Tuesday, 17 May 2016

life just keeps ticking by....

From time to time, I stop and realize that time is just marching on. 

I am not standing still as it marches, I am falling in line.

      I find myself wanting to change the course,
            or the scenery
                 or at the very least my intentionality in the "march".

Even the word "march" does not sit well with my soul. 
I have learned that to truly live, 
I need to learn to truly rest.
I am in a continuous learning journey...

 This world clamors for success, striving, performance, and getting more done in less time.

I hear these words of the Lord, they resonate in my soul:

"Cease striving and know that I am God." 

 “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Advent and Christmas

Years ago I began incorporating the Advent season into my life. 
I began using an advent wreath with candles that I lit each corresponding Sunday. 
I found weekly readings and songs that went with each Sunday of Advent.

Last year I was honored to put together Advent readings/meditations myself for our reFresh ministry. This took me to a deeper place of appreciating the season of Advent. 

These practices helped the whole of the Christmas time to not be stress filled and exhausting to me.  I found myself more aware of the miracle that Christ's birth was and is. 

In the Catholic church we have Advent season as the beginning of the new church calendar year. Advent season ends on Christmas Day and Christmas Season goes from Christmas Day to Epiphany!

I love that Advent is meant to remind me of the longing and need for Christ and the hope of His arrival. And that the Christmas season of joy begins on the day we celebrate the birth of Christ and goes until the day we commemorate the Wise Men's arrival to meet Christ. 

I am excited to begin Advent tomorrow. Sunday. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

When it feels like there is not enough time

I was in a local coffee shop recently and overheard a girl asking her friends to pray that she would have more time and energy.

I smiled to myself as I walked outside with this thought, "we are given 24 hours in a day. No more, no less." 
We are called to be stewards of the time given to us. 
If I pray for more time, it really means I am not prioritizing well or I am attempting to do more than is feasible. 
Wouldn't it be more in line with Christ's call on my life to pray for wisdom in how to steward the time given to me? 

I have been thinking a lot about time lately. 
The hours given to me are 24. 
In each 24 hour period I must work, sleep and eat.. and any left over time is family, friends, church, taking care of myself, etc... 

I was blessed the past 10 plus years to have jobs that had flexible hours. 
 This new job requires I go to an office at least 4 days a week for at least 8 hours a day. 

I know this is normal for most people, but it has been a big adjustment for me. :) 

I have had to re-arrange my priorities and my expectations. 
Isn't that what we all must do when we encounter big changes in our lives? 

A new job
A new house
A new relationship
A loss 
A gain

All major changes in life demand that we look at our priorities and how we go about them. Are we making the important things the important things? Is God first? 

When I was a Mary Kay consultant (oh so many years ago...), I was taught that it should be God first, Family second, Career third. I actually still go by this. Not always well... but my relationship with the Lord is much more important to me than any other relationship. My family and my friends are very dear to me and my job is generally something I must do to pay bills. As much as I put my passion and heart into any job, it is still not as important as the people in my life.

And how do I prioritize my health in all this? If I don't eat well, drink water, exercise, I do not have energy to do anything else well. 

Oh Lord, please give me wisdom and courage to prioritize and value this precious gift of time that you have designed.

Monday, 17 August 2015

a Journey of Health

About two years ago 
            I began a journey of intentionally becoming 
                more healthy
                                                                -and physically.

I do not know that I will ever arrive at any standards that the world calls me to strive for, but I am feeling more healthy than I have felt in a very long time.

When I lived in Europe, women knew they were beautiful no matter what size or shape they were. They in general walked with the confidence that they knew they had feminine power (beauty and grace and strength) no matter if they were in a winter coat or a summer bikini. 

Those 8 years instilled in me a greater sense of confidence in my femininity as a God-given gift.

I must admit that I regressed a bit after moving back to America, where we see beauty as being fit. And just over two years ago, I saw a photo of myself that really shook me. I was almost the heaviest I had ever been. And it was affecting my confidence in who God created me to be. 

So I began to exercise, and worked on remembering to eat and counted the ounces of water I drank to make sure I was drinking enough. I engaged a personal trainer who inspired and encouraged me. 

I am grateful for the flexibility my schedule held those two years. I could go to the gym when the trainer was available.  Then I could go to the gym when the classes were running that I enjoyed. 

I am grateful for the encouragement of people who have known me for a long time... saying Melissa you have always been beautiful and it is good to see you getting healthier. I need encouragement. 

In these past two years I have shed about 50 pounds and gone from a XL to a Small and from a 16 to a 6. With those pounds went a lot of emotional and mental healing as well. 

As I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror these days, I am stunned. I don't see myself as skinny. 
When I try on clothes I have to convince myself to try on the smaller size because I don't believe it will fit and then it does and I am shock. 

I am not done yet. I don't care what size I am or how much I weigh, really. I care how healthy I feel.. and I know I need to be stronger... and I know I will get there. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other. 

.....This is a process

God created us.
       He designed our bodies 
                   He also designed what it would take for us to be our healthiest.

I want to be healthy. 
I want there to be no reason 
that I could not go where God calls me to go 
do what what God calls me to do. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Glorify the Lord with me...

At Mass on Sunday,
 after having ridden 45 miles 
(most of which was the Portland Bridge Pedal), 
with a worn out body. 

I felt raw and open and vulnerable. 
Too spent physically to engage emotionally or mentally. 
Content and happy
nothing between me and what God would show me during mass. 

The responsorial Psalm was from Psalm 34

Oh, magnify the Lord with me, 
and let us exalt his name together! 
I sought the Lord, and he answered me 
and delivered me from all my fears.

I felt tears well up in my eyes. 

I did seek the Lord over my anxieties preceding this bike ride. 
I did ask others to pray for me as I felt anxieties well up within my soul. 

He did answer. 
He did deliver me from my fears. 

I did have a moment toward the end where my lack of ability to get oxygen going up a hill cause me to hyperventilate... but I was not afraid. 

And the whole ride, 
over all the bridges, 
around all the people, 
with the support of my boyfriend 

I made it. I did something I never dreamed I could do. 

Magnify the Lord with me! Let us exalt His name together!