Passion



Passion is a gritty kind of love, tough and

optimistic enthusiasm that overcomes negativity and inconvenience to make it

through to the end. (10,000 Reasons Overflow)


Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Recommendations


I love reading but I can’t say that there are too many books that I would say “changed my life” but off the top of my head I can think of three in recent years that changed my life.
 
 
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
https://www.amazon.com/Art-Racing-Rain-Novel/dp/0061537969/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500512657&sr=8-1&keywords=the+art+of+racing+in+the+rain+by+garth+stein

1000 gifts by Ann Voskamp
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_10?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=1000+gifts+by+ann+voskamp&sprefix=1000+gifts%2Caps%2C194&crid=13AFXI0D4478P

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequiest


I love each book and their life changing ability.  The Art of Racing in the Rain taught me about perspective.  When someone asks for a book recommendation, this book is my “go to”.  I read it on my Kindle (but I gave my Kindle away) so I recently just picked up another copy to read this summer in my time of rest.  I read it in three days. I laughed, I cried, and I will never look at chicken nuggets the same again.

 
1000 gifts taught me to find thankfulness in the mundane of life.  It taught me that thankfulness precedes the miracle, and that in order to be open to God’s every day miracles, we need to have a heart of thankfulness.  I find more to be thankful for than I ever knew possible. I have the Audible, the book, the study.  I didn’t want to miss anything with this book.  I even gave it as Christmas presents and I am not sure anyone actually read it.

I made a joke in this new season of my life, I better get a book because I have no idea how to rest.  Insert “Present over Perfect”.  This book has changed the way I think, the way I feel. While I like to call this season “Rest”, I feel like it might be a time of big change, that the lessons I’ve learned in the first half of my life will both make me happy and to use that wisdom, and as I rest and really evaluate the good and the bad and the really ugly, there will be things that I will hate to admit but know that it is part of my story, and God will restore the ugliest parts of my life to beautiful.  This book as made me really examine myself, my life, my motives.  I’ve asked myself tough questions and dug deep for real answers.  It’s reminded me of what’s important and what’s less important. 

In this time of thinking and doing what I love (and what I don’t), I’ve remembered how much I love writing and how when I slow down I can actually hear the thoughts in my head.  It’s been so great for me, some things make it to the blog and some things stay written in a notebook, I may or may not share at some point.

This time of rest has given me so many gifts (like 1000 of them! HA!) and I thought I’d hate it, but once I gave up the struggle, I found myself with a peace I’ve never had before. 
What a blessing.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Resting and losing


I knew it was going to happen, sooner or later.  Someone was going to ask me “what have you been up to?” Resting.
And then a weird awkward silence. 

I think they didn’t even know what to say to me.

And then I didn’t know what to say… so I said “I just got back from Africa” and then it seemed to be less awkward.

I’m happy to report that it wasn’t me who seemed to be uncomfortable with the answer. I am loving my peaceful time.  Even though it’s not something that anyone expects from me. 
I have been thinking about all the reasons I never rested before.  Two main reasons.
Fear and Pride.

Ouch.
Who just hit me with a baseball bat? 

I was afraid that if I didn’t do things, whether ministry or for others, maybe people wouldn’t like me.  Maybe they like me because of what I do.  I think of how many times someone said to me “you’re awesome” after I did something for them.  I actually always hated it. Because sometimes I served within my gifts, but sometimes, I just wanted to be liked.  That is plain awful.  I do because of who I am. The gifts God has given me, but I “did” at a price.
And why? Because all my life, someone felt sorry for me. Didn’t have a mom. Then I was a single mom.  I hated it, I wanted to be more than those things, but if I was going to be a single mom, I was going to be the best single mom, I was going to rise above my circumstances.  At any price.  And I have paid a price over the years.

I think that I’m not the only one who is fearful.  Sometimes people are afraid they won’t do a good job or maybe they aren’t doing what God asked them to do or maybe they are doing something God doesn’t want them to do it. It’s a crazy circle, right?  Or how about we have to make a decision, and it’s a big one.  But no matter the decision, something is going to change, and sometimes we just like knowing. But that’s not Trusting God.  Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
So as I find myself in this weird season, I am loving it.  I am learning and hearing over and over again, that yes, I have gifts to give, but the best gift I have is my heart.  God made it perfectly.  All I have to do is live in that love.  No fear.  I heard a song today that said we need to love like we never had a broken heart.  And that’s how I intend to love, like I have nothing to lose.  Because not loving, that’s the biggest loss I could ever have. 

1 Cor 13:1-3

1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Roma Cafe


Two iced teas

Defending Alex when someone wasn’t nice

I expect you to do better

I know you’re sweet enough, but how about dessert?

With a foundation like that you can’t  go wrong

Million dollar baby

We will make you whatever you want

Meeting Kurt Maltby

Ketchup

“you can’t get chicken nuggets there, you can get spaghetti” (Phyllis telling her friends)

100 cherries in the bottom of a glass of pepsi

The best salad ever!

Do you have a place?  Like that place where everyone knows you and you feel like you’re loved when you walk in the door?
It was more than just delicious food for us, though the food was delicious.  It was the place we celebrated everything.  Birthdays, graduations, mission trips, putting in bathroom sinks.  It’s the place I took my friends, my co-workers. 

It was our go to place. Roma Café.

We literally have 100s of memories there. 
Rarely did I go on a Tuesday because my waiter, my very favorite waiter, who became someone I loved and cared about, wasn’t there on Tuesdays.  No one makes a salad like Sammy. No one.
I can’t even explain how a building, became a place that felt like home, but I guess after 20 years and countless celebrations, places filled with people you care about, it just happens.  I’ve prayed for the people who became friends over the years.  I’ve prayed for the business. 

I’ve sat across the table from friends and even been told by people who love me, “that guy is a jerk, you shouldn’t date him” HA! 
I am so thankful that on the way to my Africa trip, we stopped there for lunch one last time, even though we didn’t know it was going to be the last time. 

I’m so thankful and so sad, I don’t even know how to explain it, I wish I had one more time, to hug them, to tell them all how much they mean to me, how happy I am for the next chapter in their lives, and how thankful I am that they have written stories on the pages of our lives.
Thank you Roma Café!

Love and Pasta!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Relaxing leads to peace and I'm loving it


As I pulled out of Target following getting my nails done, I found myself with a rumbly in my tumbly as Winnie The Pooh would say.  I have been working on resting and quiet and peace.  I’ve been clearing my calender and taking care of me and my house. 
I had decided earlier in the week that I would not be getting “fast” food any longer and wouldn’t rush into a meal.  I'm moving from the fast paced life to a much slower pace.  This includes eating.  This new habit has a lot of deprogramming to do in my daily life.  This seems like a great idea until you’re driving in youre car and you’re hungry.  This has happened to me a couple times since I made the decision.  At this point, I was about a half hour from home, and there is no reason why I couldn’t wait until I got home.   So I did : )  I felt like a champion who won the first round of a fight there is no way they can lose.

I was working around the yard this morning and I noticed something.  I did one thing. I worked on the yard. I focused on… working on the yard.  I thought about the yard…  I worked on one thing… it was weird.
At one point I noticed a beautiful sound. The sound of nothing.  Not a million thoughts going around in my head. It was a sound that was strange for me.   Usually thoughts spiral in my head like a tornado and I pull them out each as I need them.  Some days it seems like I’m gonna implode.  Today, I stopped and listened, took a deep breath and thought “so this is what peace in the every day feels like”.

I never realized how this felt.  It’s great! 
I don’t regret all I’ve done and accomplished but I am looking forward to a life of focus on people not accomplishing, relationship over long lists followed by check marks.  I am looking forward to taking good care of the life that God has entrusted me with, I am looking forward to loving people well, every day, at a much slower pace.




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Restoration

Picture from here
I have been asking God to restore what is broken in my life.  It has been crazy the things He is bringing to the light that I’ve never really talked about.  It hasn’t been easy but I’ve been open and honest about what has happened and what He is doing.

When I went to Uganda God really laid on my heart to talk about some things that I just never really talked about.  It was hard and freeing at the same time.

When I was younger I was sexually assaulted, I will not go in to all the detail of that mess, but it was something that I buried really deep because I was told no one would believe me anyway.  A few years ago, it came to the light, and I talked about it and received healing from it. It wasn’t easy or pretty but like all things hard and ugly, it was worth it.
Just 3 days I talked about restoration at the Soup Kitchen and how God can restore the things in our lives that someone has taken from us.  I talked about how in 2 Cor 13 Paul says “I’m coming to you for the third time” and I laughed because God often needs to tell me things over and over again.  2, 3, or even 100 times.  I talked about how in Eph 2:10 NLT it says God says we are His masterpiece, and no one can take that away from us. 

The thing about restoration is that the original item is worn down, and sometimes broken, but when it is restored, it is fully functional, and sometimes with a different purpose, and it’s beautiful!

Just yesterday I went out on a date with someone and they literally reached across and grabbed my breast and I was shocked and appalled.  Needless to say I got myself out of that situation, quickly at that.  I am not sure at what point in society we have made it seem ok, that it is ok to have a complete lack of self-control, but it is not.

Two years ago, even though uncomfortable, I might have laughed that off if it happened to me, I might have stayed in that situation because I felt sick and had a lack of self worth, and clearly, I did not feel like any masterpiece, let along HIS masterpiece.

I’d really like to encourage anyone that if you are stuck, ask God, beg Him, whatever it takes, for restoration in the broken parts of your life!  It might seem like the pain to fix the issue is unbearable, but I think what’s worse is the pain of staying broken. 

Don’t stay captive to hurt that holds you when YOU have COMPLETE access to the healing that will free you!

John 8:36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Tree


I saw this tree. 

Do you remember back in the day when Barbara Walters asked Katherine Hepburn the very pressing question "if you were a tree what kind of tree would you be?"

Oh am I dating myself? Oh well, this side of the daisies is a good one. 

I feel like this tree.  
From one side it might look just fine, maybe it looks a little uneven but it looks fine. If you know me, and know me well, you'd take the time to walk around and see this really broken part. 

God is speaking to me, and I hear it.  And better than that I'm listening. 

This tree is beautiful.  You look at it and don't you just want to snuggle up under that tree? It's beautiful. It looks lush and looks as if it's fulfilling it's purpose. 



It is a dream of mine to sit under a tree and read a book.  Just relax.

The truth is I FEEL like this tree.  Like half of me can't get it together.  I can't remember a day that I haven't been in some kind of pain.  My knee almost always hurts, my hips pull and hurt EVERY day, and walking is hard, sitting is hard, it's all hard, but I never stop going, because I have convinced myself that I need to.  What will happen if I don't keep going?  So I do. The pain in my body has seeped into my heart.  It's painful some days.  Again, I have convinced myself that I must keep going, I must be there for everyone.  But I have drained myself.

In order to get a tree (and myself) the broken parts must be removed.  On a tree it's easy to see, in my heart, it's not that easy. But I will do the work to remove the broken pieces, God has equipped me with a tool belt so that I can do the work to get where I need to be.  And I will.

It means I will clear my calendar, and I will take the time to rest and do the work I need to do to be healthy. 

I can't wait to sit under that tree when we are both completely healthy.


Psalm 41:3 The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.






Sunday, July 09, 2017

Heart Changing

I'm in a weird place right now. I'm trying to scale back, slow down, and discover.
 
I love my life but it needs to slow down. It needs to be less.
 
When I found myself pregnant at 19 there were many thoughts in my head and heart and after years and years of people feeling sorry for me because I didn't have a mom, no one was going to say "oh poor margie look what happened to her" and so I decided I was going to do it all, be it all, and no one was going to stop me.
 
I created, by the grace of God, a great life, but at 44 I've found myself tired and feel like there are broken parts of my life that are in desperate need of restoration.  So I'm working in clearing my calendar, and by working on it, I mean I will. It doesn't mean I will schedule more "meaningful" events, it means I won't schedule things in those days. 
 
I saw this verse today, psalm 63:3 
 
“Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!”  Psalms 63:3 NLT
 
God's love is unfailing, and it is better than life, there is nothing I can do or have that compares to it. I will live my life for Him but  it will not be an insane schedule or because I'm worried about what people will think or if they will like me, it will be for Him, and Him alone.  I will do my best to remember that the life I create for myself will never be better than being in His presence, and living the life that He created for me.
 
This certainly won't be easy untraining my brain and heart but it will be worth it. 
 
Picture  from here
 

Friday, July 07, 2017

It's almost done!

I’ve visited this “lot” more times than I could even tell you.  I’ve had days when the world seemed just too big and I’d visit it.  When life seemed too much and that there is something that needs to be done in the world, I’d visit and pray and dream and hear the sound of children’s laughter at this space.
Today as the volunteers left and I looked at the lot that is now a park, I just am in awe that God would choose me to serve on this project.  This project has humbled me, made me feel so small in the world, and yet like my life matters at the same time, like somehow I wasn’t a mistake. 
I love this project, all that it has become, even though my place in it was small.  I showed up with water, washed gloves, raised some money, but others did way more than me, but I am so happy to be a part of this!  I even helped put in the sprinkler system.  Mostly I prayed about this project.  I prayed when pulling the original weeds, prayed walking around it, I’ve prayed for those working on it, and prayed for those who will use it.  I’ve prayed for the community around it. 
I’m so thankful for my friends who have helped, traveled, lead projects, pulled weeds, knocked down trees, prayed, worshipped with me, prayed with me, it’s been an amazing journey and a stretch in my faith. 
I’m thankful that I will have a place to come pray, to hear the giggles that I once imagined.  That kids will have a place to play, and grow, and dream.  



Monday, July 03, 2017

I'll be resting

Rest

It doesn't sound great does it?

What gets accomplished when we rest?

Nothing

I am conditioned to move forward, get things done. "What have you been up to?" People ask. I want a good answer. 

What am I supposed to say? "Nothing, I'm resting" 

Yeah that seems dumb.

The truth is that I'm exhausted.

I can't be "on" anymore. I can't pretend to be peaceful when my insides are a mess, my crazy leaks out. My anxiety flares. I feel terrible and want to fight, all the time, and almost everyone.

I want to cry but I can't because I'm afraid I'll never stop, and I don't even know what I'd cry about. Life is good. And... I'm afraid to laugh too hard because I might start crying. How the heck do I explain that?

I'm back from Uganda thinking I was going to have clear direction of what is next. 

I.got.nothing.

A couple of people have said "maybe it's time for rest" 

And I think I already knew that, I just didn't want to do it. 

A couple years ago I took a rest. Which meant that I did rest but I still served, I was  closely listening to the Spirit and followed the lead of Him of where to serve. Nothing was overwhelming. It was glorious, and joy full and no serving was done out of obligation or guilt. I actually said "no" a lot. But even as great it was, it was still so hard.

Being busy is who I am, getting things accomplished is my gig. It's my sweet spot.

So I'm resting, whatever that looks like in this season.

I'm hoping to be quiet and listen.

I'd be lying if I said I was looking forward to it or that I'm not nervous. 


So if you find me and I look dead, don't worry, I'm just resting.

Or I might be having the time of my life ❤️