Taking Time to Make a Luxury

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One of life’s little luxuries for me is drinking tea–when I am taking time to actually taste it, that is. There are those minutes when I am in a hurry and gulp it down, without noticing the taste, other than that it’s wet. Those minutes are not a state of luxury for me; they are more of necessity. I’m thirsty; I gulp it down. 

The moments of luxury come when I take the time to sip the beverage, hot or cold, and enjoy the taste of it. Those moments may come in relaxation, as when I’m sitting on the front porch watching the visiting bunny chow down the weeds and grass, or when I’m in the middle of some mental activity.

What makes the luxury is a sense of deliberateness, of making space for the enjoyment of the tea. In my mind I have a picture of pushing away my “to-do” list, however temporarily, for the sake of a quiet place of refreshment. That quiet place of refreshment both calms and revives me for what’s ahead. I guess you could call it my “adult time-out”. 

While Americans  generally don’t put a whole lot of emphasis on tea-drinking, the English and Japanese are known for the rituals they developed for tea time. I don’t know if they still keep those rituals or not, perhaps a reader could fill me in. I hope they do. The world goes faster every day. In such a world, you need to deliberately take time to slow down and enjoy some luxury. It makes life richer.

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Communicating on Social Media–Helps from the Bible

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No, I know Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media weren’t around when the Bible was written, but people were communicating then, and Biblical ideas about communication are needed as much now as when they first appeared.

Consider these:

“…everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19, NIV) *

“…the prudent hold their tongues.”  (Proverbs 10:19b, NIV)

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  (Ephesians 4:29, NIV) 

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

“A man finds joy in giving an apt reply–and how good is a timely word!” (Proverbs 15:23, NIV)

“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32, NIV) (In ancient times, a warrior who “took a city” received all kinds of acclaim and rewards, so God is saying here that a person who controls his temper is better than that.)

“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” (Proverbs 22:24,25, NIV)

“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3, NIV)

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15;4, NIV)

*NIV means New International Version

Note: The Book of Proverbs (Old Testament) and the Book of James (New Testament), of all the books of the Bible, are especially noted for having much to say about our talk.

P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Praising God, Anyway

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The past couple weeks brought unwelcome news into my little world. I took my car into the garage and told the mechanic how it was acting; he checked it out, and told me all indications are the car needs a rebuilt transmission. My heart sank; even though I was thinking the transmission might be the problem, I hoped I was wrong. We do not have public transportation in this area, so having a reliable way to get from Point A to Point B is a definite need. I asked friends and a prayer group to pray for my transportation needs.

Things are rather bleak on the job front, too. Despite sending applications out and going on some interviews, I don’t have a job—yet.

While thinking about all this, I heard the Lord say, “Praise Me in the bitter and the sweet.” 

When I practice this, my circumstances don’t overwhelm my life. They are still there, but praising God means I’m giving attention to Him, lifting Him up and downplaying my circumstances, whether bad or good. I’m not sunk by despair nor puffed up by pride. Praising God—putting my eyes on Him—allows me to live on a more even keel.

“Praise Me in the bitter and the sweet.”

Some Scriptures: Acts 16:22-27; I Thessalonians 5:18

Update: I had the car towed to a transmission shop; it does not need a rebuilt transmission. Instead, diagnostic equipment showed a cylinder misfiring badly. The shop suggested a nearby auto repair service; that place found the car needs the valve cover gasket and spark plugs replaced. What a relief! What could have been a $2,000+repair melted into a $295 repair! Thank God!

Lessons learned:

  1. God can squash mountains into molehills.
  2. Things are not always what they first seem!

Scripture: Ephesians 3:20

©P. Booher

 

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Yet–A Little Word with Big Implications

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Before I start, I need to give credit where credit is due: the inspiration for this piece comes from a post on Bryan Hutchinson’s blog “Positive Writer”. Tamar Sloan wrote the guest post, “One Word with the Power to Defeat Writer’s Doubt”.

To me, the word yet means possibility. I think of it this way: “Yes! It can happen–yet! or “It hasn’t happened–yet!

There are ideas out there which may bring “it” into reality; the ideas haven’t come forth–yet.

“Yet” means all is not lost; yet means there is still hope. Yet means Do Not Give Up–YET!

©P. Booher

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Saturday Extra–Anger Has Its Place

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Lately my knees and ankles are taking turns reminding me they are there. On a pain scale it’s not much, maybe a 3. But there are days my complaining joints lead me to wonder how much longer I’ll be able to do what I need or want to do.

So it was today. My right knee sent out unhappy signals as I propelled the shopping cart to the car. I wondered how much longer I’ll be able to do the tasks of everyday living.

As I started to drive out of the parking lot, I saw a cart someone had left by a curb. It was one of those grocery carts which has a buggy for young children attached. The cart was in a lane used by drivers to turn into an exit.

For some reason, seeing the cart there irked me. I was going to let it there but I thought, “No, I’m going to move it out of the way.” So I parked the car and grabbed the buggy. The buggy corral was some distance away, and I knew my knee would complain, but I wanted to do it, so I took the wayward buggy back. You know what? While I was doing it, I didn’t feel any pain. My guess is the adrenaline from my anger cancelled out the pain sensations. 

I took at least three lessons from this little episode:

  1. Pain doesn’t keep me from caring about something enough to take some sort of action to alleviate it. I can still do something.
  2. Adrenaline from anger is enough to stop pain, at least temporarily. (I’m sure a doctor could have told me this a long time ago).
  3. Anger has its place. Anger can be an expression of caring, but we have to be careful that the expression doesn’t make things worse.

I’m not advocating getting angry to stop pain–I’m just writing this as kind of an expression of wonderment as to how our bodies (or my body, anyway) works.

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Bringing Order, Part II

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Several years ago I attended a local community college. One of the subjects I took was Accounting I. It was the basic bookkeeping/accounting class, and you learned about debits and credits, the accounting formula, balance sheets, income statements, etc. Because I’d taken bookkeeping in high school, I was somewhat familiar with those items. 

One thing I didn’t know continues to stick out to me today: the history of double-entry bookkeeping. Our professor explained that before double-entry bookkeeping was widely accepted, single-entry was used. It was easy to manipulate, however, and a business had a difficult time of keeping track of whether it was making money, and exactly how its money was spent.

A monk, Fra Luca Pacioli, wrote a book which popularized double-entry bookkeeping. Double-entry bookkeeping means for each accounting transaction, there are two equal and corresponding entries: the debit on one side, the credit on the other. For example, if debits total $50,000, the credits must total $50,000. The accounting entries are then “in balance”. Double-entry bookkeeping is the standard procedure, regardless of whether the bookkeeping is done manually or electronically by computer software.

Our professor said that at the top of each journal page, Fra Pacioli wrote the words, “To the Glory of God”. The monk recognized that God is the God of order, and he brought that into the accounting profession. Besides establishing order, double-entry bookkeeping makes it easier to find errors because of the requirement for balance, and a business can quickly see the details as well as the whole picture of the financial aspect.

Until that class I regarded accounting as a cold profession, untouched by the force of faith. When I saw God’s imprint on it, my opinion changed. God, working through someone by faith, can influence anything!

Some Scriptures: Genesis, chapters 1 and 2; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16, 17; Colossians 2:5; Colossians 3:22,23,24

For further info., check out: trendingaccounting.com/2022/04/history-of-double-entry-accounting-html.

©P. Booher

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What I’m Grateful For and Enjoying Now

  1. A friend from church graciously gave her time to help me find clothes suitable for office work. (Most of the clothes I had were for retail work, ie., more casual).
  2. The church I attend has a clothing ministry. With the help of my friend I found some nice clothes to wear at the ministry building. I wore one outfit to an interview, and enjoyed wearing it. The clothes were free–as in–didn’t cost me anything! God provided.
  3. Watching a wild rabbit in our front yard. This rabbit is extraordinarily brave. Most wild rabbits spook quickly. Not this one. We can sit on the front porch just a few feet away, talking quietly and watching him munch on grass and weeds. Sometimes he (or she) stops to scratch. Occasionally the bunny stretches full length on his belly on the grass, perhaps to cool off, something I didn’t know bunnies do. One reason for the bunny’s bravery may be the thick cover close by. The peony bush is there and since I haven’t trimmed the grass underneath lately, he can hide. You wouldn’t be able to spot him easily. The hosta plants are also near and are spreading out nicely and make even better protection than the peony bush. So the bunny knows there are good hiding places just a few feet away.
  4. Opportunities to gain new skills. This summer I did proofreading for Inspire Writers 2022 Anthology, and I also proofread some material for an author in the local area. I gained some more experience in using reviewing/editing software, as well as the satisfaction of helping other writers produce the best work they could.
  5. Spending time sketching, a newer hobby for me, although I’ve had the workbook, pencils, and other materials for a long time. As I wrote in “Friday “Walks”–God’s Gift of Creativity”, sketching is a wonderful stress reliever.
  6. Prayers of friends as I look for a job. As a writer and now, a job-seeker, I find similarities between the two. Both the writer seeking publication and the job hunter seeking a job need determination and resilience. Neither endeavor is as easy as it seems to those on the outside.

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–God’s Gift of Creativity

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This week I found out I didn’t get the job I really wanted. I had the type of experience required, and of all the jobs I applied for recently, that was the best fit for me. But I didn’t get it, for whatever reason. Am I disappointed? Oh, yeah.

Last evening I spent some time on my new hobby—sketching. I took a notebook and a picture of my cat Babe, sat down on the front porch, and drew to my heart’s content. I found with practice I can do a decent cat’s head. (I’m still working on the body). By “decent” I mean someone else could look at it and recognize it as the head of a cat, instead of asking, “What’s that?”

While out on the porch I sketched Babe, a tree, clouds, a rock, and chimney swifts. I discovered with patience and the boldness to shut down my perfectionism, I can produce drawings which actually look like what they’re supposed to look like.

Last evening I realized something else, too: doing creative activity helped blunt my disappointment about the job. Working on creative projects is forward motion, whereas dwelling on an unwanted outcome is at best static; at worst, it’s heading downward fast.

God unleashed His creative energy at the beginning of time. Since we are made in His image, each of us has the gift of creativity inside us. I’m thankful for the way that gift helps me cope with sharp emotions which come with the bumps, bruises, and jolts of life.

If you are dealing with negative emotions, why not give yourself a break and exercise that creative spark God placed within you? Chances are, you’ll feel better for it.

Some Scriptures: Genesis chapters 1 and 2; Exodus 35:25, 26, 32-35; Exodus 36:1, 2; I Kings 7:13, 14; Psalm 104:24; I Corinthians 4:12, Colossians 1:15, 16; Revelation 4:11

©P. Booher

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Shout-Out to Blogs

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Today I’d like to give a SHOUT-OUT to blogs which help me in various ways. I know I will miss some, but here is my list, in no particular order:

Devotional Treasure by Alan Kearns

The Journey to My Father’s Kingdom by Bethany Marinelli

Mustard Seed Living Blog by Jill Mcllreavy

Kristin Kieffer’s Well-storied Blog (www.well-storied.com)

David’s Daily Dose

Joshua J. Masters.com

Hannes van Eeden (formerly Wandering Ambivert)

Sue A. Fairchild

The Write Conversation

Gracespeak

Long-View Living in a Short-View World

Books and Such Blog

Steve Laube Blog

Lessons from a Lab

The Faithfood Blog

Christian Freelance Writers

Writing Investigations

Inspire Writers

Erin Wright Writing

JPC Allen Writes

Forever Young Aussie Mom

Don’t Lose Hope

Paulson Pulikottil

Gary Fultz

 

Over the years I’ve found help in each of these blogs. For some, it was help in dealing with anxiety, gaining encouragement, learning how to study the Bible, or simply enjoying what God is doing in others’ lives. For others, it was in showing me how to handle pesky writing problems, letting me know I am not alone in the writing life, or enjoying beautiful pictures. 

These blogs all add value to my life. If you haven’t checked them out, try them! If you have a suggestion or two, please add to my list in the Comments.

©P. Booher

 

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Natural Remedy for a Troubled Mind

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Lately I’ve been mulling over whether or not I should continue to pursue a possible job opportunity. At first I was enthused; now I’m having second thoughts. I felt anxiety trying to push its way in.

This weekend I realized some relief from the anxiety as I worked outside. Just being outside in nature’s slower-paced rhythm helped, but the motion of walking on the ground also helped me relax as I mowed grass, raked grass clippings, and moved cement bricks. 

While thinking about how moving and doing repetitious work helps relax the mind, I remembered reading one of my favorite authors—Don Ian Smith, I believe—who wrote that when he was troubled about a situation, one of the things he fell back on for relief was physical labor. Since he owned a small ranch, physical labor meant shoveling out irrigation ditches, repairing fences, painting, etc. The physical work allowed his mind to slow down, relax, and get perspective.

Sometimes I complain about the tedious, repetitious tasks of everyday life. Yet the saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s playthings” warns me about what can happen when I don’t do those tasks. The saying means when we are bored we can get into or cause trouble. I don’t think the “trouble” it refers to is confined to the stuff that makes the evening news; I think the trouble can be in our minds–trouble such as anxiety, depression, resentment, envy, and anger. 

The next time I’m tempted to complain when doing repetitious work, I’ll remember the value in it, and the trouble I’m “missing out” on!

©P. Booher

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