Wake up in the morning and open your eyes wide. See the beauty in the world, smile and give thanks. See the ugly in the world, weep; then refuse to let it win. Do this and a life will be lived.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

so the earth revolves around the sun

I stop, look at the calendar and shake my head in disbelief. Like a typical grown-up, I pause to ask myself "Where did the time go?" Once again, the earth and the sun successfully conspired, meaning another year takes its place in the halls of my past.
I look back on the year and I smile, not because the last 365 days went off without a hitch, more so because I fell from grace so many times I have to laugh.
I could daydream about getting everything right next year but who am I kidding? I am human. My plans won't all work out exactly as I want. There's a good chance I'll walk right when the earth shifts left. But I learned something in the last year. Detours sometimes lead to miracles.
Still, looking forward, the idea of New Year's resolutions inevitably comes to mind. I know better than to make a list and try to check things off. So, I turn to God in prayer.
I ask to move forward in my career, that I might use the gift of words to tell meaningful and powerful stories. I pray for my marriage, that my husband and I continue to grow deeper in love everyday. I pray we can start a family and welcome a baby into our world, a child that will grow to learn the beauty and mystery of this imperfect life. I pray I don't mess up to much.
I have typical resolutions too, things I don't bother God about. I want to go jogging, then work up to running and eventually become one of those people who wakes up early to exercise. I also want to learn to cook the countless recipes I have pulled out of magazines. And I want to look put together, less like a messy hodgepodge who mixes fashion dos and donts.
Still, there's a reason I don't pray for running shoes and an apron. I might not follow through. I don't want God investing to much on my self-improvement schemes.
After all, I hate to run. Those recipes started piling up five years ago. And I really don't care if my shoes match my purse.
Then again, each year winds up being full of surprises. So maybe I'll finish a marathon, or bake a pear tart. Whatever the year brings, one things is certain, the time will go by fast and I'll wonder where it went.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blink, I'm Thirty

I turned thirty this week. Funny, I still remember picking dandelions in my grandma’s front yard, quietly daydreaming about life as a grown up. I spent my childhood imagining the future and then suddenly, it was the day after tomorrow.
I can’t say I’m where I thought I’d be but if life were exactly as I’d imagined it, I’d probably be bored. My choices and the love of an amazing God have led me to where I am today.
I am a writer. I am married to and deeply in love a man who is my rock, who makes me laugh and who gives me butterflies. I still pick up a paint brush from time to time. I pray everyday. I have good friends. I have good days. I have bad days. When I’m sad, I like to look at the clouds or spend time with my dogs. I still daydream, but it’s different now, because I can’t get lost in a wish like I used to. There is simply too much life to live.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Because Love Is

Because love is something you will find, try your hardest not to loose it. Don’t let fear keep you from giving all of yourself to another. Love is all we really have here on earth. Love is the dance between moments, the glue that holds the pieces together. Love is our connection to the Father. Love is what Christ did for us on the cross. Love is how the Holy Spirit moves in us. Love is what wakes us when our hearts are sleeping. Love is accepting a whole person, their beauty and their flaws, then being there when the earth shakes and threatens to tear it all apart. As human beings, we are all fragile like porcelain. It is love that keeps us from shattering. It is love that saves us from ourselves. It is love that brings us home when we are lost. Because love is what separates us from the darkness, never underestimate its power. Love with all your heart. Love your God. Love your spouse. Love others. Love yourself. How you love will define your life.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life is a Love Affair

All of life is a love affair.
As children, we are captivated by life’s enduring mystery. We look closely at every little thing and ask questions at every turn. We aren’t afraid of the answers. We aren't afraid to believe in God or step out on faith. We are infatuated with life. When something bad happens, we blame ourselves. Life can do no wrong.
As we grow, life romances us with first kisses, beauty, love and laughter. Life excites us with new thoughts and ideas. We are curious, sometimes to a fault. Then the day comes when life breaks our heart.
When this happens, we act like children. We stomp our feet in protest. We fling ourselves into despair, shake our fists at the sky and wait for life to apologize. When it doesn't, we vow to conquer life, to master destiny.
The more we learn, the more we believe there is nothing left to learn. We begin to think we're smart. We convince ourselves we don't need God. We become self involved.
Then something happens, maybe we fall in love or have a child. Maybe we experience more pain or loss. We fall to our knees and ask God to help us, to forgive us, to welcome us home.
This is when we fall in love with life all over again.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Punching fists in the air

Why do we let so many things divide us? Why do we hate when we can love? I tire of the arguments. I tire of people shouting, “I am right. You are wrong,” their voices sounding out in fear. We are all just people, men and women with opinions and ideas. It is not our place to judge, to force our beliefs on others, to dance around wildly with pride as though we are masters of truth. We are not God. We are human beings, and what separates humanity from the animal masses is the capacity for compassion and for reasoning, the ability to have faith in what is beyond the flesh yet be humbled by our limitations.
No one wins a battle fueled by rage. We cannot win a fight against imaginary adversaries. How does a person defeat what foolish fear creates? It is only when we wipe the mud from our eyes that we can see.
I believe we are safe in God’s love. We are all the same, all children engaged in the mystery of life. We do not need to control one another. We need to embrace one another. We do not need to kick and scream. We only need to whisper.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Power of Words

I consistently make mistakes. I am human. It happens. That doesn’t mean I stop trying, that I stop growing, that I give in and become less than who God intended me to be.
My greatest fault is choosing my words unwisely, letting frustration creep out and confusion set in. Sometimes I speak to quickly, without thinking. Sometimes I ramble on without purpose. It is important to think before you speak, to put aside the emotions clouding your mind and remember the power of the human voice. When we speak it affects others. Our words help shape our world. Imagine if we stopped criticizing for the sake of criticizing, if we stopped gossiping, if we stopped using words to boast, to hurt, to fill the void in the air.
I want to use my words to compliment, to promote change, to share the love of God, to create laughter, to make others smile, to educate, to comfort and to embrace. It won’t be easy, to let go of the foolishness that trips up my tongue. I will fall short at times, I know. That doesn’t mean I stop trying.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Walk Into Life

Follow a river to a road, or a road to a river. Fall asleep where the sky meets the earth. Find the light under a tree. Dream, so that the world continues to change. Laugh, so that when it changes, you do not stumble. Cry, because you will, even if you try not to. Forgive, because you too have fallen short. Believe, because faith gives birth to tomorrow. Defend the strong, for they are those perceived as weak. Speak, but watch your tongue, it can brighten or darken your world. Smile, because it will make the moment better. Watch, because you will see. Listen, because you were meant to learn. Teach, because there is something only you know. Pray, because there is something you do not know. Celebrate, because blessings come to open hearts. Love, because you are loved. Share, because nothing is solely yours. Follow a river to a road, or a road to a river. Look up, see the sky, remember you are both great and small, genius and fool, beauty and imperfection. Close your eyes, say thank you. Open your eyes, put one foot in front of the other and move forward into life.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Complexities of Love

Sometimes the fireflies come out at night and we catch a glimpse of who we used to be. We remember a time before love changed us, when magic could be captured in a jar and we were responsible only for ourselves. Nostalgic, we run around in the dark, childishly chasing a mystery. We laugh and stumble until tiny wings flutter between our aging palms. Then we peek inside our hands and strangely, we see ourselves there, struggling to be free. Instantly remorseful, we release our captive into the night sky. We turn back to our richly layered lives, never to unlearn the complexities of loving and being loved in return.

Love, in all its forms, is life's greatest gift. Romantic love is more than the chemistry and excitement generated between two people. When we truly love another and enter into marriage, our spouse's imperfections and struggles become our own. We vow to become one and put their needs before our fleeting desires. As God loves us, we learn to love our spouse. This is a challenge, it takes work and sacrifice, but it is the most beautiful thing in the world, not to be taken for granted.

Friday, January 1, 2010

"Women hold up half the sky."
Mao Tse Tung

If you are a woman, I recommend you read “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn. The book will change the way you look at your life. Pulitzer Prize winners Kristof and Wudunn expose human rights violations against women throughout the developing world. The stories are harsh but true.
Women and girls are kidnapped; then thrown violently into the sex trade where they are beaten and drugged into submission.
Women die unecessarily in childbirth or suffer life altering injuries due to insufficient medical care.
Women are beaten to death or set on fire for disobeying the men or matriachs in their lives.
Women are gang raped in the streets and then shunned by their families for being unclean, often leading them to commit suicide.
These are just some of the injustices girls as young as three endure. Worse yet, such acts aren’t even considered criminal. Forced prostitution, rape, domestic violence and honor killings are seen as part of the culture.
After reading "Half the Sky," I will never again look at my life the same way. American women, do not take your freedoms for granted. Women around the world need our help.
Please read the book. If some of the stories are to difficult to take, read what you can. The authors urge readers to get involved and help in some small way. Education is the pathway to change.

Go to www.halftheskymovement.org