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So, where do we go from here?
Should we keep murdering, polarizing, hurting, hating, and tearing each other down? We are destroying ourselves and each other instead of valuing each life as a gift.
Giving in to the darkness of hate-of anyone- no matter what our political, social, ethnic or religious background is, is the recipe for demise. We do not have to fear a foreign enemy or a virus. We are doing an excellent job of destroying our own selves. The problem starts in the unseen heart of each of us.
So, where do we go from here?
“Having resentment in your soul is like drinking poison and hoping that your enemy will die”- Nelson Mandela
So, where do we go from here?
“The fastest way to change you is to change me.” -Tony Robbins
So, where do we go from here?
“Three things will last forever- faith, hope and love- and the greatest of these is love.- The apostle, Paul.
The Human Genome Project (1990-2003), proved that the life, the activity, the energy of the cell, was ‘lived’ in the cytoplasm of the cell…in the periphery.
As I meditate on that, I think of all of the things in my life where that rings true. Life is lived in the day to day rituals, habits and values I hold as a person, and then in the broader sense, the day to day rituals, habits and values we hold as a family.
What we devote our minds and attention to, when no one is looking, is what is produced, grows and flourishes in our relationships, work and recreation and, in turn, makes us into the best version of ourselves.
I can often bristle against the mundane. The waking up at 5, drinking organic green juice, praying, journaling, listening to Tony Robbins, having prayer with my husband, working out, and practicing guitar for 15 minutes. But that is where my life truly is lived. The out growth of that routine shows up in everything else I do in front of and for others. It is light, it is energy and it is life!
Think about how your life is lived in the periphery? Just like me, if your life doesn’t reflect the values that you have or the way that you want your life to look, maybe you need to change up your habits and routines. It is a bit painful to change and build new ‘muscles’, but you will never regret adding value to yourself by living a better life in the periphery<3
I am walking this journey of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today!
Just finished my morning workout…..whew!! This isolation and the ending of, “our life as we knew it”, can really take a toll on our physical AND mental health.
My newest habit is to change my motion to change my E-motion! When I was single, I joined a lot of aerobic classes at the gym I had a membership at and I was also in a hip-hop dance band as a singer. I was always exercising and dancing and then I gave my life to motherhood for 22, intense years, not that I would change a thing.
But things have changed, and although I now have a college student home again and a full time high-schooler here, I realized I need some deep and lasting motivation to keep my focus positive and my mind and body in shape! I started taking up aerobic dance and dancing again, in general. What a great, playful, new adventure!
Dancing increases flexibility (make sure you stretch first:), improves posture, increases core strength and is a natural mood lifter/ anxiety dissolver. When I turn on the loud music and start moving, those around me can’t seem to help but join in, which in turn, becomes a fun family activity!
Aroma therapeutic side note: all of the citrus essential oils are really helpful at this historical, uncertain time we have found our selves in. I have made a blend of a few drops of each; lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit and bergamot essential oils in a 2 ounce spray bottle of water and then mist in each room. They naturally invigorate and are intrinsically anti-viral, anti- bacterial and immune system supporters- perfect to help prevent the spread of any virus! This particular blend also has such a tropical aroma to it so it brings back happy thoughts from happier days at the sunny beach.
So, remember to, >>>>>Keep Moving>>>>>>, however you are able and utilize the pure natural aromas God gave us to keep us healthy and living our best life, no matter how quarantined you are atm<3
I am walking this road with you and I would love to hear from you today!
I know we are all feeling a sense of loss for the traditions we have had on Easter. We can’t get together with loved ones or participate in events that have been meaningful to us they way we once did. Or maybe, holidays in general are difficult for many who may have complex family situations or hurtful memories. But no matter the back stories of our lives, I have heard many times in the last few weeks; “it just doesn’t feel like Easter”.
I have found a renewed sense of purpose in this holiday focusing on the resurrection story and the person, Jesus, who overcame death so that a world could live. The world has never known a man who gave his life in such a brutal way so that we could live eternally…and he still lives.
He did not just die for the whole world. He died and resurrected for each one of us and wants to have an intimate relationship with you and with me. And for that reason, the day that Jesus resurrected was and forever will be, the best day ever!
Maybe church and Christians have turned you off in the past, I completely understand that. Sadly, although we might not like his followers or the houses that claim to worship him, we will find a very different person when we seek Jesus himself and believe him and that in turn gives us more love for all around us. That is all he asks us to do.
Thank you for listening. Much love and many Blessings to each of you today and always♥
#thebestdayever #newlife #forgiveness #relationship #easter
Are you feeling a bit afraid? Me too. Sometimes I walk outside and think, holy crap is all of this really going on? Are we really in a pandemic? In a month so many things have changed and, like 9/11, I think they will change, the way we do life, forever.
Well, forever, as pertains to this life anyway. When I was about nineteen years old I became, what Christian’s call, born again. I intentionally gave over the control of my life to Jesus Christ. I knew that I was living a very selfish, self gratifying life with a lot of secrets and well worn roads and I was miserable.
One night when I was driving quite a distance from home after performing some singing telegrams, that was my occupation at the time, I happened upon a Christian radio station. The old-time preacher was calling me out from the front seat of my metallic blue ’78 Mercury Zephyr. He said; “If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?” I said, “No” out loud. He went on to explain that Jesus came to earth, died and rose again and is seated in heaven now to take my sins and the sins of the whole world and there is nothing we can do that will make us a good enough person to get into heaven, but we must surrender our life in Christ. He went on to say, that we must ‘hand over the wheel of our life’ and give Jesus the control over it because He knows what He created us for, where He wants us to go and what He wants us to do. Well I was driving with the steering wheel in my hands and said, out loud, driving down the highway, right there on my white leather seats, “Jesus take the wheel of my life in yours, I hand my life over to you. ( And this was long before Carrie Underwood wrote the song:)
He saw me and He heard me and my life has never been the same. He became my focus and pursuit and a whole new world and possibilities opened up for me. My life was no longer focused on the next self gratifying event, but instead, I became very curious about this King of Kings, and how I fit into His Kingdom.
Today, this moment, it seems to me we are confronted with the same choice. There is an unseen virus that is wreaking havoc in every place of our lives. Our once autonomous lives are becoming less and less autonomous. There is no where to hide. We can’t leave our neighborhood, our county, our state or the country. We cannot meet up with friends like we used to. We cannot shop to get some retail therapy. We can’t get our hair done or go to the gym so we can feel a little better about ourselves. We are being forced to sit with our selves our thoughts and the families that we are bound to.
There is no game to go to tonight, no dinner reservations, no show. Some people are wearing masks and gloves and some are visibly bothered by being around others, even six feet away. Some people have to postpone graduations, weddings and even the mourning of a loved one. It’s easy to see how we can be overwhelmed by fear and panic. What can we do?
We can feed our faith. We can, like Philippians 4:8 says to do, meditate on whatever things are true, noble, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy things. Meditate means; to engage in thought or contemplation, reflection, ponder, consider, dream about, purpose, think on. The Bible says that We can transform our minds by the renewing of our minds. I know this is true, for I have spent months doing this very exercise at a time in my life when I forgot what my true identity was as a Christian.
Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life. He also called himself the light of the world. He said, whoever follows Me will not stumble around in darkness but have the light that leads to life. We need that light and that life today. Just like the unseen virus that roams around waiting to devour, we have an unseen enemy of our souls and his name is satan or the devil. The virus threatens our lively hood, our education, our health, our society, our world and maybe our very life. But Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.
Satan seeks to kill, steal and destroy, just like the virus, but the ramifications are eternal. He seeks to take your soul through deception like lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and seeking after all the things this life has to offer. His primary focus is to convince you that you are not a child of God and God does not have your best in mind. He is a liar and a thief and loves to use fear as a primary weapon.
Faith in God is eternal safety in this life and the life to come. He invites us in to His Kingdom that is without end and offers us joy and peace that, He says, surpasses all human understanding. As the layers of what we have known as our lives get pealed away, He is there offering supernatural protection, direction and hope.
I chose this image for the blog for it’s majesty, peace, calmness and hope. As an Aromatherapist, I know the value of Lavender for it’s central nervous system calming and sedative properties. It is very effective as a support for people who struggle with anxiety or have a hard time falling asleep. It is beautiful to gaze upon and beautiful to smell. Green is the color of life and being alive.
Purple is the color of royalty and peace, very fitting for The King of Kings. Mountains are majestic and lift our eyes up to something greater than ourselves. During this time of panic and uncertainty, lift up your eyes to where your help comes from, everlasting help comes from The Lord Jesus. Call on His name, give him the wheel of your life and feed on Him as the object of your affection and your faith.
No matter where you are, no matter where you have been, He is warmly and excitedly waiting for you right now.
Change….it’s hard. There is so much to it. Overriding uncertainty and fear, being courageous, taking a step, acceptance that you may not be where you want to be, but how are you going to get there if you never begin?
I bought myself a curriculum suggetsted by my therapist called, The Artist’s Way. It is written by Julia Cameron, a screen writer, and it is somewhat of a hands-on classic for blocked artists. Cameron suggests writing three large amounts of “pages” everyday to get un stuck. It doesn’t matter if you are a writer, a musician a painter, a dancer, what ever your art form, the writing is a necessary means to a desired end.
The curriculum was suggested because I needed time to, drain my brain, as my therapist said, but it has been so encouraging to me as I have stepped out in many areas of creativity lately- I highly recommend it to anyone who is afraid to develop those deep desired aspirations.
This is what Cameron says to affirm those afraid to take themselves seriously in any realm of creativity.
“In order to move a way from the realm of the shadows into light of creativity, shadow artists must learn to take themselves seriously. With gentle, deliberate effort, they must nurture their artist child. Creativity is play, but for shadow artists, learning to allow themselves to play is hard work.”
This statement is so true of me! On one hand, I take myself way too seriously, on the other, I haven’t taken my desires, gifts and talents serious enough. On one hand, I have spent literal hours and years, alone, practicing, writing, singing, playing, taking lessons to improve, on the other hand, I have so easily hidden in my fear and have not wanted to step onto center stage using the excuse, “someone is always better than I am.”
A lot has changed in my life over the last four years. A cataclysmic event in my life, cloaked in the appearance of a “bad” thing, actually turned out to be an open door of hope and change in my life. I do not want to discount how, in many ways, it was a hurtful event, to many people because it was. But what are we supposed to do with the shadows of our life? Hide in them? Blame them? Avoid them at all costs? I don’t think so. I think we are to, as Henri Nouwen says, in so many ways, embrace the shadows and the light together. Life is full of both and both are intended to be lessons to us.
The event in my life was a glaring signal that something needed to change. Many things infact needed to change…first, me. I was living a false-self life. I had desires and dreams, but I had for years stuffed them so far down to my toes, thinking they were selfish instead of, ‘desires of my heart’, God had perhaps placed there.
Allowing myself to say, I do not want the next 25 years to be the way the first twenty-five were, was very new for me. It was liberating. I didn’t go about it all the right way, for sure. But when we take actions to grow and change, ripples occur and affect those we surround ourselves with.
I have decided I want to take positive actions that affect myself and the ones I love in a positive way- those are my perimeters after trying to change in a destructive way. It is not easy, change never is, but it doesn’t have the negative ramifications surrounding it like bad choices to change, have.
Just one aspect of this change is found in our new hobby of playing as a family band in local venues. My family has played in worship settings for years, and still continue to. But we have recently created a set list of music, that is meaningful to us as a family, and stepped out to share our love of music together with the community.
We play rock classics, pop songs, jazz and originals that give a back story of the things we have been through as a couple and a family and it has been met with encouragement and huge support. I, for many years, was a drummer for bands. Although I would still sing from, ‘behind the band’, even lead or sing my own songs, I always had the comfort of the first layer of musicians in front of me to keep me in the shadows. I couldn’t see the faces of those we were playing to very easily and that was fine with me!
Coming out of the shadows right now for me means, stepping out in the courage that I have been given something important to say and share. That my life counts, that I have a message and that there are others who need comfort from hearing it. Ultimately, Jesus continues to use my life, bring me out of the shadows and in to all that He has destined for me to be and for me to do. In the process, I am empathetic to others and can comfort others with the comfort I have received. Ultimately, that is what I think shadows were created for. When shadows are exposed to light, you see all the beauty, life and detail that was always laying quietly there all along<3
I am re-posting this Valentine’s Day blog from two years ago. My husband and I have been on such a transparent journey of restoration, independently and together, over the last four years.
What I didn’t write in the original blog was that any card exchanging, in the last four years, has been very difficult thing. Card writers are getting much better at creating messages that are more true to real life relationships than the super sugary words that were the norm, and that helps a lot. If you have struggled in your relationship with your significant other or if you if you haven’t- I hope you find truth and encouragement from what I have written<3 Happy Valentine’s Day 2020.
My husband gave me a card today, inside it said, you have a beautiful heart. If I read that on a great day, being in a euphoric state of mind, it would have been humbling. But I read it today. Today which came after last night, in which we had quite a spirited argument. I woke up just as angry as I went to sleep, even though we both take “do not let the sun go down on your anger” quite literally!
My heart wasn’t beautiful! I had a card for my husband, but I couldn’t bring myself to give it to him. When I write something or give a card, I have to be in complete agreement with it- if I am not, it would be a false representation. But he not only left this card for me to read, he wrote in it one of the most expressive notes I have ever received from him! It was extremely real, loving, kind and humbling. No one knows me better than him and no one sees the whole package like he does….and yet, he calls it beautiful.
We took time to pray before we went to work today, we prayed through, until all of the misunderstandings had subsided and the peace that surpasses all understanding guarded our hearts and minds once again. This is new for us. We didn’t used to allow work to wait before and we allowed other matters to have preeminence over our relationship. This was the right thing to do! Ask for forgiveness- Go to God and say we are weak, our wisdom lacks and He is the answer!
To tell you the truth, the card and my husband’s expression reminded me so much of Jesus. He thinks my heart is beautiful too no matter what! He doesn’t look on the outward appearance, but He looks at my heart. That is solid and mature and I am not always there. This Valentines day, is such a great reminder of that other-worldly love. A love that dies to self so others can live. A love, not always sexy and romantic the way we think of love, but solid, mature, and always there no matter what. It’s rare and I am humbled to have such beautiful hearts hold mine<3
Is it important to redeem something that has been lost? I suppose there are some qualifiers to that question.
If the redeeming process would bring some kind of harm to another, it would have to be well thought out and caution would be in order.
But what if certain places or certain locations, were keeping you in a bit of anxiety or turmoil when you went near them or when you thought about them?
I have been intentional about facing those very types of situations in recent years. Because of difficult situations that were going on in my life, and the choices I made during those particular times in specific locations, even the thought of the area would bring me a certain amount of stress and I would want to avoid.
Since I have been on a journey of health and wholeness, alarms go off in my mind when I feel resistance like, avoidance, toward anyone, anything, or any place. I have learned to stop and ask myself what is going on inside of me. Many times, it would be so much easier to override the pricks in my consciousness and stay busy. But I believe, as we take the courage to face “the giants” in our lives, we will find they are not giants at all just really loud naysayers who want to keep us from walking in courage and truth. Even if those naysayers come in the form of our own thoughts.
So, in that spirit, I made peace with a particular lake this week. Let me explain. I have been working on taking care of myself, giving myself what I need to create a peace reservoir. I have been taking three large pieces of paper a day to write…just so I write. I have been indulging in little things that make me happy like, a container of raspberries or a massage or a new, fun pair of socks!
So there was this particular lake that I needed to make peace with and redeem for this new chapter of my life. It is a beautiful area and I do not want the beauty to be avoided or be mingled with a residue from the past. So, just as I would prepare to have a date with my husband by making breakfast, making a carafe of coffee and a tote of applicable accessories; as well as a journal, book and Bible and head to a beautiful scenic area (okay, maybe our dates are a little different than most:), so I did, by myself, to this memorable lake.
I had so many thoughts on the way and an excitement about how God would meet me there. I was there for a good hour and half alone, writing away, enjoying my yogurt topped with berries and almonds drinking my coffee. when the first ice fisherman appeared
I know that many in our area ice fish, but I never saw the process….I actually never did see the whole process. The man dressed in Camo emerged and opened the gate of his pick -up truck to grab his auger and hammer and head down to the ice. He walked out onto the ice cautiously kind of shaking each leg as he moved slowly forward. He pulled out his auger and began to corkscrew the ice close to where he was standing. He stopped, took a thoughtful look around and realizing that the ice was too thin so he moved on. Two other sets of ice fisherman did the same thing. I guess the ice was just too thin for safe fish retrieval, good call.
Each time the fishermen would come, I would watch them for a bit and return to my writing. I wrote all kinds of things. The feelings I was having as I took in all that was going on around me. The gratefulness of being able to drive there and spend hours alone. The recognition that I was not the same person who was there years before.
While I was there, I got a text from a friend who encouraged me to listen to a podcast from Zig Ziglar on the importance of telling your story and encouraged me to continue to tell my story to help others who may find hope in it. I took the next hour to listen to that podcast and was inspired to write this very blog because of it.
So the question looms, why should we redeem? Well, I personally feel that it is a travesty to compartmentalize segments of your life as, off limits, because you abdicated something or had something taken from you. It probably stems from the spiritual foundation that God is all about redeeming.
For example, when there is a devastating forest fire and all seems lost, with in just a few years, there is a return of lush woodland and new life. Beauty from ashes.
We happen to live in an area where oil was first discovered. During the Oil Boon the creeks and streams were so polluted that it exterminated the wild life and threatened the welfare of towns who purposely built along those very waterways. The once flourishing towns became ghost villages almost overnight and the water was poisonous for years. But after years passed, the once unsafe water has become safe and crystal clean brimming with new life.
Jesus came to redeem us to God. God so loved us that He sent His son to buy us back, to recover us, to exchange His life for ours, and to convert us into His image. No matter how broken or messy our lives had become, He wants to create new life out of them, a life that matters, a life that positively affects other lives…He wants to redeem.
No area, thing, or relationship is beyond redemption. I believe, because I have seen it over and over in my life, that if I have an open mind and a willing heart, things once lost can be recovered and used for good. Just as ashes can produce life to new seedlings, broken pieces of our lives can create a whole new marvelous mosaic.
Kahle Lake was really a small redemption for me in the scheme of things but it already has a new set of memories and enthusiasm tied to it. It may take many days, months, or even years, but everything has the ability to be redeemed, used for a new purpose and bring new life.
In a new year, it is really important to step back and take inventory to see what you have to show for the 12 months you have just lived through. I relate to Agnes De Mille, especially the last year, I have been saying things like,” I am throwing everything at the wall and I am seeing what sticks.” I have been stepping out on a limb, leaping in the dark and walking by….faith.
I have really, courageously, put myself out there. I have written a book about failure and how to recover from it, and that was not with out some repercussions. I not only thought it was the right thing to do, but I thought it was what I must, absolutely do, in an effort to progress with my wholeness and help others with theirs. But because that brings with it a certain vulnerability, I have wrestled with uncertainty as to if I went about it the right way.
I have spoken at church services and events when I have been asked to, knowing that this is the direction I must ultimately blaze, and then wishing I would have said things a different way or didn’t say a particular thing.
I have come up with classes, taken them to different venues and hoped people would sign up. Many times they did. Sometimes they didn’t. I started a new forum and winced when I would walk into the room, hoping I was never the only one who showed up- I never was.
I stepped down from a few roles while picking up new ones. Seizing the opportunity with confidence in one hand and complete unbelief that I am the person speaking or the musician who was asked to play or the employee who now does intakes with patients.
It was a year of great relational tribulation piercing the very tenderest places of my heart. And it was the year that I was convinced there was no stopping now or no sitting down when there was only one way to get to the other side of my,’ living just under my potential,’ that I have put up with for far too long in my life.
I have fiercely loved when I would have rather, easily, been apathetic and I have seen the fruit that is born when you keep loving and keep forgiving.
It was a year of joy, tears, wrestling with myself and God, surrender, struggle, surrender again and fruition.
A year of leaping in the dark, getting bruised and leaping again. My mouth is quieter. My ears listen better. My feeble knees are getting stronger and my thigh muscles are becoming more defined. And, despite the dark, I am seeing more acutely and have made friends with, not completely knowing.
Thank you for reading. Blessings to you today and in your new year.
This is the Holiday Season, it is exciting and exhilarating in many ways, but for many it is filled with anxiety and depression.
I happen to be a person who loves the notorious, Hallmark, picture- perfect, movies because they always turn out the way I want them to! But that is seldom true of real life.
When there is so much going on and so much expected, it is very easy to get overwhelmed and focus on stress. It takes intentionality to be aware of the subtle blessings in life and cultivate gratefulness, especially during times of overwhelm. But that is exactly what we need to do.
We do have the ability to change. We do not have to say yes to everything that others ask us to do and we can take extra measures to carve out self care during this bustling time of year.
Here are a few suggestions:
Be intentional about eating food that makes you feel light and healthy. Start with three days this week that you will intentionally eat well and take notice of how it makes you feel physically.
Drink more water than usual. Add some lemon, lime or cucumbers to it, for an uplifting change!
Take the first 10 minutes or more of your day and pray or journal. Focus on the things you have to be thankful for. We take for granted running water, warmth, food, technology and the ability to think.
Make the decision to stretch or exercise every morning for 15 minutes and see how you feel later on in the day because of that decision.
Break out the essential oils you have laying around and pick out 2-3 that you love! Put a few drops of each into a spray bottle, fill with water, shake well and use as a room deodorizer. Remember that most essential oils are anti-viral and anti-bacterial- so it will not just brighten your mood, it will also support your immune system!
Pick out special cards for those people in your life that you need to say, “I love you”, to. Writing is very therapeutic.
Surround your self with positive music that has encouraging lyrics.
Take a walk for 10 minutes in the fresh air.
Take a bath or hot shower. Put Epsom salt in the bottom of the tub for added stress relief. Better yet, add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil into the Epsom salt first. A few drops of Eucalyptus will open up the respiratory and refresh you! (In Epsom first, not straight in water as it can irritate the skin if it lays upon water alone)
Choose to say,
” I am thankful to be alive today”, even if your not feeling it, choose to focus on the gift of life.
There! Those are some ideas to jump start you and get you thinking! You have the ability to change and make this day, and everyone to follow, better than the one before!
I am right here, journeying along with you and I would love to hear from you today! Happy Holidays<3