journey

Sweet Suprise

20140714_095551

To say that a five year old can be impatient is an understatement. For them, the air is still electrified with constant discoveries assailing their senses in the best of ways. They are Magellan, Marco Polo. And the world awaits. How could they stand still? Why should they?

We adults, on the other hand, have spent several decades in conditioning. Our eyes closing to the wonders around us, and we would-be visionaries grew up to have mortgages and car payments, too many to-dos, toilets to be scrubbed and schedules to keep. We barely have time for sleep, let alone for dreaming. Really dreaming.

A few months ago, my little family and I were standing in line on a soccer field, waiting for my son to have his picture taken. The adults, myself included, were standing and staring, reining in the occasional stray child. The nonconformist rebels.

My son and his little friend were trying so hard to be still. “But Mommy, my body is telling my brain that it just can’t stay still much longer!”

Then, it happened. Her words came out of my mouth, unbidden. My mother telling my son and his friend to sit and look for a four-leafed clover. As she had told me to do countless times in a life long past.

Their bodies were still, for the most part, and their wills were occupied.

The little patch of clover at our feet that I don’t really remember seeing in the first place, was dotted with miscreant dandelions. Pretty patches of yellow in a sweet patch of green. They looked and looked, but never found a four-leaf. But during his search, my son occasionally picked a dandelion or two, and a couple of fragrant clover blossoms, and gave them to me.

“Mommy, I picked these just for you! Will you keep them forever?” Blue eyes hopeful.

“Yes, of course I’ll keep them forever.” A hug and a kiss, and a mother’s hand brushing against his freckled cheek.

I hold onto them for a while, then tuck them into the little side pocket of my purse.

Today, I was looking for something. A boring, grown-up something that I knew was in there somewhere.

Frustrated, I take everything out. Wadded up napkins, receipts, a pen, more receipts and some loose change.

My fingers scrape the bottom seam, and there’s something not a penny, or a Tide stain stick. Something soft and delicate, dry and crumply.

I draw it out. My little wilted waiting bouquet.

It had survived months in the crucible of my life on the go. Pounded down, smothered, by bills and checks and keys and my cell phone. Day. After. Day.

Still, they have color, and fragrance, and shape. Identity.

We were all Magellan once. I think we all are still. Where are you keeping your dreams? Your mind’s occupations? Are they dormant, glazed over by an “I want coffee,” “when will this day be over,” or an “I’m so tired?”

Go. Outside. Breathe Deep. Look for the four-leaves in your life. Look up. Look down. Search. If you don’t find one, it’s okay. You’ll find something else. Just keep your heart open.

Advertisements

My weight loss journey, May 16, 2014

Image

So, this is me, like 100 pounds ago. I was a size 4 or 6 in this picture. Cute, huh? πŸ™‚ At that time, I sure didn’t think I was cute. My then husband and I were about to file for divorce. He was leaving me for his girlfriend who, in his words, wasn’t as nice as me, but was more attractive. Girls, can I just say right now that we are all beautiful in God’s eyes? It took me years…no, DECADES to really start to understand that thing that I’d heard over and over again through the years. That I am God’s precious daughter, and that He loves me. He knows my heart and created me from the inside out, so he knows the sacred secrets of my innermost being, and sees that they are lovely.

He thinks you’re lovely, too πŸ™‚

This summer, I go into the season the thinnest I’ve been in 3 or 4 years. Now, that’s not necessarily saying much as I’ve gained and lost the same 10 pounds for the last 3 or 4 years, but I’ve finally crossed the threshold and am on my way down again.

The last week or so, I’ve experience something new that I’ve been wanting to share with you. It’s peace. I don’t feel driven to lose 50 pounds in a month, or 100 pounds in 3 months. I feel a new peace with my journey that I can’t quite explain, but I know where it comes from – that same place that brings us all peace that we can’t fathom – our Father’s heart. It was always there, waiting for me and, for some inexplicable reason, I find myself with open arms, accepting it.

If you’re somewhere on a journey, whether for weight loss or forgiveness, healing or a fresh start, I encourage you to open your heart. Open it to the world around you – to the friends and family who love you, and the God who adores you. You’re not alone. You are worthy. You are enough, and you are lovely.

The Perks of Persistence

My five-year-old son is a Skylanders rock star. We bought him the system when he was 4, even though it’s recommended for ages 6 and up. I was skeptical. My husband was hopeful. My son was ecstatic.

In a single Saturday, he had mastered the controller, XP’d multiple levels-up, and knew his characters’ full bios and credit histories. Okay, that last part is a joke. But seriously, he threw himself into it, taking my “we never give up!” mantra to heart as his characters fell off the ledge or into the lava. Again. And again.

That was quite a while back, and in the last few months, my heart and my family have taken a few blows. We’ve known need. We’ve known loss. And, we’ve known grief. That last part needs to be put into present tense, doesn’t it? We know grief. Grief is the unwelcome guest with a one way ticket to your innermost being. You don’t outgrow your grief. You learn to bear it; to live with it. Over time, it becomes a companion, and the relationship you share is the one you make it into. I learned this once. And now, I find myself retracing my steps as I walk the path once more.

The days and weeks and now, months, since my mother’s passing have been exhausting. In an ideal world, we would be allowed to be alone in our grief, to wrestle it out in our hearts and minds. But, that’s not realistic. We’re given 3 days, or 5, filled with planning a party you don’t want to have to give, sorting through baubles and valuables while you have a chance to do itΒ  with family, cleaning, packing, visiting her favorite restaurant one more time, then it’s back to work. Back to the routines of the life that carried on while you were out with a shattered heart. As many of you know, it’s not easy.

Ten weeks after my mother passed, my brother and I locked the door on her house for the last time, finally done with the sorting and packing and cleaning. I remember closing my eyes and sucking in a deep breath, hoping to capture any stray memories that lingered, wanting to take everything with me.

The next Saturday, I spent home with my son, greedily soaking him in. “Mommy, will you play Skylanders with me?” His blue eyes, so much like hers, shining at me.

We sat side by side, and played, laughed, and laughed some more. Then we got to a hard part. Like, a really hard part that challenged even my coordination. Our characters had to jump onto a series of rotating gears that were spinning in orbit around our destination, which held the switch that when flipped, would defeat our enemy and reward us with treasure.

It just so happened that my character was the only one of our two that was equipped with the special ability required to take this challenge to task. So, I went for it, and failed, plunging off the third gear or so. (There were a lot of gears.) Each time I tried, I fell off. Sometimes it was early on, and sometimes I would be sooo close, and fail. I was tempted to give up, but that’s not something I wanted to do in front of my son. I tell him that we never, ever give up. So, I kept trying.

I was frustrated. I felt like a dork. This is a kids’ game. Why is it so hard?

Somewhere around my 19th attempt, I made it. At first, I didn’t realize it, but my son started jumping up and down, and screaming, “Mommy is AWESOME!” and it sunk in. I did it!

“Wow!” I said. “That was really hard! I had to do it so many times!”

“Yeah,” my wise-beyond-his-years son replied. “But, the last time was easy!”

Boom.

It’s easy to give up. We’re tempted to every day, aren’t we? We’re tempted to give up on our dreams, on our futures, on keeping up with, well, everything. Oh, and we have good reasons, don’t we? We’re tired. The world is cruel. Our dreams don’t seem to come true. We hurt. We grieve. When we fall of the gear, we don’t want to try again, and again. Experience has taught us that we can try, but we’ll fail. Epically.

But, what if?

What if we’re not done? What if the lesson Experience is trying to teach us isn’t a one-time lecture. What if our professor is more complicated and intellectual than that? What if he is trying to get our attention with an object lesson, and if we skip out of class before he’s done, what will we have learned?

Never give up. Persevere. Our challenges don’t go away. Life is full of them. But, as long as we keep trying to navigate, seeking a path that will get us through, we’ll make it. The journey won’t always be easy, but the victory will be sweet.

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Hang in there. We’re all in this together.

Walk it one step at a time. Just keep walking.