Friday, June 28, 2013

In Between (Five Minute Friday)

 I’m in between the end and the beginning. A necessary ending and a new beginning. I’m excited and scared. I looking toward the hopefulness of pursuing dreams and seeing them realized. Sure, I’m scared. But I’m also excited and feeling alive for the first time in a long time.

And isn’t most of life lived in the in between? In the “already, not yet?” That has been my experience. Great loss in the midst of extreme joy. Hatred of sin and incredible love for people.

We’re always waiting for something. I’ve found that pattern in  my own life. Always thinking that the next big thing will make it better. Solve our problems. Fill our void. We’re always in the middle of a hard time, just coming out of one, or waiting for one to happen.

And what I’ve recently discovered (yes, it’s taken me so long) is that if we don’t really LIVE in the midst of the in between then we’ve missed most of life. So much of life is neither happy or sad. But grey. So much of life is the in between.

God, please teach me to embrace all life’s seasons of in between.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bloom Book Club: Bread and Wine


I just recently finished Shauna Niequist's Bread and Wine. I relaxed with the book all through my staycation, relishing the beauty of her words and their glorious truth. But it took me two weeks to finish the last chapter and a half because I did not want the book to end. Seriously, I loved it so much that I vowed to read it again soon.

Much to my surprise Bread and Wine was chose for the Bloom Book Club's summer session. I highly encourage you to join in reading this wonderful book. Right now DaySpring is offeing a book club special so be sure to by your book here if you choose to join Bloom this summer.

Be sure to let me know in the comments below if you'll be reading Bread and Wine with us. Here's to your own love stories of life lived around the table.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Listen (#FiveMinuteFriday)


Why? Running, running. Too much to do, not enough time. Why stop? Why breathe? Moving forward, moving, moving. Not stopping. Not still. Never listening.

Break. Fall. Desperate need. Broken. Drowning. Lost. Confused. Need to, must, stop. Never breathing, never resting, never listening got me here…

That story again and again. All of us have been there. The world shouts, “don’t stop. Don’t breathe. Don’t rest. You might be left behind. “

But our need, our desperate human need is to stop. Be still, listen. This need placed in us by God himself. So that one way or another we would stop and listen. Either willingly of by force.

And we would find all this running and achieving doesn’t satisfy. But instead leaves us desperate and empty. In need of stillness. Quiet. Listening to the father’s still small voice. And when we stop to listen to Him we are finally…

At peace. 

Five Minute Friday
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On Alleviating Anxiety

(Please note I am not a doctor or counselor and am simply sharing a glimpse into my own experience with depression and anxiety. I firmly believe that fully overcoming anxiety and/or depression often takes professional help, medication, and genuine community.)

It was a Saturday that had been covered by a cloud of grey. I had accomplished nothing. I felt worthless. Blue. And it wasn’t the first time. I’ve fought depression, and its new friend anxiety, for years. This day was just one drop in the bucket of those covered by these nemeses of mine.

Somehow the survivalist in me managed to get to the grocery store. No makeup on my made me feel worse about my state of mind and forgetting to shower never helps. I trudged toward the door quarter in hand (I was at one of those stores where you have to pay for your shopping cart). I got my cart all the time thoughts echoing in my head:

“This was a bad idea. You should have stayed home. You look like crap. You have no business in public. You feel like…”

 And then it happened.

“Excuse me, miss. But do you have an extra quarter?”

Suddenly snapped out of the depression fog in my brain I turned toward her. I fumbled through my purse and handed the silver piece to her. She thanked me and walked away. 

I smiled. Slightly at first and then it turned into a full-fledged goofy grin. That was it. I had gotten outside of myself for the first time that day. I had helped/served someone else. It was a game changer.

Sure the rest of the day didn’t magically become gumdrops and daisies but that moment taught me something about depression. You see depression is about you. Or in my case, me.  Depression lets us setup an idol to ourselves. It makes my life, my problems, my pain, the most important thing. Depression thrives less readily when we get outside of ourselves. The following points below have helped me gain perspective in times of facing depression:
  • Get outside of yourself: serve someone else. Even something small like in my story above can make the difference in your perspective on a particularly dark day.
      (I realize that the suggestions above can be particularly difficult to accomplish when you’re depressed. Never forget to confide in close friends, your spouse, etc. when you need help getting past the cloud of depression. And if you think you might harm yourself or others, or the depression does not abate, please contact a professional. TWLOHA is a good place to start. They have been exceedingly helpful to me including even providing grants for counseling.)

I don’t want to over simplify the struggle of depression and anxiety. Some days just getting out of bed is a victory. Other times slowing down you racing heart, breathing at a normal rate and have a minute without chest pains feels like miracle. But for me the day when I engaged in the simple act of giving away a quarter was a game changer. And if it helped me I hope it may be an option for you too.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fall {Five Minute Friday}


This time of year leave’s me longing for something more. For cool weather and mountains. For things you can’t find in Florida. For pumpkin patches and multi-colored leaves. And all this longing, this discontent, often leaves me depressed.

It is the same way each summer. I hate the heat. And as the summer goes on I feel my discontentment growing. The cloud over my life looms larger. And I just want to escape. Move away. Get some place with mountains to hike and cool whether to bask in.

I forget the things I love about Orlando. Eating on patios, walking through parks and around lakes. Leaving windows open. All I can think about is cool breezes, lite sweaters and humidity free air. I want to live in a world of snowmen, fire places, and hot drinks to keep warm.

So the summer if hard for me. It’s not just the heat but the discontentment that threatens my love for The City Beautiful. It makes me question God’s call on my life for this place I love. Perhaps He messed up and meant to send me to the mountains? And so each year I must struggle to fall into the arms of the Savior. It is the only fall that can save me. 

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cook, Eat, Create, Relax


 So I went on a staycation and had the intention of still posting here…but that didn’t happen. And I’ve had trouble getting back into a writing rhythm. You’d think the impending summer slow-down wouldn’t affect someone who works full time outside of the home. But it does.

I may not have written much in the last few weeks but I did do some other life giving things during my time away. I did that by setting some goals for my staycation. Cook and eat good meals with people I love, complete life giving projects, and relax. You see for me without goals even for a staycation I’d either work hard without stopping for renewal or veg out on the couch the entire time. I’d much rather like to teeter somewhere between the two.

So did I get everything on my to-do list done? No. But I completed some projects that spent months in waiting. Did I relax the entire time? No. But I had the perfect amount of couch sitting, coffee drinking, and reading days to leave me satisfied.

I walked away at the end of a ten day staycation (that started on very rocky terrain) refreshed. I come to you prepared to face this next season of life together. Whatever God has in store lets go forth boldly. And while we’re at it lets share some good meals and make life giving things a priority.