The season is shifting…yeah, I know…it still looks very much like winter for those of us in this time zone, but there is evidence of a shift. I have learned to look at all things to make sure I have the best perspective. Coming home from the gym, I glanced out at my yard, and I caught a glimpse of green. Now, all around the grass and foliage appeared dry and lifeless. There was not a lot of color to be seen. Winter had made its mark; however, in the midst of what appeared to be a lifeless situation, I saw green buds breaking through…
Not only were they breaking through, but they appeared to be thriving. This gave me hope. How can these things grow in an impossible situation? Well, they are meant to. The plants aren’t thinking about the fact that everything around them still appears lifeless. For them, it is time to show up and grow, so that is what they do. In their simplicity, they are beautiful. In their purpose, they are powerful.
As I see them, I am reminded that we too HAVE to grow. We HAVE to fulfill our purpose. Circumstances may not always be favorable. Life happens and doesn’t always play fair, but even in that, we CAN still function as we should. Don’t let your current situation stop you from “proving yourself wrong.” When it looks dismal, break through. When it appears that things just won’t work, break through. Whatever you do, function and thrive in where you are. Grow letting nothing stop you. Now is as good a time as any…
We just came through a season of Thanksgiving…a time when we were reminded of everything we have to be grateful for and excited regarding. High hopes. Big dreams. Joy. But, almost sneakily, those feelings can give way to depression and fear, uncertainty, sadness, as we anticipate the ending of one year and the approaching of another.
For many, we begin to think about all of the things we haven’t accomplished, those New Year resolutions that didn’t quite work, and those lofty plans we made that never came to fruition. In a time of Christmas cheer and glad tidings, some of us succumb to mental unrest and self-pity as we anticipate another year in which we ended it still not having seen the things we hoped for.
But, as sad as it is to see what you’ve envisioned not quite happening, instead of allowing yourself to get down on yourself and lament those not yet realized ideals, remember that as long as you wake up with breath in your body, it is another opportunity to move one step closer to where you need to be. Just keep living. Eventually, life has a way of bringing things full circle–all of a sudden it will all shift into place–it will look like what you’ve dreamed, and all because you chose to keep living.
To relax my mind at the end of the night, I sometimes watch something that doesn’t require me to think too deeply, or I play a game on my phone…I wind down so that my thoughts don’t keep me engaged all night. Last night, I played a game that requires me to color in a picture by number. It is mindless, but oddly satisfying as you watch the picture coming together. As I filled in the numbers, I found that some spaces seemed too difficult to find, but if I adjusted my view, sometimes those same places became clear. This happened each time I was struggling to find a space.
This made me consider how life can be so similar. Sometimes we get stuck in situations, and we can’t seem to find the missing piece to the puzzle. Maybe things aren’t making sense, or what we’re looking for just hasn’t been made clear. Often, if we just shift our perspective on the situation, things seem more clear. Sometimes we find the missing piece. Other times, we find what we need to fill in the space. Ultimately, we find that with a perspective shift, everything we needed was already in place, but we had to adjust to see the full picture.
So, maybe you’re in a place of uncertainty, somewhere you have never experienced before. That’s a scary place. Oh, how I know; but what I don’t want you to do is talk yourself out of being free and unintentionally deciding not to jump into what’s next for you. Just tilt your head a little, shift how you’re considering your situation, and watch things begin to make a bit more sense. Shift.
Whew, let me tell you that life has been lifeing since I last wrote. There is so much going on for me personally, but also for many of those whom I love. In the midst of this thing called life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Sometimes so much is going on that we would rather not do anything at all. Relationships shifting. Big life changes. Personal mental health considerations. What do you do in the midst of it all?
I’d like to say that I have the all-encompassing answer for each of us. If I had that answer, I would be exorbitantly wealthy and everyone would be healthy, healed, and whole; unfortunately I don’t have THE answer to everyone’s problems, though I am working to assist others in their journey to wholeness. I do, however, have a suggestion. It’s simple. Maybe you’ve heard it before, but now is as good a time as any to remind you…
…keep standing. Life is going to happen. Things are going to shift. If you’re breathing, expect that things may never look the same from year-to-year, or even day-to-day. But, then I want you to remember each time you have come up against something difficult. Life was lifeing and you had no idea how things would turn out. Look back for that brief second. Now, come on back to the present. You may be changed because of it, but didn’t you survive and thrive past it?
So keep standing. The path may not be clear. There may be some debris in the way, but you can navigate this too. Keep standing.
I don’t often talk about my faith. Not because I can’t, but mostly because I had been conditioned to a place of trying to make sure that everyone around me was comfortable. I have never wanted to rock the proverbial boat lest I cause anyone else to struggle or cause trouble for myself; however my faith is the foundation of who I am, and neglecting that side to make everyone else comfortable in turn makes me neglect myself. I said all of those words because my faith often makes me see things from a unique perspective. What comes next is a result of that…
I am many things, but one part of me that I am most proud of is being a mother to two baby girls. They are active, funny, healthy, happy, and so many things that I love. They are also temperamental at times, fiercely independent, and sometimes their listening ears turn off. At the end of the day, this can leave me frazzled and tightly wound. I look forward to the quiet once I have tucked them in bed, read their story, and kissed them good night. But, first, I have to navigate the increasing activity of two little girls who are fighting sleep with all they’ve got.
Tonight was one of those nights when they seemed to sense that Mommy was at the end of the rope. They played…did the exact opposite of what I asked them to do, fought with each other, cried…and I had enough. I got them ready for bed and said there would be no book reading tonight, and when my oldest was upset at me and didn’t want to kiss me goodnight, I shrugged my shoulders as if I didn’t care (she didn’t see me do this). But, just as I had determined in my mind to be the way I was because it was all justified, I heard clearly, “You can’t let the night end this way. Do it anyways. Be the example.”
I got irritated. Yup, I did. But it was truth. So, I gathered up all of my negative feelings and breathed them out in a sigh. I grabbed a book to read, read it. Lead them through prayers. Then kissed both good night. My oldest who had all of the attitude pulled me close and kissed my arm. All was well again.
This reminded me that just as we are examples to our children of the right things to do, God always shows us and gives us an opportunity to show a heart that loves. I was justified in feeling the way I felt. My humanity doesn’t always allow for my spiritual side to win, but imagine if each of us tapped into something deeper. What if our interactions with one another came from a heart that loves instead of a heart that has been conditioned to hate, condemn, and fear? What would our world be like?
It all starts with that still, small voice that tells us to “Be the example.”
I did something different today. I was headed home from a somewhat familiar destination, but I was going home a way that was a bit unfamiliar. Typically I will turn on ny GPS when I am unsure just for peace of mind, or even to avoid unknown traffic. Today, as I prepared to drive towards home, I decided to trust my intuition and drive, knowing that I would eventually reach my destination. I prepared myself to adjust to any unexpected detours, or even to turn on the GPS if I got inexplicably lost, but I was determined either way to make it home. As I drove, things didn’t seem anything like the surroundings I was used to, but as I got further along, I began to recognize landmarks, stores, streets, and I realized I did it. I stepped out and I went towards my known destination without assistance. Admittedly, I was relieved, but more so overwhelmingly proud of myself for following through.
Going an unfamiliar route to an familiar destination is a lot like our journey’s through life. In the end, we know where we are trying to go. We see that accomplishment, that relationship status, that career, that “thing” we are trying to get to, but sometimes we don’t know the process. We can’t quite see how the path we’re currently traveling will lead us to where we need to be, so we get discouraged. We doubt our internal compass. We turn around and go another way, just prolonging what could have been a smoother journey. We forget that we can seek assistance when we get unsure. We even begin to doubt ourselves and wonder if we’ll ever really reach our known destination.
BUT, you will. We will. Life is full of unknowns, twists and turns that make things “interesting.” It’s how we navigate those things that determines the outcome, and our attitude about the journey is what keeps us when the journey seems difficult. Just think about all you have endured, every roadblock, every time you’ve gotten turned around, and each time despite it all you have reached your final destination. You didn’t always have the map laid out for you, or a voice (at least in a tangible sense) telling you which way to go; But, somehow, even at times unexpectedly, you arrived right where you needed to be.
So, keep going. Sometimes it takes you going out on a limb and just trusting that you’ll get to the destination. Whatever it takes, make sure you take the journey, and revel in the fact that in the end, you kept going.
Uvalde. Buffalo Massacre. Both have been in the news. Both are heart-wrenching. Both hurt. Both, and many events like this before them have caused us to consider our humanity, take stock of our part in being able to address and somehow prevent such atrocities. For some, these events have caused fear and an almost paralyzing feeling of hypervigilance wherever we go…and for many, we wonder, “What do we do now?”
Admittedly, fear tried to take up habitation in my heart too. The thought of, “Nowhere is safe…and anyone could be a target,” crossed my mind. I wondered if anything would ever be “right” or “good” again. I wondered…then, I thought about history…about all the things I personally have experienced, but also the things happening in the world, and I realized no matter how bad it was in the moment, there was always an after…
So, for as much as my heart hurts as I consider the innocent children…or those simply going grocery shopping for their household…or those going to enjoy a movie or dinner…or those just going for an evening stroll, and their lives were taken, I/we can’t allow the pain to overshadow our responsibility to make sure that none of their lives go unrecognized. From holding each other responsible for our actions, to choosing love over hate, to encouraging our senators and government to vote on and enact legislation that makes these types of things less frequent, there is an after that we can work on.
So, don’t let fear be your companion, even in this, but let love, hope, and action create the after.
***My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those dealing with these losses. I know the pain is incomparable, and most likely unbearable. Wrapping you each in a warm hug from my screen to your hearts. 💙💙💙
Remember how excited we were as we ended out last year and welcomed a new year? Remember all the plans and declarations, the excitement as we declared, “This is my year!” We anticipated breakthroughs, advancement, healing, love…believing this new year would be better than the last…
But, what happened?
Now, we’re on the other side of life having its way, and our declaration has changed. We have shifted from hope to trepidation, from excitement to hesitation, and from planning to “playing things by ear.” Same people, but life…
But, I came to simply remind you that no matter what it looks like in this present moment, this is STILL the year you can have everything you were expecting. Plans fell through? Make some new ones. Life threw some hard punches? Bounce back up and keep fighting. It’s not over until we give up.
So, you can still have the year you were expecting. I dare you to hope again.
We can see the season changing. Where everything was once one dimensional without many spots of color, we are starting to see leaves appear on trees and flowers begin their bloom. There is an anticipation about what’s to come…an awareness of new… expectation of better…a hope for different….
…Especially so as we have been locked in a cycle of sickness and despair because of COVID-19 and other significant world events. Most recently, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has many of us shaking our heads and praying, as it shook our belief that things could get better…but then…yet and still, the season continues to shift. Nothing can stop it. Whether we think it’s coming, or we’re still stuck in a winter season believing the worst, that won’t stop SPRING from showing up. The question becomes, will we be ready for the shift?
Over the past few weeks, I have been constantly looking at my yard, and it was aggravating me. Why? Well, there were dead leaves and plants everywhere. Dirt had piled up in different areas because of constant rain, so the grass underneath couldn’t breathe. Bushes needed to be trimmed. Things looked dismal, at least to me. To anyone else, my yard probably looked just fine. After all, it is winter time; But it bothered me. This past weekend, I decided I had enough. With hubby’s assistance I set out to tackle the front and back yards…pulling weeds, getting rid of rhe dead stuff, trimming bushes, raking leaves, clearing the side walks, getting rid of extra dirt…I was on a mission. My husband commented that I kept saying I was done, but then he found me doing something else. It was tiring and I was exhausted, but I couldn’t stop until the deed was done. As I worked, I saw green things popping out from under the dead stuff. I saw hope…
Once we finished, I looked at the yard with pride. It looked good. I felt even better. Mentally, I felt clearer than I had in a long time. Then I realized, me on a mission to clear the yard was an area in which I had control. I could do something about the disarray in my yard. I could fix it, much in a way that I felt I couldn’t really do in my own life. Mentally, things had gotten a bit out of control. I didn’t fully believe in myself. My thoughts were running in every direction. I felt ugly, unkempt, overlooked, and was in need of a mental makeover. That makeover began the moment I decided to put self aside and tackle my yard. As I cleared away in the physical, the mental went along for the ride. Pruning away the dead things gave me a new chance…
As we anticipate a new season, many of us portray a facade of strength. We tell everyone we’re “fine,” and to the most keen observers we appear to be so; but many of us are not so, and it’s NOT ok. You don’t have to be in this place alone. I come as a conduit of healing for your mental struggle. It’s time to prune away those things that have had a vice grip on your thoughts, that have caused you to think suicidal thoughts, or at the very least wonder if anyone really cares…the thoughts that tell you you’re never enough, and you’ll never be as great as you thought you could. Let’s prune away brother. Let’s rise up sister.
We can, you can, absolutely go into this new season with a fresh lease on life. I can’t promise that things will always be roses and sunshine, because sometimes rain helps things grow and cleanses, but I can promise that if we put in the work, things will look better than they do right now. There is more than today, and whether we are on board, or simply standing by and watching, it’s time for a shift. We should be in the shift and ready. So, go ahead, take a deep breath. Hold it for a few seconds. Then exhale all the way. Now we’re ready. Let’s get to pruning. There IS something underneath all of that stuff waiting to grow.
Inspiration comes for me in the most random things. I may be staring mindlessly at the television, and in a commercial, something catches my attention that sends my mind racing to create content. Admittedly, sometimes I want to just be mindless, but it’s not in my DNA, I guess. 🙂 I’m ok with that. As I think about how my mind works, I recall watching my baby girl the other day. She was sitting on my lap and as I played with her, the thought came to mind that while I am teaching her things, she shows me something new every day. It’s an honor to be taught, even in simple things.
As baby girl was on my lap, she wanted something that I had. I saw her eyes light up when she saw it. I then saw almost the split second when she decided she wanted it. Not soon after, her little baby hands reached out to grab it, and despite my resistance to her having it, she kept reaching. She was not deterred as I tried to pull it out of reach. It didn’t upset her that I seemed uncertain about her having it. She kept coming after it. After a bit, because it wouldn’t hurt her to have it, I allowed her to have the item she so intentionally sought after. Then, she was satisfied. Now, I don’t always let her have the things she wants, but in this case, she earned it, and it wasn’t something she shouldn’t have. My own baby girl got me together.
What if we had that same single-minded determination to go after the things we are passionate about having? What if despite lack of support, in spite of obstacles, regardless of what things looked like or unfavorable circumstances, we still went after our goals? What if? My baby girl saw what she wanted, she went after it, and she didn’t stop until it was in her grasp. Just like a child, we can be this determined.
Admittedly, I had such high hopes as 2022 loomed on the horizon. I spoke highly of all the things I expected to see in this year, wrote down goals, talked big picture, and excitedly proclaimed that 2022 would be the best year yet; but, 2022 came in with a vengeance. I had a huge unexpected loss. As “on top” as I ended the year in my passion, it seemed that the work I put in was soon forgotten by others. My actual circumstances didn’t change, as much as I would have liked for the transition from 2021 to 2022 to have been a magical portal where all things changed immediately for the better. Yet, I still had all the things I had spoken for this new year hanging over me.
So, what do you do when you don’t “feel” it? Do you stand still in hopes that things will magically shift? Or, do you wallow in the fact that it appears nothing has changed and maybe you spoke out in hope when really you should have expected that nothing would be different? I know what the human side of us wants to do? Wallow. Doubt. Fear. Go back to what we’re used to because at least then we know what to expect. Settle.
But, my little girl reminded me of what is in me to do. Go after it. It may not be an easy path. It might get lonely, and sometimes you will wonder just why you keep doing what you do; but go after it. With determination, blinders on, believing in you when it seems no one else does, and knowing that within you there is purpose, go after it…and at the end of it all, because you determined to keep after it, I pray you see exactly what you were reaching for…and it’s greater than you could ever imagine. Like a child, go after it.