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BROKEN ORNAMENTS ARE LIKE LIFE III

2021 Holiday Message from Arline Miller, blogger for Sipping Cups of Inspiration: As we were hanging our interior wreath which has some of the vintage ornaments we display in a high position to keep safe, I straightened some of the ornaments and noticed the Raggedy Ann and Andy was broken. I guess it happened after we took it down. My heart wouldn’t allow me to take it down so I turned it to a position the broken part was not visible. It happens and makes this post more relevant in life as well. Have a Merry Christmas and let us pray for a Happy New Year keeping all of us safe and sharing peace in this world.

Here is our vintage wreath and you can see Raggedy Ann & Andy in their sled.

Since we are blessed with nine grandchildren and one of them still in toddler stage, I bypassed putting up our traditional tree and went with an interesting Cardinal Tree with hand painted birdhouses by the grandchildren with a Granddaddy and Nana two hole birdhouse as the topper. No breakable ornaments to worry about. We had one of the grands here with us yesterday (in the photo) who thought the birds looked real and the tree was awesome. It reminded me of this post I wrote in 2016 about the similarity between broken ornaments and broken lives. Maybe it needs repeating. May your holidays be filled with many moment of love and may all of your ornaments and lives stay in one piece.  

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Jonas Miller finding his birdhouse ornament on our Christmas tree 2018

    Here is the original blog message: BROKEN ORNAMENTS ARE LIKE BROKEN LIVES  

TODAY THE WORDS are BROKEN ORNAMENTS.  On this morning, my mind went to a place of remembrance of how it feels to lose something or as you will see “someone”. A lot of times in my writing, in order to put feelings in simpler terms, I use what I can replacement memories. If it is something we can relate to everyday or normal events, it is somehow easier to get a point across to others or at least it can make common sense. Most of us have our Christmas trees, or if not, we have occasions which have ornaments or displays which have a value to them and to us when we show them to the world. As a Christian, we have the decorated Christmas tree to celebrate Christmas season. For most of us, we start early collecting the ornaments, and even though the monetary worth is usually low; the emotional worth can be priceless. We unwrap them very carefully and hang them and a lot of Wow, Ooh, and Aah’s are heard as the ornaments are hung. Some have their “spots” to be hung; some even are hung in order. We add new ones each year but it is the older ones we cherish more and are so protective. My thoughts bring me to a sad thought of opening a box of ornaments, however carefully wrapped and cared for, finding one broken or even more than one and it is devastating. It doesn’t matter how many other wonderful, shiny ornaments we have; it is the loss of this one which takes our heart and crushes it. Even though the tree will still be beautiful, we know one of the best ornaments is no longer going to hang around and allow us to look at it and recall the years it has been around.  This photo occurred a few days ago and it was so ironic that it would be this ornament that I had bought when my daughter’s cat became intrigued by the ornaments on the tree and decided to knock them off and push them down the stairs. After all of these years, about 20 that I have had that funny ornament, it came apart while hanging it and broke.

Yep, it happened. It is ironic that after 20 years, it finally broke without a cat around.

I see the same thing in life and now for the thought given to my heart…..Life is like the Christmas tree. We start life with a tree with some ornaments and we begin to add ornaments such as family and friends. Our tree begins with few and usually ends up with many lovely additions or “ornaments”. We, as loving people, take care of our “ornaments” by taking care of our siblings, starting our own families, and making sure our parents (the oldest ornaments and highly cherished) are cared for by wrapping them with love and care. Once in a while, one of the newer ornaments fall suddenly, without warning and are broken beyond repair and it is a tragedy. Some of the ornaments age and have to be cared for and repaired. They become fragile and we handle them carefully. When they finally break, and we can no longer have them on our tree; we feel their absence; we gaze at the tree and remember the missing ornaments while enjoying the new ornaments such as grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and new friends. It is impossible to tell when an ornament is going to break; all we can do is carefully wrap and enjoy each breathtaking moment we can share with them while we have them to enjoy. Live life; love life; and live life to the fullest by cherishing each wonderful moment and when you have a chance to say I Love You; Say It!

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

John 14:1-4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

(c) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for reference credit.

AT LEAST BUDDY WAS THANKFUL!

BUDDY’S ESCAPE

Buddy, the tan Chihuahua, who came into our lives and went out as fast as he came in. He left an impression that will stay forever in our hearts. No one knows where Buddy came from and no one is sure what his given name was in his previous life. Buddy, however left his paw print on every heart he met while he was on the road.

One morning I happened to see a post in our subdivision about a small dog loose in our neighborhood. There were many sightings of the illusive Chihuahua here and there and a few pictures and it seemed no one could catch this charming but skittish wanderer. He didn’t look like he had been on nature’s environment very long but once the sightings were confirmed from several weeks, it became important to ensure his safety from traffic and other risks.

One of the residents noticed he would follow another dog, so they enticed him into a back yard using another neighbor’s dog. It took some time to get him to enter their home and it was a little scary to see how Buddy, his new name, would interact with her two dogs, a gorgeous golden retriever and a black and white beautiful Papillion. He seemed to be more comfortable with the dogs so wherever he came from, there were other dogs.

Jessica, the lady of the house and Buddy’s rescuer, fell in love with him immediately and I agree he was a charmer even though he was hesitant, even resistant with human approach. Being patient with him, Buddy decided to start following her around the house. Over the next few days while they posted and called trying to find his real owner, Buddy became conservatively comfortable.

Jessica’s husband felt they had enough dogs already and decided they could not keep three dogs and felt they had no choice but to send Buddy to a no kill shelter who came recommended by a pet caretaker service. Jessica’s heart broke and apparently, Buddy’s heart was broken too. He had chosen Jessica as his new owner and couldn’t understand why he had to leave. Here is how we came into the picture.

I had been following Buddy’s story and was elated when I saw that a neighbor had taken Buddy into their home. My heart jumped with joy being a dog lover myself. I sighed a big breath of relief as it was frightening knowing that little fur baby was wandering the streets. I was happy and was hoping Buddy’s owners would see the announcement and come for him. If they didn’t, he was in a good home. Then I saw the post they were planning on taking Buddy to a shelter and my heart screamed, “We will take him in, and Buster can have a “buddy” to play with.

Buster is our Papillion mix and is black with a white chest patch. He was a rescued puppy and we had to work with him on social skills so we hoped he would accept Buddy without incident since Buddy was skittish. We were excited and apprehensive at the same time but was determined no shelter for Buddy. We were experienced in rescue dogs since all our dogs have been rescued and those precious dogs are another set of stories themselves but for another time.

We thought Buster should have a “Buddy” . Here is Buster with Greg doing what he loves to do, Ride!
Buster tried to be a buddy to Buddy, but Buddy wasn’t having it.

We made the contact with our neighbors who had Buddy and I should have picked up on a hint since they hesitated and took a very long time to bring our new bundle of joy. We waited and waited and then Greg, my husband called them. They were coming in their golf cart with Buddy.

As they drove up, she had a tight hold on Buddy and of course he looked frightened but he didn’t try to jump out of my arms and allowed me to put the collar and leash on him and rub him while Jessica cried and made me promise that if it didn’t work out, she wanted me to call her. I agreed but felt we would spoil Buddy and would have no problems. Little did I know what we were getting into and the dilemma we would face.

Buddy ate that night and he and Buster even played together. We watched Buster not even bark at Buddy. My husband and I thought it was wonderful to see them bonding as this was the biggest threat or at least that is what we thought. Wrong!

I am not sure if Buddy looked at me as the enemy and the thief who stole him out of his owner’s arms, but I have never had any dog, even aggressive tagged dogs, to resist my loving. Buddy would look at me with almost humanistic eyes with questioning why I had done such a vile thing. I had dealt with dog’s nature all my life and thought with a little time, Buddy would come to love me. For some reason, he followed Greg around and I thought that was good and a step forward. Buddy slept all night and we looked forward to the next day.

We have a doggie door and Buddy had either used one before or he is just extremely smart. The first evening and the next morning both he and Buster went out with Greg and me. We watched both dogs play and romp and chase each other. I saw several submissive plays by each one and was elated. We felt we had a new baby and Buster’s BFF. Oh, how we were deceived by this escape artist.

After feeling contented they were playing together as if they had known each other for a while, I went back in the house to finish getting dressed and to make some business calls. For some reason, I thought the dogs came back in the house when Greg came in and announced he was going to get a collar and name tag with our info. We planned on taking Buddy to the vet clinic to check for a chip when we realized he hadn’t had the scan for a chip. As much as we were excited about having him, it was only fair we check as we would want someone to check Buster in case he got out and became lost.

To be clear, these events happened in a few minutes that I will explain. I walked into the living room and saw Buster come in the doggie door. It had already been established the night before that Buster would come in first and Buddy would follow. I waited a few seconds and didn’t see Buddy’s head pop through the door. I looked out in the yard and I didn’t see him. Jessica had explained he sat in the corner until he felt comfortable. I called Greg on his cell and asked if the dogs had come in with him. Apparently, they did come in but had gone back out, but Greg thought they were in the house.

My search began with looking in each room, under each bed, and in closets. I started to panic and called Greg back. He assured me that it was okay, and he was probably hiding. I went back to the yard and tried to see if I could tell if he had escaped. I didn’t see the small hole behind a hose hung on the fence or I would have panicked earlier than I did.

Greg came back and checked and found the hole, so the neighborhood search was on. Greg and I took turns manning the vehicle with Buster riding shot gun. We searched and searched with each round through the neighborhood causing our hopes to sink. We received a call from Jessica, Buddy had returned to their home and dug under the fence. That should have been our sign, but we went and brought Buddy back home. Buster was happy and even Buddy looked happy. Did we have a surprise coming?

The next morning, with everything seemingly going smoothly, our new little pair of fur babies, went out the doggie door, playing together, and frolicking. Greg asked where Buster and Buddy were. He went out the back door and at that very moment spotted Buddy had dug a new hole and after taking one last goodbye look at Greg, darted under the fence and vanished. Greg walked back as I was coming out the door, said “Honey, Buddy is not our dog and he has made up his mind who his owner is and it’s not us.”

All I could think is Buddy was out again and the fear of him getting hurt was bearing on my mind. The search began again, and Buster couldn’t figure out why his new friend kept leaving. Well, it became clear to Greg and to Buster when they found Buddy on the porch at Jessica’s home. The Buddy Adventure was over. He had claimed his new home and Jessica and her husband had a new owner. At first, we, including Buster, were sad and a little disappointed and then we thought about it. When an animal chooses a human, that will is so much stronger than when we humans choose a dog to be ours.

Buster with Duchess playing keep away/tug.

I am happy to say Buster is doing great with his new “sister” Duchess and from all accounts Buddy is safe at his home with his chosen family.

Written by Arline Miller

May 7, 2020

As a writer, I found this writing about Buddy and felt at this time of thankfulness I would share it. Life never plays out like we expect and even if our intentions are good, some plans go awry. Buddy’s happy and we are blessed with Duchess who is Buster’s side kick. All is well with us!

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location and author if known for credit references.

WHAT’S UP WITH THE JACK-O’LANTERN?

THIS IS A REPOST FROM 2016 but I thought it was an interesting post so I decided you might like to read it too.       WHAT’S UP WITH THE JACK-O’-LANTERN? A young man, Blake Lott posted on Facebook When and why did it become a social tradition for people to sit around a table and carve spooky vegetables together? 🎃 👻 Did you know the original jack o’ lantern was actually a turnip ”     “”

I thought, “How interesting are those questions!” I decided to do a little digging and I hope everyone enjoys this post about our pumpkin carving tradition which is really not American but is tracked back to Ireland. I found this article on the legend:

THE LEGEND OF “STINGY JACK”People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.Did You Know?The original jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets.Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.

Article Details: History of the Jack O’ Lantern  

I have heard a discussion back and forth whether Christians should or should not celebrate Halloween. This is a personal decision and I leave it to individuals but I decided to do a little digging on the holiday itself. Here is a definition from Wikipedia on Halloween:  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Halloween&oldid=745513786
This article is about the observance. For other uses, see Halloween (disambiguation).

“All Hallows’ Eve” redirects here. For other uses, see All Hallows’ Eve (disambiguation).

Halloween, or Hallowe’en (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening),[5] also known as Allhalloween,[6] All Hallows’ Eve,[7] or All Saints’ Eve,[8] is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide,[9] the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.[10][11]
It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from Celtic harvest festivals which may have pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, and that this festival was Christianized as Halloween.[1][7][12][13][14][15] Some academics, however, support the view that Halloween began independently as a solely Christian holiday.[1][16][17][18][19]
Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising), attending Halloween costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing and divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular,[20][21][22] although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration.[23][24][25] Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve,[26][27] a tradition reflected in the eating of certain foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes and soul cakes.[27][28][29]

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I thought it would be interesting to find out more about Trick or Treating tradition’s history too. Why not? Here is an article from Smithsonian.com (link below article)

 It’s almost that time of year when underaged kids get into costume and traipse around the neighborhood ringing doorbells and begging for treats. When you think about it, trick or treating is kind of a weird thing. Where did it come from anyway?

Today I Found Out discovered that the practice began with the Celtic tradition of celebrating the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. The Celts believed that, as we moved from one year to the next, the dead and the living would overlap, and demons would roam the earth again. So dressing up as demons was a defense mechanism. If you encountered a real demon roaming the Earth, they would think you were one of them.Fast forward to when the Catholic Church was stealing everybody’s holidays and trying to convert them. They turned the demon dress-up party into “All Hallows Eve,” “All Soul’s Day,” and “All Saints Day” and had people dress up as saints, angels and still a few demons. Today I Found Out writes:

As for the trick or treating, or “guising” (from “disguising”), traditions, beginning in the Middle-Ages, children and sometimes poor adults would dress up in the aforementioned costumes and go around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers, often said on behalf of the dead.  This was called “souling” and the children were called “soulers”.You might think that this practice then simply migrated along with Europeans to the United States. But trick or treating didn’t re-emerge until the 1920s and 1930s. It paused for a bit during World War II because of sugar rations, and it’s now back in full force.The term “trick or treat” dates back to 1927. Today I Found Out explains:The earliest known reference to “trick or treat”, printed in the November 4, 1927 edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald, talks of this,Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.The British hate Halloween, apparently. In 2006, a survey found that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights and pretend not to be home on Halloween. Yet another reason by the United States is happy to be free from British rule. No funs.

          Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-history-of-trick-or-treating-is-weirder-than-you-thought-79408373/#vWJK4Mu5ro0d2pUI.99 Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

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All in all, Halloween is on its way, whether you carve the Jack-O-Lantern, Trick or Treat. You can choose to participate or not. I find it interesting to read the history and how these traditions have come about. However you decide is fine with me. I am 67 years old and I have never felt an evil feeling about Halloween and over the years my husband and I have enjoyed the small children coming to our door with their little costumes yelling Trick or Treat. May your holidays be bright and cheery.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline L Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. All third party material sourced to original location for credit.

Gifting of Ourselves Is The Best Gift

So many times in our lives, we fail to acknowledge the gifts we have been bestowed in life. We see ourselves smaller than we are and even though humbleness is a beautiful asset to have, we may be missing the point. If God has bestowed a gift in our life as the ability to write, sing, paint, build, organize, etc., are we not cheating God out of a praise moment. Below I have added my FB post this morning. We will dive deeper after you’ve had a chance to read it.

I used one of my husband’s photos to show how we can possess a talent and not recognize it until later in life. Thanks Greg Miller for having the “eye”.

As a young person, and maybe my gift was having “guts” to try new things without worrying about the consequence of failure. I am not saying this to boast as I am a normal person but God blessed me with a curiosity that allows me to question, seek, search, and try something new. Because of this curiosity, I expanded a small town girl’s life by doing a lot of interesting and learning new things. If I had to sum my inner self up, I would say gutsy. If I didn’t know how to do something and the opportunity came along, I would step up and say I will try it. As I moved forward in life, it became easier to jump at an opportunity. I will list a Live by Arline’s Do’s and Dont’s so you can get an idea of how I think. Am I saying you should do what I did? Not hardly, as I am not famous or wealthy, so my ideas are not to Get Rich or Famous but I have lived an interesting life and at age 72, I feel strong and smile a lot, know that I have a close relationship with God and family and my friends are family to me too. What I do suggest is to try new things, not self sabotaging, but new. Step out of that comfort zone. Grab a paint brush, cook new dishes, change your hair style, do special things for people without expecting anything in return, write down your thoughts, volunteer and give your time for good causes, start a workout routine, congratulate others for a great accomplishment, and support those trying to do something great. You will be surprised at how little aches and pains diminish, smiles come more often, and tears come less frequently. You may really be surprised at a new talent being born. Be sure to encourage and support young people who are trying to fit in and give them the benefit of your attempts at things, both successful and not so successful tries, as they need to see you as being “REAL”. Here is my track record:

Arline Miller, author and blogger, cook and baker, wife, mother, and Nana loving life
  • I aimed high as a student and as a matter of fact probably overstudied but I found time to work and made honor graduate.
  • I had a curiosity to read, watch, learn, and loved to watch people’s actions and mannerisms. Later, when I decided to write a book this experience gave my characters a realistic persona.
  • I developed strong work ethics of organization, creativity, attitude, and a desire to figure out how to do each job easier, smarter, and more efficiently. Later, as I became a business professional, I was and still am a problem solver.
  • I was a sponge in everything. I love to cook and bake and I can assure you I soak up ideas from professionals but I am not shy about doing it Arline’s way. I add and subtract from a recipe and now I develop my own. Do I ever fail? Why yes, but not as often as before and getting better as I grow.
  • I understand the philosophy of never being a “I know it all. I know better than others. I am the best.” Instead, I practice “I can learn anything. Others can teach me new ways. I am striving to be the best I can be while gaining from others.”

Life is definitely for the living and as I say, Don’t let everyday living get in the way of living life to the fullest. Give of yourself and you will get back. Don’t be shy, as the world will give you the tools to expand on the Gifts from God. You have some waiting to come from within and see what life has in store for you. Encourage don’t Discourage anyone or even yourself from giving it a shot!!

(C)Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material will be sourced if known for credit references.

IS A SOLDIER JUST A SOLDIER?

On this Memorial Day, I woke early wondering how I could honor the fallen soldiers who paid the highest sacrifice. I read over the past messages, some repeated and they were admirable remembrances. I almost posted them again but I stopped short because this thought came to mind and I wanted to share it.

Every holiday is meant to recognize and honor certain groups of those who serve but Memorial Day is Reserved for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

A soldier is called to go wherever he or she is ordered. They are not sent because they believe in a certain war or encounter…they are sent because they have been trained to answer the call for action. I haven’t served so I speak from an outsider’s point of view, but my father, uncles, brothers, cousins, classmates, and my husband and one of his sons have donned the uniform proudly. I haven’t lost an immediate family member but I know several of my friends who have and I write this more for them as they understand fully the meaning of my focus…..Is A Soldier Just A Soldier?

Robert Longley wrote a beautiful poem about A Soldier’s Homecoming.

Not to take away from others memorial poems but I felt led to write a poem last year thinking about A Soldier’s Last Night. I felt an attachment to this somber moment and a deep felt gratitude. A Soldier is Never Just A Soldier! They are human beings with all of the same feelings we experience, Love, Hurt, Joy, and Pain but in addition they truly understand the emotions behind Commitment and Dedication as well as Loyalty. They are Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Sons and Daughters. They are family! Let us remember when we honor the fallen and understand the reality when we see an active soldier, he or she are facing the possibility of the ultimate sacrifice in their future. A Soldier is Never Just A Soldier but the reason we live in freedom. Respect them as they pay the price that others aren’t willing to pay.

A Soldier’s Last Night

As I woke from a restful sleep, I began to wonder

How a lonely soldier felt about his chosen plight.

In the trenches, so far away from home, so somber.

Did he know the ultimate price he would pay tonight?

As he lay in the muddy hole which would be his last

His heart, did it pound or was he unusually calm?

Did he stay alert, did he pray, and that tear fall fast?

His silent cry, his grip tightened, only thoughts of harm.

Did he think about the protests and why he was here?

Or did he only try to overcome any temptation to run?

Did he find the urge to do his best and to hide any fear?

He may not have known his job on earth was done.

Did those hours before his end seem like a million years?

Was it true that one’s life does indeed flash before the eyes?

We may never know, only a brave soldier’s mind would veer.

We come to pay homage at the cold grave where he lies.

A small flag stands as a symbol of his ultimate sacrifice.

A cross may stand to remind us of his absence of life.

To you, the soldier who stood tall and paid the price

For Our Freedom, let us honor and recognize your strife.

Written by Arline Miller with homage and respect for all of

The Fallen and Gone but Never Forgotten.

Happy Memorial Day, May 31, 2021

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party Material is sourced to original location/author, if known, for credit references.

WHEN IS GOOD…GOOD ENOUGH?

Today, instead of reinventing food, I thought of how many times in life do we try to reinvent ourselves. I wondered when is good…good enough? As a young lady, I dared to go into industries that were heavily populated with men. I excelled, not due to a lot of support from my male counterparts, but sheer determination. I watched them, I learned from them, I had to go toe to toe with them, I held my own, I succeeded. I said all of that to summarize, did that make me equal or superior? Not really, as I have learned a valuable lesson. We are not in competition with males or females; we are in competition with ourselves.

What do I mean, you ask? Allow me to dig deeper and I think it will become clearer. If I am a runner and I am timing myself. I am competing with the last timed run. If I am a swimmer, I am competing against my best time. It doesn’t matter how fast another swimmer or runner is at this moment, I can only measure if I am swimming or running faster than my last or best time. I am only as good as I can improve my individual efforts. Does that make sense now?

I admired Maya Angelou for her frankness and eloquence.

I love to cook but I also admire several fine chefs but I don’t measure my dishes by their shows. I measure it by my results, my successes, and yes, my failures. I may feel I surpassed their dishes or I may feel like they outdid me by a mile or a squash’s length. This brings me to a thought process to get us to a point When Good Is Good Enough:

  • My Good is Good Enough!
  • I have competed with my own personal achievements and sometimes I win and sometimes I have to rethink my strategy.
  • I am a realist with an optimistic outlook. If I don’t succeed the first time, second or even third time but I try harder each time, I move closer to the finish line and I know eventually I will succeed.
  • I look at life as I see it without so many expectations. Example: I am not a good singer but I love to sing but I realize that I am a limited talent (LOL) and sing when I am not in a public forum but the car is my stadium and I have put on many great performances (my rating, not anyone else’s).
  • I love humor about my limitations and/or lack of talent in areas I have never been a super techie. This however, has not kept me from working with computer techs/programmers. I get what I want programmed and can solve problems and have good visuals. I have a great time telling those tech savvy folks to put it in my language and I will give them my perspective. See My Good is Good Enough. Their Good is Good Enough. Together Our Good is Good Enough.
  • Knowing each person has excellent talents in certain fields is a big chunk of wisdom. Knowing each person has limitations and weak areas is universal wisdom and knowledge. Example: A Rocket Scientist has abilities and knowledge as well as strategic training but probably only a few has been successful in simple feats of life as cooking or changing a light bulb. Give me two remotes to work between them and I show you how irritating that is to me. However, knowing that I have to sometimes do this task, I have learned how to do it. So, by focusing on things I am not comfortable with, My Good is Good Enough.
  • Accepting all of me, good and bad, weak and strong, intensive and scattered thought patterns, organized and out of order thoughts, and kind and even blunt speech are facets of me. My Good is Good Enough.
  • Deciding when and where I can develop even better ideas, practices, habits, and actions is healthy when it comes from within and not because I am measuring myself against someone else. Being All I Can Be But Choosing to Be More is Good and Good is Good Enough.
I am pretty colorful in personality. As a writer, I am happy. In the kitchen, I am happy. On my blog, I am happy. But the happiest I am, is when I am surrounded by my family. I love life, but above all, I love Our God who created me as He decided His Good is Good Enough…Arline Miller

I hope you see that God creates us the way we are for a reason. It may be that we are given handicaps, education opportunities or not, wealth or poverty, calm and soothing personality or a high spirited one, spiritual excellence or a work in progress, and on and on. Each one of us should realize if we do not feel we have to compete or challenge another one’s worth, we are rich within ourselves. Our Good is Good Enough. Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts with you. Your own comments of personal growth are welcomed.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material if known is sourced to original location and author for credit reference.

WHILE YOU ARE STANDING THERE DREAMING…..

Update: I wrote this blog message right after I had my book signing for my second book and now I am in the home stretch for the third and final book in the Reflections of Love series. It is titled Riddle Me This, Love or Bliss and it gives the reader all of the pieces of the puzzle and I am very happy with this soon to be published books. The reason for me reposting this blog message is to remind people who have a book in their mind, a song in their heart, a photo no one forgets, or a cake to bake…..Go for it. If tomorrow you woke up and found out you have run out of time to make your dreams a reality, you would have regrets……So no waiting! I am off to write more on the final book and I will give my loyal readers, you may want to go back and read the first two books and when all of the action goes down you will know why.

This is a preview of the 3rd book cover but it is a WIP and will fit the series motif when finished.

WHILE YOU STAND THERE DREAMING, someone else may be living your dream. I recently had my book signing/launch and a thought came to me while I was signing my second book. When I was a very young adult, I made the statement “One day I will write a book.” I thought about it as I became busy with a family and work but kept doing nothing but dreaming about writing a book. Time seemed to not be my friend and my dream was put on the back burner. Remember I was young and full of energy but still I let life run faster than me and my book did not get started until my daughter was in college and I was divorced. Somehow, my dream tried to make me pay attention and I started writing. Now, you may ask, “That was a lot of years ago” and especially, if you know my first book was published in 2015 and I have been remarried for almost 15 years. Again, life ran faster than me.

Finally, one day I was looking through my files on my computer and there it was A Mistress, A Wife staring me in the face. My dream was attempting to WAKE ME UP. I looked at it and decided I had wasted a lot of good years by not completing my dream book. I also decided to FINISH this book and I put into action that I would write on the weekends. At that time, in a period of 6 years, I had only written about 15K words. I wrote with determination and within 1 year of writing only on the weekends, I completed my first novel over 80K words and self published it. Publishing it was never in my dream but once written, I found a new dream and researched and found out what it takes to publish as an Indie writer. It encouraged me and I was not standing just dreaming; I was now living my dream.

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Once I had the taste of good reviews and comments to write another book, I wrote on the weekends but with a lot more serious dedication and book 2 Tell Me Lies; Love Me Still has not only been written but published with the book launch which I referred at the beginning already completed and book sales happening.

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I say all of this not to boast as I apparently haven’t dreamed of being a best seller yet and still have a lot to learn but I am willing to MOVE and not just stand there dreaming. Have you dreamed of a certain goal in life? Have you put off doing something you are talented but scared of rejection? I have read of the most successful authors submitting query letters of almost 200 to get about 185 rejections. So it is not enough to dream; you have to start the living process. It might not be  easy and you may get rejected over and over again, but the significance of the number of rejections this author received is she is now a well known and successful writer. In some past posts, I have added articles on going after your goal but today I will summarize it in a nutshell.

  • Do you have a dream?
  • Do you intend on making your dream come true?
  • Have you made any plans or goals concerning how to accomplish your dream?
  • Do you want to continue dreaming or living your dream?

If you have answered a positive reply to any of these questions, it means you have a dream and you don’t want to be satisfied with standing there only dreaming. It is time to MOVE as I had to do. My thoughts are going in laying out the third book so I am living my dream. I wish you the very best in living your dream and looking forward to hearing from you at the top.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Any third party material is sourced to original location for reference credit.

YOU WANT MY ADVICE UNTIL I GIVE IT

As a blogger I receive a lot of atta girls on certain blog messages in which I tell it like it is, or at least how it is to me. I have received comments however, that I may have been too blunt or critical. I see it as neither. Why? I found out that most people what your advice until you give it to them. If it is not what they want to hear, they feel it was too critical. Okay, so do you want advice or not? Straightforwardness is my way of life. It serves me well to be direct in my thoughts as well as my words and most importantly, my actions. Let’s dive in on why it is important, even if it is not well received, to tell it like it is.

Why You Want to Give (and Receive) Brutally Honest Advice

By Ali Luke on April 27, 2011 

Here is an excerpt from a great article on Brutally Honest Advice (click on underlined text for link for full article.

How to Give Brutally Honest Advice

The flip side, offering brutally honest advice, is obviously much trickier than asking for it.

And as we will see in the next section, no matter how valuable brutal honesty can be, it’s not always the best approach. But it usually is, and here’s how to maximize your chances of getting a positive reaction when you offer it.

#1: Tell them you’ll be honest

Let’s say a friend, colleague or client comes to you, outlines their latest idea or shows you part of your work in progress, and eagerly asks, “So, what do you think?”

You want to be honest with them. So tell them that. Say “I’m going to be completely honest with you,” or ask them “Is it okay if I’m totally honest?” Make the terms of engagement clear, right from the start.

#2: Start and end with the good

Even if you think your friend’s idea is pretty unworkable, there’ll be something good to say. Whenever you’re offering feedback, it’s good to start and end on a positive note. (The Toastmasters do this with their speaker evaluations.)

If something is basically good but has a few flaws, make this clear right at the start. Say “I think this is a really solid business plan” or “I loved reading this blog post.” Don’t ever assume that people will knowthat their work is fundamentally sound: you need to tell them this, explicitly.

#3: Be constructive in your criticism

Don’t offer advice like “No-one will ever want to buy from that sales page” or “Your ebook will make people fall asleep.” Point out specific problems and, if you can, suggest solutions:

“The design makes the page look a bit scammy. Perhaps you could cut out the yellow highlighter?”

“The writing style seems very academic. Perhaps you could talk to the reader directly, using “you”, and bring in some personal anecdotes?”

#4: Tread very cautiously when offering unsolicited advice

Let’s say you spot that your friend has created a website where she’s selling handmade furniture. You might have all sorts of ideas about how she could improve everything from the site design to the shopping cart software.

If she’s not asked for your help, though, proceed with extreme caution. Few of us like to get brutally honest advice when we’ve not requested any feedback at all. If you’re in a situation where you feel like you absolutely, positively must speak up, you might want to check with a mutual friend first…

#5: Accept that they have the right to make their own decisions and mistakes

I was recently reading a thread on reddit with a man who was planning to speak up at the “speak up now or forever hold your peace” part of his brother’s wedding.

The reason? He thought his brother’s fiancee was not the right woman for him.

Now, the first obvious problem is that you should bring up something like this before the wedding, not during the ceremony.

But the man did that. No less than 5 times. And his brother heard the brutally honest advice, and still insisted on marrying his fiancee.

That would be a good point to stop and forever hold his peace. Because no matter how convinced you are that you are right and your friend is making a mistake, they have the right to make their own decisions.

So when you offer brutally honest advice, understand that your friend might not follow it. That’s okay. You can only make sure that they have all the relevant information when making their decision. The actual decision is up to them.

Once you’ve dispensed your brutally honest advice and your friend has acknowledged it, move on. This will help you remain a valuable advisor instead of turning into a pestering nag.

When Brutal Honesty Is Not The Best Approach

With all of that in mind, brutal honesty isn’t always the best approach.

When I (Vlad) did my first ever prepared speech at Toastmasters, I was, frankly, atrocious. My structure wasn’t very clear. I spoke too fast and mumbled. I fidgeted around. And the list goes on and on.

But that’s okay. Most people suck when they try giving their first speech in front of an audience. And the whole point of a place like Toastmasters is to get together and practice in a safe, friendly environment.

And so the feedback I received consisted mostly of pointing out the things I did right, with one or two points for improvement.

This helped reinforce the things I did right, and gave me something to focus on improving next. And it kept me motivated, instead of bringing me down by listing the dozens of things I did wrong.

So, sometimes, helping and encouraging your friends really is more important than pointing out every flaw in what they’re doing.

But next time someone asks you for feedback, or next time you need advice on something big and important, ask yourself whether it’s a good opportunity to practice brutal honesty. If money, health or relationships are on the line, it’s generally a good idea to speak up rather than to keep your doubts to yourself.

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I thought about giving advice and I am not sure we should freely give advice and my reasoning is how many people actually take the advice you give them. I feel people hope you are going to agree with the decision they have already made in their minds. To prove this point, how many times have you offered sound advice only to find out the person did the exact opposite. How many times have we actually taken another’s advice, very few times, right?

LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by considering if it is worth the effort to give advice, solicited or unsolicited to someone who is probably not going to heed the advice given. Just sayin’

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known, for credit reference.

CAN I DIET WITHOUT A DIET?

TODAY THE WORDS are I WANT A DIET WHICH IS NO DIET. In this, my second post about eating, I will gladly put it out there. I want moderation but not elimination. There has been diet after diet which preach elimination. Let’s look at some of them and see what they want me to live without and then I want to share what is working better for me. I am not a health expert and do not profess to be anything but an average person who loves different kinds of food. The food groups contain something in each one I like to eat. You might feel the same.  

One thing to keep in mind: As quoted in Bitesized Challenge, Programs claiming weight loss of more than 2 lbs per week are simply unhealthy crash diets. Weight is gained back 99% of the time.   But yet, we go from one miracle diet to another. I am a witness and I can preach on this subject as I claim experience in most of them at one time or another.    This Medical News Today information article Written by Christian Nordqvist, Knowledge centerLast updated: Thursday 1 October 2015 details on the most popular diets according to three criteria: how many articles there are around about these diets/lifestyles, how popular they seem to be generally, and how often we receive feedback on them.Contents of this article:Atkins DietThe Zone DietVegetarian DietVegan DietWeight Watchers DietSouth Beach DietRaw Food DietMediterranean DietFor Details on each diet, you can click on each one and you will see the specifics of each diet.This complete article, which is a great read, can be found on http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/5847.php   How many of these popular diets have you tried? I personally can say 5 and I am still overweight. If you do some diligent studying, you will find a common thread between most of them and it is deprivation of some foods. I asked yesterday, “Are you really NEVER going to eat a donut for the rest of your life?”    Here is my tip for today and it may not work for everybody (especially for people with diseases or health conditions which mandate restriction) and here is the absolute truth….NO PLAN works for everybody. We have to begin to take charge of our individual bodies and not fall for the miracle plans but pay attention to what foods cause us to bloat or to gain weight. Some people can eat more carbs, some can eat more healthy fats, and yes, I have a sister who can eat sweets all of the time and she has never had as much problem maintaining a good weight but she has health issues.    Here goes what I have found works better for me: I do not deprive myself of any food group but I limit the quantity of any of the carbs, sugars, and yes, fats. I make the larger portion of protein, but keep my meats palm size (we have heard this before, right). What I can’t do; but if I do it, I pay for it is allowing my portions to become large. Supersize means we get supersize! This makes sense doesn’t it? If you are going to eat a burger, make it fresh and small size with moderate portions of condiments. Just cutting portions and eating healthier, fresh cooked with more organic and non processed foods will start you on the track to eating for health.   I made this true comment yesterday, “When I started to eat for my health and not to lose a pants size; I accomplished both.”  With the holidays behind us, I am happy to report I didn’t gain a pound and kept my glucose in normal ranges for me. I used my 1 heaping Tablespoon of the NO-NOs theory. I used to feel I couldn’t even taste any dressing, any sweet potato crunch, any mac-n-cheese, etc. Now, I choose three of the NO-NOs and take 1 full Tablespoon, yes heaping, of each. The rest of my meal is devoted to palm sized protein, and a bigger portion of good carbs of veggies. Since I had dressing, I found it easy to leave off the bread. I had dessert but used the heaping T. of my delicious banana pudding (a good tip on this is to find a very small bowl and place the dessert in it (it will look like more LOL). I took very small bites to cherish each morsel and when I got up from the table, I had not eaten nearly as much as prior years and felt wonderful. I didn’t feel DEPRIVED and this is the key to maintaining eating correctly for longer periods. Maybe I am wrong, but feeling deprived is the biggest sabotage tool in the world.   

Until we eat again and read again…….Arline MillerHEALTHY BITES was created with healthy recipes I have found and some I created to help in eating for our health. Good things will come to those who keep the mindset; I am worth it! Please click on the name of HEALTHY BITES above and see the good way to eat.

(C) Copyright Arline Miller 2012-2019 All rights and permissions for content. Referenced material properly sourced.

BRING ON THE GREENS FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY

For the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to pull up a favorite blog post since I love greens. This is a repeat of a message from a few years ago but I think you will enjoy it.
TODAY THE WORDS are COOKING GREENS. You are reading the words of a person who loves to eat greens. I cooked greens yesterday and any time I eat them, I am brought back to a special memory.Mustard greens, turnip greens, collards, cabbage, kale are all good to me and this brings me back to my Step Mom, Martha. My Dad had a massive stroke which paralyzed him on his right side. He was able to sit in his lift chair by a lift which he was lifted from his bed and pushed to the chair and lowered into a sitting position or more like a reclining position for the day. I lived a distance away and would travel to spend some time on the weekend with Daddy and Martha during the day and at night at my Mother’s house in the same town. I tell you this to get to the cooking greens theme of the message. How many of you have prepared greens to cook?

It is quite a job to “look over” the greens and then go through several washes to remove any sand, dirt, or any debris in them. There are several methods, but I can assure you, each method is still time consuming. There is usually meat to season them; although more and more people are using other seasonings for health reasons. Martha, barring all others, could cook greens better than any other person I have ever known. Her greens were so delicious I could eat them cold; that’s right, cold. She always fried pork chops and other great side dishes with the greens. This had to be a full day of preparation and do remember she was taking care of my Dad at the same time.

Now for the deeper thought…...She waited for me to smile at the first bite and it seemed to give her as much joy as it did me eating it or even more if that was possible. It was tiring for her but she made me feel so special when she cooked me greens. When my visit was through and they were telling me to be careful on my trip home and gave me my container of greens to go with me; I love them, cherished my time with them and I was so thankful for Martha’s sacrifice and love. She loved Daddy and she loved her family and that always included us. Great restaurants are so enjoyable; Martha’s greens were true love! God wants us to “cook greens” for others. I am using a metaphor as God wants us to do whatever we can to help others; make others feel special; be charitable; be loving and kind. Today and every day, may we borrow a little spirit from Martha who is in heaven with Daddy, and “cook up some greens” for someone we love or a stranger we don’t know but needs our help. (DEDICATED TO MARTHA THOMAS LOTT, our STEPMOTHER)
I have attempted to add health benefits when applicable and here is an excerpt from an article I found on the health benefits of greens (turnip greens, mustard greens and collards) If you go to the link, there are instructions on how to prepare. Enjoy some good eating:http://www.livestrong.com/article/85263-stay-eating-collard-mustard-/

How to Stay Healthy Eating Collard, Mustard & Turnip GreensLast Updated: Jul 10, 2015 | By Daryn EllerHow to Stay Healthy Eating Collard, Mustard & Turnip GreensTurnip greens growing in a field. Photo Credit Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Collard, mustard and turnip greens are vegetable royalty in the South—and for good reason. All three are in the cruciferous family of vegetables that the American Institute for Cancer Research reports might help defend against cancer. The three greens are also rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate and iron. Collards, which taste like a cross between cabbage and kale, are especially high in calcium. Mustard and turnip greens have a sharper bite than collards and provide a nice dose of vitamin K, a nutrient important for bone health and blood clotting.
Paula Deen, the guru of Southern Cooking to many of us, knows how to put the hurt on a good pot of greens so I thought I would include a recipe from her on Food Network:

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Collard Greens Recipe by Paula Deen
You can go to the link and get the House Seasoning ingredients and enjoy some GREEN today.

(C) COPYRIGHT 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced to original location, if known, for credit reference.


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