Simplify


 

Simplify, one of my favorite words, one of my favorite actions.    Day after day, the accumulation of making life simple one step at a time adds up.  Simplifying gives you the space, mentally, physically and spiritually to be free to move, do and think outside the box that the world is trying desperately to keep you in, or maybe more like a hamster wheel.  A simple life takes a lot of work.  The world around us is moving at the speed of lighting.  At times it feels as if you might get zapped or run over by the pace of the human race. 

 

However I made a choice years ago that I would no longer run that race.  I would no longer try to keep the pace that seemed to be robbing me and others of their joy, relationships and even health.  I saw how the body could only go for so long before it started to break down and fall apart.  I have watched diseases take over in my life and in lives of people I love and know who decided to stay on the hamster wheel and run the race of life at full speed.  I have watched not only their health deteriorate but also their relationships. I noticed that relationships could not sustain the fast pace as wheel as well, even though many were running as if there were in a sprint too, all out, all in,  all the time.

 

No peace, no joy, no living, just doing.  Yes, we may appear to have a so called life from the world’s standards but those standards are not based on health and wholeness.  Those standards are based on feeding a machine, a machine called more.  More having, doing, being, something that is impossible to reach.  There will always be more to do, have and be.  When is enough, enough? 

 

The world is about systems and structures, things and stuff.  If we are not careful, the kind of careful like you would be if walking over a mine field, then stepping out of the race will seem impossible to do without feeling like you might get blown up.  Stepping out of the lane is not easy.  When we are used to doing the same thing over and over every day, the brain gets lazy and will fight the change.

 

When we decide to step out of the lane and say “enough is enough.”  There is a chance of being stepped on as we make our way to the recovery station. But, wouldn’t you rather have your feet hurt then have a heartache from never stopping.   Human nature and history points to the fact that we strive and thrive when we live a simple life.  Not when we are at a constant sprint.    

 
Less is more.  Less to think about more to give.  When we are too tired to enjoy their life then what kind of life do we have?  Simplify and remember it is the small moments in life that matter most.  Today I am choosing to simplify my life one moment at a time.

Have a beautiful today.
Cris

Happy Feet...


 
 
 






Have you ever had to wait?  What a silly question, I know, it appears that life is about waiting.  In lines, for turns, to be heard, to heal.  The list of why we wait could go on.  Me, my waiting has been on the healing.  Aug. 6 I had surgery on my right foot and today for the first time in almost four months I have shoes on both feet. 
 
Talk about waiting.  It wasn’t like the feet police were out wondering around waiting to ticket those of us who are overly anxious to get on with our lives.  Yet, I knew that allowing myself to recover properly would pay off in the long run, which was one of the reason why I chose the surgery at the time.  I knew there would be waiting involved and I prepared myself.
 
I started off in Aug. on crutches and worked my way through six fiberglass casts.  Each time I had to get a cast removed and put back on, I was reminded of my need for others, each time I had to ask for a ride to my doctors, help to the car or even something as simple as a drink of water, I was reminded that I was never intended to live life alone.  I found myself grateful for my people who loved and cared for me when I could not care for myself.
 
In this time of waiting I found out just how special being still can be.  I found out that I could sit still without going crazy.    I learned to leaned into the moment like I would lean in to a kiss.  I embraced the moment like I would embrace a hug and gifts opened up to me in places I did not even think possible. 
 
In celebration of my feet I bought them a new pair of shoes.  I think they both deserved a little pampering as they learn to work together again.  My left foot has taken on a brunt of the work for the past four months or even longer since I have been dealing with an injury for years.
 
 
 
Today I look down at my feet, both snug as a bug in their brand new shoes and I find myself sending out a prayer of gratitude to all those who have helped me over the last several months.  I pray that I am able to continue embrace the stillness that I have found while I was down.  A sweet stillness that opened my eyes and gave me a knew lens to look out of, one that allows me to see my life with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving for those who love me and support me not just when I am able to give but also receive. 
 
Thank you for letting me share
Cris

What Matters Most...

 
 
 
 
 
 
video

Who knew being an Aunt to a twenty year old could be so fun?  Just recently my sister and I were on the phone talking about one certain truth.  That truth is, we make time for what matters most to us in our life.  This sister is the mother of my nephew who is here visiting me for the next week.  He is an amazing young man who has had parents who have loved him enough to let him go.  My sister never ceases to amaze me in her strength to lean into her struggle instead of run the other direction.  Believe me, there is a struggle in letting go, if your human you will understand this statement. 


My nephew is getting ready to move from Southern California to live with his family again in Florida.  We had this pocket of time where he was available to come visit us.  Truth is, he wanting to spend time with me and my family tells me what matters most to him.  It tells me that my sister and brother-in-law did a great job laying the foundation of family first when he was much younger.


None of us claim to be perfect parents, siblings, in-laws or friends.  What we are stating though by the choices we make, the calls we take and the travels we plan point to priorities in our lives.   It has been through the fire of refining and defining who we are and who we are becoming that we get to enjoy the fruit of our labor and that is embracing each other’s children even when they are grown up and out of the house.


My nephew has brought a bright light into our home.  He makes me happy to be one of six children.  Who knew that having a twenty year old nephew could be so fun?  Enjoy the short video, it speaks for itself. 

Thanks for stopping by.

One grateful Aunt

Cris

Preparing My Heart and Head...




Happy Monday my friends.  It is hard to believe that we are coming to the end of the month as well as the year.  How many of you wonder, where did the time go?  I am challenging myself to find ways to be grateful for the areas that cause me the most aggravation.  It seems like a great challenge to enter into the Thanksgiving season, away to prepare my heart and my head.
 
 

 

One area I have shared here on my blog not to long ago was about my gadgets, to be more precise my cell phone.  I have a love hate relationship with Celi, a little name I gave her when I decided I was going to put up a boundary on how much attention she would get.  The reality  is that my cell phone helps me  stay connected to my family and friends but without some intentionality behind using it, it can quickly turn into a bad habit and has over time.  The urge to look at her even when there is no need.

 
So, here is what I am doing for the next month.  Every time I pick up my cell phone I will pause and say a prayer of gratitude.  It can be for anything that I am grateful for in the moment.  I started this practice last week and I noticed that many times when I would pick Celi up out of habit,  say a tiny little prayer of thanksgiving, by the time I was done with my prayer I did not feel so resentful for this little gadget that I had given to much power over to.  Because I have chosen to pray anytime I pick Celi up it has made my calling, texting and even reading on her more intentional.  Today when I had an opportunity to connect with one of my five siblings through texting when I was done I found myself being grateful for technology instead of disturbed by how it use to annoy me.

 

Has anything changed with Celi?  Why of course not, she is the same cell phone I brought home a few years ago.  What has changed is my heart, my attitude and knowledge that it is all about choice and perspective.  I have a choice to either complain about or be thankful for what is an everyday part of my life.  I have the choice to pick it up, answer and respond, no one is making me answer Celi. 

 

Today I am grateful that I can honestly say I am feeling a little bit more freedom to participate in modern technology without it feeling like it has so much control over me.   Today I can look at Celi without feeling like she is trying to run my life, thank God for modern technology and the self control  not pick her up.   

 

Happy Monday my blogging friends, hope you find reasons to be thankful as you all enter into the next season.

 

Cris

Friends Of The Alley...

 
 
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

― C.S. Lewis

 
 
 
video



 

 

Ten steps outside my back gate and down the alley into a world I was not even expecting.  Saying yes to leaving the life I had known for almost 20years was one of the most difficult tasks I had ever taken on.  Two months from now will represent two years since we received our keys to our new home.  It was a bumpy ride and a lot of turbulence when it came to landing in our new community.  However, now looking back and seeing what the struggle produced, I would not have changed any of the obstacles we had to overcome to get to where we are at.

 

This short little video clip represents the gift that comes with saying yes to the unknown.  We have made some lifelong friendships in a short amount of time.  Maybe because we were all new in the community. Maybe because faith, friendship and the unfamiliar were all present.   We were also able to connect friends from our past to friends in our present and watched beautiful community happening right before our eyes.

 

I love what Robert Johnson wrote.  “Sacrifice is not giving up something to get something else you want more.  Sacrifice is the art of drawing energy from one level and reinvesting it at another level.”

 

I learned from the moment we landed in Folsom that I could not live in two places at once, physically or emotionally.   It was not about forgetting where I came from but rather allowing myself to be open to what was to come. 

 

I love our little community where we are connected by front porches, court yards and alleys.  A community where people gather to live, love and laugh.   As I type out this blog I cannot help but think of a song my mom taught me as a little girl.  “Make new friends, but keep the old, some are silver and the other gold.” 

 

Have a beautiful today my blogging friends.  Praying that you have a community where you can live, love and laugh as well.  For I know that God created us all to live in such away.

 

Cris

“Living in the moment”

 

A Peak Into My Past...



I am blessed with the gift of loving to write.  Years of journal entries I am now willing to pull out and pour over with my eyes and heart.  Here is one from three years ago.  It is hard to believe my middle girl has spread her wings and flown from the nest. 

 

Journal entry June 2011
 


 
Dream Big!

Inside all of us is the capacity to dream big.  I believe we were created to dream big, it is in our genes.  All I  have to do is look around to see what kind of imagination God has.  From trees to flowers, people to animals even spiders, that takes big imagination.  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 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 of my children and watching them grow into faith filled, fearless adults of faith who have a heart for truth.  I know for this dream to come true I have to be willing to set the example before them. 


 

As hard as it is, truth is caught more than it is taught.   They are at that age where they are watching us very carefully to make sure we say what we mean and we mean what we say.  Looking for any loopholes to catch us in and ready to question our actions.
 
Just the other day I was asked who the most influential person in my life is.  Reflecting on my circle of influence I came to this answer, by far without a doubt it would be my 15 year old daughter.  I watch how she mimicked 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 even if she can’t articulate how she feels at the time.
 
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 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 very 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 inside and outside our home.
 
 
 
Grateful for the gift of writing,
Cris D. Nole

Tight Rope Walker...


 
 
Five reasons I choose to stay straddled between the struggle and the victory. 
1.        It builds faith
2.       It connects me to the hurt, lost and left behind
3.       It equips me to give back
4.       It allows my character to be refined
5.       It helps remind me that life is about both falling down and getting back up.
 
 
Sometimes life feels like walking on a tight rope, tension can be scary.  It has away of making me feel like I want to hold on and let go at the same time.  However  tension is what makes the trials of my struggles and my victories worth reaching out and taking hold of.  Tension has away of stretching my spiritual muscles in away no other activity could do.
 
 
There is tension between the struggle of living and the victory of life.  In the middle of the two is where I rely on my faith.  I rely on a faith that states “it is good”.  When I hold to tight to the struggle I become a victim of life and it’s ever changing circumstances.  When I wonder over to the side of victory and wave it around like I conquered a country,  I become prideful and well as the saying goes, I would be best to watch out for what could happen next. 
 
It is not about juggling between the two or even trying to balance myself in the middle.  The action step is about stillness.  The choice to be still in the middle of the struggle and the victory.  Folding into the moment where they both even rub up against one another and I feel like shouting “really!” can this be happening?  It is there in the middle where I witness the culture shouting and God whispering.
 
Yet, life is about falling down and getting back up.   It is about holding on and letting go.  Without my faith I would feel crazy by now.  In fact, years ago I would have told you I was.  I did not have the tools or the knowledge to live in the middle, to embrace my faith.  A faith that encourages me not to worry about tomorrow.   Truth is, all I have is today.
 
Today I stand in the middle of the struggle and the victory, hands raised high, face towards the sun ready to except whatever comes my way.  Today I choose to believe that God is good and he created good.  I am not na├»ve, nor do I pretend that bad is not happening in this world but what I do know to be true, in the middle of the struggle and the victory I am able to connect wholeheartedly with those who are hurt, lost and left behind.  I am able to give back what was given to me without getting lost in either side of the spectrum of life.
 
Today I choose to walk in the tension between the victory and the struggle, allowing my faith to grow stronger and my heart to become more open.  Praying for you to be able to do the same as well my friends.
 
Have a beautiful today! 
Cris
 
Never taking myself to seriously
 
 

A Beautiful Today...



Just for today, I can count on the miracle of the moment.  For this moment I am grateful for the breath that tells me and the world I am alive. 
 
 
 
 
 
I am grateful for that man upstairs asleep in our bed, a reminder I am loved and not alone. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I am grateful for waking up to a little white note left on my tiny coffee pot that said, “just turn on,” written prepared by my amazing 17 year old son. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Today I am grateful for a good night’s sleep that allowed me to rise before the sun. 
 

 

Today I am grateful for each of my siblings who hold a key to my past, who all know me in a way that no one else will ever know. 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Today I am grateful for the friends next to me, behind me and down the alley.  I have been blessed beyond words with the friends of the alley. 

 
 

Today I am grateful for my tribe, the women who are willing to stay in the game, travel the journey and help me keep it real. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Today I am grateful for a God who lives within but shows himself throughout. 
 
 














Today I am grateful for the many struggles that have built my faith muscles, muscles so strong that they can and have sustained some of the roughest storms. 



 

 
 
 
 
 
Today I am grateful for the ability to realize that living in the moment, the now is a choice and one I choose.  Today is going to be a beautiful day.

 

 
Thank you for stopping by,

Cris 

The Difference Between Religion and Jesus



Jim Palmer

The Difference Between Religion and Jesus:
Religion says it’s about the afterlife.
Jesus says it’s about the herelife.
Religion says hold on till heaven.
Jesus said the Kingdom of God is here now.
Religion says confess your wrongs to God.
Jesus said make amends with those you have hurt.
Religion says judge people who don’t measure up.
Jesus said only those who are perfect can cast the first stone.
Religion says to appeal to God to bring change in the world.
Jesus said to be the change you desire to see in the world.
Religion says God will bring peace, joy, freedom and love into your life if you measure up.
Jesus said these realities are unconditionally present inside you in every moment.
Religion says look to God for help and healing.
Jesus said to be instruments of help and healing in one another’s lives.
Religion says rescue people from eternal hell and punch their ticket to heaven.
Jesus said to confront injustice and take up the cause of those who unnecessarily suffer around us.
Religion says to blame Satan.
Jesus said to take responsibility for the damage and destruction we cause in the world.
Religion says go to church.
Jesus said be the church.
Religion says read the Bible in a year.
Jesus said live one verse today.
Religion says there are “us” and “them.”
Jesus says we are all children of God.
Religion says be careful who you love.
Jesus said God is love.

Jim Palmer(c)2014

Humming Birds, Umbrellas and Sunshine...

 
 
 
Welcome to Thursday and to my little piece of heaven on earth.  Today I took some time to rest and recover from the last week of having family in town. It is possible to be exhausted from a good experience and this past week was a good experience.
 
I took a day to soak in the sunshine while sitting in my courtyard thanking God for the family of humming birds that came to visit me.  I spent time reflecting on the last several days where I had the opportunity to spend time with my brother who just happens to also be one of my best friends and his daughter my beautiful and talented niece Clarice.
 
 
My favorite part about the past week was when we were all together as a family.  The laughter and conversation around the dinner table filled my heart with joy and contentment.  Tony and I have worked hard to make our house a home and the love that filled the walls this past weekend showed that our hard work paid off.
 
 
 
I love that my little piece of heaven on earth allows me time to sit under my umbrellas, talk to the hummingbirds and soak up the sun.  It is written in the ancient books that the kingdom of heaven is here and now.
 
Thank you God for the NOW.
 
 
 
Have a beautiful rest of your today.
 
Cris

Reaching In Instead Of Running Away...



 
 
Sometimes life is so heavy I just want to run away.  Have you ever felt like that?  I believe God has given us the ability to reach in and pull from places so deep inside our soul that we do not even know they exist until we need them. Inner strength comes when we feel like we just cannot go on anymore.  For me,  I cry out, "God help me."  And sometimes I do not even have that much in me to cry out, yet it never amazes me that the one who created me is right there by my side regardless of my cry. 
 
This strength  could come in a package of stillness, silence, listening, giving up, giving in, the list goes on. However, when I stay in the moment and use my God given ability to dig deep down. When I step back and look at my ability to be aware of my awareness, I can relax and release and live in the now. That is the teaching of the ancient ways." Do not worry about tomorrow, look at the birds and the flowers in the fields."
 
Today I am choosing to trust what God has placed within me. This inner strength that is deep, that strength that I can draw out at any time. A strength that is hidden for times when I feel like giving up. I am grateful that my creator knew exactly what he was doing when he formed me in my mother’s womb.  Today I am grateful that instead of running away I can reach in and meet my maker right where he exists.
 
Have a beautiful today my blogging friends.
Cris

That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.  ~ Emily Dickinson
Today I choose to.
 
 
 
 
 

Today I am open for whatever life has in store for me.
 
 
Knowing that this moment will never come again I will choose to make the most of it, living from a place of gratitude instead of grumpiness. 
 
 
Here I am God, use me................
 
 
 
Have a great day my blogging friends.
 
Cris

Reflections From The Mirror...


 
 
Dear Cris,

Every day you stand in front of me.  We have this unspoken relationship. I know you hold loosely to what you see on my side.  I believe that is a good thing, for what you are seeing changes ever so slightly every day.  However, I get the honors of seeing beyond the reflection.  Every morning as you prepare to start your day this is what I see. 


I see a woman who loves life to its fullest.  A woman who is satisfied by the slow, simple small moments.  I see a woman who embraces beauty with all of her heart.  The kind of beauty that is felt not seen.  I see a woman who is open to new experiences that satisfy the soul.  I see a woman who loves her family to the depths of her being. I see a woman who is hungry to make a difference not just in her world but the world around her as well.

 

I see a woman who is ready to be seen and heard, fear is no longer keeping her small. I see a woman who loves to help others find their voice. I see a woman who is fiercely adamant about her core values.  I see a woman who does not need credit for her calling but hungers for guidance, correction and leadership through mentoring.  I see a woman who knows two are better than one and travels with a tribe of close knit friends.

 

I see a woman who knows how to live within her means and loves to give from her abundance. I see a woman who is done being a patient and wants desperately to walk in the healing with the use of all the tools she has gathered over the last eleven years. I see a woman who wants to leave a legacy of one who listened well.  I see a woman who wants people to say she found her voice and used it well. I see a woman who loves Jesus. I see a woman who is not bound by religious behavior but understands the benefits of living a religious life.

 

I see a woman who understands that there is a season for everything under the sun. I see a woman who will fight to the finish to make sure that the voice of those being ignored are heard. Most of all I see a woman who is not afraid to live in this crazy, noisy, busy, bright, loud world.  I see a woman who has learned to modify when needed her life in such a way that she is able to live in the messy moments.   I see a woman who knows that the miracles in life are found in the messiest of moments. 

 

I am proud of what I see.  Keep living in the slow, simple, small moments of life and you will continue to experience the miracles of the moment.

 

One of Your Closest Companions

You’re Reflection

 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear blogging friends,

There was a time in my life when looking in the mirror caused me to fear for what I saw.  I hated my reflection and I cursed  what God had created, me.  I write this post with a heart of celebration because those days of hating what I saw are long gone, they have been for sometime.  God took my broken pieces and turned them into a master PEACE.  I am anything but perfect.  However, today I am able to stand in front of the mirror and like what I see.  I have learned for me to love others I must love myself.  For those of you that are part of my tribe, my community I thank you for helping me embrace my reflection instead of curse God’s creation.

 
Thank you for stopping by.

Cris