Five Minute Friday – Grasp

Hi There-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again…and again. Seems I’m sort of a fan of this weekly writing game, you think?

And a reminder in case you’ve missed it, here’s what this challenge is all about…or, in case maybe you want to play too, some time-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge, should you accept it: you write for 5 minutes, free, like you have no fear or shame or no editor inside your head (both are hard for me)…and then you link up to her blog, and encourage the writer who links up before you.  This last piece is crucial, as we need to encourage others.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Grasp

Goodness, just thinking about the word knocks the breath out of my lungs.

Grasp-it’s what I strive SO hard to do, to not do, daily.

Grasp for what I want, let go of my daughter’s growing hand.

Grasp for my daughter’s hand, those I dearly love, let go of what I want.

It’s a struggle for control and yet letting go, this daily life.

And so often I think it’s mine to grasp, to hold onto, only after I look down to notice that whatever it is that I’ve held so tightly, I’ve nearly embraced to death.

Like dreams.

Like people.

Like those things in my life I want so badly I fathom to see anything but red when I can’t get them.

And yet, for some reason I clutch tightly again, thinking that this time, I’ll outsmart my grip, I won’t get so wound up or so caught up in what I want.

And then along comes God, looks at my hands, tells me again the parable about the caged bird, and I release.

And then I cry and release, and a thousand birds land on my shoulders.

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Root Canal

So yesterday, had some dental work done.  I don’t know about you, but when it comes to all things dentistry, I am a bit jumpy.  Nervy.  Trying to get a cat in a carrier is easier than getting me in a dentist’s office, I think.

Lest you think badly of him, I actually have a wonderful dentist.  So wonderful in fact that he is on the list of one of the better doctors I’ve ever had, and come to think of it, I think it’s because he gets this, my nervy cat reaction around dentistry.

So, yesterday had to have some work done.  Some BIG work, some almost-root-canal work done.  Blech.  So, anyways, I had enough work done (don’t know if I’m comfortable admitting this or not, but here goes) and I am enough uptight in the dentist’s chair that I qualified for the laughing gas.

And I’m not proud, with all the drills they pulled out, I said a non-hesitant yesYES, PLEASE. Side effects? Meh, I’ll worry about that later.

So off we went into the Land of Laughing Gas for the first time, and all I have to say is whoa.  I was all Salvador Dali and melting clocks stretching off mantles, and like “who cares? “ well, actually I was more like “whooooooo carrrreeeeeeeesssssss” if you must know.

In fact, I may or may not have said that to the dentist at some point.

Tingling fingers, tingling toes, my breathing was slow and deep, and they kept moving my chair up and down so much that I felt like I was falling into the center of the earth and it was weird but nice, but I don’t think I had too much gas, why do you ask?

But back to the point, the point was I didn’t care.  And if you know anything about me, I do care.  A lot.  To a fault, almost.  My typical mode of operandi is uptight, major uptightness with a capital U.  And tied in a perfect bow, please.

And not caring, letting go, being this sort of relaxed is not something I am either comfortable with or at ease with.  I, to some degree, have a fear of too much relaxation, mostly because I do enough of it at home.  I mean, if I get any more “relaxed” about my home life, chores might not get done, the laundry will fall behind.  What happens if I relax too much? Do I lose too much productivity?  There is already a shortage of socks in this household, what happens if I don’t do laundry? Nobody wants to see a lawyer sockless, just so you know.

So after yesterday’s experience, I think the answer is yes, I do lose productivity.

And lost productivity is not a bad thing, every now and then.  And after yesterday, I also now think I have a grasp on not caring sometimes. And LaLa land was a wonderful place to visit momentarily; not having a care is a lovely, lovely thing every once in a while.

I usually don’t not have a care in the world, so it was nice for a change.  I was able to not care about the potential need for a root canal, I was able to float on by the thought of drills and noises and all these things, and I turned Mumford and Sons WAY UP LOUD because I was all for tuning things out, and in my opinion, the one thing I am allowed to tune out is dental work.  Love my dentist, yes I do, but don’t like the dental work.  Maybe I should think about that when I’m on eating 20th gummi bear next week.

But tuning out isn’t always an option.  In fact, most times it isn’t an option at all (ever been to a Doctor’s office where you had to turn off your cell phone? Longest wait of your life, FYI.)

But somehow, we think tuning out; zoning out, blasting music up, doing this “x” thing that distracts us is always an option.

Because, most days, that’s how we live our lives: tuned out. Zoned out.  Knocked out on drugs, Facebook, alcohol, people, you name it, we’re addicted to it.

We’re addicted to it, not because we want to be of course, but because the tuning out makes us think we escape the pain.

Why go through and dig up old wounds? Why wonder why people have hurt us or left us, why go through all of that, ever, we wonder while we eat a whole gallon of ice cream without noticing until we’re scrapping the bottom of the carton.

I don’t have any hurts! I am fine! We declare as we make our lives and schedules so busy there is barely time to think beyond planning the next activity.

It’s done, we think, no need to think about it anymore, as we say yes again and again to the drinks with friends without realizing we have been good and drunk for an entire month.

If you get my point, it’s not that any of these things are bad.  A little glass of wine? Not a big deal.  Some ice cream? No one dies from eating ice cream.  Or at least, if they have, I haven’t heard about it.  Activities and plans are generally good, actually.

However, in the bi-polar world we are living in, it’s not all good.  Rare is the person who can do all these things without overindulging in all of it or cutting themselves completely off and away from it.  I can name about 3-5 people who have this whole matronly sounding “moderation” thing under control.  And let’s be honest here: I’m not one of the 3-5 people I can name.

Now, the rest of us that take up the remaining fingers and toes-those of us who eat but who really are hungry for something that’s not food, those of us who drink in order to get drunk, those of us who entertain and over-schedule, well, we’re not doing it really for the sake of our kids as much as it is for the sake of our own avoidance.

We are over-planned, over-busy, over-lazy, over-fed, starving, and yet over-stimulated and under-cared for.  But even through all that, we still have time to think and wonder:

When am I going to be loved?

When am I going to stop hurting?

When am I ever going to be good enough?

When we stop distracting and distancing ourselves from ourselves, then.

When we stop long enough to look around and size up the shabby rafters of our souls, then.

When we stop long enough to feel pain, deep inside where the wounds live, and not be afraid of the rain, then.

When we put trust in Him, and in us, again, then.

And not a moment sooner.

Five Minute Friday – Wide

Hi There-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again…and again. Seems I’m sort of a fan of this weekly writing game, you think?

And a reminder in case you’ve here’s what this challenge is all about…in case maybe you want to play too, some time-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge, should you accept it: you write for 5 minutes, free, like you have no fear or shame or no editor inside your head (both are hard for me)…and then you link up to her blog, and encourage the writer who links up before you.  This last piece is crucial, as we need to encourage others.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Wide

Lord how I want to follow you wide.

Into the wide open spaces,

Into the wide expanse of my family’s outstretched arms,

Into the wide belief that your love is not scare, it’s not atonement, into the hope that your love is not conditional.

I want to follow you into the wild blue yonder, in an adventure so deep and powerful my sparrow sized mind fails to comprehend it.

You tell us to open our tents, pull back wide our stakes, all through Isaiah you say this, you tell us this.

Do not be afraid, you whisper.  Yes, be bold, you whisper.

And you call us to follow the narrow path, the small over-grown-with-weeds path, but you lead us. You clear the path of weeds with a machete of love and  we look up; and we see wide–we see a world of full of wide big sky, opportunities and growth, blessings that we have to look up to see.

Maybe that is the lesson:follow the narrow path, the one, maybe with weeds or that is long and winds around, but look up.  Up, where the sky is open, round and  holds the fullness, 9 months-pregnant-fullness with the great possibility of a day. Fullness of open-ended endless love that we only think, we only assume…

is small.

is scare.

is limited.

It is limitless.  Your sky and your blessings and your love. Your wide, wide, wide  love.

Dear me,

Hi All-

Another writing challenge, this one from a bloggy friend Emily, who writes at http://www.chattingatthesky.com.  This challenge is anew/fun/introspective one…write a letter to yourself at 16.  I know! Cool, huh? Anyways, here are my thoughts to myself–hope all of you enjoy.  Maybe some time soon I find one of these 16-year old self pictures to post? We’ll see…

Dear me-

Dear me! How do you start a letter to your own younger self? And how do you, ahem, not sound really old and uptight like someone like a teenage me  full of big sighs and rolling eyes would actually read?

Not sure.  But what I do have to say helps, and it will help you navigate through the next 15 odd or so years, so I would listen closely.

First, let’s start with the good stuff: you are stronger than you know.

Your soul is stronger than you know.  Sure, that doesn’t sound so cool, I know and no it’s not something you can wear, but let me tell you, though you cannot see it, it’s a big deal.  Your soul is stronger than you think, and it’s stronger, even, than those legs of yours.  Those legs, the ones that have run 5Ks and a marathon and kicked kicks high into the sky; your soul is mightier than those legs.  And like your legs, your soul is about to go deep into a lot of muscle-building from here to 30, so buckle up.  It’s a good ride, but it sure is a bumpy one.

Speaking of buckling up-do it.  Every time you get in a car.  Yes, you are lucky that you have one at 16, very lucky, so cut it with the eye rolling.  But remember that little fact does not make you immune to problems, or, say, car accidents.  Keep it safe.

And while we’re talking about matronly and other boring grown up stuff, by the way–gaining 10lbs will not kill you.  I promise.  Nor will you die of embarrassment.  Something to note for the future.  There are things way worse than gaining a little weight. Waaaay worse.  Compared to some of the other stuff in life, 10lbs is inconsequential.  Keep reality in check, girlfriend.

Also to note: the floor will fall out on you about five times from here to 30-ish.  Yep, about five times.  No, I’m not kidding. And every time, you will think you aren’t strong enough, good enough or that you just can’t.  You just can’t.  You will think this lots.  And you then will realize that you aren’t strong or brave, until you are.

Other things to note about this life, this road ahead:

-Life is good.  Even when it’s bad, life is still good.  So is your God.

-The majority of people are kind and decent.  And kinda fun to hang with too; I know it is easier and far more comfortable to be alone sometimes, but you need community, you need friends and you need people to be silly with.  That last one especially, more than you know.

-Stay away from brown eyeshadow.  Tuck this little tidbit in your pocket for the future.

-Likewise, yellow.  Not a good color on you.  And just say no to those Murphy Brown-ish glasses.  In truth, Murphy Brown didn’t really look all that cute in them either.

-You will be one of the first of your friends that get married.  This is true joy.  And I know! Totally surprised by this too. Just wait until you have children!

-You will feel, most days, like a bright yellow highlighter in a sea of beautiful teal, and that’s ok.  Just be you.  You are wonderful as you are, just as you are.  Even though you may need more silence and stillness than others, even though you do not love ice cream as much as the entire population.  You love much, you love deeply, and you are kind.  And those aren’t bad things.

But the brown eyeshadow: remember, just say no.  But to love and life and the great imperfectness of life-say yes. Say a passionate yes.

Five Minute Friday – Focus

Hi Everyone-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again…and again.

As just a reminder, here’s what this challenge is all about-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge: you write for 5 minutes, free, like you have no fear or shame or no editor inside your head (that’s last one’s a hard one for me)…and then you link up to her blog, and encourage the writer who links up before you.  This last piece is crucial, as we need to encourage others.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Focus-

So often I see out of focus; so often I am not able to concentrate on the small joys in front of me.

It’s hard to look at life out of focus; it seems as if I am on the endless teeter totter of emotions and perspective that make me look at life with blinders-unaware of others, binoculars-way too zoomed in on others and their flaws, or with a near-sighted vision, not able to see close enough that allows me to trip over details and little speed bumps I should have been able to see coming.

So often I lose it.  And I think, so often we lose it too, as people–we focus on money, on jobs, on our satisfaction with life and miss the little ones tugging at our hems, asking for just one more piggy back ride.

Focus-goodness, it’s hard to grasp; elusive, like the Loch Ness monster.

But there is one special tool we have, one magic fairy wand, as it were that helps me see what I really need to, a magic looking-glass that refines it all for me, daily.

And that is God.  Thank God for God.

Five Minute Friday – Graceful

Hi Everyone-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again…and again.

As just a reminder, here’s what this challenge is all about-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge: you write for 5 minutes, free, like you have no fear or shame or no editor inside your head (that’s last one’s a hard one for me)…and then you link up to her blog, and encourage the writer who links up before you.  This last piece is crucial, as we need to encourage others.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Graceful-

Graceful: an adjective, full of grace, tenderness.  Overlooking one’s faults, being ok with other people not being perfect. (my own definition, by the way.)

Grace-It’s a name we give our girls, in hope, in valiant hope that one day when we are yelling at the top of our lungs at her teenage self with all the slamming doors and pouting to get down here, now, we will be able to recall the definition of grace and exactly why we named her that.

Graceful-it’s something we aim to be; it’s something I struggle with, especially on the days that are too long, the people too much to handle, the burdens too heavy to bear.  Graceful is who I want to be, down to the word being etched on my tombstone but the truth is most days and hours I end up grace-less and grace-empty instead of what I want to be known as: full of grace, like Wednesday’s child.  Like maybe, potentially, one day, like Christ.