Tag Archives: courage

Surprise Twists and Turns!

It’s called the million dollar highway. Some sources also call it one of the world’s most spectacular (and dangerous) stretches of pavement. However, when traveled carefully in good weather, it’s a breath-taking experience of incredible vistas.

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Each one just as amazing as the last.

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One after the next, so incredible you scan constantly, not wanting to miss a single moment of the beauty.

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Sometimes you have to climb out of the car to see it all.

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But here’s the thing. This road is full of hair pin curves.

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They happen unexpectedly, usually with abrupt drop-offs on at least one side.

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We drove this road last May, our borrowed van full of our son’s stuff. A dresser, bed, clothes. You get the idea. We moved him from his college apartment to his new home and job. It was a full van, and I am not great at driving with decreased visibility out the windows. My husband drives a work van full of stuff every day, so I requested the passenger seat.

The problem with the passenger seat is you have absolutely no control. You can’t hit the brake when you want to slow. You can’t control the position of the vehicle, no matter how close that sheer edge looks. You have to trust your driver. (And as most of you know, a nagging, fearful wife is not very effective in these situations. Your man knows how to navigate the terrain and will likely not do it your way just because you catch your breath and spout advice.)

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But the great thing about being in the passenger seat is you can more fully enjoy the view without the responsibility of navigation.

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If you can just let go of your fears and go with it.

The problem is that while you’re exclaiming over yet another incredible panorama, you don’t see that sharp turn ahead. Suddenly you’re upon it. Disequilibrium makes you gasp and grab something to steady yourself. Fear hits.

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The twist is not only sharp and quick, the grade is also steep.

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Even in the moment I felt the stirring as we drove last May.

The need to pay attention. The prompting to trust my driver to navigate the unexpected turns in the road, to let go of control, to enjoy the glorious ride.

And to remember.

Remember how it felt to trust and enjoy beauty instead of micro-managing.

To drink in the wonder and excitement instead giving into fear of what is around the bend or how suddenly the change came upon me.

Of course I’m not talking about navigating Route 550 from Durango through Silverton to Ouray.

I’m talking about life.

Maybe you relate. Maybe life has thrown you some curve balls, not necessarily bad, but certainly unexpected.

Or maybe you’ve chosen an unknown road. One you’re breathlessly excited about. But you feel insecure. You don’t know the appropriate speed or how to navigate the next bend. You don’t know how much fear you must face to take in all the glory and wonder of the choice.

The weeks following this trip I had both experiences. A breathless choice and an unexpected curve ball. I keep reminding myself to trust the One who guides me on the best pathway for my life, who advises me and watches over me. But sometimes I gasp at the steep road ahead or feel the disequilibrium when the sharp curve redirects.

I’m not ready to write much about the unexpected curve. It’s still unfolding. Right now all He has asked of me is a mindset change, a readjustment of my thinking, plans, and dreams. That alone is a sharp turn, one that causes me disequilibrium.

But I am ready to write about the choice to adventure. To stretch. To follow where His Spirit calls even though the journey is unknown, and I have never done anything like this.

This choice is exciting. A bit scary. Full of joyful wonder. Poking at my insecurities and inadequacies but breath-taking too. Beautiful. New.13903190_10154455712793179_4641395257159691296_n

I was chosen to serve with a women’s team traveling to Afghanistan later this summer. The eight of us will meet with several groups of beautiful, courageous ladies who have worked tirelessly to better their communities and build toward a hopeful future for their children and their country. Our team seeks to build relationship, to encourage, to believe in the hope they possess and to share our own for them.

As I step out into this journey, I am stretching. It’s not just the miles I will travel or the insecurities I posses about navigating an unfamiliar culture. It’s not even the pain and fear that arises when another bombing rocks the world of the people I already think of as my friends. It’s the longing to be better than I am. To love more. To have more strength. To serve well.

What about you? Where are you stretching? What call up your deepest longings and passions. Where do you feel a prompting to something new, something bigger than yourself?

May God bless us all.

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PS Would you partner with me in this new adventure, my friend? If you’d like more information about the Afghanistan service trip, let me know. I’ll add you to my list of people getting updates. You can contact me by email: Paula at paulamoldenhauer dot com.

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.)

Authenticity, Courage, My Hubby, and DtC

For a year and a half I’ve let it all “hang out” here at A BeNew Journey. I’ve admitted my struggles with weight, with cravings, with grace. I’ve invited you to taste the hopes and successes even as I’ve invited you to walk through the struggles with me. In return I’ve been given the grace of wonderful support from you, my readers, friends, and fellow bloggers. You’ve cheered me on, wept with me, and shared your stories, too. Thank you.

This weekend my husband did something incredible. He began his own journey of public authenticity.1597648_10202467803671428_1674233776_o Over the years he’s allowed me to share bits of our story, but on Sunday he wrote a blog post that gives a glimpse into one of his most personal areas of struggle and pain, and he talks about how he is processing out of old paradigms to overcome.

Marking my weight loss journey through this blog has been a bit of an unveiling so I can succeed. It’s taken courage to talk about this place of shame in my years of obesity and courage to invite you into my successes. Jerry’s latest two blogs, Before and After with the DtC Movement Part I and II, are the beginning of his own courageous unveiling. I gave him permission to start with my story. I was thrilled when he used it for a springboard for his own.

Please take a moment to visit his new website, DtC Zone, to catch a glimpse of how finding the courage to face financial struggles can be a launchpad into hope and success.

I’m proud of my courageous husband. I’ve watched with awe as he has fought for the last few years to enter a place of pain and push through to the other side. He grabbed hold of a new way of thinking. Once he grasped this new paradigm, he then had to learn to walk it out. He is doing so with determination and faith, looking consistently to His God for direction and asking God to teach him to be the provider he desires to be for the family he loves.

Jerry and I are very excited about the DTC movement and how this new concept combines a tried and true method of producing income with the innovation and opportunities of this new age of social media.

I invite you to follow Jerry’s blog. To glimpse his own journey of transformation as you have mine.  If you intrigued, then why not follow the links he’s provided and consider not only watching, but entering this journey with him.

I entrust you into the hands of the man who has taken good care of me. I know Jerry will be faithful and loyal to those of you who choose to journey with him. His track record is proven by the loyalty, devotion, and faithfulness the kids and I have enjoyed the last 25 years.

Beauty in the Ordinary

20140505_144349-1-1My youngest son has a new girlfriend. She’s super cool and has a real heart for people. She’s traveled multiple times to third world countries, helped develop a video to promote a ministry to the poor in another country, serves little kids every week at church, and is constantly looking for ways to help women and girls who suffer.

All this and she’s only sixteen.

Last week she invited me to her house. She and her mom threw a jewelry party, only they weren’t raising money for themselves or working to get free product or even helping out a friend who had a small business. 100% of the profits of their party went to help women who need a safe place to live.

My girl and I went to the party, and my hubby joyfully encouraged me to spend money. I bought a gorgeous German silver piece and a less expensive, more whimsical set.

As much as I love the classy look of my more expensive necklace, I think my favorite is the other. It was made by a woman to dared leave a bad situation and believe she could have a new life. I’m not only impressed by her courage, I’m impressed by her ability to find beauty in places others wouldn’t.

See, the beads on my necklace are made from pinto beans.

Poor man’s food.

Polished and paired with silver.

This  woman saw beauty in the ordinary and dared to believe it could become something extraordinary. She took the raw materials available to her and created a fashion statement.

I wept when I showed the necklace and earrings to my husband. I want to be a woman who takes the mundane and makes it shine. Who sees art when others see dinner. Who takes whatever is at hand and reshapes it into beauty.

Who has eyes to see beyond.

Until next time,

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PS Been thinking about the possibilities of the Ditch the Can movement. Of how social network marketing could use this vehicle to raise funds for women like the one who made my necklace or to help orphans in Africa or buy school supplies. Dreaming about what it would look like to set up a chain of non-profits who helped support each other’s causes by building on each other. Anyone want to dream with me???

Monday Morning Makeover ~ Open War I

Too often I allowed ground to be taken from me instead of advancing in life. The most visual area is in the area of weight gain. Pretending the pounds weren’t creeping on, ignoring the battle waged against my body, didn’t make it go away. Open war was upon me whether I risked engagement or not.

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Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not (Aragorn, Lord of the Rings)

Weight Loss Journey Day 37

I’m panicked. Now that the world knows I’ve lost almost 20 pounds, can I keep it up??

Here’s what I posted to Facebook on November 29 in response to going public with my weight loss journey:

Remember when I posted that I was horribly embarrassed and asked you to pray for me about 2 months ago? I said if things worked out, I’d tell you about it someday. I had just applied as a beta tester for BeNew. I had to send in a picture purposely showing all my fat. I was horrified at the picture, embarrassed with the numbers I turned in. Sad I’d allowed myself to gain all that weight, unchecked. Afraid I couldn’t do anything to change it.

When Life Force chose me to test their weight loss program, I was thrilled and petrified all at once. It’s been five weeks now. This morning the scale said I’d lost almost 20 pounds, which is 1/3 of the way to my goal. (Yes, do the math, that’s how out of control this thing had gotten.)

I’m excited that my pants are baggy, but there are other rewards that I am just as excited about, which are unexpected. I’ve found the joy again in movement. I have the energy and DESIRE to walk, swim, ride a bike. Last week, for the first time in YEARS I was walking through my neighborhood and couldn’t resist the desire to RUN.

I’m also blown away by my children and their perceptions of this journey. My daughter is the reason you’re seeing this post. I hadn’t yet gotten the nerve to be public about my journey, but she posted to her dad’s new fb page last night about how proud she is of me. It was a beautiful, make you weep post, but (and I know this was not her goal) it was also incredibly convicting.

She said that for 21 years she’d watched me care for my heart in hard times, but never my body. And it’s true. I was a perfectly healthy size at her birth. Four babies came in 6 years and I never worked to get the baby fat off. I became a writer and never balanced all that sedentary life with exercise. I cook mostly homemade and healthy, but I never paid attention to too many sweets or getting enough fresh foods. The nutritional support of the Life Force products had actually made me crave more healthy options.

My sweet husband never once complained as I packed on the pounds. He told me I was beautiful and sexy always. But I’m blown away by how much he is enjoying the new me. We are active together now, often taking long walks just the two of us. I regret the pleasure my choices withheld from him now that I see how much he enjoys my new attitude, energy levels, and body.

I still have a long way to go, which is why I hadn’t yet admitted this publicly, until last night when Sarah told. Or maybe that isn’t really true, maybe the whole admitting of how out of control my weight had gotten was just too hard for me.

I do know I could use your prayers.  I do know the LORD gave me this gift. I had prayed for about two years that He would show me what to do about my weight. Until BeNew came along,  I didn’t have what it took to tackle the problem. But when I heard about the chance to be a beta tester, I knew I was ready and that there would be a good nutritional, wise approach to help me find my way.

Please pray with me for complete success!

Real Time Update:

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January 31, 2013 – my updated picture for the beta test group

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Where I started back in October, 2012

Last night I saw the picture I sent to the beta group audition. I thought I would never, ever, ever show it in public. But if this blog is about encouraging others, I need to be vulnerable. And I think this picture speaks more loudly than my words. Change is possible.

I was out of shape. Not just heavy, but I had neglected movement as well as healthy portions. I was sluggish. Tired. Even found myself struggling to get out of a chair sometimes.

Freedom is returning. The nutritional support of BeNew has helped me gain energy and feel stronger even as I eat less. I have less cravings for unhealthy foods. I am exercising and enjoying the freedom of roaming the neighborhood.

My weight didn’t define me then, and being thinner doesn’t define me now. But my weight DID inhibit me and getting closer to the size I was created to be is freeing.

Friends, let’s move forward together for health! For life! For freedom to be all we were created to be–inside and out!

What About You?

How does all this hit ya?