Voice Lessons for Today Blog » Insights from Atlanta therapist Mazi Robinson

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Summer Lovin’ (and an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!)

Well, Hello Summer!  It is so good to see you!  So many images and thoughts come to mind when you think of summer.  Whether it’s Ella smoothly crooning about livin’ easy or Will Smith reminding us it’s time to sit back and unwind, for most of us summer is our time to slow down, relax, and reset ourselves.

There are so many sights, sounds, and even smells that go along with summer.  Waves rolling into the beach.  Orange and pink sunsets.  Lightening bugs.  Crickets chirping.  The crack of the bat and the cheer of the crowd.  Citronella wafting through the night air. Yes, summer has a way of tickling all our senses.

This is the season of the year where it is okay to stay up a little later, have one more cookie because hey it’s summer, or linger a little longer over your al fresco dinner.  It is almost as if Summer means doing the things you don’t have time to do or don’t give yourself permission to do the rest of the year.   Here is what summer means to me and why I am looking forward to this summer in particular!

 

  1. My Nike shortsNike-Womens-Race-Shorts
    You know the game stranded island where you list the things you would want to have with you if you were stranded on an island?  If I were stranded on an island, I would want to have my Nike shorts.  I love them.  No, I mean I LOVE them.  They are literally the most comfortable item of clothing I have ever put on my body.  No, I’m not a runner, and yes, I am that person who wears athletic gear without being the least bit athletic.  But whatever because summer means I get to wear my Nike shorts as often as possible!
  2. My Happy Placelake
    This is my happy place.  This view.  Now picture this view with the breeze slightly blowing, the soft hum of boats in the distance, and wind chimes creating the perfect background music. Perfection.  Summer means I get to enjoy my happy place.
  1. Read, Read, Readphoto
    I love to read, and I love to read in the summer.  In the winter and spring, I even start thinking about all the books I want to read in the summer.  And yes, the picture is my stack for this summer.   I can’t wait.  There are a couple of others I would like to get but I’m trying to have self control.  What can I say?  I’m a therapy nerd.  I love to read about what I do. 🙂  (BTW, I started Jesus Feminist last weekend… very good!)
  1. Slowing Downslow sign with turtle silhouette
    I try to limit commitments in the summer so this time can be an intentionally slower season.   I’ll admit I’m not the best at staying balanced 24/7, but summer is my finish line, so to speak.  It is my time to slow down.  Summer means resetting so that I am ready to dive into fall.
  1. My Loved Oneswomen-laughing
    For me, summer is about seeing my loved ones.  Whether that is dinner with friends, going to visit family, or family coming in town, this season just always seems to be synonymous with connection.  Let the laughter and storytelling commence!

 

So here’s to summer!  In honor of this season, I thought I would do another giveaway (plus it has been forever since my last giveaway!).   Comment below with what summer means to you or why you are looking forward to this summer in particular, and I will do a drawing at the end of this week for two $15 Amazon gift cards!  I would love to hear from you!  Have a fabulous and fantastic summer!

Laura - Summer used to mean a LOT to me as a teacher. Now that I stay at home with two littles, it’s not exactly the layout in the sun kind of relaxing of yesteryear. 😉 But I love the longer days and the more casual attitude in the air. I love my flip flops too!

Melissa King - Grilling out, sun, sand, pool, flip flops and family memories!

Julie - Summer?….Ahhhh:) It holds so much feeling, sensation, wonder and familiarity. During the Fall I love to contract into the hearth of my home, my chocolate-brown boots, and roasted root veggies. During summer it’s all about expanding by exposing skin to the sun, wearing my hair up a lot, letting the kids swim in the pool till their fingers are webbed. It’s about being in nature, appreciating blue hot skies and being a lounge lizard, guilt-free! I have a stack of books as well- Living Beautifully, Pema Chondron; Hold On To Your Kids, Gordon Neufeld; Treating Adult Children Of Alcoholics. Stephanie Brown; and Self-Compassion, Kristin Neff, which I hope to read more of in the long days of summer. Summer brings energy, appreciation of life and joy in the simplicity

Jamie - I love that it’s still light outside for 3 hours when I get home from work! Makes Mon-Fri more tolerable when there’s still time to go for a walk, grill out or sit on the porch. 🙂

Lisa - Loooooooong sunny days and evenings!

Norman DeLisle - For me Summertime is riding the city bus with my granddaughter out to the beach, a two-hour ride, where she can listen to CDs on the CD player I got her for her birthday while I daydream about the Endless Summer and See You in September. It’s a time that we can spend together, away from cell phones and the computer, and just enjoy each other. He is only seven now but before I turn around, she is going to be 17 and I want her memories of summer to be pleasant.

Kerry - This summer is the first in many YEARS that my husband, stepson, and I will be able to go on a real vacation for an entire week!! It is very special since my stepson is getting older and especially because he asked to go away with my husband and I! I feel so blessed!!!!

Jolene Nelson - The Summer means to me (this year in particular)starting a new chapter in my life. I will be married on the 2nd of August. This summer to me means preparation and self-care. This summer means to me the start of something new and exciting.

Maryam - Summer for me is taking the time out to be around family,friends and of course myself. I love the outdoors and take advantage of the beautiful California weather!

Nicolle Petticrew - Summer means my son going to Summer Camp. It means fireworks on the fourth of July and Rita’s water ice. Dipping toes in the ocean, making sand castles, being a kid all over again.

Carter - Summer for this grateful teacher:
not being bound by an alarm clock, the bliss of unscheduled time, going out to lunch (beyond the school cafeteria), impromptu dates with friends, more quality time with family, the feel of sand between your toes, the smells of cookouts, sunscreen, and sweet magnolias, writing letters, reading or playing guitar for hours, and a watermelon-stained, smiling mouth about it all. 🙂
Thanks, Mazi!

Cath - I’m excited for summer to enjoy leisure books (and I’m curious to investigate the books you are reading). But I’m especially excited to work toward accomplishing the experiences on my summer bucket list (e.g. Standup Paddleboard Yoga!) It’s motivating to have a limited amount of beautiful weather and a checklist of fun things to accomplish before the warmth is gone.

Judy - Summer is “sweat therapy”, as one of my friends calls gardening. We enjoy digging in the dirt and watching each new flower come up. Even weeding isn’t so bad when you consider the outcome. Freshly mowed grass is nice too — especially if my husband cuts it and not me! And if it rains, your set of books look like a lot of fun, especially those titles on shame.

Christopher L Smith - Summer has meant different things to me. This year, it means enjoying the new growth that has been planted. Beyond the literal level of the green grass and the flowers with their accompanying bird chirpings, this year it is the finishing and publishing if at least one book, the seeing of residents blossoming in my practice and the beginning of new directions in other parts of my work.

Audrey - Summer for me means visiting my parents in California. Fresh fruit and vegetables from my mom’s garden, homemade pesto, walks downtown for our city’s Wednesday night farmers market, salt water taffy on the beach, visiting our county fair and spending afternoons on the golf course… I love visiting home year round, but summers are always the best 🙂

miller - Summer is a perfect time to reduce the workload and up the fun. Baseball games, BBQ’s, and great times with friends and family. Loving it!

Anita France - Summertime is freeing,free for new experiences, colors, love and laughter with breeze on my face hanging out with loved ones, sharing with them the doom of the winter and opening up like flowers to the light of the sunshine.

Sunna Murphy - Ahhh summer, the return of the light! I suffer with seasonal affective disorder,so the winter months are very hard on me. Summer feels like nourishment. The feel of sunlight on your skin is like a great big hug!

Ashleigh - Summer means longer, slower days, grilling out with friends, and lots of time with loved ones. This year, I look forward to actually having much more time to enjoy those summer days having quit my 9-5 job. I really look forward to going to the pool with friends and hanging out with my mom and sister on the weekdays. 🙂

Sarah - I love summer. Summer is time. Time to unwind, time to run, time to cook, time to do nothing and everything.

Vera - I am going to have to be a downer. I do not particularly enjoy summer. I appreciate the change it gives me to go on a family vacation, but for me it adds stress. For a working mom with school aged kids, summer means losing your routine and having an endless stream of routine change as you go from one camp/activity to another. Plus it is really hot. Where I live it is miserable to be outside for most of July and August. Also I don’t like pools or beaches. Ask for comments again in the fall and I’ll be full of praise.

Amy Brown - As a teacher, summer means the end and new beginnings at the same time. You have just finished up one year, but you are already busily preparing for the next. It also means flip-flops, family time, and fun!

Ze - Summer means… long days, warm nights, good friends and family gathering together, food, worship and communion. Summer means… water sports, gardening, eating fruits and fresh vegetables, produce markets on the square, outdoor theater and music concerts. Summer means enjoying the color, the scents, the sights, the sounds and the sun on our shoulders melting away the chilly, gray days of winter

Kristen - I love the summer weather, sundresses & sandals, and going camping.

Janice Cooper - Summer for me means sunshine and beautiful days. I love being outside sitting on my back porch during those nice summer evenings, barbecuing, walks in the park, going to the beach, amusement parks and the sound of the ice cream truck.

B - Summer means… Seven weeks of no work, anticipating the new students along with their rewarding challenges, going to yoga class in the morning and again in the evening, visiting the botanical garden anytime I feel like and staying as long as I want to, sitting on the back deck and enjoying the sounds and sights of nature, eating ice cream at the pool with friends, stopping by my parents house in the middle of the day for no reason and feeling how happy it makes them, watering my flowers, wearing a hat for days, the sound of flip flops and remembering who I am and what I like to do for just me…

Kimberly Campbell - Summer means to me….being outside, our annual 4th of July celebration in our cul-de-sac, a lake trip, and watching my teenage daughter enjoy “fun time” either at camp or loafing around. Lest I forget the cool drinks on the front porch.

Jen - Berries dipped in or dolloped with whipped cream. Being able to sit contentedly outside watching the sky while the sun sets. Riding a bike without a destination, stopping to check out any small thing that captures my attention. Grass imprints on legs and arms from lounging. Ice cream on the deck!

Daniel M - looking forward to hittin the beach with my friends

Thoughts for Thursday… Climbing Mountains and Gaining Wisdom

Wisdom-is-nothing-more-than-healed-pain

Last week we discussed the curious truth about pain. Pain tells us something. It tells something has happened and something needs to change. Even though we understand pain and even though we know our pain will not last forever, pain is still… painful. Which leads to the bigger question- how do we survive our pain?

I am a super visual person. I constantly think in images. Years ago when I was going through a particularly painful period of life this is the image that played in my mind over and over like a song on repeat.

 

You are standing at the bottom of a mountain in the pouring rain. The rain is coming down so hard that the mountain has turned into a mountain of mud. Your eyes can barely cut through the sheets of rain and dense fog. You start to climb. You climb a few feet finding a rock for footing here and a branch to grab onto there. Your legs push you; your arms pull you. Then your foot slips, your tired hands loosen their grip, and you slide back to the bottom.

You start climbing again and this time you know which rock can steady your foot and which branch can bear your tug. You climb a little higher this time, grab another branch, reach for another tree root. And then you slide down again. You’re drenched. You’re covered in mud. Your knees are skinned and your hands are blistered.

mudclimb

But you keep getting up and you keep climbing. You crawl through the mud. You grab the branches and rocks that you know will hold you because they have been tested in your previous attempts. You learn your way rock by rock, branch by branch, and slide by slide. Each time you make it a little quicker to the point where you lost it previously because you know what worked and what didn’t.

You crawl and climb, climb and slide, and repeat that cycle as many times as you have to until you reach the mountain top… that safe haven. The slides down the mountain weren’t mistakes or failures or setbacks. They were lessons in knowing where to put your trust and where to place your footing.

Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.  Yes, indeed.  How do we gain the wisdom and heal the pain?  We climb the mountain.  We keep climbing the mountain.   Are you ready to start climbing?

Nicole Stancel - Beautifully said! I love you Mazy!

Maria Sanchez - Loved it!!! Life lessons , you gain experience through failures and pain.

karen Courcy - I love this and its so true, and everystep you take that doesn’t break you, you learn from that step and know that step was safe, that is a part of healing.

For me right now I am really focusing on replacing old messages and healing those painful old messages .. this writing was a great reminder of that ..

Karen

The Truth About Pain

Sometimes when I scan my bookshelves I have to chuckle because I’m rather sure Amazon must think I am a pretty troubled soul.  My bookshelves and my Amazon Wish List are filled with titles about loss, disappointment, and pain.  I suppose it is a liability of my profession, but even before I became a therapist, I was drawn to reading and understanding how we deal with and overcome pain in our lives.  I realized a couple of years ago that I think one of the reasons I keep reading about the darker side of life is that I keep searching for new answers.  I think deep down I’m holding out hope that maybe someone has found a new take on heartache or new research that shows how we can avoid pain or make pain stop once it starts.  I think I secretly hope that when I click on those articles on Yahoo that promise 5 Easy Steps to Let Go of Resentment and Disappointment that there really will be five easy steps that I haven’t heard before.

Sadly, that is never the case.

Several years ago, though, I did read something that changed how I saw pain and the purpose of pain in our lives.  Yes, I said the purpose of pain.

In Philip Yancey’s Where is God When it Hurts, he talks about the work of Dr. Paul Brand. Dr. Brand worked primarily with leprosy patients.  Probably like most people, my understanding of leprosy has been shaped by what I learned in Sunday School as a child.  In my mind, leprosy was this horrible skin disease from back in “Jesus times”, and lepers had scabby skin, open wounds, and had to shout “Unclean, unclean” if anyone came near.

I was surprised to learn that leprosy is not a skin disease.  Leprosy affects the nervous system, and it takes away a person’s ability to feel pain.  It makes a person completely numb to pain.  Consequently, when they injure themselves they may not realize how significant the injury, which leads to further harm, infections, gaping wounds, and eventual lost limbs.

Their inability to feel pain actually makes their life and health worse.

Interesting.

To aid his patients, Dr. Brand and his engineers developed a type of glove with sensors that signaled a warning when the patient was unknowingly hurting himself.  Initially the signal was a loud alarm, but Dr. Brand found that despite the loud noise signaling the patients to stop what they were doing, they would continue in their activity even though they knew they were hurting themselves.

Dr. Brand then tried using a flashing light and eventually resorted to using a slight electric shock to get the patients to stop their unintentionally self destructive behavior.  He discovered, though, that patients started switching off the shock feature when they really wanted to do something that they knew would trigger the warning.  Self-will proved stronger than self-care.  He eventually gave up on the project because it proved too costly and completely ineffective.

Philip Yancey said in conclusion, “By definition, pain is unpleasant, enough so to force us to withdraw our fingers from a stove.  Yet that very quality saves us from destruction.  Unless the warning signal demands response, we might not heed it.

Pain forces us to stop.  Pain forces us to listen.

Physical pain is the body’s alarm system. If you sprain your ankle running, pain tells you something wrong has occurred and gets you to pay attention to the wounded area so you don’t keep hurting yourself.  Pain tells us something very important.  It tells us that something has happened and that something is wrong.

Emotional pain is our heart’s alarm system telling us something is wrong and that something has (or has not) happened.  Heartache and disappointment, the forms of pain we wish to avoid most in life, force us to stop and re-evaluate.   Emotional pain signals to us that we need to do something differently.  Maybe the signal is telling us to try something new.  Maybe it’s telling us to pause and wait for more information.  Maybe it’s telling us to move on entirely.

Pain can serve a purpose.  Sadness, disappointment, discouragement can serve a purpose.  These difficult experiences force us to pay attention and to re-evaluate our actions, our choices, and our decisions.

Pain is the siren of our heart and the validator of our life experience.  It signals when something has happened and it validates that, yes, it was a big deal.  Pain says Stop. Mourn. Grieve. Rage. Weap.  What happened to you mattered.  What is happening IS a big deal.  Don’t minimize it.  Don’t brush it under the rug.  Don’t numb it.  Don’t avoid it.

Without pain- without heartbreak, loneliness, disappointment- we sometimes would not know when to stop and we may end up doing ourselves more harm.  We wouldn’t know when to get out of the relationship.  We wouldn’t know when to leave the job.  We wouldn’t know when to say no and set boundaries.  Pain can actually be a great teacher and instigator of change, if we let it.  Yes, we may convince ourselves that numbing, ignoring, and avoiding are the better options, but they are not.  Being emotionally numb does not lead to NOT being hurt; it just leads to NOT knowing when the hurt is being done.

But pain is never pleasant.  As much as I have read and heard “Rejoice in your suffering,” that is often a hard pill for me to swallow because pain hurts, and my survival instinct says avoid pain, numb pain, reject pain.  My survival instinct says all those things, but the seeds of truth and wisdom that try to take root in my mind remind me that pain can have meaning, it is not eternal, and every wound can be bound up and healed.

What is the truth about pain?  The truth about pain is that it always hurts and it is never comfortable, but pain can tell us something.  It can tell us something we need to hear and that just might save us from our own destruction.

What is your pain telling you today? What has your pain told you in the past? How can you embrace your heartache so that it shapes your life rather than stops your life?

Jim Freedom - Mazi, your thoughts on physical pain are valid enough but you totally lost me on the emotional pain part. Emotional pain is pain that is completely self-inflicted and unnecessary IF one is aware of what they are doing. We need emotional pain until we become aware of why we would create it in the first place. For those who are fully awake they find no need for emotional pain. Granted, that is a small percentage of the people.
I would also like to add that it is my experience at any time I am experiencing pain, physical or emotional, I appreciate that pain for what it is and the very act of appreciating decrease the intensity of the pain.

Lauren GILLARD - Interesting – I am dealing with grief over loss of my partner of 18 years that pain is so deep and hurts so much. Don’t know what to do with it or how to use it to benefit me – any advice?

But There Was Meat in Egypt!! (Lessons on Letting Go)

Are you good at letting go of things? I’ll be honest; I’m not.

A few weeks ago I shared that I have been trying to make a conscious effort to let go of fear and control.  But letting go of fear and control are really just two smaller parts of the greater challenge of letting go.  I’m not good at letting go of anything really.  This is a constant area of growth for me.

Instead of letting go, here’s what I do.  I ruminate.  I obsess.  I glorify things from the past that do not necessarily need to be glorified.  I replay conversations.  Not only do I replay conversations, but also I rehearse conversations I would like to have where I tell that person exactly what I think.  I’ve got several scripts all written and ready to go in my head.

Like I said, this is a part of my personality I really don’t care for because nothing good grows out of it.  This struggle to let go only brings forth more angst and anxiety into my life.  I would love to be that super peaceful-at-one-with-the-earth-wearing-long-skirts type of person who is all, “Go. Fly away worries, hurts, and resentments. I am releasing you.”  But instead, I’m more of the going-to-sit-and-spin-like-a-tornado-on-a-scratched-record type of person who is all, “Why? Why?  How could this happen? It’s not fair! What if, what if???”

Last week, I had a five-hour car ride to get in some good ruminating, and as I was moving into hour three it hit me- you’re glorifying Egypt.

Egypt?  Let me explain…

One of my favorite Biblical figures/stories is that of Moses and the Israelites.   The entire account of Moses and the Israelites starting with Moses being called to go to Egypt and set the Israelites free to the great exodus to the wandering in the wilderness for 40 years really resonates with me.  No, I’ve neither been enslaved nor led a nation of people to freedom. And no, I’ve never wandered in the desert for 40 years, but I love the accounts of Moses and the Israelites because I am an Israelite.

I think we like to judge the Israelites. We like use the Israelites wandering in the wilderness as poster children for complaint-filled doubt.  We like to wag our finger in disapproval at their repeated lack of faith and frequent grumblings about their circumstances.   But come on, if we’re honest, haven’t we all been like the Israelites at some time or another?

Oh sure, I would love to think that after I had seen the ten plagues I would have walked up to the Red Sea and instantly thought God’s got this.  I would love to think I would have been in grateful awe of the daily provision of manna and water in the desert.  But the truth is I’m sure at some point I would have resented the manna and found it to be bitter.  I’m sure I would have complained that the pillar of fire guiding me by night was keeping me up because it was too bright and that the cloud by day was blocking my view of the sun.  I am sure I would have joined in dancing around the golden calf because my memory is short and my fears are mighty.   And I am absolutely positive I would have joined in the mass moaning about how life was better in Egypt and how at least in Egypt there was meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.

Forget freedom.  Forget reaching the Promised Land.  Forget seeing the impossible become possible.  In Egypt, there were cucumbers and onions and fish!

At some point along our journey, aren’t we all guilty of glorifying the Egypt of our past?

I’ve found that sometimes when we have a hard time letting go of the past it is because we are glorifying the past.  We remember the cucumbers and forget the slavery, so to speak.

Yes, I know the relationship was bad and it kept my heart broken and anxious, but we had a connection and what if I never find a connection like that again. 

Yes, the job was soul crushing and mind numbing, but I had all those vacation days and now pursuing what I really want to do means starting at the bottom of the ladder again.

Somehow in the midst of the pain of change (and change is painful… that’s why so many people choose not to change), we forget how unhappy, unfulfilled, unhealthy we were in our “Egypt”.  Instead, we remember some distorted version of the past where our “slavery” wasn’t that bad.  We convince ourselves there were some good moments and maybe if we could just go back it would be different this time.  Or we think that it will not be that good in the future.  Oh the lies we are susceptible to when we are in the midst of change.

Discomfort clouds our vision.  It is hard to leave our past behind, especially when we are struggling in the present.  Occasionally when we are confused and feel like we are wandering it is because we are truly lost, but sometimes when we feel like we are wandering it is really because we are being prepared for our future.  When we revere our Egypt, we don’t see the healing and freedom that is happening all around us.  But mind you, there is always a price for freedom and health.  And sometimes the cost of health is the pain of letting go of those unhealthy habits, relationships, and parts of yourself that are keeping you enslaved in the past.

Do you have an “Egypt” in your life that you sometimes glorify because the present is challenging?  What do you need to remember about your “Egypt” that will help you let go?

kristen - I needed this! Your writing is always so beautiful!

Brenda DiCristina - Sometimes we must walk through Egypt to get to “THE LIGHT”. We are all human, but we must know we are not walking alone. Our Lord is always with us.

Years ago in my Bible I wrote, “To worry is faithlessness.” I still struggle, but again, I am never alone.

Carolyn Asmussenn - Great

Marsha Klein - We all have an egypt its true. My egypt is the fear of lack of money which has its basis in reality from my childhood as an ACOA. I rationally know that in my adult years i have never been without money, not always enough at times. The fear causes me to have anxiety and panic attacks which leave me feeling depressed. After sooooo many years of therapy and life lesson you would think i would be past this or be better at moving it to the side. Alas that is not true. I rely on my higher power and the universe to provide the support i lacked in my firrst 25 years and sometimes i can and like yesterday nothing seemed to help. I continue to work at this every minute of my life and will continue to do so but it is emotionally painful and fearful. Any observations and/or guidance is welcomed

Barbara Dudley - Great post…Love the insight and that “aha” moment…I feel you’ve just given a great gift to anyone who reads…Really wonderful…Thanks for the wisdom…:)

Choosing to Dance

Earlier this week I wrote about how it is easier not to.  It’s easier not to try.  It’s easier not to think before your lash out.  It’s easier not to connect and let people really know you.  But as I said in the earlier post, when we choose not to, we miss out on the blessing.  We miss out on seeing what our life can be about and what we can do.  We miss out when we choose not to.  As it would happen, Monday night I saw something on TV that beautifully illustrated this point.

Before we go on, I should tell you that I am a huge Dancing with the Stars fan.  Huge.  I usually cry at least once during an episode.  I vote weekly.  I may or may not have tried to do the quick step around my house.  I often say the only reason I would want to be famous is so I can be just famous enough that I can be on Dancing with the Stars.   The show strikes a chord with me because quite frankly I think it is amazing that these people, who usually have little to zero dance background, learn these beautiful dances.  I love seeing people try hard, and I just love seeing these people totally step outside their comfort zones and dance.  After all, dancing is the very definition of vulnerability. (And I like the sparkly outfits too. 🙂 )

This season, though, is like none other.  This season paralympian Amy Purdy is competing.  At 19 years old, Amy contracted bacterial meningitis and both of her legs were amputated at the knees and she lost one of her kidneys.  In this week’s episode, Amy talks about learning to walk again and her father’s gift of life twice in that he gave her one of his kidneys.  Amy shares how painful it was learning to walk with her new prosthetic legs and how one night, upon hearing a song on the radio, and she got up and danced with her dad.  She said she thought, “If I can dance, then I can walk.  And if I can walk, then I can snowboard.  And I can live a great life.” A great life indeed.  (Click here to watch Amy share her story.)

Amy and Derek’s dance this week depicts the story of her learning to walk again.  It is one of the most moving two minutes and thirty seconds I have seen on television.  This young woman who was given a less than 2% chance of even surviving the meningitis and who lost both of her legs below the knee is… dancing!  It literally takes your breath away and brings tears to your eyes as you see such an amazing display of courage dance across that stage.

No one would have faulted Amy for choosing not to.  Out of her control and without her say so, her life was forever changed fifteen years ago.  But Amy Purdy did not choose not to.  Amy Purdy chose I can and I will.

Friends, it is easier not to.  It is soo much easier.   And yes, the alternative is hard and sometimes hard is scary.  But when you choose not to, you miss out.  You miss the chance to dance.   I hope we all start choosing to dance.