Ask Me

Aside

wpid-abm_1419804708.jpgAsk me again, whether what I have done is my life.   Ask me if the getting up and going to sleep and the moments in between is all there is. Ask me if I lived the heights and depths of my life and all the ordinary moments in between. Ask me if I smelled the frost on my daughter’s hair, smelled the earth on my son. Ask me if I chased my dreams, if I gazed at Christ, if I did everything that was put before me. Ask me I took my place at tables set for me.

Go ahead. Ask me.

Ask me about the words I didn’t write and the walks I didn’t take. Ask me about the people on the margins I left there alone. Ask me about the gifts I hoarded or the risks I didn’t take.

Go ah…wait. Maybe don’t.

No don’t because then I will have to tell you that I get lazy and distracted and caught up in the ordinary. I will tell you I wasted too many evenings this year on facebook and days on netflix. I will tell you that I get nervous sometimes that as I enter the decade of, what statisticians calculate as the most productive of my life, that I am getting it wrong. I will tell you that my heart is madly restless these days, that I am desperate for what the next thing is. I will tell you that this year…I want focus.

I will tell you that every year at this time I say the same thing a different way, that I want to be HERE and in the NOW but also…but also. But also I don’t want to miss a thing. I want to be everywhere, all at once. I want to climb mountain tops and swim with dolphins. I want whatever is meant for me and I don’t want to miss a second of this life or waste it on  regret. This  year, 2015, I want to live with intention and focus and I don’t want life to happen TO me. I want to step into my gifting and I want to do the next million tiny things. I want to stack one tiny thing on top of the next and I want my heart to break and beat for the things of God.

And this isn’t about trying harder or doing more. This is about peeling back scaled eyelids and watching with glittering eyes. This is about not letting my life happen to me, not picking up the phone without thinking. Not skipping between various screens.This is about watching for the opportunities I’m given. This is about paying attention to surprising things that make my heart beat…like writing and preaching and crashing waves and poetry. This is about making space for the things I care about doing. This is about filling myself before I leave the house. About waking just a little early moving and thinking and intentionally planning my days. We are the curators of our lives, the only ones who decide what it is filled with.

My little girl woke me in the night. I held her little hand as I walked her to our bed, I kissed her satin soft skin. Then I spent a long time looking out the window. The sky was bruised deep purple and navy blue. The stars were blazing hot. The trees were so loaded with snow that I thought they might break.

Ask me if I noticed.

On purposeFierceAsk me2015

Five Minute Friday: Exhale

Beauty and Grace

Five Minutes on the prompt “Exhale”

I am staring at the pines today. The tall lodgepoll, though the trees are not old here. Nothing more then 30 years I would guess. They reach straight up, like skinny boys at age 15 not yet filled up in the shoulders, like deflated balloons. The wind blows here at the top of Swithback Mountain and the trees lean to one side or the other, spun, drunk on mountain air.

I’ve been sitting on the porch each morning, returning each evening. I know the pattern of the squirrels, the birds, what time my dog calls it a night and retreats to the dog house. I’ve been writing too and feel my words rushing back like a rising river ready to breach the banks.

I’ve shut down social media on my phone…removed all of it (save instagram of course…I’ve got a…thing).

I can feel my lungs expanding too. Breath reaching all the way to the bottom lobes, exhaling in triumph the old must air. I’ve been holding onto it, I did not even know, but I think the muse just replaced the must.

It is the sound of wind in trees, Frazey Ford, the tick of irrigation, the fountain. It feels like a slower pace, lazy mornings, an absense of obligation. It is, each morning, asking what is new? What is new? How can I partake.  It is the ever changing response, the way I learn to listen, breathe.

 

(oh Hiiiiiiii Lisa-Jo and Co…been missing you all!)

Prompt “The Sweater”

Joining Amber Haines and Emily Wierenga as we seek our written voices. Playing with fiction and the prompt “Sweater”. I am also attempting to play with a slightly longer piece of fiction this November. I will use this character sketch in it and  this little piece takes my word count to 4354. It is awful…But I am having fun. 

He pulls his favorite cardigan from the closet, pulls it over his vintage t-shirt, his black rim glasses. It was the sweater he bought for that ‘ugly sweater party’ a few years ago and he has since noticed that all theme parties are brief apparitions before a new trend appears. His girlfriends hot pink tights, his moustache. We laugh loudest, rail most extravagantly, just before we fall off every fashion cliff. We scream the loudest at the demons in our own heads.

Martin is a man of strong conviction, though his convictions are subject to change with extravagant frequency and fervor. One day he will fight hard against women in leadership and the very next he will be the most ardent of feminists, astounded that anyone could still hold such archaic beliefs as he had just held the day before. He loves to talk about music and the books he pretends to read but especially what he calls ‘serving the Lord’. To him, the walls between secular and holy are high and solid. To him stacking chairs at church is entirely different from stacking chairs at school. But that was today. Tomorrow he might tell you something entirely different.

He waxes and wanes with the seasons, with the articles he reads, the conversations he has and no man in the history of earth has simultaneously loved and loathed himself so intensely. He is the sort of beautifully broken that women fall in love with from across the room, they stand in line to be the one who can finally save him from himself. The problem is, he turns to sand in their hands, sub atomic particles, he dissolves into the black hole of his narcissism, vanishes from their sight. In the end the women walk away fairly unscathed; somewhere down deep they knew that he had no capacity to love them no matter how much passion he had shown.

You didn’t imagine it: Prompt Stairs

Joining Amber Haines as we seek our written voices. Playing with fiction and the prompt “Stairs”. I know I’m not doing the abstraction exactly Amber…but…I’m having fun. Feeling a character forming…maybe a longer piece to come?

False image of myself, I beg you: Kill“. She reads it aloud. Then over and over.

A prayer. A mantra.

Kill. Kill. Kill.

She turns around and he is there, watching her. It can’t possibly be chance.

“You didn’t imagine it” she breathes.

Her voice heavy almost hoarse with the weight of it.

“But you won’t imagine it again”.

Rattle passes through her chest as final breath. She climbs the stairs, cries herself to sleep.

Something smells like death.

She wears silver: Prompt Necklace

Joining Amber Haines as we seek our written voices. Playing with fiction and the prompt “Necklace”

1.

She wears pearls and platinum and is the sort of woman who folds her towel mid way through washing her face. She knows the thread count on each set of sheets and irons them before she makes the bed, miters the corners.

Her children go to bed on time and her husband knows where the table linens are kept, what her ring size is.

She likes to walk into the room and know what is expected, what you have planned. She has advice for you, she will email it to you unsolicited.

She is afraid most nights, that the pearls are going to suffocate her while she sleeps.

2.

She wears silver. Big costume jewelery with fake stones and twisted metal. Her dresser is a suitcase, her home a plane. She rolls her eyes when you talk about invitations for children’s birthday parties, what sort of weed killer to use, how to clean the gutters.

She laughs at your religiosity whilst telling you how the points of light guided her home, how all the stars aligned to help her find herself.

She wouldn’t dare tell you that she is afraid she might float away into space, lose her whole spirit, if she took off  that silver medallion, hung it up in an ensuite bathroom.

3.

She hangs her amber stone next to the tear drop pearl. She doesn’t know any better than you do which is more ‘her’. But she will wear them both with authority and she will make you believe. She shapeshifts to fit your fantasy; make you fall in love with her. She has always been empty enough, that you could fill her with what you believed to be the best fit, she would always believe you were right.

She is passionate in her sway to the left and then to the right but plants her feet one after the other on the solid yellow lines.

She has stopped believing in heroes and villains, but still…if you will rescue her she will clasp that necklace on tight, whisper sweetly what she thinks you want to hear.

Five Minute Friday: Join

A free write…five minutes on the prompt “Join”.

It is time to join with the dreamers and schemers, because you were meant to walk in that same direction. Against the pulse of the whole rest of the world and against your own good sense. You were meant to walk in the direction of your fear, to the other side of the end of yourself and to suddenly feel the breath of God beneath you.

 

 

I feel it beckoning. There are doors closing on me and windows opening and I feel wind blowing. I feel claws at my feet and a thousand directions I could go, but I know, finally, which steps I must take. I know which claws to fight off and ignore and where to lay my time…my service.

“Be careful what you pretend to be” he said to me “you might just become it” and he was quoting and it struck me true. Tell me this pretense you’ve been living? Do you like it? Is it who you really hope to be? This life you are living..it is your kick at the can. How will your husband speak of you someday? Your children…what will they say? The friends you have? Will they rise up and call you blessed?

 

 

I’m not telling you to be perfect…I got over that a long time ago.  It is the journey that really counts anyways…this side of heaven there is no destination. Just the measure of these very short days, how will you spend them?

 

I know who I am joining. The justice seekers. The joy bringers. The dream chasers. The Jesus finders.

Yes. Join us?

 

 

(blech…forgive me for publishing this. But a five minute free write is a five minute free write…right? Anyways…bedtime for the little people is calling…I must join them)

 

 

 

Imaginary and Parallel

I have a parallel and imaginary life I escape to sometimes.

It involves artists and writers and music being played too loud and too late. It involves tiny cups, steaming and dark brown and larger tumblers, warm and red.  It is flowing skirts on cobblestone streets lined with flower shops. It sounds like water lapping the shore and it involves an MFA in creative writing. It is walks down ancient streets, white paper and black ink and me overlooking the mediterranean ocean.

It is 98% solitude and zero responsibility. I think that is sort of the point of its genesis. When life looms heavy over me. When I am all grown up and too responsible I escape there. My good man can sense it clear and the best thing about him is how he always knows when to push me out; when to pull me close.

So yesterday I took a whole day. I read in a cafe patio for three hours. I shopped in beautiful stores with breakable things and didn’t even ‘break’ a sweat. I looked soothingly at the sweaty mother pulling her three-year old around.  I drove back roads and mountain highways and I wrote for three hours in a mountain lodge. I listened to my music loud and I let my hair fly free. I met a writer friend in the woods and we talked of womanhood and life and the imaginary life that is perhaps a future season. We talked of how to embrace the beauty of the now. How maybe it is possible to be all mom and a little bit passionate and expansive. How to bring the parallel words into one common path. We prayed amongst her children and in the middle of a youth camp and I was distracted…yet. It is the real and it is the now and I don’t want to miss a moment.

I drove home faster and I crawled under quilts and tickled her soft skin. My wild heart found in the place that helps it be the most passionate and free of all. Him, they, this life. The one I choose, today, every day.

(Post inspired by Laisha Rosnaus poem “Sister Life” which I read I thought….I’m not the only one!)