Five Minute Friday: Finish

It’s that time of the week again.  Time to team up with my tribe as we write together for five minutes (just five minutes) and hit “publish” without over editing or over thinking.  If you want to play along, you can find all the details here.  And now, let’s write!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activitiy under heaven.”  Ecc. 3:1

She tries to hold my hand, and I tell her she doesn’t have to.  Yes, we’re in an amusement park with thousands of other people and yes, she’s a bit on the small side, but it’s hot outside, really hot.  Both our hands are sweaty and gross, and sometimes Moms are just all touched out.  So I let go of her hand and we keep walking toward the next big roller coaster.

But 30 seconds later her hand is reaching for mine again, and I tell her it’s OK, you don’t have to hold my hand.  You’re a big girl now and I know you won’t get lost.  Her hand drops and then it’s back again a few seconds later.  Finally my “big” 10 year old girl says, “But I want to hold your hand. I like being close to you.”

When my kids were babies I was constantly reading up on the next stage of their lives.  Part of it was curiosity, part of it was wanting to know what to expect, and if I’m honest, part of it was anticipation.  I wanted to get on to the next thing.  Learning to sit up?  Check.  What’s next?  Maybe I can give her a head start. (and the Mama competition thing deserves a post of its very own)

But in my eagerness to move things along, I didn’t always fully appreciate the season they were in, and I didn’t always give them time to finish one stage before hurrying into a new one.

Lots of people write about enjoying your children where they are and slowing down to smell the roses, and those are easy words to write but they can be hard words to live out.  In a world that seems to be stuck on fast forward, where precociousness and speed are applauded, it goes against the flow to encourage your 10-year-old girls to play with dolls or watch Sofia the First (mine also likes Max and Ruby) or wear modest age-appropriate clothing.  Or maybe even hold your hand in public.

I don’t want this stage to end, and I especially don’t want it to end prematurely just because I’m in a hurry.  I hope she continues to want to hold my hand in public, even when it’s not comfortable for me because of the heat or whatever.  It’s worth the discomfort to know that she wants to be close to me.


Five Minute Friday: Bloom

I just love this community!  If you don’t already know, there’s an ah-mazing group of writers who link up every week here, at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog, where we write for five minutes on the same one-word prompt.  It’s real and it’s raw, and you should check it out.

He called me and told me that his boss wanted to see him at 4:30, and it was a Friday afternoon.  My stomach sank like a stone in the river, hard and fast.  I used to be an HR Manager, and I knew what that meant, and it wasn’t a good thing.

I was right and for once in my life, I wasn’t happy about it.  And if I wasn’t happy, well, he was devastated.  So much of a man’s self-worth is wrapped up in their God-given instinct to provide for their families and to have this job jerked out from under him this way, the job that had moved us three hours away from family and friends and all we knew, it knocked us right off balance.

What do you do when it’s Friday night and your world has been turned upside down and you can’t do anything about it?  We decided to rent a movie, one some friends had recommended called “Facing the Giants”.  ANYthing to take our minds off the uncertainty.  Because what were we supposed to do?  We knew God moved us here because His hand was all over the circumstances.  My first instinct was to run back “home” to Tennessee, where we came from.  That’s where my family was, our church, our friends, and we hadn’t been gone even a year yet.

So we watched this movie, and the acting was terrible.  Awful!  But after a while we started paying attention to the message and we didn’t notice the less-than-Oscar-worthy acting.  In one scene, there is a gentleman who regularly comes into the local high school and prays over the students and staff there, walking through the halls and touching each locker.  One day he comes into the office of the school’s football coach, who is facing a similar job crisis to our own and tells the coach that God has a message for him.  In part, the message is this:  Until God moves you, you are to bloom where you are planted. 

We felt that message was meant for us too, and that unless and until God moved us, we needed to stay in South Carolina.  To make a long story short, God provided for us in a very God-like way, and we learned to trust Him more.  Was it easy?  No.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely.

Move: It’s a Done Deal

Since October of last year we’ve been planning to move.  We bought a house, we prepared our children as much as possible, we gave a bunch of stuff to Goodwill, we packed far too much junk and hauled it 6 hours north and tried to cram it into a house with 200 less square feet than the one we left.  And then two days later, we left on an airplane for a visit with family in Wisconsin.  Yes, I don’t know what we were thinking either.  We’ve started unpacking boxes but there are so. many. more left that they must be hiding in closets and multiplying like rabbits or wire clothes hangers.  And so many of these boxes are filled with things that I don’t know how to sort or where to place or even if we really need them anymore.  (I’m guessing we don’t but my inner packrat can’t chuck a whole box without at least looking to make sure something very important isn’t hiding amongst the old school workbooks and dried up ink pens and cords to things we don’t own anymore. )

This is my office right now:

IMG_3419It’s a decent sized space and I LOVE the orange color on the walls!  It’s not quite University of Tennessee Orange, but I can pretend.  My desk is facing the opposite wall so I don’t see those boxes unless I turn around, so I just don’t turn around.  Procrastinators of the world, unite!  Eventually.  When you feel like it.  (That needs to be on a t-shirt)

I have a different plan for our home this time around.  I lived in a house in South Carolina for 8 years, and I was hesitant to put any nails in the wall because “what if we need to sell it one day?”  I never added the backsplash I so desperately wanted behind my stove for the same reason.  But not this time.  This time I will turn our house into OUR HOME, a place that feels comfortable and welcoming, with all the personal touches I put off in the last house.  I will not strive for perfection, but will try to find the beauty in what is.

And the first project?  Ceiling fans!  I could not believe this house did not have them already.  Virginia is not blistering hot, but with all the bedrooms upstairs we could sure use some air movement up there.  Not to mention that I like to sleep with the noise of a fan and having one on the ceiling means I don’t need a boxy one taking up space in the floor.

So what about all the living, breathing beings that made the trip?  Well, one cat is doing fine but the other one does not agree with where we placed the litter boxes so he is staging a protest in the most unbecoming and frustrating manner.  My husband had been living here since March, so he’s just happy to have all his family under one roof again, although he’d be happier if all the boxes were emptied.   My youngest girl is settling in at her new gym and asking when her teammates can come home and play with her, plus she’s already made a friend down the street and they are together nearly every day.  My older one is getting back into fencing and we are looking into finding her a voice teacher.  Both of them are registered for school but still a little apprehensive about actually going to school this fall.

And me?  Well, I admit I had big plans wrapped up in this move.  I was going to set up my office and write.  I was going to blog, and start promoting my proofreading business and (gasp) try to see if I might even have a book in me.  And even though I knew that living in a new house in a new state would not make me a different person, there was a little bit of me that hoped it would spark something.  You know, the whole “new start” idea.  But there is nothing I can change about myself now that I couldn’t have done differently then, is there?  I’m not sure how I thought all the turmoil of moving would inspire me to all of a sudden be more productive, but there you go.  Now, when my kids go back to school in September, then maybe I’ll have time… (Procrastinators of the world… well, you know the drill)

I don’t expect the process of making friends to come quickly for me.  I’m a little shy at first, and I fully expect the “trying on” of friendships to go on a while, because you won’t always find the best fit right at the beginning.  It’s a lot like dating, really.  I left some truly amazing friends back in South Carolina, but if I had never left Tennessee, I would never have met them.  I know that will be true here too, that I will meet some wonderful friends and think about how I would have never met them if we hadn’t moved, and realize how much I would have missed in not knowing them.  But it will take time to find the kind of friends who will shop and have lunch with me or come over for dinner at a moment’s notice, pick up my kids from school for me, tell me the truth when I ask how they like my haircut, and go on vacation with me.  But God, in His wisdom, gave me a little head start by placing a few lovely local ladies in my path before I even moved here.  Trish and John brought us dinner and helped us unpack, and Hope (who I met online) showed up completely out of the blue to welcome us in person and bring us a lovely houseplant as a housewarming gift.  So far all the neighbors I have met are nice too.

So now we begin to settle in, which I see as basically a series of “firsts”.  First time having friends over for dinner, first July 4th, first birthday, first day of school, first Christmas.  This?  It’s all going to be just fine.  God got us here and I have to believe that He has it all in His control.

Just don’t ask me when I’m going to be finished unpacking boxes.  You probably won’t like my answer. 🙂