Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Cider Vinegar

My mom has told me for years that Apple Cider Vinegar is nature’s cure all. She has shared stories about the early years of her marriage to my Dad when they were young hippie-ish people living in the mountains and apple cider vinegar was her go-to for most ailments. She said she’d wash her hair in it to make it clean and shiny, that it rids your scalp of dandruff. She said she’d drink it everyday to clean her body of alkaline properties which tends towards making you sick. She joked that Dad told her that her very skin was beginning to smell like apple cider vinegar.
Today, the medicine of apple cider vinegar has not changed much. It is still known for curing dandruff and making hair healthy and clean. It can be applied to cotton balls and pressed to warts under a band-aid. In two weeks the wart will be gone for good. It is a good cure for a post-nasal sore throat if you gargle with it. You watch your mucus wash down the drain, the cider colors it brown and seems to grab it from your throat.

I drink it as a tincture when I am ill and find that I heal in half the time when I do it twice a day. Apple cider vinegar perhaps could bring truth to that old wives tale “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Perhaps, that old wife meant to say, “A table spoon of apple cider vinegar a day…”

You can look up all sorts of information about the values of apple cider vinegar online or in books. One book in particular, “Folk Medicine:A New England almanac of natural health care from a noted Vermont countrydoctor” written by D.C Jarvis, M.D. gives excellent evidence for the chemistry behind apple cider vinegar’s success in healing both people and animals. Folk Medicine was given to me by my grandmother who bought a copy for everyone in the family so that these valued traditions could continue to be used in our generation and passed down.

As Dr. Jarvis explains in his book, that after conducting two years of experimental research on the effects of alkalinity vs. acidity in the body, that it has been proven that when the liquids in ones body turn alkaline (which is ultimately a thickening of the liquids) the body is about to become sick. He tested urine specifically, but also noted that it is obvious that when the urine thickens so do all the bodily fluids and blood is harder for the heart to pump when it is thicker. Alkaline fluids in the body result in a multitude of health problems. This is all to say that he has cured many patients and prevented many illnesses by prescribing 1-2 table spoons of apple cider vinegar in water to be drunk either before or during a meal. He also suggests adding honey to the mixture. Honey is a whole other can of worms I’d like to open up with you soon. Today, there is  debate about alkalinity and acidity. Modern thinkers are in agreement that alkaline urine is a good thing while doctors like Jarvis looked to their research and experience to say that it is not. Consider looking into it on your own as you consider apple cider vinegar as a dietary option.

When I was sick recently, I noted that my symptoms were not changing much with rest, fluids, and supplements that I was taking. It was not until I was looking for a natural option for a sore throat cure that I stumbled upon this familiar passage about apple cider vinegar. For a week, and it only took two days for me to feel almost fully recovered, I drank this mixture:

1 Cup Water

½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg's is a great brand)

1 Table soon of dried rubbed sage

2 cloves of diced garlic (fresh or dried)

I boiled all of these items together for about 5 minutes. Then I let it cool and drank it when I woke up in the morning and before I went to sleep. Not only did I feel much better and my cough and sore throat went away, my skin cleared up and became glowy.

This being said, Dr. Jarvis suggests drinking a couple table spoons of apple cider vinegar in water with a meal two times a day to prevent illness and maintain tip top health. After my experience two weeks ago, I believe he is right.

Keep in mind that apple cider vinegar also has a way of depleting your iodine levels if you drink it too often. Jarvis reminds us all that in nature, less is more. You truly must maintain a balance. Just because it is a good thing in very small doses does not mean that if you take a lot of it that you'll be extra healthy. You won't be. Vinegar is an acid and too much acid can cause health problems that shouldn't be ignored either. It is important to do your own research and to monitor your body.

I tend to use it when I feel something coming on. I will put a little bit in water and drink it ward off colds and urinary tract infections. I’ve also read that it can be applied topically to fungal infections, ring worm and yeast infections.

There is so much more that this magical vinegar can do and I urge you to do some of your own research. In the mean time, sip your way to good health!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

God in me

This blog post was written in June after returning from two weeks of mission trips with youth. I forgot that I had written it during a period where we did not have access to internet so I thought I would post it now. Enjoy!

After returning from two weeks of mission trips it is really easy to reflect on how much I witnessed God in my youth. I can come up with hundreds of examples that broke my heart and rebuilt it over and over again when the youth leaned into discomfort and loved from their very cores. Serving with youth is inspirational and through their gestures I learn who I want to be.

It is a lot more difficult to look back over two weeks of service with amazing, spirit-centered, selfless teens giving of their time and talents to our city in need, and  then ponder how I saw God in me.

I just led devotion with the very interns who hosted and led my small groups this month and it hit me how hard it is for all of us to verbalize how we experience God in ourselves. Each of us remembered a moment with a kid that changed us forever as we all sat together in the dim lit quiet of their old house. We are all tired and satisfied with lives in service alongside others. We all know how to give and give more. We give well of ourselves, at least, I think so.

After reminding them that they have to “love their neighbors as they love themselves” emphasizing the “self” part, it hit me that I wonder if they could identify how they experienced God in themselves this month. We are all practicing self love so that we can tap into the Spirit which pours out abiding love but do we really live into the practical truth that this Spirit abides in me?

For my return I am going to do something that I haven’t ever thought to do and actually feel a little strange about doing- I am going to reflect on these two weeks of mission trips by explaining how I experienced God in me. Please understand that this is a discipline, another chance to practice what I preach.

I experienced God in myself when we were part of orientation and the youth I minister to each week seemed comfortable in the worship spaces and answered all the questions about expectations and scriptural reference with confidence and openness. I knew that God had provided me with the education that I could pass on to them and they seemed fully prepared to serve in love during those weeks.

I felt God’s presence in me when we would participate in service and ministry around the city. I was able to touch people who were sick and dirty with a firm grip that I don’t suspect I have day to day. I allowed myself to look people in the eye who were hurting and broken and listen to their stories with the assurance that God was sitting right there with me as we mourned and laughed together.

I experienced God in me when I prayed for the youth. I’d wrap them in my arms (most of them bigger than me now) and pray for them, just letting the words flow freely. Sometimes those prayers would turn into tears that we’d shed together just out of love and appreciation for one another.

I knelt over a basin in the middle of the fellowship hall and spoke affirmation into my kid’s hearts as I scrubbed those big stinky teenager feet. The most meaningful moment I experienced was when I happened to be in a position to wash the feet of a girl from another youth group who I hadn’t had a chance to talk to. I just started washing her feet and I looked up at her and said “You are so worthy of this love. You are important and so beloved.” She immediately started weeping and my heart just ripped apart. I knew these words were not mine, I felt them come from my lips but I knew who spoke them. She did too. We both were overwhelmed with God’s messages that night.

I felt God in me when I had a moment with a youth who I could affirm. It is a joy to point out their gifts and ponder ways that they might discover to use them to serve and love people better.

I knew God in me when I cried. I have been so stubborn over the years and would not allow myself to cry in front of my youth. This year, I let the tears flow with authenticity and truth. I felt God in the humility of crying through my own life story and having a youth step forward and wrap his arms around me. I knew God in that gesture, just like I knew God in my response to it- I hugged him back.

God was the patience that came out of nowhere right when I thought I was going to loose it when the youth were really giggly and we just needed a moment for quiet reflection in worship. God was the joy and celebration that we all felt together when we’d circle up and remember the day we were blessed with and the people we met. God was the leader that stepped out of her comfort zone to model loving your neighbor and judgment free care of those we served. God was the voice, body and arms that held the youth and told them how important and loved they are. God was the careful instruction and education that supported the youth into a place of transformational growth. God was the woman who made sure we all had enough sleep, food and quiet time so that we could pour out more and more each day.

The kingdom of heaven is here, I say as I point to my heart.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hospitality is Blessing

Joel and I are planning a bucket-list trip to New Zealand for this winter. We decided to just do it! We are guessing that it will probably become the most expensive trip we will ever take and possibly the longest journey we will ever go on to get anywhere (at least in miles). While our responsibilities are few and our time off is plentiful, we are just going to do it and do it well!

Since, traveling to NZ is so expensive we decided to plan this journey through a travel agent. Joel was recommended someone at work and we have been very appreciative of her diligence especially since we are really too busy right now to invest loads of time into this important process. After we booked our car and told our agent that we planned to camp the national parks of the South Island for 2 weeks, she mentioned that she knew a couple from her church that we should get in touch with.

We don’t know our travel agent from Adam and certainly have never met this couple that she knew from her church, but she said they were Kiwi’s themselves so we decided it wouldn’t hurt to talk to someone native.

One email to them turned into an invite to dinner at their home. Joel and I were really surprised that an email would evolve into such an offer with perfect strangers.

We showed up at their house last Tuesday and were immediately swept up into a sea of generosity. We were welcomed like old friends. We were walked through the whole house, even the rooms where their child had made messes that most new people would hide from visitors which made us feel like family. We were offered wine and beer, appetizers and seats on their beautiful patio while lamb grilled on the Barbee and their son played in his dinosaur costume.

They hand drew us a map of the South Island with a recommended route for our trip, they offered us their NZ maps and books to barrow as we planned. They even let us barrow a copy of a book their parents made of a similar journey they took after retiring. They gave us invaluable information about the culture, social standards, sunscreen, hiking, views, parks, people, towns, just a washed us in NZ history and nature until I felt like I was already there, walking with them through a vineyard or wandering a deserted beach.

They served us the most delicious meal I have ever eaten out of someone’s home complete with NZ wine. Lamb with rosemary, scalloped potatoes, roasted tomatoes and zucchini, asparagus, homemade bread, and dessert, all traditional Kiwi delights.

They shared their stories, their faith, their personal photography, their favorite adventures and travels, and listened whole heartedly as we described why we want to visit NZ and what we hope to find there. Before dinner they prayed for us the most genuine, beautiful prayer I’ve ever heard.

After four and a half wonderful, holy hours there, Joel and I returned to our car. We felt full in every possible way.

“Do we treat people we don’t know like that?” Joel asked me.

“If we don’t we should start.” I said.

Friday, September 27, 2013

My Birthday

The first birthday party that I remember was my 5th. I had 5 friends over to have a dress up-tea party. As a child, my mom took great care to celebrate me and my sister. Birthdays always seemed like a big deal and I have always wanted to celebrate mine well. In fact, this is just what I thought everyone did. The rule in our house for a long time was that you could invite as many people over as you were years old.
That worked for a while but it wasn’t long before my friends were more plentiful than my age and I needed more room to invite everyone that I loved to come together to celebrate. Most of my kid birthdays I did not ask for presents, I just asked my friends to give money towards a charity of some kind. Looking back on it, I have no idea where that came from. It makes me sound like a really philanthropic child but I don’t know if I particularly was. Mom and Dad always seemed delighted when I wanted to share my birthday with others like this which is probably why I liked doing it.

All my kid birthdays tended towards the same thing, I’d invite all my friends over (guys and girls primarily from my youth group at church) and we’d cook out, bob for apples, and play on a massive slipping slide in the back yard. Those parties were so much fun. Dad would put two wide, long plastic drop cloths down in the yard, we’d soap them up with baby shampoo and then turn on the sprinkler. Cheap fun for hours and every year my friends seemed excited to come back and slip n’ slide again.

When I was 16, I had a big dance in our church gym. It wasn’t a formal dance, like you see on TV. It was a casual, all my friends just having fun in one place sort of dance. I remember it as a blast and being so amazed that over 50 people came to play, sing and dance the night away.

I was fascinated by how people really were drawn to the simple parties where we could just be and just play. It seemed the more money that went into it and the more complicated it was, the less fun it ended up being.

My teenage birthdays started something special that brings me to today’s post. My family bought a cabin in the mountains and from then on, I hosted most my birthday parties as a weekend retreat from the routine.

Apart from my 21st birthday which was at our giant country bar/club called Coyote Joes and my 22nd birthday which was a huge sleepover at my childhood home with all my friends from college and high school attending in their pajamas, jumping on our trampoline, and piling in the living room for a night of relaxing fun and mojitos; aside from those two, my birthday celebrations have been sent cabin-ward.

My cabin birthday weekends have become much more than a weekend of celebrating my life. They have become a true retreat for everyone I love best in this world. Family and friends join me and Joel at the cabin for as much time as they can take from the daily grind. We will be there all weekend. While we are there we will stay in our comfy clothes the entire time, most people don’t bathe unless they want to, and brushing your teeth is entirely optional. We cook delicious food or heat up hotdogs just depending on how we feel. Breakfast is served around noon and it is ok to start your day with a beer. We stay up late, sleep late, watch for shooting stars, sit by a bon fire in the driveway, burn Christmas trees, skinny dip at night in our pond, play all day in the river just skipping rocks, throwing bottles or pushing each other into the frigid waters of the river’s bend we live on. We watch really old movies that my Dad collected, write music, turn everything into a song and use my mom’s “country jam band” kit that gives everyone a percussion instrument to contribute to the wild and sometimes tuneless ballads we create. We sit on the porch for hours eating, drinking, talking, and always continually calming our souls with the back and forth motions of the rocking chairs. We play ping pong in the basement, blast 90’s rap, dance our hearts out, and swing in the Mayan hammocks that creak the whole house when you put 4 too many people in them.

I look forward to my birthday weekend all year for many reasons but none of them really have anything to do with celebrating my life. What makes this weekend special is that it has become a life of its own. It is a tradition that we all look forward to and choose not to miss. I believe it is important to everyone because it has turned into a gift that is both given and received by each of us. When we are all together at the cabin we are being totally ourselves. There is no drama, there is honesty, there is openness, there is deep love, and there is this pure, judgment-less freedom to just play as hard as you want.  Most of us nap in the sun, drift off on the porch, or curl up on a couch somewhere. We are all busy people with very full lives. My birthday weekend has become a time to truly retreat from all demands and obligations we face and just very simply, be.

That is all I want for my birthday. This is what I love most about celebrating my life each year. New friends, old friends, life long friends all gathered together to be, just be. What I receive is what we all receive: the fullness of God’s love. “He takes pleasure in YOUR pleasure.”

Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


This post was written by my incredible mother, Anne. She is the strongest woman I know and the best mom that the world could ever offer a girl. I've gleaned from her wisdom all my life so it seems selfish to not share it with you today.


When I was a little girl, my doting grandmother taught me this rhyme so I could recite it, in a flirtatious manner, one hand on hip, the other waving “stop”, to entertain her friends:

“I’m a cute little girl, with a cute little figure, Stand back boys, ‘til I get a little bigger!”

No lie!  Unfortunately, I grew up thinking that the most important thing in life was having a boyfriend/husband.   Oh yeah, and I had to be “cute” for this to happen!  Need for approval, fear of rejection, negative body image and sublimating my own voice, were demons I felt but did not have the where-with-all to name and cast out.  Thankfully, I was blessed with a family that loved me and a strong (even as a little child) belief in God to undergird and point me in the right direction.

Jump ahead many years. . . I got married, had two children, a satisfying career, opportunities and challenges, then my husband died of cancer.  When I stepped back into the world of dating, I discovered those old demons were still around.  One whispered over and over, “how do you expect to find a man now that you are no longer young and cute?”  I sought approval, feared rejection, sublimated my own voice, ignored my guides and suffered the consequences.  Thanks to good counsel and spiritual direction, I was able to name, claim and cast out those old behaviors and beliefs, finally!

Recently, I bought a silver necklace with a tiny circle on it to symbolize wholeness and eternity.  It is a proclamation to that woman in the mirror, if no one else:  “I am complete”.  I do not  need a man to complete or fulfill me.  There is not a hole or void in my life  because I am single.  I am not alone.  God is with me – in my past, present and future.     

I WISH I had known this at age 4, 12, 16, 21, 30, 40, 50 . . . .  I wish I had not wasted so much time, money, physical and emotional energy worrying about my appearance and what others, especially men, thought of me. 

I like myself so much more now!  I am strong, confident, independent, intelligent, capable, kind, generous, fun, adventurous, spiritual, creative and content.  I can take care of myself.  I spend time alone and without being lonely.  God and I are a lot closer since I’ve learned to let HIM be the “man” in my life and love the me He knows.

Notice I did not say one thing about being “cute”.  J

Mom didn't say anything about being cute but you can see for yourself, she has always been a beauty. I am glad she knows now where that beauty comes from- inside.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday's Word

Hey, Waked Up readers! As Claire told you, my name is Kayleigh and I am so ecstatic to be starting this journey with you! I have to admit... When Claire first asked me to guest write I was really excited. The excitement was soon followed by intimidation, though. Claire-along with all of the other guest writers for that matter-have been so inspirational and uplifting that I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to reach the high bar that they have set for me.

However, my goal is not to be a perfect writer. My goal in writing this Weekly Word is to learn and grow WITH you. I want us all to learn to revel in our imperfections because they are what make us special. Mostly, as I said in my bio, I want to inspire you and to continue to be inspired by you. Thank you for the opportunity to do just that.

ONWARD, my little Wakies!! On to this elusive Word. What's in a word anyway?

Well, according to the dictionary, a word is "a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing." But we all know that it's much more than that, right? After all, a single word can change your life.  Some life changing words that come to my mind are things like love, marriage, birth, travel, faith, education, nature, fitness, awareness.
And although just one single word can have such a huge impact on one's life, when words are put together to form sentences, it is multiplied tenfold.

The dictionary goes on to explain about words that they are "used with other [words] to form a sentence." This part really got my gears spinning. I started to think that maybe humans are similar to words in this way. Surely, one person can be an unstoppable force at times. But something even more remarkable happens when we work together toward a common goal. It seems to me that when we all work together it puts the exclamation point on our life's sentence.

I have a picture in my head of a book full of words and each person in this world standing their own word. A word that is so uniquely true to them that no one could ever mistake which word is theirs. And a word that is irreplaceable. A word without which this magical book could not continue. We are The Word. We are used together to form this book of life and continue to be the living, breathing Word of God. Thank you again for the opportunity to share in this community and to explore different words together.

This week, I want to think about what what my word is and I challenge you to think about what your word is, too. If you are feeling up to it, I would love to hear what your word is and why. Until next time...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In Between

I hate being between things. Some folks have told me that I am impatient. Maybe they’re right.

Making decisions is something that I think I do pretty well. I can adapt at a moments notice and decide something entirely off the cuff if I have to. I am not afraid to make a wrong decision or a “bad” decision. What scares me is not being given the opportunity to make a decision at all.

Lately, I have been between so many things. The worst part is that making a decision isn’t an option. Any decisions that could be made cannot happen for a long while so I am left I limbo…waiting.

Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than limbo. I do not linger by choice and avoid it like the plague.

I’ve been really troubled by this lately as I realize that lingery space seems to pull the plug on my daily energy. It is exhausting for me to live between.

Thinking back on my adult life I see all the patterns of a between-hater. When we move, I bust my butt to finish decorating, making our home a home in hours rather than the weeks that some people spend “getting to know the place.” When Joel leaves for work, I want him to tell me goodbye so that this space is closed and I am not lingering in some emotional “did he leave yet? Are we good?” Closure. Closure is important. I won’t start any jobs that I can’t finish at work. I don’t want to meet with anyone unless I know I can be fully present. When a decision has to be made, I just make it. Sometimes I try and make decisions for other people just because I don’t like watching them linger in betweens either.

The other day, while trying to claim some discipline back into my practice, I was lying in bed reading a Chinese medicine book. The title of the book is “Between Heaven and Earth.” Then I looked at my book shelf. We were given dozens of books on energy medicine from my Aunt and I found myself scanning the titles. I saw another book that was called “Between two Worlds.” I looked over at Joel who was reading the Richard Johnson book I sited the other day, “Balancing Heaven and Earth.” Suddenly, I was struck with awareness.

I have spent most of my life avoiding the between spaces of my emotional experience, but I am actually living in a between space every single moment. Glancing around the library of books that I find to be holy conductors of God’s truth, I saw clearly.

I am living between. The ideas that I am not is an illusion. My whole existence is in between. At all times I am between seeking God and finding God. I am between knowing truth and being far off course. I am between seasons of life. I am between ages. I am between generations. I am between growth and death. I am between Divine and worldly. I am between beliefs, religions, practices, inspirations, relationships. My spiritual, emotional self is between it all; realities, knowledge, truth, awareness, everything.

My physical self is between meals, bathroom visits, long hair or short hair, committing to working out, showers, sleeping, etc.

I am in between.

This awareness pulled me into the present moment in a flash. For the first time in a couple of months, I just sat out on my porch and listened. I felt peace. If I have always been in between then this is where I am supposed to be.
Today's photos were taken on a trip to Chile last winter.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Gossip with Granny

Today's guest writer is one of my favorite people of all time- my Granny. She has offered this post on her 89th birthday. I have always appreciated Granny for her energy and humor but most of all, I have been amazed by her willingness always to learn. She is ever youthful in life and spirit as she maintains her love for growth and transformation each day.  Enjoy!

I've about had it! At 89 years old today I'm making  a birthday resolution.
"Talk less and listen more".... Ask God to put his hand over my mouth. Why? Because I've been known to gossip more than I care to admit.
For instance: a couple of months ago I accepted a ride home from a friend after a church activity. As we passed by a mutual friend's house, motor mouth, (that would be me) began chatting about her. After a few minutes I realized my friend was quiet all the way home. I thanked her for the ride and waved good bye.
But ever since that ride I was bothered by her lack of conversation. Why?
Just recently, finally, light dawned. My driver friend had taught me a lesson I really needed to take to heart. JUST BE STILL.
Of course! Silence is golden, If you can't say something nice, don't say anything, don't put your foot in your mouth, etc.
Indeed! She taught me an important lesson by saying absolutely nothing.  Thank you so much, dear friend.
PS: Maybe I'll keep some cherry life savers handy to pop in my big mouth for a gentle, reminder.

All the time Discipline

Joel and I have had a rough month or so. You’ve read it on 5 Things Friday. I didn’t even write a 5TF this week because all my short comings where the same. I haven’t even felt like blogging because it seemed hypocritical of me to offer my perceived revelations and life lessons to you because I felt like I wasn’t living into any of my own posts recently.

Between the mold, being sick, Joel getting sick, moving out of our apartment, moving back in, the leak that claimed our bathroom ceiling, the construction work, no time-line that reveals when it will end, wondering if we will even get to stay here, my grandfather in and out of the hospital, their care being negotiated, walking along side them as they suffer and age, committing to alternative medicine as my primary care, obsessively watching Breaking Bad, loosing our internet, needing work on our car, my computer ceasing to work properly, two weddings to help with and you know, working, ministering to youth, being a wife, daughter, sister and friend…I have been a mess.

I’ve told people recently that I feel emotionally disheveled. I think that is putting it lightly. I have felt guilty for not being present, not being grateful and for spending more time being depressed and annoyed by life than loving it even though absolutely all my needs are met and then some.

I have had crazy dreams that have pointed out that I feel betrayed by God which isn’t my favorite thing to admit out loud. I practice being tapped in to His energy so much that when something goes “wrong” (as I see it) it feels like a betrayal to all the self work and community work I’ve been doing in His name. Which brings on the guilt again… God has blessed me so much… but I believe that everything is significant so these events should not be ignored.

I am doing all the things that I hate doing and I know don’t breed any sort of life giving properties: wishing the day away, sleeping too much, not working out, not eating well, eating out too much, avoiding people in my free time, complaining and the list could go on.

Joel and I have clung feebly to our daily practices. Joel has done much better than me at this. I have only drawn animal medicine cards and annoyingly keep pulling the black panther (don’t fear the unknown), hummingbird (embrace happiness and delight), crow (change is coming), and dog (be loyal). I’ve rolled my eyes and chosen to forget the lessons that they bring to my awareness.

This week, when the leak popped through the plaster in our bathroom ceiling and the engine light turned on in my new car, and my grandpa lost the sparkle in his eyes, I sat on the couch with Joel and told him, “I am numb.” After being overwhelmed for so long, I just can’t even bring myself to feel any of it anymore (which sounds so dramatic that I am mildly embarrassed to even write it but I am trying to be real here).

We talked about the dreams we have both been having lately. We both have dreamed of a coming storm and a fear of the unknown that seems to grow in us with the waiting. I really hate the waiting part. I hate being between things. I like to choose, decide and live into whatever happens, good or bad. I want to do something…anything but wait.

Finally, Joel spoke something that made this whole month of madness come crashing down on me with truth. He said, “I think this all has happened to teach us to be disciplined even in the midst of the storm. This is when we should be disciplined most.”

Agh, I know this. I teach this. However, I clearly do not model this or live into it. Before he had even finished his sentence, I felt God’s presence holding me fast so that I would received this truth in full.

I let the last few weeks pass through my mind and I saw an abundance of opportunities where I could have been disciplined. Yoga, worship, running, juicing, cooking at home, sleeping enough, reading, writing on the blog, crying, laughing, sharing with people who care, spending time with friends and family, praying, going outside, painting, taking pictures, writing thank you notes, calling people back…I haven’t done much of any of this. I certainly have not been disciplined enough to call any of those blessings something that I practice.

So here it is a truth that I know but do not live. It’s so obvious that it hurts. Discipline is freedom. Discipline is a choice, an every day choice. Discipline is always important and probably even more important when times are tough. Discipline is how God changes everything. The best reminder I have had all week is that Discipline is a practice. I just need some more practice.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

New Voices for Waked Up

During this crazy season of being shaped by God, I was given an inspiration. Waked Up needs a fresh voice. This idea quickly turned into “Waked Up needs fresh voices.” I have invited my family and friends to consider contributing a post to Waked Up as series for guest voices to be heard. Over the next few weeks, you will have the opportunity to read posts by some of my dearest friends and family. You have already had the chance to read a post by my Aunt Bobbi and my friend Christine.  Keep your eyes open as new voices will be posted weekly.

From this serendipitous adventure of inviting my loved ones to contribute to the blog, I have taken on a regular guest writer. My friend and cousin, Kayleigh has agreed to become a weekly contributor starting a series that she would like to call “Wednesday’s Word.” WW will be pretty opened ended in true Waked Up fashion. Kayleigh would like to dig deeply into words, exploring all their meanings and cultural innuendos. She will share thoughts on a word, the Word, words on the street, or anything else that has brought her relevance and meaning through her experience of living. I hope you will join me in welcoming her to Waked Up and that you will enjoy her weekly gifts to the blogging world.

If you have found yourself writing lately or have recently been inspired by some lesson, advice, event or realization that has brought you needed awareness, consider becoming a guest writer for Waked Up. Please contact me if you too would like to be a contributing voice.

The more I think about what Waked Up is meant to become the more the word “Co-Op” comes to mind. Sharing creates community. Community creates growth. Growth connects us to the Divine. Please join me in this knew leg of the journey. I look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Claiming the Gift

This blog post was written by my dear friend Christine who also has a blog. I could not agree more!

Why is it always so difficult to live in the present?

We have spent so much of the last year of our lives in places other than the present moment: Counting up and then down the weeks of pregnancy, counting down the days until our epic hiking trip with epic friends, waiting those eternal 13 days after Lil' Man's due date constantly wondering which moment would finally make us parents, counting down the days to when we get to see our families and friends again...  and then afterwards, looking back at pictures and videos and remembering it all over.  

One more day of work this week.  Three more days till we get to celebrate our anniversary.  Possibly 4 more months until we can step on another international flight.  

There is such a tendency for me to turn to the future.  But I also love reminiscing about the past.  The other night, for example, when I couldn't sleep at 4am (p.s. Did you know that green tea actually does have caffeine?!?!)  I was trying to remember all of the names of the families that lived in the neighborhood where I grew up.  I love visiting places of my childhood, remembering moments from last year, last summer, college, high school, growing up, whenever.

It's not that these thoughts in themselves are bad; it is necessary to plan ahead, and it is appropriate to be thankful for things of the past and those yet to come.  But I have never been able to feel a deeper sense of gratitude than when I am choosing to stay in the present moment and experience it for what it is - 

When I can sit, utterly enthralled by a 5 month old - the way he moves, reacts, and changes miraculously every day...

Being so engaged in conversation that it is impossible to think of anything outside of it for the moment...

Feeling so profoundly grateful to be in a place, with the people I'm with, that I forget about everything I have to do when I get home...  

When I get lost in the past or future, I miss the moments that are given to me right now.  I also miss out on the gratitude that those new gifts evoke in me.  

I am grateful for the ability to remember and be thankful for the past, and to be excited and grateful for the future.  But I want to be more disciplined in experiencing and engaging my present.  For me, that looks like respecting, but not living by, my agenda.  It's being aware of each of my 5 senses wherever I am.  It's limiting my time looking at photo albums.  It's resisting the temptation to believe the lie that playing with Coen on a floor surrounded by dirty dishes, unwritten lesson plans, and an overflowing Inbox is "wasting time."

Living in the present, for me, is undoubtedly a discipline, but one I have found to be worth it. It's a gift we are all given, but one we must intentionally accept.

What does it look like for you?