I need to take my own advice. So good about helping everyone else to think and process, I often leave myself behind.
This morning I received a text that turned into a phonecall that ended with laughter and greater curiosity. It caused me to pull out some old writing, sketching, and dream journaling I had done and read and laugh and think, huh.
It is a gift to have those in your life who were there with you, wherever there was, and who are willing to go back there with you when needs be. To be able to share in safety without having to explain or over-explain is golden.
This was one of my people who just gets it.
As I sent a picture of a dream sketch I had made with this person in it and received comments back, the conversation ended with me texting, Enough about me and my dreams. Pour coffee and ponder yours.
That is what I needed, as well, reminding me that I often speak to others what I need for myself. So that is where this post finds me, pondering dreams and other parts of me, and writing with my poured coffee.
The gift of the slow Saturday morning gets eclipsed by all of the shoulds running through my head. Instead of resting in gratefulness for the space, I rush around trying to fill it. Sometimes just sitting in my PJs on an unmade bed with a laptop open at 9:50 on a Saturday morning is an act of defiance to all that threatens to bind me.
So that is where I am. Pondering with my poured coffee. Grateful for a partner engaging the kids and their chores so I can be on the other side of a closed door, I write.
Another month has come and gone, and it’s time to post an update on the goals.
Here is what March looked like.
Spiritual ~ Maintain daily quiet time and prayer, following current Bible reading plan. Journal responses and thoughts that result from that time. Spend time in stillness. Read one faith-based book/month.
I remained on track with Bible reading, pondering places in Deuteronomy, Luke, Psalms, and Proverbs. I have to work on intentionally journaling my thoughts and responses, but a new journal from Coco makes it easier to remember. Stillness is a struggle. My faith-based book this month was unChristian by Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman.
Family ~ Connect with Steve intentionally each week on a heart-level. Risk sharing something scary or overwhelming inside of me with him during that time. Connect with at least one child intentionally each week. Keep track. Make the most of one~on~one impromptu moments that arise with the children. Keep track.
This goal still feels ambiguous. I try to connect with Steve on a heart level but timing is not always the best. It is a challenge to know when to work and when to give it a rest and just relax together. I connected with Coco at DQ for a fun time of laughter and eating.
We also had a surprise successful shopping trip together that I will grab as a bonus! Roo and I got Shamrock Shakes together on St. Patrick’s Day. Little Mae had a friend over on Good Friday, and the three of us had fun getting pretzels and lemonade at the Dayton Farmer’s Market before returning home to eat lunch, color eggs, and watch Lilo and Stitch. The boys have been harder to connect with. Rides home from work or trips to the dentist’s office or conversations in my room have had to cut it this month! I hope to have something more concrete to report with them next month.
Social ~ Connect with at least one friend for coffee or conversation time each week. Say yes to fun. Make an effort to have people over to the house again starting with once/month. Adult kids and their guests are a bonus and not part of this number!
Steve and I went out with some friends for a fun date night! The following morning, he was my coffee shop date friend. That was fun. I have had regularly scheduled time with friends, both in-house and out. I took Panera broccoli-cheddar soup over for lunch with my grammy one Saturday. The having people over goal morphed into getting invited over to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for Easter dinner. I fully intended to try hosting or mooching my parent’s house to host when my sweet sis suggested we eat at their house. I contributed bagged salad, homemade rolls, and cherry-cappuccino trifle to the feast if that counts! We picked Grammy up and had a wonderful evening together.
Physical ~ Do 20 minutes of yoga at least five times a week. Longer or more times is a bonus. Improve flexibility in my down dog. Practice presence on the mat. Consider walking Dewey as an opportunity to get exercise and fresh air and not an annoying burden built into my already full day!
I continue to wake early to stretch on the yoga mat. Dewey is being walked regularly in the fresh air and sunshine, though an injury to his kneecap has caused us to adjust this a bit. Longer days and warmer temperatures make evening walks more appealing.
Teaching ~ Organize my teaching materials and office space. Write an encouraging note to one student/week recognizing individuality and strengths.
I am working on organization of my materials and office space bit by bit. Several notes have been written. One of the cutest moments was watching one of my first grade boys read his when he didn’t know I could see him. He put it in a special place at his desk, and I see him refer to it often. It is a reminder of the power of an encouraging word at any age. Little people like to be noticed, too!
I am still waiting on the verdict for the LCC and then on making the decision as to whether I will go this year or not. It has been a major source of ambivalence and prayer if those two things can co-exist! I read Dan Allender’s newest book Healing the Wounded Heart this month.
Ministry ~ Attend Stephen Ministry meetings regularly. Participate actively. Return to worship team rotation at least once per cycle.
I attended each Stephen Ministry meeting this month and got the bulletin board changed. Sadly, my worship team opportunity was sidelined by illness, and I missed out on my Sunday to sing. The Wednesday night practice was wonderful, though! I also attended March’s Community Worship night. That counts for something, right?
Financial ~ Take intentional time with Steve to go over the family finances and budget and grow in understanding of our financial goals together.
This is still a weak area for me, laden with triggers and irrational emotion. Steve kindly collects and enters receipts, but I need to step up more and work on engaging the budget. We attempted a budget conversation the last night of March and hope to connect more regularly about the spending categories and money spent.
Writing ~ Schedule intentional time each week to write and work on the blog. Submit one Red Tentpost for consideration each month.
I don’t have a set time for writing blog posts, but this month I was able to find time to write and publish 14 posts on the blog, and Red Tent Living published my March submission Like Brown Suede Rental Skates. I received notice that I am on the docket for April, so stay tuned!
There is still some processing to do about how it is for me to write and share these goals posts. Maybe that will happen. Thank you to all who take the time to read and respond with words of encouragement. It means much. Many blessings to you all, Friends!
Sometimes I wonder if I have changed, am changing, will ever change. I look back over the blog, read old entries, and think, really? STILL?
Sure, things are not exactly the same, but they are eerily similar. I found one such gem after looking through some old posts from the private blog. Sitting in my drafts folder was this memory from three years ago, almost to the day.
It is a different kind of hard that we sit in. We are always sitting in the hard, and maybe that is what I need to remember and learn as I sit in this Saturday afternoon between death and resurrection.
From March, 2013
It has been a hard day. Week. Season.
Life is so very full, which is a good thing. We are blessed. Work stress means there is work. House mess means people are living. Serving others means we are able-bodied.
It’s still been hard. Tiring. Draining. Exhausting.
I had been looking forward to Good Friday.
Not in a, “I gave up caffeine for Lent and can’t wait for coffee on Easter” kind of way but in a, “I can’t wait for the school to be closed and to get to sleep in and have coffee with Steve” one. I was looking forward to hanging out together.
Good Friday morning, Steve woke up and something was wrong. He was sick. It was his turn for the stomach bug that has been passing through our family for weeks. The violent, let me tear through your system and leave you languishing, stomach bug.
And I was angry.
Angered by the call to sacrifice my agenda and desire to have things my way. Angered by the call to suffer, because, after all, now I was going to have to do EVERYTHING myself and how is that FAIR? Can’t I even get a BREAK? A day OFF?
On Good Friday, the day set aside to remember the One who sacrificed his life entirely, the day I am on worship team for a special service, the day I am called in a minuscule way to lay down my own life and suffer and sacrifice for another, and my response is anger.
Not taking up my cross to follow. Not even on Good Friday.
Only the painful, tangible, heart-rending reminder of why all of this had to happen.
If there is no picture to document the event, no social media post about it, did it really happen?
This is the question I ask myself while thinking back to last Friday’s fun.
Firstborn and her husband drove from Richmond to take the four youngest to see Zootopia, leaving an open date night for the luvvvah and me. Excitement mounted for all, but maybe for me the most as everyone drove off in the minivan at 4:00 to get to the movie on time.
A quiet, though uneventful, late afternoon resulted in helping with the cleaning and the pizza-making before heading out to meet up with friends for a double date night starting at the new Ruby’s Arcade and ending up at Billy Jack’s.
I intentionally left my phone at home, tired of feeling tethered to it. Steve brought his along for the emergency factor, because aren’t we all living in a low-level constant state of urgent emergency?
I mean, KIDS! Who KNOWS what could happen that we might need to handle INSTANTLY. Oh yeah, and social media.
We walked downtown for a quick wine-tasting before heading over to Ruby’s. Once there, we claimed a table and began the wait for our friends and much-overdue time together. While waiting, we ran into many MORE friends, which is a 23 years in a small town perk. We were not the only ones excited about a new downtown venue.
Our friends arrived, and it was catch-up time over glasses of beer and wine. There was much laughter and good conversation. It was 9:30 when we finally walked over to Billy Jack’s, my first time inside after walking or driving past daily.
It was also my first adventure with sticky nuggs, which is my son’s favorite food group. I admit, they were tasty, and I enjoyed the frenetic dining experience. More laughter and not a few awkward moments later, we realized it was time to be heading home. Steve and I excused ourselves and began what I love about where I live ~ the walk home.
It is great to be able to have an entire date night out on foot!
Returning home, we spent time with our adult daughter catching up on life over a glass of wine before heading to bed. It was such a great time, leaving me eagerly anticipating my friend coffee date the next morning!
Friendship Friday’s are the best!
Even when you don’t have pictures to prove that they happened.
Thanksgiving weekend has come to an end. November, with its month of thankfulness, is almost over.
I won’t pretend it was an easy month, an easy holiday, because it wasn’t. There were moments of goodness and thankfulness that I was grateful to feel before moments of darkness and pain settled around me more strongly.
There was a struggle to stay present and thankful through some incredibly hard moments that can’t be detailed here. Because privacy.
I battle depression and would be lying if I said that it isn’t threatening to take me down these days, this season. The first step is recognizing the danger zone and admitting that I am in a vulnerable place. The second is reaching out and speaking up. The third is taking action and making a plan.
All three have happened, are happening, will happen.
I don’t know why life is so hard and the struggle is so real, but it is. I am grateful for those on my team who walk with me through the darkness and point me to the light.
My husband woke me with a cup of coffee and the words, Do you want to come out and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
He had gone to the store in the early morning hours and purchased an antenna to hook up to the TV to capture the signal for NBC. Each year since our move to this house, Thanksgiving has been the one day I have longed for network TV to watch the parade. Each year we miss the opportunity, and I move on in hopefulness to the next.
Thanksgivings past have found my parents recording the parade for me to watch later or me heading over to their house to watch it. I have ignored it completely or deferred hope to another time down the road. This year it happened as I snuggled up on the couch with coffee and my kids, and we watched the parade together.
Then they watched the dog show.
It was a tree of life moment for us all around, and though it would soon pass and challenges present, for a few hours Thanksgiving morning, we escaped into musicals and marching bands and musicians and dancers and balloons and floats and dogs.
Toothless watching himself in the parade is just one of many sweet moments shared together Thanksgiving morning.
Don’t get too envious of the technology you see here. 2/5 of the electronic devices resting on the entertainment console are not ours. They are also the most modern of the devices. But whose counting? We are grateful for generous family and friends who share the fun with us.
It’s my favorite time of the day. Once I pry myself from bed and make it over to the corner, coffee appears on a little stand next to me. Prepared by my luvvvah, often in matching mugs, this sweet ritual is one that I miss when we are not together.
Often it has arrived before I wake all the way up, the smell enticing me to emerge from the coziness of my covers and meet the day. But I don’t waaant to.
We sit together reading quietly or scanning our phones or asking what is on the agenda for the day. I journal. We talk. It is the kind of time that I want to last and last. No interruptions. No kids. Just us for 20 minutes.
This morning I reached for my mug for that first sip.
How is the coffee holding up? Do we need to buy more?
There is a bit of back story here.
Today is payday. That means the bottom of the barrel has been scraped in many places in the kitchen. I wondered if it was that way with the whole-bean coffee that we usually have stocked and stored.
Steve is the coffee-preparer most of the time. I am out of the coffee supply loop. So this morning I took that first sip and asked, How’s the coffee holding up? Do we need to buy more?
His response made me laugh.
This is an old packet of Folgers that I found in the coffee basket. We are out of coffee. I will have to bring your second cup to school after the bus run.
I am not a coffee snob. Truly, I’m not. But I could tell. Usually there is a bag of backup beans somewhere but not today. I will add it to the list.
Happy Friday, Everyone! That second cup cannot come soon enough. Enjoy your day!
I want to give them back. As quickly as my heart fills with gratitude, I want to say, “No, please keep this, because I won’t be able to reciprocate well enough, and I will disappoint you with my friendship.”
This week a card came in the mail.
A real card from a real friend from far away.
We have only spent a week of real-life time together, but our hearts have connected through email, facebook, texts, and phonecalls since then. She is a precious gift who has encouraged me by her words and gifts across the miles, and this week was one of those times.
It’s been a hard week for my heart.
Another friend met me for coffee last Saturday morning. It was a finally getting coffee date after too many, We should get together sometime-s.
Sunday night she asked if I would be picking my son up from youth group, because she had something for me. I told her that someone would be, and I would be sure they connected with her.
Later that evening there was a tiny gift on the table with a little note. So thoughtful and perfect. I love tiny things. And coffee.
But immediately my heart felt overwhelmed by fear. Fear of not being good enough, thoughtful enough, the right kind of friend.
Which is not what receiving another’s friendship is about.
I am grateful for friends and for seasons and for thoughtfulness. Especially this week, as my heart has been struggling in so many ways, the reminders of love and care from those who struggle themselves mean so much and remind me that we are not alone.
I am not alone.
Thank you, Friends. ALL of you who reach out to others (not just me) when you struggle yourselves. That is a gift.
Waking early and diving into Bible reading and journaling becomes coffee and bedmaking and starting the laundry. Stepping into the kitchen, and its remains from last night’s family time makes returning to my writing and thinking space anything but relaxing or invigorating.
I return anyway.
So it goes these days, all days, really, but especially these.
I have to choose carefully among all that is good. I can’t do it all.
But the soul needs to be fed, and the heart needs space to open, so that is where I land this morning in the midst of all that presents. I need space to listen to God before I dive into the rest of the day headfirst.
Judge fairly and show mercy and kindness to one another. Zechariah 7:9
Show mercy and kindness.
Be strong and finish the task.
Seeds of peace and prosperity are being planted.
Be strong and get on with what you have been called to do!
Don’t be afraid.
Celebrate joy. Love truth and peace.
Seeds are being planted.
Thank you for this reminder, Father.
Looking back over the past 25 years, I often feel shame and contempt rather than gratitude and hope for the seeds.
Thank you that you are always planting, always pruning, always finishing the work that you start. Give grace for me to witness growth.
Fair judgement, mercy, kindness. Three things needed on a Saturday in my home. When the episodes are over and the must do’s call my name, these three will carry me through.
This morning Steve and I sat on the porch drinking coffee and eating Honey Nut Cheerios. There were a few moments of peace before a minivan passed.
Was that (insert name of band parent here)? Is there band today? Is our son awake?
Peace interruptus ensued as Steve ran inside and upstairs to wake teenage boy. A friend who drives pulled up, and we waved him along.
We’ll drive him in. He just woke up. Thanks!
Risky move there on our part. That usually means said teenager will come running out of the house, fully ready to leave, fully annoyed with us for taking matters into our own hands and cramping his style.
It worked. This time. Small graces.
We sat together a few minutes longer, waiting for our boy to be ready. A neighbor walked by with her dog.
I’ve been meaning to tell you how nice the porch looks! So relaxing and restful.
In that instant, I tried to view through those eyes, because, honestly, life has been neither relaxing nor restful, lately. Writing is my outlet, and you see how much of that has been happening!
Seasons are changing again.
Returning to the present, I realized that for a few more minutes, my luvvah and I could drink coffee and eat cereal before the rest of the day took over. That moment was both relaxing and restful, and I chose to embrace it.