Tag Archives: love

Bumps on the Journey

April 14, 2015

Every road in life, at some unknown juncture, has the potential for bumps. As I sit here literally bumping from pregnancy on the morn of my 33rd week, I can honestly say that life has given me a bunch of blessings and a few more bumps in the last year than I saw coming.

Now, I love cliffhangers, surprise twists and new experiences, so it’s safe to say that God loads me up on such things. I also know that being Scottish, tinged with reddish locks and an eldest makes my approach to life direct, independent and often feisty. Admissions aside, I’m finding that calm, spiritualism, support, understanding and joy are far more of what I seek to cultivate now than anything else.

I look at all the ways I express love to others—cooking, long listening sessions, playful banter, coffee or wine delivery, little notes of encouragement, concierge style question answering at odd hours, funny faces, virtual hugs, supportive advice (when requested), prayers, and trying every day to be a better me who is more Christ like.

This ride is not easy, nor is it filled with ticker tape parades, bouquets of flowers or constant attagirls. It’s rough, messy, painful and often draining . . . but it’s a gift. I need to chant that to myself every night and every morning, through marriage struggles, distance from loved ones and the physical trials of pregnancy.

Humbly, as you face your bumps, remember the following:

  1. What you say, do, show and share sets the tone for what you get back
  2. Starting from a place of love always leads to a better destination
  3. Hurtful words are often a cry for support from others, but don’t accept abuse
  4. You deserve a break, a quiet bath, a coffee escape, a movie or a moment away
  5. Surround yourself with those tuned to God, to love and to hope

I’m bumping with you, friends. For me, finding solid ground is as much about looking up in surrender as planting my feet firmly down.

Burn No More

December 3, 2014

I’m heartbroken over the senseless and unending “news” coverage about Ferguson. Shame on you media mongers for hiding behind free speech with your contempt, malicious ways and ill motives. May God have mercy on you.

I’m heartbroken for the grieving family who tragically lost their son, for the officer and his family, for the townspeople who lost homes and businesses to a wave of fiery rage, for the staggeringly high intraracial violence that occurs every day, and for those who would let perceived injustice fuel the flames of hatred and looting and pain and hurt on others.

1 John 2:9-11 NIV
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”

Burn no more in your souls. Burn no more with words that act like accelerants. Burn no more into the cameras or crowds to cultivate harm. Burn no more for attention’s sake. Burn no more with selfish anger. Burn no more into the hearts of impressionable children. Burn no more to feed the gangs and thieves.

May healing begin. May grace fall on every spirit. May wisdom prevail. May compassion take root. May we all learn how to love again.

John 16:33 NIV
“‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.'”

I pray this, Jesus. Amen.

Reciprocal Compassion

April 3, 2014

I was scrolling my social media feed this morning and saw a post by one of the special needs organizations I follow. Unlike some of the images I have seen from them before, they were poking fun at how individuals outside the autism community ask questions that they feel are ignorant. I had to pause. Three things unsettled me:

  1. This organization’s mission is acceptance, yet the tone of the post was exclusionary.
  2. The page asks the world to be more understanding of disorders, yet they were criticizing someone for asking a question and also implying a level of ignorance in the asker.
  3. The group often celebrates individuality and touts open-mindedness, yet they were so quick to set up an us (we get it) vs. them (they don’t get it) scenario.

My only thought is . . . such a pity. Compassion is meant to be unconditional. That means that despite misunderstanding, difference or even naiveté, we are called to respond with tolerance.

As I have said before, tolerance is not setting yourself up to be a silent punching bag. However, it is definitely not compassionate to respond to people with something akin to, “Duh, I can’t believe you didn’t know that. How stupid are you?”

Instead of assuming, which gets everyone into trouble, try reaching out with love. For instance, here are some questions you can ask when you feel compelled to strike out to justify your position or retaliate with a snarky comment:

  • What was my interpretation of their view? Our reactions (e.g., wow that was silly, I can’t believe they said that, what a mean statement) are based on life-conditioned interpretations and it is important to recognize our own patterns. The trick is then to wipe away your emotional bias and see the statement as if it were on a page.
  • How can I see this person with loving eyes? Even when someone hurts us unknowingly, we tend to strike out to combat the pain. Before you act, think of what you could do to stop that wicked cycle in its tracks. Try looking at this individual as if they were a child and imagining how adorable, precocious, goofy or vulnerable they would be. Our adult selves are not far from those children.
  • What can you do to improve their understanding? Tolerance begins with you. Instead of assuming someone is ignorant or despicable, consider that they simply may not have good information and may be feeling awkward about the topic. Try humbling yourself, validating the individual and offering help, “That is one way to see it. Would you like to know more about what makes my child so amazing?”

Not everyone will be open, comfortable, ready or capable of accepting your compassion. That does not mean you should not offer it. More so, instead of the hurtful cycle of reciprocal criticism, you can shift into sparking cycles of reciprocal compassion. Imagine opening the eyes, minds and hearts of others . . . that’s a hopeful gift you can give the world.

One final thought. If you carry the burden of angry victim, you will be setting up a courtroom of judgment in your mind. In that room, you may play the role of judge (presiding), the prosecutor (accusing), the court reporter (rehashing), the bailiff (barricading) and the jury (dwelling). If you play all or even one, imagine the diverted energy you are investing.

Let go of the need to make the world see it your way or walk in your shoes. Each soul is busy enough just trying to walk in their own. The best you can do is enlighten with respect, respond with gentleness and offer abundant compassion.

10 Posts for 10 Years: #10

January 31, 2014

Today, only a few words are needed. Words like . . .

I miss you. I honor you. I realize you are proud of me. I will see you again. I am so lucky to know you. I respect all you gave. I could not ask for a better father. I love you. I hope to be like you.

IMG_2444

God bless and keep you.

Always your Ace,
Sara

10 Posts for 10 Years: #3

January 24, 2014

Hands clap, they hold, they pull, they reach. My father’s hands were one of his signature traits. I could rely on those hands for mechanical miracles, challenged them to creative building projects and watched them sign one of the most picturesque signatures I have ever seen.

My father’s hands . . . a larger than life, careworn pair. Calluses aplenty dotted his hands, with little grease-marred tendrils flowing from his palms up to his cuticles. Lava soap, Gojo and pumice stones all failed to work complete magical feats, yet small gaps of unreal youth wedged themselves into the mix.

The tops of his hands hand a trace, nearly imperceptible scattering of blond hair and a permanent watch imprint at the intersection of his left wrist. They found a way to peel apples in one continuous swoop—a tradition I now proudly uphold.

They moderated sibling confrontation, wielded a twisted old strip of leather, and ever-so-playfully clicked back and forth on the mouse to play Spider Solitaire. His nails were always cut painstakingly short.

When striking up a conversation or consulting with a client at his desk, he always leaned forward and crossed his arms—looping his hands over each forearm like an ancient guardian.

When sleeping in his chair in front of the TV at night, he would have them resting at first on his chest . . . and then later they would slip to the sides as he snored like a hibernating grizzly through the details of PBS, Discover or History, which I swear he absorbed in his sleep.

I will miss them walking me down the aisle someday. However, I smile at the memory of them playing banjo or cradling a rambunctious harmonica. This is for you, dad:

What’s Your Love List?

October 7, 2013

Love is our greatest capacity and our most precious gift. Whenever I am asked why “Hope is Love” was not a chapter in “The World Needs Hope,” I simply say that love stands on its own. It is such a personal, intimate, sweeping concept that a chapter could not have done it justice. So, why do I write about it now?

Well, having seen the grieving and afflicted struggle with hope, I have found that a deep awareness of love helps to set a foundation for healing. The truth of love is that we must first know love within ourselves. So, I was joyfully surprised by a recent email from a dear friend, whom challenged me to write a Love List.

I have seen many forms of this list but the one I share now is focused on what you love. Think of it like a tuning fork for a piano—you have to set your vibration to be in tune with your heart, so that love will ring true inward to outward. Hold nothing back and, perhaps, chuckle during the process. Here is an excerpt from my Love List to amuse and inspire:

I love walking along the grass at night after the sprinklers go off, when mist is still clinging to the air; diving into a pool right as the sun blazes from behind a tree; burying everything but my head in blankets on a cold night, so I can hibernate; dancing around the house and letting my body flow unhindered; singing “Part of Your World” in the shower; open intellectual and spiritual conversations that make me think with my mind and my heart; meditation to find the silence within the silence; energetic practice that cultivates enlightenment; our heavenly Creator; seeing a child run joyfully to your embrace; jumping 13,000 feet from a plane into 90 blessed seconds of weightless free fall to know what being present really means; giving to others with an open heart; seeing hope twinkle to life in the eyes of someone battling the darkness; my stuffed lamb from childhood; laughter in every form, especially body shaking belly laughter; angel armies watching over us; hugs that turn into nuzzles; the tickle of a beard; intimate moments that require no words but say worlds; cooking and sharing nourishment with friends; getting lost in someone’s eyes; driving fast and hearing the engine growl; feeling victorious after accomplishing a task; sea salt; sitting by the ocean with the sand and the wind as company; the smell of pine against the snow; making snow angels; watching in awe as someone realizes their true purpose; being wanted; my hair color and its quirky character; crawling into fresh sheets right out of the dryer; rock climbing to push my body and focus my mind; sketching on napkins; haikus that have funny messages; meeting new people that feel like old friends; feeling seen for all I am; playful little puppies; holding a new baby so delicately; fireworks fireworks fireworks; bursting into spontaneous expression; witty banter; being connected to every soul in the world; macaroni and cheese; tea ceremony; learning new things and new ways of thinking; being inspired by the Spirit; surrendering to my empathy to hold space for another; being present and savoring a moment; traveling the world; getting to know local people and cultures; firm, heartfelt hugs; making love; embracing my inner child; knowing that loved ones who have passed are still part of me; amazing theatre, symphony and movies that catch the emotion in my throat; flying; dreaming; irresistible chemistry; cool tile under my feet; turning to see a partner drinking in my presence; charcoals, pastels, pencils and thumbs to smear and create art; losing track of time in a Japanese zen garden; having an ah ha moment that makes me smile; discovering more about nutrition and the value of true food; water; eating whole lemons, sans seeds; dark chocolate; good news; balanced, interesting people who lead by example; candlelight, starlight, firelight, sunrise and sunset; moon prayer; being a writer; train rides; owning my inner goofball; a fresh start each day . . .

As you can see, what you love is up to you. It is a mélange of feelings, sensations, experiences, desires and appreciation. Your Love List is what you make it. Knowing what you love inspires immense gratitude, tunes your “frequency” to pulling those things further into your life and reminds you that with this vast ability to love . . . hope and all things are possible.

Love ThySelf

July 9, 2013

It has been an inflated modicum of time since I last tip-typed a post. In other words, I took a pause.

Rest assured that I have been thinking of each of you, hoping for growing joy in the world, praying for those in duress and reflecting on the tune of my heart. It chirps, it bellows, it sings and it sighs. The heart is symbolically represented in so many visual and lyrical ways, yet we rarely pause to think of each ba-beat as a testament to living or to our hopes. Humbly, I would surmise that we also get busy and forget, innocently, to truly listen to our hearts.

Ok, right now, what is your heart saying? It’s ok to cry, to belly laugh, to curl up or to dance.

In an uncommon instance, I popped on the local radio station while driving. Strumming over the airwaves came this wonderful song by Phillip Phillips, called “Gone Gone Gone.” The percussion, the caesuras, the breathy delivery . . . all what an upbeat love song should be. I wept.

Defenses aside, excuses locked down . . . let’s be vulnerable together and admit that at least once in your life, a song made you cry—likely related to a profound emotion entwined with love. We all hope to feel love, to be loved and to hold on to love. If you want to disagree with me, go ahead. I will battle with angel armies to champion hope and safeguard love. Few emotions have the impact that love has—unsettling butterflies, seemingly irrational emotion, giddy bliss, intense desire, selfless protectiveness, and a need to extinguish the air between you and your partner with heat.

I have felt ugly, unworthy, drained and haven’t always loved myself. Likely, you can relate to one or more of those sentiments, past or present. Imagine me peering through this computer (or mobile) screen and hugging you with a refusal to let go. I love you. You desire and must fight to always honor, celebrate and love thyself. This is a sincere and lasting hope that I pray for you.

The arguments, the rouses, the tricks and the distractions will seep into your mind. Shut them down! You are beautiful. You do deserve it. You are a precious gift. You are lovable and must start by loving yourself—freckles, lines, curves, smile, laugh, everything. God crafted you with His hand and cherishes you in every way. Now I’m weeping again (in the middle of Barnes and Noble, mind you) at the thought of such unconditional love.

Teary eyed and unashamed, I tell you that my deepest hope for myself is to have a partner who sees the amazing things I see, adores the quirks and verbose tangents, revels in the sight of me and loves me with an unswayable vigor that would impress the titans of mythology. I am worth it and I hope you feel that way about yourself.

I know the stabbing ache of loss, I understand the pang of walking away from a relationship that doesn’t fulfill you, I stand strong after recognizing abuse, and I have bent beneath the suffocating weight of unrequited love. I continue to love every soul I have said those three little words to (and some I never told). I am blessed to call most my friends to this day. I even lingered on the words and floated on the looks of love—drank deeply of the small sips and sporadic texts—until I woke alone to realize that my heart was not nurtured the way I knew it should be.

Without a wedded partner, I have been passed up as a godmother, denied event invitations and told I would never have kids . . . and still, I love myself. Still, I believe fearlessly in the possibility (nay, the assurance) that love will meet me on my journey. I like to say that it’s just waiting for the perfect time to unveil it’s playful scheme, and for me to put the feisty aside and surrender happily to being met by another soul.

Bemoan none, hold bitterness at bay, resist the deceptive comfort of settling and let the arrows of the past fall to the ground. Love, love, love thyself. Keep hoping, keep praying, keep putting yourself out there with wild abandon. Heal the wounds with God’s love, open yourself to the love flowing all around you, and please, let your love beam to the world with a hopeful smile and a giving heart.

My Hope Flies to You

May 8, 2013

As I prepare to embark on the next chapter of this journey, I wanted to pause and share the essence of my heart in a note to each of you:

I wish you comfort and strength, wisdom and mercy. Know that hope exists. How do I know? I see each of you and feel it, electric, pulsing back and forth. You have to choose hope each day to let it take root. Sisters, love everything about yourselves and show that remarkable love to others, especially your little ones—it is through this example that we shape the hearts of the next generation. Brothers, work at what you love and what fills the well, not drains it—your talents and strength are gifts. When you find that special someone, lock shields with your person, which may mean learning to let go of expectations and trust fully. Never stop trying to rediscover the people in your life. Always hug longer, hold tighter and forgive faster. Family is our greatest education and our most lasting blessing. Should anything separate us, understand that I have no regrets. Most importantly, I don’t just believe in God . . . I know He is real and dwells within you, all you have to do is surrender to discover a peace that passes all understanding.

And to close, a prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for your guidance and many gifts. Gracious Father, thank you for bringing so many amazing people into my life and showing me, every day, that hope is real. Please continue to bless, protect and comfort them, as you help them to grow and embody their potential. I pray for the health, happiness and well-being of each precious one. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

With hope,

Sara

Forward is not Forgetting

April 22, 2013

It would be foolish to overlook the painful events of the last week. Two that climb top of mind are the Boston bombings and Texas plant explosion. In a few days time, I have watched the faces of many turn grief-stricken, troubled and guarded.

Still, through it all, hope is ever-present. Through the smoke, the pain and the excessive media, there remains a core of goodness in this world. It is within you and I pray you cling to it tightly. For the worst result of any tragedy is when hope is stolen (or forfeited), allowing fear, anger and apathy to take root. I resist that outlook with every shred of my being. I resist it for you, for your children and for the world.

In time, as you feel it right, I urge you to take a baby step forward. A cautious smile, a gracious gesture, an honorable remembrance, a solid embrace or a bold expression of joy. Those most closely impacted by loss and tragedy need our compassion, our strength, and our help to gradually renew themselves.

Moving forward is not forgetting. Forgetting is casting aside, losing focus, returning to status quo and slipping the blinders back on. No, remain vigilant in your hope and stalwart in your love. Those are the very things that will keep our humanity in tune. If anything, forget the vengeance, the retaliation, the bitterness. Move forward to offer help and display qualities that lift us all by example.

Hope for Hurt Souls

April 15, 2013

The media is a megaphone for all voices. And right now, the voice we most need to hear is one of hope. Each instance of violence reminds us of the uncertainty in this world. The tragedy, the shock and the hurt all shake us to the core . . . for a while.

I pray for each soul, each family and, yes, even those who act to harm. Most of all, I pray for us to wake up and see that we are all connected. We spend so much time in blame, in bitterness and in disbelief that we only process the surface of the event. We’re looking at the outcome not the origin.

This past weekend, I heard something that I will never forget, “Every harm begins with a past hurt.” Think about it. Being teased, abused, neglected, ignored, abandoned, degraded . . . they all hurt our hearts and leave an imprint on our spirit. And, if left unresolved, they leave us vulnerable and vengeful. For those who carry unspoken scars and bury the pain deep deep down, that hurt wells up and lashes out.

But when we stand up, forgive, let go, ask for help, move forward and seek grace, we find the hurt gradually ebbs with time. That leaves room for love and communication.

So, I tell you that instead of talking about the weapons, the ways and the whys of horrendous acts after the fact, focus on extending care, compassion and love to others right now. Do not turn a blind eye. Do not say it’s none of my business how a child is treated at home. Do not overlook animal abuse and where it leads. Do not live in fear. Do not let yourself believe that you need any more of feeling like less.

Do offer unconditional love. Do notice how others are feeling and behaving. Do choose your words with care. Do have faith. Do let the ego go and the enlightenment flourish. Do build strong families. Do set a righteous example. Do share hope.

Let’s look with eyes wide open to the source and keep the erosion of society as well as the explosion of malice from continuing. What we do to help others ultimately helps us all.