one little comment is all it takes.

i got a comment the other day from the mezz which touched me deeply. and i’ve been thinking alot about it ever since…

she said, in her comment, that she was glad that i had written a post where i did some complaining. that it reminded her that i am human, and that i have difficult times too.  i truly appreciate her comment. it made me feel free.

i focus so much on positive things here on my blog, and in life. i try my best to acknowledge the beauty, the positive, and the good in every day, even if every moment isn’t fabulous.

however, in the middle of all of the beauty & amazingness of life, i do have tough times. things don’t always go smoothly, and sometimes i feel overwhelmed, lost, sad, frustrated, and scared. i don’t always write about it here. but, every now & then, things just creep out onto my keyboard – like they are doing now.

whether you know it, remember it, or have never heard it, my love was in the hospital for 3 months this summer. it was a really tough & scary time for her. and for me. very tough & scary. in ways that i cannot even begin to describe. i wondered if i was going to lose her.   now she has been home for a while, but is still receiving treatment. we’re doing our best to live life, and i think we have been doing a pretty good job. but, lately, things have been getter harder.

i don’t feel like i’m being fake by posting positive, inspiring things. or by showing the amazing moments of our life, because there are tons of amazing moments. but, the tough stuff that we are dealing with right now, is real. it’s just that we choose to keep it private. on the other hand, i don’t want people to think that everything just moves along smoothly for me and i wake up feeling peace every day. because it doesn’t . and i don’t. as the mezz points out, i’m human. and shit happens.

however, i need inspiration & the positive vibes in my life. i want those things. i want to wake up & love life, not live with regrets or in fear. i want to suck every amazing thing out of life that i can. i need to remember to be aware of the beauty in life. and so, here, in my little place in cyberspace, i try to make a beautiful little corner that brings me joy & peace. and if i provide any joy or peace to anyone else along the way, then i am doubly blessed. you see, this place, this blog, heals me. writing fills me. it is my breath. one of my ways of meditating. of stripping away the negative and focusing on being true to myself & my soul.

i truly admire any of you who put your whole self out there, who bitch & complain, and vent & get pissed off, and share your deepest, darkest thoughts & feelings. sometimes i wonder about doing that. but, then, i remember my “niche”. and belovelive is all about being who i am. learning to love myself & others. and living life to the fullest. perhaps one day i’ll create another blog, or perhaps i will just add to this one. but, for now, this is who i am. this is how i write. and when there are tough times, i will either keep it to myself, or share it with you all… i will just let it happen naturally.

in the meantime, whatever positive vibes, prayers, or thoughts you might have for my little family right now would be greatly appreciated. i deeply thank you for your presence here, and for your willingness to stumble through all my words. and i am so grateful for the comments i receive. your thoughtful words inspire me & push me to think more deeply than before. your presence influences me & touches me, reminding me that i am never alone.

as always, when there is something heavy on my heart, i face it head on. mediate on it. write about it (privately or otherwise), and talk though it with a trusted soul. but, i face it knowing that, bigger than the sadness or pain or uncertainty that i feel, the light always conquers the darkness. love always wins. there is always hope. and life remains beautiful. i have the complete joy of living this life, with all of its ups & downs, mountains & valleys, and soaking in the messiness and the perfection and everything in between that makes up this journey of mine.

and i know from deep within my soul that tomorrow is another day. another day to share with my love. another day to embrace & experience as much as possible.

another day to…

my heartfelt gratitude & warm wishes of peace to you all.

my cup is overflowing.

i did it. i made it. i stood up, opened my mouth, and let the swedish flow. ok, perhaps it didn’t flow perfectly. perhaps i stumbled over some pronunciations and mixed up some grammar. but, i did it. i preached my first sermon in 4 years, which caused enough anxiety & excitement itself; but i did it all in swedish too.

i am freaking overwhelmed.

today was the equivalent of youth sunday in the church where i work. working with youth is always interesting; and helping to guide & motivate them to be the leaders of a sunday morning gathering can be stressful & scary. but, i must say, by the time i was home on friday after practicing & preparing with the youth, i was feeling quite calm (except for the fact that i still had to write my sermon!). then, after spending the entire day yesterday in front of the computer, i got that done too. i was a calm as i could be when i turned out the lights last night.

morning came quickly, and i was out the door earlier than usual for a sunday. all the youth arrived on time, we went through everyone’s responsibilities, and then it was time to begin. i was so impressed with the youth! they were relaxed, focused, and seemed to be into it. they welcomed the congregation, lead some prayers, read the text for the day, sang/played guitar, and did a little drama. seriously. teens! awesome, amazing teens (reminded me of the youth i had in north carolina. i miss y’all). all i really did today was preach and lead the pastor’s prayer.

it was an awesome morning, and an amazing experience. and i felt so at home – even with all the swedish. i could feel the words (it didn’t really matter what language they were) just spilling out of me. standing there, looking into the eyes of the people, speaking about the things that i believe in most: love, acceptance of all people,  life as a journey, the joy & responsibility that we have to share the stories of our lives with each other. it was an unbelievable moment, as i realized this journey that has led me here. how i never could have imagined it. all the heartbreak, the insecurity, the pain, the confusion. at the same time, the beauty, the joy, the adventure, the opportunities.

four years ago i gave my last sermon in a church in north carolina, not knowing at all what the future would bring. if i would ever stand and speak words of hope to people gathered again. after some years, i decided that perhaps my only outlet to write/speak was this blog. perhaps i only wanted to use a blog anyway, or talk with people individually (like a mentor or something), and not speak/preach so publicly again.

but, true to life’s surprises, i found myself doing today, just what i thought i might never do again. and it felt amazing. the anxiety of preparing for today almost drove me crazy. but with the support & love from people all over the world – from many different areas & times of my life – i survived. and i am left tonight basking in the glow of this overwhelmed, humbled feeling that, though it is never what we expect it to be, life is an unbelievable journey. and the fact that i have the joy of sharing it all with my love… well, that means that my cup is overflowing.

oh, i am so lucky. how is it possible that i am so blessed?

blessings of joy & peace to you too.

say what you will.

it was a sunday morning in a small mill town in the mountains of north carolina. i was standing in front of around 120 people, leading a worship service… part of my job as a minister at the methodist church where i worked full-time. it was a part of the job that i loved. leading ancient rituals connecting us with humans throughout history, taking a message of hope from an old text & making it relevant to today, praying for & on behalf of the entire congregation. such a humbling & inspiring task.

one of my responsibilities that particular sunday was to lead the prayers of the people – i shared names and situations and places that were in need of prayer, support, & love. and then, i asked the congregation if they had any concerns to share. as each person spoke, i wrote down their concerns, adding them to our list of prayer requests. and then, i prayed. out loud. it was something i took very seriously (and still do)… forming words, sending thoughts & prayers to the holy on behalf of everyone gathered. my words mattered.

many times i used the words of people and intertwined them with my own words. sometimes i wrote down my prayers, sometimes it was spontaneous. on this sunday, i had written down my prayer (and improvised some too). it included words from a prayer book that i used quite often. i wove the words from an ancient theologian’s prayer into the beginning of my prayer and then continued with my own thoughts. as i completed my prayer & began to lead the congregation into the next part of the service, a man stood up in the back of the church. he said that he had a prayer request to add. i distinctively remember recognizing that he was a visitor and feeling excited that someone felt the courage to express a need, even if it was after the “appropriate” time to do it. besides, what kind of church are we if we plan a service and don’t allow for moments of inspiration? church is not about rules, you know. but about spirit & relationships.

anyway. i invited him to share his concern, and he proceeded to hold up a bible and yell at me that he had no idea what i thought i was doing or what kind of church this was… that the only book he read was the bible and that i should not have used the words of other people in my prayers. i mean he was yelling, shaking his fist and his bible at me. i was in shock. my mouth was hanging wide open. i couldn’t believe this man was verbally attacking me in front of all these people. i pulled it together, thanked him for his opinion and kept standing there without moving. the other minister stood & began to speak to the man. i have no idea what he said. i kept standing there with my mouth wide open. still in shock, but aware that i needed to keep it together. then i saw the man take his bible and leave. i sat. i don’t remember the rest of the service, but i made it through, giving myself a chance to reflect on what had happened later on that day.

needless to say, i never stopped using other peoples’ words in my prayers or writings. too many amazing people have said too many amazing things that we need to share with each other. of course it is wonderful to find the inspiration to be able to add some of our own thoughts & words to the writing world, but to overlook all of the gifts that we have been given by talented writers throughout the years would be a shame.

so, i think i’ll keep reading. i think i’ll keep writing. and i think i’ll keep sharing.

quote of the day:

“employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for”  ~ Socrates

taking it a step further:

FAST from television today (i have screwewd that up a little already today. but i watched documentaries, so it was educational. and now the tv is off. for the rest of the day)

PRAY — practice lectio divina (sacred reading) — during some of the time you would normally have been watching TV. (read whatever inspires you. it most certainly does not have to be the bible, in my opinion).

GIVE some or all of the remaining time you would have watched TV today to any reading you like.

happy beautiful saturday!

sending words of love and peace to you all.