Oh the bunny trails I have traveled this morning. One thing leads to another, and that thing led to the purchase of three books on Amazon. The world inside my head would frighten most mortal humans. It is best I keep some sense of control over the goings on up there.
Weed or Wild Flower?
Like most things in this world, it is a matter of perspective and personal experience. Either way, there is something magical about dandelions. They are so prolific that it is easy to take them for granted or to dismiss them as a garden pest. Dismiss them or embrace them, the choice is yours. My goal is not to change minds about the benefits vs invasive nature of dandelions; my goal is to shine light on the mystical and magical nature of the plant and how we can all learn a thing or two from the common dandelion.
Dandelions belong to the genus of flowering plants called Taraxacum, which is native to Eurasia and North America. One reference stated that the plant was brought to the North America on the Mayflower because of its medicinal properties. The common dandelion familiar to those of us in North America is T. officinale.
The English word for dandelion originates with the French dent-de-lion, meaning lion’s tooth, a reference to the shape of the leaves.
Dandelions are one of early spring’s most important nectar sources for a variety of pollinators.
Taraxacum are a tap-rooted, perennial, herbaceous plant.
After flowering is finished, the florets dry up and fall off. The bracts (a two layer, green leaf like structure on the under side of the florets) relax outward exposing the seed head waiting to explode with hundreds of delicate white pappus. The pappus, with its delicate hair like projectiles, is what enables the seeds to float in a breeze. This is what we often call the puff ball or a blow ball.
I am leaving you today with the image of the pappus. There is so much to unpack with the dandelion and the life lessons we can all learn from this humble little plant.
I write for the pure joy it brings me to “put pen to paper” and craft something that is funny, poignant, educational or just a personal brain dump. I don’t know that I could ever write assignment based articles. Oh, I suppose I could but they would not bring the satisfaction of sitting down to share what is happening in my head and my heart. Once complete I send my little essays off into the world to be read – or not – content that I had expressed myself. No worries about money, readership, egos, rejection letters…nope, just the satisfaction that I had completed what I set out to do. I really am a simple, low maintenance kind of person.
Who Am I?
I never noticed how often dandelions are used for logos and branding. Have you? It wasn’t until I decided that I am a dandelion in human form that I noticed dandelions, both realistic and stylized, are extremely common in branding. Trying to find a blog name containing the word dandelion that had an available URL was impossible. All the cool ones had already been taken. Don’t let the superficiality of that sentence fool you. There is a deeper meaning which I will get to a little later. Back to my personal branding.
For years I struggled to “brand” myself. In the fiber art world I have had so many social media handles many people just give up. No wonder I could never build a following. No one knew who I was going to be on any given day. My struggle was much deeper than the look and feel of my online presence. I was struggling to find me, my identity, my purpose in the world wrapped up in a cute logo with just the right pithy tag line. Funny how things work out; the harder I tried the more lost I became.
Three years ago I came across the story of a woman who continues to inspire me to this day. Trudy Smith was an artist. She had an artist’s heart and soul but didn’t live out her life’s purpose until she turned 85.
Trudy described herself as a “misfit” in her family. She didn’t fit in. She certainly didn’t conform to society’s definition of how a woman was expected to live. So she kept to herself, feeling like a weed in the middle of a flower bed. But Trudy was no ordinary weed. Is there even such a thing as an ordinary weed? Trudy knew about her passion for art but it didn’t fit, so she spent her life doing what was socially acceptable for her to do. She obeyed her father. Married a man who was much like her father in his stern nature and rigid opinion on the role of a woman, wife and mother. But when her husband died, Trudy came to life.
She picked up her paint brush and didn’t put it down until her passing in 2018, just two months short of her 103rd birthday.
“Be a weed — then you belong to everywhere or anywhere.”
To say Trudy Smith changed my life is an understatement. Not surprisingly, I came up with a brand, bought the URL, claimed the Instagram name and was off to the races. I was going to build a brand around this theme of embracing one’s inner weed. Then doubt set in and I quit. But I have never forgotten Trudy and her wonderful words of wisdom.
How Do Weeds Live?
Many of us pay a lot of money and work very hard to keep weeds out of our lawns and gardens. We strive for a perfectly manicured environment. But, despite our best efforts, weeds still find their way into our perfectly planned garden. They suck the water and nutrients out of the soil making it harder for the plants we have so carefully chosen and inserted into the environment to survive much less thrive.
What is it about weeds that allow them to do what they do? I have a few thoughts.
First, weeds know they are weeds. Weeds are not trying to be fancy or unique. They simply find a place to live and then get about doing the best job they know how to do. Some weeds are ugly, some are beautiful, but they don’t know that. They just are living their best life.
Second, weeds adapt. They can survive with minimal food, muss or fuss. Ever notice weeds growing in the cracks of a sidewalk in the middle of a city with no other plant life visible? Yup, that is a weed for you. It finds the tiniest bit of nourishment and it goes to town. Weeds don’t need fancy. They need whatever it takes for their roots to take hold and their stems and leaves to grow. Flowers are the icing on the cake.
Finally, weeds thrive despite their circumstances. Once weeds have found a place to survive, they learn to thrive. The surroundings may not be ideal but they do what is necessary to make more weeds. Because that is what weeds do. They grow, spread, and make more weeds.
Dandelions and Me
During this “Live Like A Weed” phase I adopted the dandelion as my spirit weed. I didn’t think very deeply about why, I just love dandelions. What is not to love? Pretty little yellow flowers turn into a puff ball and then sail away to settle in and begin the process once again. I love the symbolism. And, once I began to think more deeply on the subject, I realized just how much I have in common with dandelions. Next time I will delve a little deeper on this part of the story. Until then…wherever you are, be like a weed.
Life is an ever evolving cycle of change. Nothing stays the same no matter how hard we try or how desperately we wish to freeze frame a moment in time. To fight against change is to miss the beauty of this naturally cyclical thing we call life.
A dandelion’s life purpose is to sow seeds to the wind so that new little seedlings can be brought to life. This is how I see myself. Like a dandelion with a head full of little seeds ready to be set free.
Seasons of Life
Each season of life has its own purpose, tasks to accomplish before moving forward. It is a rich and complex subject that deserves time to properly digest and dissect. I am finally coming to grips with the fact that I am entering a new season of my life. I have actually been traveling this road for the past four years; now at the door I have the choice to stand and knock or open it and walk through to what waits for me on the other side. Standing motionless is safe but does nothing to help me or anyone else. So, I really have only one option – open the door and boldly walk into whatever it is God has for me on the other side.
Gathering and Dispersing
In the past few months something has been happening in my heart and mind. I am suddenly seeing things in the world through a new lens; a softer and gentler lens. I won’t delve too deeply into this today but I will say that it has taken me by surprise. As I have been open to these thoughts and allowed them to penetrate any barriers that rise due to the discomfort of new things, I am feeling my way along a new path. A path I believe God is leading me one step at a time.
This morning I read an excerpt from a book called “Falling Upward” by Fr Richard Rohr. In this book, Fr Rohr discusses the spiritual and life purposes in the two halves of life. I believe that I am in preparation for my second phase of life: the giving away or dispersing of what I have learned in the first phase. This book will arrive at my door tomorrow. Just when I swear off the immediate gratification of Amazon, something like this crosses my path.
Whatever it is I am to do with the wisdom I have gained is unknown. I am less worried about the what than the preparation. My heart is softening. I am reading and growing in knowledge. I will be (at age 63) attending college beginning in January. I am practicing spiritual disciplines to connect more deeply with God to be sure I am traveling on the best path for his purpose in my life.
I choose to think of my writings here as seedlings. Little bits of information that I send out into the world to take hold if and when they are needed. That is my hope and prayer for every post. Since seedlings represent growth and new life what you will find here are just little nuggets of wisdom and goodness designed to lift up and never tear down. There is enough pain and suffering in the world. My passion is to apply a soothing balm on a hurting humanity. I trust God to guide and direct the writing and the reading of everything on this little blog.
There will be talk of books, dogs, family and all the normal stuff of life. I love to crochet and make art with my yarn and hooks; it is another way for me to express beauty of the world around me. My husband and I will be traveling more so I will take many photos and will share those as well. Whatever is good, and right, kind and beautiful will all find its way here. There is also pain in life…I won’t shy away from that either. It is only in the journey through the pain that we find light once again.
If you have made it this far, thank you. If what I have said has spoken to you, then I hope you will follow along. Either way, thank you for reading.
Once the title of my favorite soap opera, As The World Turns is now just a descriptive phrase for life in the midst of Covid-19. The earth keeps rotating; life moves forward, day into night and back to day…and if we aren’t careful the mundaneness of it all can and will destroy our very soul. But take heart! Each one of us has the power to break free and soar. Johnny Rose and his intrepid family showed us how this can be done in the now iconic television show Schitt’s Creek.
Lessons From Schitt’s Creek
For me one of the joys of the past few weeks has been the discovery of Schitt”s Creek. I have not been living under a rock, but until the Emmy’s last year I had not heard of it. When I noticed it available on one of my multitude of cable channels I thought, “I need to watch that someday.” I never did. Then it popped up on Netflix. Now I could watch it sequentially – as it must be for full enjoyment and impact – and continuously. The continuous watching just seems to happen. I tell myself I am only going to watch one episode and before I know it my butt has been glued to my recliner for several hours. At some point I realized that there is an end point and I don’t want that to come too soon. I must savor the morsels of poignant hilarity parceled out by the Rose family and their newfound friends in Schitt’s Creek.
There are many parallels that can be drawn between life during a pandemic and a life of financial and cultural exile. As I envisage the many similarities and the mercurial peregrinations, I cannot help thinking that a pandemic does not a life make! When one person shines, we all shine. Warning, my vocabulary has been permanently influenced by the verbose Moira Rose.
The pandemic has been a barbarous infliction on all of humanity. The hows and whys aside, the trauma and pain suffered has been catastrophic. However, we, as human beings are nothing if not resilient. There has been good forged in the fire of pain.
Like the Rose clan exiled to the town of Schitt’s Creek, many families have been forced to share very close quarters which has led to dragooned intimacy and the ensuing drama. The Rose family had grown comfortable in their estranged and dysfunctional life which was fertile soil for comedy. In less glamorous ways don’t all families settle into a comfortable way of interacting such that it takes something dramatic to change?
As vaccination rates increase and restrictions decrease, life is beginning to return to “normal.” What have we learned that should permanently change how we live?
Take nothing for granted.
Every aspect of life is sacred and should be protected at all costs. Friends, family, health, freedom, speech, religion…all are under attack and deserve defending.
We are more alike than we are different.
We are living in a time when those who wish to rule over us try to maintain their power by pitting one group against another. It is commonly called identity politics. I believe that most people want the same thing – a safe place to live, food to eat, education for children, the ability to work and self mobility, the opportunity to excel, worship, love who they love, live a quiet and peaceful life.
We are not promised a tomorrow. Live through fear by taking chances, trying new things, living someplace new, experiencing something you have only dreamed about. I have a dream of living somewhere different and have found that place. This place has the kind of historic home I want to live in, it has all the amenities I am looking for and is close to all my family (within two hours counts as close to me). I am ready to live that life. How about you?
Wowza! Last week was certainly a doozy. I feel as though I lived several lifetimes in the course of the past seven days. I don’t recognize much of anything in the world these days and that may not be a bad thing.
Real Old Testament Stuff
Movie buffs will remember those words as part of a famous scene from the original movie Ghostbusters. Follow the link to watch the scene, it is worth it. But the truth is, we are living in an Old Testament type state of mass hysteria and there is only one answer. It is the same answer that existed for the Israelites of the Old Testament and the only one that would really solve the problems that exist today.
His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who call us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.
2 Peter 1:3-4
Powerless Without Humility
Humanity relying on its own knowledge and wisdom, trying to solve the problems created by that knowledge and wisdom is doomed to make matters worse. Without God, we, by nature, do all that we do with a personal bias and self interest. It is only with God that we are able to step outside of ourselves and do that which is righteous.
The United States has moved further and further away from the principles on which it was founded. This is not a right vs left, Republican vs Democrat issue. This is a wide spread humanity issue. We are all guilty and fall short of God’s perfect plan. We are all sinners and must humble ourselves before God and pray. I am regularly wakened in the middle of the night with a thought in my mind that I know has been placed there by God. I lay still and pray until I fall back asleep. Once my job is done, sleep returns. It is a beautiful symbiotic relationship that I cherish more than life itself. The giver of life is calling on me to assist in his precious work.
I recognize my weakness and my flaws (well, most of them). I understand that if I believe that power resides within me to change the world then I am a fool. However, if I live in humility and supplication to God, the creator of the universe, then his power works through me to accomplish more than I could ever dream possible. He is at work in advance of everything I am to do; he is paving the way, softening minds and hearts and will bring to me the people and circumstances that are intended for me. The result will be his glory shining in the world through me. I am made less, that he is made greater.
There is not been, in my lifetime, a greater example of humanity grasping for power and control than we have right now. Some would say it is President Trump who is trying to overthrow our democracy. I say it is the ones that are trying to destroy him. It is not enough that he will no longer be the President; no they are attempting to destroy him as a human being. He has less than two weeks before leaving the White House. Let him walk out and back into private life then move on. But that is not good enough for the people who are anxious for power and control.
As followers of Jesus Christ we are promised not an easy life, but a life that looks much like what Donald Trump has experienced during the past five years. We are targets of those who do not believe. We are targets of other ‘religions’ and their followers. We are targets of those within our own denominations and between denominations. Standing firm in one’s faith in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone is guaranteed to bring earthly isolation and pain.
But take heart as we are not alone. Remember I said God goes before us? If everything we do in life is preceded with prayer and thankfulness to God through faith in Jesus Christ, We will be able to endure the arrows and stones sent our way. How does President Trump keep going day in and day out? It isn’t under his own power. There is only one way to survive what he has survived and that is the knowledge that his path was set before him by God.
Spend time with God every morning. Come to him with an open and thankful heart then wait for him to show you your way through this season of mass hysteria. We all have a job to do and no two paths are exactly the same. But if we each just do what we are given to do, change will happen. Nothing is impossible with God.
Welcome to 2021. It has been a long time since I last posted because I got tired of the politics, pandemic, and power grabs. I didn’t think I could coherently write anything that didn’t involve screaming and cursing – neither of which I do in my day to day life. Life in 2020 brought out behaviors in all of us that are not typical. What will the new year bring and how will I manage my life in the face of a world I no longer recognize.
Focus & Trust
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.
Trust is something I have struggled with in my life. I don’t have anything huge that caused my struggle, but like most people the lumps and bumps of life left me disappointed. I came to realize that we, as humans, inherently fall short and let each other down, God never does that. His promises are fulfilled in accordance with his love and will for the world.
Despite not attending formal church services, my relationship with God has deepened in 2020. I trust him with everything and know that he watches over me. People in my life who do not believe in a loving and omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God live in fear and do not trust that my lifestyle is safe. I respect their reticence and will continue to maintain my distance as I do not want to cause anxiety and fear.
Trusting God doesn’t mean I live recklessly. I wear the mask, I use the hand sanitizer and wash my hands regularly. What it means is that I don’t live in fear. God tells us to trust him and in our trust and faith there is no fear. But the key is we have to give up the fear. It is a choice to walk in faith and receive the blessing of internal peace and joy.
It is my personal belief that the United States has moved into a period of restricted freedoms, censorship for political purposes, and I will not be surprised if the next four years builds on the this foundation.
While I will obey the rules, I will do it on my terms. I will not change how I live in my own home. I will safely gather with family that feels comfortable in my presence. I will support my community by shopping local whenever possible. This means I must take a critical look at my use of Amazon and other mega businesses.
Set Priorities and Develop New Habits
I have been inconsistent with my daily devotional time. While I pray without ceasing during the day, I have not been as available and dedicated to reading scripture and listening to God as I should. This changed in December. During Advent I was much more devoted and the result was a deepening of faith and a clearer vision of the year I was leaving behind as well as the year to come.
After many years of floundering around trying to carve out my niche in the fiber art/yarn world, I nearly gave up. I am comfortable not working, doing what I want when I want; yet I have this internal urge to do more. But what? I have come to see that the answer lies in writing and crochet.
I am a creative person and I must create, but for me I feel the pull to share with others. I am working on some of the answers and will share more next Monday. From now on, whenever humanly possible, I will write here every Monday. I hope to see you here next week.
There is one singular item that transforms a hard square house into a soft, safe, and cozy home. No matter your decorating style, there are textiles to compliment and enhance that style.
Choosing Home Textiles
We have all wandered the isles of home decor and big box stores taking in the sights and smells of the season. Rows and rows of pillows, blankets, afghans (knit or crochet blanket), tea towels, curtains – window and shower, bedding, table linens, rugs, and the list goes on. And this is just the textiles; we are not going to talk about the rest of the home decor available. I have done my fair share of shopping at these places so this is not meant to impune these businesses. I just want to plant seeds for you to consider as you make choices about the items you bring into your home.
There is no doubt that the items available in the big stores are mass manufactured in countries that may or may not be ethical in their choice of materials, dyes, or how their employees are treated. While a sweeping generalization cannot be made on this subject, textile manufacturers around the world have historically been some of the worst polluters in the world. Fast fashion and fast, cheap home decor are contributing factors and I believe it is time to rethink the fabrics and items we surround ourselves with inside our homes.
There are so many things to consider when purchasing textiles for your home. How will you use it? How is it cared for? What is made of and where was it made? How much does it cost and will it have a long life span to make it worth the price? Each one of us must set our own priorities and make the purchases that fit our home, values, and budget.
Slow Home Fashion
The slow fashion movement has caused many to reconsider their clothing purchases. For many this has led them to sew their own clothes. There has been a huge renaissance in making clothes at home. Sewing for your home decor is a wonderful way to not only personalize your home but to also have total control over the products you and your family live with everyday.
Not crafty? Don’t have a desire to do any of the above, but you want to live in this kind of home environment? No worries, there are so many people out there doing amazing work. Do these items cost more? Initially, yes. But if you teach yourself to not buy into trends, but make investments in items that will bring you years of pleasure, then you too can curate a home that is beautiful as well as good for the environment, helps a small business, and is uniquely and completely you.
Woolen Hook Home
Part of my movement to a more selective and holistic home is by making and up-cycling as much as possible. Surprisingly wool is a fiber that is a wonderful and healthy choice for many home items, even some items that you wouldn’t expect.
I am building a new business I call Woolen Hook Home and it will be a collection of wool items for the home decor along with fiber art that I have made primary with yarn I have prepared and spun myself in my home studio. There will be functional as well as decorative items. I adore Christmas decorating and love making unique and fanciful items for this season.
I believe there is room for wool in every room in the house. Come back or visit my Instagram account (@woolenhookhome) to find out more about the value of including wool in your life.
For, what seems to be a lifetime, I have allowed myself to be driven to distraction by current events. About the time I began this blog our world fell apart. I began with the vision of writing about what I do to build the life I want during this season of my life as well as the things I love to make that compliment this life.
Whenever I am distracted I wander off on a tangent and begin creating a wide variety of fantasy lives and seem to discover new “passions” every other day. My friends and family just roll with it. They know that ‘this too shall pass.’ Despite the election not being until tomorrow, today I am returning to my original vision. And where better to start than with wool and a crochet hook.
History of Crochet Home Decor
Crochet is one of the newest of the handcrafts. Evidence of its existence can only be documented as far back as the 1800’s. Crochet as we know it today can trace its origin to lace making as a cottage industry in Ireland. This allowed women and children to duplicate lace that was once only available to the elite now became available to ordinary people. Crochet at that time was not only a business but, in large part thanks to Queen Victoria, it became something ladies did in their leisure time.
Fast forward to the early to mid twentieth century, crochet became a way homemakers could affordably make their home more beautiful by making doilies, blankets, as well as table and kitchen accessories. In a time when frugality was a necessity, crochet became a tool for creativity and beauty. There are plenty of patterns available to show that crochet was also used to make clothing and fashion accessories, but the legacy that most remember are the crochet home decor items of their parents and grandparents. And this brings us to today.
We are living in a renaissance of handmaking. It is so exciting and I love seeing younger people desiring and valuing things that are unique and handmade.
Modern Crochet Home
I have crocheted on and off most of my life. I have followed trends and taken up many other crafts. While I enjoy them all, crochet is my home and I love to use crochet in my home.
I am working on redecorating my home and bringing a cohesive feel that is peaceful and soothing reflecting my love for nature. I will share more of this process on another day. But crochet figures prominently into this design vision. A comfortable, cozy environment that is filled with the things I love is my goal. Crochet items play a major roll in creating a cozy, comfortable and secure environment.
Future posts will cover the things that I make, why I choose wool, how you can use similar items no matter what your decorating style. I want to inspire and give you tools to make your home the beautiful and safe space you want it to be.
If you are on Instagram, I have created a new account: @thewoolenhookhome, come follow along. My personal account for all the things I make remains at @sherylmakes.
What Is Next Here
With the holidays coming and so many irons in the fire I have decided to only blog once a week. I will recap the week, what I’m doing and talk all things home and life.
Until next Monday, have a healthy and wonderful week.
The environment is one of those subjects that has been co-opted by politicians to bring people to their side and win votes. They play a game of tug-o-war, pulling and promising until one side finally wins a round.
While I am sure there are people in the world who don’t care a wit about the earth, the vast majority of thinking people do care. I care. I am passionate about nature and want to take the best care possible of this amazing resource. Where I generally part ways with the political environmentalists is in the solutions to the issues we face. I don’t worship the earth, I worship the God who created it. We humans were given dominion over the earth and all that lives here but that doesn’t mean we have carte blanche to use and abuse. There should be laws; there should be guidelines; but I will say this again, solutions to all problems are always best solved when government and the private sector work in tandem. The issue with that solution is then no one group gets credit or has power over the other. Oh, and don’t forget the money and influence peddlers; that is a whole issue by itself.
I hate that belonging to one political party or the other has to totally define who we are as people and citizens of the world. I hate that we have been polarized by narratives that declare ‘you are either with us or against us.’ I am a Republican because my philosophy of the role of government, but that doesn’t means that I want to pollute the earth, take away someone’s healthcare, incarcerate innocent people, or tolerate racism or social injustice. Imagine how much we could get done as a country if we just took the power and money out of the equation and talked to one another like the neighbors we are. Sigh.
Back To Small Decisions
I am the only coffee drinker in my household. I’ve always used a drip brewing type coffee maker with paper filters. Then, I made the switch to the single pod type system. Convenient. A novelty. One cup at a time, always hot and fresh; however, I soon tired of buying those expensive boxes of pods and even worse, I HATED throwing away the empty plastic. It all seemed like such a waste.
So, then I invested in two reusable mesh baskets for my machine. I buy my coffee, fill two each morning and enjoy my coffee. All was well in my little world until this machine began malfunctioning. We have really, really hard water where I live and no amount of cleaning of coffee makers seem to help them last very long. So now I am faced with disposing of coffee makers every couple of years. This goes against everything I want and believe in. So I bought a Chemex. They look cool and it seems to solve my issues. Well, not so fast.
I tried the metal mesh filter. I tried paper. I tried paper in a metal filter. I was totally unsatisfied with the results. It may have been the grind of the coffee was wrong and that is why the metal filter clogged and the water would not flow – 45 minutes to make a cup of coffee will never be acceptable. The Chemex paper filters are expensive and I’m back to the disposability issue. Frustrated, I put the Chemex in the cabinet and went back to the single cup system.
I love how well it works and especially that I can use it over and over again. My coffee has a cleaner flavor – no bitterness and no particles to surprise me in the last sip. I am delighted.
I don’t garden or compost at this time, but I don’t worry as much about the small amount of coffee grounds put into the trash as I did all the other stuff I used to dispose of just to have a cup of coffee. The other great thing for me is, when this filter is no longer good for coffee making (not sure how to know that yet), I can use the cloth in textile art projects. Absolute zero waste. Next I’m going to knit a cozy for my Chemex pot to help the coffee stay warm longer. That will be a fun project. I’ll be sure to put that up on Instagram (@sherylmakesalife).
This is just one example from my life where small changes improve the quality of my life and just might make a difference for the world around me. Happy Thursday everyone!
I am not a good decision maker. I agonize and overthink myself into a state of inertia. I firmly believe I could have accomplished so much more in my life if I had just made the decision to do it…and then actually did the thing. I worried about making a mistake. I didn’t trust myself and I approached the choices as if the fate of world rested on my decision. It doesn’t. My life didn’t even rest on most of the decisions I’ve struggled with throughout my life.
I often spend so much time trying to make a decision that I miss out on the small things happening around me. It is the whole forest and trees way of living. As I get older, I realize that there is a better way.
The defining moments of our lives, so we often believe, are the big things – marriage, children, buying a home, education, jobs, promotions, death and taxes. These are the events that stand out because they are big and memorable; however, I would argue that it is the little decisions we make every day of our lives that truly define who we are as a human being, citizen, family member, friend and employee.
“It’s the little things.” How many times have you heard that in your life? In fact, you have probably said or thought some version of that saying many times. Why? Because it is so true.
Choosing to do the right hard thing instead of the easy thing.
Making time for someone else when you had plans of your own.
Sacrificing your comfort to help another person.
Giving money instead of spending it.
Working hard even when no one is looking.
Volunteering while expecting nothing in return.
Holding the door for someone, or giving them your place in line.
Being quiet so that another person can shine.
Playing with a child.
These are just a few of the small decisions we make every single day that, when added together, make up the life you have chosen to live. Most importantly, these are decisions and actions done without fanfare that make a difference in the lives of others.
We all have good and not so good days. Some days I just can’t pull myself out of myself. One of the consequences of the pandemic is that we are not interacting with one another like we used to therefore it is a little harder to live this kind of life. But we certainly can do it within our small family and friend circles. Kindness and thoughtfulness don’t have to be done face to face. A letter, email, or phone call works wonders.
I often think that in my very small world I don’t do anything to make a difference in the lives of people. But that is because I only am looking at the big gestures that I see others doing and compare myself unfavorably with them. Then I remember that God did not put me on earth to do things like someone else. He put me here to be the best me I can be and allow Him to work through me to demonstrate love and kindness to all who cross my path. It doesn’t ever feel like enough. But, that’s because it is a little thing and all those little things add up to make a big difference as God’s light and love shine through me.
The same is true for you. Be the best you you can be. Stay in close contact with God and He will lead you to the people and opportunities custom made for you to do something little for someone else.
I will be continuing this theme of little things for a few days. I have been making little changes here and there that are my little contribution to the world.