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Black and White

Have you ever looked at a picture in color and then looked at it in black and white? It’s startling. It’s almost as if you’re looking at a different place and time. There are contrasts in the black and white that I miss while looking at the beautiful color.

And so it is with me in my “black and white” days. These days are punctuated with great truths; exaggerated even. But they hold such a weight. Deep down, if I’m prodded and poked, I must admit, I find great value here. It’s like the “aha” moment my soul longs for, but can’t quite grasp in color.

If I’m commentating on these days, I might use words like “blah” and “bland”, “raw” and “colorless”, “overcast” and “bleak” . But then I take a look at the photo. My breath catches at the clarity that the harshness highlights. Even the grayness soothes like a cool drink to a parched soul. Comfort and proaction is here in the bright and dark.

Social injustices become startlingly clear in black and white. Someone (in full color) asks me, “What do you think about refugees?” Hmmm, so many colors and opinions  are zigzagging in and out of so many worlds and then wrapped in this colorful question.

What do I think? What do I think? I take a minute to shift from color and examine the black and white photo…and I know.

The person in front of me is the one that matters. Refugee or not, I know exactly what to do; how to love; when to take action. There are NO polarizing mantras that will sway my focus from that face; those eyes; this heart. This is what the sad gray can do.

To be honest, I wish I didn’t need it now and again to remind me of something I knew but have forgotten. But…

It reminds me that light is strong and steady.  It has power. I have power. WE have power.  Our light (and love) pierces and highlights and has a place in this world. It can be trusted. It silhouettes and focuses like none other.

It reminds me that my mundane feelings of gray (inadequate as they feel) are the backdrop to most of my life. It’s as if the sooner I appreciate gray, the more it freely gives to me. I suddenly see the grandeur in the slightest of these “shades”.

Yes, pain is evident here in the black and white, but so is the honest and brutal truth. What a gift.







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Is it possible? Can everyone have a happy father’s day?


The word touches deeply. For some it will bring a smile, and for others, it will bring deep sadness. I realize the gift of being among the smilers. But regardless of our experiences, and the vast differences represented, I am sure that we would agree that fathers impact. Whether it is for that which we long for, or for that which we have known and experienced, there is a depth in this word, this person, this possibility. To know what you would have wanted is a gift. I say this with reverence for the pain. I know it’s not easily accepted. It’s difficult and arduous to need a father and not have one. I believe a happy father’s day is available for us all.

You see, my father represents both groups. He represents joy in what he is to me; how he lives and gives; what tenacity, godliness and creativity he exudes, I feel the beauty & weight of that gift. And yet, he also represents the other group, He is among the sad for what he did not have himself. I feel selfish to even allude to this, but in some ways, I know that the longing for HIS father gave him a clear picture of what he could be for ME and my sisters. Pain does that. It gives a choice. And though he did not choose this sacrifice, I am the benefactor. I seem to be standing at an altar overladen with undeserved goodness. If I could share with him in reverse, I would.

Fathers impact. We can all celebrate that on this day. In one direction or the other, we’ve been given a gift.


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Remembering firsts



Firsts are amazing, aren’t they? I experienced the first snow of this season yesterday. I admit I’m easily amazed, but the newness of the white covering the ground seems like a clean slate full of possibility and redemption. What firsts do you remember? Do you remember that first taste of coffee? Or seeing your first snowfall? Or maybe your first family vacation? What about that first interaction with your love? The leap in our heart stays with us and is stamped and coded for easy recall, giving us courage for the future new experiences to come, while keeping us lightly tethered to something meaningful in our past.

But undoubtedly, this gift of remembering can be misused. It could become an escape, a coping mechanism, a retreat from the present, instead of emboldening us with gritty determination. I don’t think remembering is meant to be an escape to past”safety”, nor is it meant to carry us away in the unknown allurement of the future. So how is this gift used?

Presence is a tricky thing, don’t you think? It’s always moving. It is the power of time and love combined. Just typing these words mean they have in this space of time become the past. It’s a weird concept. But in the present we carry the sum of our physical, spiritual, emotional and mental experiences of what has been up to this point. This makes us comfortable and cozy amidst our good memories. They are strong, fierce, warm and nostalgic. We don’t have to work for them to come back into our thoughts. But maybe the reminiscing is not the focus. Maybe it is meant to be like a background color on a portrait painting. It’s chosen to enhance the subject of “the present” to be even more inviting, more alluring, more understood, more. It gives context. It’s a code for understanding so that as we move into time, we understand it is to be prized, precious and gratitude-filled.

Memory is a powerful force. It can be the elixir of courage we need in the present moment. It can be the faint aroma that ignites part of us that we’ve forgotten, but need to know still exists.


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Receiving Days


IMG_9918The drizzling rain is so comforting.

Some days are more like “receiving days”, don’t you think? We didn’t have to think about how to get the water from there to here and what the ocean currents and winds needed to do, or how the clouds would carry it. It just arrived like an unexpected, needed gift. And tomorrow when the sun appears, we will think the same.

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The Genius 

You are a genius. Have you accepted that yet? You possess something extraordinary. Yes, you do! 

#1 Accept that you ARE a genius. How genius is that? Step one, accept you are a genius. 😜

Im so glad you’ve accepted that, BUT it’s not enough for know this factually. It must be acknowledged. This is the collaboration and energy of YOU in union with your design(er). Time (God) never tires and never stops trying to get the right glasses on your face. And when you “see it”… Well, this clarity and acknowledgment leads us to #2. 

#2. Label it. Name it. Say it. Seriously speak out loud,  “I am a genius because ___________”. (Take time to answer this question) 

This ownership/stewardship/honesty/responsibility will immediately guide you and lead you in where to focus, how to dream, what to give this world.  I’m so excited for you. 

And side benefit: The judgment, accusation, second-guessing and scrutiny that previously plagued your inner soul,** (poof) ** GONE. How astonishing that when you are free of the life-stealing voices, you find your own voice is alive and well, ready to speak and give. 

Hey genius,

(yeah I’m talking to YOU!)

You know that crazy, audacious idea, thought or goal that asks for your attention in the dark and quiet,  well, I think you should listen. 

That’s #3. GO. Do it. 

#beautynearme is the genius in you. 

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All from the same dirt


Siblings are the people who know you first. They are the ones who give context to your life and open you up to self-awareness. Whether you are the oldest, in the middle or last, you find your little niche in relationship to your sibling(s), their thoughts, ideas and actions.

They are your first connections and reveal your first insecurities. Whether you look alike or not, you carry the same connection and love for parents and underneath you know your roots expand and grow, all from the same dirt. In these roots,  security and diversity are intertwined. You are so unique, yet come from something familiar.

When the weather is just right, or the summer breeze blows long, you may have a deja vu and smile as you recall a brief moment with them. Childhood flashes. Days were like years and now, well now, years are like days. When did the switch occur? Maybe it happened the day you started living your life apart from theirs. Maybe this “grown up and on your own” is what rolled in the new era. And we are all too familiar with the new rules, but old ones lay just under the surface, steady and quiet…we haven’t forgotten them. And truth be known, we love our mind to wander back to that time and place with them. They sparkle like stars in the darkness of life. It’s the place where unspoken words have meaning, smiles and laughs represent miles and miles of togetherness, where a fleeting look into the face of your sibling brings worlds of wonder and depth to all you know and feel.

Siblings are gifts that shape us, and hold us.