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

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-


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.



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.


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 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!

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.