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Archive for the ‘Grace’ Category

grace-favour

A hundred thoughts tumble around in my head as I write this last lesson in grace today.

Mostly, I can’t help but think about the outpouring of grace I’ve received this year. It leaves me humbled and teary-eyed, and feeling so incredibly blessed.

Truly, 2016 has been a year of grace in our home and in my heart. (And to the awesome friend who sent me an ornament that says such – I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me!).

To recap some of the lessons I’ve learned this past year:

grace letters

Grace (like attitude) changes everything. Everything. Maybe the circumstances haven’t changed. Maybe the people around us haven’t changed. But when we accept grace, when we freely give it – it changes absolutely everything everything.

grace carried

Sometimes there is grace in letting go. Other times we find grace in hanging on. One thing is for certain, though… grace will not fail us. Not ever.

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Grace can arrive in an overwhelming, emotional, more-than-you-can-imagine kind of way. And sometimes it arrives softly, simply, in some tiny little detail or nearly missed moment.

Busy with everyday life, I am horribly guilty of passing by sweet little moments of grace — of stopping to watch the sun set, listening to the happy song of birds in the backyard, taking a minute just to smell the lovely fragrance of a rose.

On the occasions when I do indulge in those moments (and that is all they are is a few moments), my heart is lifted and my soul lighter. I need to be more mindful of savoring every sweet little moment of grace that comes my way.

standard of grace

We all need to give ourselves measures of grace. We need to grant permission to relax and do nothing. Go on an adventure. Take a walk. Sit in quiet peacefulness. It is in those moments when we are seeking peace and not perfection when we find what we need to continue.

everyday is a second chance

 

I love new beginnings and I love the idea that every single day is a second chance to get things right. No matter how badly I might have messed up yesterday, or last week, or last month, or last year, the opportunity for a new beginning exists every single day.

 

give away love and grace like you're made of it

The more grace (love, forgiveness) we give to others, the more we find poured out on us. There is no limit on grace, especially when we’re giving it away. So give it away freely, along with a heaping helping of love.

joy and grace

I love this quote for many reasons, but perhaps the biggest is because it combines three such important things: love, joy, and grace. Love is spoken in our home. Loads of love. Love is spoken in many ways… not just verbally, but through actions, through hugs and smiles. That is a blessing for which I am grateful every single day. Every one. Joy is also chosen in our home. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you probably surmised by  now that Captain Cavedweller is a bit of (okay – a whole lot of) a tease and jokester who is rarely serious.  There is much laughter every day, but there is also joy that bubbles up from our hearts from the awareness of how fortunate we are in this life. Grace is given in our home to each other, and to those who might not reside within its walls, but reside in our hearts. Grace is extended to those who are strangers but in need of it. And ever so slowly, I’m learning to give myself sweet measures of grace.

And I like to think I’m learning to give grace instead of judgement, to see with love instead of anger (frustration, envy, hurt, etc.) Sometimes someone who is angry, bitter, spiteful or cruel just needs a little grace. And sometimes that person might even be us.

Even the tiniest measure of grace can go such a long, long way.

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Life is a very precious, beautiful gift that many take for granted. It’s important, so important to be grateful for that gift. To cherish it, value it, treasure it. And to honor it by filling our hearts and lives with grace, courtesy, gratitude, kindness, and love.

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More than once this year I have been greatly disturbed by the emphasis put on looking beautiful. Beauty fades, prettiness ages, but the things of real value only improve with time.

Rather than encourage young women to be “beautiful” we should encourage them to be smart and witty, clever and creative, interesting and intriguing, resourceful and captivating, graceful and kind instead of focusing on having just another pretty face.

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Beauty without grace  – you see it time and again. True beauty, the kind that comes from the heart, walks hand-in-hand with grace. Be your own kind of beautiful.

 

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Gratitude and grace do such amazing things! They clothe the soul with beauty and the heart with joy.

In fact, joy is going to be my theme for 2017. So if you enjoyed this year’s grace lessons, check in on Monday’s next year as I journey through a year of joy.

Thank you all for the amazing, inspiring, heartfelt moments of grace you’ve shared with me this year. I appreciate you all so much and wish for you sweet moments and measures of grace each and every day in the coming year.

 

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Grace Lessons Week 51

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Captain Cavedweller and I recently returned from a two-week, much-needed vacation.

For months, we’d both been looking forward to getting away and enjoying time together. Since September, I’ve been working more hours, stealing the extra time I needed from hours when I should have been sleeping. By the first of December, it had definitely taken its toll on me in mind, body, and spirit.

My weary state made the idea of a vacation even more enticing.

You know that saying about best laid plans… we’ll that’s kind of how things went on vacation. I thought (quite stupidly) that I could release two books, host a Facebook party, participate in three other parties, finish proofing a new book so I could send it to my first round of proofreaders, and maintain my daily social media efforts without it taking up too much of our vacation time.

Boy, was I wrong.

There were entire days of our vacation that I barely left the hotel room, stuck at my laptop as I tried to keep all those balls I attempted to juggle in the air.

Then, in one horrendous moment, they all crashed around me.

Because I’d been so busy with too many projects, obligations and commitments, I hired a company to handle the release of one of those books (a book I spent months working on and poured my heart and soul into). However, the company remained silent despite my attempts to communicate with them two weeks before the release. The week the book released, they failed to do anything to promote it. Nada. Nothing.  On top of the book sales being pitiful, I felt like a big idiot for spending the money to hire them, not to mention putting my trust in them to successfully launch my book. Had I known they’ d take my money and do nothing during the release week, I would have gladly given up more of my sleep to do the promotion work myself.

Needless to say, the whole horrible experience put quite a damper on our vacation.

CC was wonderful, as always, reassuring me that everything was fine and not to worry about it, but I did worry. And stewed. And may have even suffered a few moments of being completely livid at the company who failed to deliver what they promised and myself for hiring them in the first place.

I can’t even put into words how much it made my heart hurt as I looked at the wasted opportunities… opportunities lost that would never come again because I depended on someone else to follow through on their promises and keep their word.

Then I realized being angry and upset and worried wasn’t going to change anything. It was too late to fix the book release debacle. Nothing I could do would enhance the sales. And I would just have to accept things as they were, no matter how much I hated to.

What I could control was my attitude about the whole thing. Part of that attitude adjustment was giving myself some grace… and extending some to the company that let me down.

Rather than dwell on all the negative things that happened on our vacation, I decided to focus on the good, fun things. I got to meet an online friend and her lovely family in person. They even invited us over for a wonderful meal that was a welcome reprieve from all the drama taking place in my world at that moment. We went to several rodeo performances and had the opportunity to watch a friend’s son win the championship title in his event. We had fun shopping at vendor events and eating at some great restaurants. And I got to spend time with my beloved Captain Cavedweller.

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One of the best gifts we could ever give or receive isn’t wrapped in beautiful paper with bright, shiny bows. It’s the gift of grace – wrapped in love and forgiveness, mercy and hope.

The holiday season can be a difficult, trying, stressful time for many. While it brings out the best in some, it can bring out the worst in others. So I’m going to do my best to give gifts of grace, even to myself, but most especially to others.

May you open the gift of grace and let its light shine brightly in your heart.

 

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grace-beauty

The past week, I’ve attended a handful of huge vendor shows. At each one, there have been booths of people selling beauty products. Many of them stand  in front of their booths, trying to entice customers by offering samples or mini-makeovers.

I politely smile and nod and continue on my way. Or, at least I try.

Twice, the men working in the booth actually stepped in front of me so I had to stop and proceeded to comment on those “puffy, dark bags under your eyes.”

(Yeah, I’d like to see what they look like in fifteen years when they’ve spent the last six weeks running on five hours of sleep a night, chocolate, and anxiety.)

The conversation with one of them went something like this:

“Come. Try my product,” the guy with the fake French accent said.

“No, thank you.”

“Pleaze, you must!” he insisted, continuing to block my escape route.

“No, thank you. I’m really not interested.”

“Oh, but those unsightly bags, the puffy skin! I can fix you!” he proclaimed while I looked around hoping Captain Cavedweller would magically appear. No one bothers me when he’s around.  “Here, let me show you.”

He moved into the booth to grab his magic tube of gunk and I took the opportunity to blend into the crowd.

A very similar situation happened again about thirty minutes later. By then, I was convinced I must look like some old hag that crawled out of the mire. When I finally caught up to CC, I asked him if I more closely resembled Medusa or Methuselah. Taken aback by my question, he stared at me a moment then grinned and assured me I looked perfectly fine to him (I knew there was a reason I kept him around.)

Since I’ve been around thousands and thousands of people in the past week, I’ve noticed some people seem so very comfortable in their own skin while others struggle so had to fit to the “norm” that society dictates.

But here’s the thing… outward beauty is fleeting and fickle. But grace and inward beauty can take you far.

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And that’s one reason I love this quote. Beauty is grace and confidence. It’s not about being a size two with flowing locks of golden hair or a perfect tan or whatever it is society has deemed as “the look” this season. Beauty is learning to love yourself for who you are and being confident in yourself. That’s real beauty. And that’s giving yourself grace.

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So if you, like me, sometimes struggle because you’d like to look more like society’s ideal of beauty, give yourself some grace and remember happy girls truly are the prettiest because the beauty shines up from their hearts and out their faces.

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And there’s not a tube of cream, makeup, or magic elixir that can shine any brighter than a good heart and a warm smile.

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amazing-grace

I’ve always loved the hymn Amazing Grace.

Written by John Newton and published in 1779, the song has been popular for centuries. Newton grew up without any religious affiliation or inclination. He even worked as a slave trader for a while. Then a violent storm battered his boat off the coast of Ireland with such force, Newton cried out to God for mercy.

And the words he penned after that experience have touched the hearts of thousands.

You know one of the things I like best about the lyrics? Just that simple phrase of “Amazing Grace.”

Grace is an amazing thing. So incredibly amazing. And beautiful. And precious. And something I don’t ever want to take for granted, although I know I do.

So I thank each one of you who have shown me grace, extended your love and friendship, and made me feel so very blessed.

May your week be filled with your own amazing moments of grace.

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This quote is so lovely and perfectly fit my thoughts today.

Thanksgiving always makes me think about all the many things I have to be grateful for. I know I am abundantly blessed and sometimes in the busyness of everyday, I forget to be as thankful as I should for those many blessings.

But my thoughts over the weekend have centered on being grateful, being filled with thankfulness, and the grace that seems to go hand-in-hand with gratitude.

What a lovely thought – to envision gratitude and grace clothing our soul with beauty and our heart with joy.

May it be so for you this week!

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Grace Lessons Week 47

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Grief and loss have been on my thoughts recently.

My uncle passed away a few weeks ago. He was in his 90s and had recently moved into a care home. He’d been in poor health for quite a while, and we’re glad he no longer has to suffer, but there is an ache in my heart at his passing.

On top of losing him, I feel as though I’ve lost my last ties to a whole era. You see, my uncle fought in World War II.

Although he never talked much about his experiences there, I do know he was wounded in Germany and sent home.

My uncle sometimes came off as gruff and ornery, but the more he teased you, the more he liked you.

He had a big heart and a great laugh. When I think of him, I think of being at his house and seeing him walk in from milking cows, cold from the frigid winter air, and sitting at the counter in the kitchen with a steaming cup of coffee as he teased me about something.

As I think of all the things my uncle left behind, it gives me peace and surrounds me in grace.

For any of you who might be grieving, look for those sweet moments of grace, those moments that remind you of the legacy your loved ones left behind.

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live-with-grace

I really liked (and needed) this quote this morning.

Although I can’t claim to live every minute with love, grace, and gratitude, I’m getting much better at living more minutes in a state of thankful grace.

This past week, I had a big hoopla, launching a new book ,sharing about upcoming releases, kicking of my campaign for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, and hosting a party on Facebook.

Through it all, I was (as always) overwhelmed by the love and grace poured out to me from friends and fans alike.

So I thank you.

I thank you for your encouragement, your support, your kind words that touch my heart and mean so much more to me than you can possibly know. For every measure of grace you shared (and continue to share), thank you – from the very depths of my heart.

 

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