Whole-Hearted Living Thursdays~May 31~Liz Murray

On selected Thursdays,  there are Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories:

Liz Murray  was born seven years before my daughter. She is the founder and director of Manifest Living,  a company that provides a series of workshops that empower adults to create the extraordinary things in their lives.

Murray was born in the Bronx, New York on September 23, 1980 to poor, and drug-addicted parents who would later each contract HIV. She became homeless just after she turned 15, when her mother died of AIDS, and her father moved to a homeless shelter. Murray fought through some incredibly difficult circumstances and was finally able to turn her life around when she began attending the Humanities Preparatory Academy in Chelsea, Manhattan.

Though she started high school later than most students, and remained without a stable home while supporting herself and her sister, Murray graduated in only two years. She was awarded a New York Times scholarship for needy students and was accepted into Harvard University, matriculating in the fall semester of 2000. Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard is her memoir and she says, “my passion now is to help transform the lives of others.”

Liz Murray has broken the generational pattern of violence, of substance abuse and of homelessness.

And she is all of thirty now.

Your comments and thoughts always welcome~!

Previous Whole-hearted living stories

Mid-Week Question of the Week: Grace-filled Aptitudes and Abilities

Am I going to be more giving or getting in life?

(Pssst…it’s not too late to Undo)


This one nudges me to look in the mirror. And, in looking, may it not be said of me as it was of those before, “But they all alike began to make excuses.” (Luke 14:18)  And perhaps, then, you and I may help your kids/friends/loved ones look at their spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experiences to figure out their grace-filled aptitudes and abilities.

Define and Refine by asking, “Am I going to be more in giving or getting in life?”
Read more by gently clicking here

Revisiting Rethinking my belovedness

Revisiting belovedness==He Started It

“Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.”
J.I. Packer

Sometimes we can’t pray away the pain…we have to go through healing first.

The worst thing about believing the lies of another person is the internalizing of the pain of being wrong about them.
I wondered how I could have been so stupid. So blind.

And so willing to believe.

The other worst thing about believing lies is the assault to my confidence. Maybe you have felt this loss too.

Our society deems some sins and some lapses of judgment worse than others. If I listen to these voices of condemnation, mixed with voices of the liar, then these voices can drown The Voice of Grace.

I wrote then, “Knowing the truth of your story is a powerful antidote to the shame, doubt, and the negative voices of others that have infected the story you tell yourself. God wants you to know the truth.”  And so He does. And there is more. There is The Voice of Grace.

And as I retrain myself to listen to the voice of Grace, I remember and re-learn about my Belovedness. Beloved becomes my Focus Word, a sort of “take that” to the lies and the liar.

But…all too soon my focus becomes a spiritual “nanny-nanny-boo-bo0″~~~more about me and less about Him:
A sort of: Sticks and Stones may break my bones but I am Beloved so you can’t hurt me.

The potential quicksand of this is that I may begin to believe more in my belovedness instead of  who died for me and who is The Beloved.

The Voice of Grace

Deceiving voices will twist the best of intentions (recovery) into idolatry (the belovedness of me to the exclusion of the Belovedness of HE). It is essential for me to wait for the sound of His voice before I make decisions and before I believe too exclusively in the exclusive sparkle of my own Belovedness.

In spiritual dyslexia, I reversed the order of Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart… And do not lean on your own understanding. It becomes time for me to center and reacquaint the focus word Beloved as being about Him and not me.

Security comes when we bring the empty well of our hearts to Jesus and ask Him to fill and fulfill us with the security of His unfailing love. ~Renee Swope

Possible ways to Stay Centered in or Reacquaint with His Belovedness

  1. Know the names of the Beloved. Repeat and Claim the names.
  2. It’s finals week all the time. Return again and again to give our whole heart to The Beloved. This is not a one-time only “Shazam” prayer or practice. We will eventually come to a place of complete trust, but some days, for me at least, requires a minute-by-minute recall
  3. Study the words of The Beloved. Read the prayers of The Beloved. Read the prayers of the leaders in the Bible. Put these prayers into practice.
    For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel. ~ Ezra 7:10
  4. Baste every hour with Gratitude
  5. Share with others close to you The Truth of The Beloved. Remember, He started it.
  6. A mature man in the faith admonished me to reach out to others in spite of my own pain, “Invest in someone else,” he said. I did not realize what a place of healing and comfort that would become.

Because of Grace, i have received shared belovedness from The Beloved. Step 7 in this list is empty. Might you also share through a comment your step 7 here?

To the Only God

More of You Less of Me

Monday Words for the Soul~Memorial Day Thank You

Memorial Day Monday Words for the Soul: Thank You

I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.

Yet, we must try to honor them — not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice. ~President Ronald Reagan, Remarks at Memorial Day Ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery May 31, 1982

Memorial-Day soldier salute

Michelle Malkin and Andrew Malcom both have tributes to our honored heroes.

Picture Source

Previous Words for the Soul

A Word from The Sponsor~May 27

A Double Portion Bible Verse

colossians 2:2

For I want you to know  how great a  struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that  their hearts may be encouraged, being  knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of  God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:1-3

Previous Words from The Sponsor

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Tell Your Story

This weekend, spend just a few minutes telling your story

to Yourself

Remind yourself of your oops-moments, your triumphs, your strengths, your talents,

and how God’s Grace was there at every step.

your story matters

For we are God’s handiwork,  created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
~Ephesians 2:10

Previous Weekend Activities

Picture Source

Color Poems~special night posting

There are a bunch of windows open on my taskbar. Kind of a cafeteria-style approach day where I am trying to sift, decipher, learn, respond, and create all at once.

Perhaps it’s best to think less and pray more, as friend Carl urges. Especially after reading this post by Rick Hanson, in the window that’s currently open.

…Our ancestors probably experienced more physical but less mental fatigue than most people today in the developed nations. Consequently, our bodies are adapted to weariness – but our minds are not. For a brief time – finals week, an intense month at work, a demanding year with a new baby – OK, sometimes we just have to crank the mind up into overdrive and tough it out. But as a way of life, it’s nuts.

We have to take a stand against the crazy mental busyness that has become the new normal. We’re bombarded with things to think about all day long, flooded with words and images to process, and forced to juggle unprecedented complexities. Our minds are being hauled along behind a culture without a speed limit – but the human body and brain does have a limit, a natural carrying capacity, and when we exceed it there’s always a price. It’s like being trapped in rush hour your whole life. Each time you know this, each time you pull out of the mental traffic, it’s an act of freedom and kindness and wisdom. ~Rick Hanson

There are a bunch of windows open on my taskbar. One is a Pinterest picture of a favorite color of mine: Carnelian—take a click and look at the deep color  I have always had this color around, in varying intensities. It is the pendant stone of my favorite necklace made by friend Vicente.

Another open window contains a happy post by Jennifer called “This is the Day the Lord Has Made” over at Getting Down with Jesus

Jennifer wrote about her daughter’s experience writing a poem. And when she included the poem-writing website, I was hooked. There are so many great poems within her website comments and word pictures. I mean really. My favorite poem is Cerulean Green (scroll down in the comments and you’ll see).

What a fun vacation this last hour has been! Reading/Exhaling/Nodding/Smiling/Nodding some more

Might you also take a little vacation, think less, pray more and create a little color poem? Here is the website to create the poem: http://ettcweb.lr.k12.nj.us/forms/color.htm
Here is mine:   <blush>

deep sunset
the textured wallpaper of my room in high school
my favorite pendant, long and smooth, and slightly cool to touch
Dried Apricots
Hot Tamales
Applewood Smoked bacon
velvety protective cushions
hugs that envelope and sustain
glowingly radiating lampshade, forty years old
Restores vitality, gives courage, helps in trusting myself

Would you share your poem here?

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