Archives for July 2012

Woman on fire

My husband, daughter and I watched the Olympic opening ceremony twice–once after putting the little ones to bed, and again the next morning. And while I love James Bond as much as the next girl and remain hopelessly addicted to the British sense of humor, my favorite part of the evening revolved around the elements of fire. 

I teared up when the five rings rose and hovered above the spectators showering them with spark and flame. I blinked hard when torch bearers ran with arms extended, holding their light up to a dark sky, and again when they lit the copper petals and the flames jumped from petal to petal, rising high into the night. I can’t recall the last time I saw art come alive in that way. I can’t recall the last time I saw people come alive in that way either. 
Could you see the fire in their eyes? The athletes with their beautiful bodies and a flame of hope burning in their chest? They live alive and aflame, knowing they are doing exactly what they are created to do. They run and leap and swim and twirl and show the glory of a body moving in ways the rest of us can only imagine–their bodies creating a temple for the flame. 
I’m not an athlete, not really. My body moves in one direction–forward, and even that at an extremely slow pace. But, I don’t need to be an athlete to recognize the flame because I feel its white heat burning in my own chest. I know what it feels like to desperately want to live wide awake and to fear a sleeping soul. I know the desire to live outside of the confines of my own limitations, to be free to chase after the thing I’m created to do. I know the fire, and I hope to be a temple for the flame. 
The fire doesn’t come without pain, without burn out and strained muscles and utter exhaustion. It arrives a small flame and at first, we carry it within. As we put in the hard work and stoke the flame, it grows large enough for us to carry, arms extended, for others to see against a blackened sky. We run with the light, bending to touch the flame to the petals, watching the glow spread until we set this world on fire. 

Five Minute Friday: Beyond

I’m linking up to Lisa-Jo for today’s Five Minute Friday prompt. Head on over and check out her new digs and think about taking five minutes to link up with us.

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.

Today’s Prompt: Beyond or A woman’s worth

Five minutes isn’t long enough to tell you how much you are worth. It’s not enough time to tell you your worth is beyond the numbers. It’s more than the number of diapers you changed today. It’s more than the seven loads of laundry you folded and three different flavors of ice cream your kids begged you to buy.

Your worth is beyond the number on the scale or the number of children you gave birth to. You are more than the number of times they call you mean and the number of days your husband stays angry.

Your worth is beyond all of those things. You’re more than the ugly words and the selfish choice and your sin. You are more than the things you do and the words you say. You are as much as the sky and the sea and everything in between. You are complex heart and beautiful body and yearning spirit. You are daughter and mother and sister and friend and lover and child of God. Your worth is beyond mere words.

Dream big, hope bigger

I arrived home yesterday after five weeks of sleeping in beds other than my own. I don’t remember exactly how many times I packed, unpacked, and repacked suitcases this summer, but the number is in the double digits. It’s unnatural to spend so much time away from one’s own pillow and home comforts. My husband and kids flew back to Zurich a week ago, so I could attend a writer’s conference in the US. Maybe you’ve heard me mention it alongside such words as fear/anxiety/all hell breaking loose? Yes, that’s the one.

I packed my bags, along with a piece of my heart typed across fifty sheets of paper, and I attended the SheSpeaks Conference. I met with editors and sat through sessions and narrowly avoided an emotional breakdown after discovering my car keys in the trash bin an hour before my departure. My book proposal found its way into the hands of a few people, and there’s no way of knowing where it will go from here.

I returned home, in spite of my small successes, with a bit of a heavy heart because while I faced one fear, I know new ones lie around the corner waiting to be conquered. While I wrote lots of words, I worry they’ll play hide and seek when I go looking for more. And while I like an adventure as much as the next girl, I’m unsure of where the path leads from here. I suppose this is what it means to dream big and to hope bigger. It means turning the corner, seeking words in the dark, and walking new paths when my feet instinctively turn to the old one.

Are you dreaming big these days? Is your hope even bigger?

When all hell breaks loose

My online space has been quiet this summer. Not for a lack of trying–I sit down to write, but the words won’t sit down with me. I don’t know if I have too much to say, or nothing at all. I know the temptation of wanting to only write the lovely and the beautiful, but life looks ugly sometimes and some of it is too messy to put down in print. Suffice it to say, messy and I are intimately acquainted. In the past two months all hell has broken loose in my home. I don’t use those words lightly because I absolutely believe we battle more than flesh and blood, and disobedient kids, and frustrated husbands. We battle in the spirit against enemies like loneliness and fear and failure. Lately, I am fighting on all fronts and my heart weighs heavy and my spirit longs for rest.

I know you understand. You’ve been there and you know messy. You carry your battle scars and your beauty across your chest like a warrior. But even warriors grow weary. If you find yourself in a weary place today, know that we face this together. Some day we’ll trade stories and scars, but there comes a time when we need to allow someone else to fight the battle for us. Jesus calls, and I have no choice but to answer and receive His rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ~Matthew 11:28  

Summer Stories

We spent a week at the beach and one morning I set the alarm for crazy o’clock, slipped into my favorite sparkly flip flops, and grabbed the camera on the way out. I promised myself to take a break that week from hiding behind lenses and screens, but I wanted to remember the way it looked before breakfast.

I used the wrong lens for morning sun, or so I’m told by people who know about such things. I didn’t believe it until I downloaded the photos and discovered that apparently, the type of lens one uses does matter. I attempted to take photos of fireworks on the fourth, and apparently shutter speed matters too. And aperture, and whether or not you want to be present in the moment or fiddling with a bunch of buttons while your husband says, “What are you doing? You’re missing all the good shots!”
Missing all the good shots. Yes, I suppose I am. I’ve tried to learn how it all works, and God bless the poor souls who’ve tried to teach me. They deserve a cotton candy flavored water ice. But it’s not second nature yet, and I fiddle around and try to get it right and the moment passes, or the sun rises, or a man wearing white socks and sandals taking glamour shots of himself comes into view. 
My life feels like a series of wrong lenses and missed moments right now. I’m trying to see things clearly, and fumbling with the buttons, but the light shifts, and some guy keeps stepping into my view. It’s not perfect. The future looks fuzzy, and it’s crazy o’clock. But the sun still shines, and the path leads forward, and I capture it as best I can.