Thursday, May 26, 2016

Small Talk

I have seen this meme and variations on it a number of times. I would not necessarily want to talk about ALL of these things, but, they do beat what passes for much conversation now. 

I do not watch much network TV these days (by choice), so I know little about the popular reality shows. I don't like crime shows because they are too much like the news. I don't watch but an hour of THAT a day, either. My lack of a TV habit takes me out of many conversations. 

I don't like to tear people down, as a rule. Certain politicians can be exempt from this at times!

College football is my small talk "saving grace." I can usually hold my own when talking about my LSU Tigers. And, there is always the ever changing Mississippi weather. 

Conversation, of course, changes depending on the company. Fortunately, I have friends who enjoy deep conversations on faith, politics, music, art, history, psychology, literature,  advances in science and medicine, and finding ways to make the world a better place. 

Small talk does have its place. In many circumstances, it is the only appropriate option. With some, that is really all I want. This just makes me all the more thankful for people who want to talk about the things that interest them and me as well. I love conversation that challenges me. Conversation that educates and stimulates me. 

Give me more than small talk. 



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Closet Cleaning

About a year ago, I bought the Marie Kondo book entitled The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I was not brave enough at the time to go "whole hog" on my closet.

I had lost quite a bit of weight since going on thyroid meds, but was still too scared to really weed out things that were several sizes too large for me now. With the help of my Fitbit, Synthoid, and being able to eat healthier since my gallbladder surgery, I finally felt confident that I could get rid of the "40 pounds ago" clothes.

My wire closet system was already in place, but burdened down with 4 sizes of clothes and shoes that were too wide now that my feet have stopped swelling. (Thanks again, Synthroid!) 

Monday morning, I took a deep breath, gathered my trash bags, and began the scarey job of emptying my closet. One thing that helped me let go of things I could no longer use was the knowledge that I could send my things to The WareHouse and help Lifting Lives Ministries. I took no prisoners as I got rid of anything I could not wear right now. 

Then, I organized the things I could still wear using the Marie Kondo method. I folded my sweaters, T-Shirts, and nightclothes into rectangles (I have very little drawer space), and put them in wire baskets one behind the other. Everything is easy to see and get to. 

Best of all, having my closet clean is giving me incentive to try to get some of the rest of my house in order. 

Stay tuned. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Shona Congo




Most of those who know me, know about my passion for Shona Congo. Four disabled, but absolutely amazing women sew beautiful bags that help support their families. These bags are distributed by a wonderful woman, Dawn Hurley, and the women get the fair profits of their labor. I guess my own mobility issues with my congenital myopathy just drew me to this particular cause.

Being disabled makes these ladies targets for those who would harm them. Two of them have now fled with their families.  Argentine and Mapendo have had to go to a refugee camp. This is not the first time these women have had to pack up and travel miles, often on foot, to seek safety.

The good news is that a non-profit organization, Athabasca Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship Society, is applying to sponsor them for resettlement in Canada. The money has to be raised before they can move to Canada, so that they have enough to live on for a year. This gives them time to start learning a new language and find jobs. Mapendo and Argentine already have sewing skills that will help them earn their livings in Canada as they will be able to continue sewing their bags there. 

I know money is terribly tight for most people I know right now, but, if you have a little to spare and a heart for the plight of people from Eastern Congo, every little bit will help. Make it a really early birthday gift to me or something!  

For more of their story, check out the Shona Congo website. You might even see a bag that you just can't resist!

http://www.shonacongostore.com/overview/ 

 

 

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Musings of a “Cradle” Methodist



I was baptized in the Methodist Church when I was an infant. My great grandfather’s family built Pine Ridge (now united) Methodist Church in Kentwood, Louisiana back in 1896.

Since then, I have been a member of Redbone UMC, Crawford Street UMC, and now Hermanville, UMC.

Among long time members of a group like the United Methodist Church, there seems to be sort of a collective memory. We Methodists tend to love our routines and traditions. We know that when we recite the Apostle’s Creed on Sunday mornings, that thousands of other United Methodists are reciting it as well. We crave the opportunity to pray as a group. We love including our Weslyan hymns in worship. The Methodist tradition runs deep in our souls.

I have occasionally considered leaving the United Methodist denomination. I visited other churches. But, there was always something missing. I always come “home” to the traditional United Methodist service. 


 




Sunday, May 01, 2016

Boundaries

This book was recommended to me years ago. I can't remember exactly who told me about it, but reading it was a life changing experience. 

Over the years, I have recommended this book to a number of people, including my own nephew, just this week. This book is written from a Christian perspective, which is especially helpful to those who have allowed fellow "Christians" to make them feel guilty if they say no to anything. 

Once I owned my feelings, I could manage them, at least most of the time. I stopped allowing people to disrespect me. I stopped allowing people to manipulate me through guilt. I stopped allowing people to emotionally abuse me, although they claimed it was because they "wanted what was best for me."

There will always be people who see those who are trying to set healthy boundaries as their personal challenge. They are the ones who will call at times you have already stated are inconvenient. These folks have no regard for your time or energy. They will create a crisis to try to get friends and family to drop everything and come running. 

I don't always succeed in my boundary setting, but practice makes perfect. And I intend to keep practicing!