All the days are the best days.

all the days are the best days

The boy who didn’t give a care in the world for trucks when he was little came home from his really grown-up job and told me that he was driving a cement truck that day on the highway. My heart skipped a little beat because when was a little boy allowed to go and do such big things? Who decides that a man-child who still can’t remember to bring up his dishes from the basement, can drive a scary truck full of liquid rock?

This mama just can’t wrap her brain around it all.

The shy little girl gets on a plane with her fancy suitcase and heads to another country, outside the safety of our cozy walls. To watch fireworks without my hand in hers and to make memories that won’t include her family of which most of her memories are made. But off she goes, with a wave from the bus window and I wipe away my tears because when did she get so brave? I hold my breath for a week and she comes home with smiles and stories, and I squeeze her extra-tight because I can see that she’s spread her wings.  I take a step back because I know a little grown-up girl needs space to keep finding out who she is and permission to dream about what she is going to be.

We do our family hug at night, and I pretend the world is suddenly frozen and we are captured in this moment forever.

This mama’s heart just wants to hold on.

This mama’s heart has to work hard to let go. 

They have something the world needs from them.

I know this.

I have to share.

I can’t hold them back.

Lately though, all I can think of are popsicle drips and long summer days that I thought might never end, where I likely raised my voice too much and complained loudly about the mud and the mess and didn’t want to go to the pool because I didn’t like how I looked. I know I muttered under my breath and wished for time by myself with no cares in the world.

But now?

I long for those days.

I’d smile at the popsicle stains on the white shirts.

I’d cuddle into the sweaty little heads.

I’d jump in that pool.

I wouldn’t rush them into bed.

I’d read one more story.

I’d hold on as long as I could.

Those were the days of heart growing. Those were the days when little lives looked up with wide-eyes, waiting for voices to speak into their soul and tell them who they could be, and that they were so loved, and that there was nothing they couldn’t do.

Those were the days. 

And I loved those days.

Now, we have these days.

These days are the sum total of all the days past. Instead of growing, the days feel like they are getting shorter and I never liked subtraction. 

These are the days of releasing. The pride of seeing who they are, alongside the small ache deep down in the heart knowing that they won’t always just be yours.

Understanding that the best thing for them, is not always to belong only to you. And my mama heart is a little lost as I try to figure where I belong in life now, since I’m not a main character on their centre stage anymore. I see if I can make friends, and I think I can maybe date my husband more and it’s like this whole new world that’s a little nice and a little sad all at once.  I don’t leap into it, I just take it slowly so I can still hold on.

I know that what will always keep us together is this love that we’ve grown with.

I know we will always hold on, even as we let go. 

Then I saw a picture my friend posted of a little kiddie pool, with everyone crammed in, freezies dripping and water splashing.

My heart jumped.

“THESE ARE YOUR BEST DAYS!” I exclaimed to her picture.

And they are.

And the days will keep getting better as you watch little boys grow up and drive trucks, and little girls play in their band and laugh with friends.

All the days are the best days.

All the days are the hard days.

All the days are about letting go.

The days with popsicles dripping down little chins.

The days with a quick good-bye where you’re left behind.

All the days are the best days. 

When you don’t understand why.

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There was a sweet girl. She reached out in her last days. Memories of roots that ran deep, times when her heart was full and she believed. When the end was near, she called out again.

She asked, “Why?”

I said I didn’t know.

I don’t understand these things.

She said, “I’m scared.”

I held her hand. In the face of pain and hard questions sometimes words seem hollow. In my shaky voice, I shared where my hope comes from. My faith that has seen me through many storms. The unconditional love that has rescued me. I sat beside her and looked at the childhood posters on her wall of kitty cats, puppies and sparkly stars and my eyes filled with tears as I thought about full circles, deep pain, planted seeds and love in broken up places.

That was all.

A few days later she was at peace.

Heart settled.

Her pain gone.

And I’m full of thanks that I got to sit beside her.

Grateful that I entered her life again, even just for a short time.

That was perfect grace. 

Since then, the question rings in my mind.

“Why?”

It’s the question asked in the middle of it all. When pain is right smack in the face, and things are closing in. It’s whispered it in the dark loneliness of night when it’s too much to bear, and fountains of tears have been shed and hearts faintly beat from dry parched places.

We see those we love slipping away. We feel helpless and full of pain. 

We feel like life is not what we planned or hoped. Our dreams seem lost.

We’ve been hurt and rejected and kicked to the curb. We feel unwanted and unloved.

We want to stand on a mountain and scream to the world

Why?

Somedays the heart is just so full of things that hurt. 

There is no perfect life.

But in the middle of it all there is perfect peace.

Peace that runs down. Peace that overflows and mixes with grace. Peace that is tied to a hope that is our anchor.

Strong and secure.

That anchor holds fast. The storms, the wind and the waves will come.

In the middle of why,

we hold on tight.

He is steadfast.

He is strong.

He is our peace.

He is our grace.

He is.

In that small room that represented a lifetime – there were hard questions. No real answers.

There was also peace in the middle of flowing grace. 

In the middle 

of why.

He is there. 

He is. 

Parenting your teens without making them cringe.

Let's dothings together!

Somewhere recently I read a post or tweet from someone wondering why there aren’t many blogs about parenting teenagers.

I’ll tell you why.

Teenagers can read.

We’re treading carefully.

One false move and we’re on the outs.

And let me tell you, it’s not easy to get back in. 

I’m one comment or tag away from being blocked on Facebook. (I’ve also been wall- wiped which I’m still recovering from. This blog actually could be the end of the deep virtual relationship I have with my kids.)

I’ve never claimed to be a parenting expert. I haven’t handled every situation perfectly, there are things I wish I had done differently. In this current stage of life with one teenager and a university man-child, I’m doing the best I can. Still trying to figure things out, often one day at a time. 

Somedays I get my feelings hurt. 

When they text each other behind my back and say I’m a little cringe-y.

When I’m forbidden to car dance. (which, by the way is one of my top talents.) 

When they use cool new sayings like “extra” and “snack” then act horrified when I make those sayings part of my vocabulary. (Side note: Look up new sayings because they might not mean what you think.)

When they make fun of the way I pronounce words like Peterborough, nursery, peanut butter and Keturah.

“You could do worse than me,” I say, defending my obvious cool factor. 

Insert super-obvious eye roll as the response. 

All that considered, I have great kids. There’s no picture perfect anything, but we love each other. We like to spend time together, we talk openly (a little too much TMI at times) and they still hug me and say they love me.

We are making it through. 

One day at a time. 

There’s no secret strategy. 

There’s just learning to be the parent that your kids need. 

Trying to – 

  • Love them where they are at. There will be hard seasons, frustrating seasons and at times they might be in a place or stage that’s hard to understand. Don’t give up. Stay right there with them, even if it’s not the place you’d choose for them.  Fight for your relationship with them. 
  • Listen when they need to talk. Put your phone down. (I fail at this one so often) Look them in the eye. Make time when they initiate it. However your teen chooses to reach out and connect with you, grab onto it. 
  • Back off when they need their space. One of the more important parts of your soon-to-be-adults learning how to make their own way and be independent is by giving them room to breathe. Often that means letting them figure things out on their own, and you stepping back and letting go. Even if it’s the opposite of what you want to do. 
  • Respect how they feel. If something you do bothers them, be sensitive to that. Sometimes you just think you’re a super-funny mom. Then, you realize you’re actually the most embarrassing person on the planet. Follow those cues. 
  • Encourage other voices in their life. The best thing your teen can have, is other people speaking into their lives. Seek out those places where they can connect with others and support those relationships. You can’t be the only voice, as much as you want to be. 

The best advice I think any parent can be given is to give love and require love and keep love as the standard.

An imperfect family full of love is really all anyone can ask for.

In the meantime,

I secretly love the cringe. 

I’ll be that cringe-y mom all week long.

I’ll take that cringe to the bank and cash it in. (see, I’m doing it right now.)

I’ll be extra, lit and look like a snack (whatever that actually means.)

Most of all, I’ll love my almost-partially-grown-up-adults with all my heart.

Because that’s just what you do.

That’s how you parent your teens. 

 

 

We have this hope.

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Watching and seeing memories fading, my heart breaking.

What was life now slipping away, changing while still holding on.

Walking through seasons of complication, footsteps that feel unsure.

Days of loneliness and fear of isolation, questioning purpose and the future ahead.

There’s those days, you know. Days that don’t make sense, days where you just want to hide away and you’re not sure that what is coming is something you can face. Days after you’ve remembered and you’ve celebrated all you believe. You rejoice in the empty tomb knowing that it’s what makes your own heart full, but you still feel like what you are holding in your hands is just too heavy. 

All these days. 

The sea tosses and turns, and the waves roll and crash and the ocean seems too big and so large. And you’re so small. What chance do you have? And just when it’s all coming down, when you’re overcome and about to let go,

Something steadies. 

Something pulls.

You’re just out of view, the shoreline feels far.

But you’re held.

There’s this anchor.

This anchor that hold secure. 

It’s hope.

And it holds onto the soul.

It pulls you out of the depths, it grasps tight when you’re in the waves. When the surge and the undertow try to pull you away, trying to make you let go of all you know to be true, this anchor holds you. You can’t see it. You wouldn’t know it’s there. But it’s got your life. It’s strength cannot be broken, it won’t let you go.

You cry out in the storm.

Lost and afraid.

But your steadied.

You are held.

Hope anchors the soul. 

This metal down deep a symbol of what I believe. The reason why I celebrated a tomb that was empty, a victory that was won. It won’t let me go. It’s a city on a hill, it’s light in the darkness. It gives me a future, it doesn’t put me to shame. It gives my soul rest.

I can’t live my life without this hope. 

In times of pain, I have hope. In times of joy, I have hope. In times of mourning, I have hope. In times of doubt, I have hope. In times of loneliness, I have hope. In times of confusion, I have hope. In times of celebration, I have hope.

I HAVE THIS HOPE. 

It’s holding onto me. 

The anchor

The cross.

We’re holding onto each other. 

We don’t always understand the storms we face. We don’t always know how we are going to get to the shore. 

But we know.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul. Firm and secure.

Whether the seas are calm and the suns shining bright, or the tempest is blowing and the skies are dark and grey – don’t lose hope.

Look for the glimmer, search for the promise. 

Hold onto your anchor. 

Hold onto your hope.

Hold onto Him. 

 

 

 

Real life #follows

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There are a couple of women that walk through my neighbourhood, I usually see them in the morning as I’m leaving for work. The first time I observed them, I thought they had been in a terrible fight. One of them was walking at least 5 steps ahead at a very fast pace with no signs of slowing down. The woman following looked like she was trying to catch up with everything that she had. I thought to myself, “Wow, what happened to these friends on their morning walk?”

Then I saw them again, and again.

Always the same.

The most awkward walking partners ever.

I realized that they couldn’t possible be fighting every morning and that this was intentional. Something was happening here. One woman walks faster, with more purpose and confidence. The friend following is trying to keep up. It’s hard work for her but she doesn’t stop. She’s being led by example. Maybe’s she trying to get in shape, maybe she is training for a race or perhaps she wants to be a speed walker.

Whatever her motives, she has clearly identified someone in her life that she wants to follow and she is giving it her all.

Every time I see these women in their yoga pants out early in the morning, I’m so inspired.

I think a lot about who is following me, and the example that I set but I don’t often think about who I am following. For many of us, following has become a term connected to social media. These days most following happens in front of a screen.

It’s even how we introduce ourselves to people.

“Oh, I follow you!”

It’s all good. Screen following does help us learn to a certain extent. But there’s a world outside flat-screen living. A 3D gathering around us of actual people. People that we can interact with in real-time that have the potential to change our lives and help us grow. 

True following is more than reading about someone else’s life on a timeline. Sometimes it’s about taking extra steps. It’s face-to-face connection, it’s hands-on mentoring, it’s hard conversations and purposeful relationship. It means putting yourself out there and it’s not always easy, it takes courage to be vulnerable and admit that you need someone to lead you. 

Like the women on my street, dramatic action is required to follow someone in a way that can help bring change to our lives. 

It’s so easy to think I can just walk on my own, but I need someone to try to catch up to.

I need to follow someone who can set a pace.

When we are following the right person we have to work to keep up. It’s challenging, it stretches us and sometimes it might even hurt a little as we grow in new ways, but it’s so important.

We all need to be followers.

Especially if we are leaders.

If you only have people behind you, soon you’ll run out of places to go. 

I’ve started to ask myself the following questions:

Who is ahead of me?
Who can I learn from?
Who will challenge me and get me out of my comfort zone?
Who is going in the direction that I want to go?

Those are the people that I need to follow. To help me set my pace, and to push me to new levels and help me learn. To walk on the journey with me, helping me navigate the course ahead. To hold me accountable as I stretch and grow. To remind of the purposes and plans for my life, encourage me in my faith and keep me on track. I might lag behind them awkwardly (I’m really good at awkward) but I’m going to catch up.

It doesn’t matter who you are.

How much experience you have.

How old you are.

If you’re at the top of your game.

There is always someone that you can follow.

Today, I saw the “walkers” out again. I didn’t see them much over the winter and I noticed something really interesting as I watched them. The gap between them has gotten smaller, the learner is catching up to the teacher. Soon they will be walking pace to pace. It’s a beautiful picture, and I imagine before long the one that worked so hard to catch up, will find someone that wants to follow her.

Look behind you and lead.

Look ahead of you and learn.

Find someone to follow.

DO YOUR WORK

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Have you ever noticed the attention span of a puppy? One minute out in a field, running and chasing a ball having the best adventure of life. Then, a butterfly lazily flutters by, and the puppy is off on its next amazing quest. I mean chasing a butterfly is pretty awesome. Oh, look there’s a bird!

And so it goes.

On and on. 

Going after one thing wholeheartedly until the next best thing walks (or flies) on by.

Such is the puppy life.

Is it weird that I relate to that? I think it is. I don’t even have a puppy. I’m not even really a dog person because they chase me and try to bite my face.

But I might have a little bit of puppy brain? I love new adventures, ideas, dreaming, chasing butterflies in parks, following pretty birds and all that fun stuff. I follow one thing, then something else comes along and I do a complete 360 and I’m off to the races! Bring on the new adventure!

This is how I’m wired, and it’s not all bad but sometimes in the pursuit of the new, I miss what’s right in front of me. Looking back at different seasons of life I can see where I should have maybe hung on. Then, a butterfly caught my attention and I was off to the next adventure. 

There’s a word that keeps popping up in my life this year, mostly from a friend of mine. She always uses this word in our conversations when she’s speaking into my life, I need to listen to her more. That word?

FAITHFULNESS.

When we do our work and live our life being present in all areas we’re being faithful.  The future won’t be awesome if we always neglect and dismiss the present. Where you are in your moments paves the way that you move forward. Faithfulness precedes the places we are going because it sets the foundation of where we are.

Chasing is fun. Building is harder. 

So I have this new thing I’ve decided to tell myself. (sternly if needed) 

DO YOUR WORK.

So I made this DO YOUR WORK list, to hang beside the new DO YOUR WORK sign which will be hung up in the spaces where stuff needs to get done, and where dreams needs to be dreamt. (Those places are more connected than we realize.)

So, here’s the plan. 

Stop looking at everyone else’s work. It’s good to be inspired and learn from other people, but when you spend your days looking at everything everyone else is doing and comparing that to your own journey – you will end up feeling inadequate. What you do is important, keep your eyes on your own page.

Don’t always be searching for the next great thing.  Put everything you have into making where you are the current best thing. Kick up the awesome of now. That’s actually where you are, so make now great. There’s always more, but love the present and live it well. 

Make sure in your dreaming you don’t miss your living. Dreamers are some of the best people around. But don’t dream so much that reality is something that feels beneath you. Ground your hopes and aspirations in the way that you live your life. The way you care for others, show kindness, live out compassion and faithfulness are the groundwork of authentic living. Dreaming up a life of awesome when you can’t be bothered to live a life of love is hollow.

Be faithful. Faithfulness can sound boring and dull. Not a word for a dreamer. But imagine a world where faithfulness reigned – in relationships, commitments, promises. Our world would be transformed. In everything you do, do it with all your heart and pour everything you have into your moments. Don’t cheat the present. Let your life shine of faithfulness. Make it part of your legacy.  

Imagine if we all just did our work?

Each of us.

Making everywhere and everything places of awesomeness.

Being the best in our present, setting the stage for our future. 

Keep chasing the butterflies and looking at the pretty birds,

But don’t forget what you’re holding in your hands. 

DO YOUR WORK

Do it well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misfit Life.

Fall inlove with taking care of yourself.

This place was my favourite place. The old house that told many stories through all its creaks, secret doors and peeling layers of wallpaper.

My favourite spot was the treehouse. I’d always wanted a secret lair surrounded by branches. I’d try to keep my brothers out, and I’d retreat with my stack of books and get lost in other worlds. These were the years of Harriet the Spy, Famous Five, Encyclopedia Brown and the rest of my favourite childhood reading adventures. 

My memories of home in that little town are so powerful and strong, it was my safe place and sanctuary. I still dream about that house. Yet that season was also a deep time of rejection. It’s not easy to start over, it’s hard to be new and for my young heart it was a painful place when I had to go outside the brick walls and leave my beloved treehouse behind. 

I still remember the dagger-like words. The clothes I was wearing and places I stood. Hate that was thrown. A tender heart that was shattered. The moments I started to doubt who I was, the downward spiral that would come.  

I created a mental escape. Every night in bed, I’d imagine this machine. It was like a slide. I’d start at the top as myself, then when I came out on the bottom I was whoever I wanted to be.

I’d imagine myself beautiful.

I’d imagine myself popular.

I’d imagine myself loved by everyone. 

I’d imagine myself not as myself.

Life went on. We moved again. I grew up. I worked years on overcoming hurts from the past, knowing there is healing for deep wounds. Yet, somedays the past pops back in for a visit and tries to take over the future. 

I’m back on that playground, the biggest misfit the world has ever seen.

Looking for the imaginary slide that will change who I am. 

Inadequacy creeps in slowly. Envy sneaks in and tries to rear it’s ugly face. Hurt slaps you in the face when you least expect it. Pain shoots through your heart like familiar wounds you thought were healed. If you’re not careful soon you’ve gone down a rabbit trail of perfectly filtered Instagram life that is unattainable. Or, you look around in social settings with the inner observation that the whole world is so much better than you. Then you are back in those long-ago places. You have missed out. Your endeavours have been a joke. You don’t belong. Nothing good ever happens. Why do I even try? 

You put on past pain like a pair of glasses that affects the lens through which you see. 

This is the lie of our culture. 

That we are not enough.

Don’t get stuck in that place. 

I’ve have a little secret, one that I’ve trained myself to do over the last couple years.  I don’t do it naturally, I do it intentionally. It takes effort and commitment, but I have learned I can control the way I think. When I feel that sting or pang I can change the course of my thoughts, I can adjust my focus. 

I look doubt and rejection in the eye. I know who I am 

Give inadequacy a swift kick. I can do all things

Stomp my foot hard. I won’t get stuck here

I am exactly who I’m meant to be.

Fearfully and wonderfully made.

No more hiding in the treehouse and dreaming of a life as someone else. Instead, a continued resolve to stand out in the bright light of life as one filled with calling and determination. 

Living life where I’m placed.

With purpose set out before me.

Trusting the One who gives me all things. 

Wiping away the past pain from the lenses.

Looking forward with clear vision.

Not on that playground anymore. 

 

 

What I’m leaving behind.

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Looking at some old pictures recently I was struck by the fact that there are generations behind me that have influenced my life who I don’t know.

Many of them I’ve never met. I’m acquainted by stories and studying their faded faces in yellow-edged photo albums. There are faint images of others that I remember in my mind as I scroll back through memories of years past.

My sweet grandparents who were very little and cute that I only met a couple times. I loved their house, and staring through the glass into the room we weren’t allowed to play in. I remember finding a box of romance books under a bed and sneaking a couple away to read. I have memories of visiting the church they served for years and walking around the streets where my dad grew up. 

I think of my great- grandfather who had a drawer full of candy in his room. We didn’t really know him well and were a little nervous, but we’d tentatively go up the creaky stairs with our mom when we visited our other Grandma’s house and get a treat and a sweet hug.

So many others, going even farther back. Family. Friends of family. Known only by stories and recollections. 

All part of who I am. Shaping so many parts of me. Faith. Family Values. Work Ethic. Relationships. Priorities. Parts of me that I don’t even know, trickling from generation to generation. 

It’s not just DNA that we pass along. 

Recently came the realization that as much as I love and adore my own family – a few generations away there will be those that are part of my legacy that won’t know me.

Referring to me from a distance. 

Remember great-grandmother Shelly?

Who was that crazy great-aunt you had?

What was your great- great-grandma’s name again?

I’ll be honest. I can’t dwell on that too much. It breaks my heart. I think of how much I love my kids, but what we have right now won’t be forever. I think of my extended family and friends. I think of those I mentor and lead. I can’t be part of the next 5 generations that come after me. They will go on and live their lives. And their kids will live their lives, and on it goes. I’ll have some influence for sure, I totally plan on being the coolest woman ever in the seniors facility and living all my minutes to the fullest.

But I won’t live forever. 

Legacy?

Legacy will go on.

Who I am right now becomes that legacy.

How I live each day is that legacy. 

I always thought legacy was what you left behind, and it is. But legacy is also something that you can intentionally create and shape in the present. It doesn’t have to be a passive part of your life. You can decide what you want your legacy to be. Each choice you make, the words you say, the way you treat people are what lives on. You can do a lifetime of good, and one bad decision or life choice can alter your legacy forever. It affects your family, it affects your friends, those you mentor, those you influence. Legacy matters and is far reaching. 

That’s a startling thought.

So what legacy are we living?

Legacy lived becomes legacy left. 

I don’t just want to be remembered for my absentmindedness, or the terrific ability I have to lose keys. I also accidentally put Mr. Clean in the fridge today, and I really don’t want to be remembered for that either. I know that I make bad choices, I have ugly moments, I react in anger, and I don’t always treat people the way I should.

I know my legacy will not be one of perfection. 

But I want it to be one of goodness.  

How to face disappointment with hope.

Being brave in times of fear. 

Persevering when it’s hard.

Saying sorry.

Living out authentic faith.

Being kind.

Pursuing crazy dreams. 

Serving others.

Showing forgiveness.

All this matters because legacy lived becomes legacy left. Pass on the best parts of you, and see those parts grow and be stronger in generations to come. How we live matters because who we are to those behind us, ultimately shapes who they become too. Family and stretching beyond. Legacy is far-reaching. 

So live the legacy you want to leave.

Live out your best replicable self. 

Sometimes I think of the future, and I imagine this sweet family looking at some old pictures, likely on technology that is ancient to them. There I am on an old digital photo. Likely taking a weird selfie with a donut wall. And some sweet child that I’ve never met but that is part of my family in generations to come is looking at my face. 

“Tell me about her,” they will ask.

“What will they say about me?” is what I think.

So I live with legacy purpose now, so that the good parts of me live on in them.

Legacy lived becomes legacy left. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find your small

Find your small

Today I drove by the public school in our neighbourhood and I saw a huge group of kindergarten students all gathered at the fence in their play area. I was wondering what could be going down in the schoolyard that could possibly be causing so much excitement. I noticed that they were all standing with their sweet little faces looking through the cold and frozen metal barrier to watch the big recycling truck picking up the recycling.

It was adorable. 

It looked like the most exciting day of their life.

Watching a truck picking up plastic and paper.

The man working, he must have felt like a rockstar with all those adoring eyes on him as he hoisted the contents of the bins and then hit the crush button. (recycling is pretty cool!) 

To those little kids, that was a big moment. What I take for granted, was a source of joy and excitement for them. 

I loved the reminder.

I needed the reminder.

There is so much joy to be found in the small things. And often, the small things are so much more than we realize.

In a world of large and loud we can lose sight of the small things. We look for and go after big, when small is really what fills our heart.

Small is where we find our joy.

I’ve struggled the last weeks with feelings of not being enough, wondering what else I should do, if I’ll ever reach the goals I constantly feel I need to set for myself. Isn’t it all about the hustle? But in those quiet reflective moments when everything is stripped away, all I’m really left with is emptiness. But I can’t stop. I keep going and I strive and strive for more, often missing what’s happening in my real-time life moments. 

Then, I saw those little kids in awe of a recycling truck.

I thought about my moments this past week, that likely seemed small as I lived them and the more I thought about them, the more I realized that small is where my heart is happiest. Reminding me of what I know, but often forget. 

What’s small, is actually what matters to me most.

I’d even say small isn’t small at all.

Making soup for my family on a cold winter’s day.

Having a schedule that allows me to drop my daughter off at school in the morning.

Living close to water and being able to drive to the lake to get inspiration.

Sharing a hug with a couple dear friends. 

New worship song on repeat.

An adorable picture from a sweet girl. 

Sitting at my desk writing.

An encouraging note. 

Taking my son grocery shopping before he goes back to school.

My star lights that I plug in every night when it starts to get dark.

A sweet husband picking me up a coffee.

Talking to my parents on the phone. 

When you start to add up all the small, you realize that the small makes the big. All our little moments are the ones that matter. I’m not talking about giving up on plans and purpose. Just remembering. Bright lights and big dreams are all good, but they can never replace the everyday things we do in our life that fills our hearts.

I love most in the small.

I thrive most in the small.

Small isn’t small at all. All the small rolled together, it’s actually gigantic.

So, go stand at your frozen chain-linked fences.

Embrace your moments like a 4-year old thrilled by a garbage truck.

Capture and hold onto all the joy,

Find your small.

 

Revealing Words.

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On a recent Netflix binge session over the holidays, I discovered a fascinating series called Manhunt : Unabomber. It’s not the normal thing I’d usually watch but I thought I’d give it a try, and soon I was hooked and the binge started. (binges are ok on Christmas break with holiday chocolate by your side.) 

In short, this series is a re-telling of the story of “unabomber” Ted Kaczynski who remained at large for over 17 years. During that time, he mailed or delivered a series of bombs that killed 3 American people, and injured many more. He started in 1979 and it wasn’t until 1995 that the real first break came in the case. It’s a fascinating and complex story – with many components.

The most interesting thing to me was how ultimately Kaczynski was caught because of his words. Every letter he sent was studied, an essay he wrote was published and eventually he was identified by the words he had used. His style, his prose, the way he expressed his thoughts were recognized by someone who knew him. For years, investigators went down the wrong path and initially didn’t think they was any merit to this new way of “linguistic forensics” but in the end it led to his arrest and conviction. (you really need to watch the series to get the full scope)

I couldn’t stop thinking about this for days. It’s pretty incredible. Imagine in a country of millions of people, you were identified precisely because of the way you expressed yourself through your words. 

It’s pretty simple.

Words reveal who you are. 

As a writer and communicator words make up so much of my life. When you think about it – words are an important part of everyone’s life.

That’s a staggering and sobering thought in our current climate. The past weeks I’ve observed and watched and read words on so many issues and situations happening around the globe.

Words of accusation. Words of retractions. Words of hate. Words of denial. Words of divisiveness. Words of pride. 

Words. Words. Words.

I keep thinking how much our words reveal who we are. I’ve observed how it’s easy to toss words over screens and on walls and in tweets, and how online “living” creates fake spaces where we feel brave and bold. We’re free to throw out daggers without fear of any consequences because after all, it’s only words. It’s just our opinion. It’s what we believe. We have the right to express ourselves.

And of course we do.   

But your words.

They reveal who you are.

Whether you are the most powerful leader in the world, or living your best life in the place where you’ve been planted – your words matter so much.

It’s said that actions speak louder than words. But words used as weapons shout so loud that even kindness can be drowned out. Good can be lost. Hope can be destroyed because the noise that surrounds suffocates and puts out the small lights of change trying to ignite.

I’m sure there have been words of love spoken out recently. There are many incredible voices in our culture that are believing for hope and for change. But I’m finding it hard to remember, those voices aren’t as clear. Hate shouts and tries to silence what love wants to do. 

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find words of kindness in a world where words of hate spread like fire. 

So let’s work on that. Every word we say. The way in which we conduct ourselves and express the things we are passionate about. There’s a way to do that without hate. There’s a way to stand up against the wrongs in the world in a way that doesn’t create more wrong. There’s a way to care about things that matter without destroying everyone who doesn’t agree with what you think.

Choose your words carefully.

They reveal who you are.

No one is changing the world with a word war. 

Maybe I simplify things. Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I need a stronger backbone and to be more confrontational. But I don’t see how that will change any of the things I care about. 

I can do more good in this word, and care about the things that matter to me by using words that don’t divide. I can make a different by going out and doing instead of sitting and yelling through a keyboard. 

Responding to hate with hate doesn’t change the world

Showing love changes the world.

Being love changes the world. 

I’m not saying it’s easy. There’s a lot of work to be done. 

I love words, but I want my actions to be louder. 

It’s a really weird thing to learn a lesson from a unabomber on Christmas break. 

But I did.

Our words matter.

Our words identify who we are.

Choose them with care.