Five Minute Friday – Again

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late. Again.  Same old song and dance, just sort of new move in the dance each week.  Today, posting on Saturday morning.  And you know what? That’s ok.  I take Five Minute Friday as a suggestion to start thinking about writing.  Only takes me a day or so to react.  Yes, I’m aware of the irony, and the name Five Minute Friday.  But, regadless-I’m still giving myself grace and yet also a pat on a back for doing it.

So, moving on-

A reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, and the details are below in case  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-

Again

Image courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m frustrated, ready to shake off the day, the last emotional meltdown my toddler had makes me  just want to sit on the couch, be still for a moment and let go of the frazzled seams of the end of the day and get into my book.

I get cozy, grab my book, my water and head to the couch.

Ahhh, my mind and body says.  Mind you, I only have one child and another on the way, this is going to get very interesting how I handle this with 2 children, 2 emotional children and a mom who’s emotional endurance is akin to that of a couch potato’s endurance for a triathlon.

And then the dog needs to go out.  Again.

And then the child needs attending to.  Again.

And then the dog needs back in.  Again.

And then I need more water.  Again.

Again, again, again some days, it feels like that’s all I do.  Get up again, sit down again, try to relax again, hoping for this huge block of time where no one interrupts me or needs me, a la Virgina Wolf with a room of her own. With perhaps a lock on the door. Maybe, just maybe, sound proof walls, but you didn’t hear me say that.

My agains are not pretty.

But I still smile, trying again, as you know what? Even in my mess of frustration and bad attitude, He reaches for me, loves me, finds me, again.  Again and again.

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Girl friendships

thanks to Stuart Miles for the image.
thanks to Stuart Miles for the image.

It’s been a long, bumpy ride with me and girlfriends.  The kind of girlfriends that Romy and Michelle are (if you are of a certain age, hopefully you get the reference)the type of best friends that are girls.  Girl relationships.

They are hard, to say the least.  But they are lovely, necessary, and add a whole depth to your life that you never knew about before.  They are like a hidden spice that once you discover it, you feel the need to use it in all your recipes and when you leave it out, maybe others can’t tell, but you can.  Something is missing. The recipe just doesn’t taste as good and certainly isn’t as satisfying and there’s a depth that just isn’t there.

These girl relationships have always been a bumpy ride for me.  Bumpy in that, I strap on a seatbelt in hoping for a convertible type ride of a relationship, only to discover it’s not enough, and we are in a jeep with no shocks and wandering through dessert or deluges of rain with no top.  I usually end up feeling overexposed, painfully vulnerable and shy, expecting to have had a nice drive maybe through a forest or somewhere safe only to discover that it’s a ride I’m not so sure I should have signed up for, as  it was rugged, extreme and not at all what I expected.  And  in the end of some of these best friend-like relationships, I’m not so sure whose fault the bad ride is, mine or my former friend’s.

So, needless to say I’ve been hurt many times by these relationships.  They hurt deep, where it’s a mix of anger, vulnerability, pride and the feeling like maybe I’m just not the right person. And though I tell myself it’s maybe not you, I can’t help but think it’s all me, that I simply wasn’t  good enough to be a part of a pack, part of a gang of the girlfriends, a la Romy and Michelle or The Ya-Ya Sisterhood clan.

It’s not unlike dating from what I remember, I’ll say that.  And I’ll also say I’m not sure which is harder on my heart, and I’m not sure I’ve got that all figured out either.

Not sure if you’re like me, but the kind of girl relationship that I’ve longed for is a friend who knows me so well, that they use the back door.  We of course, don’t have a back door (or one of those half-doors that all of the houses in the 50’s sitcoms were seemingly equipped with) but, we do have a garage door that takes you through the scenic, messy garage to scenic, messy laundry room into the kitchen.  One of those friends is what I long for: one who knows the back entrance, and uses it, and accepts you and your mess along the way to finding where you are.  And the friend that you are not afraid to share your mess with or let them see, either.

And I’m here to tell you that those friends yes really, do exist.

First, yes you, if you are in this boat with me too, you will recover and will move on.  There are others who long (yes, long) to be friends with you.  And you will find them one day.  Promise. And yes, you are good enough. Double promise that one.

And second there is this in the case you are like me, and still searching a bit.  Here’s a good and safe place to start-

The in(RL) conference in April.

(in)RL.  Totally worth it.
(in)RL. Totally worth it.

I know it’s wonderful, because I’ve tried it, I did the whole conference thing last year, you know what?  Blew my socks off.

Everyone who is in this conference is vulnerable, honest, kind, and also: broken.  Some of them have been hurt too, and that’s what this is all about: sharing the hurt and the scars and the broken places in our lives, but still dancing.  Still trying, testing the waters, and knowing that if we break, there are others there to help up glue things back together, to pray, and to most importantly: laugh.  Where there could be potentially a lot of sorrow, there is also laughter too, as in you only crack when you don’t laugh.

We talk about the things that matter most, of course: honest pain, high heels, casseroles, good friendships, God, Nutella, chocolate, pedicures,when the kids annoy you the most, jokes, date nights and how a good cup of coffee can save you, we talk about all of it.  Anything you would talk about with a true-blue girlfriend, is what has been (or probably will be) talked about here.

I invite you to join in the conversation.  Only requirement is you bring your authentic, vulnerable self, including that middle school one that is all nose and height and has no idea how to wear eyeliner.  Bring her too, because she will be among confidantes and equal-footed friends.  Oh, and other requirement is that you be a girl.  Sorry boys, but this is all girly-girl stuff, all nail polish and pink and swirls and all sorts of stuff that I imagine give you boys nightmares to even think about.

And hey-if you have a family, sounds like a good idea for a Girl Day for Mama and maybe a Guy Day for Dad, don’t you think? Call up the grandparents and or baby-sitters, I’m sure they would be more than happy to help and watch the little ones while you take a little time for yourself.  And remember this especially if you’re a mom: this isn’t selfish.  To be a good mom, you need time for you, too.

And again, promise this won’t be a bad time, it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had with other women, and it is community, it is home.  Truly.

For all the details, check it out here: http://www.incourage.me/inrl

Blog Birthday/Anniversary

thanks to Rawich for the image.
thanks to Rawich for the image.

So, this is the day, MLK Day, that marks WAY many more important things than my blog anniversary, but amongst today there is this, the year anniversary of deep fragile grace.  What began as a mini-experiment is now a part of my life, something that has become important enough to me that I still try to work writing and posting in at least once a week.  Which, for a “hobby” that’s really good odds for me.  You should see my craft room of all of the other “hobbies” that petered out halfway.  Not so good.

So as I do every year in January, I ponder what I’ve learned.  What road I’ve traveled, how I’ve gotten here and if indeed the bumps were worth the ride.

And though I can’t say I’ve learned lots and lots as I’m not a full-time blogger, I’ve picked up some things.  Most things that I’ve learned can be summed up as this: there is more to learn, and be patient.  But, if you are still interested (ha!) here is a more detailed list:

  1. Not everything that you write is going to move mountains.  If you’re lucky, it will move readers emotionally, and you may never hear about it.  And that’s ok. And not only that, what moves readers emotionally will be the posts and the subjects you never saw coming.
  2. Your writing will improve.  Your writing improves in spades when you participate in the weekly Five Minute Friday from Lisa-Jo Baker.  (You can find her at www.lisajobaker.com) Yes, 5 minutes once a week with a word challenge helps more than any of those 10, 000 idea-starter books you have.
  3. Your blogging is inconsistent at best, and that’s ok too.  You are also trying to be a full-time wife, mom and worker bee, so writing, though fun, is not always the highest priority.  Loving well will always be the highest priority for you, and that’s not something to be ashamed of. But writing is fun for you, so try to do it whenever you can.
  4. You will feel like a superhero that saved the world when you finally figure out how to upload pictures with a post.
  5. People and friends you never expected will read this blog.  This is a good thing.
  6. You will get frustrated and angry and impatient with your writing and your supposed progress, and you will want to pull your hair out every time someone says “give it time.” But, it’s true, you need a little time and a little distance to do this well.  Play it loose.  Watching every stat, monitoring every post will only make you crazy, and the looser and with more slack you play it, the more successful you are.  I know it sounds crazy, but this is your truth and your personality. Just zoom out a bit, widen the perspective.
  7. A year later, you are still shocked that people read this.  Though not technically a “writer” you are one.  You’re writing.  That counts for something.
  8. It’s not the amount or the reactions of people reading it that count or matter. Seriously.  It’s the emotions, the people you touch that end up making it all worthwhile.  I know this is hard to believe.
  9. You are doing just fine.
  10. You are still writing!  Hooray!

Five Minute Friday – Cherished

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.  Or this week, I post the Five Minute Friday on Saturday night (yes, Saturday!) night.  Yes, I’m aware of the irony.  But, regadless-I’m still giving myself grace and yet also a pat on a back for doing it.

So, moving on-

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-

CHERISHED

thanks to m_bartosch for the image.
thanks to m_bartosch for the image.

It’s a word I don’t know the exact definition to, and yet I know it by heart, like the back of my hand. It’s also an album that Cher produced, but that’s a whole other post.

Cherished.

Cherished is dating during Valentine’s Day, it’s the moment you feel loved and cared for and giddy and gleeful, joyous and exhilarated all at the same time.

So much so, that you can’t help but eat all of the candy straight from the candy heart he gave you, and yet sort of wonder if you’ll be able to fit into your dress for the Saturday night date with him, but not really caring all that much because you are In Love, the love with capital letters.

Cherished is the feeling your best girlfriend in high school has, the girlfriend who, currently on the phone with you and despite all your jealous and loud sighing, cannot get the hint to shut up about her new boyfriend. Like ever.

Cherished is what we long to feel when we are knee-deep in our child’s toddlerhood, covered in Cheerios and spilled milk, on our knees and our last bit of patience, mopping up the third mess in ten minutes.

We keep thinking that cherished is a feeling that we hope to feel, that someone else is responsible for.  When in reality, we have to remember: we are already are.

Five Minute Friday – Dive

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.  Or in this particular case, I post the Five Minute Friday on Sunday  (yes, Sunday!) night.  Yes, I’m aware of the irony.  But, regadless-I’m still giving myself grace and yet also a pat on a back for doing it.

So, moving on-

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-

Dive

image courtesy of Ian Kahn
image courtesy of Ian Kahn

Dive is aggressive, it’s action, there is no other term for it but going deep.

In the creative world, there’s a term called “deep dive” which is just that-

It’s jumping off the board, taking a big risk, and going ALL IN, whatever the creative challenge may be.

There is no one-foot-only-in-the-water in dive.  There is no “un-diving.”

You’re all in, or you’re not.

This is a great thought for my relationships and my writing.  No more standing  allowed, on the edge only dipping toes in, afraid of community and of failure.

Dive in.  Fail.  Try some things.  Grow.

Diving is the invitation to risk, but really, it’s to grow. Because you can’t learn much from one cold toe in the shallow end.

Five Minute Friday – Opportunity

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.  Or in this particular case, I post the Five Minute Friday on Saturday night.  Yes, I’m aware of the irony.  But, regadless-I’m still giving myself grace and yet also a pat on a back for doing it.

So, moving on-

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-

Opportunity

ID-10015025
thanks to Michal Marcol for the image.

Opportunity: it knocks, it shouts, it whispers, it whimpers, it begs to be let in, to take the chance, to ride the wild roller coaster of choice.

Opportunity is of course the name we give chance when it’s expected, when it’s something of a wish coming true; something so tasty we dare not let it pass us by without a small bite, a lick.

The ugly side of fate, is what we call opportunity that is unbidden, unwanted, and frankly so yucky that we dare not touch it.

But opportunity-opportunity is not the knock but really making the best of whatever comes along, whatever chance happens to land at our doorstep door. Opportunity really, is the choice we make by making the best of things-good or bad.

The Resolutions list

2013 Resolutions

Yes, I’m doing this like all the others, falling for the old hat trick that a new day, a new month and a new year may mean I actually get some of these resolutions done, figured out and resolved.  A lot to ask of a year in my opinion, especially one that contains a lot of change in our family life in the year to come, and then the other challenge of just trying to manage my sometimes grouchy attitude about things.

Truthfully, some years, the best resolution for me is just to “be less grouchy.”

However, I like to aim high and keep expectations something I constantly strive for, so we’re going to go with the resolutions again this year.

I’ve narrowed it down to about four, somewhat achievable (but still reachable, I hope) resolutions/goals, and just wanted to share them with you in efforts that :

A.)  If you put it on the WORLD WIDE web, you are accountable, or at least people know what you are trying to do, therefore you are sort of forced to do something about these goals.  People are watching what you’re writing and what you’re doing.  That shame, that sense of everybody knows may help propel me on the days I just want to write it in, wear yoga pants and take a nap on the couch.

B.)  I like to share, and hope that something in what I write inspires others (again, a lofty goals some days when I can’t get my comma usage under control) and maybe somehow helps you in some way, even if it’s only that a word or a phrase resonates with you.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read something that resonates with me-a word, a sentence, or an article, and for some reason it feels like warm tea, like slippers, like someone knows me and loves me.  This is my hope of what comes from my writing-that you feel warm, loved and cared for, and that you know you are not alone.

So, enough of the setup, and onto the resolutions:

1.  Love Well

This is a continuation from years past, and it is still a challenge.  It is so hard to love well, to stop the grocery cart on the very busy day with the toddler question of “mama, why do you love me?” To stop the cart, pretend like the enormous list of errands is no big deal, to stop the cart and look in her eyes and tell her how very important she is to us and God, and how very loved she is.

It’s hard to love well on the days I would rather pursue my own personal pursuits and to-dos, instead of sitting down to write a letter to maybe an older person that doesn’t get that much mail, especially if it means I have to hunt down an address or stamps.  But again, part of loving well is letting others know you care.

It’s hard to love well on the days that I’d rather my husband just grow up and deal with whatever unkind words I handed him that day, much easier to want to do that then to stop to take the time to talk it out, repair the hurt and say the “I’m sorry” that was exactly what I needed to say in the first place.

It’s hard to love well, to be present and intentional with all of those in my life, especially when there is just so much to do on a daily basis.  So much laundry, bills, chores, birthday invites and the other general miscellany things in life that just need to be kept up with.

And in this vein of loving well, I’m finally realized that loving well also means the tangible pieces of love: showing up, doing the dishes without complaint, doing the laundry –yes, there is love in doing the laundry-before everyone runs out of the essentials like underwear.

Because I’ve found that loving well means that the one who cares the most wins.

And I’m not trying to win at life, like it’s some sort of insane rat race competition, which I’m trying to beat everyone at, that isn’t what I mean by this.  I win, in that I feel like a winner because it just feels so good to care, to let someone know in some small way (or big) that they matter.  So I’m going to keep loving and keep caring.

2.  Friends-make some, be one

Friends and a social life are pretty important and good things to have.

Friends are something that I so desperately need that I’ve realized lately.  I’ve realized it to the point that I am needy for community. But it’s still one of those things that although I’ve figured it out, I haven’t allowed myself make it a priority with my friends or my calendar.  And everyone suffers when I neglect to make friends a priority.

When I hang out regularly with friends, I’m the kinder, nicer version of me, and I tend to take things less seriously.  The chore list doesn’t seem so daunting and neither do the temper tantrums.  Whose temper tantrums we’re talking about is still up for debate, but I will say that I have more than my fair share for a grown adult person.  But that’s another resolution on another list that’s perhaps not available on the Internet.

We all know that friends are important to life, health, general happiness, and should be a priority.  Now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and make it one of mine.

This means that if we are friends in real life (or even online) get ready for a more aggressive version of me that involves setting up times to meet and probably way too much in earnest eye contact.  You’re welcome.

3.  Trust myself and my God

Now onto the one of the harder resolutions.  Trust myself, and my God means that I trust, just trust.  That I trust I know myself well enough to know when I’m tired, stressed out, at my limits, know when to take a break of be gentler on myself, give myself some grace.  Those last two bits-give myself a break or be gentler on myself-I need to do these things, but so often it feels like I’m letting myself off the hook, allowing the criminal to get away with the crime.  But regardless of how it feels, it’s the essential truth of it that I need to remember: you cannot go through life running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

So, trust that I know myself, and trust the path God lays ahead of me-whatever path that may be.  Of course I would love the one beautifully paved with giant pieces of flagstone of blessings, accolades, love and wishes coming true, but also knowing that I’m going to need to trust (and walk) the path laid before me even if it’s overgrown with weeds, matted down with pebbles and a lot more challenges, pain and unfavorable circumstances than I would ever want.

I need to trust that, and trust God.  Which also means I stop with the questioning of the disbelief that He really does love me and that He’s not just up there taking an account of my sins and downfalls, planning to make me miserable by creating hail on the day I forget to look at the weather and take an umbrella.

Trusting means the unwavering knowing.  And I need to do this.

And finally-

4.  Be a great wife, friend, mama, sister, daughter, writer, pet owner, housekeeper…

…And the list goes on: laundry do-er, dinner cooker, spill cleaner-upper, weed puller, etc.

To do all the roles I am or fall into-even the little things and the thankless things-which some days, are too numerous to count.

Doing this well means without complaint, without a huge sigh like I am a princess in a castle that has an option of staff that can take care of these sometimes inconvenient roles in life, just because I simply don’t want to deal with it.  I don’t have that option, and in a sense, I just need to grow up and on the days there are more thankless tasks than not, just roll with it and roll my sleeves up and do it.

I also need to take all of the roles and responsibilities I have a little more seriously, reminding myself that this is the good stuff, this is where you show your best self, and all your love, showing no restraint in love:

When my daughter is having a rough day, I need to be the mama that comforts.

When my husband is sad and needs someone to listen, I need to be the wife that holds his hand, unwavering.

When my friend needs some time to chat, I need to be the friend that listens.

When my sister needs some advice, I need to be the sister that knows when to shut up and when to offer advice.

When my mom needs me in ways I cannot understand, I need to drop everything and just figure it out.

And that even applies to spills; I need to clean them up.  To picking up the pet’s poop, to all of the sometimes less than enjoyable tasks in life too, I need to be responsible enough to just do them, without the huffing and the puffing and the teenage sighing that somehow my life would be better or different without spills or having to always cook dinner or pull the weeds.

My life is my life, and sometimes it’s a mess but it’s a joy.  It’s a joy.

And the roles and responsibilities are part of that joy, and I need to remember this.

And, I think that’s it for the resolutions! Well, at least for now.  It will take me at least a year to eighteen months to get these underway and part of my life.  And I have to say, I am looking forward to the challenge, believe it or not.

And in the meantime what are your thoughts? Your goals for 2013?