Tuesday, June 16, 2020

You Become... to Solomon and the class of 2020

All I can do right now as I look at the world you have graduated into is 
Be thankful
know that 
for LOVE to win, it starts within !
Also I offer this letter to you, and a quote from the Velveteen Rabbit;
Dear Solomon, 
Don't ever forget who you are, and where you come from.
If ever you feel you are forgetting, turn your phone off, go outside and look up.
 Be still and know.
As you move forward into the world of adulthood, remember there is a great cloud of witnesses that have gone before you on this path of life and faith. 
Your voice is unlike any of theirs, but it was fashioned and formed by the things they said, and did before you.
Don't worry about the world, it will be o.k. , but take great care of your world.
Know that as you are still, and know who you are and who you serve you will change the world as you yourself are changed from the inside out. 
The people that come into your life, your sphere of influence, those are the people that you walk out life with, and sometimes it's only for a season.
These people that come and go are your life lessons.
Some of them will come and stay forever as you have already witnessed, and a great many others will go passing you by, but remember in all relationships there are life lessons.
Listen more than you speak. 
Don't forget those that have gone before you, as you start this journey remember they are always there for you to cheer you on.
Don't hesitate to ask for help, because we all need help from time to time.
Everyday you wake up, before your feet hit the floor thank the giver of life and breath for the day ahead, and every night before you go to sleep thank that same giver of life for another day here. 
And know this... no one has it all figured out... even those who are in their 90's ... that's what is so beautiful about life.
Like Forrest's momma always said;
"Life is like a box of chocolates
You never know what you're gonna get!" 
"YOU become.
It takes a long time. 
That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, 
or have sharp edges,
 or who have to be carefully kept. 
Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair is has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. 
But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand. "
*A quote from the Velveteen Rabbit*
Solomon we are SO proud of who you have become, and who you will continue to become. 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Hear Ye Hear Ye ... this is for the Momma's and Poppa's

Good morning my "fellow shut-ins" and "stay at home" momma's and poppa's. 
It's crazy to think that we are all stay at homers now, remember when there was that dumb thing we did as parents re: who was a working mom vs. stay at home mom?

Can we ALL agree if you are a mom or a dad you ARE working. FULL STOP.

Also,  I want you to hear me when I say, this is NOT what it was like when I stayed home with 4 kids 6 and under.

We were not under quarantine.
We met with friends on a daily basis. 
We went to the dollar store without masks on as treat for doing chores, and I got to feel like Oprah for  a minute when I told my kids they could buy anything in the whole store just for fun!!

We went to parks, playdates, etc. and had a shift in our day when Moses came home from his day outside the house. 

I do have somewhat of a comparison to this time, in that 9/11/2001 happened while I was pregnant with Solomon, and home with a 3 yr old and 1 yr old,  Emma and Chloe. 

That was a stressful, emotional time to be a parent similar to this, but NOT the same. 

I didn't have to explain to my kids why they couldn't hug grandma and grandpa.
I didn't have to tell them that school was closed, and they might not ever go back, at least to school the way it was before Covid 19.
I was not trying to juggle working from home, while working with and parenting my children too. 

Sidenote- When I was a stay at home mom of 4 kids 6 and under, I had a part time job in the evenings when Moses would get home from work at a Psych and Detox facility answering the suicide hotline and I would tell Moses... "Ok, bye babe I'm going on my break now !" 

Because, going to work even at a Psych and detox facility was easier and felt like a break from staying at home with 4 littles. 

(I hope that makes you all feel a little better and also that you truly just LOL'd)

I say all of this to say, that I feel your pain right now. . .


 I want you to know that there is a reason why those of us who didn't choose to home school our children did so... (insert wide eyed emoticon).
SO I just want to encourage all the parents right now that have littles, and bigs...
You are doing a great job. FULL STOP. 
No matter what your stay at home situation looks like ... you are awesome and need to give yourself a pat on the back.
Remember to take deep breaths and to put some music on and dance it out!
If you and your children are having more melt downs it's ok.
If you are having more blow ups it's ok.
If you are feeling alone, you're NOT alone. 
If you've become friends with the mail carrier that's ok too.

If you keep seeing all the posts of parents who are seemingly hitting the ball out of the park, so to speak, just know ... that ball is hitting them in the face on some days they just aren't posting those moments on social media. 

Alright, now pull up those boot straps and know that 


Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Groovy Song and Some Thoughts on Covid-19

So, there is this song from the Bahamas,  that has been rolling around in my noggin this past week. 
(please scroll to the bottom and press play)
First off, it's just a groovy song.. yes I did just say groovy, did you press play? It's groovy right?
Second,  it talks about something we all have been given a lot more of lately.... TIME.
All the time in the world...  don't you want some of that?
This pause that we all have been given, although it is scary and we don't know what is around the corner, and we all want to believe that life will go back to normal in a few weeks, the truth is none of us know. 
Not even the people, the government officials who are making the decisions for us right now, no one knows where we will be in a week or two weeks. 

But, in attempt to stay focused on whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is worthy of praise (see previous post) this song is making me think this time is a gift. 

What we do know is that  it is a time when we have been forced to slow down, and we don't like being told what to do, but maybe for just a moment it's a time we all get to remember what is truly important. 
All the time in the world...  don't you want some of that?

We are given this incredible gift of time, and yet it is still so hard for us to slow down and reflect.
I hear in myself and others the new shift of attention rather than looking inward,  the conversation is the stats of how many cases are in our area, or the challenges of home schooling, or what food was at the grocery store... don't get me wrong I'm right there with everyone with these topics, but I wonder how much of it all is a distraction from once again looking inside ourselves to hear the river of life 
calling out...  
It makes me think of this quote from the book Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser;
"All the while, deep within us, flows an endless river of pure energy. It sings a low and rich song that hints of joy and liberation and peace. Up on top, as we make our way through life, we may sense the presence of the river. We may feel a subtle longing to connect with it. But we are usually moving too fast, or we are distracted, or we fear disturbing the status quo of our surface thoughts and feelings. It can be unsettling to dip below the familiar and descend into the more mysterious realms of the soul."
I want to hear the "low rich song that hints of joy, and liberation, and peace" and this is the perfect time to do that. 
Please do you and your soul a favor and take some of this time to self-reflect, Elizabeth and her book Broken Open -How Difficult Times Can Help us Grow-  would be a good place to start. 

Despite the fact that we find ourselves inside, and possibly bored to tears with the Corona-virus outbreak,  find the ways , the things, the foods, the FaceTime visits, that make your soul sing and enjoy this groovy song while we wait this one out together. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Remedy To Worry and Anxiety

For as many, many years ...as far back as I can remember 
 my most favorite verse from the Bible has been Philippians chapter 4 verses 6-7.
The text reads like this;
(this is the Amplified version cause I like words... a lot)
"Do not fret or have any anxiety about ANYTHING, but in every circumstance and in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with THANKSGIVING, continue to make your wants known to God. 
And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of it's salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends ALL understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

(if you don't like so many words try finding this verse in the New Living version or NLT)

I have only memorized a few verses in the Bible over the many, many years that I have been reading
 it's amazing-nes, and this verse was one that I could even tell you where to find it in that big ole book. 

The reason for this being my favorite, or as some would call it a "life-verse" is because believe it or don't, I am a very anxious person. I used to worry about everything, and therefore didn't sleep real well at night. So when I first came upon this verse I thought about how much it made sense to me that if I just brought my prayers with thanks to God the worry and anxiety would go away. 
I'm here to tell you that honestly it worked a little, no actually it worked a lot, when I practiced praying about EVERYTHING. 
Often times, I will admit though to you beloved reader that I didn't pray. 
Instead I would fixate on the worry and then it soon would turn to anxiety, and then I soon would pour myself a glass of wine instead. 
I'm just being honest. 
This remedy has become like a muscle now though that if I work it, it grows HUGE and works every time. 

Still, there has been something missing for me all these years ... like a hole in a donut... mmm donuts... wait ok come back to me my thoughts.
For a very long time, 
I'm talking like over 30 years now... (insert wide eyed emoticon and granny emoticon too while you are at it) I haven't read these verses in succession of the following verse 8. 

Until the beginning of this year, I just memorized Phil 4:6-7 and verse 8 stood alone on an island that seemed unreachable. 
I mean I read verse 8, but not with the company of verse 6 and 7. 

It's hard to explain that you can read something a million times and then suddenly read it, like it's the very FIRST time you have ever read it. 

Does that ever happen to you, am I alone here?
Well, I'm here to say verse 6, 7, and 8 are BEST FRIENDS and should be kept together at ALL TIMES!

Here is verse 8 text;
"For the rest, (or AND THEN) brethren and sister-then, whatever is TRUE, whatever is WORTHY of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is JUST, whatever is PURE,  whatever is LOVELY and LOVABLE, whatever is KIND, and WINSOME and GRACIOUS, if there is any VIRTUE, and EXCELLENCE, if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK ON THESE THINGS."
When I read it this time it read like this to me; 

 STOP thinking about what isn't true, false imaginations, rehearsed arguments in your head only, scary and unsure things, lies about yourself and others.  

It basically said to me, think on GOOD things. 

Somehow, at the beginning of this year, verse *8 stuck OUT to me like it was in NEON lights. 
AND this is what suddenly came to me like Oprah talks about having an AWE HA moment,  or is it Ha ... AW HA ? Whatever, you get what I'm saying, it made me think about these verses like a math equation for the problem,  for the very real issue of worry and anxiety in my life.
Problem to solve ; 

Worry and Anxiety


Prayer + Graditude+ Thinking on Good THINGS= PEACE.
Now, beloved reader I don't know if you are a person of faith or not, but even if you are not I think we can all agree that pausing to pray or meditate, living thankfully for what you do have, and staying focused on good things is truly a remedy for this worrisome and anxious time.

Here are some of my prayers with thanks these days;

For those that are having trouble breathing, I pray healing, and thank God for the air in my lungs.
For those that are in positions of leadership, I pray wisdom, and thank God for eternal wisdom.
For those who are already feeling financial burdens unexpected, I pray for relief and thank God for provisions unseen. 
For those that feel alone right now, I pray comfort and good neighbors that have eyes to SEE them, and I thank God for all those who are currently looking for ways to be a good neighbor. 
God make me a good neighbor. 
For those that are international students that can't fly home, I pray for surrogate moms and dads to shelter these and doors to open all over to strangers that soon will become family, and I thank God for family.
For those that work in the health field and are on the frontlines of this virus, I pray protection and I thank God for miracle workers.

I pray too for you dear reader that you might have peace that surpasses all understanding, 
peace like a river,
peace that calms this storm and leads you beside quiet waters, 
Peace that is that tranquil state of your soul.  

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Joy in Jen Hatmaker

Ok y'all can I just pretend that I'm a southern belle for hot minute?
What is bringing me SO much JOY right now is listening to my gurl Jen Hatmaker (you can find her here) on her blog or her podcast on Spotify which is titled,


I stumbled upon her podcast the other day when I was scrolling Spotify, and whimsically looking for some funny talkers. The title of her podcast just struck a chord of joy in my heart so I gave it a listen. 
She arranges her podcast in FOR THE LOVE series like;
For the Love of Faith Icons,
For the Love of Power House Women, 
For the Love of Finishing Strong
The first podcast I listened to, and the one that caught my attention right away was her recent interview with the beloved Beth Moore. Beth is a bible study teacher from way back when, (another Southern gal)  that I have gleaned so much from over the years. The interview, well as the southern would say, "it just dilled my pickle!" From that podcast on I have been in full blown stalking Jen Hatmaker mode... not really just on social medias and books, and I promise I won't end up outside your house Jen... unless you invite me to, then I'd gladly sit down with you on any given Sunday and share a cup of.... well, anything your drinking girl, cause I like your Kool-Aid !!
As I quickly discovered Jen has been "busier than a moth in a mitten!" 
She is the momma of 5 kids, pastors wife, speaker, writer, non profit organizer, and funny all around southern belle, etc. 
As, I dug a little deeper into the vortex that is Hatmaker, Jen INC.  I found out that I had known of her and her work many moons ago.
Little did I know, or remember but, I had actually read one her books titled  Seven An Experimental Mutiny Against Access, many many, suns and moons ago when we lived in Redmond Washington in an 800 sq ft cabin and I was desperately looking for ways to minimize.
Do y'all remember that phase in the Scofield story book?
Well, let me remind you it goes something like 6+6+ 800 sq ft = ADVENTURE TIME!!
That's the trimmed down version if you remember or lived that time with us just skip ahead, if not here's a more detailed account;
When one lives 12 miles outside of Seattle, one tends to find the activist books, the revolutionary ways of life, the culture of recycle, renew, repurpose quite easily.
I believe I bought her book in a book store because... Amazon prime was not even a thing yet, and the reason I found it was because the category and department I was shopping in those days was all about REDUCE, REUSE, RECYLE, or something like that.
Boy howdy did that book challenge my sox right off to downsize and re-prioritize our little(no so little) family of 6... that's right  S I X people living in only 800sq ft. 
Sidenote- I still can't believe that we lived in that tiny cabin for 4 years and I double can't believe that the last year we added 6 more, that's right I said S I X more.  We added 6 to our already overcrowded 6 humans. We had a DOZEN, 12, TWELVE, ....  people sharing 800 sq ft. and one bathroom, on a septic tank, no dishwasher, and one source of heat, an old wood stove. 
To be fair to the sanity level of us all Moses and Dan did build a beautiful outhouse for us all to partake in.
If you don't believe me or remember this season here's proof... it really did happen. 
Oh how beloved that outhouse became ...
Those were the days!! (insert wide eyed emoticon here)
After I devoured her book and gave her props for taking her Texas style life down a notch,
 I passed that book on to my sister and then had forgotten about her entirely. Shh... please don't Jen because we are quickly becoming BFF's in my mind. 
The book Jen and I are going thru together right now(did you like that, we are in this together) is brilliantly titled,
Of Mess and Moxie.
Every night, you can find me cozied up in bed with this book and laughing with Jen about her beautiful life.
Y'all this book has made me happier than a hound dog with TWO tails !
Speaking of hound dogs tell me your thoughts, about a coon hound puppy making it's way into my life right now?
This is just a short and sweet update of what is bringing me buckets full of JOY right now, so if you are looking for a lil sweet, crazy funny, pure JOY too,
 give my gurl a lookie Lou, and tell her I sent you right over like Red Rover. 

Sunday, February 02, 2020

A Study on Joy Part 1

I have been really enjoying my new word for 2020


In the years past I have looked up all the quotes associated with my new year word as a way of just trying to stay focused on the word, and stay in the mode of learning and growing in that word for the year ahead.

This year I have to admit that I've been praying a lot to get a good handle on the word JOY. 

I have always felt that Happiness and Joy are so similar it's hard to find the difference between them. 

There is indeed a difference beloved reader.

"Happiness depends on things that happen. 
Joyfulness is never touched by external conditions."
-Oswald Chambers-

That quote pretty much sums it up ... I read it and thought well... thank you Oswald no need to look any further.
But, I do want to ... HAMMER TIME... break it down for ya...

To me this means that I can have bad days when I don't feel happy at all, but JOY remains deep down in my soul as an anchor because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this bad day will pass, and JOY will come in the mourning.

"There may be pain in the night, but JOY comes in the morning"
Proverbs 30:5

We all have times of sorrow, loss, grief, and just plain ole everyday bad days, and that scripture doesn't diminish those moments, days, or even years. 
To me it speaks of hope for the future and an internal condition that can't be touched by the external.
External things are SO big sometimes that they can suck the life out of any happy hiker on this trail of life, but JOY still remains deep, deep down below the surface of things.

This is a place of knowing and believing that; 
"The best is yet to come!"

It's not just a catchy phrase on a bumper sticker... or a t-shirt you wear on a happy day... it's a lifestyle trait of one who KNOWS that this too shall pass, and there will be a new, and different day.
A day that is;
"Fresh ... with no mistakes in it."

More on this train of thought is in my noggin, but for now, that's all I've got.

I'd love to hear from you beloved reader on your thoughts regarding joy vs. happiness.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

New Year, New Word, and New Relationships

Well hello there beloved reader and Happy Happy New Year!!
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are ready for 2020. 
It has been a bit since I've had time to write down some words that are worth sharing. 
I sit and type these words with a full heart and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this beautiful life.
For a whole month I had all 4 of my Fab4 home and we had some fun making memories together.
The sink was overflowing. 
The shoes left around the house were being tripped over.
the memories being made were a priceless treasure to me.
As I put Chloe back on a plane to NY Friday morning I didn't cry, there was no moping..(ok maybe a lil mopey later that afternoon, but I think that's only because the caffeine wore off) mostly there was  only 
'Comfort and Joy' knowing that our time together was well spent. 
I'm sure the reason for that comfort and joy is because of some thoughts I want to share with you beloved reader. 
I have been thinking that with this new year I would like to set a (dare I say the word...) GOAL to write more frequently, but that being said let me tell you about the relationship I have had with the word goal. 
I'm not sure why, but somewhere along the years I stopped being friends with the word "goals."
Maybe, its my non-committal attitude(even though I've been committed for 25 years now to one amazing man) or my live  "foot loose and fancy free" inner spirit of spontaneity that resists the word GOALS, but this year I have decided we should be friends again.
It's not that I ever thought it was bad to have goals, but whenever I set them in years past, pre New Years word era, I epically failed at them. 
In the years when I was a goal setting person if I didn't meet the goal I set I would get utterly depressed, or as Anne with an  'E' would say I fell into,
"the depths of despair" so I just decided we were not going to be friends anymore. 
But, this year there is a stirring to re-kindle that relationship of having goals or at least think about having goals. 
Instead of having goals for several years now I have prayed for a word to inspire my year in a broad non committal way this has worked wonders in keeping me out of that depth of despair failure frame of mind. 
Last year however,  my New Years Word was Rejuvenate and boy howdy did I love, and become friends with that word. 
I wanted desperately to bring back into my life some things that I had long let go of for no in-particular reason.  
What I learned in the process of this word taking action in my life  was that part of rejuvenation taking the drivers seat of life you have to allow for the doors of your soul to be opened back up to what may have been set aside for survival sake.
The word Rejuvenation is not a "survival mode" word and that's what I wanted, and set out to do and prayed would happen last year.
I wanted to get out of survival mode life, and into a more intentional way of living and being.
Thankfully, setting that word at the forefront of my soul as an intention WORKED!! 
So much so, that now I'm open to this New Year having some goals, and like a cherry on top I will add a WORD of intention.
My main goals for this year I will keep private for now, just because this relationship is new and ya know you can't go blasting new relationships on Social media too soon... LOL!!
However I'd love to share with you beloved reader
My NEW word for this year, which came to me by way of a quote I saw on Social media right before Christmas;
"fling wide, then, the portals of your soul. 
He will come with that LOVE which you long to feel;
he will come with that JOY into which you cannot work your poor depressed spirit,
he will bring PEACE which now you have not; 
he will come with his flagons of wine and sweet apples of love, and CHEER you till you have no other sickness but that of love o'erpowering, 
-Charles Spurgeon

That quote really resonated with me, not because I didn't already have Joy or Peace in my life, but both of these things I could always use more of. Then after my birthday I saw this sign, that I fell in deep like with... so  I treated myself to this sign that I do believe I might leave up all year as a reminder of what brings me "Comfort and Joy."
And JOY is the word for me in 2020.
Rising in my Soul...
As I was looking back at last years blog post for the New Years word I read what I wrote at the end of  my blog regarding joy;
"There is joy once again.
Joy that doesn't pass away with the cruel, harsh winds of life.
Joy that is the underlying current of my heart.
Joy that isn't affected by how much is in my bank account or my closet.
Joy that doesn't leave me even though two of my four are no longer under my roof.
(currently only one who left for NY is now no longer under this roof) 
Joy from knowing my source of rejuvenation will never leave me or forsake me.
Joy in my salvation."

It's a funny thing when you read your own words and are like ... ya that's what I'm talking bout!!
Circumstantial joy will come my way this year by way of; 
my parents 50th anniversary 
my 25th anniversary 
Solomons graduation from High School
Chloes graduation from Culinary Institute of America 
Emma auditioning for the Voice again
Isaiah starting his sophomore year on Monday at Carson High where both Mo and I graduated
and I'm sure many other joys. 

But, my intent is that joy would still exude from my soul even when it's just a Tuesday afternoon and I come home to a sink full of dishes. 
I hope and pray and intend to study more about the word Joy and continue to be friends with the word 'goals' and even do more than think about setting some goals. 

So here's to all that and more!
Happy 2020 beloved reader, 
there is 
Nothing But Love for you here!

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