Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Gift of Words

I have a problem with procrastination. It kills me to say it...admit it...but it is true. Let me just say that procrastination combined with my inability to say, "No." to well...ANY....request made of me is a HORRIFIC combination. Horrific.

I am getting better. I do things like focusing on tasks early in the day that I hate to get them out of the way. I am learning the word no. Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror while applying my make-up in the morning and just practice saying it...like part of the problem is that no one ever taught me how to actually form the words. LOL #forthelove

The problem that nags and hangs around my neck still are the tasks I both can and say yes to but don't get done timely because I have a need to do them "perfectly"....Hmmm...what do you mean you might ask. Well, I have the idea for a lovely surprise or a gift for someone. I then look to carve out the time to do it...plan, purchase, execute (which might mean mailing or delivering), but then you also need the perfect card with it so you can express exactly why you wanted to do this for them...why you were thinking of them, etc. It is (rolling my eyes) crazy.

Part of my little dream Saturday today is not simply purchasing and wrapping Christmas gifts...it has morphed into a day to do all of those thoughtful things I have been trying to do..All. Dang. Year. *Sigh* The notes I didn't get written. Donations I didn't get shipped or even ordered. Presents that I got ordered but never shipped. Birthday cards, anniversary cards, returned notes. I don't have FB Messenger and I usually check FB from my phone. Lets not EVEN discuss how many messages on FB I need to read and respond to...Holy. Cow. I must be the ONLY person on the planet who doesn't use Messenger. My people be writing to me....and I have been missing all of the questions/notes/messages. Whoops.


So...I tanked up on some strong coffee this morning, bundled up under a quilt, put my entire IPod on shuffle (2745 songs...surely that is enough right?!?!), and started writing.

Mother. Mary. and Joseph. (envision my fake Irish accent)

What a gift.

I have enjoyed writing these love letters to my tribe...my people....more than you can imagine. It has been a lovely, tremendous reminder of a year that has been FULL and blessed beyond measure (blessed by both the trials and celebrations). I have been SO busy whining and wrestling with my own exhaustion (completely my fault), that I haven't had time for THIS. This beautiful time to say thank you to the people who have made this one of the single best years of my life.

I did one of those cheesy videos that takes snippets of your social media from a period of time and condenses it into a short clip...note to self...develop one that is longer. ;)  I was blown away when I saw it. What. A. Year. I have been allowed the gift of Haiti not once, but three times this year. I have met some 200+ new friends and tribe members through those trips. People that are brave and adventurous and love Jesus and love their lives at 100+ mph and are imperfect and growing and living life fully. I have spent time with children both in Haiti and at Camp Caudle who have NO reason for joy yet are so joy-filled, and they embrace life...FULLY. They want more from their lives....to do more....to have more with Jesus. To learn. It is breathtaking. I have spent in sum total around 30 days at Camp Caudle this year...for two camps, weekends digging in with friends and tribes, celebrations, and even a little work. I have experienced two seasons of baseball with Sam (the spring and summer), football with Jon and Sam this past fall. I have watched all three of Sis' kids spread their wings (and two their passports) to serve God on the mission field. I got to take my Sis not once, but twice to Haiti this year and watch what has moved and changed my life begin to move and change hers. Sharing that with her is truly one of the greatest gifts God has given me this past year. I experienced Catalyst. I have celebrated the wedding of one of our C7, the birth of another C7's son, and the wedding of another C7's son. I have realized that doing life with them was the biggest gift God taught me back on that mountain in Colorado in 2012. It has been a gift I have been grateful and honored to speak about a half dozen times this past year to women of all ages as I found my voice in a new way. I have seen our little firm more than double in size this past year...and we wrestle with the will of God on the opportunities that lay ahead to double it again. I have seen God heal me of a lot of old wounds - both personally and professionally as I step out in faith in both arenas not knowing if I can handle the step ahead, but learning that radical obedience is just that...Radical. and...Obedience. I got to see IF come to fruition in February and then watch it slowly expand my tribe throughout this year. I could not be more excited by what 2015 has in store for my life just as it pertains to IF. I have flown...everywhere...it seems. My travel this year has been as diverse as it has been excessive. This is the year that I admitted I have grown weary of driving...I think the 20+ years of driving so much professionally has finally taken its toll. I have lost my love for being behind the wheel; I love being a passenger on the road though....:))) The year of the purge might just be the single biggest surprise for those who have known me only for the past six years as I have leaned down my life in every, single category. My prayer is that 2015 will be the cap-off year for what I believe will be remembered as the great three year purge (years from now) as it will have taken three years to unwind a life that simply got to excessive. I cannot even imagine what I was thinking all those years. This does not of course impact my love of books. I have bought more books this year than in any single year (I think.), but I have also read more books start to finish this year than I have since 2000. That is a ratio I both love and am proud of...there are simply lots of beautiful words out there, and I want to read them all. EVEN the ones I don't understand or agree with...call me nutty. :)))

Speaking of words....

So this post started because I am sitting here marinating in the joy of writing words to those I love. I forget how much I love to write. Blogs, articles, thank you notes, proposals....I love words.

This holiday season I may have once again waited until the last moments to do my shopping. I may for the third/fourth year in a row not have one single Christmas decoration up in my home. I may be racing into the final days of the year trying to close deals, financials, and meet all of my last minute deadlines and obligations....BUT this year, I have shared the gift of words with some of the most important people in my life. The joy is selfishly all mine because writing them has been such a gift. I am so grateful to those that CHOOSE to do life with me. There are so many in my life who over my 43 years have chosen not to do life with me for a variety of reasons...so this girl will never, EVER take for granted the beauty of someone saying, "Yes. I will do life with you. The good. The bad. The ugly." These amazing people...starting with the beautiful, gifted C7....have taught me the art and the beauty of doing life with others. They have taught me how. They have been patient as I stumbled along not knowing what I was doing. I have dropped balls. Let them down. Not been ENOUGH when they needed me. Yet, YET they remain in this life with me...still trudging through...doing life with me...Every. Day. God Bless those that Love Us When We are UNLOVABLE.

I am not perfect. Never, ever has there been a bigger work-in-process than me. I am loved though more than I deserve. I have been given the gift of tribe. I have been blessed with women (and men) who love me for who I am now, but believe in who I can be. They push me deeper and more lovingly into my destiny. God gave me life for a reason. I understand that more now than I have ever had, and I am responsible for using the gifts He gave me to love others...Well. Someday I hope that I do. I hope that my legacy someday will be that I lived hard and loved well. #bless

This isn't what I planned to write...it never is...but this is perfect because I get to say thank you for being a part of my life. A part of this glorious 2014. Thank you to my friends and family who walk this life with me. Truly...bless your hearts. To my tribe though...which includes my precious Sis...I owe you everything because I was a pile of putty in October 2012 when God sent me my first taste of tribe...and today whatever good I have done or I am...it is because of your faithfulness in loving me well and teaching me how to do life with others. I was clueless. I hope I have honored (and continue to honor) your gift well.

I love you with my whole heart. ❤️☀️

Merry Christmas!

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

 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Broken Crayons Still Color

A friend of mine prayed for and over me Sunday afternoon as we both sat on my couch. I had just finished praying for each member of our little IF tribe and said, "Amen," and she said, "Now it is your turn." I had forgotten about myself. She remembered me. Her prayer was breathtaking.
 
I forgot myself.
 
Deep. Sigh.
 
As a woman...as a single woman...I spend a lot of time worrying that I am selfish...that I do not do enough for others. The truth is I have selfish moments or bouts of time, but that makes me no different than the average grown adult. What all of that shame and insecurity has done is fester into a healthy dose of worry that I am not enough until guess what....I'm not enough.
 
There are not enough hours in a day to do, be, see, talk to, e-mail, write, text, call, speak, approve, advise, cheer, clean, and on and on and on....all of the things that I need to do in a given day, week, month, or year. Not. Enough.
 
The art of self-sabotage.
 
I am sitting here at the end of another year...reflecting on the year that was and trying to find hope for the year that is around the corner...and I am sad and mad at myself BEYOND words. I have done it again. Dammit. I have worked and scheduled myself into the abyss of exhaustion, self-loathing, and despair of not being enough. Again. AGAIN!
 
When am I going to learn this lesson???? #forthelove
 
Last week I sent a private text to the wrong person/group. I beat myself up for about 24 hours. Way to spoil the surprise Heather. Douche.
 
I spent three hours today combining no less than six full legal pads of to do lists into two new ones - the things that MUST be done this week, and the things that MUST be done by year-end. Both have hidden meanings...something bad is going to happen if the lists don't get done in those timeframes. Ugh. Everything else is being put in a file marked 2015. I can barely contain my joy in anticipating opening that file on 1/1/2015 (can you hear the sarcasm?). :)))
 
Tonight I read a post by Jen Hatmaker on parenting kids who sabotage big days, and I swear it was written for me...Ummmm, no surprise when several adults started posting that they were as guilty of it as their children. We all have stories. Stories of scarcity and shame. Boy how it manifests itself in the quilt of our days. I have so much still to learn about myself and why I do the things I do. Breathtaking.
 
I am tired of living and operating from the pain of BIG DAYS past. The what might have beens steal the joy of the here and now. The joy of a woman opening herself up to you on your couch on a Sunday afternoon because she feels safe with her feelings and pain. The joy of a friend who sees you drowning and offers a hand. The joy of a child who wants to play with YOU...do crafts with YOU...take a hike with YOU. The joy of being needed and being able to be PRESENT and AVAILABLE to them.
 
I read this article called The Disease of Being Too Busy, and I saved it (too busy to read it when I saw it), and I cried reading it. While I have been very "intentional" in 2014 on trying to not use the phrase "I'm busy." or "I'm so busy."...yet alas it somewhere morphed into "I am EXHAUSTED!" emphasis added. ‪#‎bless‬
 
I am not alone. I have watched some of the people I love and admire most in this world run themselves clean ragged this year...and for what?? Purpose, calling, family, church, school, etc. Yeah...all of the "good stuff" so where are we all going wrong??? We have to cut out some of the "good stuff" and it is heartbreaking...especially for many of us who feel like we are finally doing "good work" finding our "people" and our "calling" and on and on. But there can be too much of a "good" thing, and although I am not some expert over here having figured it all out...I am realizing that I have too much "good stuff" in my life right now, and I need to lean it down some. Not only for the sake of my sanity and my health, but for the sake of the truly good work and ultimate thing God is asking of me in this life. This one single life I have to live.
 
If you are somewhere near, or right in the middle of, this with me...this read might be for you. Pour a cup of tea and take a minute....the link is in the title above.
 
Excerpt....
 
"We need a different relationship to work, to technology. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. It’s not just about “leaning in” or faster iPhones. We want to be truly human.
 
W. B. Yeats once wrote:
 
“It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.”"
 
"We want to be truly human." Wow. I don't know about you, but that strikes a powerful cord with me. The overwhelming guilt in the past few weeks is that I haven't been there in the bigger/deeper ways for some of the people in my life. I have been thinking...I need more time to write a card, cook a pie, or just go visit someone. I know I did that well once. What happened? When did my life get in the way of me just being human?
 
My friend last night..."Heather your soul craves time alone, time to read, time to write. You are not feeding your soul."...Tears. Flowing.
 
I cannot get her words out of my heart. I know she is right. I know so deep in my soul that it has been aching (real live pain) since she uttered the words. It is as if my soul is pushing through the skin...listen it cries. Listen.
 
The beauty of these past few years has been the work...reading, writing, and time alone with God....that is where the hard work has been done and the beauty from the ashes (as another friend would say) has arisen. There is more work to be done, but even more I can't step away from the very things that help me find LIFE. As I wrote that, I remembered a line John Eldredge said in one of his studies about once you taste healing or success...then it becomes the most dangerous time of your life...because you start replacing the things that help you get there with STUFF and RUNNING. That is exactly what I am starting to do, and I am SO stupid because I know better. I know SO much better than to do that.
 
The art of self-sabotage. I should write a book.
 
Ugh.
 
It is past my bedtime so I have to close...not because there are not still words, but because I need to rest on all of these words already left on the paper. Maybe you are fighting all of this too...spread too thin, fear of not being enough, self-sabotage, or just a feeling of despair. You are not alone, but more than the tribe that walks these paths with you is the love of a God who never leaves your side. Through thick and thin, feast and famine, the highs and lows...our God loves us deeply and fights for us fiercely. It has taken me many, many years to realize the deep abiding love of God for me...and I have just barely scratched the surface.
 
I sit here tonight. Exhausted. No. Doubt.
 
I also sit here tonight being restored by the prayers of others, the words of others, and my beautiful God. I am a broken mess...even after so much lost and learned....I hit my knees again asking for forgiveness and restoration at the foot of the cross. Come for me and my heart sweet Lord.
 
 

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