Category Archives: Country Ripples

Reflective, inspirational thoughts.

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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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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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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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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What I’m Enjoying Now

Photo Credit: P. Booher Begonias on their “Summer Vacation”

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What I am enjoying these days:

  1. sensing God’s Presence in church and being in awe
  2. His Voice bringing comfort to me and giving me insight into His heart
  3. hearing the song of a thrush while I rake grass
  4. the scent of rain in the air
  5. having the window open and hearing the gentle patter of rain on leaves
  6. new opportunities to learn more, do more, contribute more
  7. being able to have the window open and feeling warm breezes
  8. big, beautiful, pink peony blooms which I can bring inside and put in vases
  9. being able to go outside without heavy coats and boots
  10. the sight of the begonias in the bed—my mother and I moved them from their “winter home” upstairs to their “summer vacation” outside. We agree the red begonias accent the grey bricks nicely.
  11. more blessings under the category of things which could have happened, but didn’t: Today I had a flat tire. I was irritated, but realized a couple blessings. The big one was that the flat happened while I was in my own driveway; I was not driving down the road at 50 miles per hour. Had it occurred a few minutes later I would have been on the road. The afternoon was sunny and pleasant, not pouring down rain as it was yesterday. The AAA man who changed the tire patiently answered my questions regarding the temporary tire.
  12. iced tea with a slice of lemon
  13. sitting on the porch reading
  14. having shelter to be out of the rain
  15. anticipation of more blessings, more pleasurable happenings, more spiritual victories

©P. Booher

 

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Nature Books

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Photo Credit: P. Booher

This post is for the nature lover, as I list different books featuring nature—either ones which help identify flora and fauna, or ones where the author draws from nature to express a deeper truth. Please note: these are all older books, but it may be possible to find them on used book sites.

  1. Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife—An Illustrated Guide to 2,000 Plants and Animals. I have spent time just looking at the beautiful pictures and illustrations in this book, let alone reading the text. The book not only shows what the plants and animals look like, it shows where they are found, and in the case of birds, it shows on maps where they are summer residents, winter residents, or live all year around. While this book is too big to take into the field, in my opinion, it’s wonderful to sit and look through and enjoy all the diversity shown. It’s also an education in environmental awareness, as the first part of the book describes various wildlife communities.
  2. Homeland: A Report from the Country by Hal Borland. I enjoyed reading this book by Mr. Borland, who was a nature columnist for the New York Times. I also have Hal Borland’s Book of Days. I must confess I haven’t read it yet, but believe I will enjoy reading it as much as Homeland. I’ve skimmed through Book of Days enough to know that, like Homeland, Mr. Borland relates nature facts as well as his thoughts about nature. Besides Homeland and Book of Days, he wrote many other books, most about nature in some way.
  3. By the River of No Return, by Don Ian Smith, is his first book about living in the mountain country of Idaho. 
  4. Wild Rivers and Mountain Trails, another book of devotionals by Don Ian Smith, celebrates living in the rugged, beautiful high country of Idaho. As with By the River of No Return, Pastor Smith does a wonderful job of using nature to illustrate eternal truths. His appreciation for the country and the animals in it shines through in this volume and By the River of No Return, and because of that, these books are a joy to read.
  5. Pathways To Understanding—Outdoor Adventures in Meditation by Harold E. Kohn, speaks about nature reflecting the Creator. Pastor Kohn also did the brush and ink drawings which illustrate his writing. 
  6. Country Chronicle by Gladys Taber, is drawn from the author’s life in New England. Gladys Taber’s columns used to appear in Family Circle or Woman’s Day magazines.

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–The Power of Words, Part II

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Words have such power! As creative as words can be (see The Power of Words, Part I, here,) they can be equally destructive. I think we often underestimate that destructive power. We repeat the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That saying is so untrue; it goes against the reality of the power of words.

Consider that words are important players in relationships. Think of it: a husband puts his wife’s family down; a wife belittles her husband’s ability to provide for the family; a father tells his son he will never amount to anything. The words used and the tone in which they are said, are like an invisible nuclear blast detonated in a person’s spirit. The fallout can last a long time.

What are my words like? Are they untrue, rude, thoughtless, insulting put-downs? Are they filled with the venom of gossip? Do they carry the hot coals of destruction?

Some Scriptures: Matthew 5:22, Ephesians 4:25, 29, 31, Ephesians 5:4, Philippians 2:14, Colossians 3:19, 21, and James 3:5,6

©P. Booher

 

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Memorial Day

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Memorial Day–a day to remember sacrifices made by so many men and women who went off to fight wars, not knowing if they would come back or not. Many did not come back. Of the veterans who did come back, some have lasting wounds from their experiences. Some of those are physical; some are mental; some are both.

I think of my father, who was diagnosed with PTSD years after his service in WWII. In his memory, and by extension, for all those veterans who suffer from PTSD, here is a prayer.

Dear Father in Heaven,

Thank you for those who fought and served. They left their homes, families and lives to travel thousands of miles away. I ask especially for those who have PTSD. Every day, they live with it. Help them cry out to You, Lord, and help them know You love them so much, and You see what they are going through. Lift them out of the miry clay, and set them on solid ground, in places of stability. Let them know Your love, peace, comfort, and joy . In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Some Scriptures: Psalm 40:1-3, Psalm 142, Psalm 143, Psalm 139: 1-18, John 3:16, Romans 5:8.9

P.Booher

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Needed: Showing, Not Just Telling

Years ago, a person I know worked at a small business in a small town. The owner and employee had attended the same Sunday school and church decades before. The owner professed Christianity and was active in a Christian businessmen’s association. He had also gone on short-term mission trips.

One night, it was the employee’s turn to close the store. Besides turning out the lights and locking up, her duties in closing the store meant taking the deposit over to the bank across the street, and putting the deposit in the night deposit box.

The next morning, the employee was shocked when the owner called, demanding to know where his money was. The employee said she had put the money in the chute. The owner said the bank couldn’t find the money. The employee was hurt that the owner would think she had stolen his money, particularly since the owner had known her for years. It turned out that there was a new teller at the bank, and she had not reached far enough down the chute to get the bag. The owner never apologized to the employee.

While the owner talked about Christ in his activities outside the business, he didn’t show Christ in his business, at least, not on that occasion. What an impact it would have had on that employee if the business owner had refrained from  jumping to conclusions, or, if he had at least apologized to the employee. As it was, the employee was unjustly accused, and she couldn’t take the owner’s Christian witness seriously. The owner didn’t realize the place his Christianity was most on display was not on the mission trips, but right there in his store, among employees, customers, sales representatives, and delivery people. They were the people most affected by the way his Christianity was lived out.

Perhaps you think I am being a little harsh on the business owner. Consider this: the work environment is where most people spend a good portion of their day. Work is also the source of a lot of stress. People working for a business owner who brings Jesus to work won’t even experience some of that stress, because Jesus is the Source of peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control… (see the New Testament book of Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22). The business owner acts with those qualities, because Jesus is working inside of him or her.

For more information on faith at work, check out the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics site: tifwe.org

©P. Booher

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