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Archive for the ‘Free to be me’ Category

This one changes often. I could tell you about my movie husband – Jude Law. I already told you about my first movie crush – Wil Wheaton. I really love Val Kilmer – I’ve seen all of his films. I think Anthony Hopkins is amazing too, but for today I’m going with a more shallow option. Stephen Amell. He’s gorgeous, he can act, and he’s an archer. I have a thing for archers, remember?

Stephen is a Canadian actor best known for his starring role as Billionaire Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, on the hit CW show Arrow. Thanks to Netflix, I can watch my favorite episodes and scenes over and over again. Like this one:

*happy sigh*

I love the character created for the show. Stephen is excellent in his portrayal of the tortured Oliver/Arrow. And the fight scenes! I could watch him fight all day long. I hope to see him star in other roles in the future. Maybe DC will get their crap together and make a decent Green Arrow movie!

Max and I agree that DC has better TV shows and Marvel has better movies. We are fans of both comic book universes. I’m just happy they both have archers! *wink wink, Hawkeye!*

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

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If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?

She’s adventurous, feisty, and desires to control her own destiny. She’s a gifted archer and good with a sword, but it is her spunk that drew me in. I love her playful relationship with her dad, and I love her bravery!

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Merida of the Clan DunBroch

Don thought I’d choose Katniss Everdeen. I thought about Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I could have easily chosen Eowyn again, or one of the other kickass heroines I love so much, but Merida has been on my mind. I relate to her defiance against traditions and expectations, and admire her fighting spirit. And who doesn’t love her red hair? 😉

I share some of her less desirable qualitites as well, I suppose. She’s brash and sometimes acts without thinking only to regret it later. Been there. But I couldn’t help cheering when I watched this scene:

She’s been my Facebook profile picture many times, she’s currently my cover photo, and friends send me pictures of her. Fans of Merida have drawn and painted amazing depictions of her. This one by artist Heather Theurer is my favorite:

Merida_sm

A few years ago, my friend Michelle bought me a figurine which now sits in my office. Every kid who stops by wants to play with her because she’s beautiful, posable, and her accessories rock! She only came with one arrow, which I assume is enough – she’s that good. I love her.

She inspires me when I write by reminding me I too am brave.

merida figurine

 

Have you stopped by my fellow challenger’s sites lately? We still have a few days left to catch up and finish our challenge!

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

 

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For Christmas in 2013, Karen gave me a copy of Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. She had already read most of it and was sure I’d love it, and she was right! I’ve been reading it and incorporating it into my life ever since.

Vulnerability-Quote-2-Brene-Brown

Brene Brown is a research professor and storyteller who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, worthiness, and shame. She’s written three #1 New York Times Bestsellers, her 2010 TEDx talk “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the five most viewed Ted talks in the world. She inspires millions of readers like me through her websites, interviews, and public appearances. I post her quotes on Facebook a lot.

From The Gifts of Imperfection:

“People may call what happens at mid-life “a crisis,” but it’s not. It’s an unraveling – a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re supposed to live.”

As I’ve been working my way through the book for the second time, reading all of my underlined passages again, I am painfully aware of the places I’ve been digging deep, being brave, and making difficult choices that are making me a more wholehearted person. The word “No” isn’t as scary as it used to be, and I’ve increased the frequency of its use. Friends, it is SO much better than saying “yes” and being pissed off later because I knew I should have said no in the first place. I’m doing hard heart work, and the results are beautiful!

Some other lessons I’ve learned:

  • Our stories aren’t meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege and we should ask ourselves who has earned the right to hear them. (p. 47)
  • Incongruent living is exhausting. (p. 28)
  • Cultivating self-love and self-acceptance is not optional. (p. 28)
  • Practicing courage, compassion, and connection in our daily lives is how we cultivate worthiness. (p.7)
  • Courage is contagious. (p.54)
  • Here’s what is truly at the heart of wholeheartedness: Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is. (p.24)

I own the other two books and will read them soon. Check out Brene Brown. She’s one of my courage-boosters and currently on my list of Top Ten Most Inspiring People.

These people inspire me too:

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

 

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Zoe Grace

Zoe Grace.

She’s my sweet girl, my mini-me in so many ways.

She’s my reminder that what I say and do matter because she is always watching. Always.

She sees when I choose to love myself and when I don’t.

She watches when I hold my hands out in acts of kindness, and when I silently put them in my pocket as I exercise self-control through boundaries, and so I don’t bring physical harm to the idiots in my life. 😉

She’s aware of the times I use my tongue for good and when it gets the best of me and I wield it in anger.

She asks me difficult questions, making me think hard before answering because my words hold weight.

She seeks my approval and affection because I am the first woman she looks to for a glimpse of who she is and what she is about.

She values my opinion because she knows I’m a thinker, a researcher, a lover of people, and her momma.

We laugh together, cry together, and talk about life a lot.

Life. It’s what her name means and boy does she live up to it!

I get to mentor, parent, teach, train, and love this beautiful child as she grows into the woman she is becoming. Lucky me!

june 9 2015 390

Go catch up with my fellow challengers and see who they mentor:

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

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president_official_portrait_hires

Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The office of President of the United States commands respect but doesn’t often receive it, especially by Americans who like to exercise their freedom of speech. In light of my last post, I hope you’ll read this through the lens of love instead of criticism.

I don’t stand in agreement with all of the decisions our president has made (Who does?), but I do love him. As unpopular as it might make me with a large group of my more conservative friends, I voted for him.

I understand the checks and balances system America has adopted and grasp that we have three branches of power, not just one. We do not live in a dictatorship, but a democracy. As much as our system fails us, we chose it. As much as some Americans want to cast blame on one man for all of the poor decisions made on behalf of American citizens and how it effects the rest of the world, I’d refer them back to high school Government class and the other two branches of government we have. It is NOT just one man running our divided country.

I think the presidential race happening right now is a joke, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about our POTUS. Like every other human being, he’s complex. It’s easy to see him as only a public figure, so I have to remind myself that his entire life has not and will not be lived in the spotlight. He’s a man.

Western Inaugural Ball

US President Barack Obama dances with his wife and First Lady Michelle Obama during the Western Inaugural Ball on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Devoted husband.

 

Obamas_watch_Michelle_Obama_speech

President Barack Obama and his daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, watch on television as First Lady Michelle Obama takes the stage to deliver her speech at the Democratic National Convention, in the Treaty Room of the White House, Tuesday night, Sept. 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Loving father.

“First and foremost, my Christian faith gives me a perspective and security that I don’t think I would have otherwise: That I am loved. That, at the end of the day, God is in control and my main responsibility is to love God with all of my heart, soul, and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself. Now, I don’t always live up to that standard, but it is a standard I am always pursuing.

My faith is also a great source of comfort to me. I’ve said before that my faith has grown as president. This office tends to make a person pray more; and as President Lincoln once said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”

Finally, I try to make sure that my faith informs how I live my life. As a husband, as a father, and as president, my faith helps me to keep my eyes on the prize and focus on what is good and truly important.”

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/20/obama-romney-open-up-about-their-faith-in-a-church-magazine/

Man of faith.

Because of the position he holds, he deserves respect. Because he is a fellow man, he deserves love – no matter how you voted or whether or not you like him. I don’t know much about Barak Obama, but as President of the United States I know he navigates a lot of issues I don’t have to, meets with people I don’t want to, and carries a lot of burdens on my behalf. I try to pray for him instead of publicly criticize and demonize him like so many of my Facebook friends do. Mine is not the popular opinion. That’s okay.

Barack_Obama_family_portrait_2011

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office, Dec. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

For a few other takes on the POTUS, visit:

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

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Sometimes life happens and I don’t make the time to write – even during a challenge. The next several posts are me catching up on the writing challenge with my friends who are linked at the bottom of the page. I’m not giving up and I’m glad you didn’t either. 🙂

At least one of my fellow challengers will roll their eyes at who I chose to write about for this one. We joke about being Jesus-juked, but I promise that’s not what this is. This has been a month of reminding myself who I am and why I am the person I am – the person I choose to be, and no one challenges me to be who I am more than Jesus and those who choose to follow Him. Please don’t stop reading this if you don’t identify with being a Christian or if the only Christians you know are jerks. This is not a ploy to shame you, guilt you, or convert you. It’s a short explanation of why I am who I am.

There’s a lot of discussion going on right now regarding how to handle the refugee crisis, who Americans will choose as our next president, what to do about gay marriage and transgender issues, and a whole slew of other hot topics. In every discussion, there are Jesus followers who are planted firmly on opposite sides of the issue. They hold their convictions in both fists, ready to use the power of the Lord to slay their perceived giants across from them…their brothers and sisters whom they’ve chosen to break fellowship with over differences of opinion and lack of decorum. It’s not safe to be close to people who don’t believe the same things you do…“Bad company corrupts good character” and all that. (Some would know that is a quote from Corinthians in the Bible, but it was actually the apostle Paul quoting a Greek playwright, not Jesus.)

“Don’t let anyone into our country from the Middle East because they might be terrorists. Fight Islam because they want to kill all of us ‘infidels’.” “Vote for ____ because we need to return to being a Christian nation.” “Shut out the gays and shun those who consider themselves transgender because the Bible contains verses regarding such filth and we need to stand on the Truth.” I have heard and read these asinine statements all over the internet in recent days. But that’s not me. That’s not Jesus.

love-one-another-john

Jesus challenges me to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. Jesus doesn’t endorse a certain candidate for the presidency. Jesus calls me to love everyone regardless of who they are, how they choose to live, what gender they identify with, who they are attracted to and love, what shameful things they’ve done in their past, or how harsh of a person they are now even though they wear the name of the most revolutionary pacifist in history. He calls me to feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked, and take in those in need of shelter. I do all of those things not because of some future reward, but because of the reward I get now – the deep satisfaction of knowing that the space I occupy on this planet is better because I’m in it. I make a difference in THIS world. Who, where, what, why, and how I love makes a difference. And I am who I am because I follow Jesus.

love2

My fellow Christians challenge me to be who I am because I deeply love people on both sides – the ones who are ruthless in their “truth-telling” and the ones whose every move is motivated by a gentle love. I have been both. If I’m honest about it, I am both. I tend to save my ruthlessness for the J-holes who are the squeaky wheels in all the worst ways. It’s so much harder to love them when I want to slap them, but I’m learning to temper my fury as I remember they are not my enemy. Most of the time I am motivated by the gentle, forgiving, love-people-right-where-they-are kind of love I see Jesus expressing. This is the quote at the top of my Twitter page:

love people

I love people. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. I am a warrior and a child. I am fierce and a force to be reckoned with when the need arises – I fight for others, but I am also like a kid in a sandbox – that person you meet and become instant friends with after a brief chat.

I am challenged to be who I am by Jesus and how He loves me…how He loves everyone, including Christians who are so unlike me and people who don’t identify with Him at all. I want to love like that. Jesus said that’s how people will know I follow Him…by my love…and that is who I am.

Check out my fellow challengers:

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

 

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I’ve moved around a lot and lived next door to amazing, friendly people, but I’ve never had a neighbor I loved like Mr. Rogers. Like millions of other children, I grew up singing this song, going on field trips to interesting places in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, reading stories with Daniel Tiger, and learning some of life’s tougher lessons in a safe, nurturing way. Fred Rogers looked for the good in everyone he met and championed kindness and knowing who you are.

He was safe and gentle. He didn’t yell. He wasn’t sarcastic. He cared deeply for his friends. He said there’s no one else exactly like me and he likes me just the way I am. When you hear those words day after day, you begin to believe them. Mr. Rogers was a fantastic neighbor!

Fred-Rogers-fileHe gave me hope and courage, and I wanted to live in his real life neighborhood. I loved his words of wisdom that sounded a lot like words of love from someone who clearly knew how to love people. He taught me that every person has value and it’s up to me to always be a friend. He said things like,

“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

And

“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.”

I’ve taken many of his lessons to heart and woven them into my life’s mission:
To love extravagantly and be a good friend.
Want to meet some of my other neighbors?

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