Thursday, January 28, 2016

Come Lord Jesus - Correcting My Posture

I just caught myself praying this over and over....

Come Lord Jesus come....

My posture is out of whack. With all of the lessons...the wilderness season this past few years...the joy that came in the morning on January 1st like never before...with all of that, it started slipping away last week....

...the day my anger rose up and got the best of me.

Did I quickly address and repent? Yes, but the damage was done.

Then this week...anger (repeat)...and then two days later...tears.

Holy. Sh*t.

Lord Jesus Please, Please Come.

*Tears*

I spent last night reading Psalms after Psalms. Sent out a mayday to my tribe asking for prayer. Took some Nyquil. Added an extra quilt to the bed. Crawled in, turned my phone off, and crashed.


So you woke up refreshed?

No. Hardly.

I woke up clenching my jaw (didn't sleep with my mouthpiece), and my jaw (nearly locked up) in pain. I knew instantly I had been clenching (and wrestling) all night. I grabbed a cup of coffee and in my Memoir app, I saw "In Over My Head" by Bethel Music and Jenn Johnson. I laughed out loud. Alone in my room. I went and found the song (Here is a LINK) and as it played, clarity and tears.

Dangit!

Jesus whispered...trust me, lean into me. Yes, I am taking you deeper still. Relax. I need you to need me Heather. If I keep you where you are...where you have mastered and feel comfortable...you will once again begin to rely on yourself and stuff me on a shelf. Haven't you and I come too far for that?

*Tears*

Yes, Lord. We have.

I am physically hiding my face in my sweater in between sentences. The shame and knowing washing over me as the tears blur my sight as I type from memory.

Thank you for humbling me Lord.

I can see my "I got it! I got it!" posture rearing itself up again so clearly now.

This isn't a long post, but it is a confession post.

The truth is that I think secretly I thought that a three year wilderness season of gargantuan proportions somehow meant that I would have a hot minute to breathe or the next season would be easier or that I wouldn't make the same mistakes twice or or or....

Wrong.

The growth continues...In. Me.

My life feels INCREDIBLY blessed and rich right now. My family is healthy and happy. The firm I co-founded a little over three years ago is seeing jaw-dropping growth. My life is smaller and yet richer - organized, clean, lean and mean; I can breathe in my own home. My tribe is growing and challenging itself, each other, and bringing others into the fold....speaking hard truth into each other, loving each other, and claiming healing over and over. God continues to put people in my life who he allows me to speak life into; he then sends more to speak life into me. God is opening doors to some amazing new travels and experiences this year.

This is a GREAT time to be alive....to be in my shoes.

All of this though is no longer from the safety of the shoreline...or even when the waves are splashing around my knees or hips.....while I have been doing a victory dance these past few weeks, God was taking me (unknowingly) deeper into the ocean...and sometime in the middle of the night while I "slept" (i.e., wrestled), thrashing about as I realized I was drowning and in over my head....God gently and then firmly placed a hand on my chest and shoved me under (Thanks Sis - God sent your story to me last night for a reason.).

I woke up gasping for air.

Let me confess here. My walk with God is a battle of wills. The enemy has wrestled for my heart for many many years in big and small ways. God sent in an army to rescue me. That army has fought for the past four years to restore me back from years of twisting in the wind, pushing and pulling between God and the enemy like a really, really bad game of tug of war....So now God is sitting here with me going break time is over. There are fresh battles ahead of us. Let's go. We won that one, but that is not the final one. I am weak. I balked last night. The battle last night was not with the enemy....it was with me and God....by the dunking I got, asking for a little more time to savor the peace was too much to ask (I just laughed a little at that.).

Walking with God is not for sissies. I know that, but I needed a reminder that my strength is never ever going to be sufficient for the battles I am thrown in daily whether those battles are orchestrated by heaven or hell. I need Jesus. Every. Moment. Every moment of every single day. Period.

This morning I gave God permission to dunk me whenever he saw me wrestling again. Just shove me down in the water.

I also found myself praying earnestly to him for some things I didn't know were in my heart or bothering me....I found myself releasing them to him. Begging him to take them as I (not laid) threw them at the foot of the cross. I don't want them. I trust you with them.

Life is hard. Growth sucks.

Half-time is over.

Hands unclenched. Palms up. Arms Outstretched.

All for you God. All. For. You.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Simple Pursuit - Church & Restoration


I have a complicated history with church in both forms - denomination and people. I also have a checkered path with community. I have been hurt deeply. There are scars. There are scars that date back to before my age was in double digits. I do have a serious case of the "want to" though and so I have tried again and again over my life to find a church "home" that gives me the joy and purpose that I see in others' lives.

The past three years I have purposefully NOT sought a church home. I have immersed myself in Livestream, Podcasts, and You Tube videos of church services from all over the nation (and even the world). I have dived into Bible studies, lessons, books, and at the heart of all that - the Bible itself (go figure). I know. I know. Brilliant. *LOL* I also visited a lot of churches (and still do). The truth is that my favorite church experience over this past three years occurred in Haiti, but I digress...

Towards the end of 2015, I felt God changing my heart towards church and knew that 2016 would be the year I would find a new church home, maybe two. It was time...

Oh if it was that easy.

The truth is that whether you grew up in the church (both hands raised) or have never darkened the door of one, odds are you have been wounded by the church.

...everybody writes about that...or as someone who has been quick to read articles with that topic, it feels like that sometimes....*Deep Sigh*

So lets talk about restoration.

In. The. Church.

I tasted restoration in some of my oldest church wounds today, and it took my breath a bit....felt a little like someone stepping on my toes...turned into a few tears and smiles.....left me feeling a little like I had completed a 10K...in Haiti.

Huh?!?!?!?

When you are in Haiti, you see the world through a different prism. God seems even more beautiful; the devil darker. The world feels smaller. Joy is so thick you imagine you can touch it. People are more real. Life is more raw. Walking a 10K in Haiti is to walk hand-in-hand with God through all of that, and you imagine that if you had a time machine and could be transported back to Jerusalem, it might have felt something like that...walking with Jesus.

I walked with Jesus today...we walked side-by-side through some painful memories....and the irony??? I stepped across the finish line with more energy than when I started...oh, that was Haiti...but the line still applies...

I attended a membership class for a church home today. Due to my unique life choices, I felt God giving me permission to choose two churches in 2016. Today I attended the membership class for the first one, and I did. not. die.

...I know. I was surprised too.

Here is the deal.

There is the church you were born into.

The church you grew up in.

The church you got lost in.

The church you got found in.

...and there will always be a church you got hurt in.

...BUT there will also ALWAYS be the church you got restored in.

You have to do the work though...on yourself, with God, with others. You have to fight the pain (cramps). You have to engage strangers along the way. You have to face truths about yourself that cause you pain. You have to nourish and replenish yourself with protein and water (communion). You have to keep going.

Restoration happens when we stop, drop, and unclench our fists. Restoration happens when we do the work. Restoration happens when we choose better over bitter. Restoration happens when we give up the pursuit of perfect...in ourselves...and in others.

Today the pastor said you are choosing this community...you are choosing us. I think he meant it one way, but all I could hear in my heart was that after a very long time, I was making an active choice to say yes to church. I was saying yes to church in all of its beauty and all of its messy. That is the difference between then and now; I understand now that the beauty is great, but the really good stuff is in the messy of church. That is real. That is doing life with others. That is community.

Church is just another chapter in the story of how God is restoring my heart to him.

When I was a little girl, I have heard that I would hide out in the church buses and put smiley faces in all of the windows. Supposedly that is how I got my nickname Sunshine.

For all of these years, I always thought the beauty of that story was the small country church or the love I thought those that told it had for me...

It was none of that.

The beauty of that story is a little girl so in love with Jesus that she was perfectly content all alone on old church buses making smiley faces, spreading the joy and love in her heart on every surface she could find....I focused on the wrong part of the story all of those years....

...so when three years ago a couple of little bullies, children, desecrated that memory by tampering with my vehicle in that same parking lot...and I thought I would never heal because it was the latest (and I was determined it would be the final) affront of my childhood from a long season of affronts....God said NO.

The touchstone came today when I realized that the beauty of my childhood was not the buildings, the parking lots, the doctrine, or even the people - it was God, in my heart, overflowing....and I suddenly couldn't fill out the membership paperwork fast enough....

We are built for community.

Community should come from the overflow of our deep and passionate love of Jesus.

Someone(s) hurt me. Someone(s) hurt you. They broke your heart.

God can restore you. God can restore your heart.

All of these years, I thought I was pursuing important things, when in fact I was running...as fast and far as I could...

Today I sat at a table hungry for more...more of God...more community...more messy, and I will get all of those things I am sure, but first God said, "Lets go for a walk....and talk...just you and me...(in the fields together)."

I am reading this book "Moving Mountains" by John Eldredge (you can pre-order HERE) that I was grateful to get an Advance Reader's Copy of a month or so ago. There is this great line in the first chapter about the dilemma of prayer. How we want to believe God will come through for us...then he doesn't seem to....and then we are LOST. John writes, "I believe God is in the dilemma; I believe he wants us to push through to real answers, solid answers."

You mean WORK???

*LOL*

Let me begin to tell on myself of my HUGE laziness when it comes to "doing the work"....but...BUT then I did....I decided to do the work.

The Christian walk looks UNBELIEVABLY a lot like a 10K through Haiti. Click the previous link to read about mine.) Funny how before tonight I didn't quite get that...and now all of those lessons are flooding back.

I am proud of the work God and I have done together this past three years. There is a part of me that is sad that I have exited the wilderness. There is safety and comfort there. Ask the Israelites who wandered 40 years. Sometimes the scary part becomes stepping out....into the promises...even when those promises are from God.

Restoration is literally the crossroads of something ending and beginning.

So here I stand.

In the simplest pursuit...of God.

That little girl was talking to someone on that church bus....on the pine floor...on the mountain....on the bed...on the back roads of Haiti.....in that seat at the table today....God...is right HERE.

He has always been...right...here.

God, not to sound like Sally Fields, but...You love me...You really, really love me....and you always have...and thank you. Thank. You.

Smiley faces for everyone. :)

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Breathe Again

Sometime in December (maybe sooner) I noticed I was having some pretty intense chest pains. They were painful, but had none of the "heart attack signs" I have had memorized since my teenage years when a doctor tried to scare me straight with you will be dead by the time you are 30 with this stress level. *Scoff*

I started tracking them and basically I could not take a deep breath without pain. I started feeling guilty about not walking like I had been....eating poorly....and sometime in the midst of it I figured it was probably #threeyearpurgefest or my firm related (#entrepreneurship). I mean I was either working at my office or purging every hour of every single day (barring a few hours for sleep).

So like any procrastinator...I shrugged it off and tried to not think about (or feel it) as the case might be....

Fast forward.

Sometime at the first of the year, I realized that I was breathing with no pain. Hmmmm....I wondered, but in the midst of reveling in my newfound joy...I again...shrugged it off and forgot about it.

Until tonight.

How do I say this?

I am breathing again.

Deep. Long. Fresh. Beautiful. Breaths.

....and it still hurts a bit.

So....this is what life living out loud, fully transparent and vulnerable feels like?!?!

*Ouch*

*Beautiful*

*What Joy*

I hardly know what to say....

Seriously.

Sara Bareilles has a song "Breathe Again" that I can remember hearing a thousand times over the past three years. Could it be a million???

Car is parked, bags are packed, but what kind of heart doesn't look back
At the comfortable glow from the porch, the one I will still call yours?
All those words came undone and now I'm not the only one
Facing the ghosts that decide if the fire inside still burns
All I have, all I need, he's the air I would kill to breathe
Holds my love in his hands, still I'm searching for something
Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I'll breathe again
I'll breathe again
Open up next to you and my secrets become your truth
And the distance between that was sheltering me comes in full view
Hang my head, break my heart built from all I have torn apart
And my burden to bear is a love I can't carry anymore
All I have, all I need, he's the air I would kill to breathe
Holds my love in his hands, still I'm searching for something
Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I'll breathe again
It hurts to be here
I only wanted love from you
It hurts to be here
What am I gonna do?
All I have, all I need, he's the air I would kill to breathe
Holds my love in his hands, still I'm searching
All I have, all I need, he's the air I would kill to breathe
Holds my love in his hands, still I'm searching for something
Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I'll breathe again
I'll breathe again

I just went searching for the lyrics....

...and tears.

Years ago...these words rang true for a person.

Now....when I read these words....

All I have, all I need, he's the air I would kill to breathe
Holds my love in his hands, still I'm searching
All I have, all I need, he's the air I would kill to breathe
Holds my love in his hands, still I'm searching for something
Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I'll breathe again
I'll breathe again

I know that today...the "he" is God....and I am in fact...breathing again.

This has been a hard week. Lots of writing longhand, jotting down things from time-to-time, but the big words...would NOT flow.

God was waiting.

Patiently.

Tonight....in a bar...with a couple of friends...talking about everything from Jesus to love to work to kids to hitting your knees and giving it all up to dreams to Haiti and back again...I saw something....God...in the midst of three amazing women digging in....*shaking my head*....who talks like this??? My. Friends.

As I drove home, I could hear God mumbling, and by God mumbling...me not ready to hear; I knew I was about to have to write...and as I got ready for bed, I hit shuffle on my 2000+ songs...and "Breathe Again" came on, and I simply looked up and said...THAT is what is different. I. Can. Breathe.

I can breathe.

*Tears*

Sometimes the truth is that we don't know if we will ever breathe again....love again....trust again....dream again....and then one day you look up and you are doing....one or all of them. Poof. Like a Christmas Miracle. God heals. Beautifully. Perfectly. In his time.

I know this might be hard to understand, but several years ago there was a day...okay days....that just to take a breath meant to stop crying long enough....and stopping tears was really trying to stop full body heaving...the pain was real. I can't even number the days that I simply did not wish to go on and my bed became a life raft of sorts...and then I would pull it together and show up at work...at church...at dinners and breakfasts....holidays...and fake it. Because that is what we do when our life falls apart around us or someone breaks our heart or everything we know to be true is suddenly proved false or we simply drop our basket...we fake it....until we don't....have to...anymore.

This is me waving wildly from the other side.

Wildly.

From. The. Other. Side.

Thank. You. Jesus.

I just went looking for my journal from Captivating 2012 in Colorado...it has been gnawing at me all week that God was trying to tell me he had fulfilled his promises from 3 1/2 years ago. I just read it...lets put a pin in that as that is a post all unto itself, but there is a line he said to me.....

"It is going to be okay pretty girl. Breathe."


I don't know if it can make sense to those who hear God regularly and/or have always had a conversational intimacy between themselves and God. I have not. So that day on the mountain when he finally spoke OR I finally listened (who is to know), and I was writing down everything I heard...and to sit here all of these years later and know in my heart that God has given me fresh breath to breathe in...and out....and in...again and again. All after simply holding my breath for something like forever.

There are no words to express my gratitude.

I was so broken and hurt and just a mess. I really didn't think I would make it...and frankly, I didn't really want to. Everything hurt...just breathing...HURT. I am sitting here crying as I type because I remember clearly how I felt...how my heart felt. *Deep Breath* And for the most part I suffered in silence because I just didn't know who I could trust or who would understand the depths of what I was enduring......and so I sped into Colorado in my Jeep, driving two days to get there, all alone....just praying for a miracle. Praying for God to just show up. Just wanting to be seen and known...by him.

There is something to be said for opening up your hands and laying it all down. Tonight I tried not to "preach" when I answered questions and shared part of my story, but I don't know how else to explain the past 3-4 years other than one day I was Queen of the Heather Show and the next day I was on my knees, face on the floor begging God to take over...everything...and after 11 months more of wrestling with God like a wild animal fighting for its life....I doubled down with God and said, "No, really; I am all in." (because he had to ask twice)...and I wish it wasn't true, but there was a third time.

I applaud anyone who is successfully navigating their life without God because to say anything other than that would make me a hypocrite of the highest order.

All I can tell you is this...if you aren't happy and you can't figure out why...maybe there are parts of your life you need to mourn...part(s) of your life you need to give up to God....maybe if you stop for a minute and stand in silence...you will realize you are holding your breath...and maybe just maybe the best place to start is to ask, "Why?"

My story is complicated and messy and at the end of it all...Mine. I blame no one for where I sit on 1/15/2016. I am not angry. I have no regrets. I am not waiting for someone to love me or rescue me or need me. I am not bitter. I am not sad.

I just am.

...and "am" is a girl so full of joy she can barely stand it.

I am also a girl who every day this week....even when the words wouldn't come and I felt a little "off" stretched my arms out wide every single day and exclaimed, "Thank you!" to a God who has loved me and saved me and rescued me and restored me....and as of tonight he has also resuscitated me.

"It is going to be okay pretty girl. Breathe."

God, I wish I could 100% say that I believed you completely on October 13, 2012, when I heard you say those words to me; I wanted to though, and God you love someone with "want" because you see hearts, not just words.

It hurts to breathe this deeply...to live this raw...this transparent, but God we need that...I need that. I love the people in my life who show me what living bravely means...even (and especially) when it looks like church in a bar on a Friday night. Mainly I love you. I stand in awe of what you have done in my life. I am so incredibly grateful. Whatever you want for my life, let my heart also want it too. This is the good stuff. This messy, raw part of life; it is the very best.

*Deep Breath*

"....all I am...all I need...is the air I would kill to breathe...holds my love in his hands...I will breathe again"

Perfect.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Chaos - The View From The Other Side


It Is Well came on this morning while I was getting ready, and I suddenly looked around my bathroom - clean, organized, purged; looked in the mirror - relaxed, peaceful, dare I say at ease; I laughed.

It is well with my soul.

How do I know that?

Well....people keep telling me that my eyes, body language...everything...seems at rest. I am winding up some things from the purge that should (by the world's standards) take me out, and they are not. At. All. Finally, I feel it.

I. Feel. It.

I have operated in chaos for so long, I am an alien in a foreign land here in Peaceville. I barely know how to act. It is like learning to walk again, and yes I do feel a little like a toddler because there is a lot of joy to finding my footing (read that as NO frustration) again.

The truth is that it doesn't hurt that I am still receiving just the loveliest of messages (majority of them private) from people getting "packages" as the deliveries continue into the new year (at least this first week). I know that not all of the packages arriving will be received with the same spirit with which they were mailed, and I am perfectly at peace with that. No, really. Trust me, I am as surprised as you might be to read that.

I am getting a lot of questions about what is next? What does 2016 hold for you? What are you going to do with all of this newfound knowledge? Are you afraid?

Nope. {head shaking side to side as I type that}

I am definitely not afraid. On the rest, I simply don't know. I am waiting. Ironically, patiently waiting.

Let me say this, that for all of the days and moments in the past three years that I absolutely positively did not think I could finish....that I could not go on....everything I have gone through, sacrificed, bore....absolutely, positively, completely worth it. This feeling is basically indescribable. My posture. My spirit. No words.

In one of my notes last week I wrote, "I am at peace, and I wish for this feeling for you with all of my heart." Those words came out of nowhere and yet somewhere because they were birthed out of a spirit at peace.

I wish this feeling for everyone.

I know there will be new challenges, another wilderness season(s), and I am at peace with that too. Part of what I have learned is to celebrate the completion and the wholeness, and in so doing that, I am prepared for battle when those come back around. There can be no loss if there has first not been a victory. I have experienced immeasurable loss in my 44 years, and I am finally....finally learning to accept and celebrate the victories. Life is about both. A life at peace is accepting that.

If you are sitting here at the ledge of the beginning of 2016 and the chaos of your life is swirling around you, I need you to know this....you can make it out alive, and that what is better on the other side (whatever that other side looks like for you) is better than you can imagine. Whatever the task. Whatever the journey. Whatever the wilderness. It can be well with your soul.

In 2012, I fell to my knees and I said, "I give."

God said, "Finally."

....and he said that in perfect and complete unconditional love as he enveloped me pulling me close.

Finally.

Maybe 2016 is your "I give." moment for this, that, or the other; maybe the other is your whole life needs a re-work.

If it is, the first step, my first step, is to fall to your knees, unclench your fists, and give up all claims to power - power over your life, your work, your heart, your dreams, your beliefs....every stronghold in your heart and mind. There is a higher calling for each of us, but the secret is you have to give up everything to reach it. The world tells us differently, and that is why we all seem to take so long to get there.

I am at peace, and I wish for this feeling for you with all of my heart.

Thank you God. Your love amazes me...more and more each day.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Joy Comes...In The Bathroom?

During the purge I lost half my house...oh who are we kidding?!...I lost 90% of my home over the three years. What I mean by that is that during the majority of the purge, I was only really living in 10% of my home because stuff was EVERYWHERE (more will be explained about the process in another post). So imagine what it is like for me to now suddenly have access to and be living in 100% of my home.

WEIRD.

I now use both bathrooms (for example). Well, the second bathroom has an old photo of me and my Sis in it from the beach (from years ago), and this morning I saw it and smiled....and then I paused.


What joy that photo brings me. Truly.

How often have I seen that photo...say....in the past three years?

Epiphany.

...which looks a lot like dawn breaking across my forehead AND God face-palming himself...

The environments we create for ourselves at home and work matter. They absolutely matter.

That photo is probably 10 years old and is in an inexpensive beach frame BUT it brings me more joy than lots and lots of expensive stuff I spent three years giving away. The POINT though...the point is that it brings me JOY. It reminds me of Sis. It takes me back to a good memory of the two of us. It reminds me to dream of the next time we will be at the beach together.

I am getting asked lots and lots of questions about the purge. Multiple times a day. Tell me about this. How did you do this? What do you recommend for this or that? It is AMAZING! I want to scream YOU GO GIRL/BOY! at the top of my lungs! It is exciting to see so many energized about the concept of purging, simplifying, joy, etc. Let me be clear though...I am still learning lessons from the past three years as I reconcile it all. I am still processing. I am still walking into a room, seeing something, and being taught a lesson...by God. The truth is that we all have too much stuff. Even now, I have too much stuff. The lesson is does what you have bring you real joy? Do you get to experience that joy on a regular basis by owning/possessing said stuff? OR is it hidden under other stuff so you don't even know you still have it.

Hide it under a bush...oh no.

Anybody remember that song from Sunday School?

I have been not only hiding my joy under a bunch of stuff, but I have been hiding myself.

I have breathed...I mean true, deep breaths...more in the past 5 days than I have in the past 5 years. I feel like a prisoner released from prison coming out into the sunlight, squinting my eyes yet raising my hands in gratitude. I am overwhelmed by just how truly thankful I am to have finished the task AND at this amazing feeling of gratitude....for everything.

This morning, I was listening to the John Eldredge/Ransomed Heart podcast from yesterday; listen to it HERE. Suddenly he said, "What am I allowing myself to hope for this year? What goodness am I anticipating? If you don't open yourself to good things, it is hard for God to bring those things to you."

*Deep Breath*

Say what?!

Allow me a digression.....

I haven't been able to get into my planning and (not resolutions) goals for the year yet; I usually do it the first weekend of the year. I have been blaming it on just the sense of relief I feel, but.....

What if I am past the goals and the resolutions?

What if I have grown up (read that as changed) some  through this whole process and now what I need to focus on in 2016 is hopes, goodness, good things, and dreaming again?

Craig was on the podcast with John this morning. Craig has been through the ringer with cancer and chemo; he is currently healthy, and when he said, "I want to dream again in 2016." I wept. Me too. Me too I thought. Though my "cancer" has been of a different kind, it feels like I have come back from something that was trying to take my life. I feel like I have come out of a wilderness season, and I think I need John Eldredge's words to give me permission to give my heart permission to dream again. Like...it is okay. You're okay. It is all okay. Dream sweet girl. Dream.

*Tears*

Let me say right here...those two girls staring back at me this morning from that picture frame reminded me that joy is all around me. That it is my responsibility to not let it get hidden under "stuff" - emotional or physical. That they have missed me.

There is a very brief article/synopsis of the book and "joy test" concept that I shared on my FB page; you can read it HERE. The book can be found at any bookstore. I highly recommend the brief article and the book, and let me be clear....the joy test has become part of my DNA. I find myself still asking myself the question in my home, at my office, when I am looking at something to purchase. It really is the simplest and yet most profound concept.

If you cannot see your stuff....there is NO way that it can bring you joy. Period. Whether you are keeping it in boxes, piles, a closet. I am an organization freak (coming back to myself here and loving it), and I bought into the whole concept of boxing up my treasures, organized tubs, labels, etc. No. More. If I have a tub in my home EVER again, you need to check my temperature, because I might be sick (ignore the one that holds all of my crayons and coloring books...and I have done it since college so yes basically I was adult coloring before adult coloring was cool; I am hip that way.;)).

The bigger question if you cannot see your stuff...is WHY?

A friend of mine is on her own purge quest in 2016, and her journey is so much fun to watch (maybe not as much fun for her to be in the middle of), and you can watch too; click HERE. This morning she had her own ephiphany...it isn't just about the stuff. Nope. It. Is. Not.

If you allow yourself to really start embracing the concept of purging your stuff, what you will soon discover is that God has some stuff internally he would like to purge with you....and when it REALLY get crazy is when the two work in tandem. Do I need to remind anyone of this POST? :)

I love you Sis! You brought me joy this morning...from the bathroom...it also reminded me to book the beach house today. ;)

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Monday, January 4, 2016

The First of Many Mondays

Yesterday. Sunday. I got a message that made my chest tighten.

It wasn't necessarily angry. It wasn't directed at me. It was simply one friend venting about another friend about a mutual project (all of us). I started sweating. My chest tightened. My heart quickened. My mood dropped.

I don't like conflict.

I mean. I. Don't. Like. Conflict.

I don't like it when it is because of me...at me...around me....in my circle...in my circle's circle.

I don't like conflict. At. All.

Happy Monday!

*Insert Nervous Laughter*

I am an entrepreneur.

Hello. My name is Heather Nelson, and I am an entrepreneur. That. Leads. People.

Conflict is...Well. Lets just say if conflict had a name in my world, it would be Monday.

Monday = Conflict

*Ugh*

Someone should send me roses....bring me coffee in bed...wash my hair and fix it for me...tell me how amazing I am....not every day, but every single Monday.

So that is what I am looking for...someone with superpowers over Monday OR simply someone who is my champion every Monday morning because Mondays are HARD!

I just died laughing.

I am a baby.

There is something about finding peace on the inside....it creates a peace-seeker out of you. I have had entire decades dedicated to waiving my sword and fighting the good fight on any number of topics, in any number of arenas, against any number of individuals. Not anymore. I don't want to fight anymore. I hate it. Loathe it. It makes my stomach churn.

Mondays feel like emotional war.

I need to fix that. I am not sure how, but I know that I need to fix how I approach Mondays. Why? Because this isn't a "Jon Acuff thing"....I genuinely love what I do (not every day or in every way), but I am part of a team doing GOOD work. I love that. So...if it isn't really about my work...then there is something else out of whack.

So....this isn't as much a post about what I do...as much as it is a request for advice. How do you approach Mondays? How do you approach conflict? Any advice or recommendations for me? Anybody want to apply for that Monday Champion role??? ;) :)

Please. Share.

I'm listening.

***I have had the BEST New Year's Eve/Day Holiday Weekend EVER. It was more than I could have dreamed. I might have actually fallen down the rabbit hole into "Dolche far Niente" this past weekend....and maybe the truth is that I am really nervous because I don't want to lose what I found there. So, there it is....a fresh new challenge....maintaining this newfound balance I have taken a sip of...***

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Question of Enough

I keep asking myself if I am ready to write the posts that are coming...the ones that try with mere words to sum up three plus years of lessons from the purge.

*Pause*

Nope. Not ready.

What I am ready to discuss is the question of what is enough?

During the purge I found not one but two copies of the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is a book I first read in 2011, writing about it HERE. Since then I have read it each January...and subsequently written about it, most recently in 2015 HERE BUT multiple times over the past five years it has peppered my writing as demonstrated HERE. I tend to watch the film (AGAIN) after I finish the book; this year, I watched the film day one. I pulled out the two copies, having not given the extra one away because I have notes in both. In 2014, I had to purchase an additional one as my original copy had been misplaced in the many, many moves (i.e., disturbances in the atmosphere). If you think I am not going to sit down and merge the notes in each copy, now that I have found them both, you don't really know me. Today I flipped through them both since the last time either was read.


I was sitting on my couch just staring at the space around me. Space being the operative word as I feel like I have had no space with which to breathe in my own home for so very long. The truth is that I hardly know what to do with myself. I mean my home is fully purged, it is clean, no boxes or tubs line the walls or cover the furniture, there is no alarm going off on my phone reminding me of the next purge task to complete. I am fully weirded out. I am sending photos to Sis going can you believe this place?!?! She is probably doing a lot of eye-rolling. ;) :)

I digress.

Why is it that I love this book so much?

So many feelings toward it. I think it is because it helped re-energize me back into reading. In 2011, I had hit a bit of a lull in my reading. Second, it was pretty heavy stuff for me at that time. It would be another year before I had my "hit the floor moment" so I was in a completely "nothing can touch me" space that year. By the time I read it again in January 2012, right before my "moment," I am sure I knew somewhere deep inside my world was about to shift. So here I am five years later, and frankly I am curious what parts of the book are going to jump out to me this year...after all, I have been through a bit. In each of the past three years, it has felt like a friend encouraging me on. Frankly, the author is basically documenting her wilderness season; I can relate. Part of me wonders if I have outgrown the book. *Pause* Nah.....;)

I can't wait to give the extra copy of this book away.

That is what started this post. The truth is that I am wrestling with this whole concept of "enough" and still a little unnerved that I have such peace in my spirit. I quite literally "want" for nothing. It is BIZARRE!

A friend and I had brunch earlier today, and trust me when I say that I know how much she loves me, but...BUT I still felt like a crazy lady trying to put into words this concept that I have "enough" as she smiled sweetly at me. She tells me I need to talk more about this...like to others, and I am all...."Nah, I'm good." because it feels so raw and sacred to my heart...heck my soul. I found myself in the bathroom earlier whispering, "I love you God." to myself over and over and when I became conscious of it, started laughing out loud. {That is about the same time I decided to sit down at my computer and write about all of this because....come on....}

Don't worry. Straightjackets are on standby.

There is a line at the end of the film that perfectly sums up both the book and the film, and it just came to me again...

"I've come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call 'The Physics of The Quest' -- a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum.  And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: 'If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared - most of all - to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself... then truth will not be withheld from you.'  Or so I've come to believe.  I can't help but believe it, given my experience."

Tonight I am wondering if this isn't why I have loved it so...it was one of many touchstones along the way...well before I even knew there was such a thing. The book helped remind me that I wasn't going to die. *Insert Nervous Laughter* The truth is that whether it is a quest as described above, a wilderness (as I have often referred to mine), a #threeyearpurgefest or simply a pause point in your life journey....it is not easy, and often you are convinced you might very well die from it.

I digress.

I am not blown away by the "concept" of enough, I am blown away that I believe I have enough. I am blown away by an overwhelming since of gratitude. I am blown away that I have experienced a day in my life where I am sure there is something I could/should/would be doing, yet the reality of just BEING is/was enough for me. I am blown away that while there are things that I love/want/need, yet I have no desire for any of it. I look around having given away two thirds or more of what I possessed three years ago, and I swear I could give away more. The complete truth? I am already looking to do monthly purges because I still see excess...I still have an extra home that I don't need or want...I have books that I know, while amazing, one read will be enough, and then I can give those away.

I could go on and on.

The bottom line is that I have operated my entire life (or at least the past 35 years) -  physical, emotional, professional, personal, spiritual, etc. from a place of scarcity.

*Deep Breath*

Scarcity has been driving the bus for so long, I have zero idea what it is like to sit in stillness at peace. I have no concept of what enough looks like or feels like, and so I sit here in my own home like an alien plopped down in the middle of a Kansas cornfield. Dazed and confused.

I want you all here with me. I want you to experience this strange euphoric, odd feeling because it is good. As Jill Parr would say, "It is G-O-O-D."

It is also completely weird.

I have been responding to text messages, e-mails, FB Messenger, and FB posts about the purge, recommending books, and cheering others on...blown away that some see me as having been some sort of trailblazer (C7 will love that) with all of this...because that is PURE crazy. The truth is no one can make or push you into something like this, it just lands on your doorstep like Crazy Cousin Eddie and you are obligated to open the door and let him in. You don't necessarily want to, but ya know....he has a good heart and all....;)

I don't know what enough is for anyone else.

I do know this...that there is freedom in having your palms facing upward NOT in a request for MORE, but in an offering of take everything you want...whatever is left....it will be enough.

I don't have clue one what all that means, but I am sitting here at my desk 1000% comfortable that God is about to show me.

"Lord, I have chosen you alone as my inheritance.
You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion.
I leave my destiny and its timing in your hands.
Your pleasant path leads me to pleasant places.
I'm overwhelmed by the privileges
that come with following you,
for you have given me the best!"
 
Psalm 16:5-6

I read this passage this morning, and I thought it was perfect because the truth is that I have an amazing tribe, the best family, friends, business partner and team....but really, after all of these years, I have learned that the very best friend I have is God, and not for nothin', only God knows the full extent of my wilderness season, and yet he loves me anyway. The best reward of the #threeyearpurgefest is the deepening of my relationship with him.

The truth is that I just figured it out.

He...he is my enough.

*Tears*

...See...the truth was not withheld from me...

What journey do you find yourself on that feels like you are going to have to lay something down in order to pick something up? What scares you about even asking the question? What is your enough?

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)