Gift in Wind, Water, White

Monday’s March Joy Dare was to find a gift in wind, in water and in white.  I have to be attentive to the present moment to find God’s presence in gifts as diverse as this.  And I did!

Sunday, I took a long walk at the woods with dog #1.  It was cool and only a moderate breeze, unlike the extreme windiness on Friday that blew grit in my face during my lunchtime walk.  It was nice having the wind die back and getting some fresh air with one of my favorite puppies.  And there’s the beagle going hey, hey, hey.  Don’t worry, they’re all my favorites.  The beagle was not happy getting left behind, but with his back and his weight, he can’t walk for very long anymore.

As I walked around the pond, a mallard drake flew in for a landing.  What a marvel of engineering for that little stout body!  He wasn’t flapping his wings – he shaped them into an oval and picked up speed for a straight shot to the water.  The wind offered no resistance to his flight plan.

Monday was the first workday (for me) after the time change.  It is so hard to get out of bed when the clock springs ahead an hour.  Thankfully, I got up only 15 minutes late and I didn’t need a shower – no water needed.  My hair looked fine and my exercise the day before didn’t leave me well, uh, smelly.  My favorite boy toy slept soundly through my getting ready for work, so I went out by myself for breakfast since I had enough time before work.

During lunch I checked some of the blogs that I follow.  Melissa, the coordinator of Six Words Friday, used last week’s word of “wish” to write that she wished spinach tasted like cupcakes.  I laughed and wrote her back that I wish they did too!  And shortly after lunch, some small cupcakes showed up on the file cabinet – chocolate with white frosting.  I was a good girl and only had one.  It was so yummy and tasted nothing like spinach.  [Do I need to hold up a card that says LAUGH here?]

And the parkway trees that started turning white last week?  They were even more open on Monday and I took a picture of them from my desk window.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

A Daily Life

March is Women’s History Month, making it a good month to blog about “the contributions of notable and ordinary women“.  See this post for a challenge in writing about this topic.  Other blogging ideas can be found by clicking on the tab, “Idea Jar“.  Not sure why you’d want to use someone else’s ideas?  See this post about using prompts.

Something Old, New & A Re-Do

Today’s February Joy Dare was to find a gift nearly worn out, a gift new, a gift made-do.  The Joy Dare’s really help me to see God in the small things of life and to appreciate the many gifts that are around me.

A gift worn out – my old black T-shirt that I wore today.  It wasn’t quite warm enough and later I put on a heavier sheet as we went from 80 degrees yesterday to barely 50, complete with high winds most of the day.  I used to wear that black shirt to work years ago.  It’s faded, a little pilled, but oh-so-comfortable.  I’d wear it all the time if I could.  I love it when clothes better as they get worn out.

A gift new – we got the dogs their new beds – all three of them.  Yes, the little guy got one of his own too.  He’s been using it!  He still likes to sprawl out on the big dogs bed, but he’s enjoying having one of his own.  So far, dog #1 has not tried to stuff himself into it like he did the cat bed.

A gift made-do – my favorite boy toy recently completed a big job.  He struggled with his iMac.  It kept bogging down, taking precious  minutes to complete a task.  He made enough from the job to get a new computer with a faster graphics card, more storage and more memory.  The same tasks are now done in a few seconds.

It’s possible his old computer is having a hardware failure, but he got it scratched and restored and now it’s mine.  So in addition to my laptop, I have a full size iMac with the latest version of Lion on it, plus a copy of my Photoshop Elements, Topaz filters, and Apple’s Pages.  I love the big bright screen.  Even if the hardware eventually fails, it’s nice having a computer up in my office instead of dragging my laptop all over the house.

I also have one more gift from today – actually, I read the dare wrong and had recorded this before realizing my mistake:

A gift re-do – a few days ago I mentioned that I was no longer swimming due to the time it took.  After thinking it over for a few days, I realized the time commitment to swim 3x / week, including driving to & from plus showering would be roughly the same was walking 4x / week.  My cardio workout from swimming is much better, I catch less colds, and swimming makes me feel really good after I toughen up to it.  So I re-upped my gym membership for another year and started swimming again.  As I get back into a routine swimming, I will probably spend my lunch time either taking pictures, writing or reading.

I thank God for my nice clothes that last long enough to be worn on weekends, that I can afford to buy new beds for my boys, for an answer to my prayer for a regular computer, and for exercise that agrees with me and improves my health.

It was a good day today.  No wandering though, but I did enjoy reading and cuddling a dog.

Over at A Daily Life are two new posts on getting blank lines into your blog post as well as changing your E-mail address in WordPress.

© 2012 dogear6 llc


Gifts on the Hours for February 1

The February Joy Dare has been posted and for today, it was again looking for gifts on the hours – or half-hours as it were.  I was looking for gifts at 11:30, 2:30 and 6:30.

To be honest, as much as I enjoy celebrating the hours, it seemed that there would be little to look for during the work week.  11:30?  Working at my desk.  Thank you for the new computer and double monitors.  2:30?  Working at my desk.  Staring at the computer monitors.  Looking out my nice window view of downtown.  6:30?  In my zippy little Honda Civic driving home after dark.

They are all wonderful things and worthy of my gratitude to God.  Absolutely worthy.  But I couldn’t quite feel the passion I needed to write them up and share them.

Shows how little I know!  In fact, I found very nice gifts at each marker.  They were small, but still nice gifts to be enjoyed and appreciated.

11:30 am – The dark, heavy gray clouds cleared up to bright sun and white fluffy clouds.  I guess I’m going for a walk during lunch after all!

I just finished reviewed a big stack of amended tax returns that were prepared by an outside vendor.  Each time a tax audit is done that changes federal income, I have to amend all the state returns to pay in their portion of the changed income (all the state tax returns start with federal income).  This was the last batch for this audit cycle – now 2004 to 2006 is done, done, done.

2:30 pm – I took a brief break and read some articles that were in LinkedIn.  I found this quote that I really liked.  I will write more about the topic at some point, but I have to mull it over for a while.  The article was called, “The Top 4 Reasons Why Most Career Dreams Fail” by Kathy Caprino:

A job and a calling are very different.  They require different things of us.  Many people think their career dream is to have a “calling” and they yearn for that.  What they don’t know is that a calling is a vision so compelling that you can’t stop yourself from wrapping your entire identity around it (even if you don’t want to),  even to the detriment of your bank account, your relationships and your health.

People romanticize about a calling, just as they idealize “love.” A calling is not something that you choose – it chooses you. And when it does, it exacts a large price.

Neither a job or a calling are better than the other; they’re just different. There are costs and benefits to both. But you can’t fabricate a calling out of thin air, so longing for one is a fruitless endeavor.

The key to creating a fulfilling career is to find the right path for you that makes you feel passionate, powerful and purposeful, and motivates you to be all you can be. Stop wishing for what others have, and start creating the best version of you — your authentic self.

6:30 pm – I was on the phone with my mother as I drove home from work.  For Christmas, I’d given her the book by Andy Andrews called “The Traveler’s Gift“.  I’d not read it myself, but my sister had and thought our mother would like it as a gift.  She has and I’m thankful to my sister for speaking up to give it to her.

The great thing about leaving early for work today was seeing the sunrise across the street and all the shades of color.

There’s a new post over at A Daily Life about the No Comfort Zone Challenge to stretch and grow you.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

Gifts On The Hours

The January Joy Dare for today called for observation of gifts before 9 am, noon, and after dark.  I’ve always enjoyed activities that call for a remembrance on the hour, whether praying a short prayer every sixty minutes to the opening the small gifts of cheering up from my sister to books that give inspirations to read.

The gifts were not at all what I expected.  I don’t know what I expected the gifts to be, but these wouldn’t have been on my list in any event.

Before 9 am – I got such a good night sleep last night!  I felt so good this morning – awake, alert, enthusiastic.  I wasn’t achy or congested.  I remember when my daughter was a baby and I’d get a rare night of six or eight hours straight of sleep.  That felt so good!  That’s how I felt this morning.

As I drove in, the sun rose high enough over the horizon to be seen.  It was wrapped in a gauze of silvery clouds and shone with a bright yellow that caused the sky to light in delicate shades of yellow and orange.  I couldn’t get a picture of it, but I enjoyed it for the several minutes that it lasted.

Before noon – I ran into a former co-worker in the bathroom.  She’s young, my daughter’s age.  When I started working with her four years ago, she was madly in love with her husband and had a cute little house out in the country.  She loved her life.  A few months later, her husband announced that he was moving in with his girlfriend and didn’t want her anymore.  She wasn’t making a lot of money, being new in her career, but he wanted alimony too.  And the cute little house?  He dumped it on her to sell and cover the losses from it.

She was devastated.  He did everything he could to ruin her, not being content to just break up their marriage.  It was hard to watch what she went through and how she struggled to not cave in to his endless demands.  The days were long and hard.

She moved on to another job in the company.  One day last year, she came in with an engagement ring and a big smile.  She married soon after to a guy who loves her as she is.

I chatted with her for a few minutes today when she told me her big news – she’s pregnant!  I said – you never thought you could be happy again.  No, she replied, everyone kept telling me it wouldn’t always be like that.  But I didn’t think it would ever get better.  Are you happy, I asked?  Yes, very much so.  Then she smiled and went back to her desk.

It was a gift to see her content and happy.

After dark – my last gift today came right as dusk turned to black.  The garage doors at work roll down at 6 pm as an added security measure.  They only take a few minutes to roll up and I use that time to dial my Mom so I can chat with her for a few minute as I drive home from work (using a handfree headset).  I left work early enough tonight that the doors were still up!  And yes, it made me very happy.

Were the gifts big?  Probably not to some.  But for me, I enjoyed them very much.  They made me smile as I thanked God for them.

I don’t think these are the only gifts from today.  As I considered whether to write tonight or skip it, I felt strongly that for someone out there, they need to see this.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what’s in here that will be important, but for someone, these stories needed to be told tonight.  And that is my last gift from tonight.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

Gifts to Laugh, Pray & Be Quiet

Today’s January Joy Dare is to look for a gift that makes you laugh, a gift that makes you pray, and a gift that makes you quiet.

Laugh – I loved this post by Kate from Chronicles of a Country Girl.  She titled it “Let the Good Times Roll” and it shows her dog rolling around on his back.  Unfortunately, my picture of the beagle doing it looks like a beached whale and is not quite something I’d use anywhere to advertise my blog!

© 2012 dogear6 llc

Pray – I’ve found a Christian writer’s conference in May.  I’d given no thought to something like this (nor is it on my wishlist of travel this year either!), but other things are falling in line for my writing.  I think this may be a path in front of me.  For a number of reasons, my favorite boy toy thinks I should go.

I’ve gone to some of the weekend classes at the University of Iowa for their writer’s workshops.  They were fun and I got a lot out of them.   I’d always wanted to go back for a full week, but never did.  Although my writing has been a goal for quite a few years, this is the year it’s gaining momentum.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

Quiet – I’ve taken down some of the Christmas decorations, but left up the lights.  The other night, my favorite boy toy went out to do some errands.  I sat there quietly in the dark, enjoying the fire and the lights, and just relaxed as I cuddled the dogs.  It was a wonderful gift of solitude.   I did some praying, but mostly I just sat there and absorbed the silence.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

Thank you to my new subscribers!  I look forward to getting to know each of you better.  I’ve made so many new friends through this blog.  I hope to visit your blogs shortly, if I haven’t already.