Done. And then (another) hiccup.

So–the wall I posted about earlier this month?

Done!

The paper pile in the back? Whelp, that’s never done, right?

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So, YAY! (To be clear–yay for the wall. The constant influx of paper and things to do (and forget to remember) can take a hike.)

Since I have now decided to add on a WHOLE HOUSE repaint in the midst of, oh, fall, life, school-aged kids with homework, and all the other zillion things like lessons and dishes–you know, small things–I now have a new conundrum: what color to paint the other wall.

The one with nothing but natural light and windows. As the “gray” seen here (that’s really a brown, if you must know) doesn’t work on the opposite wall–it looks like a cave, and not the cozy kind.

It’s always something, isn’t it? Try to change one thing and bam! Something else comes up. I should know better, but here I am, still learning the same lessons. Oh well.

In the meantime, trying hard to hold onto that quote on the wall and hoping my family remembers the wonderfulness of me…as perfection I don’t think is happening anytime soon.

And neither, it seems, is finding the right “gray” for that wall.

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Five Minute Friday – Race

Hi Again-

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?

So, 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 (all 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-

Race

It’s a morning we start with the race out the door, the stop at the gas station, the shoo-shooing of the kids out the car doors and into school, a race before the bell, before the test, before the practice, before dinnertime, after the bath, then the last race into bed.

We do it so easily and yet so clumsily, as though we were orchestrated, this our life as parents to live, our work to do this rushing, while our kids, silent, bemoaning, SLOW, seemingly from another planet trudge through the lessons, the paperwork, the day as if stuck in glue.

What is this whole race about, we wonder quietly, after we’ve had a moment to ponder as we fold the laundry again at midnight, wondering if it’s worth the price we’ve already bargained to pay for with our lives.

What’s the hurry? We steam, we mutter and moan when we are rushed through life’s little moments that are harmed by not enough time, like a friend knocking too early on death’s door; sweet, innocent, new babyhood, only then do we realize life is not so clear-cut as a race, a track, a path, with a finish line, a medal to receive.

What’s the rush, we keep thinking , wondering if indeed life is worthy of complete and total chaos and rushing around.  We wonder, while in slow motion we glance at all the soccer balls, Trapper Keepers and our daughter’s hair sailing past us, molasses in air,  straight into the windshield, while we silently crash into the car in front of us, unaware and yet in a moment, all too aware the time had rushed by and we had missed the signal for stop.

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.

On writing

I have a friend who desperately wants to write, to be a writer.

Not sure if she wants to write books, and whether she does or doesn’t hasn’t really any effect on how I view her; she’s a writer, nonetheless.

Just because someone is not published doesn’t mean that they don’t have something to say; likewise, just because someone is published doesn’t necessarily mean that have something insightful to say.  You’re a writer, regardless of what you write and who sees it.

So, she wants to be a writer.  So, naturally I begin to pray for her.

Because she’s really going to need it.

Writing is not something to take lightly.  Sure, it’s really, really nice to have a beautifully written family Christmas letter.  Can I say really nice again? Because I have read (and written myself, to be honest here) not so nicely written ones.  And it is a good and worthy skill to craft a heartfelt thank you letter or better yet, an honest sympathy note.

However. True writing is more than these little niceties.   I want to tell her this, and yet also I want her to know that though writing is the creative expression (and sometimes soft) way of saying something, it’s hardly nice or mannerly or handles you with care.

Writing can be brutal; especially to your soul.

I say this with authority and a deep wisdom, as if I were 85 and had lived through 3 wars.  I haven’t, have no idea what that feels like.

However, I do know what it’s like to have your life turned inside out for it, all for focusing on the craft and wanting, with a sheer, desperate desperation like you have never known, this feeling of having to write.

And I have known trouble because of this.

When I was 15, my writing journey began when my mom was diagnosed with cancer and a family friend gave me a journal as a “safe” place to express my feelings and thoughts about it all.

And that journal writing took, began to proof and rise, like bread. In fact it kept, all the way up to current day, as I still do it now.  Writing in a journal is a comfort, especially when confused by my life and my feelings, which is a lot more frequent than I would like to admit.

And then at 26, smack dab in the middle of a real-life, could be Big-Important Career, a sudden and urgent enlightenment, an insight one morning while journaling-

I need to write.

And it scared the pants off of me, those little words.  What did that mean?

And most importantly, where did that come from? Certainly wasn’t from the logical, sensible part of me.  Writing just did not fit into my life.  Especially not that raw, open writing style that I tended to favor.

And then for about a year after that I could not write, especially not journals, because, well, what else would be dredged up with the soil tilling, what else would happen if I pulled everything up by the roots?

This insight also meant change; it meant that I could not stay in this place of Brilliant If I Had Loved It And Was Made For It career that most would have swooned over.

So, then, change.  And the simple notion (after a lot of inner turmoil, WTH am I doing with my life thoughts) that, maybe, just maybe, I was meant to write in some form or capacity.

And then the event in 2010 that sort of sealed the deal, a literal come to Jesus if there ever was one, the one that drove me here, to this quiet and maddening place of an (almost) daily writing practice.

This ride here, the writing ride to here, to now, has not been an easy one.  Not that anyone’s life journey is easy, but most people are at least riding in some sort of modern automobile with cushiony tires while most days I feel like I am in a covered wagon riding over rough pre-road terrain with of course, no shocks.

So, I want to ask her-

Are you sure you want to do this?

Because there is no looking back, there is no second act where you get to pull your life back together and hide the seams like before, everything nice and tidy.

Are you sure you want to do this?

Because it is not good money and it does not make sense and some days you will add something, be it an insight or a glean to someone else’s life.  But most days you are just adding noise to your own thoughts.

Are you sure you want to do this?

Because this road, know that you only have to go down this path if you have to.