When They are not as They Seem

Ya’ll,

You know what is hard? When folks are not what you have known them to be, or what they could be. You know what else is hard? Watching them become something opposite of what you know they have the potential to become. You know what is the most horrible part of all of that? Watching the misery and sadness that they leave in their wake.

It’s been on my heart for quite some time now, years actually, to be present. To be honest. To be real and humble and transparent. I mean… live your best life, ya’ll. Be who you are, and be the best of whatever makes you who you are. Are you silly? Be silly. Are you loving? Love until you can’t possibly love anymore. Are you kind? Be kind to everyone. Are you gentle? Are you humble? Are you intelligent? Are you awkward and weird? Who are you? Are you a leader? Are you an encourager? Are you a life changer? Are you a counselor? Does your heart ache for the good of those who surround you, for those whom you pass on the streets or on your way to and from wherever it is that you go? Who are you? What makes up your identity in the Good Father’s earthly kingdom? Who has He created you to be? BE. THAT. And be UNASHAMED. Be these things to the nth degree. Be these things with your whole heart and mind and soul. The Lord created you this way… then by golly be this way. Do not run from it, embrace it. Friends, if ya’ll are awkward and quirky… you are probably my friend. Because I am right there with you. Are ya’ll encouraging and want nothing but good for those you know and do not know? We are also probably friends… because you have probably lifted me up when I couldn’t see or know whatever “up” you saw or knew.

Why do we work so hard at being who we are not, only to lose who we were meant to be? Created to be? What I struggle with… is remaining strong in who I am when struggles come, when dreams are crushed, and people are mean. BUT HELLO WE ARE ADULTS. WE ARE THE ADULTS NOW…. Lord Jesus in heaven, help this whole world. So I pick myself on the daily and remind myself whose I am, and no matter the hopelessness I see and feel and want to run from, the Lord works all things for the good of those who love Him. CAN I GET AN AMEN?

Why would we not want our friends, our co-workers, our families, to know who God created us to be in the very first moment He thought of you? Ya’ll… HE IS MIGHTY AND HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING. We are the ones who flounder around as lost sheep in this world… we clearly are on top of things and know everything, etc. All. Sarcasm. WE KNOW LITERALLY NOTHING. Compared to the Lord. DO WE EVEN KNOW HOW MANY HAIRS ARE ON OUR HEADS? Didn’t think so. Therefore, we should focus more on being who we are, not trying to figuring out what someone else wants us to be, thinks we should be, etc. AND IF YOU WANT ALL OF THE DOGS IN YOUR HOUSE AND IN YOUR BACKYARD, THEN HAVE ALL OF THE DOGS IN YOUR HOUSE AND IN YOUR BACKYARD. You go right on ahead and live your best life being you, WITH ALL OF YOUR DOGS.

 

Till next time!

Yoga and Yet

Ya’ll,

It’s been a ridiculous few weeks. Let me tell you. I can’t really even tell you, because the words I would use are NOT in the slightest bit appropriate for this venue. See, I am polite and respectful, I assure you.

However, I can tell you this. My good Father has been speaking to me in all sorts of ways. Some of these ways had me feeling all sorts of things; anger, impatience, envy. You know, the usual variety of human emotions about work and comparisons.

So, He told me that all is well and that I needed to calm down, be patient, and hurry up and wait, and to trust. Oh ok, Jesus. OK. After all of these 30 years, He has yet to figure out that I am just not ok with these answers of hurry up and wait and calm down. You would expect Him to understand that. Clearly it isn’t me who does not understand the lessons He is always trying to teach me… right? RIGHT. Glad you all agree.

Now, moving on. A dear, amazing, and courageous friend of mine sent me an email at just the opportune moment. I’ve lost weight, ya’ll. SOMETHING GOOD CAME FROM WAITING…. LIKE WAITING TO EAT CHOCOLATE AND PIZZA AND THINGS, AND INSTEAD EATING SALADS AND FISH AND THINGS SUCH AS THOSE. So, I’ve been telling myself to begin again with the yoga mat and the yoga stretches, and the yoga positivity. This friend of mine, she showed up for me. And she didn’t even know about my thoughts. She sent me an invite to a 14-day yoga practice. And let me tell you. I started this 14-day today. IT WAS EXACTLY WHAT MY WEARY SOUL NEEDED. The theme was noticing and slowing down. No joke, ya’ll. Slowing down. HURRY UP AND WAIT. What a grand theme, which clearly has NOTHING to do with what God has been trying to tell me. Nothing.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my dreams; I am still trying to figure out what I am going to be when I grow up. The Lord has led me down a scary path, in answering these dreams. I’m going to follow it, of course. As I tend to do, when there’s adventure and ridiculousness and possible upheaval of a solid routine and whatnot. And yet. That phrase, those two little words, continually comes into my days, my moments, my answers. I think one thing is going to happen, and yet that one thing never comes to pass, and yet, the thing that happens is a bigger thing, a better thing, and a perfect thing. I’ll keep thinking and wishing and hoping, I suppose. And completing my 14-day yogi stuff.

 

Till next time!

Time. Friends. Holy Goodness.

Ya’ll,

Our friends came to town this weekend. They aren’t just our friends. They are part of our family. Ya’ll know we lived on an island; it seems like a lifetime ago. Living on an island, with little to no amenities whatsoever… like warm (even lukewarm) water was a rare and treasured commodity… it was hard. An amazing and cherished adventure and memory, but HARD. I love America. And we’ll just leave it at that.

We were lonely there. Our marriage is incredibly blessed because of that loneliness, but we needed friends outside of us. The Lord brought us some, but they left the island shortly after. We spoke about that this weekend, and decided it seems as if we’ve known each other for at least half our lives. We laughed, we joked, we cooked, we baked, we slept, and we hugged. Goodbyes are no good. But when it’s your God people, it’s never goodbye. It’s always an until next time.

I read something today, from one of my favorite Christian women, and she made a wonderful point. Where you focus your time, is where you spend your soul. Your whole life. Ya’ll, I am halfway to 60. I blinked at 26, and now I am 30. Like what? Let me tell ya’ll. If the Lord had told me when Will and I got married that he’d be in a horrible, horrible car accident, not remember the first year of our marriage, and then we’d leave our comfort of home and live in a third world country… I probably would’ve run away screaming. And yet…. we know the best people now. The strongest, most adventurous, and curious people ever. People who challenge us and remind us that we love adventure, and that we are very extremely capable of jumping and risking. Our souls spent time on an island. We learned independence, an intense and passionate love of and for each other. We learned to be adults. We learned to really get to know the simplicity of life. We ache for more of that now.

How we spend our time is how we spend our soul. Ya’ll. That hit me like a ton of bricks. Coming back to American reality was rough. It’s still rough. There’s no more slow mornings drinking coffee on the front porch watching the lizards and listening to the parrots in the back yard by the river. There’s no more doing whatever we want to do whenever we want to do it, because we live on an island. There’s no more beach time while the husbands go spear fishing. There’s no more sweating 24/7…. bummer I tell you. My soul is perfectly content spending time in the AC. Praise the Lord for those smart people who invented that miraculous gift from Heaven.

It’s so incredibly easy to forget who you are. I forget every day, seems like. I forget what I am working towards, what the good Lord put me on this earth to do. I get beaten down by people’s rudeness, inconsiderate double standards and hypocrisy. I get so bummed when folks who don’t even know me treat me as though I am not even “worthy” for them to know my name. Like seriously…. get over yourselves. We are all here for a purpose, and that is not any of the purposes. I mean…. hello. That is NOT how I want to spend my soul.

I want to spend my soul with my people. I want to spend my soul lifting others up and encouraging others to reach their goals and dreams, and longings the Lord places in the hearts of my brothers and sisters. I want to spend my soul traveling and experiencing the different things God created and made for us to enjoy.

Life can be so sweet and so good and so holy. If we just step away from ourselves and get to know who we are. We are not hate; we are not gossip; we are not rudeness; we are not Pharisees. We are sons and daughters of the Creator. Ya’ll. How do we spend our soul? Rushing around like chickens… or like our piranha puppy Jax when food drops on the floor? Or do we move slowly and peacefully in God’s purposes and paths and peace? Do we spend our soul in adventure and fun and goodness and laughter and love? I know one thing, I am going to get back to adventure and fun and goodness and simplicity.
Till next time!

Favorite Place

Ya’ll,

If you know me at all, you know how much I really love traveling. I adore different cultures, different food, different accents (but hello, other than this Southern accent we all know and love, the best is Irish). I adore the scenery that changes, just driving a mere few hours north. Or East. Or West. South is just beach… and these days, I have still met my quota of beach time for quite some time. K thanks. Give me the mountains and rivers and lakes. And cabins. Oh my gosh, to spend Christmas in a cabin in the snowy mountains, that is on the bucket list.

However, my favorite place in the entire world, is home. My home is wherever Will and I are together, and also our three heathen puppies. We’ve made a home across the world, and in MS. I had never not lived within a 30 minute drive from my family until a couple of years ago. I learned uber quickly what it meant when the Lord told us all that when we marry, we are to leave our mothers and fathers and cleave to each other. To become one. Well, let me just tell you. This becoming one thing would be easier if we thought the same… as in, you should always begin the day by making the bed. And yet…

Home is where the heart is. It’s a cheesy and uber cliche saying, but it’s quite valid. Our home is our holy place. Our sanctuary from the crazy, up and down, dark and light, world we live in. Whenever I have a bad day, or don’t want to go to work and deal with people who think I am a lesser human than they are, Will always reminds me that I still, at the end of the day, get to come home to our place the Lord has blessed us with. I still get to come home to his arms and kisses and laughter and so much holy goodness. Home is where my people are. The people who love me endlessly, unconditionally. The people whom I get to laugh with, cry with, and pray over.

Find your home. Find your place of serenity. Of solidity. Of holy ground. Find your place of goodness and peace and laughter; your retreat from the world we are set apart form.

Till next time!

 

Just Literally Cannot

Ya’ll,

Let me just tell you all something. I work at a bank. Most of ya’ll know that. It’s actually not a bank. It is a credit union. But that is besides the point. I have a confession. I am like the most impatient person on the planet. Seriously. True story. You may all think that I am this sweet, bubbly person. And I am glad some folks think that. However. That is not even kind of the case. I am an impatient rage monster… especially when hangry.  I just know how to keep it under wraps. Because Jesus. Hello. Except when hangry.

In a former life, before I began working in the position I work in now… 6 months ago… I would get SO frustrated waiting in lines and wondering why on earth there was only ONE PERSON WORKING. I now understand that I have been a horrid customer. For like my whole life. Because impatient. We all fall short of the glory of God, ya’ll.

I have known people can be not kind, and rude, and disrespectful, and impatient… hello… me, and treat people like they are lesser human beings, because Lord only knows why. Well, let me tell you something. No one is above anyone. I don’t care who you are, what position you hold, or what degree you may or may not have. We are all created in the image of our Father in the holy place of heaven, and we should treat each other as such. We are equals. We have different talents, different callings, and different personalities. But we are equal. We are all sinful humans, and we are all loved by God. Period. We are forgiven fallen souls. When are we gonna get it together? Geeeeez.

So, the next time ya’ll are waiting in a line, or ya think the person, whom is working all alone and juggling a bazillion things at once, is going too slow for your schedule, remind yourself that the person in front of you is an actual human. This human has honest to goodness emotions, problems, a stress level that has gone through the roof and still remains semi – calm, and who just wants the day to end so he/she can get home to their own family. Just. Like. You.

K thanks.

Till next time!

 

Sometimes They Leave Us

Ya’ll,

My family has been rather sad the past few days. We lost a wonderful, strong woman. A woman whose presence commanded attention. A woman who knew the goodness of life and pursued it, always. A woman who took no crap from anyone. She was a spitfire, no doubt. A woman who always knew her worth and value and let no one tell her differently. She knew what was right, with the wisdom and grace and goodness of Job. This woman will always and forever hold a very special and dear place in my heart and soul. She was a former Yankee, blessed with years of Southern living.  I will always love her, dearly. Words, I am at a loss for them. My soul has been sad and low and heavy and weary. Understanding is not something I’ve experienced this week. This earthly life lost a woman who cared deeply and passionately and sought all of the beauty in life that the Lord would show her.

I have thought a lot about death this week. Ya’ll, funerals are EXPENSIVE. Entirely too expensive. It is taking advantage of those who are grieving and just want to do one last good thing for the one they’re grieving over. I’ve told everyone I know and love to go on ahead and get life insurance and a plan. No joke. Ya’ll… it’s really expensive. Like more than a downpayment for a house.

I have also thought a lot about what matters in life. Petty ridiculousness does not. Fake and obligatory relationships do not. Life’s too short to do things and be some sort of way out of obligation, etc. Life’s too short to be miserable and to bring everyone down right alongside you. Seriously. Stop. If you want something out of life, if you dream of something better… go and get it, and don’t be frustrated at others who are, especially if you are not. Don’t be jealous of someone else’s life. I assure you they have their problems, too. I mean… we are all human. We all fall extremely short of the Glory of God. We are all in this life together. Be a good human, a good co-worker, a genuine friend. Explore and know all of the goodness of life and know the Lord’s love for you, deeply and humbly.

My heart aches for those who perpetually live in misery because they encourage the vicious cycle. Why is it that people cannot be genuine human beings? Vulnerable human beings? Why is it that people cannot be happy for other people when they further their place in this life? Whether that be in their career, their education, and/or their life in general? Why can’t we lift each other up and love on each other and encourage each other, and cheer for others’ successes? Why can’t we just love our neighbor? Honestly and purely and humbly? Life’s not all about you. It’s so much more than that. It’s about others; it’s about seeking the Lord’s will with all your might, and His. It’s about finding and seeking the joy that the Lord wants to bless us with and then turning around to bless others with that same joy. It’s about finding a love of your life and holding onto that and growing that and watching that love grow through the Lord’s blessing and grace. It’s about walking this life journey with genuine, vulnerable, and fallen friends, brothers, and sisters.

Sometimes they leave us, too soon and unexpectedly. But we, as Christians, know that we will see each other again. On the other side. On the side of Truth and Perfection and Healing and Pure Beauty and Grace.

Till next time!

Being Married

Ya’ll,

I love being married to Will. The relationship we have is blessed by God, given by God, and protected by God. I ask Him daily to guard our marriage and continue to grow us in His love and goodness and kindness. Through that prayer, we have learned to communicate, to let our guard down and say what we need to say about anything we need to say it about, and to be ourselves.

Now, this is not to say that marriage is a piece of cake, but it’s sure a heck of a lot easier when you’re in a triangular relationship with God. Marriage doesn’t have to be filled with dread and angst and bitterness. Marriage was and continues to be a blessing from God, from the very beginning. You can verify that in Genesis. True story. Perhaps that is why Scripture warns against unequally yoked marriages. Ya’ll. I cannot imagine being in a marriage that felt like a dead end. And it hurts my whole heart to know that so many men and women are in those types of marriages, those types of relationships. Vows are important. Vows should be taken very seriously and followed through with. HOWEVER… that does not mean to stay if you are in an abusive relationship filled with fear and pain. GET OUT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. There are so many people and places that can help you find a way out, and a way to stay safe once you are out. Taking that step is a scary and heartbreaking step to take, but it could save your life. I cannot stress that enough. I just cannot. Contact me. I will give you shelter and food. And a bed to sleep safely in. There may be dog hair on it… but it’s safe.

I also really need to take this time to tell ya’ll something about my dreamboat. HE BUILT ME A PATIO. Like with his own hands, and sweat, and blood… bc it’s obvs not done by Will unless there’s an injury and bloodshed. I am lounging on the outside couch on the outside patio. That my dreamboat built. Because he knows how much I love to be outside. He is literally the best. And it’s totes fine to be envious… just kidding. We’ve talked about that before…. envy is a sin.

Till next time!

Hard to Learn Lessons

Ya’ll,

Let me just tell you. The Lord has been working on me like nobody’s business. You know those times when you think you are so right and spot on about something, but then it does not work out, and you’re just left sitting there saying oh ok then…? I know you know what I am talking about. I like being right, and in control, and I like plans and schedules, and organization is a must and a vital part of all of life. I thought I was supposed to be a teacher. In a classroom. Teaching kids how to read and spell and write papers. And yet…. I work at a credit union, ya’ll.

I thought the Lord was taking me back to teaching. I was close. And yet… I am still working at a credit union. I know I am supposed to teach. It is the one thing that I can 100% say that I am good at. That ain’t being cocky, so CALM DOWN OK?!. It’s healthy to know what you are good at.  What the good Lord gave you as talents to further His kingdom. It is a holy journey to figure that all out.

Now, those of you who really know me, know that I get bored, and I job hunt and job hop very frequently. I CANNOT IMAGINE DOING ONE THING FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. Except being married to Will, because hello… he’s a dreamboat and wonderful and makes life grand and fun and not a mundane not-fun thing. I can be with him every day for the rest of my life doing silly things and life would be great. HOWEVER THAT DOES NOT PAY THE BILLS. So… here I go to work.

It’s fun to look back at all of the things I have done, and all of the jobs I have had. They’ve all taught me who I want to be, and how to be a good co-worker. If ya don’t suck… you’re a great co-worker. That’s all there is to it. So, this lesson the Lord has been teaching me for… well… since I started working… is to be content where you are. I know I am called to teach, but that does not have to be in a classroom. It can be anywhere and anytime and any topic. Ya’ll… I edit papers and emails and important documents. I counsel folks who just need an open ear and soul. A soul who’s willing to put aside all judgement and just listen. I can teach through the way I live my life. Now, I ain’t perfect by any means… I AM NOT JESUS. I have a master’s in Jesus things, but I fail and flounder around just like everyone else.

Everywhere I’ve turned to lately, contentment has been the topic. Jesus talks, ya’ll. Whether we listen or not… that is up to us. I can listen to humans all day long… but when Jesus starts talking, it’s like He’s speaking in Russian or something. I just don’t understand Him half the time. This whole contentment thing is a hard continuous lesson that I have to learn. My calling is teaching. I’ve got to remember that I don’t have to be a teacher in a classroom to complete and live in that calling. I can be content, and should be content, to teach wherever He has called me to work.

Till next time!

Too Short

Ya’ll,

Why do we work so much? Life is so short. I’ve been thinking about this ever since we got back from the island. During our island life time, we realized that back home, all we did was work, work, and work. We never took the time to enjoy each other, to enjoy the time we had NOT working… which wasn’t much.

Now that we are both back in America and working our lives away, we are trying to remember that balance of life and work and enjoying this short time we have here on this earth. WHICH IS NOT EASY WHEN YOU HAVE A BAZILLION HOURS OF HOMEWORK AFTER A BAZILLION HOUR WORD DAY. And yet. The Lord gave us this life, we mustn’t waste it sitting behind a desk or routinely and robotly ( and yes I made that word up, you are welcome to use it any time) going through our days. Work is what we do to afford the life we want, right? But what good is that, if we’re not doing something to contribute to the Kingdom, or to enjoy the pleasures of life the Lord gave us to enjoy? Like the outdoors. Like the water. Like relationships?

Life is so much more than just work. Each day we don’t pause and remember Jesus’ goodness in this life, His blessings for us in this life, is a day wasted. Ya’ll. Take a few minutes out of each day, an hour even, and do something you want to do. Do something to make life enjoyable. Beautiful. Holy. We don’t have to to just put our heads down and go to work. Look up. Recognize the beauty of God in His Creation. Go home early and be with your family. Don’t stay late all the time and sacrifice time with the family God has blessed you so lovingly with. Take that vacation. Go on that weekend getaway. Take a day trip somewhere. Get out and enjoy this short time we have. Don’t waste it away. It is summer time after all! THE LORD MADE ALL OF THE THINGS IN THIS WORLD. GO ENJOY IT!!! It is also hot outside, and Jesus loved Him some water time on this earth. I am sure you’d find it enjoyable also! GO FIND SOME WATER AND PUT YOUR FEET IN IT!! Except, probably not at the Reservoir if you live here, because alligators. I’ll be asking the good Lord one day why He thought those were necessary, along with ants and roaches and gnats. But mainly roaches. Because hello. I cannot.

Till next time!

 

Just Be

Ya’ll,

I may have written about this already, but this remains heavy on my heart. I’ve been thinking so much lately about the future; what is going to happen, what job I will have, what position I will have, where we will be, what Will will be doing. I pray over it. I worry over it. I anguish over it. I plan EVERY. LITTLE. THING. The Lord laughs ya’ll. I really think He probably sits up in the sky and rolls His holy eyes at me. Like any parent would do when their kiddo is doing something ridiculous, when the parent already knows the answer, and wishes the little one would just calm the heck down. WHAT.EVER. I cannot help it. I am a planner. A list maker. Without these things, my life feels chaotic, and I am left unprepared. Lord help everyone involved if I feel chaotically unprepared.

I need focus ya’ll. I need something to aim towards. Somewhere to be. Somewhere to go. Someone new to meet and build relationships with. My soul needs it. Or so I think. My human brain cannot function without these things. My soul tells it to calm down. Holy Spirit tries to guide me into the peace of the Lord. But heaven help me.

I wear a necklace every day. It has “It is well” engraved into it. My brother gave it to me. He knows me. He knows my crazy planner side. My “I must control all things all of the time” side. He knows I needed that necklace. So that I could touch it and remind myself that I am well. That everything is well. That everything works for the good of those who love the Lord.

Several devotions have come to my heart recently, about being still and being present for each moment. My God-sent sister lives like this. I envy her. YES, WE HAVE BEEN OVER THIS; ENVY IS A SIN. THANK YOU. I KNOW. LET’S MOVE ON. She is present always. She lives for each moment, asking the good Lord to guide her through each one. Wisely and justly and spontaneously. Sometimes it drives me bonkers, because I don’t understand the free and the able and the willing and the presentness she understands and lives in. Lord, help me be that way. I know You will try, and I will try to listen. And it’ll probably end very poorly. So let’s just continue with the planning and the future, and hitting my head on an imaginary holy and strong brick wall. K thanks.

Wouldn’t it be so grand to live life free… free to be present in each moment and place and time? You know… like the Lord longs for us to live? To live in the present moment He gives us, because we are not guaranteed any moment. * INSERT TOTAL SOUTHERN ACCENT HERE FOR NEXT WORD*** “SHOOOTAAHH.”

Till next time!