This is my life


I’m sitting in the waiting room at Bob Montgomery getting the oil changed in the little black Honda while the Today show on the TV keeps me company.  Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb are talking with a physiologist about a new phobia she said is sweeping the planet.  It is called Fear of Missing Out.  FOMO for short.

In this information age, we can look into other people’s lives in a way our parents never thought of.  This I not gossip over the neighborhood fence. Social media is available on demand to investigate everyone’s business literally, at my fingertips.

I see what so-and-so is doing and wonder why I’m not doing that?  Someone bought a new car.  A friend and her family are on vacation, and look at all those fabulous pictures on Facebook.  Another person is headed out of state to see the grandchildren, and wasn’t she just there last month?

I fear that I’m missing out.

FOMO is envy of every other person who is doing something I want to do.

There is so little time and so many options!  And my time is running short.

The result is a bad case of malcontent, of wanting another’s experiences and possessions.

If I dwell on it too long, I risk letting it evolve into jealousy, known to be cruel as the grave.  Because jealousy keeps one from living one’s own life to the fullest.

If I am constantly looking at other people’s lives and comparing theirs to mine, I miss my own present season.  I do not enjoy the gifts God gives to me today.

I think it has something to do with learning contentment.  I’ve been thinking about contentment lately.  Perhaps because I have struggled to really be content.

I’ve said it out loud to myself lately.  “This is my life.”  I say it sometimes with resignation, when I am tired, discouraged, feeling left out of the fray of the action.  It’s a sad case of FOMO.

I need my vision checked.

When I stop looking at “what isn’t”  and the “have nots” and instead turn my focus to the “what is” and the “haves,” I take on a different perspective.

When I count the gifts I see all around me, the grace and mercy stored up for me each morning, I realize I am blessed beyond measure, more than I deserve.

I am queen of Quite-A-Lot.

So I determine to keep my focus turned upward, to look for gifts and grace falling down from above from the Father of lights who gives because He is good.

For the last several Wednesdays, twenty plus women and I have gathered in the upper room at Little Flock Baptist Church to practice.  We are learning to count.  We are doing a small group Bible study together, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  The study has challenged us to look for grace, the gifts the Father gives each of us moment by moment.  And then we give thanks, listing them in simple notebooks, counting to one thousand and more.  We are learning that in the counting there is joy.  And as Voskamp asks, who doesn’t want joy?

By counting gifts, I notice the small things, the simple everyday things that I overlook on too many occasions as I am rushing this one life of mine.  Taking notice of all that God has given me, I slow down to enjoy and find I have more than enough and then some, that I am not missing out on a single thing He has planned for me.

This is my life!  God designed and planned it before I was born.  He handpicked my family.  He guides where I liveMy steps and stops are directed by Him.  He purposes my experiences to form and mold me.

I have this one beautiful life to live to my fullest.  It is a gift.  I receive it with open hands, lifting my eyes Heaven-ward to the Giver of all good gifts.

Counting to one thousand and more . . .

. . . chicken pot pie with Sweet William and a dear friend

. . . red cardinals at the feeder on a grey day

. . . hot coffee

. . . geese on winter pond

Are you counting with me?  I’d love to know and hear about your list.

2011 is here! What now?



Bill Vaughn said, “Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve.  Middle age is when you’re forced to.”  I’d like to add my two cents worth:  Old age is when you sleep through New Year’s Eve.

If the shoe fits, wear it.

This is my last day for organizing tips.  I hope you will let me know if you plan to try any of them.  Or even better, share your tips with me.  

Limit your social networking time.   Facebook is fun, no doubt.  And I guess it’s a legal way to snoop, to be the ultimate nosey neighbor.  If we are not very careful, however, it can eat up our time.  Be aware.  Set a timer.  Limit yourself.  If necessary, be accountable to someone.

Don’t buy so much.  This is a no-brainer.  I can be tempted to buy what I don’t really need because marketers are so good at their jobs.  The glitz is enticing.  The price may be right.  But if I don’t need it, it really isn’t a bargain.  Ask yourself these two questions:  Do I really need it?  Where will I put it? 

If something comes in, something must go out.  This is an appendix to the above.  If you make this a rule when you shop, it might help curtail some impulse buying. 

As I continue with my January organization (begun in December), I am serious about paring down.  It is difficult.  Simplicity is a  far off destination, it seems.  But I’m on the right road.

I remember a quote attributed to WIlliam Morris (1834-1896):

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

I’m not sure I am there yet.  I can easily pick out the useful and the beautiful items.  What stops me dead in my tracks are things that I might need in the future.  I just never know when I will find a use for all those popsicle sticks, the boxes of fabric, a half set of mittens, the clothes that will fit when I lose 20 pound, or old scarves that are sure to come back in style.   Sometimes I think I’m a hopeless keeper of stuff. 

I encourage myself that even the Bible mentions people and their stuff.  Genesis 31:37 is talking about Jacob.  Applying it to me is a bit out of context.  Actually, it is very much out of context.  But here is the verse anyway:

Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff?  (King James Version)

That’s me in a nut shell.  

One thing for sure about this brand new year.  I will be held accountable for the way I spend it.  I’d better spend it wisely.

Happy New Year and Good Organizing to you.