What’s In Your Cup

I belong to an amazing group of entrepreneurs here in Charleston called Hatch Tribe (#girlboss).  We meet once or twice a month to discuss topics relevant to making our lives and our businesses more authentic and successful.  One of the writers for the blog shared this amazing thought and I just had to pass it on!

What is in your cup?

Imagine this: You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

…You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you, (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out.  It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

So we have to ask ourselves…”what is in my cup?” When life gets tough, what spills over?

Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?

Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

You choose!

Awakening – Photo Challenge

My husband and I recently took a trip to Tucson to visit family.  We chose to add a few days on to the trip to enjoy some time in Sedona by ourselves.  I have always loved Sedona.  Beyond the “mystical” fascination that draws so many to the area, I am in awe of the rock formations, their unique color and the way the landscape changes in every direction.  For this weeks photo, “Awakening“, I immediately thought of this trip and some of the incredible photos I shot.

This one of Cathedral Rock at sunrise gives me chill bumps each time I look at it.  It is like a painting and at the same time has movement and purpose somehow.  Sunrises always draw me in.  Living in coastal South Carolina, we have some amazing sunrises and I take advantage of them.

As you stand in darkness and watch the dawn there is not only a sense of the day awakening, but for me, my own awakening!  It is the spiritual permission to begin fresh and anew that draws me in and draws me to God.

How blessed are we.  There is so much magnificence in nature.  To be present.  To breathe and to awaken our body, mind and spirit each day!

Doubting Thomas; Are you half full or half empty?

John 20:24-29 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas was a commercial fisherman who grew up around the Sea of Galilee and Jesus called him to be a disciple. For three years Thomas followed Jesus.

I think Thomas may have been a late bloomer and a pessimist. I believe some of Jesus’ followers rejoiced and saw the glass half full, but Thomas saw it as half empty. He was full courage, yet possessed a streak of fatalism. Once, when Jesus and his disciples heard about their friend Lazarus’s death near Jerusalem, the center of Jesus’ opposition, Thomas commented darkly, “Yes, let’s go there that we might die with him.” His words are almost prophetic.

Later in the story, Thomas’ world fell apart. He ran for his life in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested. On Good Friday he watched at a distance as they nailed Jesus to a cross on the Roman killing grounds of Golgotha. And as Jesus’ life drained away, so did Thomas’s hope and belief.

Thomas’ belief was about a relationship. His relationship with Jesus.   When Jesus died on the cross, so too did his relationship with Thomas. Thomas believed Jesus, he gave him his heart and his hope, and that belief couldn’t live beyond the grave.  Unless, that is, Jesus lived beyond the grave, and that is so hard to fathom, that Thomas wanted proof before he handed his heart over to be burned again.

I believe Thomas spent Saturday in shock and then on Sunday (Easter) he spent the day away from his friends.  If I can imagine seeing Thomas, I think he was feeling disillusioned, dazed, hurt, bitter — and probably lashing out.  Finally on Monday morning, the disciples went looking for Thomas so they could share with him what had happened in his absence.


Here is what we all know happens next:

“Thomas, we were in that upper room where we’d been meeting. We lock the doors for protection. Yet, all of a sudden, Jesus appears. ‘Peace, Shalom,’ he says. Then he shows us his hands. There are jagged holes where the nails had been. He pulls back his tunic and shows us where the spear penetrated his chest. But he isn’t weak or sick or dying. He is alive, raised from the dead!”

“I don’t believe it,” barks Thomas. “I don’t believe a word of it. You’re seeing what you want to see. Jesus is dead. I saw him die, and part of me died with him. But he’s dead, and the sooner you accept that fact, the better off you’ll be. Give it up!”

Peter pleads with him. “Thomas, I saw him myself, I tell you, and he was as real as you are!”

Thomas is cold, with an edge in his voice that cuts like ice. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

But Thomas’s anger cools, and by the next Sunday evening he is eating with his fellow disciples in the same locked room. Suddenly, Jesus stands among them once again and speaks — “Shalom, peace be with you.”

All the blood drains from Thomas’ face. Jesus turns to him and speaks plainly, without any hint of rancor or sarcasm, “Put your finger here, see my hands.” Jesus holds out his scarred hands for him to examine. Thomas recoils. Not out of fear, really, but from a mixture of amazement and revulsion.

Jesus begins to open his outer garment and says, “Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas is weeping now and then begins to sob out loud. Jesus reaches out and puts a hand on his shoulder. Then Thomas slips to his knees and says in awe, “My Lord and my God!”

Thomas, “Doubting Thomas,” as he is sometimes called, is the first disciple to put into words the truth that Jesus is both Lord and God. “Doubting Thomas” utters the greatest confession of faith recorded anywhere in the Bible.

Jesus replies, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

What happens to him? Doubting Thomas does not stay a doubter. When he sees the risen Jesus, all that Jesus has taught over the years now clicks in, and to his death Thomas is an outspoken advocate for his Lord.  Church tradition tells us that he preaches in ancient Babylon, near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, where Iraq is today. He travels to Persia, present-day Iran, and continues to win disciples to the Christian faith.  Finally, Thomas travels to the east coast of India, preaching relentlessly. He is killed near Mylapore about 72 AD, near present-day Madras. Tradition tells us that he is thrown into a pit, then pierced through with a spear thrown by a Brahmin.

He who had so fervently proclaimed his unbelief carried the Christian message of love and forgiveness to the ends of the earth in his generation.

Thomas clearly had fears and doubts.  We all have doubts from time to time, that’s a normal part of living the life of faith, we shouldn’t begrudge Thomas for doubting. What Jesus longs for in this post-resurrection encounter with Thomas is that we all might believe in him by handing over our hearts and our hopes that he might bring them to the fullness of joy. That’s what living an Easter life is all about. That’s what Thomas wanted, he just needed to see it, touch it, experience it before he was willing to risk relationship again.

If we can live this Easter message then we can truly live with the glass half full.

The Release of Ingratitude

Blessed are the man and woman

who have grown beyond their greed

and have put an end to their hatred

and no longer nourish illusions.

But they delight in the ways things are

and keep their hearts open, day and night.

They are like trees planted near flowing rivers,

which bear fruit when they are ready.

Their leaves will not fall or wither.

Everything they do will succeed.

First Psalm in Hebrew scripture

This psalm I believe eloquently describes the restoration and healing of the human spirit that takes place when we release our ingratitude. So many of us, me included, walk around with pockets of ungratefulness, and until we heal these areas and restore balance to our relationships and to ourselves we will wither.  Perhaps in this month of April when the natural environment seems to be calling for a new resurgence of life, we can use this opportunity to release and forgive.

Take inventory.  Look deep into your heart and free yourself from pride, narcissism, a sense of entitlement.  Release resentments and stored up anger toward others. Turn away from comparisons and envy, hatred and disappointment. Pray for healing.  When we take our blessings for granted, or compare ourselves to and become envious of others, we are in a state of ingratitude. So ask, “What states of ingratitude trigger me?” and “Under what circumstances do I feel them?” Meditating on these and waiting on the answers will lead you to the answers you need to let go and release.

May you be blessed.  May you delight in the ways of your heart.  And may you be like trees that bear fruit in their time.

A New Commandment

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).


Christ’s “mandate” is commemorated on Maundy Thursday—“maundy” being a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means “command.” It was on the Thursday of Christ’s final week before being crucified and resurrected that He said these words to his disciples:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

This new commandment raised the definition of love to a new and higher standard. Jesus sacrificially met His followers’ deepest need—that of new spiritual life and the forgiveness of sins. He even loved His enemies, and He calls us to show love to those who don’t appear to deserve it. Just as Jesus loved sinners “to the end” when He had nothing to gain from them, so must we. The bible says that there was nothing attractive about sinful mankind that drew Him to love us. God loved us while we were yet sinners and that salvation is not only a wonderful gift that protects us from the penalty that we deserve but the work of Christ also offers new life, grants spiritual strength, and motivates godly action in those who believe.

Let us all learn to love others.




Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday.  Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter that begins the Holy Week. It is the day that we remember and celebrate the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem as Savior and King. As Jesus rode a donkey into the town of Jerusalem a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their clocks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment. The hundreds of people shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

We enter this Holy Week with the Lord Jesus in order to celebrate Easter with hearts that are renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. This is a time to focus on and be grateful for God’s selfless love for everyone, calling us to serve others with humility.

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.’ John 11:25

Because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” John 14:6


My Favorite Place – Photo Challenge

Sunrise on the Beach

If I were on the newlywed game with my husband and he was asked to share what his wife’s favorite place was, he would would tap his left shoulder because that is where I lay my head each night before going to sleep.  It is there I tell him that I love him and that right “here” is my favorite place to be.  While that is 100% true there is a place I frequent that also is a favorite place for me, especially when I want to be alone or reflect.  That place is the beach.

I grew up on Long Island Sound in Southern Connecticut and after living some years away from the ocean, I made my way back to the beach years ago.  Having lived away from the ocean made me realize just how much I NEEDED the ocean and how drawn I am to time away there.  Being at the beach at sunrise, ushering in a new day, feeling connected to the universe and God, and reminding myself just how small I am (problems too) is truly my favorite place to escape. It puts it all in perspective and focus for me.  I am blessed to have a photography company that allows me to spend time on the beach meeting with families and helping them make memories there.  I believe I help them see what I see as well.  My prayer is that everyone can at least once in their lifetime experience the beauty, wonder and majesty of the ocean.  Whether I spend the early hours there or during the day with many others enjoying the sun and sand and playing in the water, or at the end of the day when the golden light of sunset is falling, I can find joy in every moment.


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