Five Minute Friday – Brave

Here we go again–Five Minute Friday challenge, this time, on Friday!  I know! What a concept.

Oh, life. Today’s it’s working in my favor, but that’s no guarantee for tomorrow, is it? If life really came with some sort of insurance and re-assurance, that would be wonderful.  But perhaps we wouldn’t grow so much, and that’s the beauty in things that don’t go as we planned. But that’s another post in itself, I think.

So 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-

 Brave

 

thanks to imagerymajestic for the image.
thanks to imagerymajestic for the image.

Being brave is something that I am currently doing, sitting here, amongst the dishes still spread all haphazardly and left out from a good dinner, while my daughter cries and throws a fit because she did not get her way as to who she wants to bathe her.

Being brave is being comfortable in knowing that my husband has it under control, and that eventually, she will have it under control one day too because her mother did not always run to rescue her every single time she didn’t get her way during her toddler years.  Being brave is admitting this all to you too, to let you in on the parenting styles we so fiercely judge each other over.

I pray for my children daily, for bravery, courage, that the are the ones holding hands with the others, the ones that feel like they are weak or less for some reason. I pray that my children are the ones that hold onto those people and other children so strongly, like a giant red rover line, that they clasp each other so tightly that nothing, I mean nothing can break that chain of fierce love, protection, and community.

If you must know, I also pray a very human prayer, that, in the end, if not in the beginning (and all the way through, a selfish parent prayer) that my children are thick as thieves, that sibling rivalry is just something of an afterthought.

And in that end, I pray for bravery for me too, my husband, the other parents, as raising children is in itself, some days, is a big, heaping act of bravery.

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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.

Five Minute Friday – Here

Here we go again–Five Minute Friday challenge, this time, on a Sunday afternoon!  And this time, later than usual as we were away for the weekend, and I, being the all-or-nothing person I am, wanted this weekend technology-free. Which mostly, it was.  I was very proud of myself for how few times I checked my phone. 🙂

So, there’s the explanation for the time lag, and below, is the late-ish installment of Five Minute Friday…

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-

 Here
thanks to nuchylee for the image.
thanks to nuchylee for the image.

Here, in the midst of a happy Sunday, in the midst of a mini-family reunion, finally home from a conference, living in what I wish my daughter would have done—hug me overwhelmingly, bone-crushingly hard, with lots and lots of words about how much she needed me and missed me, here is where I live today.

Here, in the midst of too many words and too few minutes, always too few moments of time to write, to practice the what most days is the chicken-scratch writing from my soul, over-drenched with too many feelings and too many commas for any “real” writer to acknowledge, here in the imperfection, is where I live.

Here, where there is too much life, so much graciously abundant overflowing life, and not enough time to catch up to it, to ponder over it, or reflect on it, on how very lucky and blessed I am, here I am.

Here, where there is too much laundry and not nearly enough time or dedication to do it, here where there are messes made clean, repeatedly, but with great sighing, here, between the imperfect and sustaining love of a good man, here between the crayons and the play-doh droppings on the floor, here between the grooves of perfection and the spotless baseboards of what life tells us life should be: perfect, here, between all of those moments, here is where I really live.  In dusty, mostly messy and chaotic cycles of life, the loose ends of the unfinished business of living, here is where I love to live.

Five Minutes Fridays – Broken

Here we go again–Five Minute Friday challenge, on a Saturday night.  And this time, B, my husband, has even joined in on the fun.  After my post is his!  Yay for doing things together! Always warms my heart.  Even more so when we play Jeopardy together.  Yes, we perhaps are the biggest nerds you know. No, I’m not afraid to admit it.

What we did tonight-the writing-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 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-

 Broken

thanks to jiggoja for the image.
thanks to jiggoja for the image.

This week has left me broken.  Broken in a way that I’ve been a million times before, that isn’t anything new, or note-worthy for that matter, but broken in a way that’s mean shattered, a little bit beyond just simple disrepair.

And it’s not terrible, really, to be broken.  How else, then, will you know how to be filled? How else can you reach for wholeness with an irresistable longing? Only if you’ve experienced the broken openness do you know how coming apart can very much so mean the joy of putting back together.  And all through life, we do this again and again, the learning, the breaking, the repairing.  It, to some degree, is how we learn to move through this world beyond just surviving.

And sitting with the brokenness—late on a Friday, a Good Friday, we call it, though it is A So Terribly Bad Friday, sitting with that knowledge and truth on a Friday night that is awful, combined with the sting of how my brokenness led him there, and with the added dream-like state of my bad mood with not enough sleep from the night before, only hurt me more.  And I had to sit with it, uncomfortable and quiet, and that really is the least of all I could do, for the one who has the power and the grace, daily, to make me whole.

Broken

ID-10013065

He pushes his way through the burnt ashes and charred wood looking and looking.  Although his hands ached from searching the wails behind him kept his drive going.  Where could it be?  Had someone stolen it when the volunteers came through searching for survivors? … Too many questions.

He finally saw a small glint that was not black, brown and grey.  The glint from the sun danced on the metal and wood.  How could it have survived?  He glanced back again to see if his son was still crying and then kept using what strength was left to remove the trunk from the disaster that was their home.  When he had the area cleared out, the trunk had been roughed up and damaged, probably beyond repair.  Like his home.  Like his marriage.  Like his neighborhood.  Yet, the key still fit in the lock his son had put on their to keep his treasures safe.  He pulled out the black, stuffed panda/grizzly/whatever bear.  His smile as he turned around to his son while extending this piece of their previous safe haven to him was all he had left.  Yet it appeared enough to the four year old in giveaway clothes.  It brought them both home again.

Five Minute Friday – Rest

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late. Again. And this time, two for one, as I’m catching up from last week too, in the post below.But hey, hey, this, doing a Five Minute Friday actually ON a Friday is being on time to the party this week. It’s the little things, really.

A reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, and the details are below in case  you want to play sometime…

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 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-

Rest

thanks to Prozac 1 for the image.
thanks to Prozac 1 for the image.

Rest is a pause, a step, a deep inhale of a fresh breeze before life picks up again, violent, overly dramatic and rushed in its efforts.

Rest, I keep thinking, is that elusive place-a spa in the mountains, alone, where you can breathe, eat spa food, hike through the deeply healing and intoxicating colors and smells, rejuvenating yourself.  A rest, a break, a pause, maybe a massage or two before re-entering the chaos of your daily life of grind, work, laundry, chores and the other duties that just come along side of living life, real, in the moment and in the reality of a family and children.

But that spa resort, though it may happen is not real rest, nor most days is it a reality.  Just like most days, my reality is far from being a princess, though my daughter believes otherwise.  If princesses do dishes and cusses at the laundry pile as tall as her then I must be of regal lineage.

Rest is really, the moment-

The moment of deep breath, of lightness, before the roller coaster comes hurtling down, projecting you back, deep into gravity and your body and into chaos.  Both literally and figuratively.

The moment, the last pause of your mother unusually smoothing out, calming down your long hair, laying it flat, before you walk onto the stage for graduation, a look of both deep thoughts and of last times and rest in her eyes, a look of rest before the second half of your life, her life, begins again.

The moment of the last party, the last hurrah of a place or a person or a time that you loved so much, somehow, but somehow, not really knowing how you know, is coming to an end, a sunset before the dark night, the bright stars and the unflattering reality of morning.

And rest, really is the last moments of a breath, the last big, deep push before a child is born, the last knowing moments before your life changes completely, again, and in all ways new and yet familiar again.

Rest is preparation, legs, patience even, that God gives us, that we need to take before life happens again before we are ready for it.

Five Minute Friday – Home

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late. About a week late, this one is.

Same old song and dance, just sort of new move in the dance each week.  And this one, in my opinion, is not my best writing not my best dance moves, but it’s the practice of it all that makes me come back for more each time. More practice, more hope at getting to be a better writer.  So hence this, only about a week late.

And a reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, and the details are below in case  you want to play sometime…

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 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-

Home

thanks to Witthaya Phonsawat for the image.
thanks to Witthaya Phonsawat for the image.

Home is the place you come back to, time after time, in a place and in your soul.

It’s the place, the one place you finally exhale for the day, leave the bags at the door all askew and messy and whisper a silent thank you to God for, a retreat, a place away, a literal and figurative closed-door on the other sometimes loud and rude pieces of the day.

Home is comforting, loving, trying.  Just like family.  It’s the place you run to, the place you run away from, the odd place you just want to be, even if that means trying to figure out the logic of a toddler, and how she’s determined that in fact, her doll’s own home is not in her room or the doll’s bed but indeed in the drawer, laying cozy with the shorts.

Home is at once a place of rest and peace, and a place where our soul is on fire; a place of endless frustration and in dire need of organization, and yet one where all of life uncoordinated rhythms and mistakes are loved, welcomed, and of course, at home.

What Mama Did: the passion and the boldness (five minute friday)

Hi Again-

It’s time for another Five Minute Friday.  Or Saturday, today.  Has a ring to it, don’t you think? Five Minute Saturday?

Anyways-

So, this time it’s different; it’s still a challenge and an idea starter, but this time it’s about motherhood, the memories we so desperately want to make, all Insta-grammed and perfect, and those we remember about our own mothers-all authentic and real, the interior of a life and what motherhood really is, and the memories that really count.

And some days, those memories aren’t piles of perfectly folded laundry, a mother that never raised her voice, or all milk and cookies after school.

And you know what? Thank God.  Because I can’t live up to that expectation, and also: being a mother myself, I want my children to remember the humorous, the silly, the little quirky things about me besides holding me up to the ideal of motherhood to which I fall down besides, exhausted, frequently.

So, this is still Lisa Jo’s challenge, and a Five Minute Friday one (and there are other exceptional examples at her site, here: http://lisajobaker.com/.)  But to be honest, I thought this post, motherhood, my own mom, deserved more than five minutes worth of my time, so I just went all out. Just like Mom. She’ll be proud.

So the challenge: your unique memory (or memories) of your mom, and-

G0-

What Mama Did: the passion and the boldness

Thanks to James Barker for the image.
Thanks to James Barker for the image.

What my mom did: the passion. The boldness.  My mom was not afraid either being bold or searching for passion in life;  she would seek it out, trying her hand at things, whether they failed famously or not.  She tried random things, she cried when she sang favorite hymns, she was frequently overjoyed at small things, she was her passion and emotions.  This still remains with her, still the most memorable part of her to me, the part I both shake my head in confusion while smiling about.

My mom was not afraid.  She wore yellow sundresses with frilly sleeves before anyone in her group was, complete with yellow wooden bead chandelier earrings.  I believe she even found sandals in the exact shade of yellow too, and if there was yellow nail polish around at that time (hint: there wasn’t) she would have probably painted her nails yellow too.  Whatever she did, she did out-loud, proud, and big.  And pastels were frequently pushed to the back of the closet in favor of bold, bright, cannot-miss-for-a-mile colors.

She told us, frequently, as teens, and for some reason, mostly on the way to church that “black and white don’t count as colors.”  She lived life colorfully, and expected her children to follow suit.  In my college years, what I’ve labeled as my “black and white” years, I literally could not come home in black pants, a white top or any version of black or white somewhere on my being without her commenting on it.  Black shoes counted too. Too safe, it was as she seemed to say, about the lack of color.

She hollered loudly at her women’s club events, carrying on, yelling, hooray-ing and dancing down the aisles shash-shaying and smiling when she won door prizes (she won them often, for some reason) even if it was only a case of tennis balls, a sport which she did not play.  Didn’t matter.  She didn’t hold back the excitement of just getting picked randomly out of a hat.  You would have thought she was on The Price is Right, just inherited a million dollars the way she carried on.

It didn’t matter what it was-tennis balls or not-she was all in.  All passion and emotion.

The most amazing thing about this passion struck me recently: our passions became hers.

Her quiet, introverted daughter that just wrote and wrote and painted her rooms different colors; she brought that solemn daughter to the one art museum in their tiny town, to just about every new showing.   She was there, with me, awaiting to learn about art, even though I thought maybe she didn’t enjoy it quite as much as me.  Didn’t matter.  Still there with me to read the exhibition notes through every showing we went to.

Her daughter that would not brush her hair, the one that could give a flip about ballet, the one who only ate 4 foods and only one of those was a fruit-she helped her find her passion on the soccer field, the kickball field, anything that was physical and involving kicking or hitting a ball.  And she attended every one of those soccer/kickball/softball games.  Not sure if she actually cared about the sport or not; and it didn’t matter. Her enthusiasm and participation made you believe you were doing something powerful.  Brave.  Right.  Important.

She believed this so much so, I guess, that it seemed like with ease and fun that she attended all of our drill team events.  ALL of them.  For both my sister and I.  Which would make that 6 years in a row of performances, competitions and high school football games.  She was so passionate about cheering us on that she became the (fittingly named) Spirit Chair for the parents cheering on their children at these games.

She also sewed our costumes, helped us bake for our pep rallies, you name it, she helped with it, did it, or watched.

6 years.  In a row.  Of Friday nights, Saturday nights, Sunday day games.  Of watching high school football.  As her daughter, I looked through that lens when I was a teenager and said, well, yeah, that’s what moms just do.

As a mom now, I am amazed, awed by her commitment to us, her willingness and her patience in putting up with us and football.  I love my children, but let’s just say that if they are involved in football games or performing at half time…attending all these games is certainly going to have to grow on me.

But my mom? Made the best of it.

I came back my first or second year in college one weekend to see my sister perform at half time, and jaw-dropped at the loud yelling and outright confident refree-challenging comments coming from my mom, the apparently seasoned football fan.

In those 6 years, she learned all about football, so much to the point she would boo refs, call the plays, yell “defense!!” when I still had no clue what it meant except that it was a cheer we did in drill team where we made a “d” with our arms and held up a sign of a fence.

When she was in her 40s, her women’s club didn’t offer a class she wanted with the type of exercise she thought was fun, so she created her own: roller skating.

She wasn’t afraid to try something new, be seen as ridiculous, outrageous or just plain weird.  A thing I fear almost as bad as death at this point, being weirdSo what, it seemed my mom said through her actions and her seemingly blithe and easy-going attitude about pursuing what was fun to her. So what? Life goes on.  You only live once, why hang-ups about what you really like to do?

I am still breathless, without words, about this constant passion and boldness of hers.  I am her daughter, and while they say the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, the fruit, well, the fruit is still working on bearing some resemblance to the tree’s spirited and dauntless attitude toward life.

I am still the reserved, calculated, hesitant one.  Writing remains my favorite thing, a passion, it is however,  not apparently a passion that is so deeply felt, so deeply moved by that I am not self-conscious about, afraid to be all in, afraid to make mistakes, afraid fall flat on my face.  Passion, my mom has taught me, makes you fearless. I am still working on fearless.

My mother has taught me more than this, in fact, she has taught me to be better than this.  Life is not meant to be lived calculated, careful, cautious.

Life is meant to be lived, fully.  Unafraid.  Like I tell my children, a line stolen from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the one I carry with me in my heart:  “I gave you life so you can live it.”  Seems I’ve learned a thing or two from her, sure.  But living the learning, living the lesson, being unafraid of your passions and yourself, doing it; well, I’m still the student.  And learning as I go, absorbing all the beautiful lessons that she’s taught me.