Quiet

 

Forestwander.com

It’s kind of like walking a tight-rope over an abyss.

Apparently, the fact that I work and parent full time and I am also compelled to blog seems a bit strange to some people. Honestly, until they brought it up, it seemed perfectly natural to me, but now that I think about it,

HOW IN THE WORLD AM I DOING THIS?

I was happily unaware that I was walking a tight-rope over an abyss – until someone kindly pointed it out. Now that I know, it has occurred to me that this might be a little crazy.

Since I already have my crazy full on, I’ve decided to attempt to find someone to watch my children for three days/two nights and get away. I need a little quiet to listen to the whispers in my head.

I don’t know if or when it will happen or what will be the outcome, but I know this to be true, behind the loads of laundry and the clamor of the kids, amid the drop offs and pickups and earning of the daily bread, there are whispers.

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One Good Man

one

Once I was naïve.

I thought I could tell if a man were good or bad, kind or mean.

But I was wrong.

I learned the hard way that a man is not always who he portrays himself to be. I learned the hard way that he could hit and slap, kick and shove, beat and rape, subject you to public humiliations and break your heart.

I learned the hard way that the one person in the entire world who is meant to love and protect you is the one person in the whole world that you need protection from.

Recently I was invited to the 60th birthday celebration of a dear family friend, a man I have known my whole life, a man I admire and respect. You know who you are. We were told, no gifts, just a card. As I sat to write my hand and brain seemed incapable of expressing what was in my heart. It came out a mish mash of random thoughts that probably just seemed weird.

What I wanted to say was this: When I was growing up, I saw men who loved their wives and families. My father. My grandfathers. My uncles. My brothers. My Christian brothers. I was not unaware that there was evil in the world, but I had been exposed to men of integrity all my life, so when a man came along who lacked integrity but radiated charm and possessed a dynamic personality, I was easily deceived.

When I was at last free, my heart was broken once again, then a third time.

I can’t help but think of my favorite Christmas Carol taken from a poem by Longfellow.

Christmas Bells

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

At times I feel like changing the words, “There are no good men on earth I said,”

But like Longfellow, I am reminded,

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

And I remember those men, the ones that I have witnessed all my life, who love their wives. Who love their children. Who love their God.

And I am thankful for them. They are my own bells that chime to remind me that all men are not bad.

Names. Do Meanings Matter?

baby names

My brother mentioned over lunch the other day that friends of ours had named their newborn son Garrett*. When he asked the parents what the meaning of the name meant, the family replied that they had no idea.  My brother was flabbergasted, this was unfathomable to him.

How could you name a child and not know the meaning of the name?

My brother, being my brother, went home and looked up the meaning. I suppose he can sleep better now.

What he had failed to take into consideration was that this family had just had their fourth boy. I, however, get this, having had four same gender children of my own. Once you have had child after child of the same gender, the whole name thing kind of loses a little of its momentum.

My brother had a boy. Then a girl. Then another girl. Then he was done. Of course the whole name thing still had meaning.

By my fourth girl I was pretty much over the whole naming thing. Sure, the first name was still pretty important and I did take into account the meaning, “rock,” and wondered if it was too heavy of a name to give a baby girl – it wasn’t. She totally carries it. But when it came to the middle name – I was done. D.O.N.E. I told my husband and other three children: Pick a name, any name. Free reign. Your choice. Mommy’s out of ideas. Whatever you choose is cool with me.

And it was.

Do baby name meanings matter?

Feel free to weigh in!

*Name changed

Motherhood, Magnolias and Missionaries

I rarely struggle for inspiration. Actually, I don’t struggle at all – sometimes I just don’t have it. We’re halfway through the A to Z Challenge and on most days I know well in advance what I will be posting for each letter. But not today. Not “M.”

M! Motherhood, Magnolias, Madness. So many Ms! But I wasn’t feeling it. Was. Not. Inspired. At. All.

stockvault-magnolia-tree121131I care about you, dear readers. I do. I never want to post – just to post. When I read A Living Flame’s post this morning I realized instantly why I was not inspired – she had already written the post meant for today. Voila! Missionary. (PS – I loved this post. PPS – She also wrote the recipe for Chai in my post The Art of Chai.)

A Living Flame

Some days life on the field is easy. Then there are days when it is hard. There are days when I climb to the rooftop and singing praise songs over my neighbourhood and then there are days when I feel like hiding in a quiet corner of my house and listening to the voices that tell me I am not good enough and will never accomplish anything. When I want a close friend to take me out to coffee and pray with me I am reminded that I am alone.

But there is encouragement. There is a way that I bring myself back to reality and realise that my obstacles are small, my friends many and my situation hopeful.

In the past few years I have found great joy (and sorrow) in reading of the lives that have gone before me. When I read about Amy Carmicheal and that she…

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K for Kind. Kind of Mean

niceI occasionally wonder what would happen if I just said all the mean things that run through my head.

I never (or very rarely) say those things. I’m generally kind across the board. I even think kind things, most of the time.

But sometimes I play a game in my head, “What if…” What if I just said whatever I was thinking? For instance, while reading blogs I occasionally come across one that is just so random and makes no sense whatsoever and I wonder, what if I were “that” mean person and I wrote in the comments,

“Hi. I totally have no idea what you are trying to say.”

But I don’t. And I doubt I ever would, unless my frontal lobe were injured or something.

Joy Inducing

The word is: Paint

I invested a lot of my High School years into art. I loved (still love) art. Yet, after four years I came to the sad conclusion that the internal creativeness that I believe is required for an artist to produce art was not present inside of me. I could imitate art but that wasn’t enough for me to consider pursuing it.

Twenty years later I discovered the key to unlocking the creativity in my heart. Repurposing.  I love to repurpose objects from the past and make them useful again for a new generation.

I’m a very practical person. I feel the most creative when my art can be used in some way. It’s why I love to bake and cook. Crochet. And especially create repurposed items to wear or for the home.

Recently I’ve been painting with my words. In the same way as the art I create with my hands, I want my words to be useful. To have purpose. I want the picture that I paint with my words to produce something in the reader. I want them to induce JOY.

Health

Healing

Laughter

Hope

Companionship

joy 2

I paint with my words.

 

5minutefriday

This post was written for 5 minute friday – click for link.

Identity – Who Am I?

“I miss India a lot today. The foggy weather outside reminds me of it. I miss the smell of spices and riding with the wind in my hair on the back of a motorcycle. I miss the old mommas in the streets selling their goods. I miss the high pitched singing ladies that were on the radio in every car. I miss the colors. I never thought I would say that I miss India. But today, I really miss India.”

My niece, who lived with me for a time in India, wrote me this a few days ago.

For a long time I found my identity in being an Indian wife or a Dweller in the land of India.

India 3Then one day these things were Gone. Over. Done. That part of my life was Finished.

And I suddenly had to figure out, Who am I.

The answer didn’t come in a moment, or a day, or a month. It came as I journeyed forward. I’ve written about this search for my Identity here.

 

* I write for the online publication, Moms of Faith, every Wednesday & Saturday. (You DON’T have to be a mom – or even female – to visit. Stop on by.)

Making It Happen – HOME

HOME

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

 

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

There is no one coming home.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

I’ve lived in this apartment for the last three years and it’s really only been over the past six months that I’ve started to feel like this is my home. (I briefly wrote about this in my post, Dwelling.)

Then, a recent post where I discussed my cleaning habits got me thinking that maybe what I need is motivation. Since no one is coming home to motivate me, dear readers, YOU have become my motivation. I plan to post two small home improvement projects that I would like to work on during the next week and then follow up with you next Wednesday to see if this kind of accountability works for me.

Projects:

Gardening. Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions last week! I did get out and clean up and made some decisions for the planting. STARTED!

seeds

 

I’ll also plant tomatoes. Planting for the Northeast is May-June – so I have a few weeks until these go in the ground.

My 5 year old, P, chose the sunflowers. They’re my favorites, so she didn’t have to convince me. 🙂

Garden 2

I’ve decided to take this plot out and put in a glider or picnic table. Bye bye.

lilac

 

My beloved lilac tree is blooming. ❤ P and I mulched the front of the house this week – squirrels are already digging it up. Furry Monsters.

Earlier this week I wrote about my neighbor dying (here) and how that affects my Making it HAPPEN posts. Home improvement projects are on a short hiatus until we can move into the other half of the apartment later next month. (we hope) Then it’s gonna get CRAZY.

 

Projects for this week:

Clean fridge. (No pictures. You’re welcome. )

Clean out dining room closet.

closet

Welcome to my life. This is why I need this weekly post, without you, Beloved Readers, cleaning this out DOESN’T happen.

G

“Mom, you look like you have a baby in your tummy.”

g

Moments before leaving for a fancy schmancy Fundraiser, I made my grand entrance down the main staircase.

Chic dress, legs freshly shaven, heels dusted off and on my feet.

Seven year old G looks up at me and says,“Mom, you look like you have a baby in your tummy.”

Sigh.

I did have a baby in my tummy. In fact, I had FOUR babies in my tummy.

The babies departed.

The tummy remained.

 

me n g

Me ‘n G. still lovin’

Four Ways I Know I’m Forty

hol1

I walked into Hollister last week and asked the girl for a “Gift Certificate.” She appeared bewildered for a moment or two and finally stammered out, “Do you mean a Gift Card?” Yes. I am forty. We used to call them Gift “Certificates.” I will probably always refer to them (at least in my mind) as Gift Certificates. I’m old.

Recently, I was minding my own business looking at some books in the local library and a loud toot slipped out unbeknownst to me. I was as shocked as the guy sitting at the table next to me. Did you catch that I was in the LI-BRARY? I apparently have no control over tooting loudly in public and wildly inappropriate places. I am old.

The other night I was out to eat with my BFF at a wonderful Mexican place in town. Before your meal they serve you a basket of tortilla chips and three delicioso salsas. I dipped a few chips and then – I SALTED THEM.  Yes, I salted my tortilla chips. My beloved grandmother who would have never been caught dead without her trusty handbag ALWAYS carried a salt shaker in her purse. Always. I do not exaggerate. The woman went nowhere without extra salt, or her purse. I get it now. I’m old.

Notice Dear Queen Elizabeth in this lovely family portrait from the recent christening - WITH HER PURSE. She probably has a shaker of salktin there.

Notice Dear Queen Elizabeth in this lovely family portrait from the recent christening – WITH HER PURSE. She probably has a shaker of salt in there.

You know how I really know I’m forty – I. Just. Don’t. Care. I’ll confuse teenage sales clerks, toot in public and salt whatever I like – and I really don’t care. I’m cool with it. I’m forty.