Posted by: antoniadb | April 21, 2014

Hold Your Head High.

I’ve been thinking about insecurity lately.

Insecurity is one of those character traits I wish I could eradicate…stick me with a needle and give me immunity for life! As I get older I find my self-concept has grown stronger and I am able to walk more confidently, knowing more of who I am. I’m a strong, confident, beauty of a woman! But insecurity still lingers. It comes and goes in waves. Most days the waves fall upon rocks and the only result is a futile splash. But some days, the waves creep up on sand and wash away the grains in one fell swoop. And I find myself questioning myself, my character and my calling.

I don’t like to admit this because I fear I’ll appear weak. Silly. Immature. Needy.

It’s funny, the waves that I allow to wipe me out, knock me off my feet. It can be something as small as a comment from another, a number on a scale, waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Or it can be something larger, more tsunami-like in nature…a broken heart, tension in the family, disappointment, loss, or self-doubt that’s been left untreated and like a parasite it has slowly grown into a deadly creature.

I don’t know what it looks like for you, but insecurity turns me inward. I withdraw, curling up in a self-protective ball. I don’t need to talk about it, just hand me the chocolate, a good distraction, and I’ll be ok. Lies. Sometimes the lies are more familiar, safer, then truth. Sometimes the lies are easier to believe.

Truth can be confrontational. Uncomfortable. Stretching. But truth is also freedom.

So I’ve been trying to walk the path of truth lately. Confront some lies that hold me captive. To believe that I am a child of this good & loving Creator God. To believe that I am fearfully & wonderfully made. To believe that I have gifts to offer and share. That I belong at the table. To turn outward rather than in. To invite others in rather than building walls to keep others out.

This has meant trying some things that are uncomfortable, facing some fears, opening myself up, embracing the risk of it all. But I believe that this is also opening myself up to new joy and life.

Allowing the waves to wash over me rather than sweep me away.

“But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.” Ps. 3:3

Posted by: antoniadb | March 24, 2014

The Prayer of St Patrick

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
 
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.
 
Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.
 
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.
Posted by: antoniadb | March 24, 2014

Photo Journal: The Prayer of St. Patrick

Image

 

mountain

 

Image

Posted by: antoniadb | January 27, 2014

Seek First.

More of you.

Less of me.

Or, perhaps.

More of you in all that is me.

More of you setting me free,

To be who you created me to be.

 

Not my will

But yours.

Or, perhaps

My desires finding their true place

My time spent at your pace

My life giving you all the space

You need.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: antoniadb | January 8, 2014

Good News & Bad News.

So it’s still winter. And it’s still cold out. #badnews

I’m thankful for the warm clothes & home that I have. #goodnews

A lot of people don’t get to live their winters like this and winter is less about snowmen & skating and more about struggle. #badnews

Fabulous organizations like Hope Mission work to support and love these people. #goodnews

This costs money. #badnews 

You can sponsor my team as we walk to raise some money in February. #goodnews

It might be cold when we walk. #badnews

I took a few Greek classes in university #goodnews

It might be snowy when we walk. #badnews

The greek word for “gospel” (εὐαγγέλιον) literally means #goodnews.

I’ve been looking at how often God talks about the poor in the Bible lately. And it’s a lot. The historian Luke tells the story of Jesus reading a scroll in the temple and he reads an excerpt from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.” If Luke used twitter, I’m sure he would’ve been all over hashtagging that.

If you’d like to be a part of sharing this #goodnews, this life-changing εὐαγγέλιον,  with some of our poor neighbours here in Edmonton, you can donate to my team:

http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=2189162&langPref=en-CA


    

If you can’t donate right now, that’s OK too. (Feel free to chat with me if you’d like to know how you can pray or volunteer).

 

Posted by: antoniadb | January 1, 2014

Some Late Night Thoughts on 2013.

One of the grand total of two posts I wrote in 2013 was written last January at the beginning of the year as I reflected on a “word” for the year. The word that I felt was given for me to meditate on for 2013 was embrace. As I sit awake late at night having gotten a second wind (or third, or fourth…) it seems like as fine a time as any to reflect on this past year and what this word has meant for me.

Embrace community. I start by thinking of some of the new relationships I’ve had the privilege of embracing over this year. Relationships with friends, co-workers, roommates…even friendly neighbourhood Tim Horton’s staff! Many of these people I did not even know as of January 2, 2013. What a reminder that we have no idea of what new friendships are in store for us. I sometimes find old lies creeping up again…finding it hard to believe that people would want to get to know me, and, after doing so would want to stick around…but these lies have been proven wrong again as I remember the many laughs and fun adventures share over the year 🙂

Embrace new challenges and opportunities. A new job (or two) and the learning and growth that follows. New ways to spend my time (a little less TV, a little more time spent giving away!). A new place to live. Embrace the facing of insecurities and the uncertainty of change. Embrace the joy that follows obedience. My cup overflows.

Embrace letting go. Over the past few months many of my conversations with God have been about letting go of things that I’ve wanted and have held onto, quite tightly. My plans for what I wanted my life to be and become. And slowly, little by little, God has pried my fingers out of their iron-clad grip to allow my hands to be open for things to come in Jehovah Jireh’s way and time, not mine. Embrace trust in my Savior…No matter how much I think I know what’s best for me…Embrace trust.

Embrace the gifts of today. This year has felt like a season of gratitude and thankfulness. I cannot believe how many good gifts have been given to me, gifts of friendships, a place to live and a bed to sleep in (literally, a bed was given to me!), of health, of a car that keeps on truckin’, of food in the fridge and clothes in my closet, shoes on my feet, mittens & toques, a family that loves me and cares for me. And I could go on and on. My work allows me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful children, youth and families and I know that for many of them, the gifts that are commonplace and a normal occurrence for me, are often not as such for them. Embracing gratitude as a way of life.

Embrace hope. With the hard stuff that exists, I’ve been challenged to remember that hope is a choice. One that I want to choose daily. And the stubborn side of my character can be put to good use as I choose to continue hoping!

Embrace peace. My restless heart often has me running at a pace such that I can barely keep up with myself. And I’ve been trying to find more of that balance. Some days or weeks I do better than others. But even when I find myself running around I’ve found been challenged to take moments to cherish the present and seek out peace despite the to-do lists and full schedule.

These are just a few thoughts, that hopefully will still make sense in the morning. But if nothing else does, I just wanted to share that this year has been a blessing and I’m thankful, so thankful.

Posted by: antoniadb | December 12, 2013

If I tweeted all my thoughts in a work day

It might sound something like this…

Trying to cut back on coffee during December may be one of my absolute worst ideas ever. #operationaborted

Lunchbreak with my coworkers helps me fill my daily laughter quota #lovethesepeople!

Chocolate cake #perksofthejob

Running around a pingpong table and wiping out bc I slipped on a chocolate cookie #2bruisedknees #hazardsofthejob

Teaching youth about the legacy of Nelson Mandela. #whataretheylearninginschool??

Yes, he really contributed more than Paul Walker, even though he wasn’t in all those Fast & Furious movies #seriously

She apologized. #heartfull

Pass the Parcel is an amazing game #oven mitts #santahat #somuchtape

Coworker goes on a Timmy run. #lifesaver

Musical chairs for a piece of chocolate cake. #chaos #hilarious

Justin Beiber Drummer Boy. #youtharesingingalong #parrumpapumpum

I get paid to do this? #thankful #joyful #humbled

Posted by: antoniadb | January 2, 2013

Embrace.

I have a friend who takes time at the beginning of the year to listen for her word for the year, the theme that God might have for her to grow and live through for the year ahead.

I like that idea of taking the time to stop and to really listen. But that’s about it, I love the idea of it but fail miserably at stopping and listening. So my “listening” consisted of me listening to the radio and driving my car back into the city after a wonderful week at the family farm for Christmas break…but while doing those things I remembered how I’d wanted to take time to listen for a word. And then I started thinking about how I needed to buy wax for my cross-country skis since I was trying to “embrace winter” and wanted to be able to say “hibernation is for bears” without feeling like a hypocrite. And then I thought about how I’d gone out on my mom’s snowshoes for a trek through the fields one afternoon and how I’d loved the sense of adventure as I forged a path across the snowy hills and how I had felt alive and refreshed as I huffed and puffed up through the snow and how I’d felt at peace as I squinted into the sunlight. And then I thought to myself, “hey! Maybe my word should be Embrace!” And then I continued driving and thinking about any and everything else except for what my word could be.

Fastforward to 8:30am this morning as I’m driving to work. I’m tired. I’m grumpy. I’m not feeling very social, let alone ready to face a group of kiddos who’ve been out of school and eating candy for the past 2 weeks. I’m starting to feel stressed as I think of all the work that I’m behind on. I’m wishing I had followed through on the flitter of a thought earlier in the morning that I should call in sick since my throat was feeling scratchy…Basically I was one big bah humbug.

So I decided it was time for a little pep talk. And I lectured myself on how my job was such a privilege, how these kiddos are some of God’s favorites, how I’d prayed for work just like this when I was unemployed and going stir crazy, how my first day back involved swimming and how many people get to do that in a day’s work? (with the exception of lifeguards of course…) and how I was wanting to be the type of person to pray my worries and problems, not just complain or fret. I gave a quick shout out to God for the day.

And then a funny thing happened, I felt a bit less grumpy. I picked up a coffee and sipping it made me feel a little less tired. And when I saw my co-workers I began to feel much more social. And when the kiddos came through the door I found my energy levels rising and all of a sudden un-decorating the Christmas tree became an adventure for us to do together and then it was time for a Wii dance-off (which I won! against a 7 year old, but that’s besides the point) and then it was time for a few rounds of Ultimate Jenga, not your everyday Jenga, but Ultimate. I started to smile and laugh, a lot. And on my break I decided that my tiny thought of a word had in fact become my word, for the day, for this year: Embrace.

Embrace today; it is a gift.

Embrace the new, heal and grow.

Embrace the old, see things in a new way.

Embrace hardship, because we are called to persevere.

Embrace the good things, the blessings, because they can leave as quickly as they come to us.

Eyes wide open. Hopeful. Thankful.

Here’s to the new year!

 

Posted by: antoniadb | October 23, 2012

Sometimes…

Earlier today a friend and I were talking about seasons in our lives. My friend described her current season as one of thankfulness. I told her I thought that was a great season to be living out of. It made me wonder how I would characterize my current season. What lessons have I been learning? What has God been teaching me? How have I been growing or changing? Hmmm…

I think I would have to say that the theme of my current life season would have to be one that centers around trust.  Sounds great right? How wonderful, to be living in a season of trust! That’s what I would like to be able to say. But I think what this current life season has been more about is my lack thereof.

In the moments when I take the time to close my eyes and listen, to bow my head, breathe in and be still, the words I hear come in the form of a question: “Do you trust me?” Not an interrogation. Not a condemnation. Just a gentle prodding, “Do you?”

And oh how I want to say yes. I know that I’ve seen the proof of that yes in my life, in the lives of others. I know it! And yet somehow, I still don’t. I want to believe the things I know to be true and yet something catches in my throat and silence takes the place of a resounding and confident yes! I want to know that which I believe to be true but something blocks my vision.

Silence and darkness replace word and light.

I can’t say yes because it feels like an answer that I have not quite reached yet. And I feel hypocritical and selfish for my sluggish response. How can I, I who has never had to worry about my health or my shelter or my next meal, how can I answer anything but yes? I have seen God provide and move and lead my small and insignificant life into things of great purpose and meaning.

I can’t say yes because my most common prayer over the past 3 years has been either a question or a plea: “Have you forgotten me God?” or “Please don’t overlook me. Please don’t forget about me.”  Even as I write those words, my throat chokes, a reminder of the pain of it.

But then I feel guilt and self-rebuke as  if I have no excuse to ask that question or raise that plea. How have I been forgotten? What am I so afraid of? And that’s where I pause…

What is it that hurts? That causes me to fear?

I think it’s different things depending on the day.

I think of prayers I’ve prayed that were not answered…when I wanted or how I wanted.

I think of dreams I’ve had that seem just that, dreams…

Disappointments.

Feeling unworthy.

Relationships that have hurt me.

Fears of being alone or rejected..

 

So then what? My response is no? But that doesn’t feel right either.

I trust that my prayers are not futile thoughts and wishes flung into the great unknown. I read Scripture and feel that words were written just for me, to me. I look back on the past few years and see God’s hand at work. No, cheapens all of that. No, doesn’t reflect that which I know. And feel.

It seems that the option that remains is a quiet “sometimes….” And if I’m honest, that’s what it has been. That’s what it is. And this past season has been about life in the sometimes. I haven’t written for a long time because it’s not easy to write about the sometimes. It’s easier to write about the Yes or the No.

But I guess that’s the thing about chasing the wind. Sometimes there’s a strong gust. Sometimes there’s stillness. And sometimes it’s the faint wisps or a gentle breeze.

Posted by: antoniadb | May 23, 2012

The 10 Commandments for Reducing Stress

I found this old laminated card while cleaning out a drawer in my room today. A poignant and timely reminder!

1. Thou shalt NOT be perfect, nor even try to be.

2. Thou shalt NOT try to be all things to all people.

3. Thou shalt leave things undone that ought to be done.

4. Thou shalt NOT spread thyself to thin.

5. Thou shalt learn to say “NO.”

6. Thou shalt schedule time for thyself, and thy supportive network.

7. Thou shalt switch off, and do nothing regularly.

8. Thou shalt be boring, untidy, inelegant and unattractive at times.

9. Thou shalt NOT even feel guilty.

10. Especially, thou shalt NOT be thine own worst enemy, but be thy best friend.

If I follow these hopefully there will be less of stressed me…

and more smiling!!

 

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