Finding Joy – Honesty

Mike Swartz #1

Joy in Friendship

Whenever there is a major shift in one’s life, whether it is an unexpected loss of a job, a loved one, or a relationship, we count on our friends to listen, to make us laugh, and to love us. And last week when my employer announced they would dissolve, there was plenty of joy in friendship this past week.

There are those like my friend, Rick, who suggested, “find a way to make money while pursuing your passion. That’s the challenge.” And in that same Facebook interchange, my friend, Anita responded, “Well, in some cases it is possible. I sold far more $$ worth of beads and jewelry in the past 18 years than I ever made (totaled) during my whole teaching career. Of course, after deducting the money I spent on tools, equipment, and materials, it’s a much more modest amount. But it’s still been wonderful to make money from creating things.”

To which my friend, Rick responded, “Visualize yourself writing and checks arriving in the mail. You are happy, healthy, and prosperous. Hold that visualization. Don’t concern yourself with how it happens, just see it happening. Once you imprint on the end result, your subconscious mind will guide you. Trust your intuition, it is your higher consciousness talking.” And he continued, “Also, tell everyone you know about your dream. The more the better. Thoughts are prayers. Get your own prayer circle of friends working on this with you.”

Sally's Duck

Joy in Emotional Intelligence

Yet there always seems to be one or two in that circle of family and friends that want to seemingly suck all the joy out of you.

What’s all this finding joy shit?

Where is your faith talking getting you?

You would look better with longer hair, or you need to start thinking about your weight.

Why does this keep happening to you?

It wasn’t the words in that last question, but it was in tone and delivery as though it was an indictment of some irresponsibility on my part that I am now without full-time employment.

And to all these people I responded silently in my head with a smile on my face, “Thank you. How is life going for you?”

Spirit of Faith

Joy in Life

The commitment to finding joy each day started before my sudden unemployment and it will continue in my search for a new career.

(An excerpt from my prayer journal 4/18)

Discouraged or disappointed? It’s my choice. God will place me where He needs me, and it is there I will joyfully serve.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5”

Not my job to judge

I don’t know how anyone gets through life without faith, but I am not here to judge. My job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. I found joy in helping a co-worker needing help in writing her resume. I’ll continue joyfully  helping others and in continued faith.

My definition

Joy in Honesty

As I have told many of my co-workers and others who are looking for jobs or even something more in their life like love, know your worth. God paid a heavy price for me (and for you). It’s okay to speak your mind, however, I am going to remain speaking and writing from my heart.

Finding joy is important. We cannot thrive nor help others thrive without joy. Finding joy each day may be difficult. We must be intentional in finding it.

birds still sing in spring
snow, hail, sun, rain or rainbows
intentional joy
(c) 2018 SL Prielipp-Falzone

Peace,

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

World Beyond.jpg

The Joyful Journey is a blog series. This is the second post in the series. I will be blogging pages from my journal on where I have found joy. All blog posts will be stored in the category labeled #TheJoyfulJourney.

I hope you will join me on this expedition of finding joy. Not only finding it but sharing it with me and the followers of The Blogging Owl. Whether in posting a comment on The Blogging Owl page or have a guest blog spot on The Blogging Owl (email me at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com).

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved – The Blogging Owl – SL Prielipp-Falzone

Lent – In My Opinion, My Tattoo

Today, April 1, 2018, is Easter.

As I have posted here a few times on the topic of Lent – In My Opinion, I have wondered in writing how “fasting” from expressing my opinion matters.

Over the last 40 days I have been reading and listening to many other’s opinions from all ages and generations on topics that ran the gamut of existence here on earth without expressing my own opinion. (I wouldn’t admit to being 100% silent but, in my opinion, I think I was darn close to it). And irrespective of age or generation, the opinions I read or listened to ranged from the cruel and insensitive to an articulate wise point of view. As I mentioned in my last post on Lent – In My Opinion, Part 3, all opinions do matter, but will they matter? And I came to the realization that each one’s opinions, whether I was in an agreement or not will matter just as my opinion will matter.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

For my opinion to matter I reason, I must reflect the values of what I believe are important in how I live, how I work, how I interact with others whoever they may be. My values and my opinions determine my priorities and will ultimately determine how my life will matter. It will also determine even more than just here on earth.

In my first post, Lent – In My Opinion, my husband, Vinny Sal said I should not choose fasting from what I call my coarse language, and in his words, my ‘potty’ mouth because I would fail the next day just like diet resolutions on the January 1st. Yet in fasting from expressing my opinions I have also reflected on the words I choose to express my opinion. Can another word be used that may be more effective? Is there another word aligns better with my values? Is there another word that will make my opinion matter?

How will I make my opinions matter?

My values are rooted in the Word of God. I read the Bible or a Christian devotion almost every day and I write daily in a prayer journal. Yet, as a sinner I have failed many times expressing my values in my opinions as God would like me to reflect them. My words must be His words.

The art of self-expression

When my sons were in high school, they would often say they wanted a tattoo. A few of their friends were getting tattoos, why couldn’t they? My answer was always, “Your body is on loan from God. He wouldn’t like you to tattoo his masterpiece.” I knew then that when they reached adulthood they wouldn’t need my permission or approval. I just hoped they would think clearly about what tattoo and where they would tattoo their body.

Since that time I have become fascinated by why people get tattoos and how they choose what to tattoo on their bodies. After all, it will be there forever unless of course they rue their decision and go through through the painful process of medical laser surgery to remove them.

While I am sure some tattoos were mindlessly ill-conceived or gotten under inebriated circumstances and they were too ashamed to admit it, the majority chose their tattoo because it reflected their values, some event, a personally held conviction or message.

My tattoo – Luther’s Rose

My youngest son now has three tattoos in which he has shared the meaning and the reason behind each one. Friends and co-workers have tattoos. Vinny Sal vows he will never get a tattoo. And after my Lenten fasting I have found that I  now want a very special tattoo. A tattoo that reflects to me in the mirror every day a message of what my values are based upon. Although it is sad to think I need a reminder at times, I have chosen Luther’s rose for my tattoo.

(From: Letter from Martin Luther to Lazarus Spengler, July 8, 1530)

“First, there is a black cross in a heart that remains its natural color. This is to remind me that it is faith in the Crucified One that saves us. Anyone who believes from the heart will be justified (Romans 10:10). It is a black cross, which mortifies and causes pain, but it leaves the heart its natural color. It doesn’t destroy nature, that is to say, it does not kill us, but keeps us alive, for the just shall live by faith in the Crucified One (Romans 1:17).

Luther's Rose - original

The heart should stand in the middle of a white rose. This is to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace—it puts the believer into a white, joyous rose. Faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). This is why the rose must be white, not red. White is the color of the spirits and angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12).

This rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that a joyful spirit and faith is a beginning of heavenly, future joy, which begins now, but is grasped in hope, not yet fully revealed.

Around the field of blue is a golden ring to symbolize that blessedness in heaven lasts forever and has no end. Heavenly blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and better than any possessions, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.”

A special placement

My Luther’s rose tattoo will be etched above my heart near my left shoulder so as I look  in the mirror each day, it will remind me of the excruciating lashes etched on Jesus’ body for each and every one of my sins. It will remind me that my words and actions must not cause pain, but gives joy, comfort and peace. It will remind me that a joyful spirit and faith grasped in hope surrounded by a blessedness is better than any possession here on earth.

Unlike my gold cross necklace that I can put on and remove, my tattoo will remain as a reflection to all that my opinions do and will matter when I keep them rooted in a believing heart justified by faith in Jesus Christ.

Peace,

IMG_0603

The Blogging Owl

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved – The Blogging Owl – SL Prielipp-Falzone

2018 – Three Words to Live By

Wow! What a year in mind, body and spirit in 2017.

As I look toward the end of this year, I would usually write the obligatory New Year’s resolutions. In 2018, my approach will be living by three words: frugality, grace and truth.

Frugality

“The lack of wastefulness” per Dictionary.com

I will turn 57 years old in 2018. It’s difficult for me to believe I will be that age. Per the World Life Expectancy Organization, the average life expectancy for a woman living in Michigan is 80.68. This average life expectancy ranks 33 in the United States with Hawaii in first place at 84.72 years of age, followed by Minnesota at 83.34 years of age. Minnesota???

Even if I move to Hawaii, I have approximately 27 summers (my favorite season) left in my life.

27 years. Think about that for a moment. How fast did the last 27 years fly by?

No time to waste

I am going to live in the present enjoying every second with people and puppies I love, but more importantly, WHO I want to be in my presence. People that share my sense of fun and frivolity, but who also share my values.

Even if I am having a shitty day, I will think of days in the summer sun and enjoy the warmth of the memories of being in my favorite places and spaces, and doing the things I love to do, and loving on my favorite people.

No time to spend

My husband, Vinny Sal and I have had a tough time financially since 2009 when I lost my job. I have been employed full-time for a year and half of being a self-employed contractor and through perseverance and hard-work, we are almost debt free.

I was impressed by the story of the 28-year old accountant who paid off $73,000 student loan debt in less than 4 years. ABC News Story – Logan Marston

“There wasn’t any kind of secret strategy or secret formula,” Marston said. “I was just living as humbly as possible–splitting rent with roommates, and doing everything I could to save money. I kept a very low cash reserve. I didn’t have any emergency cash. Whatever I saved, I paid the loans with it. No unnecessary spending whatsoever.”

Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Logan Marston taught me to forgo the wants and take care of the needs. By the time we are retired, our goal is to completely be debt free with no mortgages or car payments.

Grace

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

As Thomas Merton was quoted as saying, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

I will continue my personal initiative, “The Watering Can– Helping All of God’s Creatures Thrive.” This initiative is to serve others in need, to be a service resource, and to provide service development for those who want to become their own watering can in their community and beyond.

The Watering Can is a life of service built on the belief that each person and all of God’s creatures have intrinsic value deserving of love and a quality life without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, breed or species.

Grace in action is about serving those who need my gifts. Kindness in action is living the commandment, “‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’’’ Matthew 22:39

Truth

“The state or character of living free” per Dictionary.com

2017 was a year of forced personal revelations and admissions about the state of my mind, body and spirit. I will continue to live my truth and not hide behind it anymore.

Mind

I have unloaded my conscious and soul. I am now true. The things I will continue to do in 2018 is write, blog, and journal. My mind won’t allow me to do anything else.

I started a poetry journal at the beginning of 2017. After reading through it, it speaks more clearly to me of what was happening that day, in my life, and in the world than my other journals. Poetry matters. If not for you, it does to me. I hope you have enjoyed some of the poetry I have posted here along the way. I will continue my poetry journal in 2018 because not only is good for my mind; it is precious to my soul.

Body

In 2017, I came to terms with my weight. I didn’t die from admitting that I am medically coined “obese.” I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and on my way to Type II Diabetes. I have committed to change my lifestyle to the 9-inch plate. Vinny Sal and I have joined the local 24/7-hour gym. Together, supporting one another, we are changing our health, lifestyle so we can reach, and hopefully exceed our life expectancies. Did you notice I didn’t say the word diet? I refuse to diet ever again. I am committed to a lifestyle that gives me more than 27 summers!

Spirit

The one thing I am not proud of in 2017 is that I have not attended church on a weekly basis. I am in search of a faith community for both Vinny Sal and me.It’s my fault really.In 1018, I am embarking on an intense spiritual journey writing a spiritual memoir. As in my new physical lifestyle, I need God. I need to worship Him fully and faithfully. If you want to join me on my spiritual journey, please follow my blog, The Prayer Journals. I will be spending a great deal of time over there pursuing spiritual topics as I explore spiritual purpose.

Frugality – Grace – Truth

Sailboat Haiku 2018

Happy New Year!

The Blogging Owl