Friday, March 16, 2012

The Eyes Have It



The gods we worship write
their names on our faces; be
sure of that.  And we will worship
something....That which dominates
our imagination and our thoughts
will determine our life and character.  
Therefore, it behooves us to be careful
 what we are worshipping, for what
we are worshipping we are
becoming.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The senior minister at our
church first shared this 
quote on a sunny Sunday, 
several weeks ago.



Since that time, I have
cradled these words in
my mind, massaging 
them gently, examining
and re-examining them
and asking myself,

What is written on my
own face?





I'm not talking about
laugh lines or crow's feet,
which tell their own tales,
but of deeper things
that are a reflection of 
what I unwittingly 
exalt, 
daily.

I don't believe that Mr.
Emerson was necessarily
speaking about religion,
but rather, about where 
we place our priorities
and the personal idols that
we elevate above them.




We may all have good
intentions in our hearts,
but do our actions write
that story on our faces,
or do false idols, such as

computer and tv
celebrity gossip
material wants
physical desires
vanity
need for approval
addictions
popularity
sloth
instant gratification,

determine our life 
and character?



As this quote continued
to churn away in my
consciousness, a funny
thing started to happen.

I began suffering from
eye strain.



Which, when you are
an active blogger who
uses a computer, i-pad
or phone screen to work
{and to play} from, 
points seriously to
those items as idols.  I
am guilty of literally
writing them on my face,
as indicated by my
stressed eyes.



This also means that to
satisfy these idols, I have
compromised in other 
areas of my life.

Gulp.

My kids begin their two-
week spring break 
tomorrow, the perfect time
for me to shelve my idols and
to refocus on what I truly
want inscribed on my face....



That I was was fully
present for them.
That love and laughter,
quiet talks and moments
spent together were what
I glorified, not images
on a screen.

In the words of Rabbi
Bradley Shavit Artson,

Worship hope, worship
faith, worship love, worship
justice and then, become
what you worship.  

Become
hope and faith,
love and justice.



I think the eyes have it.

Sending you blessings
over the next two weeks
that the gods who are
most important to you
 shine sweetly from
your dear, dear faces.

See you soon.

xx
Suzanne























52 comments:

Teacup Moments said...

Suzanne, wishing you the most glorious next couple of weeks to spend with the kids. I am sure you will be fully present for them. Hurry back to us, though. We can't do too long without you!

Alicia said...

oh this is so good. i think we're all guilty of this at some point. how many times do i say, "just a sec??" thank you for this great reminder to be present for the most important people in our lives.
and have a terrific break!!

Joanna said...

I'm quite sure you're being rather hard on yourself - I'm certain you are always there for your family. However, it never hurts to stop and re-evaluate our lives. Enjoy your couple of weeks with your children, I look forward to seeing you when you get back.

x
ps 100% hit rate with the Card Keyper! EVERYONE, men included, comment on what a brilliant idea it is. I will get some cards printed out with your etsy details on, to hand out when people comment on it :o)

Low Tide High Style said...

Beautifully said Suzanne...enjoy those precious times as they are gone all too quickly!

Kat :)

Cheryl said...

I doubt there are many of us reading this who aren't grateful to you for posting it. Your family is so blessed to have you!

Karena said...

Suzanne very important especially now, when electronics have taken over our lives.

I will go for a long walk today and meditate on this, thank you!

Please come and join my new Fashion Giveaway from Fresh Produce!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Stitchfork said...

Unplug, unwind and go have fun with your family for spring break! Enjoy! And lift a glass of something green this weekend to celebrate real life!
xo Cathy
...we'll still be here when you get back!

Susan T said...

I think we are all a bit guilty of letting electronic gadgetry take over our lives, just once in a while. However the next two weeks sounds wonderful, my idea of bliss. We were sitting having dinner together the other night, our two children were doing impressions and we all laughed so hard. Moments like that make you realise where our true hearts lie, long may it continue. A computer will never give you a warm cosy cuddle or kiss you when you are hurt. A warm hug from here, over the ether. xx

White Ironstone Cottage said...

What a beautiful post
It is the memories that we make with the people we love that fill our hearts with joy
enjoy every moment!!!

xxoo
Pam

Elizabeth said...

Suzanne,

I hope that you enjoy the next two weeks with your kids! What a wonderful time you will have.

I am quite sure from reading your blog that you are always there for your family, you have always come accross as a beautiful soul that has her priorities in the right place; spending time with your kids, inventing things with your mom, visiting oyur beautiful family in PA over the holidays, enjoying time with your friends after your morning class.

In addition to taking in all life has to offer, your garden, your writing, photography, baking, cooking and all of the special things that you do to make your family happy and make our lives more special too.

I have always admired you and your blog. I always leave here touched by your writings, your spirit, your grace and your messages. You have helped me slow down and reflect on many imoirtant things.

I hope you enjoy every moment of being in "the present" with your kids.

By the way, The Present is a fabulous book you may enjoy if you have not already read it.

Thank you for your lovely comments and suggestions of things to get me over the Downton Abbey slump.

Take care, Elizabeth

Olive Cooper said...

I sit speechless before this profound post. It touched me deeply as I have been scurrying about in twelve directions.

pollydove said...

Amen. Said so well Suzanne! Enjoy your time with your kiddos. I am DYING at how incredible cute that family picture is of you guys in the background of the phone! LOVE it!

NanaDiana said...

Very well said, Suzanne. I hope that my face reflects the love I feel for others and that they can see God working in my life- xo Diana

Lili said...

Awww...have fun with your family sweetie. I just love the way you illustrated this post and that picture of your sweet family behind the phone is WONDERFUL! xoxo ~Lili

Felicity said...

What a clever, clever lady you are Suzanne.

My eyesight has been failing and I'm sure that Mr Emerson was right that my electronic idols have writ themselves large on my face.

Wishing you the most glorious time with those whom you treasure the most.

Biggest of happy hugs,
x F

Farmgirl Paints said...

Wow girl that post was like good medicine. Kind of hurts to hear the truth. I know my eyes should be feeling the strain. Enjoy those kids. Soak up some sun. Rest those eyes. Love ya friend.

Vintage Home said...

The joy you have in the next few weeks will be worth all time you put into it.
Our pastor said the same thing a in a sermon a bit ago and you know I needed to hear it.
Thank you for sharing & for being so honest.
God bless you and your family!

Vintage Home said...

p.s. and when you are back and feeling great you will pop up on my side bar & I will truly enjoy reading what you have to say....love your insight!

Marie said...

Wishing you a wonderful break with the kiddos! I think that sadly today a lot of people have their priorities all wrong. God, family and home, in that order. Anything else just doesn't matter. xxoo

Anonymous said...

I am a true blogohollic and I dont wanna stop doing it because I love it haha....I think everything in life is a question of balance.
Have a great weekend:)

LOVE Maria at inredningsvis

Jenny Schouten Short said...

You've always had your priorities in order, Suzanne. I do think those i-phones are hard on your eyes, though. Enjoy your kids! xo Jenny

Biz said...

Thank you for the reminder.
Ever since I got my iPhone I think I am more guilty of this than ever.
Although Baby Girl doesn't bode well to "just a sec" requests...so I don't get to slide as much.
I have tried to combat some of this by taking a little time 1 day a week to prep all my blog posts for that week. Just that little time frees up all the rest of my week to enjoy her and focus on other things.
Then when I do hop on here to read everyone else's posts I can be more focused :)

I hope you have a BLESSED 2 weeks with your kiddos!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

That Rabbi's words are so poignant and true. May your time away with your kids leave an impression in your eyes and beautiful face dear Suzanne, Anita

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

A wonderful post...
Good for you! Enjoy your family!!!!!XO, Mona

Leslie said...

So beautifully written and an important reminder for all. Even with the best intentions it's easy to forget - or take for granted what is most important. Enjoy the time with your family!

Shelly W. said...

This is so SO good and something I've been thinking about a lot lately too. Love the photos--rather convicting. Enjoy your time with your kids. Two weeks?? Not fair!

Sylvia said...

My son's March break just finished and I tried, tried hard to be present for him... (the IPad , I have to say, was a big disturbance though; it's such an accessible device :) We have to give ourselves credit, at least we are aware and we give our bests.
Wishing you a face shining with love, joy, pride and
happiness.

Palomasea said...

Dear Suzanne, what a beautifully written post (as always) :)...
and so timely as I am fighting eye strain myself, ha.
I wish you a most wondrous time with your precious family, and I am taking your thoughts to heart.
Thank you for your wisdom!
xoxo,
- Irina

June said...

oh Suzanne...I just love you! This is one of the most important posts I have ever read. When I see a mother, a wife, a friend, put their on-line lives before their family life I re-evaluate my own usage of my time on-line.
Thank you dearest and have a wonderful Spring break.
hugs...

Jane said...

What a fabulous and insightful post, Suzanne. One of you best yet. Plaudits to you, Lovely, for realising it's time to take stock. I had a similar epiphany this week which quite startled me. Enjoy your break with your dear ones. J x

lisaroyhandbags said...

Have a wonderful time off. I think we all need to unplug sometimes - I've always thought that "multi-tasking" is a dirty word. Sometimes I wish Twitter and Facebook never came about. xo

Mary Timmers said...

One of the best things about "aha" moments is that we get to share them with our kids. Nothing draws child to parent like the parent revealing vulnerabilities and flaws and life lessons learned. Have a great time with your babies enjoying this VERY UNUSUAL spring weather!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Beautiful and thought-provoking, Suzanne! It is always worthwhile to take a step back and re-examine our priorities! Enjoy your special time with your family! PS- that photo of Gracie is SO cute!!

Julie said...

I am um-hmmm girl...amen-ing...I too every once in a while just answer that ~ **what would you call it??? conviction?....the inner voice whispering?....the heart tap-tapping on the head?...the sixth sense of the female/mommy/wife/nourisher??? to step away...do a self-inventory on myself...see what I have WAY too much of in my everyday patterns, and not NEAR enough of for restock - should I run out...it's just a good quality control check. :-) I hope you have an outstanding time with your two peeps.. ***we definitely relished and enjoyed every moment with our Marine this last week. Already anticipating the next time, when he comes back to the States. (those memories are the life deposits made (for when we need to make a withdrawal to replenish our hearts) while he is deployed.
Hugs and Cheers to you Suzanne! xoxoxo

Kelly Frances Dunn said...

Dear Suzanne,

It's been a while since I've visited. I unplugged for too long! Sorry to miss each other since you are headed out the door :) Just wanted to say, I'd love to hear that sermon you heard, because your version is awesome! Amen to family, life and the gift of each other :)

XX,

Kelly

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

How lovely. I enjoyed my recent computer break. Didn't turn my computer on for three weeks. Have fun interacting, processing, laughing, and making great memories with your family.

And please do come back ... I love your creative blog.

Fondly,
Glenda

Tricia said...

What a wonderful post. I often listen to a Christian radio station while I'm driving along in my car and I remember last year, they had a series of commercials that touched on this sort of thing...it really gave me pause. I hope you enjoy your break and the time together with your children.

xo

pretty pink tulips said...

As always, Suzanne, I walk away from your posts inspired and today, deeply touched. What a great message, one that I know I personally understand. Last week, I checked out so I could enjoy our trip and really did relax. Even this week, with my boys still on break, I think I'll just be realistic about what I can get down on the computer.

And, the message from Emerson is one that is so true. Garbage in, garbage out was the way my mother put it. She was right. What you watch, read and pay attention to is what you are putting into your mind.

Enjoy your break. Can't wait to hear how much fun you all had together!
xoxo Elizabeth

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Quiet.

Peace.

Family.

Friends.

Pets.

Nature.

Spirituality.

Turn off your computer.

love,

Sharon

koralee said...

Oh my break is coming soon too...great words and LOVE that quote.
Hugs to you sweet one. xoxox

Whosyergurl said...

Suzanne,
What a beautiful post. I love Ralph Waldo! And love that photo of a Corgi (?) in glasses? I heard a quote recently that was of similar theme..."where your mind goes when it is idle is what occupies your life" or something similar.
Enjoy your children. Too soon, they are grown and living in other states. I have one in MD and one in NC. xo, love, Cheryl

Jeanie said...

This is beautiful, Suzanne -- well stated and most insightful. We all need to think about our faces -- how we spend our time and with whom we spend it. I've certainly been contemplating that in recent weeks with the death of a friend and the serious illness of her daughter. We don't know how much time we have -- we'd better be sure we are using it the way we should.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Suzanne, I hope you are enjoying some very precious time with your family. I think we all need to take blog breaks now and then to focus on our own lives, family and friends. It goes back to what we have all mentioned in our blogs...blogging should be fun and never feel like an obligation.
Enjoy your precious time...it goes so quickly. XO

Lisa Scibilia said...

Suzanne, I read this post last week on my phone and had to giggle at Gracie in glasses - too cute!
Just popping over to say I hope you are having some wonderful QT with your kiddos!! Missing you in the blogosphere, but I think it's wonderful that you stepped away. We both know how fast these days are flying by. I love that you are giving them your undivided attention - you are a wonderful mama!

Gretta Faun said...

Just found your blog. I thought that you are russian, because "Privet" means Hi in russian language. I only read your last post and it touched a nerve. I am having the midlife crises and just few days ago my whole life flashed before my eyes. I realized that I was conditioned since my childhood to live only for others, put their needs and wants first. I never had a chance to develop as an individual. Being selfless is not honorable if it is not authentic. " What is written on my own face?' I love your question. My face constantly changes in respond to other people. I don't have my own face at this time in my life. My whole life has been a compromise. I became what I worshiped( selfless service, martyrdom, being a savor) without realizing that I didn't choose it. Awareness is a first step to the transformation. I don't regret anything. Can't be true without knowing false. Thank you for your beautiful post.

Cindy said...

I really needed this post today! It was spot on to the feelings I have been having lately! I do have to get my priority in order and slow down a little! Have a fun time with your family!

Felicity said...

This was one of the best posts that I'd read in a long time Suzanne and I'm so pleased that you've selected it to feature in this months 'Post Of The Month' Club.

Thank you for taking time out from you break to join in.

Biggest of happy hugs from afar,
Fx

Jenny said...

This is so timely. My 5 year old said to me the other day, "You spend too much time texting!" What a wake up call. As they start their Spring Break this week I will be making a concerted effort to unplug and tune into them. Popping in from POTM club.

Beth said...

I'm just catching up this afternoon on some blog reading and posting as interestingly I have really pulled back to ensure that I'm focussing on other things that are important. We don't have to let go of things completely just re-prioritize every now and again. I hope you had a wonderful break with your family. Our Easter holiday is just starting.
x

Amy Arnaz said...

Hi Suzanne~
The Emerson quote is spot on. Words to live by. Thanks for posting his quote. I've never read that particular quote before and love it.
xoxo Amy

Elizabeth said...

Love the article. The Emerson quote goes well with the verse from the Bible that says those who look to the Lord are radiant.

Love your blog and the name. I do think we have privet here, though, even in the South. I think my beloved hedges at UGa -- those famous between the hedges -- are privet.

I love all kinds of beautiful hedges, and I love holly berries.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Lovely post. Lots to think about here! Enjoy your break.