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Archive for February, 2012

Today I was cleaning through all the clutter in my spare bedroom and I threw away a ton of sentimental stuff. The reason I threw it away? It was junk. It was taking up so much unnecessary space and causing me an array of feelings when I saw them, one of them being anxiety. Truth is, sometimes you just have to throw stuff out. I hate hate hate it. I made another pile too and that was stuff to give away. This is perfectly wonderful stuff, but when it comes down to it I just don’t use it. My current “give away” pile is going right into my car which is now completely full from trunk, to back seat, to front seat of items I am giving away. My life is just that much simpler now.

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Saltines or cake?

How many of us have heard the saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”. In theory, this is a wonderful notion. We keep our mouths shut and spare the feelings of the people around us. 

 
But what help does this offer to the loved ones in our lives who need to be told the harsh truth? Who then tells us the “not so nice” things in life? Judgement and advice aside, who is there to simply tell us the truth. 
 
Without truth, life is sugar coated. Our reality will start to get cavities and rot. However, without grace, life is too salty. We can only handle so much sodium before we have a heart attack and die. There is a delicate balance between grace and truth. 
 
There is beauty in sharing a truth that just simply needs to be shared. Nobody said you have to be cruel to be truthful. 
 

The right amount of salt adds flavor and preserves something from rotting. 

I’m glad for the few in my life who have shown me when I’m being selfish or ungrateful. They have saved me from an even harsher fate. 
 
Maybe the saying should be, “if you can’t say something gracefully, then keep your mouth shut until you can.” 
 
Yeah, I like that. 

 

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It is 3 am and I sit in my bed wide awake, in awe, and in love.

I have to say that I am in love with the unexpected connections that happen amongst people. I love that sitting together at a table and eating or drinking something can spark the deepest conversations. I love that feeling when a connection is being made with someone. I love the realization that the person whom you have seen every day for the last 6 months has real feelings and thoughts and experiences and is someone who just may understand your own thoughts and feelings and experiences.

During the “why do bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people” discussion, something occurred to me. There is no such thing as bad people, just people with a lot of pain and a lot of hurt. It is how we deal with that pain and react to the hurt that effects others.

It shocks me that it took me this long to form that thought since I have always had a soft spot for hitler. Yes, the man that committed genocide and destroyed a countless number of lives. I learned of the kinds of things he had done since I was in middle school, but then one year I wrote a paper on his life. It was then I discovered that hitler came from a family filled with pain. Somehow as a fourteen year old I was able to empathize with him. When my teachers and peers called him a murderer and an all around evil man, I saw him as a man who was hurting and wanted to be loved and reacted to his pain with very bad actions.

So of course coming to this realization tonight surprises me. I have always had my opinions as an answer to this popular question. I have always understood that knowing good and joy can only come from also knowing bad and pain. But I never once considered that bad people didn’t even exist in this world. We all become who we are after each decision we make. Every action or reaction we take brings us closer to the person we will become. But does choosing bad actions make us a bad person? I am not talking about insanity, though some people are driven to insanity after countless bad choices. I am talking about sane people making choices. It took me so long to come to this conclusion I think because it took me this long to understand even a little about grace. And even though I don’t know how He does it, God will forgive every single one of us for any wrong doing we commit and we will receive grace if we ask for it. It is unnatural to this world in which we live, but it is what we receive when we look to Jesus Christ.

Therefore, to those who receive grace and forgiveness, it is not only a capability of ours but an expectation of ours to give away. It isn’t easy. It may be the hardest thing anyone will ever have to do. But we possess something inside of us that has the ability to forgive someone who has caused us very deep pain, this is the love that Jesus Christ has given us.

What do you think would have happened if hitler had chosen grace? What would the history books look like? He could have done it. He could have experienced true love and true forgiveness, and he would have been able to give that away to those around him. Instead he chose a path that caused many others pain. Think about this cycle for a moment. The pain hitler caused people translated into either more pain or forgiveness. Every single one of these people had a choice to make. To those that chose pain, the next generation also suffered. To those that chose forgiveness, how much easier was it for the next generation to choose forgiveness. Your choice makes a difference. Deal with your pain by acknowledging that it is there. Think about why it hurts so much, and take the steps you need to take to produce forgiveness. Move on with your life because you will only suffer more if you hold on to your pain. Let it go, and live the way you are able to live, Free.

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-Renee Locks

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To myself six years ago today,

Right now you are abandoning your t-shirt and jeans and beginning the dress code for black polo, black pants, and a green apron. You are in Tara’s bedroom, nerves racking, and anxious about your first day at Starbucks. You will soon walk in the door of Starbucks to discover your first impressions.

What will you get? The smell of Verona Coffee brewing mixed with the stench of cigars, a lot of future friends and enemies, and stock options. OK, you will get a little more than that.

Your time at Starbucks will be filled with many ups and downs. But do not fret, Starbucks will be your constant. This job will see you through two moves around the country, two years of living on one income, and a countless number of fear-filled changes.

What will you discover? That you are braver than you thought you were, that change is necessary to become who you want to be. I know you are afraid of change. I know you love your comfort zone. You will be the best you can be for four and a half years at River Square. That store will be your own. You will meet people along the way who don’t understand you, who look down on you for being young, who fight their way to the top by pushing you down. Let them. Respond with grace, do not let them get under your skin. You do not yet realize how much healing you need to go through. They will help you on your journey. Eventually you will learn to forgive them too. When your time at River Square is done, do not be afraid to move on. But do not expect it to be easy. You will face challenges at your next store that you never would have expected. Embrace them. Do not be so afraid of getting to know people, everyone you will meet in Ocoee is kind at heart. You might struggle to feel like you belong, but do not worry about that as much. You are there for a short time, do not let it go to waste. You will walk away feeling proud of doing what you never thought you could and you will be equipped to handle what comes your way. Be vulnerable. And stop being so ready to leave Starbucks. You are there for a while so just embrace it. Be happy with where you are wherever you are. You will waste your time fighting it. When the door to your present needs to be shut it will be shut and a new door will open. Just listen to that quiet beating of the heart inside you, it will remind you that you are alive.SO LIVE.

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Life so easily becomes about us, doesn’t it. The “I want, I need, and I feel” conversation happens almost too often. I notice this in my own life when I become dissatisfied with where I am or who I am, then my feelings become entangled with my reality and what’s in my head.

I have been very unhappy with who I have been the last couple weeks. Instead of empathizing I judge. Instead of thinking I just react. I am the most dangerous to others when I start focusing on myself. Spiraling into a cone of depression and longing is the result of constantly living in a world I have created. I have seen what the long term effect is and I do not want that to happen to me. Eventually, life will crash with my mind and my brain will choose to alter the truth into what it feels I can really handle. Truth will become non-existent and it will be replaced with it’s own dementia. Soon, loved ones won’t know the real truth either, and if they do they will hit a brick wall trying to bring me back to reality. The root of deception is selfishness. I have no desire to enter into that world.

We are so easily swayed into satan’s fairy tale. We are so gullible to actually think that life is about us. There is good and there is evil and there are many paths along the way. Life isn’t about us, though we live and breathe life every day. Life is about loving others, be it friend or foe. Many trials are thrown at us along the way making loving others the last of our priorities and loving ourselves on the top of the list.

I want to live the life that bears patience, forgiveness, self control, understanding, kindness, joy, and sincere love.

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Today I am thankful for my outlet. I am letting the day wash off me as I forgive. I move on because that is all we can do in life.

Today I forgive the transgressions against me so my heart does not harden. Today I choose to be happy, to not let other’s opinions of me seep into my being, to let go of betrayal. On our knees is where we find forgiveness, and today I choose to fall on my knees in humility. I accept that there are misjudged notions and I look away. I do not give power to the dark side because I am a vessel and I let the light shine through me.

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