Friday’s Fave Five – November 5 (and a look at Novembers past)

It’s November. I can hardly believe it. Weeks fly by and yet, in another sense, they drag. This morning I took a look back in the archives of this blog (you can click the links to read the posts) to see what other Novembers were like, and I found a common theme.

One year ago on this day I was struggling with depression and doing my best to pay attention to the good things.

Two years ago I was recovering from surgery and struggling with the sense of vulnerability I felt.

Five years ago my heart was heavy with the burden of things in the world. It’s a good thing I wasn’t able to look into the future and see what was coming!

Ten years ago I was still working and also feeling the weight of current events and made the wise decision to switch off the news during my morning commute.

Thirteen years ago (which is as far back as my blog goes) I was drowning in work and heeding the call to listen for a still, small voice.

Notice anything? There’s always something weighty, be it current events over which I have no control or personal responsibilities and situations that I’m struggling to wade through.

As I reread each of these posts, I noticed something else. I’ve always known that turning away from some things (the news and busyness) and toward others (paying attention to what’s in front of me and leaning into spirituality) is the antidote to whatever is grieving me.

It seems I’ve always known this, which makes sense because that’s the way we human beings were created. For connection: to our Creator and one another. To be still and know. To pay attention so we can see the Divine in the everyday. To be loved and to love.

It’s folly for me to focus the majority of my time and attention on things over which I have little or no control. I can’t know all the answers or foretell the future (thank goodness I didn’t see 2020/2021 coming). Paying attention to what and who’s in front of me is of far more value than wasting energy on things I have no influence over.

Here’s something else. I’ve struggled. In different seasons, at different times, in varying degrees, it’s been a hard slog. But you know what else? There have been times that were glorious and joy-filled. The good and the not-so-good. The beautiful and the terrible. That’s how life is for all of us.

I could, having looked back over thirteen years, feel discouraged by the fact that I’ve carried burdens and haven’t yet found the golden ticket to get me out of a life of trials. Or, I could be realistic—even encouraged—knowing that (as M. Scott Peck said so succinctly in The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult” and I’m learning to accept that and turn my heart and attention toward the better thing and trust that, in the end, all will be well.

So now, after all that, should I still do a Friday’s Fave Five post? I think that intentionally looking at good things from the past week is always a good thing to do so here we go.

Reading. I’ve been retired from my corporate job for seven years and I’ve finally arrived at the place where I feel no guilt about spending an abundance of time lost in a book. Sure, there are things I could, and maybe should, be doing but more often than not, in my world, reading is the better thing. This week I read and thoroughly enjoyed Rosemary Keevil’s The Art of Losing It: A Memoir of Grief and Addiction.

Maid on Netflix. Laurinda and I have been watching this series and we caught the last episode last evening. This was an excellent series based on a memoir of the same name by Stephanie Land chronicling the struggle of a young woman fleeing an abusive relationship and trying to build a life for her and her child.

Daughter’s night to cook. This is a sweet perk of having Laurinda living with us for the time being. I’m enjoying it while I can.

The Great Canadian Baking Show. Another Netflix win. I enjoyed watching season 4 and even roped another member of the household into watching a couple of episodes.

Black forest cake. Laurinda and Makiya’s pretty kitty turned two this week. Apparently (according to Gerry) she requested a black forest cake to mark the occasion. We partook in her honour.

That’s a wrap for this first week in November. I’ll be back tomorrow.

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I’m a writer, reader, photographer, and gardener. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things.
9 comments
  1. We just came through a season of sickness, and my Facebook memories recorded that we were sick this same time of year several times in the past. Weird!

    I so agree about not focusing time and attention on things over which we have little or no control. I don’t watch the news. Sometimes I turn on the radio at the top of the hour for the highlights. Then I look online for anything I want to know more about.

    I just wrote last weekend about Jesus saying in this world we’ll have tribulation. I don’t like it. But I either have to accept it or be miserable. He goes on to say to take heart, for He has overcome the world–blessed hope to cling to.

    Reading is one of my #1 pleasures. I had not heard of Maid–will have to look it up.

    Nice to have your daughter cook sometimes! I love time off from the kitchen.

    Funny about the cat’s request for cake. 🙂

    1. It is that time of year, isn’t it. Hope you remain healthy for the duration of the season. P.S. our Yorkies request cheesecake for their birthdays. 🙂

  2. Linda, this is fascinating, looking back to where you were in past years. Yes, I hear what you’re saying, there’s often a rhythm, a pattern. We see what worked for us, and what didn’t.

    We learn from our mistakes, our victories, from others and their stories.

    1. “We learn from our mistakes, our victories, from others and their stories.” I couldn’t agree more, Linda, and it’s why I believe strongly in the power of sharing our stories. 🙂

  3. You’re the second blogger who has mentioned Maid. I was wondering if it was any good so now I’ll have to add it to my list! 🙂

    Yes, Jesus never promised us an EASY life did He? if we had one, we wouldn’t need to lean on HIm! It’s interesting to see where we’ve been in years past but I refuse to dwell on the negative things. I love finding the good in every moment and LIVING authentically IN the present.

    I LOVE to read and once I retire from teaching (will I ever????!!! ) I plan on reading whenever I feel like it. I do read every night and in the morning while eating breakfast after my devotional time. I just love to read and I don’t miss watching TV at all or seeing the news. I do read the weekend morning paper we get. That’s usually a good summary of what is going on in the world.

    Enjoy the beautiful weekend coming up!

    1. I highly recommend watching Maid. It’s not necessarily easy to watch but it shines a light on how difficult it can be for domestic abuse survivors to get out and build a life. I read every night and in the morning too. It’s the middle-of-the-day reading that it took time to give myself permission to indulge in regularly. Happy weekend to you too!

  4. My gratitude books, which also document the hard times, reflect the faithfulness of God.
    Thanks for the Netflix recommendations. I’m always looking for a good series.

  5. Funny, about a week ago I, too, was reading through my blog archives. It sure provides a lot of food for thought and some perspective.

    Your daughter is so pretty. Such a joyful photo.

  6. Looking back through the years does help us see life in perspective. God still does all things for our best and His glory.
    I love the picture of your daughter cooking dinner. She can come cook for me any time 🙂
    Getting lost in a good book is always the best part of the day.
    Enjoy this week!

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