1. I have about 4 chapters written so far. I'm planning for 12, so that means I'm 1/3rd of the way finished.
2. Tonight my daughter wiped away a single tear from my face. It's just what I do; I cry when something beautiful happens right in front of me. Most people don't notice. I was glad that she did.
3. My man likes to listen to mellow grooves late at night.
4. I think that peppermint chai must have had caffiene. Otherwise I'd be in bed by now, right?
5. I'd like a list of practical ways to show people that you love them, and then I'd like to nail that list to some people's front doors.
6. I'm supposed to go have breakfast with a bunch of 5th graders and their parents in the morning. Don't ask me if I'm excited about this.
7. People still surprise me. Thankfully, it's usually in a good way. Maybe that's because I've already seen most of the yucky stuff before.
8. mason jars
9. Why did I put this in list form? Because it's a shortcut to real writing, which I'm too tired for.
10. Debates are difficult for those of us who like to mull things over first. But we're pretty sure anything we have to say wouldn't change your mind, so we'll probably just stay quiet.
The number one thing your loved ones want to know at this special time of the year is that you love them, that you want to be with them. That you enjoy their company and care about their lives. And guess what, it doesn’t cost one cent for you to give them that. It only costs your time and your affection, your smile, your words, your arms and your heart. Yes, it might feel awkward and you won’t say everything just right, but try anyway. Love is not based on perfection.
Not everything you plan will go smoothly, and that will be okay too. Savor the moments driving around in the van looking at Christmas lights together, even if one of your kids complains about it being lame. Drink hot cocoa together and sit in the same room for more than 15 minutes -- that’s worth more than anything made of plastic you can buy, wrap or open. Love is not measured with dollar signs.
Take a picture by the tree that you decorated together, but not just so you can post it somewhere on the internet. Print one out and put it in a frame. Save it for later so you can remember that you feel the same way about those special people no matter what day of the year it is. Even if they want more than you can afford or they act like spoiled brats. Even if they’re awesome and grateful. Love is not based on performance.
Tell them the stories you believe and why. And don’t get upset when they don’t worship the way you think they should. Give them time and space to accept the miracle for themselves. It may take years and you might never see it happen. That’s okay, too. Love gives whether or not it is received.
Don’t get caught up in the madness. Remember that you are also a gift.
May we all handle each other with care.
No, there's not a picture of a swoosh to go along with this post. Yes, I'm feeling too apathetic right now to go searching the internet for one. I'm feeling anxious to get started writing this morning. I'm excited because I feel like I know where I'm headed more than ever before, like there's a real path now. But I'm also scared to get going. Sometimes it's easier to just sit and think about the possibilities and the big picture than to actually get to work on all the details. It's like standing in front of a blank canvas with a crisp, vivid picture in your mind and worrying that you don't have the right colors of paint. I guess the only way forward is to start brushing and mixing, and being okay with possibly having to buy a new canvas every now and then. It's good to be comfortable with scratching through and starting over. Each attempt simply provides me with more practice.
Wish me luck!
"The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can't give it: you are like the drowning man who can't be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear."
This is from page 46 in A Grief Observed, by CS Lewis. I believe there is truth here. I've been in that darkest place before, that lowest low, when I felt completely alone and abandoned by God and I was so, so angry with him. All the worst things I'd ever temporarily thought about him over the years suddenly became true. I believed them because I didn't have the strength to believe anything else. That's just how it is when you've been cut, when you're wounded and bleeding. Hard and painful things happen to us here on planet earth, in our homes and with our families. Some hurts are bigger than others but just because you've gotten over something or you're not currently going through a storm is no reason to invalidate the pain of another. Let the one you care about say what he or she needs to say, even if it makes you flinch. Be a witness for her and she will trust you for life. Presence is powerful. You don't have to have answers, just use your ears and be willing to cry your own tears in hopes that it may lessen the number shed by the one in grief.
If you're that one today, don't run away from your pain all alone. Find someone who's able to help you carry it together. May love, courage and hope find the way to trickle slowly back into your heart, just as soon as you're ready for them.
I'm afraid I jinxed myself, that I had this great momentum going and then I stopped. It's not true - it's just a superstitious feeling - but it feels true. And yet I know I was supposed to do that other job this week. We needed the money. That little girl needed my care. I probably learned a thing or two about myself as a result. It was a good thing. I do not need to fear interruption. I can still get back to writing. I still know how to construct a sentence, and I can't obsess about ruining my end product like I only get one shot at it. Writing is a lifestyle I want to adapt, a discipline, a process. Today I choose to look inward, to explore and to create. There is nothing else before me but the present.
So I light a candle. I turn on the burner and brew a second cup of tea. I grab a pencil, a notebook and two differently colored ink pens. I'm intentional about feeling the paper and smelling the spices. I can do this, and I don't have to finish today, next week or even next month. I'll write what I'm supposed to write, when I'm supposed to write it. I just need to keep writing, to keep showing up. Like raising a child, there's no magical day when he becomes a grown-up. You just keep parenting him until that job is finished.
There's more than one reason we are told to ask for daily bread. And it's hard to experience the holiness of a moment, in which you are not totally immersed.