Defying Limitations!

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After a wonderful church service yesterday our family made our way to a meet and great area of our church; coffee, tea, and snacks. This is designed for folks to interact between or before the service they have attended. Somewhere within a 15 minute period I turned and saw my one year old grandson Holden looking quite fascinated with a lovely woman in a wheelchair, minutes later his sister Scout joined him as this lovely, kind woman began to talk with our little ones in loving tones and kind gestures. I was fascinated by seeing that what drew them to her was the wheelchair, what kept them there was just who she was. This lovely woman didn’t appear to act like she saw her wheelchair as if it was a limitation.

It’s been almost 10 years now since I worked part-time at a wonderful local Athletic Club in my hometown; within the building there was a well-run Physical Therapy practice.   Jordan was my friend; he came into the club 2 times a week to do swim therapy in the indoor pool. Jordan was a quadriplegic and his wheelchair would forever be his mode of transportation.  Jordan was so kind, so funny, so motivated to live a normal life. I remember watching him faithfully ride the local bus to the Club, being lowered into the pool and making every effort to stretch and move his tight muscles. Jordan worked a full-time job at our local theater taking tickets and welcoming those who attended; he did it all from his wheelchair. I was especially intrigued when he excitedly shared with me that he had just won a Bocce Ball tournament in another city!! Bocce Ball in a wheelchair? I am convinced that Jordan did not see his wheelchair as a limitation.

My precious mother is in her 80’s and she is not only an amazing woman, she is a gifted artist.  Because she is so passionate about art she has spent well over 20 years teaching children and adults to find their inner artist.  My mother also has Scoliosis and is in pain every single  day.  She never whines.  Week after week she prepares her studio for her students: setting up art supplies and cleaning up after all of her budding artists.  She could easily quit and most people with that kind of chronic pain probably would.  I can see that my mother has not allowed her limitations to stand in the way of her passion.

How often do we limit ourselves to do or be all we can be? How often do we see our challenges as overwhelming and we simply give up on our dreams? How often do we say “no” when , if we had some real fire in our bellies, we could achieve so many impacting things without letting our limitations take us out of the game!!

Do we give up too easily? Do our limitations overwhelm us or convince us we cannot continue to challenge ourselves and grow? To be honest I really think many of us do.

Can you think back to stories you have heard of people who have faced incredible adversity: loss of limbs, finances, family, home, or health and have persevered and caused you to tear up when you hear their brave, triumphant story? Haven’t you walked away thoroughly inspired?

What is your limitation? What stops you from pressing forward in your life? Do you think you might be giving in too easily? Do you think you might be lacking tenacity and perseverance to run your race with all your might? If so, what can you change today? How can you get fired up to move beyond those things that have held you back?

I encourage you to take a fresh look at your challenges. I encourage you to be brave and move forward in spite of them. I encourage you to live in fresh freedom!

“Only acknowledge your limitations for the purpose of overcoming them!”

Randy Gage

Winter Blues~

 

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After 6 long months of snow, ice, hail, wind, rain, and more snow; the sun has finally shown its face (at least for today). If I were a skier I am sure that I would be mourning the end of a great ski season; so sad to see it go. However, I am rejoicing in the prospect of long warm days ahead!

I hate to admit it but I think I may be one of those people who gets “emotionally blue” the longer winter continues. I get tired of trying to drive on snow, tired of wearing mittens, large jackets, snow boots, short days, and being mindful not to go out at night because of ice on the roads. To be truly dramatic sometimes I feel trapped by the winter season!!

I am a girl who was raised in Santa Cruz, California and only experienced mild temperatures and seasons for most of my young life; but life in the Northwest has been quite different! I am learning, sometimes unwillingly, about the impact of seasons as they change.

Life is a little bit like our seasons, isn’t it?  Sometimes we find ourselves in a season that feels like a bleak, cold winter; a season filled with challenge, uncertainty, and even pain.  In these times we might imagine that seasons will never change, never get brighter, never get warmer. Yet, just as spring follows the winter, our life seasons will change as well.

A few ways I “survive” the winter months are: binging on British shows on Netflix, good coffee, exercise, doing home projects, writing, and reading, and spending time with those that I love.  These are a few tools in my arsenal that get me through until I can bask in  the season of hiking, biking, long walks along the river, camping and basically everything outdoors!

In that same way, perhaps when we are in a “winter” season in our lives we truly need to find ways to navigate it carefully and intentionally; self-care, spending time with “life-giving” friends and family, prayer and meditation, exercise, etc. Then, when you least expect it ~ the sun will come out again. Don’t let the “winter season” of your life destroy your hope for a a brighter day!

“We all know that if the seasons were the same, there would be no growth. We know that without winter there would be no spring. We know that without frosts there would be no bulbs and without the monsoon there would be no rice harvest. In the same way, we also know that without sorrow there would be no joy. Without pain there would be no healing. I think that’s precisely where the beauty comes in. It comes in through the fruit of the seasons. He has indeed made everything beautiful in its time.” Naomi Reed ~ Author

The storms will come, but I presently love this sunny day! 🙂

Thoughts on my birthday~

 

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Often while driving I’ll tune my music to the “oldies” channel; within seconds of hearing the first few notes from a song by America, Fleetwood Mac, or the Beach Boys, all the words come rushing back. All the memories come to mind!  For a little while I’m 16 again!!  I’m 16 years old  sitting on a beach in Northern California anticipating what my life would be like in the years to come.    I remember that girl ~ there are still bits and pieces of her inside of me but there are changes too.  What advice would I give that 16 year old Dianna?

  1.  I would tell her that her parents were right! The faith in God that they instilled in her was real and it would be that faith that would carry her in the changes and challenges she would face. As I look back over my life I have seen God intervene is creative, crazy, and amazing ways.  I have felt His comfort, I have experienced supernatural peace.
  2.  I would tell her to try extra hard to be un-offendable.  After getting stuck in hurt and offense many times over the years I have learned that the only one that it hurts is me.  Relationships often have a way of coming full circle over time if we apply grace and forgiveness to the situation. Hanging on to hurt and anger is exhausting and unfruitful!
  3.  I would tell her to be brave!  I remember many anxious moments where I agonized over situations I experienced from job changes, to relationships, to raising my children, etc.   Looking back I recognize that my worst fears never came to fruition.  We were always taken care of.  My boys turned out to be great men.  All that time being fearful robbed me from being hope-filled and confident. Be Brave!
  4.  I would tell her to be herself in every environment; that she is uniquely created! As a young woman I found myself supporting my husbands ministry placements and in doing so I had to adapt to many different churches, environments, personalities, and “rules of the club”.  There were many years where I saw myself “disappearing” to fit in.  The nuances of my personality were hidden, many times, to be that “perfect pastors wife”.  No one asked me to, I put that pressure on myself.  As I have become more authentic over the years~ my quirks, my weaknesses, my hobbies, my dreams~ I have found a greater kinship with people than ever before.  If I had it to do all over again knowing what I now know, I would just be myself!
  5.  I would tell her to take good care of herself.  For so many years I put all my energy into my family, my church, my home, and my outside relationships.  I kept my schedule so wound up that I rarely took time to take care of me; excercise, rest, boundaries, and free time were lost in a well intended, but over-packed schedule.  There were many times when I found myself exhausted, moody, over weight, and anxious.  Over the past 15 years I have learned to take care of myself physically, relationally, spiritually, and activity-wise. I’m certainly not perfect but I make a real effort to keep these areas vibrant.  Truth be known, if we women are not applying self-care, if our cups get empty, everyone around us suffers.

I do love the season of life that I am in.  I have no desire to be 16 again! In this season I understand what matters, appreciate the sweetness of relationships, and I am incredibly grateful to be a Mimi! 🙂 So, happy birthday to me! 🙂