It is so strange how our life experiences serve to teach us…I think they do anyway.
I read a quote, “Instead of asking why is this happening to me, ask what is this teaching me?” Instant shift.
It really is an instant shift. I begin to ask myself what my accountability in the experience is, how it is familiar to choices I have made before, and I can explore what is at the root of my choice. Hopefully, even if I can’t clarify the lesson, I can find value in the journey.
Goodness sometimes life surprises me. People surprise me. Sometimes in ways that make my heart sting, other times in ways that make my heart soar…and everything in between. Trying to remember that in many cases, the hurt someone caused is so much more about them than me but my mind has a much easier time grasping this than my silly heart.
So, my questions of the day…what am I learning right in this moment and dear God, where do I go from here?
Happy Tuesday my loves. Enjoy your journey today (and every day)!
Transformation, alteration, renewal, metamorphosis….constant change is a certainty of this human experience. Stubborn resistance may root us in place. Still, the very change that surrounds will also change us. Why resist? We are forever becoming.
I was playing a little game with a friend, we were giving each other a number, and we had to share the photo from our phones that matched that number. He asked to see the 10th picture of only me.
The 10th picture of only me sent me spinning with shame and embarrassment. I could not show him this one. However, I promised…no cheating. Before sending the photo, I let him know that this was taken at one of the worst times of my life. My ex-husband had just told me he no longer loved me and wanted a divorce; my precious daddy was dying after a 12 year battle with Alzheimer’s. The picture (which is here for all the world to see) was a clear image of a lady who had no love for herself and her eyes held a deep sadness, despite the smile on her face. The only reason I share it is because I am trying to practice what I preach…vulnerability and transparency. In this moment, I also share in hopes of diminishing the pier of shame this photo holds.
This precious friend heard my shame and replied with, ‘it’s just a selfie, look at your smile’. Then he made me laugh with a gentle joke about chipmunk cheeks. I never thought I’d giggle looking at that picture, but I did, and it was genuine. However, I have obsessed over that picture since. It’s not just that I hadn’t realized how much I changed, it brought back a rush of painful memories.
I remember the day the man who was the only love I’d ever known told me he was leaving. I was inundated with feelings of unworthiness, disposability and fear. For some reason, I made a little video on my phone to myself. I guess to commemorate the day. I very clearly stated (to myself) that I wanted to learn to love myself, no matter who else loved or didn’t love me. That my friends, is the journey of transformation I have been and am still on.
My timehop today reminded me that at this time last year, I had lost 20 pounds on Weight Watchers. I then stopped Weight Watchers, and started doing my own thing. It’s called the ‘keto’ish but not all the way because life is too short to not enjoy ice cream” diet. Clean eating pretty much, low carb, very low sugar and almost no processed foods. In doing this, I have lost another 28 pounds. This makes 48 pounds gone! I should be so proud.
Rather, my first reaction was “wow!, but I have so long to go.” I began a laundry list of all the men who would like me better if I had a better body, and of how life would be different if my ass matched my sass! (Borrowed from a favorite meme). Somehow, I stopped myself in the middle of my negative recitation. I wondered to myself, “what will it take for me to be good enough?”
I asked myself what I wanted. Easy. I want to love myself. As is. I want to believe I am enough and honor that deeply, no matter where I am on my journey. I want to be excited about the work I am doing for ME while enjoying who I am right in this moment.
I want to practice gratitude, for I have so much to be grateful for. I am here, breathing. I am a miracle, just as we all are. Life is the celebration! I have two legs that are strong and lovely, and they get me where I want to go. The gift of walking was taken away from me in 2009 and I had to relearn that skill at the age of 35. How dare I fuss that I am not enough? My heart is strong; it is full of love, life and laughter. I can easily exercise on the elliptical for 35 minutes without rest. I might not be the most graceful, but I am me and I am a masterpiece. There is no one like me, ever, anywhere. I am blessed in every way, I want to remember this every second of every moment of every day.
I want to realize that when someone asks me out on a date, they are every bit as lucky to have time with me as I am to have time with them. It is not settling to be with me, it is a gift, for I am pretty damn cool. I want to stand in this truth. It changes my choices, it changes everything.
I want to show my kiddos who I am at my core and that we are ALL capable and worthy of beautiful, positive, transformation…their Momma included.
There is so much joy in the transformation these days…one day the pain will be nothing but a motivator for better.
It’s been a teeny bit of a struggle hearing about Luke Perry’s death. I mean, it’s sad when people die anyway. Then, it feels especially sad to me when they are young. He was for sure young.
We are told that Luke died of a stroke. Anytime I hear this, I feel this flurry of emotions. It’s a combination of deep gratitude for being alive and well nine years after the stroke I had, and of intense guilt for being here when others are not. It’s a feeling of being safe and held that is often interfered with by feelings of anxiety and fear.
I want to know all the details of his stroke. How, when, why, where? As if all of these answers bring me a magical always healthy solution. I have such an ability to let my worries spin right out of control until I lose myself in the middle of them. (I’m speaking to health anxiety…not to my whole way of being). The minute I get lost in that world, I disconnect from all that I love.
It’s been a gift to learn this about myself; to be aware of the things I do when I’m heading in that direction; and to do them.
Being still and trusting that God has my back has been huge for me and it’s rarely my first response. Reaching out to the handful of people that know my heart deeply is such a gift, and another thing I rarely do first.
My wise momma once asked me in the middle of one of my biggest times of worrying about losing my life…”We only have this life, are you going to spend it living or dying?” Absolutely I want to spend it living.
It’s a good day.
It’s National Heart Health month and Congenital Heart Defect awareness week. I’m thinking about Dr. Loughridge who performed the full correction of my tetrology of fallot 45 years ago, my Dr. Cooper…the cardiologist who ‘grew me up’ and the cardiologists and medical personnel who have helped and do help me stay healthy and strong.
I am thankful for the practice of medicine. I am deeply grateful for those who dedicate themselves to learning the science of healing in all aspects. I am thankful for the God who fills my lungs with air and my spirit with joy.
Whenever these celebratory awareness events occur, I celebrate. But I celebrate always because I have seen first hand that my life is a gift to be treasured. Our moments are precious indeed, and time is truly a gift.
I ask myself and God why in the world I am here and others are not. Scientifically, I did not fit neatly into the statistics. I will never have the answers. I will never think my life is more significant that another’s. I will be grateful, deeply grateful for each breath and I will strive to find the wonder, awe and joy in each living being as long as I am here.
Anyway…HAPPY HEART MONTH! Love a little more!
I am resistant if you are willing. If you are willing, I am resistant. and so we dance around. and around. and around. Never do we arrive . We memorize the steps so we can begin again. -me
I am currently in my addiction and assessment class at school Fascinating because I have lived my 46 years surrounded by addicts that I love, and still I am learning the process of addiction. Bottom line…it sucks no matter which way you spin it.
One of our assigned projects is to give up something for two weeks. Read all about it…. (I am keeping a daily log/journal…can’t wait to share that). I am learning things about myself that aren’t the most pleasing. I am learning nonetheless.
I have chosen to give up all social media for these two weeks. This includes for me, Facebook (the biggest offender), Snapchat, Instagram (on these two to keep up with my kids and nieces), Twitter (to keep up with an old boyfriend’s articles) and all online dating sites (to meet ‘those’ connection needs). Even thinking about doing this for two weeks made my belly clench, so I decided it was probably the direction I needed to go.
Although we were not required to begin our abstinence until the morning of the class, I had been prepping myself for a couple of weeks. I’ve not decreased my social media time but I did let my Facebook world know what I would be doing and why. I was surprised at the positive responses I got and at the people who thought they might ‘try’ it too at some point. I know a slip up is a possibility but I don’t want to disappoint them. (or myself) I asked my best friend to help hold me accountable and I know she will. I decided yesterday (Thursday) afternoon to go ahead and disconnect. It had been an emotional day and I was doing lots of introspection…it just seemed like the right time to do it. Later that night, at home, I opened my laptop to do homework. Silly thing was opened to Facebook from the last time I had used it. I was mortified and made my classmate (we were working together) sign out for me. In no less than 5 minutes, I got a text from my best friend telling me to get off Facebook. Geez! She’s normally such an enabler for others, lol! Anyway, we called her on speaker because I did not want her to think I really was on Facebook. I struggle if anyone questions my integrity…always have. The internal struggle when my insides and outsides aren’t matching up is significant so when someone else questions that, it hurts me probably more than it should.
My ex-husband, left our home for the second time in June, 2016. My Daddy died in July, 2016. Going back even further, I had a stroke in 2009. There was an affair in our marriage in 2013. We legally divorced in 2017. I think each of these events strengthened the relationship I already had with social media, especially with Facebook. (lol! I just noticed how easily I referred to this possible addiction as a relationship).
That leads naturally into my next point…why is social media considered my friend? I don’t think I use it as my only way to connect, but it definitely is a way to connect. I’m super relational and I love to write. I post way more than I even look at things. But, looking back during those times of trauma, Facebook was an outlet for me to escape from my own reality, see how others were doing and post my journey…all of which were healing for me at the time. In hindsight, Facebook became a grounding connection when I felt lonely or afraid and it was always there for me. It was a way to disconnect from my own reality sometimes, and other times I shared my reality…but it was always there. I love the safety knowing that connection is always there and won’t abandon me. That’s really dumb. It reminds me of a client I had who struggled with serious mental health issues and constant loneliness. He told me that he hated when his cable wasn’t working because the people on t.v. were his only friends and they were always there. I get it buddy, I get it!
My compulsitory behavior of constantly checking Facebook…I look first thing in the morning and know that this ‘friend’ is there when I wake…even though my once husband is not. Now I remember toward the end of our marriage the emptiness I felt when I woke miles away from him in the same bed…we didn’t connect but I would connect with Facebook on my phone. I check it throughout the day and at night and at bedtime, as well as when I cannot sleep. I check it when I’m reading a book or doing homework or paying bills…no wonder I feel unfocused. I can see things that connect me, I read things that make me think or annoy me, or even touch my heart. It gives me a sense of being in touch when there is no one there to touch me. It fills my empty voids sometimes, other times it’s just positive, and often it’s only a distraction from life. So, I guess it appeals to my senses through the provision of memories of sweet times, tender touches, comforting smells; I can even hear and see the memories play out it my head. This is triggered through my own Facebook memories and also through current people and what I see. This refers to the constant clicking and scrolling part. Honestly, Facebook is also a way to keep up with the guys I date. Have they been on and they aren’t talking to me? Are they just talking to me? Are they honest? I’m validating my already existing walls and keeping score, whether they know it or not…and I’m feeding my insatiable curiosity. Writing this out, I feel like a voyeur and like I’m cheating myself from truly moving forward.
I think I have already addressed a foundation for how my behavior provides healing or is a balm to my emotional wounds. Now, as I am really healing, I enjoy reflecting on things I once wrote and seeing how far I’ve come. Yet, those memories that pop up can sometimes sting a little bit. As I just realized above…how much am I healing and how much am I holding on? I guess there is a fine balance. In sharing, I always hope that I am offering someone else healing and I hear often that I am. Hearing I am an inspiration is lovely but not what I seek. I am who I really am on social media but I find it’s easier for me to get my full feelings out in the written word sometimes, easier to find vulnerability there than in person which is probably part of why it continues to heal. I should be sharing that by working more on my blog or a book, like I always dream of. I am seeing though that I need to see how much social media is a true healing mechanism vs. how much social media is a band aid.
I don’t know that my social media addictive behavior really makes me feel helpless, but entrapped, yes. I guess because I realize it’s such a thing I reach to without even thinking and also that it made me nervous to think about giving it up, even for two weeks. That means it manages me more than I manage it and I don’t like that. That’s where the feeling of entrapment comes from. As I reflect on this with as much self-honesty as I can muster, I am wondering how many feelings social media helps me keep confined.
My consistent relationship with social media, Facebook in particular, costs me perhaps more than I have considered. I have goals and one of them is managing my time intentionally. Facebook clicking and scrolling steals from my time, and time is not a forever guaranteed thing. I heard somewhere recently that the average person spends seven years of their life on social media. Seven years. I don’t want that. In those terms, it kind of freaks me out. I could be writing, praying, connecting with my kids and others…instead I’m staring at a screen. How much of my life am I giving to the blue screen and what will the payoff for that be? Ugh.
Things are going good….
1) When I am craving my salad instead of chips and salsa.
2) When I am seeking a long term pay off over a momentary thrill.
3) When I see everything, even my past momentary thrills through a lens free from guilt and shame.
4) When I am combining my dreams with an intentional plan.
5) When I value forgiving myself every bit as much as I value forgiving another.
6) When I listen to my body as the ultimate guide for my health.
7) When I take time to be still with God…just to be…to pray…to study…to listen.
8) When I am flexible with my plan and open to the possibilities.
9) When I truly grasp it is not my responsibility to fix any other human being….EVER.
10) When I am equally open to the journey and the outcome and I stay aware of loving and embracing myself through it all.
11) Bonus: When I remember that “life does not have to be perfect to be beautiful”.
My Momma, kids and I arrived home about an hour ago from a delightful little overnight getaway to Branson. (Side note…I LOVE Missouri~.) We were there for the specific purpose of celebrating one of my nephews who is doing incredibly hard work in his life. He was able to be away from his temporary home for a few days, it was a lovely reason for us to get together. Only about 1/2 of our big family was there, I look forward to the day we can all revisit at once. That seems to be a rarity with the busy-ness of every day life and I am thankful for every bit of time we have to join each other.
This morning was perfect for sitting on the porch, sipping coffee and soaking in the gratitude. The family we are is the real Brady Bunch..a living conglomerate of love. We know how to throw a good, old fashioned, fun party! There will be hugs and squeals, yummy food, laughter, tears, often music with dancing and always memory making. We know how to connect with each other and within generations.
It might be conversations over coffee in red rocking chairs and barstools on a glassed in porch with a beautiful view. There will be cooking together in the big, open kitchen and yelling at football players on tv for some. Several are likely gathered around a table eating a meal or playing Farkle, Dominoes or even Candy Land. The Air Hockey Table, pool table, Pac Man arcade game or Pinball machine make for excellent, friendly competition. Snuggling up anywhere and swapping secrets and hanging out in a hot tub until skin is itchy and cheeks are flushed….all excellent opportunities to bond. Wherever and however the connection happened this weekend, gratitude for this enveloping love overwhelmed me.
Chatter about sports, how healthy and fat the robins in Branson are, comfy pillows and beds, how awesome the hot tub is, where we will hike (and if we really want to hike), that the smell of our girls strawberry smelling hair is wonderful and even the teen boys sweat is somehow sweet to us, how much we’d love to come here again…all of this and more was discussed. We share beloved memories, our sorrows, our joys, our struggles and worries. We rejoice in our love for one another, cousin camaraderie, sweet remembrances, a glorious God who loves us, kindredness, peace, redemption and stages of life. We share wisdom and adventures in school, love, dating, and life experiences. We are simple, we are complex. We are real and back to the basics awesome. There is a sense of celebration, abundant love, vulnerability, and safety that coexists in our chaos. We are a unique gift never to be taken for granted.
A year or two ago, these occasions made me incredibly sad. I no longer had a husband who had a shared history with me and this family. Our Daddy was no longer physically present. I grieved, and grieved, and grieved some more. Something inside of me has healed though, and where there was only grief, there are now cherished memories. The shared story of my beautiful family (the one we are still writing) continues to heal my heart.
I thought about the words that describe our family (those who were there this weekend and those who weren’t)….ALL OF US….I was only going to write a few but my list kept growing. In our family, there is…
grace, joy, fun, redemption, respect, camaraderie, conversations, soulful connection, God, familiarity, safety, understanding, empathy, true connection, sacredness, board game playing, friendly competitiveness, creativity, sweetness, yummy food, celebration, music, dancing, laughter, tears, reflection, honesty, hope, truth, togetherness, reverence, delight, appreciation, gratitude, openness, trustworthiness, acceptance, tradition of love, late night delirium and early morning adventures, love, seeking, reaching, growing, stories, memories, teasing, playfulness, organized spontaneity, real emotion, gentleness, judgement free, wisdom, energy, learning, fondness and HOME.
THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME. So thankful.
This last week has been fabulously filled with new life adventures, and I have enjoyed every single moment. Here are 46 reasons why:
- Last Sunday, I went to church. I may have been feeling just a little bit lonely’ish. A dear friend was a few rows away with her beautiful children and a friend; instead of sitting by myself, I sat with my friend and her family. This just made the service/worship so much sweeter.
- Later that day, I met a new friend for coffee. We had a deeply rich, spiritual conversation that seemed to be the beginning of chipping away at a few of my soul’s survival tactics that really do not serve me well anymore. I had found a little bag of my Grandma’s Catholic books and it was so incredible to be able to share them with a friend who appreciated them….not planned but incredible.
- I feel like my spirit has been napping and I’m waking up to the vibrancy of my being. It’s just in the air or something…a new (or renewed?) energy
- It was a week of fun selfies and spectacular quotes. One of my favorite is worth sharing here…”If you’re pretty, you’re pretty; but the only way to be beautiful is to be loving. Otherwise, it’s just, ‘Congratulations about your face.'” This is the best!!!
- On that topic, I have noticed that we as a society can be very mocking and critical of selfie taking. I say just let people be. I can only speak for me, but taking selfies after the divorce was a huge stretch for me…it always felt like part of the picture was missing. Now, I take them not because I am vain…usually because I feel silly, or contemplative, or whatever I feel and this is a way to share it. So…this week I took a selfie nearly every day and shared it. Why? Because it was a lovely week and I chose to share my journey in this way…the end.
- Tuesday, I got to work on homework….I did this all week. It was supposed to be stormy on all the days ending in Y, but that didn’t quite happen. When it got down to the wire though, it rained…this meant more focus on my paper. (Don’t ask, I’m just quirky like that!)
- Also Tuesday, I made another lovely friend and had a wonderful evening. All I’m going to say is this…it’s socially awkward when one is on a date, and while on that date, runs into someone they’ve also been dating (not secretly) with their date. Think that over.
- On Wednesday evening, (my actual birthday), I said bon voyage to 45 bonjour to 46! My precious momma and kids took me out to dinner. Not one of them complained that I chose sushi and we had a fabulous time together. I am extraordinarily blessed to have gotten that time with the woman who gave me life and the children that I gave life to.
- Also on Wednesday, my Facebook wall, text messages and phone calls were inundated with loving birthday messages. Maybe I’m more like a child on birthdays, but I believe we ALL deserve special love on the day of our birth….find more reasons to celebrate…life is a celebration when you live in gratitude!
- I went to the chapel at St. Bernard’s…where my Grandma went to church. I spent an hour praying, being still, looking around, thinking, and praying some more. I was relieved that the toenails on Mary’s feet were not painted and were very real looking. I left with something…I felt like God was letting me know that my openness was a gift, and at the same time asking where I needed closure. Suffice it to say, there is an entire post to be written about this experience.
- The bestest part of my birthday was finding the video of my Momma and Daddy singing me the happy birthday song together. Daddy was starting to struggle with his memory then, and that memory popping up made my heart incredibly happy. I think I watched it 100 times throughout my day.
- I got flowers on my birthday. Because my friend loves me and she knows that flowers fill me with joy. I didn’t expect flowers, but she remembered. It’s a gift to have a friend who remembers you like this.
- Thursday was a busy day at work, and I was reminded through my clients how very fortunate I am to have a home, clothing, food, pets, mostly happy and healthy children, air conditioning, blankets, a toothbrush and not a consistent fear for my safety. Gratitude gratitude gratitude.
- Very good company Thursday night and another birthday dinner. And…I saw the movie CLUE. No, of course I didn’t doze off during the movie!
- Friday, I took 1/2 a day off work…thank God for a flexible job! I finished a paper I’d been putting off for way too long, it really wasn’t so bad once I sat still. Good thing since the paper was due in class that evening.
- Friday was the one year anniversary of our divorce. I didn’t feel broken, ashamed, weary, hopeless and defeated. I actually felt just the opposite. I’m coming together, content, peaceful, hopeful and anticipatory. I’m human so sometimes I struggle, yet this is authentic healing.
- Saturday was lovely. It began early as I awoke listening to my brother sing loudly and cheerfully from the other room. It was an awesome way to wake up and get ready for a day of class!
- My dear brother and friend joined our class Saturday afternoon. So did one of my classmate/friend’s gorgeous wife. It was absolutely fun to have their interaction for our discussion and I believe every weekend class should entail some sort of bring a guest show and tell!
- After class meant a drink or two with the above mentioned gentlemen and lively discussions! That was awesome and I think I have now tried every flavor of Moscow Mule at PJ’s except for the one with whiskey…because whiskey is ewww to me.
- I had the opportunity to have a heartfelt conversation with my baby daddy. (The wonderful man who I was with for 23 years). I wanted to apologize to him for things I had done in our marriage that I just needed to take ownership for. It would’ve been easy to continue to let him own it all, but this honesty is part of my continued healing and hopefully his as well. I wish everyone had this chance. Say what you need to say. Forgiveness. Compassion. It all lets us move forward in grace. If it’s not possible to share with the person, write it out and burn it…do what you need to do to heal…it’s worth it.
- Saturday night…topped with a warm bath, clean sheets, a great book and a glass of wine…had the best sleep I’ve had in a long time!
- Sunday began with a yummy breakfast cooked for me by my brother…and coffee…of course, coffee. I sat on the porch and enjoyed this, read my Bible and enjoyed the magnificent morning.
- So…I read all of Corinthians 1 again, beautiful. In my deep conversations with my new friend, I have felt a bit challenged. Not in a bad way…in an ‘iron sharpens iron’ kind of way. I know my faith is strong. I am sure of my salvation. I understand and have many biblical stories and scriptures stored in my heart. In my quest to grow closer to God, I think it worthwhile to examine my foundational beliefs so I can better explain to others where I come from. This is absolutely not the same as wanting to right fight and defend. I want to understand more deeply all of the Bible…in context, not just here and there, for myself more than for anything.
- I had an especially sweet afternoon with a handsome, poetic hearted friend. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?
- Tonight was coffee and a long overdue conversation with someone I love very much. It was time to hear each other’s hearts so we could just move forward. I thank God for these moments.
- This birthday week has been overflowing with new adventures and healing of old wounds. In earlier blogs I’ve discussed my love of the words synchronicity and serendipity. I still love them. Even more, I love watching them in action.
- It’s been a deeply contemplative, prayerful week filled with thought-provoking discussions and earnest seeking. These things are important to me, so I am thankful for each of these experiences.
- My children have been extra peaceful. I don’t know why, I’m not going to try to explain. I am intensely thankful for these moments though.
- Watching my daughter ice-skate and seeing her joy after she’s learned a new maneuver…priceless. It was her daddy’s turn to take her this week but he sent me a video. She wows me.
- Seeing the twinkle in my son’s eyes this week, even for a fleeting moment, makes my Momma heart happy.
- I have lost 20.3 pounds. My next size down clothes are beginning to fall off of me. I might not love that I had to change bra sizes but I do love my mostly steady energy and the way my body is changing.
- I see that while I am opening myself to new experiences, I am beginning to find healthy vulnerability again in areas that I had chosen previously kept walled off. I’m relieved that this is happening.
- I have set boundaries where before I would’ve not done so. Sometimes, it really is less about fulfilling others expectations and more about taking care of myself. This especially applies to my journey in dating. Stating my boundaries clearly and expecting that they be honored is just as new as dating. This is all fresh territory.
- Staying in touch with new, new/old, old friends is a gift. Remember, “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold?” Yes. Do that.
- I look in the mirror and sometimes I look tired. I see more wrinkles than I used to. I see a belly that housed two healthy, glorious babies. Guess what else I see? I see a woman who is lovely and becoming more at peace with herself as time passes. I see the heart of a child and the strength of a woman. I see God’s princess. I see someone who is worthy of goodness.
- I have laughed, cried and enjoyed myself this last week more than I have in so long. I’m not sure why. Whatever….I’m grateful.
- I turned down a fabulous internship opportunity because I knew it would not be the best for my family. Doing the right thing isn’t always fun. There will be an even better opportunity, this I know.
- I ate cheesecake on my birthday…tempura battered cheesecake with cream and strawberries. I haven’t had anything like this since April. Oh my goodness, life is short and enjoying dessert is a luxurious treat!
- My puppies, my kitty and even that little lizard make me smile. God is so cool to even provide us with these little muffinheads….just makes me think how much He loves us to give us these kinds of enjoyments.
- I got myself a couple of new books for my birthday. I don’t buy myself things often and most of my reading time is spent on school books…but I’m so excited to read something purely for pleasure.
- My house is an absolute mess. Parts of it feel like they are literally crumbling under my feet. (Literally, it’s kind of happening like that). It’s gonna be okay. I don’t know how but I know it is. Trusting the process. Praying hard! Remembering, I have a home.
- My coffee was paid for twice this week by random strangers. How’s that for a birthday treat?
- Baby tomatoes are still growing on my vines. I was shaking one of the plants one morning…to shake the pollen down. Although I was gentle, a little baby fell off the vine and I felt so sad. So…I buried it. If I were that baby tomato I’d just use my seeds to make another vine and I’d grow taller and stronger than the original vine. However, I’m not the tomato, I guess we will see what happens next!
- I’ve found lots of new music to enjoy on Spotify this week, I once forgot the love of music that I have. Like…how do people ever live without music? TV, I understand but music has to be.
- Stella and I came up with a grand book idea…maybe we can make it happen. That’s pretty hopeful!
- I learned that sometimes, you just gotta spill the tea, sis!
It’s just been the best birthday week ever and my cup overflows. The kindnesses bestowed on me are astonishing and I hope I give back well all that I receive.
Grace. Peace. Joy. Mercy. Compassion.
It has been said, “when the student is ready, the master appears”. Could it be that when the soul is open and willing, God brings the lessons (sometimes painful) that take us to a higher level of surrender (closer to Him)? It all fits like a perfect puzzle in the end, right? The issue is that no earthling is privy to just what the end is. Possibly, even, what we see as the end is truly the beginning.
My precious friend shared a wonderful Taoist parable with me, I was lost in the beauty of the words and awestruck when he asked me to consider that this was only the middle of our story. If we are in the middle (or anywhere but the end), how is it possible to judge life circumstances as good or bad, for we don’t know the end result. The parable goes like this:
Good or Bad; Who Knows?
There once was a poor rice farmer, who had a very small field just large enough to feed his family.
Then one day a herd of wild horses came running through the village. They ran into the farmer’s rice field and got stuck in the mud, and since they couldn’t get away, they were his.
His neighbor came running over and said, “This is good news! Such good fortune! You are rich, this is amazing!” And the rice farmer said, “Good news, bad news, who knows?”
A few weeks later the farmer’s 12-year-old son jumped up on one of the wild horses for a ride, only to be thrown off and have his leg broken. The neighbor comes running over and says, “Oh no, this is such bad news!” And the farmer said, “Good news, bad news, who knows?”
A week later a Chinese general is marching through the farmer’s village on the way to war. On this march, the army is conscripting every healthy boy over 10 years of age. So they took every boy in the village except the farmer’s son because of his broken leg.
The neighbor comes running over and says, “Yes! This is wonderful news, how lucky are you?!” And the father replies, “Good news, bad news, who knows?”
Life is bursting with opportunities to form dichotomies…good news or bad news, who knows? There comes to mind a zillion personal thoughts initially perceived as bad news that turned out to be the best news. The big ole stroke could’ve been the end of this earthly life. Instead, it gave immediate notification of an unknown hole in my heart that was putting my life in imminent danger, that hole is now repaired. My sweet Daddy’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis was horrific. At the same time, there was so much healing in our relationship that occurred as a result of our time together those last years. My divorce…I struggle with the good news in that, yet I fully trust that it’s there even when I only see glimpses. Another consideration; news for one might seem like bad news for another and vice versa. Again, who knows? Additionally, in each moment we choose our path. Is it possible, even when the ‘good’ is concealed in the dark, to live confidently, truly believing it’s there? It is more than possible, and I seek to live passionately and wholeheartedly while walking in love, hope and integrity.
Am I living congruently? Do the desires of my inner being mesh better with right this minute or also with hope for a bright future? The things I (think) I believe in my core…do I? Why or why not? Where did I learn them? Yes, I’ve been growing healthier spiritually, physically, professionally and emotionally but there is far more growth to come. I don’t have answers. I don’t want to argue…not even with myself. I don’t want to prove anyone right or wrong. I just want to seek the things that spark my soul.
There is this intense desire to live life fully, embracing completely the season I am in. Learning to love and be loved wholeheartedly, to express and receive genuine adoration…these are “worthy wishes” that are new additions to my repertoire. I’ve prayed often recently, wishing to strengthen my relationship with God more than anything and trusting that the rest will follow. I’ve asked God often for heartfelt relationships that are soulful, deeply engaging and bring me closer to Him. It should be no surprise that my eternally inquisitive spirit has recently been exposed to endless discussions that cause me to ponder and question my own belief system in every area. I cherish this journey, for every opportunity to investigate myself grants the opportunity to live a richer life. There could be a blog written on each question, but until the internal chaos settles a bit, I can only name my ponderings.
- Now that I’ve dared to dream the possibility of a future relationship, what would I dream that it looks like? Heart flutters (the good kind), belly butterflies and googly eyes are excellent; but what beyond these precious prizes?
- I believe that God loves me and that I am secure in my salvation. I am baffled that there is so much doubt surrounding that for so many that I love. I’m left wondering how to defend my assuredness and my faith or if defend is even the right word.
- Conversations about God and spiritual practice make me happy. They also make me think outside of my box. In the end, all I can do is seek wise counsel and trust that I am on the path God has for me. I really cannot fathom that my path is better than anyone else’s or that there’s is better than mine; I can keep an open heart and mind and seek the value. I guess the challenge in this is searching my own soul and trusting that small, still voice.
- I am intrigued by the practices of worship, adoration, meditation, contemplation, and in how we all perceive God and our relationship (or lack of) with Him. There are so many times that I have run from God, still he pursues me. I wonder how I live out this unconditional kind of love in my own life?
- Where in the heck should I intern and how will this (work, family, growth, school, internship, etc) all come together? This feels like another exercise in trust….am I on Candid Camera?
- It’s pure loveliness to be respected, doted over, and presented with fun surprises! It’s lovely, novel, different and feels so grown up. It makes me wonder why I have ever been okay with being treated as less than the beloved girl my Father created me to be.
- I don’t have a crystal ball or magic wand yet, I’m not sure why God hasn’t made those my spiritual gifts, lol! Hmmm hat I am reflecting on heavily is the joy in the journey and the impact of earnest gratitude. Gratitude is a life changer, Ranger!
- When I willingly lay down my burdens at the cross, everything, everything, everything changes. Why do I insist on holding on not only to my hurt at times, but to control? My theory…I had such a chaotic childhood that knowing the ‘what if’s’ and deciding how things should look creates a false sense of safety for me. Time to let that illusion go. Seriously.
- Some things build up slowly, other things are immediate. One is not better than the other. I do wonder though…what does it mean when there is an intense draw to one that I barely know and at the same time, a desire to move away from or stay status quo with one I know well?
- Every spark (lots of the sparks) does NOT come through comfortable or kind vessels. Don’t discount the spark, Sarah.
- We’ve all been hurt in the past. I think it’s just human nature to try and protect or defend ourselves from more hurt. Sometimes it’s covert and unconscious, other times it’s overt and intentional. Perhaps it’s worth it to investigate what fronts and defenses I put into play and to remember that before I know it, my walls become my devastating enemy.
- I forge out the what if’s and all the possibilities I foresee, and when others mess up my plans, I have a propensity toward an inner (sometimes outer) freak out. No! Stop. What an excellent opportunity to be reminded to trust God and his timing before my own. Those freak outs are humiliating and embarrassing and I don’t have to weigh it long to discern my own contribution to the ouch factor.
- Laughing…especially ay myself…even at my mistakes…it’s absolutely delightful medicine for my soul. Laughter sparks.
- There are places that spark my soul, and if they don’t spark my soul and I’m in those places daily…how do I change that trajectory? Additionally, I dream of places I want to go…namely Maine and Vermont in the fall and back to the Cascade waterfalls. Is that going to happen ever? Gosh, I hope so.
- God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. The more I believe this, the more my heart is filled with unwavering joy.
Albert Schweitzer said it beautifully, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by and encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Life can take our flame and drown it in floodwaters until it’s seems like it’s gone; yet if we look closely, there is going to be the tiniest little spark remaining. Much like the faith of a mustard seed that moves mountains is little spark that I feel rising within me.
I’m a ready and willing student and the teachers are coming in droves. The good and the bad seem to cohabitation.
Good news or bad news? Who knows. Maybe that’s not the question.