Day 8

Day 8 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.

“People will want to know that there is hope”, a friend said. “They will want to find something to encourage them.”  I floated this blog to several close friends and trusted colleagues before I published it. This was the loving response from one of my friends. My thought? “Yeah! Don’t we all!”

I am recalling a conversation with another parent whose child had been recently diagnosed with cancer.  He said “I read everything I can find about (childhood) cancer. I keep hoping that at the bottom of every page it will say ‘he is going to live,’ but it never does.” A parent of a childhood cancer survivor myself, I understood and that understanding applies to my current life. I too want to see proof of life at the bottom of every page. I go to bed hoping tomorrow will look brighter, my illness less severe and my coping more effective .

I have spent months waiting for the page turn; waiting for the black and white of the yellow brick road to turn into technicolor but it hasn’t. Yet. But there is potential. The potential of hope gives me traction on days when my emotions are slick tires on ice, pulling me out of the quicksand of depression, and is a lighthouse when I think I’m drowning. That’s enough for me to hang on.

Activity report:
Made it to yoga and managed to keep my nutrition goals successfully. Until 5:00 p.m. Maybe I should make my bedtime at 4:30?

Day 7

Day 7 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.

I was raised in a religious environment that led me to believe if I wasn’t striving in my faith, in almost an angsty way, that I was moving backwards. If I wasn’t moving forward then I was regressing.  Stillness meant spiritual death. This is where I take my leave with faith that demands I strive in order to succeed.

I find peace in the stillness because I know God is there. It is in the blackness, the quiet and the silence that I am secure because it is where I feel the most held. There is no distraction of myself and my own feeble attempts to win the grace of One who gives it freely.

This year has been that stillness. I have not been working at my faith but thankfully it is is working on me. I have come to know it in a deeper way than I ever thought possible.

Activity report! Finally. I took a walk today. Now I am filled with the overconfidence that western immediate gratification tempts us with. My struggle to be disciplined in all areas of life is not so much in the starting. It is in the continuing. One day at a time, one right decision at a time. No room for guilt trips and failure speak

Day 6

Day 6 of 100 intentional, reflective steps

How naked is too naked?

This is the question I keep asking myself. As of this day I have not yet nailed this blog to the social media door.  I still feel protected from the poisonous arrows of criticism, scrutiny and judgement. I want to be vulnerable and honest but I know there is a part of me that wants to stay “covered” as soon as the world (Let’s be real. It may only be 10 people.) reads it. Once this hits my “crowds” of readers will I want to cover myself to hide all the unsightliness of my soul? I think this is the line in the sand. I want to be honest but not to the point of feeling embarrassed or embarrassing others with the view of my raw exposed soul.

Day 5

Day 5 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.

Things that others may take for granted are not constants for me.  Take parents for instance. Most people have a single set of parents, like ’em or not. Not me. I had birth parents. Then I had adoptive parents. Then adoptive parents. (Yes. Another set.) Then step parents. Then  guardianparentsfosterparentsguardianparents. Then I had parents in law. Yup that’s 6+ sets.

However ever since the third set of parents took charge there has been one constant in my life.  I have been in church every week of the last forty-ish years, except in cases of long illness or travel.  It has been a place of comfort, familiarity, tradition, relationship, fun, laughter, tears, work, play, and learning.

I love the church so much I became part of leading it because I thought, with proper leadership, it had the power to change the world! To date I have worked at seven church, three of which I helped start from scratch, plus countless other churches as a guest speaker or consultant. Perhaps this is is my non-spandex/capewearing/superhero way of being a part of changing the world? I love it and it has been a steady pillar in my crazy life.  

Until last year.
Last August, at the direction of loving, astute supervisors and with very little warning, I walked out of a church I birthed and never returned.  I had to walk away to save myself. For months I cried deep, wrenching sobs every sunday. I was white hot angry at pastors who whined about their jobs and was booger green jealous at those churches that seemed to thrive even under weak, careless or (what was that Pence word?) oh, “feckless” leadership. I still tear up when I think of those people and duck around corners when I see them because I don’t feel I can talk without tearing up and making us all feel uncomfortable.
But it isn’t just my church I got cut off on. It seems to be every church. When I try and visit church I shake, break into cold sweats, am over the top anxious and due to naseau feel ready to toss my communion wafers and grape juice. I have tried arriving late so I don’t have to interact, earplugs and several other calming techniques, to no avail. “Why does this happen?”, people ask me. I don’t fecking (pence word) know, anymore than I know how to fix it. I hate it and feel like I am being unjustly kept from oxygen. 
Without the life raft and ritual of church I am still adrift but finding patience to wait for my health to catch up with my hope. I have had to remind myself that going to church doesn’t equal faith; that’s just ritual. It has re-prioritized my relationship with God to be what it always should have been, focused on Christ not on the gathering of people. I can now focus on what I have and not what I’ve lost, the beautiful collective expression of faith.   
So, relax people. My not going to church doesn’t mean I’m going straight to hell, just to starbucks. Judge that coffee snobs, not my faith.

Day 4

Day 4 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.

Today as I was standing on my head trying to re-distribute my weight, i.e. thin out my calves so they would fit into sexy black boots, I had a thought.  I’m fat. This was quickly followed by the thought that not everything I do has to be a blog or sermon illustration or GOD FORBID, a visual. Sometimes we are just fat.

My fear in publishing a blog is that I will become an oversharing (too late), over zealous (WOW!!!!),  millennial (too old) who thinks my every thought is brilliant. Thats not what this blog is about. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck . . . Its time for supper and roast duck! The goal here are observations and trends that guide me forward. This observation is guiding me to the gym. See, its working.

Dressed for yoga and then decided to fight with my husband instead.  Raised my heart rate though. That’s got to count for something.