Thursday, January 26, 2012

All Grace

In the busyness of life it's important sometimes to just slow down. To put on my favorite flip flops and kick them off when I find the perfect spot. To chat with a friend about how faithful God is in the big things and the small things and everything in between while running fingers through the sand. To remember God's faithfulness and his power to bind hearts together for the sake of sanity in this life and forever friendship in the next.Taking time to lay on the beach getting much sand in my hair and looking at the clouds for awhile is unplanned happiness. Surrendering to the moment, breathing, and remembering to just be. It's as if God placed the perfect cloud creation in the air just for my happiness. The clouds don't have a care in the world and for one beautiful split second, neither do I.
And time to just remember I'm loved by a power greater than my understanding. I belong to a God who ordained these days before the foundation of time. Even the winds and the waves obey him. I am painfully small in comparison to his greatness, but I matter to him. I stumble, I fall, I find victory, and occasionally bump into eternal moments. And I'm learning the good, the bad, the easy, the hard. . .it all matters and it's all grace.

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:16

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Buying Boardwalk

I love Monopoly. I thought it was fun as a child and still do. It's been years since I pranced my silver dog (I insisted on the dog!) around the perfect square and bought properties I couldn't afford with almost endless money, but in my mind I still remember the magical feelings.

You could BE somebody in Monopoly with the right roll of the dice. Abundant fame and fortune were only shadowed by an inconvenient, but brief, stay in jail. And so what if you lost it all? Just close the board, go get a snack and play again later where the money reappeared and the chances started all over again. Oh, for life to be that easy.

Probably worth confessing is I never, ever bought Boardwalk. It won't surprise those who know me best - even though I can be fiercely competitive, it almost kills me to follow the norm. In other words, people LOVED to play Monopoly with me. I almost always lost. I felt sorry for the properties people landed on and sighed, so I bought them. Besides, I like purple and light blue! I would rather have a quaint cottage in the forest than a mansion in the city any day. And even though I lost, I felt happy. My own little seven year old interpretation of helping the underdog and saving the world.

I never pictured myself being this or having that, but if we're not careful the societal pressure to belong will suffocate us into conformation. You don't fit here unless _____. You fill in the blank. And it's almost humanly impossible to keep up, but so many of us will die trying.

In my own heart, I'm wiping the board clean this year. I'm taking all the hotels and houses I've added to things to make them more important and putting them back in the box. I'm taking steps to simplify my life every single day. I don't want to play the "she who has the most money at the end wins" game. I want to play the "she made the world better by being here" life.

So, I'll go around the board as many times as God has ordained learning as I go, collecting wisdom, strength and courage with every roll of the dice. I'll be thankful for the way my life has turned out so far whether it looks like what I think it should or not. I'll be just as content on Atlantic Avenue as I would be on Boardwalk. And with any luck - I'll stay out of jail.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Here's to Reading - 2011

No secret that I'm an avid reader. I love the feel of a great book from the worn pages to the way it makes my soul feel when it ends. I like to share books and I love those who share books with me. There's just something so magical about the written word.

I finished 2011 having read just over 200 books. Part of the year I was still reviewing, but I nervously gave that up mid stream. I miss it, but it was the right decision.

I'm also slowly transitioning into e-reading with my Kindle Fire. I'm equally excited and sad to see reading go digital. More on that another time.

Out of almost 200 books finished cover to cover - here are my favorites!

Devotion by Dani Shapiro

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor

Take This Bread by Sara Miles

The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Yoga for Depression by Amy Weintraub

Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson

Living Prayer by Robert Benson

And that's it! Onto 2012!

And since you asked - I'm starting this year with. . . .

Poser: My life in 23 yoga poses by Claire Dederer