celery

I’m eating celery this morning. This might not be of great interest to you, but it’s of great significance to me. You see, I really, really, don’t enjoy it raw – it’s better served cooked and in the company of something that once had parents. Or sauteed with a lot of shoyu (again, in the company of at least some onion or carrots), over rice. But solo, not so much.

Why, do you ask, am I torturing myself?

Before I got pregnant with my 4th child, I was in the best shape of my life. I was at my ideal weight, running 3 to 4 times  a week, yoga twice a week, and eating cleaner than I ever thought I could possibly enjoy. Man, it felt great! But after he blessed us with his presence, and even though I continued my diet and exercise until his birth, I struggled greatly with getting back to where I was before.

Sure, there are a lot of reasons – some really good. Time, stress, significant loss and financial struggles… Life was costly and I lived in survival mode for a significant amount of time. The past year or so, however, has brought resolution, healing, and a time to regroup. Now, as spring (and a trip to Hawai’i!) approaches, I feel ready to ease back into a routine that works and makes sense to me. So, today I started a cleanse, during which my snacking options are limited while the super-food cleansing drink does its work removing toxins from my body.

And, from my mind.

Like God, we are triune beings – mind, body and spirit. If one is out of balance, so goes the rest. It is time for me to focus on being a whole person again – not lacking in any area.

Where are you out of balance today? If you could make just one change to move you closer to feeling that sense of order in your life, what would it be? Give it a shot – today is a new day!!

If nothing else, grab some celery. Cheers!

celery

 

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The other day I was sharing the story of how my husband surprised me with our amazing trip to NYC for Valentine’s Day. It began with him bringing home a new coat he had purchased. When I mentioned how hard it is for me to accept gifts, because I tend to be more practical, one person made the statement that they were taken aback by that. I continued with my story, but the statement lingered in my thoughts.

I wondered why that was surprising and what their impression of me actually was.

Growing up with a policeman father and a stay-at-home mom, there wasn’t much extra, and I have a solid handle on what is need and what is want. With my husband in sales, living in either feast or famine, my need to scrimp and be practical lingers.

When I started on the worship team at my church, it became more important to me that I had things that presented well. So, like any good frugal girl should, I began to shop at local second hand stores. (Paying full price for anything makes me cringe, and it’s not very environmentally friendly!).

Funny, are the comments I get sometimes – some complimentary, others not-so-much… “You always dress so great!” (Nice). “I could never afford to dress like you.” (Not nice – insert snarky tone). Or, surprise that I am sensible (in all fairness, I do have a large collection of impractical and yet fabulous boots, thanks to my husband’s obsession with shoes).

It’s interesting how easy it is to assign personality traits and perceived lifestyle opportunities, based on outward presentation. I know I’ve done it. And minor as it seems, I wonder how many of us miss out on important relationships, pivotal moments, or even life-giving wisdom because we pre-judged someone based on what we perceived they bring to the table.

Try mixing it up today. Think the exact opposite about a person whom you’ve made decisions about. Give a second glance to that person you just walked by. Open your mind. And be grateful to those who do the same for you.

 

 

not ever again

Turning points are a funny thing. We can pray and strive and cry out for change, but oftentimes when that shift comes, we struggle to move forward. Experience teaches us that history tends to repeat itself, and fear hovers, threatening to crush our hope with reminders of where we’ve been.

Nearly a full year ago, my marriage was on the precipice of collapse. I found myself simultaneously crushed under the weight of deep wounds, and strengthened, by a new-found appreciation for myself as a woman. Every day brought with it a new challenge, and often a new facet to my personality and character. My only source of navigation and identity was found in prayer. Daily.

This past weekend my husband surprised me with the most amazing Valentine’s Day gift I could ever imagine – a weekend in NYC with a visit to the Empire State Building to start it off right (“Sleepless in Seattle,” anyone??). Every detail had been thoughtfully worked out, every moment planned well in advance and crafted to make me feel special and loved. Words really can’t describe the way it felt to have a lifetime dream come to pass in such an intentional way. It was absolutely priceless.

True to human emotion, the crash came the day after we returned. Memories, waves of all-to-familiar anxiety and fear… It was as though we had suddenly turned back the clock. It was devastating and I wasn’t quite certain what to do with the feelings I was experiencing.

As a Christ-follower, I believe my God can do anything, but experience has taught me that free-will often trumps His perfect plan for my life. For my family. Having lost more than I have won, there is a part of my faith that is broken. It can take more than a tiny effort to elevate myself above my past failures and loss, to the place where miracles freely happen and hope reigns. And yet that is what I did – chose faith. Turned off that old record player and continued on with my day.

The truth is, no matter where you have been, it’s where you WERE. Even if the terrain looks the same, today you are older, wiser, different, even than yesterday. There is no gain in walking forward whilst glancing at the past. And God CAN do big things. He can move mountains. Change hearts. Heal brokenness. If life has taught me anything, it’s that history may very well come knocking again, but I don’t have to answer. Not ever again.

Shalom.

 

 

 

God’s timing is impeccable. I marvel sometimes, as I journey through my days of sometimes a wee bit too much monotony, at how intricately He has woven us all together. While we oftentimes drift through life, His plan for His children maintains its course…

Over the past few years, I have lost a great deal. Family members have walked away; but not without first sending searing darts of accusation into my very soul. Friends have moved on; shunning the precious time and love I invested in our relationship. Circumstances and life have left me bruised and scarred. I allowed marriage and children to consume so much of me that I nearly forgot who I was. After my first marriage ended, I experienced a depression so deep I felt like the living dead. During this season, it was a struggle to keep living.

Just when I thought I couldn’t feel more empty or desperate, and following a succession of major decisions, God began to take my crushed vessel of a spirit, and to slowly piece me back together – one fragile shard at a time.

Starting from nothing is an interesting thing. Relinquishing all control to God is even more so. Watching who He has brought to my life, and who I have learned I need to distance myself from, is a process that I find simultaneously unfamiliar, and oddly comforting. Empowering, even. Moments of revelation when I have realized that what I thought I had lost, was actually more about my personal health and spiritual gain, is a process I wasn’t expecting.

The past few days have given me additional reasons to marvel at this season I am in. There is so much clarity when people reveal who they are, how they truly feel about you, about themselves… I am beginning to realize how very little my relationships have to do with me. Rather, at this crossroad, I realize that it’s more a part of my Lord’s gracious and loving plan for me.

Timed perfectly.