How I Define LOVE…

I heard this week on a YouTube Channel that “Love is not an emotion or a feeling, but just the lack of hate.”  It was something I couldn’t let go of.  I kept the thought rotating on the spit in my mind like a huge chicken roasting on a rotisserie… A chicken I had just named LOVE.  Thinking, oh when I am done roasting this thought, it will taste so good for all who choose to eat with me.

The thing is the longer I think of it, ponder on it, the more love I feel.  The longer I get lost in my memories, the more I am directed to moments that I received care, received compassion and forgiveness.  These are all actions that have made me feel loved.  How do I show love?  Do I show love to myself, and do those I do love know that I love them?  Is love sacrifice?  Is love pain?  Is love just good feelings and happy thoughts?  Is love tears of joy or sadness? What if it were more simply described for all of us?  I can sum it up in three words.

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I believe I can be a caring person, a forgiving and compassionate person.  Can I be those things to someone who irritates, frustrates, or ignites anger in me?  Why do some people cause us to react negatively?  If I am a loving person, can I react like that to anyone?  I have to be accepting of everyone, no matter their background, political affiliation, educational level, financial situation, no matter what.  I have to accept everyone to show love.  So if I am to love everyone, I must hold judgement of everyone?  I must accept each and every person on this planet in order to LOVE.  I have to love murderers, and rapists, and pedophiles, and hookers, and white supremicist, and terrorists and even the boogie man, I have to accept ALL?  Oh my! No wonder there is so much hate in the world.  It is so much easier to judge and only accept the things we like in others.  What if we could heal all of those things with LOVE.  Thinking of this creates a nice picture and maybe my internal drive of perfection is taking over, but doesn’t it take you to a utopia?

Want to know love?  If God is love, here is the description of LOVE. Sounds like an unachievable perfection, doesn’t it?

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Anyone that has lived longer than 5 years has experienced an unloving moment, has learned not to trust, not to hope, to be rude, to be impatient, to tell a lie.  We were all born with a root of evil and a spirit of love.  How do we release ourselves with this entangled root of evil.  Where do we find the ability to release it from ourselves.  We have to know GOD.  I know most of us that chose to go to Vacation Bible School when we were younger or maybe even forced to go; had to learn a scripture.  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

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If I dissect this one scripture, I can discover so much.  I have repeated it so many times in my life, and yet I have never actually looked at the scripture as a key to living forever.  “The WORLD” = each of us!  All of our sins, our misconducts, our flaws, all of us.  Every single one of us make up THE WORLD. He LOVES us (the world) so much that he sacrificed perfection, for us.  His SON = perfection.  The only perfect being ever made was sacrificed for our messed up, imperfect lives.  Once we believe in LOVE, we have EVERLASTING LIFE?  Wait, what?  What does it all mean?  He should have chosen quality over quantity, right?  We do! What am I missing, what have I been missing?

If God can give up his most beloved and perfect masterpiece, what is holding me back?  I want to love and yet I can’t even get over myself.  My insecurities keep me fearful.  I can’t speak the truth, afraid of others reactions.  I have built a prison and I should be living free in the spirit.  His Spirit.  Even now while I am mulling all of this over while I am writing I am considering the responses I might get from people who might label me a bible thumper, religious freak.  Honestly, I consider that an insult.  I believe in God, but don’t categorize me as one of THOSE people.  Look there it is, that ROOT.  Rearing it’s ugly head again.   I know everyone has an opinion.  Maybe we shouldn’t!  Once we require an opinion we should pray for the Spirit to lead us to the correct one.  I know that this sounds a bit like the rantings of a lunatic, but what if they aren’t?  What if they are from Him, and he is using some misfit teacher who has failed multiple times in marriage and who has had to fight to keep everyone that is close to her as a messenger of LOVE.  WTH?  I can’t even believe I just wrote that.

My brother and I throw ideas, revelations, scriptures back and forth to each other; through text messages.  He sent me one that said, “Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit.  Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.  For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.”  I bring this up because I began writing a blog to vent my thoughts and to help others that might be experiencing life the same way.  I kept looking for something to make me feel better, something to make me look better, something to make me appear perfect.  All of those things were selfish and my actions were coming from the root of sinful self-interest.  I watered that root until it had nearly taken hold of every fiber of my being.  I saw nothing wrong with my endeavors, nothing wrong with what I was seeking.  It was for a better me!  Society tells us that is what we should all be doing.  “Don’t stop yourself, indulge!”  “BUY MORE! LIVE MORE! BE MORE!”

My message is this, That root of sinful self-interest can never get enough and it has been planted inside each of us.  Have you ever actually dug a root out of the ground.  It is quite the job.  It is not like we can just find it and pluck it out.  We must work it out, and realize why it had been planted there in the first place.  Without it, we wouldn’t have the need to look for LOVE.  I still don’t know how to rid myself of the thoughts or the shameful places this “root” takes me, but I know I can no longer feed it.  I must acknowledge that it is there and find the spirit that is of LOVE and water & feed it, to show this “root” there is no longer any room for it to dwell inside of me.

Do you know why I must accept this “root?”  If I can’t find it in myself to accept who I am and understand what I am capable of, and love myself in spite of all of that, my love for others is only coming from a place that only serves my self-interest.  I am only loving so that I may be loved.  I have to forfeit that idea of romantic love. My ideas of fairy tales can not be my description of love.  I must accept all the parts of who I am, the dark and gloomy parts, the weak and scared parts, the indulgent and insecure parts or I will never be able to have love for others.  It will all be artificial.  Be real with yourself!

I have heard from several people in my life that I am not judgmental.  Immediately, when I hear this I think… “Yeah, I know I don’t want others to judge me so I don’t judge others.”  People living in sinful self-interest, can’t handle shame.  I didn’t want to impart my honest remarks on how others chose to live their life, what if they decided to be honest about my choices.  That would bring shame and that would hurt my feelings.  My precious ego wouldn’t be able to survive.  Can we grow without honesty?  I think I cleared that up last week.  I believe no growth can occur without honesty.  Love rejoices in the truth. Start LOVING this week by being HONEST with yourself and be led by the SPIRIT, not grounded by the ROOT of sinful self-interest.  Teach others that it is ok to love the messy and messed up.  BE the change this world needs to see by spreading truth,   without judgment.239b2aeb45415859920af6834f9b22e6

My definition of love is this…  It is releasing your needs, and helping others.  It is accepting the mistakes and misfortunes of others.  Love is not about YOU, it is about His Spirit.  His Spirit is in each of us, so when we accept that we are all imperfect yet truly loveable, we are truly loving ourselves.

Do not SEEK love my friends, seek to TEACH everyone where it can be found.  We all have it, someone might need to water and nurture it a bit more than others.  I will leave you with this to think of as well.  A bit of wisdom spoken by my dad a few days ago.  When asked “What is the cause of human suffering?”  My dad said, “It’s real simple, we must love our neighbor!”  I think the world needs a refresher course on what love is, then we need to show love to each other.  Love does meet the requirements of a four letter word.  But this word isn’t dirty or shameful, it isn’t evil or self-seeking.  It is a word we all need to become better acquainted with, and it is a word that should most definitely be felt by each of us.  It should be felt growing inside each of us.

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Have a great day! Love, Michelle

How Comfortable Are We With Honesty?

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How many times have you been in a conversation that ended up in an argument because one of you was just honest? I have had many conversations recently where I had to hear truth, I mean hard to swallow, HONESTY! I felt like saying, “keep those things to yourself and lie to me.” My ego may be just a bit too fragile. I can add here that anything that is negative sounding honesty I say the person is just being mean, because I have an internal struggle with portraying perfection. I really had to take a good long look at myself and understand that while the truth is hard to hear, this is where growth happens. I know the difference of being mean and being honest. The person that told me these things was not trying to be mean. They wanted me to look at things from their perspective. Empathy is not a strength for a person that has BPD. Their is a liberating feeling that comes from accepting the truth about who you are, then realizing people do exist in the world that will love you for ALL that you are!

I have had to hear that I am “selfish, deceptive, cold, cruel, heartless, not able to love, irresponsible, unreliable, impulsive, brash, blunt, a procrastinator, unaware of myself and unable to see how my actions affect others, and last but not least, crazy.”   I have also heard all of these things from one person, my husband.  He has been with me for 11 years, he knows me.  He would surely give me an accurate description of who I am, right?  An honest description of how he views me.  I can accept these things now, before accepting my disorder, I would try to defend these things about myself. Who wants to be seen like this?  I will tell you… No one, we all try to show the pretty side of ourselves to the world.  Our “Parade-ready, big smiles and incessant waving” self for the world and save the “Messy bed-head, no make-up, sweat-pants wearing” self for those closest to us.

I can not change these things unless I first accept that these are things that are also in my toolbox.  I can be selfish, deceptive, cruel, heartless, not able to love, irresponsible, unreliable, impulsive, brash, blunt, a procrastinator, unaware of myself and unable to see how my actions affect others, and last but not least, crazy.”  Just because I can be like this, doesn’t mean that I have to be.  The other side of this truth is that I have heard that I can be the most fun-loving person, too friendly at times, too trusting, non-judgmental, hilarious, imaginative, creative, and full of potential, I have been told that I am a great teacher, a great writer, a wonderful wife and mother, a good person.  I want to think these are the only things that people experience of me.  The truth is, it’s not.  If you have known me for some time you have seen the bright shiny parade, and you have also seen the dark and gloomy, couch potato.  img_0395

Of course we love having people tell us what we want to hear about ourselves.  To only reflect our “parade-ready” selves to help add layers of protection to our egos.  If you don’t have someone in your life to put aside the bull-shit and give you the full list of how they see you, I don’t imagine you will ever grow or evolve from the person you are now.  If you have someone in your life that can speak honestly about all that they see in you, tell them Thank You!  They are helping you become who you were meant to be.  I am writing this and thinking at the very same time that I have not been very thankful for honesty in my life.  I have been so good at deceiving others and had relied on the power of creating my own truth for so long that I have been depriving the world of who I truly am, plain and simply put… I can be ME and you can be YOU!  Enjoy looking into your tool box and picking out the best tools for the job you have ahead of you today.  You are the creator of your daily masterpiece, what will you create? Please remember that honesty works both ways, share your honesty with others not to impede their growth.

The old saying goes “Only a true friend would be that honest!”  I have been the topic of much gossip in the town where I live now, and my little hometown. Obviously the choices I have made in life, my journey including my mistakes have made my life quite juicy with erotic undertones and misunderstood obstacles.  The better the gossip king/queen, I assume the more my name has passed through their lips.  I know that my life may be interesting, but let me be a true friend today and tell you this.  If you aren’t accepting your own truths about your life and all the flaws that make you who you are, don’t attempt to share anyone else’s.  That is all!  Life is too short to only focus on the negative parts of our journey, learn your lessons and move on.  The struggles that lie ahead await your new found strength.  Let this be a lesson to others, that I have had to learn the hard way.  Be a true friend, everyday… and be the truest of friends to yourself!

This post was motivated by the last two weeks of my life and a couple of conversations I have had with some friends. I haven’t stopped writing, I just stopped writing in my blog to work on a life-long dream of writing a book. The words just started flowing the other day and I didn’t want it to stop. I have made it to the start of Chapter 3 with only 50 more chapters to write. I can’t wait to complete this project, one that I have always wanted to accomplish. I am a person that has always loved to get lost in books, and could travel to other parts of the world through pages in a book. I hope to provide this sort of travel to my future readers. Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you have received something from my words today.

I honestly hope you all have a wonderful day!

Baseball & It’s Lessons – “Little League Version”

My boy had a baseball game the other day.  They lost to a really good team.  The boys as young boys do, made mistakes.  It isn’t uncommon for them to do this.  They are learning and mistakes are great teachers.  The pitcher, one of the boys that has been with the team since it started, was on the mound.  He was doing so well.  Then after one player gets on base, his head starts to lower.  His normally healthy confidence starts to diminish a bit. My thoughts… “So what, he walked a player.” The game continues. Yells from the crowd, “You got this!  Keep your head up!” can be heard.  He throws a strike.  The crowd rewards his immediate resiliency.  He continues to pitch.  The team played hard and still came up short.  My son cried, other team mates cried.  Not from losing the game, but because of mistakes and shortcomings.  This is not a time for tears boys.  Learning is happening.

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I always ask my son to rate his performance after a game.  I ask him, “did you feel you gave it a 100%.”  He is always so honest.  He will say “maybe 85% or 90%.”  I then ask, “What is stopping you from giving 100%.  He sometimes tells me the mistakes he made that he could have reacted quicker to avoid the mistake.  Umm, yeah… Maybe!  Or just realize that these type of things happen and that we aren’t perfect.  We aren’t always going to hit a homer or get amazing plays.  Sometimes the ball just bounces out of our gloves or we trip in an attempt to snatch the ball and make an out.

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If you showed a highlight reel of my life it might appear that I have everything going great.  Add in the real elements… The blooper reel, and now you see that I am just a person trying to figure out the game.  I may be going at it giving anywhere from 85-100%, but there are some things out of our control.  I have to remind myself of this when watching my little guy play ball.  He isn’t always going to perform the way that I know he can.  The important thing is that he realizes that even after a mistake, life goes on.  It is what we take from the mistake that forces change in our lives.

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Even though not everyday will be a grand slam, I know that I can do my part to contribute to my team (my family)  If all I can do that day is cheer.  I will do my best to cheer them on.  If I can make a play that helps us win, I make the play.  If I mess up and start thinking that the team would be better off without me… I will listen to the words from the crowd that day… “You got this! Keep your head up!”

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I love watching my son play baseball and I am excited and encouraged by his growth in this sport.  If he doesn’t play professional baseball someday, it will not hurt my feelings.  I know that this sport has already taught us both so much.

THUNDER UP BABY!  I love our team!

PHOTO CREDIT – All photos besides the selfie were taken by the coach’s wife! She did an amazing job and I love all the images she captured. Thank you Esther!

What causes your SOUL to catch FIRE?

Cold is uncomfortable it causes people to tremble and shake when it is felt at extreme low temperatures. There is a need for the body to find a source of heat, our bodies create heat to sustain a normal temperature of 98.6 degrees. It does this by shivering, this occurs when your body falls as little as one degree below its usual core temperature, which is normally around 98 degrees. When this happens, a part of your brain called the hypothalamus lets your muscles know that they need to start moving in order to generate heat. Have you taken your spiritual temperature. Are you freezing, are you warm or comfortable, or are you on fire and creating warmth for others to feel?

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FEED THE FIRE

Psalm 39:3

Inward Fire

My heart was hot within me, While I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue:

musing- in one definition it is called meditation, and in another it is described as complaint.

So I think this scripture could use a bit of interpretation and can mean one of two things. We begin to burn either through meditation and quiet time with ourselves and God, seeking a place of transcendence beyond the earthly realm in our spiritual environment. Then we should speak of the outcomes. Or it could be interpreted as burning inside by reason of injustice and feeling the need to complain. I feel that this is something most people are better at, and the other interpretation takes more time to learn and practice.

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I find myself complaining about a lot of things throughout the day. “Ugh, I have to do dishes, I have to do laundry, I have to get dressed to leave the house, I have to pick up my child’s toys. I know, I know… I shouldn’t complain so much. I should seek more time in meditation instead of complaint. It is easy to become complacent in our lives to get comfortable in the warmth of just surviving. How is it that most still feel as though they are lacking something more. What do we need to fuel the flame inside each of us? I think of that song from Sunday School, “This Little Light of Mine” How many times have you let Satan put it out? Does it still burn as a small flame? If you had to provide someone else warmth from your flame, could you?

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I feel that God is an enormous amount of energy. He created us, he made us for a purpose. We are all offspring of that energy.  Could our fire get as big as GOD?  That coal is placed inside of each of us. It is our portion of His Holy Spirit. I believe every person begins life with the same ration of Holy Spirit. He gives us the opportunity to listen to the world/ satan and have it snuffed out by negativity and evil actions/responses to the world or we can choose to let it grow.

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How does a fire grow? You feed it. The science behind fire is simple. What does a fire need? Typically, fire comes from a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and some sort of fuel (wood or gasoline, or coal for our analogy). Of course, wood and gasoline don’t spontaneously catch on fire just because they’re surrounded by oxygen. For the combustion reaction to happen, you have to heat the fuel to its ignition temperature. This simple understanding of fire and how it works can be used to help us understand ourselves better and also our role in walking in the spirit.

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Giving off warmth and light to those around us. My ignition temperature may be different than even that of my brother. He is genetically similar to me because we are the offspring of the same two individuals, but he has sought after God for the majority of his life. A faithful servant. I have been wayward and in my attempts to find God, I complained that my life was too difficult to bear. My ignition temperature must be a higher temperature. The problem wasn’t the coal we were created with, it was the temperature variance we were also created with, in order for our fuel to ignite. If you are a person with a similar ignition temperature these words may be hitting you with complete clarity and understanding at this point.

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So I just looked it up and all types of wood have varying ignition temperatures. We are even similar to the trees aren’t we? How can we all expect to be designed the same way, we are all here fulfilling a different purpose and walking a different path. Obviously there are people in our lives that seem to burn daily with maybe just a tiny spark happening some place close by and it sets their coal to burn an amazing flame. Then there are people like myself, that almost need the whole area around them to be scorched to ashes before recognizing that ignition temperatures have been reached and it is time to burn.

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This came from praying this morning and looking at our fire pit this morning. Let your coal find oxygen and let it set a blaze to not only keep  you warm but others warm as well.  Your spirit can burn just find your ignition temperature and surround yourself with things that cause a spark.

May God bless you today!

**Disclaimer**  I am not a religious expert or claim to be.  This is just some insight I am sharing today.  I have received some feedback on this particular entry -“that we aren’t born with the Holy Spirit.  That it is a gift.”  Whenever it does actually reside inside of us whether at birth or later, after accepting Christ is not poignant to the fact that we need to find the things that cause it to set ablaze.  It is there if you believe it to be there.  God’s love is there.  Show it to others!***

 

Mindful Moment

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I had a doctor’s appointment today, so I decided to put into practice a few things that I have been reading in the book I just started.  I will be writing my review on the book soon.  The book was suggested to me by my kid’s counselor, “One Minute Mindfulness.”  Did you know you could change your life in 60 seconds? Yeah… Me either. I have been trying to get a lot of things accomplished at home and Summer baseball is in full swing (pun intended.)  Organizing and such before school starts back for the kids & I in August.  That is correct, you heard me right.  I will still be working as a teacher.  Assignment pending, but most likely not with elementary students.  Praise the good and gracious LORD! He has been with me through some of the darkest times.

MINDFUL MOMENT

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The wind & small leaves work together, creating a small symphony.

Starting at the tip top of the surrounding trees, feel that breeze.

They create a sound similar to that of great applause.

They show their joy for this moment I took to pause.

I am present in this moment, I am aware

I hear the birds all around me, their beautiful song

And a greater presence joins, or maybe it’s been here all along.

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I feel the birds know that I envy their existence.

boasting their worry-free life, allowing me but a glimpse.

They swoop down for a quick breakfast on my lawn

As the glistening dew reflects the dawn.

The way they can see into each tiny hiding place

Makes me give a moment to this creature’s natural grace

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To fly above the world, a glorious view

warm rays of sunshine, brilliant skies of blue

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The working bird, yields a nest

picking up remnants of a forgotten mess

A small bundle of twigs, a few pieces of string

patiently waiting for the new life it will bring

The moment of listening to the leaves today

takes me to a place of gratitude, and I pray

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I pray for my family and for my friends

I hope they know the love I have for each of them.

Life is full of beautiful moments such as this,

Don’t let them pass you by, an always fleeting bliss.

Hold dear to those you love and tell them everyday

Sweet friends, in this moment I learned to never forget the importance of play.1040564_10200707385820949_648089819_o

Play relieves the pain and sadness of this world

maybe tomorrow I will take a moment to pretend I’m a bird.

Written by: Michelle C

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