2020 Hindsight (Words to Live By)

Definition of twenty-twenty hindsight

the full knowledge and complete understanding that one has about an event only after it has happened

I am not a resolution person, but I do believe in goal setting. And more than that, I believe that knowledge is power. I’ve come out of 2020, like many of you—wounded, weary and (hopefully) wiser. In the midst of all of the uncertainty of the past year, I’ve collected these tidbits…lessons learned in a year that no one could have anticipated.

Chase your stars fool, life is short. —Atticus Time is finite. Everything has an expiration date. I’m not a YOLO person, in fact, I actually hate that phrase because it connotes a sense of recklessness. Living life fully and chasing your dreams does require risk, but I don’t believe it has to be reckless. 2020 has taught me to live more fully in the present. Don’t just pause, but stop. Look people in the eye, listen more, (respectfully) speak your mind and remind yourself that you’re stronger than you think.

Everything you go through grows you. —Unknown Related to these wise words is a quote from Nelson Mandela, “I never lose. I either win or learn.” Life is hard, hearts get broken but how we respond to these things sets the course for how we move forward. Growing pains hurt and are often uncomfortable, but it’s vital that we learn to grow with grace.

We repeat what we don’t repair. #speaklife Most of us choose NOT to deal with emotions, past hurts, traumas, and especially grief. While this strategy may work in the short term, we all know that suppressing those feelings only causes us more pain in the end. And in worst-case scenarios, burying those hurts can cause us to act out in unhealthy ways and hurt ourselves or others. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes you have to rip off the bandaid to truly heal.

I am the kind of person who will restart a song because I got distracted and wasn’t appreciating it enough. —Unknown I’ve been known to do this…a lot! As I age, I realize more and more the value of giving something or someone your full, undivided attention. It’s harder than you might think, but worth it in the end. Always.

Stand close to people who feel like sunshine. —Unknown In parenting circles, a common rule of thumb is to make sure you know your kids’ friends. Children are greatly influenced by their peers and research shows that attitude is directly influenced by the five people you spend the most time with. To some degree, these same stats can be applied across all age groups. That being said, choose wisely. The company you keep has a direct correlation to your happiness and well-being.

The way we treat people we disagree with the most is a report card on what we’ve learned about love. —Bob Goff This is a tough one. I wholeheartedly believe in extending grace and kindness, but this is easier said than done. In today’s cancel culture and divisive political climate, it’s important to remember that no one moment or phrase defines any one person. We are all multi-faceted, complicated, imperfect people who make mistakes. How we respond to one another in moments like this exposes our true character.

Be careful who you trust. Salt and sugar look the same. —Unknown I thank God every day for the gift of intuition. While I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, I have learned many times over that not everyone has your best interest in mind and that not all intentions are good. Guard your heart.

No response is a response. —Unknown No response is hard and difficult. No response is rejection and hurt feelings…and no response is in fact a response. Despite our best efforts, we don’t always get the outcomes we desire.

Anger is just sad’s bodyguard. —Unknown I’ve noticed two dominant emotions during the past year…sadness and anger. I had never given much thought to these emotions as a pair, but can clearly see the connection now. Dealing with loss, having to hear “no” and living in fear of the virus has caused a large number of us to become defensive and mad. Viewing this anger as a result of sadness and disappointment helps us to see each other differently and respond with sensitivity.

Gut feelings are guardian angels. Listen to them. —Unknown I think women have the hardest time with this lesson. We’ve been taught to be nice and make nice. This is all well and good, but don’t do it at the expense of your well-being, peace of mind or safety. Trust your gut!

it is no small thing / to sing in the rain —courage Humans are resilient, 2020 has taught us that if nothing else. It may take a while, but don’t give up on yourself or a situation! What a testimony it is to learn to “sing” in the rain!

Grief is learning to live with someone in your heart instead of your arms. —Unknown This has been the hardest lesson. One that I’m continuing to learn, understand, and struggle with on a daily basis…my mother is gone from this earth but continues to live in me and in all those who loved her dearly.

Praying blessings, purpose and joy abound in 2021.

Cling to what is good… Romans 12:9

Hooray…It’s My Blog-iversary

Dear Readers,
BIG THANKS to those of you who have been following my blog, hymningandhaing.com. As my blog enters its fifth year, I am proud of the 83 posts I have penned to date and the positive feedback that I have received—it fuels my desire to write more! I am grateful for the fun comments, insights, post shares and encouraging words that you have offered throughout my blogging endeavor.  I look forward to 2016 and all the writing opportunities it will bring!

Happy blog-iversary, hymningandhaing.com!!!

You can also follow my blog via the website www.butlercountytimesgazette.com

You can also follow my blog via the website http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com

A Few of My Favorite Things (2014 in Review)

My favorite things often have a story behind them….  –Amy Sedaris

As 2014 winds down the countdown to New Year’s Day 2015 begins.  It’s at this time every year that we’re all subjected to the top news stories, songs, movies, television shows, etc. of the past twelve months (just in case we forgot.)  We’re also treated to the “best of” and “worst of” inventories for just about every subject under the sun.  And since we’ve already suffered through the roll call of Oprah and Ellen’s favorite things, I thought it was time that I got into the act with a list of my own (never mind the fact that I’m not a talk show host or a celebrity!)  So enjoy (or is it endure?) a few of MY favorite things from 2014 🙂

  • Favorite Song:  “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors  This upbeat song hit my radar this spring and really spoke to me as a call to approach each day as an amazing blessing.  I wrote about this song in a previous blog post and labeled it my personal “walk up song” for 2014.  This fun little anthem encourages one to be young, to see each day as a new opportunity, and to wholeheartedly believe in the limitless possibilities of good and joy in this life.  It’s a toe-tapping, high energy, nonsensical call to be AWESOME each and every day.
  • book

    “Sundays in America” by Suzanne Strempek Shea

    Favorite Book I Read:  “Sundays in America” by Suzanne Strempek Shea  I came upon this book by accident or sheer laziness (you decide.)  My daughter and I happened to be at the local library during an unusually heavy downpour.  We had already finished up in the children’s book section, when the thought of facing the rain seemed idiotic (a lifelong Kansan…I knew it would let up in 5-10 minutes.)  So rather than get drenched, we moseyed over to the religion section of the library and this little goodie caught my eye.  It was the subtitle that really sold me:  A Yearlong Road Trip in Search of Christian Faith.  In journal form, the author offers up insight as she sets out to visit a different church every Sunday for a year.  Her journey takes her across every region of the country, including Hawaii.  As a self-proclaimed “Church Nerd,” I found this book to be very eye-opening, offering up moments of hope and reflection while inciting a few sad and squeamish realizations about the Christian faith and how it is received and perceived.  An easy read…fellow “Church Nerds” should make it a point to check this book out.

  • Favorite Item Purchased:  Fire Pit  Let me start by saying that I am both equally terrified and mesmerized by fire!  Yet nothing soothes my spirit like hanging out around a fire pit.  Watching the flames dance around under a star-filled sky is my ultimate idea of relaxation.  No item that we have purchased in the last year has brought this much excitement to every member of our family.  While the kiddos have enjoyed having friends over to share in the fun, they seem to be just as content to hang out with their Dad and I.  And I’m all for anything that brings everyone together for an evening (with minimal bickering, of course!)
  • sue drinks coffeeFavorite TV Show:  “The Middle”  The kiddos first stumbled upon this show in reruns and I wasn’t exactly hooked (at first.)  In fact, I was more insulted than anything.  Somehow, my children got it into their little brains that our family was just like the fictitious Hecks and that as “Mom” I was relegated to the “Frankie” character.  This scatter-brained, (often times) sad excuse for a mother was supposedly me?  No way!  I refused to accept such a role and couldn’t believe my kiddos could put me in the same category.  Yet, over time I came to appreciate this TV family.  In their own unique way, the Hecks love each other, look after each other, and in so many ways this imperfect family is absolutely relatable on a number of levels.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that I still find the “Frankie” reference insulting (let the record show that Sue is my favorite character,) but 2014 has brought about a new appreciation for “Frankie” and this dysfunctional (yet adorable) family sitcom.  You can find it in reruns on a variety of channels, or for new episodes check out ABC on Wednesday nights.
  • Favorite Snack:  S’mores  Okay, since we now have a fire pit, s’mores have earned the top spot for favorite snack of 2014.  While traditionally I am a nachos kind of person, s’mores have gained prominence as the treat of choice.  Funny thing is, that while I could probably eat a pound of nachos…I generally just want one s’more.  Maybe that’s another reason to eat more s’mores!  One little tidbit of advice that I will offer up…we’ve discovered that regular size marshmallows work best.  They toast quickly and provide the right proportion of marshmallow to chocolate to graham cracker ratio.  After experimenting with campfire (extra-large sized) marshmallows and marshmallow squares, we’ve discovered that these varieties seriously affect the ratios.  TIP:  If you just want toasted marshmallows go BIG or square, otherwise for traditional s’mores regular-sized marshmallows are best.  Yummy 🙂
  • Favorite Product to Hit the Supermarket Shelf: Peet’s Coffee  As a coffee lover I am pretty much Starbucks all the time.  However, whenever I visit the San Francisco Bay Area, for me it has to be Peet’s Coffee.  Later, when I found out that they sold Peet’s at the supermarkets in Northern Cali…well I just had to have that AND buy enough to bring some home to Kansas after a trip.  Now…you won’t believe what I found on the supermarket shelf?  Peet’s Coffee in KANSAS!  People, this is exciting!!!  This coffee is so amazing…strong, rich, full flavor…perfect 🙂  I went through a bag in a blink and I can’t wait to buy more–locally!  Hooray, hooray…such a happy day!  Jump on to their website for supermarket locations near you.  http://www.peets.com/
  • Favorite Podcast: Freakonomics  My husband first introduced me to Freakonomics a few years ago.  He came across the documentary on Netflix.  Later I found out about the book and the blog.  Finally, I discovered the podcast!  For “News Nerds” like me this is awesome!  Freakonomics is the product of a journalist and an economist.  Together, they uncover the hidden side of everything (their tagline, not mine.)  Both educational and extremely entertaining this is my weekly go-to for information and insight.  Each podcast is about 40-45 minutes long and they cover a variety of topics.  A little something for everyone.
  • Favorite Place to Shop:  Ulta  I have loved playing with make-up since I was a teenager.  So as I near 40, you would think that I would be over it.  NOT!  Enter Ulta, the make-up mega store.  It has just about every make-up product known to (wo)man, in every shade imaginable, and at prices to fit all budgets.  I could spend hours in there.  As far as make-up goes I’m pretty traditional and extremely conservative, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to look.  Orange lipstick, green eyeliner, purple fingernails…yes, I am intrigued (even if I’d never have the guts to wear any of it!)
  • IMG_0622

    Snapped this photo while cleaning the kitchen! With the Tadaa SLR app your photo can go from “cleaning up” to looking all “cleaned up” with just a few tweaks. Love this app!

    Favorite iPhone App:  Tadaa SLR  I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet knows that I love to take photos.  Now that our phones are our cameras, this makes taking pictures easy and a full-time hobby without all the gear.  I have tried and use a lot of photo apps on my iPhone, but this year’s stand out is Tadaa SLR.  With features that let you adjust the focus and depth, blur with precision (it also includes all the standard editing features) this app makes me feel like a professional photographer (even if it’s only in my head!)  Seriously, at only $2 this is definitely an app worth having and it’s so easy you’ll wonder what you ever did without it!  HONORABLE MENTION:  Wal-mart Savings Catcher because I am a mother on a budget!

  • Favorite Lesson Learned:  GOD’S CONSTANT PROVISION.  I could write a whole book about this line alone!  Going into 2014 I knew there would be one big hurdle for our family life.  (In fact, I heard that little voice as early as December 2013.)  And just as surely as I had been warned, these things came to be.  Without going into too much detail, let me say that God has provided time and time again.  And He has provided in ways and with means that I would never have expected and all in His perfect timing.  Whenever I should have been stressed out and overcome with worry/fear I knew and felt God’s presence.  I’m sure it was maddening for those around me to see that I wasn’t worried (heaven knows I found other things to worry about!)  But let me tell you that we always had what we needed exactly when we needed it!  Friends, God is good–all the time!  I won’t pretend to know God’s plans or why I needed to learn the lesson of provision, but I am grateful for it and I know that it serves a larger purpose in our family’s faith walk.

That pretty much sums it up!  Like the popular song from the Sound of Music…these are a few of my favorite things.  Well, 10 of my favorite things anyway 🙂  Would love to hear about some of your “best of” or “worst of” items from this past year.

Looking forward to learning, growing and discovering new things in 2015!