Novel Days

Unprecedented, provocative, onerous…whoa this! These days are full of novelty for our generation. This is our collective reality, and it is frightening and unsettling for all peoples living on Earth under Heaven. Even so, I believe these times have provisioned us with an advantage if we might avail ourselves of it.

If during our collective time-out we endeavor to center and quite ourselves in genuine introspection and reflection, then perhaps we might see our way clear. For much will be required of us, in the days ahead, given our present circumstances. Whether we are able to grow, heal and move forward, together, peaceably, is our most urgent connumdrum. Might these novel days allow us to reconstruct our human relations for the better? Might we become our very own heros, and beakons of hope for the generations which follow behind us? Only the unfolding of the days ahead will inform whether this novel illness has made us better or worse for one another.

Perhaps the following insights and wisdom from some of our esteemed poets, authors, performers and spiritual leaders will provision and enlarge our thinking as we navigate these days of COVID-19.

There is nothing like calamity for refreshing the moment. Ironically, the last several years my life had begun to feel shapeless, like underwear with the elastic gone, the days down around my ankles. Now there is an intensity to the humblest things–buying paper towels, laundry detergent, dog food, keeping the household running in Rich’s absence. Shopping contains the future. As my daughter Jennifer says, shopping is hope. Abigail Thomas – A Three Dog Life

It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though limits to our abilities do not exist. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

What you learn is often determined by what you need to know. If you think you’re weak, you will learn that you are strong. If you think you are indestructible, you will learn that you are fragile. In the end though, you will learn that you are human. You are no more and no less than all those who are learning their lessons as you learn yours. John Bingham

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Eckhart Tolle 

We are often deluded by the idea that only big things can change the future. We feel overwhelmed by problems that demand impressive solutions, universal buy-ins, and large infusions of cash. We forget the power of simple acts of influence, of moments of compassion, of small stands for justice — how teachers, parents, friends, and even strangers can redirect the trajectory of history in a moment. If we truly believe that everything is connected, that we live in a sacred web, then every single action has influence over every other action. We are enormously powerful when we act to do what is good and beautiful and just — and in how we choose to react when something or someone threatens or shames us. Fr. Richard Rohr

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences — and all events are blessings given to us to learn from. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The most powerful weapon against adversity is having a sense of choice.  When we don’t have control, we lose the capacity to cope. We were born to choose, so let us learn how to do it. If we believe we have some degree of control over the outcome, then we are more likely to choose to persist, to find a way through whatever adversity we face. Steve Magness

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished…that will be the beginning. Louis L’Amour


Singing Solo for Awhile

These are difficult trying days brooding down upon us, and the irony of today’s calendar date is not lost on me: March 15…aye…beware the Ides of March! Indeed, there is much ado about everything in the news and media reports. I am certain that tomorrow’s reports will contintue to enlarge our wonders and our fears. As one of my choir friends wrote to me in an email today: “When C.L. notified us of the cancellation of our chorale concert, I new that the world was coming to an end!”

Oh the agony of betrayal…beware the Ides of March! It does seem so evident, does it not…that we, the children of earth, have been betrayed by nature; stripped naked, to our core; our bodily immunities vanquished to ground zero in the face of the novel virus.  Fire and brimstone seems our lot, sinners all in the hands of any angry god.

And yet of late, while temperatures across the globe have been rising, I have noticed here and there…quickinings…in the spheres above…in the souls upon…in the waters’ risings below…our sickness has been long in coming. We cannot separate nor cut our ties to our native beginnings. We belong to the earth and she to us. And still, I get the sense, in the quickening, that this scourge is not come to destroy us, but rather to refine…to purify. This plague of the winds has not come to forever harm, but to awaken the sleeping children of every nation. If only we might rouse ourselves and realize…Love has been in our midst all along…now it descends heavily upon us…threatening to lay us low…but everything is not as it seems.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

– Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM; March 13th 2020
(LOCKDOWN ~ an excert)

Six months ago I stumbled across a folk song well known by many, but novel to myself. It has quite a storied history and came into being around 1868. Upon hearing the poetry of the lyrics and its haunting melody, I was overcome with emotion to the point of tears. Six months ago I wanted to know why I had never heard this song in all of my 57 years. Today, these lyrics still move me greatly and I am grateful I found this music as it will surely be a balm to my soul in the days ahead. Perhaps you will find it likewise. How can I keep from singing? I most certainly cannot!

How Can I Keep From Singing
Lyrics sung by Audry Assad

My life flows on in endless song,
Above earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweet, though far-off hymn,
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear that music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
I know my Savior liveth.
What though the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift my eyes, the cloud grows thin,
I see the blue above it.
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since first I learned to love it.
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart
A fountain ever springing!
For all things are mine since I am his!
How can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that refuge clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?


Angel on the Pathway

Total strangers we were yesterday morning; total strangers we are still. And yet, something magical transpired between myself and this grand-motherly woman while we made our way towards one another from opposite directions on the urban pathway. In the midst of my breathless striding, this gentile, walking-woman looked directly into my face. Then she paused ever so briefly as I passed by, and in the blinking of an eye, I noticed her eyes looking into mine.

Her eyes sparkled with intent, and held my curious, questioning gaze. Her eyes seemed locked onto mine with keen attention. This is not the usual behavior between strangers on the pathway, At most, passersby offer a polite nod of the head or flick a hand with an easy wave. However, in those brief seconds, our eyes locked onto the other’s in seeming recognition. And then it happened, before I could break my gaze, a brilliant smile shone from her face.

Something like an electric shock-wave rippled across the span of my heart-space. Such genuine delight and joy displayed in that moment…that millisecond. How could so much love and joy exude from one unknown to me? A stranger, bestirring such strong, warm emotion within my being?

“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.” – Steve Maraboli

Who does that? Walkers and joggers? How many strangers make eye contact and smile with such vigor in passing another as to impart such joyful enthusiasm upon the unsuspecting psyche of an unknown other?

“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” – Mother Teresa

And yet, twenty-four hours later, I still see her, the walking-path angel. I see her eyes… as they are seeing me…seeking me…searching my face and upon finding me, beaming her joy directly into my heart-space. Our chance passing? A random timing? I do not know, but I am grateful for the amazing microburst of happiness this encounter poured into my being…right there on the urban path during yesterday’s Sunday morning run. I was instantly undone…over-come…over-run by the waves of my own heart’s awakening joy. All because of one, very large, authentic, heartfelt smile.

Thank you, my beautiful, smiling, pathway-angel..for reminding me of this simple grace…the power of love warms hearts with joy, when we bestow a smile on our face.


Sleeper…Wake Up!

A New Year (and decade) has dawned…it’s January, 2020 and my thoughts turn white when I consider the clean, blank pages of my new calendar. Yet when I regard the clean emptiness of the coming days, I am soon overwhelmed by the many potentials and possibilities which lay ahead.

Caught up in the swirling inertia of this forward thinking, I notice how strongly I desire to fill, to create, to plan every detail of the 365 days which are, as of yet, unborn to me. And then I feel the weight of all this ambition and scheming, it bears down strongly upon my imagination…and thankfully, it presses me down to earth. The weight of my heavy thinking brings me full circle…back to myself…back to the real-ness of now…and the trance is broken…the white-ness of today, in this space of now is all that I am granted to hold and manage. The white space of today, begs for shape, texture, color and form. How will I render and memorialize these many passing moments? By being fully awake, alert and engaged with all that comes to pass before me…whether the moments are peopled or solitary. Today will be like no other.

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” Eckhart Tolle

A sobering connection, I realize…how easy our enticement…to swap out our present moments for the mirage of our future days. We are so enamored with the sparkle of our imagined tomorrows that we don’t even realize our sleepwalking through the adventures of today. The white space of so many tomorrows becomes like the soft nothingness of white noise which lulls dreamers fast to sleep. Ahh…white, empty, blank-ness…behold…I give you, the sleeper!

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences — and all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Shall we commence, sleepers one and all, on the new of this year, to rouse ourselves awake! May we become vigilant, rather than impervious, to the beauty of now, whatever and however it unfolds before us. Can we embrace the imperfect present-ness without condition or prejudice? Is it possible to awaken our inner child-likeness so we may delight in the simplicity of each precious moment?

“Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.” Anthony de Mello

What do we have to lose by living in sync with reality, even when its ugliness is our only companion? Or rather, what may we gain by living in harmony with the essence and purity of reality? Is that even possible for wanna-be sleepwalkers?

Clearly, for each of us, time is of the essence. If we desire to be awakened to our very own ‘reality’, in all its unfiltered real-ness, then it’s time to rouse from our collective slumber. This rousing will require us to make many inquiries into our own thinking and believing thoughts. If we are suffering with some aspect of reality, then perhaps it is the result of some belief or attachment we have formed which will need to be dropped in order to live real and free with ourselves. (Note: read anything by Anthony de Mello for futher insights on this principle.)

Do you not feel the urgency to embrace this day before another one passes? Can you not hear the clock’s tick-tick-tickling you to your senses? Wake up oh sleeper, wake up! Your life is waiting for you to live it…fully aware…fully alive. Your life is a mighty work of art waiting for you to aspire and inspire its creation. It’s a New Year…are you game for the living?

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware — joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” Henry Miller


Cultivating Gratitude

Our Thanksgiving holiday is only a few days away, so it seems quite natural to sit here at my desk this early Monday morning in contemplation of those things for which I am thankful. How blessed I am indeed…there is so much for which I am grateful. This year has been full, overflowing even, with so many good things: vacations; running/biking race weekend getaways; home improvement projects; memory making family events.
Of course, this year has also had a fair share of illness, loss, and business challenges.

And yet, as I consider the past 300+ days I have lived this year, I cringe when I realize the frenzy in which I inhabited those days. How could I have sped through so much living with so little attention? Busyness is the spoiler of modern living; and I am such a modern girl in this regards. One glimpse of my day-timer reveals the disconnect of an over-booked life. Seriously, my days are packed. If my calendar was a credit card, it would be  completely maxed out!

No amount of regret changes the past people, no amount of anxiety changes the future, but any amount of gratitude changes the present.
Ann Voskamp, The Way of Abundance

Even now as I look back on this year, it feels like I have lived like some kind of ship-wrecked survivor…swimming, floating, treading water in open sea with no land in sight. The promise of rest, visible on the horizon, vanishes with the setting sun. And when I finally reach the shore of my destination (a weekend or vacation), true rest and restoration was fleeting at best. I may as well be chasing a desert’s mirage.

The capacity to reflect well and deeply on daily life is an achievement. To reflect well you have to be comfortable with a degree of solitude, because reflection requires some quiet and aloneness.
Thomas Moore, An Ageless Soul

Even reflecting on this busyness of mine feels wearisome, but I am hopeful because I have not yet lost sight of myself altogether. Because even now, in these moments of contemplation, there is a welling up of hope, not resignation. In my heart of hearts I am truly grateful for all that I have been granted to accomplish this year. Good health and bodily strength this year has given me a solid platform for training myself and assisting many of my clients towards better health and fitness.  This is most fulfilling work; this work energizes me even while it wears me down to catch my breath. Nonetheless, I am grateful for this work; it is highly meaningful to me.

The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

But as I consult with myself and the wisdom of those of whom I read and with whom I acquaint, I am jolted back to reality; to alertness; to attention. Cultivating gratitude into my life is just like cultivating fitness into my life. In order for these attributes to grow strong and stable, they require daily doses of my full, undivided attention.

To flex my gratitude muscle will require repetitions (minutes per set) of quiet thoughtfulness interspersed throughout each day. Regular bouts of purposeful contemplation are truly the most refreshing, gratitude building exercises I may perform. Even just writing about this practice brings me a sense of peace, quiet and purpose. This morning’s interlude has already instructed me, and changed me so that even now I perceive more clearly how to grow this grace into my bustling life.

There is ecstasy in paying attention. You can get into a kind of Wordsworthian openness to the world, where you see in everything the essence of holiness, a sign that God is implicit in all of creation.
Anne Lamot, Bird by Bird

Tomorrow or maybe a day or two after the holiday, I will have to spend some time thinking about how I’ll attack and conquer my frightful day-timer in 2020! But first, it is time for me to rest…and be thankful for the lesson learned today.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I hope your holiday finds you digging into a plate full of yummy food with a heart full of grateful appreciation.

Watch this beautiful video to cultivate gratitude, everyday:

Gratitude: The Short Film by Louie Schwartzberg from ecodads on Vimeo.

 


Practice = Becoming

What we think about matters…alot. In fact, what we think about has the power to change the course of our life as well as the power to improve or destroy the world we inhabit. Over the course of our lifetime, our thinking may literally bring life or death to all those things (people, nature, etc) with whom we relate. While reading my daily devotional (from Fr. Richard Rohr/Center for Contemplation and Action), I was pricked and challenged anew to re-consider my own ‘thinking thoughts’ in relation to nonviolence. The following is an excerpt from this morning’s reading; the colored text is what caught my attention:

What does it mean to be nonviolent? Coming from the Hindu/Sanskrit word ahimsa, nonviolence was defined long ago as “causing no harm, no injury, no violence to any living creature.” But Mohandas Gandhi insisted that it means much more than that. He said nonviolence was the active, unconditional love toward others, the persistent pursuit of truth, the radical forgiveness toward those who hurt us, the steadfast resistance to every form of evil, and even the loving willingness to accept suffering in the struggle for justice without the desire for retaliation. . .

Another way to understand nonviolence is to set it within the context of our identity. Practicing nonviolence means claiming our fundamental identity as the beloved [children] of the God of peace. . . . This is what Jesus taught: “Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called the sons and daughters of God [Matthew 5:9]. . . . Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors, then you shall be sons and daughters of the God who makes [the] sun rise on the good and the bad, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” [Matthew 5:44-45]. In the context of his visionary nonviolence—radical peacemaking and love for enemiesJesus speaks of being who we already are. He talks about our true identities as if they propel us to be people of loving nonviolence. . . .

If only we could, all of us together, just practice being who we are created to be…LOVE! Just be LOVE in a body with hands and feet, arms and legs, heart and soul; willing to become, to embody and to embrace the essence of life force. If only we could remind each other to stay focused and true to our collective calling and in so doing realize this as our ONE true POWER and FREEDOM. Power and freedom to be pure (love) in motive with kindness towards others.

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
Gretchen Rubin

How can we not take a moment, or many moments strung together or apart, for serious contemplation on this matter? Shall we make an effort to engage our thinking? To re-consider or re-arrange disjointed or broken beliefs about ourselves? About who we are at the center and essence of our Being? Shall we together, today, and then again tomorrow and every tomorrow thereafter, PRACTICE BEING LOVE…towards all those things and people and problems which we encounter? 

Will you join me? May we make a pact…you and I and us? Shall we do our own little research project for the purpose of practicing authentic nonviolence? May we test the veracity of this TRUTH (practice = becoming = reality)? Shall we begin again together?

I would love to hear from you. I would love to begin sharing and enlarging our collective goodness and creative genius towards our being and becoming…LOVE. There is no better time than now.

Let There Be Peace on Earth


Dora’s Baton

We each have life’s race to run; in relay with all our others;
How will we finish? How will we know?
If our race was run well, that others might grow?
That others might grow into grace, joy and confidence…
Will my life, your life, make the transfer clear?
Will it at all, as we live each day, a difference make?
Will the ideals we hold close, of faith, hope, joy, and love…
Will these things pass well? Relay secure?
Will these connections be made…
Into their hands? Upon their feet? Into their hearts?
Will their lives pick up our pace?
Will their lives improve? Be challenged?
Those lives with whom we run life’s race?

To be sure of one thing, of this I am certain,
A runner runs best when she runs to her calling.
So give this race your all, my all too; and may we reflect often on this;
This relay race of life needs team mates devoted one to the other.
And while we run, while you run and I run too,
One more thing we might think or consider;
The baton, our baton, our life really,
Is lived best when lived and raced for the sake of the others.

For each race, each relay, each exchange we make,
Is a part of the whole scheme, whatever the take.
Yet more oft than not, we forget to enjoy,
Until we are done!
Yes, more oft than not, we forget to enjoy
Our race, your race, my race too,
Until it is done, and we are over the line,
That race, lost or won, forever in time!

And it seems true too, with the passing and crossing over of a life,
Only the cheering, weeping and rejoicing heard behind the line,
Reminds us again, so that we and all others might finally know,
How well our race, your race, my race was run;
Each wild and precious race, how was it run?

How will we know then, you wonder? This, today, is what I presently think:
That when we hand the baton of life over,
When it is gladly received by another runner,
Then we will know a life, a race, a baton, had meaning;
The baton received well, is recieved for the running!
Then we will know, a race first run with misgivings or fear,
Has transformed its runner with its passing, though how, it is unclear;
Then we will know, and perhaps understand, perceive,
Our baton held so dearly, must pass on to be received.
The baton must pass, and so do we; before an exchange of runners may proceed.

So now a request I make, and I make without further adieu,
The time to receive a baton is at hand, it’s true;
Receive the baton willing; and run with it fast;
Passed on from Dora, then on to you and to me;
Passed on for our learning; it’s time we receive.
Receive her baton, of faith, of joy and love for the others;
Receive her baton, take flight, not cover!
Receive it for life and all of those living!
Receive it from Dora, and all that it’s giving:
Wings for soaring, feet for running, breath for breathing,
Our baton, her baton, yours and mine too;
Carry it forward, for the next runner,
Carry it forward in strength, please do!

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! ~Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message (MSG)

In Memory of Dora C: For all those who knew and loved you…may they be encouraged to run their course, strong and true, following your good life as a pattern for their own. May they rejoice in the gift of knowing you and receive your baton with happiness to run their race…towards the Beloved One.


Showing Up…Is the Reward

I have never run a ‘race pace’ so slow in all the races I have entered in the last five years. But I have never felt more accomplished than I do now 9 days after completing my first marathon.  If you have read any of my previous blog posts from the past several months, you will know how meaningful this marathon finish is to me. I am exceedingly grateful and supremely amazed that I was able to convince my legs to keep moving for 26.2 miles non-stop for five and a half hours. Clearly, the body is able if the mind is willing and believing!

“All you need is the courage to believe in yourself and put one foot in front of the other.” — Kathrine Switzer

As a personal trainer, many of my clients had no doubt I could accomplish this distance to completion. But I had other thoughts and beliefs about my ability; thoughts that could not comprehend such an accomplishment. Giving attention to those kinds of thoughts did not make a finish line seem likely in my future. I did not like thinking those kinds of thoughts nor did I like the way those thoughts made me feel. They made me feel impotent in my striving; they made me feel foolish for desiring such a goal for myself; those lousy negative thoughts took away my joy. And whenever I caught myself in that downward spiral, I got mad and made myself wake up to change the channel of my thinking.

“You don’t need to do twenty-five squats today to build your quad muscles. You need to think five positive thoughts about your motivations for running, fitness, and lifelong health. Because it’s not the quads that will get your legs moving, it’s the thoughts.” –Amby Burfoot

Clearly, the work before race day had already been done in my physical training. And as the calendar pages flipped closer to my marathon, I realized the greatest obstacle I would face would be my own thinking thoughts. So there was nothing else for me to do except give myself permission to think thoughts about all those things that could and would go right for me during the marathon.

I remember now, how those kinds of thoughts felt like such a luxury to me during the race…truly like the wind beneath the wings of my feet. Astonishment was my traveling companion in those last six miles to the finish…how was it possible to arrive at this distance feeling so exhilarated and and so grateful?

I have never before known such personal determination. And yet, I know there were so many others who gave me assistance on my way to the finish line…of this I am most gratefully certain! Between the cheering spectators on the course and at home, I sit here today, nine days later amazed. Amazed that I moved my legs for more than fifty-two thousand consecutive steps to cross a finish line I set out to concur more than nine months ago…my first marathon finish. What an honor and privilege it is to run this race we call life!

MCM 2018 finish

Deb (#679) finishing the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon

“Life is for participating, not for spectating.”
― Kathrine Switzer


Above All Else – Focus

SEEK TO PLEASE ME above all else.
Let that GOAL be your FOCAL POINT as you go through this day.
Such a mind-set will protect you
from scattering your ENERGY to the winds.
Jesus Calling ~ Sarah Young

Above all else…this is a high standard! Seeking to please HIM! In EVERYTHING! This means I will think first on HIM and of HIM. I will consider my thoughts, my words, my actions..first…for His sake. This seems a most difficult, lofty task, and yet when I consider how being ‘in love’ with someone makes even hard things easy. Then after all, this does not seem such an extraordinary request…for myself or any of us others who claim to love and follow Jesus.

As I consider this appeal from the perspective of my running life, I acknowledge the value and power of keeping my focus. And as a runner, the finish line is a mighty enduring focal point. A finish line, any finish line really, provides immense purpose and drive to keep one’s momentum moving forward. And today, with this devotional reading appearing before my eyes, I am reminded again that the great I AM desires to be at the center of my focus: SEEK TO PLEASE ME ABOVE ALL ELSE!

This is an energetic goal to train towards, is it not? To give the Divine One our attention and preference? This goal alone can consume one’s entire life’s purpose. If ever I considered myself an ‘athlete’, how now would I train myself to succeed in achieving such an ambitious goal? What sort of athletic maneuvers does one perform to become strong towards this end…to seek His pleasure above all else? When I contemplate this imperative, perhaps this task is not too difficult when love is at its core.

Focus your attention on the path just ahead of you
and on the One who never leaves your side.
Jesus Calling ~ Sarah Young

To please the One who is above all and above all others simply requires my trusting focus; narrow my attention to the path just ahead. Never forget His promise, “I will be with you always”. Yes, of course, this makes perfect sense. Isn’t this what I do when I run a race or run a long distance? Isn’t this how I stay above the fray of defeating thoughts when I am weary and full of worry and feel faint. When I lose heart and breath, this is my sign to focus on the path just ahead…not a mile ahead…not 10 minutes ahead. Just focus on the present moment…just attend to the rhythm of my moving feet, beating heart, breathing lungs.

POUR ALL YOUR ENERGY into trusting Me.
It is through trust that you stay
connected to Me, aware of My Presence.
Jesus Calling ~ Sarah Young

When I consider my true reality, that I inhabit any present moment in the confines of time and eternity simultaneously, I wake up to my strength in the ETERNAL ONE, because I am body, soul, spirit. I felt that strength on Sunday last. I felt it while I was slogging through mile 13…mile 14…mile 15…the steps toward the end were painful indeed. BUT when I thought of the One who lives and moves in Me, of how time and eternity co-exist in ME, I felt energized and lifted up towards the object of my goal…the finish line. For those present moments, I was able to transcend the momentary discomforts of putting feet forward. When I focused on my present reality, my weakness became my strength because His presence gave vigor to my breath and joy to my pain.

And now you know what I know; now you know what kind of thoughts give me GO and FUEL my fire. These kinds of thoughts propel me towards a seemingly un-obtainable goal…running for 26.2 miles…in ONE DAY. These kinds of thoughts fueled me forward last Sunday; even though the thoughts sputtered and flickered off and on, in and out. These thoughts of the ONE…ABOVE ALL ELSE…nourished my flagging reserves.

To think of His Presence…in Me…beside Me…lifted me onward and upward into something like bliss. Those last miles taught me, educated me, via aches, pains and fears of every imagining, that ultimately all things are possible when a mind and heart are focused…ABOVE ALL ELSE!

Matthew 6:30-33 The Message (MSG)

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.


Of Fire and Ice

Today marks six weeks.
Six weeks ago I took to bed a pounding headache,
Six weeks ago I awoke in a firey furnace.

But today, like so many days recently passed,
I awoke with gratefulness.
Not just because my health is much improved,
But because the remnants of my affliction
Reverberate still within me.

And with each new day I find a way,
To embrace the scrappy reminders with affection.
Like glowing embers after the inferno’s blaze,
The crackling sparks remind, remand, revive;
Jolting consciousness to awaken!

Wake Up!
To gratitude in gratefulness,
To acceptance in peacefulness,
To mystery in wonderment,
To strength in weakness,
To growth in restfulness.

Today marks six weeks.
Six weeks of persisting amidst the refiner’s fire.
Six weeks of re-learning, re-remembering, re-renewing!
Six weeks of gifting, receiving, and growing through it all;
Six weeks later, fully awake, fully alive!

 

Never fear the moments
you imagine will FREEZE you:
unexpected blasts of cold
can be what DRAWS you nearer
to the FLAME of His love.

Darn the COLD.

Thank God for the FIRE.

Welcome to the CLUB
of those braving the cold blasts
in a thousand DAILY ways. 

Every one of US,
in one HURTING WAY or another,
is in this CLUB.

The grace that’s in this MOMENT
is your MANNA.

Wish for the past
and you drink POISON.

Worry about the future
and you eat FIRE.

Stay in this MOMENT
and you eat the MANNA
needed for NOW.

The Way of Abundance ~ Ann Voskamp

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