Friday, April 27, 2018

Birthday Reflections.

Yesterday was a day of delight. Tom took me out for breakfast to one of our favorite places—Jaymee Lee's Diner. It's not that it's a fancy place, but it's my hometown. We stay caught up on the local chatter. 

We learned that a neighbor lost 13 calves this spring due to the long cold winter that's extended way too far into April. I was touched by his love for the calves. Especially since it didn't seem to be about the loss of money but the loss of little creatures. I inwardly groaned at his loss.  

After breakfast, I got my flower beds ready for planting the zinnia seeds I harvested last fall and kept through the winter. I eagerly wait for warmer weather when I can generously scatter them throughout the beds. My soul is always nourished by this yearly practice of working the soil, planting the seeds and harvesting more for next year.

After yard work, I visited the Newville library—another favorite hometown place. When I go to the library, I feel like I can do anything. I picked up a book I ordered called "Finishing the Hat" by Stephen Sondheim. The conductor of Portraits of White recommended I read—no—STUDY, this book to help me in my songwriting. I'm going to need to purchase one of my own. For now, this will have to do. 

We ate homemade vegetable beef soup for lunch. My soup supply is almost gone from the freezer. Soon it will be time to make more. It's amazing to feel the need for warm soup on April 26. The lilacs aren't anywhere close to blooming which is unusual. I often have lilacs for my birthday. Not this year.

After lunch, I rode my bicycle on the Newville trail all the way to Shippensburg University—something I've wanted to do for weeks but have never felt like I had the time. Yesterday I took the time. It was incredible. I sat on the campus for a short break and enjoyed a tart, crisp apple and a smoothie I made just for the trip. 

Tom and I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Ruby Tuesdays (we love those coupons that come in the mail!) along with the presence of a mother duck waddling down the sidewalk outside our window. It wasn't even a minute after Tom said, "she probably has a nest near here" that she "ducked" under the bush right outside our window and plopped down on a big furry nest. The people at the table next to us also watched her settle in and move the eggs around in the nest, uncovering them just enough to let us see that there were at least 7-8 eggs. We all broke into lively chatter about the duck nesting outside the restaurant.

My present from Tom this year was a very special surprise! I now have fancy lights on my bright red Yamaha VStar that change color. They will show up best at night, so one of these evenings when the weather is finally warm, you might see me cruising around the neighborhood on my "night-rider". 

While I was spending my day doing what I love to do, my mind was mulling over the past 52 years of my life. What have I learned about life that I want to keep for the next 50 years? What would my proverbs be?

Here are my thoughts—in no special order.
  • Goals are only handles, not molds.
  • You can change anything about yourself if you first change your mind.
  • You can accomplish whatever you set your mind to if you'll commit to spending 30 minutes a day on it.
  • There will come a day when your dreams take more work than you could have ever imagined. When that day comes, you'll know you are officially on your way to achieving them.
  • "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce. Then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vat bursting with wine." Proverbs 3:9-10. And you will likely have a ton of work to do. Don't let that take you by surprise.
  • Prayer will be your life-support. Don't ever pull that plug.
  • The work required of you when you pursue your dream is never going to end. So learn to embrace the work of the real as much as you embraced the love of the ideal.
  • You never need to stay who you were. Decide who you want to be before you get there, and you will become that person.
  • Five minutes spent doing what you love is like a blink of the eye. Five minutes spent doing what you hate is like forever. Since life is filled with many five-minute increments, make sure you blink often.
  • Once a week, allow yourself a day to turn off your phone, your computer, and any other gizmos. Go for a walk. Take snapshots of the scenery with your heart and mind. Don't post them anywhere—not on Facebook, not on Instagram. One day a week, look at life without the lens of social media so you can remember what it's like to "just be".