FREEDOM

I woke up to my alarm early Saturday morning and immediately thought…
“WHAT have I done?”
I needed to get up and get going fast! I had an hour drive to my third 5K of my life.
“Oh man.. seriously. What have I done?”
My mind started to contend against the excuses:
I’m in no shape to do a 5K… even walking it will set this inflammation “game” I contend against into overdrive!
It’s Saturday… literally my only day ever to sleep in and it’s been a weeeeek.
My head is throbbbbbbing.
I have so much to do anyway; I really need a full day at home.
My husband’s going to be gone all day too; the dogs will need walks.

You see my dilemma? LOL …Bottom line is, I just didn’t want to do it.
Why?
Because it was going to be hard.
(And because my bed was comfy. LOL)
It was going to be hard because I’m in a health journey against autoimmune “dis- ease” and honest, even walking gets challenging at times. My feet swell. My joints inflame. My muscles get attacked. And, well… excuses, excuses, excuses…
The exact thing that would be hard to “walk” through, was also the exact thing my body needed to overcome the hard.
Gah… that’s just like dumb math. LOL I don’t like math either … haha!

I rolled out from under the down comforter and said, “Just get up, Kay. Just get going. You’re doing this to RID your body of these things. You’re doing this to pursue wellness. You’re doing this for “Freedom.”

Truth. I was doing it for those things. In fact, after a good talking to myself and a real heart check with my Spirit a few weeks back, I actually ended up signing up for four 5K’s through the end of the year! LOL …
because “Freedom.”
Walking these 5k’s was something I knew was difficult for me. I had done two others once before, just a year ago… and I struggled with them, not even sure I could finish. The Lord convicted me of that word “Struggle”, tho, and as I looked back at those other two 5K’s, I decided right then and there that I needed to re-frame them. I needed to do another and not claim it as a struggle, but call it out as something I was contending for! I was going to do a walk to contend for FREEDOM.
What I didn’t know my “yes, Lord” was going to be though was the start of something more… the conviction that if I could contend through one more 5K, maybe I should just keep contending for freedom in doing one each month, through the rest of the year…. gulp.

And so I did. I signed up for four.
Four pushes toward moving my body in ways I knew was hard.
Four dates with myself to celebrate what my body CAN do, not get in agreement with what it finds hard to do.
Four events to “contend” for Freedom against this “dis- ease” that wrestles against me.
Four times to show up for myself.
Four times to lean into God for strength.

So, it should come as no shock that the very first one, unbeknownst to me, was actually a 5k being run to respect the first responders, to honor those who had fallen in 9-11; and to remember FREEDOM.
I stood at the starting line while the trumpets played and the flags were being flown and the emcee was reading the names of the ones from our State who had been lost in the line of duty on 9-11.
I bawled.
I mean , ugly cried…
I know people were looking at me, but I didn’t even care. I couldn’t believe that “somehow” this 5k race, that I just signed up for because it was close to home, was for “Freedom”… and I didn’t even know it.
The intention God was using this for in my life, was not lost on me.
I was contending for freedom in my own way, by participating in a race honoring freedom.
Whoa.
It still undoes me.

I wiped my face on my shirt, just as someone handed me something. I thought it was a kleenex because legit.. I was a mess.. lol. I took it and humbly mumbled “thank you.” When I looked at it though, it was not a tissue. It was a small laminated ribbon with the name of one of the first responders who had paid the ultimate price for freedom. I was to pin it to my runners bib and think of him throughout my race.
Cue the tears again.
Where was that dang kleenex? LOL .. My shirt was snotty before it was sweaty!

All through my event, I kept him, and freedom in mind and I became even more grateful with each step. Even when the police car that was supposed to be bringing up the rear of the racers, passed me… lol … I was grateful.
I was out here.
I was doing what my body could do.
I was showing up for myself.
I was walking for freedom… in more ways than one.
It didn’t have to look like anyone else’s “race”.
It was mine. And it was already doing a big work in my heart. In my mind.
Within my Spirit.

As I watched the back end of that police car, I thought about first repsonders. They race. Without hesitation…
To the call. To the danger. To the emergency. To the need. To the thing that is trying to take something down.
For freedom.
They show up.

And so will I.

My call to this freedom in my body is not small. It’s for my life. And so I must be a first responder in my own life; actually, FOR my own life. No longer can I let excuse, shame, regret, feelings of insignificance, fear, panic or anxiety be first responders on my behalf.
They are not heros.
I am.
They are not freedom fighters.
I am.

It also wasn’t lost on me that the timing of this FREEDOM race was right in line with the timing of the 21 day sugar fast I had signed up to do with Revelation Wellness. It was starting the next day for me too.
A Fast.
Not a diet.
A prayerful entering into losing what weighs me down.
Not a plan to lose weight.
A calculated step aimed at dislodging the comforts of food that I tend to go to first.
An intentional turn to God instead.
Not a restriction.
An invitation…
To Freedom.

Man, the Lord is doing a work. It’s a hard work, Sis, I’m not gonna lie. And I’m kinda resistant to it… like the drowning person is sometimes resistant to the lifeguard swimming out to save her… kinda like that.
But this I know – in the “end”, it’s going to be worth it, and my “race” toward it should be without hesitation.

What might be set free?

Me.

The Ministry of Presence

I have two very vivid “feeling” memories from childhood. Feeling memories are things tied sooo closely to what your heart needs to hear; They are not a memory of an event or an instance or even a thing. They are a memory of a feeling, and I have two that conflicted and battled for a place …. one born from longing, the other born from fear. I remember them both well, and if I’m honest, in ways even today, they war on. #ButGod

To be seen

and 

To not be seen.

Let me explain. 

All I longed for and was desperate for, was to be loved and wanted; to feel important and significant.

I longed for it; yearned for someone to be with me, see me, show me love; but my home was anything but this type of atmosphere… so, out of fear from the bad things that I knew could happen, I tried not to be seen.

It was conflicting . These were “my people”- the ones who should make me feel safe, loved, and wanted… but instead I feared them and what they did to me.

I’d come home from school and go straight to my room, trying to escape before I was even noticed. If I was out of sight, I was out of mind, and if I was out of mind, bad things couldn’t happen to me. So on one hand, I longed for what I hoped I’d receive, but on the other, I feared what might actually happen, so I tried to become invisible. 

It was tormenting. And I was just a child. I didn’t understand or have any real frame of reference to expect things to be different. This is what I knew. I just also somehow knew there was supposed to be “more.”

 

From the late 60’s to the early 70s, this fear was what I knew. Loneliness was what I knew. Neglect was what I knew. Abuse was what I knew. But even in my child’s mind, I KNEW there must be more… I was sure of it.

“Kevin Hatfield” was proof. He was my next-door neighbor and when his mom got wind of me being home alone every night, she started sending Kevin over to ask me to come play. It was amazing. I loved walking in their house. I can remember so much about it…the dark wood floor in the entry; to the right the golden staircase banister that went up to the second floor; and to the left, a large living room with a fireplace and a big framed picture over it; a round, red braided rug on the floor and cozy pillows on a well-worn brown couch. I remember the bright, cheery kitchen in the back of the house, with wheat stalks on the wall paper, and a huge window that looked over a pretty wooded area and had a sweet dog that loves to play catch. I remember Kevin’s mom always in there getting dinner ready for her family. 
It’s crazy my vivid memory of this home, because if you ask me about my own, there is much I’ve blocked out. There is much I can’t remember. I can tell you the lay out, but nothing personal within. I can tell you the door to the stairway was dark panel and the basement itself always had a smell of something I could only then only describe as damp wood, skunks and flowers that had somehow rotted and developed their own kind of body odor. I now know, that smell was a damp dark basement mingling with pot and patchouli and various whiskeys. And I remember the door because fear struck me every time I had to use it.

I can tell you where the Christmas tree always stood because I actually met Santa at that tree one year. Late one Christmas eve I heard this horn , like that of an ahooga horn on an old time car. I ran to the window to look at the driveway, and sitting there was this old fashioned car, complete with a large red bag in the rumble seat and a large “red” man with a huge white beard sitting in the front. He waved and I ran to the front door and threw it open! Yes. It was in the dead of a Michigan winter and it was freezing, but folks, I was home alone on Christmas eve and SANTA just arrived!!!!  He came in and brought MEEE cookies, and then proceeded to place all kinds of gifts under the tree for just MEEEE !  I got hugged by the man in the red suit and I remember him crying…. And for a split second… I felt seen.  And very very loved.

I still don’t’ know who that man was. My Mom was in the hospital and who knows where dear ol’ step dad and the boys were, but this man… He somehow knew I was alone and he told me he had to drive his car this Christmas and not bring his reindeer because reindeer could only fly if it was snowing. It wasn’t snowing, so in my child’s mind it all made sense and I believed him. He told me to wait for morning and then open all my gifts. I did… and while I’m sure someone was there to have Christmas with me, I can’t remember them, I only remember getting the best gift ever: My Easy Bake oven. I didn’t even know it was a toy. I just know it is what I used to make dinners for myself. A lot of bologna went through that oven! Lol… And sometimes Graham crackers. Sometimes white bread and mayo sandwiches…. Whatever I could find to feed myself. This I know, Santa… real life Santa himself…saw me. Knew me. Knew what I needed and gave it to me. And I felt loved. 

Back to Kevin’s house. I can even remember the worn path in the grass of my back yard where I walked to his house, crossed the dead end street, and joined the sidewalk that led up to the “Hatfield’s” porch. I remember a black lantern post at the edge of the sidewalk and I knew if that lantern was coming on, I needed to be getting home to grab what I could find in the kitchen and get to my own room before anyone who lived at my house came home. Remember, I needed to be unseen.

Here’s where I’m going with all this. 

PRESENCE

There is ministry in presence. 

Santa ministered to me.

Kevin’s mom ministered to me.

Both ministered to me, just by making me feel seen and by entering into my aloneness and make me matter. Oh my goodness… those two people alone, in fleeting moments, were what I drew hope from, strength from, good from, in many times during those young years. 

Santa’s presence made a difference in less than an hour. He knew just a moment in my life, mattered. He saw a once in a lifetime difference making opportunity, and he took it. I’m sure it was inconvenient. I mean, the man went to sommmme lengths to pull off this “moment.” But because he did, for a good few years, I got to eat “hot” meals. I got to remember “that one time” Santa came just for me. I got to recall feeling seen and loved and like I mattered . I mean, let’s be real, Santa can’t stop and bring cookies and show little girls how to use an easy bake oven at every stop! Right? That meant I was special! And I hung on to that with my life.

Kevin’s mom’s presence made a difference every couple of days. Just by seeing a little girl with a need, and inviting her in to her own everyday she changed the fear of aloneness in my week. She didn’t have to talk to me or feed me or do anything for me… she just let me be with her… and that was enough.

She entered in; “Santa” entered in; and I’m telling you friends, it gave me strength for all the in-between times. It gave me hope for all the other “unseen” times. It instilled in me a spark of hope and it created a space in my heart for down the road when “faith” would make an appearance. 

Wow. 

Read that again. “It created a space in my heart for down the road when ‘faith’ would make an appearance.” 

The ministry of presence. 

Just “being there”… sometimes with a gift, a conversation, an act of kindness, or even, moments of silence… your presence into someone’s hard space, is more of a gift than you’ll ever know.

The ministry of presence.
It’s seed planting. 

I didn’t know faith. I didn’t know God. I didn’t even have a good example of people in my life that I wanted to grow up to be like someday. I only knew what I knew…a desperate longing and a paralyzing fear: to be seen and unseen. It was torment. 

Enter, two humans who were kind. Who came into my space and made a place, if even for a moment. 

Who invited me to their table.

Who made room to have room for me. 

Who saw a need and filled it. 

Who did a little thing that changed my whole world.  

Who tucked into a cranny of my heart, the possibility of hope and a seed that would nestle down into the depths of me to be remembered when the time came, that I first heard about a God who loved me. 

The Ministry of Presence. “We will never be able to effectively tell them a God story, if we are not leaning with compassion into their human story.”  (~Homesteader Kay)

It’s a lesson well learned. 

When we take time to hear, to listen, to dwell, to reach out, to minister, to feed, to have compassion, to understand, to meet a need, to sit with in silence, to hold a hand, deliver a meal, send a handwritten letter, call with a real life voice… to seeeeeee with unbridled compassion the human story people are living, we open doors to plant seeds for a God story so much bigger than we ever dreamed!

I WISH I knew “SANTA” now. I WISH I knew Kevin’s mom’s name. I wish I could find these two “presence Minsters” and tell them:

“LOOK!”  LOOK where lil Kay landed in life! LOOK at her happy! LOOK at her SEEN. LOOK at  her loved. LOOK at her in this GOD STORY she never imagined possible! 

A seed.

A ministry of presence. 

Made a way. 

Friends. Don’t discount the value in seeing humankind, and then

being “Human Kind”.

It may promote you to “Minister of Presence.”

It may mean more than you ever dreamed to the one longing and fearing in the same breath.

Above all, it may just be the beginning of someone’s God story.

Difference making doesn’t have to be extravagant… it just has to be intentional and from a heart of love.

The ministry of presence. A small seed with a mighty purpose.

 

#whatdoesyourheartneedtohear? YOU WERE BUILT FOR THIS!

What does your heart need to hear?

YOU WERE BUILT FOR THIS.

I was blessed enough to be able to go to RISE conference in Minnesota this year. Rachel Hollis is a wild fire and man, that girl can speak to your heart and make you get honest and intentional with yourself in ways many can’t. And she does it from a place of faith, un-apologetically and raw. And I learned so much…About myself. About my why. About purpose. And about love … however, it was something that her husband Dave Hollis said that hit me deep. I actually went into this conference with a prayer that it would grow me in ways that would draw me deeper to Jesus and his purpose for me. And it did.

Insert Dave Hollis’s speech, and this quote he used:

“A ship is safe at harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

It struck a chord. And the chord sounded off key at first. Like one that doesn’t get played often. Like one that has a part of it out of tune. Like one that needed some attention.
So, I gave it attention. The spirit within me kept pointing to it… and I haven’t been able to let go of it.

It’s music is starting to sound sweeter. But it didn’t at first.

Mannnn…

At first.

And for awhile…

It was awful

and unpleasant

and I was afraid it would never sound sweet…

I started playing it more tho. “It” being that truth that Dave’s speech hit. The Truth that… gulp… I liked the harbor. The truth that I was made for more, but had come to love the safety of an anchor and a sea wall and the company of other “ships”, who embraced with me, the comfort zone of harbor.

That was the chord.

It’s called “I’ve settled”.

It’s called , “I’m comfortable”.

It’s called, “Lukewarm”.

It’s called , “Afraid to pursue”.

It’s called, “I don’t believe in myself”.

It’s called, “FEAR”.

And I didn’t like it.

That truth sounded like a terrible tune but I forced myself to lean into it.
If you don’t like a truth about yourself, if you don’t like the tune of a chord, if the music of your life isn’t sounding pretty…

Change it.

Decide that’s not the song you want playing in your head!!!
As I leaned in to try to hear it’s true tune, with each strum, it whispered more and more loudly, the real.. underlying truth I needed to hear. I needed to remember:

Girl. FEAR is keeping you in the harbor… But you’re built for more.

Believe– YOUUUUuuuuu were built for “THIS”!

Write it down, speak it out loud, place it in all the places you look … but also… HEAR it.

Every time you read it, every time you speak it, every time you see it… HEAR it and believe it.

This call, this dream, this goal, this purpose, is placed in you by your Creator and He equips you for it!

Stay in the harbor and be safe. Play off key and out of tune.

Or

Leave the safety of the sea walls and go to the deep and hear a symphony.

C’mon girl. You were “built” for this.

Like I said, my goodness how I’ve been revisiting this thought over and over since conference. It’s a hard truth I’ve had to make myself face. I’m a ship. Built for more but anchored at harbor.

Let’s dive into that.. it’s raw. But I think some of you may relate, so here I go with some transparency.

I’m afraid.

I like the harbor.

The other pretty ships and vessels bob and sway and stay safe at anchor, close by, like good friends who are gonna be there… even tho they are there because they are afraid too.

And hey, you know what, even if a storm does arise, you’re so close to shore, you can abandon ship and get to the safety of land, right?  I mean abandoning ship is finnnnne if it looks like it’s in danger of sinking, right?

 

Ugh. I don’t like admitting this. I don’t like confessing the “off tune chord” of, I like the comfort of “LOOKING” like a seaworthy vessel but am too afraid to sail. I can’t stand that I’m saying out loud that this “harbor life” is a comfort zone I don’t want to leave.  I don’t like disclosing that truth that I’m afraid of the deep. I’m anxious over sailing into a calling that is over my head, away from my security of shore and company of “likeminded” ships and that perhaps scary things may arise out there that look a lot like circling sharks, big waves and fierce storms I can’t handle. I hate that music.

 

Yuck.
I don’t like that girl. I don’t like that song.

That’s the girl that believes the lie. That’s the girl that gets in agreement with who she used to be. That’s the girl that looks at a past that tried to define her, and instead of believing for more… she believes what was. That’s the girl that lets all the fear that poured into her from childhood, keep her anchored to the thing that weighs her down. Thats the girl that lets the enemy storm the battlefield that her God has already won.
So , I’m not playing that tune anymore. I refuse. I’m not staying in harbor any longer than I have to. I’m sailing into deep waters… with my Creator

Because:
I was built for this.
I was made for more.

I was created on purpose for purpose

and, girl… so where you.

Here’s where we decide. Here’s where we don’t just AGREE, but rather, GET IN AGREEMENT with this truth: What you were made for… you are equipped for.

If you’re as ship, baby, you’re made to sail.
You might feel like hiding in safety. You may like the comfort of harbor. You may not mind an off key chord now and again… but the truth is, if you’re not walking in your calling. If you don’t sail into the deep, you’re only keeping yourself anchored to things that weigh you down. Things like your past, friends who are going nowhere too, opinions of other people, those attempts you made that failed, that insignificance you feel, that debt that whispers unworthy, that mistake that seems like a brand, that voice that says you’re incapable, ill equipped and not “sea worthy”… Those things are in the harbor and they feel “safe” because we know them. They feel safe because we know what to expect with them. They feel safe because we know how to drift with them. But they really… just have you anchored. Weighed down. Unable to sail into your purpose and dream.  That anchored is tied to an enemy of your soul who is bound and determined to keep you anchored.

Cut yourself loose.

Hoist anchor

Set your eyes to the Sea…  go deep. There are scary things there, but also, there are some of the most amazing and beautiful things waiting for you there too because that’s what you were built for… navigating those things to get to the deep and beautiful things you can’t find or give, in harbor.

You were made for more friend. You are built for more. And so was I.
What does your heart need to hear?

I think it needs to hear that you are built for this.
“This” dream you have. This goal you set. This purpose you see. This idea you develop. This plan that looks promising. This desire you crave…
Was set in you before the beginning of time by your Creator and you were MADE FOR “This”!
It’s not just in you to want it, it’s OK to want it. And that makes it more than ok to “sail” after it.
You were built for it.

 

Write it down.

Okra

My heart was hurting

It was plainly obvious she didn’t like me.
Worse…
She couldn’t stand to be around me.

Geesh.
All the rush of all my childhood insignificance, unimportance and unwanted ”nesssss”… flooded my soul again.

And man, for the love of all things yummy (because that’s a big biggg category in my life) … I didn’t know exactly why.
I mean, if I back up the story, it started at the start. Like all stories do…At the beginning of our “relationship”… of our getting to know one another.
It started then.
Back when I hadn’t “done anything” yet.
I say yet, because let’s be honest. I’ve “done” things since.
I’ve gotten mouthy back. I’ve yanked when she pulled. I’ve watered the soil of “comparison”, fertilizing my side more. Grumbling to her moods and letting them set my own.
I’m not proud of this. But it happened.
I responded back with all the ferocity I felt she was giving me… and, I decided it was ok.
It wasn’t.
I mean, it really, really wasn’t. Like, Jesus was very unhappy about it and the Spirit, well , He left me pretty unsettled and the Father? Yeah… He was giving me all the prods.
That kind of “wasn’t”.
And because it wasn’t, I knew what I had to do. I didn’t like it either. I squirmed. I held my breathe. I said I was sorry in prayer. I stomped my proverbial toddler foot and crossed my arms and pouted.
What I had to do, was grow up in this scenario and do the right thing.
That meant, I had to march my prideful self into her presence and humble myself before this woman who I KNEW, would take it and use it as a weapon against me…oh, she was going to revel in my humility. But I had to. I had to tell her I was sorry. To please forgive me because that was not how I should have responded. It wasn’t how Jesus wanted me to respond.
Dang it.
It tasted bad. But not as bad as the grit I felt in my heart.

Ok Jesus.
Let’s do this.
I knew her response wouldn’t be grace.
But I had to do my part anyway. I had to act justly. I had to love mercy. I had to walk humbly with my God. And I had to extend grace.

Truth is, sometimes you have to say you’re sorry to people who don’t care.
Sometimes you have to ask for forgiveness from a person who isn’t even sorry themselves.
Truth is, it sucks to suck it up like that…
Least… until you see it from the perspective of gardening.

What?
Gardening?

Yep. Gardening.

***************
It’s spring and on this homestead, it’s my favorite time of year… except for fall and harvest… LOL… That’s my favorite too! 😊 But Spring… gosh. It’s like shedding winter and putting on something new. It’s shaking off the dreary and the cold and the brittle and the bitter … and it’s getting a warm hug of sunshine, a bloom of life, a fresh wind of … Allergies? LOL … Whatever. It’s new life coming back to the land and with that, also comes the planning and planting the garden.
I adore our garden! Unlike most people, who select a patch of land, out of the way, and off to the side to till up and plot, we tuck our garden right up next to our porch. You have to walk through it to get to our front door and it welcomes you in with all it’s bumbles and pops of color and heirloom “fruits”… and lets be real, as well as with it’s imperfect overgrowth and pesky weeds. It’s a gathering of raised beds, all made from cedar, and surrounded with hardwood mulch paths that we try to tuck herbs and strawberries and marigolds into. I say “we” and “our” because the tending to it is happily split between my husband and I. When he has a moment to steal out of the shop for a breather or a relaxing of his mind from some heavy and weighty task at hand, he can walk out the door of the shop, stroll over to the garden just a few feet away, and spend a few minutes getting out of his head.
I can drive up after a long day at work, park next to it and spend the next 20 minutes slowly moving through it to my front door. Letting go of the office and coming “home”. Pulling a weed here, looking for a tomato horned worm there (the ravenous hateful critters) and gather what ever is ripe for the picking as I go… often planning our evening meals side dish around what I’ve gathered.

It’s a welcome respite. Not a chore. (well. Ok. On 100 degree days, when I’ve let some weeds go wild, it’s a chore… but mostly. It’s not.)
Rather,
It’s a tending.
It’s a caring.
It’s a nursing and a bent towards giving.
It’s a cultivating and a nurturing and a giant… giant.. Hoping.
There are stages of planning and managing and preparing and fertilizing and propagating and plowing and hoeing and laboring and ripening and harvesting and …

ok. It’s work. LOL

But it’s beautiful, worthy and rewarding work. And it grows fruit … not just that I can eat, but “fruit” that mends my soul.

************
Re enter, “her”.

I had to pull some weeds in my own heart, choking out the good fruit that wanted to grow.
I had to do some pruning back of my own retaliation and manage my own mouth.
And I had to fertilize the soil I had let get completely depleted of any nutrients, with my “sorry”.
Let’s be real. Nothing good was going to grow there.

I’ll call her “Okra”. Haha… sorry. It’s funny. I don’t like Okra. It’s yucky. It’s sticky and spiny and slimy and tastes like hay rolled in dirt. (just me?)

She, Okra, has edges too, that are spiny and sticky and she can be downright slimy if not dusted in “flour” and seasoned in all the right ways. Know what I’m saying? But friends…

She’s a part of my garden. And I need to tend to her and propagate and spread good seed around her.

Let’s be real tho, I don’t need to welcome Okra onto my plate… but I do need to make sure I’m not leaving that area of my garden untended. I need to be working my garden to the best of my ability, regardless of whether or not I like what’s planted there.

whew.

Let me say that again.
I need to be caring for my garden to the best of my ability, regardless of whether I like what’s planted there, or not.

MY tending, could just help produce , HER fruit.

whoa.

Can you imagine if I just neglected an area so close to my porch, the area others have to walk right up through to get to my front door, all because I was annoyed by something planted there?
It wouldn’t make for a very welcoming entrance or a very pleasing path to my home.

And, it doesn’t make for a very pretty or pleasing entrance to “me” either.

Let me tell you something about “Okra”.
Every time she reacted to me in a negative way, I decided I was going to turn that on her and plant a seed of grace.
She belittled something I did… I congratulated her on something else.
She found a wound to pick at, I let it bleed grace.
She scoffed at a story I shared, I shared one about her that I could find a sweetness too.
I wasn’t always perfect at this… there are days… but I found myself trying more and more, because
she’s in my “garden”.
And I know this…
EVERY time, you partner with Grace, you partner with GOD.
And He walks through my garden too… I need to remember that.

Oh, some days I let the weeds grow up in the “Okra” patch… and I get a little tired of the constant over growth and heavy, sweaty work … but more often now, I’ve found myself looking at it, at her, in a new way.
I’ve decided I may not like the taste of Okra, but friends…
have you ever seen an Okra plant blossom? It’s gorgeous. It’s so lovely.
There is beauty that is beyond the other flowers on my vegetable plants. It’s crazy. That spiny, sticky, pokey, slimy fruit… has beauty that far exceeds many other blooms in the garden.

So, I’m tending the flower. The fruit it produces is not my favorite, but it has a beauty that is unique, and I’m looking at that now and doing that thing that all gardeners do so well…

Hope.

Do you have an “Okra” in your life? Most of us do. There has been or there is someone… so, let me encourage you.
Tend to her like she’s the most beautiful flower in your garden and see what harvests.
I promise, even if “Okra” doesn’t change for you, your view of her
will change you.

New Year; Letting go of Fear

Don’t you dare say you can’t do hard things.

#notetoself.

That’s totally me, talking to myself. Totally.

I stood in Chicago, in October, at the Marathon my daughter was running and as I waited to catch a glimpse and cheer for her,  I  watched every size, every shape, condition, age, disease, “excuse” and “fear”, run by me.

I cried. I watched amazing humans overcoming more than I could imagine. And it convicted me. I saw what believing, and showing up afraid, and just getting out of their own heads and comfort zones and fears… and just givng it a shot, trying…could look like. And it was so moving. So inspirational! Did I mention I cried?

That was October, 2018 and it’s taken me four months to type another blog post here. Because I get scared. I wonder. I over think. I fear.  If you’re into the Enneagram.. I’m a 6. (nuff said)
Here I am tho…showing up afraid. And believing more of this “marathon minded” kind of empowerment for myself. My daughter is flanked by two bestie’s in this picture and they are all #warriors. Running for a cure for Huntington’s disease. ( another story. another day. another post.)

If they can do that… If my daughter, who was never a runner, can train and enter as her very first marathon, the Chicago Marathon… then I… can start to train myself at the hard things too. I can make new habits. I can create time to show up for myself, do the work, type the words, push “publish”…

Even if I’m not sure it’s going to be great. Even if I’m not sure anyone will read it. Even if it makes my tummy hurt.

New year. No more excuse.

It’s in these small ways, we begin to change our world. I stood on the sidewalk watching thousands of people run for their “lives”… but in doing it, they changed mine. The powerful images of those amazing humans are pressed into my memory permanently.  I hope someday, you get to watch a Marathon like this one. And I pray, someday… you realize, like me, that the marathon you’re running in life… needs you to show up for it too. Courageous.  Afraid. But doing it anyway.

**********

Perhaps,

Dear Lord, this little blog can be a place for that kind of difference too. Help me show up courageous.  Help me do the work. Help me let go of Fear and in all that… Help me show “them”, YOU.

Marathons

I gotta start somewhere.

I’m sitting here just looking at a blank screen and promising myself I’m going to type something.

It’s ridiculous how my brain works when I’m just going throughout my day and thoughts pop in my head left and right and I “imaginary write” this epic response, awesome blog, perfect chapter…  only to sit in front of the computer an hour later when I “have time” … and …

Blank. (Can we insert an eye roll here please? )

Gah.

So . .. I’ve heard- “Just write”. Just sit and just write.  Just type. And get something on the paper and let the thoughts begin to flow anew.  (That’s what I’m doing here by the way… exactly what I’m doing… LOL… you may call it stalling, but seriously #sisterfriends (and some Dudes) , I”m processing… and stick with me. I promise it WILL get better. Pretty sure. This is my first real blog post here, so give me a sec. )

Nope.
Still nothing.

My stomach’s growling. My coffee is cold. My dog is snoring. There are a million things I should be doing… and to top it all off, there is a fly in here that keeps landing on my screen. I’ve named him. Or maybe it’s a her? I don’t know how to tell in flies. LOL But it’s name is Bopsy.  Cuz that’s legit, what I want to do to it.

None of them inspiring thoughts.

My husband is over an ocean right now. And my daughter just texted me her daily “run” log. She’s training for the Chicago marathon and this is the longest she’s done so far. 11.03 miles.  Geez.
I can’t wrap my chubby butt around walking 5! She’s seriously my hero.

Hmmm. Maybe that’s something though…

Marathons. (I’m getting somewhere folks… hang on… this thought is on a train!)

Lord have mercy. Seriously, I don’t understand the drive it takes in your mind to WANT to run 26.1 miles … or do I?

Maybe I don’t’ understand the method marathoners like to use… a.k.a. actual running.. lol … Because. Uhm. NO. But I think I do get the idea of pushing yourself to do something you would see as an achievement. To push yourself to more than you think you have in you. To push yourself to step up to something big and say, “I’m coming for you.”
Yeah, I get that.
I’m kinda doing that right now. Ok. I AM doing that right now. This writing? That’s doing that.
For years, I didn’t get it though. For years, when something got hard, I quit. I don’t like to admit that about myself. It seems “less than”. It’s not the “highlight reel”. But #sisterfriend (and some Dudes) it’s the truth.
In high school, when other girls started showing up in track who were faster and better than I, I didn’t like it. I never had to train. AND nnnever had to put any effort into “extra training”, in order to be the fastest. I could show up to practice and just do that, no after hour running required, and (meep) be “the best.”  That’s not bragging so calm down, Peep. I didn’t have a huge athletic club or population to actually pool from, so … you hear what I’m saying. LOL  I went to a small private academy. Small. But,  I was athletic… and just naturally really good at it. One day though, a girl started passing me. She was new in school and man, she had wheels. Coach pulled me aside and tried to use “her” as motivation… “Kay, if you want to remain the fastest, you have to train outside of practice. You have to push yourself. You have to set aside intentional time to put the work in and do more than you just do here.”  I had my ear toward him, while my eyes were on … let’s just call her “Peach” (I know that’s not a good name, but even now.. thirty some years later… it feels good to give her a nick name that has an edge of sarcasm. #dontjudgeme. LOL I love, “Peach” in Jesus name. But… commmee onnnn….she didn’t have to train extra! Do you hear me?  LOL Her natural ability out “abilitied” mine…and (meep again)  I’m still a tad annoyed.)

Peach could run. I mean… coullllldddd run! She could do longer distances at a faster pace than anyone I had ever seen. (insert reminder of “small academy” here ..LOL) And to top it off… she looked good doing it! Dang Peach! But hey, I could run the longer sprints too. And, I was fast; but dang it… I crossed the finish line looking like I had just run 90 miles an hour, carrying a truck loaded with chickens! GAh…. not pretty.  My sweat would be soaking me, profusely running down my face and into all kinds of crevices. (meep) And my eyes, bulging from my head, would glance frantically around for water and the nearest medivac! Peach? ohhhh….She “gazelled” over the finish line, smiling and then turned gracefully to watch the other runners cross the finish line so she could high five them before casually walking to the water stand to take a delicate sip to just refresh herself. Ugh. I watched all this from behind the 3 rd water bottle I was gulping as the sports trainer wrapped my weak ankles and gave me instructions on how to avoid shin splints.

Oh. “Peach”.

This girl was trouble. I needed a plan that didn’t involve “training more”, like Coach was still speaking into the ear I had turned toward him, but “turned off”. No. I wasn’t going to waste valuable free time and energy, “running more”, eating less, and improving my ability. Nope. I wasn’t interested in “investing”. I wasn’t committed to “becoming more”. I had no desire to go “all in”… that required commitment. That required work. That required …. perseverance. So, even as I watched Peach, got pissed at Peach, pretended to smile at Peach,  handed a baton off in relay to Peach,

I was planning my

“quit.”

I learned very early on to listen to my “voices”. They weren’t wise. They didn’t know best. They didn’t want me to push myself. And they certainly didn’t care if I ever succeeded. But… they DID know,  I wanted easy. I wanted the quickest and fastest route to feeling significant, with the lowest amount of effort. The “voices” (NOTE: I didn’t legitimately hear voices before you think I’m a complete crazy person. Of course, I may be about to prove to you that I am, so keep reading. You decide.)  – any way , the “voices” , liked to throw a “big BUT” around and ,  I liked “big but’s”. (I cannot lie. However, insert: Shame. I didn’t like this about myself, but still… I partnered with big BUT’s for years)
“BUT, Kay. It’s ok to quit. If this is “too hard”… don’t do it. You’ve dealt with enough hard things. You deserve a break.” And so… I’d listen. I’d get in agreement and the big BUT would win, and a plan would develop around it so that it didn’t add to my feelings of insignificance. “So, Coach, I was thinking… Seeing as PEACH is the such FIRE on the track, maybe we should put her as last runner in the relay. I mean, lets face it… you can set her there and place any runner in 1st, 2nd and 3rd relay positions and we’d still win because, let’s face it Coach,  she’s gonna punish herself to close any gap; she’s gonna be like the wind and cover ground no one else can; She’s gonna be the one who can catch and pass anyone else like they’re standing still … there’s no way we can lose!”
But here’s why it was a “quit” for me.

That used to be MY position. I was last. I was “fastest”. I was “wind”. (Keyword : was) But, here’s the rest of my comment to Coach: “IF she’s  in the relay, in my place, that frees me up to run one more short sprint. We need more short sprint placers” . Short sprints were my jam. I could run those like a mouse covering the distance from the cupboard to his hole, when a cat spotted him. And if Peach were running my relay leg, chances were good, she wasn’t going to be in my short sprints. I mean, in the short sprint, I could still beat her, but , I realllly had to work for it (meep) and “the cat” got a little too close for comfort if you know what I’m sayin’.
Yeah, Yeah, yeah… we were a “team”… so if we scored a 1st and 2nd place in our event together, it would be more points for the whole team and that was the goal.. right? Well. Sure. But… It was also my Senior year for track and I was so wounded and broken inside, I just needed to be the best for just one more season and then, my “voices” whispered, I could end my high school “career”, “successful”.

Whoa. Transparency moment. I had all the appearance of confidence but inside… the shattered parts were cutting me.

Coach didn’t buy in.

Whaaat? It was the perfect plan to maintain my significance! It was the best case scenario for me to maintain a facade. It was the ultimate way to allow me to keep allowing myself to “believe” I was the best. I mean, if  her “flame” didn’t get held up to my “candle”… it wouldn’t matter. Right? Right!!! I could just keep pretending my flame was still super bright.  Even… Brighter. Goal for  me. Shine the brightest. Be “seen” . SEEN is valuable. SEEN is worthy.  SEEN was wanted.

Ugh. I was a mess. Truly a jacked up mess.

And now. Because of “Coach”, I needed a new plan.

Enter: Excuse.

It’s “Big BUT’s” best friend.
“Coach, I live an hour away from school. By the time I get home from after school stuff, and do homework and eat and complete chores, I don’t have time to “train”… Peach trains like crazy so she OF COURSE is going to be better at some things. She’s lucky she doesn’t have my life.”

“Coach, I have flat feet.  (Which I do. Hobbit feet to be exact. Hahaha . They are flat and thick and wide and I may or may not have to shave my toes- meep) and Coachhhh, (insert teenage girl whine) they are really beginning to bother me. I can’t even wear spikes because I can’t find them to fit my feet (which I could, BUT, they were really expensive and my family couldn’t afford them. Friends, do you SEEE “Big BUT” and EXCUSE hanging out there together? Jerks. ) So OF COURSE Peach is going to be able to run faster!”

And….so , excuse laden quitting became a thing.

You know who else is a good companion of “Big BUT “ and Excuse?

Comparison.

She’s just as mean. She steps right up to your face and calls out all you are not, if you let her. Mean girls suck. And yet, we give them POWER and call them Truth when we allow them to become some of those voices that speak in our own heads.
I learned to partner with “big BUT” and Excuse and Comparison and they all led me to the school of Quit…which is totally in the land of “Not Enough” and has a commuter system of “Regret”.”

Know what else is Truth? “But’s also have a father. His name is LIES. And he taught “baby girl” well.
He whispers, “Daughter, if you can get her to use you… she will deceive herself and we will be able to keep her from living her best life, a life that speaks REAL TRUTHS and becomes powerful for things like Good and Hope and Faith and Love. WE can’t have THAT!  NO… She must form a habit of believing the LIE that she is not enough and that she is NOT made for more. Daughter, keep after her. Lead her to partner with BUT’s in her life that park her in despair and comparison and leave her ineffectual for Kingdom work. Let’s form a system of Regret that she can’t get off! Let’s get little sister “EXCUSE” a presiding roll here too. With a BUT in one hand and an EXCUSE in the other, she will be ours to manipulate and destroy. Ineffective for any good thing.”

Seem like I took that scenario too far? Just a thousand words ago, I didn’t even know what to write!

#Sisterfriend. (And some Dudes) I didn’t.  I promise. I didn’t.

See, we have an enemy, roaming about seeking to devour us. He plants seeds of insignificance that he tries to grow into sprouts of “not enough”, in hopes that they become a forest of despair, thick with briers and hard to find your way through. He wants to keep us stuck and wounded and useless. He deceives and lies and sets BUTS and EXCUSES before us like low hanging fruit that we pick because it’s EASY. He knows  that low hanging fruit didn’t demand a climb. It didn’t’ require effort. It didn’t ask you to believe for MORE and see the worth of high fruit. It didn’t need you to look around for the better tools to reach that top fruit nor develop in you things like persistence, determination, goals, stamina, consistency, endurance and grit. You remaining grounded by shame and cemented in self ridicule is critical to his mission of making sure… Evil wins.  Well guess the freak what? Evil doesn’t win. It’s not a marathoner. It’s a short sprint to no where and all it wants is miserable company.

Get up #sisterfriend! and some Dudes! You GET to be MORE because You ARE MORE! You are beautiful and a masterpiece and this world needs YOU..just as you are!

Unlike the marathon, the short distance is easy. The walk through the park is easy. The stroll to the corner to hail a cab is easy.
But Marathoners know, you push yourself because there is an achievement that is worth the effort. Marathoners also know… you don’t have to be first. You just have to finish. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to show up as your best self.  Marathoners know, the finish line is not the greatest achievement… the belief you had in yourself the entire race , is!  POUND the pavement of your LIFE with THAT!!!  Who do you partner with in that race? Here’s the thing… YOU get to choose! You totalllly get to choose your “teammates” in this race.  Choose the ones who will help you run it well. Choose Faith. Choose Hope. Choose Love. Choose Persistence, Consistency and Grit! Side up to Grace and Charity and Compassion and make best friends with “Flawsome”… that chick knows her race!

And here’s the thing #sisterfriends, and some Dudes…
This blog. This place. This space…  you’re gonna meet some of those “folks” here. Promise.
So….

Welcome to my “marathon”.

Blogging.

Life.

“I’m coming for you.” I may not be running as fast as others, but my Partners are rockstars!

*Pictured: My girls. One by birth, one by heart. “Marathoners” for each other – in LIFE

marathoners

More Page Updates

Hey #sisterfriends.  Maybe some Dudes…

JUST letting you know that more pages are updated!
Now you can look under the menu tab and select from:
Homesteader Kay
Hope*Writers and
Dogs and Disclosures

remember… “work in progress”, people… “work in progress” 🙂

PROMISE… the real body of the blog will start soooon 🙂  And I can’t wait to dig in to it.

person woman apple hotel
Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Let me know what you think so far! I love a good “atta girl!”  LOL