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I am… who I say I am

22 Sep

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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.

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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.

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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.” 

Choose Joy

6 Sep

 

Nehemiah 8:10 for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Love the colors, too!

Rain is always cold to the skin, despite the temperature outside. The two do not run tandem.

I’m not sure when I last played in the rain. Yoga in the rain, well that is simply awesome. Wet yoga on a freshly manicured outfield of baseball stadium…well that leaves me thunderstruck.

Our master yogi was young, humorous, pretty, and blond. She set the intention for this class within the first few moments of turning on her mic. Joy. To find joy on this day, in this place. Despite the chance we may find ourselves in a down pour. Our time, our energy was not lost because of our circumstances. We would find joy within the chaos and hopefully utilize this lesson in our every day life. I chuckled…It seemed a bit

dramatic.

At first the sprinkles were intermittent, barely kissing my skin. The sun, when peering through the billows of gray, was hotter than expected. Way hotter, like sear the skin off the bone hot. I realized, while holding downward dog, that I had not adequately prepared for the day. Rain would be a relief.

Looking up to find our instructor on the jumbo tron, my eyes stop on the lady in front of me wearing white pants and possessing a pillow of white hair atop her head. She was in her late sixties, maybe seventies. Fierce. (You have to be fierce to wear WHITE yoga pants!) While in a wide legged forward bend, with superb control and presision, she popped up into a handstand. Take my word for it. That is talent! Of the crowd of eighty or so, only four made the attempt. She was the only one with solid white hair.

The shower increased, making the easiest of poses, more extreme. My arms slipping off my legs. Eyes blinded by the mascara I applied with care earlier. Yet instead of frustration, or the need to compete with the amazing white pants in front of me, I found laughter. Laughter in the awe of the experience. Laughter because I’m well past the conventionally acceptable age to play in the rain. Yet, that was EXACTLY what I was doing.

Eventually, the sky opened up, claiming the day, causing our class to end ten minutes early. There was no use running to my car. Every inch of my body was already soaked. I tossed my flip flops and walked back barefoot avoiding rocks, openly laughing, squealing loudly as the rain picked up force.

I had no idea upon leaving my house this morning that I would find pure joy in the most obscure way. It wasn’t part of my expectation.

It shows that you can never predict where you will learn your next life lesson. You can only be open to the opportunity.

Mine?

You are never to old to play in the rain…to do yoga…on the outfield of a baseball stadium.

Be unconventional.

Learning to let the world around me to be whatever it needs to be: chaotic, rumbling, boisterous, wet….Somehow finding my inner peace, calmness and humor in the mist of it all. The outside can not influence the inside…unless I allow it.

Liberating.

Listen to me

30 Aug

“Does Anybody Hear Her” –  Lyrics by Casting Crowns

She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction ….

So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She’s another two years older
And she’s three more steps behind

She is yearning
For shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
And in walks her prince charming
And he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason
And she gives herself away…..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEhRucEVzH8 (For the full video)

Every single time I hear those lyrics my heart aches, a punch in the gut, my head falls to my chest. It is all to familiar.

At a luncheon last week, someone asked what advice would I give to my 16 year old self, if I could.

Since I was already pregnant at 16…my first thought was to SCREAM: DON’T DO IT!!! However, while my choice certainly altered my path, the sum of my life is much bigger than that one moment.

When I stand on a cliff, look down and flip back through my days, a theme jumps out of the monotony. Hindsight is always 20/20. . Rush, rush, rush….always in a hurry … to grow up, to hit the next mile stone…to get married…to buy a house.. to get to the next big thing…..

“Running a hundred miles per hour “

Now that I am in the last year of my 30’s I realize how silly that appears. WHAT was/is my hurry? Never satisfied I jumped from one thing to the next, thinking that would bring the satisfaction I hoped for. As a recovering perfectionist, I now know that never allowed myself to savor any accomplishment….Almost instantaneously, my thoughts would turn on me… I could have always done it better, smarter, faster…the list never ends and it was on constant replay. I was my own worst enemy.  Smiling on the outside, waging war on the inside.

So what would I tell my sixteen year old self?

To slow the hell down.

There is plenty of time for you, dear girl. Your focus should be to get it right instead of just getting it done. Enjoy where you are. Keep the negativity at bay and the rest will fall into place. It is easier than it seems.  Life doesn’t have to be so hard for it to be right.

Thankfully, one of the benefits of gray hair and fine lines is that it also comes with wisdom. This discernment is not lost on me. I am abundantly thankful to be able to reflect and review, possessing the ability and desire to refine.

Conscious that my time on this planet is more limited than before, it is my hope that my next thirty-nine years will be slower, more intentional. Don’t get me wrong. I honestly don’t have regrets. I truly love my life.  Even in the chaos, I quite like who I am, realizing it is culmination of all of my experiences. I only plan to use what I’ve learned to create the best possible, most fulfilling, future.

To make the most of ALL my days.

I am not who I was.

I am a work in progress.

I sincerely enjoy the process.

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Chats A Lot

21 Aug

"There's always something to write about. If there's not, then you need to live life more aggressively." - Min Kim #writing #quotes #inspiration

My then seven year old, energetic, bouncing ball of energy wasn’t himself when I picked him up from school that day. Head hung low, shoulders slouched, he avoided my eyes as we talked. When he finally gathered enough courage, he passed  a folded sheet of lined paper from his teacher into my hand.  It required my signature. Scanning quickly, I sighed.

Pausing between sentences, I said “T, why are you talking so much? …..   Is it because you are bored ? …..    Do you really have things on your mind that you need to say?….  Do you just want to hear noise?” My hands on my knees, I bent over to peer into those saucer sized green eyes that housed his spirit.

Sheepishly he responded, “I’ve got stuff on my mind. I need to get it out.”

Nodding knowingly, my shoulders and eyebrows rise with my inhalation.

I get that.  I respect it.

Growing up I was told that I talked to much…ALL the time. It was written on every single report card.  So much so, it made me question if I was worthy…worthy of having an opinion on any and everything, and all things in-between. My mind never stops analyzing, tweaking, working…Should I keep quiet until I’m an expert?

What followed were years where I consciously chose to temper my voice.  Internally, I was miserable, feeling severely misunderstood.

Fast forward a few years…(More like 25)….

Putzing around my home, doing absolutely nothing important, I distinctly heard in my spirit :

“I created you to speak.”

It was simplistic voice. A simple sentence. No emotion. Direct…without explanation to the meaning or the why….And, it wasn’t my own, the bossy voice I hear regularly who tells me what I should be doing.  It resonated from the pit of my soul and echoed in my ears. It was so strange that I twisted around quickly to see if someone snuck in my home and was about to attack me.

Nope. Just me. In my pajamas.

Whaaaattt???

MAJOR CONFUSION.

Whether you chose to believe in “those things” or not, is yours entirely to ponder. This is my truth. I heard what I believe is the voice of God from deep within my spirit.  Honestly, it left me more confused than comforted…and yet it was strangely freeing in that I knew, that I knew, THAT I KNEW, I needed to speak. My voice was and is important.

So what am I to speak about? Who knows. Certainly not me….not yet.

I do know that I have constant chatter in my head. In an effort to get the hamster off the wheel, I birthed this blog and named it Chats A Lot. Appropriate, I thought. This has become a place where my thoughts and my voice can run wild.

Life is complicated and wonderful. It is a culmination of all the things you decide it will be.  Sometimes who you think you are and the actions you take, are in conflict.I blog to explore those things that are complex.  To celebrate, to dissect and construct my future days. To become the person I want to be.

I blog because I secretly hope it inspires you to find your own true self. Whatever that means to YOU.  I don’t hold the definition but I hope this blog provides a window that will leave with the desire to search.

I blog because I  when it all boils down to it,  we all go through the same types of issues,  with different people and unfamiliar faces.  People tend to shy away from exposing their crazy.  I am decidedly the opposite.  I fling back the curtain in the name of growth. I hope you find encouragement here in knowing you are not alone. I, in turn, find strength when you ‘like’ or comment. It reminds ME that I’m not on a solitary journey.

I blog to find peace, for change, for growth.

I blog because I can…and…I have stuff to say.
writing quote from Joan Didion. Amen to that, I totally do this.

Values

12 Aug

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Most people would readily say, “Yes, of course, I have values!”

If pressed to explain how you experience those core beliefs, well that is a bit more complicated.

Defining the shape of your values is said to provide harmony between your mind, body, and spirit.  The idea is, the more you align your choices with your moral compass,  the happier and more satisfied you will become.

Happier? More Satisfied?  Yes, Please! Where do I sign up?

 

VALUE – noun

1) the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

2)a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.

 

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I’m very verbal. I communicate with ease. Yet, I found this process extremely laborious….What pained me the most is that I didn’t know why. Presented with a laundry list of key words to  get my juices flowing and construct my top six, I froze.

Deer in the headlights.

 My eyes skimmed over the pages, looking for a word to snag, as if fishing in one of those stocked fish farms. All of the words gasping at the surface for an opportunity to be chosen. If they didn’t leap out at me, why? Shouldn’t they be important too?  Pressure….

I started this assignment…several times…without headway…

Why was this so difficult.  Of course I have morals and ethics, right???

Diving deeper, I wondered what it meant to “experience values”? Was I allowing my moral compass to direct and organize my life?   Or, was it residing in a dusty file cabinet, under the dim flickering lights of a back room  that I only visited when in dire straits?….I knew they were there…but how often was I pulling them out to review? I thought I was living out loud, but maybe I wasn’t….Ah-haaaa….

Abandoning the official list,  I allowed my heart to take the lead to illustrate and craft what this all means to me.

Her voice is ALWAYS the one that speaks the loudest.

The truth is, I realized there were times that I was ALL in and others, that I simply wasn’t.  If the goal is to utilize your core beliefs in every decision, I should consult with her more often.  Investing in this relationship is imperative.  Her voice can’t be submerged by the day to day hustle and bustle, but so engrained that it rolls off my tongue with ease.

She holds the key to more happiness and satisfaction.

She is kind of a big deal.

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At the end of this project my list consisted of :

Balance, Family, Growth, Faith, Happiness, Kindness.

I am a work in progress.

Birthday Roundup

10 Aug

Simple. Effortless. Perfect.

Defining this birthday weekend is easy.  It isn’t often that I get a WHOLE weekend to call my own.  Taking my time, letting moments simmer, refilling my spirit until it bubbled over with peace and happiness.

This was my plan.

It started with lunch on Friday with my some of my favorite co-workers. A place where “food is love”. I’m grateful to work with such genuine, kind souls.

Dinner with my two boys followed while their dad worked an odd shift. Thankfully he only works this shift every now and again.  I’m not complaining though,  I had the boys all to myself in a corner booth. Only another mother can fully understand the joy that leaps from your spirit when a child that has moved into his own space, graces you with his presence.  To have both of your children within arms reach, puts the rhythm of your heart back in sync.

To wrap up Friday, an evening  visit with the Princess. The prettiest little thing you ever did see. Rocking her to sleep, hearing her breathe  in and out…there are no words to describe how perfect this is. catalina 810

Saturday brought my 12 year old’s specialty – boiled eggs accompanied by my hubby’s  (A.K.A. Bacon Maker) -crispy strips of bacon. I gobbled them down with a smile.

Food

  Birthday morning snuggles.  Even though we have a very large sectional, both puppies and my youngest prefer to be on the same square I’m sitting on…that would be my left arm in the pink robe.

 They love their momma.

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Reading  love notes on my couch from my Facebook friends and family inspired me.  You all know sure know how to make a lady feel special!

I couldn’t think of a better day to give a donation.

blood

Give Blood. Give Life.

Recouping with a seafood dinner later that evening with my boys – youngest and the bacon maker, in a beautiful location….with  bloody marys

(I guess I kept the theme going!)

blood mary's. might be nice to have mini mimosas and blood mary's for morning folks. doubt many would drink them, but it might be nice to offer.

Ending a fantastic weekend with another visit with the Princess.

My tummy and heart are full.  My shoe fund received a few deposits.

I’m a happy girl.

Life is good.

Hoping  this last year in my 30’s is as easy, simple and perfect as this weekend.

Live for the moment... I believe in this. hope you had a wonderful day..?

Gifts of the heart

19 Jul

Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind kindness quote

The kindness received this week left me feeling humbled, special, loved.

If I’m honest with you, I like to be the giver.  I’m comfortable in that roomy over-stuffed arm chair.  I believe in the pit of my being that it is our duty to help other people along their journey, in what ever way you can, at any given moment. When I am the giver, I’m empowered to complete this mission.

Random strangers often engage in conversation with me.  It happened just yesterday as we were walking from the parking lot into a restaurant for dinner.  The lady was older and appeared to have nervous energy. She told me she was there to celebrate her brother’s birthday.  With in 30 seconds, she also pointed out that she had some how smeared make up on her navy blue dress, rubbing it feverishly with her thumb.  I smiled and said, “Well you still look beautiful.”  It was enough for her to return the smile, chuckle a bit, and I believe, stand a tad taller.

My husband is always amazed at what perfect strangers will say to me….Over the years, I’ve come to cherish  these exchanges.  My curiosity dances and I can’t wait for the conversation to unfold, looking for moments to slip in words of encouragement, for the opportunity to be kind, to help them along today’s journey.

So when I was on the receiving end of kindness this week, I questioned why I  felt humbled.  Yes, yes, I felt abundantly loved and special. I grinned from ear to ear. However in the stillness, humbled kept rising to the top, knocking on the door of my spirit.

The voices in my head kept saying, “You mean I was important enough for you to think about on your trip? To share your high dollar (and sinfully delicious) French cookies with? To receive a gift from the heart from a man whose eyes danced in the  joy in the giving?”    Why me? What did I do to deserve such blessings this week?

While giving is a core value,  I often hold myself to a double standard when it comes to receiving.  I must EARN kindness, must DO something to be liked, to be loved….< Side note to myself – Oh, I have work to do here ! >

In reflection, I realized when you are  always the giver, it can feel like a position of power.  You see, deep down, whether you’ve acknowledged it or not, you feel you don’t NEED any thing, any one. ….There is a little pride mixed in there.

…Interesting….Because that is not who I want to be.

I’m learning. I’m growing.  Leaning into those things that make me uncomfortable, scraping off the dead layers to reveal the new.

Learning to give AND receive.

 

 

 

kindness quotes | Scatter Kindness Wall Quote

 

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Trust Your Intuition

15 Jul

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Letter to Ashley

12 Jul

Dear sweet beautiful Ashley,

I saw it in your big brown eyes. Heard it in the tremble of your voice.  The residual pain lingered on the surface  from when someone unknowingly spewed judgement over your life.  Those words that insinuated that your choices didn’t line up with their view.  At that moment the world stopped for me. The air evaporated from the room. My stomach twisted and was tense…I didn’t respond the way I wanted to.  I have a hard time processing hate on the fly.

It has been on my heart and on my mind ever since.

I don’t want ANY young lady, who chooses to give life, to feel like she doesn’t live up to some invisible standard. Especially one whom I adore and love.

I believe with all my heart that God blesses those who make hard choices that line up with his word.  I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it.

When I look back at all those people who insisted they were doing it “right”, I shake my head.  I wouldn’t want their shoes for anything in the world.

I’ve watched you with the princess.  You are going to be amazing at this mom thing!  Don’t let anyone tarnish your sparkle.  Shut out that judgmental nonsense.  “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do”  – Job 23:10.

You have so much love to give.  I promise you,  God doesn’t make mistakes!

With all my heart I shout to the world that we are so proud of you! I pray abundant blessings over your life.  I can’t wait to watch you grow and watch God work in your life.

Good things are coming! Hold on tight! This is going to be a beautiful bumpy road.

He Knows Where I'm Going - Job 23:10 - Bible Verse - Blank Notecard - Encouragement - Graduation - Blank Inside - Gold. $4.00, via Etsy.

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