The Official Release of “My Next Move”

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Today marks 5 years in the making. My Next Move (paperback version) hits the literary stand today!!! The online version will be released very soon!!

Thank you (from the bottom of my heart) to those who have stood with me, believed in me and with me, and supported me and my dreams.

Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.—Christian D. Larson

Here’s to dreams coming true!!
Stay tuned for my next move
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The Lessons of the Seasons

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I believe in process. I believe in four seasons. I believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. I believe that there’s a growing season. And I think that you realize that in life, you grow. You get better. – Steve Southerland

I love how the seasons tell us stories and teach us lessons all the same. They are constantly telling us the story of change and the story of process. They know their place in the story and respect the boundaries of their time given.

Summer teaches us patience. It is the season most of us look forward to the most. It is the time of the year when we can play outside, enjoy trips to the beach, and soak up the sun. It is during the summer that the days become both warmer and longer, and the sun shines more frequently.

Fall teaches us to let go. The leaves know their place in the seasons and the importance of timing. Change is in their nature and they embrace it with no complaints. It is during the fall that the days become shorter and the cooler temperatures appear.

Winter teaches us about death. For there is a time to be born, and there is a time to die. It is during this season that we tend to retract from the world and hide out for a while, while we wait for this season to pass. It is during the winter that the days are shorter and it is often very, very cold.

And now, spring is teaching us about growth. We survived the harshness of the winter, and something new is in the air. It is evident by the flowers that have started to appear and the sweet song the birds sing to us each morning. It is during this season that the sun rises a bit earlier and the days get warmer.

As I was driving home yesterday, I noticed this particular beautiful purple tree in the parking lot of Target. Where I live, I don’t see too many trees like this. Actually, the trees in my yard still reflect winter. So in order to frame this memory, I pulled over and took a picture.

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The tree, so vibrant in color, makes this season of spring look so easy, like it just “naturally” happened. However, for the tree to bloom, it had to undergo change. It had to endure the intense heat from the summer. It had to “let go” of its leaves when fall arrived. It had to die by the elements of the harsh winter, and then wait patiently for its chance to bloom again.

That is how I feel in the present moment. I am on the cusp of something great, something greater than myself, yet I can’t quite shake the remaining elements of winter. There is still a small piece that has yet to die, but as nature states, it has to in order for something new to be born.

Today, Momastery posted “Our Story of Easter” on her blog. She wrote about how her marriage was in the “Saturday” of Easter and that it had to experience a “death” first before it could grow into something new.

New life often requires a death first. And sometimes that means the death of a marriage. Some relationships are like perennials; they survive the winter and bloom again bigger and fuller than ever. And other loves are annuals. They last for a season and then winter comes and they die and they crumble into the soil making it richer for the next bush to bloom. Either way there is new life. Either way there is redemption and never before seen beauty.

Regardless if it is a marriage, a job, a dream, or any form of a relationship, it has to die eventually for something new to be resurrected. As I reflect this Good Friday on all that has changed recently in my life and all that still needs to change, I know that something needs to give up the fight and stop resisting change. It has to bury itself deep in the soil, die to what was, so that the new can spring forth.

Waiting is hard. And maybe I’m in my own “Saturday,” but fortunately Sunday is just moments away. A lot can happen in three days and spring will arrive exactly in the time that it was meant to.

Happy Easter!

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Through the Lens of Grace

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Maybe if we focused on being light & less on the dark, we might actually see things change.― Michael M. Rose

Here this week, I have been challenged each and every morning with a daily devotion titled, The Value of Knowing Jesus. After I read the lesson, I am left with these closing thoughts.

It’s easy to only think about things from our limited perspective. Jesus pushes us to see differently. Allow yourself to be challenged. Allow your eyes to be opened. Allow your life to be changed. Go now, and let the value of knowing Jesus change the lens which you see the world.

Throughout the day, I keep hearing these words play over in my mind. Allow yourself to be challenged. Allow your eyes to be opened. Allow your life to be changed. 

A recent unexpected turn of events is currently challenging me and my way of thinking. It was brought to my attention that I have several blind spots concerning beliefs and my way of thinking. A little time has passed and my mind has cleared itself of the thoughts and emotions that once caused me grief, and now I am starting to see his point of view.

This new-found knowledge did not come easy. I was truly not aware of my blind spots. I shed many, many tears over the last 24 hours. The truth hurts. I felt so bad that my limited way of thinking made a negative impact on someone very dear to my heart. The truth of the matter is that I do have some blind spots. I suffer from a black and white mentality, the left brain approach. How I see it is there is a problem and there is a solution. There is no gray area, no in-between.

I reason with logic, I focus on facts, I identify the problem, I find the solution, I am practical, and I am safe. I tend to side with the left side of the brain because I have been hurt very deeply by the world. This way of thinking protects me, keeps me safe, because I can define it and control it. I think this way personally, and I think this way professionally.

I would not say I am 100% left brained. Behind this curtain I have created for myself, lies a right brain girl. I am a believer. I am a dreamer with a wild imagination. I do at times find myself taking risks. Actually, I long to be more of right brain person which leads to a constant tug of war in my mind; which side of my brain gives in? Can’t I just live in both? Can’t I be logical, yet risk taking?

As I work through my questions and my hurts, I realize the answer lies in grace. Grace bridges the gap between the logical thinker and the risk taker. Grace gives an opportunity for the gray area. Grace opens itself up to imagination, possibilities, and belief. Grace leaves room to breathe, for the impossible, and the unknown. Grace gives you a way out.

Getting to this point, cost me a great deal. It cost me a precious relationship, one very dear to my heart. While I cannot change the past, I can only move forward in hopes there lies forgiveness and a little grace itself. And now that my eyes have been opened, I realize that I no longer want to live this way. I want to live in the gray, the unknown, the what-ifs. I don’t always want to know the answer or the outcome. I don’t want to define or control. I want to be impetuous, reckless, and I want to see the world through the lens of grace.

If my words resonate with you, may I leave you with this.

Allow yourself to be challenged. Allow your eyes to be opened. Allow your life to be changed.

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In the Gap

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If you cannot fill the gap and emptiness in your heart, don’t be disappointed. If you had already filled it, your life would have meant finished.
― M.F. Moonzajer

My one word resolution for 2014 was release so it should come to any surprise that I find myself having to let go of something again; something I was not quite ready to let go of. It was sudden, it was a shock. It still is a shock to my system.

Letting go did not come easy. It was everything I wanted, everything I dreamed about, hoped for, and waited for. Why would I let it go so easily? So I didn’t. For weeks I fought it. With every ounce of power I had, I did not loosen up on the grip. I reasoned with it. I questioned it. I got flat-out angry with it. I wrestled it down to the ground until there was absolutely nothing left, nothing left to feel. And in that moment, I let go of my grasp and fell letting the air below me break my fall.

After the release, I find myself caught somewhere in the gap, between the two trapeze, wondering where to go next. I don’t like this feeling, this feeling of uncertainty. I have nothing to hold on to and it terrifies me. I’m left with the questions of what now?, what if?, and will my heart completely heal?

This is the part that kills me the most, not knowing. It’s not in my genetic makeup not to know. I am always the one who has the answers, who knows what to say, who knows how to fix. I cannot fix my situation and I feel completely helpless and lost.

Through this process of the gap, I have my ups and downs, my good days and my bad days. There are days I find myself reaching back trying to grab a hold of what once was and then there are days I feel uplifted and hopeful for what lies ahead.

As I sit here in the mess, and begin the healing process, I am reminded that while I’m in a gap, I’m not at a complete stop. I’m somewhat like a comma and something new is in reach. I just have to wait, trust, and believe.

If your future seems uncertain, and you feel stuck inside the gap, may you be reassured that something new is on the horizon, and it will be even better than what you left behind. God said that He would not cause pain without something new to be born (Isaiah 66:9) and now it’s up to us to believe. Keep moving forward. Keep pressing on. Don’t ever give up. Your next place of promise is in reach :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyMhvkC3A84

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The Hand that Holds You Up

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Nothing in this world compares to the comfort and security of having someone just hold your hand. – Richelle E. Goodrich

Life is unpredictable. One moment you are high up in the clouds, free, and in love, and the very next moment, you are lying face down on the ground from a blow to the head you didn’t see coming. You are left completely blind sighted, with a broken heart, and shattered dreams. It’s quite possibly the darkest moment of your life.

I know this because I was just there seven short days ago. I did not think I was going to make it, but by the grace of God I did. Fortunately, I had a women’s retreat previously scheduled tucked away in the Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg TN. The solitude, the seclusion, and the support of Godly women were exactly the medicine I needed to soothe my broken heart. I took that time to grieve and just be.

Time moved on and now I find myself fully standing on my own. In looking back, I can clearly see God’s provision in this trying time. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God knew this attack would come. The night before this all happened, I felt His peace wash over me. It was the peace that kept me moving, dragging forward. He sent me the truth in the words of a song, in the words of a friend. If I needed to grieve and fall completely apart, He just let me be. Once I cried out for that peace again, He swiftly came to my side. He was the hand that held me up.

Through this song by Shane Harper, Hold You Up, I am reminded that there will be times when the world breaks us and we honestly don’t know how we will be able to go on. God will usher in during our time of need and hold us up until we have the strength to stand again on our own.

Wherever you are at this very moment, God is right there waiting to take you by the hand and comfort you during this difficult time. He will never leave your side. He will carry you through to the other side. I assure you. I would not be sitting here typing out these very words without that very hand keeping me together. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone and someone out there is thinking and praying for you. And remember this, God will not allow pain without allowing something new to be born (Isaiah 66:9).

I’ll see you on the other side.

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When the Sun Fails

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It is the artist’s business to create sunshine when the sun fails. – Romain Rolland

It’s the week I have been looking forward to for months. I’m off to Madison, WI for a very close friend’s wedding, but first, I’ll make a pit stop in my beloved Chicago, my former home. I love Chicago. I love its vibe. I love its wonder. It’s such a big city filled with the unknown and many, many possibilities.

When I woke up this Thursday morning, I was greeted with gray skies and dreary rain. It was not quite the conditions I was hoping for. I was looking forward to playing tourist and rolling through the streets of the city to H & M, my favorite coffee spot, and then my favorite sushi spot.

As I sit here typing, the mood outside is trying to affect the mood inside. It is trying to bring me down, to cover my internal sunshine. So in order to stop it, I look away from the window. I think if I look away that will help.

If you were to look outside the world’s window, you would find the conditions to be the same – dreary rain and cloudy gray skies. It’s hard to find the sunshine. It’s hard to smile when there is so much turmoil (riots, the violence, natural disasters) happening in our world today. So at times, we turn away. We turn off the t.v. We turn off the radio. We turn off the emails. We in turn, hide from the world.

I believe that hiding goes against our design. We were created to deal with the rain. The rain is what makes us grow. The rain changes us into better people. If we hide our sunshine, then the world will suffer too.

As I take another sip of coffee, I turn back towards the window. The conditions are still the same, but my mood is not. I’m not going to let a little rain stop me from enjoying my day or making an impact on another.

I’m going to create my own sunshine and I encourage you to do the same. The world needs us now more than ever. It needs a little sun.

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