I must confess that the older I get, the more I feel like Bilbo Baggins when offered an adventure by Gandalf. Bilbo's reply was, "An adventure? No, I don't imagine anyone west of Bree would have much interest in adventures. Nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner."
I handle this crazy world best when keeping to a normal schedule. Indeed, I have become my mother. Which, if I think about it, is not really a bad thing but now I feel sorry about teasing her when she preferred the same restaurant and ordered the same items off the menu when we went out together. I so get it now...
Which made it hard to say yes to last week's adventure with my family. As Gandalf had to remind Bilbo, he is a Baggins but his mother was a Took and they were adventurous. So, I gathered up my inner Took and I did enjoy an adventure with the family.
One of our great lessons learned from the COVID lockdowns is that going to a favorite place or event will not be guaranteed next time or next year... or tomorrow. What we were told would be for two weeks continues in many parts of the world today.
The event we went to last weekend was held virtually last year. Somehow, watching the flow of the river online could not have been the same as standing on a ridge and feeling the breeze on one's face. It is a wonder to stand on the same small hill holding a child's hand that I stood on with her father at that age.
Most of the time, I take the river for granted but as one ponders where it begins and where it ends, how it looks the same as it did when native Americans lived on its' shores (only no longer clean as it was then), it helps me to set anchor and trust the One that created the land and the trees and the river.
I have to do that on purpose these days. Set anchor, I mean. The hurricane force winds of change assault me every day when I check headlines online or turn on the local news to hear the weather report. I do want to know what is going on in my community so I cannot bury my head in the sand... but I may have to resort to the TV stations online news and weather, which I can peruse quickly instead of over thirty minutes.
It reminds me of those times when there is a storm warning and I peek my head out the door to see what the clouds look like to the south and west. When black clouds are swirling and the winds are picking up, the signs are there to head for safety. However, I live surrounded by trees and in a house with no basement so safety is found in fervent prayer.
Doesn't it seem that even the weather has changed and the seasons are no longer dependable? We have been experiencing one of the hottest Octobers on record. While the leaves should be near peak, many have not begun to change colors at all. Those that did change turned brown and fell to the ground dry and brittle.
We are finally experiencing some cooler temperatures after record breaking high lows last week. I bought a package of chicken thighs at the grocery store and made stock for soup one day, finishing it as chicken vegetable soup yesterday. Kind of a celebration of soup weather... finally. I hope it lasts this time and it is not a tease as it was before.
I have had to set my mind more on peaceful things than ever before. Like taking the time to light a candle or slipping an autumnal scented wax melt in the warmer next to the kitchen sink. A collection of fall decorations reside in various rooms and cute autumnal kitchen towels are hung on the handle of the stove.
The temperatures may be unseasonable but inside the house, I can enjoy the season even with the air conditioning on most of the day. Perhaps now that the days are cool and the nights are cold it will feel more like my beloved October. At least for awhile before the snow flies and the winter coats are brought out.
I have purposely chosen what to set my eyes on as much as possible. The Facebook app was removed from the Amazon Fire tablet and now I must sit at my desk to peruse the website. It is no longer possible to tap on it and spend time scrolling while losing my peace.
Since there are days during the week that I don't even turn on my computer but use the tablet instead... that makes avoiding Facebook easier. I don't want to give it up completely for it does help me stay in touch with friends and family in other parts of the country.
I went through Instagram a few times in the past year and kept following only those people that either bring joy or provide excellent information. Once in awhile, even these people will take a dark turn and as much as I enjoy them most of the time... I un-follow immediately.
For we do still have some ability to make decisions and a rather significant decision is who to follow and who not to follow on social media. After the last election, my criteria for following someone changed. I no longer follow anyone just for information if they take away my peace.
I do still have people I trust online that I go to for information but I know ahead what I'm getting. No scrolling on their websites before going to bed! I did that recently without thinking and then I was wide awake for hours it seemed with various scenarios going through my imagination. I know, I knew better!
I keep my Paperwhite Kindle on the coffee table in the living room, to be picked up when I have some time to stretch out on the sofa and enjoy a novel I'm reading. The Kindle app on the tablet is appreciated for larger books, especially those with colorful pictures like downloaded recipe books. I am often amazed at how inexpensive they can be for the Kindle.
I find myself these days setting certain programs to remember on Direct TV. When the program that played inspirational music stopped airing first thing in the morning, I switched my "first cup of coffee" program to one that teaches the Bible in a year. It has been very interesting and informative, a good way to start my day.
I heard somewhere that the world seems to be suffering collective PTSD symptoms and while that sounds impossible, the more I thought about it, the more it could be real. Men and women who suffer from PTSD from war time, trauma, etc. have to be careful about triggers all around them.
My husband's doctor talked with me for a long time a couple summers ago to help him understand what was the trigger for a PTSD breakdown. Often it is something that the patient has no idea is a trigger. In his case, it seems to be when he was preparing for a military reunion.
I think that is where many of us are now. We need to purposely find those things in our life that are the opposite of triggers. Perhaps we do not suffer from full blown PTSD but we are on the edge of anxiety quite often. When we rarely have been before.
I know that I am helped by certain books and watching old favorite movies. I have begun watching some of the programs about zoos on Animal Planet and NatGeoWild. It is easy to become fascinated with all the behind the scenes people and zoo animals as they work to prevent species from going extinct.
Each of us have different books, movies, events, and even people with whom we find peace. There are some days I find it peaceful to work in the kitchen while on other days I need to get away so I go to the park or walk the aisles of the antique mall. It reminds me of an art gallery except with antiques instead of Rembrandt paintings.
When I am in a cooking mood, I will make bread or chop vegetables for soup to feel at peace. Starting bread in the bread machine and then shaping it and baking in the oven is the best of both worlds. Sometimes I find peace in making an old favorite recipe, whether something my mother or mother-in-law made or a recipe my children enjoyed when they were at home.
Although, I do have to admit that sometimes what brings joy is going to our favorite Chinese restaurant for moo goo gai pan for an inexpensive lunch takeout. A real treat that brings the peace one finds in nostalgia is to order a pizza from our family's favorite pizza restaurant (in town) and pick it up for a dinner and perhaps to watch an old movie we all enjoyed.
I guess what I am pondering these days is this.... we have to purposely seek those things that bring us peace and joy. We must! In this world today, if we don't then I think we risk drifting into the darkness of this world. We have to plan on doing something, budget for it, put it on our calendars if necessary. We introverts have to say yes to an adventure once in awhile... and bring out our inner Tookish self.
As I have been writing, I have YouTube on another tab playing music from the Radiant TV channel. These videos play in the middle of the night on the NRB Channel and I have watched them when my back hurt and I couldn't sleep. They are much nicer to listen to when not in pain.
These are the kinds of choices I need to leave the world and its' anxious ways behind me. Purposely. Choosing to set my mind on those things of the Lord which bring peace and anchor my soul. He is our faithful Anchor.
Mentioned in this Blog Post
YouTube Radiant TV Channel... here.
Image: Ducks Unlimited, As Good as Home (I know I used this image before this Fall but I love it!!!)