Monday, September 30, 2013

Dare to Be. For 31 days.

Each year for the past several years, The Nester has invited anyone who would like to write for 31 days on a single topic to link up with her for the month of October. Last year I tried it for the first time and it was a blast, if not a little bit challenging. I was so glad I put myself to the test though! You can see last year's 31 Day series here. Come along with me this year. I explain my topic below.


I was sitting in my Daring Greatly workshop {see September 30 post} on the first day, and the facilitator handed out permission slips to each of us. Remember those? The ones that our moms had to sign so we could get out of school for the dentist?

Something clicked in me when I was handed that permission slip and told, "in this workshop we can give ourselves permission. Whatever it is that you need permission to do, give it to yourself here." One of Brene Brown's (author of Daring Greatly) sayings is

 'Show up. Be seen. Live brave'. After a minute of thought, I wrote,

 "I give myself permission to not be cool. to not be perfect. to say it wrong." 

Those things are the things I struggle with. Often. 

I wrote in my journal the next morning, and what came out of that was this:

"Maybe I need to write a list of things I give myself permission for. What a great idea. My list will be so long! Because, for my whole life I've felt overly responsible for everything and everyone. It's time I give myself permission. To let myself off the hook. The hook is what's keeping me in pain. The hook is what's keeping me in bondage. The hook taunts and grabs and tears and holds on."

After that, I started making a list of things I need and want to give myself permission to do. I finally couldn't think of one more thing to put on the list when I got to No. 65!! Okay, some of them ended up being a bit redundant, but most of them weren't. Friends, I need some work. 

This 31 day series was born that day. At least the bare bones of it. I decided to write about those things that I'm {urging myself} to give myself permission to do and be. I decided to call my series Dare to Be. I chose that because that's what I'm really doing. I'm daring myself, and now you, to Be. To be the real you. To show up. be seen. be brave. To maybe give yourself some permission that is long overdue.

I'm so excited to share the things I'm learning to give myself permission for and the things that I'm learning to do to Dare to Be.

This will be the official landing page for the links to all the posts in the series!

Thanks for coming along with me and I welcome conversations. We need each other!



Day 1: Dare to Be: Vulnerable

Day 2: Dare to Be: Self Aware

Day 3: Dare to know you are loved

Day 4: Dare to Be: A writer

Day 5: Dare to Be: Put on the red sneakers

Day 6: Dare to Be: Contemplative

Day 7: Dare to Be: Embracing here and now

Day 8: Dare to Be: Looking for smiles and laughter

Day 9: Dare to Be: Silent and Still

Day 10: Seven keys to an emotionally healthy YOU {Dare to Be}

Day 11: Dare to Be: happy in the ordinary 

Day 12: Dare to Be: Brave, plus a question

Day 13: Dare to Be: Not knowing the answers

Day 14: Dare to Be: You--likes and dislikes and all

Day 15: Dare to show self-compassion Part 1

Day 16: Dare to show self-compassion Part 2

Day 17: Free to Fly--Dare to Be 

Day 18: Dare to Create Space for Yourself

Day 19: Dare to Be: An artist and to make art

Day 20: Dare to Be: Five ways to make peace in your relationships

Day 21: Dare to give yourself permission

Day 22: Dare to Be: Creageous

Day 23: Dare to Be: Brave Part 2

Day 24:

Day 25: Dare to Be: Present {days 24-25}

Day 26: Dare to Be: Present with family 

Day 27: Dare to Be: Celebrate You

Day 28: Dare to Be: Shame resilient

Day 29: How to sit with someone's story

Day 30: Dare to know yourself--a guest post

Day 31: Dare to live wholeheartedly

Friday, September 27, 2013

things I learned in September

Here are some things I learned in September in no particular order.

1. What's Daring Greatly?  I joined a class called Daring Greatly based on Brene Brown's book, by the same name. It's about being vulnerable. Being willing to step into the arena (even though you might get your butt kicked.) I'm learning how to Show up. Be brave. Be seen. Challenging, but good stuff. I could not recommend this book highly enough. Get out your highlighter!

2. My son drove 30 miles without his glasses and lived. He's living with us. A college grad. He wanted to drive to an event. His glasses had just broken. I'm the parent, but being careful not to parent too much. He left. I prayed. I prayed. And then I prayed. He made it home. (thank you, Jesus.)

3. First time ever to make salsa. From our first time tomatoes. With my son. (did you see all those firsts?) Mostly my son, has made six batches with said tomatoes. And, it is awesome if I say so myself. 

4. My Dutch husband must not be so Dutch after all. Last Monday he emailed me from work to say he must have had a weak moment because he ordered us tickets to White Christmas at the Civic Center. In the fourth row.  White Christmas is our absolute go-to, hands down favorite holiday movie. We don't go a year without watching it.

 After work that day, my hubby and I were both getting a little moist in the eyes just thinking about how fun and awesome that show is going to be in December. I be lovin' me some Bing Crosby musical festivities.

5.  We are mid-season on season 3 of Downton Abbey. My husband is just as obsessed as I am. Our son says "you guys are addicted" and he is right. We have never had a show that is "ours" before. This is either really good, or it is really bad. We're not sure.

6.  My daugher bought her own tea-brewing travel mug. While most college kids are hooking up IV's to coffee and cappuccino machines at Starbucks, my daughter is putting tea leaves and hot water in her special tea-brewing-travel-tea-mug from Amazon and taking tea to class. This blows my mind, and is really rather cute.

7.  I danced in the rain. Kind of. Last week during a severe thunderstorm warning (and actual 70 mph wind thunderstorm with horizontal rain) I went outside with my 23 year old son and "stood" in the "wind tunnel" between our house and the neighbor's. This is the mom who always looked dryly and safely from the distance of the covered front porch when the kids were little. As I had that scaredy cat look on my face, my grown son said, "C'mon! I'll go with you!" (he'd already risked life and limb twice in the same place.)

So, I ran out there with him (for like 30 seconds). I got absolutely soaked, but I have to say that it was one of the most fun things I've ever done. Why have I always been so uptight about getting wet in the rain?

8. I can make 140 hot tamales last about six weeks. I think this is something to celebrate, don't you?

9. Live the Silver Lining. I won't go into much detail here because I explain it on the blog.  I have been handed literally hundreds of old photos not just from my childhood, but further back as well. I look at these old photos and they are shouting out to have their stories told. I'm just getting started on this new blog, but be sure to come visit! I'll be sharing stories of my past, but also showing how God puts a silver lining through all experiences.

little me and Snuggles

10. I'll be blogging every day in October like I did last year. The Nester has a link up in October for those who want to pick a topic and write for 31 days. I'm probably crazy, but I'm super excited to do this again this year. I've been trying to get the rusty wheels turning for a great topic and some posts that won't bore you all to tears. It starts actually on Monday the 30th, so keep your dial tuned to A Ready Listener to see what I'll be up to!

11. Finally. The best quote of the month. It was from my 25 year old son. "Any man, of any age, can look good if he's put into clothes that fit him well." This came out of a very lively discussion one day over lunch with both my adult sons about men's fashion and men's fashion blogs. (seems a bit ironic, but that would be another whole post.)

Thanks for stopping by to see what I learned! Care to join in? Check out the link up at Chatting at the Sky where Emily Freeman invites us to link up. Or just stop by to see what others have learned. It's a lot of fun.

Not like Forrest Gump's feather

It is once again Five Minute Friday where lots of great people link up at Lisa Jo Baker's blog and write for five minutes straight. No edits. Just raw words. This week's prompt is true.

 A Ready Listener--True

The condemning thoughts come down quickly. They don't just float down like Forrest Gump's feather. They crash down, like a downpour. 

Why does this happen, and when did this pattern start?

I try to do a new, unfamiliar thing.  
You can't do this.

I have a terrible night's sleep for the 3rd, 4th or even 5th night in a row. 
What did you do this time? You must have done something wrong so that you can't sleep. You will never sleep good again.

Again and again the condemning thoughts come and it is a continual battle. I often often (yes, that is on purpose) wonder what I would be, where I would be without the truth of God to lead and guide me. The Spirit of Truth who is inside of me and beside me, before me and behind me to remind me of what is true. 

I often say, (there it is again) that if it weren't for God right there telling me again and again what is true, to defeat the condemning lies that are there again and again. I would be in an ash heap, in a dark pit.

In fact, truly and honestly, I've been there many times. And, He has pulled me out.

Down in the pit and I'll see this glimmer of hope. This glimmer of light streaming down into the darkness and it is His truth. It is God's beacon of truth-light coming to rescue me again from the lies and condemnation.

My Daughter. You are loved. You are enough. You are infinitely loved by me. Take my hand and trust me to lead you to the light again and again. To lead you to what is True.

How about you? Do you struggle with condemning thoughts? Do you need to be reminded about what is true?

Five Minute Friday

Friday, September 13, 2013

When mercy looks like five stars

Today, I'm linking up with a community of encouraging writers at Lisa Jo Baker's blog for Five Minute Friday. The prompt is "mercy". Writing for just five minutes straight. From the heart. No need to be perfect, just sharing our hearts through words.  Won't you join in?


Finally. The morning air is crisp-like and not smothering.

I awoke really early this morning. Not my desire, but it happens. I slip on my orange slippers and walk to the kitchen to flip on my tea kettle. At 6:09 a.m., I see the first glimmers of light coming through the window.

Morning twilight. 

So I decide that I’m gonna see the sunrise. Or at least the pre-dawn sunrise. I step out on my porch with some dry cereal crunching in my mouth. I’m secretly wondering if the neighbors can hear me crunching, but I stand there anyway.

It is silent.

The sky is this clear blue that you only see in the wee morning hours before the sun rises. The dawn is approaching, but there is still enough darkness to make out the faint glimmer of five stars.

Just five. 

I stand there more, and stop crunching on my cereal to listen to the silence. Oh, the sweet silence of morning.

I look up again. And, I see a couple more stars.

Then three more.

I think to myself, I’ve allowed my eyes to adjust and now I see more clearly. I see that there are more and more stars that I don’t normally see during the day.

I think to myself that that’s the way God’s mercies are.

Mercy after mercy He showers on me, but I have to take time to let my eyes adjust to His.

I have to allow myself to be still and silent to see His mercies.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Filled up and poured out

Today, I'm linking up with a community of encouraging writers at Lisa Jo Baker's blog for Five Minute Friday. The prompt is "red". Writing for just five minutes straight. From the heart. No need to be perfect, just sharing our hearts through words.  Won't you join in?


 Filled up and poured out. 
Filled up and poured out.

Daily, in the morning and in the evening she waits for this ritual to present itself. 

She cannot do it on her own. 

She has to be cleaned out (she’s still a little bit stained, but that’s okay), rinsed out and filled up again. 

But, she is faithful. She is available to be filled to be sure. 

She wants to be.

She enjoys this daily ritual of being filled up, only to be poured out again.


My thoughts percolate on this one small gift I was given about three years ago.

 I long to be filled up and poured out, filled up and poured out, daily. 

She is showing me. 

She’s showing me what surrender looks like. What trust looks like. What availability and willingness look like.

She’s not fancy. Doesn’t really care to be, but she’s there. 

Morning and evening.

She’s seen tears and laughter. 

She’s seen the sun rise and the sun set. 

But, still she never tires of being right there. By my side. Ready to serve me. Ready and willing to be filled up and poured out. 

Again and again.

Who would have thought a little red teapot could hold so much wisdom?
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