March 25, 2013

Dearest Friend,

Are you struggling? Are coming to a point where you wonder if it is all worth it? Or do you feel as if you are in a gerbil toy running in circles but getting nowhere? I understand. I so understand.

There are always times in our life we feel what we are doing isn't making a difference. We feel stuck, and alone, and outside, and inches from nothingness. This is where we must remember, what we feel isn't always the truth.

I don't know the plan for you, or what is going on in your life, but what I do know, with assurance, is you are so loved, so important, and not forgotten. What I do know is that each and every thing you do makes a difference. Your choices define you to yourself. Your actions define you to others. Your life is a blooming path of progress that changes constantly, but you are not stuck in any way.

It's like driving in west Texas. Have you ever made that trek? If not, I'm sure you know of one that is similar. The scene doesn't change very much from one mile to another. If you fell asleep on one side of Abilene you might not know you passed it if you woke up on the other side. But this is only from a far perspective. This is only when you are looking for big changes, big differences.

Look smaller, my friend. Look at each day, and see that there are differences within it and reasons to keep going. See the beauty in each moment, and don't give up. Don't quit. Don't look back one day and wonder what would have happened if you had kept going.

God in His majesty and awesomeness is with you on this path you are on. He is walking beside you, and if you listen you will hear his voice encouraging you in the way to go. You will hear Him telling you to keep on. Listen to Him, my friend. No one could love you more.

So, if you are feeling stuck, remember you aren't. Remember Someone is with you. And remember that as you push through, and dig deep, you are getting there. You are.

March 22, 2013

It's that time of year.

If you see someone over the weekend
walking around as if he doesn't know where he's going
and if he seems a little blurry to you...
just wish him a happy birthday.


I love you my dear
BECAUSE of these days
and oh so much more.

March 21, 2013

21.

21 years ago two youngish people met at a previously determined place and previously determined time. They met with family and friends and two clergy to have the tag team wedding which would propel them into the future. That day a new family formed.

21 years ago.

us





We're legal babe.

  1. I love how you have accepted the pile of shoes at the dresser and don't say anything about it. Just typing that caused me to get up to straighten them up some, even if they stayed in the same area. I always wonder why the boys don't keep their shoes in the closet, but I guess it's simply my fault.
  2. I love how you fought so hard not to give up washing the dishes and ironing, because you knew how much I hated doing those things. But you released them because you know I hate you being in pain even more.
  3. I love how you allow me to fix things around the house instead of calling a plumber or garage door fixer. You know, I think that takes great bravery on your part.
  4. I love how you don't mind my hair all over the place, even though I shed more than a long haired cat. It makes me giggle that you take a little bit of me with you wherever you go. Maybe we should move the lint roller to the utility room? Thank you for being long suffering.
  5. I love how you pout when I do something and you think I have forgotten about you. I promise you, I will never ever do that.
  6. I love how you turn the lights off behind me. No, really, I do. It makes me giggle when I go right back in the room, but you never say anything about it. You just do it. That shows great patience.
  7. I love you for taking Cedar in. One phone call and you knew I was smitten and you agreed. The same with Chip as well. And Chico. I may have a problem.
  8. I love you for your desire to stay healthy and physically fit so we can live a long life together. I love that you didn't push me into the same, but encouraged me all the way.
  9. I love you for your daddyness. Truly, I would have smothered those boys something terrible, but you helped me let them have themselves and I thank you for that.
  10. I love your heart for your family. You have made choices you may not have made otherwise had you been on your own, and I thank you for your generosity and selflessness in those cases.
  11. I love you for how you encourage me to be me, do my thing, and try new things. You never think of the cost or time, and you never worry about what hardship it may bring to you. You are willing to do that to encourage my interests.
  12. I love you for never escalating an issue between us. I love that you put "us" first over "being right." I love that you are willing to discuss and understand, listen and speak, share and hear.
  13. I love that you don't let me slide by on things. You call me on the carpet when I need to think through my actions or words, and I'm sorry for the times I have behaved defensively when you did so.
  14. I love the way you trust God so completely. You have been an amazing example for our boys as a man who trusts, loves, and obeys God, through valleys and mountains.
  15. I love the way you share space and time with me. Whether it's over coffee, on the couch, or in a discussion you make room for my presence and heart.
  16. I love the way we try to out do each other. It makes me laugh to see who can say it last, do it first, or do it for. It makes me laugh, but in the way joy overflows from love.
  17. I love the way the house feels when we are all there together, even when we are doing our own thing. You have helped to create a loving, safe space which I am grateful to call home.
  18. I love the way you forgive and move on.
  19. I love the way you help me declutter when I get in one of my spurts, and deal with the clutter when I'm letting it build.
  20. I love the way you take care of the things you do around the house, with the car, at work, or in the yard in order to take care of me in the process.
  21. I love the way your hand fits in mine.
21 years. And they said we'd only last 6 months. We showed them!

March 20, 2013

Choose joy

fbmarchjoy
It's hard for me to remember
that it's my choice.
It's hard to keep in mind
I can make changes.
It's hard for me to focus
some days.
I know not everything I do in this life will bring joy,
but some of those are still necessary.
the dentist
the doctor
the hardships
the trials
cleaning the bathroom
ironing the laundry
What I have to remember is the joy can be found
in how I do them.
I don't always remember this.
I have sat at the computer
for hours
waiting for words
sinking deeper
looking for resolve
wondering how
when suddenly I realize
I always
had
the choice.
As long as I have it
shouldn't I take it?
And so, I will change how I do things
when I am missing the joy,
and when I can I will change what I do
to bring more joy.
And maybe I'll become a little more like Pollyanna,
in all her glory.

March 18, 2013

Who are we?

I read this post on race and it really made me start thinking. Here is a sweet girl who is having a hard time (or did) claiming her heritage. It was literally where she came from and who she was but people scoffed and laughed at her making her feel like a liar. I loved that she shared her story with us on this topic.

I am pretty much a white girl from a large mix of heritages. Her words didn't make me think about my race, as much as who I claim to be and how people respond to that. No one has laughed at me when I tell them my father's side is Macedonian or my mother's side is English (when I summarize). No one thought I should be some other heritage than what I claimed. But when I claim other labels I worry about how people will respond.

When I claim I'm a Christian will they laugh in my face for the times I have fallen? Will they point out how impossible that thought is because I look nothing like my Savior?
When I claim I'm a writer do they scoff at the idea? Do they look at my words here and say they are nothing but drivel?
When I claim I'm a blogger do they question how many people read my blog, as if that is the measure of whether I blog or not?
When I claim I'm a creative do they say I don't have the right personality? Do they simply shake their heads and say it's not possible?
When I claim I'm an introvert do they say I'm lying to myself? Do they think I'm making excuses because I won't try?

When I claim to be a wife and a mother, do they only say if I try harder maybe I'll be a better one?

Somehow we have to set aside what others may or may not think whether they say it aloud or whisper behind our backs. Somehow we have to know who we are, and be sure of that. Somehow we have to believe in ourselves and fight for ourselves as much as Natalie said her grandmother would fight for her. Because what other people say we are or are not isn't necessarily the truth.

A friend wrote about dealing with labels put on us by others. She wrote how her heart hurt by labels people have placed on her little one, but how she is learning that the labels will come. So she is determined to teach her little girl how to deal with those labels.

I have learned a lot from these two posts that tackle the same coin. Who am I? What do I do when others don't agree? What do I do when people put their own labels on me?

Brenda brings her thoughts to a wonderful conclusion. We only allow God to be our label maker. He created us and is the only one who truly knows us. Natalie gives us the heart on which to stand. When we know who we are we don't let people take that knowledge away from us.

To accept who we are helps us to accept others more fully.

March 14, 2013

What I heard.

I hear her voice and the nails automatically slice into the back of my brain. It's a television show, but these people are real. And I have watched as she has shook her head, looked at the ground, thought it was impossible, made faces, held her head up high (too high?), and knew she could do it -- a bazillion times. A bazillion times!! As she starts the same old cycle I have watched her go through each episode I finally explode at the television and tell her to just. shut. up.

And then a wave crashes over me and words I have heard a multitude of times flow through my brain and bring me to a stand still.

"What you dislike the most about someone else, is what you are struggling with."

And the silence I hear as I ask the question is deafening. "Am I like her? Do I do this?"

hearing

No details were given, as I didn't want to hear. No, don't tell me it's so. Tell me I'm not like this girl on my television. Tell me I am better than her. Solid. Dependable. Sure.

But it seems, at least at times, I want it to be few and far between, but I am like this girl who gets on my nerves and pokes my eyeballs out and makes me want to scream. I am her.

And this saddens me, because I realize those around me have put up with me at times. This saddens me because there is no leadership there. This saddens me because I am caught in a cycle and I don't. even. know. it.

Sometimes you search for a goal and come up with something because it seems possible.
Sometimes a goal is handed to you with grace and mercy because it is needed.
Sometimes a goal slaps you in face when you realize it must happen.

I have an example of how I behave, and I know how I want to be, and silence will be what helps me cross from one to another, because I am still worried about what people think, I still want people to approve of my choices, and I still struggle with doing things simply because I should. But now I have a goal.

I listened. And I heard.

March 13, 2013

Too focused

As I drive by the turn I usually take my eye is drawn to the first house on the corner. Peripherally I see cars, and maybe people, but the white rocking chair is what has grabbed my attention and the only thing I will know about that moment.

I drive on taking the child to church, thinking about the groceries in the trunk, and contemplating the chair on their porch. It's a small porch, barely room for a person's feet while sitting, and I wonder if they ever sit. If they ever rock. Or if it's just decoration to make the house look pretty from the street.

I have my own furniture on my own porch which gets very little attention. The colder weather doesn't help, but even in the sun we rarely find ourselves out there. Oh, it's a dream, an idea, a hope, a thought... but rarely ever a reality. Why is that? Why do we do that? What makes us finally make the decision to make it real?

I don't know the answer, for I have yet to do it. So my furniture sits as the rocking chair does. Empty chairs, empty table, empty space. Gosh they make the house look warm and inviting from the street.

Can't you just see yourself, sitting with a drink? Conversing with the hubby or neighbor who dropped by? The kids running through the yard, laughter ringing from down the street, cars driving slowly and carefully through the neighborhood. I used to race friends around the street in eight grade. In sixth I rode my bike around the streets and roller skated down hills. We had a park right behind us where I spent the majority of my 4th grade year. And high school had a beach which often called my name.

Why can't we do it again? Why can't we take advantage of the opportunity to slow down and rest? To play and laugh? To race and run? I think we should. What can you do to make your space more inviting, so the call to be there is louder?

Twinkle lights? Candles? Drinks? Heaters? Let's do what we have to do to use the furniture and space we have been given. Don't let that back porch be empty. Don't let that rocker stand still.

Returning home after dropping off the child I didn't see the rocker as I passed by this time. I was focused with doing what needed to be done, putting those groceries away before the ice cream melted. I guess that's what often happens to my ideas of slowing down and enjoying. I get focused.

Let us live life a little more unfocused at times.

March 12, 2013

The Slump

I don't know if it's just me, but I'm thankful I am learning more about myself. You see, I just finished doing something that required me to be brave. It was a difficult step in the decision and the doing. I had to be brave all day long. In the end I learned more about myself, some weaknesses I have, and ways I need to improve. Before I even got home from the outing, I crashed. I slid into a little valley. It was of my own making, very possibly. I do not deny that. I have fallen there many times before , but didn't recognize it as such.

Before I would slide and then panic. My heart would beat fast, I would make rash decisions in the moment, and I would often times regret the actions taken at a later time. Then I fell into a period where I couldn't make any decisions because I wasn't sure whether I was in the valley or not. I was scared to decide and regret, so I made no decision which of course is a decision in itself. Now I'm able to see this cycle I fall into, and due to that I am able to make decisions better as well.

know yourself

I was big brave. As I slid into the valley the insecurities and feelings poured over me. I needed to stop trying. I didn't do very well. I was a faker. I was trying to hard to be something I wasn't. I needed to stop being brave because it simply wasn't my natural tendency. Stop it all.

The day after the big brave I had a down day planned. One with love and family and laughter. This could possibly have been the best decision I made in scheduling, though it wasn't totally my decision so I'm grateful it played out as it did. Through the day of recuperation I was able to find my normal again. The normal where I am aware of how much I have yet to learn, and also can admit how much I know. The normal where I realize being brave is sometimes a daily adventure, and I can't simply stop. The normal where I get up on the day after the day of recuperation and choose to do the brave things again.

I learned a lot about myself that weekend. I know I have a lot more to learn as well. I'm simply grateful that I can recognize the slump for what it is, and take the actions necessary to come out of it.

Have you begin to learn your own cycles? Do you know how you react to certain things and how to get through the reaction? Not everyone needs to be as brave as I do to do the things I do, but that doesn't mean you don't have to be brave. Does that bring you a high afterwards, or a low? Learn to embrace and understand yourself, because it will help you learn to embrace and understand others as well.

March 11, 2013

Trying to start my day...

My eyes slowly open to the darkness that surrounds me. Light escapes from under the bathroom door and I know exactly what woke me. If I don't wake to the alarm, I always wake to him putting his toothbrush back in the holder. Crazy that a little clink can bring me back to consciousness so quickly. I sneak out of the room hoping the dog will stay right where he is delaying the true start to my day. My goal is to start the coffee and climb back into bed without anyone noticing.

But as I turn to leave the kitchen the puppy stares at me with accusation as if I were really going to let him starve. Silly dog. I sigh heavy as I set his food and water up, and then I return to the bedroom much more awake than I had hoped to be. Flicking on the bedside light I open up the verses for that morning.

Too often I don't read them slowly. Too often I do it to check it off. But the mornings where everything falls into place, and the words speak to my heart, and my heart speaks back are usually interrupted by the dog now needing to go outside. No lie. So, I get up, let him out, and climb back in bed. I don't know why I keep returning. It's as if a magnet were drawing me back over and over. Hubby leaves with a kiss and a full cup of coffee, and I lay in bed considering my day, thinking of my routine, planning my errands, all the time avoiding what I know I should do.

Run.

I schedule it three days a week, but I am never excited about putting on my running shoes and driving to the track. I don't know why. There are people there who are supportive and encouraging during all 40 laps around. They laugh at my number, but when 12.5 makes a mile you do what you have to do. I have always hated the gym, and I can't say that word strong enough, but walking I never did mind. Running falls somewhere in between, and if it weren't for the goals set in front of me I would roll over in bed and not ever get up.

But then, that's the case even on the two days I don't run. The bed calls, sleep hints, though I usually stay there for far too long not getting any rest at all. When will I rise with the sun singing with the birds? How do I encourage myself when it is just me and I? So after half an hour of contemplating the ceiling, I turn off the light and blanket, and take myself to the bathroom to get ready for my day.

Feet on the track, empty mind, there is no runner's high for me. But when I am done I know I did well, and I can look back and say I did it. I know I am making strides towards better health. I know I am doing something good for me and those around me.

But goodness the sweet siren's call of the bed is so incredibly hard to ignore. Will there ever be a day my running shoes cry my name louder?

March 8, 2013

You don't have to do a thing

What am I supposed to do?

What is the will of God for me?
How do I do the things He wants me to?

What happens when I fail, again?
How can I make sure I am important?

I will be honest and say while I know the right answers with this topic; I don’t know that I have them down pat in my life. I still struggle with knowing it doesn’t matter what I do. I still raise my hackles when someone says I have a certain thing I am to do in this life. Not because I don’t believe I have good works to do, but because it is my nature to find my importance in those good works.
The culture we live in is one based on end results. What have we brought to the table? Because that decides where you sit at the table. Why should anyone consider me important? And maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe “they” is the reason I am struggling anyway.

We tell each other we shouldn’t worry about what other people think. We tell each other not to worry about the haters. We tell each other to live in a vulnerable way. But HOW?
The only way we can do those things is to realize that we are worthy, we are important, because we are. When Moses asked God to tell him who was sending him to Egypt so he could tell the Israelites who sent him, God said, “I am.” Have you ever considered that? He is the great I am. No one doubts that or questions it. But when we think of ourselves we look for something after that. “We are….” What? What are we? Because that’s what defines us? But does it?

Luke 15 4 6

I want to challenge your thinking as we finish this topic. It was so hard to write about being important for me. I’m still struggling with this, but I’m learning every day, and so are you. But I want to challenge you as we move forward to keep learning more about how important you are to God. Or rather, why you are important to God.
It’s not because of anything you have done, or will do. And you can’t mess it up with anything you have done, or will do. God loves you, searches for you, and thinks you are so incredibly important. To Him. And now you need to hold on to that truth when the doubts and fears push you out to the edge of the group as the lies make you think you aren’t worthy of belonging. You are important.

March 7, 2013

Daring Greatly

Good morning friends. I finished Daring Greatly by Brene Brown quite a bit ago, but it is resonating in my heart and God is adding to it every day since then. I have no choice but to share some of the things I learned, and some of the ways it has changed me. I learned ever so much from this book. I'm working hard at taking what I have learned and applying it in how I deal with other people and myself. I would say she knows of what she speaks because of all the research she has done, but that's not what resonated with me. Instead it was the pull of my heart, the nod of my head, the tear in my eye, and the realization as I saw that what she spoke was truth. I had to face the fact I have done things wrong, I am still not doing everything right, but I am growing and learning.

My first reaction after reading this book was to see the harm in other people's actions. That was easy. What has been difficult is in the remembering that I read the book for MYSELF. I can only change me and there is plenty of work there to keep me busy. And so, I am learning to live more wholeheartedly.

Brene said the wholehearted:
  1. cultivate authenticity
  2. cultivate self-compassion
  3. cultivate a resilient spirit
  4. cultivate gratitude and joy
  5. cultivate intuition and trusting faith
  6. cultivate creativity
  7. cultivate play and rest
  8. cultivate calm and stillness
  9. cultivate meaningful work
  10. cultivate laughter, song, and dance
These are things I want to cultivate into my own life, along with weeding out some of the shame inducing behavior, the scarcity thoughts, and the belief that I am (or anyone is) unworthy.

There is no way I can sit here and share everything I grasped from the book, for I am still grasping much of it, but you will see the thoughts come through my writing more, I am sure. I'm hoping they will come through my actions as well as my words as I make the ideas part of who I am.

March 5, 2013

Wild on fire

Sometimes my heart feels as if it was struck by a match. Something happens and I feel the blaze begin to spread through my soul. What I want more than anything is to light other people up as well. I want them to understand, to get what I got, to know, and to change the way I changed. But I always always have to take a deep breath and remember that we are not all at the same place in life.

Recently the things that have lit me from within are varied and wide, but at the same time they all seem to be linked in some way. I just don't have the full picture yet. It's like putting a puzzle together without having a finished picture to look at. Crazy difficult.

fire

So, what do we do when we feel like this, and don't know where we are going? I've said it before, and I have to keep telling myself all the time. Do the next thing. It may or may not fit in the puzzle, or it may need some rearranging to make it fit perfectly, but do the next thing that is in front of you and trust it will all work out in the end.

I hope you realize this is going to require letting go of how the final picture should look. It's going to require not jumping ahead and trying to make things happen. It's going to mean you take things one step at a time, as slowly or as quickly as they come to you. Which is why you have to listen to yourself, make the most of the opportunities you are given, and trust that you are going in the right direction.

You will make some unexpected turns. You will let go of some things along the way. You will pick up new things which make your picture amazing. Regardless of how on fire you feel, don't start running around like a crazy person. Trust me it wont get you anywhere. Allow that fire to feed you, light your way, and show you what to do. Trust that it is from the One who lit you to begin with, and He did so for a reason. Then hang on to Him as you work through the process.

No, we don't always know what the final outcome is going to be, but trust there is a reason you are burning.

March 4, 2013

Mom's don't get a day off?

laundry

This is what I have often thought. Mom's don't get days off. We still have to cook, clean, and take care of those around us. Sometimes I get grumpy about it. Sometimes I pout. I have thought I would never get one those days at home.

But guess what? I did. And I'm not gloating, I just wanted to share.

Hubby was home for the day. A normal Monday turned into something a little sparklier. It started the same, and held the same routines, but the sun shone a little brighter, even if the wind was cold. The house was quiet and still, for a house full of introverts will tend that way. Books were read, lunch was made, a truth card was designed, and there was peace.

Then they ran off to Bass Pro. Ammo and arrows will be looked at. Bows will be held, and guns admired. But I wont see any of that.

I was on the phone as they started the car and backed out of the drive way. I enjoyed the conversation, and finished my coffee. I emptied the dishwasher, because it did need to be done. The music played, the internet was read, and I was quiet.

The coffee was replaced with water and I sat staring out the back window as my neighborhood squirrel ran across the top of the fence. He stopped briefly and looked around before heading out of my line of sight.

I wanted to plan. I wanted to be productive. I thought I might read.
But I sat here, listened to the music, enjoying the sun, and relaxed.

And now they are home and I smile to hear their voices enter the house.
Supper is cooking, and chores are done.
Time is spent well.

light

And I realized what a wonderful day off I received.
Maybe your's is just waiting for you to stop and experience it as well.
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