The beginning is the most important part of the work. ~Plato
Could there be anything more daunting than staring at a blank canvas, or a blank computer screen? It’s always the first stroke, or the first word that seems so difficult to release.
At the same time, could there be anything more exciting than contemplating the potential that a blank canvas holds? The moment when you anticipate all the possibilities about to unfold. Indeed, as Paul Cezanne once put it, “It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.”
If you could have your perfect day, what would it look like? Would your day be filled with the rush of business matters, making phone calls, or ticking away at that to-do list? Would you disappear from sight and take to binging on social media?
What would you do?
I pose this question to myself, as well, as we welcome in the month of June. Summer is upon us; kids are getting out of school and I sense the excitement of an expansion in time. The days are longer, and I even get a break from filling school lunch boxes in the early morning hours! This, alone, fills me with an anticipation equivalent to that of flying off to some tropical island! There’s just something about the summer months and the marvelous thought of slowing down.
I was planning to write to you from Africa this week, only, God had other plans. It’s a long story, really, so I’ll try and break it down into one, simple paragraph. Here goes!
I was booked on a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, leaving on Thursday, March 23rd. While connecting through Atlanta, all of that changed. On two consecutive nights, my flights were bumped. To make matters more interesting, the airline could not get my family on another Johannesburg bound flight until the next Monday or Tuesday, which put us some five days behind on an already tight Spring Break schedule. How could we keep this holiday moving forward?
My journey to motherhood started with brokenness, heartache and grief. It has become a story of redemption, love and joy.
I always assumed motherhood would come quickly & easily for me. I dreamed about seeing those two pink lines on a pregnancy test, watching my belly grow month after month, rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night and—after many long hours of labor—resting with my newborn baby snuggled to my chest. As it turned out, my journey to the life-changing experience of motherhood ended up looking a whole lot different.
My soul magnifies the Lord. ~Luke 1:46b
How do you feel about the holidays? For many people, their feelings can offer up a mixed bag of emotions.
On one end, there is excitement and anticipation everywhere—then turn around—and stress and anxiety can appear out of nowhere.
For many people, the holiday season is the most difficult time on the calendar. Perhaps, they don’t feel special, loved, included, or valued. Perhaps, they feel forgotten — as if they are mysteries in the eyes of the world — and this time of year serves as a reminder of their deepest pain.
“A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.” ~Dalai Lama
When someone hurts you, feelings of anger and resentment may begin to surface. These feelings can become life consuming, and sometimes, they make forgiveness seem impossible. You might think that a particular person doesn’t deserve your forgiveness—or you may believe yourself incapable of providing it. However, forgiveness isn’t something you do for the person who wronged you; it’s something you do for yourself… And it can be difficult—so difficult that forgiving someone who has brought you deep pain, can be one of the hardest things in your life to do.
Okay, I admit it. The daily news cycle is getting me down. So much negativity, ill-will, and accusation in our political process. Hateful rhetoric and false facts consume the headlines. There are days when I feel drained. How about you?
I should clarify that I’m not a huge television consumer (this from a one-time television news journalist) and as of recently, I’m hesitant to turn on the TV at all. It’s not, however, just the television that’s a culprit. The internet, social media — you name it — all have a part to play in what I term as, social suffering.
Folks, we’re suffering together — no matter what side of the political or social fence you stand on. As a country, we’re showing signs of depletion, and our kids — the future generation of this nation — have a front row seat to the show. As a mother, I refuse to be pulled in to these rough waters and dragged under, emotionally and spiritually. I refuse to let my kids be pulled under, as well. I refuse to suffer.
“Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” ~Matthew 11:28-30
What do the words, living freely and lightly mean to you? It’s a question that I’ve been posing lately to myself. Certainly, the world has not felt free and light in recent months. In fact, if you watch the news it seems that our world is becoming more dark and less open, by the second. There is a sense of great uncertainty and human life seems to be a cheap commodity. How did we get to this place?
Just last week, I spent several days in Iceland, a country where I had never been before, but had always wanted to go. It was a life list item for me. Some refer to this as a bucket list. I say life list because I want to focus on realizing my dreams while I live, not on doing them before I die. It’s a small shift in language and a personal preference of mine.
“Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.” ~Pablo Casals
Have you ever taken a moment — a brief pause in time — to consider the miracle of you? Truth be told, most of us have not because we’re all too quick to tell ourselves that this type of consideration seems egotistical, or self-centered. We wouldn’t want the world to judge us, or condemn us for viewing ourselves as what we truly are: miraculous in the eyes of God.
She said that she had no one, that life had left her alone in the world.
She said that darkness was all around her, there was: no hope, no faith, and no direction.
She said it was over.
The vibrant colors of promise faded to black and white. Despair was having its way with her. Constantly looking back at past and ahead at future, she became detached from the present.