Tag Archives: clues

Sick Day

I am rarely sick. It is hard to admit that I am too sick for anything unless I am on the edge of consciousness, and someone else decides for me. It is difficult to trust my instincts.

In fact, when I began feeling rough on Saturday, I immediately ascribed it to the residual effects of a fun Friday night out with friends and eating sticky nuggs at Billy Jack’s too late at night. It certainly COULDN’T be the stomach bug that has been going around and had many of my students and some fellow teachers missing school or leaving early this past week.

No. Not that.

To make matters worse, Sunday was to be my return to singing on worship team after a hiatus of several months. I had been looking forward to this Sunday and after practice on Wednesday night, even more so. It was a great team, great set of songs, and I was excited.

Saturday I woke up feeling a little off.

Probably too much fun last night.

I don’t do fun well, and can’t just go with the flow and enjoy. I drank a cappuccino, but breakfast was not happening. Steve and I were out together at a coffee shop enjoying some quiet time to write and reflect. He got food. I didn’t but later nibbled a bit on a piece of croissant and smidge of donut. Clues much?

Heading home, my stomach began to churn.

Ugh. I am getting too old to eat sticky nuggs late at night!

Saturday was spent trying to coach myself through to the end, waiting to feel better. Certainly better was just around the bend. Once I take a nap, have a snack, get the shopping done.

Steve was worried about me.

You’re not doing well. You seem to be going downhill.

I’m fine. I just have to get through ____________________ fill in whatever was the next thing I needed to do and then I will feel better.

I didn’t feel better.

Before going to sleep, Steve expressed concern that I wasn’t listening to my body well and didn’t seem to be in a good place to be getting up at six in the morning to get ready for worship team. I was sure I would be feeling much better after rest.

I felt much worse.

Waking up, I knew that there was no way that I would be able to hoist myself up in front of a bunch of people to sing. I could barely walk across the floor of my room. Also, I didn’t think anyone would appreciate me bringing my upset stomach to share with them.

With great disappointment I texted the leader, who responded with kindness. I went back to sleep.

Sunday has been spent sabbathing, resting, listening to my body. It keeps yelling at me to get up and do something, but I haven’t cooperated. I have slept a lot, read a bit, written a bit, and watched Netflix.

Tomorrow will be better. I just know.

In Which I Have a Dream

. . . about puppies!

It’s Leap Day, and before it ends, I want to write about something light-hearted and fun.

I blame my sweet friend, Davene, and her copious Facebook puppy pictures and posts filling my feed. I’d much rather focus on puppies than Presidential Primaries, which is saying something, because dogs aren’t even my favorite.

Just yesterday there was a video of the puppies venturing outside for the first time, and I watched it. Then there was the blog post about it. Then the dream.

I am fascinated by these puppies, seeing as I first heard that they were on the way on the eve of the big snow. Davene and I ran into each other at the library, and I asked about Willow and found out that she was great with puppies. Turns out, she gave birth to them during the storm.

I have followed their progress, often thinking, At least I don’t have 10 puppies to care for! in the midst of my overwhelm. We all have our own stuff, you know. Some people have puppies. There is lots of love to go around in the Fisher household and lots of schooling going on and lots of learning. It is pretty incredible.

Davene is pretty incredible!

On to the dream. It was one of those that comes in the night and just sticks. I still remember it, even after writing it down this morning in my Dream Journal.

We went to the Fishers’ house to see Willow’s puppies, finally, after talking about it for some time. As usual, there was attitude from a certain child or children who shall remain unnamed. Not unusual.

We were still driving our big white van, parked it, and got out.

We went into the house, and puppies were EVERYWHERE. They were anywhere you looked. Puppies. Crawling into this and out of that. The children noticed two that they wanted. In true dream form, they looked nothing like any of Willow’s ACTUAL puppies. They were more cocker-spanielish in appearance.

The Fishers were more than happy for us to take them, so we began making plans for that. I noticed an unusual-looking black puppy that seemed to have a collie-like appearance around the face and ruff around the neck. It also had stripes on its sides and a bushier tail. I noted to myself that it seemed to have gotten all of the recessive genes, and looked rather skunk-like.

That is when we noticed that it really WAS a skunk. It jumped onto my back and began clawing at me as I ran around, freaking out, in true Christmas Vacation form. THERE IS A SKUNK ON MY BACK!!!!!

I ran outside where it was somehow removed.

We loaded up and headed home with two new puppies to add to our menagerie. The dream ended with them being introduced to Dewey, Zephyr, and Buddy.

There you have my latest dream. It’s not big or life-changing or risky, unless I choose to analyze it. Then, maybe, I had better look out! Because, you know, there was that skunk and all of those puppies.

Sex? A Backstory

One of my goals for 2016 is to write and submit to Red Tent Living each month. Whether a post is accepted or not is beside the point. The exercise and discipline of writing is what I am after.

I held this in my heart quietly and ambiguously as I am wont to do and for good reason. In fact, rather than intending to write each month, I told myself I would do it on a regular basis.

What regular basis meant was left open to interpretation, and since I was the one interpreting, it was pretty safe.

If I don’t say it out loud, no one will know.

It meant that when I saw the theme for February was Sex?, and I had already submitted for January, I could breathe a big sigh of relief and decide that every other month was a good enough regular basis.

What’s going on with me avoiding a topic that is hard and feels terrifying? Why am I having this thought? Who cares whether I write or not? Why am I bothered by my avoidance?

I knew I needed to write. Something. Even if I never hit send, there was something there. I opened a new document and began typing.

There is not much space in my world right now. Usually when I want to write, a topic has been floating around in my head for awhile and the act of opening my laptop and getting it down is the culmination of the process. Twenty minutes later I am finished, especially if it’s for my personal blog.

The Saturday morning in early January that I began free-typing thoughts on Sex? left me feeling agitated and disrupted. I shared words with my husband who found them powerful and honest and necessary. I found them raw and vulnerable and way over-exposing.

It was a good first step.

I knew I needed to keep moving forward towards the terror and discomfort. I knew I needed to engage my heart with curiosity and kindness, thanks to those who have invested time in helping me to process my story. I closed the document and took some deep breaths.

What was up with that? I usually don’t feel this disrupted after writing. I’m glad that I began this post early in the month. There is still a lot about my journey with sexuality that needs to be sorted.

Finished with the editing of my article, saving the raw original document for myself in another folder, I opened an email to submit my work. Usually I include a few words along the line of, Here is a post for consideration this month. This time there was a paragraph of back story and explanation that definitely left plenty of room to not consider this month’s offering, but thanks for the opportunity to write.

The response that my post was in the line-up for this month left me feeling many things . . . excited, nervous, terrified, proud.

You can read it here.

Writer Girl(s)

I’m pretty sure that if we lived in a time where vocation was based solely on family heritage and calling, maybe by castes or clans, then ours would be that of the creatives ~ the musicians, writers, jesters; those and the teachers.

Today was the last for picking up my daughter of ten from school. Tomorrow eleven arrives with all of its angst and disappointment over the laptop, chromebook, iphone or at least POD, that will not be wrapped as birthday gifts (though I have promised to keep receipts to return the disappointments in exchange for cash to build her stash to purchase the desired electronics).

My girl is creative. She is a writer as demonstrated by the big stack of books that she was checking out of the middle school library as I waited for her out in the car. It only took one mistake of going in to fetch her over the loudspeaker that time to learn that when she is in the library she will come out when she gets all of her books. Today I got that part right.

A Big Stack of Books

My girl is a comedian. This is demonstrated by two things in these pictures. First, the Rules for Writers book on the top of the stack above is sub-titled A Brief Handbook. She found that hilarious, which is why it is on top. Second, the version of A Wrinkle in Time that she chose to finally read because we rave about it so much, but no matter how she tries it’s just hard to get into is. . .

A Wrinkle in Time

. . . the graphic novel version, in case you can’t read the fine print.

I love my funny writer girl.

I also have a bloggy girl and a college girl who sent me this in a message today, Yesterday someone told me that I stress too much over grammar that normal people don’t understand. Simple sentence and word structure-type things they said college seniors learn in high English classes. I credit you. Haha! It was a funny thing to hear.

I was at a poetry and story reading coffee house with my fourth-grade girl tonight.

Yes, this is a family of writers and creatives with lots and lots of words. That and laughter. And some yelling and strife thrown in for good measure. Real life.

Fixing My Gaze

It is hard for me to fix my gaze directly forward and not all around me at everyone else, yet fixing my eyes on my own path is the only way to progress in my own life and achieve my own goals.

Too often I jump onto social media sites to see what others are up to. I read of their hopes and dreams and see what they are accomplishing, only to find myself lacking.

Instead of taking the steps ahead that I need to take in faith, I remain paralyzed with fear and doubt and comparison.

It’s time to take some steps of my own.

I appreciate my daughter and the inspiring way she has put herself out there this year. If you have never read her blog, check it out here and consider following her to stay updated with, and inspired by, her progress.

I am still figuring out what my steps actually look like. There are a few close to me who have heard my heart and helped me to identify what it would be to move forward with my dream amidst the responsibilities I carry. There is a fine line there and a place of incredible balance.

Someone once said, Baby steps. I’m taking them.

Let your eyes look directly forward and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure.
Proverbs 4:28-29

May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans.
Psalm 20:4

Return to Year’s End

It’s another year’s end. Almost. Today I sit in the tension of a messy house and messy relationships and messy conversations and a messy heart.

Floodplain, the latest project by Sara Groves, plays in the background while my youngest plays in a box in the living room for her not-so-quiet-time.

Really we don’t need much
Just strength to believe it
There’s honey in the rock
There’s more than we see.

These patches of joy
These stretches of sorrow
There’s enough for today
There will be enough tomorrow.

I’m trying to trust enough for today.

My brain works faster than my fingers as thoughts bombard my head, trying to connect in a coherent way. Last year’s word drifts through my mind, filtering experiences and thoughts through its grid.

Did I do enough? Get it right? How was my progress?

I’ve been here before. . . Sara croons in the background. Friends, get this album. *She has an incredible gift . . . wondering why I can’t do better than I’ve done.

The hand of grace reaches down to me ~
A voice inside says that I can be free.

And I sit here wanting to be anyone but myself.

A voice inside says that I will be free.

Ah, yes, it’s another year’s end.

*When I say get this album, I mean it is amazing. I receive nothing from this link other than the joy of knowing that others may discover Sara’s gift of singing to the heart.*

Reasonable Service

This morning, Pastor Todd brought words from Romans 12, challenging us to give our entire life to God. I was transported back to a season of meditation on this very passage.

Certainly not the only time I have spent in Romans, it was a significant season in my story. I recalled the exact journal used to process and pulled it from the shelf this evening to examine my thoughts more closely.

The first page tells me what I need to know.

I’ve just given birth to child #7.

It’s August 7, 2006, and it’s been a week and a half since her birth.

The summer seemed quite fragmented due to the fact that I was very pregnant for the first half and post~partum for the second.

As there are four full weeks of August before school starts this fall, I am trying to begin collecting my thoughts and planning for the coming season.

This is followed by lists of things that I would like to accomplish during the month along with things that have been lacking in my life. There is concern for my emotional stability as we enter a season of transition in the areas of church, school, and family. There is looking ahead to the fall and what to focus on with the parenting of seven children ranging from 13 years to 10 days.

There are goals set. There are lists of things to rejoice in. Blessings.

There is the question.

How can I not feel blessed?

A theme in my story is trying. I am grateful that God’s Word does not return void, no matter where we are on our path. In 2006 I was trying to do the right things on the right lists and to understand what God was doing with my life in the midst of feeling lost and overwhelmed.

The following is a mediation on Romans 12, demonstrating how God met me there in 2006. This is directly from my journal to illustrate where I was during this season.

Romans 12 ~ Wow! What a chapter! Here is what jumped out at me.

“living sacrifice” ~ daily sacrifice of self
“reasonable service” ~ caring for home and family
“do not be conformed” ~ worldly desires
“be transformed” ~ changed through the Gospel
“renew your mind” ~ think like Christ
“Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought.”
“All members do not have the same function.” ~Not everyone has my role, and that’s okay. My job is to be me.
“Having gifts differing according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” ~gift of mothering 7 ~not 2, not 12, but 7 children
~abhor evil
~cling to good
~be affectionate with brotherly love
~diligent, busy about my own work
~fervent in spirit
~serve the Lord (with gladness!)
~rejoice in hope (what is to come!)
~be patient in tribulation (dirty diapers, disagreeable children)
~pray!
~care for the needs of the saints
~practice hospitality
~bless, rejoice,weep
Do not be wise in your own opinion!
~don’t seek to get even

I am to present myself as a living sacrifice to God through the daily offering of my life to him.

He has given me a measure of grace to mother seven children, and I am to use that gift for him. It is my reasonable service to do laundry, potty train, change diapers, clean up messes, organize toys, plan meals, read stories, wipe noses, run errands, and do it all again tomorrow.

My desire to conform to the world says there must be something more than this. This feels boring and pointless without a renewed mind that says, You are being transformed! Being transformed sees my life as full of opportunities to be Jesus to those around me and to use my spiritual gifts and to function as part of Christ’s body on earth.

So in my behavior day to day, rather than wallowing in not this again, I should be crying, Transform my heart, Lord! It is thinking of myself more highly than I ought to say, Not this again. I am exactly where I need to be to fulfill God’s merciful plan for my life.

I should be rejoicing in hope while patient in tribulation. Instead of wallowing in the messy pants, I can rejoice in the hope of no diapers one day!

I should have a fervent spirit making me diligent about my daily work. I should be giving preference to my family with brotherly love. Am I distributing to their needs? Showing them hospitality?

And if my greatest “tribulations” are a house to care for (shelter), laundry to do (clothing), and meals to plan and prepare (food), then how ungrateful to complain about the blessings in my life!

I resisted the urge to edit, especially all of those shoulds. I left them. That is where I was back in 2006. It was a season of shoulds. I was also in a season of the New King James Version of the Bible, which gives context to my notes and why I linked to that version above.

I hope these words have encouraged you. They certainly have encouraged me by reminding me that God has always been faithful and will continue to be so, even in the lost and overwhelmed. Thank you for journeying alongside of me and for your kindness in glimpsing my world, Dear Reader. Be blessed!

Buddy’s Saturday Adventure ~ Guest Blogger

It all started when I woke up on Saturday morning.

I forgot to feed my guinea pig Buddy because I wanted to look at the clock to see if it was eight o’ clock. The reason I wanted to was because I wanted to pick episodes on netflix with my brother and sisters. The reason we had to wait till eight was because our mom and dad said we HAD to wait till eight.

So after we watched episodes on netflix, I told my mom that I would be washing Buddy. She went and cleaned the cage for me. ( I have a really nice mom. )

When I finished washing Buddy I took him down stairs. My mom was finishing putting the bedding in Buddy’s cage. I told her I was taking Buddy outside, so when I did my little sister put the cage down and I put Buddy in the cage. ( The cage wasn’t all the cage it didn’t have the floor part so it was just the top. )

Well, a little while later I wanted to flip the cage top so the top of it was on the ground. (Note: do NOT do this it is a very stupid idea. )

So when I did my little sister asked if I wanted a Danimal, and I said yes. She asked me if I wanted a straw. I said no but then yes. So when she went in I turned around and started snapping my fingers. When I turned around BUDDY WAS GONE.

I started freaking out and crying. My guinea pig was GONE! When my little sister came outside she started looking too. Then she told me to come and I came. When I came she told me to listen. I could hear a cat and a guinea pig noise. I started to worry, ” What if Buddy is being killed by a cat!? ”

My little sister asked if she could go get mom, and I said ” YES PLEASE DO! ”

When my mom came outside she started looking. A few minutes later my mom thought about how Buddy liked to hide in his hutch, so I started looking behind and in stuff. Then my MOM found BUDDY in the fire wood.

(We found Buddy in that little empty space you see here.)

wood pile

I was SO HAPPY I was glad God helped us and that I have ( and I really do. ) an AWESOME mom! ~ Roo

Editor’s note. This is all Roo’s original work. Paragraph editing only. Editor did NOT add any comments relating to Roo’s mom, who has at other times been rumored to be the WORST MOM EVER! The verdict is still out on that one.

Provision in Unrest

I don’t do well with unrest.

When things are tidy and put together, there is freedom for me to take a break, put up my feet, and rest awhile. When things are unsettled, uncertain, unsure, it’s a different story.

Last Sunday I was growing through the unrest, and it was difficult, uncomfortable, and stressful.

Preparing for another year of VBS, I reviewed the materials for my station, KidVid Cinema, well ahead of the game. That is, I reviewed all but the video. I planned to pick THAT up on Set-up Sunday and be good to go.

It was a great plan, in theory. The glitch came on Set-up Sunday when the DVD was nowhere to be found. At first, I was confident that it would appear when the right person was asked. Then I began to feel doubt creep into the back of my mind. What if I was the person?

What if I was given the DVD already and it is somewhere in my house? Lost!

That thought sent me into a mild panic, as I quickly texted my husband. Maybe he could search the usual places where my important stuff piles to see if it was at the bottom of the stack.

No reply.

I would have to drive home to check for myself. Anxiety welled up inside, as I tried to just breathe and stay present. For something that already felt big to me, working VBS week, I was quickly approaching what felt like a tipping point.

Why am I doing this, again?

There was no DVD to be found. Anywhere. I called my sister in Ohio to see if I had taken it with me and left it there. The problem was that I had no recollection of receiving the very thing that strong evidence indicated had been given to me.

I could have easily taken a packet and placed it who-knows-where! Why can’t I remember?

Returning to VBS set-up, I found my chain of command and admitted that the video was, in fact, lost. I had no idea where it was and the bottom line is that it was needed the following day.

What do I do?

Grace abounded. I was assured that something would work out. I could go home and the highers-up would figure it out a plan.

I felt tense.

It was hard to release the situation to God and to what he would do with it. A friend sensed my tension and asked if she could pray with me. Right then. Her confidence was a boost when mine was lacking. I agreed, trying to hold the words she was praying for myself.

That night I received a call that a borrowed video had been located in a roundabout way when our children’s ministry director ran into the pastor of another church that had done the same VBS this summer. They had a video we could borrow, and it would be waiting for me the next morning.

Relief flooded my heart.

There was also that bit of doubt, though.

So what about the video? Will I ever know what happened to it?

It was hard work to release the need to know. To defend. To replay events in my mind and try to figure out. To have the answer.

Sometimes we don’t get the answer. Sometimes we don’t ever get find the video and know the outcome, and that has to be enough. Provision.

Other times. Those other times are sweet.

Monday morning I entered the church building to be greeted by the phrase, Did you hear? We found the video! It was in one of the children’s ministry bags!

Relief flooded my heart.

Monday’s Bible point was God has the power to provide. It’s interesting that I left VBS set up with no DVD and returned the following morning to two of them! I am grateful for the growth opportunity of experiencing provision in unrest. I am grateful for an amazing children’s ministry team and for the gift of serving together.

Reset Switch

I visited my sister last week. Laptop tucked away in my bag, I was certain that there would be time to blog. To write. To process. To think.

There was. In a way. Just not in the way that I expected. I didn’t come home with piles of posts and tons of clarity. I didn’t curl up on the back deck with coffee or wine and my laptop. Only with people.

Isn’t that the way that it is, yet I continue to fight against the flow. The unexpected.

It’s exhausting.

So processing looked more like long walks alone on the footpaths through her neighborhood. It looked like 20 minutes in the hammock together before a teen needed attention. It looked like face-down on a massage table drifting off to sleep as the deep tissue in my body was kneaded into oblivion.

Processing was remembering with someone who was there with me and listening to what my unexpected tearbursts were trying to say. It was viewing redemption in those strange places, small spaces. It was texting an adult daughter with a tough memory of us and being open to her response.

How did we survive 14? DID we survive 14?

Because being around fourteen triggers fourteen. Fourteen was hard. Is hard.

Processing involved riding a roller coaster with fourteen and breathing through the twists and turns and upside-down loops and remembering that I am held securely. It was pushing through my own discomfort to love, because love remains close through the hard and uncomfortable.

Processing was the newsflash that I should probably not do one of those tough mud races, because I barely survived a muddy hike. It was being curious about why I felt so stuck and overwhelmed. It was gratefulness for a teen who could drive home from the excursion with me curled up in the backseat crying.

A week ago I sat with my sister in her master bath, pulling out cleaner from under the sink to scrub the tub so that she could soak a sore foot. She had experienced minor surgery and was recovering from that with a house full of family. We were trying to care for her.

As I sprayed and scrubbed, her voice spoke out tentatively, Sooo, I have someone who comes and cleans the house for me. She will be here tomorrow.

Tearburst.

Yes. I burst into tears at that revelation.

Curious.

That’s great! (Because it really is. She has the ability to bless someone with a job and to bless herself with the knowledge that once a week her house will be clean and the pillows on the couches lined up at attention.)

We talked about it. The feelings. The tears. The hard in both of our lives. The graces we give to ourselves.

Sure enough, Wednesday morning came, and with it a smiling, cheerful woman, cleaning caddy in hand. Steve and I crossed paths with her while exiting the house to take the younger bunch to the movies. When we returned the house was lemony-fresh, the reset switch pressed for another week.

I smiled and breathed in the goodness and grace.