Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Belong

Five Minute Friday

It's a little far from Friday... closer to the next Friday, but I've been itching to try my hand at writing, at blogging again, so here it is...

I found Five Minute Friday hanging out at Crystal Stine's place this week... She's a treasure, be sure to check her out! She'll make you feel like you belong!


Here's my five(+) minutes on Belong

Start:

Somedays I wonder where I belong... Is it in the bloggy world, in the crafty world, in the writing world, in the continuing education world, in the just-a-mom world?

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I recently took a social media break to figure it all out... and to finish strong in two online classes that were stretching me a little farther than I wanted to stretch (one of them was a PE class, haha). I'm still on the social media break, but I cheated recently and perused a little bit of twitter, a little bit of instagram, a little bit of facebook. And it reminded me of what I loved about the online community.

For one thing, when you disappear for a month, there is always someone to welcome you back (or even notice that you were gone in the first place). Not hundreds of people, but it was my people. An email here, a Voxer there, and a twitter conversation, too.  And I realize that I still belong.

I don't write for days, weeks on end, but when I sit down and focus the words will still flow... sometimes a little choppy at first, but they are still there, I just have to work at them. And I realize I can still call myself a writer, I just can't be lazy. Sometimes it takes a little effort to belong.

Those classes I worked so hard on, I got an A in both of them... and the anticipation of on-campus fall classes has me a little giddy and I realize I can still belong in the higher education arena, too.

I peruse Pinterest and am overcome with great card making ideas and when my classes are finally done, I sit down at my craft table and I create, and I create, and I create...

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and I love every single card I make and I am giddy with the thought of sending them to some of my friends to bless and encourage others... maybe I don't belong in the etsy world full time yet, but God can use my gift of creating to show others they belong!

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I take my kids to swim lessons and watch them improve and have a blast. I make rainbow loom creations (including a Queen Elsa).
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We go on vacation and I enjoy the pool with them a bit, they ride bikes to the area park, we enjoy a day at the Creation Museum, etc... Back at home, I cuddle with my kids more and take them to the park and the library. I make little successes in parenting and I realize that above all I belong to these kids and they belong to me and I can be a mom ... and all the other things too. It's just an ebb and flow, and not so much a balance of it all, but a belonging and a taking turns on where my focus is.

STOP

so be a little gentle as I stop in to see if I belong in the blogging world still  ;)
Hope to be back again soon, but no promises!


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Nothing

Five Minute Friday

It's Friday... and I have a thousand blog post ideas brewing in my head, but they haven't made it out on paper. But with a prompt like NOTHING for Five Minute Friday, I thought I would see if I could find something. Here's what I found...


Start:

I don't even want to write... it's been so long I feel like I can't remember how, or even why I write. My blog has been spotty at best and even when I have great ideas, I can't seem to find the space, the time, the margin in which to write.

I thought this was the dream I wanted to pursue, I went back to school for a communications degree and I can't even seem to communicate what is in my head, can't seem to get my thoughts out on paper. I know I have something to say, but most days it feels like nothing.

And when I get close to quitting, I get the encouragement I need to keep going, or at least the encouragement that I should keep going.  The difference between good writers and bad writers??!?! According to Jeff Goins, the bad ones quit.

just keep writing, just keep writing


So while I really want to quit, I won't. It might be quiet for days, weeks, even months at a time while I try to find something, anything to write about. But I know that even when I feel nothing, there is something. I just have to start writing or start typing and then the thoughts start flowing and my fingers start flying and sometimes it doesn't make a lick of sense, but I keep typing and occasionally that typing will end up here on the blog for all to see.... and sometimes it will just be between me, myself and I.

But I'm determine not to settle for nothing, and to remember that there is an ebb and flow and to everything there is a season, and nothing good ever comes to those who do nothing... and sometimes you just have to do the next thing, even if it's just writing a bunch of cliches because you still feel like you've got nothing.

There is always something. (and sometimes colored pens help you find that something...)

STOP

sometimes nothing is really something... what is your "nothing" today? Write for 5 minutes and join the party at Lisa-Jo's place!!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

Five Minute Friday

It's not Friday anymore, but I wrote based on the Five Minute Friday prompt, so be sure to stop by Lisa-Jo's place and see what others are writing in five minutes on the word:

Grateful


I tried so hard to go into Mother's Day Weekend with low expectations because even though I'm a mom, it is NOT all about me. Thankfully, I did pretty well --not perfect, mind you, there was one little hissy fit Saturday night... but I regrouped and went to bed before 9 o'clock because I was achy, tired, and cranky, and not feeling very grateful; even though it had been an amazing day, including a new flower garden space, prepping for the veggie garden, a late lunch at Texas Roadhouse and the afternoon/evening spent out on the porch swing ... (how is that for an awful run-on sentence?)

Sunday morning began with whispers and rustling in the hallway well before 7 AM. {smile} But Wes restrained them and gave some guidance. At 7 AM, I was greeted with hot coffee, a poptart, and four eager children with PILES of Mother's Day creations!

They had been busy!

Each one was adorable and amazing and created with an unconditional love that I can be so underserving of. My heart just exploded a little bit more with each one I got to look at and read.


There was kid writing from my kindergartner that could have used an interpreter,

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the masterpieces from my one and only son including a pop up handmade card,


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and the handprint in cement because my Ella has a fantatstic first grade teacher...

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But then there was the work of art from my 9 year old --- her creation, combined with her words (she's gonna be my writer) just summed up my life, my relationship with my kids, and our unconditional love for each other in the middle of all the messes and all the mistakes!

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I am so grateful!

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What are you grateful for ?
 Grateful...

grateful for

new flower gardens
steak for lunch
sunshine
the porch swing
coffee and a poptart in bed
kids creative painting and cards
artwork
marinated veggies on the grill
unconditional love
messes and mistakes
seeing Jesus in my kids

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Forever Sixteen

I've tried to write this week and the words just won't come... not that they aren't in my head, I just don't know how to get them down on paper. I have reading to do for class, I have laundry piles to be tamed, friends to connect with, and family to feed and care for... and my brain is just numb.


I haven't blogged in forever, so it seems weird to come back with this... but it's my present to Julia... and her mom.

Today is her birthday, today she would be seventeen... but instead, she's forever sixteen. That beautiful red haired sweetheart, taken too soon.
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As far as I know I was only there for ONE birthday... her first! and that was way back when I was still mostly afraid of babies, so I probably didn't hold her much. Then I married and moved away and birthdays were celebrated from a distance. 

edited to add this treasure that my sister sent me... not from a birthday party, but a moment from years past... :)

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And even though I make cards for a hobby/etsy shop, my family will attest to the fact that I am HORRIBLE at actually mailing birthday cards to the ones I love most. I managed to send my sister a card yesterday, it will be late, but by my standards it will be right on time. 


And now the birthday parties are over... no more sitting there watching the Kentucky Derby while eating birthday cake (I missed out on those, but I've heard about it more than once).
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I still don't know why, it's still not fair. My kids still ask why and talk about how much they miss her. My girls dream about horses and playing the flute and being just like Julia and my heart aches because I don't know how much they will remember 10 years, 15 years from now. I want to keep her fresh in their memory. To remind them how much she loved Jesus, how much she loved kids and babies, how much she loved and gave and had a servant heart.

Today, I'm just keeping my eyes on Jesus and praying fervently for my sister and her family. And praying for all those that knew her better than I did and loved her just as much as I do!

My words are few, but they come from my heart. I miss her. I guess that's enough for today.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Joy

Five Minute Friday

Just jumping right into Five Minute Friday today (on Monday) because sometimes even when you say you are going to take a blogging break, then you just find the time to write... and you can't stop at five minutes! ;)

I hear the word "Joy" and I think of a little song I remember singing growing up, "there is joy in serving Jesus..."

When I became a mom four times over in less than five years, I kinda forgot how to serve with joy. Every need, every cry, every sickness began to wear on me and sap me of any joy that might have been there ... because having kids made me see how selfish I really am. It's a learning process and it's taking me a whole lot longer than I wanted to find the joy in serving my family, in responding right to interruptions and seeing them as opportunities, in finding joy in the moments of sheer exhaustion.

While I haven't shared my whole story, if you know me at all you might know that I've struggled to find the joy in mothering. It's been a process of two steps forward, two steps back and it's easy to let the devil have the victory and focus on each step backwards...

But just this week I had a step forward moment and God rewarded me liberally and it filled my heart with joy.  Thanks for grace as I focus on the step in the right direction and share my little story.

Backstory: I do NOT like to have my sleep interrupted. Once I was done nursing my babies, I was done responding to middle of the night cries. My brain, once woken, couldn't shut back down and it was easier to ignore the cries than deal with sleepless nights. Thankfully, God gave me kids that sleep really well and a husband that responds, helps kids out, and is snoring again less then 60 seconds later. (My kids even go to his side of the bed now if they need something)

My 8 YO has been fighting a cold/sinus thing all week that was thankfully responding well to sudafed and tylenol. But one night I forgot to give her medicine before bed and somewhere around 2:30 I heard her get up, go to the bathroom and return to bed all without bothering me ... and then I heard her blowing and blowing and blowing, and the battle in my mind began.

My five minutes are well over so I'll skip the long battle because God gave me the victory. That is the only way I would have gotten out of bed. I was so tired, I could only open one eye. I checked on her and told her we should do medicine and stumbled my way to the kitchen. She climbed out of bedand followed   me, so I hardly had to do any work. She took her medicine, drank some water and then said "I'm sorry, mommy." and I curiously asked, "For what?!" She hugged me and said, "For waking you up."

And in that moment my heart broke a little bit, but also healed together with a flood of joy that I made the right choice to help my little girl.

Yes, it did take me over an hour to fall back asleep and yes, the rest of the night was restless and I woke up feeling exhausted ... but my girls extended grace for every outburst I had as they readied for school and then I read some of the following verses in my quiet time...

John 15:12-13 "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Ephesians 5:2 "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."

Galatians 5:13b "...by love serve one another."


Part of life is fighting for joy and I do that by counting the gifts that God gives me every day (or at least every day that I remember)...

* baby steps in success
* medicine
* unconditional love from my kids
* hugs in the middle of the night
* God's daily grace
* Scripture
* writing without worrying if it's just right
* breaking the time limit for 5 minute Friday ;)

so I'm also linking up with Ann Voskamp on Multitudes on Monday because I need to constantly fight for joy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Crowd

Five Minute Friday

Well, I wrote this on Friday... but some how it didn't make it from my notebook to my screen until now. So here is a little Five Minute Friday, on Tuesday...


Crowd:


This was supposed to be the year of quiet. But sometimes it's hard to be quiet and experience quiet with the crowd that's hanging out in my head.

Yes, I'm willing to admit that I have voices in my head--lots of them and they are all saying a milllion different things. Does that make me crazy? Are you going to send me to the funny farm now?

(Ps: I miss my chickens, so maybe that wouldn't be so bad... )

There aren't always this many voices in my head. The number ebbs and flows. But this week, it's been a crowd, a full-blown, unwanted crowd. I was going to let you inside my head and share a few of the conversations I've been hearing lately, but I decided it was crowded enough--NO Vacancy!

If anything, I need a bouncer, someone to kick all the crazies out of my head, so it's just me and my thoughts and God.

I also know that God's Word is the perfect bouncer to all the crazies crowding in my head, but I just didn't feel like it (and yes, I whined while I wrote that).

It's a daily battle trying to clear out the crowd... and today, I just didn't have the strength to fight through the crowd ... maybe tomorrow.

STOP

ps. It's been a while since I've blogged or even written at all. I'm having a hard time finding my voice in the mess of it all, so don't think that this blog post means I'm coming back full force. In face, I"m contemplating a break (an official break) from blogging. Maybe a week, maybe a month, maybe a year, maybe forever...

So if you need something to read, go visit all of the other brave writers at Lisa-Jo's place as they write on "crowd."


And now it's Tuesday, and a weekend with friends, fellowship, worship, rest and yes, God's Word has helped my perspective a bit. The voices are quieter today... but still there and sure to get loud again. It's also amazing what a little bit of writing does to help process through the crowd. So I'll blog when it strikes and I will try to write even when I don't hit publish because I think that writing is still what I want to do, even when I don't "feel" like it.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Small

You know the routine, it's Friday and in the rare event that I actually get my thoughts typed and published today, it's Five Minute Friday. Sometimes when I'm down in the dumps and discouraged, I don't feel like writing, but usually when I wade through the muck and let myself ignore the millions of other distractions and just WRITE, without worrying if it's just right, then I feel a little bit better. So, today I'm writing on SMALL.

Because sometimes, small really means BIG.


Like a hand written note on a small note card, the perfect encouragement at just the right time... not really small, but HUGE.

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Like a small piece of Dove Dark Chocolate.

Small means big when you are talking about a dandelion from your child, or a little hand slipped into yours on a walk.

Small is a newborn baby, the first giggle, the first tooth, the first step.

Small is a tiny mustard seed and the faith it is compared to.

Small is three tiny words, "I love you" or "You are beautiful" but when it comes from your husband's mouth (the one who only talks when he has something to say), It's big, huge, and heart-filling.

Small is the amount of money that I or maybe you could add to a growing collection to help the small in South Africa that need some help.

Small is a snowflake, a rain drop, a first bud, and falling leaf... But a representation of a big God who created seasons for us to enjoy.

Small is my heart when I'm feeling down and discouraged and all alone...

Small is my gifts of thanks to God, that add up to 1000 and beyond that remind me that my God is NOT SMALL.

Small is the sliver of sunshine that peeks through the clouds and cracks open my heart.

Small is the step that is needed to get out of the pit, to pursue the next thing, to do what is right.

Small is really big!

Community Conversation: What is your favorite small (but not really) thing?


and be sure to head over to Lisa-Jo's place for some more delightful writing on Small... each small comment you leave is a big encouragement!


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