Monday, June 27, 2011

Puerto Rico

Tomorrow my best friend and I are headed to Fajardo, Puerto Rico to this resort for some MUCH needed R&R. Lots of reading. Lots of sleeping. Lots of journaling. Lots of yoga. Lots of prayer. I'm so looking forward to these 8 days. Be back late next week.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yoga as Freedom

I know I've been a little quiet on the yoga front lately. You can thank an out of line vertebrae (ouch!) and some super hard poses for that silence. We've been working on bridges and wheels and various poses of fun that once you're in them you have no idea if (or how) you'll ever return back to standing again.

My schedule has been nuts the past month. My yoga teacher asked me how I felt about life at the moment a week ago. My honest answer? "I feel like a dog on a short leash in a small cage. I feel like a slave to the clock and my to-do list." She suggested we work on some poses that encouraged a sense of freedom. I was skeptical. Bend this way and feel free? Yea right.

We worked on a few poses and then spent a long time in the side plank pose. My initial thought? This is how people break hips! We held it on both sides for a long time. Long. "Reach farther." Okay. Closed my eyes and reached farther well aware that all xxx pounds of me was mainly being supported by one foot and one arm. I was too busy focusing on the movement to pay attention to feelings.

We finished and settled into savasana. After a few moments she said, "How do you feel now?"

No kidding-Like a bird released from a cage. Free.

Yoga continues to amaze and inspire me. Thankful for these moments with faith and movement collide.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Letting the tea kettle whistle

Ever need a reset? A do-over? A minute to re-group? Just some time?

Me too and next week I'm going to do exactly that. More about that adventure later, but for now, I'm learning to be quiet and still.

I have a tea kettle. A red one. It makes that high pitched, "your tea is ready" sound that drives my dogs crazy. I never let it get that far. It's hot enough. Hit off. Carry on.

Most days I just use my water cooler that has a hot water option. No sound. No waiting. Put tea in to go cup and I am out of here.

But this morning I put the water in the tea kettle, placed it on the stove and waited. I heard the water start to boil and saw the steam start to emerge. Sometimes when all that's inside bubbles over we come to life, too.

I let it screech announcing it was done and thought about how when we've had all we can possibly handle, the Father removes us from the heat. Slowly, it quieted and so did I.

I poured the water over the tea bag and took time to witness the transformation. I felt the Spirit whispering in my heart that He was near, present, able and willing to be all that I needed in this day, this moment, this place.

I added vanilla almond milk and sat on my counter not wanting to get too far from the thin space between Heaven and Earth. I whispered prayers of thank you.

Thank you for the transformations. Thank you for Your patience with me. Thank you for the times when you've turned up the heat so that all that is within me bubbles over and reminds me to live. Thank you that when life is too hard you rescue me from the fire and draw me to Yourself.

And thank You for the reminders to stop long enough to let the tea kettle whistle. Let's do it again tomorrow. Amen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vision of Lucy - A Book Review

A Vision of Lucy is the third and final book in the Rocky Creek Romance series by Margaret Brownley. I didn't read the other two. I typically don't read historical or romantic fiction, but surprisingly I really enjoyed this one. Set in 1882 it tells the story of Lucy, a young girl wanting to be a photographer despite her father's wishes. The characters are endearing, the story is believable and the quest is inspiring. What's not to love? It's a great "fluff" read which we all need once in awhile! I enjoyed it.

*For Thomas Nelson

Why I don't wear a cross

People always ask me why I don't wear a cross. Apparently I strike them as a person who should. I own several necklaces with beautiful crosses - some simple, some seriously bling bling. During other seasons of my life I have worn them. There's definitely a point of remembrance when you look in the mirror, straighten out the clasp or reach to your neck. I get it.

But, I also get that there's a whole bunch of people using Jesus as jewelry and eventually that just kind of got on my nerves a little bit. Oh, I think some people wear it for the right reasons, but some not so much. Plus, I think if you're going to wear Jesus you should act like Him which is EXACTLY why I have nothing spiritually related on my Jeep :)

I digress.

Anyone who has known me for 5 minutes knows my favorite book in all the world is Between the Dreaming and the Coming True by Robert Benson. He makes the point that we have all come from God and we are on our way back home to Him. In essence-a journey.

My life with the Lord is a journey for sure and I'm certain I wouldn't have it any other way. When I found this necklace a few years ago I knew it was perfect. I've rarely taken it off since. It's a compass and the other side says, "There's no shortcut to anywhere worth going."

No, it's not a cross. But, when I move the clasp around, see it in the mirror or take it off on occasion I do stop and remember. I remember that I'm on the way home to Him and every day brings me 24 hours closer. And as I hold it in my hand I whisper a prayer, "Thank you that you're on the journey with me."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Quotable Rogue - A Book Review

I love Sarah Palin so understand my opinions on any book about her may be a little biased. I appreciate strong women who do not apologize for conservative beliefs in an age where standards and values are not popular. I value people who acknowledge their mistakes, accept imperfections personally and publicly, and people who stand for the things on which our country was founded. I especially enjoyed this book because it's her own words. How many times do we get to hear from the politician themselves on issues they believe in? Not often. I think Matt Lewis did a great job condensing her publicized views into this book. It's easy to read and paints a fair picture of a strong woman in this country's political future.

*For Thomas Nelson

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jesus doesn't go to your church either

I certainly am not in the school of all roads lead to God. For instance, I think Islam leads God. I know it is at times more socially acceptable to embrace a Universalist mindset and just say, "It's all the same thing," but as far as I'm concerned, it isn't. I take most of the Bible literally even to the point of losing a few popularity points along the way. And Rob Bell can say what he wants to, but I think there is a Hell and I have no intention of going there (thank you, Jesus!).

That said, I've reached the point of nauseous exhaustion over arguing with people about denominational preference lately. I really want to create a t-shirt that says, Jesus doesn't go to your church either. Snarky, maybe, but I'm so tired of people knowing they're right and if my views don't line up with your views then one of us is wrong. Maybe. And, maybe not.

I can safely say I intend to spend eternity right next to my friends in various denominations. We may differ on a whole lot of things sometimes. Some of us prefer liturgical worship and others do not. Most of my closest spiritual relationships are people who walk through very different doors to very different churches and embrace a very different worship style on varying days. Some of those churches I'd be comfortable in and others I would not. That doesn't make any of them right or wrong. Turns out, I'm not the standard by which God judges. (Darn!)

I've been super hurt by some ignorant and mean spirited comments from a lot of people in my life the past few months. (My favorite was, "I'd love to tell you why you're wrong but you're not worth it." Really??) Choosing to change churches and denominations was not an easy choice for me which is why I'm not going to put on here where that is right now. True, I don't want the backlash, but I also really don't think it matters.

Salvation is by faith alone - always has been, always will be.

And as a gentle reminder to myself and some other people, if you think someone is wrong in their beliefs, church, whatever - being mean to them may not be the best way to lead them back to the truth. I'm just sayin.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Fight of Our Lives - A Book Review

I think it's fair to say that the interest in Islam has grown since the devastating events of 9/11. In an attempt to pick up the pieces, this nation has sought to understand the why's and the how's of such brutal terrorism. In my opinion we've come a long way and we have a long ways to go. William Bennett is a leading authority on historical facts as they relate to Christianity. He also has a brilliant take on current events. I think overall this book is fair. It's not a "bash Obama" book, but it also doesn't excuse that under his watch more problems have surfaced. This is a brave book. The opinions cannot be popular with everyone, but they are important. The truth about a real enemy is frightening, but Bennett is not afraid to bring them to the light. It was also an excellent retelling of so many horrid events in our recent history including Fort Hood of 2009. He doesn't mince words. His facts are accurate. This is an important book for the people of this country.

*For Thomas Nelson

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Seraph Seal A Book Review

Ok, I loved this book. Apocalyptic fiction is not necessarily my cup of tea. Reading theories of speculation isn't my favorite past time. That said, this book is fabulous. I'm a huge Leonard Sweet fan anyway and was totally impressed with his ability to transfer his typical non-fiction writing into a fiction setting. This book made me think and made me curious several times about what would happen next. The suspense was just enough, the facts were present and the setting was believable. It was a win for me all the way around. And, it's a LONG book. I love a book that doesn't end too soon. And I don't want to give any of it away, so just trust me when I say, "read it." Set in 2048 you'll wonder at the end what you would do if you had to choose between saving humanity or let the Earth self destruct on your watch. A great read.

*For Thomas Nelson

An Amish Christmas - A book Review

Oops. I did just say the other day I don't read Amish books, but I forgot I still had this one to review. I do make an exception on all fiction at Christmas time because I LOVE Christmas books. I start reading them in November every year and am a little sad to set them aside in January. This book is a collection of four novellas (score!) and tell wonderful tales of a simpler time around the holidays. It's a book that's perfect on a cold winter night with a fire and a cup of tea. It's not exactly my type of fiction or reading, but it was a quick read, interesting, and definitely a feel good collection of stories for the holidays. I immediately passed it on to my grandmother who adored it. So there you go.

*For Thomas Nelson

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yoga as a practice

They say (whoever they is) that it takes 21 days to make a habit. This rang true about 3 weeks in when I started waking up in the morning thinking about yoga. I've broken up my "homework" from my instructor into very short morning and evening routines framing and controlling stress. These times are quickly becoming the parts of my day I look forward to the most.

A quick word about stress: I realize comparatively I don't have a lot to be stressed out about. Obviously I've chosen a packed life and much of my stress is self induced in more ways than one. That said, I don't think it matters the amount, what makes a difference to our health is how we manage it. I, admittedly, do not handle it well. Yoga has brought that screaming to the surface and is slowly helping me deal with it better. Invaluable.

Yoga has reminded me how important routine is. A life of faith, a life of balance, a life that is centered and peaceful evolves slowly from the quiet moments of devotion. Whether it's prayer, yoga, meditation, exercise, whatever - we wake up one day unable to pinpoint exactly when it happened, but know deep within the core of our very beings - we are changed for the better.