Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pure Love, Fear, and The Lion

Love.  In all of its forms.  Is beautiful.

I was writing tonight; I was actually working on another piece, and I came across Christian, The Lion, Reunion.  I had not seen the video in years. Oh my! I had forgotten how beautiful it is, and what a reminder that love, in all of its forms, is beautiful. 

Of course, I then found The Official Christian Reunion Video which is actually of their second, and final, reunion with Christian.  I had never seen it before, and it is equally moving, and introduced me to a beautiful artist and song ~  Tallulah Rendall's Black Seagull.  Wow.

All of this got me to thinking...

Why is love...pure love...so very hard for so many? To give...?...

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I have to say that I cried watching the first video.  Don't you want to run up to someone like that and hug them like that?  Don't you want someone to do the same to you?  There is no fear, on either side, in that embrace. No fear.

Hmmm...

When you watch the second video, your told it has been yet another year apart for them and there is hesitancy on Christian's part...he eases into it, and then at the end...doesn't really act like he wants to walk away.  The lesson?  That level of trust is not completely forgotten...it can be re-established...and quickly in their case. Even more...no fear, on either side...from beginning to end.  No fear.

Hmmm...


I am picking up on something.  I mean, I am a little slow sometimes...:)  Maybe, just maybe, fear is the common denominator that prevents love from becoming pure love...a great love.  What would it be like if we loved each other without fear?

...and no, I am NOT talking about simply romantic love...but who am I kidding..it is a game changer in that single area alone...for all of us.


I fully admit...here and now...that while I have loved a great deal in my life, I have rarely done so without some element of fear being involved in it. *Sigh*

What would happen if I, for instance, were to start loving others without fear?  I mean, what is the worst that could happen...I get hurt?!  That said, what is stopping me?  What is stopping you?

Pride?  Embarrassment?  Both fear based emotions, by the way.

I told someone, just today, that I had no interest whatsoever in separating all of the layers of me....for any one person, for any job, for any religion, for any community work I might be doing...what you see, is what you get. Period.

Am I good enough?

Absolutely not.

Am I better than you?

Absolutely not.

Am I always working to be better...do better...live better...love better.

Absolutely yes.

Is that good enough?  It is for the only one that really matters.

It needs to be good enough for all of us.  Trying...that is the point.  And no one knows what "trying" looks like to someone else because all of our sins and all of our weaknesses are not on billboards for everyone to see.  You can't judge because YOU DON'T KNOW.

I am tired of the negativity.  The down in the mouth...the world is going to come to an end.  I am going to burn in hell.  They are going to burn in hell.  They are wrong.  They aren't good enough.  I am not good enough.  I suck.  I'm bad.  I'm ugly.  I'm fat.  I'm.....fill-in-the-blanks...

I am tired of doing it myself.  I am tired of it from others.

Enough.

Enough.

Pure love.  What would it mean if we loved ourselves and others like that?

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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In Search of New Ears

Circumstances occured today that reminded me that I have one of the worst traits...Ever. *Ugh*

I hear, all too often, what I want to hear...and NOT what is actually being said...to me, or others. *Sigh*

I really must work on this because...well, it is the Worst. Trait. Ever. 

Why is that even though we know what we stink at...we keep going back to that well over and over?  Can I really be the only one?  I know I am not, but in the residual heat of the moment...it feels that I am.  *Ugh*

Life is a journey of moments when we have choices...to hear, to listen, to learn, to love......to hope.

I have spent a good deal of time in my life hoping...I started to list and share some of them here, but thought better of it and deleted it.  The sins of the past...mine and others...need to remain there...out of the forgiveness I have granted them, and more importantly...the forgiveness they have granted me.  One of my great hopes is that I learn to be a better listener (in general) and to really hear the words of others...even when their truth is painful for me to bear.

I guess you could say that I am in search of new ears. :)

 

I have new adventures starting in multiple areas of my life, and I hope (so hope) that I listen better as I go throughout each of them.  That...is my hope...and my prayer.

What are you hoping to improve in your life? What are you in search of? 

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving


Did you know that you can watch the entire Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on You Tube?  How cool is that?! 

So clearly, I am a fan. :)

This is my favorite moment from the show.  I love the setting.  I love Linus' prayer.  I love the eclectic mix of chairs, and I mostly love the sentiment.  Tomorrow we will be having what we have lovingly titled "PJs & Picnic Thanksgiving" and it is as much fun as it sounds.  Only one person in the group is allowed to shower (he has a shower fetish), everyone wakes/stays in/goes back to bed in their pajamas throughout the day, we cook, we eat, we watch football & movies, play games, eat leftovers throughout the day...Yup, all in our pajamas. 

Let me say that it really is as awesome as it sounds (tomorrow is not a first edition :)).  It truly allows us to focus more on each other and having fun then what we look like (or smell like...just kidding). 

I am a girl full of gratitude. This has not been my "Best. Year. Ever." by a long shot, but it has been a year full of lessons that have pushed me, molded me, changed me, grown me...I am grateful.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~ Melody Beattie

...and there is the lesson...

"...gratitude makes sense of our past..."

I so LOVE that part.  It is a reminder that I don't have to understand everything that has happened in my life, but I do need to be grateful for it....because if nothing else...it got me to HERE.

Tomorrow when we go around the table (in our PJs) and say what we are thankful for this year...mine will be that very moment, for that is what I am learning to appreciate...the single beautiful moments that make up a very full, complicated, exhilarating, love-infused, grace-filled, beautiful, eclectic, joyful LIFE.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and friends...be grateful, savor every single moment...Love.

...and maybe wear your PJs all day tomorrow...(just to make'm wonder ;))...

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The (Sincere) Art of Being Brave

I am being brave...(that is code for "please be proud of me"), but this (life) is very hard.

...and very lovely...

...and very frightening...


Don't kid a kidder.  I know I am brave.  I have lived on my own since I was 18 years old (emotionally since I was 9 years old).  I know I am brave.  I'm also tremendously good at portraying bravery even when my hands are shaking and my knees are knocking.  First, I don't have a back-up plan for  my LIFE (in general).  Second, I know that 'fake it till you make it' is Truth personified.  Finally, I am aware that it is easy to see men and women like me as bullet proof and that is such Bull.  Nothing could be further from the truth.


So...the truth of the matter is that Sunday I had a breakdown in the middle of consuming the most beautiful and delicious brunch...Ever.  I pushed forward.  Yesterday, I had the bravest Monday of my life.  Then last night in the middle of yoga (and the soundtrack of Eat Pray Love playing in the background), I laid my body out flat on the ground, looked up at the ceiling, and questioned just WTH I was doing.  *Sigh*

The sincere art of being brave takes (near) constant effort.  It isn't "Woo Hoo" all the time.  It is challenging.  It is lovely.  It is frightening. It is life. 

Remember it is okay to have those WTH moments.  Remember it is okay to Woo Hoo.  Remember it is okay if you have a day where you gravitate pretty rapidly between those two emotions.  Remind yourself that doing so..simply means you are pushing yourself and your boundaries past the edges of safety and security....and THAT is okay.  THAT in itself is BRAVE.

I got the loveliest note from a reader of my blog saying how much they loved reading it, and how brave I was in writing it...and in being so raw.  I, for one, could not have imagined three years ago that I would be writing and revealing so much of myself, or even more...that someone would say thank you for doing so...what a sweet blessing.

I reveal that to say that we really have no idea what things we do or say in our lives that have meaningful impacts on others.  It is such a reminder that others are watching and learning from us...especially when we do not expect it.

So...this is your single marching order...Be Brave. Period.

You. Will. Be. So. Glad. You. Did. :)))

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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Beauty In Losing Control


When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to play was church.  All of my animals and dolls were my church members. I had grape juice and crackers for my communion.  I was the song leader, preacher, and everything in between.  I absolutely LOVED it.  Once I cut my bangs (a nice big whack) for a sacrifice...I am thinking we had probably been studying Abraham...my parents were not amused by my offering (but I am pretty sure God was laughing up in heaven watching that 5 year old giving it all she had...for him).  Now I am starting to wonder if we are all lucky I didn't become a cult leader...hmmmm...

I digress.

Which makes my point.  No doubt one of the things I loved about playing church was that I did EVERYTHING.  I had control.  Yeah...I said it.

Isn't that telling...for us all...

As I have matured (Lord willing) as a person, as a woman, as a Christian...I have learned (okay I AM learning) that the beauty of a relationship with Christ is not all of the traditions (read that as control), or the...(wait...let me first say that I absolutely LOVE a lot of the traditions...okay, moving on), or the going to church.  The beauty of it is in the RELATIONSHIP that I have with Christ.  Just me and him...daily, hourly, every second of every day.  He wants my heart.  He wants a relationship with ME.  I'm learning that really...that is all that I really want too.  At the end of the day, and at the end of my life...my relationship with him...OUR relationship with each other...is what really, really matters. Phew.  I need another sip of coffee...and to wipe my eyes.

If you had asked me at any time over the past three years what the next 40 years of my life were going to look like, I could have (and would have) laid it all out for you...chapter and verse.  My God...our God has a wicked sense of humor, and timing, and he has a way of giving us everything we (believe) we want, and then waiting patiently while we discover that what we really want (and need frankly) is to say, "Lord what do you want for me?"

...and there you have it...

I am not a retired or reformed control freak...lets not go nuts...that would be pure crazy talk.  What I am is a woman learning, slowly learning, to give up control in my life...a little bit at a time.  Remember you have to crawl before you walk. ;)

I am also learning to be more open to what is being revealed to me instead of dictated by me and my preconceived notions of what my life SHOULD look like at any given moment.  I may need more than coffee after that...

When I woke up (very early) this morning, rolled over and looked out into the beautiful trees with their golden fall colors, sun rising...I prayed (out loud) for God to take over...completely.  I'm tired of doing it on my own, and honestly...I just don't even want to anymore.  I want the next 20 years of my life to look different than the last 20...I want to be different, better, more joyful, more peaceful...I want my life and my work to merge in some strange way that they bring more joy and hope to others while focused less on making a select few a lot of money.  I want there to be more joy and less stress.  I want to BE the person that I always believed I could be...that at times I have deceived myself that I was...*Sigh*

I want a relationship...with Christ...where he has control, and I have none....and I want to like it that way. ;)

This isn't the end...it is the beginning, a new beginning.  I woke up this morning and therefore, as the saying goes, I still have purpose.  My hope is to use that purpose more wisely...I have had a wonderful, blessed life these past 41 years...I simply want to get better, be better. 

It is a journey.

"...And there’s a road, a winding road that never ends
Full of curves, lessons learned at every bend..."

Happy "New Day" Sunday! :)))

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

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In Search of a Champion

"Liz says, “I’m sick of people telling me that I need a man.” To which Felipe replies, “You don’t need a man, Liz. You need a champion.” " ~ Eat Pray Love

Yes. That.

We ALL need this...men and women.  I need this.


I found this photo hysterical.  Women...if we need a billboard, then we probably are in deeper trouble than we think...:)

I have had great love in my life.  In some ways, I have been the luckiest girl in the world.  Blessed, actually.  I hope I have great love again...just something more along the champion, happily ever after side would be lovely...

I don't simply want this in my love life.  I want this in all my relationships.  I want to be (and have) champions in my friendships, my work, my church, my community.  A little more let me take the bullet for you, and a little less how many bullets will it take to take you down?! 

To be a champion for others is a lot about bravery.  Am I willing to take the bullet for them even though I am not sure I agree with them 100% on everything...oh and I think they might be nuts?  Is someone willing to take the bullet for you...even though...

I am starting to see life as more of an act of bravery and less whatever selfish endeavor I am off on at any given time.  Am I championing others?  Truly?  I am asking myself tough questions like these daily now...if not hourly.  What is my life's legacy?

I think it starts by taking care of others...defending others...building up others...even when it is possibly painful or even a little risky for us. 

I am looking for a champion.  I am looking to be one too.

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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

You ARE More

I have had an interesting two weeks.  The strangest has to be the past two days where three separate people have said to me, "You are more."  Wow.  Speechless...

Okay...over that (speechless part...). ;)


I digress....

It is quite the amazing experience when you have people in your life that believe in you more than you do.  Personal cheerleaders are awesome...and necessary, but what has been happening to me lately is more than that. It is people looking me dead in the eye and saying you are more...and they are a little frustrated in having to be so blunt with me.  I get it. *Sigh*

More.

Why do we settle for less than we deserve?  What is it about how we are hot-wired that causes so many of us to settle for less...for a moment, a day, a month, a year...years. *Ugh*

If someone in your life is taking the time to say to you, "You ARE more." Listen to them...Listen.

What dream have you hidden in a closet? What words have you not said? What person have you not expressed your deep love too?  Where are you settling in your life...not because you have to but because you choose to?  We make a lot of choices in this life and blame it on we "have to" when really you have a choice.  We always have a choice.

You ARE more.  Remind yourself today and go change your stars...

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't Give Up

"Keep your face always toward the sunshine...and shadows will fall behind you." ~ Walt Whitman - Poet, journalist (1819-1892)


Several years ago, I had someone say to me, "Don't give up on me."  I remember thinking, at the time, how sweet and sad that statement was.....*Sigh*

The true fear though is not that we give up on others, but that we give up on ourselves.  I am here to tell you...DON'T.

If you are on social media, in any form, you can follow people and sites that either spew positivity or negativity.  Choose wisely.

There is also a lot to be said for simply continuing to move forward.  Push yourself forward.  Push.

Positive energy begets positive energy. 

It is far too easy to give up or go negative at any given moment.  YOU must resist that urge.  YOU must change your mind...change your surroundings...change what kind of things and people you allow in your life....change your own words...Change. Your. Life.

There are a lot of people I love so dearly that are on the edge of letting go and giving up...Do. Not. Give. Up.  Turn your face towards the positive in your life and leave all of that negativity behind you.  It isn't that easy, but it is the first step in the process of becoming more positive...more optimistic...more joyful.

Today's message is simply...Don't. Give. Up.

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Am Tired

I am tired.

I am tired of politics and elections that divide my family and friends.

I am tired of hate.

I am tired of bullying.

I am tired.

Have you ever had those mornings when you wake up, even after a solid night's sleep, and you are simply TIRED.  You look in your bathroom mirror and cannot believe the size of the bags under your eyes.  You go get a cup of coffee, and it just tastes...wrong. 

You are tired.

I am having one of those days this morning.  So I am combating it with great music, reading some funny cartoons, and texting some positive friends for a laugh.

It is okay to be tired.  It is understandable to be tired.  You just can't live there. 


I love this picture.  Be this. Do this today.  Help others and you will be helped by default.

I am tired, but today I am going to focus on others that I know are more tired than me...that need my encouragement.

Oh and by the way...Vote.  Use your voice in the ballot booth.  It matters.  It really, really does.

Blessings to all those weary, tired souls out there...whether in body or spirit or both...(((HUGS)))!

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

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Lesson In Grace

 Grace.
 
Let me tell you....I absolutely love grace.  To me it is the foundation of my life, my beliefs, my triumphs, and my failings.  I am a full blown believer and lover of grace.
  
What my father has taught me about grace both in his words and his actions could fill an ocean.  One of these days I might even write a book about it because it, and he, have meant so very much to my life...to my heart.  In many ways, my father's greatest gift to me is allowing me to learn from his failings.  Those lessons have made it easier to learn from my own.
 
*Sigh*
 
The picture below was taken when I was probably about 6 years old.  We were living on a working farm in Yellville, Arkansas at the time.  My life was perfect (through the eyes of the child whom's body they were in).  I love this picture because of the way my father is looking at me.  Those adoring eyes, fully enraptured in whatever in the world I was saying....and believe me, I am talking...I was always talking. :)))  I was "captivating" to my father in this picture.  Every little girl should have a moment like this to hold on to throughout their life.  I am so grateful for this one.
 
 


Today my father turns 70 years old, and I can hardly believe that is possible.  In my eyes and heart, he will always look just like this to me.  His heart surgery earlier this year was a wake-up call to me, but for some reason the "70" seems to be hitting me harder. 

My father is talented (frankly beyond talented), smart, funny, flawed, imperfect (don't tell my Granny that though :)), tenderhearted, and has the prettiest blue eyes EVER.  He is human though...in the past, he and I have done a lot of growing up together (and on our own).  It has not been easy...not by a long shot....but it has been worth it.  We have found understanding, respect, and grace for each other and ourselves that I am not sure we really had before...even as much as we loved each other...as much as we have always loved each other. 

Grace...very much like forgiveness...is a beautiful thing. 

One of the hardest things for children to deal with when they grow up is the fact that their parents are really human and not superheroes.  This was a particularly difficult lesson for me, and I must say that on the other side of the lesson...my father fares better as a human. Really.  Perfection, whether it is what you strive for personally or demand from others, is really not all it is cracked up to be. What is beautiful?  Those who live in spite of their shortcomings...in spite of their imperfections.  They get up each morning and they try again.  They live again. They love again.  That...THAT is what my father has taught me.  Life doesn't end when I fail. Life doesn't end when I lose someone. Life doesn't end when I am not perfect.  Life doesn't end when someone fails me.  Life doesn't end...until the grave....and then, well then is where it will really get interesting. :)

My father has taught me the most important lesson of all...grace.  Not simply grace shown for others (which is beyond important), but grace shown to ourselves.  Grace lived.

I love you Dad!!!

Thank you for all you have taught me.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for adoring me...even now...as a very flawed adult.  Mainly...thank you for growing...with me. :)

"Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for they own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?” ~ Aidan Chambers, This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

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