Thursday, January 11, 2018

 Best Society is not a fellowship of the wealthy, nor does it seek to exclude those who are not of exalted birth; but it is an association of gentlefolk, of which good form in speech, charm of manner, knowledge of the social amenities, and instinctive consideration for the feelings of others, are the credentials by which society the world over recognizes its chosen members. ~~ Emily Post

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Embrace Sacrifice

Visualize the moment.

How do I see myself there?

What thrills me?

What contents me?

What is important to me?

In that moment in time toward which I am daily progressing how do I look, feel, and think?

Have I made myself proud? Am I pleased with the way I spent my time each day from the moment I started working toward my dream until I reached that moment of destiny?

Now, what can I do today to ensure that moment is how I desire it to be?

What action can I take today?

What thoughts need I have?

What changes can I make?

What plan can I make for tomorrow - and the week after - to propel me to my goal?

My future begins this very moment.

In every happy moment, in every dream-come-true sacrifices were made along the path. It's the way of things, the balance of things. Nothing joyous comes without something difficult being involved. Every celebration requires time given up, money surrendered, sometimes sweat, and even disagreement. The joy of a child coming into the world requires labor pain. Dream travel requires money surrendered, plans made, time arranged, packing, paperwork, patience, and more.

Everything has a price.

To expect a dream to magically appear is wrong-headed. Dreams don't come about that way.

Somewhere something is sacrificed.

Sacrifice and deprivation are not always bad. In the case of making dreams come true they are essential. They are the means to the end. They are good. They are required. They are friendly.

Embrace sacrifice. Embrace deprivation.

They are the paths down which lies the stuff of imagination and delight.

~~ I wrote this out in late summer of 2017, after buying my plane ticket for Europe. It pleases me to know that the moment in my life for which I embraced sacrifice and deprivation played out even more beautifully and magically in reality than I even dreamed. This is very good advice, this post. ~~ Cherie

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

My Word for 2018

Some lovely women I know inspire themselves with self-chosen words to lead them into a new year.

In deciding to join them, I ran into a mental wall. Hmmm. What would be an apt word for me, for my hopes, my challenges, my growth?

The ladies suggested I let the word just come to me rather than trying to sort it out myself.

So I did.

And guess what? A word came to me in all its gloriousness. That word is serendipity.

Why? Because during the past year in which both of my daughters were married with all the planning that entailed, plus the enjoyment of a month long European vacation, with all the planning that, too, entailed, plus the actual carrying out of these weddings and the joyous living of the trip, I discovered a phenomenon only slightly experienced until now: serendipity.
The Mediterranean and Me - At Last

See, planning weddings and trips have one thing in common, they will not be entirely controlled. Many aspects are out of our hands, left to others such as florists, bakers, churches, attendants, salons, photographers, Airbnb hosts, airline schedules, rental cars, cab drivers, Venice water busses, and the Eiffel Tower. People don't have the same priorities we do, much of the time. People move at difference speeds than we do. People don't understand the vision we try to convey. Snags and hitches occur outside the control of all of us, leaving delays, inferior services and products, frustrations, the need to search elsewhere, increased security checks (so many security checks!) and the definite requirement of patience. Lots of patience.

Once the realization sunk in that I could control only my own role, my own self, once I fully grasped the truth that others would, indeed, let me down, that things would go wrong, that delays were inevitable, and that I did not have enough fingers to stick into all the leaky holes in the dam, then, and only then, did I decide to quit flailing around and, instead, embrace serendipity. Again, why? Because once I gave up and let things go the way they'd go, I discovered that often things went better than I imagined. New ideas surfaced. New places appeared. New people entered the picture. Beauty arose, noticed.

Once I took care of what I could do, and left the rest to God, I found that He revealed to me His wise, intelligent, guiding hand in absolutely everything. He took gentle care of me. He guided me through fearful situations. He fed me, literally, when I was hungry. He provided water when I was thirsty. He provided kind faces when I was anxious. He introduced me to the immense joy of a Venetian water taxi merrily speeding my weary family and me along the Grand Canal when my exhausted legs and feet could tread no more. He showed me wonders I never knew existed. My curiosity grew and I saw things that before I would miss as I was struggling with all those fingers in the dam. God allowed others to help me, but more importantly, He gave me the grace to let them.

Soon, I was awakening each morning with the question, "I wonder what serendipity God will provide today? Maybe nothing. But, oh! maybe something!" More and more the days held something.

2018 now has a word for me: serendipity.

I'm excited!