The Evergreen Journal #43_ The Evergreen Stairway – Stop!
The Evergreen Journal #43 –
The Evergreen Stairway
©Lynda McKinney Lambert, 2022. All rights reserved.
Through the months and seasonal changes of 2022, I continued to explore the word, Evergreen.
By writing a series of weekly blog posts for The Evergreen Journal, I could stay focused on my theme for the year, which helped me grow in many areas of my daily life.
As I move closer to the completion of this year, I discover that living an evergreen-type of life brings me to some thoughts about what it all means on a day-to-day basis.
I think of this like stepping onto an Evergreen Stairway.
I can break it down into three steps that help me daily. I began to think about when I first realized that in just three little steps, I could start making significant changes that are practical and easy to remember.
Several years ago, I was invited to be a guest on a podcast. As I prepared for a discussion for that podcast, I wanted to encourage or inspire other people. This is a priority when I can do public speaking engagements. Here are some basic steps that I practice regularly.
What did I discover?
What was helpful?
What could I share?
I have three steps to bring awareness and redirect me in my creative life of making art and writing.
My three steps are
STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.
Today’s article will focus on STOP.
Look and Listen are topics I’ll
discuss in the next two articles.
STOP on purpose.
Be intentional in how you will begin to set aside and create space for STOP in your daily life.
Take a break from everything and do it every day.
One of my favorite television shopping show hosts always says,
“You need to stop what you are doing and pay attention.”
When the television is on, and I hear her say this, I laugh. Then, as I listen to her say it, I realize it works. I do STOP. I often pause wherever I am and see what she is selling.
When we intentionally stop to rest during the day, we can think better, solve complex problems, and have a more positive outlook. So it does wonders for us to take those breaks.
I can think better after a good rest.
I practice some simple activities that help me stop what I am doing. I’ll give a few examples, and I know you will have other ideas that will work for you, too.
I have three ways to stop at some point almost every day. So I turned them into three daily habits.
I know you will have ideas that will work in your own life.
Morning is an excellent time to begin the day with a prayer.
I like to begin the day with a conversation with God. Sometimes, it is at the dining room table as I sit down to have breakfast. Other times, I sit on a comfortable chair or sofa with a cup of hot coffee or tea.
But, the unusual place where I like to pray is in my old-fashioned porcelain-clad cast iron bathtub, which is about a hundred years old.
It’s in the upstairs bathroom. Thankful prayers flow out of my mouth as I enjoy the warm water, the delicate scent and bubbles, and the time alone with God. I look around at the bathroom and I always ask a blessing on my daughter, Heidi, and her husband, Jerry, for making this old room into a special place of joy and comfort. Some years ago, they came here and repaired the old cracked plaster and my husband, Bob, painted the room with colors we love.
I always begin my prayers with thank-you messages in my heart. I don’t have a particular format that I follow. I do not do rituals or any kind of memorized prayers. I don’t follow any man-made rules for praying. Instead, I just talk with God like a best friend, and the conversation begins wherever I am.
One thing I will usually do, though, is to put on the armor of God for the day. This is actually a prayer of protection for a Christian who is a follower of Jesus. I learned to do that last year when I was reading the book of Ephesians. You can read about this HERE in chapter six if you want to know more.
And, yes, I almost forgot to mention that laughter is usually part of the experience in my prayer time with God.
And, sometimes, tears.
My prayers break through the silence of my peaceful solitary home as God brings to my mind some of the most personal moments in our joyful encounters.
I also stop for a rest during the day.
When I was working, I could take a rest break in the afternoon between two classes. I would close the door to my office and take some private time to rest and refresh my mind and body before rushing off to the next classroom. On a couple of days, I had a two-hour break before I had to be at my night classes. I could have my afternoon meal and still have some time to rest before walking across campus to begin the night class. I learned to squeeze in resting time on any particular day, no matter my schedule.
Now that I am retired, I don’t have to rush about so much. I don’t have to begin my days at 4 am in the gym, then rush off to drive to work. I can be much more flexible at this stage in my life. I take time out to rest. Sometimes, I fall asleep for an hour or so, and other times, I am quiet and stretch out on the couch to linger awhile. My two dogs know this is downtime; they go to their beds nearby and they also rest. My cats always disappear for their afternoon naps by eleven AM. Our home is a sanctuary of rest and peace during this time in the afternoon.
Rest is an integral part of my day because it rejuvenates my body and mind. Therefore, rest is a comfort and a blessing in my daily routine.
While resting, I am not planning or thinking about anything I need to do. Instead, I am simply surrendering myself to God with no restrictions or expectations.
Sudden stops are beyond our control.
I don’t want to ignore that sometimes we are forced to stop by circumstances we encounter. Those stops can be heart-breaking events that nobody would like to face. Unfortunately, I’ve had my share of those kinds of endings, too.
I think about various times when I was forced to stop.
Think about when you were forced to come to a complete stop that you could never have planned in advance.
Those are the tough times when we feel like the world has stopped moving and everything seems to fall apart. You think yourself unraveling.
If we have already started taking rests and praying, we have built a response that will be with us during those hard times, too. We become more flexible and more attuned to the circumstances, and we know that even when we go through tough times, we will come out of that place intact. We know how to become still and listen to God because He is already a part of our everyday life.
Let’s stop here for a bit of rest, and next week, I’ll continue with the next step – We will talk about LOOKING and SEEING.
Thanks for stopping by today.
Tell me what you think about taking time for rest during the day.
How do you take time out for recharging your spirit, mind and body each day?
This book is currently in production at Perkins Library, for distribution through the library and through NLS (BARD).
MY NEW book is a thoughtful and joyous collection of my poetry, stories, memoirs, photography, and reflections from 1985 – 2021.
Songs for the Pilgrimage
is being recorded by Polly Slavet. at Perkins Library right now. It will be available on BARD very soon.
Watch for this release
Read some of my poem as published in Magnets & Ladders, Fall/Winter edition, 2022-23: Here.