Seize the Day!

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As I'm typing this off on my phone (and later on the computer), the sunlight is streaming through the windows. The sky... My! It's drawing pictures. Running horses there, a misty mountain here. Beautiful. It is much like the day I intentionally claimed and became one of my beautiful days--- vibrant, dreamy and raw.

Spring is coming. I can almost smell it. And it fills me with hope. And so much love.

It started off as just a day I claimed was for me. One that involves going far from all that distracts me from having a much-needed time with myself, like my highly affectionate kids and husband, and the technology I seem to struggle with finding balance. I have to simply be alone--- just me and my God. The objective was just to go out and see the world with eyes of hope. And love.

I have developed in-grown eyeballs. This is a common malady for many women. It is hard to see life and the beauty in it when one's sight are often directed inwards. It is a surefire way to be miserable. I need to see life.


But when the chains that hold you down are as beautiful as children usually are, even without the mention of dirty dishes in the sink and the house made messy by toys and cookie crumbs, then it's almost Herculean to break free and fly solo even for just a few hours.

After I served breakfast and the kids were fed, I was itching to fly. But as most moms know, it takes time and a lot of resolution to get ready. By the time I was going out of the gate, the little ones were out in the yard playing and shoveling some snow, and the questions started again, "Where are you going?" I had to brace myself as an inner voice whispered, Look at them! How can you leave them looking as adorable and lovely as they are? A day spent with them would be loads of fun. I steeled myself. I had been waiting for this day. If I won't go now, then when?

Sometimes women need to be intentional to really take care of themselves. We often neglect what we need. We've got to seize and redeem some time for ourselves.

Walking


I have always loved walking. Often when my world seems to be out-of-balance, I could really depend on a good, long walk to put me back in a better mind and fresher spirit. But lately, with the winter, the walks that I had taken were sporadic and so far in-between. No wonder, I was out of sorts and struggling for dear life. I needed that walk. Besides, having a writing date with myself aside from walking, is a great invitation to celebrate life. And as I take steps, I pray, believing and wanting that in my life God is the one leading me everyday.

I hopped on the bus. I have walked the miles that are close to home before and I wanted something different that day. It was Women's Day, March 8th. There I was on a bus, along with a few men and no women. But closer to downtown, women started getting on the bus. They are on to some special place to go or a thing to do. While still on the bus, I was already enjoying the sights and sounds.

Women were everywhere: on the streets crossing, or walking on the sidewalks or bargaining in hastily set-up bazaars just for the day. Some older women were walking with their men, arm in arm, while the other hand holds a bouquet of roses. Ah, special.

I spotted a very well-dressed lady on her own walking to a bus station. I could still see her in my mind: walking with poise, knowing she looks good. She was such a picture of feminine beauty in her pretty red dress and nicely coiffed hair. Just like me, she was probably out to claim the day as her own, but in style.

Farther along, I saw mothers with their daughters, or sisters with sisters or friends, it was a joy to look at them happy.

Writing


The sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds. I sat on a park bench, whipped out my notebook and pen, and started jotting down thoughts. Writing has become very dear to me. Just as I loved walking because it gets me to places and moves me physically to breath and live; writing walks me through the invisible world, praying as I go, breathing in the beauty of God's dreams for me and the world He loves. I agree with Julia Cameron's wisdom: "It opens the door to God. Writing is a spiritual housekeeper. Writing sets things straight, giving us a sense of our true priorities" (J. Cameron, The Right to Write). 

Passersby looked at me curiously. There were dads pushing prams. These men got it right to give their women some time for themselves. There were families taking photos with mothers in a panic, instructing everyone to hold still while she clicked away at the camera, as if everyone would fly away any minute and the chance of holding the beauty of a family being together even for just a day would be lost forever.

Flying. Birds were. And so were my thoughts. It was like everything was on enhanced mode. My senses were sharper--- from seeing to smelling to tasting. I could even taste the wind blowing on my face.

The birds--- they seem not to be doing anything but bother the people for food, flap around and poo on the head of someone's bust of a statue. The bust looked like a cake with bird's poop as icing.

By now I was laughing at my own jokes. I walked some more. The second time I sat on another park bench, I was on a roll. The day couldn't get any better for me. But it did.

As I walked on gingerly stepping away from frozen snow, an older couple was walking right in front of me. My, they were walking so close together with their arms embracing each other's backs that I can imagine them walking like that when they were younger. They must have been in their 70's, and being in Russia, getting to 50 is already a feat. But these two, obviously, were enjoying life and each other so much they just had to walk as close to each other as possible.

Almost nearing another park, I saw right across the street a small old woman, walking leisurely. With a rose in one hand, she was obviously out to enjoy the day. She looks like she was taking in all that she was seeing, looking at buildings and even glancing up at the sky. One thought came to mind, She looks like me when I get to her age.  I was surprised at the thought, but was delighted as well. I could easily get into the habit of spending every Women's Day on my own walking and having a writing date with myself. I think it would be a good way to remind myself not to forget to celebrate life, become a part of the vibrant world God made and be open to the gifts of hope and love that He so generously gives.

Once again, we need to think about ourselves, even if it's just once in awhile. And the thinking I'm talking about here is not just thinking and getting some in-grown eyeballs, and having pity parties. That kind of thinking we need to trash. I'm thinking about having personal goals. Yes, as noble as ministry/missionary goals may be, personal goals are needed to keep the spirit burning and to keep from burning out.

Praying


As I sat on the third bench (of the day), surrounded by the whiteness of the snow, the elegant trees in their snowy fur coat and a blanket of calmness (ah, rare!) of a lazy afternoon, I thanked God for giving me a time to enjoy His gifts. And my, there are so many! I couldn't help but write that prayer down as I listed the many gifts that has brought me happiness and hope-ness. I listed them down so as to have something to refer to whenever I forget and run out of things to do to celebrate life. It is my intention that when I look at my list I could easily pick one that could help me get back up from a slump and onto my feet bouncing with life again.

Here's some on my list:
  1. cotton candy (even just the image)
  2. book of Psalms
  3. learning a new song on my guitar
  4. the smell of my baby's head
  5. talking with God
  6. chocolate melting through my fingers while I eat it
  7. under the duvet with a book
  8. greens (green veggies)
  9. dancing silly with the kids
  10. trees (I used to climb them a lot. Still do when given a chance.)
  11. falling snow
  12. colorful socks
  13. The Persistence of Yellow
  14. winter blue mountains from where I live
  15. zumba
  16. sunshine
  17. barefoot on cool green grass
  18. singing, splashing brook
  19. writing
  20. a hot shower
  21. washing dishes with plenty of water
  22. forest bed
  23. writing and sending and receiving a friendly letter
  24. gardening
  25. notebooks
  26. blue canvas of a sky and clouds that paint it
  27. humorous books
  28. thoughtful music
  29. Desire of Ages
  30. freshly pressed beddings...
Okay, I'm stopping at 30, but I got close to a hundred. This is just for one sitting, but I may do this again. This is a dependable tool to get us from the place called victim to blessed. And I encourage everyone to employ this whether you are having the time of your life or going through valleys, but especially when life seems to be an uphill struggle.

By the time I finished enjoying my gifts and thanking God for all of them, it was already 3:00 in the afternoon. The last time I ate was at 9:00 in the morning. I didn't feel any hunger though. My spirit was full. I was even ready to walk all the way home. But after walking for another couple of hours, physical exhaustion set in. But before that, I got to visit one last place.

Reading


The bookstore. I spent another half hour browsing through the books, reading a chapter or two, and carefully thinking whether to buy or not. I have become very careful with the books I buy. Long was the time when I would just buy anything. This time I am more careful and more spendthrift. I saw a book I wanted, but to build up anticipation, I am going to buy it this week in celebration for sticking to doing menial things like cleaning the house everyday even if no one comes to visit.

Reading, for me, is a way to fill up my inner reservoir from where I draw my images, my inspiration, my strength. It is a kind of a self-enrichment. That is why I am very careful with what I read, just as I take care with what I put in my body. My life will lack flavor and nutrients if I just snack around on what I read on Facebook. That is why God's Word is vital for my soul. And for yours too.

Mingling


So there I was, hungry but in need of another dose of writing, maybe, the last for the day. So I sat on another bench in that mall where the bookstore is located. But instead of writing, I watched the people as they walked by. Soon after, I was walking around with them. I had no plan of going anywhere, but I was just trying to mingle with the crowd and be part of the human morass. Ha! I had fun! At times I would go where many of them would go, like inside a hat and gloves store where the items were on sale, or in an outdoors store selling all kinds of cool stuff one could use when camping or fishing.

To my delight, two human statues were going around giving out flowers to women while people took pictures with them. My Russian is not good, so I was shy to ask them for a selfie. But, hey, isn't this supposed to be my day? So I mustered enough courage to ask them for a picture and they were delighted to accommodate me, even if they can't smile or they'll ruin their painted faces. After that, they gallantly gave me a rose! Beautiful!

I went home hungry, tired and very happy. When bedtime came, I went to sleep without much persuasion. All other things can wait. For now, I am taking care of myself for a vibrant, more delightful and beautiful me. My family deserves that. And I do too.

I thank God for this day and for opening my eyes to the beauty and gifts He has given. And I thank Him for EVERYDAY that I can enjoy them.

>>>>

Are you having a hard time celebrating life or maybe just taking care of you? There is a way. God doesn't shine the brightness of His sun everyday into our lives for no reason. He wants us to enjoy it and be happy with the life He has given. Why not make a list of the things you love, all that makes you happy, and do the things that celebrate life? Making a list is a start. Then after that, align them with your reality. A wish written or spoken, especially in prayer, often directs us to the direction we need to take. Have hope. Keep loving. Thank God.

And this...


“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, 
And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, 
And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV







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