Step Out

Have you ever felt like you were on the verge of something wonderful? That the thing you always dreamed of, been so desperate for, longed for, yearned for deep in your soul is about to happen? Inside you has gone from butterflies to sparks to feeling like you can no longer contain it. This thing must come out. When it does it will be the most spectacular light show your eyes have seen. It will be so joyous your body will dance to the music heard so loudly in your soul. And yet…there you are…wrapped so secure in all that comforts you that you cannot move. Fear, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, doubt and negative messages are all reasons you may have for not being able to move. To me, moments like this feel like standing on a ledge, waiting to jump but I don’t because I’m afraid I’ll fall instead of flying.

It is time to step out, to come forth from the comfort. I’m certain like me, you’ve heard many positive words from those trying to coax you into moving. I urge you to move forward at your own pace, to listen to those who love and believe in you, to find courage and move/jump/leap/step. Comfort is good until it becomes complacency and locks us down. It doesn’t have to be a big leap. It can be one small step. I promise it will be worth the step (especially if you are wearing your favorite shoes).

There are moments I have been frozen with fear because of negative messages and the unknown in front of me. I remember when the last of my children was grown and left home. I felt like my security blanket was ripped off, and I was standing naked in the middle of town with everyone staring at me. I could not tell my children to move back home. I had to figure out my life goals, to move on.

It wasn’t until 4 years ago that I ever shared any of my writing or poetry publicly. Many of my poems are very personal, written about some very dark moments in my life of being a survivor of domestic and sexual violence. I was encouraged through a group of women writers to read a poem of mine at an open mic night. The night had come, and it was my turn at the mic. Trembling, I stepped up, spoke into the mic and read my poem! I received some snaps (poetry applause), and there were words of encouragement from the audience of strangers.

Have you noticed that the letters E and H are the only difference between the words “comfort” and “come forth?” E stands for empowerment, encouragement. H stands for healing, hope.

There are times I need to curl up in comfort because I am overcome with negative self messages or fear of the wide open unknown. Instead of being wrapped in fear, I wrap myself in grace, in love, in peace of who I am, in remembrance of all I have survived. As empowerment, encouragement, healing and hope rise in me, I step out, going from comfort to come forth.


All I want for you is light. You might be alone or feel alone. You might be grieving. You might be hurting emotionally. Your health might be failing. You might be hungry for something more in life. You might be without enough food, proper shelter or stability. My hope is that no matter how dark it may be or may seem, that you will eventually see your light breaking through the darkness as you spring forth like a seed planted, sprouting out of the dirt and difficulties.

Spirit of Christmas

After a busy Sunday of women’s bible study, running errands, cleaning and late afternoon football games, with the closing of my iPad, I sat in the quiet room lit only by the multicolored lights on the Christmas tree.  The gentle swaying of the swing chair and the comfort of plush pillows relaxed my mind and slowed my breathing.  In this peace-filled room gazing at the ornaments, the sentiment of the season filled me, bringing to mind memories of past Christmases.

In the daily pressures of providing  for two young children (7 and 3 1/2 years), plus one due in the next few months, I attended a single Moms support group.  In November, Roxanne, the group facilitator, requested each of us Moms fill out a form, listing our children’s ages, genders and sizes, for a Christmas wish list.  Sitting home one evening, I heard a knock and opened the door to find a young couple with their arms full of gifts for our family.  On Christmas morning, I was overwhelmed after my daughters and I opened the gifts and the room was filled with toys, outer wear and home goods.  People had gone above and beyond my expectations.  I was truly moved by their kindness to give so freely to help a family they did not know. 

My mind then went further back to when I was a child.  The only tree me and my seven siblings saw at Christmas was in our grandparent’s home.  This particular Christmas, my Mom brought home a tree and stand with what little money she had.  Not able to afford ornaments, we decorated the tree with construction paper chains and strings of popcorn and cranberries.  When the tree was fully decorated, Mom gave us one more surprise when she pulled an angel from her bag, placed it on top of the tree, plugged it in, and we were all in awe of the room now illuminated by the first Christmas tree in our home.  This was also the first Christmas after our parents were divorced.  For over 40 years now, this angel has been providing light on top of my Mom’s Christmas tree.  Not one bulb has ever dimmed or needed replacing.  I do not remember the wrapped gifts that year.  With grateful tears, I remember the best gift being Mom using what little she had to give us a Christmas filled with light in the midst of a very difficult,  painful time for our family. 

When you are in the chaos and busyness that the holiday season brings, trying to find the right gift, worrying the gifts you give are not enough, worrying because you cannot afford to buy any gifts, stressing over what you will feed everyone and how they will fit in your home, you must take time to pause. 

Take time to remember what the Spirit of Christmas is—giving joy, showing love, sharing the gift of light within you.  The gift of light we received from the first Christmas in the birth of a King, the gift of light we must be and bring each day we are given.  

Put Your Burden Down

I am certain you have heard the phrase “You are not your trauma.” I disagree with that phrase. I am my experiences-ALL of them (even my trauma). I would not be who I am today without all that I have lived through. I was a victim of childhood and adulthood domestic and sexual violence. Through that, I am now a survivor with tools to support and empower other victims and survivors. I used to make self-destructive decisions to drink too much, to stay in an abusive relationship. Through that, I am now more self-aware and use self-care in taking care of my body and in entering into relationships. I lived in poverty, not eating sometimes so my children would have enough. Through that, I am very resourceful in helping myself and can relate, empathize and help others in need. My past trauma and experiences were not simple to go through or to heal from. I carried with me the burden of fear, doubt, anger, inadequacy, not feeling loved, low self-esteem and shame. I had carried these negatives with me, but could no longer move forward with that amount of weight bringing me down.

One spring day, when outside was sunny, my home inside was dark. After one of the many times my boyfriend at the time took out his bad day on me, I was staring at my bruised body and fat lip in the mirror, finally having physical proof to prompt me to leave the relationship. On four other occasions, I saw a love and a light I had not ever seen in the bright eyes of each of my children looking into my eyes, their tiny hands grasping my finger, the hush of their cry the moment I held them after they were born. Moments of enlightenment like these were the inspiration and validation I needed to move forward.

These are the 4 steps I have taken in my healing process, each of them taking faith, commitment, strength, determination and continuous evaluation as I walk my path in life.

  1. Self-reflection (What is weighing you down?)
  2. Build a support network (self-care, friends, family, church, community resources, leave a comment on this page).
  3. Put the burden down and take the weight off (and dance to your favorite song).
  4. Keep the weight off by sharing with others your gifts, talents and knowledge from your experiences.

The creative in me sees this: I am walking through life on this path with stones of different shapes and colors (my trauma and experiences). I took the stones off of my back that were weighing me down and placed them under my feet in order to build this path I am walking. The trees, plants, flowers along the path are a result of the growth and of the positive experiences. Grace and love cement the stones together, keeping them on my path, keeping them under my feet, keeping the past behind me as I walk forward with each new step, dancing in the freedom and light of each new experience.


On this quiet Saturday in December, I take time to review my to do list. As I rest on the squishy soft purple cushion in my favorite chair, southern sunshine warm on my face, my Mom mug with hot tea resting on a coaster that says love, I hold in my hands the single piece of paper that is my to do list. Right now in this warm comfy spot, and on several occasions this week, stress has tried to ease its way in, whether it is through a cranky mood, my not wanting to be around people or through my physical health. This to do list is overwhelming. This list my life demands. This list my spirit demands. It is December, and this long to do list does not even include Christmas (my children made the decision not to give material gifts, but to spend quality time as a family this year).

This list of mine has to do with life’s circumstances of being unemployed, of my spirit’s longing to write and share my story, of goal setting for 2020 after reflecting on 2019. So much is flying through my mind (visions, ideas in me-poems, books to write, goals to accomplish and to set, blog, job…….). So much is flying at me (this is how you should do it, this is who you should connect with, these are the steps you should take…….). Yet, here I am, not taking flight (yet). I am in this frozen mode where my mind moves, my hands move, my feet not yet in stride with what is in my heart. I am in this frozen mode waiting for a magical prompt to begin. There is no magical prompt. If anything is actually magical, it is in the moment where hope steps in and pushes out stress. It is in the moment I just simply step forth and start the doing of what is in me, what has been there from the very beginning.

It is the undoing of the lies. It is the doing of the truth (of me and my voice, my story, my words). The undoing of the lies of you’re not good enough, no one will care or be touched by anything you have to say or write, you are too different and will never fit in anywhere. The undoing of the lies of do you really think you have those gifts–because I don’t see them. The undoing of the lies of do you really think you have come far enough to help or encourage anyone. Then there’s the quieting of the laugh of the lies at anything I set out to do. The undoing of the lies turning around my words or throwing them away, deleting them from the computer’s memory or erasing or crossing them out from the page on which they were written.

This that I have shared here, is the reason why we need to find, connect with and keep people, items, events/memories/accomplishments near. Having them near to reach out, to gaze upon, to hold in our hands or hold in our hearts. This is what allows the whisper of hope to become the loudest voice in the room. Hope reminds us of what we have already survived and brings about the promise of light and love for our future.

Who are the people in your life who help and encourage you? What are the items (gift, picture, card, song, scripture, art, etc.) that help and encourage you? What are some personal and professional accomplishments you can think of to help and encourage yourself? Jot these down so you can pull them out the next time the lies try to overwhelm you. Keep them near so that you can remember to hope and look forward to the promise of your future.

Welcome to Sole Journey!

We are each on our own personal and unique journey. I find the way enriching when shared with others. Whether you are standing still in preparation of that first step toward a new goal, continuing forward in an ongoing journey, or frozen in your stance trying to find safe and solid ground, my hope is to walk with you, navigating life’s path together.

A girl and her shoes
her destination known
before she was formed
took challenges and joys
to get her this far
the next steps
the best, the scariest,
yet nothing to do but
movement being birthed
the open space unknown to her
the gifts just flow
her heart so full.
Jumped right in, not to drown
but to swim and float
no sinking into the abyss
her life now ruled by bliss
victory gives a shout
the lies and defeat drowned out
by the voice of the little girl
who stepped out
connected intertwined
with self destruction
turned into self reflection
and respect
purple heart beating in her chest.
(written by crd)