But My Door Won’t Open

We’ve all heard the saying “when God closes one door He opens another.”

I believe it.

However, it has to be the right door. Not just any random door that comes your way.

We’ve all had it happen. A door closes, either suddenly or over time. We try to re-open it. We pull and pull on that doorknob to no avail. Then we think maybe we need to push instead. 

So we push and push. We bang our hands and even our shoulders against it, knowing that if we try long and hard enough, it’s going to open.

We get discouraged and stop trying and begin to walk away. Then someone else comes up to that same door and easily pushes it open. They walk through it and before you can get there to follow them in, it closes again!

Why? Why didn’t it open for you, and why did it open for them?

Did you ever stop to think that maybe it wasn’t your door?

Sometimes we think we know exactly what our next steps in life are supposed to be. We’re sure of it. Do sure that we work to make it happen. We work so hard sometimes that we lose sight of the fact that maybe we’re working TOO hard to make something happen.

And working too hard probably means it’s not supposed to be happening that way.

We’re all impatient at times, some of us more than others. We see other people getting the things we so desperately want, and wonder when it’ll be our turn? 

Their doors opened. Why didn’t ours?

Very simple. It’s not our turn yet. Our door hasn’t appeared because what’s behind it isn’t ready yet. It’s not time, as much as we want it to be.

Timing is everything as we’ve heard so often. It’s just not always our timing.

That door will be ready for you to open and it’ll be easy to open. No key needed. And when you step through it, you’ll know it’s yours, and you’ll know the wait was worth it!

If You Put Off Making A Decision

It’ll be made for you. 

And it might not be the one you would have made for yourself, except you hesitated. Didn’t want to deal with it.

But if you put off making a decision you really need to make, because you’re afraid to make the wrong decision, you’ll be stuck with a result that you’ll have to live with for a long time.

It may be a decision you’d have made much differently, but were hesitant to decide one way or another. 

So now you’re stuck with the consequences.

Consequences you caused because you wouldn’t make a decision. Isn’t it better to live with the consequences of a decision you made, instead of one you refused to have a say in?

My Mind is Made Up

Don’t try to confuse me with the facts.

My uncle used to say that all the time. Jokingly, of course, when people said really outrageous things that rational thinking persons would never believe.

Isn’t this what we have going on right now?

We want to believe something that we’ve heard because the person saying it is a hero figure of ours. No matter what we’re told, no matter what facts were given, we KNOW for a FACT that our hero figure is 100% correct. 

It doesn’t matter that the so-called facts have been certified time after time to be untrue.

Truth obviously doesn’t matter to so many people these days because they want what they believe to be true. No matter what. And they’ll keep searching so-called news reporters until they find someone who agrees with them. It doesn’t matter whether they quote facts or not; it only matters that their views are confirmed by others whose ideas are the same as theirs.

“My mind is made up. Don’t try to confuse me with the facts!”

Conspiracy theories are rampant. It doesn’t matter that they’ve been shot down by the courts; that there’s no credible evidence whatsoever to back up their ideas. As long as there are one or two other people out there spouting these unproven theories, people are always ready to believe them, because they just refuse to believe the truth.

One day, they say. One day everyone will see the truth (as they believe it).

What has happened to critical thinking? To reasoning? To looking at all viewpoints and all of the credible evidence and making an informed decision based on facts rather than theory and conjecture?

I guess it’s easier to believe what we want to believe rather than look at the evidence and make a decision based on facts rather than theories and ideas presented by people with a set agenda rather than with a desire for truth.

Open minds lead to educated discussions and truth. Closed minds only bring dissension and chaos. 

Which are you a part of?

Quick! Grab Some Beads!

One morning I was trying to get some jewelry inspiration and it just wouldn’t come. All these trays of beads just wait to be partnered up with their friends, and I was just at a loss. 

Had my creativity decided to leave me? Instead of writers’ block, did I have beaders’ block? Jewelry makers’ block?

I kept looking at the boxes, opening them up, staring at the beautiful colors and shapes. Beads I’d bought with a plan, and some I’d bought just because I really liked them. Even though some of them seemed to be saying “pick me!” nothing really seemed to stir in my creative side.

Why is it that when you’re really in the mood to create you just can’t get past that final hurdle? Has anyone else felt this way?

So I started looking through random pictures I’ve collected of bracelet styles for inspiration, not to copy those styles, but to spark the creative me back to life. 

Those of you who’ve seen and bought some of my creations know I tend to design on the more conservative side. Most of my jewelry is designed with conservative patterns. A center focal bead or group of beads or charms, with equal amounts of beads and styles on each side. Very symmetrical. Almost predictable. 

Looking at some more of the newer designs I’d saved, I noticed quite a few looked like a hodge podge of colors and different shapes and sizes of beads. Almost like they were randomly thrown in a little pile on a bead board, and then strung together and in whatever order the designer picked them up.

And they were really interesting. In fact I liked several of the styles.

An idea struck me. Could I really be adventurous enough to just grab a few beads at random and throw them together to see what I could come up with? After all, that is so not like my style…

So…I figured what the heck..I can always put them back in their correct little homes.  And some I hadn’t even cut apart yet from bringing them home.

But you get the idea. Maybe it was my time to step outside the box, as the saying goes. Or outside the beader’s box.

So I started to try my new ideas. And one bead led to another. I fought the urge to make the bracelets in a pattern, repeating the same ones in the same order. And for me, that’s not easy. 

But I finally found myself playing with them more. Moving them around on my board until I liked the arrangement.  It takes longer to do a piece this way, because the beads have to complement each other, but blend well together without following a specific pattern.

It’s like creating a piece of art you can wear. And it takes patience which I’m slowly learning to develop.

Everyone has their own artistic style. Some of us try a medium we think we’d do well in and don’t do too well. Some of us try several different mediums before we find the one we really enjoy and find we have a talent for.

For me, at least for now, it’s creating jewelry (as well as writing my blog).

Here’s some more pictures of the jewelry I’ve recently created.

Now that you’ve heard more about my jewelry art, what kind of art do you do?

It’s Only Words

We’ve heard that line from the song. You can probably sing a lot of it if you’re of the same age group I am.  

Words matter. But actions DO speak louder.

Words are so easy to say. But if they don’t come from the heart, that’s all they are. Words.

What’s the next line of that song?

“And words are all I have….”

Sometimes that should be “and words are all I hear….”

Because words that are spoken and not backed up by actions have no meaning

The Sounds (and Sights) of Summer

Growing up in a small town on the eastern shore of Maryland had a lot of advantages I never really appreciated until I was older. A lot older, as you some of you may say.

But summer some 60 years ago took on a whole new meaning from today. It was less hectic, quieter, and more relaxed than it is today. (And not nearly as hot as this year.)

Because we lived just outside of the town limits, our house was surrounded by two small fields and a woods (which seemed really  big back then). There were fields across the road as well, and we watched the corn all summer as it grew and grew, eventually hiding the homes across the road, growing to reach its potential for the fall harvest. 

Just a quiet rural setting. No crime. No violence. No video games or cell phones.

Back then almost every summer evening was filled with the singing of crickets and frogs, and fireflies lighting up the night as soon as it started to get dark. We’d look forward to catching them and then seeing how many it took to light up the dark corners of our rooms. (Thank goodness my mom always came in and let them escape back outside after we were asleep.)

I remember many nights falling asleep on the glider in our big screened porch listening to the crickets and frogs serenading their friends as well as my mom and me. What wonderful sounds they made. Plus it was cooler out there since we had no air conditioning.

There were some nights during those summers that it was so hot we could look out in the distance from that wonderful porch and see what we called “heat lightning”…silent flashes of light in the distance with no cracks of lightning or thunder, or even any signs of rain.

And the air was so clean, so clear, we could gaze up into the night sky and pick out the constellations. Sometimes we’d even drive down to the bay and listen to the waves lapping against the small pier that was left over from a long ago storm. The sky there was even clearer and the stars easier to see. And when it happened to be a full moon, it was absolutely breathtaking.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days. Sure, we have our Jeremiah the bullfrog who likes to sing to us in the back yard after a summer rainstorm, but it’s just not the same. We haven’t been able to find him, or his wine we’ve heard that’s mighty fine, but we still get to listen to him, and he sure sounds happy.

What about the fireflies? I can’t remember the last time we saw any. Crickets? I haven’t heard them chirp in ages. And come to think of it, we see very few honeybees…and they used to fly all around in those distant summers, gorging themselves on all manner of blooms on bushes and flowers, and pollinating everything in our gardens. 

How about butterflies? I haven’t seen many of those recently either, and we have a lot of flowers and flowering bushes in our backyard. They used to fly around the yard all summer when we were growing up. 

Yes, I do miss those summers. And I actually appreciate the memories of them much more than I ever thought I would. Because it was an easier way of life, or it seemed to be, because we were still growing up, and still had our innocence and the belief that these little things would always be a part of our lives.

Now they are only memories in my mind’s eye, stored in a database of pictures only I can see. But they’re there, and I wish you could see them, too.

The sounds and sights of summers in times past….these are my memories. 

What are yours?

Let’s Try This!

We’ve all heard the expression about it being hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. 

Right now I think that might be true. Just walking outside from the house to the car is enough to give me trouble breathing, and I don’t normally have breathing problems.  

There’ve been stories about it being so hot a roof began to melt in China. And an airport runway in Europe had to be closed temporarily until it could be repaired.

There have even been reports of lakes drying up and people finding dead fish on the dried- up lakebed. Truth or myth? Not really sure, but as hot as it is, who knows?

Older people and those with breathing or other similar conditions are being warned to stay inside. Pregnant women and young kids are also being cautioned to be careful in all this heat because of the danger of heat stroke, heat exhaustion or dehydration.

And what about that old saying, “it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk!”

Well, it may almost be time to try it! What do you think?

So just in case you feel adventurous, I thought I’d come up with a recipe you can try! Or not…

Take one egg. Place a small square of cling wrap on the sidewalk

Crack the egg carefully onto the cling wrap. 

Check it every few minutes with a spatula (or your finger) to see how it’s coming along.

It’ll be cooked enough when the egg white is the opaque white color you’re used to. Take the spatula and carefully lift it up and slide it onto a small plate. 

Season or garnish as desired, and if you’re brave, try a bite. Then let us know how it turned out. 

Or let your dog sample it and he’ll let you know how it was!

(Header photo by Pockafwe on Flickr; center photo by Lori Greig on Flickr)

A Positive Attitude

It may not solve all of your problems, but it may annoy enough people to make it worth your while.

Does that maybe give you a new reason to have a positive attitude? It does for me!

Why spend your time and energy thinking something bad is going to happen any time. It may. But it may not. 

But that’s not in your control. 

So expect the positive instead of worrying about the negative.  Your day will go much better! 

Matters of the Heart, Part 31

Just when we thought we were clear and weren’t going to have anything else happen relating to Ben’s heart for a while, life comes up with something else. 

Guess why that’s why it’s called “life”. 

Because you never know what’s next.

You may not know this, but every person who has a pacemaker has a routine yearly checkup on the pacemaker itself. The technician has a device that is put on top of the area where the pacemaker is located and it gives out readings on how the pacemaker is functioning, checking that the settings are still correct, and reviewing its remaining battery life.

Yes, you may remember that Ben has two of them, because when the original one was put in, for some reason it was implanted in such a way that tissue had grown over it so that it couldn’t be replaced. Therefore, when he needed a new one with a defibrillator it had to be implanted on the right side instead of the left, which is the normal location for pacemakers.

Should we have expected anything less?

After two pacemakers, we figured now he was done for a while. The “bionic man” could take a break. For at least 7 years or so until he needed a new battery in this newest one. Well, this will be about five years since the new one was put in.

We never really thought about that, though, and what it entailed.

Until several weeks ago when he had his annual pacemaker checkup.

Everything checked out fine. Until he was told he had about 15 months of battery life left on it.

Uhhh…what?

Then what?

And how would we know when it needed replacing? Since the technician told him the pacemaker was keeping him alive, that was a fairly important question.

“Let me show you how you’ll know,” she said. And she hit a button on the machine and a beeping noise went off. And it was definitely audible.

“That’s what will happen about 4 months before we need to replace the battery. It’ll do that for about two minutes. And it’ll keep doing it every day until you call our office and come in for us to turn it off. And you’ll make the appointment for the replacement then.”

When I told the story to a friend of ours, he said he could just picture Ben being at a client’s business when it went off and saying, “Excuse me while I take this call” as his chest is beeping! And knowing Ben, he may do just that.

The technician also demonstrated how important it is for the pacemaker to be in good shape by turning it down just for a few seconds. Ben said his whole body suddenly felt limp and exhausted. It was a weird feeling, and one he doesn’t want to experience again.

We assumed he’d just have a simple battery change. But we didn’t know how that would work because we never really thought about it. But we discovered it wouldn’t just be a simple battery change. It was a total pacemaker replacement! And we remembered that last time his doctor tried to replace the one he had, which ended up not being possible because of the way it had been installed, so he ended up with a second device on his right side. 

Well, since the same doctor would be doing the replacement, we can only assume he did it so that it’ll be simple to change out.

I guess we’ll find out in about twelve months though. 

So stay tuned, because there’s probably going to be more to come before this next procedure.

Empty Words

How often do we hear them? Words that sound good, but have no real meaning. Words that we really want to hear, but in the long run, really don’t mean a thing.

A friend, or so-called friend, says they’ll call us. They’ve been so busy, so tied up. They miss us so much, and yes, we’ll get together soon. “I’ll call you in a few days. I promise.”

Six months later, there’s still no call. Which they’ve promised over and over. Either they forgot, which means they only said that to try and make you think they really cared.  Or they never really planned on calling in the first place, and those empty words were said to make us feel like maybe they really did care, and didn’t want to tell us they had other things more important on their mind.

Maybe you run into that person unexpectedly. They act like they’re so excited to see you. Ask all kinds of questions, especially if they’re around other people. They introduce you as one of their best friends, and explain how they’ve known you forever. 

Or if they run into you by themselves, their first words are all about how they’ve been meaning to call but their lives are so hectic, but they swear to call next week and make plans to get together. Funny thing, they actually could make those plans then if they really wanted to.

And of course you never get a call. Why aren’t you trying? Because this has become a pattern that never seems to end. Why try?

Why try to stay friends with someone who obviously doesn’t care if they stay friends or not?

What about the person who continually tells you how much they love you on social media? But never try to get in touch in person? Why does “I love you” become just another phrase like “hello” or goodbye”? Why do those words sound so empty when they’re said to us by someone who doesn’t try to interact with us anymore?

When did those three words become so meaningless that we just use them to make ourselves sound like we care, when we really don’t?

I remember the very first time my now husband told me he loved me. It was a special moment. Those words meant something important. I’ve never forgotten that moment.

Now they’ve just become words. Often spoken so randomly that we’ve forgotten their meaning. Or the person saying them has lost their meaning. (Please note I’m not referring to my husband.)

Don’t get me wrong…when I tell my loved ones I love them, I mean it. 

But when I hear it from people I hardly ever see any more, I know they don’t mean it. It just sounds good to them. Or to anyone else who might overhear.

Then there’s the other phrase that’s so often a combination of empty words. “I’m sorry.”

Maybe you are, or maybe you’re saying it to stop an argument. Maybe you’re saying it because you’re forced to. Maybe you’re saying it because it sounds good at the time. Or maybe because you think you’re supposed to say it in order to make someone feel better. 

But you’re not thinking about what those two words really mean to the person you say them to.

Empty words. Words said with no feeling. No meaning. No thought behind what you’re saying.

All of us are guilty of this to a degree. But some much more than others.

Words do matter. 

Especially empty ones, because they speak a far greater truth than you can imagine.

So does silence.