March 26, 2015

dreaming


"If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough."


A Pastor from One Harbor told me a few weeks ago that I needed to do a little dreaming. What does my future look like if I was just randomly dreaming and hoping? What do I want to be doing? And where do I want to be? And then he said, "Tell God." 

It's funny that he said that actually. He's never met me before though I know who he is. But he got right down deep into the heart of the matter. God has a way of doing that when we finally come to the end of ourselves and are ready to listen - really listen.

I've had a few consistent dreams all of my life. I've never swayed from those. What I have swayed from is my faith in God's desire to answer my prayers and to get me to that place. It never used to be that way for me. I have always had a very strong ability to trust Him in the face of difficulty, pain and, stress. 

But in 2003, that all changed. Someday, that whole story will be written and in doing so, I am certain God will use it to help someone else. But for now, the short version is . . . my faith and the very foundation of my life crumbled in front of my eyes in the face of a very painful experience. My grief overtook me. And frankly, it was far easier {in my head anyway} to hold tightly to EVERYTHING after that point. 

Here we are, literally twelve years later, and until recently, I was still fighting to get back to that girl that trusted Him simply and like a child. The irony of course is that in holding on, I was actually keeping myself from those things I most hoped for my life. Please tell me I'm not the only one that is that dumb?

So here we are. March 2015 and someone I've never met before asks me a few simple questions. And in doing so suggests that perhaps what I really need is to have a heart to heart with the God that has restored and redeemed me, about what I'm dreaming of. 

I didn't know then what that heart to heart would look like. Wait. That's not true. I did know. I just had conveniently forgotten because it was easier on my heart. I remember now. I've taken some time off work - just a few days - to refocus, remember, pray and let God back into that spot in my life that I removed Him from in the spring of 2003.

The thing is, He knew when I'd come back around. When I shared Psalm 126 on Sunday it mentions the "wandering" and the tears. He already knew where this path would take me. In that sense, it's not wasted time. 

On the other hand, now that I'm here, I'm just totally unwilling to waste anymore time. I still don't know how long it will take to get me there. But He does. An He will get me there. It's who He has made me to be. And it's been the dream - the same thing since I was a kid. Nothing has changed that. And I'm confident it's there because He placed it there. 

So dream on, dreamer. If you're like me, and life and pain, and a winding path took that from you, get back to it, however you can. Or if you're just afraid of disappointment, go for it. Don't look back on  your life and wonder what might have been.

March 23, 2015

for my daughter - part four



To my girl,

I wrote last about a few things on the "list" of qualities you should be looking for in a man. Here are some new thoughts about that.

I used to be annoyed by quotes like the one above. Mostly because I thought of them in the wrong context. I get it now. If you're anything like me, you will fall easily. When you fall, you could possibly put up with some crap you should put up with because I guarantee you, you are not perfect and neither is he. Grace goes a long way. But when you fall, you could possibly put up with some crap you shouldn't.

In the crap you shouldn't put up with category {coming from personal experience}:

1. Not being a priority.

2. Any of the above {half-time, down-time, spare-time, sometimes} which pretty much works with numero uno.

3. You do all the chasing, winning, etc. You make all of the effort. Especially in the beginning. That's not so much a good sign.


4. Mandy knows what's up.

5. He does all the talking, never asks you how you're doing, doesn't give you time to "vent" in the same way he does. When you ask for something you need, he isn't there for you. But he may very well expect your response when he asks. 

You will be raised to be strong, resilient, independent and true to the person God made you to be. You are beautiful. And it doesn't matter how long it takes, the curves and breaks in the road or the challenges that come with waiting, you deserve, just as he {whomever he shall be} does, the absolute best. 

There are more serious matters you should never, ever put up with. But for now, please trust me on these. As I write you tonight, I'm telling you - your wildly amazing heart is worth the one who makes the effort, does some pursuing and shows you by his actions, that he won't let you get away. 

He will not let you get away. If he's not showing you that you are worth his effort, the risk and, you're left consistently feeling alone in a "relationship," it might be time to move on.

If you do move on, the good news is, you're one step closer to finding the one.

- Your Mama

P.S. This . . .



is going on the wall of your bedroom. You will be clothed with strength and dignity.

a splash of lemon




Well. I decided I didn't have enough stuff going on. So I started a new blog. It's here. And it's called A Splash of Lemon.

March 22, 2015

sowing in tears


This morning, I listened to this sermon, from One Harbor - Beaufort. It's titled, "The Worst Returns to Laughter" by Elliot Grudem. I heard a lot about it earlier in the week. I knew it was something I needed to hear - something that was meant for this time in my life. It certainly was. 

God has a funny way of doing that. Psalm 126 and this sermon are reminders that the restorative and creative process in nature are beautiful pictures of our spiritual lives. I'm not exactly a farmer. And I certainly can't say I've done much more than planting flowers or helping Grandparents with vegetable gardens when I was young. 

But when you sow those tiny seeds, there's a period of, well . . . nothing after the seeds are planted and before they begin to push away the soil and grow, green and bright. I'm in that stage now and have been for some time. 

The tears flow. Psalm 126 is a beautiful reminder that it's not all for naught. Recently, a pastor told me to "dream" a little through prayer. To open up, beyond my fears of what might not happen and what might, and tell Him what I most dream and hope for the future. It seems so obvious. But it's so hard. I know this far too well.

In Psalm 56:8, in the Amplified Bible, it says, "You number and record my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle - are they not in Your book?" In the English Standard Version it says, "You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle." He sees our wandering, our "tossing" about and each tear He sees. 

There's a peace in knowing that He sees us in our pain, at our worst, and when we're wandering around {probably being rebellious} . . . and loves us still. There's peace in knowing that even in that, He is promising us that our tears will reap a harvest of joy. 

March 21, 2015

intoxicating



In the late days of spring, when the chill is gone and when summer sits right at the gate, quietly whispering its promise, I'll cook a meal, our first to be eaten outside for months. The table will be surrounded by candles and white lights. Whatever flowers I found at the farmer's market, on the table. 

In the kitchen, with Pandora choosing our soundtrack, I'll dance around, my spirit light and full of hope. I don't know why it is that cooking does this for me {or maybe I do}, but long before I take a sip of wine, I'm intoxicated.

Coq Au Vin, parsley potatoes and if I want to really Julia Child it, buttered green peas. There's a joy that takes over me when in the kitchen, but it increases when I'm cooking for others. The routine of chopping, pouring and measuring is better than therapy. And knowing that I'll serve another increases this soul satisfaction.

When the food is ready and we sit to eat, you'll pour the Cotes du Rhone for both of us. I'll wait for you to take the first bite. And then for your approval. Which, I will get. But I'll wait with anticipation just the same. 

There's something so absolutely beautiful about a meal shared. Food, made well, and with passion is sensual and life-giving. It meets a basic need for nourishment. And yet, there's something so luxurious about the process of creating. And then, the slow process of savoring a meal with company you treasure, begins.

how to win my heart ~ 2



Make time for me.

March 16, 2015

the hard way


Someone said that love should be easy. I agree. And disagree. There are some nuggets of truth in there - if something is a constant struggle and battle with pain and tears, maybe it's not where either of you need to be. But easy?

I don't want easy. I want real. Deep. Life isn't always easy. When life is easy, when life is good, when happiness exudes from every pore, it's not hard to feel good about life, love and relationships. But when it hits the fan and there are unknowns abounding?

It's hard, dudes. It's not easy to chose someone else when life is dark and dirty. When you fear loving someone through their pain, in the midst of yours? Lordy. But that? Oh that. It's right where it's at. It's not easy to love in the face of fear.

It's not easy to walk through the dark days, no light in sight. With only the tiniest bit of faith that the light is out there, just beyond the darkest moment, you walk forward - together.

It's not easy. But it's worth it. I want to do life - real life with someone. In the good, in the trials, and in the ho-hum every day moments. I want to do it the hard way. Together.

March 14, 2015

camping


#2 Camping - Together

It has been a really long time since I've camped. I think the last time was before I left California - with my Cal State Fullerton/Eastside friends. We camped at San Onofre. I've wanted to camp so bad, ever since. It's been ages. Camp with me?

I want to wake to a view like the one above. How about a long weekend in Great Smoky Mountain National Park? I wouldn't want to leave.

I want to sit by a fire with you - quiet, chatting away, whatever. The smell of the camp fire, the fresh air, the food that somehow tastes better in the clean air - I could use a trip like that right now. We could set our phones aside and just be.

A hike, a nap in the middle of the day - with the sun and a nice breeze lulling us to sleep would be perfect. 

I'm jealous of your time because I don't have enough of it. A few days away from the craziness of life, just the two of us, sounds amazing, doesn't it? Sitting next to you while we read, or hiking in the quiet of the woods, with the deep greens of spring in the Smokey's, feels like a need. 



March 10, 2015

cause you already have it

Give me a reason to stay.

"'Cause you can shoot me straight
Straight to the heart 'cause you already have it
Say what you wanna say, we're coming out of the gray
What goes around now is coming back down today
You can shoot me straight away"

How long?

Psalm 13:1, 3, 5 1-2 

Long enough, God—you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I've  carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain. Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me. Take a good look at me, God, my God; I want to look life in the eye, So no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face. I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—I’m celebrating your rescue.I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.
- The Message

March 7, 2015

how to win my heart



Fiercely. Deeply I love. I hope, wildly. I live in a messy world, quiet with longing, noisy with passion and rich with color. I won't accept your seconds. And I won't take your leftovers. Win my heart.

I will wait for the one who knows that he cannot let me walk away. I won't run after the one who plays with this fierce heart.

Come to me when you're most afraid to. When it's easier to walk away - and tell me then, you're choosing me.

I was built with fire and passion and color. I love this about me. It's not seen often in my every day life - except those who truly know me. Love this in me. Laugh at my rambling. Smile when I get firey - the Latin blood ensures I'll never be tame.

And then, when I get carried away - when peace is the better route, bring me back to earth with your steady strength. Balance me. I long to give you some of the wild. But I ache for your logic.

Tell me your dreams. The ones you hide. The ones that scare you. And then give me space to tell you mine. Let me tell you about this hope that never dies, when it should have long ago.

Look into my eyes and don't fear the next step. Smile at me and invite me in. Don't walk away. Give me more of you.

Bring me a soy toffee nut latte from Starbucks (with an extra shot of espresso). It's a warm cup of love.

Tell me you love the deep brown of my eyes. And then tell me what you're seeing in them. You already know.

Cook with me, wine glasses nearby, music floating around the room. Cook a meal with me that's way too complicated for the time we have. Let me show you the joy of creating. Let's taste the wine mingling with the herbs and spices. The twinkling of white lights and candles, adding to the richness. The beauty of making something together that nourishes, but is rich and satisfies this most basic need, is something I want to share with you.

Let me pull you out of your crash landing. I want to be your mystery companion. "How I found you is beyond my understanding."

Tell me you love the glittery, jewelry wearing, pink nail polish me.

Tell me you want to read the novels I've written. And then be honest. But do it nicely for cripes sake.

Our first date? Plan it out from the music, to the dinner on the waterfront. Bring me flowers. Hold the door open. When you ask me, tell me that you've planned this night already, for us. After dinner, walk with me, hold my hand and tell me about your week. Really tell me. Not the polite talk of people who barely know each other. Dig deep. I can already see your heart. So don't hold it back from me.

Tell me you love my smile.

Tell me about what you most look forward to about being a dad.

Fight for me - through your jagged edges and the pain that makes me love your heart. Our jagged edges will soften and round each other's. When it's easier to walk away, when you want to stay in your corner where it's easier to be alone, find me. Take a deep breath and walk in the room. Let me show you how happy I am to see you, so everything can be alright again.

Tell me that time may have led us in and out of other people's lives and hearts, but that you're choosing mine, now.

Win my heart. I will love you as you've hoped in the quiet spaces, you're afraid to share.

bravely

I often fear this space. The only reason? My job. I speak for someone else there. My boss' words my own. But I'm a writer. Writing bravely is what's required of me. While I could write in an anonymous spot, and have before, it's not what I want. It's not what calls me, quietly, when the noise of the world around me dissipates.

In the near future, I may only be left with the dreams I've held onto for almost all of my life - the job may be lost in the sea of budgets and the needs of my beloved Corps. And what then? I've never run from what scares me. I'll write bravely. I won't fear this space.