Sunday, May 31, 2009

Authentic Enthusiasm!

Dictionary defines Enthusiasm the following:

1. absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit  

OR my personal favorite definition...

2. any various forms of extreme religious devotion, usually associated with intense emotionalism and a break in orthodoxy.

People who know me - know me to be a Jesus Freak or "very religious" as my non-church going friends always say. I would say my enthusiasm for my relationship with Jesus is pretty intense and is a break in orthodoxy in today's world -  especially for folks in my generation, who at an alarming clip are RUNNING from churches or any thing related to God. But that is another post - tonight I am writing about my authentic enthusiasm for my future.

You see, last week I made a few decisions that absolutely will change the trajectory of my future for the better. I don't want to elaborate just yet but I can say that I am in the scary territory now.

In my life - things sort of happen like this:

Decisive Direction
Uninhibited Enthusiasm (where I am today)
Execution of Plan

Once I am in Phase III  - there is usually no turning back and it is a faith-filled whirling into the future I go. This pattern has played out over in over in my life and those who have known me for longer than a year knows this to be true.

The only reason I am scared is because I need to find the additional time in my life to incorporate the plan for this new passion. I already dropped piano lessons - which were an impromptu addition to my life in February. Once my current plan is in full force - I will be back in piano lessons. For sure.

The next week will be critical for moving into Phase IV - Building the Plan and I hope to be full throttle into Phase V - Execution of the Plan within 30 days. Ouch. My brain hurts thinking of it but my hearts skips and THAT is what will carry me.

By the end of 2009 (7 short months from now) - I will be having Ruby dreams come true.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Authentic Rest

I am looking forward to this weekend.

Four quick days away - travel - an activity my family and I  love and cherish.

Not sure exactly why but I really need rest and I need it now.

Rest from my current pattern.

Respite from my daily routine.

I need guttural belly laughs with the ones who mean the most to me.

God, please grant me Authentic Rest this weekend!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Observations on the Road of Character Building

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering canthe soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved" - Helen Keller

This was my daily "word" from my current Women Who Do Too Much Page-A-Day Calendar on Friday May 8, 2009.

These words have reverberated in my mind daily since that day. I have meditated on this statement each day and wanted to share with you why I KNOW Helen Keller is on point with this quote.

1. The road of Character Building is often a lonely one.

2. While lonely - the road of Character Building is never one you travel with doubt. You have a strong conviction one way or another otherwise you'd be on a different road.

3. Often times the stops you make on the road of Character Building are heartbreaking, yet you continue forward because as I stated above - you have a strong conviction to keep moving forward.

4. Character Building is a continuous journey. In my experience, you have rest stops of triumph mixed in with accidents and road blocks- yet the road never ends.

5. Character Building is contagious. In slow and subtle ways, I have seen lives transformed by witnessing and experiencing strong character in others.

Dictionary defines character as moral excellence and firmness.

Tough to define "moral excellence" these days when the moral compass of the world is all over the place. However, I think we all know good Character when we encounter it.

I have a one way ticket on this road.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Welcome Madison Grace Lightfoot!

Happy Mother's Day to all!

An especially Happy Mother's Day to my friend and former co-worker Monica Lightfoot who welcomed Madison Grace yesterday morning. 

God is always on time.

I say this because last November 7 - I blogged about Monica's loss of her first child, Bryson Alexander Lightfoot. I'd been thinking and praying for her in the last week with the approaching Mother's Day festivities. I knew she was pregnant and due any day. I had just asked God to give her and extra portion of "grace" this weekend. 

He did.

Welcome Madison Grace Lightfoot.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Authentic Waiting

Last Sunday, a friend sent me a very long excerpt from a book called Finding My Way Home by Henri Nouwen. It was from a chapter called "The Path of Waiting" (pp. 96-119)

I will reference the part that moved me the day I read it and has since moved me daily.

"Waiting with a sense of purpose... Those who were waiting had each received a promise that gave them courage and allowed them to wait. They received something that was a work in them, a seed that had started to grow. 

Their waiting is active... those who are waiting (in Scripture) are waiting very actively. They know that what they are waiting for is growing from the ground on which they are standing. Right here is a secret for us about waiting. If we wait in the conviction that a seed has been planted and that something has already begun, it changes the way we wait.

The word 'patient' implies the willingness to stay where you are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.

To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is choosing to hope, that something is happening for us that is far beyond our own imaginings. It is giving up control over our future, letting God define our life."

That is where I stand today. Authentically waiting for that "something" that has already begun. It is interesting. I am waiting both personally and professionally - which is EXTREMELY difficult for Type-A me. 

Type-A personalities typically jump in to "fix" it. 9 times out of 10 we don't look to others - as we are extremely independent creatures who thrive when given a challenge without much instruction. And I am no exception. Anyone who has spoken to me for more than a minute knows that I am a woman with a plan.

However - I am certain that the current life season I walking through is about waiting and perseverance (see my blog from earlier this week).

I assert today that waiting is not for the weak. The active and experiential waiting that Henri Nouwen writes about above is only for the strong at heart and in mind. It take tremendous self-discipline and a keen ear to discern what your true instinct is saying. 
Additionally, you must be spiritually attuned to your true desires and know what you are willing to do to achieve the desired outcome. 

You must also be willing to accept that the Maker of Universe is not obligated to deliver the desired outcome.

Last summer, I read  (and am sort of re-reading now) A New Kind Of Normal by Carol Kent that clearly speaks to options we must choose in this process of waiting when the outcome we want isn't clearly seen.

I want to encourage all who are "waiting" today. 

First, I want to salute you for your courage and faith. 

Secondly - I want to tell you that waiting is one of the best character building activities in existence. If you can endure a waiting season in life, you are in an elite crowd, friend.

Finally, I want to ask that you look for what activity may be required of you during this time. It could be anything.

For me, it has been about quality time with myself and my Maker. It's been about being vulnerable and leading from that place of vulnerability. It's been about a lot of tears and heartache and what JOY sorrow can truly bring to one who is willing to "go there."  It's been about slowing down and making time for all things important to me and those around me. It's been about butterfly kisses with Evan and deep talks with Emma and Isael. It's been about shutting up when all I want to do is talk. It's been about taking the high road - often by my lonesome. It's been about leaning on Kathy D.  and receiving prayers and encouragement from Lucy O. - my friend I've never met in person but obeyed her Maker and reached out to crying soul.

I could probably keep going on and on because I have learned so much over the last eight months or so.  Make sure you don't miss a thing in your journey.

Who knows how long my waiting season will last or what the outcome will be - I rest on the following two verses.

Where God's love is, there is no fear, because God's perfect love drives out fear - 1 John 4:18 - New Century Version

I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. - Romans 8:38-39 - The Message