Make Room

Sitting in the sunshine on a misty beach one morning after a run, I am filming a video for my hubs. It’s been 6 weeks since we’ve seen one another face to face. Our plans for reuniting, fugacious.

I’m in my natural position for prayer...meaning I’m breathing, alive.
I’m on a daily quest for the Spirit to move in me regarding my Word for the Year; PURPOSE.
My walk, expectant. My eyes, upward. My heart, wide open.
I’ve had a great season in Costa Rica and also had the opportunity to fly up to Guatemala to spend some time. What an incredible country! It just drove home in me our love for culture and travel and people and an appreciation for this wide world of experience and chance and imaginings. I pray we never lose our sense of playfulness for adventuring and shenanigans. It’s one on a list of a million things that bonded us as a young 20-something couple, and as we age, I continually pray God’s favor on our health and an everlasting enthusiasm to traverse the globe.
But this morning, as I soak in a few moments of sunshine, I know it’s time to return to the sticky, hot of the South. Leaving one appreciation and devotion for another. One palm-treed, golden sand beach for the city, foodie delights, white sand beaches, and mountains to climb.
I talk this morning, post sent video, to my hubs and we get a ticket home for a couple of days later. Just enough time for those last-minute cocktails, dinners, hugs, and to get packed.
Is there anything better than a homecoming? Both here and there. Trading the friend-filled nights of delicious, home-cooked vegan food, wine, laughter and reunion with the open arms of my readied hubs as I traipse off the plane, suitcase, backpack, and surfboard bag slung over my shoulder.
Being alone for a month and a half (ok truly never alone but you get my drift) has allotted me some wonderful time to soak in the presence of God. NOT that I can’t do this anytime, but there is something about that set-apart, independent time that the Bible talks about. That night-silence, when it’s just you and your prayers and the whispers that you only hear in a placid mind until you fall asleep to a cicada-fueled symphony.
Day after day I felt the infusing of God on my heart as I prayed about PURPOSE.
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After returning, I was flung headlong into dog slobbers, Indian food, trail friendships, morning coffee brought to my bedside, and the bottomless love of a soul mate. Also back to our church family, which proved to be one of the best weeks to come back as we sat in worship with Kari Jobe and her husband Cody to sing a gorgeous song as a blessing over humanity. Joining that with a teaching on our “stories” and how the stories in our lives and what we believe affects us. We all have stories. I have saturated myself in this message over the past week. Considering the ways I have implemented the Word of God into my life and trying not to miss the bigger story of what God is telling me and teaching me. To not fill in the space that is in me, meant for him, with unnecessary baggage, so that His bigger story can be told in me and through me.
Over the years as G & I have made transitions in our lives together... BOY have there been plenty, we firstly go in seeking guidance through prayer and know that when there is tension or conflict to look at it through a lens of goodness. Our God lens. To get quiet and not allow doubt to cut off what God is speaking in our lives.
We BOTH found it remarkable that as we are sitting together in church last week , the title of the message was MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW.
Oh Lord, how you know our hearts.
“Make room for the new even when you don’t see it coming.”
I love a good Spiritual nudge.
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Just over a year ago, we made a move we were both scratching our heads over BUT are now seeing the fruit from. A plan that worked out, just not quite in our plan-frame, is now syrup-dripping with goodness. The two of us at odds over a few things. He; feeling led in one direction on a major purchase, and me… n o t quite feeling right about it in my spirit. We continued to pray. We both felt the sparks of confusion and tension.
“Did you know,” our Pastor said, “that God can be giving you exactly what you want, but the tension it takes to produce growth is super uncomfortable?” “Things may come into your life in one season as a problem or opposition and are the same things God will use to create opportunities to know him better and make him known.”
Have we made room to receive the new things that God has sent us that we’ve asked for?
Sometimes, I have the feeling that I may NEVER see the purpose, or at least to the extent to how God uses me. I DO know that although it’s not right in front of my eyes, it doesn’t mean I haven’t had an impact. I get glimpses...but we don’t see the way God sees. I don’t always see how something I’ve said or have done has affected others good or BAD minutes or years down the road. I am human and know I am not immune from being a fool sometimes. Then….there are those fleeting moments when I get a small peek and see in tangible ways how I’m fulfilling His purpose. My daily prayer is always “allow me to be open for YOU to use me in any way you see fit and allow me to always turn others towards YOU.”
I know He uses our past experiences, good and bad. The pain I walked through decades ago, that has long-since healed, may just be the balm that someone else needs for their own hope to bloom.
I DO pray for discernment. Because some people are just out for a hurtful story to learn about you and not because they are interested in walking along side you in healing. If you’re out to judge a book by its cover….you’ve come to the wrong illustrator.
I have a confession. It will sound TERRIBLE...but when we knew God was giving us the opportunity to move to the southeast United States, and by saying, “giving us the opportunity,” I mean….uprooting our semi-laid plans, for His flawless recipe...my first thought was “but….that accent!” I know, I know! Hate me now...I’m just being authentic. So….as we are sitting in church together this past week, I am NOT kidding AT ALL...our pastor is talking about CHANGE, and he says “maybe you didn’t want to move to Charlotte...because you hate the southern accent.”
Ummm…. I sat real still and moved only my eyes around through the hundreds in the  congregation because I was SURE everyone was looking directly at me.
Boy, did I prejudge what is and isn’t good for me. What limited thinking.
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I am happy right now to be back with my love. I’ve realized that I’ve allowed some doubt to creep in and cut off mid-sentence, some things God might be speaking into our lives. Like our Pastor has said “When God is speaking don’t stop at the comma! If you stop at the comma you never see the..“but….”
Trust me, that tiny, diminutive, oftentimes inconsequential conjunction can connect you to a multitude of healing. Of fulfillment. Of joy! It can take you from, “I feel stuck” BUT “I know new possibilities are coming my way?” From, “I have guilt from my past” BUT “God is a God of forgiveness and second chances, never guilt. He has washed me clean of my past, only to use my experience to help someone else.” It can take you from a diagnosis BUT turn you towards His healing, learning to rely solely on Him and open an opportunity for family and friends to soothe you with their hospitality, love, and prayer. ONLY later to use you for a future person that may be feeling scared because of their diagnosis. It can take a past mistake that has haunted you BUT now that you have walked the path, you have a voice to share your knowledge with others. From a past prison, into a bright future. It can take you from a place of feeling like you lost something but knowing God just moved it.
Change is amazing. New circumstances grow you so much as a person. You learn so much about yourself, your resilience and your passions. As I look back on the changes we’ve had over the years, God’s goodness is all over them. So prominent. He used some incredible opportunities to sharpen us, to bond us, to realize what’s truly important and what’s just unnecessary. To forge long-lasting, true, friendships over many miles and many countries. To drop off the unneeded baggage. I know God often uses a change in ways that we don’t always feel good about; losses, finances, marriages, sickness...Do you use these as opportunities to turn to Him? Sometimes we are thrust into a position that ALL we can do is rely on Him, which IS exactly where we should be. So if there is change, or tension, be expectant for transformation. Feeling mournful over a situation, believe the miracle. Fear or failure, choose faith.
I pray that we always allow room in ourselves for the new.
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Restore Me

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What a year it has been! I spent the last year with BE ruminating in my mind. That was my word for 2018. I am so not into New Year’s resolutions. Never have been. But what I DO, is pray. Pray for a WORD, a word to focus on and to set me on fire. To fix my heart on intentions, meaning, and hope. Don’t get me wrong, though, I am not bashing on resolutions, and I think they work for many. I think sometimes we get so off course during a year that giving yourself a resolution is incredible! It creates a fierceness in you: a determined heart and a purpose. I am, however, about goals. The type that allows growth but is not over-reaching and unattainable, so that you set yourself up for failure. Pliable goals that move and flow over the year. Some quick and some that are going to require some hard work. Maybe repairing a relationship, running a 5k, picking up an old project you were frustrated with or picking up a discarded passion that you allowed to fall away for whatever reason.

Last year was the year of “BE,” and I have been put to the test. Two thousand eighteen was an unbelievable year! In 2017 we had decided to sell off, donate, bless others with our excess and pack up and move out of the country. We dedicated to a full year. The year brought so much growth, challenge, joy, change, and transformation to both G and I. It was pretty magical, and we learned a lot. We learned that things are indeed never in our control. Something that sometimes both of us struggle with, obviously, because we continue to be challenged on this. We were blessed in a multitude of ways that we never imagined. We learned to BE more present and trust more. We learned that being comfortable and BE-ing comfortable means entirely two different things. We learned to BE more gracious and more thankful. We learned that to BE content doesn’t mean materially or always easy. We learned to BE more patient and to navigate problems without allowing annoyance to slip it’s ugly fingers in.

Going into this year as I nestled down my heart to await my word, I was excited! I was also exhausted and frustrated. We knew the time G and I had spent apart due to his career was not working well. Although living abroad, he had a lot of travel to the States. More than we anticipated. We knew that my complete retreat from racing and triathlon was not working. Coming off of several years of constant competition and endorphins to “hammocking” was not feeding my soul and my inner fire.
I prayed for a few months for my word, and just like always, in the early, dark hours of the morning while lying in bed, it was there on my heart.

Restoration.

res·to·ra·tion
/ˌrestəˈrāSH(ə)n/Submit
noun
1.
the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition.
synonyms: repair, repairing, fixing, mending, refurbishment, reconditioning, rehabilitation, rebuilding, reconstruction, overhaul, redevelopment, renovation; informal rehab
“the restoration of derelict housing.”

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This is always the part of the story that gets me excited because I never know where these words will lead. I always look forward to the transformation that they bring each year. I love that it gives me something to focus on and center myself on. Pray about and REALLY listen.

Restoration/Restore can mean a million different things. We do know we both love living abroad. We both agree that we are still dedicated to that. We are both wild-gypsy souls with an unquenchable amount of wild and wanderlust. We know that beyond the shadow of a doubt had we not decided to move, we would’ve regretted it later on. We are still happy we leaped when a lot of people would instead remain comfortable in their box. We know that no matter what, we will usually always take the road less traveled. We will never take things for granted and never say no to an opportunity. We won’t “live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” Travel, seeing other countries, visiting places in your own country, meeting people, exploring, eating foods that are questionable (HAHA) smelling, tasting and feeling the pulse of new areas, we think, intensifies the richness of your life. You realize how small you are on this vast globe. You learn a lot about adaptation and resilience. You learn there are a million paths to happiness, and none of them look the same.

img_3408So we start over. A new year. A new word. A further purpose. A fresh new love. New expectations and possibilities. New promises to lean in to. New vistas. With a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity and a fully open heart for RESTORATION, whatever that is going to look like. Ready to flip the flow (thanks Pastor Steven) Laying everything down for an inspired and passionate start line with a fresh eagerness and inquisitiveness for two thousand nineteen.

Two Little Letters: B E

 

Happy Twenty Eighteen!!  

What does it mean “to be”? Or for that matter; BE?

I love this from http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/to_be.htm; The Greek sea god, Proteus, was (like the sea) capable of changing form in an instant. In order to get any decent information out of him, you had to grab him and hold on tight while he went through his various forms — lion, wild boar, snake, tree, running stream — it wasn’t easy. The verb “To be” is said to be the most protean of the English language, constantly changing form, sometimes without much of a discernible pattern. Considering that we use it so often, it is really too bad that the verb “To be” has to be the most irregular, slippery verb in the language.

The most irregular, slippery verb.

When the word “BE” came to me this year, as “my ONE word” I was perplexed, and honestly, I still am, because what do I do with a word so open-ended as this?
I ran this morning and walked the beach to cool down (a word that’s impossible living here), and as per the usual, I prayed, because beach- walking and running are ALWAYS my “gettin’ down to business with the Lord” times. I asked God “what does BE mean?” “You gave me this word, and I don’t know what to do with it.”
There are a million things that BE can have an association. I posted a few last week on my Instagram; BE helpful, BE kind, BE available, BE yourself, BE there, BE love, BE the best you, BE all in, BE generous.

I have the strangest feeling I’ll be on quite a ride this year.

IMG_3093For me today, as we start this new year, I know it’s BE accountable. I read this morning; “accountability is something that you must take on yourself. It is the ability to claim your actions as your own and discuss your reasons behind them. It’s natural. Transparent.”

I want to be accountable to my family and friends. I want them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt; I’m in their corner. I’m behind their crazy schemes, and dreams and ideas. I want them to know; I have their back in all circumstances. For the joyous times as well as the messy, ugly, dirty times. It does not mean, however, that this accountability wouldn’t bring with it some tough love, or that it allows room to be a doormat to someone that is in harm’s way. I think in life and in relationships being accountable is tough. Everyone wants to hear the rainbow side of things and not always the “Please don’t go down that road, because there is a cliff at the end” side of things. Being accountable does not mean allowing toxicity or harmful behavior to enter into your life. I’ve learned, I can forgive and love a person from afar without allowing them to poison me but at the same time standing to take the reprimand if I’ve wronged someone.

I want to be accountable to my hubs. (This is SO easy for me) I want him always to know I support him. He has some ideas that I just sit and look at him, blinking wildly, mouth agape, but he knows….I am all in! Always! And to be honest, I’m sure, in fact, I KNOW he sits blinking wildly at me at times at my wild ideas. Talk about two people brought together by the Divine.

I want to be accountable to myself; allowing myself to be kind to my body athletically, nutritionally, sleeping well, practicing yoga, mindful of getting my feet onto the sand and earthing, taking care of my immune system with good food, a lot of water, excellent supplements. I want to read more. (more than I already do) I want to laugh hysterically at something, daily (which is never hard for me. I am well skilled at the art of the belly-laugh ). I want to meet someone new or do a good deed every day, not because someone expects it of me, OR to get the recognition but to just shine a light. IMG_3092 2

My first start was running again after taking a little hiatus. After moving, I had a hard time finding my rhythm. The days are long here (year round 11 1/2-12 hours of sunlight) which is fabulous, but when the parrots are waking you up way too early, and the sun streams in, and it’s 90 degrees already, I couldn’t. I could not get going. I could not take the heat, which I love, usually. I could not tackle the humidity. I could not get used to running in the sand again. I could not keep myself hydrated enough. AT FIRST. I needed some accountability, and even though it’s online, I joined a Strava running group. It’s only a two-week commitment. (For now) But I’m logging my runs again, and have a 2-week goal because sometimes THAT is what you have to do to jump-start yourself. Knowing that my little running community is there, is holding me accountable. And you know what? It’s felt great. Well, it’s still hot as blazes, but after that first day, my body felt so incredibly satisfied. It’s what I’m made to do. Having the accountability to my group is terrific!

I loved and lived my word last year; Intention. Everything I did I tried in earnest to do out of intent and mindfulness, without being held captive to the word. I looked back on my post from last year and some things that popped out after knowing my word was; I want my actions to speak lounder than words, givng my friends undivided attention, surround myself with people on fire for life, being intentional with food and exercise, traveling more, soaking in salt water, have things in my house that are USEFUL and not just becasue “it’s a shiny new thing,” focus on my Creator, really listen to His will for our lives, BE A MAGNET FOR MIRACLES, be outdoors more, and have less TV time, to serve more, take more risks, love fiercly, allow myself to “not try to control the uncontrolable”

IMG_3089 2UMMMM hello! Talk about a year living out my word! IT WAS AN AMAZING YEAR! I saw an IG post a couple of weeks ago that said “Sometimes I just look up, smile and say “I know that was You. Thank you.” It gives me chills because this past year has overflowed with those moments. A smile creeps onto my face. A swifter beat of my heart happens. Chills cover my body. Tears come to my eyes out of nowhere. It’s comforting knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt; this past year has all been because of Him. When I’m able to look back on the year, with the word INTENTION, and the heart that wrote that first blog for twenty seventeen, listening and being open, waiting, and being patient, not rushing the perfect timing of God….. it brought the most unimaginable year into existence.
Before we moved, I was able to spend the most incredible time with friends and family, just soaking in their smiles and words and wisdom and love. I had the honor and privilege to stand up in the wedding of two of the most precious souls I’ve ever known. A friend that I’ve laughed wildly with, have traveled abroad with and have also cried long nights in anguish alongside. A friend that I have prayed on my knees daily for to find love. Isn’t God surprising in the way He hears and answers our hearts? I also got to welcome a new baby with a dear, sweet friend. The miracle of life! I cheered as friends achieved goals, I walked alongside sick friends, praying for healing and they all walked beside me as we got closer to moving. Because as exciting and ready as we were to make this move, there is something about becoming disconnected from your tribe…. I already knew and should have realized that nothing would change or TRULY disconnect us, because friends are friends and love is love,  but on some days I allowed insecurity to seep in where it had no business being.
We became more minimalist, honestly and genuinely taking inventory of our “things,” and boy did we PURGE! We wanted to be in a place and a space that had no excess. What we own is our most favorite, and used for a purpose, daily. We have everything we’ve ever loved, being useful and not sitting on a shelf. We gave away and tried to bless with our excess. We traveled a lot, and salt water soakin’ is a way of life now. Every day my husband says; “let’s get salty!” It washes away so much! We are outdoors, always. Living in a tropical climate EVERYTHING is open air. Not to mention, running, hiking, waterfall chasing, surfing, beach walking. We are outside people and are out a lot. Less TV….easy, and when we moved, our house didn’t have a TV. Take more risks = moving to a foreign country. Not controlling the uncontrollable literally happens on the daily here.
I see now how God walked me (us) through this past year by hand. He prepared the entire way for us. He had moved and was here way ahead of us. I am looking forward to a year of BE. I’m excited and encouraged to see the ways God will flow through and use this word in our lives.

What are you’re terrific moments when you say “I know that was you” What is your word for 2018? Do you do a word, a resolution, an intention? I’d love to hear it! It’s a great confirmation and comfort to me, seeing the past year and how it played out, to know God has us right where He wants us. For this moment. For this season. To be.

Pura Vida

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