Thursday, January 14, 2016

Three Startling Graces of God...

In my life, God shows himself daily. I am given small glimpses of grace and forgiveness and purpose...and sometimes I forget to notice these gifts as what they are. It is always a good idea to stop and take inventory of the little as not to take them for granted on the way to bigger things.

I am constantly in awe of the way God provides for us. We have faced difficulties, to be sure. Through everything though, I am reminded that things will work out...that we will overcome...that we need only have patience and faith. We are blessed to live in our sweet home, a home full of memories and life and love. We struggle financially, but manage to always stay current on our bills and have enough to eat. Our mode of transportation recently became a little more unreliable, and we were covered by family. In these ways, God shows His grace.

I am amazed at the grace in my heart. Though it would be easier to hate, to harden, to neglect...I am shown how to forgive, to love, to grow. For many years I battled with this. I was unforgiving. I held on to hurts, even self inflicted ones. I was unable to let go of others' cruelty and mistreatment. I lived constantly feeling under attack and misunderstood. I struggled with comparisons, jealousy, want, and regret. But, by accepting Gods grace and forgiveness, I was able to offer grace and forgiveness to others. And to myself. I was able to recognize hurtful myself and in the people I love. I was able to let go of what I thought I wanted in favor of what I actually needed. And I was able to accept responsibility for hurts I have caused and ask for patience, forgiveness, and healing.

Mostly, I see startling grace in the everyday moments. When my husband makes me coffee in the morning. When I wake up holding his hand. When my daughter hugs me and tells me goodnight. When he drives me to doctors appointments, or to the grocery, or to the library. When my dogs snuggle me. When I'm doing dishes, or laundry, or homework. When life is mundane and normal and ordinary and extraordinary. In these moments, Gods grace is evident. In these moments.

The trick is in noticing YOUR moments. And being thankful for them.

Love, Blessings, & Peace.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Three Things About Yourself You Are Grateful For...

Talk about challenging. I am my own worst enemy and my harshest critic. I struggle with my weight, my insecurities, my health, my neediness, my desire to be perfect. I suppose, as women, we all share the same self loathing and self defeating talk. Inevitably, I hope we all survive and overcome.

But to find, and document, what I am grateful for about myself (despite it being easier to find and document the negatives) is what today asks for. So....I did some thinking.

Firstly, I have a great daughter. And, I have learned how to be a great mom. I learned much from my own mother...and feel that I have raised a girl that is caring, smart, empathetic, joyful, loving, and full of life. All the things that I strive to be myself. I can only hope that she learned how to be all these things by watching me. She is, by far, the greatest thing I have ever done, my most challenging adventure, and my most beautiful blessing.

Secondly, I have a great relationship with my husband. I have had to learn how to be a wife...and at times it was difficult. I have learned how to love and accept love in return. I have turned down the negative voice in the back of my order to listen to the positive voice of my spouse. I have accepted my role in our family, adjusted to our lifestyle, and welcomed comfort. I have allowed for my limitations...and worked to overcome my own doubts. I have created a welcoming and peaceful home, allowed calm to settle here, and encouraged my husband to grow. I am proud of the man he has become and I am thankful and grateful for our marriage.

Lastly, I am grateful for my faith. I have developed a routine to celebrate my relationship with Christ, and am learning how to express that faith creatively. I have tested my own borders, surpassed my own expectations, and continued to teach myself how to trust the process. I have certainly made mistakes, I am far from perfect or complete, but I am enjoying the journey and trusting in the outcome. I have pushed the envelope of my own creativity and have challenged myself to be greater.

I don't know if that was a successful response to the prompt (there I go with the doubts again)...but, I am grateful for these things. I want to add one more...only because it bears mentioning...I am beyond grateful for the relationships I have with my family and friends. My circle is small, without a doubt, but it is powerful. I know that I am cared for, taken care of, and covered in love.

And that is a testament to how I am choosing to live. Accepting love. Giving love. Praising and uplifting each other. But, mostly, trying to live a worthy that does not require explanation or forgiveness.

See you tomorrow.
Love, Blessings, & Peace.

One Thousand Gifts...

Blessed New Year! Since it has been so very long since we've talked, please allow me a moment to reflect on the year now spent.

In September, I promised you I was going to write more. And I did. It was a difficult decision to not post here, but it was made because I didn't feel that I had anything substantial or worthwhile to share. It is possible, in retrospect, that I was mistaken. I have made some very meaningful and significant changes in my life...I have learned how to practice mindful meditation, learned to share (and express) love and gratitude, and learned how to creatively channel my faith. It has been a year of slowing down, absorbing all the moments, and taking absolutely nothing for granted.

Which brings us to today! I, I embark on a journey of writing, witnessing, and wishing. And the best way I know to do all of that is to challenge myself to do all of that. So, I invited my dear cousin...the most wonderful, beautiful, gifted, and authentic person I join me on a year long blogging journey.

Because we are both fans of Ann Voskamp, we felt it only appropriate to follow her One Thousand Gifts joy dare. (I dare YOU to read her book if you haven't already. It, without a doubt, changed my life.) It's pretty simple really...every day for the year, we find and share 3 things that bring us joy. Three God given blessings. Whatever they are, however silly or simple or insignificant. And, lucky for us, there just happens to be daily prompts...

Now, we chose to begin it 11 days in...rather than overwhelming ourselves trying to catch up. We discussed it, made a plan, and then I promptly forgot to log in the post. It happens. So...I bring you my one day at a time. (And PLEASE follow my sweet girl on HER journey as well....Sheila at Saturday Morning Confusion. You'll be glad you did!)

Day 11: 3 Yellow Gifts of Fresh Mercy
Sunshine. Easy right?
Lemons. Because, lemonade.
Daffodils. No more winter! On to spring! Bring me sunshine!

Day 12: Something Above, Below, Beside
Above me is magic. Heaven, the Creator, clouds, possibility, promise, hope. Written here, that sounds much more poetic and romantic versus saying above me hangs my ever daunting to do lists.
Below me is snow. The ground, the trees, the air. Truth be told, the snow is OUTSIDE...and below me is actually a cold hardwood floor and the pair of fuzzy socks I just smooshed off my feet.
Beside me...weenie dogs. No really. Two of the three. Curled up, staying warm, one snoring. Objecting to the cold, snowy reality. And probably waiting to run off with one of my fuzzy socks.

And so it begins. And don't forget to follow my girl, Sheila. She's doing much better at this than me!

Love, Blessings, & Peace.