Love holds no record of wrong!

Happy Monday friends!!

I hope you are encouraged by today’s video. Carrying wounds from our past around with us can slow us down. I want to see you free to MOVE forward and here’s a little encouragement for the journey!

Click below to hear this Monday’s encouragement.

Photo on 8-31-15 at 10.36 AM

My eulogy

A few weeks ago I wrote my eulogy.eulogy

Don’t worry…I don’t plan on going anywhere soon. It was part of an exercise for a workshop I attended. The workshop was called The Power of Life Planning.

At first I thought it was a really weird thing to do but the more the instructor explained it the more I understood it.

The general idea is that if you write out what you would like someone to say about you at the end of your life, you can then work backwards and make sure you put a plan in place for those things to be accomplished.

It was very telling about the people whom I love, what I dream about, what I care deeply about and what I believe my life purpose is. I will reveal a few tidbits but you’ll have to wait 52 years for the rest (…I plan to live to 100!)

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Who I love…

“Tracey loved her family with all her heart…”

I realized after writing with passion about my love for my husband and children, grandchild, great grandchildren-to-come and my extended family that I need to make sure that I am investing my time and energy into those relationships consciously and purposefully. Life can get so crazy that those we love most get pushed down on the priority list.

What I dream about…

“Although Tracey enjoyed traveling all over the world it was at her lake home in a little town called Jefferson that she felt the most like herself…”

So, I am not travelling the world…yet. And we don’t own the cottage in Maine…yet. But these are things I dream of and if I want them to come to pass then I need to start putting plans in place to ensure that they happen.

What I believe in…

“Her relationship with God was so deep and so critical to her that she longed for everyone she came in contact with to have that same experience. At age 14 her Dad wrote a verse in her Bible – a gift commemorating her baptism. It was Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. Tracey took that verse as a charge and tried to live her life intentionally to that end.

“““““““

You get the idea.

Writing out that pseudo-eulogy painted a picture of what I would like my life to look like when all is said and done.

It gives me something to work backwards from to make sure that I am building a life of purpose.

Obviously this will look different for everyone and many people will probably have higher aspirations than I do – as it turns out I realized after writing this out that I am not as complicated as I thought I was. I can really make life more difficult than it has to be!

And the other thing worth mentioning is that of course life happens and things change but this exercise is a good place to start to figure out what matters most to you and what you can be working towards.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…crazy idea or helpful tool?

Time to heal, depression

Unconditional love.

On Tuesday, I wrote a short blog on my Positively Depressed microblog that hit a nerve with some folks so I thought I’d give a little backstory here. It all started with this picture.
littleyou

I used to roll my eyes when I’d hear people talk about healing their inner child.  I was of the school of thought that the past is in the past and needs to stay there.  I didn’t think there was any point in going back and revisiting it.

I told my counselor as much the first time I met with her.  I told her, “I am not interested in rehashing the past.  I am ready to move on.” I told her, in the words of Carly Simon, “I haven’t got time for the pain.” She patiently nodded her head.  We began with what was going on with me in the present. Much to my dismay, within minutes we were revisiting pain from my childhood and young adult life. UUGH!

The problem with pain is unless you process it and get healing from it, it doesn’t miraculously go away. The great news is once you do, even though you will still remember it, you will not be held captive by it and it won’t hold you back from blossoming into the fragrant, most beautiful version of yourself.  Of course, there is always more work to be done but digging up bitter roots that cause damage is an absolute necessity.

After a recent session – I sent my counselor the above picture.  I thought she’d enjoy it since it went along with some of the things we had just talked about.  I didn’t expect her to ask me to actually write out how I would nurture my little self! Yikes. It took me a good long while to be able to articulate some of the things I needed to hear. This is a summary of what I wrote.

I would tell her:

That I love her just for being her spacey, disorganized self.

That I love her –  imperfections and all.

That she doesn’t have to try to fix everything.

That when she makes mistakes, I will be there to help her work through them.

That it’s ok to not feel strong sometimes and when she feels weak, I’ll be there to pick her up.

That she doesn’t have to push down her emotions but she can allow herself to feel them in order to process them.

I would tell her how proud I am of her

– just the way she is.

I realized, after reading it back to myself, this is precisely what God says to us in so many words… Knowing it is one thing, but speaking it over yourself and getting it to move from your head to your heart is quite another.

Humans do not always speak the truth our heart desperately needs to hear and if we rely on them to, we will be disappointed over and over. For those truths we need to listen to the One who created us. He loved us first, loves us still and always will.

Unconditionally.

Just like Little You needed to hear reassuring words of encouragement and love…Big You does too.

If you take the time to write out what your heart needs to hear – I’m willing to bet God has said them all to you.

I’d love to hear your feedback…♥

Time to heal, depression

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year??

It’s actually a pretty difficult time of the year for many. There are images everywhere of ideal family dinners but for some that is not a reality. There is pressure to buy presents and spend money yet there are those who are struggling financially. There are emotions that the holidays stir up that lay dormant for much of the year.

I understand. There is, however, a way to manage some of the things that make it difficult.

As I unpack the ornaments, I unpack memories with them, sweet reminders of past Christmases. Many of the ornaments that decorate our tree commemorate a milestone…Our First Christmas, Baby’s First Christmas…etc. Many of them were gifts from my mom. While the memories are sweet, the pain of loss is bitter.

For years I would slip away from the activity of decorating to collect myself and shake off the sadness but I have learned over the years to change my mindset. Now, I look forward to the tradition as a way of setting time aside to be with the memories and celebrate all the love that my tree holds:

  • a faded ornament from my grandparent’s tree
  • little treasures made with tiny fingers that are now full grown hands
  • chubby faces of babies dressed like santa and an elf (the things we do to our children!)
  • gifts from friends old and new

ImageHere are a few tips to help you navigate the holidays with cheer!

1. Identify those things that cause stress 

Is there something you are dreading during the holiday season? Are there difficult relationships that you will have to deal with? Is the financial pressure of gift giving stressing you out? Unless you identify the sources of stress you can’t address them.

2. Find a way to limit if not eliminate those things.

If there is something that you are absolutely dreading, you can take control over how it affects you by changing your mindset. Go with a different attitude and you may be pleasantly surprised how things turn around.

You may discover as you dig a little deeper that you are striving to meet other people’s expectations of you which is not a healthy motive for continuing to put yourself in a negative situation. If you can’t eliminate it altogether then consider limiting the amount of time or maybe gathering in a place or time that would be less stressful.

If finances are stressing you out let people know ahead of time that you will be scaling back and giving smaller meaningful gifts instead so that the expectation is set ahead of time.  Maybe it’s my age, but I enjoy thoughtful things my children have done like recording a song for me or putting a slide show together as opposed to store bought things.

3. Carve out some time for yourself

Even if it is something really small, do something YOU love to do this season.  Last night on our way home from picking up my daughter from work we drove around and looked at houses in our neighborhood all lit up for Christmas.  Normally we zoom in and out hardly noticing. While I was organizing my closet the other day I put on Miracle on 34th Street.  I am the only one in my family who really loves that movie so I made a cup of tea and watched (and was still productive!) Ok, so I did two things for myself!!

4. Let something go

Unless you are incredibly organized or not very busy it is likely that something is going to get missed this year. For me, it’s Christmas cards.  I love to send them, I love to get them but I am letting it go this year.  There are just too many things to do and not enough time. Making that decision freed me of having it hang over my head. It just wasn’t in the cards this year. (pun intended)

5. GIVE!

This should really be first but if the holidays are difficult, stressful or sad for you the absolute best thing you can do is GIVE. It’s getting a little late in the game but I am sure there are still causes that need and would gladly accept last minute help. It may be giving of your time or a gift for someone in need but it will be the thing that brings you great joy this season.

ornament

Wishing you and yours a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

xo

28 years ago our hearts made a plan…

On June 8th, twenty eight years ago Danny and I got married.

me and Danny

Our hearts made lots of plans.

We planned to have children. We had two amazing boys. And then God completely surprised us with a daughter.  A most beautiful surprise that was not in the plan.

We lived on Long Island in New York.  We planned to have a nice house someday. And we do, but it is in New Port Richey, Florida.  A nice surprise since we both love the sunshine but that was not in the original plan.

We dreamed of having a business. We never imagined it would be selling (the best) chicken sandwiches and sweet tea! A great surprise but not exactly in the plan.

We planned to have Sunday dinners at my mom’s house as our children grew but sadly that ended abruptly when my boys were four and 1 year(s) old.

We planned on watching our kids grow up with their cousin Alex but she will remain forever 18 to us now that God has taken her to be with Him.

We planned on never speaking a harsh word to each other and always communicating openly and lovingly…well you know how that goes!

There is joy and heartache in every journey in every life and every married life. What has held us together and made this journey so beautiful is that even though we have made lots of plans and are still making them, we rely on the reassuring fact that God alone determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

In his heart man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps

We still make plans. Lots of them. Exciting ones. But we hold them loosely knowing that there will be twists and turns and unexpected detours. We know that even though some of the bends in the road will be confusing, we will look back and see that they were leading us to the places that God intended for us to go.

Twenty eight years later by the grace of God, our love is sweeter, richer and deeper.

And we’re still making plans!

Good, Good Friday

The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. ~ Luke 19:10

 What can take away our sin?

 What can make us whole again?

 What can dry our tears?

 What can mend our broken relationships?

What can help us extend forgiveness to others?

 What can heal our bodies?

 What can restore our minds to sanity?

 What can bring peace to a restless soul?

What can cast out fear?

 What can give us courage?

 What can give us strength when we are weak?

 What can give us hope?

 What can redeem all that is wrong in the world?

 Nothing, but the blood of Jesus.

it is finished

Embracing Imperfection

embrace imperfectionWhile we’re on the subject of things that don’t define you let’s talk about failure. I am not good at this. Well, actually I’m pretty good at failing I’m just not good at handling it.

I’m sure nobody likes it, but there is a certain sector of the population that has been stricken with perfectionism and they have a particular aversion to failing.  When they fail it makes their skin crawl and their insides shake, causing them to wish that the earth would open up and swallow them.  That kind of aversion. 

Apparently I belong to that sector.

Several years ago I made a bad judgment call.  It led to a misunderstanding and the result was an upset in a relationship that I valued greatly.  I wasn’t the only one at fault, I felt wronged also and the whole thing made me mad at everyone involved. But mostly with myself. I should have known better. If only I had made a different decision. If only I had listened to my first instinct. If only, if only, if only.  But I didn’t. I had failed.

I apologized for my lack of good judgment.  The others apologized for theirs and I forgave everyone involved. Except myself.

This gets really psycho- babble-ish but stay with me here…

I was angry with myself.  I didn’t even realize I was doing this but I projected my own disappointment with myself to God. If I was disappointed in me…then He must be disappointed too. Letting that fester for too long ended up with me feeling very disconnected from Him.  That is not a good place to be.

It was all over a really small incident but that’s what perfectionism does.  It exaggerates and accuses.

Here is how Wikepedia describes it:

Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.

 As I grew through this process I redefined perfectionism for myself as it pertains to me.

Perfectionism – a personality trait caused by pride in which I think that I am above failing which is not realistic so when I fail as I inevitably do I decide that I will take the place of God and judge myself for my shortcomings therefore negating the redemptive work of the cross.

That definitely doesn’t sound as noble as the first definition. Yet, that is ultimately what I am saying when I don’t extend grace to myself for failure. If God is forgiving and graceful who am I to not extend that same grace to myself? (This works when we judge others too but that’s another blog for another day)

Ironically the one who is Perfect does not expect us to be perfect.  He came to redeem our imperfection!

Failure does not define you.

Just because you fail it does not mean that you are a failure. It means that you are human. Bring your imperfections to the cross and let the redemptive blood of Jesus do it’s work.

Be kind to yourself and embrace your imperfection.

Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. ~ Romans 3:24 NLT

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