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Mountaintop Retreat- Who is on Center Stage?

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I keep hearing the same message.

Do you, it’s who you were born to be.

For you are fearfully and wonderfully made.” – from my child’s favorite bedtime story, On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman (taken from Psalm 139).

My inner voice has been screaming this message to me lately. In large part this is due to the competing demands on my time. The artistic- designer self fights with the scientific career that employes me full time, and both fight with my role as a mother, wife, athlete, and homemaker. All of these roles are me. However, I firmly believe it is impossible to do it all, at least, at the same time.

There are seasons for different aspects of ourselves to take center stage.

How does one decide when the time has come to take bold action and switch the self on stage? Hubby and I are taking a retreat next week to address this very question (and some other important ones as well).

We will be following a vision retreat guide written by Jimmy and Karen Evans. The program is titled mountaintop marriage. It is Christian centric, however the fundamental ideas apply to anyone. The basic idea that caught my attention is this, it is a lot easier to make positive change if you (as a couple) know where you are headed. Essentially, if you don’t decide together on your direction for that month, year, life; how can you expect your partnership to end up where you dream it will?

So we are taking the recommended three nights, leaving the kids with family, heading literally up to a mountaintop and going to address the big question of our “vision” as a couple. The hope is, these few days together will result in less bickering, misunderstanding and frustration on a day to day basis. The hope is, determining our vision together (with God) will give us the direction we need on where to go next in our lives.

Excited to see where this retreat will lead us!

Ignoring the mommy wars

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I recently came across several articles labeling different “mom types” to avoid.  In general the “types” are relatively benign (perfect, sugar-free, bragging, insensitive, etc.).  Reading each article left me feeling disappointed.  Why? Moms, dads, guardians, any caregiver, really, are trying to do the best they can, in each moment.  Some of us may be miserable at our role.  Some of us are abusive.  Yet, labeling and judging doesn’t help anyone.  It merely cuts further divides between people responsible for the lifelong task of raising little beings into adults. Adults, who will shape the future.

When I meet other parents on the playground, I have zero interest in labeling or judging them.  We are probably each in need of a friendly word, a moment of respite while our kids play or even someone to commiserate with regarding some hard thing that happened that moment, day, month, or all year.  If the parent says something mean, silly, bragging, complaining… Doesn’t really matter.   I have stopped letting the words of others harm me, why? I have realized a simple thing.

How others treat us is a reflection of who they are, not who we are. 

I have experience with this.  There  is commonly a “type” detailed as the “insensitive mom”.  There are times I am the mom described by these words.  It is completely unintentional, and it happens whenever a woman shares the beautiful news of her pregnancy with me.  While I am always happy for the woman, I have no idea what comes out of my mouth, or what expression is on my face.  This is because I am trying to hide my experiences (the reflection of myself) from the beloved, expecting mother.  See, I have had the heartbreaking life experience of infertility, losing many babies to miscarriage and the stress of high risk pregnancies.  When another woman tells me of her pregnancy, I am overjoyed for her, however my experiences were never  simple or easy.  I don’t want to scare the expecting mother with my experience, yet it is hard for me to think of anything else when faced with the topic.  It would be easy for the woman to interpret my reaction as a judgment on her or as being insensitive.

I ask we all take a pause before feeling hurt or judging another.  Remember we don’t know what the other has been through.  Remember, once again, they act from who they are and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with you.

Let’s instead take a moment to acknowledge that we are in a journey of life (and for some of us, parenting) together. That we are all doing our best in each moment.  Lift each other up and we are all capable of more.

Please leave your thoughts, suggestions, impressions.  We each have something to give, something to learn and something to teach.

There is a need in Spring to return to simplicity…

 

 

imagefocus on what matters, get your hands in the dirt and create with God the absurdity and beauty of a garden.

Love- yourself first

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Happy Friday.  Winter has come to an end. Spring is upon us, and I am reminded of my Hawaiian adventure a few weeks ago.  Hope your weekend is filled with fun and a little adventure.

Continuing on with the ever critical topic of relationships, let’s discuss the most important relationship.  The one you have with yourself.

New relationships inpart a flood of new energy.  It feeds us and keeps us feeling alive.  For a while.  And then we return to ourselves and what we bring energetically into the relationship.  The old saying, you bring yourself into every relationship.  If you don’t have a good relationship, a loving relationship with yourself from the start- how can a relationship with anyone else fulfill you?

Start doing the things you love and believe in, surrounded by people you respect.  Fill yourself with love.  It is then the right partner or relationship appears.  For you have be the right partner for yourself before you can be that partner to someone you want.

Self love can be hard.  Especially when one is rooted in the past and guilt or negativity associated with our past.

My current mantra, “God, I accept your forgiveness and I accept  your love”.

What is yours?

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