Tag Archives: gratitude

The Ebb and Flow of Hope

September 15, 2014

Oh, how I have missed you, friends! Somehow my life had a lot (understatement) to unfold over the last five months. During that time, I took an unplanned hiatus from the blog and much of social media. So, at the risk of being self-interested, I want to share the inspiring moments of ebb and flow since April.

Ebb
Such an intriguing concept . . . the waning of certain areas or, as I like to think of it, the pulling of life from your point of comfort into an ocean of change and challenge. In late March, I chose to set my heart free. No former attachments, no lingering what-ifs and no more seeking to find a someone. It was scary, it came with a clearing of energy, and it took all my courage to let go and give it fully to God.

Around April, I started noticing a reduction in freelance work and a shift in my network to a period of pause. That pause came with a frenzy of wrapping up projects, seeking new clients and praying the Lord would provide for my needs as bills mounted. I’m sure you know the stress and pressure of such times. Can I pay my rent in a month? What cavernous maze of steps must I take with credit cards? What am I doing wrong?

Simultaneously, several friends drifted into injury, illness, loss and trial. As I closed out the final weeks of the GriefShare class I love, I shifted immediately to be present and find the sunshine needed to bolster their spirits. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I simply didn’t realize my own candle was flickering.

Flow
To flow, to let life move as it will and to be pushed toward your greater self.

In mid-April, God richly blessed and challenged me all at once. He sent me David. Someone full of the spirit, a servant at heart and a playful personality with well-disguised redhead tendencies. On Easter, we had our first date. Imagine me sitting in the car before I walked up to the restaurant, praying to God that whatever He had in store would be my path. No expectations, no void to fill, no second guessing my outfit and nothing more than an honest glimmer of hope. David and I were instantly comfortable, immediately wrapped up in conversations that flitted from superheroes and action movies, to great books and helping others . . . even a sprinkle of goofy humor about our main courses (Chicken Bryan & Chicken Marsala, which we dubbed our double date Bryan & Marsala—at least until we scarfed them up). Yes, I scarfed on a first date. Don’t judge. He murmured on about baseball after a dizzying first kiss, so we’re even.

Fast forward (literally, it went so fast) to May when I met his kiddos (Joshua and Madelynne). Within a month of meeting, we were engaged. Crazy? Yep. Perfect? Yep. Predictable? Nope. We still stand silently and stare at each other sometimes and say, “Wow, this is real. I feel like the rollercoaster is still going.”

In June, we consolidated homes, in blessed time to combine both of our temporarily diminished finances. At the same time, I became a full-time step-mom in training. What a whirlwind of emotion, routine, questions and oops-my-bad. As David started his summer university term toward his doctorate in psychology, along with work for the Army Reserve, I set about reaching out to over three dozen job openings, clients and leads. But it wasn’t the Lord’s timing.

In July, we were married. I had spoken to the pastor once via phone, emailed the photographer, never met the hairstylist, never seen the flowers, never seen the winery in person and never met David’s family until the 24 hours before. It was like jumping out of a plane, into the ocean, looking for a star to guide you and seeing a hand reaching out. I wouldn’t change one ebb for all of the flow or one stressful moment for every priceless smile.

I humbly invite you to share our wedding day . . . the blessed culmination of surprises revealed, hope fulfilled and a new journey unleashed: View Our Video (one of the fabulous creations of the talented Tamara from Every Emotion Photography).

Also that month, I was given the opportunity to work on creative projects with a couple of brands I admire and the amazing blessing to begin building a brand with some visionary friends. It has God at its core, promoting good works to the world (can’t wait to share more in the coming months).

Every day has bumps and learnings, but my hope is wrapped in a glow of immense gratitude.

Angels and Diamonds

March 20, 2014

This post is going to pour forth, so hold on.

It’s the story of angels among us and diamonds forged through pain. The last week has taken me the full gamut of emotions, from freefalling surrender literally 13,000 feet above the earth to the depths of spiritual depletion. But this is ultimately a story of hope and gratitude.

It’s funny how life presents us mirrors to clearly see the actions of others as well as our environment, if we are present in the moment and honest with ourselves. Mirrors that shake our intuition and expose our raw desires. They may push us to pause and look around a room, to sink into our heart and ask the painfully tough questions, and to shine a revealing light on the recesses of relationships. That happened twice in the last week. Something broke through the ground I was standing on and gleamed . . . a gem of truth about what serves my soul.

Amidst this reflection, I said this on my personal Facebook page and meant it:

Beauty of friendship: unconditional love, tactful honesty, immense support, open forgiveness, belly laughter, picking up the phone and connecting like no time has passed, hugs sweeter than candy, prioritizing time, humbling oneself. No ego. No competition. No judgment. No guilt. No games. Just spiritual kinship.

It’s rare. It’s precious. It’s bright. It’s strong. It has many facets. It’s a diamond in the rough landscape of life. And when you see it, you know it’s something special. No need to keep entertaining imitations like cubic zirconia camaraderie.

Those diamonds are especially brilliant in times of trial. They are the people who will rush to your bedside, send a sweet text just because they feel you need it, assume only the best, say nice things behind your back, rush to be of assistance, pray for your well-being, and put all personal interests aside to simply offer a servant’s heart or hand.

And among those diamonds you will find angels. Angels like my dear, inspiring friend Angela. In a matter of 48 hours I experienced, witnessed and stood in awe of the power of angels. You see, this particular noble spirit was involved in a tragic car accident. In her words, “It felt like being hit by a Mac truck,” but she told us that with a smile so bright and irresistible that the entire ICU staff, all of her friends and even her surgical team marveled at her positive glow.

Angela is, indeed, a rare being. She is one of God’s great blessings to this earthly existence. I’m not trumpeting her perfection or her invincibility. No, I’m saying that her feisty, stubborn, beautiful, surprising, endearing, witty, giving, amazing soul is a stunning balance of humanity and heavenly. I love this lady so much that words have escaped me for days. Thank the Lord that she, her son and cousins survived the crash. And Jesus watch over her mother, who was called up to heaven.

When everything finally sank in Wednesday, I had nothing left. No energy, no focus, no strength. My spiritual well was depleted and I had no clue how to fill it. I tried brief physical rest but it went deeper, like a vein of ore tucked far into a mountain. I tried food to replenish my senses but I barely noticed the taste. I tried exercise, thinking I could burn off or rekindle any adrenaline in my system, but I only felt numb and dizzy. No, not even a double shot of espresso did it. So, I sat down, prayed and hoped God would invigorate my spirit.

That night, I pulled myself into GriefShare to teach class for those experiencing the loss of a loved one. I had no clue how I was going to do it . . . be present, be helpful, be a good shepherd. I did the only thing I could, I kept hoping and going through the motions. Then, something phenomenal happened. I imagined Angela’s smile, I felt the light of the Holy Spirit and I stopped trying. In that moment, I had a very real exchange with the group and saw waves of empathy rush into the space. I saw a gift of healing begin to emerge for us all.

So, recognize the diamonds of truth and friendship. And cherish the angels who grace your life. Nothing is so eternal or so valuable as those who show you the power of faith, hope and love.

faith, hope and love typography God bless my gorgeous and giving friend. I love you, Angela.