I met a stoned turtle yesterday.
A turtle made out of stones I should say.
The weather and various other activities kept me from getting out and talking to neighbors like I sometimes like to do.
Part of my morning routine is to bullet journal in the Five Minute Journal App. As a writer who has demonstrated a lack of discipline for daily journaling, this simple app has been the answer. I’m six months in, the longest journaling time I’ve completed since I had a purple and white floral canopy bed.
I love to look back on days that are not so great to quickly find the ones that were. The prompts are simple, but sometimes I make it complicated and fill it out all wrong. When I realize what I’ve done I quickly go back and start deleting.
Backspace. Backspace. Backspace.
What will I do to make today great?
I begin to fill in the 3 blanks like it’s a to-do list, but typically, to-do lists do not bring me much joy, except when I get to cross something off.
Put out open house signs.
Finish my paperwork.
Go through leads and follow up.
Then it hits me. Those things will make me more organized and productive, but they are not the things that will make my day great. Living out a Jesus wrecked life means our days are more than that.
What will I do to make today great?
Passion and purpose have to come together in our day to day lives. I’m training myself, sometimes like a lion tamer, with poking and prodding to remember what truly are the most important things. It’s almost always about connecting with people and focusing on others more than myself.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,” Phil 2:3 says.
That’s how I met a retired dog walker and a woman I got to practice my Spanish with. Someone invited me in to see their beautiful kitchen renovation and I had kitchen island envy for just a few minutes before I found a metal rooster that had fallen over in his garden bed.
I spent an inappropriate amount of time trespassing while videoing a tiny bird just learning to fly. And then I met sweet Connie, barely out of her garage, who bragged about loving her home and neighbors in Ranger Creek.
I entered a yard with more clutter than flower baskets and wondered about the family of the door I was about to knock on. When a woman came to the door with a big smile and a huge open heart, I heard a story of loss and unimaginable grief. One of her sons had been killed in an auto accident.
What do you say to that?
We talked about God and grace and growing up. We shared the struggles of single parenting and the way our children seem to have to grow up faster. We admitted to each other that at times, we overshared and over confided in our children. We confessed to picnics by candlelight when the electric got cut off and a bond with our children that does not seem to fade.
For many moments I stood on her front porch and fell in love with this funny, God strengthened woman who still stands, admittedly a little different, maybe a bit more bent than before. And then I walked on.
That’s when I introduced myself to the glowing face and proud owner of the stoned turtle. Her porch display was nearly perfect and she’s been married for over 30 years to a Hispanic man she adores, but still can’t speak Spanish herself. She fell in love with the turtle the same way I did, instantly.
To her, I confessed, “Before you answered, I was going to move him here,” pointing to a pedestal to the right of the door. She laughed like who would have the audacity to rearrange someone’s front porch? But we just met.
Walking back to my car, I thought. That’s how you make the day great. You put turtles and other people on pedestals.
We stop. We listen, and when we make time to connect, we make new friends.
It was a great day!