Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday on a Saturday – Take

take

I wrote this yesterday and then promptly forgot to publish. So, here you go…a day late!

Joining Five Minute Friday again this week. The prompt for this week is “take”. Here we go…

Take. It isn’t something we hear a lot about in our society. Not nearly as much as we hear “give”. I was taught about giving at a young age. It was valued and important. On the other hand, taking was something that was often seen as shameful. You don’t take things you don’t need. You don’t take without asking. You don’t take without being grateful and humbled. Taking always came with so many strings attached. And rules were not always totally clear. If someone offered, was it okay to take (the answer is sometimes…because you have to beware of taking things that may put you in a position of owing someone later, you have be aware of whether taking it will mean someone else who needs it more may not get it, etc., etc.).

But, what happens when we grow up and need help? If we are always focused on taking being dangerous or shameful, how do we better receive? Because in order to take something, we have to receive it. It is actually the complicated part. I’m not sure how to overcome the strange connections with taking in order to be a better receiver, an open receiver. The fact that I think there is a “better” way to receive, in itself, is a reflection of the struggle with the idea of taking.

So, I think we need to focus on how taking is receiving. Receiving doesn’t have as many of those unwritten rules and value judgments tied to it.

And, that’s it….the five minutes is up. 🙂

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – World

I am back and joining Five Minute Friday for the first time in a long time. I am rejoining the blogging world after some time away and thought FMF is a great way to begin. I was always more consistent with this weekly writing than any other. This week’s prompt is world. Here we go:

The world is such a vast place. I often lose sight of just how large it is because I am here, in my own little corner of the world and it seems to be all there is most of the time. But, then I might see something online or on TV or even looking at the ocean and it reminds me of just how small this little corner is and how much more there is out there. And a few things strike me about that.

First, I have seen so little of this world. I consider myself to be relatively educated, but it is mostly via books and viewing documentaries and movies and such. I have only been abroad twice. Once on a cruise to Mexico and once to Glasgow. In neither place did I do a lot of exploring (I went to Edinburgh while staying in Glasgow and saw quite a few things in those two cities, but again, small corner. I have been too many states, but mostly for Speech and Debate tournaments where I see an airport, a hotel and a college campus.

Second, I wonder whether we think too small or too large about all of this. One could look at the small corner we are in and think that we don’t really impact much. But, I think that I look at the small corner and think if we just could get out and see and do more and experience more than our view of this small corner would be better. It would be more in context and less distorted by our relatively limited sight.

So, I am feeling the need to get out and explore the world. To become better educated about other places and people. To be better aware of how my experience fits into the world context. And, I feel like I both need to wonder about and wander about the world and make sure my daughter does the same.

That’s time…thanks for the read!

Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Measure

Joining up at Five Minute Friday again this week. March has been a rough month for me and I can honestly say I’m glad to see it come to an end, but I’m also recognizing that April may not be much better. Today’s prompt for FMF is Measure. So, here goes:

How do we measure our lives. It is such an overwhelming task. We live for years and years and years if we are lucky and during that time, so much comes to pass. Good things, bad things, difficult things, impossible things, easy things, fun things, joyful things. But, how do we truly measure our lives? I started this blog ten years ago and my focus was getting “more” out of life. Having something “more” to show for my forty years. But, ten years later, I’m not even sure what that would look like. I’m not sure I would know if there was “more” to show. Because I don’t know what should be showing up, what I should be measuring.

We use a lot of measurements in our society. What do you own? What have you accomplished? How much money do you have in the bank? How many friends do you have? What awards have you won? But, do those really measure anything meaningful. I mean, some things measure meaningful things. Accomplishing things that help others or make the world a better place are good. Money is good if you use it the right way. Friends are valuable. But, how do you truly measure any of those things? Accomplishing one really meaningful thing may be better than accomplishing numerous less meaningful things. A small amount of money used well may be more meaningful than a ton of money used poorly or left in the bank. Friends can be deep and truly inspirational, but they can also be surface-level and actually decrease our self-awareness or self-acceptance.

I guess I will probably never have an answer to this question. But, I do know that God has set forward a meaningful life that can be measured in a meaningful way. We just don’t always have the tools to do that and we need to trust as we move through life. We need to look for opportunities to do meaningful things.

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.