Friday, September 21, 2018

COMPLETE yet?

I love Fridays. It's actually my favorite day of the week. It's always been like this. It didn't matter if I worked, went to school, stayed home, Friday is my favorite!

Here is my Five Minute Friday writing for this week.

The word this week is COMPLETE.

START:

This made me laugh. Talk about COMPLETE instructions.

What instructions are you following? I want to be me. COMPLETEly me. A natural born people pleaser, I have discovered more this year, when my ability to perform to any kind of "standard" I might set for myself or anyone else might try to set for me, I fail. COMPLETEly.

I'm not the me I used to recognize easily in the mirror. A couple of years ago I saw this in a store window and I bought it. It's a recycled bag. It still speaks to me. There is nothing wrong with being regular. I like regular, but for me to be COMPLETE it's gotta be like this:


I'm embracing the messy (see Messy Monday posts) of life with both arms wide open. Finding balance pressing in to the challenges of life then giving myself space to rest then getting back "out there" finally makes me feel COMPLETE.

"Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and COMPLETE, not lacking anything." (James 1:4)

No further instructions needed.

If you haven't found your COMPLETE yet. Not to worry. You will.

If you need help. Let me know.

STOP.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Messy Monday: My Happy Place, Master Bedroom, Wife-ing, and My Newest Hero

The Car Wash. It smells of rainbows and happiness. My family laughs at me when I say I'm going to My Happy Place. I can't see anything, hear anything or do much of anything in this magical sudsy swishy world. It scrubs the bug guts, road residue, and general driving dirt of my pretty white truck. Some day I will have to write about my awesomely nicknamed Mighty White. She sounds super mighty with her new louder muffler!


I was taught years ago that the first room to be cleaned in my house should be the Master Bedroom. I completely agree, but don't do it all the time. Do you always do everything you've been taught? If so, don't judge me... 

The reason your supposed to do it - to treat your "together" space as sacred. It should be free of clutter, distractions and stress. The reason I don't do it all the time - it's the place that I am safest to fall apart, be messy and procrastinate in a way that is relatively harmless.  

My "Desk"
Bed Pillow Staging Area with fuzzy friends
Pillows staged, fuzzy friends put upright, and tidiness established (in this corner).
I mostly love being a wife. My husband, he is my world. I've learned to love him in ways I never imagined I could love, forgiven in ways I never realized I needed to forgive, and worked harder alongside him than I never knew I'd need to.
We remain a work in progress and if I dedicated an entire year of Messy Mondays to our marriage I might scratch the surface of the massive messiness we have navigated together. We are hot-headed, strong-willed, and even have opposing favorite football teams (Broncos vs. Cowboys). We live loud, pray hard, and laugh a lot.

The things I do to love him well:
Choosing to keep my mouth shut, wait patiently for God to move in areas I have no control over, and live with him in such a way that I don't break the masterpiece (him) being built alongside me.

Forgiving in ways I never realized I'd need to forgive means:
I have to forgive him and myself for not being who I thought we should be. The first 10 years of our marriage I spent trying to change him into whoever I thought I should have for my husband (like I knew?!). The next 10 I spent trying to convince him (more myself) that we were going to survive raising kids together with very different family histories and perspectives. This past 7 years, I've focused on forgiving myself and him for past wounds, ridiculous fights, and the pain of not meeting each other's expectations in big ways and small.

For us, marriage is really messy work. This means:
Giving each other the space to grow, become, and expand horizons while not losing the connection in our marriage. When we are in sync, all is well, peaceful and encouraging. When we are out of sync, life is painful, overwhelming and discouraging. When we are at peace with each other and not wrestling with God over the circumstances we are facing, there is a core level peace that feels clean, tidy even - until it's not.

When we see things from opposite angles, find opposing solutions to perceived or real problems, and for me, when the slimy goo of fear pushes in like a sludgy wave of doubt over my own capabilities, strife happens. It squeezes with a vice-like grip choking my faith in us to come out of it on the other side. This is when we do the intense, stinky, gritty work of being married. We take a breath, remind each other (we take turns on this, somehow) we are on the same team and talk (or yell - just keeping it real here) until we find the common ground - what is best for our family.

We only work this hard to be married because we both firmly believe its worth doing. We also have a great counselor for when we get stuck in deep muck and can't find the high ground. We have learned to share our disasters as needed with others to encourage them to hang on and do the work, because it truly is worth the effort. The picture below is a pose we have been striking since we first got together almost 28 years ago. Looking at this picture alone might make you think we've dialed in the whole marriage thing. Ha! Nope! We just aren't going to quit working (shoveling, mopping, scrubbing...) on it.


This is me. No makeup because, like I said in Friday's post, I deal with anxiety and menopause. Preparing to go to a very fancy wedding (for people I love - I wish that made it easier) kept me dripping and hot flashing all afternoon. Also, our oldest son was going to his first Homecoming Dance and I was going to be at the wedding, not using my telephoto lens to capture every last detail of this big "First". The eyes shut picture my Love snapped makes me laugh because he caught a moment when I just didn't want to be seen. I closed my eyes. See me? Nope, because I can't see you - just like a baby playing peek-a-boo, right?!

Then, I look at my Big Boy. He's becoming a man. His growing, voice-cracking, facial hair sprouting self makes me hold my breath sometimes. Did we teach him enough? Will he be able to figure it out on his own, all these new situations and events he's facing? Will his educational and life challenges hold him back or compel him to push forward? Parenting him is super messy because he's the oldest - the one who becomes the test subject for all parenting experiments and ideas. I have no idea what's next for him.

I do know this. I love him and he loves me. He's a promise from God fulfilled, in the flesh. The goofy, loud, opinionated, Geico commercial quoting man-cub standing next to me is becoming my newest hero.




Friday, September 14, 2018

How Do You Feel in a CROWD?

I love writing with my Five Minute Friday CROWD. They are great people who have encouraged me consistently for several years.

This weeks writing prompt: CROWD.
October 2017 at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - BIG CROWD - no problem.

Sometimes I wonder if Jesus would have been defined as an introvert or an extrovert, I guess, officially if you believe as I do that He is God in the flesh, then He would have been both. I take comfort in that. In Him, understanding how I feel.

Since my epic migraine this year I have found myself to be much less extroverted. I don't want to be in groups of people. Even if I love them and they love me. I spent 6 months of my life so easily overwhelmed by the activity, voices, noise, personalities, atmospheres that returning to them is almost painful at times.

This makes me feel anxious.

I have dealt with anxiety for a long time in many ways for many reasons. But now, in a CROWD I feel it more intensely than ever before. I used to think it was because I was struggling with feeling like I didn't fit in or being focused on as the fattest girl in the room, but I figured out neither one of those are consistently true (but sometimes, they are).

Being in a CROWD now causes anxiety because I am still working my way back into fully involved life. The experience of menopause, daily activities, and juggling three boys and their busy schedules feels overwhelming, in my pre-epic migraine world. Add in weddings, picnics, swim meets, church, etc and the knot in my gut feels like a watermelon. Will I be able to have intelligent conversation? Will I even be able to think straight? Can I be "myself" there? My old self is different than my new self, will I still be acceptable? UGH! It keeps going...

Back to Jesus - I know I am always acceptable and loved by Him. I know He gets my struggle and if I say something irreverent or irrelevant, I will be forgiven.

But, right now, I'd rather be home, alone, or with my Love and my boys and not go or be anywhere I don't have to. And, if you see me out and about, you now know it wasn't easy to get there.