Archive | Encouragement RSS feed for this section

Go Left

3 Nov

609d6f2c2065d435b48d6061e35a15c9

Getting ready for work this morning, I slipped on a familiar pair of pants. Hmph…tighter than I remembered.

The side zipper biting into my fleshy hip. I take a few steps, shake out my legs… trying to decide if I can tolerate 9 hours with the pinch….Undecided….Shruggingly rationalizing that maybe they will get looser as the day goes on….Sliding a sweater over my tresses, I glance at my reflection.

Muffin top….

Not.gonna.work….I flip through the hangers with a bit more force than necessary to find a slightly roomer version… without the pinch.

One more look….Turning to the left, then the right.

WHAT THE HELL? My sweater, which I’ve  decided at this VERY moment is my favorite, has a spot on the sleeve….not a little spot either.  Surely it wasn’t there the last time I wore it. I wouldn’t have wasted the energy to wash, dry and hang…damn the wasted energy!

Frustrated…feeling like I must have gained five pounds JUST this weekend…. and THIS is why my clothes shrunk…and has stains.

I’m mad…mad at my weekend food choices….chocolate drizzled popcorn…wine…cheese…Oh to HELL with the Mexican deliciousness!

I toss the sweater in the trash. Heading back into the black hole that is my closet, it  has now consumed my daily dose of self esteem. I don’t even care at this point. Wherever my hands land, that is what I’m going with.

I forgo cute shoes for flats…the right toe slightly chewed by the Damn Daisy Dog. WHATEVER, that is how I feel at this point.

BLAH…

Spilling my coffee…dropping my phone…and my book…using fumes left in my tank to get the car on the road.

I listen to music in an attempt to sooth the angry spirit now roaming inside. It is looking for any little trigger to sink it’s teeth…I mouth the lyrics without much energy. Drinking the last of my  coffee, the heat long gone from the 45 minute ride.

Traffic is unusually light.

I glance at the clock, noting that  I’m actually a little early. Fishing my sunglasses from the bottom of my purse, I look around at the other cars rushing around me. I wonder if they are running late…or are they early too?

And…out of no where the fog lifts.

 

Of course my belly is rounder than it used to be….

I have never known the feeling of hunger. I have enough.

My tummy isn’t as toned and etched as it once was in my twenties….I’ve lived a couple extra decades…happily.

This abdomen stretched to hold two healthy miracles to full term, a decade apart. They changed the world for the better. They are my greatest gift.

 

It is softer, wider, lived in….

  I’m blessed. I am thankful.

No complaints. Just gratitude.

Perspective changes everything.

Advertisements

These heels were made for walking…..

19 Oct

dbae314e60654dca97c109b3e8f92971

A good girl with a rebellious heart.

Comfortable in the sea of black pants and sweater sets, car pool lines and packed lunches. My defiance for the norm tends to show its face in my choice of shoes.

I wear heels. A lot. Great, kick ass shoes.

I don’t wear them for men.  I’ve had the same one of those for more than half my life. I’m certainly not looking to start that process over again. He actually prefers flats…canvas tennis shoes to be exact.  I’ve told him that he may have married the wrong woman… thankfully, he vehemently disputes.

What I’ve learned over the last few decades is that wearing canvas tennis shoes literally kills my spirit with each eyelet. I was born to wear heels. The higher the better.  Add grommets and I’m in shoe heaven.  They make me feel tall….skinny…and put together.

What surprises me are some of the remarks I get from other women. It is as if I was parading around in nothing BUT heels.

Don’t get me wrong, I can decipher the comments. Most are genuine and sincere. “Great shoes!” They smile and I beam in response. We are forever connected by the love of fashion.

Sisters from another mister.

For those who sling digs, hidden under the cloak of a compliment…Keep it to yourself Missy. I can see you. Your raised eyebrow  and tilted head, scoffs stuttering out, over and between your words.

I’m wearing shoes, not a dunce cap.

Simultaneously holding the ability to empower…and crush…with the flick of our tongue. Why choose the latter?

The older I get, the more I realize women need women. Women who support one another in ways men just can’t understand. Women to lift each other up when we are at our wits end trying to balance work, family, laundry, finances, church groups and toilets….

Nothing looks more beautiful on you than love. The good news is the more you share it, the more it comes back to you.

Come on ladies. Let’s rise above. Put on those heels, and rock it.

DSC_6366.1

Into the Light

11 Oct

4bb4e0593b708bc0985ab1c346ff1280

Because life isn’t always sunshine and puppy dog tails….and it is OKAY to bring that part of you to the table too. Pull up a chair and have conversation with it….and about it.

Surely we’ve learned by now that life is to short to hide behind the curtain of perfection. Keeping you trapped with the illusion of control, it is nourished by fear.  Movements limited by the box you’ve constructed around you. Each layer of protection adding a brick to the pile, building until it towers over you,  impairing your vision… and ability to see the future. When hope retreats, the shadows slithers in.

Shining a light on the pieces I’d rather hide leaves me vulnerable. Yes.

It allows space for judgment. Yes.

But where there is light, darkness must flee.

I fight the demon of depression with all my might. Tremendously thankful that he rarely wins these days. However, it isn’t for lack of trying on his part. Like an old boyfriend who thinks there is a snowball’s chance that the love will rekindle, he shows up regularly at the gate holding roses and calling my name.

“Aren’t you tired? Sick and tired? Come rest in my arms.”  he whispers

Tossing a small wave as I walk by the pen that contains him, I smile internally.  Smirking because today I have the upper hand.  He doesn’t know just how blessed I am.  Don’t misunderstand, he isn’t interested in hearing. Unreasonable and manipulative, he is.  He disputes my truth, throwing daggers into my picture perfect memory.  But today I move like a ninja, avoiding his taunts with quickness and agility. My bouncy step flippant to his gestures. His words rolling off my shoulders, crashing on the cement beneath my feet, my ears muffle the sounds.

Admittedly, though,  there are times I get a little to close to the fence. Mesmerized by the reflection of self pity, he pulls me in. His breath swirling into mine. Brushing the hair out of my eyes he requests a dissertation of all the wrongs. His arms around my shoulders, pulling me closer as I melt into him. Buying me drinks while we talk, he piles each ill on top of the other. Stacking like a game of Jenga. Trusting him now, I mouth the last crime against my heart. Before the sentence completes,  the ills tumble to the ground, embarrassing me with erupting  sound of shattering glass in an otherwise quiet room. Heads turning quickly in my direction  to see the mess I’ve made. It is public humiliation.   Knowing my weaknesses, he pushes my emotions to the top until they over flow, spilling out in the form of tears.

He is no friend of mine.

Yet my feet do not move. Stuck as he dives deeper into my pain exposing wounds that have yet to heal.  I’m paralyzed in the darkness.  Weak from  being in the pit to long, the lack of sunshine and food. I use the last remaining scraps of energy I can muster to rally the truths of Faith.  I lean into the scripture they speak, allowing it to form a shield against my body. Limp from exhaustion, their wings carry me to the safety of the sidelines… and I rest.

Breathing in God’s grace until my lungs are full,  I rise stronger than the time before.  Bones mended, heart healing by the freshly oxygenated blood in my veins. Vowing to never return to this cottage of despair, I stand to brush the dirt from my backside, shaking lose the excess. My legs still wobbly, I walk towards the sun. It’s light eclipsing the mess I’m leaving behind.

Desperate  for more control over the curves thrown my direction. I recant the words softly spoken over me in battle.

 Choose Life. Choose Happiness.

ba203584bdda532805aba5acc573539f

One of my favorite songs that help me walk into the sun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzGAYNKDyIU

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

Without a net

4 Oct

image

Writing gives a voice to the words I’m afraid to speak. Sitting at my keyboard, I press out the wrinkles of confusion.

Baring my soul with every stroke, exposing the spidery blue-green veins lying just beneath the surface of my skin…. Hoping you won’t slit my wrists with your tongue.

It is a vulnerable response to the interpretation of my world and those living in it. Yet, one I willingly chose, without the safety of a net or protection from the elements.

On one hand it is extremely risky. On the other, deeply satisfying.

Words tumble out…and down the page, head over foot. Thoughts scattered like a game of pick up sticks. They are looking for the softest place to land, restless until it is found.

The text doesn’t look for congruency. THAT is not their intention.  Frankly, it isn’t needed.

They simply sit on the page wanting to be acknowledged. Neatly organized in their freshly pressed uniform of choice. Relaxed hands folded in their lap, feet crossing at the ankles. They wait.

See me.

Hear me.

Understand me.

Put me in coach

3 Oct

image

I don’t like sitting on the side lines. I’m an “ALL IN” or “nothing” kind of girl.

I want to be on the team and I want to participate in EVERY game.

….or I want to go home and put on my pajamas.

IN or OUT

Piece by piece, I devour the play book..over and over… I study until I find gaps. Then I work to fill them…My appetite for dissecting strategy never wanes. Every nugget feeding my passion to learn.

I want on the team but my ego isn’t comfortable being center stage. In fact, I’m a bit skittish to be the pitcher. All eyes focused on his windup. A collective gasp from the stands, releasing only when the ball meets the catcher’s glove.  His choice of pitches are constantly questioned by those not wearing a uniform.  Their voice loud as it drifts through the stands and onto the diamond.

In baseball, there is no possible way to win the game with an inadequate pitcher. If they are having an ‘off‘ night, they get pulled. Often in the middle of the inning, forcing a walk of shame back to the dug out. Not before, however, a seemingly supportive one-on-one with the coach.  Backs turned to on lookers, I often wonder what they are saying….How do you publicly tell one of your premiere players it is time to sit down now….. As a player, how do you handle that with grace?

It is a tough position to play.

I would not sign up for the whole world to witness that. In fact, I’ve spent most of my life avoiding the walk of shame… like the plague….

The catcher is required to wear so much protective equipment, he barely can move.  Leg guards, knee savers, a heavily padded leather glove the size of a dinner plate, vision limited by a cage protecting his face. Which is no doubt further limited by the sweat dripping from his brow. They are outfitted for a fight…. Some would say that I rarely back down…they could be right. However, I never go looking for it.  No, this position doesn’t sound appealing to me.

I’m happiest on first base. It calls my name.

First base has a foot hold in the action but also has a bit of distance from the voices in the stands. He doesn’t rest idly waiting for a play. He is in the game, with every swing of the bat.  Multitasking is a must, monitoring all of the bases for movement with each and every hit.  Thinking instantaneously,  maneuvering nimbly and with out hesitation, he eagerly awaits the ball in play.

As my cleats hit the clay, I realize I’m also desperate to not miss my opportunity at bat.

In the batting cages, I’m perfecting my swing, my stance.  Striking out is not an option. I’m simply not patient enough to wait for the bating order to come around to me again….That is a whole lot of sitting and a whole lot of waiting.

I wasn’t made to be a bench warmer.

With diligence and the right amount of preparation, I’ll be ready when the pitch rolls down the plate.  Hearing my bat kiss the face of the ball, splitting the air like the sharpest of knives, I’ll shoot my  hands in the air for the victory lap.

When the inning turns over, I’ll resume my spot on first base.  Scanning the field every few seconds to analyze the players of game, mindful of the ever changing strategy.

When it is quiet, and honesty rises to the surface, I want in the game.

ALL IN.

Put me in coach, I’m ready to play.

image

I am… who I say I am

22 Sep

a187403ee6ccaed805099ff39564d6a6

Guilty. I’m guilty of allowing the heaviness of outside opinions to penetrate who I know myself to be. Sometimes I alter my expression to suit…More often than not, I  permit their words to sink into my spirit, fueling the voice that sets my limitations. Somehow I believe they must see clearer than I do. From their perch, they can detect the real me.

The truth is, everyone judges each other. It is human nature.  It is how we categorize…What we choose to pursue. What we choose to walk away from…. We peer through our own spectacles, tainted by the dusty roads we’ve left behind, to evaluate each situation, opportunity and character trait.

We assess what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ from the vantage point of our own road, yet we are interpreting your circumstance.

Recently, when faced with the betrayal of unflattering chatter, I tossed this idea around a bit. Juggling each side, inspecting closely for authenticity. Contemplating what I should allow to stay and what  I’ll toss out with last week’s trash.

Conclusion?

Perception is not truth. It is a feeling.

Feelings are finicky and often power hungry.

Perception, without the knowledge and understanding of intention, is dangerous.

This isn’t to say that we should turn our back on feedback. Feedback can be enlightening and helpful, for sure. When accepting feedback, consider the source, the voice and the value it brings to your life. Know that you get to decide where it be housed. Will it find its way to the top shelf of your thoughts? Or will you dismiss it from your arena?

Just because someone says it, it doesn’t always make it true.

Taking off my mirrored shades, the light is blinding. Slipping on a cute, introspective pair, my view is a bit rosier….and free of those thoughts that no longer serve me.

3f10f3270df9bb39ec173ce3829247c1

Dream Weaver

15 Sep

Intricately spun with precision. Moving diligently with perfection and grace as it crosses, then descends.  It is an unequaled masterpiece.  I stop to gaze; amazed by the ability of such a small creature to weave so beautifully.  Elegantly trapping her dinner…the Martha Stewart of nature.  Perched high on my toes, I tilt my head to the left, and then the right, analyzing the design nestled between two trees. All while keeping watch on the moving spider inside.

Twice this week, while walking through trails, I’ve passed two colossal banana spiders. Often painted with brightly colored bodies, stripped leggings, and spanning the width of my palm, they are quite the sight.  Scary because of their size, they command attention. I willingly give it to them, watching with childlike curiosity.

imagesP9XO5ZI5

Both weavers ironically were in the same predicament. Working feverishly, you could see the anticipation as the web bounced with movement.  Wrapping, spinning, scurrying up and down the silk lines they drew the day before. No doubt, salivating over the meal they were so hungry to devour.

As I watched from a distance, a twinge of sorrow swept over me.  For all their effort, they deserved a meal made for a queen. But it wasn’t there. It wasn’t in their web.

No.  A fallen brown leaf, had become tangled. Twisting in the wind, it gave the impression of life.  She worked as if it were true.

Both times I thought, “I wonder if they know they are working on a leaf” Surely not.

Shrugging, realizing I was unable to assist…If I tried, the potential of damaging the web was high. Pulling her farther from her only goal, satisfying hunger. She would have to rebuild, spending even more energy…No, that wasn’t fair. I could only watch with the hope she realized her mistake quickly.

With nothing more for me to do, I continued my walk wondering how many times in our lives,   —-  read here  < In my life > —  , are we working so hard to accomplish the things we think we need? What we think we want?  Putting in long hours, wearing ourselves out, spending time fruitlessly, going into spiritual debt….working….spinning….

Only for someone, with the clarity of distance to say, “I wonder if she knows that is just a ….leaf?” Having the same realization that we must do this alone. Forced to watch as we flounder, expending unnecessary energy in an area that will not serve us. Prayerfully they are hoping we “get” it sooner than later.

Simultaneously I was aware that I’ve felt this way many times watching my children…If only I could make their path straighter, clear of debris…easy…Yet I know…I know… it doesn’t work that way. They are better equipped for their next bump when they muscle through today’s struggle.

I wonder how many times God looks down at our choices and responds the same way?

“It is only a leaf dear girl…move along. I have greater things planned for you.” 

%d bloggers like this: