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FAITH WALKING

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I was struck by this photo this morning.  I woke up this morning with a full on panic attack. Literally sitting straight up in bed out of a dead sleep. Somewhere in my dreams was the image of a tight rope walker.. She had one of those long awkward poles in her hands as she tried to find her balance…. I could relate.  I could see her struggle. Feel it in every fiber of me. I caught myself warning her to not look down. All of her faith was in that pole.

The pole reminded me of my own faith….. my often time white knuckled faith. On one side of the pole is a sign reading GOD CAN!!! and on the other side a sign that reads BUT WILL HE???    For my whole life that has been the struggle.  I have never doubted that God IS and CAN…. ever!!!  But the battle is the weight of the side of the pole that quietly whispers, …. but will he?

This picture reminded me, that putting my faith in anything… even the white knuckled act of faith… is sin.  I flipped open the bible and “stumbled” on this reminder in hebrew 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

This picture is Hebrew 11:1 in action…  so my charge today is to throw down the pole – riding of my doubt and relax my grip. If you see me out today, just know….. I’m out FAITH WALKING!

 

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A Back Road Reminder

IMG_7917I have recently been reminded of the brilliance that lives and breathes down the back roads of our lives. That “thing” that happens when one finds enough bravery to become the who, they have always wanted to be. When moments are stolen away from the demands of the day. The young police officer who picks up leather work or pounds the irons to build amazing things. Or the lady who straps on a cowgirl hat for the first time, pulls up her boots, marches to the gate and says to herself… “I can.” The young mom who picks up her camera, fights back all the negative talk about who she is “supposed” to be, and dares to tell the world who she really is. How about that empty nester who now has time to pick up the paint brush again and explore all that she is.

I love that I am a writer. For to me, it is in the hearing of their stories that the pettiness of politics and hatred and the negativity of life lose their deafening voice. And with each story told, flickers of hope ignite the possibilities within our own souls..

There was a time in my life as a writer, when asked what I did for a living, I offered to the ask(er), “I am a brilliantologist.” I do not know why I quite saying that.. But certainly I will be taking it up again. .  Of course, my definition of a “brilliantologist” is simply someone who sought out and studied those being brilliant.  I have learned over the last little while that it takes courage to be both a brilliantologist and someone who is living their life brilliantly.  Neither can be done without effort. The one living their life brilliantly has to push against time and resources and all the inner dialog they may have inherited… and of course the brillliantolgist cannot NOT try to discover their own brilliance one they “see the light.”

Webster suggests that brilliance is a form of light – radiant and luminous.  And that seems right to me somehow. For it is in the example of those brave souls that will dare to live their life in such a manner, that lights the path for those not quiet so daring… but, perhaps willing once shown the way, to move out of the shadows of their own existence.

I never tire of their stories, those that dare to be brilliant, and often wonder what it is that they possess. If only we could bottle it and sell it.. and if only we could sell eyewear that would allow us to see it in more clearly in those around us. For they have pushed their way through the fears and objectives of self and others to be in their bliss… and it is brilliant.

So I wonder, who are you on the back roads… when no one is watching. When in those moments of victory you have put down the titles, and the degrees and the responsibilities and just allow yourself to be? I dare you take a drive and see if you too catch a back road reminder of your own brilliance and your ability to be a brilliantologist.

 

Wild

There are certain things that still speak to me. Wild things.  I hope I never lose track of them. However it doesn’t escape me that they become more and more difficult to pursue. 75387c95fa59776fbd3b911e72510bdeI hate that. Less for myself, more so for those that come after me.

My girlfriends and I, all of a certain age, have been talking more and more about this stage of life we find ourselves in. Not still “young”, yet not what we see as “old.” Nestled in between those two definitions…. Still dreaming of who we will become, and thankful we survived who we were.  Wondering how we hold on to our “wild,” yet setting a role model to those young women looking for guidance.  For it is our “wild” that in so many ways, moved us forward, as if the wind to our sails.

I think wild has gotten a bad wrap. Often seen as a rebellion of sorts. Some negative image of being unruly and out of control when in all truth it is none of that.  It is that “thing” that reminds us to listen to the inner voice… the gut…. that instinctively knows the truth.  How often I relied on that when I was a young mom… a young wife…. a young woman… going against the social norms. . . . that wild thing that whispered, “they are your kids, you know what they need.” That wild thing that screamed, “don’t give up, God’s not done with either of you, yet.” That wild thing that said, “its your body, you know if something is right or wrong.”

I was reminded of the wild again this past weekend as I again harvested the elderberries that grow “wild” at our families cabin. No one tells it to. Yet, it had an older tree who spread its roots… drop its seeds and left its impact on the young trees in its path.

There is a beauty in the wild. I loved standing in front of the elder tree and be reminded that in order for it to remain wild… in order for the next generation to marvel in it, they need to see it, to experience it, to see that wild is not always a negative… I love the idea that this tree was not “planted” by any man…. it didn’t require mans approval to be… its worth isn’t wrapped up in someone elses ideals about it. Rather, its very exsistance.. its value.. its beauty a God thing.  And, those that know that… know the value that it brings.

I stood in my kitchen and made jelly and Sambucus (a mountain medicinal used to build the immune system during cold and flu season), reminded that I know this because of a heritage passed down.

My life is a lot like that tree who passed down its seed to the next generation. My friends and I, are at that age where we need to be more vocal about what it is that we know. The things that life has brilliantly, and in some cases not so brilliantly, taught us… things like; you can survive this, your babies are only babies for a short time, what you are going through is not unique to you, secrets do more damage in the dark, and you are not alone. Mostly I guess I want them to know that their wild, isn’t always a negative. It can be the thing that moves you to that next place, where life can look better, so that when it is your turn, you too can help the next generation of women who need to see you as a tree firmly planted in the wild, bearing fruit that nourishes and heals.

Y’all….

1Just a few short months ago, I was sitting at one of  my favorite local coffee shops listening to my friend Melisa share her vision of a “family praise night.”

We live in the Yakima Valley. A very diverse place. Our every day is a blend of difference and diversity. Her vision was ONE people – ONE Church. It was a vision we all shared. The three of us that meet for coffee on a regular basis for accountability.

 

Our hope. Purpose. Was to start taking down the walls that we, the collective we, have put up around our own hearts, our own communities, our own families and churches. To erase the excuses like our culture is different, or we don’t speak their language, or our doctrines are a bit different.

Through a series of miracles the evening came and went. Six hundred people in the valley came, and those walls…. those things that made us different…. began coming down… brick by brick. The process of preparing for the event.. brought so many new and amazing people into my circle… of all color, all denominations.

When we woke the next morning.. basking in the “SON-SHINE” of such an event, we were met with the insanity of Charlottesville. The onslaught of media telling us how bad the world was….. people spewing hate as if spitting out sunflower seeds at a baseball game… tearing down history and more. . . {I was saddened by the contrast. The sweetness of the night here in the valley…… against the background of the news.} How do we reconcile the two images? I wondered. everything in me wanted to scream… “hey, y’all look over here.. that is not US.”

Prejudice is alive and well in the US. I have no doubt about it. The problem with it is, that when we go back and try to right the wrongs of the past, we end up just shifting the balance. Someone is always grappling for the top position.  When in truth, with love, there isn’t a top position. All law. All rights. All opportunity, should be equal to all.  If we give someone a legal pass because of past prejudices, then we are advocating poor behavior. Illegal activity shouldn’t be somehow “legal” because of a “poor me” mentality.  In order for there to be true equality, there has to be a plumb line that says wrong is wrong and right is right. No matter who you are. As a nation we should mourn those things in our past that are wrong, and do all we can to build a better tomorrow for all.

While I may not be able to change the world. I can certainly continue to stand on the side of “right” here in my own little world. My prayer is that as quickly as hate can spread, so can love.

Y’all, we are all one. I am glad that I had the visual so firmly planted in my mind of us all on the lawn…… Red, Yellow, Black and white… we are all precious in HIS sight… and even if these stories aren’t shared on the local news, the truth is, that there are those of us, white, black, brown, who do know it, who live our lives accordingly, and who aren’t buying into the media hype that we have all gone to hell in a hand basket.

So many of us think that if “THEY” change, {while pointing our bony fingers outward} somehow our lives would be better. But, maybe we all need to do our part. Take a personal vow to be a part of a better tomorrow. To walk more humbly. To use our manners. To speak only the way we would want to be spoken to. To determine not to play the role of a victim, but as a victor, pulling as many as we can up with us.

We can all find something that we feel we are being singled out for. Maybe, I didn’t get the job because I am not one the “pretty people,” or young, or bi-lingual. Or maybe it was my weight, or because I am short. Maybe the guy hiring didn’t like women, or brown eyes or…..

Life isn’t fair. Trust me, there will always be something, or someone, or….. but it comes down to the lens you choose to look through. So, I humbly say this… turn off the TV.. go sit down at a local coffee shop, or take your kids to the park, or library, or….. say hi to someone new who may not look like you or talk like you or believe like you. Maybe offer to buy their coffee… There is a saying that has been attributed to Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see the world.” Never has this been more true than today.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was so much GOOD out there that even the media would be forced to show it? Lets strive for that, cuz truly if something doesn’t change…

Y’all are gonna make me lose it.

Wisdom

IMG_2880 I cannot stop thinking about them. They are branded on my heart… seared into my every thought. Every detail. Every Act. Every thoughtful thing they did. Perhaps the imprint, not necessarily that of their own, but rather how they chose to be Christ to me.

How precious those memories are. They become more so with the passage of time.  I am older now then most of them where back then. Yet, their wisdom surely surpassed what I feel like mine is at this stage.  In every way, they emulated those women in Titus… reverent, loving, pure and honorable.

In a recent conversation with a young mom, she shared her desperation for having communion with Godly older women. “Women who have survived the early years of family and marriage and feeling as if everything is on hold while they raise babies.” That amazingly busy “Summer Season” of our womanhood.

Her desperate cries compelled me to search for the answers for her…. as my mind dusted off the files, it occurred to me again.. She needs me.

I could feel my own heart thump louder, almost drowning out her voice….panic set in. In a quick darted prayer, I could hear my own voice cry, “Surely I am not THAT women.” Feelings of lack flooded over me.. The enemy leans in suggesting, You my dear are certainly not “pure” enough. Wise enough.”   In defiance, I felt every fiber of me fight back……Really?  Surely I am seasoned enough. I have lived enough life. I’ve shed enough tears. I have had to pick myself up from my boot straps enough times.  I have prayed, and swore, and promised to change, and changed…. enough.  I have enough awareness to see the times that God has carried me through the things I never thought I could see the other side of.  I could feel the enemy shrivel. He isn’t used to me fighting back. That in and of itself is growth.

The truth is, this young mom needs the same thing I needed when I was her. Someone who can listen. Who can assure her that there is life after… this season. That she is doing a good a job, and that she is more “normal” that the enemy would like her to believe. That no, she isn’t the only one who cries herself to sleep some nights out of frustration and fatigue. And no, she isn’t the only one that feels she has nothing left to give. And, yes, she is enough just the way she is.

I am learning that the thing I need the most, in order to step into this new season of my life,  is the acceptance and the gratitude that all those things that I cried out to God to provide, he did.  The awareness that while I wasn’t 100% the woman I needed to be in the moment, I was enough because God picked up the slack and moved me into being “her.” He knew who I could be. And, that is why with confidence he could tell me I was enough. He always knew, who I was becoming.

The enemy can confuse us by reminding us that we are still praying the same prayer all these years later. “Make me more.. God.” In truth, if we will be honest, we should all be praying that we become…. MORE.  At every stage of our life, we should be asking God to fuel that desire to be more…. More giving, more available, more aware, more wise…. More like Christ.

We just have to ask.

“If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask.”

I Cannot Un-know That.

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It has been about a year and a half. Perhaps longer.  I am horrible with time. But, lets just say, it is within the last two year, that God began to  show me that even while things can feel like they are happened to you….. perhaps God is allowing them to happen for you. For me. Its easy to know that after the storm. When you can look back and can see how  worked it all in your favor. But, it is less easy to see it when the storm rages around you.  Continue reading “I Cannot Un-know That.”

Crystal Peaks

 

Several years ago, I was lent a book written by Kim Meeder. I instantly fell in love. With her, her heart, her ministry and the stories she so generously shared. I quickly engulfed them all… some dozen or so.  Then, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit her ranch. To sit across from her face to face and share about our shared experiences. As my heart would have hoped, she was in person, how I had imagined her to be.

What a joy it was to walk the ranch. To envision what it was back when she and Troy began their adventure, which now, took some creative thinking to envision.

Prior to my visit, I suspected that I would be mostly captivated by Kim herself, and then the horses… and I was, but I was caught off guard at how I felt just being in that “space”, itself.  The details were charming.. the signs were all entertaining and perfect. The structures sweet and dreamy… but, there was a spirit that was palpitate.  An amazing blend of love,  excitement,  anticipation. As if God himself had taken up residency. And of course, I know He had.

I was shaken by  the flood of emotions I felt as I watched kid after kid.. each with their own story, bond with their new four legged friend. I watched as these kids faced fears then pushed through them.  It was all… stunning.  I found myself trying to capture it all through my camera lens, hoping not to miss a thing.  As I found my little perch and watched…. listened… breathed in and out .. I felt I was on hallowed ground. Maybe because I was in the midst of a place where everything I loved, everything that spoke to me, was now encapsulating me. Horses, families, the smell of dust in the light breeze…. or maybe it came from a sense of knowing the needs these kids represented and watching as Troy and Kim weaved through them as if they were “just” another helper… had I not known who they were… I would never have known that they weren’t part of the herd of volunteers that keep the ranch working so well. Kim was busy in the arena working one on one with a kid.. and a horse.  “One kid one horse”.. is their motto.. and there she was, living it out.  Troy and his truck were parked down the lane, repairing something in the fences line.

When Kim’s lesson was over, her assistant lead her towards me. I felt bad knowing that she had to carve out time for me.. a writer. At the beginning of our interview, you could tell that even through her gracious spirit, she was here out of duty.  There was still (after all this time and success) a part of her that would rather be out with yet another child, doing another session in the heat, than to be placed up on a petal-stool  of any kind.. but, not being a stranger to the process, she also knew marketing, and stories, meant reaching more kids.  I felt the need to verbalize to her that I sensed that… and it changed the interview.  I felt her relax as I shared parts of my story with her.. parts that we shared; her story and mine.

I stayed for the cowboy church service that evening.. hundreds poured into the barn… they came for dinner and stayed for worship. It was wall to wall people, brilliant. Each with their own story…

I left.. forever changed. Not because of Kim, or Troy or even the ranch  itself, but because of the amazing example Crystal Peak Youth Ranch is of how deeply God wants to work with us to make a difference in the lives of others.

Kim will be sharing their story on Focus on the Family Tomorrow and Friday.. Please take the time to listen, I know that you will love what you learn.  https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15d378c4c3e91d43   Kim’s books can be found on Amazon or at their website https://www.crystalpeaksyouthranch.org/

The Eye Of a Horse

IMG_8339.JPGThere are horses that have taken up residence in a pasture right at the entrance of my town.  Since I don’t often use that exit to go home, I cannot be a witness as to how long they have been there.  There are several. A herd. Young, old, black, brown, chestnut.  They speak to me somehow. There is something about horses that bring a calm to my heart and mind.

I’ve been unsettled the last couple of weeks. Restless. Aimless. Purposeless. Frustrated. Weary.  As my day would have it, I drove past that field several times. Each time slowing down to catch a glimpse. Each glimpse offering a glimmer of hope… a rekindling of joy.

I think God must have known there would be days like this. I was reminded of a card I saw a few weeks back.. that simply stated, “Sometimes I catch God watching me through the eyes of  a horse.”  While it may not be doctrinal sound to think such a thing.. I sure know it explains why on days like this, it is one of the few things that work like a suave for what ails me. And, I smile.

Roping The Wind

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It is hard to believe that it is quickly approaching 10 years of blogging.. Journaling really.  It is fair to say, I was blogging before blogging was cool. For those who have followed me over the course of those 10 years, you may be asking why the change in the title of the blog? The answer comes easily for me, because I have changed. Becoming more focused over time.. While much of the things that “called me” have lost their appeal over those 10 years… and other things have come more into focus.. Like the auto focus on my camera lens.  In my 30’s and 40’s I was doing more “exploring,” today, in my 50’s I am more tuned into what I have built over that time and it all settles in closer to home, and it is those things that I most like to write about these days. Those things being; Faith, Family and Friends. Continue reading “Roping The Wind”

But….. I don’t wanna!

Have you ever felt like this horse, afraid to walk into the “new”?   Probably not. I am sure that I am the only one. 3118_1137163142769_4303517_n

Mostly I would say I am a pretty courageous person. I don’t mind new things. I often don’t mind scary things.  I “pride” myself in knowing that there is not much that I cannot handle. I have a knowing that the hardest part of anything is just walking through it. BUT, there are times…. there are specific things that I just fight.

For example; I do not like being vulnerable  I don’t like asking for help.. or even admitting that I need help. And, I don’t much like relying on others to help me do thing that I think I should be able to accomplish on my own… Why yes, I do often hear that bratty me saying, “I’ll do it myself.” After all; I am a self reliant, highly capable girl. And often, when I am right in the center of this kind of moment.. God steps in and challenges my thinking. Continue reading “But….. I don’t wanna!”