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Archive for June 2011

Summer Daze

 

It’s Summer time, and I don’t have anything profound to say about that fact. Nope. Summer just seems to defy profundity and position itself squarely in the camp of carefree. And, I guess that IS a little profound. Sometimes in the thick of real life, carefree is very elusive.

Who can’t smile at gumballs? Aren’t they the the epitome of instant sweet-filled and quickly-fleeting summertime carefree moments? I took the photo in this month’s desktop wallpaper image one Sunday afternoon earlier this month. That day, I did just what I imagine I did as a child on a summer weekend afternoon. I gazed at the scrumptious offerings inside a window, but was too drawn by the possibilities of the moment to stop and go inside. Summer daze gone by — when the endless opportunities of free time were almost overwhelming. And the absence of time constraints almost made me dizzy with possibilities.

I love that feeling. And, even though my constraints are a little more rigid in this grown-up June and July, I hope I can still capture a touch of that daze. Just a touch of that carefree heart peeking in the window, but too busy with loving life to bother with dropping in the coin. Enjoy my personal glimpse of summer, and feel free to download to use in your own devices. *wink*

Day of Rest

I’ve been thinking about rest again. It seems to happen on the weekends naturally. This being Sunday, the “day of rest,” I’ve been thinking about it again in the context of the Sabbath. The Bible says that God instituted the concept of the Sabbath on the seventh day of his creation of the world.

“On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.” (genesis 2:1-2)

Thus, the idea of a holy day of rest was born. In the account, God had surveyed the words of his mouth and the work of his hands at a stopping point the day before. He determined that it was all very good and he “rested.” Just what was this resting about, that the God of the universe chose to do it?

Was God tired? Did he need sleep after the exhaustion of his labors? That doesn’t really fit with the concept of God revealed throughout the Bible, and yet I see that pervading some of the ideas surrounding what men do with the Sabbath.

After the success of his creative endeavors, did God suddenly feel the desire to be worshipped? Did the demand for a designated day of worship somehow reveal itself on the seventh day? That doesn’t seem to fit either. No, God was no more worthy of worship on day seven in his pause of creation than he was on day six or day five. He made no command for any of his creation to join him that day in his “rest”, nor did he demand any act of worship for himself out of the day’s holiness. Although, that seems to be the popular sentiment as well. That admonition came later, and I’ll admit that I’ve always viewed it a part of the idea of Sabbath. But, it really wasn’t indoctrinated that way in this dawning of a day seven.

A year or so ago, I came across the definition of the Hebrew word for Sabbath — “shabbat”. To cease. I’ve written about it several times in this EyeJunkie space. Yet, as evidenced by this post, I keep coming back to it. I keep coming back to trying to understand it, or trying to implement it’s obvious importance into my life. Why an obvious importance? Well, God himself observed it, after all. Between the thoughts of worship services and just catching up on sleep, what does it mean to rest, to set apart a “day” of rest? What did it mean, that God would choose it?

It’s interesting to me that this was perhaps the first act in a process of worship that began as a declaration of a holy moment–a designation–and progressed into a command  to remember it and continue it. To keep stopping. To keep setting it apart.

To cease. It makes perfect sense, but so often I overlook it. I breeze right through it in an attempt to get on with the business of doing something. The ceasing part so often eludes me in the process of doing and creating and living. Yet, God chose to stop, to cease. He surveyed what he had done. He evaluated it. He recognized it’s significance. And he claimed it’s success. He named it “very good.”

That’s a powerful concept. I’ve been reminded recently how important it is in roads of change to recognize milestones. To take stock and acknowledge the small (and big) successes along the way. It makes long journeys shorter. It gives difficult moments an easier comparison. And yes, it brings rest to weariness. It brings the chaos of moving forward to a welcomed cease.

I’ve had a crazy idea since I began this adventure in paying attention of creating a 12-step program for EyeJunkies — yep, one of those hare-brained notions I may or may not get around to. But, should the idea materialize, surely “to cease” is the first step. I certainly can’t pay attention to anything until I choose to stop — least of all my own progress. The choice to cease enables so many other choices. It enables that intention I crave so often. It defies the notion of busy-ness. And yet it sometimes defines the idea of accomplishment. And the emotional, mental and spiritual “rest” initiated from simply stopping and looking and calling it good is hard to come by any other way.

signs . Magee, MS No.7

I saw these specimens of artistic ingenuity on the facade of one of the buildings in downtown Magee, MS last Fall. The cool color palette is really inspiring me in today’s summer heat. But, I also love the effort applied to adding just a touch of creative warmth and attention to an otherwise hum-drum surface. I can’t help but imagine that the person who put them there really loves what they do. And they love where they do it. What details am I giving attention to today that let folks know I’m following my passion?

Topsy-turvy Week. And the Rest.

I feel rested today. I know it’s not earth-shattering. But there it is. I’m not sure of the statistics on how often I can say that, but I have a feeling they wouldn’t be in my favor in recent months. I stayed up until almost 1am last night and even then, deep sleep eluded me. Granted, I took a nap yesterday afternoon, but the day was also fairly busy with activities alongside my kids and with being out in the heat. This peculiar and unexpected sensation has me thinking a little more carefully about the nature of rest.

I’m beginning to realize that rest is more of a state of mind than a scheduling thing. Can I be rested even with little sleep — rested in spirit at least? As I pay attention to myself, I’m noticing respite comes from mindset more than anything else.

Last week was an emotional one. It included some extra time with my children outside of our normal routine. It was no well-planned vacation, just some days at my parents’ home enjoying focused time with them and three four-foot kiddie pools. These makings of big fun, were made possible, in part, by my decision to say “yes” to them as often as humanly possible.

Last week I was also tip-toeing on the edge of a little stress produced by saying “yes” to the kids and “no” to work so often at a time when my project schedule is, thankfully, busy. But, even that toe dance was paired with the grateful realization that owning my own business has given me the freedom to take that time away with the children — to choose to focus on them for a few days. Just because.

The week also included sorrow at the passing of my grandmother. It was bittersweet in seeing her life celebrated, and recognizing that her battle with Alzheimer’s meant much of the grieving of her loss had already occurred in these last years.

The emotional ride culminated on Friday with having to make the decision to have my sweet beagle, Jingle Belle, put down because of health issues — a sorrow at losing her and at having to make the hard financial and humane choices so often accompanying a 9-year-old pet.

And then there’s tee ball — in 96 degree Mississippi heat. Little Drummer Boy’s last game was on Friday night. I was so proud of him. And tired of the pace of scheduled games, and looking forward to Bug’s turn, and appreciative of LDB’s first little trophy, and sweating, and impatient. A tell-tale end to a topsy-turvy week. But, when I think about it, the week wasn’t really all that unusual. It was a week filled with real life. Just life and all it’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows — the stuff that wrings us out. Daily.

So, at first glance, my feeling rested today is inexplicable. Except for this…

On Friday evening I told myself and everyone in the house who would listen, “I need some down time to regroup. And that’s what I’m doing this weekend.”

And I did. In all those ways that help my own spirit feel a little more in control. The unique ways that replenish my own soul or help me really see the enchantment of life around me (or at least help me see the countertops around me.) I played with the kids. I sorted through things in my closet. I cleaned my sink. I took my time getting groceries. I slept late. I took a nap. I read extra bedtime stories. I laughed at being splashed. I told myself that it’s ok to do what I need for me. Because three little hearts are counting on that me.

Yep, that last part was the hardest. And the most important. And the thing that made the difference.  You see, I want those three gifts to have the best me possible, not the haggard, impatient and bothered me. I want them to have the me at rest.

Sometimes being rested is a mindset. Sometimes it is about more than getting sleep. Sometimes it’s about giving myself permission to stop. Permission to be my own boss. To be governed by what I know my heart needs.

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