Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Moving in the Direction of my Dreams

I have an amazing pastor.

Let me say it again. I have an amazing pastor.

Not only does he encourage me personally, he encourages our entire congregation to be better and grow more. I call him a 'fixer' ... because that seems to be the way he approaches things that are broken (exhibit 1: Me).

I have an amazing pastor.

Recently, I sent him what I would consider a sort-of-erratic, just short of an emotional breakdown email. I NEEDED a perspective, and I NEEDED Godly he clearly was my first choice. Despite the fact that he has had a very busy month; despite the fact that he needs to rest;  despite the fact that I am not the ONLY person in our congregation that needs him... he still answered AND with the perfect answer.

You see, my question to him was a question I am assuming all of us have had at one point or another. I confirmed this fact with a few friends who have said that they have wondered the same thing... My question was this:

How do you know if  [insert issue here] is God's will OR if it is the enemy trying to veer you off the path that God wants you to walk on?

Well, truthfully, I didn't say it as succinct as that, but that was the gist of it...

Exhibit 1 (me, remember?) assumed (and unfairly so) that the answer would be the obvious answer. I am ashamed to say that I expected the answer to simply be "if you pray and get a peace in your heart, then it is in His will. If you pray and feel any sort of discomfort in your heart, you may want to keep praying." Isn't that what you thought? Or perhaps isn't that what you've been told? While I absolutely believe in the infinite and divine power of prayer, I wanted - no I NEEDED - an answer that was more substantive...more relatable...more concrete.

As I mentioned before, I have an amazing pastor. He delivered. In less than 50 words (remember, he's a 'fixer'...they tend to speak in action, not words) he spoke truth to me that seared the cracks in my heart and helped to slow the hurt that was pouring out. With tears in my eyes and a grateful spirit, I realized that his answer was exactly what my weary soul needed.

And what did he say exactly? Let me share it with you. My prayer is that it will help seal the cracks in your heart as it did mine.

Among other things, my amazing pastor said this:

In order to be sure you are walking in God's will, you have to look at three things: 1. Inner conviction 2. Outward circumstances and 3. The word of God

Well. With regard to number 1 on this list, I have been struggling with a particular topic for about 6 months now. It's a daily struggle with what my heart wants to do and what I believe God wants me to do and what I HAVE to do. I have been toying with an idea that will release me from this struggle, but haven't had the courage to move forward with it...which leads me to number 2. My outward circumstances regarding my interaction and satisfaction with this struggle have greatly declined - coincidentally in these same 6 months... or perhaps not coincidentally? I haven't made that connection until now...

And the word of God... ohhh the word of God. How I've been pouring through the tear stained and tattered pages, feeling as though I've lost something that I am desperately trying to find. My fingers, and I suppose my unconscious mind, often land me in Isaiah...a book that was written by a prophet. A book that I revel in because it fills me with hope. And this - a small piece of scripture that represents more than any words I could ever pen (or type!) to a page:

"10 As the rain and the snow
   come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
   without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
   so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
   It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
   and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
   will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
   will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper,
   and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
   for an everlasting sign,
   that will endure forever.” Isaiah 55:10-13

Between my inner conviction, my outward circumstances, and the word of God, I feel confident in my decision to move in the direction of my dreams. While I refuse to be unreasonable and unrealistic, I also refuse to be moved from the path set before me. I know it will be something that will require a lot of prayer and a lot of trust in God, but I believe with ALL of my heart, that the direction of my dreams is also the direction of His will.

Friends, I encourage you to to apply the same principles if you wonder if what you need to do is within God's will or if it is an attack by the enemy. It freed me from the burden I carried in trying to figure it out on my own. My hope is that it can free you too.

You see, I have an amazing pastor, and without him (and HIM!) I wouldn't be as clear as I am today.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reconnect the Disconnect

"Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us into pieces, but He will heal us." Hosea 6:1

To be honest, I have been feeling a bit disconnected lately. Not from specific people, but from most everyone and everything. At times it feels like my prayers are just bouncing off the clouds, ricocheting right back down like a lightening bolt to my heart - despite the fact that my prayers are thunderous in sound and span many miles in width. Lately, I repeatedly hear God's quiet voice whisper something I don't quite understand ... and the clouds that were clearing in my heart suddenly gather and produce monsoon-like rain; leaving me with knees to the muddy earth and arms stretched out to catch the last shattered pieces.

I say go. He says stop. I say run. He says be still. I say hear me. He says listen. I say now. He says later. I beg please. He says pray. I implore. He is silent. I surrender. He swoops in. I am safe.

I have concluded that God will put obstacles in your life that cause frustration, anger or hurt...and He does this so we can realize that the path we are on is the wrong one. It forces us to re-examine ourselves and rely on Him to get on the right path.
I find comfort in the fact that when I step out and do what I think is right, He is still there: "Nevertheless, I am continuously with thee" Psalm 73:23. I fail. Daily. I rush ahead of Him. Daily. I step out of His will. Daily. I am grateful that His mercies are new every morning because without that, I would surely have no hope.

These past few months have been a challenge. I fight a daily struggle between what I am doing and what I SHOULD be doing. What I am finding is that discord is more prevalent than peace in what used to be a big positive in my life. What I am finding is that I am less and less satisfied with the temporary trappings of this world, and desiring more and more of the things I cannot see. I feel as though the world is flying by me at the speed of light, but yet, I can't seem to grab the arm of anyone rushing by to ask them where I am or where I'm going. I can't look ahead or aside of me because it makes me dizzy. I can only look up.

In a season like I'm in - a season of uncertainty of direction, a season of possibilities, a season of mistrust, disgust and frustration, I can only look up. God has put me here - not as punishment - but as a gentle reminder that I can ONLY do ALL things through Him. Not on my own, but through Him. He directs my steps. My prayer has been to put me in a place where His light can shine through me - where the gifts He has blessed me with can illuminate even the darkest places. I'm waiting. It's coming. I'm ready. It's taking too long.

For my dear friends who are also in a season, I say "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" II Corinthians 1:3-4. When we hide, deny, or ignore our hurt or pain,we are denying the possibility of God comforting us. He wants to directly comfort us in our affliction - He wants us to look UP. Not away. Not at our bank accounts or who has what. Up. He also wants us to receive this comfort, be blessed by it, and bless others with it. Bless them with words and simple conversation. Bless them with the love of Jesus. Bless them by your example of grace and trust.

Disconnected. The word is "disconnected" in feeling if that makes sense to you. Sometimes I just want to yell STOP or WAIT because I have no idea about what is around me. Sometimes I just want to go ahead and do what I want to do and not care about what He wants me to do. Sometimes I look to the side of me and then to the other side, and then down the road and over 'there' (wherever that is) and think that it is, for sure, better. The side, down, or over there may in fact BE better...but should we be worried about being better...or should we be worried about being on the path that God created for us before we were knit together in our mother's womb? Being on that path isn't always 'better'...but it is always right.

My prayer today is that for those of you who feel like I do, that you join me in praying that the veil over our lives be lifted. Jesus tore the veil FOR us, yet, we seem to always hide behind it. Jesus is the answer. Jesus shed his blood so we wouldn't HAVE to feel disconnected or shrouded in despair. While we don't choose to feel the way we do, we have to remember even in the thunderous rain that stings like thorns, it was Jesus who wore the crown of thorns so we could even have a life full of options and faith in what's to come. And as disconnected as I feel, I choose to believe that Jesus' hand is in all of it and I trust that He will direct my path. All I need to do step away from myself and step forward into His arms.

With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Psalm 142:1-5

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thank You For Being A Friend

Hi friends.

I'm writing with nothing in mind today. My mind is too full to speak on any one specific thing. My hope is that by writing a little of this and a little of that, I will be able to start forming coherent, deep, and full thought... sort of like bleeding the brakes on a car (can you tell I'm married to a mechanic?)

Let's see... where to begin. Somewhere and see where it goes, you say? Ok.

The other day, I was laughing and the sound of it caught me off guard. I laugh often...but for some reason, this laughter sound different - more true, more real, more genuine. Not that I fake laugh, BUT, sometimes you laugh from the orders of your brain. Other times, such as happened the other day, you laugh from the orders of your heart. Apparently, I've been using my brain too much when it comes to laughter because the sound of it sort of surprised me. I know I can't be the only one that has noticed this before...I wondered who was laughing - and then I realized it was me. Again - I laugh often, but sometimes it just comes from a different place.

Speaking of coming from a different place...let's talk friendship, shall we?

I find that I have a few good friends. I know there are at least three people that I could call and at the drop of a hat, those three people would support me, love me, help me, guide me, talk me down, and celebrate with me. It is sincere, genuine, and easy to be with them. Nothing is forced. Boundaries are nonexistent because it is hard to say when one ends and the other begins. I am SO grateful for my friends like this. I try to tell them as often as I can, but I'm afraid it's not often enough. They talk me down from myself, they buy me gifts just because, they take the time to celebrate with me, and they ask me how I'm doing - and take the opportunity to look in my eyes into my heart to see if I'm being truthful in my answer. These friends will never be 'seasonal' ..

BUT what about those seasonal friends?

It's a topic on my heart lately. Everyone's got em'. Those friends that float in and out of our lives 'for a season' and only after they are gone we realize WHY they were put there in the first place. For me, if a friend is going to be seasonal, I'd rather not, thankyouverymuch. Know why? Cause seasonal friends hurt. Seasonal friends celebrate with you if you are celebrating but never are the first ones to throw streamers. Seasonal friends ask how you're doing, and try to look in your eyes to see your heart, but the mirror in their eyes seems to reflect the wall that is always up. Seasonal friends have boundaries and it is easy to tell when one ends and the other begins. While I enjoy the seasons of the year, I do not enjoy how quickly they pass. It's the same with seasonal friendships. Seasonal friendships hurt even if they start out with good intentions.

So what does this all mean?

If you meet someone worth of being called 'friend,' then you should love them as wide and as deep and as openly as you can. Friendships are not to be taken lightly. Friendships are not one way. Friendships are the thread that God uses to stitch love, laughter, hope, and trust into the fabric of our heart. If I call you friend, then this is what I believe. If you call me friend, you already knew everything in this post.

Love & Light

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Letting Go.. .

Hi friends,

In case you didn't know this, I sometimes use this blog to make sense of the thoughts that weave their way into my heart. Sometimes, these thoughts are clear and sharp - like a piece of broken glass. Other times, these thoughts are like cream when you first pour it into a steaming cup of coffee...they make a splash, swirl around at different depths and colors, and then with some encouragement, they blend into the perfect morning (or afternoon... or evening... if you're like me). Blogging usually doesn't happen on a day like today, when my thoughts are foggy at best...but I feel like if I can just write this out, it will form. I feel like my thoughts are in an egg - once I crack the shell, the rest will just ooze out.

So "Letting Go" is tonight's topics. I am convinced you're thinking about letting things go - like past hurts, regrets, hopes, dreams...those types of 'letting go' things, but I'm actually hoping to talk about letting go of whatever holds you back.

I have had three moments of total surrender - of total letting go. They were as exhausting as they were amazing. Completely and totally healing. Completely and totally transcendental. Completely and totally unexpected. Looking back, I can see the hand of God in every single one...but it was never anything I had asked for. It was a gift - a gift SO wholly holy - that I treasure each experience for what it was. It was a shattering of the last pieces of me in order to put me back together a little more complete than I was when I started.

In case you didn't know this, music moves me. Music unlocks things in my heart that I never knew existed. Music heals me, unhinges me, and reminds me. It gives me hope, gives me words where words don't exist, and fills the space in between my heart and the hearts of others. The melody, the lyrics , the push and pull of sounds .. all of that creates movement in my heart and I can't help but respond.

How does this relate to letting go? I'm not sure - but I'm going to try and fumble through it because the words I would use to explain it sound like music in my heart ... THAT in itself is a long story for another day.

I watch a lot of music on YouTube. Video after video of praise song after praise song. It is AMAZING to see how transparent and how complete these artists are when they are singing. It is not performing, but rather it is lifting the name of the Lord to a place where the angels catch it and lift it right to His throne room.. the holiest of holy places. THESE artists have let go. They are not encumbered by the the 15,000 people filling the Melbourne theater. They are not thinking about the next minutes of their song and how to end it and start the new one. They are not hindered by their own feelings of inadequacy...they simply come, worship, invite you to come along with them, and touch the hem of His garment. It's beautiful to see just how far they let go.

So why can't we do that? When the results are that beautiful, then why do we feel inadequate and impeded? Why can't we just let go? I feel like I could let go, but then when I'm just about to, I am stopped. Know who stops me? Me. Why? Because I suddenly feel incommensurate - as though I am damaged, blemished, and flawed. My mind becomes conscious of what my subconscious and the Holy Spirit want to do...and I am suddenly flooded with insecurity and thoughts that require my entire being to turn down. It's kinda like when you have the radio in your car cranked up because it's a beautiful day and you turn the car off without turning the radio down... now it's later in the day and you go to grab a coffee and you turn the car on and spend the next 5 minutes trying to get the ring out of your ears. It's that dramatic.

I don't really know how to solve this - and it is a HUGE source of frustration for me. I'm patiently waiting and fervently praying that I be able to use  myself to be a vessel like those artists are to me. One day, when I'm ready, I'm sure letting go will be as easy as holding on.

~ Love & Light ~

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Random Musings and a Prayer

Hi friends,

My heart is full of wonder at the this post may be all over the place. Wonder often makes me feel flighty and causes my thoughts to circle themselves repeatedly and ever-so-slowly instead of swirl around and occasionally intersect or pass closely by. Lots of positives and lots of 'yes' in my life right now...and it feels good.

I wrote a post (and if I knew how to link to it, I would do it now) about the most dangerous word being yes quite early on in my blogging life. I think about that post often because I believe, still, that the most dangerous word is yes. Yes. Say it with me "YES."

Yes, you can create a dream and weave your life into it. It's possible - I speak from experience. Yes, you can redefine boundaries and reach unreachable people - I speak from experience. Yes, people ARE inherently good and want to work together to spread goodness - I speak from experience. Yes, 'ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will open to you' is TRUE - I speak from recent experience and a giddy heart about this.

All we need in life are opportunities. The opportunity to make the right decision. The opportunity to make the wrong one. The opportunity to make a first impression. The opportunity to change how people perceive you. The opportunity to let your light shine so that others may see. The opportunity to hitch your wagon to a star. The opportunity to see your gifts, and the opportunity to use your gifts in a way that fulfills the deepest part of your heart. The opportunity to stand up to NO and turn it into a YES.

Psalm 37:4 comes to mind. It's pretty popular and I'd be willing to bet you've heard it before. It says "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." After seeking the Lord with ALL my heart lately, he has not only revealed my desires, but reignited things that were dormant for a while.

Funny... in reading my bible tonight I came across this in Jeremiah 29:14 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." I am pretty confident that this what I've been doing. I am seeking the Lord with ALL my heart...and because I'm doing that, I have been given the opportunity to not only re-ignite the desires of my heart within myself, but also openly and freely share the desires of my heart with people who can make my "no"s turn to "yes"es...and it's all for the greater good of God.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for your mighty hand in my life. You amaze me and leave me feeling wide-eyed with wonder. Not only did you free people when you walked on this Earth, but you also freed my heart to accept the opportunity and the gifts you had waiting for me. You humble me, Lord. You reward me when I don't deserve it. You encourage me to press on and fight the good fight. You love me DESPITE me. I bow before you tonight, Jesus, and with a servant's heart, request that you direct my path. As sure as you've put your promise in my heart, I ask that you make my footing equally as sure. Turn my meekness into might for YOUR glory, Lord. I, the lowest of these, desire to lift your name above all names. Keep this desire in my heart as you reveal more and more to me. Help me shine my light for you, Lord. Without you, I fade. In Jesus' precious and holy name ... Amen ♥

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Phoenix Arising

Have you ever talked to someone and found out that they are encouraged by you just as much as you are encouraged by them? Have you ever talked to someone and found out that as much as they inspire you, you inspire them? Have you ever talked to someone and found out that they think of you just as highly as you think of them?  Have you?

There are a few people in my life that I look up to in a BIG way. People who have helped me and supported me as I journeyed to where I am today. People who have picked me up from the muck and mire and placed me on a firm rock to stand. People who believe in me even when I didn't believe in myself. There are no words on this earth to help those people understand how thankful I am for everything they have done and every sacrifice they have made for me. No words.

For the first time in my career, I have entered into the territory of mutual admiration...and I need to write about it. It's's slightly uncomfortable..but it's marvelous.

For those of you who don't know, I love what I do for work. It is one of the most fulfilling things for be able to help in any way possible. I recently had a conversation with a coworker about my desire to help (among many other things) and I felt, in my heart of hearts, that this conversation was a pivot point for me - and I can't explain exactly why. Perhaps its because it was unguarded, sincere, and honest? Perhaps because we had an honest exchange of hearts as we talked about some sticky stuff? As crazy as this sounds, the conversation sort of made me feel like a phoenix rising. I had to burn in the ash in order to be renewed. And renewed I was.

Today, I had the opportunity to speak to this very same coworker.  When we speak, she speaks with such approval for me - the same type of approval as I have for her. I hear it. It makes me feel wonder and marvel at the thought that as much respect and appreciation I have for her, she might have for me. It validates that I have made the right decisions thus far professionally and personally. I hear rusty hinges falling off old, cobwebbed doors in my heart because hope is promising to push through if I let it.

And while I realize that I have SO much growth that needs to happen between now and where I'm going, I now see that there are TRULY people who want to better other people. There are TRULY people who see the best in you and, without trying, GET the very best FROM you. This kind of thing boggles my mind. I always think that no one will think of me as highly as I think of them - that its some sort of impossibility. But there was a moment today (and still now) that I believe in my heart that it's possible. And while words fade quickly, the feelings that come with the words don't fade as fast. I'm grateful for this, and I'm holding on to them as tightly as I can.

Monday, October 31, 2011


So... I had a very interesting conversation today... the second conversation in as many weeks when I know that the person I was talking to was TRULY understanding me. Yes, I talk in circles. Yes, I justify answers with 'I just know it'...and I realize that just because I 'know' something, doesn't make it credible...but there is something so spectacular when you truly speak to someone, and you speak right into their heart. And even if that person is far removed from the things you stand on, they still hear you as though you were built from the same foundation.

The topic of 'worth' has been on fire in my heart lately. It is a word that holds so much boldness and hope, yet so much fragility at the same time. When people think about how much they are worth, they normally equate it to finances, right? And while if you are calculating your net-worth this is true, BUT you can be penniless and have more worth than the most filthy rich person in the whole world.

Worth applies in the working world. Worth applies at home. Worth applies among friendships. Worth applies among enemies. So many things, in so many places, worth is the underlying cause of hope, forgiveness, loathing, or hatred. If this is so - if worth is a double edged sword - how much POWER does this word have. It is mighty and it is empowering.

When I say "This relationship is worthless" it means there is no hope. When I say "I am worth far more than rubies" it means there is SO much hope. When I say "Doing that is not worth it" it means I will gain nothing. When I say "You are worth it" it means I believe in you...

The power of this word should never be underestimated. To me, the word 'worth' stands in the same category of other words I covet - such as bold, might, mighty, and hope. These words are as though there are lightning bolts attached to them...and they will either cause a spark or a roaring fire. Lately, for me, it has done the latter.

Love & Light

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beauty in the Midst of This

Hi friends!

It's just me. I sat down to do some school work, but quickly realized it was not going to happen. I checked facebook, but that was surprisingly I decided to blog. I don't have  burning desire to write, so this may be short and sweet. I don't have a topic to talk about...but the title for the blog post tonight came out of no where... so that's where I'll begin. Usually I title my blog posts after I write. Perhaps my inspired title will lead to inspired words as I get a move on'.

So. Where is the beauty in the midst of this. Where is 'this' even? Is 'this' ourselves? Is 'this' our surroundings? Is 'this' the world? Is 'this' simply 'this' and stand for nothing and everything at the same time? In order to make any semblance of sense in this post, I think I'll equate 'this' with me in Zumba class yesterday. 

On any given day, you might find me feeling good, indifferent, not-so-good about how I feel about myself. Some days I cut myself some slack. Some days I don't. Other days I have too much other stuff to worry about (like how my children feel about themselves...) to even have the conversation with myself. After an inconsistent run, and because of a video I have to be in (loooooong story...), I've decided to amp up the workouts.

In this effort, I have taken a VERY strong likening to Zumba. Man oh MAN is it fun! I always start out VERY hesitant, but by the end I'm upset its over! Here's where my blog title fits in:
I am pretty confident I look like a hot mess when I'm into it. I always thought I could dance BUT when I look in the mirror (there is no escaping it at the gym!) I realize that maybe it was the multiple glasses of wine I would always have before I danced that made me believe that I could *LOL!* In any event, I do have rhythm. I can dance... a little... but when I compare how my body moves to the way my instructor's body moves... well... I won't even go there.

BUT... BUT!!

There is beauty in the midst of it.

There is me, living a moment of pure joy. Me shakin' it like a polaroid picture. Me laughing at myself and laughing with my co-dance work out friends. My instructor shouting 'SHAKE IT' and then proceeding to move so quickly I'd say time stands still. The primal rhythm of the music that speaks to the most uncivilized part of me...the letting go of the fact that the jiggliest parts of me are jiggling away (literally and more literally, TMI?!?! Are we there, readers?) and I could care LESS. I see the beauty in the midst of this.

Readers, I urge you to see the beauty in the midst of your own situations. Whether they are like mine in Zumba class lookin' not-so-pretty, or somewhere else. There is ALWAYS something pretty to be found. If you are lucky and open enough, you might find it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Unapologetically Me

Hi friends,

It's me. Dina. Some of you enjoy me just as I am. Some of you like parts of me. Some of you, I mystify. Some of you, I confuse. Maybe some of you only like me part of the time, when it's convenient for you (I am pretty confident I have some of you in my life...but I still love you for you) Some of you are mad that I just wrote that...

I have been thinking a lot lately and truth be told, I found out some things about myself. Some of them too personal to share here, but some of them aren't. During lunch with a friend recently, she called me out about something...and she was entirely right. What's that thing? Well, it's complicated, but without going into too much detail, it is the fact that I purposely and voluntarily leave myself out of situations. It's sort of part of my all-or-nothing personality. I don't remember a time when I would settle for just-a-little-bit. All. Or. Nothing. Always.

For a minute (well, for numerous  minutes, really...) I backpedaled a little. I thought 'what if she's right? what if I should take a look at myself'...but don't worry friends, that didn't last too long. What this conversation taught me was this: I am who I am. I am working towards who I was created to be. I like myself just as I am - quirks and all. I secretly (not-so-much now...) like that I am stubborn, thick headed, all-or-nothing, in your face as much as I can be, demanding, 'you're wrong just because I said you were,' competitive to no end, and that I march to the beat of my own drummer. It's funny -  I recently said to another friend - I may march to the beat of my own drummer, but never out of synch with everyone else.

If I am going to be honest, I like these quirks about me that have negative connotations. The negatives give me character and charm, sort of like a cool scar with an even cooler story. They don't harm anyone (except me, usually...). The fact of the matter is that I LIKE these things about me.

While there are plenty of positive things that I could say about myself, I choose to say that I find the  negative things about me to be positive things. Together these traits make me, ME. I shouldn't feel that I need to be apologetic for being me. I'm done feeling that way. I spent much to much of my younger years trying to figure that out. I am unapologetically me. I am finally strong enough, mature enough, and most importantly kind enough to myself to acknowledge that.

So, ... I thank my friend for lunch that day. I thank her for prompting me to check myself. I thank her for calling me out and I thank her for giving me the opportunity to realize and rediscover that I LIKE that I am the way I am. I thank her for letting me be ME, unapologetically me. I thank all my other friends and family - my TRUE and LOYAL friends and family - for letting me be unapologetically me. I appreciate you all more than you know.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WARNING: Its a Long One. Grab a Cup o' Joe...

Hi friends. It's been awhile again. This post has been brewing in my heart for quite some time... as a warning, it may be lengthy and it may contain errors because my intention is to write and post - no re-reading, no spell checks. This post is an unapologetic stream of consciousness. Ready? Let's go ♥

Music has always been a HUGE part of my life. From Linda Ronstadt to James Taylor; Dan Fogelberg to Carly Simon; OH and who could forget Frank Sinatra (my personal fav!)? Saturday nights were filled with no TV, just dance parties and plenty of laughs. I would often go to bed with the music blaring, no end in sight. It was these days that set the stage for my lifelong passion.

I remember sitting in my room at our old apartment (73 Frasier Street to be exact. I remember Mom DRILLING the address into my head just-in-case), with my 45's and a record player. Jamming out to whatever I had. I remember getting a pocket rocker, and having Manic Monday and Walk Like an Egyptian - thinking I was a legit rock star.  I remember a D.A.R.E solo I sang at a school concert even though I was sick because I could NEVER let my backup take that spot (I swear, I'm not competitive...LOL!).

Music is a part of my DNA. My grandfather is a master piano technician - translating feelings into sounds so complex, yet so simple. His long, capable fingers understanding the keys like a mother understands her baby's cry. His emotions resound through the strike and tap of every key. His sadness drips with every note now that his reason to play is in the arms of angels. ♥

I always felt... capable... when whatever it was involved music. If it was an instrument, I could probably figure out how to play it. The only one that always escaped me was the piano. Oh how I love it, but oh how I just can't seem to get my heart and my hands to work together. I played trumpet in the high school band when I was in middle school. I held 'first seat' every year of middle school and some of high school (before my trumpet got stolen...). Playing music came effortlessly for me.

Although instruments were easy, it was truly my voice that was my instrument of choice. I am unsure why I did not pursue it as much as I did the trumpet - something that frustrates me today. I can recall one very trying day in the music room when I was in middle school (or perhaps a Freshman in high school). If I am honest, this would probably be the day I shied away from singing in front of anyone. We were 'warming up' and our choir teacher had us sing do-re-mi. For some reason, she had asked me to start it. So I did. Do, re, mi, fa, so la... and when I got to ti it was pretty high...and I don't remember what happened next, but I know it involved lots of chuckles and whispers around the room. It seems so insignificant now, but back then...well... let's just say it was damaging. From that point on, my heart ached to sing but I denied it - thinking those snickering girls were right. THEY knew what they were talking about. THEY were all in drama and THEY were all in the special chorale they must know, right? Well...looking back, I see it as a pure reflection of their own insecurity. I see my heartache. I see the shutting down of my passion. I let the embers go out.

Fast forward.

In the past few years, there have been multiple times when I've said that I felt like I had a simmering pot, and I was doing what I could to stoke the fire so it could overflow...but all the wood seemed wet. Always. I never really knew why I felt this way. I had all my needs fulfilled. I had the majority of my (reasonable) wants fulfilled. I had no reason for this restlessness. This is an important part of the story, but I have to change gears for a second.

In April, I turned 30. I was excited to enter the 'age of establishment' as I affectionately dubbed it. I will never forget that a few months before this, there was a football game on. It was halftime so I checked Facebook...and my heart nearly flew out of my chest. It was then that a dream of mine was going to be fulfilled... It was Audrey Assad. The weekend of my birthday. In MAINE. If you know me at all, you know I am completely and totally and utterly and entirely in awe of her and her gift. Instantly, I knew I'd be there.

Fast forward to April. My dear, dear, friend and I take an overnight road trip to Charleston, Maine to see her. I am SO excited and SO nervous. We have an amazing time. I am not sure we stopped talking the whole way up. We got checked in at the hotel, got showered and all gussied up, and we headed out. When I tell you I was hyper-excited, I'm putting it mildly. I felt that at any given moment, I would explode.

We get to the church the event was being held at. There are a million cars. We walk in and there are a million people. There is NO assigned seating so we wander until we find decent seats - in the FRONT but off to the side. Excellent choice because this is the side she comes in from and leaves from so I got to see her a few times. She gets up there, she sings "Sparrow" and I am entranced. Something now begins to dry out the wood next to the fire. The night was filled with praise and worship and all things holy. At one point, I turned to my friend and whispered that it was my hearts desire to do what they are doing. I whispered because it came from the whispers of my heart. I whispered because I didn't DARE think it could be true. I whispered because I didn't want anyone else to hear...I whispered. The wood was dry and someone just put a few logs on to rekindle the flame.

On the way out, I got to MEET her. Yes - as in talk to her, she signed something for me, I let her know how amazing she is and how she inspires me. Our hearts connected, even if for a brief moment, and she added wood to my fire and a strong wind fanned the flame. My pot was SO close to overflowing. In one of my favorite Psalms, the psalmist says "you make the winds your messenger." In this perfect, anointed moment, He did.

Between then and now, so much has been revealed to me. My pot is officially overflowing. I am unashamed at the mess it is leaving. As a matter of fact, I am grateful for the mess.

I see singing as a gateway. I swear at times I could touch the hem of His garment. When I sing, it is a private, lovely, hopeful, heartfelt cry to my God. I sing to Him, I sing for Him. My ultimate goal is to get those who sing along with me to understand that feeling. The feeling of 'suspension' (as I call it) between Earth and the heavens. The feeling of holy surrender as my melody, the words, and my heart collide at the foot of the cross. The feeling of hope and promise that the very last note leaves me with...that even though it is quiet around us,  my soul is not. Even though the music has stopped, it resounds in heaven's throne room as a tribute to the God I love and worship. Come with me, sometime. Come with me and experience the humbleness, fullness, boldness, hope, joy, peace, and comfort that true worship brings.

Love and Light

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Need a Blog Topic. Go.

So...I've been in a blogging rut lately. Don't get me wrong, I've got PLENTY to say...I've just not had a minute to collect my thoughts. I've started posts and scratched them because they just wouldn't make any sense if I pushed my way through them.

In an effort to unslump myself (Name that book: "When you're in a slump, you're not in for much fun. Unslumping yourself is not easily done") I thought I would give wonderful facebook friends a chance to help me pick a topic.

I was nervous at status read "I need a blog topic. Go." and I thought I'd get a million people at once. Nope. Silly girl. You only have 150 friends on there, and you only talk to about 30 of them in real WHY would you get a million at once? Unrealistic. If you've read any of my other posts, you'll see I perpetually struggle with expectations...but I digress.

Slowly but surely the topics came in. It started like sprinkles of raindrops and then turned into thunderous pelts. My friends (you know, those in the 30 that i talk to in real life) began to give me ideas. I was FA-SCI-NA-TED (say this like Oprah does...) at the depth and breath of the topics. Here is a running list - and a reason why I decided not to write about each of them today.

1. Deliverance. A VERY personal topic for me. To write about this topic is to bring you, my readers, into a very secret place in my heart. One day, I'll do it. For now, you're fine where you are :)

2. Motherhood. Another VERY personal topic. It is an area where I feel most inadequate...most vulnerable. My heart is not feeling inadequate or vulnerable right now so it would have been a 'forced' write - but that is boring for you and torturous for me.

3. The meaning of the word HOME. Wow. Amazing topic. I could go on forever about it...but today was not the time.

4. The name Jean - which is a VERY significant name in my life. From one of my besties to my beautiful grandmother - this name carries weight, love, happiness and sadness wrapped up together in four letters. I may revisit this at some point in the very near future.

5. Stepping out - Ohhh..this was TEMPTING!!! A good one for sure. I am living proof that stepping out in faith under the direction of the Lord can reap unfathomable, yet humbling rewards. I may revisit this at some point in the very near future as well.

6. Potato puffs, sweet potato fries, and curly fries. How'd we get here?? Oh ya - I am OBVIOUSLY random and so are my friends! Oh..and I LOOOOVE potato puffs to the moon and back.

7. Get ready for this one...ready?
   You read it right. Dissection. Pigs brains, rats, rabbits, frogs... dissection. The best part about this topic though is that it can be literal and figurative. I may, in fact, also revisit this one.

SO what? So what about is the point of this blog post? The point of it is that I have some pretty amazing friends who have made some pretty amazing contributions to my life. Be it a suggestion for a blog post, babysitting, coaching, an ear to whine in, a shoulder to cry on, arms to catch me when I fall, stern-ness in love, encouragement, or a good laugh - all of these friends have helped make me who I am today. I know it sounds SO cliche, but I couldn't have made the strides I've made in my life without you (or my family...but wait? that's another post!)

Friends have a way of swooping in and saving the day at precisely the right moment. And they do it with love, grace, beauty, selflessness, and might. This kind of real, true, fully vested friends are as necessary to me as breathing. I need them. I realize at times I can be overwhelming. I can be aggressive, stubborn, anxious and needy...but what i love about you guys is that you love me anyway. In case you didn't know, this means the world to me. Without you, I'd fail. Without you, I wouldn't be able to think, act and play BIG. You love me unconditionally and by doing this, you've allowed me to love myself in the very same way.

Thank you.

Love & Light

Monday, August 8, 2011

Reality Came Crashing Down

I just went to get something down from a shelf in the coat closet and a whole bunch of pictures fell. I had forgotten they were there and I couldn't see them because the shelf is high. I indulged for a moment and looked through them. The emotion that followed was surprising to me. The emotion was sadness and a sense of loss.

Let me backtrack.

As some of you know, my oldest daughter officially has her own room. We completed the switch yesterday. While she was SUPER excited (to say the least) yesterday as we were moving things, the SUPER excited turned to a little bit nervous as bed time approached. One of the decorations I got for her new room was a pin board (you know, the fabric covered ones?). She loved it as it fed right into her 6.5 year old vanity. She immediately covered it with pictures - of herself, of course! As gathered the picture frames with her picture in it, I realized that there were older pictures behind the ones we saw. It was a trip down memory lane to see her regress in age right before our eyes. She thought it was amazing (and she certainly thought she was the cutest. baby. ever.) but me? I felt a tug of sadness.

I asked myself the question "do I remember where this picture was taken?" "Do I remember why I felt like I had to capture this moment?" "Do I remember Maya this way?" As these came up, I dismissed them because the answers to them were truth...and the truth was I didn't. Sure, some pictures I knew where it was taken, but I don't know why. The saddest part? I don't remember Maya that way.

I have distant, foggy memories of all my children when they were small. Even now, it's hard for me to picture them any other way than the way they are. I'm not talking their personality, but the way they look. Seeing these pictures of Maya and the ones that fell from the coat closet threw reality in my face. This reality is the fact that my kids, without my consent, are growing and changing right before my eyes.

I get it - this is the way it works. Years go by, we get older, we get smarter, we get bigger...but someone forgot to send me the memo that when it is OUR kids, all of this is exaggerated to a lightening speed pace.

I would do anything for one more day of Maya as an exceptionally chubby 8 month old - willing to laugh at any silly face in front of her. I would trade years off my life for one more day of Avery's way-too-wise eyes of a 4 month old to flutter off to sleep in my arms. I covet one more day of seeing Edie as a baby, staring at her sisters in awe and flashing that all-too-cheesy toothless grin. Anything.

What has all of this taught me?

It's taught  me that playing play-doh, although it's my LEAST favorite thing in the world, is what matters. It's allowing the kids to help me stir the cookie mix even though I know more will end up on the counter than in the bowl. It's to go mental with the garden hose just because it's hot and we have a change of clothes just steps away. It's to memorize the sound of their laughter, the sparkles in their eyes, and the feeling of their ever-growing-very-dense bodies in my arms as we snuggle. It's to be able to close my eyes and picture them as they are, as they were and as they will be.

I realize this is nothing new to women who have children. I figure every Mom has gone though this at one point. I suppose my reality  hit me today - in the form of falling pictures from a too-high shelf. It didn't hurt my body, but it sure did hurt my heart.

Love & Light

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I believe...

I was thinking today (and contrary to popular belief, I did not hurt myself...) and I was considering what I truly believe. What are the things I believe IN. What are the things I believe FOR. What do I believe? Since it's been awhile, I figured I'd share them with you.

1. I believe in God the father, His son Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. I believe that God calls us all and it is up to us to listen. I believe that He died on a cross as the ultimate sacrifice so that I could have a clean slate. I believe He bestows us with gifts, grace and mercy so we can continue to exhalt His holy name. I believe that ALL glory goes to the Father.

2. I believe in the power of friendship; in the power of standing for friends who can't stand themselves. I believe in loving friends like family and treating them that way. I believe in the unspoken words that are heard loud and clear between friends; and I believe in the expressionless exchange of emotions that happens when friends are intertwined at the heart.

3. I believe in the mightiness of prayer; in standing in the gap between those who cannot pray and those who are praying. I believe in storming the gates of heaven with both needs and praise; and rejoicing in both the silence and the answers that come.

4. I believe in the healing power of a good meal eaten in good company; in the conversation and exchange of ideas that naturally happens - where it seems that no dream is too big and no comment is too small. Food + Good Company + Life Changing Discussion = Satisfaction.

5. I believe the ground is level ONLY at the foot of the cross. It is the one place where you can lay your burdens and know that they will not ever roll back to you. I believe the only way you can get burdens back is if you TAKE them back.

I believe SO much more than I've written here. I believe that those who know me well enough have heard the words of my heart that did not make it on this page. They have shared the healing power of a good meal. They have spent time with  me as I laid things at the cross. They have prayed with me and for me to the God we believe in. They have called me friend, and I, them.

The  most rewarding part of these thoughts today is not this blog post (HAHAHAHAA!), but rather, the fact that my blessings in life were abundantly clear. I encourage all of you to ask yourself "what do I believe?" and write it down. Share it with me here, put it in your journal, email a friend - but writing it down helps you see it differently. You'll probably be amazed at what you find.

~Love & Light~

Thursday, June 30, 2011


The topic of God's grace has been hot in my heart these past couple of months (cue Matt Maher's chorus: Your grace is enough!). My understanding of the depth of God's grace is blossoming in my heart - slowly, surely, beautifully. It is something I always knew, but didn't understand like I do now.

I posted on Facebook this afternoon this status: I love how you can feel God's grace and you are SURE that's what it is...because it is clearly what you were missing before you knew you were missing it. Amen ♥. This is where I am in understanding His grace. I know I had it because I feel it when I cover it up with other feelings,thoughts and insecurities. I don't mean to shroud God's grace - why would ANYONE try to do that - but it is easy to do...kinda like it's easier to throw the clothes you tried on but didn't like on the chair instead of hanging them back up (I would NEVER!! Ya right!)

I recently read in I Corinthians 15 where Paul was preaching about the fact that Christ died for our sins, He was buried and on the third day He rose again. When He rose, He appeared to Peter and James and to the apostles ... and to Paul who was not an apostle. Paul felt humbled and not worthy of Jesus' visit because when he was Saul (not Paul) he persecuted the church. What comes next in verse 10 is my revelation: "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect...No I worked harder than all of them [servants of Christ] - yet, not I but the grace of God that was with me"

Follow me...

Paul is talking about what I like to call "He grows, I glow" (thanks, Mike R for that analogy!). Every day, we should decrease and God should increase in our lives. We should become as much like Him as we can. We do this through prayer, submission, obedience; and we are allowed to do this by the grace that He bestows on us. Saul turned to Paul by the GRACE of God. When he received grace, he worked as hard as he could to be the hands, feet, eyes, & ears of God. He wanted, desired, and succeeded in being an extension of Him Himself. In this verse, Paul is recognizing that without the grace of God, he never would have been able to accomplish what he did. He didn't do anything - God did it all through Him with the power of the Holy Spirit and the anointed grace he was given. 

Fast forward to 2011. My life. My full, chaotic, crazy, intense life. A life where the gospel can be spread on Facebook and sermons can be streamed on phones. I recently struggled with something and wondered why it was bothering me so much...because at last I checked, things like that didn't really have time to take root in my heart. Well, this one did. After an entire night of praying, reading, journal, reflecting, and laying it all at the cross, God gave me my answer. I struggled because I let the issue cloak the grace He has awakened in my heart. I struggled because I decided to live in the struggle instead of bask in His grace. We all know that His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in my weakness ... but by not allowing myself to admit I was weak, I couldn't receive His power. Without His power, I couldn't acknowledge His grace...

I wish you all could have seen the hope that exploded in my heart - and the freedom that followed - when this revalation hit. What a gift His grace is...I can't fathom my life without it.

Love & Light

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Out of the Mouth of Babes

My kids are pretty smart. Yes, I'm their Mom so I can say that, but I truly believe it - all biases aside. One of the things that strikes me daily is the amount of wisdom these babes of mine have.

I posted a gem on facebook the other day. It came from Ace, my middle daughter (Ace is her nickname...and it fits perfectly). She said "The rain is God's way of showing us His wisdom, right Mommy?" Ummmmm. Right, Ace. Exactly true.

How many times have you been here - picture this - the rain is pouring, we're soaked, our shoes are ruined, our clothes feel heavy, we can't get warm, and shelter wouldn't matter because we are beyond what help it offers. Been there? I have. Figuratively speaking, of course (and physically been there once when I was taking a motorcycle safety class - but that's another story for another time). When you're in this storm, you would do anything for reprieve...a fresh hoodie and some sweat pants, a cup of coffee, a warm, dry place to simply rest.

Where do you go when you need a hoodie to cover and comfort you and a place where you can find warmth and shelter? Can you guess where this is going? I'll bet you can, my smart readers. You know me all too well.

I find cover and comfort in my bible. I find it in my time of prayer and reflection about where I went wrong and what I need to do to fix it. I find it in my repentance because usually a storm is brought on by my disobedience. I find it in the faint sun that appears when the storm and the threat of a new storm have passed.

In my bible today, I was reading the parables in the book of Matthew. I found two places to prove that Ace's comment was truly inspired.

1. Matthew 21:16 - "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?" This prompted me to ask where Jesus was referring to - it must be in another part of this gospel. So I backpedaled and found this:

2. Matthew 11:25 - "At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." Can you see the aha moment??!?!?

Of course Ace would be ordained with all these nuggets of wisdom...because GOD HIMSELF has hidden things from the wise and learned and revealed them to LITTLE CHILDREN!! Clearly, out of the mouth of babes is true wisdom that finds us when we need.

We can ask for wisdom - my bible tells me so. We can pray for wisdom - my bible tells me so. But children? They are bestowed with wisdom ... what a wonderful gift. I know I have seen the blessing of it in my life.

How about you? Do you have a "out of the mouth of babes" story? Post it in my comments. I would love to know!

Love & Light

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dance Like No One is Watching

I have to share a funny story with you guys. It's about my oldest daughter, Maya. For those of you who don't know her, she is quite the little girl. She is stubborn, beautiful, loud, creative, whimsical, bold and did I mention beautiful? Anyway - here is the story.

One day this week, her school was hosting a spaghetti dinner. She DESPERATELY wanted to go. Me...notsomuch...(that's not really my shtick). We hadn't done any family things during the year (Again..not really my shtick) and I knew this would be our last chance. She is switching schools in the fall - so truly, this was it.

So my Mom graciously offered to watch my other two daughters (it was expensive!!) and off to the spaghetti dinner we went. We got there and, man, I wish you all could have seen her face. It was pure joy. Her friends were there, there was food, there was SODA!!, there was music, there was...EVERYTHING!! So we got our tickets and we got our pasta and we sat down. She couldn't even eat she was so excited (what is she going to do at prom! LOL!). I forced asked her to at least finish her salad and she was glad to comply. I told her she couldn't go play until she was done. Three HUGE bites and a gulp of soda (yes I did!) later, she was ready to go. She grabbed her friend Chloe and they marched to the dance floor.

What happened next was magical.

Maya has no formal dance training aside from the weekly dance parties we have at home (no, I'm not posting a video LOL!) but girlfriend L O V E S to dance. She shakes, she shimmies, she jumps, she leaps, she cartwheels - she does it all. Now, the music that was playing was not what we listen to. It was the dreaded Justin Bieber - which apparently Maya has heard before?? So anyway, she was SO INTO this dancing. All the other kids felt the need to be 'cool' on the dance floor...and there was Maya. Jumping, leaping, shaking, shimmying, moving not so gracefully around the dance floor. She owned it. Every. Single. Move.

It brought me so much joy and satisfaction to know that she felt comfortable enough with herself to just get lost in the music. She TRULY didn't care what the other kids thought, said, did - she wanted to do what she wanted to do. I was proud of her that she felt like she could express herself in that way. It was beautiful.  

For me, it was a parenting success story. I have always desired that my children understand that they were created to be the person they are; that they are beautiful just the way God made them. We talk about beauty all the time and my hope is that they understand that beauty is more than looks - its about confidence, self-worth, standards, and self-love. We tell them all the time that they are beautiful on the inside and the outside. Our hope is that they believe it always - even when the world tells them otherwise.

My hope for you all is the same - that you all understand you are beautiful even when the world tells you otherwise. It is true that beauty comes from within. Your heart is where the embers of beauty are. The more you believe it, the hotter the embers glow. The hotter they glow, the faster you have flames. When the flames are roaring, you are glowing. Believe in the embers that lie in your heart. Fan them every chance you get - and before long you will be convinced of the beauty they create.

~ Love and Light ~

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Expect Expectationless Expectations

Got it? Blog post done.

Just kidding...

I struggle with expectations. Personal expectations. Professional expectations. Expectations for friends, family, acquaintances. Too many expectations for too many different situations. I cut some people more slack than others. I set the bar different for different people. My tendency to set expectations is my Achilles' heel.

A good friend of mine brought to light that it is important to realize that there are expectations that are too high and there are expectations that are unrealistic. A thunderous round of understanding and wonder echoed in my head when I truly understood this. Often, I place unrealistic expectations on myself, and others, and I am constantly disappointed (also in myself and others) in the result. I often do the same with expectations that are too high.

So what does one do when this happens? Does one lower their expectations? If expectations are lowered, what does that say about the person lowering them? That they are OK with accepting less?

So - lowering expectations should be easy right? Is it? No. It's the hardest thing in the entire world for me. Maybe if I weren't so stubborn Maybe if I learned to expect expectationless expectations, I would be able to digest a lot more. By setting expectationless expectations, you still have the satisfaction of setting expectations without the required follow through. Perhaps this will work with someone like me who struggles with follow through to begin with (see the previous post for more details). Can this work? Can this be the breakthrough that I  need?

Stay tuned to find out. If expecting expectationless expectations works for me, I will be sure to blog all about it. I'll be too excited not to.

~ Love & Light ~


Monday, May 30, 2011

Pruned and Whittled

I was trying to figure out what to write for my next post, but I came up dry. SO...I thought I'd share a little about me. Some of my readers know tolerate these things about me. Others don't know these things about me. Some of what I'm about to write is negative, but I'll put it into perspective at the end. I promise.

1. I don't like jealousy. I don't like feeling it, and I don't like being on the other end of it. I experience jealously most when those people I fiercely love (if you missed that post, check back a few postings) do things with other people that I don't know. It's almost like I'm scared that those other people will take my place in their life. It's territorial and it's wrong - but that doesn't change my response. :/

2. I hate getting my hands and feet 'just a little' wet. If I'm going to get my hands and feet wet, I have to commit to it. Fully submerged and soaked. Just a sprinkle drives me crazy. I suppose this somehow links with the fact that I either do something fully and with all my heart or I don't do it at all. I'm one of those 'all or nothing' kinda gals...this is not always a positive thing.

3. I enjoy rainy days because I enjoy giving myself permission to brood. I use the rain as an excuse to ruminate.

4. I love to get things started, but I hate finishing things. For example - I love to do laundry. I love to fold it. I HATE putting it away. HATE. DESPISE. LOATHE. Same goes for dishes. This is something I actively am working on.

5. I hate that every other word out of my mouth is "I." I can't stand it. "I feel this, I don't like that, I enjoy this, can I do that?" I I I I I STOP! Maybe if I spent more time listening, I (there it is again!) would hear a lot more of what I need to hear.

Well. Now that you know some negatives about me, I want to offer a reason why I posted this. I am a work in progress. I am constantly moving, growing, aching, groaning, celebrating, and changing.

I see myself as a tree. My branches are being pruned and my trunk is being whittled into something more than I am now. Because I know these 'negatives' about myself, I am more inclined to do something about them if I want to continue to be pruned and whittled.

I do.

It is my prayer every day that another piece of bark or another dead branch be gone from me. Change me, Lord. Mold me, Lord. Cut back the excess until all that exists is You, Lord. It feels good to strive for less when we live in a culture that continuously sends the message that more is better. I want my tree to bloom with the biggest blossoms. I want the winds to come and to stand through the gusty gales. If I just keep my roots firmly in the soil and my branches growing tall, I think I just might be OK.

~ Love & Light ~

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I am a perfectionist. I said it. I hate it. I embody it. I loathe it. I secretly love it. I am annoyed by it. I embrace it. I am a perfectionist.

Not with everything, though. Just in a few things - like how the laundry is folded, getting straight A's in grad school, the sound of a perfect harmony during worship on a Sunday morning. The minor things. It usually doesn't get in the way of life...usually.

My children (well the majority of them) enjoy having their picture taken. They are blissfully unaware of their own imperfections (yes, I just said my kids aren't perfect. Just keepin' it real!). They don't care if their double chin is showing or their eyes are shut. They can laugh it off and see just the good. Kids are blessed with this perspective. They don't see thunder thighs or baby-baby-baby belly (that's my belly because I had 3 babies!). They see the stuff that we don't see - love, affection, enthusiasm, and joy. The stuff that's on the inside...the stuff that truly matters.

I, on the other hand, do not enjoy having my picture taken. Because I am a perfectionist, I have put off having family pictures taken for the past six years (you read it right) so I could get myself to where I want to be physically. Because I am a perfectionist, I wanted these pictures to be at a certain place, with certain weather, and the best light possible. I wanted our clothes to blend together, but not be the same. I wanted my hair to be glistening like morning dew on the grass and my teeth white as snow. As I reflected on this, I realized that all the things I wanted were superficial. They were surface things. They were not the stuff I am "made of," but rather the stuff I wanted people to see.

In reality (a town perfectionists do NOT live), I truly want people to see my outside reflect what is on the inside. The deep seated joy that lives in my heart. The love that spills from my soul for those I call mine. The fierceness in which I believe and worship my God. The prowess I possess when faced with adversity. The wonder of all battles won and the desire to face the battles that lie ahead. All of those things are what I want people to see when they look at our family pictures.

My eyes have recently been opened to the fact that there is only One who is perfect. One who is worthy of being perfect. He is the author of the gifts of joy, love, fierceness, prowess and wonder I experience day in and day out. He is what fuels my gifts. It is my mission to live full out for Him in my perfect imperfectness. By accepting I am imperfect, I am made perfect. Perfect!

So when I look at the family pictures, because I am an imperfect perfectionist, I will see the gifts He bestowed in me, not what appears on the outside. I am committing to doing this for everyone in every season. I encourage you all to do the same.

Love & Light,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Most Dangerous Word is....

I'll get to it in a minute. Think it would be that easy?

Words have power. They have the power to build up and to break down. They can persuade, encourage, and coax. The can paint pictures without any color at all, and make sounds without making noise. Spoken word, written word, mumbled word, shouted word...all kinds of words have expressive power in every form they take.

SO what IS the most dangerous word? I thought you'd never ask.


Yes? What?

Yes. Yes is the most dangerous word. How could that be, you ask? Let me explain it to you. Hopefully my words will do my thoughts justice.

Yes is dangerous because it can make you do something you don't want to do. "Hey girl - want to grab a coffee?" No, I was JUST settling down with my book! "Yeah, sounds great. I'll meet you at Panera in 15 minutes." Now that girl is going to be miserable because she has agreed to do something she does not really want to do. Could she have said no? Yes. But she didn't.

Yes is dangerous because it can get you into trouble. How many times have (some of) you heard this, "Hey - just ONE more drink! I'll buy!" Probably not a good idea..."Sure! If you're buyin' I'm down!" Dumb choice. Now that girl is going to be miserable because she knew better, but agreed to add punishment to her already ailing liver. Could she have said no? Yes. But she didn't.

Now here's my favorite part...

Yes is dangerous when speaking with God. In my opinion (not sure how highly regarded it is...), saying "Yes, Lord" with submission, anticipation and a little bit of anxiousness is a dangerous feeling. Saying "Yes, Lord" is delicious on your lips. Like you did something risky and bold. "Yes, Lord." God can ask you to do things that are out of your normal realm of thinking - I know this first hand. But we are commanded to be obedient - "Yes, Lord" - and trust that His hand will guide us. It is not so much the act of saying yes that makes this dangerous; but rather, saying "Yes, Lord" allows us be dangerous with God. It allows us to be His hands, His feet, His eyes, His ears - all the things He asks us to be.

So today, I say no to coffee (only cause it's late!), and no to that extra drink (the new me doesn't do this anyway), and I recklessly and perilously shout "YES, LORD!" I'll take the consequences.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Intense Love

Do you guys intensely love? 'Cause I do. I'm talking the kind of fierce, territorial love that borders obsession at times (just keepin' it real, folks!). Its the kind of love that runs deep, deep in your heart and translates unspoken words when it needs to. Its the kind of love that fires up, explodes and then echos to far places (think: fireworks). Its THAT kind of love.

Even though there are a lot of people I love, there are just a few people who fall into this category outside of those I call my 'family.' Some of those people know I intensely love them, others don't (I don't know how you COULDN'T know)...but the fact of the matter is, this love is something I can't just turn off. Its overwhelming at times and it can be all-encompassing, but its a reflection of who I am, and I have learned to just accept it.

Today's scripture was about this thing we call love. 1 John 3:18 reads: Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. Words and speech part? Check. Actions part...Ummmmmmm...Check?? I know at times that my actions don't match the love in my heart. I know at times that my actions should be the opposite of what they are. I know this, I understand it, I acknowledge it (post facto, most of the time), but most of all I accept it.

A lot of my recent 'journey' (if you will...) has been about self-acceptance. I am who I am - and that's enough. Why try to attain perfection? It will never happen. Why try to assume that just because someone looks a certain way or has certain things that it automatically means they have it all together? Maybe that is the ONLY thing they have together and everything else has fallen apart. The point is that we are who we are right now -because that is who we need to be right  now. Who we are right now is not a permanent definition - its simply a place marker on a page. I know for me, I'm not interested in speed reading to the next chapter. Instead of rushing through, I'd much rather soak up every single syllable.

Love yourself for who you are right now. Let your actions reflect it and your heart accept it. Trust me - you'll feel MUCH better.

~ Love and Light ~

Monday, May 9, 2011

Let's Give this a Whirl


Blogging has been something I've wanted to do for quite some if full time work, three kids, grad school, and a house to keep isn't enough. I feel like I've got a lot to say (for those who know me, I am confident you just snorted a little and said 'that's for sure'). I intend to use this blog as a place where I can share my viewpoints (abnormal at times), share some laughs (happens often), and talk about the things that swirl around in my mind. The best part about this blog is that those of you who would normally receive the email with my quipping and nonsense can now find them here (this ends with a collective sigh or relief, I'm sure...)

Let's give this a whirl.

Yesterday, for those of you who don't know (shame on you!) was Mother's Day. I had a great day - church was AH-MAZING (per usual), breakfast at my parents (famous homefries!), and then some R&R at home. It was during this R&R I had an epiphany (I have them often).

I was sitting on our love seat in the backyard, drunk from the sun burning my face, and listening to the noisy quiet that was all around me. I could hear my little ladies clucking away as only they can, my husband washing the cars (thanks, hubs!), and the far-away sound of a lawn mower and barking dogs.

Now, on to my point.

I enjoy that second before you feel the breeze. You know, the second in between when you hear the trees rustle and then feel the coolness on your face? That one. As I waited for the space in between the sound to catch up with me, I thought "how sorry I am for those who live in the desert...they never get to experience this." Really and truly. They live in baron land - sand, prickly, stumpy plants, straws of hay-like stuff, heat, dryness and never ending nothing-ness. They don't know what wind whistling through trees sound like. They wouldn't be able to hear the creaking limbs or quickening of the leaves as they are pushed together and apart by the wind. As I lounged there, glad for the cool breeze that was cooling off my hot face, I couldn't help but relate it to God. (WARNING: this will be a constant topic on my blog. It's a constant topic in my heart. I am not apologetic, nor will I change).

So about God...

It seems that those who walk in the desert (without God) have a perspective on life that, to me, looks very much like it would look if I were peering out across a desert. Dry, hard prickly cacti with the occasional flower, vast, bleak, monochromatic. Sure, I've seen successful people and even (dare I say?) happy people who don't know the Lord, but they also don't know what they're missing.

I compare this to my time lounging on Mother's Day. Getting as hot and scorched as I would have if I were in the desert (purposely - I DESPERATELY need color!) BUT...the difference is that I kept waiting and waiting for the reminder, the cool breeze, that God would always take care of me - always meet my needs. When I got SO hot that I would have to find shade, a breeze would come. When life is SO hot that I would have to find shade, a breeze always comes.

The space in between the sound of the breeze and the breeze itself is like a moment of prayer. Sometimes we pray and hear the leaves rustle...but the wind isn't strong enough to make it to our hearts. Other times, the opposite happens. We need to simply trust the space in between to supply us with the breeze we need.

OK - enough of the thickness for now. I've got some dishes to do.

~ Love & Light ~