Archives for posts with tag: letting go

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“Let go of the past, and the past will let go of you…”

Cool quote. Not sure who it’s by. But cool, powerful quote.

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-19

 

“I will do something new, Now it will spring forth…Will you not be aware of it?”

Tough to be aware of what’s ahead, what’s in front of us, when we’re looking in the past…in the rearview mirror of our lives, so to speak. When moving forward, it’s important not to be looking behind or accidents can happen. Yep, when moving forward, it’s important to be aware of what’s behind, but to be focused on where we’re going, not where we’ve been. Forward Steps. Not backward.

Gotta leave behind the old to get to the new. Leaves fall when trees let go. What makes them let go?  Gotta make room for the new, get rid of the old, before we can add more new.  Cool how the old,…the crunchy leaves soon turn to soft, and soon become a part of the soil. They soon become a part of the nutrients that feed the tree.

Yep, past is past, it’s there…it can remind us, feed us, fuel us with knowledge, wisdom, gratefulness and grace. But have you ever tried to keep, to hold onto a beautiful leaf?  It doesn’t stay beautiful…it fades and becomes dust. If we live in the past and try to  focus on and hold onto our little leaves of the past, we are left with a perspective that keeps us at bay and offers…dust. But if we let go, and let those leaves fall, yes, they become part of us, part of that soil that feeds in a good way.

I love how scripture speaks of the God who makes all things new. Redeems. Forgives. God grants hope that moves beyond the now to the what’s to come. A God that encourages us to remember, but not be held by former things. A God, who like moving waters of a river, calls us to move forward, to catch a ride with Him. Not stay in one place, for waters that do that quickly become stagnant. And stagnant is not good. It stinks. Literally and figuratively, it just stinks. Waters aren’t meant to be kept still. Not in streams, not in oceans, not in us. The heart that beats within us is constantly keeping our blood circulating, moving forward, and becoming full of life-giving oxygen with each beat.  The movement of that flow stops, then so do we…

But back to my little leaf metaphor 🙂 .  Leave behind the old, bring on the new. May the leaves be a reminder of the beauty of the past, but the letting go of it and the moving on toward the new. There’s a quote that I’ve seen a lot this fall and it’s beautiful. It says, “The trees are about to show us how beautiful it is to let things go.”  Yep. Definitely. In trees, and in me.

And like with trees, sometimes there’s a dormant season where you feel a little bare and don’t see the beauty of the new quite yet.  But it’s coming. Sometimes there’s just a little time to regroup, rest, and just be before the new comes swooping on in. And after winter of seeing gray and bare branches in the cold,  I know I sure appreciate the newness and beauty of Spring a lot more than if it had just marched on in right after the leaves left. Sometimes it’s good to get back to basics before the new comes….and then we appreciate and are ready for the new  so much more.

Just a few thoughts on leaves, the past, and the God who makes all things New.  Wonder what new things are in store? Wanna let go of the old to have open hands and heart to ‘be aware of ‘ that new thing. So here’s to Fall, and letting go, and believing that Spring is on it’s way.

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Blessings~

Heather

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 

 

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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.

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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.

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Ocean  Isle, North Carolina

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

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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.

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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.

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Somewhere…

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Home

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.

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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…

 

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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).

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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.

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Home

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.

 

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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~

Heather

 

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

Psalm 90:12

 

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My son called a few weeks ago with some exciting news and all I kept thinking as I sat there smiling on the other end of the phone was that I was thankful for the front row seat to so many cool things. And I told him so.  But as soon as I said it, I thought, well, that sounds pretty presumptuous.  But he agreed and was like “yeah, me too Mom…” And as I thought about wanting that front row seat, I kind of laughed at how things have changed through the years.

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I grew up liking to sit in the middle row. In class. At church. At weddings and public functions, I liked being not too far back, but not too up-close-and personal in the front row either.  Then, when I became a mom of quite a few children, I quickly found a new and great appreciation for the back row…the VERY back row.  It’s close to the door in case there’s a need for a quick get away.  It’s important to have a clear safe straightaway exit if there’s an unexpected (but expected) need for a diaper change, feeding, or disciplinary “pow-wow.” Yep, way back when as the variables in my life increased and my world included lots of unknowns, that’s when I started so appreciating the back row. I could focus on the tasks at hand without feeling the unnecessary strain of doing it in front of lots of onlookers.  So for years, the back rows were where I felt most comfortable because keeping my ‘little ducks in a row’ …or not…was easier there.

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But, how ironic is it that now, I WANT front row seats!  And how ironic that those very ‘children’ who gave me such a grand appreciation for the back row are now the ones who are giving me a front row seat to so many amazing and beautiful things in my life?  ALL of  their journeys and successes, their dilemmas, their failures (or not-yet-successes), their quirks and jokes and laughter, their new arenas and experiences that come with them…ALL of it makes me thankful for the glimpse, the window, this front row seat  that I have into their lives.

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But it’s a window… It’s not a door to bust through and invade and take over. It’s a window. It’s not a camping out spot,…it’s a view, a seat, a place to sit and marvel and watch and experience. It’s a place to be available to these “stars” in my life as they live out the scenes of their every day lives…available to reach out to if they want to, or merely observe if they carry on and don’t. It’s a place to enjoy and weep and pray and laugh and be through it ALL.  All that I see, that is. Am so aware, there’s so much of who we all are and do and be that others don’t see. (Thankful that prayer can reach even there…) But the part I do see makes me so thankful. And it keeps me on the edge of my seat in this thing called life. In a good way, in a hard way, and in a way that keeps me so very alive and vested.

 

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There’s nothing like the joy that comes from watching someone ‘do their thing.’ It’s especially sweet when you’ve had a backstage view of all the rehearsals and practices, attempts and fallings, fears,  and fatigue and risings-up-again, …all of the not-yet moments that were so very necessary to the developing of the moments of doing-one’s-thing. And we all have a ‘thing’. Just gotta find it. And help others find it. Because we were born for “it.”

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Am thinking God knows how we’re wired. He knows “the paths that we should take…”  He knows what makes us tick, or ticked off, what makes us passionate, what makes us feel most alive and in our zone. And when we find that ‘it’, it is a joy. But not just to us. It’s a joy to those who have front row seats, to those who are the beneficiaries of the use of the giftedness, beneficiaries of people using their skills to make an impact can whatever way they can. At different seasons of our lives,  we can lose  our “it” that we were born for by having it take a back seat to the needs of the now, the needs of those in our lives.  Moms can get really good at that…losing (or postponing) their “it” that is. So can husbands and dads who are trying so hard to provide and be there for their families.

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But we’re not meant to always and only have a front row seat to others’ lives. Others in our lives can also have a front row seat to ours. Have been cognizant of that in recent years and am hopeful that in the same way that I laugh out loud and have tears streaming down face with pride watching people do their thing, that those in my life can actually even have moments like that with me. Because we are in this journey together…however short or long it may be. And we impact each other. We do. We inspire or we don’t. We encourage or we don’t. We build up or we don’t. None of us can be all things to all people. We’re not meant to have that place, to fill those kind of voids. But am thinking that our love can point to the God who is and does. Am thinking He is meant to have that place in our lives and does fill the voids. And we can be little windows in people’s lives to remind them of that.

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I love that some people will have arenas filled with people watching them ‘do their thing’. They will be celebrated by tens of thousands of people and will be well known. They will be encouraged by many and applauded. But I equally love watching someone quietly be faithful to their task when there’s no audience, no cheers, no front row seats. That the beauty that shines in the arena, shines in the quiet places that no one sees. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the gifts of the precious lives in our midst. How many are the opportunities daily missed because we fail to see the value of those in our midst and to connect. Who do you have a front row seat to?  Are you glancing at your watch as they share and do their thing or are you engaged, vested, encouraging, applauding even?  And what do people who have a front row seat to me see?   Do I even realize that they are there? Do I know how my actions impact them?

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We only see in part now, for sure, but I’m asking the questions of myself because I’m so aware that we impact each other. And the people in our lives are gifts. Gifts. To be treasured, encouraged, admonished, loved on, even more so when they might not deserve it or feel worthy of it. “People need loving the most when they deserve it the least.”  The world sure can be a harsh and angry place. Although technology  has given rise to the potential for connections, people seem more divided and fragmented than ever. Am thinking that a little encouragement, a little applause and recognition, a little awareness that keeps eyes off me and on someone else, can go a long, long way. For those that are cheered, and those that do the cheering as well.  The cool thing is, in this thing called life, one minute you’re sitting in the front row seat, and the next, someone is sitting in the seat watching  you.  And if we let ourselves, we can be encouraged and moved and drawn in by the beauty of the other person’s story, their script, their life. Humility can be a gateway to inspiration and encouragement and growth on both sides of the ‘stage’.

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Would that we would have a front row seat to applaud and encourage many. In word, in action, in prayer…would that we could get our eyes off of ourselves and our agendas to enjoy the ride, even when it isn’t focused on us. Self-centeredness looks to  me more like a merry-go-round with the ego-centric self going around and around and around and around and getting nowhere. And all the spectators kind of do the same thing. Front row seats to others’ lives can definitely feel like a rollercoaster ride for we experience the ups and downs and comings and goings and failures and victories, and all of the emotions that go with it. But I’m thinking it’s a lot more impactful …and fun. And I’ve learned that whether you’re in the front row seat of the rollercoaster, or the back, you’ll still experience the whole ride. (My kids have encouraged me to do the front row seat on that a time or two…and I’ve encouraged one or two of them to get on the rollercoaster…)  But the merry go round…there’s no front or back, there’s just a point that the whole world of the merry-go-round moves around. Around and around and around.

So, am thinking that front row seats are a good thing. On rollercoasters, in class, and when it comes to having eyes to see the people around us. Yeah, the ride can be a little wild sometimes…up, and down, and up and down, but there’s nothing like a good story unfolding before our eyes…if we have the eyes to see it. Here’s to front row seats and rollercoaster rides, and encouragement that puts our eyes less on ourselves and more on others. Here’s to front row seats and using our gifts and encouraging others to do the same. But let’s not do away with back rows…there are moms out there with young kids who need the back rows…for a season anyway. There’ll be plenty more years for front row seats…

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So there’s a few (more than a few) thoughts on front row seats. Here’s to yours and mine.

Blessings ~

Heather

P.S. I love Zephaniah 3:17 that says the Lord delights in us with singing.. that He is in our midst and delights in us with shouts of joy. He delights in us like a dad on the sidelines or a mom in the stands or a sister or brother in the audience cheering like crazy. He sees. He watches. He delights.  Am thinking His is the ultimate front row seat of it all. That’s pretty cool. And He calls us to know Him and love Him and see what He’s doing…to have a front row seat to His heart as He has a front row seat to ours. And that’s the most amazing story of all.

“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

…”shine among them like stars in the sky  as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. “

Philippians 2:15-16

 

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Garden in Stockholm, Sweden

I recently read this quote. Love it. It’s kind of an eye of the beholder thing. A mindset thing. A what-do-you-see-beyond-what-you-see thing.  …A faith thing.

“David was always there in the marble.

I just took away everything that was not David.”

Michaelangelo

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Milles Garden in Sweden

Maybe eyes of faith can help us look in the mirror of our lives and see that some of the painful chip-chip-chipping away of things is merely grace at work in our lives. Because maybe eyes of faith would recognize that He who began a good work in us is indeed doing the work.  But maybe it doesn’t look quite like we thought it would.

 

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Milles Garden ~ “The Hand of God”

It’s funny how we can spend so much of our lives ‘adding on’ to our idea of who we are with experiences, family, friends, professions, accomplishments, stuff, etc.. But am thinking if Michaelangelo had laser vision to see David within the stone, how much more does our Creator see beyond the exterior ‘add-ons’ to the heart of who we are.

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Milles Garden

So if you find yourself in some circumstances that feel like they are paring you down, making you vulnerable, or laying you bare…am thinking it’s good to ask God to help you see yourself through His eyes…to see the situation through the eyes of the Master Sculptor. Michaelangelo could see that “David was always there in the marble”….and “just took away everything there that was not David.”  How much more can God look at us and see what needs to stay and go? Might be a tedious process, with chisel and point circumstances that we wouldn’t choose. But the end result?  Faith accepts that we might not see things that our Master Sculptor knows and that His Masterpiece is quite a bit better than what we could think or dream or even imagine.  Am thinking His ‘less’ is so much more than our ‘more’…beyond what we could even dream. I’d rather trust the chisel in His hands than in mine, that’s for sure.

Blessings ~
Heather

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3: 17-20

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Outside of the Southern Arts Society Building, Kings Mountain, North Carolina

“God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold.”

~Mother Teresa

I love this quote by Mother Teresa:  “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold. I’m thinking that applies to stuff. Am also thinking that applies to us and the ‘gifts’, those unseen talents, abilities and passions, that we have to share with the world. That ‘world’ may be one person, one family, one community…or that ‘world’ may be internationally reaching people on a global level.  But yes, she was so on point again when Mother Teresa said, “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold.”

 

That’s quite a convicting statement for me as I try to declutter stuff that’s been stuffed away for years with more stuff on top of that. It’s also quite convicting as I try to figure out how to use use the gift of my years, days and moments. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, for as Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” So cool. Our passions so often parallel our gifts. What we treasure is so fleshed out in what we love to do.

What we hold on to and put our time and energy into is so what holds us, and if that doesn’t line up with what I say I treasure, well, it might be time for a bit of a priority re-boot. I’ve been doing a lot of examination and re-boots lately, for sure. And it’s been a good thing as it’s been a kind of taking-out-the-trash, and holding-onto-treasure type of thing….with stuff, and with my mindset. One more quote, a good one…”Where your heart is, there your treasure will be….” Matthew 6:21 Love that. Our actions kind of show us don’t they? Gulp. Yes they do. That can be a great thing or a convicting thing or both. It’s been both for me.

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Treasures….Boxed up note, keepsakes, and heirlooms from Grannie

One more thought on treasure-holding.  My morning duty at school has been to be a greeter/ door watcher of sorts at our school. I stand at the door and say “good morning” and make sure these young students make it safely from the cafeteria to the main school building. And do you know what I see EVERY morning?  Students holding hands as they walk to class. Young siblings, friends, cousins caring for each other. Holding hearts by holding hands. I see goodbye kisses and hugs at classroom doors. I see older siblings ensuring not only that little ones are safe, but that they are encouraged. Maybe these babies remember what we as adults can so often forget…that we are the treasure…

 

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Another ‘break it down’ simple statement came from Jesus. In Mark 12, He told us to Love God and Love others. Bottom Line.  Love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love others as you love yourself…  We are admonished to treasure what gives priority to these two statements. Love God, Love others.  Period.

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Castles in the Sand, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Many treasures can slip through our hands. They come and go. But am thankful for the reminder from the example of my students holding hands to hold onto the treasure of those we love. Yes, I think Mother Teresa so had it right when she said that “God gives us things to share, He doesn’t give us things to hold.”  I know that she knew the things for holding were hands and hearts and belief.  And the cool thing is, those aren’t things at all….Human hearts and hands and beliefs were categories that so transcend any ‘thing’.  Anything. And if what I treasure gets in the way of these, then maybe it’s time to trash it, let it go. And then as I let things go, to be sure to hold on tight to those hands, hearts, and beliefs that we treasure. In a world that loves alienation and fragmentation and a glorification of stuff over souls, yeah, it’s important to make a determined effort to hold on tight to what you treasure

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I’m thinking the more we let stuff go, the more our hearts and hands are free to hold what’s precious and truly matters. As my inspiring principal (with a background in drama that impacts her speech(-es) greatly) once said to me, “Heather, what can God put in your empty hands that He can’t give you with what you’re holding on to?” She of course added to the impact by holding out both hands wide over her head and closing her eyes.  Point made. I wasn’t happy with her that day, as she was encouraging me to get rid of lots of materials that we needed to move on, but she was totally on point.  Point taken <3. Again. And I’m so thankful for her words not just with regard to my classroom, but more importantly, with regard to my days.  Days are definitely a gift to be treasured.

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Just a few thoughts on treasure from one who wants to remember daily the reminder that yes, “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold…”   and that’s a truth worth holding on to.

Blessings ~

Heather

“…Hold on to what is good,reject every kind of evil.May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

 I Thessalonians 5: 21-24

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 

1 John 3:17-21 

One of the teachers of the law came and heard the Sadducees arguing. He noticed that Jesus had given the Sadducees a good answer. So he asked him, “Which is the most important of all the commandments?” Jesus answered, “Here is the most important one. Moses said, ‘Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.’  And here is the second one. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no commandment more important than these.”

Mark 12:28-31  

 

DSCN6480I love a good pouring rain, the way it washes everything in its path. I love the freshness that seems to come after it’s all over. Seems like when there’s a pouring rain, the sky clears faster than when there’s just a soft mist or drizzle. It’s like it gets it out of the way in a short period of time and then clears the way for the sun to shine on through. Slow gray drizzles seem to take a whole lot longer to make way for the rays of the sun to filter through.

DSCN6477And I love a good cry. In a friend who needs to let go. In a daughter or son who holds it all in. In a student who has been struggling to juggle all the different area of his life that seem out of control. Like a good pouring rain, a good cry can cleanse, refresh, and make way for the light to shine back through.

DSCN6484As a mom, as a teacher, as a person with two feet and a heart walking this earth I’ve seen the power of a good cry so many times. In others. In me.  And the rain kind of reminded me of that today. It reminded me of a verse and a song. So here they are.  First, the verse:

“Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:8

And next, the song. (Not the whole song, mind you, because as Cheryl and Janet used to joke with me, I tend to have a LOT of verses when I write… and this song is so not an exception to that. So I’ll just share a few lines…but I promise there’s way more!)

Pour Out Your Heart

Pour out your heart before Him, lay it all down at His feet

Lift up your soul in surrender, the fragrance that spills is sweet

Pour out your heart before Him, He Knows, He Sees, He Hears,

More mighty than the waters, He will redeem the tears

and like a river He will run

and like the spring rain He will come

and like the pounding of the waves

His power will reign

Pour out your heart before Him, let it go…

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Yeah, am thinking a good rain, a good cry, they are both good things. Am thinking that when clouds get too heavy, too dense, it rains. There’s a release for us too…yet I know so many of us try to hold it in… The thing is, that sun often shines pretty bright after a rain. But until the rain pours on down, a heavy gray cloud stays a heavy gray cloud. I love the imagery of the verse: POUR out your heart to Him, God is our refuge….but first, first the verse says, “Trust Him at all times.”  Yeah, tough to pour it out when there’s not a bridge of trust. Thankful that God is so very worthy of our trust. He is faithful. He is compassionate, and He bids us come. With all of it. And He is a refuge in a world that is so not. He can handle the greatest of storms. He can handle our tears. And He can be the Light that breaks through the grayest and darkest of days.

Thankful for that. Just a few thoughts after the rain….

Blessings ~

Heather

“So let us know, let us press on to know the  Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn. And He will come, He will come to us like the rain, Like the Spring rain watering the earth. ”  Hosea 6:3

“A ship in the harbor is safe.

But that’s not what ships are for.”

William G.T  Shedd

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Wrightsville, Beach, North Carolina April 7th, 2017

I saw some ships today, and some smaller vessels on the water. They were coming in to the harbor just as the sun was going down. My son and I watched as the boats in the distance moved a little closer in to the dock.

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It was windy and cold, but beautiful on the patio as we ate.  Hot Clam chowder tasted really good on a chilly day like this. But we definitely preferred the view with the cold over the comfort without the view. We watched (and shivered) as the ships came in and the sun went down.

I know that ships are meant to sail. Some are meant to be on the high seas and others are meant to be a little closer to shore. But all are meant to venture out from the safety of the harbor. Yeah, I get that. I do.

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Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8, 2017   (Zac)

And anchors help to provide stability out on the seas. And there are times to use anchors, and times when anchors are dangerous. And moorings are meant to keep one safe in the harbor. Moorings need to be tied tightly at the right times, and loosened when it’s time to set sail.

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Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina , April 7th, 2017

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Zac, Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8th, 2017

My  “ships” are all venturing out these days. Only have one who is ‘safely in the harbor’ of our home, but all of the others, well, they are venturing out, all at different distances, different speeds, different tracks, but all venturing out nonetheless.

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Chase and Josh, Wilmington, North Carolina April 7, 2017

And I’m proud and thankful for the courses that they are on. And at times I’m fearful of the storms blowing in and the potential dangers that they have faced, are facing, and will face on their journeys.

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But I remind myself that ships…ships were meant to sail. Birds were meant to fly.

DSCN3273 Children were meant to grow up and become independent, to use their gifts and give it all ‘out there’. And they are not alone ‘out there’. I’ve gotta remember that.

DSCN3203And the fact that my ‘ships’ are out sailing, well, it makes me so thankful for times when they get to come back in to the harbor, so to speak.  It makes me thankful when the moorings are tied, and they are safe in my sights for a little while.

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Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina April 7th, 2017

And we can talk about the journeys and the trials that have been, and maybe prepare a bit for the ones that are to come.  I love that ships don’t have to be tied to a specific dock to be safe…it just takes that connection, that mooring, that link to that holds them close to shore.

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Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, April 7th, 2017

So, the past few days have been precious, because, well, it’s felt like my sailing ships (3 out of 6, anyway…)  and I docked for a bit. ( And we were reminded that home is so much more than a place and family is a gift, and God is good and present and available on high seas and safe docks, college campuses and work environments.

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Zac and Melanie, Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8th, 2017

And I’m catching glimpses of their world and am thankful for where these ‘ships’ have sailed.  And I’m thankful for moorings that look like cups of coffee and walks on beach and ‘remember when’s. I’m thankful for moorings that look like  T   I   M   E…not stuff, but   T   I   M   E, and conversations that don’t always include lots of words, but might include lots of listening. And prayers prayed sometimes out loud and sometimes not. I’m thankful for moorings  that look like warm chocolate chip cookies, kale smoothies, clam chowder in the cold, or walks on the beach.  I’m thankful for moorings that look like truths stated and not danced around and hugs afterward. I’m thankful for moorings that look like laughing at ourselves and not having to be anything but what we are in that moment. And I’m just thankful for moorings, connections with these ships that were entrusted to me so long ago.

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And I’m aware I’m so not the Captain. My job isn’t to steer the ship. It’s to trust the One who is steering, and encourage those ships to listen, to yield, to the Captain. Am thinking in this stage of my life, my privilege is to focus on the moorings…so that in the midst of all the venturing out, there’s always a connection, a safe place to dock when those venturing ships need a reminder of why they’re venturing out in the first place. After all, ships were meant to sail…

Blessings~

Heather

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 

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beneath my feet

To climb is to hope

To reach is to believe

To step is to have faith

To dream is to conceive

For as a man thinks

in his heart, so he believes

And what a man pursues

So often starts in dreams

So dream the dream my daughter,

and climb and hope and see

But keep your feet planted firm

In what you have received

For firm is the foundation

of faith for for those who turn

To God for their direction

To God for grace unearned

So dream and pray with passion

Let your actions speak

Live safely within boundaries

For that is when we’re free.

So dream the dream my daughter

Your gifts are not just your own

For there’s a world that’s quaking

that needs  a world of hope

So climb and hope and reach

but always be still and know

It is God who gives the dreams

It is He who is our Hope

As we follow He will lead

Yes in Him, there’s always Hope

In Him, there’s always Hope.

*Psalm 121*

Photo:  Hope walking up the steps

Blue Ridge Parkway somewhere between Blowing Rock and Boone, NC

August 4, 2015

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/beneath-your-feet/

may24

The 2014-15 high school baseball season is over. The season of older brother-senior-high school-baseball player Chase being in the dug out and on the field with younger brother JV not-yet-starter-freshman-player Tanner is over.   So is the season of brothers going to school together. It is so sad to see this season end because the older brother has not only encouraged the younger brother, but has also encouraged those around him who were quietly watching the interactions on the sidelines.

Confidence grows with faith and encouragement, and the tall number 5 made sure that he helped encourage the shorter number 5, and the shorter number five is not only growing taller, but standing taller with confidence.  Amazing the difference a person can make.  The younger number five even said to me this morning, “I want to do something for Chase before he goes to school because he has done so much for me.  I’m really going to miss him.”  And the mom of both number fives gulped hard and said that I knew and that I’m really going to miss him, too.  Between seasonal allergies and the sweet and sour moments of life just happening, I think there will never be enough Kleenex in my home.

But thankfully, with all of the changes, some things will always remain “in-season”.  Brothers are brothers, period.  No one can take the moments and memories of what they’ve shared from them.  There’s a season for everything, and maybe the younger brother will benefit from this new season of learning to stand alone, not in the shadow of the older brother.  I’ll look for the silver linings during this season of transitions, this season of change.  I’ll be thankful for what’s been and hopeful for what’s to come, and keep the Kleenex close at hand.

I’ll pray through and ask God to be the constant constant Presence in our lives no matter what changes may come.  That faith?  That will help me to stay on my knees in my heart and stand tall with confidence through the changes knowing that come what may, God knows, and is, and loves, and gives in every single season we face.

Blessings ~

Heather

“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. “

Psalm 73: 23-26

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/off-season/

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