Sunday, February 28, 2010

Springing Forward

I noticed this morning when I woke... the sun was brighter. YES! Longer days. Warmer weather. New life. SPRING!

It raised my curiosities: "When do we set the clocks ahead?" I asked aloud. I didn't recall seeing it on my planner. So, I Googled it. March 14. 2:00 A.M.

MARCH 14th? That's only two weeks away!

I am continually aware of how quickly time is flying. How hard I have keeping track of the days and months. Soon we will be into all the Spring and End-of-year activities at school.

And then Summer.

At dinner, we had a "family meeting" to brainstorm a list of things we want to be sure to do this summer. It's a good list... :) I'm excited! It's all very, very do-able as well! Thank You, God!

I am aware of a shift within me as well. I am curious to see what will bloom this spring!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's a Time of Change

I will teach my last yoga class at our local YMCA on Tuesday. I wrote, signed and delivered my resignation today. It was not an easy thing to do - nor an easy decision to make. Well....that may not be ENTIRELY true. But it was not easy to accept that it is time for me to leave.

I have known for a while that I would be leaving. I just haven't been ready to say goodbye....

They Y has been so beneficial to me through the years. Obviously, the health, exercise and pool-side lounging benefits have been wonderful. But it's not really those aspects that I remember and cling to.

It's the "nine hours of nursery time every week with a pair of infants", that was my saving grace. There were days that just handing them over for an hour or two made the difference between a "good" day and an "awful" day. Some days, when the weather was warm and the night before had been significantly interrupted, I would drop them off, set my alarm and doze for 2 hours by the pool.

As they grew older, I found yoga. There, on the mat, was a peace and strength and a connection with God that I had never experienced. Perhaps if I had taken time previously to "be still", I would have had the opportunity to "know" God a little better. But, there, in yoga, I often had opportunities to cry out to Him, or lay still and simply feel His presence.

Those months and years helped me through my separation and later divorce, in ways that I am sure I don't even fully realize even now.

As I began to teach, I began to see the impact it could have on the lives of the students: Physically, mentally, spiritually. I thoroughly enjoy watching those moments and abilities unfold.

Yet, I am being called away. Called to a new adventure. I don't know exactly the plan, but I know where I am to begin.

We'll see what I find in the karate studio....

Friday, February 26, 2010

Movin' into Spring

I'm so ready! I long for spring and all that goes along with it!

New adventures await! The garden awaits! Spring cleaning awaits!

Periodically, we get a tease, and then *wham*, it's cold again. It's hard for me to believe that the daffodils are just little sprigs of green and it's nearly March. But I know they listen and they wait to be called. They don't care what the calendar says or what other people think they should do. They wait until the time is right for them to grow and to bloom.

I am trying to be as patient.

At least I can spend the chilly days inside, preparing to throw the windows wide and air out the house. It is my perfect opportunity to go through the piles of things - papers to be sorted and filed. Clothes and toys to be tagged for the upcoming consignment sale. There is much to do.

I would just rather be OUTside - if I had MY way.... but perhaps, I should do as the daffodil, and wait for that opportunity, and take THIS opportunity to do what needs to be done in this time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seven Words

Someone mentioned the other day that we each have 7 words that represent our unique beings and our purpose here on earth.

It's interesting to think of myself that way. Just seven words.... that best describe ME and my purpose.

I googled the concept to see if I could gather some more information / perspective on the concept. What I found there were people creating their mantras, or a sentence of 7 words. That would be easy....

" I am blessed beyond my wildest imaginings!"

The other, not so much. Sure, I can think of a few that I know.

I know I am a writer. My father told me that years ago.... Words hold tremendous power, and finding just the right one is sometimes a challenge... but I love it....

I know I am a mother.... beyond the biological sense.

I know I am a healer - and beyond the realm of my world of nursing. I have been called a "noticer" and a "re-center-er" by friends of mine, but I would throw those into the "healing" category.

The rest, I don't know.... I am sure one day I will be clued in.... God willing....

What would yours be??

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


This week has definitely been about flexibility.

Monday turned into giving massages rather than yoga.

Tuesday turned into a day at the school, covering for a mom with a sick child, rather than a day spent at my house tidying up some loose ends.

I'm grateful for some flexibility training through the years. I didn't always roll with the punches.

Thank You, God, for flexibility, adaptability and letting go of a little bit of my agenda....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Circle of Women

I am very, very fortunate! I have a wonderful Circle of Women in my life. Several, actually - many that overlap and intersect.

Some are more formally structured, and some have evolved spontaneously. Some are casual and laid back, and others are more in my face, truth speaking. Both enrich my life and support me in my walk.

I had the pleasure of spending lunch with a pair of ladies that I have known for years, but don't usually get to "hang out" with.

As we were eating and talking, I realized that through the years, we had each had an opportunity to lean on the others. We had borrowed strength and joy and hope, each in turn. We'd asked for truth and guidance and received it lovingly.

For me, it was the time of my separation and divorce. They reminded me to breathe and assured me that I would be "just fine!" during the times when I doubted. They reminded me that I am not alone, hugged me and prayed for me.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to do the same for each of them through the years.

As I write, I am reminded of the strength of a cord with three strands and the stability found in a three legged stool. I realize that these teachings usually refer to God as the Third Strand... but I have no doubt that He is with us as well - collectively, individually.

With every bit of my being, I know He is there...

Thank You God, for these women in my life....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Feeling Blessed

I don't have a topic. I don't know what to write. I've been flipping through Facebook and email searching for inspiration.

I think back through the day, glance up and notice the cat curled up beside the piano, sound asleep. The moment, I move from this spot, though, she will follow me. She's a sweet thing.

I have been blessed today. Truly blessed.

The weather was beautiful - and I got to lunch outside. Peacefully quiet, with the sun on my shoulders.

In the course of a few hours, I had booked four massage sessions and sold five cases of Girl Scout cookies.

My kids returned home happy, healthy and with minimal "re-entry syndrome".

I couldn't ask for more.

Thank You God!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


"Beloved" is the word on my mind right now. I just ordered a shirt with it across the front. It is the word that continually stuck out to me when I read "Redeeming Love".

It has such a tenderness and a sweetness to it.

And it reminds me of who I am to God.

Treasured. Cherished.



Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hope of Spring

It was beautiful, warm and sun-shiny!

I had the opportunity to be outside for a while.... without a coat!

Getting the mail, I notice the buds on the maple tree in front of our house, and the tulips by the front porch.

During the warmest part of the day, I even turned off my heat and cracked the kitchen window, just a bit.

Soon enough, spring will burst forth. New life. New adventures. New Hope!

The earth will be ready for planting. I am already ready for tending.

I need one more day to sit in the sun and dream about the garden plans this year..... then several days to begin implementation.

It is coming. There is hope.

There is always hope!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sweet Success

Thursday started out AWFULLY. 100% gone wrong. All three of us woke up irritable and it didn't get any better.

I forgot to pack snacks. My schedule didn't allow for me to join my children for our usual Thursday tradition: Mom-comes-to-school-and-eats-lunch-with-us.

As I dropped off the carpool gang - 3 boys and 2 girls - I grumbled all the way to my Moms in Touch meeting. I thought aloud, "This is going to be a HARD sugar-free day!"

From there, I headed out to lecture, pick up 5 more cases of Girl Scout cookies before returning to the school for about an hour of service and afternoon carpool duty.

The Thursday afternoon routine started - gymnastics then karate then home.

Sitting down to type this, I realized....

I've been sugar-free all day long.... and really haven't thought too much of it.

Thank you, God! It was ALLLLLLL You today...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Let there be Lent

And it was....

Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday. We're here. Lent is here.

Growing up, my church as a whole didn't "give things up" for lent. Our catholic friends did, so one year, another friend and I decided to try it. We had a habit of eating - of all things - sunflower seeds. Every Monday afternoon, on our way from the school to the church, we'd stop by the corner store ("Lord's", of all things... ;) ) and get our fix. Our four years in high school, we gave them up during Lent - with varying degrees of success.

I took a break from the practice during college - along with my break from church in general. And, somewhere, back in the days of reconnecting with God, I picked the practice up again. This time, with something far more addicting: Sugar.

There have been several years I have endured the entire Lenten period sugar free. Other years, I haven't surpassed the first week.

This year has been a little different. I know God has been calling me to this - giving up sugar- for a while now. And I have been putting it off - "I'll do it during Lent". But, oh no. My timing is not His timing.

The weekend that my living room was LITERALLY wall to wall in cases of Girl Scout cookies, I was so convicted at church. I knew I had to start THAT DAY.

No Fat Tuesday celebration to get my last fix. No. Right then.

So far, so good. It has not been easy by any means, but in no way compares to dying on a cross.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Praying for Favor

One of my least favorite things to have had to do for our PTO is write an appeal letter to the IRS. It wasn't HARD, and I believe we have a good case. The fact that I had to do it at all just makes me want to roll my eyes..... but instead of that, I just got to the task.

As one might imagine, there were blessings in the process. I was shown once again that I am not walking this world alone. There are people around to seek counsel, as well as the Gentle Voice Within, who spoke "make a copy of that!" back in December. (I did!)

So, letter written, and all the supporting evidence enclosed, I ventured out to the Post Office. In the parking lot, I texted six of my prayer warriors: "Join me in praying for favor over this letter to the IRS". I had prayed for it as I stuffed the envelope, and said another quick prayer that it would arrive in the right hands, and our appeal would be honored.

As I was standing at the counter, envelope being weighed, and postage being calculated, my cell phone beeped 6 times. 6 text messages received. "Will do....", "done!", "Amen!" Each beep made me smile a little broader - I knew what they would say before I read them.

So now... we wait... and believe.

If they deny the appeal, God has bigger plans for it...

(feel free to add your prayer if you feel so inclined!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ice Castles

"Please, don't let this feeling end..... it might not come again... and I want to remember...."

I had the opportunity to watch the 2010 remake of the movie Ice Castles. It was a story I fell in love with as a child. I could relate to the female lead. I too had a pond that, when winter would cooperate, I would carry my skates and spend some time enjoying the feel of the ice under my feet.

No, I never made it to Nationals, but that feeling of peace an joy that I never wanted to end was there.

The theme song has woven itself through my life from time to time... Typically, it arrives in those same peaceful, joyful, carefree moments - Sitting silently on the red rocks in Sedona, Arizona, sitting quietly beside a campfire, snuggling my children.

But it also arrives sometimes after feeling convicted about something that I am to do. The presence of God is so palpable. The peace that accompanies it makes what I am to do - or not do - seem easy at the moment.

But, I know life will continue and that moment will fade. With out that acute feeling of Presence, the task feels more difficult.

So, "Please, don't let this feeling end...."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Take Three...

I think we're on our third round of (potentially school-canceling) snow this year. It certainly is the snowiest winter I can remember here in Tennessee. Both in terms of accumulation and duration.

I've been told it's backlash for the Saints winning the Superbowl (and thus hell freezing over), but I think it just is. Life happens that way sometimes. Yes, it's cold. Yes, I'm ready for spring. But it is beautiful. Magical. Peaceful. (And then, the kids wake up.)

I am curious to see what the week holds in terms of snow and school. Perhaps another "February Vacation"... time will tell. To be honest, there is a part of me that is hoping that we will "take back" Tuesday. Originally scheduled as a student holiday, our last snow storm mandated that we return for the day.

The problem being, that we are out of "snow days", so should we have another, we'll require a make-up.

In the long run, it doesn't matter. Years past, I would have fretted and worried about my plans. Right now, it's not a biggie... (Now Friday, when a sick kid canceled my morning and evening fun-times-with-the-girls plans...that was more of a biggie.)

We'll see how it goes and take it as it comes. May God keep us safe and warm - and fed. (I did not make the obligatory pre-storm milk/bread run.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love One Another

"Love one another, for love is of God. He who loves is born of God and knows God..."

Lyrics from a beautiful round we sang at my old church from time to time came to mind as I think about Valentine's Day.

Love one another. More than romantic love. Agapao. Agape love. Brotherly love.

Chosing well toward another. (Whether you 'feel like it' or not). Going the extra mile. Going beyond your Self.

"Love one another, for love is of God....."

Loving well...

Even in the hard times.

Love is a choice.

Choose wisely.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


My children and I watched the Olympic Opening Ceremonies together. Several times I used the word "unity". My son asked what the word means.

"Kinda like 'working together' ", I said. He nodded. Not long afterward, the athletes began the Parade of Nations. As each country walked forward, I realized I was looking at each face.

"Look for the similarities, not the differences", I had been told again and again. It was at a period of time when I was in a lot of group situations. I was told I had a choice. If I wanted to be "a part of" the group, I should look for similarities. If I focused on the differences, I would be "a part from".

A simple change of perspective, with life-changing and life-defining ramifications.

May there be peace and unity at the Olympic games.

May I look for similarities rather than differences.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Linda's Life Plan"

I stumbled upon it in the closet, while searching for a notebook for my son's Pokemon collection. The "Carolina Blue" three-ringed binder with a sheet of paper slid into the front with three simple words:

"Linda's Life Plan"

I chuckled to myself, thinking of the arrogance in the statement. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I like a plan and I like a schedule. I like to set goals and break those goals into steps to help make them attainable. I like to make lists of all the things that I need to remember to bring to an event, and I like to neatly check them off one by one.

On one hand, it has to be done - especially in the business arena. But, knowing that I hadn't seen the book in several years, I was sure of the fact that it was truly that, "LINDA's Life plan". There had been little if any consultation with God about what HIS plan for me might contain...

That night, my curiosity was piqued. I picked the collection of papers up and started to read through them. There was a general mission statement, and a list of things that were priorities to me. (No, my relationship with God was NOT on the list....quiet time and reflection, yes, but God Himself, no.)

I began to flip through the pages. The general goals were broken down into 5 year, 3 year, 1 year, 6 month and this month goals. Some were really pretty good. Others, yeah, well, not so much. Some had been attained, others, well, not so much.

Finally, on the last page, I found a date. January 2004. Curious that I find it shortly after the completion of that 5 year period of time.

And curious also that I find it at the same time that I am being shown again and again - "THIS is what I have called you to do...."

The journey continues, of course. And yes, I still have my lists and my goals. (and am looking forward to planning my gardens soon!) But, I think - even in the garden planning - I will ask for His plan for it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stronger with Each Tear

In each tear (each tear)
there’s a lesson, (there’s a lesson)
Makes you wiser than before (wiser)
Makes you stronger than you know
In each tear ( Make you so much more)
Bring you closer to your dreams
No mistake, no heartbreak
Can take away what your meant to be

"Somehow" I came across the words "Stronger with Each Tear", and the artist Mary Blige. I think I was searching Youtube for a sample of a new song that we'll be doing at church this week. Clearly, I was at the table when I found it, since the words were scribbled on a napkin.

Tonight, I searched first for the lyrics and then on Youtube to hear the song itself. Not *really* my style of music, but sort of ballad-like, so I could hear it through.

Fortunately, I am not currently in a season of life that is characterized by strength-building tears. But I certainly have been there....and I know others that are in the midst of it now.

There are definitely lessons in the tears, and strength in the weakness and brokenness of those periods of life. In those times when "I" am broken, and "I" am feeling weak, the "I"-focus loses its hold. In those times, I am better able to let go of MY agendas and follow His plan.

Mistakes, heartbreaks, in my life... oh yes. Grieving the loss and the wish - which both come from an "I"-perspective - opens me up to better hear what God has in store for me.

From there, I can walk anew..... until, of course *I* take charge again....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sinkin' in a Little Deeper....

I was driving home from the grocery store, and didn't even realize it was happening. The radio was playing...

"..... I'm forgiven, because you were forsaken....."

by the third line, I realize that I am "seeing" the song with equal clarity as I am hearing it. The words that I have interpreted in American Sign Language are appearing before me in the shape of hands and motions.

As it finishes, I see "You are my king" being interpreted. Of the three words, "You", "my" and "king", the "my" is the one that makes me pause. It is interpreted this time with emphasis.

I think back to this past Sunday - there was another song. The word "my" was put in before "Jesus". I interpreted it as such, and remembered back to the morning when I decided to be re-baptized.

The same feeling was stirring in my chest. If it's possible for my heart rate to slow and accelerate at the same time, it was doing that.

..."You are my king...." the song continued.

MY King. MY God. MY Father. Those words brought a tear to my eye, and I breathed deeply.

Another bit of my heart, reclaimed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Change of Routine

We have gone back and forth on the routine thing. School. No School. Plain ol' winter. Winter wonderland!

We have been inundated with more snow. Another several inches. On one hand, I am thrilled. We had so much fun sledding last week - and who KNOWS when we'll have this opportunity again! Yet, the school board is beginning to change previously scheduled "off" days, which I'm sure messes with some schedules.

The change of routine is, on one hand, enjoyable. Another day to not have to awaken early. Yet, there is some comfort in the routine.

Life is like that too. There is comfort in the day to day. In the things we know. Whether they continue to inspire, encourage and enliven us or not.

From time to time, He calls us out of our familiar routine. He is with me.

May I walk where He leads....

Monday, February 8, 2010

Being Connected...

It's so important. Where I'm connected. With whom I'm connected. The fact that I AM connected.

I don't mean the "it's who you know" connected. I mean that people know me. More than just recognizing me, they truly, deeply know ME.

It's a gift that I ran from for a number of years. Then one day, my friend Karen made a simple comment. She had noticed. She had seen me. My chameleon years were done - at least with her. As I risked sharing more and more, I allowed her to see me: my heart, my hopes, my fears, my imperfections.

I have thanked God repeatedly that she was gentle and kind. I also thank Him that she didn't let me hide. She had a keen ability to ask difficult questions, and wait patiently for an answer. When I would divert or be evasive, she would gently redirect me to the question she had asked.

Fast forward nearly 15 years, and I cannot believe my eyes. Where before there was just one, there are now many. Many who stand beside me, walk with me: desert, wilderness, mountaintop, it doesn't matter. They encourage, support and ask the difficult questions. They challenge me to grow and expect that I will do the same with them.

I am no longer alone. Isolated.

I am in community. Connected.

Thank You, thank You, thank You, God.... it has made all the difference in my world.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Proud of the Girls....

I am so, so proud of our girls. 15 young ladies, mostly second graders, with a couple of first and third graders in the mix, have done a wonderful, wonderful job!
Together they have sold over 3,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. They set a goal and have surpassed it!
It's hard to imagine - and you should see my living room now that the boxes are sorted into stacks for each girl! The dog is banished until the parents come to pick up the loot.
But, in the meantime, I am so, so proud of them!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thoughts on "Forgiveness"

"Forgiveness is about the past. Trust and respect are about the future. Forgiveness will be in the hands of others and can be given to you, but trust and respect are in your own hands...and must be earned."

~~"The Noticer" p. 120

One of the things I loved about "The Noticer" is its ability to take concepts, such as forgiveness, and explain them in very simple ways.

Simply pointing out that forgiveness is "about the past" and trust and respect are "about the future", makes it very clear why things are not instantly reconciled once an apology is accepted, and the person "forgiven".

It reminds me that I cannot "make" anyone forgive me and that ongoing work is required to regain trust and respect. It is not easy, but it is necessary.

On the flip side, in "forgiving" someone of a past action, I am not required to trust until trust has been rebuilt over time. I do not have to "forget", I simply choose not to be angry, hold the grudge, or use the offense as a weapon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

"The Noticer"

I eluded to this book yesterday, "The Noticer", by Andy Andrews.

One word: "wow".

It's a quick read - which I love, but more importantly, there are these simple concepts that have grabbed me by heart and mind, providing exactly what "Jones" does - a new perspective.

It is definitely one that I will buy a few copies to gift around. I will also find myself re-reading this copy.... with a pencil. There is SO much in there that I want to retain.

I am also smitten with the main character - Jones. He has this incredible way of speaking truth with just the right mix of humility and humor. I want that.

Pick it up... read it.

It's phenomenal!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Change of Perspective

God's timing is incomprehensibly amazing!

Monday morning, I got this "ah-ha", which is to say some information was given to me, rather than me coming up with it on my own. I was very quietly preparing for my day when the thought passed through. I was suddenly still for a moment, and then, as if nothing had happened, I continued my morning routine.

What was different, however, was the phrase that continued to run through my head - over and over again.

"Perhaps the goal is not to get THERE, but to overcome what is HERE."

It repeated again and again as I tried to connect it to something, some experience HERE that needed to be overcome. There were several that fit well - the quest for the "perfect" body, or financial independence, to name a few.

I considered the slight change of perception, and how hugely it could impact my life. No longer is my focus the long term goal, but the process - the day to day - in getting there.

I thought a little more and considered this question: "Is God glorified by me being in my "skinny jeans? " No. But He IS glorified in the process of me getting there. In overcoming the day to day, moment by moment choices and habits that keep me out of them, I must turn to, focus on and rely on God.

Lord knows if I could have done it myself, I would have.... long ago....

God's timing piece....

Monday evening, in my mailbox, was placed a book - "The Noticer" - about a man whose gift is helping shift perspectives.

More on THAT tomorrow. (It's a good one!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"February Vacation"

The Northern Girl in me is laughing hysterically.....though knowing full well the risks involved with winter weather (read: snow and ice), without "adequate" snow-removal equipment and procedures.

I think back to my childhood. Four inches of snow was a no-brainer... we'd be going to school, no questions asked. I have to also remember laying in my bed at night, hearing the snow plows circling my subdivision at least hourly.

Here, not so much. Here, we wait on the sun and warmer weather.

There it made sense. We'd typically have FEET of snow over the course of a winter - sometimes in a single storm. Here, not so much. So... from a resources standpoint, I get it. It doesn't make sense to have a fleet of plows for a single accumulating snowfall.

So, in light of the fact that the temperatures haven't rebounded as quickly as is typical, my kids (and I to some degree) are experiencing "February Vacation". It's not something we typically do here in the south... we have "Spring Break" coming up in just another few weeks.

But, I am enjoying it. It has been exactly what I have needed to catch up on a few hours of sleep, enjoy some 100% pure PLAY time with my kids, and feel like I can breathe deeply again.

Thank You, God!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


It has been an interesting semester. Each group of students is unique and have their own group personality. This group coined a phrase early on - "that ain't right...." - that has captured a little spot of my heart. Typically it's used while looking at a CT scan of the brain, that isn't quite normal... It brings a little levity to the serious nature of working and teaching in a Neuro Intensive Care Unit.

The patient population this semester has been uniquely it's own as well. As a general rule, the patients have been young - some very young. Some are the same age as my graduate students. Some days they leave feeling like they need to have the same diagnostic testing as their patients - if for no other reason than to give them some assurance of waking up neurologically intact.

Thing is.... we don't have that guarantee. We don't. Every day is a gift. Our good health is a gift.

Witnessing these patients who have sudden life-changing events brings it a little closer to home. Yet, I know that I still take it for granted. I still expect to wake up and pick up where I left off when I went to bed.

Lord, Please help me to realize what a gift I have been given - in my life and in my health. Please, please, please help me not to take it for granted

(And please, please, please help me learn that before it is taken away....)

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

So, I will share our day with you in a few pictures.

The church was closed, but we gathered - the neighbors, not the congregation - and delighted in the weather and excitment we had been given!

I am blessed beyond measure to share these days with my kids!!