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

 

 

 

 

What Kind of Tree are You?

What Kind of Tree are You

When you reached a popular milestone in life didn’t someone inevitably ask, “Well, how does it feel to be (fill in the blank)?”  Perhaps it was your 18th, 30th, or 40th birthday – did you feel differently on your birthday than the day before?  How about your confirmation day when you affirmed your faith in front of the church – was it your expectation that you would somehow enter into this greater sense of spiritual enlightenment?  Did you think you should feel different somehow?

I know I didn’t feel any differently, but I did pause to think, “What now?”

If you are older than 40 years of age, you may remember the infamous Barbara Walter’s interview of Katherine Hepburn in 1981.  Katherine Hepburn had described herself as a very strong tree in her old age to which Barbara Walter’s asked, “What kind of tree are you?”  Ms. Hepburn’s answer was an oak tree rather than an elm tree so as to avoid contracting Dutch elm disease.

What kind of tree am I?  An oak, an elm, or maybe a maple?

There are probably over 100,000 types of trees around the world.  Trees are common, average, nothing particularly unique (unless you are an arborist).  Yet, there is one tree that stands out. The common, ordinary tree which hung our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Who his own self-bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes (you) were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 (KJV)

For some people, a tree may be a run-of-the-mill kind of thing; but for those who belong to Christ, it is the tree of life.  We may be feeling average when others ask if we feel any differently when we come to those milestones in life, but we need to take heart.  Average trees or as in 2 Corinthians 4:7 describes us as, “jars of clay,” however, we are ordinarily described, God uses the common, mundane things of the world to show His immense power and goodness.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

 As a Christian, I know I have been given my mind, gifts, talents, and skills from God to exhibit His power, wisdom, creativity, and beauty. It is when I use those things that originated from God to shine the light of Jesus Christ that I feel different.  God used a common tree to give us His grace – the tree of life. 

What kind of tree are you?

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)