Welcome is My Word|Beginnings

Welcome“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

“One Word That Will Change Your Life”
The book title sparked my curiosity. One word? Really? The book’s been around awhile and I have to say, I like this idea. Instead of lofty New Year’s resolutions, it holds to a one-word theme for the year. Smaller actions center around that word. The smaller acts compound throughout the year, where the meaning of the word takes root and becomes the impetus for real, long-lasting change.

One word. So simple. And I love anything simple. The author recommends using the entire month of December to choose a word. Mine surfaced immediately.

Welcome.

It was certainly different from some of the other suggested words like joy, health, and patience. But I really liked it. I knew it was mine. And as I thought about it, I realized it was a pretty hefty word. In fact, I started to visualize other words like spokes on a wheel hub. Words like hospitality, cooking, decorating, and gardening. Such fun! I’m liking this! I envisioned thumbing through magazines filled with luscious gardens and yummy recipes. But other ideas surfaced, too. And that’s where it got hard.

Words like housework, unexpected dinner or overnight guests, digging in hard clay dirt, keeping the kitchen and great room cleared of surface clutter, keeping bathrooms presentable. Then there’s my love-hate relationship with the screened-in porch. Ugh! Those cobwebs and outdoor dust cling with a vengeance. And how can I forget the spare bedroom—that extra “space” meant to be space for overnight guests? Sometimes instead of a spare bedroom it turns into a spare-parts room, filled with assorted what-nots that have no particular space yet.

Not that I am a clean-freak, (am I?) But I do find myself filled with excuses for a lack of invitation to anyone outside my grown children and grandchildren because of one simple word–ready. I am not ready, or at least I think I’m not. Well, in my mind it’s more like not ready enough.

But another excuse really gnaws at me–invitation. I do not  invite in an intentional way like I used to. Oh, I’ll throw out a “just drop in whenever”. But “whenever” turns into “never”, which never becomes “when”. Yes, the kids drop by on a continuum, but that even lends to another excuse. “My cup is full and there is no more room.”

Welcome Closer

But there is room. If I make room. You see, welcome is not just for others. It’s for me. And it’s good for me. It’s good for me to reach outside myself and into the world of someone else. To provide a comfy room for weary travelers. Have the neighbors over for dinner. Extend a listening ear. I can get so self-centered and forget that the blessing of my home was not meant just for me and my family. It was meant for others, for the world. I may not change the world, but my welcome may touch a life that will. “Welcome” speaks love and love is not love til it’s given away. May I live generous.

I am ready!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”~ Maya Angelou
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This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme “Beginnings”.  Also, I’m wondering if you noticed the ferns at Christmas? It just happened to be a warm stretch so they got to come outside. Why not? 🙂
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My favorite “manuals” to stay welcome-ready. Time to pick them up again!
Once-A-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg
Dwelling: Making the Most of the Space You Call Home by Mary Beth Lagerborg

2013 | Resolved to Illuminate Beyond

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The creature transfixed me; I stood captivated, mesmerized.
It rendered me still—a rarity in my world. Its movement was beautiful to behold. Tendrils of tentacles, suspended in lovely designs, moved in tandem.

I’d always run from a creature like this. In fact, everyone I know runs. I was acutely aware of the danger it held if we’d met in other circumstances. But there was a boundary between us now, a thick glass bubble.

The boundary kept me safe, allowing me to marvel at the creature. As I tried to capture it without a blur, it proved an expedition of futility as I quickly discovered it was never still. Its movement was rhythmic yet determined, planned yet random—unhurried— taking its time.

As I watched, I wondered if it had any destination?
Where did it think it was going? Did it ever sleep? Was it ever bored by its never-ending motion? Does it have an instinctual to-do list as it gracefully moves through life? I confess a severe lack of knowledge in jellyfishdom so I truly don’t know. But it made me realize something.

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I don’t move like that.
And neither does anyone else I know. In my American culture the phrase I hear over and over is, “I’m just so busy. I can’t seem to get anything done. There is so much left to do. I gotta go.” That’s our mantra. That’s mine, too.

But what is all this busy? This busy seizes our most treasured possession—time. In my culture we actually prize this robber of time.

We prize busy.

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And why? Well, we give it a proper name. We call it productivity.

For example—a place I visit on occasion is the WordPress live stats page. It’s interesting because they show live activity within WordPress. It shows new posts, comments, and likes in real time. Keep in mind WordPress is the platform for over 15% of the web; there are 60 million WordPress sites in the world.

As I look at this site I notice some things. Some parts of the world are totally silent. I find it sad these people seem to have no voice. Other parts of the world are silent at times, too. But they are getting what is necessary—sleep. You can tell this by the time zones. Asia and the South Pacific sleep. Africa and South America sleep. Europe is pretty awake but has quiet periods. But the United States?

The United States never sleeps. It blinks 24/7. http://en.wordpress.com/stats/

Productivity.

Why do we continually strive to fill our days with productivity? We’re wired here to produce, to accomplish, to strive. Make no mistake—these are good things; I am not condoning sloth.

What I’m talking about is rhythm, room to relax, room to roam.

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Building rhythm into our days. Allow margin for that phone call to an old friend. Time for outdoors. Take the ear buds out and just sit and listen to beautiful music. Take time to close your eyes and just dream. And take time to love. To love those around us. Not just family and friends. How about looking into the eyes of a stranger or the outcast. Smile as you look. In fact, smile more. Let’s resolve to …

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Dawn 2013 New Year’s Day

“Stop the glorification of busy.” ~ Unknown

Isn’t that what we do? We glorify this thing called busy. Our self-worth becomes entangled in busy. Deadlines and the to-do list are important. But they are never-ending. We will never get it all done. They grow like bread yeast. And if you let yeast grow unfettered it fills a loaf of bread with holes. Same thing with us.

So resolve to take time

to sleep … to dream … then wake up … savor the sunbeams shining in.

to write … a magical song note by note … and then … to sing with crescendo the song of your heart.

to listen … to every soul you meet … with your eyes and a smile.

Take time … to listen, to gaze, to thank, to inhale, to give, to receive, to learn, and …

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January 1, 2013

To love.

I heard it said, “If you don’t schedule fun, fun won’t get done.”

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So schedule some fun. Put one fun thing on that to-do list everyday. It’s okay to venture into the margins a bit, sometimes a lot. The margins will rejuvenate you for the times of productivity.

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And one more thing …

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Get some good sleep while you’re at it. Let’s alter those stats a bit, shall we?

Joyous New Year,
Alexandria

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12:27-30

This post combines three themes: Resolved, Illumination, and Beyond. I started with Resolved and didn’t finish in time. So then I added Illumination and didn’t finish in time. Then I saw Beyond and thought the photos adapted well to that theme, too. I hope you agree and I think I’m finally finished.
Enjoy.

Here are other interpretations of the themes.

Photo Credits: Alexandria Sage and S. Michael

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