Exactly Where I Need to Be

I usually post original thoughts here on my blog. However, I saw this on a friend’s blog. I have watched it over and over for the past few days. I love the beauty of the dance. And the words seem to fit quite well with where I am at right now. On the one hand, our family still has NO idea of “what’s next.” On the other hand, I’m doing better (for now, at least) at “BE-living” (my word for 2013), being comfortable with and taking pleasure in the moment, rather than worrying about and focusing on the future.

Hopefully some (if not most) of you will enjoy this video…and the lyrics written below. (I recognize that these lyrics are not “Christian” — but I think the song still holds wisdom for ALL of us.)

(or click here to see video in another window — HOOP Dancer Video)

Exactly by Amy Steinberg

i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am a blessing manifest
i can undress the moment
naked time unwinds beneath my mind
and from within i find the kind of beauty
only i can find
i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am surrendering so willingly
to be the perfect me inside this now
and truly how else could it be
destiny she blesses me
when i try to fight or run
i only wind up back at square one
when i think i know what’s best for me
fate she takes me back
to exactly where i need to be
i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am divinely timed and shining brightly
yes i believe that there’s a purpose just for me
yes i believe that we are light
and we shine infinitely
i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am not aimlessly existing see
i am in perfect harmony with universal energy
and i am truly free when i accept my own divinity
look at me look at me closely
what exactly do you see
if you are paying attention you will now begin ascension of the mind
why, because if you look at me just right you will see a kiss
for it took a kiss to make this breath exist
the intersection of my mother’s and father’s lips
to touch twist and perfect what came next to produce me
look at me and you will see the breeze
the breeze it took to shake the leaves to make
my mother’s hair move, my father dare touch it and say
please may i have a kiss
yes the breeze made me exist
and if you want to get even deeper into this
when you look at me you will see a cloud
the cloud it took to form the storm to shake the leaves to
inspire the liplock – yes a raindrop will pop up out these words
you heard me right
if you look at me close enough you will see a dark stormy night
and what is night without it’s polar opposite of sunlight
so if you watch the way my hands sway
you’ll see the light of day
and everyday is a testament to the sediment of the earth’s core
it’s ever spinning enormous force so if you look at me just right
you will see a spark of the source
but the most fascinating thing about this, and it’s true
is that if you look at me close enough, you see you
it’s only what you perceive how you believe the space between
you and me
that creates reality
so when i sing you can feel it
when i cry you can heal it
when i speak words you can be the words i speak by singing with me
peace love free
peace love free
peace love free
and when i am alone and full of fear
i just remember the rising sun always appears
everyday miracles that i see
well they take me back to exactly where i need to be

Lessons in Procrastination

I have always heard that procrastination is a bad thing. Sometimes I beat myself up about this character flaw. Other times I just laugh about being an adrenaline junkie and needing a looming deadline to kick into high gear.

Early this summer I realized it was time to jump through the hoops and get our 15 year old son his driving learner’s permit. I knew the process with our older kids—walk into the license bureau, pick up study materials, have the teen take the written test, sign up for driving school somewhere in the neighborhood.

But that was back in Ohio—a very civilized, generally-has-its-act-together state. Now we live in a remote area of New Mexico. Things work differently here…

I discovered that walking into the license bureau was ahead of myself. My son needed to be signed up for drivers ed since he is still under 18. So, I went back home and researched online driving schools. I found an affordable one, but when I tried to sign up our son, I discovered I was (again) ahead of myself. He had to be registered as a homeschooled student with the State so I could give his registration number. I tried that process, but didn’t get a number. In frustration, I gave up.

Over the next few months, I regularly added these tasks to my to-do list. And I regularly ignored them, working on other projects instead. Our son was busy with other things and didn’t hassle me about the lack of progress in getting his learner’s permit…but I beat myself up about it.

I avoided it and avoided it and avoided it. Eventually, this fall, I decided I just HAD to sit down and do whatever it took to get him that permit. And now, 2 online homeschool registrations (does this mean the state thinks there are 3 JLE’s being homeschooled out here this year?!), one form mailed to the Transportation Department, one on-line school registration, and two (count ‘em, TWO) more trips to the license bureau later…he has those temps!

And…when he was asked if he wanted to be an organ donor, it suddenly came crashing in on me why I had procrastinated so long. Yes, I often put things off. Yes, I hate red tape and inefficient bureaucracies. But this time, that wasn’t really the cause. There was a lesson to be learned behind the procrastination. Something to be faced…

I realized this teen’s older brother had proudly gotten his temps 5 years ago. Once I explained what being an organ donor was, that son felt it was OBVIOUS that everyone should say yes to being a donor. And then just a few weeks before he could take the driving test and get his license, that son died unexpectedly. And, yes, we donated as many parts of that body he no longer needed.

But…but…but…I really didn’t want to face the idea that my current 15 year old is almost the same age as his brother was then. (Actually, on Sept 12 this son is now older than his brother will ever be…) I didn’t want to explain organ donation again. I didn’t want to look forward to the big day of another teen earning a full-fledged driver’s license…and never reach that day.

Sigh…

Maybe next time I repeatedly put something off, I will look behind the procrastination. Perhaps there will be another lesson to learn, another hurdle to cross, something else to sort through. Perhaps procrastination is NOT always a character flaw…but is a sign of a wounded heart.

(PS—as I was putting off writing this blog post, I found a really good book about procrastination on the “new books” section of the library—it’s a quick, encouraging read. Go find it…now…not later!!

quick encouraging read…

The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing*   by John Perry        *or, getting things done by putting them off)

Pushing Past the Fears…

I have recently been pondering the difference between Risk-taking and “risky behavior.” Sometimes when I’m facing something challenging, fear steps in and tries to convince me that participating in that activity would be “risky behavior” (in other words, something “bad”) rather than merely “risk-taking” (or something “good”). In the past few weeks, I have stepped outside my comfort zone and tried some new (scary) things. Most of you know that when it comes to living outside the box or trying new adventures, I’m all in. There are indeed some areas, however, that scare me; some opportunities that fill me with fear rather than exhilaration.

(portrait by the wonderful Jo Blackwell—see more of her work HERE )

In the past month, a number of opportunities for stretching and trying something new came up. I wrote last week about attending a conference for Community Health Evangelism. I had no idea (and still have no idea!) how I would use this. But the cost was manageable and the topic was interesting. I’m glad I gave it a try…

Earlier this year, I downloaded information about training to participate in a (mini)Triathlon. I enjoy being challenged by the posts on the Impossible blog. I decided to follow the writer’s advice, and reach for a physically challenging goal, rather than just doing adventurous, outside-the-box things that I enjoy. I dabbled with training, signed up for a mini-tri at the beginning of September…and chickened out at the last minute….sigh… I hope to do more consistent training and sign up for another mini-tri at a lower elevation sometime next spring. (Looking back, I’m sad that I let fear overwhelm me…)

I wrote on my art blog last week about taking a risk and signing up to submit illustrations for possible inclusion in an upcoming book by a favorite inspirational author. When I read about the opportunity to participate, I was excited. Then I was convinced it wasn’t really for me. After all, I have no experience with painting, or with collage, or with illustrating anything in particular. I’m definitely not a professional artist. Who was I to think that I could do this? and…and…and…

I tried to forget about it. But it kept coming back, over and over. Finally, I decided to sign up. I could at least look at the passages and see if I even had any ideas of what to try. Besides, anyone who sent in a submission would receive a free copy of the book. That, at least, sounded good. Okay…deep breath…

I finally managed to shut up those fear-filled, despairing voices inside my head. I asked for two passages. I read them over. Ideas immediately came; pictures in my mind that could illustrate the words. I was still fearful, but moved forward. I don’t know what will happen with the submissions…but I already know pushing past the fears, taking a RISK, has given me more confidence in playing with art!

Finally, I participated in a recent “Prophetic Art” seminar down in Albuquerque. Again, this felt quite risky. I enjoy artsy things like crafts and scrapbooking. But “real art”? That doesn’t seem to describe what I do. I dabble. I play. I don’t see myself as an “artist.” Plus I struggled with the idea of “prophetic” art, as I explained in an art-blog post this week. Again, all those fears about not being professional, not being an experienced painter, not being good enough, shouted in my head. Again, it felt too RISKY to participate. But, again, confidence came as I pushed through the fears and attended the seminar.

These are little things in the big picture of life. But, perhaps, for me they will turn out to be “big things.” At least pushing past the fears and quieting the voices has given me a new level of confidence! And I guess that’s a good start…

Confession Time…

Some of you know this already. Some of you will be surprised. After all, I’m in my 50s now. I’m a suburban, minivan driving, stay-at-home mom. (Well, I USED to be that…before moving to the middle of nowhere, switching to a 4wd that can handle miles of dirt roads, and taking on reading tutoring for at-risk Navajo kids…but the idea is still the same, right?!!)

I didn’t make this decision lightly. I followed the advice I gave one of my sons a few years ago—I can cover it up and it’s something I will be proud of at any age. After thinking about it for almost four years, I finally found enough courage to get it done.

What is “it”, you ask? Why, a tattoo, of course! Yes, I am the proud owner of a chubby-faced monkey tattoo on my upper left arm. (For those of you who are shocked by that idea, please sit down and take a few deep breaths. I’m still the same ole boring person…really!)

Why did I do “it”, you wonder? It is a way to remember our son who died 4 ½ years ago. The monkey is a copy of a prize that he won in an international tournament in an on-line game just a few days before he died. The words “Heaven’s Gift” are both the name he gave that monkey and a reminder of what he was to our family.

Here are a few photos:

The artist who drew the final version and tattooed it on my arm…

Proud owner of a cute tattoo…

Tattoo close-up

And, to close, here’s a funny story:

A few weeks ago, I wore a sleeveless blouse to the school where I am a reading tutor. Apparently I haven’t done that since last April. One of the “little ones” (2nd or 3rd grade) ran up to me and gave me a big bear hug, squealing, “Mrs. E! Mrs. E! You have a TATT! That is sooo cool!” She then ran off to announce this amazing news to the rest of the little girls in the cafeteria, who quickly gathered to see this wondrous thing. Who knew that a cute monkey tattoo would give me “cred” with the playground crew?!

GRACEFUL Girlfriend(s)

It is time for another 5 Minute Friday. Earlier this week, I decided to choose my own topics for blogging and not get “caught” completing an “assignment.” But then I saw the word for this week—“graceful.” I had already decided to write about some of my friends and include scans of scrapbook pages I recently completed about my girlfriends. And, voila!, the two topics mesh so well that I am once again going to participate in 5 Minute Friday.

Just in case you have missed earlier posts about it, on 5 Minute Friday blogger Lisa-Jo gives a word for everyone to reflect on. We each write for 5 minutes, with no editing, then post our links. It can be fascinating to see how many different interpretations there are of that week’s word! (If you like this week’s word, go check out posts by other bloggers HERE.)

So…here it goes…Ready…Set…Write!

 

I didn’t use to have girls as friends. During my teen years, most girls seemed to want to talk about clothes and make-up, talk about boys (rather than hanging out with them), or talk about ME (at least, that’s what it felt like). My heart was ripped over and over by barbed words from fellow females.

But then I grew up. I had kids. I stepped into leadership roles at church and in the homeschooling community. I found some women who were filled-with-grace. And these women became my good friends.

Let me tell you about one of my favorite grace-filled girlfriends. Sharon is day to my night; classy to my colorful; soft-spoken to my brashness; introvert to my extroversion. We may look like opposites…but our hearts have been knit together through tragedy and through triumph.

my GRACE-FULL friend

As we rub the rough edges off of each other, as we encourage each other, as we cheer each other on, one of the things I appreciate most about Sharon is her GRACE. She is a lovely lady, outside and in.

I’ve put scans on my ART BLOG of some of the scrapbook pages I made recently to celebrate my girlfriends. As I look through the pages, I realize that many of my friends (including those celebrated on these pages and others who have come and gone in different seasons of my life) are often GRACE-FULL. And perhaps that is why I am so drawn to them…

SHRUG!

shrug atlasWhat do you do when the world is heavy on your shoulders? When it feels like you are carrying more than you can handle? When others expect you to carry the burdens because they can’t…or won’t…or don’t…?

Years ago I read a book which I keep coming back to. Over the years the picture it paints of American culture becomes scarily more and more true. The book is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Yes, it has some preachy sections that go on and on about the author’s economic views. Some of those views I agree with, and many I just skip over. But it also has good advice for life: When the world is too heavy on your shoulders…SHRUG!

And that’s what I’ve been trying to do recently. We love being here in Navajoland. But living and working here takes all of my emotional energy. There is great joy in working with children and young adults. There is excitement in witnessing an “a-ha” moment. And there is great pain in walking with our friends through tragedy. I have realized that I have enough energy for what I am called to do, including nurturing relationships with family and friends. But no more than that.

So…I’ve decideworld in handsd to put up some boundaries in daily living. I choose to pursue things that I’m passionate about. While that often involves serving others, I do NOT choose to continue carrying burdensome weight that could or should be carried by others. I do not choose to have my energy drained by negative comments, or backbiting, or second-guessing by others. I plan to SHRUG!

I am no longer willing to carry the world on my shoulders. When I carry my piece of the world in my hands (with God’s help) it is not overwhelming. With passion, the work becomes enjoyable and the world feels manageable.

What are YOU carrying? When is your time to SHRUG?

 

(images from Microsoft Office clipart)

Christmas Carols Come to Life

My husband is not so sure he likes the Christmas season. He prefers to delay decorations and carols for as long as possible. Some years that causes conflict between us. This year everything worked out beautifully…

Our younger two kids and I left before Thanksgiving to head east for three weeks of visiting with family and friends. We gleefully grabbed all of our Christmas CDs to enjoy on the trip. It was great fun to crank the volume and sing-a-long, mile after mile after mile.

We enjoyed the silly (Muppets, Veggietales, and Dr. Demento), the serious (Amy Grant and Sarah McLaughlin), and country (John Denver, Alan Jackson, and Reba McIntire…sadly our Kenny Chesney CD is too scratched to play).

At one point, as we were driving north out of Denver, toward Ft. Laramie National Park in the corner of Wyoming near Nebraska, I was enjoying every glimpse of the majestic Rocky Mountains that we could see.

plains and mountains

...mountains echoing the angels' sweet singing...

And then…Angels We Have Heard on High came on. Looking out the window, the carol came to life. There was the plain stretching all the way to the mountains filling the horizon.

“Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plain. And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strain…”

Gloria! What a wonderful gift! And after three weeks of traveling and enjoying our Christmas music, our hearts are full. We are ready for Christmas…

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