This is my beautiful mom. Over her life, she’s baked to make a living, baked to make others feel special, baked for charity, baked to express her poema. She’s an artist and the hardest working person I know.
We collaborated for Spring!
SPRING COLLECTION INCLUDES
- 2 pounds of her handmade cookies in a box
- Recipe for Shortbread Dipped in White Chocolate
- Spring Bucket List
- Spring Tips to help you love and grow this Spring!
- $59.99, Including Hand delivery to Broward, Dade and Palm Beach
- Order by March 31
Ever have the thought that you wished you met your expectations of yourself?
Not in a depressive kind of way. Just in a super candid kind of way.
I pretty much always wish I could do more.
Big ideas. Big plans. Lots of details. And the décor of it all looks beautiful.
That what lives in my mind anyway.
I will leave some big open space for you to think about that and make a few observations of yourself. This will all make sense in a few paragraphs.
Here are two thoughts for you today.
The first thought comes from the new book I am reading. The book is called Share Your Stuff, I’ll Go First, by Laura Tremaine. I am going to ask you the question she asks in the first chapter. I’ll give you my answer first (as she also does) and then I will lovingly encourage and challenge you to answer also. To a friend. In person. Over the Phone. By Text. By commenting to this post. Whatever. Take time to know and be known.
Let yourself answer despite the insurmountable problems or people you are facing today. Despite the long list of adult things that need your attention, skill and time. Because, really, you can’t tell me you don’t have twenty minutes. You may think you don’t, but you do. Believe me, I have been there, on both sides of this claim. I know the time lives in your twenty-four hours, you must claim it as your own.
Did that sound harsh? I meant it to be a tad stern. Claiming twenty minutes is a version of self-care. I want that for both of us.
The question is
Who are you?
Don’t run just yet. I did say I would go first (as the author also does).
But still don’t run just yet. It may be a deep question, but it can be expressed in a few simple ways. The author says, I am asking how you see yourself . . . where you’re from, what your family looks like, what your passionate about. She says to come up with three to five things you would tell a potential new friend over coffee.
What Does My Family Look Like?
I’m a mom to Quinn and Leila. My first born is gentle, mighty, present, humorous and witty, pure hearted and resilient. My daughter is a diamond, physically and mentally strong. She shines and gets me every time with her contagious laughter. I describe them because their qualities, in part, describe me.
I was recently asked by an old friend who is now a single dad – What are your core values when it comes to parenting? I spontaneously shared four things.
- No matter how much money you have, no matter the color of your skin, you can do anything. Treat yourself and treat others just like that.
- Serve others. Go out into the community and find a way to love others.
- No matter the cost, choose integrity.
- Be humble. Offer yourself to God. Offer yourself to others. Choose mercy and grace for yourself and others.
I share my core values because they describe who I am.
I learned the first two from my mom and dad. My mom was a young woman in love with my dad who was a few years older (who was equally in love with her). They are both intensely idealist. I believe their strong commitment to equality comes from their vision of idealism.
They both believe the best and are greatly disappointed and maybe even wounded when others choose a path of darkness or harm. Because, as idealists, there is always a path to freedom, light and peace. They both served their community with their gifts and, as kids, we were part of that intentional effort. I am who I am in my everyday life and as a parent because of them.
No Matter the Cost, Choose Integrity
I learned the third from owning a business and being the practice of real estate law for the last twenty years. If you want to know how questionable my field can be, ask Anna’s mom Suzanne D. We both are real estate veterans, and she tells the narrative better than I do.
The bottom line is that we all have opportunities to take short cuts with our work or take or give unlawful kickbacks/favors. Nothing is won in dark or murky waters. And, I have found that, even when I expected to suffer great loss for choosing integrity, the worst never happened, and God paved a way.
The last I learned from my brother Cameron’s observations of me. He told me years ago, after I was enraged about a movie I had just seen, that it was obvious why I was so upset. I hate the quality of arrogance and that was a character trait of the lead role in the movie. I then realized that I value humility. Hence, be humble.
I have told you about my family of origin, a little bit about my kids. (Never too much because they have asked that of me). My words have told you how I see myself. My core values shape what I am passionate about, which is the last element of the question. Here goes.
What Am I Passionate About?
My passions play out in my LOVE OF SHARING. Emphasis necessary because I love it so much. I love to share through writing, teaching, talking, making friends and encouraging people to become who God created them to be.
I am currently passionate about being in the moment. I have become very excellent at doing in the moment. But I am shifting with great intention to being in the moment. In fact, that will be the topic of my next class. You can do me the great favor of praying for that for me.
Okay, I did it. In twenty minutes or less. I answered, Who am I? Your turn!
Answer with a friend. In person. Over the Phone. By Text. By commenting to this post. Whatever. Just do it!
I mentioned that I had two thoughts for you. The second thought is a verse.
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.Genesis 2:2
Do this favor for me. Take twenty minutes to answer Who Am I? and then take twenty more before you fall asleep tonight. The second twenty is for your rest. Acknowledge all the work you have done this day. Know that, to God, even if no one else in your life acknowledges it, your rest is holy ground. Take the speckled outcome of the day and give it to Him. And, then my dear sisters, go to bed in peace.
All throughout the spring and summer of 2020, I read. The daily timeline and load were so different, so gentle to my soul, that I read two books at a time.
I read in bed in the morning and I read outside in the sun in the afternoon. Initially, I didn’t see the recurring book themes. But, by the end of year, I graciously accepted what I gained from the patterns that I saw in the pages.
I graciously accepted that the arrows were pointing toward living differently.
How long does it take to gain a new pattern or habit?
The experts say it takes about 66 days, or two months. I find it humorous that I am writing to you at the first week of March, almost two months from the beginning of the year. Exactly the time in which it takes the brain to learn new habits.
The pattern that spoke to me on the pages of books. The pattern that I have been working quite hard at the last few months. IS. A SET. OF DISCIPLINES. Almost all of the disciples start with S – which I like because most of my closest friends’ names start with S.
My nature is to tell you about all the fails. All the places that I am falling short or plain out forgetting to care about. On the other hand, I could show you my calendar which would evidence the tools and wins that I have experienced as patterns form.
But I will do neither.
Instead, I am sharing with you the dance in my mind and spirit as I live and breathe in new wineskins.
I can’t seem to get away from the parable of the wineskins. It has merged in my mind with Galatians 2:18.
If I rebuild those things that I tore down, I show myself to be a lawbreaker.
Here is what I said in December and in February and now again in March:
You can’t put new wine into old wineskins, or the container will burst. You can’t rebuild what God tore down. Or else. You’ll burst. Or be a lawbreaker. Both sound bad.
I’m finding that the wineskin parable is about creating new patterns and not going back to the old habits that are slowly dying. Remember, new habits take at least 66 days to form, so yes, it is a slow death of the old.
Let’s pause here mamas.
Trying to live in the old is a slow death.
Even if it feels painful, boring, maddening or maybe you’re just too numb or bitter? Even so. Stop for just a moment.
Consider whether you are living and breathing something that was meant to be dead. Write it down right now. Scribble it somewhere. There is always something dead to shed. Don’t be so afraid of the new that you won’t acknowledge what needs to go.
I will tell you what I am trying to let die.
Dead to Shed #1: Missing/Hitting the Mark
I am trying to let die the belief that I haven’t hit the mark as a person when I don’t put in a blow out day at the law firm. I started writing down everything I do in a day in a journal once or twice a week. I am proving to myself that I do a lot at the law firm. That I do a lot in life. Changing my “markers” is a path to changing how I judge the success of the day – which is, in turn, shifting my worth towards the way of Jesus and not the way of Sasha.
I don’t want to kill you with me and my dying beliefs/habits. But. I have three more.
Dead to Shed #2: Impacting the Global Poor
I have been convinced (by one of the authors of one of the books) that, if I don’t spend any money one day per week, then I will positively impact the global poor who are working seven days a week for little pay or as slaves in factories that are producing the stupid stuff I order on Amazon. One day per week of no purchasing could result in one day of rest for one soul. It’s a slow death, but I will do it in 66 days or less.
Dead to Shed #3: One Person/One Moment
I am letting die the notion that impact is measured by big numbers. I am replacing it with a simple trust in God that tells me that intentionality and obedience in this very moment is better than claiming to have faith big enough to cover a whole lifetime. One person and one moment matters greatly.
Dead to Shed #4: Headspace Over Multitasking
I am attempting to let die multitasking in exchange for headspace. I pride myself on doing many things at once. But sometimes I can choose differently. I can drive without Bluetooth tasking, texting or emailing. I can listen to a podcast without grocery shopping on Instacart or planning my week. I can complete a bible study without stopping to text at every whim. How about silence instead of multitasking? I think God has something to say if I just allowed the headspace.
Is the title of this blog starting to make sense?
In the course of the last two months, I initially set out to live by a few new principles that required the carving out of time, adjusting my head space and toning down the pace in my mind. The first month was mostly about intentionality and discipline.
But then something different began to happen. I began to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
In my momentary choices, I began to feel the choice between the old and new habit. The old ways were just not right for the new wineskins. As I felt the conviction and the opportunity to change, it occurred to me that this is more than the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I own these new wineskins. These are my Convictions too.
Sister, here is where I feel peace and joy. As I recognize and acknowledge the fruit, I see how much I like the feeling of agreeing with the Trinity.
My commitment to new patterns and ways of living are my firmly held beliefs – My Convictions. It’s not about running for cover and curling up in a ball as the Holy Spirit convicts, it’s about claiming the Convictions. Living the Convictions. Declaring the Convictions. I feel joy as I claim the Conviction that the Holy Spirit offers me. I like that I can own the change in my life.
I won’t get too mountain toppish here. The reality is that some days I win on a few fronts and lose on others and then it flip flops the very next day. Sometimes I blow air at the conviction of the Holy Spirit and cling to the old wineskins. But I don’t like that feeling in the end.
For some, they say, it can take up to 254 days to form a habit. It takes longer for some of us to “teach” our neurons to fire up over the new patterns instead of the old. I don’t really want to take 254 days to stop contributing to oppressing the poor or multitasking over the voice of the Father. Or, basing worth or value on the vastness of achievements. Right?
What’s your list?
What are your convictions?
What new neurons do you want to fire up?
What are you missing because you’ve got the wrong noise turned up?
Who are you negatively impacting with your actions?
What part of yourself needs to be acknowledged as valuable and what part of yourself needs to turn off or tone down?
Claim Your Convictions. Live Your Convictions. Declare Your Convictions.
Feel joy as you claim the Convictions that the Holy Spirit offers you. You can own the change in your life.
In my family, we have a stubborn strain running through our DNA.
I’m not particularly against it.
This kind of stubborn keeps you from giving up when it matters. It helps you stay for the long haul in relationships and friendships. And, it keeps you following your dreams even as life’s seasons change and morph.
We are particularly stubborn with people. We believe the best, want the best and don’t like to see our loved ones give up. Whether career paths, raising families, hobbies or passions, we give you every reason to keep going no matter the obstacle.
This kind of stubborn can take you far.
When you just keep showing up and not giving up, the balance tends to fall on the good side of the pursuit. My mom says reach for the moon because you may just land on a star. This is the sparkly, shiny, shimmery side of stubborn.
Stubborn has another side. You can call it the matte finish, dull side or mix-all-of-the-paint-colors-together poo color. Yes, I did say that. It’s my middle brother’s fav emoji when he doesn’t like what I say.
This is the other side of stubborn:
- I can’t see the (bad) reality of my marriage or close friendship.
- I’m not a people pleaser; I just care a lot about whether people accept me.
- Of course I understand grace, I just like to work hard to prove my value.
- I trust God, but I feel abandoned when I don’t understand the hard things in my life.
This is the flip side of the good stubborn.
When life is going fairly well, it is hard to know if you have the good stubborn in your DNA or whether you are headed for stuck.
I remember stuck well.
The old version of myself really believed I could do it all. Full time work. Present mothering. Domestic queen. Write a book. Take two classes. Volunteer. I was very stubborn about this.
Until one day, I couldn’t go anymore.
Really, that’s what happened. I got out of bed one weekday morning. I walked partially down the hall in dim light to wake up my kids. I stopped half way and desperately prayed that I would make it back to my bed without collapsing or throwing up.
That was five years ago. It’s not possible to summarize the last five years. Instead, I have transparently shared bits and pieces of my story with you and what I have learned along the way. This post is yet another piece of that story and the growth that took place.
Are you stubborn or stuck? It’s a fine line.
I already said that the good stubborn can take you far.
The bad stubborn will take you down.
What is bad stubborn?
That’s when you are stuck. Although I tried really hard to recover from my burn out, I was using worn out tools that didn’t help me move or breathe again in new freedom. I really did try. I reflected a lot about who I wanted to be to my family and self. I wrote in my journal. I prayed. I talked to God. I got some rest. But not a lot changed.
The depression set in deeper. The anxiety began to show up during the day instead of just at night. The sound of the alarm clock caused my chest to feel like someone low volt tased me. Music turned up the anxiety instead of calming me. Work was one of the few things that steadied me. But that was one of the problems.
After getting worse, I began counseling. I mostly sat in silence for a few months. I wrote the counselor journal notes from my week. He would read them in advance of our meeting and then he would tell me stories that had principles tucked in them. After telling me the story, he would ask me what I got from it. I would eventually relearn my faith and gain an abundance of relevant tools to live by.
How does one move out of deep silence and extraordinary loss? The answers do not come with the degree I have.
But what I do know is that I had a significant revelation about six weeks into counseling. I determined that, although I had a fairly good view of myself in terms of strength, capabilities and relationship with God, there must be something off center. Otherwise, I would not be in the state I am in.
Ding. Ding. (That’s the bell of revelation).
I ventured into a new way living, a new way of understanding God and new tools to work with the mental illnesses that became part of my life at that time.
So, are you stubborn or are you stuck?
If you are good stubborn, you are pressing into the battles and obstacles that lead to life, freedom and service.
If you are bad stubborn, you probably are stuck.
I trust the timing of God. I wish that I had not suffered for the six months or so before I acknowledged I had to change the way I thought, my faith and the way I ran my life. My good stubborn ran out and I didn’t realize it. I had tipped the scales to stuck and stayed there until I almost completely lost my hope.
If you are in a place of anguish, anxiety, depression, burn out and emptiness, your good stubborn has run out. You are stuck. You will have to choose to give up your ways and relearn life and faith. Or you can remain flopping like a fish in a puddle craving oxygen.
Even if you don’t understand the path ahead or how you will navigate the loss, you will have to choose new life if you want to recover.
I am going to share my Big Three with you. This is all extra. I hope I have already said enough to help you decipher between stubborn and stuck.
The big three helped me sort my way out of silence.
When it comes to friendships, very few are core. Most are circumstantial or peripheral. That’s okay. Cherish and rely on core friends. Enjoy the other friends as they move through the flow of your mutual lives.
When it comes to control, remember that life is a moving target. The only control you have is over you. When hitting the target becomes impossible, it’s a cue that the arrow belongs to the Holy Spirit. Pass the impossibility to the one who is faithful to work out impossible things.
When it comes to expectations, they must be based on past experience. Stay in reality when it comes to your expectations. When I am rooted in reality, I am able to plan my days with security. This means that whatever happens, I can do what’s right without fear. 1 Peter 3:6.
Do you know if you are stubborn or stuck?
The good stubborn will take you far.
If you’ve morphed into the bad stubborn, then you are probably stuck.
If you’re stuck, my hope is that you’ll simply acknowledge that there is a better way to live, think and believe. I didn’t understand the path ahead or how to navigate it, but that’s not a condition for getting unstuck. The condition is that you are willing to reach outside of yourself for wisdom, grace and the hope you need to change.
I love you my friends.
Back in December, I shared a Grab Bag. The idea was to pick one or two things from the “bag.” I shared three picks as we stepped into the Christmas season. My heart was to help us (me and you) not miss out on celebrating the season, both in inward and outward ways.
My heart’s cry is that when you read this post, your heart will stir with excitement. I hope something in this post will cause to get busy with something good.
Grab Bag Pick One: Take One Tangible Step Towards Your Vision
This first pick is about taking action on your vision for the new year.
I am proud of you for having a long talk with your girlfriend about what you want to see happen or change or be in the new year.
I am proud of you for writing in your journal your vision for your family, your business or ministry.
I am proud of you for allowing yourself to begin again this year despite whatever may have disappointed you in the past.
Now it’s time to mold your girl talk, vision and hope into action.
In January, I shared my vision board that included hospitality in the form of gatherings, meals, celebrations and workshops.
I had two vision board workshops at my home. I took care, thought, focus and time and created a space for the women I love to consider and share their vision for the year in a safe space. I had time for two workshops, but not three or four. So, I packed the supplies for the vision board, wrote a blog and gave four women the tools to create their own vision boards at home.
The new year came toppling in with much of the same angst that 2020 provided, but your dreams are still alive. God is rooting for you to pursue the passions He sewed into your heart.
Here’s the task for Grab Bag 1.
Circle back to your vision for 2021 and pursue something tangible related to it. Here are some examples:
My friend Steph’s enormously demanding career will take a significant turn towards slowdown in the next few months. Her vision is to expand her volunteer role at her church, read solely for joy, journal her hopes and dreams and consider branching out from technical writing to other genres.
I know this is mouthful.
It won’t happen all at once.
- Steph will start a book list and set aside a few minutes each day or week to read.
- She’ll journal in the wee hours of the morning like I know she loves to do.
- She’ll connect with a church leader for opportunities.
- She’ll research other writing genres.
It will happen one at a time in the right time.
The point is to take a first step and pursue it!
Grab Bag Pick Two: Step Out With A Friend
In January, my mom had a dream to collaborate her artistry with food with my love for writing. We have been talking about this for awhile and my mom made it happen. Really, she gets the blue ribbon for this one. She did her part and reminded me everyday to do mine – – until I actually did.
We created a Galentine’s gift of hand decorated sugar cookies, my mom’s prized recipe, a February Bucket list and a gratitude list. We spread the word (on very short notice) of our mother daughter love project. We got it done and now we have a prototype for doing it again, even better than the first time.
What have you been talking about with your mom, friend or business or ministry partner that hasn’t been put in motion?
Success is taking the step and sharing with others for the very first time.
Success does not have to be measured by sales, whether it went viral or whether the project is perfect.
While your aim should be excellence, perfection is not the standard.
While it matters on some level that your idea is embraced by others, fear of testing the waters should not stop you.
The task for Grab Bag Two is serving in community.
Reflect on the repetitive conversations you’ve had with your best friend, parent or partner. Is there something you both want to do together but you’ve never taken the idea to the next level? I bet there is something.
My friend Trina has a huge love for the elderly. During COVID-19, she and her best friend Cindy had the idea to create Boxes of Joy to send to seniors. Trina’s story of the last few years does not necessarily lend itself to starting a new business.
Despite the story of scarcity she could have told herself of the resources and timing, she proceeded with an abundance of hope and skill. And, she didn’t go at it alone. She took the hand of a friend whose passions aligned with hers. Thank goodness for the gift of friendship.
Passions may come to light in solitude. Dreams are often born in quiet spaces. But calling is always lived out in community.
Will you do it? Will you take the first step with the friend or family member who has always wanted to go along with you anyway? Leave fear and perfection to the wayside. Your calling is right in front of you.
Grab Bag Pick Three: Get Ready to Shed
December’s Grab Bag Pick Three will live on right here. I told a quick story about wineskins (which I still find to be a weird word). You can’t put new wine into old wineskins or the container will burst. And, you can’t rebuild things that God tore down or you’ll be a lawbreaker. Galations 2:19.
Girl, I did not realize how hard it is to dig a new template. Okay, well, that’s my tendency, to think it’s up to me to dig a new template. Rephrase. I did not realize how hard it is to be new wine and not try to fit into the old wineskins.
Let’s move on to modern English.
My word for this year is SHED.
Previously, I had a season where I spent a lot of time caring about what others thought of me and the display of my calling. I spent a lot of time seeing those who have different gifts than me as superior. I had a rough time being okay with me in a new pool as a beginner.
Sometimes it takes some time to shift towards the one voice that matters.
Okay, so where are we going with this?
If you are going to live out your calling in this season, you are going to have to shed some things.
There is a lot of noise in this world. There is an abundance of choices you can make and directions you can go. You can go down rabbit holes. Don’t get me wrong. God is in the rabbit hole. But. God is also in the shedding of the things that are off center from your calling.
Grab Bag Pick 3 is about quitting the things that do not directly relate to your calling.
Calling is not a performance. It’s a way to live that allows you to bless others through the actual person that God made you to be. If you are seeing your life through a lens where there is a three-judge panel marking your every move, reset. The measure for success is whether you are blessing at least one person. And, sometimes, that person is you as you become a little more like Christ through pursuing your calling – just like Jesus did in his life.
What should you shed?
If your gift is relating to women by writing, write. You’ll have to quit a few things to give some time for that. You’ll have to add somethings that help you do that well. (Yes, that’s for me, but insert your gift into the same directive).
If you try to ___________ without quitting somethings and without getting some help with the main thing, you will be putting your gift in old wineskins. And, inevitably, the container will burst, and you will be a lawbreaker.
That may have come across harsher than planned. But it’s true.
We can live, move and breath in what He has provided, or we can explore rabbit holes. God will be there in either case. But.
Taking directions for the road trip contains more wisdom than driving south to Orlando from Key West.
That’s it girls.
Grab Bag Pick One is taking a step towards your vision in a tangible way.
Grab Bag Pick Two is serving in community.
Grab Bag Pick Three is about shedding the things that do not directly relate to your calling.