Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Slow


It's taken me a l-o-n-g while to learn that listening and observing are practices that serve me well. Slowly, very slowly, I'm learning to embrace and love the acquired skill and practice of really listening with great regularity and I have to say, I'm discovering alot along the way. Slow is the new speed for 2013. It's not a speed I'm use to at all, but I'm learning to adapt and I love what it's teaching me.  



Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Starbucks Story

I drove to Starbucks this morning to purchase a cup of coffee because I was fresh out and because I forgot to stop at the grocery store last night to buy coffee during my drive home from the office. Silly me. How could I forget such a thing? I was in the drive-thru lane when I placed my order and when I approached the window to pay, the woman said to me, “It’s on us today” with a big smile. I’m sure my face made that crazy little expression it makes when I’m confused. I proceeded to ask her why it was free today. She said, “It’s free today because we made you wait too long.” I responded, “But I wasn't even waiting that long.” I asked, “Are you sure?” And with a big beautiful smile she said, “Yep, I’m sure.” And then she wished me a happy day. 

Whoa ... what a blessing. 

You know, that simple act of kindness meant so much to me today and I'm thankful.

Sometimes in life, it’s the littlest things that bring us so much joy. This simple act of kindness has set the tone for my day and it reminds me why I enjoy blessing others so much through random acts of kindness. Perhaps today was my day to reap a little harvest. Thank You God, for Your goodness and for Your blessings in my life. You never seize to amaze me.

One other thought that came to me today as I pondered what took place is that good things come to those who wait. Sometimes we don't understand alot of things when we are in a season of waiting but God knows best and He always provides the best and He always takes care of our needs. And He always shows up right on time, just in time. I think what happened to me today had more meaning than I originally thought. I'm even more thankful for this revelation. 

Happy Saturday everyone!

Until next time, 

xx, Ruthie




Friday, January 18, 2013

When your heart changes

One of the best changes in life is the one that happens in your heart.

Do you have a heart for God?  If you don't, it's never too late to ask Him to change your heart.

When your heart changes, you change and when you change, you change the trajectory of your life and the life of others. 

That kind of change opens the door to super natural power. And power that comes from God empowers you to love radically. It empowers you to forgive what aches you the most, to do what you once thought was impossible. That power opens your eyes and gives you the ability to do things in God's strength and opens the door to wisdom. 


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Friendship, Girlfriends and Intimacy

Today was extraordinary. Today my cousin Anita surprised me with a gift that was delivered to my office. Oh my word was I ever surprised by this gift. It's was a just because gift. A gift that said, I love you, I appreciate you and I want you to live your best life. Whoa! What a blessing. Thank you Anita! You made my day and I love you so much! Thank you for always being such a giver and for your thoughtfulness. We’re more like sisters than cousins for sure and I’m thankful for our sisterhood relationship.

Later this morning I received an e-mail from my friend Margie who thanked me for calling her a year ago during this time of the year. She shared with me that she was doing some reflective thinking and was remembering that particular day a year ago and how she needed me to call her at that moment because that day was a really hard day and the timing of my call was impeccable.

My friend Margie had just lost her husband of 25 years three weeks prior to cancer when I called her. Her husband was my childhood friend. He got cancer, just like me only I survived and he didn't. I can't even imagine what Margie was feeling a year ago today. It was an incredibly painful and difficult time in her life to say the least. Her e-mail today was a note filled with gratitude and love and it made me cry. I had no idea what that call and what my words meant to her. Thank you Margie for reminding me that words matter and I'm glad that my words that day blessed you. I love you. Thank you for your note. It made me feel special and it blessed me for sure. You're a pillar of strength and beautiful as ever. 

Then I had another friend who I called to check in on because she's been experiencing some health issues and today she opened up to me and shared with me that this is one of the hardest seasons she's experienced ever. It was heart breaking to learn everything she shared with me. I was glad I called and I was glad to be available to listen and to learn what she has been struggling with because I had no idea and now I know and because I know, I now know how to pray for her and love her during this season.

I shared with her how much I loved her and how I appreciated her brutal and raw honesty. She's one of the bravest and strongest women I know because she has endured so much in life and has overcome so much. And although this is a really hard season that might feel like the death of her, I know that God is with her and He will turn it around for good and she will emerge stronger and wiser and better. I love that she trusts me with her deepest and most intimate thoughts. She's probably the only person I know that opens up as much as she does with me and I love how she's not afraid to admit her short comings. It takes courage to open up to another person the way she does with me. I wonder if she realizes that. And I wonder if she opens up to me because she knows that I recognize how imperfect each of us is and that I will always love her no matter what. That conversation today reminded me why we have such a special connection and why I love her so much. 

Today I’m glad that God placed her in my life, because through our friendship, I want to love her through this and stand in the gap for her and pray for her and with her and hold her hand until she gets to the other side. Conversations like this give birth to what real intimacy and authenticity is all about. I just love her bravery and I'm glad I could listen and be there for her when she needed someone to really hear her. I love you baby girl. I will not disclose your name in this post but you know who you are and I promise that it will get better. And until it does, I will hold your hand and remind you that you are never alone because next to God, you will find me, walking this journey with you. You’re stronger and braver than you feel. You really are and together we will get through this. I promise. I love you more than more.

What an extraordinary day! Today I'm thankful for the gift of friendship and girlfriends and intimacy. These are some of the things that I love most about life because intimacy and relationships are what connect us in meaningful and special ways. We need trusted friends to do life with and to call on when life feels hard and dark and unfair and just as equally, we need to become those trusted friends that will reach out with love, to care, to listen, to pray and to practice grace. 

Until next time, may you experience extraordinary moments in the ordinary through your friendships, and through your sacred relationships filled with great courage as you practice love, grace, and vulnerability with great authenticity.

xx, Ruthie  



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My thoughts on writing

There is never enough time in the day to read all the books I want to read and to write all the thoughts and essays I want to write. How does a girl like me house so many words? Truth be told: I can only house them for so long. Inevitably and eventually they must be released and this is why I write. The words and the stories that I house spill over onto the pages before me, and into the journals that I keep and on electronic documents that I save on my computer and external hard drive. I have a small drawer at home full of index cards and napkins filled with words and thoughts and ideas and memories that I scribble. These are the things I scribble about in the middle of my day or late at night as thoughts come to me. I save them because eventually they serve as inspiration. I save them because these are the thoughts that are teaching me something in that season and I save them because eventually these words become stories, my story, the stories I wanted to tell that I never talked about or wrote about because these stories are about learning the hard way, about having your aha moments later rather than earlier in life. I've discovered about myself that when I write, I'm writing the stories of my heart and this to me is necessary and important, like the air we breathe is necessary and important.  

There are seasons in my life where I could happily sit and write the day away. That almost always happens on a weekend, when I'm hungry to write. Those are my stay-at-home, drink coffee and tea, play soft music in the back round pajama days. This is one of those seasons where I could happily write all day long one day out of the weekend. Perhaps it's because its winter and the temperature outside is too cold for my liking. And perhaps it's because these days I'm trying to live life at the speed of slow, learning to push the pause button on life to soak in and relish all things and moments beautiful, and to live just slowly enough to really hear myself think because this year I've decided I want to live paying closer attention to my thought life. When I slow down, I hear my thoughts and when I hear my thoughts I have alot to write about.

During the winter months I enjoy the warmth and the coziness of my home and during the winter evenings, I enjoy being in yoga pants or pajamas pants like the very second I get home from the office. I'm not kidding; it is absolutely amazing how quickly I can get into those pants when I get home. [insert smile here] And when it's time to relax, time and schedule permitting, I enjoy lighting fragrant lavender candles and dimming the lights in the house and sitting in my large and comfy reading chair near the fire place to read by a near by lamp. I enjoy sitting there thinking and praying and penning my thoughts as well. I enjoy and love this like small children enjoy and love playing at the park.

If I could afford a one month sabbatical, I would take one in a heart beat. I would go away to a beautiful, warm, sunny place that mirrors paradise surrounded by magnificent nature filled with luscious greenery, the ocean for sure and watch the sun's disk disappear below the ocean's horizon at the end of each day. I would rise early to meet the day and catch the sun as it's rising to greet me with its glorious light and its dramatic brilliance and relish how the sun's brilliance makes me glow from the inside out. I would spend my days and nights reading and writing, thinking and dreaming until the light fades. I would release my words, my thoughts on paper and allow them to take on new form, a life of their very own. I would take nature walks and soak in the sunshine and drink green tea and listen for the voice of God in my breath, in the stillness of my being and in the nature before me. 

All of this is a beautiful dream, a lovely thought for sure. But I've learned that while a thirty day sabbatical is not in the cards for me in my immediate future, I can still experience moments and days like that. I can experience them here and there in different ways and on different days and in different seasons. It's beautiful to dream of extended periods of time doing what you know you were born to do but its equally as beautiful and wonderful to appreciate the here and now and to appreciate and to experience these moments when you can, even if it's only an hour, a day, a long weekend or a week away. 

Beloved reader, discover what it is that you love and do what you love the most, what makes you feel most alive for in discovering that, you will have discovered your purpose. Do what you were born to do because that is what becomes your life's work, the finger prints of love and the legacy you will leave behind.

Until next time, 

xx, Ruthie

Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of her life, every quality of her mind is written large in her works. ~ Virginia Woolf


Sunday, January 13, 2013

If we had coffee today I’d tell you: It’s okay to live outside of your comfort zone.


When God removes you from your comfort zone, you will discover that depending on yourself is no longer enough. You will quickly learn to depend on God because you will have discovered that it’s the only way to get through and survive living outside of your comfort zone.

I’m learning that when God allows you to live outside of your comfort zone, He’s creating an atmosphere for you to grow. He is stretching you because He is preparing you for promotion, a new level but He will not allow you to be promoted unless you’re ready, unless you’re equipped, unless you are mature enough and prepared for the journey before you. 

So don’t become discouraged or give up when you feel stretched and challenged or when things aren’t unfolding as you hoped they would. Trust that God still loves you and that He is for you and with you. He has not forsaken you. Believe that He is in it, and that He is doing a good thing in you. When you are living outside of your comfort zone, remember that that is the place where He prepares you for your destiny, a destiny that will amaze you and surprise you if you will just stay the course and trust Him.

Until next time, 

xx, Ruthie



Saturday, January 12, 2013

Love life

Everyday life is laced with special occasions, not just here and there, or now and then but every where all the time. Grabbing hold of this simple idea is like winning a front-row ticket to the grandest adventure of all. So savor the journey. Feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. Be thrilled when you make a new friend. Be swept away if you've found a new love. Laugh and cry at weddings. Dance the night away at every anniversary. Cherish your family and love your work. Roll around on the floor with your children or your grand children or with your spouse. Look forward to all your birthday mornings. And with every sun rise, start your life anew. 

For it is true: The more you love life, the more it will love you right back. 
~ Author Unknown






Friday, January 11, 2013

Sisterhood

Recently, I've had a few of my friends remind me how important our sisterhood is to them and every time I hear them share that with me, my heart melts with gratitude. 

It feels good to be loved and appreciated for who you are and where you are in life and it feels so good to have women I love and trust so much be a part of my every day life. I can't imagine life without them. Really, I can't. I love these women more than cupcakes and that says ALOT. And as I think about our sisterhood, it makes me want to cry in deep gratitude because each of them is so precious to me. Each of them have blessed me so much through the years and in their own beautiful gifted ways. They've loved me at my worst, guided me back to the light when I drifted and at times have talked me off the ledge when life felt dark, hard and unfair. Not really off the ledge, but you know what I mean. 

My sisterhood relationships are important, necessary and a gift from God for sure. They're my beloved sweet angels. 

I'm glad I have these sisterhood friendships because these are the women I do real life with. I share my heart, my dreams and my most intimate thoughts and struggles with them. I do this because I can, because they love me unconditonally and because they've earned my trust. There is never any competition or jealously or weirdness because while we recognize that we all have different gifts, we also recognize and embrace that we're all created in the image of God, to love Him and to love others, to serve Him and to serve others. 

Sisterhood is about doing life together. It's about authenticity. It's an authentic relationship where we support each other, love each other, tell each other the truth, like all the time and we stand in the gap for one another. We learn together and grow together and I love that about our sisterhood. 

The women I have sisterhood relationships with are brilliant, beautiful, and trust worthy and their company is always easy and the relationship is completely grace based. Aaaah ... how refreshing. We have Jesus to thank for that. Thank You Jesus!

A little bit about us ...

  1. We love each other unconditionally and celebrate our differences.
  2. We trust each other and listen without judgment.
  3. We tell each other the truth, and we say it with love.
  4. We hold each other accountable and we remind each other that we are never alone.
  5. We say I love you often and alot and remind each other how much God loves us.
  6. We love each others children and we pray for them as if they were our own.
  7. We stand in the gap for each other and we don't let each other give up.
  8. We recognize and believe that we are so much more than the choices we have made and so much more than the sum of our mistakes.
  9. We've learned that we all fall and when it happens, we pick each other up gently and carefully because we know that after a fall, we feel raw, fractured and fragile.
  10. We cry together.
  11. We pray together.
  12. We shop together.
  13. We laugh together.
  14. We do sleep over’s and road trips and coffee.
  15. We send and give each other gifts and cards, just because.
  16. We read the same types of books and talk about what God is teaching us in each new season.
  17. Last but not least, we take care of our planet because we recognize it's the ONLY planet with chocolate! [insert smile here]
Yes, indeed, sisterhood is a beautiful thing. It's a sacred, grace-filled relationship between women who get each other and who love each other, women who see people through the eyes of Jesus, through grace-filled lenses. And the very best part about our sisterhood is that we recognize that we are so precious in God's sight and that we serve an amazing King.

Thank you my sweet sisters! I love you more than more. I love you to the moon and back and more than cupcakes!!!





Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Room 316

Today I'm going to share a short story with you and include some pictures I took with my camera phone. The story has everything to do with my hotel room number when I was in Washington D.C. for business purposes last week and how it inspired me.

My hotel room number was 316. The numbers 316 always remind me of John 3:16 which says: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. This is the verse I memorized when I was a teenager during a season in my life when I attended church services on Thursday evenings. It's also one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible and in a nutshell, it is the Gospel. 

When I noticed that I was assigned to room 316 it made me smile inside and outside too. I just knew God was with me, no doubt. I was feeling His presence in such wonderful ways that entire day. Logistically speaking, everything went super well as I traveled to D.C. I found a great parking spot at the airport, the tram to get to the other side of the airport arrived just as I walked onto the platform, boarding went smooth, the flight was smooth, landing was smooth, and getting to the D.C. office went smooth.

During the check-in process at the hotel, I chatted with the man who gave me my room cards at the hotel. I shared with him that I was glad he assigned me to room 316. Room 316 was an upgrade he offered me, just because. Why thank you kind man! It was a large room with a well equipped kitchen, a full sized fridge, a stove, a large sectional sofa etc., etc. It was a very nice room. When he handed me my room cards, I shared with him that I love the numbers 316 with a big smile and asked him to guess why I love the numbers 316 so much. He looked at me, paused for a little while and then began to recite John 3:16 to me. Oh my gravy! Was I ever pleasantly surprised! I didn't expect that. We got a good chuckle out of that. I super loved that moment! He shared with me that he is a God fearing man and attends church regularly. We got to chatting about where he was from because he had such a beautiful accent. He shared with me that home is Uruguay but he's been in the United States for 30 years now. As we spoke Spanish, his boss who was sitting near by joined the conversation and I learned that he too is Puerto Rican, just like me. I felt like I was among family. 

The following morning, right before I checked out, I felt inspired to leave something of significance for the person who would later walk in that room to clean it. I almost always leave a tip but that morning, I felt inspired to leave a generous tip and a little something more.

Allow me to mention that every morning during the month of January, my friend Nikki who lives in St. Louis and I call each other at 6am to recite a declaration from Joel Osteen's new book called: I Declare. Since I knew I would be traveling, I brought copies of the declaration with me so I wouldn't have to carry the book with me.

On the day I checked out of the hotel, before I left the hotel room, I decided to leave my copy of the declaration in the room as a gift and wrote a short note on it. My note included what John 3:16 means.

Before I left the hotel room that morning, I did the following ...

I left an open Bible. It was the Bible I read from the night before that was in a drawer next to the bed. I left the Bible open to the book of John marking John 3:16 so they could see this verse for themselves in the Bible.

I left a $20 bill that sat on top of the note I wrote. The note was written on my copy of day 4's declaration from Joel Osteen's book. 

I also left the radio on, which was tuned into a Christian radio station that plays contemporary Christian music. It's what I listened to the night before and the morning of. I love contemporary Christian music. It's what sets the tone for me to start my day. I love music and it's what puts a pep in my step every morning. 

Before I left the room that morning, I paused and prayed that God would bless the recipient of the gift I left behind and prayed that it would remind them that God sees them and hears them and is reaching out to them. I will never know what that note or money meant to the person who walked into that room that day but in my spirit, I know I did what God wanted me to do that morning and it felt and still feels good as I remember that morning. 

I left a larger tip than usual because God placed it on my heart to do so. I originally was going to leave a $10 bill but in my spirit, I felt a nudge to put the $10 bill back into my wallet and leave a $20 bill instead. I remember saying: "Okay boss." ... cause God really is the boss of me. :o)

If I had the right amount of change, I would have left 3 singles on one side of the note and a ten, a five and a single dollar bill on the right side of the note. That would have been brilliant, don't you think? Well creative at least. That money would have represented 3 16.

My heart felt full that morning, so full. I felt so happy leaving that room that morning and thought about the person who received that gift that entire day and during my entire weekend. Today I was thinking about that person and whispered a quiet prayer for them asking God to meet this persons needs. And as I thought about this person today and everything I left behind that morning, it inspired me to share this story with you today. I hope you enjoyed it. 

God is so good my beloved readers. And I love how He whispers to us and inspires us. In my last post I mentioned that lately I'm listening and hearing in ways I couldn't hear before. This story is a perfect example of just that. This inspiration totally came from God and it felt SO wonderful to have the God of our universe inspire me in such a beautiful and creative way to bless someone I will never meet or see. Only God!

Until next time … God bless you and if God whispers to you to do something good, do it. You’ll be so glad you did.  

~Ruthie

A whisper. It’s spoken softly in quiet tones. It’s hard to hear and easy to miss. And it’s often how God communicates with us. ~ Author Unknown



I just noticed I wrote Thursday, instead of Friday. 
A sign that I do my best work after 10am and not at 7am. Latte please! : )
  





Monday, January 7, 2013

Slow is good

I think there is a lot in life that I’ve done too fast, too quick and without much thought. And I'm pretty sure that's why I like slow today. It’s probably why I’m now intentional about slowing down and why I’ve become comfortable saying no to others and yes to me. I've learned that I can't be all things to all people at all times. Sometimes a girl just needs to get off of the merry-go-round and be still.

My decisions have always been either deeply thought out and considered or completely spontaneous without much thought. Rarely have I found anything in between. And as I ponder that, I think it’s because when given too many choices, it’s kind of hard for me to decide. I weigh everything carefully and if it's a big decision, I positively pray about it. I eventually make a decision and sometimes I find that I will wrestle with questions that plague me and I ask myself a gazillion times if I made the right decision. This is especially true about the BIG decisions in life, like when I purchased my first home or when I purchased a new car a few years ago. So somewhere along the way, I just began trusting my spontaneous decisions. At first it was scary because it's SO not congruent with how I'm wired. Sometimes I fared well, and other times the decision was disastrous. Sometimes I just have to tell myself: "Seriously, Ruthie ... it's not that serious. Pick a color and run with it toots."  ; )

Lately, I’ve noticed that both my heart and my spirit are listening in ways I haven’t been able to hear before. And I'm noticing that this practice is serving me and others well. My decisions are wiser and I'm feeling more peace about my decisions. This is one of my most interesting seasons ever. Of course, every season is interesting because each one is unique and beautiful or hard in its own way but this season has been peppered with a kind of goodness I haven't experienced before. So many things are playing out in really good ways and it feels interestingly different in the best possible way. I've noticed that I'm growing in new ways and I can tell that things are changing inside of me, and I'm liking this change and I like the new me that is emerging.

It’s day seven of the New Year and as I ponder and look over my goals and review my vision for 2013, I’ve decided that I want to continue to really hear and see, and feel. I want a healthy kind of slow. I want to hear myself think and breathe, speak and pray. I don’t want to run from one thing to the next without really breathing. I've done that and I'm so over that. 

Many years ago during the early years of adulthood I found that I would run from one thing to the next because I couldn't wait for the next big thing and also because when I didn't make wise decisions, I didn’t want to slown down long enough because if I did, it meant that I would have to pay attention to how I was feeling and I didn't want to pay attention. The real truth was: I was afraid. I was afraid to allow myself to feel. I was afraid of what I might discover. And because discovery often leaves you with the question: "What are we going to do about this?" Eventually, I grew wiser and learned to take periodic time-outs to listen and to pray and to learn from my experiences. I learned to invite God into this practice and into my every day life and I discovered that that's where the healing begins.  

And then I entered a season which was not so long ago when I felt ravenous about everything and I couldn’t do enough. I wanted to do it all.  Truth be told: Some where deep inside of me I felt like time was running out for me even though I no longer showed any signs of cancer. I’ve been cancer-free for three years now and I no longer want to run from one thing to the next without really being fully present and engaged and without feeling rushed to do the next best thing on my list. I no longer want to over load myself gratuitously. I'm learning that I need to learn to tap into my inner tortoise with more regularity.

I want 2013 to be filled with beautiful moments and amazing experiences, some that I will create and others that I will fall into, that will unfold naturally as they should. I want to become my best self ever this year. I want to listen well, love more, speak less and say more. I want to become a better learner and give more. I want to become wiser and read more and write more and become fitter mentally, spiritually and physically. But I don’t want to be rushed; I want a healthy kind of slow. I want it to have rhythm and I want it to feel like a dance and I want to relish every single moment of this year because life is still so beautiful, even with all of its imperfections. Yes, indeed. I think this girl knows what she wants this year and what she wants runs at the speed of slow. 

How about you? What is your heart desiring in the New Year?

Until next time,

Ruthie