I Believe in Magic

finding love, soul connection By May 16, 2017 3 Comments

Magic is… how our souls found one another.

Magic is… the way our hearts stretch to hold an unimaginable BIG LOVE.

Magic is… your HUG, which takes my pain away.

Magic is… the way we each LIGHT UP when we see each other.

Magic is… how your hand fits perfectly in mine.

Magic is… seeing BEAUTY grow where pain was planted.

Magic is… stepping with you into the unknown, and finding ourselves right where we are meant to be.

Magic is…. the unshakable love we share.

Magic is….knowing you are my answered prayer.

Some don’t believe in magic.

Yet when I look around, I see…

Magic happens every day.

It’s happening to me!

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How to Spell L O V E

be brave, finding love By February 21, 2017 1 Comment


First we need an L.
L is for learning.
Life is a series of Lessons teaching us about LOVE.
As we Listen and Learn, LOVE brings Lasting beauty that fiLLs our hearts.

Next comes the O.
O is for Overflowing.
When we come with Open hearts and Open hands we show LOVE to Ourselves and Others.
LOVE withOut fear Overflows with grace and hOpe.

V is Very important
Because V stands for Valiant.
True LOVE is an adVenture requiring courage.
Only the braVe see the Value of risking their hearts.

Finish off with an E for elastic.
LOVE stretches and grows to Encompass Everyone on Earth.
LOVE is Essential for a healthy heart.
It Enables us to know we are Enough, just as we are.


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Nothing is Something

finding love, worthiness By February 9, 2017 20 Comments


Doing nothing is not nothing.

Doing nothing is doing something.

Sometimes doing nothing is the doing hardest thing.

Because in doing nothing, in the quiet, in the emptiness, I cannot escape my thoughts.

In doing nothing I am faced with the good and the hard, the ugly and the beautiful,

The ache

The hope

The fear

The longing.

Many times I find myself doing something

Doing anything

To keep from feeling

What feels too hard to feel.

Many times I find myself doing something

Doing anything

To prove I am productive

To prove I am good enough.

To prove I am worth the space I occupy.

To prove I am worth loving.

I am doing better at doing nothing,

Doing better at believing I have nothing to prove.

I am enough.

The space I occupy matters.

In doing nothing I find something.

In doing nothing I find there is nothing

I can do to be more loved

Than I am right now.

Doing nothing is not nothing.

Doing nothing is doing something.

Sometimes doing nothing is the hardest thing.

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Stepping Into the Light

finding love, the meaning behind, worthiness By February 7, 2017 3 Comments

For anyone who has ever wondered if the messiness of love is worth it…

Opening ourselves to love means

Taking down the walls around our hearts,

And leaving our hearts vulnerable.

A vulnerable heart does not simply risk being hurt,

It will be hurt.

Love is not safe.

I am imperfect.

You are imperfect.

We love each other imperfectly.

We hurt each other.

So why take the risk? Why love?

Because in the broken down, messiness of vulnerability,

While we wade through the pain of sharp words

and the loneliness of being misunderstood,

we are met with the healing balm of forgiveness.

While we journey down an unexplored, windy path

Sometimes hand in hand, sometimes with our backs to each other,

We find something truly magical.

When we leave safety behind

We find truth.

The truth we are loved, exactly as we are; broken and imperfect.

We leave safety behind to find something immeasurably better.

We find LOVE abounding in grace and hope.

We find we were not safe before, we were simply numb.

Numbness is comforting.

Numbness means not feeling the deep, painful ache of our hearts

Being pulled and stretched and torn.

But numbness means missing out on the exhilarating joy of being known.

The joy of being seen, just as we are.

The joy of being accepted.

The joy of being called worthy.

The joy of hearing the God of the Universe say “You are enough”.

It is only when we step out from the shadows and let the light shine on us

We see ourselves as God sees us.

We see who He created us to be;

Quirky and insightful and creative and wise.

He knit me together and gave me a unique soul.

I am one-of-a-kind.

He knit you together and gave you a unique soul.

You are one-of-a-kind.

In that place of power, we look shame directly in the eye and say, “You are a liar.”

Now we know the truth.

We leave safety to find freedom abounds.

We are free from the fear that held us prisoner.

The sun shines on us, warming our shoulders,

Filling our hearts with peace.

We soak it up, knowing

We are loved,

Just as we are.

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buzz buzz

finding love, worthiness By January 5, 2017 5 Comments


Thoughts like bumblebees fly around my head.
Buzz buzz buzz
So many thoughts

Some thoughts buzz by and I hardly notice them.

Some thoughts are scary.
The scary thoughts buzz and buzz.
I try to run but they chase me.

I stop running and face the scary thoughts.
“Are you true?” I ask them.
The scary thoughts keep pestering me.
“No.” they say.
We are not true.
Their buzzing gets quieter.

Some thoughts are mean.
The mean thoughts sting. Ouch.
I try to run but they chase me.

I stop running and face the mean thoughts.
“Are you true?” I ask them.
The mean thoughts keep pestering me.
“No.” they say.
We are not true.
Their buzzing gets quieter.

Some thoughts are happy.
The happy thoughts are as sweet as honey.
I do not run from them.

I turn and face the happy thoughts.
“Are you true?” I ask them
The happy thoughts keep buzzing.
“Yes.” They say.
We are true.
I take these thoughts into my heart.

I am the keeper of my thoughts.
My thoughts do not keep me.
The happy thoughts make a home inside my heart.
After time they grow and become a deep knowing.

You are unique.
You are amazing.
You are enough.
Just as you are.

Buzz buzz buzz
My heart knows it is loved.

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I’m Not a Writer

thoughts By December 20, 2016 14 Comments


I’ve written over 2,000 posts on my blog. But I’m not writer.

I’ve been writing for (in)courage for years alongside amazing women—many of who have published books. But I always felt a little out of place because I’m not a writer.

I love to read, I cherish deep conversations with a trusted friend, I connect with others when I share my heart through written words, but I’m not a writer.

I’ve told myself for a long time, “I don’t care about writing. Writing is part of what I do, but I’m not a writer.”

The thought of writing a book felt overwhelming. How would I even begin such a massive project? So instead I’ve shared my heart through photos and short blog posts and heartfelt paragraphs.

And I’ve been fine with that. Mostly.

For the last year I’ve been working with an executive coach and it’s been life changing. I wanted to know how to make my business better. I hoped to focus my time and energy on things I’m passionate about and remove distractions from my life. I wanted to uncover my life purpose.

He started by having me complete a couple inventories to understand my values and strengths. What emerged, to my surprise, is word; both written and spoken, is very important to me.

“That’s strange”, I thought, “because I’m not a writer.”

Or am I?

I love written words. I love story telling. I’m passionate about being honest and vulnerable. This community has been a place where I connect and grow. We’ve journeyed together, sometimes in person, but most often through written words.

“What if I am a writer?” I thought.

I felt a spark of hope in my heart and a turning in my stomach. The thought both thrilled and terrified me.

What if deep down I want to write but I’ve been afraid to admit it to myself? What if I’m not pursuing the thing I’m most passionate about because I’m scared?

“I want to write.” I allowed the words to move through my brain and settle on my shoulders.

“I want to ask my heart what it wants to say and share it with others. I want to connect on a heart level through written words.”

I’ve told myself so many negative messages over the years.

For years I told myself I wasn’t a good dancer, but I learned to dance. In fact, my husband and I fell in love during swing dance classes.

I told myself I wasn’t athletic, but as an adult I’ve learned to love hiking and my body is strong.

I’ve told myself I wasn’t good at parallel parking but I think I’ve finally mastered it.

What if my negative messages are simply away to assuage my fears?

Oh my gosh, what if I’m a writer?

I’ve begun making space for quiet. I’ve begun setting aside time to write. As soon as I slowed down to do these things words started coming and coming fast. So I put them down on paper—even though I was scared. When I went back and read over my words I knew, yes, this is what my heart wanted to say. I published my thoughts, my feelings, my heart on my blog even though I had a lump in my throat.

And you read my words and encouraged me. You left comments to share your own story, your own heart. Thank you.

As I’m making time for quiet and making space for writing, I can feel this what I’m meant to do. I’m growing and learning as I write. I’m beginning to dip my toes into deeper waters, wondering if I could write a book some day.

I’m learning what it looks like to live with honesty and bravery.

I’m finding courage even in my fear.

I’m beginning to believe I’m a writer.

What if the thing you fear most is what truly matters most to your heart?

Is there a negative message you’ve been telling yourself?  Share the first thing that comes to mind. Let’s dream big together!

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love makes the world go round

finding love By December 3, 2016 7 Comments

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Mother Love is as cozy as a blanket and as fierce as a grizzly.
It sounds like the sweetest lullaby at bedtime.
It feels tender, a heart no longer beating for itself.
It looks fragile, easily torn apart.
But resilient, healing itself to become stronger than before.

Friendship love is sincere and open.
It sounds like long talks and shared secrets.
It feels like cool water on a hot summer’s day.
It looks like a soul stretched and grown over time.
It rests in being accepted just as it is.

Romantic Love is wild and free.
It feels like the wind rushing through the trees.
It sounds like shouts of joy.
It looks like learning to navigate a windy, rocky path.
If it sustains its rough edges are worn away leaving smoothness and strength.

Self Love is a deep breath and a deep knowing.
It sounds like a quiet night sky with sparkling stars.
It feels like a good night’s sleep and a warm cup of coffee.
It looks peaceful, calm and undemanding.
It smiles to itself, confident it was created to be unique and rare.

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Family Love is beautiful and messy.
It feels like the shade of a sturdy tree.
It sounds like laughter and bickering.
It looks like honesty; revealing both sides of the heart–light and dark.
In the place of being known it finds firm ground and safety.

All of this love flows from the same source.
It bends and stretches through every heart connecting each of us.
This connection creates a force so strong it moves the earth.
Love, in its many forms, makes the world go round.

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one open heart

choose joy, finding love By November 29, 2016 106 Comments

I am learning one open heart can change the world.

On a sunny Sunday morning last year, we arrived at church a few minutes early. David slowly climbed the steps, one at a time, while holding my hand. Once inside he pulled away from me, wanting to explore the sanctuary before the service began. I set down my bag and followed closely behind him. I had no idea what was about to happen.

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David lives life inside a body that doesn’t cooperate. Because of his disability, he is very small, has only two fingers on his left hand and is non-verbal. David can’t speak with words but he has much to say. He communicates through gestures, physical touch and heart connection. As he moved around the room he ran his hand over the smooth wood of the church pew, weaving in and out of the narrow space. Then he crossed the aisle and made his way over to a woman sitting by herself. She was in her late thirties, had a kind face and a gentle presence.

We’d never met but that didn’t stop David from approaching her. As he got closer, the woman looked up and smiled at him. Once beside her, David turned around and backed up to her—it’s his way of asking to be held.

“He wants to sit on your lap.” I explained. “He can sit next to you if you prefer.”

“No,” she said, “I’d love to hold him.” She carefully lifted him onto her lap.

He tenderly wrapped his arms around her neck and laid his head against her shoulder.

“Is this okay?” I asked, anxious to be considerate of her space “Would you like me to move him?”

She looked up at me with tears in her eyes.

“My mom was diagnosed with cancer a couple days ago.” she said in a quiet voice. “I just needed a hug so badly. He knew exactly what I needed.”

I bent down beside them and touched her knee softly as she and David embraced. It was a holy moment of connection that soothed a hurting heart.

In that moment he gave her love, changing her world.

So often I rush around, trying to take care of people, trying to serve, trying to be good enough, trying to prove myself.

David doesn’t worry about these things. He is present in the moment. He is fully himself, unconcerned with what others think.

David’s simple act of love brought hope and beauty to this woman’s day.

He saw her and without pause met her exactly where she was.

It wasn’t accidental.

It wasn’t complicated.

It was David’s open heart that created a beautiful connection.

Maybe it’s not only grand, heroic actions that change the world.

Maybe it’s the quiet moments, when, in humility and brokenness we meet each other right where we are.

We offer hope and love.

We are present to witness another person’s pain and offer soothing grace.


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When we stop rushing, stop trying, stop proving, we can be fully present in the moment.

We can be fully ourselves and open our hearts to each other.

David is showing me one open heart can change the world.

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I am enough

finding love By November 17, 2016 14 Comments

I’ve beat myself up over and over with harsh words.

I told myself I wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t thin enough, wasn’t creative enough, wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t patient enough, wasn’t good enough.
Beating myself up with these harsh words was like setting my feet in cement and yelling at myself for not growing and changing and moving forward.

I’ve sat in business meetings and felt like a fraud.
I’ve tried on a pair of jeans and left the store feeling awful about myself.
I’ve dropped out of a pottery class frustrated I couldn’t master the techniques.
I’ve worn a big bulky sweater to hide from the world because I felt ugly.
I’ve screamed at my kids at the top of my lungs and then felt like a horrible mother.
I’ve told myself over and over I’m a failure. I’m not enough.

You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging. Brene Brown

I wasn’t good enough for what? Well, when I dug down deep and I was really, really honest with myself, I believed, I wasn’t good enough to loved. I believed I should be better to make myself more lovable.

I’ve been mixed up. I’m finding out…
There is no smart that’s smart enough to be loved.
There is no thin that’s thin enough to be loved.
There is no creative that’s creative enough to be loved.
There is no pretty that’s pretty enough to be loved.
There is no patient that’s patient enough to be loved.
There is no good that’s good enough to be loved.

These things don’t bring love. They may bring admiration–and admiration is a nice thing. It feels good. But I what I truly want, what my soul craves, is real and lasting love.

I’ve believed I won’t be lovable unless I live a certain way, look a certain way, perform a certain way. I haven’t completely overcome this deeply rooted lie, but I’m working to change my thinking. I’m working to believe what’s true, instead of believing a lie. It’s a simple truth but also complicated–because it means looking at myself from a completely different perspective.

i-am-enough-lisa-leonard-15

The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection.
Henri Nouwen

The truth is, I am not only lovable, I am loved. Right now, I am loved, just as I am. I don’t have to change one thing.
I am smart enough to be loved.
I am thin enough to be loved.
I am pretty enough to be loved.
I am patient enough to be loved.
I am good enough to be loved.

Starting from a place of enough is like a pair of the best running shoes and a long, straight dirt road with wildflowers popping up on either side. It makes my daily to-do list shorter and frees up brain space. It’s like I’ve been holding my breath and I can finally exhale.

I’ve spent so much time trying to prove I’m lovable, because underneath, I believed I wasn’t.
I’ve worried about what my husband thought of me, what people at church thought of me, what other moms at school drop off thought of me, what strangers at the grocery store thought of me. Believing I wasn’t lovable got me nowhere. It was exhausting–so much energy, so much work, so much wasted time. How can I ever truly know what someone else thinks of me? In a business meeting, one person might think I’m smart and insightful, another person in the same meeting might think I’m completely missing the point and wasting time. Worrying about what other people think of me never, ever worked for me.

What other people think of me is none of my business. Wayne Dyer

It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks of me.
It only matters what’s true.
And the truth is I am loved, right now.
How do I know it’s true?
The God of the Universe says, “I love you.”

Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. Philippians 4:8

From the starting place, ‘I am enough right now’ I begin to make change, I begin to grow.
I don’t make change to be loved, I make change to live out of my truest self.
I don’t grow to be loved, I grow to love others better.
I’m starting from a place that’s filled with hope and light.

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I am enough.
You are enough.

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the perfect berry crumble

choose joy, finding love, worthiness By November 1, 2016 85 Comments

Every marriage goes through difficult times, and we were in a difficult time. We were both trying but we weren’t connecting. We were both hurting but didn’t know how to help each other. We were both making mistakes but we didn’t know what they were.

During this time, we had plans to gather with friends for a celebration. I decided to make Steve’s favorite dessert, berry crumble. This wasn’t going to be just any berry crumble—I was going to make the perfect berry crumble. I wanted to show Steve how much I loved him. I wanted to show him he was precious to me. This berry crumble was going to knock his socks off.

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I spent time researching the best recipe online. I gathered all the ingredients and spent a good chunk of the day making the amazing dessert. As the celebration approached, I slowly pulled the hot crumble out of the oven, wrapped it a heavy towel and we all loaded into the car. We parked in front of our friends’ home and I carefully got out, maneuvering the hot berry crumble to avoid a spill. I took a few steps and suddenly I lost hold of the wrapped glass dish. I watched in slow motion as my perfect crumble splattered all over the sidewalk. I felt the sting of hot tears behind my eyes.

“Hold it together.” I told myself.

But I couldn’t. The tears overflowed and once they started they wouldn’t stop. I could barely catch my breath between sobs. This was no ordinary berry crumble, this was the perfect berry crumble. This crumble was going to show Steve how much I cared for him. This dessert was going to save our marriage. It was going to make Steve fall in love with me again. I looked down at the berry crumble splattered all over the sidewalk and sobbed.

I tried so hard to be good enough. I tried to be the perfect wife. I tried to become less so he could be more. But it wasn’t working. Instead I was becoming less than whole–and a relationship can’t thrive without two whole people. I thought being perfect would bring me joy. But I was so focused on being perfect, I was missing all the joy.

I’ve clung to the belief that perfection held joy. I’ve spent most of my life believing if I could be perfect, or at least almost perfect, I would be lovable. So I worked hard to create the ‘perfect’ life for us. I tried to create a beautiful, tidy home. I tried to be the perfect mother—patient and fun and consistent. I tried to be happy even when I felt sad. I tried to be needless and wantless and take care of everybody else. My good intentions to ‘take care’ of everybody were really a desire to control. If I could control everything I would be good enough. I was terrified I wasn’t lovable, so I tried to control. The more I tried to control Steve, our marriage and our family, the more out of control I felt. I’d worked tirelessly to try to hold it all together, but we were a mess. It was falling apart—not just the berry crumble, but our marriage too.

I was finding out, there is no berry crumble so perfect it can hold a marriage together.

Perfection is a lie. It demands more and more, never offering a moment’s rest. Perfect is never satisfied. I kept reaching further and further, thinking I was almost there, but perfection was always just out of reach. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t be perfect.

But honesty. Honesty looks like me showing up and being my truest self, and Steve showing up and being his truest self. Two people showing up and being honest is imperfect and messy. Sometimes it’s more than messy; it’s super ugly and dark and scary. I don’t like messy. I wish relationships could be nice and tidy–but I’m learning that’s not how relationships work. Life is messy, marriage is messy, kids are messy, friendships are messy.

When we show up in the mess and we’re open, we are taking a step towards each other.

When we share our honest thoughts and desires, we begin to truly know each other.

When we’re brave and real our hearts connect.

When our hearts connect we begin to discover joy.

I can’t control my husband or my kids. I can’t keep my house perfectly clean.

I’m not perfect, I’m just me.

I want to be loved for who I am, my truest self. I want to be in an honest marriage where we step into the mess together and together we work to make something beautiful. I want to let my kids be kids—in all their moods and messes and silliness. I want to order pizza instead of stressing about making the perfect meal. I want to see toys and shoes all over the family room and know we are living life together in this space. I want to let go of perfect and embrace truth. I want to be present in the crazy ups and downs of every day.
I’m learning I have to let go of perfection to have joy.
Today I choose joy.

How about together we let go of perfection and choose joy?

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