Birth

Today I am grateful for the birth that gave hope to the hopeless. In this season of birth and renewal in the midst of confusion and fear, I am praying for sufficient strength to be hopeful, effective faith to believe, and enough compassion to be loving…

“For a child has been born—for us! The gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.” Isaiah 9: 6-7, MSG

Inhale Creation, Exhale Suppression…
Inhale Inclusion, Exhale Exclusion…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Separation…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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Ease

If we believe love is a battlefield, we will struggle to find it in ourselves and others. I’m believing in authentic, effortless, easy like Sunday morning kind of love…

Everybody wants me to be what they want me to be
I’m not happy when I try to fake it, oh, no…” Lionel Richie, Easy

Inhale Ease, Exhale Struggle…
Inhale Authenticity, Exhale Drama…
Inhale Love, Exhale Stress…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#Relationships

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Tested

In my early 30s, I experienced some major disruptions in my life. I left an abusive marriage and took my toddler out of the country to a new assignment in England, courtesy of Uncle Sam. And then DESERT STORM happened.

At first it, was difficult to get my footing. I had to find a place on the economy that wasn’t looking for a man to guarantee the rent. I beat myself up for thinking my daughter would easily transition to a big-girl bed. Why didn’t I bring the crib? I worried about deploying; should I send my 3-year-old to the States? I wondered if I could juggle all the demands…

But we survived. In fact, we didn’t just survive, we thrived! And I learned some things about myself…

If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman…” Helen Reddy, I Am Woman

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” ~ Philippians 4:13, MSG

Inhale Strength, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Invincibility, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Faith, Exhale Fear…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Seeds

At church this weekend, it was all about seeds and growing, reaping and sowing. Even during story hour for the young and young at heart, the pastor shared a fable about seeds that face obstacles to their growth.

In the story, some of the seeds decide to postpone any attempts to grow until the obstacles disappear (they don’t). But one determined seed decides to face possible destruction and fulfill its purpose to become a palm tree with an extraordinarily strong trunk.

“What do you think happened?” the pastor asked the assembled 6, 7 and 8-year olds.

And one brave young soul answered correctly, “The obstacles made the tree grow stronger.”

Inhale Bend, Exhale Break…
Inhale Slowed Down, Exhale Terminated…
Inhale Delayed, Exhale Defeated…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#Development

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Faith

I’ve been an up close and personal witness to what stepping out in faith looks like.

I’ve seen how limitless our dreams are when we understand why we are dreaming what we are dreaming…how intense our passions when we direct our energy to our purpose…how impactful our purpose when it’s in service to something other, something greater than ourselves.

But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it.”  Luke 17:6 MSG

Inhale God’s Promises, Exhale Doubt…
Inhale Belief, Exhale Doubt…
Inhale Faith, Exhale Doubt…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
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Permission to Speak

Someone recently requested a favor of me, a favor that would have inconvenienced me. I was assured I could say NO… which I promptly did.

The giving of permission to refuse stood out not because it wasn’t required but because it reflects a reality– we often do things we don’t want to do because we give more weight to other’s feelings than our own.

But what I’ve learned as I mature is you aren’t obligated to do things that don’t serve your greatest good, you aren’t required to say yes to anything not in your best interests, and you don’t need permission to say no.

“No” is a complete sentence.” ~ Anne Lamott

Inhale Freedom, Exhale Obligation…
Inhale Empowerment, Exhale Compulsion…
Inhale Boundaries, Exhale Burdens…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Intentional Impact

Self-awareness is scary and hard. Because once you understand the consequences of your choices, once you realize the responsibility for your life choices lie with you, once you acknowledge your role in creating your life, you have to choose to do something …or not.

You can choose to intentionally impact your life or not choose and be unintentionally be impacted by your life. Not choosing is a choice.

People can be divided into three groups. Those who make things happen, those who watch what happen, and those who wonder what happened”. ~ Anonymous

Inhale Intention, Exhale Accidental…
Inhale Choice, Exhale Hesitation…
Inhale Responsibility, Exhale Immaturity…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
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Hurtful Words

I once dated a guy who would make “jokes” at my expense. When I complained, he would defend himself and accuse me of being overly sensitive. I finally realized his behavior for what it was…abuse.

People who shrug off deliberate deceptions,
saying, “I didn’t mean it, I was only joking,”
Are worse than careless campers
who walk away from smoldering campfires.” Proverbs 26:18-19 MSG

Inhale Honor, Exhale Dishonor…
Inhale Respect, Exhale Deception …
Inhale Integrity, Exhale Duplicity…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Emotions

Our emotions are there to tell us something about the way we’re processing our experience. How we respond to our emotions says a lot about who we are…we get to choose.

Positivity is one of my strengths and I usually choose to be positive. Not always, but I work on it. I do things that fill me up, like getting still to pray and meditate and getting physical through exercise and eating healthy. I try to limit my exposure to negativity…be it people, experiences, or lies masquerading as news.

And when I do experience negative emotions, I process them. I cry, I read favorite passages…I get still to feel what I’m feeling. I go to my favorite healing places, like Lake Michigan or when it’s winter in Chicago, I listen to the sounds of the ocean and imagine I’m on a cruise ship or lying on a beach. I let the emotions flow through me like water…and then I focus on the blessings in my life.

We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” ~ Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Inhale Emotion, Exhale Stoicism…
Inhale Feelings, Exhale Repression…
Inhale Awareness, Exhale Numbness…
#JustBreathe…

Reflections With Renita

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Mature Connections

At 80, my Dad is blessed to still have friends and family in his life that he’s known since his earliest memories. Though they might be separated occasionally by distance or disagreements, they never disconnect emotionally.

Our true self never fears or feels threatened by heartfelt connections. It only knows how to connect and how to love.” Deepak Chopra

Inhale Connection, Exhale Disconnection…
Inhale Friendship, Exhale Anger…
Inhale Love, Exhale Fear…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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