Slowing Down

Ann VoscampIt’s not entirely our fault, really. Instant gratification is what we’ve become accustomed to… Sure, we can blame it on society…maybe we should take a look inward at our own impatience. “We want IT, and we want it NOW!” Why are we in such a hurry? What are we missing as we fly through life?

We order movie tickets online, call ahead seating. If the line at the drive thru is too long they come to the car…so we won’t have to wait too long. Oh, hell! Amazon will deliver within two hours, and throw in a cookie…because Heaven we need a TREAT!! My own kids forgo half the rides at amusement parks….Wait for it…Because the lines are too long. My heart truly bleeds for them.

What have we done?

This racing around, demanding things happen this instant…It’s creeped into my heart and soul. I’m impatient in all areas of my life. Instead of enjoying the day to day, and trusting the journey I’ve been given. I find myself restless about the future. Constantly questioning and Praying about where I should be; where my family should be….what our path should be.

But, here’s the kicker…I haven’t been Praying…I’ve been “demanding”. That’s really no different than when my kids demand something of me. Seriously, Talk to the hand!

Only He knows exactly what I need, and maybe…just maybe I should be Still. And Quiet. And Pray.

There is no reason to rush; I’ve missed so much. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason, and somewhere along the way I’ve let that fade from my heart. My heart and Hands are open. I will trust the journey…

Breathing in. Breathing out. Being conscience of every moment. Everyday.

Ann Voscamp: Fo all Us Hop-ers

You Will Never Regret Being Kind

Kindness…what a wonderful virtue to have. And, honestly talk about an easy gift to give….it’s actually free. Kindness can be given to others by simply smiling when you pass, reaching out to friends, stepping out of your comfort zone to ask a stranger if they need help. But, I watch people and I wonder why they guard it like their most coveted treasure…almost as if they have a finite amount. You know your not going to run out, right? Your heart is overflowing…the more you giveaway the kinder you become. I promise, you won’t be able to help yourself. You will never regret being kind.

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I will warn you though; kindness is contagious. All of the little eyes that watch you will soon pick up on this trend. I guarantee your kiddos, those little sponges, will jump on the kindness train and it will be fabulous. I’ve seen it. They will start holding doors open for strangers, returning baskets for people in parking lots, reaching out to the new kid in class. Without even realizing it…they too are spreading kindness.

So, as you head out today approach others with kindness; remember that it’s free and that you have an abundance. You won’t regret it.

Never Cut What You Can Untie

Never cut what you can untie

 

Never cut what you can untie.
Burning bridges, kicking down the ladder, closing doors…those are all pretty easy escapes, aren’t they? I know I’ve mastered them. When someone tears at our soul to the point of tears or anger we want out, and we want out fast. Often times our first reaction is to slam the door in their face without listening or giving the other person a chance. Without giving the relationship a chance. We base our entire relationship on that one turbulent moment. It’s such a knee-jerk reaction. You hurt me and I’m done with you. Forever.

Forever! Gone. In a flash. Time goes by and of course you second guess yourself; your rationale. But, if you’re stubborn like me you dig in a little deeper and applaud yourself for being RIGHT. Well, whatever!!! Can you even remember what the argument or issue was about? If you can I’m sure it seems trivial now. If you can’t…well, there ya have it.

Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s experience. Maybe it’s the number of doors I closed in the past. Maybe it’s the fact that life is too damn short to be frivolously getting rid of the important people in our lives. I know one thing; this anger thing we carry around is a heavy burden.

I am much more willing to extend an open hand and reach out now. Humility and Grace have played a huge part in how I handle my relationships. I no longer feel the need to be right….it serves no purpose, honestly; except to add fuel to the fire. If each person spends their time voicing how “right” they are then no one is listening.

Listening is where it’s at.

Listening=Understanding.

Listening was/is a hard one for me. The old me used to listen to reply, and as soon as the other person shut their mouth I couldn’t wait to get MY words out. I promise I never heard a word they said simply because I wasn’t listening. This changed everything. And, Grace! What power that word holds. YOU have this power. Give it freely!! Give others and yourself forgiveness and mercy. Remember that no one is perfect, and that we are all fighting some kind of battle…depending on the day you don’t know what someone else is bringing to the table. Cut them a little slack.

Before you walk away next time; stop and think about the words that were said. I mean really think about where they were coming from. How was the other person really feeling? Were they coming from a place of anger, really? Or was it pain, hurt, sadness. If you take a step back it might change everything. Take a walk in their shoes. Ask them how they feel. And, then LISTEN.

Friends…reach out. Sometimes it takes patience. Sometimes it takes persistence. Sometimes it takes time for the other person to reach back. I’m learning that that is OK. Everyone deals with their emotions differently; in their own time.

I urge you to take a moment in the heat of anger to breathe; walk away; to just think. Do whatever calms you. Go for a run, have a glass of wine, take a nap. Then and only then think about your relationship. Not just this one moment, but all of the moments. And remember…Never cut what you can untie.

Your Home is Fragile

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Taking care of a house is pretty easy. Pay the bills, keep up with routine maintenance, basic cleaning, mow the yard every so often, and that’s pretty much it. Taking care of your Home…now that’s a different story. Your Home reaches beyond the walls of your house and encompasses all those you love. Your Home is fragile, and must be handled with utmost care.

My Home is my refuge…It’s where I can totally be myself, it’s where I snuggle with my children, have my morning cup of coffee, reconnect with my husband. Home is where my kids run in and out nonstop, laundry piles up, and someone is always hungry. Home is where a Tuba rattles the window, kids splash in the pool, and grown young men come home for dinner. Home is a proud phone call, dirty socks in the hall, and a fever that won’t budge. Home is tears of unbridled joy, tears of sheer madness, and tears of heartbreaking sadness. Home is where I shed the boundaries of the world around me.

I thought about that last sentence, and it occurred to me just how far my Home stretches.

Yes. This. Home is where I shed the boundaries of the world around me.

Home is not only the people we live with. Oh no, we are greater than that. Our hearts are bigger than that. It would be simple if we walked in our front doors at the end of the day and turned our emotions off. Truth is we are not made that way….Thank Goodness we are not made that way. Home is all of the people we are comfortable with…the people who love you no matter what…with make up or without, the friends who don’t point out that you’ve worn the same pair of yoga pants three days in a row, the friend who says “are you wearing that?”.  The people we can just be ourselves with. You know who I’m talking about. The friend who “just gets it”, the friend who always shows up no matter what time it is, your “ICE”, the person who brings chocolate, or the person who brings wine. It’s the Sweet Friend who just lost their beloved Daddy. It’s the Friend who’s at a turning point in her marriage. It’s the Friend worried about her Husband’s health. It’s the Friend who’s plate is so very full. Reach out to these Friends. Hold their hands, love them, let them know you’re there. These relationships are so special…they need nurturing and care just like those you live with.

I cannot stress to you how fragile your Home is. These are relationships that must be nurtured and protected like the most precious flower. These relationships cannot thrive without your attention, and you cannot thrive without them. Reach out to the family and friends in your Heart and Home…tell them you are there for them, laugh with them, cry with them, just be there for them.

xoxo
Amy

Open Your Hands

Open your hands

Do you ever find yourself retreating…closing yourself off from the people you love, the people you need? I’m not just talking about our spouses or our partners. If your like me you do it from your Friends…without even realizing it. Life gets in the way. Kids, jobs, families, sports, life gets in the way and these valuable nurturing relationships get pushed to the side.

So often I end up hunkering down (who says that?), focusing on my day to day stress, and I cutoff all contact with the outside world. In the precise moment when I need it most I sever all ties to my most valuable support system. And, the crappy thing is; I’ll actually think to myself, “Hmpf! Sure would be nice if so and so called or texted!” When the reality is I’m the one that closed my fists, crossed my arms, shut down…assumed the fetal position. Do you do that?? It sucks!!!

My friend, Glennon (I’m reaching…I just adore her, though. She will make you laugh, cry, spit your coffee, and feel absolutely normal) @momastery, wrote a blog about this “ICKY” feeling. She figured out that this “ickiness” was really loneliness, and that she needed her “girlfriends”…she was lonely for the kind of love and support that only they could provide. I totally get that!! I need that!! Why do I shut my friends out first? Why do I close my hands? Why is that so easy to do?

You get what you give, right? So, by taking that first step, reaching out, opening our heart, opening our hands hopefully we can open someone else’s.

xoxo,

Amy