Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Things I deemed worth noting

Five things worth, or maybe not worth noting - that is probably a matter of opinion.

1. Today I noticed "Benjamin Franklin - the punctual plumber". The company came to the plumbing rescue decked out in a van with Ben Franklin's head on the side. Who knew that Mr. Franklin was known to be punctual? This got me thinking: how do companies come up with their names? How do they decide that the name they choose is going to somehow further the sales and success of their business, product or service? Round of applause to the Benjamin Franklin plumbers. I may be confused by their choice of name but if I ever need a plumber you can bet I'll be looking into them on google reviews. Mission accomplished, Ben.

2. Everyone has their own unique and distinct running style. Maybe you have noticed the wide array of running styles that abound on sidewalks, treadmills and street (ugh - use a sidewalk buddy). If you haven't previously noticed this phenomenon then take a minute and picture runners. They all look different in your mind, don't they? Some twirl their arms in little circles, keeping pace with their striding legs. Others appear to be gliding. Still others look pained and fatigued, as if they might keel before their heel meets the pavement once again. No two runners are the same. Kind of like people. No two individuals are the same. Maybe these two principles are somehow linked? Someone should study this theory. Not me in particular, but someone.

3. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. What one person cherishes will be deemed worthy of demolishing by another. Just watch HGTV for proof. One person sells a home to move across the country for work, leaving behind the home they have made their own and loved. The next owner comes in and tears off the wallpaper, knocks out the kitchen cabinets and paints the dining room bright, flaming red. They couldn't wait to change what had once been loved and carefully selected. To them, it was simply dreadful. To the one who loved it and created the design it was truly beautiful.

4. Every woman needs a little black dress and every man needs a bow tie. These are wardrobe essentials. Don't question me, just go to Macy's.

5. You can't expect to meet friendly faces when you wear a sour expression with a downward cast glance. If you want to find friendliness, you need to give it. If you want to make a friend you need to be ready to be a friend. If you want to meet people you have to take the ear buds out and look people in the eye, and smile. You have to get out of your comfort zone and off the couch. The world is full of friendly people, are you one of them?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In case you were wondering...

This is what's on my mind... in case you were wondering....

1. Don't underestimate the importance (and power) of a good night's sleep. Pam Beasley (from The Office, in case you aren't up on your stupid humor comedy sitcoms) knows the difference a solid REM cycle can provide to the waking hours. When she gets 8 hours of sleep compared to 4 - big difference. So, take a lesson from a show full of utter ridiculous, yet amusing, antics: get your shut eye. The beauty sleep does more than just help the appearance. It clears the mind and puts a cheery light on the whole day. Who knew what happens when we aren't even aware could influence the rest of life in such a profound way? Pam knew.
2. A red front door, designed and executed with style and an eye for design, can be as powerful as the perfect shade of red lipstick. It takes a home from boring, dull and lifeless and makes it a showstopper. A few coats of paint can be the difference between drive by and stop and stare. Like I said: lipstick for the house. Just ask any women with a go-to shade of fiery red. She isn't born with it, it might be Maybelline. But it makes all the difference when getting all dolled up for date night.
3. When you read Jane Austen you will find that your day to day thoughts take on a new accent. Call me crazy, but don't judge until you've read over 300 pages of one of her classics. You begin to think with an English accent. I'm not complaining. Who doesn't love a true Brit speaking with that irresistible accent so captivating that it stops women young and old in their tracks?
4. Do you want to change your daily interactions with strangers, friends, family and even your pet dog? Smile and make eye contact. These simple acts will transform your communication. A smile goes a long way. It conveys openness and invites further interaction. Eye contact shows that you are engaged. Try these tricks of the communication trade and watch the world around you take on a whole new light.  You won't be disappointed, I promise.
5. Cars are a blessing and a curse. Life was simpler before they existed. I wasn't around then, obviously, but since moving to Chagrin Falls I am beginning to get a picture of what that world was like. Needed groceries? You walked. You didn't buy 2 carts full of potato chips and Oreos. You bought what you could carry, aka what you needed. Had to send a letter? You walked to the local post office and bought stamps, probably running into a few of the locals on the way. Communities were close knit. People knew each other. There is something nostalgic and picturesque about that way of life. It was a life grounded on the fundamentals and a simplicity that is missing from society. From now on, I'm going to try to let my car stay parked more often.

Whats on your mind? What have you noticed today?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Becoming "beautiful"

Think back 365 days from today. Where were you? What were you doing? What were your plans for the day, the week, the month? Do you even recall what was happening in your life those days? Or has the past faded with the setting of each sun? Has the past become a hazy patchwork of circumstances that have formed you yet alluded your detailed memory?
I don't remember what I did 365 days ago. Maybe I went out and had lunch or took a shopping trip to TJ Maxx. Those sound like plans I would have embraced a year ago. I still embrace days such as those. Although I don't remember the specifics of my day I do remember the circumstances surrounding my life at that time. I was sick and searching for answers. I was waiting for results from the IBS Treatment Center in Seattle, WA; all the while scouring the internet for any answer, any explanation for my suffering.
At that time I was in a state of utter confusion and questioning. I didn't have answers but I wanted them badly. I was searching and reaching. I felt stalled out and at a loss for a future or a way out of my predicament. Each road seemed to lead to a dead end. Every medical condition that seemed to fit my struggle only fit half way. The other half didn't even come close. I was coming up empty handed. It was about this time 365 days ago that the results came from Seattle. Still, no answers.
My search continued.
I don't need to rehash the saga of how I ended up back in Erie at a chiropractor to find answers from a Christian man of God who believes whole heartedly in the bodies ability to heal itself and God's desire to heal us with tools he has provided right here on earth. The saga would take much more than a single blog post to cover it adequately. I don't have the time, space or desire to go through the whole process. But it was a journey. It took me from coast to coast, Washington to Florida, California to Cleveland. I went everywhere, tried anything and had the scans and MRIs that should have shown something, anything or in my case, nothing.
In those days I couldn't see what God had for my future or how he was going to use that trial to shape the person I would become. There were nights I didn't know if he would take me to be with him right then and there or if I would live to see (and suffer) another day.
I remember one night where I laid in bed with one of the worst hot flashes I had experienced to date. I was sweating, my heart pounding and my mind racing. I was nervous and afraid for my very life. Tears started to form in my eyes - a rarity for me. I couldn't suppress them and for once, I didn't want to. I let them flow as I cried out to God: "If you want to take me, okay. I'm yours and I'm ready. I am going to sleep now, trusting that whatever happens is your will. If I wake up tomorrow morning it is because of you alone, you have sustained me. You have given me another day because you aren't finished with me yet."
Needless to say I woke up.
He wasn't finished.
He isn't finished.
From that moment in July of 2012, to today, February 18, 2013, so much has happened. God has taken me to places I never thought possible and never anticipated. He has brought me here, to Chagrin Falls, Ohio to the Starbucks that I walked to from my house just 5 short blocks away - the house I live in, the house my parents generously purchased for an investment and for my home. The road here was twisted and winding. I couldn't have fathomed it while I was walking it but that is the mystery of God.
When God is leading every day is an adventure and every trail is not just a mere shortcut. God takes us down the scenic route for a purpose. He wants to show us something special. My scenic route didn't feel scenic at the time. It felt like I was on a road to nowhere, spinning my wheels. I felt despondent and depressed until I released my agenda to God. My own plans weren't evil or inherently wrong, but they were preconceived and, most importantly, they weren't God's. I wanted to be healthy and I wanted it yesterday, not tomorrow. God didn't have that in the cards just yet. He wanted to keep me where I was physically so he could grow me spiritually. He still hasn't brought my body back to full health but he has given me enough to go forward with dreams and service that I wasn't capable of in my darkest hours.
Now I am here in the midst of beginning a whole new life. It is unknown and exciting at the same time. I don't know where the road here will lead but I know who brought me here. In life that is what's most important. We aren't meant to know our future - where is the fun in that anyway? We are to be confident in the one who got us where we are and the one who is taking us where we are going. If our confidence is in God and his providence, perfect timing, and perfect plan then we don't need to fret about a single step that is to come. When we have confidence in him we don't need to have confidence in the ways of the world or our own ability to plan and plot out our future. We must wake every morning and close our eyes each night asking God to direct our paths, while we live in obedience to his laws and commands. There will be days we deny our own desires and human pleasures because they aren't God's. Don't despair. Although it may feel like a hardship in the moment it is moving you closer to the road God has set forth specifically and specially for you.
When you hand your life over to God's providence wholeheartedly he will do amazing things. He will take you places you didn't even know were possible. He will exceed your dreams. You have to submit. You have to take that first step. It may hurt. It will feel like pruning. Remember you are clay in the potters hands. You are being molded, formed and shaped into something beautiful. If he left you as you were when he found you - gray, dull and misshapen - you would never bear the name "beautiful". But if you allow yourself to be changed you will become something marvelous and God will use your life in a way only he could. You can't do it on your own. You can't even understand it as it is happening. But remain steadfast in obedience and he will remain true to his word. He will make your life something miraculous.