Watt's Well

Room to Be, Space to Create

Category: Life Lessons (page 1 of 2)

Halftime Reads

Dear Bookworms,

This post is for you.

With you,

Watt

 

Sincerely, I did not ever consider myself a bookworm.  Perhaps it was because I thought that bookworms were those who read 100 books a year.  Ok, I am exaggerating.  But really, I take my time devouring a book.  I am excluding the summer of ’07 when the seventh book in the Harry Potter series came out.  I am really not sure what I did for those couple weeks other than read.  Did I shower?? Maybe I am just one of those  chunky slow bookworms.  You know the kind that pauses to roll her eyes at the great taste of page 264.  Or perhaps it is the variety I like…all at one time.  To each his own reading adventures, right?

Whatever you like to peruse (or gobble) through, I am making some summer halftime suggestions from books I am reading or will soon begin to munch on. So if you are looking to add something to your shelf or pack in the pool bag, check out this quick video I made for you. (Its my first one going on the interweb, so thanks for the grace!)

 

A call to connect and celebrate

We spoke Egypt living and Turkey adventures as we drove the highway connecting the two influential cities.  We could taste the tantalizing foods of the middle east.  Fresh juicy fruits, just baked warm bread, peppers with just enough kick, and tomato stuffed eggplant.  While we sat in our steel carriage, in our minds we traveled the other streets filled with familiar sounds and people.  Colors and trials alike filled our mind’s eye.

Then we halted in the present as we pulled up to the Mosque.  It stood out like a sore thumb in all its beauty among the shiny structured towers.  We covered our glory and removed our shoes as we entered into a room full of Pakistani friends and family of the beautiful bride who was sitting in the middle of the room.  Her eye was ahead on her groom in the other room as she recited her vows. She was stunning in her baby pink Sari.  Only after the ceremony were we allowed to intermingle with the men in the stunning artfully constructed area of the mosque.

Later that night we dolled ourselves up, mascara lining our eyes and legs showing modestly.  We entered a room full of lively colors in celebration of the new couple.  Some women dressed in the most bright of Saris and smiles, happiness emanating from their hearts and faces.  The table where I sat added a touch of white and black to the sea of brown.

After a grand meal with spices that illuminated the senses, we danced the night away to lyrics without interpretation.  I made eye contact with several people I never had spoken to but we were speaking the same language as we danced for the same reason.  We did not have a need to speak formalities, for that moment in time we were family.

At midnight while I was jumping up and down waving my hands in the air and laughing at who knows what, a joyful American friend hugged me and shouted, “Merry Christmas”.  I had forgotten it was Christmas Eve when we started our adventure.

What a way to spend Christmas being a minority, in the midst of the rich community of my Pakistani brothers and sisters.  For Jesus came into a world on the fringes as a babe, humbly.  Id gladly give up my tradition again to experience another’s tradition.  He came as the greatest gift the world has ever known and not realized.  He came to be the link, the networker, the connector.  He reconciled us to the Father.  His death birthed life giving connection between Heaven and earth.

What a way to end 2016 dancing those nights away to honor and celebrate a lifetime friend.  But even more what a great beginning to the new year.  This is the reason Jesus came to connect, to engage, to celebrate.  But how often do I just dance it out, sing it out, celebrate with no agenda?

Photo by Jerrika Morrell (click photo for more info)

Here’s to more unconventional moments in 2017.  May you not think you have to have the right moves, or shoes.  Enjoy the barefoot random dance in your kitchen, in your living room, in your yard.

Life is worth celebrating, abundance is worth experiencing through the One who came to connect us to a Kingdom beyond our own.  May we dance and celebrate more this year than any previous year.

Day 28-29:: Simply impactful

I said with obligation, “Hey. How’s it going?”

-Hesitation- And no true answer.

“You’re doing alright?” I say, as if to cue him.

He gives me an honest answer. And I sympathize.

I do not feel much like talking.  Honestly I am only an inch above defeated.  I feel discouraged, not bubbly.

As Benjamin is scanning my grocery items he looks up, “Sorry if this sounds weird, but you seem like a cool person.”

What?! Me?! Does he know who he is talking to?  I had a million reasons up until that point I felt incredibly uncool.  In fact I was feeling lonely and burned out.

Totally uncool like I questioned, “what do you mean? Like calm?” People tell me I am calm all the time.  So if he tells me oh yea that is what I meant, then I have permission to go back to my hole of discouraging thinking.

“No. Cool.”

I was speechless.  Permission denied.  He was so sure.

I walked out of the store, after also not so cool-like asking for the stream of coupons he had behind the counter.  I wanted to cry as soon as the night air hit my face.

He made my night and he’ll never know it.

I had no more reason to wallow in woe-is-me’s because his words pulled me up by my bootstraps in the most unusual of ways.

I was deemed cool.  But it was not that which made tears come to my eyes.  It was because I was seen and encouraged in a moment when I felt unseen and discouraged.

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This happened over a few weeks ago, but it has stuck with me.  His words popped my bubble of stinking thinking.  And for that I was very grateful.

May we choose to rethink how we are thinking this week.  And may we challenge other people to do the same by saying “weird sounding” encouraging statements.  May we reach out, going beyond the norm and hug people with our words.

Day 26-27:: Fiery boots

Summer seems to be in a war with fall to gain a few more minutes of glory here in the South.  Being a warm sun loving babe, I do not mind one bit.

Well, except for the fact that I am ready for bonfires and boots.

Bonfires means an excuse to get together with others. For some reason, fire makes conversation easier.  There is not so much focus on what to discuss, but rather all those gathered can focus on being in the moment around the warmth.  Wine. Fire. S’mores. Its common place where we can be at ease.

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And well as for boots, they just make you feel powerful.  Well at least for me.  I feel like I stand taller and more confident.  I am ready to conquer whatever the day may bring.  I have something to offer, and here I go putting it out there for the world to see.

To be more open.  To be more sure.  A fire.  Some boots.

Its funny how we associate things with some of our inner desires.

As you begin this week, may you find the time to be self-aware of what it is you are desiring.  Then with confidence and openness may you pull on your boots to take up the challenge to go after those things you desire, want, or need.

Maybe the first step is simply acknowledging your need or your desire.

May we all find the courage this week to partner with a Good Father who desires to give us good gifts and provide for those things we need.

 

 

Day 15-16:: A mirror like no other

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.

-Albus Dumbledore

One of my favorite quotes of all Harry Potter history.  And yet, not one of my favorite realities.

If you are unfamiliar with the story, let me fill you in on this golden bit of it.  I believe we can learn something from the encounter that unfolds.

In the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, roaming around school at night, Harry comes across a mirror like no other.

The Mirror of Erised curiously startles him at first as figures are shown in the mirror that in real life are not standing beside him.  He becomes enamored by the mirror as he recognizes the other figures to be his deceased family who he never got to meet.  In the reflection he sees his mother and father, of whom he has always longed for their affection.

On night, Harry plops on the floor in front of the mirror with all intent of remaining there for the night staring at the reflection of his parents. Dumbledore appears interrupting these plans.  He comes to sit with Harry to explain the mirror’s mystery.

Dumbledore explains that it is a mirror that shows the deepest desires of the beholder’s heart.  And he warns that many have wasted away before the mirror staring into the reflection, not knowing if what it reflects is real or possible.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”

Somedays all I would like more is to sit on that floor in front of my own Mirror of Erised, staring at dreams and desires.

I am a dreamer.  A creative.  A thinker.  My imagination has color.

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But then there is the nitty-gritty of the process in fulfilling dreams.  And sometimes I just frown at the process.  But the process is where the living happens.

I heard someone say that God is not so caught up in our destination as much as he is concerned about our journey.

There is a tension between dreaming and walking towards those dreams.  Walking towards the dreams requires tenacity, hard work, support, and feeling uncomfortable.

We get nowhere by sitting in front of our mirrors.  It may feel like the safest place, but we will surely waste away there.

It takes bravery and sometimes risk to walk towards our dreams.  It’s scary at times.  It seems impossible, especially when insecurity comes creeping.

But it is living.

It is worth it.

There in the journey of working out our dreams and desires, is where we experience life.  The good news is we do not have to journey alone. Holy Spirit joins us every step of the way, and we can lean into that reality.IMG_1289.JPG

May we bravely step forward trusting He is for us, and that the desires of our hearts will be realized as we walk day by day.

Day 11:: The middle, man!

“The middle is messy”, Brené Brown speaks of the grit of our processes, “but it’s also where the magic happens.”

Honestly for me the middle is often times frustrating.

As I sat on the dock tonight, drinking a beer, and brain dumping on to my journal pages, I noticed the dock needed some work.  My mind wandered over thoughts of pressure washing it, building a new bench table, staining the dock.  Of course, I realistically reeled my thoughts in.  I am just a renter.  Then I recalled shamelessly, the countless other projects I have yet to finish.

Once upon a time, that dock was not there.  All there was in that space was marsh and open water.  No rusty worn out bench, no place to tie off a crab pot, no lights, no piles to hammock from.  The dock did not appear out of nowhere.  One day nonexistent, then next inviting to be ventured out on.

There was a middle.

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Building a dock is quite the undertaking.  You are placing piles into ewwy gooey pluff mud.  This alone takes the right machinery and for most people, the right skilled technician. Then there is the carpentry behind each and every board, the electrical behind the switches and the lights, and the list goes on.  Even before any of this, there has to be approval from the “gods of the local tidal ways”.

Sounds perfectly straight forward.  Easy. One days planning, one days work. Absolutely not!

Sounds a lot like most of my seasons.  There is work.  There are zigzag patterns I walk.  I hit obstacles.  I want to give up, but the vision keeps pushing me forward.

As you and I wrestle in this season, may we remember the middle is messy. May we take a step outside our situation for just long enough to see that there were other seasons.  We entered and left those seasons, but between the beginning and the end there was an emotionally charged middle.

If we can get that perspective the frustration, the negativity, or whatever else we may be experiencing is transformed into forward moving hope.

May we have the strength and courage to walk out the middle with confidence, faith, and security.

He is good.  He is for us.  He will deliver us.  He is waiting for us to ask: “God what are you doing right here in this moment”.

Day 4-7:: Aftermath

Mother Nature is unmistakably gorgeous, mysterious, and powerful.  I am hoping she has a bit more calm in store for my city for the duration of the season.

In the midst of uncertainty of evacuation and blaring “urgent” news alerts, I pushed through this week.  I found a hide-away room in my parents house where I drowned out other noise to the sound of Ben Howard and Kelanie Glockler while trying to meet school work deadlines.

It was a battle to push back worry every morning and every evening.  And at moments, I felt I was defeated only to be revived by a glimmer of perspective.

So with no explanation needed…Day 4, 5, 6, and 7 meet me here.  Its a rich feeling really. Why?

Hurricane Matthew blew through the night here in Charleston.  I hunkered down in the center living room with the pup and my youngest brother; falling asleep once anticipation had worn me out.  IMG_2162.JPG

We had no visibility until the morning hours.  With the light we saw Matthew shaking the trees violently, but all the good parts of his show came in the hours of yawns and snores.

The damage reflected his temper.  And the camaraderie to clean up the mess reflected everyone’s relief.

 

Upon my return home today, I saw the reflection of my soul as if it were visibly before me.  What appeared to me in the mirror was anxiety and stress feeding negativity.

My focus was misplaced, some storm had come in my soul when I was not looking.  Why was I jumping into negativity? I was tired and there was much still left undone.

Ever feel like that?  Maybe I’m the only one, but it is a story I know well enough.  Now I pay attention when I see the reel start to play.  So I paused, rewound, and did some editing.

First stop: gratitude.  Lets just put that in bold shall we: Gratitude.

Second stop: grace giving.  I began asking for grace to be applied to the areas in my life and soul were I was seeing the cracks.  No need for me to try to shove the pieces back together in an anxious fit.

Just smother the cracks in grace.

Peaceful work, soul care, and rest followed.  Its not a formula though.  Its just what my reflection showed me in the moment and my desire to emanate something different.

Where is it that your heart or mind needs to be smothered in grace today?  May you invite Him in to do just that.

Peace.

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Sail boats existing the creek, headed back to the harbor.

 

8 things noted from an out-of-sorts week

 

It has been a bit of a loner slow week, where tea and soup have been my best couch buddies. Kleenex by my side, cough drops in my pocket, and drugs scattered on the kitchen counter, I’ve let the house work go a little. I did manage to fold some laundry in a two day span. Books sit staring at me enticing me to read them, but my brain is clouded and will not focus enough to retain but a sentence.
I’ve taken the one-two-punch and I’m down for the count. Life, you will have to leave a voicemail because I’ll be out of the office for a while. I’ve been wrestling with a nasty respiratory infection this week. Though it is not the flu nor a crazy disease, its still put me out and on my butt. I’m hoping the worst is behind me even though I’m still giving my lungs the occasionally violent work out and I know what time I need to take more miracle meds.
I wanted to share a few things (8 to be exact) I’ve been gleaning out of this nasty little experience.

1. Water…water…must find water.
Mom was not joking when she told me as a kid to drink up.  I’ve drank more water the past week than I normally do in two weeks.
I could learn from this and make water the first thing I reach for on a normal morning basis. The coffee can wait. My brain and body needs water to wake up and do its thing (like get rid of all this yucky stuff in my chest).

2. The active concern from others is a sweet blessing to my heart.
When you do not make your own hours nor have sick days at your job, guess what…you still have to go to work. So I took the meds and put a handful of coffee drops in my pocket.
In my industry, Im not going to announce I feel like shit to my customers. But a favorite fun loving boisterous regular of ours stopped in and noticed my voice sounded funny. A few minutes later she came back in the store with some essential oils for me. I thought oh she’s just going to hand it to me. Oh no! Being the mom to all God’s children she is… she called me over and lathered me up with this stuff, on my heart, on my neck, on my face. My district manager looked on with bewilderment. I smelt like a hippie for the next few hours.  But it blessed me. I giggled, “I’m anointed”.

3. It read, “Don’t let unexpected situations ‘throw’ you”.
Yep, that was the fortune cookie I got a couple weeks ago and hung on to. And the last two weeks there have been several unexpecteds…mostly what I would not say are favorable. Holy Spirit can use fortune cookies right? I mean He is God afterall. image

I’ve been reminded that circumstances do not have to dictate my attitude. I kept saying yea I am good, I’m just not feeling well and neither is my car (car was out of commission this week too).
I’m reminded of a quote from the book Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird :

A mountain does not determine what sort of weather is happening but witnesses all the weather that comes and goes…

My core, where I am united and hidden in Christ is stronger.  These things (sickness, etc.) are just the storms around.

4. Mom!!!!
Need I say more? Even though she is most likely the one I got this plague from, shes still the one I call with drug questions. Its times like these I am thankful that I live back in the same city as my family. Because after all when you do not feel well the main person you want is your momma.
Also there must be something innately wired in mom’s that when their kids aren’t feeling well their text game is amped up 😉

5. I love to sing, but do not know how to sing when on mute.
Music is a big part of my week. Id say more than half the showers I take are accompanied with some kind of music. Not to mentioned I’ve gotten into the habit of going to a service mid week where worship through singing is main part of the meeting time.
I’ve been challenged this week when Ive wanted to sing or pray out loud. (I can do these things freely and as loud as I want because I live in the middle of nowhere.) How do you sing when you have no voice? I’m still not sure.  imageOne evening I sat on the dock with a cup of tea, closed my eyes and let my soul dance to music with the one my heart loves.
I’m thankful for a voice and a song. But even when I do not feel I have either, its good to be reminded that my soul is in an eternal dance.  In that place I can rest.

6. You are what you eat.
Let me tell you how many times I googled how to get better faster…actually I lost count. Here’s what has helped me the most when it comes to what I put in my body:
– Soup…progresso will be super successful this month (chicken brooth is good for you)
-Fresh Juices (New discovery: Carrot, tumeric, banana, ginger, coconut water)
-Tea (Bergamot in Earl Grey tea is supposedly good for you)
-Honey (my favorite any way)
-Cinnamon (it has inflammatory properties)

7. Crankiness is not just found in babes, its in me too.
Found myself way irritable one day. I had to pause for a minute and evaluate why I was getting angry. Realized it was because I had no control over the fact that I was sick. And because I was sick my performance at work and life just was not happening. Hmmm….a good dose of grace goes a long way. Do I have any other high-performing recovering perfectionists out there that can relate??

8. When discouragement comes a creepin’, powerful words push back.
You’ve probably seen my posts about the book I am reading.  What an awesome privilege I had to help spread the word post-launch. The Power of the Other by Dr. Henry Cloud is an absolute gem.
With the “unexpecteds” of my week the power of the other has been well…powerful. A friend to hash out the deep things. A random text from someone telling me how special I am. Finding out that someone had been praying for me all weekend. Someone I respect looking me in the eyes and telling me to feel better, and knowing she is declaring it over my life not just saying well wishes.  A willing brother to go for all in by praying for healing over me.
Dude…we need each other. Unless you prefer staying in the pits, but my guess is sooner or later you’ll want out. I’m thankful for, and craving for more corner 4 connections in my life. #poweroftheother
May your week be filled with encouragement rather than the lies of defeat. And for those feeling under the weather may you be renewed and refreshed, healed and strenghtened.

Leaving 15, Entering 16

The general feeling I have leaving 2015 and entering into 2016 is that of leaving the city streets and getting on the highway. There is a feeling of slowly increasing speed to join the accelerated pace of the three laned traffic.

Sitting outside just a couple winter nights ago, huddled around a fire with three other women, we spoke of things on our hearts. We even sang songs that would not escape our minds. As we sat there one of them spoke up saying that for so many 2015 was a hard year, but 2014 wasn’t much better. She spoke of how ’16 held so much more promise for many. She said that she had been encouraged that ’15 was a buffer year between the turmoil of ’14 and the promise of ’16. My spirit leapt at this! Yes, yes!

We need buffers. We need acceleration lanes. We need fall in order to transition from summer to winter. We need engagement before marriage. I think there is something to be said for the period between. Psychologically we do not do well with drastic sudden change as humans. Many traumas people are faced with overcoming come from an instance of drastic life altering sudden change. Not to say sudden change is horrific but there is something to be valued in transition or in the processing.

What grace there was in ’15 for me personally. The year before was rough. I had found myself partially numb, disoriented, struggling, and feeling unloved. Im sure I walked around with bags under my eyes most days, with a feeble attempt of searching for some relief. Tormented by discouragement and a nagging feeling of being sidetracked filled my everyday. I had been joyfully riding a train at full speed, only to then find myself on the side of the tracks walking as if a hobo with no home. 

I had a wake up call at some point realizing I had completely lost myself. I did not know how to dream anymore. I did not even know what I stood for. And there in that epiphanic moment is when it was birthed. Desire came to life in me again. Desire to find myself again. I broke away from what held me hostage and…I felt very alone.

  Enter year ’15. Slow learning of how I should be treated again. I should be loved, treasured. I was beautiful…who knew? I wasn’t disqualified. I was a leader. I had dreams. Taking care of myself was not selfish. I was a daughter close to home again. People wanted to be my friend when I had none. I was an artist. I was an adventurer. I was heartbroken and in need of a healer. I could feel again. I possibly had purpose again.

 And for sure I saw I served a very jealous God with a destiny built for me to fit in and create. ’15 was a rebuilding and a detoxing time for me. I found grace to bookend my failures. And hope to start a new chapter.

Here I am at the beginning of ’16, knowing I needed ’15 to carry me away from ’14. I feel back on the tracks. Though now I know what it is to be a hobo wandering along, having lost sight of almost everything. But let me tell you if you are in that place, do not sweat it.  Cry, fight, wrestle, and pray. Pray simply “God, help because I just don’t know”.  God is not worried. He has more than enough grace to carry you back to your path where you were dancing in joy and purpose. Nothing is ever wasted. And most times we need to have a transition time to prepare us for the promise to come. So may your journey be sweet no matter what and may you been given the grace to not give up.

Cheers to what this year holds!

10 Things I Learned in August

Reflecting and regrouping the past few rainy days. Therefore I find it only fitting to link up to Emily Freeman’s blog and share my 10 things I learned in August.

Here’s to September! You came rather quickly. But Ill ride your wave of pumpkin everything and cooler mornings.

1. I enjoy my morning coffee more when I am coherent.
It helps me to take a shower as the coffee brews. Or do the lingering dishes in my sink from the night before as those succulent drops of brown-golden goodness make it to the pot. Doing something before sitting to have my coffee ensures i enjoy those sitting moments rather than hoping I don’t fall back asleep while sipping the miracle wake up drug. And subsequently I’ve had really nice morning moments of late.

2. I have a destiny and purpose.
I knew this, but I needed reminding. In the midst of finding my niche here, finding heartache, surviving, and working, I had forgotten that this isn’t my home. There is an eternal reality and this is the beginning. And I am an overcomer.


3. Shrimping is super easy and cleaning/cooking shrimp isn’t as hard as I thought.
I have learned the technique of throwing out a cast net without “pancaking”. And I have been pleasantly surprised as I have actually caught things in my net. I finally caught on that if I go out on my dock at low tide I can get a small but reasonable size catch of shrimp. So of course I had to learn that all it takes to clean and store my catch is to simply pop the heads off, wash, and freeze in a container with water in it. This girl is becoming more lowcountry by the minute.


4. Heartbreak is hard, and confession brings relief.
If heartbreak wasn’t hard maybe we would be trying on relationships like clothes in a store. But the reality is that loving someone is risky and vulnerable. And oh yes Tennyson was right “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” But sometimes in those relationships we find ourselves grieving, we made mistakes. Confessing to another person the good, the rough, and the things I’d do differently brought me some relief. But this lesson is continuing into September as I work through confessing to myself and possibly close friends the reasons things got messy.

5. Community is good, but being with like-minded individuals is even better.
I think these two things may just be the same. A friend moved down here about 20 minutes from me. The couple times we have spent together, I have walked away refreshed remembering who I truly am, the values that I hold to that somehow get drowned out in the midst of a 40hr work week. I need time with people who are on the same page or at least a couple pages over from me because it inspires me to keep moving forward in the convictions I have and to not let go of those things.

6. I thrive by focusing on people not data.
If I find myself ridiculously frustrated at work, I probably haven’t made time to have a conversation with my partners or my customers. One of my managers called me out on my lack of enthusiasm and kindly pointed out this observation. Hit the nail on the head. “Keep it personal”, she said. Her words reminded me to see the one in front of me.

7. I love singing!
I like finding music I can sing along to. I love badass women with deep soulful voices. Feel free to give recommendations! But even if I don’t have lyrics to sing to…I just make something up.

8. I’m much more of a dreamer than a detail person.
This tests me very much. I can get the vision but when it comes to executing Im having to come against many faulty or unnatural ways in me. However its only stretching me in the best of ways. On the flip side I give myself space to dream. I have a dream box on the shelf I slip little pieces of paper in for this purpose.

9. Beets are good to eat before working out.
Have yet to try out this theory, but yesterday I bought a bundle of beets to give it a go. Apparently they open up the cardiovascular systems to make oxygen travel in your body easier. And I’ll take all the help I can get!

10. Blueberry bushes like companionship.
Wish I would have known this a few years back when I was given one that I excitedly planted and it anticlimactically shriveled up. One bush needs another to pollinate each other so they can bare fruit. Huh…sounds like people needing one another so we can bare good fruit. I proudly bought a self-pollinating blueberry bush a week ago. Hopefully this babe will live.


Thanks for reading. Would love to hear what you are learning too. Leave a comment with a thing or two or ten :). Or even better, link up to Emily Freeman’s blog to share your 10 with an online network.

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