Archive for the ‘loving life’ Category

exercise for now and later

October 20, 2011

I came across this verse today as I was reading my Bible. It arrested my attention and reminded me to keep my focus and my priority.

Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.  (Good News Translation)

I’ve been working out at Fitness Together for about 22 months. I’ve seen some very encouraging changes in my body and my attitude! I feel stronger, healthier, enjoy better balance and stamina and am so very glad to be able to work out there twice a week!

Monday I went in to my workout appointment with Ashley armed with my eating/exercise journal and a new resolve. I told her I’ve got to get out of this slump and that I wanted to face the ‘Big 50’ next month with 10 fewer pounds! She said it’s possible but that I’ve gotta be willing to pay the price. (translation – I’ve gotta get my fat butt in there more often to do my cardio – more cardio – longer, more strenuous cardio!)

Even as I do pay that price, I’m still an almost 50 year-old middle-aged woman fighting the calendar and gravity! Working out won’t make me look like a 29 year-old fashionista model! (Dang!)  It will help me be a healthy, fit 50-year-old!  Ha!

It’s so typical to work hard at trying to get/stay fit but let’s face it, each day gravity gains more ground! We continue to fight fat, eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, drink enough water and yet natural law has the upper hand at least for now!

That’s where this verse comes in. Physical exercise is helping me live physically. But one day this body will give up/check out/sign off.  But my spirit is eternal. It will get a new, way better spiritual body to live in one day. I need to continue doing my spiritual exercises daily because it not only will strengthen me for living day-to-day right now, but it is also preparing me for my future forever-life! My spirit doesn’t have to fight gravity or age! It becomes stronger, more agile and beautiful and more alive the more I nurture and train it!

So, how do I exercise my spirit?

For starters, I spend a little time every morning reading my Bible. God’s Word. The words of God. Spoken to people and written down. Wow. I can know some of the thoughts of God! They’re here for me to read! I just have to open the book and read them and let them sink into my mind and heart. As I do that every day, it impacts my life – my thoughts, my actions, my relationships, etc.

Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17 The Message Bible)

Another way I exercise my spirit is to pray. This, I have to admit is harder for me than reading. So, this is why I persevere, because I know it’s important. It is my lifeline to God. Talking to Him is vital. I mean, how can you grow a friendship with someone you never talk to? So, I mostly write my conversations with him. (At least my end of them, ha!) Although sometimes I just talk out loud. In my kitchen or in the car. I tell him what grabs my attention from what I’ve read in the Bible and how I want it to change me. I tell him about the concerns I have for my family and friends and myself. I ask him for help, for wisdom. I tell him how amazing I think he is. I marvel at the creation he designed. I tell him or I gasp or gawk! Like the time a huge hawk flew just above me. Or when there’s a gorgeous sunrise or sunset. I don’t use religious language – Thees and Thous. I just talk and write and marvel.

Another way I exercise my spirit is to go to church. It’s way too easy to sleep in! Waaaaaaaaaaaay too easy! Excuses abound – I don’t even have to go looking for them. They are ready and waiting! (Kinda like all those excuses to keep me from working out!)

Going to church isn’t some way of making myself feel better about myself. I don’t go to ease my conscience. Going there puts me in contact with other people who are in the same boat as me so to speak. We’re all on a spiritual journey. We’re all wanting to know God and grow spiritually. None of us are perfect, nor are we pretending to be. We are learning to leave our pretenses at the door.

Being at church encourages me. It lightens my load. I leave refreshed, and challenged and armed with knowledge to help me make changes in my life and trust God more.

So, there’s my beginning description of what it means to exercise my spirit. I hope it encourages you to exercise yours.

Here’s a bonus tip, no charge! Sometimes I “multi-task” and listen to worship music as I run/walk. I talk to God as I pant my way along the treadmill or trail. I could even start memorizing scripture as I run! But I always find something to shake my head at and tell God how astoundingly amazing he is!

Happy exercising to you – physically and spiritually!

chick-a-dee

June 25, 2011

We are only the second owners of the house in which we live. The people who built it put a lot of thought into some of the details, especially in the yard. Daily I’m filled with delight because of their planning!

When we moved in I remember thinking, ‘these people are really obsessed with birds!’ Now I see why! It might seem to some that I’ve become obsessed with them as well, but if so, it’s probably because I’m able to watch them and observe their behavior. Whether or not I’m obsessed, I have come to be quite fond of them.

I’ve learned that if you want to see and enjoy birds or butterflies, or whatever, you need to plant trees and flowers from which those creatures enjoy eating. The former owners did just that.

They designed a bird-haven in front of the large family room window. They built a wooden structure designed especially for hanging various bird feeders. They also planted a Serviceberry Tree in the lee of the house, a little corner off to the side of the window that is protected from the wind.

fruit of service berry tree

Fruit on the Serviceberry Tree

Over the years the tree has grown and become shelter, school and fast food stop to hundreds of birds!

Because of the former owners’ foresight, we’ve been filled with wonder and delight as we’ve discovered birds we’d never even seen before!

Over these dozen years we’ve observed male and female birds of various types:

Goldfinches, Cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Purple House Finches, Grackles (not my favorite), Robins, Eurasian Doves, Mourning Doves, Orioles, Cedar Waxwings, a Sharp Shinned Hawk, and various assorted sparrows.

We’ve enjoyed seeing baby Robins hopping around the yard, chirping relentlessly for their parents to come rescue or feed them!

Since we moved in we’ve had to remove some large pines that were dying, so we landscaped, adding three Blue Spruce, a few Aspen trees and an Ash tree which provide more perches, more habitat for all these species.

A few years ago, we built a water feature in a corner alcove nestled beneath a towering River Birch and two Althea (Rose of Sharon) trees and have had the delight of watching cardinals and goldfinches and even a Red-Winged Blackbird come and drink and bathe in the water. The hotter the day, the more numerous are the fountain’s visitors. They perch on the fence, their beaks open as they seem to pant. Then nervously they glance side to side as they swoop down to take a few gulps of fresh water.

Somewhere along the line, we came across a small nesting box and hung it from a post built in the alcove next to the fountain. Last year I noticed a bird or two taking an interest, but sadly, they didn’t move in.

This spring we were elated to see a pair of Black-Capped Chickadees move in! They have hatched a little  family in our nesting box! My husband and I sit out there as often as we can watching the parents come  and go. At first they were carrying building supplies in their beaks, and then spelling each other as they  both took turns sitting on the eggs. Finally we noticed they were coming and going with greater  frequency, their beaks full of little inch worms and insects! We heard peeping and in a few days were  able to see tiny, featherless heads bobbing as they clamored for food!

Before much longer, those baby chickadees were figuring out that food came from the little round  opening above them and you could see them jostle to get closer. Now mom and dad cart in larger caterpillars and seeds and suet! They are sedulous! (dedicated and diligent)

Within about a week’s time, those little chirps had changed from single peeps to the clear “chick-a-dee” call these birds are named for! Such tiny, scrawny little featherless urchins are peeping, “chick-a-dee … chick-a-dee” like they’ve been at it all their lives! Oh wait, they have! Those little creatures have had us in awe! chick-a-dees

This amazing Chickadee family have been medicine to our sometimes weary souls. Their presence takes our minds off of all our preoccupations and we sit and listen with joy and wonder as new life has emerged right before us.

As I sat here yesterday morning, there were chirps being repeated from the Serviceberry tree in front of me. Baby sparrows were perched nervously, clumped close together, waiting for their parents to come deposit food into their open, expectant beaks. Their chest feathers were fuzzy-looking with fluffed-out feathers. One was bravely trying to preen and the others were hanging on for dear life! Their chirps were repetitive and persistent. It’s akin to our kids saying, “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom . . .” incessantly until we answer them! I can just hear daddy sparrow’s thoughts, “Alright-already! Hang on! Don’t get your feathers in a wad, I’m coming!”

Today they are back and a bit more adventurous. They sidle up to mom and wiggle, their tail feathers all aflutter, beaks ready for their treat. I’m guessing by tomorrow their mom will be telling them, “Go get it yourself!”

Our little Black-capped Chickadee parents swoop in and out, quickly grabbing seed or suet and off they go to their nest. Back and forth, back and forth, tirelessly and devoted.

A gold finch flits in and away. A male cardinal lands in the hanging box, grabs some food and takes off. (Yesterday I sat with my mouth agape, incredulous as a male cardinal sat next to a female on a limb in this same tree, feeding her! How precious!)

This activity causes me to recall some Bible verses I learned about as a young girl.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6,7

What comfort. God sees them all – not just the ones in my yard, but all the sparrows and birds of all kinds all over the planet! They are precious and important enough to him to keep his eye on and Jesus said that we are more valuable than they I don’t have to be afraid. He provides for them, he will provide for me.

I want to be as eager and expectant as these little fledglings, looking to God, my Father, to care for me, even better than these feathered friends of mine look after their little ones. After all, I’m important to him, and you are too!

happy heart feasting

June 18, 2011

I was flipping through my journal and this bit caught my eye: “For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15

When our children were small, my husband and I would remind them to choose a happy heart. It was so easy for them to become frustrated and grumpy if something didn’t go their way.

The first several times I read that verse, I focused on the word ‘despondent’ and thought about what brought a person to the place of despondency. But over time, as I’ve pondered this, I’ve realized that any person has the capacity to become despondent or happy and hopeful. It is a matter of focus and choice. Not in the “let’s live in la-la land denial” sort of way, but in a very real acknowledging reality and choosing anyway sort of way.

I used to work with a woman who was a constant stream of complaints and grumbles. She whined and grumbled and complained so often that in my mind she became a grumble. No matter how I tried to point out positive things or show her the silver lining, she persisted to cling to her negative victim mindset.

These days I see this verse with new eyes. It’s as though it says: “For the person who chooses to be a victim and see life as always being against them, every day brings them trouble; but for the person who sees life as a gift from God full of surprises and challenges and new opportunities, life is a continual feast.”

The longer I live, I realize that life is hard! It is brimming with challenges and sorrows and joys and pain and loss and laughter alike. It is not life that makes us despondent. It is our mindset or perspective that influences our response to our situation and experiences.

What makes a happy heart? My perspective. My decision.

I was working out with a new trainer the other day and she asked me what I do and one thing led to another and I explained that I felt like I’d spent the better part of the last dozen years fighting or recovering from cancer.

Toward the end of our conversation she mentioned that I had a positive outlook on life which really blessed me. Her words were a gift!

With the experiences I’ve had these last 12 years, I could have easily become a grumble, but chose a happy heart. It wasn’t easy but it was the right thing to do. Consequently, I see each new day is a gracious gift from God, making every day a continual feast of beauty and joy in the midst of the speed bumps and pot holes of life!

There’s no need to be despondent and hopeless. I mean, if you want to be you can, but why would anyone want to be despondent when they can have a happy heart and a continual feast of delighting in the goodness of God?!

new day

April 28, 2011

A fresh new day has come our way

My heart is glad; I hope it stays

The gloom has lifted, my spirits raise

A happy reason to give God praise!

Bridal-shower-Barbie-doll

April 20, 2011

Saturday I had the privilege of hosting a bridal shower for my namesake niece. She’s absolutely precious and beautiful inside and out. I had a great time and it appeared that she did as well!

That afternoon, I was looking through the pictures and was taken aback in dismay. The reason being, the way I looked in them! (Quite selfish and narcissistic I know, but I’m being honest.) My thought process was something like this . . . ‘Ohmygosh, I look awful! You mean to tell me that I’ve been working out for 16 months and I still look this big?!’ Then, ‘I definitely shouldn’t have worn that sweater…makes my arms look like a sumo wrestler! Wear dark colors, Kris, dark colors!’

I have to say that I hit the wall of discouragement. I’ve been ‘bustin it’ and really trying hard and I still look like I need to go hire a personal trainer! Oh, wait, I already did, 16 months ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then my thoughts went this direction . . . ‘So if I look like this now, after all this work, how awful must have I looked all those years prior? Les, you let me out of the house looking like a train wreck?!

Then I remembered (because my kind, loving, wise husband has reminded me of this hundreds of times) that I’ve been through several years of hell-on-earth and I reminded myself that I barely survived and whatdidIexpectanyway?! I’m alive. I’m happily married, to my very best friend. I’ve got two amazing-fantastic-incredible kids! What does it matter anyway that I don’t have a Barbie-doll body? And who set that up as the [insert expletive here] standard in the first place?! And why do I feel like I have to continue to explain to my imaginary audience (all skinny women of course) why I don’t measure up?!

You see, if you’re anything like me, you’re busy living life, going and doing and loving, and don’t really take the time to worry about such ‘petty matters.’ Then you get in a room full of women and the temptation to play the comparison game presses in. Well, I chose not to even think about any of that, after all, I’ve been working out and am feeling better than ever!

But, there were three women there, in particular, who looked like a million bucks. (They also had bodies, like Barbie, that I’ve been longing to look like and working at becoming on and off for basically my entire life.) I noticed them. Who wouldn’t have? They were not only lovely to behold, they were loads of fun to be around! They enjoyed a friendship with one another that was special to observe and fun to be included in for the moments we were together.

Then I got home and looked at the pics. Down, down, down my spirits went. After all, it is women like these I have striven all my life to look like. And now, it’s a proven fact (the pictures show it) that I am not that, and most likely shall never be. And should this desire to be like Barbie continue to be a lifelong goal of mine? I’m not thinking so. It is not a worthwhile or noble goal (for me) to spend the amount of time and energy it would take to get to that place. Not that I should give up working out, but working out to look like a certain body type that isn’t mine, therefore it isn’t even realistic for me. Unless I worked out hours a day, daily for years to get down to almost zero body fat, I’d still need surgery on my rounder parts! I don’t think it could ever be a practical reality. And then there’s the problem, how would I maintain that?  Is it worth giving up much of the living of life in order to look a certain way? (I don’t even see myself most of the time, it’s for others that I’m trying to look that way, if I’m really being honest. Although I do have this imaginary idea of how glorious it must be to pull up a pair of jeans and not have them tight at the hips and bagged out at the waist. Ahhhhhhhh, it must feel fabulous!)

So, as I furiously picked up around the house (my therapy for dealing with difficult emotions) I worked out my solution. I went downstairs and sat near my husband and verbalized it as such:

“I’m not going to deny myself for the rest of my life to be something I can never be.”

He repeated it back to me with an addendum: “I’m not going to deny myself for the rest of my life to be something I can never be (…nor was I ever meant to be.) Hmmmm. He’s right. [insert another expletive!]

Now, I don’t want any of you to think that my trainers have failed me. I could never have gotten where I am without them. Nor am I giving up and throwing in the towel. Although, if you’d have watched me eat these last few days, you might have thought so! I’ve been eating cookies and Easter candy and chicken pot pie and all sorts of things in quantities that don’t match my fitness plan! It’s not very wise therapy, but it is yummy! But now that I’ve comforted my hurting emotions in an unhealthy way, it’s time to get back on the wagon and pump some iron and burn those calories! It’s time to get back to work, not to continue to chase after an illusive pipe dream, but to maintain my health and facilitate the accomplishment of my goals. What are they, anyway?

I need to take a good look at my reasons for working out and trying to lose weight as well as the motives behind them.

1. I want to look good for my husband. He loves the way I look. He’s not pressuring me to be Barbie.

2. I want to be strong and healthy. I’m there and am growing in strength week by week!

3. I want to be around to enjoy my grandkids someday, to be able to play with them, not just look at them.

4. I want to look like Barbie so that I can feel good about myself, look fabulous in my clothes and be happier! (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ [alarm sound] Warning! Warning! That is a motive I need to ditch! It isn’t even true!)

I’m in this marathon (darn it, it is a marathon, not a sprint) to attain good health and to become my very best (not someone else’s) for my family and for myself. I need to train myself to enjoy the body God gave me, not to strive for achieving (or coveting) the one He’s given my neighbor.

(These are my personal and intimate thoughts from my own bumpy, rambling process. Please don’t feel badly for me or have the impression that I’m needing you to write and tell me how fabulous you think I look. You may be tempted to judge me or condemn me for my lack of spiritual maturity, and that’s ok. I’m just sharing with you, vulnerably, the inside workings of my mind and heart as they relate to the never-ending struggle with/fight against comparison, body-image, cultural values and longing.)

It would be so much simpler and far more enjoyable if I would just revel in who God made me to be. As I think about it, this is so like the issue in the Garden of Eden. I want that instead of what God said I could have. I don’t want to act that way! I want to choose contentment as I strive for good stewardship of my one and only body.

God, here I go again, comparing, longing for something that I don’t have and totally getting myself off track. Thank you for keeping me alive through a horrendous double-wide ride through cancer-hell. Thank you for keeping my marriage and family strong through trying times. Thank you for health and friends and strength to enjoy each day you’ve given me. Please help my blog-reader friends to learn and grow in this area as well, to delight in your creativity as you’ve made us all, differently, in Your image. Amen.

still at it

February 17, 2011

It’s an absolutely gorgeous day! I’m about to go out and enjoy it, but first I wanted to say that even though I haven’t kept you up to date on my Fitness Together progress, that doesn’t mean I’ve given up! To the contrary, I’ve been plugging away at this fitness thing for 13 months! It’s hard to believe, but I’m still at it (applause please, lol)!

What’s harder to believe, and I’m not proud to say this, is that even though I’ve been at it for over a year, it’s really no easier than it was (ok, maybe it is, a little!) Sticking with something that just doesn’t come naturally is just plain hard. I’ve never been an outdoorsy or athletic person. I think I could’ve been if I’d been brought up that way, but alas, I wasn’t.

We tend toward those things we are most comfortable with, whether or not they are good for us.

So, what I’m saying is, I’d like to tell you that if you stick with an exercise and eating plan, it’ll just become part of your life. Yes and no. If you stay intentional about it, it will. But if you drift back to your old ways, it won’t. Maybe after another year? I’ll let you know! I think the embarrassing truth may be that I’m always a batch of cookies or a bag of chocolate kisses away from blowing it. Hershey’s Kisses aren’t bad, but a whole bag of them is!

I love baking. My family likes it when I bake. I love being appreciated by my family for my baking/cooking. I love eating what I bake! Why would I give all that up!? Giving them up isn’t necessarily the answer – I’ve tried it and it just makes certain people (me) grumpy! A good compromise is doing less baking. I can still bake, just not as often. I can cook all I like, healthy dinners are a good substitute. Exercising to compensate for my goody-love is a wise plan also. I knew a police officer who told me once that the reason he worked out was so that he could eat what he wanted!

It’s sobering to own up to a reality in my life that I’m not proud of. Fitness will always have to be a deliberate choice for me. If I don’t stay focused and intentional, I’ll drift back to finding excuses for not getting to the gym or outside walking or running. I’ll drift back to being out of shape, out of energy, heavy, self-conscious and miserable. Wow, this is a good reminder of how I used to feel. Is it really worth feeling awful to laze back to my old bad habits? Hmmm, this puts everything in perspective. I’d rather have a little discipline daily than live a life of daily regret.

Recently my husband and I were on a week-long vacation where it was warm and sunny. Perfect weather for walking and running! Did I run or walk daily?  No. Did I go to the beautiful fitness room even once? No! The reason is this: for me, working out is still work! When I’m on vacation, I want to forget all work! I want to take a vacation from my problems, like my friend in my favorite movie, “What About Bob?”

The happy vacationing couple!

So, I gave myself permission to not work out. I walked up 275 stairs every morning and down that same number after being at the pool for a while. Sometimes I walked up those stairs two or three times a day. Les and I went for a beach walk one time because it was beautiful, not because I wanted exercise. I did nothing I didn’t want to do. (Isn’t that what makes a vacation so enjoyable anyway?) But I’m bummed that I didn’t want to.

Subconsciously it must have been bothering me. When I got home, I started having disturbing dreams – in them I was gaining weight, growing  bigger and bigger and stressing and stressing, my clothes wouldn’t fit – things like that. (I know I’m in trouble when I go to bed at night with the last thought on my mind being, “If I don’t make some changes tomorrow, I’m going to be in trouble. . . .”  Makes for a fitful night and a stressed out life!)

So, while I vacationed, I had a perfectly lovely time, but now I am home and am “back to work.”

I have to admit, it feels good to work out! Afterwards I’m always glad I went and put out the work. It just doesn’t come easily. I never get up in the morning with my first thought being, “Today, I can’t wait to workout. I think I’ll go right now!”

I guess what I’m trying to say is this, I would’ve thought that after a year of patterning my behavior and eating habits, it’d become natural. Although disappointing, at least I know where I stand and will just have to keep doing what I’m doing because it works, and because I feel terrific!

By the way, I ran more yesterday than I have in 6 years! I felt invigorated and happy! (I also could barely walk last night, but that’s beside the point!)

I’m still at it!

week 30

September 7, 2010

Recently Les and I were able to have lunch with a couple of friends from out-of-town. They are a couple of my all time favorite people! When I saw them and we hugged necks all around, Jan said it looked like I was still working out and asked if I still was. I said yes and asked why she thought I had stopped. She said that I hadn’t blogged about it in a while and figured I’d quit.

Oh, contraire! I quit blogging about it because I figured people were probably tired of hearing me go on and on about it!

I’m in week 30 (not counting the 3 weeks we were away, but I still worked out and ate right – mostly!)

There’s good news and bad news. The good is that I still love working out! I love knowing it’s scheduled and on my calendar and will happen. I love going and working really hard and feeling like I’m going to keel over or throw up because I’m working so hard. I love it because I know myself, and I would never ever EVER work myself that hard! I don’t like feeling that way at the time, but I know I’m working hard and that, I love! I love the way I feel when I’m done! Energized yet exhausted. Not sure how that happens, but it’s one of the best feelings on earth. I love the peace that working out brings to my heart – the fear of growing fatter over time is diminished because I’m burning calories while increasing muscle which increases my metabolism.

I still appreciate that Fitness Together is private. I don’t have to deal with a crowded room full of voluptuous, sexy bodies and feel old and worn and unattractive and out of shape and out of date and basically a ‘has been’ who oughta just go home and be fat and make room for the pretty bodies. Does anyone else ever feel that way when going to a big gym? Isn’t that pathetic?! LOL Okay, maybe not to that extreme, but I still feel uncomfortable at a gym.

I still appreciate the fact that my trainers are tuned in, to me, not the television and not staring off into space in utter boredom. It’s a very physical job they have keeping me working out and stretching and pressing me to go further than the time before. I’m grateful every time I go that they do such an excellent job helping me become stronger and healthier.

So, I know, you’re wondering, what’s the bad news then? How can there be any bad news?

The bad news is that I’m still me! Let me explain.

I’ve hit a wee slump where I’m tired of writing things down, tired of watching and calculating. It’s really not even hard, it’s just that I prefer to eat what I want when I want to, without restraint. So, the bad news is this: I still have to fight my natural (carnal) desires to have it my way. I want to be slim and strong but still be able to eat whatever I want in any portion I want it. It gets tiring to always have to tell myself ‘no.’ (read this with a whine:  waaaaaa, poor meeeeeeeee!)

So, it’s time to shake this off and remind myself that I feel better than I’ve felt in a decade, actually ever in my whole life, and the reason: working hard and making wise choices. It’s time to get back to the basics and plan ahead. Stock up on healthy groceries, check out the menu on-line and make my choice before going to a restaurant, knowing I’ll need to split the entree with someone or put half in a to-go box before I start eating. I need to remind myself to drink enough water during the day and to keep healthy snacks in my purse so I don’t make poor choices when I’m super hungry. (Actually, I should never get to the point of being that hungry, that’s why I have snacks with me. I’ve gotta keep that metabolism burning!)

Back to the basics. It isn’t rocket science, it’s just common every day wisdom. It’s the little things that can make a big difference. Little choices every day. Little steps get us where we are going. No magic pill. No magic exercise machine. Just good old common sense, consistency and persistence.

So, week 30 finds me strong, healthy, not infatuated, and renewing my resolve to keep at it and do my best because my life is a good thing to invest in. My husband, my children and future grandchildren will be so thankful that I did!

Here’s to week 30! Hoorah!

summer joy

June 28, 2010

The flowers in our garden-yard are displaying their glorious colors – a riotous jumble that brings my heart joy. The house wren sings his delightful melody, causing my heart to praise the One who made him! The breeze cools my skin and gratitude wells up from deep within.

I just returned from a bike ride around Zorinsky Lake. What a gorgeous day it is!  I’m so thankful to God for eyes to see the beauty of a shimmering lake; for ears to hear the song of the wrens and a nose to breathe in the captivating aroma of fields awash with purple-pink clover! I’m grateful for a body that can once again pedal and race my way up and down hills as I circumnavigate the lake. It’s fabulous to be alive!

I know it’s been 5 years since my last head-on collision with cancer, but I still marvel at the gift of life every day! Each endowment of 24 hours is time to be treasured. Even as I carry laundry up and down the stairs, or walk to the mailbox without needing an arm to lean on; as I carry in bags of groceries and do the myriad mundane tasks of life, I thank God that I am able to do all these things! I thank him that I’m alive to do them!

I’ve heard it said that life is what you make it. I’ve also heard the saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I really dislike that saying. It’s annoying.  But I think the intended meaning is that no matter what your life circumstances happen to be, there is joy to be found someplace. There is some thing or place or person or little detail that can bring delight to one’s day, regardless of the circumstances. There is joy to be found in each and every day, every season of your life!