2.  Nature and History

You have to discover what brings you rest and rejuvenation.

Nature and history are two friends of mine that have always brought me peace. 

Experiencing days immersed in nature settles me through a journey/series of reflection and aesthetics. 

Learning and seeing history yields an emotional walk that inspires me to follow strength and to pursue transformation and redemption. 

Day 2: Create space for you to experience nature and history. You might find the way to peace and that jump you need during a break from work. 

Photo credit….L. Sciba

1. I had a baby yesterday 

She said this is Clickbait. But I really did have a baby yesterday 17 years ago. And look at her now! Also, do you see that cake?  I made part of it before work yesterday morning and finished the rest when I got home. She picked it from some website called Sally’s baking addiction and said, “only if it isn’t too complicated Mom.” It was certainly worth the effort that I got because of it. 

That’s the reason I didn’t blog yesterday. So today is day one people. This day I became a mother. What a magical day that was! Truly it was. 

And every day since has been magical! Not. Someone told me the other day that I made parenting look fun. Yay! I was so happy. 

Then I thought about all the things that aren’t fun. And I pondered about the evidence that caused my friend’s conclusion. 

Parenting is fun. But you have to make it fun a lot of times and I work hard at that. I truly enjoy my children but I also have to help them learn to be enjoyable to be around. A wise woman told me the other day that making any situation fun is a poor man’s therapy and the way to cope with the hard parts of life. 

So Day 1 of the story of 30 days:

Make it fun….what ever it is. 

P.S. Goodness! Look at her 17 year old face…she’s having fun. 
 

The story of 30 Days-

Yes, we are playing the Oregon Trail. Three of the girls are still alive. Also I just died in the game so now I can blog. Hey so instead of being perfectionist and all that I’m just going to post every day for 30 days. Cool, huh? Probably not but I’m inspired by a podcast about this 30 Days of New Things. And I’m in. But with writing. Oh no, there’s only two girls left on the Oregon Trail. At least they’re splitting their supplies to survive. With teamwork evidenced, I’m going to sleep!

P.S. You should play board games with your kids. It teaches patience. Also you laugh a lot. Then you wonder about the level of competition that has been passed on. 

The Year of the Story

The Story of the Blog

You want to know why I started this whole blog thing? I really just needed a place to write creatively. Without a template. Without word counts. Without anyone directing my writing. And it worked.

I wrote. And I read other people’s blogs. And I was sincere. And I began to tell you my story. And I worked on it. It was fun. It wasn’t easy. I tried advertising on it. I tried lots of ways to tag and categorize and link. It grew. and lots of people read it. My best years for the blog traffic were 2012 and 2013.

And then I acquired a book contract. And I went back to school. And I started working more. And my family became busier and older and busier. And my capacity to blog decreased. And the years went on. My book was published in 2015, and I was so very grateful for my time here that helped that project to be a success.

This will be my 8th year to blog here. My many other responsibilities and ventures get me thinking of shutting it down, but I haven’t been able to close the book on it. So, here we are again. You, me, the internet. My thoughts and abilities and words and ideas connecting somehow to you out there.

One of the connections I make with you is that you know from my stories that parenting can be very fun and that I’m a real person with struggles and heartache. Also, my faith is real, but I’m not interested in shouting about anything. I’ve never taken a political stance on here, but I’m not saying I never will. It’s been important to me to keep the connection open and not distract with shock or awe or anger. Another thing you need to know about me is that I write from inward, and it’s been right lately to keep things close.

The story of the blog goes on in 2017. For, I’m going to do a little exploring with my writing in some different ways. You get to be part of this experiment. Little by little we’ll see if we can make this thing work as part of the ongoing forward path of my life now. Be prepared for more intensity. Or less. Know that I may tell some other folk’s stories. Maybe I’ll tell yours.

I’ll do my best to keep things concise and interesting. And you do your best to read it. I don’t just want to tell you stories though. I want to connect in a way to assist, to inspire, to show the possibility of greatness that is in all of us.

In two weeks, I will be running a marathon instead of writing at this very moment and it will be hard. But, I have trained and built slowly up to this point. I have discovered my body can be stretched and pained and pushed to perform but not without rest, planning, and fuel. Writing is the same, and I am ready to move towards greatness…so are you.

She would…

 

She would have been proud of us…for growth, change, accomplishments, pain…while she also worried if we were okay.

She would smile big at that new driver’s license, Anna.

Her chin would raise in support for that first golf tournament, Maile.

Her blue eyes would sparkle at how tall you are, Lydia,and she would comment on how straight your teeth are.

Her thin hand would run over your shiny, blonde hair, Claire as she pulled you into her soft hug showing her love for you the youngest.

She would widen her eyes and open her pretty mouth in wonder at how all four of you race in on your horses and ride hard to win. 

She would be glad I’m not as thin as I used to be while she clucked her tongue at the training for the marathon….shaking her head…”too much.”

Her other thin hand would rest on your shoulder Matt and rest there in the joy and the pain of the switch in sails.

She would delight in all the new great-grands born lately.

She would laugh hard at the silly family pictures we take.

She would look around at her large family and sign happily, proudly…and hope all in one breath that we are all really okay.

Rewriting Your History (Down to Studs)

Raise your hand if you look around and find surprise in how your life looks. Not what you expected? Yeah, me too. It can be good.

See, I have fluctuated between knowing living life like Mother Theresa is the right path and simply wanting to enjoy life with new shoes and a dress. This life and place and path has shifted and weaved and moved around it can be hard to be proactive and responsive. The feelings come and we “feel” thrown around by life circumstances. Faith is hard, and life direction can be confusing. So much of our life gets shifted by emotions and feelings and perspectives.

We all have our moments where we stop and look around to try to figure out if we are where we set out to go…or are we just a long way from home. Perspective is powerful.

Our life has changed a lot in the last few months. My husband transitioned out of his position at the church, and he is onto a different adventure. My oldest child is driving a car now. I’m training for a marathon. We have two high schoolers. We are finding our way in peace. Schedules, goals, all has adjusted and we are shifting our perspectives.

The things I knew when I was young, some were true, and some were wrong. -Lumineers, “The Gun Song”

Last weekend, we took the kids to Baton Rouge and we cleaned out a few flood homes together. One house we were in had nothing by the curb, and by the end of our time there everything 4 feet down we had hauled out to that same curb. I stood in the middle of the elderly lady’s bedroom overwhelmed by the stuff ruined…so much gone of her life. But, it was all just stuff. We drove away looking at all the piles of everyone’s things on the curbs. Everyone was the same….everyone down to studs.

My kids worked so hard. I was proud of them. They saw into the experience too. No one complained or fussed about sweating or working hard. Maile looked at me and said, “I don’t have any problems,” during one of our breaks. They aren’t perfect, and the situation we put them in on purpose wasn’t perfect. We talked about what we were doing and why. And then we drove home to our dry house with all the stuff in tact.


And so today, I find myself in the middle of all these memories while I shift through all the things 4 feet and down in my house to ensure that I am taking care of the stuff in my life and letting go of all the stuff that doesn’t need to be there. Reflection, perspectives, change all around me as I sort through high school senior pictures, my baby pictures, my babies’ baby pictures.

Bill and me

I’m not just in this life. Maybe maturity and experience always lead to this place of realizing how much I don’t know. I look around me and I find nothing is what I thought it was; I’m glad, mostly, it causes wonder to continually born within.

It’s my life, and I have a responsibility to lead in it. So do you. We are rewriting our history…maybe you should too. Hear your breath for a minute.

Slow down.

Look.


But don’t just look.

See. Have faith in God. Know that faith is not always what you think it is. Too mystical for you? Knowing what you don’t know may be an area you want to explore.

Get into your life. Are you there? Don’t just make it. We are meant for more than surviving….although there are moments when its all you can do. Everyone is gutted to studs at some point. That’s a tough moment, and no one would ever wish for it. That’s never happened to me physically, like these flood victims.

But, it has happened to me internally, and somehow everything gets clear in that moment…what’s important, what’s worth keeping, why you are just thankful for your people. Survival breathes gratefulness…and that’s good too. We aren’t meant to stay in “just making it mode.”

Do what you need to do to…clean out the wet and moldy. Dry out. Get ready to rebuild. It could be better than it was or what you expected.

Time to do more than survive. If you’re tired, go rest. If you’re sad, be sad. If there are problems, address them. Don’t be afraid to dig deep, to take a risk, to sit down into your funky feelings….resolution, redemption, peace will come. Inhale, exhale. Pray. Live.

Don’t worry about doing it perfect….always simply begin. 

 

 

 

The Story of Place Part 1

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a
place that he was to receive as an
inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going
.” Hebrews 11:8 NRSV
There is a story of place within all of us, did you know? It is rich with detail. You’re thinkingyours might be boring. Maybe it is. However, in that boring story there is detail and meaningand reason and mystery…you just have to zoom in a little.
Too often we are afraid to experience a life that has an interesting story…listen to the Psalmist:
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.
With your faithful help
14
rescue me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
15
Do not let the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the Pit close its mouth over me.
16
Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17
Do not hide your face from your servant,
for I am in distress
make haste to answer me. Psalm 69:13-17
We are always searching for security, safety, comfort. We must know in the deep that our
individual stories of place belong in a much bigger story.
God’s story.
It’s who we are as human beings. Did you know my story? I have written several parts
of it in a book, on a blog, and in journals. Ugh, my journals. They sound a lot like that Psalm I just read. I hate reading my journals.
But, there’s more to my story. ..more I haven’t written, or told. Just like there’s more to the Psalmist’s whining and there’s more to Abraham’s story than he hadan inheritance and he set out for some place. There’s more to the friend’s story you are
sitting by now and it is far from uninteresting.
I was born in April 1975. But there are no photos of me that day. It was three days later that
I would meet the family who raised me.I always wonder what Karen’s day was like on that day?
Karen was my birthmother. My parents were older than her.They had 5 other children.
And some kind social worker brought me to their home on that day and I was welcomed into their happy home and given my place as the youngest child. I had a happy childhood, and there were no differences between me and my siblings. I knew I was adopted, and my mom and dad would patiently answer my questions when they would come up.
I thought of Karen some growing up; did I look like her? Was she nice? Was she pretty? where was she now. My parents told me God chose me to be in their family which made me very special. When asked, they gave simple, limited information. Yes, she was very young. She wasn’t able to care for you. She had problems. They didn’t elaborate.
It was the 70’s after all, and this was a closed adoption. No one relished in dramatic details of sad stories. Our home was a very happy place with lots of love and affection and laughter.
I grew up happy in my family. A few years after getting married, Matt and I were considering starting our family. I decided to try and find out information about my health history. I was able to get some bits and pieces, but then I decided to try to connect with Karen. My folks were okay with it, but they weren’t pleased. It didn’t take long because Karen was trying to connect with me. We sent pictures and wrote letters. Real letters. Remember the 90’s when we all actually wrote letters.
She told me it had been a long hard life for her and she had been in a place of addiction for a long time. She assured me that she was clean now and steady with a job
and a church. We talked on the phone a few times. Then she became upset because I wasn’t ready to meet her in person. I felt cautious. I was a social worker now, and I wasn’t naive about this situation. Karen began to say strange and demanding things. I realized that I was bringing up things I couldn’t understanding in a place I wasn’t part of. Finally, she told me she didn’t want to have contact with me anymore unless I met her. I wasn’t ready for this especially with her strange behavior. So, that was it. We didn’t have contact anymore.
Life moved on, and we started our family with one daughter and then we had two. We movedto Indonesia to do mission work and in 2003, and in 2008 we transitioned to back to South Texas. My mother Maureen died of Leukemia in 2012, and I was glad to be with her through the very end of her life. (Btw, Mother’s Day is no picnic for those who have lost their moms.)
I did think of Karen in different moments while living and travelling in different places. I was content to pray for her from afar. I hoped she was well and still in a good place…a place of wholeness.
This past summer, I received a letter from a lady named Theresa and onthe same day a
Facebook message from a lady named Leslie. Both said the same thing. Karen was gone. She had been very sick, and she had died at home. She had gone to a better place. I was in shock. I read the letter and the message over and over again. Both people who had reached out to me were professional and courteous. Both of them knew they had to tell me. They told me of the funeral, and I held the information close for a few days.
Finally, I picked up the phone and called my dad. I told him. I also told him I wanted to go to the funeral. He was quiet; then he asked if he could come with me.I was so glad.
That Saturday morning, I woke up early and I drove 5 hours to get to the funeral and my dad was waiting for me in an old inner city church parking lot. I jumped out of my car and gave him a solid hug glad he was there with me. He held me tight. I hopped in his car, and we drove down to a Subway. It was surreal in that booth chatting with him about the girls and his morning at the car race track. All at once our food was gone, and he was asking me if I was ready. I said yes, very sure albeit nervous.
To be continued…