Sunday, June 30, 2013

Memories of a Family Vacation joining up with Abiding Love, Abounding Grace

Abiding Love, Abounding GraceLinking up with my friend Karrilee at Abiding Love, Abounding Grace to talk about vacations. She's had a whole week of posts you should check out ... some good stuff. She's one of the wonderful women that I've met through (in)courage and the Five Minute Fridays. It's just a blessing to discover these friendships - how real they are, and how much they change and impact my life. I'm so grateful. This was fun to just think about memories from a trip past. The very first one we took together as a family ...

It was our first vacation as a family – the first trip longer than thirty minutes with a little one strapped in the backseat. To really appreciate this, you have to allow me this confession: I do not pack light. I’ve gotten to the point that I’m okay with this. I own it. And when necessary, I work around it. The rest of the time, I just roll with it, and my family has learned to as well.

An easy example? Look at the purses I carry. Yes, I said multiple, because I tend to swap them out from week to week – sometimes if the mood hits – more often. There are no cute little bags, no sweet clutches, no dainty little bits. I carry a bag. It’s generally large enough to hold the aforementioned “cute little bag” plus one, not to mention my phone, iPod, a book (sometimes more if I break down and throw in the Nook), a notebook, makeup bag, sometimes my Surface … you get the picture. I’ve got stuff. Honestly, while it makes for quite the load, it’s also handy. I’m the one you want to be near at the sprayground if you’ve forgotten your sunscreen, towel, or snack for your kid. Bandaid? I’ve got that and my handy Neosporin spray tucked in there. Need to clip a coupon? I’ve got mini scissors. Seriously? I can hook you up. And that’s just my purse. My every day running around bag. Imagine me packing for vacation. Now imagine me packing for vacation with a toddler. You’re right. It was hilarious.

Thankfully, I happen to be married to the most patient man on the planet, and before too much time had drifted away (and before I could pack up the entire house), we were making our way down the I-5 corridor heading for the Oregon Coast. Being an island girl originally, I love the ocean whenever I can get it. I’ve never lived in a state that wasn’t connected to a coastline, and can’t bear to be away from water if I can help it. The coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest are hardly tropical, but they have a beauty all their own that pulls me back again and again.

Our time on the Oregon Coast that Spring was just what our little family needed. It was a welcome break from work, and a chance to escape the routine of everyday life for something a little different. My husband and I had often driven down here in the many years before our daughter arrived, and those trips were always fun. Doing it with a little one was both exciting – as we got to see things fresh through her eyes, and thought provoking – as we continued to rack up lessons as first time parents will do.

When I look back at these pictures from the trip I remember freedom, fun, a fresh start as we had recently moved back to the PNW. I remember long walks on the beach. What it felt like to feel the stinging spray of the ocean on my face. Looking down my camera lens at everything around me. I remember wandering through the factory at Tillamook Farm – when she couldn’t tell a real cow from a fake one. I remember squeaky cheese, fresh caught crabs, and flowers just picked off their stems. Those were the days when we were still discovering who we were as a family. We were each growing in our roles. New mom. New dad, Growing girl.

We’re almost ten years into that family life now and I can see how much we’ve changed. We still have our lessons, but our family has come through so much. I’m still lucky enough to be married to the most patient man on the planet, and I still don’t pack light. My girl is still growing – oh is she ever growing – and we have more vacations ahead, more memories to make. As long as we’re doing it together, I’ll be just fine.

As a side note, to answer Karrilee’s question (and I know she’ll laugh at this and say “just one more thing” and #KindredSpirits), if I had my fantasy vacation, I’d be ducking away to Italy for many months. Somewhere in the Tuscan countryside in a little villa with grapes and olives growing around; with walls the colors of sunsets and ripe peaches, with cold water from an ancient aquifer, and a nearby town with a daily market to stroll through.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five Minute Friday: In Between

Five Minute FridayAnd this is what I’ve been doing for five months now, though some Thursday/Fridays it seems like I’ve been doing it for SO much longer. And sometimes it feels like I just started. Connect with a bunch of amazing, faith-filled women through Lisa-Jo’s site. Wait for the prompt at midnight (or nine pm for the lucky west coasters who don’t have to wait up as late). Write for five minutes flat. Don’t over think. Don’t over edit. Post it. Link it. Share it. Visit the writer ahead of you – share the encouragement, share the love. Come back and do it again next week.

This Week: In Between


If you don’t live in the present and relish each and every moment, you can lose so much of your life in between. And you won’t even realize it. For a while, I drifted without purpose and found myself in the between times in so many areas: between boyfriends, between semesters at school, deciding between majors and what direction my life needed to head towards, between jobs, between apartments. None of those times of being in between seemed really serious.

And then my desert journey began. Like most of my between times I didn’t define it immediately. I was taking a break from a bad work situation and wasn’t in a terrible hurry to get into another one. In my mind, I wasn’t between anything. I was just done. But life doesn’t have a pause button – you can’t just freeze time and take a break – things are still moving and happening around you - and before I realized it, I was well and truly between. Except this time, it seemed like the stakes were higher.

This time, my in between was a crossroads – choosing to continue forward and meander like I had been; hoping to get it right (maybe); or making a deliberate choice with my direction and moving ahead with purpose. In making my choice to be purposeful, I chose to let that three year “in between time” become a healing and teaching time – a time when God hid me away from the world for a while; allowed me to learn and grow; revealed so much of Himself to me through great books and teachers and solid study in His word.

Sometimes the in between can feel like an indefinite hovering – a great suspension of momentum where nothing is happening and everything and everyone is moving past you.

This is the time that you need to release control, rest in His arms, and relinquish control.

Hard? Oh yes – I’m a total control freak – I know what I’m asking of you. But sometimes these in between times are incubating times. Where God is growing you, nurturing you, and preparing you. Because He’s got something really amazing planned for your life, and He wants you to be ready when He lifts the curtain and reveals His plans. I’ll leave you with this:

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm.
Psalm 37: 3-8

How to Join:
Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here. No editing or second guessing. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wisdom From a Life in Bloom: Part 3

Back again for more Wisdom from a Life in Bloom – taking the quotes from a little book I got several years ago from Coldwater Creek and seeing where they lead. This week, I managed to walk right out of the door without the book, but thankfully my (not so) little one is old enough for me to call her on the phone, have her navigate the mystery that is my desk, and flip through to find the page her Mama was supposed to be on. She’s also old enough to text me on her daddy’s phone, but that’s for another post.

Learning to do what we love …
Work is love made visible.
Kahlil Gibran

This one made me stop and think – especially after I went digging into this bit of poetry and verse. I like to do that – I’m the kind of person that wants to see the context; to see the frame that holds the piece that gets selected to be held up to the light. This phrase comes towards the end of the poem, and reads:

Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste,
it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple
and take alms of those who work with joy.

As someone who walked away from a job that looked amazing on paper, but left me with nothing but distaste (frustration, anxiety, insomnia, even more serious health issues, stress above and beyond what I could have ever imagined, and bonus – I wanted to throw myself down a flight of stairs every time I walked out of my office – seriously), I can tell you that you really at least want to like where you work and who you work with – not to mention what you’re working for. Love? That’d be great – but you’d better at least like it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employed American spends a little over a third of their day at work (another third is spend sleeping – and the rest is divvied up between the priorities in our life).

Have you thought about it?
Do you love what you do?
Do you love what your work allows you to do?

After spending time recuperating from the job-that-was and looking for the-job-that-would-be, I wound up changing careers and landed in an unlikely place that has started to feel like home. It pulls on both sides of my brain, is not a nest of micro-managed maliciousness, and has brought me to a unique group of slightly eccentric coworkers (and that’s a good thing) who I just click with. I’m also not pouring my creative heart and soul into a corporate environment which allows me the freedom to cultivate my writing and other creations here – which I just love.

Let me go back to Khalil Gibran and share a little more of the poem that quote was pulled from. It challenged me when it said:

And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.

This verse speaks of working for the benefit of one person. The passion and commitment of that “working with love” reminds me of so much more. It reminds me of this:

For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.
1 Corinthians 3:9

And what my father always reminded me of: the parable of the talents
– taking what we have been blessed with and using the gifts to return the blessing to God. That is working with love.

My writing is my work with love. It is my gift. It is my offering.

The work of love will look different for all of us. For some, it is the gift of hospitality and opening the warmth of their homes; welcoming and gathering others in to be nourished in body and in soul. For others, it is strapping on the missional sandals and taking the Word into far flung – or perhaps not so far flung reaches of the world. Taking the Gospel – the light of life, in action and in expression – to those who need it most. For still others, it is being the encouragement and inspiration to the tired and weary; the ones who fall into the gaps; the ones who need their heads lifted for just a moment – to know that they too are heard, that they too are loved.

Whatever it is that you are called to do as your work with love – do it with all your heart. Do it with all your soul – as unto God and for His glory. And be encouraged, knowing that He sees you, blesses you, and empowers you through His spirit to continue on doing this good work.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chasing History - Being the One Who Waits: Hannah Part 1

ChasingHistoryLinkUpI’m delving into brave new territory today. And I’m blaming it all on those wonderful women from (in)courage and the Five Minute Fridays that I’ve been writing with and getting to know for a few months now. They’re so embracing, so encouraging – what’s a girl supposed to do? While scrolling through and reading last week’s posts, I saw something on OneGirl’s site – It Just Takes One. An invitation for a Monday link up – Chasing History – with the idea of studying, writing, and sharing about some of our favorite women in biblical history. This is a bit more than five minutes, and let me be honest – it kind of scares me to bits. But I’m all about jumping off the bridge, so I’m going to give it a whirl and a leap – all the while asking for grace.

One of my favorite verses – one of the ones I hold on to in the hardest of times comes from Psalm 27. Verses 13 and 14 speak to knowing that the Lord is God and that He has everything in His hand; in His timing. And that His grace and mercy will be extended to us – not only in the heavenly realm, but here on earth as well:

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
that I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!

It also encourages and extols us to wait on the Lord and be courageous while we do us. Surely David knew that waiting required such courage. And isn’t that the truth. Waiting is never easy. And waiting for God’s timing? It can be the hardest thing to do.

Waiting: Two Kinds of Time
One of my favorite writers, Madeleine L’Engle, speaks of two kinds of time: chronos and kairos. In chronos – there is chronology: “the time which changes things, makes them grow older, wears them out, and manages to dispose of them, chronologically, forever.” In kairos, we simply are. “Kairos is not measurable. Kairos can sometimes enter, penetrate, break through chronos: the child at play, the painter at his easel, are in kairos. The bush, the burning bush, is in kairos, not any burning bush, but the particular burning bush before which Moses removed his shoes; the bush I pass by on my way to the brook. In kairos that part of us which is not consumed in the burning is wholly awake.” [A Circle of Quiet]

While we wait, we know God has it all planned out. We trust Him. But being creatures bound by chronos – linear time – makes understanding God’s timing – kairos – time immeasurable – so much harder. When I think of waiting on the Lord, trusting in His promise, and then waiting some more, I think of Hannah.

There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
1 Samuel 1:1-8

Beloved of her husband, cherished and valued – despite the fact that the Lord kept her from bearing children (for now). The way the verses are written, it appears that Hannah was the first wife and Peninnah was the second wife. She has a place of honor, the love of her husband, and his continued favor (Elkanah gave her a double portion of the sacrifice each year and assured her of his devotion). But she’s missing the one thing that marked a woman of that time as blessed and successful; not to mention her heart’s desire.

When Waiting Stretches On and On
It’s likely that most people I share this with can understand the longing of your heart’s desire – or even just something that you’ve been waiting on for a very long time. In recent years, my family went through what we’ve come to call our Desert Journey – three years where we were without stable jobs and financial stability; three years where we didn’t know where the money for mortgage, utilities, medicine – even food – was going to come from; three years where we discovered what it means to come to the throne room of grace and ask for our daily bread.

As I read of Hannah’s desperate prayers, I remember my own cries before God.

In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. 1 Samuel 1:10

And when my heart was breaking and The Road seemed like an endless one, I cried out saying:

Because it's not direction I'm losing.
It's hope.
The clear, clean, beautiful thing
that is hope
shimmers in the distance
and vanishes into nothingness.

It wasn’t until God had met me in the desert and heard my Cry that I could say:

in quiet moments
i learned to love the desert.
found grace in the desert.
found the heart of my God in the desert.
found the voice that spoke to my soul
in times of need
and painful want.

Waiting is never easy. Waiting for something you want is even harder. Waiting on the Lord – being able to place all your trust in Him – this should be the easiest, but sometimes that’s the hardest thing of all. Despite the fact that we know He has our best interest at heart; despite understanding that He knows our story start to finish, despite all this, it’s still hard.

If you’re waiting for God today, I’d encourage you to meditate on the Psalm I quoted at the beginning of this post – go and look up the whole thing. There’s so much goodness to be had there, so much confidence to be gained in placing our trust in Him.

Hannah waited on God and He rewarded that waiting. I’ll finish up next week with the end of my thoughts on Hannah and her waiting. I hope you’ll join me again.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rhythm

Five Minute FridayAnd this is what I’ve been doing for five months now, though some Thursday/Fridays it seems like I’ve been doing it for SO much longer. And sometimes it feels like I just started. Connect with a bunch of amazing, faith-filled women through Lisa-Jo’s site. Wait for the prompt at midnight (or nine pm for the lucky west coasters who don’t have to wait up as late). Write for five minutes flat. Don’t over think. Don’t over edit. Post it. Link it. Share it. Visit the writer ahead of you – share the encouragement, share the love. Come back and do it again next week.

This Week: Rhythm


I’m writing out another schedule. Another tool in the parenting toolbox - that thing we use to get from point A to point B without losing our minds. And it’s a little more effective these days because she likes all the colors and the bullet points I squeeze into the days – filling up the summer hours with swimming and reading; mixing in a healthy dose of cleaning her room; keeping in mind that we’ve promised to stay on track (again) this summer with academics – so writing and math and history make their way into the mix. I print it out and look at it and think – ugh – this looks like so much.

I think of my own schedule up with the light of morning – extra time because I move more slowly these days – getting ready, getting dressed, making my way down into the basement of the building that has become way more comfortable than I ever imagined it would be; doing a job that I love and had never imagined doing – loving that it’s freed my creative heart and mind and given me time to squeeze in my writing – but always moving forward, always moving.

I’d rather be standing in a boundless field of wild flowers under a summer sky bleached to the color of faded denim. Or curled under the spreading limbs of an enormous oak – letting the sunlight shimmer through the leaves and dapple my skin while I lay on a large blanket surrounded by a pile of books.

That’s the rhythm I crave.

That’s thrum I’d love to move to.

There’s a happy medium in here. I know there is; between scheduling the life out of my life and drifting in unscheduled anonymity with no purpose. The secret to this brand of bliss is deciding just what pulse I’m going to pace my life to. What heartbeat am I going to mimic with the best of my intentions?

If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you! The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him. John 14: 15-17, 21 (MSG)

This is my heart. This is my image to reflect. This is the rhythm to set my life’s beat to.


I’m so blessed to have found this community of women online. It started a friend recommended Ann Voskamp’s book, 1000 Gifts. That led me to (in)courage and Allume, and before I knew it, I was joining the online community of grace and goodness that has enhanced my life in ways that I never saw coming. I never imaged that relationships made in the virtual world would echo and resonate with such sincerity, such authenticity, with so much real life goodness. It’s not all about writing – though I love that I’ve found a writing community here. So if you’re a woman of faith and hungry for community and like-minded sisters of the spirit, I hope you’ll stop by one of these sites and discover the wonderfulness that awaits you.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wisdom From a Life in Bloom: Part 2

Two weeks ago today (let’s pretend I did that on purpose), I started my series, Wisdom from a Life in Bloom – thoughts leaping off from a little quote book I got several years ago from Coldwater Creek and their new branding program.

The first one was so appropriate for me – learning to get out of your own way and knowing that you are the highest hurdle that you’ll ever have to leap. It made me think hard about what I want and what’s real and one of my favorite scriptures in Philippians. As I flipped the page open today (because I promised myself I’d just go straight through and not skip around), I found another gem.

Learning to color outside the lines …
Life isn’t about finding yourself
Life is about creating yourself

George Bernard Shaw

It’s taken me a long time to become comfortable with the person I am. I almost wrote “comfortable in my skin,” but quickly backspaced over that because I am nowhere near comfortable in my skin and I know it. There is too much in my physical person that I struggle with (daily – hourly?) for me to be able to own being comfortable with that. Some of it is manageable, and I’m working on that. Some of it is inevitable, and I’m accepting that. Some of it is unfortunate, and I’m learning to live with it. So maybe someday down the road you’ll see me write that I’m comfortable in my own skin. Just not today.

But comfortable with who I am – oh yes. I am.

But again, yes, it did take me a while to arrive. And while I’m still very much a work in progress, I’m comfortable with my path, my direction, and with the person I’m turning out to be. And while I am a wildly creative person, determined to create a wildly creative life, I know that none of this would happen without my Creator and what He has created in me.

But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love He had for us, gave us life together with Christ—it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved—and has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with Him in Christ in the Heavens. Thus He shows for all time the tremendous generosity of the grace and kindness He has expressed towards us in Christ Jesus. It was nothing you could or did achieve—it was God’s gift to you. No one can pride himself upon earning the love of God. The fact is that what we are we owe to the hand of God upon us. We are born afresh in Christ, and born to do those good deeds which God planned for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-10, Phillips New Testament)

These days, it seems the being a woman of faith is coloring outside the lines. In a me-first, mine-next world, the idea that we would live to put Christ first and others next is a remote concept that many would sneer at and call weakness. Add to that a politically correct culture that strives to equalize and sterilize everyone into unopinionated blandness so that everything (well, almost everything – you know what I mean) can be tolerated and you have a recipe for “we like sheep have gone astray.”

I’m not interested in being terribly controversial, but I’m not interested in being a sheep either. So if following where God leads means I paint boldly outside the lines by pursuing service, kindness, grace, humility, mercy, and unconditional love, then that is the created life that I’m going to continue to pursue.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Listen

Five Minute FridayWe write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that she posts here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday (which I totally missed this week – eek!) No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

This Week: Listen


Listen to me.
I’m constantly saying that.
Please listen to me.
Drives me bat you-know-what-crazy when people don’t listen to me.

Whether it’s my husband (babe, is there butter in this oatmeal?)
My daughter (please stop saying that, touching that, picking that …)
Customers on the phone (your computer name – yeah – that thing we ask you for every. single. time. You call and ask for help. “hello, IT, have you tried turning it off and on again?)
A new doctor (oh, don’t even get me started on this one)

Listening. It’s such a learned skill. It really is. And as much as I long for it. Crave it. Dream about it. I sometimes wonder if God’s not up there looking down at me thinking some of those very same things.

Like ...

Photo by jeltovski
Hello daughter. Would you please turn everything off for just one moment – maybe more – and just listen to Me. My dear child – so caught up in trying to juggle all those balls and plates or whatever it is you think you need to keep up in the air. I’d like for you to take a time out and just let everything drop – and realize that they’re not really going to drop. They’ll still be there. And you’ll just take a moment and listen.

Because I don’t want to have to be that great big rushing wind that you’re sometimes asking for.
I don’t want to have to be the crashing lightning storm.
I don’t want to have to be the earth-shaking event that rocks the world.

I just want to be
that conversation that you’re having first thing in the morning;
maybe right after your cup of tea before things kick into high gear at the office.
I’d like to be there for that moment when you
step outside and take a breath of fresh air;
I want to have that time with you.
Where you can just take a moment,
and listen to Me,
and all the amazing things I have to say to you.
Things I know you need to hear
Because you’re running so hard and so long;
Trying to do all the right things for all the right reasons.
So take a moment child of mine,
And listen to Me.
Be still.
Know that I am God.
Feel my love.
Hear my heart.

He just amazed me again.

So this is for me – and for anyone else who is
“trying to do all the right things for all the right reasons.”
He loves you.
Stop a moment and listen so He can tell you too.


How to Join:
Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here. No editing or second guessing. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Fall

Five Minute FridayWe write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that she posts here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday
No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

This Week: Fall


and this is how it goes:
moment to moment
clinging as i can – to the only One that i can.
hoping that this time, as i surge ahead,
i’ll be one step ahead
of where I wound up the last time i did this.
the last time i took a step out – a step up
tried to get my life on the right path.

because usually what i get is a
crash and burn
fall down hard
ass over elbows and i’m lying
face up in the gutter
staring up at heaven’s light
so far away and wondering
what in all the star shine
did the Father see in me
to place me on this path.
what does He know that i don’t know?
that i can’t see?
that i can’t imagine?

my fall – just an echo of the fall before
and the one before that
all the way back to Eden
and our original fall from Grace.

but in spite of that –
no – in the midst of all of that –

He knew.
all knowing
all seeing
time without time
without context
just knowing

He knew that we’d fall – that i’d fall.
planned so well what Grace would be needed.
what sacrifice would be offered.
what price would be paid.
knew the cost –
knew the hurt –
knew the pain –
and did it all anyway.
all of creation from beginning to end.
directed and constructed in a glorious symphony
that spoke love upon love
for you and i
as if we were the only thing that mattered.
as if there were no fall.

so in my moment,
i learn to let go,
learn to say no – not i
not my doing,
not my striving,
just You.
just Love.
just Grace.

and the stars shine down
on my broken bits,
and in the Father’s light,
i am a constellation.


How to Join:
Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here. No editing or second guessing. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wisdom From a Life in Bloom: Part 1

Lately, I’ve been finding myself bogged down; lost in the minutiae of the everyday; consumed by the pain of my daily life; stressed out by teachers and school administrators who are stuck inside their little unimaginative boxes; run off the track and into a rut and I didn’t even notice it. Until I looked back at my blog (always a good indicator of where my head is at) for May and it was a solid list of Five Minute Fridays. So, on the one hand – cheers – stayed consistent with that and kept writing. On the other hand – grrrr – time to get off my duff, and get focused again. Time to release the stress and road blocks and get the words flowing.

On the way out the door this morning, I grabbed a little book that Coldwater Creek mailed out several years ago as part of their branding program. Wisdom from a Life in Bloom. Chock full of great quotes and tidbits. It’s going to be my jumping off point for a while …

Learning to get real …
We are the hurdles we leap to be ourselves

Michael McClure

I don’t know how many people will look at this quote and see themselves. I see me all over it. I’m not one to let people or circumstances stand in my way. I will grit my teeth and go toe to toe with adversity with the odds against me – determined to win; determined not to take no for an answer. I am sure that I will find a way to make it happen. My old boss and friend who passed away recently liked to tell people, “If you don’t tell her she can’t do it, eventually she’ll figure out a way to make it happen.” And as long as I have external opposition, this is true.

It’s when those messages of doubt and difficulty begin within that things come slamming to a halt.

I am the highest hurdle I will ever have to leap.

The older I get, the quicker I get from point A to point B and find it easier to release those things that burden me as I’m on my way to a better self. For example, I oftentimes wrestle with being a good example for my daughter. I find myself wondering out loud how much of myself I need to lose in order to provide a good reflection for her – and to be honest – sometimes I get a little angry about it. Until I stop and pause and ask myself what I’m so desperate to hang on to and why. Sometimes I cling to powerful negative attributes in my life because despite being destructive, they have managed to be sources of strength through some hard times. In reality, the preferable course is to find my true source of strength, and cling harder there (to the rock that is higher) – shedding all else for the sham that it is.

I will be myself when I can fully release myself to be God’s creature and God’s creation. Reveling in grace and in His love – totally dependent on Him for all aspects of what it means to be my best self.

I love Philippians 4:4-9 for this very reason. This is where I want to dwell. This is what I want to strive for. This is what I want to remember. This is what is real:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.