If she ever touched you – hugged you or her words caressed your heart – then you have seen her “love”. She is the carrier of life… If you ever watched her hands prepare your meal or witnessed her eyes gleaning your emotions – then you have seen her “love”. God’s breath of life…. If she knows your name and calls out to your pain – you have seen her “love”. More precious than rubies, gold and diamonds…If she has covered your shame and exchanged it with hope – you have seen her “love”. She is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (one of her favorite scriptures)… If you know Louise Adkins – then you have seen her “love”. Happy Mother’s Day to “Our Momma”. I’m absolutely “in love” with SHE.
I’ve been reflecting on my son’s passport renewal process. No longer a minor, he completed his paperwork as an adult. This required an Oath. A raise your right hand kind of pledge to acknowledge and verify you are who you say you are. Before he could repeat the Oath, he was asked to fill out the spaces on his application that were incomplete. These fields were purposely left unfilled because it required his father’s name and address. He looked to me and all I could do was look into the glass window and shake my head – gesturing no – to the passport agent. I was speechless. She returned the paperwork and asked him to write “NONE”. He returned the application – raised his right hand and repeated The Oath.
This morning – as I rise to a new day and awaken to a horizon of brand new mercies, I am reminded of the empty spaces in our lives and how God’s love has completed – exceeded and continues to override every broken and incomplete dwelling space that remains. I see the baby boy who was born to a single mother filled with joy and fear. I see God’s right hand – taking The Oath on behalf of His son (my child). I recall my breast cancer diagnosis at the age of twenty-two. My body shattered – identity scattered and faith tattered. But God – took The Oath – raised his right hand for me. I rise today asking God to continue to show me who I am as I celebrate who I am becoming. Now, I raise my right hand and I repeat after Him…“I – Donna Louise Adkins, will be all that You (God) have called me to be. I surrender all of the incomplete, blank and empty spaces in my life to my Creator and my Savior. Happy 25th Anniversary (post breast cancer) to Us!!!
My Story – My Journey. I am almost finished with my book. My first draft is due March 31. It’s been a long, exhausting and necessary process but I am grateful for the reveal. My vision boards are living work spaces. Unlike any other prime real estate, I own this domain by default. I have this creative urge to share my writing space and my writing process. More importantly – I want to encourage our voices – to sing – whether it’s our story boards – words on page or pictorial journals…set it free. I am excited about the dreams – stories and discoveries that live in the corner of my bedroom on the “String of Life”. We are either confined or released by the chords of string (what binds us together) – I choose to set my self free: to create, to share and to inspire. No matter how long – how difficult and no matter how impossible it may seem – just know – life is waiting for you to “Show and Tell.”
A part of me is always dream walking. I consider this state of mind to be a divine interruption that has been cultivated over the years to protect me from living a fractured life. It’s the internal dialogue that steps in to override inauthentic conversation. I can only be awakened from this dream state when I am seated in the womb of God’s creation. My soul thirsts for a communal exchange with nature. It’s my birthing room – something kindred to an eternal beginning. Nature is the place that beckons my soul – just as a mother calls the name of her newborn child. There is a deep sense of knowingness that overcomes my being when I witness the flight of butterflies and their graceful descent or when I hear unseen birds singing under the cloak of tree leaves.
With every experience I’ve encountered through nature, I am reminded that life is waiting on me to show up. Yesterday afternoon pierced my dream state with an intense beauty of wonder, hope and possibility. So much so that it relinquished the key to a hidden door in my spirit. What I know and I what I believe were merged into an ornate entry – gilded with my name – etched over the archway. With key in hand, I simply needed to be present at the door to command it’s opening. All of my life experiences have carried me to this moment: The living inheritance of my parents’ wisdom, the ancestral bond with my siblings and the invisible umbilical cord to my son. From a broken body to a broken heart, I’ve climbed out of the depth loss. Yet, there is one thing required of me. It whispers my name and invites me to enter in. It only asks for one thing in return…FAITH!
It’s my hope for whomever may be reading this entry that you find your sacred dwelling place. Let it speak to you and for you. I would love to know how you find your voice in a world full of clashing melodies. Let’s keep inspiring one another.
When the heat is turned up and the intensity rises – what happens to our cool? Lately, temperatures have been soaring, fires are raging, drought is threatening embargo in the South U.S. and the down pour of water has been flooding communities is China all while turning the lives of some individuals, families and businesses upside down. Can one prepare for these moments? Even a tested and proven emergency survival kit cannot spare us the sting of setback, casualties and displacement.
I can only imagine what that kind of discomfort and emotional angst one must feel when the force of human nature takes its hand and knocks them to the ground but to lose your stuff, to have your belongings ripped from your domain and to become displaced in the process must feel like the human soul is being torn at it’s seam. Most of us share of some kind of life changing or defining moment that has impacted our lives for better or for worse. How do we get to the other side?
Cool Down – Don’t Melt Down
- Acknowledging my heightened senses. A melt down does not have to be a break down but it can get to the core of who I am and reveal the hidden treasures within me.
- Understanding that I may not feel my best but I am at my best. Why? This is where I peak just like the Olympians who endure the pain only to become stronger. How?
- Trusting that with every breath there is an opportunity to be better than the situation, stronger than my feelings and bigger than the problem. Then, I ask for the wisdom that cannot be obtained but wisdom that is given.
Rise Up – Don’t Let Up
- My ability to believe in the face of fear takes away the power of the perceived threat and gives it back to me.
- The testing and measuring of my faith shows the height of my character and pushes me up and out of the box.
- I’m reminded that when the heat rises so must I. That’s a sign to turn up my expectancy by seeking greater outcomes – finding better solutions and discovering undeniable joy.
I would love to know how you handle crossing over life’s challenges and setbacks.
Are you driven to make a significant contribution in this world? Be original? Live authentically? Sounds cool but how do those – we admire do this successfully in their everyday life? I take a note from my teenage son’s (Dylan) world as I observe him – treading gracefully – moving upstream – against the flow. I’m not sure that he’s even aware that he’s doing it – if he knew his position – maybe, he would hesitate. I’ve watched him be an encourager when he needed to be encouraged. In particular, referring to this most recent basketball season. Yet, every practice – he would go hard and outplay those who often got more playing time than he did in the actual game. One thing I noticed, when Dylan got in the game – not matter what the scoreboard reflected, or how many minutes left in the quarter – he changed the game. This requires a mental shift, “turn it on” ability in the heat of the moment. I believe it’s cultivated by an inner thrust and his willingness to be unorthodox in his delivery.
LESSON #1 – FAILING GLORIOUSLY
In the middle of the night, I can hear Dylan’s restlessness – up late – studying while listening to music. This seems to be his melodic way of easing the tension from the demands on his life (sports, academics, college prep). It took me a moment to realize this was acceptable – that he was actually performing at peak levels with what I considered to be a distraction – music. Sometimes, we miss our rhythm not because we are offbeat but more so, off our path. Thinking too much about the right way and often smothering our instincts may compromise our sense of knowingness. As adults, we tend to settle in – avoid disruption – look for consistency – expect to be given a chance to play because we are talented and valuable. However, life is not business as usual…you must be a game changer to succeed. I borrow a term from a research scientist – we must be willing to “fail gloriously”. This comment, I must admit, startled me. Who wants to fail at anything? But I recall my HS band instructor always saying to us, “I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail then attempt to do nothing and succeed”. Here’s my interpretation on “failing gloriously” – these are moments to learn humility, compassion and possibilities – again and again.
LESSON #2 – CURIOSITY
Today, I pay tribute to Dylan – for driving my curiosity and pushing me to dig deeper by using my lack to inspire my creativity. If we look for the missing parts, we can begin to connect with ourselves, to others, to a cause and with our vision. Ultimately, we will not only change the game but we create an opportunity for others who want to play too. This is what it’s about – opening up the playing field to encourage innovators, start-ups, designers and all of those who possess an inner thrust and who want to fill in the blank spaces of our communities. The “game changers” are here – are being born everyday and coming to a town near you.
This blog post is riding the heels of loss while flying through the myriad intersections of change accompanied by the painful discovery of gravity. Simply, what goes up – must come down. This includes, familial relationships, valuable careers, brilliant ideas as well as flowers in full bloom – not all things that we cherish will last forever. After the death of my father, on November 12, 2011, my world crashed down.
I recall running in the dark of the night, down our residential street – looking for the red lights and listening out for the sirens. Yet, I could only hear my heart kicking my chest walls and I could only feel my spirit running behind me. The night my father passed away – I ran out of my body. I cannot begin to explain death & dying but I better understand how to live an abundant life now more than ever. As I transition through family and career changes, I am inspired by a life well lived. It’s “the dash” between my father’s life and death, 1930–2011, that symbolizes all the lives he changed and the community he impacted by way of sharing his talents and serving others. He lived fearlessly and that was his prayer for his all his children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren and for generations to come. This is what I believe contributes to an ABUNDANT Life:
- Finish Line Focus – Press on! The race is not given to the swift but he who endures until the end. This means, endure the moments, the trials and the challenges and embrace the new beginnings not just the end.
- Everything In Between – Hold tight to faith! Our vision can be blurred by setbacks and the obstacles that pinch our soul can defer our hope – but delay is not denial. We must hold fast to our dreams by claiming things not seen as though they are.
- What Matters Most – We win together! The thrill of victory and the seal of defeat require our participation. The question becomes…What will we choose? Who’s lives will our decisions impact? At each turn, there is opportunity to break new ground, speak new life and to accept an opportunity for growth.
Living fearlessly and giving infinitely are all possible with focus, faith and the touch of togetherness. The night my body crashed into death – my spirit dashed for the memories of a life well lived. I am inspired to continue my father’s legacy – life more abundantly.