Are You a Wildflower or a Weed?

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Do you think the weeds on the side of the road ever stop mid-bloom and think “Man I wish I was a rose…I could make such a difference in the world if I had just been born a rose.”  Personally, I just don’t think that happens.

A weed is just an unloved flower.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I think these misunderstood beauties believe in themselves…they know the Creator painted them with just as much artistic beauty and love as He did the most prized rose in a rosarian’s collection.

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Just watch the eyes of a child as he picks a bouquet of dandelions for his mother, all he sees is the beauty of the bloom.  These beautiful misunderstood flowers don’t compare themselves to the other “fancier” blooms.

What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues 

have not yet been discovered.

Ralph Waldo Emmerson

They don’t let society put a label on them.  They see their true worth and beauty all on their own, they need no one else to validate them.  They are content in their place on the side of the road, or in a field where cattle graze, or in a vacant lot…their ability to bloom is not contingent on their circumstance.  They thrive right where they are with infectious joy and abandon.

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And in doing so, they bring so much beauty to places that generally don’t see a lot of beauty.  In sidewalk cracks and crevices, beside dumpsters, next to broken glass and down dark alleys.

One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower.

Susan Wittig Albert

I want to be more like that kind of flower.  I want to bloom with abandon wherever God plants me.  I don’t want to compare myself to the other flowers, the prettier fancier ones. I don’t want to wish my soil was smoother and that my surroundings were more beautiful.

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I want to wake up each morning the single-minded goal of bringing glory and honor to my Creator.  To bring beauty and joy to my surroundings.  To not spend my precious few days on this earth wishing I was something more, something more significant.

The difference between a flower and a weed 

is a judgment.

I don’t want to let my self-worth be dictated by others.  I don’t want to wear the labels that others put on me; divorced, broken, useless, unwanted, sinner, unloved.  I want to be like these amazingly resilient beauties that keep their eyes towards the heavens because that is where their self-worth originates.

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This is hard in a social media-saturated world.  I see the beautiful award-winning gardens that others call home.  The meticulously cultivated soil, the perfect climate controlled greenhouse, and I want that world. That world looks much more exciting, sometimes much easier than the place God has planted me.  But it’s not.  Because no matter what I think on the hardest of hard days, the soil I am planted in is absolutely hand-picked and cultivated by my Creator to bring out the best blooms that I am capable of.  I am my Father’s favorite wildflower!

In a world of roses, she chose to be a dandelion.

Sarah Beth McClure

 

Self-Care Sunday…Victory Over Imposter Syndrome!

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Imposter Syndrome
the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.
Maybe you have heard of this term Imposter Syndrome, or maybe this is your first time hearing anything about it.  It has been around since the beginning of time.  Do you remember Moses?  I mean for the first of his life he was actually living the life of an imposter.  He was adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter as a baby and had to watch as his fellow Israelites were abused as slaves and act as if he was an Egyptian.  Fast forward a few years and enter God and a burning bush.  In Exodus 3:11
But Moses asked God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Who am I?  Oh my heavens, how many times I have said these very words time and time again.  God calls me to do something, and I know it is ordained by Him for me.  But God, who am I?  I love how God doesn’t sugar coat things in His Word.  Here are a few more references from Moses discussions with God on his lack of skills….
Exodus 4:1
Then Moses answered, “What if they refuse to believe me or listen to my voice? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.'”
Exodus 4:10
Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
Exodus 6:12
But in the LORD’s presence, Moses replied, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, then how will Pharaoh listen to me, since I am unskilled in speech?”
Exodus 6:30
But in the LORD’s presence, Moses replied, “Since I am unskilled in speech, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”
So many times I have heard the same words ringing in my head…”I am unskilled, not eloquent, slow.  What if they refuse to believe me or listen to me?“.
I am going to let you in on a little secret, every single time I sit down to write or go out to take pictures I feel like a massive fraud.  I compare myself to others and always feel like I come up short.  It is a paralyzing fear, one that many times keeps me from writing or shooting at all.  “You sit down here to write like you actually are a writer.  You have nothing to say that anyone wants to read.  Your examples are silly, and your words are hollow.  You are a hypocrite, a fake, a liar, a fraud.” 
The more success I have, the louder the voice seems to speak.  And apparently, I am not alone in this phenomenon.
It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going ‘Any moment someone is going to find out that I am a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I have achieved.’
Emma Watson 

Just reading and researching this very real problem has helped me come to terms with it in my own life.  It isn’t just me. It happens to people all the time.  Very talented people whose lives appear to be very together and whose skills would never be questioned.  These feelings are very real and very scary and need to be dealt with.  So I would like to share with you a few things that I am going to do moving forward to deal with these emotions and replace them with the truth.

  • Realize that it is not just me.  Everyone deals with this at one time or another, and that it doesn’t make us crazy, it makes us human.
  • Realize that it is a distraction from action.  Many times imposter syndrome is the reason we quit early so that we won’t disappoint anyone.  It is what keeps us from fully embracing what we have a passion for.
  • Once we realize it is just a distraction, remember you have been given this challenging work for a reason.  Whether it is a boss giving you a new responsibility, someone asking you to do something out of your comfort zone, or a brand new idea and passion coming alive inside you, this is your why.  When you doubt yourself, go back to your why and remember why you are doing what you are doing.  Remember in the dark what you knew in the light.  And those self-doubts and self-loathing conversations going on in your head can get pretty dark….remember what you knew in the light.
  • Avoid comparing yourself with others.  Comparison truly is the thief of joy, but it also is the thief of self-confidence as well.  You have been uniquely gifted by your Creator with your very own set of strengths and talents.  It is a good idea to learn from others.  The problem arises when we beat ourselves up for not being them.  Instead of the comparison game, strive to be the very best version of yourself.  You bring something to the table that no one else is capable of bringing, embrace that fully!
  • And finally, don’t be afraid to talk about these feelings with a trusted friend or mentor.  I can promise you, just saying to words out loud takes so much of their power away.  And you will more than likely realize that everyone deals with this at some point in your life.  Bring it out of the shadows of your and shed some light on it, don’t allow these feelings to rob you of your creative joy any longer!

So let’s go forward into this brand new month with a new resolve not to allow these feelings to shame us any longer.  To no longer give the power to these feeling that keeps us from fully stepping into our calling.  When we are honest with ourselves and with others regarding our struggles and insecurities, everyone wins.  And that is a beautiful thing!  Have a great week!!

The Legacy of the Lorraine

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The National Civil Rights Museum had its humble beginnings as a 16 room hotel named The Windsorlorrine in 1925. After purchasing the hotel on 1945, Walter Bailey changed the name to the Lorraine Motel. After the King assassination, the hotel fell into disrepair and was in foreclosure in December 1982. It was purchased on the courthouse steps for $144,000 and finally closed as a functioning hotel/boarding house on March 2, 1988. It reopened in 1991 as The National Civil Rights Museum. With interactive exhibits, this museum is a learning experience for all ages. The museum is open from 9-6 every day but Tuesday. Tennessee residents with a state-issued ID may visit the museum for FREE every Monday from 3pm until closing. To read more about the museum click on the link below.
https://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/

 

Self-Care Sunday…Different and Blessed

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If you are like most people, myself included different scares you.  Different job, different route to work, different topping on your pizza, it doesn’t matter how big or how small the difference is, there is some degree of comfort in sameness. But I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of my biggest blessings have come from the times when I have taken the different path, made a decision that was out of my comfort zone and embraced the chance to be, well, to be different.  That is the time when different moves out of the uncomfortable and scary and into the exciting and blessed.  If I were to ask you for a picture of your friend group, your tribe, the ones that you get into the trenches with and do life alongside, what would that picture look like?  For a big part of my life, my picture looked a whole lot like me, very little difference at all.  But my life took a big turn about 7 years ago, a completely different way than I ever expected.  And with that new way came the chance to see situations, circumstances and people with fresh eyes.  God pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me so much during this time.  And my life has been enriched in ways I could never have imagined in the process.  When we intentionally seek out people who are different than we are, who have different points of view, different life experiences and challenges, whose family structure may look different from our own, our lives become more colorful and vibrant.  And we often learn that people who seem so different than us on the outside are actually kindred spirits on the inside…and that is when the blessing occurs.  So look for ways this week to embrace different and watch your life explode with color, just like the flowers of spring!  Happy Sunday!

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Davie’s Plantation

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.Located at 9336 Davies Plantation Rd in Bartlett TN, Davies Manor is the oldest existing home in Shelby County and quite possibly the oldest in West Tennessee. Built somewhere around 1830 the original owner is not for certain. We do know that William Davies bought the home in 1838 and his two sons Logan and James farmed the land and created the plantation part of Davies Plantation by expanding the farm to 2,000 acres. Ellen Davies-Rogers left the home to the Davies Manor Association upon her death in 1994. There are several outbuilding that’s make up the grounds including a small tenant cabin. There are also several gardens on the property that are maintained by Memphis Area Master Gardeners that help explain some of the aspects of pioneer life including a kitchen garden and a herb Garden. The home and grounds are open for tours Tuesday thru Saturday from 12-4. Admission is $5 for adults $4 for seniors and $3 for students. To read more about this historic home, please click on the link below.
http://daviesmanorplantation.org/

Elmwood Cemetery….Your History Lesson Awaits

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I am guessing when you think of fun things to do in Memphis, visiting a cemetery isn’t something that you think of…that is unless you have been to Elmwood! Established in 1852 and placed on the National Register of historic places in March of 2002 it has become the final resting place to over 75,000 inhabitants including mayors, governors, madams, blues singers, suffragists, martyrs, generals, civil rights leaders, holy men and women, outlaws and millionaires, paupers and slaves. It is Memphis’ oldest active cemetery. They have guided tours throughout the year and an audio car tour is available to rent anytime. It is an amazing history lesson to both young and old alike. So check it out on the link below…it is truly a beautiful adventure!!
http://www.elmwoodcemetery.org/

Explore..It’s Good For the Soul!

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 Although it might just be the turning of a calendar page, Januarys seem to be so much more than that. New beginnings, clean slates, fresh starts, who doesn’t love phrases like that?  So how about you?  Have you made any resolutions for the coming year?  Perhaps you have significant changes looming on the horizon.  Maybe a job change, a marriage and starting a family. Perhaps you are on the other side of this with retirement, empty-nesting, and downsizing.   But I would also like to present you with a challenge.  How about resolving to explore your community this year?  To truly find out about the fantastic city you live in; the history, the people, the architecture, the local shops and restaurants, the parks and trails, the music….all the beautiful things that make Memphis and the surrounding suburbs so incredible. If this sounds like an adventure you would like to embark on, I can help!  I love my city and many times use this blog and my social media pages to bring attention to many of the incredible events and opportunities offered.  I will also be reviewing local shops and restaurants in the coming months to bring attention to the talent and creativity the area has to offer.  This is where you, the reader, play a part in all of this.  If you see a business you would like to know more about or think others need to know about, let me know.  Know about an event or celebration going on in your community…drop me a line so I can share it with others.  Know of an individual that is doing something amazing and making a difference, let me know. We all know how fast bad news can travel, let’s prove good news can travel twice as fast!   Now, on to some January adventures….

  • Inspire Community Cafe 510 Tillman Street Suite 110 (Sam Cooper @Tillman)-I truly can’t say enough good things about this place!  They offer a fantastic menu of breakfast, lunch or dinner items, provide an environment of love and acceptance, pay all their employees a living wage and give 10% of net profits back to the community…that is a win/win if I’ve ever seen one!!  Check out the link above and give them a try….you will not be disappointed!
  • January 15-January 20 the Orpheum host the musical hit Waitress.
  • January 18th-February Theater Memphis will host Harper Lee’s timeless novel To Kill a Mockingbird
  • If you are looking for something of a more adult nature, January 18th from 6:30-9:30 The Pink Palace will be hosting the 6th annual Science of Beer
  • Was getting more exercise and enjoying the outdoors part of your New Year’s goals?  If so the Wolf River 5k race is for you!  It will take place on January 19th at 8 am at Wolf River Greenway Trail Head on Humphries Blvd.  Proceeds will benefit the Wolf River Conservancy
  • And finally, one of my favorite days in the 901…MLK Days of Service.  This year there will be events taking place throughout the city January 18-January 21st.  This is a wonderful opportunity to give back to our city and serve alongside your family and friends.  Opportunities are child-friendly and show them that one person can make a difference.  I will cover this in more detail next week, but for now, check out this link for a more detailed listing of ways to get involved.

So get out there, explore your community and share with us, and your family and friends what a great place the 901 truly is!!

Beauty From Ashes

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 For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with abandoned buildings.   But this fascination always came with a side of sadness…a melancholy feeling of sorts.  The thought of something that was once so vibrant and full of life left to stand in silence, all alone and no longer serving its intended purpose would make me feel a longing deep within my soul.  Looking back, I can also add another word to those melancholy feelings, hopelessness.  I felt that the purpose and plan for these places had passed them by somehow.  They had been created for a single purpose, and once that purpose had played out they were no longer needed.  I didn’t have the ability to cast a new vision for these places, to see them in a new light.  Beauty from ashes…

   I turned 51 in August.  As a little girl, I saw my life going in a very specific way, I had a plan and a purpose, and those words were all singular.  There was no backup plan, I didn’t need one. To say life hasn’t turned out quite like I planned is an understatement.  After 25 years of marriage, I found myself starting over with my 3 children.  I begin to question everything in my life.  My purpose, my plan, had it somehow passed me by?  Beauty from ashes….

   It was during this time that the way I looked at life began to change.  I felt a spark of excitement, something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.  I was not hopeless.  My purpose, my plan was being reshaped, remodeled and recast.  I began to see the beauty in what was and also the beauty in what was to be.  But more importantly, I began to see the beauty in the process; the very messy, uncomfortable at times, unable to be planned process.  And I fell in love with my life, with all the unexpected twist and turns, the imperfect edges and corners, the amazing chaos.  Beauty from ashes….

   As I began to fall in love with my life, I began to see things with different eyes.  Eyes that truly saw beauty in the broken and abandoned, through the lens of hope.  It was during this time that I picked up a camera for the first time and began to explore my city and photograph what I saw.  I began to see that the buildings that I remembered from the past, the ones that were abandoned, whose purposes and plans had passed them by, were, in fact, being given new life.  There were warehouses that had once been central hubs of commerce and community that had stood empty and forgotten for years being given a new lease on life.  What appeared hopeless and abandoned became loft apartments, cafes, medical clinics, office buildings, the sky was the limit.    All it took were vision casters, people who not only remembered the beauty of the past but saw beauty in what could be.  And it didn’t have to be what it had once been.  There was a good strong foundation, the buildings had good bones.  With a little imagination and a lot of elbow grease, it could become something completely different and perhaps even more beautiful than it had been before.  There were some buildings that had been neglected too long, the destruction and the damage to the original structure was beyond repair and had to be torn down.  But even in these cases, there was hope.  The land the building had stood on was still a good solid foundation and a new building was built there.  Many of the pieces of the old building were able to be salvaged and found new life in their new home.  As I looked through my camera lens all around me I saw hope, new life, and fresh vision.  Beauty from ashes…

I realized that I could learn a lot from the abandoned buildings that I loved.  I could learn lessons of hope, perseverance, and patience.  That the scars from being neglected and forgotten for so long could become beautiful when seen through the lens of hope.  That a good strong foundation, many times the part of the building that you never even see until a storm passes through, that foundation is more important than the beautiful parts of the building that you can see.  There is beauty in the hidden part because a strong foundation represents a strength of character that doesn’t fade away like outward beauty. I learned that people, just like buildings, can have many different purposes and plans throughout their lives.  That all the different purposes and plans are important in creating the rich history of the building and the person. But most importantly I learned to view things that appear hopeless and damaged beyond repair not with a heart full of sadness and mourning of what was, but with eyes of hope, anticipating what is to come.  Truly Beauty from ashes.

What Is Your Passion?

camera marine hospitalAnother way to practice self-care is to find time to pursue your passions.  Our lives can get very hectic, with people pulling at us from every direction.  Many times our own passions and interest are the first things that get cut from our overbooked schedules.  This can leave you feeling resentful towards the very people you love and care for.  Over time this can cause you to lose your joy and zest for life.  It seems like a quick and easy fix at the time, but it actually is an expensive one in the long run.  Just like with routines, continuing to pursue your interest during the busy seasons of your life doesn’t have to take a lot of time, just a little planning, determination, and belief that you are worth it.  Maybe you,

  • Join a book club at your local library
  • Take an online class through Skill Share
  • Find an outside walking trail and start collecting leaves…bring them home and press them old school style between wax paper.
  • Pick up a book to help you identify the leaves
  • Pick up a camera and begin to notice your world in a different way
  • Take part of a Saturday and explore an art museum in your area
  • Buy an inexpensive set of calligraphy pens and check some books out of the library on hand lettering
  • Start a journal…with a little washi tape and some pictures and memorabilia you have a scrapbook!!
  •  Find a YouTube video and learn how to crochet, knit, embroidery, cook, make soap, raise chickens, build birdhouses…you get the idea!

And maybe it’s been so long since you allowed yourself to think about what you are passionate about that you have no idea where to start.  That’s ok too. Sit down and make a list of anything you have ever been remotely interested in learning about.    Pick something from the list to explore weekly, and if it doesn’t interest you move to the next item.  I can promise you will eventually find something that will inspire you.  And remember…YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!

The Outings Project Comes to Memphis

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Julien de Casabianca has given Memphis something to talk about, and thankfully in a good way!  Known as the “Robin Hood of Street Art” he has taken his Outings Project to over 50 cities worldwide.  With filmmaker and artist in his title, Mr. de Casabianca has brought the community together with his beautiful wheat paste murals found in various sizes and locations around town.  The purpose of the project is simple, take these classic works of art off of museum walls and into the community where they will reach a wider audience and spark conversations that will last long after the murals are gone.

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Pellegrino di Mariano Rossini’s Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint.

The Outings Project is truly a community program.  The artist visited Memphis earlier in the year and met with people in the community from all walks of life to chose the 21 characters to “free” from the paintings and bring to life on buildings, signpost, and doorways around the city.  The result has been spectacular!

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La Femme en very (The Woman in Green)by Leon Bonhomme  

From beautiful Renaissance works such as this 6 story beauty located on E. H Crump Blvd:

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Painted by William-Adolphe Bouguereau in 1886,  At the Foot of the Cliff.

To Memphis’ own Carroll Cloar;

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And everything in between!

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Wilford Conrow Maser-El-Din Hoja

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Reading by the Brook by Winslow Homer

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Gladys by Abbott H Thayer

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Cori With Cat painted by Robert Henri

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Portrait of Bessie Vance by Katherine Augusta Carl

There are 21 of these beauties located all around town.  And all of them are in the permanent collection at Brooks Art Gallery in Memphis, so you can see the mural and then go see the original work of art!  Thank you Julien de Casabianca for bringing this amazing opportunity to Memphis!