What always brings me a great sense of contentment? Exercising my creativity. I’ve contentedly relished these last few days in giving the ol’ blog a facelift. So, I say goodbye to “musings” and hello to www.beautifulconsequences.com. No worries, all the old stuff is there along with a sleek new design, more interactive content (and still more to come), and a general feeling of greater accomplishment from this humble blogger. I hope you check it out and leave me a comment or two!
I LOVE my bed. A friend once said that she felt having a bed with smooth, soft sheets, luscious, fluffy pillows, and a puffy, squishy, cozy comforter was the most delightful thing she could imagine beckoning her to slumber each night. I couldn’t have agreed more. My bed brings me absolute contentment when I snuggle deep down into its waiting embrace at night. The only thing more comforting…when I wake up to a cool, crisp autumn morning and I scrunch deep into the cave of linens that wrap me in warmth and insist on making me late for work.
How content would you be in one of these beds? Delicious.
1. mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are
2. assenting to or willing to accept circumstances, a proposed course of action, etc
Yikes ~ I think I have taken on quite the challenge. Mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as the are…RIGHT NOW??? I can’t even begin to picture what that looks like. Does that mean I don’t push for change? Do I relinquish my hopes for the future that easily play out into my present thoughts, which influence my emotions, which spurn me to action (can’t you see the vicious cycle!)? I’m going to have to meditate on the reality of step number one of contentment as it relates to me personally. Step number two is a less complicated pill to swallow in my book. Accept things as they are ~ I can do this. That doesn’t dictate life won’t change, it merely means “it is what it is” in this present moment and I am willing to acknowledge and embrace that ~ presently.
I’ve discovered a nifty little experiment out here in the blogosphere ~ it’s a 31-day challenge to post on a specific topic of personal interest as a way of charting your journey of encounters, changes, and experiences that result from giving yourself a daily focal point over the course of a month. Some people choose topics of personal growth, environmental change, creative expansion, or inner reflection. Me? I panicked. First thought ~ umm…can’t commit to something for that long (there is a reason I only own fake houseplants people). Second thought…if I DO decide to do this I have to pick something cool ~ something that will make me a more interesting and exciting person on the other side. TOO MUCH PRESSURE!!! I’m out. Third thought ~ this is too cheesy. Fourth thought ~ I wonder if there’s any more cookies left in my freezer (yep, I LOVE frozen cookies). Fifth thought ~ pull it together, you’re being ridiculous and putting too much pressure on yourself as usual. This is a blog, not a 21st century redraft of the Declaration of Independence. And let’s be honest, you and your dad still probably account for the majority of your blog traffic. You.Can.Do.This.
Pep talk. Check.
So, the next 31 days of my life will focus (at least briefly) on contentment. One month of exploring, analyzing, conversing, and generally challenging myself to deepen my understanding and experience of contentment.
“True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare.” -G. K. Chesterton
I read an interesting statement in a book the other day that talked about how, as Believers, we started our life journey at home, were then “deported” to a foreign land, and subsequently have been spending our days trying to navigate our way back to that glorious starting place. At first, this made me a little peeved. Why couldn’t we just stay in that beautiful, perfect, complete world? Why do we have to traverse through a land that so often presents destruction, pain, loneliness, and deficiency? And yet, the more I thought about it the more the beauty of this picture began to unfurl itself in my mind.
While I can be the most impatient person on the planet when it comes to certain things, I also LOVE anticipation. I relish the days before a big trip, an exciting event, or my favorite Holidays. It drives my sister absolutely batty when I get a package in the mail and wait sometimes days to open it. Anticipation engages my senses and sends sparks of excitement shooting through my veins. But there’s something more that anticipation does…it communicates meaning. I never put off opening the box that delivers my monthly supply of contacts ~ there’s nothing special about that package. And I certainly don’t get giddy the week leading up to my bi-annual dental exam. But when those feelings of eagerness, tinged with a sense of urgency, spark I know that the anticipation has significant meaning. Oftentimes what surround my strongest experiences of anticipation are events that involve my community. God created humankind to be relational and for me those moments that involve what I call “my closests” are momentary glimpses of home.
There’s something else that occurs during my anticipation of something, particularly something extraordinary ~ an attitude of determination (sometimes labeled stubbornness). I will mount obstacles, forge valleys, and fend off distractions in order to reach that moment of ahhhhh…. And that journey creates a profound experience of appreciation because the outcome takes on much greater meaning when it is challenging to arrive at. I take appreciation for granted frequently. I don’t think it’s something I naturally focus on. But taking a moment to do so brings abundant value to the actions that summon my sense of appreciation. I realize those actions represent a fervent, deep, emotional drive that communicates this intense element of care.
And that’s the beautiful, complicated picture that developed as I thought about my fight to return home. Without the journey I wouldn’t experience the anticipation. Without the anticipation I could never begin to comprehend the significance of my destination. Grasping an understanding of that significance ignites the driving force of determination. And that sense of purpose and resolve makes the final outcome such a sweet and priceless gift that it will generate an infinite expression of appreciation not only for the gift itself, but for our own passion and persistence in conquering the journey and for God’s grace in fighting along side us each and every step of the way.
It’s important, essential, and needs to happen on a regular basis. Not just for me ~ for everyone. How do you feed your soul?
Mine is replenished in several ways typically involving various people I love. Sister, nephew, brother, dad, relatives, the friends that know me better than I sometimes know myself (and you know who you are when you read this).
This weekend it’s these ladies. My soul will be gorged on laughter, long, heart-felt conversations, and maybe a few hijinks or two.
Thoughts screaming through my head when the dreaded alarm jolted me awake this morning:
“August is half over!”
“I haven’t done a single August blog yet!”
“I think my dog needs one of those reduce-your-snoring masks!” (Seriously ~ girl sounds like a flippin’ fog horn when she sleeps).
“I haven’t contributed to my IRA in over 8-months!”
The last one ended the random thought train and had me fixated on financial matters. You see I have what you like to call…ahem…perfectionistic tendencies, which manifest themselves in this belief that I must be a KNOWER OF ALL THINGS. And that’s absolutely insane. But, here I was this morning stuck on the thought that my IRA was sitting stagnant in some cyberspace bank account crying out in Audrey II-style (let’s see who gets that reference!) “Feed me!” Naturally, that started my thoughts down the path of investments, stocks, 401Ks, retirement, portfolios, etc., etc., all things I consider to be a part of adult living, which is something I characterize myself as being stuck in the middle of only by shear fact of my age and the budding crop of fine lines appearing in various places across my face. The truth is, I know very little about financial matters (of course, if you ask me to my face I’ll play it off like I’m practically Warren Buffet).
And that’s ok.
Somewhere on the course of my journey I felt the need to base my significance on smarts, among other things. I feel the need to be in the know. In reality, the only things that seem to really stick in my head are random celebrity facts. I could probably tell you in 8-seconds flat all the names of the Jolie-Pitt clan and the 17 countries they visited in the last 5 days. Not to brag, but I was once chosen as the forth member of a friend’s fantasy Trivial Pursuit team for purely that reason. I mean does it get more flattering than that?
So no, at thirty-mumble, garble, cough, cough-years old, I am not wise in the world of monetary decision-making. Sure I can hack it. And thank God I have a sister that works for a financial planning company and a friend who graciously prepares my taxes every year. But ask me what the Dow Jones is or what the heck you do with a mutual fund and you might as well be asking me to translate Japanese.
My name is Debi and I am a non-know-it all. One day sober.
P.S. Yesterday I received a blessing…in the bathroom.
Whoa ~ just thought about how that statement could be taken wildly out of context. So, please read at face value. I LITERALLY received a blessing in the bathroom. A woman stopped me at the sink (thankfully after washing her hands), placed her hand on my shoulder, and asked if she could bless me. I won’t lie. It was uncomfortable. But, I don’t think you can say no to a blessing, regardless of the awkward location, so I hesitantly said, “yes?” And a blessing was poured out ~ for about 30 seconds. Who doesn’t think God has a sense of humor???