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February 2017

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Open Hearts

I found this quote in the February 2017 issue of Skirt Magazine

“Love wasn’t put in your heart to stay. Love isn’t love until you give it away.” (Unknown)

We have just had one of the most romantic and love centered holidays this week, Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a holiday people either love or love to hate, personally I love it. My mom is a kindergarten teacher and always taught me that V-Day was just a day to tell all those you love–you love them. I cannot express just how excited I was to write and send out my Valentine’s, just sending out a little love to people who are all over the world put me in a better mood.

I think about love, a lot, 99% of my posts are about love, it is the central theme of my faith and it is truly the one thing that I believe makes this world go round. One of the saddest realizations for me has been that one of my biggest fears is to let love in, to open my heart and allow it to be vulnerable–and I find that this fear is not just reserved to me, I talk to people all the time about how they are scared to open up their hearts because they may be opening it up to love but they are also opening it up to the possibility of hurt.

The quote above was at the very end of a monthly magazine I read, Skirt. This month’s issue was all about, you guessed it, love and Valentine’s Day! Although the quote is simple, it packs a punch, “Love wasn’t put in your heart to stay. Love isn’t love until you give it away.” The thing about hearts is, they don’t really fully function without receiving love and they don’t fully function without giving away love. I know my heart feels more at peace and I personally feel more like myself when I give love away. However, the flip side is to give away genuine love, my heart must be open and my walls down.

C. S. Lewis wrote:

“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

The second to last sentence brought tears to my eyes. I cannot imagine a worst fate for one’s self and one’s heart, to have a heart that is unbreakable, impenetrable and irredeemable. We don’t fear love, our fear is that we will be hurt. Love is beautiful, healing and brings us to life but the fear of being hurt is crippling. Yes, when you open your heart and allow yourself to become vulnerable there is a real possibility that your heart will be hurt and even broken; those we love often hurt us, some mean to while others do so accidentally. However, every time our hearts are broken, chipped at, sliced at and even stabbed–something wonderful does happen, they still beat and eventually they will mend and you will discover that your heart has the capacity to allow in a little more love and to give a little bit more love away. After being hurt, you must remember how it feels. We all get hurt but there are times when we are the ones that do the hurting. So when you have to break another’s heart, remember what it felt like to have yours broken and be gentle with it. Hearts are fragile and if you ever truly loved or cared about another person, you won’t want to inflict unnecessary pain.  (I think there is a quote along these lines, but I cannot seem to find it)

Too often we believe that our scars make us somehow less human. The world we live in places a heavy emphasis on appearing perfect, hiding our emotions (crying is seen as a weakness but I know it is one of my biggest strengths. I prefer to call it “processing my emotions”) and trying to make it seem like nothing really touches us. If we don’t feel then we cannot get hurt, but I don’t think life is about avoiding the collisions that will leave us with scars and bruises. In fact I found a quote that addresses this:

“Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it.”

I want you to think about your hearts, think about the wounds that have been inflicted upon it, think about the healing process and all the bandaids that were laid upon your heart. Now think about what your heart looks and feels like after the bandaids were removed, it may not look pristine and perfect but think of it this way–your heart wasn’t untouched, it was used. It is incredibly painful when people we love hurt us but I will never regret loving them. I will never let the pain cause me to regret giving my heart away, opening it up to let love in and let love out, because my scars mean I showed up.

So I am going to leave you with words of wisdom from the incredible Maya Angelou:

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Peace, Joy, Blessings and All my Love,


*I wrote a similar post, nearly two years ago, entitled Brokenhearted


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I Am Blessed

The other day I was in a foul mood. It felt almost as if my heart had been stabbed with a knife and I was too emotionally exhausted to pull it out so I made the decision that I would simply leave the knife in and let the wound fester. Fester it did, my heart ached in a way that I thought it might just be best to simply rip the thing right out of my chest. I let the wound and my mood fester until I felt numb and the hurt, anger and pain was only a throb. As I let myself wallow in this pain and this misery (dramatic, right?) I also allowed myself to throw a major temper tantrum with God–I mean I acted like a two year old in the midst of her terrible twos. I let myself vent, do a little yelling and a lot of blaming– then promptly rested myself against the cold, solid numbness of my once destroyed walls rather than in the warm, solid and loving embrace of God.

However, God uses many people, some very much alive and some who have passed on. God used a woman I respect greatly, love dearly and sorely miss, although I haven’t ever met her–Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou died in 2014, but this incredible woman’s glorious words and wisdom live on in her numerous books, articles and poems. So on Monday, as I was throwing myself a little pity party God used Maya Angelou’s words to break through the walls of hurt.

Monday morning I drove myself downtown to the Charleston County Public Library, where I got to use my brand new library card (I cannot express how excited I am about that little piece of plastic) and checked out three books: Letter to My Daughter and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings both by Maya Angelou and Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr. I began with Letter to My Daughter, the back of the cover read: “I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish-speaking, Native American and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.” As I perused the shelf filled with Angelou’s work, picked up this work and read the back I decided this was a book I desperately needed to read; I managed to finish the book all on Monday. It is in this colorfully bound book that I found just the bit of advice that my heart and mind needed to hear.

In Chapter 11: Porgy and Bess Angelou recounts a story when she felt that she was going crazy:

“I told him I was going crazy. he said no and then asked, ‘What’s really wrong?’ and I, upset that he had not heard me said, ‘I thought about killing myself today and killing Guy [her son], I’m telling you I’m going crazy.’ Wilkie said, ‘Sit down right here at this table, here is a yellow pad and here is a ballpoint pen. I want you to write down your blessings.’ I said, ‘Wilkie, I don’t want to talk about that, I’m telling you I am going crazy.’ He said, ‘First write down that I said write down and think of the millions of people all over the world who cannot hear a choir, or symphony, or their own babies crying. Write down, I can hear–Thank God. Then write down that you can see this yellow pad, and think of the millions of people around the world who cannot see a waterfall, or flowers blooming, or their lover’s face. Write I can see–Thank God. Then write down that you can read. Think of the millions of people around the world who cannot read the news of the day, or a letter from home, a stop sign on a busy street, or…’ I followed Wilkie’s orders and when I reached the last line on the first page of the yellow pad, the agent of madness was routed.” (Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter p. 66).

I found myself feeling just as Angelou did. I didn’t want to talk about and think about my blessings, much less write them down. But I decided to listen to Wilkie’s instruction and pulled out a pad and pen and began to, begrudgingly write down the things I was thankful for. I get so caught up in the things that hurt, the things that I don’t like, the circumstances I don’t have any control over that I lose sight of how blessed I am, how much beauty is right in front of me and how simply lovely it is to live in the here and now. So as Angelou ended her chapter, I will end this post with: “Today I am blessed” (Angelou, Letter to My Daughter, p. 67).

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

Peace, Joy, Blessings and So Much Love,


P.S I hope everyone had a lovely, love filled Valentine’s Day!

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Chasing Sunsets

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If I look outside around 4:30/5:00PM I will begin to see the sky change colors and the sun sink lower in the sky. This is my  signal that the end of another day is approaching and is an indicator that a gorgeous, God made show is about to begin. Tonight I chose to be present in the moment and present in this place; I didn’t want to let another stunning sunset go by without witnessing it. The funny thing with sunsets is, you can go out to the same place every evening, at the same time and sit in the same spot but the view that dances in front of your eyes will always be different. Somehow each evening the sky will be illuminated with an array of a variety of colors. Some sunsets paint the sky full of pastel colors that reflect off the clouds reminding me of cotton candy, while other evenings the sky resembles a fire, with all different shades orange and yellow. Tonight I stuck around and watched as the last orange light faded, the sky turned navy blue and the silvery moon made her appearance accompanied by a star.

As I walked further down the old bridge, towards the benches, I met a couple watching the sunset from their golf cart. I stopped and told them that they were doing life right and discovered that they come to watch the sunset every evening and had watched the sunrise that morning! Maybe that is what I need to start doing, taking time to slow down, enjoy the quiet of the evening and let myself feel small and overwhelmed by the beauty of the sky.

The gallery attached to this post is full of pictures from a few different sunsets that I have witnessed in the past few months, from four different countries. Some of the pictures are not the best quality, I took them on my phone! Even though the pictures are not perfect they are still gorgeous; however, nothing will ever compare to the magic that is watching the sky transform before your own eyes.

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

Peace, Joy, Blessings and So Much Love,