I was invited to come visit Nashville Agape today. As an adopted child, Nashville Agape holds a very close sweet spot in my heart. The current building is not the place I visited as a baby when I was adopted, but I did not expect the emotions I had flood my mind as I entered the building. I was kindly seated in the waiting room and was looking around. This place holds so many hopes and dreams. The mother and father about to have an adoption party onsite. The mother who is there to visit her children while she tries to get her life together. The foster parents there to pick up their newest addition to their home. Just a plethora of reasons folks would be there. When I walked in the door I physically felt the hope there. It was an emotional weight in my chest.
I sat there and observed a woman filling out paperwork of some sort. Another woman was staring off into space. I couldn’t help but wonder why they were there. I also couldn’t keep my mind from wandering to the thought of how my parents must have felt sitting in a waiting room much like the one I was sitting in today. Waiting for me. Knowing that when they were called back, the social worker would bring their baby girl, me, to them. The sheer magnitude of excitement must have been overwhelming to them as they waited to be called back so many years ago. I could imagine the 1960 model cars going up and down the street. I got choked up just sitting there. I was called back and given a tour of the location including the timeline of the history of Nashville Agape. I was shown the room where families receive their child when they adopt. As I looked into the room, I could see a much younger version of my parents sitting on that couch waiting for me, receiving me, and holding me for the very first time. My mind’s eye painted that as a beautiful portrait of a moment in my family’s life.
I had a beautiful discussion with the folks there at Agape today but more than anything I enjoyed the hope that I felt within the walls of the building. May God bless all the selfless mothers who gave up their children or will give up their children so that they can have a life better than what they can provide at the time of their child’s birth. God bless the foster parents and the parents who are trying to get their act together so they can regain custody of their children. God bless the children. And God bless every person affiliated with Nashville Agape. They are heroes in my book. I was blessed to meet several of them today. Heroes.
I have come to the dramatic realization in the past two months that all that matters in this world is people. Being right doesn’t matter, being wrong doesn’t matter. The details of a story as I recall it don’t matter. Nothing matters except people loving people. The next time you are fighting to be right, back down. The next time you are wrong, back down. Choose peace. I see so much turmoil in this world everywhere I go. Even people fighting in the self checkout lanes. The world is angry. Back down. People are all that matter. Who was first in line doesn’t matter. Choose peace. It’s a mindset. Tweak your thinking and quit arguing. Just peacefully go about your day and trim out those who threaten your peace. You can’t control others but you can control yourself. Go forth and be fabulous Friends!!
Not gunna lie, it’s been a rough 10 days around here. I will continue to declare it as best day ever simply because if I still worked full time I don’t know what I would have done it. So super glad I was home.
My husband and I ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel this morning and I already had decided on first degree overeating. That, actually, is grounds for arrest. That means that I premeditated overeating. Planned it in advance. I already knew what I would order and it’s overeating at its finest. Mama’s French toast breakfast with a bowl of butter. If you have never ordered a bowl of butter you are missing out. Those little packets of butter are enough to make you mad. Order a bowl of butter. You are welcome.
The waitress came to our table and I said, “I will be emotionally eating today so I will have Momma’s French toast breakfast with a bowl of butter and extra syrup.” Why do we hide our intentions and coping mechanisms? The waitress appreciated that I said I would be emotionally eating today. I think we all can relate to that. Being able to admit it and own it and move forward with it sheds light on our darkest moments.
Nothing good breeds in darkness. Mold, abuse, mental illness, children out past curfew, suicidal tendencies, robberies, trafficking, etc, all breed in darkness. Even emotional eating breeds in darkness. Let’s shed light on it and give it a name and bring it into the light. We all struggle from time to time.
I suppose that announcing that I would be emotionally eating today at breakfast was radical. What I find in giving emotions a name is that they no longer control me. Bring your emotions into the light where goodness and kindness and light and love breed. Even if it means shocking your waitress by announcing you will be emotionally eating today. When you give it a name, you get your power back because admitting it means that you emotionally eat once and then move forward rather than eating yourself into oblivion for eternity. Be real. Be you. Be light.
I would love to speak at your next event or work with you one on one to embrace your flawed, awesome self. #flawesome
I am a conscientious objector to mainstream life. I’m radical. Rogue. I quit my job because God said I needed to. My work was done there. I came home and looked to the Heavens and said “Ok God, I quit my job, now what?” What I did is not mainstream. It’s not something that people do. I object to going through the motions of living. I will be willing. I will be open. I will do the next right thing. I will listen for my Lord to give me the cue to go or do. All I’m responsible for is waking up and being willing. Gone are the days of perfect hair and perfect facades. Welcome real. Welcome raw. Welcome radical. Welcome peace. Welcome joy. Welcome to a world void of worry.
We spend so much time trying to plan our days and our weeks and our years and our lives that we don’t allow the nudging of the Holy Spirit to direct our paths. We do it like Frank Sinatra-Our Way. When you decide that your way isn’t working as well as you would like, bring your bed head over here and let’s be radical. Let’s conscientiously object to normal life. I can’t change the world. But what I can do is change the world for one person. I’ll be radical. I’ll quit my job. I’ll do it sight unseen just because I got a nudge from God. I’ll write a book. I won’t try to make money off of it because I’d rather give one person hope for another day. Money will come if my focus is one more. Lord send me one more person who needs to be filled with hope. Send me one more. Send me one who feels stuck. Then send me one more. You see, I don’t wear the superhero cape. God does, but I am His hands and feet. You are too. We can’t change the world but we can change the world for one person by waking up and being willing. Radical. Rogue. Lord, send us one more.
Saturday was my very first book signing. Incredible is an understatement in reference to how it turned out. There were people there that I knew, didn’t know, didn’t remember, and people I have known my whole life. It was remarkable.
As the signing was coming to a close, I noticed a woman standing in the valances with a huge smile on her face. I did not know who she was but I kept staring at her to try and figure it out. I knew she was important just wasn’t sure how. After the last person got their book she approached me and said, “Do you know who I am?” At that very moment I knew exactly who she was. She was my catcher. Behind every amazing pitcher is an equally amazing catcher. She was mine. We won the state championship in 1987 and I received the most valuable player in the state of Tennessee. That was when trophies meant something. She was most valuable right along with me because without her, I could not be the pitcher that I was.
We don’t have a photo like this one, but we lived it. This very scenario, we lived it. Together.
One of my favorite movies is A League of Their Own. I felt like I was living that movie Saturday as I talked with my catcher. I felt like we were at the opening of our Hall of Fame 25 years later. I stared into her eyes and I could see a much younger version of her with the dirt on her face, I could see the sweat covering her brow, and the discussion on the mound about how “we got this. Relax”. In reality, she was stunningly beautiful, but as I looked at her I saw our past. Our history.
Here we are, in a league of our own. One day, one event, one book, one old friend, one monumental moment. My catcher. It was so good to see her.
I have always loved the Ellen Show. I love her philanthropy and the fact that she is always about what is kind and good and noble. She gives back to the community and she adds humor to everyday life. It is my goal to meet her and be on her show. I had a dream that she invited me on her show. It was the time of my life. It’s going to happen in real life. I just know it.
Every day on Ellen’s show she ends with “Be kind to one another.” We just never know what is going on in people’s lives. We don’t know what it took for a person to get to the place where they are at that very moment in time. People behave in ways that reflect their circumstances at times. At other times, we see people’s true colors good or bad.
Ducks are so beautiful as they gracefully swim across the water. What we see is grace and poise. What we don’t see is how hard they paddle with their feet under the water. We are ducks. We may look graceful and poised on the surface but underneath we may be fighting a battle no one knows about.
I had a photo shoot last week for promo items for my book launch. It was 98 degrees outside and 150% humidity. Both my photographer and I were sweating buckets shooting outdoor shots. We never mentioned the heat because we were on a mission. Complaining rarely accomplishes anything. I thought to myself, “I have sweat rolling down my back, sweat marks on the back of my shirt, sweat rolling down my neck, there is no way these photos won’t show this.” The photos came out AMAZING. Just what I wanted. And the sweat was not edited out.
The fact is that it’s barely even noticeable even to me and I knew I was sweating. To the outside person, it is not evident at all. You see, we never know what’s going on behind the scenes in people’s lives. They may be sweating bullets on the inside but look poised and composed on the outside. Or they may act out because of their turmoil. Always be kind. You never know what is going on under the water or behind the camera shot. Cut people some slack. None of us are getting out of here alive so let’s hold hands and stick together. And as Ellen says, Be kind to one another.
Watts in your frame? Photos were done by Rob Watts of Watts Photos. Visit his website at www.wattsphotos.com He has an eye for capturing the authentic you even with sweat running down his back.
I remember about a year into my running hobby I stated to my buddy, “One day I want to be a runner.” He said to me, “You are. You are doing it.” I think many times we think we know what something looks like and want to emulate that dream when in reality, we ARE that dream. I was a runner. I am a runner. (Definitely not as much as of late but still a runner) I birthed every step on that pavement, I am a runner. I suppose I defined a runner as someone I perceived as “good at running”.
I am an author. There, I said it. Out loud. God has been nudging me for years to publish my musings and I just never knew what that looked like. Never could wrap my head around it. All of my writing is wee bits of randomness. They may be wee bits, but I birthed each word onto paper. It was a labor of love.
I prayed off and on for years that God show me what this whole book thing looked like since every single thing I have in journals and notebooks is simply my thoughts about something that happened to me or something I observed. One night about a month ago, I had a dream about what this book looked like. In the dream, God showed me what the cover looked like, how I was to tie all my stories together to make it more than just a memoir, and he showed me what the overall message was to be. Here is the scary part-I had to quit my job. That was in the dream too. It’s scary to step out on faith and follow God. Fear is not of God. I keep telling myself that.
It is also scary to give a voice to radical behavior. Quitting your job for no tangible reason is radical. I was afraid there would be rumors that something happened or some scandal surrounding my leaving. Nothing happened. I told God if He wanted me to quit my job that I would, He just needed to show me when and how. He did. And I did. It was radical. I loved my job and I was good at it. People were shocked. I didn’t give notice. I just left. I got the cue from God. I was obedient. I got home and was like, “Ok that is over, now what?” To my knowledge, there were no rumors or shockwaves surrounding my departure from work which is a testimony to the fact that I did the right thing. Had I come up with this radical plan it would have flopped. I am sure Peter was afraid when he stepped out of the boat to walk on water toward Jesus.
Matthew 14:22-33 New International Version (NIV)Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God”.
We can’t walk on water if we don’t get out of the boat. It’s scary to get out. Peter was afraid. He had to be. He trusted but he was also human. I trust but I am also human. I trip over my own humanness sometimes.
I wrote the book exactly the way the way that God told me to in that dream. It is out there for the world to read. My toilet book. I remember telling a friend years ago that if I ever did write a book it would be a toilet book. One you could read while you were on the toilet. All I could understand about what my book looked like was a toilet book. The actual published book is way more than a that. I guess God isn’t in the business of toilet books. He is in the business of using His people to do His work. He is still in the business of miracles. Our part is to believe and do the next right thing, whatever that is. Sometimes the next right thing is to get a cookie. Sometimes it is to quit your job. Sometimes it is to get out of the boat. What is God calling you to do? Get out of the boat so you can see that faith moves mountains.
My book is being sold sold on Amazon in paperback and Kindle edition.
Fun Thoughts on Life: Learning that You are Enough in a World of Too Much https://www.amazon.com/dp/1087285178/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_avOuDbX6CV359
You can also purchase an immediate download under the tab at the top of your screen, as well as purchase the paperback and merchandise including a #flawesome T-shirt! Be the coolest kid on the block with that T-shirt! I’m pumped about it. I got out of the boat. You get out of the boat. Step out on faith. Be radical.
I started writing this post on the 31st. I was still so upset that I quit and just picked this post back up to finish it now that there is a happily ever after to it. Take this emotional journey with me:
I was changing the font size on my first book, Fun Thoughts on Life so that it was ready to publish. In two keystrokes, something that took me 10 years to complete was gone. To say that I was devastated is an understatement. I have the most precious husband. He gets me. Women need validation. He said to me, “I understand. It’s like losing the billion dollar account.” As a career sales account executive, he could not have validated my mortification any better. He is my Perfect North.
I spent about two days wearing sackcloth and lamenting my loss. Even called Apple and had a tech invade my computer to attempt retrieval. But because of the fact that this was not a “delete”, but actually a “highlight then backspace”, the tech said there was nothing we could do to get my book back. Lesson learned. Back it up. Don’t edit the original. Copy then edit.
I think that many times we fail to acknowledge that Satan is alive and well and is actively stepping on sandcastles that we spent our whole lives building. I firmly believe that Satan had my book on his radar because he knew that as soon as I released the book, a lot of people were going to learn to feel good about their flawed, awesome selves and he needed to step on that sandcastle. You see, earthly things like books and million dollar accounts are built in the sand. Satan can step on them and destroy them in one footprint, two keystrokes and your life’s work is gone. Eternal things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control are built on the rock. They can not be destroyed by keystrokes or a footprint. Satan may have erased my book but he didn’t erase my fruits of the spirit because they were built on the solid rock that is Jesus Christ.
if you have followed me for any length of time at all, I know you are devastated with me at this news. However, God always turns a mess into a message and this is no different. Thankfully, much of my work was written by hand in journals over the years so I had to retype it and also God answered my prayer and made my thoughts come flowing back like Paula Deen and her butter. I finished retyping the book last night and it is being edited, still on track to be released at the end of the month. The second edition of the first edition of my very first book is finished. Like me, it has flaws but still shines light into a dark world. It will be flaunting it’s awesome self soon on your shelf or on your iPad or kindle.
We will be having a release party and book signing. Date to be determined. I’m so happy that the first edition got destroyed now because just like our lives, my book sentiments became broken glass. Broken glass reflects much more gorgeous rays of sunlight and rainbows than a solid sheet of perfect glass. It becomes a kaleidoscope. The second edition rewrite is better than the original. I’m a better writer now than when I wrote a lot of that book.
Although the manuscript was built on sandy ground called a computer, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. And like the sunflower, we always keep our face toward the light.
You can help me by sharing my videos, blogs, and musings. Help me grow my audience before this book release. I give all glory to God for penning this second edition.