T and T



Trauma and transformation walk hand in hand.  This truth allows me to embrace the broken places in my life, without cursing them but excepting them as a pathway to peace.

Thank you for the lessons I have learned in and through the rooms of recovery.

Ending nine years and entering my tenth, recovering back my past and celebrating my future.
Cris

What is it time for me to let go of?




"Getting through transition is not easy, but unlike the change-wall, transition represents a path to follow. To change your attention away from the change-barrier and toward the transition-path, you need to start where the transition itself starts: with letting go of the inner connections, you had to the way things were. The question that always helps you to shift your focus from the change to the transition is, 'What is it time for me to let go of?'"
—William Bridges

  Only two months left until we move the front porch and the family.  Looking at all that is to be gained, while allowing our hearts to feel all that will be lost.  It is time to let go of what was and prepare to step into what is.  Even though our address will be changing our attitude, will not.  We still have a heart for authentic community and we believe that building it starts with one conversation at a time.  We believe that listening well, asking good questions and pausing on purpose throughout the conversation allows for healthy
connections.  We still believe that those connections we make are either for a reason a season or a lifetime.

  As we let go of this time and place, we will hold tight to the memories we have made and the relationships we have established.  We will shift our focus from one front porch to another, leaving space for the new season we are about to enter. 

Cris

Trust In Myself



Dear Me,
Today I will trust you to be true to your word.  I will trust you to live in the slow, simple, small moments of your day.  I will trust you to be honest with how much you are able to give and how much you are able to receive.  I will trust you to walk by faith and stomp out fear.  I will trust you to remember where you came from and continue to dream about where you are headed.  I will trust you to be yourself in all areas of your life so that you can live, fully and freely, flying about your circumstances and soaring into the possibilities.




I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

I AM ENOUGH



Sitting in the sacred spot of stillness and this is what I found.
Owning my story means sometimes not sharing it with the world in words but rather through actions.

In the being still, owning my story and being brave, I have come to believe that
I AM ENOUGH.










Turned off, unplugged and stepped away.


Greetings from The Front Porch! 



  
The three most important lessons I learned this summer after I turned off my Facebook account, unplugged my email app and stepped away from the hourly internet checks were these. 




Lesson 1: (SLOW)
 Slow, “be the turtle!”  As I entered into my summer vacation embracing the pulling away and unplugging, I wondered where my discipline would take me.  Of course, just as Dorothy clicking her heals, I ended up right where I was, home.  It seems like the lessons of being the turtle were all around me, thanks to lawn ordainments and good friends. While I chose to slow down even more these past several months, I was able to catch an even greater glimpse of why it was important for me to slow down during this season of summer time.  Thanks to the lesson of the turtle, I was able to enjoy the last summer on my front porch and all who came by to visit as they saw the for sale sign sitting on our lawn.  Being in a hurry would have prevented me from all the amazing conversation and connections I had through out the summer as I prepare to change the address of the front porch.  Thank you lesson number one! 


Lesson 2: (SIMPLE)
Keep it simple and simple it was, as I entered into the summer months without any agenda, or even a plan of action other then enjoying my time with the teens and spontaneous visits on the front porch as my husband would join us after a long day of work.  Even our traditional July 4 party was intentionally simple which allowed for deeper conversations and genuine connections.  Again, preparing us for the next season of our life. Thank you lesson two!

Lesson 3: (SMALL)
Small, tiny, petite, there is value in the little things in life.  A moment in time is small but can be life changing.  The tiny hands of a newborn wrapped around ones finger, small but profound, especially when those tiny fingers are that of your first grandson. Thank you lesson three.





Therefore, as I step back into the schedules, school days, and agendas and to do lists, I will remember that slow, simple and small gave me the vacation my body, soul and mind needed as I prepared for this next season in my life.  Less is more when it comes to living life to its fullest.  Do not be afraid to embrace the slow, simple and small things of life, you just might find you are abundantly blessed!

Cris  

Happy Summer



Dear Friends,
Summer is just around the corner.  The longest day of the year is about to arrive.  With that in mind, I will be living in the moment more then usual.  I will be stepping away from my writing, blogging  and schedule to prepare for the next season in my life. 

I have learned to use summer as a time of resting, though I have not been this intentional.in the past.   As I have shared with many of you already, the stepping away from social media was in preparation for such a time as this. 

My mind is clear and my calendar is white.  This leaves me with room to pack, plan and dream about what tomorrow will bring.  Life beyond the front porch is what I am calling the next season. 

We are putting our home on the market and looking to move in the next several months.  Our first grandchild is due any day now and we have a desire to live in community with the family as a whole.

Learning to listen, ask, pause and repeat has trickled from the front porch into our extended family life.  We are seeing the benefit of living the front porch philosophy of creating community one conversation at a time in our relationships under the roof.

So, as I step away from my keys and step into the summer, please keep me in prayer.  I will be revamping my blog and launching a website towards the fall.  Keep an eye out for The Front Porch coming this fall!!!!

Cris


Dear Courageous, Brave, Beautiful Me....


Greetings from The Front Porch,
Friends, sometimes I write to myself to remind me of where I have been, where I am at and where I am going.  I thought that I would share today a brief little letter I wrote to myself as I walked through the parenting process of letting go.

The good news is, I am still in a season where they return.  My girl is home and tomorrow night my boy arrives back in California just before midnight.  What a lesson I continue to learn.  And, my grandson is due any day now!

 _______________________________________________________________________


Dear Courageous, Brave, Beautiful Me,
I know without God's help you would be totally and utterly lost through this process of letting go so they can grow.  You have also learned that just because you are  hurting does not mean you are hurt.

I am proud of the way you have listened well, asked good questions and paused on purpose through this process.  Parenting is not easy and your heart will hurt but you can do this.  Look around, be thankful for those who have joined you on this journey, you are not alone.  Two are better than one. 

As you feel the strain of your mama muscles start to pull every time you let go, remember it is just that, a strain not a break.  This lesson will carry you through as the process looks like your past, but it is not.  You were created to let go.

Being a parent does not make you a victim but rather a victor. Like you, your children were made to fly.

You are courageous, brave and beautiful!

Love
Me

Copyright 2012 Chaplain Cris Nole www.crisnole@blogspot.com Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact crisnole@hotmail.com

I Did Not Sign Up For This....





Dear Heart,
I am writing to warn you that you will be leaving my body once again.  I know it feels like only yesterday when I placed you on a plane and said goodbye.  It feels that way because it was almost yesterday when I did.  I wanted to give you a heads up so that you would not go into shock at 5PM tonight as I wave goodbye to you, promising to be here when you get back.

Friends, I do not remember signing up for this 15 years ago.  Today at 5PM, I will be dropping my teenage boy off at the airport with a group from our local middle school.  They will be heading to Washington D.C. and the Big Apple.  Yes seemed like the right response when he presented me with his request to join the tour,  two years ago.  


Little did I know how hard it would be on this mama’s  heart.  What was I thinking when I agreed to let him go?  Not to mention, he will be gone on his 15th birthday, a first for the both of us.




So many circumstances 15 years ago around his birth, which led me  to hold on to him and not want to let go the moment the nurse placed him in my arms.  When I first made eye contact with his big blue eyes, the thought did not cross my mind that one day I would be required to love him enough to release him.  


Nope, I did not sign of for this.  I will say though,  that my heart has been preparing for this moment in time more then I realized.  It is a bittersweet moment when I want to hold on but I know I must let go.  There have been many benchmarks over the last decade and a half that has prepared me for today.  Looking back allows me to be confidant in the way I will choose to let go today. 





 This morning I had the most beautiful conversation with a friend of mine.  We have a standing date every Wednesday to chat by phone.  She lives on the other side of the nation but it always feels like we are on the front porch together as we share our struggles, victories and future dreams.  We fold into our conversations as if we were in the presents of one another, and if my eyes were closed, I would think no different.  As we started our typical conversation, with the how are things going?  

I almost decided not share with her how tender my heart was feeling as I was preparing to let another child go within a matter of a week.  My vulnerability made me feel like a pathetic parent, and I was afraid that she would think less of me. Not that she has ever given me reason to believe she would think way, mind you.    I stepped past my fear and decided to share and what do you know? My sweet friend had experienced the same emotions, the same tenderness too as well to the letting go so they could grow part of parenting.

The front porch has become more then a place.  It is an attitude about the truth of two.  Two are better than one, there is a greater return for our work and when wee fall down there is always someone there to help us back up, even from across the nation.  


My sweet precious friend encouraged me today with her own willingness to share her stories of letting go and holding on.  There was a greater return for our work, as we shared our struggles,  the work of being a wife and a mother in a time when the value placed on both roles is so low.  She helped me up and out of the pit, I felt like I was falling into because I did not feel strong. 

I believe my heart can handle this, letting go so they can grow, a theme in my life as a parent who wants to love well.  Thank you my sweet precious friend for joining me on the front porch , there is no amount of miles that could keep the truth of two from happening when two hearts choose to be vulnerable.  And though I did not sign up for this 15 years ago, I will say, I would not change a thing about the journey we have traveled and the new one we are about to embark on.


Mom and Son
June 2012



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Blogging Friends,
Thank you for traveling this road with me through my posts. Your words of encouragement, emails and comments help me realize how much we are all alike.   I would love to have an open dialogue in regards to your own experience with coming to terms with the letting go so they can grow part of parenting.  


Please join me today on the front porch as we challenge one another, encourage and inspire each other to listen well, ask good questions and pause through out our conversations.  Building community one connection at a time is how I am finding myself able to let them go so they can grow. 

Cris

Dream Big!


Greetings from The Front Porch!

Part 2 Of Letting Go and Loving Well

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." ~ Walt Disney

God has placed inside all of us the capacity to dream big, for ourselves and for those around us. Because he is a big God, our dreams should be big as well. In our genes is the capacity to accomplish amazing things. Look at who created us, the father of all imagination. 

All I have to do is look around me to see what kind of imagination God has. From trees to flowers, people, animals, so many different kinds the variety just is mind blowing. To think of all the billions of people who have ever walked this earth and I am an original a one of a kind there is is no other person like me anywhere, that is pretty spectacular!

So what are some of my big, spectacular, amazing God size dreams? Well,  I dream of one day letting go completely of my children and watching them grow into faith filled, fearless and courageous women and men of God who have a heart for His truth. I know  for this dream to come true that I have to be willing to set the example before them.

Recently I shared the answer to the question “who is the most influential person in my life”. As I reflected on my circle of influence, I came to the answer, by far without a doubt it would be my 16-year-old daughter. I watch how she mimics me, the way she talks, walks, dresses and believes are a mirror reflection of her mama. I watch the look in her eyes when I lack integrity in my words and actions and I realize what a confusing message that sends her. 

I take my role in her life very seriously because I know she is a gift from God to be trusted with, not a possession to be owned. I know that one day I will be letting her go, not with my heart but with my hands. I want her to look back on her years at home with memories not of perfection but perseverance.

When she looks back on her time in the home, I want her to remember how we as a family persevered through some difficult times but by the grace of God, we grew stronger as individuals as well as a family. I want her to be able to look back and remember that our faith was a central theme in our home and lives as well.

Being her mother has been one of the most amazing jobs I have ever had. It stretches me in ways I never thought would be possible. It has broken my heart repeatedly as well because letting go is not easy but holding on can prevents her from growing. 

Like any good parent, I do not want my children to be in pain but the truth is that through the painful experiences in life, we grow the most. That is if we are willing to persevere, that would be my hope in the fact that she is learning those lessons here while she is still under our wings.

Who would have thought that dreaming big meant letting go?


P.S.
I heard from her yesterday, she said, "mommy, words cannot describe how much I miss you."  Thank you God for giving me the ability to let her go so she can grow!

Cris

Letting Go and Loving Well...





Greeting from The Front Porch!

The sound of John Denver rang in my ears as I watched my 16-year-old daughter walk away from me and into the mouth of the airplane.  Though I knew she would be back again, it felt like I was letting her go forever.  I know that I am one of millions of moms around this world who say goodbye for the summer to their child, but that did not make letting go any easier.  I realized 16 years ago that for me to love her well, I would have to let her go.


She was brave, I was scared, she was ready to fly and I was ready to hold her down.  It was a good thing that she walked fast, or I just might have chased after her and stopped her from the take off.  The other passengers blended in with her and all I could see was her back until they all boarded the plane.  I was left standing by myself wondering if I was about to melt into my loss of letting go.

 In fact, I could almost hear her voice as if she was three again, calling me into the room to sing her a song before she went to sleep, “mommy, run along home.”   She was now more of a woman and less of a child and it was time to start learning how to let go.  I was determined to wait until take off before I left my seat, even if it meant I would be a sobbing mess in the middle of the terminal.


As a result of sticking around to watch the giant tin box take off into the sky, I became highly aware of the conflicting emotions I felt deep within my soul.  Loss and gain, fear and courage, hope and despair, they all came flooding at me like a stormy night.  How could it be that the time had finally come?  When did my little girl grow up and when was it OK for me to let her go?

I simply had to embrace the conflict within me so that I could feel her future collide with my faith.  The faith that spoke to me when I was a young mother, struggling with letting her cry herself to sleep.  The faith that spoke to me when I walked her through her first steps, first tooth and first love.  The faith that said, “love her enough to let her go.”  The faith that said, “this will hurt your heart but you are not alone.  Loving well means letting go.
  ___________________________________________________________________

Are you in a season of letting go so they can grow?

Well means doing something good.  How do you choose to let go well?

Encouragement Step:  Next time the loss is because its time to let go, remember for our children to grow they must go.  Feel your emotions, give yourself permission to grief the loss and allow yourself to celebrate the next season.

I am praying for all my readers who are mamas out there who are in such a season as this.  You are not alone.

Cris


Brain Strain...



Have you ever had a brain strain?  In a world where information overload is a given and mind medication is taken more like a supplement, I think it is time to slow down and step away from what can cause the brain to strain.  Over stimulation is one of the number one causes of mental madness. 

As a result, I have come to believe that just because I am capable of holding a lot of information, does not mean I should.  Anymore then sitting down and gulping down a gallon of ice cream, just because I can.  Only after stepping away from social media did I realize the effect it was having on my own peace of mind.

In fact, just a few days into the disconnecting and I already feel a difference in my mental state and spirit. There is a peace in my mind as I live in the moment and dream about the future, one that does not consist of following a post, filling in an update or catching up on yesterday's rants.

I also made the decision to disconnect my email from my phone for the summer. This is putting me in control over what will come into my mind and when I will allow it.  I feel my brain taking a breath of fresh air as I put a stop to all the information coming at me.  There is a sweet silence hovering over my mind.  As I have even asked others not to share the post the put up or the walls they have read.

Furthermore, it has become evident that the brain strain caused my mind to turn to mush and my hobby became a habit. Checking the walls of cyber space more then the walls of my heart, was just another reason why I chose to step away from media and enjoy this season of rest and renewal.  Like spring cleaning for my house, or fasting food for my body, this is a type of de-clutter for my mind.

Three months seems like a long time to go without until I look at all I gain.  I can feel my brain sighing with relief and my heart beating gentler as I fold into my convictions.  It is hard to live in authentic community when I am more focused on face book rather then the faces in front of me. Just because my brain is capable of holding much, does not mean my mind needs to. 

Cris


Transformation Of The Front Porch...


The transformation of the front porch became a safe place to connect into community.  Only when people are willing to listen more and talk less do they feel safe.   The circle of friends leaning in and listening well provided for an environment of connecting at a deep level that happens when the human spirit experiences a safe place.

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. “(Romans 14:22 ESV)
This was the verse I had read just read moments prior to the gathering on the front porch.  I do not believe God was telling me to shut up but I am confident in the fact that he was prompting me to listen well and talk less.

As people started pulling up in their cars and preparing to join me on the porch, I allowed what I had just read to make a home in my heart.  Note to self, “keep my faith to myself, keep my intentions in check and know that people feel safe when people feel heard.”  Intentional listening had to become the driving force for the transformation to take place. 

For this reason, I led with my silence and spoke from my heart.  Not telling people how to listen but showing them how to be silent.  The natural tendency for the crowd to converse while others tried to communicate slowly stopped. 

A beautiful dialogue took place between a community of believers who showed up to share as everyone chose to lean in and listen.  As a result of the choice to listen well and talk less, people connected at a deep level and community happened.  Souls felt safe enough to share and the front porch became a sanctuary for our Sunday morning fellowship.

Thank you all who come to the front porch, who choose to be transparent and authentic as we gather and grow together, for a reason, season or a lifetime.  Two are better than one, we are created for community and that is the heart of the front porch.

Cris Nole
The Front Porch


Smoke Rings and Big Dreams...




Greetings From The Front Porch......

Authentic BBQ is a lot like Authentic Community, “low and slow is the way to go, hot and fast, will not last.”

There is a saying among the true BBQ trade, “low and slow is the way to go.” By allowing the meat to cook on low for a long period, it permits the juices to moisten the meat and add flavor to the food.

This can only happen when the cook also known in the BBQ trade as the pit master is willing to persevere through the process of waiting. The payoff is worth the wait.

Hot and fast will not last and the problem with this way of making meat is that unless you have experienced low and slow you will never know.

People have a tendency to except the counterfeit way until they experience the real deal, this can be said about many things, from food to friendships.

The smoke rings billowed out of the stack and the smell lingered in the air and floated into the neighborhood. The sun had already sent itself to bed and he had just started his journey to prepare the process of prepping the meat and stoking the fire. The pit master AKA, The Midnight Smoker©, AKA, Steve Whiting is all about the real deal.

Steve Whiting is the founder of The Midnight Smoker BBQ© the name of the business portrays the process of low and slow. You will find him up in the middle of the night in front of his grill flipping meat all in order to produce authentic BBQ.



This past weekend The Midnight Smoker BBQ© and team had a community event where the dream of the business were shared and a commercial was produced. Authentic BBQ came together with authentic community and a dream continued to unfold.

Through this process of dreaming big, The Midnight Smoker BBQ© and team can honestly say that they have learned something rather significant as they embraced their dream of being the best BBQ anyone has ever tasted along with connecting people into community one meal at a time.

They have learned that building authentic community like authentic BBQ has been a by-product of low and slow. All those sitting in the park, participating in the process of the production were people they had spent time with over the years. These were people who they have loved and lived with in community, for a reason, season or a lifetime.

There were no counterfeits in the park that day. Low and slow was the way to go, from the pit, to the pull pork to the people in the park.

The Midnight Smoker BBQ © and Team would like to say thank you all once again for all your support and encouragement as they continue to press into their dream.

Steve, Donna, Tony and Cris

Whispers from the Heart of God...




Dear Child,

My ways are not your ways.  Live in your why and your questions will be answered, if not here then in heaven.  

Sometimes my ways will feel like the wrong way.  I challenge you though to seek me out through the feeling and find the truth.

I have not forgotten you my child.  I think about you all the time.  You are the reason I died and rose again.

Do not let the pain of the process swallow you up.  Keep on persevering and you will be set free.

Run from those who want to rescue you.  Turn away from those who think they can save you.  Taken out of your trial can prevent you from growing in your faith.

My ways are not your ways.

Love Your
Creator

Allow Me To Introduce My Three Children...



Greetings from the Front Porch. 

Many of you have come to know me through the blogging community, so I thought since Mothers Day just passed; I would share a little bit more about myself as well as introduce you to my children. 

Allow me to introduce you to my three gems.   Amanda, the one with the bump, is my oldest and holds a very special place in my heart.  I met her when she was five years old and said I do to her daddy when she was just seven.  I have always said she was the easiest one to give birth to because all I had to do was say “I DO!”  The stretch marks from her are all on my heart.   The smile on her face is genuine and authentic.  She has taught me how to love unconditionally and how to value the individual.  She has been married for almost two years and is expecting her first child in June.

My second in line, Sami, is my bundle of energy; she came out ready to lead this world.  She is a 16-year-old half girl half woman, who wears her heart on her sleeve.  Her convictions are strong and her faith is profound.  She believes that people can change if you give them a chance.  She is my hero and my heart.  I can say without a doubt that I am still alive today because she knew what to do in the moment of crisis.  She giggles a lot and has no problem laughing at herself.  When life throws her a lemon, she makes lemonade. 

Last but not least is my youngest, my boy Vito; he is just shy of being 15.  I believe God gave me this man-child to remind me not to take life to seriously.  He lives in story and thinks in scenes.  He does not fit into a mold or into a box.  He is the reason his father found his own faith and the reason so many people believe in miracles.   Creativity and imagination lead his life; he is either writing, building or producing something new.  I love how he has always lived in the moment, an inspiration to a mommy who has a tendency to want to travel into the future.

What I love best about being the mommy of three is the way each of my children are so different and unique.  I love the way Amanda sounds when she speaks with her words.  I could cuddle with Sami all day and never get tired of holding her close.  And by far and still to this day, my favorite smell is the top of my boys head. 

Thank you blogging community for your encouragement and support over all these years.  For all you mothers out there,   I would love to learn more about your children and read about your stories.  Please feel free to send a response, comment or email, I promise to read and respond as well.

Cris@The Front Porch

Whispers from the Heart of God...





Stay in the moment, you will find me in the here and the now.  I am not in the future but you can trust me with your tomorrow, just stay in today.

Know your course, understand your plan; I will be with you wherever you go. 

Feel and see, I am good and I have so much to show you.  My way will not make your load heavy or your burden seem unbearable. 

You are not lazy but intentional.  You are not arrogant but wise.  Discernment will keep you from filling your plate with every opportunity that comes your way.

You are strong, brave and courageous.  You can do much in my name but know your season of being still.  Some days I will say, “Go,” some days I will say “stay.” 

You will find me in your stillness and I will give you all the strength you need.

Dreams are coming true, desires are unfolding and my kids are starting to talk, one conversation at a time. 

Stay in the moment, trust me with your future and know that I have marked out a straight path for you to follow.

Love Your
Creator

Garbage Trucks Make Me Grateful....




I lit three candles to set the tone, two on the coffee table and one next to my seat.  The cold wicker chair against my backside was a gentle reminder that it was not yet summertime.  The streetlights were still on and the day was about to break. 

I could feel the  cool breeze in the air whispering to me saying,  “spring is still here.”  I watched as the steam rolled off my coffee cup and into the air, disappearing into the morning silence.  The front porch is a peaceful place to be just before dawn.

I reserve the first part of my day,  cheering on the sun as it breaks through the darkness, otherwise known as the changing of the guards. 

The birds have become my friends,  I have convinced myself that God has sent them straight to my street to sing me a melody of songs.  Ancient readings, journal writing and reflections of truth have become my morning routine.

Her car rolled up to the curb, she quietly she made her way from her front seat to my front porch.  I could only make out her silhouette as she approached the patio, candles flickering in the background gave just enough light for me to see the smile across my friend face as she joined me for my early morning meditation . 

We would ever so softly speak to one another, sharing the fresh revelations we were receiving and then going  back to our souls and settling into the stillness. We ended our hour in thoughts, encouragement and prayer. 

She too fell in love with the choir made of birds and was catching the profound peace that was found by being still on the porch.  Silence between us told of a trust between two friends. 

All of a sudden,  the roaring of a motorized beast came bolting down the street, the green machine. I had forgotten it was trash day when I had invited my friend to join me.

All was well with my soul until the beast set sail in front of my driveway, a few feet from the front porch, my inner sanctuary was being disturbed and it did not matter how much I shushed the truck it refused to take a request and come back later. 

My peace went to anxiety as the noise of the trash truck became louder, containers of litter were lifted, dumped and dropped abruptly to the ground.

My eyes followed as the garbage truck methodically  removed my trash with its big metal claws from my side of the street, up and over and into its mouth.   

I found myself absorbed in the experience, watching and seeing  the similarity between garbage day and the creators  healing hands on my life, the whole actions appeared to resonate with my soul. I found  my anxiousness  turning into gratitude.  

In the blink of an eye, garbage trucks made me glad, in that moment I was reminded  about the truth of Jesus and how He chose to take my trash to the landfill (sea) of forgetfulness never to be seen again.

He loved me so much that He stretched out His arms and said it is finished and away it went. Instead of metal claws, metal nails took my trash away. 

Tuesday is trash day on my street. I will use this day to reflect on all that has been redeemed. I will use this day to make a list of how He turned my trash into treasures and cleaned up my curb.

No more will I find the green mechanical monster annoying . When I hear the sound of the steel truck coming down the street I will rejoice and be glad and never try to take back what He took away.  Garbage trucks make me grateful!



He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. He will cast all our  sins into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:19




"I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins"
Isaiah 43:25'



Cris

I Have Confidence...





My confidents comes out of my time with communicating with the Father, where my trust has been built, through Jesus Christ. So, when He says go, I am fully aware that He has called me so He will equip me for whatever work he sets before me.

My qualifications are not the same as what the world, religious systems and many others think they should be. I will not rely on the opinions of man as I say yes to His leading. My qualifications come from Him and Him alone.

I will stop second-guessing myself when He calls me out. I will press more into His presence and less into the voices of the crowd saying, "Who do you think you are?" My résumé is not like the average persons.

It is filled with life experiences that allow me to relate to people from all situations. My degree is not from a University but rather from the creator of the Universe. My degree is not written on paper but on my heart.

It gives me authority to go into places where most people do not want to go.  It gives me the authority to speak into and over the lives of the least of these. I will use my degree to set the captives free, to go back into the belly of the whale and to be like a light on a hill. I will be confident in my calling because He has qualified me.


Father, you amaze me and bring me into such a great place of thanksgiving. Thank you for choosing me to serve in such away. Thank you for equipping me for the call as I move forward in my yes. Everyday I find myself falling in love with you even more. Your ways are found in the stillness of my moments and I find myself longing for more moments with you. I love you and am here to say yes Lord Send me.

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. (2 Corinthians 3:4, 5 NLT)

Follow Your Heart.......



Whispers from the Heart of God…

Day 30












I created your heart to follow mine; I whisper softly to your soul, my voice is gentle and kind.  When you hear my voice, you will understand your calling, do not curse your struggles, past or present, they will be the very things I use to draw others near to me.

Do you want to know how to live?  Ask, seek, knock, I will always answer if your are willing to listen.  Directions for living can be found in your soul.  You will be shown many things to be true when you allow my spirit to speak to yours.

Help lead others in the way so that they to will know me and follow me.  Give me space and time and I will feed your soul.  You will thirst no more when you seek me with all your heart.




Follow your heart, know my voice.  I have great things I want to show you.

Love Your
Creator

Traffic On The Front Porch...




The traffic on the front porch today was a welcome surprise.  My husband left to run some errands in the foothills and the kids were scattered in two different directions.  Many people know that I am laid up for several weeks, minor foot surgery, so I am using the porch as a place to heal.  I prop my foot up on my wicker table, grab a good book, my Ipad and my cell phone, in case I need help.

If the front porch is all about connecting people into community then today it met its mark.  One of my favorite couples in the world stopped by with their little girl, flowers and a bottle of wine in hand.  Little did they know that just hours before their arrival I had been praying for such a visit.

What started out as a quick visit turned into an all day event, my heart was filled with joy as we laughed and reminisced about the past and dreamed about our future, history was the trademark and glue that held our relationship together, a common bond of faith as well,  individually and as couples for all these years.  

The smell of friendship was in the air as another car pulled up, filled with more of my favorite peeps and mutual friends to those already there.  The smiles on the faces of my friends as the made eye contact with each other melted my heart, “this is what the front porch is all about.”

Hours passed as we giggled together, I found myself almost in tears, thanking God for the conversations and connections that were occurring in the moment.  All was well with my soul as I found deep appreciation in the way God can use the pain of having to be broken to bring healing to not just my foot but to my heart. 

The traffic on my front porch is proof that we are called to live in community starting with one conversation at a time.  



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  1. Have you ever wondered if God could use your brokenness to bring people together?
  2. Have you ever allowed God to use your broken places to bring peace to people?
  3. Have you ever let yourself rest in those broken places, trusting the process of healing?



I never thought in a million years that I could be OK with being still.  Today, I am learning by relying on His leading that by allowing myself to use my broken pieces to bring peace to other peoples places that I no longer pray "God take it away" but instead "use me to help connect others into community either for a reason, season or a life time."  I believe without reservation that two are better than one and that to be a catalyst for these connections is what helps me walk through my own personal healing.


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Challenge:
Just for today, listen more, talk less and pause on purpose before you respond.  Use those pockets of pauses to let the spirit lead you into connecting others into community, one conversation at a time.  Watch how you too can become a catalyst for community and realize that The Front Porch is more about an attitude rather then a place.


Cris

Celebrate.....


Whispers from Heat of God….





Day 31



Celebrate what I have given you.  Find joy in the peaceful pockets of your day.   The moments most people overlook are the moments I am calling you to search me out in.  You will find me in the middle of the ordinary and mundane, you just need to be willing to peak and seek, you fill find me.


When you celebrate with  me, invite others to join you.  Share with them all that you have learned by letting go.  Will you share about the hope you found and the healing you received when you trusted me with your past?


Throw a party and invite your family, friends and those you have just met.  They will hear your story through the life you live.  Your peace and joy are contagious and those who come will want to know more about why you are the way you are.


When I call you to celebrate, it is not so that you can deny your struggles.  There is a time and place for both, but celebrating and thanksgiving will be the door that leads you to healing and freedom.  It will be the door to enter and share.


Life on earth is hard and you will have days that seem less then days to celebrate.   Those days I am will with you just the same.


Look to me, see me in all you do and all you go through.  I have not forgotten you, I have not let go.


Celebrate and see all I have given you.


Love Your
Creator


Bubbles, Birds and Bible Stories!










 It was 8:30 in the morning as I sat on my front porch basking in the Son while soaking up the sun, my eyes catch my boy blowing bubbles, and his excitement of such simplicity at the age 14 is a gift from God.  We have learned to live in the moment taking in every experience looking for the creators handprints on all we have and do, even soapy man cub hands.  His excitement makes me excited, I whisper a thank you to God above for the simplicity of being still, and the profound gifts that come from slowing down. 



  In that moment I also  found myself thanking God  for the birds I believe he sent to my porch to sing a special song to my soul, a reminder that all is well in this season of stopping and healing for my body.  Years in the making of being OK without being about doing. 




  I open my bible, looking for a great life lesson that will resonate with my own life experiences in the moment.  I love the history, poetry, conflict, restoration and redemption that run through the ancient teachings.  Today I fell in love with the writings in Hebrews that remind me of the faith it takes to walk away from the past and into the future.  I grasp on to the ink on the page and think WOW!  I could have written these stories.  A reminder that the human heart the human condition is the same today as it was yesterday.  Those with profound faith were those willing to walk away form everything they knew and follow the spirit of the living God.  The ink speaks of true worship then and now that happens in the kitchen, prisons, streets and for me my front porch.





  I felt like my ancestors who had gone before me.  Leaving the land I had only known,  entering into a future I could not see.  As a woman who left that land a long time ago and  is not tied down to the chains of her past anymore, I have to firmly but gently remind those who love me the most not hold my past against me, even if they are only joking.  “Do not send me back to Egypt with your words.”  The power of claiming something aloud can cause someone to allow chains around their life, I say, “NOT SO,  I will not go back.”   It is a choice and I say “do not even joke about who I use to be, do not treat me like I have not been healed and set free!”

  The best part about not living in the past is the freedom to speak my truth in love to others and ask them to stop.  God is good and He is about setting us free.  I do not think the people in my life who love me the most intentionally go out to put me back into prison but that is the power of  spoken words.  So with gentle thoughtful intentions, I must commit to myself to think before I speak, knowing that I too can carelessly send people back to Egypt with the words spoken from my mouth.

  Today I thank God for the freedom that came with “it is finished.”  I thank God for early morning moments on the front porch with my boy, bubbles, birds and bible stories.

Cris
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Challenge:
Just for today, can you look for HIS hand in the simple spots in your life?  
Can you be still long enough to navigate through your own noise and know His voice?  

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Belly Flopping Into My Fear....


When Scary Became My Story





  Getting over my fear without doing anything scary was like trying to learn how to swim without getting wet.  It was not possible.   I spent the first decade of my marriage reading all about relationships, parenting, communicating, faith; the list could go on.  Yet, I never truly allowed myself to swim in the ocean of experiences.  I never learned to treed in the water of despair or even dog paddle through my pain.

  I lived in a state of constant fear, believing I could first learn how to swim with out getting in the water.  I feared I would drown in my own experiences, triggered by the things in front of my face, namely relationships of all kinds. Rejection was like a wave that whispered in my ear and prevented me from entering into the pool of life.  I could explain to others how to swim, dive, dog paddle and float.  I on the other had was only good at on thing, the belly flop, no amount of book knowledge was going to teach me how to swim, and getting wet was the only way. 

  One day while standing to close to the edge of the water I found myself face first, belling flopping into my fear.   I was splashing around unable to catch my breath, almost drowning in the depths of my discomfort.  In the matter of minutes, I was forced to sink or swim, the choice was before me, life or death.  I waved an invisible white flag, silently hollering for help, hoping that someone would see that I could not swim.

  The hands of my husband reached out to me; all of a sudden, I was facing my greatest fear, I was scared that he would find out that I was a fraud.  Two choices presented themselves before me,  I could go down as an accidental drowning victim or allow myself to be fully known, exposed to the truth that I could not swim, the waters of  my life were taking me down.  In a moment of clarity, I gave myself permission to take his hand.  A decade of deceit was coming to the service and the truth was about to be revealed.   I had pretended to swim in the sea of life for so long that I had even convinced myself I knew what I was doing, until that fatal day when my husband found me almost dead.

  As he rescued me from the waters of my life, it became evident that the fear of rejection was false and the evidence before me was real.  The very same hands that pulled me out were holding me tight; he did not reject me but embraced me.  He did not laugh at what I did not know but was willing to help me learn how to swim (live).  This was the moment in time, when the scary became my story and I faced my greatest fear.  Getting over my fear without doing anything scary was like me trying to learn how to swim without getting wet, it was impossible. Today, almost nine year later, I can honestly say, “I can swim.”
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  This article is dedicated to my husband.  The ancient teachings instruct us to live life together.  Two are better than one, if one falls down the other can you up.  Thank you Tony for being my hero, my husband, my friend.  You have taught me how to live in the moment while trusting God with our future.  Not only did you become my lifesaver but my life preserver.  You are truly an amazing man of God and I thank Him everyday for you in my life and the way you point me back to Him.


  • Who do you have in your life that would reach out and rescue you if you were drowning in despair?
  • Do you deal with false fear appearing real?
  • Who do you know that would teach you to swim rather then swim for you?
  • Do you struggle with pretending to be at the cost of loosing your life?

  We were created for community for this very reason, for this season, for this lifetime .  God did not expect us to live this life alone.  We need one another.  I challenge you today,  if you do not allow yourself to be fully known, then it is the time.  Give yourself permission to be exposed, invite safe and healthy people into your life to teach you the lessons you need to learn.  The fear of the unknown is scary but drowning is even worse.

Cris
@The Front Porch