Thursday, July 31, 2014

Why silence is golden, but also loud

Silence makes everything loud.

The sipping from my tea cup.
My canary cracking seeds open.
The clamoring voices in my head.

In the silence my thoughts are loud.
The good, life-giving ones and the not-so-life-giving ones.

Nevertheless, in the silence,
I hear.

I'm able to hear more in the silence.
But, am I listening?
There is a difference.

What am I listening to? 
Whose voice?
What messages?
Whose whispers?

The messages and whispers I listen to in the silence will determine my 'state-of-being' in the noise.

The silence is golden because it reveals truth.
The thoughts, intentions and perceptions of my heart are laid bare.

Wide open to my Maker
who is Judge and King
but who is also grace and love.

He sees my heart in the noise and in the silence.
He looks on me with unconditional love and compassion,
loving-kindness and grace.

He pronounces me "very good."

But, what He sees in me in the noise, is only revealed to me in the silence.

When I have ears to hear.
When I choose to listen.

May the words of my mouth, even unspoken ones, and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to Him who made both my mouth and my heart.

May His golden silence fill me through and through.

I wait.
I look.
I listen.

Blessings to you, friend!


Linking up today with Holley for Coffee for Your Heart and Beth for Three Word Wednesday.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

What I don't know

I'm not sure what year on the calendar I crossed off, but it was one year in the recent past.

And, each year that I cross off, I'm realizing this fact more and more.

I don't know much.

I mean, I do know quite a bit, like how to cook meatloaf,
how to get stains off my favorite shirt,
how to knit a simple dishcloth.

But, I'm realizing there's so much more that I don't know.

I don't know what's caused your pain.
I haven't walked in your shoes.
I haven't been steeped in another culture enough to really feel what it's like to be sunk in to it.

I know I can't will myself out of an emotional pit.
And, sometimes I need help seeing the light at the top.

When I finish my race, the course that was mapped out before I saw light of day,
what will they say about who I was?

What kind of personal legacy will I have left behind?

Ultimately it doesn't matter what people say about us.
But, I care deeply about leaving a legacy.

A legacy of...


I don't claim to know much, but I know the older I get, the more I don't know.

How about you?

Blessings to you, friend!


linking up (a little late) over at Lisa Jo Baker's blog for Five Minute Friday. Writers who love to write link up every Friday to silence the inner critic and write for five minutes. Not worrying about edits or backtracking. This week's prompt is "finish".

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How pancakes can lead to a settled spirit

I've been trying to fight off the urge to blog about pancakes, but it won't go away so here goes! If this helps just one of you, it will have been worth it! 

In recent months I've had some episodes of plummeting blood sugar levels, especially in the morning about an hour after breakfast. When this happens I get sweaty, light headed and very panicky. When my blood sugar dips like this, I have anything but a settled spirit!

Thankfully, I discovered that this is something I can fix.

Along with asking my doctor what to do to prevent this, I also told God, "Please show me how to eat."

A couple of weeks later, I found a book from my library called Trim Healthy Mama. I let it sit on the counter for two weeks before I opened it. 

What kind of lifestyle changes will these authors be asking of me?

My lazy flesh is resistant to change. 

It's hard, but in this case, my blood sugar dips and my weight were telling me that some kind of change was necessary. 

I opened the book. From the first page I liked these gals. Real life, average moms living busy lives with busy families. And yet, finding the time to eat well.

The big thing, they said, is to eat foods that don't cause your body to have insulin spikes, which happens when you eat refined sugar. This definitely caught my attention because of my low blood sugar episodes. I already knew that after a blood sugar spike, comes the crash. And then the yuck!

The authors advocate eating good protein sources, good fats and good carbohydrates in moderation. (not really new information here, but it hit me as if for the first time. When the student is ready, the teacher appears!)

For breakfast, I had been eating a fluffy English muffin, with cheese on one half and jam on the other. So good!

But, about an hour afterwards, I felt gross. Light headed, shaky, anxious. The muffin was giving me a blood sugar spike and then a crash. Not good.

Enter, Trim Healthy Pancakes, my new miracle breakfast! (Check out the recipe to these and more low sugar breakfasts here on Pinterest.)

I now have these high protein, low carb pancakes every morning. They feel decadent and like cheating, except that I feel so much better and I'm losing a little weight because of this small switch. (and trying to cut refined sugar out the rest of the day.)

I am feeling much more settled in body and spirit in the mornings because with this added protein and no refined sugar, I'm not having that blood sugar dip an hour after I eat.

Remember, we are a spirit, we have a soul and we live in a body. All of these parts are integrated to make up the totality of us.

What we put into our bodies affects our souls and spirits. It's taken me a long time to learn this!

If you experience blood sugar highs and lows like I did, take a look at what you are eating and a simple change may be all that's needed. 

Maybe more protein and less sugar is what your body needs to start out the day.

Whatever it might be that your body needs, it's probably telling you in subtle, or not so subtle ways. 

My body was not being subtle in telling me I needed less refined sugar and more protein!

This seems too simplistic, but I've learned that by keeping my blood sugar levels more even throughout the day, it leads to a much desired settled body, soul and spirit.

Thanks for joining me this month with the series How to Have a Settled Spirit. I know it's just skimming the surface, but I hope you've found some encouragement here.

This is the final post in a series called How to Have a Settled Spirit. Here are Parts One, Two and Three!

Blessings to you!


Linking up today with Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart and Beth for Three Word Wednesday.

Friday, July 18, 2014

In the unexpected place: {Bloom}

LInking up with other writers at Lisa Jo Baker's for Five Minute Friday. Today's the day where we silence the inner critic and just write for the fun of it for five minutes straight. This week's prompt is "bloom".

They grew up there again this year in that tired dirt from years gone by.

Those golden maidens with faces so cheerful. We didn’t expect them to grow because no one planted new seeds in the dirt this year.

But, grow they did!
So many of them. 

Taller than my husband and me. 

Tall and proud. 

My husband had to brace a couple of them in the high winds and storms a couple of weeks ago, but most of them flourished even in the storms.

These tall beauties were so very unexpected, but they are such a delight. Hubby planted the seeds last year for tall, huge, magnificent sunflowers. We had them last year, but they were planned. 

We oohed and ahhed at their tallness, golden-ness and their beauty.

But, this year, before my husband could get out his seed packet to plant again, he came in the house with a big smile and said, “there are already sunflowers coming up! I guess from the seeds that fell to the ground last year.”

What a surprise!
What an unexpected delight.

To have something bloom in a place you thought was barren. In a place you didn’t get time to plant.

Some unexpected beauty just shows up and decides to take your breath away.

I hope in this life that you find that.

That you find some unexpected beauty blooming in a barren place where you least expected it to happen. 

Blessings to you, friend!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

The biggest thief of a settled spirit

The biggest thief of a settled spirit is not just a thief in the night, although that’s when it strikes me the most lately. This thief sneaks through the door of inner peace any time in the day or night. Sometimes it poses as an angel of light. A deceiver. 

Telling you things that are not true. Things that poison your spirit. Things that make it anything but settled. Things that make it rattled instead.

This thief is FEAR.

Fear has been defined as:


And, so it is.

Yesterday, I explained to my Bible study friends that sometimes I feel as if I’m living in the Matrix movie. I don’t remember much of anything about this movie (honestly, I didn't get most of it when I watched it some time ago), except for what my husband reminded me of the other day.

He said that in the movie, everything around the characters was a mirage, a deception, and only by taking the red pill were they able to see the truth. It was only then that the lights really went on and they saw through the deception all around them.

"The red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, are pop culture symbols representing the choice between embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red pill) and the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue pill)."--Wikipedia on The Matrix movie

Sometimes I feel like life is this way. Oh, everything around me isn’t a lie. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is that when I am not aware of my fears, I can tend to let them take the better part of me. I can tend to let them rule my life, and pretty soon, I am cowering to fear, instead of basing my decisions on the truth.

What will they think of me if I say that?

What will happen if I step out?

I have a hard time going to sleep. Tonight will be no different. I’ll lay there for hours.

What’s going to happen to my family?

See how these fearful thoughts can sneak in like a thief and steal our peace? This thief might even pose as

healthy concern
being in control.

But, these are fears that are really stealing a settled spirit.

“Fear always distorts our perception and confuses us as to what is going on. Love is the total absence of fear. Love asks no questions. Its natural state is one of extension and expansion, not comparison and measurement. Love, then, is really everything that is of value, and fear can offer us nothing because it is nothing.” –Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.
 Fear is nothing.

Wow. Haven’t thought of it as nothing, but if it is really false evidence appearing as real, it is truly nothing.

The opposite of fear is faith.

My faith is in God who says that He is Love. And, perfect love casts out all fear. (I John 4:18)

I held up my Bible and told my Bible study friends, 

“It’s like this is the little red pill.”

Sounds like kind of a crude comparison.

The Bible compared to a little red pill?

What God says in His Word is my anchor.  The truth and hope God gives is the anchor of my soul.

The Truth that can be relied upon when my fears seek to steal my peace.

Jesus says, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you." Luke 17:6

Lets ask the Author of our faith for more faith to replace our fears.

"fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

He promises to be faithful.

“…for He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you." Hebrews 11:5b

These are promises that can lead us to a settled spirit.

Thanks for stopping by, friend!

This post is part three is a series titled How to Have a Settled Spirit. Here are part one and part two.

Linking up today with Coffee for Your Heart and Three Word Wednesday.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Belonging to a moment

I'm linking up with other brave writers today for Five Minute Friday to write for five minutes straight on the word, "belong." We abandon the inner critic and write with freedom.
Crystal Stine is the host today. Won't you join us?

He stood there in my entry way this week looking a lot like Larry the Cable Guy with his overalls, ball cap and scraggly beard. But, he had more the personality of Mr. Rogers.

He had just rang the doorbell to check on my air conditioner since it had started to heat up in our house.

What I remember most is not the dollar amount that would be charged us for the new unit that would have to be installed next week.

I noticed how alike we really were despite all outward appearances. I stood outside myself for once and observed.

I observed how we are both human beings with the innate need to belong.
And belong we did.

We connected in conversation over my canary’s songs, and the baby birds on my porch. He could see the mother bird in the tree just in the yard, nervously chirping.

“She wants to get back to her babies.”

He told me about growing up in Oklahoma, through his southern accent, and about how he had raccoons and squirrels and possums for pets at one time growing up.

It was neat how we stood there, two vastly different people in occupation and possibly life status, 

but at that moment we were both experiencing what it feels like to belong somewhere

Even for just a few minutes, we were both belonging to this group of people who love and care about God’s creatures.

It made me glad. Glad to be human.

And glad to belong to this moment.

Thanks for stopping by today friend!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Settled Spirit: first things first

Last week I wrote some thoughts about how to have a settled spirit. I said I felt it was elusive to me, but that I wanted it. This week, I asked myself why I might have committed to writing about it for all of July?

It seems lately I’ve had anything BUT a settled spirit. Adjustments to hormones, trouble sleeping, a memorial service for my step brother. It seems things have compiled into a big pile of unsettled-ness of spirit. 

Maybe that’s why my last-week-self committed to writing about this. Because, I need it so desperately.

Maybe I can share with you some of the things that I’m trying to do lately to get me to this goal of having a settled spirit.

Keeping it simple, three things come to mind.




Really, you might ask?

Maybe this sounds too simplistic to you.

I had a physical therapist give me an assignment a couple of years ago. I had gone to him with severe tension headaches and general neck and upper body tightness. I’ll never forget this. One day after my visit he said, 

"Breathe! Remember to breathe! Breathing is life!"

 So simple.

But, so profound, and he knew after examining my tight muscles that I needed that (almost) scolding! He also said, “muscles need oxygen to relax.” He sent me home with literal “breathing lessons”. “Squared breathing” he said. 

Inhale for a count of six, hold for a count of six. Exhale for a count of six, hold for a count of six. I was instructed to do this while doing a trunk twist stretch for five minutes a day.

And, you know, what? I think the daily stretching helped. But, I think the breathing lessons helped more. I could feel my body relaxing more into the stretch by the second “squared” round of breathing.

Breathing is life.

2.  Volumes have been written about the importance of forgiveness. How letting go of offenses is actually healing us, not the offender. You’ve probably heard, 

“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

 Anger counts here, too. Carrying around anger towards someone is really not forgiving them. (It took me a long time to get this one.) 

Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D. says in his book Love is Letting Go of Fear,

“I continue to be impressed by how quickly I experience inner peace when I let go of my attachment to the past belief that someone is guilty and someone is innocent.”

I think the words “a settled spirit” could be subbed for the words “inner peace" here and make just as much sense, don’t you?

One way I have found to help me to let go of offense is to write down all my feelings in a notebook. This is for my eyes only. An “emotional dumping ground”. 

It’s a huge release. 

Also, if needed, to write a letter to the person who hurt me. This is also for my eyes only. I do NOT send this letter to the person. This is for my emotional release only. 

Try these. They really do work wonders.

3.  Solitude. (if you have young children, you might check out right here and now. But, you probably need this the most!)

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Well, it really doesn’t matter except I know I’m an introvert and I need some time alone each day. I gain energy by being alone. I love being around people but it has to be balanced.

I take some time in the mornings to read and journal (journaling for me is a kind of prayer.)

Taking some time alone each day in solitude, even for just ten minutes, ( locking the bathroom door, if you have to!) is so good for the soul. And can be very healing. (and possibly doing that "squared breathing" during this time, all the better!)

What are some things that you do to have a settled spirit? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Blessings to you,


This post is Part 2 in a month long series of How to Have a Settled Spirit. See Part 1 here.

LInking up today with Coffee for Your Heart and Three Word Wednesday.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Grace like air

I'm linking up with other wild and free writers for Five Minute Friday. This is where we throw caution to the wind and just write. For five minutes straight. Not worrying about edits or backtracking. This week's prompt is "exhale". Come on over to Lisa Jo Baker's blog to join in! Everyone's welcome!


What if grace was like air and every morning when we woke up from deep slumber, we inhaled a big breath of it for the day. Sure, we’d been breathing it all night, but it’s like we need to inhale enough at sunrise to last all of daylight.

What if grace was like air and we did that?

Inhaling grace at the beginning of each day from the endless supply in the heavens.
Inhaling grace in order to exhale all of the good things that have been put in our hearts to share with the world around us.

We could exhale love in good measure to everyone around us in the measure that they need.

Exhale forgiveness over and over again seventy times seven. As much forgiveness as is needed.

Exhale hope. Hope for today, tomorrow and the years to come. Even hope for our neighbor.

Inhaling grace isn’t as strange as it sounds. I believe that since the first man was created in the garden, we’ve inherited the breath of life from our creator. The breath of life which is in 
essence, grace.

We actually have all of this air-grace that we need to live each and every day on this earth.

It is free for the asking.
An endless supply.

Coming well timed and in appropriate measure, just when we need it.

Let’s all inhale grace right now, and wait for our instructions.




"Let us then fearlessly and confidently and

 boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the

throne of God's unmerited favor to us

 sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our

failures] and find grace to help in good

 time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, 

coming just when we need it]."  Hebrews 4:16 AMP


Thanks for stopping by, friend!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to have a settled spirit

The other day, after visiting with her aunt, my daughter said to me, "she has a settled spirit."
A settled spirit. Yes, I thought...she does.

I'd never heard that phrase before to describe someone, but it was so accurate in this case! She has a settled-ness about her no doubt. It made me start to think about that phrase.

 I don't know many people that I can describe with this phrase. I'm not even sure I can honestly describe myself like this. I'd like to. I'd like to be known as someone with a settled spirit.

A settled spirit.

What is it?
How can I get it?
How can I live it consistently?

This is what I want.

In body, mind, heart, soul, spirit.
Comfortable in my own skin. Imperfections and all. 
I'm not there yet.

Content in my home space and surroundings.
I'm not there yet.

Settled in my vocation.
What does that even look like?

Settled in what I'm believing.

A few years ago, or even a few weeks ago I would have told you, "yes, I'm settled in my faith. I know what I believe, and why."

This is still true about the fundamentals of my faith which is that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and then resurrected from the dead to redeem me from my sin.

But, I would say not settled from the standpoint that I'm realizing that some of the beliefs I've been hanging on to my entire life are false beliefs. Beliefs that no longer serve me.
Limiting beliefs.They are ruts in my judgement of myself, God and others that need to be challenged. 

There are thought patterns I want to change. Patterns that regularly trip me up.

And, these can be so subtle.

Anxiety about my health (even minor aches and pains)
Unsettled-ness about the future and my place in it.
Common concerns about my adult children moving into the world.
Unsettled-ness about my purpose in mid-life and beyond.
The ache to have an identity apart from wife, mother, daughter and sister.
The  yearning to have an influence on those around me for good, and on the world around me for eternal good.

Settled to me means:


Recently, I was lovingly challenged with one of my negative thought patterns, (or limiting beliefs). I was having a hard time letting go of a perceived wrong done to me by an acquaintance. 

The thought presented to me was that letting go of this offense would allow me to think of other possibilities for me. I wouldn't feel so trapped in an endless negative thought pattern of defeat. That I really do have options in front of me, but I might not be able to see them with this block of offense in my thinking.


Wow. This really made me think about this letting go. This allowance for new, clear, positive thoughts to come in as I let go of the negative.

And, this "letting go of the old" might just allow me to get closer to the goal of having a "settled spirit". 

For the month of July I'd like to unpack these thoughts:

What does it mean to have a settled spirit?
What things can we do to get there?
What does possessing this character trait look like?
How can we pass this trait on to others?
What does God actually say about it?

I'd love to have you join me, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Do you know someone who you'd describe as having a settled spirit?
Do you have one?

Thanks for stopping by today, friend!

I'm linking up today with Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart and with Beth for Three Word Wednesday.
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