Falling All Over Myself

It’s been an odd assortment of weeks around here.  The word “chaotic” doesn’t quite do them justice.

How-some-evah, I’ve been missing the writing community over at Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday Link Up.  And somethin’ fierce.

So it’s time to jump back in and write for five unedited minutes on this week’s topic.  Click the button below to join in or read what others had to say.

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FALL

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I’m reading many books at once.  I like to live dangerously that way.  This week, I read this in one of them- and it knocked the wind right outta my sails.

“We don’t want to fall. We like to see great testimonies of God’s grace, but we don’t want to be the testimony.” *

Out into the great unknown, I am allowing myself to fall.  Even as I type.

My words prove nothing to anyone and everything to me.  I find with each word that I type that I am, indeed, using the passion that’s been brewing inside of me, to affect change.

In myself, definitely.

And, prayerfully, in any one of the friends that are reading.

I want to be the testimony.  Right here.  In black and white, or grey and teal, or whatever other colors are used to type out these words.

The testimony I share can only be shared in bits and pieces, because there are so many.  No single grand event. Only snapshots of a life, that when finally put together into that cohesive scrapbook, tell a story of one redeemed by a grace that never fails.

One bit, one picture, is of this 40 something girl, finally learning to fall freely.  Knowing that wherever I land, whenever I land, God’s got this.

STOP

*One of the books I am currently reading is “Anything” by Jennie Allen.  This book is shaking me up.  Have you read it?  What were some of your greatest takeaways from this book?  What have you actually acted on because of it?  I love me a good book talk, so please, do share!

Tuning In To His Song

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SONG

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Cringing and grimacing are often seen, along with some snickering thrown in for good measure, whenever I sing.  I can’t carry a tune to save my life.  Thankfully, I’ve never had to.

That’s why I find it so laughable that the man I call “husband” has such an amazing voice.

He doesn’t think he does, but, oh, how he can sing.  Not in a you-should-go-out-and-start-a-band kind of way.  No, no.  I’m talking about the I’m-gonna-stop-my-catterwauling-to-listen-to-you kind of way.  Others might move a few rows farther away when I get fired up, or wish they were in a different car.  Not so, when he does.  Others tune in and scootch closer.

He doesn’t think his song is all that special, because his brother sings, too. And well!  As in, already-an-artist kind of way.

But, each time that my man chooses to belt it out, and thinks he’s just blending in with the host of other voices around him?

My own singing ceases (thankfully).

I look up at him.

And I.

Just.

Listen.

To his song.

Because it’s always beautiful.

It’s Five Minute Friday time over at Lisa Jo Baker’s place. Dontcha’ just love it?  Today’s prompt is “song”.  You know you want to read what others had to share about this little word.  Click the button below and you can!

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Sole Comfort

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Charles Schulz penned a Peanuts cartoon where Snoopy sits atop his doghouse wondering “Who comforts the comforter?”  I can’t even tell you how many friends have sent that to me over the years.

The first few times I received it, I laughed uncomfortably.  They were all emailed or snail-mailed or Facebook messaged with little notes saying things like, “Take time to fill up your own tank, too.” and “Who’s helping YOU through this?”.

The next time or two that this cartoon drifted into my inbox, I sat up and took notice.

It slowly dawned on me that in all of my desire to comfort and encourage others, I had missed how necessary it was to accept comfort for myself!

Although there are sweet friends who have done a lion’s share of comforting over the years, my sole source is God.  It is He who stands with me and for me, and never leaves me to stand alone.

It is He who provides the experiences that allow me to then pour comfort out onto others.

And that is a gift.

Yes, indeedy!

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker , and all of the writer hearts that join her, for her Five Minute Friday write.  The only rules are to write on a one-word prompt that she gives for five minutes and to encourage a couple of other brave souls who have shared as well.  If you’re curious what others thought of when they heard the word “comfort”, just click the button below. 

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How To Be Brave

BRAVE

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I’m trying. Really, I am.  This bravery thing, isn’t for the faint of heart.  And lately?  My heart is feeling pretty faint.  I feel like that one lone bird standing on the rock closest to the wildly pounding ocean, with the tumultuous waves ready to smash her to smithereens if she doesn’t take flight.

I tell my Sweetboy that bravery is what you do even though you feel scared.  I tell my Sweetgirl that mama’s can be brave, too, just by doing what they know in their hearts they are to do – not what the world tells them they should be doing.

And it all sounds so good.

Only, all of those words aren’t quite making it to my own heart lately.  I feel on the cusp of a bravery.  Glorious adventure and excitement await as soon as I will just commit to taking flight.  But, if I don’t, and soon, I’ll be crushed by the waves of disappointment, expectation, and even circumstances.

I don’t want to be crushed.

There is no need for panic.  No need for indecision.

I know how to unfurl my wings.  I even know what flight plan to use.

It’s a matter of doing it.  In trust.  In trust that He will hold me steady and keep His firm grasp upon me when the winds shift.

I just need to practice Brave.

Then, I will be.

I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and the beautiful community of writers for her Five Minute Friday writing prompt. Click the button below to participate, or to read what this word, brave, brought to mind for others.

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You Too?

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by C.S. Lewis.  He was so wise.  He said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

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Isn’t this the truth?

We write of our pain in the midst of our relationship woes, or the joy in our once-in-a-lifetime moments, and we find suddenly that there are others who have walked this same road.  Share this same pain, or joy, or confusion, or desire to get it right.

It was that – the desire to get it right, that drew me to Jen.  We were about as different as different could be on the outside.  But, we were both fresh out of college with our Teaching Degrees clenched tightly in our fists, ready to strike out and become the  Best Teacher Ever! And then, reality set in.  We quickly realized that we would need to do a little ladder climbing to get that coveted Classroom Teacher position.

We were teacher aides in classrooms next to each other.  We bore the same burdens of caring for the particular student in the elementary classroom’s we’d each been assigned to, as well as providing the support that the classroom teacher needed to carry out his or her duties for the other 24 students in the room.  The days seemed overly long at times.  The wait for our own title of “Classroom Teacher” seemed to stretch out even farther.

But, in the lunchroom, over my can of Spaghettios with franks and devil dog, and her neatly made sandwich and apple, we bonded.  She laughed as I regaled her with stories of the day’s goings on.  I listened intently as she rattled off a list of lessons she daily learned.  And we re-fueled each other with our camaraderie for the last half of each day.

But when we really hit the deep layer of our friendship was when she invited me to her Bible Study.

Not long after that, we became more than friends.  We became sisters.  Bonded not only by vocation, but by our heart’s home.

Jen moved on to a private school.  I moved on to “Classroom Teacher”.  Then Jen moved on to assistant Headmaster.  I moved on to Educational Director at a non-profit.

I married and she was my Maid-of-Honor.

We still spilled stories of laughable moments and lessons learned.  And leaned on each other for support and encouragement.

She married.

I had my first child.

We still shared and encouraged and bolstered one another’s spirits.

And then, she moved on… to another state.  Far, far away.

Too far, friend!

I live my life now in the Post-Jen-Era.  I still get that needed encouragement or share that silly moment that makes us both laugh or cringe.

We just do it long-distance.

You too?

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I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and the beautiful community of writers for her Five Minute Friday writing prompt. Click the button below to add your own thoughts on “Friend”, or to read what it brought to mind for others.  

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A Deep Sigh and a Big Breath

This thing, being human, I model it all wrong for my children, sometimes.  It’s a thing of beauty, miraculous, really, those few times that I get it right. But so often, I get it all wrong.

We’re only given this time.  Right here.  Right now.  And lately, I find myself sighing.  A lot.

Here, includes some heartache.

Now, includes some waiting.

I’m trying to remember, moment by moment, that it if I lean hard on the God who allows this.  If I bury my nose in His book.  If I don’t forget that He plopped me into this here 2013 for a reason…

Then, I can take a big breath and let out a deep sigh; and count this, now, for the joy that it is.

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Yes, indeedy.

I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for her Five Minute Friday writing prompt.  In her own words, “This is where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.”  Click the button below to join us.  Or, to take some time to read and be encouraged.  You’ll be mighty glad you did. Promise!

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Living in The After

We celebrate Sweetgirl’s 5th birthday today (Friday).  So, I’m up late preparing.  I thought I’d take an extra 5 minutes to write with my friends over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday community.  I’ve missed them so.  Click the button below to join in or to read what was written in a frenzy of unedited heart-to-fingertip-to-keyboard minutes.

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AFTER

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It’s taken far too long for me to exhale. Moving into new diagnosis and new stages of development and awareness and territory.  I realize, now, that I have held my breath for far too long.  My days of mothering, loving, moving in and through and maybe, most of all, my days of Dark, have caught up to me.

After I exhale, I realize that what I needed is not what I had thought at all.

It is not more hours.

It is not more cooperation.

It is not even more love.

What it is, that I need, is to recapture the joy.

There is joy in the morning.

And I had forgotten.

It took a Sunday of rejoicing and pondering what all happened after the pierced nails wouldn’t hold, for me to get it.

He did that so that I could do exactly this.

And that?  That is cause for joy.

Oh, yes indeedy!  And I am going to slather myself in the joy of this rememberance.

For it is a time of celebration.

A birthday.

And, a new beginning.

And, also? A realization, and no small one, that because of what was accomplished after that horrendous Friday at Calvary, I can joyfully go about my days.

No more holding my breath waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It already has.

And He won.

I forgot.

But I remember, now, that I’m living in The After.

Promote What You Love

We did a little of this and that yesterday.  I ended up being able to catch up on some reading and I was seriously blessed for it.  In the interest of being more concerned with promoting what I love than shaming what I don’t, I thought I’d share some of my “loves” with you. You’re welcome.

To that end, here are just a few things that I’m loving lately:

1) April is Autism Awareness Month.  In case you didn’t already know, with a son on the Autism Spectrum, this month is near and dear to my heart.  Sweetgirl also turns 5 (FIVE!!!!) this month, so there’s that, too.

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2) I am catching up on my Relevant (online and print magazine) reading.  And I mean “catching up” as in, harking back to July issues.  Anywho,  This article, about why Christians have such a hard time being funny?  It is good!      And, then  this article will definitely help you put depression in perspective.

3) My friend, Christina, over at Five Walkers wrote a short, but powerful piece on how a specific portion of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s story affected her own thoughts on marriage.  Yes.  Yes. To. This!

4) Ever wonder what the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is?  Here’s an awesomely simple explanation by Erin Ulrich over at design by insight.

5) I’m blessed to know this lady in real life.  There are approximately 32 reasons why she’s awesome and I love her.  But, shoot! She. Is. Talented.  You can check out her website here at Kym Scott Photography.Her photographs sometimes sing to me, sometimes shout to me, and sometimes just knock my socks off. This recent one, called “Will”?  Socks.  Knocked clean off!

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Will

Happy April!

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REMEMBER

GO…

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The excuses would run rampant.  And I had one for every possible way to be asked or encouraged. I told everyone who would listen that I didn’t need to. That I wasn’t ready.  That it wasn’t important compared to all that I had already surrendered. Whenever the opportunity arose to learn what it entailed, I’d switch into “duck and run” mode.

Watching others do it? Made me cry.   But I didn’t understand why.

Until…

The final time it was Someone Else’s Turn.  It was a child.  A brave and tender 13 year old boy.  I could only think of my own son, 7 at the time.  I watched him watch it all happen and realized that I was denying him the chance to see me obey.

And that is when the dam broke.  Waves of understanding began crashing in on me.

Then is exactly the moment when I remember committing to being baptized.  In faith.  Under water.  With You.

I’m linking up with the lovely Lisa-Jo Baker for her Five Minute Write.  Anyone who chooses too, can write for 5 minutes without editing or over-thinking, on a word word topic.  Click the button below to join in, or just to find some wonderful reads.

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Five Minute Friday: Home

It’s free write time! I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday this snowy morning.  Click the button below to be able to see all of the many-colored thoughts on “Home” that are shared today.

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HOME

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Once again, I am left chuckling to myself over the choice of word for our free write, today.

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Here I sit, in my pajamas, on a cold snowy Friday morning, with my  Sweetkids tucked around me on the couch.  We’ve just devoured far more chocolate chip pancakes than anyone should be allowed to. (You’ll be happy to know that no batter was spewed on this particular morning!)

And I’m reveling in it.

These precious stolen snow days at home, when both children still want to be stuck at home with their mother?  They are becoming fewer and farther between.  The ones that do come are coveted.  Is it okay to covet a snow day for the purpose of enjoying carefree time with your children?  I surely hope so.

We pray for those who must still travel to work today.  And for the grocery stores and hospitals and police and fire units that all remain open and available for those who need them.  We get to do laundry together, and choose our meals together, and snuggle together.

And I have missed this.

Life has been hectic lately.

We’ve all needed a day to relish in the comfort of home’s embrace.  With each other.

Oh, yes indeedy!