Silence – Part II

August 14, 2013 036

In Part I, I announced My One Word, Silence, for 2014, and the benefits I have found through my conversion to one word rather than a list of resolutions.  Following is a list of how one word can help shape my character and draw me nearer to God if practiced diligently, keeping in mind it’s about progress, not perfection.  And to think this list can happen from just one word. 🙂

1.)  When I feel anger toward someone for their words or actions, whether they were intentional or not, remaining silent until I’ve had time to process and bring it before God will prevent me from spouting off with a comment I will likely regret later.  And staying silent, not even so much as to comment under my breath to myself in the name of venting, will keep my thoughts clear. I believe that our thoughts become words, so if I say something unkind in a moment of emotion, whether to someone else or to myself, I’m allowing my thoughts to travel that path.  Stopping a negative thought with a positive one before it flows into words, prevents those thoughts from germinated and growing wildly out of control, weeds choking out anything beautiful that has the potential to grow.  And it’s impossible to feel anger when I’m being grateful to God for something He’s blessed me with.

2.)  Taking a moment of silence before responding to a question that holds any weight gives enough time to invite God into the conversation.  If I follow His lead, I can’t go wrong.  In the presence of impulsivity and many spoken words, there is greater chance for sin.

3.)  It’s in silence and stillness that God breathes answers to my questions, even those that are often unasked.  If every waking moment is absorbed in sound, whether it be the television, radio, others or myself talking, there is no room for listening to His still, small voice.  I enjoy listening to the K-LOVE radio station in my car, or WAY-FM, songs and spiritual words lifting me high.  However, I have found that when I listen for it coming from Him, in silence, rather than through noise on the radio, it blankets my heart in peace that is incomparable to anything else.  That being said, unless I think about the word “silence,” in a world that’s accustomed and conditioned to noise, I often run on auto pilot and turn my radio on without thinking.  My one word reminds me to invite the silence into my day.

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4.)  Keeping my one word consciously and  subconsciously close, invites my thoughts to be still, bringing them back to Him, riding that wave of peace.  It’s a peace that is unmatched and one I discovered cannot be found anywhere except in close communion with God.  Silence reminds me to take deep, slow, cleansing breathes throughout the day, keeping the chaos and noise to a tolerable minimum.

5.)  Mindfulness of silence keeps me from reliving yesterday or jumping ahead to tomorrow, and keeps me living, fully experiencing, the here and now.

As I now prepare to sit quietly and enjoy a moment of silence before proceeding with my day, I wish you all a beautiful, peaceful year, journeying on your path to growth toward whatever it is you’re striving for.

Peace to you.

Serenity Through Acceptance

Serenity Prayer

It never ceases to amaze me what circumstances God can–and does–use to speak to His children.  For instance, He spoke to me the other morning through my impatience with another’s lack of willingness to try to understand and accept yet another.  Confused?  Allow me to explain…

A dear friend has an ongoing internal struggle with what he feels is the absence of his parents’ acceptance.  It doesn’t matter what he does or what his children accomplish, he feels as though he’s always living in the shadow of his brother and his brother’s family.  Try as he may, and he tries desperately, he cannot get what he’s needing from them.  In fact, more than needing, but rather craving.

It wasn’t long ago that I felt like the black sheep of my family as well, and in fact, had for most of my life.  It wasn’t until I learned serenity and peace come through acceptance, that I was able to let go and see my role in the play.  In fact, it was the lead role.   While I spent endless years feeling sorry for myself because I was “misunderstood,” and “not accepted for who I was,” all it did was make the chip on my shoulder–and in my attitude– that much heavier, driving those who loved me further away while I acted unlovable.

God let me know that I wasn’t trying to understand and accept them as they were, either.  I was expecting from others what I wasn’t willing to give.  He taught me that I cannot change anyone else, but only accept and love them.  I can, however, change my attitude and perspective.  And He gave me the wisdom to know the difference.

When God gave me the wisdom and the strength to let go of that burden and give it to Him, I felt a freedom I had never known.

So I thought I had figured it out and I was good to go.  But God wasn’t done teaching me the full lesson yet.  Either that or I’m a slow learner. 🙂

The other morning, when I found myself frustrated yet again with my friend who continues to struggle for something he may likely never receive, God showed me I still wasn’t practicing acceptance.  I wanted my friend to feel something other than what he was feeling, and that wasn’t fair.  Who was I to expect him to feel what I thought he should be feeling?

God told me I don’t have a right to expect anyone to be anything other than who they are.

It’s better to lovingly meet people where they are, as they are, and pray for God to bring them peace how He sees fit.  After all, He is our Creator.  He knows what each of us needs better than any of us can begin to understand.

Since my friend’s parents haven’t always been this way, changing as they age, as we all will, I pray he can meet them where they are, as they are, realizing they aren’t the parents of his youth, and likely won’t ever be again.  I pray he can stop expecting what they cannot give, and appreciate what they can–and have given.

Serenity prayer?

I’ve learned that when I spend time with my heavenly Father, truly listening to Him rather than speaking at Him, is when I learn the greatest lessons.  I pray my friend can learn why he’s needing the acceptance and validation from outside, when he has everything he needs from the Father of all.

I’ve learned to try enjoy another in peace rather than struggle to change them, for it isn’t my place to change another or expect anything from another, but only to love. I pray he finds that same peace.

I wish I could say I’m successful all of the time, but that would be far from the truth.  But since God has shown me what is best for me to do, it’s my job to work at it.  As I once heard, God will move mountains, but he expects us to bring a shovel.

I pray God continues to use every opportunity to teach me lessons that lead me closer to Him.

We are all a gift and blessing to one another.  I pray we not be dissatisfied with the gifts He gives, but appreciate them.

All is Grace.

Happy Veteran’s Day

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Veterans Day

 

 

 

 

 

May we take a moment to offer up in prayer our veterans and their families, extending our appreciation and our gratitude.

May peace find all who fight the fight for our country, have fought the fight, and all the men, women and children who stand behind them in support, prayer and love.

All is Grace.

10 Things I’m Grateful for Today

1.) Every person who has ever played a role in my life. Those who have left imprints on my heart as they passed through, and those who continue to as we share life.

footprint

 

 

 

 

 

2.) Everything that makes up my life as I know it–my family; my marriage; my home that is warm, comfortable, and radiates peace; a job I enjoy that allows me to make a difference in the lives of others; interests that bring me complete joy such as writing, running, and music.

3.) A new opportunity each morning I wake up to be the best me I can be that day. And when I mess up, knowing that I can start over at any moment of the day to make it a better one, each moment a new beginning.

4.) Experiences, good and bad, that have led me to where I am and made me who I am exactly at this moment, right now.

5.) The gift of now. Despite goals, plans, and experiences of the past, I have right now to breathe, give thanks, and lift my heart to a loving God who is present in every “now” and to just “be.”

6.) Opportunities for growth given to me by failed attempts, bad days, difficult relationships, and hiccups in life.

7.) Someone asking, out of the blue, how I am or about my family, and really wanting to hear the answer. May I pay that forward to another.

Heart Candle

 

 

 

 

 

8.) The arts–books and music that bring me to that happy place. A story that brings a smile to my heart and music that speaks to my soul. Enhanced, of course, by a good cup of coffee, the flickering of a candle’s flame and lamp light. 🙂

9.) Morning’s light after a difficult night, the rainbow after the rain, the clear sky after the storm. Hope after despair and pain.

The Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.) A God who cares about lil ‘ole me in a universe that is so enormous, and loves me, flawed as I am. A God who knows my heart, my needs, and desires, and cares enough to give me the beauty of every seemingly small miracle that graces my daily life.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
―Epicurus

All is Grace.

Life Transformation Through Yoga

yoga

Practicing yoga has woven its way through various aspects of this life I live. The parallels are multiple in number, and I believe it’s more than mere coincidence that it’s called “practicing” yoga. It’s a discipline that gives me an opportunity to practice becoming better–at yoga and at living life.

Each stretch and pose, as uncomfortable and awkward as it may feel at first, carries me just a little further to becoming better the next time. It’s about stretching beyond my comfort zone to accomplish what I couldn’t just a moment before. It has shown me to take the uncomfortable, make it comfortable, and move forward.

Yoga teaches me to show up even when I don’t feel like it.  In fact, especially then, because it leaves me with an immense sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I’m enjoying those last cool down stretches.

That act of showing up regardless of what I feel like doing, reinforces how important it is to show up in life every moment of every day, not allowing feelings to dictate how I live that day. Negative feelings can be overcome by simply showing up, whether we feel like it or not, to live a life of purpose. It’s about pushing past letting feelings control you and using that power within you to control your feelings.

It carries over into my writing life, my running life, being-a-wife/mother/friend-life…my life in general.

Showing up at my desk even when I don’t feel like writing produces written words and pages, along with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I’m done with my scheduled time, rather than feelings of guilt and regret when I neglect to show up, producing nothing, opening the door to negative feelings controlling me.

Showing up when my husband/kids/friends need my time, even when I feel I don’t have the time, reminds me to set my “self” aside and put others needs before my wants, reminding me life is about relationship and being available to and loving others.

Yoga shows me it’s about the journey of mastering a pose, progressing a little further each time I practice, rather than being able to immediately conquer and perfect it. That making progress through hard work is key to growth–physically, mentally, and spiritually.

A picture of Peace Lily along with its leaf. C...

A picture of Peace Lily along with its leaf. Category:Peace symbols (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yoga teaches me to focus on the importance of each breath as I breathe slow, even breaths through holding each pose, uncomfortable as it may be, teaching me to keep my focus on the matter at hand, anxiety at bay. Not thinking about the next pose, the next hour, or the next day. Just the here and now.  And that leaves no space for anything other than peace.

Sweet, beautiful peace.

All is Grace.

Thankful Thursday -The Smallest Hope

provoking sunrise

Recently I was laid up with an unexpected illness, accompanied by a level of pain I can’t ever remember experiencing.  On the third day I woke feeling relieved of the pain.  Until I tried to ride my bike and walk, both of which were not possible, as it brought the pain back full force.  However, what was a constant, won’t-let-up pain, did let up for a couple of hours.  And those couple of hours gave me strength, relief, and hope to carry on when the pain got bad again.  God knew what I needed and He provided.

This experience brought to mind other areas in which the smallest hope is glossed over as coincidence or not recognized at all.

When fretting over something I’ve said or done, something I try not to do but also something I have yet to master, and I’m caught in the middle of inner torment, that moment comes when I realize that God is all I need to please and the burden disintegrates into dust particles.

When in the middle of writer’s block or a stand-still in my writing life and that story idea pops out of nowhere, flashing through my conscious.

When guilt makes its ugly way into my writing time, telling me that’s time that should be spent doing something “important” and “worthwhile,” and then comes that comment from a friend or stranger telling me that something I wrote made such a difference to them.

When it’s been a gloomy, rainy spell and the sun decides to peek from behind the clouds for the briefest of moments, it’s rays creating the most beautiful iridescent streamers of light reaching all the way to the mountaintops.

When it’s been a long, dark, cold winter, and finally that burst of green comes through the thawing earth, showing the promise and hope of spring.

Crocus in Snow

When it’s been a difficult week at work, lots of noise, angry callers and co-workers, and then that afternoon happens that all is silent–the phones, the people, even the background noise.

When it’s been a morning, a day, a week, of feeling painful insecurity, and someone decides to make a comment about nice you look, how much you mean to them, or gives you a hug out of nowhere, letting you know you are valued.

When I’ve had a restless night, complete with unsettling dreams, and when reading the Bible during quiet time the next morning and the absolutely perfect Bible verse is laid out before me, lifting me up.

During these moments of hope, is my mind saying “It’s about time” or “Thank you.”  Each phrase is short, simple, yet place the heart in opposite hemispheres.  One shows the heart to be connected to oneself, while the other shows the heart to be connected to God.  One is negative, one is positive.  It’s all in how we choose to live and see life.  Glass half-empty or glass half-full.

Entitled or grateful.

Gratitude changes everything

Today I choose to be grateful.  And, God willing, tomorrow too.  But right now all I have is today.

Thank you God.

All is Grace