Are You Hearing Voices?

kellyraeroberts design.  My inspiration!
kellyraeroberts design. My inspiration!

How is it when you’re getting married, you see brides around every corner, or when you’re pregnant, you’re suddenly surrounded by every pregnant woman within a 30 mile radius. Our minds are so charged and laser focused on our ring finger or our blossoming bellies that we can spot another shiny bride or zone in on the glow of an expectant comrade like a metal detector at a hardware store.

Maybe it’s that same phenomenon happening now.

I’m charged by how many people I’ve come across that have been hearing voices.

Not those creepy whispers that freak you out in the movies, but the light, airy voice of your Muse inviting you to find your passion.

I recently went to a wine and paint party. You know the ones. Enjoyable, but the pressure to produce a reasonable replica of the actual piece is brutal!

I was excited to get started when I saw the painting we would recreate (once the proper amount of wine had been ingested). A full moon and a purple sky full of stars; some of my very favorite things!

The cool “hippie” chick sitting next to me immediately asked if she could use different colors. Really? She must be an artist, I thought to myself. Who else would be brave enough to purposely lead such a rebellion?

She boldly stated that she had no idea what she was doing, but wanted to shake up the color scheme. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I decided to break the rules with her, but somehow I went from a night sky to a new day dawning, the moon was now a rising sun and I even ADDED elements that weren’t in the original painting. Oh. My. Gawd.

I brought my original artwork home (I just referred to it as “original” and “art”!), and I actually added even more to my creation. It’s a multi-media piece, and yes, that type of art has been around for many, many years, but I’m just now paying attention to it… so who cares?

A few weeks prior to that, I had rediscovered one of my favorite artist’s website and was inspired all over again by her work. It’s poignant, sweet, whimsical, uplifting and healing all at the same time. At first I just wanted to BE her, but I soon began to realize that I could be ME doing something similar! I already create a line of cards and prints digitally, so why not take it to the next three dimensional level?

I’ve always had a creative desire, but I would always shush it and send it back to bed. Too many other responsibilities to indulge in those kinds of things. But during this last year and a half, the voices have been far too loud to ignore.
I opened an Etsy shop to showcase my cards. I’ve created more than one hundred, but I’ve only stocked the store with a few so far. It’s very, very small, you might even call it an online closet, but the fact that I opened it is a HUGE step! I started writing a novel (wha???), and now I’ve taken up painting/mixed media art!

My voice is no longer playfully sing songing, it’s shouting at me like an enthusiastic coach with those little bits of spittle diving toward his pumped up, eager players in the locker room. It’s no longer a desire, but a NEED to self-express!

And I’ve noticed so many others are hearing their voices too! Friends, favorite bloggers I follow, social media acquaintances, the stranger who started a conversation in line at the post office. People are starting their own business, their own non-profit organization, their own practice, or writing a musical! The heavens must be pleasantly chirpy these days with all this calling going on!

Maybe it’s just my focus. The same thing as when I was expecting. But this time I’m definitely zoning in on everyone who’s pregnant with anticipation, about to follow their heart’s desire and give birth to a dream.

A bright and shiny dream.

Dancing with the grocer, the co-worker, the paramedic and J-Lo.

rhythm of my heart

An Original WordyBird Design

Suddenly the sound touches my heart unleashing my passion for life.  I applaud the song, the rhythm that is you, for inviting my soul to dance.

I had a riveting dream a couple of nights ago that included a co-worker, the local grocery store manager, a helicopter, a paramedic, a blanket e-mail, Jennifer Lopez and Oprah.

It’s very complicated to say the least, and wouldn’t make a lick of sense if I tried to tell you any of the details.  But despite the awkward symbolism, the dream’s beautiful message to me was clear.  That people from our past remain in our mental “rolodex” for a reason.  If they’ve earned a place in the registry of our memory, it’s because they’ve added something of value to our lives.   Elizabeth Gilbert has a philosophy that it’s these people, the ones who “come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave”, that we call true soul mates.

There are individuals we meet who change us in a most exhilarating, exciting way; and there are those we learn from quite begrudgingly.  Right alongside the cordial souls that invite ours to waltz in the rain, are the ones that carelessly twirl into our sphere and force us to jitterbug our way around the mud puddles.

Either way…we dance.

xoxo

Kim

 

Tucked In Tight

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One of my favorite pastimes in the summer, when I can find the time, is to lie under the stars late into the night. When all is quiet, but the chirping of the crickets, it’s amazing to think how small our big blue marble really is in the whole scheme of God’s great universe.

But the world can seem far too large when you’re away from one you love.

Maybe they’re stationed overseas, maybe they’re traveling or going to school abroad, maybe they have moved across country, to another town across the same state; or maybe you’re distanced from the one you love living right under the same roof. 

Perhaps the red thread that connects you still waits to introduce you!

Whatever circumstances are causing your heart to ache and long for a loved one, I hope you find comfort anchoring yourself to them, by wishing on the same star, and cuddling under the same “blanket” each night.

I would love to hear your story of connecting by wishing on the same star…

Feel free to share this blog with the one you’re missing. :)

 

Image included is an original and can be shared when credited to WordyBird

Click the Heels of Your Sassy, but Suprisingly Affordable Sandals Three Times…And Turn Around

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Each May is an anniversary. Not one I celebrate with fanfare and a cake, but an anniversary none the less. Like a massive angry parade, a tornado one mile in width came marching through our small Colorado town one spring morning in 2008, leaving a devastating path of destruction. One life was taken, but only by a series of everyday miracles, there were no more casualties to toll.

Running through the neighborhood in the immediate aftermath, my husband and I witnessed crying mothers (our friends and neighbors!) emerging from their homes with screaming toddlers in arms climbing into any vehicle that might still be upright and able to transport them. No matter the amount of shattered glass that had to be crawled over, they had to flee to…who knew where in that moment. My friend and neighbor, Jenny, says that she just drove. She drove aimlessly until she could no longer see destruction. She ended up a few miles away and sat and cried in fear and relief with her little ones in tow.

For what seemed an excruciatingly long time, I didn’t know if my oldest child was safe in his elementary classroom, if any of my neighbors had disappeared with the houses that were gone in an instant, I barely knew where I was or if I was actually okay. I didn’t know what to do, how to act in front of my youngest son, where to go, or how to even process the chaos. The only thing I know for certain as I reflect, is that God walked with each of us that day, every step of the way.

My heart breaks when I see coverage each spring of a tornado viciously stealing from good people. The tally comes by way of lives and cost to structures and property. But what can never be measured is the loss of innocence. A cruel reality that life can change in an instant haunts even the youngest victims afterward.

As I stood in shock amidst the rubble of what only minutes before was my home, I did something I believe I could never have consciously made the decision to do on my own. A peace came over me, albeit a rather frightening and foreign one. And I thanked God. I thanked Him for whatever purpose He had in mind with this event. I put my full trust in the One who uses all things for good for those who love Him. When I was finally assured that my children were safe, that close friends and family were accounted for, it seemed unreasonable to even question from that moment forward “why”.

Where do we find the strength? That was the question that was consistently posed to us in the months that followed. My family kept a sense of humor about the situation as we maneuvered our way through a grueling amount of insurance paperwork, construction, financial headaches, emotional disturbances, exhaustion and so much more. Our strength was, in fact, not at all ours alone!
Fight or flight is a natural human response to crisis, therefore it seemed unusual to everyone else that my family didn’t shut down emotionally or remain in a state of denial creating a general escape (flight). Nor was it logical that we weren’t lashing out in anger at others… or at God (fight). I reluctantly admit that some of the conversations I had with the utility companies are undoubtedly being used today in training employees how to deal with an extremely inappropriate, irate customer; but for the most part, animosity was not worth our energy, and we weren’t awarded the luxury of denial. We faced the exhausting reality daily.

I’ve discovered that when we practice a life of faith, God unearths in us a strength that we have never found necessary until that moment. If our faith has never been under pressure, if we have never experienced a true sense of helplessness, we honestly don’t know how powerful God can be when we allow Him to take over.

Deep within us in times of trouble, lays an initial, organic desire to rise above. We don’t always access that source of power on a day to day basis, but practicing faith in our routine lives helps make trusting God a much more instinctual response. To quote Kristin Smith, one of my best friends and a brilliant life coach by profession, “we find an unrecognizable amount of strength when we’re faced with unimaginable circumstances”!

Ultimately, that fateful day in May several years ago has had an enormous domino effect on my spiritual and personal growth. It hasn’t always been easy, but the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that God is in complete control at all times. I now thank Him sincerely and consciously even when my heart is anxious, seething in anger, or aching.

Withstanding a storm no longer scares me. Calming the storm within is where I focus my prayer.

I’m sure you can think of a time or two in your life that has tested you. Times when the courage or energy you mustered to lift you through was unexpected and unbelievable. Have you considered where that strength came from? I’d love to hear your stories of faith, trust and how you weathered the elements!

Photo courtesy of:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&docid=uY1CDy9egXFUrM&tbnid=XnGcAxbAAFXV5M:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvitruvian-girl.deviantart.com%2Fart%2FIf-happy-little-bluebirds-fly-over-the-rainbow-313239052&ei=-Ex2U8-LCo2NyATN5oDIDQ&bvm=bv.66699033,d.b2k&psig=AFQjCNGvnaWYqM_5i_h_bVdv2jtO_Y2HVw&ust=1400347821119923

 

An Ode to Spring, Gift Wrap, Bowling Balls, and Moms

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Its spring and you know what that means?! Garage sales!

It’s time to clear the house of all that clutter built up during the chilly months (or years), open the windows and let some air circulate! Do you really need that lamp with no shade in the back of the closet or that coat from 15 years ago? Would you even wear it if you HAD to? It’s ugly!

My husband and I decided to have a garage sale once we realized how many times ARC was coming to pick “stuff” up from our front step. “We might as well make a few bucks”, we thought, and purposefully take inventory of what’s in this house. And so we began our quest to purge.

The boys had outgrown bunk beds, stuffed animals, shoes (which they hardly wear because they grow so fast – they should be worth at least two dollars! Geez!), dishes, furniture, hobby items, books, games, movies and the list goes on. It was going to be a stellar garage sale! Look at all the things we are willing to admit we don’t need any longer!

We were on mighty roll….until we found the bowling ball. My husband loved to bowl as a kid. I say “loved” because, in all honesty, we’ve been together twenty five years and have been bowling twice.

“Should we try and sell this bag with a bowling ball in it?” I ask.

The sound that comes back is much like the desperate gasp one would take after being submerged under water for exactly 22 seconds longer than your lungs could take it. I was almost afraid something was ghastly wrong when I heard the sound escape from behind me.

“Of course not!” was his simple reply. NO explanation needed when that unimaginable “do you even KNOW who I am?” look washed over his face.

So the search for items that truly WERE unnecessary (rolling of eyes) continued.

“Should we try and sell all these package toppers and donate all this wrapping paper to the Good Will?” he asks.

And that’s when I felt the air momentarily leave my body. A tiny chill ran through my veins. I give him that look of “how could you even THINK such a thing?” that he immediately recognizes… and once again, we move on.

Don’t mess with my gift wrap paraphernalia. It goes so much deeper than the rolls of beautifully scrolled designs and endless color combinations that make my heart beat faster.
I love gift wrapping. I’m not an artist that works in any medium, but I can express my creative self when I wrap a present. They can be gorgeous if I do say so myself! My grandmother loved it. My mother loves it. And I love it. Period. End of story. It’s a connection to my female lineage!

As we continued going through the store room items, it eventually dawned on me (I’m not entirely sure that even he has consciously had this realization), that my husband’s bowling ball serves as a connection with HIS mother. He would bowl for hours after school and she would volunteer hours of her time to manage the youth leagues. She passed away before I could even meet her. He was far too young to lose a mother (who isn’t though right?) and I think this heavy, inanimate, boring looking bowling ball, is one tangible memory of her he keeps preciously tucked away.

We were able to agree on getting rid of dishes we used when we first got married, an ice cream maker, bicycles, even wall art that hung in the first home we called our own. The memories that surfaced as we sifted through these items were light and fun and airy. Just like spring.

Neither the bowling ball nor the antiquated package toppers are memories we share together so the sentimentality associated with them hasn’t been clear through the years. Until now. Maybe it’s because we have been together so long – which is just an easier way of saying – because we’re older and more mature, we can finally allow each other certain nostalgic touchstones that don’t have to be justified. Ones that will never have to be put in the dollar bin.

I’m convinced that you should only have garage sales about as often as you would give birth to your children in an ideal world. Let the memory of the “pain of garage sales” fade before you willingly enter into it again. But, alas, our house is cleared of “junk” which makes room for a lot more memories in the making.  And we made a few bucks in the process.

 

 

Angle of The Sun

Angle of The Sun

My motto this year is “Live Expectantly”.

When I was pregnant with both of my son’s, I remember a distinct feeling in the short weeks before they arrived. A feeling of anticipation. Something was about to happen that would change my life forever; I was about to give birth. Not only would a child be born – but a mother would be born any day!

At times I feel that same sense of excitement and expectancy for no reason that I can clearly explain. The sun seems to shine more radiantly, I connect with the more upbeat songs on the radio, which we all know can drive us insane if we don’t identify with “Because I’m Happy” at that particular moment. The world just seems different as I look through lenses of unspecified hope. These are the days I feel most alive. No, I did not have a few glasses of wine or a handful of happy pills to explain this feeling…but whatever it is, I wish I COULD bottle it!

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

In not being able to shake the fact that a dear friend of mine was angry with me and has cut off contact, I reach out periodically to try and make peace. There are a number of complicated reasons this rift took place, but the bottom line is….we were hurtful to each other. Periodically, I reach out and (in my mind) this is my way of offering an olive branch. I am ashamed of my behavior that led to the falling out and feel responsible to make amends. I still tear up sometimes when I think of all the things we’ve missed sharing with each other. I would so love to hear about, and celebrate the latest developments in his life. I hear that he has a new job, a new home and a new girlfriend. I would love to have them over for dinner with my husband and me! We always dreamed of being a part of each other’s special moments in life. Marriages, babies, promotions; Laughter and tears. We were important to each other. Like family. Like friends. Each a student. Each a mentor.

I have tried, gently and gingerly to mend the relationship; yet to no avail. It has become obvious that he is having difficulty forgiving me. Apparently, in his mind he is avoiding at all costs an interaction that could lead to additional hurt.
Therefore, I am the one who is seeking an opportunity to clear the air.

“That’s the Christian thing to do right, Lord?” I ask in my prayers. My thoughts justify that my efforts are softening the anger in him and tugging at his core, causing a small jolt of guilt within him….right? That’s when the AHA moment came from God.
He finally brought me to realize, ironically, that while I am extending my olive branch, I have skillfully and subconsciously equipped it with a lure and a line as I ALSO FISH for that heartfelt apology in exchange for my own! I was so horribly hurt (and truthfully, still am) with the emotionally brutal ending to the friendship, and the way he is continually dismissing my efforts to mend it; I have forgotten how tangled in my shame is MY need to hear “I’m sorry too for the hurt I caused you”. None of this is conscious mind you, but that still small voice inside has brought to my attention…I need to forgive.

Forgiveness hurts. It is not an easy thing for anyone who has been wounded emotionally or physically. It’s risky business. What if the other person never feels a need to make heartfelt amends? What if they don’t know how badly you are/were hurting? What if they didn’t CARE even if they knew?

Fore is by definition a prefix for “first” or “before”. In that context we can view the concept of forgiveness as actively GIVING a pardon or reprieve BEFORE they have asked for or even deserve it.

Now that the need to release all that is associated with this hurt has been identified, the real work begins. I say “work” rather tongue in cheek, because letting go is some of the hardest work we will ever do. It’s not a new concept that holding on to hurt keeps us emotionally frozen in time, but God has made it so clear to me (as only God can do in His own divine timing) that not only will forgiveness heal, it will set free.