Three years ago I took on the challenge of posting a picture every day, inspired by one word, in honor of Lent. It was one of the most grueling, faith filled things I have ever done. What started with just a picture each day, evolved into a picture and words. Words, quotes, stories. I had to dig deep. By the end of it, I felt wrung out, exhausted…but strangely, or maybe not so strangely, I felt ALIVE, renewed, as if I had purged all the toxins and was clean again. With Ash Wednesday upon us, I wanted to share, in this space, that journey. Here’s the first half…Volume 1. That sounds fancier, right?
You can’t pour from an empty bucket.
“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” Rumi
Dog tracks, truck tracks, chicken tracks, little kiddo tracks…all proof that there is so much life happening at our house every single day. With life comes noise, so at the end of every day, when I head to the barn to tuck all the creatures in for the night, I always pay attention to the stillness. The quiet. I listen closely to the silence. I am grateful for it. Just as I ‘m grateful for the noise that precedes it.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…” Henry David Thoreau
“Faith is to believe what you do not see;the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” Saint Augustine
“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all encumbrances, and reduces it to it’s simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run.” Henry David Thoreau
Breaking the fast.
There was a time in my life where every word I spoke was ridiculed. I was constantly struggling to find my self worth. My best was never good enough. My weaknesses were pointed out to me daily. I doubted myself in all ways. At the end of this day I am tired. Exhausted. But I am so, so grateful. I am surrounded by people who lift me up. Who hear my words and value them. Who point out my strengths and appreciate them. There is so much power in believing in yourself and feeling loved for exactly who you are, flaws and all. “Doubt kills more dreams than failure every will.” Thank you to those people in my life that inspire me to dream again.
This year will mark their 68th wedding anniversary. Two people who chose to weather every storm life threw their way, together. The depths of their love, the richness of their love, is hard to even fathom. I took this photograph a few years ago but couldn’t think of a better one to use for today’s word.
I love that he always wants to not only pray when we gather around the table, but he wants to lead the prayer. He has always been excited about going to church, talking about God, saying his prayers and signing hymns. My sweet boy with a heart that seeks Jesus. My cup runneth over.
To be free. Free to breath easy. Free to voice my opinion. Free to cast a vote. To go to church. Read the books I want to read. Free to wear what I want to wear. I do not take any of these freedoms for granted. My grandad fought for these freedoms. Today, I was free to create. What an amazing freedom to have.
It’s Wednesday, and for me, that means it’s yoga day at The Corner Mat. I wrestled with whether to stay inside my warm house and drink coffee this morning or to venture outside and brave the elements so I could stretch my body and nourish my soul. Grateful I chose to go. I always leave that space feeling lighter and more at peace than when I enter that door.
It’s my safe-haven. Always has been. My refuge and my retreat in the best of times and the worst of times. I cannot wait to get back to that place. To those people.
“Momma, when will the doctor come in?”
As in, financial burden.
My mantra is that I hope to give my kids a childhood they don’t spend their adult lives recovering from. This picture is before my innocent and naive life full of rainbows and unicorns shattered like glass. I have learned the art of letting go. Haven’t mastered it yet, but I’m a work in progress.
I took two trips in the spring and summer of 2008 after losing my husband and my mom just months before. The first took me back to my roots. I spent a week with my dad in Perry County, Indiana and a few days with my mom’s family in Kentucky. We visited old houses I grew up in. Restaurants that served my favorite pizza and ice cream. The good stuff from my childhood. We visited old churches my ancestors worshiped in and cemeteries where they were laid to rest. We walked and walked miles and miles that week. Just me, my dad and my two kids. Reconnecting with my roots, being in that place, I found me again. Such a powerful thing after experiencing so much loss. It was my first true step in the healing process.
The next trip was to Hilton Head with my best friend and her family. They were gracious enough to invite me and my two kids and I just felt so humbled and appreciative. It was a chance for me to spread my wings and grasp comfort and confidence in my newfound independence. Being in that place, absorbing every ounce of greatness and vastness of the ocean. The healing power of seeing and hearing the waves crashing against the sand. Reminders of God’s grace and mercy and His awesome power. Those two trips were pivotal moments in my healing. They touched my heart. Reminded me of all the good in the world despite all the pain. Helped me find me, again. It was a welcome and long awaited reunion.
Whew, that was a lot. It’s been three years since I sifted through those posts.
May the spirit of lent help you find peace.
Happy Ash Wednesday!
Stay tuned for the second half…
As always, thanks for reading!