Be The Turtle

  “It is the pace of the race, not the need for speed.”  The thought ran through my head as I took one more step into my fourth mile of my five-mile run this particular morning.



  Be the turtle was all I could think as I wanted to pump up the notch that would lead me to speed.  I wanted to start breathing hard, sweating bad and gasping for air; if I did not struggle, could it really be considered a work out?  At the same time I knew better, I was looking to build more endurance not have a heartache.  I needed to chuck my hare mentality out the doors of the gym and remember, “I am a turtle.” 

  It has not always been easy for me to slowdown, especially when I am engaged in something I enjoy.  I also have the habit of trying to move quickly through tasks that should take more time such as listening, speaking and preparing.  My hare mentality has away of kicking in and trying to speed through the process of life.  The only problem with that, I usually end up with injuries.  Whether they are mental, physical or spiritually pulled muscles, it will happen when I am in a hurry. The need for speed will leave me with a twisted ankle, distorted thinking or riffs in my relationships. 

  I remember years ago, driving home from an event, alone in my car, I felt a still quiet voice in my head telling me to  “be the turtle.”  My need for speed was not a very good example to those I had been leading as well as my young children who were watching.  Back then I was always frantic moving from one activity to the next, dragging my family and friends along.  I took pride in my to-do lists and all the activities I juggled.  Yet, I was not a clown and my life was not a circus.  I had an hour in traffic to practice my newfound calling.   Embrace the pace; I knew most of my friends at the time would have encouraged me to ask myself, WWJD?   Not I, “WWTTD?” That was more like it.  What would the turtle do, not very spiritual, yet, it did help calm my spirit. 

  Slowing down took practice, it took being purposeful about the pace of my race.  WWTTD meant changing the way I looked at life.  The way I reacted and interacted with myself and everyone else.  Embracing the turtle pace meant retiring the rabbit that lived deep inside of me, the rabbit that felt like if it did not keep up it would be left out.  Practicing being the turtle during traffic took patients and faith that I would get to my destination that day but I was determined to follow the still voice that was leading my way.

  One of the greatest gifts I received as I traded in my rabbit’s foot for my turtle shell was the gift of eye site.  Even that day on the freeway, stuck in traffic, practicing my new found pace, I found peace.    There were opportunities, people, places and things I had missed, passed me by when I was under the impression that the need for speed was the way to be.  As I embraced the pace of the race, I experienced grace, the kind of grace that came when one choose to slow down.  It was the kind of grace that came when one believed that the journey was more important than the destination. 

  I love to be the turtle.  Today I will occasionally find myself triggered by past feelings.  It is in those moments where I want to put on my running shoes, get in my sprinters stance and rush through the experience so I do not have to feel what is familiar.  I want to let the hare pop its head out of the past and invite it into my future so I could speed through the moment.  However, the good graceful turtle that took over many years ago has away of over powering the not so tough rabbit that wants to takeover.

 Looking back over the years, I find myself thankful for the way the creator caught my attention on that busy traffic filled road many years ago.  It was the start of something new and the end to something old. It was the moment when I realized that the pace of the race was greater then the need for speed.   

Thank you for letting me share.
Cris

I Think It is A Pocket








  One minute we were diving deep into the sea of discussion, the next moment we were laughing over stitches in pockets and glass cacti in the desert.  The authenticity I felt in that moment reminded me of the unspoken commitment we had made the moment we met, many years before.  A promise to keep the friendship real went without saying.  She was a sweet surprise that landed in my arms and took up residency in my heart.  She came in and out of my life in the physical for a short season.  Sometimes it feels like the experience was not even real. 






  It was time to put bodies to the background of all the phone calls made through out the years.  We were both in desperate need of more then a voice.  Both of us in transitions and feeling the familiar pains of change took us to a place somewhere in between.    The desert, what a great place to help hold space for transition; it had been over two years since we had seen each other.  When it finally happened, it felt more like home then a hotel room. 



  I believe we walked and talked our way through a marathon over the three days we were together.  A beautiful exchange of stories went on in the heat of the desert.  A truth that told us both we were going to be alright as long as we continued to press in to what appeared to be the uncomfortable part of our story arc.  The part of the story where life forever changes and there is no going back, the part where life gets messy and humanness feels prickly. 

  Embracing the arc of our stories also meant trying knew experiences.  OK, that sounds like a good excuse to rent a Cherry Red Convertible Mustang instead of a compact conservative gas saving car right.  I mean, transition is hard, why not make the most of it.  We embraced this experience like two little six year olds embracing cotton candy at the fair; we were fully in, feeling spunky and free.  This particular day we were in search of the Phoenix Botanical Garden.  Arrows, signs and sounds should have made it a simple shot to the parking lot but no, all of our spunkiness caused us to bypass the exit, anyone watching must have thought we looked more like two dogs chasing their tales, then two friends in search of a landmark. 


 
  I chuckled to myself when we missed the turn, I had thought, “how hard could this be, we were looking for a garden in a desert?”  At the same time, I had never been to a botanical garden, just saying the words made me want to wash my hair, not take a hike.  We finally caught our tales and found our spot, pulled into a parking spot and prepared for our journey.   “We need to put the top up,” extenuating the word top as I told my friend, because, she kept calling it the lid as if we were a jar of pickles.   After the lid went up, I asked if she would pop the trunk, I wanted to leave my purse.  Grabbing my money and phone to put in my back pocket, I was surprise.  My pockets appeared to be like plastic fruit glued to the table of a model home, just for looks, or I thought.  That is when I found myself bent over staring at my toes, my friend behind me preparing to use her car keys as a knife, to do surgery on my pants.  You can only imagine what this must have looked like to those passing by.   As she released each stitch, I prayed that she was right and that the pockets were just sewn shut.  If not,  I would look funny walking around with a huge hole revealing my backside; at least there would be cloth to show for, thanks to the seamstress/underwear coach, which is a whole other story. 

  I could feel her unthreading the pockets’, stitch by stitch, she would pull and I would giggle.  Then it hit me, people walking by would glance over their shoulders or look out of the side of their eyes.  We lost it as we realized the seen we had made.   Laughter and snot came out of her face as I simply said “and that won’t attract attention.”  We both busted out in that deep gut wrenching laughter that does a body good. Not only did we both get a much-needed gift of uncontrollable giggles, so did those who crossed our path.  On a serious note, my pockets were real and my backside was safely covered.  Oh, how I love to laugh. 

  Our time together ended as quickly as it began and all of a sudden, I felt like a six year getting ready to say goodbye to my childhood friend.  Everything in me wanted to fight the feelings that were welling up inside.  I did not want to let go, I wanted to lean in and hold on forever.  I felt safe sharing space with my soul sister.  Yet, the adult in me knew the time had come.  We both needed to enter back into our transitions, our story arc and continue to run the race set before us.  We had helped each other through asking, listening, pausing and repeating.  We had both chosen to dive deep, laugh hard and share openly, which allowed us to enter back into our stories with courage.  We sat on the edges of our beds knowing the time had arrived, we prayed together and promised each other we would be back next year, believing that God works out all things for good.




    True friendship is not about how much time you spend together,  but about the kind of time you spend when you are together.   Thank you my sister friend for traveling this road next to me.  Until next year, be safe, be free, be you!

Cris


Whispers From The Heart of God.....



  Good morning beautiful!  I smile when I think about how far you have come.  You are walking in the freedom of faith and the result is health, healing and wholeness.  I love you my child.  You are never alone.  Continue to embrace and live in the context of the story that I have created for you.

  Trust your intuition; it is much more aware then ever before.  You have found the right steps, intuitions, intentions and then edit if needed.  You are much stronger then you even realize.  It takes strength to live in the slow, simple, small moments of life. 

  The world does not celebrate what you have embraced, but I do.  Humility and courage are the byproduct of the life you have chosen.  Love well my child.  There is no need to complain, criticize, compete or compare, those will only bring you pain. 

  Be a builder of life, use your words and silence with care.  Both can bring either life or death, you get to choose. Sitting at my feet gives you the spirit of Mary, eyes to see, ears to hear and a mind to think in terms of what matter most. 

  You have learned to trust, not because you get or I give, you have learned to trust me in spite of that, because you know me.

You are loved, today, tomorrow and forever.


Love Your Creator 

Bush Dream Garden

What does one do when one is led to close the BOOK and just be with I AM?   A few months ago, that is what I did.  Ten years of reading through the ancient, teachings and I fasted what had become a habit.  The result.



Whispers from the Heart of God…

  Close one book and prepare to open another.  I am with you wherever you go.  My desire is never for you to make me a habit.  Human nature makes that happen unless on purpose, you are willing to change it up and you were!  Thirty days of putting your ear to the still quiet beginning of your day.  Can you hear me whispering to your spirit?  “I love you, you are enough.”  Nothing you do will ever change how I feel about you.  My word, sprit and truth lives inside of you.

  You are stronger then your mind can imagine.  A mind of Christ is what makes you mightier today then yesterday.  You are able to understand my strength in you when you walk through a struggle.  Thirty days of trusting me with a new way to start your day.  Trusting me gives you the ability to experience me in a new way, everyday.  A book, page, story or sentence cannot confine me. I live outside of tradition and habit.  I live in the heart of my creations.  I live within people, families and communities. 

  Everyone will experience me in their own way, through a separate lens of experiences.  People come from different places, pasts and pain.  That does not mean one person is right and on person is wrong.  If you want to use the ancient teachings for anything, use them as a reminder for this truth.  I AM.  One person saw me in a bush, another in a dream and yet another in the garden.  I will do whatever it takes to get my creations attention. 

  Keep your eyes focused on my face.  The face of your faith.  The one who spoke to your soul and said, “It is finished and I am Able.”  Hold tight to those experiences, they are a huge part of how I have healed your wounds and set you free.  Thirty days of intentionally closing one book and opening another.  I AM with you wherever you go.

Love Your

Creator

Thank you for letting me share.
Cris

My Ghosts Have Become My Teachers




   When I think about all the lessons, I have learned from my mistakes I realize that they are the ghosts from my past. The ghosts whisper into my ears, “Your greatest lessons came from your greatest failures.”

  Should I be fearful of these ghosts from my past? No way. They have much to teach me as I enter into the next season of my life. A new beginning to a new me. My ghosts teach me that to learn I must fail, to succeed I must fall. It is not about knowing much, but rather much about knowing.

  Can I be a student and a teacher? My ghosts say yes!  They cheer me on, a pep squad only I can see. This season as a student in a classroom with others young enough to be my children will automatically place me in a position as a teacher as well, whether I want it or not.  My ghosts remind me of what that was like years ago sitting next to others generations ahead of you.

  Pencils, pens, papers, websites, syllabuses, the list goes on. Going back and letting my ghosts of yesterday teach and lead me in an area, I was not ready for over two decades ago. My ghosts are my instructors, my reminders of what I am capable of. They remind me of my love for learning and giving what I know away. 
  
  Digging deep into a question.  Cradling the question mark between both my hands.  Juggling the thought of what could be, that is what keeps me up late at night with my nose in a book, tapping away at the keyboard.  The very reason why I know I am ready for such a time as this. 

  I use to think there was no more for me to learn, this was it, yet it never seemed to be enough to keep the passion and fire of my life alive.   One day I woke up with the realization that God gave me a brain and a rather smart one at that. I am learning through my ghosts that not only is it ok to ask many question but that God created my mind to do just that.

  I watch as my faith rubs up against the ghosts of my past to reveal the middle of the unknown, the questions with no answers.   It is in the context of the questions that I have come to appreciate where the road less traveled becomes the journey of a lifetime. 

 And I have joined that journey.   I can feel the energy of the classroom as I close my eyes and imagine sitting in my chair, just another student. A number on a chart, role call with my name on it. I missed this life even when I was living it. Two and half decades ago, I walked the halls of higher education.  Not a woman with a purpose but a child all of 18.  Back then, I felt more like a stranger in this world.  A new town, new school and a new life knocked me into insanity.   Following in the footsteps of everyone else but not knowing why.

    “If I only knew then what I know now.”  A cliché I choose to throw away.  The truth is what would that have done?  Here is where faith prevails, where failures, falling and struggles come together to form my life choices.  Choices that were good and bad, they are the very experiences in my life that have brought me to this sweet spot,  this moment in time where my past, present and future have now collided and make sense.   The puzzles pieces fit together. 

  I use to feel like a stranger in this land but today with my past, present and future married, I finally feel like I belong.  I feel like I belong in this moment in time where I get to choose. Where, what, when and why I am doing what I plan to do. Each step I take, each breath I breathe comes with the knowledge that my teachers my ghosts of my past have been teaching me all along.


  This day was inevitable.  This day where I feel fully free to be me, OK as a human being in a human body with human experiences. This day living in the now where I do not feel the urge to apologize for who I am, what I have done or where I spend time. Yes in need, my greatest instructors are the ghosts from my past, they have taught me to pause and press into the moment so I can step into my future. 

Thank you for letting me share.
 Cris




“If you want to get out you have to go in.”  ~ Nancy Ryan

  Have you ever decided to touch your pain, to embrace your past so you could live in the moment and look forward to your future?  To visit what has been violated, who would do that?   I had spent the first thirty-four years of my life having my body, soul and mind violated.  This led me to live in survival mode daily.  To numb the pain I would use and abuse whatever was in front of me at the time, substances, people and I became my drug of choice.  

“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”
― J.K. Rowling

  Then one day, half way into my thirty-fourth year as a human being, my life came crashing down all around me.  The pain became greater then my passion to keep my past a secret.  My habits, hurts and hang-ups caught up with me like cops chasing robbers, I hit a dead end, through my arms in the air and waved my invisible white flag.  I gave up and turned myself in.  Ten years of running, came to a screeching halt.

  In those ten years, I had a few almost accidental overdoses behind me and a third one on its way when I found myself crying out to God.  My heart was shattered in a millions pieces.  I knew I had two choices, learn to live, or, let go and die.  There in a dark room in the back of my house, staring at the ceiling, I cried out to God.  “I don’t want to die but I don’t know how to live.”    Up until that moment, I thought death was the answer and dying in my addiction was going to be the smoking gun. 

  Yet, there was a tiny bit of light shining through all my pain.  The light was all it took to disengage the invisible gun of my addiction.  Courage came through the light.  It was the kind of courage that means to tell ones whole story in all of its entirety.  It was the kind of courage that walks hand in hand with hope. 

    The courage to tell my story was the catalyst that helped me begin the process of going back in.  It was time.  It was finished.  No longer did I feel the need not to exist.  I was now hungry for the will to live.   However, the direction for me to welcome that will, pointed to my past.  It was following that map where I learned the term; you cannot heal a wound by pretending it is not there. 
 
 No more pretending, I went back in with my eyes wide open and my broken heart ready to be healed.  I learned from the start that wounded hearts act out in ways that healthy whole ones do not.  I realized I had lived in a world where we trained people to hide their hurt, habits and hang-ups and it was going to take time to find others who had gone before me, others who could shed light onto my darkest places.  Those were the people who were going to help me find hope as I touched the places of my past that caused me so much pain.  

  Going back in so I could come out meant finding others who could hold my tears and space as I untangled my past.  I had become proof that with out help, your past would catch up with you.   

“We were not created to cry alone.”~ Nancy Ryan

My advice,  be prepared, listen well as you look for those people who can do just that. 


  As I celebrate my tenth year of recovery, I have the privilege of looking back at the last decade.  What do I see?  I see a sea of people who have stepped up and stepped into my struggle.  I see people who held my tears and space so that I could process my pain and my past as I worked my way out.  It took having people around me cheering me on and reminding me I could do it.

 
  Small steps, deliberate pressing into my past and visiting the pain was the only way for me to get out.  I thought going back in was going to cause me to curl up and die. Touching my past and dancing with my pain was not an area I had been looking forward to embracing.  Yet to get out I had to be willing to go in.  Visiting my past was about finding healing and wholeness, connecting the dots, asking forgiveness and giving it as well. 


  As I completed my rehab program, before my release, I met with my counselor one more time.  Sitting in her office waiting in anticipation for her to release me our eyes locked and I felt the tears starting to well up in my eyes.  We had made a deep connection the moment we met.  She walked me through anger, resentment and rejection but that was just the beginning.   With sincerity in her eyes and compassion in her tone, she challenged me.  She made it clear through that if I did not find the underlying cause of my why of what I did, I would end up back in the same place with worse habits, hurts and hang-ups.  She made it clear that I needed to find the root cause of my abusing and using.  She made it clear I was going to have to go back in to get out.

  It has been ten years now since I first took her up on that challenge.  Ten years of sweat and dirt under the fingernails of my soul, diving, digging and pulling back layers after layers of my past.  Sometimes I would find myself so deep in my pain, stuck in the past that I needed help getting back out.  In the process of healing, I also learned to look to my future with hope and anticipation.  As my heart healed so did my body soul and mind.    There is a fine line, a dance if you will that those in recovery learn.  It is the dance that helps one not to travel to long in the past or the future, it is a dance to help one stay balanced in the moment.  The greatest gift of recovery was learning to live moment by moment, one day at a time.

  I am not sure how I arrived at this time and place so quickly, at least that is how it feels today.   Though I do remember at the beginning of the process, having three days in the program and hearing someone say they had three weeks, I sat listing to her story and was not able to even conceive having three weeks, three months let alone three years.  Thirty days felt like an eternity back then.  Time has away of feeling as if it stops and stands still when pain is involved.  I assure you, early recovery involves a lot of pain, cleaning out an open wound can not be done any other way then going in and removing the junk. 

  Yet today, looking back it does feel like it happened in a blink of an eye.  What I did not understand back then is that life is about transitions and cycles.  Something has to die so something can come to life.  An area I had fought off for the last decade because it felt like it went against my recovery lessons.  It felt like I was giving up and not fighting for something when in reality there is this cycle that is death, life, death.  To get, we must give up.  Something must die to come to life, it ebbs and flows it is the way our creator created us.  I can look around me and if I pay attention, I could see that nothing last forever.   Letting going is part of living life. 

  My past had to die; it took a decade to decapitate what use to be, and now I am not her anymore.  Healed and set free, that is me.  The gift of recovery came with the ability to now self-regulate my emotions, relationships and experiences.  Today I am able to embrace my feelings first before acting on them, which allows for deeper richer relationships with those I love the most.  Today I am attracted to those from the same tribe, those who look into the reflections of the water and see the same thing.  The gift of recovery allowed me to see I was not alone.  After ten years of searching, experiencing life and learning to love and let go, I also learned along the way what I did not want in a relationship and that was to be someone’s second best, I did not want to be treated as if I was important and valued only when I had something to offer.  What I wanted was to be valued regardless of what I had to offer.  I wanted relationships where I walked hand in hand, side by side not in the shadow of someone else’s life.

  Why would I encourage anyone to go back in and visit what has been violated?  Simple, that is where healing and wholeness happens.  That is where you will find the strength and courage to live in the world outside of the pain of your past. 

  Today I live in the moment while trusting God with my future.  To my people, I write specifically to you, to offer hope, healing and a piece of heaven for all your broken peaces.  Going back in to get out takes courage, faith and tenacity to believe there is more to life then broken pieces.  I write to you to cheer you on, to let you know you are not alone.  Do not give up, do not give in, there is a plan and a purpose for your pain.  God works out all things for the good.........

Fellow Traveler
Cris Nole






Outrageously Ordinary






Melt into the mystery of the moment.  Embrace the kingdom of the mundane.  It takes faith to live in the now and not venture out into the future. 

Yesterday I was visiting with a friend, catching up and reflecting on how long we have known one another. 

Twenty plus years our friendship began.  We married and had children all around the same time.  We have struggled and succeeded through the depths of depression and expression. 


In the years, we have known each other; we both have learned the importance of expression in the ordinary moments of our ordinary lives. 

Both being women of faith, we agreed as we shared about our journey thus far, that Jesus was all about the ordinary.

He lived an ordinary life and hung out with ordinary people with not so ordinary pasts.  They were people such as the drunks and the heretics, the dropouts and the prostitutes, the losers and the drug addicts. 

Ordinary people with no so ordinary pasts, that were who Jesus embraced, my friend and I could identify with those people. 

We have spent years healing from our own broken places and past so that we could live in the now. 

We realized our struggles created the strength in both of us that has allowed us to embrace the mystery of the mundane, the outrageously ordinary moments of our lives.

It takes faith to live in outrageously ordinary.  It takes faith to embrace the kingdom of the mundane, yet the result is this love and passion for others who live in the middle of the mundane as well, others who share a similar past who walk on a similar path.

Ordinary people living ordinary lives with not so ordinary stories.  I might not be where I want to be but I am not where I was.  This is a saying many of us from that path share.
.

Today I choose to embrace the moment and trust God with my future.  I thank him for the gift of friendships; He has placed on my path, friendships that have allowed me to be me.


Ten Good Reasons To Be An Ordinary Person
By: Veronique Vienne

1.  You can throw away your junk; You are not saving it for posterity. 

2.  Whey you fall asleep hugging a pillow, you do not think that you need to talk to your shrink about it.

3.  You derive great satisfaction from walking your own dog.

4.  You can miss a day at work and the world will not end.

5.  You have nothing to hide and no place to hide it.

6.  You do not travel the world in search of what you have at home.

7.  You do not have to get all dressed up to go get a sandwich.

8.  No one notices whether your car is clean, the inside of your closets are neat, and your fence is freshly painted.

9.  You do not have to try to make something out of everything.

10. You are enlightened, though you do not know what it means…

“Why be happy with more if you can be happy with less?”

Thank you for letting me share.
Cristina

The Deception of Depression


“I did not loose my tools!” I said with confidence as my caseworker took notes from the last two weeks of my program.    “Matter of fact, they were there all along.”  I took a deep breath as I smiled and shared.  Funny thing about depression, it has away of deceiving one into believing that everything one knows to be true has gone forever.

I had just finished up with my OB when I decided to pop into the psychiatry office as if I had an open-ended invitation.  Who does things like that, one minute at the gynecologist the next at the physiologist?  Me, that is who does something like that.  With a background in recovery, depression has away of sneaking up on me and ten years of tools had told me to get it checked out. 



Fear of going backwards in my recovery made me confidently show up at the counter in the psychiatry department without an appointment, asking to see someone, anyone who might be able to help me with my anxious feelings that led to my depression. 

Maybe it was the tone in my voice or the look in my eyes, whatever it was, and the woman behind the counter took my cry for help seriously and within in minutes I was led to a room to meet with a therapist to be evaluated.

She was gentle and kind and by the looks of the books on her shelves, I could tell we had something in common.  As she spoke, it came out, our faith.  We both agreed, if I could pray it away, it would be gone by now.

I could feel her faith come out in the way she encouraged me through the questions she asked.  No shame or guilt but rather encouragement, stating I had taken the right action, reaching out for help.

She directed me to an intensive out patient program for people just like myself.  Two weeks of tools, ding, ding, that was just what I needed to hear.  Ten years of collecting, training and applying tools, she spoke my language. 

I cried a lot as I told her that I felt like a total failure and that I honestly felt like the last ten years of hard work and tool collecting had gone out the window. I felt like they did not work anymore; I was lost and could not find my way out.  That was how I felt.

She listened well and encouraged me to enter into the two-week program, explaining to me that much of what I would be taught would be lessons I had most likely heard before.  We both agreed that a refresher course would be good.

When I walked into my first session, my anxiety was high, it felt familiar, like my first group meeting in rehab, all I thought was, how did I get back here?  As if I was back ten years ago sitting on the couch among strangers struggling to just breathe.

I was sad, angry and feeling like I had failed my family and God again.

I was assigned to a recreational therapist, a nurse, doctor and psychiatrist as well as a caseworker who looked at my whole history. Not just the symptom in the moment.

As the days progressed and I participated in the group activities and discussions, I came to the realization that my depression had played a big role in me feeling as if I had lost my way.  That the truth was my tools were still there, not one had been lost.

By the end of the program, I also realized that I needed to modify some of the tools and even replace some of them, as my family and I have become healthy and whole, tools I needed ten years ago were not needed today, at least not in the same way. 

Ten years ago, it was about surviving; today it is about maintaining, different tools for different reasons and different seasons.

Another realization came to me while in the program.  There are times I get this overwhelming feeling that I loose my voice when depression sets in, this triggers anxiety and I spiral down even deeper into depression.  The thought of not being heard overwhelms me with anxiousness. 

However, one of the activities I had done was art therapy where I had to make a collage of where I was in the moment and where I wanted to be. 

I had done the exact same activity ten years ago in rehab.  Ten years ago, my collage was filled with pictures no words at all.  I had no words to describe how I felt or where I saw myself going.

Now ten years later, my collage was filled with words.  I did not loose my voice; it was there stronger then ever.  It was an amazing gift that day.  Sitting in front of my glue stick, and magazines to realize not only had I not lost my voice, it was stronger then ever.

Thank you God for this amazing program and those who pour into it.  There was no amount of praying this away, I tried, and it was not a lack of faith but rather a lack of correct use of tools.

I love what Rick Warren said recently.  Broken trees still bare good fruit.  Love love love…..

Though I feel like a broke tree I am baring good fruit, all I have to do is look around.  Though at times I feel lost and lonely, I am not!

Remember, if you get anything out of this entry is that depression causes deception.  Reach out to those equipped to help in this area. My prayer is that everyone who suffers from any kind of mental illness would have the resources to get the help they need.

Please, if you are suffering and need help, send me a private message and I will be able to direct you to some incredible resources. 

Thank you for letting me share.
Cristina


Spots and Lines




Spots and lines add character not distractions.  I look in the mirror and peer closer into the reflection.  I see tiny lines appearing around my eyes and lips as well as brown circles on my nose and cheeks.  My face is a good indication of a life I have lived.



My grandmother Price called them laugh lines, she laughed a lot.  I do not like how the media tries to get me to believe I am less beautiful because of my lines and spots.  When in fact I believe if woman would embrace their lines and spots as like I saw my grandmother do, we would all be much happier with ourselves. 

A false sense of holding on to our youth by hiding our spots and lines is what or world has come too, at least in the American culture. 

This is where I have learned to apply rule # 6.  What is rule #6? “Don’t take life to seriously?  I look in the mirror, smile, but seriousness is not what I am aiming for, more like the real me.

Learning to become more secure with who I am as a woman who is aging has taught me to embrace the beauty of life experiences that cannot come with youthfulness. 

Questions, when did aging become a negative occurance?  Aging means I am still alive, the alternative could be worse, right?  I am always encouraged when I meet older woman who are not trying to hide their flaws but rather clebebrate their imperfections.

I don’t want to be a woman in my 60’s who looks like I am trying to be 30 again which means I must practice what I preach now to reach what I want later.  Authentic beauty is what I am aiming for as I embrace my lines and spots. 

I love my lines and spots.  They bring me comfort and memories of a childhood lived out in the desert an on the beach.  It was a time where sunscreen was more of an option then a requirement and baby oil was worn like a pair of sunglasses. 

Could you have changed my mind back in my youth, no, never?  What choice do I have today?  I can either curse the consensuses or celebrate the memories.  I choose to celebrate. 

I refuse to buy into the marking message that tries to sell beauty in a bottle, making people drool over the young, skinny blonde models that have not yet experienced life, no liens, circles or flaws. 

True beauty my friend is not about an age but about courage to embrace ones imperfections and all and stand up against a system that tries to hide what I choose to celebrate.  My lines and spots they make me real


Spots and lines are not distractions but rather attractions when we embrace the real deal.

Thank you for letting me share.
Cristina

Thoughts To Think About And Ponder

 I am learning to not judge my feelings when they come up, which is helping me to not react in moments when negative emotions arise.  Reminder to self, my feelings are neither good or bad they just are.  
Teeth



Sometimes I just feel the urge to kick people in the teeth when they ask stupid questions, can you relate?  When they are coming at me from a jovial superficial place in the same moment that I am in a deep and contemplating place of working toward inner healing.  

My reaction can come from a place of anxiety and depression, and thank God I have a good support system to help me walk through these feeling or guilt would be leading me by the nose.  

A good friend shared with me that she feels like she could throw up on people’s shoes in certain moments when stupid things are said.  Of course, she does not and would not say that to a person. Yet, we do have these feelings and emotions that rise up inside us.  We do not call them out, they just appear.  We are not guilty of doing anything wrong, well of course unless I kicked the teeth or she intentionally vomited to make a point.

However, don’t "good Christian girls" have better reactions.  On the other hand, is our lens dirty and are our ears muffled with the sounds of a faulty belief system?  Thoughts to think about and ponder.

Maybe it is time as my friend put it, to stop looking at everything through the lens of Christianity.  Wow, that sounds almost sinful, yet freeing. The lens of Christianity as it exists in our modern world is without question a dirty lens.

The lens of Jesus should be more like it.  Jesus would approve and appreciate our honesty in not hiding from ourselves who we are and in recognizing how we feel in a given moment, whatever that truth is.

I just love the fact that I can have this kind of conversation with my friend and sister in Christ.  We share a similar path from our past to our present.  We are able to talk openly and honestly about our struggles as well as our victories without judgment.

I promise you do not have to be afraid of me kicking you in the teeth or her vomiting on your shoes, well of course unless you are around her when she has the flu, but I am sure she would find her way to the john before letting your shoes become her barf bag.
Barf Bag

Just know though that there are those of us out in the world who are working on healing and wholeness.  We wish we had better internal reactions to the seemingly normal things of life that come our way, but that just may not be possible now. We are healing as we give ourselves permission to feel what we feel without judgment, as we learn who we are and why.

Be kind and gentle when you see what appears to be a blank stare in our eyes.  I assure you it is anything but blank.  We are thinking, processing and making sure our lens is more clean and clear so we can respond in an appropriate way.

And, if I do respond inappropriately, I ask for forgiveness now, as I know I am a work in progress.  One day at a time, moment by moment I am figuring out that taking every thought captive means way more than what I have been taught.

Thank You For Letting Us Share.
Cristina and JT


Value Me Value You

  

  My value is not visible.  Who I am and my net worth is not something the human eye can pick out like an item on a shelf or a picture in a book.

  As I continue to walk by faith and let go of my things and stuff, I have come to see the true value in who I am and it is surely not my things and stuff.

  I have learned through my struggle that my value is not even something I can put into words, hold onto or touch.

  Letting go of believing that my value is in all the tangible things and stuff in my life has allowed me to be free from judgment over myself and others.

  When I finally embraced the truth of value, my eyes were open to a deeper more realistic way of living. It gave me an amazing amount of peace that  allows me to overcome the feelings I have of being less then and not enough.

  If value is not visible then how do I know that I have it?  Being still, that is the key.  Knowing the creator of this universe and looking for value with the eye of the one who made me allows me to see beyond my own opinions of my struggles and judgments. 

  When man was created it is written, “it is good.”  I am valuable because HE created me, simple but profound truth.

  Value is not in the visible.  I will not try to hold it, wrap it, or sell it.  I will live in the mystery of the unseen and look at the results instead. 

  When I value me, I value you that is the result of this truth.
 
  I will pray for peace, for pure revelation for this world that is in need of the mystery of the unseen value in every human being.

Thank you for letting me share.


Cristina Nole

Committed, Admitted and Invited


  I am a woman who has been committed, admitted and invited into places most people do not even want to talk about.   Psych wards,  rehabs, prisons and jails.  Through these EDucational experiences, I have learned the human heart is fragile, easily broken when rejected, neglected and abused.

  I have learned that one can only take being beaten down so many times before they cannot get back up on their own.  Interventions need to take place so restoration, recovery and redemption can be embraced. 


  I have learned through my EDucational experiences that whether you are committed, admitted, or invited you are just as valuable,  no matter how you made it through the doors of the places most people choose not to go.

  I have learned that mental breakdowns, drug addictions and prison  all feel the same.  They rob one of their dignity and strip them of their identity.

  The human soul longs to be free yet frailty and shame keeps the spirit shackled.  Would one choose the road of despair on purpose?  I would say not so.  A result of the hands of those who should have loved, or strangers who should have known better. 

  Then on day, you are handed a get out of jail free card.  All of a sudden, the freedom you had been praying for and dreaming about does not look so inviting.  The get out of jail card looks scary from behind the invisible, predictable bars you have been hiding behind most of your life. 

  The freedom being handed to you looks heavy and hard, the fear of the unknown scars you more then the chains you have become accustomed to.  You squint, you peer into the future and you see is in the distance familiar faces of those who had gone before you.

  No chains, no shackles no bars to be seen. Thoughts swirl around in your head, “how can I walk away from the only life I know?” Then you say to yourself,  “If they can do it so can !.”  Courage wells up deep inside, you grab the get out of jail card and you run as fast as you can.  You call out to those ahead of you and they turn around to greet you, arms wide open.  They gently whisper, “follow us.”



  Thank you for letting me share.

Cristina Nole


Looking Backwards-Moving Forward

Sept 2, 2013
Dear Friends,
Happy Tuesday.  Hope all of you had a great labor day.  I am having fun forging my way through the last 12 months of my journal entries.  Watching the process of transition unfold through my words and stories has given me a greater appreciation for the need to live a slow, simple, small life so that I can embrace what really matters most.  And that is, people, plain and simple.  


Thank you for visiting my blog.

Have a beautiful today.





  The first rain of the season has just begun. The gutters are filling up and draining back and forth.  The wind blows through the cracks of the doors and windows of the house we are about to leave.  I wait for Vito to wake up, happy that this time of year has begun.

  Just like our move, a new season is about to arrive.  Change is good for the soul.  Change is good for the mind.  What is it that I need to learn today as I sit in my home sheltered from the storm.

  Lesson learned.  I have been prepared for such a time as this.  No need to worry or fret, I am prepared more then I know.  Like the china that came crashing down many years ago, this move will give me the ability, the compass to see that I am not attached to my things and stuff.

  I have done a great job at learning to let go and lean into what matters most.  I trust my creator will be with me as I move and make new friends and create a new life.  I trust my creator will always be by my side. 

  When I am feeling sad and homesick for what was and use to be, gentleness will be the tool to help me through.  I AM is always with me.  I am not alone.

  The journey has just begun.  I have not seen anything yet.  People, places, community, leadership, I am prepared to continue where I have paused.

  Created inside of me is a spirit of strength, I am brave, bold and beautiful.  There is nothing me and my creator cannot handle together.  I will keep my eyes focused on my faith.  I will watch mountains be moved, seas parted and burning bushes as I look with eyes of belief. 

Journal entry Oct. 2012

 Thank you for letting me share.
Cristina

Whispers From The Heart of God...



  “I know you feel like this is too much for your heart to handle.  I can feel you wanting to shut down.  You can do this!  Love her enough to let her go.  Let her find her why and her way.

  It is time for her to learn to rely more on me and less on you.  She will find faith in the middle of her struggle.  Trust the process.  I feel your pain, I feel your lose.  I will give you the strength to let her go.

  The secret to letting her go well is the way you choose to gently speak.  The by-product of a gentle answer is joy, discernment and wisdom.  She will carry that with her wherever she goes. 

  This is not about you anymore but all about her.  The time has come and your little girl is no longer your little girl.  I will not leave you as you release her.

  She is not rejecting you rather embracing the life I created her to live.  I promise you this, done right, she will come back.  I created her to fly just like you.

  Can you remember the first time you spread your wings and flew?  Hold tight to that memory that is where she is.  A save place to land now and then, you can offer her just that space.

  It will not be easy, you will be weary and you will become weak but come to me and I will give you  rest. 
  
  She is brave, bold and beautiful just like her mama.

Love Your
Creator

Sacred Space Of Stillness




  I am and have been choosing not to fill up my calendar or add to my to-do list.  Even though I could and sometimes feel like I should.

  With change around the corner, I am feeling the loss, the screaming in my head sometimes gets loud and sometimes even in my heart I hear, “what were you thinking?”

  Part of me wants to default to denial and stay busy so I do not have to deal with the change and all that is going on but I know better then to run away from my feelings. 

  Grief would catch up with me, if not now, one day.  It is one of those emotions everyone has.  Does everyone deal with it?  NOT! 

  Therefore, I embrace my sacred stillness and rejoice, cry, embrace and let go of all I am walking way from and all I am walking into.

  In the middle of embracing the stillness, we as a family walked through what will be our new home one day soon.  We are months away from the move. All that is standing is the frame, wood beams facing here and there. 

  The four of us gathered around the entryway from what will be our kitchen to the stairs, we held hands prayed and signed the wooden frame.  “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”  Signed the Nole Family Aug 2012.

  It is hard to believe that this came from my journal almost a year ago this week.  Sacred space of stillness allowed for us to transition from what use to be to what is now.

Thank you for letting me share!

Cristina


Life Lessons Learned From Leaning Into My Life


1.  Hurt people hurt people.
2. To feel loved I must love.
3.  Jesus loves me this I know for my community tells me so.
4.  Doing for others what they can do for themselves is not HELP!
5.  Strengths and struggles make for a successful life.
6.  Joy and shame both produce vulnerability and feel prickly.
7.  I do not need to fear the un-known.
8.  Grandchildren bring peace to my soul.
9.  There is power in imperfection.
10.  Understanding is birthed in silence.
11.  Love is an action.
12.  Busyness will rob me of intimacy with God and others.
13.  I am enough.
14.  Change is what I can count on.
15.  Listening well builds trust and creditability.
16.  Asking good questions allows people to be heard and stories to be shared.
17. Pausing on purpose through conversations helps me understand and connect.
18.  Two are better than one.
19.  I am brave, bold and beautiful.
20.  Life lessons are learned when I am willing to listen.
21.  People are amazing.
22.  Everyone has a voice.
23. Dreams are not just for kids.
24.  Change cost greatly.
25.  Pulling away allows for pouring in.
26.  Success is sweetest when found in the silence.
27.  Learning something new everyday keeps me young.
28.  Asking great questions is a good thing.
29.  My faith is ever evolving.
30.  Maturity does not happen over night.
31.  Strong marriages come from couples who choose to stay in the struggle.
32.  Giving up does not always mean I have failed.
33.  Pumpkin farmers live by faith.
34.  Living well means letting go.

Thank you for letting me share.
Cristina