Category Archives: beginning

Midweek Musings

It is day three of my new normal. The kids are in school for a few more hours. The house is silent. I am shifting and settling into something that might eventually resemble a routine, just not yet.

When I was teaching, I would give myself three weeks to a month before making a judgment on whether the year was working or not. It always ended up working just the way it was supposed to. Adjusting takes time.

I am adjusting.

Rising early to get the day started with the family, without the added pressure of getting myself somewhere on time has been a pleasant adjustment. Learning the new kitchen dance of school mornings, without the demand of getting everyone out the door like a well-oiled machine, has made things more calm and less chaotic.

This year we are in three different schools, down from our record of five. We drop off and pick up this batch of kids, the ones who were babies when their elder siblings were riding buses. While you cannot do over, you can choose to do differently. You can also have conversations about how others were affected by the choices you made.

Lots of those hard conversations are happening now that I have more unstructured time. No two, or eight, children grow up in the same family. I am adjusting to hearing truth and experiences shared with me from all of the perspectives, as the next generation steps up into the shoes of the first, and the first navigates adulthood. It looks a lot different this go around, especially as there are no infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in the equation.

The first two hours of my day focus on getting people fed and where they belong. When I arrive home after the final drop-off, Dewey eagerly runs to his leash, ready for a morning walk. This has become the beginning of a routine for us, as I walk him and think about the day. Sometimes a sister calls, or I call a sister (or daughter).

I am working out the time at home between drop-off and pick-up. I still have a brain racing to think of all of the things, when it really needs to slow down. I am practicing slow. I am not getting to all of the things. I get to some. I am learning things about myself that cannot be learned at breakneck speed.

This is where I am. I am grateful for the space to figure out what is next and the gift of learning to be more present in what is now.

How about you, Dear Readers? Where does this start of the new school season find you?

Silence and Stirring

As 2016 wound down, I waited for 2017’s word to come. And waited. And wondered.

What will this year’s focus be?

There was no clear-cut text or email message sent forth to reveal like last year. Only silence and stirring.

As thoughts and words and themes emerged, I wrote them down. I journaled and read and re-read and prayed.

God, what do you have for me this year? This is hard! I am so tired.

That is the thing. This year of restore looked and felt nothing like what I thought it would. To restore a piece of wooden furniture, you first strip it down. Using chemicals or sand paper, old finishes are scraped off and removed. Old fabric is torn off of upholstered furniture that is being restored.

Scraping, removing, tearing.

This year has taken me and my heart to this place. The scraping, removing, tearing off part of restoration.

What now?

A list began to emerge. Words. Themes.


grace
stay
trust
no
be
continue


Each of these felt valid and good, yet still not the word I was trying to find.

More waiting. More themes.

Continue resonated deepest. In a practical sense, I am halfway through the certificate program and need to continue the work there. Celebrating a milestone marriage marker next week reminded me to continue on the journey with my spouse, even through the difficult seasons of struggle. Parenting four children, still. Enough said.

continue ~ persist in an activity or process

Synonyms include ongoing, continuous, sustained, persistent, steady, relentless, rolling, uninterrupted, unabating, unremitting, unrelieved, unceasing. All relate to how life feels these days.

Another word, one not on the original list came into focus.

persist ~ continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure

Synonyms include continue, hold, carry on, last, keep on, keep up, remain, linger, stay, endure

I found my word. I knew it would come, and it did.

This is my year to persist.

How about you, Dear Readers? What is your focus this year?

Whatever it is, Happy New Year! May you persist in the work God is calling you to and find joy on this leg of your journey.

Scenes From Seattle, part 1

Because I have used up my 1,000 words, here are some pictures.

welcomeNothing says Welcome like chocolate. And an owl lamp.

restMy cozy resting place. I slept like a baby. Or maybe like a 2 year old. Either way, it was lovely.

img_5323The laptop I barely opened in the corner I loved.

img_5324Redemption truly does come in the strangest of places.

morning walkWalking to school.

walkingGetting closer.

The Seattle SchoolMy place.

coloringSo glad I decided to forgo packing all of the books and brought the colored pencils instead.

attachmentTaking notes in blue.

groupWhat I can share about group.

img_5340The ferry that I didn’t ride but watched come and go.

RestaurantChowder.

img_5347The precious people who loved me so very well all weekend. I love them.

img_5348Now I see my children not only in baristas, servers, and valets but also in street musicians. Of course I put money in the can in exchange for the picture!

Before

It’s the last night before. Tomorrow begins the first leg of the journey to after.

It seems that I should have really profound posts written and scheduled, but I just don’t. I have a suitcase almost packed and a satchel almost packed and a stack of cards and thoughtful gifts left by dear ones walking this road with me.

There are memories, so many, being made with the people in this house who need me more than cyberspace needs me. So instead of writing I drive through DQ and McD’s and take Dewey on an extra-long, three squat walk with the littlest girls.

I walk our downtown streets at sunset with a son who towers over me, a bag of Windy City Mix popcorn shared between us. We talk and reminisce of how this journey began to come into focus for me, and his key role, because he had one. His excitement for me offers courage to my fainting heart. His upcoming travels around the world remind me that I can do these trips across the country.

Messages come in from children and friends on social media sites. People remember that this is the first trip, and they care.

I am shocked and overwhelmed by care.

So many people are loving, praying, encouraging.

It is so humbling.

I am so blessed.

So I hit publish on this to give you a quick glimpse into before before spending time with my favorite. He is the one I will miss the most, who is working so hard and doing so much to support me and make this year of training happen.

Did I say how blessed I am?

Messy Change

A friend recently posted Change is messy as his Facebook status. It quickly became my mantra for this season of transition.

I don’t like change or messy.

A vivid picture of this took place the other evening as I gathered materials to plant the porch planter. It once housed the hibiscus, which has since gone the way of plants who have lived out their time with us. I try not to read too much into its death.

I had an idea in my head of what I would like to try with the pot and began the process of change. Garden gloves on so as not to dirty my hands, I began gingerly scooping soil and piling compost to the side and around the inside edge of the full pot to make room for the new plant.

planting

Oh no, some dirt spilled out onto the porch. I need to find something to scoop the extra soil into. Why can’t I just shove it around in the pot and try to make room for the new plant? I really don’t want to make a mess.

Trying to scoop a deep enough hole for the new plant to fit into the pot properly without spilling any soil out was impossibly frustrating. I didn’t want to make a mess in the midst of potting a plant. That sounds ridiculous, but it’s where I was!

My first attempt at placing the plant revealed the hole to be too shallow. Tempted to just shove it in and make do by heaping soil high around it, I knew that I would regret this decision later. I removed the plant, laid it on its side, and continued to dig deeper.

getting messy

This is taking too long. I really want to just get it done and enjoy the finished product. Time is ticking!

Often that is how it is with change. We have to wait for it to happen. We have to be in the midst of the messiness. We begin to ache.

planting process

Oh, my back! Why does bending and squatting hurt so much more these days?

I stood to stretch and survey the initial result and subsequent mess I had made before beginning the process of sweeping up the remaining soil.

sweeping up the mess

A few days later, the makeshift empty milk jug watering can was replaced by my luvvvah with a new one along with some additional flowers to add to the pot.

petunias

Sometimes change is surprising.

flowers in the porch planter

Hello, Beautiful Blooms! I am looking forward to watching you grow and change this summer!

porch

Moving Forward

I continue to be amazed by how this year has not looked like I anticipated back as the end of 2015 rolled around, and I began pondering what 2016 might be. God is surprising that way.

One of the biggest things I am learning is to just keep moving forward and through it. I am learning to continue to trust the process when it appears in surprising forms.

Last week I typed a quick update about the next step I was taking with the Lay Counseling Certificate, that of acceptance, and was blown away by the number of views on the blog and words of encouragement through text and facebook likes from so many.

It has been that way since.

When Angela launched the Go Fund Me site, she set $8,000 as the target goal, which felt so high to me. She reminded me that in addition to tuition, there were plane tickets ~ which she had researched ~ and travel expenses for four trips. I felt grateful for an objective friend who could help me count the cost ~ literally.

Four days after the fundraising site launched, I was able to ask Angela to adjust the goal from $8,000 to $6,950 to reflect money that has come in in both on and offline, as well as an early registration scholarship that I received. Already I am seeing provision for this road ahead.

I continue to move forward.

I will continue to ask Angela to adjust the fundraising page to reflect the actual amount still needed and to update the blog with ways that funding has been supplied. There are stories behind stories and so many connections that the process can feel overwhelming ~ in a good way. Good overwhelming is still overwhelming.

Thank you for walking with me, Friends, and for encouraging me through this process. I am already learning and growing, and it’s only the beginning.

The First Step

Three years ago I took the first step.

WordPress reminds me of this today with a three year anniversary achievement notice. Three years ago I signed up for a free account on WordPress.com titled The Compost Pile and kept it private, by invitation only. It was my first tiptoe into the blogging world, and I wasn’t ready to be all out there, yet.

Three years ago looked very different. A friend once told me things will look different in three years. They do. Three years makes a difference in many different contexts.

Three years ago I was in a space of a breath, still home with Little Mae who attended preschool three days a week, not yet back to working full time. There was time to explore the idea of blogging. There was time to meet with friends. There was time for personal reflection, however brief.

I started that private blog in the quiet on a Wednesday afternoon, just doing a little bit of something. Here is the first post.

I am sitting in in the quiet mess of mid afternoon.

Stillness.

Trying to open my heart and feel love, joy, peace. Mustering up the courage to take a leap of faith.

Seasons change, and I am entering a new one. One with time to slow down and reflect and be. To learn to live in confidence of my standing in Christ. To believe that it’s not all I do but who I am.

So many big thoughts encompass my mind. I want to slow down and take time to think them. To trust and understand. To process through and accept.

Jesus, draw near.

Little did I know where that first hesitant step would begin to take me . . . thank you for joining with me on the journey, Dear Readers. Your encouragement and thoughtful comments keep me writing!