Five Minute Friday – Jump

Here we go again–Five Minute Friday challenge, this time, on a Sunday afternoon!  And this time, later than usual, just because.  Just because this is the moment I have.  A when I say a moment, it’s really just a moment, even though in my mind (the place with no time commitments or constraints) I would have time to upload the 6 or so posts I feel like I just have to get out there. Oh, life.  It’s a delicate balance of needs and wants most days.  And right now, the immediate need after this is ahem, clean laundry. And laundry that will last us more than just a day. If you’re thinking the laundry pile is about as tall as me, I won’t deny that’s closer to the truth than I’d like it to be.

But, moving on…

For a reminder-it’s 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.  Or propensity for run-on sentences, like I do.  Pretend those don’t exist or don’t matter. (Ha!) And then you have to be brave (or at least 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-

 Jump
Thanks to arztsamui for the image.
Thanks to arztsamui for the image.

Jump.  I hesitate at the word, which I find ironic because I do like taking action (sometimes) and also I laugh because my sister and I grew up and duked out our sibling rivilaries and wars on the trampoline.  An activity in which you, ahem, jump.

And yet then it was ok- it was pointless, the whole goal of that jump was to see if we could touch our oak tree, to see if we could jump high enough to see over our neighbor’s fence into their pool.

Jump.  Fun if there’s no hard crash or vulnerable fall.

But jump now—it means do something. It means a risk.  It’s definition represents all the things I love and hate about risk, failure, embarrassment.

It means putting yourself out there, being out there, feeling like without skin and without shields.

And God, in his infinite wisdom (and humor) I think may be calling me to jump soon, to trust him with a few things.

And yet I long for the soft break of the bouncy trampoline.

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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.

A Better Life

We want a better life for our children, so we work overtime trying to make more money, until hours past sunset, finally at home when they are asleep.

We want a better life for our children, so we enroll them into all the sports and activities we were never good at, and transport them to all the lessons and games, hoping they will be the champions we never were.

We want a better life for our children, so we shove toys and electronics and all things material into their tiny chubby hands, hoping that they will be smarter and more informed than we were.

We want a better life for our children, so we make sure we have ample space, more than enough room than the cramped, small house we grew up in.

We want a better life for our children, so all of hard-earned money goes to new clothes and conveniences, and we forget about the landfills that we’re filling up along the way.

We want a better life for our children, so we teach them the importance of being green, while all we can commit to in regards to being green is just recycling.

We want a better life for our children and want them to be respectful, so we teach them about patience and respect, while they are ignored during dinner while we take a phone call.

We want a better life for our children, so we buy the swing set for the backyard, but sit and stay under the porch while they play because it’s too hot for us to push them on the swing.

We want a better life for our children, so we buy every last trend and little new toy and clothing, so they aren’t made fun of like we were, but we forget to teach them about respect and mercy and hard work.

We want so much more for them, and they, the small they, just want so much more of us.

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.

Am I a bad mother…?

Am I a bad mother because…

…I would rather her know the names of the stars and constellations than all the names of Disney princesses and all the celebrities?

…I want her to know about mud pies and skinned knees and tree houses and how to keep a secret?

…I’d rather her know about bugs and butterflies and the mystery of every living thing more so than the latest toys?

…I want her to know, deeply and truly about what fireflies and wolves and bees are before they are extinct?

…I want her to know about what cursive is, what the post office does, and what manners are before they are extinct too?

…I want her to know about the super heroes that don’t make it the movies; about the ones that hold the frail, aged hands of the dying, the ones who fall in the shadows, unnoticed; the ones who are made of grit and courage and patience but whose skin may resemble more sandpaper than skin, but whose soul is soft as butter?

…I want her to have and know a true girlhood before she becomes a tween; that I want her to be a girl detective more so than a princess; that I want her to believe in the power of her own dreams and determination than relying on a prince on a horse to save her?

…I want her to be both gutsy and tender; courteous and kind; God-loving and God fearing; knowing when to roll the dice in life and when to play her cards close to her heart; that I want her to be courageous and yet vulnerable; strong and yet gentle?

…I would rather fill her little head up with ideas found in books, and imagination from exploring rather than the ideas that come from TV?

…She is truly confident because she knows she is loved unconditionally?