resting and returning

resting and returning

Hello friends.

I am full of joy and expectation to be writing again in this space.

I was unsure about returning this summer. As I began my break, it was apparent, I was more exhausted than envisioned. I felt empty of words and couldn’t see a clear path or direction before me. It is a huge disservice to attempt to manufacture content, a pause was wise and beneficial. 

Resting is vitally essential for all of us.  Somehow I had succumbed to a belief that the collective shut down of life was restful. I had slowed down but the constant changing tides of any given day took a toll.  I pushed back many of my emotions related to the pandemic and racial tensions to the background and kept going. 

I say to you today, don’t mistake this time of being less busy with outside of the home pursuits as any less taxing. We all need time to reflect, grieve, process, and reassess. Even usual summertime activities are different than in the past. We have lost our care-free existence and spontaneity and I am guessing even if this wasn’t a normal bent, it would be welcomed right now. 

My time away from this blog didn’t feel different during the first two weeks. Life continued with more in-person gatherings with my children but even being in the company of my nearest and dearest still brings an element of feeling risky and foreign. We spent a few days in two cabins along the Columbia Gorge, a precious family memory. We felt safe and secluded and did not take for granted the blessing of those days. We had our masks when we did venture into any area with people which was twice on a waterfall hike and to pick up take-out one evening.

I woke up early each morning to spend time with God and to simply watch the water from the deck. It wasn’t easy to rouse my sleepy self but the steadiness of keeping rhythms, no matter what, has deepened in me. It was a gift to be away from home and endeavoring to not squander a moment. However, not a lot of words were written except for some scribbles in my journal.

Then my guys went camping and this was the first time I had more than an hour in our home alone since March. I adore my people but I crave silence and solitude and they know it. The anticipation of words and fear of none appearing were my companions. I have learned and this time was no exception, the words come but not on command. It takes time to surrender to silence and slow the pleading pulse of anticipation. 

Ever land on the most brilliant idea when soaped up in the shower without a pen at hand? Being silent allowed me to hear again and mostly when I wasn’t thinking about writing. 

Since March, I have asked God to entrust me with words like He gave manna to the Israelites in the wilderness. I am learning to trust He will give me just enough words for each week. Although I now have a page full of bullet points, I know all the thoughts could turn into a solitary post. It’s disappointing as I long to be “ahead” but it’s truly the way of the Master to dispense what I need. I can view this as crumbs when in reality it is a basketful of bread, broken with plenty to share.

We live in an upside-down world.  It’s difficult to behold beauty but also stare straight into the realities of despair and heartbreak. My nasturtiums have been growing along our fence with gusto with flowers erupting in colors beyond the typical yellows and oranges. But this week, I turned over a few leaves, only to find tightly affixed black dotted clusters of bugs. I know these pesky bugs from past seasons and can never rid my plants of them before they choke out life. I have two options. I can ignore the bugs pretending they don’t exist until they spread to every plant, creating mass casualties. Or I can gently remove the infected leaves and in some cases plants, protecting the healthy ones.

I am fighting for joy in the midst of despair and wading through misinformation. I am choosing to not ignore the brutal parts of life and doing what I can do when life feels out of control. Sometimes it is simply to take a deep breath, whisper a prayer, and unclench my jaw and hands. I look to the shades of my flowers knowing there are forces that can and at times want to assault my joy and stability. I will enjoy them at the moment without fear and obsessing about what might be on the underside.

I am back to living with my people again and as Oregon has declared, this will be the way for quite a while. This wasn’t a surprise but being refreshed helped me to surrender to this sustained reality.  I needed time alone however it is a mistake to believe I can’t find solitude when my home is inhabited by others. I just need to be a bit more creative.

My challenge to you is to look for patches of solitude this week. Here are some ideas to help fuel your creativity.

  • Get up early and watch the sunrise.
  • Stay up late and stargaze.
  • Watch less news.
  • Hold your phone less.
  • Watch a butterfly or a bee. 
  • Close your eyes. If you fall asleep, you needed a deeper rest.
  • It bears repeating, take a nap.
  • Pick one hour each day or even 15 minutes to simply do nothing. Let your mind wander. Allow the silence to offer a surprise landing of thoughts or ideas revealed.
  • Walk around your yard or garden. Don’t water, prune, pull a weed, or even harvest. Simply marvel at creation and hear the sound of your footsteps, the birds of the air, and the sound of your breath enlarging and also softening.
  • Seek ladybugs. Number the dragonflies.
  • Sit and watch the moon rise. In fact, make it a point to see every phase of the moon this month.
  • Blow bubbles and watch each one pop. Muse about how our days are like bubbles, fleeting, yet beautiful and full of wonder. Marvel how at any age, bubbles never cease to bring a smile and cause us to look up.
  • Sit in your favorite chair inside or outside with a frosty beverage and just be wonderful you.

Fill each day with the essentials and plenty of margins to be still and quiet. 

*****

May each day provide moments of quiet.

May we access our need for silence and solitude.

May we release the uncontrollable and embrace wonder.

May we fight for joy especially on days where it feels like we are in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 

May we know and believe, whatever the cluster of pesky bugs in our lives, it will not dismantle or steal our joy.

May we be like bubbles to one another.

 

rest inventory-step one

rest inventory-step one

making-a-list-alexandra-wrote

I love compiling and reading lists.

I find myself in a perpetual rush

and often quickly skim lists

without truly absorbing the information.

I tend to write about the need for rest at the end of the week,

but I thought it would be beneficial to begin

thinking (dreaming) about it early in the week.

Let’s take an inventory this week to make

the pursuit of rest a reality.

You may or may not be like me in your list perusing

and prone to skip steps to get to the pay-off,

regardless, let’s take each part of the rest inventory list

one by one,

day by day.

Think of it as bite-sized daily assignments as we creep

closer to the weekend.

Plus it will keep each post shorter and to the point.

Step One:

Define what rest looks and feels like to you.

To me, rest resembles time spent refueling my soul.

I like to read, watch movies, take naps, play games, walk

and catch up on my ever-growing pile of magazines.

I like to write if it feels full of ease and empty of tension.

Rest could be throwing a frisbee, dinner with friends,

cooking, baking, doing your art, reading the newspaper

or spending time outdoors.

Maybe it is catching up with a friend, window shopping

or taking a drive beyond the hustle and bustle of the city.

There are some of you reading these suggestions, who

suddenly realize you have no idea what would bring a sense

of rest to their lives.

This is your soul waving a white flag beckoning you to

try some rest on for size.

Start by writing down a few activities you enjoy doing.

What brings a face and soul smile to you after you have

spent time doing it?

If it is a nap, embrace it.

Naps bring me countless joy!

Take a few moments and

ask yourself:

  • when was the last time I carved out time for rest?
  • what does rest look and feel like to me?
  • what makes my whole being smile?

Pick one way you like to rest or choose one of my suggestions

and write on a post-it note:

This week I will take time to rest by ________________________.

Stick the note someplace visible to remind yourself.

Feel free to post a note in the comments about how you are

choosing to rest this week.

Let’s encourage one another to be brave in resting.

I will start the comments with

how I am pursuing rest this week.

Tomorrow we will starting digging

holes to deposit rest.

Join me?!

 

 

dumpster diving

dumpster diving

20140502_131710

relinquish (verb):

to give up (something)
to give (something, 
such as power, control, or possession)
to another person or group

***

Just to be clear, this post is for me.

I have tried to write this post for a couple of weeks but each time

I attempt, I am hit squarely between the eyes with the

subject matter again.

Relinquish is my word for 2014.

At the moment, there is constant pounding of diligent roofers

displaying their handiwork on our outdated house covering.

I stepped out to give our dog her necessary outdoor time and missed

the plumber.

( I don’t use this space to rant but I questioned why it was fine for Carl
to wait 2 hours this morning for him but he couldn’t wait 5 minutes for me?)

End of rant!

We have been anxiously awaiting taking showers again especially during

another heat wave.

An hour before, the Fed Ex man delivered a replacement for

my car’s side mirror which was anonymously smashed on Sunday.

There is a dumpster in front of our house to carry away all the debris

from this roofing project.

We have been told that there is not to be any other garbage left in the dumpster

or we might be fined.

We may or may not have chased down a man who waited until our backs were turned

to launch his doggy deposit bag in among the shingles 😉

Today I want to load up that dumpster with each thought and bad attitude

wedged in my heart, mind and mouth.

I want it driven far enough away that I am never troubled again by

my junk.

But the thing is, I do have a place to go and unload all my garbage.

A place where it doesn’t matter what category of rubbish, I won’t pay a fine

because someone has already paid the most costly price.

I can toss all my terse words and thoughts right at the foot of the Cross.

I can admit once again how little control I possess over my days.

I can express that this reality makes me cross.

The only way to relinquish is to give up my desire to control

and give away the control to someone else.

Up up and away!

When I am tired, hot and overwhelmed, relinquishing

even an inch seems impossible and not one

part  fair.

Today, the plumber is the boss of me and my time.

I have allowed him to make me feel like I am a hostage

when my unwillingness to bend my agenda hides

the key from unlocking peace in my life.

I can either kick and scream about this fact or

I can submit to the obvious.

Some days I will need to wait.

Simply typing these sentences helps me to relax

and breath out.

I wonder if relinquishment is a kissing cousin of rest.

We surrender to our need to rest.

We give up our busyness and cease doing.

Relinquishment is letting our heart, mind

and soul be at rest on behalf of someone or

something else.

Well, the plumber is here.

He is all sweaty and red in the face and I

feel shards of my craziness being launched

to the place where garbage can land and

never be seen or mentioned again.

Grace and thankfulness take up residence

where control had waged domination.

Oh how I am desiring for relinquishment

and rest to reign!