Monday, December 31, 2012

Breathing Out (2012) and Breathing In (2013)

I think perhaps New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are my favorite holiday. We rarely leave our home on New Year's Eve and are often in bed by 10 p.m.; New Year's Day is typically camped in front of the TV watching our favorite sport - football. But these magical two days for me are like a deep breath inhaled and released. It's like a clean house. A new beginning. A letting go. A heart-felt "I forgive you." New. Wonder. Opportunity. Mystery. Adventure. That's 2013 for me. Tomorrow.

Today, I have memories. And here are a few of my favorite things from 2012.

Live Like That, Sidewalk Prophets
A Way to See in the Dark, Jason Gray

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann Voskamp
Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee

The Hobbit - oh how will I wait until next year for part two...might just need to do a Lord of the Rings marathon!
Lincoln - brilliant

Scandal - a guilty pleasure for this public relations veteran watching a smart, saavy crisis communications professional like Olivia Pope.
Homeland Season 1 - we broke down and got Season One (thank you ebay); it took a bit to get into but now I'm hooked.

Fences @ DCPA
Memphis @ DCPA

Creative Pursuits:
Learned how to knit
Discovered the joy of spray paint
Zumba with Todd - it was creative and filled with laughter

Banff, Canada
Calgary Stampede

Strategy and smart people...thank you GHX, what a great year!

Teaching the ODF Women's Retreat and leading the Saturday Bible Study
Defined By God Conference for pastor's wives (San Diego, Ca) - if you have the chance to hear Lisa Chan, do it!

Happy Memories:
Cheering on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos
Trips to San Diego to visit my parents
Finding a great tutor for Matthew
When Health Clean housecleaners rescued me
Putzing around the gardening

(Thank you Gary Mullins for your amazing picture at the Grand Canyon!)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year Resolve


New Year Resolve

The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.

Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.

Let silence in.
She will rarely speak or mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.

For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.
"New Year Resolve" by May Sarton, from Collected Poems 1930-1993. © W.W. Norton & Co., 1993. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Year-End Inventory

It's been several weeks since I blogged. My journey has been full of work assignments (always a good thing) and frankly I haven't had anything to say. But today I have been doing some self-employment tax planning, figuring out how to secure healthcare for our family in 2013 without bankrupting us or putting us at financial risk by not having enough or the right insurance, and so on, and so on.

And while I pondered these weighty topics I came across this blog by Barbara Winters, Her latest post is about taking a year-end inventory -- exactly consistent with my type-A, list-obsessed personality. I actually already do something like this every year, in the same way that Todd and I have always done financial planning and goal setting around January 1.

So I share with you Barbara's inventory list and hope it provides you with some food for thought about 2012 and perhaps some prompts for goal setting in 2013: 

° What can you do now that you couldn’t do (or hadn’t done) at the start of the year?
° Where have you been that you hadn’t been a year ago?
° What have you learned?
° What problems have you solved?
° What has inspired you?
° How have you celebrated?
° What investments have you made in yourself?
° What new profit centers have you created? Launched?
° What new books have you read?
° What new connections have you made?
° What did you instigate?
° Which of your ideas are coming to life?
° What are you proudest of?
° Where have you made the most progress?
° What disappointments have you overcome?
° What unexpected gifts appeared?
° What would you like more of next year? Less of?

For the entire post:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Go forth!

Thank you Renee at renee's FUNKY country for transforming my little clarion call of "I can do hard things" into this handmade treasure that makes me smile every time I head out to greet the world (it's hanging on my mud room door). I am praying that it is also a wonderful reminder to my husband and son that we "can do everything through Christ who gives (us) strength." (Philippians 4:13)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Against the Wind...for Diane

I know that I have life
only insofar as I have love.
I have no love
except it come from Thee.
Help me, please, to carry
this candle against the wind.
-Wendell Berry, Leavings
(A special thanks to my kindred spirit, and going on 32-years friend,
Diane who has lived this hot-wax-on-hand life of love
and who introduced me to Wendell Berry.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Flesh Journeys

I have been on the most magnificent and challenging journey this past year. I could write a book on all I have learned about myself. I confess much of it has not been particularly attractive. Necessary however. I suspect there are fewer lines on my face; my furrowed brow is more relaxed. A few of the many bonuses to slowing down, way down. I realize that at any moment this all may change. But for now...

Confronting self is deadly. Amen! 
Stations of the Cross
Sacred Heart Retreat House
Sedalia, CO

Luke 9:23 - Amplified Bible
23 And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [[a]disown himself, [b]forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, [c]refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [[d]cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also].


Psalm 139:23 - Amplified Bible

23 Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Exceptional in the Ordinary

"It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes."

Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest
October 21

Thursday, November 1, 2012

We Are on the Same Team and Fighting the Same Enemy

I'm delighted to share with you a guest blog by Sheri Rose Shepherd, one of the authors at Tyndale House Publisher. As you know from my blog I am a review blogger for Tyndale House and so was delighted when approached to have Sheri as a guest blogger for Thimbleful of Time.

We Are on the Same Team and Fighting the Same Enemy
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
Think about what makes your heart melt when you watch a great love story. It's not the hero's physical strength or his beloved's beauty, is it? No, you and I are drawn to the power of true love and its inexplicable ability to prevail over tragedy
and adversity. The greater the conflict, the stronger the love must be in order to resolve the issue. When the hero does whatever it takes to save the relationship, our hearts soar with renewed hope. Likewise, as we seek to truly listen and understand our men when differences between us create friction, we set ourselves up for more satisfying and loving relationships.

The Author of love and life and the Designer of our differences knew there would be conflict between men and women. The real problem comes, though, when we get accustomed to seeing relational problems solved in the time it takes to eat a bag of popcorn. Our hero and his beauty have less than two hours to defeat the dragons and overcome unspeakable challenges. You and I are not going to magically resolve deep relationship conflicts in our own wisdom and definitely not in less than two hours.

When I met my husband, Steve, I was sure we were a match made in heaven. In fact, we have had the privilege of being in ministry together for most of our marriage. I wish I could tell you it's been an effortless, wonderful life for the two of us, but I would be lying to you.

I learned to fight loud and strong by watching my parents. My brother and I would hide together in my bedroom as our parents tore into each other during arguments, often screaming and throwing things. Because of my broken family, when I first got married I was sure that every conflict between me and Steve would end our marriage.
Steve was raised by parents who had stayed married, so it was impossible for him to relate to my fears and worries. He was raised in quieter surroundings. His parents dealt with conflict quite differently from mine. There was no rage. No yelling. No broken furniture. His parents rarely fought—and never in front of their children. But his family also had no system to resolve conflict. That meant issues went unresolved—though not unnoticed.

Steve's and my fighting techniques were drastically different. However, neither of us had been equipped to deal appropriately with marital conflict. That led to major challenges early in our marriage whenever we attempted to resolve a disagreement. To make things even more difficult, when I married Steve I was a new Christian and had not yet learned how to channel my anger properly.

I tried everything to get him to react or resolve conflict with me, and as I waited, I became more bitter and he became more distant. One day I couldn't take Steve's calm, cool responses anymore. From my perspective, he obviously needed some lessons on how to fight for our marriage. I'd had enough of his "let's work it out peacefully by ignoring our problems" act. In my mind, he was being polite only to annoy me.

"Why don't you ever show some emotion and prove to me you care about our marriage?" I yelled.

Steve stood there quietly, shaking his head and looking down at the ground. Then suddenly, he turned toward the mirror on our bedroom closet door and kicked it as hard as he could, smashing it to bits.

Wow, I thought, what a performance. He sure learns fast.

Suddenly I began to laugh hysterically through my tears. I was so shocked I wasn't sure if I was relieved or ready to run from what I saw. His toenail was jutting out at a bizarre angle as he asked me, "Is that enough emotion for you? If it would help, I could probably throw myself on the floor and work up a good cry." We both began to laugh together as we attempted to pick up the glass fragments scattered all over our bedroom floor. In that moment I realized how much we had shattered each other just because we were different and had not been trained on how to resolve conflict. Our marriage was not the problem; it was our hearts. Neither of us had a teachable spirit.

It took several years, a lot of tears, and one expensive closet door mirror to repair the damage inflicted during those early years. We still have conflict, as all couples do, but we now understand that we are on the same team and that it's okay not to agree on everything.

After twenty-five years of marriage, we've decided it's worth letting go of the little things and fighting to understand one another. Conflict comes no matter who we marry. We may be fighting about different things with different men, but there will always be major differences between men and women. I once heard a pastor say that if spouses agreed on everything, only one of them would be needed. Let's not allow our differences to divide us any longer!

For a sneak peek of Sheri Rose's Your Heart's Desire Group Experience, or to learn more about her ministry, visit

Watch the trailer:

Watch the trailer

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Inspired by Others

Over the past year as I have explored the world of blogging, I have met some wonderful people. Fellow bloggers. People I am infinitely impressed by - their writing is exquisite. There lives are even more so. If you are looking for encouragement and perspective, I encourage you to follow some bloggers and their stories. Here are my three favorites.

The blogger I have been following the longest is The Simple Wife. Joanne and her family live right in my neighborhood, although I have never met them. I've certainly prayed for them. Their world was turned upside down on January 11, 2011 when Joanne suffered a major stroke. A friend of mine posted her story on Facebook and I've been following ever since. It's a story of endurance; when life doesn't turn out the way we thought it would. When miracles are measured in small things not the complete resolution of pain.

Then there are the Deckers. Again, Denver neighbors. A young couple married but two years and already battling what will be a lifelong battle with Crohns. We've enchanged blog comments and emails. I have never met them, but boy have I prayed for them. I am absolutely fond of Carly -- she's the women I wanted to be in my 20's. I love watching them grow and fight through the struggle and find the joy of life together when "for better or worse, in sickness and health" has more reality for them than for most. When I read their story, I am encouraged that God wastes nothing. He is certainly using them.

My most recent blog follow is being played out by the hour on Facebook -- Jay's Warrior. Jay is dying...any day, any hour. This young man is faithful to the end. Again, nothing is wasted. His family is suffering and yet they are resolved to find their joy in the Lord. Incredible. 34,574 people are following his story. Amazing.

There are others. It seems that at any one time in my life I have three or four friends with a CaringBridge site. What a terrific organization - CaringBridge - allowing those battling serious illness to blog their story.

Thank you Joanne (and Toben), Ryan and Carly, and Jay (and Jay's family) for keeping me grounded; for reminding me that whatever we experience in this world does not compare with what will be experienced in our true home. You remain in my prayers daily.

1 Chronicles 28:20

...“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Can Do Hard Things

My new favorite life phrase. I can do hard things. I can.

We all have days when it just isn't working out. Or days when we feel protective of our lives because things are going very well, and we know that our lives are seasons. So spring turns to summer, and summer fall and fall winter and winter back to spring.

Circumstances are only permanent if we make them so.

I can do hard things. I can.

I know today. I have responsibility to and for my today. I can do hard things today. Not every day will require courage. But many may or will. I can do hard things.

This fall season many turn immediately to spring or it may press on into winter. I don't know. Frankly I'm not sure I should care. I know who I am and whose I am. I can do hard things. He enables me to do hard things. And even in hard things there can be joy. The best kind. His kind.

That means tomorrow holds great promise.

Today I can do hard things.

(Special note: Today 39 years ago this very day I chose to follow Jesus through every season of life. And I can testify with confidence - He is good. He has shown me that I can do hard things.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

This Holy Place

This Holy Place

by Stephen W. Smith


There are no stained glass windows here.

Only the gold of the Aspens and
the cathartic blue of heaven’s skies.

Yet, this is a holy space.

And in my heart, I am bowing.


The high priests swing their incense,

And it is the words that sway me–that slay me.

No candle burns here but my heart alone.

and I feel ignited. I am burning–finally burning.


The open book is my Eucharist.

The wafer offered me by Oliver, Frost and Whyte.

My cup is the poem of words that draw blood.

Words that wound. Words that heal.


This place–this moment is my church

and I belong. I am free. And I am at rest.

The words–they do baptize my wondering heart
to come home. To finally know this place as church.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Autumn

The Autumn
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1833)

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them —
The summer flowers depart —
Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,
Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.

Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!

The dearest hands that clasp our hands, —
Their presence may be o’er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh’d our mind,
Shall come — as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.

Hear not the wind — view not the woods;
Look out o’er vale and hill —
In spring, the sky encircled them —
The sky is round them still.
Come autumn’s scathe — come winter’s cold —
Come change — and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne’er be desolate.

Litmus Test

"If you want a good litmus test of your spiritual growth, simply examine the nature and quality of your relationships with others. Are you more loving, more compassionate, more patient, more understanding, more caring, more giving, more forgiving than you were a year ago? If you cannot answer these kinds of questions in the affirmative and, especially, if others cannot answer them in the affirmative about you, then you need to examine carefully the nature of your spiritual life and growth." (page 42)

Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Got Issues?

I had the pleasure of reviewing Nicole Unice's great book She's Got Issues back in July. Tyndale House Publishers then gave me the opportunity of reviewing the companion DVD Group Study. So glad they did.

I consider myself a connoisseur of DVD Bible Studies. I have lead a bi-weekly women's Bible Study for the past five years. We have enjoyed Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, Ann Graham Lotz, Angela Thomas, and Jennifer Rothchild. So I reviewed this new DVD study through that lens.

I have to say, I loved it. I can't wait to schedule this one for our women's group.

I really liked the format. The first 10 minutes of the video lesson is an interview with one women who has struggled with that lesson's topic (control, insecurity, comparison, fear, anger or unforgiveness). Then the group is encouraged to privately journal on some provided question prompts. Then Nicole teaches on the topic for about 15 minutes. Finally there are great discussion questions to allow for everyone in the study to get involved and share.

Nicole's style to really easy to watch and listen to. In fact, I would love to have lunch with her!

The topics in this DVD are relevant and the teaching has good 'meat on the bone'. I am pretty tough on women's studies that are what I call, too fluffy. This isn't one of them. While the teaching is brief by Beth Moore standards it's solid. Plus these issues require discussion so the extra time is great. Ideally the study should be about 1.5 hours a session to get the most from the DVD and discussion.

So this one gets a big thumbs up from me.

(Tyndale House provided this DVD to me in exchange for an unbiased review.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

From the Library of C.S. Lewis

Okay, what is not to love about a book that gives us C.S. Lewis' favorite "Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey." The Library of C.S. Lewis is a nearly 400-page compilation of some of the greatest writers through the centuries, those writers who influenced Clive.

James Stuart Bell (who wrote his master's thesis on Lewis and compiled all the selections) wrote in the introduction, "To truly understand Lewis and his works we need to get behind his role as Christian apologist to his interest in philosophy and literature, in reason and romanticism. Lewis was not a one-dimensional reader. His eclectic tastes ranged over a wide variety of genres and time periods."

That explains the wonderful breadth of writers and excerpts featured in the book. What I loved is the sampling one gets of such a great variety of writers and thinkers. At the end of each excerpt is a paragraph bio on the writer...providing an opportunity to seek out complete works to read. I also loved that you can pick and choose what to read -- it is not a linear book but rather one arranged by topic. In fact, it would be great to enjoy an excerpt each day versus reading it all through at once.

The book is organized into 18 categories:
"Follow After Agape": God's Love
"You Have Transfixed My Heart:" Our Love of God
"How Dearly You Have Paid for Me": The Life and Sacrifice of Christ
"I Will Seek You": Knowing God
"Mutually Christ's": Community and Loving Others
"Constantly Dying": Self and Soul
"The Lack of the Divine": Sin and Temptation
"Fatherly and Forgiving Goodness": Grace and Redemption
"You Shall Find Your Ground in God": Suffering
"Inexpressible Sweetness": Prayer and Contemplation
"The Eyes of Your Heart": Faith
"Divine Influence": Living a Devout Life
"The Most Pleasing Sacrifice to God": Obedience and Will
"Worthy to Receive More": Humility
"A Peculiar Joy": Truth, Apologetics, and Christianity
"Fine Fabling": Fantasy and Imagination
"Borne on the Gusts of Genius": Creation, Poetry, and Writers
"The Gleaming of Divine Brightness": Heaven, Death, and Immortality

If you enjoy reading a variety of authors, you will appreciate and savor the selections in this book.

(Note: WaterBrook Press provide me this book in exchange for an unbiased review.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Well-Watered Roots

I have been deep watering my trees over the past several weeks. The drought in our area (as in much of the U.S.) has me concerned for the health of my array of foliage. While we are cresting into fall and even anticipating some rain later today (for which I am very grateful), I could not help but think about how like my trees I am. Seasons of drought require rain. May I be planted by the waters.
Jeremiah 17:7-8
Amplified Bible (AMP)
[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.
Common English Bible (CEB)
Happy are those who trust in the Lord, who rely on the Lord. They will be like trees planted by the streams, whose roots reach down to the water. They won’t fear drought when it comes; their leaves will remain green. They won’t be stressed in the time of drought or fail to bear fruit.
Lexham English Bible (LEB)
Blessed be the person who trusts in Yahweh, and Yahweh is his trust. For he will be like a tree planted by water, and to the stream it sends its roots, and it will not fear when heat comes, and its leaves will be luxuriant, and in the year of drought it will not be anxious, and it will not cease from the bearing of fruit.

The Message (MSG)
But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers - never a worry through the hottest of summers,
never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; sut its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.
New International Version (NIV)
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
New Living Translation (NLT)
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I am brave (and so are you!)

Thank you Stephanie Ackerman for my new etsy acquisition...a 5"x3" mixed media magnet with an important reminder message. I love it!

Two Great Books (Part Two)

So the other book that I've thoroughly enjoyed of late is Empty Promises by Pete Wilson. You may remember Pete from a review I wrote on his previous book Plan B on what to do when life doesn't turn out the way you'd planned. When I had the opportunity to review his latest book I jumped at the opportunity. And it did not disappoint. The subtitle of the book is most telling: "The truth about you, your desires, and the lies you're believing." Just makes you want to turn right to the first page, doesn't it?! But do it! The introduction from Rick Warren summarized the book well: "We make the mistake of looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places. That's what this book is about. It uncovers the idols we create in our own hearts when we fail to look to God to meet our deepest needs. These idols of pleasure, prestige, passion, position, popularity, performance, and possessions inevitably betray us and let us down. They are...Empty Promises."
Pete defines idolatry in the opening chapters: "idolatry is when I look to something that does not have God's power to give me what only God has the power and authority to give" (pg. 5).... The real question for any of us is this: Which idol is God's biggest rival in your life?" (pg. 16).... Honestly ask yourself:
  • What occupies my mind? What do I spend time daydreaming about?
  • Who or what do I tend to be jealous of?
  • What do I spend most of my time doing?
  • Where does the majority of my money go?" (pg. 21).
Pete then begins to address some of the most "popular" idols in our day in the ensuing chapters: achievement, approval, power, money, religion, beauty, and dreams (aspirations).
Not surprisingly he reminds us that "what we worship shapes who we are" (pg.156).
The truth of what Pete wrote was often too close to home, but I want to live a bold and examined life. Empty Promises gave me some excellent food to chew on for a while.
(Note: Thomas Nelson provided a complimentary copy of the book for an unbiased review)

Two Great Books (Part One)

I have been  a delinquent blogger this month. The first week of the month I was heads down on four talks for a women's retreat up in Glenwood Springs. It was my first time teaching four lessons in 48 hours. To say I was exhausted when it was over is the understatement. Then I proceeded to get sick for two weeks which also included an emergency CT scan to rule out appendicitus. Oh, it's been a fun month!

But I've done some reading that I haven't told you about. One book I read as research for the retreat teaching and the other is one I received from a publisher to review. So here you go.

Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee is a treasure I can't believe I haven't read before. I picked it up since I was teaching on running away. Before I read the book a mere week before the retreat I had formed a conclusion based on study that the way to stop running away from God, problems, people, was to learn to walk by faith and then to stand (Ephesian 6). But Watchman Nee's brilliant little (only 67 pages) book on Ephesians had me adding in sitting as the critical foundation of it all.

For those of you not familiar with Nee (1903-1972), he is one of the leaders of the indigenous church in China independent of foreign misionary organizations. He was also a prolific writer. He was arrested in 1952 and imprisoned for his faith until his death in 1972.

Two excerpts to whet your appetite:

"Only those who can sit can stand. Our power for standing, as for walking, lies first in our having first been made to sit together with Christ. The Christian's  walk and warfare alike derive their strength from his position there. If he is not sitting  before God he cannot hope to stand before teh enemy." (pg. 44)

"God never asks us to do anything we can do. He asks us to live a life which we can never live and to do a work which we can never do. Yet, by his grace, we are living it and doing it. The life we life is the life of Christ lived in  the power of God, and the work we do isteh work of Christ carried on  through us by his Spirit whom we obey." (pg. 58)

You'll be able top read this book in one sitting...but you'll want to savor it.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Power of Words

It's been one year since I was thrust into ranks of the unemployed. Honestly, it wasn't something I wanted (geez, who does!), but per usual I have had a great year in spite of it.

From the moment the words were delivered by a Weber Shandwick President and a New York-based human resources Vice President (yes, they needed to fly in and do it as a pair apparently), I had an unworldly confidence that what was happening was ordered by One who has my best interest in mind. She meant it for harm, but another would use it for good.

But words hurt. It was personal. She wanted me gone.

To be fair, I have also been the one to deliver those words to people I deeply respected and valued, and to those frankly I couldn't wait to see leave the organization. I suspect there are people today that still bear me ill-will for firing or laying them off.


One year later I learned again the power of words. I have loved my part-time consulting business. I love my career again. Being layed off reconnected me to what I do very well and what I thoroughly enjoy doing. But I need to work a bit more than I am, so I reached out to former colleagues and clients (and some current colleagues and clients!), humbled myself (yikes), and asked for some Linkedin recommendations to help me in securing some additional business.

Wow. I was humbled to ask for help, but I have been more humbled by the words written. Never underestimate the power of words to recalibrate something deep within us.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. - Proverbs 16:24

Thank you friends who wrote such amazing words. Thank you for reminding me the power of words.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Surprised by Grief

Okay, anyone who knows me, knows I am NOT given to tears. So when I'm sitting in Ikea, enjoying my free coffee and the companion of a good friend, and suddenly find myself crying...well, it gives me pause.

Don't get me wrong, I apparently needed a good cry. But now, hours later, I am still feeling it. Both catharsis and angst.

We were talking about something very important in her area that I have exquisite experience in. I'm even now struggling to name it for you the reader. It is so personal and painful and exhausting and tender. It's sensory processing disorder (SPD).

And as I shared my understanding of what her friend is going through, the 16 years of parenting someone I love so much who suffers daily from SPD, well, I fell apart.

I have been strong and determined; an advocate and defender; a coach and cheerleader. I am also a mother. And it is a journey I never imagined. Apparently a crack appeared and the tears came running through. So glad I was with a friend who got it. It was a tender gift to my soul.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Canada Retrospective...Columbia Icefield

After our drive on the Bow Valley Parkway and walk along Lake Moraine we headed northwest to Jasper National Park and the Columbia Icefield. The Athabasca Glacier feeds many of the lakes and rivers in the region. It was a three-hour drive from Banff and filled with a continuous display of mountain grandeur.

Just 125 km to go...the Icefield Centre.
Bow Lake - one of the many wonderful sights
 on the Icefield Parkway.
Yet another amazing glacier on our
 route to the Columbia Icefield
I kept hanging out the window on our three-hour drive
 to capture as many beautiful sights I could.
To get to the Icefield we started to ascend the Candian
Rockies. This was at Bridal Veil Falls...looking back
 from where we had come. You can see a small bit of
the road below.
Our approach to the Icefield and the changing weather.
A slice of heaven.
Our first peek at the Icefield as we came around the bend.
The Columbia Icefield...we would soon be standing
 out in the middle of it.
A Brewster SnoCoach.

These "bus" wheels were huge!

Our SnoCoach. You get to walk around, for about 15 minutes,
 on the icefield. The ice melt is drinkable and most took
 advantage of the crisp and clear glacial refreshment.

The view straight up the glacier icefield.

Matthew staying warm our on the
icefield perimeter.

Glacial runoff...crystal.
The ice melt from the glacier.
Todd enjoying a silly moment.
Another glacier that rings the icefield.
Then the weather changed and the clouds engulfed us and
 the rain began to fall creating a mystical landscape.

And as quickly as the clouds came in, they disppeared. This
was the view upon returning to the Icefield Centre.

The view from the Icefield Centre.
And on the drive back to Canmore we were charmed
 with a Grizzly sighting!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Canada Retrospective...Banff National Park Part 2

In Banff we reveled in the vistas at Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, the Lake Agnes Teahouse (not so much the hike to get there but the teahouse was really novel), Sunshine Meadows, the Bow Valley Parkway looking for wildlife, the Lake Minnetonka cruise and simply walking around the town. For this post I'll concentrate on our drive along the Bow Valley Parkway and our trip to Moraine Lake...the step sister to Lake Louise, but just as spectacular.

Looking for animals!
Not a bad view to enjoy every day we
 were in Banff and driving the Parkwa.y

There are few words for the Bow River framed
by the Canadian Rockies...just gorgeous.
Oh yes...a black bear sighting!
And this beauty graced us by coming out of the woods
 to give us a great look.
The drive to Lake Moraine.

Our first look at Lake Moraine.
So turquiose and reflective.
Matthew, in full CU hoodie, going in
for a closer look.
On the lake front walk and looking back at the lake's edge.
The lake front path. The blue lake peeking through the trees.
The farther in we walked the more amazing the
snowcapped peaks were.
The glacier comes into view.
A reminder...and we saw so many.