Five Minute Friday: Notice

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ThroughTheBranches

November 20, 2014.

I am marking last night as one of the times in my life when I felt the earth shift, the internal structures of my heart made utterly NEW.

This is years of process — this rejecting of lies, this saying yes to God’s ways for me — but I’m saying yes really big this time. Not only for the next step the way I usually try to do with fear and trembling, but to all of it — regardless of outcomes, my picture of success or the risk required. I’m willing to look a fool.

When Christal Jenkins spoke right to my core last night: “Your idea coming out is connected to someone else’s purpose,” I saw for the first time my denial of the seemingly crazy God ideas in me as an outright rejection of someone else in need.

Because who am I to say my bread is not good enough for her table when she’s hungry? Who am I to say my words or thoughts are not complete enough when you’re right starving for hope? Who are any of us, drawn up in love and imbued with holy gifts, to deny another what and Whom we have to share?

I’ve been terrified of failing in the spoken and written word, but last night I knew it. I’m done placing my performance on the throne. I surrender.

Continue reading

Five Minute Friday: Still

Tags

, , , ,

BeStill

For days frigid winds whip through trees, blowing leaves into whirling cyclones, and we head for cover, blankets, hot cider, snuggles. This morning, a hush covers our neighborhood. All is calm.

I long for this calm, miss it like a faraway friend, because inside these walls I am a spinning circle of fallen things myself. I try to order crunchy leaves in pleasing rows, but the wind churns again, kicks my accomplishments sideways. They’re not really what I want, I suppose.

Continue reading

Lessons on courage from a kindergarten writer

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Speed20

It’s September, and I am weaving through the classroom, sidling up beside kids one at a time.

Lala is my third child enjoying kindergarten with Ms. Foster, and so for the third school year, I have the privilege of assisting this wondrously talented veteran teacher during Writing Workshop. When I first helped with writing eight years ago, I wondered if it was even “right” to make such small people write in lined journals. But I’ve watched little round faces and still dimpled hands dance with letters forming words, shaping sentences, sharing story. This is not drudgery, but joy.

Each time, I approach children, I ask them to tell me what they’re writing, to count out the words in their sentence.

“I am going to the pa-ark,” one boy counts on his fingers, arriving at seven. Because, he seems to figure, park is an important word, a big one — at least worth two slots.

“Close. That’s actually six,” I count out for him, drawing lines with an orange marker for each word he’ll write with the big blue pencil in his journal.

I smile, and he nods in somewhat confused agreement.

Most of the kindergarteners are only beginning to form letters, many using squiggles in place of letters they don’t know or can’t yet stretch out. It is completely encouraged as part of the progress. Not surprisingly, this early in the year few kids write anything that resembles what we’d call sentences.

Suddenly, a little blonde-haired girl stands next to me, tears falling from saucer eyes.

“I can’t write anything,” she says. “I don’t know how to do it.”

I pull her aside and get low. “Honey, you are doing it,” I say. “You’re learning. That’s exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.”

Her mouth draws further down at the corners, and I continue.

“You are becoming a writer, and that takes time, but you’ll be amazed, bit by bit, you’ll learn more,” I say. “I can’t wait to see how your writing grows this year.”

She heads back to her desk, looks up at the ceiling.

Continue reading

My first ever guest post on the blog (by my 12-year-old daughter) and the winner of “Playdates with God”

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WinnerAnnouncement

{And the winner of “Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-Up World” is…LORI HARRIS!}

Today my daughter, “Sici” (nickname pronounced “See-See”) writes about what it means for her to preserve her childlike faith as she grows up. It started with me asking if she could draw a winner for the giveaway, which led to her asking if she could guest post for me! Such a perfect example of this girl’s spunk, focus and courage.

I couldn’t be a prouder mama to welcome my oldest girl’s words into this space. I learn so much from her each day about walking in confidence and the assuredness of who God’s made us. 

Here’s Sici…

When you talk to someone that is relaxed, calm, comfortable, and realistic with how they present themselves, you get a feeling that what is coming from them is genuine. The same is true when you are talking with God. He wants you to be real with him and be where you are.

Kids in particular are very good at this, being authentic in the presence of God. They don’t speak in fancy or intelligent ways. They are just there with Him.

Continue reading

To Live Like A Child Plus A Giveaway of “Playdates with God” by Laura Boggess

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

QuoteFromPlaydatesWithGod

If you’d like a gentle hello each time I post new, please subscribe at the sidebar or tab along the top, or Like Draw Near Blog on Facebook. I’m always so thankful that you choose to join me here.

Dirty napkins, homework packets, sticky jam spots,
markers, crumbs around my reading pile,
I try to focus on pages, but eyes
keep finding mess in the periphery.

No time to clean, only a few minutes to do this reading,
but little girl me keeps tugging at my sleeve,
no real care to order, the checklist,
she wants to play,
and grownup me senses the nudge of the mysterious yes.

Continue reading

Five Minute Friday: Care

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

CareOnPaint

It happens so often. I feel excited and all revved up to write on Friday. The word is released in Thursday’s late hours, and I see it.

Nothing.

I trace back over my week, all the memories of faces and moments, all the moments I thought I could write, and they meld from sparkling chartreuse, suede gray, scarlet and ebony into murky mud.

Continue reading

Following my own advice: Laying down “31 Days of Doing What I Say” before it begins

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

ChangeCourse

Yesterday I posted that I’d be diving this month into what I say vs. how I live, what I believe vs. how I move through the world. I intended to take an un-bossy look at personal integrity for the next 31 days in order to get at deeper Truth that sometimes passes us by. And I thought it could probably be good. Hoped so, at least.

Continue reading

Join Me Tomorrow For The Kick Off To “31 Days of Doing As I Say”

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

WelcomeBack

Wow, is it October again?! The rain and chill to the air, the abundance of horse chestnuts littering our backyard, the return of pumpkin everything all beat with the same answer.

(Um, that’s yes.)

Those of you who’ve hung around here a while — or who make your way to various spots on the inter webs — may also recognize October as the month for 31 Days, where bloggers all over God’s green earth bite off the challenge (originally given by Myquillyn Smith, aka “The Nester”) to write for 31 days on the same topic.

Last year, I wrote 31 Days of Right Here and enjoyed the journey of exploring what it means to be right where we are, even as it led to the hitting of walls, the gnashing of teeth and much undone laundry.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow for the kick-off to this year’s 31 Days series where I will write (as my girls say, “Drum roll please…”):

31 DAYS OF DOING AS I SAY

Perhaps a little strange, this topic continued coming to mind as I prayed and considered — as I begin to breathe in the space of days with all my little people at school (what do I do with my alone time? how do I treat myself?), as I recognize the areas of gap between what I think and how I live and as I look closer at those things I believe for you vs. what I receive as truth for me.

I expect myself to be convicted, but I also expect to laugh a little bit at the ridiculousness.

Case in point: Why does my bedroom floor looks like it does in the very same moment I bark at my kids, put your clothes away…it’s not that hard!

I’m excited for this month’s challenge and grateful for you as you read along. I pray you’re encouraged as you recognize a bit of yourself in my very human story and that you might draw closer to the deeper truths that may be passing you on by.

I’ll see you tomorrow!

_____________

Also, if you’d like to participate in 31 Days, it’s not too late. Everything you need to know is right here.

When growing up hurts (a mama)

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

MamaAndLala

Motherhood is push-pull. Hold me tight-let me go. It is I want you — and I want nothing to do with you. It is a long journey of holding close and releasing my grip.

I’m experiencing it with all three of my girls right now. It’s been going on with the older two in different ways, to varying degrees for many years. Lala (you know that’s her nickname, right?) didn’t begin to truly develop a strong sense of identity separate from me until about a year ago. She began to pull away later than the others. It’s partly how we knew she wasn’t ready for kindergarten. She needed to grow in her confidence and sense of herself. It’s happening now for sure.

I can feel yanked around a bit. I’m trying not to put my stuff on them. Sometimes I’m more open after days of quiet to embrace them wherever they are; other times I’m worn out by the sudden onslaught of emotional noise and need.

I try to press in and they push back. I try to leave space, and they follow me, all clinginess and demands. There are no formulas for this sort of thing…more art than science, I’m sure.

_______

The third day of school, Lala, J and I walked to school together (Sici usually walks with friends). Lala held my hand nearly the whole time, but when we began walking across the school grounds, she quickly told me I could just drop her off.

“But I get to come in for Book Look,” I said. “This is what I did with your sisters when they were in kindergarten. I came inside every day because parents and their kids get to read books together to start the day. It’s a special time.”

“That’s OK,” she said. “You don’t have to.”

“I want to,” I said. “I will.”

______

The next day, Lala told me again that she’d be great with me just dropping her off, and I gave her a variation of the same answer, adding, “I drop off your sisters now and don’t walk them to their class, but I didn’t start doing that until third grade.”

That night as I tucked Lala in, I told her that I appreciated her independence, that it was great (really), that she clearly was transitioning wonderfully to spending all day without me, but that Book Look was our time.

“Sometimes parents can’t stay to read because they need to get to work, but usually I can stay, so I’d like to. You really don’t need to keep telling me to drop you off.”

She scowled and rolled toward the wall.

_____

I talked to a friend about the lunches she gets to share with her kindergarten daughter at another school. She’s done the same with her other three. It’s a sweet time for them to reconnect in the middle of a long day. I’ve done lunch with mine a handful of times in the cafeteria, but it hasn’t really ever become a thing. (Classroom volunteering has really always been more my thing.)

Still, I wondered if lunches might become Lala’s and my deal.

I thought I might bring it up casually, see what she thought, “I could come meet you for lunch sometime, if you’d ever want me to,” I said from the kitchen.

“No, thanks,” Lala said, her voice an upbeat, munching on her toast.

_____

Lately, Lala’s been crawling into bed with Mike and me, waking us with her snuggling around the face. Sometimes she has bad dreams of jumping off cliffs or being chased by cats.

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,429 other followers