Happy election day to all. I don’t know about you, but I will be happy to have this election behind us. My post today discusses my feelings about elections and the role of government. Don’t worry, it isn’t going to make your head hurt, but I hope it will make you think about your role in this society.
I am trying to figure out how to get a signup form on my new blog. Until then I will keep posting the link here. Thanks for your patience.
Just as I hit my stride blogging here I up and decide to move! It is SO me.
A new name deserves a new look. With the focus change to my inspired life, and encouraging you to live your inspired life, I wanted to be able to offer more features and an aesthetic that matches my goals. There is a learning curve to the new format. Rather than waiting to get all the learning done, I decided to get the basics done and then start writing.
I know I will loose some of you in the transition, but I hope you give it a try and follow me over to Sheryl Inspired and sign up to follow me there. Here is a snippet from today’s post. Click on the link to read the full post.
Why the change? When the focus of the blog transitioned to daily inspiration the previous format just didn’t fit any longer. I will be working to migrate all my old posts here so that anyone who finds me from this point forward will be able to go back and catch up.
Small Still Voice
The original purpose for Small Still Voice was to chronicle my study of the words of Jesus. And while that will still be a part of this blog, I believe the title change and the broader subject matter will provide me with years of things to say. My faith shapes my world view, thus everything I write will come from that perspective.
The other factor with the previous approach is that I am NOT a Biblical scholar. I know that I don’t have to be a scholar to talk about what Jesus means to me or what has been ascribed as his words. I began to feel I wandered of my designated path and was fighting through the trees and underbrush to once again find my way. I was working way too hard to make a point; it was not inspired writing. God has something different for me to do in the public realm.
According Collins Dictionary, the urban use of the term squirrelly is an informal term meaning very nervous, sensitive, strange, or unpredictable.
Squirrels are fairly low on the food chain, so their sensitive, nervous and unpredictable behavior is key to remaining alive. So, while the above description may sound negative, I find them endearingly cute (I’ve always been drawn to the rodent family) and an inspiration.
This morning I watched a young squirrel scamper across my fence, down the post into the grass. I didn’t watch him/her in the grass but my cat was alert to its movements. Shortly, it ran back up the fence post carrying something in its mouth and escaped to the tree in my neighbor’s yard. It was then I remembered something amazing I learned from watching a documentary about these furry little rodents.
They bury one nut per 2-inch deep hole, and cover it back up discreetly.
When the leaves fall from the trees, in the dead of winter, they can remember the location of all these buried treasures, and dig them up, even through feet of snow.
But how is it possible for an animal with a brain the size of a walnut to actually remember where they buried all their walnuts?
Their hippo campus, which is a brain structure critical for memory, appears to change by season, developing more neuron activity, and even expanding in size in the fall, when the job of caching is due to begin.
So, in modern terminology, squirrels are hardwired to know how to find the nuts left the previous year. I find that simply amazing.
We are all hardwired in different ways. Everyone has innate qualities and abilities that are unique and have a purpose. I believe God has created each of us with a skill set, that when discovered and used, makes the world a better place to live.
We tend to take our own gifts for granted. How many times have I thought, “What comes easily to me must not be special; surely everyone can do this.” The truth is, if this were the case none of us would be special because we would all be good at the same things. It is precisely because we have different wiring that it is so important to value not only what we are good at but find and extol those things in others. If everyone kept their gifts to themselves I would not be writing this post on a fabulous computer, or cooking in an air fryer. Some genius person used their gifts to make life a little easier and more fun.
Let your light shine while you help someone else shine as well.
For as long as I can remember I have loved cloudy, rainy days. Even as a child, I never felt cheated because it rained during PE or recess time. On the contrary, I quietly rejoiced because it meant indoor activities such as drawing, coloring, a filmstrip, or reading time. Worst case scenario, the teacher would make us play an indoor game such as Seven Up; even this was infinitely better than PE or recess.
I have also lived my entire life in climates where sunshine is far more prevalent than clouds and rain. Born in Las Vegas, I grew up in both southern California and deep south Texas. Glaring hot sun against vivid blue skies was the norm. As a kid I did not make the connection between rainy days and mental/emotional rest. I just knew it meant I didn’t have to do sports or navigate the social pressure of the playground.
Thus, cloudy rainy days represent rest, a break from the oppressive heat and glare of the sun. On days like this I feel as though I have cosmic permission to be lazy, sit on my couch watch television and crochet on my latest project. It absolutely NEVER crosses my mind to do housework or other chores on rainy days. Why would I work on a day of rest? That makes no more sense than turning down a gift or saying no to dessert.
So, I don’t know what you will be doing today, but the sky is overcast and rain is forecast…you know where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing.
Folks of a certain age know that rabbit ears are not auditory appendages for cute bunnies; rather, rabbit ears are old fashioned antenna devices used for television reception. As kids we would work at adjusting each one for optimal picture and sound.
Lately my rabbit ears have been way out of whack, and the fault is all mine. My last post was in August. One day I just didn’t feel I had anything to say, so I didn’t. When I continue too long on this path, my ability to receive God’s guidance gets fuzzy. I begin wandering and wondering what I am really supposed to be doing with my life. Nothing satisfies. I just feel listless and lost; adrift without a compass.
I am constantly shocked at how easy it is to fall out of the habit of doing things, even things we love and are good for us. I tend to turn inward and blame myself for being weak, lazy, or any other of a number of degrading adjectives. The truth of the matter is that I am human. Just like everyone else on earth, on my own, I am frail and lost.
This time it took a trip to where I thought I would find my best life only to be reminded by God that I already AM living my best life. Does my house look out over mountains and rivers…no. Do I live where the weather is “perfect” and I get the seasons I crave…no. So what do I have here?
I have a house that is just waiting for me to dig in and make it the home I have always wanted; a home where I can welcome family and friends; a home where my grandchildren will love to come to make more memories; a home where my husband and I can live out the rest of our lives in security and peace. I have a huge backyard that just needs landscaping to create a natural environment not only for me, but for birds, butterflies and family fun.
God has provided for us all these years and now, we have abundance for ourselves and others. It may not be perfect by the standards of the world, but the Lord has provided me with riches I could never have imagined or created on my own. It just takes getting tuned in to realize all I want is right in front of me.
My plan is to work with God to post something everyday. My desire is to share and allow God to use my words wherever they might make a difference.
So much of what I think will nourish me and provide purpose and meaning to life only ends up leaving me empty. It makes me think of the song “Lookin’ for Love.”
I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places
Lookin’ for love in too many faces
Searchin’ their eyes
Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of
Hoping to find a friend and a lover
I’ll bless the day I discover another heart
Lookin’ for love
I’m not looking for love, I found that, I’m looking for daily purpose in my life. I hop from hobby to hobby, always trying to turn those into a business only to get tired and move on to the next thing. I’m seeking a sense of fulfillment and purpose…I’m just looking in all the wrong places.
I found my answer in the words of Jesus. As I continue my journey of reading and studying the words attributed to Jesus, I find that all the answers I need are right in front of me. He set the ultimate example. I just try to make it way too difficult.
My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.
In a previous post I wrote about the work each of us is given to do. Doing that work is doing the will of God. Being the wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister and friend that God created me to be, is doing the will of God. Showing Jesus to the world in the way I act, speak and behave, that is doing the will of God.
In a world filled with dopamine rushes at every turn it is easy to think we are missing something in our lives if we don’t get that high from all activities. Those moments of pure joy that come with doing something and feeling the reward…those are gifts from God to let us know we are on his path. But just like eating cake or winning a video game, too much of a good thing makes that thing mundane.
Be you. Be kind. Especially be kind to those who are not kind to you and let God handle the rest. That’s what Jesus did. He went where he was sent and took care of what was right in front of him. The more we live like this the more opportunities God will bring across our path to experience the joy of true nourishment.
Back in October I wrote a post about my sacred space and seeking that small, still voice. Then I lost focus, wandered aimlessly while grasping at things I thought I wanted or needed, until I re-read that post this morning. It struck a chord with me as much as it did the day I wrote it. Follow the link to read it for yourself. It is worth the time. Then come back here. I have more to say.
Eight months later I am feeling somewhat lost again; for so long I haven’t been able to figure out why. I’m doing the stuff I thought would make me happy and fulfill my soul. Guess what? It hasn’t worked and that caused the feelings of hopelessness and emptiness to grow. Nothing shows what is going on in my head like that view of my desk I took this morning. Disorganized, messy with no real ability to function or be productive much less be conducive to peaceful meditations.
This morning, while sipping coffee and reading The Truth And Beauty by Andrew Klavan, I sat and quietly asked for guidance; and then I waited. What happened next was amazing. It was a fantastical experience of life flashing before my eyes that gave me a glimpse into the purpose for which I was brought to this earth.
In my mind’s eye images of me through the years came flooding back as if they had just happened, but these images encompassed most of my life and all of them revolved around faith in and love for Jesus Christ. These images include being the only one in my family passionate about church, to baptism, teaching in the church, going to Bible college to learn as much as I could and being identified as having the gift of teaching, mentoring youth, receiving unsolicited encouragement to write, and realizing that the only writing I can consistently do is when I write about faith its value to life itself.
God has given me a gift. I can write in a way that seems to resonate with people. I’m a simple person and what I have to say is not academic, flowery or fancy. I write about the ways God touches my life. I do it in the hope that someone somewhere connects with Him through my words.
I am on a new journey. I know it will be transformative for me and I desperately want to document it here. I want it to be a consistent and enriching experience for myself and anyone who wanders across the path of this story. I will save the rest for another day. If you have found me for the first time or this is your first time…welcome. This blog is not new but it is renamed and repurposed. I contemplated erasing old posts, but decided against it. We all come to Jesus at different times and in different ways.
I never really left, rather I allowed myself to loose focus and look towards other things to fill the emptiness. Without daily worship and listening there is no way to know what direction life should take. Jesus will never lead me (or you) down a path of harm or destruction. There is no need to fear or worry. Jesus suffered and died so that we all may know God. With that much love what is left to fear?
I feel as though I have been living in a fog the past two weeks or so. The last thing I remember was researching and writing about Charles Schultz and the significance of A Charlie Brown Christmas. And now here we are, January 4, 2022. The simple story is that I got sick. Covid test was negative, I only took one; however, the symptoms were very much like a friend of mine who did test positive. In addition to the physical symptoms, I was in a mental fog. I just existed, interacted when needed but basically was not mentally with the program. I felt like I had hit a brick wall, both physically and mentally. Fortunately by Christmas Eve I felt well enough to host my family and then I collapsed for another week. And, that brings us to today.
Onwards Into 2022
I have the well deserved reputation for starting things but never finishing them. Call it short attention span or creativity run amuck, whatever causes this personality trait, I wish there was a vaccine for it that actually worked. Therefore, there are no big resolutions. I don’t need the baggage of failing yet again – said very tongue in cheek. I don’t really feel bad about quitting; I accepted this part of me many years ago and I avoid people who try to make me feel bad.
No, instead of resolutions I have a couple of things that I am calling my Focal Points for this year. No specific tasks or firm goals, just areas of my life to focus my heart, mind and body. We will look back at the end of the year to find how this focus shifts the quality of my life from so-so to rich and full.
Without God nothing makes sense. This is a complicated subject in many ways. My relationship with God is uniquely mine. I have written about my move away from organized religion. But I have not moved away from God, in fact that relationship is stronger than when I depended on an organization for the definition of my relationship. I feel a definite tug on my heart to give back and do more. Now that I know we are staying in this community I want to get involved somewhere – maybe even get to know my neighbors, most of whom are new. There is much I can do to move outside of myself and allow God to work through me. It just requires leaving the house occasionally.
We are all born into a family and then we go into the world and make our own families. These days what is considered a family doesn’t look like it did when I was growing up. Friend circles, blended families, adopted families all fill the need we have to belong.
In June we made room for our oldest granddaughter to live with us. The details aren’t important. She needed a safe place to land and we are that place. In six months she is well on her way to creating her own life and learning what it means to be an adult. It is a joy to watch the transformation. This move caused some stress in other areas, but as the months rolled by, those things began to ease and it all culminated with the best Christmas we have spent together, maybe ever. Our daughter, son-in-law, and other two granddaughters joined the three of us for an evening of laughter, giving, eating and love. It was the perfect ending to a crazy year.
So, this year I will focus on my family – the one I chose. I married a man and received a daughter in the deal. These relationships deserve my time and attention and quite frankly, I love being the mom who sets the stage for family fun. Also, while we have our granddaughter here to care for the house and the dogs, we are going to do some of the traveling we have been unable to do in the past. Our lives together have always been focused on externals – parents, child, grandchildren, ex-spouses, etc. Our life has not been our own, but now it is our time. We have earned this, and will live out the motto, “If not now, when?” Neither of us are getting any older.
We have vacillated for many years on whether this is where we would live forever. I wanted to move; he didn’t. Just when I got him to agree (despite little voices of doubt in my head), we moved heaven and earth to make room for a teenager. Shortly after that I realized that my home is here. I have bargained with God for years to let me live somewhere else. It has only taken me thirty three years to finally decide to settle down and stay put. So, I will now focus on making this house the home I have always wanted.
First comes a new kitchen. Other than new appliances and my attempts at DIY, this kitchen has not seen an upgrade since it was built in 1985. It is time. After the kitchen I will move outdoors. We have a large backyard that has never been used. That is going to change. My goal is less grass and more fun. I want this to be the home our family wants to gather to make more memories.
I come from a long line of creative people and I must have a creative outlet. One day, as I looked at one of my grandmother’s quilts, the name Continuous Threads came to me and I knew I wanted to use it in some way. I saw myself and my desire to repair her quilt as a way to continue her life and story. I got nervous because I knew I didn’t have the skill set yet, so I set it aside. But, this will be the year I will patch, mend and sew to bring this cherished quilt back to life.
It has been a journey of a couple of years, but the vision is beginning to form. For now I am learning all I can about hand stitching and embroidery including reading books about the historical aspects of textiles and their relationship to us and our quality of life. The past seventeen years have been very much wool, hand spinning yarn and knitting focused, but now I am ready for something different. I am ready to create with needle, thread, fabric and assorted found objects that tell a story. I am ready to mend clothes and my grandmother’s quilt. I am ready to weave cloth for uses I haven’t even determined yet. I am ready to learn and share with a younger generation so that these skills continue to be valued and passed to along. Our history matters.
If this subject interests you as well, I have an Instagram account, @continuousthreads as well as Continuous Threads, a separate website and blog for my textile adventures.
Onwards Into The Future
With my new focus this year I am not promising a posting schedule that life can erase in the blink of an eye. I would like to post once a week and have it be an informative and entertaining glimpse into my life. But, truthfully, from now on I write this for my family and a few close friends who care. I want to leave something behind. I have no biological legacy, but I have left a trail of Sheryl everywhere I have been in my life. For the most part I think the trail has been a good one but I’m working very hard to stop over thinking and analyzing. It is a worthless waste of time and emotion.
So, there you have it. Out of the fog of 2021 (how appropriate the year ended in a state of mental fog?) and into the light. It is going to be a good year despite what goes on in the world around us. By staying connected to God and focusing on living a life that is full of loving kindness to all who cross my path I can’t go wrong and the trail I leave in my wake will make the world a better place. What more can we ask for in life?
I’m a clinger. I cling to those I love, the things I love (or think I might use again one day), and I cling to ways of thinking that are no longer productive. Letting go of any of these lifestyle choices is frightening. The “what if” monster starts whispering in my ear and fear of the unknown takes up residence in my brain.
Now, before I go any farther down this rabbit hole, I need to make something quite clear. I have not fallen into the realm of satan and I have not lost my faith. Quite the contrary. During the past few months, as I draw nearer to God and Jesus, I have begun to see and hear, evaluate and either accept or dismiss spiritual concepts that, prior to this, I automatically dismissed because they didn’t fit with my traditional view of God and the world. I was simply unable to ask questions or think anything outside the mainstream; it was too frightening. I had to cling to the belief system as I had come to know it or what else is there?
Then God began doing an amazing work in me. I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe that when I am in tune with God, listening and waiting for Him to guide me, He is right there with me. I read Holy Scripture, meditate on what I read and know that in the fullness of His time, God will reveal his truth to me and increase my understanding. This is just one of the gifts given to us when Jesus came to earth and then died a sacrificial death. We no longer need high priests to mediate for us with God. We can go directly to the source. Thank you Jesus!
The human mind is finite. We can only know and absorb so much before our brains short circuit and we shut down. A discussion this week with a friend about people with brilliant minds who burn out early made me think about this phenomenon. God knows what, how much and when I can handle deeper revelations about Him and the universe He created. God is huge. I always heard, “Don’t put God in a box.” I am now seeing I have lived as if I knew all I needed to know about God because I have studied the Bible. I delved into original languages; I even went to a Bible College so that I would know the truth and be set free. For a while my human arrogance, armed with this knowledge set about to show folks what I knew. It didn’t end well.
Now I take everything I learned and I sit with God and let Him teach me. I pray to Jesus, “teacher, teach me.” I am their sponge. Not amazingly, one by one tiny little scales are falling from my eyes and I am beginning to see things with a deeper field of vision. I am more sensitive to God’s movements in my life and am seeing my life in a brighter light.
I used to dismiss any idea of cosmic energy, energy from so called inanimate objects as new age hoo-haw, aka nonsense in my language. But, like so much in my universe lately, I am rethinking this concept particularly as it applies to the spiritual realm.
While worshipping crystals is clearly pagan idolatry, I look at who created crystals…rocks, stones, dirt, water, air….and think, God made those too. They are part of creation; could they bear some kind energy? Could they be more than the sum total of their molecules? I have no clue. But still, I wonder.
In another conversation with my same friend, he shared a concept from quantum physics that made my head spin. He explained in a way that my brain could grasp. The theory states that what we see doesn’t exist until we look at it. If I stooped to using emojis here I would definitely add both the mind blown and shocked face emojis to express how I felt when I heard this idea. Since I do not have a scientific mind, I found the following quote to be sure I could explain what he was talking about.
Let’s take a look at some interesting quantum experiments that point toward the mind-dependent character of reality… Fundamentally, we’ve got a situation in which reality at the quantum level does not exist until it is observed.
Bruce Gordon, Physicist, Mind Matters Podcast April 20, 2021.
The Energy Of Stuff
I wrote all that simply to say, I think there is energy that exists around objects. The things we cling to or are simply a part of the background noise of our lives – all things possess a certain energy. This is where I know I might loose some of you, but hang in with me.
Yesterday I told the story of the furniture that came to live with us last week. What I didn’t talk about was what I got rid of to make room for that furniture. This is an epic story of clinging to something far too long.
In 1984 (or thereabouts) I purchased a solid oak draw leaf dining room table, two Queen Anne style wing back chairs, and a vintage sewing table. All from approximately 1900-1940. I loved these pieces of furniture. I was married to my first husband who had bought the home we lived in without telling me he was doing it. I bought these pieces of furniture without asking him. Tit for tat. Almost. When I left him about a year and a half later I took these with me. I moved into my first apartment as a single person with just these items and my personal effects. Since that time I have moved them in and out of three different apartments before coming home to Stately Means Manor. Finally, I took them to use in my store before coming back home for good. I thought I loved them. I thought that they were important. Until I watched them loaded onto a truck and taken away to be donated.
I thought I would feel something. I felt nothing.
A few days later I realized that I am different. I am thinking about things in a new and different way. I feel lighter; more focused and free. Could it be that the negative energy from an unhappy marriage has been sitting in my home and my business all these years? I never thought about them in terms of the relationship. I saw them as tangible evidence of me taking a stand and doing something on my own. In truth, I outgrew them. I am finally allowing myself to be who I was created to be. I breaking free of being the person I think I should be and becoming just me. Letting go of the things and any energy connected with them has opened a new window into my soul and there is light shining both in and radiating out of me.
I have way more stuff to let go of and now I feel equipped and emboldened to do it. Things, whose very presence in my life, weigh me down. Things that a few months ago I thought I couldn’t live without. I am ready for them to find new homes. As Marie Kondo espouses in her theories of organization and possession – I ask myself, “Does this spark joy?” I now have a true frame of reference to determine joy vs comfortable. Do I keep these things because they are familiar and comfortable or because they bring joy into my life? Do they represent the life I want to create or are they part of a past that should remain in the past?
All this is a process, a journey that each of us walks in a different way and for different reasons. Some of you will resonate with my experience and others of you will think I have lost my ever-loving mind. And that is fine. It could be a little of each, but this is my path and all I see ahead of me is the soft glow of God’s love and light drawing me forward.