A blue shovel snow day

They predicted it.

It came.

Snarling traffic, cancelling schools, changing flights it is – a foot of snow!
 

Minnesota winter living

I have shoveled my driveway three times in the last 12 hours – yes I did say shoveled. How does one can live in Minnesota and not own an operating snow blower? That’s a good question.

When I went out the shovel the driveway for the third time, I couldn’t help but steal a wistful long look at our helpless dead snow blower. My mind began reminiscently wandering to all the years our snow blower had been there for me. All the occasions where it had faithfully trudged through piles upon piles of snow, throwing the accumulating inches into massive heaps that created a driveway snow bunker.

But now, after some 20+ years, the little trusty snow blower can no longer be something I depend on. No, I must let it go and recognize what is before me as my only option– a blue shovel and my very own strength.
 

 Blue shovel kind of snow day

So I took a “snow day” breaking away from my usual routine of “just-getting-it-done” timetable for snow removal and I decided to let the snow and my resources tutor me:

I felt:

  • snow falling down my unprotected neck…
  • cold wind scratching my cheeks…
  • the weight of snow being lifted chest high…

I saw:

  • footprints of animals – nothing wilder than bunnies and deer…
  • dimpled landscapes of trees releasing snow laden branches…
  • unmarred landscapes of white…
  • children jumping into piles of snow…

I heard:

  • the scrape of my shovel against asphalt…
  • birds singing…
  • airplanes overhead…
  • the soft ping of snowflakes hitting my jacket…
  • a snow blower’s roar to life down the street…

 

Caught up in the present moment, enjoying my “snow day” with a blue shovel, I was a bit caught off guard when out of the corner of my eye, a neighbor’s massive snow blower came barreling towards me.  I thought of my own snow blower that will be sent to the graveyards this year and realized how many times it had done the very same thing over the years.

Of course I didn’t refuse my neighbor and his snow blowers assistance, but I also realized that both of us were experiencing very different “snow days.”

Happy snow day– hope you are enjoying every moment!

~ becky.

The Dirt On Dating

what is dating

Dating doesn’t look like it use to, in fact depending on the person you ask, you might just get many different perceptions on the word. The teens I talk to are excited to date, often claiming that mom and dad are just too “old-fashioned”. 20-somethings can sometimes be more hesitant to be locked into a dating relationship claiming that the traditional dating is dead and has been replaced with the new “no strings attached” kind of relationships.

So what exactly is dating? And who gets to define it?

 

“Let’s Date” – a (very) short history lesson

In comparison to how many years we humans have been alive and been attracted to one another, the history of “dating” is really quite new. In the past, dating has been tied to marriage, family and reproduction. Dating was a precursor to exploring if we are compatible, then we take the next step.

Up until about 200 years ago, parents, matchmakers and Rulers were in charge of arranging marriages. Marriage was not about love, but rather about economic systems and political alliances. One might argue that modernity has created the concept of “dating”.

Adam didn’t have this dating problem; he only had eyes for Eve. (Sorry – but I couldn’t help myself!)

For general purposes, I’d like to define the term “dating” as “an exploration of compatibility for partnership to create and establish good in this world.”

Where did I contrive this definition? Let’s head back to Genesis.

 

What does God say about relationships?

When we return to Genesis, where humankind was created in the image of God, we read about God saying “…be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth…” God saw everything created and declared it “…good, very good.”

Together this first man and first woman were invited to enter a relationship with one another. This relationship was intended for the purpose of:

  • caring well for everything.
  • creating life that would continue to be good for this world – just like their Creator.

This type of relationship is a lot of work and yet, God seemed to think that the best way to accomplish these things would be in relationship with others – not alone.

Notice I did not say marriage. I do not believe that everyone needs to be married in order to “establish good in this world.”

So what does this have to do with dating? From my perspective? Absolutely everything!

 

What is your motivation for dating?

Earlier this week, I was sitting with two singles that were both re-entering the dating world. They mentioned how being in a dating relationship is both wonderful and so much work. These two individuals in this dating relationship are intentionally working to:

  • value the other’s voice
  • honor one another’s differences of opinion

This dating relationship is helping them explore and gain new insight in how to care well for another person as well as caring well for their own self. And this is creating new life that is good, very good.

What is your motivation for dating? Is there a desire to “get something” from another? Or is there something that this relationship is creating that is good for this world?

Dating is certainly not what it used to be, and sure, there might not be an absolute definition. But I do think that when underlying, hidden motives are examined there is great potential to learn how we can better engage with one another in relationship as human beings.

After all, the earth and everything in it has been entrusted to us human beings – made in the image of God. And maybe, just maybe God wants to be the dating coach we return to over and over…

 

~ becky

 

photo credit.

Love That’s Dangerous

intense love

You know that moment, when you’re standing across from someone and the only thing in the entire world that you want to do is deck them one right across the face? When it’s way past the time of being nice. When it’s time to get real and give that person just exactly what their behavior REALLY deserves??

Yes. It’s hard to admit, but sometimes (sometimes) I go here and it’s just about as ugly as it sounds.

In that all-I-want-to-do-is-deck-you moment, my focus is not on the other person at all, but rather it’s only on…

front and center

table for one

center stage

me, myself and

ME.

Life could be so much easier if relationships did not have the twisted impact of two very different individuals seeking to find common ground and see one another without judgement or competition.

These two words – judgement and competition.

 

More than I’m even able to admit, these two words rob me from truly seeing another person and loving them well.

Derek Tasker in his book An Exploration into God writes:

“I wonder what would happen if

I treated everyone like I was in love

with them, whether I like them or not

and whether they respond or not and no matter

what they say or do to me and even if I see

things in them which are ugly twisted petty

cruel vain deceitful indifferent, just accept

all that and turn my attention to some small

weak tender hidden part and keep my eyes on

that until it shines like a beam of light

like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust

it to burn away all the waste which is not

never was my business to meddle with.”

This kind of love looks dangerous and takes my breath away. Who could love like this anyway? And who would ever risk loving this way?

 

Love like that would require risking everything about who I am…

And this would not be fair would it?

No, no no. It would not be fair at all. And that kind of love it not cheap, not cheap at all because it would cost me everything.

Oh God, give me the desire to desire what you desire…

~ becky

 

Photo credit.

Acronyms of Love

love people

There’s a game I play with myself in the car and it goes something like this: I take the letters of the license plate on the car in front of me (or on the car I’m speeding past) and use it to create a statement.

 

Here are a few from recent car trips, let me show you:

785 NPL = Nearly pure love

366 ACC = Actually compassion creates

129 LGL = Love generates life

112 UPS = Under passion’s spell

 

I admit, kind of a dorky game, but this practice began in a season of my life when I was consumed by self-judging thoughts. I was defining my identity by everything I did poorly and everything I was not. One day, as I sat in bumper to bumper traffic – the kind that makes you want to swear with the best of them – I was again lost on the trail of these consuming thoughts when an unexpected license image caught me:

joy2luv

 

My self-effacing thoughts gasped and didn’t know how to continue their pattern. In that moment, my well-worn thorny thoughts were interrupted long enough for me to realize that I was expertly practicing not loving myself. My negative thought patterns were consuming and starving my own love within me… so I began to use license plates to speak truth to my parched soul.

 

Just the other day as I drove along, I returned to this memory and wondered – what acronym would I use for the word L O V E?

 

Here are a couple that I came up with:

Lingering

Over

Visual

Encouragements

 

or

 

Listening

Offers

Various

Enrichment

Since acronyms are too long to put on a license plate, I think someday I could see creating one that reads:

LuvB4

I don’t know if it would interrupt another, but it would remind me that when I say, “I Love You!” I am actively taking that which is within me and sharing it with another.

What is love growing in you now? What acronym would you give to love in this season of your life?

 

~ becky

 

 

photo credit.

The Mud-Pit of Love

Mud-Pit of Love

These past few weeks, I have been pondering and entertaining my own perceptions of love that have been a part of my own 50+ years of journeying on this earth. Here’s what I have so far: Love is

  • a feeling
  • an action
  • saying “I am sorry”
  • accepting another’s apology
  • being silent
  • speaking

One thing I know for certain about love is that LOVE is incredibly complicated. It has many different facets and depending on where I am and who I am with, “it” can look really different. Let me tell you what I mean…

 

Opening old wounds

Have you ever experienced having a heart-wound unexpectedly exposed in front of another human being? And the absolute and only thing you want to do is run away as fast as you can?

When we experience a deep wound being exposed like that, there’s the opportunity for two things: there’s the potential of the wound being further infected OR the wound has the potential of being more deeply healed.

A couple days ago, I had the opportunity to sit with a man and woman I deeply treasure. As I sat with them, I saw two things, first, there was an intense love that was fiercely pursuing the other and the second thing I saw was that this love was dangerously close to destroying. Well, wounds were opened and very much exposed and those two individuals, in that moment, were given a choice.

This man and this woman sitting in front of me could have stormed out of the room, mad at one another, while justifiably holding their own story and their own truth to protect them from having to “hear” the words of the other.

But something else happened instead. I witnessed an incredible act of love when one of them chose to lay down a long held false identity and risked letting in the words of another that held the power to begin healing this wounded identity.

As she looked up and received words of God’s love for her, love took the form

  • of words spoken
  • of not running away
  • of laying down self-protection
  • of vulnerability to another…

 

The Holy mud-pit of LOVE

Scripture talks about three different kinds of love – one of which is agape. As N. Gordon Cosby says, “Agape love is the power to love the unlovable. It is the power to love people we do not like… we are not told to love in order to win our enemies or to get results…” instead this kind of love gets into the arena, experiences the messiness, engages and lets go of the outcome. 

 Love is a messy arena – like mud wrestling messy, getting down, sliding around, feeling stuck, falling over. If we choose to stay on the sidelines, there will only be a small splattering and we also will miss out on the (rather surprising) beneficial property that mud has to exfoliate when it gets washed off.

This sacred exchange between my friends that day was a holy mud-pit of love. The potential for healing was there if the other chose to step into the messiness.

 

Do I really want to love well?

I readily admit that I often just want to clean up the messiness of love, but yesterday, as I was cleaning up from a very full weekend, I couldn’t help but pause for a moment at the table where my two dear friends encountered one another in this holy mud-pit kind of a way. Just as I was cleaning and gathering up remnant crumbs from our dinner together, I couldn’t help but be touched again by the remnants of beauty that the messiness of love had left behind.

Do I really want to love well? If I want to love like Jesus does, it will include getting into the arena and letting the messiness of love transform me.

Where do you love’s messiness around you? Does it have the power to transform?

~ becky
 

Photo credit.

February | a month of love

let's talk about love

Speaking of to-do lists.

One thing that is continually on my to-do list is blogging.

I always dreaming up new topics. Throughout the week, I voice message myself thoughts when I drive and I doodle in my journal about different topics I could write about. When I hear questions around the pain that’s generated by sexual disorder, I can’t help put jotting them down.

The sad reality is, that only about 10% of what I think would make a worthy blog post actually makes it into print. Why is that!?
 

To-do lists, do not equal reality.

I’m learning that even my best intentions for productivity, do not equal extra hours in the day. Honestly, who can actually do everything that mind asks it to do? Martha Stewart? Maybe Oprah? But those talented women have a staff and an empire making it look really easy. Not fair.

As I turn to face this month of February (yes, I do realize we’re already a full week in), I see two things to blog about:

    • Cold – the difference between bitter cold, freezing cold and super super cold.
    • Love – this month gushes hearts, red, cupids, dates and romance.

What could I blog about cold? Dress warm! Spring will come I am sure! Right, we all know this. So what could I blog about love? The lists seem to be endless.

    •  Assumptions and Misconceptions – looking for love in all the right places
    • Love vs. Lust – sex, an act of communion or consumption?
    • Is Dating Dying – the changes in how people date, then vs. now.

So for the remaining bit of February, let’s talk about LOVE. What if I let love surround me, will I notice it? Is being “in love” more than a romantic engagement with another?

Let’s dive in together shall we? Tune in next week as we get started. Until then, stay warm friends, it’s cold out there!

~ becky

Photo credit.

News From Truessence | February 2013

To-do lists

I like lists.

I have them on my computer, my phone, my iPad and I even have paper ones.

Perhaps its my age and the fact that I can’t hold all these details in my mind anymore. But I don’t totally think that’s true, it’s really just an excuse. I make lists because I like to write something down and then cross that something off.

The past eight months, as Truessence has transitioned to a non-profit, my “list mode” has been in fine form. While I will not bore with dramatic tales of my own personal transformative work as I staggered through my state and government to-do lists, I would like to share that my new to-do lists are coming from the fabulous Truessence board.

Now, the Truessence board and myself are creating lists and checking them twice, together as we  seek to notice what God has done and is doing.

So with the 2013 just barely beginning, here are a few highlights of how opportunities are being created that invite men and women to live out the truest essence of God’s relational design:

    • Meeting and working with beautiful people from Nebraska, Ohio California and Minnesota who are engaged and wrestling with real issues around spirituality and sexuality
    • Filming a new video about “Sex is Good” thanks to some great talent in Omaha, Nebraska. More details to come soon!
    • Wondering about opportunities of having the message of Holy Sexuality translated into Spanish.
    • Exploring options to take this message into Honduras and Haiti.

I am humbled, amazed and so very excited to get to see God at work in unique ways and healing deep sexual wounds. Thanks for being a part of the journey these past few months friends! I would never want to do it without you.
 

~ becky

Photo credit.