How to know if you’re cursing yourself

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and walked away a completely different person?

Yesterday, a friend and I shared some salty tears via Verizon.  One of us needed it pretty badly.  One of us needed to be reminded of her purpose.  One of us got clotheslined this week (again) and one of us can’t ever seem to  remember that silence is her Kryptonite.

That would be me.

Kathleen and I have spent years learning how to use fewer words to communicate more.  Our babies were babies when we began talking regularly.  She’s  always lived an hour away, so the amount of time we’ve spent face to face over the last 15 years  has consisted mostly of drive-bys to trade maternity clothes and all sizes of jerseys, jackets, and cleats. She went back to work several years ago and I’ve expanded my studio hours so between businesses and running our children to all manner of child-like activities, our talks are fewer and further between.

I won’t lie, its not my favorite. I can be an umbilical cord sort of friend though so it’s good for me to learn to say truer things with fewer words. These days when we talk, every word carries weight and yesterday we covered big successes (she’s in line for a promotion very soon and I’m so proud of her), some sad situations, and then we prayed.  Honestly, I wanted her to pray and I planned to follow with a  faint “what she said” and call it church.  Something deep within me though, the shadow of hope that sits in my gut maybe, began pushing upward.  It took work and belief and real vulnerability to sit with my friend in complete brokenness before God and offer the sacrifice of my smothered, breathy words.

Powerful shifts in the atmosphere happen when we pray with friends who share our theology of the Holy Spirit.  Let me say that again.

Powerful shifts in the atmosphere happen when we pray with friends who share our theology of the Holy Spirit

So, when the words made it to my mouth in halted, whispered phrases, it wasn’t long before I could think clearly again.  Within a few minutes, while reminding God who he is and what he does, I started to remember who I am and who he created me to be.

One of the reasons I love Kath is because she reminds me who I am by linking arms with me instead of pointing fingers or pulling on my hands.   Though she’s wired to be an encourager she doesn’t shirk away from pain.

Sometimes, I believe pit-of-hell lies that undermine my calling and I don’t even realize it’s happening.  In these moments, I sell short belief in my Destiny and therefore, my belief in God. She lives out of her own Destiny though and when I simply cannot take one more step or say one more word, she knows how to lean into my pain in a way that propels me forward. It’s as if we’re standing back to back while she gently throws the weight of her belief against  my paralytic self.  She’s wired with the ability to move people forward while their feet are planted in intricately, etched concrete.  

No thank you, I’m not going any further, I’ve reached the end of the road and shall stay here.  Just throw me a high pile blanket, some markers to color the concrete and I’ll be fine.  No worries, I’ll bathe in my tears, I’ve heard saltwater is good for the skin.  

When the amens had been said, I had already begun to feel peaceful rush that follows invisible spiritual work.  The Holy Spirit does the heavy lifting, but something in the way this  trust-walk works must begin with me and my big mouth.  When I chose to speak life instead of curses, when I chose to believe with my mouth true things about the God and Father of my soul, magic began to happen.

I felt better.

I saw clearer.

The world was lighter.

And I began to remember,  I was made for this life I’m living.   Purpose is discovered as a result  of acting as if the bible is true.   Whether we feel our purpose, see our purpose, or can define our purpose right away, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that when we believe what God says in the bible.  What matters is that we speak it with our mouth.  Because when our lives don’t go the way we thought they would, speaking truth with our mouths restores goodness and purpose and hope.  And magic happens, soul renewal right here in The Land of the Living.  

One of the places I find most joy is connecting with other women, listening for ragged edges of brokenness they’re encountering  and then feeling the brush with God that comes when we share our hardest stories.  That might sound like some kind of twisted way to find joy, but if you’ve experienced it,  you’re nodding your head right now because you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Sharing with other people means opening my mouth and speaking, so when Kathleen Voxed me this short sentence just a few minutes after we got off the phone, words that had been lodged in my chest for days, began to break free.

if-satan-can-keep-you-silent

If Satan can keep you silent, he’s winning.

I’m motivated by winning.  It’s just true.  Sometimes it can be destructive to my relationships but when it comes to throwing down with evil?  I’m all over it!!  These words instantly became my battle cry as the holy spirit blew through my soul and filled up my lungs.  Bring it baby, mama got things to say today and she gonna use you to do it.  

The story isn’t quite over and someday I’ll tell you what happened a few hours later.  But even though I don’t know exactly what’s next  in my pursuit to use my gifts, you can bet  in a couple of weeks, the same struggle with silence will resurface.  When it happens I will remind God of who he is, and be reminded of who I am and you may here me shout from over here on Carmelita Blvd.

 

Lord, I will give thanks to you with all my heart.
I will tell about all the wonderful things you have done.                                                 

                                                                           Psalm 9:1

 

If you haven’t met my friend Kathleen, would you pop on over to her place and say hello?  You can also find her over here on the FB.  Believe me, you want to know this one!  She’s a wealth of information about all things oily and has been on a Young Living journey for much more than a decade.  I’m not gonna lie, I used to think she was sniffing too much of the stuff.  But then, life and kids and injuries and an insurance crisis and THEN she gave me an oil, White Angelica, to help with my mood.  As  I began to use it religiously, a sort of  Land of the Living self-care began to intersect with spiritual mercies that are new every single morning I have a long way to go on my wellness journey, but I can say without one hesitation that using oils regularly is helping to repair broken places in my soul, rewire my thinking and provide my family with alternative health treatments.

I’m shamelessly trying to help Kathleen with her promotion today.  She has until midnight to meet her goal. Here are a couple of links if you’d like to check them out.

Link to order a starter kit. ***the best of oily introductions

Link to tell you all about White Angelica.  If you have questions, comment below and I’ll try to answer them.

Link to learn more about how essential oils work.

Now Just a couple of more fun things.  If you’re interested in learning more about discovering your God-Given Destiny.  Check out Dave Rod from Grace Church 146th in  the video here.  Or here.  Or here.  

 

How Not to Feel Like a Wimp on a Monday Morning

Monday mornings are not for wimps.  If you don’t know who you are before your ten piggies dig into the day and  you don’t know what needs to be accomplished before the yellow bus rounds the corner, they, the ones who outline most of your life with their color of choice will trade in their pop tarts and oatmeal, eating instead, you and your peace for breakfast.

Honestly they can do this any day they choose but Monday Mornings seem the worst.

Can I get a witness?

I see that hand.

I’m working to get ahead here at home and inside myself.  You know, so we can hang winter coats in the coat closet sometime before spring break and when it comes time for a graduation or two, the school pictures are at least in the same box and so that when that day actually comes, I’m the slightest bit ready to let go of these people.

After years of treading schedules to just keep current, looking toward the future feels luxurious. I don’t have the first idea about what’s coming up, but I know that I’m beginning to catch glimpses of if not the shape, at least the open space out there in the distance.

01cb0a6ccea7507b12e33beacc5f437980c56437e2

In 2012 (which I can only remember  because of the date stamped on the picture), we visited my sister-in-law in Florida and went to a monkey museum or sanctuary or something.  Honestly, it was more of an ape asylum where imprisoned, belligerent primates throw food and all kind of bodily fluids directly at those foolish enough to plunk down an admission fee.

Which is to say, my kids loved it.

Someone painted this quote just outside the entrance and the whole interesting experience was worth this one photo.

I’d been intentionally living by St. Frank’s words for a couple of years by the time I first encountered his quote.  I’d never seen them before, but remember the decision I made to keep moving my feet forward whether I was making forward progress or not.  In April of 2012 though, I still wasn’t any closer to getting conquering the necessary.

Over the three years since that vacation, and some of the hardest of my years yet, I slowly began taking on what was possible by……

Standing my ground.

Weeding out manipulators.

Honoring my heart.

Believing in my salvation, that’s its for the living years.

Choosing to live out of love.

Forgiving because I am forgiven.

Understanding that my choice to forgive is my choice for freedom.

Committing to a life of honesty.

All of this heart-work has taken place in the middle of a physically demanding schedule tailored more for  the extra-ist extrovert than for me. But what’s beginning to happen now I think is that specifically because of these hard years, the impossible no longer seems that way.

In fact, it seems probable, hope-filled, exciting and imminent.

And still.

My self-talk revolves around reminding myself what I’ve decided I believe and offensively shutting down everything thought that stands in challenge of those beliefs and most days I’m up for it.

But today…. this Monday all honest and red-ledgered.

Today I’m just the slightest to the right of wimpy.  I needed more than my own words of refute or affirmation.  I needed to come here where my hidden self takes shape and remind myself of progress.

Orange Jumpsuits, Low Rumbles, and Momentum: What to do when the World is Breaking

 

imageThis is the day.

I can feel something beginning to rise up but I don’t know what to call it yet.

We live on a busy road and occasionally some kid will drive by with a killer stereo or maybe it’s a mom grooving 80’s style to Taylor or Bruno.  I would have no knowledge of such behavior.

This morning,  I could feel the bass from the back of the house, a shaking that rumbled my stomach but not my toes.  The sound was so powerful it skipped over every visible part of my body and jumped inside, wrapped itself around my stomach and squeezed.

The feeling I have inside of me, whatever it’s called, is like that bass.  It’s coming from a place so low, so deep  that  it hasn’t crossed the sound barrier.  It’s more like a tension or an anticipation.

I’m cautiously excited in a frightened way. I throw around the word awesome all day long but maybe this feeling is what the word really means.  Maybe this is awe.

In the moment last night between my last thought and first dream ,  Psalm 46 wrapped around my sleep.

Nations are in an uproar, kingdoms fall,  he lifts his voice and the earth melts.  (melts!)……. Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted in all the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth.

That chapter has been a long-time favorite but I realized, just today,  that  I’ve always pictured myself on some other planet with an aerial, telescopic view of the nations when they’re up-roaring and the kingdoms when they’re falling.

Maybe it’s because I’ve thought of them as bible stories in bible times.  I’ve had some real-life raging in my own back yard, some crumbling that I didn’t anticipate and have received real comfort from that passage but even then, in my mind I was far removed from the blood and gore of the chaos. Safe.  Extracted from the violence  as I cheered on a winning God, who told me to sit tight.

And then there’s today.

I’m right here in right-now times, where the bloodshed is across the ocean and yet I hear it beginning to trickle a path to my patio door.  There are times  when it seems I’m  inside the crumbling kingdom walls, blood around my feet.

Images play on a screen 12 inches from my face while words words scroll along the bottom.  I read them with pause giving consideration to sources, motives, ideologies.

Colors blaze in my mind.   Orange jumpsuits, black masks, white explosions, and the turquoise coat on a blond child.

Just last night, there was a van, a violin, and the most beautiful daughter. Her view was blocked by a yellow jeep and a colorless car sped by as I heard my own gray gasp.  I watched a nation, my very own kingdom, stumble backward just in time.  She went on in alone and shaken while I sat quickly gathering images of what could have been before they  surrounded and took me captive.

I’d felt the need that very morning to pray protection for my people. It was an urge so specific that even my skin chilled to attention.

Overseas it’s  kingdoms.

Here at home it’s a nation.

Behind my van it was my whole world.

All of these, rumbling as the pounding within me grows strong.and begins to rise out of a quiet place of peace.

I’ve been in the anxious kind of rumble before.   The kind  birthed from fear that moves quickly to indignation and sometimes anger as I try to protect the people I love. The kind that makes me do crazy things and run my mouth from morning til night in a wild, but futile, attempt to convince everyone I’m in control when really I couldn’t sit still and be quiet for one minute even if I tried.

This is different.

This is a holy rumbling.

A reverberating stillness with momentum.

A powerful silence bellowing authority.

The understanding that a Force beyond our control is running this show.  Our job is to do the next thing, the daily thing, the boring thing and the hard thing while we wait with anticipation and in belief of the goodness and sovereignty of the Force.

I don’t know what’s next.  There are dangers seen and unseen everywhere and then there’s the pain, Dave Rod calls it a low-grade fever of sadness. We make choices every day to silence the hard places in our hearts, the stories that bring us pain or to welcome them in anticipation of the day they will be no more.   While we work deliberately to live out of the reality of the places that hurt within us, we can

Sit ready.

Love fully.

Offer  thanks.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for what’s next!

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice,the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

The reason I’m living with this ugly blue rectangle

Lately, I’m doing a lot of writing from our bedroom.  We’re getting used to a new schedule and while I’m beyond thankful that there’s a routine, I’m still looking for my groove in the middle of the change.

blue stripe

I’ve found myself closing my eyes when I write because if  I keep them open, they stick like glue to the law-enforcement blue strip above the dresser. The previous owner was a police officer and I suppose the color was curiously soothing to him, but I’ve never owned, purchased, or even been gifted anything in this lawful color and I hate it.

Writing is the place I find balance between the substance of who I want to be and the sparsity of who I really am.  I’ve started closing my eyes because of the noise of what I see, the illustrations of my soul reflected on the walls of my home, the canvases of my relationships that distract me from the purposeful woman I’m determined to become.

As my mind is filled with lists of to-do and to-call, to-finish and to-get,  I can’t think for all of the tos screaming loudly, me, me, me, pick me!

When we moved into this house,  there was a hinged TV tray attached to the wall. We tossed the tube right up there and found that if we carefully extended it with just the right angle, we could see it from the shower.  Exactly one time,  I angled it just right so I wouldn’t miss a minute of Law and Order.  I’m slightly embarrassed by this admission, so please remember that it was before DVR.

Apart from the strangely sexy Jack McCoy or perhaps the riveting footage of O.J. in the White Bronco though, there is absolutely no reason to justify watching TV from the shower and I believe that positively no one should have an extra arm reaching into their bedroom, so last year I asked my husband to take it down.  It’s been begging for fresh paint ever since.  Everyday I look at that lawful blue and am reminded of one more thing I haven’t accomplished.

After 43 years of living, 20 years of marriage, and 14 years of parenting, so much of life seems to be like that.  Wherever my eyes land, I see worn out items in need of replacement, projects that have stolen days and sometimes weeks from my family, toxic relationships that I’ve invested in deeply, and more to be fixed than ever before.  I’m searching for the scenes that look pretty or finished, something I can frame, hang up, and be proud of and I’m not finding many.  In fact, the more I see the less progress I seem to make.

The house, relationships, even the paint on my walls looks so messy that closing my eyes is the only way I can think clearly, the only way I can see what really matters for all the landscaping, painting, and purging that beg to be finished  in my home and heart.

As it gets closer to July, I’m thinking often about the trip that my son and I took to Ukraine last year.  The water there smells stale and sulfuric with hints of liquid human waste and was one of the most unpleasant parts of the trip. I’m also spending a lot of time a different ballparks and because park bathrooms aren’t known for their water purification systems, I’ve been surprised to be often pleasantly reminded of our journey.

Ukraine was a two-week exercise in closing my eyes and apart from our crazy adventure in getting there, some the most peaceful days I’ve experienced so far in my life.  With no cooking, cleaning, or volunteering, no ledger sheets from work, no tangible way for me to prove my existence apart from simply being with and loving people, I began to understand just how dependent I’ve been on my daily lists to infuse meaning into the deeper places of my soul that were meant for simply being.

The lists represent unspoken expectations that I have of myself, at times those expectations have been paralyzing. What I found while I was in Ukraine, was that apart from the lists, I still not only existed, but felt more alive.   It was Truth that I found there about who I am as a wife and mother, who I am as a friend, and who I am as a Christ-follower.

I discovered hidden motives in relationships.  The times that I’ve given in order to feel powerful and times that despite aggressively searching for honesty in all kinds of relationships, I was a huge liar, mentally constructing functional relationships out of mangled and sometimes irreparable friendships and associations.  I identified events that I’ve taken part in hoping to extricate an ounce of significance from the satisfaction of my work.  And most importantly, I learned Truth about the divine sanctions I expected from God as a result of my love for and service to him.

It’s now, almost a year later, that I’m starting to piece together larger, life-altering implications from Ukraine.  It seems that  the more I uncover truth about how I’ve avoided pain, the way I spend my time and resources to ensure that I’m as comfortable as possible, the more  I see that needs to be reconstructed.

As truth bridles performancism, my home and relationships look more tattered and worn-down than ever.

I’m faced with daily choices of choosing honesty over falsified self-worth and authentic relationships with depth and substance over distorted intimacies. This means that I don’t pick up the phone like I used to while my inverted sense of responsibility for relationships begins to straight out.

Some of my hardest work  is leaving my home in its glorified shabbiness as I choose to focus on the intangible and this means that my bedroom wall has a bright-blue, holey, rectangle as artwork and the patio is a wreck.

Searching for truth means sometimes embracing the fact that  life, relationships, and sometimes houses have to seem worse before they get better.  It’s hundreds of daily choices to  bypass a fast fix in favor of the long haul.

I believe that our souls peak out through the windows of our eyes.  The view either promotes security as we find that our daily choices match up with our unspoken life-code or turbulence as we witness incongruities between what we thought would be and the reality of our daily choices.  Hope lies in the opportunities we have to change the view.

Do you have any messes in your life that you’re purposefully leaving undone?  Maybe they’re messes you’re just recognizing.  Could they be an opportunity for a different view, a new reality?

 

The silent ring of rhythm

Our family is experiencing changes faster than the post office raises rates.

Adjustments to our new schedule carry both widening space to exhale and twinges of tightness as old patterns of thinking and living become too small for a new routine.  

I hear  coffee chug, steep and steam at the fifth hour.

There are still three more before he leaves.  

Number one son rises, silent, at the sixth hour and there are two more before he leaves.

Number two daughter wakes with words to spare at the seventh and there is one more before he leaves.

Number three son, always the wild card, bounds down the hallway and there’s still time for one more cup before he leaves.  

He’ll return before dark.  There will be lessons, meets, dinner, and homework before the order will reverse and they return to their beds hour by hour.

Can you hear it?

The deep driving rhythm of a daily routine drawing straight lines around a dashed life.

It’s difficult to keep life between the lines when they’re invisible.  In our old, non-routined life, it seemed as if each time I caught a solid glimpse of steady, a giant eraser would  drop from the sky leaving behind gaping holes, interruptions and life-sized eraser jib.

These are changes that can’t be heard with a neighboring ear.  These are the kind that can only be felt in the center of a family and they have me drawing sheer panels over my windows and silencing iCalls.

A good friend once told me that she could sense my pregnancies, before we’d announced them, by my silence.   In the extremes of life, I tend to draw inward.  I’ve come to understand that honoring my soul means to give it space to process both heartbreak and elation.

Time alone, to silence the voices from the outside, allows us to walk through our own feelings and clearly sense the voice of God, in the middle of change.

As a verbal processor prone to indulgent self-doubt, I tend to over-share.  I’ve learned the hard way that my emotional acuity remains pliable in times of transition when I give myself room to organize my thoughts. Time to pull apart layers of complex feelings, that when left unprocessed, form fiery licks of anger and cold, slimy contempt.

I haven’t always known this and spent years looking to friends and family for affirmation of my own perceptions and experiences.    Verbal affirmation is heroin for my people- pleasing addiction.   Learning to batten down the hatches has taught me to take my feelings of scrambled anxiety to the feet of Jesus and keep looking straight at him as my emotional DT’s subside.

I’ve learned to know and love myself in new ways by valuing how I’ve been created.  And I’m beginning to love my family differently, better, as we dance behind drawn curtains to the beat of new lines and the occasional iRing.

Time alone quote

Humble Holder Household news

This friends, is a good day.  One in which I will give you the status of the Humble Holder Household.

The physical household is just an absolute disaster after weeks of actual calendar Holidays (I just tried to apply the -ies rule to holiday:  fail) followed by possibly the most school-year Snolidays since the ice-age.

The fridge is bare.  Requisite storm staples of eggs milk and bread have left room for little else in that big cold box.  Yesterday I walked in the kitchen to find a child making a butter sandwich, which I just spelled sandwhich.

We haven’t had a nutritious meal since Thanksgiving and that one was questionable with the butter and all.  Rules of nutrition, housekeeping and grammar, have apparently been flattened under the weight of our massive snow drifts.

I’ve been wearing yoga pants for 65 days straight – it’s gonna get ugly at some point.

We started just a small little project in the bathroom because, well, broken walls.  Let’s just fix the wall and toss up a little paint, maybe some new ceramic on the floor, we said.  And the next thing you know, this.

Please pretend that this photo is focused.

Please pretend that this photo is focused.

The bathroom floor has a big hole  and my husband had to dam the toilet  with a dirty rag.  And also this is the second post in a row that I’ve been able to fit the word dam in, in a totally legit no-swearing sort of way, not that I’m opposed to the occasional colorful word or anything.

Moving on.

The garage is full of outgrown shoes, VHS tapes  and various other unlovables, but I’m happy to report that the shelves are still on the wall.  Spawned belongings have been put on ice for a rummage sale in the Spring, which we’re hoping will arrive by mid-June.

The kids will be making up snow days until October and the weeks are so mixed up that no one knows the current spelling list.

My computer and printer are going through nasty a divorce and quit speaking to one another weeks ago.

I can’t tell you the last time I washed my hair and if you see me at Marsh, I will look 762 years older than the last time you saw me. (see above remark regarding yoga pants)

Yesterday half a litre of shampoo washed down the shower drain.  Early reports were that the floor looked like an infomercial for Scrubbing Bubbles. The latest is that if you step carefully over the 42″ chasm, you can still shower.

But wait, there’s MORE!

This is where we get into the exciting stuff.  Yes, indeed, there is good news here.  

The disarray of the house, hole in the floor, yea verily not even the loitering of children can dampen my blazing excitement!!!

I mentioned on Monday that there might be a shift in my schedule soon.

I’m excited to announce that soon is Today.

My husband took a new job which will bring his irregular, 12 hour, every-third-weekend shifts to an end.  Now, before you join me in my victory dance, you need to know exactly how hard you’re gonna to need to shake it.

In the last 20 years he has worked every odd shift imaginable with the majority of those years including some sort of weekend work.

normal:  conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

Our life has been full of many things, but normal has never been one of them, though I’m beginning to have hope.

We’ve been short on the nor and long on the mal, unless, of course,  you examine the second definition of nor in which case we’ve had plenty of  :  struggle that never seemed to end

nor:

1. used before the second or further of two or more alternatives (the first being introduced by a negative such as “neither” or “not”) to indicate that they are each untrue or each do not happen.

2.  used to introduce a further negative statement.

          “the struggle did not end, nor was it any less diminished”
       

 

mal:

1.  in an unpleasant degree

“malodorous”

2.  in a faulty manner

“malfunction”

I’m certain that my etymology teacher would be proud to  learn that I continue to pull apart words today, if only for my own personal growth and that of the 35 people that follow my blog.

Mr. Tetrick had a metal plate in his forehead and I have very fond memories of sitting in his class at 7:05 (a.m.), taking full advantage of his generous restroom passes and watching Brian Paul stick kleenex in his ears for the sole purpose of making us all laugh.

So, I have no idea what my original plan for this post was exactly, but now you know this most fabulous good news!

And, as if all of these exciting goings-on were not enough…..

I have a super amazing friend, also from high school, who  gave me a massage gift certificate for Christmas.  At 1 pm I get to see Miss Debbie  for what will undoubtedly be the most relaxing hour of my month. (Thanks Waymire!)

Alrighty friends, I’m gonna shuffle, but I’ll be back real soon.  I think things are about to get exciting up in these parts.

But first, in honor of my husbands new job, my years in high school and  love of words, and with fond memories of  Mr. Tetrick, I leave you with Muted High School Monk Impersonators and their version of the hallelujah chorus.

(please pretend that the laughing and cheering the happy sounds of  me and my husband)

Would you consider joining me regularly?   I’m feeling that things are about to get exciting in these parts.  You can sign up by clicking on the button at the right that says Follow My Blog and these posts will be delivered to your inbox.  

An Affair that defies convention

IMG_5246

My relationship with writing borders on passionate dysfunction.

I think about it more than most anything else.

Thoughts free range in my mind’s back forty  and form writing prompts and opening sentences from before I wake until after I’m asleep.  In case you’re counting, that’s every hour of every day.

Ideas have married phrases and made vows to become fruitful and multiply.  

I wake up in the middle of the night and new questions answer interred conclusions.    The grocery, shower, teacher conferences, communion are all sacred breeding grounds.  My son has been impersonating an officer and under arresting people.  If I were under arrested tomorrow, there’d be a fresh baby phrase whining for propagation before the ink on the ticket was dry.

It’s constant, and even if I were able to capture the mirages and slam them on paper, the progression of the ideas disappear like snow in a rainstorm. The writing is frustrating and flawed and I’m perpetually looking for my process and my voice.

I hear clearly the beat of my heart and know the direction I’m following, but it’s the kind of knowing that digs heels into my shoulder blades.  The Voice ahead is clearly calling me out on the water.   I recognize my voice inside as my shoulders ache, but when it comes to finding my written voice , I’m like a horse being spurred at full speed with blinders for shades.  And the metaphors?  They’re like talking trolls of tomfoolishness.

There’s a possibility of more flexibility in my schedule soon, an exciting and terrorizing, thought.  Because, well, you know….my excuses for not following the voiceless words might be all bogus and everything.

So I sit with tears of fear backed up to my ears. Damned by a clenched jaw and  back-washed into an angry undertow in my chest.

Who I am is just in front of me and she’s an aphasiac surrounded by opaque words.

She’s full of adventure and mystery.  Someone completely other than the fearful chattering woman I  know so well.    But, who I’ve been is still at the reins and there are times that she seems to be at complete odds with who I’m becoming.

I know that in the end, the new words, new vision, new direction will win.  When you’ve glimpsed adventure and felt freedom and tasted truth, you can’t go back to locked down lies of convention.

I’m talking about true Truth.  Truth minus illusion or pretense or filters. Truth minus precursor or qualification.  Truth that rescues.

I’m talking about Truth that floods when it no longer matters what anyone else thinks.

I’m talking about the kind of story that begs to be told and retold until your children recite it by heart.

I’m talking about the kind of story that will drop jaws and change hearts if it’s told at the right time.  The kind of story that defies propriety, whatever that is.  The kind of story that glitters and sparkles hope all over everyone.

When you’ve been heartsick and found that your heart is terminally sick and you’ve grabbed the fringe of a garment that heals with a hangnail.  When you’ve grabbed His garment?  You find that a hangnail’s strength of faith is always strong enough.  That a mere glimpse of the Father is all you need to be OK in this  miserable life.

You know that if you have to walk the rest of your life through dense fog  to have the opportunity, maybe, to once again touch a piece of  that thread, that a whole lifetime with a catch on the end of your finger will be worth it.

So there’s really no choice but to keep walking, in the dark, with frustrated fear and constant opportunity for face falling. Because backward isn’t an option and  staying in the same place isn’t an option. The only option is full speed ahead, eyes closed, head back, fierce wind, pelting rain, glaring sun, biting snow.

And so it goes this delirious love affair with words.

The ceiling can’t hold us

My prayers are open and vague these days.

There’s that scripture, you have not because you ask not.

But when life is completely turned upside down and everything you already have is just outside your grasp, then having not because you ask not doesn’t really seem to apply as much.

I force a specific prayer this morning.

Soak my heart by telling God what I want and hoping He’ll agree.  But it’s not about his agreement, it’s about his sovereignty and my words are quickly followed by the ones I know best.

Unless there’s another plan.

Those words have opened difficult doors.  And I’m ready not to pray them anymore.

The desire to delete that phrase sheds light on my complacent heart.  A heart that wants what I want because I think that’s what would make me happy and can I be honest for a minute?

Because honestly, I’m a little over holiness at this point.

I’m digging for happy.

And then there’s the difference between happiness and joy and I can’t even open that door because today I’d trade a whole pie of joy for a slice of happy.

They both come with a healthy topping of fear right now.

There are some moments of choice ahead.  And as I read the phrase I just wrote, it sounds a little simplistic.

But there are moments.

There’s because we always have and what if.

There’s the ceiling opening to hope while the door in the floor creaks closed to fear.

Today will be about small tasks and a barely-there heartbeat.  About cultivating hope and stomping out fear.

Tomorrow will be more of the same.

It will be cold this week, but I hear that Spring follows Winter and I believe the small cold mundane decisions of these days will warm soon enough.  And when they do,  low ceilings will make the most lovely floors.

Falling apart for the sake of Real.

She feels things very deeply.  My daughter was about four months old when a friend offered un-tethered perspective to the escalation of her newish-born cries and my inability to soothe them.

It would be a long time before I gained perspective on my own feelings buried deep.

Five hundred and nineteen months before my cries reached a fevered pitch that slowed into mournful acceptance.

When the only thing you ever feel is anger…….

          Always anger

          Only Anger

          Only all-the-time anger

You forget that there’s anything else to feel.

Or, maybe you never knew in the first place.

you have to keep breaking

After five hundred and nineteen months. The tiniest tip of a needle reached through a hairline crack in the armor of my heart.  I was surprised to find it beating behind barricades of anger and deep disappointment.

I guarded it closely.

I had no idea that a shattered heart could be so sacred, hold such hope.

Can you cherish heartbreak?

Can the very poison you’ve quarantined  for 43 years be the medicine that heals?

When you’ve spent your whole life looking for something that you thought didn’t exist, and you find it? You take a lesson from Mary.

She  treasured all those things in her heart.   I treasured discovering mine for the first time.

There were tears and songs and  moments of sweet sadness I’d never felt before.  Because when you’re heart cracks and spills out all over, you finally feel alive.

And when you’re heart breaks for the first time, you discover there is intrinsic value in your soul.  A value separate from serving, attending, giving and loving.  A value disconnected from any action verb at all.  A value that rests solely on your state of being.

When it’s just you and your powdered heart and the God who created the precious thing in the first place, you’d be a fool not to store up that treasure.

 

you are valuable and loved simply because you are

So  I wrapped myself up in the hurt.I wasn’t hiding or wallowing,  I was finally feeling.

I honored my heart by giving it the space it needed. There were few reasons to go out there, and so I didn’t.

I found out that I could love my family better while expecting  less of myself.

I found out I had never before believed myself worthy of heartbreak, only worthy of spinning porcelain plates.

Forever laboring and twirling and somersaulting and jumping to  keep the plates spinning. All day, all night, fingers stretched a little higher to keep it all together.

But when the feel of Real reached down between the cracks of shame, it was finally time let the Lenox shatter.

The people pleasing.

The nodding at others.

The nodding  in the mirror.

The smile because that’s what you do while you’re dying on the inside.

It was finally time to let the whole thing crash and crumble too the ground  so that the powdered  parts of a real heart soaked with tears could begin to be molded, to take a different shape.

I sat in quiet. Listened to  music. Gave myself permission to feel in the absence of words that I didn’t bother to uncover.

I found that when you’re alone with your heart for the first time, the merciless need to explain yourself falls right to the floor.  It was the first time in five hundred and nineteen months that I didn’t need to give, or receive a nod.

When you’re introduced to yourself  for the first time, you finally feel understood.

 

The ways that our hearts can be broken are endless.    Have you ever treasured a broken heart?

31 Days of Growing Up: Day 29

Every season has a song.  Rhythm wrapping the heart.

Songs for every sure step, every powdered dream.

Steps and dreams sometimes suspend.

There’s a song for that too.

Music like a back-lit haze pulls me in, compels my heart to be still.

By myself, I crank it loud and feel the silence; suspended between stars, reverb drawing my heart into catatonic holiness.

Four chords carry a bridge and I’m weightless in depths of peace.  Nine minutes painting a path to eternity, muted timelessness.

A frozen moment broken with a single beat grows to two and three.

Carried to the highest of holy as the beat drives deeper giving  my own broken heart a rest.

There are times when there’s nothing more to be done.

Times for standing in the season.

Times to resist taking cover.  To feel the wind sting your face knowing that there is nothing new under the sun.

Or the stars.

Nothing in the depths that wasn’t fashioned before time.

Every drop traveling the heights to the depths washing hearts with Peace.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”

 What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them.

Ecclesiastes 1: 2-11

You can find this entire series here.