Category Archives: Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: Belong

I haven’t participated in Five Minute Friday in awhile. That’s when I join Lisa-Jo and her friends and write for five minutes without stopping or editing on whatever word she assigns. This week the word is “Belong.”  Read more FMF posts here.

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I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling like I didn’t fit exactly. I was too this or not enough that. I haven’t had many times in my life where I felt like many people knew who I really was. Many times I felt like an outsider looking in on other people’s lives while mine seemed suspended in time somewhere.

I know we weren’t meant to be eternally happy here. This isn’t the “true Narnia.”  But still it’s nice to have pieces of time when I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be at exactly the right time.

I feel that here. This feels like the place where I fit.

Sure, I live in a beautiful place, but it’s more than just the scenery.

I have friends here, but it’s not even that people know me any better here than anywhere else I’ve lived. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe I’m more comfortable in my own skin now that I don’t feel like I have to be the most loved person in the room.

I know it’s not because I don’t have any problems here, because even in this tropical paradise, bad things happen and I find myself fighting some of the same battles I’ve had to fight over and over again.  Even now, my heart is broken over sad things I can’t fix.

But even in the midst of the ugly, it is well with my soul here. I can breathe here. I feel most like whomever I’m supposed to be here.

I don’t know how long this place will be my home. But I’m thankful for this moment. I’m thankful for the minutes in my day when I can stop and look around and know I’m exactly where I belong.

For this place, for this now, I am grateful.

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Remember

Ever since I made a commitment to myself to write a blog post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, those three days have been crazier than they’ve ever been before. Friday was no exception. I had hoped to join in on Five Minute Friday, but I just didn’t have a chance to work it into my schedule.

The topic Lisa Jo chose for this week was “Remember.” I’m not setting the timer, but this is what I would have written  if I’d had a chance….

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I remember you sitting at the dining room table with your NCAA brackets sheet. Every March you’d fill one out and compete with the guys at work to see who could pick the most winners. I don’t remember when I decided I wanted to do it, too, but every year since, I filled out my own brackets. I don’t think you took my participation seriously. Maybe that’s because I didn’t have a very scientific way of choosing my winners. I’d pick the ones with the best mascots or only the schools whose names I recognized, or even by who picked the best color combinations for their uniforms. And without fail, no matter how they’d played all season, I’d put Duke in my Final Four and I always picked Duke to win it all. You’d shake your head and consult the scores to see how well you’d fared.

No matter where I lived, when March rolled around, I’d fill out my brackets because it made me feel closer to you. Sometimes I’d mention it to you when we talked on the phone, but many years, I never said a word. But I faithfully participated because I knew you were, too.

Since you died, I haven’t filled out the basketball brackets. Everything had changed and since you were why I started doing it in the first place, I didn’t see any reason.

But your youngest grandson has decided  basketball is his favorite sport. So this year, I printed out brackets for the boys and me. Maybe one day they will remember how their mom checked the scores to see how we all fared. I can’t say that my selections were anymore scientific than they used to be, and as always, I put Duke in my Final Four, but I chose Indiana to win it all. Because sometimes things don’t stay exactly the same.

But I’ll always remember.

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Five Minute Friday: Home

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The Facebook requests usually start trickling in from my most organized friends at the end of October:

“Message me your new address so I can send you a Christmas card.”

I dutifully reply with the numbers and street of the house where we’ll be putting up our Christmas tree that year, but always remind my friends to “write it in pencil, because it’s likely to change.”

And it does. Sometimes before the next batch of Christmas cards is addressed.

Because of my husband’s job–his calling–this is the way my family does life. For us, home is not a physical place, it is a feeling we create.

On a fairly regular basis, we find new rooms to inhabit where we unpack our familiar pieces and hang them on unfamiliar walls.

Every move I try to pinpoint the exact time that a new place feels like home. Is it after all the boxes are unpacked? When we can make it to the grocery store and back without using the GPS? I don’t know for sure. I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s when we decide we are home, because home is a place we carry around with us in our hearts wherever we go.

Home is where you others give you parts of themselves and you return the favor.

That’s why South Africa was home even though I only spent a few weeks there.

It’s why my kids look confused and don’t have a good answer when people ask them “where they’re from.”

It’s why we feel so conflicted about the decisions we need to make about where to start the next chapter of our family’s story.

We make new friends and keep the old, leaving pieces of our hearts every place we’ve ever been.

Everywhere we live, I pull the “Bloom Where You’re Planted” sign out of a box. I find the “Bloom Where You’re Planted” magnet that Tanya gave me and I put it on my refrigerator. It used to be a reminder that I had to put down roots in order for my life to have beautiful flowers in a place. Now it serves as more of a declaration of who I am, of what my family has become.

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No matter how much I love where I am, part of me is always restless for wherever I will be next. For awhile I thought it was because I missed the family and friends I’d left behind. Then I thought it was because I’d become use to a nomad existence. Now I think God made all of us that way because as wonderful as life can be in community with people we love, this Earth is not our forever home. All of us, no matter how long we’ve had the same address, are transients passing through on the way our real home.

Until then, we play house here and make our homes in our heart and wherever God takes us on this journey.

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Aw, man! I didn’t want to stop! I loved this theme and wanted to write chapters and chapters!! So many ideas!! But having a timer allows me to write guilt-free on a day that I need to be doing so many other things, so I’ll stop with my unfinished ending. But as I was writing, I couldn’t help but think about this passage and so I pulled down my copy of Mere Christianity and found the passage that I couldn’t get out of my head:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only kind of a copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find until after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.”   C.S. Lewis

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Five Minute Friday: Bare

Sometimes on Fridays, I join They Gypsy Mama and her friends for Five Minute Friday. She gives us a topic and we “write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.” Today’s topic? Bare.

I wrote this post in my head while I was taking a shower. An appropriate place to think about the word “bare,” don’t you think?

I was always the modest one, hiding in the corner of the girls’ locker room to change clothes for P.E., marveling at those girls who could pull their shirts over their head mid-sentence, seemingly unaware that they were exposed to the rest of us.

I remember the day I became less modest: January 20, 2001. It was the day my first born son made a scene when he entered the word, displaying for the first, but not last time, his strong-willed tendencies when he refused to take that first breath on his own. I’d had a perfectly blissful and boring pregnancy, so none of us were expecting any problems. I’m not sure if it was the shock or the fact that I had been a NICU nurse, but as I watched the doctors stick a tiny tube down his throat and saw them press on his little chest, I felt like this craziness was happening to someone else’s baby. This surely wasn’t happening to me or my child. From my cloud of surreal surprise, as I watched nurses and doctors flood into and out of my hospital room, the most out-of-place thought popped into my head:

“I’m lying in this bed with my feet in stirrups and the door wide open, totally exposed for the whole wide world to see.”

And I just as quickly realized that the baby they were working on and had been waiting to meet for over nine months was in danger and I could not have cared less who saw all of me at that moment. All of my attention and energies were focused on that little boy and praying like I’d never prayed before that he was going to be okay.

The crisis passed almost as quickly as it had began, and that little baby is now a 12-year-old boy who still has strong-willed tendencies and a flair for the dramatic at times. But I’m not as modest as I was before that day.

My emotional modesty wasn’t lost in a moment or even a day. I think I’m still losing it in stages.

I lost a little the first time I shared a little bit of my story to a group of ladies and was overwhelmed by the number of new friends who came up to me after to say, “What, you, too? I thought I was the only one.”

I lost a little more when I married a man whose job requires us to move a lot and make friends quickly. I don’t have time to hide myself under layers and layers of pretense for potential friends to dig through and uncover. I have to be who I am right from the first hello.

I lost more when I decided to start a blog, not knowing that this would be the place I processed how I was feeling about my dad’s cancer and the fact that God decided it would be best for him to be healthy in Heaven but not here. I’ve bared my heart and soul here even when it wasn’t comfortable.

I lost even more on the blog that I didn’t make public and in my heart-felt prayers that I didn’t put into words. The places where I spit and spew and wrestled.

Bare is only one letter away from brave. It takes a lot of courage to say, “Here I am. This is me. This is my truth.” But with that openness comes freedom to be who we were created to be, not some cheap facsimile of ourselves that we don’t even recognize in the mirror.

I’m learning to bare myself to my Maker. Although He knows me better than I know myself, something happens inside me when I’m completely, unashamedly honest with Him.

Just as I am,

though tossed about

with many a conflict, many a doubt.

Fightings and fears, within, without

O Lamb of God, I come.
I come.


I’m still modest. Inside and out. And a little modesty is good, both inside and out. Some things are just not meant for the whole world to see.

But I’m still learning to be dare to be bare (just inside) to myself and to the rest of the world, discovering who I am and who I’m supposed to be.

Okay, that was a full 15 minutes because I got interrupted twice and was in  the middle of a sentence and thought it rude to not let myself finish a thought. But I’m pushing the “publish” button without editing, which still makes my insides hurt.

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Five Minute Friday: Cherished

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Before I start writing all willy-nilly for five minutes, a couple of things.

First, Kelly read my last Five Minute Friday post and told me that since our pool is a lap pool, if I try to dive into it, I would surely die or at the least, potentially cause great harm to myself. So if I learn to dive in 2013, it will not be in that pool. Good to know and I am really glad he reads my blog and keeps me (often) from doing crazy things that would not turn out nicely.

Second, I’m working hard to be more consistent in a lot of areas in my life and showing up here is on that list. It’s just that adding full-time teacher to my responsibilities when we decided to homeschool this year (not sure if I mentioned that) has put a major dent in my stack of free minutes, and that pile wasn’t overflowing to begin with. Just wanted you to know I’m trying and will hopefully get better. I appreciate those of you who still stop by to read.

So without further ado, I’m setting my timer for five minutes and I’m joining a bunch of other sweet bloggers at Tales From a Gypsy Mama to free flow write on the topic Lisa-Jo chose for us today. On my mark, get set…..

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Many minutes in my day I see their faces, but I don’t cherish them.

I hear their words, but I don’t let them sink into where I’m living in the middle of grocery lists and laundry piles and the next thing I can cross off on my To Do List.

I think about being “intentional,” but quite honestly, in the busyness of Wednesday, I let a lot of minutes slip on by in my hurry to get to the time written on my calendar. The place we have to be. The activity we have to attend.

But then there are moments I remember to cherish.

The way her sweet, angelic face beamed when I remembered to tell her how much I appreciated how I could trust her word. She needs to hear those words from me.

The grin he gave when I snuggled beside him on the couch to work his tangram puzzle with him. I need to remember that snuggling is his love language.

The very detailed story he told when I actually listened and with my body language told him I was interested and wanted to hear more. He’s not that far from being a teenager and I’m not guaranteed I’m always going to be the one he wants to tell his stories to.

The way we sat on the couch together wrapped up in one blanket holding hands. Sometimes I need to be reminded that we are still on the longest date of our lives. I don’t always remember to treat him like my boyfriend.

The sunsets this week that I stopped and savored. I’m so thankful for my life and where God has allowed us to be. I work very hard to savor every experience of this season.

The minutes this morning when I dug deeper under my blanket and deeper into God’s Word. I’ve been so inconsistent in my times with my Father, but I’ve been working on that this month. And I’m starting to feel a little closer to God again.

After she’s written a personal note to each member of her immediate family, Karen Kingsbury always closes the dedications of her books the same way:

“And to God Almighty, the Author of Life who has — for now — blessed me with these.”

I think it’s the “for now” that gets me, because I know firsthand how short “for now” can be. But it’s a reminder to me to cherish the faces, the words, the touches, the moments together and to let those I love know how very cherished they are to me.

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Five Minute Friday: Dive

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I never learned how to do a dive properly. I told myself I couldn’t. I wasn’t brave enough. I wasn’t graceful enough.

One summer when I was young, my next door neighbor tried to teach me how to dive. I would watch her closely, trying to memorize her form. Arms arched gracely above her head, fingers overlapping. Body curved, head down, she gripped the edge of the pool with her toes. With hardly a splash, she entered the water and surfaced with a smile, inviting me to follow her lead. That summer I mastered the cannon ball and belly flop, but I never learned how to do a proper dive. It just wasn’t in me.

Sometimes I’m the same way about my life. I watch from the shallow end where I sit with my legs dangling in the water. Close enough to feel the splash from those who dared to go deeper, but not part of the pool party.

But some days I’m different. Maybe now that I’m in my forties I’m finally becoming more comfortable with who I am. Maybe I’m not as afraid of mistakes or messiness or even failure as I was when life seemed more like a perfect piece of white paper I was afraid I would mess up with my childish scribblings.

Lately I’ve been bolder. I used to wait until someone gave me permission or at least invited me to try something new. But on a few occasions, I’ve been the one to offer my services. I am starting to trust myself to know what might be in me better than others.  Life’s too short not to try the things that scare me. I don’t want to wonder what might have happened if I knocked on few doors rather than wait for someone to open them all for me. I’m learning to trust  I have more of God inside of me than I’ve allowed the world to see.

For this season, I live in a house that has a pool in the backyard. Maybe 2013 will be the year I finally learn how to do a proper dive.IMG_1079

Today I’m participating in Five Minute Friday with THE GYPSY MAMA.  On Fridays, Lisa-Jo offers a prompt and participants write for five minutes without editing or worrying that every word is perfect and every sentence grammatically correct. Take a look at what she and other bloggers did with today’s prompt.

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