Archives for posts with tag: all-in

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

So, at our school, in this fast-paced, filled-with-trauma world, we’re working on being mindful. “Mindfulness” has been a phrase that we’ve used a great deal in the past year. My realization? That this teacher, (wife, mom, friend, etc), can be a tad-bit distracted a lot of the time.  So often  I am more mindFULL than mindful. So am rethinking some things. Here  are some of my thoughts:

My growing definition of mindfulness- being fully present in the moment I’m in; vested in the now;  all in; aware of myself and those around me; tuned in; present in mind, heart, body, spirit; responsive to the present stimuli rather than reactive to past events or future fears;  focused on the task at hand; living in the minute that I’m living.


Broad River Greenway

Realization #1- It’s tough to be mindful when I have a mind FULL of past present and future goals, fears, to-dos, etc.


Ocean  Isle, North Carolina

Realization #2- Tuning out is as important as tuning in.Being mindful takes paring down what I’m focusing on.


Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Realization #3 – Gotta figure what to filter in and filter out. Filters matter. Different filters are used for different things, circumstances, opportunities. Using spaghetti strainer-sized holes for a Keurig coffee filter won’t do. Will get lots of grounds in the coffee. Using a Keurig sized holes strainer for spaghetti won’t do. Water will overflow, won’t strain quick enough.  Strain.  Now that’s a word…’strain’. Here’s Google’s definition of strain:  “a device having holes punched in it or made of crossed wires for separating solid matter from a liquid.” Separating the solid from the liquid.  Separating the “what-matters” from the stuff to let go. Separating the value from the waste. Yeah, sounds like mindfulness to me.


Winston Salem, North Carolina

Realization #4 – It’s a strain to strain. It takes work, determination, and willingness to fail, to filter out what’s not of value. It takes a willingness to let some things go. It takes perspective to know that the work of filtering will be worth the value of what’s left.



Realization #5 – Good things will be lost. There’s nutritive value lost in spaghetti water.  Yep. And that water could be used for lots more things. Yep. And I don’t want to be wasteful. Nope. But do I value my time and mission and purpose more than making sure that the spaghetti water  isn’t wasted?  Yep. Am I willing to accept that things and opportunities way more important than spaghetti water will be lost or wasted?  I’m working on my “yep” for that one, but definitely not all-there yet. Some things are more difficult to accept than others.


Broad River GreenWay

Realization #6 – The ‘what’ and the ‘who’ I set my mind on matters. Big time. It directs the course. Like a steering wheel, like a path, like a boundary, the “what” and the “who” direct my steps.  As a Believer, I want my North Star to be Jesus. His truths. His Word. His Passion. Am believing that all else is spaghetti water. Am I mindFULL of that? Working on the “yep” for that one as well.


Asheville, North Carolina

Realization #7 – Being present in the moment is greatly enhanced by the knowing that we’re just passing through, that our days are numbered.  If I’m honest with myself, I know that I’m slower to complete things when there’s no deadline. Even though I have had many ‘talks’ with my kids about not procrastinating, I’m still really bad about putting things off until  the ‘last minute’.  But the thing is, in this gift called life, we don’t know when our ‘last minute’ will be.  Our days are a gift. So our are minutes, our hours, our years. They are gifts.They are gifts to be enjoyed, to be valued and appreciated, and can be used in a way to impact those around us in beautiful and amazing ways…or not. Kind of depends on what we’re mindful (or mindFULL) of.


Kings Mountain, North Carolina

Realization #8 – Being mindful is a beautiful gift to myself and those around me. Period. It just is. Even if it can create friction, for friction often comes when there’s a change in patterns. But I know I’d much rather be present and less distracted and fully there for those around me for sure.



Realizations #9  Sometimes the best gifts come wrapped in discipline. Am thinking this is one of those. It takes discipline to rethink habits and patterns and pursuits.  It takes discipline to put down the computer and pick up the pen. It takes discipline to sit quietly and not fill the voids when there’s an awkward awareness of the void. It takes discipline to get stronger in heart and mind and body and spirit.


New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Realization #10 – Voids don’t have to be filled right away.  Voids get filled. Vacuums have a low pressure that make for the need for high pressure to move on in.  “Vacuum” comes from the Latin word “vacant”.  Empty.  So many of us have our lives and minds so filled to the brim that there are ‘No vacancy’ signs hanging all over us. And here’s the thing… We miss opportunities big time when we’re filled with fillers. When there’s a space like time or quiet, how often we quickly fill the voids with noise or cell phones or activity that is just a mere filler.

Sometimes we might need to sit with someone and let the quiet seep in before we fill the void with a cell phone or song or TV show. Sometimes we might need to let the uncomfortableness of a void sit for a bit so that we wait for a good filler as opposed to something to merely quiet the quiet. And it is true in so very many things that delayed gratification gives a much greater satisfied feeling and sense when the wait is finally over. So many things are worth the wait. Being slow to fill voids with fillers is something to be mindful of…



Broad River Greenway

Realization #11- Mindfulness is not a 21st century hip trend, it’s been a pursuit and directive for the ages.     “As a man thinks within himself, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7).  “Wherever you are, be all there.”  (Jim Elliot),”Life is not a matter of milestones, but of moments.” (Rose Kennedy), and here’s my favorite:  “A man paints with his brains, and not his hands.” (Michelangelo).


Boone, North Carolina

Though I am no Michelangelo and can only marvel at his amazing works, am thinking that we all create masterpieces in life. They are born out of who we are. We leave traces behind of who we are, what we think, what we put our time and passion into.  I love how Michelangelo knew that his hands, his work, were merely extensions of his mind… Another quote by Michelangelo is “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”  Love that. I’m thinking that he spent a good bit of time and discipline to cultivate his gifts as painter and sculptor…that he was mindful of what he was doing at the time. Focused. Determined. I wonder what masterpieces might surface in our lives if we put our fillers down and picked up our own chisel of sorts?  I wonder.



And that word…wonder. That leads me to the last little thought or realization I have this morning….( I think it’s the last anyway…)

Realization #12 Mindfulness opens my eyes to the wonder around me and doesn’t put me in the center.  I don’t want a world that revolves around me and makes me, my pursuits, my hopes, dreams, accomplishments the end-all. That leads nowhere. Am thinking mindfulness only aids in helping people to see with awe the infinite wonder that is in the world around them…not only the world that is in them. Mindfulness leads not to an ego-centric view… but  an “out of sight” mentality, in the hippest sense of the word. Mindfulness allows us to see that there is much that  we don’t see,  and to appreciate what IS, right here, here now.



Boiling Springs, North Carolina

The irony of being mindful is that it makes us all the more aware of the world around us as well as within us….and has an amazing way of connecting the two.

I can pray to be more mindful. I am praying and I have. But as Oswald Chambers said, “Some things go by kicking…” Am thinking this is one of those.

So there’s my list for this morning…am hoping that these realizations truly do become real…that they start surfacing in my life. I guess the first step has been made…recognizing and being mindful of what I’m shooting for.

Blessings to You and Yours~



“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12



I’ve always loved this little photo of  “legs”…my daughter’s to be exact.

She was on the shoreline dipping her toes in

while her brothers were all out diving in to the cold waters of the ocean.

A post I wrote about this moment can be found using the link below:


I loved watching my daughter on the beach on a cold Spring day. She had decided she wouldn’t try to brave the cold waters, so she just dipped her little toes in, danced in the sand, and amused herself by keeping the waves from coming up to her rolled up jeans. Her brothers on the other hand, would have nothing to do with merely dipping their toes in. Determined to not waste a day at the ocean, they were prepared for swimming and were crashing the waves, getting fully immersed in the rough ocean waters, no matter how cold they were! They were definitely “All in!”

I was with my daughter on this one as I stood back and enjoyed the view with my toes in the sand, but my jeans only up past my ankles. I loved watching the two different approaches, and laughed at the picture of the boys throwing caution to the wind, jumping in with wild abandon There’s a definite place in life for wild abandonment, total surrender, and being “All In”, that’s for sure! It’s a picture I’ve thought of quite a bit lately.

You see, I’ve been thinking a lot about total surrender lately. A dear friend passed away, and she as she faced the end of her life, she was very intentional about making the most of her moments. Her priorities were direct and clear. She was “all in” with loving well, sharing the love of Christ with others, and saying the words that she felt needed to be said. (I was the recipient of some of these direct words as she spoke to me on how to best ‘get in there’ with a son of mine who was struggling, and trust me, I took it to heart.) She didn’t dance around subjects, for there was no time for that. She loved well and spoke clearly, laughed whole-heartedly, and grieved deeply.She was honest. She knew her days were numbered, and her darkest cloud had the silver-lining of a precious gift to those around her as she chose to make the most of her days, knowing that they were few.

So, it has me thinking. Actually it not only has me thinking, I’m sitting here smiling as I say, some things are changing in my life. I have some ‘built-in’ excuses, like juggling a large family with a full-time demanding (more emotional than physical) job and a husband who, well, let’s just say, who stretches me a bit! (Totally love the man, but I tell ya, life is always quite full when he’s in the picture!) So, when I make excuses about not getting things done, well, they can be externally justified. Justified, but not to my benefit or the benefit of those around me. Honestly, (here comes the confession part), I waste a lot of time. Quite a bit. I’ve only realized that in recent years, but only in the past month have I truly started making changes. My friend’s numbered days make me much more aware of my passing moments. So, I’m cutting some of the fluff…and loving it!

So here’s the thing about being “All-in”. I want to live without the regrets of ‘what could’ve been’. I want to send the cards when I’m thinking of others, to share the gospel and love of Christ in a way that flows out of my spending time with Him. I want to share the “stuff” that sits around and is wasted. I want to be strategic in caring for those in my world, my home, my community, my realm. So much of that will only get done as I get more strategic and organized with my time and determine to jump in with the same tenacity and joy with which my kids jumped into the very, very cold rushing waves of water in the Atlantic Ocean on that cold Spring Day. They got used to the water quickly and made the most of their time, for sure, and it was a day well spent. I want to have a life well-lived, and as I pray and ask God to direct my steps, I must first determine to be obedient to follow where He leads. And sometimes before I can truly see, or truly be “all there”, I need to free myself from the stuff, the time-stealers and distractions.

So that’s what I’m working on. Being “All in!” And here’s one last visual for you: When I was younger, oh, how I used to draw out the process of ‘getting used’ to cold water in a swimming pool. I’d dip my toes in, then come the ankles, knees, etc. I probably wasted lots of time being freezing cold when I could’ve just jumped in, and gotten used to the water in matter of 30 seconds rather than 5 minutes of torture! So, I’m thinking on that analogy as I try to jump in to my tasks of reorganizing my life a bit to be not more effective like some little efficiency robot, but to be more intentional like a believer in Christ who loves well and makes the most of their days. Because like my dear friend showed us in her last months, days, and moments on earth, Moments Matter. Each and every one. So, here’s to being ‘all in!’


“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.… ” Philippians 2: 14-16

Post was in response to prompt for “A Week of…Sea and Sand”

Long way home

Everyday I go the back way home. The route consists of winding roads and views of distant mountains, of creeks meandering through fields and cows quietly grazing. From the time I pass through the last traffic light to the time I get home, the views help me decompress a bit. There’s usually a ‘grande finale’ of sorts as I turn onto my road. There is a field on the corner that changes daily depending on the weather, the crop being harvested, or the time of day or night. I love the way the wide open spaces make the view all the more beautiful, like an evolving masterpiece right before my eyes.

More and more in my life I am seeing the need to step back and take in the views around me.

I work with students who have a wide variety of intense needs. Some have deficits in their ability to learn and perform academically. Others have some serious emotional needs which translate into some difficult days of trying to help them cope and adapt to life in the school setting. As the schools are dealing with budget cuts and greater demands, seems as though there’s a daily urgency about one thing or another. I love my job, but some days, that urgency to feel like there’s always so much more to be done than can be done can get to be a bit overwhelming.

That’s part of the reason why I am so aware of my need to just step back and breathe in. With my students, I’ve learned that reacting precipitates big storms…and time and space can do wonders for grabbing a bit of perspective in the midst of a crazy moment. Stepping back, listening, thinking, and just not feeling the pressure to momentarily respond with all of the right answers can make all the difference in arriving at a good place for all parties involved.

When I was a young mom, I so felt the need to have all the right answers. I also believed that things had to be handled RIGHT THEN. I know with little ones, they need to associate the behavior with the consequence, so it’s important to respond swiftly. But as children get older, think time can be a good thing and wonderful teaching tool. So often I would put pressure on myself to come up with a plan or a consequence quickly, rather than taking time to let the conscience work a bit in my own children, and then respond once I had thought things through. I sometimes drew lines in the sand that I wish I hadn’t drawn, and a little bit of ‘think time’ could have made all the difference in the world.

In the work place, in marriage, in family situations, I’m learning to step back. I’m learning to look and listen more intently. I need wisdom and to pray things through before immediately responding to some of the things that are right there. And in this instantaneous, fast, get it right now society, my students and my own children can benefit from having some time to reflect on things. We need to teach our children to think, to reflect rather than merely reacting and responding without processing things first. Equipping them to be reflective responders rather than knee-jerk reactors will be a tool that will be a gift to them and those around them in a world that is so in need of those who are not reactionary.

So here’s the thing. I’m learning. But more than anything, I’m learning to not put pressure on myself to respond with all of the right answers at any given moment. I was so 20 for so long! But I’m so aware that I do not have all of the right answers now. And that is so okay. Being a mom to my very different kids has taught me that, not to mention being the wife to my oh-so-opposite-of-me husband! (Yep, I could write books on that one!) I so don’t have all the answers and I never will. But, thankfully, I know Who does. Amen to that. I just need to take a step back and ask Him to help me in the minutes and moments that I’m in.

So, stepping back is a good thing. Just as seeing the wide open spaces of the field allow me to enjoy the beauty, stepping back to get perspective can help me to enter into the moment in a whole different way. Things are not always as urgent as they seem and we need to remind ourselves of that. It’s so ironic. Taking a step back can help me to be totally present and be “all-in” in a whole different way! I love that. Amazing how when you don’t feel the pressure to know it all, you can look others in the eyes and take it all in in a whole different way. So ironically, stepping back often allows me to be going all in in a whole different way. Here’s to being “all-in” by stepping back. Enjoy the views because moments matter…

I love that God’s ways are simple. Here are a few verses on wisdom.

“Wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere/” (James 3:17)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)

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