Monday Musings: Lessons Learned from 2020 and COVID-19

This has been quite a year for so many, and some would say this has been the absolute worse year ever, others would just say it stinks. I’m not sure there’s many at all who would say it’s been the best year; yet, maybe a three year old could have this perspective.

I will say it’s not been an amazingly wonderful year; it’s certainly had it’s challenges. However, I’d have to admit, it’s not been the worst year I’ve ever experienced.

Some of the worst years of my life were the year after my grandfather passed away, or the year we lost our first child after trying to conceive for 13 months, or the year I battled depression for a good half of the year… yeah, perspective always brings sunlight into the day.

Yet, there are some things this year of 2020 has taught me, and I thought I’d add it to my previous lists written near the beginning of all this

1. No matter what comes into my life, with God, I can walk through fire and I can stand in the rain…even if I have to grab the fire extinguisher and maybe a boat paddle!

2. Regardless what the days bring, you still have a choice to take another breath and move forward or clamp down on oxygen and lie down to die…I choose to breathe.

3. Despite the ugly, the tornadic, the chaos or the devastation, there is always hope, you just have to search for it…often times, it will be buried deep within.

4. Although, there may be confusion and uncertainty, if you know the right source from which to draw strength, you will have an endless supply…the Source is your key.

5. Life brings with it all kinds of ups and downs, doubts and fears, turmoil and challenges, questions and very few answers; yet, when you have a firm foundation, those specific answers may not always become easier to find, but the principles to these will be as sure anchor doe your soul.

6. Everyone needs a friend. Choosing to live out your life in isolation and avoidance is just a waste of life! … choose friends carefully, but choose them.

7. Having the courage to call out when you’re in trouble can be scary, and it definitely will make you more vulnerable than many of us like to be, but honestly, having moments of vulnerability brings humility back into our prideful flesh…and the courage it takes to ask makes us all that stronger.

8. Life has been known to bring us lemons, and sometimes, they can be the sourest ever grown, but if you’ll add a little sugar, you’ll find that lemonade to be quite refreshing… mind you, sometimes, you better add a lot!

9. No matter the clouds that brew overhead, always remember, there is a sun still shining. You may not see it today or tomorrow, but keep looking up, and it’s bound to eventually burst forth and warm up your skin.

10. If you believe there is no hope to ever be found, just stop in your tracks, take a deep breath, and place your hand to your heart to feel that beat…if there is still a rhythm, then there is always a glimmer of hope.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

1 Peter 1:13

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people…

Ephesians 1:18

Monday Musings on a Whimsical Wednesday

What brings you JOY today?

What brings you JOY at Thanksgiving?

What brings you JOY on the “off days” when the holidays are through, and the workweek begins anew?

Can you even describe it?

Is it too lofty to grasp, or do the words overwhelm as your tongue struggles to form a word?

JOY cannot be found in circumstances or possessions.

It cannot be obtained in people or holidays or even in feelings.

It must be held deep within one’s very soul.

It must be allowed to live and breathe, as if it is a living being inside.

JOY can overwhelm and consume…

If you will simply let it.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

You will show me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

Monday Musings

Well, those that follow the Grizzle Grist Mill frequently may have thought I had fallen off the side of the earth! Lol! So sorry about that!

The last month has been a bit of a whirlwind around here, and I just didn’t take the time to blog; although, I desperately longed to! I guess we all have these ebb and flows in writing, right?

I have to admit, I do not like it. I do not like when I yearn and long for something and am not able to accomplish it because there are hurdles in my way. Those hurdles would be priorities; so yes, the lack thereof is “justified,” I suppose. But it is surely frustrating to me when my “to do” list outweighs my “want to” list.

Yet, I guess that’s just part of living life.

We all have our wants, and often, we have to choose between our wants and our “have to’s.” If we’re living wisely, our wants will mostly take a backseat to our “have-to’s” until there’s space to accommodate them.

If our desires always take precedent, we just become self-serving and self-indulgent. That always leads to self-imposing onto someone else those “have to’s,” which in the end, either causes pain, resentment, anger or a well rounded bundle of all three, or even a bit more.

So, I guess I’ll be thankful I remained diligent this past month in my have-to things, but I’m hoping to get back to some more “want to’s” in this next month! 😉

Blessings!

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men…”

Colossians 3:23

“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain,

Overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.”

Proverbs 6:6-8

Whimsical Wednesdays in my Musings

Since I missed Monday Musings today, I thought I’d add it today’s whimsical thoughts, as I feel a bit melancholy today…

I don’t feel bad, and I’m not necessarily sad. I just feel a bit more somber than most days.

I suppose, it’s mostly because today is my grandfather’s 94th birthday. But he’s not here to celebrate. He’s in heaven.

We said goodbye to him 18 years ago (on Oct. 6); so, today is not a new day or even a surprise from what it has been for many years now.

Yet, I always miss him on these days. My life was changed that day, and as much as I’m so thankful I’ll see him again one day on the other side, it doesn’t change the fact.

I miss him deeply. And today, I’ve had a thought time shaking the invading blues.

The sun is shining brightly, the breeze is blowing slightly, and it’s a warm 79 degrees here in Georgia. My life is blessed, and I really cannot complain.

In fact, I am overly blessed, and he’d never want me to be sad, even in his absence. So, I’ll put a smile on my face until I feel it down deep in my soul.

For he is no longer in pain. He is no longer suffering. He is rejoicing in our eternal home, and I will see him again.

So, as my heart continues to heal, as it does with time, memories and purpose, I will lift my hands today and worship my King.

For He is worthy of that worship, and it changes me in the midst of my obedience.

…And it makes that smile sink a little deeper to the depths of my being to bring sunlight through the rain.

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 42:11

“The Lord is my strength and my shield;

my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

My heart leaps for joy,

and with my song I praise him.”

Psalm 28:7

Monday Musings

Am I growing old before my time?

I was always told I’m an old soul…

Am I aging with grace and wisdom?

I’ve always been told my heart’s river runs deep…

Am I deepening my knowledge or my love?

I was told to love wisdom is to understand His loving kindness…

We have a choice in life…

We can assemble all those memories, and we can only see the pain and injustice…

Or we can gather the joys one by one, pick out those moments of serene peace, select those tiny miracles that don’t happen every day…

And relish in the here and now while looking forward to that beautiful ever after…

I think I’ll choose the beauty…

I believe I will grasp the sunshine…

I will strive to always opt for the good…

Never ignoring, but rather, discarding the hatred and violence that threatens to distract my journey…

And I’d suggest for you to do the same…

It is possible…

If you will believe…

“Whoever is wise will observe these things,

And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.”

Psalm 107:43

“Get wisdom! Get understanding!

Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you.

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom.

And in all your getting, get understanding.

Exalt her, and she will promote you;

She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.

She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you.”

Proverbs 4:5-9

Monday Musings

There is so much truth in this statement, it almost hurts to embrace it.

If you’ve never hiked a strenuous trail, this may not be a reality for you.

If you’ve not experienced the deep exhale of stiff action after a treacherous climb, you might not quite understand.

But if you’ve climbed Brasstown Bald in Georgia for the first time on a hot August afternoon…

If you’ve used your trekking poles to achieve the heights of The Chimney Tops in the Great Smokies…

If you’ve had to take a break as you traveled toward the top of Mount Mitchell in the Blue Ridge…

If you’ve had to slow to catch your breath as you stretched toward the heights of Pike’s Peak in the Rockies…

If you’ve questioned your abilities as you pushed toward the peaks of Mount Rainier in the Cascades…

And if you’ve ever struggled in life to achieve more than the day before… if you’ve stayed up all night and the next day just to get the job done… you’ve beat your chest through the turmoil, the heartache and depression just to reach the other side of sanity…

Then, you might just understand and appreciate this statement.

Because if you’ve ever climbed the malicious mountain to experience the refreshing breeze and behold the overwhelming landscape of the summit , you’ll fight and claw to encounter the next ascension.

“Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong…”

Psalm 30:7a

Monday Musings

I love this quote, and I think we all should live by it more than we do. Too often, we wake up everyday mulling over the failures of yesterday, allowing those regrets to overwhelm us to the point it is difficult to take a step forward.

This should not be the norm! Yes, we make mistakes. Yes. Sometimes, those mistakes come with heavy consequences, and yes, we should always learn from those and not repeat them!

However, if you are constantly stepping back into that cell of discouragement, worthlessness and mishaps, you will live your life in the prison of defeat!

Get up! Start anew. Today is a new day. Today, you can have a fresh start!

Begin again… you can do this hard thing called livin’! 😉

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday Musings

I wonder how often this is true for us. In this “Me Society” where we live today, it seems so much is about being happy, being satisfied, being fulfilled, even at the cost of someone else’s happiness and satisfaction.

I wonder where we went wrong.

When did it get so important that you’re made happy that it doesn’t matter if, in the process, I am made desolate?

When did it get so determined that your satisfaction could be at the expense of my daily living?

When did it become ok to demand the freedom of one race, one party, one organization or one people group at the detriment of anyone else who might disagree?

Where did we go astray?

Maybe when we began believing the life of a tree was more important than a human.

Maybe when we began determining which life could live and which could die by our own hands.

Maybe when we began believing we could actually give life and take away life by our very own hands and believed we shouldn’t suffer any consequences for the decisions we made.

Evil is evil, and it has been the same since the beginning of time.

The difference today is too many have began calling evil goo and good evil.

And when these things become the norm, no one can escape the fall.

So, where will we go? What will we do? Who will we turn to?

We must go back to the beginning.

We must go back to the moment we went astray.

Return to that place in time and start anew. Repent. Make new choices. Make amends.

It is possible. But we have to see past ourselves to actually make a difference.

Monday Musings

In 2019, I’d never have guessed I’d have face masks hanging from my shower wall awaiting to dry.

In 2019, I’d never have thought of driving into our favorite North Georgia mountain town to find one great restaurant after another either closed early, have outdoor seating only, take-out only or have such dismal cleaning abilities that you’d not want to eat there.

In 2018, I never once worried about whom I could hug on a Sunday morning or whom I couldn’t, unless she was a visitor and then, I’d give it pause to not seem too much.

In 2018, I never once thought about how many people across the nation were dealing questions of, “Should I go or stay?”

In 2017, we had concerns around the world about sickness, desolation and fear; yet, we faced it together. We faced it with purpose.

In 2017, we glanced through the hour glass of time, wondering what the future might hold; yet, we glanced with hope, with promise for a better tomorrow.

In 2016, we had disagreements and didn’t see eye-to-eye; yet, that was a “normal” with which almost all of us could live. It was ok to disagree. It was ok to be at odds.

Life just went on.

I wonder how much has to change in 2020 to wake us up from our slumber.

I wonder how many have to be lost before we realize “that normal” is no more and “this normal” is here to stay.

We have to quit “glorifying yesterday” in order to live for tomorrow and be present in today.

We have to quit pointing the fingers and finding the blame in order to live determines and strong.

If we are to not simply survive…

If we are to choose to THRIVE, then, it starts with you and me…

It starts today…

And it must start now.

“Almost universally, when people look back on their lives while on their deathbed […] they wish they had spent more time with the people and activities they truly loved and less time worrying about aspects of life that, upon deeper examination, really don’t matter at all that much. Imagining yourself at your own funeral allows you to look back at your life while you still have the chance to make some important changes.” — Richard Carlson, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff

Monday Musings

How far will you go to reach the heavens?

How long will you walk the path to hell?

How wide do you stretch your lips to spread evil and deceit?

How deep will you swim to discover the depths of His love?

He is there when you search for Him.

He will find you in the midst of the darkness.

Simply open your eyes to see the light.

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You arethere;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.”

Psalm 139:1-12