Gratitude is Trust

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”   1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I’m reflecting on this today…  Giving thanks in ALL circumstances.   

It’s easy to give thanks when things go our way, isn’t it?  Got that job offer or did awesome in that presentation?  Thank you, Lord!  Got that bonus? That new customer? That message you’ve been waiting for?  Thank you, Jesus!  But really…  giving thanks when you are in a period of long wait or indecision?  Giving thanks when you are suffering or watching friend or family member suffer? Giving thanks when a tragedy occurs?  Let’s face it.  That’s just plain HARD.

My heart has been heavy over some things that my friends, family and even acquaintances are going through during this Thanksgiving season.  My cousin is dealing with a cancer diagnosis.  A Facebook friend lost her mother unexpectedly this past year and is trying to figure out how to get through the holidays without her.  My son’s teacher lost her mother just a couple of days ago. A family was struck by tragedy as a result of drugs.  Give thanks in ALL circumstances?

The way I see it, gratitude is trust.  Giving thanks in ALL circumstances is really just another way of saying TRUSTING in ALL circumstances.  Trusting in a God that knows the greater plan.  That has it all figured out.

The apostle Paul didn’t say this would be easy.  He just said to do it.  So I challenge everyone, no matter what you face today, get on your knees and say thank you.  See if you don’t feel better.

Just a simple prayer.  “Thank you, God.  I trust you.”

TWELVE

And all of a sudden you are twelve.  Who can believe that your last ‘tween’ year is upon us? It seems like yesterday that you came into this world, just shy of 10 pounds; with your eyes wide open.  You took your time coming into the world and you’re still taking your time…  every.single.day.

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God knew exactly what I needed in my life when he gave me you.  Sometimes I look and listen and it’s like I’m re-living my childhood (Nonna & Pappy would likely agree).  You’re cautious and careful. You wouldn’t be called adventurous.   You worry.  You ask every night if we locked the doors.  You don’t love to sleep and you know it drives me crazy (it may not seem like it now, but I didn’t like it either when I was growing up).  You’re always listening (They didn’t call me “eyes and ears of the world” for nothing, you come by this naturally)!  Oh but our differences… You have so much courage.  Courage to stand up for yourself and for others.  Courage to walk away from the wrong situations.  Courage to know who should and should not be in your circle of friends.  You have a faith in God that I crave.  A desire for others to know Jesus.  You care about people with your whole heart. When someone comes into your life that you want to stay, you don’t have to think twice or have to be told how to show them.  You just truly know what it means to give of yourself and love others.  Please don’t think for a second that your Dad and I don’t thank God every day for blessing us with you.  So yes, God knew what He was doing.  I needed you to show me how to live better and love better.

talking with great grandma

I know you know this, but one of the most special people in the world to me was my Pappy. I think a lot about him and how he never had the opportunity to meet you in this life.  When I told him that I was pregnant, he was in the hospital recovering from something with either his heart or lungs.  I see it so clearly like it was yesterday.  Nana sitting on the chair next to the end of the bed.  The sun shining in the window.  I remember his joy and his words, “Another blondie, just like you.”  About 6 months later on the day he passed away, I sat next to him, alone in the hospital room, as he lay sleeping and struggling and I put his hand on my belly.  You kicked and moved and I talked.  I know he heard and I know he was with us. I know he connected with you in that moment.  He passed shortly after I walked out of the room that morning. I like to believe that when he got to heaven, he and God had a good talk about you and your life and the type of sweet soul you would be.  I see so many of his qualities in you.  The kindness in your heart and in your smile.  The way you care for people.  The way you love.  The way you give without expecting in return. It’s something special.  It’s different.  One of my favorite stories of Pappy (Where’s Nana when you need her to embellish a story?) was about this one time when he was the Constable in Hopewell Township in the 1960’s.  He had a warrant to arrest a couple of men, although I’m not sure of their crime.  As he was driving them to the county jail, he knew they hadn’t eaten anything so he first stopped to get them something to eat.  He sure did love food, but more than that, he loved people.  No matter who they were or what they had done, he knew love.  Even though you never met here on Earth, I think you two know each other well.  I got proof of that not long ago when I shared a picture of him with you and you told me, “I dreamed of him the other night!  He gave me a huge hug.”  Oh my heart.

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Hopewell Township Constable, Jack Corsi, my Pappy

Your eleventh year was a memorable one that I don’t think I’ll forget for many reasons.  You rode your first roller coaster (and many to follow) and had your first weekend away from home for church camp. I watched you re-establish friendships after we moved back to Georgia.  I saw you make new best friends too, and learn tough lessons about how real friends should treat you.  Although you’ve never been boy crazy and I still don’t think you are (please time stand still), you found such a sweet boy with a matching kindness and heart to be your best friend.  Again, my heart.

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bootcamp

best friends

Here is a little bit of advice for you for your twelfth year.

  • Choose your friends wisely.

My favorite author, Bob Goff, says in my favorite book, “Love Does”, “You become like the people you hang around, and to a great degree, you end up going where they’re headed.”  Remember that Allie Stanley said the same thing recently when speaking to us at our “Becoming” event.  It’s so important.  When a friend can treat you with the same kindness and respect, regardless of who else is around them, that’s the sign of a true friend. When people show you their true colors, believe them.  And stick with the ones whose colors are a lot like yours.

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  • Be Kind

Bob also says, “Words spoken by kind people have the ability to endure in our lives.”  Please keep speaking kind words to others.  Every word you speak to someone else matters.  I promise, it’s so cool to be kind.

Twelve will be amazing, sweet girl.  It won’t be perfect, because life just isn’t.  But what we do know is that we can do our best to bring joy to every day, to be thankful in ALL circumstances.  That’s what God asks for us.  We pray that you continue to give your kind smile and heart away to others and be an example of how to live in God’s light.  You have much to give the world this year and your Dad and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds. 

Happy 12th Birthday!  

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Truly Present

“When we focus our energy and connect with our truest selves on the mat, we gain the ability to be truly present.”
I read this quote recently and typed it down quickly without even noting who said it. I just knew that I felt its truth. I come back to it because today marked a huge accomplishment for me, as I completed my final day of a 30 day yoga challenge.
I was the child that could wrap my legs around the back of my head and contort myself into all sorts of crazy positions, before I even knew what the word yoga was. So it seems natural that yoga would be my thing, seeing as though I’ve stayed stretchy all of these years. And maybe that was why I loved it the first time I tried it about 13 years ago. I remember that studio, the owner, Robert (and I’m serious, the man looked exactly as I would picture Jesus), and the impact it had on me. I knew I found a new part of myself when I got on that mat in that place. Hard to describe, but I knew.

The problem was, life got in the way. I didn’t take it seriously enough to integrate a yoga practice into my daily life. Health wasn’t a priority. Work was exhausting and downright miserable at that time. There was just no time, or really no desire to carve out that sort of ‘me’ time. After the kids came, definitely not… I never found my way back to my mat after those first few months at that studio. Robert (aka Jesus), became a distant memory. Yoga was something I put on my dream board. Someday… I even found a picture of that studio and of Robert (oh Google…). Jesus on my dream board. For real.

Fast forward many years later and a new yoga studio opened in my small town outside of Atlanta. It was a ‘HOT’ studio. What? I was intrigued so I tried it. I remember being so confident going in because I was SO good at yoga (um, 10 years prior?). I nearly died that day. The heat and the humidity – no, I was not prepared, not experienced and not patient enough to stick with it again. My work at this time in my life was a home business and although one would think I could carve the time out of my schedule. I didn’t.

Fast forward again a couple of years – Mother’s Day 2015. My husband asked me what I wanted and I contemplated many things, because you know, I really needed more things…. My heart kept going back to that studio. Yes it was hot. But I knew I needed it. I knew I needed change. Peace. Balance. Me. So in May, I made a decision, took in that gift certificate and haven’t looked back.


I fell in love with yoga all over again over these past 6 months. I actually fell in love with the heat. Yes, it’s crazy. I can’t explain it. I fell in love with the Bikram practice of yoga, which is a sequence class of 26 postures. I dug into learning about the healing benefits of this type of practice. In October, I saw signs about the studio’s ’30 Day Challenge’. Should I? Could I? Taking it to another level – I knew it would. And I totally knew I could. So I did.

One to two hours every day for the past 30 days have transformed me in many ways. Bikram yoga is a moving meditative practice. Along with that, in 90 minutes, Bikram yoga works every single muscle, tendon, joint, ligament & bone in the human body. There are over 600 muscles in the body and Bikram works every single one. That is absolute craziness to me! Along with all of that physical work, there is so much mental work being done. Being present. Being still. Finding peace in the discomfort. Breathing. Learning that you are so much more capable than you think you are.


Yes, there were days I was so tired that I napped (which is unheard of for me). There was one evening class that I had such a stomach ache that I laid flat most of the hour until I finally couldn’t take another second and left the room (by the way, the ONE goal is to stay in the room!). And we won’t talk about the day they got new humidifiers and the instructor shoved towels under every door crack. No… we won’t talk about the heat and sweat that day. But we can talk about the 28 other days that left me feeling limitless.

“When we focus our energy and connect with our truest selves on the mat, we gain the ability to be truly present.” 

Being truly present is a gift. I would have never guessed that this gift would come as a result of standing on a yoga mat, staring into a mirror at my own reflection. But I feel so blessed that it did. I reflect on my dream board and I feel thankful that I never dropped that picture from my mind. So the studio looks different, feels different, smells different. No Robert. But I’ve found Alice and Cleve and Kim and Jeff and others… And I’ve honored something in me that I knew I was passionate about. God pressed for me to get back on the mat. I know why. I pressed my 30th star sticker down on the challenge board today and breathed a sigh. Gave myself a pat on the back. Hey, I earned this one! But it doesn’t end here because there’s still so much work to do on me. Onward to day 31….


I urge you to find a mat. A studio. The time. The sequence. The strength. The stillness. The balance. The peace. All of it exists, I promise.