Action Leads to Transformation

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Perhaps you’ve seen this story before, I had too.  The first many times reading this passage, my focus went straight to the power of Jesus.  Healed?!  Just like that?!  Who can do that?!  But today, when meditating on this same portion of scripture, there were other aspects that gave me a gut check and landed in my heart.  First, the fact that they CARRIED and lay the lame beggar down DAILY.  I imagine it was rather difficult back then to carry around a lame individual.  Transportation and handy equipment like we see nowadays weren’t even on the radar.  Besides, if he was a beggar, I think it’s pretty safe to assume he didn’t own animals.  In fact, the text states clearly, “they carried him.”  Not, “they put him on a donkey and led him to town.”  I allow my mind to go there…an image of a paraplegic friend conjured up…the act of daily carrying him UP to the temple…

DAILY.  UP.  UP.  DAILY.  UP, then DOWN.  UP, AGAIN, we go UP.

For what?  To sit and lay and maybe someone will toss a few coins?  Maybe they won’t.

The perseverance in that situation struck me.  Perhaps also the desperation.  The picture of it pulls at my heart.

Let’s keep reading… Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”

Yes, the miracle.  Yes, the walking.  All of this in Jesus’ mighty name, yes.  But HOW did it all happen?  “TAKING HIM BY THE RIGHT HAND, HE (Peter) HELPED HIM UP.”

Let’s get this straight…

PETER HELPED HIS BEST FRIEND?

PETER HELPED A FORMER CLASSMATE OF HIS?

PETER HELPED SOMEONE FROM HIS BIBLE STUDY GROUP?

No, no, & no.   PETER HELPED SOMEONE HE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW.  HE GRABBED HIS HAND AND PULLED HIM UP, STANDING ON THE BELIEF THAT JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH COULD AND WOULD HEAL HIM.

Bold looks like that.  Compassion looks like that.  A genuine desire to see others living their best life looks like that.  Sharing the greatest gift ever given; God’s love, looks like that.  Thank you, Peter, for showing us that acting in love is what we are called to do and it will always be worth it.  Will it always “feel easy?”  Maybe not.  Might we need to get over our desire to “fit in?”  Likely.  Could we risk looking “weird” to some people?  Most definitely.  I don’t know about you but I would rather look weird and share truth & freedom any day of the week.

PS-They may not all end this way, but this story even has a happy ending:

“8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.”

PPS-Let us go forth boldly and shine love the best we know how.

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Ride of a Lifetime

Apparently, it was one year ago that we received the keys to what would become B Present Studio Fishers.(Thank you, Facebook, for the lovely reminder.)  After 5 months of construction and beautifying the space, we opened our doors in July ’17. Hard to believe we are only in our 7th month of being open because my heart tells me I’ve known many of these women I get to love on/challenge/encourage/teach, much longer than that.
 
Bryan Weisweaver and I did not make this leap of FAITH because we had business goals or financial goals or because we thought it would be fun. In fact, on paper it sounded stressful and crazy.  I’m sure there are RISK ANALYSIS people out there who have loved to be in on this decision and perhaps sway us to go the other way. But the truth is, when the litmus test of what is best for your life is what GOD says, when He says GO, you go! Without knowing every last detail. Without even fully knowing why.
 
In my short 10 years of following Jesus, I have seen firsthand, the last place I want to be is off doing WHATEVER I WANT. When left to myself, I get anxiety-ridden and selfish. I do only what is “productive” and get greedy. None of that leads to joy and peace. I have learned that being obedient to what God is placing in my heart is the least risky
thing I could do. EVEN WHEN IT DOESN’T SEEM SO FROM THE OUTSIDE.
 
This past year has had tears, both of joy and of sadness. Tears of frustration and elation. It’s been a year of challenges and great victories. It’s been a year of growth-growth-growth. I now full-heartedly believe our move to Fishers, ultimately, has very little to do with B Present Studio and everything to do with GROWING OUR FAITH AND CHANGING OUR HEARTS.

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I do believe we’ve only reached the tip of the “crazy iceberg.”
Story to be continued…;-)
 
Love you, friends.
Please know you don’t have to have it all figured out before you take the next step. The best (roller coaster) rides in life are the ones where you can’t see the track in front of you and you trust the cart you’re in to take you on the ride of a lifetime.

Let Me Walk A Mile In Your Shoes

If you’ve not met my husband Bryan, you may not know I married someone with a heart of gold.   The way he cares for others and longs to see them live a life of freedom rooted in The Truth-it brings me to tears.  At the start of the year, my husband informed me that he felt the Lord calling him to minister to and disciple men in a way that looked different than the small groups of yesteryear.  He’s loved leading small groups the past several years and always enjoyed being a participant for years prior to that.  But this year, the Lord placed it on my hubby’s heart to meet one-on-one with a few men, regularly.  Intentionally.  Not to talk about the weather or basketball, but to talk about the condition of their heart.  WHAT THEY ARE BELIEVING AT A HEART LEVEL?  I’ve said it a million times in my B Present Studio classes, and Bryan and I are on the same page with this:  YOU CANNOT GET BEYOND YOUR OWN BS; aka your Belief System.

You can’t get beyond your own BS. 

So here he is…meeting with these men…listening…asking them questions…desiring to hear what they are currently believing and challenging them, as needed.  Lending a shoulder to cry on, as needed.  Giving a hug, well anytime, my hubby is a hugger.  His first few meetings were out in spaces in the community but this week was different.  This week he and one of his friends met at our home.  They were on another level of th27479147_10212352139135744_1459764210_oe house with the door closed.  I heard not a word they said.  I didn’t have to.  Rounding the corner to see these shoes on the entryway rug…knowing that the wearer of these shoes was making the time to B REAL…knowing my hubby was on the receiving end…eager to listen and encourage, pray and seek to understand…cue the tears.

Life, done in community with others, is simply beautiful.  It can be real, raw, and downright messy, but isn’t that what makes it beautiful?  Life lived in community takes on different shapes…some connect over soccer tourneys, MOPS, barre & brunch…no matter where you share your heart, please make sure you are sharing it.  You were made to be known and we all miss out when you hide parts of you.  Let others know what it’s like to walk a mile in your shoes.

Lessons Coated in Laughter (and Sugar) (and Tears)

Birthdays.  Some love them, some hate them.  I like to use my birthday as an excuse to get the girls together, and that’s just what we did.   Sadly though, this beautiful birthday celebration night left me filled with remorse.

Birthdays have a way of bringing things to the surface that have been detectable previous. The blunt force of a Birthday, another year gone by, causes us to focus in, open our hearts, and truly see them.

I had the joy of celebrating my 37th birthday with an evening of tasty eats, but even more importantly, with a room full of amazing women.  We laughed, got to know one another (better), and told stories new and old.  At the end of the evening, as the cake was being served (my first cake ever with lime green dumbbells on it 💚💪), each gal at the table took a turn sharing how we met, a favorite memory they have with me, and their hopes for me in the year ahead.  This was a part of the evening I will not forget.  Even if I don’t remember the exact words spoken, I will remember how full my heart felt & how much love my spirit was receiving. (My body wasn’t complaining about the cake either.  😜)  

As the last friends shared and the rustling of jackets began, the paying of bills, and sweet hugs goodbye, I started to feel sad inside.  Not because I wanted to keep on partying that very night (I did have to wake up early to train a client so staying up late wasn’t my goal.). But had I realized, in a few short hours, and with a little time spent planning, I was blessed, really blessed, by the time spent socializing.  

Socializing had become an unwelcome thing in my book.   I was on mission to do other things and relate with people in other ways, and I didn’t place a priority on socializing.  It felt boring to me.  Unnecessary.   Sorry, don’t have time.  It was on this evening I not only realized I need to get back to being more social, but I grieved time lost.  My heart felt heavy, eyes weepy as I got into my car, loaded with gifts, flowers, and cake.  I gave thanks my friends hadn’t given up on me.  

Deciding to give your life to a cause, making yourself available to others, does look different for everyone and I think we can go through seasons.  Perhaps I was meant to be less social this past year so I could pour into the mentor-type roles I had, my small group relationships, among other relationships I’ve been called to develop recently?  Maybe so.  Yet still, my birthday dinner night showed me it doesn’t have to be all or none.  Time “just for fun” is not a waste.    And I need it.  

In contrast to the sad tears shed as I headed home from the festivities, full of gratitude for each and every women and their acts of kindness, the following day brought a different realization.  

As I opened all of my gifts and cards the very next day, I was thankful, excited, smiling, sending thank you text messages, and hit in the head with the remembrance of this time last year.   The day after my 36th bday.  Opening gifts.   Make that NOT opening gifts.  I let a table full of beautiful gifts sit and sit and sit for almost a full week before I opened them because they overwhelmed me.  I didn’t feel I deserved them.   I knew once I opened them I’d have thank you’s to write.  Truly, the bottom line is, I wasn’t ready to receive the love these women were showing me.  I felt it.  I felt guilt where they meant for me to feel joy, pain where pleasure was supposed to reside.   

I ended my 35th year praying for my heart to be able to receive healthy love.  I’m excited to say I have grown in that area and even started opening my gifts the moment people gave them to me, when appropriate.  And now I end my 36th year praying for wisdom to know when I need to let go of the agenda, let my hair down, and for have some fun with friends!  (I’d say I’m off to a good start since I spent the afternoon yesterday hiking sand dunes and walking the beach with a group of girlfriends.  And was it ever glorious! 

   Life is a journey.    Present over perfect.    Learn along the way.    B Present 

The Hard (Heart) Work of Cleaning Closets

This message has been on my heart for some time.  Truthfully, I’ve been putting off typing it out because, well, this won’t be easy to write.  But I know I’m supposed to share this part of my story since the nudge to do so will not go away.  I’m believing there must be at least one other soul out there who will be grateful for these words.  Here goes…

Not quite one year ago, I was overcome with an aching desire to clean out my closets.  Aching + Desire + Clean = Yup.  Crazy, I know.  And, yes, I said closets, as in plural.  And I don’t mean clean them as in dust off exposed hardware and shelves and refold any out-of-place sweaters.  I wasn’t looking to simply tidy the place up, my type A personality already had everything in its place, or so I thought.  I needed to clean OUT my closets.  As in get rid.  Be done with.  Things.  Weight.  Weighing me down.  If you are wondering how a few full closets can possibly weigh a person down, you are on the same wavelength I was at the time.  I wasn’t so sure how this closet cleaning was going to make me feel lighter, nonetheless, I was being called to do it.
Of the three special rooms designed to house one’s personal belongings that I had filled to the brim with my carefully purchased items along the years, where to start?  Wait until tomorrow.  Wait until next week.  Wait until…what am I waiting for?!  Why do I keep putting this off?!
You know why.  It overwhelms you.  The sheer volume of things you’ve stuffed inside these spaces is enough to cause a panic attack.  Why do you have SO MANY clothes/purses/shoes?  Why haven’t you been getting rid of items little by little all along?  Wait, stop, no need to condemn yourself.  Instead, acknowledge the beauty, the sadness, and deliverance of this aspect of your closet…
Remember the days when your worth came from what you owned?  When shopping = success = feel good = I matter = a circular trap that was never fulfilled and always left you needing the next new thing?  The lie you believed that each new on-trend outfit would somehow make you like yourself more.  As you look around your closet and think of all the dashed dreams…the dress to garner attention, the pants to make you look thin…did they ever really keep their promises?
But now, instead of being mad at my old self for believing those lies, for money wasted, for time spent frivolously, I can be thankful for growth.  The change in mindset I have, the heart work I’ve done that tells me my worth is not in my clothes, my closet, my designer label or the fullness of my closet.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still like nice things and I don’t walk around naked (you’re welcome).  Now I buy clothes simply because I like them, I need them, or someone bought me a gift card and it’s a treat for me to pick out a little something special.  Shopping no longer involves the heavy, exhaustive thoughts of what will he say/she say?  How will I compare to Suzie and Vogue magazine?
Phew.  All of this, behind door #1.  Tough stuff.  Heavy to wade through.  Yet refreshing to see I am not the person I once was.  I can change.  People can change.  You can change.  We can choose change.  IMG_9149
On to door #2…
My “teacher clothes.”  After teaching young children for 10 years, I accumulated a sea of clothes that were (mostly) suited for chasing after kids on the muddy playground, sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor for circle time, and comfortable enough to wear for 10-12 hours straight.  Mind you, these were not adorned with school bus and eraser appliques, but in going back through my closet, they just weren’t “my style” anymore.  I am now in a season of life where I can wear whatever I want to wear. My days spent out of fitness clothes are far and few between as it is so why should I wiggle into clothes that bring me no joy to wear?
So get rid of them.  Simple.  Done.  Not.  So.  Fast.  Why not?  These are not clothes you enjoy wearing.  What is holding you back?  Cue the tears.  Seriously?!  You are crying over clothes.  Yes.  Wait, no.  Not the clothes.  The memories.  The kids whose sweaty hugs you gladly accepted.  Snot on pants from the crying child who needed consoling.  (Before you get too grossed out, these clothes are clean, just the memories of snot remain.)  Marker stains from the child who was too enthralled with life to pay attention to where a wet marker tip was going.  These clothes held identity.  My identity.  I was a teacher.  Teacher Tammy.  I knew that role.  And getting rid of these clothes, this piece of me, signified at a deeper level there was no going back.  Permanence.  But aren’t you glad you left?  It’s been four years now.  Don’t you think it is safe to say that if you ever did decide to go back to being a classroom teacher, you may want some new styles of clothing anyway?!  Why is closure so hard?
I’m thankful we don’t have to live by our feelings.  By our own misbeliefs.  In bringing our thoughts and feelings to the surface, we can see the fault in them, push past, and step forward into our best yes.  I desire to de-clutter and get these clothes into the hands of someone who can use them versus collecting dust in my closet.  Bye, bye, teacher clothes.  (And I still consider myself to be a teacher, my wardrobe just involves a lot more spandex.)
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And now, for the grand finale, door #3…
Perhaps the most challenging to face of all…for it’s behind door #3 that some of my deepest hurts reside.  Ugly.  Scarred.  Shamed.  Never enough.  Always too much.  ED.
If you’re not familiar with ED, consider yourself spared from a darkness that can suck every ounce of life right out of you.  It can destroy relationships, steal joy, and lie to you time and time again.  I know you have your struggles to face, we all do, and ED just happens to be one of mine.  ED stands for Eating Disorder, Disordered Eating, as in food.  The primary thing that sustains us and gives us energy, brain function, keeps us living, moving, and breathing.  Yes, that thing which supports life at a physical level, you are going to be afraid of it.  Run from it.  Avoid it.  Hide it.  Under utilize it.  Now swing to the other side and over use it.  Abuse it.  Crave it.  Hate it.  Curse it.  Cry.  Hide.  Anger.  Fear.  Help!
What is going on?  All I did was open a closet door.  Yes, but housed within this last and final closet are all of your clothes from your thinnest days.  The smallest size the stores had to offer, some even children’s clothing.  Interesting how the items from your largest weight-bearing days are already long gone.  You couldn’t wait to be rid of those.  But why hold onto these XXS sizes?  Perhaps a glimmer of hope that you’ll one day fit into them again?  But didn’t you already do the years of heart work and counseling and growing in your faith that led you to be in the healthier place you are now?  Didn’t you decide that enjoying life, overcoming food and body image related anxiety, and not being afraid of mealtime was better than squeezing into a 00 pant?  Yes.  Let me remind you, you did.
But these clothes were so expensive.  All designer labels.  I knew they’d bring me happiness.  I mean, designer AND 00?!  What more is there to the life I’ve read about in fitness and fashion magazines, seen in the movies, heard talked about at the gym?  “Summer Shoulders” check.  “Beach Body” check.  What, you mean they didn’t tell you that in order to achieve all of this, you’d have to run 20+ miles a day?  Eat only fruits and vegetables?  Go to the doctor every month to get a new symptom looked at for fear or having polyps, no IBS, now it’s heart arrhythmia, hello anxiety, severe headaches, jaw clenching…Did they tell you you would be so ravenous and your mind racing that you wouldn’t be able to sleep at night?  And the mood swings – watch out!  No one mentioned that maintaining a 00 may cause extreme foul mood syndrome and scare away your friends and family leaving you all to yourself on Friday nights to look over your journal of what you’ve eaten that week.  Weigh yourself once more after that last sip of water to see if you gained anything since the previous hour.  And the truth is, your friends and family always still invited you, you were just to worried and uptight to attend.  ED stole the show.  He lied to you.  You believed him.  And now, look, you can get rid of these clothes, these reminders of ED, once and for all.
Hmmm…the journey to let go of “perceived control”…One of ED’s biggest lies is that you are in control when you are controlling what you eat so tightly, yet the irony is ED in fact has complete control over you.  As I get real with myself about the items in this closet, I am realizing these clothes represent a time in life where I ran from the present moment.  I couldn’t stand being still, being real, or facing the guilt and shame I had for myself.  I didn’t know that my worth went far deeper and wide-reaching than my pant size, academic achievements, and the like.
Now, I not only believe that I am more than my waist measurement, the food I do or don’t eat, my job, or what kind of car I drive, but I know deep in my heart that every person, EVERY single one of us is created on purpose, for a purpose.  And the biggest lies we can fall into are the ones that keep us focused on US.  Hey, I love to learn and grow, I’m all for personal and professional development, conferences, reading, etc.  But there’s a way of hiding behind all of that to avoid real relationships, and there’s a way to use those things as a tool to be able to impact more lives for the better.
Our time on earth is short.  Our days are numbered.  The only moment we are guaranteed is now.  I don’t think it’s by accident my anxiety cleared, my disordered eating dissipated, my depression lifted the more I believed the I was made on purpose, for a purpose, and I believed in my heart that I did have something to offer this world.
I am nothing special, and yet I aim to change the world.  Because world changers are simply average people who step up to bat.  Who say, “Put me in, coach.”  Use me.
PS-I did end up cleaning out all 3 closets, but I didn’t feel light and airy afterwards like I thought I might.  Instead, I still saw TONS of clothes that will likely sit in my closet untouched for another year to come, if I let them.  Not because they me feel powerful, complete, or thin.  It wasn’t until after I cleaned out all those other skeletons I was left to face my current impending fear…evidently, I have some beliefs of LACK in my life.  Fear if I get rid of too many clothes I’ll be lacking the perfect outfit when I need.  (Did I tell you I wear fitness clothes 98% of the time already?!)  Fear one day I may not have the resources to buy a new outfit when I need to.  So, I bring myself to the acronym I love for fear:
False
Evidence
Appearing
Real
Looks like I’ll be cleaning the closet once more.  At least for now… 

The Power of Perseverance-take 2

I titled this with “take 2” because I already attempted to write this post once.  In fact, I was completely finished with it when the “reload page” button was accidentally pressed and the entire post was lost in cyberspace.  In the light of it B’ing about Perseverance, I decided it better to write it again.  ;-)

I saw it weeks ago, but I still can’t get the image out of my head.

I’m in awe.  I’m inspired.  I’m moved to tears.

I wonder what I would have done in the same situation.  I can’t even begin to imagine.

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of traveling to NYC with a dear friend.  We both agreed visiting the 911 Memorial Museum was a must.  Our 1st full day in the city, there we were; traversing through the remains of the Twin Towers.  Silent amidst the rubble.  Soaking in the stories of those who lost their lives that grim day and those who survived.

There was one artifact in particular that I likely would have passed on by, had it not been for our thorough tour guide.  (If you’re planning a trip to the 911 Memorial, tour guide is a must!)  In a small container, protected from dust and harsh lightning, was an unassuming small piece of metal, slightly mangled on the ends, that I wouldn’t have blinked an eye at.

THE SQUEEGEE

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The story of the squeegee is one of bravery, valor, determination, faith, hope, and perseverance.  And so it goes…

It was the morning of 9/11/2001.  The North Tower had been struck by an airplane and those inside were in a frenzy.  A window cleaner, along with 4 other frantic WTC employees scurried into a nearby elevator hopeful to escape.  The power went out on their descent.  The elevator stopped.

I cannot fathom the thoughts they were having.  The feelings.  The fears.

It wasn’t long before the window cleaner used his willpower and squeegee to pry open the elevator doors.  They found a wall staring back at them.  Stopped in between floors, power out, serious danger…and the window cleaner began beating the wall with his squeegee.  It didn’t take long for the squeegee to break and pieces of it to fall down the elevator shaft.  He kept on smashing into the wall with what remained of the squeegee.  Still yet, more of the squeegee broke off and fell out of sight.  Using what little remained of the squeegee, a small piece of metal, no larger than the palm of one’s hand,  the man eventually created a hole in the wall large enough for a body to squeeze through.

One by one they spilled out into a men’s restroom.  An exterior window was spotted and from there they made their escape.  It wasn’t long after, the entire tower collapsed.

 

WOW.  Just WOW.  I need to sit with that awhile.

 

To B in that position.  To have your life and the lives of others depend on your ability to think fast and not give up.  To have the faith to believe there was a chance at getting out.

Many of us will never B in this same position.  I sure hope not.  But we WILL B in the position of making decisions everyday.  Will we B frozen by fear?  Stopped by doubt?  Paralyzed by comparison?

Truth is, burning building or not, we all get 1 life to live.  And every day is a gift.  One that we ought not take for granted.  Perhaps if we were stuck in the elevator of a burning building, we would act NOW.  But we’re not, and so often we act not now but WHEN…WHEN the kids are grown…WHEN I’m done with school…WHEN I lose 10 pounds…

Not to B morbid, but what if those days WHEN never come?  Will we B happy with how we’ve lived our TODAY?

Let’s treat each day like the gift it is and B PRESENT in our lives.  In our relationships.  Our careers.  Our health.  Our hobbies.  Let’s not live an “I’d rather B…” life, but rather have the PERSEVERANCE it takes to escape from “going through the motions” to leading a life we love.

One. Step. At. A. Time.  And when our squeegee handle breaks…

Keep going.

 

 

What are you SEEKing for?

I haven’t been able to get this verse out of my head, but in particular the charge it gives me to SEEK…”Keep on asking and it will B given you; keep on SEEKING and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will B opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

The part that sticks with me is that often we, myself included, want to say, “I asked God, but I didn’t hear from Him.” Therefore insinuating that He must not care or He isn’t real. <Enter doubt>

But did we really SEEK HIM? To seek is to search for, desire, require, demand.

When I misplace my CELL PHONE, do I look for it once and then call it a day? NO WAY!!! I look in ALL the normal places 1st. If it’s not there, then I start to freak out!! And I really start to SEEK my phone in every nook and cranny!! I don’t stop until I find it!!! I will even get other people involved in helping me with the SEEKING!!

That’s how I want to B with God! Learning more each day His truths. His word. His desires for me. I want to SEEK HIM like I seek my piece of metal and glass cellular device.

Who’s with me?

I know from experience that ALL THINGS are better with Him. True PEACE, JOY, & LOVE stem from Him. I think we could all use some of that.images