You are currently browsing suebe’s articles.

Yesterday, my yoga instructor posted a new video for the class.  With no idea when we will again be able to meet, her husband records while she talks us through a session.  It isn’t the same as an in-person class but that isn’t really the point.

It is so easy for us to focus on what we’ve lost — freedom of movement, the ability to gather with friends and family, and even emotional security.  We just don’t feel as safe as we did three months ago, and that’s tough if you’ve always taken a certain level of comfort and safety for granted.

This isn’t something we can fix with a breathing exercise, a meditation, or a series of stretches although all of these things can help.  So can taking the time to create.

Creation is both powerful and empowering.  Maybe that’s why I’ve been cooking up a storm.  In the last month, I’ve made an apple pie, two cakes, lasagna twice, and herbed Italian bread.  Right now I’m trying to decide what will be next – a pumpkin pie or cinnamon bun bread. I’m also knitting and crocheting and gardening.  My husband and son have joined me outside, putting in garden beds and building a tiered gutter garden to grow greens.

None of this is going to solve everything but I can share what I bake with friends – dropping packages at their cars after drive in church.  My mother-in-law has already asked for tomatoes although all we have right now are blooms.  And the knitting and crochet will both be shared.

And then there’s the fact that I’m a whole lot happier when I’m working with my hands.

What can you create?  Our Lori is a poet, spinning words into powerful observations.  Miss Ruth creates connections, looking for the positive stories that lift people up.  We are in and of the Creator.

So create.

–SueBE

I thought I’d been doing a pretty good job staying upbeat during the lockdown.  Not that it has been easy.  We haven’t been able to talk to my dad since March 1st because the Veteran’s home where he lives has been on lockdown since then.  No visitors in.  No residents out visiting.  You can call people but Dad’s dimentia means that his phone is lost or without power 99% of the time.

But the staff locked the place down to keep the residents safe.  They’ve updated us regularly.  This may not be what we want but they are working to keep everyone safe.

I repeat that to myself a lot.

Then I called a friend whose mom died in a hospice facility of COVID-19.  She told me about the conditions there and everywhere.

Everywhere.  That’s when the nightmares started.

After several nights, I called another friend.  She’s something of an touchstone.  She has a strong faith but she is also painfully honest.  “I just got off the phone with Liz.  She was telling me about all the precautions they’ve taken and how good everyone is doing.”

I had totally forgotten that Liz worked at the Veteran’s home.  My friend had an inside track!

It is so easy to feel discouraged and pressed down by the enormity of it all.  God, never promised us an easy life, but with this social distancing it is so easy to feel isolated and alone.  If this is you right now, reach out.  Pick up the phone and call someone.  Comment on this post here.

None of us has all the answers. But more often than not one of us will have the ability to hear the still small voice of God at that particular moment.  That discouragement you feel is not from God.  Let us share in the Light.

–SueBE

 

On Tuesday, Auntie Ruth wrote about wearing a Grace Mask so we can all travel in grace.  I thought of her today when I was listening to The Happiness Lab.  If you aren’t familiar with this pod cast, check it out here.  Psychologist Dr. Laurie Santos teaches a Yale class on how to deal with stress and anxiety.  And the best part?  She shows you how take action.

Stress and anxiety?  Sounds like life today, doesn’t it?   We are worried for our families, our jobs, our neighborhoods and, let’s be honest, for ourselves as well.

One of the things that Santos recommends for dealing with stressful times, including life right here and now, is meditation.  And the meditation that she recommended sounded an awful lot like meditative prayer.

Here is how it works.  Note: I am adapting this slightly to make it more prayerful.

  1. Sit comfortably.  It doesn’t matter how you sit or where you sit.  Just get comfortable.
  2. Picture someone you are worried about and that you care about.  I’ve been worried about my Dad so he’ll be the example I use.
  3. You can think this next part or say it aloud.  “Lord, keep Dad safe.  Help him be happy.  Help him be healthy.”
  4. Breathe deeply and exhale.
  5. Now go on to another person.  “Lord, keep our Pastor safe.  Help him be happy. Help him be healthy.”
  6. Again, breathe deeply and exhale.
  7. You can pray for as many people as you’d like but remember before you wrap things up to take the time for self care.  Pray for yourself.  “Lord, keep me safe.  Help me be happy.  Help me be healthy.”

I know it sounds goofy but scientists have found that mediation lowers stress.  You’ll sleep better.  You’ll function better.  And who couldn’t stand to be a little happier?

–SueBE

 

Remember the advice that Mr. Rogers gave his viewers – when scary things happen, look for the helpers.  Last night, a friend shared a post with me.   Take the time to listen to Queen Elizabeth II’s Address to the Nation?  Okay, technically not my nation but I’m ignoring that fact.

Watch this.  This woman is a true gift from God.

–SueBE

I hope that this post finds all of our readers doing well.  I’d say I’m doing well but I’m also losing track of time.  I had no clue how close we are to Easter until right before Lori posted the piece she co-wrote with Krissy, What Hope Looks Like on My Street.

It can be hard to feel the comforting presence of Christ right now.  Me?  I need church.  There’s just something about the sanctuary whether it is quiet and still or filled floor to rafters with soaring music.  Fortunately, our pastor has been recording meditations for those of us at home.  Here is one about Clouds of Hope.

–SueBE

I sat down earlier today and tried to write a post.  It has been especially difficult for me to post here the past few weeks.  But then it struck me, many of you are probably feeling similar to how I am.  Stressed?  Overwhelmed?

And now I’m telling you to improve the world – more stress!  No, no.  That’s not what I mean at all.  I’m suggesting that you pull in and pull back.  Yes, like Lori said, we all need to have empathy right now.  But you also need to take care of yourself and that self care needs to include your inner world.

I have to say that I have been doing an especially bad job of this.  Even now, I’ve had deadlines.  My work hasn’t slowed.  So now I’ve just got more to deal with.  I thought I was doing a pretty good job but let’s just say that I had a wee little melt down yesterday.  I’ve been checking hings off my to-do list and getting things done but . . .

Yoga?  Cancelled.

Church?  Cancelled.

These are the primary ways I center myself and two weeks without have left a mark.  Don’t be like Sue.  Take care of this before you too have a tantrum.

Take time to center.  Spend time in quiet.  Take time to breathe.  We each do this in different ways.  You might read your Bible.  Or listen to music.  Me?  I sit and knit.  Or I do yoga although relaxation pose is sometimes less meditation oriented and more nap oriented.  Yeah. I admit it.

But I took well over an hour yesterday just to knit.  And then I spent another hour knitting and listening to an audio book.  And I read my Bible. I’m on Numbers.

And today?  Today I’m coping better but I also realize that I need to pull in and pull back every day.  And I’m betting that many of you need this as well.  It’s okay.  We understand.  Just breathe.

–SueBE

 

Not everyone is an introvert.  I get that.  Social distancing is really hard for my husband – who may be quiet but is really an extrovert.  Me?  I’ve been training for this my whole life.  I’ve got a shelf full of books to read, a knitting project, a crochet project and a deadline.

But it is still tough because so much is unknown.  There are so many things out of our control.  Every day, it becomes easier and easier to fall into anxiety.  But here are three things you can do today.

Breathe.  Take a moment and do a breathing meditation.  As you inhale, imagine God’s light flowing into your body.  As you exhale, this light pushes into your extremeties.  As you inhale and exhale, you are filled and recharged with his light.

Disconnect.  We want to know what is going on so we go online.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation online.  And a lot of panic.  Disconnect for several hours a day.  Read.  Do a puzzle.  Learn a new skill.  My friend told her son that and he is learning to pick locks.  She was super worried about this but the rest of the boy mom’s assured her – that’s a stage.  We don’t get it but it’s a stage.  And it can come in handy when someone accidentally slams a locked bathroom door.  Don’t ask.

Connect.  Wait a minute.  Didn’t I just tell you to disconnect?  I did.  But if you are like me you spend a lot of time online.  Actually call someone.  Do you have a friend who lives alone?  An older neighbor?  There’s someone in your life who needs to hear from you.  Reach out and connect.  Share some of that light you gathered up.

We can’t fix everything but we can spend some time every day in his light and sharing it with others.

–SueBE

Sorry for the absence.  Deep into meeting a work deadline while trying to skirt pandemic-monium.  No, I’m not making light.  Well, not entirely.  My coping mechanisms include laughter. And that’s not a bad thing for getting through things right now.

This image popped up this morning and reminded me of Lori’s prayer.

Me? I’m ready to quarentine.  Afraid?  Not so much but I’m a busy introvert who is trying to meet a work deadline.  I work from home.  If I had to stay home?  I could get a lot done.  And I’ve got a shelf full of library books and three blankets that I’m knitting or crocheting – different techniques for different projects.

But I have no troubles understanding why people are so afraid.  We don’t handle the unknown especially well.  We are a society who wants absolute and complete control which we call freedom.

That’s always struck me as a touch ironic.  Freedom to me is a cottonwood fluff on the breeze.  It is a flowing stream.  It is quiet and ease and rest.  Funny enough, these are also the places that I go to spend time with God.

And really isn’t that what we should be doing in times like these?  Spending time with God?

The future is unknown and unknowable.  It is out of our control.  But that was the situation three months ago.

Like the say in Hitchhiker’s Guide – Don’t panic.

Instead, have courage.  God is with us always.

Have faith.  God is with us always.

Have hope.  God is with us.

Always.

–SueBE

 

This past weekend, I was the lead speaker at a writer’s workshop.  I had forgotten just how badly this freaks me out until I spent two days absolutely certain I had a virus.  Stomach problems, head aches, hot and then cold.  “I can’t get sick now!”  If I remember correctly, my twenty year-old actually called the truffle he gave me placebo-chocolate.

In small groups, people don’t bother me.  But put me in front of a lecture hall and . . . am I running a fever?  That said, I always say YES and have a great time once things are underway.

I didn’t realize until recently just how gutsy it is to follow our talents where they take us.  My son is a mechanical engineering student.  It is an understatement of epic proportions to say this course of study is tough.  Every now and again he’ll leave a page or calculus or physics on the table and it always looks like something Sheldon would have written on his dry erase board in Big Bang. 

Listening to him and his fellow students discuss who has flunked what and who has miraculously made it through on one try astonished me.  Seriously?  I never flunked a class.

Of course, I never took calculus let alone Calc III.  But last week I saw a Tweet that brought it home for me.  I can’t find it to quote it but it went something like this, “I got a 2.4 my first semester as an engineering student but now I’ve landed craft on Mars twice.  STEM is hard for everyone.  Stick with it.”

So often we think that if we are gifted in an area, if God has given us a talent, it will be easy.  But is that really true?  My most well-received books have all been brutal to write but well worth the effort.  My God-given talent doesn’t make the job easy but it does make it possible.

Speaking of which . . . back to work!

–SueBE

I have to admit it.  I don’t watch the Super Bowl.  No, I don’t have anything against the 49ers or the Kansas City (Missouri!) Chiefs.  I’m just not into football and blessedly neither are my husband or son.  But I’ve heard a lot about the halftime show. There were criticism of J-Lo’s skimpy clothing.  Hmm.  Why aren’t there same people complaining about the cheerleaders?

Then there was the griping about that “strange thing” Shakira did with her tongue.  Seriously?  Now we’re complaining about people’s tongues?  But a friend of a friend explained to us that it is cultural, something the Lebanese do to show joy.  I’m not even going to get into all the fuss and bother about the dancing.  Hint: That was cultural too.

Moments like these I realize that as a nation we are just a tiny bit clueless.  We believe that we are tolerant if we let you put your foot, appropriately clad and not doing anything odd, on our soil.  You are now free to be just like us.

But we forget that tolerance really means letting you be you while I am me.  It means standing up for you and you and even you way over there.  Yeah, you.  The one with the hot pink hair.  It means saying no to anything that strips the humanity from other people.

Jesus showed tolerance when he walked among the people and healed Samaritans as well as Romans.  And he called on us to stand up for those who are imprisoned, without foot, lacking shelter.  Sequins and halftime shows?  I don’t think those were even on the radar for which I am grateful.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

%d bloggers like this: