A Rush of Life

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“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.” – Angela Monet

The publication Her Nashville put on the event – Sugar Rush last night.  The event was a competition between local bakeries.  For $5 (tickets were $10, but I got mine 1/2 off), you got to sample sugary type foods from about 20 bakeries.  There was toffee, cupcakes, cheesecake, Boston cream pie, cookies, and other treats to put you in a diabetic coma.

Photo Credit - Nashville Scene

For a girl who eats mostly plants, my system went crazy!  I was on such a sugar high! I was talking at high rates of speed and my energy had exploded.

That’s how my life has been the last couple of months – on a high.  I’m like the kid who wants, more, more, more.  Life has been so sweet lately and my cravings are increasing.   I want to write more, give me, travel more, meet new people, and deepen the relationships I currently have.

Life is like a lemon and I want to squeeze every bit of juice I possibly can.  But there have been times in my life when I felt like I haven’t met up to life’s expectations.  I saw the glass half empty instead of half full, I settled, or held back out of fear.  Just curious, have you ever felt that way?

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – John 10:10

If my Heavenly Father gave up His life, so I could live the abundant one, I surely don’t want to let Him down and I hope you don’t either!

God and Malibu

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“And there is the headlight, shining far down the track, glinting off the steel rails that, like all parallel lines, will meet in infinity, which is after all where this train is going.”  – Bruce Catton

My friend Angie had the privilege of traveling to the West Coast.  Based on her pictures, she had an amazing time simply taking in her surroundings.  What I loved about her experience the most is she saw God along the way.  She didn’t leave Him out of this journey.

This particular picture is a spot somewhere in Malibu.  She titled the picture Me, God, and Malibu.  The angle of this shot is amazing and there is just something about the picture that excites me.  Maybe because it is indefinite – no boundaries, no limits – and the view is looking forward.

Photo Credit - Angie Bowman

Isn’t that the way it is with God?  Indefinite, never-ending, and always moving forward.  

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” – Mark 9:23

What do you see when you look at this picture? Do you see Him?  Do you see infinite possibilities?  All you need to see is to believe.

To Skip for Love

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“Skipping is just jumping for joy, step after step.”  – Jessi Lane Adams

When I was a child, I loved to skip.  I would skip to that catchy tune, “skip, skip, skip to my Lou….skip to my Lou my darling!”.

Why was I skipping to my Lou? What in the world is a Lou anyway?? Wikipedia shared some light on the meaning and explained it this way.

“Skip to My Lou” is a simple game of stealing partners (or swapping partners as in square dancing).  It’s an ice-breaker, a good dance to get a group acquainted to one another and to get everyone in the mood for swinging around.

More importantly…

It’s interesting to note that “loo” is the Scottish word for “love.” The spelling change from “loo” to “lou” probably happened as Anglo-Americans, and the song, became Americanized.

Oh yes, I was skipping for love.  My outward motions reflected what was going on, on the inside.

The deeper I dig for God, the deeper He digs inside me.  When I think my dreams are dead and tucked neatly in the grave, He reminds me that they are not. Through Moses costly mistake over anger, God shows me that He is a God of second chances.  We can pursue those God-given dreams again.

For this, my heart begins to skip – skip for love.  Skipping for the love of a God who cares so much for me that He remembers how important that my dreams are and that He wants to revive them.

Do you find yourself with a full heart and wanting to express your joy, but fearful that you would be viewed as some kind of freak for expressing your inner child?

Remember that skipping is just jumping for joy, step after step.

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.  And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” (Malachi 4:2)

Suffering to Change the World

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For 21 days now, I have been following Emily Freeman’s 31 days to change the world series.  She is calling on ordinary people to step out and make an impact to our world.

Day 21’s topic is about suffering and how we always try to prevent suffering.  In her book Grace for the Good Girl, she talks about how we are always trying to prevent something bad from happening.  She explains,

Nearly everything I do is to prevent death.  I wear my seat belt, schedule a yearly physical, and look both ways when crossing the street.  I eat bananas and work out.  I cannot think of a situation where I would choose death on purpose.

I like the way Emily thinks.

We are always trying to prevent something, but maybe we need to allow things to happen to become better.

If you would like to read more about her thoughts, head on over to her post titled Change the World- Suffer.

An Unfair Situation

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When ABC announced their fall line up, I said I would not watch the new show Revenge; simply because I am pro-forgiveness and the show would contradict my beliefs.  But when nothing on channel 4 or 5 would not satisfy, I found myself watching the show and each week I’m being pulled in by some strong magnetic-like force.  Even the photo looks intriguing. 

Photo credit - abc.com

The main character Emily received a letter from her late father, David, going on in detail of the parts of her life she missed out on.  Her father was falsely accused of a violent terrorist attack and she was institutionalized for the majority of her young life.  Both situations were unfair, but he specifically told her to forgive those that hurt them both.  However, as the title suggests, she chose the path of revenge.

I can sympathize with her ordeal and why she would want to make those people pay.  To have your father falsely accused for a crime and to be ripped away from him would be a source of tremendous pain.  Being confined with unanswered questions would fuel anyone towards revenge.

One by one, Emily sets out on destroying those that caused them harm.  She keeps a picture with her and from what I can tell, it looks like 12 people all played a role.  She targets them by uncovering dirty little secrets and exposing them in humiliating and scandalous ways.  She is cunning yet ruthless and always keeping her eye on the goal.

I know it is just a show, but I have to be careful as to not get all caught up in the story line with her.  I have to remember that forgiveness is the better way.  Last Wednesday at Bible study, I heard one of the best messages I have ever heard – What do you do when you cannot forgive in your own power?

There was nothing more unfair than when Jesus died on the Cross.  He was beaten, tortured, and disfigured, but at the very end He forgave those that hurt Him.

“Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge.” – Isaac Friedmann

When something tragic or unfair (abuse, betrayal, or death of a loved one) happens to us, we are taught to forgive.  It’s the only way we are to ever move on.  But what if we simply cannot?  We cannot move past the pain that was inflicted on us, to deeply forgive.

What has been revealed to me, was Jesus had to call on His Father to help Him forgive.  He could not do it in His own power and neither can I.

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

All my life I was taught to forgive and I have done my best to do so.  I have written letters, gave forgiveness face-face, but for some of those deep wounds, the forgiveness never felt real.  Forgiveness at times was just an empty word.

In order for Jesus to be resurrected on Sunday, He had to forgive on Friday.  For some of us, we are still stuck in “Friday” and have not yet experienced our “Sunday” resurrection.  I know this because I was living in “Friday” up to that very moment.

But the moment I asked God to help me forgive them, immediately everything changed!  I was overcome by an indescribable peace and joy.  And I have been living fully ever since!

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” – Robert Muller

How is your “weekend” shaping up?  Still living out Friday or living fully on Sunday?

You Are What You Eat

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“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” – Alfred E. Newman

When I was a kid, I loved going to McDonald’s with my grandparents.   I got a cheeseburger happy meal and sometimes got a sundae for dessert.  It was a treat I grew accustom too.

During my teenage years, my Mom decided to go to college.  Time and money were limited so my sister and I often dined from fast food or pasta from a can courtesy of Chef Boyardee.

Let’s face it, the food today is not the food Grandma use to make!  And we all should be concerned that the food on the shelves could out live us!

When the national diet companies were not working and I was sick of being a slave to counting calories, I dove head first into the land of plant based foods.  I was a self proclaimed  Vegan.  The difference between a Vegan and a Vegetarian is no animal products – no cheese, no sour cream, butter, milk, or meat.  For all you cheese lovers, it can be done!

When I started the journey on the Vegan lifestyle, I had no idea what was in store for me.  My diet consisted of mainly something frozen, something boxed, with a splash of chicken here and there.  I had trouble boiling an egg so how in the world was I going to cook every meal.

This book, however, changed my world.  Yum, yum, yum is correct Sara Kramer (see review on cover)!  Alicia Simpson taught me how to restock my pantry, she defined the Vegan staples, and provided endless recipes for meals, snacks, sides, and desserts.  Thanks to her, I am a well oiled cooking machine!!

Everyday I discover something new – a new recipe for tacos, pizza, soup, and pasta.  I love adding wheat grass to my smoothies and I opt for kale chips over potato chips.  It’s all amazing and a delight for the tired ol’ taste buds!!

I am not declaring that everyone go Vegan, but just wanted to share information on a lifestyle that has made me feel better than I ever have before!

There are countless sites to help navigate you through this process.  Oprah even did a segment on the Vegan lifestyle and her expert provided a starter kit (which kick started this change). If you are not quite sure about testing the waters, then here are a few movies that could very well change your mind.

Cheers to good health!!

To Be M.A.D

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“Things of the spirit differ from things material in that the more you give, the more you have.” – Christopher Morley

When we were small we confessed our dreams and what we wanted to be when we grew up.  We were going to be teachers, mothers, nurses, doctors, and lawyers.  Barbie, Ken, and friends often simulated our dreams – marriage, Barbie mansion, pink corvette, and our best friend Skipper.

Photo Credit - Flickr.com

At that age, I don’t think these confessions were based on money.  I really didn’t have a concept of money and the cost of living.  I think we wanted to be important and to make a difference.  But I think society taught us that assets – nice clothes, big house, luxury car- made us important.

Do we really need the status, the house, the car to make a difference?  Isn’t our time just as valuable as our money?  At the end of our playing, Barbie and friends go back in the box and her dream house is folded and put away.  The sensational life is stored until the next time they are brought out to play.

Photo Credit - tracystoys.blogspot.com

Is that how some of us are when it comes to serving or volunteering?  Someone inspires us or makes us feel bad so we sign up at the soup kitchen.  We feel validated in those few hours and have satisfied the temporary desire to serve.  We too return to the box just like Barbie only to wait for another opportunity to arise.

When I worked at my Church’s clothes closet on Sunday, I served as the women’s personal shopper and mirror; telling them how cute that outfit was and teasing them that I would gladly take it off their hands.  I teared up when two women thought they found gold when they stumbled across a big bottle (not trial size) of shampoo and conditioner.  *those little things we take for granted

I was sweaty and tired, but I felt important inside that little closet. And I didn’t need designer labels to accomplish it; second-hand clothes were just as nice!

I want to be a life changer – a M.A.D. one to be exact!  One that changes lives on a daily basis and not one that waits for opportunities.  Opportunities are always knocking, but sometimes we choose to not answer the door.

Photo Credit - Choose Happiness

“Everybody can be great.  Because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.  You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.