Friday, March 28, 2014

Counting ....

This book made such a difference in my life. It is gritty, real, honest, and I can see me being friendswith the author if she lived near.

It is also one of those books that sent me looking and studying the scriptures she referenced.

I vowed when I was in the hospital - having just been diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma - that I would live as fully and beautifully as I possibly could. This book is one that has helped me keep that promise.

I make journals - pretty ones - and it's really funny, the list of my blessings is in one that is just a plain old store bought one. I could have thought and planned and made one for myself. But honestly - that didn't seem important at the time - I needed to get those first few blessings on paper. I started counting and I count them constantly.

But that is not why I am discussing this here.

Please pardon me while I ramble.

I've learned a lot about self-care in my years too.

And the very moment I finished this book, I have felt called to share the gift that this brought me. The gift of living in full recognition that being thankful really means living aware.

For instance - at choir practice Wednesday night, I was able to single out the voices and hear how each different voice adds to the whole, all the while being aware that the voice I was really listening too was the one that encourages me to be most aware. And I wear the smile he gives me often.

I am going to share pictures that you may have seen before, but from the awareness level. The kind that makes me realize about self care and gratitude.

This is what I call the dirt road to heaven.

I will leave this place, having relaxed, smiled, shared good food.

I'll breathe fresh air.

Feel the wind on my face and in my hair.

Look at natural beauty.

Laugh when we spot a burl on a pine tree.

Marvel at the way dancing campfire flames can entrance me.

and there may be laughter at my own or some good natured others expense.

I love the colors of this cross stitch piece.

I have a huge stash of craft stuff to work with. 

My mama taught me to make. 

It is a wonderful relaxing way to end my day.

It is also a wonderful way to "kill" time normally wasted waiting. 

All of these "blessings" are actual ones from my list. 

Since April of 2010 (yes that's when the C word happened), I have chased and celebrated 100's of sunrises and sunsets. 

Several of my friends say I have a "thing" for the sun.

I do -----

Blue Berry Muffin coffee. 

I love the Green Mountain K-Cup coffee in the wild mountain blueberry flavor. 

Coffee man gifts me with a supply for my birthday each year.

It is seasonal and difficult to find, I appreciate the effort. 

I don't drink it everyday, I save it to really savor and enjoy. 

It is wonderful with just the coffee and creamer.

But here is how I make it really special
brew my coffee
add creamer to my liking
add a dash of vanilla flavoring (a capful to my travel mug size cup) Amaretto works too.
add one packet of Stevia (I can no longer tolerate anything with aspertame in it) 
sprinkle with cinnamon. 
MMMMMM BlueBerry Muffin Coffee. 

Brew a cup of that coffee on a cold Saturday Morning. 

Add running shoes - sweatshirt - jacket - cell phone (to capture the image above) 

Take a long walk down the side road and watch the sun come up. 

Answer the phone because coffee man is calling wondering if you have noticed the sunrise.

Laugh with him because you are walking to a better view of it. (Chasing the sunrise AGAIN)

Pray thanksgivings for how blessed you are. 

Exercise is GREAT self care. 

Take off on a trip to where ever. 

No idea where you are going. 

Just ride. 

Turn the radio on.

Stop - look at junk.

Get a snack.

Explore an old building. 

Eat good food. 

Sing loud with yourself ---- or a buddy if you have one with you.

Allow yourself to have NO agenda. 

Walk somewhere - run somewhere 
Move your body. 

Alone - it gives you time to think.

Add a buddy - or two or 20 - celebrate being together. 

Walk in a public place.

Stop and look at the grey color of the underside of the crane's wings. 

Pet a dog or two walking with their owners.

Say hello to those owners. 

oh and ALWAYS smile at kids. 
99.99% of the time they smile back or at least wave. 

Walk in the sun --- the rain --- the wind --- the heat --- the snow. 
Move your body. 

Celebrate the fact that your body is amazing and capable and can be encouraged to become stronger.

Accept GRACE from others

Give GRACE to others

Share the beauty of GRACE with others

And above all else give and accept GRACE to and from yourself. 

All of this being grateful is so good for your heart.

It is one thing to be grateful and to lift thanksgiving for blessings. 

We are human and like so many "thoughts" we may forget.

We swear we are grateful and I believe we are. 

But when we take the time to savor and RECORD our blessings we start becoming more aware.

And like much of our lives, being good stewards will allow us to gather more. 

Which brings me full circle to the original reason for this post. 

I have share my reaction to the book with many people - many have read it and been affected. 

But I still feel led to do something else. 

I really really want to have a special Retreat using the devotion package from this book. 

Not like a "normal" womens retreat. 
but one that helps us "see" more of the blessings. 
A small gathering of just a few.
I sent a text to my sweet friend Patti about this here are phrases I used. 

My copy of the book is dog-earred and marked up (I want each person to have a copy)
I want to gift these ladies
I want them to feel special - and individual
With time to explore and create and discuss with one another
Be gifted and surrounded by loving moments 

I do not want money (or lack of it) to be a roadblock for this. 

I see this as an all day thing. 

Breakfast - lunch - dinner - between meal treats nothing fancy and we may even try a potluck kind of thing for the foods.

Beautiful decor 

Special SWAG

A comfy setting - not the church fellowship hall

This is a yoga pants and sneakers acceptable event.

The five sessions of DVD led study.


Music - from all genre

A creative project. (some thing easy and non-messy)

a time for a nap or a long walk after lunch.

interaction with each other or alone in a natural setting.

Now here is where all of you come in. 

I need a place
I need helpers - food prep - decor - taking care of needs
I need the stuff (or a way to provide it) 

I covet the prayer for making this successful. And for some reason, I know that this is just the thing needed for someone I know and love and I am so hopeful God will work this miracle for her.

I've put this on MaggieGraceCreates, because, well, I feel like I am trying to CREATE a special feeling. 

Please think about it.
Share your ideas for the "perfect" retreat day.
Lift prayer and big blessings.
And if you have resources to help make this a reality - i thank you in advance.

edited 4-10-2014
OCTOBER 4, 2014

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