grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

Four Years Ago Today

Four years ago today, July 23rd took on a whole new significance in my life.

Four years ago today, July 23rd became a Line of Demarcation on my timeline.

Four years ago today, July 23rd changed everything…forever.

You see, four years ago today, I had a routine mammogram.

Only it wasn’t so routine.

That mammogram discovered aggressive Stage 3 breast cancer.

That mammogram started a ball rolling that, like snowballs from mountaintops in cartoons, consumed so much in its crazy, high-speed, bouncy path…arms and legs and other body parts (and hearts and relationships and Life As I Knew It Things) sticking out all wacky and nonsensical.

That mammogram saved my life.

Four years ago today, July 23rd unleashed a torrent of trials and triumphs, loss and love, hell and health that I am still wading through…some days waist-deep…some days thigh-deep…some days ankle-deep…but every day dripping wet.

Four years ago today, July 23rd began the revealing of so much True and so much False.

Four years ago today, July 23rd God whispered ‘You’re going to be okay.’

Four years ago today, July 23rd I chose to believe Him.

And, every day since that day, four years ago, I am grateful.

For it all.

{Decided to go ahead and link up with Holley Gerth and Jennifer Dukes Lee today – sharing Joy and Happy is as much Coffee for Your Heart and Tell(ing)HisStory as anything I can think of! ~Thank you ladies for letting me share!~ Please click through for more real life Joy and Happy…and everything in between. *smile}

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The View From Here + A Blog Hop

Grateful today to have been invited to take some time to answer questions that I think every one of us can benefit from asking…no matter if we define ourselves as Creatives or Writers or Artists or Warriors or Peacemakers or {your word-of-choice}. It’s in asking – and answering – questions like, but not limited to, these that we can mine and refine our purposes, our callings with a beautiful, thoughtful intentionality. And, as a sweet bonus, I get to share links to the spaces of a sampling of brilliant peeps that make my life richer…I know you’ll find them super-cool, too!

On to the questions…

What am I working on?

Currently, I am finding myself knee-deep in exploration. As unbelievable as it is to me, the curtain on my Second Act is rising – you know, that place in life where examination and redefinition is inevitable and, if the living is going to be full and purpose-filled, imperative. (It has a tiny bit to do with chronological age, but I think – and hope – we are not limited to just two acts in the theater of our lives…so I’m not of the school of thought that there is some Magic Birthday that precipitates the Raising of the Curtain on said Second Act.)

For me, the exploration, examination, and redefinition looks like committing myself to blogging regularly by taking part in a couple weekly link ups (thank you, Holley Gerth and Jennifer Dukes Lee!), volunteering to be part of local blogging team, taking some soul-deep online classes, signing up to be part of the launch of a life-changing, life-giving book, and getting gut-wrenchingly honest in facing the truth of where I’m at and how I got here.

As I went through cancer diagnosis and treatment almost four years ago (Happy Cancerversary to me on July 23! *smile), I kept friends and family up-to-date via a CaringBridge site. Aside from well wishes and prayers, the most frequent feedback I got was ‘You really need to write a book.’ And while I haven’t started the process of literally writing a book, ideas are – and have been – percolating…it’s only a matter of time, truly. Well, that and the quieting of the worry that I’ll look like one of those American Idol auditioners who is frighteningly tone deaf but insists that her friends tell her she’s the best ever…or, at the very least, so good that she should try out…or, in my case, write that book.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Honestly, this is the one question of the four that almost caused me to pass on the chance to be part of this blog hop…and, as I sit here at the keyboard, I wonder if that’s because I still balk a little at calling myself a Writer. It would stand to reason that if I struggle with that, I’d struggle a bit with a question about genre, too, right? And then I think…isn’t this what some of us (a lot of us? most of us?) tend to do? Step away from standing in our true place? Shrink away from standing at our true height? Shy away from standing in our full light? When we do this, not only do we rob ourselves of living soul-fully and truth-fully, but we steal from others the opportunity to share in that soul-full, truth-full life alongside us. I’m certain lots of other people have said it more eloquently than this (in fact, several of my favorite quotes pertain to this very thing), but, in my view, there is nothing more heartbreaking than a life half-lived because of self-imposed shackles and the belief in faulty messages about who we are and who we can be.

So I suppose, what makes my work different is the digging deep in sometimes ridiculously honest fashion to get to the heart of the matter…regardless of the old tapes whose volume tries to drown out the truth that can always – and I mean ALWAYS – be found in the center of the heart of the matter…whatever the matter is.

Why do I write what I do?

Most of the time, I write because if I don’t, it feels like my heart is going to beat out of my chest, race out the door, climb onto the nearest roof, and shout mega-phone loud whatever it is that’s pounding to be heard.

That said, the writing isn’t always easy for me. Writing makes it Real…whatever It is…and some things are not what I want to be Real. Also, I am forever grateful for the backspace button.

And, like the actor who can’t watch herself on film because it triggers the desire to do it again, only better; I struggle with reading my writing once it’s been posted. A lot of the time, I suffer from a serious case of Delayed Intelligence that frequently sounds like a variation on the theme of I Sure Could Have Written That Much Better.

Words are life to me. That would be my short answer. *smile

How does my process work?

Boy, do I wish I had some artsy, passionate, ethereal answer to this one…deep inside me, buried under a lot of Shoulds and Shouldn’ts and Oughts and Can’ts is a tattooed, tousle-haired, sundress-wearing, paint-throwing, full-throated-humming free spirit whose veins thump and throb with the kind of creative juices that cause spectacles and raise rumpuses (rumpii?), I’m sure of it. {In fact, just writing her chokes me up and terrifies and excites me simultaneously. And, I’m grateful that all the heavy lifting I’ve done in my life has prepared and strengthened my hands to pull the rubble, piece by heavy piece, off of that remarkable, breath-taking beauty in the hopes that someday soon she will dance free and scatter her unique kind of joy like so much glitter and fairy dust.}

But, for now, here’s the truth of it…sometimes I open my computer, play Solitaire till I win a hand (no matter how long it takes), open a clean, fresh Google Doc, and then start typing. Sometimes, I have my very unorganized, scattered notebook and a mechanical pencil in hand and the words spill out like free-flowing water. Sometimes, I find anything else to do but sit down to write, wearing the Queen of Procrastination Crown Jewels like nobody’s business.

Each mode and method works for me, in its way and in its time. And I’m sure my process will evolve as I do…as my heart does…as life itself does.

~~~

So there you have it…the view from here…today.

I hope you’ll take some time to ask yourself these questions – or ones similar to them – in your own adventure toward a beautiful, thoughtful, intentional life.

And, be sure to visit the sites of these special, crazy-talented friends.
You’ll be so glad you did!

Becky Cavender

Becky Cavender is a writer and relationship coach living in the Pacific Northwest. She has several articles published on Huffington Post and she has lived in five countries on four continents — including Myanmar, where she published a guidebook for expats moving there. When she’s not writing or coaching clients, you can find her devouring books on sensuality at any of the best local coffee joints sucking up caffeine.
You can read more of her work and learn about her coaching services on her website: www.beckycavender.com

Shari Daniels

Shari Daniels is a teacher at heart and has been working with children in elementary schools for over 25 years. Currently, she’s a literacy coach in a K-5 school.
Shari’s work as a literacy coach led her to writing. She’s always been a writer, but never before called herself a writer. She is calling herself a writer now. And, an artist, and a healer, and a way-shower.
She has 4 children, ages 19-25, has been married to her high school sweetheart for 25 years, and adores her yellow lab, Sandy.
Shari’s Blog: www.islandsofmysoul.com

Jill Emmelhainz

Jill Emmelhainz a mom of a nest that is emptying, a woman who is moving into the second half of life, and a wife who is working hard to reconnect. God is bringing healing as she moves past grieving journeys into new places of freedom. Jill would love to have you join her in living loud, living colorfully, and living with heART!
Jill’s Blog: www.journey2wonder.wordpress.com
Jill’s Art Blog: www.journey2wonderful.wordpress.com

Patty Scott

Patty Scott is married to her beloved surfer husband. She educates her two precocious boys, who are the joys of her life, at home. Patty is inspired by Charlotte Mason, her mentor, Kathy, Dallas Willard, A.W. Tozer, C.S. Lewis and Francois Fenelon. She’s devoted to Jesus. Patty writes to inspire and bless by sharing the real, the beautiful and the reaching of her own heart.
Patty’s Blog: www.heartshomeward.blogspot.com

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