When You’re Standing at a Crossroad

crossroadI’m standing at a crossroad. A place where I’m trying to make choices. Responsible choices. I’ve too much going on and I want to simplify. But then I’m confronted with brokenness, and I ache to help—to do something tangible. Sound familiar?

I suspect some of you are with me in the struggle. Often I find that I only see one step ahead, but strangely others can see more clearly than I. Perhaps, just maybe, together we can work out the next step.

As I struggle through decisions—what’s best as a mom, a writer, a wife. I’m called to be purposeful; to demand a higher level for myself; to be a clarion call of beauty, goodness, and truth—I started processing through the written word. I am, after all, a writer! What came out was the poem below.

Do I Dare Disturb the Universe*

Continue reading “When You’re Standing at a Crossroad”

Life Between the Snapshots

Between SnapshotsThere are a stack beautiful picture books nestled into a tray on my coffee table. They’re my kids favorite books. Probably because the books are actually family albums and full of reminders of the fun times we’ve had together. There’s the rare picture they hate (like the one of my son crying because he’s covered head-to-toe in permanent marker) or prefer the world not to see (like the one with the goofy expression).

Mostly the family albums portray me and my world the way I wish they were–Picture Perfect.

But there’s more to the story. There’s life between the snapshots. Continue reading “Life Between the Snapshots”

Endings . . . What to Do with Them

EndingsWe’re coming up to the end of August, and my kids will soon be joining the ranks of bleary-eyed students returning to school. Summer is ending, and I’m not sure how I feel.

I don’t like endings.

It’s dark.

I can’t quite see what’s coming next.

And my self-preservation kicks in screaming, “Run the other way, idiot!”

But as time ticks steadily down, it’s quite impossible to for us mere mortals sprint back up the time continuum. Unless you’re Dr. Who. And I, dear friends, am not Dr. Who.

There’s a fear, a stress that comes with change. Even good change. My husband switched jobs this summer. Stress. I’m contemplating pruning my commitments. Stress. My daughter is 11. That’s stressful in and of itself but she’s starting soccer for the first time ever. Mama stress.

But my good-stuff stress is nothing. I have a friend a few years older than me getting married for the first time in middle age. Super stress. Another friend completely an adoption from overseas. Mega-stress.

And then there’s the stuff that hits you like a train when you’re just trying to get through an ordinary day. Pop quizzes, broken legs, cancer diagnosis, car accidents,…you see why I don’t like the unknown?

But there is so much possibility in endings.

So much that could come next. Sure school brings early mornings, alarm clocks, and the end of summer. But it also brings routine and a few moments of quiet.

Every sidewalk end, every cliff you step up to leaves you open. The vistas are wide and filled with potentially amazing experiences. You see…

Beginnings can’t happen without an ending.

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So in this season of change, I pray you will find peace. That you will see potential and take it. That even as you mourn what is no longer that you will celebrate what is coming. And that you will give yourself the grace of time to figure it all out.

Not the Best

Best

We were becoming desperate for rain, and the hot weeks have sucked the flowers dry. But along the highway, a sneaky beauty grew. The grasses glowed golden, backlit by the horizontal sun peeking out from the storm clouds.

Who would have thought that mere dry grass could be beautiful?

And yet it is so. The moment the world is dry and hard, it isn’t the flashy obvious flowers that persevere. It’s the overlooked, underappreciated beauty.

Catching snatched looks at that hidden beauty as I drove, I thought, Good for you…

You don’t have to be THE best to be beautiful.

And my fingers tightened down on the steering wheel as if doing so could lock down my heart and fight back the tears.

As a writer, mom…as a woman, I’ve compared myself to everyone around me. It’s a dangerous pastime where I ALWAYS lose. Either by looking down my nose at someone else, or realizing I don’t measure up.

I’m beautiful in my own right….except when I’m not.

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See the grasses were dry and brown, rather like I am right now. I’m not only not THE best, I’m not even MY best right now. I’m as brittle as the grasses, feeling boring, tired, and taking it out on everyone. I’m up against some physical issues . . . again, which have me channeling a rabbit in both what I put into my body and what’s coming out. And I don’t even care if that’s TMI.

There in the car on the way to the next doctor’s appointment, the light trickled across me, falling on the grasses. Highlighting failures and at the same time beauty.

Not only do I not have to be the best, I don’t even have to be MY best, to be beautiful.

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And neither do you.

Decimate the Divide

Divide“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Over the last week, these words have been echoing in my head, and I couldn’t help but reflect on the prophetic thoughts in my blog last week . . . Freedom is a powerful thing.

I honestly fought this post. I wrote a different one. A funny one which I’ll post next week. But I found I couldn’t not post this one because I see how the events of this week could change the lives of my children.

So I ask you:

We have freedom guaranteed by our laws, but how are we using it? We have the freedom to carry weapons, the right to free speech. Continue reading “Decimate the Divide”

A Call to True Freedom

Freedom

I’m sitting at my kitchen table, the slider open to the summer night sounds. It’s warm and the air is heavy with expected rain, and the sky is slowly overcome with thunderheads climbing and tumbling forward.

The coming storm is a beautiful and dreadful thing. Pulsing electric and alive. Capable of bringing life . . . and destruction in equal measure.

Two hundred and forty years ago, a group of men signed a document declaring their independence from a separate nation. In doing so they launched a grand experiment. One where there are self-evident truths: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

But our freedom is a beautiful and dreadful thing.

Continue reading “A Call to True Freedom”

Making Life Worthwhile

Be Something

 

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we pose to nearly every child we meet. For the record, my daughter’s answer veers wildly from writer to mom to artist to scientist while my son’s answers are a predictable shrug of the shoulders and impish grin.

But I’ve really come to hate that question. You see, as I’m creeping up and over the hill, it seems to have returned to my life with a vengeance. You are 40-years-old, what do you want to be?

Unfortunately for all of you, it such a familiar sense of lostness that the question has a name–middle age crisis. And what a crisis it can be. Continue reading “Making Life Worthwhile”

Adult-Sized Problems, Childlike Solution

Adult-SizedIt was a mixed up kind of day. Grey clouds engulfing the sun only to have the sun burn through, lighting the woods in snips and patches.

I could see my daughter’s bright blue coat flitting between the just leafing out trees. Hunting a critter, building a fort, or some such childhood imagining. The neighbor kid voices rose and fell in excitement until half blue with cold they all stumbled through my door in search of water, a snack, and an ear to listen to their adventures.

It had been a rough day. I was running into an issue with my editorial work. And then running into it again. And then again…Those days everyone has sometimes.

As I listened to my kids’ chatter, it reminded me of the times when the hill behind my childhood house was a mountain and the squirrels were bears chasing my brothers and I. Or when we were lost in the “expansive” woods, and horsetail reeds became scavenged salads—definite survival food.

I miss those times. Times when imagination bled into real life. Where anything could be imagined better. And I realized there’s something to a childlike perspective that we, as adults, need to rediscover.

Not that we can to ignore Continue reading “Adult-Sized Problems, Childlike Solution”

Intentional . . .

Intentional Parenting 400pxThis isn’t my normal posting day, but I have news and I’m too excited to not share with you all. I’m starting a new venture blogging and editing for the brand new Dove Parenting Blog. It’s for The Dove Foundation, which is an amazing non-profit that works to help parents make intelligent decisions about the media kids consume. They’re kind of the originators of the concept and have Hollywood’s ear.

While the Dove Parenting Blog is a lot more “mommy blog” than what I do here, there’s a lot of cross-over. The blog is all about being an intentional parent and helping other parents on that path too. Being intentional about our lives in general is what makes it possible for us to uncover beauty–pretty or not. See, it’s connected.

So for any parents out there, feel free to pop over and check out Dove’s blog, spread the word, and let me know what you think.

There’s Something About Tuesday: Ordinary

Ordinary

I can hear the whir of the dryer just under the sound of the kids playing soccer in the front yard. Dinner isn’t made. It’s five o’clock. And I can’t make myself worry about it. I’m having too much fun watching the kids laugh as they chase the ball—my girl with focused determination and my dude with antics and laughter.

The sun is breathing the first heat of spring and my skin soaks it up. Sometime within the last few days the daffodils have shot out of the ground and the buds have tipped, nearly bursting with their glorious yellow skirts. And the robins, frogs, ducks, heron, and other fair-weather friends have returned in full force creating a symphonic cacophony of summer sounds.

I can’t get enough.

Except,

In two months time it will all be so ordinary. And it’s a shame that the wonderful ordinary will go unnoticed.

I’ll be tempted leave behind the wonder when the everdayness wears the glory thin.

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So today, I challenge myself along with you to remember. Remember the blackness of the ant crawling across the sun warmed deck. The fluffiness of the first dandelion gone to seed. The smell of fresh air and dirt stained kids.

Savor today. Taste and see that it is good.

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Now it’s your turn. Share your favorite wonderful ordinary with the rest of us…