Five Minute Friday – Wonder

Hi There-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late. Again.  Same old song and dance.  I used to beat myself up about it, but this is my real life, this is what happens on a Friday night; I post late.  I’m giving myself grace and yet also a pat on a back for doing it.

Don’t know if you can tell, but trying to give myself (and others) grace and mercy.  It’s  easier to give others, but myself? It feels like I’m letting myself cheat at poker, rob a bank.  It feels like guilt, there is so little grace that I’m used to giving myself.  But I’m trying.

So, moving on-

So, a reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, just in case, you know, you want to play sometime too-

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 with freedom like you have no fear or shame.  And then you have to be brave (or pretend to be) and link up to her blog. Encouraging the writer who links up before you is part of the deal, too.  This last rule is crucial, as we all need to encourage others. Why encourage another writer? Because at one point or another in our lives, we all need encouraging too.

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

Wonder

image courtesy of Michal Marcol
image courtesy of Michal Marcol

Wonder:  Christmas.  Christ.  Childlike innocence.  All of these words define the word wonder.

Wonder however, is what I’ve been thinking lately when I’ve been out running errands and I’ll tell you honestly: it isn’t good Christian thoughts that I’ve wondered.  It’s more along the lines of what are earth are these people thinking? sort of wonder, wondering what has got into them and us and me this season as if our wrapped gifts, the type with ribbons and paper, are the best things we can give each other.

Wonder is not a Kindle Fire on a crazy sale at a big box store.

Wonder is not tens of thousands of gifts wrapped nicely, perfectly.

Wonder comes in small doses these days as an adult; it doesn’t hold as much of that frozen time hold that it did when I was a child which is to be expected.  I have bills, a mortgage, real-life problems and other things that zap wonder in a heartbeat.

But no matter how short or brief, wonder is the moment looking at lights under the tree, trying to understand the appeal from your child’s point of view. Wonder is the moment of quiet contentment with everyone listening to the Christmas story, the unleaded version straight from the Bible after what felt like a harrowing day of too many cookies, too many activities and too many tantrums to mention.

Wonder is a moment.  Wonder is a bit of peace and awe mixed together. Wonder is the silent, jaw-dropping firework display that is what Jesus was, and what He did for us.  That is my true definition of wonder.

The Submission

Sorry by bigjom

In the past month or so, lots has changed around here, which is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. Good things, more accurately, more good things are on the horizon for us I think.  Which is real hopeful, since lately life has been a bit more stressful and stretched taut than my husband or I would like to admit.

And one of those good things for me personally has been the hope of having one of my pieces of writing published.

If any of you follow my Facebook posts, you know that I one of my pieces had recently been accepted for publication.  Hooray! I thought.  Finally! I thought.

Turns out that the publication was not able to get enough backers and advertisers to support the magazine, so the December issue (the one in which my piece would appear) and all issues after it will not be published.

Rats! I thought when I heard that news this morning.

But I’ve now come to the conclusion that this is not a bad thing.  Which is crazy to say for someone who loves to write. For someone who longs to be published.  Yes, crazy, I would have said oh, about six months ago.

But now, eh, just an inconvenience and a let down, but really: no biggie.  Not a big deal.  At all.

Sure I’d like to be published and people to read my words and be moved and touched by them, but maybe it isn’t my time yet.  Maybe it’s time to (finally) trust God and time to (finally) let go of my need to control every aspect of my life.  The control thing: it’s all an illusion anyway.  The moment I think I have something or someone figured out, poof! it all changes and everything is entirely turned on its head.  Or my toddler decides overnight literally overnight that a certain pair of shoes are now deemed unacceptable.  How in the world can you control that?

But I digress.  The point (yes, there is one!) is that this is a good thing, this not being published.  This makes me slow down.  This makes me less ego-driven.  This makes me again, trust God instead of doing the work myself and the boldly asking him to bless it.  How far I’ve come, but how far, far, I still need to go in terms of this whole trusting, not-being-in-control thing.  The good news is I have the rest of my whole life to try and figure out how to let the bird of control out of my hand and be free, instead of almost crushing it’s wings before it tries to fly.  And that learning can’t come soon enough.

So, without further adieu, here is the piece! A cleaned up (mostly) edited version any way.  Feel free to share, and I’d love to hear if you like it/don’t like it.  Truly.

Sister

My younger sister has taught me a thing or two about life.  In between the fights over which boy band was better, what celebrity is doing what crazy thing with their hair, and my constant nagging (I call it educating), somewhere along there she grew up.

And got married.

And most recently, had a baby.

And this thing, this my-sister-is-having-a-baby, this my-sister-has-had-a-baby thing has thrown me for a loop.  As in, thrown me for a giant loop so large I’m not even sure I’m on the same racetrack anymore.

She’s more or less figured out the motherhood dance.

In under six months.

Like her, I know how hard it is to carry, worry, and then give birth to something so small and yet feel as if you are carrying the weight of the world, of all of humanity in your hands.  Down to my bones I understand that; we now have that in common.

But she, the younger (some days wiser but you didn’t hear me say that) sister, has managed the new parenting role different, better than me.

Everyone can hold the baby and love the baby unlike my new mother experience.

And also, she’s not holed up inside her house the first six weeks as if she were living with a contagious virus that means she’s housebound, on constant lock-down armed with burp rags and Lysol.

In short, she’s learned from my mistakes, and has also managed to learn what she needs in order to care for herself and her needs.

She needs community.

And I am in awe of this realization.  Of course, is what I thought, after her son was born.  She understood this need already.  Aha, is what I thought, while trying to not mourn the sometimes inept choices I made earlier in my parenting journey.  So you can do it another way, my husband has remarked openly, while I thought I really want to kick him in the shins right now.

Community.  People.  Loved ones.  The piece of the new baby puzzle I hadn’t yet figured out.

The need for (and fear of) community was exactly what I was missing postpartum, and it could of helped a great deal with my early parenting misadventures.

But thankfully, now I see.  Now I see, after awkward invitations sent out and returned, after a few weekends of more than just chores and family time, after a couple of times just hanging out with friends, now I see that.  I see what the big deal is now, and how important community is.  Community saves us.  Some of us, it saves daily.

I won’t say I have it figured out because I don’t.  Just last weekend we tried hanging out with friends more, and it was a success.  But the next day I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself; it was like a bad hangover and in the end I figured out that I felt like a seesaw that veered to far into the people world and didn’t have proper balance with the alone time.  One thing’s for sure though: there will be a lot more mistakes and learning to find the balance but that’s ok.  I have faith that eventually I will find the balance of it all.

And I have my sister, my younger sister to thank for this.

Lest you think too highly of her, she still talks too much and has absolutely zero control over her maniac dog, but the parenting thing, she has figured out.  For now, at least.  I’m just going to end there, smiling smugly at the thought of the toddler years to come, as I hold all of the overly helpful advise in getting through those years.

Five Minute Tuesday – Stay

Hi Again-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge late. Again. Super late.  A Five Minute Friday challenge on a Tuesday.  Not any real good reason for this except for that this weekend was crazy and I needed some time to think.  And cook.  And make a mess in the kitchen while baking cakes and cooking dinner.  And then make myself do the Herculean effort of cleaning it all up.

And that only took since Friday.

So, since I’m now in the proper head space and not underneath a pile of dishes any more, I finally have a moment to write.  Which I am thankful for.  Writing heals me in ways that the dishes and laundry do not.

But that’s another post for another time.

So, a reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, just in case, you know, you want to play sometime too-

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 with freedom like you have no fear or shame.  And then you have to be brave (or pretend to be) and link up to her blog. Encouraging the writer who links up before you is part of the deal, too.  This last rule is crucial, as we all need to encourage others. Why encourage another writer? Because at one point or another in our lives, we all need encouraging too. And a big PS if you aren’t a believer yet: this little 5 minute challenge has matured and developed my writing like nothing else has.  Thank you Lisa-Jo!

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

Stay

Dawn, courtesy of Dan.

 

I want to stay some days, in the moments that I hope live forever in my memory.  I want to stay in the folds of her skin, the plush baby wrist rolls that I hope never stretch out, fade away as it means I can’t hold her in my lap like once before.

I want to stay, in the fleeting minutes with the warm sunshine rising on my grass, glazing the landscape and the window and the wall inside with golden light I accustom to God, to what heaven must be like; stillness and gold and God.

I want to stay, in the overly loud cheering section for some football team I don’t know anything about except that the team colors clash. I want to stay, in the beast of burden and beauty that is family, that is warmth and overwhelming emotions and double-parked cars on a driveway on a Thursday afternoon.

I want to stay, all day, all life long in these moments.

But I again have to remember that this place is not my home, this earth not my final destination.  But those moments give me glimpse and hope, full of wildly expectant ideas that heaven is overflowing with these places that I cannot stay but long to.

Five Minute Friday – Quiet

Hi There-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late-ish. Again.  Friday is a great day, but for my writing and posting, it is sort of crammed, to-the-edges-of-the-day-sort-of-crammed.   But it’s worth it.  This weekly challenge alone has grown my writing skills in spades more than any other exercise I’ve done, so it’s well worth the time and the crazy for  me.  And oh yes, there is crazy scheduling chaos getting to writing this post.  But it’s worth it-the wonderful friends I’ve met along the way and their kind  encouragement as I go, and the gift of encouraging them.  Priceless that is, really.

So, moving on-

So, a reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, just in case, you know, you want to play sometime too-

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 with freedom like you have no fear or shame.  And then you have to be brave (or pretend to be) and link up to her blog. Encouraging the writer who links up before you is part of the deal, too.  This last rule is crucial, as we all need to encourage others. Why encourage another writer? Because at one point or another in our lives, we all need encouraging too.

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

Quiet

 In the quiet dreams are born, legends made, stories told.
In the quiet, no one has to shout it from the rafters, from the billboards, no one has to turn up the radio or blast the TV to hear it.
In a quiet moment, the quiet is a space, a pause, a whole lifetime sometimes lies within the quiet.
In quiet we think, we digest, we plan, we pray, we re-assess, we feel, we listen.
In the quiet we check in with God and ourselves but without the world’s cellphones, stadium lights, noises, and opinions intruding in and begging for a show, a dance, and spectacle for our diverted attention to behold.
In the quiet, we don’t have to be strong anymore, we can cry tears of tiredness, frustration and weight, the heavy weight of the price of living in this world into our wine glasses, Bibles, pillows.
In the quiet we don’t have to be strong anymore.  In the quiet we listen and we hear.
And perhaps that is exactly why we are scared of it.

The Fog of right and wrong

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I look down at my email again, and another email from change.org appears.

Another one, I sigh while reading, another email pleading for my help with this crusade, that issue, this cause, this unfair, this un-nice thing that has happened to someone.  Another one.

Thinking back a couple of years I take stock quickly and don’t recall ever seeing so many different causes or interests or committees or claims or stories about abuse, neglect, injustice or outright blatant mistreatment of another human being or group of human beings.

Was I just not paying close attention? I wonder.

Did I just not hear those stories? I wonder.

And then it hits me.

No, I was the same then as I am now: highly sensitive with a strong penchant to read  between the lines. A strong penchant to a fault.  No, it wasn’t that I wasn’t paying close enough attention or wasn’t smart enough to grasp the details of these sorts of stories.  It wasn’t that at all.

It was that the world was nicer.

Doing the right thing was clear.

Doing the wrong thing was punished, and usually you ended up in some version of time-out; detention, suspension, prison.  It felt pretty clear back then–you bullied, you got punished.  You were rude to co-workers, you got a mark on your review.  You cut someone off, you got honked at or maybe got a choice finger waved in your direction.  You knew exactly where you stood when you got it wrong or messed up.  It was a very clear, thick, heavy boundary line between right and wrong, between what was decent and mannerly, and what was not.

And now instead of being so clear on right and wrong, it’s all up for interpretation.

Now we have more cases of people are beating each other up, others abusing themselves, and what seems like the majority of the population in some way being  mistreated by others.  We eat far too much or end up starving ourselves for no reason but to fit a piece of cloth.  We spend too much time doing nothing or we kill ourselves trying to be productive at all times.  We have so many things that are wrong, so clearly not right, but no one wants to take the hit for it, to take the blame or make the change or fess up to making a mistake.  And almost no one wants to finger-point or blame themselves when they act up.

This is not to say that there is no mercy or grace.  There is loads of it, and I imagine I’ve already used up a lifetime’s supply worth.  But sometimes we need grace and mercy, and sometimes we need clear honesty.  And we need honesty, about ourselves, our lives and our choices pretty badly these days.

And because of all this, we have sites like Change.org.  In and of itself, Change.org is not a bad site. Its aim is to help the often silent, unnoticed, trampled and broken people of the world.  It’s intetion is all-around good, and we need more sites like this to help remind us of the sometimes small (and sometimes very large) injustices of the world.

Its sole intention is to help. And to do good.

But sometime and it can’t come soon enough, we are going to need to sit down with ourselves and our society and take off our rosy, ego-driven glasses and ask ourselves: are our intentions the same?

Five Minute Friday – Roots

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late. Again.  And again.  Friday is a great day, but for my writing and posting (and getting work finished for the week, and doing the family thing), well, Friday’s not the best in terms of convenience, but I still strive!

I still strive to do this sometime on Friday because although Friday feels like I’m held together by safety pins and paper clips by the time I get to this day, this writing challenge is worth it.  And so is the chocolate that I reward myself with after I post.  Just kidding! Sort of.

Moving on-

So, a reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, just in case, you know, you want to play sometime too-

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 with freedom like you have no fear or shame.  And then you have to be brave (or pretend to be) and link up to her blog. Encouraging the writer who links up before you is part of the deal, too.  This last rule is crucial, as we all need to encourage others. Why encourage another writer? Because at one point or another in our lives, we all need encouraging too.

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

Roots

Roots: they go deep and reach high.

Roots-they all start in the dark; roots of a tree start with a single seed, buried in the deep, dark soil with only-God-knows-what.  Babies, deep in the womb of darkness, before entering into the piercing light of an overwhelmed world.

Dreams, hopes, ideas that have changed the world, more often than not came from a person in a dark place in their life.  That germination in darkness a catalyst before that cure, that aha moment.

And yet roots, found in absence of light and sunshine, are the only guarantee that we grow.  Roots really are the only things that make us reach so high.

They curl, they dig deep, and they span whole lawns sometimes, their network so intricate and so large. But despite it ugliness of it all, they grow up and out and into trees with open, giving branches.

Not unlike ourselves.

Not unlike our Christ.