Here’s to Extraordinary Days!

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Life can seem so ordinary at times. Since being retired, the days seem to run together, one being just like the next. There is no workplace to be every day that can punctuate each day with events. I have discovered, though, that the secret to being happily retired is to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. I like was Steven Charleston says about that.

I look for God when I do the dishes, I search for the Spirit as I take out the trash. The sacred is revealed in brilliant light only rarely, in the flash of some great insight unexpected, but much more than this the holy is to be discovered in our daily lives, in the moments when we are simply being ourselves. Putting the kids to bed, working in the garden, sitting on the porch in the evening: the beauty of eternity is that it hides in plain sight all around us. We are all prophets of the predictable pattern, witnesses to the wonder of the average day.

– Steven Charleston

Finding wonder in the average day is not as easy as it sounds. It requires mindfulness. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, yet not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.Β Mindfulness helps us put some space between ourselves and our reactions, breaking down our conditioned responses. Here are some practical ways to be more mindful:

1) Set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion or bench, or any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skillsβ€”but you do need to set aside some time and space.

2) Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement.

3) Let your judgements roll by. When we notice judgements arise, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.

4) Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.

5) Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.

– From http://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/?gclid=CjwKEAiA2abEBRCdx7PqqunM1CYSJABf3qvaauVuejiHYoLcIYxifEBqDiya__MAbIcn9gNVf5SnFxoClYrw_wcB

Winnie the Pooh gives us one of the best pieces of advice about making an ordinary day extraordinary.

What day is it?” asked Pooh. β€œIt’s today,” squeaked Piglet. β€œMy favourite day,” said Pooh.

So here’s to extraordinary days!

Tea at Midnight

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Small blessings are the best! It was 12 midnight and we were tucked in our bed watching “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.” I had been coughing and, in fact, had taken a dose of my asthma inhaler.

Then Fred mentioned a cup of hot tea. It was just what I needed, Mandarin Orange Tea at midnight, made by a caring husband. Who could ask for a nicer blessing? The tea calmed my soul, and my cough.

I am grateful for a cup of hot tea, for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, for a nice, warm bed — all small blessings!

Oh, and I’m grateful most of all for an enormous blessing — a husband who will make tea at midnight.

Abundance!

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I certainly have days of feeling down, but the truth is that I am blessed with abundance. I am covered with an abundance of love. In early September, my husband and I will celebrate forty-seven years of marriage, a marriage overflowing with love and completely free of discord. My love for my grandchildren is unmatched. And I have the love of a close family who cares for me every day. Friends from all over the world are praying for me. So it’s no exaggeration to say that I am clothed in the love of a wonderful family and a host of friends.

I am also covered with an abundance of peace. My husband and I often marvel at the sheer peacefulness of our home, the quiet neighborhood, the good neighbors we have, the comfortable house we live in.

And I am covered with an abundance of grace, cared for by a faithful God who has continuously poured grace on my life. Day in and day out, in good days and in not so good days, God has blessed me with more grace than I deserve.

Abundance of love, abundance of peace, abundance of grace. Who could want anything more!

“God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” — 2 Corinthians 9:8