Giving Thanks ~ makes me feel good

vegetables-fall

So, first of all, I want to thank all my blog readers and my fiction readers. You make me feel good.

If there’s a secret sauce in my life, it would be stop analyzing and just give thanks. That’s it.

Why did that thing happen? Why did those people act that way to me? Why didn’t they appreciate me? Why couldn’t they see what they were doing was so destructive to themselves and others? I could, and I have spent weeks, no months analyzing issues such as these. At the end of that time, I’ve come up with some pretty plausible answers. Were any of them, the right answer? Maybe, maybe not. Hard to know, but they were plausible answers to those questions. Did all that analyzing solve any dilemmas? No, not really.

When I first started trying to find things to intentionally be thankful for, it felt weird, like an exercise. But once I kept at it, thanksgiving started to change things inside me. First of all, I realized the act of giving thanks is energizing. Thanksgiving is powerful.

In my life, the one I thank the most is God. I’ve been doing this long enough now that it’s actually fun to watch God move. I thank Him for what he’s doing in my life.

1 Chronicles 16:34 ~ Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever! ~ [ESV]

This is going to date me. I think Captain Kangaroo was right. Thank you is a magic word. Most people should use it more often. I should use it more often. I should say the words ‘thank you’ aloud to other people more often. Saying ‘thank you’ makes others feel good. When the people around us feel good, life is a whole lot easier for everybody. When there’s a general feeling of appreciation, there’s a lot less stress.

This thankfulness thing is really pretty simple. it’s so simple it works.

Fall in Florida ~ a simple pleasure

They say Florida is one place where the rule ‘You can’t wear white after Labor Day is null-and-void. In general, attitudes and lifestyle are more relaxed here…and that’s a huge reason why I moved here from The Big Apple. I love the simplicity of the lifestyle in Florida.

This year, after the hot summer months, and debilitating hurricanes, the nip in the air that comes with autumn has been welcome. I couldn’t wait to put away my summery outdoor decorations. Yes, I admit, I had pink flamingoes out allIMG_2452 summer…but only in my backyard near my fire pit. I’m all in for colorful, fanciful, Florida-friendly objects ‘d art in the front, but don’t go wild with pink Flamingoes. Truly, I don’t.

So, I hauled the bin out of my sheld where I store fall decorations. I put up a swag of fall leaves over my front door and some harvesty colorful fake flowers in a small flower pot along with the smiling face of a little girl scarecrow.  My fall decorating is a work in progress and I’ll add a few pumpkins to the stoop. I love scarecrows and I’ll put out the ones I’ve collected over the years in the house.

So, how do Floridians dress for Fall? It’s safe to say, folks add rust, gold, and ruby tones to their wardrobe. But, yes, we still wear shorts, short sleeves or no sleeves, and flip-flops. In fact, flip-flops are the official shoe of Florida.

But seriously, I find simplicity dovetails beautifully with my spiritual life.

2 Corinthians 1:12 [ESV] ~ For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

I Came To NE Florida For A Simpler Life ~ reflecting as humongous storm Irma approaches

Beach 1

One and a half years ago, I moved lock stock and pets to Florida from Brooklyn (NYC). I’d lived in the rush, rush, rush of Gotham for over 33 years and was more than tired of it.

I love the Atlantic Ocean and crave being near it. I’d lived in Miami for 2 years, but that was before my marriage to a guy from Brooklyn. Even in Brooklyn, we lived in the Marine Park neighborhood which is only a few miles from the ocean. On days when the wind blew from east-to-west, we could smell the briny, salt air. Loved that. But didn’t love the rush, the mania, the grit in the air that comes along with living in the Big Apple.

Moi, Jax Beach

NE Florida immediately brought serenity, and I craved that after 33 years of a city in constant animation, always busy. Slowly I got rid of my all-black wardrobe (the NYC uniform) and relaxed into what I call a pulled-together beach-bum style.

Hurricane Irma is now 2 – 3 days from its approach to northeast Florida and I went to with my doctor’s referral to get blood drawn this morning. I guess, that qualifies me as a true Floridian. Afterward, on the way home, I so looked forward to a cup of hot coffee. As I drove, I prayed for the houses on my right and left, that angels would protect them from the storm. I prayed for the broader community. Prayer is definitely part of ‘the simple life’ I lead here in Fla.

Yes, I’m preparing. All Floridians are. In my house, preparations are intentionally simple. Simplicity doesn’t mean complacency. Today I’m making sure my freezer is full of ice so that if the power goes out, whatever is in there will keep. I shopped yesterday and didn’t buy anything frozen. Today and tomorrow I’m eating what needs to be cooked. Following a phoned-in tip I heard on the radio from a survivalist, I filled up small plastic containers with water nearly to the top and froze them. This will help keep my entire refrigerator cold (milk, veggies, cold cuts, etc.) if there’s no power long-term. As the water defrosts it can be used to brush teeth, etc.

There is order to simplicity and calm. Am I always calm? No! In the past, I made whining and complaining into an art form. God’s worked a lot on me in that area. I’m also a ‘Plan A, Plan B, Plan C’ type person. I do keep my plans simple. However, I like to know not only what the plan is,  but what the alternate plans are. I’ve learned, however, the Ultimate Plan is God’s plan.

I continue to pray for all those in the path of Hurricane Irma, now considered the biggest and most ferocious storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

Isaiah 4:6 [NASB] ~  There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and [a]protection from the storm and the rain.