From Quote to Life

“One only understands the things that one tames,” the fox says to the little prince.

He goes on to explain that “taming” means taking whatever time we need to get to know someone,  to become comfortable with someone, to be really present with each other and to be willing to suffer because we let ourselves love and be loved.

When you tame someone, you take care of them. You would die for them.

And the one you “tame,” he may be as ordinary as thousands of other people on the face of the earth, but because he has become unique to you, there is no one like him in your eyes. He is absolutely priceless to you.

After the Little Princes tames the fox, the fox gifts him with this secret: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

My sweet daughter-in-law embroided this quote for me, and it sits in a frame on my mantle. I dust it weekly, and I smile every time my eyes come across it. See, I grew up thinking that The Little Prince was the best book in the entire world because it was my dad’s favorite.

Oh, how I wish I could speak to him about it now that I have lived a few years, now that I have tamed a few friends.

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In the process of taming each other, my husband and I wove ourselves into each other’s hearts.

And the beauty of taming, it got deeper and deeper as the years went from one to five to ten to twenty-five to thirty-seven and counting. In the process of taming each other, we created a forever circle of safety where the uglies and the gorgeous live, in the midst of which we breathe, and dance, and cry, and grow.

To the young passerbys, we more than likely seem like a plain older couple–no extra-ordinary markings to make us noticeable. They are busy starting the process of taming, these young ones; they read books, they quote quotes, they are figuring it out.

But the beauty of taming, it takes shape in the living. In the dirty socks on the floor and the ice cream sundays in the middle of the night. In the awe of gloriously fulfilled promises and the wild fires of testing. In the places so tight that one can hardly breathe and the wide expanses of deep joy. In the agony of understanding the depth of forgiveness and the relief of surrendered love. In the giggles of births and the mourning of deaths.

My husband and I, we marvel at the delightful fruit crafted thought that most ordinary day-in and day-out taming.

My husband and I, we no longer look with our eyes; indeed, we truly see with the heart. And that is the best.

My husband and I, we moved from quote to life.

 

We are a group of women who help each other “own” our money and time God’s way. Feel free to join us!

Sometimes, I link up with any of these: 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, WFMW, Tell His Story, Testimony Tuesday, ThreeWords Wednesday

 

Gather all your Trusts

“What percentage of your heart’s trust belongs to the Lord?” she asked. The question was genuine, with no jugment of me.

“Well, one hundred percent of course!” was my initial reaction. “I can’t even do anything right without Him.”

But my heart started to wonder over the next few days. Because even though I am completely sold out to Jesus, the Lord and King of every part of me, there are indeed many other places my heart relies on.

Like my ability to think.

And the discipline I practice daily that allows me to finish tasks.

And the fact that the sun rises and sets every day and I can plan accordingly.

And gravity.

The horror of this realization was most unsettling. Do I really have scattered trusts and God only gets a piece of the pie? Like 43 percent or  17 or 82?

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“Oh, that You and You alone would be my trust, oh God!” I prayed earnestly.

More light came over the new few hours.

Even though I do rely on my ability to think, self-discipline, the daily rhythm of the sun, gravity and whatever else I rely on, my heart acknowledges taht God is and forever remains the author of it all; I revel in that revelation. It is the wind beneath my wings.

And as I stretch my wings with the understanding He placed in me, I glorify Him by  moving in His gifts. By resting in His gifts.

He graciously gave me a brain and put me in charge of it.

He purposefully trained me in many things, made me proficient in them and holds me accountable for them.

He placed me on His earth and expects me to use its rules and manage it.

Do I have scattered trusts? No I do not. They are all gathered in one basket, and God, He gets all the glory.

 

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

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

 

A Closet is No Place to Live

Some people have amazing closets, I know. But still, a closet is no place to live.

I listened intently to the podcast in which a man described his most traumatic journey of “coming out of the closet” as far as what his sexual indentity felt like to him. He suffered much through the process, learned to build bridges with the people from his past, and navigated through some very uncharted territories.

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I don’t have any sexual identity issues, so one might think I couldn’t identify. But the podcast stroke a cord deep within my heart. Because there are many, many things that I have come out of the closet about.

Like the first time I admitted to someone that I sucked my thumb late into adulthood. And when I acknowledged to my family that I had become a born-again Christian and it changed everything about the way they viewed me. And the first time I told someone that my dad had been an alcoholic and my mom did not have the best mothering skills. Or when I confessed that I had food issues.

It feels naked and scary.

You tip-toe around a brand new uncomfortable terrain, and you wonder whether you will be ostrocized. Rejected. Judged. Whether “they” will forever look at you differently. So you try to build a bridge, but you are not sure it will hold you, or them, or that they even would want to meet you in the middle.

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It takes courage. Resilience. Knowing why it matters to you.

And the thing that matters, it’s being recognized. Aknowledged. Accepted in the bare naked truth of who you are.

The courage, it is in showing up as you are and letting the chips fall where they may. It is letting go of all the make-up and dare to be real.

But the courage, it is unavoidable. Because at some point, you realize that love has to do with accepting yourself first in all of your uglies and beauties. And daring to be.

And when you break through the lie, you realize that every one else has closets as well. But you find yourself more ready to welcome them out, and love them as they are.

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We are a small group of women who help each other own our lives with joy. 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

 

My Forever Quirkiness

“Oh yes, here she goes again…. asking questions!”

“That’s Barbara all right!”

They all laughed, me included.

Being laughed at stung a bit, but it was all in good humor; my friend was just stating facts. And he was oh-so-right.

The truth is, you can’t be around me very long without being subjected to a question or two…

I can’t remember a time when I did not love to ask questions. And I love just as much to listen to the answers. Every time, it reaffirms to me how marvelously different we all are, and each answer reveals a bit of how that person’s brain works. This is fascinating to me.

 

Over the years, I have developed the art of asking better questions. Questions that make one think, questions that challenge the status-quo, questions that uncover flawed thinking, beauty, racism, kindness, bigotry, or a heart of gold. Questions that make people think and grow and feel alive and thankful. Questions whose answers could potentially change the course of someone’s life.

And my heart is thrilled, excited, on fire when I do. I feel full of purpose.

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As I challenged a life coaching client with a difficult question, she answered, “I don’t know.” But I knew and she knew that that was a cheap answer. So I pushed a bit more. Eventually, a true answer emerged.

And at that moment, I saw a flicker of understanding in her eyes.

And at that moment, revelation hit me like a ton of bricks: God is using my quirkiness!

Unbeknowst to me, I built my entire business on this characteristic written deep down in my DNA.

This quirkiness of mine, it  has somehow become my professional trademark, the very thing that brings my daily bread, the very thing that makes me thrilled to go to work every single day.

All I can do is marvel at the ways of my Creator.

So,… what is YOUR quirkiness, and how is it contributing to YOUR life?

 

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

Sometimes, I link up with some of these beautiful blogs: 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 Story of Love

It takes a while, but we discover how we fit, and we become effortless, magical.

With each layer exposed, a bit more beauty emerges. With each secret shared, there is a quiet shift to deeper preciousness.

In that sacred space of commitment, words enable hearts to soar, and backs bent under the pressure of physical labor. The hands bring about passion, yet scrub greasy pans. We make room for minds to dream while breathing in the routine of everyday life.

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The ordinary and the extraordinarty, they all braid together.

And when the uglies come to the surface, the commitment locks us safely in.

It’s like a dance, you know.

It’s like an ever evolving painting.

The plain rhythm of the habitual becomes the canvas, and we purpose varied colors and shapes. It takes on a life of its own, this painting of who we become.

And even though we tremble and bleed profusely. its strength keeps our footing steady when deadly explosions blow right within the circle of who we are.

This mystery of love all wrapped up in the plain, it makes us stunningly beautiful.

This choice to believe in each other, it makes us powerful.

This commitment, it makes us more like Him.

 

 

“Delight Yourself in the Lord,” he said.

For years I have been saying that our feelings don’t just appear out of thin air. They are the direct result of your thoughts. If you think hateful, dark thoughts about someone, chances are you won’t “feel” like loving that person very much. If you think happy, sunny, productive thoughts about your upcoming day, you more than likely will “feel” happy and productive, even if issues arise.

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Further more, I am convinced that after those thoughts produce feelings, your feelings will move you to action.  If you don’t “feel” like loving that person very much, you more than likely aren’t going to get out of your way to be kind to them. If you “feel” happy and productive, you probably will handle productive tasks and enjoy the process.

But I haven’t had too many people agreeing with me at a soul-level.

“Yeah, sure,” they say, and nothing changes. Mental assent doesn’t yield much fruit.

“Delight yourself in the Lord,” I heard the preacher say on the podcast that I was listening to on my way home the other day. It had been a rough day, and I couldn’t wait to just get my PJs on, sip on a glass of wine and forget all about how unsensitive people are, how nasty this place is, and how tired I was of it all.

“Delight yourself in the Lord,” he said.

“Yeah, sure,” I answered mentally.  Mental assent doesn’t yield much fruit.

I got home and into my cozy PJs, poured myself a glass of wine and sat down.

“Delight yourself in the Lord,” I heard Him whisper.

“Yes, I know… Easier said than done,” I answered.

And deep within my spirit, I heard my own voice explaining for the hundredth time that feelings are the result of our thoughts. Any once can feel on purpose by choosing my thoughts.

Including feeling rotten about one’s day. Or delighting oneself in the Lord.

I started to laugh outloud at God’s sense of humor–I love it when God proves me right and wrong all within the same moment.

I got up off of my chair and purposefully chose to be involved with how amazing He is, this God of mine who knows how to speak to my heart. And my feelings, they just followed.

“Delight yourself in the Lord,” He said.

Mental assent doesn’t yield much fruit.  If we however agree at a soul and heart level, it changes us from the inside out .

 

We are a small group of women who help each other own our lives with joy. 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

 

 

 

 

Ten Things I know to be True

I have changed so much over the years.

At one point, I was absolutely convinced of one thing, and years later, I wondered how I could have ever have thought that way.

Thoughts evolve, opinions mature, experiences soften us.

But some things just are.

Absolute. Never changing.

And on those things, I can rest my soul.

In no particular order:

1. God is.

He always is. He is before this world ever was, and He is long after it will be dissolved. God is. Oh, what an amazing comfort exists in this revelation.

2. Love always makes a way.

Love may not always look the same, but it somehow  always makes a way.

3. Innocent laughter is good for the soul. 

Not the sarcastic ones, nor those that come  at the expense of others, but simple, real, gut honest laughter is one of the best medicines I know.

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4. Words are powerful. 

Powerful to kill, powerful to heal, powerful to tear down and powerful to lift up. Every time I have been freed from a situation, it was with words first.

5. All that is alive must grow.

Life is never ever stagnant. It is forever characterized by growth. If we do not grow, we are slowly dying.

6. Listening is most often the key in disagreements. 

We percieve things differently, and when we practice listening intently, we begin to understand the other person, and the argument loses its steam.

7. Kindness conquers hatred.

Even when not recieved,  for the giver’s heart is safe and protected.

8. Humans are made for community.

Temporary solitude may be healthy and needed at times, but we are wired for being with each other.

 

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9. The harvest will not be denied.

All of life truly starts with seeds, and seeds produce after their own kind. Good or bad, whatever is sown will be harvested. Just wait for it!

10 Our attitude determines our experience.

In every way that matters, we choose our experience by the attitude with which we show up in life. The worst situation is not a sentence for despair, and the best circumstances do not determine joy.

We are a group of women who help each other “own” our money and time God’s way. Feel free to join us!

Sometimes, I link up with any of these: 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, WFMW, Tell His Story, Testimony Tuesday, ThreeWords Wednesday

 

Exploding Heart

“Yes,” she says, tears in her eyes. “Yes, it’s true!”

There is finally a life to love and be amazed by growing in her womb after so many years of bareness–a true mourning turned into dancing. We hug, we dance, we giggle and celebrate the new beginning; and my heart, it explodes with more joy that it can hold.

She leaves, a skip in her step, after telling me her secret.

I close the door with a smile all the way down to my toes and I settle at my computer to check my email. I see a longish email from someone so dear to my heart her imprint is on my soul. She is is the depth of despair, this soul-sister of mine, beaten by life, and she has given up the fight. She now faces the end she did not want. Her words bring me to tears; and my heart, it explodes with her raw wound that it cannot bear.

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Torn apart by pulling joy and despair, my heart pounds  loudly.

 

Be still, my heart, be still.

I close my eyes and try to inhale deeply. But my breathing is shallow and my lungs, they are so very tight, and they don’t seem to remember how to let the air in.

I feel pain in my head as blood pulses fiercely.

And then, as a flash of lighting, understanding enters my soul–blood is key.

His blood spells Bold-Loving-Omnipotent-Overpowering-Death Life.

His blood for the good and the ugly, for the pretty and the plain, for the joy and the pain, for the beginning and the end.

Because every where His blood rushes, life enters. Whether it’s a beginning or an end, or any middle at all.

His blood speaks. And His blood will speak over the new life that turned morning into dancing, and His blood will speak over the unbearable end that tastes like a sword.

My breath returns to me.

Be still, my heart, be still. God is still on the throne.

 

We are a group of women who help each other “own” our money and time God’s way. Feel free to join us!

Sometimes, I link up with any of these: 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, WFMW, Tell His Story, Testimony Tuesday, ThreeWords Wednesday

 

 

All Grown Up with lots of Scars

Despite my genuine desrie to let them go, many layers of my childhood have hung on to me like an uncomfortable coat, hindering rather than protecting.

Even though the sting might have been removed, the scars remained, staring me in the face day in and day out. I simply could not let go the pain.

One of my very first memories is of the day I went to my first costume party. I vividly recall my conversation I had with another other little girl, while sitting on a carpeted staircase in the hallway.

“What are you disguised at?” she asked innocently.

I instantly shriveled all the way down to nothing on the inside.

She could not tell what I was disguised at. She could not tell who I was.

I wasn’t anyone real.

I was a nobody.

This happened over fifty years ago, yet I can still feel my cheeks turning hot and the shame filling me; I wished  the stairs could swallow me up.

 

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For twelve long years, I held on to the shame.

Childish? Yep.  Yet as real as can be.

It took the Lord Jesus giving me a new identity for me to let go the humiliation.

It took His love convincing me that I was not a nobody.

The message of the costume party lost its power.

No more power to make me feel inferior, no more power to make me feel powerless and immaterial.

And so it was with many, many childhood experiences and memories. Layer by layer, Jesus caused them to lose their power over me.

My mom, she raised me the best she knew how, amidst her own insecurities and skewed perceptions.

My dad, he loved me the best he knew how, amidst his own limiting beliefs and hindered potential.

And Jesus became my knight in shining armor, powerfully rescuing me from it all.

But this wonderful, kind Jesus, He did not remove the scars.

And at first, these scars, they still had a loud voice.

They spoke of how my future would be tough. They said that I wasn’t going to make it. I might not be a nobody anymore, but I still wasn’t all that and a bag of chips, you know?

And as the years went on, I let Jesus work with my mind and my heart.

I changed, I became softer, I became stronger.

I became confident in Him.

And this  wonderful, kind Jesus, He never removed the scars.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Because these scars, they no longer feel like a heavy chain that I tote around with me wherever I go. They simply serve to remind me where I came from.

These scars, they are part of the fabric of who I am.

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These scars, they keep me humble.

These scars, they tell the story of rescue.

These scars, they say that I was worth rescuing.

When I was a child, I thought like a child, and the scars meant that I was a nobody.

Today, the very same scars empower me to be filtered by love. I am no longer quick to pass judgment on people’s actions.

Because we all have scars, you know.

And many of these beautiful people, they haven’t yet met with their k\Knight in shining armour.

 

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

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

 

Story

Cozily laying in bed with my four year old little girl after her nap, I started the story like this: “So this little boy had a big dog that no one liked because it was ugly in everybody’s eyes.  But the little boy did not see him like that.  All he saw every time he looked at his dog was how much fun they had together every day. So…”

She picked up the story and told us about the games they played in the back yard, and the ball that he popped, and his tongue licking water. And then it was my turn again.

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Our story lasted about 20 minutes, and our little boy and his dog wound up facing a bear, and a fairy princess, and a castle and a river, and a football, Africa and China.  We giggled and almost cried and made the world big and tall and scary and beautiful and exciting. And her eyes, they were twinkling with pleasure. And my heart, it was bursting with joy.

And now she is all grown-up, my little girl. Over the years, life taught her that the world is big and tall and scary and beautiful and exciting. And she grew up strong, filled with grace and courage and dreams.

At times, in the early evening, we sit together in our sun room and I begin a story.  “So, there was this tree, and…”

 

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

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