The woman who speaks in this video Brene' Brown, states that what she discovered through her research presented here profoundly changed how she lived, loved, and parented. What she shared about her research has also hit me to the core. In a very good way. Please, watch the video before reading any of my thoughts. I don’t want to rob you of the experience as well! *Note: she uses two or three curse words. Just want you to be prepared and mindful of your audience. It's also twenty minutes long. It will be a quick twenty minutes though, I promise.
This was a wake up call for me because, well, I seriously struggle with vulnerability. Not that I'm two completely different people, but admitting weaknesses certainly isn't my strong suit. I mean, I come from the world where you practice, to make perfect, before you ever let anyone see it....
You can see how this can lead to simply not attempting things. I know it has limited my relationships.
“To let ourselves be seen, to love with our whole hearts even with no guarantee, to practice gratitude and joy, to believe we are enough. When we believe we are enough, we stop screaming and start listening. We’re kinder and gentler to the people around us and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”
That’s grace ladies and gentlemen. I may never be enough. But God is. And He lives in me. That is enough.
I pray that leads to me extending a little more grace to both myself and my fellow man/woman.
Have you seen Les Mis yet? I've been twice thus far, and it always haunts me for days later. I have seen a local production of the musical before and watched the non-musical version of the movie, but none have moved and spoke to me the way this production did. It seems people either love or hate it. Those who have been lucky enough to have seen it in London may have not been as impressed, and I get that I suppose. When will the majority of the masses ever get to see such a quality rendition of it like this one? I could go on and on about the technical wonder of the movie, which if you want to read up on all that stuff cause you're interested like me, it's in the production notes which can be found on the official Les Miserables website. If that's your thing, I think you'll be impressed.
What made me love the movie though, was the story. The songs. Gosh, the songs. The whole story tells of the redemption available through forgiveness- and the hope we can find in the love of God. A priest's love sets Jean Valjean on a different path in life, which leads to the rescue and redemption of a young girl and her love. All of this is of course set against the antagonist- Javert, who believes once a criminal- always a criminal. Once fallen, always fallen.
It made me check my own heart. How quick am I to condemn those around me for past mistakes, effectively sentencing them to repeat them? Like Javert telling Valjean- "you will starve again" right after being told of his parole. Or, am I willing to love them, and myself, enough to give either of us a chance?
The end of the movie has a quote, "to love another person is to see the face of God." What is going to define my life? Love, or judgement? What am I going to fight for? This is what haunts me.
"Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley if the night. It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light. For the wretched of the earth there is a pain that never dies. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise!
They will live again in freedom in the garden of The Lord. We will walk behind the plowshare, we will put away the sword. The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward!
Will you join in our crusade, who will be strong and stand with me? Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see? Do you hear the people sing, say do you hear the distant drums? It is the future that we bring when tomorrow comes!"
Go see it!
Wednesday is my "task" day off. It's the perfect day in the middle of the week to just get things done. Like cleaning, grocery shopping, and laundry. The "meh" duties that just have to get done every week. On days like today, I like to throw a little "refreshing" into the blah cleaning routine. Refreshing is more fun that cleaning. Now, you can't really refresh unless you have also cleaned, or it kind of spoils the effect. But, for me it's what makes me feel like the cleaning was really worth it.
What is "refreshing" you ask? Well, it's the little stuff. Like putting some fresh flowers or greenery in a vase on the kitchen table. Setting out some fresh fruit in a bowl. Fluffing your pillows. Changing out your pillows. Changing a picture in a frame. The little details that make home a nice place. It helps your home feel fresh and seasonal without breaking the bank or taking up hours of your time.
A new addition for me is this chalkboard in my dining room. I already had the frame (more on what I moved out of there later) and the chalkboard paint, so all I had to do was buy the plywood to paint and put in the frame. Minimal investment- both financially and of time. For a while I've wanted a way to change out quotes or verses in a visual display at the house easily. Why I never thought of a chalkboard here I don't know, but I love it now that I have it. Part of refreshing today was putting a new verse on there.
God works in mysterious ways. I had the idea while I was cleaning today to post on refreshing your home. Every last piece of my (multiple) Bible studies have been throwing little "repentance" darts my way. Apparently God is trying to get my attention. After my class tonight, I came home and this verse just popped into my head. The two ideas, repentance and refreshing had never been linked in my mind before. What a beautiful picture of how God works in our lives. When we start hearing the call to repentance all we see is usually what we are turning away from and giving up. What if we turned our eyes to what we are getting? Seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Just like you have to clean first to be able to see and appreciate your freshening (I mean, you don't notice a vase of flowers amidst a table full of clutter), God wants us to allow Him to clean our spiritual house first. He can take our lifeless, dull, soul homes and spiff them up with flowers that last more than a few days. For seasons.
I love January. After the hustle and bustle and just plain surviving we do for the holiday season, it's so nice to take a deep breath, exhale, and PLAN! I admit, I'm a nerd who loves lists and planners and the like. But, regardless of your affinity (or lack there of) for plans I'm convinced that New Years Resolutions just make good sense. If you don't set any goals, how will you ever move forward? And, if you do happen to move forward, how will you ever realize it? That's my take on the issue at hand. Our pastor preached an excellent sermon this past Sunday on what the ultimate New Years resolution should look like for believers. You can listen here.
In light of his sermon, my theme for the year will be "Enthusiastically," from Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men."
More specifically, I have a few goals for the year that fall under that. I share, hoping that maybe you'll find some inspiration for your own goals for the year and that I'll have some accountability. (Gulp.)
1. Strengthen my prayer life. In the last couple of years I've gained a lot of ground with consistency regarding my Bible study. Prayer often gets left out. At least diligent, more than one sentence "help me please" prayer. So, I'm starting with Beth Moore's "Praying God's Word"- and after that is done I plan to do Kay Arthur's "Lord Teach Me to Pray."
2. Read through the New Testament. I read through the Bible in 2011 and loved it. Lately I've felt a need to really examine Jesus' words. I mean He did say, "If you love me, you will do as I command."
3. Read more. This has been a goal for the past couple of years but hopefully my new-to-me iPad with Kindle app will help make this a reality. I'm going to start easy with one book a month, trying to alternate fiction and non-fiction. This month I'm starting with "Les Miserables." I'm telling you, after the movie, I'm completely obsessed. Again, if you haven't seen it...GO!! NOW!!
4. Write more. I'm not sure how this is going to play out. Maybe more here on the blog? Maybe some studies with my hubs? Maybe nothing no one ever even gets to read besides myself. I've just noticed a growing sense of helplessness when it comes to crystalizing my thoughts for others. I used to really enjoy writing. But, it's been about 10 years since I've really HAD to do any that counted for anything. I feel like I need to brush up on my skills.
5. Invest in the lives of those around me that I love. This is very broad, but I've got a few small things that fit in under it's heading. Things like, eat dinner by candlelight with my husband most nights. We've gotten entirely to used to eating in front of the TV. Maybe we will be eating hot dogs by candlelight, but at least we will be SHARING the meal, and hopefully our thoughts and ideas and days with it...instead of just consuming food next to one another. And, maybe it will inspire me to start cooking a little more again. I haven't a lot lately. I miss it. I want to plan visits to stay with our siblings and their families. It seems like we only ever see them a few hours in passing. It means a lot to have people step into your world/home and to step into theirs.
6. Get a new kitchen. I mean it. I'm declaring 2013 the year of the Kitchen! I've wanted one since we moved in four and a half years ago. It's falling apart and is the last great eye-sore left in our home. It's going to be an investment. Thus, concurrent with this goal is to actually make and STICK TO a budget that will actually allow me to do said kitchen by about September. That is the plan anyway. I know myself and the budget is not requiring me to forgo every little enjoyment until then (if it did, the budget would be blown and thus pointless) but for more reasons than just a kitchen I need to cut the clothing habit and be wise with my dollars.
That's it! Enough huh? What are you resolving for the next year?
Beginning today...soup and sandwiches by candlelight!
We had a wonderful holiday season. Probably one of the best in years. A few of the best decisions we made: Wrapping gifts as I got them, decorating in installments (getting decorations down one day and then putting them up in segments made the process so much easier to handle), decorating with fresh greenery (nothing to put away, and it lasted surprisingly well) and scheduling a few days at home just the two of us amidst travel hustle and bustle. That little reprieve was so welcome! Also- reading the book "Behold the Lamb" as an advent devotional added so much to the story of Christmas for me. (Now I tell you, right?) File that for next year.
Foggy Christmas. I was working so the hubs went and took cool photos.
Went to see Les Miserables with the in-laws. EXCELLENT movie. Must see.
Sweet kitty under the tree. She wasn't exactly a Christmas gift, but she is a gift.
Got to spend New Years in this idyllic place. Perfect for reorienting yourself for the New Year.
I am a wife and a nurse. My walk with God started when I was seven, and has been one grand adventure since then. I have loved running hard after Him. If you ever want to watch a good movie, talk about a great book, bake just about anything, take a long hike on a pretty trail or rummage through antique stores, give me a call!