Monday, November 29, 2010

Bee Free

Being in a foreign country and relying on public transportation, I appreciated receiving my daughter’s texted directions. You want to catch the southbound 44 on Robson and Burrard at 10:12. It will take you to the campus and you should get here around 10:45. My roommate and I will come and meet you. Her thoughtfulness came through the details.

She had taken the time to investigate my direct route to her university campus. I was to attend English class with her, another detail she had specially arranged for us. However, her follow-up text grazed the surface of my sensitive thin skin like that of a threatening bee buzzing by: Text if you get lost.

I was at the 44 bus stop early…privately smug about being early and preplanning exact coinage for the fare. Gazing out the bus window, I noted a couple of downtown shops, should we have time within the next couple of days. Text if you get lost…one bus ride, really? The bus stopped—downtown—and the driver spoke up as if making an announcement to all his passengers. Then he turned as if speaking directly to me, “Last stop, you have to get off the bus.” I turned around wondering if all the other riders were as confused as me. No one else was on the bus.

 “The university…my daughter told me…one bus all the way.” The bus driver probably heard this a lot from parents who get lost.

“You have to get off. I should be back in 10 minutes and the driver issued me a transfer slip.”

I swatted at a bee, bought a cup of tea, and sat inside the coffee shop on alert for the reappearance of the driver. I even rearranged chairs to clear my exit path so that I could bolt for the next university bound bus.

I was lucky to have the first choice of seats when he returned to the bus. Again, I was the only passenger. My new driver friend and I rounded the corner where a couple dozen people waited at the first official pick up point for the southbound 44 headed directly to the campus. Lost? I don’t think so! I took the right bus…just in the wrong direction.

Upon arriving, I embraced our daughter on her own turf of higher learning and independence with melted pride. “What are you looking at?” she asked as she shifted away and clutched at her defenses again. I wanted to jump right back into close conversation again, like the kind we had started on our return flight from her first campus visit this past spring. Mother and daughter daring to entrust one another with private thoughts…compassionately holding one another’s disclosures free from judgment. But I withheld my desire for deeper conversation with my daughter. Stupid bee, go find a flower or another bee.

For the day-and-half wedged in between her classes, assignments, and text-messaging, a couple of bees hovered about us. I remained on alert for a bee attacking my vulnerabilities: Bee devoted. Bee competent. Bee understanding. Bee thorough. Bee patient. My daughter defended against her own threatening bee: Bee autonomous. Bee forthright. Bee resolute. Bee driven. Bee resolved. Weary from being held captive by a couple of bees, we eventually chose surrender. Not in defeat but with the kind of revived strength that Beth Moore describes. “We don’t want to protect ourselves out of our callings. We want to be set free…we are not the fragile flowers we’ve considered ourselves to be. As painful as the process may be, that which shatters our superficiality also shatters the fetters of our fragility and frees us to walk with dignity and might to our destinies.”

The night before we left, we swatted our respective bees over an extended dinner and conversation. After restorative sleep I eagerly accepted my daughter’s text invitation to meet her on campus before catching an early afternoon flight home.

I caught the right bus headed in the right direction. Clackety-clackety-clackety. My roller bags broadcast my arrival to the university campus and a smiling daughter. She unabashedly held our mother-daughter hug. And the two of us spent the next couple of hours—bee free—loudly rolling along the right pathways, through store aisles and into the cafĂ© the same direction together.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Basket Case

In our bedroom, next to my side of the bed but against the wall and purposely hidden from sight of others rests my mending basket. This is the container that holds all the projects I cannot deal with at the moment. I bought a bigger, prettier basket just last year…where I can accumulate more stuff needing attention. Interesting, how the sizeable—but attractive—basket actually intrudes into my path on my way to bed in the evening and then again when I get out of bed in the morning.

Before our daughter left for school last Fall, she plowed through my sacred basket in search of her own unmended clothes. Dismissing a silent tinge of violation, I repaired the zipper on a dress. I mended the seam in her jacket. Her leggings, it was determined, would be worn under long blouses hiding the irreparable run. She was happy to have use of these items again; I was thrilled with the newfound motivation to address other neglected projects.

She had loaned me her little black sweater for a summer wedding event. In gratitude, I vowed to get rid of its unsightly pills, evidence of it being worn many times before me. My brilliant idea to smooth the bumpy surface of her sweater involved a disposable leg shaver. But I guess it was too close of a shave when a tiny little hole appeared. In trying harder to make her sweater better, I made it worse.

Damage happens; I must try hard to fix it. That message was imprinted at the age of twelve. I didn’t shrivel up and cry through the wake of damage caused by my mother leaving. Instead, I was driven to do my part…to try hard and make it better. Some insecure walls were built upon on this damaged foundation. Later I would be the other kind of mom who repairs damage instead of causing damage. However, my own children have known their mom as one who can sometimes try too hard at improving many a little black sweater…creating little holes where none existed before.

I would be the other kind of mom who values her children instead of rejecting them. Any one of my adult children can recount how mother bear has invoked her strength of words in defense of her young. Is that not what good mother bears do? Or is that what damaged twelve-year-old daughters do? This new perception is as unusual as what our grandson describes wearing 3-D glasses at Disney World: “They make the pictures come into your eyes.” Into my eyes and into my heart, I can see pictures of a protective maternal love distorted by unmended maternal insecurities. When mother bear wanted to value and protect, her words sometimes spilled over into dishonor. And her cubs have felt rejected.

But back to my mending basket. I was ready to tackle something of my own…a dress unusable in its present state. The dress was originally costly, $150. (However, I paid $30 at a great sale…I mention this why?) Having worn the dress several times, I carefully washed it on a delicate cycle. Ugh…the dress itself shrunk almost three inches in length while the lining had not. Intending to shorten the lining, I knew the dress would still be long enough to hit my knees. I needed to redeem this dress.

I dusted off my serger sewing machine. I quickly discovered that my sight had changed since using this four-spooled machine throughout my daughter’s childhood making outfits for her or curtains for our different homes. I just couldn’t get my eyeballs—even with reading glasses—close enough to weave the imperceptible threads through the intricate places of my serger. I pushed my chair away from the machine that had served me well in the past. The serger and unmended dress remain untouched on our kitchen table for the last several weeks.

Donning my 3D glasses again, the pictures of the little black sweater, my dress and the serger are coming into my eyes. A new thought accompanied my new perspective: I cannot—nor am I personally responsible to—mend all things. Hmm...maybe it's time to purge my mending basket. Buried deep within is the damaged and neglected article I first wore when I was twelve. I think I'll mend itno, on second thought, I’m going discard it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Call to Grow

Letting loose—as in bathing suit audacity, launching the last child, and unleashed insecurities—is certainly loss but freedom too. There’s freedom in releasing the fears and insecurities that constrain dreams and desires. Letting loose breaks through those limitations. BIG is now a possibility with Call to Grow. Call to Grow invites all the people like me—you know, hesitant and inhibited—to tackle obstacles by taking the next step. And with each step, we remain on the alert for God’s involvement in our everyday lives. Here’s how Call to Grow works–
  • 1 word – Choose one word that encompasses your focus for this season of growth
  • 2sday – Call in each Tuesday anytime during a 2-hour time span.
  • 3 questions – Answer 3 awareness, accountability questions each week; your responses are   documented in your private online growth journal.
  • 4 weeks – Commit to a 4-week Season of Growth. (They say it takes an average of 30 days to change or create a habit.
  • 5 minutes – Set aside as little as 5 minutes each week to call in or linger longer on the group call listening to the progress from fellow Growers.

That's Enough!

This last summer began with the trepidation of a two-piece bathing suit. And then August concluded with my personal challenge of letting go. I don’t know about you, but I’m noticing a bit of a shocking trend…letting loose. 

We worked up a sweat hauling our daughter’s stuff from our crammed vehicle to her first-ever dorm room, riding the elevator up six floors and then walking down. I think that’s where I left my warm, familiar mantle of motherhood…somewhere along the ups and downs in her dorm building. On the 17-hour drive home, we took a spontaneous detour to see Crater Lake. Standing on the cliff’s edge, we gazed down upon the big lake below that was created from a volcano collapsing its mountain top. Ahhh….something beautiful from a catastrophic natural occurrence. My exposed skin prickled to the icy wind portending the advent of a new season.

Had I prepared my daughter well enough? Did I do enough? Had we spent enough time together? Had I conveyed how incredibly loved she is? Did I inadvertently pass on my confrontation avoidance to her? Will she be alert when walking across the campus alone, in the dark? Will she find friendships that encourage healthy growth? With dynamic motherhood shelved like a well-worn Velveteen Rabbit, the insecurities and fears were exposed and active. Oprah takes a whole season and a worldwide audience to help her remember and celebrate 25 years of her life in television. I leave more than 30 years of mothering—joining a gazillion other empty-nesters—in quiet invisibility. Oh great, did I pass on my resentments to her too?

My last remnant of motherhood was safely miles away in her dorm and far from the epicenter of emotions when the walls of the brewing volcano collapsed inward and a deep crater was left: If I’m no longer a mother, then what IS my value? The tears and drivel spilled out everywhere.

Bing!…a text from our daughter, Thanks for all your help; I love you :)

A Smiley Face… a thousand words of meaning, never offered indiscriminately.

Allowing myself to slip back into maternal musings, I recalled our preschool grandson riding on the shoulders of his big, strong daddy as they strolled along the beach. Grampa and I were walking a couple paces behind them. Grampa couldn’t resist tickling little Ryan’s backside. The game went on for several steps until Ryan announced over his daddy’s head, “That’s enough.” And it has been the no-nonsense recollection of our little grandson that has mellowed my aftershocks.

My friend called as I was writing. We have shared many prayers for our daughters over the years. And she helped me understand my father’s dialysis as her father also had kidney failure. A few years back, I accompanied my friend through ten-weeks of Conversations on Purpose. I was privileged to first hear my fellow stay-at-home mom dream of getting involved in the medical field. “I’d like to help make hurting people more comfortable, and maybe even make them smile.” I thought she was talking about the distant future, but that very week she started volunteering at a local hospital. After several months, she stepped away from her volunteer position to attend to family matters including a son’s wedding, her husband’s back surgery, and the passing of her father. This past year my friend returned to the hospital as their favorite volunteer. As her last child graduated in spring my friend announced that she would be attending community college—her first time on a college campus—to get a nursing assistant credential. “I just accepted a job as a nursing assistant,” my friend shared, “I especially wanted you to know because you were with me when this journey began.”  I imagined water as blue as Crater Lake trickle back into my life covering some of those insecurities and fears. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Letting go

If I don’t talk about it—or allow my mind to drift off into its grip—my resolve does not  betray me. My heart tightens as I watch her sort through new purchases for her future dorm life. I don’t cave for her sake, I think. Instead, I reflect her vibrant, orange bedroom walls back to her while she displays her groupings of independence and adventure. I’ve decided to take ALL my scarves and all my belts instead of more clothes.  I can change the look of the same outfit just with a different belt or scarf, she reasons aloud to me. I sit by my daughter on her bed and marvel at her choices…in fashion (definitely NOT from me or her dad) and resourcefulness (ahhh, something has rubbed off). I head downstairs making room for more crucial decisions about which shoes and purses warrant precious packing space.

Her imminent departure ushers in a wheelbarrow full of reflection. Did my mother choke back emotion when I headed off to college? Don’t know because she left home several years before me. 
Hmmm…is that grieving or resentment? And while I’m mucking through those kinds of memories, the guilt-o-meter spikes when I drift back to my early parenting days. Our two sons arrived three years apart notching up my personal assignment, Perfect-Parent Project. One son was dutifully compliant and the other openly rebellious. I admit to missing many moments of joy and thankfulness when Compliant disagreed and Rebellious activated natural consequences. Even when number three—enthusiastic, packing daughter—was born 10 years later, I was still having to give myself permission to simply enjoy our three children entrusted to us.

I hear my daughter talking to her father upstairs, 
I think our vehicle will fit what I’m taking; I’m just hoping my dorm room will fit it too. Hey Mom, come see how much I’ve packed now. I feel the weight of parental guilt lighten as my daughter calls for me, the Trying-to-Measure-Up one.

I offer the gift of a pedicure with me--my enlightened substitute for long-gone hand-holding while crossing the street. She squeezes me into her schedule before lunch with Chad, shopping for leggings, dinner with Emily and spending the night in Amy’s dorm room.
My house is going to be warm brown everywhere with some burnt mustard, and little punches of color, she remarks as she chooses a warm brown nail polish.

I’m going to miss her spontaneity, her person...terribly. The sadnesses collide as my eyes glisten up. Grandsons and their parents now 3000 miles away. Disappointments from my own childhood. The cumulative guilt of parenting mistakes. My father's advice about our kids' choices received as judgment. Our daughter going away to school in Canada.
Yes! I think my roommate likes me, my daughter beamed as she scrolled through Facebook. She wanted to invite me to her house this coming weekend before school started but knew I was signed up for the orientation for international students. I’m excited to get to meet her! (My daughter has explained to me that fun people use exclamation marks!)

I could feel the uneasiness growing from a deepening sinkhole, or maybe like my heart expanding, I'm not sure.

My daughter-in-law was the first to notice. I was telling her about a new vision I have for my Call to Grow program. 
I am surprised to even be considering something of this magnitude. I’m not usually one to think big, I confided.
Maybe you can think like this because your last one is leaving for her own adventure, as it should be. Maybe you're realizing that you might have think beyond motherhood, my wise daughter-in-law offered.
Who would have imagined that the sorrow of letting go could possibly give way to something hopeful? We deliver our daughter to school this week. I may need a hopeful reminder when we return home...without her.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Perfect Excuse

Sailing makes me sick…so does navigating windy roads, breathing diesel exhaust, reading in a car, or facing backwards in a moving vehicle. These activities top my Urp List. Anyone who has ever experienced nausea or motion sickness can empathetically gag with me.

I married 35 years ago romanticizing sailing as effortless gliding through calm waters. Then, I did not fully grasp that my husband was genetically predisposed to sail. For example, when he was a little boy he put two big blocks of Styrofoam between the legs of a bench, clamped an umbrella to the contraption, drug along an old oar for the rudder, and sailed along the shoreline. Over the years, the idealistic sail was rocked by shifting winds and rough waters in the boat…and out of the boat.

As soon as I could rule out pregnancy (which also made me sick), I used my motion sickness to redirect my family from any twisty-turny activities on land or water. Mother vampire guilt kicked in, “I’m sucking the life out of my family.” Thus was born my perfect excuse for sending the others off without me, “Who wants a green-faced, life-less person along spoiling everyone else’s excursion?” Whoo-hoo! I had the whole house to myself. I stayed in my pajamas till noon, snacked in bed, took use-up-all-the-hot-water showers, ate dessert instead of dinner, read till midnight, and didn’t do the dishes until the sink and counter were fully stacked with dirty ones. Pull-eeez, tell me I’m not the only woman to have perpetrated such crimes in private against her own house rules.

As in pregnancy, I eventually allowed the special indulgences afforded an impaired mother. Again, the perfect excuse was exploited when I accepted priority seating in the cockpit or the front seat of the car. I was excused from galley duty while under way or attending to children in the back seat. Uh-hum, turning around triggers nausea. And when we anchored overnight, I got the open side of the bunk opposite the claustrophobic hull.

But something was not quite shipshape…and queasiness gave way to uneasiness. Like that of a perfect storm where a “rare combination of circumstances aggravate a situation drastically”, my perfect excuse had its own collision course undercurrents. Oh good, more turbulent water stuff.

The currents underneath the perfect excuse were just as unattractive as burping up nausea. Unaware, I had “should” all over myself. I should like sailing because that’s what a supportive wife does. I shouldn’t stay at home without my family because good moms don’t do that. I should be more outgoing. I shouldn’t be so self-absorbed. I should have known better.

I could have easily been sucked into the undercurrent of shoulds with my perfect excuse had not a lifeline—in the form of a question—been tossed my way. In his book,
the me I want to be, John Ortberg asks: If I walk down this road, where will it lead in the long run—toward or away from the me I want to be?

What if I didn’t need to create a perfect excuse to mask my honest preferences, dislikes, insecurities, or foibles? Sometimes, I like solitude. I love special attention from my husband and my family. I don’t like Eggs Benedict. There are actually things I love about sailing, but that’s a whole other story for another time. I can go to anxious measures to avoid hurting someone else’s feeling, or when insulating myself from others stinging me. Regret can overwhelm me when I recognize having been preoccupied with the guarding of MY time, MY talents or MY energy. Without hiding behind a perfect excuse, I am exposed and liberated for
becoming God’s best version of [me], which is the rest of the title of John Ortberg’s book.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coming to Grips with Losing Control

I’m exhausted but cannot fall asleep. The sheets are wrinkly; my legs are fidgety. And then it happens…again. My heart races. Pins–hundreds poking at the same time– radiate from low in my back up to my shoulders. I feel queasy. Am I going to lose my cookies? My leg and arm muscles tighten and I stiffen to restrain them from uncontrollable convulsing. My throat constricts. I can’t suck in enough air. I can’t breathe. Stop it! Catch your breath; at least you can do that! Then stand up, whimp! No one else hears the commands; my own voice is captive within me. The panic attack runs its course…and a different kind of journey begins.

When I went to the doctor in search of physiological answers, I wasn’t expecting her seemingly unrelated question, “What are you afraid of?” Nor was I expecting the gushing of tears. In the moment, I could no less identify irrational fears responsible for panic attacks than I could speak Chinese. However, my thought progression was sounding as unintelligible as Chinese sobbing through not having a grip on anything anymore. Panic attacks are apparently the tip of the iceberg.

I used to think that my fear list in life was short, rational, and manageable. I simply avoid the things I fear. Cliffs. Rollercoasters. Snakes. Or I work harder to prevent and control those events that could unleash fear. Noises in the night. Losing track of a child. Launching children into the unpredictable future.

As unplanned and even anticipated changes appeared, I thought I was doing a good job of managing my responses. I sorta, kinda patted myself on the back for offering helpful advice in such situations, solicited or not. Like a programmed auto response to email, I would bounce back an immediate reply. I thought I was managing the input and output, like control central.

My auto-response reaction kicked in when my daughter and I were talking about her loaning me a book she had read. “Do you think I’m beautiful?” she said as she grabbed the milk from the fridge.

Somewhat caught off-guard—yet with assurance and control—I bounced back, “Of course you are.” My maternal radar piqued as I cautioned, “Be careful about relying on your outside beauty. What really matters is what’s on the inside…you know, your thoughts behind your actions.” There, that should help.

“Do you think I’m beautiful?” she said again. Oh my, I thought, something is really prompting these insecurities. I need to reassure her. I need to do all that I can do to equip my graduating senior with self-assurance before she heads off to college.

“Your heart is where….” I start to explain before she interrupts.

“Mom, that’s the name of the book that you want to borrow.”

“Oh….right,” shrugging off disappointment in myself. Hmmpf, I did it again… jumping in to save and rescue before knowing what’s really going on. But…if I don’t step up to the responsibility I could be failing my daughter. Ultimately I could be failing God. A confident daughter would mean that I did my job well. What mothers do matters. I do what mothers do…therefore I must matter.

Days later, I heard a radio counselor ask a caller: “Do you know the real issue behind panic attacks?” No, I wasn’t the anonymous caller…because I already knew the answer. Ha! My lips formed the word just as the caller responded, “Fear.”

“Actually, it’s control, particularly loss of control,” the counselor explained.

Me, controlling? I’m the one who wants to help; I'm the one who wants to make it better. Could it be that what I think is best for others doesn’t necessarily reflect the heavy-handed stereotype of control? Could it be that I am on the brink of becoming an empty-nester? Do I think that my value is disappearing like children heading off to college or grandchildren moving across the country?

That night just as I closed my eyes, I thought I heard a whisper lulling me to sleep, “That’s not your job anymore, Julie, that’s mine. You can release them to me. And I still love you.”

Is that you, God? I'm so tired. I need sle-e....zzzz.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The P Word

"That’s quite an impressive record if you can make it through high school with all A’s," I cautioned my 18-year-old daughter as she listed the activities that would occupy another full week for her, none of which included homework.
“Really, what difference does it make anyway; this is the last quarter of my senior year?” she retorted as she flew out the door to the Humane Society. Taking a rescued dog for a hike in the sunshine was more appealing than my promptings to maintain that perfect record of A’s in her high school career.
Of course, I was advocating finishing well…or was it really about finishing perfectly?
This new quandry hit me like a powerful dose of swimming pool chemicals—called ‘shocking the water’. Maybe trying harder is not always the answer. The water was murkier than I realized.
Part of trying harder included preventing others from seeing the imperfections I couldn’t fix. Like the thick concealers I used for teenage acne, I masked what I did not want others to know about me. I wore socks to school through sixth grade to conceal the white speckles of vitiligo on my ankles and feet. I made excuses for not having lunch money. I tried harder after my mom left us, after we pooled our coins to pay for food, after we were evicted from homes, after our home burned down, and after my abortion.
“Shame can be thinly veiled by perfectionism,” the author of The Shack told his audience. The p-word seemed to fit like a tight bikini on a post-menopausal body in a fluorescent-lit dressing room. And I recalled my own maternal voice of bathing suit dressing rooms past where our beautiful, blossoming daughter tried on adorable—but tiny—bikinis, “That one is way too revealing and it’s not flattering for you.”
In keeping with my word for the year–radical–I find myself disclosing my dressing room secrets with you. The reflection in the mirror uncomfortably reveals my perfectionist tendencies. And it’s not flattering for me…nor for those I’ve misled.
So I’ve come out from behind the curtain…no, not in a bikini. The lighting is less harsh out here where honesty and authenticity are much more flattering. Splotches and mistakes are still detectable, thank goodness. They merely remind me that I am acceptably imperfect.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Express yourself

Hang out with any 4-year-old and you can observe innate giftedness in its most purest, uninhibited form.
Many, many moons ago, our adventurous 4-year-old son burst open the front door eager to run in and share his exciting discovery. "Stopp!!" I blurted out, "your feet are all muddy. Hey buddy, I just cleaned the carpets."
Excitement drained from his little body as he pouted from the doorway, "What’s moh important, cawpet or people?
Ouch…the arrow of untainted insight hit its mark. Adam is a think-outside-the-box designer today.
And just the other day I was hunched over our 4-year-old grandson wrestling with the twisted straps and latches of his car seat. Getting him and his two younger brothers in and out of their car seats is about the same complexity as launching a space shuttle. Ryan compliantly watched as I struggled to get all the latches connected. He lifted his hands to mine and stroked the backs of my struggling hands. Such a tender, sweet boy.
His little fingers tenderly traced the pronounced veins on the back of my strained hands. And then he touched the backs of his hands. He went back and forth between his perfectly smooth skin and my veiny road map a couple of times.
And all of sudden my skin felt very thin…too thin to hide my blue, bulging veins, too thin to hide my insecurities, aka my junk. What if my precious, smooth-skinned grandson doesn’t wish to have these bumpy-skinned hands wrapped around him in hugs anymore? Whoa, where’d that nonsense come from?
"Granna, he interrupted as he continued to gently stroke the back of my hand, "Why are you blue?"
Duh, I got it that he was asking about my colorful road map. But how do these 4-year-olds do that other thing….cut to the core with such innocence, with such natural expression of who they are?
I think that beginning after the age of four, we start collecting junk from the world around us. And it’s that junk that can warp our perspective and prevent us from being who we were created to be.
Believe me, I could go on about the junk we accumulate and cannot seem to discard. But I have a date with my 4-year-old grandson; he’s helping me sort through some junk.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


My mother-in-law gave me The Shack for Christmas 2008. As was her resourceful style—that was lovingly appreciated—she read books before passing them on. I think it was her way of opening up more common conversation with her recipient. I read with sadness and curiosity. Sadness because we’d never get to talk about the book together; Grammie passed away two days after Christmas 2008. And curiosity from wondering what prompted Grammie to share The Shack with me?
As I drove south—remember, alone—next to the majestic snow-blanketed Sierra, I listened to the CD of the author giving explanation to his writing of The Shack. I had not realized I was so ravenous for any personal revelations until I popped the CD in for third time, kind of like popping in a couple of carob malt ball, and then suddenly I'm at the bottom of the empty bag.
Could it be that this author's experiences leading up to his own shack held nuggets of truth for me as well? The messages were precious, like tiny, aged pearls from Grammie’s jewel box. The author simply strung the pearls together for me. And it’s as if God now has this elegant strand of smooth pearls draped over his outstretched palm waiting for me to accept it.
I’m undecided if I’m the kind of woman who can pull off pearls.
If Grammie thought so and if God thinks so, maybe I can at least try on some pearls and see if they're right for me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Road Trip

Things I rediscovered about taking a road trip by myself--

  • II can listen to a speaker's message...for many, many miles.
  • And I can re-play a podcast or CD...several times to have the words really soak in.
  • I can record my thoughts on my iPhone...private thoughts. (Thanks Jim, for introducing me to that App.)
  • Tears can spill and I don't have to explain them.
  • I can pass the slow drivers...without any outside prodding.
  • I can sing along with the radio...loudly.
Every now and then, it's good to let--(cough) get--the real Julie out.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Word for the Year

In his book, Walking with God, John Eldredge, titles a section, The Power of the Right Word. Here he mentions choosing a word for the year, "I was asking God this morning what His word for the new year was [for me], if He wanted to say anything about that, set a sort of theme for this year..."
How cool is that? John the author—my new bff even if though he doesn't know it—does this word for year thing too. Great minds...
Your own selection process and your resulting word for the year has the potential to influence your mindset for an entire year. One word can keep you alert to each day where you can create it, discover it or resist that which threatens it. “Maybe it’s even at the heart of the life [you] want to live, the source out of which all else flows.” says Eldredge of the right word. 

Silly me thought I heard the whisper of a word…that frankly has me digging in my heels.

C’mon…..really, God? You know me, I’m SO NOT radical in any way, shape or form. And I don't prefer to be radical either. I must have misunderstood. Maybe Jackson (pictured above) and I were given the same word. Ravenous….radical, they kinda sound alike, right? Oh yeh, Jack and I could easily do ravenous.
No, Julie, your word is
And Jackson’s mom assures me that 2010 is already manifesting
ravenous as Jack yearns to eat, learn and scale everything!
Sooo, I'm ever so slightly challenging my color-inside-the-lines, play-by-the-rules familiar approach. Recently I came across the term "outrageous compassion". Outrageous….radical, they mean the same thing to me. Maybe, just possibly, I could kind of begin to imagine something like
radical compassion, or radical love, or radical personal growth during 2010. Whoa….radical.