Put your behind in your past…

At least that’s what Pumbaa said.

Man, I sure know a few of us that need to turn our heads forward sometimes.  I honestly wonder how we get around at all with our eyes firmly fixed on what is behind! You’ll notice that I am including myself in the mix.  It’s a pattern I can quickly fall into if I’m not careful.  It’s the pain.  It’s always what hurts that keeps us turned the wrong way.

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We have a ridiculously fat, old cat named Rhetta.  She is embarrassingly large — so large, in fact, that she can no longer wash her own back and has mats that form in her fur.  We call them dreads so as not to make her feel ashamed.  We feed each of our cats the same amount of food per day.  Rhetta, however, is sneaky and discovered the dog food years ago, and helped herself a bit too often.  She is also scared of everything.  She’s been kind of a nasty personality for years now.  You just never know when you’ll get bitten — even if she seems pleasant.  She HATES the other pets and prefers her dark, little corner of the world where she hides and growls and spits at anyone who gets too close.  We think the addition of each pet and each life change (including the 12 hour drive to a new home a few years ago) really messed with her.  She just seems broken.  We just love her and shave her back now and then and try to get her through.  Sad, isn’t it?  She just can’t step out of what hurt her into enjoying even a little bit of life.

I look around and realize we all have things that scarred and tried to break us.  Tricky mommy and daddy issues, folks who promised to love us and didn’t follow through, physical and emotional abuse, folks who pointed out our flaws and created ugly thoughts that seem to stay on repeat, the loss of someone we loved deeply, insecurity…this list could go on ad infinitum.

No one is immune.  But some have found a way to move on.  Have you noticed that?  Some folks seem to take it stride or heal faster or something.

As I’ve looked around with this in mind, I realize that folks tend to use their pain to either justify their behavior or as a catalyst to change.  Yeah, that’s tough stuff, but if we’re being honest, we know it’s true.  Either we repeat patterns or we break the chains.

I have cross-country skied since I was three years old.  It has always been just for fun and I’m too out of shape now to want to let anyone see me trudge/glide along.  I had stopped for decades and recently came back to it thanks to my kids and their gift of equipment.  Then some stupid health stuff gave me excuses to sit instead of ski.  My husband got me out the other day and in the middle of a winter weather advisory, we went for a walk/ski together.  We got about 16 inches of fresh snow that day.  The plows couldn’t keep up, and since we live in the middle of absolute nowhere that was no surprise.  Our area is mountainous.  I was on the last day of one of the worst colds I’ve ever had and had been coughing ridiculously for days.  Perfect set-up to get back into things.  Haha.

A half mile in, huffing and puffing, I had a decision to make.  I could turn around and go home (which sounded mighty good).  Or, I could commit to the next three legs of equal length and make *the square* which would bring me back to my driveway.  The square consists of huge inclines and I was already sucking some serious wind.  But darn it, I wanted to have proven it to myself that I could do it.  So I committed.unblazed trail

I've got this

halfway

{I had to document it with photos because I could just feel my thoughts brewing as my lungs burned!}

This journey we are on is daunting!  Pitfalls and mountains and the overwhelming-ness of it all can make us just want to go back to somewhere safe and easy!  Sometimes, we gloss over the pain of our past and live there emotionally just to not have to face what is in our front view!  Often, it’s just too hard to breathe where the path hasn’t been broken for us, and we quit and take off our gear and camp out.  I get it!  I’ve done it!

But the past has passed!!!  It’s just our catalyst to a great story!  It’s not a dwelling place or a camp or a place we even want to stay!  The mystery, the beauty is in the new trail!

The triumph is in only the glance back where we see our tracks and rejoice in the accomplishment!  When we see that there was always at least One Who walked alongside us, cheering us on!  When we get a new story — a renewed sense of victory and hope.

a glance back

No one wants to continue to hear my sad stories.  I have a million.  They’re getting old though, and it feels just like stench at this point.  Those stories are just my stepping stones into who I stepped up to be.  Yes, they hurt, but I worked hard to survive and I am determined to look forward to the new, unblazed, fresh and beautiful path into who I am now — despite and because of those obstacles!

I glance back only to be thankful for how far I’ve come.  I refuse to trip over them any longer.

Anyone with me?

 

Thirteen for ’13

I know it’s cliche to spend New Years’ Eve looking back in reflection.  The truth is, I really prefer looking forward.  But, this blog is my journal of sorts–my recording of these days, and reflect, I must.

Tonight, our family will spend some moments recounting 13 of the greatest blessings of 2013.  We began this year with very high expectations.  Simply knowing deep in all six of our guts that it would be a banner year.  And since 13 is such a great number for us, we just sat back and anticipated amazingness.

We thought we were moving.  We did not. But, there were a million other little ways that God just threw blessings our way.  I picture a batting cage with that machine throwing ball after ball in our direction–too many to even keep up with.

My heart is practically erupting in thankfulness.

And also, in expectation as I look ahead.  You see, not too long ago, our family let go of the need to prove our love for God.  That sounds way too much like the law–like religion.  Whenever we try to prove our love for Him, we end up with lists and rules and laws and rituals and it starts  to look less like a relationship and more like religion.

A stranger sat at our table a handful of years ago and told us that we were about to begin to tap in–even just a bit–into the massive, unexplainable love of God.  Through sorrow and joy we have looked for it, longed for it, been drowned in it.  Being loved isn’t about great circumstances, though there have been many great circumstances that could have only come from His hand, rather it is about the deep-seated knowing that the path is sure, the hands are held, the love sustains and covers.

Knowing and acknowledging His love for us turned the page from religion to relationship in a way we couldn’t have seen without having jumped in the deep end.  We stripped our faith down to buck-naked and took the plunge trusting that this love was enough.  And, oh, was it.  It ceased being about what anyone told us it should look like and turned into a simple response to being loved.   He called.  We responded.  We got to know Him outside of any building or framework or rulebook.

And from that place, I write.  About His goodness in the little things like my pleasurable afternoon coffee and the miracle of a new baby that is my grandchild.  About pennies on walls and food provided.  About getting older and friendships.  All of it makes me smile and know, positively KNOW that I am loved.

So here’s my list of thirteen joys for ’13.  You don’t have to care about them.  They are my silly little blessings marking my travel across this last year.  They are a testament to a God Who cares about me enough to care about what matters to me.  And they help me mark this moment.

1.  I truly grew up this year when I fell in love with coffee.  I always said I wasn’t old enough to drink it.  Now, I like it a LOT.  It started black and evolved to cream and sugar.  And coffee shops.  One cup a day…or so.

2. Time to enjoy writing and the fun success of my little blog project.  Who knew?  So much fun, though.

3. The work we got done on this house this year to prepare it to sell.  Whew!  We worked HARD!!  But it is freshened up inside and out and will be ready to be reintroduced to the market very soon.

4. Officially teaching my last piano lesson.  Enough said.

5. My friends.  Oh, I have just the absolute best friends.  Each is essential to me.  Each relationship has grown this year.  I am beyond grateful for each one of these beautiful ladies.

6. A release in my spirit to move.  It took a long time for this girl to get on board the moving train.  I feel ready.  Today, I feel ready.  Hoping I stay ready.

7. New friendships.  Wow!  God has brought some powerful, loving NEW friends into my life this year!!!  They have each brought healing to my heart in various ways.  Just when I thought my friendship cup was full!!!

8. The relief of my son’s fantastic job in which he is thriving.  It soothes a mother’s heart to know her kids are doing well–blooming where they are planted and all.

9.  I survived turning 40.  I had been dreading it for some time.  Somehow, I even appreciate it now.  It’s kind of a neat view from here.

10.  Closeness with my husband.  It sounds cliche to even say it, but I love this man more now than I ever have.  Every time I even look at him I’m twitterpated.    We are closer than ever and really ENJOYING this time in our life together.

11.  Getting so close with my Kyrsten.  She and I have bonded so much this year.  And she is fifteen so who would’ve thunk that it could even be possible to be so close?  We sing, we play, we watch movies and shows, we travel, we giggle, we cry.  I love my girl.

12.  Learning my Addie was pregnant!!  And then becoming a Grandma!!!  Being part of the birth!!!  This one is ridiculously good.

13.  Hope for healing.  Some health issues that I won’t give importance to have acted much like thorns in my flesh for as long as I can remember.  I believe a healing is in the works.  That’s all I’ll say about that…for now…stay tuned.

That’s it.  This is my list.  My heart is full.

Happy New Year, all.

Christmas Eve Dinner