Monday, September 30, 2013

Hope Returns

Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up.  And it will...
line from the movie Hope Floats

I am a pretty hopeful person normally.  I tend to be a glass half full kinda gal most of the time, but somehow I slipped recently.  Life threw me some curve balls I didn't see coming and I forgot to duck.  I started losing hope.
I actually thought I was doing a good job putting on a smile for the world. Waiting until I was alone at night to let down my guard and cry out to God in prayer ... why me? why now?  Yeah, I know, pity parties for one are no good, but I'm human --- what can I say?

I didn't fool the Geek.  He saw my hidden tears and did his best to lift me up.  I regrettably gave him a hard time and yet he continued to love me --- broken halo and all.

This past weekend, I met with my writing group for our monthly critique and chat fest.  I hadn't been able to go for a while (on account of all those curve balls life had thrown me) and it felt good to get back to it.  I haven't done much writing (those pesky curveballs again) so I submitted a recent blog post for their feedback.  They are my biggest cheerleaders --- always encouraging me to remember that I am a writer (I still have moments of doubt) and giving me constructive feedback on ways to continue to improve my craft.  Upon reading my work, they once again praised my effort.  Despite their praise, however, they felt something was missing.  They said my writings often reflect my topsy-turvy life in a relatable way and this was another example of it, with one major piece missing --- hope.  They said that while I share how life tries it's best to get to me, I never fail to share the hope that things will get better ... because it always does.

Apparently, I didn't fool them either.

Thankfully, my hope has returned.  I am slowly getting use to our "new normal" here on the farm  --- dealing with my mother's increasing dependence on me with God's grace to lift me when I need it most.  God has strengthened my faith and hope that things will indeed get better.

And the icing on the cake?  I have been blessed with a regularly scheduled time to write once a week without distraction.  Time to finally take a leap of faith and use the gift God has given me in an even bigger way than just this blog.  I have done a bit of that (I hope to post about becoming a published author this week), but this time I a hoping to really stretch myself and possibly pen a novel.  It's a little scary --- who am I kidding --- it's a lot scary!  If you think about it, all beginnings are aren't they?  I am not letting fear hold me back any longer.  I am trusting God and I vow to do my best to remain hopeful that it will all work out like it should ... because it always does.

In a mood of faith and hope my work goes on. A ream of fresh paper lies on my desk waiting for the next book. I am a writer and I take up my pen to write.
Pearl S. Buck

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Just a Nibble

Scene:  The Geek's office --- sometime around lunchtime.

Little Prince:  Here Dad, Mama made this for you.

The Geek:  What is it?

Little Prince:  It's your sandwich.  I took a little bite, hope that's ok.

this is the stuff folks :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

God Knows Best

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You, too? I thought I was the only one.”
C.S. Lewis

I am not one who easily makes friends. It's just not in my make up I guess.  I have lots of acquaintances yes, but friends?  People I have risked letting know the "real" me?  Those are few and treasured.

I am not sure why I am so hesitant to take the risk of making friends.  It's the way God wired me, I guess.  If you were to ask me how I feel about that, I would tell you that I am pretty happy with the way things are.  My life is pretty darn full and I really don't have the room or the time for new friendships right now thankyouverymuch.

At least that's what I would have said before this past week.

Apparently, God knows better.  Who'd a-thunk?

Through what can only be described as Divine Intervention, I have been blessed with making the acquaintance of a group of women who have already welcomed me into their "clan" and I am grateful to (dare I say it?) call them friends.

This has not come easily for me.  I have had to step waaaaaay out of my comfort zone.  I have had to put myself out there.  Expose parts of the "real" me to these ladies. I had to take a risk.  I didn't want to, but God knew what I needed even if I didn't.  And because this has His fingerprints all over it, it turned out better than I could have ever planned for myself.

These women are a group of homeschooling moms --- sisters and best friends since childhood.  Their camaraderie and love for one another is enviable.  I had met one of the sisters at church years ago.  We were acquaintances --- exchanging pleasantries on Sunday mornings --- but it never went beyond that.  Recently we connected when both our daughters signed up for a class through the local parks and recreation.

While our littles were in class we passed the time chatting about this and that. We talked about "safe" things like homeschooling and our church.  Soon God was nudging me to open up to her and share things I might not otherwise.  Thankfully I listened.  She opened her heart too and shared a bit of herself as well.  I told her I was envious of the relationship she had with her sisters, especially since I lost one of my sisters and that I am currently going through a difficult time with my other sister.  Long story short, I don't have a strong support system there. 

She then shared something with me that proved that God had a hand in all of this.  She said that she and her sisters realized that what they had was indeed a blessing.  They were grateful for the support system God had given them and they had prayed that He would use them to bless others along the way.  She said through the years mothers had come and gone to their group.  They were there for a season and left when life took them in a different direction.  She felt strongly that the women they had welcomed into their circle were answers to prayers and prayed that in return they were the same to them. 

She then said to me that I need not worry.  I had new sisters now.  Sisters that had my back. Sisters that would walk beside me for as long as I needed them.  No promises of forever.  Just the blessed assurance that right now I am not alone.  I have God and He gave me them. 

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:
Whatever you call it, whoever you are,
you need one.
Jane Howard

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Living the Life

See that pure unadulterated joy on the Munchkins face? I want that! My life has been whizzing by like a crazy fast carnival ride. Sometimes I'm enjoying the ride, but some days I just wanna slow the thing down and jump off.

I cannot believe it is already mid-September. Where did the summer go? It's like one big ol' blur. I had plans ... lots of plans for Summer 2013. While I did manage to pack quite a bit in a few short months, sadly a lot on my to do list is going to remain undone before the first frost. The leaves are already changing and the birds are "congregating" in preparation to fly south before the snow flies.  How can this be?

As I said, my life has been a wild ride lately. I blogged a bit about my recent hospital bedside vigil, but I want to put so much more into writing and share on this blog. I have just been too busy " living" it to be able to find time to "record" it.

inspired entirely by this pin on Pinterest

In some ways it's a good thing. Too often it's easy (especially as a vintage mother) to not really be in the moment. My mind races and thinks about my to-do list and I don't allow myself to totally connect to the here and now. This summer I made a conscious effort to make the time to enjoy this season of life and savor it all even if it means letting some things slide - like writing.  Even though I haven't been actively writing, I have been brainstorming and gleaning inspiration from each and every experience I have gone through in the last few months.

Homeschool lessons have now ramped up (we homeschool pretty much 24/7, but lighten up the "official stuff" during the summer months) and we are spending a bit more time on the ol' homestead.  Temperatures are dipping and I am sure I'll be back to penning tales regularly before I know it.  In fact, just today I  discovered a wonderful library in a nearby town.  It is a much prayed for quiet haven for a weekly date with my laptop. 

Now if you will excuse me, I have a few more butterflies to chase and a gooey s'more that has my name all over it.