Just listening

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Thank to Stoonn and freedigitalphotos.net for the image

Can we be honest here?

I’m not sure what the hell I’m supposed to be doing.

While I’ve had (what I’ve felt over the course of several years) was a calling from God to write, I’m not so sure anymore. There have been things that have developed (now that I can clearly see with two undistracted eyes) that need some addressing and taking care of, now. More immediate than the lifelong dream of being considered a “writer.”

Nothing bad, no, and thanks for asking.

But I’m seeing things and behaviors in my family unit that I just accepted because well, I was too busy to address, and here’s the frightening thing: even notice.

Too busy to even notice.

From me, the Always Constant Noticer, the One Who Remembers, or so I’ve been called (and have recognized that tendency in myself ), this is terrifying.

Too busy to notice. Which is heartbreaking to me because it begs the question: What else have I missed?

What else has sailed on right past me because I was too busy building my career, focusing on me, wondering, just when in the hell, I could have a writing career of my own?

Please hear me: ambition, work, not bad things in life. Good things, actually.

But when you realize you perhaps, have a problem with ambition, in that it drives you to see only you and how things might work out for you, I think you have a problem. I’m using the word you, of course, meaning me.

What other things will I find under this big heavy rock of selfishness, I wonder lately.

And each time I wonder, more worms. More selfishness. More, sigh, dirt.

My husband reminds me that I’m changing too, a transformation of my own, and to not be so hard on myself.

But still I wonder what more I’ll uncover, hesitant. Though ironically knowing that what I discover about myself (negative or otherwise) is really, truly an opportunity.

An opportunity, yes. Even if it feels a little bit (I won’t lie: a lot) like pain and something I don’t want to have to deal with.

It’s like what they say about sickness and also well, my personal thoughts about clutter/cleaning up: it always gets worse (or seems worse) before it gets better.

So, that’s what I’m reminding myself now. To holding on. To hold on and know deeply that all the things and relationships I had in a certain arrangement in my previous life are transforming, changing, shifting. Just like me.

And through it all, remembering to listen to God. Because if He’s changing me, the dreams I’ve held for several years may also need a bit dusting off too.

All I can do is wait. And listen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five Minute Friday – Comfort

So! Here we go again, another Five Minute Friday, this time on a Sunday morning.

Hey, whatever works, right?

So, this time I was an overachiever and did it twice–once on Friday night, just to let go, challenge my mind in another way, and once this morning, after inspiration struck as I was opening the blinds. So today, you get two-for-one! And you also get to tell me which one resonated the most with you in the comments, if you feel so lead.

For a reminder-this Five Minute Friday thing 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.  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-

Comfort

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Comfort 1:

Words and words and words pour out of me on Fridays, over the weekend.

Ideas and thoughts and some of which just don’t make much sense, don’t stand up to the heat of the weekdays.

But I write.

I write mostly for my children, to leave a legacy, to leave a name for myself, who I was on my short time here, I write to leave lessons, memories for them as to remind them as to the essence of who they really are, before the hard and defensive years of the teens and twenties turn them towards themselves, untrusting as to who they are and if they are good enough.

They are more than good enough, they are worthy.

I leave words in their journals, their somewhat-finished baby books, in emails, in notes, in cards, in the big blank sheets of the opening pages of a book where you can write a dedication, I leave words wherever I think they can find them, hang onto to them in moments of stress or insecurity or whatever thing makes them feel any less than beautiful and worthy.

I leave words to comfort.

I leave words in their ears, in their dreams at night I try to whisper sweet things that will stick with them, as if some sort of dreamy osmosis, that they take deep into their subconscious to hear; I try to say loving words enough times, the world over, so that my words, those words are written on their hearts so much so that the outside world can’t erase them, can’t change their minds on who they are or how so very much loved they are.

I write and I write and I write.  Mostly for them, but for me, for my piece of mind too, my comfort in knowing that I am trying to do the very best mothering I can, that they won’t live their lives rudderless, unaware of how very loved they are.

Comfort

Thanks to pakorn for the image.
Thanks to pakorn for the image.

Comfort 2:

My long, 6 foot table, my beautifully reclaimed wood dining room table, the one piece of furniture in our house that is the most expensive (and the one that, in a fire, after my family and pets were safe, I would hitch up on my back and walk out of the house with) sits this morning in a mess of piles, paper, and other misc projects and things collected on it.

I open the blinds high, wide, and let the sun rays pour in anyways.

Mind you, this piles aren’t organized, the room itself lovely, but not masterfully decorated, and this scene certainly isn’t Pinterest-worthy.

I open the blinds anyway, a bit bold, brave, and perhaps stupid in that I kind of do still care what others, my neighbors think.

It’s an amazing ironic and comforting move all at the same time, because it reminds me of God and me, God and humankind: He illuminates the mess.

Whatever state things are in, whether you are ok with the problem/issue/state of your dining room table or not, He illuminates it.  He makes the sun shine in, so much so that you can’t help but throw back the curtains and breathe in the sunlight, comfort, deep comfort is knowing that you are truly loved just as you are.

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.

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 – 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 – 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.