A Summer Read — Walking Butterfly…the Book!

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susie book

Happy Blogiversary!  It’s been four years since I started journaling my metamorphosis. Due to the hurts of life, I had walled myself off in a cocoon of self-protection.  I can now, delightfully proclaim that I have shed those confining walls of self-protection and am learning to spread my wings and fly.  Sure, I still have incidences where, if I am not careful, I will end up caught in a butterfly net and captured, but I am learning to see those traps more quickly.

I’m going to use this post as a promotion for my friend Susie Klein. Susie – SURPRISE!  You didn’t know I was going to do this. Susie has written this powerful book called Walking Butterfly.  If you need a good summer read, this would be an excellent choice. Susie is a very good story-teller. I found myself pulled into the pages of her book and it was as if Susie was telling me about her life. I really didn’t want to finish the book because of that. These are ordinary experiences that Susie had with our extraordinary God, trying to sort out life, hurts, joys and things that make you want to go hide in a cave and never come out.  Ever.

First, I want to share a little bit about how Susie and I became friends.

We have AHHH-MAZING friends all over the planet.  If you are reading this, then chances are YOU are one of those people.  I’m pretty sure the only people who read these posts are people who love me.  Thank you!

Some our friends live in California.  They lived (and still do) in a realm of freedom that David and I had not known.  Anyway, some of you know them. Some of you ARE them!  It started with one friend, Byron and then, his power-house of a wife, Crystal.  They are the kind of people who love well.  Over the years, we would meet their friends. They are the kind of people who have really good friends.  If you are a friend of theirs, then you are a friend of ours, kind of thing.  That’s how our circle of friends extended out to California.

On one of our trips, I shared with Crystal that I wanted to meet Susie.  Susie and I had become friends on social media and that turned out to be a good match.  We are so very similar in how we process life, friends and the Kingdom of God.  I really, really wanted to meet her in person.  She was, well, rather legendary to me.  Susie, you are probably reading this and thinking – “Me, legendary? Have you been drinking?”

It was a Sunday morning and Crystal found Susie and we went to chat.  Something unusual happened in that intentional meeting.  I caught a glimpse of Susie’s heart, the love of God that gently and powerfully resided in her spirit and of His love for her.  I am not all that emotional and I began to cry.  Susie said she doesn’t friend people she doesn’t know on social media but she felt a sort of kinship with me so she broke her rule.  Yay us, Susie!  A true friendship was birthed.

One time I went out to visit and Susie and I had an entire day together in Napa Valley. Her incredibly generous husband (hubs) had a gift card to a swanky restaurant and we dined like the royal gals we are!  We had this day together to share, listen, cry, laugh and make memories together.

ANYWAY —- Walking Butterfly would be an excellent summer read.  Many of the experiences Susie shared, I understand. I have also known incredible amounts of healing, but this book took the isolation-sting out of many of those wounds. Wounds are universal.  And, the point of the book is that the vast love of God can, and does, flow into those wounds and makes us whole.  It is Susie’s story.  It is my story. I bet it is your story, too.

You can get this on Amazon.  Click here for more info. http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Butterfly-Comfy-Cocoon-Flying/dp/1523617624/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464978459&sr=1-1&keywords=walking+butterflysusie book

And…thank YOU AHH-MAZING friend for reading and for being in my life!

Vineyard Advent

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David and I absolutely love our church family.  We have landed at a place that has loved us into more wholeness than we’ve ever known. Maybe that’s also because we are older and wiser and realize the importance of working at wholeness. Also, because God loves us so much He longs to help us find restoration.

So, recently, I was invited to be one of the Vineyard Writers who was invited to write for our first ever Vineyard Advent Blog.  I still get giddy, at times, realizing that David and I are part of this Tribe.

I am known, at our Vineyard, for a variety of things and I just get great joy being viewed as a writer.  When I began this blog in 2012, that was the farthest thing from my mind. I wrote because I wanted to find healing.  Now, almost four years later, I have found healing, finding more as the years move on and am finding a few kicks and giggles from being “known” as a writer!

If you want to read the posts from my other writer friends, go to: http://thevineyardadvent.com. These ladies are incredible writers and friends!

Here’s my post on CHOOSING JOY!

The Dictionary defines JOY as: “the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; the expression or display of glad feeling.”

That’s not exactly how I define Joy. That sounds temporal. Fleeting. Something based on circumstances or an event. For me, Joy is a place down deep in my spirit. It is like a river. A river doesn’t relocate. Neither does my internal River of Joy. However, I find in order to access it, I have to go find it. I have to choose Joy, in the moment. My river of joy is still there, way down deep in my spirit but in the busyness of life – I need to take a moment and go there.

A river can change over time, but it doesn’t relocate. The more the water rushes through it; it overflows its banks. If you look at a river in a canyon, it can start small but then become raging, over time. The power of the water can move through, or over, obstacles and create new paths that were not there before.

What if I/we allowed the Joy of the Lord to be that sort of powerful force in our day to day lives? The Joy of the Lord. The Lord, the One who endured the Cross. Hebrews 12:2: “…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the Cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

We are HIS Joy! And, in return, I CHOOSE Joy! I exhale frustration, chaos, busyness and inconvenience and exchange them for Joy. I choose Jesus and all that He is. I choose His Peace, the Joy of Who He is, I choose to access the Joy of the Kingdom and bring those tangible truths into my mess.

These are powerful choices.

The power of the Joy of the Lord will overflow the banks of our self-contained lives. The power of the Joy of the Lord will change the landscape of our obstacles. It can flow over them, or bore a hole right through them! The Joy of the Lord IS our strength in this life of ours.

Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

This verse also says to share with those who have nothing prepared. Let’s share our JOY with those who may be in a place of ___ (fill in the blank). For, this day is holy to our Lord, no matter what! So, do not grieve whatever is going on and access your River of Joy, for the Joy of the Lord IS our strength!

A Funny Story

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I have the urge to write something besides a to-do list.  So, how about I tell you a story?  In my family, growing up, we were a family of four.  Dad was a school teacher and Mom stayed home with my sister and me.  Mom and Dad thought they could never have kids, so I suppose they just settled into their everyday lives thinking kids were not in the picture.  After they had their 18th wedding anniversary, they found out I was on the way.  Seriously, for David and me who were unable to have kids, I can only imagine the mixed emotions my parents must have had at this AMAZING news!  I was on the way!  Less than two years later, more news.  They were going to have another little girl! Oh the emotions.

Anyway, on with the story.  There are many I could share but I think I’ll tell you about the time Aunt Hazel drove us to school.

Since Dad taught school, he left before us.  And….here’s the key.  He came home AFTER us.  We were not at the same school as Dad, either. Can you see where I am going with this?  We could easily talk Mom into letting us stay home from school.  And we did…often!  Grade school, Jr. High, High School.  It really didn’t matter.  Mom really liked having us home with her and we loved not being at school.  Good thing we achieved good grades, easily!

Until that one day.

The day when Dad came home early! Cue ominous music.  We didn’t know that tidbit of news when we commenced the morning of great whining, which always resulted in a fun day at home with Mom, books, cartoons and pbj. Suddenly, our mornings of great whining came to a screeching halt!  I’m sure we were grounded. I don’t remember just how grounded.

Oh, so Aunt Hazel. How does she play into this?  Glad you asked.  My sister and I were in High School. Mom didn’t drive and we always had to take the school bus.  On this particular morning, there was no longer the potential for a Ferris Buehler type of day so we came up with another plan.  We were slow.  S-L-O-W.  S-L-OOOOOOOOO-W in getting ready for school.  So slow that we missed the bus.  Dang!  Guess we’ll have to stay home.

However, we had played mom one too many times and she must have remembered the after-math of our last “Ferris” day, because she had allowed us to stay home as healthy kids and not sick ones.  So, she called Aunt Hazel to come and take us to school.

Aunt Hazel was probably near 90.  She made a mean cherry pie; however, as a chauffeur she was not to be trusted.  She was a sturdy woman who drove an old car.  As my sister and I crawled in the backseat, we had no idea what a ride we were in for!  Aunt Hazel drove like a bat out of hell!  Wiz, bang, floor it Martha!  She drove really fast and she drove through red lights!  Terre Haute, Indiana is somewhat hilly in places and I swear we actually became air born at one point as she flew through the city streets.  My sister and I huddled in the backseat, holding on to one another praying for Divine protection from every Angel that God could spare!  I am not exaggerating for poetic license either.  This really did happen the way I am telling you!  Somehow, that cured us from our morning slowness!

Now, if only I could find that sort of motivation to get moving in the morning as an adult!  Coffee will have to do.

 

Revisiting Dreams of the Heart

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Why do you allude me so?

I catch glimpses of you,

Darting here and there.

I know you are out there,

Because I have seen you.

We have had moments where

We have walked,

Side by side.

You whisper to me to hold on.

To have hope.

To not give up.

But some days,

It is so hard.

I tell myself that you do exist,

But I have no guarantees that what I hope for,

Will actually come to pass in my life.

I am not in control of those decisions.

There are others who get to make those.

My role is to live my life,

Fully,

Now,

Even though where I am is not where I want to be.

Where I am is good.

It is a place of growth, maturity and stability

But, it is truly not where I see myself with you.

And so,

I wait.

But waiting is not passive.

It is active.

I will take thoughts captive.

I will overcome sadness with joy.

Because You, My God, are really everything I need,

In the midst of my every-day every day.

And to you, Dream of My Heart,

Even though you allude me

I will still have hope that what I long for

Is true.

Love is a Powerful Force!

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Waves erosionI have had some interesting experiences lately.  These experiences have not been very pleasant.  However, they have been beneficial to show me areas of my heart that need to change.

Without over-sharing, let’s just say that when something rubs up against me that causes me to have my feathers ruffled, I have not handled that well.   Even in my venting, or obvious frustration I’m still pretty nice and most of this ruffling goes on in waves and waves on the inside of me.  We all know that waves pounding the land, in places it was not supposed to be, can be very destructive.

Was I “justified” in being ruffled over the things that happened?  Perhaps.  But I have no control over those situations or people.  What I do have is the power of choice over my response.  It seems so unfair to choose Love over anger.  But Love is the right choice.  Dang it!

Then, I think – they were harsh.  Or they demanding.  Or they were ….well, you get the idea.  What is the right choice?  Choose Love? Really?  Aw, come on!  Can’t I get angry?  Can’t I be justified in this?

What I am really angry about is that I was not _______.  I can fill in the blank with all sorts of words.  But in those moments, I am making it all about me.

In those moments when frustration and anger begin to consume me and turn into waves of destruction in my soul, I can at the very least, choose Love for myself!  In choosing Love for myself I am not letting those waves of bitterness pound my soul and erode my peace!  Then, eventually, something else begins to happen.  Grace begins to be my response instead of frustration!  Wow – how DID that happen?!?

Love is a powerful force!

If I cannot bring myself to Love someone else, in those moments of frustration, I can choose Love for myself and let Love heal me.  More Love = less internal stress!  I can’t fix anyone else but I can respond better.

Don’t Stop Believin’!

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Recently, I was spending time with some dear friends and we chatted about life over salsa and margaritas.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

For one friend, a dream was coming true.  For another, true confessions of living in the state of hope deferred which really does make one’s heart sick.  And for me, living in the in balance of waiting for a dream to be fulfilled and the possibility that this may not happen.  For two of us, the tension of the now and not yet.

Which led us to the encouraging words of Journey from 1981….just a phrase but it was enough to encourage us. “Don’t stop believin’…Hold on to that feelin’…”

But it also led me to think about that tension.  God is good and amazingly kind.  I believe that He does place desires in our heart that He will bring about, in His timing. We partner with Him when we see an opportunity but also realize that those times are few.  When you are either in the hope deferred stage or in the in between stage, hoping that the time is NOW to fulfill that dream – how do you carry on?

Questions stir up in our souls, like dust in the wind.

“Am I making this up?”

“Am I delusional?” Don’t answer that one.  Ever!

“If God put this in my heart, intentionally, then where is the glimmer of this being a reality – ever?”

“Where is the sign on the horizon that says this dream is down this path? Am I even on the right path at all?”

Those are unanswered questions that we all wrestle with.  It doesn’t matter what the dream is, the questions are the same.

So, in the tension of the now and the not yet – we wait. We pray. We worship. We trust. We remain fluid and flexible in the everyday every day mundaneness that can be our life, at times.  We find joy, service, community and more in each day. And we trust in the One True God, Maker of Heaven and Earth!  The One who loves us the most and is so close in our moments of doubt.  He is really all we need in the waiting, and in life, anyway!

 

The Power of Choice

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healing-heartLately, it seems that God is teaching me what I am cleverly calling, the power of choice.  Doesn’t that sound like one of those self-help talks that just gets you all revved up.  Chanting to myself, “I can do it! I CAN choose wisely! I want to do that!  Let’s go!”  When really, it is not all that exciting, or glamorous.

The power of choice.

In my every day everyday.

The power of choice to believe that what was good, noble, righteous and hopeful yesterday is still all that today.

And tomorrow.

The power of choice to smile and be gracious when I really want to say where is grace and kindness? That’s how I treat others.  Why isn’t that some universal policy that is mystically enforced?  The power of choice requires of me to be gracious, anyway.

The power of choice to:

Believe the best at all times

Call out the treasure in people

Go to the gym…again

Choose wisely in character, nutrition, health and life

And, most of all, to believe that the love of God in and through me does really make a difference.

Ah, the power of choice.

Choose wisely, grasshopper.