Remembering to breathe…

breatheHow is it that we can fill our lives up to the last minute of the day with stuff to do, even without the obligation of a 9 to 5 job? Or is it just me? These last few days…weeks…months – oh, I don’t know; they keep blurring together! – I seem to be going on fast-forward constantly. So much that I have to remind myself to breathe.

Then I got to thinking…what exactly am I breathing in when I do breathe? Our lungs need air, but not just any air: clean air! Imagine working out on a spinning (indoor cycling) bike in a room filled with smog. You may be able to stand it for a little bit, but it won’t be long before you have to stumble out of there in search of clean air. That smog won’t sustain you for the task at hand. In the same way, when my life cranks up to warp speed, I have to stop often and take a breath in God’s presence so that the smog of life doesn’t choke me. It’s so easy to do the fast-food, drive-thru version of my time with God, but I must remember that garbage in, garbage out. Any compromise on the quality of my food, spiritual or otherwise, is a compromise on the quality of my strength.

Excuse me while I take a breath…

Nutrition Facts (or Fiction)

CapnCrunchThis morning, I was in the kitchen while Temi, my 12 year-old, was pouring herself a bowl of cereal before heading out to catch the school bus. I glanced at the box of Cap’n Crunch that I’d been pressured to buy (Ok, it was a buy-one-get-one-free deal from Publix). I said, “I’ll bet you that cereal has zero nutritional value.” Temi looked at me with a look that translated as “duh!” and promptly replied, “Of course it does, Mom, otherwise it wouldn’t have a Nutrition Facts label!”

[sigh] Ay, ay, Cap’n…

Hold me, Jesus!

Don’t feel like talking (or writing) much, but I’ll let this video by Rich Mullins speak for me. It echoes the cry of my heart today.

‘Nuff said…

‘Bout time!

‘Bout time I visited my blog and actually wrote something…you know, just in case there really is someone out there who drops by every now and then, wondering what’s going on in my world (hey, it could happen!).

examiner_logo-headerRecently, I got a gig writing for an online publication, Examiner.com. My official title is the Orlando Christian Women’s Examiner. It’s fancy speak for “I get to write articles pertaining to Christian women with a local angle.” When I accepted the gig, I thought to myself “psh, piece of cake!” You see, writing has never been hard for me. Being a student of language, I enjoy the nuances of the art – writing, reading, sculpting words to create a masterpiece, especially on a topic I absolutely love… However, this formal writing adventure I’m just embarking upon has me scratching my head a few times too many.

It’s one thing to blog about n’importe quoi (whatever), but quite another to come up with topics you think other women would be interested in and sound like an expert while you’re at it. What’s more, you have to post frequently, to encourage traffic on your page! If you’re a praying person and have noticed how infrequently I’ve been blogging of late, please consider this a prayer request… and come visit my Examiner page as often as you can – it translates into pennies for me. And feel free to leave a comment or two, or email me (but only if you have something nice to say 🙂 )

Until next time  – peace!

Anne of Green Gables

Anne-of-Green-GablesI just recently discovered the Anne of Green Gables video series, thanks to a group of girlfriends of mine who had the ingenious idea to have an Anne video tea party. OMG – we had all kinds of fun! I will admit that initially I went more out of a desire to hang out with some “kindred spirits” than anything else, but after seeing the movie, I was well and truly hooked.

Anne is a precocious, outrageously outspoken orphan girl with flaming red hair which she thinks is the bane of her existence, and an imagination to match. All of the trouble she seems to land herself in only serves to make her more and more endearing.

After my Anne encounter, I immediately thought of my girls. I have a 15 year old (Bimi) and a 12 year old (Temi) in whom I’d really like to instill an appreciation for the old classics. I mean, I guess High School Musical and CGI movies have their place in pop culture and all, but what about the timeless oldies like Sound of Music (one of my personal favorites)?

I knew Bimi and Anne were kindred spirits with their technicolor flights of fancy and love of the written word, but I wasn’t so sure about my laid-back, Disney-doting Temi. Anyway, armed with the first Anne DVD which I borrowed from a friend and appropriate snacks, we had a girls’ movie night. What a night! We laughed at Anne’s melodramatic antics, cried when Matthew died and loved every one of the 195 minutes (it ended at 1 am). What’s more, the girls want to watch it again and haven’t stopped talking about it and dropping Anne quotes since! They even walk past the DVD and break into giggles over one scene or the other that they remember from it. Warms my belly, it does!

Next weekend, the same group of ladies are getting together for another tea party viewing of Anne – The Sequel, raspberry cordial included (you have to watch the movie to get that inside joke). I’ll be taking my young ladies with me and we can’t wait…wanna come?

Uh-huh, it’s my birthday…

 

My birthday cakeToday marks the day I was born, many, many, many, many years ago – or so it seems! When I look back on my life, I feel like I’ve lived many lifetimes. And I’ve loved each one of them. Maybe not necessarily while they were happening (for some of them), but certainly after the fact.

It was a quiet day, spent at home with the family (not counting the couple of hours at the gym), with good food and good company. Plenty of time to ponder my many blessings, take all my birthday phone calls and respond to each of the umpteen Facebook birthday greetings I got (yes, I’m weird like that). I feel so blessed! Sure if I had it to do over, I’d script a few things a little differently. For example, I’d have washboard abs and better hand-eye coordination. I’d have my son home for the weekend from college. When my Dad called from Nigeria, I’d get to also hear my Mom’s voice, instead of sending her hugs and messages through God. I’d have answers to some of the questions I’m asking God during this season of my life…you know, stuff like that.

For now, though, there are many things in the script of my life that I am most grateful for. Things like good health. A family I love, that loves me back. Friends who care. A car that’s old, but paid for. A nice roof over my head. Food in my fridge and pantry; a fridge and pantry! Nice clothes and shiny, pretty things to wear with them. Oh, and the shoes…yeah, I’m a shoe girl and I like my shoes. For these, and so much more, I am truly thankful.

On top of all of that, it’s Friday – booyah! 🙂

Lessons on the beach

beach shells

OK, can I just say that I found out this morning that sand dollars are false advertising? I’ll elaborate in a second.

My family and I spent the weekend at Fort Myers Beach in a beautiful beach condo, courtesy of some lovely friends of ours. I had an idea for a craft project (does that make me crafty?) that required me to collect some shells, so I hopped across the street to the beach bright and early, kicked off my sandals and made a beeline for the shore, armed with my camera (you never know what sights you may come across), cell phone (you know, in case of emergency) and a ziploc bag (to store aforementioned shells).

First, let me digress a bit. Whodda thunk that you can get a pedicure just walking along the shore? Just occasionally grind the soles of your feet in the combo of wet sand and shells as you walk, and let the water wash over them repeatedly – bam! free pedicure, courtesy of nature!

OK, back to what I was saying. I found quite a few treasures along my walk, some really pretty shells, including a rather large conch and some bits of what looks like mother-of-pearl (well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it until some mother-of-pearl connoiseur can prove otherwise). As I walked, I spotted something large and round that was washed ashore. Let it be a huge shell, I prayed silently. I picked up said object and inspected it. A sand dollar. Only it looked nothing like the pretty white ones I’ve seen in stores and framed art, the ones that are in the picture above (which, by the way, is a stock photo but could have been a snapshot of my collection, minus the sand dollars). This one was brownish-black with fuzz all around the edges. When I flipped it over…ewww! The backside was completely covered with gill-like stuff that reminded me of the underside of a portabella mushroom. I noticed that there were a few others around me and they all looked like that. I dropped it, stepped away in disgust and kept steppin’. A little further up, I stopped to indulge in a beach pedicure. As I dug my ashy heels into the sand/shell pumice, a lady walked up to me. She had noticed me picking shells and proudly held out her hands, with 5 sand dollars in them. “Ma’am, would you like one? I found these back there!” (pointing in the direction I’d come from). I marveled at her enthusiasm. She looked like she’d found a treasure and was eager to share. I tried my darnedest not to poop on her parade and so I nicely declined, thanking her for her generosity.

As she walked away, I marveled. The same object that I had dropped in disgust and walked away from, she had found and gathered like a prize. My trash was her treasure.  What a reflection of life! It made me begin to second-guess my rejection of the ugly sand dollars. Then I thought ‘nah!’

Imagine with me that that sand dollar was a person who had feelings. It would have suffered rejection and a blow to its self-esteem by my insensitivity. I saw no beauty at all in it because I was comparing it to an ideal, commercially appealing image. But then right on the heels of that rejection, God sent along someone who did not see it through the same filter that I did. Instead she saw the raw, natural beauty in that sand dollar and ascribed value to it, pouring salve on the bruise inflicted by my repulsion and restoring its self-esteem.

Who knew that my simple quest to gather shells would end up being a gentle reminder from God about the power of love and checking the lenses through which I see? I love how He can get my attention even when I’m not paying any!

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