Archives for September 2013

Five Minute Friday: True

Hello, Friends. Welcome back for another Friday spent with Lisa-Jo and the Five-minute crowd. Today, we’re taking five minutes to write on the prompt True. Do you have five minutes to write, read, or both? Why don’t you join 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. 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…

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Today’s Prompt: True

I attended a small group that frequently began the evening with an ice breaker, a question intended to help us get to know one another better. This is where my love/hate relationship with small groups veers heavily towards hatred. I can’t possibly come to a conclusion about my likes/dislikes/favorites/expertise, etc in five minutes. Much like these five minute posts, I need time. Once, the leader asked that we write down two facts about ourselves and one lie. The group members would then attempt to guess which two of the three were just outrageous enough to be true.

At the time, the most outrageous thing I accomplished was coloring my hair at home. Five times within 24 hours with a self-inflicted bangs situation from which I still needed to recover. I wasn’t exactly living on the edge at that point, maybe emotionally, after five heinous hair coloring fails, but the rest of my life looked average at best. I took my time making my lie seem more convincing because my real life could not possibly be interesting enough to look like a lie.

That night, those truths and lies, they ate away at me. They burrowed deep down in my marrow, and I felt them settling down into my bones. That night, I realized I wanted to live a truth more outrageous than any lie I could ever tell. That night, I decided to do things differently.

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Tell me one truth about yourself that makes the people who know you raise their eyebrows just a little.

The basics

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Tonight is our third and final Back to School night. I have attended coffees and meetings and planning sessions. I’ve met with teachers and mothers and people who want me to sign my name to volunteer lists in blood. I have engaged in more small talk than I can possibly recover from, and I am sick of hearing my own story.

“We moved from Switzerland. No, I don’t speak Swedish. The Swiss speak German. No, I don’t speak that either. We lived here before. We live here again. Yes, I’m glad to be back (mostly a lie). Yes, my kids love school (also a lie). Yes, I too feel like I’m slowly losing my mind, while trying to keep up with their schedules (the absolute truth).”

I hope to someday have a conversation in which I don’t have to simply rattle off the names of my children and their ages. Forget what grade their in, let me tell you how my daughter’s wit reminds me so much of her father I can’t help but smile. How my son’s ability to see past the superficial to the heart of things makes me wish for his insight. How my youngest lights up a room when she walks in. Let me tell you how some days I want to hide from them in my closet, from the incessant bickering and the never-ending requests to go here, buy this, help them with that. How sometimes I feel certain you’re doing this mothering thing better than me. Like when one of my children says incredulously, “You mean Jesus was a real person?” Um, yeah. We told you this approximately 2894 times. When your kid asks you this question, you wonder if there will ever come a time when they will believe it. Word to the wise–this is probably not the time to enter into a discussion about the book of Revelations. I know this from personal experience. Let’s just stick to the basics.

I find myself wanting this more and more these days. A return to the basics. A return to regular home cooked meals, to evenings around the dinner table where no one jumps up to look at a screen of any kind. I want to return to good books and early bed times and knowing that Jesus walked the earth in mud-caked feet. I want a church where I can greet my neighbors, where I can tell someone how things really are, how the kids are crazy and so am I. I want to drive to the shop to buy what I need and not everything the ads tell me I want. I want the clock to tick the hours and for me to feel the passage of time, and I want to learn not to fear it.

Let’s just stick to  the basics. Time together. Real conversation. Good food, solid faith, enough hours in the day to worship, work, and play.

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What are some of the basics you’re sticking with or hope to see return?

Triumphant

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I drove past one after another, middle-aged bike riders in ill-fitting racing gear, each with a race number with the giant letters MS RACE pinned to their back. A few times, when I sped up the car to pass them, a few riders wobbled. One woman leaned to the left too far, over-corrected, and then found herself pulled too far in the opposite direction. She nearly took down another rider, and I nearly took down both with my minivan.

After passing at least thirty riders all in various stages of burnout, it became obvious that they raced for love, not because they possessed any special skill set or athletic prowess. I passed another woman standing on the side of the road, her bike upside down and tireless. She held a new tire tube in her hands, and I drove by slowly enough to see the look of complete and utter confusion on her face, as she turned the tube around and around in the air. A fellow biker stopped to help, and he looked equally confused.

Sometimes on my weekend runs, I see other riders. The kind of riders who fly by in a rainbow blur, calling out directions to one another, cycling in a rhythmic sync. I run by, loosey-goosey, fiddling with my water bottle or the ridiculous underpants that always take the opportunity to bunch up in the worst possible way. Their voices ring quiet in the early morning air, “left ahead…pothole…next right”. They move in unison, and it is beautiful to watch people do what they do well.

But the MS RACE riders made me grin in a way the rainbow riders never do. They weren’t beautiful. They were a grunting, sweating, wobbly mess. They stood wrecked on the side of the road, and they rode totally out of rhythm with one another. They were a little sad, with their mis-matched race gear giving the effect of sausage casing over well-loved beer bellies. I mentally blessed each rider and I grinned in my car because it was so real, so like real life, so how I manage my own daily existence.

What a messy bunch we are, bobbing and weaving all over the place, out of sync in some places, derailed in others, but still sweatily triumphant. Still riding.

Five Minute Friday: She

Hello, Friends. Welcome back for another Friday spent with Lisa-Jo and the Five-minute crowd. Today, we’re taking five minutes to write on the prompt She. Do you have five minutes to write, read, or both? Why don’t you join 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. 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: She

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She is fourteen, the same age you were when that tall dark-haired boy said you would end up barefoot and pregnant. You wanted to slap that boy right across his face. You married him many years later and spent three summers barefoot and pregnant with his babies. It’s the best thing you ever did.

One of those babies is now fourteen and she’s the one who made you a mother, the one whose eyes you looked into and finally saw your true self. She is all coltish limbs that have long surpassed yours. She is thick brown hair and witty comebacks and everything that is good and right with the world.

She is fourteen and she is surrounded by boys who say stupid things. Boys who might not see her potential, who see the long limbs and beautiful hair and forget about the gentle spirit. They don’t know it’s her sweetness that draws them in and keeps them circling around. She is beautiful in all the right ways. Her kindness knocks you over and so does that way she always knows what she wants–she’s seen her true self in your eyes too.

There will be a him. She and him. Someday, he will show up and you will have to watch her long limbs run headlong into something and someone other than you…

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It’s been a few weeks, but I’m back to Five Minute Fridays. Thanks so much for stopping by.

 

On laundry and mental health

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We are finding our groove. Everyone made the bus on time this week (I realize it’s Wednesday, but I am cautiously optimistic), everyone wore clean underpants, and the dog seems resigned to the fact that we are, indeed, going to live here. Slowly, I find myself turning back to writing, back to words, glorious words. The living room in our house remains a war zone, littered with a smattering of picture frames and packing boxes and discarded furniture, but the rooms in my head are receiving a healthy clearing out. Like Jennifer at Conversion Diary, I discovered I am a mental neat freak. The writing helps.

What about you? Do you need a mental clearing out every so often? If so, what method suits you best? I need fresh air. Trees. Sunsets and books and an empty page. I need a run, blood pumping fast and fierce. I need music, because I’m told it soothes the savage beast, and I believe this–even when I’m the beast in question. I also need quiet and lots of it. And, don’t tell my husband, but I need the baskets piled high with laundry. It’s the near-daily ritual of sorting and folding and stacking tidy piles that keeps me sane. I can’t even discuss the ironing. It’s like liturgy to these hands, making me holy.

This house, it is the first one in which we walk in the door and we collectively sigh. It is the sigh of a family that has wandered and knows they have finally found home. It feels like home–without the paintings hung, without the walls painted just so, even without enough chairs for guests, and a few rooms devoid of furniture. It feels half-way done, but frankly, so do I. Sometimes, we call it our forever home, and I wonder if there is such a thing for us. I’d like to believe my wanderlust is satisfied, but time will tell.

For now, I will enjoy the scent of fabric softener melting into the air, the deep sighs of home, the return to routines. I acknowledge my inner mental neat freak and I will treat her with the kindness she deserves, lest the savage beast make an unfortunate return. I will iron and purchase chairs and pick paint colors and pretend not to hear when my husband disagrees with all of them. I will enjoy the liturgy of making this house a home.

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Are you a mental neat freak? What aspect of your everyday liturgy helps alleviate it?