Tuesday, July 30, 2013

a week of listening and learning

remember how i discovered that sometimes you just need to
live fully and listen closely
because there is always a listening part to writing.

that is the very reason my weekly posts have been fewer and farther between these speedy summer months.

last week i spent many hours with my co-workers in the back of a warehouse in that stuffy, cinderblock room we call an office.  we walked sharp-eyed through the fertile gardens of this past year and began leaping and bounding into our technicolor dreams for the future.

we even took time away from the table to dip brushes in color and create some new things alongside one another...and then talk about the dozen lessons we learned in the process.

Friday, July 26, 2013

when you face resistance

the danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight.  
at this point, Resistance knows we're about to beat it.  it hits the panic button.  it marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it's got.
{steven pressfield ~ the war of art}

today, with a finish line in sight, i got slammed.
the specifics of the finish line and how i got slammed are not important.  what is important is this...

Monday, July 22, 2013

finding esther

i still have nearly 4 weeks until i need all the words to fall into place.

it's been 2 months since my pastor asked me to study and teach about 'the other E' as he called her.

during this time i've soaked in the story.  

before you speak it helps to be spoken to.  

i've had the luxury of time...time for her words to be written all over me before i start writing my own.

after 5 readings there are parts of those 10 old testament chapters that i practically know by heart.

the king loved esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight...

grace and favor can be awarded like a precious, unmerited medal.  

and sometimes they can land you in the position to win something far greater.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

where my heart is today

i was going through the motions of my nightly ritual.
picking up stray toys.
tossing random cups in the sink.
wiping off the kitchen table.
closing the blinds...

my hand grasped the rod and as i prepared to twist it, something stopped me.
 i couldn't close them.

Monday, July 15, 2013

i confess my mess

i am a mess...a complete and utter mess.

no, i'm not going through a crisis.  i'm just stating the truth.  

i. am. a. mess.

i know that all of the time.  i look that reality dead in the eyes some of the time {cringe, cringe}.

did i ever tell you the story about the time that my house got robbed when i was in high school?  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

why we need each other

it feels like a battleground.

confessing that truth to someone who understands brought peace despite the war.  i was no longer an army of one.  someone else was taking up sword and shield alongside me.

that's what i accomplished today.  
besides emptying the dishwasher, clipping toenails, and making sure everyone was bathed and fed...
i joined forces with a fellow warrior.  
a fellow mother, writer, truth-seeker...a fellow artist. 

my friend renee and i had set aside 'writing time' and though our fingers never touched our keyboards the words exchanged on that breezy back porch today may have done more for me as a writer than pages worth of manuscript...they armed me to go back into battle.
anything of value we seek to accomplish will meet with resistance.

really digging into the important work that is set before us usually winds up landing us in a place that feels an awful lot like a war zone.

in this writing arena i've been fighting off the enemies alone for too long.  it was time to call in the reinforcements.  and wouldn't you know - we had common enemies.  doubt, fear, distraction, fatigue, misguided responsibility...you can beat them down together much more easily than you can on your own.

and so today we took back some ground.  and on that ground i plan to plant some things... and watch them grow...together.

how about you?  is there an area of your life that feels like a battleground?  is there something you want to accomplish in your job, your family, your art that is being met with resistance?

maybe it's time you expanded your army of one.  chances are...someone else in your world is looking to join forces too.

Monday, July 8, 2013

the song you may need to sing when the clouds roll in

dark clouds have rolled in and out of this southern sky for weeks now.  maybe they are rolling in and out of your life too.
last week i visited one of my dearest friends who is fighting the darkness that sometimes creeps in postpartum.  in your mind it seems ridiculous…to hold a perfect, beautiful baby in your arms and feel so empty and ugly inside.  but it’s real…oh, it’s real.  

we cried and we laughed and we prayed…desperate prayers.  the ones in which you feel each other's tears falling onto your hands clasped tight.  it was hard for me to walk out of the door knowing that i couldn’t carry the dark shroud out of there with me...knowing that she would still be fighting her way out from under it’s suffocating fabric.

as i drove away my thoughts went back to my own postpartum days.  

your kids start breaking your heart right out of the gate.  it never ends…it only changes.   love that cuts that deep can’t help but reach the tender places bringing waves of pain.  
i remember the song I sang on those days…

glorious…over us…you shall reign...

it’s not a traditional lullaby but it’s the song I most often sang to my kids when they were babies.  they still ask for it.  i didn't plan it that way...it was just what came over my lips when fear and insecurity and frustration came over my heart.  

every time i hear that song memories flood my mind...  
  crying babies snuggled in the crook of my arm.  
  middle of the night feedings.  
  sniffles that seemed to suffocate tiny noses.  
  shots at the doctor’s office that brought big fat alligator tears of pain.  
  those pesky gas bubbles that can make a sweet little peanut writhe in agony.  
  the first time a head hit the floor so hard that i was afraid to look and so i just grabbed on and held tight...and sang...

so many times I was tired and unsure of myself as a mother…unable to think of what to do next…and so I sang.  

looking back now i think that specific song was whispered to me like a gift...a precious life-giving gift...so that i could then breathe life out again.  

glorious…in the middle of pain and fear and weariness and uncertainty and tears and frustration.
glorious…a striking beauty and splendor that demands admiration even in ugly, messy, middle-of-the-night times.

over us…this mama, these babies, this family, this home…over and above all of it.

you – my God, who is unchanging and strong and and full of grace {not me – who is hormonal and weak and quick to anger} 
shall reign…shall maintain authority and order in the chaos…shall prevail over the momentary darkness with a promise of light


when the rains come pouring down we need a reminder that someone is still reigning over it all.

i’m in a new season now…my kids aren’t babies anymore.  they still cry but now they can tell me what’s wrong.  even still, i don’t always feel qualified to do what’s best for them.  i get frustrated {a lot} and feel tired and helpless…it’s just for different reasons.
but over it all…the sibling fights, the potty-training accidents, the defiance, the loss of patience, the disappointment of friends, the ways we wound each other…i want Him to reign…
over us.

in every season of life…this is my prayer…for my family...and for yours.

where do you need to claim glorious light in a dark place today?

{and btw - for those of you wondering...i start today and i picked #2.  what about you?}

Friday, July 5, 2013

where to start

on monday we start.

the problem is...well...that i'm having the same problem i always have.

here's how it's all gone down this week...
curiosity drew me in.
the initial buzz among group members kept my interest piqued.
and then...the glimmer of something that began to look like real, authentic, 'launch you forward like a human-sized slingshot' community led me to stick around.

in less than 72 hours i will join 2000 other people in a 24 day challenge to start something. 

i like starting things.  
the problem, as i mentioned, is focus. 
i start lots of different things.  
unfortunately, the finishing part can get lost in all the starting. 
{i'm embarrassed to tell you how many books i have started and never finished...so i won't.}

there are still a lot of unknowns in this adventure but jon's first request of us was to identify 1 new thing to risk for 24 days. 

risk :: to expose to danger or harm; 
to incur the chance of unfortunate consequences by engaging in an action

the chance.
there's always a chance.
on your way to greatness you always take a chance.

you take it 
you set it down 
you look it square in the eyes 
and you decide to either 
{1} cower in fear  
{2} grab hold of it with all the potential and danger it possesses and run full speed ahead toward your dream.


so i'm ready to take a chance but i'm just not sure what to take my chances on.  i'm not trying to choose the easiest option.  i'm trying to choose the right one...for here and now.

so i started with a list of 9 possibilities and i've narrowed it down to 4.  {i decided learning haitian creole in 24 days was probably just setting myself up for failure.}
here are the options:
1 :: finally create a 'grown up' blog.
2 :: submit articles for publication on 3 different websites.
3 :: develop a ministry model for women in my church. 
4 :: write the first chapter of my first bible study.

so i'd love your input and maybe some cheerleading along the way.  but more importantly...
i would love to hear from you.
as jon reminded us - fear fears community.
what's the amazing thing you've been dreaming up?  are you ready to get started?  i've got my pom poms out for you too.