Welcome to Write Your Vision!

Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Vision: Why William & Kate Matter

In 1981, my mother woke me up early to watch Lady Diana Spencer marry Prince Charles.  We sat as close to the television as we could on the floor looking up at it and drinking tea.  It is one of my favorite mother-daughter memories...

Yesterday, Princess Diana's son William married his love, Catherine (Kate) Middleton at Westminster Abby.  Despite traveling for work, I again got up at 3:45 am to watch and found myself tearing up more than once. 

I've been surprised by how negative and critical some have been of the royals, the wedding, Prince William, and even Kate.  Was it a fairytale wedding?  In many respects, it absolutely was. 

In today's cynical world of war and disappointment, the idea of a Prince marrying a commoner and making her a Princess seems more than Disneyesque but actually makes some angry.  For those, I challenge you to consider what else is driving those emotions - beyond these two young adults who are in love and making a commitment before God and the world to be together in their circumstances?

The thing that I love about Prince William and his brother Prince Harry is that they are 'gentle'men.  Whenever I see, read, or hear anything about them I am always struck by their dignity, their compassion, their sense of honor, loyalty, and love.  Princess Diana said in many interviews that she wanted her boys to learn the value of work (so they had chores), the value of people (they were never allowed to order others around despite their privilege), and the value of giving back (in their case, volunteering and charity).  She encouraged them to FEEL!  No stiff upper lip as the British are known to demonstrate.  She encouraged them to 'marry for love' first... which William has now done.  She taught them to be who they are.

Watching the Prince William over the years (and Harry also), I've been amazed at how truly kind and considerate he is.  Both boys are accomplished men now. 

William has a college degree (thanks to Kate who encouraged him to change his major and finish school).  He joined the military and is an RAF helicopter pilot who performs search and rescue missions, which are some of the most dangerous.  He vacations with his father, his brother is his best friend.  He rides horses, hunts... AND cooks.  He goes shopping at the grocery when he and Kate are in Anglesey in North Wales where they have lived.  He has traveled the world - yes, but often in the pursuit of understanding and to work.  Yes work - including building homes and cleaning toilets in Chile, Africa, and other poor communities.

William and his brother Harry are well rounded MEN.  They are chivalrous and respectful, protective and kind, compassionate and honorable.

These two young men are true role models.  Yes, they've had fun, gone to pubs, etc. as all young adults do... but they are grounded.  In watching the wedding yesterday, I loved their posture, their grace, and their genuineness.

The reason WILLIAM matters is because he is a true reminder that men can still be 'men' and yet be sensitive, articulate, graceful, and faithful to one woman... willing to commit to marriage and the fidelity of it.

When you add Kate Middleton - now Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge - we see a compliment, a match... not based on wealth or status but based on her as an individual.  Kate is an educated young woman who is happy simply being herself.  She too is grounded, modern in her ideals and style and yet loves and values tradition.  She has been a role model as well.  Consider that she has been content to simply be who she is for almost 10 years without having to brag or gossip about her life.  When William suggested they break up to allow them both to consider options, Kate did not start trashing William nor did she cry out to friends or others.  She embraced the opportunity believing if they were meant to be together, they would be.  Why? She was a confident woman who knew her worth...

Six weeks later, William who admitted to being miserable without her, was back.  Let me say again, SHE KNEW HER WORTH!  Young girls (and the rest of us) could take a lesson from Kate.  We forget our own worth.

The result:  A MARRIAGE... not simply a beautiful wedding.

The wedding reflected William and Kate.  The vows, their prayer, and the themes they requested be present in the Bishop of London's sermon.  The bishop reminded us that the DECISION to marry highlighted their devotion to a spiritual life designed to bring each person into the fullness of themselves. 

William and Kate matter because they are choosing to live their lives to the best of their ability, becoming their best selves AND doing it together. 

Today, so many men and women have forgotten or simply never learned how beautiful and enriching this can be.  These two young people are not ruled by fear, insecurity, some macho need or a whiney sense of victimization. 

They are thoughtful, graceful, devoted individuals who give us all a glimpse of the possible...

Consider what you want in your spouse or partner.  Consider the qualities of these young people... I then encourage you to WRITE down the characteristics you personally would like to strive for as well as those characteristics you need from your life partner.  You can't get what you want if you don't know what you want.  So, perhaps start by examining two young people who seem to be doing it right!  And then begin to believe that God will bring you the prince or princess your heart truly loves...


Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Royal Wedding Day!!

Congratulations William & Catherine :) what a beautiful, intimate ceremony. God bless you both!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

King James Version

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

The Last Supper
And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he said unto them: and they made ready for the passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. (Mark 14:16-17)

And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you. I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. (Mark 14:22-25)

Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

Jesus prays in Gethsemane
And they came to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be filled with horror and deep distress. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting Him might pass him by.  “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will, not Mine.” Then He returned and found the disciples asleep.

“Simon!” He said to Peter. “Are you asleep? Couldn’t you stay awake and watch with Me even one hour? Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.”Then Jesus left them again and prayed, repeating His pleadings.  Again He returned to them and found them sleeping, for they just couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. When He returned to them the third time, He said, “Still sleeping? Still resting? Enough! The time has come. I, the Son of Man, am betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. See, My betrayer is here!”

Jesus is betrayed and arrested
And immediately, as He said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a mob that was armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent out by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law and the other leaders. Judas had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I go over and give Him the kiss of greeting. Then you can take Him away under guard.”As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Teacher!” he exclaimed, and gave Him the kiss. Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. But someone pulled out a sword and slashed off an ear of the high priest’s servant. Jesus asked them, “Am I some dangerous criminal, that you come armed with swords and clubs to arrest Me? Why didn’t you arrest Me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about Me.”Meanwhile, all His disciples deserted Him and ran away.
Jesus is Crucified
So Pilate, anxious to please the crowd, released Barabbas to them.  He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip then turned Him over to the Roman soldiers to crucify Him.  Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.  And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying Hail King of the Jews! And they spit on him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him and led him away to crucify him. (Matthew 27:27-31)

And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. And there followed him a great company of people and women, which also bewailed and lamented him. (Luke 23:26-27).

And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Hill).  They offered Him wine drugged with myrrh, but He refused it.  Then they nailed Him to the cross.  It was nine o’clock in the morning when the crucifixion took place. A signboard was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against Him. It read: “The King of the Jews.” Two criminals were crucified with Him, their crosses on either side of His. And the people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. ”Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at Him. “You can destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, can you? Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”  The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but He can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe Him!”

Then said Jesus, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:33-34)

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. (John 19:23-24)

Jesus Dies and Is Buried
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Then, at that time Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”  Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought He was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to Him on a stick so he could drink. ”Leave Him alone. Let’s see whether Elijah will come and take Him down!” he said. 
Then Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, he said, Father into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.  At the same time, the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. When the Roman officer (centurion) who stood facing Him saw how He had died, he exclaimed, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” (Luke 23:44-47)

Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph) and Salome. They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for Him while He was in Galilee. Then they and many other women had come with Him to Jerusalem.

This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath.  When the evening was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. (Matthew 27:57-60)

And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus beheld where he was laid. (Mark 15:47)

Jesus is Risen!
The next evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Salome and Mary the mother of James went out and purchased burial spices to put on Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they came to the tomb. On the way they were discussing who would roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. 

A violent earthquake took place as an angel from heaven rolled back the stone. The Roman guards shook in fear as the angel, dressed in bright white, sat upon the stone.

When the women arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone – a very large one – had already been rolled aside. So they entered the tomb, and there on the right sat a young man clothed in a white robe. The women were startled, but the angel said, “Do not be so surprised. You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead! Look, this is where they laid His body. Now go and give this message to His disciples, including Peter: Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there, just as He told you before He died!” The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, saying nothing to anyone because they were too frightened to talk. (Mark 16:2-7) 
When the guards reported what had happened to the chief priests, they bribed the soldiers with a large sum of money, telling them to lie and say that the disciples had stolen the body in the night.
It was early on Sunday morning when Jesus rose from the dead and the first person who saw Him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and found the disciples who were grieving and weeping. But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen Him, they didn’t believe her.

Afterward He appeared to two who were walking from Jerusalem into the country, but they didn’t recognize Him at first because He had changed His appearance. When they realized who He was, they rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them.  Still later He appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their unbelief – their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

And then He told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in My name, and they will speak new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick and heal them.”

When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked with them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs. (Mark 16:19-20)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Art of Spring Cleaning

April is always an emotional rollercoaster month for me of joy mixed with tears. 

I LOVE it because my birthday is this month and I believe in celebrating it as it is the ONE day of the year that is MINE.  With that also comes Easter, spring flowers and showers, beautiful green grass, the need to start planting and clearing out the weeds in the yard, laying new soil or mulch, etc. etc.  All Good.

April is also my grandmother's month.  Her birthday is a few days after mine so she and I would always celebrate together... and I loved that because I adored her.  It made us special.  Despite her being gone now (thus the tears), the depth of my love for her and her impact on my life is still amazing to me.  She was/is my person.  My "Go-To" and my heart.  And SPRING was her favorite time of year!  This was when she'd launch into SPRING CLEANING...

Gram LOVED to clean her house in the Spring.  Pretty much anytime really but especially this time of year.  She couldn't wait to open the windows and clean those sills and the windows themselves with soap and water until they sparkled.  Then she'd have Pap wash down the screens that had been in storage and hang them.  But the work didn't stop there.  No, that was just the beginning. 

Gram and Pap would LITERALLY start cleaning their home from top to bottom, inside then out.  Gram would "start high" because the dust would drop down.  She'd climb up on chairs and take apart the ceiling fans and light fixtures washing each piece in the sink.  All curtains and lamp shades would come down for their cleaning.  She'd assign Pap the wall washing and baseboard cleaning... and if he missed anything - NO supper!  That was her grinning threat.  He'd look hurt but then would grin right back at her with an "Okay sweetie, I'll do it good."

They'd tackle the vents and ductwork blowing them out and washing the vents in the sink also.  All bedding would come off and head for washing machine.  That meant the pillows too.  Pap would lift up the mattress and Gram would vacuum and clean the box springs and bed frames.  She'd also vacuum under the bed and he'd be responsible for the walls and baseboards around and behind the beds.  Once that was in process, they'd pull EVERYTHING out of the closets.  All clothes, shoes, etc. until it was empty.  Gram would start sorting and Pap would clean the closets themselves.  The clothing would be placed in piles - some going to the needy, some to storage, and ALL going into the wash.  This was the time of year when Gram wouldn't use the dryer.  Nope.  EVERYTHING would go from the wash to the clothing lines in the yard... "so they would smell good!"  And they did.

After each bedroom was complete, they'd hit the hallway and bathrooms then the living room.  The cushions on the couches would be beaten outside and set out for a few hours to take in the sun and breeze.  Now they'd tackle the kitchen.  First the stove and refridgerator had to be pulled out so the floors could be cleaned along with the outside of both appliances.  Next Pap would set to work taking the stove apart and cleaning it while Gram would clean her fridge.  Once complete, they'd begin with all the kitchen cabinets.  Pap would wash them down with Murphy's Oil Soap and water while Gram would empty them.  Pap would wash the inside and Gram would lay down a new liner and then replace the contents.  If anything looked dusty or sticky, it too would go into the sink for a bath before going into the cabinet.  Then when they'd literally gone through everything, Gram would clean her floor.

Once the upstairs was done, they'd start the trek downstairs into the live in basement where they did their cooking and canning.  Same process.  And of course, once the inside was done then they'd work outside.  Pap would wash down the siding of their home and paint the window sills, etc. while Gram started ironing.  She'd have an enormous basket by now!  She'd hang her curtains while they were still a little damp - that was a secret!  She didn't have to iron them if she did that!  But she'd iron the sheets and pillow cases, all those clothes before going back into the closets and drawers, etc.  Even the things going to the church for the poor... all would be pressed and ready.

Of course this was a several day process but when they were done, that little West Virginia house would SPARKLE.  It was a true labor of love.

Every nook and cranny.  Every light switch and fixture.  Every appliance.  Every article of clothing and pair of shoes.  Every tool - including the lawn mower would get a bath and a tune up.

And they would NEVER complain or grumble.  They LOVED doing it.  They loved doing it together.  They were a team and they enjoyed every minute of it.

They built their home brick by brick.  Gram designed it - where she wanted each room and how she wanted it laid out - and Pap built it with his friends and family.  They took pride in their home and with their belongings.  They were HAPPY... alwaysThey truly made Spring Cleaning into an art form that is now a memory I cherish and a reminder to not take even the smallest thing for granted.  Nothing escaped their loving touch and polish.

They had a vision for their lives and they made their dream come true.  And from the beginning, they cherished their dream, cherished what they had.  They recognized their blessings.

I used to ask Gram and Pap around their birthdays if they wanted anything?  What could I get them as a gift?

Pap would wink and say "I have everything right here.  I have my sweetie, a roof over my head, and food on the table."  Gram would squeeze my hand and generally say "I have what I want" as she'd start fixing me something to eat. 

And they did.

As we all work to achieve it's good I think to separate and distinguish between "things we may want" and our DREAM: with our calling or our VISION for our lives and "things we don't have."  There's a difference between acquiring more stuff and what we need in our lives to be happy and whole.  When you consider your vision for yourself, I'd encourage you to look around at what you may already have... you might be surprised to find that you already have what you need.  It may simply need a little loving polish and some spring cleaning.

I'm starting today.  One room at a time.  ;)