Me and Mrs. Who

If you know what a tesseract is, then you know where I’m going with today’s book choice. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is one of those books I reread every few years. And, each time I crack open the book, I discover an entirely new perspective on the story.

When I was pregnant with Sweetboy, I was reminded that there are always helpers along the way. That truth was a mighty encouragement to this soon-to-be-mama’s heart.

Five years later, when Sweetgirl was newly brought home from the hospital, I was keenly aware of Mrs. Whatsit’s sacrifice. She was a star, for crying out loud! Nobility took on a new appeal as I looked at sacrifice from yet another point of view.

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Meg, the plucky protagonist of A Wrinkle in Time, has always resonated deeply with me. Her struggles, and the lessons she had to learn on her quest to find her father were familiar.The ideas that gave her head and heart the most trouble were ones I wrestled with: doubt, ambiguity, uniqueness, and creativity. Meg also must come to understand that something greater than words, saves…

Love.

And then, there are the parallels to the inner thought life of a writer. Writing is a labor, for me.  Of love, yes. But, attempting to put words to thought can be excruciating. There are more than a few references to difficulty expressing thoughts. I get that. Mrs. Who might be my favorite character in any story, ever. She simply finds it too difficult to put her thoughts into words so she resorts to speaking the quotes of others. Oh, Mrs. Who… I so get you.

Aunt Beast, the name alone is fantasticalwisely said:

“…it is not easy at all to put things the way your mind shapes them.”

Indeed.

While this book is geared toward YA (young adult), I think it is timeless and ageless. Have you read it? How old were you? Do you remember any characters? Do tell!

Click the button below to see other posts in my Best Books Ever series for the Write 31 Days challenge.

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I Want The King for My Friend

I’ve been working my way through a book that has done something incredible in my life.

It has dried up my words.

And, honestly? I’m okay with that.

Reading Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman, has been life-altering. My brain, and by extension, the mouth that’s connected to it, have experienced some blissful radio silence. I’m not even going to try to guess the number of people around me, who also consider this new frequency blissful.

I’m a gap-filler, you see. If there is a lull in conversation, I’m your girl. When the small talk at a party dwindles, I jump right in. In the midst of an awkward situation and not sure what to say next? Count on me!

Usually, these aren’t necessarily bad things.

But sometimes, they aren’t really good things, either.

The abundance of words that accumulates within me doesn’t actually mean that I need to voice every single one of them.

Amen? (Not you, Nana. We all know you’re saying “AMEN!”)

Not much is added to a filling-the-gap moment that is true, noble, right, pure, or lovely. Certainly not much is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. So, what exactly am I adding to conversations?

That is the ultimate question I’ve been asking myself, lately.

For the first time in probably ever, I see that many of my words aren’t attaching anything of benefit to the discussion. And, that’s not to discount the meaningful chats I have with people I care about. Nor does it mean that I need to throw out the fun back-and-forths I might have with friends and acquaintances.

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It is, however, a fantastic reason to do a lot more pausing before piping up. It’s also a great reason to do a little more listening with those two ears of mine and a lot less talking with that one mouth.

The more listening I do, the more I see what I haven’t seen as my lips were moving. The hurting neighbor. The angry relative. The hesitant friend. There are hearts that I am hearing, that I’ve never even known were trying to talk.

Allow my inner 80’s teen to re-emerge, please? DUDE!

There is no small beauty in a heart that is finally heard.

Don’t we all know this to be true? What relief, what joy, what profound satisfaction in our souls when some beautiful ear finally bends to hear?

Maybe the most amazing thing of all is that as I speak with more grace, which means more listening before speaking, my friendships will deepen. Friends that I long to connect with – deeply hear from and be heard by – will appear.

How do I know?

“Whoever loves pure thoughts and kind words will have even the king as a friend.”

Even The King.

I don’t know about you, but, I want The King for my friend.

Yes indeedy.

When to Act on What You Hear

Elvis had it right.

Or, he was definitely on the right track, when he admonished us to provide a “little less conversation, a little more action.”

Now, I know Elvis had his own ideas about what that meant, but I’ve always been a fan of the old adage that “actions speak louder than words.”

Growing up, I had a father that modeled getting out there and making his dreams a reality.  That’s part of my DNA, much like the ocean is.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that I’ve always been inspired by this verse in the Bible:

Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. ”   James 1:22 (NCV)

Another version of this verse urges the reader to “Act on what your hear!” (The Message)

I love that!

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One word that friends often use to describe me, is “doer”. And, usually, it is an accurate depiction. Somehow, someway, I will get in there and just get. it. done.

Not lately.

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in my talking.

There’s too much of it!

I feel like I’m fast becoming a “hearer” only, and I don’t like it one bit! The label, alone, smacks of inaction. A quality that everything in me dislikes.

Busyness could be blamed.  So, too, could the season of life that I find myself in.

Whatever the reason for my recent lack of action, it grates at my heart.

That heart-irritation has led me down a dark path. I’ve traveled down this path once or twenty times, before. Questions about my abilities pepper my every thought like new leaves in June. “Can you really?”  “Will you ever?”  “What makes you think…”

I detest those questions.

And the Asker.

So, I’ve been spending some extra time in the presence of The One who knows the Truth of me.

The Answerer.

And He’s been telling me something that I’ve never been able to  hear before.

“Let MY actions speak through your words.”

And God’s actions will speak louder than any words I could think about uttering.

With that, He speaks Light into the darkness of my path.  He guides me in Truth and hurries me past those questions.

I can’t tell you how thankful I am.

I’m reminded, once again, that anything “I’ve” ever done is because He has provided what I needed to get it done! Anything that God has allowed me the honor of doing, for His glory, has come about because I’ve been able to hear Him.

Stepping lightly down the last of that dark path, I’ve finally burst into The Light.

It’s there that I’m able to see that my inaction wasn’t due to the foolishness of hearing only.

No.

I’ve been listening pretty intently, of late.

My inaction is more because God hasn’t finished talking to me about where He wants me to step next.

One small Word at a time, I will act on what I hear.

And, I’ll become a hearer and a doer.

Yes indeedy.

They Will Come

When I look for the best ones needed for a situation, they will come.  Often, though, after far too much time has passed to use them to any effect.

If I attempt solitude, I can assure you that they will come, and fast and furious.

The right ones will come at the wrong time. And the wrong ones…

Too often.

They hover, menacingly, when I most need to swallow them down.

They scatter and float just out of reach, when I most need to push them out.

And sometimes, I it’s a grace to write them down in honor of the thoughts behind them.

But always, always, I can count on my words to speak for themselves.

When they are good and ready.

I’m linking up with my brave Writer friends for Five Minute Friday over at Lisa-Jo Baker‘s online home. We commit to getting those words out for five minutes, unedited. Click the button below to join in or to read along.

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Not Fit For a Princess In Training

We did a little of this today:

And by “this”, I mean that we left the house at 9:00 am and didn’t get back until 5:30 pm. It was a full day of salty sea air, sunshine, and sand. Except for the 3 minutes where Sweetgirl went missing on a very crowded beach and I about lost my lunch at the one minute mark of the search (she was looking for “your umbrella, mama, and I couldn’t find it.”), it was a pretty great beach day.

Now, one would think that on the drive back home these two Sweetchildren of mine, and the two friends we had with us, would be wiped out.  One would be flat-out wrong.  After a day of fun in the sun, this is the conversation that took place in the car:

Sweetgirl:  “Bum Burp Bum Burp Bum Bum Burp”  (Sung to some I-Don’t-Have-A-Clue-What-Kind-Of-Tune.  Followed by squeals of laughter from the 2 nine-year old boys as well as the other little girl in the car.)

Mama:  “Sweetgirl, those aren’t words fit for a Lady.  Especially a lady in training to be a princess.”

Sweetboy:  “But they are if she’s a lady in ‘potty training’ mama, right?”

Oh, dear.  Yes indeed child.  Most unfortunately, yes, indeed.

Same Song, Different Words

Have you ever spontaneously made up new words to a favorite song?  I must admit something.  We do this all the time around here.  And I do mean All The Time.  This tradition goes way back to when Sweet Man and I were dating.  One over-long car ride at the beginning of our relationship, I got a little punchy.  It must have been around Christmas because I broke into a rendition of “Silver Bells” the likes of which NO ONE has ever heard before.  I shocked even myself with how many words I was able to come up with that rhyme with “bells” and that rendition lasted 25 exits along the Interstate!  I called it poetic license. Sweet Man called it my version of loony tunes. No wonder he fell in love with me, huh?

Now I’m beginning to believe that we’ve seriously hindered our children from ever fully being able to appreciate the music industry and the hard work that goes in to coming up with lyrics, creating arrangements, and even to songs sung in tune and on pitch.  You see, we subject every song known to man, woman, or child to a “rewording” around here; whenever it suits our needs. And, we aren’t particular about which genre the song is from, or which era, or who the original artist was/is.  In fact, my children didn’t realize that there really was a “Brush Your Teeth” song until some poor unsuspecting mama played the original version by Raffi one day in her car while driving my kids home.   She received a chorus of “Hey, that’s our mama’s toothbrush song!”.  And when they got home?  They were amazed that someone else had come up with something so similar to “your brush your teeth song, mama!”.  Then there is the Blue’s Clues “Time to Get the Mail” song.  And don’t even get me started on the explanation I had to give Sweetboy the first time he heard Eddie Murphy’s “My Girl Like to Party All the Time” on the radio! You see, desperate times call for desperate measures.  He was still not even remotely potty trained by 4.  So, we put that song to new words.  Something along the lines of “Our boy likes to potty all the time…”. Or something exactly like that.  Poetic license people; poetic license!  Or desperation. How about both?

Now, you parents, aunties, uncles, and grandparents out there? I’m fairly certain that you’re going to get this.  And if you’re not any of those yet?    You will.  Oh, you so will.  It’ll be the same songs, just different words.  Mark mine!