Thursday, September 30, 2010

Peace to my soul

I believe in sacred places.  Places so holy that I truly want to remove my shoes. 


I believe in a God of love and miracles, of light, guidance, and revelation. 

I believe that if we try, He won't let us fail.  I believe He understands us and loves us. 

I believe He is actively working in each of our lives.

I know it.


I know that not everyone who reads my blog shares my exact beliefs, and that's fine.  We all have our own beliefs.  Thanks for loving me and reading anyway.  :)

I have struggled to find clarity these past few weeks.  So much has been changing, so much has been happening.  So much has been on my mind.

What I had planned as a quiet couple of weeks has become a couple of weeks of a very busy, anxious mind. 

Yesterday, I spoke with a good friend who reminded me of the things that ground me.  She reminded me of what is truly important...so much of what I already know, but had gotten muddled on.

I needed peace.  I needed to re-center.  My girls needed it, too. 

We drove to my most cherished place. 


The peace.  I can't describe it.


Our Temples are often misunderstood and the media often presents odd, skewed viewpoints.  I think that anything that isn't common is easy to misunderstand.  I can see it seeming odd to those who are not of our faith.  (Just please know that I am a fully intelligent, un-brainwashed woman, and the things presented on the media are nearly always wholly untrue.  Sad.  But is that really a surprise?)  

But oh, how I love it there.

Can I tell you why?  Why I find peace and sanctuary there, why I want my children to love it?

Why they already do, without me having to coax them?


For one, I believe they are a perfect example of God's love for His children.  A sacred, peaceful place where we can go to learn, to grow, to understand in His way. 

I can't imagine living without that guidance.  I would feel lost.

And I don't believe we were sent here to be lost.


The Temple holds promises of the future...glorious promises of who we can be and what we can become.


But most glorious of all?

The promise that my family can be together forever.


I find such peace in knowing that my family will be together forever...beyond this life, into eternity. 

I can't imagine how I would feel holding these sweet girls if I didn't know that.  Life is so, so short. 

I don't believe we would be sent here and that we would feel so much love, only to have it end at death. 


I love remembering what is truly important.  I love seeking guidance and peace.  I love that if we truly seek, we will find.  What love!  

We would never deny our own children love and guidance.  How grateful I am for a Father who would never deny it to me or you, either. 

(I digress...these next pictures crack me up.  It's pretty darn hard to get 5 kiddos to all smile and look at once!)  :)


Meanwhile...


I am almost overwhelmed by all of the "meanwhile" that there is to share!  So much has been going on, in and amongst all of the glorious Yoga for Congo Women things. 


One of the most exciting is that this wee, chubby angel has now turned six months old.

Sigh.

She is such a light in my life.  I literally, truly, thank God for her, every moment she is with me.


Yes, I put my baby in a light tent.  I'm a mother in love.  I can't help it. :)



The eyes.  So soul-reaching.


Another exciting happening in our lives is the launch of our new business!  See us at our site or at etsy.  This is huge and important to me, and I'll tell you much more about it soon. :)


In and amongst other things, this wee one took her first bites.  Shame on her sweet little head for growing so darn fast. 


So much has happened, so much is on my mind. I will sort it all out soon. Meanwhile, I've relearned again today the huge importance of love and loved ones in our lives.

More soon. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Faith, Miracles, Yoga, and Success

(Prologue:  A lot of times, people apologize for the length of a post.  I am not going to apologize for this one.  I hope you'll read it, every word, and come on the journey with me.  This was a sacred experience in my life.  I would love it if you'd share it.)  


As Yoga for Congo Women approached, I almost dreaded talking to people.  Inevitably, the question would come up: "So, how many people have you got signed up?"

I hated to answer.  I hated having to make excuses or find reasons why more people hadn't signed up yet.

Each night I would sleep less.  I don't think anyone can comprehend the pain and stress of pouring your entire soul into something and having very few people care, unless they have done it themselves.

I am a fervent believer in Divine guidance and help.  I truly, deeply believe in miracles.  I believe with all my soul that faith can literally move mountains.  This experience was one of the most faith-developing experiences of my life.  I went from pain and doubt to absolute, concrete certainty that if it was His will that droves of people turn out, it would, indeed, happen.

I sent out, gave out, and posted hundreds of fliers.  I sent releases to every news station.  Twice.  I posted on every events page, forum, social network, and blog.  But as the event drew nearer, and I put so much effort, money, and time into trying to spread the word and publicize it and persuade (then beg) people to come, I would go to bed full of faith that it could still be successful, but sad.  Sad that perhaps it wasn't His will that this event be a huge success.  Sad because I was feeling that so few people cared. 

I believe in a God of miracles.  But I also believe in a Father Who is so very loving, that He would never force His children to do anything, even if other children were hurting.

I felt I was failing.  I was failing the women in the DRC who I loved and ached for.  I was failing my sponsors who had supported me in good faith.  I was failing myself.  Most terribly, I was failing my family, who had sacrificed so much and for so long.

I cried at night and told Matt my fear, my terrible fear of failure.  My fear that I would arrive on the day of the event with only three supporters.  After a year of preparation, the thought made my heart almost literally break.

Matt, ever so kindly, told me that perhaps I needed a different definition of success.

In my heart of hearts, I knew he was right, but come on!  How could success possibly mean that I didn't raise enough money to sponsor even one woman?  Success meant numbers, right?  If I was going to make my family go through so much, I felt that HUGE results were the only thing that could possibly make it worth it.

And so I worked even harder, till I was literally exhausted in every way.  I knew that I had done everything I possibly could.  I had enough faith to know that, however it worked out, it would be alright.  That was all I could hold on to.  (That, and Matt.) :)




At last, it was the night before the event.  It was a strangely happy and peaceful night, filled with the quiet bustle of preparation.  Loved ones were here, and that love bolstered me up.  My sweet baby took her first bites that night, and that sweet triumph and joy calmed what nerves there were left that night.  My heart was oddly calm, and by bedtime, we were ready.

As I listened to the sleeping house that night, lying in Matt's arms, my mind again began to race.  What if no one came?  What if my sponsors hated me?  What if I really stink at teaching yoga and just didn't know it?  What if the sky fell in?  What IF?

I closed my eyes and prayed for help to have faith.  A previous post from a month ago came to my mind.  I remembered that sweet day.  It was a day when I finally felt and knew for sure who I was really meant to be.  I had been in a room full of women who were hurting.  I had something to offer, and I gave it lovingly, freely, compassionately.  That's who I was.  I knew it.  So it didn't matter if no one cared or came.  I could not fail, because I had given all of my heart to healing, and so had my family.

But what would success look like?  Would it look like I had hoped?

Finally, the dawn broke and it was time.

Finally.


I got ready quietly.  My husband, mom, and I drove in the rain.  It was peaceful.  Yes, I was nervous.  But it was finally time.

From the moment we arrived, it just clicked.  I felt like angels were there.




Angels often appear as people, you know.  My mom so quietly and efficiently ran the check-in table, lifted my worries, and listened.  My husband was cheerful and oh, so loving as he quickly rearranged the room to perfection.  My friend was there to lift our hearts with his cheerful manner and his terrific sound system.


As I set up pictures of women that I loved, my heart settled in.  I was at peace.  It was for them.  It was worth it.


It was perfect.


People started to come in, and I finally met women I have loved and admired for a long time.  Having them there meant the world to me.  They'll never know the peace they brought.

It was amazing.  Each person that trickled in, each new face showed it: they felt it, they got it, they were showing up for these women.


There was not one person there, not one, who wasn't there to do some good, whether for me or for the Congo.  You could just feel it.  Not one person came with a selfish heart.  That was amazing. 


Finally, it was time, and I couldn't contain my emotions.  It had just been such a long process.  So much hope, anguish and heart-felt emotions.  It all started to come out.  But no one seemed annoyed.


As the yoga began, it was amazing.  For one minute, I was nervous again, nervous of what people would think, nervous at having less people than I had originally hoped.  But then the light streamed in from overhead, and as it hit me, it melted away.  It didn't matter any more.

The feeling in that room was incredible.  I've never felt anything quite like it.  I've known the healing power of yoga for a long time.  I've known the healing power of love for even longer.  Combining the two on behalf of others was...indescribable.  Perfect beauty.

Every time I looked out at those who came, my eyes filled with tears for the love in the room.  It was miraculous.  Several had come many, many miles.  Oh, how I love them.  :)

Finally, at one point in the presentation, as we were resting with eye pillows over our eyes, it all came to me.

Finally.

I realized with perfect peace in that moment that it was perfect.  Right there, just like it was.  No, there weren't a hundred people there.  But it finally wasn't the quantity that mattered any more.  It was the quality.  The people who were there were capable of so much love.  So much goodness.  So much selflessness.  To have people there who loved less would have lessened the feeling.  It wouldn't have been the same. 

It was a miracle.  It was one of the greatest miracles of my life. 

It wasn't the miracle I had expected or hoped for.

It was better.

I don't think I will ever forget the feeling in that room, for as long as I live.


I think that many, many people who were there had a very sacred, personal experience.  Quite a few have shared those individual experiences with me.  Each have been different, and each have been very special.  I have felt honored to know your thoughts during that time.

 

After listening to many of the participants who were there, I finally felt success.  Because the miracle was this: after this event, I think almost everyone who was there believed that hope and healing was possible, not only for the Congo, but for themselves, as well

Lives were changed.  Not only Congolese lives.  Our lives.

My life.


I'll never be the same.  And I'm so very glad.

(PS - THANK you to each and every one of you who loved me, listened to me, and helped me.  Those who donated and showed up...no words.  Thank you.  And by the way, we did have a great turnout.) :)

(PPS - There are a few AMAZING pictures in this post...they were taken by this gal...WOW.  She's incredible.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Incredible.


Truly, one of the most incredible days of my life.

More soon. It's time to be with my family for a while.

Thank you for your love and support. I'll write about it soon. :)




Thursday, September 16, 2010

Learning


Our decision to homeschool often surprises people.

"Why?" I seem to hear, over and over.

Well, while they can think of a million reasons why I shouldn't, I have a million and one reasons why I do. 

But it isn't easy or perfect most of the time.  Lately, as I have been working so much on getting this event ready, I have struggled with a lot of inner frustration and guilt.  Though I still do activities with the girls while they're awake, my mind has had a difficult time being fully engaged.

And, we haven't started school yet this year.  GASP.

Don't worry, it's a conscious choice, but even though I really don't believe children need to be pounded so hard and for so long, I do get tempted to feel like perhaps I am not doing what I should be for them.

But today, I was reminded again of why we teach at home.

Today, instead of a regular school day, my girls helped me finish up with some things I've been working on for Yoga for Congo Women.  As we worked, we talked, and they understood again why it is so important to us.

And then there was this clear, clear moment...  I could see it in my daughter's eyes.  It clicked.  I could see it: the thought that "There's a problem, but I CAN do something about it.  And I will."

To go beyond facts and figures to power and understanding: that's why I want to teach them at home.  So that when they step out into the world, they are armed with the power, the knowledge, that they can change it, instead of sadly accepting it.  And they'll know that we each enter the world in our own way, and that they'll be able to find theirs.

Somehow, I know they will.  

PS - What's with the rice, you ask?  Want to know what we were making?  Come to Yoga for Congo Women on Saturday. :)  You'll love it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Giveaway heaven!

I am in awe of the people who have stepped forward and done SO much to show their love for others lately.  They have taught me and given me so much, and I am so blessed to know them!

I am so excited to tell you about a couple of them, and some marvelous giveaways they are hosting!

Lacey is a wonderful friend of mine, and a beautiful photographer.  I have tried several times to copy her style and locations.  See?



Her picture has more motion and is just all around cuter, but copying her was so fun. :)

Now, she's hosting a giveaway that YOU could win, and you, yes you(!), could have darling pictures of your family like the above sample. :)  Wow!  I want to win!  If you are in the Denver area, go to her blog, read a little about how you can help, and leave a comment.  Don't be shy!  She is really excited and happy to do this!  You could win a free photography package from Lacey!  You are SO lucky!

And there's yet another giveaway!  My beautiful sister, Christine, makes beautiful little books.  This girl makes the most gorgeous things I have ever seen.  Her needlework makes me cry.  Her sewing makes me sigh.  Her books make me happy, because I've never tried to recreate one, and thus have not had that particular pain of failure, yet.  :)  She has made a darling little book, and here are the details:


The pages are about 3x4.5" (the cover is just slightly bigger).  It's got blank pages (no lines, white paper) that are acid-free, art-quality (pencil, charcoal, pastel).  It would work great for a sketchbook or a journal.  It's hand-bound of course, because this girl can do things with her hands that no other human can.  Sigh again.  :)  But oh, how I love her, and I am so excited about this giveaway!

This notebook giveaway is open to any and all who participate in the Yoga for Congo Women event, be it at the live event, via the online broadcast, at one of the satellite events that are forming, or by making a donation!  So no comment necessary, but if you want this little beauty (and I know you do), get involved and get registered!  It's time!! :)

Thank you both so much, Lacey and Christine!  I love you!

COME to Yoga for Congo Women!  I promise you will love it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The weekend

The weekend always means...daddy.

Sweet, sweet, daddy, much adored by the many women of our home.  :)



"You soak-ed, Daddy?" :)

 


This weekend has also meant a nasty stomach bug for me...but let's not think about that.  Thank goodness it didn't hit me next weekend.  Tender mercies. :)

Because next weekend is for them.  I can't wait.  See you there?  :)