Tuesday, December 31, 2013

celebrate ...

Day 31.  Last day of 2013.  Last day of the Kickin' It Old Skool blog-a-thon.  We are asked what we want to celebrate from this past month ... and there are so many things.

For starters ... I'm celebrating the fact that I'm not working seven days a week anymore.  I got burnt out ... quickly ... and have struggled hard this month as a result.  I know that the choice was mine for the most part to work that much, but it was driven by necessity ... and opportunity.  It was a struggle at times to blog ... mostly because it was so hard for me to think of something upbeat to write.  So I'm celebrating that I've been able to overcome, mostly, the depression that almost overtook me.

I'm celebrating learning more about myself ... remembering good times ... and getting back to basics.
One day at a time.
Sunrise 1 Jan 2013 ... hoping that 2014 will be much more beautiful ... and clear ... in so many ways.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

future selfie ...

This morning, my KIOS prompt is to share a selfie that represents the person I am becoming.

That is actually pretty difficult to even conceive right now.  Yesterday wrapped up with some discouraging news that pushed me back to my knees, and so this morning I'm still trying to stand up.

I took a call yesterday at work from a woman who also got some discouraging news, and as I waited patiently for her regain composure, I thought of how much alike our lives were right then, and how much I wanted things to be different for both of us.  When she stopped crying, I tried to offer her some encouragement, and suggestions on how she might find something that will help them.

Words I've heard from others.

I want my future self to be so different from the person I am today that I won't even be recognizable.

Friday, December 27, 2013

kickin' this year to the past ...

The last Friday of the year 2013. Wow. How did we get here so fast? Is it just me or does it seem like this year just suddenly hit fast forward and we jumped through a worm-hole and missed most of the year?

There were days (weeks ... months) that I remember thinking were just dragging along and I was wishing (praying) that I would just hurry up and get past all that. And suddenly ... here I am. Prayers answered. Wishes granted.

Because it was such a difficult year, I'm choosing to hold onto the positives and let the negatives disappear as quickly as everyone's champagne will on New Year's Eve.


This year what I will remember most about 2013 will be all those answered prayers and miracles. Too many to list, but so many I'm grateful for.

What I am ready to leave behind is this place ~ this house, this city, this state, and most of these people. I'm ready for a fresh start, clean slate, second chances, and all the possibilities that a move offers.

In 2013 I learned that I was stronger than I thought I was, that you can do more with less, and that sometimes shutting out the world and just focusing on what is happening in your own heart is what is important.

When we ring out the old year, and welcome in the new ... I will be celebrating who we have become, together, in the midst of what could have destroyed us, and how it has brought us closer, made us stronger, and the faith that sustained us.

Ringing in the New Year with [KIOS] this morning.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

leftovers ...

Leftovers are the best part of holiday meals.  Waking up in the middle of the night to sneak down and grab one more sandwich ... one more slice ... one more bowl.  A refrigerator full of laughter, memories, and the stuff that nourishes the soul ... and the body.

A slow cooked pork roast, pulled and put between bread, topped with a slice of colby jack cheese, and toasted until the cheese melts just enough.

Eggs waiting to be cooked for breakfast or boiled and deviled.  Bottled water.  Tea ... sweet and unsweet.  Onions for tomorrow's chili dinner.  Potatoes ... they'll be made into a salad later.  Pickle relish ... dill and kosher cubes.  Mustard ... jalapeno, yellow, and chipotle.  Homestyle mayo.  Ketchup ... I'll use it to make some barbeque sauce this weekend.

Spillin' the contents today with [KIOS].

Monday, December 23, 2013

... pages and pages and pages and pages and ...

Books have always been my first and best friends.  Every time I was a "new" kid in school ... I hid out in the library until I started to make friends in class.  Because I knew the friends I found in those pages wouldn't laugh at my red hair ... or bifocal glasses ... or braces on my legs ... or teeth ... or the birthmark on my knee.  They wouldn't call me names or leave me to be the last picked for any team sports in phys ed.

Books were my friends.

As I got older, my reading selections became more ... selective.  I love history, and when my cousin sent me this book by M.M. Kaye ... I was hooked.  You can tell by how worn the cover is, held together by tape.  This was the book I would ... and could ... disappear into for days.  I sought out and bought every book she ever wrote, and her autobiographies which details seasons in her life.

Today, my favorite books still lean towards history and lands seeped in the traditions of times long past.  They are one of the reasons I love to travel and stand in awe of the masterpieces that were created so long ago.
Joining with [KIOS] today.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

wee mee....

Our prompt for today from [KIOS] was to share a picture of a smaller version of ourselves.
I thought since it was Christmas week, I would share some holiday fun.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

kickin' ... my favorite quote

"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
~ Mother Teresa ~

Joining with [KIOS] this morning ...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

wishin' ...

My father used to say
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

I understand that more now than I did as a child.

It's a week before Christmas so I suppose this could be my Dear Santa list.

~ A reliable car ~ 
Not brand new, but one that I wouldn't worry will fall apart on the way to work.

~ Enough ~
Enough finances to pay all the bills and still be able to get groceries.
Enough food to feed our friends.
Enough time to relax.
Enough furniture to sit on and have overnight guests.

~ Peace ~
In our families ~ less drama, more love.
In my mind ~ less worry, more trust.

~ A home ~ a new start ~ 
~ A do~over of the last three years. ~ 

... and a pug puppy.

This Wednesday I'm wishing with [KIOS]

Saturday, December 14, 2013

kickin' ... a line ...

[KIOS] wants us to share a line from a book.
The first sentence from the third book on our top shelf.

Now, I know this would sound like I'm throwin' out an ad (or a line as they say),
but my three books are actually on my top shelf.
 This is the first line from my third book, "Eagle Visions," which is the third book on my shelf.

~ “Auroras ~ or Northern Lights ~ are believed to be the torches held in the hands of Spirits seeking the souls of those who have just died, to lead them over the abyss terminating the edge of the world." ~

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas wishes...

This was Annie last Christmas Eve.
Probably dreaming of treats and hot dogs.

Her Christmas came early this year.
She has been adopted by a family with two kids.

My Christmas wishes have been answered...
the best present ever is just knowing that she will be loved and happy.

possibilities

positive thoughts
open doors
sincere interest
scheduled times
interviews
busy days
indecision
long discussions
ideas
travel
incredible views
excitement
security

kickin' a first ...

Brandy 1976-1986

[KIOS] prompts this morning for a "first."

I have a lot of firsts.
I have a lot of lasts.
But the one "first" that will always be in my heart ...
my first dog, Brandy.
She made a place in my heart that continues to be filled.
I think she was a dachshund and cocker mix.
She followed me home from school one day.
(Although I think I carried her most of the way.)

I know she is always with me in spirit.
In fact, oddly enough,
three times in the 13 years I've lived in this townhouse,
I've received a piece of mail addressed to her.
Brandy {maiden name}
She never lived at this address, 
in fact was gone for 15 years before I even bought it.
The pieces of mail stick with me because of the timing of their arrival,
and what they were.
The first was a parenting/baby magazine.
Just one.
It arrived when I realized that I was never going to be a mother.
The second was a postcard for a local restaurant, with coupons,
at a time when I was single, and maybe a little lonely.
The most recent one came just a few weeks ago.
A postcard for car title loans.
The week I paid off my car.

Yeah, weird, huh?

P.S.
Annie's picture & profile no longer appear on the Humane Society's "available" page.
I hope to find out more this afternoon,
but I'm sure it means that she got her Christmas present early.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

kickin' ... n' cryin'

[KIOS] wants to know this "weepy Wednesday" what makes me cry.
Seriously?
What doesn't make me cry right now?
Have you seen that Kohl's commercial with the young couple decorating the old woman's apartment for Christmas to surprise her?  
Yeah ... hand me a few Kleenex.
Homecoming videos of military members surprising their kids ... and in some cases, their dogs?
Oh yeah, might as well get another box, 'cause that one box is almost gone.
Thinking of [Annie] at the Humane Society?
Oh, did I scare you with that noise I made while sobbing?  Sorry.
Happy endings?
Yep.
Sad endings?
Yep.
The death or injury of any animal in a movie? 
(and yes, I do know it is "just a movie")
No matter.  Tears me up.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

kickin' ... messy ...

I don't know if it is true that a disorganized desk is an indicator of an organized mind.
To me it just says that I've been too busy lately.
I'm joining this morning with the Kickin' It Old Skool meme
and daring to share my little corner where I blog.
Not exactly a corner, just a short wall where the roof won't leak on my keyboard.
And not an office where I would like it to be, but in my bedroom.
I don't have air conditioning, 
and last summer it was just easier (and less expensive) to run fans in just one room, than every room.  
So it made sense to make the bedroom also the office ... and living room ... and dining room.  
Gotta love a room that can multi-task.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

kickin' back the end of the day ...

Today was ... a long, frustrating work day with computer issues and indecisive consumers.

Post Script...
Annie's picture and profile story just appeared on the [Humane Society's available pets page.]
I miss her terribly.
But know that there will be someone who will wake up Christmas morning and give her a hug.
She's such a sweet girl.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

kickin' ... warm weather!

Florida.  December.  The rest of the country is feeling chilly, or just downright cold.  They are getting snow and winter weather.

Today's high here will be 76 degrees.  Almost enough to turn on the a/c just to get rid of the humidity.

I wish we lived somewhere farther north, where we got real seasons.  It is hard to get into Frosty the Snowman when my beach sand snowman falls ... hmmmm ... that just gave me an idea for a photo shoot of Frosty at the beach.  Where are my carrots and coal?

Stay tuned ...


Saturday, November 30, 2013

cracked ...

I will always love this picture.
My heart is cracking today.  You can read why at the bottom of [this page].  'Nuff said for now.  It's hard to type when tears flood.

November went by too quickly, and all my best intentions for writing every day fell to the wayside.  It feels like all the words have escaped, and I've thought about what it would be like to never write again.  I still don't know if I will be able to find the words again.  It seems like more than just my heart has been cracked when I stop and think about life.  There is a moment in time where I can throw that dart and say "it started here."  It is a lot farther back than most would think.  It has been "a series of unfortunate events" that began in 2001 that shook the ground I thought was solid underneath me.  Shook me more than I thought.

To find my footing again, I've been reaching for what used to be the distraction that kept me focused when nothing seemed to be right in my world.

Hand work.  Creative nonsense.  Crafting this or that.

I painted a Bur oak acorn with glitter paint to decorate my November tree.  I also made some cinnamon clove ornaments.  I know the recipe calls for just cinnamon, but I like adding cloves for a good strong scent.  I painted the back side of them with gold paint, then stamped the front with a leaf stamp dipped in the gold paint.

The new 2013 Hallmark Beauty of the Birds ornament decorates my mini tree as well.

I haven't had my tree up since February 2013 and Mardi Gras.  Once upon a time it would be up every single month with seasonal ornaments.

January 2013.  December 2012.  Fall 2012.

Seasons changed.  I changed.  Life changed.

It is time for me to take back the seasons of my life.  I'm not sure what direction we will be going in for the seasons ahead.  But this I know for sure ... the ones that I love and trust with my heart, will travel those roads with me ~ with or without words.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

without words ...

The days have been flying by. Work takes up ten hours between getting there and getting home.  If I'm lucky, I might get eight hours of intermittent sleep (most of that spent worrying about things happening at work).  That leaves me six hours a day to "be" ... be a wife, be a dog & cat mom, be a writer, or just be me.  Even weekends seem to be crammed full of things to do ... playing catch-up during the week.

Something always slips through the cracks.

Sometime over last weekend, Oreo brought a friend home for dinner ... and forgot to eat her.  Monday morning I found the stiff carcass of a squirrel stashed behind the television when I tracked down that funky smell of decomp.  Thank goodness for lavender scented Pine Sol.

I'm still trying to finish reading "a million little ways" and am down to the last two chapters.  One quote has stuck in my mind and I keep going back to it again and again.  Apparently it is something that resonates deep within me.

"But your would would be different if you were not in it.  And your brave yes might just be what we're waiting for.  Yes, I will believe, I will move, I will open my eyes, I will show up." 
["a million little ways" by Emily P. Freeman p170]

Words have escaped me.  I read blogs, emails, and books ... and feel my own words creeping in and out of the shadows.  I start to write ... and stop.  Questioning whether or not I need to speak.  There are times when I feel I've said too much ... revealed too much of my soul.  I suppose this is what they call a writer's block, but it isn't that I can't think of what to say ... the block is self-imposed.  More like a gate that I've closed.

"But if she begins to feel compelled to ration it, to hoard, and hold her art tightly in both hands, it might be time to sink into God again.  It might be time to be still, to break the alabaster jar that holds her sweet-smelling gift and release the art back into the hands of God."
["a million little ways" by Emily P. Freeman p162]

I'm making a point to sink again ... but this time with hope ... faith ... love ... and a yes.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Revelation

  When I was in high school, my best friend and I saw the movie "The Late, Great Planet Earth." It was supposed to be all about the end-times and how the prophesies were coming to pass. I was 17 at the time, and I remember that we walked out of the movie theater too stunned for words. For hours. The world was coming to an end, and soon, very soon. I didn't know what to say or think. We just walked around the plaza in silence.

  Needless to say, obviously the world didn't end as quickly as we were scared into thinking it was. Still, it was 35 years before I had the courage to really read all of the Book of Revelations. I was *that* terrified.

  From beginning ~ Revelation 1:1 "This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John," to end ~ Revelation 22:21 "May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people." the Book of Revelations is about a vision ~ maybe even a dream or nightmare ~ that John had.  

  It is a book that has been interpreted ~ and misinterpreted ~ for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  Scholars have tried to tie current day events to things described by John and have only added to the confusion and fear.  Many have tried to predict the exact time and place for the Second Coming ... only to be laughed at later and disappear in shame and humiliation when their "end time" date came and went.

  This is what I know for sure ... all we are given is today.  There are no guarantees for tomorrow whether you are a believer or not.  You may go to sleep tonight and never wake again.  There are not even any guarantees for today.  You may wake in the morning and be dead by the end of the day.

  I believe that if there is a message for us in the Book of Revelations, it is simply this ...

  Enjoy each day.  Cherish the ones you love.  Be at peace with everyone.  Do your best work, not because someone is keeping a tally of it, but because giving our best is what we were created to do.  Don't live to fail ... live to succeed, even if just for that 24 hours, do your best.  Honor each other.  Love.  Laugh.  Forgive.  Make mistakes because none of us are perfect, but own those mistakes.  Learn from them.  Move on.  Grow.  Thrive.

  Make each day your best, because that is all you ever get.  One day ... at a time.  Live it.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

thank you to the volunteers ...

Today is going to be a difficult day for me ... but I'm thankful for those who work at and volunteer at no-kill animal shelters across the country.  I know how hard it is to care for or foster animals that have been abandoned and abused.  It is a selfless job, putting your heart on your sleeve every time you look in their eyes.  Seeing them shake or cower in a corner, knowing that their trust has been broken.

Thank you to all who rescue.  To all who hug.  To all who wait patiently with treats in their hands for that scared dog or cat to learn to trust again... to learn that not all people are mean.

Thank you to those who help walk, feed, medically treat, or home one of those who have been abandoned, surrendered, lost or abused.  Thank you for loving them and giving them hope again.  Thank you for opening your hearts ... and your arms ... and your homes.

All of my "kids" ... my "furbabies" have been rescues ... and we thank you.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

thank you for the words

Dear writers and authors and librarians ...

Thank you for those first friends.  For being safe places for me to hide when I was new kid at school.  For making me feel like I wasn't alone.  For taking me places I'd never been ... and eventually went ... and want to go to some day still.

Thank you for teaching me about love ... life ... justice ... truth ... sharing ... forgiveness ... loss ... grief ... hope.

Thank you for opening my eyes ... and my world.

Cindi

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

showing up to wait ...

a million little ways ... continues

"We arrived here as art and we spend our lives uncovering the beauty we have to offer~not just the work of our hands but the shape of our hearts."  [p129]

"Our limits can be gifts if we let them be.  They might show up like failure, season of life, fatigue, disability, grief, burnout.  But the limits tell us important things about ourselves.  They help us draw lines for margin.  They pave the way for vulnerability.  They sometimes show us what our passion isn't.  And that can be just as important as knowing what it is.  In some cases, our limitations can actually become our inspiration."  [p133]

"But courage is not the absence of fear.  If you wait to feel courageous before you release our art, you might be waiting forever." ... "Courage is about more than simply believing in yourself, more than making art with confidence and living life without fear."  [p135]

"Show up as you are with what you've been given.  And don't allow the voice of doubt and discouragement to hold you back."  [p144]

"When you finally show up ready to release your art by being the person you believe you are created to be, there may be nothing more disheartening than to be asked to wait."  ... "But the waiting can also grow us, shape us from the inside out for sacred work."  [p147]

thank you for the music that plays in my soul ...

Dear Music Makers;

Thank you for making me dance.

Thank you for the words you write ... for the way you take sounds and notes and make them dance together in the air.

Thank you for making my heart sing ... and sometimes me ~ really loud in the car even if I do look like a crazed wacko when I'm stopped at a light.  Thank you for freeing me and giving me a way to express my joy ... and sometimes my grief.

Thank you for the music.

Cindi

Monday, November 4, 2013

thank you to my friends ...

Dear You ...

Thank you for your encouraging words ... for unexpected gifts ... for grace.  Thank you for acceptance ... for understanding ... for listening ... for just being there when I need someone to talk to.

Thank you for honesty ... for truth ... for being unafraid to speak out ... or speak up.

Thank you for being you.

Cindi

listening ...

a million little ways ... 

"Art makes it possible for us to remember both the beauty and the horrific, the lovely and the loss.  Art numbs the wound just enough for us to be able to access the sources of it, to reach down into the depths and pull it up to examine."
~
"The beauty of art is that it separates us enough from our own pain in order to make it safe to approach."
~
"As important as it is to embrace the gifts you have and the unique ways you can offer hope to others, you also need to recognize and embrace what brings out the hope in you."  [p108]

"We have to pay attention to what grieves us and be willing to be fully human, both in what makes us come alive and in what has the capacity to shut us down." [p117]

"When we resist living within our ordinary days, we are in danger of losing a sense of ourselves.  We don't need to walk away from our routines and daily rhythms to find something more interesting.  More often we need to wake up to them."  [p118]

"What would it take for you to pull your dream out again, to stop taunting it with cruel names, and to simply listen to what it has to say?  No filters.  No back talk.  No eye rolls.  Dare to handle it, to hold it in your hands and consider it with kindness and compassion."  [p120]

Sunday, November 3, 2013

lines in the sand ...

light reveals a virgin beach
in our morning walk.  the receding tide left
new sand, free of footprints.
ever so lightly we
step, and a pattern appears.

images of the ebb and flow of
night waters.

thin lines, like water's footprints,
have left a memory in the sand.
echos of the tide.

small prints, evenly spaced
appear in the sand before us. the
night prowl of a stray cat
dancing along the shore.

Friday, November 1, 2013

5 minutes: grace

GO:

Grace.  A gift we didn't put on the list to Santa, but a gift we received anyway.
Grace.  Lifted me out of the darkness, and brought me back into the light.
Grace.  Extended and embraced.

By His Grace I am here today.  By His Grace I am loved.  By His Grace I am free.

Grace.

A word that says so much.  An action that gives so much.

Grace.

STOP.
Five Minute Friday

november

november breaks in
ombre reds, thinly
veiled in lavender.
early
morning clouds
bringing the
essence of
rain.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

waking up the dream ...

  I've had a lot of nightmares lately ... old worries and fears creeping into my nights ... old thoughts ... and the book I've been reading lately made me realize something.

  I'd forgotten how to dream.  I'd forgotten how to believe in possibilities.

  I think it happened when things in my life got really wonky last year.  Wonky.  That's a word that can describe a lot of things ... in a lot of ways.

  Reading "a million little ways" made me realize that I'd stopped doing some of the things I used to do to dream.

  Emily Freeman talks about rescuing our childhood dreams, and talks about filling notebooks with drawings of houses,elaborate floor plans, and special hidden rooms and staircases.

  Me too.

  I used to fill notebooks with floor plans and clippings from magazines with decorating ideas.  Catalogs would come in the mail and I would circle things I would buy to decorate my home.  Not just as a child, but for most of my adult life.

  Until last year.  I stopped dreaming last year and started living my nightmares.

  But no more.  Catalog season has started, and I've bought a new notebook, ink pens and have my scissors close at hand.  I'm embracing my dreams and making some new ones.

  Because anything is possible ...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

words that rescue ...

[Emily P. Freeman writes from her heart ... a million little ways ... and her words are impacting mine.]

"Our passions aren't the goal, but they are signposts, like arrows pointing to our center.  Here is the path to the deepest part of who you are, how you are made, the poetry of your soul." [p60]

"We don't have to be so afraid of desire.  It's time instead to wake up to it.  In the waking, maybe we will begin to see that instead of principles to follow, life is more like a rhythm to move with."  [p67]

"There is a mysterious connection between having hopes for our future and being secure in our identity now."  [p68]

"Either we have lived a lot of our lives denying who we truly are and we feel discouraged for the wasted time, or we see what we most deeply desire and want to forsake everything in order to have those desires satisfied now.  We are in danger of sinking into either regret and anxiety or self-effort and self-expression."  [p78]

"Believe in myself and I sink into the waves of worry, procrastination, daily tasks, and diagnoses.  There is no dry ground in sight." [p86]

"Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.“You of little faith,” he said,“why did you doubt?”"
~ Matthew 14:31 NIV ~

"Criticism is the key in the artist's life.  How we handle our critics could be the difference between creating art that matters and allowing the art to die." [p89]

"The critic in our head is hard to confront, mainly because we tend to believe every ugly word she says.  Her mantra just becomes a part of our normal, like how we always part our hair on the same side or keep our food from touching on our plate.  It's just how things are." [p95]

"The more I confess my frail humanity, the louder I hear the sound of another voice rising up in me, one that has some weight behind it.  it is the voice of Hope, and Hope speaks with courage and a bit of a laugh.  Because when those things we most fear will happen actually happen, we have a unique window of opportunity to take inventory of the battlefield in the aftermath.  We look around, blink our eyes, listen to the quiet, and think to ourselves, I am not dead.  That did not kill me after all." [p97]

"How we respond when confronted with the critic has the potential to be the most beautiful art we'll ever make .... It isn't something you point to, it's a way you live." [p105]

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

desire ...

[I'm continuing my series of posts on this incredible, eye-opening, soul-searching book... a million little ways by Emily P. Freeman]

"Uncovering desire is the practice of learning how to look farther beneath the surface than we may be used to doing.  It may require time, space, and solitude to allow our souls to become quiet enough to settle into what is most true.  Learning to look beneath the surface is an important step in uncovering the art we were born to make."  [p41]

"But if those desires become rights you clench in your hand, demanding they be met in your way and in your timing, you will never receive the satisfaction from them that you so desperately seek."  [p42]

"When we aren't able to translate what makes us come alive into our own language, the temptation might be to dismiss it altogether.  Many of us have spent our entire lives editing out our first thoughts.  We do this for all kinds of reasons ~ to avoid critique, prevent failure, please people, or simply because we can't see how they will logically fit into our lives.  So we tuck away our first thoughts, or in this case, our deepest desires, and we cover them up with more acceptable pursuits."  [p44]

"You have to uncover the art before you can release it.  The problem for most of us is, we have let the negative emotions decide for us that the art isn't worth uncovering.  We have allowed the terror of exposure and the risk of failure to out-weigh the truth of our remade identity."  [p46]

"Could it be possible that the thing you most long for, the thing you notice and think about and wish you could do, is the thing you were actually made and are being equipped to do?"  [p47]

Could it be?
The life I've always wanted ...
is the life I was meant to have?
And all I have to do to get it ...
is believe in it.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. 
They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
~ Jeremiah 29:11 TLB ~

Monday, October 28, 2013

art within ...

[I'm really falling behind on my writing ... but I've been truly enjoying life in the process ... 
so that kind of voids my late posts, doesn't it?]

In "a million little ways" Emily Freeman helps us to "uncover the art you were made to live."  That alone sounds intimidating, but in reality, her words have opened up my eyes to all the ways that we are capable of creating, living, being, and giving art.

These are some of the powerful quotes I've highlighted from the first three chapters ...

"I can't imagine anything more dangerous to the enemy of our hearts than people who know who they are." [p15]

"You were born to make art.  ... Because you were also made to live art.  ... It's time to live as though we believe we have something to offer. ... Because it isn't only the painters who are allowed to be expressive, it isn't only the musicians who can touch our souls, it isn't only the novelists who can inspire us to dream." [p17]

"Perhaps those who make art in the ways we traditionally think of art give the rest of us a framework from which to live our lives.  They offer a gift of knowing what life could look like if it were handled more like a mysterious piece of art rather than a task-oriented list.  We may not all have the same skill or training as do the painters or the musicians, but we all bear the image of a creative God." [p20]

"Art is what happens when you dare to be who you really are.  ... We make art with our lives."  [p21]

For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10

"These English words used in the text ~ masterpieces, sometimes translated workmanship ~ these are translations of the original word used in the letter to the church at Ephesus, the Greek word poiema.  Our English word poem comes from this same Greek word.  Workmanship, masterpiece, poem ~ all these words in Scripture are used to describe God's work ~ you and me. ... God calls you his workmanship, his poiema.  ... We are walking poetry, the kind that moves, the kind who has hands and feet, the kind with mind and will and emotion." [p25]

"Knowing you are a poem doesn't confine you to be artsy, it releases you to be you.  We are art, every one of us.  No matter our personality, skill, talent, or inclinations." [p29]

"Uncovering your art is about waking up. ... Being a mess doesn't disqualify you from having an influence.  And it doesn't make you any less of a poem."  [p36]

"Because you are a gift worth offering, and if you don't know that, we're missing out on you." [p37]

I don't want to miss out on life anymore.
I want to uncover my art.
The art of living.

morning ...


Friday, October 25, 2013

annie ...

This week I have come to a difficult decision, but one that I know is best for Annie.  I have decided that she is ready for another home ... one with a large fenced yard and children to play with.

When I rescued her from the woods almost a year ago, she was starving ... for food and love ... and in this past year she has gotten an abundance of both.  Her personality has begun to shine, revealing the sweet, gentle girl that she is.

But she is a Beagle ... bred for running and roaming ... and I don't have a yard large enough for her to stretch her legs safely.  I sometimes let her run in the field across the street where she was found, but I worry that her curious nose will take her out of earshot and into traffic.  She has once or twice followed a scent out of sight, and it has been too long before she came looking for me.  I worry that she will get hit by a car ... or by a person, now that her trust is starting to build again.

I've contacted two fellow bloggers who run dog rescue organizations, and have also emailed a beagle rescue group that is six hours away to see if they can help me find her a good forever home ... with a large fenced yard and children to play with.

Love this sweet girl.  Love love love her.  Deeply.  But she needs a fenced yard and we're not in a position to move for at least another six to eight months.  She would also love a family with children ... she loves the neighborhood kids that want to pet her.

If you know of someone who might love her as much as I do, who can give her fenced yard, and family to play with ... please message me.

5 minutes: together

GO:
Together, women all over the world came together to surpass expectations and fund some of Mercy House Kenya's needs in advance of the goals.

Now, we are coming together again to fund a second home for these women.

Together, we accomplish so much.

In the book I have been reading, "a million little ways," Emily Freeman talks about we are all artists.  We all create.  She says "That's what artists do.  They pull back the covering on our inner life, allowing us to see things beneath the surface, things that, without their compassion, creativity, and generosity, we may have missed."

Together, we have created art for these women in Kenya.  The art of compassion, of love, of generosity.  We have been creative in helping them create new lives.

Together.

STOP.
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, October 24, 2013

claiming life ...

I was trying to join with Jamie Ridler Studios yesterday morning and play a little catch-up.

Life ... just gets busy sometimes, and all of my good intentions for blogging every day about life have just created ... a busier life!  They say "be careful what you wish for" and that has become so true for me lately.

Jamie posed the question for Wishcasting Wednesday "What do you wish to claim?"  I've already begun claiming life ... so now I want to claim a life as an author ... full time abundance with writing and blogging ... and a way to make it a full time financially abundant life for us.

As a hint for things to come ... I've started reading a wonderful book titled "a million little ways" by Emily P. Freeman.  It has 12 easy to read chapters, and I have begun writing a blog posts on how her words are changing my thinking.

In November, because I have so much to be grateful and thankful for ... I will begin a series of thank you letters.

Wrapping out the year, I have started a series of posts from the book of Luke to celebrate the Christmas season.  One post for each of the 24 chapters of Luke.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

a second chance at life ...

Ralph Lauren's newest models don't suffer from eating disorders.
In fact, their biggest issues might be fleas ...

My blogger friend, Karen, is also stepping out in style ... for the dogs.
You should check out the legs on some of those sweethearts.
Karen is one of those beautiful women, inside and out.

Amy, another blogger friend, works for the Richmond Animal League
and she blogs [here].  I love that Burg found her ... and she found Burg
when they needed each other most.

Life is like that.
Sometimes you get a second chance.

Grab it and run with it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Life ...

Living it ... 
in R's over the last five days...

Day 1
Reunite & Rejoice

Day 2
Relax & Reminisce
Nothing out of the ordinary.

Day 3
Reflect & Rekindle

Day 4
Rejuvenate & Refresh

Day 5
Rest & Restore

What letter best describes your life this past week?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Jude 1:13

13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
Source: WeHeartIt.com

Jude is one chapter long, a letter written as a warning to all believers.  The verse above is in reference to those who did not believe and who would cause believers to stray from their faith by their ways.

Recent events in my life, however, have shown me that in reality we all are those wild waves of the sea.  Those wandering stars in the blackest darkness.

Our free will gives us the choice to do as we please.
The grace that was given to us with the sacrifice of the Lamb, is all that keeps us from staying in that darkness.

We cling to His light, sometimes faltering, sometimes falling, but always with the grace to come back into the light and seek forgiveness.

I'm so grateful for forgiveness.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

a new chance at life ...

Ever want a "do-over?"

A chance to get a fresh start, a new opportunity, a chance ... just a chance to begin life again?

To learn from mistakes and not have to repeat them?

To recreate who you are ... without everyone reminding you of who you were?

Yeah ... me too ... and so glad that I'm getting that chance ... at life.

What would you do?  Who would you be?  Where would you go?



Monday, October 7, 2013

a life of learning ...

I love to learn.

Years ago when I was working as a client services representative for a medical group, I spoke at luncheons given by a Medicare supplemental insurance company.  I would speak to 20-50 senior adults who were anywhere from age 55 to 95 about the benefits our medical group could provide if they selected us as their primary care provider.

I was always amazed at the difference in coherent thought and understanding in the men and women I helped at these luncheons, and the fact that the defining differences in them was whether or not they had continued their education beyond high school, or if they had worked outside of the home.

Here is a simple explanation ... continue to work your brain ... or risk losing your ability to process critical information.

One of the most powerful tools for change that we can give someone is the opportunity to learn.

"We know from study after study that there is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls and women."
~ Kofi Annan ~

I have been so blessed to watch the Internet community step up to the plate and help the women at Mercy House reach their goal to get a van to help young mothers (and their children) in Kenya.  Now they are stepping up to ask for help in creating new classrooms.

"Educate a boy, and you educate an individual.
Educate a girl, and you educate a community."
~ Adelaide Hoodless ~

I'm so looking forward to seeing how this new phase of (in)courage's fundraising for Mercy House Kenya goes!
Celebrate this update!
In just one day, the classrooms were funded.
WOW

Saturday, October 5, 2013

dancing to life ...



"If you are out of your cage, by all means, flap your wings."

... and get up and dance.

Friday, October 4, 2013

5 minutes: write

GO:

I write about my life here.  I wrote about it there in my first book, and a little bits and pieces of it in my second and third books.  I'm writing again about my life in another book.  A book about choosing life.  About hitting that wall and wanting it to end, but finding the light again.  The life light.

I'm also looking for ways to sell the rights to my second and third writing attempts.  To sign them away so that we can get a fresh start, a clean break, and so I can focus on just writing about what the past three years of my life have been ... because when I write, the words escape.  Maybe to help someone else, but at the very least, to free me from the nightmares.

Writing is a form of exorcism sometimes.

I want to write about choosing life ... and living it.  I want to write about the miracles that have happened in our lives that made me choose life again ... and how they continue to change my life.

I want to write about life.

STOP
Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

two bunny days ...

Years ago when I worked on the opposite side of town from where I live, I would take the scenic route to work.

The old business highway winds past a part of the bay, behind the paper mill and one of the oldest communities here, down through downtown, and out towards the beach along a drive that on one side has the bay, and on the other some magnificent Southern mansions.  It has always been my favorite way to travel to the beach, especially during the holidays when the houses are decorated.

Source:  WeHeartIt.com
Although the road past the paper mill was less than scenic on the one side (and quite unpleasant to smell), the opposite side of the road presented a lake and occasionally, the wild rabbit sitting on the edge of the grass, nibbling on the clover.

I started to refer to those rare rabbit sightings as one bunny days, and was always hopeful for a two bunny day ... which I took to indicate it would be a special occasion day.

Recently I've started taking the scenic drive to and from work again ... just because ... and have occasionally seen a wild rabbit.  It occurred to me that even when I don't see two rabbits, I know that they are still there, just out of sight.
Source: WeHeartIt.com

I've decided that regardless of whether or not I see them, I'm going to start declaring each day to be a two bunny day, because that is just the way life is sometimes.  We have to make it a special occasion ... if for no other reason than the fact that it is a two bunny day.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mondays ...

morning comes later than before as the sun shifts
over to its fall schedule ...
night comes earlier as a result and the
days become so much shorter.
as the weeks progress into winter, my
yawn tells me that I am a child of
summer, and it is time to hibernate.

Friday, September 27, 2013

5 minutes: true

GO:

True love never makes itself known in the beginning.  It creeps in on those nights when you want to give up, when you want to walk away.  It creeps in when you are most afraid, most angry, most hurt ... and it is what makes you stay and work it out to make it a love that lasts.  True love is in the giving more, in the taking less, in the tears, and in the sacrifices.  True love is when you look at that person and realize that no matter what has been said, or what has happened, you have found love.  True love ... as we were first loved.

True courage never comes with a cape or an arm band.  It never shows in a face at first glance.  It creeps in on those nights when you want to give up, when you want to walk away.  It creeps in when you are most afraid, most angry, most hurt ... and it is what makes you stay and work it out with a courage that comes from a place inside you that you never knew existed.  Like your inner Amazon breaks free from the closet that you've kept her locked in your whole life.  True courage comes with the faith that it takes to step out on the water when you can't see the beach.  True courage is in the giving more, in the taking less, in the tears, and in the sacrifices.  True courage is when you look at a situation and realize that no matter what has been said, or what has happened, you will find the courage and faith to withstand it within you.

True forgiveness never comes with an expectation to be forgiven in return.  It never expects ... it only accepts.  It creeps in on those nights when you want to give up, when you want to walk away.  It creeps in when you are most afraid, most angry, most hurt ... and it is what makes you stay and work it out with a forgiveness that comes from above, from a place where we realize that we too have been forgiven.  True forgiveness is in the giving more, in the taking less, in the tears, and in the sacrifices.  True forgiveness is when you look at your hurt and your pain and you realize that no matter what has been said, or what has happened, you will find the forgiveness to give within you.

True ... my truth is [here]

STOP
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 26, 2013

doors ...

I love when you walk through one door ...
sometimes another one opens.

Life is good like that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

this was my sign ...

Hand of God
I used to look for signs everywhere
words, images, songs
something
anything
that would tell me what to do
where to go
who to be with
or be like.

I was lost
confused
wandering
frightened
and alone.

Then one day I realized
that what I was looking for,
that sign with all the answers,
had been here all along.
Just waiting for me to open my eyes,
and the pages.

Here I am,
found,
answered,
grounded,
confident,
and loved.

What an amazing sign.

Monday, September 23, 2013

recap ...

[note to self:  do not watch "World War Z" at bedtime again]

at 10:30p Sunday night
in the middle of hordes of zombies rushing on my television screen
Trooper insisted we must go out into the dark
for a potty break.

I tiptoed around
whispering to him to hurry and be quiet
the woods could be filled with zombies

sleep came and went
never long enough to leave me feeling rested
before the Monday morning alarm went off
chasing away the zombies

work

a day filled with zombies of another kind
boredom zombies
as we were transitioning between
being students
to becoming workers
a rush of newbies ~ the latest hires ~ started 
those of us who had completed our "training"
were left hanging with nothing to do
but study study study
all we had studied for the past two weeks
eyes glazed over
heads bobbling

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday sillies ...

Annie likes to sleep upside down.
She makes me laugh every time.

when wishes become horses ...

... that beggars can ride.

I was wandering through my blog yesterday.

Like that hindsight 20/20 thing
sometimes we don't realize how far we've come
until we turn around and look.

Reading where I was
through my blog posts,
I can see that road I've travelled so much clearer.

Yesterday I read [this post] that was written on 21 August 2013.

And I know from the scribbled happy faces on my calendar
that [this post] was written on the day that I just showed up
and followed through with doing something I had dreaded doing ...
lead to [this post] and [this post].

In September 2012, I was [here], 
pledging money ~ in faith ~ that I didn't have to a Christian radio station.
[This] is what happens when you have faith.

It was still another four months before I found a job.
But in those four months after stepping out in faith to support the radio station,
every month there was a way.

I have heard some define faith as not necessarily being something we can see,
but being something we can trust.
That faith is knowing that if you step off the cliff,
someone will either be there to catch you,
or you will learn to fly.

In looking at this past year, I think I have had both.
I was caught in the palm of His hand,
and I learned to fly.

Friday, September 20, 2013

5 minutes: she-

GO:

She wrapped her arms around herself, in spite of the heat in the house without air conditioning, and rocked back and forth, tears spilling down her face.

She cried in the darkness, alone and afraid, not knowing how she would get the power or water turned back on, not wanting to go on, not wanting to live.

She reached a hand over her head and cried one last time before despair and depression carried her off to sleep ... "God, help me!"

She woke in the morning, hot and sweaty, tears still damp on the pillow, and dressed, knowing that the woman coming to take her cherished pug away would arrive that day.

She held him close as he snuffled her tears.  She had made her mind up during the night and knew that this would be a forever goodbye, not just a temporary solution to a temporary problem.  She cried into his fur as he panted from the heat, not wanting to give him up, not wanting to face her choice.  She whispered into his ear ... "God, help me!"

She heard the knock at the door and knew it was time.  She turned over the leash to the woman and explained about the power and water being off, and wanting her precious fur child to have a better life.  She closed the door and sat on the floor and cried after the woman left.  She cried and sobbed ... "God, help me!"

She sat for what seemed like hours and oceans of tears, and eventually she heard the knocking on the door again.  She opened it, looking terrifyingly like Medusa, and saw the woman who had taken her pug standing there with a hand extended.  She took it and listened as the woman shared news about how God had heard her cries, and a church was willing to pay to have the power and water turned on again.
~~~
She wrapped her arms around herself a year later, in spite of the heat in the house without air conditioning, and rocked back and forth, tears spilling down her face.

She cried in the darkness of the night, no longer alone and afraid, no longer without power or water, but this time with gratitude, wanting to go on, wanting to live.

She reached a hand over her head and cried one last time before exhaustion from the work day carried her off to sleep ... "Thank you, God, for hearing my cry!"

STOP
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 19, 2013

wind riders ...

white caps top the waves
in the distance I
notice a kite surfer
dancing in the wind

roaring overhead
icy contrails
disappear behind an F-22
echoing calls catch my attention
raptors in the sky, osprey
soaring on the thermal updrafts


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

for Kate ...

Over the last several months that I've been following Chronicles of a Country Girl,
Kate has shown a graceful peace and acceptance
for what has been a very difficult time in her and her family's life.


roses are for beauty.
The deep pink rose speaks of appreciation and gratitude.
It says "Thank you for being in my life."

Sending you hugs and prayers, Kate.