Showing posts with the label leaving a trail of beauty

Be Kind

BE KIND ____________________________ I have a pattern. When crisis comes, whether it be personal or nationwide, I begin mulling things over, measuring my response, weighing my words, contemplating what I may have to add to the noise, the frenzy, the quick responders who sometimes speak and then think. I’ve often chided myself for not being “quick on my feet” when it comes to arguing or taking a stand. Yet I know God created me this way for a reason. My words can be like a whip. I have a veritable vocabulary-stocked Arsenal, and without thinking I can cause bomb-like damage when I choose to shoot off those words without wisdom leading the charge. I have hurt plenty who have crossed my path, but the years have been kind and taught me much. KIND (a four-letter word) One we all should practice more daily. When I don’t have the words I’d like to express at times, I turn to those who do. The following is from @holleygerth in her book #fiercehearted: “We aren’t called to be NICE. (also a four

BEHOLD the Beloved

With so much time to think, I have been pondering and avoiding the pondering. How about you? Are you using this time to dig deep into your own soul and your inherent motivations for why you even do life the way you’ve chosen to do it? Are you asking yourself the tough questions? Delving into your own psyche and seeing how a time like this pandemic unveils the best and worst of who we are at our very cores? To be perfectly honest and keep this post gut-level real at its very ugliest, I have spent far more time contemplating my next quarantine snack than my core motivations. I’ve been self-focused on my own allergy-provoked sniffles and what they might mean beyond the seasonal pollen-ridden air, instead of seeking to check my heart and why I care so much about so many things that truly matter little in the grand scheme of who God created me to be in the first place. I have scrolled and jumped from one report to the next, one meme to the next, one complaining tirade to the nex

Homeschooling?! You CAN Do This . . . and So Much More

“ What’s on my mind?” Facebook poses this question; the following is my answer in long form. All the people freaking out over “homeschooling “. I’m not going to cover every perspective here, because I am well aware of the myriad of different situations going on in the millions of homes around this country that got the news their children will now be home for possibly the next MONTH. What I am specifically going to address are those of you who are able to have one or both parents at home during the day — especially those of you who are full time educators in some capacity of young elementary-aged students. First, if you are NOT a professional educator, remind yourself of this every morning when you look in that mirror and wipe the toothpaste spit off your bottom lip: “I taught my own kid to brush his or her teeth all by myself.” Next go help that same kid or kids to make some breakfast: cold cereal, instant oatmeal, a toaster waffle, or pancakes if you’re feeling ambitio

He Knows Our Names

As most of us already know by the widespread news coverage and swiftly sweeping social media posts of yesterday, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna (Gigi) were killed in a helicopter crash, along with seven other passengers including the pilot. Immediately this morning upon engaging on social media, I found myself scrolling through tributes, heartfelt words of sympathy, well wishes, and prayers offered to Vanessa Bryant and her three surviving daughters. I heartily include myself in those numbers today, because I cannot fathom the effort just breathing in and out takes for a woman faced with such a devastating blow and loss beyond what any of us should ever have to bear. The loss of a spouse has its own set of heartbreak, but to compound that agony with the loss of a child in the same breath is beyond any superlatives I can think of in my vocabulary storehouse. So, as often as Holy Spirit prompts me, I shall gladly intercede on behalf of Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka

Ache is Not Equal

Following another prompt challenge this week to keep my thoughts flowing and try to be more consistent in posting. I’m a couple days behind on this one hosted by @meredith_mcdaniel, but the Lord has insisted I do NOT overlook or scoot by this first one: ACHE. First off in my head is this—ACHE does not equal pain. Let’s unpack a bit of that thought with the following quote leading the way. “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”   ―  C.S. Lewis A dear friend of mine messaged me this morning and mentioned a couple of different directions I could travel with “ache” as my prompt. She noted both my physical aches as well as that perspective of my heart ache. Using the Lewis quote above, I experience God using the daily ache of my body, driven by a 2001 diagnosis of fibromyalgia, to remind me how dependent I am on Him just to swing my legs over the

SLOW: Writing Challenge Day 5 with hope*writers

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow , wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬ God cannot be rushed. I get impatient at least once a day. Okay. Probably more often than that, especially if any of my day involves being behind the wheel and sharing the road with “slow” motorists. Without Jesus, I’d probably be a pretty rage-filled driver. With Him, I still beep my horn more frequently than some. All that to say . . . though I’m not one to like things to go slow; God has His own timetable. Let’s take  the pace of my healing post-divorce. I gave myself a bit for that. You know . . . a few months should have taken care of it, right?  I was married for more than 20 years, so an extended school-length vacation should have whipped me right back into shape, ready to tackle all things new?!?! As you can most likely guess, it has been quite a SLOW process instead. Patterns of thinki

DREAM: Day Four New Year Writing Challenge with hope*writers

I used to think dreaming was a bit like this photo, complete with similar results. I would exhale my dreams out into the world. They’d then catch in the wind . . . only to drift away, settle in the soil, and become someone else’s weed — a virtual nuisance to the ones who caught them. This mindset is directly related to what I shared about feeling like I am too much, therefore it is a natural progression for me to believe my dreams are also way too much. What I have so often neglected to do with my dreams is leave them in the capable grip of the Dreamgiver. My Jesus is perfectly able to fulfill those very dreams He has placed in my heart. However, I am guilty of holding on to them myself, squashing them with my toddler-like fists, and somehow wondering why I feel undervalued and forgotten when I still see myself so far away from my dreams coming to fruition. How do I stop this spiral of unfulfilled dreams from continuing? One way is to identify what dreams I am choosing

LIGHT: Day Two of hope*writers New Year Writing Challenge

Light. I struggle with feeling anything but light. From as far back as I can remember, someone in my family has had a poor relationship with food. I grew up in a household of diets and closets full of all the seasonal clothes in addition to all the sizes for every season. My parents each had their own self-image battles that ran the opposite ends of the weight spectrum.  The number of times I saw anyone stop and admire the reflection in the mirror amounted to a handful in the 22 + years I primarily resided with my dear parents.  My self esteem and relationship with my own reflection was shaped by what was modeled for me. I saw the critical eye of my parents, internalized their statements to and about themselves, listened to their judgments, and I deduced a number of things that ultimately shaped my thinking about myself for the rest of my life: I said too much ( I was sassy from word one ) I ate too much ( I got to a point of hating the feeling of being full )

Breaking in Our Armor

Part Two: What is "customized" armor anyway? I mentioned the last time that our armor is customized. A friend of mine challenged me . . . four years ago now, to draw what I thought my armor might look like if God was designing it specifically for me. While this is a four-year-old pencil sketch I unearthed three years ago and colored -- rudimentary at best and with a need to tweak, maybe even paint on a canvas at some point -- the basic concept is still intact. The concept is this: God knows us. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it, right up to how He chooses to clothe us for battle every single day. He knows what we need to wear and what we need to "take up." I was reading a Priscilla Shirer devotional via @youversion on the armor of God. In it she says this (and so much more you can find in the full study), "In Ephesians 6, Paul conveys the belt, the breastplate, and shoes as a spiritual uniform that should be worn by believers at

We Can Be Perfectly Clothed

Core Wounds. We all have them. No one escapes childhood without one or more of these core beliefs that shape and drive the way we approach and avoid throughout the rest of our entire lives. How do we go from eager, unassuming, adventurous toddlers to fearful, hesitant, sometimes paralyzed adults? I cannot unhear the things my parents unknowingly said that contributed to the haunting words and phrases still echoing in my mind more than 50 years later. It isn't their fault, and I cannot blame them for the enemy twisting their words to virtually strangle and suffocate me for decades. I cannot unsay those I said to contribute to the ones rattling around in the minds of my three adult children. It is not my fault or my responsibility to erase all the mistakes I made in the two-plus decades I've been a mama. I was not, nor am I able to heal the damage that's been done from my own mouth or the mouths of others with whom they've crossed paths in their steep clim

Day #6 hope*writers Fall Writing Challenge: TRANSFORM

Day 6 hope*writers Fall Writing Challenge: TRANSFORM ___________________________ Not sure of your routine in reading Instagram posts/captions, but if you don’t normally swipe first then read — do that now.  Okay, so I was originally going to briefly discuss the transformation that takes place when you add a dollop of whipped cream to an ordinary bonus half cup of Saturday morning coffee.  It was delicious and took on a celebratory feeling just with a tiny phsssht from the can! Then I was going to wax eloquently on how easily we can now transform anything we publish here on IG with the simple press of a filter button (refer back to photos of me and Poppy)  ️ While that is fascinating for about a millisecond, then realized this exercise was about how writing itself has transformed me.  🤦🏻‍♀️ Ah! That’s sometimes easy and sometimes tough to nail down.  Writing in its purest sense gives me a voice. I’m an introvert, and I have a subtle but wicked sense

Thursday Thanks Tank

Do you ever just feel too tired to be grateful? Everything feels like an effort, and your one day feels like you've lived several? That's me today. I've been up since before dawn and segmented my day in such varied parts I feel like they've each been a day. Let me share how God filled my tank through each segment today: I finally got my mammogram -- after three tries at three different locations, this one met my insurance requirement and found me a worthy candidate to be squooshed. I know it's a little early, but make your appointment now to be seen during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. I had a little time to enjoy the cool morning breezes before temperatures soared again into the mid-90's. Hmm . . . it didn't used to be this hot at this time of year . . . I got a chance to spend some good time with my son and then some concentrated time writing. Poppy got to go to the vet, and getting her nails trimmed was my favorite so far! Ma

hope*writers Fall Writing Challenge Day 4 -- FOLLOW

I often feel like this. I try to stand out but end up wanting to disappear altogether. If you mention the word "follow" I cringe. Though leading is far from my jam, I am not a great follower or one I think you'd want to follow. I often fade away entirely when called on to step forward to a place with everyone's eyes on me. I hear I need to have a "following" as a working writer who wants to eventually publish anything you can hold in your hands in book form, and I immediately hear this chorus of taunts rise up in unison and then break out in solos from within the fluff of my brain: You've made too many mistakes for anyone to follow you. You're divorced for goodness' sake. Why would anyone listen to what you have to say? You're too old. You're broken. You're messed up. You're not pretty enough. You're not thin enough. You're too much. You're not enough . . . From my perspective, I fall short in so