From the Dust

On the way to a routine doctor’s appointment, I called my mom to check in with her. She was filled with excitement as she spoke of her time with Jesus in Bible study that morning. I wish I could have recorded her detailed thoughts as she spoke of familiar scripture that went from ordinary to extraordinary. We’ve all had those aha moments of connection and a new purpose within the familiar.

It’s a sacred place.

I’m readying a book on creativity and knowing our Creator as first and foremost as a creator who finds joy and purpose in creativity. As my mother spoke of all the things spoke into creation by God, I had a connection to my current reading.

“Oh, but, God created man with something–the only thing created from something by God.”

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

Since the beginning of mankind, we have been filled with the very breath of God–LIFE!

We are different from animals and plants, because we have within us a longing for things beyond this world. As I breath in and out, I am praising my Creator, and I am longing for Him.

I feel within me that future life.  I shall most certainly rise toward the heavens. The nearer my approach to the end, the plainer is the sound of immortal symphonies of worlds which invite me. For half a century I have been translating my thoughts into prose and verse: history, philosophy, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode, and song; all of these I have tried. But I feel I haven’t given utterance to the thousandth part of what lies within me. When I go to the grave I can say, as others have said, “My day’s work is done.” But I cannot say, “My life is done.” My work will recommence the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley; it is a thoroughfare. It closes upon the twilight, but opens upon the dawn.

Victor Hugo
Why does this matter? Each day you face, you can rise breathing and believing that God, your Creator, has created you to bring about His love, peace, and purpose within this world. You are not an accident or a bundle of mistakes that you can’t seem to change. When you accept this knowledge you say to the darkness, that I am the light of the world! I, along with mankind, are here to bring God’s love–HIS LIFE!  You physically carry this LIFE within you as His child. Accepting Him as Father, we begin to acknowledge and grow in this understanding.
Taking this knowledge within your space within in our universe, I encourage you to embrace creativity as a new adventure! Whatever you are called to create within your home, workplace, or personal life, know that the God of our universe is the ultimate creator! His breath is in you!
Can a normal activity now have deeper meaning? Can you venture out and take a class that will inspire creativity?

 

Gratitude 📓

Good morning! I started the gratitude journal that I shared with you yesterday. Below are all the questions typed out with an example to share from my quiet time. I wanted to make the journey easy if you are considering keeping a gratitude journal. Feel free to copy and paste the questions and start your own. Once I’m finished, I will share the journey, and, I would love to hear from you.

There is always something to be thankful for….

What made you start this journal?

Attending church one Sunday, the pastor shared a “word for the year”.  The word for 2018 is rooted. I immediately had a vision of a beautiful tree with 12 roots deeply planted within the rich soil of the earth. For each 12 roots I began to think of words that support a healthy mind and spiritual blessings. Gratitude was the first word. God has given us so much and in return I desire to show gratitude with intention and purpose.

What is different today from a year ago that you are grateful for?

As I’ve grown old with my husband, we’ve moved away from diapers and daycare to grandparenting, adult children, college aged children, and a middle schooler. We have more responsibility in our positions, but more time to plan alone time together as a couple. We can, at times, be more spontaneous.  So, on a day in which we both had off with no children or obligations, we took a road trip to eat by the fire, dance under the sun, and ice skate in the freezing cold. I’m grateful for him, our love, and spontaneous play.

What do you love about your best friend?

The gift of friendship is something to be truly grateful for. Friends come and go with the seasons of your life. You drift apart due to graduation, moves, loss, or significant changes. There are few friends that remain through it all. What I love most about my best friend is how she makes me feel after being with her. Maya Angelou stated that “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

No matter what kind of day we are having after a get together I feel refreshed, validated, loved, and accepted. To be with someone that you can pour heart and soul out to and not feel judged or abandoned is truly a blessing and a rare gift.

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What is something beautiful that you saw today?

What is the best thing that happened today?

When you set your intentions to think of the question throughout the day, you find yourself being more mindful and purposeful. Often, we must practice being in the moment without trying to control it, but I chose to create “the best thing that happened”. After reading my chapter in my book that my mother gave me for Christmas, I asked her to come over and sit with me to discuss the questions the author had created for discussion. We  had a great time talking about the beautiful, Creator, God and His love for us.

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My Journal from 2014

Other enjoyable activities were working with a good friend from work, planning my syllabus, gathering around the table to eat as a family, and starting the journey of taking down the Christmas decorations.

What are the best compliments you’ve ever received?

When a child honors you as a parent with random poems, notes, or cards your heart sings! You find joy in knowing that you are making a difference and courage to face another season of parenting.  I have displayed in my room some very special poems and pictures from my three girls. The mother/daughter picture is from many years ago, but remains my favorite.

In an effort to remain in the moment, I also received a wonderful compliment from a friend at work who mentors and leads me as a new employee. She gave genuine praise and feedback on a project that I helped to create. I believe that we can make a difference in the workforce by seeking opportunities to give specific praise in growth and effort. So often we take people for granted–“It’s your job so get it done”, or we wait for perfection–“That’s not good enough”.

What aspects of yourself are you thankful for?

Today was a challenging day. You know the kind of day where Murphy shows up. Today I practiced gratitude. I believe that one of my character traits or aspect of myself that I’m thankful for is that I love a personal challenge. The mere fact that I’m keeping this journal, and I am trying to remain consistent are aspects of myself that I appreciate and serves me well. I am devoted to my marriage, consistently support my children, and I am optimistic and creative in the workforce. I have my days, but for the most part these are true statements.

What made you laugh today?

Oh Sandy! You made me laugh! Just sending out the question sparked hilarious conversations which reminded me of connection. My sweet aunt Polly loved to laugh. She called it getting the yucks. Today I got the yucks with Sandy, Sophia, and from a little bird who flew into my bedroom. Yes. A bird. In my bedroom. He is safely outside.

What made you smile today?

A letter of gratitude from my oldest. A picture of my Little Lamb.

What is something you love in nature?

For the last few days the weather has been grey and rainy. We’ve come off a few days of ice and snow. I took notice of my mood and attitude towards the lack of sun. Going in and out of the house, I would feel the rain on my skin, and instead of desiring to see color, I was okay with grey and black cast that rain and winter brings. Every season has its beauty.

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View from upstairs office looking out over our Pergola

 

What is something you are good at?

I’m really good at working with beloved coworkers to create a product or finish a project. I love to create, and I love to create with others to better our world.

“The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born from our creativity!” Brene’ Brown

What do you like about your job?

I love that I can create with others in my job. I also love that our mission is to change the trajectory of education through a system of support! My role as systems coach is a way for me to serve in a larger capacity and make a difference in the lives of children.

What is a proud moment in your life and why?

Each one of us desires to live in a world with peace. In your current profession and roles that you play, you offer peace. You reach out and offer a hand, encouragement, and because of the task you completed, you made our world a better place. It’s the small things like an engaged customer service worker, a co worker who stops and offers an encouraging word, a parks and recreation employee who keeps our parks clean, a mother who teaches her child not to hit but to use their words, a spouse who forgives and shows mercy. It all matters. Gratitude Question for today:

What is a proud moment in your life and why?

I challenge you to not think of a huge accomplishment like a graduation, but to acknowledge your day to day work and be proud of the peace you are offering the world around you.

With that being said, I am proud of my devotion and abilities to maintain the work and tasks that are needed in our home to support our goals and dreams. My youngest is trying out for specialty centers in her school district. The fun tasks of preparation have been in our home! What to wear? What’s the process? What will you sing?

My youngest has been singing since she was a small child. Here is a precious song she made up many years ago about Jesus.

What abilities are you grateful for?

I am grateful for the ability to sing and my love for music.

 

What is something unique about your family that you are grateful for?

What are you grateful for and why?

What was your favorite family outing that you went on this year?

What is something that was hard to do but you did it anyway?

What accomplishments in life have brought you the most happiness?

What are some of the little things in life that make you happy?

When is a time that you made a positive impact on someone else’s life?

What do you like most about the current season?

What is one thing you love about yourself?

What do you like about where you live?

What do you love about your parents?

What freedoms are you grateful for?

What kindness did someone give you today?

What place are you most grateful for?

What taste are you grateful for?

What have you learned from keeping this journal?

Taken from: http://www.SimpleMadePretty.com

Deeply Rooted 2018

Consider walking the 12 months deeply rooted in changing your mindset. I had a strong visual of a beautiful tree–blooming and flourishing– because the tree was deeply rooted. Strong, assured, courageous, and providing beauty and joy to all who happen by to enjoy the shade. Then I saw 12 strong roots, or 12 months, or 12 words to embrace. Our first word or root is gratitude. The month of January will be a daily concentration on the word gratitude. Changing a habit can take approximately 21 days of constant practice.

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I recently happened upon a video on gratitude and living in the moment. As I watched the scenes change from the beauty of the earth to a baby awakening to a new day, I pondered the practice of gratitude when gratitude is hard. The moment at work in which you feel overlooked, incompetent, or exhausted. The continued relationship struggles you’ve danced around for years. The flat tire, lost keys, or baby sick again days. As I pondered this discussion with my faithful friend, she reminded me that the practice of gratitude and mindfulness prepares us for the chaos.

Living intentionally with gratitude is truly a daily and sometimes moment by moment practice.

Jesus tells us to give “thanks in all things” and “with prayer and thanksgiving to offer our requests to God”.

Brene Brown, researcher and social worker, reminded us of the connection between gratitude and joy. When we are filled with gratitude we experience joy.  Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts shared here life changing discovery of “giving thanks” and making it a practice by taking a picture, writing it down, and giving thanks, like Jesus did when He broke bread with the disciples at the last supper.  Her book and work offers an app in which you can take pictures of your one thousand gifts.

It’s the arms that hold you, the small touch on the back, a smile, a mother singing to her baby, and the breeze that catches your breath when you step outside from a long day of work.

After watching the video, I imagined in my mind what my video would be like during the course of a given day. This intentional practice created an opportunity for me to stop, look, and go. I noticed the beauty in a moment, took a mental picture, and moved on to the next moment.

I encourage you to start your new year watching this video:

Practice gratitude intentionally through your thoughts, words, and consider keeping a gratitude journal.

Print this book with your family and practice together: https://www.simplemadepretty.com/download/5363/

My husband and I went to see the movie, Downsizing. At the very end, the main character, took the time to stop, look, and go, a practice noted on gratefulness.org. I love when connections are made. If you’ve seen this movie, it’s when Matt Damon rushes to feed someone who lives in poverty with significant health concerns. Instead of checking it off the list, he stopped, looked him in the eyes, smiled, and noticed the gratitude of the friend–his need being met. He didn’t linger, but moved to the next moment–go.

When we see each moment as an opportunity, we will be filled with peace and joy knowing that God, in His love and mercy, holds each moment.

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