Tag: free writing

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

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

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

He picks up a shell from the shore. “This looks like a heart….sort of”, he says. Yes, it does, sort of. Close enough to add to the other sort of heart-shaped shells we collect. You tend to find what you’re looking for. We look for hearts.

No special reason except the first time we spied a shell that resembled a heart it seemed special. They aren’t made in heart shapes. It’s not how they are designed by our creator. At least not the ones lining our beaches. That started our hunt and turned our eye looking for the different. The shells that are surely meant for us.

I’m a collector, sort of, who doesn’t want a bunch of stuff. The kind that has to be carefully dusted and grows to more than your shelves can hold. I don’t tell people I have a fondness for black and white cows because your congregation and employees will give you cows on every occasion for the next ….well, forever! (Forget I said I like cows 😉

We all collect something. Some of us seem to collect aches and pains, our woes are out there for everyone to hear. Some of us collect friends and some collect more manageable things like shells.

What I most like to collect are stories. Some about grace, some about grief; some about love, some about loss. All about living out life in its fullness.

This is a collection I want to grow. There is always room for more stories. There is always room for more grace.

family Five-Minute Friday grace

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.

 

SaveSave

family Five-Minute Friday

Seems people with curly hair want straight and those with hair as straight as sticks want curly. Brown-eyed kids want blue and maybe the ones with blue eyes are happy as they are.

Maybe it’s human nature to want what we don’t have. Maybe envy is inherent in our humanness. It’s not a virtue and while I’d never admit to having the kind of envy the bible warns against, I come close when it comes to family.

I’m content with my brown eyes. I’m well-adjusted with my 5’4″ stature and while I’d like to have more eyelashes like my cousin does (how does she get them to separate so!) what I really envy are those who live in the same community as their family.

For too many years, seeing my parents and extended family was a visit. The meaning of that words implies its temporary nature. We can feel more familiar in a parents house even though we’ve never lived in it. I recognized that years ago. But I also knew my time with them couldn’t be more than a few days a year.

family meet up in North Carolina, 1991

Hudson Thanksgiving 2015

Today our family remains spread out across three time zones. Our children are in two different states and my siblings in two more. My heart would have us close enough that visits didn’t seem like, well, a visit. I long for a time when our house is the pass through, the go to and the foundation.

I want the same for you. For those who’ve stopped in for a visit, I hope you’ll stay. I’m appreciative of Annie and Susan and Linda and Sue and Judi and the unknowns who just click “like”.  Those of you who’ve stayed and settled in with me here on the blog. This is how we get to know each other. This is how we conquer the geography that divides us.

And this must be what Jesus wants most from us. That we aren’t merely visitors but that we make our home with him. What a good home it is.

family Five-Minute Friday

Like the storm clouds that gather, their familiar gray turning an inky blue and looming heavy, so is this one word:

should.

I should move more
pray more
be more.

I should listen more and talk less.

I should
memorize scripture
keep a journal
have a sabbath day
know my neighbors
love everyone – E V E R Y O N E
love myself

The list could go on, and on, but I’m already exhausted. That word is gathering a storm of weight on me and it bears down.

The weight is in knowing there is truth there.

Here’s another list of shoulds few of us would argue with:

I should wash my hair
wear deodorant
schedule regular doctor appointments
and a little lipstick won’t hurt.

One list sounds like a burden of expectations set by others and one list is common sense. Okay, you get a pass on the lipstick thing.

There is a weight we carry in living our days. Or we can choose to carry it less as an obligation and more as a privilege, a joy even. And that’s where I falter.

We live in privilege. We have choices and access.  We have clean water and rows and rows of choice in shopping for deodorant, shampoo, even multiple versions of bibles.

It comes down to balance again. Are the shoulds keeping us on track or raining down on us like a storm? How can we be accountable to the ones that  feel like weight but can help mold us into God’s servant?

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Romans 12:1-2 the Message

faith Five-Minute Friday

Enough is enough.

His words were heavy with conviction as he spoke to the room filled with 100+ people. Most were men, like him, addicts and alcoholics. It was a night of celebrating sobriety. One month, two, a year, 5 years and more. We’d celebrate program completions and we would share with cheers, encouragement and words of caution.

Mark was the resident manager. He lived upstairs in a private room among the others rooms that held six and ten. He reminded them to tuck their shirts in, be on time, shave….every day. He saw the literal good, bad and ugly of addiction. He lived it once himself.

Enough is enough.

Most of the time Mark is the full of smiles, everything is good kind of guy. His face is a bit too easy to read, however. This night, his heart was heavy for others struggling with this lethal disease and he spoke firm words of caution. He said it not as a plea but as a victory chant: Enough is Enough

Did you ever hear your mama say it? I’ve had enough of you. Or that’s enough!

Whatever it was we were doing, she wanted it to end. Now. No more. She’d had plenty, more than enough.

I remember well Mark’s earnest words of choice. A mantra, a note to self to stop the destruction, the lies, the flirting with death.

Mark knew, and we know, it isn’t so easy to change. We’re people who seem to crave more. And more. Stopping is hard because we can’t do it alone.

Sometimes, that’s the hardest part. Admitting we can’t do it and that we need help. It’s that way with life, not just addiction. We’re at our best when have others around us to share the burdens. Friends or professionals who we can be our true selves with. It’s the Jesus way of finding he is our enough.

 

faith Five-Minute Friday recovery