Friday, May 18, 2012

Beauty in a Buttercup

My five minute writing on: Perspective

WEED: a valueless plant growing wild (definition from

Walking in the park the other day, my daughter began collecting buttercups. The wonderment of how I could tell by a flower that she liked butter!

"Aren't these beautiful flowers, Mommy?" she asked.

Well, yes, but they are also considered weeds.

What holds value to one may not hold value to another. A weed many are anxious to mow down is a treasure to my daughter.

I stooped down at the edge of the field where the grasses grew tall and dotted with wisps of yellow and white. A closer look at the seed head of a dandelion became delicately beautiful to me. A soft bundle of seeds ready for a gust of wind or an eager child to blow them away.

How we look at things tells a lot about us. Sometimes we have to get lower, closer to see there is more to it then we can fathom.

That God sees value in everything. Even something that seems "valueless" to us. Even something "growing wild". Perspective.

Linking with "Five Minute Friday"...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Me Soup

My 5 minute writing on: Identity

There are endless possibilities for soup. The end concoction is as unique as the ingredients you put in it.

Boil us down (pun intended) and people all begin with basically the same base. But I am "Me Soup" and there is no one out there that is just like me. Sprinkle in some personality, characteristics, people influences, culture, natural talents, and my faith in Jesus Christ and I am one unique amalgam.

Some days I am content being me. Other times I get caught up in my own reflection, wishing I was more or less then who I am.

The important thing about "Me Soup" is you have to taste to really understand me. I am a complex mix of flavors. I may look, even smell, like Broccoli Cheddar, but don't be fooled. Every bowl is unequalled, perchance better, in its own special way.

Perhaps the best part about "Me Soup" is I'm never done. Every moment, day, month, year spices or ingredients are added. I may not always like what's thrown in there. Some of the ingredients might downright stink. One year someone threw in a mushroom. I'm not fond of mushrooms, but it's okay. It's part Me and (I hope) I get better as I simmer.

Linking with "Five Minute Fridays":

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Her Reflection

"The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post." ~L. Thomas Holdcroft

I see her. She smiles back at me, a glint in my eye. She tries to get my attention when I'm hurriedly getting ready in the morning. If I stand there long enough I hear her voice.

I don't know if I want to talk to her. Things are so different now. Besides, what good will it do? I cannot help her now.

Although life is but a breath, it sometimes feels so very long and winding. Each day I walk further and further away from the girl I once was; away from that teenager and my youth. I still find pieces of her inside my heart. She reaches out to me, reminding me of who I was.

Sometimes I don't want to look at her. If I stare long enough I'll want to go back, to change what was, to make different choices.

Regret is a teaser. He wants you to wonder, what if? He conjures pictures of what might have been.

What if?

When regret captures your mind he invites guilt. Guilt is not a friend. I wish I hadn't done that is soon joined by I'm a terrible person because I did it. They consume you, lie to you, then paralyze you.

We all make mistakes. The little girl in the mirror staring back at me is innocent. But each day of life we are learning, exploring, and messing up. If not by our physical actions, by our own hearts and minds. Inside we learn judgment, self-worth, and anger. We decide who we will trust, if we will trust in Him. Our faith either grows in Him or we find something or someone else to rely on.

I turn away from those familiar eyes. I put on my shoes, grab my keys, and walk out the door knowing today is a new day. I am who I am today because of who I was and the people I met along the way. Today we are either more then the person we used to be or less then the person we think we ought to be. Is the glass half-full or half-empty?

Regret will visit if you'll let it. He will suck you in and spit you out. Guilt, a magnet that attracts all your mistakes and keeps you stuck, a burden you were never meant to carry. No matter how much you try you will not shake them off. We need a stronger magnet to pull all our mistakes, past regrets, guilt and shame away from us once and for all.

All we need is God. God's word is a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). His Truth penetrates.

Hebrews 9:14-15 says:
Christ offered himself to God without any flaw. He did this through the power of the eternal Holy Spirit. So how much more will his blood wash from our minds our feelings of guilt for committing sin! Sin always leads to death. But now we can serve the living God.

That's why Christ is the go-between of a new covenant. Now those God calls to himself will receive the eternal gift he promised. They will receive it now that Christ has died to save them. He died to set them free from the sins they committed under the first covenant.
Jesus did not die so that we could live with regret and be overwhelmed with guilt. His blood will "wash away from our minds our feelings of guilt over committing sin". Jesus died to set us free from the sins of our past. We choose to stay a slave to them.

Such a futile task when God offers us a clean slate, a second chance, to refuse His gift and continue believing we are nothing more then what we've done.

I don't know what my future holds, but if I can borrow a line from a country song, "I ain't as good as I'm gonna get, but I'm better then I used to be" ("Better Than I Used To Be" sung by Sammy Kershaw). It's about my heart, my motivation, and how my past mistakes impact my future choices for the better.

"It's not what if, it's what now." ~Author Unknown

Linking with Jennifer at "Getting Down With Jesus"...

Hey Girl! {I Heart Faces Photo Contest}

This is my sweet daughter, Ellie. She is outgoing, fun loving, full of energy, and kindhearted. I love this photo because it captures the peaceful innocence of childhood and a quieter side of her I don't often get to see, let alone capture on film.

Photo Challenge Submission
This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge –

Friday, May 4, 2012

Take Off the Mask: Being Real

My five minute writing on: Real

Perhaps "real" is a figment of our imaginations. Between network news, blockbuster movies, airbrushing, and fiction novels to our favorite foods, who can tell what's real and what's not anymore?

How often do you meet someone who asks, "How are you?" And how often is your response, "Fine."

Do people actually want to know what's really going on with you? Would they run away screaming if they did?

If we go long enough not being real with anyone, chances are we'll forget what "real" even is. Sometimes it's even hard to be real with ourselves.

A couple of really big crisis moments in my life forced me to face "real". Being real means being honest. I realized quickly that the things I was hiding were eating me up inside. Hiding my real allowed lies to invade. Lies that convince you that you are the only one. Lies that isolate you and leave you very lonely.

We wrote about "Community" in last week's FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY. And being real has a lot to do with having genuine community with others. I want to know that I'm not the only one who hates doing the dishes and leaves them piled high sometimes. I want to know that other couples argue like we argue. I want to know that other people don't find intimacy as easy as they depict it in the movies (insert eye roll here).

When we share, we invite people into our lives. When we are real, we let other people know they aren't alone. Realness shows me that we are all very much a like. I don't want to know how perfect you are or how perfect you want everyone to think you are. We all struggle with something. We all have good days and bad days. Chances are the truth about your life is not much different then mind. Let's share the burdens and the blessings instead of keeping them locked inside.

There are different levels of "real". And it can start with an honest answer to the "how are you" question. If you aren't fine, don't let yourself say that you are. If people don't know what to do with your answer, so what. Take off the mask! I want to know the real you and I'm willing to bet others do, too.

Linking with "Five Minute Friday":

Thursday, May 3, 2012

When Memories Haunt You

I was sexually abused. It didn't go on for years. I was just a child. Someone, a trusted adult in my life, coerced me to engage in sexual activity. I didn't know at the time that was what it was. I was completely naive, innocent, unsuspecting…and confused.

It took over 10 years to begin to make sense of the memories that haunted me and nearly another 10 years to actually talk to a counselor about what I remembered.

I cried a lot. It's hard to put words to the memories. Harder still to push through the shame to explain what I participated in. By then I had already believed the lies. I had already come to my own conclusions about what doing "that" said about me.

I was living in such denial. When a memory entered I escorted it away as quickly as I could. I had no idea the full impact of my denial until I sought counseling in my mid-twenties.

Counseling has brought perspective and healing into a difficult situation. It's been more then 10 years since I sat in the counselor's office for the first time. Although I cannot say that the memories don't surface every now and then, bringing the truth into the light was the best thing I ever did. The memories no longer have control over me.

There are consequences to hurts. Even with healing, scars still remain. The scars remind me of what I've worked through. They are a sign of the amazing healing I have already experienced. Dealing seems much harder then denial. And sometimes the lies are so indwelled that even though your head knows the truth your heart has a harder time actually believing it. I still struggle with patterns and attitudes that are connected to the abuse. I harbor a shame that I can't seem to shake. I possess a deep desire to feel protected and in control of things. These are the struggles that remain.

Silence is not healthy. Pretending things didn't happen won't help you. This is not only true for dealing with sexual abuse, but all hidden hurts and pains. You cannot deal with things you don't acknowledge. You cannot outrun memories, but you can speak truth into them.

This is why I feel so passionately about what my friend, Carolyn, is advocating. Many years in the making, Rise and Shine Movement was born from a children's book Carolyn Ruch wrote loosely based on her own face-to-face encounter with sexual abuse as a child. She ran away from a perpetrator and into the arms of her Father, who immediately took action.

Rise and Shine Movement is a non-profit organization seeking to empower adults to protect children from sexual abuse. A digital version of her book, "Rise and Shine: A Tool for the Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse" is available online for free to view with the children in your life. There is also a book trailer and discussion questions for adults to view and use as a resource for discussing this important topic with kids.

The best antidote for childhood sexual abuse is knowledge. Appropriate information at the right age will help protect your child. It's important to build a bridge of communication between you and your child so they know what to do if they encounter a perpetrator, especially if it's someone they know and trust (which is 90% of all perpetrators).

One out of every four girls and one out of every six boys will be violated by his or her eighteenth birthday. I cannot change what happened to me, but I can speak up now. The statistics demand we take action.

Isn't it worth it if you could protect even one child? Join the movement.

If you or someone you love has been sexually abused I highly suggest seeking professional counseling. There is power and healing in acknowledging it.

If you feel uncomfortable leaving a visible comment, please consider emailing me. I would love to hear from you!

Linking today with "Thought Provoking Thursdays" and "Getting Down With Jesus".

Since writing this post I have written more about My Passion and my story which you can find by clicking here.
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