Thursday, October 16, 2014

When I Asked My Husband for Advice: Finding the Good

Okay, here's the truth.  In the past, I have been accused of being, shall we say, a "type A" personality.  I call it tightly strung.  Intense.  It works for me most of the time.

However, sometimes a person can tear herself to shreds with just her mind.

Sometimes a girl can over think things.  Just a bit.

In the last few months, as most of the major things in my life have changed, I have done a little over thinking.  Most of the changes have been big beautiful blessings, but did I mention that I tend to over think things?  Just a bit?

Yesterday, my mind chewed on my hopes and dreams.  I chewed on how to stay focused on the potential future and not sell it out for trifles today.

I might have undervalued the gift of Today.

I don't want anyone to know this carousel of thinking that leaves me tired and reeling so I hide it as best I can.  Write or wrong, I make the big decisions deep in my heart and often alone.  Then I share it all over the internet right here because I trust you people.  And also because I have no real idea who you are though I strongly suspect that most of the people who come here share my DNA.

Anyway, the other night, I look up at my husband while he is sitting in his "nothing box" harmlessly watching TV and minding his own business.

I barge right in with this beauty, "So, if you had any advice to offer me, what would it be?  About anything, just one sentence.  What do I need to hear?"

He turned his face to me and just looked for a few seconds.

I looked back.  I smiled a smile that I hoped looked doe-eyed and beautiful but I am afraid resembled The Joker from Batman.

"Quit thinking about tomorrow," and he turned back toward the TV.

What?  Quit thinking about tomorrow?  This from The Man With the Plan?  From the stubbornly conservative person who bought a whole life insurance policy before he was thirty?  Quit thinking about tomorrow?  We have three kids and the four of you hungry people are all going to look at me in about forty-five minutes to find out "what's for dinner?" and I WILL give you an answer because not only do I think about tomorrow, I think about EVERYTHING that happens next whether it is likely or not!

You are agreeing with my husband now, aren't you?

In her Bible study on the life of Gideon, Priscilla Shirer says:

"...what lies ahead in your journey is not nearly as critical as where you are right now.  Wherever you are now is where you are meant to serve now...your greatest impact will be done here--in the ordinary rhythms of your daily living."

I believe what I wrote yesterday, about not selling eternal Tomorrow for junk Today.

However, the gift of Today must not be despised or discarded while I spin my wheels in imaginary Tomorrows.  

Today, right here, my impact is real.  Tomorrow, my impact is unknown.  There is treasure and balance in both times.

Today is real, it is the bird in hand.  It is finite and like a good meal, it will be consumed or spoil.  It must be savored, every moment, before it is too late. 

Tomorrow is potential and magical.  Tomorrow will show the harvest of the seeds sown Today.  Expectation and dependence on one particular Tomorrow will likely disappoint.  Whichever tomorrow comes, it must be accepted with the gifts it brings.

Its funny, sometimes I think I was more "together" when I was younger.  Maybe I was just too foolish to even know what I didn't know.  So I continue trying to work it all out, to learn and grow and love and laugh.  All this is possible because Today and whatever Tomorrow brings, I have hope and a future through faith.

More like this?
Bloom Where You're Planted
The Truth...and I saw it right there in Sunday School
Superman's Secret Identity

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hold Out: Finding the Good

The subtle voice whispers almost constantly in my ear.  To be honest, I want to listen, I want it to make sense.  I want it to justify and speak the words I want to hear.

The air is cold and damp, it stings my fingers.  The voice tempts me, "You can have whatever you want today.  You can get it yourself."

The offer is tempting.  I could use an easy road right now.  Uphill gets old.

Restlessness weighs heavy today as I walk the curved path.  The best part of the walk is ahead.  The path changes from too bright sunlight to rich dappled green and teases off into the woods.   I have walked it for weeks now and I know good and well where that path goes.

Seeing it though, seeing it is like a trick of the soul.  This part never gets old.  My breath catches like a kid whose eyes finally behold what the heart has been anticipating.  The path tricks me every day and every day I imagine that it goes somewhere new.

"What is the cost?"  The words float in my mind.

"You can have anything you want.  You can have it today.  Just sell Tomorrow."

And there it is.  The only part of what the tempter says that is truth.  I can have whatever I want Today, if I just sell Tomorrow.  

Surprise sparks in my mind when I experience a blessed moment of clarity, seeing the lie for what it is instead of swallowing it down.

I take off my sunglasses to see in the shade of the woods.  Everything looks different, the green is more intense, the light dances through the cottonwoods leaves, and the creatures can't hide from me anymore.  I drink up the peace in this place.  And I hear a different voice whispering of hope and future and holding on to what you know is good.

Today is finite.  It ends.  Yes it is beautiful and what Today offers should be seized and lived in and celebrated because it ends.  But it still ends.

Tomorrow is eternal.  Some people say it never comes but they're wrong.  Tomorrow is born fresh over and over.  We just get confused because it changes its name each time.  Make no mistake though, Tomorrow never really ends.  It is eternal.

Selling Tomorrow for chattel Today would only make me a bondwoman, a kind of slave.  

I can have a spotless home today if I sell part of my bond with my children, one precious hour at a time.

I can have a bigger home today if I sell a dream and stop planting the seeds and stop doing the work  that will make that dream grow real.

I can have esteem today if I sell a hundred little moments that I simply won't have time for in a different tomorrow.

I can spend money on whatever draws my eye if I sell the time it takes to care about you and yours.

Now hear me, our Todays and Tomorrows are different, you and I.  My dreams and loves do not judge yours.  We are both safe in this backyard.

This jumble of nonsense and vague ideas is just about holding on to what you know is true, holding on to what is significant and of real value.

Holding on and holding out for real gold instead of running to town with a hand full of shiny worthless rocks like some fool.

The path hasn't changed and it is real Today.  I can seize this moment and love it for what it is, here and now and real and use beautiful Today to do the work for Tomorrow.  I do not have to trade true value for the easy road.  Besides, Today may have an end but it teases and delights with its own surprises.

The merganser duck with the late brood of chicks has only one left.  I don't know where the rest are but after two cold snaps, dogs, turtles and whatever else lives in water, the chick is a little miracle.  It makes me unreasonably happy.  The kid in my heart catches her breath as she sees the fuzzy shape, half yellow, half brown, waddling awkwardly around the duck as an older woman feeds the flock.  The woman points her cane directly at the orange bill of the big obnoxious goose who, all of us park walkers know, is solely responsible for the new warning sign about aggressive geese.  The goose seems to nod his head as if saying to the flock, "Respect the cane."  

Yes, for all my babbling, Today is beautiful too and deserves to be fully occupied, while its still around anyway.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ugly Beautiful: Finding the Good

The big, black snake gliding through the water at Soldier Creek creeps me out.  Can't help myself though, I move closer, fascinated.  The snake cuts through the water with hardly any movement at all.  I am close enough to see the dull black scales across the thick back.  An older man steps of the path to see.  He moves sort of sideways, not blocking my view but sort of protective in a way.  It's nice, not patronizing and I doubt he knows he's doing it.

The snake is hypnotic, fascinating, ugly and beautiful all at the same time.

Sometimes our days in this house can be rather antagonistic.  Sometimes we five choose to fight when we could choose to play.  

Sometimes twenty minutes of homework is like an emotional war fought with weapons of words.

We five can fuss so much that we are driven to shut each other out, at least for a time.  Eight got plain sick of her brothers messin' her stuff up so she made a sign.  

Keep Out: Girl Might be Mad or Sleeping.  

Amen sister, amen.  Consider yourself warned.

Reality is not always beautiful.  Life is not all sweetness and light, no matter how hard we try.

Truth is ugly and beautiful all at the same time.

  So are people, even the ones we love. 

The ugly can point the way to the beautiful, if you have eyes to see.

At the end of the long day, you find what you are looking for.  

posts about thriving...
Schooled by a Wyld Angel
Bloom Where You're Planted
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Glass Half Full: Finding the Good

Thanks to The Nester for inspiring and inviting us to link up and share our passions!  This is the first post in a series about gratitude and seeing the extraordinary in the everyday.

This start is humble, but off we go nevertheless...

A warm breeze pushes my skin this morning while I walk.  The dog and I are going for a little over two miles, just enough to work off whatever chocolate might beckon later today.  It's a regular thing, walking at the park after the kids are dropped at school, but it hasn't gotten old.  It's just a nice place with a couple of playgrounds and acres shaded by old pecan trees.  Squirrels crowd just out of reach of a six foot leash and the old folks feed them by hand.  Boston the dog rescues toddlers from aggressive geese.

A few weeks ago, I stopped taking my earphones.  

I just walk and listen and say, "Good mornin" to the people who pass on the sidewalk.

It makes me strangely happy.

The route I like best runs along Soldier Creek.  A third of a mile down, the sidewalk enters a tunnel of trees.  This is the best part.  Off to the side, a man with a sleek, spoiled doberman stands fallen tree limbs up in the shape of a massive teepee.  Vines wrap around it and hold it together.  His dog watches as he works.  The first teepee appeared over the course of a week or two and he has started on his second.  I hope fervently that no one takes them down or tells him to stop.  I hope they just let it be.

Some of the regulars are missing today.  Winston-who-gives-sniffems and his man aren't there.  The snarly terrier must be grounded for her bad behavior.  Callie the Yorkie is at home or late but the shy Aussie with one blue eye greets Boston sweetly.

Blue Jays call, the breeze rattles cottonwood leaves and one baby squirrel makes what I can only describe as "tiny noise" at the edge of the creek.  He is so stinkin' cute its just unbelievable.

The peace is shattered.

Whooping, over and over from up the hill.  WHOOPING, I say!  Like a crazed teenager jumping off a bridge or an entire football team celebrating after a touchdown.  WHOOPING!

A blue tractor flies through an empty parking lot, its big scooper thing raised and a man sitting in the seat, whooping like someone who just won the lottery.

Unnecessary judgments push into my mind.

Is that man drunk?

He sounds happy.

Someone should call the city.

Someone should let him be.

What's wrong with him?  He could...

be grateful for his very life today?

Glass half empty, glass half full.  Choose this day the glass from which you will drink.

As for me and my house, we will choose the glass half full, even if it comes riding in the scoopy thing on the front of a blue tractor.

...singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...Ephesians 5:19-20

finding good today,

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How I Won by Waving the White Flag

Before the small people came, my canned goods were stacked according to ingredient. Corn stacked on corn, green beans on green beans.  It just seemed right.

When the small people were smaller and did not have nearly so many opinions of their own, their shirts matched their pants and bedtime was 8 PM.  Breakfast was at 7:30 AM because that's what worked for me.

There are three of them.  As differences in height become evident, differences in their natural tendencies become evident as well.  One boy, Nine, would like to stay up late and watch baseball with his Daddy.  The girl, Eight, sleeps more than the other two and prefers water to most other drinks.  These tendencies mesh with my own habits.

I surrendered my system of stacking canned goods sometime in the toddler years.  I gained mental energy previously used on my kitchen cabinet inventory for more important things.

Then there is Robert, Eleven.  If he stays up much past 9:30 PM, he goes into a semi-vegetative state wherever he is.  He just wilts right over in his seat and the light in his eyes slowly dims.  I can handle a sleepy child at 9:30 PM.  I cannot handle an eleven-year-old, 85 pound ball of noise and energy making gun noises, whistling and getting the dog all riled up prior to daybreak.  Did you hear me?  Prior to daybreak!

I surrendered the idea of matching clothes about two years ago to the bliss of having them dress themselves.  I gained freedom from having to make a few trivial decisions and the great gift of knowing my children and their "styles" better instead of growing mini-me's.

He's been this way, lived this early rising lifestyle since the beginning.  At nine months, he would talk loudly to himself in his crib while I tried to raise eyelids made of lead.

I  have tried to explain my way.  "If you just close your eyes and be still, you might fall back asleep.  You are tired because you don't sleep long enough.  You wake everyone else up."

The discussion plays again today.  Eight, herself a less than adaptable personality, has a face of solid intensity as she plays a game on the iPad.

"But Robert, a kid your age needs about ten hours of sleep a night.  If you go to bed late and get up early, no wonder you are tired in the middle of the day."

I surrender a room to their Lego's and their idea of clean and organized.  I gain a tidy living room, and amazing insight into their imaginations.

Then wisdom declares herself and Robert and I are released from our long-standing struggle.

Without looking up or betraying any hint of awareness outside of her game, she simply declares,

"That's just how Robert rolls."

It's over.  I am released from trying to fit him into my ideal mode of operation.  He no longer needs to feel regret at waking early.  It is accepted, this gift of early morning, high gear "get to it" and in return he may accept me and my foggy haze.

 I can see the freedom of this gift as we move through life together.

That's just how Robert rolls.  That's just how Mom rolls.  Isn't it great?  That's just how you roll.  It's a gift.

The early folks, get up and get it done, I kick in with my gifts at a different time doing different things.  They mow in the morning, I do laundry all day.  I pack 50 little things all afternoon into two big boxes, they get up early and move the boxes.  We are different parts of one body.  We have different strengths.

Our family surrenders our individual ideas of perfect to a collaboration of what home might fully be. We gain a life that is more than the sum of its parts.  Instead of spotlighting weaknesses, we gain everyone's strengths.

I surrender my idea of the way things should be and I gain grace for myself as well.

That's just how He rolls.

grace and peace,

More like this?
Love Does, our story
Nora's Cents
The Truth, and I saw it right there in Sunday School

Thursday, July 31, 2014

This I Know...Summer 2014

Thanks to Emily Freeman for inviting us to share what we learned this summer at Chatting at the Sky.  Emily is one of the most gentle souls I know, and as I dive back into my backyard travels after a summer off, I am glad to be jumping safely into that sweet space.

This summer has taught me some lessons and true to form, I had to learn them the hard way, with deep growing pains and much prayer.  There are more things I don't know but this I do...

This I know...home should be a safe place.

Me and my circus, we have begun putting down roots in this town, new to them, familar to me.  We are happy to take our time and look for our "long-time" house.  I don't know what it looks like or where it is but this I know...

I know our 'long-time' house will be a safe place.  It will be a place of acceptance and grace.  I love these words from Gary Morland in his post, The Safest Place on Earth:

"Your family is designed to be a place of honest vulnerability without rejection.  Disagreements without anger.  Foolish mistakes without embarrassment.  Failure without shame."

Our "long-time" house will be a place where you can take your drink into the living room and three kids who have moved way more than I meant for them to move can choose whatever color they want to paint their rooms.  (Yes, Nora, even macaw green.)  We already act and sound like a circus, why shouldn't the colors of our home match the way we live?

Our "long-time" house will be a place where it is "all about the heart."  As we make mistakes and fall from the trapeze, we will catch each other.  We will practice life together so that we are ready with our best efforts.  We will applaud each other when the lions and tigers are tamed.  We will live our real lives whether it is showtime or not.

This I know...what I do is not who I am.

People move, jobs change.  In spite of my threats, kids grow up.  My role in this circus is changing.  I have been the planner and orchestrator of all things at home for almost 11 years.  I was mother, teacher, helper, cook and maker of all trivial decisions regarding people shorter than me.  Until this summer.  I have come to the realization that it is time for me to move out of the director's role and into the role of trainer or coach.

Perhaps I yell up to the kid flying on the trapeze, "A little to the left, reach farther, hold tight.  Let go!"

Can I be honest?  This change?  It came much too fast.  I feel grief sometimes, but it is grief for the role I used to have, not the person that I was.  I don't die just because there is a change in what I do.

I need to stop parenting "little" kids who need to be constantly directed and I need to start parenting "big" kids who are ready to begin making their own way.  I need to be the mom who lets those kids fly through the air while falls are still about report cards, fights with friends, stealing pencils and forgetting to brush their teeth.  Let them learn how to fly before falls are about lost jobs, bad relationships, or jail.

I am still the same "who" whether my kids wear diapers or baseball pants.  I am still the same "who" whether I cook their lunch or the buy it at the cafeteria.  I am still the same "who" whether I spend my days at an office or picking up laundry.  The circus may move from town to town, but it still has the same clowns, elephants, and acrobats.

What I do is not who I am.  I am still here.

This I know...people are often most beautiful when they are their most ordinary.

Earlier this summer, I had a bad day.  I trudged along under a cloud, my thoughts going around and around like the strange animals on the carousel, circling incessantly and achieving nothing.  Only not fun.

At the dry cleaners, the same woman works there all the time.  She always says something nice.  Her voice betrays a little age.  We share the same hair color, Preference 9NB.  The fog followed me into the dry cleaners.  We speak, I pickup a tie.  I pay and move toward the door.  The cloud follows over my head.  We are finished with our transaction.

She speaks ordinary words that I don't even remember.  Her words are kind, nice, and spoken for no reason at all except she is nice and we are both people here on this earth at the same time.

This small moment is a gift that reminds me that people are good.  People are better than I think.  Sure, people are sometimes worse than you think but they are also better.  It's all mixed up and beautiful and I can't explain one bit of it because I am not God.

If that woman at the cleaners had stood on a stage wearing a gold suit and making $1,000 and hour to tell me how to be happy, her words would have been worthless that day.  There she was, in her chambray shirt and black leggings, Preference 9NB hair and smiling face saying nice things to every customer, even me, myself and Eeyore, and she spoke a gift of good.


I kept feeling like I needed to tell the woman at the cleaners about that bad day.  I thought she should know that her kindness matters sometimes.  So yesterday I let my crazy show.  I paid for two pair of suit pants and headed toward the door.  I stopped and told her about the bad day and how she said nice things and how I walked out thinking that people really were nice.

She told me that she was real glad to know.  She said that she had her own bad time happenin' and that it was so hard she just had to give it to the Lord.  I told her she mattered.  We both tried to pretend that our eyes weren't misty.

True to form, as my hand hit the door to the sunshine, she offered another parting shot of courage, "Finish well, sister, finish well."

Yes ma'am, it is my intention to do just that, one ordinary day at a time.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Double, double, toil and trouble; when I feel like a bad Mom


Joining Kathi Lipp today hoping to encourage some other Moms-in-the-Trenches by airing my own dirty laundry.  You are not alone!

Double, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake,
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,--
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth, boil and bubble.
--from Macbeth

Yeah, that's me sometimes.
I also do quite a bit of bubbling, toiling and troubling.
I don't know what a fenny snake is but sometimes I have an adder's fork for a tongue.

With three kids, I find myself talking most of the time.  Instructing, answering questions, reminding, answering questions, acting as referee, calling them to dinner, and answering questions.  Sometimes I even find myself...I also fuss every day.

I am starting to get on my own nerves.

There is a kid in my life, yeah, he's one of mine and sometimes you would think he doesn't have feelings.  Talking to that boy is like talking to a brick wall.  So, to get through, sometimes you need to use a hammer. I don't mean literally, I mean strong words, not foul language, just big, deep words.

Twice this week I cut that boy to the quick.

Both times I was wrong to do it.  Both times I used my big words to make a point that was irrelevant, unnecessary and careless.  If a friend spoke to me like that we'd have to have a long talk on the porch.

I cut my boy with my words and I saw it on his face.

Hell-broth, that's what my words were made from this week.  I fell again.

I apologized and pray that he forgets over time.  Literally, I pray that he forgets my ugliness, but who's to say if he can?

I tell my kids to listen more than they speak.  You know, the whole "God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason" thing.  

Practice what you preach, girl.  Practice what you preach.

If I listened to that boy, maybe I would know how to get through that brick wall, how to put velvet on the hammer.

Too many words are like a hell-broth, all full of junk, but certainly a charm of powerful trouble.

Powerful trouble.

So maybe I keep my dog tongues and frog toes to myself a little more.  

Maybe I make my powerful charms out of love and verses and acts of kindness instead of too many words.

If you see a big, black kettle laying by the street, I don't want it back.

How do you balance correcting behaviors with staying positive?  Consider sharing your advice here or on Facebook before you share so we can all chat...
Traveler on Facebook here

More posts like this:
Confessions of a Reformed Helicopter Parent
Yesterday: oh my words!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What's a Friend for Anyway?

Ever have one of those days?  You know what I mean, days when the only way to get out of bed is to resort to emotional bribery.  "If I get up now, do these three things, make it until this time, then I can go back to bed."

Some days I am my own worst enemy with my self-talk fueled by self-judgement.

Could be too much sugar yesterday, too little exercise, too much caffeine, too little caffeine, or some real life-struggle.

Maybe its just a blue funk, that feeling that hangs around for no good reason at all.

A text from a friend.  She is having one of those days.  How can it be that my encourager, fellow striver, clear-seeing propper-upper is blue?

Her words are the same ones that have been running through my own head today.

What a mess, if she is down, how can she pick me up?  Her own words, spoken to me in past weeks come into my head.  All I can do is speak them back to her because goodness knows, I don't have any wisdom of my own.

Speaking her own words back to her begins to break the hold of my own heart-fog.  I am grateful for her and her striving, clear-headedness and timely propping up.

I am glad to have a friend like her.  She makes a difference.

Sometimes the circumstances we set up in our mind just aren't accurate.  They just aren't real.

Sometimes we stand on one side of a canyon with circumstances and interpretations of our own creation.  But the truth, the real issue, the heart of the matter is on the other side.  And some days, we just can't get over there.

A friend stands in the gap between you and reality.  A friend makes a bridge for you to come on over.

You can leave behind the whispered lies spoken by your own mind and cross to the truth spoken by a friend.  Because a friend stands in the gap.

You can leave the land of loneliness and come into the house of fellowship.  Because a friend makes a bridge.

I don't know about you but I am tired of standing on the doorstep and making nice about petunias and casseroles.  I want to get to the heart of the matter so that if you ever need it, maybe I can stand in the gap for you.

Let's rejoice together, cry together, let's stand tall and strong, together.

Thanks T, you inspire me..."Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep."  Romans and your words, they matter.

More like this?
Iron Sharpens Iron, I wanna be like you...
Love Does, our story
The Truth, and I saw it right there in Sunday School

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Schooled by a Wyld Angel: What I learned in April

Don't know what got into that girl.

Her age and the number on the back of her hot pink jersey are the same.

She blushes when you talk to her and her smile still glows with the sincerity of childhood.

She isn't mine but they have much in common, Shy Girl and my girl.  Two Wyld Angels twirling incessantly around chipped metal poles while I try to be friendlier than I really am.

That Shy Girl, she rides with her grandparents each week.  I've never seen her momma.  Her daddy finds his own way to the park, sometimes he walks and sometimes he takes a cab but the fact is, he's there, coaching two of my kids four days a week.

The ballpark is full of stories.  Parents adoring their kids, babies in strollers, Memaw and Papaw, tattoos, and beer breath, nachos and parents giving up their couches to coach kids.

Congratulations on number five, even though this baby wasn't planned.  "God is laughing at your plans," I say and the daddy agrees, "I guess He is."

Stories in the form of four-foot-tall kids in ball caps run around me.  I wonder about them.  Sometimes the adults turn away when someone loses control of their words and sometimes they speak up.  "Lighten up, they're just kids!" and old man growls at a weary woman with wild hair.

Shy Girl of the Wyld Angels heads up to bat.

I grow tense because I know her a little and I like this girl.  She might hit, or might not but she's new to the game and I want her to do well.  But most of these little girls, well, let's face it, they're so little, just learning, that's the point, right?  Maybe she can make it to first base.  That would be good for her.  Give her some confidence.  I want her to like the game.

The fact is, she probably won't hit it at all.

The pitching machine shoots the balls high tonight.  In my mind, I am already making excuses, stupid machine.  How can these girls hit the balls if that stupid, old machine keeps moving around?  My daughter is even shorter than Shy Girl.


Shy Girl runs as fast as she can toward first base.  The other team chases the ball and it looks as though they almost have it.  The coaches yell, "Stop at first!  Stop at first!"  Someone has the ball in their glove and she really should stop.

She doesn't stop.  You should see her.  She rounds first base and keeps on cooking like it has been her plan all along.  She isn't listening to anyone.  That girl is on a mission.

The fielder on the other team throws the ball wildly.  No one is ready.  The ball hits the grass and keeps on rolling.  Shy Girl rounds second base and keeps on rolling.

Someone corrals the ball and locates Shy Girl in the melee, she's hard to miss in her hot pink jersey and socks.  They throw toward third base and the ball and Shy get there about the same time.  They might get her out there.

But that girl doesn't even slow down.  She runs between a group of girls and while they try to figure out what to do, she angles out to make the turn and the crowd goes crazy.

I'm out of my seat, yelling, "Run, Girl, Run!"

It doesn't matter what anyone says.  It is as though that little girl saw a chance and she's taking it.  An adult might reason that she has nothing to lose.  The crowd counted her out when she went to the plate with her bat in her hand.

I don't think she's reasoning.

I think she's just running.

 I am certain she doesn't even see the balls flying at her as the other team tries to get her out.

She never even hesitates.  She just runs.  All the way home.

Don't know what came over her but I think that when you are young like that, something as simple as hitting a home run one time, I think it can change your life.  We learn from our experiences and I pray that girl remembers this day when she did something big and beautiful  and brave and the crowd cheered. I pray that she remembers being the hero for a moment and running all the way home, regardless of what everyone else yelled from the sidelines.

This April I was schooled by a Wyld Angel.

I learned that sometimes, you have to make up your mind and run.

Ignore the voices around you.

Don't stay at first base where it's safe.

Simply refuse to see the balls flying at you.

Run with all you have from one base to another, until you get home.

That's what I learned in April.  Thanks for the invite from Chatting at the Sky...Emily, you are an anchor!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Law is On Your Side: how to get where you really want to be

Ever have one of those days when all you want to do is stay in bed?

This winter has been one of those days.

My grandma and B's mom, Dixie, they made quilts.  Pink and green wedding rings, a red eight-pointed star, and a fairy ring made out of polyester scraps that wears like iron.  Ain't no cold getting inside those layers, baby.  I've got a warm spot right here and I'm not comin' out.

An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by force.

Newton said it and I imagine his voice big, booming, and bold laying down

The winter was cold and I moved less and less and my body began to stiffen.  We know good and well our hearts, minds and souls are like that too.

We pull in and stiffen a little more each day.

According to Newton, we aren't going to start moving without a reason, without force.

Maybe that force is a friend, perhaps something you need and really can't do without.  Maybe a child drives you out of your warm spot.  Maybe your soul is dug in deep and the only thing that can move you is faith. Maybe you are the force.

Great thing about a universe intelligently designed, there is great balance and there is more to Newton's law:

An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by force.

And there it is, the way to turn the laws of nature to our advantage.

Wherever you want to be, just take a step in that direction.

An object in motion will remain in motion unless something tries to stop it and even then, even then it will resist being stopped.

As spring approaches and I begin to wake up to sunlight, the light fuels my emotions and emotion fuels my energy and faith forces me forward and I become an object in motion.

An object will resist changes in its motion.  We keep heading the direction we are already going.  That includes you and me, for good or bad.  Unless we are acted upon by force.

If you need to change where you are going, change what you are doing.

Find a reason, a force, and start the ball rolling toward your chosen destination.

Decide where you want to be.  Use your brain to figure out which behaviors will naturally result in the consequences you desire.

If you want to be on time, get up and leave earlier.  If you want to change jobs, be a great employee where you are and actually apply for the job you want.  If you want to be fit, move.  If you are already exhausted and want your energy back, adjust your diet and go to bed.

I've had to quit whining about the cold.  I've had to get out from under the covers and move and when I did, I found myself surprised by where I could go.

Action breeds action.  Productivity breeds productivity.

Maybe it is as simple as making the bed.  Once that is done, the dishes take only twenty minutes.  A walk at the park, that task you avoid at work.  The bills are paid and there is still time for your favorite things, a long book, a run, maybe a precious hour to paint or play games with your family.

You don't have to save the world today, lose five pounds today or even be perfect today.  All you have to do is decide where you are headed and take a step.  Today.

It's the law.

The law is on your side.

on my way,

more like this?
Bloom Where You're Planted
Take the City (if you need a little, well, force!)
Double, double, toil, and trouble (or redeeming a major fail)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Nora's Cents

Nora's got good sense. 

The girl is organized, every Build-a-Bear in his or her customized box, little clothes packed in tightly, ready for wild play at a moments notice.

Nora is a shining example of maturity and planning.

Got a big day of softball practice on Thursday?  Why not get your clothes ready on Monday?

Friends, she did not get this from me.

She's a bit of a bag lady with an eye for anything that holds "stuff" and has handles.

She has seven backpacks.

They are packed.

I don't know what's in the backpacks.

Nora knows.

As you can imagine, she doesn't switch gears easily.

She saves her money.  She has a plan.

She's seven.

She considers her priorities.  Seriously.  Softball over events at the library.  Mommy over almost everything. Except the Daddy-Daughter Dance.  Daddy-Daughter Dance takes precedence over most everything else.

Once she has decided, she is amazingly stubborn persistent.  She once saved up to buy her brother a birthday present.

She had FORTY dollars.

I refused to let her spend FORTY dollars on her nine-year-old brother.  After all, I couldn't let her outdo her father and me.  We had it out all the way to tears right there in the Lego aisle at Target.

A time came when she wanted something.  Probably a trip to Build-a-Bear, which is not something to undertake when you're light in the wallet.

I asked her how much money she had to spend.

Nora brought her little brown purse to me, the one with the red flower clipped to the handle.  She had the biggest smile on her face as she opened her purse to show me.

It was empty.

Her small voice, "Momma, you know how the church was collecting for those missionaries?"

"I've been giving them my cents."

"I gave them all my cents."  And she hopped.

Without a thought, without regret and without involvement or interference from her parents.

Because someone needed what she could give.

Nora's got good sense.  She may, or may not, have lots of cents but that doesn't matter.

and a child shall lead the way,

For more on the story that inspired Nora to give all her cents, 
read Luke 21:1-4.

More like this?

Nathan and the Bell Ringers
Superman's Secret Identity Revealed
Daughter of Elisha

Friday, February 28, 2014

What I learned in February...

Emily has a standing invitation to join her over at Chatting at the Sky at the end of each month to share what we learned.  Though I doubt any of these things will rock your world, sometimes it feels good to look over your time and highlight a few notes...


1.  The Gilligan's Island theme song.

My kids have discovered the classics.  By that I mean classic television which in our home means: Andy Griffith, Gilligan's Island and old Scooby Doo.  

These shows require no thought and no real parental monitoring.  Every time I walk through the room and hear that song, I can't help but smile.  Funny thing is, all five members of our family can talk about Gilligan's Island together, simply put, it's one more thing we can laugh about over dinner.

I will offer no apology but I will invite you to "just sit right down and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip..."

2.  How to self-publish a book on Smashwords.

Sometimes you do things that you really can't explain.  I used to make all-natural soap and sell it at a farmers' market.  

Using my own hands to produce something so natural and useful was unexpectedly interesting.

Talking with the wonderful people that came to my table was a source of joy.  Mothers with kids, touching and smelling the bars and guessing the "flavors."  Men approaching sideways, sort of sneaking up, as if they don't use soap too.  Older people laughing about their grandmother making soap in a big, black pot.

It was just lovely.  

Here is my little ode to joy...and it cost me nothing but my time.

Making and Selling Soap: A Hacker's Guide

3.  Sometimes changing your mind is good. (Thanks, Emily)

By nature, I am a second-guesser.  I drive myself crazy.  This is hard to share but I recall a time when I agonized in an aisle at Wal-Mart for way too many minutes to admit over the color of a CD player.  "The silver one will go anywhere, but I really want the metallic green.  I should get the silver.  I like the green better."  I left the aisle at least one time only to return and switch my choice.  As a result of this tendency, I often punish myself when I change my mind, even if the reasons are valid.  Please tell me I am not alone.

Sometimes a choice is just a choice, one path among many that all lead forward.  When this is the case and you find yourself leaving one course to pursue another, just as worthy and maybe better suited to your soul, celebrate your position as a higher-thinking mammal and your calling to this new place and simply move on.

4.  Hummus is good, too.

I tried it.  I like it.

5.   So Rejoice is an awesome group.

So Rejoice successfully refocused my attention from their onstage performance to, well, God.  

I forgot to finish contemplating whether their look was more Duck Dynasty or Zac Brown band (neither, they are completely their own), and instead of getting lost in the violin played by the beautiful woman who did NOT look anything like Zac Brown, I got lost in worship.  

I forgot where I was and nearly lifted my hand in the air.  Can you imagine? 

I pray that one day my children feel God the way these people do.

grateful for February and looking forward to March,



Love Does, our story

The Truth, and I saw it right there in Sunday School

Stone Soup, a confession

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Striking Gold

I know this boy.  He's Ten.  He makes decisions with internal Scales of Justice and it seems as though he is immovable.  He cannot yet comprehend his wise Daddy's words, "what's fair is not always equal."  He's ours to raise and sometimes, for this "live and let live" woman, the work of teaching grace and love gets real hard.

How do you teach the value of social norms, traffic signals, and schedules while simultaneously teaching that people are more important than rules, that grace is when you don't get what you deserve, and that the greatest thing is love?

His temperament is a gift, it really is, this natural affinity for routines and ability to stick to what he believes in the face of pressure from other people.  I will be grateful for this one day.

For now though, we need a little softness, a little understanding and so, like a miner, I chip away at the rock that surrounds the treasure.  I search for the gold in the bedrock.  I test my own principles against his logic and his attempts to make sense of this life.

He's only Ten!  How will I have the words to make it through the next however many years?

The internet authority on everything, Wikipedia, estimates that to even bother mining gold, your location should yield one Troy ounce for every SIX TONS of rock.  You have to mine your way through six tons of rock to get an ounce.  Sigh.  That's a lot of work.

But I've got gold fever.

I've seen gold in them there hills and it only takes one glimpse.  I'm hooked.

You chip away and chip away and just when you begin to doubt...

A girl twirls and twirls, inspired by Olympic figure skaters in all their icy glitter and she holds her arms out gracefully as she spins on the carpet.  Four people are present but there isn't really an audience.  No one pays attention until she falls hard, tripping on her momma's outstretched legs.  Mom gasps, too loud and everyone sees.  The girl cries in her momma's lap.  It's just her pride but it still hurts.

He can't stand it.

That insensitive big brother who would normally throw her under the bus if she even bent a rule,
that boy who makes his decisions by weighing everyone on those scales of justice,
that boy who puts life in neatly defined boxes,
that boy who  is wildly creative and lives to play outside with stories in his mind,
that boy who chips away until we play some new game of his own invention,
that boy who draws imaginary creatures on reams and reams of paper.

He can't stand her tears.  Not today.

For no reason that I understand he brings her a book on Amelia Earhart and points out some reason she should read it, while she hides her tears in my shirt.  She takes the book and slowly opens back up to the room.  Minutes later, she slides off my lap and bounces to the front of our attention proclaiming that she was born on the same day as Amelia Earhart and isn't that something?

Life goes back to normal except for that little glow coming from that boy's eyes as it sinks in.

He knows he did right.  He knows that he, the boy who seems to be made of rock, he soothed a little girl's heart with kindness.  Maybe he adjusts his scales to measure a new kinds of treasures.


More like this?
King Robert of the Wild Hair
Confessions of a Reformed Helicopter Parent
Yesterday (the post about the time we were taken over by aliens)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Just Resting My Eyes

Kids tumble into the room then turn quiet, running into each other.  Shhh.  She's asleep.

It isn't true.

Just resting my eyes. 

You don't always need to sleep in order to rest.  Sometimes you just need to close your eyes.

Still there, still hearing, still aware.

Just at rest.

For me, this is a time to rest.  A time to step right off that hamster wheel of "should" and "ought" even though I thought during this last month of silence, surely something would break.  I expected to drop some ball.  I expected it to shatter.

But nothing broke, Friend, nothing broke.  The important things still got done.

Put that frazzled feeling, the one brought into being by "should" and "ought" up onto a high shelf and let it get dusty with all the stuff you can't seem to throw away.

May your frazzle get dusty, Friend.  Frazzle is good-for-nothing anyway.

Entire days can pass without the weight of a TO DO LIST crushing you, taking your breath away.

"But I have to..." you fuss.  And maybe you do.  Then again, maybe you don't.

Write down all the things you think have to be done and let a friend, spouse, or kid take a look.  Men are great at cutting your list to shreds given that their priorities are totally different than a woman's, alien even.  Get a different perspective from someone who cares.

Argue that you must do all of those things.  Argue that you must do them even at the expense of your piece, or PEACE, of mind.  Listen to the hollow sound of your arguments.

Rewrite the list with fresh eyes, with a new perspective.

Those things that fell right off your list?  They don't have to be gone forever.  Just while you rest.  Then, when you feel sane again, when you breathe easy, decide whether to let some of those "shoulds" and "oughts" back into your life.

As for me, getting on my list is pretty tough these days.  If you are a "should" or "ought" that is.  My family has no problem getting on my list.  Monopoly, popcorn, giving my entire attention to Ten when he tells one of his stories.  These things have been added to my list.  Added because I didn't have time for them before.

I like my list better now.

You don't always need sleep.  Sometimes you just need to rest.