Do what counts.

Do what counts.

Don’t count what you do – DO what counts!

Being busy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… Sure. There might be many checkmarks on your “to-do” lists. And you may be tired when you climb into your bed.

But will being busy make a dent in what really counts?

What counts in your life?

When our children were small I’d call my laundry bin “Mount Never Rest“. Much later in life, I definitely missed having a washer and dryer handy when we were in our RV. But all these years of doing laundry only gave me (and those I love) clean clothes to wear for a day. At the end of every day for the last 45-ish years, there were – and are – dirty clothes in that laundry hamper…

Now, I’m probably odd. I don’t mind doing laundry. In fact, it’s the one task around the house I enjoy. (Weird. I know.) So I do the laundry and Rob puts those clean clothes back in the closet. Bada-boom. Bada-bing.

Until next week.

As I ponder, I’m thinking there’s every chance that “laundry-queen” will not be on my obituary. At least I hope not. Even though I enjoy laundry, and my family has appreciated being the recipient of clean clothes, it’s not something I want to be remembered for…

Why? Because it’s just a checkmark on a list of things to do…

Laundry may be necessary, but it’s not what really counts.

DO what counts.

Have you determined what really counts in your life? (Everyone will be different, you know.)

Regardless. Now is the time to focus on what really counts. For the long-term. For your obituary. For what will you be remembered?

Have a little courage… and do that.

Sure, if it’s an important checklist item, get it done. (LOL – My husband just asked me if I could wash his jeans. Like, literally, as I’m writing this! I guess I’m doing laundry again. And that’s OK. I will. Happily.)

But that’s not the only thing I’ll do today…

How about you?

What’s on your list today that’ll contribute in ways no-one else can? Make that your priority. Have courage – because what you do matters.

Don't count what you do - DO what counts! Get done what you need to, but be sure you make time to do what really counts for your future.

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

~ Albert Eistein
Whatever is Lovely

Whatever is Lovely

Consider your five senses and think about what’s lovely in your life right now:

sight,

sound,

smell,

touch

and taste.

Sometimes we overlook the obvious when we’re looking for the good in our lives.

We’re so caught up in social media, dealing with our children or parents, handling the next crisis, or worrying about what might happen, even though it hasn’t happened yet.

Is your mind all a-flutter? Going in circles, metaphorically or physically? Or have you ground to a halt – inertia gotcha?

This is just a quick reminder… check-in… right now – to this moment.

Get out of your head and tune into your senses…

sight, sound, smell, taste and touch…

Make a quick list of all that’s lovely.

It won’t take long. It’s simple. You can do this.

And take a lovely, deep breath…

I return you to your regularily scheduled thoughts.

Or not?

Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true.

Think about what is noble, right and pure.

Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect.

If anything is excellent or worthy of praise,

think about those kinds of things.

Philippians 4:8 NIRV

If your thoughts aren’t lovely, then do something about them… you’re in control. Regardless.


Quick! think of 5 lovely things… Leave a comment on what you’ve tasted or smelled or felt or seen or heard that’s lovely today!

(My grandboy’s hug was amazing – and my husband’s voice always makes me smile. My chicken wings tasted delicious and the sight of blue sky after rain clouds made my heart sing. And my lavender hand lotion always raises my spirit.)

Really.

Make a list!

Avocado toast with feta and fresh dill tastes amazing
Avocado toast with feta and fresh dill tastes amazing… the juxtaposition of hot toast and cold avocado and feta…. the zing of fresh dill in your nose… Rob isn’t much for “green” in the morning, but I like it!

If you’re feeling lost and don’t know where to turn, then here’s a reminder to just do the next thing. Read these few words on that thought…

Details matter to the beauty of life.

Details matter to the beauty of life.

Details. Do you pay attention to the details? I’m not a naturally detail-oriented person, however, surprisingly, paper crafting is developing in me a new love for the distinct tiny differences found when making items by hand.

I see how others who make things from paper are developing their ideas – the same prompts, the same items – yet how they put it all together is beautifully unique.

The real beauty often shows up in the those individual features…

Beauty in the details.

Isn’t it that way in life? We all have noses, eyes, and ears, and yet… we’re each beautiful in our own way.

For sure, every parent and grandparent can appreciate their children’s uniquely beautiful identities because of those details! We pay attention to the little hands, the precious first step, word, and accomplishment.

I was with our little grand-daughter today and watched as she held a toy – she was paying attention to the details…

Where, in your life, do you pay attention to the details?

  • if you cook or bake I’m sure the different ingredients matter. (Baking isn’t my forte because I don’t always pay attention to the details of the recipe. I’m sure I’d have better results if those pesky amounts were accurate (wink). )
  • some people love numbers. I imagine those who have a career in finance find the details of money a joy.
  • and words. Oh yes. Words. —Your, you’re and yore. It’s and its. There, their and they’re. Affect/effect. To, two, too. — And the list goes on. There’s a beauty in using the correct words and spelling them correctly when telling a story. I won’t even begin to discuss grammar… However, when a talented writer uses the details of the English language with skill, it IS a beautiful thing! (One of my favorite, skillful authors is C.S. Lewis – who is yours?)
  • artists must love details! Colors and textures and techniques and form and shape and more… Why can we have such disparate artists like Albrecht Durer and Jackson Pollok and yet find their work so beautiful? Their details! (well, that might be taking my argument a little too far, but you get the idea.)

The detail of values.

And then there are the values we embrace. There is great detail in values.

My husband spent years studying, writing about, and speaking on values. We discussed, at length, the meaning and nuances of each value. He has a list of 423 values he uses in an assessment to choose three top values. (Ours, as husband and wife, are Loyalty, Optimism and Discovery – if you’re interested you can read about them here.)

According to the detail of the values you choose to put into practice in your life you may, or may not find your life pleasing.

Pleasing features… parts of the whole.

What details – parts of the whole – make an impact on your life?

Where do you exercise your love of bits and pieces – the details – to make your life more beautiful?

What else could you pay closer attention to that would add to the beauty of your life?

Beauty in the details. How much attention to do you give to those details of life that could bring out how beautiful your life really is?

Check out this post on Gratitude – that’s another way to pay attention to the details in life to find beauty!


From crafting-with-paper I’m learning about the beauty and uniqueness found in using tea or coffee to dye paper, in tearing the paper to tattered edges, in the nuances of adding lace, color, words, shapes, etc to what I’m making. The detail of cutting out shapes and then shading them with ink on the edges. It’s all about the details…

Details when crafting with paper - the beauty comes from paying attention
Dream – Everything in its time…

Dream – Everything in its time…

Dream – what do you dream about? I’m not refering to the sleeping dreams that we have, but rather those day-dreams of what might be…

Dream of what might be…

Are you:

  • day-dreaming of the ocean – the waves lapping against the shore?
  • imagining hiking deep in a forest, your feet on a path leading you on…
  • looking with longing out your window, dreaming of gathering with friends and family?

There’s a time for everything. Sometimes we need to be content to dream a bit until it’s time.

The right time.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Ecclesiastes 3

This was the Scripture verse given to us on our 25th Wedding Anniversary – if you read further on into the verse, about what this wise man has to say about a time for everything, you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement.

Yes. There is a time for everything.

Now may not be the time.

Or it might be?

What are you dreaming about doing or becoming?

Dream - everything in its time. Is now the right time? Perhaps. Or maybe you need to dream a little more...
A little envelope and journaling card – from GraphicsFairy and the labels are from InkAndFlower

Join me on Instagram!

Hello! What’s your passion?

Hello! What’s your passion?

Hello there – what makes your heart race, your eyes sparkle, and puts a spring in your (metaphorical) step? I’m guessing we all have a few passions that make our personal and professional lives unique. So what are yours?

What are you passionate about?

Yup. Ended a sentence in a preposition. Perhaps I should have phrased it: “About what are you passionate?” — LOL — Regardless.

My husband and I have a wubbie* show. The Big Bang Theory. In one episode a character is dissatisfied with not being passionate about topics, unlike her friends who are science/tech nerds. She eventually identifies something for which she has a passion. Can you relate?

Do you find it difficult to pinpoint your passions? Or not?

Maybe you have a career that’s your passion. Or your family has all your attention and you realize that nurturing is your focus. Some have hobbies they can talk about ad nauseam and wherein they lose track of time.

Saying Hello – What’s your passion…

In business circles, there’s a term called an Elevator Speech. It’s basically a very, very quick introduction to your passion. People hone their elevator pitch/speech constantly and memorize or internalize it.

The idea is that in the space of less than a minute they’ll be able to introduce their strengths or passion to a person of importance.

In the blogging world, we put this information on our “About” page. (Or in our side-bar.) When I’m reading online I always look for clues to who the person writing is, and what words they use to identify themselves. Do you do that too?

If you had to introduce yourself – quickly – what would you say?

  • career: writer, doctor, chef, carpenter, financial planner…
  • relationships: mother, father, daughter, son…
  • hobbies: fishing, reading, crafting, gardening, humor, traveling…

Sometimes saying “hello” is hard. It may change according to whom you’re meeting. (Is that who or whom? Language experts, please weigh in… ! )

HELLO! Who is Lori?

As it says in my sidebar:

I’m a writer, a wife to Rob for 36 years, a mom to grown children, and a Gram to two. My focus is to be optimistic, thankful, and to encourage you!

~ Lori Ferguson. See Colossians 2:2

My passions are obvious: writing, family, optimism, thankfulness, and encouragement. I’m also passionate about my faith – hence the Scripture verse I’ve adopted as my focus.

Of course, I have other passions. I’m guessing we all have those that we don’t mention in an elevator speech or on a quick About Page…

What else do I love to do? I’m a voracious reader in many, many areas, I “play with paper“, I love to travel (we spent years living in an RV traveling the USA – that was a bucket list item) and more.

There’s always more, isn’t there?

We’re all unique and complex people.

What’s your “hello” speech? How do you introduce yourself?

Leave a comment below and introduce yourself! Say hello!

Hello! What's your passion? How do you introduce yourself? Sometimes it takes a little practice...
This is a journaling card – my “playing with paper” Junk Journaling. You can see more of what I’m making on Instagram

(*FYI – “wubbie” in this instance means something that brings comfort, like a child’s fuzzy blanket. We use this show (The Big Bang Theory) as a way to just unwind and we’ve seen each episode in 12 seasons so often we can quote the lines before the character says them. I’m guessing you’ll see this trait as quirky, odd, or oddly endearing. I’ll let you choose. LOL )


You might also be interested in this post – it’s one of the most popular on this site: “Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.

What makes you smile?

What makes you smile?

A smile. A pleased, kind, or amused facial expression. Just stop for a moment and think about it…

What makes you smile?

Consider all the times you smile – what prompts a pleasant, kind or amused expression on your face?

  • images, photos, or video
  • food or drink
  • reading something insightful
  • loved ones
  • doing something you enjoy
  • others laughing
  • a joke or funny meme
  • a pleasant memory

What’s on your list of items that make you feel loved, encouraged, appreciated, humorous, thoughtful, and…

Make that list! (Really – I’m not kidding!)

And then…

Make the effort to prompt smiles.

Now you’re smiling after making your own list, what could you do to prompt a smile on someone else’s face?

Sometimes it’s simply begun by smiling first. Are you at home – is someone in the room with you right now? Smile at them!

Could you pay the bill for the person in the car behind you in the drive-through lane? I bet that’d bring a smile to their face…

Post a happy memory on social media and tag your friend. That’ll make you both smile.

Be kind. Here are 25 ways to be kind for no reason.

Make something yummy and healthy for someone else… it’s summer in the northern hemisphere of the globe. Our fields are full of the bounty of nature. Fragrant herbs, luscious fruit, and tender vegetables – they’re all available to bring a smile to someone’s face. Deliver a smile with food!

(Rob made me oatmeal with blueberries and strawberries for breakfast – I was smiling!)

Introducing more smiles into our world could be a good thing, right?

And though you may be wearing a mask to show how much you respect and value the people you meet, your eyes are the clue you’re smiling…

So – what will you do to bring smiles to someone’s face today?

All these things brought smiles to my face this morning. My little granddaughter makes my face hurt from smiling – reading God’s Word makes me feel good – reminders around my house (that card with the happy sun has been on my shelves for years)…

Ask your family if there are things in your home that make them smile. You might be surprised at their answers…

Respite – a short rest.

Respite – a short rest.

Respite – what is it? It’s a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.

What’s your way to find respite?

In what way do you take a moment to recover after something unpleasant? Here are a few ideas:

  • Take a breath. Just breathe deeply, with intention…
  • Enjoy a cup of tea. Mint, chamomile, or peach. (Or coffee…)
  • Think – reflect – on how very much God loves you…
  • Dig in the dirt – pick some flowers…
  • Send a note of encouragement to someone…
  • Listen to beautiful music or play that music using the talents you’ve been given…

What else can you think of doing for a moment of respite?

Want a copy of the ways to find respite? You can download a free PDF HERE of the list below.

None of us could ever have imagined all that 2020 has held. I must confess that this time has caused me some angst. Not because my immediate life has changed, but rather because all around me is changing. And I’m contemplating the idea that my environment won’t “go back” to what it once was…

This never-again idea of what may become normal first crept into my imagination after visiting a restaurant… the place which was once teeming with energy, this formerly full and bustling space, was now quiet and muted. Only a few people sat at the designated “socially distanced” tables. And I felt so sad. I thought of the restaurant owners – will they ever again have the experience of the hustle necessary for a full restaurant with the underlying hum of humanity? Or is this experience going to remain? And then I thought of the other parts of life which may be impacted…

I needed a rest from my thoughts…

I’m imagining you all have had your own experience dealing with the possibility of a new normal… It may not be very pleasant pondering.

Has it been difficult facing your thoughts of what comes next?

Maybe it’s time for a bit of a respite.

A pause to recover.

And then keep going.

Steady on…, dear friends.

Take a moment and rest from your fears and anxieties. As someone who believes that God is always listening, I tell Him about what’s bothering me. And then I rest.

I wish you all moments of respite – regardless of what 2020 will hold.

My respite activity…

Respite - a little rest. This handmade tag shows some of what my respite often consists of... crafting, a cup of tea, and a little reading.

Above is my crafting reflection on the word “respite”; a cup of tea, a little reading, and some playing with paper.


Join me on Instagram to see more of what I’m doing…

Steady On

Steady On

Steady on, dear heart.

It’s all going to be OK.

You’re resilient and strong and can do this!

Steady ON!

One of (the many) writers my husband reads and shares is The Leadership Freak, Dan Rockwell. At the end of March, there was a post about a dairy farmer’s path to success that Rob read to me and it’s stuck.

Included in the article is the phrase, “Steady on.”…

Yup. Steady can be our pace as we all walk through this unique time.

Read the rest of Dan Rockwell’s post HERE. You’ll find it encouraging and insightful!

Steady On - it's all going to be OK - be resilient and strong

I’m doing #the100dayproject with a glassine envelope and tag every day for 100 days. It’s part of my desire to improve at Junk Journaling. Playing with paper, and making hand-made journals from scraps, found objects and unique things that would otherwise be thrown out.

To deepen my skills I’ve been watching many, many videos on YouTube to learn how, and so did my own little “craft with me” video about this tag. If you’re interested, you can watch the video HERE.

Remember:

  • You’re loved…
  • you look for things to be thankful for…
  • you feel the value of being encouraged & encouraging others
  • and you take action every day toward your goals!

Till we meet again along the way – Steady ON!

Start where you are.

Start where you are.

“Start where you are,

with what you have.

Make something of it and never be satisfied.”

That’s a quote from George Washington Carver.

This man was born into slavery, sometime in the 1860s. From there, regardless of societal hurdles, he contributed in amazing ways to the benefit of all. He was both a scientist and Christian – melding the two beautifully.

Although he could have pursued wealth, instead he sought education and knowledge to help all those around him by sharing what he learned.

“If I know the answer you can have it for the price of a postage stamp. The Lord charges me nothing for knowledge, and I will charge you the same.” he wrote.

The peanut became one of his more outstanding legacies with over 300 ideas on how to use this lowly legume. His research changed the trajectory of the economy of the southern United States when the boll weevil decimated the cotton crops in the first decades of the 1900s.

Read more of his words HERE. Simply start where you are!

Below you’ll find images with some of his wisdom – I encourage you to read about George Washington Carver. It’ll inspire you!

Start where you are.

…the further anyone gets away from themselves, the greater will be their success in life… You can’t get very far in life if you don’t get away from self… and see a richer and broader horizon.”

…the further anyone gets away from themselves, the greater will be their success in life… You can’t get very far in life if you don’t get away from self… and see a richer and broader horizon.”

~ George Washington Carver

“It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobiles one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.”

~ George Washington Carver

“God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the ways of doing it are revealed to me.”

~ George Washington Carver

Are you ready to begin?

  • Connect with a friend who can encourage you.
  • Help others with what you’ve been given.
  • Ask God to reveal to you His purpose for you and your life.

Start where you are…

30 Days of Hymns

30 Days of Hymns

30 Days of Hymns – this was my September personal challenge to do something consistently over a 30-day time period.

To practice this skill, I chose to tailor my social media posts on Facebook to map with our church’s small group exploration of the book, “Sing!: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church” by Keith & Kristen Getty. We are looking at what makes singing as a group so powerful – and necessary.

Below are the songs. I need to say a big “thank you!” for the help from friends on Facebook who shared their favorites. It was poignant to read the comments on all the hymns. And fun to know that most people, as they read the lyrics, were actually singing them in their own mind. See – it doesn’t matter whether you have a “good” voice – your heart knows how to praise through music!

With this in mind, if you don’t know the listed hymn, I encourage you to use YouTube to find a video. And if you find reading the Bible intimidating, reading hymn lyrics is an easy way to orient yourself toward God’s Word, as most hymns have direct Scripture references.

Hymns are inherently positive!

Many in this list of 30 are old, old songs – and a few are from the songstress Fanny Crosby. Below the list, you’ll find images to correspond. Feel free to use them for your own, if one is a favorite. (I used CanvaPro to create each image.)

Want some ideas to challenge yourself next month? Read 31 ideas/options: click HERE.

(PS – I’ve begun a new personal challenge to send 31 snail mail cards to connect with others. This corresponds to #15 on the list!)

Here’s the list of 30 hymns:

  1. Great is Thy Faithfulness
  2. Just as God Leads Me
  3. In the Garden
  4. The Lord is my Light
  5. It is well with my soul
  6. Soul Arise, I must be telling
  7. Striving Onward, Pressing Forward
  8. Come Share the Lord
  9. I Praise God’s Love in Adoration
  10. Never Give Up
  11. How Great Thou Art
  12. Blessed Assurance
  13. As the Deer
  14. Mighty the Showers of Blessing
  15. Instruments of Your Peace
  16. Star to Which I’m Looking
  17. We will keep our faith alive
  18. In moments like these
  19. Be Thou My Vision
  20. Jesus Loves me
  21. Here I am Lord
  22. Forth, Forth My Heart to Heaven
  23. Behold Oh How Pleasant
  24. More Precious Than Silver
  25. In Over My Head – Bethel / Jenn Johnson
  26. Our God is an Awesome God
  27. Sanctuary
  28. Our hearts sing with joy
  29. Oh, Sanctified Sunday
  30. At the Living Altar

And the images:

October Invitation to Challenge Yourself

October Invitation to Challenge Yourself

October 2019 is just around the corner. Yes, there are all these autumnal colors and themes floating about in social media, in the stores, and probably in our workspaces and homes. That’s all good.

Noticing the change in the seasons is important – it identifies how time is moving forward, even if you’re experiencing what I am… 90-degree weather. <eye-roll> Or, if you’re in the southern hemisphere of our world, October is heralding the arrival of new growth. (Because we have flipped seasonal experiences.) If you’re closer to our equator, then likely there are few weather indicators to show a change in seasons…

Regardless.

October is almost upon us.

A new month.

31 days to make a difference in your own life, and those around you!

How will you begin? And end? What’s going to be different, noteworthy, and extraordinary in this next month?

Invitation to challenge yourself!

You’re invited…

31 Days of …

How will you fill in the blank? What’s on your agenda? Here’s your invitation to challenge yourself:

With what would you like to challenge yourself? It’s personal. But we all still have 31 days – it’ll either be more of the same, or it can be MORE!

  • more activity: dancing, walking, stretching, travel, exploring, adventure…
  • greater achievement: learning, writing, creating, timeliness, proactivity, planning, earning, saving…
  • enhanced well-being: in positivity, prayer, eating, tidiness, relationship building, thankfulness…

Our lives are built with small habits. 30 or 31 days is a way to practice. In which areas could you enhance your life?

In the next few posts (before October) I’ll suggest some ideas. I invite you to choose ONE. Yes, just one. A single challenge for your own October.

Interested?

Leave a comment with your ideas!

In September I challenged myself to post on Facebook a different hymn each day. This is part of my desire to enhance my own ability to follow-through over the long term and to make time to explore a facet of my faith. One challenge. Multiple gains.

Near the beginning of 2019, I read this book. It’s filled with 500+ random ideas on where to challenge yourself. I believe we can do (almost) anything in the short term… and isn’t our whole life filled up with little increments 60 seconds at a time, 1440 minutes a day, 52 weeks, 4 seasons…

What are you developing with your little increments of time?

If you need some ideas, stay tuned… <wink>

If you haven’t already – subscribe!

Be encouraged!

Courage, dear heart. Begin Again.

Courage, dear heart. Begin Again.

Courage, dear heart.

Begin again.

Each morning there’s a new chance to begin again.

You can do this.

Courage, deart heart. Each morning you have another chance to begin again. You can. It's possible. Have courage and move forward. It's time.

C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors.

His words hold answers to mysteries, they cause me to stop and wonder and then make me smile. I feel encouraged.

Sometimes a phrase causes me to take a breath – stop – and give thanks.

This is one of them.

Courage, dear heart.

Courage, dear heart. Each morning you have a chance to begin again.

Courage.

Encouragement has the word “courage” embedded. Undeniably, reading with a positive focus will encourage you, and ultimately cause you to feel courageous.

That’s why I like “children’s” literature. Most times authors write with a bent toward encouragement. It’s rare to feel discouraged after reading a child’s book. Have you noticed? Pull out a few of your childhood favorites, and experiment…

The quote above is from C.S. Lewis’ book “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” in the Narnia series. There are 7 books in the whole story about the land of Narnia. And it’s just as relevant for adults as it is for children. Never, ever, feel like you’re too old to read a child’s book. We’re all children at heart!

Specifically, I like to read this series in chronological order – but everyone has their favorite way to read. C.S. Lewis wrote and published them differently from the land of Narnia chronological order, and expected us to make our own choice in where to start. Wise man.

Aslan in Narnia

If you step back from the Disney movie versions of these movies and read the original book series, you’ll realize, eventually (or possibly very quickly) that Aslan is special.

Unique.

Extraordinary.

Ultimately, discovering why that’s so will be a beautiful adventure, should you choose to accept it…

In the meantime:

My wish for you today is to hear that small, still voice whisper…

“Courage, dear heart.”


More encouragement to keep going…

Read more – click HERE

You haven't come this far to only go this far. Just do the next thing.