Advent of a new year: choosing your ‘word’

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Throughout a year loaded with more change than ever, my word for 2020—growth—continues to stretch and mold me. Yet, when I reflect on the past 12 months, I’m encouraged by the countless ways in which I’ve given my word a good workout. Perhaps it’s my age—reaching the halfway point in Club 50 membership can do that to a girl—or maybe it’s the date on the calendar that sparks possibility and expectation as we await the advent of shiny new beginnings. In either case, excitement stirs in my belly as I meditate on my word for 2021: a theme, of sorts, or call to action that captures the spirit of what I’m drawn to most, in this moment—a life of surrender. For me, this looks like creating a plan, but releasing attachment to future outcomes. And, instead, approaching each day with playful curiosity, while practicing resilience in the face of whatever comes.

What word or theme will you focus on in the new year?

Dwelling in possibility

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I dwell in possibility. ~ Emily Dickinson

As we draw closer to a new year, I spent extra time considering the message I desired to convey in this post. And I settled on a common thread I imagine weaves itself throughout humanity: expectation. In my own life, my family waits with expectation to celebrate the birth of Jesus (see “Regain the wonder…”). Others, throughout the world, prepare with expectation to engage in favorite traditions in the spirit of the holidays. Regardless of what this season might look like on your corner of the planet, I can almost guarantee each of us anticipates starting over. Yet, with many of the best-laid plans we envisioned for a new decade turned upside-down, it might prove difficult to wrap our minds around the hint of possibility. But herein lies the nugget—an idea to contemplate as we count down to 2021 and the clichéd clean slate. Without expectation, without hope: what remains?

How does your life reflect expectation for the new year?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

PSA: It’s simple—Don’t drink + drive

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One of the easiest decisions a person can make is to not drink and drive. But here’s the catch-22: once you drink, your decision-making skills become impaired. And because one person chose to drink and drive on Aug. 19, 2004, my family’s “normal” changed forever. Consequently, on the anniversary of my husband’s “death” and “re-birthday,” I hop on my soapbox to share the down-and-dirty details about that night. My 12-year-old daughter and I waited for her dad to arrive home from work so we could enjoy a family bike ride together. Instead, at 6:19 p.m.—minutes from our neighborhood—an intoxicated driver slammed his Dodge Ram into my husband’s Honda Civic. Following a medical-helicopter transport to a Trauma 1 hospital, my husband underwent emergency surgery—after which he spent the next 59 days as an inpatient navigating his new normal resulting from a TBI, crushed hip and myriad physical, emotional and mental trauma. And he still struggles with deficits today. Please think twice: If you drink: don’t drive.

Igniting a spark of hope: a 10-day challenge

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I don’t know about you, but the discord within the world—our country, our cities, even between many families and friends—wreaks continued havoc on my mental health. And yes, I regularly practice “all the things” I can control. However, it proves harder each day to pull myself out of self-reflection (and, quite honestly, a bit of self-pity) to jump into self-lessness. To pivot my mind away from the senseless deaths, destruction and disrespect; to disengage from the deafening buzz of debates and disillusionment that clambers for attention. And instead, to seek a safe landing place to refocus, and to set the stage for igniting a spark of hope like a sky ablaze with fireworks. A friend of mine recently posted a dare, of sorts, on Facebook: Can you challenge yourself to make a difference in someone’s life once, for 10 days? My first reaction: How do I find time for that? Followed by: How can I not?

Share in the comments how you are making a difference.

Image courtesy of Rattikankeawpun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Milestone moments: celebrating victory

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As I stand with my fellow countrymen and women, observing the unrest in America that hangs over our heads in the midst of the global pandemic, my words today might seem shallow. A mere drop in an ocean teeming with discord, corruption, grief and unbelief. Yet, like many, I choose to search for good, which means diving beyond the surface into the murky depths. But oh, the treasures to be found. This led me to share my post “… discovering plenty amidst the lack,” and why tomorrow marks a monumental milestone moment in my life (shared by those who’ve walked alongside me). One year ago, on June 10, 2019, I surrendered thought patterns shackling me to an addiction, otherwise known as bulimia. Some professionals categorize an eating disorder as a mental health or psychosomatic disorder; however, I know what I struggled with—daily—for decades. And I’m here to celebrate this victory, and to encourage you: hope lives on.

Let’s flood social media with milestone moments: What’s yours?

Image source: quotefancy.com.

Now what? Pivot vs. panic.

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Here’s what I know: the “new normal” can more aptly be classified the new “not” normal. But the question begs: “Now what?” In my post, “When life is spinning out of control…” I share the one thing within our control. Even if it’s simply to breathe… congratulations! I get it. I, too, am scared. Exhausted. Discouraged. And wrapping my mind around the current climate proves boggling at best. Unplug for a moment (after reading this post) and close your eyes. Put your hand over your heart. Feel, and listen. You’re here for a purpose. What is it? Perhaps the new “not” normal will serve as your personal pause button: to pivot vs. panic. In other words, allow this time to change your course: to redirect your thoughts. To replace limiting beliefs with truth. Because here’s the other thing I know: that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:38).

How will you pivot?

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Running out of time: an essay

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It’s my biggest fear, next to death. To run out of time. Because: To write all the stories. To love all the people. To make a difference. To win the prize. Because, dear heart: We all run out of time, ready or not. A vicious tug of war. Hope vs. despair. Yet the roller coaster of life—exciting and scary and often creaking and jarring—eventually grinds to a halt on its tracks. The Great Conductor, His voice booms: End of the ride! The shiny metal buckle, smooth and cold to the touch, releases its vice-like grip from across my hips with a flick of the wrist. My legs wobble as I push against the mechanical arm and stand. How I yearn for another lap around the track. But it’s here I discover: I didn’t run out of time. I ran into eternity. Accompanied by a lifetime of memories, of stories and books, adventures and dreams, that flourished. Well done, child, a still small voice whispers. Well done.

Image courtesy of PANPOTE at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Brave enough: finding strength to admit our brokenness

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From the start, my purpose for writing “A nasty word called addiction…” centered on a message of hope and redemption, as well as a way to mark a milestone in my own journey of healing. It’s no secret that many of us suffer in silence from a laundry list of afflictions. Yet, the older I get, the more I feel a kinship with those who hide behind the fake smiles, the false bravado. Because I, too, share the DNA of brokenness. Yet, as I navigate—aka stumble, skip or sidle (depending on the day)—this season of Club 50, I often entertain second thoughts about broaching various “taboo” topics in conversation or my writing. However, if we’re unwilling to allow ourselves the discomfort of vulnerability, then we miss an opportunity to engage in deeper connection with humanity, and ourselves. Transparency, I believe, serves as a catalyst to healing and a collective oneness. And affords us strength when we’re brave enough to admit our brokenness.

Are you brave enough?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A nasty word called addiction: from bondage to freedom

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In today’s post, I share a snapshot of a decades-long journey from bondage to freedom. Until six months ago to the day, I lived as an addict most of my life. Ever since I can remember, food consumed me (pun intended). Not so much the taste and health benefits, but the ways it [temporarily] anesthetized my emotions and contributed to a false sense of control. For years I engaged in an active bulimic lifestyle (see Body shaming comes in all shapes and sizes), bound by rituals that revolved around binging and purging. More than three decades ago, I “beat” the physical cycle of abuse but, throughout the subsequent years, lived with the psychological torment of a distorted body image, yo-yo dieting (an unhealthy practice with hidden dangers) and self-inflicted shame. Social interactions where food played a major role—parties, work lunches, friendly get-togethers—served to debilitate and oftentimes paralyze my mind. Until I finally surrendered these thought patterns. Bottom line: there’s always hope.

For more information, contact me.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Taking stock of the old, ushering in the new

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Two weeks ago I began the following post. This morning I found it, nearly complete, on my computer. Although not timely in relation to the date on the calendar, it may still resonate for some as it does for me: Numerous emotions course through me just a week after my birthday celebrations (yes, plural). Gratitude as I observe each day as the gift it truly is. Love for family and friends as we embrace the spirit of Christmas mere days away. An indwelling of peace as a byproduct of restored relationships. Yet, even then, a sense of melancholy over unexplored opportunities. Grief and disappointment. “What if’s” and bittersweet memories. The should’ves, could’ves, would’ves. But a glimmer of hope remains—a brightly covered package I tear into each morning with renewed expectation. As we tie up our last-minute holiday shopping and baking, wrapping and socializing, I encourage each of us to pause and reflect on the clean slate ahead.

What is one thing you’d change about the past year?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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