How Big Do You Love Me?

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Like many families, the kids and I have a game we’ve played for years. It’s called “How Big Do You Love Me?” and the way it’s played is we try to outdo one another with descriptions of how big our love is for each other. For example I would say, “I love you as big as a rainbow” and one of the kids would say, “I love you as big as a mountain” and so on and so forth. I think the most creative example of Olivia’s love for me at the age of two was when she responded, “I love you as big as the tallest tree with the biggest elephant sitting on top of it.”

Through the years, a similar game has presented itself in my life. This one I call, “How Big Is My Faith?” I’ve encountered this game many a time and have found it more challenging than the one I just described. This game has pushed me to the next level during my dad’s illness and ultimately his painful death, during the trials and tribulations of relationships, when close friends have chosen a path separate from the one we were so blissfully traveling on hand in hand, and even when life has presented me with the difficult choice of stepping back and allowing a loved one to find his way without my constant guidance. It has also presented itself for my family and I when we’ve had to take a leap of faith in a move to what is undoubtedly the equivalent of a foreign country with unfamiliar customs.

However, the real test of “How Big Is My Faith?” came in the form of “The Ultimate Challenge” round. Maintain your faith while giving up everything familiar to you, including a church you called home not only on Sundays, a rector whose sermons stayed with you from week to week, and a family who might not have been related by blood but who came together in happiness, sorrow and everything in between. Your assignment should you choose to accept it is to walk away from that and enter a realm of the unknown, find a new church, a new inspiration, a new way of spiritual satisfaction. Not easy, but that’s why they call it “The Ultimate Challenge” and why if you complete it the satisfaction is greater than anything you could ever imagine. I set out to finish the game, beat the boss, complete the challenge and found many an obstacle in my way.

What I learned through it all is that my faith is bigger than a church and bigger than a sermon, but not bigger than God. I have had more time for reflection and have found inspiration within myself and in places I never dreamed of looking when I was sitting back and letting others feed my soul. I finally embraced my passion for writing and it has become an outlet for me in so many ways. It has fed my soul in ways I could never imagine when I was comfortably contained within my comfort zone. I am walking through life with my eyes more open than they have ever been, and allowing life’s smallest of details to inspire me. When I sit down in front of my computer, and let my fingers travel over my keyboard taking on a life of their own I know I’m feeding my soul and possibly others in the process. I know God is smiling down on me. And, as for “How Big Is My Faith?” well let’s just say it’s definitely as big as “the tallest tree with the biggest elephant sitting on top of it.”

For my friends whose life circumstances have left you feeling tired, like life has beat you down. For those of you who feel like your faith is not as strong as it once was and may question it and even God. We’ve all been there, but don’t be afraid to look around you, to dig down deep. Be open to new churches, new friends, new ways to inspire yourself and feed your soul. And know that as long as God is present in your heart, he will always be present in your soul.

One of my favorite Christian songs is by an artist named Nicole Nordeman. She wrote it for a close friend of hers who was in a place in his life where his faith was lacking or maybe even nonexistent. I leave you with her lyrics and video.

What if you’re right?
And he was just another nice guy
What if you’re right?
What if it’s true?
They say the cross will only make a fool of you
And what if it’s true?

What if he takes his place in history
With all the prophets and the kings
Who taught us love and came in peace
But then the story ends
What then?

But what if you’re wrong?
What if there’s more?
What if there’s hope you never dreamed of hoping for?
What if you jump?
And just close your eyes?
What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?
What if He’s more than enough?
What if it’s love?

What if you dig
Way down deeper than your simple-minded friends
What if you dig?
What if you find
A thousand more unanswered questions down inside
That’s all you find?

What if you pick apart the logic
And begin to poke the holes
What if the crown of thorns is no more
Than folklore that must be told and retold?

You’ve been running as fast as you can
You’ve been looking for a place you can land for so long

But what if you’re wrong?

What if there’s more?

What if there’s hope you never dreamed of hoping for?

What if you jump?

And just close your eyes?

What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?

What if He’s more than enough?

What if it’s love?

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If you’re interested in spreading A TON OF HOPE, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Write about something that makes you feel optimistic.
  2. Post MONDAYS. Start the week off with a positive outlook.
  3. Grab a badge by going to your dashboard and clicking the IMAGE widget. Adjust pic size 200h x 200w. The image URL: (http://keepingitrealmom.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/project-optimism.jpg)
  4. Link over here and invite blogger friends to join in.
  5. Encourage the person who linked up before you. Kindness is contagious!

Holiday Sharing Blogger Challenge

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Challenge: Write a post that mentions other bloggers while also mentioning some of your own posts as well. The trick is to incorporate it into your post in a meaningful way. It can be in the form of a story, a letter, a conversation…get creative! Then post a link to your post in the comments below. Don’t forget to link to the bloggers and posts you reference so everyone can reap the benefits of just a few of your favorite things. Give the gift of sharing and share this challenge with other bloggers!

A Blogger By Any Other Name…

Photo credit: just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com

Photo credit: just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com

I’ve only been blogging since September 11 of this year. I had been jotting down some random thoughts and sharing them with a few folks, but that day I was compelled to share my thoughts with a wider audience in a formal way. Maybe it was the significance of the date since my first post here was about the meaning behind the red circles on our calendars. Maybe I just wanted to be around more people like myself, who have thoughts or a moment of joy we need to share in order to de-clutter our brains for more stuff. Regardless, I started blogging and never looked back becoming so familiar with other bloggers that I refer to them by “name” even when conversing with friends and family.

For example, I love to share my Milk Duds story with other people and always mention that Chatter Master had an equally sweet story about Milk Duds which is how she found me. Speaking of treats,when I told my girlfriend that Keeping it Real Mom’s son knocked over and shattered a wine glass while reaching for a Halloween sweet, she audibly gasped. The sweetest part was his apology and her beautiful display of patience to the incident. I would have pulled out my Emergency Contact list because I’m a control freak like that. Although, I have exhibited some patience of my own as I waited for Coastal Mom to rejoin us while she worked on her book. It’s okay I was still eating, still praying, still loving while Sass and Balderdash was still looking for a job, Ad- libb3d was still writing jokes, and Creative Liar was well still lying but in a creative way that would make us all proud.

This arena of ours provides a courage by keyboard that encourages our right to share, our right to learn and even our right to bitch because let’s face it parenting is funny, motherhood is an art, and we brave, smart, bold people have every right to help the world see things from our mom’s eye view or whatever your perspective may be. I’ve got a story and you’ve got a story or fat lies and fairy tales or an organized chaos of thoughts that should be heard. No matter what we are sharing, we are touching people, making them smile, making them laugh, making them angry and leading them to that special point when crazy meets exhaustion and you feel like your shoes are on the wrong feetall while watching a clown on fire like a train wreck of thoughts on the run you can’t peel your eyes from.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t know what to call most of you other than your blog names, and to me they roll off the tongue like the name of an old trusted friend. Funny how that works. I’m sure most of you refer to me as little miss wordy when you spend countless hours enlightening/boring folks to tears with my musings much like I share Charlotte’s musings too. Strange how you can feel like you know someone when you’ve only seen glimpses of their lives float across your screen, and you don’t even know them by name. Well, except for Danny Breslin and Cristian Mihai who are the king of states but also the opposite of Madonna, and went the route of embracing their real names. If those are some form of stage name guys, I’m not gonna be happy. I’ll have to explain to everyone that I now have no clue where all those sticky notes and quotes I shared with them promising a new free life came from. They’re going to tell me to piss off and there goes the celebration. No daddy drinks or shanpagne all around! I’ll be the sadder but wiser girl. It’s okay…I’ll take it like a grown up.