My family has rolled into town from Georgia this week, so I am taking some blogging time off to spend with them. Yesterday we met up with a surprise while out shopping. It was so fun to see the girl's reactions. I don't want to miss a minute of this special time.
On Tuesday I wrote about A Time For Helping. You can see that here. Then one of my Facebook friends asked the question, "How do we overcome evil?" My answer was one word. LOVE.
Maybe that is a simplistic response, but I believe that the perpetrators of evil want to instill evil in the rest of us. They want us to hate the way they hate, they want us to kill the way they kill. But, when we respond with love, we defeat their purposes. That is not to say that we should not hold evil people accountable, but that we should not sink to their level. Think how different things would be if everyone in the world chose one person they don't like and instead looked at that person with love.
Love and forgiveness go a long way in healing our lives. They take away the power that others have over us. Antoine Leiris lost his beloved wife Helene in the Bataclan theatre in Paris, and I thought if this man, who lost so much, can react this way why can't the rest of us. You can see what he has to say here. I came across this ad today, which brought tears to my eyes and made me think of all the lonely people who need love in their lives. It is so often the children who lead us in showing pure, sweet love.
I always think of this time of year as a time of helping. A time of showing love. A time for giving.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I have been reflecting on the things I am thankful for, and even though it is a stressful time for me, I know that I have so much more than so many people in the word. My heart goes out to the refugees as they flee from oppression and hate and are met with more hate in the places that they are fleeing to.
I think of two middle east refugees, who more than 2000 years ago fled from oppression and I wonder how their story might have been different if they were not given shelter in a lowly stable. There are of course people who want us to turn on each other. Who want us to hate each other. Who want us to cast those who are different aside. Who want us to go about our daily lives in fear.
We must not be indifferent to their threats, but we cannot allow them to take away who we are. I believe we are a country of compassion. We are a country rich in a tradition of helping those who have been oppressed.
We are so fortunate to worship where or how we choose. Whether it is in a country church, a city mosque, a neighborhood synagogue, or in the quiet of a forest. We are also free to not worship if that is what we choose.
As I look around me and think of the season of giving that is upon us, I will look for ways I can help people. It may be as little as giving up my seat on the shuttle bus yesterday to someone who needed to sit more than I did. It may be adding a healthy food to a food drive barrel. It may be as small as a smile, because we never know when a smile may be just what someone needs.
There are so many things, both little and large, we can do to help others. Yes, we are coming up to a season of giving, a time for helping, but shouldn't that season extend throughout the year. A time for helping is now. A time for helping is always.
Yesterday as I made my way to an auction in a neighboring town, I noticed how barren and bleak the landscape was becoming. While many of our city trees are still holding on to their leaves, November's winds are stripping the trees in the country of their autumn finery.
I feel like they are doing a striptease and I want to yell "cover up, cover up." It felt good to get out for a drive through the countryside. This church has always been a favorite of mine and I love stopping to photograph it. I have photos from every season.
It's a perfect example of our November days. One barren tree, one tree dressed in red leaves, and knockout roses still blooming in front of the church. Ahhh November, you are a fickle month. Teasing us with sunny skies, while cool winds whip around the corners of the buildings. I couldn't resist stopping to chat with this lovely girl. Such a beautiful face and sweet disposition.
The sun was casting prisms of light everywhere, but I knew that the shadows of the night were quickly approaching.
The days are so short now, and I feel like I have to hurry in before I am caught out in the dark It always reminds me of the first verse from a favorite old hymn, which I hum to myself when I close the curtains at night
I have been having a crisis of faith in myself. I find myself berating myself for everything I perceive that I have been doing wrong, and as I have allowed this negative talk to go on, I find my faith in myself spiraling downward. The negative speak we hear from others can definitely affect our self confidence, but when we internalize these words and then turn around and speak to ourselves with the same or worse words, it can be devastating. So how should we be speaking to ourselves?
I was the hand me down child in my family and have been spoken to in that manner into my adult life. I allowed that to seep into my soul and it is how I learned to speak to myself. It became my belief system and the way I have spoken to myself has become a self fulfilling prophecy. This morning as I sat in my bed listening to the early morning sounds around me I realized that I wouldn't speak to someone I love the way I have been speaking to myself, and shouldn't I love myself first. We all have failures and hopefully we learn from those failures. So today and from now on I vow to brush myself off and to treat myself more gently. I vow to speak to myself the way I would speak to someone I love. Instead of berating myself, I will give myself encouragement. I will start fresh. I will speak to myself with love. Speak to yourself with love too, and see how it can change your life.
P.S. You can find more of the Women Speak series here. It's a place to talk about the things that affect us, as women.
Well, never mind. I couldn't resist, but I have finally found a new fad I can really get behind. (I know that we are heading into the colder months, but in my opinion it is never too early to start thinking ahead to spring.) I am pretty sick of hearing about man caves, so I say move over man caves, bring on the she sheds. Can you say SWOON? If I had this "shed" I might never enter the house again.
How cute is this? It makes me want to throw on some gardening gloves and start potting plants right this minute. (It is definitely helping me to ignore today's cold rainy weather)
I have always been a firm believer that I was meant to have an English country garden. My family should never have left "Old Blighty". They failed to look into the future and ask me my opinion.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to take your sewing outside into a dedicated shed just for that purpose. It might put me back in the mood.
I would love to have a backyard greenhouse (if I had a backyard) and if it was also a she shed getaway, that would be even better.