Thursday, December 11, 2014

the breathing room :: the message {connect-the-dots}

Did you ever do connect-the-dots pictures as a kid?
Remember how the page was covered with all these seemingly random dots and then as you traced your pencil carefully along them in the proper order an image began to form?

I liked connecting the dots.
I still do.
I like to take careful steps and see how one event or experience leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to another until suddenly this bigger picture begins to take shape.

Maybe all of our lives are similar to connect-the-dots pictures in this way.  In my own life many things have served as big black guiding dots within the bigger picture.
I am a connector.
A connector of dots, of people, of stories.
It's what I choose to offer you because I believe connecting dots and then stepping back to see a bigger picture gives us room to breathe.

I want to help you connect the dots of your story so that you might see in between
the diaper changes
and grocery store trips
and late nights at the office
and hours of studying...
in between the laughter
and the tears,
the gains
and the losses
     a picture is taking shape.  

There is beauty in your picture.  There is truth hidden there.
Once completed, your dots will reveal an image unlike any other one made
by any other life
before or after yours.

Sometimes it's hard work getting from one dot to another.
Sometimes we just want to put down the pencil and take a nap.
Sometimes we want to break the darn pencil in half because it's just so hard.
And sometimes we want to toss the whole thing in the trash because we don't believe our picture is even worth completing.

If you've ever felt like you've lost our way, gotten things out of order, and ruined the whole stinkin' thing, I can relate.

When we gather together in The Breathing Room next month, I hope to use my words to give you some ways to keep moving - to find the breathing room you need in those everyday moments that are making up the masterpiece of your life.

So you will hear from me in The Breathing Room.
I will teach you
and encourage you
and challenge you
and my very act of doing those things will be evidence to you that even the most scribbly, messy picture of a life {that would be mine} can become something worth sharing with others.

I will share pieces of my own story of connecting dots and finding the rhythm of my breathing again amidst grief and uncertainty.  I will give you some practical lessons I've learned along the way for you to take home and implement.  Our time together on January 25 should be just the beginning of your own breathing room.  I will tell you how to keep finding it even when our time together is over.

It is certainly true, in this case, that the teacher is the one who has had the most to learn.  So don't let my headshot fool you {by the way, my husband took it with my iPhone on our front porch...very professional} life has been messy and ugly, and so has my heart, but in finding my breathing room I have found my way.
I hope you will too.

There are still tickets available.
Come connect some dots with us...

Eventbrite - The Breathing Room

Friday, December 5, 2014

the breathing room :: truth

You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Now that's a statement that opens up my lungs to find their breathing room again.  Ever wondered what the truth actually sets you free from?

The people originally addressed with this statement didn't even know they were enslaved.  Their response to this freedom invitation was this,
We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves to anyone?  How can you say that we shall be set free?
And then Jesus showed them their chains.  Chains that were wielded out of sin and locked tight around their limbs by the ways of the world.

I have lived days, weeks, whole years of my life unknowingly trapped, surrounded in darkness.  Maybe you have too.  Maybe you are there now.  The good news is - there is a way out.

Truth set Jesus' early followers free from slavery, but not from the physical imprisonment they had in mind, not the kind we so often have in mind.  There is a spiritual imprisonment that holds far more people behind cold, dark bars.  The air is thick and filled with a stench, making it hard to breath.  Jesus allows our lungs to fill deep and sweet again by giving us truth.  That truth sets us free from the suffocating prison of sin and lies.

There are words in this world that land heavy on our hearts and forcefully crowd their way into our minds.  Then there are words of truth that strip away every bit of dead weight we had been carrying on our chests and wipe away the confusion and chaos that fills our brains.

All truth is God's truth.
St. Augustine spoke these words centuries ago but they have met me countless times in this lifetime.

Anywhere we glimpse truth it is of God, and God's truth is found in it's purest form in His word.  The more I read it the more I find it in
piles of laundry
and grocery store lines
and bumper to bumper traffic
and lilac framed gardens.
The more truth I find,
the more God I find,
and the more God I find,
the easier it becomes to breathe.

And so truth will be spoken, sung, whispered, painted, everywhere in The Breathing Room...
because only the truth will set us free to breathe again.

and Truth...
all this and more at THE BREATHING ROOM :: CHARLOTTE
January 25th at the Alexander Homestead.
Tickets are available now!

Monday, December 1, 2014

every move you make

When the hot winds of September blew us out of summer and into a new school year I had a book's worth of words I wanted to share with you.

This past summer contained the same amount of days as every other one I've lived, but the contents of those days was something far greater than any I remember.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

the breathing room :: stories

Last October I reserved this blog space for sharing stories.  In the process I found myself and others beginning to breath strong and deep again.

Sharing our stories gives us breathing room.

On January 25, in a stunningly beautiful dairy barn nestled in the gardens of a 100 year old Victorian homestead Emily and I will show up to share some of our stories with you.  We will speak and sing ours into microphones but other brave souls will tell theirs
on a big screen or
across the dinner table or
in quiet corners.

The Breathing Room will be filled with stories.

There was a time when I wrote the stories of my life in a journal meant for no other eyes than mine.  There was value in writing hidden stories, but over the years I have found greater value in letting others take a peek inside.  Today one of the most valuable uses of my time is in speaking my stories out loud and inviting others to do the same.

This is why I believe stories are so important...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

an invitation to breathe

Have you ever given a gift that was half wrapped, or maybe not wrapped at all?
Maybe you ran out of wrapping paper and the gift was too big to fit in all those reused bags stashed in your closet.
Have you ever just hidden something behind your back, had the other person close their eyes and then shout - surprise! - as you pass it straight from your hands to theirs?

When I speak or write I like to think I have a gift to offer people.  I spend time tying the words up like a bow around my offering.  I want them to be neatly packaged and beautifully presented.  I want the gift to reflect a certain sentiment.  A sentiment that says - you are important to me and I wanted you to have this.

Sunday night I delivered a half wrapped gift to a room full of some of the most influential women in my life.  I just pulled it out from behind my back and held it in my hands for all to see.
   Here - I want to share this with you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

NEW {day 27} :: renew

Over the past several months I have been inundated with ‘re’ words.  
When I read, when I pray, when I take a shower, when I sit in the preschool pick-up line…
're’ words keep coming to mind and I keep jotting them down and taking them in.

Here’s what I know about ‘re'.
It is a prefix indicating
The return to a previous condition
Repetition of an activity

And if we dig a little deeper we find…
word-forming element meaning "back to the original place; again, anew, once more," also with a sense of "undoing" 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NEW {day 23} :: Lucy's diaversary

For you observant ones who have been following these 31 days closely you may have noticed there was no day 22.  So now you know - I'm not perfect.  I hope you enjoy 23...
Today marks one year.

I am terrible at remembering dates.  Actually, anything with numbers gets me all confused.

But I will never forget October 23, 2013.