An End and a Beginning–

2016 became 2016 through a string of days, one gently ushering the next one, and the next one and the next. All of a sudden, there were 100, and then 200, and then 365.  And now, 2016 is rushing through its last hours while 2017 impatiently waits in the wings, and this is both exhilarationg and terrifying.

How do we gracefully let go of 365 days and begin the embracing of 365 new ones?

One at a time, just as they came.

The ocean doesn’t question the waves, and my body doesn’t question its breath. They both simply let it happen, one rise and one fall at a time.

 

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This last year, one breath at a time, I was carried through more joys than I knew a heart could hold. And one breath at a time, I was carried through more pain than I ever thought one could bear. And one breath at a time, I am here, today, filled with awe and wonder,  looking into tomorrow.

Oh my soul, where does that excitement for tomorrow come from?

From the One who made the days. Each one of them, like the waves of the ocean. The same, and yet so different.

The waves, they come, they go, and they leave their mark.

And the days come, they go, and leave their mark on me.

I come, I go… Oh, may I leave my mark down here!

 

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

Curiosity

Curiosity, this innate desire to learn or know more about something, it is a wonderful gift.

When we are curious about something, we ask questions, we look more intently, we dig in, we read, we experiment, we try, we fail, we succeed, we make progress.

When we are curious about something, we are alive to life around us. We are alive to truth. Curiosity brings us new information, new ways of thinking, new understanding, new experiences, new thoughts, new possibilities, new realms of growth.

When we are curious about something, we expand our world.

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And when we expand our world, we become more open to other thoughts, other ideas, other people.

A personal world expansion forces us out of our comfortable box; it makes us consider what we have considered as “the way things are,” and the truths that we have based our very existence on. And what needs to shake shakes. And what is rock solid remains.

Being curious stirs up the waters deep inside.

I used to be afraid of what curiosity might bring up. Because truthfully, curiosity can be most uncomfortable at times. But the years have taught me to not fear the questions, to not run from the stirrings within, the deep existential questions that might arise. Because the questions, they need to be answered. And the answers, they make us more settled on what is so. And should they stir up a water a bit more than what I wanted, this is then a sign to me that what I thought was settled isn’t quite settled yet. So I dig deeper, I ask more questions, I look more intently.

Because the truth, it holds up all on its own. When all is said and done, it simple shines brighter.

 

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

What If You Don’t Know How?

Sometimes, there are mountains we have to cross but we simply don’t know how. And sometimes, there isn’t any time to go get a tutorial or a teacher, you know? Life happens in the moment we are in.

I don’t know how to drive in heavy traffic. And I was really, really scared to do so. Partly because of memories, partly because I just never learned. I get clammy. I hate it with a passion. I always try to avoid it.

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Until one day, God put His finger on my heart and declared that it had to go, that unreasonable fear. And God, He is the Lord, so I really did not have a choice. But I buckled under the pressure.

I just don’t know how. It feels too scary.

“Peter never learned how to walk on water,” the Holy Spirit whispered.

Really?

People always mention the part about Peter sinking, and he did. But truthfully, he only “began” to sink because he was actually walking on water, right?  And he never learned how.

So, what’s your secret, Pete?

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He heard Jesus say “Come,” and he went.

Could it really be that simple? Could God’s command to come carry with it the grace necessary to do the coming, no matter what it is? Does the word have within it that kind of creative power?

God said to just drive in traffic. I buckled and did not obey. Then, God allowed a situation in which I had to drive in heavy traffic. He said “Come.”

And I went.

And in the going, I found HIm there. And in the going, I found that His provision and protection is more than I ever thought.

And in the going, I met with Him.

We are a small group of women who keep each other accountable on Facebook. If you would like to join us, you can do so right 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

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 there 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 fancy to have an impact on the hearer.

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

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

But here is the kicker: did you ever think that you are the first hearer of your words?

 

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

 

 

 

 

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