Saturday, May 24, 2014


I think it's funny that I've never been good with huge transitions, yet my life has been full of all kinds of changes, transitions, etc....  Humorous guy God is, huh? 

Yet somehow this year has been full of little changes that created huge shifts and transitions in my life, and they all have worked together to produce some of the best stuff!!

First, a friend literally forced me off a fence I had been sitting on, not quite ready to get off of. Next, I let go of my own ideas of what my 'self' had to look like. Then there was the filling of my office with color, followed by adding color to every other room encouraging bright cheerful spaces. 

The front porch, yard and gardens were filled with plants outside of my comfort zone, and all added to the calypso vibe I really wanted to create. I also realized that my closet that had been filled with fairly neutral, safe clothing choices, had somehow morphed into a colorful, fun, eclectic blend of things I really liked!

At the same time I developed allergies, arthritis, and added about 15 laugh lines to my face. I guess the laugh lines are good, since they imply I was smiling, but any wrinkle is an unwanted wrinkle when you're my age!

All these things led to one big life altering change - no more enabling others, no more co-dependent behavior, and no more apologizing for things that I really have no control over. It's not my job to run around solving other people's problems or minimizing the consequences they may have to face for their choices.

A half year of transition, almost all of which was healthy and productive and scary and fun and freeing!! I still have half of a year left and can't see it being anything but more productive and fun!! Probably about the time I have to harvest my ambitiously planted garden I'll be less enthusiastic about productive, but until then....let the transitions come as they may! :D

Friday, May 9, 2014

Stuck in the Mud

I have this friend....just sounds like a personal message that is hiding behind the word 'friend' doesn't it? This time though, a genuine friend is involved. I want to share their story. I don't have their permission, BUT, their story is like so many that I am willing to bet many people will think it's their own. 

To be fair though, I'm going to call my friend Yellow. Yellow is my fave color and as we all know is the perfect shade when you don't know if it's a boy or a girl. I guess green works also when you don't know, but I like yellow better. 

Yellow is a dynamic person. Very smart, fun-loving, talented in so many ways. A laugh that makes others want to laugh, cares deeply about others. Likes to make people smile. Yellow is also a really messed up person, like all the rest of us.

Yellow has spent their entire life attempting to be what they weren't. They never put much effort into discovering God's best plan for their life. They just lived. They didn't think about where they were going, they just were. Every decision was made in the moment, regardless of what it may look like in the future.

Yellow also spent much of their life running from responsibility. Fearful of choosing anything in life that might extend beyond their reach and control, decisions just didn't get made really. When decisions were made, they benefited only Yellow, and anyone that questioned, well, they didn't find themselves on the list of people Yellow spoke too.

Now if you've read any of my blog posts, or know me at all, you know that I am a recovering control-freak! My life has been beyond the scope of my ability to control it from my literal conception. With so much out-of-control, I strove to find the things I could control...I just about destroyed myself attempting to create an orderly, clean, over-achievers life. So I get the whole "I must be in control" thing. I battle it daily and God has allowed me to face enough in my life that I just have to rely on Him to do His thing. 

Yellow on the other hand, never recognized this need to control their environment. Yellow thought they were an easy going person who just rolled with life. Exceptions were made in maybe 3 areas, but generally, Yellow thought they were pretty okey-dokey. Anyone else who knows Yellow will tell you that Yellow is a mega-control-freak, who lives on a very short fuse. However, Yellow's good-nature when in charge of life has always allowed them to get by. This is Yellow's other biggest challenge - being a people-pleaser to the point of pleasing no one. 

Until recently that is. See, Yellow took on a less-than-well-thought-out challenge. Yellow decided it was time to take the bull by the horns and make some pretty big decisions. Yellow didn't seek counsel, didn't take offered advice, didn't stop to think that maybe they didn't know it all. Yellow literally charged. Exhilaration followed! "Look how brave I am, look how smart I am, look at me!!! I will do what no one has done before!!! I can do it & I will be the best at it & everyone will admire me!!! I will be able to say I did it all by myself without any help & it will look exactly as I decide it will look."

If you're over the age of 30, you have probably learned that making decisions solely to have others admire you is the quickest way to destroy your life. If you're over 30 and don't know this, beware, you'll be learning it soon!

Yellow wanted to be brave, but deep inside, Yellow was covering up the fact that this was the first time bravery had ever been explored. In fact, Yellow was hiding some pretty big secrets. You know the kind. The secrets you think you're hiding from the rest of the world when really they already know? Turns out that Yellow was going to learn the hardest lesson we face as we grow up - you really aren't hiding the truth, it just hasn't been exposed yet.

Of course, the inevitable happens - a swift kick-in-the-pants from life. Yellow falls from exhilaration into a big muddy mess. Have you ever seen a muddy yellow before? It has to be one of the most unpleasant of all the colors! Even gray is better than yucky yellow!

Imagine the shock Yellow gets when they fall into this mud! Of course, Yellow has encountered dirt a few times before, but never mud. Mud is it's own thing. Mud has this way of sticking to you, helping you get stuck in it, dragging you down deeper, and generally just creating difficulties everywhere it is. You don't just shake off mud the way you do dirt. Mud STICKS!

Poor Yellow is now muddy, murky, yucky....and of course since Yellow is stuck in the mud, and hasn't ever had to be THIS brave, determined, creative, honest, or real before, Yellow just doesn't know what to do with themselves.

Many come along & try to help Yellow. They've been in the mud, they know how to get out. But Yellow decides that determination must mean doing it all on your own. Yellow can't accept the help or support offered because then Yellow would have to admit they weren't really in control of things. Not to mention the fact that Yellow trusts no one. 

Sadly the tale of Yellow ends badly. Stuck in the mud, murky and yucky, Yellow decides to live there. Obviously, Yellow finds themselves pretty alone. Most of us don't like living in the mud you see. We know it's danger. Yellow has tried to blame the mud, blame others, blame God, blame, blame, blame. Yellow can't quite figure out how to take honest responsibility for getting stuck. Yellow has lost all the good that was possible on the road to bravery. Yellow knows it too. It's part of what keeps Yellow in the mud - the recognition that staying there ultimately cost the best parts of life.

What makes this tale sad for me, is that in real life, not only have I personally been in the same place as Yellow, but I have many friends this story can apply too, to some degree. Thankfully, I don't live there anymore. Thankfully, many people I know are in the process of climbing out of the yuck. I hated the mud!

If only Yellow would have realized that life is totally about the journey, the growing, the joy you find in connecting with others, becoming who God meant for you to be all along. It's not about pleasing others or trying to have everyone admire you or your accomplishments. It's not even about proving that you can do it.

Life is about what I can do today to be who God made me to be. It's about finding appreciation for the sound of a gently falling rain on the roof that brings fresh green grass in the morning. It's about watching the crocus nudge their bright color out from the mud to say that spring is approaching. It's about being so thankful that you have one more day to live. It's about being grateful for your blessings. It's about learning to trust & love other people. It's about seeing that life is so short that not a moment should be missed. It's remembering the rainbow comes after the rain. The sun comes out again, the spring will come, the joy will be found. 

On our stormiest days it's easy to find ourselves in mud. Yellow should have taken the advice offered by others - throw it in 4-wheel drive & rock yourself on outta there! Instead Yellow has lost all that really matters, including themselves. 

I share the story of Yellow, mostly because I'm sad to see it happen. I share it also though as a reminder for everyone who is in the mud. You have a choice! You don't have to live there! You can be free to soar and fly and find who you were meant to be! You can get out & rebuild & grow & recover & find a peace & joy you've never had before. Yellow chose to lose everything - YOU don't have to make that choice! 

It doesn't matter why you're in the mud. Maybe someone did push you, but that doesn't mean you ought to stay there. Maybe you landed their own your own like Yellow, but you can get out. 

Throw it in 4-wheel drive & rock yourself on outta there!!! It's a beautiful day, full of possibilities!! 

Stuffed Mushrooms

'Tis the season for baking, cooking, roasts, etc… The cold weather always leads me into my kitchen, with a need to create hot, warm, fi...