Every Word Count. Especially the Little Ones.

I love words.

They are like the clay that I mold into a vessel that carries things. They are a way to paint pictures, provoke emotions, get people to think, get my message across.  For me, words are a creative way to express my very soul.

I love to make them dance, tell a story, make a point.

Words in my hand make me happy. I rearrange them until they feel just right, and the coma or the period, they intensify the message.

Words are communication. Words have creative power.

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Did you ever read a great book, and you found yourself sucked into the story? You saw the characters, and the town and the house and the big oak tree, you could smell the apple pie and the fresh grass after the rain? This is the power of words.

And my God, He created all that there is with words. He said, “let her be,” and there was.

Words create.

Words can evoke powerful emotions, good or bad. God wasn’t joking when He declared that “life and death are in the power of the tongue.”

With my words, on my tongue or on the page, I can slice, edify, kill, nurture, humiliate, restore dignity. I can clothe people with shame or deposit a crown of honor on their heads.

Words, they are like arrows that plunge deep into the soul.

Words, they are like wings that bring shelter in the storm.

And they don’t need to be numerous or bi and fancy to have an impact.

I told you so. You always. You never. Really? Kidding, right?  Worthless.

Wow! So proud of you. Amazing. Lovely. The Only One.

Words affect the hearer, yes.

But here is the kicker: did you ever think that you are the first hearer of your words? Words affect the hearer, yes.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

 

 

Broken Heart

I never thought you could actually die of a broken heart. But the more suffering I see, the more I have been wondering–some have simply seen too much. . And I have been amazed at the resilience of the human heart.

And I have come to this conclusion: when all is said and done, when we don’t understand, we can still hold on to the God who makes the sun rise every single morning.

And I remember this incredibly difficult-to-swallow truth:

We each choose the story we tell ourselves.

Please stop reading if you are offended at this point. I need to be raw and real today. And it is time for the what ifs…

What if our broken heart is a gift to ourselves and the world because it makes us compassionate, kind and oh so very real? Approachable?

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What if our pain reminds us to be pro-active instead of reactive, because life is short, and precious and we only get one?

What if our loss causes us to learn to hold sacred what we have left? Like hands, and eyes and breath and laughter?

 

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What if our suffering  is the necessary teacher that shows us the profound lesson that we need to serve more, love more, listen more , be kinder, because it’s all about beautiful fragile human beings, and we are all in the same boat?

Whether we like it or not, we do choose how we frame our experiences… May I see through His eyes.

 

 

We are a group of women who help each other stay accountable as we learn to own our lives with joy. You are welcome to join us here.

 

Some times, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

What The Years have Taught Me

What would you dare to do if you knew you could not fail?

What would I dare?

I would build my Samaritan House. I would lay my hands on the sick.
I would write that book that is dormant inside my soul. I would reach out to the homeless. I would speak those things that I keep silent for fear of it coming out wrong.

But I don’t.

Why not, Barbara? What is stopping you? Are you short on courage? Or are you too lazy? Have you stopped dreaming and hoping? Have you run out of energy?

I may not have the energy of a nineteen year old, but I have the wisdom of a 57 year old Momma who has learned a few tricks.  No, I am not short on courage. No, I am not lazy. No, I have not stopped dreaming and hoping.

I think that my view of God just hasn’t grown big enough yet.

I have tread on some waters where I could not stand, but there are others calling my name. And I must practice keeping my eyes peeled on God. One moment at a time.

But ONE THING I know: I will not throw in the towel. I will continue to do what I know I am called to do.

I am building this Samaritan House, but it started in my prayer closet, and no one can see it quite yet.

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I am practicing yielding to the Lord and letting life flow through me. I will lay my hands on the sick in His name and diseases will flee. I will learn His Way. I will not give up.

I will keep on writing and let Him draw that book within my heart.

I will be so involved with His love for mankind that the homeless will become my intimate family.

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I will continue practicing having the tongue of a disciple and speaking the Word that gives grace to the hearing.

And this 57 year old Momma, she’s got the advantage of patience. She knows that good things take a long time to grow, but the harvest will not be denied.

This 57 year old Momma, she will continue to commit her ways to the Lord so that He can direct her steps. She will continue to dare.

We are a group of women who help each other stay accountable as we learn to #ownourlives with joy. You can join us here.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life,Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

What I did this summer VI

Following my tradition for the last five years, here is my what-I-did-this-summer post:

This was a summer of a lot of personal growth as I pressed through and learned new skills. I learned to go with my gut rather than what people think. I swam outdoors and I swam indoors, I hiked in the woods with my dog, I made cookies with my granddaughter,

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I hung sheets outside, I laughed until I cried, I picked four strawberries from my garden, I picked lots of dog poop from my yard, I went to a block party and met my neighbors, I celebrated a radiation graduation and a 32nd birthday party for a very special lady, I cried as my dear friends buried their son and we hugged a little tighter, I worshiped with joy, I sat around a few bonfires, delighting in the moment, I learned to meditate wisely, I bought a house and had so much fun scrubbing it, redecorating it, loving it. I traveled and listened to audio books in the car while drinking hot coffee, I had a massage, I turned 57, I celebrated 36 years of marriage. I went to a pool party and ate my friend Michelle’s cheesy dip, I successfully coached a few people and it made my heart so full. I realized that I don’t play enough, so I practiced playing and loved it. I made a huge personal goal and accomplished it, realizing the power of planning. I weeded, planted, harvested and enjoyed the beauty of the outside, I started a few books and finished some. I drank some really good wine and some really bad wine. I made some fuzzy water. I bought some cool shoes, and I finally threw away some worn out shoes. I cleaned my closet, I dreamed and called my mom. I hoped and my hope was crushed but God remained God. I marveled at the resilience of the human spirit and I laughed until I cried. I went to the zoo but the giraffes weren’t out. I went to a reunion where we saw people we had not seen in 40 years, I made some new friends, I drove in traffic–a very big deal for me–and survived, I walked with a friend through cancer and she made it to the other side full of joy and insight, I let go of some expectations and grew stronger in others, I did a lot of growing up. I learned to reframe things and to say yes to the season I am in.

We are a group of women who help each other stay accountable as we go through life and learn to #ownourlives. You are welcome to join us here!

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

Missing Moments

Living in the Now seems to be a subject that resurfaces periodically in my mind and heart–don’t live in the future, enjoy the moment, all you have is right now.

I completely believe in the power of Now, in the importance of Now. I am utterly thankful for the Now.

Yet sometimes, I completely miss it.

There is torrential rain out there today; I can’t weed, I can’t run, I can’t even walk my dog. Everybody says how beautiful the storm is, but to me, it is only the reason  I am stuck inside. And that stinks.

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And my attitude, it is getting stinkier by the second.

 

And the rain, it penetrates deep in my soul. And in my wet mess, I miss the moment. And in my soaked mess, I miss eternal truth. And in my drenched mess, I forget to live.

Where is the enjoying the moment now? My living life fully?

I want to pout today. Just leave me alone. And it’s like my soul chooses the rain. Inside and out.

I don’t want to remember the fact that I create my reality with my attitudes. But I do. With every single breath.

And the story on the inside, it becomes the reality on the outside. And the reality hits me: I am not missing my “now.” I am embracing it. I am choosing my pouting. How terrifying.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life,Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

The Day I almost settled…

It was a very confusing season in my work life. Dreaming about being an entrepreneur, working extremely hard at it, and seeing so little results.

Seeing the vision but not the path.

My brain was tired, my body exhausted, and my excitement was dwindling down daily. The whole “thing” just felt way over my head, and just too hard to press through. Maybe this kind of success was for other people, the kind that is smarter than me, more up on technology, younger.  Maybe I was just a bit too dumb, a bit too behind the times, a bit too old. And even though I knew in my gut that this is what I wanted in the next season of my life, the doubts and obstacles were simply overwhelming; maybe it was time to turn in my chips and call it quits.

Settling sounded delightful. Settling for an everyday life without all the excitement  and exhaustion of owning your business. Just plain and simple living. Nothing wrong with plain and simple. Maybe it was time…

The thought of settling brings relief in a way. No more struggle, no more pushing. But the thought of  settling, it also brings a sense of loss. All the maybes and possible adventures wiped away with a simple choice. No more daring. No more pushing. No more exhilarating discoveries…

Sick to the core at the thought of pushing forward, and sick to the core at the thought of settling.

I lay my head on the pillow that night, whispering a prayer to the God who knows how to communicate with me.

The next day, I knew to just lay it aside. I chose to go shopping, spend time with my friends, laugh. I came home refreshed. And so ready to take a big bite out of my beautiful future.

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Settle? Who is talking about settling?

Oh, and my calendar now? It holds a few hours for self-care. Every single week.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

When God opened my Eyes

It’s funny, you know, the things you think you know.

You know that God is good. You know that He’s got your back. You know that He loves you. Of course, He loves you. He is God, right? He’s got to love you–it’s in the job description.

And you walk with Him, day in and day out. And you get to know Him more, day in and day out. With me, it’s all about the walks. I lace my shoes, I put the harness on my big dog and we leave for the woods. There, I tell Him everything. I yell, I sing, I cry, I worship, I listen. I hear the birds declare His glory and I join them. I hear the leaves make a joyful noise to Him and I concur. I see the majestic trees display His worth and I laugh.

I come ready to be with Him and He invites me into His place. He makes room for me, right there, in the woods He created.

He holds a space for me.

So as the days turn into weeks, the summer turn to fall and the fall brings the heavy snow. And I get to know Him deeper. And I realize that what I thought I knew, I did not know at all. But I am beginning to know Him. And I start to sense His personality, and His likes and dislikes. And He even introduces me to His pleasure. Pleasure in His people. Pleasure in me.

He pleasures over me.

So as the days turn into weeks, the heavy silence of snow gives way to an awakening. I hear the birds declare His majesty again, and my awareness of His presence grows a bit more.  And at a deeper level, I realize that what I thought I knew, I did not know at all. But I am okay with that. Because I am beginning to know Him.And He is delightful.

What an adventure He is.

And then, one day, as I let one increment of His presence after another affect me all the way to the core of me, one day I begin to see. He gives birth in me to new eyes.

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Eyes that see His utter care in the darkest of situation. Eyes that see His little love notes everywhere. Eyes that understand what seemed impossible. Eyes that see His signature in the pain, and the loss, and the joy, and the laughter. Eyes that see the answer to what had seemed an unanswered plea. Eyes that see Him.

I see Him in the intricate. The complicated. The utterly simple. And I can hardly take the love. And I realize that what I thought I knew, I did not know at all. But I am getting to know Him.

Oh, for the grace to dare to know Him more.

Please feel free to join our little group of women who keep each other accountable! We are Own Your Life Academy Accountability Group, and we love to make new friends!

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

Can I Trust Him in the Valley?

“Come on Isaac, let’s go worship together.  God has an appointment with us up on the mountain,” I say as we began our long walk up.

It is quiet and beautiful this morning. Everything around us reminds me of how good and faithful our God has been to us.  I try to breathe the fresh air deep into my lungs, but my heart is too tight.  I don’t understand what I am called to do today.  I don’t understand.  But one thing I know, God is God and He must be obeyed.

God is God and He doesn’t make mistakes.

God is God and He will make a way.

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My son’s voice breaks my silent meditation, “Father, where is your lamb for the offering?” he asks.

And my heart, it gets a bit tighter. But God, He is God and He doesn’t make mistakes. I know I heard Him say to offer Isaac. Just like I heard Him tell me that He was making a covenant with this son in front of me, this miracle He gifted me with, this one who God said to offer up …

“God is God and He will provide, Son.”

We walk up together, my Isaac and I, and I remember Sara laughing when God told us about his upcoming birth. It was unbelief first, but then it became a giggle of joy. And I gladly joined in. Laughter because God showed up when it looked impossible. Laughter because God has a serious sense of humor. Laughter because we sensed how loved we were.

And my heart, it loosens up a bit. Because God, He is God and He doesn’t make mistakes.

We built the altar and arranged the wood when we got there, my Isaac and I.

And my heart, it fluttered again as I lay my Isaac, my promise from God, the joy of my old age, right on the altar, on top of the wood.

But God, He is God, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

I close my eyes, and I try to take a deep breath. That’s when I heard Him speak. So I opened my eyes, and saw the ram in the thicket.

And a deep laughter burst out of my belly. And Isaac, he joins in, and our laughter gets louder. Laughter because God showed up when it looked impossible. Laughter because God has a serious sense of humor. Laughter because we sense how loved we were.

Yes, God is God, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

The Power of a Little

For many years now, I have been in awe of the power of a little. I have come to realize that every big accomplishment started with a step. A probably ridiculously small step. Small enough to make people laugh about it. Small enough to disregard it as insignificant.

When I decided to train for my marathon back in 2007, there wasn’t a running bone in me. It literally was a step by step process to learn how to run, how to breathe, how to eat, and then it became a step after step process to actually run long distance. A series of very small steps brought me the result I wanted.

When the town of Niagara Falls built the suspension bridge across the Falls, they started by using the most ridiculous tiniest tool: a kite!

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They flew a kite across to the other side.  They attached a string to it, to which a rope was attached. The kite flew to the other side, and then the rope was used to pull a chain across, then it was used to pull a cord, which pulled iron cables on which the concrete structure was built.

Jesus fed five thousand people with a few fish and loaves of bread; He used the little that was in front of Him and began. God did the rest.

The smallest of idea can bring about the most amazing result. How many inventions came out of a couple of doodles on a napkin? Or a revelation while showering? Or a child’s play?

Let’s not throw away our littles. They might be the beginning of a wonderful adventure.

If you would like to be a part of our Own Your Life Academy Accountability Group, you can do it right here. We are a group of women who are learning to play full out and own our lives with JOY.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Arabah Joy, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

The Lessons of Diamonds

I once wrote about how diamonds are made out of coal. Back then, I was enamored with this revelation–diamonds, one of the most sought after precious stones, were made out of  one of the most common earth material. And I marveled at God’s wisdom, and how He uses nature to show us heavenly realities that we might otherwise not grasp. He truly takes the seemingly worthless and makes it beautiful.

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But lately, I am being turned into a diamond myself, and the lessons keep coming, jumping out of the theoretical world into the nitty gritty of my own life, like the waves of the ocean, building upon one another, creating a new normal for me.

Here are a few of my newest nuggets:

  • The change happens ever so slowly, similar to the metamorphosis of a larva into a butterfly. It is imperceptible to the naked eye, happening over a long period of time. It’s like losing weight, you know? The progress feels slow like thick molasses, but one day, the mirror smiles big at you and you wonder how it actually happened
  • Things are not as they seem. Coals certainly have no likeness to diamonds, and my situation at times feels nothing like it could be the hand of God. But time reveals truth, doesn’t it? Looking back, I always see His perfect timing, direction and plan in the situations I have been in.’
  • The refining is made possible by the pressure applied. It is so with the coal, and it is so with me as well. Pressure makes me feel like I will crack under it, like there isn’t any more room to breathe, but as I am being squeezed to my limit, the uglies are being pulled out, and the beautiful emerges.
  • The making of a diamond takes time. Oh, don’t we all wish it could happen faster? But it’s in the very making that we become that diamond. There is no skipping the process, because there is no diamond without the process.
  • There is no magic in becoming a diamond, but lots of yielding. No magic wand was ever waved, no pixie dust ever dusted over me. But there is a lot of letting go, a lot of standing under the pressure, tons of reminding myself to breathe deep and keep going, tons of yielding to that same pressure I stand under.
  • Last but not least, something remarkable is happening: as I become a diamond, I am starting to think like a diamond and my purpose changes. Because diamonds don’t think like chunks of coal. Their usefulness is no more important than that of coal, yet they see with different eyes. With a wider view. And I like it.

Dust to coal to diamond through pressure and yielding. May this continue to be my life.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story