May 30, 2014

Is your adult lost?

It's summer time. You can tell because the library no longer has the quiet hum which electonics produce. No, now it is the laughter and voices of littles and their moms looking for movies and videos to take home and spend the week with. I remember when I used to do that with mine. Actually, when we moved to the Dallas area I traveled to all the libraries within a certain area to find the one I liked the best. I did the same with the parks, but that's another story.

Today I went to the library to return rainy day movies, and to pick up something I had on hold. I laughed as I went through the doors and the din got louder. I took care of my business and then headed out to leave. In front of me was a large group of adults and children, and one such child ran past me. I heard the librarian at the front desk yell out, "No running!" but when I looked at the little boy's face I knew what had happened. He stopped in front of me frantically looking around for his adult. I assumed mom, but I know it could have been any caretaker, but the point was: he was lost.

This is what I want to remind all the parents and caretakers: tell your child what to do if he gets lost, just in case. Tell them not to panic and remind them you will not leave without them. Tell them never to leave with anyone else whether they are known or not. Tell them that if they can not find you to locate someone who works there and let the employee know that their adult is lost. These are all imperatives that you simply must do, my friend. MUST.

When I realized what was going on with the little boy I looked at him, held out my hand, and said, "Let's find your mommy." He needed someone calm and in charge and he grabbed onto my hand like a life saver. We were in front of the door which led us outside. He would have gone anywhere with me. Now, I took him inside and gave him to someone who works there, but that little boy would have gone anywhere with me with the promise of finding his caretaker. I had never met this boy before, nor ever seen him. He had no idea who I was. The librarian did know him, and deposited him directly to where he belonged.

Please, do not leave the future of your child up to the kindness of a stranger. Prepare them. Teach them what to do in case they can not locate you. Do this for their sake and yours.

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May 29, 2014

Dive Deep.

light

It was the time of day when the sun came through the frosted glass and filled the room with an overwhelming feeling. As I stepped through the door my breath was taken away by the beauty that was the air. There was no need for other light. There was no need for words. It pulled me in even though I had no reason to be there. I sat down on the floor as if I was on the bottom of a pool. The goodness, life, and peace flowed around me like water. The silence enveloped me and held me safe. I didn't need to gasp for air because it was fully present, as I wanted to be. I closed my eyes and took it in, absorbing each ray with every sense, every molecule, every second. As the moments passed and the sun began to set, the room slowly darkened, my breathing slowed, and my heart calmed. My body relaxed and my lungs filled. The stress of the day was forgotten. The conflict which pulled at my heart released. The memories I held deep swam around me as the light did when I first entered the room. The laughter. The voices. The joy. The peace. I breathed deeply again and opened my eyes to a darker room but a lighter spirit.

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May 28, 2014

Resistance

It's like buying a new car. You've been there, right? You finally find just the right car which fits you perfectly, both inside and out, and you lay your money down and sign the dotted line. As soon as you drive off the lot it happens: you pass a dozen other cars just like yours you have never seen before. They are everywhere. You second guess your purchase. You cringe that you aren't quite as original as you think you are. You are a little sad that your purchase is like a million rather than one in a million.

This is what happens when new ideas begin to blossom. You hold it in your heart speaking to only one or two others about it knowing that this is what you were meant for. Suddenly a friend speaks the same words. And another person you aren't as familiar with is talking about it as well. That idea, the one you thought was needed and others wanted to hear, it's not quite as original or new as you thought it was.

Frustration mounts within your soul and you turn your back on the idea. Others will do it, apparently. It's not like it is ignored, but maybe it simply wasn't meant for you. So you encourage the others, "Do it! You would be great at it!" and you let the ideas fall from your fingertips and into the trash.

That's what happens with resistance. Your idea doesn't know what to do with itself when the world pushes it away. When things seem ordinary or a copy of another your heart aches and you simply let it go for a time. But then, maybe... maybe it's still a good idea for you? Maybe you need to fight for this idea.

So you reach out to a few more and mention the idea. You spill your crazy and your weirdness and your anxiety, and you wait for them to encourage you. Oh they will certainly do it. Right? Because they love you and they want you to do well, and certainly positive affirmations will come from them, right?

Only they don't. It's pretty silent. If you listen hard enough you can hear the echo asking you if anyone sees you. No one responds. No one says go for it. No one thinks it would make a difference, or at least they don't tell you one way or another.

So silence reigns and your heart aches and this idea has found a way to make it's home in one of the cracks that is in your brain.

resistanceThis is the point. Push back. Don't let resistance win. Put your slant on it. Explain it through your heart, your crazy, your mess. Because what you want to do? The grand idea which is daring to grow even when you are telling it not to? It may be something that is a step to something else. Or a secret just for your heart. Or a blessing for another you love dearly, or one you've never met. And you can't let that die. It might be the only way another ever feels seen.

So give that idea some attention. Give it some hard work. Give it some love. And see, my friend. Will it grow into Jack's story, or take you to the land of Giants, or give you nourishment for a day? Does it matter? If you don't fight for your idea, then it will never see the light of day.

Push back on that resistance, and let your idea do what it was meant to do. There is a reason it has refused to die, and it needs you to not give up on it as well. Fight against the resistance that tells you it's being done by someone else. No one can do it like you do.



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May 27, 2014

Will you rescue yourself?

Another mass shooting took place last week. It wasn't all over the news this time like they have been in the past. I'm afraid people are growing accustomed to them. I know, it's hard to believe that happens, but it does. People see it as just another tragedy and are grateful they weren't involved.

Crime rates. Do we really know them? Are you really interested? Do they even matter? Or have we grown accustomed to this as well? I think we have. That's why the bigger crimes usually make the news. A murder? A rape? A missing child? Take a number. We'll pray, and be grateful we weren't involved.

But here's the thing, my friend. You could be involved. I do not say this to scare you; not at all! When something happens close to home that will scare you enough for you to pay attention for a short period of time. I say this because it is our reality. While we all know many good people, the truth is this world is dangerous. There are plenty of people who are evil or simply making bad choices. You or someone you know may have their life severely affected because of this truth.

your own rescue
Thanks to Black Belt Magazine for the quote.

So, what do we do??

I say we take the reins of our life and draw a line in the sand and say NO MORE. We learn. We gain power and knowledge and control. And there is MUCH that needs to be understood when beginning this walk. This is not a male verses female problem. This is something we as a community need to do. We can not count on someone else to protect us, but we must encourage each other to learn to protect ourselves. Time is a precious commodity during an attack of any kind. It takes time for the police to get to you. It takes time for a friend to get to you. We say we don't have time to learn how to protect ourselves because we are oh so busy, but if we don't then what will we do during the time we are waiting for someone to come to our rescue? Please, take control of your own protection, or at least learn a few moves which will help you while you are waiting.

Find a class near you. There are individual self-defense classes and courses, or you could sign up with a karate school and earn your black belt. Libraries or Community Centers often offer classes that will teach you some basics during one evening class. There are many organizations who travel the country (some the globe) to teach us how to protect ourselves. The level of information and education is up to you. But please, find someone who will help you learn more about protecting yourself and those around you. Get a group of friends and make a choice to take a class together. If no one will go with you, do it on your own.

Here are a variety of Facebook pages of different self-defense organizations who may have classes near you but they also occasionally share videos which are worth your time:

Fight Like a Girl
Girls Fight Back
KICS Academy
Play it Safe
SHIELD
Simple Self-defense for Women
TAKE Foundation


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May 26, 2014

Good and bad messes of a day.

I cried two days ago. Saturday morning. I was watching Tarzan (the Disney version) with my nephew. I picked it out from the library, so, really, it's my own fault. I sat there with his little body next to mine as we watched Tarzan learn to communicate with Jane, and then decide to go off with her. And the stupid song played, and I thought, really? WHY did I do that to myself? You see, it was my oldest's 20th birthday. Not the first I haven't been able to spend with him, but I felt it more. And then when that stupid, yes stuuuupid, song played I broke.

I cried last night. We watched the Memorial Day Service at the Capitol. Captain loves watching those whenever they have them, and the stories are heartbreaking, make no mistake. But then one of the variety of winners from different reality singing contest television shows sang a song. The one from Titanic. Yes, that stupid song. And you know what, my oldest gave me a small music box which sits on my counter in front of the kitchen sink which plays that stupid song. I think he gave it to me as a joke. I'm not sure. But when they played THAT song during the performance I broke again. I could no longer keep the wall between myself and the show up. The book got put down, my hand covered my face, and I cried.

Some days are easier than others. Some days are harder than others. These two moments do not define the days in which they occurred. There was also fun park time with nephew, conversation with my sister, eating out with youngest and Captain, laughter, reading many words, drinking much coffee, and enjoying open windows. During the hard moments it's not easy to remember the time will pass. During the easy moments I don't want to remember the hard times will come. But life is a give and take. It's a mixture and a mess.

The plaque below sat in my maw maw's bathroom for the many years I remember visiting her. It sat with two others. All three now reside in my kitchen above a bookshelf. Maybe reading these over and over so many times helped set my heart regarding the future. Maybe it didn't. I have had fears that the sun wouldn't show again. I have lived in the mess so much I didn't realize I was covered in it. But eventually, each time, I got through and remembered the sun when it allowed it's rays to penetrate my clouds of pain.

20140526_091549

This morning I heard the song I mentioned a while back which I couldn't remember. I can't remember it again right now, but let me tell you the thought behind the song is straight out of Job. We'll take the good with the bad.

On this day I have heard many say they would not give up the good even now knowing the bad they had to face. We don't always know what is around the bend, but take it from those who have been there: they say it's worth it. So, hold on. Enjoy the good, embrace the bad, and trust that in the end all shall be well.



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May 22, 2014

Again, with this subject? Yep. Again.

I have spoken about this many times before. Sometimes different songs, sometimes new verses. Sometimes the words come from others and blend together to form something new which is simply renewed for me, and then I get to share it again. This morning was like that.

The music blared in my ears as my feet struck the ground. The words I read earlier circled my brain, and then targeted in for a final blow. It was a mixture of fear, inspiration, courage, and doubt.

Will I matter?

The jolt of these words broke my rhythm and my heart skipped a beat. I'm so tired of this question. I'm so tired of belittling myself. I'm exhausted of waiting for "someone else" to answer it. I'm so tired of the voice which answers this question with a loud resounding NO. The word reverberated inside my skull, my eyes closed, and my jog turned to a walk right before I decided, "Not today."

I could rattle off a list of things done this week, and never quite find an end to all that is found there or on the list of what I didn't do.
I could tell you how I pushed myself outside of my limits, though you might laugh that I had to push.
I could remind myself of the different ways my life has impacted others, though I would have to admit it is both in good and bad ways.

None of that matters,. Neither side of those sentences help me, and it is the second half which keeps the first half from being a sustainable answer.

What will?

If I equate my value with what I have done it will always always fail me. But, maybe simply by knowing that whatever the reason, whatever the purpose, whatever the work that has been set for me to do, whether it be big or small, seen by many or none, regardless of all of that, whether I do it or not... I breathe.

Feel the air fill up your lungs as your chest rises, and feel it leave your body as you exhale.
Open your eyes and look around and see what is around you.
Listen to the sounds which are within earshot.
Remember that you are a creation of God.
Loved.
Cherished.

NO MATTER what YOU MATTER.
There is nothing that can take that away.
Despite what anyone may tell you, may think of you, or could promise you.
Despite what you have or have not done.
YOU MATTER.

I matter.

And so, I worked hard to push my feet towards a jog again. A little cry escaped my lungs as I picked up the pace, and I knew I wouldn't be able to run the rest of my distance, but I would run part of it. And then I would walk the dog so he could do his business. And then I would make my grocery list so I could feed my family. And I will read today, because I want to finish this book this week. And maybe I will watch a movie with my son, because we have the time to share.

And I will remember that I matter because I live and breathe.
Trying to answer that question any other way will always leave room for argument.
We matter. Period.

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May 19, 2014

A new day.

I ran this morning for the first time since I tried to run the 10K. It was a hard run. Instead of going to the gym I ran around the nearest park, and while I was telling myself to simply move my feet I had a realization.

I'm the type of person who likes to organize and plan, but rarely am I able to carry it through. New Year's resolutions have rarely stayed with me because after a week or two I fail miserably at continuing them. I told someone I was going to start having a quiet morning time where I sat out on my front porch and drank coffee and the day, that lasted about 2 weeks. I picked up a book of poems to start my mornings with, it's due back with only one poem having been read. I came up with two versions of morning schedules, which I carried through for about two weeks. The idea of having a regular routine is delicious, but trying to actually do it is torture.

Now, I know some might say that I should just get right back up and try again. That I can do it if I want it enough. A habit takes 28 days, after all, so don't give up. Keep going. And I can appreciate and embrace these thoughts and words.

But this is what I learned about moving forward this morning.

My run was hard. I could list all the hurdles I had in place this morning, and why the 13 minute pace was acceptable to me, but that would feel like excusing it. I don't want to excuse this morning's run, I want to embrace it. What I know about this morning is that I did the best I could. And even if I follow the same exact path in a few days it will be a whole new run at that time. Each time I step out to run it is a new race, with new hurdles, and new struggles, and new victories. If I excuse a run and think it wasn't good because I didn't live up to some expectation or standard then I will have a lot of bad runs. In my heart I know, each time I get out there it is a good run.

My days are the same. I'm simply going to have to accept that. Each day will be it's own, and even when I wake up in the same bed and start a day just like the day before, it isn't really. It will have it's own schedule, opportunities, interruptions, and victories. If I only look at my day and measure it by how well I followed a pattern which didn't fit that day I will think it was a failure. But, like the runs, I know in my heart that each day I wake and give it my best is a good day.

Apparently judging and comparing have been a big thing with me lately. I have gotten onto the virtual other who does it, and myself as well. Even in this I can see it is the core of the issue. When we compare and judge we miss out on so much. Let's start new, friends. Let's let today be what it is, do our very best at it, and embrace the newness which creates something we couldn't ever have imagined.

renewal

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May 16, 2014

There's gold out there...

Maybe I wasn't really a writer before. Or I didn't have a writer’s mind? I honestly don’t know. What I know is that I am seeing life differently now. All aspects of life, in everything I do. 

I read differently. How does this author introduce a character? Where is the climax of the story? Where is the false conclusion? Does it conclude? How does the author let the characters live off the pages after the cover is closed? 

I hear differently. I actually wrote down words my son said the other day because I knew there was gold within what he carelessly threw out there. I knew that somehow, either as a prompt or something a character would say, I would use it again. I have never done that before. 

The desire to do it thrilled me.

Was I writer before I started doing these things? Maybe I was, but I have learned much as I try to grow as a writer, which means I experience life differently now. 

Maybe I won’t be offended by the woman at Starbucks. Maybe instead I will develop a back story which explains why she cut in front of me at the store. How her daughter was getting married and she only got three hours of sleep the night prior because she was up making alterations to the wedding dress. And that wedding was in two hours. And she needed the coffee to stay awake for such an important day. She had to stay awake. She didn't even see me standing there contemplating which latte I wanted. 

Maybe the girl ringing up my order is tired of having customers question her age and experience, and that’s why she comes off a little gruff. She believes attitude must be what people are expecting from her; a coarseness which exudes that she’s been here a while. But I've seen her before on good days when she isn't worried about what we think and she has a sweet smile. 

Maybe the woman who let me in front of her because I only had one item had the same done for her when she was getting milk she had forgotten to pick up and needed it for the recipe she had been in the middle of making. Maybe she sees me with my eggs and wonders if I have left a mess on my counter at home as well.

I’m looking for story more. I’m listening for words to hold onto. I’m considering the hearts of those I pass by. 

Who is this person in a car beside me? Twelve inches and two doors separate us, but our windows are down. We pretend we don’t see each other, but it’s hard to ignore a person completely. Unless we have practiced it for a time. Unless we have learned it from being taught. But don’t you ever just causally glance at the person beside you at a traffic light or in front of you at the grocery store and wonder… what is their story?


I am learning to see the gold in the day. And this excites me. This tickles me. This makes me feel as if I am overflowing with something I have no control over. And this helps me believe there is gold out there, and the trying? Well, that’s just compost, as this is.

This was written in a Story Sessions Write-In after a prompt about finding gold in our days, and what trying looks like.  You should join us.

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May 15, 2014

The critic.

I have been SUPER critical lately. I haven't gone thirty minutes before something negative, sarcastic, or judgmental has come out of my mouth. Of course, it doesn't start at the mouth, and what is going on in the heart would be horrifying to hear.

It's simply... sad.

Go ahead and feel sorry for me, I understand. There have been times in my past I felt sorry for people who were where I have found myself. "Why can't they be happy? Why don't they look for the positive? Why can't they be more loving?"

Why?

I wasn't sure of that answer, to be quite honest, but my journaling this morning revealed an idea I hadn't considered before.

I have grown to the point where I seldom ask God for specific things. It's not that I doubt the "can" but I don't always expect the "will" to happen. In my brain I have come to the understanding that whatever happens happens, it will be all right in the end, and I trust that God can use whatever happens for my betterment, or the betterment of others.

However, in my journaling this morning I realized that while my head might have that, my heart doesn't so much. And because I "can't" yell at God, I turn the "I know better" spirit onto mankind. Those poor strangers who happen to cross my path in one form or fashion.

I wouldn't have worn that.
I would have responded better.
I would have loved differently.
I would have read that.
I wouldn't have read that.
I can't believe you thought that.
I can't believe you did that.
Are you really going to do that?
Are you really going to say that?
Who are you kidding?

No.... who am I kidding. *sigh*

I have had this misguided thought that I know best in all situations, but because I can't control God I think I can control other people. And the truth of the matter is I can't control myself. You see this critical spirit is not reserved only for others. I am the recipient of that spirit as well. Ironically, it is still heard when I'm yelling at myself about my critical spirit. Circle around much?

In Story Sessions today a simple question was asked. Part of my response was, "I quit being so dang critical." And you know, I think it's about time I truly did that.

I still have no control over what God will do; that hasn't changed. But being hateful towards others didn't change that either. It's time to breathe and let others breathe as well.

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May 13, 2014

I need someone to push me off the edge...

edge
This cliff I'm standing on
it taunts me
it haunts me
and
I'm a little bit scared of it.

Who am I
to follow
that fleeting
returning
thought?

What if that
shouldn't be
the way?

What if
it's not
meant
for me?

What if my heart
can't handle the
rejection?

Steps I have taken
in the past
had the feeling
of being
the right step.

The steps I struggled with
were filled
with others thoughts.

This time
again
I'm worried about
everyone else.

Or as if
what I want to do
isn't enough
or
too much
for little me.

But then
I've been dealing
with that nagging thought
most of my life
anyway.

Who said
he could get a foothold
now?

How
do I shake
him off?

How do you
decide
now
is the time?

How do you balance
your expectations
with those
from others?

How do you
take
that first step
anxious to see
what comes next?

And so I stand
looking over the horizon
full of promise and hope
wondering if it is for me.

And so I look
over the cliff
wondering
where the first step
will take me.

Is it possible for me
to dance my own dance
walk my own path
make my own choices
out loud
and
own them
and
not worry about
the naysayers
and head shakers?

Could someone just
give me a little
nudge?


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May 12, 2014

A window in time.

A cold front moved through. It brought snow to Colorado. It has brought open windows to us.

There are squirrels at the feeder in the backyard. Three. I'm pretty sure it is mama and her two babies. This thrills me. They are so small. They see us through the windows, but the Jay is what scares them away. Only temporarily.

The dryer is moving clothes around which should have been dried three days ago. Before the wedding. It is now after the wedding. But I don't think the wedding will be one of those before and after events. Not for us, but most likely for them.

My dining room is still a storage area. Platters, fabric, ribbon, and frames sit across the table and on the floor. Their designated homes will be found in the next week, but not today. Or tomorrow.

Next week I will be boxing up the last of the school books. And the last grading book.

I have gallons of lemonade, water, and unsweetened tea in the floor of my pantry. I have a bag and a drawer full of kcups for the Keurig. All the cakes were given away, but the last of the pie is on my table. The crust got soggy so its texture is more like cobbler than pie.

I sat in the quiet dark this morning as the sun rose behind the clouds. I wrote a letter to a friend as the rain moved through after the front which dropped the temperatures. Changes happen, and they always bring more change.

That's the way of life.

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May 6, 2014

Nothing changes, but I can breathe.

I sat outside on the porch this morning after the sun had already lit up the sky. I sat with my coffee and two dogs running around greeting the day. I listened and felt and thought and wrote in my mind. It was vulnerable. It was scary. I need to keep a notebook with me when I do this, but I remember this mornings thoughts after rewalking the trail in my mind.

This is what I wanted to share, in a not so scary but rather a little guarded way.

We all have something that makes us feel weak. For me it is that need to belong. Just yesterday I redid my "about me" page here, and included this paragraph:

I have many friends but I never quite feel connected to any of them. In the past this has caused problems for me as I fought to be included in the in-group and popular. Now I know my place is on the edge of the group, and that's quite okay. When I get the feeling of needing to belong I remind myself of the hearts I do call home and consider myself grateful for each one of those.

I have cried out to God about this so many times. I have wished it away. I have tried to turn it into a positive, where it simply means "I'm not home yet." But I still continually come face to face with this issue. It has made me accept less than respectable behavior from others, it has made me neurotic, it has made me run away from others before they could run from me. And I pray and ask God to remove it from me so often before I remember to find the hearts I call home.

Then this morning as I was talking to God He brought Paul to mind. Paul who had a thorn in his side. Paul who had asked God to remove it three times. Paul who was told God's grace was sufficient for him.

Is it possible for me to allow God's grace to be enough for me when I hit these points?

I don't know what your weakness is, but I am finding these things have a tendency to {1} tear us up and {2} bring us to God. I guess we should then be thankful in that moment. Not that we feel isolated, or that the pain is so great, or that the struggle is so hard; but rather that we are again with God talking to Him, relying on His strength, and holding on tight.

Sometimes it takes me a few days to get to the point where I am willing to go to God. I'm hoping the more I go, then each subsequent time I feel like this I will go a little quicker to God. Because while the feelings may not simply vanish when I do, I am reminded that I am not fully alone and I can breathe again.

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May 5, 2014

The {not} quitting of it all.

I'm so grateful for those who share their stories, their struggles, their lessons. I am grateful for those who share what has helped them, the words of others, the actions taken. I am grateful for learning more about myself, and what makes me tick, and seeing myself in the stories others share.

Last Friday I read this amazing post on the Secret Rebel Club's blog. Then I read it again when Elora shared it on her Facebook page Saturday. And I have read it again today before posting this, my thoughts on her words.

I am in the midst of transition. This is a pivot year in which everything I have known, much I have taken for granted as we often do with day to day living, is changing. This is not the first time I have had large changes in my life, and it's not the first time I have noticed new changes creeping in where I didn't expect them. Maybe even where I didn't want them.

It is my nature to hide away, and change can send me to my hermit hole faster than most things. I accept that and am learning to both work with it and grow above it, for there is a time for everything. But as I read Elora's words it was as if a large relief wave crashed over my body and tears came to my eyes.

Quitting and stepping away, feeling as if I don't belong here anyway. The words had fled, and my body felt as if it had been bled, and I wondered what tomorrow would hold. I was trying to not to think about last year at this time, or last month, or yesterday, or ten years ago. I was trying not to move too quickly through time, into the great unknown of tomorrow. My heart was still beating, but my brain was telling me to quit everything I had ever begun. Any ideas which hadn't started. Any plans which had. Any groups, friendships, or connections. I was ready to leave it all behind, but even that idea I had not faced fully. And so I moved through time in limbo, wavering between what I knew to be true and what I felt.

Then Elora's words reminded me.
"I paused and read it. Mourning? Of course. Mourning. All transitions come with it, you know. Even the good kind. The best kind. There's always something—someone?—you're leaving behind and your heart knows. She always knows.
Transitions take time."
I am in transition, and there is a reason they say not to make too many decisions after a time of change. This time is good, and a blessing, it is what we have worked for and struggled towards. There are goals which are finally being met. And as I grasp that things are done, I will mourn what I had, and transition into the days which are yet to come.

I found grace in her words. And the hope to hang on. And I just wanted you to read her words as well if you find yourself there, too. 


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May 4, 2014

The Woman Watching and Knowing

What did it feel like when they threw you to the ground? When you were shown to be what you are for all to see? Did you feel shame and heartache? Did you put your defenses up and let your spirit growl? What brought you to that point? Was it desperation? Looking for love? A sense of no other path? Did you trust the man you were with or was it for payment that you ended up in the dirt?

My heart breaks for you. My brain hurts. My soul wants to reach out and lift you up. But I watch instead. My curiosity has the best of me, and my fear is even stronger than that. They have rocks in their hands, sweet girl. How did it ever get to this point?

The teacher is sitting. He's not looking up, neither are you. Do you know the compassion in his eyes, inches away? The men encircle you both, waiting an answer. Their ire and fury are clear. The crowd grows around them. The electricity is in the air. It is you both they hate. One who shows who they clearly are, humans hurting each other, and the other shows who they aren't, quiet teachers with authority.

"We should stone her. She's an adulteress. She broke the law. It is clear. Just look at her, here in the filth of this dirt. You see her each day. It's clear in her step, her dress, and the look on her face. She deserves this punishment. She deserves our hate. She deserves to be persecuted and punished."

He's quiet. He stays where he is. He begins writing in the dirt. What is he thinking, and why are they asking him these things? Of course, we have all seen her. And so many stay clear, because sin sometimes seems contagious. But I wonder as I look at the men and crowd near by; what would their sin be, if someone dragged them from the shadows into the clear blue sky? What would they be deemed guilty of if they were thrown at someone's feet themselves? And I am grateful for the cloaks which keep me hidden.

I know my heart. I could be this girl. I am guilty of her sin and more. She stays with her head down, tear marks through the dirt on her face. Her clothing was torn away, ripped, shredded, as she was dragged here to the public eye. I know her shame. My heart bears its weight. My own tears fall for her. What will this man do? Will he condemn her as the rest? Will he say she behaved in a way that deserved this treatment? Will he be the first one to throw a rock?

The irony: she has already condemned herself. Not because of the life she is leading, but because she thinks she deserves no better.

He stands and speaks. "You who are without sin be the first to throw your rock." And he waits.

The crowd waits.

The men look at the ground, the woman, the dirt, the rocks in their hands, and then they leave one by one, the oldest heading out first. I can tell some would like to throw that rock, they think they are so righteous and perfect. They wait for someone else to be the first, and then they would join in. But there are enough who know the truth, none of them are sinless. No, not one. They all leave.

He kneels before her, and gently lifts her face in his hand. "There is no one to condemn you, so neither shall I. Go, and sin no more."

As he stands and walks away with his disciples, she stands and walks towards her home. It is in this moment I must act. It is in this time I must change who I have been up until now.

I sweep off one of my cloaks and wrap it around her shoulders. She is startled at first, and I can't blame her. She wants to be loved, seen, accepted, and cared for, but right now she is scared. She has gone to great lengths to have people act as if they care, but she knows she is alone right now, and I must help her not be.

I look in her eyes and speak what fear tells me not to say, "Sweet sister, my friend, let me walk with you to your home. Then, come and stay with me for a while, as things get straightened out. You are worth more than the silver they put in your hand. Your value is not in how attractive they think you are. Please, trust me today, and let us walk together. For I have been where you are, felt how you feel, and been who you think yourself to be.The teacher didn't condemn you, so please don't condemn yourself. You are loved dearly and completely. Not for anything you do, nor how you look, but for the very spirit that resides in your soul."


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May 1, 2014

Trying not to see through eyes of pride

I have an issue. Well, I have many. I don't normally like to admit they exist, much less talk about them, but lately I realize that this issue isn't affecting just me. It has the possibility of affecting those around me and our relationship. In a negative way. Possibility? Scratch that. It HAS affected those around me and our relationship.

Pride.

Do you fight with pride? Oh, gosh, I do. I like to pretend I don't, but I do. And when my pride gets hurt I get angry. Anger is a secondary emotion; if you didn't know this trust me. It so is. When I got angry at the end of my race on Sunday I couldn't figure out why. WHY was I angry?? I shouldn't have been angry. I hate that I was angry. And I hate even more that I pushed that anger on my Captain.

This is what I have figured out.

I knew there was a chance I would struggle with my 10K, but I really didn't want to struggle. I wanted to run it like a champ and cross the finish line head high, cheering, and enjoying it. Instead I crossed it head down, near tears, and simply pushing one foot in front of the other to cross it running rather than walking. I have pictures to prove it. Sad sad pictures.

I had my own personal cheerleaders who ran the last bit with me. I had their love and acceptance even if I had begun walking. I had them next to me even when I pushed away a little. I don't deserve them. Captain is so patient with me.

But I wanted to be a champ when I crossed the line, and instead I turned into a chump because pride said I wasn't doing it good enough.

I had just run over 6 miles for the second time in my life, the first time doing so outside. That is huge for me, folks. HUGE. But I allowed pride to tell me I didn't do it right. And then I allowed the anger from that to be pushed against someone who was supporting me, cheering me, and loving me. And then later, when the pictures came out I could feel it all start again. I didn't see myself as I would have seen anyone else. I saw myself as a failure. I am so embarrassed by this.

I have an issue, friends. Pride is that issue. I want to do things great and I want to win and I want to do it with ease. And I want to look good doing it. And when I don't I allow pride to become an issue for me.

They say awareness is half the battle. I'm afraid this battle isn't half over though. I'm afraid it will be all too easy for pride to sneak in when I'm least expecting it; when I think I'm beating it. All I can do is one step at a time, just like at the race, but I believe this race may be longer than a simple 10K. Because this race is going to be more about my mind and heart, not my body. And sometimes those changes are the hardest to make.

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