Practice – Practice – Practice

IMG_1063I started following along with Stepahnie Ackerman’s Documented Faith in late June.  I love the concept!  I know I’ve shared I for before, but here’s my take: it’s an effort to focus on God’s Word in manageable, bite-sized chunks…one word each month accompanied by weekly scripture relating to that word.  Simple, manageable, memorable.

So I’ve been practicing… practicing by writing consistently… something I haven’t been successful with in the past.  And writing in bite-size pieces versus the entire buffet of my life.  When I committed to #write31days, something I wasn’t aware of was that I limited myself to two handwritten pages per day…bite-sized pieces…manageable vulnerability.  Usually I make things more complicated, but it seems this decision is actually turning out well!

My focus is on God and how He is consistently working in my life, through me…to reveal Himself to me.  When I slow down to take one step at a time, the mountain isn’t so big, the task at hand isn’t so overwhelming and Matthew 6:32-34 takes on a deeper meaning.

32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

#write31days – Day 4

It’s funny (odd) that almost three years later and the events of 2013 are still so clear – the great thing is that the memories don’t sting like they did before…another blessing and benefit of faith-based counseling!

Hopefully it won’t take 12 days to write through 2013, but January/February certainly set the tone…even if I didn’t have a clue at the time!  I remember a member of senior management asking me if I really needed to be at the hospital with my daughter (she was there two weeks) – yes she was an adult, but honestly it didn’t matter what the age – I’m a firm believer every patient deserves to have their advocate present…and what better advocate than mama?

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God’s Growing Me….and my HAIR!!!!

I’ve been meaning to post pics of my hair and just haven’t gotten around to it…as if I’m SO busy! Luckily, I was diligent to take snapshots over the past few months to show progress.

roseanne copyFor those that don’t know me, my hair is naturally curly…very curly and I have spent the better part of adulthood trying to change it…rarely will you find a photo of me w/my hair natural.  The best way to describe the natural state of my hair is from the original SNL cast Gilda Radner’s “Roseanne Roseannadanna” – as we say in the South, “Bless Her Heart!”

With the help of numerous styling products & tools, I could pretend my hair was straight…pretend…in no way shape or form is my hair remotely straight.  But that’s the way it goes, isn’t it? We all seem to want the exact opposite of what we’ve been given – why is that, I wonder???

When I started chemo I thought, “well maybe my hair won’t fall out” – HA!!! I wasn’t two weeks in before the clumps of hair began falling, and quite frankly, it was kinda creepy to me – I was eager to have it cut and promptly ordered a precious Raquel Welch wig from Headcovers.com (they are SO nice and local!) – with all the yuck of chemo going on, I loved my hair! It was straight and spunky and all I had to do was put it on – a huge perk since I didn’t have the strength to fix it anyway:)

My family and friends would joke wondering…will it come back curly?  As curly? Not quite as curly? AND the super big question, “what’s my real hair color?”  Yes, my hair’s still curly as ever (you’ll just have to take my word for it!) with plenty of gray!  As the Texas heat and humidity is upon us, I’ve since set the wig aside and opting to go au natural  – funny how God eventually gets us back to basics – even with hair!

Before I worked up the courage to go without the wig, I sort of used it as a crutch and rationalized that wearing the wig gave me the opportunity to witness to others – when women would comment on my cute hair, I’d say, “Thanks! It’s a wig – a huge perk of chemo is that I don’t have to fix my hair!” and then proceed to witness about God’s faithfulness – especially during storms.  Well, let me tell ya folks, you don’t need a wig to witness – shocker, I know – funny how I failed to see that without the wig, others could see the real me and see God working through me by my actions and attitude without ever saying a word 🙂

God gives us opportunities to witness regardless of how we look or where we are in our journey of faith – all we have to do is be a willing vessel – with or without hair…

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Bible Art Journaling – What’s Your Agenda???

It came!  After what seemed like months (actually just a couple of weeks), my journaling Bible arrived!  I must admit…the first night I looked through my new Bible, thinking about which book… which verse… would be the first in my art journaling adventure….those initial feelings…those feelings of making my Bible “ugly” and held me back months ago, came flooding in again….and so I gently laid it on the nightstand for another day.

The next morning I woke with determination to push past unrealistic expectations and just do it…start the art journaling process! After all, I was prepared…I was confident my artwork would be fine – after all, I watched tons of videos, practiced on little projects for months, and while far from talented I felt acceptable.  And so I started…

Michaelangelo? Far from it!!!! Actually, it was kinda close to a mess…kinda like me!

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  • pencil marks (curvy lines) wouldn’t erase, but smeared instead…
  • the ink pen I purchased specifically for journaling bled through; and
  • the distress stain recommended for its translucency was pretty awful bleeding through A LOT ….

so much for that confidence…

 

 

And then a thought hit me last night…what exactly was my motivation in journaling???? Was it to dig deeper into God’s Word? OR… was it to show off?? How much did pride factor into starting this endeavor?????

Although I’m certain digging deeper was a component, my reaction to results revealed something else… in some way could I have been seeking approval or confirmation???  Obviously, there’s still a part of me trying to be good enough for God.  I’m so thankful He uses the simplest things to show me where pieces of my heart lie…

In retrospect, the verse I landed on (Luke 6:45) now speaks volumes…

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart…

Earlier this week I was sharing how great it is that God is using Bible journaling as a tool to grow us.  As for my growth and confidence level??? I was reminded where my confidence belongs…in God – not myself! What a wonderful lesson – all from a simple exercise.  My acceptance has nothing to do with art – God cares about my heart.

Training Wheels

May 25, 2011

Do you remember learning to ride a bike? You didn’t start with a 10-speed, did you? I sure didn’t…I might have started with a tricycle, but actually my first memory was one of those pedal cars – I was 4 – it was Christmas – my brother and I both received red Ford Mustangs – I LOVED that car! I felt safe and secure as I whizzed around with four wheels on the ground – it was great to feel confident of the direction in which I was headed! But all too soon I outgrew that car and it was time for a bicycle – it doesn’t look that difficult, but geez was I wobbly – I didn’t want “training wheels” – I was a big girl – I could “do it myself” – needless to say, that approach resulted in many skinned knees & elbows – maybe training wheels weren’t such a bad idea after all…

So I succumbed to the idea of training wheels and it wasn’t long before I regained that confidence and security…zooming up and down the street…at some point though, the training wheels had to come off…but they were replaced with a coach…someone running behind to catch me when I fell…someone cheering me on as I gained a sense of confidence once again…

The thing is I (we) need training wheels in life…physical and emotional…I need guidance to gain that sense of confidence in the direction I’m headed! When I try over and over to “do it myself” it’s generally not too terribly long before I’ve skinned my knees & elbows to a nub…but God is so good! He’s always there to catch me when I fall…always there cheering me on as I gain a sense of confidence again…

But here’s the thing…I didn’t learn to ride a bike overnight…it took a lot of time, a ton practice and intense focus…I needed the physical wheels to steady me and definitely needed the coach to guide me and cheer me on…so why in the world would I think developing a deep relationship with God would be any different? It seems as though as soon as I gain the least bit of confidence, I want to drop those wheels…essentially saying, “I can do it myself” – nothing could be farther from the truth.

Confession time…I’ve been trying to drop those wheels and taking my coach a bit for granted…not a proud moment…I’ve found myself wobbly and distracted by the pretty scenery of life. Instead of really practicing and focusing on my relationship with God, I’ve been trying to wing it on my own. Hello????? Will I ever learn it just doesn’t work that way???

TIME. PRACTICE. FOCUS. My wheels are God’s Word and I practice His Word through daily reading and quiet time focused on Him – I will ALWAYS need Him. God is my faithful support and the coach to guide me and cheer me on throughout this journey called Life.