Why Her?

By now you have begun to notice that I am particularly engrossed with Wonder Woman. She is on my Facebook banner, my blog page, tattooed on my arm and her face saturates my writing space. You may also know that I am in the midst of writing a book, called The New Matriarch-woman of wonder, which speaks about the influential power that women possess and how we can use our presence to infuse truth and light, wherever we go.

What you may not know, yet, is that Wonder Woman’s story is very similar to ours. And although she was created as a comic book superhero, she is one of the greatest matriarchs of all time.

I’m so excited to be sharing this podcast with you all, giving you a glimpse as to why Wonder Woman is so special to me. This video is part I of a two-part podcast that gives you a sneak peek into the amazing project I’m working on. A special thank-you to Carrie O’Toole Ministries for the exceptionally fun interview. This is my story.

I believe that once we hear someones story and understand the trials they have overcome, that have led them to where they are today,  our love for them grows. So here’s to infusing more love into this planet today:

 

Stay tuned for more information regarding The New Matriarch, woman of wonder.

XOXOXO

M

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Ugly

On writing a book and every other thing under the sun:

Days come, they just do, that bring a sense of being “swallowed up” in fear and inadequacy: lack of writing skills, literary accomplishments or grammatical expertise. These pressures of performance, they loom on my shoulder. They just come, and they sit, resting on my heavy shoulders; these same shoulders that also carry words of a message, stories of hope.

Ugly words sprout from the depths of my mind – some fresh and bloody, others old and withered. Ugly words hovering with good words, intermingling and building in pressure, they remain.

I love the good words: inspiring, worthy, loved, precious, honorable, valiant, warrior. As beautiful and magnificent as they sound, their mere presence is unable dismiss the presence of the ugly words: worth-less, lone-ranger, rejected, disposable.

sorry u ugly

I am just like you, in the sense that people are people and life is life and we must take the good with the bad and continue to weed out that which does not bear fruit. But what I can attest to is this: living in the fullness of Christ does not make me exempt from the ugly words. Their presence does not magically vanish because the Spirit is alive and thriving within me.

But it does give me grace.

Grace to face each of the ugly words – and surrender them.

When my daughter broke something of mine, she hid it. She remained conscious of this broken item until I asked her point-blank about it. She admitted it was broken, so I asked her to bring it to me. Now, I’m a mom, I know when something breaks, I know who did it and I most certainly know if and where it is hidden. Its inevitable. I’m a mom, I know everything.

It was not until she willingly surrendered it to me that we were able to talk about it and work through the damage as I took it from her hands and tossed it in the trash. I took her shame, disposed of it, and we exchanged love. You see, there is something about surrendering  our brokenness. It is a humble admittance of shame, a healthy expression of remorse. It may have been an accident, or even intentional disregard, but what happens inside of us when we reveal it to the One who desires to take it from us, is a freedom to learn and an opportunity to grow. We create space for something lovely to fill it.

I’m learning how to surrender those ugly words. I know full well that when people speak insults, they do not always realize the full weight of their words. Most people carelessly choose a word that seems to fit in an emotionally fueled conversation,  and it gets cannonballed out of their mouths. But the enemy knows. He knows what specific letters spell out that one stab that can cripple only you. He most certainly does. He prompts the exact diction that is meant to poison you to your core, unbeknownst to the one who actually uttered them.

So we must learn to surrender these ugly words, daily.

I find that when I release them to my loving Father, he replaces them with something else, something full of peace and  promise.

surrender

Hands lifted – are emptied – and returned full. 

  • I surrender too many goals and objectives in return for the simple joy of writing.
  • I surrender high expectations and receive a contentment of continual practice.
  • I surrender the false notion that my worth is tied up in the likes, shares or comments and receive a heaping dose of confidence in belonging.
  • I surrender yesterday and tomorrows worries and receive a greater awareness of living in the present.
  • I surrender weight and pressure in exchange for passion and opportunity.
  • I surrender my plans and receive freedom in the adventure –  wherever my writing may lead.

It’s a challenge, to surrender these ugly words. It’s a challenge to stand courageously in front of them, facing them and the damage they have done. But to move ahead, in freedom and love for ourselves – with greater room in our hearts to love others – we must learn to surrender the ugly.

What are your ugly words? I challenge you to list them (for your eyes only), and see them; face their ugliness and gently surrender them. Perhaps looking into a thesaurus and choosing the antonym of that word – and speak the truth over yourself. Call the dang thing ugly, kick it to the curb and then claim the beauty.

Surrender your ugly.

XOXOXO

M

Swollen

Can I just birth this bee in my bonnet already?! Somebody?!

You know that last month of pregnancy where you are huge, not sleeping well, annoyed by people, clothes, family and basically the entire world? Where you just want to get this sweet baby out and start living your life again?!  Well, here I am.

Yes, I did miscarry at 13 weeks a little over a month ago, but what I have inside me right now, is a birth awaiting.  I have been writing a book that was conceived a year ago and this baby is getting close to its due date. The coinciding effects of a pregnancy are most definitely present.

I just want to write this thing, already! I want to stay in my pajamas and write all day. I want to drink coffee  for every meal; I want to put on movies for my son that run 6 hours straight. I want to pop lunch in the microwave and pull out cereals for a “help yourself” kind of breakfast, every day. I want to sit on my butt, not exercise, not move, not leave this keyboard until this baby is living and breathing in my lap. I want to caress the covers of this book and flip through the pages, looking at the memories and resemblances. I want to continually tidy up my writing desk and spend quality time with my laptop and book proposal writing guides. I’m in full on nesting mode.

sorenbaby

I’m no longer hungry, I’m not even thirsty, I just want to write from morning till night.

Then, I feel guilty so I sit and play games with my family, biding the time until we say goodnight and I can continue to write.  I just want my lovely to hurry up and finish so he can feel nurtured and I can get back to writing.  I could throw food in a crock pot every morning so I can write all day without worrying about dinner every hour, but preparing for a crock pot meal is even more time-consuming than I have the time to willingly give!

I am no longer raising people, I am managing inconveniences. Ugh.

I have reached the point of no return and hereby give these words an eviction notice.

And so, today, I write; carefully balancing art with life to the best of my abilities at the end of this pregnancy.

On one of the baby websites I used to follow, there was an article listing 15 things that are only excusable in your last month of pregnancy.  Things like: wearing stained clothing, eating ice cream out of the carton, making a meal out of Costo samples, avoiding picking things up and not hesitating to ask your partner to do EVERYTHING.

Welp, that about sums it up.

Lovelies, please excuse me if I don’t return your calls or respond to your texts, immediately.  I still love you and I cherish my relationship to you, but the bun in this oven is almost done and this mama is a bit verklempt.  However, if you are a mama who has birthed her art and know of the writhing in pain of transition, please speak out in your wisdom. You are welcomed, invited to share your experience and understanding.  I humbly encourage your voice.

I am thankful for my midwife, Elora Nicole, and the story sisters who doula by my side. I look forward to sending out the birth announcement, and for the daydreams of creating  stunning artwork chosen to depict the face of this babe, that I will eventually share with you all, my friends.

For now, I have one small appeal to all of my loves, I would greatly appreciate simple, quiet prayers.

Prayers that cover, prayers that send love, prayers that send rain down and wash the spiders out.

Pray once, pray twice , whatever you like, pray for a week if it makes you feel right.

Could I just ask a simple request of you, loves, that you chat at least once with our Father above?

Ask him to bless this delicate gal – to bring her peace, for I know He shall;

 to send down the calm to settle this rise, of passion and purpose afloat in the sky.

To ground her and keep her secure in his graces, so she can write his words and speak to the faces –

that he sets before her, in his will and his time, opening up ears to hear His sounds of which I offer up my chime;

gratitude and thankfulness abound in my heart, thank you for your blessings in my life, and in my art. 

XOXOXO

M

This I know

I know how many wine glasses I own. Before my guests arrive, I take a quick inventory to make sure there are enough for everyone coming. A simple task of evaluating your supply is easy. It’s a quick game of visuals, adding and evaluating based on numbers.

What if we took a moment to take stock of our own personal inventory of our life experiences? Little glimpses of our life story, noted as factual moments that we are able to claim as absolute.  A compiled list of moments, that no one may take authority over or attempt to refute, because its truth lies solely within you; and where only you have  permission to claim it.

What if, by sharing that moment with others,  an understanding into who you are is exposed, that perhaps may change someones perception of you, bringing about a deeper love and greater compassion for others? Consider the possibility of inspiring a succession of moments, set free to bring about whatever is needed through their release.

My sisters and I can talk about anything and everything.  We reminisce, regularly, the mutual memories that shaped our childhood.  We each, of course, have our own personal adaptation of the event, but never do we discard another’s perception, as there is always something new to discover from an old remembrance.

sisters

As with many  women, I struggle with contemplating whether anyone would be interested in listening to me ramble about my life experiences. Who cares what I think, anyways? We never truly know the measure of impact our stories have on others.  And this is part of  being a writer: we release our words (art) into the world, and allow them to reach whoever they need to reach, for that very moment, for that very reason, that even the author will never know. Yes, its vulnerable. Yes, its risky.

so, here’s in celebration of who I am:

  • munched on rhubarb stalks that grew wild along the front steps of our commune in Alaska
  • Walked to the outhouse every night with my sister, in the woods of Alaska. And oh yea, I was 3
  • sat at the very tip of the north jetty of Samoa Beach and experienced the immense power of the breaking waves
  • while living on the coast I learned to appreciate finding sand in everything
  • felt 3 earthquakes size 6.0 and higher within 24 hours
  • listened to the boisterous cackle of my grandmother laughter and wanting it as my own
  • hearing of Kurt Cobain death while playing tennis in PE, my senior year of high school
  • went on a wild road trip with my best friend to San Fransisco for an REM concert
  • pretending to be a woodland fairy while playing in the Redwood Forest
  • driving my first car down the highway and having the hood fly up in the windshield
  • cut off all my hair and dyed it blonde to start over in a new state
  • fell in love with the painful beauty of tattoos
  • mustered up the strength to flee an abusive relationship
  • took my 1 month old baby with me
  • discovered my love for Wonder Woman was in direct reflection to being a single mother
  • burned a womans hair off while putting in highlights
  • told a man I love him and he ran away
  • said “yes” on top of a boulder in Waldorf Canyon to the man who ran away
  • fell in love with 200 girls while teaching at a beauty school
  • arose a matriarch amidst my daughters fight with cancer
  • got out of a speeding ticket by my daughter exposing her bald head to the officer
  • discovered the  pure power of the only true hope
  • moved to the country
  • experienced the awe-inspiring, amazing beauty of natural birth
  • read Lioness Arising
  • found myself, while among my neighbor, nature
  • learned that having chickens is not glamorous
  • looked in the mirror and spoke “You are a writer”

As my life continues to unfold, so will this list of moments, each one adding value to the inventory of me. Perhaps you can identify with one or two, or maybe you cannot and so the words begin to cultivate a greater understanding of others.

I encourage you to write your own inventory, put it to paper and speak of the moments that you know.  The moments that are of importance to you, for whatever reasons, that they might become warm, encouraging inspiration for others. Feel free to comment with your own list, or blog it and post it below!

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” 
― Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

M

A Red Tent Awaits

image compliments of: bayside red tent  circle
image compliments of: bayside red tent circle

A motherless daughter sits on the outer edges of  the red tent.  She is somewhat frightened and equally intrigued of her changing body.  She has been exploring herself, admiring her development and beginning to relish, in awe, this next season that is upon her.  Yet she waits for an invitation to come in to the inner sanctuary of the place where women disclose the silent understandings; uncovering  mysteries of these intense feelings and emotions that have been dancing alongside the beholding of her own transformation.     She longs to sit at the feet of those who have gone before, to touch the skin of a real woman of nurture and maturity. 

To be invited to come inside this tent would mean it was her time.  To meet a woman who truly loves every detail of the female form; one who has embraced its beauty and has welcomed its wildness; one who delights in celebrating the magnificent display of womanhood.  

When an excitement and passion, of an awakening of who you are, has summoned you to the intersection of passion and purpose; this is where the invitation awaits.  An invitation to feed your hunger for greater understanding; for deeper wisdom; to search out the heart of a loving guide who will explain all the wonder that you are in great search of.

Oh, to be a maiden in the red tent, to be silent and still; to push back my hair behind my ears and allow every word to be digested.  An adolescent enthusiasm of wonder and curiosity that pulses through my spirit, calling me out to present myself as a rightful attendee in this tent of insight.  I will attempt to only speak when spoken to lest my inadequacies expose my immaturity and drive me to retreat in the embarrassment of an arousal of passion before its rightful time. 

I am ready to take instruction, I am ready to learn understanding of those things in which I do not understand; those dreadful things that sit in front of my path preventing me to move forward.   My soul yearns for encouragement through criticism; the piercing words of love that bring development and growth.  I am ready for the sting as I have persevered through many a pain and it never fails to birth something beautiful.  

So here I sit, inside the red tent, under the shadows of the matriarchs who are gracious to share, and I say “thank you” and “yes, please” to any request, to any petition that you may have.  I shall  stand or I  shall sit, whatever you require, and I promise to mind, for my soul is thirsty and my spirit anticipates this next season that awaits to be ushered in. 

{ Friends, yes, a new season is upon me as I enter into my very first formal writing group.  Passion and purpose have been wildly stirring in me and I have finally decided to commit to stewarding well the gifts I have been given.  I hope to continue to inspire you in even greater ways and discover a deeper understanding of how to express in words, these things that ignite my soul.

This post was written to remind myself of why I am beginning this journey.  There will be obstacles, no doubt, even laziness and attempts of paralysis aimed at my diligence and courage.  I write this to quiet my inner critic and give the mic to the emerging apprentice.  To remind yourself of the why behind your commitments is to remind yourself of your values and your beliefs; those things that form who you are and how you live. I choose, today, to only give space and voice to the words that will arrest any anticipated fear or doubt. }

For Freedom,

Melinda

Bluegrass blessings

One of my favorite old-time hymns growing up, was  called “Victory in Jesus”.  My dad was a singer and guitar player in a Christian bluegrass band, and their country rendition of it would send us all to our feet, hooting and hollering about the celebration of victory we have, in Jesus. It was usually the “closer” song at their shows – with the banjo, fiddle, harmonica and several guitars collaborating in this bluegrass favorite. It always delivered.

Lighthouse Band

As a kid, I would watch people dance, clap, throw their hands in the air and sing along in sweet victory.  It was always amazing, always. I would usually run in circles or mimic some strange hopping movement from an old guy in the back – and then roll on the floor laughing.  There was always laughing. How could there be anything less than festivity  when we claim defeat over bondage in our life?!

Well, then I grew up, and found that sometimes a once sweet song of victory is followed by time on our knees and tears filled with hope.  Those days when we really want to claim it, but it doesn’t seem like its gonna happen. You know, facing the reality of what is.  And so, the song becomes less of a celebration and more of a prayer for hope.

I am reminded of this gift that was given to us all:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

I love the contrast of each of these fruits: power overcomes fear, love overcomes timidity and self-discipline is the capability to continue to remain a overcomer.

When we identify what it is that  ushers in fear, we can contrast it and consider what the opposite of that fear looks like in our life.  Is speaking in front of others something that stirs up fear?  Consider the courage needed to stand and deliver a message, and then consider that it is waiting for you, to dispel that fear, and move you into the joy that comes from overcoming it.   What is your fear?  Can you put a face to it, look at it, and then envision what the opposite looks like? Now consider that which attempts to hover a fear over us, is really something we are called to overcome!

Faith allows us to believe that power is readily available and that overcoming our fears is even a possibility. But faith without works is dead, right?  So knowing that power exists and not utilizing it is of no gain! I can own a lawn mower, I can clean it, fill it with oil and gas, but if I don’t pull that handle and crank it up and actually move it around my yard, then that grass is not going to get cut.

Start here:  Lord, thank you for your promise, thank you for your incredible love for me that you give me such rich gifts.  And Lord, not only  do I believe in the power you have placed inside me to overcome this fear, but Father, please show me what my part is, my action step towards activating it, today. As your faithful companion, I am willing and ready to walk out in your power, in faith, so I’m asking you to show me what that looks like, just for me, just for today. Thank you, Father. Amen.

Immense love for others gives us the courage to speak truth and life into them.  When we love like Jesus, we would lay down our own fear, pride and timidity, risking abandonment and rejection, in order to save others from pain, hurt or death.

When we sit by in silence and shake our heads at another’s misfortune, pain or damaging behavior, it does not allow our love to shine.  We then, become part of the problem, assisting in the thievery of fullness of joy, in their life. Honest, deep and sincere love comes alongside them, gently speaking truth and life from a heart that radiates love for them. We become courageous. Love that is bold, is seen and heard;  it is felt from near and far. Let your love shine, today.  Do not hide it in fear or timidity.

Start here:  Lord, I want to be someone who loves and loves well.  Please stretch and grow my heart for others, so I can have the courage to passionately care for them free from concern about looking silly. I want to be someone who encourages others and inspire them into finding freedom, joy and peace in their life.  I want to share what you have done for me, to help someone else find that same victory, in you.  Thank you, Father.  Amen. 

Self discipline is ours to claim over it ALL.  We may celebrate a victory over fear and timidity, but the challenge to remain in that power and love is not easy, it gets harder and harder the more complicated life gets.  I may have declined that second serving of cheesecake today, but tomorrow may be a different story.  Thankfully, that most empowering last word of this promise in scripture  is self-discipline.  The Lord gives us the strength to discipline ourselves, holding captive any thought or belief that does not fall in line with His character.  We are able to arrest those attacks and replace them with truth, according to the discipline we cultivate by practicing power, and practicing love.

Each time we rehearse using these gifts, we become more comfortable using them and more equipped to handle them.  They become our friends, our comrades – lifting us up when we are down, encouraging us when we stumble, and then when we start to actually see the blessings that come from holding them close, we become quicker to claim them over our life in any and all circumstances and situations.

Start here:  God, I thank you for giving me self-discipline.  It is not easy to practice this, and you know this, so thank you for your patience and your understanding with me.  You know my heart, you know that I long to be someone who is disciplined in exercising the power and love that you have given me, so I ask for continued strength to persevere. Even when I fail, I will commit to trying again.  I will never give up on the eternal hope that you have given me.  Thank you for the courage to never stop trusting you and to continue drawing from your strength and your power, in my life. Amen.

 

This verse speaks of freedom waiting to be claimed.  A treasure, no longer hidden but ready to be cashed in for profit.  Its verses like this that remind us of our inheritance that is active and living in us.  You have already received it, it is yours.  So today, take it! This gift has got your name all over it and it’s not even wrapped. No mess to clean up.  It’s perfect for you and it’s just your size.  Its your favorite color.  It smells amazing.  Its flawless and was given to you from a loving Father who knows your every need and anticipates your every desire.

Go ahead, take it.

M

psst…want to read more about how this verse speaks to others?  Swing by Eyes of Your Heart and listen to the beautiful heart of Stacy Voss.