Archives for September 2012

Day 1: Encouragement for the Journey

Not all those who wander are lost~JRR Tolkien

For the month of October, I will join the Nester and a group of 700+ inspiring women to write for 31 days on a topic of our choosing. I decided to join the 31 day challenge because I need a reason to sit down, get the heck off Pinterest, and nail some words in a place where they can’t fly away. Now that I’ve admitted my motives are somewhat suspect, I hope you’ll see past them and catch a glimpse of my heart. Last year my heart beat for freedom. This year it beats for the journey we travel once the door to freedom swings open and a path begins to appear.

Over the next 31 days, I want to talk to you about the journey. I want to talk about what to do once we slide our foot past the threshold of comfortable and safe, and place it with caution in the unknown. On the journey, we’ll walk through patches of fear and gather armfuls of joy. We’ll discuss when to press on and when to seek rest. We’ll look for beauty, hunt down grace, and embrace every hint of hope. And we’ll acknowledge the days when loneliness slips in and we wonder if we’ll ever reach our destination.

I hope as we explore the journey, you’ll remember we’re in this together. Many have walked the path before us, and our daughters and sons race up from behind. I want us to leave a set of footprints for them to follow. This month we’ll wander, but we won’t fear getting lost. We’ll revel in the journey because this life is the only one we’ve got and I hope we will choose to live the full width, breadth, and circumference of it.

If you find yourself a fellow wanderer, I hope you’ll join me. Tell me a bit about your journey, perhaps where you find yourself on the path or your planned destination?

Day 2: Questions for the Journey

Day 3: Church for the Journey

Day 4: Travelers for the Journey

Day 5: A Friend for the Journey:A guest post

Day 6: Courage for the Journey

Day 7: Inspiration for the Journey

Day 8: Provisions for the Journey

Day 9: Faith for the Journey

Day 10: Books for the Journey

Day 11: Stories for the Journey

Day 12: Michelle DeRusha on the Journey: A guest post

Day 13: Something New for the Journey

Day 14: Dreaming for the Journey

Day 15: Hope for the Journey

Day 16: Help for the Journey

Day 17: A Poem for the Journey

Day 18: Choices for the Journey

Day 19: Tanya Marlow on the Journey: A guest post

Day 20: Humor for the Journey

Day 21: Inspiration for the Journey

Day 22: Peace for the Journey

Day 23: Joy for the Journey

Day 24: Beauty for the Journey

Day 25: Sweat for the Journey

Day 26: Tara Pohlkotte on the Journey: A guest post

Day 27: Inspiration for the Journey

Day 28: Change for the journey

Day 29: Rest for the Journey

Day 30: Grace for the Journey

Five Minute Friday: Grasp

It’s Friday and, once again, I’m joining Lisa-Jo for Five Minutes of spilling our thoughts onto the virtual page. If you have five minutes to spare to write or read or leave a word of encouragement for someone else, hop on over to Lisa-Jo’s and join in. Thanks for stopping by, and please excuse any quirks on the blog. She’s in the middle of a makeover.

 

      1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

 

      2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

 

                        3.

And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Today’s Prompt: Grasp

I’m not one to look back too often. If I’m going to live anywhere but the present, then I will borrow from the future. The past is just that–the past, until I look in the mirror in the morning and realize the days of smooth skin are over and I will never, ever look this good again. That is one slippery slope.

I take a step back when I try to kiss my girl goodnight and she bends her head towards me, rather than me bending my head down to her. I want to grasp the years and pull them back, back to a time when her gaze looks up at me and I down at her. The days we speak to my mother in law, voices travelling across mountains and oceans, those bring me back, grasping for the days before the loss. Before she realized she would never celebrate her 42nd wedding anniversary, before my children could grow taller than their grandfather.

Those days will never arrive.

I find myself reaching out for them, wishing back into time for fewer wrinkles hugging my eyes. In these days, we are Peter Pan and we never grow up or old or eternal. I have grasping days, until I am pulled back into reality by my vanity in the mirror, by my too tall daughter, and by the loss. And decide to turn away from the mirror and look forward and not back.

Time’s up.

Thanks so much for visiting today. Next month I’ll be joining Lisa-Jo, the Nester, and 700+ women in writing every day for 31 days. I would love for you to join me in October for 31 days of Encouragement for the Journey. If you are participating in October, put it in the comments. I’d love to stop by!

 

Coming up

 

If you’ve visited here for any length of time, then you know I rarely write to a plan. I tend to run a muck on the virtual page, so while I try to always point towards either resting, reflecting, or refilling, I don’t know that I always succeed. Sometimes I find it helpful to write to a specific topic, as I did last October when I wrote 31 days to Finding Freedom. This October, I plan to join in the 31 days writing project/initiative/link up/craziness and add my voice to the chorus.

I hope you’ll join me for 31 days of Encouragement for the Journey. I realize it’s a mouthful, and I worry it might sound a bit self-help-y, but seeing as I’m no Dr. Phil and people rarely ask for my advice, I think we’re safe. I’m a regular woman with everyday issues and I’m writing just as much to myself as I am to you. Our journeys will look different, but our destination is essentially the same. We want to live with honor and courage and more than a little hope. We want to smile at today and laugh at the days to come. And we want to step into eternity knowing we gave this life everything. Absolutely everything.

I hope you’ll consider joining me next Monday for the start of our 31 days together. If you’re taking part in the series as well, leave me a comment with your topic, as I’d love to hear what you have cooking. Unless you’re actually writing about cooking, of which I’m not a fan. I kid, I would love to hear about your topic, even if it makes me feel inferior in the kitchen.

In order to manage your expectations (which surely are low at this point-a mouthful of a topic that may or may not be self-help-y?), know that while I will be posting every day, some days it will be as simple as a photograph or a quote. I hope to have a guest post or two thrown in as well. We’ll see. I hope you will consider joining me on the journey.

Books and giving birth

My kids attend an English-speaking international school and so far the only similarities I’ve found between this school and our school in the US is that they both speak English. It’s been an education. For real. One of the more challenging aspects of the school, but also one of their strengths, is their focus on cultivating independence. They foster a sense of independence by requiring mamas to pack up their children for five days at a time and send them off into the mountains. Last week, I smiled big at my boy as he held up a handwritten sign saying “Love You” from the bus window. Then I climbed into the car and cried all the way home. Every time I put my kids on the giant coach bound for some village I can’t pronounce, it’s like ripping a band-aid off a tender wound.

Writing a book, or in my case, half a book and a book proposal, feels much the same. The book is my fourth baby. My writer friend Amanda agrees.  I stay up late worrying about this baby, the one I fed and nurtured from my very self, and in the wee hours I pray she’ll amount to something good. In July, I packed her up in a transparent file folders and sent her on a journey into the wilds of the publishing forest. I don’t know where she is or who holds her now. In her newness, she looks a little funny, and my stomach tightens when I think of the odd glances she might receive. No one has yet to call her downright ugly, but rejections make it feel as if ugly is all they see. Each time I send this baby out, I have the familiar feeling of band-aid ripping flesh–times one thousand. As much as I’d like to give up, to let the dream die in the womb, I can’t. She’s mine and I’m hers and someday I hope to hold her again-bound and beautiful.

While the idea of writing a book might not resonate with you, might there be something stirring? An idea? A solution? A dream waiting in the womb for its chance to pulse out into the light? Maybe you dream of making babies, or art, or a message, or a marriage, or a business plan, or a friend, or a ministry, or a difference? Whatever your dream, the pain of holding it in is far greater than the pain of birthing it. The strange and scrunched newborn look fades away when you give your dream the time and space it needs to grow into its skin.

What dreams are you birthing? Have you ever felt like giving up and realized your dream won’t let you?

Five Minute Friday: Wide

It’s Friday and, once again, I’m joining Lisa-Jo for Five Minutes of spilling our thoughts onto the virtual page. If you have five minutes to spare to write or read or leave a word of encouragement for someone else, hop on over to Lisa-Jo’s and join in. Thanks for stopping by, and please excuse any quirks on the blog. She’s in the middle of a makeover.

 

      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: Wide

I have a thing for wooded paths. I didn’t realize it until I looked through iphoto and realized many of my photos are of wooded lanes and walking paths. I looked at my pinterest boards and noticed the same pattern. I love the mystery of the path, the walking into hidden depths under the cover of leaves and birdsong. In spite of the mystery, paths feel safe. A covering above and a carpet below. A predetermined place to put your feet, to keep walking until you reach the end.

I don’t take as many photos of open fields. I don’t love them in the same way. There is something about the expanse of sky and ground, the wide open space, and the ability to see everything that is coming your way. It unsettles me. My husband says we live our lives running the field, running into wide and free spaces with distant boundaries. We have an entire field to run. When the path I’m walking feels too narrow, it’s time to head into the fields. I want to look at what’s coming across the field and not shrink from it, but open my arms wide to the possibilities.