Just For You

photo(3)There’s something about being up before the rest of my world awakes. Birds gather in the trees and flutter this way and that, seeming to chat about where to find the best morning snacks. I leave the warmth of my house with dogs in tow, and the chill of the winter air whips at my face. Still, I am warmed by all I experience around me, the things I’d miss in the busy-ness of the late afternoon. I notice intricate, frosty patterns on my windshield, soon to melt with the rising sun, while the usual roar of the interstate traffic is only a slight hum in the background. My dogs happily lick the moisture off the grass, leaving a winding trail of paw prints behind them. And I breathe in the chilly air, which seems fresh and alive with the newness of the day.

I love the quiet and stillness of the morning. Here, I get away from the weightiness of the day that ended hours before and will soon begin in a frenzy all over again. This is when I relax into the good that surrounds me. In this stillness, my thoughts are uncluttered and my mind moves towards God and his love for his creation.

I heard someone say God knows exactly what speaks to us and hands it to each of us in a way that we can understand. I’d never considered that before, but it makes sense when I think about what I believe about God. We are his works of art. He knows exactly the number of hairs on your head and mine (which is different before and after a shower and hair drying and all of that getting ready, so he’s really something). He is always ready for us to tell him about just everything. He has time for us to pour out our sometimes endless web of worries, fears, hurts and doubts but also listen as we gush about all the good. And he doesn’t just act like he’s listening.

So if it’s true–if he truly knows what gets to us, he speaks to one person through relationships and another through music or art. He speaks to others through written skywords, quotes, verses and a multitude of other ways at just the right time. It’s many of these things for me, but in these early morning moments, I feel his love in the stillness. And when the night breaks into day, and the sunrise is a mixture of purples and pinks mixed with blue, I choose to believe he’s saying to me and to all who marvel at the beauty of nature,

“This is just for you.”

Just For You was first published on Hope Walks In on 2.9.14.

We All Are Beautiful

snowglimpseThis is for…

those of us who are learning to be ourselves

those of us who have love to share, but the parent/ spouse/ girlfriend/ boyfriend/ baby won’t come even though we are ready

those of us who are spent from sharing all our love with everyone else and need time to just be

those of us who are dealing with the ongoing stuff of abuse or addictions and want to feel okay

those of us whose past is not something to be proud of

those of us who don’t know what is nextsnowylove

those of us whose mind or body is challenged with brokenness

those of us searching for our place in this world

those of us who want to heal from what’s holding us back

those of us who have a secret (that would change everything) but are terrified to speak it out loud

those of us who work hard and receive no thanks

those of us who don’t work hard enough and need to keep trying

those of us who make mistakes

those of us who are braver than we think

those of us who keep on wading through the hard stuff

those of us who are learning to love every inch of who we are

This is for all of us who are living.

In the chaos of brambles and thorns, we are ever breathing and growing.

This is for all of us, for we are beautiful.

snowyvines
You are loved. Happy Valentine’s Day!

We All Are Beautiful was first posted by Hope Walks In on 2.14.14.

We All Are Beautiful

snowglimpseThis is for…

those of us who are learning to be ourselves

those of us who have love to share, but the parent/ spouse/ girlfriend/ boyfriend/ baby won’t come even though we are ready

those of us who are spent from sharing all our love with everyone else and need time to just be

those of us who are dealing with the ongoing stuff of abuse or addictions and want to feel okay

those of us whose past is not something to be proud of

those of us who don’t know what is nextsnowylove

those of us whose mind or body is challenged with brokenness

those of us searching for our place in this world

those of us who want to heal from what’s holding us back

those of us who have a secret (that would change everything) but are terrified to speak it out loud

those of us who work hard and receive no thanks

those of us who don’t work hard enough and need to keep trying

those of us who make mistakes

those of us who are braver than we think

those of us who keep on wading through the hard stuff

those of us who are learning to love every inch of who we are

This is for all of us who are living.

In the chaos of brambles and thorns, we are ever breathing and growing.

This is for all of us, for we are beautiful.

snowyvines
You are loved. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Just For You

photo(3)There’s something about being up before the rest of my world awakes. Birds gather in the trees and flutter this way and that, seeming to chat about where to find the best morning snacks. I leave the warmth of my house with dogs in tow, and the chill of the winter air whips at my face. Still, I am warmed by all I experience around me, the things I’d miss in the busy-ness of the late afternoon. I notice intricate, frosty patterns on my windshield, soon to melt with the rising sun, while the usual roar of the interstate traffic is only a slight hum in the background. My dogs happily lick the moisture off the grass, leaving a winding trail of paw prints behind them. And I breathe in the chilly air, which seems fresh and alive with the newness of the day.

I love the quiet and stillness of the morning. Here, I get away from the weightiness of the day that ended hours before and will soon begin in a frenzy all over again. This is when I relax into the good that surrounds me. In this stillness, my thoughts are uncluttered and my mind moves towards God and his love for his creation.

I heard someone say God knows exactly what speaks to us and hands it to each of us in a way that means something. I’d never considered that before, but it makes sense when I think about what I believe about God. We are his works of art. He knows exactly the number of hairs on your head and mine (which is different before and after a shower and hair drying and all of that getting ready, so he’s really something). He is always ready for us to tell him about just everything. He has time for us to pour out my sometimes endless web of worries, fears, hurts and doubts but also listen as we gush about all the good. And he doesn’t just act like he’s listening.

So if it’s true–if he truly knows what gets to us, he speaks to one person through relationships and another through music or art. He speaks to others through written skywords, quotes, verses and a multitude of other ways at just the right time. It’s many of these things for me, but in these early morning moments, I feel his love in the stillness. And when the night breaks into day, and the sunrise is a mixture of purples and pinks mixed with blue, I choose to believe he’s saying to me and to all who marvel at the beauty of nature,

“This is just for you.”

Welcome To My Table

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Pub in Kinsale, Ireland

Imagine walking into a cozy house where those inside are waiting just for you. You are welcomed with smiling faces and hugs all around. You’re here! On the table, there are steaming bowls of soup and plates overflowing with warm bread dripping with honey butter. Sounds of laughter and buzzing conversation fill the air.

In this space, there is time and a place for everyone. Time to talk while others eagerly listen and honestly but lovingly respond. There are stories of exciting adventures intertwined with difficult ones, told with tears streaming. Here, it’s okay to let tears fall. This is a place of safety, where no one is perfect but accepted despite flaws that come with being part of humanity.

Time seems to pass without anyone giving a second thought because here there is connection. And that is what we want, what I have always wanted, to connect and absolutely know I matter.

cropped-img_2186.jpg
Greece

I have always enjoyed cozy gatherings with those I love surrounding me. There is just something about sitting with knees pulled up to chin and shoes off in the midst of deep conversation. It’s like being wrapped up in a warm blanket and engrossed in a book, oblivious to everything around. Whether it is eating with loved ones, playing games, working a puzzle or reading next to someone else reading, I am in my element. Introverts like me love that.

I am drawn to cozy spaces that whisper, Come. Relax. Stay. It’s no wonder, then, I have pictures like this from trips I have taken over the years. Many of them, I settled into for a while. Others, I passed by. feeling I missed out terribly on something precious.

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Dingle, Ireland

This is what I’d like this space to be. Precious. Read my stories, and share yours if and when you are comfortable. Occasionally, there might be a recipe or quote to share, but mostly, there will be stories of adventure–> life, forgiveness, growth, stories that have a glimmer of hope even in times of pain or desperation. I haven’t always done this well. Things have been tough. Life is a messy adventure, after all, and it’s never too late.

So, here, you matter in the midst of this messy adventure. You are welcome to my table.

Come. Relax. Stay.

Cutting Back and Clearing Out

Behind the fence that encloses our backyard is a bit of forgotten forest-looking land that also happens to be our property. When we moved here, we worked for days to try to clear some of the vines that had not been touched for who knows how long. It was an exhausting job those days, and through the years we deemed it pointless to keep working on it. What was removed always seemed to come back with a vengeance.

A neighbor recently shared that this is a Wisteria invasion, and it is killing our trees. Wisteria is the sneakiest of sneaks. Really. In the spring there are pretty purple blooms that smell wonderful. But then velvety green pods pop open, tossing the poisonous seeds everywhere (last year we could literally hear the tap-tap-tapping as they fell onto our roof, our back door and our tiny patio. The noise drove our dogs crazy. They’d go to the window and look around, ears perked up on high-alert, but they never found the culprit.

The sneaky, climbing Wisteria vines grow and spread quickly, wrapping around anything and everything stationary in its path. Before long, the vines grow fat and squeeze the life out of trees, I guess, a lot like a boa constrictor does its work. Several smaller trees have actually fallen over because of it, and some of the tallest ones look as if they are leaning over but are actually being held up by the vines.

To get rid of Wisteria, you have to cut as closely to the ground as possible and practice maintaining it for years or the entire growth process begins again.

This made me think about those seemingly positive things we do that eventually make us feel trapped in one place with the life squeezed out of us. Are we living purposeful lives that we love or sacrificing ourselves to make everyone else happy?

Working in a helping profession, I strive to take care of me every, single day. A lot of times, I feel like I am less than stellar at it–I don’t work out as much I as should, I don’t keep my house as clean as I’d like, I can’t get to bed on time, blah-dee, blah, blah, blah.

However, I AM starting my day everyday thanking God for all He’s blessed me with and doing in my life. And that makes all the difference. This is my daily maintenance. Whether or not I mark off all the bullets on my to-do list, this time helps me to stay focused on the truly important things. I notice more peace and less of a desire to control everything and everyone around me.

And the Wisteria? Well, the work began over the weekend, and it just might take (what feels like) a lifetime of cutting back and clearing out to make room for new growth.

Vacation!

I love getting out the suitcase and heading just about anywhere! Well, all over the past few weeks I’ve been to the beach, visited out of state family and had friends stay for weekend fun.

While I love having time off from anything, I always find myself itching to get back into my own real-life routine. It’s like leaving the exhilaration of being somewhere else for my own kind of comfy comfort. So, I’m back, and I’m thankful you are, too!

Here are some pics from some of our adventures:

Yes, happy birhtday, America!

Eat More Beef at Brookgreen Gardens (we call it Bacon!)

View from Waterfront Park in Charleston, SC

Funny how riding this was my idea. NOT funny how I hated every minute of it despite the air conditioning.

How many people can you fit on a sailboat?

Brookgreen Gardens

I love this! No yard. A few flowers… and a dog door with a window?

Huntington Beach, SC