facing difficulty

I’m climbing.
It’s a huge crag, one that takes learned skill – training, practice and experience – before climbing. This is the crux point, the toughest place on the climb where I have to muster up every ounce of strength to trust my training and ability in order to keep going. Soon it will get easier.

I could let go.

Safety precautions have been taken and the rope will hold me. The belayer has my back.
If I let go, I will survive.
If I let go, it is between me and my belayer.
If I let go, I will have a choice to make.
Start over and try again.
Take a break and come back later.
Or…  Give up and never go back.

Have you ever felt this way?

I’m not a rock climber, but for the past few years I have been on the climbing adventure of my life. Gradually I have stepped into situations that are more and more difficult, sometimes letting go, sometimes taking a break for awhile and sometimes WANTING to give up…
But never actually giving up.

Again I ask, have you ever felt this way?

When you are at the crux point and you want to give up… When you are tired… When you feel helpless, hopeless and incapable…
THAT is the time to think back and remember where you started.
Are you further along than you were a  year ago? Do you know more now?

Every climber must start with the basics. You learn about harnesses and rope and carabiners. You learn that it takes muscle strength and proper body positioning in order to reach the next hand or foot hold. You learn the basic lingo and get brave enough to use those words even if you’re worried you might get them wrong.
Eventually, through practice, those words become a normal part of your climbing vocabulary. Recognizing holds as well as using your body and your stronger muscles to reach them becomes second nature. Putting on a harness and figuring out how to use carabiners is no longer a puzzle.
By pushing through difficult situations you have learned so much and have come so far!
And yet, you are in a difficult spot.

When you are facing difficulty, be encouraged by the knowledge that when you push through, YOU GROW. 

Then next year you will look back gratefully because you will be able to see just how far you’ve come.


be refreshed

Grateful this morning for a pretty little front yard where I can sit on a bench in the sunshine while watching and listening to the birds. A mourning dove coos softly. The water in the pond trickles from one level to the next. The sparrows and chickadees flit from the fence to the feeder, chirping playfully. Hummingbirds buzz from flower to flower, appreciating a break from the sugar water in the feeders. 

I’m grateful for a little slice of earth that brings joy to my heart – right here in my own front yard. 

Feed your heart today… Do something that you love. Listen to the sounds. Notice the colors. Take in the scents. Feel the textures. Take it all in. And be refreshed.

love it or hate it

There are two kinds of people when it comes to April Fools’ Day.
Those who love it…
Those who hate it.

Those who love it are great at coming up with pranks and even better at pulling them off. It’s an art, really. And it’s totally fun to see these pranksters in action as long as the joke is on someone else.   

Those who hate it are generally unsuspecting, gullible people who fall hook, line and sinker when they come face to face with a prankster. They are honest and trusting souls who want to believe that when it comes to honesty, everyone takes it seriously.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Sheesh, lighten up a little… It’s all in the name of fun.”
I agree completely.
But as someone who has been hurt by humor many times in the past I would ask pranksters everywhere to take a different approach to your jokes this year.  Unless you have an understanding or some special kind of relationship with the “victim” be careful to not single out any one person in your pranks. Perhaps try fun pranks like these I saw on Facebook this morning instead:

Believe it or not, I have come a long way in the realm of laughter and joking.  I am grateful to be able to laugh at myself and with my husband as we muddle our way through healing and strengthening our marriage.  Without that laughter, we would not have come as far as we have today.  I am grateful to be able to laugh with friends and not believe the world is out to make me look foolish when I fall for a joke. I am grateful to be able to laugh at harmless jokes and pranks that I see on Facebook or videos. I am grateful for growth and resilience in the area of laughter and joking.     

Again, I want to stress that I KNOW April Fools’ Day is all in fun…
At the same time, I believe there is an element of truth in every joke played or sarcastic word spoken.

Keep that in mind as you play your tricks today.
I’m curious, do you love April Fool’s Day or hate it? Why?
Share your story in the comments below.


Featured Image Photo Credit: Kidzworld.com



don’t settle

A month or so ago I finally talked to my husband about something that had been on my mind for a long time. After all the work we have done individually to make our lives new and different and better, and the way we have waited patiently for one another in order to heal this marriage thing…
I think I want a new ring.

There are some fears that come with being honest about this.
-Maybe I’m moving too quickly in the healing process and I will be misunderstood.
-Maybe he will move too quickly in the healing process and go purchase a ring I don’t like.
-Maybe he will want to go look at rings immediately and push me into choosing something.
-Maybe we shouldn’t spend money on jewelry.
-Maybe he will think I’m ridiculous to want a new ring.
-Maybe, maybe, maybe…

If there’s one thing I have learned about life, it is that honesty wins.
Even if the words are difficult to say or hear, in the end honesty wins.
So, I was honest.
I expressed my fears and he understood, agreeing to give me space and time to look at rings and figure out what I would like to wear on my finger for the next twenty-six years.

As I sat in a jewelry store last week trying ring after ring after ring and saying, “Nope, nope, nope,” the saleswoman, Mama Rafi, said to me, “You are like a ninja. You say No! No! No! (as she made chopping and blocking motions with her arms) because you KNOW.
You may not know what you want YET but you do know what you don’t want.
You keep looking and DON’T SETTLE!

It’s true.

I don’t ever want to settle for less than what truly speaks to my heart in any area of my life. The problem is, I don’t always know exactly what I want, which make me feel stuck. Oh so stuck!
As I ponder the ring situation I realize… I already know the answers.  It’s a matter of wading through all the things that I don’t want until I finally come to the thing that I do want. When I try something out, if I don’t love it… I don’t actually have to settle for it just because it is available.  I get to say, “No thanks, this isn’t quite what I have in mind.”

Maybe it’s not about knowing what you want… but figuring out what you don’t want.

At some point in my life, I decided to stop settling for less and although it hasn’t been an easy road it has been worth it!

So in the words of Mama Rafi, be a ninja!
You have the power to make your life what you would like it to be.  

Why not give it a try?


another spin around the sun

I turned a year older yesterday.

As I look back over my 48th spin around the sun, I am grateful…

— That I am more content with my life today than I was a year ago.

— For the many brave things I did last year and for the courage I will find to do more brave things in the year to come.

— For faith, hope and perseverance. Without these, I may have run away from my life four years ago and perhaps never known the beauty that can be made from ashes.

I am truly grateful.

see the forest

On my daily walks through my local forested fitness trail, there are several places where there is a tree in the middle of the pathway.  That’s where the path splits and goes around the tree. It makes perfect sense.  And yet in life, I sometimes get caught up by the “tree” in the middle of the path and end up stuck.
About how to get to the place where I want to end up.
The truth is I may never end up where I want to end up.
The truth is when I remember to appreciate where I am in the moment, life is better.
That’s when and why I Choose Gratefulness.
Today I am grateful for…
Without the dark of night, I would not see the moon and stars nor would I see the sunrise, brilliant with color.
Without winter, I wouldn’t notice the signs of new life popping up everywhere.
Without rain, the brilliant green mosses, deep green trees and lush plant life would not be sustainable. Without rain, the rushing rivers and waterfalls would be dry rock beds.
Without confusion, I would not know the joy of working through the struggle and finally coming to understand.
Without failure, I wouldn’t learn how not to do things.
Without sadness I would not be able to fully experience joy.

Without conflict how would I experience the beauty of reconciliation?
Without fear I would not know the feeling of being alive with courage.

Choosing to be grateful helps to see the forest.

In what ways do you choose gratefulness?
Tell me in the comments below

new tools

No one ever wanted to peel potatoes at my house.  For years there were two potato peelers in the mess that is my utensil drawer, one of them old and a bit rusty the other relatively new. Neither worked great but I held on to them because one had been my grandma’s and the other was just like it but newer. A few days before last Thanksgiving I finally splurged and spent ten bucks on a “fancy” peeler because I couldn’t bear the thought of having to peel that pile of soon to be mashed potatoes.
 Totally worth the ten bucks!
Now peeling is practically fun! At our family dinner night a couple weeks ago, I happily made apple crisp because I knew peeling would be a breeze.

Having a good tool made the job easier.  

In the process of becoming me, I was equipped with tools for living a better life. The old rusty, dull and broken tools that just weren’t working well were replaced with new, useful and helpful tools that actually make my life better. Things like boundaries and self-care along with  mindfulness and gratitude are just a few of the valuable tools I have implemented. They are really good tools – the kind that make life here on earth so much more enjoyable and that  will last a lifetime as long as they are used and properly maintained.      

The tools I had been using may have been what I learned from my upbringing, but they really weren’t working for me.  I’m truly grateful that I splurged and got some new tools for living life.   

Good tools make life better.

How is your life?
Do you sometimes dread the things you have to do?  
Is it time to splurge and take care of yourself for a change?  
Maybe it’s time to breathe deep, toss out the old rusty tools and develop some life-giving tools that will make things easier.
Go ahead and splurge! You’re worth it!