Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…


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Between Two Worlds

Many of us find ourselves between two Worlds. The first world is the one based on what used to be–when things were “safe.” The second world is more uncertain. It is uncomfortable and unfamiliar terrain. As we stand perched between the two, we struggle with our identity. Will we go back to being the person we were before things “changed,” or will we have to readjust and accept that our new normal also forces us to be a new us? Many of us reminisce on the recent past as if we are our ancestors telling their great-grandchildren what happened “back in the day.” We remember the freedom to go where we wanted without having to think about what our choice could do to our families. We remember hearing someone sneeze and us quickly responding “God Bless You,” instead of everyone scattering to all sides. We remember what it was like to choose to stay inside. We remember.

We are forced to adjust, realizing that things will never quite be the same. For some, it’s just the way it is. For others, it is an unfortunate and annoying inconvenience. Still, for others, there is the tragedy of adjusting to a life in which a loved one may have been an unexpected casualty of this war. Between two Worlds, we wonder if we will ever feel as “free” as we used to feel. Will the sunshine feel the same? Will shopping in the store be a welcome distraction, or will it now have us hypervigilant about who is around us. No doubt about it, things will be different.

But, as we straddle the fence between the two worlds, no matter how much has changed, some things remain: The impenetrable ability of people to bounce back and thrive still holds true; the intrinsic optimism and hope for better will keep people striving to see what they desire; the will to survive will have us struggling through to see the other side. In this in between time, we will regroup. We will mourn. We will wonder. In the end, we will arrive in this new normal prepared to rediscover those things that make us smile, laugh, hope, love…

There is an “after this.” So, like many of you, I wonder how things will be in this new world. There is some trepidation, and I will be cautious while re-entering into society, but one thing I know is that there can be and absolutely is better on the horizon. So, prepare yourself. We’re going in.


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Growth in Adversity

Our world is in the grips of a pandemic unlike anything we have seen before. Shelter in Place orders have been sent. Curfews have been established. Restaurants and businesses are shuttering their doors, temporarily for some, but indefinitely for others. People are panicked and searching for answers. In the midst of a tumultuous time, our world could use a glimmer of hope. Every day, the media recounts the rising number of people affected by the Coronavirus. The news is often bleak and dismal. There seems to be no light at the end of a neverending tunnel. Stores have run out of essentials-bread, milk, eggs, and surprisingly enough, toilet paper. It reminds me of Charles Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cities” in which he writes, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

As we look at all the negativity surrounding this pandemic, we see another narrative evolve; This narrative shows families coming together unintentionally for some much needed family time…married couples have a chance to reconnect…those of us who have big dreams that we put on the shelf have time to pursue the passions which life had begun to extinguish. That book…now, you can write it. That virtual class…now, you can take it. That teenage son or daughter you seem to always bump heads with…now, you can refresh your relationship. Yes, the extra time with family can get annoying or frustrating, and yes, too much of something CAN become a bad thing, but now we can pursue, reconnect, rediscover…a very bad virus is opening the door for some major rejuvenation in our society.

As I was leaving home one day to go to the grocery store for some essentials, I took a moment to look around at the stillness. No one else was outside. The air felt like it was holding its breath, but not in an unappealing way. I felt an expectancy, a hope, a promise for the future. I saw how the flowers were still blooming and the trees were beginning to show their colors…and still, the ground was opening up to yield the next flowers which will add color to the world…I saw us, the world, after this.

Things will be different. We will have to readjust to a world that was ravaged by an unexpected pandemic. Some will have to reconcile the loss of loved ones with the thought of continuing in a world without them. I’m sending prayers up for you. In all, however, the world will resume. Just as the flowers, trees, and bushes know to blossom every Spring, our world has the capability to heal and walk in the new awareness this pandemic brought to light. Don’t let this “opportunity” pass you by. Grow from this. Take advantage of it. Come out of this better, stronger, more loving and kind…you owe it to yourself, and a better you makes for a better world. Use wisdom. Be safe. Grow.


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Corner Chronicles

*This post translates in a different way from my typical blogs. I went with it because I believe all things happen for a reason, and maybe someone needed to hear this come out in this way.*

I see you over there hiding in plain sight, secretly looking around, wondering if anyone notices you. I see you tentatively step out, hoping to be seen, but quickly stepping back into your corner when no one looks your way. I feel your repressed pain emanating in waves from where you stand, pressed into a corner, comforted in knowing that at least no one can get to you without you seeing them first. Inside, you desire to be seen, to be loved, to be appreciated, noticed, but outwardly you present as confident and content. “After all, if no one cares to see what’s really going on, why should you have to tell them.” At least that’s what you convince yourself to believe. You sit in your corner and you wonder time and again why it feels like you’re overlooked and unnecessary. Why is it that no one seems to notice you unless they need something? If you weren’t there in your little corner, would they even miss you? You watch as it seems life keeps passing you by. Others are appreciated. Great things happen to “them,” but you sit holding the pieces of a heart yearning to be seen, to be wanted, to be celebrated. To everyone else, it looks like you have it “going on.” You know you’re hurting. But, where do you turn in a world that seems to only be concerned for itself? You tried praying, but even in that you felt as if your prayers only reached the ceiling. You tried expressing, but that only went so far. You tried to massage a hurting heart by staying busy and filling your empty moments with busy work, but that busyness only piled onto the hollowness and echoed as it all fell to the bottom. So, you retreated to your corner. You’re not ready to give up on the world, but you can’t find your place in it. What do you do with a life that doesn’t seem necessary to anyone around you?

Well, I see you, trying to mask your pain under the facade of confidence. I see the hurt, the desires, the strength for everyone else but yourself. I see your propensity to give and give to others, at the expense of yourself. I see you. I see how many times you were ready to throw it all away, to drive and keep going, to disappear and turn off your phone. I see you. Those times you were so frustrated, but others needed you to be level-headed, so you buried your frustration. I see how you have wanted to jump up and down to get people to really care about you, but instead you kept loving and giving out of a place of emptiness. Functioning on fumes, you’re somehow still standing. “If “they” only knew how close you were to giving up, would they care?”

But, I see how each time you contemplate giving up, you take another breath. You wipe away the tears, and you stick your chest out. You declare to yourself, “If I can just make it one more day, I will be alright.” Then, you take just the tiniest step out of the corner, determined that you will not go down in defeat. I SEE you winning.

You are NOT alone. Just the fact that you’re breathing makes a difference in this world. Who you are, the essence of your being, the purpose in your body, makes the world better just because you are here. Yes, the encourager sometimes needs encouragement. The giver needs to be poured into. The lover needs to be loved; but, you made up in your mind that no matter how low you feel, you WILL NOT be defeated. So, I celebrate your victory. I give you a standing ovation for choosing life. This moment is not the end for you, and I anticipate every joyful moment to come due to the wealth of tears you have sown. I see you living victoriously. So, right there in your little corner, I see you as victory. Can’t wait to celebrate with you.


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Spring Forward

Today, we mark the occasion of “spring forward.” We celebrate more daylight time. Unofficially, we begin to say goodbye to Winter and we look forward to Spring. Outside, the weather is changing as leaves find their way back to branches and color begins to infuse the world with a sense of vibrancy and life. Things are changing. Outwardly, we’re optimistic as we look forward to time spent in the sun, festivals, warm breezes and cool treats. Things are changing.

But, what if all of these changes are only happening on the outside? What if all around us things are looking brighter, and to the person watching us, things couldn’t be better…but inside our hearts and our minds are still curled up in the freezing grip of a self-imposed Winter season? The dichotomy of our outward self warring with our inner being sometimes makes life interesting. Which self will win?

As I thought about the approaching Spring, I put myself in a self-reflection mode. I began to peruse the pages of my life, and I parsed out the things that I am not happy about, the things that don’t make me smile, the hidden doubts and fears that all but the very astute miss…I thought about the part of me that presents a perfect front, when inside I just want to be accepted, understood, wanted. I walked through my own mind and saw the times I thought I wasn’t good enough, and saw where I had spoken positive things, but the words didn’t reach my heart. I saw, for the first time in a long time, me, and in that place, I accepted every bit of me. I accepted that I won’t always get things right, and sometimes I won’t love the space I am in; but, I also accepted that my permanent place is not in lack or misunderstanding, but in a place of love, power, and the expectation of seeing everything my heart desires. Me is a beautiful place.

So, as this Spring approaches, I challenge you to do some Spring cleaning within yourself. Clean out the “dust” from your corners, and clear out the cobwebs that threaten to keep you in a tangled up place. Be willing to embrace who you are–every flaw, every doubt, every fear, but know that you are MORE than those things. As this Spring hurries to greet us, prepare yourself to expect on a new level, live on purpose, love deeply, and smile frequently.

Spring forward from within, and watch how your world unfurls to greet you. Things are changing…


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It’s In Me

A few days ago, I was sitting in a restaurant with one of my clients. As I sat, it felt as if someone was staring at me. With a quick glance around, I noticed an older gentleman looking my way. I acknowledged him, but then continued on with my client meeting. As I continued to share with my client, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the gentleman leave his table and head towards ours. In my head, I was not sure why he would be approaching the table. Honestly, I was prepared to show him my ring finger so he could understand I wasn’t open to being approached in “that” way if this was his intention. I mean, you can’t be too sure when a stranger approaches you. 🙂 His actual intentions blew my mind.

As he drew near to the table, he greeted us and then turned directly to me and began to ask questions. He asked me what I do for a living, and I told him that I am involved in several things, one of them being an inspirational speaker. At this, his eyes lit up, and he said to me, “That’s it. That’s what I sensed in you. There is an aura about you that draws attention, and I had to come over here to see what it was about.” From here, he proceeded to tell me, a complete stranger, about his hopes and dreams, and what he wants to do. At this point, I am completely in awe at this interaction. It felt surreal, and it caused me to pause within myself for just a moment. Here I am, functioning in a completely different capacity, but this man sensed something in me that had him interrupting my meeting to tell me about it. As he continued, a part of me rejoiced, while another part of me wondered why I had ever doubted the part of me he was able to see.

When you function in a certain capacity, sometimes you doubt whether you are effective. At least, I have. Sometimes you wonder if your purpose has expired, and you consider throwing in the towel, believing that no one will miss what you do and who you are. You become a comparison analyst, looking around and seeing that others seemingly do what you do, and do it better. You watch as others “flock” to someone else, and you determine that maybe you will let things rest for a while. Oh, maybe that wasn’t you, but it was me. But, that man reignited the flame in me. He reminded me that Grace is not something I made up. Me as the writer, speaker, encourager, uplifter, motivator, adjutator, lover…is just in me. Even when I am not specifically functioning as such, there’s just something about me…

Maybe you have doubted yourself…maybe who you thought you were came under attack because of life. It’s now time for you to be revived. There are many who may seemingly do what you do, but they are NOT you. They can’t touch those whom you can touch. They are not meant to encourage those you are meant to encourage. There is only ONE you, and you were created to be uniquely, naturally, and amazingly you. So write, speak, function, be. It’s in you.


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With Childlike Faith

Recently, I watched my baby girl in her daily activities. I watched as she learned how to navigate from one spot to another in the room, as she crawled intentionally towards her goal, and she stopped and enjoyed reaching her goal just long enough to move on to the next activity. She was determined and focused. Even as she worked to stand on her own, she fell time and again, but she kept getting back up and trying again. She inspired me. She is me.

What if we all moved forward in our daily lives with the same childlike faith? What if we “fell” and picked ourselves right back up and tried again? As I watched her over and over, she reminded me that I am better than my seeming failures, and sometimes to perfect a thing, I have to keep going after it. Just because things don’t work out as I may have hoped, that doesn’t mean it’s time to quit. That just means I regroup and start again.

So, looking over my 2019, I see where I thought I failed. I see where I didn’t get the responses I hoped for, the times I wanted to give up, and the times I felt overlooked. But even looking at all of that, I see my baby girl in me. She got her determination from somewhere, and I have to believe it’s at least partially from me, because at the end of the year, I am still moving forward. Having fallen time and again, I chose to keep getting back up.

Maybe your year has not been what you hoped. Perhaps you didn’t accomplish everything you desired to. Maybe you thought you failed. Maybe. But, the great thing is that there’s another day to do things differently. Use each new day as a fresh opportunity. Use this New Year as a “start again.” With childlike faith, we can all win.

At the end of it all, you’re still standing, and that is an accomplishment in itself. Happy New Year!


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Through Her Eyes

I am fiercely protective. Like mother bear protective…and it’s not just of my daughter (though I am of her too), but it applies to anyone close to me. My husband tells me that I stand up for the world because I will argue on someone’s behalf even when it does not directly affect me. I have never thought about why I do so until now. When I thought about it, I had a realization: I protect others as I wish I had been protected.

Somewhere inside of me, the little girl I tried to ignore, has caused me to be intentional about insuring others don’t feel rejected, abandoned, unnecessary…that little girl, who grew into a young adult, that has now transformed into a woman of wisdom, makes sure that others don’t feel the way I used to. So, my experiences make me protect others…they make me love others.

Never has it been me consciously trying to be “Captain Save Everyone,” but life has made my response one in which I refuse to be bitter, but instead I work to make things better for someone else.

What have your experiences created in you? How have they shaped you? Are you bitter or better?

When I realized that I was seeing through the eyes of that little girl hidden inside of me, I realized that there was good that came of seeing that way, but it is time to progress past that place. I can still be protective, but as I am learning with my own little one, I have to give space for others to fight for themselves and realize their own worth and power.

Every one of your experiences have led you to your responses of today, but never let the past be louder than the present. It happened. You survived it. Now live in today. See through the fresh lens of right now.