Marc and I took our littlest to the Chris Tomlin concert this past week. Some friends gifted us with tickets and what a gift!  The concert was amazing, Kim Walker-Smith was on stage all night, she’s kind of like one of my faves!  Evyn loved and stayed postured- hands lifted most of the night – it was the sweetest watching her worship.

This was my first delight!

My second was a young lady sitting a row in front of us. She was so fun!  Probably around 16 years or so and she had the best time and I had the best time watching her. She danced and sang and was a party all by herself.  Coincidentally, she wasn’t by herself, she was sitting with about four or five other girls her age, smack dab in the middle of them but she was one of a kind! The other girls stood stiff like boards the entire concert, not a hand lifted, not a single dance move but this stiffness didn’t stop my little fun friend! She nudged and moved and tried to get them to come with her on the ride she was on but none of them would have it, so she rode all by herself!

I fell in love with her!

Her spunk,

Her willingness to be herself regardless of what others thought or did,

Her fun!

I pray she never lose herself – that she never look to the eyes of this world to define her – that she always play and dance and be herself. What a joy it is to see someone be unashamedly herself!  It was such a gift to me!

I couldn’t help myself – when the concert ended I leaned forward, grabbed her shoulders and said, “You are so much fun!  I so enjoyed you! Thank you! Don’t stop being fun because you really are amazing!”

I pray she forever hears my voice whisper that truth into her ear that night. Those days she doubts herself, believes she doesn’t compare, feels less than, silly or unimportant!  I pray that whisper rush back to her ear and she is reminded of how lovely she truly is to those secretly watching!

Sweet girl you are more than enough!!  A delight!!

 

New normal is so uncomfortable.

My dad unexpectantly, in some respects, passed away a few weeks ago. April 8, 2018, he entered heaven after a long stay in the hospital trying to heal his heart and kidneys enough for him to go home. It was looking “good” and he was moving towards home bound until the morning of April 7 when he suffered a massive heart attack from which he never woke up from.

I have been heartsick.

It’s surreal, unbelievable, what the heck just happened??!!

 

This was not how this was supposed to go down, he doesn’t go down. I thought for sure our rebound king would do what he does best – rebound! He always does.  We have been here before…hospitals, ventilators, waiting… we have done this before – it was not supposed to end this way!

But it did…and now a new normal unfolds.

Some nights I toss and turn trying to wrap my brain around how to do Christmas without him, grandchildren’s birthday parties, and all these end of the year school programs he was always a good sport about.

My heart aches.

Life seems more gray…shrouded a bit…numb…not the same.

I know things will get better, that this is the grieving process, yada, yada, yada…this is what they say and I know it is all true, but it doesn’t ease the dull ache in my heart that colors everything a blah-like gray!

Sadness can be consuming. I am learning once again to sit in the middle of it not letting it drown but rather choosing to be surrounded by its pervasive nature, feeling it in all my cells  to my depths.

It is hard to be present on those gray days.

But I choose to.

I cry when I need to,

I share my sadness with safe friends,

I allow others to come close and feel uncomfortable in the “there’s nothing to say or do” space between us and choose not to rescue them from my pain.

It’s not a place most people find me, I am an optimist by nature, so it’s uncomfortable for all of us but it’s good in that weird-good kind of way as we sit together in the dull, achy spaces between us all!  Thank you for being with me here!  It’s important that you are here with me! Thank you!

"Don't study this moment. Be in it." 

This is a quote that I not only underlined but dog-eared the page in Brene Brown’s newest book, Braving the Wilderness. It hit me and kept me pondering for several pages after reading it.

We are not traditionally good at this.

We like to circle high above, safely removed, untouched and untouchable.
How much of our lives do we miss because we are circling above instead of being smack dab in the center of it all??
Safely snuggled in between the stories of our lives instead of actively writing the stories ourselves.
We study the moment, emotionally removed in an effort to preserve what we think is important about our versions of the stories being written.

Being involved may mean we

lose our control,

lose our edge.

lose our objectivity,

lose our pulse on the matter,

because the truth is, when the heart gets involved, it gets messy!

"BE IN IT"

Do you dare?

It is a very brave thing to step into your own life and feel every part of it!

To stay close when things get tough, to move in when things get heated, to sit still when things feel crushing, to dance when it feels embarrassing, to speak up when it feels risky, to ask for help when you feel small and insignificant, to see when others turn a blind eye, to remain when all others walk away, to feel all of it, in every moment no matter how small or big, no matter how consuming or diminishing, no matter how crippling or life-giving — no matter!

All of life…all of it!

The births and the deaths,

the important and the insignificant,

the serious and the silly,

the purposeful and the trivial,

the heartfelt and the heartbreaking,

the memorable and the forgettable,

the big picture and the intimate details,

the joy and the sadness,
all of it!

The truth is the sweetest of moments are not as sweet without the bitter parts of this life. The bitter is what makes the sweet sweeter. It is what makes us savor the sweet moments because if we are living IN our lives and not OUTSIDE of them we know that bitter moments are coming and they will take our breaths away wishing for sweeter breaths.

No one said this life would be easy, but they do say it is worth it!

I have lived most of my life from the outside looking in, staying a safe distance, hiding my true self because I thought I was guarding my heart but it was a lie. I have walked around soul dead for so long – the tip of my tongue tasting the sweet and bitter but not taking it all in and holding it in my mouth to experience the depth of it all. No MORE!!

 

I CHOOSE TO LIVE WITHIN

It’s scary but it’s so, so worth it!  Because at the end of it all –

the story is so much better written in your own handwriting instead of just a good read!