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Into the Light

11 Oct

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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.

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

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

The Mask

9 Oct

mask Stepping onto the scene of the masquerade ball, my mask broadly smiling with dimples in my cheeks, long lashes and painted lips. I dance until my feet tire.  My belly hungry for connection.

With the setting sun, I wrap up the sum of my day and eat it for dinner.  The taste not quite what I desire but I chew it anyway.  Swallowing slowing, drinking between bites, so as not to choke on the pieces.

My mind craving light. I search for it in the history of the hours previous, flipping through the words, the movements, allowing  space for kindness.  But finding myself standing alone on the porch, my offering brought inside, the door closed behind.

I turn and walk home, sadness riding on my shoulders.

The mask that  previously fit like a glove has become a bit lose lately. The elastic stretched and fraying. It is possible that I’ve outgrown the mold from which it was formed. Afraid it will fall off at the most inopportune time, exposing the pink skin beneath, I keep my movements small. Contained.

Working to replace what is worn , I try to fashion the mask into something usable.  My spirit prolonging the effort…mobility slowed. It is conflicted.  Uncertain if it should repair or remove, noting that each presents its own challenges. Undecided as to which is worse….Which it can endure.

The road is quickly disappearing beneath me…. Road

Put me in coach

3 Oct

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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.

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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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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.

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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..?

Dressed for Success??

28 Jul

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  I’ve heard that as you age you quit giving two cents about the silly things….

Periodically, I make up “life rules” to help make sense of and organize the craziness in my head. One tried and trusty one is “once I’m in, I’m in.” Which translates to once I’m in my home, I’m not going back out, unless the house is on fire…

I came home tonight and did what I always do. I made a beeline for my bedroom and changed into my comfy, well-worn sweats and a tank. (It is 105 outside but the inside of my house is a meat locker, thanks to Mr.K .)

Much to my dismay, I realized that a grocery store run was necessary to prevent a lunch preparation meltdown in the morning. I mean whatevvvaaa would my kid do without a sandwich AND ten snacks for lunch at summer camp???

….hmmmph….

Muling my options for about twenty minutes, it was simply unavoidable…I had to go…and I was going as is, damn it…NO way was I going to the store AND changing back into real clothes….. I mean, I live in a tiny little town and who is going to see me any way, I rationalized?

Apparently two of my co-workers – THAT  is who! Male and female….

I have a reputation….I like heels. I like makeup. I like to dress up….Simply put, I like being a girl. It isn’t a chore for me. It is a part of me. I feel my absolute best when I’m all put together.

Tonight?  Not so much….my hair was pulled messily in a half pony, half not…makeup all but gone from the 105 temps earlier in the day..sloppiness slopping out of every pore…..and I don’t care…or at least that is what I said when I walked out of my house…

First, from a distance I hear, “H, how was YOUR day today?” Assuming…I’m guessing… that I was wrangling bulls, given my appearance. I managed a quick smile,  half a wave, pushing my cart with all my might to the produce section…

Where my fashionable, cutie -putie co-worker caught me browsing the organics. “H, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in sweats.” ….

I responded with a flushed face and absent minded response…. “These are my pajammas.” …

HELLLLLOOO!! Wake up Call!!

What grown lady goes to Publix in her PJ’s on a Monday at 6pm!

Trying my best to escape anyone else who may loud-out my laziness, I start lobbing food from my cart..chocolate chips, chocolate chip cookies, Italian cream cake…three types of cheese….I glance up to make sure I’m not hitting anyone with flying food….

Who do I see? One of my favorite size 0 (–YES ZERO–) gym rats. She says, “I’m going to your house!” as she points to the conveyor belt full of crap-ola…

All I can do is hang my head and chuckle “I’m so busted tonight. Great.”

In the safety of my newly restocked kitchen, I start defending myself to Mr.K who is bewildered that I went out of the house as is….

“They say as you get older you don’t care about the silly stuff. I’m a grandma now…I can go out in curlers and slippers, If I WANT to, rightttt???”

…. Oh well, at least I was wearing a bra….

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