Excuses, Excuses…or why I haven’t been around much…

I am still alive.  Strings Attached Ministries is still thriving and moving and grooving.  We are still speaking to groups all around the nation and teaching that relationships are meant to be deep and connected.  I am still writing, but in a notebook that doesn’t plug into the wall.  My friend, Holley Gerth, says that I am still weaving words prolifically, but they are spoken and not written and my clever words are finite.

Life has taken over.  I am struggling with all the demands of being a working mother and wife, a ministry leader, and a daughter. And in the midst of that, I am working on writing my fears….the true stuff, the hard stuff, the stuff I shove under rugs and try to forget, and well, I am just not ready to share that yet.

I say all that to say this.

I miss you guys. 🙂 I miss sharing thoughts and words here, and hope to do it again soon. I sense an opening margin on the horizon, but I must climb this looming mountain first.  I will return to regular posting, soon, I hope.

If you’ve come here for the first time- stay a while…look around…there’s some great stuff here (even if I do say so myself!).

Grace and Peace,

Snow Days Make Slow Days…for when life takes your breath away

barn in snow

“See we made a good time tonight…home by 8:30.”

Good time.  Man code for speedy.  Quick.  Many errands run at breakneck speed as if by finishing early we break some unseen tape at some unseen finish line.  My head spins and my senses are all wonky like I’ve stepped from a dark room with shades drawn and lights off into a bright sunshiny day.

It’s been six days of snow and ice.

Six days since we rushed to the store to stock up on food for the kids and caffeine for the parents.

Six days of no school and limited services and the trash man can’t come cause the roads are too slick.

Six days of not making “good time.”

Six days of slow.

I always look out over the snow and think how beautiful and clean and quiet it all is, but this year…this year reminded me of how slow it makes us.

The hazardous roads make running to the store a decision pondered and taken seriously.  Offers to leave the house are scrutinized and weighed and every step is watched and cautious.

winterwalking_banner

 

Life becomes INTENTIONAL.

Every step, every move, every venture out the front door is mulled over, carefully considered, and made with specific purpose.  Our thoughts, actions and activities are distilled to only the very important.

It was frustratingly beautiful.

I didn’t truly notice it until the white roads faded to black grippy asphalt and the cars began to zoom by again. Until we took the on-ramp to the highway at prescribed speed and it felt like we were FLYING.  Until I realized that we had just spent the evening running around, flitting from house to house, dropping this off there, picking a child up here and zooming two towns over to pick a child up there and then back home to shower and get in bed to rise early and start a normal day with school and work and two cars rushing and ballet practice and recitals and “can you pick me up early mom so we can get there faster.”

My breath is stolen away by the pace of it all. I find myself secretly yearning for a little patch of ice to come and close us in again when just a day ago I was lamenting the days of slow.

When will I learn that I should measure my steps even when the ground is not slippery and uneven?

How do we find the slow without the snow?

 

Five Minute Friday- In Real Life

Photo by Melton Microfilms

Flex your fingers, and let’s play Five Minute Friday.

Where we throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write. Without wondering if it’s just right or not.

For five minutes flat. Then link up here www.thegypsymama.com.

Today’s prompt is:  In Real Life… ready? GO!

 

Photo by Melton Microfilm

In real life I am writing this “friday” post on Saturday because I didn’t quite make it to this item on my ‘to-do’ list.  Buried behind ‘do laundry’ and ‘and mail sales tax paperwork’ was this five minute breath of life that I look forward to, that I love so much.

Number 14 on my list of things to do in the six hours while my children were away at school yesterday.  Number 14 after ‘take Lucy to the vet’ and ‘go to bank.’ And I didn’t get there….not even close….I got to number 6.  Not too bad given the day and the way it played out, but here’s the thing…in real life, I didn’t get to the “LIFE”.

Why do I do that? Why do I set parameters on the life-giving things that I do? Why do they need to be rewards at the bottom of my list only to obtained when I do something really special, something really miraculous…I feel like it’s one of the dog treats we have for our dog, Lucy. Sitting up on the shelf for her to look at and pine after, but only really coming down for very special occasions.

God has blessed me with such beautiful life-giving gifts, and he wants me to have them.  It’s not God who puts ‘Five Minute Friday’ at the bottom of the list, it’s me. No, see God created (through Lisa Jo) a space for a little Sabbath every week.  A little place to create and then sit back and say, “It is good.”

But in real life, for all my trying and striving to get this REST and SABBATh thing nailed down, I still don’t understand it fully. I still don’t embrace it fully.  And Five Minute Friday stays down there on the list…waiting for me to get to a place where I take five minutes to breathe regardless of the rest of the list that awaits.

So I guess in real life, for all my talk about peace and rest and Sabbath, I still struggle to find it consistently.  I still have to fight for it and I still wonder if, in the fighting some of the peace and rest and sabbath is lost.  And in real life, that troubles me.

So today is not Friday…in real life it’s Saturday…and today, I moved the “Life” to the top of the list and the “Stuff to do” to the bottom…maybe I will mix them together and make a kind of rainbow sherbet from them….and finally sit back and say, “It is good.”

Photo by Melton Microfilms

Five Minute Friday- Older

Flex your fingers, and let’s play Five Minute Friday.

Where we throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write. Without wondering if it’s just right or not.

For five minutes flat. Then link up here www.thegypsymama.com.

Today’s prompt is:  Older… ready? GO!

So, Older- huh?  Man that’s a tough prompt.  Especially today…As the oldest of three sisters and the oldest of all the grandchildren in the family to be older has always held some special punch…as if to be the oldest I was automatically ushered into a secret club full of special surprises just for me.

Older was always special.

But today, I just feel old. 😦 Fatigue plagues my steps and I feel the constant pull of gravity on my shoulders. I feel tired. And weary. And, maybe, dare I admit it- a little sad.  Don’t know why exactly….just am.

Maybe it’s sadness for the woman down the way that’s leaving her chance at love because her new beau doesn’t like her kids. Maybe it’s sadness for a friend who’s lost her father and whose pain I feel each time I hug mine. Maybe it’s sadness for my mentor who’s been caring for her terminally ill mother while trying to hold her ministry together.

Each of these women is older.  In age, yes, but also in spirit and journey for what they have traveled. Maybe older still is special.

Perhaps there really is a secret club after all.

STOP

Everyday A Little Sabbath

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold. I have come into deep waters and the flood sweeps over me.” – Psalms 69:1-2

Feeling completely submerged?

I know David was crying about because of his enemies, but this week my enemy is time (or lack of it).  A friend once said to me that I needed to organize my day in such a way that my goals were ‘achievable in the time allotted.’  Wow…have I strayed from that bit of wisdom in these last weeks.

Seems the more I study the Sabbath, the need for soul space and the sacred word ‘no,’ the less likely have I been to attain it.

I also understand now there are seasons God calls us to work, and I believe this is one of them in my life, but I currently feel completely submerged beneath my “to do” list. I feel as if I have “come into the deep waters and the flood sweeps over me.”

Even still, in these super busy hectic days, God has blessed me with sweet moments of respite, beautiful clarity of mind, and boundless joy in the tiny Shabbats he gives me each day.

It leaves me wondering if this discovery of Sabbath in the midst of the crazy chaos of everyday mundane is exactly what he is trying to teach us on this path. To teach us that creating soul-space is less a thing we schedule and more a mindset of seeking the divine in every moment. It’s less about the discipline of  “doing something different” and more the discipline of experiencing life as a constant blessing from my Father.

It still takes practice. Some days it is easier than others to see the divine in a hug that lingers, or the quiet of  a house that missed it’s alarm. Some days it is so easy to get “stuck in the deep mire” of everyday life. Some days it  is natural to see every detail as a blessing, on others it takes specific, disciplined, intention to view life through that lens. Either way, I am learning–slowly–to choose that intention.  Will you join me?

How does God give you Sabbath everyday?

Guest Post- What Your Heart Needs to Know (via Strings Attached Ministries)

I so needed to hear this again today. Maybe you do too?

Guest Post- What Your Heart Needs to Know Sometimes hearts get forgetful, distracted by the busy and the hard. So here's a little reminder… You're loved– high as the sky, deep as the ocean, wide as the world (Ps 103:11) You're created– made by God's hands, one-of-kind, soul-deep-beautiful (Gen 1:31) You're thought of– all day, every day, awake-asleep-and-in-between (Ps 139:18) And there's lots more where that came from because there's no end to the ways He loves you. About the Autho … Read More

via Strings Attached Ministries

Why I love kids camp…

Church camp is a brand new experience for me. I never went to away camp as a child, so the experience of counseling eight 5th and 6th grade girls through this adventure has been full of lessons.

Lesson #1:

Girls are NEVER quiet!

As I sit and look at this sentence I think about the ironic application in my life. Most of my post-motherhood adult life has been a search for a moment of silence to steal. I’ve been on a mission to teach women to seek and find these quiet moments with God. And as I watch these young ladies flit to and fro like manic bumblebees, I realize that I might have inappropriately diagnosed our “lack of quiet” problem as a function of our busyness. Perhaps this need for chatter is truly something we are born with…a “girl thing.”

As I sit here in this quiet spot tucked away from the swimming pool and basketball court, this bench in the shade overlooking the lake, I am joined only by boys who come away for a moment or two of stillness.

The girls walk in groups of two or four chit-chatting and giggling, swatting at bugs and barely noticing the beauty of this place. The boys break away for just a moment to feel the breeze and gaze over the peaceful waters of the lake before running off to join their friends in play.

It’s not all fun, the girls can and do broach serious topics, but even in their silence-they are never quiet. No wonder I struggle to silence my own inner chatter…I have lived with noise for as long as I can remember.

Lesson #2:

As quick as the pace is here, God stops the world sometimes.

So far there have been moments, a couple of them, where time seemed to stand still. Moments where I pray I lived up to the title of “Counselor.” Moments of connection that made camp wonderful. In those times when a student reaches out for God’s answer, I am blessed to be able to come alongside and point the way. In those moments, it seems, the chatter quiets, time stands still and the world stops.

I am sure that there were LOADS of other lessons…some that will come out in the days to come…others that are still unknown to me. Suffice it to say I had a blast! (Every kid should go to camp–even if they have to wait until they’re grown!)