The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Reading time 2 minutes

I went hiking at Stone Mountain State Park with my boyfriend Zach, Denver and Dakota (the girls, aka the dogs).  We had been hiking for quite some time when we came to the end of the trail and to the lower waterfalls at Stone Mountain State Park.

Zach took the dogs through the water but I didn’t want to get my shoes wet so I walked some paces farther down river so I could rock hop across.  I climbed down the bank and ducked under some low tree limbs I lifted my head and found myself surrounded by almost 20-30 yellow swallowtail butterflies. It was like something out of a movie. I couldn’t believe it. They were fluttering all around me as if I was in their way. There were so many of them and they were so close. Right there all around me.

I knew it. In that very moment I knew it was a personal present from heaven just for me. I smiled quietly on the outside but on the inside I was beaming with delight.  He loves me. He sees me. He cares.

I looked for Zach and called out to him for him to see them.  I jumped a couple rocks to get his attention… he was distracted wrangling Denver and Dakota in the river.  When he looked up I said… look at all these butterflies… but I turned back and they were gone.  I jumped a few more rocks and sat down in the middle of the river on a large flat rock.  Soaked up the sun and found myself in a very content and peaceful place.  Everything is going to be alright.

Since that moment I have been seeing butterflies constantly. On the drive to work, at restaurants, in the yard at my house, outside in the parking lot at work, on vacation at the beach, everywhere really.  I know what you are thinking.  It’s butterfly season… of course you are seeing them everywhere. Right?

Then I sat down for lunch with my sister-friend Mikala and she said… I’ve been seeing butterflies everywhere! And I about jumped out of my seat. She then shared with me her own God moment with a butterfly a few days prior and her continually seeing them ever since.

I seriously don’t try to over spiritualize every little thing.  In fact, I think people add a spiritual element to things when in all actuality it probably has something more to do with the natural rather than the supernatural.  But there on that riverbank at Stone Mountain there was not a doubt in my mind it was a gift from God.  He gave me that moment and I believe he had something to say.

So what does it mean?  I’ve researched it, asked God about, and talked with Mikala about it over a Café 100 Café Sunrise.  And this is what I have concluded.  Change is coming.  Change is in the air, a new season and a new life. This new life will be full of freedom and not captivity.  Take flight, be free, live to the fullest, lay open your wings and soak up the sun my child.  Change is coming, riding down a river on the ease of a breeze.  Change is coming.  Actually it might already be here.

So as my reader what am I asking of you?

Stop hiding in your cocoon… wiggle your way free of that captivity.  It may have held you for a while and may for a time had a purpose. But that time has now passed.  The cocoon has done it has duty and changed you.  You are no longer who you used to be.  And what was meant to hold you is now an open door to wiggle your way free…

spread your wings…

and fly…

not in fury or disdain…

but in peaceful freedom…

fly.

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Boogie Boarding & Running into the Deep

I was waist deep in the ocean bracing against the waves.

Standing there I witnessed, in awe, my kid, my son, riding wave after wave, and running back into the deep to ride again.

Pappy, my dad, had purchased Mav a Boogie board right before our trip. Who knew it would be one of those priceless purchases?

Mav ran into the ocean with no inhibition. He jumped on his board and eagerly anticipated the right wave. He kicked with fervent excitement and screamed with delight riding every single wave. When the waves were to rough and he was tossed under he would pop right up, wipe the salt from his eyes, spit into the water, and charge back into the deep.

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You know when I felt the most pleasure, the most delight?

Not when he was eager anticipating, not when he was fervently excited, and not even when he screamed with delight. Although, believe me, it all brought me great delight and pleasure. No, what brought me the most delight, the most pleasure was seeing my son recover from the oceans rough tossing waves that knocked him down and get back up, unfazed, and charge back into the deep once more.

Why? Because the tossing, the knocking, the going under is a fact of life. But those who can rise up, charge back into the deep, and to find delight in riding the waves again are simply beautiful.

Mav inspired me that day in the waters edge. Do I rise out of the ashes? Do I pop up after being tossed, wipe the salt from my eyes, spit into the water, and unfazed charge back into the deep?  Does my spirit match Mav’s fearlessness to go into the deep?

Do I recognize that living to ride the waves in delight is worth a bit of tossing? Do I put the tossing in its place, under my feet, and stand up determined and focused on the joy set before me and not the tossing behind me? Do I charge the deep fearlessly or do I retreat to the sandy shore?

Does my Father take delight in all of my adventure because he simply delights in me? Does my Father delight in me when I pop up from a tossing and charge fearlessly into the deep once more? My Father never wanted me to be tossed under, but in living my life and riding the waves it can happen to us all.

But I wonder what a delight it is to see his children arise unfazed, unshaken, and undeterred.

Why? How can this be? Maybe they are unfazed purely for the purpose of living and not dying. Maybe for riding waves instead of sitting on the shore. Maybe because they know a Father stands near, never wanting them harm, and ready and available to rescue them in times of deep trouble, but also standing there with us to witness the pleasure of his children delighting in the waves and charging back into the deep.  Maybe they know a Good Father who loves watching his kids live this life in great adventure and with great joy set before them.

Where’s your boogie board? Let’s go grab it my friend and let’s charge into the deep!

Power and Control vs Empowerment and Self-Control

Reading Time 3 Minutes

Power and control have everything to do with your own personal identity insecurities and your own personal fears.  And nothing to do with the person you’re in relationship with. Wanna get real with me? Keep reading.

Empowerment and Self Control are both key to any healthy, true, and lasting relationship. Any relationship that lacks these two characteristics will fall short, show the pains of dysfunction, and lead to brokenness.

Victims of power and control can be convinced that they are to blame for the power and control being held over them.  This simply is not true.  Power and control have everything to do with the personal identity insecurities and personal fears of the one inflicting them.  Why?

When a person is sound, secure, and confident in who they are, in their identity, they will not seek to impose power or control on another.  Instead they rest in knowing who they are and being self-controlled.

A person who does inflict power and control on others is trying to compensate for the lack of power and/or lack of control they feel within themselves. Even if these feelings are subconscious they still can act on them.  Instead of looking within, and working on their own insecurities and fears within themselves they blame outwardly, and in doing so, try to inflict power and control. The problem with this is that even when power and control are successfully inflicted on others it only perpetuates the insecurities and fears within the inflictor.  This type of denial and blame becomes a black hole of brokenness.

How does it stop?!

It stops when the person who is the target of their power and control refuses to be overpowered and controlled.  Instead, these people rise up and out of these relationships.  This is not done with ease or delight but rather with intention and discipline.  It takes a lot of work.

One has to be determined to not be a participant of a relationship of power and control.  One has to choose to only involve themselves in relationships that are empowering and self-controlled.  This in my opinion is the only way to live.

No one has it down to a science but you can make changes to a healthier life with healthier relationships.

Ask yourself?  What are my identity insecurities?  What are my deepest fears?  Take the time to go there and ask yourself these hard questions and really look at your own personal insecurities and fears?  Develop a plan.  Address your insecurities and address your fears.  Stop blaming your insecurities and fears on others and take responsibility for them.  If you take responsibility for them then you can do something about them.  Change.

If you want things in your life to change stop sitting around waiting for other people to change… you’ll die waiting.  Instead, take responsibility for your own stuff, and change what you can. We can all become healthier people. We can all makes changes for the better.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power (empowerment) and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 AMP

This might seem like an ironic verse but let me explain.

  • The English word (power) in this scripture is translated to the greek word (dunamis from dunamai = to be able, to have power) power especially achieving power. It refers to intrinsic power or inherent ability, the power or ability to carry out some function, the potential for functioning in some way (power, might, strength, ability, capability), the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. Most of the time this greek word is translated into miracles or miraculous power.  In most context this greek word is referring to the power God has given to us. In other words, God is empowering us.
  • Poweras used by Paul here in 2 Timothy conveys the idea that Timothy (and all believers) have the God given inherent ability necessary for meeting difficulties and for the fulfillment of the service committed to us. God never commands us to do what He does not also enable us to complete. God gives us the power to overcome all obstacles and to face all dangers. In other words we are empowered by God. So we should empower others as God empowers us.
  • God knows that the one thing that stops us from living a life of empowerment, love, calm and well-balanced mind, discipline, and self-control is fear. Timidity comes from a lack of knowing oneself, a lack of identity

The only way to live a life with relationships that are empowering and self-controlled is to embrace the gift of power (empowerment), love and a sound mind (calm, well-balanced, disciplined, self-controlled mind) as recorded in 2 Timothy 2.

Live empowered and self-controlled and you will empower others to do the same!

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Christine and Maverick

Today I Cried

Reading Time 2 Minutes

Today I cried because I had to say goodbye. My country house in Iron Station has by far been my most favorite place to live. For many reasons, I loved that place. It was a beautiful home, complete with finishes to my taste. It was open and yet perfectly cozy. The house was all windows, which if you know me, you know I love the outdoors so looking at trees all day and night make me happy. The property backs up to a large horse farm and this time of year it is so common to wake up and see a good handful of horses grazing out back. The horses, uniquely and personally, have been a favorite of mine. My neighbors’ compare to none, they have been simply amazing and the best neighbors I’ve ever had. Who else mows your lawn, plays basketball with your kid, walks and takes care of your dogs, drops beer off, calls a movie night, or a short trip to the local winery… Yeah… They are the best neighbors. Continue reading “Today I Cried”

The Climb

Reading Time 2 Minutes

I’m selling my house and Saturday I had showings all day long.  I needed to keep the dogs off the property so I spontaneously decided to go hike Crowder’s Mountain.  I grew up hiking.  It’s something my parents both truly enjoyed when I was a young child. I kept it up when I went to college in the Appalachian Mountains.  Some of my favorite college memories are of camping in Pisgah National Forrest, illegally, (wink face emoji).  Now every time I choose to go hiking I wonder why I don’t do it more often.

Continue reading “The Climb”