sacred space

Space. It can be a pretty sacred thing when you are intentional about it. It can be an actual thing… an area that is free or unoccupied. And it can be something you do or create… positioning things or items with distance from one another.

I’ve learned that I really like the spaces in my life. I like the spaces that are my favorite places to be. I like when my people are in those places with me. And, I like it when I get to move things around to create space between places where it’s needed… between me and just the stuff of my day to day.

This past weekend I attended a retreat and was able to experience space in a beautiful way. I was able to create that distance from my everyday and spend time in a quiet, serene part of our beautiful state.

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Very much like an artist steps back from a painting to really see it as a whole, my weekend away let me step back from regular routines and habits and see my every day from a greater distance.

When an artists steps back- they can see the parts of the painting that make up the whole. They can see where paint has been brushed on too thick. They can see where things are spread too thin. They see the places of distortion and when the scale of one thing to another is off. They can see where colors overlap, blending well or looking peaked . Artists take a step back and can see if the picture works by how it all fits together.

My weekend away helped me take a step back and view my everyday like an artist would… things and habits that are a little too thick… places I’m spread a bit too thin… where certain colors add beauty to the overall picture and where some colors look bland and even stressed. I see where depth exists… I see where things are lacking … and I see where the proportion of areas of my life are not equal. From further away, I can see how it all is fitting together and I find the places I can work on to beautify the overall picture.

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Sacred space. I’m so thankful for having it this past weekend. I’ve taken a look at the parts that make up the whole. Now it’s time to embrace those places of my day to day and continue painting.❤🎨

coffee shop conversation

What do you see when you look at this photo? A coffee shop? A table and chairs? Space?

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This is a little spot in a local
Starbucks that I visit regularly.

And this little spot I notice often.

Years ago, before the days of iPhone cameras in our back pocket, I saw a grandpa and his little granddaughter in this exact place… I saw them enjoying their drinks and just hanging out. And I boldly walked over and told them that I SO wished I had my big camera with me so I could have snapped their photo. It was just SUCH a sweet moment between two people!

Now, every time I see this spot, I think of them. Since then, I have seen others enjoying time together at this same table. Conversations. Phone calls. Moms chatting with babies in strollers.

So last week, while waiting on my nonfat mocha, I had the presence of mind to grab that phone in my back pocket, and snap a quick pic of my sweet memory of a grandpa and his granddaughter simply enjoying each other’s company .

And today, when I see this photo, I am feeling something that has been stirring in my heart since a very wise and faithful person recently made the comment to me: we are supposed to live in relationship with others.

Relationship. It’s a huge piece to our overall well being. Quality time with others, genuine conversations in the good and the hard times, guidance from mentors, advice for those seeking, REAL WORDS. They all matter.

I am right in the middle of a bible study and am learning better how to discern God’s voice. He no doubt is reminding me about the importance of relationships in life. I see this photo and it’s a great prompt for me…. who can I invite for coffee? Who do I keep thinking about that I can reach out and text? To start a conversation with? What friend should I invite to join me in bible study or go to lunch and catch up?

I am SO guilty of retreating. As life gets busy and full, I tend to just spend my time alone. And don’t get me wrong, there IS a time and place for alone! But not at the expense of authentic relationships. And I think I sometimes let this happen. This coffee shop moment, I feel, is God telling me to listen to the words of my wise friend…. to remember the early morning coffee date between family, and to pursue authentic friendships and conversations with others. Invite them in. Lean in. And let God work in His ways.

Do you have a friend on your mind? Do you have a person you can reach out to invite in? Let’s all pursue that and live in relationship together. Genuine, authentic, meaningful relationship. It’s always worth the effort.❤

cold front clean up

 

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I spent pretty much the whole day working outside. After not feeling great, the fresh air and beautiful weather were a nice change from being cooped up inside. So I worked a little, stopped when I needed to, then worked some more.

Our flower beds needed SO much attention. They bloom and flourish all summer and fall, then we get a cold snap so they sit tight for a bit, then bloom and flourish again when it warms up (because in Houston it ALWAYS warms up😜), then a freeze happens and freaks the plants out and lots of it turns brown and gross. Then, it warms up again and feels like things should bloom and flourish, but all the dead brown stuff now seems glaringly ugly. It felt really good to cut things back and clean things out and pull away all the dead, yucky stuff.

This is so life right?? Things are rocking and rolling along, growing full and lucious… then we hit a brief spell, cold snap if you will, and we just sorta sit tight until it passes. When it warms back up… when things go back to that familiar place…. we go back to blooming and growing fuller and fuller. Then a big something happens, just like the freeze, and it stops us right there in that moment. All that fullness and fluff can get worn down, and we need to clear it out to make room for the bare bones of what we build our life own.

For me, that is God’s truth and those people in my life I love.

As much as I wish for cold weather this time of year, today I’m thankful for the cold snaps and warm ups, for the dead leaves and branches that clutter the ground, and for the lesson that cleaning out the yuck can be good for the soul.

80 degrees in January? Okay, God… I’m listening…❤

 

winter bleak

 

img_0252Stark, bare, utter, complete
It’s what I see in the winter bleak

Simplicity… He alone in us
No extra fluff, no extra fuss

This morning’s hues of purple and pink
Are a bonus gift, like a nod or wink

Or really, it’s like a big, warm hug
Reminding us of His royal love

This season speaks straight to my heart
Of Him always in us- never apart💜

Thank you, God, for the gift of these skies this morning!

 

cloudy day light

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Cloudy morning, rain’s on it way
A day of soggy, wind, and gray
But just inside it’s rather bright
By the fragrant tree and the Christmas lights
It’s my favorite time to seek His ways
It’s my favorite place to start my day
But… the light isn’t coming just from the tree
His words illuminate truth for me
Shining so much brighter than the gloomiest of days
And pointing me towards the one true way❤️ #10000dailysteps

a tree out of season

 

Do you notice anything about the photo below ?  I spotted this little scene earlier this year on one of my many treks down Highway 6 to Target.  In fact, it jumped out at me so vividly, that I turned my car around and pulled over just to snap this pic.  When I look at this image, I see spring in full bloom, nice and green, fresh flowers, plants neatly growing with each other.  And then there’s the orange tree.  It’s gone ahead and jumped to autumn.  It’s out of season from the rest of it’s surroundings, doing what it can to grow in the season it appears to be in, but seemingly just a little out of sync.

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Have you ever felt like this autumn tree?  Like, everyone is in their season of pretty… of all kinds of got-it-together-ness and you’re  ….. not?  I have!  There have been so many times that when I look out around me, I see everyone’s lives sort of like spring… bright and colorful, fresh, neatly planted.  They seem so in sync with their surroundings.  And all the while I’m sitting by my lonesome in fall… feeling more like those cheery colors are fading out and the now brittle leaves are getting ready to shed at any time.

Seasons can be good.  They’re often anticipated and expected.  They give us variety to life and can be something to look forward to.  They can bring with them a welcome change from what has been and encourage traditions and newness for the months ahead.  If it wasn’t for seasons, life could be pretty monotonous and dull.

But, not all seasons are times of refreshment.  Some seasons very much throw us off.  They can come unexpectedly.  And some seasons bring about change that we would rather not go through, much less embrace.

The bible  talks about all kinds of seasons in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

The seasons of life can be good.  And they can be scary.  They can be joyous.  And they can be full of worry.  And unfortunately, we don’t get to choose our season.  We don’t get to pick one everyone else is in, which stinks because I really don’t want a season of crying when everyone else is laughing.  That’s just no fun.  And I don’t want to be gathering my stones if everyone else is able to be carefree and tossing theirs about.  Nope.

I don’t want my scene like the one I saw on Highway 6 last spring.  I don’t want to be out of season from everyone else.  I would much prefer we all bloom and then we all shed.  All at the same time.  There’s safety in numbers, right?

But that’s not life.  We aren’t meant to be in the exact seasons at the same time.  I need to pay attention to what’s around me so that I see the full picture, not just my piece.  It doesn’t matter if I’m the autumn tree or if I’m neatly growing with all of my surroundings.  I need to be able to see the fresh blooms of some and the shedding leaves of others.  We are meant to lean on each other and do life together.  That’s where it’s beautiful.  That’s why the juxtaposition works.  Just look at this photo again.  The colors of both seasons very much compliment each other in such a beautiful way.  One stands out BECAUSE of the other.  Their differences are what makes it interesting.  And I think that’s how life works, too.  Fresh spring flowers and autumn trees- they CAN grow together in unexpected ways.❤️

 

 

 

color us healthy

It’s a new school year, and I’m trying to start the school year with #goals. As a family, we have worked all summer to cook together and try new foods… Mainly produce items and colors but we tried cooking some new dishes, too.

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This pic here is my attempt to track our efforts. Tracking has become a norm for me since starting weight watchers. This is just a tweak of what I’m doing on my own, really.  Every month we will use this board to keep tabs of what we cook and eat- the proteins and colors we use. We will either color in or write in what we eat… The goal to keep it balanced and get all the colors in.  If we are lacking somewhere, then we will hunt through my  cookbooks or Pinterest to find something we could try.  I have come to love having our girls in the kitchen with me.  It won’t be easy with all of our schedules, but I’m hoping this board will be a visual for me to make more of an effort.  We had some good bonding this summer over peeling, grating, sautéing, and stirring the roux FOREVER.  You can have some pretty awesome girl talk in the kitchen!  Sometimes they’re more willing to talk when you’re doing something while you chat. 😉

But in all honesty, in thinking this through, I realized I need to keep a focus on health being all-encompassing.  Because it is so much more than salads and smoothies, right?   So, we also added a workout pyramid that I adapted from the bible study “Fit to Serve”. It will be a guide to follow for how often we do different types of activity during the week.  I can already tell this will need tweaking as we go… But it’s a good place to start.  It should get them thinking a little less about couch time with candy crush and a little more about getting out and about with Pokemon Go!  Fingers crossed …

We also added a big noticeable part to focus on:  random acts of kindness.  There is a grid of ideas to get us started, but also blank squares where we can write our own onto sticky notes. In an effort to live well, it can become pretty easy to become self-focused. That is understandably so, but it really should be in balance. Getting yourself healthier is really just a basis to live and serve in the world better. My goal is to have us, as a family,  point our eyes outward into the world and see where we can add just a little drop of goodness towards others in our day to day lives.

And at the top… We will each pick a scripture for the month. Faith needs to be the foundation to it all. Each of us will choose one bible verse that we all will reference. So that means six bible verses for us as a family to learn about, talk about, and practice over the course of a month.

My hope and prayer is that we will stay focused and interactive with this. It’s a visible way to keep track of what we talk about often. We have four daughters that each learn in their own way.  Talking through things is good, but the visual of this is just another way to try and teach them how to live better…. to live well. I hope this helps develop healthier habits for all of us. It’s a way to be intentional, which is something I have been working on for awhile now.  I will follow up at the end of September with how we did.  #squadgoals in a mind-body-spirit kind of way.☺️