Tag Archives: risk

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~

Return to Romans 12

After posting this journal entry written nine years ago, a friend asked what I would change had I written it today. Full of shoulds, I had resisted editing them out.

This is my Return to Romans 12.

It’s hard to present myself as a living sacrifice through the daily offering of my life to God.

It’s easy to sit in the early-morning quiet and ponder the measure of grace I have been given for the tasks I have been called to. Harder is to step out and act on them, viewing the inevitable conflicts and messiness ahead as my reasonable service.

It doesn’t feel reasonable to do laundry, plan meals, clean up dog poop and pee, change small animal bedding, listen to middle-schoolers arguing over preschool toys, watch mail and bills pile up, pack lunches, fix breakfast, mediate arguments, deal with disappointments, find socks, walk the dog, scramble for lost papers and permission slips, pack lunches, figure out the daily school drop off and pick up schedule, spend hours in a classroom, monitor homework, figure out computer time, and do it all again tomorrow.

My desire to conform to the world tells me there must be something more than this. That I have missed out. 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 love as Christ, to use my spiritual gifts, and to function as part of his body on earth. It sees these opportunities before me in my home as valid and meaningful.

So in my walking through each day, rather than wallowing in not this again, my cry is, Transform my heart, Lord! It is thinking of myself more highly than I ought to demand that I not bear my part of the broken, the painful, the hard. I am exactly where I need to be to fulfill God’s merciful plan for my life.

Believing this offers rejoicing in hope while practicing patience in tribulation. Instead of wallowing in the dog poop on the floor, I can rejoice that there are no longer poopy diapers! Once upon a time those were my biggest trial.

There will always be a new biggest trial.

My prayer is for a fervent spirit making me diligent about the work I have been called to today. I long to give preference to my family with brotherly love, to distribute to their needs with kindness, to show them hospitality.

If my greatest “tribulations” are a house to care for (shelter), laundry to do (clothing), meals to plan and prepare (food), and a classroom to run (employment), how ungrateful to complain about the blessings in my life. Transform my heart, Father, to see as you see and to receive the good gift of this day from your hand.

When Words Fail

I have the best of intentions. Lots of thoughts. I think, I should write that idea/phrase/word progression down. I do. Or don’t.

I have ideas of how this blog should work. I set quiet intentions for myself. Small goals. Just write, I say. Then I click onto Facebook or Instagram and scroll and troll and ponder and pine and lose time. I don’t write.

I add a title for a new post, hoping to come back to it. To be inspired. But I’m tired.

I take a picture. I’ll write about that, for sure! I think. Folders of pictures wait in my laptop. When did I take that picture of that great cappuccino? I wonder, scrolling through piles of dates. I was going to blog about it. What was I going to say, again?

I am as unorganized in my virtual life as I am in real life.

The purple paper journal holds more, these days. Where blog words fail, journal words flow. The raw. The realest of real. The place for my heart to cry out, rough and unpolished. Often journal words meander to the blog, but only after they have had time to age like fine wine.

Or maybe after I’ve had a glass or two of fine wine.

When words fail, and I’m feeling flat, I am amazed at how encouragement comes.

Tonight it came in the form of being tagged in a Facebook comment along with this amazing blogger.

A mutual friend commented on how we have encouraged her to take positive steps and make some pretty big changes in her life. Little did she know how much her words were encouraging me. Encouraging me to write. To keep going. To just do it, whatever IT is in this moment.

So, I am writing when words fail.

Thank you, Dear Friend, for stepping out and saying the words.

Often we think them. How often do we say them? Or tag them?

Tonight in the tagging, I was given a gift. A fellow warrior-princess gave me the courage to keep writing even when words fail.

And also, maybe I will try crow pose again myself one of these days. 😉

Friendship Friday ~ In Real Life

Last Friday was spent with this friend. She flew from her home in the midwest to spend the weekend doing life with the family and me.

She called it vacation.

I wasn’t so sure.

It had been quite awhile since we had opened our home to anyone but family or significant others of family members. Yes, there had been a season, but it was left behind in another decade.

I made up the room.

IMG_3375

Becky’s flight arrived on Thursday, delayed just the right amount of time for me to have lunch with my son AND visit with him at his apartment.

Our time together consisted of conversation interrupted by the many needs of children and the running of this house. It consisted of her meeting lots of new people.

We grabbed moments of conversation in the car, at the grocery store, in the yard, in the living room. We shared meaningful, sometimes difficult, words.

We grabbed space when we needed it.

We went wine tasting with Steve and made memories.

cheese plate

We celebrated a high school graduation with friends and their son.

She celebrated my birthday with me. And Little Mae’s, too.

Thanks, Miss Becky!

There was laughter and there were tears.

We hung out under the stars.

birthday stars

It was a sweet time with a sweet friend. These girls agree that Miss Becky was fun to have in our home for the weekend.

Miss Becky

The flight delay the morning of her return flight allowed us to get this picture.

The next day while leaving Target together, Little Mae said to me out of the blue “I wish Miss Becky was still here.” I asked why. “She’s just kind of really fun to have around.

Yes, she is. And were blessed by her visit. All of us.

The curious can read her perspective here.

Escalating

Thursday I picked up a friend from the airport. As part of this journey I had chose to ride some escalators in Dulles Airport. Standing at the bottom of the longer one, I snapped a picture and posted it to social media.

escalator

There’s a story behind this that I must not have heard! commented a friend.

Of course, there is a story. There is always a story. Are stories.

A vivid memory of my first field trip, taken in kindergarten or first grade, to the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. places me at the top of an escalator, looking down. I am not able to step on, because I am terrified. I am small enough for the chaperon to have to carry me down the escalator, which he does. I feel safe.

Questioning my parents about this confirms that it is a plausible memory. We lived in an area where field trips to the DC area were common. It could have been a family trip, since we went there often with family and friends, but it seems that I would know the difference between a parent carrying me and a safe stranger.

Family trips contain memories of not getting freeze-dried astronaut ice-cream or not eating in the cafeteria but packing sandwiches in a cooler. Family trips would have most likely involved elevators due to the number of small children and the stroller. And somehow I knew there was a chaperon. That word is in my head. 

Of course, as an adult and a teacher looking back, taking young children to the National Air and Space Museum seems stressful. Did it really happen? I am grateful to have listened to this podcast on memory this week. I appreciate Dan Allender’s perspective and insight on the subject.

“But the question itself betrays an assumption we make about memory—that if memory is true, it is accurate to a degree that it would actually be comparable to watching a videotape. […] That’s not the way memory occurs. It’s not the way we even remember what we ate or who we were with for last evening’s meal. […] No memory holds a kind of videotape accuracy.”

I have an adult escalator memory, as well.

Years ago, when our eldest children were 4, 3, and 22 months, we took them, and my 8 year old sister, to the National Zoo. There was a double stroller involved, yet as with most stroller activities, the littles weren’t riding in it.

Steve, my sister, and firstborn were ahead of me trucking along to the escalator that would return us all to the Metro from the zoo. I was carrying a toddler and holding a little boy’s hand behind them.

As the three of them stepped confidently onto the descending stairs with the double stroller, I froze at the top with two small children in hand. My feet feel numb and legs itch even as I type this.

With no free hands available, I tried to pep-talk myself into taking that first step, but I just couldn’t. The little boy holding my right hand would follow my lead forward only to be jerked back at the last second.

Ok. The NEXT time a group of people steps on, I will go. They will at least break my fall if we go pitching forward. Lift foot. Jerk back. Confuse son. Vice grip daughter.

I was stuck at the top in a minor panic.

My husband reached the bottom, looked up, and immediately realized what had just happened. Going into rescue mode, he located the elevator, returned to the top, and escorted us to the elevator and safely to the bowels of DC (is that an oxymoron?) to be returned via subway to our minivan.

Over the years, I have risked and grown in my use of elevators. I do much better when I am alone or with other adults and not responsible for small children or reckless teenagers. I can even navigate a piece of luggage going up. Going down is a little more stressful.

Here you see me risking two years ago when we took the littles to DC and rode escalators at some point.

Clench a jaw!

Clench a jaw!

DSCN0295

Fearless one.

I was reminded of this as my friend and I made the trip in reverse, she with a large rolling suitcase.

Do you want to take the elevator down?

No, I’m fine.

Ok.

I took a deep breath, reminded myself of her adult status, and held on for the ride.