My Cisa Name

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Question 1

Are shitty days real or simply a matter of perspective?

That's my question today.  

I'm not sure I have an answer right now.   

Now, in this moment, I'm angry, which by my own definition is a secondary emotion for pain or hurt.

Maybe today was just a hard day.  One of those days when it seems I am the target for the word arrows.  Maybe the arrows I felt aren't the words but the unspoken attitudes of frustration and disapproval that seem to accompany the words.  Maybe the inability to navigate this day's interactions with all the people is a result of my own skewed perceptions?

No matter the cause of what I'm experiencing in THIS moment, I am angry.

Right now, I'm going to sit in this emotion and allow it; without judgment, without trying to fix a single thing.

This is a new practice for me.  It's going to take some time to get used to allowing emotions that have been taboo to surface and linger without pushing them down or attempting to refocus my attention to something else that perhaps might possibly get me out of "my bad mood".

I hope as I practice making space for myself to just BE and feel whatever it is I'm feeling in the moment, I will be able to do the same for others.  I am acutely aware that I have not always allowed myself or others freedom and space to just sit in their pain without trying to "make it better".

So, for this day, I will not make a single attempt to change the way I feel.  I will feel and that is all.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Letters to Lisa {nombre un}

Dearest Lisa -

I see you.  You may not believe that anyone notices you, but I do.  I've seen you all along but only recently realized how important is it that I share my heart with you.  I have a couple things I'd like to say, since we're sisters and all.  I hope you'll be able to receive these words and not believe they are criticisms.  I truly offer them to you with love, out of a deep desire to see your life flourish.  I believe you're holding back, maybe you're afraid, maybe the lens you look through is clouded and you can't see clearly or maybe you don't believe you have what it takes to accomplish your goals, if you've really set any at this point in time.  Your life is very full with raising your girls, that takes lots of energy and I know you fret about whether you're doing a good job.  Let me assure you, you're doing a great job.  Your daughters are going to be fantastic, strong, competent women who give you the most lovely grand babies.  But let's not get off the subject at hand, there's plenty of time to talk about that later.

Here's the question.  Have you forgotten how to dream?  I'd like to make a few suggestions that might help you let go of all your own plans and just dream about what life might be if you quit trying so hard. What if you simply opened your hands to receive the next thing that came your way.  All your striving and trying to "get it right" might be keeping you from experiencing some really great things and some wonderful people.  What follows is a little list of how to get yourself in a position to dream again.

#1 - Just BE.  
Quit doing all the things for all the people so that they will need you and you will feel important because you're needed.  You are already important without doing one single thing.  You're value is not based on what you DO or how much you serve that organization or where you live or how much money you have or do not have or whether you're single, married, divorced, childless, working, non-working, schooling, not schooling.  Also, you are NOT an extension of your spouse.  You are an individual who is perfectly able to have a life that supports and builds up your spouse without diminishing who you were created to be.  And another thing, you are not an extension of your children and they are not extensions of you.  They are unique individuals who need to be allowed to follow their dreams apart from what Mom and/or Dad believes is good for them.  Caveat here...I'm not saying you give children free reign, you are to steward their lives not live vicariously through them.  Enjoy your children's successes but have some of your very own.

#2 - Think about what YOU need.
Self care.  I'm convinced you have no idea what this word even means.  It's more than just making sure you are clean and put together.  So, take some time to think about how to care for YOU.  Not just on the outside but on the inside too.  What helps you relax? What do you enjoy doing just for yourself?  I know this will be difficult because it's new and different but trust me, you will be a much happier human when you make intentional time to do something just for you. And, don't let anyone give you a guilt trip over the fact that you spend money and time on yourself.  (see #7 and exclude this person from your squad, immediately)

#3 - Get Outside
I don't mean go outside and DO something, like mow the grass or weed the flower bed.  This is also not getting outside to take a walk for exercise, no fast moving.  This is a time to BE in the great outdoors.  Enjoy the scenery.  Listen for the birds, look at the flowers, walk down the street and notice the sky, the sunset, the moon the stars.  If you must get in the car in order to escape responsibilities, do it.  You don't have to drive a hour away, go ten minutes to the nearest park or a different neighborhood.  Commune with nature a little, without any distraction. 

#4 - Journal
Write down EVERYTHING, not just the hard things.  Keep a little notebook beside your bed, when an idea drops into your heart write it down.  Don't ignore those little thoughts that just seem to pop up from no where.  They're coming to you from deep inside, from the Spirit of creativity, from the creator himself.  He knows you because he made you.  He's the one who knows what you should do next because he is the one who made the plans for your life way back even before you were born so take note, literally.  Also, write about all the funny/crazy things the girls do.  You think you'll remember them but believe me, that razor sharp memory doesn't last forever.

#5 - Have FUN.
You've gotten a little too serious.  I'm not sure if it's all the really hard things that seem to be a regular part of your life or the church affiliation you've chosen but you need to loosen up.  I think Jesus would agree.  I guarantee Jesus and the disciples sat around cutting up and enjoying life, not at the expense of others, mind you, but they had a good time.  And you know the Bible thumpers of his day didn't call him a wino because he was drinking grape juice.  Relax, have a glass of wine and enjoy an evening rocking on the porch.  Better yet, invite a friend over to join you, have some good conversation about nothing serious and enjoy the time being together, no agenda, just delight in the people you are.

#6 - Listen to your Inner Voice
You have a good intuitive nature and you are a smart woman.  Use your brain and make the decisions your gut is telling you to make instead of listening to what other people say.    You have everything you need in you to make the best decision for YOU.  No one else knows what is best for you, except you.  So, do whatever needs to be done to silence those people who question what you're doing.  For some reason we humans just love same...same thinking, same doing, same little rigid lines and tight boxes. We weren't created to be the same as anyone else, so simply be YOU.

#7 - Be a Cheerleader and Find some Cheerleaders
I know this will be difficult because there just aren't very many women who believe there's room for everyone.  Sad to say, a lot of women can't cheer for you because they don't want to see you accomplish what they won't try.  Of course they don't see it and neither do you, that's why I'm telling you.  When that competitive spirit lifts its ugly head, you need to squash it, kill it even.  There is room for everyone to do their thing and just because they're doing it over there doesn't mean you can't do it over here.  This life is BIG and out of the box and there's no need to compare or compete, both those things will keep you from the deep connection your heart craves.  Remember that, it's important.

I think seven suggestions is just the right number.  I hope you don't feel overwhelmed and that you'll remember that there is no practice makes perfect...that little lie will trip you up for a long time so listen to my voice, practice makes progress.  That's what we're after, progress not perfection.  Oh, and you're doing fine, just fine.  Every day, every minute every hour you are just fine, even though you don't feel fine. You're gonna make it.  (cue Mary Tyler Moore theme song)

I love you friend,

Friday, February 9, 2018


As I prepare to host our 5th IF: Local Gathering, I can't help but take a look back at all the other times we gathered women in our local area for a time of seeking God's face and asking ourselves questions about the ways we are spending our one life.  Every single year since the inception of IF, God has unfolded a little more of his plans for our lives, for our healing and freedom. 

February 8, 2014, the second day of the very first IF: Gathering is a day I won't soon forget.  Sitting on the floor of our church with a small group of 4 or 5 women I poured out my heart all broken and bleeding.  That day would have been my 29th wedding anniversary. Instead of celebrating those years of good and hard with flowers and a candle light dinner,  I was waiting for the mail carrier to deliver my Final Divorce Order.  That first IF: Gathering Saturday, our hearts joined as my friend prayed over me and asked God to meet me in the doubt and fear of what life would be going forward.  Raw, messy, transparent, vulnerable fear was met with kind, gracious, tender love and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to be known in such a rare and beautiful way.

There are three of us who attended that first gathering in 2014 who have continued to support, promote, and engage with women from different parts of the country who also have attended an IF event, whether that be the gathering in Austin, or Dallas or locally.  We are a sisterhood of freedom fighters who carry a torch that we pray ignites the whole world with love.  Each of us unique in our places, putting one foot in front of the other day in and day out realizing dreams God has placed in us and had planned for us from before we were born. Those good works that he had prepared and is causing to flourish as we simply join him where he is already at work spreading love and speaking welcome.

So this evening, as I prepare to light candles and heat up soup and place flowers on the table for my local sisters, I cannot help but smile to myself knowing there are hearts all over the globe that will be touched as women gather for a fifth IF: Gathering.  We are all connected, we are all different and we are all LOVED so very much just as we are right.this.moment. 

If you are not familiar with IF: Gathering but would like to be, click this link.  I can guarantee if you are willing to risk, God will meet you wherever you are with exactly what you need and you will be amazed over and over at His scandalous love for you and the tender ways he shows up to answer your questions or connect you to exactly what/who you need to take the next step toward living in freedom.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

"What a difference a year makes".

"What a difference a year makes".  I hear that phrase spoken as a way of indicating how fast time passes.  12 Months, 365 days.  You blink and it seems the days of what used to be are gone, never to be relived.

The past year has been a kind of assessment for me.  A path of learning to slow down, to BE in the present instead of rushing on to the next thing and the next thing.  I haven't always lived my life with this much intention, focus, looking and feeling.  I lived quite a few years numb, unaware, unable to access deeper parts of who I really am.  I kept going and going because life was hard and parts of it were excruciatingly painful to navigate. 

My memories of when my children were younger are etched in my subconscious mind.  Some things I remember vividly and some, well, they seem to have all but vanished.  I say often that one of the reasons I can't remember some of the details is because I was always moving at break neck speed, never quiet, never still, never really present in the moment. 

 Details vary from individual to individual as to the causes for our fast paced living but the bottom line is ALWAYS the same, pain.  If we stop long enough and intentionally tune out every distraction, we have to BE WITH ourselves.  Quieting long enough to actually become aware of what you're feeling and then paying attention to what you do next is not something that happens automatically.  So many things vie for our time and attention and that doesn't include having a phone in your hand with contacts and pictures and blog posts.  There was no social media when I was raising my girls, but there were still numerous distractions.  There is always one more THING that needs to be DONE. 

This journey of discovery and healing and freedom, has been incredibly painful and incredibly beautiful and good at the same time.  Nothing is permanent.  Nothing lasts.  Life is always changing. 

A year ago today my family dynamic changed forever.  The picture below is what life looked like 26 years ago.  These little people were ages 2 and 4 and 4  They are cousins and best friends.  I have dozens and dozens of pictures just like this one, all three of "the girls" as we referred to them together somewhere doing something.  These girls laughed and screamed and didn't sleep and made messes and rode bikes and blew out candles and gathered Halloween candy and took pictures and did cheers.  Oh my...the memories go on and on.  I can't count the number of times I said "if you girls don't quiet down, I'm going to pull this van over and...  and I'd go back in a minute because it was all so beautiful.  I didn't see the beauty at the time, I was so overwhelmed with the details of getting things done that I missed parts of it. 

This year, I have intentionally chosen to sit with my grief and pain.  I've allowed the pain to shape me.  I've asked myself hard questions and I have cried tears and tears remembering so many things.  But, I am a better human for having lived the last year.  When the hard, painful losses come into our lives we make choices about our journey.  We can buck up, toughen up, keep on going and harden our hearts OR we can chose to FEEL what we're feeling.  It won't be easy.  It won't be neat or predictable.  But it will be Beautiful!

Always in our heart
Chasity Dawn Shingleton
2/26/88 - 1/28/17

Friday, November 3, 2017

Five Minute Friday: Need

Five Minute Friday is weekly link up where you free write on a particular word prompt for five minutes.  The prompt for this week is "Need".  Setting a timer, ready, go:

I have everything I need IN me.  I forget that.  I look around to the people in my life and wrongly believe that I don’t have what it takes, that I somehow NEED someone else to help me.  I think believing the truth that God IN me provides all I need and that I have what it takes to accomplish whatever task, is a truth many women struggle to live out in their daily lives.  Somewhere, way back when we were little girls, some of us were told explicitly or implicitly that we were needy, the “weaker” vessel.  For some that caused a rebellion and a mind set of “I’ll show you, I don’t NEED anyone” and for others it created the opposite effect.  I believe church culture has played part in overemphasizing the “weaker vessel” passages in the Bible and somehow it was translated in our minds as something negative.  Thus, we lost our way, believing we needed something outside ourselves to “complete us”.

Being needy isn’t all bad.  Needy helpers are THE BEST helpers.  Acknowledging my need for God is worship.  He loves for me to be dependent on him.  And, in truth, I am.  The fact that I am breathing, my heart is beating and I am a walking, talking, seeing, hearing individual is all due to my creator and his sustaining my existence.  I do NEED Him.  And I need other people as well.  I was created for relationship with God, myself and others.  To deny my need is to deny my humanity.

Remembering I have all I need inside me is something I’m practicing and I’m making good progress.  I’ll never be perfect at it, but no one is, so I’m in good company. 


Friday, October 6, 2017


Reaching into the refrigerator for my creamer I felt a slight poke on my hip.  It was a scratchy kind of poke into the bare skin beneath my t-shirt.  As i looked to the place where I felt the scratching uncomfortable poke I noticed there was a leftover black plactic zip tie on the belt of my fanny pack.  I went to the drawer to retrieve scissors to cut the offending plastic away.

Normally, this very small segment of my morning coffee routine would not have brought any lingering thoughts, only make that poking go away.  As I slowed to notice, i felt a tender nudge to connect that 30 second poking moment to what life looks like lived in relationship with others.

Many times I feel a poke in my soul, a scratch of a passing comment or a stab in a relational interaction.  In the past I would dismiss these comments with the judgement that whoever made the comment must be having a bad day because what they said was just plain rude or unkind.  They should learn how to be nicer to people.

As God has been leading me to slow down, to look more carefully at the ways I feel poked or hurt by the words of others, I have begun to look at the reason behind my hurt.  Digging below the surface of the annoying black plastic to see exactly what is causing the uncomfortable feeling in my soul.  Once I have identified what, I then ask why.  Why do the same types of off hand comments cause my soul to shrink and squirm.

God is tender with my heart, always kind and Holy Spirit guides me down into the memories of my life to help make sense of the why.  It's not always easy work, this sanctification process of dying and being raised to new life.  But, Oh it is sweet to experience God working in me, my only HOPE of rescue.  He is daily rescuing me from all the little things that keep me from living in total and complete freedom in my relationship with Him, myself and others.

The next time you feel the scratchy black plastic of what you believe to be the unkind words of someone meant to push you down, take a moment to reflect on the situation, the words, the interaction and your hearts response to what was said or done.  These moments noticed can bring clarity to the WHYs your heart has continually asked throughout your life.

Be warned.  The slowing is not easy.  Our enemy will want you to race ahead, dismiss the scratch as someone's rudeness and push you to "the next thing".  This is one of his oldest tricks, keep us moving so we don't feel.  In all our busyness we can only grow in relationship with God when we slow down enough to hear his voice and notice what He desires us to see.  After all, God has left us a Helper, actually Jesus referred to Holy Spirit as a "better Helper".  Can you imagine a life lived with a better helper than walking this earth with Jesus?

We have such a helper.  Will you join me in slowing to hear God in You, the Hope of glory,whisper tender promptings leading to the root of the weed growing in your heart.  I can promise you, the rewards of this slowing, resting life will reap an abundance of fruit that will be sweet and satisfying.

Be STILL (not moving or making a sound, deep silence and calm) and KNOW that I am God.
Psalm 46.10

Monday, May 8, 2017

Learning to Rest {Part 1}

Consumer Relationship
Give = Get

Convenant Relationshp
Give = Nothing in return

Can  I do relationship this way?  Jesus does!

As I've thought about my relationships in the past, the way I related to the people I called my friends, I have been disappointed in what I found.  I have always desired a TRUE friend, I didn't have many of those.  I can remember calling my mom from my "christian" college and complaining that I didn't have a best friend, desiring to have someone to call BFF.

If I'm going to be honest, I didn't know how to be a friend.  I was always looking for something in return.  Seldom did I just enjoy the company of another person.  There was usually some type of transaction taking place.  Of course, at those times I didn't see how American consumerism had crept into my relationships.  I wanted affirmation, understanding, help, sometimes a listening ear.  I didn't really care about what the other person needed as long as I got what I needed.

I often wondered why other women seemed to have all these friends from high school and college but I didn't.  After all, I was a Christian and if anyone knew about being a good friend it was Jesus.  Of course, the brand of Christ follower I was didn't give much credence to the Jesus is Love message.  It was more about Jesus "saving" you.  I was supposed to be "an example".  Of what, I'm not even sure now.  But being a good example to other people puts a lot of pressure on a person.  As a result of what I believe was a misconstrued message I became whatever anyone needed me to be.  I helped people a lot and I helped a lot of people.  When the PTO needed a president, I was the first to volunteer.  Cheer Leader coach, pick me and then there was midget football treasurer and concession stand worker and you get the picture.  You let me help you with your thing and I get to be needed!  It was a win win in my estimation.  Except I was blind to how I was living.

At that time of my life I had no idea I was looking for love in all the wrong places.  I understood that concept as a wandering college drop out.  But as a married Mom of two school aged girls? I wasn't looking for love any longer.  I had a husband and a beautiful home and two great kids and a top of the line mini-van for crying out loud.  I also had lots and lots of activities to keep me busy.  I went so fast during those years that I can hardly remember the details.  I wasn't fully present in my own life, I was just passing through to the next appointed practice or performance or church activity.  None of those things are bad in and of themselves, it was just a way I became distracted and addicted.

Slowing down has been a difficult concept and a very gradual process.  Those fast paced patterns of living became so entrenched in my every day that going from school to practice to lesson to appointed weekly church service became a steady rhythm in my life.

Learning how to rest in God's love for me has been no small feat.  It's not something I could have ever accomplished in all my striving and performing and perfectionism.  God approves of me even in this season when I'm doing absolutely nothing very little.  I still go to my job every day but I've pulled away from almost every other commitment and activity for the most part.  I'm not even a member of a church (gasp) and I don't feel the need to go to a service unless God directs me to do so.  I'm learning REST.  It's going to take more than just a blog post to conquer this sitting with myself, sitting with the desires I have for community and waiting for God to give me what HE desires me to have.

What I've learned so far is that God is good, He loves my questions, He isn't afraid of my doubt, He is faithful to provide and He will never be disappointed in me no matter what decision I make.  People who see me pulling away may not understand and may, as I often have, make judgments based on their limited understanding of my current situation.  I'm okay with that.  What I'm not okay with is continuing to live the remainder of the time I have here on this earth, running at break neck pace to do the next thing that I'm hoping will earn me the love I already have simply by being me.  I'm learning to a new rhythm, rest!

If you happen to stumble upon this spilling of words and something here resonates within your heart, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  By no means do I have anything figured out in this area, it's all trial and error here and I'd love some company if you're so inclined.

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