I’m on the downhill slope in life.  I could almost hear massive calendar pages turning today, the 1st of January.  Initially, I cringed with a flicker of panic. I might not live long enough to write everything I want to write! There’s so much more I want to do!DSC_0035-1

Then I caught my self and remembered my resolution:        No more striving to do it right. No more yardstick in my mind when I get in bed at night, measuring my day, my words, my actions, or lack thereof– always finding myself wanting. No more (pitiful) efforts toward House Beautiful (I’d already given up on the yard) or photo-ready outfits.

No more turning dreams into bullet-point goals that I use to beat myself up when I don‘t reach them, when “life gets in the way.”

No more waiting to live when I am well, or stronger, get it all right, or finally get all my piles sorted and my mom’s boxes emptied in the attic.

My resolution for 2019 is to live right now. Invest in this moment, because it really is all I have.

(Anyone figured any other way?)

I learned as a child to postpone my life and not feel emotions. I’ve been on a long journey to being wholly present.  I’m waking up to really living and want to make the moments count.

If this hasn’t been an issue for you, perhaps you are tempted to stop reading.

But I find many around me struggling for other reasons. We have so much motion, activity, so much noise in our world. So much interaction with screens in place of in-the-flesh people.

Our culture is simmering us, slowly, in a pot of our own making.

Well, this frog is jumping out.

Recently, at just the right time, my daughter handed me a copy of Present Over Perfect, Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful way of Living, Zondervan, by Shauna Niequist.

I’m savoring every page.

Present over perfect living is real over image, connection over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice. Present over perfect living is the risky and revolutionary belief that the world God has created is beautiful and valuable on its own terms, and that it doesn’t need to be zhuzzed up and fancy in order to be wonderful.

Sink deeply into the world as it stands. Breathe in the smell of rain and scuff of leaves as they scrape across driveways on windy nights. This is where life is, not in some imaginary, photo-shopped dreamland. Here. Now. You, just as you are. Me, just as I am. This world, just as it is. This is the good stuff. This is the best stuff there is. Perfect has nothing on truly, completely, wide-eyed, open-souled present.” p130

No more lists of changes for 2019.

I’m singing along with Marcia Ramirez: There’s a Reason

I’m letting go of trying to be in control. There’s a reason He is God and I am not. And I’m so glad!

 

with grandsElysse loves lifeJT1_0281Jeremiah badmittonJT1_0370So I’ll simply love on my family, enjoy my dog, relish friendships, bask in worship and beautiful music, and relax into soft Florida breezes.

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And I’ll have more tea parties, with fine china.

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How about you? Where does 2019 find you?

Are New Year’s Resolutions going to change us?

We spent Christmas with YD and family. After the Christmas Eve service and dinner, my daughter read their daily Advent devotional from Ann Voscamp’s book. I haven’t stopped thinking about Ann’s image of trying to wipe my world clean with dirty rags.

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

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I didn’t think I was trying to make my world perfect, but when I went to bed that night I began my usual scan of the day, thinking of good things, but also going over things done and left undone, said or unsaid that I could/should have done differently. Besides being a terrible way to get my brain to shut down and drift off to sleep, I realized I was actually trying to correct my day, or make preparations to fix it the next day.

To wipe my day clean with dirty rags.

But I can’t change my mistakes and omissions. No amount of analyzing what I have done or confessing will ever make a perfect day.

That’s why God had to come as a human being

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to enter our very dirty world, walk through the muck of it all, to take on everything the enemy has to throw at us, including death — and triumph.

Resurrected, he came out absolutely clean and alive.

Promising fresh new life for us all.

Why would I want to ignore that, keep up my silly efforts with my filthy cloths?

How many New Year’s Resolutions are going to change what I am working with? — Frail humanity and a world infested with evil, sickness and death

Oh yes, there is beauty all around me. There are wonderful, lovable people. I’m blessed with a whole family full of them, and friends.

And I relish all the ways God speaks through nature, and the creative processes of the arts.

But none of it will ever make me good enough. Or make me impervious to the pain of loss.

My New Year’s Resolution is to give up trying so hard to get it right. To trust him to make it so.

To relax, and go for the water of life.

This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.

Isaiah 43 16-21 MSG
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Just give me Jesus

What are your goals for the new year?