the tractor. Poor thing. I finally got the whole show going – it took several tries to get the traction that was needed. So, finally, we are on our journey back to the front (of the back) of the property and he’s bouncing around on the tractor. I got a little (okay – a lot) too close to the trees on one side and he was getting whipped around and of course I wasn’t seeing the hand signals telling me to move over away from the trees. I was too busy enjoying the bug free air conditioned, music jamming ride! Poor Hubs. That is one patient man. 

     We made it back to the front (of the back) in one piece. Well, I did. He was a mite worse for the wear. I apologized – profusely – and he just tells me it’s alright, I was doing the best I could. Should I be insulted? 

Green Acres is the place for me. Farm living is the life for me…

Hubby and I were heading out the door for one of many trips we make to Lowes when he is building a house. With the amount we buy, Lowes should come to me, but that’s another story. I passed by the bathroom and Hubby is primping. I stopped to make the comment that he looked “bootiful” and he tells me that if I think he looks good, it must be true – because I’m so picky. Ummm. Didn’t know quite how to take that one, so of course, I texted Jessica for her input. She said picky is good, so I’m all good. Hey! That’s life on the farm!

     My cousin recently decided to start a home cooking business. Kelly loves to cook so it is the perfect business. He forwarded his brochure in progress to me for some input – which means I totally took over! I couldn’t help it. My creative side just took flight. I had designed several brochures at one of my jobs (a long time ago) and I really enjoyed it. I have to say, whoever orders from him will have a culinary delight! 

     Meanwhile, I have been attempting to catch up on my reading. My Kindle crashed and after trying everything known to man, which included wiping my Kindle clean, as in no pdf files, etc. All my books from authors and publishers – gone. Amazon finally said we will send out a new one. That Kindle arrived and guess what? It took two days to download a book. I phoned Amazon and she checked their records and saw this, and sent out another Kindle. I’ve been through so many Kindles the last two weeks, I have forgotten what number I’m on. The one I have now seems to be working, although it takes a while for the downloads to start. Once they do, I can download them pretty quickly. I just haven’t figured out why it takes so long to start. Even with all the problems, if any of you are wondering, I would still buy another Kindle. I have been really satisfied with the product even though I have had a few problems (laughing here.)

     I spent a few days picking trash up out of my yard and throwing it back over the fence where it belonged. Yes, I have officially digressed to the neighbor’s level. I can’t help that they are lazy and instead of picking up trash, they mow over it and instead of blowing it around their own yard, they choose to blow it through the fence into my yard. I just tire of being the nice, normal person and picking it up and throwing it away. Either way, I have to pick it up. At least it’s helping to whittle away my waist as I bend. 

     On Sunday I went to visit a friend and just as I was leaving Hubby called. I grabbed my phone from my bag and when I was finished speaking with him, I thought I put it securely in the outside pocket, which is my habit. Then I tossed my bag on the sofa and went to the ladies room before leaving. I didn’t notice that my phone had fallen out on the sofa. I left and on the way home stopped at Walmart to do a little grocery shopping. I got sidetracked when I noticed the swimming pools that I use for Ryka and Calypso were on sale and they each needed a new one. I headed over to the garden section and bought a few and stowed them in the suburban. 

I then went back into the store and grabbed a buggy, tossed my bag in – that’s what we ladies do – and when I checked the pocket that normally holds my phone, I came up empty. I then searched my entire bag, nothing. Then, panic set in. I retraced my steps to the garden center and asked if they had seen an iPhone (described the case – it’s distinct) and got a couple of looks that seem to say, “Are you kidding? Do you think that I’d give it to you?”  Feeling like that was a dead end, I then headed back to my car and searched it, coming to the conclusion that it must have fallen out of my bag at my friend’s house. I couldn’t call her because I don’t know her number – it’s in my phone.

At this point, I headed back to my friend’s house several miles away, only to find that she had already left for an appointment. So, I got back on the road with a heavy heart because, like most people, the phone is my life-line. My appointments, alarms…let’s just say everything is on the phone.

I was doing some heavy praying during the 14 mile trip back home. And, as always, my prayers were answered. About half-way home, it came to me that I have the find my phone app on my phone and as soon as I got home, I ran to the computer and tracked my phone to my friend’s house. It was there and I’m sure you can feel my relief. If it had been traveling somewhere, I had the option to wipe it clean or set off an alarm. I also could have locked it, but I have the lock set already.

Then, the drama wasn’t over. I had to wait for Hubby to get home so I could use his phone to call her. I finally got my phone back Monday evening. That drama is over – thank goodness.

Monday evening I had book club  That is always a hoot. Seems like we discuss books less and less. There is just too much other drama to catch up on! Last night was an all time good time. We really had good stories to share and laughed until we all had tears in our eyes.

I mentioned last week being part of a “Planner’s Addict” group on Facebook. My sister is also a member and we decided to go to Michael’s before I went to book club. That was so much fun, and there were some great sales going on. I got loads of Washi tape and stickers. I had a friend with me and we met up with my sister at the Lowes and were going to go to Michael’s together.  I am not a shopper so it had been a while since I went to Michael’s so I was all excited. I pulled up to the highway and put my blinker on and imagine my surprise when my sister pulls up along side to head the opposite way. I was a little baffled and told my friend that I didn’t know where my sister was headed. She laughed and asked me when was the last time I went to Michael’s. Seems Michael’s moved about a year ago – told you I am not a shopper!

     That’s my week in review. Feel free to comment on your week! We Southerner’s love to visit.

 

 

My Life in Review, a little Southern Comfort

This past week has been a tiring one. Whether it was my blood disorders or just too many activities, the week left me wanting to sleep for days. I literally had difficulty putting one foot in front of the other, but after five days of falling into bed at 9pm, I finally feel rested this morning. 


Last Tuesday night, I attended my writer‘s group. The group is so motivating and I look forward to it each month. It is a time to have your own work critiqued as well as pick other writer’s brains. We have a small group of six and it works quite well for us. 


Our meeting last week was at the home of a member, Monique, who loves animals, so much so, that she has a snake that lives in the bottom of their barn. She didn’t invite him, he just showed up one day and decided it was a nice place to live (harmless of course). Monique is a wonderful person and one where animals seem to know they can find safe harbor in the storm. She is a soft-spoken Southern Lady, and you just want to be in her presence. 


One story that I especially remember and chuckle about when I need a smile is the story she told me about going down to wash clothes and finding the snake in the washing machine. Monique just nonchalantly mentions that she had to disturb him so she could put the clothes in the washer; she just picked him up and set him aside. Folks, that takes a special person because I would have either fainted dead away or screamed my head off and shot up the washer! This friend is a gentle soul and I just love her to death. 


I picked up another friend on the way to writer’s group, Jessica (author of Muddy Bayou andMuddy Grave), and as we got out of the car and started our trek through the barn to the stairs leading to Monique’s home, I told Jessica she had to go first in the event the snake was hanging around, and if I saw it, I was going to shove her up the stairs. I admit it, I am NOT the bravest person around! Picture a snake wrapped around a joist, just waiting for me to happen by, and then as soon as Jessica passed, it swings its head down about two feet so it pops about level with my face and it says (in a snake drawl) “Ha! So, you were hoping to miss me?” (That would be my luck! And, did I mention what an active imagination I have? A talking snake? A Southern talking snake?) By the time we made it upstairs, we were laughing so hard, we did not have to knock, Monique heard us outside the door. 


Monique opened the door to our laughter and one of her dogs barked. Yes, I screamed. I’m sure you can imagine my reaction. I had to actually remind myself it was a dog, that snakes don’t bark. Those are memories in the making and ones I cherish.


On the way home that night, I encountered the bad weather I wrote about. If you didn’t have a chance to read about it, you can here. That was definitely a terrifying experience.


The dogs had a bath last week. I say that because I used to give them baths every week. With the heat this summer,  I have taken to playing with them in the evenings by spraying them with the cool water and letting them soak in their little swimming pools. It is a game to them and one they love. Ryka spends most of her day just lounging around, but comes alive when I start spraying the water her way. She hops around and I know if a dog could laugh, she would be giggling. The change in her demeanor is so cute.  But, playing in the water, and I just do not understand it, makes them smell. One might think that being rinsed off and playing in a pool each day would make a dog smell good. Not! So, last week, they both got soaped up and smelled really good – for about one day. Oh well. 


That brings about another story. I have a wagon that I put them in for baths. It elevates them to a good height so I am not bent over while scrubbing them. It is always a contest when I pull the wagon out and ask who wants a bath first. Yes, I ask, and I will tell you that they know baths are coming. Sometimes Ryka jumps in first, and other times Calypso, and on occasion, both. Then it is a wait and see as to who gives in and jumps out. I never interfere because I enjoy watching the interaction to see what happens.  

 

 

Last week, Calypso opted for the first bath. I soaked her with water and doesn’t that silly dog attempt to chase her tail while standing in the wagon! As  soon as she was dried off, she was gone and chasing dragon flies. Ryka, on the other hand, was content to sit after her bath and be towel dried for as long as I was willing to keep on rubbing her down. When I would stop, she would look over her shoulder at me as if to say, “Just a little longer.”


Thursday, the optical center called to let me know that my new lenses were in. Upon their suggestion, I had tried the progressive lenses  rather than going with lined trifocals. I felt like a drunken sailor out to sea – for three weeks. I used them for a week and let them know that I couldn’t do it. I needed the lined trifocals. I then had to go in so they could take new measurements for the trifocals. I still continued to wear the progressive lenses thinking maybe I might adjust to them. I never did and I am so happy to have my lined trifocals! The ship has come in to port and docked. 


With a progressive lens, the corrective prescription runs down the center of the lens, and to either side there is no prescription, so you actually have no peripheral vision. It drove me crazy because I was constantly thinking – follow my nose, point my nose where I want to look. And then, once I pointed my nose where I wanted to see, I then had to move my head up and down to find the right level for clearness. This was definitely not working for me and I was able to exchange them out. Now, my bifocals have a bifocal. But I can see! 


I actually found a group on Facebook for planner addicts like myself. I love my planner! I also use my electronic calendar, but for me, writing down and being able to visually glance at my planner page is my favorite way of keeping track of my ToDo’s.  So like everyone else in the group, I’ve been ogling their planners, and visa versa. I am finding out that others are using stickers and washi tape to decorate their planner pages so I am having a ball doing the same. It really makes a difference. The calendar days are no longer just filled with appointments and ToDo’s. They have smiley faces and hearts and pretty tape, etc. It’s a fun group and if you are a planner addict as well, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/planneraddicts/  if you would like to check it out. 

 

 

 

That was most of my week, the highlights anyway. Hope your week was good and if you’d like to share your highlights, please leave a comment.

“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble”…Tuesdays with Donna, A Little Southern Comfort

It’s that time of the week again! Hope everyone had a wonderful week. Other than loads of rain the past few days, there hasn’t been much going on. 

 

Hubby had to make a trip Sunday afternoon to Lowes for paint. He’s trying to finish up a rent house before the building permit expires next month, along with the Builder’s Risk Insurance. I normally go with him, but this time I had something different in mind. Remember the Planner Addicts group I belong to on Face book? Well, Michael’s is just across the way, so I managed to inquire (with a very passive face) if he would mind dropping me off so I could browse while he made his trip to Lowes. Silly, silly man. He told me yes. I don’t know if that expression or plea will EVER work again!

 

project life 2013 | june
project life 2013 | june (Photo credit: vee*)

 

The automated doors opened up and the entire store was there, waiting for me to descend upon it. I’m sure Hubby wasn’t to the Lowes parking lot before my buggy was showing signs of distress under its load. I picked up a few more of the $1 items for gifts at my annual cookie swap in December. I thought it would be nice to have loads of little gifts this year instead of a few more costly items. That way, everyone could win at the games. But, that wasn’t where I stopped. I headed over to the Project Life isle. I have a plain brown binder and I was looking for something a little more colorful. Sure enough, there it was! A beautiful, colorful, chevron Project Life album sitting there waiting for me. I picked it up and gave it a place of honor in my buggy before heading on to the Washi tape.

 


I had begun decorating my planner for October and realized that I had no orange or black Washi tape. I didn’t want to use another color because I have the cutest Halloween stickers that I am using. After gathering the items I had come for, I took the opportunity to just wander up and down the aisles. Michael’s is a huge store and there are so many goodies! As I was coming back down one of the isles, I happened to look up and noticed the line of Sunday shoppers at the checkout counters, so armed with my 40% coupon (which I planned to use on my Project Life binder) and an additional 20% off my entire purchase coupon, I took my place in line. 

 


I called Hubby to see how his trip was faring and he was in the check out line at Lowes. About the time that I was walking out of Michael’s, he was driving up to the door. That was great unplanned timing. And, he never missed a beat as I loaded my HUGE bag of a “few little things” into the back seat. You have to give him credit. He didn’t blink an eye. Men just have to know that if they drop their wives off a ANY store for any length of time, that she’s going to come out with a bag, and it just may be the biggest bag that store has to offer. 

 


Monday is normally mow the yard day for me. That is, unless it’s raining, which it has been practically the entire summer. My schedule has been – mow the grass when it’s not raining. I had just begun mowing the front yard when it began drizzling. I checked the sky and saw that we were in for rain, but as long as there was no lightening and it was only a light rain, I continued to mow. It wasn’t long before my mind was doing its normal thing – wandering. At some point in my “wandering” I realized that I was getting a little wetter than I should be and happened to tune in to my surroundings and realized that it was raining pretty hard. I mow with my big straw hat and it was acting as an umbrella so that I didn’t realize it had gone from a drizzle to an almost downpour. You ask, “How did I not figure that out?” Folks. This is me. Need I say more? 

 


By that time, I figured I was already wet so as long as the mower was still blowing grass (meaning the grass wasn’t so wet it was clumping up under the mower instead of blowing out of the tunnel) I would continue mowing. About the time I finished up the front yard and was heading to the side and back yards, it had stopped raining and the sun was in all its glory. By the time I finished up, I was dry.

 


The next project up that I was about to just ignore was washing the bottom of the garage door. Calypso chases her tail and has made it a habit of cornering it against the garage door. She is not the cleanest dog around as she loves the swimming pool and the mud holes. Combine that with rubbing against a white garage door and it won’t take long to realize it’s not a pretty picture. Hubby kindly told me – my dogs, my mess. That meant clean it. Not that I mind. Poor man. He works long days and he’s tired at the end of the day. 

 


I gathered up the bucket and soap and a water hose and went to work. It is now a pale gray at the bottom and I’m thinking I shouldn’t have cleaned the top too, because now it is really noticeable how much its stained. Then, as soon as I finished, that silly dog went back to chasing her tail next to the door I had just cleaned. So much for that job being successful!

 


Now I am on to a rant. Our church just recently instituted a family of the month and minister (lay) of the month program. The recipients this month are close friends of mine, and if anyone was a a deserving family, they are. They are wonderful people and I feel blessed to a part of their lives. This “rant” of mine is in no way meant to diminish the honor I am certain they feel for receiving this award.  In fact, I had already written this post when I saw on Facebook that they had been chosen as family of the month. 

 


Ever since this program has been in formation, Hubby and I have been discussing the merits of it. Neither one of us think that the program should exist – for a litany of reasons. We also decided that if our names ever came up (which after this rant, I’m sure they won’t) we would decline the award. 

 


There is already so much division in the church and we feel that this will cause even more division – the people you “see” doing versus those who quietly do. The question is – should the church be bestowing awards on its congregation for what they should already be doing – and that is, being good stewards of faith?

 


There are many ways to serve in the Catholic church; altar servers, lectors, commentators, Eucharistic ministers, organizations, etc. I choose to be a lector, not because of the recognition I might receive, but because it is my way of serving God. I am a good reader and that talent is God given and I know that I should use it to serve Him. Hubby is part of the music ministry and he will be the first to turn the praise from himself to others. He is a very humble man who is quietly carrying on the legacy of his mother. I will not expound on the deeds that he does because that is between him and his God. It is not my place to praise him to others, although in the privacy of our relationship, I do let him know how proud of him I am. 

 


That being said, not everyone is comfortable being in an organization or reading in front of people, etc. Because no one sees them, does not mean they are not good stewards of their faith. Should those who are unable to put themselves out there not be recognized as well? Not being from the area, Hubby has pointed out different people and told me their stories and how they help people. There are many humble people out there who wish to remain anonymous, and they should be allowed that anonymity. 

 


After I published this post, my friend (award recipient) messaged me. And, no, she wasn’t upset with me. I think she would be okay with me saying she actually felt the same. In her words, “I do it for God and for love of my community.” And she does. She is a quiet, wonderful human being with a huge heart and a faith that I admire.

 

I also found out that it is a committee that nominates, and this again, struck me as being so wrong. I want to stress that this is my opinion, but to me, that is judging and it is not our place to judge. I would not want to be a part of a committee sifting through the congregation to determine who the humble are. 

 


The question is, should we single out any one person over another? What about those who do things only for the attention they receive? Should they be recognized over someone who sits quietly in the pew Sunday after Sunday, but helps his neighbor every day? We are called to be humble servants of God, not “awarded” servants of God. 

 


Who are we to judge who is or isn’t worthy of receiving an award here on earth? Shouldn’t our reward be bestowed in Heaven? I’ve heard it said that if we “toot our own horn” or receive our awards here on earth, then there is no reason to be awarded a second time in Heaven. It is those good deeds that go unnoticed, except by the Almighty, that will be our saving grace. 

 


And, not to mock the seriousness of my rant, but this song plays over and over in my head when I think of being humble, or when I notice someone else not being quite so humble. Maybe it’s just my strange sense of humor, or maybe it’s because we all struggle with humbleness. 

 

 

I’m sure I’ve stepped on a few toes – or, maybe not. So feel free to speak up – kindly though – or your remarks may be removed.