Tag Archives: risk

Friendship Friday ~ Angela

I doubt that I would be actively taking the steps I am today and enrolled in the Lay Counseling Certificate program at the Allender Center without the encouragement and support of my friend Angela. It’s time to write about her.

We first knew of each other seven or so years ago. Occasionally we would engage in small talk before or after church or smiles while on worship team together. She made sure the right words were projected up onto the screen while I was on stage singing with the others. There were conversations ending with, We should get coffee sometime!

It was early fall of 2014 when we exchanged glances during a ministry fair at church. I was representing Stephen Ministry. We talked, and this time set up coffee for real.

This interaction fell on the heels of a painful, yet honest and healing, conversation with another friend about how she had felt hurt by me. That came to a positive resolution, but I still felt gun shy and hesitant about entering into any new friendships. The last thing I want to do is hurt, disappoint, or let someone down, yet I do all three really well.

Coffee was safe and non-committal.

We talked and shared and connected.

There was much going on in my heart at that time. Dear friends that had walked with me through a prolonged difficult life season had moved away, and I had not fully processed the grief that I felt upon losing their close-by friendship. Other close-by friends had moved on into different life stages, as had I, and the way our friendship looked in real life was now different.

I was weary.

Friendship takes time and effort and energy, all things in short supply. I was not prepared for the disruption that was about to take place.

Angela reached out further, inviting me and another friend away for a weekend together at a cabin with her. It would have been easy to have lots of reasons why it just wouldn’t work out. At the same time, I recognized and was touched by her concern and care. I risked reaching back.

We had a great weekend followed by other times of her opening her home for respite. Being neighbors, this was especially convenient.

When she invited me to a To Be Told conference in the spring of 2015, making all of the arrangements, I agreed to go. I had attended the year before with a different friend and wanted to be supportive of her, as well. At the same time, there were things stirring around in my heart that began to trigger another season of disruption.

Oh, beautiful disruption.

I began to call Angela my disruptor, as things had settled into a period of status quo for me after the great upheaval of 2007-2012! I had done lots of personal heart work, moved into a healthier place, and was doing pretty well for myself.

Pretty well isn’t too bad ~ right?

At the conference, I voiced a desire to attend the certificate program. Out loud. She immediately affirmed my dream. You would be great at that!

As one who is used to encouraging and holding dreams for others, it felt odd having someone encourage mine. Even as I type this, I’m sure there are many of you who have offered encouragement, and I don’t want to minimize that. At the same time, something about her words and the timing caught me off guard.

After the conference we worked on the writing assignments and shared our stories together.

I was even more caught off guard last fall when she gave me a handmade card affirming her belief in my skills and support of pursuing the certificate along with tangible ways that she would help it happen. I was overwhelmed.

This is half of the inside of a card created for me by Angela in fall'15 to encourage me to pursue the Lay Counseling Certificate.

This is half of the inside of a card created for me by Angela in fall’15 to encourage me to pursue the Lay Counseling Certificate.

It all felt too big and too real.

It is too big. But here I am a year later, enrolled in the program with the support of Angela and many others. She is the one who said, I can set up a GoFundMe account for you! when the cost factor felt overwhelming and was one of my cons.

She did just that, giving my funds a boost, allowing me to see that this was, indeed, a possibility. She is also the one who gathered these words in that process.

Meanwhile, I am grateful for Angela’s friendship just because. Moments of her walking over on snow days for coffee in my corner with me or smiles at school where she teaches PE to my daughter or hugs after church are precious and priceless.

I am grateful for the gift of her disruptive friendship.

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.

Friendship Friday ~ Misty and Davene

I can’t have a Friendship Friday post on April Fool’s Day without thinking of my dear friends Misty and Davene and the wonderful season we shared together from 2006 ~ 2011 or 12ish. April 1 is Davene’s birthday. It also reminds me of the fun play date that Misty hosted one early April afternoon.

The picture above was taken on Misty’s bricked back porch the day she threw an April Fools lunch/party for us and all of our children back in 2011. She is on the left, Davene is in the middle, I am on the right. There were a lot of kids. Doing the math makes my head tired, but I had three or four littles with me, and she had four, and Davene had at least three or four, so there were a lot.

Misty prepared fun things like jello that looked like juice in cups with straws and mashed potato cupcakes and other incredibly creative snacks for the kids to enjoy. We served and shared and laughed together. The kids played. It was a sweet time.

I met Misty and Davene in the season of my second baby bunch. It was through Davene, or should I say her husband, Jeff, who connected us through our husbands whose hair he cut that we all met.

Roo was born in 2006 and was a newborn the first  time we were introduced at a potluck at the Fisher household. Kirk was 3, Coco was 1, there was no Little Mae, yet. In 2006 all of my kids still lived at home. Their ages were 14, 13, 12, 8, 3, 1, newborn. We had a full house and looked like things were under control.

My eyes tear up just typing this. There was a lot going on during that season. I was, and still am, the older mom with the older kids. Misty and Davene were my breaths of fresh air. They were the younger moms with the energy to do fun things. I wanted to bottle and inhale their mothering energy and enthusiasm, and they graciously shared their time and space and hearts with me during a time when it was so needed.

Originally, Misty and her husband weren’t planning to be in the area for long. He was in the military and finishing school. One of the best risks I took was to just be friends without worrying about how long she would be here and if it would hurt too much if she wasn’t. We started spending time together with our kids. Then sometimes without.

For a time she lived in an apartment downtown across from the old hospital. We would meet at the children’s museum with our strollers or at the park or at eachother’s houses. We would see who had what food in the house to make the sandwiches or bring the juice or goldfish or fruit. We made quite a scene parading downtown with our gaggle of children.

The best memory I have is just doing it and road-tripping with my thirdborn child and three little girls to Ocean City, NJ to spend a few days at the beach with her and her children. Wow. It shows how selective memory is, because there were moments.

There were also MOMENTS like walking on the boardwalk together after the kids were tucked safely into bed, talking and eating sweet potato fries and Kohrs peanut butter ice cream. There was the announcement as we finally arrived at the boardwalk rides one afternoon with all of the kids and our ride tickets in hand that two-ticket Tuesday is now OVER. We dissolved into laughter. Of COURSE it is!

Life has moved the three of us on to different places.  Misty and her family eventually moved out of state, leaving Facebook to keep us connected along with an occasional blast through the area and quick hug or lunch. Davene had one or two more babies and continued her path of diligent homeschooling and fervent mothering and blogging as noted here. On a rare occasion the two of us grab a coupon and an evening out to catch up over dinner or dessert.

We really should do that again, soon.

Their kids are growing. Mine are, too. While our time together will never again look just like it was, Misty and Davene’s presence in my life was and continues to be a precious gift. Entering into friendship with them is one of the best risks I ever took.

That’s no fooling!

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!

Quiet Corners

In the quiet corners I am being grown. I am coming into myself, into an understanding of what it means to be heard; to be known.

The quiet corners are not flashy, and they certainly don’t gather much attention. If anything, dust and debris are found there along with treasures swept aside, long forgotten.

Still growth happens in the quiet corners.

I unroll a yoga mat in the quiet and stretch muscles and limbs into postures of openness. Of stillness. I reach into the corners of my mind to calm the chatter that calls me to notice all that is anxious and out of sorts. I breathe stillness into those frantic places, inviting quiet.

Sometimes my invitation is accepted. Not always.

I open my laptop in a quiet corner, with timer set for twenty minutes, to stretch my mind and coax my thoughts into willing participants in this growth. Words that have been piling up on slips of paper, in pages of journals, and on notes in my iphone come pouring out in a steady stream, each impatient to make its entry onto center stage.

They clearly have yet to learn about quiet corners.

Only one can go at a time. Patience.

The quiet corners are kind. I don’t always believe this, but it is true. I experience a taste of the noise when a post I wrote for Red Tent Living gets more views than I expected and the day becomes loud. That is when I appreciate the quiet.

In the quiet corners ambivalence finds me. Conflicting feelings longing for more, yet content with less war together, challenging me to move forward out of the corners and into the middle of the room. The invitation to step up and out taps me on the shoulder and whispers, “It’s time.”

Comfortable in the quiet, willing to stay there as long as necessary, not allowing myself to be dictated by numbers or defined by who does or does not like me, I also need courage to step out into the noise. To take on the call I have been given to love, engage, grow requires a move out of my comfort zone.

I am moving. Slowly, tentatively, maybe not as quickly as I would like, I am stepping out of the quiet corners and into the noise of the struggle where I will stay for a season until the quiet calls me back.

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.

Counselor

O cast a vessel down deeply
into the well of my heart.
Help me to draw out my purpose.
To know the best place to start.

Many a vow spoken rashly
has caught my soul in a snare
It’s hard upon further reflection
to know what to process and share.

There’s a searching deep in my spirit.
It’s the lamp of the Lord seeking out
all the painful misunderstood places ~
all the hurt and the fear and the doubt.

So I’m plowing my heart- ground in autumn,
I’m keeping aloof from the strife.
I’m longing and waiting to harvest
The fruit that will come from my life.

In youth we are given our glory,
our strength that is taken away.
In old age we’re given our splendor,
The hair on our head that is gray.

Thank you for sitting with wisdom
For seeing through evil’s disguise
For waiting with me as I wait for the Lord
For helping to open my eyes.

~thoughts for a counselor from Proverbs 20~