Category Archives: Sidewalks and jet streams

I’m Okay! Really!

No major life crises, no health issues, no shocking inner journey. Just space. Time. Preparing my kids and myself for the big leap to college, then processing the empty house and cleaning out drawers. Taking time to cry a little as a the kids step into adulthood. Rejoicing in a week vacation with a best friend. Choosing to be more interior, to spend a chunk of that time I often use for blogging to be private~me, my God, and my journal.IMAG0318  Taking time to ask who He sees in this new season for me.  I’m still hitting the sidewalks and trails and caring about being healthy inside and out. Blog posts are germinating, and as soon as it feels right, you’ll hear from me . . . special thanks to those of you who sent a little note recognizing my absence here. That meant a lot.

Until the posts start appearing again know that I’m here, still stretching, growing, even being a bit adventurous!

Until Next Time,

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Stress?

It was quite the day.

4:30 a.m. and I was already in front of the mirror, taming the wild mane of clean hair. I’d gone to bed with it wet to gain sleep time.

I’m not a morning person.

Packed my bag for the hospital stay. Put on my favorite shirt for the interview.

Hubby and I bundled our sixteen-year-old “baby” in the car, dreading the pain he would soon endure.

It’s our fourth hip surgery. Experience is helpful in these situations. It also makes you realistic about things like how much pain there is and how demanding the next few weeks are, how long the months to recovery will be.

At the hospital they take us through the paces. The doctor talks through options of what he might do depending on what he sees once he’s inside.

The anesthesiologist discusses options, too. We ask for the anti-nausea patch. Opt for a spinal over an epidural. Last time Sam hated the tingling in his feet.

One last kiss. My child is whisked away. Parents ushered away, too. We’re sent to wait.

I linger only a moment before a brisk walk to the van. My interview is on the other side of the big city. If traffic cooperates I can be there and back before while my son is still in surgery.

It’s 7:30 now, and I long for the coffee I feared would upset my system three hours before. But the traffic is heavy, and a Starbucks’ line seems unwise.

It’s stop and go, this tedious drive that used to take half the time before my city grew. Close to my destination I realize I will be late.

I’m interviewing for a demanding experience in a third world country. “How do you hand stress?” They ask.

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Photo from Wiki – South Sudan

I’m calm. So calm.

Stress. The files click in my mind. Stress was those seven years. When my husband almost died. When they almost took our home. When all four children faced sickness, surgeries, undiagnosed illness, broken bones, struggles academic, physical, emotional, spiritual.

When dreams crashed, and I fought for breath every day. Digging deep. Carrying on.

Stress was two years past the seven. When two car accidents stole my stalwart reserves, messing with my head, my emotions, causing headaches, pain in my neck and back, sensations still undiagnosed. Making me afraid to drive. Afraid to live, really.

But today is 2014. Not 2012 or the years before.

“I don’t know. I haven’t had much stress lately.”

If they are incredulous they don’t show it.

They know my son is in surgery. They’ve been praying for our family. They know I drove through rush hour traffic to get to them.

I talk about the hard stress years. How I had to be strong. How the car accidents stole my strength.

I’m in the van before I realize the absurdity of my answer. How this day. THIS day of surgery, little sleep, traffic, and interview I say I am not stressed.

I shake my head. They must think me delusional.

Or in denial at least.

I laugh at me. Did they do the same when I left the room?

Today is stress. Even more than normal stress.

But maybe I’m not so stressed I don’t know stress. Maybe I’m not in denial.

It’s a matter of contrast.

Those years, those nine years of unrelenting stress . . . did they teach me something? Show me we can endure more than I knew?

I’m deeper now. God is more established in me. Oh HE was always right there, but I know Him more. His faithfulness. His provision.

His ability to receive my pounding fists when I hate the things He allowed.

I trust Him more. He has earned that trust.

My friend says I’m happier this summer. Is it due to the reduced stress or the increased understanding of life, God, strength?

Maybe both.

My stress this surgery day is real, even if I didn’t articulate it in the interview. But it is not crushing real.

Some things are understood in the comparison.

Some things are understood in the perspective of a life lived.

And in this we have survived. Blossomed even.

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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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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.)

Ditch the Can, the Chair, the Dolrums

 

Ditching the Desert

I believe in giving oneself the space to heal after loss. That’s why I spent the last few weeks recuperating from the long hours of hospital stay 20140405_131421and eventual death of my beloved friend who was more like family. I slowed way down. Let the blog lie mostly silent. Spent a lot of hours in my (new) chair reading, being still. I’ve been taking time with the process. Throwing in the empty nest stuff I’m dealing with as well. Cleaning out old photos. Letting the tears drip. But even as I want to grieve well, I don’t want to live in the desert. And I certainly don’t want to gain back the weight I worked so hard to lose. So I’ve been returning to healthier habits, taking my BeNew, walking, choosing raw spinach and strawberries and cashews. I’m going to walk through this valley, but I’m ditching the desert by making good, refreshing choices that aid the healing process.

Ditching the Chair

Okay, so we did get rid of the “famous” old blue recliner where I rocked all my babies. My daughter was20131222_140949 devastated, but not enough to give the worn out rocker a new home. But even as the old blue recliner goes, my memories do not. All four kids piled into one big heap. Babies nuzzling at the breast. Older kids, hot with fever and usually too old to held, clinging to Momma, rocking through the long night. Quiet hours pouring my heart into my floral journals. Whispers of heaven as I talk to God and listen to His responses to my questions and pleas. Hot tea sipped. Novels devoured along with the popcorn and chocolate. I loved that old blue recliner, but I release it just as I must release the long season of child-rearing. (But not before I proved that I lost enough weight that my brother and I could both fit in it!)

Ditch the Can

For me the Ditch the Can movement isn’t so much about ditching a Redbull or Five Hour Energy. I wasn’t IMAG3027-1-3really into those things. But what I do need to ditch is narrow perspectives. I’m ready to live a freer life on my terms, not tied to a publisher or a time-clock for income. DTC is kicking into gear for hubby and me, showing us what it’s like to live outside the boundaries of traditional thinking and to step into a place where we can ditch a lot of stuff like debt, miserly living, worry about finances, small thinking, and boxed in living. If you want to know more, visit my new page on this blog.

 

 

Ditch the Sitting

Okay. I’m still going to sit. I love  my new recliner, moved from Bernice’s house next door into my living room. I’m in that chair now, typing this blog, clinging to a bit of her presence.20140507_100115 But I’ve been sitting too much. Getting slow and stiff. This week I decided, “ENOUGH!!” I’ve clocked about 15 miles in my tennis shoes the last four days. I saw an airplane tail hanging out of a house, inhaled the fragrance of three different colors of lilacs, and strolled with a fluffy bunny (for real!). I walked with hubby and walked alone. I walked without a destination and I walked to Gunther Toody’s to have lunch with a friend. I walked in silence, strode forward while talking non-stop to my husband, and clocked multiple miles in prayer. I walked in the sunshine, the wind, and the drizzle. (I did stay home when it hailed, however.) And you know what? I loved it. Every step, every vista, every conversation and even the solitude. And walking makes me remember how it heals to get into the fresh air and notice things like bird song and flowers, lilac scents and cloud designs.

Ditching the Have-Tos

canopyDuring this season of transition and grief one thing I’m for sure ditching is the expectations I too often place upon myself to manage according to some arbitrary “have-to.” The world pushes us to rush through change, to get over sorrow, to perform instead of live. To do instead of be. I’m ditching the have-tos. I’m choosing to weep when I want to weep. To laugh when I want to laugh. To read a book even if there’s laundry. To take care of my heart and not just the dishes. Sure I’m prioritizing the stuff the calendar requires. I’m not advocating total negligence. I still believe in being responsible even in the season of grief. But I don’t have to rush through this time. I don’t have to perform, perform, perform. I give myself permission to “be.” For as long as I need to. For interludes throughout my day or week. To pause instead of push. To sit under a tree and stare upward.

Until next time,

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PS If there is a theme to these random reflections, maybe it’s ditching the doldrums. Choosing not to let the hard times of life steal away the good–like hope and dreams for the future, getting outside and enjoying blues skies, embracing good memories even as I allow for grief and season change. Even the time to mourn is ditching the doldrums. That, too, is good. Healthy.

On a Beauty Search

Some people love earth tones. You know, creamy, sandy, brown, beige and taupe.

I’m so NOT an earth tone kind of girl.

My kitchen is yellow. My office a soft green. If I had my way it would include splashes of bright pink.

Last year I fell in love with walking.

I adore cobalt blue skies paired with snow capped peaks. Rainbow hues in flowers lining a planter box. A profusion of roses. Rich green leaves–or bright yellow, red, and orange ones in fall.

But plain ole brown.

Not so much.

I usually love winter. Diamond dancing when sunlight hits snow. Frosty air. Twinkle lights and homemade snowflakes.

But this winter has grown long.

And in between the beautiful snowfalls there is sure a lot of brown.

And when it’s cold I’m finding it hard to brave the temperatures and walk.

This post is a reminder to myself that there is beauty in brown. If I will just get my you-know-what outside and put my feet to the sidewalk, I can find it.

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And if I look hard enough I might even find a little green and blue.

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So I need to dig a little deeper, hit the pavement, enjoy the world one sidewalk at a time . . .

And cling to the promise of spring.

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