Found out today that a friend who I trusted had been dishonest with me. Turned my world upside down.
And now - writing my blog - am slightly at a loss for words, as I don't want to share too personal about this.
So before I sat down at the computer, I took pen and paper and prayed. I will share with you what I wrote. Yes, it's personal. But I need to put it here. Because maybe it isn't just for me. Maybe it is also something someone else needs, right now, at this very moment.
I will preface by saying that I started by asking for specifics. Help me to let go of... etc. Then I realized there was a better prayer for this moment. And I wrote this.
Please love me.
I surrender all to you.
I trust you to know what is best for me in this moment, better than I know myself.
Thank you, God.
ps - maybe being turned upside down and letting go isn't such a bad thing... check out the video on Facebook here. That's my daughter, Anna, a year ago. Pretty exhilarating.
This is wild. I just sat down to write today's blog post - about intentional change - and an e-newsletter shows up with an article titled "The Art of Becoming Who You Want to Be." Seriously, folks - just can't make this stuff up! Like it was handed to me from an angel (and yes, I know who the angel is, and her name is Evana - but more on that later.)
The blog topic was prompted by two conversations today. Both left me frustrated afterward, because assumptions were made about my intentions, and my likely reactions, based on how I would have reacted say - oh - two or three years ago.
I'll quote here the followup text to one friend. She was concerned that I would be hurt or upset with her about a possible change in some plans we talked about a while ago (that's a messy sentence but I'll let it stand as is!).
"Seriously. No pressure. New version Mimi (no drink no smoke more God less crazy) does not get upset as easily as previous version. Probably most frustrating part of the journey for me - friends expect old stupid behavior while I am really trying to live different. Only time will prove it I suppose. I'm really intentional about shape shifting from old unhealthy behaviors. "
Yes, there's a whole lot more to that story, but hopefully you get the idea. The question rolling around in my head for the past several hours has been, "how long does it take until people will start to notice the change? " or perhaps more succinctly, "haven't they been paying attention?"
Yes, I've been on a significant personal journey. One that has brought me ever closer to God. Changed personal behaviors that allow my mind to be more clear, my reactions to be less strong and more appropriate. Or at least I try to be that way. I'm a work in progress. Admittedly not getting it right all of the time. Old habits die hard. But I'm trying. Really I am.
"You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Bah humbug to that. Rosie is still learning at age six. And I am at fifty six.
What's my point? This started out as a bit of a personal rant - but think about it, please. How often do we assume how someone will react, or respond - based on previous behavior. Let's allow room for growth - in ourselves, and in others. Forgive old behavior in favor of paying attention to the present.
God is capable of miracles. Our job is to show up. Do our part. And believe that by the grace of God (literally) transformation is possible.
Though I do still enjoy a swim in Buzzards Bay more than just about anything... I hope THAT never changes!
Peace, love, joy - to each and every one of you on your own journey.
ps - please do take a look at the Fashion Feng Shui e-newsletter - the article I referenced is about halfway down. Thank you, Andrew, for the timing of your send!!!
Sometimes it is the simplest of things that remind us of home.
Today, I came across a peach at a local market. Not just any peach. A Rice Fruit Company peach.
Those of you who live in Adams County, PA - you know what I'm talking about.
Those of you who know me from my Cape Cod life - you're saying "yeah - so???"
Rice Fruit Company is owned by a lovely family in Gettysburg - many of whom I was fortunate to count as friends when I lived there. We've lost touch, mostly. Other than Facebook.
But the sight of one of these little red and yellow stickers just makes my heart sing and puts a smile on my face.
Because I was fortunate to know some of the hills where the orchards are that grew this peach. And I know the family started those orchards out of their love.
So, you see, it's not JUST a peach. It's a very special peach. It traveled all the way up here, 500 miles, to take me back there, in my heart.
That's it for tonight. Just the memory of beautiful countryside, lovely warm friends, and... a peach.
Resolution tonight - start writing blog posts earlier in the day!
Honestly - I get to this hour of the evening, and as easy as writing is for me, I'm ready to call it a night and turn into bed with a book.
My idea came to me early today. I just didn't get around to it until now.
I am going to quote from the sermon of Pastor Carl Evans this morning, at Christ Lutheran Church. Taking the quote somewhat out of context, but I'll explain why in a moment.
You are loved at a fundamental level that is not dependent on what you have done or failed to do. The blank canvas on which we paint our lives is love. The stillness from which our song breaks out is love. The empty page on which your story is written is love.
This quote struck me as personally profound because it speaks so directly to the three main careers that roll into one for me. Artist. Author. Musician.
The blank canvas - songs - and written story. All of which have love as the foundation. Or more importantly, God's love for me - for us - as the foundation.
I struggle sometimes with whether they have merit merely for the sake of creativity. Of how I might be able to shed the other "jobs" that I work in order to reside wholly, fully within this identity, and maintain a roof over my head, food on my table, and give generously to those around me.
In these words I find permission to allow myself to dream of a day when I might be permitted to have my entire livelihood and financial security come from just these three things. (the word "just" should probably be deleted - it is an awesome, sacred trio of creative gifts)
I surrender to God's plan for my life. I have a feeling it resides somewhere in the midst of the trio Just not quite sure how it comes to fruition.
From my lips to God's ears. If it is your will for me Lord, so let it be.
Very personal blog tonight. Thank you for allowing me to put it in writing.
A young couple came into the gallery this evening. I was in the middle of conversation with someone else, but out of the corner of my eye saw them discussing a painting of the Black Beach area.
As soon as we were alone in the gallery, they asked for a price. Then asked about the possibility of painting the same scene at a different time of day. We had the usual commission conversation. Payment terms. How long it takes to produce a finished painting. Could I capture the exact spot they have in mind.
Then I noticed her ring. Spectacular square setting of diamond on the appropriate finger on her left hand. And she said "it's brand new!" He had just proposed to her - like an hour before - in that spot - on that beach - just after sunset.
A brand new ring. A brand new life awaiting them, even though they have been together seven years.
I felt honored to be part of this special evening. I was the first to know - they hadn't called anyone yet - though he did ask her father's permission this afternoon (I love that!).
Where am I going with this? Not totally sure. It just seemed worth noting. Because 'brand new' holds the promise of a fresh start. The chance to 'get it right.'
Of course, each day, in each new moment, we can start fresh. Go back to my blog post of August 25 if you missed it the first time. The grace God gives us each and every day to start fresh. Free, All we need to is accept it, embrace it, and live it.
Cool stuff. Such a shame that God gets a bad rap from so many when grace is just about the coolest thing ever in the world! Ok - maybe not 'just about the coolest' - it IS the coolest! But that's a topic for a post another day.
Song Brand New here.
And a sermon based on the lyrics also titled Brand New. (thank you Pastor Ben and Cape Cod Church.)
This morning - I worked - hard. Then drove to Rhode Island to spend some time with my amazing daughter - had a LOVELY (though too short) visit - and now at 9:18 pm - I'm just plain... tired. Treating myself on this Friday night to ... bed. Early. With the air conditioner running so I can snuggle deep into the sheets and pillows.
Because every now and then, it's ok to just call it a night. Get a good night's sleep. Ready to face the next day early, with a smile on my face.
Nite nite, dear souls.
ps - music tonight? Had the Beatles "Good Night" in mind but found this. Melody Gardot Good Night.
Why am I afraid to simply tell my story, to share the truth of my life?
A friend asked me last night, "What has writing your blog been like?" and I tried to find an answer - like it was a quiz show question. Stumbled around it, talking about how I do it, and why I decided to do it, not really responding to her question because when she asked it, there was nothing there as a direct response.
This morning the answer comes to me. "What has writing the blog been like?" It's like... breathing. Ridiculously easy. I just sit down, and write the words that come to me. No stress. No deep pondering. Just ... a breath, and then I write.
So, why do I say I am afraid to write fully my truth? Because it's God stuff. Jesus stuff. My life path since writing Painting Lily.
I'm afraid to share it because I am afraid people might think me odd. "Oh, you've turned into one of those people." I might lose followers. I envision my seven hundred name email newsletter list dropping in half overnight, because people run away when you start mentioning Jesus Christ in a newsletter.
But if it has brought a whole new level of joy and meaning into my life, why wouldn't I share it?
I want my life to be living witness to my faith. I want to be light shining into people's lives, not as something coming form a place of ego in my head, but from Christ's love in my heart, guiding every single thing that I say and do.
I want to stop being timid with my words. To speak my truth. My real truth.
Painting Lily was definitely written as fiction. But yes, Lily and I share a lot of common experiences. A lot of which I am not proud, but I can't go back and change. I wrote the book out of my own struggle to make sense of those chapters of my life. I couldn't forgive myself.
Then I learned I didn't have to.
What I did need to do was to get on my knees, confess the truth to my heavenly Father (or heavenly parent, if you prefer) - who already knew every single sin I committed - to confess it, and ask for forgiveness.
A forgiveness I received one year ago, on September 20, 2015, when I went down in the waters of Nantucket Sound, received God's forgiveness in baptism, emerged anew, washed clean of my past sins, able to move forward and start again in new life.
I think that's why it is referred to as being born again. Because it gives us a fresh start on life, new life in Christ.
Such a joyous, amazing experience. So why am I afraid to write about it? It's only words on paper, after all.
They are my words. My truth of my own experience. If someone chooses to judge me because my path is different than theirs, or I am not theologically correct to their own experience or tradition, then so be it. I'm not attempting to be scholar, or theological. And this isn't a quiz show. It's not a test question or a final exam on which I am trying to get the A+ (how long does it take to shed that mentality?!).
I hear a voice tell me "Lighten up, Mimi. Just be, Mimi. The genuine, authentic, real deal." Take off my mask. Come out. Tell my story. The real one.
Because in the sharing of it, if just one single person is moved, or inspired, or comes to their own moment(s) of saving grace, forgiveness, and joy, than it is all worth it.
Ephesians 4: 29 (NLT) - "Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."
I love you all.
P.S. - Haven't shared a musical entry with you in a while. Here's one of my new favorites. I need you now.
It's 11pm and I haven't written my blog yet today or even thought about what to write.
It's ok. It's for good reason.
I spent the day immersed in - the day. Worked. Swam. Worked some more. Walked Rosie (you remember Rosie - the cute one). Shared a beautiful evening picnic at the beach with a cherished group of new woman friends, then came home to a phone call with an old friend from Pennsylvania. Which brings me to... 11pm.
There are the times we need to stop to ponder. And the times we need to simply dive in and live.
Today, I dove in. And I am tired. Seriously tired. But not weary.
It's a good tired. Tired from good work. And good exercise. And good friends.
Ready to go to sleep peaceful. Smiling. Grateful beyond all belief for the times shared today with others.
Tomorrow, I'll ponder more. But for now... just going to say... nite nite.
Two days ago my blog post included a picture of Rosie looking very cute. It received more Facebook "likes" than any other so far.
Tonight I am testing a theory - that Rosie pics will always gather more attention than simple posts.
If my theory is true, then you are in for a treat. LOTS more cute dog posts. (Yes, Dora - perhaps a cat or two thrown in as well.)
I don't know how I captured the light in this photo. It was not intentional.
I did notice while downloading it tonight that it was taken on August 9, the anniversary of my father's birthday. A man gone too soon, too young. And the one who first introduced an Airedale Terrier into my life. (how many of you remember Bu?)
Some might say the light rays are him shining down on Rosie and me on that day. Those would be the magical thinkers.
Others would more likely say that it was simply a trick of the camera lens. This from the pragmatic ones.
And of course I would like to take it to a God talk, but tonight I'm not in the right place to go too deep with that (see yesterday's blog) - so for now, it is up to you to decide.
I will let it rest here. Enjoy the photo. Hope it brings you a smile.
... is NOT the question!
The REAL question for me, tonight, is, once again, how honest to be.
There are some topics I want to write about. And I'm just not sure how deep into them I can go.
After writing that sentence, I am a bit speechless.
Because I know that I HAVE to write about these things.
They are the very essence of the "next" book after Painting Lily.
I'm just not sure of the right format. Where to publish them. How long. How deep. Fiction. Memoir. Essays. Or maybe just longer blog entries.
So let me pose the question to you. Especially to those of you who are reading on a regular basis, even if you've never "liked" a Facebook post, or commented directly to the blog. I know you are there, because every time I run into people at random - in the grocery store, at the bank, on the beach - I hear "hey - I'm enjoying your blog" - so I know it is not falling into the void of silence.
If you've read Painting Lily - what would you like to read from me as the 'next' thing?
If you've not, but you've been following my blog, where would you like to see it go?
Baring my thoughts to the world in black and white. Whoa. What a concept.
The painting - is called "Rising Above." Selected tonight to represent rising above my fears.
Love you - each and every one of you.
Thank you for reading.
Thoughts, dreams, questions.