In The Garden

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When I was a child Easter meant getting a basket full chocolates, jelly beans and other treats. It meant the entire family went to mass that day and a leg of lamb awaited us for dinner. The reason for Easter, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus was an abstract idea for me. The treats in the basket were far more tangible.

My journey to understanding was a winding and varied journey. I found I was angry with God for many reasons. In the midst of my anger I still sought God but on my own terms.

I have read through the Gospels and the accounts of Jesus’ final days a few times. The moment in the garden, when he prays for this cup to be taken from him. That perhaps there could be another way, but alas there is not.

This moment is most relatable for me. The reality that he faces in this, of the inevitable to come and the desire for it to be otherwise is all too real. He seeks out God, wrestles with him even.

A reflection of my own journey to faith.

Cut to Easter Sunday almost nine years ago. I sat in service at my sister’s church. I had been attending with her for months, the word of God sinking into my heart. The pastor spoke about our need for Jesus, how the cross bridges the divide between hope and despair. When he invited us to pray to welcome Jesus into our hearts, I prayed. I prayed earnestly and submissively. Then I stood and came forward.

Again and again I back to Christ in the garden. His prayers pleading for there to be some other way. Then prayers for strength and of submission. How often have I pleaded with God, struggled to understand that it’s not my own strength but through His am I able to do anything? When I reflect on my ongoing journey, I see many moments in my garden with the Lord. I foresee many more as I go forward.

It is here in the garden where we see our Savior at his most vulnerable. His need for support from his friends, to seek comfort from his Father. It is here that Easter became tangible for me. In the garden, facing all that lie before him.

He faced it so that my sins were covered. He took on my punishment and died in order to rise again. Bringing with him the promise of eternal life. While I reflect on his prayer in the garden, I will also celebrate the Resurrection.

Copyrights and Such

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Above is an example of my potential copyright warning. The other day I was texting back and forth with my web designer and bestie about my upcoming website. I was asking her about my copyright warning. Something I had not really thought about previously. The possibilty of someone taking my work and putting it out there as their own. Plagarism abounds out here in the vast internet does it not?

Every artist is influenced from those who come before of course. These influences however, should be properly credited by notating the source of said work. When proper credit is not given, the person stealing the work is saying “I don’t want to take the time to actually create my own work so I will just take yours.” It should be flattering I suppose, stealing my words for their own gain. But it is far more flattering if my words are properly credited.

The fact that I have to consider this possibility is new for me. It means that my dream of making my living from writing is becoming a reality.

But I cannot allow myself to go nuts by this either. Those that I discover using my work and passing it off as my own will be notified to stop. A few may get away with it but their theft of others’ work says more about them. It says they do not want to do the work. That they do not believe in their own talent and abilities and so take from others. While they may get away with it for awhile, at some point discovery of thier lack of ethics and talent will be discovered.

Through it all I will continue to plug away. Honing my writing skills the more I work. Those that prefer to take what they did not create will not grow in any way. There are no short cuts in this writing thing. A lot of it is working , sweating with each keystroke. Some days the words just flow and others its easier to start cleaning the house. At the end of the day, it is worth all the effort, frustration, dead ends and clean houses. Because it’s what real writers do. Write.

Posers seek the glory but what they fail to realize is that the real glory lies in the finished work. They will never experience this until they honor their talents and write.

 

Mid Week Motivator: Eating Out, Part Two

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Last week I wrote about eating out.
Today I want to talk about this again. This time when it is not planned. Perhaps you have forgotten your lunch, or just need to grab a bite while on the go or are just too tired to cook. These are times that can be most trying as the choices for a quick meal can be limiting. However because you may stop at a fast food place, doesn’t mean all is lost.

Make the best choices available to you. Nearly every fast food place offers wraps and salads. Perhaps what you need is simply a quick snack. Running into your local drugstore or even gas station to grab a yogurt, fruit or nuts can be an option. Enough to hold you over until you have lunch or dinner. Something I have done from time to time is get a smoothie (asking them to not add sugar). It fills me up and is worth paying the money for it.

Grocery stores have great options for quick meals that can be healthier than going through a drive thru.

It’s good to know what your options are for those unplanned meals and snacks. The good news is that there is usually a healthier option available. You may have to look for or even stick to the same things when you do, but its possible.

What is your go to for unplanned meals and snacks?

Birthdays, Memories & Perspective

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The Mechanical Man (2013)

Today is my 36th birthday. This means I am now officially on the other side of 35. That much closer to forty. This cannot be! But I surely am. A child of the eighties, teenager of the nineties and young adult of the 00’s. I can recall a time before the internet, playing outside until it got dark. A time when Mtv actually played music videos and when Nirvana first came onto the musical scene. Ah recalling all that makes me feel ancient.

The thing is I don’t feel like I’m 36. For most of my life I have drifted, starting but not finishing college. Going from one dead end job to another, with no real goals in mind. Simply just trying to get from one day to the next. Feeling relieved as I made it through another day.

All the while I was writing. Journals, starting short stories, attempts at novels. Ever since I learned to read, books became my constant companion. The makings of becoming who and what I was created to do, Write

The quote at the top of this post reverberates within me. I have always marvelled at people who seemed to know what they wanted in life and just went after it. As if they had some insider information on how to achieve their goals. I have encountered so many young adults who seem to have a better grasp on how to be an adult than I still do. Finding myself stuck on the how as much now as I have in the past.

The difference now is I don’t allow the fear to hold me back. I may pause, or take a moment to do what I need to do. But I do it. Perhaps not always well or as gracefully as others. These days I try, as opposed to not doing anything at all.

I have more hope these days than I ever did when I was in my twenties. I’ve embraced being a late bloomer, ceasing to compare my life to those around me. By doing so, I found myself freed from so much regret. My past is what has helped formed me to become the person I am becoming today.

I do not know what to expect for my thirty-sixth year. I am open to the opportunities and challenges it will surely hold. I still feel a bit lost from time to time. I have learned that being a bit lost means also eventually finding your way. That is part of the adventure of life isn’t it?

Mid Week Motivator: Eating Out

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So it’s been a few months since you’ve begun to eat healthier. Staying in and cooking has helped to keep track of what you eat. Bringing lunch to work has become a new habit too.

Inevitably at some point you will eat out. Perhaps it is a night out with friends or an unplanned meal. Either way, these are some tips on making good choices.

The good news is these days most restaurants offer healthy alternatives.  These usually have the calorie count next to them. What can be the downfall is the bread or chips left on the table. I know I have a hard time saying no to them! How to cope? If you desire, take a few then pass it away from your easy reach. I find I hesitate to ask for more if I have to ask for it to be passed to me. Of course you can always say no, but really how often does this actually happen?

Appetizers are another area to navigate it can be hard to say no once they reach the table. I usually do not go for appetizers but if they are ordered I use the same strategy as with the basket of bread.

Going for the salads doesn’t always mean it’s healthy. It can be drowned in dressing or full of cheese.

Split or share a dish, you can still enjoy a favorite dish by having far less of it.
Then of course there is desert, someone
Inevitably suggests it right? Again here the bread basket strategy comes into play, or order coffee or tea. This will give your hands something to do while the others eat.

When I know I’m going out to dinner or lunch I adjust my food for the rest of the day. That days workout is stepped up a notch too, especially since I know exactly what I want to eat.

You may eat too much or linger over that bread basket too long. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Enjoy the meal, enjoy the time with loved ones. Getting too much in your head about your food makes you bad company. What you eat will soon be digested. What is important is the choices you make afterwards. To continue eating well. It’s a balance, enjoying food while gaining health.

What Matters Most

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Last year I dove into the world of online dating. In a few months I then dove out.  Downloaded on my phone were several dating apps. Apps that began to become the focus my days. It was just too easy to open them and peruse.

Several things dawned on me, first of which is that everyone is being judged. I was guilty of this, swiping left simply because of a bad photo or that the person just was not physically attractive to me. I am sure the same was done to me.

Second, no one really wants to have a conversation. I grew frustrated after taking the time to construct a thoughtful, hopefully witty message. In return, getting no response. The whole thing began to feel wrong for me.

I am nearly thirty six and have never been in a relationship. Dates, yes but not a relationship. The lack of response translated into rejection. Which became draining for me. All those apps were soon deleted.

I had to take a step back and think about what I really believed about potential marriage. As in what it could do for me. Then I attended a marriage workshop that my church held.

It was good for me. It helped me gain a better perspective on my singleness. How I needed to let go of the idea that marriage is created simply for me. For me to be happy or that being married would make me happy.

The reality is, marriage, just as anything else in this Christian life, is there to prepare me to meet Christ. Realizing this, a lightbulb went off in my heart. Regardless if I marry or if I do not, it is all about Jesus. My life is not less worthy to Christ because I am single.

Which has freed me from the anxiety and worry that I have carried for much of my life. Letting go of the judgment that I have placed on myself for being single. Putting myself down as a loser. I believed for so long that my validation belonged in someone else loving me.

Being loved does matter but my salvation is found in Christ and not another person. I still hope for marriage but it may be more of an “if instead of when “question in my life. I have a better perspective on what marriage can possibly be in my life.

Can this be called contentment? Perhaps. I hesitate to call it that though. I call it an in between state. Between feeling content and longing for more. I find it to be the place I need to be right now. The tension where we are all called to live as followers of Christ.

Single or married, what matters most who I am in Christ.