Monthly Archives: July 2014

Free Indeed

Never before have I heard anything that encapsulates my journey with God in one quick message better than this does. I don’t know if you can experience it like I did without the years of journeying through the questions I had behind the concepts taught here, but if you want to know my passions and belief statement, here it is folks.

I wish I could embed it, but I can’t figure out how. So please visit Flatirons Church for the whole service. If you prefer to listen to only the message rather than watch the whole service, you can do that, too.

A little background on the subject: This series is based on the Galatians, a book in the New Testament of the Bible. It was written by Paul, one of the first guys who traveled around telling others about Jesus coming to save the world. Paul was raised a Jew, and after Jesus’s death actually killed people who believed in Jesus, thinking He was doing God’s work. But then God revealed Himself to Paul, and Paul became of one the most prolific writers about the new order Jesus came to bring to earth.

A little background on me: Perhaps the reason I’m so passionate about this particular message is in my early years I longed to know God but became caught up in religion. I felt enormous pressure to do it all “right.” I talked before about how my need to be perfect was incredibly damaging to me. You can read more of my story here. In my mid-thirties I went through some deep healing. During this season I awoke one morning to the Spirit whispering to my heart, “It is for freedom I have set you free.”

These words are found in Galatians, the book this series at my church is based upon. That morning I jumped out of bed and grabbed my Bible and read the whole passage: “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free, therefore don’t return to a yoke of slavery.”

And that has been my goal ever since–to walk with the Lord in the light of His acceptance and freedom, not caught up in trying to follow rules or please people, but to become immersed in His love and unconditional acceptance and to discover how to live a life that offers it to others without destroying myself. Part of freedom is learning boundaries. Much of freedom is learning there is only One to please, and all others fall underneath that first goal. Resting in His Love, not my efforts, is the best part of life.

Summer Joys

 

Sometimes a picture says it all. No words needed. Grateful for the gifts of summer.

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June flowers

 

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brides snacks

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Enjoy the season!

Until Next Time,

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Wandering and Pondering

There is no goal but movement.

No map dictating the journey.

No planned route.

On the days I set aside time to exercise for at least an hour, I simply walk forward.

I haven’t had much time for free wandering. Or I haven’t made it lately. My routes have been quicker and planned to burn 2-300 calories.

But today the wanderlust hit again.

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I thought I’d harvested all the vistas within an hour’s foot travel. That my neighborhood had been explored.

But today I gave myself an hour.

I took a turn I hadn’t taken before.

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And as my feet moved, I pondered last year’s wanderings.

Was the Spirit chuckling as I meandered day after day, making unexpected discoveries? Did rub eager hands waiting for the day HE nudged me to knock on a stranger’s door to see if they needed food?  the day a pastor I’d never met asked me to pray for him, or when I felt a spiritual confrontation like a physical assault when God led me to a gathering to walk through and pray?

Did He do this on purpose? Train my inner person to loosen up by first freeing my feet?

I’d almost forgotten the breath-taking wonder of taking off out the front door not knowing what He was going to lead me to do next.

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Until today.

When I once again pounded the sidewalk realizing this brave meandering in my familiar neighborhood has done more than release my body. The courage I’ve found here, just walking to lose weight, shook loose some sort of interior control mechanism so I could find courage to move forward in life.

So I could figure stuff out that I hadn’t yet.

Would last week’s epiphany have come if last year’s walking had not?

Today I walked the familiar route past the library and the park and kept going.

At first it was more of the same. Fences around a trailer park. Not especially exciting.

I determined to see beauty.

I noticed the homes with rosebushes, big canopied tents sheltering tables and grills. Heard music flowing. Brushed beneath the fresh green leaves of a huge tree.

And then came the surprise. A park I’d forgotten with a nature path I didn’t know existed.

Off I meandered, gravel crunching beneath my feet, curving through verdant grass. First down a hill, then following a stream, then on paved walk into a new neighborhood.

The houses and streets were unfamiliar, though I knew I’d driven through it further north.

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I kept walking, thinking I would find my way back to a road I knew.

But a nudge sent me turning right when I meant to go straight.

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Such a lovely street unfolded before me with home after home with beautiful landscaping, and all those flowers made my heart full.

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More unexpected treasures.

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Found just because I moved forward.

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Flowing with the promptings of my heart.

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In freedom.

And now that I’m learning to flow forward in life, not just in my neighborhood meandering, what else might I discover in this place?

This freedom place.

Until next time,

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Big Celebrations and Simple Pleasures

20140611_145401We wore our Hawaiian attire just ’cause we could. For a joke in a way. A celebration of the memories of 25 years of marriage.

We matched. We rejoiced in the fact our clothes from that trip 16 years ago fit. That life together had held many special moments.

We got a lot of stares. Of comments. A group of teens on their break stood smoking outside a restaurant and snickered.

I smiled and waved. “Hey! We have a good reason!” I bantered. “It’s our 25th wedding anniversary, and we’re wearing a memory.”

They cheered for us then.

I never knew what a conversation starter bright, out-of-date, Hawaiian attire could be.

Honestly, I was a little embarrassed by all the attention, but I’m glad we did it. It was like a shout to the world that marriage can be fun. Can last. That you can still play together after 25 years.20140611_230050

At Trader Joe’s the comments on our floral glory drew attention to our special day. They gave us flowers. We bought dark chocolate and wine, which we shared later that night.

It was a different kind of anniversary celebration for us. We weren’t able to get away for an overnight. We didn’t escape to traipse around in the mountains like we often do on special occasions.

We ran around town.

We shopped.

We ate out.

It wasn’t really very Jerry and Paula-ish. We’re not big shoppers.

But it was glorious.

I bought Jerry really good new shoes. He bought me silver jewelry. Yes, his gift was more romantic, but I swear those are the best tennis shoes my man has ever worn!

It was a joy to buy each other gifts. There were years we couldn’t.

20140611_193408After the hoopla we returned home to dress for dinner. I wasn’t quite up to making a matching spectacle at the nice Italian place we’d chosen. Besides, when I shopped for a dress to wear to Bernice’s memorial service I couldn’t believe how many dresses actually fit, and I bought a special one and saved it for this special day, hoping Jerry would like it. Would think I looked yummy in it and show it. ;o)

He did.

I’m still stunned I can find clothes I like so easily after all those years of hating everything, struggling to find something that fit, much less looked okay.

How foreign to like buying clothes again after my weight loss journey.

Weird.

And wonderful.

20140611_205508But back to our special day.

The beautiful dining experience that evening included live music and elegant food paired with a lovely wine.

Being the writer I am I people-watched in between those moments of staring deeply into my lover’s eyes. ;o)

Some people didn’t seem that happy. It was like it wasn’t special to  them to eat that good food, to stare at each other across the table, to enjoy a beautiful atmosphere and glass of good wine.

To them it was just another Friday night.

“If it ever gets to the point  that we do this all the time, and we suddenly realize it’s no longer special, let’s just stop,” I said.

Jerry agreed.

Life is too precious to blaze past beautiful moments.

I don’t ever want to take gifts for granted.

I hope I won’t.

Our normal is a meal at home, and these days there are less and less faces around that table, but every one who is there is precious and every meal we share a joy.

And oh the glory when those kids all come home and crowd around the table! Every time someone thanks me for the meal, every time we’re together like that I feel the gift of such a commonplace thing and think it extraordinary, even though it happens at some level pretty much weekly.

So maybe there’s hope that a special meal like the one on our anniversary night won’t lose the magic either, even if it becomes a new normal when the kids skitter away to build their own nests.

If it does, I hope I’ll quit going to nice restaurants.

Life is full of gifts.

Some are very simple. Like the aroma of freshly popped popcorn.

Some are extravagant, like four dresses in one day.

But all are there for the taking–a little notice, a little unwrapping, a little celebrating.

Until Next Time,

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Happy 4th of July!

A red, white, and blue post to wish you a Happy Fourth! (With all due respect to my lovely friends from “across the pond.”)

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Enjoy freedom where ever you find it today. Freedom to be yourself. To laugh. To worship. To dance. To cheer. To love. To celebrate . . .

Freedom to Move Forward Part II

south sudanI did something brave.

Different.

Unexpected.

(If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, this one won’t mean as much, so check it out!)

Just over a week I was surprised by the desire to visit a third world country as part of a team reaching out to spiritual leaders of a new country learning its freedom.

While I have long desired to serve others and even wished I could meet special people, like my World Vision “daughters,” I’ve never been one to jump at the idea of this sort of thing. Europe I’ve dreamed of visiting. Third world countries? Not so much.

But I couldn’t resist the truth: I was interested, longing to go, even.

But my mind went other directions, and I let the thought drop for over an hour until I “accidentally” stumbled right into the informational meeting about this trip.

Again intrigued, I stayed. Longing. Wondering.

I came home and went on-line to check out the application procedures. My computer wouldn’t let me into the system, and I walked away frustrated. Ended up in bed sick the next day and dragging for several after. But always in the back of my mind the desire lingered.

I prayed. Asked friends to pray. It seemed too big a decision to make without one of those huge, red check marks in the sky beside the “yes” (not that I’ve ever had that exact cosmic direction, but you know what I mean).

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As real life got in the way I assumed this, like many of my ideas (I’m pretty impulsive and interested in many thing!), would fall away.

Until Sunday, the deadline for that application.

Sunday Jerry and I took a drive in the mountains, lingered over a picnic lunch, and explored all the stuff 20140629_132412of yesterday’s post. As we descended back to the Colorado plains in our little silver car we were freer than when we began the climb. Hopeful for next steps. Excited about living outside the fear of getting it wrong.

We hit I-70, just below Genesee where the view opens up and reveals Denver far below, and I caught my breath.

“South Sudan,” I whispered.

“So it’s back to that,” said Jerry.

“I don’t have to wait for a cosmic sign. I can apply.”

And so I did.

God had revealed the freedom to move forward, to follow that desire inside of me calling out for attention.

To do something brave.

Different.

Hard and unexpected and adventurous.

To do it with His blessing even without a shocking confirmation of His will.

I could simply go for it.

Something that might turn out breath-takingly beautiful. Something that might hurt. Or even be dangerous. Certainly uncomfortable.

Something bigger than me.

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I came home, and my stupid computer (I say this with great affection) still wouldn’t let me into the application process. I stumbled a moment. Was it a sign I shouldn’t do this? I shoved the thought away and went with the forward motion of my heart.

Jerry offered me his computer, and I was in on the first try.

I don’t know yet if I will be chosen to even interview for one of the spots, much less as part of this team.

But I had the FREEDOM to try. The FREEDOM to reach way beyond who I am to do something I’ve never once before imagined.

The tears pool in my eyes as I type.

Where can I go in my newly-understood freedom of forward movement? What possibilities lie ahead that I never before dreamed? I have a catch in my chest where the breath should come out. It seems so crazy wonderful big.

This blog started as an inside-out journey to physical weight loss.

And that freedom plays into this one.

About a year and a half ago I was out for my walk. The pounds had dropped away. I had another 20 to go. I trotted downhill when blindsided by the urge to run. I couldn’t resist. I let those feet fly, pounding the pavement like I hadn’t done in years and years and years.

I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to run! “What in the world are You doing with me, God?” I whispered. “What are you preparing me for?”

I heard no answer, but felt his chuckle in the breeze upon my face.

At 210 pounds the idea of the sort of venture I applied for on Sunday would have been immediately dismissed.

But I am freed for forward movement. Free in my body. In my heart. In my mind. In my spirit.

I couldn’t sleep Sunday night. I just kept soaring.

Wishing you a freedom discovery of your own,

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(South Sudan pictures taken from Wiki.)