5.1.20 On the Road

Started into a podcast this morning when Maddox, our youngest, asked for music for a little bit. He is so sweet, I obliged.

As I scrolled for a good easy song to play, I stumbled upon Oceans and said to David, “I think I’ll start us out with a little worship music.”

“I really don’t want to listen to worship music.” He said, with his loving laugh voice which I’m thankful exists.

“Well then that probably means you should” I say in my loving laugh voice which I’m also thankful exists. It was a sweet exchange.

I looked out the window at this beautiful sunny morning, headed into our 9 hour journey to Black Hills National Forest. My heart started to tremble:

// spirit lead me where my trust is without borders //

Listening to the repetition of the prayer while watching the landscape with the lingering smell of a PBJ in the truck cab (made for Aria) made me aware of this reality that I have been led to an adventurous man.

This commitment we are in has me on a roadtrip, through a part of the country I have never been in, using strengths my life has equipped me for (like making three kids comfortable in a backseat and making sandwiches from a front seat – wrapped in a folded napkin with a quick scribble note to the recipient on it) and in a landscape of people so wide and deep that the only realistic expectation I can have of myself to help guide and mother is to stay present. To pay attention.

When I consider the whole of all that is on my mind and heart and how much is unknown, I am led just to consider its opposite: “known”.

I considered seasons of “known” (where nothing major was in question or in flux) and realized those seasons were seasons of plans, concrete planning or where plans were in motion.

If what is “known” means to me that I know the plan then, very much so, my life right now is “on the fly”. Big stuff: I don’t know what June looks like, yes. But even daily stuff like tomorrow night, I’m sleeping “in Montana”.

I did a little word math, a way I journal to try and make sense of complex ideas, to find my center. And I saw quickly that living “on the fly” and living “planned” have the same root: my intention.

If living present, per my true honest root, my intention, I believe, would not make my plan that much different than what I would come up with in a split decision. Said another way, what I come up with in a split decision is probably similar to what I would have planned… I think this is where the lyrics got me, spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.

Maybe living spirit led allows them to be the same: making plans and winging it. Just like Covid changed the best of plans, a boon can change the worst of winging it. If you’re true to your intention, to being spirit led, your trust is without borders.

To close, I’m stunned at how much of my life with David rings true to what I am accustomed to – like long road trips and lots of people – while also having me in unknown territory where I am reminded to rely heavily on the spirit. In yoga, we call this the balance between effort and ease – and when we find this place, we have just the right amount of tension to grow and explore newness with just the right of softness to trust and relax. It’s humbling: how simple the complexities of life can be.

Lots of love. :) me

Iowa. <shrug>

Send Her All of Her Might

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Lucy and I were praying for a dear friend one night in August. I had led the prayer the night before so, on that particular evening – all tucked in bed, Lucy led us. Hands clasped, eyes open.

As she sweetly tumbled through her prayer, hitting strides of addressing this friend’s pain, she firmly requested, “…and God, please, just send her all of her might.”

This stuck with me.

“Send her all of her might.”

When I think of “might”, strength – power – brute force, I typically associate it with a universal power source. As in, “Lord, send me strength”.

As in that example, I think of it as strength from outside of me, strength that is not my own, strength not readily available to me.

Strength I need.

So, when Lucy revolutionized my understanding of might, it was because she was asking God to make it so that our friend had all of her might. As if she has a bank of might available to her that she can access. It made me think, “what if I, through comfort with the supernatural, through my awareness with the physical body and its ability to be stunningly miraculous, can access reserves of my own might as divinely given to me from birth?”

At the first thought of this maybe being a cute idea but not really practical or not really as elegant of a model for how we may consider petitioning for strength ascribed to a higher power, I thought of how the model looks in real life. I know it is in my personal nature to request the gifts of other people that, in some way or another, I have within myself.

I do not do this in a lazy way or from an insecure place, however. I see that a friend is obviously artistic or a friend is obviously wise and so I solicit their technique and advice. But do I know that I equally can attempt the art? Search the heart? Yes. I do.

(Especially with the right Sharpie style marker.)

Though I firmly believe there is power in believing in a strength bigger than what resides within us, what if we first requested all of our own strength, our birthright might, be present and accounted for before we ask specifically for the Lord’s?

And – before anybody cringes at the idea of doing something on our own and “what about Jesus” – we stopped for a moment and realized that in doing such a thing, we actually are asking for the Lord’s strength *with specific awareness* that our strength and our help comes from the Lord to begin with? (Psalm 121:2)

What if in requesting all of our strength be present, we started to understand that our intricate design as individuals has a power source into the great connected universe? Charged by God’s right hand?

What if, in prayer, we began to understand internal cruxes that block and cross our wires?

What if, in pursuit of our might being full, we learn things about our selves that prevent us from operating on a full tank of strength?

What if we were able to come into a next iteration of what God had in mind for the way we do life by understanding the personal strength that lies in our own emotional fortitude, in our physical temple? 

I mean, really. I believe we need to be careful of praying for God’s strength over and over while remaining unaware of the personally designed, tailor made strength and skill set we were given to not only survive, but to make a difference in this life.

<Deep breath.>

I believe the look of boldly approaching the throne when life is at its hardest changes when we have ensured we have done our part to cultivate the might and open-heartedness available to harness in this physical life.

There will be times we need increased strength to our weary bones and power to our weak spirits. (“Even the youth grow weary” Isaiah 40:30)

When we take the step to align with God’s strength through that which was put into the body to begin with, and – from that place, request the divine to reinforce, supplement and support, I believe we can then come into a new level of hope to soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow tired, and walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Namaste. XO, erin

408 Months Today!! 

Today is my birthday! I am 408 months old.

I know what you’re thinking.. “She doesn’t look 408 months old!”

Ok. Or maybe you’re thinking “Erin. Why are you sitting in a basket.”

Here’s the deal. Every single day the Internet provides us “10 things to make us something” for us to read, memes to engage in, and pictures to like.. To like.. To like. The social media world plays with us and I wanted to play back with this particular meme.

But – true to form – this of course points to something bigger for me…

There are pictures of vacations we want to go on, babies we want to hold, houses we want to have, meals we want to eat… There are things we admire and wish we could do. (For example, sitting in a basket with your age in months on your chest..)

It’s really easy to look at life on Facebook or to share life on Facebook and yet forget to live.

This week, I fell in love with Psalm 105:4.

It goes like this:

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”

As I round this corner and start my 34th year, I find this verse so so so pressingly affirmative. It’s not “Look for the Lord”. It’s “Look to”. Omnipresence. Always there. God is sure as shoot everywhere you are…

Even on Facebook.

I write this because I think we all need God’s strength. And not just for the biggies in life but for the everything.

If it isn’t strength to allow God in your here and now; accepting impermanence and moving forward then it’s strength to allow God to plant seeds of compassion so you can be aware of those who have lost.

If it’s not strength to take care of your body through higher self control, it’s strength to be modest even when you can easily grab attention.

If it’s not strength to edit yourself and be mindful of others, it’s strength to let go of things and not take them personally.

There is strength in not taking yourself seriously.

Kindness and patience take strength.

I once wrote a post where I described how I tied fruits of the spirit to other life attributes. I noted what I think is a strong correlation between strength and kindness. I was asked by a friend who read the blog, “How did you connect strength to kindness?”

My answer is that I think they balance eachother. When you are called to submit to kindness, there is typically an equal call to let go of something – think of people who have been kind to you: they let go of their time, money, energy and gave to you instead.

True kindness means letting go.

Facebook, guys… Facebook is funny. It is so easily mindless but what if we saw our feeds as opportunities to tap into the strength of God?

To love even when we feel longing.

To edit even when we feel proud.

To keep sacred even what we want to share most.

To speak confidently even though it might not be understood.

To be funny even if somebody might think you’re stupid.

I don’t know.. Maybe I’m ridiculous. But I really do hear people talk about their anxiety, caution, lack of confidence, pain, jealousy, etc that creeps up because of social media. What if these feelings are calls to specifically find strength and be true to yourself?

To love yourself?

I woke up melancholy this morning. I was driving to work when realized I was dressed in all black. (Who wears all black on their birthday?! I have never..) 

I turned around and came home to reset. An hour later, I wrapped a conference call and then was full on sobbing for no reason. (Ya’ll know how much I looooooove blogging about crying. I’m a total crier!!)

The reason this is relevant? Because it was my moment to be kind to myself. I told my boss I needed some time. I took a personal phone call that was revitalizing. I put on blue yoga pants and a red tank top. Lit some candles. Got it going right on my birthday..

I now proceed into my day aware of how God’s strength swept me up. It’s not dramatic people! This is daily life. There wasn’t anything about this experience for me that has me worried or concerned or longing or calling my therapist! There was nothing to understand, only something to feel. And that was to be present and honest.

Present and honest.

Kind of like labor and delivery now that I think about it.

So there you go. And before I sign off…

Thank you, really, to everybody who supports this blog and who connects with me on my writing. When I was 3 (sorry I mean 36 months) I said wanted to be an apple tree when I grew up and, you know, I kind of feel like I am. :) XO