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The Tree and Me

I had gone on this trip for one real reason-to get time to write and this tree was the first thing I saw as we parked and I knew with absolute certainly that it was speaking to me. 

I had been wrestling with my changing appearance. and sometimes felt like the woman I saw in the mirror, wasn’t the same woman I felt I inside. 

I had never been the type that fit the “standard” or tried to be the same as everyone else but the last couple of years had shook my roots and filled me with some doubts and longings, and I struggled to find my own sense of beauty and confidence once again. 
This tree was not a “typical” tree. It waa clear that no one had ever trimmed the branches, shaped it or tried to make it conform or become anything it wasn’t meant to be.  

And you know what?  It is beautiful and inspiring, graceful and purposeful, strong and unwavering…just as it was meant to be.  

The tree simply grew, right where the Almighty Creator planted it, shaped by the wind and rain, by the Texas sun and bathed. by moonlight. 
It spread wide and low, reached to the heavens and offered shelter and rest as needed.

Storms came and beat hard, knocking the branches and leaving scars-tell tale marks of battles survived, of years gone by, of experiences.
I realized that my body had also bent low…to lift babies, plant flowers,clean and stretch…..I’ve stood on tip toes, reached for the heavens, planted kisses on tall men, hung stars on Christmas trees, danced around to every kind of music. 

I’ve made love and made mistakes, made cakes and made my point. I’ve used my body to shelter others and to offer comfort.  

I’ve carried my babies inside my body, stretching to provide space, nutrition and love.

My body has scars, healed wounds, lines and marks from days in the Texas sun and nights bathed by moonlight 

And you know what? 

I am finally beginning to see that I’m created by the Almighty  and, in my own way, I’m beautiful and inspiring,graceful and purposeful, strong and unwavering ….just as I was meant to be. 

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Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Don’t SQUANDER!

Every so often I’m reminded of what this life is all about….and I just feel the need to whisper “Please,don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life you’ve been given.”

Please, take this life and use it until every single drop overflows and splashes out, drenching others with your love, your passion, and your unique spirit.

Please don’t diminish who you are, or settle, or doubt the extraordinary purpose of your life.

You see, I’ve learned something during this last year, when I’ve had to come to terms with the way I had lived my own life.  There were some dark days that I really had to struggle to make sense of, and I had to figure things out almost entirely by myself.

Those “dark days”, as I call them now, are the days that lead me back to my Creator and forward to the life of intention, passion, and love that I had always wanted to live.
I took the words that had been spoken to me and held them up against the words I read in scripture and, slowly but surely, I began to see myself through the eyes of love – God’s love – and that changed my outlook and my life.

I claimed a verse about being “Set Apart” and held that one close to my heart, along with another one about “Promises Kept”.
And then I just decided to let go and let God.  That’s been something that I always thought was a bit of “cop out”. Ooh, yeah, “let go and let God”?
It really is easier said than done…..but that is exactly what I did.

I stopped trying to fit in some preconceived mold of what a “good, Christian woman” was and started finding out who I really was and what I believed.
I discovered that I wasn’t “too much” after all and that all those things that others said was “too much” was actually “just right” to God. I’ve always had “too much” passion, “too much” energy, and I felt “too strongly”. I was told that I “loved too much”, that I “gave too generously”, “acted too sensual ” and the list went on. I had never felt quite good enough but just couldn’t put my finger on why I felt that way.
I had started to diminish my light, to pull on a mask and to hide behind a wall in an attempt to try not to feel so strongly about anything but, as I read and reflected, the words began to fill my very being with grace, strength and courage – more than enough of everything to make me realize just exactly what the real truth is.

“Fearfully and wonderfully made”, written plain as day. That meant everything about me – from my hearing impairment, my strong will and passionate soul, my brown eyes and everything that was “too much” was actually all intentionally planned.

This taught me that God created me and loved me enough – just me – and I didn’t and shouldn’t have to depend on anyone else for validation or love or acceptance.
He who created me also wanted me and loved me just the way I am, and that was it.

The more I studied and understood, the more free I felt; the weight and the burden of everything lifted off my shoulders and went squarely onto the shoulders of my Creator.

Then I came upon this verse in 2 Corinthians 6, where it said ” Please, don’t squander one bit of the marvelous life that has been given to you” and I just whispered quietly,”Never again, God, never again”

Never again will I withhold forgiveness when I can give it. Never again will I decline an invitation because I doubt my beauty. Never again will I build up a wall to imprison myself. Never again will I pass up a chance to be kind and considerate. Never again will I squash myself down to fit into someone else’ comfort zone. Never again will I settle for less than what I really want. Never again will I regret anything I’ve done.
Never again will I waste any of my marvelous life.

http://www.bodyandsoulinspiration.com

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Choose To Be Love

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When I saw this beautiful quote on a Facebook page that  I often look at, I had to capture it and save it,knowing full well that I had not always chosen to be love.

Too many times, I’ve seen families torn apart and friendships ruined because of choices that were anything but love.  People have chosen to build  walls,to hold life-long grudges, to constantly hold on to the past as if it were a treasured heirloom.

I’ve done it,too,although I’ve tried to sweep it under the rug and to make it seem like it was something different,the hard truth is that I’ve let friendships fall apart and I’ve built up walls that held out people that wanted to love me.

 Maybe the intention was to protect ourselves from further hurt,but the truth is those choices actually cause more pain.
The anguish of loneliness,
the bitterness of unforgiveness,the stench of regrets wreck havoc on the soul and breaks down the body.

“Choose to be love.”

I let those words soak into me. I sat outside on my patio,pondering those words over and over, and I wrote poetry.
My own words started to mock me,to call me out,to push me from my comfort zone of keeping my words to myself and just a few close friends.
I knew the power of words-I claimed words of courage,of inspiration,of hope,and love. I printed and framed quotes and sent cards with favorite quotes tucked in but I was also cautious-selecting those that I shared my poetry with,giving only glimpses to others,relying heavily on a few kindred spirits that I felt “got me”.

So,I started to do some real soul searching-digging deep into what it means to “choose to be love.”

It hit me clearly,upside the head,the other day, that to chose  love means taking action with my words.
It means that I can’t just write beautiful words,I must also LIVE those words. It’s not enough to speak them,to read and frame them, to write them and keep them tucked away in my journals.
If I really consider my words to be a God-given gift then I absolutely must do more
with my words and my life.

“Choose to be love.”

For me, I choose to make  a decision  to step forward and to forgive,to let go of the past and to start over,to open my arms wide,even while tears ran  down my face,and my heart was broken.
I choose to look for the glimpses of light in the darkness,to see the  significance in a lightening bug on rainy night, to wait out the storm until the dawn broke through with clarity,and to take chances.

“Choose to be love.”

As I write this,tucked in my covers,leaning against the pillows on my bed, my heart speaks quietly,reassuring me that the timing is good and that it’s time to begin living the words that I claim to be beautiful, to be true,to be inspirational,and to be love.

I will make the choice each day,each moment to respond with love. I will take my words and create things with them, and I will be first-to forgive,to embrace,to nurture,to come around, to give gifts, to open the door,and to tear down the walls.

I will choose to be love and maybe, just maybe,my choices will come back to me a hundred fold, and others will live the words that they receive and they,too,will choose to be love.

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Holding Ava

Several months ago, I found out about something that would change my life. It was something I had only imagined.and suddenly, it wasn’t only a hope,wishful thinking,or a fantasy -it was becoming a reality!
I waited for months,just as if I was expecting a baby, filled with anticipation, dreaming and planning, for the day that I would finally hold Ava.

The day came, just an ordinary day.when an email arrived “Are you ready for Ava?”

My eyes filled with tears.my hands shook and I whispered, “Finally” before bursting into a dance of pure joy and exclaiming, “YES! YES! YES!”

AVA is an acronym meaning “audio – visual accessibility” and it’s an incredible new app that allows for deaf and hearing impaired like me to finally participate and understand group conversations, by linking smart phones in a network that enables spoken words to become readable text.

So, unless you’re deaf or hearing impaired,or know someone who is,then you may not even know about Ava or understand my excitement.

Well, why don’t you just step into my cowboy boots and walk a mile or two in them

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Make More Love

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Two weeks ago, I sat on my Thai mat,face to face,hand in hand,with a beautiful,young woman after her session.
As always, I ended the session by thanking her for trusting me with her body and explaining the emotional and physical connection of Thai Massage.
As she begin sharing her story with me, I heard myself say some words that just resonate with my own soul,my own feelings,and my own life.

“Make more love. Make love because you love this man.Make love because it feels good.Make love because it’s an physical expression of your heart.Make love because you desire each other.and because it fulfills your needs and wants. Make love simply because you want to.”

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she leaned forward and hugged me.

Sometimes, when trying to  conceive, couples feel such pressure,and making love-having sex- becomes a scheduled science project-driven by temperature,timing,and numerous other factors  instead of the spontaneous,joyous expression  of love that it is intended to be.

“Make more love.”

After she left, I folded up my Thai mat, while wiping my own tears,and I realize just what I said doesn’t apply to only sexual intimacy between couples.

No,make more love also applies to all of us. It’s a conscious decision that we can each make every hour,every day to respond with love,with kindness,with joy to others.

Life isn’t an exact science. We can’t guarantee that we will conceive if we do this and that on such and such time. We can’t be absolute certain of the weather,the traffic,the outcome of almost anything but we can choose to make love,intentionally,passionately,randomly,and without expectations.

Too often we hoard our love and affection,holding back,waiting for someone else to give love first.
It’s that mindset of “what’s in it for me?” that often pulls the brakes on our actions. We keep records of gifts given and received,of time spent with others,of hugs and kisses, and we jump at conclusions if we think it’s unfair or uneven.

Isn’t that a shame? To have and not to give? In the end of the day,don’t we realize that the more we give out,the more we get back? It’s the greatest investment,and the return rate is phenomenal.

We can choose to smile at a stranger,to allow another car to merge ahead,to open the door for someone else.
We can touch a child with kindness, give a bag full of bulbs,buy a drink for the guy in the car behind us, and take cookies to a friend.

We can make more love when we look for opportunities to show up,when we sit down and listen-really-listen to what’s being said.

We make more love every time we send an encouraging text,when we acknowledge another’s presence, when we are attentive and mindful.

There’s this thing called “The Five Love Languages” and it’s based on the belief that we each have a primary love language that we are fluent in and respond to best.
The languages are defined by Acts of Service, Quality of Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, and Receiving Gifts.

I was raised in such a loving home,by people that each had a different love language and has a result, I’m multi-lingual, fluent in every language of love, and able to give and receive in the language of others.
Yet.I’ve been guilty of withholding love.too.I’ve hesitated instead of leaping at opportunities to love, and I’ve denied myself and others the pleasure of love just because I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate or would be misunderstood.
I’ve held back when I should have given,said “no”when my heart said “yes” and made excuses when I knew love was calling me to act.

That’s just not right,it’s simply unacceptable and so, I’m going to declare that this is enough of that foolishness.

I’m going to make more love today,and tomorrow and the day after that and maybe,just maybe,it’ll be like a little spark, and others will start making love more.

Like confetti,like sprinkles,like glitter-let your love making scatter wherever you go,and touch whoever you meet.

Make more love because it feels wonderful! Make more love every day!