Forgive

“If we don’t know we need to forgive or be forgiven, how can we know we love or are loved?…It’s easy to be nostalgic at Christmas, and many are…it’s not so easy to admit that I need something. That I have lost my way and someone needs to find me, even if it embarrasses me. That I am sick and broken and that someone needs to heal me, even if it injures my pride. That I have hurt or been hurt and I need to forgive or be forgiven even though the words stick in my mouth.” – Br. James Koester #AdventWord #mhvadvent #forgive

 

I am the first to admit I am in need. In need of a Savior. To know love – how to love, how to receive love, how to love myself.

I find I am on a journey of forgiveness towards myself. A journey to come to peace with my body. To recognize the wonderful, delightful creation He has made me. The skin and bones, flat and curvy parts, all of it. And yoga might be the vessel to bring me to that open space, that pasture of peace.

I went to a Restorative Yoga class last week with a friend. It could easily be referred to as a “guided nap”. You need blankets and pillows (bolsters) for this kind of yoga. The instructor had us focus on the phrase “Let go.” And I found myself focusing on letting go of negative beliefs about myself and concentrating on my breath. The intimate, intricate way I was connecting with the rhythmic in and out, over and over. And being amazed by my own body. It’s ability to support my life.

I continue on this journey to forgive myself. To stop shaming, negating, and shunning my own body. To recognize the amazing, good, and strong creation I am because of my Creator.

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Cozy randomness

I’m having one of those days where so many things are making me giggle. And I feel so content. I’ll make this a list. Consider it a peek inside my brain and heart.

  • sleeping in til 9AM
  • being cozy in my favorite sweater from San Francisco
  • huge fleece blankets
  • pumpkin spice coffee
  • Noosa yogurt
  • finishing the movie “The Rebound” starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha
  • having a line from the end of above-mentioned movie strike a very poignant chord in me (and it was a ROM-COM!)
  • reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge for the 1st time…what was I waiting for?!
  • amazing moment with my Abba
  • doing things on my to-do list
  • my love for Penzey’s spices grows every time I visit. They replaced a cap on one of my jars…no charge, no questions. Just done.
  • walking into Target realizing I am a walking advertisement for them…sweatshirt, shorts, sports bra, purse, and sunglasses ALL from that exact store. LOL!
  • downloading the soundtrack to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty…and finding the DVD at Target
  • shopping for more pumpkin flavored things…like soup, and BEER.
  • feeling incredibly proud of myself for embracing this day, these moments
  • holding my head high and continuing to hope for more

Like I mentioned..random. BUT SO DELIGHTFUL!

Self check-up

Back in May, I declared hopeful and grateful as my words for this year. And I still identify those words as such. It’s been 5ish months and I wanted to do a “check-up” on myself. Like one would with their primary care physician.

Am I still hopeful? Still grateful for where I am at this time in my life?

YES.

Unashamedly and unabashedly, yes.

Have their been trials and tribulations, circumstances to make me sway? Absolutely.

Does that take away the hope? The gratitude? No.

There are seasons in my life where I am able and ready to walk forward with strength, determination, and clarity. To make concrete decisions in my life and to take steps towards those goals. And then life throws something my way and I feel like the dog Kevin in UP, easily distracted by something moving another direction.

Attractive alternatives are what I’ve come to call them. *sigh* And sometimes they are really, REALLY attractive alternatives. And I find myself thinking about them all day long, distracted and not fully present with what or who is actually in front of me.

I have to stop and remind myself:

  • I AM LOVED
  • I AM BEAUTIFUL
  • I AM WORTH IT

And repeat as many times as necessary thoughout the day.

My Father tells me I am loved, He made me beautiful, and I am worth His very best for my life. To not settle. To expect wonderful, jaw-droppingly, heart-achingly amazing things for my life now.

Retiring…

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At 6pm EST on Tuesday, August 11, my dad will lock the doors of The Country Squire Pharmacy for the last time. He and my mom will enter into a season of retirement after 34 years of owning this business. My dad worked for 9 years before that at another small town pharmacy in Michigan.

This feels like the end of so much. My siblings and I grew up with this place as our first job. Several of our friends, church family, and community in Fremont, MI, worked there for a time or were customers. Sometimes both.

It’s going to be weird to go past the store front on Main Street this winter and not be able to go “shopping” at our store. It’s a wonderful, bittersweet, and emotional time for my dad. Lots of people coming in to say goodbye and goodluck, to remind my dad of the impact he has made. It’s pretty amazing to see how my dad cared.

Here’s to wishing my mom and dad a Happy Retirement!

On turning 35…

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(Cake and I…we go waaaaaaay back!)

I’m a big fan of birthdays. Celebrating special events isn’t done enough in my opinion. Well, at least done well.

Some might think, “What is the big deal? You are one year older.” But I see it as a reflection of what has happened in a year. I look back and think of adventures I took, hurts I pressed into, wounds that may have reopened (unintentionally) in an effort to let healing happen. I think of new friends and the deepening of friendships, special times with family who came out to visit, new stamps in my passport. And laughter…always laughter.

And then I look ahead and am overwhelmed when I realize how much I’ve worked through and what promise there is for my future. Two words God has given me for this year:

hopeful

and

grateful

Always hope. Always gratitude.

As I sit here – bed head and glasses, morning breath and jammies – I’m at peace.

I am known. I am remembered. I am noticed and loved. I am beautiful.

Thirty-five years ago today, I came bursting onto the scene even though my parents thought they would go flower shopping on a lazy Saturday. I hate missing out. 😉 Mount Saint Helens erupted the next day…I take that as God’s official announcement of a pretty amazing arrival the day before. Or His sense of humor…

Location, Location, Location

I often get asked why I moved from West Michigan. To be honest, it’s because I felt as though I no longer fit in. I grew up believing that I would meet the man of my dreams sometime during college. We’d fall in love, get married shortly after graduating with a Bachelors, start my professional career, and then a family. All by the tender age of 22. This was my dream.

And it didn’t happen.

Instead, I rented my first adorable apartment that my parents seriously doubted the location of. I lived alone and established a home. I had a wonderful church, community, small group, job, and my family nearby. But it wasn’t enough. Something felt like it was missing. And I knew it was more than a husband. Adding a husband to my life would have been lovely, but still not everything. The thought kept occurring to me that there has to be more to this life than eating, sleeping, living life with others, and repeating the same thing day after day. And because of the lack of a “someone”, I felt like a sore thumb. It was hard to see close friends get married, start families, and know where I fit in as a single woman.

I moved…to Denver. And it was the best thing I ever did. Well, that and taking an anti-depressant. And meeting with a therapist. Ha!

I’ve been in a discovery season the past 8 years. Discovering the beauty in me and about me. I am deeply and intimately known and loved. And I am complete. I lack nothing. I was made for amazing adventures and purposes. And my story matters. I think I would have eventually found this had I stayed in Michigan. But moving made me re-evaluate and dig in and discover more of my Father’s heart for me. And I was challenged spiritually and emotionally in the ways I’d been craving. And I found this strong, independent, emotional, sassy, joyful, smart, and compassionate woman staring back at me in the mirror.

Changing my location shook things up, but God would have continued this process had I stayed. I’m sure my parents would have rather this all happened in a zip code closer to them. But we’ve had some amazing times of connection in the mountains. And who doesn’t need more excuses to travel! 😉

Either way, I’m so happy with where God has me – geographically and personally. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Where does He have you? Where is He calling you? What holds you back?

Master Creator

It would be so much easier to focus on the negative in my life. The lack of marital status, kids, X amount in savings, debt, world experiences, shame, doubt, worry, fear…those things that should only take up about 15% of your attention rather than 85%.

This topic is fresh on my mind because I was discussing this with some friends a few days ago. Do I let what God says about me weigh more than what I say about me? This is personally such a hard topic. I’m my own worst critic and can pick myself apart pretty quickly. Others call out the gifts and talents so much more quickly, and I do the same for others. But when I look in the mirror, I see blemishes, stray hairs needing plucked, wobbly bits that should be firmer, etc…

WHEN WILL THE MADNESS STOP?!

The psalmist declares in Psalm 139

“For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.”

God did not screw up when He formed you and me. He knew exactly when we would be on this earth, who would be our parents, what we would or would not do, and He considers us His children. He is Master Creator and He put His artistry and creativity to the ultimate test when He breathed life into us.

This takes my breath away.

I am made precisely how He wanted me to be. I am not too much. I am enough.

He sees me and He knows me…and He loves me still.

I choose today to focus on the 85%. I am lovely, compassionate, encouraging, and grateful.

What does He say about you? Choose to believe and live from that knowing.

(PS – I’d love your feedback, especially in the comments section of the blog. That’s a blatant hint.)

🙂