Monday, April 2, 2018

Go Be That

"You know what you are.  Go be that."  

Those simple words jumped out at me and grabbed my heart's attention.  

In the middle of an errand run, I was listening to a string of podcast episodes I had downloaded, running at 1 1/2 times speed because who's got time for regular speed?  

In the middle of the busiest season I can remember, making sure all the boxes are ticked, forms filled out, checks mailed and my people making it to all the places they're supposed to be.

In the middle of worrying about making sure I am teaching my children to not just do their best but to be their own best selves.

In the middle of all that, I heard those two short sentences.  What does it mean to know "what you are"?  Who I am is my identity, my essence, my values, my soul.  What I am?  I don't know.  

I play a lot of roles, but I don't know if I'm ready to define what I am by what I do.

I'm a traveler.  I'm a musician.  I'm a writer.  I'm a dreamer.  

So much better than "I like to..." or "I wish I could.."

I'm trying to remember what I am.  And I'm going to go be that.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Walk This Way

I’ve been thinking about new beginnings, these first few days of the new year. This go round, I think I’ll take a different path.

I've been thinking about the Wise Men.  The Christmas decorations are still out as we wait for Epiphany and still search for the One who came to give us freedom.  I think about them leaving their homes and setting out on the ultimate road trip to find Who the star was leading them to.  Did they think about being remembered in homes and churches two thousand years later?  Or did they just set out to do what they were called to do?  They looked.  They listened.  And sought.  And obeyed.

I've been thinking about goal setting and productivity.  Instead of striving, I’ll try to do more seeking. Looking for ways of shining even one small beam of light in this dark world. A little less cynicism and a little more hope. 

I've been thinking about inner peace and outer calm.  Our world is a bit heavy on Justice and a little light on Mercy. We could all use more love and understanding. Let me be a reflection of that this year.  Let me extend the same grace that's been given me.  Without expecting it.  Without demanding it.

I've been thinking about journeys.  Finding my way hasn’t always been easy. I've stumbled and gotten lost and at one time didn't think I'd ever find my way home.  Funny thing about traveling is that it's more fun together.  I think it’s time to walk this world with a Friend.

Blessings to you in this new year, friends. I wish you all the peace, love and joy meant for you.  Reach out with your heart and receive it.

Hear the cry from Bethlehem 
O children come 
Son of God now born to men 
O children come 
Bring your troubles, bring your fears 
Bring the needs that draw you near 
Find the hope of all the years 
O children come 
O children come 
Peace on earth good will to men 
O children come 
Righteous rule that will not end 
O children come 
Lay down all your bitterness, 
Turn from sin's toil and distress 
Find His grace and perfect rest 
O children come 
O children come 
Where the Father's grace has walked 
O children come 
Where you see the hurt and lost 
O children come 
Show the mercy shown to you 
Gifts of kindness to renew 
Love from hearts sincere and true 
O children come 
O children come 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Backroads and Alleys

I love backroads and alleys. 

They're the forgotten places, the faces we don't show to the world.  They're not shiny or perfect or polished but often they seem more real in this pre-packaged world we live in.

I accidentally came across this alley while driving around a little town in west Texas.  The name of the business stopped me and OF COURSE I had to snap a quick photo.  I love that they painted the building, the whole building--doors, garage, drainage pipes--a vibrant turquoise and then in big tall letters they proclaimed to the world who they are. 

They didn’t fix all that needed fixing on the back side of their store.  But they are calling you to them, welcoming you into their space.  They’re ready for you, if you’re ready for them and I love that. 

Maybe we need to take a cue from this small store in this small town.  Maybe we need to remember that people aren’t asking us to be perfect.  That we don’t have to be social media ready at all times. 

We need to be comfortable with WHO we are and WHOSE we are. 

Let’s not wait too long to get to that point.  Let’s do the work and spend the time to be who we are called to be and welcome the people God places into our lives into that space we are creating.  Don’t package yourself into looking like and sounding like everyone you see on the tiny screens in your hand.  Be you—be bold—declare who you are in giant letters and encourage others to join you and do the same.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Writing Your Life In Pencil

When you think about your life story, how do you see it?  A pre-printed script that was handed to you at an early stage?  A book that you don’t find very interesting, but feel like you should finish all the way to the last page?  What if we decided to write our lives in pencil, not pen?  With a big fat eraser to erase the mistakes.  And what if we understood that we can cut and paste and move the parts of our story around to suit where we are today.  That we can dream and envision the ending and write our own plot to get there.  And if we don’t like what we’ve written, we can erase the bad parts and begin again.

I want you to think about a manuscript.  A handcrafted piece of art that you are writing every day.  These words are important:  you are writing every day.  The writer, and that’s you, darling, decides on the main characters, the plot, the setting, and the overarching theme.  Is the plot one of daily disappointment?  Or one of embracing your season of life and seeing the beauty in it.  Is it a story of trudging forward on a path that seemed right twenty, thirty years ago?  Or is it choosing the best parts and fitting them into the person you’ve become and following another thread. 

We seem to forget sometimes that we get to choose these parts of our story.  What do we want the ending to be?  Everyone’s story is different—what is yours?  How will you get there?  What steps do you need to take today to make it come true tomorrow?  It can be a little overwhelming to think of the whole, so take it in chapters. 

“I want to grow old with my love.”  Then take care of the two of you now, so, that your relationship grows with time and care. 

“I want to go on grand adventures and see the world.”  Then plan how you can do that with your resources.  Is it the fancy hotels and resorts you want to see or is it the heart-stopping beauty of God’s creation?  Those are two very different things and one is much easier to attain than the other.

Who are the characters going to be in your story?  Are there people in your life that you wouldn’t want to include in your manuscript?  Is there anything you can do to change that dynamic?  If not, then begin to release them, with love.  If your interactions with them are hurtful to you, chances are they are not a good thing for the other person, either.  I know there are some relationships that are harder to disengage with.  Prayerfully consider how you should proceed.  Make sure those people are not affecting how you love and treat the people who love you. 

Not everyone should be in your core group of people.  Choose wisely.

Where does your story take place?  Is most of the action at work?  Is that where you spend most of your time and energy? 
Or is it taking up too much of your heart space and you’ve been neglecting the home where you long to be, with your people? 

See if your reality aligns with your manuscript.  Work is a blessing from above and fulfills a proper space and purpose in our lives, but it’s not the whole story.    Make sure the setting of your life is appropriate for you and for the story you want to tell.

And, lastly:  What is the theme of your life’s story?  What do you want people to think of when they think of the places you’ve been and the things you’ve done and the people you’ve loved?  This should direct all the other components.  This is what matters.  Fortunately, we have an Editor who has given us all the prompts we need to write a life story that matters and that will be a legacy we truly want to leave.  Seek Him and He will show you the way.

If you feel stuck, I pray you will find a way forward towards better and brighter days.  

If you love your story, I hope you will cherish it and share it with the world.  

And if you’re just beginning to write your story, I hope you seek His wisdom and plan for you.   “…for your Father knows what you need even before you ask.” (Matthew 6:8)   

Monday, March 6, 2017

Make Your Dreams Come True Tomorrow

Will you start that new project you've been putting off?

Will you finally finish the work that has been taking up all your bandwidth?

Are you ready to share your heart and wisdom and love with the rest of us
or will you hold it close, worried that it's not good enough?

Today, take that chance.
Make that leap.
Let go of what's been holding you back and start something new or finish something old.
We're all counting on you and waiting to see what only you can share.

All the
, friends. Go out there and be brave today!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Slow Progress is Still Progress

Some people quit due to slow progress, 
never grasping the fact that slow progress is progress.  ~Rolsey

There are days (and weeks and years) where you feel as if you’re standing still.  That all the world is rushing forward but your feet are firmly rooted in the ground beneath you.  You remember the dreams you had and the plans you made and think you’re no more nearer to them than the day they first captured your imagination.

We allow ourselves no grace when we compare ourselves with others.

Perhaps this is a planning season.  Dreams need to be mapped out, provisions secured, logistical decisions made before setting out on this new journey.  Carefully setting out the details in your mind can help clarify and smooth the path you are about to take.

Perhaps this is a not yet season.  I gathered with friends recently and we talked about the places we were in life.  A bit of wisdom from a sweet friend stood out in that conversation—this is just where we are right now.  It may not be where we will always be, but it’s where we need to be right now.  Maybe, just maybe, this season in life is preparing us for the next leg of our journey.

Perhaps this is a calling season.  It could be the reason we feel we’re standing still, is that we really are just standing still. 

Maybe your dreams are whispering to you and pulling your feet out of the clay to take that first step. 

Perhaps you’ve made progress, but don’t even recognize it as progress any more.  The baby steps aren’t registering and the mile markers seem so far ahead of you that you don’t think you’ll ever reach them.  We need to know and remember where we started to see if we’re getting any closer to where we’re going.  Maybe you need a travel journal for your life.  To write down, commit to paper where you’re starting, what you need for your trip, and where you’re headed. 

Maybe you’re farther along the road than you think.  Maybe you’ve just lost track.

Wherever you find yourself this morning, whatever season you’re in, take time to take stock of where you are, where you’ve been and what you need to do to move forward.  You may be going full speed, you may be puttering along, moving forward a little at a time.  Or you may be taking the scenic route, with a few side trips thrown in along the way. 

Wherever you are, I hope you take time today to think about your progress and your hopes and plans, and ask yourself,

What brave thing can I do TODAY 
to make my dreams come true tomorrow?

Helpful tips:

Sunday, January 29, 2017

There Is Only One Next Thing To Do

Sunday evenings are my dreaming and planning time.  I love to sit down with my calendar and journal and plan my week.  Meal planning, appointments, “white space” for spending time with family and friends—my journal and calendar help me keep up with all the things that make up a life.

My favorite part of the journal is my dream page.  What are my dreams and how can I make them come true? 

Figuring out the next great adventure and working back from that to the “right now” helps me figure out the next steps I need to take. 

Money saved every week moves me closer to the next big trip we can take.  Meals planned and time carved out for exercise and rest keeps me healthy and moves me toward my fitness goals.  Unscheduled and unstructured time is a treasure to be spent today and builds relationships for years to come.

I have lots of dreams for all the parts of my life, but I choose one goal at a time to focus on and create a new habit.  One step, every day, moves me closer to that habit and reaching the bigger goal. 

One step.  Every day. 

There is only one next thing to do.

What brave thing will you do TODAY to make your dreams come true?

Helpful links: