Category Archives: Be Well

Thoughts on Grace

This past weekend the world celebrated the annual spring awakening that the Easter holiday brings.  For many it was a joyous time to gather with friends and family, an excuse to indulge our sweet tooths, and a reason to break out our floral and pastel clothing.

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As with many things in life, in the hustle and bustle of it all, it’s easy to forget the real reason we do what we do.  For me, and fellow Christians, Easter means so much more than a day of colorful eggs and fluffy candy Peeps.  It is a rebirth, a renewal, and a reassurance that  all will be well through God.

Yet, I’m not here to profess the reasons why my beliefs and religion might be right for you – if you’re a Christian you already know, and if you’re not then there are plenty of other resources out there that delve into the faith.  I would, however, like to discuss a Christian-based concept that is near to my heart: grace.

You may notice that my blog name includes “graceful.”  This is not because I breeze through life with “simple elegance or refinement of movement” (as one definition of grace notes).  I am admittedly completely clumsy.  No, my passion for grace stems from the religious definition that Merriam-Webster states as, “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification” (which really just sounds like a bunch of big words to me).  So what then does that definition and the concept of grace actually mean?

To me it’s much simpler than the standard definition would imply.

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The long and short of grace, in my unprofessional opinion, is this:  The idea that we are all utterly flawed – from the murderer to the saint, we’re all human – and we screw up and “sin” time and time again throughout our earthly lives.  No matter how hard we may try to be “good,” we’re at some point (or many) going to fall short and be completely undeserving of love – whether it be others’ or most especially God’s.  Yet, despite all our grit and grime and gory humaness, God loves us greater than we can ever comprehend.  And there is nothing that we can do to earn or rebuke this love – it is wholly unconditional.

That idea of grace give me boundless hope.

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But I don’t think grace should be confined to the religious realm.  Though we’re human and naturally incapable of this level of Godly unconditional love and forgiveness, I think it is something that all people regardless of religious belief can (dare I say should) strive for.  Of course we’re going to fail, but that’s the point.

Imagine for a moment forgiving someone when you know they were wrong.  Imagine loving someone in spite of how horribly they may have treated you.  I’m not talking about letting someone walk all over you, rather just releasing that pain and anger from your heart and filling it instead with love and joy to pour out into the world.  For I believe there are no good or bad people in the world, but that all of us are some proportion of those characteristics – all equally in need of grace.

Of course don’t forget the person most in need of your grace – yourself.  Let go of the self-doubt and worry over your errors.  Learn from the mistakes of your past, accept that you will likely mess up again in the not-too-distant future, and choose to love and forgive yourself now.

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It’s a constant journey understanding, much less actually practicing, the concept of grace.  But that’s the kind of wandering I hope to do throughout my life – wandering filled with the love, joy and forgiveness that only grace can give.

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The Fountain of Youth

This weekend I got to visit my grandparents for a couple days of rest and relaxation by the lake. While I spent most of my time lazing around, there was someone who did not take a break from all her delicious cooking and running around taking care of us…

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Just watching my beautiful grandmother, Mama, keep up with everything exhausted me. What makes her gorgeous looks and incredible energy all the more amazing is that she turned 82 years young today!

While there are surely many secrets to her success and graceful aging, one gem that she was kind enough to share is the magic of apple cider vinegar. After brushing off grandparent advice for years, I’ve recently become wise enough to realize that most of what they tell you is truth. And in the case of apple cider vinegar, there seems to be an endless list of benefits to this old remedy.

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From weight loss and detoxification to clear skin and repelling insects, Mama’s little cure seems to be quite the powerhouse. Yet, there’s still the issue of taste when consuming apple cider vinegar. Choosing to take a note from Dr. Oz, I mix my apple cider vinegar with grapefruit juice.

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Sip of Youth

  • 1 cup 100% Grapefruit Juice
  • 2 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Honey (optional – if the taste is still too sour)

Drink before a meal once a day, and be sure to rinse with / drink pure water after to prevent any acid damage to teeth.

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I find this simple combo quite refreshing between gym and dinner. Besides, who am I to argue with the health advice of such an ageless beauty as my Mama?!

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Ever the picture of beauty and grace…

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Happy Happy Birthday Mama!

Thanks for always inspiring.

Where’s the Light in Daylight Savings?

Daylight Savings Time – you win.

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I don’t know about everyone else, but this week I have been dragging.  I keep trying to fight it, but in my old age it seems like that tiny time shift has really thrown me out of whack.

To be fair, I’ve never had a great relationship with mornings.  So now getting up at the crack of dark only adds fuel to the fire that is the daily battle with early mornings.

The funny thing is, I love the idea of being a morning person.  The thought of waking with (or as the case is now – before) the sun is lovely.  And the beautiful possibilities of being a morning person seem endless.  I could enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee.  I could read, write, and pray.  I could take the dog for a nice long walk or get in an energizing workout.  Yet, when the alarm sounds far too soon, in that moment I know, without a doubt, that there is surely no better thing in the world than staying snuggled between the covers.

So I hit that snooze button one. last. time.

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I hold on hope that a day will come when I bask in the glory of the morning sun.  Until then, please let me sleep in just a bit longer…

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Are you a morning person – what is your secret?  Wishing everyone a restful weekend!

Finding Balance

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As we slowly begin the season shift out of sleepy winter time, it seems that the pace of life has begun to pick up. It’s as if everyone and everything simultaneously got the memo that it’s time to come out of hibernation – every day of my schedule is suddenly scribbled with commitments.

I can hardly call them obligations, because who can really complain about a great job, babysitting adorable children, fun gym classes, birthdays, and other plans with friends and family. Nevertheless, when I think of the busy days ahead, it can start to seem a little frenetic. How do I balance it all and maintain my calm?

Sometimes finding that balance; staying centered, sane, and on top of everything – both externally and internally – feels like chasing the impossible dream.

Perhaps that’s because we’re chasing the wrong idea. Earlier this week in my yoga class, the teacher read a quote (which I can’t remember precisely) about finding balance amidst chaos. This idea really resonated with me, and also reminded me of this month’s illustration in my beautiful Brian Andreas StoryPeople calendar.

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It’s easy to think of balance as this mystical zen place where your mind, body, and life are all in order, but, for me anyway, it’s also utterly unattainable. What I can and do strive for, however, is to find peace in the ebb and flow of life. To simultaneously strengthen the core that keeps me centered, while relaxing into a flexible happy balance.

Besides, I’ve discovered sailing is a lot more fun any day!