Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Place

Well, another week has gone by and is history instead of present or future. I sometimes wonder as I begin each week how I am gong to get through it, then suddenly, it is over and I feel like I’ve missed half of it in the chaos that is my life. But, I look back and things have been done, people have been met, fun has happened, sometimes suffering has occurred. It just doesn’t seem like I am present for much of it. And that is what is bothering me right now, so I will begin my Five Minute Friday there this week since the prompt is “place”…here goes:

I think of “place” and I immediately think of a feeling rather than an actual location. Feeling in “place” or like you are part of a “place” or in the “right place” has much less to do with the actual physical space you are inhabiting and much more with the feeling that place gives to you. I notice that I don’t often think of myself in those terms in my current state of life. I only really pay attention when I feel the opposite. When I feel out of “place” or like I’m in the “wrong place,” I notice, but comfort makes me lazy in my perceptions. So, today, I want to spend a bit of time talking about a place that has been a source of comfort and security for me lately.

Girl Scouts! My daughter joined Girl Scouts as a first grader. She was late to the troop since I didn’t hear about it at first and I can definitely say that at first, I felt a little out of place. I didn’t know any of the other moms and they all seemed to know each other. Some of the little girls had gone to preschool together and we barely knew any of them. But, my daughter felt right at home almost immediately. I felt like it was a good experience for her and might lessen her anxiety about school, so I was along for the ride and fully committed. When that year ended, the leader was pregnant and told us she wasn’t planning on leading again the next year since she would have a newborn and all the other moms said okay and that they just probably wouldn’t do Girl Scouts then. My heart sank. So, I decided I would become the leader to keep the troop together and make sure my DD had a full Girl Scouts experience. I’ve been a leader now for two and a half years and I love it. When I go to Girl Scout meetings, whether with our girls or the other troop leaders, I always feel like I belong there. I don’t feel out of place or not good enough.

You see, sometimes, I feel like our house is not very nice (it isn’t – we rent a condo and it isn’t in great shape due to animals and children and us). I feel like I don’t value the same things as other moms. I don’t get my hair done at fancy places or go to get pedicures on a regular basis. I am not on a diet most of the time. I don’t go to the gym to workout. I don’t drink wine. I am older than most of the other moms. But, at Girl Scouts, I feel like the leaders are moms like me (probably for a reason in all honesty). They don’t have perfect hair. They don’t go to the gym. I went to pick up cookies from another leader and she lived in a trailer park here in town. She wasn’t ashamed (at least she didn’t seem to be) and I felt better knowing there were others who don’t live in fancy houses with big yards and playrooms (my best mom friends mostly have these things and I always feel a little less than). In addition, these moms are doing things with their girls. They are planning activities, selling cookies, camping out. They are not getting pedicures (I’m sure some of them do that as well, but that isn’t what I experience with them).

I am sure that this is mostly just my own insecurities, but those insecurities are real all the same. And I’m glad I’ve found some “place” where I can feel myself and feel confident and enjoy myself without thinking I’m doing things wrong. Everyone should have such a place. I’m glad that I’ve found my place where I can share things with my daughter as well.

My troop at World Thinking Day this year – they represented Hong Kong!
Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – More

I am joining Five Minute Friday a little late this week. But, better late than never, I suppose. This week’s prompt is “more”. Pretty fitting for my blog’s title, “More at Forty”. But, as you will see, maybe I chose a blog title poorly for my current condition. Here goes…

Just seeing the word “more” kind of puts me in a state of panic nowadays. I’m not sure when it suddenly became stressful to think of “more” of almost anything, but that is where I am at right now. I can’t possibly deal with any “more”. I am buried in “more”. I have “more” on my to-do list than I can do and I have “more” in my house than I can take care of and I have “more” on my wish-list than I can achieve. More is starting to feel like a burden I carry around in a bag that is overflowing and I’m constantly losing things (focus, peace, prayer, calm, etc.) because everything can’t fit in that bag.

So, the question at this point, is what do I possibly get rid of out of this overflowing bag? How do I pack it in a way that what is at risk of falling out is the least valuable (instead of what is the most valuable as it often goes)? Prioritization is the key, but I feel like I need to dump the whole bag out in order to do that and it scares me to see what is down there at the bottom of the bag that I’ve forgotten. I’m afraid of finding things like lost opportunities and disappointments and even long lost joys that aren’t returning. I’m carrying around those things, thinking I will get to them, revisit them, but really they’re just weighing me down because I can’t possibly reach them with all the stuff on top of them.

I don’t have an answer for this problem. I only have fear and dread and stress. I know what I need to do, but I am afraid of doing it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Should I take out one thing at a time or should I dump it all out and start fresh? Can I possibly reach down to the bottom without clearing it all out and find somewhere to start? I just don’t know…

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Build

I am joining Five Minute Friday this week with a bit of a sickness hangover. I started getting congested and not feeling great last Friday and by Monday, I was fully miserable. I went to Prompt Care, where nearly everyone in the waiting room had the exact same symptoms as I did, and was told it was a bad upper respiratory virus going around and I would just have to ride it out. This is the first time I can remember in a very, very long time that I did not go to work for a whole week. I will usually “push through”. But, this virus was having none of that. I started running a fever shortly after visiting Prompt Care and was in bed from 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday until 10 a.m. on Wednesday. I then puttered around coughing and feeling generally miserable the rest of Wednesday, while the cough moved into my chest and became more pronounced. I am feeling considerably better than I was earlier in the week, but still only about 60% of all good. But, I have a Speech and Debate tournament this weekend and since we only have two drivers this year, I need to go. So, I will be picking up a 12 passenger van soon, loading up competitors and heading out for a three hour trip to our destination. The upshot is I don’t have to look at my sadly messy house all weekend, which alleviates some guilt and frustration. I am really hoping that the cough soon leaves and I can get back to feeling 80-90%. I think this illness has made me appreciate what it feels like to feel good and healthy in a whole new way! I hope all of you can skip this one!

Well, enough of that! Let’s get to the Five Minute Friday! This week’s prompt is “build”.

I have come to the conclusion in my later life that I am a dreamer more than a doer. It isn’t an easy thing for me to accept. At one time, I feel like I may have been more of a doer, but I don’t know if that is just me remembering things in a more positive way. But, I have also come to realize that doing is important because we can’t live our lives in dreams. We have to live our lives in reality. And it is there that we need to build and do.

I am struggling but succeeding in being more of a doer this year so far. But, it is always a temptation to scroll through photos, read other’s blog posts, and live in those dreams that my life could be like that too, if only. But, I know that God wants me to do with what I have. He wants me to build where I am. So, I am trying to do just that. Build stability. Build relationships. Build consistency. And all of that building requires that I DO things, not just think about them or dream about them. STOP!

Well, that went by rather quickly! I will say that I am working on re”build”ing my blog right now. Watch for those changes that will be happening over the next few weeks! And watch for a fun giveaway I’ll be doing very soon as well!

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Convenient

I am joining Five Minute Friday a day late this week. I’m trying to be as consistent as possible in posting these weekly in 2019, but I’m not yet getting them all on Friday. Improvements can be made! This week’s prompt is “convenient”.

Convenient is not just a word for me. It is a way of life! My Twitter profile reads “Cheap and easy (not me, my food and life in general).” because it is truth. I am not one for making long time investments to doing hair, makeup, making meals or anything else in my life really. I am not sure where this stems from, but it is pretty consistent. If things aren’t simple and easy, I’m probably not going to be doing them long term.

But, I realize that sometimes “convenient” is just another word for “lacking value”. This isn’t always the case of course, but at times, we have to question whether convenience is trading off with something that is of more value. For example, I struggle with finding time to read books nowadays. It seems much more convenient to listen to podcasts or read shorter articles online, etc. But, I feel like that convenience trades off with an experience that is worth having. Getting lost in a book may not be the most “convenient” of things to happen to me, but it is so worth it in the grand scheme of things. Another area where I think convenient trades off with value is food. We’ve made a commitment to trying to eat more at home in 2019. But, even in the first few weeks, it has been tempting for us to eat out because it would be “convenient”. Someone doesn’t have to cook. No dishes are dirtied. But, that convenience usually leaves us feeling bad about what we ate and bad about what we spent. I am starting to be more aware of this tradeoff, even after only a few weeks.

So, although I love for things to be convenient, I also am starting to realize that God has given us things that are more worthy of our time and attention. He has given us the ability to slow down and appreciate investing time and effort in things. We just need to figure out what those things are in our lives. We aren’t all committed to or invested in the same thing. That would be boring. God has given us our own vocations, our own gifts to share and our own challenges as well. If we can take the time to really invest in those vocations, take time to share those gifts and not back down from those challenges, we will most likely find that although it may not be the most convenient way, it is the most rewarding way.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Still

FMF-Square-Images-Round-4-3

What an appropriate prompt as I post on this blog for the first time in a long time.  I am “still” here!  I am “still” struggling to find time and ideas and motivation to write on this public space, even though at times I have loved it and found comfort in it.  I am “still” being hard on myself for never sticking with things in my life that I set a goal or make a commitment to do.  I am “still” struggling to keep my life on track and my home organized.  But, I am also “still” being a mom to a little girl with a heart transplant, working a full-time job and another part-time job, leading a Girl Scout troop (who are not Brownies and Juniors) and keeping a home (just barely).   I am “still” looking at a dining room table piled high with things to deal with and put away instead of being a lovely place to eat our meals together.  I am “still” looking at a work bag full of papers to grade.  I am “still” looking at a calendar that is packed with too many things, none of which I don’t want to do, but all of which make me feel tired to think about.  I am “still” eating out too often and trying to find the magic words to create a life of peaceful routines and energy to do it all.  I am “still” missing my mom, who passed away two years ago (Kate’s post today really brought that back).  I am “still” feeling like I could do so much more and so much better in life, but I “still” don’t know exactly how to do that.

So many things change, but so many things “still” remain.

 

Dog holding a shoe.
Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Loyal

I am once again joining in at Five Minute Friday this week.  I am glad to be sharing feelings and findings in a short five minute burst once again.  No pressure, just a word and my words that follow.  This week’s prompt is “loyal”.  Here we go…

Dog holding a shoe.

When I saw the word loyal, I immediately felt guilty.  Why?  Because I sometimes feel like I lack loyalty.  This photo of the dog with the shoe in it’s mouth captures perfectly my feelings on this subject.  I think I’m a very loyal person, but I come with a lot of flaws.  Just like a dog who loves you more than anything in the world, but eats your shoes (or toys, or door frames, or furniture – just as general examples) every chance they get, I love God and my family and friends, but I can sometimes be found doing the metaphorical equivalent to stealing and chewing on their shoes.  I always have a decent excuse.  I don’t have enough time.  I’m tired.  I have so many other commitments.  I have spent my energy on people at work or at my daughter’s school and can’t face using more energy.

All those excuses are real things.  I am tired.  I do have a busy schedule.  I do have too many commitments.  I do spend a lot of energy at work or volunteering at my daughter’s school.  But, in the end, I have only myself to blame.  I could go to church each and every week that I am home.  I have that much energy and it usually fits in my schedule.  Does it take energy for me to go to a place by myself where I don’t know many people?  For sure.  But, that energy is usually worth it.  I could go and see my sister much more often.  Does it require a drive and a half a day at least to do so?  Yes.  But, I spend half a day doing less important things.  I could spend more time taking care of my house and cooking for my family.  Am I tired?  Yes, but not so tired that I could not cook a meal or clean a room.

In the end, I make the choices I make.  I have to take responsibility and make the choices that are good for me, not easy for me.  I need to remind myself that I am loyal.  And although I am flawed, I can still remain loyal and I can do better.  I can make better decisions and lead a better life.

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Okay – that was a little longer than five minutes, but it was a good flow.  I love Five Minute Fridays that go this easy.  What about you?  Will you write for five?

loyal

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Middle

Hello!  If you are joining me from Five Minute Friday, welcome to my little corner of the internet.  Please look around and get to know me and make a comment.  I will be sure to visit you as well and say hi!

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “Middle”.  Let’s get started!

connect-1

I have to be honest.  the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the prompt was that old song, “Stuck in the middle with you.”

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.
Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you.
I feel a little stuck in the middle of things right now.  Life for one.  I’ve hit “that age” where I feel like more of my life may have gone by than I have left.  Of course, that can always be the case, but it becomes especially apparent as I get close to 50.  I mean, not many people live to 100, so you really are on the shorter side of life when you get to this point.  But, we often refer to the late 40s and early 50s as the point where people have “mid-life” crises.  I’m not having one of those (yet), but I am starting to wonder how to make this last “half” of life better than the first half of life.  This year is starting to feel better than the past few years have felt as far as that is concerned, but it still feels like pressure.  I think the key that I have come up with is that to make this half better, I need to live more, give more and love more.
Luckily, I have my DD to keep me young and having fun.  And, I don’t often feel like I have “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,” which I have to think is a good thing.
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TIME!
So, there it is.  Wasn’t expecting to talk about mid-life today, but sometimes the prompt just leads you to unknown territory!
What’s your “middle” today?