Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Resting From Resolutions

Did you make New Year's resolutions? How's that going for you? 

Maybe you resolved to lose weight. Work out. Eat healthy. Spend more time in the Word. Be more generous. Enjoy your family more, and work less. You’ve tried before and failed, but this time, you’re determined to succeed!

What if, instead of being determined, you decided to be intentional?

A resolution suggests a conflict that needs to be overcome, a solution to a problem. You need to re-solve the problem you originally had that didn't get solved the first time. I’m overweight—that’s a problem. I resolve to exercise more and eat less. There’s the solution. But what’s the plan, the purpose, the real reason for it?

Making a resolution focuses on the difficulty, and declares with pride, “I’m going to do this!” We have a goal, and we work toward it, but when we hit a stumbling block, we often give up. We feel like we’ve failed, so we go right back to the habit that gives us comfort, the very habit we tried so hard to overcome.

Being intentional cultivates a purpose. To have intention is to have meaning. Not just a plan, but a reason for the plan. And it invites others to take part.



In the first chapter of Genesis, God repeatedly used the word, let, as He formed the earth and everything in it. The Hebrew word for let is from the root, amar, which means to declare, appoint, say, speak, utter, or…intend.

God purposed each piece of His creation into being. 

He didn’t throw together the heavens and the earth as a solution to a problem. He’s God—He has no problems. He didn’t swoop His hand out by accident and…whoops…there’s the world!

He cultivated—nurtured and helped His creation to grow out of love. Not pride or selfish ambition.

Love.

When He had finished letting everything be formed, the Creator turned to Jesus (who was the Word and was with God—see John 1:1), and the Holy Spirit (who was hovering over the waters—see Gen 1:2), and said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness (Gen 1: 26).

It was a collaborative effort of intent. 

They weren’t determined by hook or by crook; they didn’t make a resolution to try harder, give more, or take less. 

God created man with intention. 

He had a purpose—to create a being that would reflect and spread His glory.

Instead of making us robots, He gave us the ability to make choices, some of which would result in turning from Him. So, as part of the Divine Plan, Jesus would be sent to redeem us.

Being fully man and fully God, I believe that Jesus chose the moment of His death. 

He intended to suffer so we wouldn’t have to. 
He intended to endure the shame so we could overcome ours. 
He intended to carry the guilt of sins that weren’t His so we could be forgiven of ours.

Jesus could have said, “It is finished,” long before He even went to the cross. But He chose the specific time to utter those words, not with resolve, but with intent

He intended to carry out His Father’s will, whatever the cost, because He loved his little likenesses.

Can we do the same this year?

Instead of making a resolution, trying to stick with it, and giving up when our efforts are thwarted or when we fall off the wagon, what if we accepted the invitation to be intentional about our efforts?

Instead of making lofty resolutions that fizzle out, what if we resolved to allow ourselves to fail, but to refuse to allow ourselves to feel like a failure? If we decided to cultivate a purpose to those habits we’d like to change or that extra weight we desire to lose?

What if we accepted the finished work of Christ, and allowed that collaborative effort of the Trinity to infuse us with Divine Love? How would that change our lives this year?

What if we allowed God to disrupt our lives with His intention instead of trying to re-solve those problem areas by doing things by ourselves and for ourselves? What if we let others who have walked our road to help us? What if we reached a hand out to those who struggle with what we’ve overcome?

What if we gave up trying so hard and let go of our pride and selfish ambition, and let God take over?

We might be surprised at the result. 

And we may discover that resting from our resolutions may give us the freedom we need to live a life worthy of God’s intentions.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary

sharing this post with some of these lovelies 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Project Intentional Fruit


I don't need a new year to know that I begin strong and have a tendency not to finish what I've started. Especially if it gets hard or I get bored--which happens more frequently than I'd like to admit. Except that I just did. So I stay away from things like New Year's resolutions.

I tried the word thing one year when it was the "in" thing. I didn't want to feel left out, so I asked God to give me a word too. I waited for His booming voice to inform me of His choice. 

But, like Yukon Cornelius--the guy from Rudolph who chopped at the ice, looking for gold and kept coming up empty, I tasted (aka listened), then replied, "Nothin'!" (view video)



Then as if by magic, a word popped into my head. I'm not entirely sure it was God, but I went with it. Maybe I was nervous. After all, if I didn't "get" a word from God, where would that leave me? I think I may have induced it. The word was mentor

"Could I have a different word, please?" I asked nicely

I didn't like that word. So, maybe it really was from God. If I were to manufacture my own word, I'd prefer something like rest or play.

I tried to find a suitable young woman to mentor. Again, I tasted (stalked sought out young women in my church). I had to have a connection with someone.

"Nothin'!" 

I thought, Maybe it wasn't God. Or maybe I failed...again.

I can't even remember last year's word, phrase or resolution. I think I sort of gave up on all of that. Ironically, it turned out to be a pretty productive year. I got healthy. I wrote a novel. I even discovered that a young woman was plopped into my life who has become a sort of spiritual daughter. 

So, going into the end of this past December, I had no expectations. No intention of choosing a word or a phrase. No lofty resolutions to make and break.

Then I got somethin'! I hadn't even struck my pick to the ice. I hadn't asked or prayed. It just appeared in my brain. Could it be God?

Intentional fruit.

Huh?

What would happen if you exhibited one fruit a month? 

Oh, I thought. That's interesting. That might be kind of cool. Maybe even fun!

Then I realized that it might not be as easy as I think. Exhibit love or joy? Piece of cake. Exhibit gentleness? Well, that'll be a stretch, since I'm not exactly Mary Full of Grace. Self-control? Okay, now we've gone to meddlin'!

It would have to be intentional.

Oooh...now I get it.

God works in mysterious sneaky ways. See, He knew me before I was in my mother's womb (Jer 1:5). I'm no surprise to Him. He knows that I don't like resolutions. He knows that I start things and fizzle out. 

So, He gives me this project instead. I like projects. And the great thing is that it's really not about me. Well, it sort of is, but mostly isn't. 

Exhibiting intentional fruit means I have to give. And some amount of thought has to go into it. After all, fruit is meant to be consumed.

Give love.
Give joy.
Give peace.
Give patience.
Give kindness.
Give goodness.
Give gentleness.
Give faithfulness.
Give self-control.

Yes, I realize there are only nine fruits and twelve months. I've got it covered. 

See, we can't give unless we first receive. How can I give the fruit of Spirit of God that is love unless I first accept that God loves me? How can I love my neighbor unless I first love myself? And how can I love myself unless I accept God's love for me?

How can I know what the fruit of the spirit even is unless I first understand what it isn't? 

And what about intention? I cannot exhibit intentional fruit unless I first know what it means to be intentional.

So, since this seems to be my "project" for the year, you (my dear reader) get to be part of it! 

I "intend" to devote January's blogs to intention. What does it mean? How does it fit in to our daily living? How is it different from resolution?

Since February is the "love" month, that will start the ball rolling with the intentional fruits. One fruit a month. 

I know I said I had the whole year covered. I lied. Sort of. I have some ideas that I'm sure will come together as the year progresses and the fruits flourish. Besides, a good writer always holds onto a little secret, right?

See, there's a little catch. I don't think these fruits stand alone, like the cheese in the game, The Farmer in the Dell (watch video).

No, I think it is God's intention (hey, there's that word again!) that each fruit builds off the previous one. Like the Twelve Days of Christmas (Don't worry, I won't make you watch that video).

Trust me. I know what I'm doing. as I trust God. He knows what He's doing.

I hope you'll join me in my journey. What would our sphere of influence look like if we all exhibited one fruit for the whole month? Do you think we'd have it down by the end of the month, like something we could check off our to-do list? 

My guess is that we'll discover that it's more difficult than we realize, and that no matter how hard we try, we'll always come up short.

But God...

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary

sharing this post with some of these lovelies

Friday, December 23, 2016

Can I Make Room at My Inn?

The inn was crowded. Everywhere I turned, I collided with someone or something clamoring for attention. It was noisy. Chaotic. Celebratory even.

I pushed past the crowd to get outside. I needed air. The guests could wait. After all, it was my inn. I could do what I wanted.


A baby's muffled cry came from the barn. I'd forgotten about that young couple. I felt bad turning them away, but really, where could I put them? Did I mention the inn was full?


A light coming from the sky--something I'd never seen before-- beckoned me, Come.


So I did. I followed the light to the barn where I found the most precious and beautiful baby lying in the straw. His mother didn't seem to mind that all she had were some rags to wrap him in. His father didn't appear angry that I'd turned them away. 


Instead, they welcomed me. I joined the throng of onlookers--dirty shepherds, the likes of which I'd never allow in my B&B, stood next to respected wise men (the kind I regularly welcomed). Each one seemed to be as awed as I was. Who was this baby, and how could he have this affect on us?


As if reading my mind, his mother turned to us and said, "His name is Jesus. Emmanuel."


God with us.


I glanced back at the inn and thought of all that I still had to do. Then this God With Us child gave a tiny sigh. It was barely audible, but it echoed through the noise in my head and fought for a place in my heart. 


I decided to stay. Surely, I could find room at the inn of my heart for this child.



As you move into Christmas, trying to get all those last minute details perfect, I'd like to challenge you to ask yourself what I asked myself this week:

Is there room at the inn of my heart for Christ? If not, what have I made so important that I've pushed Him out into the cold?

There's still time. It's never too late to prepare a room for Him. Never too late to receive him. Never. 

If we don't praise Him, even the rocks will cry out! (Luke 19:40 paraphrased)

Joy to the world! the Lord is come.
Let earth receive her king!
Let every heart prepare Him room.
And heaven and nature sing...


Enjoy this classic Joy to the World by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Blessed Christmas,
Mary



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Longing for Home

I don’t know about you, but I love to come home. I enjoy traveling, going out with friends, and running errands, but I always love coming home. 

I might be gone for a week or an hour, but as soon as I walk in the door, I feel relief. I’m where I belong. I love coming home, and I love being home.
           
Home is familiar. Comfortable. Safe.

But as much as I love my home, I long for my other one. 


Oh, I’m comfortable here. It’s familiar. It’s what I’ve made it. And it is safe because I’ve made it to be. 

But sometimes, I feel an ache for a place I think I remember but I’ve never been to. 

A place I’ve only been told about but still feels like mine. A place where, when I look to the sky, I can practically envision. It feels more like home than the one I’ve decorated and furnished.
            
I wonder what it felt like to be God in the form of a baby. To leave the home that was familiar, comfortable, and safe and to suddenly awaken in a different world, unable to tell anyone who you are or why you’re there. To be fully God, yet fully dependent on the people you created.


In a world of unrest, did He feel safe? In a turbulent time, when His parents took Him and fled for their lives, did He wish He had four walls and three squares? Did He long for one home while He was living in the other?


I wonder how much He understood, being a baby and all. Yes, He was fully God, but He was also fully baby, having to rely on His parents to keep Him safe.

Remember when Mary and Joseph lost their son? He was twelve. Old enough to be responsible for getting himself to the bus on time to leave Jerusalem. When his parents realized he missed the caravan back to Nazareth, they had to backtrack—a day’s journey.

They found Him in the temple. His mother made an attempt at instilling Jewish guilt by asking Him how He could treat them this way. He replied, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” He was Homesick.


And what about all those times during His ministry when He went off to pray by Himself? Did He long for Home then? Did He sit on a mountaintop, or in a rowboat on the middle of a still lake and look up to the sky, His other home? Unlike me, He knew exactly what that other Home looked like. All the more reason to be Homesick.


When He died, the thief on the cross next to Him said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Don’t forget me when you get Home.

To which our Savior—that grown up baby who left His Heavenly Home to live in an earthly one—replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”

Paradise.

That’s where our Home truly is. 

Sometimes we visit a place we call paradise on earth. Maybe it’s someplace tropical—one of those resorts with the grass huts built on crystal clear turquoise water. 

It seems like paradise, but the mosquitoes are the size of dragonflies and we’re worried we might get Typhoid Fever, or we had a bad meal that didn’t agree with us (I’m speculating, as this is only a fantasy of mine. The mosquitoes and bad meals make my missing out more bearable). As wonderful as the vacation was, we can’t wait to get home.

As much as I love the home I have here, the one that is comfortable, familiar, and safe, the one that is waiting for me is all of that and more. It’s paradise!  

I long for paradise. That’s why I sometimes feel homesick for the place I’ve never been to but feel like I was. 

But maybe I have. That’s why I believe that when I finally go to my other Home, my first one, the one that houses God’s workshop where he fashioned me—that I’ll have a grass hut in water the color and depth of nothing I’ve ever seen on earth.

Ah, paradise! That’s Home.

Blessed Christmas. 


May the peace that comes from Your Heavenly Home be evident in your earthly one.
Mare

I think this is one of the most beautiful songs ever written--it's not so much about "Home" but more of a contemplative song that captures what Mary may have thought throughout her life. Enjoy as you contemplate Jesus and Home today. If it doesn't appear, click here to open the acoustic version. 



or here to open the orchestrated version complete with clips from the movie, Jesus of Nazareth. If you want to cry, watch the one with the movie clips. 



(I like them both, and couldn't make up my mind, so I included both.)

*This article first appeared in Ruby for Women (Christmas issue, 2016). To read the full issue, click here.

Sharing with some of these lovelies


Monday, December 19, 2016

My Return to Tacky and Back

I decided to re-post this favorite from last December (2015) because it really says who I am. Funny thing is this year (2016), I decided not to have a tree at all. And Hubbles was fine with that. 

Instead, I found an old wooden ladder and re-purposed it. This year we have a "ladder-tree." I guess I just keep reinventing myself. I kind of like that quality.

Image may contain: plant and outdoor

(Original post date 12/14/15)
I've had a fake tree for years. Can't be bothered with the fuss of a real tree. I always forget to water it. And even during the years that I've diligently nurtured a real tree, it was dead by mid-December. So, fake it is.

This year I wanted a real one. I don't know why; I suppose I simply got tired of putting the tree together and looking at all the space in between the branches.


For years, I dreamed of a tree with silver balls and red and silver bows. Instead, my trees--both fake and real--were decorated with handmade macaroni frames housing an awkward Polaroid Instamatic picture of one of my children, anywhere from Nursery School to fifth grade. Various other hand crafted ornaments, some missing pieces came out each year. When the kids moved out, I still brought the same ornaments to the tree. I think I felt obligated. You know...tradition and all that.




Last year I decided to make my dream come true. Sparkling white lights danced around the glittery silver balls. Red and silver ribbon trailed down from the top where a big bow rested instead of an angel. The tree cried "Christmas The holiday season is here!" 

Actually, that's not true. Not at all. Oh, my fake tree cried. It wept. In fact, it screamed. 

It screamed, "Macy's!"


Yes, my tree was pretty. But sterile. I really didn't like it. Not at all.

What I thought I wanted wasn't at all what I expected.

I thought I'd find joy and satisfaction in something that I saw in stores, in magazines, and in movies. 

If I make my tree look like that, I can BE that. 

But that wasn't who I was.

What I really wanted was what I had--what I deemed tacky last year in search of something more fitting, more glamorous, more...me.

But it wasn't at all tacky. It was familiar. Meaningful. Personal. Do we put up and decorate a Christmas tree to impress others or to enjoy with our family?

Fast forward to the present. We got the real tree. Put it in the stand. I even bought colored lights, deviating from my strict policy of white lights only.

I dragged all the decorations up from the basement, and there in one box were all the silver balls, white lights and fancy silver and red ribbons/bows. I reached in to take hold of the ribbon, and my hand stopped. 

What was I doing? I hated this last year.


I found myself waxing nostalgic. I looked at my little boy with the missing front teeth in the glittery foam frame.


That little boy is now a man (with very nice teeth, I might add). 

I took out the heart-shaped hand made wood frame with an impromptu picture of my little girl with a disheveled look taken at playgroup. 


That disheveled little girl is now a woman who would never go out of the house with hair like that! 

I chuckled.

Silver balls can't compare to that.

Suddenly, I was excited to use the "old" decorations--but only because I now wanted to, not because I felt any sort of obligation. I picked through the years of ornaments and chose the ones I wanted to decorate with. Some reminded me of the folks who gave them to me. Some were pretty. Some--pretty goofy. My eclectic tree was real in more ways than one.

It was me.

I had returned to what mattered most. What was important. Who I really am. I'm not a polished silver ball and red bow kind of tree/woman. I'm an eclectic mish-mosh with no particular theme kind of tree/woman. A little homey, a little tacky, a little crafty with a silver ball thrown in here and there...but mostly, a lot of love, loyalty, and devotion.

So often we aspire to be someone who looks good on someone else, or have something that looks good in the store. We take it home, we put it on, we show it off...yet, it doesn't fit right, doesn't look right, and doesn't feel right. 

Like a fake tree with sterile ornaments.

We realize that it wasn't at all what we expected. And maybe we really didn't want it all that much. 

The things that we once held so dear often become the very things we long to escape, only to beckon us back with a stronger bond.

Is there something you've tried to change or escape from, only to discover that when you got what you wanted, it wasn't at all what you expected it to be? It's never to late to return to that which beckons you home again. 

Return to who you are this Christmas.


Because there's no place like home.


Blessings Along the Path,
Mare 


sharing this post with some of these lovelies

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Getting Personal With Your Pen-Pal

Did you ever have a pen pal?



I read a blog post by Lyli Dunbar of 3-D Lessons for Life the other day about creating space to connect with our Creator (you can read it here). Carving out time to sit at His feet to renew your passion and purpose.

One of her suggestions was to "Make God your pen-pal. Write God a love letter. Pour out your heart to the One who mends the brokenhearted."

I love the idea of making God my pen-pal.

When I was in grammar school--maybe fourth grade--we were assigned pen pals. We were able to choose the gender and the country we desired our mysterious new friend to hail from. Without computers to calculate fancy algorithms, I'm not sure how this was accomplished, but I was thrilled with my choice.

I still remember her name and address. Josephine Larkin from Ireland. I thought it odd that her address didn't include a house number and street.

I was genuinely interested in her life, especially because it was vastly different from mine. She lived on a farm, where everyone in the family worked. She didn't have a lot of money. And there were so many people in her family photo! I loved that picture and I think we kept in contact for years until we just stopped.

What would it be like if I treated God like a pen pal? 

Like someone I was genuinely interested in knowing about instead of just telling him about my life and my problems. What if I remembered my manners and asked questions about Him?

For a little fun, I've put together our exchange.

Dear God,
My name is Mary. I'm well over fifty. I enjoy reading, hiking, singing, traveling, and making people laugh. Running, not so much, but I do it anyway for my health. I'm married to a wonderful man and I have two great children. Everyone says those things about their family, but mine is actually true. But enough about me. I want to know about you.

Tell me about your family.
What are your interests, hobbies and skills?
What is it like where you live? I admit, I've heard of Heaven, but I don't know much about it.

I'd seal it, send it off, and check my mailbox each day for a response.



I imagine Him chuckling, and saying to Saint Peter, "Do you have a pen on you? I've got to write a letter to this adorable child."

Petey would pat his robe, and say, "I had one, but it ran out of ink, and I haven't been able to get out to Staples yet." 

God would wave him off and say, "Never mind, I'll just use my finger."

Dear Mary,
Thank you for your letter. I am thrilled to learn all about you. It may surprise you to know that I already know everything about you. No, I haven't been stalking you. I created you, and I've watched you over the years. But I still love to receive your letters. Please don't stop writing. I'd hate to lose the connection we have.

In answer to your questions:

My family is small--just three of us, but we're so close, we're like One. On the other hand, my extended family is enormous. Many people call me Father and if you feel comfortable, I welcome you to as well.

My interests are my people--my family. I enjoy giving gifts and lavishing love. Spreading joy. Instilling wonder. 

Fashioning new life is a favorite hobby, and I must admit, I'm quite skilled in this area. I've never duplicated my efforts. Not once! Every life I create is unique. Isn't that the coolest?

Much of the time, those lives I create encounter hurt and hatred and fear and anxiety and a host of other things I am not the father of. These lives become broken and their relationships become fragmented. My passion is in healing those shattered lives and rebuilding those fractured relationships. Lots of times, I ask members of my extended family on earth to help. I might even ask you someday!

My home is Heaven, yes. Oh, how to describe it? 

The colors are like nothing you have ever seen on earth. The weather is always perfect. There is never darkness, but always light. 

And the music? Wow...there are no words to adequately describe the sounds. You know how there's always that one dear, sweet soul who stands next to you in choir or behind you in the pew at church and sings just a tad off-key, so it throws you off? Not here. Everyone has perfect pitch, and exquisite harmonies. We sing a lot up here. Because you mentioned you like to sing, you'd really enjoy it. 

I'd invite you for a visit, but no one who visits ever wants to return, and you're still needed there on earth. Someday, you'll come for good. I have a little grass hut on the clearest water you've ever seen picked out with your name on it. Since you like to travel, I think you'll love it!

Oh, you mentioned your health. You won't have to run for better health when you get here, so leave your sneakers there. In fact, leave it all. You won't need anything.

Which leads me to leave you with this one last thought:

Don't waste time trying to accumulate wealth, knowledge, or tangible goods. Those commodities are all very noble and admirable and good, but when it becomes excessive, you might be in danger of losing sight of what is really important. You can't bring any of that to where I live--which is your true Home. 

Since we just met, I won't tell you what to do, but as our relationship grows, I believe you'll look to me for guidance. At least, that is my hope. With that in mind, may I suggest that you fix your interests not on the things of your world, but on the people in it, like I do? I think you'll find great pleasure in doing so.

Thank you for taking such an interest in me. I'm looking forward to many years of communication. Write soon!

Imagine my excitement when I open my mailbox and see that letter finally sitting quietly in there. I would read it with great delight and be filled with exhilaration and joy at the idea of having not just a wonderful new pen-pal, but what I think will be a life-long friend, confidante, and advisor.

Then I'd grab a pen and another sheet of paper--no, two. 

Father,
I have so many more questions!

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

sharing with some of these lovelies 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tap Into Your Potential

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4


I love watching shows that showcase untapped talent. You just never know what will come out of people!

I found a few videos from these shows recently and was truly amazed. 

A fourteen year old girl who had never sung in front of a large audience was so shy that the judges (X Factor, I believe) were nervous for her! They reminded her that she would be singing in front of a lot of people and asked her if she was sure she knew what she was doing. I suppose they didn't want her to embarrass herself. She blew them away. You can view it here.



When Beau Dermott told the coaches of Britain's Got Talent she would be singing Defying Gravity, Simon rolled his eyes or gave some sort of snarky smirk, as if to say, "That's a tough one. Good luck."

It was flawless. She was rewarded with the golden button or whatever it is that takes you directly to the finals. Watch it here. She'll give you goosebumps.



One of my favorites was Panda Ross from the X Factor. She explained that her mother was in jail when she gave birth and her cell mate was white. Somehow, the name Panda came out of that. Funny? Maybe. She got a laugh. But when she opened her mouth? Wow. I searched my brain for the right word to describe her voice, and Simon nailed it--legend. She sounds like a legend. Watch the video here.




Then there's We (sorry, there doesn't seem to be a way to add an accent on the 'e'; it's pronounced "way.") McDonald from this season's The Voice. A girl from my state--New Jersey, who was bullied all her life for her looks and high, squeaky voice. I don't know how it's even possible, but she has a low, sultry singing voice. Bet those bullies are singing a different tune now. She is by far my favorite. Watch her blind audition here.



What's inside of you that might surprise people? Maybe you can't sing like these women, but each one of us has something planted by God that the world needs to hear, see, and experience. And like these women--unknown to the world but no surprise to God--we just need someone to believe in us to make it grow, flourish, and bloom. 

What is crying for release in you? What makes your heart sing? Search inside yourself to discover what needs to be heard. Delight yourself in God while you do it. Ask Him to show you if you're not sure, and trust that He will.

Then sing it. Write it. Speak it. Paint it. Play it. Teach it. Build it. Organize it. Sell it.

Go long. Go wide. Go deep. But go. Even if you start out with baby steps. GO!

Don't pay attention to the rolling eyeballs. Those who scoff, "Good luck with THAT!" People who think because you look or sound a certain way, you couldn't possibly possess what it takes. All the more reason to go--to prove them wrong! 

Don't listen to the voices--whether they be your inner critic, the enemy of your soul, or bitter people who never realized their dreams and project that failure onto you. 

Surround yourself with those who will encourage, support, and nurture your dream, your desire.

Not everyone is born with natural talent that needs no fine tuning. In fact, most aren't. We often see or hear the product of years of training and think, "I could never do that."

Yes, you can! Maybe not like they can, because you're not them. You are capable of doing it like you can, because you're you. Your dream is uniquely yours, and the world needs your voice, your story.

Start small. Take a class. Buy a book. Research. Observe others who are doing what you want to do. Ask them to help you realize your potential. After all, that's part of the cycle. We all need to invest what we've learned in others who are longing to be taught. If they're unwilling, find someone who is. But don't give up.

Will you have setbacks? Probably.
Will you fail? Maybe.
Will you doubt yourself? Most likely.
Will it be scary? Absolutely!

But if you allow that untapped talent to go to waste, you're doing a disservice to yourself, the world around you, and God.

Yes, God.

He is the one who put the desire and the talent in you. You're the one who turned it into a dream, and you're the one who decides whether to let it blossom or be squelched. 

The more you delight in God, the more those heart desires grow, and the more they grow, the more you'll delight in God, until His is the only voice you'll hear.

Don't be content to just follow your dream. 

Chase your dream if it moves too fast. 
Pull it along if it's resistant. 
Coax it if it's hidden. 

But don't let it die. Don't let it be squelched. 

And don't let ANYONE tell you it's wrong, bad, or stupid. 

If it's in you, it's yours, and it's good. Because when God made you, He said, "It's very good."

Go show the world.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare



sharing with some of these lovelies