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Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  Isaiah 26:3 A warning in advance-in...

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

#AfterShow-Achieving balance

Last week over lunch with a dear friend, our conversation centered on achieving balance. She’s an inspiration to me having quietly lost over 100 pounds several years ago, no TV, no fanfare, and has kept it off. We talked about learning and living in a new place, where best health choices are natural and we’re not obsessed with losing weight.

I am still finding my way #AfterShow.  More than anything else, I no longer rely upon things I believed I knew before. I have learned that achieving balance is not about doing so much as about listening…and about trust. I learned to trust the wisdom and advice of experts (thanks Joy!), to stop reacting based upon habits or circumstances, and to listen, to the Universe and to my body. He created us to live lives in balance. We need to strip away the things that cloud our ability to hear Him.

Image originally found at this link (click here)
Either we trust Him, or we don't

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sacred

One day after my 52nd birthday (a blessing not lost on me), I arose mindful after a day of excess to my desire to restore balance. I earned a tomorrow.  I was grateful for that blessing, as my schedule included attending a funeral later in the day. The women whose life we were celebrating struggled with depression and saw no other choice but to take her life.

There is no divide between secular and sacred.
Do the things you love, do them well.
Enjoying God is the strongest proof that the gospel is real and enough
.
Click to tweet
He whispered SACRED to my heart. Awareness can make almost anything a sacred act of worship....in this case, caring for the temple God blessed me to inhabit and nurturing it both for its upkeep AND as an act of gratitude and obedience. Sacred was making time to be a goodly steward of my time and my life, being grateful in all things.

I am no Levite, but it is my desire to live a life set aside for holiness. Almost any action can be sacred when done with a heart of service and worship unto God. 

After coffee and my walk with the dog, it was time for yoga. Stretching slowly, listening to my body, balancing, breathing and focusing on release, I breathed in Grace and exhaled my prayers.  I’d planned to walk to the funeral; the church was small and the lot wasn’t likely to accommodate the number of people anticipated…and the exercise and the cool air were good gifts and opportunities to be thankful.

I earned a tomorrow, but I’m neither waiting nor wasting. Our present is all we have, and even that is not promised. I choose to worship God in all things at all times. At the end of my day, He sent one final reminder, in the words of my friend Alia Joy Hagenbach crafting a message she had NO idea I needed to hear…

There is no divide between secular and sacred. Do the things you love, do them well. Enjoying God is the strongest proof that the gospel is real and enough.

Allelujah and Amen.





Thursday, January 21, 2016

#AfterShow-Why are we satisfied with good enough?


In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-8 (NIV)

I ran into someone this morning who complimented me on my #’16by16 experience.  What struck me was the lesson conveyed in an off-hand comment-her saying that she never considered me someone who needed to lose weight. It got me thinking….I was neither too thin nor excessively overweight, and given the way I dressed and carried myself, it was good enough. I began thinking about everything we do in life and wondered….why are we satisfied with good enough?

If we embrace the teaching in Genesis 1:27 that we are made in the image of God, then why is it every acceptable to settle for “good enough?” It’s not, and we can and should choose, in faith, to do better. Let’s be clear-I am not talking about a size or a level of expertise, and I am certainly NOT speaking about vanity.         

Sep 24, 2015 ... Three viewers have taken on TODAY's "16 by 16" challenge to get trim and healthy by the beginning of 2016. Nutritionist Joy Bauer checks in ...
www.today.com/.../joy-bauer-jenna-wolfe-check-in-on-16-by-16-challenge- 531504707555

Thursday, January 14, 2016

#AfterShow-The First Lesson

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all."

In the first week of my Today Show 16 to 16 adventure, the first thing I learned from the team was always to eat a first course. The original guidance was to enjoy soup, a small salad or a piece of fruit before lunch and dinner; I made first courses a habit. Habits are important, so my first new habit was to begin every meal with something light and healthy. Some mornings I eat fruit, an apple, a banana, or a small bowl of berries. I learned mindfulness when cleaning and preparing my food, appreciating the process as much as the treat. Often I find myself nibbling on my first course as I prepare the main meal. It slows me down. It take the edge off my appetite. It gives me space to "hear" how hungry I am and make adjustments to what I'll eat.

That's not actually the first lesson. The fist lesson came earlier. Before the Today Show, before 16 to 16, I had a moment of clarity which came to me in the form of a letter of love and apology I composed to my body.

You were my first and enduring gift. You are with me every moment. You have never failed me. Where I desire to go, you carry me. Upon rising, I sense your rhythms and we adjust, finding balance, grounding, coming into our beautiful natural pace; it happens without thought. You support me and I have neglected you. Without complaint, without resistance, you have accepted more than was necessary and this body is the result. While I love you as you are, we can and must do better.

The lesson was this...until we make peace with the body/life/circumstances we have, we will never have a chance at the body/life/circumstances we want. Without peace, we will not ever appreciate whatever we attain; it will never be enough. Confirmation came this morning. 

Do you love yourself enough
to never change anything?
Click to tweet this

In less than 5 months. I am 20% smaller than I was previously. Change has been deliberate, measured, steady, Before any change occurred however, I needed to learn the first lesson. I fell in love with me, with the God in me, again.

I embraced, and am embracing that I am a work-in-progress. More importantly, I love the "work" I am at every stage. We spend so much of our lives waiting until things are different before we enjoy our lives. We waste precious time. We should remember that we are Imago Dei, made in the Image of God, and then ask ourselves, "Would you treat God the way you treat yourself?" We claim to love Him, desire to serve Him, call ourselves His children. If so, we've got to do better.

I encourge you to think differently. What is your one lesson? When you learn it, how will it change your life?











Monday, January 11, 2016

A moment of praise and gratitude….

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His Love endures forever.
Psalms 118:1 (NIV)

Every year around this time, I’m frying chicken for my bestie’s birthday (don’t judge; it’s what we do). In making my morning runs, I stopped at the grocery store. It’s a gray rainy day, and we’re all doing our best to see and be seen. Backing out, I notice someone pushing a cart while gesturing wildly to get my attention; I think I’m paying attention…

Finally, I roll down the window to see what’s what. She wanted to ensure that I was aware of the motorist waiting behind me. I was. There was a point at which I could have chosen annoyance, e.g., I”I know how to drive,” “mind your own business,” etc., …but bless God I instead chose thanks. I rolled down the window a second time to thank the kind stranger, and also thanked God for Grace and space.
http://year27.com/wp-content/uploads/120710_Psalm118_1.jpg

What do I mean? We’re all busy. We rush through life getting to the next thing, the next thought, the next action. A stranger stopped to express concern for me…and God wanted to know if I was paying attention. Not only did I thank her, and Him,  I called my mama to offer a praise report…and that is how it is with Grace. When we receive it, we should pay it forward.

I hope my patience and sincere gratitude blessed the kind stranger. I know it blessed my mom when I called her….her kindness continues to bless me.

Trusting God…to hear from Him, to see His Hands all over my life, and to share all that I’ve been given. The big things. The little things. In all things.




Thursday, January 7, 2016

#AfterShow

Yesterday was Wednesday. No “last chance workout,” no insistence that I get in all my steps, no alarm set for 5:00 am. Upon awakening this morning, I failed to hurry. There was no black sedan standy by, I hadn’t packed my show bag. I rose, stretched, and got back between the sheets. I slept in. This morning is not a show day for me. It’s Thursday. This is my life. This is #AfterShow.

Are you ready to live the best of your life?Click to tweet some encouragement

Monday, January 4, 2016

He Cannot Fail. Trust Him...on learning Disruption

Psalms 13:5-6 (NIV) “I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.”

It’s been a season of learning new habits for me, some physical, some spiritual. Among my newest habits is this…disruption. Every time I feel a spirit of anxiety or doubt, I disrupt the thought process with praise. 

Praise confuses the enemy, but its mechanics are clear to me; I fall into an old pattern of fear have learned to do something new. I have the image of my changed lifestyle to remind me that change can happen. I am part of that change. I am responsible. It is deliberate. 

Focusing on that one success, I move ahead in trust. I can’t do it on my own, but I also know that He Cannot Fail.


Trust Him.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Trust...and praise Him in the meantime

If you are not present the mind which has incredible momentum will drag you away like a river.  Eckhart Tolle

Vigilance means the mind can never be idle. When I am afraid, I am inclined to default to what I believe are my own resources. However, I am learning that trusting God is bigger than any contingency plan I might envision. Trust is no easy discipline, but one critical to our salvation. God prepared me to so this hard work, so I know it can be done. I just can't do it alone. 


Trust in the Lord, I tell myself; He’s got it. And, when it makes no sense, Praise God anyhow. Praise confuses the enemy. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I will trust in the Lord…

On this first day of the year, making my morning ablutions, an old hymn came to me, as it has recently. 

This is my year of letting go, the year when I will, in all ways, acknowledge Him and allow Him to direct my paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). 

It will not be easy, but I declare my intention to create a new rhythm, to set a new standard, to evolve. 

This day was made my the Lord and I surrender myself to Him in it. And so it begins…


Friday, January 1, 2016

The Things We’ve Always Known (My OneWord365 for 2016)

It’s been a transformative year. I am evolved. God poured things into me…things I’ve always known, but before now was unwilling or unable upon which to act. I am changed.
Some changes are visible. Following a remarkable journey, I am now 30 lbs lighter than I have been in years. I have shed weight, along with so much that weighed me down, including fear. This has been my year of letting go.

Our children repeatedly comment on the fact that things seem to bother me less. I don't care less, but rather appreciate that there is a gracious calm born of clarity…and not everything warrants a crisis-worthy response. Life is too short and sweet to be steeped in drama. It is not necessary. This is a thing I’ve always known.

I have always also known to trust in God even when I have not always fully placed my trust there, despite knowing better. This year I began to let go. The end of this year bubbled with clear indicators that it’s time to lean in to truth, to strip away all that is unnecessary, to be all in…like this…

·       “I may not always understand or even like God’s plan, but I can trust His heart and know it is for my good.” Mary Southerland

·       Then there was the time I heard to same song play repeatedly (at least a half-dozen times) on Spotify during a morning walk, and these were the lyrics…

You are my refuge, in You I'll trust. You are my fortress, in You I'll trust.
I won't dread the terror by night, for angels are all around me
So I will not fear.
When I call you, You'll answer in time of trouble. When I call you, You'll answer You will deliver. I'll trust you, for I will dwell under your shadow
In Thee O Lord I'll put my trust

thanks to Jennifer Dukes Lee for
affirming my message from
the Universe with this image.
click here to share
God is not subtle in dealing with me; I’m not that bright. So, after enduring a season of letting go and not necessarily lightly, this has also been a season of growth. When the plans you had for yourself and your life turn out differently than you could ever have imagined, and not in a good way, and whatever illusion of control you believed you had over those things is revealed as a falsehood, you do one of two things. You get angry, pout and throw tantrums at God, or embrace His Sovereignty, acknowledge the fear that is appropriately human and reasonable (and oft times a good and right response), and keep try something new. My something new, mostly as a function of exhaustion, was giving up. That was my first step. 

The thing I’ve always known is to TRUST God. I have not always done that thing, but I have always know it to be what I should do. This is my year of letting go. Letting go of control I never really had. Letting go of my useless and ineffectual need to control things far beyond my control. This is my year to let God do, because I cannot.

My OneWord365 has been pressing upon me for a while now…that word is TRUST. In trusting God, I am doing so many things differently this year. I have not settled on one verse…this year I am listening and being led by God….isn’t that what we’ve always known we should do?


So, are you brave enough to let go with me? Let’s see what God will do when we get out of His way…

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

C'mon. Follow along. Please?