Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nostalgia is Dangerous...To One's Heart

Nostalgia is a dangerous thing. It isn't necessarily bad or good...it is simply dangerous. No more is this true then when a place that once felt safe, begins to feel dangerous to your very heart. That single revelation has left my heart twisting in the wind this weekend.

It started while I was on campus at the University of Arkansas Friday. I not only spent a lot of time there as a student, but the past 12-14 years (I frankly forget.), I have spent a considerable amount of time there as a volunteer, board member, occasional spectator, and even as a "distance" student. It is a place that I have called #home for a long time. While it will always be #home in some sense, my "active" time there is going through a "shift"...and like sands through the hourglass...can't you just hear the music?!?

I found myself snapping shots as I walked across campus and down Dickson Street to meet friends/fellow board members for music and then dinner. Nostalgia started coming over me in waves. "What the heck?!?!" flashed through my mind (more than once)...I mean "Really?!?!"...I was dumbdified (and no that is NOT a word, but YES it SHOULD be :)).

I found it sweet and painful all at the same time.

I am still processing.

The thing about trying to grow emotionally is that you are forced by default to confront the very things you are trying to avoid...hence stunting your emotional growth. It is a viscous cycle...and one that I am navigating like a soldier in a land mine field. *Sigh*

...and that made me smile...

I mean isn't this why so many of us don't, or delay, doing the work?!

I got asked this morning, "Aren't we all broken?" as if (read this as...what I heard was...) "Why are you doing this to yourself?" My first answer wasn't very good...frankly, the question surprised me and made me reflect for a moment..."Why AM I doing this???"

Then I remembered...

I want to be healed.

I am doing the work because I want to be truly healed.

I don't say that as a victim...far from it.....I know that everything bad that has ever happened in my life is not my fault, nor do I whitewash emotionally those things that are my fault. My point is that I want to be able to restore some of my previous rose-colored glasses. While I now recognize that I no longer want the "rosy-only" version, I also don't want the clouded version.  I guess I am going for the version that is clear and bright (the sun just started reflecting off of my laptop) and viewed through the same scope of grace that I am working to show myself.


That is a tall order.

When you start studying vulnerability and shame (via Brene Brown), coupled with a women's bible study that digs into the heart of being a woman...it can be overwhelming. Let me be clear, it IS overwhelming.

If there is one thing that I am learning through both of them (and all of this I am experiencing), it is that I hold myself to an unachievable standard...and by default, I do the same to so many of those around me.

...and sh*t just got real...

Wow.  Well I just deleted and pasted and deleted and pasted all of that a few times. *Sigh*

If I don't show grace to myself...to all of the past wounds, brokenness, trials, tribulations, errors, sins, shortcomings, etc....If I can't show it to my own self..."OWN my story"...and the very past that has made me Who. I. Am...then how the heck am I supposed to live it, show it, Be. it???

I came across this verse the other morning, and I thought it was sent to me to share with one of the "Captivating 7" who is going through a difficult time...it just dawned on me that I might also need to hear it right now...

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us .For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   ~ Romans 8:28-39

That last part (verses 38-39) are some powerful words for those of us who struggle with grace for ourselves because it rebukes and rejects the lies we (i.e., the devil) have told ourselves that we are not worthy, not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not...not...not...Enough. to be/deserve/earn the love and forgiveness and mercy and grace of Jesus....or anyone else of this earth.

Well, I am cooked. done. kaput. I need to simmer on all of this awhile.

Yet one more thing...I am listening to an audio version of a book, and yesterday while I drove between Fayetteville and Yellville, the author said the darndest thing..."...the wilderness is avoidable...". To which I pulled over to rewind and write that down. The wilderness is avoidable. Now he was drawing a correlation between the Israelites after Egypt and how we have accepted that as "Christians" we have to go through these "periods"...but he was reminding the reader (listener) that the Israelites had a choice....and maybe, just maybe...so do we. Well, that just about flipped my lid. What a concept?!?

Does the wilderness make you feel better? If you beat yourself up enough, you will feel better. If you analyze it to death, the quizzical will suddenly make sense. If you persecute yourself (rightly or wrongly), then you won't give anyone else a chance to do the same. Are these the lies we all tell ourselves to make our own periods in the wilderness make sense?

Nothing...N.O.T.H.I.N.G can separate us from the love of God.

I know he used the nostalgia of the beautiful University of Arkansas campus to set the stage for more lessons. I just wonder how many lessons one girl can have thrown at her in a three day period before she admits herself to the funny farm. :)))

Just kidding. Maybe. ;)

Growth is hard. Growth is hard for...All. Of. Us. I want to be whole..healed and whole, or as Brene Brown calls it, "Wholehearted."...and the work of my heart is the only path to that...for this girl.

It is QUITE the ride.

So...I have to run...I am about to watch my father do the "voice of God" in Saul's conversion to Christ on the road to Damascus, in Spanish, to a group of K-12 children....there is NO way I am missing THAT.

I will MOST DEFINITELY need therapy after....again, just kidding. :))))

The path to wholeheartedness is dangerous, but I guess I am here to say that it is survivable. I have great hope too, that on the other side, of both the wilderness I created for myself and the one I was launched into...there is a beauty, a peace, a love, a healing, and great grace like I have never known. That is my one hope...my deepest hope.

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

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fear Factor or Tribe Building 101


Well, after two and a half years, a lot of encouragement (read that as pestering), battles with my own insecurities and fear...I have gone public, PUBLIC with my blog on Facebook...click here to go straight to it...Sunshine Dreams to You and I am terrified (read that as terrified). :)

I know it is time...I know this is right...I know it is scary and crazy and dangerous (to my heart...for a lot of reasons)...but it is...Time.

I hope if you are one of my Pollyanna Crazies that reads this blog regularly or just every once and awhile...if you like it, please feel free to share it with people you know.  If you don't...then not sure why you are reading this now...but I appreciate you nonetheless.  Also feel free to share the link to the FB page. I actually only thought a couple of people would "Like" it so I didn't think I would be doing THIS post...but I am in shock and awe...which is encouraging me to be bolder. ;)

I don't know if this whole process...blogging, writing, posting, building a tribe, being brave and "going for it"...will set me free, but I am afraid...and I am tired of being afraid.

I also know that I have to stop trying to live up to a standard of perfection....what a burden that is...


I love me some Jim. Whatever your beliefs...fear is of the devil in my book...and the devil has been terrifying me for WAY too long. I'm done. More importantly...he is done.

It is...Be Brave or Bust! :)))

"I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." ~ Psalm 119:32
 
Thank you for believing in me, encouraging me, sharing my writing with others. I guess Kristin was right...maybe I really do already have a tribe...either way, I am ready to take this out for a spin and see what this awesome tribe can do. ;)

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Life of Purposeful Accidents

There are no accidents.

Truth.


I have listened, argued about, studied, and at times simply shrugged off the many sides of predestination, free will, "meant to be"....*Sigh*...I am sitting here tonight wondering why I thought those were a good use of my time and energy?.?. What does it REALLY matter?

There are no accidents. Accidents?  I don't know (shaking my head).

Did I "accidentally" hear what I wanted to hear from the doctor two days before Haiti....no big deal, results Monday, probably nothing. Well, it seems it was (in fact) a big deal, the results did not come on Monday (today), and you can guess where my mind is going on the final one....*Sigh*

I heard what I wanted to hear...primarily, "I am not going to stop you from going to Haiti." I am still pretty sure he said that. :)

I take it as a good sign that I smiled about that just now...because there have not been a lot of smiles for me today. I am struggling.

First, I forgot to tell them about my latex allergy...I can hear Treva's face squish up...yeah, not as bad as it would have been for her, but everywhere they bandaged me is itching and on fire. *Sigh* I am bruised and wounded (and that is just on the inside). Men always are surprised at how women are about "wounds" on their bodies...okay, this woman. I don't believe I have always been this way....maybe I have...I don't know. What I do know is that I get very emotional when I don't feel well. Plus, it is like I see my body for the first time with the bandages and bruises...and it feeds into that whole, "Am I pretty?"...What is with that??? Worst sick person...Ever.

Ever.

So I got home late tonight from the office having accomplished very little other than the fact that I didn't kill anyone in light of one "office" disaster after another today. I am hurting a little (no Sis, I didn't overdo it). I have zero appetite. I'd love a glass of wine, but we know that is off limits along with Ibuprofen, my beloved gummy vitamins, prescribed B12 shots, and any "unfamiliar" food, etc...the list of what I cannot ingest is longer than what I can...okay, maybe not, but it feels that way.

I am pissy. Sorry.

I digress....

Over the weekend, I got a call from a friend who was asking me all about Haiti, and I was telling them about the trip I plan to take in November that will allow me to go to the northern part of Haiti to visit orphanages there, learn from the local fishermen...AND where there are these "amazing" dominoes games. Amazing. I have seen pictures. If you lose, you pin a clothespin to your ear, nose, arms...you get the picture. They are...in a word...Intense. :)

IV had me at dominoes my first day in Haiti when he was telling me about this trip they were planning. I mean...I was the first girl to ever beat my Uncle Odale...it was epic.

So in telling this, I learn that this person loves dominoes. Really?!?! I have known you for over 20 years...I had NO idea. This morning, I get a text message with a photo of their desk with a box of dominoes on it. It cracked me up. To which there was some trash talking back and forth...causing me to show them pictures of Uncle Odale and Miss Rosemary...

...and somewhere in all of that I forgot that I was going to have to wait an extra five days for test results...that demons had infected all of the electronic equipment in our office...that my side and arm were itching uncontrollably....that my bandaged area hurt...that I might actually never get caught up from being out of the office one solitary day...that I...

*Sigh*


Whew...Truth.

I am trying....the funny thing is it is when I am not being successful at this...that he sends tiny angels to me that remind me that I am going in the right direction...that I am growing, learning...

"God is okay with me even when I’m not okay with me. And that's a beautiful truth." ~ Lysa TerKeurst

My health feels "at risk". I don't feel very beautiful today. I didn't get everything done I needed to off of my to do list. I feel...dare I say...weepy. I am not sure where my "A" game is, but "B" and "C" are with him. Just sayin'. :)

There are no accidents.

Maybe. Maybe not. What I know beyond a shadow a doubt is that my life is NOT going the way I planned it...but it's going EXACTLY the way God planned it...and I'm okay with that.

...and THAT is enough...on the bad days (raised hand here)...and more than enough on the good ones...:)))

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

Sunday, June 23, 2013

In Search of My Tribe

"...Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders...Let me walk upon the water...Wherever You would call me...Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander...And my faith will be made stronger...In the presence of my Savior..."

I am crying as I write this, but I know it is the right thing to do...and as scary as it is...all I know that is about to come out...the bravery I have witnessed, and learned of, just within my family and friends the past three days has inspired me and given me great courage.

"The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." Over time, this definition has changed, and today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic. Heroics is important and we certainly need heroes, but I think we've lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we're feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage." ~ BrenĂ© Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection (I could NOT agree more.)

So...here goes.


I need to build a tribe. Yup...you read that right...a tribe.

So, I have been reading a lot of Jeff Goins stuff the past couple of years, and he is big in this theory that we all need to be "tribe builders"...so this thought didn't just pop out of nowhere, but the purpose for my tribe quite literally POPPED. A lot of people from all backgrounds, walks of faith (and non-faith), etc., reached out to me before and after my trip to Haiti with intense curiosity, desire to help in some way, a "need to know" more, etc. I have been quite overwhelmed with the intense interest and curiosity...though that is silly since I am the EXACT same way...but there is something about Haiti that really rocks people on a deep level (whether they have been there or not).

Hmmm...

I digress.

Let me first say that I am still learning all of the ways that one can help, should help, needs to help, etc. in a country that has been devastated, but has breathtaking strength and resiliency. What I am about to propose is not an end all - be all solution. It is an idea that was formulated by my friends IV and Tonya Whitman, and I am just wondering if there is not a way to fulfill their beautiful idea in a way that unites hearts in a not-that-new-of-a-concept format.

So before I tell you their glorious idea....I am going to shoot out mine....because should there be nil-to-none interest in what I am thinking...I don't want it to diminish in any way their idea....

If there were a way to develop a tribe by pooling together our resources (big and small) to collect a one-time $6,000 that would help launch a business that could create a micro-sustainability project for a small hillside community in Haiti, allowing them to work to support themselves and send their children to school....would you want to be part of it?

Now...I know that there are plenty of people in this world who can stroke a check for the full amount, or partial, but what I am feeling in my heart is that there are a lot of people who want to tangibly open their hearts to tangibly impact a community.  A tribe helping a tribe. Now there is no assurance of success. We would have to give and let go. We would have to give and trust God (or whatever your beliefs) with the outcome. Could you do that? Could I do that? These are questions that I have been struggling with myself the past week. I mean I am a results, goal-oriented person to my core. What if the lesson for us is not the gift of our money, but the gift of our trust in God to do something miraculous with our money or not (and there be a subsequent even bigger lesson in the "not" for each of us). Hmmm....

A gift of grace in that we give you this money in love...no strings...only prayers, great hope...and we give you our hearts....in Love.


Since October of last year, I have learned a terrifying amount about the walls I have built around my heart, my life...sadly, my soul. I am determined to do the work to get those walls destroyed and put aside once and for all. One of those is my trust of others with my own dreams, desires, passions, crazy ideas, spirituality....I can keep going. :)

I know this may on the surface seem like a crazy idea, but what if your $20, my $20, and 28 other people's $20 times 10 could help a village get a do-over???  Think about that. How many times have I written on this silly blog about wanting a do-over in my life as much as I knew that wasn't possible. Yet...I have wasted countless hours day-dreaming about it. Countless. Haven't you wished that for yourself at one time or another?? This is OUR collective chance to give a village, a tribe, a do-over. A $6,000 re-set button. Wow. Just WOW.

Now I am NOT going to put pictures here of the beautiful faces of children, of a beautiful mountain top village, a gorgeous landscape, or any guilt-, shame-driven crap of the sort. I want this to be a question of your heart. Because this may not be what your heart wants or needs. This may not speak to you, and I completely honor and get that.  If it does...IF. It. Does...then please let me know. Shoot me an e-mail at sunshinedreams2u@gmail.com, and I will get everyone hooked up and we will make this happen...and just for the record....I have NO idea what I am doing...I am just trying to obey....and lets be honest...not my strong suit. Just sayin'.  :)))

"...Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders...Let me walk upon the water...Wherever You would call me...Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander...And my faith will be made stronger...In the presence of my Savior..."

I am being led in ways I could never have imagined...and as scared as I am, okay terrified...the butterflies in my heart as I have been writing this post (and listening to this song) are better than the BEST feeling of love I have ever felt in my over-sized, romantic, tender heart. I can't get any more real than that, and the anesthesia is all out of my system so I have nothing to scapegoat on. So...who wants to go ride this rollercoaster of possibility with me?


 We ARE the somebodies...and isn't that ALWAYS the lesson...

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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

In Search of the Glad in a Liver Biopsy


I am soaking up the sun in an attempt to feel all of its energy and God's love.

So...as I am sitting out here on my deck trying my best to relax about tomorrow, dang it...the sun is SO bright I can see my reflection in my laptop as I type and all I can think is..."When did my neck get so OLD looking?" :))))

...then I start laughing...

*Sigh*

Let me list off the things you DON'T worry about when you are in a third world country and how I miss everything on that list. (I'm shaking my head.) Yeah....I am still working on my "re-entry" as they call it, and no amount of warning or advice prepares you for it...so there is the full truth of it. You're welcome. :)


I miss Tacura. There...I said it. I miss all of the kids, but everything about them is wrapped up in those final moments I got to spend with Tacura and how he looked and acted about my leaving... So..my mind and heart go to him. I can't wait to see him...all of them again.

I miss my best friend. Most days I am good, but others I am not. Today is a NOT.

I miss the things I am sure of....and there are fewer items on that list then there once were. Strange.

I miss the one thing I have grown more sure of...God loves me. NO. Matter. What. Trusting in that is a battle on the good days...on the bad, it is a war. He is patient. I am not. I am looking for the lessons. He is patient as I am a slow learner. It is a relationship. The one I really, REALLY need to get right. Once and for all. It drives me...daily. I miss it because I am devouring the lessons I am being taught, shown, given...because they are a...Gift.

I miss the ease of walls. Today I got hurt...twice...by people and in situations that would not have bothered me in the least even two months ago, but today...where I am....all of this vulnerability mess added on too (Thank you Brene Brown.)...it is painful...brutal even. *Sigh* Being open hearted is tough for this tenderhearted girl. Today is a reminder why I walled this bad boy up so well. *Ouch*

When you are single, you have no one to take you to the doctor, surgery, etc. Even with dear friends (and I have more than one person deserves) and a Sis you adore more than life...it is always a struggle of who do you inconvenience because the guilt is there. I have been overwhelmed at the offers today to take care of me, put me up, take me to the hospital, sit with me before and after surgery, etc. It has been breathtaking and unexpected. Yet the guilt sits with you...like an ache...

Being single is a lot like being an orphan (whether you have parents or not and depending where they are....go with the thought...).

So....I wrote as that came to me....let me ponder that.

Being single (for me at least) feels a lot like being an orphan.

Adrien might say I have had a breakthrough.

Well I need to lay down now. That thought chain just Took.Me.Out.


Tomorrow I am having a liver biopsy. They don't think whatever is causing crazy blood work is serious, but they don't know what the cause IS, so they are going to go the source of the problem, take a sample, and see what it tells them. Funny thing...a 30 minute procedure wipes out a day of your life, puts you under (literally), and makes you do fun things like update your trust and tell everyone you see for seven days prior..."I love you."....or is that just this girl?

I am glad that tomorrow will be over soon...and at least I will know.

That is all I got. As I told the "Captivating 7"...I am feeling a bit "pissy" today. *Sigh*

Okay...that might have made me smile...:)

***So I just read through this...what a mess of thoughts. Oh well...if you read my stuff, you are pretty used to my digressions and such. I am having a hard day. Forgive me. Nothing a clean bill of health, a good night's sleep, and prayer won't cure.***
 
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." ~ Philippians 4:6

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Haiti - Fresh Eyes, Renewed Heart

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." ~ Psalm 51:10

I went searching for this verse this morning as I desperately work to adjust back to my "normal life" after five days in Haiti. Although I wrote a novel while in Haiti, I cannot seem to find words...whether it is to write here or on my other spaces, or even when people ask me, "How was it?"...I seem to be on repeat with "It was beyond my wildest imagination."....and it was, but it was OH so much more...

So why can't I find the words?

I'm simmering. Processing. Percolating.

I don't know how long this part will take.

What I can say is that when everyone from all walks of life who have been to Haiti say to you, "Haiti will change you."...they are NOT lying. I have seen poverty, joy in the midst of chaos, beauty....in Europe, in Panama, and in other travels...I have NEVER seen it on the level of Haiti, and amazingly all at once. Beyond my photos, in the mental pictures I made, one snapshot could contain all of those things...All.

As I sit here struggling for words...for the right words, I am struck at how different I feel...even here writing, drinking a cup of coffee, listening to the birds chirp...I am even more struck at how I don't won't to lose the "different"...it is uncomfortable, unpredictable, unsafe, a little dangerous (okay...a lot dangerous), but I want more of what this is...and that alone makes me chuckle. Really Heather?!?!  Yes, really.

Hmmmm.....

I went to Haiti to help, but they helped me more. These children who have nothing....these people who are struggling to survive, to re-build...renewed me. Loved me. Opened their hearts to me. Trusted me.

There was this beautiful girl at the first orphanage in Hinche that we went to, and she stayed with me the entire time of our stay. Her head shaved, covered in ointment, peeling skin (I don't know what was wrong), I noticed that part for all of five seconds because I was overwhelmed by her beautiful big eyes, and her arms...reaching for me, clinging to me, wrapped around my neck as if in fear I would not hold on, that I would let her go...like she was drowning. She eventually released her grip some as we drew with colored chalk on the cinder block walls that surround the orphanage. I taught her how to blow kisses (which is a beautiful story all by itself). Her name was pronounced (Was Me Love), and we are not sure we got the correct spelling...towards the end of our visit, we both had Dum Dum suckers in our mouths...as I struggled in leaving her, saying good-bye, parting hugs....at the very end, she gently took the sucker (what was left of it) out of my mouth, gently tapped it in the air toward me as if in permission or "I am going to take this...okay?"...I smiled curiously. She stuck it in her mouth (along with the one she already had), smiled at me, and allowed the older girls to lead her away. When she glanced back at me over her shoulder, with both hers and my sucker in her mouth, her eyes said more to me than the words I could ever write here...or that I wrote once I got back to our bus. As we walked down the dirt path out of the orphanage, my heart breaking, tears streaming down my face, looking down, there in the middle of the path was a giant heart rock....I kid you not.

 I went to Haiti to show love, inject some joy, show compassion...to help.

Haiti showed me love, injected joy in me, showed me compassion...and clearly and most assuredly helped me.

I left a big part of my heart in Haiti, but that is okay because just like the loaves and fishes and how Jesus fed thousands....I don't know how, but even in giving it away, I left with a bigger heart and more love than I entered the country with five days earlier.

My heart is bursting, my spirit is renewed, and I am growing...Every. Day.

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Whispers of My Heart


So here I am...

In less than 24 hours, I will be in route/in Haiti. I am here because of the persistence of two men and God...all whispering to my heart until finally I listened...

I am releasing my grip....and no, I do not have any clue what that fully means.

As KD said to me yesterday, whatever "blip" you encountered on that mountain in Colorado last October, it popped in Kentucky this past weekend. He is so wise...that is why we call him "The Wise White Haired Man" :)....If there had not been Colorado, there would not be Haiti. If there had not been Colorado, there would not have been Kentucky. If there had not been Kentucky, there would not have been what has been occurring this week....and with my latest health odyssey (that actually was discovered because of Haiti and my need for some additional immunizations), a firm that is doubling in size, and the normal stress and strain of a life that I like to believe I live at full throttle....this exhausted woman hit pause and said, "It is time to stop and begin again." I have lost my way. I have silenced my heart, the very thing from God that gives me life. Whatever am I going to be able to give in Haiti I had been asking???....

...and then Kentucky.

I am reading so much material right now that sometimes I believe my head will explode, yet with every single thing I pick up lately, there seems to be a lesson....from a Soiree where I see my brave, strong friend on the cover, being celebrated as she gives back after one of the most wicked bouts of breast cancer I have known of, to a book on poverty in Haiti that my friend IV recommended I read before the trip and the acknowledgement that there are some things in this world you can not simply band-aid, to a new daily devotional I have started that this morning when I opened to today's date, was entitled, "Releasing Our Grasp"....and....

*Sigh*

Whatever God you believe in, however you pray, meditate, etc....there tends to be a universal belief out there that God, nature, etc. is speaking to all of us....whether we are listening is a WHOLE other story. That said, when I was in Colorado, I said (for the first time in my life) that God met me there on that mountain. I was broken and hurting and lost. Whether it was by my own volition, or God simply said, "Enough."....he was there, time stopped, and I finally broke through some pain that had been building in me for a very, very long time.

Yet...I knew then, and he reminded me in Kentucky...that there is more work to be done.

My deepest prayer this morning, outside of please God let me get everything done that I need to do before my flight, is God please let me fulfill whatever is needed from me, on behalf of you, while I am in Haiti.
 
"Above everything else guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life." ~ Proverbs 4:23

As difficult as this will be, I am going to give the job of guarding my heart over to God. Haiti will take a delicate balance of being open hearted, but not too open hearted (that may seem confusing unless you have read some of these books on extreme poverty or seen it for yourself...which on this level, I have not). It is a delicate balance that I alone am not equipped for so I have little choice than to let God lead me and protect me in this adventure.*

*That sentence actually made me burst out laughing as a tear fell. This should be interesting. :)

As I do final preparation, I cannot help but think of Doretha...her open heart, her hospitality, the magic of her presence and her home, the way she lives her life arms and heart wide open, and how she loves...Everybody. If I can learn a smidgen of that, show a smidgen of that, give a smidgen of that...I too could say that I have had a life well lived. So in the end, I hope that I take Doretha - her lessons and her heart - with me on this adventure. I hope I have learned well...I pray that I have learned well.

Listen to the whispers of your heart...

I am. It is not always easy or painless or perfect...it is truly living not just surviving, and I have had plenty of the latter to last me a dozen lifetimes...it is time for me to truly...Live.

If I can be so bold, if you are reading this, please pray for the team of people going to Haiti...for safe travels, open hearts, God's will.

I also would ask that you would pray for my health. I will be having more tests when I return from Haiti, but the good news is that it does not look to be life-threatening, and they are not making me cancel my trip. Hopefully it is nothing, but the doctors want to be sure. There will be some painful tests when I get back, but I am not worrying about those now....in fact, while a little shocked that once again something had "popped up" shocked me two weeks ago...it in no way compares to the battles my friends are going through with their health. My sweet E who is battling cancer for the third time in less than three years and others who have larger battles in front of them. They give me courage to face whatever it/this is....plus, my specialist told me to bring back a couple of babies for him...so I have work to do. ;)  All kidding aside, I am sure I will write more about it later, as I can and want and need to, but know that I am not in grave danger...but I would ask for prayers.

I won't be writing until I return, so between now and then....enjoy the break from me. :)))

Thank you for reading my musings, for so many of you that read this - for being my dear friends, for loving me, for praying for me, for inspiring me.

Our lives are a journey....we are out here in this world not satisfied with the safety of concrete paths, but steadily and faithfully with machete in hand...making our own fresh trail through the woods. Even on my worst days, I am still glad for this...Always.

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