Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back to Building Things

My Giant has gone back to building things for work instead of drawing things on people. 
It's a shift in my home and my heart since we no longer work together for a paycheck.
We continue to work together here at home to raise this awesome family of 3 teens, and 1 young adult that God has given us, but I miss him at my other work place, ever so much. 
That's a blog for another day... today I want to talk about building things.

Several months ago my sister Jenny and I were having a conversation about a proverb found in the bible ;
"Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands."
Proverbs 14:1

Birthed out of this conversation my sister started this awesome blog;
 Proverbs 14 Project
Please check it out if you have a minute or two, but don't go just yet ; )

We talked about what it looks like to build a house metaphorically speaking of course, because neither myself or my sister Jen have real good carpentry skills.
She's a little more handy than I am with a hammer and nails, but we both know
all those building genes were given to our little Brother Greg.

The skills my brother Greg and My Giant have in the department of building things are off the charts.
But for real... Bob the builder has got nothing on these two genius builders!

Again, a blog for another day.

Back to the conversation with my sister Jen. We talked about how even before we were married women we were building in our life a metaphorical house, and even way back when we knew what we wanted that home to look like.
Now, having a young adult daughter who left to go build her life again in Washington, I am thinking about how important it is to have a good foundation in this life, before you go off to build, walls, doors, and windows.

(the cabin before we started building there)

Since our conversation some months ago, I've started reading all the scripture I can find on building....
Come to find out there's a lot of building going on in the scriptures.  
 I hope to kind of unpack the boxes so to speak of what I've been building over here, and what I will hopefully build with words today on this here bloggy poo. 

There is a different kind of building outside of wood and nails that happens from the day you were born until the day you die.  From our early years when we are just learning what we love, what we are good at, what makes our very own hearts sing, to the years later when we decide to build with someone else, if we decide to build with someone else, we are always either building or tearing things down.

I have come to know that in one lifetime there is a lot of building that takes place. 

Whether we build in a business, marriage, or relationships with friends we are always either building or tearing things down.
Right from the start we are building habits in our lives that if they are good can in return build a good foundation for life, but if they are bad will tear us down in the end. 

"Can we Fix it?
YES WE CAN!!"

The things that you say yes, or no to in this life are the hammer and nails of this metaphoric kind of building.
 How they affect your person as well as your soul, and all the people around you become the walls and the doors. 
This makes me 
  wonder have I been the hammer or the nail?
Am I a wall or a door?


For instance, if you are physically active person with sports and exercise your building a body that will hopefully be able to like the song says;  "jump around, jump around, jump up and jump down" well into your 70s, 80s, and Lord willing even your 90s, maybe even your 100s!!

If you are person who loves to study and learn from books you are building a brain that will have a satchel full of information to pass onto to younger generations. 
"Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family)[*nation] built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation]. 
Proverbs 24:3

The house that these scriptures are talking about is the house of our lives. 
Our bodies. 
Our interest.
Our passions.
Where we live day in and day out.
 
In my young adult years I have been primarily focused on building this awesome family that God has given me. 
It started when I fell in love with a boy named Moses and promised my love and devotion to him at the young age of 19. 
We built for only 6 months before we committed to each other a covenant to be married 6 months later. 
We then had 3 years together before kids. 
Moses btw was the one who wanted to start a family right away... I wanted at least 5 years together just the two of us before adding on, and so we compromised, and 3 years later came Miss Emma Faith
 Oh how quickly we built this family! 
We built 4 babies in 6 years. 
That was a lightening fast build if you ask me... and honestly,  I think I'm still unpacking and settling into that major build. 
(wink emoticon here)
I have been building this house with the help of my genius builder husband and my master builder Jesus for 22 years!!
Whew, thats a whole lotta building !
But, even before I said "I do" at 20 years old  there were those childhood years with my parents and siblings, and even though I didn't realize it, I was building there too.

I would call those childhood years our foundational years. 

This is where we have to learn to build ourselves up, in order to go out into the world and build with others. 
I personally, was learning how to share coming from a family of 5 kids including myself.
I was given the great gift of my faith and the practice of it, and how God plays a role in every detail of my life. 
I was blessed with good foundational years. 
I had parents who encouraged me and really were my biggest cheer leaders in this life. 
They still are!! 
Thank you Mom and Dad if you are reading this <3 center="">

<3 center="">
But, if that wasn't your story your foundation years might look quite different, and at some point you have to go back to those years and re-build the foundations of your life. 

These souls that re-build the foundations of their lives are some of the most brave, and courageous people I know. 

I can't even begin to express the awe, and emphathy I have in my heart for the people who have had to go back and re-build their foundation. They are an inspiration to me, and truly some of my life's greatest heroes.


And now, currently these are the years that I feel I'm on the long home stretch of raising these 4 humans in the ways that they are building their foundations. I know that God has graciously given me, and my Giant these precious souls to guide and lead for life, but they are all quickly approaching the ages where they start leading their own lives. They will make decisions all their own that will shape their futures, and all I can hope and pray is that we've given them a good foundation.

At the same time while continuing to build here at home
many people say that your 40's become the years that you build your financial security. 
You begin to think about the years ahead, and how you might want to retire and stop building someday, and because of the ticking clock of your aging body, there seems to be a scurry of building that happens outside of yourself. 

Because of this I feel as though I'm being pulled in every direction and that I have all these mini- building projects going on!!

Can I get a witness ?

 In all this scurry and building, I have been reminded recently,  that this house here soon will change and already has. 
Physically as each child grows up and moves out and starts building their own house, but also spiritually as my prayers for these precious lives will change and so will the focus of my own life. 

In the process of letting go, and gratefully letting the changes happen, I don't what to tear down what I've worked so hard to build here on this masterpiece called my family.

"Unless the Lord builds the house the laborers labor in vain"
Psalm 127:1

There will come a day when the house we live in will be smaller because there won't be need for a lot of rooms. 
But that doesn't mean I get to stop building.
I don't think we ever get to stop building.
Aren't we continuing to build right up until our dying breath what we hope to spend all of eternity enjoying?

Even grandparents who are in their 60s and 70s are still building for the next generation. 
They are setting an example of what retirement life can or should look like.
Maybe we get to retire from our jobs that pay the bills, but we don't ever get to stop building in this life. 
I don't want to labor in vain on a building project that is not eternal and will soon turn back into dust. 

"[Put first things first] Prepare your work outside and get it ready for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house and establish a home. "
Proverbs 24:27


Once you grasp the idea that everything you do in your life is a part of a larger picture and in a sense building something, you begin to see this even carries over into church, communities, and politics.
 
When thinking about the world at large and this amazing country that I was born in I start to see that even there I have been working toward building something.
I've been reading about things in history and how these nations were built. 
The laws and constitution and what our forefathers wanted to build was a place that was so different from the one they left behind. 
Overtime if those same priorities for building are not maintained then the outcome can be very different from the blueprint that was set before us some 200 years ago. 

(the cabin after some major re-building went down)

The foundation of this house has been shaken once again, and it has proved to me once again that we have a GOOD foundation. 
When life changes whether by a job change, a death in the family or of a friend it has a similar response like the feeling after an earthquake.
All you can do is stand and wait for the aftershock and you hope that the foundation of the earth won't move again. 

Gravity and the ground we stand upon, is something that we all take for granted. 

But when the foundation is not solid and can't be counted on then you begin to question everything. 
You wonder how was this house built?
Thankfully, and with an incredible amount of awe for knowing this at such a young age, I know my foundation is secure. So when the earth shakes I hold onto my anchor in this life and know that this house was built on solid ground.
I wait for the rumbles and shakes to pass and then look for cracks in the walls that might need to be repaired. 
I pick up the broken pieces by the grace of God and move forward without fear. 
 
"According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it."
1 Corinthians 3:10

Long after I am gone, what I have spent my life building with either continue on or like dust just blow away with the winds of change.
I'm taking the time to build well in every area of my life, and when I see areas for renovation I choose to be the hammer and not the nail.

There is still so many more thoughts on this topic that are rolling around, but before this turns into a novel I'm going to just put this out there.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this beloved reader.
Until I have more thoughts to share just know I'm over here singing ;

"Bob the builder
Can we fix it?
YES WE CAN!!"


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Shout Out To All The Dads

Is it just me or does Father's Day sometimes seem to get overlooked?

That is a rhetorical question that I would love to hear from you about beloved reader. 

I'm not sure if it's because summer is in full swing, or just because in this world we live in there aren't as many of you out there that deserve a day to be recognized, (sad but true)  but whatever the reason if you are a dad who SHOWS UP and has continued to SHOW UP since the day your kid/kids were born then I applaud you. 

I see YOU! 


Here are the dad's in my life that I have come to know, appreciate, and applaud.

I'll start with my baby's daddy ;()


When I first met Moses, and before we even were married, or had children of our own I knew he would be a really good dad. 
I watched how he treated my youngest brother Jeremy who was only a little over 1 year old at the time.
He studied him, and observed some very interesting things that Im not sure anyone in our family had ever noticed before. 
When he spoke to me about these observations he said them with love and laughter and not irritation or confusion.
I then watched how he reacted when my other brother Greg borrowed his truck without permission and ruined the brand new bed of the truck by taking it out off- road, and neglected the fact that their was a whole engine in the back of his truck.

He was frustrated, confounded, and  livid...but he didn't overreact.

He simply went and got my young teenage brother Greg and had him fix the back of his truck.

He has always provided a way for our kids to make things right when they go wrong.



He was patient.
He was quiet.
And he was and still is a stellar example of what a good dad figure looks like. 

After we got married and the conversation of having children came up I was astounded that HE wanted children so soon, and even believe it or don't BEFORE I did.
In most relationships that I know of it's the woman who begs to have kids early on, and not the other way around.
I'm still not sure to this day, why he was so adamant about wanting kids so young, but I have appreciated his love and devotion to them ever since.
Many times I chuckle about the fact that people think because I'm the one with the degree in Early Childhood Ed, and the one that was primarily home with them, that it made me the better parent.

But it's kind of an inside joke between Mo and I that we know who is the better parent. 



For the most part of raising this big family of 4 kids I have been the one who had the honor of being home with them, but only because the jobs that I could find have paid me a lot less than what Moses could make. 
(Ahem.. that's a conversation for another day)

There have however been a few times in our family life when I was the one who went to work, and Moses stayed home... and those were the times when it was quite evident that had the tables been turned in our life of raising kids, he in FACT would have made the better parent to stay at home with them. 



I can't possibly put into words the appreciation and gratitude I have for this man I married 22 years ago. The way he parents our children makes me fall in love with him all over again.
There are not many men who can balance it all and be this amazing, but somehow he has found a way  and we are all the better for it. 

------------

Where did this Blue-eyed boy/dad/ wonder come from .... but from another blue eyed boy wonder named
affectionately known now as, Papa Russ.


My father-in-law or in -love as I like to call it, cause 
I'm not in-law... I'm in LOVE.

Raised as not only the oldest in the Scofield family, but THE ONLY BOY....Rusty you amaze me.

With three younger sisters is it any wonder he learned quick how to make his way in the garage fixing things?
My own brother Greg has adopted YOU as the mechanical genius of a dad that YOU are. 
I know he found in YOU a kindred spirit being the only brother of 3 sisters.
*And btw, he tells me to call you more often! (LOL)



I give you a shout out today, because honestly my husband who is the father of my children wouldn't be here without you.
The two of you started out together as just a couple of dudes, and all these years later I still love to see you two dudes together. 
I love hearing you talk of mechanical things that may as well be a foreign language to me. 
Pop you have saved us thousands of dollars over the years because you taught your son how to fix things. 
You taught him to "worry it out" and not give up.


You taught him what it looks like when your teen gets in trouble and you spend every last dime to get him out of it, and back on the straight and narrow. 

I'm thankful for you and today I recognize you for SHOWING UP!
You didn't turn your back on your wayward son in his teen years, and today on this day I appreciate YOU!

---------------------

And then there's my dad...


Oh How I LOVE this man!!

He has shown me what it looks like to be faithful and true to one woman and 5 kids for 47 years. 
He worked every day to provide for said 5 kids and then some more kids along the way that weren't even his own. 
There is not one other human on this planet that I admire more for being true to his family and loving them so well.

My dad was born into a family of ALL boys...


And somehow he managed to raise three daughters who all love and adore him.
He instilled value and worth to us, and never, ever made us feel as though we couldn't conquer the world as women if we wanted to.
It still amazes me that he never batted an eye when it was that "time of the month" and he would buy feminine products just like he was buying toilet paper!
I mean that is a REAL MAN!!
He has loved my mom with such devotion over the years and instilled a trust in her, my sisters, and myself , that not all men look the other way!
He never left my moms side when the house was full and the chaos was more than any man could handle. 
He may have retreated to his man cave there in the house, but he never headed down to the local bar for hours on end with God knows who. 
He came home everyday after work, paid every bill on time, and bought flowers for my beloved Grandma the day before she died because the Bo Sox won the world series. 
The love and devotion that he still has for my mom after all these years is precious to me. 
To hear him talk about her with such love and appreciation for all the years they have been together, well ... it makes me weepy just thinking about it.
He is one of my life's heroes because despite the fact that early on in life he suffered some serious tragedy he never let it slow him down. 
He's brilliant, funny, and truly a devoted father.
Now that he's retired he calls weekly, sometimes daily (wink wink) to check in on his kids, and always lets us know what's happening, and who is going where, and reminds me to call my mom more often. 
*(Apparently, I'm not good about picking up the phone once in a while and checking in)
He doesn't wait for me to call him and check in, although he has mentioned a time or two that he would love it if I did. 
He let's me know that HE KNOWS how busy life is for me right now, and HE picks up the phone to check in.
I appreciate those phone calls more than he could ever know.

With both of these men in my life if I could use one word to describe them it would be;
INTEGRITY.

definition- the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness:

They both have raised their families and taken the role of fatherhood with such integrity, and they deserve this day of recognition.

Happy Fathers Day Moses!
Happy Fathers Day Papa Russ!

Happy Fathers Day Dad!

 
And to all the Dad's who show up with integrity in their back pocket to every game, every band concert, every recital, every wedding of walking your daughter down the isle, every day to work  to provide for all the fun...

You are my life's heroes and I give this SHOUT OUT TO YOU!!

Thank you for making this world a better place. 


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Christine

"Nothing can make up for the absence of  someone whom we love, 
and it would be wrong to try and find a substitute;
we must simply hold out and see it through. 

That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time, it is a great consolation, 
for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us. 
It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap;
God doesn't fill it, but on the contrary  keeps it empty and so helps us keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain. "
Dietrich Bonhoeffer




I remember when I first met Christine.
She was described to be me by my husband as an old High School friend who was a "shit ton of fun!"
My husband doesn't have many people that he would call "friend" from his High School days, let alone anyone he describes as ALOT of fun, so naturally,  my interest right from the start was peaked.
My version of meeting her was that right from the start she felt like family.
Well, and then there is her version, she says I walked out with an Italian woman's attitude hand on my hip and the look of  "best not be trying to crouch in on my man sista," on my face. 
Her version is of course more colorful than I remember. 
We will still be arguing about this first embrace for all eternity ... I told her there might be playback reels in heaven and so that will hopefully settle who's right on this one. 
   But truly, within moments of our first embrace we two became beloved friends. 
We had kindred spirits and a soul sister love right from the start.

I met her when her son Benat was the same age as my oldest son Solomon, only 5 years old.
At this point in her life she had already survived two craniotomies , and seemed to be the picture of health to me.
We instantly bonded over family and the love of our heritages, her's being Basque, mine being Italian.
She taught me the language of passion for life, and a few choice words in Basque as well. 
"Puty Las Wah"- being an all time favorite for the whole clan now.
Translation- Loose Butt to be said after ... well a good loud Fart!!

Shortly after meeting and bonding instantly she attended a women's retreat with me in Lake Tahoe.
We bonded further over our mutual love for the elderly, baseball, babies, wine, the Lake, music, and being moms.
WE may or may not have smuggled wine into that women's retreat... I'll admit to nothing!
I remember falling in love with her heart and soul, and crying out to God for her life, and for that Bitch Cancer never to return and take this beloved friend away from me. 
But, The bitch returned.
We held our breath until the MRI's came in, and I was beyond relieved, and once again astounded that
She kicked it's ass once again.
 
And then it seemed the bitch moved away and left us all feeling a little too comfortable for while.
I moved away and she came to visit first with her whole family and then later she came again for another visit, and I had her all to myself. 
She was wanting so desperately to have a different story.
One that didn't involve death and dying and that disgusting C word!
 We lived fully in every moment of fresh fish from the Seattle waters to the nights out by the camp fire. 

What a treasure that time was. 
She gave me the book Broken Open and she inscribed a love note to me in the front of this book that I will treasure more now than ever before. 
 
We talked about life, death, and all that goes on in between.
In her last months here we had many a conversation about this book Broken Open.
So many of our conversations were about the bigger picture. 
When she came to Seattle the second time to visit, she helped me get my shit organized and slim down the gross amount of hats I had collected over the years, and didn't have room for in my tiny 800 sq ft cabin. 
We laughed until I think I peed my pants and then laughed some more as we tried on every ridiculous hat I had collected over the years.
 
On that trip, and being out of her element of not cleaning house everyday in her own home(she kept the CLEANEST house btw) She was determined to get down to the bottom of my families dirty clothes hamper, which I laughed at and said... "More power to ya sister!" 
You know you're  family when you let someone do your dirty laundry! 
With 4 kids empty clothes hampers like perfectly clean houses, were a distant memory, and almost a myth in my life at that point. 
I'll never forget how happy she was to have an empty hamper even if only for a moment, until kids came in with muddy pants from the rain. 
She was a hard worker, who didn't like to sit still for very long. 
I know she got this gene from her dad and her mom, both of whom she loved with all her heart. 
When I went to visit her only a few weeks after her 4th and final craniotomy she was once again astounding me with her strong will to live, and as she was picking up dog shit in the backyard and cracking me right up about it,  I was astounded at the fight she still had left in her. 
And later when I left that cold day in January I cried, because I knew this was it.
But like wonder woman she just never quit. 
She fought the good fight.
She fought LIKE A CHAMP!! 

On another visit before I came over I wanted to do something, anything to make her feel better... 
She asked me for cookies.
I burnt them. 
We laughed at how here I was trying to help her feel better, and in the end she made ME feel better.
If you met her in that 12 year span that she fought like a warrior against this beast, you wouldn't even have known that she had brain cancer unless she chose to tell you, because she never complained.
Not even ONE tiny bit.

She was not a victim to Brain Cancer but a survivor, and one that spent the last 12 years of her life trying to help others who sit down one day in a Dr.'s office and are told "You have brain cancer." 
Shortly after her first diagnosis of a brain tumor, when most people would have been devastated beyond belief,  she joined a brain cancer forum in the attempt to help strangers process this horrible diagnosis. 
I mean, WHO DOES THAT?
Our warrior woman Christine did.
She was without a doubt a warrior, armed always with humor, hard work, brilliant even WITH Brain Cancer, and she was stubborn as all get out!! 
She wasn't about to let this beat her, or rob her of her time with her son, or tell her what she could or couldn't do.
So she fought, and fought, and fought some more.

I'll never understand as long as I live why she was given the battle she was handed at such a young age. 
But,  I do know that her courage and passion for the short time she was here has forever changed me, and I'm beyond grateful for EVERY moment. 
Every meal.
Every glass of wine shared.
Every song enjoyed together.
Every sunset in Tahoe. 
Every Pig kill in January.
Every warm summer evening on her back porch.
She was and will continue to be a precious gift to my heart.
She gives me hope that even in death you can make others laugh.
If Christine taught me anything its that life doesn't permit us the luxury of time to meet strangers.

She seriously would make friends standing in line at the grocery store. 
When the clouds of grief and sorrow pass and the sun peeks it's head out from behind those dark clouds of a love lost too soon, then is the time to remember that life is for the living.
Her spirit is too big to ever leave us.
In every story that we share and every memory that we have had with her she will continue to be with us and live on in that way.

But, I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is still ALIVE and no longer in pain.

She said she was really looking forward to giving us all some shit down here in her afterlife!
And, Oh what an AFTER LIFE ON EARTH IN HEAVEN she is having now!! 
Anyone who knew her knows that heaven's gates are having one hell of a party right this very moment. 
Thats right I put heaven and hell in the same sentence... and you know what?
It's appropriate.
Because that's what life here for her for the last 12 years was. 
Heaven to have more time with her son Benat... but Hell to live with Brain Cancer for most of his young life.
Now, she is where every tear is wiped dry and there is only good. 
No more pain.
No more sorrow.
No more TRUMP!!
(she would appreciate that last sentence more than I can even express in words)
  
She wasn't a fan of traditional funerals and so she won't be having one if her wishes are kept. 
She asked only that when we found the time, that we would  go to one of her favorite places at Silver Lake and remember her unbelievably beautiful life, that we all raise a glass to this Beautiful Life and all that it entails. 
I will honor her life by choosing to be kind to strangers, loving my family with unwavering devotion, and giving out as many hugs and kisses(on both sides of the cheeks) to as many people who will let me. 
I will scream GO GIANTS at the top of my lungs (even though I'm a Bo Sox Fan) and savor the time around a big long table with good food and beloved friends and family.
 

My life is richer, fuller, and just all around better for having known this amazing soul.
My heart is heavy for her son Benat, Husband Dan, and Parents Annie and Jean Pierre.
Please keep them all in your prayers as they will be living in the gap until they are reunited again with their beloved.
As long as I'm alive here on earth,  I will carry her in my heart and be forever grateful for all the memories. 


Friday, May 05, 2017

New Book/Old Book/ Book Club Via Inter Webs

 I've been thinking about building things lately.
Not necessarily with wood, nails,  and a hammer, but metaphorically speaking. 
Not to worry beloved reader, I haven't suddenly taken up carpentry.
In thinking about building I have realized you need good tools.
One of the tools I was given to build my life early on was the bible.
Many of you know it is a book I love to quote and ponder upon, but many of you might not know that early on in my life the family bible in my childhood home had quite a bit of dust on it and was rarely opened.
Around the time I was 13 years old I realized that my soul needed more than what the words Duran Duran was singing on the radio.
That was almost 30 years ago now (damn I'm OLD)!

 As a Catholic Family I was raised to go to church every Sunday and confession on Saturday, and I was taught by very loving awesome nuns about the 10 commandments and other key scriptures, but it was the bullet point version of faith.  For some strange reason though we never seemed to read the bible at home. So when the dust was blown off  of that  big book I wasn't quite sure what had happened. 
My sister Jen started reading it first and I thought she had entered a cult of some kind.
Then my mom Ellen began to read it, and I couldn't even ask her for money to go to the movies with out her quoting something from the good book....
I also want you to know that when I first started reading the Bible it confused the Hell out of Me!
Literally I suppose the HELL was coming out of me.. (insert laughing so hard you cry emoticon here)
but for real, it is a confusing book and I get that. 
It's also a very large book, in fact it is a book that has several books inside it.
Books upon books upon books.
When I read the bible for the first time, not like in Sunday School but in the comfort of my splash painted teenage room with hand prints and music notes all over the walls I had SO many questions. 
I know see what a gift it was to have this incredible tool in my life at such a young age.
 However, I realize that many people are still so confused, bewildered and really just not interested at all to open that big book and it makes me sad.
I can't stay sad for long...
"Aint nobody got time for that!" 
So I'm happy to report that one of my all time fav
 authors/speakers/storytellers/fathers/husbands/brothers from another mother has published a book to come out this month titled ;
What Is The Bible?
By Rob Bell.
I rarely promote books that I haven't even read yet, but I know in my knower this is one that I personally am going to enjoy, and I think you might too.
I want you to know beloved reader "the why" behind all the quotes I often refer to in the bible. 
And,
I wonder if anyone out there who is reading this might consider reading this book with me via the inter webs and discussing your thoughts on it with me??
If you have ever been interested in reading the bible even just a tiny bit then this book is for you.
If you have been reading the bible and feel you have a handle on it that no one else does and that Rob Bell is a heretic ... then move along this is NOT the discussion for you.
Again I will say;
"Aint nobody got time for that!" 
But if you are among one of many readers I call a beloved reader here and you trust my recommendation for a new book then;
I want YOU beloved reader to take a journey with me and read the Bible in a whole different way.
Or maybe, possibly read it for the very first time?
I'll come back to more thoughts on building after this post, but for now I just want to put this question/challenge/adventure is out there/proposition online for YOU to get this book when it comes out and read it with ME ?
Oh and don't forget to get YER Coffee!!
ANY TAKERS?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Walking Into The Arena

Inspired by the words below written a long time ago by President Teddy, I wrote some prose today.

"It is not the critic who counts; 
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
 or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, 
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; 
who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again.
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
 but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, 
the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and
who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly....."
~Theodore Roosevelt 
I want to be the one in the arena.
I have no time for critics or the callous skin of a judger.
I feel excitement rising as I build with tools of failure, some success,  and vulnerability.
Too many great enthusiasms, and not enough hours in the day, but that won't stop me.
I can't let it stop me. 
As I step up to the arena's in life I hear the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before me.
Chanting fight the good fight win the race. 
Don't get weary in doing good. 
I also hear the whispers of the critic, the one who would come only to rob, kill, and destroy what new vision has been birthed in me. 
To silence the voice of the enemy we have to listen to the friend.
The one who comes along side not even saying a word.
A hand reached out to walk beside me.
Putting one foot in front of the other we walk into the arena and we dare greatly....
Believing tomorrow will be better.
It has to be.
If only made better by one small choice at a time.
One time of laying down ego to pick up humility, and ask for help.
Help me to grow.
Help me to learn.
Help me to trust.
Help me to love again, and again, and again.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Good News... God is With Us and For Us




"So be truly glad!

 There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here...

YOU LOVE HIM even though you have never seen Him;

though not seeing HIM, you trust Him;

and even now you are happy with the inexpressible joy that comes from heaven itself. "
1 Peter 1:6, 8
 
The past few weeks have been really hard for me. 
I have felt the overwhelmed-ness of life around every corner, and the indescribable blessings of just being alive all at the same time. 
For a moment I went deep down into a rabbit hole of sadness and overwhelmed-ness. 
I know overwhelmed-ness is not a word but it is here today on this blog.
 (It's my blog therefore I can make up words among other things when I want to.)
Just try to stop me. 
You can't so don't even try!
Wait... I just told you to try.
When I go places like down the overwhelmed-ness rabbit hole island I get quiet.
*(It's a hole and an island, I can make up imaginary places here too)
I read, I write, and I'm not ashamed to say, I watch a lot of Netflix.
This morning I realized that it's time to come out of that rabbit hole. 
 Easter Sunday has come and gone and its message of hope has once again left it's residue on my heart.
Although the rough things in life and the lives around me are still going on there is hope in the midst of it all. 
The unshakeable knowledge of life after death is GOOD NEWS!!
And all the sadness and overwhelmed-ness that this life can throw my way
pales in comparison to the bright light of Jesus being alive!!
He conquered death, and I'm pretty sure he knows how to pull people out of overwhelmed-ness rabbit holes. 
The song of life is faintly playing and getting louder with every passing moment. 
"When death was arrested and my life began"
This good news of Jesus being alive is not something that is new to me. 
He opened my eyes to see Him and all His glory and love many years ago, but sometimes I let the worries of this world choke out this "inexpressible joy that come from heaven itself"

I know after all these years that it's ok to go down rabbit holes of overwhelmed-ness. 
I'm thankful that Jesus knows where to find me because he never left me. 
He goes down those holes with me.
He sails to the island that is me.
He binge watches Netflix right beside me. 
He is not a Savior who doesn't know how to speak our language or meet us right where we are at.
So today "even though the going is rough for a while down here" I'm going to get up out of this hole by listening to the songs of life and reading the words of truth.
"I look behind me and you're there, then
up ahead and you're there too- your 
reassuring presence, coming and going. 
This is too much, too wonderful- 
I can't take it all in!"
Psalm 139:5-6
Turning our mourning into dancing 
Our weeping into laughing
Our sadness into JOY
Inexpressible JOY!!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hope in Death

Can you find Hope in Death?
Easter Sunday brings forth hope, and new life for so many who know, that they know,  that death no longer hold's it's sting.
“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”

1 Corinthians 15:55



For those that know beyond a shadow of a doubt there is life after this short time on this round ball of dirt, they get it. 
But what about people who don't quite fully grasp what is so special about this day?
It's not about the season of Spring that we choose to celebrate this day called Easter Sunday. 
Although all the cherry blossoms, with beautiful pink flowers and yellow daffodils coming out of the ground that was covered in snow only days ago...  do help to add to the feeling of hope and new life. 
But this day is pregnant with HOPE  because of something that happened 2000 years ago.
For as many people who hold this day as a sacred day, there are just as many if not more, who don't understand why it is wrapped up in a confusing package of bunnies and eggs, and baskets and chocolate. 
There was a man.
His name was and still is Jesus.
He lived for 33 years on this earth.
He died and 3 days later, he came back to life.
In the 33 years that he walked this earth only 3 of those years were truly recorded. 
We have snip its of the 30 years before he came out in the public eye, but they are like a world without Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat and Blogs. 
They are the years where we wonder... 
Did he look different to everyone he met?
Did he have a best friend ?
Did he struggle with acne?
Did he build some bad ass chairs?
For the 3 years that he was in the public eye and we have record of, here is what we know;
He cried. 
He felt pain. 
He was betrayed.
He drank and made wine.
He had 12 best friends until one betrayed him.
He loved his mom.
He spoke to women even though he wasn't supposed to.
He hung out with prostitutes.
He was best friends with Zealots.
He got angry and pissed off at people who claimed to know God, but really didn't.
He cussed. 
He was called crazy for how he talked about intimacy and eating his flesh.
He said that HE and HE alone was the way, the truth, and the LIFE.
And then after a brutal death on a cross it was all over. 
Until 3 days later it wasn't. 
While he walked the earth some 2000 years ago he forever changed the world. 
He is a mystery only solved by the eyes of faith. 
He is where HOPE in DEATH is found. 

He was wounded for our rebellious acts. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from his wounds.
Isaiah 53:5

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Intrinsic Worth

I don't know if you know this, but I get really excited about words. 
Words are my muse.
 
I love to hear them. 
I love to sing them. 
I love to speak them.
I love to read them. 
And I love when they are sweetly spoken to me. 

The other day, I read a phrase in the bible that jumped right out at me.
The words intrinsic worth popped off the page this morning with such excitement it almost made a splash in my coffee.
 
Does that ever happen to you? 
Not necessarily words that literally jump into coffee, but you read something or hear something and it just lingers?
Well I read this little portion of scripture a few days ago; 
"Stop regarding man, whose breath [of life] is in his nostrils [for so little time];
in what sense can he be counted as having intrinsic worth. " 
Isaiah 2:22
And the phrase intrinsic worth got me so all kinds of excited that I tweeted it right then and there so I wouldn't forget it. 
I immediately checked the googles for what the true meaning of this phrase might be.
I found it hard to understand in a tangible human way, but incredibly worthy of a description for the Creator of this vast universe.
It made me think and ask questions like what do I find worthy in this life? 
Someone asked me a long time ago if you really want to know what matters in your life imagine your house is on fire ... what do you grab to get out as fast as you can, and what would you go back in there for?
Of course everyone who has loved ones in their house would of course say them and their pets first, but then what would it be?
When I think long and hard about that there isn't much I'd come running back inside a burning house  for, but I do have a binder of all titles, passports, social security cards, birth certificates that is easy accessible and ready to run out with. 
The other stuff in comparison has no real worth except maybe some precious pictures and MY BIBLE. 
My bible has countless notes and highlights and love letters in it from others that couldn't be replaced but what makes it intrinsically worthy to me has more to do with who wrote it and the conversations we've been having all these years because of that book.
The whole entire bible is one long love letter to all of God's creation. 
Yes, it can be hard to understand sometimes.
Yes, it was written by men. 
But it was, and is, and always will be breathed upon and made to come alive by God's own Spirit.
Sometimes when I sit with my big bible (It's big because I chose an Amplified Version of the bible because there are MORE WORDS in it) I feel as though.. no I KNOW that God himself if sitting right there with me.
Whispering sweet nothings ... wait sweet every-things and so much more into my ear.
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope." 
Psalm 130:5


There are no other words so powerful as those that are spoken to the soul from it's creator. 
Intrinsic Worth.
 

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Water in The Well

There is a quiet knowing ...
a peace that surpasses all understanding that I've been fortunate enough to experience since I was around 13 years old.
Almost 30 years later since this relationship began I have come to wonder why this awesome gift I was given, I often times take for granted. 
I decided that for this season of Lent I don't want to take away something, but rather add a new determined purpose to my life. 
With my heart full of so many emotions, so many ambitions, so many out pouring actions, I'm reminded once again to fill my cup, to fill my well first. 
I'm going back to the basics of watering my well. 

When I reconnect to the rapture of life and fully living it, I'm reminded that my well needs watering.

"And if a desire to serve humanity or to find God comes from a rapturous engagement with  life , then our service and our search will bear fruit.  But if we try to love or lead, or work or pray, from a dry well, then we will serve a bitter cup to those around us and never really live the life we were given. "

Oh that I would never serve from a bitter, and empty cup.


There is something to be said about people who are so full of joy all the time. 

It exudes from their being. 
You can feel it when they walk into a room.
It changes the temperature of said room.

The same can be said of a person that walks around with a bitter, angry, and sad heart. 
You know it isn't their fault.
Some are grieving a loss that they haven't fully processed yet.
Then there are those that have the victim mentality.
They just can't seem to get past the pain that we all endure in the course of a lifetime.

I will never truly understand why the portions of pain and joy are not poured out equally or fairly in this life.

 Still, there are those unique souls who have been given a double portion of pain, and they manage to pour forth joy everywhere they go.

They are like the mythical unicorns in this life.

It takes great effort and determination to move past the pains that a lifetime can serve us. 
I think there is a lot of therapy involved in that effort too.
There is no wonder why some people decide to take the turtle approach and just retreat from fully living.
More often than not I think I'm more like a turtle than a unicorn.

To truly love and live a life of love you have to experience pain.

I believe the more you love the more pain you might experience. 
Those that have the lion hearts are the ones that know this, and still continue to roar with joy.

Ok so maybe they are a lion unicorn type creature. (wink wink)

I wonder sometimes how those that roar with joy,  love, and passion for life, how do they fill their cups so that they don't become bitter from the hard times?

The truth is that every single human that has walked this planet has felt the sting of pain. 
Life has more stings than a hive of bumble bees on a hot July day!
But how do we heal those wounds and move forward to go back out and enjoy that warm sunshine of life again?

I don't really know the answers for you to those questions beloved reader, but I can say that for me what helps me to be in forward motion is a direct dial up number to the lover of my soul.

My therapy is found at the feet of a great counselor.
One that never judges me for the times that I retreat to my turtle shell. 
In this relationship I find a soothing balm that helps the stings of life fade away.
I recently read that if you break down the word COMFORT it looks like; 
Come and Fort. 
That's what I do to get built back up again.
I come and fort at the source of living water. 
He fills this well to overflowing every time and brings a comfort to my weary soul.


" You can serve your God without being so uptight about it. You can feel the simple rapture of being alive and let that rapture be your North Star. "

My hearts desire is that I would serve from a cup that overflows with joy. 
That even in the hard times I would have a song in my heart and an encouraging word for my fellow travelers here. 


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Growing Old ... Gracefully



What is it about getting older that scares the shit out of people?
Ask any hair stylist who their biggest money maker clients are, and they will tell you it is those who try to cover up their age with a different color of hair. 
Why is this?
Anyone who has known me for a minute will tell you that this is not a custom I embrace. 
In fact, quite the opposite.
I've been begging my friend/hair stylist for years to dye my hair grey because it's not coming in naturally as fast as I would like it to.
Call me crazy... but I think grey hair is a crown of glory and should be embraced with honor, not chemicals to cover it up.


Now of course, I know I am in the minority here, and I don't judge the mass population that feels otherwise, I just wonder sometimes what is it that we are SO afraid of?
To me growing old is an honor and a privilege that many people don't get the luxury of doing. 
Those of us that are given years beyond our 60s, 70s, and even 80s should be so blessed because it is extended time here on this beautiful planet that provides more learning and is full of one adventure after another. 
There are of course parts of getting older that aren't so fun, but if we would only shift our perspective to see how lucky we are to have the time we have here... we might see things in a whole other light. 


"I am learning to hold health and sickness, weakness and strength, and even life and death side by side- two sides of one coin. In fact,  it is the acceptance of death that has finally allowed me to choose life. I am learning that it is never either-or but both, and more. Not life or death, but life and death, health and sickness, good and bad. Both, and something more. I am learning to love the human condition, to say a full and rousing yes to it all, to work with it, to choose it, just as it is, every day."


Recently I attended a gathering of artists that came together to talk about the topic of aging.
To me the "growing old gracefully" topic has always fascinated me.
It's possible that it has always held my interest because I'm an old soul.
I truly appreciated the conversation at this gathering.
 It was about not only the young learning from the old, but vice versa. 
There were many elements of truth to what was talked about, but what I took away that really resonated is how we have lost this conversation between the young and old. 
The gap seems so wide.
The divide too big to bring together. 
And somehow when we attempt to cross that great divide the words get lost in translation.


The OLD says- "I'm older and wiser SO therefore you should listen to me."
The YOUNG says- "I'm young and full of life let me live it and don't tell me what to do"
When really the reality is that we both need each other so desperately. 
We need the wisdom that can only come from age, and we need the hope and inspiration and new knowledge that can only come from the young. 


I'm extremely grateful for my close friends and family members who are older than I am and who are living life to the fullest. 
I look at them and glean so much from their life experiences. 
They give me hope and inspire me to be that person for someone else who is younger than I am, and might a need a voice of encouragement.

The picture below captured some of these older people who give me hope in my life. 
These are my people and they make me proud.


 
My Uncle Mal passed away last week and left behind his now widow my Aunt Joan. Only days after her husband died she was choosing life and love and bringing joy to the older friends she had made in  an assisted living place she had been residing.

You can find her in the picture in the blue shirt with swollen eyes from tears and a smile on her face. This moment was taken only 5 days after her beloved had passed away and she is there with her two brothers, and my mom and her grand niece Savanah. They are all bringing joy to those around them, because my Aunt would say, as her mother said before her, and her sister(my mom) has said to me;

"Life is for the living!" 
I am also beyond giddy for the young life that surrounds me because they continue to challenge me to see life through different lenses. 
It may seem uncomfortable at first, much like getting used to a new pair of glasses can be, but in the end the outcome of pushing through the awkward learning phase there is beauty and laughter, and life.
WE are in this thing called life together. 
When we don't isolate and are honest with each other about all the challenges as well as the highlights of life we gain a wealth that cannot be measured. 

I feel as though, when we pause and think about what we do with the hours that we are given here, that is where wisdom is found.
That's all this blog post is about.

A moment to pause and thank God that YOU are alive and no matter what age you are you have a voice unlike anyone else's. 
I pray you will take the time to pause and listen from the older and the younger voices in your life. 
I pray that I would always have a voice of encouragement as long as I am blessed to be here. 
I don't have the recipe for growing old gracefully, nor do I think that if you suddenly stop dying the grey out of your hair that you will have it either. 
I just think that somehow it is wrapped up in not being afraid of what is to come and receiving all of life and even death as a teacher.
Here's to being life long students and to growing old with grace!

Here's to BEAUTIFUL LIFE!!
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