Habits for the New Year

One of the things I decided to do this year is consistently set aside time for daily reflection. I didn’t really set New Year’s Resolutions, but rather decided to form a few low pressure habits that I felt would help me to center myself and develop clarity.  One of the biggest problems I have is feeling like I’m being pulled in too many directions. Some of those feelings come from the fast-paced culture we live in. Some of them are self-imposed. It’s hard for me to know where to focus. 

I’ve been trying to read through the entire Bible for years. I’m up to the book of Luke. Last year was going to be my year to complete it. I even listed it as one of the books on my book club challenge under the religious book category, but I didn’t finish it. This year I’ve decided to keep working on it, but to keep it low pressure. I’ve decided to read it for at least 10 minutes a day then pray/meditate for 10 minutes a day and finally journal for 10 minutes a day. That’s not very much, only 30 minutes a day. I can do more if I want. Sometimes I’m sure I will, but the point is to establish consistency, to establish a regular pattern of reflection, and see what comes of it.

The first day I did it, I ended up reading Luke Ch.18:1-8, not for any particular reason other than it was simply the next passage in my Bible. It was a parable about an old widow who visited an unjust judge to ask him to avenge her against some adversaries. I’m not sure what the backstory was. That information wasn’t provided. But the bottom line is, she wanted justice. The judge wasn’t really interested in her. He actually blew her off, but she was persistent. Eventually, he realized that she was not going to go away and would continue to seek his help. So in order to avoid the nuisance, he acquiesced and gave her the justice she desired. The moral was that if an unjust judge who cared nothing for that woman would help her due to her persistence, how much more would a God who loves a person and actually cares about him/her do for that individual?

Ok, I thought. If I’m going to pray about something consistently, what should I pray for? I thought of three things I wanted the most, not possessions or anything like that, but three things I wanted most for my life; and I decided to include those things always in my prayers and meditations. Where it goes remains to be seen, but already I can’t help but notice…some signs of focus. I was able to shut down some of the internal chatter by simply asking myself, If I were to ask God for three things…what three things do I want the most?

I’m interested to see where this will lead. Time will tell.

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Rounded

One of my favorite photos from my trip to NYC is the simple one below from the Lindt chocolate store. The little round balls of soft chocolate just ooze happiness and the colors remind me of Christmas.

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Old Baldy

Old Baldy, located on beautiful Bald Head Island, turned 200 years old in 2017.  The longest standing lighthouse in North Carolina, Baldy was originally built to mark the entrance of the Cape Fear River.

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According to the website Baldy has:

108 steps and five landings with a ladder into the lantern room.

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It is 110 feet tall with one door and six windows.

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I climbed the lighthouse about a month ago. So far, I’ve been to three of North Carolina’s seven main lighthouses and Old Baldy is the first one I’ve been able to climb. The panoramic view from the top was breathtaking and an amazing reward for all of the huffing and puffing it took to get there.

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Bald Head Island can be reached by ferry which leaves from the Deep Point Marina out of Southport. Once on the island, you can get around by foot (the island is 4.8 miles long and 2 miles wide) or bike or you can rent a cart. There are restaurants on the island (I stopped in at Mojo’s on my trip), walking trails, beach access and a conservancy that features events like kayaking, surf fishing, touch tanks, birding and even stargazing after dark.

BHI is a tiny island with a lot to offer if you are looking for an interesting, relaxing and unique day trip.

Staycation Days: Cameron Art Museum

When I take a staycation, I always try to strike a balance with my time. That is to say that part of my time I devote to recreational pursuits, things that I always say I want to do but never seem to have the time to do, and productive pursuits, those items on my to-do list that need to be done but never seem to make it to the top of the list. If I can strike a balance of both recreation and productivity during a week off at home then I don’t consider it a waste of vacation hours.

One of the items on on my recreation list was to visit Cameron Art Museum, a local art museum in my city. I work very close to the museum and have said several times that I wanted to go back through it (I toured it years ago), but despite my close proximity, I had not been back to the museum to tour the galleries. One afternoon, on my week off, I returned to the museum. Ironically, not all of their galleries were open that day so I guess I will have to go back again. But I did see a few nice things.

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The picture above is by Minnie Evans. a folk artist who lived in Wilmington, NC. The inspiration for her art came from her dreams as a young girl. I actually had the privilege of meeting her briefly when I was a girl and she was an older woman. Her story is pretty fascinating if you would like to read more about it at the link above.

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This 2nd piece is by an artist named Claude Howell, titled appropriately “Sorting Fish”. It’s a little difficult to tell in my picture, but this is a ceramic tile mosaic. I’m in awe of people who have the patience and ability to create something like this.

Below are some other beautiful pieces I saw at the museum that afternoon.

 

Even though I did not get to tour every gallery that day, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I think sometimes less can be more, anyway. Part of the fun of viewing art is taking the time to appreciate each piece. With less pieces to view, I took my time with each one.

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Change

via Daily Prompt: Savor

Life is full of changes. My job was recently complicated when one of my leads resigned to take another position. A new team was put in place and I found myself in the position of being one of the most seasoned members on that project. Now, I’m perfectly capable of leading. I’m even kind of good at it, but I still don’t always look for excuses to lead. I love mentoring, but being the leader is a different ball of wax. Being the leader requires more commitment, more stress and frankly, less freedom; and if I’m going to be perfectly honest about myself, freedom is one of my favorite things in the whole world. So it’s a struggle. As per my normal reaction, I’m trying to find a happy balance with the situation.

In addition, my baby sister has decided to move to California which is literally on the other side of the country. I’ve been scrambling to get some time with her before she goes; and I’m already thinking ahead to my first visit, which has been difficult to pull together due to conflicting timelines.

Last night, our large family came together and we took her to dinner. There were seven small children total in our group so I imagine the restaurant is still nursing the wounds of that trauma 🙂 (Needless to say, we tipped our waitress very well). Afterwards, my sister and I stood outside of the restaurant and talked to one of my brothers and his family for about 45 minutes then she and I went for a drink with a couple of her friends.

As we stood outside of the restaurant, I looked up to see the sky in all its glory as the sun set behind the clouds. A sense of awe and freedom and gratitude washed over me as I stood under the sky and talked to my siblings in the parking lot. Afterwards, my sister and I went out and extended our visit.

Sometimes, life takes twists and turns and we don’t know where it’s taking us. I was talking to a friend a while back. She was looking to make some changes in her life and was overwhelmed by how she should do it.

“I have a tendency to get bogged down with the big picture,” I said.

“Me, too!” she answered.

But I think the key is to just take the next step. We can be aware of the big picture, but most of the time, we won’t be able to just jump to the end. We just have to take the next step and savor the good times along the way. Make the most of a visit when the opportunity presents itself and always glance up to see the sunset.

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The Most Interesting Cat in the World

I’ve been craving new excursions lately in the way of exploring or hiking, however, life has been crazy busy.  The struggle to find time is real, my friends. But excursions are coming because I need them! In the meantime, let me attempt to entertain you with another Caturday Haiku in honor of Sir Poe Cat, who turned 5 yesterday; my favorite football team, the Carolina Panthers; and The Most Interesting Man in the World (the first one, not the new one, who-no offense to the new guy-can never be replaced).

I don’t always act

like a big cat but when I

do, it’s a Panther

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If you want some giggles, click on this link for some of the best quotes from the Most Interesting Man in the World.

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And finally, it’s July in NC and hot as blazes. Stay hydrated and Keep Pounding, my friends!

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