Category Archives: the simple things in life

For When You’re Feeling Small {An Abstraction on Yield for Concrete Words}

I don’t count myself very big. I’m all of 5’3, slender hands and small, narrow feet that shoes flop all over the place on unless I get just the right, snug fit. I’ve lost more weight, making my frame smaller, and my clothes a little loose, and I like the feeling, sort of how it feels to be lost in the back of a crowd, where no one can see. 

I know I should eat, but it’s hard. A lot of things that are good for me are very hard. They require yielding and effort on my part. 




On a beautiful, cold and crisp October morning, hundreds of women were driving and flying and carpooling to South Carolina from all over two countries to the Allume writer’s conference and me? I had to stay at home. Again. 

The ache of being left behind can feel very lonely. I was so looking forward to the glory of God there, the meat I would be fed with, the renewal I would receive, the direction I needed to push my weary bones on ahead, an animal’s ears perked up and ready for action by call of the Farmer’s familiar, gravelly voice. 


But my children were sick, and there was a different call from the one I was expecting. Perhaps I had not allowed myself to hear the familiar voice in a while, and forgot the sound. I’m an animal out of practice in wearing a harness, bit and reigns. My back has been bare and I have loved the feeling of roaming wild, hair whipping, lashing me in the face. He lets me feel the sting of my carelessness. 

And I could just almost hear the faint sound… God speaking to me in a different way, because who can deny what’s so obviously staring them down? He had placed them right in front of me. 


The children. The pine floors needing washing. Laundry needing to be folded, dirty dishes, and oatmeal cookie ingredients sitting in the cabinet to nurture a child’s belly and heart. 




Home. He had placed home right in front of me. 

It sounds cliche, but my small life is what I need, it’s what He’s given, and why run after things that seem greater? Why try to be a superstar? 


Oh, believe me, I don’t write to be known…. it never was about that. And honestly, most days, I want to closed down the blog, hide away and not be known at all. Because I am small and I know it. It would be easier to disappear than to keep offering up these meager, stray crumbs. 


No, I write because I can’t help myself. But a book? Being an author? Yeah, that’d be nice… and don’t we all have dreams and aspirations, and when I see others doing great and mighty works for God, I admit, I lose my wits for a moment and wonder how I could pursue that better, how I could get a book, or go on a missions trip. I’ve wanted to for years, before I started writing, and yet even though that desire is God-given, maybe it’s not the time. It seems God would have me stay. 


Why is staying so hard? 


Why is feeling small so heartbreaking? 


Why do I have this split personality that doesn’t want to be seen, but wants someone to approve, to see me and say who I am and what I bring to the table is good? 


This is a human condition and none of us can escape it. Needing and striving for approval here on this earth becomes sin in us because it consumes, and we forget to even look up and recognize the Father’s voice, to ask Him what He thinks. 


The beauty of sacrifice can be a beautiful thing when we yield. My yielding has come slowly and painfully. I can be a bulldog when I dig in hard and am determined to get something done. I show teeth when someone tells me I’m trying too hard, that it’s not working and I should just quit. It just makes me tighten my grip.


This comes from a hard grit I have deep inside that gets me through the hard times and the things I think I can’t do. But  God knows just how to pull the things from my heart that He needs to get from me. The tender things, the ripened fruit in due season. He is the Great Tiller I believe. 


He watches over the soil of my heart, like only a Good Farmer can. And like the Gentle Father He is, He patiently waits til I’m ready, tends me, constantly sees after me, and when I have fruit to give, be it ever so small and pitiful, he looks on it lovingly because what I can’t see is that in His eyes it is great and beautiful and powerful. 


And then in the way only His miraculous hands can, He touches it and it multiplies, producing the most bountiful gorgeous sweet goodness one hundred times over. I’m so blessed to call Him Father, so blessed to be staying home with my sweet, sick children who need me, though my first inclination is to run far away and take a vacation. I’m trusting He knows what I really need beyond what I can see. I’m holding his hand, trusting and taking every little gift that comes disguised, wrapped up looking like heartache, failure or disappointment, and receiving it as blessing from His hand, one thousand and more overflowing. Ten thousand blessings besides.


I trust Him, the Great Farmer of my heart, and I tilt my head slightly, ear listening for that familiar sound. 


I think the Whisper is saying to do the really hard things. I eat. I go to the grocery store. I cook nutritious meals. I check homework, scrub kitchen counters, bathe little ones, fold clothes, hold my tongue when I’m angry, love them when they drive me crazy. I talk to my children about house rules. I put my foot firmly down on the pine floors and take ground back when they run over me. 


And with my foot firmly in place, it feels like home. We are grounded.


We are cupped. And whole, and feel a little closer to heaven. It’s completely enough. 


What this link-up is about: We “write out spirit” by practicing writing about the invisible using concrete words. In case you are going “what in the world is a concrete word?!“–this just means (using the prompt to inspire) write out what’s around us–concrete words make the senses come alive, gives place. In every story, there is always an above and beneath, a beside, something tucked away, aromas in the air, something calling in the trees or from the street, notes in our pocket, rocks in our shoes, sand between our toes. Go here to see Amber’s take on this. It was very helpful to me–I think it will be beneficial for you, too.

A few simple guidelines:       1. Be sure you link up the URL to your Concrete Words
                                             post and not just your blog home page URL.
                                         2. Put a link to this post on your blog so that others
                                             can find their way back here.
                                         3. Try to visit one or two others and encourage their efforts
                                         4. Please write along with us, using concrete words–
                                             and the prompt–Please no entries with how-to’s, advertising,
                                             or sponsored posts
                                         5. We connect on twitter with the hashtag #concretewords–
                                               please share so others can join!

Today’s prompt is Yield


{I will highlight a beautiful post from this link-up on Friday (and announce it on social media), so visit back here to see whose post is highlighted and encourage them!}

Advertisements

Graceful: A Summer Captured {Five Minute Friday}

Graceful like the long flowing sundress I’m wearing, and the hot summer breeze that takes my breath away.

Like so much butter pecan ice cream piled high, root beer poured in and how we all just slow down for a moment and watch as it froths up in the breeze of the kitchen fan, summer a damp sheen on our skin. Husband watches too, a proud satisfied smile, his reward.

It’s how we take a root beer float to a little girl down the street, how we just walk right up and they aren’t expecting it, and her grin spreading wide and captivating me.

 
 

We shovel dirt, breaking in brazen sun, beads of sweat rolling down the small of my back.

It takes work to make things beautiful. I am thankful for the warm days to bathe in.

A little one takes a break, face red, she lies across the pool slide. We plant lillies, their orange manes roaring up a hello at me.

We put our meat on a stick right down into a flame, and marshmellows over a fire taste yummy and  gooey and sticky on little hands.

 
 
 
 

We play dress-up and have fabulous plays, we chase lizards and frogs, and the smell of hay and fresh-cut grass catches us by surprise, traveling inside and filling our heads with the grainy, earthy aroma.

                                                          

 

It’s the simple things that are filled with so much grace.

It’s in how I take a blanket out and it parachutes down softly hitting the ground, covering so gently underneath dappled, cool light.

We find a flat spot for steaming green tea made cool by frozen cubes plunked in. I cut into the dripping yellow running over the stiff white with the steely, hard edge of a fork.

We lengthen and stretch out our day, give it a rhythm of words called out and problems added up and subtracted and the answer is one graceful summer.

***It took a little longer than 5 minutes to write this–but I had so much fun with it; I didn’t worry about how my writing sounded, as the rules go–just what came to mind and heart– and wanted to share our summer in colors beautiful and express what’s on my heart as it comes to a close and fall ushers in…….. {The pictures took longer than 5 minutes as well ~chuckle~} I hope the other 5-Minute Friday Girls will forgive me! I will be back on the 5 Minute Friday link-up with a true 5 min. write soon–they are so much fun!!

Linking up with Lisa-Jo where we try out an exercise of writing only for five minutes, releasing and not regretting whatever flies out of it’s cage in that five minutes! Pure joy! Join us?
Five Minute Friday

It’s The Simple Things In Life That Make Us Happy

I want to bask in the sun, go for walks, watch little hands pick up leaves from hardened ground. I want to push the tire swing round and round, feel the breeze as little voices squeal with delight, be drawn into childhood by the smiling sun faces, and forget there is a thing such as worry, time that ticks, things that need doing.

I wrote this to a friend, and I was so weary-worn with life, and now that life has happened (as I’m learning it always does), again I’m reminded that He gives me all things I ask. Hasn’t He given me that? Hasn’t he answered prayers that fell silent on my lips, prayers my heart did not want to pray? Stubbornly stayed quiet and forgot how? Even forgot how to hope, forgot what faith was? Hasn’t my heart been cold and listless, angry like a child just wanting and demanding and screaming at the world, “Give me what I want”?

And here I am, after all of my stubborn silence and watered down faith, once again enjoying the breeze and freedom. just seeing her swing in the sky, smile the whole country wide, cornsilk hair flowing and she’s flying and this is the way of happiness because when she’s flying so am I. And this moment is teaching me the real secret, the real secret to divine happiness, divine grace, grace that dissolves my angry, weary, hopeless heart and lets the light in.

In my heart I know what I was before I was set free. Like a caged bird I was driven half mad by the constant time-ticking, assignments due, cranky, crying baby and toddler, shuffling papers, chiming ear-piercing sing-songs, college instructors expecting live online study sessions, demands of meals to be fixed, mountain of dirty laundry, spelling words to be called out, and “Mama I have no uniform for tomorrow”, “F” math paper that needs working on, fuzzy head that won’t think, heart that won’t melt because it must be strong, and chest that won’t stop hurting because it can’t take anymore, and I didn’t know which world I was apart of. How could I, with so many conflicting duties?

I know, and remember how I yelled at Bella, like an insane woman when she would rattle paper, or sing about the chu-chu-train coming when she would hear the whiste blowing. I had no joy at all; did not like hearing my children singing or chanting, talking, did but at the same time didnt want to be in the kitchen with my family, making supper, helping with math, and spelling words–I just wanted, needed to escape, like a prisoner worn with the years of nothingness and hoplessness of being behind bars. I was cracked and stressed, the chipped edges falling away like pieces of hard clay being pounded off the rim of smooth bowl with hammer.

Just simply giving a smile to my child, so that she didnt feel the hard blow of a mother always disapproving felt like trying to peel concrete off of the ground. And the pain of that was excruciating, because this was not who I wanted to be, and she deserves a smile of grace, especially after changing diapers, helping prepare supper, lighting candles for Daddy, and making home joyful with her innocent eyes, always seeking approval, and angel voice, so quiet and reverant.

Now i can smile happy when Bella rejoices with her sing-song voice, “chu chu train coming–chu chu train coming..” She chants over and over in her little obsessive three year old imaginative world, and I laugh softly to myself, knowing that these moments fade all too soon.

So i must give God glory for all of the things He is doing in my life, even the hard things, the very, very, hard things. I am learning, what is it?<a href="“>eucharisteo–the word with the hard meaning and the even harder meaning to live, as Ann Voskamp so beautifully and cleverly pens it.

So this is my prayer, that this simple life of grace would always be known by me, that I will not forget what I have learned. I ask only to delight in the simple things in life: hand-me-down sweaters, holey jeans, socks that need mending

wildflowers picked for Mama because Mama likes pretty things, a favorite worn-out t shirt, one pair of nice shoes that took all of Mama and Daddy’s savings

laundry folded and put neatly away (or laying in the open where everyone can grab away), finding a robin’s nest in a tree, saying hello to a caterpillar making his way across the sidewalk

love-games at the supper table, lazy summer afternoons swinging on the porch, simple birthday celebrations with family

reading a good novel with my girls in bed, a low luminous white moon, a cotton candy cloud sunset, playing, talking, reading, and painting with my children…having talks about Jesus…

hilarious fun…

and laughing just because my heart is light, it feels good, and i know that it is good for their heart too…

God, Let me always be thankful for the small things. Let me slow to see You in everything. This is how I am healed, how I am made whole.

#46 how Lilly toddles and follows Elvis around, and when she gets him, she holds tight like an obsessed sumo wrestler

#47 sisters helping each other climb and laughing as they miss the mark

#48 Ivy and Lorna holding Lilly’s hand and taking care of her so lovingly

#49 Lilly’s intrigued shreak when she sees Elvis

#50 yellow flowers crushed in her palm, giving to me because she hopes i’ll like them

#51 knowing that God has given me the grace to enjoy the simple things

#52 that i’m learning to live my one life well

#53 how Bella says, in her sweet soft voice, “Mama, you gotta get me down”.

#54 that she always calls me when she is in trouble or needs help

#55 sweet and wet and glowy baby smiles

#56 her cornsilk hair streaming in the wind

#57 Bella’s quietness and how she teaches me to just slow and still

#58 how this moment makes me realize all that i have to give

#59 that i have been given this opportunity to be free

#60 that i can live the moments that make up a life and not waste them; i dont have to let them slip right through

#61 i can hold these moments and treasure them, because God is holding me, and He has said it is holy

#62 that God has given me the grace to see this season as a time of hope for the future, and not a time of waste or loss or failure

#63 girls hanging from trees like monkeys

#65 tire swing going round and round, higher and higher, blinding sun the destination

#66 that the SON is my destination; i am only here for a moment, but a weary pilgrim passing through

#67 that Jesus is real, touchable, He was with His disciples (“then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples”–John 6:3)

#68 that eucharisteo always precedes the miracle–i am learning through this book–(“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted..”–John 6:11)–if you read further, Jesus retreats into a mountain alone–i dont think this was easy for him–it was hard thanks.

#69 this word, eucharisteo, meaning hard thanks, opens my eyes to how my life has had holes in it–places that are broken that need mending

#70 that God can mend all the brokenness with His grace, love, hope, and joy when i give the hard thanks. thanks always–even when its hard.

To share in the counting and connect with other women (mommies, grandmommies, and singles alike) who are doing the same, slip over to Ann Voskamp’s site with this button: