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 ~