Holding Hands

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I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
otherwise they will not come near to you. ~Psalms 32:8-9

My daughter (a new kindergartener) does not like to hold hands. She’s a free spirit. She prefers to walk on her own. Sometimes this is fine. At other times, it gets on my nerves. Oh, like when I need to walk her across the street or keep her from stepping out in front of a bus.

So my non-hand-holding little chick was walking in front of me on the sidewalk as we made our way to her school building this morning. A few paces behind her, I watched her: the crisp navy blue school uniform, blue cable-knit sweater around her shoulders, and her fluffy curly ponytail held in place with a navy blue satin ribbon. I always smile when I see her walking on her own. She’s so independent, even at 5 years old. So sure she is in command of her world that she refuses to accept a hand to hold her on her way.

Well, we walked along and she decided to skip. Then she skipped faster. Then she decided to run. I jogged behind her. But before she could run too far, she tripped on a buckled area of the sidewalk and landed flat on her face.

I don’t have to tell you about the cry she let out as soon as she hit the ground.

She skipped. She ran. She fell. I didn’t force her to hold my hand. But I was right there to pick her up and dry her tears.

I believe that God is this way with us. He watches us. He stays close to us. But he’d never force us to stay by His side. Nevertheless He is right by our side to pick us up, wipe our tears, and hold us close.

That rough fall must have taught my daughter something because after I dusted her off and wiped her face, she grabbed my hand and kept it through the rest of our walk to school.

Beloved, this walk today made me ask myself: Am I also guilty of running too far ahead without holding on to my Father’s hand? Do I need to turn back and grab His hand and never let it go as I walk along life’s pathways?

Are you holding on to His hand today? Do you know how to reach out to the Lord for guidance and protection?

On Sowing and Reaping

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This past summer I started a herb garden on the side of our large backyard. I’d planned on gardening for quite a few years, but this year I finally took the plunge, cleared out the space, and bought some gardening soil and seeds.

During that first week after cleaning up the land and spreading out the new soil, I planted lavender, chives, cilantro, oregano, basil, and thyme. I guess you could say I was really ambitious. Truth is, I had no idea how any of these plants were going to fare in the summer heat. But…I was eager to get started and excited to see if I would LOVE gardening.

My daughter “Sweetie” was by my side as we sowed and watered the seeds. Nearly every day Sweetie would water the herb garden. Me? I kept the weeds, vines, and extra grasses at bay. But I mostly waited…

About three weeks after putting the seeds in, we saw tender green shoots coming up in the middle of the garden. After another week we plucked some leaves and tasted them. Oregano!!! We were overjoyed. The next week we plucked more oregano, chopped it up and put it in our lasagna casserole. The rest of our family was proud of us.

Well, what happened to the lavender, cilantro, chives, and basil? Nothing actually. None of those herbs grew. Well, almost none. We did see about six little sprigs of chives pop through the ground in July. By late July those chives withered away. Meanwhile, the oregano grew – green, leafy, tall, and abundant. Now in October, we have more oregano than we know what to do with. The plant has fully grown and flowered and Sweetie and I are planning to harvest and give the herb to our neighbors.

My little herb garden has taught me a powerful lesson on sowing and reaping. I sowed several different herbs. I only harvested one: oregano. But oh what a harvest it was (and is)!

Sometimes we put our talents and attention out there in the world. And well, sometimes nothing happens. But if we would look close enough, we can see that, yes, we’ve reaped something. As writer, I’ve worked on church newspapers, marketing material, novels, web sites, software instructions and more. The truth is that only one of those efforts has paid me handsomely: technical writing. I’ve learned to be grateful for the harvest, even though it’s not the most glamorous and does not include a byline.

In your life, what have you sown with your talents? What have you reaped? Are you grateful for your harvest?

The 10 Reasons Why I Need To Start Writing Like a Mothersucker

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  1. Because friends in my writing circle are starting to forget my name.
  2. Because I desire to create characters who are really based on people I know and hate but I’ll change the names to protect the guilty (I think).
  3. Because I’ve spent too much time away from it.
  4. Because its a healthy way in which to bury my anger, jealousy, rage, and neuroses (which, as quiet as is kept, is a reason why a lot of people write (see item #2 above)).
  5. Because I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I didn’t.
  6. Because I need to stop hiding from publishing (more on that later).
  7. Because I never did “get up offa that thang and shake ’til I feel better”.
  8. Because there’s not enough dark chocolate, line dancing, or good movies in the world to keep my attention like writing can.
  9. Because what else was I put on earth to do.
  10. Because I’ve got a bunch of new ideas – and what else is there to do with new plots and characters other than write.

The Best You That You Can Be

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“As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can; by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we’ve been given.” ~Mary Lou Retton

A few years back I completely made the biggest goof in the history of my weight loss journey. What goof was that? Thinking that I could sweat, run, and diet myself into a slim lean build. That was incredibly wrong. Why? Because no amount of work can give me a body type that I simply was not born to have.

I’m a curvy girl. I have curves in areas I’m not sure even the average woman has them. These curves may get bigger or smaller depending on how much I weigh, but the curves themselves do not and will not ever go away. But I kept dieting and exercising for years thinking that if I stayed focused, I’d suddenly wake up one day with the ability to wear skinny jeans and NOT stop traffic.

Okay, so, that never happened. I remained frustrated with my non-slim frame until 2008 when I read an article written about Serena Williams. Serena Williams, the tennis world champion and sister of the slim-built Venus Williams, talked candidly to a journalist about her own struggles with body acceptance. She said that as she grew up, she never quite understood why she couldn’t wear the clothes that Venus wore. That was until she realized that Venus had a long slim build, and she had a curvy muscular build. She is one of the best athletes in the world and is fit and healthy. She wears a size 12.

After reading that article I knew right then that I had to turn things around and kick things into high gear in order to be the best me that I wanted to be. Guess what? You can do it too! If you are struggling and you feel you aren’t achieving your weight loss goals, do the following:

  1. Be grateful for your own body. It is unique. It is wonderful. Accept and love it.
  2. Research and take online tests to figure out your body type.
  3. Tailor your workouts and your caloric intake to work best for your body type. There are many blogs and websites that can help you out with this.

Do you put on muscle easily? Great news for you! Strength training will skyrocket your metabolism and help you tone up and look awesome. Do you normally have a lean build but you’ve put on a few pounds? Good news for you as well! Those pounds may come off easily with some simple tweaks to your diet and an increase in cardio.

The bottom line is to love yourself and never beat yourself up for being what you are not. You can only be you. So go on and BE YOU! Learn about your own body, go on and embrace life, have a living plan that supports you being the best you that you can be!

 

Show Up

Even when the fruit isn’t there… show up.

Even when the critics tell you to quit… show up.

Even when you’re tired and tempted to throw in the towel… show up.

If this is a time of preparation for you (and not a time to start), do the work. Show up. Because what you are doing is sowing — that’s planting seeds, for you non-farmer folk — and though you may not reap them for some time, the work you’re doing is not pointless.

Stay the course, be brave, and your season will come.

~Jeff Goins, from JeffGoinsWriter

Rush, Rush

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I somehow have succumbed to a frightening new disease as a working mom.

I call it rush disease.

When did I notice it? I think I was commuting to work, traveling through the Main Line. I was flying down the road, listening to my Andy Stanley podcasts (if you don’t know who he is, you better ask somebody), when I looked to the side of the road and saw that the speed limit was 25. What was my speed? 60.

Speeding. So what, right? Everybody does it. Well I do it every day. On every trip. You’d think I’d slow down after being stopped by the police. But the two times I was pulled over this year, one time was for accidentally driving with my headlights off, and the other was for driving with an expired car inspection sticker. 

The expired car inspection was another clue. It was overdue by 7 days. I never even realized it. Had no idea.

That was a bad sign. I use my car every day of the year. You’d think I’d stop to look at my vital car information.

Nope. And I know why.

I rush. To and through everything. I rush to work. Home. To the preschool. To church. To stores. To the mall. Doctor’s office. You name it.  

I rush for a reason that other working mothers can attest to. With multiple children, a home, a full time job and other outside commitments, the days are long and the nights are short. You fill every available bit of time trying to get as many things complete as possible. You squeeze things in. You “git er done”. And to get more things in, you learn to do things fast.

This is what is going on right now.

I don’t think its a good idea for me (or any other working Mom) to continue to rush. Rushing through life means missing things that are way more important than an inspection sticker. An expired sticker meant a ticket to pay for. But continuing to rush through this time with my family could mean that I don’t really end up “owning” my life with them. How could I? I was too busy flying past at 30 miles past the speed limit. 

What would be good, would be to slow down. That could mean both minor and major changes in my life. It could mean getting to work late some days because I’m obeying the speed limit. It could mean looking through my schedule, my commitments, and my goals and dreams and decide just what’s worth keeping and what I need to chuck. Taking my calendar and lightening the load.

Then maybe, just maybe, I could go slow enough in my lane of life to truly see the scenery surrounding me.