On my list?
.....a new heart rate monitor so I can hit the gym hard when the Holidays are over...
Hope you're having a WONDERFUL Holiday season!
On my list?
.....a new heart rate monitor so I can hit the gym hard when the Holidays are over...
Hope you're having a WONDERFUL Holiday season!
December 9, 2006
So....I gave in.... When Uncle Bob and Aunt Bonnie were here a few weeks ago, and we took them to the airport....before they left they gave us some bucks and said..."do something fun with the kids...." So, one of the things that the kids have always asked is if THEY could pick the decorations that go on the tree....
Max for SURE wanted to have garland....and Malary wanted fun & colorful lights.......you must understand....I am a WHITE LIGHT kind of a girl....I always have been.......but, you know what? This tree is fun.....and it is growing on me.....even more of taboo for me, is this tinsely, fluffy garland.....I always hated it....always SWORE that I would never, EVER have it in my house or on my tree.....but, you gotta know Max.....
and how much thought he puts into things.....and how his heart gets REALLY set on things.....REALLY set.....and how much it meant to him to be able to go to the store and pick out fluffy garland...finally
and wild and crazy little Mitchell loved this star...it's a lot like him, sparkly and fun.......seriously...I SERIOUSLY have this star on my tree....and guess what, it makes us all happy!!! I love that I let the kids pick everything this year.....kids have a way of bringing fun and blissful-heartness to stuff....I NEVER would have chosen this stuff......but, every time I look at this tree, it makes me happy.....
....and everyone else around here too.
SO....I know how it is, believe me...wanting the whole holiday thing to have some kind of Norman Rockwell perfection....but GIVE IN A LITTLE!!! You will be so glad that you did!!!
Juggle the Holidays with Joy & Happiness.....and let the kids do some of the juggling too!
Lots of Love,
PS...Brock set up the tree for me....an adventure that neither of us will ever forget...and Madi? Well, this whole tree is 100% Madi!
Life is Tree...in all of it's forms
I know today is "taking care of ourselves"....I wish that we didn't forget so often how important it is to do that. And, what that means is different for everyone...for me, one of the most important ways that I need to do that is to allow myself to stop and take life in....to literally STOP....today, I was driving past the river on the way to work...thinking about how THANKFUL I am right now that life is taking on some normalcy...
....and that I am finally having the desire to return to things that I have had to abandon to take care of things that were emergencies....years of this....of taking care of my husband and my business and my fair share of disasters....and, today, I was the ART MOM.....and I wish I could tell you how normal that made me feel....and how much it did for me....little things, you know?
....and how I pulled my camera out and took some photos of the sheer joy of the normalcy of it all....and how....I stopped on my way to work when I saw the river and the frost sparking on all of the trees growing alongside the river...I pulled over and walked down to the river and snapped photos....it's making my eyes tear up to write this....for me....that was an ultimate way of taking care of myself....of letting myself STOP, even though I 'should' have driven right past and gotten into the office sooner....I let myself pull over and walk through the crispy leaves, and down to the water....and listen to the current and BE. BE ALIVE in this world and take it in....and take some photos JUST FOR ME. It was a very big moment that I am very proud of....that I will be building on from today forward....getting some 'normalcy' back in our life after so many years of so much pain and confusion and survival.....life is meant to be lived with joy...........and it's really in letting yourself do the little things.....and because of some really huge miracles in the last few months that I'm sure I'll tell you about.....we are starting to live a NORMAL life....even a joyful one.....
and.....to do this, it's about surrendering, finding the joy in the smallest things....
.....and, being OK with life's changes.....
which is what today's TREE analogy is about....
Life is a Tree
Life is a Tree…and every tree has a story….this one is long, and really it’s a kind of love story….I promise it will be worth it….
This story has been a hard one to choke out….I haven’t wanted to confront it…but it’s really the reason I started writing about trees a few weeks back. Every time I have sat down to try to write this out, my whole heart begs me to stop….but….here goes….
Out back behind the house in our old red barn, there’s an enormous stack of rough cut walnut boards….they have been sitting in the barn for over 2 years, ‘curing’, waiting to be planed and sanded and built into a dining room table and a drawing desk and a big, thick front door.......
….however, they used to be a tree that is now a very sad stump in our side yard….you can see it when you drive up the lane to our house…and, removing this stump will surely leave an enormous hole that will have to be filled-in (though it’s got to be done one of these days) because this tree was old old old….and tall…..and beautiful…and perfect….it was one of the oldest trees on our 100 Year old farm. We used to pick bushels and bushels of fallen walnuts off of the ground every Fall, my children hated it and loved it…every few days we’d have to park the tractor next to this giant tree and fill the bucket up…it was hours and hours of fun family time in the crisp Fall weather….
You have to understand that I wanted a house with big trees…that was my one big request…because, you just CAN’T buy trees that are 50 and 100 years old…for any amount of money…they have to come with time…they are rare and they are wonderful and I didn’t care where I had to live as long as I got to have big trees….the big trees I wanted just happened to be surrounding a beautiful 100 year old stone house that I was also in love with….all of the things I prayed and wished and hoped for all ended up on this farm……….and in all of my late 20’s wisdom….I was certain that life would always be this perfect…that the trees would continue to tower, that my home would always be filled with perfect memories and that our family would live happily-ever-after….but, really….would that make a very interesting story?
I remember the summer that I noticed that the leaves growing on the very top center branches of the old Walnut tree were starting to wilt. It seemed like there was something happening right in the middle branch….I thought maybe some bugs had gotten to it…then, every week, the circle of wilting leaves spread, outward, from the center….
Then…in the middle of that summer, my husband (who I also prayed and wished and hoped for all of my life….and wanted EVEN MORE than big trees) had a horrible sports accident, resulting in a traumatic brain injury….and our life was immediately turned upside down….
….and as cruel as life can get…my tree was dying, too.
Every day I would drive home and looki at my tree, towering at least twice as high as my house, watching it fade and wilt branch after branch, the sickness spreading a few feet wide…until it was 4 feet wide, then 8 feet wide, then 12 feet wide….all summer, week after week, this poor tree was struggling. and dying from the inside out…I wanted to fix it, I wanted to find the thing that would make it better….i wanted the branches and leaves to stop dying…I made phonecalls and talked to tree doctors and called my mom who has the greenest thumb I’ve ever known of…I researched the problem and then finally called Genevieve….my husband’s great aunt, and the sage old botanical soul who I knew would know the answers…and, would understood my devastation….
She told me there was nothing that I could do because a tree virus (yes, it’s true) was killing all of the walnut trees in town….it came around every 50 years or so…..she’d just lost 3 walnut trees herself….it is just the cycle of life……
I would not call myself a tree-hugger…..but, this tree was just such a close resemblance to everything that was happening with my husband. It was a bitter irony during that time in our life….my husband was really not doing well….would go through all sorts of different phases….and I was a mess…..and I would cry and not be able to pull myself together and friends would ask what was wrong and I would say “my tree is dying….”
I would cry whenever I drove up to the house and looked at it…sometimes I would sob….I would just put my head down on the steering wheel and sob….and then I would go inside, pull myself together before I had to go upstairs and take care of my husband’s shell, lying in bed for almost a year………when he was awake he was dead inside….he was different, I was certain that nothing would ever be the same again…ever. But, is it really ever even possible?
….and I don’t think anyone really understood how difficult it was, or why it was so devastating to me when that tree died….in fact, I don’t know that I understand why I reacted the way that I did….like a real person had died…because really, it was easier to admit that I was losing my tree than that I was losing my husband and the love that I’d prayed for all of my life and enjoyed for 14 years before that #*#&^#% accident took him from me and from us and from the world….took the life I planned for us and thought we would always have….shook things up and made them scary….
Doesn’t it just feel cruel sometimes that you can’t just pick ONE thing to stop in time? That everything has a life cycle….that change must happen….that the world keeps going and going whether we are ready or not? That this walnut tree had dropped hundreds of thousands of walnuts throughout its time and that its seeds were already moving and growing into new trees that would make walnuts of their own…………..
……and that the whole, entire tree was done, after almost a hundred years of shading this place….without a single warning, it didn’t tell us the year before that we better enjoy it while it was still around….…..it just died.
And, the next year, when my husband was out of bed and starting to function again……he called some timber guys, and took out the chainsaw, and they all cut the tree down. It was a foggy, surreal day……..and they all talked about what beautiful, perfect wood it was, how straight and perfect that tree had grown, what beautiful furniture it would make….
I was still raw from a whole year of caring for him….he was just coming alive….so different and healing…..he saw me standing over in the yard, crying….while they all cut down that tree with such a disturbing and insulting lack of emotion…..DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND HOW LONG IT TAKES TO GROW A TREE THAT BIG? DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT IT CAN NEVER BE REPLACED??? DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH I LOVE THAT TREE????
…..and my husband came over to try to comfort me…..and he said….’someday I will build you a whole house of furniture with this tree….you’ll be able to enjoy it every day…just in a different way, it’s going to take on a different shape….this tree will live on forever….”
Then some guys came out and cut the big tree into thick, beautiful boards…….and, there’s a zillion of them stacked out in our barn….and someday they will be ready, after their ‘curing’ time.
…..and whether I accept it or not, life will grow up right around that stump in my yard……if we don’t pull it out, it will be overgrown with new life someday….nothing waits….and new walnut trees grow every day, that was not the only one…….and the world enjoys their shade and their fruit and all of the things that will be made from their wood when the time comes…….but not a single tree will be alive in the ground forever.
….through nature, Heaven, God….there’s a plan….for birth and life and time to go….then new growth….nature even cleans out the forest with fires….completely gets rid of ‘dead wood’ and the next Spring, through black and burnt trees, a whole new forest grows….it just does…..it just does. You don’t even have to do anything…it just grows when it’s time….right through the rubble. That’s how a tree’s life is…that’s how OUR life is….
So……the lesson I learned from a dying tree…..from change that I did expect, from change that I did not want to accept….was that my tree will someday be a table for my family to eat and talk and play around………and it could never be a table if it was still a tree….and now it’s time for it to be a table…..
Whatever your fallen tree is…I hope you can see the table that is within it….and look back and remember the shade it once brought, but just to be thankful, not to be sad….there’s a million other places to find shade.
…..I don’t know if what I wanted to say, what I meant, really came across….this is still a hard one for me…the stump is still in my yard…..and the wood is still curing….and my tree is gone………..I am gonna start looking forward to that table and all of the life that we’ll be living around it…..
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, that you're making big plans for the rest of the holidays... and that you really took the chance to dig deep and found the millions of big and little things to be thankful for.
Lots of Love
If you can't read it...it says
"CREATIVITY is seeing something new when you look at something old...it is the heart of civalization and is the driving force of revolution"
Love that...found it on a VERY OLD gellyroll.com page....remember those pens? anyway, they used ot have this great contest for teenagers....here's one more then we'll head off to Courtney's ARTISTS WAY entry....which she sent me long ago and I never posted....so, it's not her fault..it's mine...love ya Courtney!
THE ARTIST'S WAY installment
Chapter One –
Recovering a Sense of Safety
First of all, I must begin with an apology. Last week was especially busy for me as I put on a workshop for sixty girls ages 8-12. We had them overnight at a hotel, so there were lots of details to work out, and when I called them Monday, they had no record of my reservation. It was a LONG week. But thankfully, it’s through, and things are returning to normal! :) I do regret though, that I wasn’t able to write about “The Artist’s Way” last week... let’s catch up now!
This chapter is covered with notes in my book. Notes in the margins, underlined sentences – lots of things circled. It just goes to show you that I am searching for that sense of safety. Somewhere along the way, it was snatched from me – taken like a pickpocket lifts your wallet unaware. The idea that I have allowed such a violation disturbs me... and I hope if you are in the same position, it disturbs you too... enough to demand to have what is yours returned to you.
Let’s start out with the idea of shadow artists. Well, until I read this chapter I had no idea that this is exactly what I’ve become. As an artist, I follow my husband’s lead – a man who is, by all accounts, a creative genius. (And I’m not just saying that... it’s been a source of conflict on more than one occasion). I think I turned to scrapbooking when I realized he could do everything I could do – writing, directing, acting... he does it all, plus he writes music and sings. For some reason, even though he is truly the most supportive person in my life, I allowed myself to believe he didn’t need me. My ideas paled in comparison. I was only good when working with him – not by myself.
So I fell into the safe position – the fall back position – the second hand man. The shadow artist. Think about it for a second... do you shadow other artists? Do you flock to their side as they pronounce their creativity, all the while having a healthy dose of genius of your own? Do you, as Cameron mentions, view the arts as the creative fluff around the edges of real life? Or is it air to you? Is the only thing you are lacking boldness? Audacity? Belief in yourself? Are you hiding behind safer venues because you are afraid to put yourself out there? Are you pursuing arts that are easier to ‘break into’ because you don’t want to submit that novel for publication or go to that big audition or put the word “Photographer” behind your name? What is it you are hiding behind?? And why?
I’ll be honest. I am a shadow artist. I’ve done all sorts of writing, but in my heart, there are books and screenplays and theatre scripts waiting to be penned.
The resounding theme of this chapter is that artists need to be nurtured. If we are harshly criticizing ourselves, then we aren’t nurturing our inner artist. Think of it this way... if a child brought you a painting, would you go on a rant about how ugly their color choice was or how out of balance it was? Or would you gently make a few suggestions for improvement, careful to point out the positive aspects of the painting as well?
For me, I’ve allowed the words of teachers past to resonate louder than any other voice in my head. In high school, in a twisted misunderstanding during a rehearsal, my often hot-headed director caught me explaining something to another student when I was supposed to be singing. He walked straight over to me, got right in my face and shouted over the music: “You know, for an actress, you sure don’t act very well!”
I was devastated. By that time, I was set on acting as a career, and in my mind, it was so unfair for him to judge me so harshly when I hadn’t been acting at the time he’d looked over. I was answering a question for a fellow classmate. He never apologized. I never recovered.
In college, I wasn’t cast in a Shakespearean play, but in order to improve, I simply wanted to know what I could’ve done better. I went to see my professor who was also the director. He explained I simply didn’t fit any of the roles. I understood, but when he went on to say that I’m pretty much JUST a serious actress – that I can’t really do comedy, my heart sank. He was placing limitations on me that I’ve allowed to carry weight for all these years. Incidentally, all I’ve done since college – well, mostly what I’ve done – has been comedy... I set out to prove him wrong. Still, his words are there, in the back of my mind, reminding me of what I can and can’t do.
Do you have these sorts of sentences floating around in your head? What are they? Write them down. Write them all down, then tear up that paper and throw it away. You are NOT what people SAY you are. You are who you are – and who God created you to be. People’s words don’t get to determine your future or your character or your self-worth....unless you let them.
Here is the bottom line for Chapter One: Allow yourself to make mistakes. Allow yourself to play. PLAY HARD. Don’t try, just do it. Don’t judge your work. Just create.
I’ve been falling behind on morning pages. I’m recommitting to them here and now. I know they will release so much that has been blocked. Also, pay attention to the questions at the end of the chapter. Doing these throughout the week is such a great exercise... you’ll stumble upon memories you didn’t know you had.
How is everyone else doing? I hope well! :) I’d love to hear an update!
Thanks my dear friend! I am just getting back to my creative old self....I am so excited...I can't wait to let myself come up with whatever crazy beauty comes out....thanks for the inspiration
Because it's been ever so long since I've been able to create anything just for fun......just finished up this fun and funky Christmas tree made all from CBX paper and stickers (plus a candy cane and some ribbon)!.....we're going to do this project tomorrow in my daughter's 7th grade class....
Hello Hello Hello!
First...wanted to tell you that the SIX winners from our little thankfulness game a few days ago will be recieving their presents in the mail very soon! We are sending them today....that was so much fun that we are going to do something like it again very soon (a gorgeous mini-album kit...).....
Second....did you all get your Instant Interviews books in the mail yet? (those first 100 who signed up?) If not, please email email@example.com and tell him...with your address, etc.
I just can't hold this in any longer....but, I also can't tell anyone exactly what I am talking about...so, today, I am going to introduce to you PROJECT X (obviously, not the real name...) because I WANT TO TALK ABOUT HOW EXCITED I AM ABOUT IT.....so, from now on...
When I talk about PROJECT X, just know that it is something SO HUGE, SO WONDERFUL and SO EXCITING that it will blow your mind.......AND....all of you are going to be the first to know about it and to have the opportunity to 'participate'........it's something you have always wanted, always needed & it it will truly CHANGE THE WORLD and make your life a lot more fun, too....and, who doesn't want to change the world for the better?
....if you're gonna be alive and going through the day, you better make it meaningful, right?
I am so excited about this..........and, it's a milllion of my dreams, clear back from my little girl-hood, coming true......I want to talk about it in the upcoming future because I know that YOU all have big dreams.....and I want us to help each other to know that anything is possible....to help each other make all of our biggest dreams come true.
Believe me...I wish I could tell you more.....but....it's just too important that we don't reveal it until it is time...........and believe me, it will be worth the wait....it's been worth the kajillions of years (it seems like) that I have waited and worked for it (and lots of other phenomenal people, too).
I will write more later...just wanted to give you a little update....
Have a beautiful day!
Lots of Love
December 4, 2006
Goals that Matter
Life sure requires a lot of trust....a lot....just to get through the day...don't you think?
I think things can sneak up on you and put you into funks that you think you'll never be able to get out of....I KNOW that those funks can make you think that the best parts of your life are over....when, really, they are necessary.....and, not really funks at all......it's all so much like the winter-time DORMANCY of a tree.
This is a bit long....but I hope you'll read through it....and put it into the analogy of your own life....
I asked Cheryl Boyer....who is just about to be a doctor of horticulture...about dormancy.
I have always wondered about what happens in the winter when everything looks and seems dead....when everything is covered in sparkly frost, but not leaves....when it's easy to think that life has stopped.....when it's really not that at all.....think of this in terms of phases and stages in your OWN life...maybe you are in a winter, or in a dormant state RIGHT NOW....don't be discouraged...be EXCITED!
Cheryl....why is dormancy necessary and GOOD?
To your question: Dormancy is a period of rest and inactivity (weekends!—I always need the recharge). The tree is not dead; it's just awaiting spring. Dormancy is also survival.
First, it's important to note that not all trees go dormant. Evergreen trees choose to maintain their leaves throughout the cold winter which allows them to continue to make food (photosynthesize). They just don't add much growth.
Deciduous trees make a more costly choice. They drop all of that surface area used to make food and have to regenerate it all again in the spring. So much more to manufacture! During dormancy, the plant moves all of its stored energy underground to the roots (that's why you can get maple syrup in the spring—all the energy (sap) is moving back up into the tree to start leaf and bud production).
Both types of trees slow their growth during dormancy. They still continue to grow roots, respire (breathe) and take in water and nutrients, just at a much reduced rate.
Trees in fall are in a state of serious change and reorganization. They are storing up food and energy reserves which are needed for next spring's growth. Forcing new growth occupies the plant and delays the energy-storage process. If they do produce new growth late in the fall (an unusually warm period, for example) when the winter comes they are more prone to injury because the plant is expecting spring instead of a harsh winter. However, when the weather begins to warm for good and the days get longer in the spring, nothing can stop that flush of new growth!
All of this is triggered physiologically by simple things that affect us as well like day-length, height of the sun in the sky, temperature, and presence of water/nutrients.
Many plants actually have a cold/dormancy requirement to set fruit or flower the next year. They have to have that resting period in order to continue to live and reproduce.
Trees go through so many changes in a year, but each change makes it stronger and bigger and more alive than ever before. If it never experienced those changes its growth would eventually become stagnant and the plant would die. We need change, too. We may be sad to see the leaves go in the fall or a part of our life change, but excitement and joy is just around the corner when new growth comes in the spring.
Have I answered your question? Please let me know if you need clarification. I have a tendency to give more information than is needed when it comes to plants. Also, send me new questions if you have them—I am more than happy to help!
I love that....LOVE IT! Clears up so much for me....hope it does for you, too.
I have to admit that so much of me has been dormant....and really, it's been for the sake of survival. I have NEEDED to rest and revitalize and let myself grow.....
....but, there have been days when I thought that dormant meant "dead"....that because my leaves were falling off....and I was bare and cold....that my best days were over.....
It's just a natural part of life....seasons....essential, necessary, life-saving winters must come, we must go through a state of dormancy.
And, I have realized that this is the BEST time to dream....to make your BIGGEST plans for Spring....to look forward to being bigger, and stronger and more majestic than ever....to use that dormancy for what it is intended for.....and have the patience and faith to know that Spring is on it's way.....
......enjoy your winters.....have faith in what will come of them.
And....I hope I get a chance today to photograph and show you what I did this weekend....a big, huge DREAM BOARD.....photos, magazine clippings & sketches of my biggest dreams....so that I can look at them....I have done it MANY times before....and that kind of visualizational planning is the most effective vehicle to getting to where your heart is begging you to go that I have ever used.....it's a perfect DORMANCY activity....
A bunch of us got together over the weekend, kids and all....and made boards of what our heart is desiring...what our individual 'sweet spot' is calling out to us......it was a beautiful sight to see what each individual put on their dream board......because just like every different kind of seed has a different blueprint for what it is to grow into.....every one of us has different kinds of things calling to us....each of us will look different when spring comes...we'll have different blossoms and different shapes and a different kind of growing season.....
...and, that's just as it should be. It's beautiful, really....what a boring world it would be if we were all the same....if the world was covered in maple trees only......
Make the most of it....how you spend your winter is your choice!
Dream BIG dreams....
Lots of Love,
Stay tuned for a way to win some beautiful prizes....
Ok....so, I didn't make it to my goal of writing every day for a week....but I have had a VERY BLESSED Thanksgiving week....and, yes, I know it was a week ago....but......ok, no excuses.....I am back.....things are pretty wild and crazy around here....awesome things happening at Chatterbox, lots of transition....my kids have been home sick, so...you know how that goes.....
And, I have to finish my tree analogies, because I haven't gotten to the best ones yet....and I have to finish my marriage book....because there's still several chapters....so...stayed tuned....
BUT....LET'S PLAY A GAME!!!
....and, THERE WILL BE PRIZES..........I am going to ask you.....
"What are you most thankful for this year? and...
What are you most looking forward to next year?"
and the people who post an answer.....#5, #24, #61, #83, #99 & #110.....they will all get sent a little Chatterbox goodie bag full of beautiful, fun & very useful things.......
SO...go ahead and post...please please please! While I get my writings together!
That my husband is, every day, coming back into every single part of our lives after 2 1/2 years of brain injury recovery....what a blessing!
and....for a very special family from Arkansas who I'll be telling you all about on another day.....
A really great vacation with my family.....don't know where yet....doesn't really matter.....I just want to go somewhere and forget the world and hang-out with my family....and, we're gonna do it.....
Let's hear your answers!
Lots of Love,
November 15, 2006
It all starts here....
Think of the power in this one little seed.......to start a whole tree that will grow thousands of apples in it's lifetime, each apple holding within it hundreds more trees.....
think of the power in this tiny little seed.
...I'll be back later to tell you what I think.
Ok...I am back...I am sitting in bed right now with my comfy blanket and my sweet hubby thinking about this whole thing...and, I have been thinking about it all day....all year, in fact....figuring out the miracle of an apple seed has been the story of my life for quite some time..... The miracle of seeds is really the specific blueprint that is in each seed....every seed has a specific plan built in to it before it ever starts to grow into whatever it is destined to grow into.....
......and, many a girl (including me) has spent hours and days and years trying to be an apple tree or an almond tree or a pine tree or a palm tree.........when she started out as an acorn.....and, IF ONLY she would figure it out, and then embrace it.......she could understand, enjoy and thrive at being a beautiful, strong, enduring oak tree, and she would bless so many and affect so much if she stopped wasting time trying to be something else....if she'd focus on growing into the blueprint in that acorn.....and if a girl who started out as an apple seed begs, pleads, studies & pays-for all sorts of lotions, potions and techniques to become an oak tree......she'll just spend her whole life frustrated AND waste a whole lot of beautiful apples, too.
WHY do we do this to ourselves?
Rhonda read some lines to me over the phone, from a great book...a month or so ago.....about finding your 'sweet spot'....and....what she read turned a belief that I've always had absolutely upside down....you see, I REALLY used to believe that you can choose whatever you want to be, however you want to be, whatever you want to do.....and then, if you work really hard, and stay really determined.... you can just go and do it......and be really phenomenal at it....BUT, through lots of trying and failing and disappointingly succeeding and even going on auto-pilot....it all became clear to me (I'll show you this book in a minute) the book says...."You can not be anything you want to be...but you can be everything God wants you to be..."
really. I mean, let's be honest....really. It's true.
I'm going to quote some more great stuff out of this book.....this is good stuff. This is the kind of stuff that makes you want to know FOR SURE what kind of seeds are planted in you, what kind of seed you are......what is YOUR blueprint.....but, we are people, we are God's children....so, we aren't just an oak tree that grows into other oak trees....we are each a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.....there will never be another one created like YOU...or ME....I am the only me, ever.....YOU are the ONLY you, ever.
"The Author of the human drama entrusted your part to you alone. Live your life, or it won't be lived. We need you to be you.
YOU need to be you.
You can't be your hero, your parent, or your big brother. You might imitate their golf swing or hair style, but you can't be them. You can only be you. All you have to give is what you've been given to give. Concentrate on who you are and what you have. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."
"IF YOU AREN'T YOU, WE DON'T GET YOU...THE WORLD MISSES OUT."
and the back of the book says...
"God made only ONE version of you. He custom designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment."
These are things that I believe...I KNOW this is true....I know it because I have been all over the place...near and far from where I am destined to be....near and far from my one-of-a-kind assignment...and, I've been around people who are THERE, and there is nothing like it in the whole world...nothing more exhilirating and freeing and beautiful than someone who knows, accepts and goes 100% into the custom-designed blueprint for WHO they really are........
...and the cool part is finding out that it's the stuff that makes you happiest, the stuff you are very best at, the stuff that makes your heart sing....the stuff that makes you "look at the sky and say...'I was born to do this'" Problem is.....too many of us feel guilty when we're doing things that make us this happy....when really, TRULY, what God wants most for us is that kind of happiness....that's why He made us this way, that's why He put those deepest desires into us.....to be creative, to express ourselves, to read about and study certain things, to help in ways that only we can....they are different for each one of us, and we really need to listen.
So...here's another great book.
"Cure For the Common Life" by Max Lucado
You will be so glad that you took the time to get this book and to read it.....it's good stuff...and I'm so glad that Mr. Lucado knows who he is enough to share his gifts....that's what it's all about....we need each other to get through life.....and we all have a different job to make it happen....and they're all so important......
Be exactly who you are....and be even more of that tomorrow......
You are just right.....
Lots of Love
November 14, 2006
I spent an entire day last year, just about exactly one year ago, digging holes in the ground with my children and planting bulbs that would not rise through the ground until 5 or 6 months later....and, we waited and waited.....and one day little spikes of spring-flower leaves popped through the hard, cold ground...and every day my children went to check the progress...an inch or so at a time....then closed buds appeared......it was a long process....until finally the flowers were there......and every day for a week or so we stopped with every passing and inspected each and every flower...every one of my children...from 4 to 15 were amazed at the miracle.....that we could put something into the ground that looked like an onion and it would do exactly what it was destined to do, underneath the snow and the dirt and the dark.......and all of these beautiful flowers just made their way up to the light.
....then they started drooping after not too long....and they were done...........
....and really, it was sort of shocking and maybe a smidge devastating to all of us how quickly they were gone. I promised my children that they would be back next Spring, and we could do it all over again.
I remember that particular day, looking out the window last Spring, at all of the trees.....the stunning pink blossoms that blanketed our antique Hawthorne trees were starting to fall, like a pink blizzard with just a little breeze....those masses of blossoms showed-up one day, in all of their glory....and then they were gone.
Because of the place that my life was in....it made me angry.....really. It is silly....but I felt a deep resentment that so many things in life don't wait for us to be ready, or for us to FEEL ready (because often we find out later that we were absolutely ready)....I wanted to run outside with a bottle of super-glue and pick every one of those blossoms off of the ground and the road and the fence posts and the surrounding shrubs....and glue them back on. That's what my whole life felt like....like this out-of-control shedding......and what if I would have run to the tree, sobbing through the picking-up of every single blossom, while 100 more blossoms fell with each one that I tried to glue back on? And I could scream and yell at the sky as much as I wanted to...."WHY IS LIFE SO CRUEL? I AM NOT READY FOR THIS!".....but it wouldn't change the course of life....the plan...and even if I was successful during a windless hour, I would come back the next day and find that the new growth underneath the glued-on blossoms pushed them back off, anyway.
So...I could sit in the pile of fallen blossoms and cry and mourn and curse the process.....all the while the blossoms are still not waiting to disentigrate into the ground to nourish it for the next part of the plan.....and the new leaves on the tree are not waiting to grow....the entire tree is not waiting to grow....it just is. It is supposed to......
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower; But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.
Funny enough, I love when the seasons change....I hope for it, I wish for it....there are just parts that are uncomfortable and sad....and scary. When I am comfortable because I've worked so hard for my green leaves to turn a beautiful shade of scarlet (and let's be honest about WHO really makes those changes within us....a tree does not get to decide when her leaves change or what color they will be....but God put that within her).....when I am standing in the beauty of that season, then suddenly I start losing that part of myself, leaf by leaf.....exposing just the branches...........man, it is scary.....and painful.....and I almost always start out by getting stuck in that moment....forgetting that I will have my blossoms back soon....then my leaves, then I get to be a pretty red tree again next year....for a while....
Enjoying (or at least Accepting) every process.......
No matter how much we fight some things, they are going to happen.....the only thing that we can change is our attitude towards inevitable things.....our skin is going to start to sag...we are going to lose people in our lives....the winds of betrayal or sickness or disaster might make our leaves blow off faster than we would like....but, we can not change that...........we CAN stand strong, firm and steadfast through every season....we CAN nourish our roots, EVERY season.....we can reach our branches toward the sky, whether they are covered with blossoms, leaves or FRUIT (another entire conversation).....or whether our branches are bare.......
....and I'll close with what Dr. Cheryl said yesterday about what exactly it IS that makes trees stand upright......
"Actually, most trees do not have deep carrot-like roots. Generally the roots are found in the top 3 feet of soil and 80-90% are in the top foot of soil. Instead, trees roots go all around, like a pancake, extending 2-3 times beyond the canopy of the tree. In that way the tree depends on other trees, shrubs and grass with similar root systems to keep it standing upright. Think of forests...the Redwood Forest in California. Do you think that one of those trees could stand on its own and be that tall and that big somewhere else? No. The other trees--a support system--keep each tree standing tall and proud. Those trees couldn't grow tall and wide on their own just like we can't make it in life on our own. We need each other. We need to intertwine our root systems to become strong and resilient to the winds of life."
Have a beautiful day......no matter what the weather!
Lots of Love
.....tomorrow we'll talk about some tree miracles!