“The Freedom to Be Me”
America, the land of the free. Who wouldn’t want to live in a country where they could say, “I’m free to be me?” Is that not why our own ancestors came to this country in the first place? To live their lives in a way that would fulfill their potential and personal calling from God? But freedom is not merely entitled to those who come to America. The source of freedom was given to us by God from the very beginning when he created us in likeness. He taught and continues to guide us through his example. That through our thoughts, words, and actions we create the world we live in, the country, the family all the way down to ourselves. Freedom is not just a word. It is nothing without choice. That choice is like the stone you toss into the still waters, it creates a ripple effect and touches everything around you. So, while the freedom to be me is a beautiful God-given gift. It also comes with a great responsibility not just to the people around me but to this great big wonderful world I live in. The real power of freedom begins with you and me right where we find ourselves…now. So, on this special day of freedom and independence maybe we could all take a moment to pause and ask ourselves, am I adding to the better-good of all through my thoughts words and actions? Or could I make a new commitment on this 4th of July to do the best I can to forgive and love one another as God first loved us? I’m in! How about you?
As I begin my day I light my spiced pumpkin candle. The light representing the presence of God. The smell awakening my senses and I give thanks for another day to experience what life has to teach and offer me. Then I open my little marble book that holds the names of people who are in need of prayer. I don’t ask God for what he already knows their needs to be. I simple see them as receiving whatever it is that God has to offer them on this day. Then I center myself through meditation and as I concentrate on my breath I can’t help feeling blessed to be alive yet one more day. One breath at a time and nothing else matters except the moment I find myself in. All else stems from this moment of thanks and praise. I breath in wellness and out happiness in and out filling myself with all that is good and right in the world. Remembering that with all that can go wrong there is so much more good to draw from.
May your day be blessed and filled with all your hearts desire.
I have a wonderful morning ritual that I’ve spoken of many times. It’s not only the most important way to start my day, but it’s the part of my day I look forward to the most. It’s a time of prayer, contemplation, spiritual readying, journaling and meditation. But sometimes even with every good intention I get distracted. Maybe it’s by what’s going on in my life. Maybe it’s what’s going on in someone else’s life. I become discouraged because I think I know enough to be able to center myself and get back on track. The one thing that I haven’t quite mastered is meditation, yet that is the one thing I know I need to practice the most. It quiets my mind, brings me back into the moment, and allows me to see things clearing and more simplistic. So today that’s what I did and when it was time to open my eyes the first thing I saw was the word “love” written in big read letters on my door of art where I tape the pictures my grandkids draw for me. All their pictures are about love, maybe that’s why we’re called to be more like the little children. They remind us how easy it is. If life is lived in and through love then how can we go wrong throughout our day in all we do. How can we not find comfort in the love that’s all around us. All we have to is open our eyes for as Gandhi said, “Where there is love there is life.”
As I sit in contemplation and prayer today, the beginning of the inauguration has already been set in action. I find that I am unable to enter into proper prayer and connection with the God I so desire to be one with without first laying aside my own feelings of anger and pride. It is hypocritical of how I try to live my life daily working to see the better good in everyone. Trump has continued to make that difficult, but today I put my faith and hope in the power God can do to change our ways. My prayer is that he has a change of heart in how he goes about things, and he sees the responsibility he has that affects every level of our county from our children to the world itself. I hold my hope in the famous words…that anything is possible through God.
An important note: I do not say this in support of any party. I am not conservative or a liberal. I base my decisions on what reflects the better good of all. Some might say that makes me a socialist. I say, if that’s what you think than what does that make God who wants nothing less. No labels please only know I speck out as one wanting to move on. There is much work to do yet, let’s do it through the grace of God.
Digital art by Jennifer Woodward
This month of November has been a challenge for me. However, I’ve learned a lot of good things about myself along the way. One being that I still have the ability to organize, and multitask in a short amount of time. I honestly am not sure I could have handled this if not for the people in my life who remind me what I need to know when I can’t see it for myself. It has been a true practice of putting into affect what I believe, live by, and share in my daily postings. My most importantly task has been making sure my grandchildren each have their gifts to open on Christmas Eve. Why all this fuse? Because I’m going in for knee replacement surgery this Tuesday, and I’ll be kind of limited as to what I can do for a while.
One of the best helps through all the shopping, our vacation and thanksgiving has been a book my friend JoAnn has shared with me called “Preparing for Surgery, Heal Faster,” by Peggy Huddleston. It comes with a meditation CD that I’ve listened to twice a day for the past month. It has given me the physical, emotional, and spiritual encouragement to do what I’ve needed to up to this point.
Now that the time is approaching and there is not much left to distract me. The reality of my surgery comes swooping into my psyche. I’m not going to pretend that there isn’t a bit of fear and apprehension. However, the practice I’ve had this month keeping my stress level at bay is helping me to change my thoughts from fear to faith as I focus on the quality of life this procedure will provide for me.
One of the last things the book encourages me to do is asking for others to pray and think positively for me especially on Tuesday. All that wonderful prayerful positive energy gathered together the last time I had surgery truly made me feel peaceful going into it. I greatly appreciate it in advance. I end this post with the positive words of a friend from my last surgery, “I’ll see you on the other side of this.” 🙏
So I’m thinking today about how we need an uplift in our country, and in ourselves. As I’m praying about it this song comes to mind. As I listen to it I couldn’t help but think about the phrase Michelle Obama uses, “when they go low, we go high.” Now I’m not advocating any party I am a non-partison voter. So if you can look beyond your party and embrace the phase as the unique person you are. Simple let the phase lead your conscious and the song re-align you heart mind and soul that in these struggling times we’re going through you can find a sense of peace within yourself.
After hearing all the negativity of our elective candidates last night. I find myself today in need of a better place to be in my heart, soul and mind. After a while I’m hearing hymns playing in my mind, and this is how it played out.
Hear I am Lord
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord if you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.*1
Make me a channel of your peace:
Where there is hatred,
let me bring you love;
Where there is injury,
your healing pow’r,
And where there’s doubt,
true faith in you.*2
I pray you’ll be our eyes,
And watch us where we go.
And help us to be wise in times
When we don’t know
Let this be our prayer,
When we lose our way
Lead us to the place,
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.*3
*1 “Hear I Am Lord”
*2 Then comes “The prayer of St Frances of Assisi”
*3 “The Prayer” by Celine Dion
It is true that sometimes you just don’t have the strength to pick yourself up no matter how good of an attitude you have. As I thought about what I would write today I felt like I have nothing to give. What I need is some of my own medicine fed back to me, and right when I needed to hear it there it was in a thank you card I got in the mail today.
“There is no time for worry, or fear, or anger, or any negativity!”
“What does that mean?” I hear my inner spirit ask me.
And I remember it’s because there is always a degree of beauty, to be seen between the slivers of the moment that present themselves to us. I may not see the big picture as strongly as I’d like right now, but the glimpse give me the hope I need to keep going until I get to the other side of what I’m going through.
My Peachy Moment
I found out last week that I have to have surgery again on my sinuses as some of the problems I had came back. It’s only been 3 months since the last one. At first I felt like it was in a nightmare. But as I’ve prayed about the why. The only answer I got was that no matter what the situation is there are always the slivers within the moments where we can find joy in something.
When you don’t feel good it can be all consuming, but as I’ve been working on it I do find those moments of reprieve. It does take some conscious effort, so today I did an experiment. My mindful task was in the focus I gave to eating a locally grown fresh ripe, sweet, juicy peach. I found myself taking pure delight in every bite. It’s amazing the tonic effect a simple sweet juicy peach can have on you when you give it your full attention.
I think in the moments that mindfulness provides is the place where God begins our healing process. If I am able to tune into the simple joy of eating a peach, than in that mindful moment I am not wrapped up in my symptoms. And in that knowing I see, feel and experience the healing process taking place in me now!
‘The subject of my daily reading is “Seek Justice.” It starts with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Justice is defined as “a moral principle determining just conduct.” It’s an innate quality we all have. It’s a matter of getting past the pressures of the society we live in and the influence it has upon us. We can tap into this quality of just conduct that allows us to be good, kind and loving to one another. Our guideline is the Golden Rule. The law of reciprocity. To treat others in the same way that we would like to be treated. If it is done from the heart, it is the most altruistic act you can practice. There can be nothing productive in division. That’s what we do when we believe that we’re better because of the color of our skin, the religion we practice, the politics we choose to follow. We are a world of unique differences, it’s true. Haven’t you ever wondered why God created us all so different? Maybe, just maybe he designed us so differently that we might leave our unique mark upon the world for the greater good.
I know what it feels like to live within a culture of different people as I was thrust into it at the age of 14 and lived as a minority for a year. I was unjustly treated because the color of my skin. I lived in fear at first of what I said or did that could trigger conflict. As time went on though I eventually blended in, because the bottom line was that none of us wanted to be where we were. We were all in the same boat for the same reason, and so it was our unfortunate circumstance that broke the divide between us. We don’t share each other’s history or experiences. So there would never be a way of coming to common ground with either of the injustices our cultures bred upon us. The only place we can start is from where we are today. This is our opportunity as human beings to transform these adverse circumstances into opportunities that create a better good for all. I believe that our differences should add to the equation, not divide us.
Prayer is important, but action must come right alongside it. I guess this is the time to be looking deep inside ourselves, to see what it is that we have to offer. If we don’t add what we were created to contribute, then what we have to offer will never come to be because there will never be another you or me. While we’ve been going through life wanting to feel special we’ve been looking everywhere except within ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty awesome.