Unfulfilled Expectations on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the day generally thought of for good friends, lovers, married couples and all the stages of relationships in between. The dozen roses that walks through the front office door on Valentine’s Day makes every girl’s heart skip a beat hoping they are from a boyfriend, a husband or maybe a secret admirer.

Then hearts sink and smiles fade as the roses pass desk after office and finally land on the conference table from a grateful client.

Unfulfilled expectations and tears of sadness are often bed fellows because we want those roses, that card or a special dinner for ourselves.  I’ve listened to moans of dislike for the day because one does not have a girl/boyfriend or sweetheart as if that is all that love is about.

I was married 29 years ago on Valentine’s Day. Five years later the marriage unfortunately ended. That was the beginning of many tears of grief, sadness and sometimes anger. I had lost something that I so wanted to be successful and endure for years to come with the fruits of four children to complete the union.

It was not to be.

In subsequent years, the tears flowed freely every Valentines’s Day. Every year I sank deeper in depression, sadness, sorrow and despair.  I would hide away with my tear-stained cheeks from society, church and whoever else.

Then one year, my Heavenly Father and Comforter of my soul said my grief must be replaced with joy and gratefulness. This does not happen instantly but it was time  for the first step. Even though it is easier to remain self-absorb and weep, I decided to give the other side of the coin a shot that year. If it did not work, next year I would continue my downward spiral.

The idea was to turn my gaze outward rather than inward. I decided to make a plan for the day before it arrived so that I would not be defeated before I started. Here was my plan:

  1.  I called my cousin, Paul Moffat, whom I’d not talked to for some time. He was always jovial and uplifting.
  2. Next I made 3 little corsage arrangements for some of my lady friends and delivered them later that day.

Insignificant you say? Oh no, because those were my first fragile steps forward. My focus all day was to give to others and it turned out to be amazingly different. I ended the day with a peace I had not experienced on previous Valentine days.

I have continued this habit in varying degrees and with a variety of things which always focuses on others. I still grieve from time to time but Valentine’s Day now is about doing for others rather than wallowing in a lost dream.

Yesterday on Valentine’s Day, even 29 years later, I had to rein in my thoughts and my emotions to love and care for others:

  1. Flowers went to my daughter and son-in-law
  2. A stuffed turtle with favorite snacks went to my grandson
  3. Plasma from my blood was given  so others can have a better quality of life
  4. I wished various people a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Every step taken in a forward and upward direction is significant and makes an eternal difference.

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Thro’ The Open Door

Door-1“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God:  how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

At age 11 I felt God’s call on me to be a missionary.  It was a wonderful experience even at that tender age.  Many years passed and roadblock after roadblock was thrown in my way. It seemed that I would never be permitted to follow God’s calling. But I remained faithful and hopeful that one day God would open the door I was to walk through.

I finally decided that perhaps my place in God’s Kingdom was to make a lot of money and help support missionaries.  In essence, I was questioning the wisdom of God but not for long.  My Heavenly Father let me pursue my earthly interests for a time then one day a still small voice said, “Sharon, I don’t want your money I want you.”  It is difficult for us to understand God’s wisdom for we see the here and now only rather than the perfect timing of an all-knowing Heavenly Father.

God’s wisdom is displayed in the flashy peacock and the grossly ugly hippo sliding in the mud.  We can identify God’s wisdom in the peace of a quiet lake or in the trembling of a volcanic mountain.  Scientists do not understand because  God’s wisdom is appalling.  God bestows His wisdom upon mankind as the reward  for holding on to faith in the dark; walking forward in the fog and listening to God rather than complaining that His timeline does not line up with ours.

In 1982, at age 30 God’s plan unfolded and I found myself on my way to work in a mission in Costa Rica. I was overwhelmed with peace and joy as I stepped confidently thro’ that open door.

Saturday’s Pet Peeve

I am generally a laid back person in most situations. I do not suffer from road rage and I do not lash out when someone falsely accuses me or irritates me. However, I do have some pet peeves.

PET PEEVE #1 — I am driving down the street or road and need to change lines because I am stuck behind a slow-moving truck. I put my blinker on and wait till the traffic clears in the passing lane. Just as I’m ready to pull out, suddenly the vehicle behind me darts out and takes the passing lane.  He knew I was waiting because my blinker has been on.

There are several of us waiting to pull out and pass the slow poke so since I’m right behind him, I should be first, then the guy behind me takes his turn and so on. Now that is the way it should work — at least in a perfect world.

PET PEEVE #2 — A couple years ago, I did a stent as a seasonal temp employee with the IRS. Each of us had a cubicle with a computer on an adjustable table. We were lined up and down, row after row. I sat in a cubicle in the corner, my choice as it was away from the distractions.

There was a young girl sitting in the office cubicle second from me. She came to work frequently with an oversized bag of pork rinds. She would chaw on them for the next couple hours till I tho’t my head would explode. It was one of the most annoying sounds I had heard and even tho’ I tried to drown the awful crackling with listening to an audio book with a headset on, there was nothing to quiet that horrible sound.

PET PEEVE #3 — A professional is just that, right? He or she is to know everything about their specialty, right? So why can an individual call himself or herself a professional and yet is inadequate, rude and unqualified.

I had a favorite UPS store that I used when I had a document to print or a greeting card to create and many other unique things I tried to do. This particular location was managed by a late middle-age couple and 2 or 3 employees. All were helpful and answered my queries as well as helping me do what I had come to do.

One day I went in and EVERYTHING was different. Everything was rearranged, new, complicated equipment now stood where the simple efficient ones had been. The employees didn’t know how to run the complicated equipment and while trying, were also laughing and joking with others which slowed down the process I was waiting for.

After waiting for 30 minutes for these new up-shot employees to try and make their new computer programs sync up with the new-fangled printers, I finally stepped up to them and said, “Just forget it, I can’t wait any longer.  They were supposed to be professionals but knew nothing.

Now there are my pet peeves, what are yours? I would love to read them in the comments.

“Bucket List It”

Lily of the Valley Storylines

I first heard the term “bucket list” when the movie came out following the pursuit accomplishing all the things this individual wanted to do before his death. So I assumed that bucket list was a pre-death activity.

Since that time, I look at the bucket list concept very differently. Life can take on an air of monotony and boredom if we become complacent in how we approach life in action and thought. This can occur at any season of life from youth to elderly when we lose the spark of enthusiasm.

At 65, I am in the 4th quarter of my life. That is not saying that I’m approaching death in any way. I may live to be 100 but it is still the 4th quarter. Two years ago I realized that I had lost my zest, my push, my challenge to new and better. Where was I going to…

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“Bucket List It”

I first heard the term “bucket list” when the movie came out following the pursuit accomplishing all the things this individual wanted to do before his death. So I assumed that bucket list was a pre-death activity.

Since that time, I look at the bucket list concept very differently. Life can take on an air of monotony and boredom if we become complacent in how we approach life in action and thought. This can occur at any season of life from youth to elderly when we lose the spark of enthusiasm.

At 65, I am in the 4th quarter of my life. That is not saying that I’m approaching death in any way. I may live to be 100 but it is still the 4th quarter. Two years ago I realized that I had lost my zest, my push, my challenge to new and better. Where was I going to go and what was going to motivate me to get there?

Then the bucket list idea became part of my annual goal setting. The bucket list is different every year and consists of 52 things. Some are small things I want to do and others are bigger and more involved, nonetheless it is the locomotive that keeps me alert, motivated and is a great anti-depression medication.

Visit 12 Texas Cities — These are cities I’ve not visited before and as this has been on m bucket list for a few years now, I have a growing list of cities I’ve already visited.  That is one a month and easily achieved without driving long distances or requiring minimal financial obligations.

20180105_120826Volunteer — This may be at a rescue dog shelter, a soup kitchen or at a church. I am an avid crocheting machine so to use up a lot of my yarn left over from afghan throws, etc.,

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I decided to crochet beanie hats for the homeless. It is a great exercise in reaching out to others when we tend to get to self-absorbed. This is a picture of the January volunteer event and the 30 beanie hats I delivered to them.

Reconstruct Scrapbooks and Picture Albums

— This is an all year, but mainly cold weather, project that I am doing. I may not get it finished because I have stacks of pictures and albums of my own as well as those of my mom. I will share my work area and some of the already completed pages for my new album on TBTs (Throw Back Thursdays)

I have many more things on my personal 2018 bucket list to share with you but that will be next Friday.  All my visitors are encouraged to comment some of the items on your bucket list for this year.

Happy Adventuring!!

Longhorn Cow Picture Study

When I was in elementary school, my teacher had a collection of paintings by famous people. She would give us each a copy of the picture in wallet size, as I remember and the purpose of it was to do a picture study. We were to write a small story about the picture from our viewpoint. We collected these in a notebook and had a nice collection by year’s end.

It is one thing to take a passing look at a portrait or other painting but it is all together different when you stand in front of the picture and study the people, what they are doing, the background and then imagine why they were there and the thoughts they were thinking at that time.

So I decided this year I would take a significant picture weekly and write a piece about it. My year’s goal has gotten off to a rather slow start, however, as you can see it is February 1 and I’ve not shared one picture study.

That is about to change. Last week, as I returned home from substitute teaching I made a little detour to pass by a farm that I knew had Texas Longhorns. And by the way, I just love these creatures.

Texas State Farm Animal

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Longhorn cows on Blayney ranch.

The Texas Longhorn has long been a mascot for Texas and I used to think it was nothing more. My first stent as a Texan was living in Houston where you had to go to a rodeo to see a farm animal.

Then in 2010, I moved to a rural area of Texas outside of Tyler, Texas. I rented a small farmhouse in Frankston and my landlord lived on several hundred acres and guess what? I saw my first live Longhorn.

These guys came in from pasture in early evening.  The long shadows to the right distinguish evening shadows. The Longhorn cows do not have specific markings to their breed. Looking at these two cows, it would appear that they are different breeds. The horns vary greatly in size. The horns on these particular cows are medium length.

I’m wondering what they are looking at but have a suspicion that they are waiting for the rest of the herd to return to the feeding lot from the pasture. Or maybe they are watching the sunset. Cows usually stand with their rear against the wind, particularly if it is cold. But this day seems sunny and mildly warm.

So good night Longhorns, rest well and enjoy pasturing tomorrow.