Judge me if you wish but I will gladly admit I LOVE Valentine’s Day. I love it and I am so extra about it and to be completely transparent… I give zero cares. I could blame it on amazing marketing gurus who work for Hallmark, but really, it was my Mom who took this holiday and grew it to the moon in our lives! My Mama did anything and everything to let us know we were loved. She had Sweetest Day on lockdown and she owned Valentine’s Day like the Boss Mama she was (and still is!) Because of my sweet little Mama (@RockinRoro), I love the hype around the holiday and the pomp and circumstance that accompanies it. I love the chocolate covered strawberries that are currently not part of my eating plan and the overly expensive red roses that make my heart swoon. I love turning the tables and surprising the ones I love with thoughtful gifts that make them feel special. I love leaving little notes behind and I love the joy of surprising perfect strangers with little acts of kindness. With Christmas cheer a distant memory and the January that lasted 700 years officially over, a day to be a little (lot) extra in the love category is welcomed with open arms.
It doesn’t matter if you have a significant other or not- it’s not just about coupledom. Valentine’s Day is about LOVE and that to me is THE GREATEST thing. There are so many people to shower with love on this super special day. There are the obvious ones (spouses, children, family, friends, lovers, co-workers) but then there is the opportunity to think outside the box. Send some love in the form of a free beverage to the lady behind you in the drive-thru line at the Bucks of the Star. Send some love to the elderly neighbor that lives by you in the form of a plant or flowers. Send some love to the person you pass on the street with a smile. On this sweetest, loveliest, most delightful day of celebration, I encourage you to share the love. Go out of your way to put a smile on another person’s face. You never know what they are going through- or who it is that their heart might be missing.
Throw love around like confetti… or if you’re like me, maybe throw actual confetti because that’s super-fun too!!!
I hope your day is full of giddy happiness, wild excitement and maybe even a surprise or few.
Happiest of Valentine’s Days!
This Monday Musing is coming to you as a mash-up of football and the theme of love… fitting for this week, eh?
Inc.com published an article last week that resonated on a deep level with me. It highlighted the G.O.A.T. himself and the 1 word he kept repeating post-Super Bowl win. For you haters I just want to remind you that’s win #6… to really rub salt in the haterade wound, he’s been in 9 total. #yourwelcome I digress. The word Tom Brady had on repeat over and over was the word love. He infused it in every post-game interaction from Cooks to Edelman to Kraft. It was emotional and it was raw and dare I say, it was incredible. I sat watching the post-game chaos unfold and while I deeply wished the media circus would offer these men a moment to pause and bask in the glory of winning, I was grateful we were so privy to moments of raw emotion on such a grand stage.
We live in a world where most of the time, emotion is frowned upon. There are moments in life where our metaphorical houses are behind us, completely ablaze and yet we feel the need to make it pretty and perfect with an “I’m Fine!” and a smile. We live in a time and place where “don’t catch feelings” is actually a goal for relationships.
You guys, What. The. Everliving. Frig. Is. THAT!?
Our need to keep our emotions buttoned up means that little by little we are losing opportunity for raw, beautiful, unabashed connection. Love is mentioned in the Bible 551 times. Five hundred and fifty-one times. I think God is trying to point us to something there? To love, to be vulnerable, to be open and raw. That’s why we are here. None of us will get out of this life alive, so why not at least go through it together?
Imagine what we would create in our relationships if we embraced vulnerability, stopped holding our emotions so tight to the chest and threw around #ILYs like confetti. What would happen in our marriages, in our homes, in our friendships, in our workplaces if we cracked open our hearts and authentically connected with people? The article I read from Inc.com said “If you truly want to be a leader, and you want the people you’re leading to trust you implicitly, I think you have to be willing to let yourself love them.” Can you imagine how we could transform our world with attitudes like that? Can you even wrap your mind around what an attitude like that could do to our relationships?! I can’t help but think that it might feel like a million little Super Bowl wins on the regular in our everyday lives.
This week, I want to do something fun… I want to dare you – because I think a good dare is the most fun EVER! I dare you, for the rest of the week, to be unapologetically vulnerable and radically brave. It will feel so uncomfortable for some of you, but I dare you to let your heart crack itself open. Be open and tell someone you love them. Be affectionate and hold someone’s hand. Be connected and touch someone’s soul.
We only get but one chance in this life- why not spend it loving and uplifting others? At the end of the day, what do we really have to lose?
Happy Love Week!!!
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place!
Read the full article from Inc.com HERE
I LOVE to read so when my Pastor asked me to be a part of his book launch team, I knew I couldn’t say no. Anything that meshes my love for books with my love for Jesus is basically the best thing since a bacon-wrapped filet. I excitedly awaited the arrival of the manuscript- not realizing Pastor Noel had flipped the flow and the game was about to be changed.
The truths that awaited me on those pages were laid out like nothing I have ever encountered. I grew up in an Italian Catholic family, never missing church on Sunday or a mid-week religious education refresher. I prayed my rosary in Italian and English because I thought maybe it made me closer to God. In college, I lived in Rome and visited more churches from Milano to Cosenza than should be allowed… ever! I took shortcuts to class through Vatican City, met the Pope and became besties with a sweet group of nuns. After returning stateside, I was re-baptized as an adult and have been attending a Christian Church for the better part of 15 years. I have read the bible cover-to-cover multiple times over (and yes, even the boring parts.) I have completed more bible studies and been in more small groups than I can count. Heck, I even have my favorite scripture tattooed on my foot and the words “Redeemed by Grace” forever inked shoulder blade-to-shoulder blade. I offer this information to illustrate that I have been immersed in some form of religion/spirituality/christianity my entire life. To say I felt like I understood the whole Jesus Thing is a serious understatement.
Enter Wretched Saints.
Y’all, Pastor Noel didn’t just up the ante with his newest book, Wretched Saints. He knocked it out of the park and he changed the game.
I have lived my life under the “truth” i.e. lie that God’s love for me (though I know that it doesn’t depend on what I do) increases and decreases based on how much of a jerk-face I am.
Wake up feeling a little off, grumpy and possibly rude to my husband?
God’s love decreases.
Wake up, clap your hands, do you morning devotionals and give thanks for a glorious day?
God’s love increases.
Fall into the trap of a behavior that I know is wrong but totally enjoy?
God’s love decreases.
Push away temptation and run to Jesus like I run to the dance floor when I hear my favorite song?
God’s love increases.
I lived my life in a constant state of striving because of the lies I believed and if I can be super honest- it was exhausting. I found freedom in Pastor Noel’s words. Words like, “When you are tempted to think God isn’t pleased with you, remember that you are right where he wants you.”
I wonder what lies you are believing in your life?
“When the warning light in your life says slut long enough, you begin to believe it.
The same is true with liar.
And manipulator, failure, weakling, idiot, reject, freak, embarrassment, loser, pervert…
If you stare long enough at the blinking light of a false sensor, you will begin to believe it is true. And when you believe something you act on it.”
How many of us take these lies and believe them- eventually letting them take over who we really are and become our identity. This powerful book was for me, a soothing balm to my soul that set me free in ways I didn’t even know I was stuck.
In Wretched Saints, Pastor Noel takes the notion of grace- a sometimes elusive and confusing thing and he offers it in digestible and easy to understand ways. He uses real-time storytelling that is both unputdownable and relevant, to envelope you in biblically sound truth. Wretched Saints paints a picture of a Father who loves us beyond measure for reasons we could never earn.
Don’t take my word for it though. Read it and see for yourself.
P.S. You can order your copy of Wretched Saints HERE
There are moments that happen as we traverse this life that we look at and can’t make sense of. Moments where things seem in chaos or unfinished. Maybe a relationship where things are left unsaid. Maybe an actual project where pieces are left undone. At some point, if you are human long enough, you come across something that you just can’t seem to figure out.
The truth is, that’s a lie.
Everything is figureoutable.
No it’s not.
Yes it is, and no I am not.
Sometimes, in some cases, we actually end up tangibly figuring out the chaos. We find an answer, a solution, a reason that puts our mind, body, spirit at ease. The figureoutableness makes perfect logical sense and it ends up being absolutely and completely delightful.
Other times, the figureoutable rests in the intangible.
I know, I know, trust me. Just go with me on this.
The figureoutable rests in our ability to look at a thing, situation, relationship through a different framework. The figureoutableness of some things rests in our ability to leave them at the foot of the cross. I am not saying give up. I am not saying leave things unsaid or undone. What I am saying is that for the moment, offer whatever you can’t figure out time and space to breath at the feet of the one who can figure it all out- and if we are being honest, already has.
Release your white-knuckled grip, stop trying to figure it out and leave it at the cross. I read recently “His arms will go anywhere, to redeem anyone, from anything.” If he can figure it out, it means we don’t have to ruin ourselves trying to do it alone.
Sweet readers, with the right perspective, everything is figureoutable. Even that thing that you are thinking of right now in your head as you tell me it isn’t. Take a deep breath, offer space and breathing room, trust the process and trust Jesus. There really is peace in the chaos. Sometimes we just have to have the perspective to see it.
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place!
While this photo might look like an ordinary bag from the Bucks of the Star, I can assure you it’s not. Also, this isn’t an ad for one of my favorite places… though if they want to fully support my little Starbuck-a-roo habit, I will gladly and shamelessly promote them. In the meantime, here’s a Musing for your Monday.
Hang on to your pantalones because it’s about to get all real up in this hizzy. This Musing is brought to you on the heels of one of the greatest #MomFails I have yet to make… Well, if I can be honest, it’s actually second to the time when I had just switched from boob to formula and left the house on an outing with Hubbz and our boy only to realize I had forgotten formula. #TrueStory #ThankYouCVSforCarryingFormula #YouSavedMyAssThatDay #IDigress
On FriYay (not a typo) mornings on the way to daycare drop-off, I buy my sweet little boy Starbucks breakfast. Maybe it’s me feeling guilty that I have to wake him to take him to daycare so early so I can keep the work/life balance in check- regardless of why I do it, it’s something we look forward to and he gets so ridiculously excited. Hang on to that palpable excitement as I fast forward you, post drop-off, I am now 20 minutes away. I begin to collect my things from the front seat of my Jeep, only to see my sweet little boy’s Starbucks breakfast staring back at me…
I will let the thing that we refer to as #MomGuilt sink in for you, the reader. If you aren’t familiar with #MomGuilt, thank sweet Baby Jesus.
I spent the next hour beating myself up for what a terrible Mom I must be. Who forgets their son’s “FriYay Fun Breakfast”!?
Apparently, Folks, I do.
I knew that he was well fed at daycare and he had plenty of food in his lunchbox to feed him breakfast, lunch and dinner twice over (I make no excuses for my over packing his lunchbox… it’s the Italian Mama in me.) but I couldn’t shake this feeling that I totally and completely must have disappointed him. Is this the kind of thing that is going to send him to the therapist couch at 40!? I started praying about it because I couldn’t get the awful feeling that I had failed as a Mama out of my head. This lie kept running through my brain that I was a terrible Mama and other Mama’s definitely never forget the FriYay Fun Breakfast. Mid prayer, a still small voice in my soul whispered, “how about you show yourself a little bit of grace?” I literally gasped out loud and I stopped in my tracks. I spend a lot of time and energy in this life showing others grace. When I don’t want to, when they don’t deserve it, when it doesn’t feel good for me. Why is it so hard to show a little grace to myself? Is it like that for any of y’all?
We are so busy running around taking care of everyone else but we are the hardest and the biggest critics of ourselves. In that moment, in that realization, I took a deep breath and exhaled so very good. The truth of grace offered a little peace. In that moment I was able to flip my palms up to Heaven and thank my sweet Jesus that I had a little boy who is well cared for and well fed while I enjoy working at a career that I love… and I am able to provide things in his life like Friyay Fun Breakfasts… even if I did forget it on the front seat.
I end this Musing with a question for you – where can you show grace in your life? To others, yes, but maybe first and most important, to yourself. We have a Jesus who paid the price of his life so we can have grace. It’s something we don’t deserve and something freely offered to us. Where can you enjoy that gift that is freely given to you and ultimately enjoy your life a little more? Sweet readers, I hope you find some truths in this that speak to your dope soul. I hope it permeates your being and offers you some peace where you need it the most. Take some time this week to throw around grace like confetti. You just might be surprised by the magic that it can create.
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place!