Posts Tagged With: faith

Paul knew what was up


1 Corinthians 16:14
The general consensus is Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians between 54-58 in the common era. This verse is from the conclusion of the letter.
I feel like Paul knew what was up when it comes to this particular verse. He’s ending his letter with, well, some good advice really.

Be alert. Stand firm in the faith. Be strong. And do everything in love.

Almost as though he’s presenting ideas for possible rules to live by.

Do everything in love.

Love is my intention.
I live my life by love.
I mean even when I’m crabby and kind of evil…I actually live each day of my life by do(ing) everything in love. (Is it weird that I wonder if Paul would dig it?)

Lately I’ve wondered if I’m not being mindful about doing things in love for myself. That is, living in love for me, treating myself with the same love I share with others.
Only, after considering this for a while, I’ve come to understand that by doing everything in love, I am treating myself with the same love, grace, and gratitude I do for everyone else.
I think I just haven’t been paying enough attention. And while that’s OK on occasion, I must remember to be present and recognize living my intention begins with me.
Love is in the simple every day things.
It’s with the children at school. With my family. With my friends. It’s even in the way I drive my buggy around the grocery store.
Love actually is all around me.
Every day. In every thing I do. And that love gives me hope. As far as I can tell, hope and love go hand in hand.
(Seriously, though, Paul wrote about that in the same damn letter, right!?)

I’m grateful for Paul’s advice. I truly take it to heart. I live my life by it.
I do everything in love.
Y’all, isn’t that the most beautifully hopeful way to be?

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Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

love and light at the Cathedral

The day after Christmas we went downtown to the creche exhibit at the National Cathedral.
For the first time in many years, the sun was out on that cold, cold day. (sorta kinda)

We walked the long way around the Cathedral College on our way up the hill to the Cathedral.
Thing 2 especially loves this building, the tower with the ivy vines. I think it has something to do with her love of the Disney movie Tangled…though she might not agree. It was important to her to bring boyfriend J to this place.

I loved this glimpse of colored glass! It wasn’t until I viewed the window through my lens that I realized there was a pane missing.

The Cathedral is my absolute favorite building the the whole of DC. I mean to the point that I began to breathe differently when we drove up Wisconsin Ave and I could see it. The building is truly awe inspiring, but more than that, it’s just a lovely, peaceful place. God’s house for everyone.
I was pleased to see the Advent wreath in the Bethlehem Chapel!

Though they were beginning to look a little worse for wear, the Christmas trees were dressed with a garland of hydrangeas. A few jingle bells and, boom! You’ve got yourself a gorgeous tree.

The sun was shining brightly as we made our way through the chapel and the stained glass positively sparked!

The “Space Window”.
Inside that little white circle is a piece of moon rock given to the Cathedral in 1974.

This view stopped me in my tracks. I honestly cannot describe the beauty my eyes saw, and this photo is a sad representation.
But not so sad that I wasn’t asked by a local online culture and lifestyle magazine if they could feature it in a current coolest pics article.
Go me!

This little beauty was waiting in the observation tower.

Here’s a view of the Bishop’s Garden from the observation tower.

Down on the crypt level is the chapel of St Joseph of Arimathea. This is my absolute favorite space in the entire building. I always stop for a moment (or longer) in this chapel to talk with God.

The teeny chapel where we normally light our candles in prayer.

Much to our dismay this little chapel was otherwise occupied. Who dropped off an organ in there? It actually brought Thing 2 to tears.

So we went back up the the Bethlehem chapel to light a candle in prayer. I finished my conversation with God before Thing 2 finished hers and I shot this pic without her knowledge. Seeing her like this moved me so.

I saw many lovely nativities at the creche exhibit, including one from Norway in which both Mary and the baby had red hair! Like, what’s that!?!
But this one is my favorite from this year.
From the collection of Mr and Mrs Harold R Amos, Jr, painted on wood by Miami folk artist, Flor Larios.

We left our coats, hats, and gloves in the car to avoid having to carry them around the Cathedral. Not the smartest choice when we decided to visit the Bishop’s Garden. Though the beauty of the dappled sunlight nearly made the freezing air bearable.

My Cathedral experience (as always) ended with the Cathedral Library.

I love this building. I long to get in there and oodgey-goodgey, only it’s never open when I’m there.

This Christmas is over and I find myself feeling that natural sadness. But in a positive ‘comfort and joy’ way. That beautiful sense of anticipation during Advent and the childlike joy of Christmas morning has moved through me and now I find myself ready to say a hearty “Bye Felica” to 2017 and see what kind of shenanigans 2018 will bring.
YBW and I are already talking about going on a mini-break for Christmas next year. Neither of us are sure how we feel about that…leaving home for Christmas, but we’re considering the idea, and it feels kind of fun.
I think I’m in a place within myself, he’s in a place in him, and we’re in a place together that we’re ready to make some changes to better suit the ideas we have for each other as we move through our life. And that’s very exciting! Perhaps ‘just we two’ will be even more fun that we can imagine!
Blessings of love and light continue to wash over me.

Categories: me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

note to self

emma-blecker

Words to keep me safe and sane in this dull gray time.
I laughed yesterday for the first time in (I honestly don’t know how many) days. And I mean really laughed. A great big cackle from deep in my belly. I was on the phone with my sister in law and nephew and niece.
I learned an important lesson today: Sometimes the phone rings when you need it to. Answer it.

I shall remember to breathe.
This is me breathing…
I shan’t drown in my own storm.
I have faith. I trust.
Like Peter Pan, I believe firmly that all the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.
How about a little sprinkle my way?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

the Journey is not a Destination

I’ve been thinking a great deal about The Journey this morning. Which is peculiar as I’m a complete and total Destination Girl and care very little for The Journey. I want to get where I’m going in the quickest time possible. This means no dilly-dallying along the way. I stop quickly for fuel and potty breaks and get right back on the road.
Why is getting there so important? Why isn’t The Journey what’s important?
I don’t know why this is exactly.

I think The Journey feels like wandering to me. It doesn’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. But this morning, I was struck with a thought that had never occurred to me before.
You must have faith to make The Journey.
You have to trust in your own faith without trying to control it. You cant control it. You have to let go and take a leap of faith. You have to believe you’re doing the hard work to get where you belong. Not to get where you’d like to go. You can’t steer the direction at all times, sometimes you have to drift.
That’s hard to do. That’s why it feels as though The Journey is not a Destination.

The Journey is hard because each of us has personal goals, places we’d like to go or be.
I think that’s the hardest thing to remain mindful about. That while we have our own desires, the path is laid out for us and we must go where it leads us. Sometimes it leads us in the direction opposite of our personal goals. We’re so arrogant that it never occurs to us that we may need to wander a bit more before we are ready for whatever that goal is.

The Israelites wandered for 40 years because they lost their faith. God cursed them to wander because of their disobedience and lack of belief. Their wandering forced them to learn from The Journey.

Tolkien wrote:

All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither
Deep roots are not reached by the frost
From the ashes a fire shall be woken
A light from the shadows shall spring
Renewed shall be the blade that was broken
The crownless again shall be king

Perhaps this Destination Girl is mistook?
Perhaps The Journey is not simply wandering aimlessly.
Perhaps the importance is not in the Destination. Perhaps there is more importance in The Journey.
The Destination may change.
The Journey is constant. It may have detours. It may be slow. But, The Journey is what shapes who we are.
Destination Girl stops and takes a big breath.
I encourage everyone to stop and take a big breath. What we’re meant to know is out there on the path. We learn along The Journey if we have faith and trust.
Peter Pan said, “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
I firmly believe ‘the boy who never grew up’ knew a thing or two about The Journey.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

doubt is being a jerk to me

faith
I came across this last night and it stuck a chord deep within me. I had to sit with it for a while before I could really process why. I dreamt about this in my sleep.

I know who Elisabeth Elliot is. I’m aware this references faith in God.
God and I had a falling out many, many years ago, and I turned my back to God. Doubt came. It was the first time in my life I doubted God, and I doubted my ass off! But God never left me. Over time, I was able to find my way back to God. Our relationship is different now than it was before, but it’s better. I have a new kind of faith. Not the faith I was taught, but the faith I earned. God and I are square.

That said, I’m realizing what rang true in me last night does’t have anything to do with God.

I’ve been struggling with who I am in this life. In this world. I’ve become distant and distracted. I’m questioning everything. Every choice I’ve made. Did I place my faith in something that isn’t what I thought it was?
I’m Gob Bluth saying, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
And it has been eating me alive from the inside out.

I’ve pushed everything to the back burner to spend my time obsessing over this doubt. I’m actively digging up in doubt what I planted in faith. I’ve done almost nothing remotely healthy for a month. I haven’t slept well. I haven’t eaten properly. I don’t work. I just obsess. I have spent an entire month obsessing over doubt.

When Thing 2 was a small girl, and something didn’t work the way she expected it to, she would lose her patience. She’s quick to lose her patience, lose her temper. She’s a bit like her momma that way. She had a little phrase she would use. Here’s one example. If she couldn’t open the front door, she would grunt, stomp her foot and say, “The doorknob is being a jerk to me!”
She’s nineteen and still grunts and stomps her foot when she’s angry or frustrated.
I’m forty five and I grunt and stomp my foot when I’m angry or frustrated.
You know what they say about the apple and the tree…
We are what we are.

I share this story because I want to say, “Doubt is being a jerk to me!”
Doubt really kind of is being a jerk to me.
Actually, I think doubt is being a jerk to faith. But faith isn’t sticking up for itself. That means I have to stick up for faith. Which is much harder than it sounds. It’s hard to want to stick up for something that you think duped you.
But you see, that’s what faith actually is. Believing when there’s no ‘real’ reason to believe. I forgot that. I let doubt come to the party. Um…I let doubt throw the party. I’m kind of over this party.
My mom used to say, “This party’s getting rough. I’m going to get my undies and go home.” She was a curious woman, but she made a fair point. So, I guess me and my undies are leaving doubt’s party. (I feel the need to state for the record that I made the choice to use bad grammar.)

I don’t know how to reconcile what’s going on inside me. But I know that it’s time to send doubt packing. I’m going to pull a Jenna Marbles on doubt and tell it to “Pipe the f**k down!”
Once I get rid of doubt then I can pay attention to faith. Which might actually be trickier than kicking doubt to the curb.
I don’t really want to pay attention to faith. Faith hurt my feelings. Faith frightened me. Faith rocked me to my core. Hmm. Seems as though faith is being a jerk to me too.
Faith and I going to have to get it together. I’m not quite sure how we’re going to do that. What I do know is that I can’t dig up in doubt what I planted in faith.
That means I have to keep believing.
I must have faith no matter how difficult it is to believe. I mustn’t listen to doubt no matter how lovely it sounds.

Perhaps I’ve gone about this all wrong? Putting my faith in other things…
Perhaps I must have faith in myself. Trust that I made all the right decisions that led me to where I am in this life, this world. Believe that faith is stronger than doubt. Believe that I was built on a sturdy enough foundation that I can reconcile faith and doubt without getting lost in the weeds. (Mixed metaphors much?)
It’s easy to say that. It’s even easy to know that. It’s in the doing that it becomes tricky. But I know from tricky. I’m a mom. I’m an Auntie. I’m an early childhood educator. Tricky is in my wheelhouse.

To faith I say, “Bring it!”
To doubt I say, “Pipe the f**k down.”
To God I say, “Thanks for having my back.”
To me I say, “Get it together.”

I know I can balance doubt and faith. I simply have to try. You know what Yoda said about trying…but I haven’t even been trying. I’ve been obsessing. I’ve been swimming in doubt so long my fingers are all pruney. Time to get out and dry off.
Gotta shake it up. Get out of my head.
I’m going to remember to believe. Remember that faith falters, but that’s just doubt trying to throw a party. Faith is still there, just like God was.
Perhaps I need to do it the same way…find my way back to faith and make a better, stronger kind of faith. Not blind faith, not faith on the word of others. But a new kind of faith. One that I earned.
Hey, if it worked for God and me, making it work for my life should be a cake walk, right?
Stay tuned…

If you don’t know Arrested Development…well that makes me sad for you. It’s on Netflix. Check it out.
Will Arnett as Gob Buth:
gob

Thing 2 and her friend Jordan introduced me to Jenna Marbles. She uses foul language profusely, but I adore this concept of ‘people that need to pipe the f**k down’.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.

This tiny verse from Song of Solomon makes my heart so happy. A emailed me about the wedding bulletin asking from which version of the Bible I pulled this Old Testament reading because she wasn’t sure about it. My Bible is a New King James version, a gift from my mother.

YBW’s nephew is doing this particular reading. Song of Solomon 2:10-14,16 and 8:6-7. I “cherry picked” what I liked most. (It’s my Bible AND my wedding so I can read what I want to.) As much as I love what’s going on in this bit of scripture, it’s 2:16 that sells it. In my Bible is actually reads: My beloved is mine and I am his. But I like it the other way better.

What’s so wonderful about it is that it isn’t just YBW and me as beloveds. It’s about being beloved of God.
A personal relationship with God is intimate and fulfilling and has so much love.
It makes sense to me that the words of love in Song of Songs use the love between two people as the example from which to learn. That our ideal relationship with God can be likened to and understood as the ideal relationship between two people.

So many people use God as vengeance. Not that there aren’t a bazillion examples to site…but to me, God is love. And if I love God and God loves me then I can use that concept of love to make my love for YBW even more fulfilling.
YBW is my beloved.
Why?
Because I know how to love him and be loved by him.
How?
Because I have faith. Because I trust.
I wouldn’t know how to do that if the love of God wasn’t in me.

I’m extremely private about my relationship with God. I don’t talk about it much. It’s complicated and we’ve had our ups and downs. And for a little while I turned my back on it.
But what I do know is that there is love in me.

Categories: love, wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

a bit of pants peeing weirdness

Well, I did it!
I ordered my wedding dress today!
I’m torn between “pants peeing excited” and a bit of weirdness I can’t seem to shake.

The excitement makes sense. It’s the last big purchase I needed to make just for me. I’ve made initial payments to both the venue and photographer and split the first payment to the caterer with YBW. But those were for “the wedding”…well the photographer was mostly for me, but I know he’s going to thank me in the long run.
I’ve ordered dresses for the girls, and as you know, our shoes are already here. So apart from something to wear in my hair, which I think I’ve finally decided upon, my dress is the last “just for me” thing to buy.

The weird feeling is…I don’t know…just weird I guess. I clicked that button and felt like it’s done now. Ordered that dress and it’s a done deal.
Not in a bad way.
I guess it just feels weird.
I’m not sure how to explain it…I think it’s just that I didn’t try it on, I’m going on photos and reviews and emailed conversations. I’m taking a shopping leap of faith with one of the most important articles of clothing I’ll ever wear.
But the reviews are all positive. The emailed conversations have been quite successful. The moment I saw this dress I knew it was the one. I’d been looking for the longest time for exactly this dress. Etsy is truly an amazing place.

So I trust. (Not my strongest skill.)
I accept the weird. (This one I’m pretty good at.)
I (metaphorically) pee my pants in excitement.
I wait (impatiently) for my ivory lace fabulousness to arrive.

dress

Categories: me, wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

standing in the rain, and waiting for the stream to settle

Today would have been my dad’s sixty-ninth birthday and I stood in the rain scattering his ashes in a place he loved to be.
I did this because his oldest and dearest friend came from Colorado to perform this act and he is the one who chose the date. He felt it was a good way to honor my dad, the anniversary of his birth. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
I did it because it was what my dad wanted, and he wanted his friend involved. I’d known this for years so I had plenty of time to prepare for it. They were cops together, I’ve know him since I was a teeny little thing, but you know how that goes, he’s close with my dad and I grow up and move on.
My heart wasn’t in it really, I was just going through the motions. But I’m OK with that because it wasn’t about me it was about my dad’s friend…and my dad. I am a good daughter.
I’m tired now it’s all over. It was cold and rainy which wasn’t physically comfy and it was emotionally exhausting. I want to get in the bathtub with my ipad for a bit of soaking and Netflix.

On the Thing 2 front, I finally had a good long conversation with my friend and mentor last night. She asked what my heart was telling me to do. I told her my gut said, make her come back, my heart is tired of fighting and my head pretty much wants the other two to get it together. She laughed. She reminded me I’m a “gut truster”. I agreed.
We talked a bit more and she told me I had been tromping back and forth in the stream and it was muddy and unclear, that perhaps I should sit by the stream and let the sediment fall to the bottom and wait for the water to clear. (Oh how I love this analogy!)
We talked a bit longer and she just wondered aloud where I was. I took a deep breath and said: I’m going to let it go and leave her where she is.
I feel good about that decision because instead of focusing on her, I decided to focus on me. I’m going crazy trying to decide what to do what’s best for her life and completely ignoring what’s best for my own.

This morning I had the most freeing thought.
I’m so worried about Thing 2’s future but I didn’t take into consideration that teenagers live in the now. So if she’s sad, lonely and uncomfortable here in this home, how successful can her future be?
I know her dad won’t hold her accountable, but perhaps she really can live happily in the now and STILL have a relatively successful future.
And that might be as positive as I’ll ever feel about it.
I lived in that horrible situation for years, trapped, scared and feeling unsafe. It hurt me physically and emotionally. If she FEELS safe, etc. then isn’t that actually “what’s best” for her?
I believe she stands a better chance here but I’m only going to focus on me and my future.
She’ll sort it out eventually. I believe I’ve done a good enough job raising her to have that faith.

And that’s how this portion of the story ends.
She will be responsible for ‘cleaning up her own mess’ and building her future and I’ll focus on my own future and just love her.

Categories: death, loss, love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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