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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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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Week 1 of #TheEnternship, or life is a series of tiny miracles...

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“Life is a series of tiny little miracles. Notice them.” It’s that beauty of the aerial view again…the appreciation that you cannot, nor are you supposed to understand or appreciate how everything you’ve been up against throughout your entire life prepares you for the next moment. Welcome to week 1 of The Enternship

Monday, Day 1 of The Enternship was a lovefest, including coaching with author Cara Alwill Leyba, author of Girl Code and creator of www.thechampagnediet.com. I’m a fan and I’ll be staying close to her as she inspires me in ways she cannot know. Buy her book. Read it, and then give your copy away, and buy another. You’ll be better, The recipient will be better. Karma. Grace.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day 1….Exhilarated and Exhausted (I wasn’t prepared, but that is the way of Grace)

I rose at zero-dark-thirty like always, walked the dog, communed with the Universe and prepared to meet the day. THE DAY. Day 1 of #TheEnternship. Having arrived at my location way too early, I cooled my heels at Starbucks and Café 28, reminding myself to breathe and trust the Universe. Just a few days ago, I lectured a friend about fighting the Will of God. Turns out I needed the lesson myself. Gravity, I told myself. Gravity.

Somehow I find myself in the company of phenomenal women (yes, like Mother Maya meant it); women who have lived and learned and made things out of no things and aren’t ready to be told that they can’t do it again.
Meet TheEnterns

We sat casually in a beautifully soothing office as innovative entrepreneurs Gwen Wunderlich-Smith and Dara Kaplan told their stories. Their pluck, drive, and tenacity inspired us to be brave. The day was filled with challenges, information, and opportunity.

Gwen and Dara are remarkable; young, smart, driven, and consumed by a desire for success, joy, and achieving balance in life. They are the embodiment of so much I wanted out of life…but wasn’t ready to receive, it wasn’t my time. That is chief among my lessons. I was never supposed to manage on my own, to have any plan proceed without flaw.  I am appreciating to a greater and broader extent that bit of wisdom I have carried for so long….

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. 
Soren Kierkegaard

Looking back, I am deeply grateful.  Had life proceeded according to my plan, I’d have thought I did it on my own.  Divine Grace is sufficient without my assistance. With that understanding, I celebrate my beautifully human frailty, my foolish anger and fear, and all the times I intended to, but never quite got it right.  It is time when it’s time.

So, once again I am on the ride of my life. Once again I hold fast to my faith believing that while I haven’t a clue how this works out, there is, as always, the beauty of the aerial view. What is that view? Every now and then, when the puzzle of your life or your circumstances is nearly complete, God allows you to see the way that numerous threads, seemingly disconnected strands, decisions we made or things that happened or didn’t, sometimes entirely beyond your control, align in that “all things work together for good to them who love the Lord” kind of way. This I know. And with that….I’m off to do my Enternship homework, because I’m back in the office tomorrow. And only The Universe knows what that day holds in store.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

God’s Will is like gravity. (for my bread buddy)

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

sometimes God requires us to show gratitude
and obedience before the blessing is granted.
Cultivating gratitude may be among
the hardest lessons, but it is crucial to joy.
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It is my lot in life to live and learn the lessons my friends will then endure. My purpose in friendship is to be the encourager; the coach. My method is this…”you can do this. I survived it. You will too, and I will be there.”

(I'll keep saying this until we all internalize it...) Our lessons await our readiness. What you need to learn is likely right in front of you. However, until you accept the challenge, listen without resistance or complaint, receive and then apply what you’ve discovered; its proximity is of no value. It is only time when its time. We repeat the lessons until we master them. Otherwise, we are doomed, like Sisyphus pushing that dang rock.

I routinely re-read what I’ve written, not only because those words reveal my growth as a writer, or the evolution of a perspective, but also to discover that while I have mastered some lessons, there are plenty of summits left to ascend. Not too long ago one message reminded me that releasing something you no longer need allows you to embrace a deeper level of Faith, making space for something new.

Years ago I read,

 Surrender can be the sweetest thing. Practice surrender and let the Universe do its work.

The unknown author didn't write it for me. Even as I collected it to ponder over and unpack later I couldn’t know when or how desperately I'd need it. I got it in stages, but not all the way. Surrender seemed so much like losing. I NEVER lose, even when I choose to walk away. However, suffering is something entirely different; suffering has the capacity to swallow you whole along with all those you love. There is a point when suffering overwhelms you. At that moment, you understand that surrender means resisting no longer.

I have a dear friend (my bread buddy) who excels at success.  Failure simply is never an option. Even resistance is a struggle for her. Everything she undertakes must succeed; all that she does must be exceptional.It can be exhausting, both the endure and also to watch.

I understand her struggle, as I lived it for so many years. However, at some point, the illusion I called “control” slipped irretrievably from my hands. I pouted. I cried. I railed at God. He neither relented nor cared. Control did not yield to my will. I collapsed in exhaustion. I thought I was finished. There was a lesson. 

I was never supposed to manage things on my own, to have any plan proceed without flaw.  Looking back, I am deeply grateful.  Had Life proceeded according to my plan, I’d have thought I did it on my own.  You see, not only is His Grace sufficient, His power is perfected in our weakness. And, with that understanding, I celebrate my human frailty, my foolish anger and fear, and all the times I intended to, but never quite got it right. 

I learned contentment; contentment which does not include accepting the status quo. The art of contentment is the art of blooming where you are planted AND mining that joy. I remember writing the Ode to my Temple…

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.

Contentment is the “I love you as you are” statement. If nothing in your life ever changed, could you truly learn to practice gratitude for what is? I am learning that sometimes God requires us to show gratitude and obedience before the blessing is granted. Cultivating gratitude may be among the hardest lessons, but it is crucial to joy. I fear that without gratitude, happiness is what we get, and while happiness is good, I find it fleeting and transitory. Happiness is a treat. Joy is a lifestyle.

Contentment does not equal stagnancy. Contentment comes in the form of the joy we uncover in every moment, appreciating that moment and all that it holds as if it were your last, because it might be so. (acknowledging with love and gratitude every friend I lost too soon...I live my life to honor you. Thank you for the lessons you taught me.)Finding joy and cultivating contentment becomes a discipline. It is not settling, and should not be dismissed. It is a practice that takes time. It is a daily practice, like learning to pray, like learning to dance, like learning to forgive yourself and practice compassion with the world. Contentment is the practice of existing in a state of Grace and Gratitude. It is appreciating the profound and unalterable Will of God, which will neither be denied nor thwarted. It is like gravity. You need not believe it for it to exist.

Our lessons await our readiness. Choose to hide from them and they will find you. Choose to avoid them and they will linger until they are learned. Like gravity, our lessons, God’s Will, isn’t going anywhere.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

It's official. I'm a #BossBabe

When a “risk-taking, results driven, full-service public relations company based in the heart of New York City led by innovative thinkers, passionate about their clients…” seizes a brilliant opportunity to mine untapped talent, people take notice. They launched THE ENTERNSHIP, a program “created for women who are tired of millennials stampeding over them at work, for women who jumped the corporate ship, for vibrant retirees or for moms looking to break back into the workforce.” I have no idea how many applications they received, but I did submit my own. With only 8 positions available, they offered one to me, inviting me to become a #BossBabe.

Their recruitment website declared “They call us dreamers but we’re the ones that don’t sleep.” Just then, everything I’d experienced over the last ten years finally came together. At 52, I am a woman newly re-imagined with a dream, ready to give the world such as I’ve been given. Because we have little time and none to waste does NOT mean our dreams cannot be realized. We must try. We are called to try. I’m ready to take a sledgehammer to the status quo and get started.

Resigned to give up on the career I’d built that seemed DOA anyway, I discovered the thing people talk and write about that I’d never experienced; a passion that never feels like work. When a friend forwarded the WKC Re-Entry to the Workforce Internship Program announcement, it was time to bet on myself. Our life lessons await our readiness. Everything you need to learn is right in front of you. However, until you accept the challenge, listen without resistance or complaint, receive and then apply all you uncover, the proximity of your lessons have no value. It is only time when its time.

In 16 weeks, I lost 40 lbs. on national television during the holidays.  That’s great, but here is what I know. No opportunity we receive is ever solely ours. The ways in which we take possession of and steward them shapes who we are, how others relate to us, and how and whether they see God and good as they glance in our direction. My personal transformation has very little to do with me or my size. It is a call to action; a call to share and encourage others with the things I’ve learned.

Embracing the opportunity to learn the business of Public Relations, I’m about to leverage existing and new connections. I’m going to build a lifestyle brand empowering women, empowering anyone to make the most of their life. It’s well past time for us to stop waiting for things/resources/opportunities, etc., before we begin living restored lives and ensuring they stay that way. Tomorrow is not promised. Neither is tonight. Let’s be what we declare to the world. I am frail, flawed, and in the words of one of my favorite poets and songwriters Jill Scott, “beautifully human.” I am about to acquire the skills, support, resources and guidance to help people find their passions. I am one of WKC’s fierce #BossBabes. With their help, it’s time to change the world. Someone else wrote the words, but here is the core of my transformation; here is what’s next….

"She threw away all her masks and put on her soul. She declared "I am here to be of service. I am open and ready to receive". And the Universe heard her and sent out its infinite guardians to help her. They said "It's only the beginning" and she laughed, sang, danced, prayed and healed with her guardians until the very last human was awakened and realised the true meaning of the the words "we are all one".
The End." 
Francesca Silvanna

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

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