Friday, April 24, 2020

The Treasures in My Travels

Hi everyone,

I seemed to be on a writing roll this morning...

As I look around at the treasures I have collected on my travels it is the stack of maps that my heart is drawn to. I love the look and feel of maps. We can tell so much about life and periods in time by looking at them. They remind me of my own life. God looks down from heaven and can see it all so clearly. We can stand at point A and feel in our heart that there is a point B, but the map of our life may still be waiting for the roads to get us to our new destination to be constructed. Let’s face it, road construction is never fast or easy, and it never seems to take place at a conscientious why should we think that the construction of our road through life should be any different? Don’t we all hit pot holes every now and then? Don’t we all have some sort of car trouble at some point in life? Don’t we all encounter detours, and unforeseen obstacles in the highway, as we travel down this highway called life? 

Oh but the excitement! The excitement when He shows us the place that we truly know where we should be. It’s like a child waiting to go to Disney, they don’t ask if they are going to drive for 18 hours in a car or fly for just a few by plane. They don’t care how they get from point A to point B, they just know that they are going. For me this is the exciting part. I don’t know how He will take me from point A to point B. All I know is that I feel like a child with a new pair of Mickey Mouse ears as I wait to see His plan. And as I wait, as I write about this season of waiting, documenting my journey, I hope that one day it can serve as someone else’s map. I hope it can inspire others to look for their point B with the enthusiasm of a little child, and dare to pursue their dreams.


In the Stillness

Hi everyone,

Just my thoughts as I began my day... 

In the stillness before the dawn, the world sounds like a symphony. The crickets are the strings. Far off the rooster cries, like a horn, to add drama to the piece. The slow, steady conversation between the frogs in the freshly filled creek makes you wish you could understand what they were saying. Stars dot the sky, like white lights on a Christmas tree in a home filled with stillness before Christmas morning awakes. In the distance there is a hum on the highway as tires take people to their early morning jobs. Jobs that must be essential these days. I stop and pray for their journey. Pray for their day. Pray for their families. Because life can change so much in a day, in an hour, in a minute... 

Even my coffee tastes better this morning. As I switch on my string of Edison lights I couldn’t help but smile. It’s not that my coffee is different, maybe the light bulb has just come on in my own life, enlightening my senses even more to life around me. Maybe sheltering at home has allowed me to get some much needed rest, even in the midst of working. Maybe being alone with my thoughts in the quiet of my prayers, has allowed Him to whisper truth into my ears that I can feel in my soul.

To truly lean into the words that swirl around my creative brain, maybe I needed the stillness of this moment in time to bring them to light on the canvas of my computer screen. As I help my character find her way through life, maybe I too am finding my way. Maybe it’s okay to be a late bloomer after all, because in blooming late we have had time for life to fertilize our little parts of the world around us and feed into our when the light bulb turns on, and the world can see the bouquet of beauty we have become, then the beauty of God will also shine through, allowing the song of our testimony to be the symphony in someone else’s the stillness of an early morning.



Monday, April 13, 2020

I Don’t Want to Be Left in the Hallway

Hi everyone!
I first started writing this piece on Monday, March 16th – the day that our “New Normal” began. Never in my life had I been so happy to have a Monday show up!! We started teaching online that day to finish out the semester, and though I would miss interacting with my students and colleagues, I so welcomed this time. But life got busy, so my thoughts never made it to my site, or maybe this level of vulnerability was a much bigger step for me, so I wanted to pray about it a bit longer.

This morning I broke out another new coffee cup. I chose this one not only for the beautiful verse, but also because the words speak to all that is within me. 

Psalm 139:14 says, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” 

Notice the present tense. It doesn’t tell us we will be fearfully and wonderfully made when we reach our ideal weight. It tells us, it tells me, right now, at this very moment, I am fearfully and wonderfully made! I think it is a beautiful reminder that we need to be gentle with ourselves. I need to be gentle with myself.

The title of this piece has been weighing on my mind for several weeks, especially when we started seeing reports from Italy. When COVID-19 started having such a tremendous impact on New Orleans, which is literally just 3 ½ hours away for me, the reality of it all made me feel like I was standing at the end of a tunnel, watching a train barreling toward me, with its headlight blinding me. I know I’m not the only one in this position, so I thought I would send these thoughts out into the world. If I can help just one person, then it is worth putting myself in this vulnerable position.

The terrifying reality is that I am in my mid-50s. I have diabetes. I use a C-PAP. I am considered morbidly obese. If I get COVID-19, I would be one of the ones they leave in the hallway to save a vent for someone else. Someone who does not have the health issues that I have. For me this wakeup call could be equated to having ice water, a bucket of ice water, thrown at my face. 
How did I get here? Why did I let myself get here?

BUT. BUT. I am a “glass is half full” kind of lady. I have been calling this time my “New Normal”, and it is time that I lean into my fear and face it head on. Ironically, just 3 weeks before life turned upside down I joined Noom. I decided to try this system because of the psychology that they put within each step of the process. I am sure the creators of this program never entertained the idea that its members would have to face the stress and psychological toll of a pandemic. Isn’t it amazing how the creators of Noom may have never envisioned a time like this, but our creator saw it all along??!!

Over the years, as I leaned into my research and writing, I have discovered the why behind a lot of things in my life.

Why I made some of the relationship choices that I did.
Why I put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own.
Why I use food to deal with the stresses of life.
Why and how I got to the place that I am today.

Here I am, in the middle of a pandemic, and the thought that is a steady undercurrent in my mind,
“I don’t want to be left in the hallway”. I cannot magically correct my health concerns over night, but I don’t have to wait until this storm passes to begin working on changing my health. I don’t want my fears to become and undertow as I use this time to take my life into uncharted waters. The world may not know the girl that use to exist underneath the physical and emotional weight that I carry, but I know that she is still there. 

What is even more important is that my God knows she is still there. I feel like a caterpillar who is in her cocoon, but she knows it is time to start making her way out into the world. I have always felt that the right person would love me for me, despite the size of the clothes I wore. I still believe that person exists out there somewhere, but I now know that I don’t need to use weight and clutter to shield me from the rest of the world.
I now know that I have valuable life lessons that I need to share through my words to the rest of the world.  

I now know that red flags are great as party decorations, but should never be part of a relationship.

I now know that I don’t want to be left in the hallway because I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” and He has a lot of work for me to do.

As I keep sailing along on my journey, I will keep you posted on my progress!

Sending you a virtual hug…


Friday, April 10, 2020

Trying to Be Still

Hi everyone,

Several months ago I bought this beautiful coffee cup. It set in my home office, still adorning its price tag, until yesterday. I was drawn to this cup, not because of the words that were on it, but because the words were engraved within the very clay that was used for its construction. 

This morning I decided to wash it and use it again, and in the process of this simple act, I was reminded of how we must continually cleanse our hearts and minds each morning so we can truly prepare to "be still". It isn't just the stillness, it is also that fact that we must "know", that HE is God. 
In this stressful time in which we are living, to "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) becomes more than words that are etched within the crevices of my coffee cup. These are HIS words, etched within the depths of my soul. They are a reminder that no matter what happens in our lives - the good, the bad, and the ugly - HE is here to carry us if need be through it all. He is here to send us God winks and comfort. HE is here to bless us with incredible teachers and mentors, even in the midst of a pandemic. 

As I looked around at the different items in my little home that remind me to "be still", I note the different mediums that are used, from metal wall art, to a white trinket tray, to a heart. Gentle reminders that HE is with me each and every second of every day, in different forms and fashions. To see HIM, I must slow down, and at times be still.
I couldn't help but smile as I came across each of these different objects because I am not one to normally sit still or sit home. Life has shown me on numerous occasions what an incredible sense of humor HE has, so it is very easy for me, as I sip my morning coffee, to imagine HIM saying, "Be still...Just chill...I've got this"!!!

He wants us to not just sit still, but rest in knowing that HE truly has us in the palm of HIS hands. Sometimes we just have to wash off the anxiety and stress, like a new favorite coffee cup, and gently remind ourselves. I'm am trying to be still in the midst of our "new normal", and listen for HIS voice in the midst of it all. All of us have found this to be stressful at times. With the care that must be taken to protect my precious granddaughter, kids working on the front lines, and my own health concerns, this is particularly true. But. But. In the midst of it all, we are also discovering within the stillness several things. Comfort. Creativity. Peace. Pride. Understanding. And so many other beautiful lessons that will forever change us, but in a deeply moving way. 

Sending you a virtual hug on this Good Friday!!


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