Do something everyday that scares you

As I have continued to challenge myself by doing things that scare me I have spent time reflecting on some of my past fears(now overcome). What I discovered through my reflection is a true testimony of the progress we make in life as we partner with God in the plan He has for our life.

I can recall a time in the not so distant past that I almost forfeited an opportunity to attend what was an amazing Christian conference because I was too uptight to spend time in the same hotel room with a few other sisters. Since that time I have traveled to several foreign countries, alone. The first of these trips was to the earthquake ravaged country of Haiti. I wasn’t even sure where Haiti was when the opportunity presented itself but I said YES immediately. I would not have been able to do that a few years earlier. Now this isn’t to say that it wasn’t scary because it was. I remember being completely unnerved when in a very crowded airport I became separated from my passport as the airport porter made me lay my bag on the conveyor belt. This may not sound scary if your travel has not taken you to poor, underdeveloped countries that have just experienced a gigantic influx of travelers all on a journey to offer care after the most catastrophic earthquake to strike this hemisphere in recent memory.

I remember how scared I was what I would feel prompted by God to share a word with the congregation during a Sunday morning worship service. Nowadays I am quick to obey when I feel the Lord tug at my heart and even breath the entire time!

Even something as simple as deciding to ride on the commuter van was scary. Getting into a vehicle and riding 2 hours a day with complete strangers was overwhelming. Today I can call each of those “strangers” friends. But even having accomplished this feat I am intimidated to ride the city bus. Not that we have a real city bus where I live here in rural Southeastern CT but nonetheless, I intend to get on the bus one day soon and experience what it is like to have to use this as my only form of transportation for a shopping excursion.

Going into a yoga class or any exercise class for the first time was scary. Now I am eager to find a yoga studio and attend a class everywhere I travel.

Last year I embarked on a new and scary adventure when I felt a prompting from God to teach a teen girl Sunday school class…well more than teach, initiate. This has turned out to be a remarkable blessing in my life. And I can understand at a greater level how investing into lives of those entrusted to us has such great value.

It is important that I keep staring fear in the face because that is where the growth occurs. I am so thankful for this idea to conquer scary things on a regular basis this year.

So what have I done recently? Well last week I needed to reach out to someone who would agree to be a model family for a class  was taking…this was scary for sure… but not only was the answer yes, they really enjoyed telling the story to me. Sadly I have been the person to engage the painful life choices conversation with several of my oncology patients whose disease is progressing. This is always a scary conversation, necessary but scary. And I have had to face the scary truth that I may not get a perfect score in this class I am currently taking. But I will still be okay at the end of the day.

So what have you done this week that is a scary challenge? I would love to hear from you.

 

New and Scary Things Part One

A few weeks back I wrote about my plans to do one scary or new thing every week for a year. My intention is to blog about those crazy scary new things as often as life permits. So I thought I would begin by sharing my adventures from my birthday weekend with my family(click the link if you missed the post).

We headed out early Thursday afternoon. My favorite guy had once again done amazing feats by fitting all our snow adventure gear into our little Prius still leaving room for us! The drive was pretty. Clear blue skies and lots of mountains. We began to see snow on the ground about an hour into Vermont…a good sign since we needed snow to play. Four uneventful hours later we pulled into the driveway of our weekend retreat cabin. It was absolutely lovely! My friend had decked the halls with a huge tree in the main living room and lots of little lights adorned the outside evergreens. I cannot say enough wonderful things about the home that my friend so generously let us stay in, a true blessing.

We enjoyed an evening in front of the wood burning stove and went to bed early to be ready for our first big adventure.

Friday morning arrived and so had one of our daughters and her boyfriend. So after an easy breakfast and putting the necessary ingredients into the crock pot for tonight’s chili we headed out for the mountains. I had called ahead so we knew there had been some fresh snow on the mountain overnight, apparently perfect for the snow-lovers. I planned to take a ski lesson while everyone else got there snowboards moving for the first time of the season.

My lesson started at 1:00. I was a bit nervous to tell the truth. I had only skied once in my life when I was about 14 and while memorable it was not a great experience. My instructor for the next 1.5 hours made his way over and asked a few questions about me and why I wanted to learn now. He said my yoga practice would help with skiing…I could only hope this was true. We waited for a bit as he expected another newbie to join us but in the end it was just me. Not a bad deal at all…a private lesson for $45.00!

So he taught me how to walk in my boots and after he felt I had mastered this task I instructed me on how to get the skies on.

Whoa…those things were slippery! I truly could not believe just how slippery…what was I expecting!?

Anyway, he had me master some basic moves and then proceeded to the bunny hill.

It was okay. I didn’t run any of those little kids over and I managed to stay upright. I guess I did better than I thought because soon enough he had me in a ski lift climbing up the mountain!

Yikes! Now I was scared. I knew the lift did not stop so I needed to jump off and remain standing.

Whew, I did it. Now we would begin our (hopefully) slow descent down the slope. I wasn’t doing too badly. He was teaching me how to steer.

Pretty good.

Not so bad.

Then I started to pick up some speed. Oh no, now what.

On the ground.

I realized he didn’t tell me how to get up so I just waited.

Once back up I tried it again. Wow, I cannot believe how fast I am going.

I cannot really control my speed by turning so I just fall again.

Get up. Now I am cranking. Somehow I manage to get all the way down the hill. I don’t take anyone out and I remain standing. Miracle!

My instructor makes me go up on the lift again. Now I am not gonna lie here, I was getting pretty tired by this point. It was physical as well as mental work just to keep standing.

But I managed to get off that lift successfully for the second time that day, woohoo!

It takes a while. Several more falls. But eventually I make it down. He said I recover well. That is the yoga—good balance! Lesson over. He suggested I go right back up again. I want to go find my family though…not too confident I can make it down alone.

As I walk into the lodge they are all there. I raise my arms in the air like an Olympic champion.

One scary thing DONE!

 

 

Gratitude Week 1

As I sat reading blog posts I was inspired to write a weekly reflection of sorts. My hope is to challenge myself to identify the beauty in each day and grow in gratitude as I realize all that I am blessed with. I wrote a brief post earlier in the week that I am sure if you read it you appreciated the undercurrent of strife with which I was contending. I received some great advice as a result of that post and continued to spend some time in quiet reflection pondering the situation. I realized that I don’t have to be stressed—it is a choice. Well I chose to let it go, surrendered it to God. You see the reason He exhorts us to give thanks in all things is because when we are being thankful and have a heart full of gratitude and a mouth of praise it is IMPOSSIBLE to be grumpy, stressed, unhappy or contentious. So as I look back at my week here are some of the things I choose to be thankful for.

*Celebrating another birthday with my wonderful mom, sister, and daughter number 2. We are not all so fortunate to have so many lives to love who love us back.

*Spending quiet time on my yoga mat, meditating, and praying.

*Having a wonderful husband who cares enough to listen when I came home after an unpleasant day. Again not all are so fortunate.

*Winning a book from Goodreads by an author I enjoy very much. I was thrilled to receive it in the mail and have already started reading. Prayer, by Timothy Keller.

*Luxuriating at the Spa of Essex yesterday where daughter number 2 did my monthly facial after I enjoyed the steam room followed by the most scrumptious, engulfing chair you would every want to sit in!

* Caring for beautiful, courageous women battling with breast cancer who daily bring encouragement and strength into my life. Today I had a message from a mom whose daughter I helped navigate the most complicated insurance problem I have ever encountered—the news—she was reinstated!!

*I will even celebrate the snow powdered ground to which I awoke this morning. While winter is not my favorite season there is a still and quiet beauty that comes this time of year.

 

I am encouraged by the simple splendor found in my daily life. I hope to make this a regular weekly post, please join me if you are up to the challenge!

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~Paige

Is Letting Go an Act or an Art?

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There are so many leaves. Piles of them.
I take pleasure in their abundance.
More saints than you could ever dream of.
Each one singular. Each one itself.
Red, yellow, orange, parchment.
They sail down in the autumn air like fearless skydivers.
They are so trusting—letting go completely.
Not questioning as I do….Will it be safe?
Will I understand? Will it hurt?
……..Stalling, qualifying, questioning,
instead of releasing and taking to the air.

~Gunilla Norris
*******

I heard this poem several weeks ago while resting in Savasana at the end of a particularly satisfying yoga practice. The words struck a chord in my soul. I began to ask questions of myself and as so often is the case God began to place other writings into my hands to allow me to dig deeper and discover inner places that need to be surrendered into His sweet and loving hands. I suspect you, like me have ideas, hurts, fears, unfulfilled dreams that should be let go of to be made whole. I want to be like the leaves, fearless skydivers. How about you?