Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Ever since I was a child we have celebrated May 1st as May Day by giving May baskets to unsuspecting friends. While living in Indiana, people were perplexed by my antics, not seeming to understand this tradition. It made me wonder if it was just a "Minnesota" tradition.
The tradition is actually derived from an ancient Roman and Druid holiday, which has endured and evolved for centuries. It is a celebration of spring turning to summer and traditionally a tall “Maypole” with ribbons woven around by dancers is what people think of. The giving of May Baskets came later and simply celebrates both the change of seasons and the joy of giving. Traditionally flowers are given in baskets, which dates back to pre-Christian Europe and is in tribute of Flora, the Goddess of flowers. I never knew the historical background to this tradition until I was researching for this post.
My mom introduced us to the giving of May baskets. We would fill a basket with cookies or something special and drive in our car to someone’s house. Mom would drop us off and we would leave the basket, ring the doorbell and RUN as fast as we could back to the car to hopefully avoid being caught.
As an adult, I have carried on this tradition with my children. It’s fun to hear the kids talk about what to put in the basket, what to write on the card and to plan how not to get caught! It’s a fun way to encourage someone and a good project to do with the kids.
I have done a basket like the one in the photo with pool/beach toys. I’ve done plastic picnic plates and napkins, candy, tea and many other things. We’ve given baskets to friends, neighbors and the elderly. I’m not at all crafty so I usually buy something inexpensive. One year I bought a pretty plastic bowl from Wal-Mart to use instead of a basket. If you are crafty, I have a few links with ideas to make your own May Basket at the end of this post
One of the reasons I like this tradition is that as I mentioned in my 100 things, I love to give gifts. Another reason is because I believe it’s important to encourage others. Many years ago when we lived in Kansas City, a man from our church named Russ had the gift of encouragement. He would send cards regularly to people with the sole purpose of encouraging them. I didn’t really know him, but I was blessed by his ability to uplift people through the gift of a card and kind words. It taught me the importance of encouragement. It is true that the devil’s most devastating tool is discouragement. It’s really quite simple to change a person’s day through encouragement. It can involve a text, card, e-mail, phone call or visit. Kind words can be so edifying. A May basket can be a neat way to encourage someone and to make their day.
Romans 14:19 ISV Therefore, let's keep on pursuing those things that bring peace and that lead to building up one another.
I’m tired of being consumed with my own troubles. I need this right now. When we encourage others it’s hard not to feel good ourselves.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I am usually in fast motion. I do everything quickly. That is not how I would describe myself at this time. I continue to have little energy and on the days when I do have energy, I lose it after only a little while.
I am excited that the energy is coming back but wish it were not so slow in coming. I feel like everything I do right now is at a turtle’s pace.
As I was likening myself to a turtle in my mind, I began to think about what a turtle represents to me. They are slow animals and the word slow is not in my vocabulary so they represent patience. Ugh! That’s a tough one for me! Once, a long time ago I prayed that the Lord would teach me patience. I’m a slow learner and God continues to place me in situations where I can learn to practice patience. Admittedly, I still have a LOT to learn, as patience is one of my greatest downfalls.
Webster’s dictionary defines patience as an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow recovery. Another definition is; to not become angry. Anger is a direct result of impatience. I know this too well.
God is incredibly patient with me. If He wasn’t patient, I would be long gone. He is my ultimate example. My husband and my father-in-law are wonderful human examples of patience. I can learn a lot from them.
I’m feeling a lot of conviction. Many of my emotions right now, I can’t control, but I am able to control my responses to those emotions. I will be patient because it is clear to me that God is using this very difficult experience to teach me, strengthen me and heal me. In his time.
The Bible teaches:
*But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
*I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry.
*Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
I'm overwhelmed with the knowledge that I matter so much to God! He is molding me with care like the potter He is. It is His desire that I become more like Him. It is my desire to please Him.
Friday, April 23, 2010
When I was a child my mom taught me the importance of servanthood. She taught me through her example. She continues to serve others daily, myself included. I chose a career where I get to help others. I love to do things for other people.
Until this past summer Kevin and I had lived away from family for the past 18 years. We have had very little help with the kids or anything else. While I enjoy helping others, I think my pride and insecurity has not allowed me to accept help in any way from others. I have believed it was my responsibility and that I was not worthy of the help.
The past 6 weeks I have had help everyday with the kids. A few people have brought meals. I’ve even reached out to friends old and new to ask for prayer. All of this has been a huge step for me. I have been surprised at how incredibly blessed I have felt by what others have been doing for me! It's amazing how that alone is good medicine.
While I may still be struggling to overcome my depression, I have been incredibly uplifted by what God is teaching right now I’m so glad I don’t have to do this alone. Thanks to all of you who have helped me by your words or deeds. You have truly blessed me and I am thankful for you.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I know in my mind that the flowers are blooming, the grass is turning green and the ski is blue. However, everything has looked like shades of gray to me. There is no color.
I realized this as I was riding in the car the other day. Someone else pointed out a few of spring’s beauties to behold. I could see but could not at all appreciate it. To me, it was as if I were looking through dark sunglasses that I was unable to remove.
I am however able to remember what things look like in full color; it’s just that currently I can’t see with those eyes.
I have tried over time to overcompensate for my feelings of depression by purposefully looking for a positive in every negative. I believe there is always a positive.
What could be positive about seeing things in the shades of gray, which represent my depression? I decided to go to the Bible for some answers.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 There is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.
I am working through this time of sadness so that I can dance! I love to dance though admittedly, I’m a site to behold! My kids always laugh at me when I dance but I know they LOVE to see me happy.
Psalms 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
In many ways I do have a broken heart. I’m working through this in counseling. It’s not easy but it will be worth it in the long run. I wholeheartedly believe that the Lord will take what seems to be a horrific experience and turn it into something good.
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, Psalms 30:11
I remember a song from my childhood utilizing this verse. Oh how I loved that song! I love the thought of being clothed with the Joy of the Lord.
John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Joy is something that I want to feel with intensity like I have not known before. I’ve been praying that the Lord would remove anything that is hindering my ability to receive Joy.
Gray is not a bad color; in fact, I love to wear the color gray. It’s just that I don’t like what gray is representing in my life currently. God created all of the colors of the rainbow and I want to be able to appreciate them.
I’m looking for a rainbow, which is a symbol of God’s promise and because it’s a magnificent sight to behold! When I finally see a rainbow, I want to be awestruck by its’ beauty in the way that God intended for me to see it.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
This weekend I have been feeling so hopeless. It has been over a month and though I feel a little bit better, I am nowhere near normal. I see the doctor tomorrow.
- Things just seem “off” or “wrong.”
- You don’t feel hopeful or happy about anything in your life.
- You’re crying a lot for no apparent reason, either at nothing, or something that normally would be insignificant.
- You feel like you’re moving (and thinking) in slow motion.
- Getting up in the morning requires a lot of effort.
- Carrying on a normal conversation is a struggle. You can’t seem to express yourself.
- You’re having trouble making simple decisions.
- Your friends and family really irritate you.
- Smiling feels stiff and awkward. It’s like your smiling muscles are frozen.
- It seems like there’s a glass wall between you and the rest of the world.
- You’re forgetful, and it’s very difficult to concentrate on anything.
- You’re anxious and worried a lot.
- Everything seems hopeless.
- You feel like you can’t do anything right.
- You have a feeling of impending doom - you think something bad is going to happen, although you may not be sure what, and/or...
- In your perception of the world around you, it’s always cloudy. Even on sunny days, it seems cloudy and gray.
- You feel as though you’re drowning or suffocating.
- You’re agitated, jumpy and and anxious much of the time.
- Your senses seem dulled; food tastes bland and uninteresting, music doesn’t seem to affect you, you don’t bother smelling flowers anymore.
- Incessantly and uncontrollably into your mind comes the memory of every failure, every bad or uncomfortable experience, interview or date, like a torrent of negativity.
Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought." James 1:1-4