Like you, much of my life is the same...chores, animals, cleaning and keeping life moving in a forward motion with momentum that suits my slow living life style. Perhaps you've read about the slow food movement both international and USA or the entire "slow movement", which amuses me no end because this is how my family has always lived with emphasis on food, shelter, clothing then church and community. As well, Dave and I lived a slow life and even when traveling would rent an apartment or condo as opposed to staying in a hotel room. In an apartment or condo, we could experience the pace of the neighborhood, shop at local markets, prepare our own meals and, if only for a time, become part of the community. It's how I continue to travel and a huge part of the enjoyment is, first, deciding on a place to go then finding a place to stay.
How do you live your life...fast or slow?
Have you seen in blog land folks choosing a "word for the year" or have you chosen a word? Although I've done this in the past, I wasn't deliberately seeking a word for this year but one found me.
Yesterday, I thought about the past year and the many people who, at one time or another, e-mailed, wrote or called me for encouragement because they were quite discouraged and, truth be told, so was I at times. I then put some thought into how not to be discouraged this year. That's when it dawned on me (yes, I am slow but I already told you that, eh? lol) at its most basic meaning, discouraged means to lose courage or even confidence or hope.
So for 2016 "courage" chose me and with the help of God I will fly in the face of pain, uncertainty, fear, the unknown, perhaps anxiety and, above all, acting in accordance with my Christian beliefs make the difficult, even hard decisions. I'll do as John Wayne said,
"Courage is being scared to death
and saddling up anyway."
Do you have a word or verse for 2016?
Additionally, 2 Corinthians 5:9 chose me... "So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." I'm not perxactly sure what "away from it" means but it's my goal this year to 'make God smile' by striving to please Him at all times and in everything I do. Yes, I'll sometimes fail but I am committed to pleasing Him and making Him smile.
"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." Henri J. M. Nouwen said this in his book Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life and I've found it to be true in my own life.
Face in the sun, back to the wind
Living a life well spent is work, hard work, and if done correctly leaves one with feelings of both accomplishment and an amount of angst. Since Dave's death, I'm dealing with facing my own light in the tunnel and know I'm closer to my end than my beginning. In November and December I gave time to ponder the people in my life and then did the hard work of "cutting them out of the herd" so to speak. Names were deleted from address books, people were cut loose from social media and my life is the better for it. Maybe even theirs as well.
Was it hard? Yes.
Is it worth it? Yes.
I took courage in hand and against the advice of Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess, "If I withdrew my friendship from everyone who's spoken ill of me, my address book would be empty" and did it anyway. Even as a Christian, it's all right to "shake the dust" from your feet because, sometimes, you have to leave some parts and people of your past in order to move forward.
Just because people don't mean to hold you back,
doesn't mean they don't hold you back.
And now, if you're here for the Downton Abbey giveaway (or as I heard someone say "Downtown Abbey"), please leave your name and answer any of these questions
How do you live your life, fast or slow,
Have you ever cut people out of your life
Do you have a word or verse for 2016
and what is it?
as well as a way to contact you, either your website, blog site or e-mail address. Downton Abbey's 6th and final season -boo hoo!- begins in the USA on Sunday, January 3rd and to celebrate I'm giving away a softcover version of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook so you too can cook and eat Lady Mary's Crab Canapes or Daisy's Mousse Au Chocolat from Mrs. Patmore's more than 150 recipes that fed folks both upstairs and downstairs. (Mercy! what I'd give to be a guest at either table!) Giveaway will close Sunday, January 10th at 5 p.m. with name to be chosen by random drawing. Giveaway is open to all; winner will have 24 hours to respond after which a new name will be drawn.
This isn't the cookbook but it is an interesting blog on Downton Abbey Cooks.
Thanks for the gift of your time in reading my blog, leaving a comment; you bless me more than you'll ever know.
Blessings ~ Natalie Cole, may she rest in peace ~ Downton Abbey ~ Maggie Smith ~ John Wayne ~ courage ~ making God smile ~