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. ­čÖé

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 – 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…

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Five Minute Friday – Search

Oh my, how I have searched. I feel like my last decade has been spent searching. At first, I was searching for answers. What was cardiomyopathy? Did babies really have heart transplants and lead semi-normal lives afterward? What was it like to live in a Ronald McDonald House? Were we really going to be able to do all this medical stuff when we went home? Where was home going to be? Could we go back to doing all the things we had done before? Could we work? Could we send our daughter to school? It was an endless barrage of questions, some answered, some not.

After we came home, I began a search for normal. We had a place to live now, but what was our normal going to be like? I was back at work, but how could I predict if our baby would be healthy or not? How could I get it all done? How could we commute four hours for doctor’s appointments once every three months? How would I find other moms to hang out with when we had been away for months and months and none of my friends or co-workers had babies? Could I leave her with a babysitter? They would have to give her medicines through syringes and deal with a Broviak catheter in her chest. She didn’t sleep in a crib well, so they wouldn’t be able to just “put her down” to sleep. We wouldn’t be able to “put her down” to sleep either. Should we co-sleep? Should we have her continue to sleep in her pack n play like she did at the Ronald McDonald House? She could sleep on the couch next to us in her boppy pillow. Would we ever sleep again?

Once we got through that stage and found our new normal, my search began for myself again. And that search is on-going. I am happy to be a mom. I like my job as a college instructor. I am enjoying being a Girl Scout leader. BUT. Always, the but. Do I want to do 5Ks? Do I want to do crafts? Do I want to compete in something? Am I doing all I am meant to do? Am I ever going to be a mom who can keep the house clean? I think I need to make more money, but maybe I just need to spend less. Should we be living in a house instead of a townhouse? Should I really own six animals? Will I ever get all the laundry done? Am I a writer? Should I be a speaker? Can I reach more people through consulting and maybe make some more money along the way? Am I doing too much? Am I not doing enough? How will I know?

I am in the midst of the search for myself and my goals and what is meant to be. This week, I am trying a new planner I heard about on a podcast. The Rise Up planner by Moira Kucaba. When I heard about it, it spoke to me. I am one who struggles with staying positive, keeping track, focusing on the right things and having a vision for myself. This planner seemed like it might be helpful. I feel like I have zero vision for myself other than to get through it.

Well, I forgot to start my timer. LOL. This may speak to where I am right now in the scheme of things. So, I will let you know how this planner goes!

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.

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Five Minute Friday – Better

I am joining the Five Minute Friday community on this first community post of 2019! It probably isn’t an accident that this week’s prompt is “better”.

I am a perfectionist. No one would know that from watching my behavior. I am constantly making a mess, leaving messes and having to fix mistakes I’ve made. But, most of those are problematic because of my perfectionism. I often won’t do something because I know I won’t be able to do it perfectly. That means that nothing gets done and the problem or the situation gets worse. So, I have to learn to embrace “better”. It is the perfect response to perfectionism.

I preach this to my daughter and to my students, but I often forget it myself. I have seen what can be done through incremental improvements. In fact, most things won’t improve at all without incremental improvements. Small steps lead to big trips. So, by being a little better each day, we can become the person we’ve only dreamed of being. By focusing on doing better with our actions – whether they be choosing healthy foods or exercising regularly or writing regularly – we will improve. The difficult part comes in the wait. Patience is often difficult to hold on to while we are only getting slightly better day-to-day. We (well, at least I) want to see the impacts right now! We don’t just want to get better each day, we want to get great immediately.

This year, I’ve chosen “less” as my one word. And one of the ways I will use that word is to focus less on big changes and instead move to just be slightly better day-to-day. Better at taking care of myself, my home, my family and doing my work. I’m not going to be perfect. I’m not going to be the best. I’m just going to have to settle for better and realize that God didn’t make me to be perfect. He made me to live life in His grace and forgiveness, but strive to be better – to try to live as Jesus lived. Not because I can live as Jesus lived, but because trying to live that way – making decisions based on those principles – will make me a better person. Ever-so-slightly better.