Category Archives: hoping

Sharing Space

Irritation mounts as I survey the kitchen. I was the one who asked that a milkshake be made after school. But this? Really?

It looks as if ice cream and milk were slopped into the blender and then the blender was haphazardly turned on with the top off. Yes, that must be what happened. There is a glob of melted ice cream on the floor and a puddle of it on the counter. It is hardening into a solid, sticky mess.

Clearly, someone is in the wrong, and it is not me. I am fuming inside, every ounce of irritation seeping through my pores. It feels as if my skin is on inside out. I am trying to find a way to express frustration appropriately which only has me feeling more inappropriate.

A sibling stands nearby, emptying the trash. A blanket statement is made about a family rule. The undertone is why are you surprised by this? It’s how it is. This incites me more. Really? Who made said rule and why? That is not the case! This mess is not okay.

It is hard to share space with so many other people. Even though I am one of the adults, co-partner, co-creator, co-supporter of our family structure, I can easily slip into feeling like just another one of the kids. These people who live with me, who have come from my body, who I am responsible for, are growing up and getting bigger and taking more ownership of their worlds.

This is a good thing. I am grateful for their growing independence. There are so many good things about them being able to fix their own food and pack their own lunches. Still, when I open the refrigerator to get the milk, and a misplaced jar of strawberry jam falls to the ground, and containers of leftover food totter, packed and stuffed into the wrong places, I feel smothered.

Smothered and alone. The space closes in on me physically, and I can’t find a means of escape. I can’t hide the fury. It won’t stuff back down to its usual place. Escape. Hide. Stuff. These survival strategies are familiar.

I pace to the TV room, just off of the kitchen, trying to sort out all that is stirring inside, trying to justify my anger. The deep breaths I take begin to calm me. I do not need to offload on my children. They do not need to pay for or contain my strong feelings. We can sort through what I am experiencing without me assigning blame.

It takes courage to re-enter and re-engage the sticky scene in a different way, to name and own my strong feelings. It is unfamiliar and feels clumsy. I risk stepping into our shared space and naming how it feels. I choose to let my child really see me own my uncertainty. Grace and hope pour down on the room. Spirits lift. Hope returns, and the moment is redeemed.

Productive Stillness

I seize a moment when the clouds part and sun shines to run outside to the strawberry patch. The ground, softened by days of rain, offers up its weeds with no resistance, though an occasional tiny berry is mixed in and sacrificed to their twisted, choking growth.

Extracting myself from the tasks at hand inside is a challenge, but sunshine, fresh air, and moist soil draw me to the present, and white flowers beckon me to notice them. I stop and breathe, accepting the invitation to a bit of productive stillness.

strawberry plants

This is where it started, the inspiration to write for a blog outside of my own, in the strawberry patch. Each year reminds me of that. That, and a number of other things, like the fact that the strawberries were planted by my firstborn when she was still a teenager at home, and the first plants came from my dear friend’s yard before her life took a traumatic turn, exiling her from that home and yard.

There is a fence around the strawberries now. It is a nod to trying to keep the dog from trampling them, but it’s not working very well. Dewey has no problem in leaping with excitement over the low barrier if one of his doggie friends happens to be passing by or if he feels a need to defend his turf.

strawberry patch

It is so imperfect, the place that calls me back each year, rising from the ashes, defying proper gardening techniques. Each year I think, I’ll do better at tending this patch and putting it to bed when the season ends. Then I don’t do better. Each year strawberry grace meets me again.

I don’t know what this year’s yield will be or when we will eat our first shortcake or if there will be an attempt at jam. That remains to be seen. What I do know is that today I was met in the strawberry patch with kindness and grace and hope.

When a Dream goes Out of Control

I had tidy plans back in early February.

There would be a timeline and agenda and a launch to raise funds, definitely after I had been accepted to the program.

I am still waiting to hear if I have been accepted. It has been over two months. I applied early and had my phone interview early. Now I wait. And wait. And begin to have second thoughts and over-think in the waiting.

This dream of doing the Lay Counseling Certificate training at the Allender Center in Seattle began to get away from me a year ago when I attended my second To Be Told conference with a friend. It was a different friend than the one I had gone with the year before, and I was beginning to feel like that friend, which I kind of am.

I am that friend that you can invite to do personal growth work, and I will join you.

I followed her prompting and agreed to attend. I was grateful to her for setting up the details and making arrangements. I was determined to be present and do the work and followup writing. She was determined to engage me and ask questions and listen to my answers.

When the Lay Counseling Certificate information was presented, I shared with her that I had a desire to attend the program. It was a dream that I held in my heart and had voiced to very few others. In my mind, I held maybe the year that I turn 45 as the far-off time, because, well, it felt so far away.

Her response was enthusiastic and encouraging. It was scary. Now she knew and was going to ask and followup with questions. She was going to question my pros and cons and search for solutions with me.

She did.

I can help you set up a Go Fund Me account!

The thing about speaking a dream out loud is that it allows another person or persons in and gives them space to speak into and dream with and encourage. The thing about speaking a dream out loud is that it also allows a person or persons in and gives them space to put down, dismiss, and mock.

Sadly, I experienced the latter during a vulnerable season of dreaming about my life and future, teaching me that if I had a dream, I should just keep it to myself and work quietly at it alone, if at all. I learned that it was dangerous and painful to dream and impossible to let others in. Dreaming was too risky and extremely foolish. Who was I to think I was anything special?

By keeping my dreams tidy, small, and under control, I avoided painful disappointment. I avoided questions that I might not be able to answer. I avoided risk. I stayed pleasant and static and one-dimensional.

By keeping my dreams tidy, small, and under control, I also avoided joyous celebration. I avoided the intimacy that comes from sharing my heart with safe people and having them wrestle through the unknown with me. I avoided reward. I squelched passion and desire and shut down many facets of myself in order to survive.

So here I sit on the edge of an out-of-control dream.

I don’t know what these upcoming weeks hold.

I don’t know if I will get a letter of acceptance detailing the next steps to take, or if I will get a Thank you for your interest, but. . . response.

I don’t know if I will be able to go this year if I am accepted. I don’t know exactly how all of the pieces will come together.

I do know that I am grateful for the chance to dream again and to see where the dream will take me. Thank you, Dear Readers, for your kind encouragement in the process. Each of you who takes time to read, comment, share, and speak up, offers me hope in the dreaming.

This blog was the result of one of my first risky dreams!

If I can offer you a bit of hope or plant the tiny seed of a dream in your heart or remind you that you are not alone, that is a doubly sweet gift.

August

August marks the beginning of the end of summer for me. It brings a mental shift from unstructured days and planning for travel to easing into structure and planning for a new school year. It is in this tension that I sit on Saturday, the first of August.

Reflecting on the summer, things have not been as I thought they would be. Are they ever?

I anticipated extra time on my hands to clean, organize, do house projects, and write. I envisioned the blog full of words and engagement and processing. When this didn’t happen, I envisioned closing up shop. Circling up those wagons, deleting the blog, and folding in on myself.

That wasn’t the answer, either.

What is?

I spend much time wanting answers. I want to know the end and that I am making the best choices in the middle. I want to understand the whys when sometimes they are just the secret things. I want to make sense of the senseless.

So August dawns new and fresh with possibilities even as my hopes for June and July seemed to wither on the vine this year. August brings with it more change. So much change.

I am still writing. In those moments of doubt and disconnect when the temptation to delete was strongest, encouragement came in the form of comments on posts or texts to my phone or a handwritten card. The reminder that I write to remind us that we are not alone in whatever we face kept me going during the dry discouragement of does it even matter?

I have still not returned to facebook. I may in keeping with my word this year, but I just can’t yet.

There remain places to process in quiet and things to learn about healthy boundaries for my heart. There is still much to focus on in real life and social media tends to distract me from that.

I don’t know what the end of August will hold, but its beginning is hopeful, and I will hold to that.

 

My Newish Car

I have written before about Tree of Life Moments.

For me, they are a way to articulate those times when a hope deferred becomes a desire fulfilled. Often we live in hope for what we do not see. When our eyes open, and we are able to witness what we have longed for, we experience a moment.

Maybe it looks the way we thought it would. Maybe not. Maybe we are doing well to even notice that it is there. Maybe we miss moments due to discontent or forgetfulness.

A recent tree of life moment came recently through a series of events leading up to the purchase of a new to us car that has since become mine.

My sweet husband has heard my desire expressed over the years for the day when I would have a small, nondescript car to drive instead of a monstrous 14-passenger Chevy Express.

Once upon a time that van served us dearly and was its own tree of life moment, but seasons change, and no longer is a van of that size a necessity for our family.

The way the little car came to us felt like a hug from heaven. I say that knowing full well that good things happening does not equal more love from God. Still there are moments when the right conversation leads to the right followup and a moment of honesty opens the door to a gift waiting to be received.

I am grateful to be the recipient of this gift and every time I drive it I feel loved and heard. When my luvvvah would ask me what kind of car I wanted, I really couldn’t say. I had never dreamed specifics, only small and non-descript.

Now I know I like small, reddish-color cars with four doors and a sunroof. It’s a start.

Good Morning

Today is new.

Full of

mercy and

hope and the

chance to start over again.

Loving those in my path

When it’s

hard

on my soul

and

uncomfortable

to my eyes.

Choosing a countenance

of love before you.

Not fake,

But genuine hopefulness

That one day the practice

will become the real deal.

That you’ll touch me and open my heart.

Working it Out

The Lord will work out His plans for my life-

For your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.

Do not abandon me, for you made me.

Psalm 138:8

Powerful confidence – The Lord working out His plans for my life. He made me! He gave me a job to do. He will not abandon me.

Can I thank Him for the job He has given me? Quit wrestling, questioningdemanding to know why? Turn what feels like drudgery into thankful acceptance? Even joy?

In this moment I feel hope! It seems possible that, yes, I can learn to be content. I might even feel a hint of joy.

Do I have confidence that Christ through His suffering is able to help me through mine?

Do you?

Jesus, help me to never forget.