22.7.09

a picture is worth a thousand words


I came across this picture on wikipedia when looking into the origin of the saying "A picture is worth a thousand words".

Have you ever thought about the other way around? A thousand words is worth but one picture? This past weekend I started, and almost finished a book, Infidel, written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It has me captivated. Ayaan lived in more countries than most people will see in a lifetime. She endured and she persevered. She is a picture of success. Her book contains few pictures, however through thousands of words she painted a picture of her life in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Kenya and the Netherlands.

I want to start reading more often and when I find books such as this, I am reminded of how much I ENJOY reading. When you read, you learn, when you learn, anything is possible.

One of my goals on my list is to read 26 books within a period of 52 weeks. I'm slowly working toward the goal. This will be another book to add to my list of books read. If you are interested in: feminism, women's rights, religion, different cultures (besides American), psychology, politics, Africa, Islam - this is an eye-opening book to read.

It has been intriguing to follow Ayaan as she chronicles her life: struggles, education, travels and her hunger to learn and decide for herself what she believes.

21.7.09

change

Inevitable and Difficult...
Two words to describe change.

This past weekend I spent time at my family's lakeside rustic cabin and thought about change. This cabin has been an annual vacation with my family, and through the years there has been much change...
Thirty years ago my extended family owned 7 cabins on the lake. All our families would get together: cook, swim, read, relax, discuss, boat, enjoy each other's company. As time passed kids were born and invited to join in the family fun. Enter life jackets, swim lessons, sparklers, bon fires, smores, reading, the TRAIN, the pump to get fresh water, clambakes, jumping contests - off the float - who could just highest, make the biggest splash, best form, etc. We took trips on Sunday morning to Day's, a store in the Belgrade Lakes region, to get donuts and the Sunday newspaper. We would relax on the screened porch, eat donuts, read the comics, I mean the newspaper... We would go swimming, boating, eat lunch, check the train tracks to see if our precious pennies were smushed flat, pick raspberries, go swimming, run around with cousins and second cousins, eat dinner on the screened porch looking over the lake, have a bonfire, stumble into bed exhausted, only to do it all again the next day...
Fast forward thirty years - our extended family owns two camps and a cousin owns a third, which he has renovated to be a year-round house on the lake. The train isn't as exciting and doesn't come as often, the donuts don't taste as good, family members have passed away, cousins have grown up and don't visit as often, some cousins live as far as Alaska, California and Colorado. Change, it's inevitable.
This weekend, I spent time with family in Maine. My husband was away at youth camp, so I decided to go on vacation with my family without him. It was fun, but it was different. Life has changed. It's inevitable, but it's different.
Don't get me wrong. I love Maine. It holds MANY memories. But life has changed. This weekend I got donuts at Day's with my 9 year old cousin, I passed the memory on to her. :) I did read the Sunday paper; the news and the comics... I went wake-boarding, tubing, played mini-golf and ate Gifford's ice-cream with younger cousins, creating memories of Maine for them. I sat on the front porch looking out onto the lake, I read my book for hours, I kayaked. I relaxed. Life has changed, change is inevitable, change is good but change is difficult.
I miss those Maine days as a child, and I'm looking forward to creating new memories.
Change in life is much like my vacations in Maine...

9.7.09

when the heart waits...

Recently I decided to make a few changes... nothing huge, just small steps.
Last Saturday morning I woke up early to finish writing my "goals" for the next 3 years. It's a long list of over 100 goals, but there are small and large goals. 3 years is over 1000 days, so I have a few seasons to complete some of them (which includes paying down debt, saving for miscellaneous items and overseas travels - both missions & visiting family/friends). After I finished writing my goals I decided to make small daily changes to ensure they are completed.

1) Read more
2) Wake up earlier
3) Go to bed earlier
4) Be more productive at work: go early, take a lunch and end on time

Regarding #4 - i have a tendency to stay at my desk ALL day without taking any breaks and often feeling unproductive - the past 2 days i have done the above and feel MUCH more productive and at peace w/my work.

Check out this blog: Zen Habits | Simple Productivity
The author has some interesting takes on goals, less = more and life in general.

Note: If I am brave enough, I MAY post the goals here... in the meantime, you'll have to just be curious...

Well, yesterday I picked up a book I started reading 2 years ago called "When The Heart Waits". It's a thick book, not in pages, but in the reading. There's a lot in each page. It's written by the same author who wrote "The Secret Life of Bees" which I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

The author is going through a midlife crisis and doesn't know where she's headed. Now, I'm not 40, I'm not going through a midlife crisis and I know where I'm headed, at least right now, however she spoke to me through her writing. She writes about praying.

Often, we pray words, words, words and we do not allow our heart to be still and wait. It is said that praying is like a conversation with God. If we are the only one talking, how is God able to converse with us? Of course, God "speaks" in many different ways to different people. In my own experience, it's a "gut" feel. If something feels "right" in my gut, I know it's from God. Believe me, I've tested it more than a few times... ;)

Back to Sue Monk Kidd, the author; and her thoughts on prayer. The Greek word for rest is hesychia. It's a term that also came to mean praying (When the Heart Waits, 137). Does God want us to rest in prayer? When we are rested, are we relaxed? When we are relaxed, are we open to what God wants to speak to us? Have you prayed in rest lately? Have you prayed and waited for God to answer? Have you really waited? These are questions based on spending a few minutes buried in the book. In our instant gratification and rush rush society where we want things done yesterday, we send a text message if we get voicemail and facebook someone because it's faster than email, it goes against our grain to wait. It's HARD to wait. Maybe I should re-think how I pray. Maybe I should take a few moments and wait before starting in on my many "prayer" words, maybe I should take a few moments AFTER my "prayer" words to hear God, to "go with my gut"...