Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Switzerland’

Quote

Be Led, Not Driven


On this Monday following Easter, I am revisiting some of my old blogs.

The emergence of spring in the air and the “drive” to get some spring cleaning done has me reflecting on life and its purpose.

Some of my newer followers may not have seen this thoughtful post. Please click below and contemplate with me this idea:    via Be Led, Not Driven

Swan Songs


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Swan Song has the connotation
Of the last performance here –
The last time you will finish something –
A time to bow out and cheer.

This swan on the water is singing
To the tune of something new –
A day to appreciate the river –
Swim freely and enjoy the view.

We may stay in the freezing river
And sing our song to the Montana sky,
Or we may head off to Switzerland
Sing to grape-covered Alps way up high.

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We may go to the market in Spain,
See the display of candy – amazing!

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Or sing our Swan Song to friends
Whose life-times are closing and changing.

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Today I went to a Memorial Service
For five friends whose earth-life had ended.
Their lives were lived to the fullest,
But their last tune was poorly attended.

As I sang of the Old Rugged Cross,
And heard what a friend in Jesus we find,
I reflected on the Swan Songs of these
Who lived long lives, impactful, and kind.

They outlived their dearest earthly friends,
And they spent their last years in a bed
Where gentle caregivers loved them.
They’d have preferred to be home instead.

They’ve taken their stories and sweet songs
To their heavenly home – so don’t cry.
Just celebrate their lives lived in love,
And remember their Lights in the sky.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Each star that sparkles in the brilliant night
Is a reminder of one of these friends.
They lived lives of service; their stories don’t stop;
They’ll keep shining on us ’til eternity ends.

Whose lives are you remembering today?
Look up this evening… see their Lights blinking bright
as you remember their lives and legacy.
God bless them… and you … and have a good night!

scenic view of night sky

Photo by Hristo Fidanov on Pexels.com

Be Led, Not Driven


The Purpose Driven Life

I have an affection for Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. It has so many words of wisdom – and it helped me as I was trying to define my purpose for living. I had recently suffered a burst appendix and had almost died. Prayer, God’s grace, a skillful ambulance driver, and a careful surgeon gave me back my life. I looked earnestly for clues about how I might live purposely for God to thank Him for my survival.

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This book of Daily Inspirations is a complement to The Purpose Driven Life. I used it as a devotional and as a journal, writing in the margins and at the top and bottom of the pages each day.


Soul Feast

But recently I read a quote by Marjorie J. Thompson in her book, Soul Feast.

Thompson wrote, “I admit I do not care for the language of ‘driven-ness’ in recently popular books and seminars…” She went on to explain “… it is significant that the Bible likens us to sheep, not cattle.”


My Haiku

Giving overtime thought to Marjorie J. Thompson’s  quote I wrote the following Haiku:

Live from a posture
Of profound trust and deep love
Be sheep, not cattle

 

Deep Conversation

My husband and I had a deep conversation about life and death, purpose and the difference between being led and being driven. When I am weary, Jesus leads me beside still waters. He refreshes my soul.

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Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Cowboys here in Montana drive their cattle to the next pasture and farmers in Switzerland drive their cows in the springtime up to fresh grass from the lower meadows where the beautiful animals have spent the winters.

agriculture alps animal background

Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

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But Bob’s point as my hubby discussed the difference between being driven and led, was that cattlemen drive their cattle for the same reason shepherds lead their sheep. They have their best interests at heart. (Well, they may be driving them to market!)

There is a connotation to the word “driven” in our American culture. It seems to imply push-push-push, a relentless effort toward getting to the top.

 

Hope for the Flowers

I was reminded of a book for adults and others (including caterpillars who can read)  titled, Hope for the Flowers, by Trina Paulus. It was copyrighted in 1973, but it is as pertinent today as it was then (and it still is available on Amazon.com).

As I recall the story, the caterpillars in this clever little tale are climbing over the top of each other, creating a  “caterpillar pillar.” One little creeper is on the outside edge, getting tired of the climb, wondering if it’s worth it. She asks a fellow climber as she looks at the daunting distance to the top, “What’s up there, anyway?”

“Just other caterpillars pushing each other off so they can be on top,” her climbing companion explained as one of the fuzzy creatures came tumbling down and crashed to the ground.

(How sad, huh? I am fascinated by these wonderful creations and their metamorphosis.)

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Right about then the disillusioned climber caught the eye of a beautiful butterfly cruising by. “Climb on down,” he encouraged. “Spin yourself a chrysalis, rest inside, and eventually you will emerge a butterfly like I did. Then you can join me.”

(Of course those quotes are from my memory, not the actual book. I loaned it out to someone…. don’t remember who… but I have ordered a new one. Hope for the Flowers is a terrific book to have on hand as a reminder of my journey!)

Moving Down the Administrative Ladder

I discovered this beautiful, child-like, but profound, paperback when I was working as a curriculum coordinator in the district office at a school district in central California. My office was waaay too far from the children. I had been an elementary teacher for over 20 years and the principal of a K-6 school with over a thousand students for nearly a decade. The “caterpillar pillar” (that ambitious climb to greater “success”) led me to the district office. I knew after only about three weeks that it was not where I belonged.

I stuck it out for two years. Did the best job I knew how. Wore at least a half a dozen hats (Federal Programs director, language arts and music coordinator, in-service leader for new teachers, mentor for new principals, etc.) I learned a lot, and am glad I did it,but generally, I was not happy. My love & my gift was teaching children and helping “my staff” grow to be their best selves. I loved the interaction with the students, the teachers, and the parents.

As I climbed back down the “pillar” and announced that I was going back UP to the classroom (as soon as I rested a year and earned my butterfly wings), I was told, “What are you doing? That’s the wrong direction!”

Some warned, “You can’t go back down! People will think you’ve been demoted!”

“Yes, I can,” I insisted. I slid into my chrysalis, listened to The Voice of Reason and Transformation, rested, and devoted more time to my family, myself and my God.

I emerged a happy butterfly and was led back UP to a group of first graders. At the end of that year I led them on to second grade. What joy! I still hear from some of those children twenty years later. Several of them are my Facebook friends!

Best move I ever made!!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


The Voice

Contemplative time
Creates vessels of vision
Hear the “still small voice”

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Let God fill you up
with new creativity
Receive fresh insight

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I encourage you
To let contemplative time
Be a microphone

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Let unstructured time
Be a transformative time
Listen to The Voice!


Take time to rest.
Build your chrysalis.
Listen to your heart.

Find your True Purpose!

You may want to consider getting Rick Warren’s, The Purpose Driven Life,
and the accompanying inspirational/journal:

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and look for Hope for the Flowers. It’s out there…

Be Led, Not Driven

Change is Challenging


Change is inevitable
Change is challenging
Resist or embrace?

May as well embrace
To resist change is futile
Change is inevitable

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This is my grandson, Chris. I told you I would write more about him. He has been the center of life for Bob and our family since he arrived in the USA from Switzerland last Thanksgiving. When you first met him (if you have been following my blog), this is what he looked like:

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See the change?

And when you first met that pup he has under the blanket in his lap up there, this is what TazE looked like:

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Well, he is so covered up in that first picture up there, you can’t really see the gray in his face and the change in his body, can you? But, trust me… now at age 8 1/2, he has changed from that frisky guy you see there. Here’s a current one that shows you what I’m talking about:

TazE in bed

Yes, change is inevitable! And it can be scary. And it can be very exciting. But it does not do any good to resist it. Much of change is healthy and invigorating. It’ll happen whether you bid it or not. May as well plan for it!

When our grandson came last year, he knew he was in for a year of changes. He had the courage to fly into a new life here – with new opportunities – different in countless ways from his life in Sierre, Switzerland.

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Today we are driving in Montana snow (really came down yesterday… and more is expected today) from Ennis to Anaconda. It’s about a two hour drive. We will stay overnight there, hoping to find a place that will allow pets. TazE will go with us.

We are taking Chris to the Job Corps in Anaconda. He will check in at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning. He has qualified (US citizen between the age of 16-24 with a clean record who is interested in training in one of 7 manual labor areas that are deemed understaffed by the Federal Government) and has been accepted into the program.

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We took a tour there in December and we were wonderfully impressed with the site, the program, the facilities, the instructors, the equipment, the ambience, and the students. About 200 young people are there. More than 75% of them are from out-of-state. Chris will be the first who was born and raised in another country. (Our daughter is his mom… and as such, Chris has dual USA-Swiss citizenship).

There are 4 dorms, 3 for men and 1 for women (that’s the ratio of the students). Not surprising since the trades they are learning include:

  • Heavy equipment Operating
  • Heavy equipment Mechanics
  • Welding
  • Painting (buildings inside and out – not oils, acrylics, watercolor, etc.)
  • Carpentry
  • Culinary Arts
  • Brick-laying

Chris will have a month to explore the various options and then he will select the one he wishes to concentrate on. Each student is self-paced. The training could take as little as three months and as much as a year, depending on prior experience, work ethic, skill, etc.

Stay tuned. I am sure our grandson is in for changes he cannot even imagine at this time.

We are excited for him.

Aren’t you glad to know our Federal Government is supporting this kind of internship/apprenticeship program for young people?

 

Do You Carol?


I think Christmas caroling is a lost art. Do you carol?

When I told Chris, my 23 year old Swiss grandson, that we were going caroling, he asked, “What’s that?”

I responded, “Do you know what carols are?”

Keep in mind that his language in Switzerland is French (even though with his mom – our daughter – he speaks English at home).

“No.”

“It’s Christmas songs,” I explained. “We’re going to sing them at the Christmas stroll.”

Of course, that was a new concept for him, too.

“But I don’t know your Christmas songs.”

Not letting him off the hook, I explained, “We have books.”

“Who will we sing to?”

I told him about our annual custom of going door to door in neighborhoods or singing on the sidewalks downtown, going in and out of stores. He thought that was pretty strange!

“We’d probably get arrested if we did that in my town,” he puzzled.

Did he go?

You bet!

Did he enjoy it?

Of course!

And the frosting on the cake was seeing the front page of our local newspaper a few days later:

How did you kickoff your Christmas season?

V = Vacations


Day #22 of my A – Z series of “What Makes Me Happy?”

 

VACATIONS

Time off from routines

And a change of scenery

Are good for the soul

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lighthouse

Photo by Anand Dandekar on Pexels.com

And for the body!

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Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

A change of menu

Foods that taste and look different

Good for the spirit

New places to climb

To take routine off your mind

Are good for the heart

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Family and friends
Sharing stories and good wine
Make life much more fine

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Vacations mean fun
With our son and daughter, too
What is fun for you?

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I love my bloggers
Who take a break to come read
You encourage me

Madison Range between spruce

Vacations are great

They make me happy, and yet

There’s no place like home.

What’s the”V” word that makes you happy?

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(Victory for courageous women…. that was my hubby’s answer!)

Sanity at Home


Searching sanity?

Insanity everywhere?

Where are you looking?

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Eureka! I found

Sanity at my doorstep.

Enter here with joy.

Okay, so I don’t look quite sane, right? But I love SnapChat and all the weird ways it makes me look and sound. I love getting SnapChats from our daughter DeDe in Switzerland and our #2 daughter, Laina, who’s across the continent in Maryland.

Here I am at 30 degrees and freezing while they are in the 80s and sweating! It’s insane!! But the sanity of love ❤️ exchanged in the insanity of SnapChat brings joy inside my home.

Do you do SnapChat? Do you have Joyful exchanges with friends and family across the world? It’s a great way to shut out the crap that flows out there and let love fill your heart and home.

Try it!

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