Tag Archives: stress

Unforced Rhythms of Grace.

“Ask yourself: Is there joy, ease and lightness in what I’m doing? If there isn’t, then time is covering up the present moment and life is perceived as a burden or struggle.” – Eckhart Tolle

My dear friend, Penny Doss, shared this quote last night and it cut deep into my soul exactly where it needed to. I’m a planner. I’m a constant thinker. I’m always planning for the next thing and thinking about how to make that thing happen. These things are good things. They are fun things and exciting things! I LOVE doing something new, planning for a new place to travel to, reading something new, thinking about new things (and subsequently adding to my list of things to do.)

This is all good. It really is. Until it becomes too much. You know the saying “Too much of a good thing is too much?” Maybe we should rephrase that to “Too much of a good thing all at once is too much” Amen. Because when we welcome it all once, it’s no longer a joy or a good thing. It becomes a burden or a struggle.

This seems to be happening to a lot of people close to me. One of my best friends had her first panic/anxiety attack yesterday, because work is busy and really good….and subsequently, her body told her to slow down. I talked to another good friend this morning who talked about how he and his wife are busier than ever, and while so much good is happening, it’s become hard to enjoy the present moment and just be still together. I told my friend who had the panic attack that sometimes it’s hard to be intentional about slowing down both physically AND mentally when you’re happy. But, unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately), it will rear its head on us physically and mentally if we don’t pace ourselves.

My mom, who is probably the most prophetic voice in my life, told me a month ago that I was on her mind, and that I needed to just slow down and be more present. It resonated within me, and we both kind of laughed at how so many of my phone calls to her, “Mom! I have an idea. What do you think about this?” And, bless her. She just cheers me and my ideas on, but I know on the other side of that phone call is her sometimes putting her hand on her head and whispering, “Jesus, be near.” Then, she with absolutely NO chill at all, tagged me in a post that said, “Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.” Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Bob Marley.

So, here’s my lesson for today. And for tomorrow. But mostly today, because, I’m learning to be present, right? Good things are good. But don’t let so many good things at once rob you of the better (the now.) Slow down. Stop trying to put the round peg in the square hole. It’s all going to get done. It’s all going to happen. We just have to know when to push something and when to flow in something. Both are necessary from time to time. For me? I need to push some things (like exercising and finishing school.) And, I need to flow in some other things.

Because, it’s in the push that we achieve what we need to achieve. And, it’s in the flow that we enjoy what we’ve ALREADY achieved. What’s already in front of us.

Let’s not just get wet today. Let’s feel the rain. Let’s push the things we need to push and not the force the things we shouldn’t force. Let’s learn the unforced rhythms of grace again and enjoy today.

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30


Filed under Chasing Dreams, life, Life Experiences, Spiritual Journey



“Remember. You show our children how to respond to stressful and difficult moments by how you respond to those moments.”

This was the reminder Kris gave me over the phone last night. You know, sometimes, when our husbands are right, we kind of want to roll our eyes or maybe throw a pie in their face. I jest a little. But, I couldn’t do either last night. I told him I recognized that my response was not good, and that I had allowed myself to get overwhelmed and would work through my stuff. He told me recognizing I was not in a good place did not make that place right. Again, he was right. So, I had to make myself right. And, I needed to do it right away. Not the next morning when all of the mercies are new. But, I needed to adjust then. In THAT moment.

It’s hard. We can work ourselves up faster than Clark Kent can turn into Super-Man. Then, we implode. Because, negativity is designed to do just that…..implode. We have to stop feeding it and giving energy to it. “When we hang up, reset your emotions, and go make it right,” he told me with the most tender of tones.

I didn’t have to wait for a sunrise to make that moment of spiraling emotions right. I just had to push the reset button. I didn’t feel like doing it, because staying in my overwhelmed emotions seemed easier. They validated me. They allowed me to justify my responses to stress. But, they didn’t produce anything good.

They didn’t model mercy or compassion.

They didn’t model the scripture, “be anxious for nothing…”

They didn’t model how to respond when life gets hard.

They didn’t model light.

They didn’t heal anything or anyone.

We can’t always calm the storm around us, but we can ALWAYS calm the storm WITHIN us.

And, that’s exactly what I did. I spoke to the storm within me, and said, “Peace be still.” I called my children together and asked forgiveness and spoke peace to them. In the very moment of my overwhelmed emotions, I reset and made it right.

You, too, always have the option to reset. No matter how powerful those negative emotions become….the God within you is greater. It is simply choosing to acknowledge who you really are and tapping into the peace that is already within you. Because, you have everything you need already inside of you. Everything.

You lack nothing.

Today, I choose to create my calm. I choose to model it. I choose to be the light in the dark and the calm in the storm. I choose to reset.

What do you choose today?

Be a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like shepherd. – Rumi

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Filed under God Stuff, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized, Virtue


There are seasons in our lives when it seems the world is caving in around us.  There are days where anything that can go wrong, does.  There are moments we are sure that one more blow is going to take us completely out.

So, we begin unraveling.

Piece by piece.  Thread by thread. 

Until, we hit our knees.  And, the tears begin to flow.

I have those moments, too.  Just like you.

And, then the thought of throwing my hands in the air and surrendering it all to God just seems too easy.  Sometimes, it’s my pride that gets in the way.  Because, if I surrender my feelings, my day, my season to Him, then, I have nothing left to hold onto that says, “I am stressed.”

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“I have had all I can take.”

Whoever said God will not give you more than you can handle was wrong.  Way wrong.

He will. 

Because, He wants you to need Him.  He wants you to depend on His strength.  That’s why Paul says he was thankful when he was weakest, because, that’s when God was strongest. 

Tonight, I began unraveling.  So, I let go of my pride.  I let go of my stubbornness to hold onto something that really doesn’t belong to me. 

I threw my hands up in the air.  And, I told Him, “God, this day is Yours.  This season is Yours.  I can’t do this without you. ” 

And, He took it from me.

Perhaps, you are unraveling, too.

Surrender.  Let Him into your mess.  Call out to Him.  And, know that His power works best in your weakness. 

He will not fail you.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  2 Corinthians 12:9


Filed under God Stuff, life, Spiritual Journey

What I Quit Doing.

The past few months my stress level has been pretty low.  My load is no lighter.  As a matter of fact, it’s probably fuller.  My secret to controlling the stresses that I actually can control?

I quit dreading.

I quit dreading the commitment I made I wished I had not made. 

I quit dreading the thing I have to do whether I want to do it or not. 

I quit dreading the fact that pretty soon my alarm is going to go off, and I’m going to have to motivate two little people to get out the door to school.

I quit dreading obligations that take away time I wish I could spend….resting….replenishing.

Dreading makes everything worse.  My grandfather used to always say, “It’s worse to dread something you have to do when just doing it is bad enough.”  In other words, nothing is going to change that commitment.  That thing.  Those obligations.  And, dreading them makes the doing them that much harder. 

So, I quit.

I no longer worry or stress about when I’ll have my next down time.  My next reprieve.  Instead, I make up my mind to maybe say no to the next request.  Unless that request is a life-giving need.  Because, it’s in those life-giving times that I remember my life is not my own.  And, God is always faithful to make me lie down in green pastures and restore my soul.  And, this rain sure does make them even greener.  A little drop of a degree or 100 might help, too.  But, I digress.

Stop dreading.  Remember whose you are.  And, how faithful He is to give you exactly what you need when you need it. 




Filed under life, Randomness

Big Mama: Solution-Finder, Anti-Whiner.

I’m not always a solution finder.  Oddly, I can offer solutions for your drama and obstacles.  Just not mine.  Not always.

When faced with seemingly difficult situations, I might be one to throw my hands up and say, “It just can’t be done.”  Or, “there is no other way around this one.” 


I get stressed.  And, I whine. 

Not Big Mama.   

She consistently inspires me with her ability to find solutions.  Stress-free.  With a “we can make this work” attitude. 

A few weeks ago, I asked her if she could watch my littlest man for an hour, so I could attend a meeting.  When she arrived to chase him with her walker, he was sleeping.

“Oh no,” she said.  “I wish he wasn’t sleeping.  I’m not sure I can carry him from his crib to the living room when he wakes up.”

I responded, “Big Mama, just call me when he wakes up, and I will come right home.”

She was silent.

Then, she said, “No.  We can do this.  Do you have a stroller?”

“Yes,” I told her.

“Well, alright.  Get that stroller, and put it outside his door.  I can pick him up out of that crib.  I’ll put him in his stroller, and push him right into the living room,” she said with confidence.

“Are you sure?”

“Hmph.  Of course, I’m sure!  Now, go on!”  She assured me. 

And, that’s exactly what she did.  All the while pushing her walker, too.

Since when did the rest of us start making everything so hard?  Since when did we start letting the little things overwhelm us?  How did we stop appreciating modern day conveniences that make life so easy….like a dang dishwasher?  My 91 year old grandmother has hand-washed her dishes since the day she started maintaining a home.  She’s never complained.  Or stressed.  Or thought life too hard.

Not one single day.

Perhaps, it’s because she comes from a generation where you make situations work for you.  You overcome obstacles.  And, you certainly don’t whine about them.  Perhaps, it’s because if she wanted candy as a young girl, she traded eggs for it instead of being given money to buy it.  Perhaps, it’s because she recognizes the small stuff as small stuff and doesn’t sweat it.

I think all of the above.

But, I also know that she has understanding of this scripture:

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

And, she really believes she can.

May I grow up and be just like Big Mama.


Filed under Big Mama, life

Don’t Close Up Shop.

I can let life swallow me up.  I can.  I can allow the activities and antics of three children cause me to close up shop on sharing my gifts with others.  Serving others.  Because, it seems like too much at that moment.

But, it’s not always too much.  It’s not usually as stressful as we make it out to be.  It’s just our response to those busy moments that mess with our head.  Okay, maybe it’s just my head.  Maybe, it’s just me? 

I almost let one of those moments make me close up shop yesterday afternoon.  My sweet husband had a dinner meeting with airplane-ish type folk.  I had household obligations, two children with obligations, and an infant who, well, was only obligated to let me know when he was hungry.  And, he was.  Of course, he was.   Have you seen him?  Only the cutest chunk of love in the history of chunks of love. 

You see?  I do not lie, friends.

It would have been easier to let these things – life things – consume me.  Stay home.  Pretend there was nothing or no one else besides myself and my three little people.  It really would have.  But, one thing I’ve learned (and my parents have taught me) in my thirty-five plus years on planet earth is this:

My life will be more blessed when I live beyond myself. 

Beyond me.  Beyond my kids’ homework and schedules.  Beyond the constant needs of an infant.  Beyond making sure I’ve emptied the dishwasher.  Beyond getting my hair ministered to – which by the power of the Holy Spirit, I was able to fit that in.  Can I get an amen on coverin’ them roots? 

I was responsible for teaching the youth last night.  And, for some dadgum reason, I can’t say “youth” without thinking of My Cousin Vinny.  You know the line.  “Your honor, two utes.”  I seriously can’t.  I drive myself crazy sayin’ it.  ANY. HOW.

By choosing to overcome any stress that parenting, sans my awesome husband, brings, I used one of my gifts.  More than that, I just served.  And, instead of staying home, putting my children to bed, and contemplating how hectic my day was….

I put my children to bed, and then I went to bed fulfilled.  Content.  Happy.  Blessed.

I think that’s what Paul meant in Acts 20 when he said, “it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” 

But, don’t get me wrong.  If any of y’all wanna come keep three little people and send me to the spa, I will not make you withhold those good gifts.  You know.  Since that would bless y’all and all.


I mean, Amen.


Filed under giving, life, making an impact, Motherhood, parenting

Lord Almighty, I feel my temperature rising.

By the time the clock strikes 6:00 in the evening, the daily grind with children is nearing its end.  The day is all downhill from there, right?  Not as long as those pretty little blonde haired wonders are still awake. 

At 6:00 PM EST on Wednesday, July 2, 2008, Anna opened the backyard gate only to let Brew (our four-legged pal) explore the wild blue yonder.  I looked like a not so secret agent in search of a star witness in a high profile case.  Oh, I exaggerate.  I just ran up and down the street yellin’ like a true Southerner, “Brew!  Herrreee Breewwwww!”  My children traveled ten feet behind me wiping tears from their eyes.  Because, being the good mama that I am, I told them, “Well, we’ve lost Brew now.  That’s why you don’t open the gate.” 

Or the window, as was the case the last time Brew hoped for a newfound freedom.

So, we recovered Brew and I consoled the children.  As soon as I caught my breath, I commenced to making dinner.  Little did I know that John Henry would use this time to brush up on his “Dial 911” skills.  My phone rings and the lady on the other end from 911 dispatch, or whatever they’re called, informs me that there was a hang up from my number.  Hmmmm.  I told her it must have been one of my children.

“We still have to send someone out to make sure it’s okay,” she explains.

Sure enough an officer shows up at my door, and John Henry runs up the stairs. 

After handing over my license for…..for what?  A record check?  To log me into the system as a potential criminal mama?  The officer realized the only threat to society was us taking up the time of our city’s finest.

There is no doubt that by now, I am on the C.I.A.’s radar.  From the T.S.A. personnel at the airport finding these items in John Henry’s pockets….

To Anna setting off the house alarm while I was taking a shower causing ADT to leave messages on my landline, my cell phone, and my husband’s cell phone.  ‘Cause I was in the shower!

To the events of yesterday evening.  I’m on the radar.  I’m sure of it.

It’s times like these that I see a new series airing called “Baby Borrowers”, and I think, where do I sign up?  I’m just funnin’.  No really, I am.  You know after talking about sweet family time with the children in yesterday’s post….Jesus loves you high and low talk,  that I would never consider letting anyone borrow my children.  Now, I might be open to one of you opening your home to my beautiful blessings.  So, if interested, please comment. 

Ain’t got but one scripture to tie into this one – “This, too, shall pass.” 1 Corinthians 10:12

Hallelujah, Amen & Selah.


Filed under Kid Stuff, Motherhood