Proverbs tells us “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth.” (And by the way, I love the cadence and the language of the King James Version.)
Today I was honored to find that my dear friend Sally Lynn Hall mentioned my little blog in a Facebook post. This blog to which (up till now) I have not made consistent posts. This blog of which I felt did not deserve much fanfare. “You can start talking about blogging when you do it consistently enough.” Or, “…when you follow through.” Or, “…when you’ve had enough interesting things to say.” But (in what I also suspect might have been a ploy to get me to keep writing) Sally took my small offerings and with sweet praise said, “This is worth reading.”
I realize it’s probably a bit cliché to talk about my concerns about blogging. If I had anything worth saying. If I had anything worth offering. And I am enough of a perfectionist to wonder if, after all the good blogs I had read for years, I would do it right.
But as I fussed about it, I was given the answer in a not-so-old hymn:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds my future
My life is worth the living just because He lives
It was during the second round, while singing “My life is worth,” that God seemed to shake me with the emphasis of this reminder: You’re worth it. You’re worth the living, worth the writing, worth the doing.
And so I will keep at it.
I had a relapse this past weekend. I walked into a Barnes & Noble with the firm intention of buying only one book. This book was a necessary purchase, in the way that pretty covers and an upcoming bookclub theme make it necessary. And…I had a coupon. Every facet of this purchase was (practically) justified. What helped strengthen my resolve were the just-bought bags of groceries sitting in the back seat. I couldn’t waste time browsing!
Apparently my book of choice hadn’t been offered recently, and they were out of stock. Of course, they could order it for me… “But you don’t understand; I have a coupon!” Now I was at the point that I couldn’t let it go to waste. (Way to go, marketing group!) So I walked out with three new books.
Mind you, I’ve been very good lately about sticking to my “no more buying books until you read the ones you have” resolution. And let’s face it, I didn’t mean all my unread books—I just had to make some progress. Either way you look at it, I’m pretty sure I have a problem (or close to having one?), and I’m pretty sure this qualifies as falling off the wagon.
But confession is good for the soul, right?! And I can be good…for a little while, at least. 😉
I’m finding it hard to believe it’s been more than a year since my last post. So many things have happened in the past year—and not all of them bloggable. Small things, work things, good and bad (though ultimately resolved) things. But through it I pulled inward and quiet, and then got out of the habit of this form of expression.
I just had a birthday, and was taken aback at the number of expressions of felicitation by friends and even mere acquaintances. Small comments, glittery cards, flowers. And it made me confront that little nagging lie that all the little things I’d do (or not do) “didn’t really matter all that much.” Because even though I’m not someone who needs grand accolades, those displays of value truly did matter…and in a way, it showed that others esteemed me more than I esteemed myself, or my own efforts. All because of the little things.
Yet again I was reminded of Proverbs 3:27: “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” And I’m going back to letting this be my motto. Not just in the big gestures, or monetary donations, but in the little dispensings of time and appreciation. In the small expressions of consideration for others. This is the goal for me this year.
Before there was Pinterest, we collected magazines. Magazines filled with insightful articles, useful tips, and beautiful images. And none of this “pin now, read later” nonsense. We’d read, look, and plan, right then and there.
And OK, so maybe we still do that, to some extent. What I’m getting at is why I have so many magazines. In these pages were endless hours of inspiration, in some form or another. Like my mom, I’d go through and cut out favorite pieces to use later. (In the mid-to-late ’90s I went through a huge decoupage phase, but that’s another story.)
Now, nearly four years after my mom died, and nearly three and half years after the bulk of the sorting, I’m going through my collection again. As years pass it becomes easier—and much less overwhelming—to let go of a few more things. There are a few more books being added to the donate pile, and lot more magazines (how did we find room to store these things?) being put in the recycle bin.
But I’m not in a rush to purge simply for the sake of minimalism. I’m taking a little bit of time to review these stored keepsakes. I’m taking time to reevaluate what’s still really important—and what’s not. And I’m taking the time to remind myself of the things I really felt passionate about. Maybe I’ll find that some of those things are really worth keeping.
When I was 4 years old, I received my very own pair of left-handed, green-handled scissors. They were all mine! I still remember the joy of finally being able to cut things. (If you did not know, it used to be next to impossible for a south paw to cut with regular children’s scissors.)
This fascination came into play when making this year’s Valentine cards. I love being able to remind my friends that they are loved…while using the most amount of pink this girly heart desires.
Thanks to Pinterest, I came across an idea for paper feathers and knew I had to so something with it. And thanks to liagriffith.com for the feather template, and a varied supply of scrapbook papers on hand, I was able to put together one of the most satisfying Valentine cards yet.
I love my friends, and I’ve loved this project. After cutting out more than a hundred paper feathers, I’m also ready to give the scissors a bit of a break.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful—that will be my life.”
—Elsie de Wolfe
Everyone has beauty to share. It is something that flows out from within. It’s not a status symbol or a score to obtain, to make you superior to others. It is a gift to be shared, and to draw others in. It is not about perfection, but creating an environment conducive to growth, a place where we all bloom.
I hope to create such an environment wherever I go. And I hope many future posts here share this same feeling.
To use the tongue-and-cheek phrase as written by Rogers and Hammerstein, “Let’s start at the very beginning / a very good place to start.”
Everyone must start somewhere. And no matter where you are in life, everything new you attempt has that first moment of being a beginning. Zechariah 4:10 admonishes: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin….”
I have grand (or maybe just vague) hopes that this will evolve into something charming, with a measure of grace, a dash or two of the occasional wit. Something endearing and inspiring. Something one finds worth reading. But ultimately, it will be my heart shared. And for tonight, we can say the work has begun.