Ashes

 

Ashes smeared across my forehead

Question deep inside my soul

Who am I? This dust caked vessel

Where does life’s meaning come and go?

 

You are dust. You come from dust.

Formed by holy spit and dirt

You are fragile and resilient

You are dust – and will return

 

Ashes from a fire burned brightly

Remnants of Eternals love

Feel the heart-beat of your Savior

Lean you head against His chest

 

Look down at your dust caked feet

Glance at the road you’ve trodden on

You, the image of perfections son,

Are the chosen ashes of His love.

 

 

 


Tears

I cry a lot now days.

Tuesday I walked out of a building and started crying as I walked to my car. I had just voted. Something in me realized that people die trying to do what I just did. If I had lived 100 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to vote because I’m a woman.

I walked out of an appointment on Thursday and something broke inside me. I clutched my purse to my chest, unlocked my car and let the tears slide down my face. After chitchatting with the person I was seeing they had unexpectedly given me a discount.

This morning an email with photographs made me cry again. Lee Jeffries takes photos of the homeless. And each face has a story.

If I watch the short “Love Store of Carl & Ellie” I will sob. So much beauty and love in 4 minutes.

There is a video by CNN called “Sharyl Sandberg Shares her Grief”. When I saw it last weekend I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and sob.

By the way, in Japan there are events called Tear Seeking (The Atlantic wrote an article about it in May 2015) where people go to events and watch movies/videos designed to make them cry.

5 years ago I wouldn’t have cried at any of these things. I didn’t have tears for it and couldn’t let myself be seen being ‘weak’.

Now though I won’t wipe my tears away. I don’t mind how much I feel. In fact sometimes I laugh as I cry because something in me wants to yell and announce ‘I HAVE MY FEELINGS BACK!!!’

I’m happy that I can be sad. That I can be lonely. That I don’t have to be okay all the time. I am so grateful for the people in my life who have walked with me as I’ve learned to feel again.


I Love Food

I’m allergic to bread, pasta, pizza, cookies, cakes, brownies, croissants, donuts and all other forms of delicious goodness.

Which is funny if you knew me at age 9 and 10 when I used to grind flour in a machine and make homemade whole-wheat bread and sell it to the AWANA leaders at church.

I was so proud of that damn bread. An entrepreneur at age 10!!

In my teen years I sold bread made from that same recipe at farmers markets. I had a following but decided it was to much work to make 20+ loaves of bread every Friday night and sit out in the sun on Saturday mornings vs sleeping in.

10 years later I would again try to make bread but I was living in Houston (not Maryland) and it was baked in a small oven in an RV I lived in for 5 years.

I was reminded of all this today when I read the sentence “I’ve taken the Wonder Bread of teachings I was given as a child, and I’m mushing them down, rolling them up, into these doughy morsels:”
I think I’ve done the same thing. My conclusions are also probably much the same as hers. But instead of being all metaphorical and spiritual I just thought about my journey with bread and all the crazy diets I (and my family) have tried.

There was that one where we only ate what Adam and Eve would have eaten in the Garden of Eden.

Which is just F***ing ridiculous. Basically because I had never heard of Dragon Fruit and Dragon fruit is AHHHHH MAZING!!! And no Garden of Eden diet could possibly be complete without it.

That diet didn’t last long. I hope we didn’t eat bread on that diet. I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been invented then.

I’d like to think I’m done with stupid fad diets and am mature enough to just make eating healthy a way of life.

(insert hyena laughter here).

I’m older now and know better than to follow raw food diets, lemonade cleanses, cabbage soup diets, hallelujah diets, and the assortment of food fads that cross my social media news feeds.

I’d also like to think I’ve owned my food binges (looking at you Amy’s Ice Cream. I’ll be by Saturday night). My need for fries dipped in queso, wine to unwind, chocolate cheesecake and that chocolate waiting for me when I’m done writing.

Obviously I haven’t.

But I’m okay with that.


I am…

I am a powerful woman BUT I am not over bearing.

I am a beautiful woman BUT I am not moral obstacle for males (or anyone).

I am a strong woman BUT I am not a threat to male strength.

I am a courageous woman BUT I do not demand.

I am a female and it defines my body but not my abilities, not my relationships and not my future.

When strengths and passions meet beauty cannot help but appear. There is no fear that my voice will be met with limitations and no fear I will overtake.

When I choose to live out of who I am and Who’s I am my Creator holds my focus and when He is my focus the fear, danger, limits and impossibilities disappear.

Life

Today I choose life. Today I face myself. Today I don’t let lies win.
I choose life – my life.
I choose truth – my truth.
The truth that I stand in a broken world as a perfect creation of my God.
The Truth that I’m not flawed or broken or disgusting. The truth that I am enough. I am all I need to be today. I can stop trying to please people, earn love, get affection or posses things.
My life isn’t about me, isn’t about getting anything right or proving my worthiness.
Today I choose to live out of knowing who I am and Who I belong to.
I choose to see my belovedness instead of my brokenness.
I choose to step into freedom instead of my failure.
I choose to see to my Creator instead of life’s obstacles.
I choose life.

Living in the Uncomfortable

I was driving to fast to stop. And I saw the body after I had passed. A body beside a truck with a man waving people down.
“Someone else will stop.”
No.
2 minutes later I was in the parking lots with 3 people watching a man seizure on the ground.
According to the witness he was going to a gas station to get water and was most likely homeless.
The ambulance came. He was loaded. I drove away.
Disturbed.
How do I live in a city where the homeless don’t have access to clean water to drink?
I go to a church that helps drill wells in 3rd world countries. I have friends who have worked overseas in programs drilling those wells. A friends name is on a well as a memorial. A new friend is running a non profit drilling wells.
But I drove away from that gas station last night with the question ‘what will I do about this?’
A few miles down the road, on the outer side of the city I stopped at a red light and a man came up to my window asking for money. I held a bottle of water out to him. His squeal was something like a 5 year old on Christmas seeing a new bike. He ran up and grabbed it yelling ‘thank you!!’
At the next light another man sat there with a sign.
I’ll stock my car with bottles of water this summer to help the little I can.
But there is more to be done in Houston and other cities.
I believe in doing small things. I can give out water bottles. But I also believe in thinking big.
I’ve lived here for almost 8 years and never have an answer to ‘what about the beggars?’
It’s easy to push this out of my mind and be numb to it but I won’t be numb to the needs of others.
Letting something effect and change me is a choice. Letting something be uncomfortable without fixing it or shutting it down isn’t pleasant. But it’s where I am right now and where I believe change will come from.

My Parents

Sometimes I get questions about my parents. Mostly what they think and how they treat me now.

I realize that, based on what I’ve written, it may come across that I’ve cut them off or that we have no relationship.

My parents are amazing people. They are loving and supporting of me.

 

I call my parents several times a week and we talk about my current life. I appreciate their input and ask for their advice. Getting to this place hasn’t been easy or fun. I’ve had difficult conversations with them. But it’s been worth it. The important relationships are worth the difficult conversations.

Recently my family started a group text with all my siblings and parents and we were texting fun pictures and comments. My sister said it best ‘I never thought we’d do this’. Me either.

The progress my family has made has been incredible. I still have 2nd parents (everyone should!) but my parents are my parents. I love them. I value them and their opinion.

 

How did I get here? What were the changes that led to this different and new relationship?

There isn’t an easy answer. My own path of healing has been a huge part of the change. Also the phrase ‘my childhood was needed for the life I have now’ has been important for me to settle into and accept and believe and receive. I’m starting to see the wisdom in those words. But believing them means not blaming and throwing my hurt and pain at my parents. It means carefully working through the memories and pain to uncover the truth of who I am.

I can’t say ‘I can’t ____ because my parents’ or ‘well it’s because my parents…..’ or  any other phrase the puts the blame on someone else.
Because my past, my childhood, is a gift if I decide to accept it as such.

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