The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Aug 28, 2013

90 Minute History of Fashion

Aug 16, 2013

From "No one's the Bitch"

Only something you can understand if you've done the time. A spot on article, "What divorced (biological) moms should know about step moms" -

1. She isn’t playing house with your child and your ex-husband.

Stepmoms are trying to build their own family, a very real family that includes their husband, and children who aren’t theirs.

Some of them will grow to love their stepchildren and some won’t, but they’re doing their best to ensure the child still grows up feeling happy and loved.

They’re nurturing a marriage and trying to figure out their role in the stepchild’s life. And while you knew your place in your child’s life from day one, stepmoms can spend years trying to find theirs.

2. It’s not about YOU.

A stepmom’s priority is her marriage. When she does something for her stepchild, often the motivation has nothing to do with you. It’s not about trying to make you look bad or make you feel “less than.”

The motivation is the safety and happiness of her stepchild. The motivation is the love she has for her husband.

She’s trying to do the right thing – just like you would.

Similarly, when she supports her husband, the intention is not to go “against” you. In fact, there are times when stepmoms actually side with mom, although — unless you have a decent relationship with the stepmom in your situation — you’d never know it.

3. Stepmoms often feel powerless and alone.

Stepmoms have no legal rights with their stepchild. They understand this; their stepchild already has a mom and a dad. But it gets difficult when they’re turned away for trying to obtain something as simple as a library card for their stepson or stepdaughter. Or when the doctor’s office won’t give them any information, even though they will be the one driving the child to the appointment and giving them their medication.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially for stepmoms who have taken care of their stepchildren since they were very small.

It can make a woman feel unimportant and insignificant. It’s a feeling only a fellow stepmom could understand.

In addition, stepmoms are often powerless when it comes to their stepchild’s behavior. This is a struggle, because they are greatly affected by the unwanted behavior, but they don’t have the authority to do anything about it. If they’re lucky, their husband will be supportive and listen to their concerns, but this isn’t always the case.

4. When you contact their household, it often feels weird and disruptive.

Stepmoms know you have the right to call your children as often as you’d like. And they understand you need to talk to your ex occasionally about parenting issues. But it can still feel like an intrusion.

Stepmoms are constantly struggling to find ways to bond with their stepchildren. And when you call, it interrupts the activity in the house and their stepchildren are immediately distracted. Any bonding that was going on is gone.

Stepmoms may feel as though you’ve crept into every aspect of their lives. And your calling their house is another painful reminder of that.

5. Stepmoms don’t cross your boundaries on purpose, they just can’t see them.

Many moms complain that the stepmom is trying to “parent” their child. But a fundamental problem seems to be, what moms consider “parenting,” stepmoms consider “being responsible” or “supporting their husbands.”

Remember, many stepmoms aren’t sure of their role.

They’re stumbling along, figuring it out as they go. And it’s difficult to try and do the ‘right thing’ only to realize you’ve just caused mom a coronary. It’s not intentional.

Stepmoms wish there was a rule book. They wish the situations were black and white. They wish they could be on the same page as mom and dad, and know how to handle every situation.

But they don’t.

This is where neutral, open communication would be to everyone’s advantage.

Unfortunately, for many stepmoms, their first experience of mom is an emotionally-charged phone call, email or text telling her she has “no right” to do whatever it is she did. To a stepmom, this feels like you’re kicking her when she’s already down. It comes as a shock — because again — her primary intention was to help her husband and care for her stepchild.

6. A stepmom’s marriage has a 60-70 percent chance of failing.

And one Boston study reported that 75% of the women who were surveyed said if they had it to do all over, they would NOT marry a man with children. That says a lot about the difficulties stepmoms face.

This may not mean much to you personally, but it means your children will have to experience the prolonged process of a second divorce and deal with the aftermath.

7. Stepmoms are often disrespected or ignored by their stepchildren.

There are various reasons for this, chief among them understandable and agonizing loyalty conflicts for the child, but regardless — it still hurts. Stepmoms are only human!

Life isn’t always flowers and butterflies at the other household. Many children feel weird about having a stepmom. They don’t know what it means or what to do with it, so they act out or just ignore the stepmom, which is awkward for everyone.

And most stepmoms don’t have “unconditional love” to fall back on. When a child misbehaves, wreaks havoc, or throws a tantrum, parents may get angry and frustrated, but their unconditional love makes it bearable.

Stepmoms aren’t so lucky. There’s no unconditional love coming to rescue them from wanting to scream at their stepchild or run the other way, sob somewhere private, and never look back. All they have are difficult feelings and nowhere to put them.

But they do come back, day after day, because they believe their marriage and their stepfamily are worth it.

8. A simple “thank you” can go a long way.

Stepmoms wish you’d give them even the smallest acknowledgement. For a lot of women, being a stepmom is one of the hardest things they’ve ever done. Often, their needs and wants come last, their schedules aren’t their own, and they’re affected by a situation they didn’t create.

Many stepmoms take excellent care of their stepchild, with little or no reward. They get no thank you, no love from the child, and no appreciation from anyone but their husband — if they’re lucky.

They make many sacrifices in order to be with the man they love. So to only be referenced as “she” (or even worse), or to be completely ignored by you, can hurt them deeply. What they wouldn’t give for a simple “thank you” or a nod in their direction.

I believe that kind of recognition can heal wounds.

Do stepmoms ever act from ego or a sense of competition with the ex-wife?

Sure, just as some moms do.

But it’s important to grasp the implications of a bigger context here: being a stepmom is uniquely difficult and confusing. If you’re a mom, could you see yourself struggling in her shoes?

Perhaps, one day, with a better understanding of each other, the mom/stepmom relationship will be one of championing the other, instead of automatic conflict.

Aug 13, 2013

"The day I stopped saying "Hurry Up""

The difficult part about parenting is you have to get stuff done! We must conform! We must succeed! Meet not some, but all the demands.

And we think...we're going to have this cute little bouncing baby and just squirrel them away on our train ride.

Parenting is about - making changes to yourself. It's God's way of taking a situation that yes, does bring out our worst and then turning that hopefully, into the best US.

Typically by blessing us with a child or two that have complete opposite engines from our own.

We are all molded, shaped by our parents - then I was remolded by my own children. I am a better human for my love of them, that ignites the desire to be my best.

I was (and still am) the hurried parent. Honestly, in today's constantly connected, demanding society, I don't know how you can not be.

One day I realized, I'm missing it. Last night looking at a photo of my son, my eyes teared up, my throat threatened to close as I realize - he's there. Teenage change is coming. I don't have much time left and I need to make the most of every single day. Because he's my baby. My oldest baby is in college and he's the bottom of the ladder. The end to what I've done with my life.

I thought - okay, I need to slow down. Enjoy. Capture (click click click...) Every - Single - Moment.

I choke up reading the end of this story because I too have had motherly enlightenment, regret and have learned to swiftly - turned my butt around and get on the same page.

I have Noticers in my house. And they are amazingly inquisitive! I love watching their brains think and move! Little eyes seeing all, taking it in and turning it around.

The best line of this story is:

The truth hurts, but the truth heals … and brings me closer to the parent I want to be.

Absolute truth. Absolute healing. Absolute change. For them.

When you’re living a distracted life, every minute must be accounted for. You feel like you must be checking something off the list, staring at a screen, or rushing off to the next destination. And no matter how many ways you divide your time and attention, no matter how many duties you try and multi-task, there’s never enough time in a day to ever catch up.

That was my life for two frantic years. My thoughts and actions were controlled by electronic notifications, ring tones, and jam-packed agendas. And although every fiber of my inner drill sergeant wanted to be on time to every activity on my overcommitted schedule, I wasn’t.

You see, six years ago I was blessed with a laid-back, carefree, stop-and-smell-the roses type of child.

When I needed to be out the door, she was taking her sweet time picking out a purse and a glittery crown.

When I needed to be somewhere five minutes ago, she insisted on buckling her stuffed animal into a car seat.

When I needed to grab a quick lunch at Subway, she’d stop to speak to the elderly woman who looked like her grandma.

When I had thirty minutes to get in a run, she wanted me to stop the stroller and pet every dog we passed.

When I had a full agenda that started at 6 a.m., she asked to crack the eggs and stir them ever so gently.

My carefree child was a gift to my Type A, task-driven nature—but I didn’t see it. Oh no, when you live life distracted, you have tunnel vision—only looking ahead to what’s next on the agenda. And anything that cannot be checked off the list is a waste of time.

Whenever my child caused me to deviate from my master schedule, I thought to myself, “We don’t have time for this.” Consequently, the two words I most commonly spoke to my little lover of life were: “Hurry up.”

I started my sentences with it.
Hurry up, we’re gonna be late.

I ended sentences with it.
We’re going to miss everything if you don’t hurry up.

I started my day with it.
Hurry up and eat your breakfast.
Hurry up and get dressed.

I ended my day with it.
Hurry up and brush your teeth.
Hurry up and get in bed.

And although the words “hurry up” did little if nothing to increase my child’s speed, I said them anyway. Maybe even more than the words, “I love you.”

The truth hurts, but the truth heals … and brings me closer to the parent I want to be.

Then one fateful day, things changed. We’d just picked my older daughter up from kindergarten and were getting out of the car. Not going fast enough for her liking, my older daughter said to her little sister, “You are so slow.” And when she crossed her arms and let out an exasperated sigh, I saw myself—and it was a gut-wrenching sight.

I was a bully who pushed and pressured and hurried a small child who simply wanted to enjoy life.

My eyes were opened; I saw with clarity the damage my hurried existence was doing to both of my children.

Although my voice trembled, I looked into my small child’s eyes and said, “I am so sorry I have been making you hurry. I love that you take your time, and I want to be more like you.”

Both my daughters looked equally surprised by my painful admission, but my younger daughter’s face held the unmistakable glow of validation and acceptance.

“I promise to be more patient from now on,” I said as I hugged my curly-haired child who was now beaming at her mother’s newfound promise.

It was pretty easy to banish “hurry up” from my vocabulary. What was not so easy was acquiring the patience to wait on my leisurely child. To help us both, I began giving her a little more time to prepare if we had to go somewhere. And sometimes, even then, we were still late. Those were the times I assured myself that I will be late only for a few years, if that, while she is young.

When my daughter and I took walks or went to the store, I allowed her to set the pace. And when she stopped to admire something, I would push thoughts of my agenda out of my head and simply observe her. I witnessed expressions on her face that I’d never seen before. I studied dimples on her hands and the way her eyes crinkled up when she smiled. I saw the way other people responded to her stopping to take time to talk to them. I saw the way she spotted the interesting bugs and pretty flowers. She was a Noticer, and I quickly learned that The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts. That’s when I finally realized she was a gift to my frenzied soul.

My promise to slow down was made almost three years ago, at the same time I began my journey to let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters in life. Living at a slower pace still takes a concerted effort. But my younger daughter is my living reminder of why I must keep trying. In fact, the other day, she reminded me once again.

The two of us had taken a bike ride to a sno-cone shack while on vacation. After purchasing a cool treat for my daughter, she sat down at a picnic table delightedly admiring the icy tower she held in her hand.

Suddenly a look of worry came across her face. “Do I have to rush, Mama?”

I could have cried. Perhaps the scars of a hurried life don’t ever completely disappear, I thought sadly.

As my child looked up at me waiting to know if she could take her time, I knew I had a choice. I could sit there in sorrow thinking about the number of times I rushed my child through life … or I could celebrate the fact that today I’m trying to do thing differently.

I chose to live in today.

“You don’t have to rush. Just take your time,” I said gently. Her whole face instantly brightened and her shoulders relaxed.

And so we sat side-by-side talking about things that ukulele-playing-6-ye​ar-olds talk about. There were even moments when we sat in silence just smiling at each other and admiring the sights and sounds around us.

I thought my child was going to eat the whole darn thing—but when she got to the last bite, she held out a spoonful of ice crystals and sweet juice for me. “I saved the last bite for you, Mama,” my daughter said proudly.

As I let the icy goodness quench my thirst, I realized I just got the deal of a lifetime.

I gave my child a little time … and in return, she gave me her last bite and reminded me that things taste sweeter and love comes easier when you stop rushing through life.

Whether it’s …

Sno-cone eating

Flower picking

Seatbelt buckling

Egg cracking

Seashell finding

Ladybug watching

Sidewalk strolling

I will not say, “We don’t have time for this.” Because that is basically saying, “We don’t have time to live.”

Pausing to delight in the simple joys of everyday life is the only way to truly live.

(Trust me, I learned from the world’s leading expert on joyful living.)

Aug 9, 2013

Song for the week

I love my kids music. The light that speaks directly into my soul.

Can you lift me up, turn the ashes into flames?
Because I have overcome,
More than words will ever say.

And I've been given hope,
That there's a light up the hall.

Aug 8, 2013

What's Integrity?

Today we are surrounded by a new mentality - everyone's good. The generation I developed from, everyone was not good. There was something in our character that always needed improvement. A long life struggle to "become" whatever it was that someone else determined you were to become. But today, the message is that everyone is okay, regardless of their decisions, choices or behaviors. Because there no longer is "good" or "bad". Well, that's not entirely true. Because we all still want to be "good" at whatever it is we choose to do or become. But there is no "bad". Whatever is done, we "tried hard". Gave it our best shot. And that's good.

Integrity - doing what's right even when no one is looking. Doing the right thing, even when you could choose an easier (not wrong...) option, which may benefit yourself but not the others involved. Whatever "fits you". Integrity - an admirable trait that builds trust, fellowship, loyalty between relationships, whether that is employment, friendship, marriage, family - is just plain decent. We no longer hear mentors or leaders in society talk about the importance and meaning of integrity. In order to discuss it, they might have to use the word - bad, wrong, incorrect, poor. And that would not be good.

What Strengthens and Weakens Our Integrity – Part II: Closing the Gap Between Our Actions and Their Consequences

In the first post of this four-part series on what weakens our integrity and how we can strengthen it, we discussed how our decisions to act in dishonest ways are influenced by two factors: 1) wanting to get a reward – often financial/material, but also things like pleasure or fame, and 2) wanting to be able to continue to see ourselves as good people. As psychology professor Dan Ariely puts it: “Essentially, we cheat up to the level that allows us to retain our self-image as reasonably honest individuals.”

How we decide to balance these conflicting motivations comes down to our willingness to rationalize our unethical and selfish behavior as really not so bad. The more you’re able to justify your immoral actions, the grayer the line between what you deem right and wrong gets, and the wider your “fudge factor” margin – how much immoral behavior you can commit without feeling guilty – becomes.

Last time, we talked about how taking just a small first step down a dishonest path can set off a cycle of rationalization and further dishonest behavior, which can lead you away from your principles and into more serious misdeeds. But what factors come into play when you do take that first step? Further, what keeps you going down that shady path once you do?

Today we will explore one of the most salient factors that increase our ability to rationalize a dishonest act, and how we can combat this force in order to maintain our integrity.

The Distance Between the Deed and the Consequence

One of these significant influences is the psychological distance between the act and its consequences. The more steps removed we are from how an immoral decision affects others and from having to think about the reality of what we’re doing, the easier it is to make the choice without feeling bad about it.

Ariely conducted several experiments that vividly illustrate this principle at work.

First he conducted a non-scientific experiment in several dormitories on a college campus. In the communal refrigerators of some of the dorms, he placed a six-pack of Coke. In other dorm fridges, he left a plate with six $1 bills on it. The Cokes and dollars were nearly equivalent in value, yet within 72 hours, all of the sodas had disappeared but none of the dollar bills had been touched. The students could have easily grabbed a buck and then used it to get a Coke at a nearby machine. But they didn’t. Why? Because taking a dollar – money in its raw form – feels like stealing, while taking a Coke – a step removed from the money – feels more okay. Ariely compares this to the way many people wouldn’t think twice about taking a ream of paper from work, but wouldn’t dream of grabbing $3.50 from the office’s petty cash box.

After this casual experiment, Ariely wanted to see if the same thing would happen in a more controlled environment. So he returned to the matrix test we discussed last time. If you remember, that test asked participants to solve as many mathematical matrices as possible in five minutes and paid them per correct answer. In the condition that allowed for cheating, the participants checked their own answers, shredded their worksheets at the back of the room, and then told the experimenter how many answers they had gotten correct in order to collect the promised cash payout (since the experimenter had not checked the worksheet themselves, the participant could claim to have solved as many matrices as they wanted). This time around, Ariely mixed things up by having the experimenter first give the participants plastic tokens instead of money, which they then redeemed for cash in the next room over. What happened when this small step was placed between the opportunity to lie and getting the money directly? Participants cheated by twice as much.

In another study, Ariely polled hundreds of golfers and had them imagine a situation where moving the ball (which is against the rules of the game) would offer an advantage. He asked them to predict how often the average golfer would move the ball by either 1) tapping it with his club, 2) kicking it with his foot, or 3) picking it up with his hand. The survey respondents thought the average golfer would use his club more than twice as often as his hand (with the foot falling in the middle). Even though the manner in which the ball is moved has no bearing on whether or not it constitutes cheating, tapping it with your club feels less dishonest, because you’re not making direct contact with it – you’re separated from what you’re really doing. It’s easier for the golfer to tell himself that it just kind of inadvertently happened, allowing him to chalk the act up as no big deal and keep on feeling like an honest guy. In contrast, Ariely writes, if the golfer were to grab the ball directly with his hand, there would be “no way to ignore the purposefulness and intentionality of the act.”

How to Counteract the Distance and Strengthen Your Integrity

The greater the psychological distance between our dishonest actions and their consequences, the easier those actions become to rationalize as morally and ethically acceptable. And the more our ability to rationalize increases, the more our fudge factor margin widens. Thus in order to strengthen and preserve our integrity, it’s important to remove the steps – if only in our minds – between our actions and the reality of what we’re doing and how it affects others.

This can be a tricky problem, because we’re counteracting a psychological issue. We first have to influence our mind to see the importance of what is going on. If we don’t mentally frame our disingenuous deeds as being in the wrong in the first place, we cannot work to remove them from our lives. Instead of letting ourselves ignore the problem (don’t let the left hand know what the right is doing!) we must work to consciously create more awareness of the consequences of our behavior.

Cultivating this awareness really comes down to cognitively stripping away the layers between something and its value or effect on other people. So for example, if you’re about to take some printer ink from work, imagine yourself instead taking $30 from your boss’ desk drawer. If you can’t see yourself pilfering the cash, realize that swiping the ink is really no different.

Here’s another example: say you get paid $15 an hour to do your job, but you spend an hour at work goofing off. You’ve essentially stolen $15 from your employer. Of course surfing the web doesn’t feel anything like stealing, but it’s really no different than pocketing a $15 item while shopping and not paying for it.

Another effective element to add to this kind of mental exercise is to imagine the person your action would most affect (or perhaps a loved one or someone who looks up to you) standing by you as you did it. Would you still take the ink or sneak in a nap if your boss was right there beside you? The need to hide something is a sure sign of its questionable morality. As it is often said, integrity is what you will do when no one is watching.

Of course, tracing your actions back to who they would most affect can be difficult if you’re working for a giant, faceless corporation. In such cases, dishonesty and rationalization become infinitely easier, because the gap between your actions and any consequences can seem wide and the effect of them small. Yet the essence of integrity is that an action is wrong regardless of its magnitude – stealing ten dollars from a rich man isn’t more okay than stealing ten dollars from a poor man. It doesn’t matter that the former wouldn’t “feel” it like the latter. Stealing is stealing.

It can also be much easier to make excuses for your dishonest behavior if you don’t like your job or the person that you’re dealing with. In another experiment Ariely conducted, people were overpaid $4 by either a neutral experimenter (the control condition) or one who was rude to them while giving the payout. In the control condition, 45% of people gave back the extra change (pretty sobering that more than half of people kept it). But only 14% of those who dealt with the rude experimenter gave the money back. For them, keeping the extra change could be justified as comeuppance for the experimenter’s behavior – they rationalized that he didn’t deserve the money back and/or it compensated them for being treated badly. You can see this kind of thinking acted out by someone who steals from work because they don’t feel they are paid enough. Or perhaps your ex-girlfriend has been a complete jerk to you during a break-up, so when she asks if a favorite necklace is still at your place, you lie and say you haven’t seen it. Or maybe you cheat on your wife because you feel she’s overly frigid and doesn’t have sex with you enough. It’s easy to justify a dishonest act when you feel owed something or when you feel you’ve been wronged. You can rationalize that you’re just balancing out the scale, but do two wrongs make a right?

One realm where we must be especially vigilant about increasing our awareness of our actions is online. Cyberspace can make everything we do feel truly nebulous and abstract. Communicating with friends, and even more so with anonymous strangers puts a whole lot of distance between our behavior and its real effects; we often forget there’s an actual human being sitting behind the screen you’re typing to. So here again it helps to imagine doing what you’re doing online in a more direct way. Would your ability to justify your online behavior evaporate if you did the same thing in the real world? Flirting with someone other than your wife might feel okay when you’re chatting via instant message…but how does it feel to imagine saying the same things to a stranger at a bar? What if your wife was standing right there? Hurling vitriol and scathing insults at someone on an internet forum might feel harmless, but can you imagine saying the same things to the person’s face? Saying things online that you would never say in-person constitutes a failure of the wholeness and consistency required of a man of integrity.


We must always remember that we’re all experts in creating rationalizations for dishonest behavior when that behavior serves our own interests. And the greater the distance there is between an immoral act and its consequences, the easier these rationalizations become to generate. We’re so adept at cloaking our dishonest deeds in the disguise of acceptability that we may not even recognize them for what they are ourselves, and will sometimes fight tooth and nail to defend our justifications.

Thus living with integrity requires frank and sincere self-examination and self-awareness. What are your true motivations and intentions? What are the consequences of your actions and whom will they affect? Strengthening your mental game and building this kind of awareness isn’t easy. It involves tuning into that little nagging voice in your mind that says, “Hold on a minute, this isn’t quite right.” Instead of ignoring it, write down what that voice says in a pocket notebook. Maybe seeing it in words makes it more real and shortens that distance between action and consequence. Or consider partnering up with a friend or significant other who you can send a text to when you feel that twinge of guilt coming on about something. To voice it to another person certainly makes it more real.

Winning the mental battle is the first step in being a man with great integrity. You haven’t won yet, and probably never will completely, but you make progress by not letting the smallest misdeed be rationalized away.

“The thought manifests the word;
The word manifests the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care.”

-Juan Mascaro

Do you have any mind hacks you use to shorten that psychological distance when there are layers between actions and consequences?

Aug 7, 2013

Ryan's afternoon playlist...

I have cool kids indeed.

Desperation Song - Carbon Leaf - excellent LIVE performance

One of his new favorites - gotta let him roll...

Back in Black - AC/DC


Aug 3, 2013

This week was a little difficult.  I had to wade through soul leveling pain that I had left behind a long time ago.  I will be honest and say I haven't exactly been immersing myself in God's arms.  So I'm not sure why He chose this week to reach out and talk to me, face to face but His timing is perfect.  In the midst of the storm, my soul has been calmed.  Forgiveness has poured through me, in receiving and giving.

In the midst of trying to wade through emotional upheaval, listening to Pandora, Matthew West's "Hello my name is..." played.  I hadn't heard it before.  Suddenly, the fog lifted and God was succint with the crystal clear truth.

This morning, I was at Barnes & Noble with my son and as we sat and he perused the Lego Bible (chuckle), I spied the book "The Story" and picked it up.  Shuffled through it.  Interesting.  Returned home to my husband handing me "The Story" DVD & CD from the library.  Timing, as always, interesting.

I tossed the DVD in, which the DVD player replied by choking & distorting the picture making it difficult to see but I got the general gist.  We watched a few minutes, my husband asked me to take a walk & we set out.  I returned home, planning to remove the DVD & send it back.  But it started playing, screen clear and I thought - one more minute.  The song below started.  The first words "I am not my family tree" -  I sat up & paid attention.  He spoke with tremendous power, truth into my life, validating who I am, my choices, my message to my own children.

I am always humbled and my spirit bends when He chooses to reveal His presence. Especially when I've been thumbing my nose at religion and faith.  The world violates even the most sacred and it is difficult at times to keep a hand on the Father, with humanities perception of God.

I love the message and yes, these are most definitely different leaves.

I am not my family tree
These are different leaves, you know
There are miles and miles between
My roots and what I’m trying to grow

I am not the slave they sold
Nor am I royalty
I’ve worn them both, the finest coat
And rags that barely cover me.

But there’s mercy in the soil
Mercy in the sun
Learning to forgive
What cannot be undone

And what was meant to harm
Can’t harm you in the end
Stepped out on a limb I thought might break
But Love said, it will only bend
It will only bend.

I am not my past mistakes
Labeled by some place and time
Nor am I trophy case
Trying to maintain my shine

I have dreamed a thousand dreams
Watched a grain in famine, grow.

I am not my family tree
I have branches of my own

Oh, does fate resign us to
Find shelter for our wounds
Beneath the battered roof of broken dreams?

Oh, but I will choose to stand
In the shadow of Your hand
And see what grows when Grace has sown the seed 

These are different leaves you know.

But there’s mercy in the soil
Mercy in the sun
Learning to forgive
What cannot be undone

And what was meant to harm
Can’t harm you in the end
Stepped out on a limb I thought might break
But Love said, it will only bend.


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