Tag: Five Minute Friday

It’s too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy,

IT’S TOO HUMID!

I’m too old, too young, too tired, too broke.

I forgot.

I overslept.

It was too boring.

Excuses are unlimited. I could fill a tiny house with them. Some of them are legitimate but if we’re trying to make progress, they’re unacceptable.

Recently, I’ve realized I’ll choose the easy way over more practice or more work. I’m satisfied with average or just a bit better than whoever is next to me.

There’s nothing wrong with average but I wonder if we’re called to more? Not for the purpose of measuring but because God gives us his best.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[a] his own glory and excellence,2 Peter 1:3 ESV

My mind is running through a list of reasons of why I can’t do something today. Reasons sound better than excuses but the meaning, and the result is the same.

As Craig Groeschel says, we can make excuses or progress but we can’t make both. Sometimes truth feels harsh. Especially on a Friday morning 🙂

Linking up with Kate Motaung for Five-Minute Friday

Five-Minute Friday

Their independent living apartment was at the back of the property. A birdhouse stood in their bit of backyard divided from empty fields by a chain link fence. It was usually quiet enough to hear the flutter of the bird’s wings as they arranged moss in their nest. In the afternoon, the silence was split by military planes flying back to their Naval base.

In contrast, our neatly kept green backyard is noisy with the sounds of traffic from the 4 lanes on the other side of our privacy fence.

Our office sits on a busy street where road construction never seems to end and sirens blare past on a regular basis.

Is there a store or restaurant anywhere that doesn’t play music constantly? It seems we can’t escape an unwanted soundtrack for our daily life.

I was raised in a house where the t.v. supplied background noise. It was always on. Even if no one was watching it.

It seems to provide a comforting white noise for some. Or maybe it’s just a way to protect ourselves from a silence that asks us to listen.

God-given gifts

 

The inside of my in-law’s apartment was as quiet as the outside. She would sit in the silence as her fingers worked the intricate cross-stitch designs. The tick of the kitchen clock seemed to be magnified by the silence. I don’t know how she could stand it. TICK – TICK – TICK – TICK….

Her Bible and devotionals were stacked nearby. I’m sure the words she’d read earlier in the day were the sounds she played in her mind as she worked in the quiet. She chose the sounds of truth over the noise of the world.

I’ve learned to appreciate the quiet more. To turn off the noises and open myself to what the heart needs to hear. I have a long way to go, but it seems to start with the sounds of silence.

What do you hear in the silence?

LInking up with Kate Motaung for Five-Minute Friday.

faith family Five-Minute Friday

To walk into the bedroom of our 10-year old granddaughter is to be on sensory overload. Her room is littered, I mean arrnged, with stuffed animals, clothes, shoes, dolls, Legos, more clothes and shoes, drawings, papers, books….did I say clothes?

It takes a lot of coaxing to get her to clean out what she doesn’t need.

I know the differenc between need and want but it’s still something I struggle with myself at times.

Writer, Emily Freeman, recently talked about the essentials. That’s a word with weight. It means absolutely necessary; extremely important.  It’s a word that needs more than a 10-year old maturity to understand. American Girl dolls are essential to her like health insurance is to us. (Oh for the days of childhood!)

Our retirment date is growing closer each day. Two years from now. Lord willing, we will be in another city, another house, another life. Even now, I am considering what our needs will be. The obvious ones are easy. We will need furnishings for the house. We’ve lived in furnished parsonages the past 23 years so this is a big thing. We will need to learn when the garbage is picked up and become familiar with new street names and directions.

But what is essential?

That’s not easy to answer a year and a half away. So I turn that question, as Emily did, to today. In this time of year that schedules get packed and to-do lists get longer, what is essential?

The answer is harder than it sounds. It may vary day to day. Can it even be answered for more than one day at a time?

Today, it’s essential I go to my dental appointment. It’s part of health/self-care. It’s essential that I eat and more beneficial if I eat nutriously.

Our basic human needs are just that: needs. And they are essential.

What is absolutely necessary, extrememly important to me is to know I am loved. To know I have hope. That’s what I desperately need and what I have in Jesus.

 

Most Friday’s I link up with other writers for Five-Minute Friday a 5-minute free write prompt. And most weeks I take more than 5 minutes. Sorry, not sorry.

 

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faith family Five-Minute Friday hope

I get to decide what to accept.

Her words fell heavier than her feet when she walked into the room proclaiming impending disaster. Drama is her way and it’s a way I don’t accept.

Too many times I’ve stood in his office door and listened to words of self-pity, knowing it was my job to listen only. It’s not an easy one as words swirl in my mind of what I’d like to say. Not the time. Not his need.

Words are hurled, good, bad, hurtful, lies, false flattery, like a tornado they swirl about touching down in random places. We discern which to accept and which to let fall. Which do we allow to make their mark with pain or joy?

I wish it were as easy as only allowing the sweet-sounding words as truth. Growth comes with accepting the hard ones too. Our faith is grown accepting God’s way over our own. Transformation comes with accepting his grace.

Five-Minute Friday grace

When we toured Rome, our guide helped us navigate the crowds through the Vatican. She kept us moving faster than we’d have taken on our own but there was so much to see.

In Turkey, our guide Jim answered questions on bus rides from one area to the next and cautioned us about buying things from street merchants that seemed to magically appear as the doors of our bus opened.

We’ve had tour guides in several countries and a guide on our first white water rafting trip. All of them led with confident knowledge and a patient understanding of the foreign culture.

One year we took a self-guided tour through Gettysburg listening to the audio recording provided.

Whether we are led by a professional guide or an audio one, having someone alongside to help us walk through life provides comforting assurance.

Most of my life guides have been friends and family. I don’t care much for the manuals provided with appliances, the kind that looks as if they’re written in my language but I can’t seem to understand a word. No, I need to see the words lived out. I need to be shown.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus spoke in parables when he taught. He used stories people could relate to. He talked about weddings and soil and being a good neighbor. He told stories about sons who left their families and learned hard lessons and stories about lost sheep.

His stories were a guide to people thousands of years ago and a guide to our lives today. His words are often gentle and I imagine him as a great story-teller with gestures and vocal inflections.

We’re all leading someone. People are watching our words on social media and seeing if they match our actions. What kind of guide are you? Do you lead with mandates or stories?

I need to do better. I need to soften my tone and firm up my actions. I want to be a guide leading others to one greater than me.

Linking up with Five-Minute Friday

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faith Five-Minute Friday

As parents and caretakers we urge children to try it; the broccoli, swim lessons, piano, and sleeping with the light off. We stand beside them, urging them through life. “Just give this a try, you never know”, we say.

As adults, when the urge to try something comes from outside sources, the resistance is still there. The stubborn woman that I am, I’m more willing to try something that’s my idea. Don’t force me, don’t push me and don’t make me. The old childish behavior speaks up with grown-up resistance.

I want to know the end result before I try something. I want to know that putting my face in the water won’t burn my eyes. I want to know the calamari will be delicious and that I’ll be pitch perfect in the church choir. Fear of failure pushes against trying the fullness of life.

I’m a mediocre swimmer. Putting my head underwater burns my nose and I just can’t get the breathing right. But I love how the water refreshes on hot summer days. I can back stroke across the pool and feel the joy of swimming.

Calamari is meh and I’ll never be the soloist of anything. Those won’t stop me from enjoying a good meal with friends or blasting my favorite music to drown out frustrations of traffic.

My mind keeps going to the verse that says ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’. Try it and see. Just a taste of God’s goodness and you’ll know that His ways are good. You’ll know his love is forever.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8

faith Five-Minute Friday hope

The prompt is inspire but I’m not feeling it. Inspired, that is. What do you do when you need to conjure up inspiration?

In photography, I scroll through my favorite Instagram feeds or type in a specific look on Google image and hope for others to inspire me. Sometimes the spark comes right away and other times it’s just beyond my reach.

I like how inspiration starts like the flicker of a flame and works its way through me. Sometimes it’s like foamy bubbles on a frosted glass of root beer that tickle my nose. That tiny flicker, bubble or seed of an idea feels good.

It comes when I’m driving and can’t commit words to paper or, like so many others, when I’m in the shower. If the words are good, I tell myself, they’ll stick. Most often they don’t.

The trouble with inspiration is I want it to fuel me to move; to act, to do something, make something, be something. But what if there are times inspiration is only meant to make me recognize the Creator? What if the great works of art are meant to inspire worship? What if this expanse of shoreline where we breathe in God’s handiwork is meant to inspire gratitude and not another blog post or painting?

Maybe inspiration isn’t always meant to fuel doing but being.

 

Five-Minute Friday photography

Comfort is a word with a double edge.

We are urged to get out of our comfort zone and curb our indulgence in our comfort foods, the pint of Ben and Jerry’s we crave at the end of a hard day….not our best go-to.

Comfort is familiar. It is routine and known and safe.

It is also complacency and hiding and avoidance. When does the contentment that soothes your soul become bad?

Harder still is the answer. The answer for me isn’t the same for you. And it seems to change, starting with the disclaimer: it depends.

It’s not that comfort is bad, maybe it’s that we don’t always look for it in the best places. To be honest, I’d rather toss back a few almond M&M’s than recall a verse of scripture or inspiring quote. Comfort=easy=lazy=not real comfort

Most would say it’s about balance. The truth about balance is that it’s elusive. It’s not 50-50 as I’ve mistakenly believed. We grab our doses of ease when we can. We stay in our zone. We lap up conversation with a good friend because it tastes better than ice cream and is calorie free. Or maybe we share the conversation over the sweet comfort of ice cream or cookies or pie – yes pie…with ice cream!

While we’re at it, let’s put our favorite play list on in the background and talk about the last good book we read. Let’s laugh at our silly mistakes. Let’s get comfortable with the rhythms of life and let’s make space for grace, the truest comfort.

 

 

Five-Minute Friday grace

She’s an only child and we are her playmates. I, the least willing to get in the cool water of the pool, to get my hair wet. Her pleas are urgent, “C’mon MeMe….pleeeease.” Play with me is all she wants.

missing her

I can make play about work more than fun. Chasing her on the playground means sweaty and sand in your shoes and hair matted to your face.

It means an extra close shave of the legs before heading to the beach and all the stuff that has to be packed. It means wearing a swimsuit that never looks good! All of this just to play.

Yes, all of this to play with our only grandchild. The one whose squeals of fun part the gathering clouds. Her smile melts my resolve and makes the so-called play refreshing.

Her Baba is her best playmate. They are fish in the water swimming down to be the first to get the toys on the bottom of the pool. They sculpt sandcastles on the shore at the beach and run fast into the tide coming in.

Let me be the gatherer of stuff and plans and time. Let me be the watcher of this show of fun between grandfather and granddaughter. This is how I play. This is my true delight. And to be drawn into it a bit more as an accomplice…yes, it’s worth the extra as joy always is.

 

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family Five-Minute Friday

How did I take one giant step playing Mother May I as a kid and I can’t do lunges on steady feet as an adult? I wobble and throw my arms out to keep balance ON THE FLOOR!

I stand straight. Fix my eyes on an unmovable point across the room and stretch out with one leg. Fixing my eyes on the edge of the frame on the wall, the unmovable, helps steady my move, helps stabilize my balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wonder where they fix their eyes? On the horizon that never changes?

Our work in in the recovery community isn’t stable. Some days it’s like being forced on an out of control roller coaster. The dips and turns have your fingers wrapped in a death grip around the, so-called, safety bar. The minute it slows and you catch your breath it whips around another sharp curve and you wonder where that blood curdling scream is coming from only to discover it’s you.

Does that sound like your day? It’s called life. And I keep searching for that smooth ocean where I can stand balanced and enjoying the view.

Where can I fix my eyes? What will help hold my balance in this ever-shifting world?

“Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith.” Hebrews 12:2a VOICE

In the Old Testament book of laments, where people were surrounded by difficulties, we find this hope:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.
Lamentations 3:23 the Message

 

faith Five-Minute Friday hope