Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks~Even for Stress

I've been reading the posts all week.
Lists of blessings...beautiful words of thankfullness.
I would smile, nod, and feel a heart connection for I, too, have much to be thankful for.

Yet, rising within me..slowly and silently...came the theif.
Anxiety...stress..whatever I choose to name came.

Hosting the holiday dinner has me stressed and anxious.
Beating myself up for leaving so many things to the last minute.
Certain rooms of our home that I keep closed so the clutter doesn't overwhelm must have the doors flung open to welcome guests.

Anxiety rising.
How will this all come together by tomorrow?
The cleaning, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning again, and the pressure to create something memorable.
A pressure that I create myself.
Anxiety rising.

Then my eyes fell on the book "A Thousand Gifts".
A book that lit me on fire last March.
A book that cracked my heart open and made me look at life in a different way.
From a place of thanksgiving...Eucharisteo.

I thumbed through the pages...reading the margin notes and Ann Voskamp's words once again.

"Anxiety has been my natural posture, my default stiffness. How I don't fold my hands in prayers...I weld them into tight fists of control.  Always control. How I refuse to relinquish worry, an identity. Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is.  And stressed, this pitched word that punctuates every conversation, is it really  my attempt to prove how indispensable I am? Or is it more? Maybe disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow."

I feel this strike a chord in my heart. does this.

"Eucharisteo precedes the miracle"  

"Thanks is what builds trust"

So for today, before I begin, I want to give thanks.
I want to trust that all will be as it should.
All will go as it is meant to go.

I want to remember why I am preparing our home and a meal. 

It is to give thanks for the beautiful family and friends He has blessed me with.

It is to feel my heart expand with the laughter, the fun, the deep connections that occur while breaking bread together.  

I want everyone around me to feel that gratitude that spills from me... the joy that bubbles up.
And that will only happen, authentically, by releasing the stress...and giving thanks to Him.

I want them to be warmed and to leave carrying more than just leftovers. 

I want them carrying with them the feeling of being well loved.

Linking up with: Pour Your Heart Out

Saturday, November 19, 2011

If These Walls Could Speak

"If these old walls,
If these old walls could speak
Of the things that they remember well,
Stories and faces dearly held,
A couple in love
Livin’ week to week,
Rooms full of laughter,
If these walls could speak.

If these old halls,
If hallowed halls could talk,
These would have a tale to tell
Of sun goin’ down and dinner bell,
And children playing at hide and seek
from floor to rafter,
If these halls could speak."       ~ Jimmy Webb 

This week I have done a lot of thinking of the stories that each of us we carry our life story with us...
yet also leave parts of ourselves behind.

Impressions woven into the walls and floorboards.

My childhood home~ innocence, baby dolls, safety, belonging,

Our newlywed apartment~dreams, fresh beginnings, burnt dinners

Our first home~ two baby boys, late night feedings, dancing in the living room

Our second home~ one baby girl, toddler squeals, bleary eyes, full hearts

Our apartment and townhouse half a world away~ new flavors, new language, same beautiful love

And finally...

The home that holds the majority of my children's childhood~ growth, traditions, laughter and hope

All of them hold a part of me within their walls.
All of them are part of my history.
All of them would have tales to tell.
For all of them I give thanks.

May Christ through your faith dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts!
May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love (AMP)
Ephesians 3:17

If you want to listen here is Amy Grant's beautiful rendition.
She shares a beautiful story for the first couple minutes...
then the song begins.

For Sunday Citar this week I'm actually posting song lyrics rather than a spoken quote. I think it still counts!

Linking up with: Sunday

Friday, November 18, 2011

Own Our Story

Each and every day we write
Without paper or the written word.
Our lives become our sacred stories
and we alone are the author.

Filling our moments with mindless busyness...
Living our days in a fog...
Being unaware of all our moments...
Makes our beloved stories one dimensional.

For our story to be vivid
We must live fully, purposefully, prayerfully.
Listen to forgiveness, unleash our joy
Ask for that which we need
Without apology, embarrassment, or over explanation.
Give freely, joyously, without any reservation
Or the giving is in vain.

Have courage and share our hearts.
Laugh uproariously, smile with our eyes.
Be authentic in all we do.

Remembering that every story worth reading
Must contain both joy and sorrow.
The shadows that will sometimes cover
Twist... turn...then explode with light.

Each and every story is different
Unique to the person who writes.
So comparisons are pointless and fruitless.
For our OUR story.
No one else can write it.
No one else can live it.

Today as I wake and wander
I anchor myself with the belief
That awareness coupled with abiding faith
Will help my story come alive
With a sense of wonder and awe.

On this day I will choose
To own my captivating, precious story.

Linking up with: Six Word Fridays~ inspired by the word "story"

Come drop in  to  The Pub at dVerse

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nightmares to Simplify to Gratitude: A Journey

I've been sitting here...for far too long.
Lost in all the blogs.
Lost in all the snippets of dreams, hopes, laughter, and tears.

But then I look at the clock and realize that time is flying...
and I had big plans for today.
Plans that have yet to materialize since my bottom is oh-so-comfortable in my writing chair.
I hope that if maybe...just maybe...I put those plans out here I will actually get working on them.

Accountability.  It's a good thing.

My house is in disarray.
Actually, our house is crying out to me it is in such disarray.
And actually, I had a dream the other night that I phoned home and my oldest son had adult acquaintances in our home organizing and cleaning it.

It was nightmare...I kid you not!
I woke up mad at my poor son, and with the realization that I would be mortified if people came into our home and started poking around.
A bit like getting in that accident with dirty underwear that mom always warned me about.

Seriously, there is Just. Too. Much.

I don't want to complain for having a life filled with blessings and more than enough when there are others who don't have the near enough with which to live.

But I have to say again that it is Just. Too. Much.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

This quote is going to be my guiding principal today.
I'm going to ask myself, as I sift through the stuff that makes up our life...

Is it something that brings energy to us or takes energy away?

Is it something that I'm truly grateful for...
or is it just more stuff?

I'm going to restore some order to our home with the hope that some order will return to me mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Just. Too. Much.
makes me feel like
Just. Not. Enough.

Not enough energy to keep up,
not enough discipline to accomplish this,
and not enough confidence that I can actually simplify.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

I truly believe this. Now my home needs to reflect it.

I'm diving in...wish me luck!

Linking up with: Just Write~ The Extraordinary Ordinary

                 Pour Your Heart Out

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saving Worries

Wrapping my family up in worries
is what I unintentionally always do.

These worries are fully, completely mine.
I hold them tightly, selfishly, desperately.
Thinking that my worries will protect,
save them from any harmful mistakes,
or from all those horrific accidents,
illnesses, and events that fill newspapers.

Worries will not save my family.
Worries will not protect my world.

For when the mistakes come up.
The illnesses suddenly, silently creep in.
Accidents occur because that's just life.
All those worries that I wrapped
become wasted time and lost energy.

Saving them is not my job.
Loving them is my ultimate calling.
For it's by loving them well
they'll have confidence to save themselves.

Linking up to: Six Word Fridays~ Inspired by the word~Saving

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tribute to My Childhood Friend

I feel as if I'm too young to get those phone calls. The ones that come and literally transport you into a place of disbelief. The ones where your heart slowly, and sadly, starts to accept that which your mind still can't grasp. But I found out this week that I'm NOT too young.

The call that my friend had died suddenly of septic shock came...and the finality of it still makes me catch my breath.  Now, this isn't a friend that was part of my daily life.
She wasn't someone who I would  sit and talk with for hours on the phone.....or sip wine on the deck with...or sit beside while we cheered for our children.
I hadn't even seen her for close to 6 years.

So why did the tears tighten my throat then silently run down my cheeks....catching me off guard as I went through my day? 
Why did the initial shock and sadness not slowly fade? 
Why did the impact of her death stir such deep emotions in me?

Maybe it's because she was a childhood friend. 
The friend who was my friend before I even knew what that word encompassed.
The friend who lived across the street and 5 houses down... who had the street post in front of her house... 
whose sudden light spilling out signalled us to come in for the night.
The friend whose house I would bravely try to spend the night at...only to have to do the 1 AM walk across the street..parent meeting parent...  exchanging the child who longed for her own bed.

My secret sharing, song singing, sailing on the swings friend.

She was also the friend that taught me that families are very different...and family doesn't always mean a cozy, soft place to land.
My young mind would try to process why her parents said the things they did to her.
My young heart knew that something wasn't right when I would see her mixing drinks for her dad when she was 7 years old.
I was confused when I would see her standing on a stool by the stove making Spaghetti~O's for her dinner...night after night.
Although we lived in brick, cookie-cutter homes ....the life inside those homes was in vivid contrast.

We grew and found different circles of friends.  I watched her body get bigger as she tried to numb her hurt with food.
I saw her strive to be a "good girl" please everyone.
I heard the chuckles, the taunts, the "Too bad she's so fat...she has a pretty face" comments.
I know she heard them too...and she carried them in her heart and soul.
Although in our high school years we each found other best friends...we were linked.
We still loved each other with the kind of special love that little girls have for their friends.
And when she married at age 18, to escape the house of sadness, I stood beside her.
I watched her dance that night and felt happiness.

Her life was full of joy and sorrow like all of the lives that surround us.
She remained married.
She had two beautiful girls that she adored.
Yet, she was never able to escape the chains that bound her to food.
Each year as her weight increased her link with the world outside her home decreased.
Soon she couldn't work anymore...and eventually her size kept her from being able to fit in most she became more homebound.
She became a recluse...a prisoner of her addiction and her failing body.
But even as she fought the public humilation and the private shame she never lost her heart.
The heart that was kind and generous.
The heart that bore so many scars. I believe those scars made her more compassionate..more loving.

I will see her for the last time on Friday.
I will stand at her coffin and try to make sense of the nonsense.
I will mourn the childhood dreams we both had that never came true, and I will rejoice for the ones that did.
I will want to protect her from some of those people who are viewing her...
the ones who didn't understand her struggle..
who will only see the body and will pass judgement.
The judgement that she did this to herself...that she could have prevented her early death.
But I know I can't really protect her from others thoughts...and I don't need to anymore.

She is healed of all that hurt her...and free of all the chains that bound her.
She will be waiting for me to join her again. 
And maybe, just maybe, when that day comes..
We will share our secrets, sing our songs, and sail on those swings once again.
Freely and full of joy.

Linking up with:  Pour Your Heart OutWrite On Edge~Weekend Linkup


The newborn...
 who spent the first 2 weeks of her life in NICU.
The infant...
 who would snuggle tightly to mommy and daddy..
and ONLY mommy and daddy.
The toddler...
 who would tearfully turn her face if anyone gazed at her too long.
The preschooler...
 who struggled to speak to anyone other than her beloved family.
The grade schooler...
 who would not take any lesson if it involved getting on a stage.
Now the middle schooler..
who is glowing....shining.
This one is for you, Sweetheart!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Stories in the City

"Our similarities bring us to common ground;
Our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other."
~Tom Robbins

I walked the streets of Chicago yesterday and found myself looking at
Fascinated by the differences.
Smooth, unblemished , creases and freckles.
Made up to perfection and worn, wrinkled tiredness
Skin of varying hues and hair of every color and style framing them.

I walked the streets of Chicago yesterday and found myself looking at
Curious as to why each of us were there.
Some with determination in their stride, Blackberries in hand,
strain on their faces.
Some with lightness in their stride, shopping bags in hand,
joy and laughter on their faces.
Some with no stride at all, curled in doorways
with cardboard signs, nothing in hand,
weariness and resignation in their faces.

I found myself wanting to stop...
wanting to talk...
but most of all wanting to listen.
To really hear their stories
for we all have a story to tell.
The hundreds, maybe thousands of people, I passed have a story
Full of places, people, trials and joys.

We all have a story and in that alone we are similar.
It's the details, the differences that make us unique...
that fascinate.
The contrast between a woman, alone, buying a $1200 coat
while a man, alone, sits outside praying for a meal.
Knowing that they both had a mother who brought them into this world.
Knowing that they both were children who laughed and dreamed.
Knowing they both have a compilation of small stories that
make up the big story of their life.
I wonder what made the differences appear...
what details make each of them unique...
what events and choices brought them to this place.

The similarities...the differences...
the fascination. 

Linking up with: Sunday Citar

**All images are from Google Image Search.  None of these are my photos and I would give credit to photographers if I knew how to do that**

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Many Moods Of Me

I'm in my "do everything today because I didn't do it yesterday" mood.

I'm in my "look out cause mom will give you a job" mood.

I'm in my "running to the grocery store at 11 pm because I don't have laundry soap" mood.

I'm in my "walk fast, don't look anyone in the eye cause I didn't shower" mood.

I'm in my "can't you read my mind and do something before I have to ask you" mood.

I'm in my "make the list, stock the fridge, and plan out the next 3 days" mood.

I'm in my "stay up till 3am packing clothes" mood.

Best of all, I'm in my "accompany my husband on his 3 day business trip and relax" mood!

Linking up with: Mama Kat's ~

Write a post in just eight lines

Coloring with Freedom

Just Write....I love this link up! 
There's no topic to choose....just me and my words flowing out however I want.  That is such freedom! 
I love it....yet then I sit and ponder what I should write.
Thus, the dilemma.

I've learned that I like directions.  
I like to color within the lines. 
I'm happy to be the worker bee following along with whatever the queen bee dictates.
This is fine in some situations.  It's a quality that makes me a good team member. I'm easy to get along with because making waves is not what I do. 
And, hey, we can't all be the queens....those worker bees are pretty fantastic!

Yet, some days I know this characteristic holds me back, and too  much freedom paralyzes me sometimes. 
When I have a whole day ahead of me...and I know I have things to be done but I can choose when and how I do them?
Those are the days that I often accomplish the least.
Because there aren't any directions.
There are no lines for me to color I scribble all over and don't create much.
But it's not the lack of lines that is the problem.
It's the lack of faith I have in myself.

If I can take freedom and embrace it. 
Let it open my heart and split my spirit wide.
Let go of the ever present need to perform and please.
Draw my own lines to help me stay on track.
I know I could soar more....and embrace the power that I often forget I have within.

I'm finding it a bit easier to do this as I age.
Maybe that's God's way of making up for the sagging body and stray gray hairs.
He's allowing me to gain be more confident in the person He created me to be.
His grace is helping me realize that "who cares?" if my endeavors measure up to anyone else's.

Open up the big girl crayon box and color away...that's what I'm going to embrace today!

Linking up with:  The Extraordinay Ordinary ~ Just Write

Linking up with:  Things I Can't Say