Friday, November 22, 2013

In Order to Fly (a five minute friday)

My Five Minute Friday on: Fly

It's a leaf riding on the wind.
Joining in a flittering dance on its journey to the soft ground.

It's a child and a board jumping on to the wave.
Riding free with surf splashed face as he's returned to the shore.

It's the oneness felt in a tender moment.
Free, briefly, from the distractions and demands of life.

They are words spoken, like a gift, from someone who understands you.

It's courage

born out of


You must share your heart to receive the gift of understanding.

Be present to enjoy oneness.

Trust the wave in all its wild crashing —

And believe it knows the way home.

And the leaf,

it must let go of the tree,

to join in a dance with the wind.

In order to fly.

Linking today with Lisa-Jo…
Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On Lollipops and Expectations: Wisdom From An Eleven Year-old

I have always been fond of dum-dum lollipops — a little treat in a giant, inexpensive bag.

We all have our favorite flavors. From root beer to green apple, there isn't really one I don't like. Well, except for the pina colada.

Each lollipop is wrapped with paper that's clearly marked so you know what flavor you're getting. Unless, of course, you pick the mystery flavor.

The other day while we were driving home my kids were each enjoying a dum-dum and apparently contemplating life.

My eleven year-old explained how when he knows what flavors are there he looks for his favorites and if it's not there, he is disappointed. But if he receives a "mystery" flavor, then he accepts it, no matter what flavor it is because he didn't have an expectation.

And I think about how this is as true in life as it is with lollipops.

We all struggle with expectations. We envision how something is supposed to go or how we want it to happen and when we don't get what we expected we are left disappointed.

Ridding ourselves of the expectation allows us to be more open to whatever happens. In the wise words of my husband, "you get what you get and you don't get upset."

I can identify with the lollipop analogy because it shows the close link between expectations and perspective.

When the wrapper has a big question mark on it then we don't have control over what flavor it is. We have more of an open mind and may even be a little excited to find out what it is.

But when we have a choice, we are selective, maybe even a bit particular. Before we even taste the candy we have an idea of what it's supposed to taste like. And if it doesn't taste the way we think it should then we are disappointed.

Can we approach life seeing each opportunity, each possibility as a "mystery flavor"?

Or are we too afraid?

Fear — it lurks around every corner of my life. We expect because we want to be in control. We want to be in control because we are afraid of what we might get or maybe even what we won't get.

The "mystery flavor" is a risk. It leaves us vulnerable and unprotected and completely out of control.

We can peek under the wrapper, guess its flavor by its color, even sniff it, but we won't really know what flavor it is until we taste it.

The reality of life is it's all a mystery. We never know what we are going to get. So let go and start tasting.

You didn't get what you wanted? It wasn't what you expected?

Spit it out and try another one.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Elephant Tree (a five minute friday)

My Five Minute Friday on: Tree

It was one of my most favorite places at the arboretum — a five minute walk from my house, passed the swan pond and up the hill from the rose garden.

From the outside it appeared as a dome of leaves, wide and tall. It's outer appearance would not have drawn you in. Just one of a thousand other trees in the arboretum's collection.

I wonder how many visitors actually knew how magnificent it truly was.

You had to enter this tree. Pulling back the branches like a curtain I stepped into what my childlike imagination affectionately called, the elephant tree.

Inside, a canopy of dangling leaves and branches. Its large, wrinkly gray trunk invited climbing and exploration. Up from its center exploded hundreds of offshoots that arched and fell back to the ground, like ribbons of water from an outdoor fountain. Love initials scrawled into its furrowed branches.

I felt safe there.

This European Weeping Beech was my childhood playground. A frequent attraction on my playdate tours. I remember taking Becky there and getting stuck in the crook of the tree, too afraid to climb back down, thinking I would have to stay there forever. Until a hero came by, gave me a little scolding for being up there, and eventually helped me down.

The tree is only a fraction of what it once was, but it will live on through it's offshoots, like Charlotte did through her baby spiders in Charlotte's Web.

And maybe one day it will again be as magnificent as it once was. And another child will find the hidden treasure inside this amazing tree.

Linking today with Lisa-Jo…
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ode to the Toddler Mom Graduates

I'm no longer a toddler Mom. I have graduated from diaper changing, drool catching, block tower building, praying-you-take-a-nap mothering.

I received my diploma and packed away the gown and the mortarboard with the tassel slung to the left awaiting the end of the next milestone — adolescents.

There are a lot of awesome Moms still wading through the baby years, juggling littles under the age of five. I see them pushing their way through Target, staving off tantrums, searching for some fresh air and a good deal. I forget sometimes I used to be one of them. Sigh…

I ran through the finish line tape on my way to public school double doors and then my mom identity went into hiding.

What I once used to define myself as a stay-at-home mom left every day for a classroom. The posts I read about young mothering aren't relevant to me anymore. Sure I can relate remember those days with fondness and angst, but they are long gone now.

So for the toddler mom graduates and the ones embarking on the journey through adolescents I see you. I am you.

The morning rush, the packing lunches, the arguments over clothes and how to fix their hair, and the friend drama and the sleep-over parties, the 30+ minutes of homework a night, evening activities and weekend sports, the car pool and the parent pick-up lines — wow, I'm right there with you.

And it's still hard, even without a cheerio stuck to your cheek and a toddler yanking at your leg. We are jugglers, keeping the house running. And by that I mean, everyone has clean clothes and the schedule is straight and the dinner is ready and they're wearing sneakers for gym day and their books for library and they remembered their map project and it's yellow shirt Friday and…

Each stage we forge through and understand a little better the path our own mommas trod. And we extend each other grace because we are all wearing different shoes or hats or whatever apparel suits you.

Moms of adolescents, I acknowledge you. You're still a great Mom, I believe needed more than ever!

And though your daytime may be void of kiddies I know you're working hard, behind the scenes, making sure your family has a safe place to come home to.

Cue the ticker tape! You're a rock star!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Grace (a five minute friday)

My Five Minute Friday on: Grace


It's just a word, until you need it.

I have wrestled with it. Tried to wrap my human brain around it like it's something that could be understood with common sense.

But it's anything but common. And it doesn't often make sense.

Grace is like magic — it cannot be explained. Not with words, anyway.

Because who can explain something underserved?

This life I live peppered with you-owe-me's and fairness and eye-for-an-eye's — where does grace fit in there?

It finds me when I'm at my absolute worst. When my words are atrocious and my patience has unraveled. When I can't stand people. When I can't stand myself.

It finds me when I call a friend to complain about something they did and I wind up crying like a blubbering fool because really my feelings were hurt and I didn't know what to do with myself. And they didn't defend and they didn't walk away. They just listened.

Grace is a gift given without strings. It's wrapped in forgiveness packaging and tied with a bow of compassion.

An unearned reprieve that cannot be justified.


Linking today with Lisa-Jo…
Five Minute Friday
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