It Is

There are many ways to get where you’re going…..down the road or through the hedge.

One of the best things about blogging is getting the chance to put the things that are flying around in your mind into a concrete form. Writing something makes it seem more lasting.

As someone who deals with a permanently dodgy ankle, there are times when I am confronted with things I have trouble doing. I have found that focusing on the things I can do, rather than what I can’t do, is an infinitely better way to live. But sometimes circumstances or needs come up and force my attention onto the can’ts.

My sister said a very wise thing to me as she saw my struggle and guilt over my can’ts. She said, “It’s an it is. You can’t worry over something you cannot change.”

Read that again: “It’s an it is.

Instead of ruminating endlessly of how to change my ankle and its oddities, I have been accepting it better since she said this. My completely fused ankle is a fact. Unable to be changed. Not my fault. I have been looking for accommodations, for other solutions, for ways around the problems. And not beating myself up with guilt for things I cannot change.

Yes, I realize that this is a variation of “It is what it is.” But for some reason, just hearing the words in a different way helped me to accept it.

So, little sister, thank you. This has helped more than you know.

Also, note to self…..you never know how little things you say to people can make a difference in encouraging them along their journeys. Keep encouraging, keep loving.

It is…..well with my soul.

Love, Lisa

Thriving at the Base of an Active Volcano

The Pitons on beautiful St. Lucia, taken by Ed Lyons 2013 on a moving boat

People all over the world live on islands with active volcanoes. Hawaii’s big island, the Canary Islands, the Solomon Islands, St Lucia, St. Kitts and many others in the Caribbean, and the list goes on. These are beautiful places to visit and to live. The people who reside there have learned how to negotiate times of activity and eruption.

Why am I talking about active volcanoes? More and more people today are struggling with the anger and stress that come from the frustration of dealing with an ever-maddening world situation. These stresses and angry feeling build up, and over time, people erupt. I am seeing more and more of this lately, in stores, in people’s driving, in personal interactions. Dealing with people’s anger and eruptions is difficult for an introverted peace-loving person. I do realize, however, that everyone is different, and everyone’s way of resolving conflict is very different. But how does a person such as myself cope with these eruptions and maintain personal peace in the midst of the lava, ash and explosion?

I decided to look at the tips given on the internet for surviving during an active volcano.

-Remain indoors with windows and doors shut until told it’s safe to come out.

-Stay away from areas with heavy ash fall.

-Clear ash from your home and property.

-Get medical care if necessary. (Source: wikihow.com)

Here is what I have gleaned from this advice as it pertains to people’s eruptions.

-When people are yelling and erupting, it is best to stay in a removed location. Remove myself from the scene of the eruption until it is over.

-Afterwards, stay away from the triggering topics to avoid getting burned until all is dormant.

-When things are very calm, deal with the issues calmly and try to remove the triggering frustrations or situations. Clear the ash from myself. Keep calm and carry on.

-If I need help in dealing with these eruptions, talk to someone. Get the help I need to survive and thrive.

And most importantly, keep my eyes fixed on the beauty of the volcanic mountain. All people are beautiful and made in the image of God. Those same people who are cutting you off in traffic, snarling at you in the checkout line, hanging up on the customer service phone are people who are in need of love, of acceptance, of salvation. They are hurting people who need God.

People living on a volcanic island usually love it. The beauty of the towering and rugged mountain is inspiring and amazing. It is their home. They have learned to negotiate the hazards safely.

Lord, give me the grace and sight to see everyone as You see them. We are all struggling these days with amazing amounts of stress. Give us Your strength.

Love, Lisa

Upside Down

See the source image

The little girl sometimes liked being upside down, but only for a little while. She swung so high on the rope tree swing that her daddy made. Her feet would go way above her head for a moment. Feeling upside down even though she wasn’t, almost touching the oak leaves with her bare feet. But the relief of being feet planted on the solid earth, right side up, was grounding and safe.

She learned to do a head stand up against the basement wall, her head firmly set in a soft pillow. The blood rushed furiously into her pounding ears. The room looked bizarre and unsettling. She could only take a few seconds of this, and then would plummet back into right side up reality.

One day, she got up and everything was upside down in the world. Everything. The grownups talked about a virus. She didn’t really understand. She tried and tried, but she couldn’t get things right side up. People looked and sounded weird, upside down. She felt unsettled all the time, as she tried to make sense of this new world.

But then, suddenly, the thing that had caused the upside-downness, the bad virus, went away. The world tipped back the right way. She was more than happy. She was peaceful, grounded, safe, normal. She smiled, and the whole world saw that smile.

Love, Lisa

*For all the children who need normal to return.*

A Tale of Two Encouragers

The Scene: 5th Grade

The Characters: A music teacher, a mom, and an insecure 10 year old

The Setting: Small town Virginia, 1970s

In fifth grade, a very exciting and unusual thing occurred. Our young, beautiful music teacher announced that she was having auditions for a big musical, “Oklahoma,” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Yes, the original Broadway version of the musical, edited of course for 5th grade appropriateness. Live music and everything.

We were all beside ourselves with excitement and nervousness. I went home and announced the news to my mom after school. She was a wonderful musician herself, and promptly ordered the “Oklahoma” album so that I could learn and practice the songs to get ready for the auditions. She calmed my many anxieties and steadily encouraged me that I could do this.

Auditions came and went, and lo and behold…..Ado Annie came my way. After a brief disappointment that I didn’t get Laurey (which, by the way, was much too high for my singing voice and not right for me), I dived into the role and thrived under my music teacher’s encouragement and direction.

Somehow, that group of untrained, untried fifth graders pulled off the musical, and we gained confidence and memories that would last a lifetime.

So thank you, Mom. Thank you, Debbie Greeley. You made a huge difference with your love and encouragement. Love, Lisa

P.S. If any of you reading happen to know this song, it will do wonders for your mood to sing along with it this morning. By the end, you will be singing your head off and loving it! 🙂

P.S.S. If any of you would like to share stories of someone who encouraged you along the way, I would love to hear them in the comments below. 🙂

P.S.S.S. Cathy Liles Sweeney….you better be singing along! LOL