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The Gifts of Rain and Darkness

when it rains

This quote embodies the essence of what I think hope brings.

“When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.”

It allows you to have eyes for the beautiful. In the midst of the obstacle (if you have hope), you will look for the hidden truth, the gem that’s just beyond the surface of the earth. It takes a little determination to brush away the dirt to see. But you know it’s there, – persevere.

I think this is also the life-source of good relationships…always looking for and believing the best in each other.  And while this can make us vulnerable, it also brings the possibility of the depth we yearn for. Rain and darkness can be the canvas that allows us to see the extra-ordinary.

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The Bird in the Darkness

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I wake with heavy eyes and feel the dark is still here. It wasn’t just a dream.

I breathe in a deep breath and exhale slowly, as if courage comes with this discipline.  Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. It’s part of the routine now. And with the exhale, I send a silent prayer to the heavens.

The morning light hasn’t come yet, but I already hear a bird singing. As if nothing is wrong, the trill falls onto my ear. I think bitterly to myself  ‘if she knew my pain, she wouldn’t sing’.  And in that small space of time between the songs, I hear the bird whisper a truth. “I’m singing BECAUSE I know your pain; I know you NEED this song.” And in that moment, when I heard the song and wondered about something beyond myself, I realized the gift —a moment without the burden.

I pulled myself up and sat up straight to listen.  Songs began again. I heard the trills as if I’d never heard them before. With each note, I felt the burden lift away just before the bird fluttered her wings to take flight.

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God’s Touch in the Wind

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Do you ever look for ways to encounter God? Do you think He wants to interact with you? I have found myself in thoughts of mystery lately as I wondered how/if God interacts not just with me, but with the earth He created.  Does he touch the earth? Is the wind God’s hands brushing the earth- moving the seas, and tickling the trees? I wonder when I feel a gust of air, is His voice being carried to me? The wind is both majestic and strong, yet seems vulnerable, unsteady and unpredictable. I’m held captive by the beauty it brings and drawn to the power.  Massive oaks sway and at times are uprooted.

I love that the ocean lets us steadily encounter the wind. Have you ever been walking along the beach after a storm? There’s a changing and unsettling presence;  a visual difference, there is also the steady familiar, like the smell of home. Underneath it all, we know what the freedom of wind sounds like. We look for it without even being aware. It’s root begins inside of our hearts, ever-growing and yearning for more. We experience it in snippets of time, drowning inside the glory of it for a moment, feeling the familiar ride the wind. We’re transported to another time and place, to the carefree innocence of childhood.

If you know me at all, you know my ideal day is spent at the beach looking for shark teeth.  I could gaze into the water, hear the repetitious waves and never be bored. I feel at home, like the part of me that can worry dissipates with the oncoming wave. It makes me wonder, “what is the magic of this place?” “What is the cadence I hear so clearly?” In part, it’s the possibility of change.

During a storm on the sea, the ocean’s depths churn and release what has been buried deep. The wind does it’s “magic” : releasing, freeing, churning the depths. This changes what will eventually be gifted to the shore by the tide. It’s a collaboration of sorts; sea and storm’s excavation plan. After a storm in life, I find myself holding the most unexpected gems.

As I look up from writing, I see the breeze blow through the curtains and onto me, like the breath of God in all His Glory letting me feel just a tip of His intangible magnificence.  Do I think God wants to interact with me? Today, I think the answer is yes.

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Social Media Thoughts Regarding “Sharing it All”

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In this social media world, do you struggle with what to put “out there”? I do.

In a way, we are “connecting” with MORE people but not as deep. right? I don’t think the foundation of these relationships are different.  In face to face relationships there are several categories or levels of friendship/connection. There are who know us deeply, hear our day to day struggle and then those that just know who we are casually and say “hello” in passing. And levels in between. But the level of connection comes with 2 things.

time

and

communication

Relationships are investments. They always have been.  There is a mutual choice involved.

The struggle of “being real” has been written about. People slamming on FB because you only see the “good”. Well, I have a different point of view on this.  I’ll give you an example. David and I were gifted with the chance to go on a cruise. This came just after he found out his job is phasing out.  We’re back from the cruise. He finished his last few days of work and is now in transition. So, I put up our cruise pictures because most people in our lives will celebrate that we were able to do something so fun. But I haven’t put out there the financial struggle and emotional hardship of what “job hunting” at 47 is like. Here’s why.

I acknowledge, It’s so much fun to celebrate with people; to cheer people on; to say “happy birthday”; to enter into the sunny day.  We can do this from a distance. Easily. So it makes sense on social media, we can throw our fun stuff out there. I love that we have the opportunity for positive interaction. But… It takes much more discipline to journey through pain with someone. When in pain, we need. There is an underlying ask. There is a level of social courtesy when you are asking for something. I think that’s why on social media, it’s difficult to share the “hard things”.  It’s not that you’re being dishonest. You’re being thoughtful.

If we throw everything out there indiscriminately, we’re asking something from casual friendships that can only come from the people who are connected deeply with us in life; who know our goals; who listen; who know our vulnerable places and fortify us with truth. This takes depth. This isn’t for the “hello” passerby’s.

This is why I don’t think it’s wrong to monitor our level of openness on social media. When we’re in a vulnerable place, it takes trust before we can open up our heart. In stating our pain to the masses, we give the option for those who do not know us, who may not have insight, to speak into our hearts.  And while it sounds like I’m a proponent of being closed-off, the opposite is true. I think we should intentionally be open-minded.  I’m placing the value on the WHO, not the WHAT. We need each other. Singular. One on one.

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Best April Fools Ever

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In the spring of 1993, I was a busy Momma of an 17 month old and very pregnant. The night of March 31st, I woke in the night and rubbed my belly saying “baby girl, are you serious?” “April Fools, really?” I thought ‘well, she’s going to have some kind of spunk’! I knew it was time to go into the hospital and April Fools Day would never be a joke to me, but instead a celebration of the entrance of my beautiful girl, Bethany Joy.  Not only does she have spunk, she has a huge passion for people and heart for pursuing life. She’s a game-changer. Even the pavement sparks when she walks on it. From the beginning, a spirited personality has been bursting from her. She’s a giver and lover, a mover and a shaker. 😉 I’m so thankful that I get to be her momma.  🙂 Happy birthday my darling!