Category Archives: Country Ripples

Reflective, inspirational thoughts.

Do One More Thing

There are days I struggle with lack of motivation. Lately, however, a phrase keeps popping up in my head: “Do one more thing”. I think this is my mind’s combination of a quote from newscaster/explorer Lowell Thomas, “Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can”, and an article from literary agent Steve Laube’s blog. The article is titled, “The Devil is in the Procrastination”. You can find the article here: https://stevelaube.com/the-devil-is-in-the-procrastination/.

Regardless of the source, that four-word phrase, “Do one more thing” helps me accomplish a little more and decrease the stress in my life.

Its practical uses are endless: from filling the tea kettle before I go to bed so the next morning goes easier; to finding one more picture for a blog post; to organizing one more manila envelope of papers, to taking time to check the car’s windshield wiper fluid level (not good to run out while I’m out and about on a wet or snowy day!)

If I told myself “I need to do this, this, this, and this after I do that” it would be self-defeating. But mentally and emotionally I can handle, “Do one more thing”.

©P. Booher

Resources: I consider Steve Laube’s blog excellent for beginning and established writers. He and his team have much info. to share on writing and publishing. (www.stevelaube.com).

Newscaster/author/explorer Lowell Thomas packed a lot of adventure into one life. If you’d like to find out more, you can go to: https://britannica.com/biography/Lowell-Thomas.

2 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples, Tips to Avoid Stress

This New Year Deserves Hope

I thought about all the days ahead in the year, fresh and new. For years, people regarded the new year with hope. They looked for improvement in their lives, countries, and the world. After the upheaval of 2020, people may regard 2021 with more apprehension.

But 2021 deserves hope. Even if it isn’t the glittering, shiny-bright hope of past years in which we (I) thought circumstances would instantly be better with the changing of the date, there is hope. There is hope that this year, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, if 2020 was 1, maybe 2021 will be a 3, or a 4, or maybe higher. Perhaps not a 10, but it doesn’t have to be a 1, either.

How can I say that? Consider what we saw last year: people picking up groceries or needed medicine for family, friends, neighbors who couldn’t go out; people organizing food drives or drives for personal goods for those hard-hit by the pandemic, financially or otherwise; musicians who ordinarily would perform in person playing online to raise people’s spirits; artists painting murals in towns; people literally going out of their way to help others. People connected with their families more, perhaps learning new technology to do so; parents, teachers and school districts navigated regulations and technology to enable students to learn; people merged necessity and creativity to do what needed to be done. People went outside in larger numbers, finding the benefits and joys of doing so; they took up new hobbies; they discovered resilience they didn’t know they had. People tried hard to make the circumstances better.

Out of the turbulence of 2020 came clarity—not only with family and what really matters, but also with hidden problems that came to light in large and small areas. When problems are in the light, they can be dealt with. On a small, personal scale, I see character flaws that need worked on. I can’t be content with sweeping them under the rug anymore. Those flaws affect all areas of my life. If I can’t take care of them entirely, I can put up a fight, and make progress. I know I have unhealthy thinking patterns; I am trusting that with God’s help, those will be changed. I have hope.

If each person does what he or she can every day to make the world a better place, even a little thing, such as holding the door open for someone struggling with packages, or “paying it forward” in some way, 2021 has hope.

“Treat others as you want them to treat you.” The Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12 (CEV)

©P. Booher

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Country Ripples

Christmas Reflections

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Jesus,

I stand in awe that You chose to leave heaven and voluntarily give up the prerogatives You had. You chose to come to earth as a helpless baby. I believe You were glad to do it, because You love us so much. You would rather do that and give us the chance and the choice to live eternally with You, than see heaven without us. In giving up much, You gave us much. Thank You.

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,…” Galatians 4:4 (KJV)

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…” Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

“Christ Jesus…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men…” Philippians 2:5-7 (KJV)

©P. Booher

2 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples

What Am I Focusing On?

Photo by Roxana Ioana Luca on Pexels.com

Today a picture flashed in my mind. It was similar to a dream, but I was wide-awake. In the picture I was standing on a hill, one high enough to gain altitude over everything else. I could see two different ways.
Those ways represented different attitudes in my life. Those attitudes produced different results.

In the first view I saw all the places I wanted to go and never went, the “good-paying” job I wanted, and never got, the experiences I used to envision myself having and never having them. When I looked that way I felt bitterness and a corrosive resentment boil up inside.

Then I turned to look at the second view. There I saw all the places I did go to (like Niagara Falls!); all the books and stories I’ve read; all the jobs I had, the relationships and what I learned on the jobs; all the experiences I’ve had, and what I gained from them. As I looked that way I felt rich. I had no reason to feel bitter or resentful.

The lesson from the picture in my mind is plain to me: my feelings depend on what I focus on. I can look one way and see what I didn’t get, or didn’t have, and be angry or in despair; I can look the other way and see what I got, and what I have, and be grateful and hopeful.

What am I focusing on?

What are you focusing on?

©P. Booher

Niagara Falls Photo Credit: Author

2 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples, Life Lessons

Christmas, 2020–What’s Changed, What Hasn’t Changed

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

This Christmas will be different from all other years for many people. If you are accustomed to having a lot of family or friends over, you may be re-thinking that tradition. People who can are opting for virtual get-togethers; people without computers or internet access will find other ways to keep in touch. As has been the case since March or so, flexibility is key. Maybe you can’t have it exactly the way you’d like, but if you keep an open mind, options may appear that you never saw before.

The way we celebrate and the traditions we have are changing before our eyes, that’s for sure.

What hasn’t changed??

Consider this: the reason for Christmas (the Mass of Christ) hasn’t changed at all. Christmas wasn’t thought up by Santa Claus or retailers; Christmas was God’s idea. Christmas is still the birth of the Baby Jesus, God Who came to Earth because He loved people so much. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name, Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:21-23, KJV)

Maybe this is the year when we focus less on the way we celebrate and more on the why we celebrate.

©P. Booher

Author’s Note: If you have lost a loved one this year, especially due to COVID-19, please accept my sympathies.
No words can be enough, but I pray you will allow God to bring you comfort.

Leave a comment

Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters, Life Issues

What I Am Enjoying Now

Photo by Tomas Anunziata on Pexels.com

As fall ends and winter begins, what am I enjoying now?

  1. The smell of fallen leaves as my boots crunch through them
  2. Feeding the birds
  3. Reading notes friends send with Christmas cards
  4. Making plans to prune bushes and trees when it’s not too cold or snowy (we have a crab apple tree whose branches are rubbing against one another)
  5. Anticipating a new, better job, one more in line with my mental and physical capabilities
  6. Reading
  7. Learning more about writing
  8. Looking forward to getting more control over my emotions with God’s help
  9. Anticipation of spiritual victories with God’s help
  10. Remembering how God met needs this year (for one–a car repair that could’ve cost $1,000 cost just $200)
  11. Seeing some personal growth as I look back over the year
  12. Writing blog pieces! 🙂

©P. Booher

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

2 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples

A Surprising Remedy for Tiredness

Several years ago I worked as a cashier at a small-town grocery store. One day at work tiredness hit me. I couldn’t do anything about it; I had just started my shift; it would be hours before I could go home. Anxiety tagged along with the tiredness. Customers expected to see perky-looking cashiers, and I felt anything but perky. I knew that was reflected on my face. If a customer noticed that and said something to the manager, I would be disciplined, and I didn’t want that. So on top of being tired, I was also anxious. That was certainly not a good combination at work. What could I do?

After awhile a customer came up to the register. As I began ringing her purchases up, I recalled seeing an item in the paper. She had won an important award from the county. I congratulated her on winning the award. Her face lit up in a bright smile, and she thanked me. The conversation didn’t last long, and she walked out the door. But as she left, I realized my tiredness and anxiety had vanished. I made it through my shift with renewed energy and enthusiasm, and practically skipped out the door at the end of my shift.

Ever since, I’ve reflected on the idea that in making someone else feel better, I receive a benefit too.

©P. Booher

7 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples

Nature Notes–A Lesson in Courage and Persistence

One day my dad and I were in his workshop when we heard birds squawking. Opening the outside door we saw several catbirds and robins flying back-and-forth from a tree. The object of their attention turned out to be a black snake winding its way up the tree. Given the birds’ angry cries and persistent activity, we deduced there was a bird’s nest somewhere among the branches.

At first the snake ignored the birds. But one by one the catbirds and robins took turns pecking at the snake’s vulnerable spot, the tail, which was dangling from the tree. Finally the snake gave up its quest and slithered down the other side of the tree in retreat.

I was amazed that this life-and-death adventure happened just a few feet away from us. On further thought, I was impressed by the courage and the united effort the birds displayed to get the snake away from the nest. I don’t know whether it was a robin’s nest or a catbird’s nest that was threatened. It didn’t matter to the birds; both kinds worked together to defend the nest. They knew what was important, and kept up the attack until they achieved the result they wanted.

For me, this serves as another object lesson from God: fight for what’s important, and keep at it until you are successful. Don’t give up; don’t give in.

To learn more about catbirds: www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Gray_Catbird.

To learn more about robins: www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Robin

For black snakes: www.todayshomeowner.com/dealing-with-black-snakes-around-your-home-or-garden

P. Booher

4 Comments

Filed under Life Lessons, Nature Notes

What I’ve Been Enjoying Lately

Up Among the Trees

In this past week of November, I’ve been enjoying:

  1. The view from the back windows–the yellow maples have been in their glory, and the yellow leaves against the black or grey trunks make a stunning display.
  2. Being able to rake leaves! After spending a good part of a beautiful Saturday inside, I went out in the back yard late in the afternoon to rake leaves. I got to spend an hour or so getting much-needed exercise and enjoying the beauty of those same maple trees mentioned above. I was treated to some musical accompaniment by the birds. I heard a faint “cheep-cheep” (perhaps a chipping sparrow?), followed by the slightly louder cries of a cardinal and a nuthatch.
  3. Taking out the garbage! Ok, I know that sounds plain weird. Hear me out: we have lived in this house over 40 years. We’ve accumulated a lot through the years, some of which we don’t or can’t use. We are either gathering items to donate, or throwing things out. I took out garbage and got rid of things that hung around far too long. Taking out the garbage is progress! 🙂

©P. Booher

2 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples

Moments of Quiet Satisfaction

I took time out one evening to “scratch an itch” and practice drawing. Two or three weeks before I picked a plant, an ordinary “weed”, from the driveway and put it in a vase of water, intending to try my hand at sketching it “soon”. By the time “soon” came, the leaves were slowly turning brown but the largest ones were green and the tiny flowers on top pinkish-purple, so the plant still served nicely as a model. I dug out my sketch pad and after some false starts, managed to make a decent (to me) representation of the plant.

Wanting to practice more, I burrowed around my tote box of art supplies and found the workbook for beginning artists. Using the sketches in the workbook for ideas, I drew some more. I practiced for maybe a half-hour to an hour. When it was time to put away the supplies, I was surprised at the sense of quiet satisfaction I experienced inside. It seemed to blanket my nerves in relaxation.

One Saturday not long after that, my mother and I had what I call a “packing party”. We gathered items we wanted to donate, and then packed them in boxes I’d collected previously. This was a little project we’d talked about doing for awhile, but never got around to it until that Saturday. As I sat there surveying the boxes packed and ready to go, I noticed that quiet sense of satisfaction flooding my soul once again.

I notice these moments came during times of outward focus–periods of creativity and working to benefit others.

In this year of so much upheaval, have you noticed any times of quiet satisfaction–times of relaxation for your nerves–and if so, when did they come?

P. Booher

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

2 Comments

Filed under Country Ripples, Creativity