December 14, 2018
musings and ponderings…
my son, noah, has me inspired.
and has me thinking.
he’s been doing these short videos
of the sunsets or nature and the sky and light –
and he’s been putting them to music.
they WOW me every darn time.
this last one i saw just made such an impact.
the music he put to the sunset is so powerful.
i love that.
i’m pretty sure i never woulda picked that feeling.
i always kinda go the peaceful route.
but seriously? there is SUCH POWER in it all.
and he catches it and rips your heart open with it.
and reminds you in the most incredible way that you
are alive and you’re here and there is glory and
mystery happening all around you!
how cool is that?!
it got me thinking last nite –
if we could put music to the moments in our lives,
all the different kindsa music it would include.
i love this and am now trying to hear some of it in my head!
had to share this with you.
from my deeply talented son, noah urban.
you can follow him on instagram here.
or you can just go find the vid here.
December 13, 2018
all i gotta do is open my eyes,
and there’s inspiration everywhere.
some of it is in a sort of backward form.
like watching people get stuck in their own issues
and then being inspired by that to keep working on my own stuff.
or seeing someone who is forgetting that what they need
is truly inside them. and watching them struggle.
that’s always a reminder to me to look again inside myself
and to work on answering my need for self love.
that’s kinda like the ‘flip side’ inspiration.
but then…there’s the straightforward stuff
where you get to watch someone keeping their focus.
you get to watch someone really working on being
who they want to be. and pulling it off!
i know they have moments when they forget and don’t do it,
but i’m talking about an overall general pulling it off…
which is QUITE a feat!
i also know they’ll slip and lose the focus,
cause that’s what we do!
but at this moment, they got it.
and at this moment, i’m watching it.
what a GREAT reminder that is.
and what inspiration!
i woke up way too early again this morning.
and i got to thinking about this person.
and the whole ‘being who you want to be’ stuff.
and how this season can tax that.
it’s way easy to get too busy, too stressed, too tired, too whatever
and to just kinda get thru things and forget that each moment
is our chance to be who we are.
i have been reminded more than once from this person
that i want to live present and aware.
no matter how busy or crazed it gets.
kinda darn cool, huh?
i’m looking around soaking up all the inspiration i can right now.
cause, for me, there’s soooo much holiness to this season.
there’s so much goodness.
and soooooo soooo much sorrow.
the mix of the holy.
and i want to be in the mix with all of me.
i keep forgetting.
but then i get inspired and remember again.
toasting the inspiration all around me today!
and reminding us all to look, watch, soak it in,
and use the inspiration to fuel us this holiday season!
December 12, 2018
our quote of the day yesterday
is one of my favorite quotes.
it’s hanging in my bathroom.
and now that i think about it,
i’m wondering if i should make it a print.
it’s a greeting card.
i guess that works.
i guess it does.
cause the inside verse of the card is something
i wish for everyone.
i wanted to spread it around a bit.
so i thought i would post it here.
it’s called ‘white in the dark.’
i’ll put the quote here.
and at the end,
after the little dots,
is the inside verse of the card.
wishing this for us all…
white in the dark
“a white tree
sparkled in the darkness,
having grown into its own beauty,
reaching for the stars,
yet somehow already filled with them,
its branches echoed
with the song of the holy.”
may we hear and feel the sacred that runs thru each one of us.
December 11, 2018
one thing i SHOULD have learned
thru all the traveling i have done
in the last 18 years is to TRUST.
trust the process.
trust my ability to live life.
sometimes i say i’ve learned it.
sometimes i know i’ve learned it.
sometimes i forget i’ve learned it.
sometimes it seems that i’ve never heard of the concept of trust.
the funk i landed in a few days ago led to a fair amount of stress.
i made sure i got a few fast walks in to work out some of that stress.
and this morning, after walking fast,
and doin’ a few exercises that make me feel good,
i felt the best i have in a few days.
i actually feel good right now.
like i’ve come out of the funk.
maybe sorta like i’m teetering on the edge of it.
and something i see is the stress i’ve been feeling
is from fighting life so hard.
i can wrestle with the universe with the best of ’em!
i just don’t feel like wrestling today.
i feel like trusting.
i didn’t actively push myself into trusting.
i toyed with the memory of trust.
knew it was out there if i wanted it.
and that was it.
this morning i’m just ready to hold it again.
for no other reason that i can come up with
other than it actually seems easier than stress.
that’s kinda cool.
usually stress seems easier.
today tho, i’m goin’ with it.
and likin’ it.
December 10, 2018
i read something years ago
that i never really quite got.
until maybe this morning.
still not sure if this is what was meant,
but this is what came to me as i walked.
i landed in a funk yesterday.
the stuff was already floating around inside me,
but i think i woulda had a good day and missed the funk
if it were not for some buttons that got pushed
inside me from a conversation with my husband.
so, to be clear,
he didn’t really do anything wrong.
just his personality worked offa my buttons and bam.
a funk rolled over me.
like i say, this stuff was already inside me.
but i’m not so sure i’d be looking at it today
if i had been on my own yesterday.
i’m not sure how much i’d be looking at it at all.
which i think is an interesting point.
i bring up the relationship part because hiding from them seems way easier
than doing the work involved sometimes.
but what about this….
there i was. looking.
because i was pushed into it.
not because i wanted to.
and today as i walked, i thought about how i don’t know
this part of me much and i don’t know what to do with this part of me.
and i usually just avoid situations that bring this part of me out.
and that’s when i remembered what i read years ago.
something about we’re here to experience what we do not know.
that’s how you discover and become more of who you are.
that i can’t find what i need to find without this experience.
and i certainly wouldn’t go looking for it without the push.
all of that is the gift.
all of that is the point.
or something like that.
changes the perspective, doesn’t it?
well, it does for me.
and then it didn’t as i got swallowed up again.
and then it did as i remembered this thought again.
i’m thinking it may be a little bit of a roller coaster for a bit.
which, yeah….is part of the experience.
December 7, 2018
i’ve watched a few people get ‘short changed’ lately.
you know – just really deserving more than they’re given.
we all get those moments.
and sometimes they’re just something
we have to move on from.
sometimes they’re more and showing us things
we have to move away from.
whichever they are, they hurt.
and i thought of all those who are feeling that right now.
tough season to feel that feeling.
so i just wanted to post and say you deserve more.
and remind you that you matter.
whether someone shows you or not right now,
it doesn’t change that fact.
leaving that for the weekend thought here.
and wrapping you in love.
December 6, 2018
Hey there, folks! That capital “H” should let you know this is a guest blog, and indeed, it is. Josh here, terri’s eldest son, and keeping with the tradition of guest blogging, today’s my birthday. Given the fact that I started life being resistant to change (30 hours in labor means mom should get more than one day a year off blogging), and well, it’s a fun tradition, here I am!
As you may have read, Birthday Wisdom is a particular custom in my family, started by mom’s dad years ago. Some people have fruitcake around the holidays, we have this, and like that dense confection, results are definitely mixed. A few years ago I (accidentally) plagiarized some of mom’s words for my wisdom presentation, and when the table erupted in true and pointed accusations, I put out the fire with gasoline by reaching for the first thing that popped into my mind, which happened to be more plagiarized words. The Fiasco of 2015…Ah, you should have been there. It was hilarious.
So today, hopefully, is an original thought – a thought about the danger of a particular question. There’s that old phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” If you’re reading this blog anyway, you know that to be patently untrue. However, I usually think of the words hurting being those directed at me, not uttered by me. “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds” sang Mr. Marley (not Scrooge’s), and if that’s the case, then our own language is often the jailer. Language can bind, blind, and deafen ourselves to the world and our fellow humans.
Specifically, the question “How could they think that?” is a rhetorical grenade that we’re playing hot potato with, and recently, one did me real harm. (The story is beside the point, except that it’s caused me great sadness, and well, let’s build something with it, right?) How could such a common phrase, often deployed in a seemingly innocent manner in pain and confusion, be so harmful? Well, I’d opine that it’s not the question itself, but how it’s asked.
It’s built on two faults: laziness (it’s always easier to label something difficult as impossible, as it absolves one of the responsibility of solving the problem), and the intentional misuse of a question. It’s phrased as a question, but meant as a rhetorical question, not wishing an answer, only sympathetic agreement, and that’s a lie – to ourselves, and to everyone listening. Do we really want to know? To be fair, I don’t think we often realize this lie, but it’s a bit too easy for a truth.
Here’s the danger, and the magic, if we ask the same question, but mean to know the answer.
If we truly wish to know how could they think that, chances are there’s logic behind their thought. Dale Carnegie states that “no man believes himself to be wrong”, and I agree…except when I’m having a bad day, and then I call mom and wail “Oh EVERYTHING I do is wrong…!”, but I digress….
Chances are, if the person thinks a certain way, they have good reason to, even the monsters, which puts us on shaky ground, indeed. This is a dangerous, but necessary place for us to visit. It forces us to examine our own thoughts and logic, which, if they’re anything like mine, probably aren’t as sterling as we’d hope. It prods us to formulate our own ideas, and move beyond secondhand opinions, ideology, and little infographics we saw on Facebook. They certainly are comfortable, but deep down, we know that nuance isn’t neat. And if we’re talking about extreme cases – beyond the political or religious divide – the extremists, the murderers, the people “we’d never be like”, well, are we so sure? What exactly is different about us? More dangerous still, we might find some parts of our thinking that we’ve outgrown, and realize it’s time to let them go. The question can literally cause the death of our comfortable ways of thinking, forcing us to find a new way in a suddenly dark landscape – but therein lies the hope for growth and salvation. Perhaps the key is within reach once we unclench from the baggage we’ve been clutching so desperately. That mental house of cards…has it become our jail? Perhaps protecting it has become more of a liability then the asset of the original thought. Are we worrying about a rental minivan getting a door ding? (Fiercely guarding mediocre thoughts that aren’t really our own.)
Recently, I’ve been making a study of perspectives. I’m starting to slowly, very slowly, see how other people might view the world. At the very least, it’s brought me peace in a turbulent time. At best, new ideas and an expanded outlook. Although there are many examples, one leaps to mind. I have a Jehovas Witness friend who comes to visit, and man, talk about polar opposites. He’s a well-dressed, God-fearing, African American gentleman with a real job. I hope he doesn’t notice the fossil on the front porch as I stick my feet under the ottoman that’s filled with guitar magazines. “Man, should have cut my toenails” I think to myself. During our last visit I learned two important things from him. 1. After years of trying to figure out their personal opinions, I learned that the JW faith is to remove oneself from the equation, and preach directly from scripture. “OHHH.” 2. He shared just a bit of his life story, and how he came to the faith. I get him a lot more now. I’ve also told him I don’t envy the task he’s set for himself to try to bring me into the fold, as it’s highly unlikely, but Mr. C. is my neighbor, new friend, and someone I see who’s trying to live in a manner that he sees as right with clarity, conviction, and courage. He’s welcome in my home anytime, and is due in over the weekend. I don’t believe in the same way that he does, quite the opposite, but through our conversations, I now see how he could think that. He showed up to bring some good news, and indeed he did, although not the kind he thought. This helps me exist more peaceably in a world where people think fundamentally different, and their difference isn’t only something tolerable, but worthy, as it gives me new ideas, pushes me to define myself, and illustrates that, yet again, the opposite of my right isn’t always wrong. There’s room for both, and I can breathe again.
To conclude, the question “How could they think that?”, can be destructive or transformative, and the choice is ours. But then again, it usually is, isn’t it?
It’s good to be here. Thanks for listening. And big props to my mama for those 30 hours 33 years ago, and all of the time in between.
check out josh’s latest project at www.joshurban.com/kindness
December 5, 2018
i have a confession to make.
i’m a closet ‘let’s get christmas started as early as possible!’ person.
not so closeted?
did you know?
maybe what you don’t know is i honestly try to tone it down, to wait quietly, to not shout about it until it’s ‘okay’ to do so.
people actually can get pretty grouchy about this.
maybe i don’t do as good as job as i think i do of keeping a lid on it, but i HAVE tried.
to the point of hiding myself.
but this year i have felt the lid jiggling off…
and yesterday it landed with a big ol’ thud on the floor!
i am so done with the lid!
and i heard that as i carried on a bit on the phone with a friend who wasn’t into starting early or most of the stuff i’m into.
(to his credit, he allowed my rant and didn’t fuss at me for making it! thank you, sir! i totally appreciated it!)
here’s the deal –
you don’t have to be just like me.
in fact, i would be surprised if you were.
i know christmas is a hassle/struggle for a ton of people.
it has been for me before too.
but it’s not right now.
and that is something to grab while i’ve got.
something i’ve heard a lot is that christmas is about the birth of jesus and that gets lost in all the shuffle.
thing is, to be honest, that’s not what it’s about for me.
so it never gets lost, it never is part of it.
UNLESS you understand that for me, jesus symbolizes light and hope and the healing that we’re looking for.
THEN it’s completely about jesus.
i just have a different symbolic slant. that’s all.
and i roll it all into the christmas season.
and i fill it with holy!
and, i think, with just about anything, we gotta figure people are gonna take things and make their own angles with it.
i’m lighting hanukkah candles right now. all of them. not one at a time.
cause i really like the whole menorah lit up. and as i sat there looking at the gorgeous light given off by these candles this morning (yeah, morning, cause it’s dark and quiet and when i can sit with them) i thought of struggle and pain and miracles and belief and living. i honestly did. and i sat there holding some kinda acceptance of life for a moment. just for a moment, but i had it! that’s holy stuff.
i start the season every year on november 20th. the anniversary of losing a very special kid to suicide. on that day, i put up my outside lights. in the past, i would light them that nite, but then turn them off til after thanksgiving. didn’t want to make people grouchy. i am serious. how crazy is that?! not this year! i lit them and thought of every kid out there struggling, every adult, every human who was trapped in the dark wondering how to get out. i lit the dark with my lights and said a prayer for them out under the sky. and i’ve lit them every nite since.
for the first time in ten years, i didn’t hide it.
cause that should not be hidden.
no one will know. neighbors roll their eyes. ‘she’s at it again’
yeah. i am.
i’m at it again.
THE thing that i held on to the year my dad died was the christmas lights on people’s houses. the light. i held that so tight. what if someone holds the light from my house who is feeling lost? what a thought.
i decorate the inside of my house so much my kids call it ‘the christmas palace.’ and they want to celebrate here. they WANT to be here. holy holy everywhere. this year i had my tree up before thanksgiving so that when we strung popcorn on thanksgiving day, we could put it right on the tree!
my husband grins at my decorations, telling me it looks like a six year old decorated. and when he says that? i hear the love in his voice. he eggs me on and surprises me with things like hanging a tacky christmas shower curtain up in the bathroom without telling me so i find it and clap with delight! this year, he got lights to hang all over that same shower curtain that are so bright they turn the green shampoo and soap to a yellow color! (yeah, gotta not use that stuff!)
there is so much love behind those surprises.
that’s holy stuff.
i make stupid gifts. i buy stupid gifts. my sons are okay with me buying them things from the thrift store. they understand my budget. how amazing is this?
i listen to christmas music that makes me hold some of my sorrow and cry and each year learn to accept it more and more. i listen to stuff that makes me laugh and sing, i listen to stuff that swells god up right inside of me. i start early, baby. and i love it.
as much as i’ve tried to hide all this, stuff still leaks out. and people roll their eyes or grouch at me. and i have always felt like because i loved all this, i was a problem. seriously.
how wrong is that?
because i love all this, i can bring light to my world.
i can bring light.
i can hold light.
i can spread light.
and i can feel light for myself when i need it on a down day.
i can let people have their own ways, their own timings, their own traditions.
i have to stop calling people grinches!
(sorry to my friend about that!)
there’s room for all of us.
and no need for us to try to make the other fit our holiday mold.
and now, i not only won’t hide who i am with all of this,
i’m gonna own it and invite anyone in who wants to join me.
because, after all, tis the season!
December 4, 2018
in a conversation with both myself
and a friend,
‘allowing’ has been a main topic.
the older i get, the more i believe in it.
i can still be way too slow to allow,
but more and more i begin.
when we allow.
for things to come,
for things to leave,
for things to be there,
for things to not be there,
for life to unfold as it will,
the more space we make.
the more space we make
the less grabbing we do.
the less holding on.
the more being present to living happens.
and somewhere in there, is magic.
December 3, 2018
i went out for a walk this morning
with the idea of doin’ some inner work.
and inner work i did!
i wasn’t quite done by the time i got inside,
so i did a little more.
and then a little more.
and in between the inner work i cleaned
and i worked.
it’s been quite a morning!
i feel as tho i have taken a big long journey
all in the space of hours.
what part of this could i share?
i wasn’t sure as one part without the other
wasn’t complete and didn’t feel right.
and believe me, we don’t have space and time
for the whole story!
but then i thought of these two lines.
i read them this morning in the middle of my journey.
and i thought this is the part i want to share!
this comes from a set of angelic messenger cards
that a friend had gifted me.
(the cards and book are created by meredith young-sowers)
the lines seem simple enough.
i don’t think so.
‘Self worth is the basis for spiritual advancement.’
‘Your search for self worth is also humanity’s search.’
when you put it like this, it seems pretty darn important.
no one’s gonna hand it to you.
it’s up to us.
we all got some journeying to do?!