Tag Archives: Las Vegas

The Three “R’s”

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Not the ones we learned in grade school…

The world is filled with turmoil.  Sickness, discord, violence and tragedy fill the nightly news.  Just this week a gunman opened fire on a huge group of concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing dozens and wounding hundreds more.  I am still trying to wrap my head around the depravity, sickness, hatred and evil that could cause a human being to inflict such violence on a crowd of innocent strangers.

I am not a political person and this is not a political post.  This is just a collection of my thoughts about how very tired I am…tired of the anger and violence that bombard us all with increasing, and alarming, frequency these days.  I need some R&R…& more R.

“R&R” is an old expression for “Rest & Relaxation”.  We ALL need those things from time to time, especially nowadays, in this world where we are constantly overloaded with noise, lights, motion and nonstop stimulation.  It is easy to become burnt-out, frazzled and fried, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Rest and relaxation sound wonderful, but they can be difficult to achieve.

For me, this is where the third “R” comes in…RETREAT.  In order to achieve rest and relaxation, sometimes we need to RETREAT from our normal surroundings, even if it is only for a few days, or hours.  Even 15 or 20 minutes to change our scenery during a hectic, stressful day can be a lifesaver.

I’ve always been a big believer in the benefits of aromatherapy and how pleasant scents can make us feel better.  The right fragrance can calm or energize us, improving our moods and bringing us back to center.  Candles, potpourri, incense and the comforting aromas of favorite foods cooking can all provide a sense of retreat from the stress of the world outside, facilitating the ability to rest and relax.

Recently I have been lighting candles again, a small indulgence I have always enjoyed but in recent years have neglected.  The mesmerizing glow of a candle’s flame, and the peaceful scent that lingers even after the candle is extinguished, change my environment…and thus, change me.  I can focus my eyes, my breathing, and my heart and mind, on that flame and that fragrance.  I can retreat to a place that relaxes me.  And I can rest.  And after that, I can go back out into my world and do what needs doing.  I can be who and what I need to be, both for myself and for the people around me.

It’s a small thing, really…but it is also huge.  Especially in a world that depletes, attacks and bombards us with so much sadness, noise and frenetic activity, we need to find ways to rest, relax..and retreat.

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“Rest and self-care are so important.  When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow.  You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”—Eleanor Brown

 

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Gifted

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Everything in my life came from somewhere…

Sometimes I am just plain overwhelmed by how gifted my life has been.  It seems as though everywhere I look, there is something to be grateful for, some gift I’ve been given that warms my heart.  Whether tangible or not, gifts surround me.

As I chose today’s clothes and accessories to wear to work, it dawned on me that many of the things I’m wearing were gifts from important people in my life.  The denim jacket with the Cinetel logo embroidered on it came from my friend Sam, who gave it to me as he was moving away from the area years ago.  I was too large to wear it when he gave it to me, but since weight loss surgery and shrinkage have happened, it now fits with room to spare.  It’s a warm reminder of Sam’s friendship and the laughs we’ve shared over the years we’ve known each other.  When I wear it, it’s like a hug from him.

I am wearing the Vicki treble clef earrings and the Olivia bracelet I mentioned in an earlier post called “Hand Made”, shiny reminders of these beautiful women whose lives have touched mine as we crossed paths through faith and music.  Such gifts are a tribute to their thoughtfulness.  While I treasure the jewelry (and I definitely do!) I treasure the women and their friendship even more.  Each of them is entering a new phase of life right now.  Vicki is getting married in 2 weeks and Olivia is finishing up her doctorate and about to begin a new teaching position.  My prayers are with them both as they continue on the paths God has set for them.

On our last adventure trip to Las Vegas, Sweet Pea and I drove out into the desert to Primm, where there is a huge outlet shopping place.  That drive into the desert was astonishing, the rugged beauty of jagged rocks and a huge sky overwhelming me with a view so different from home.  That is where my white gold emerald and diamond anniversary ring came from, which I am also wearing today.  It was an early 19th wedding anniversary present.  The ring is beautiful and I love it…but the relationship with my husband is the true gift.  The ring serves as a reminder of what really matters.

I also wear a little silver bead and crystal cross bracelet.  This came from my cousin Judy.  She slipped it onto my wrist last August on a hot, muggy morning.  It was the morning we buried Aunt Ruby and my cousins had asked me to conduct her graveside service.  I think Judy knew I’d need a little extra strength for the day, and the bracelet carried her love and prayers with it.  It continues to do so and I wear it with love and gratitude.

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Thanksgiving following Aunt Ruby’s passing, our family gathered at my cousin Holly’s house for the first time without Aunt Ruby’s presence among us.  It was a bittersweet day, with both laughter and tears as we remembered the joy of Thanksgivings past when we gathered at Aunt Ruby’s house on Arnold Street.  My cousins presented me with a gorgeous pair of earrings, a love gift for preaching Aunt Ruby’s funeral and a reminder of the many roles she had served in our family, among them, the resident ear-piercer.  And the gem of choice?  Rubies.  Of course.  Doubly meaningful because Aunt Ruby’s name was also Mama’s birthstone.

 

 

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Everything I have, material and otherwise, came from someplace, from someone.  As meaningful and special as the material gifts are, they are just reminders of the true gifts, which are the people whose lives touch mine and the Lord Who brought all of it together in the first place.  He put me in the family He chose for me and brought into my path the friends He knew I would need to make my life rich, fun, musical and colorful.  

So yes, in all honesty, I can say that I am indeed greatly gifted.