When the words don’t come | five minute friday | purpose

when the words don't come

Five Minute Friday: free write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. No editing, no over-thinking, no analyzing grammar and style. Just writing. Today’s word: purpose.

Setting my timer and starting in 3…2…1…NOW.

It’s quiet around here lately. There are thoughts and feelings and things I want to say, but I sit down to suss it all out and silence. A blinking cursor, waiting for direction. The words don’t come.

Writing is my art. I’m a logophile. I love words and creating with them. I’ve known this from an early age. Even my first grade teacher wrote on my progress reports: she will be a writer one day.

This is my purpose. The written word submitted to the Lordship of Jesus in my life.

I’m struggling in it, though. Occasionally I get paid to write, but mostly it’s just for me. And sometimes, the words just don’t come. What does all that mean for my purpose, then? Am I only living out my purpose if I have an audience? Am I truly fulfilling my purpose if it’s not my full-time vocation? Am I failing when the words don’t come?

Purpose is such a loaded word. Like calling.

These are all the words I have tonight. They just won’t come.

Time’s up.

Five Minute Friday | Slow

Five Minute Friday | Slow

Five Minute Friday: free write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. No editing, no over-thinking, no analyzing grammar and style. Just writing. Today’s word: slow.

Setting my timer and starting in 3…2…1…NOW.

In our modern age, we expect things quickly. We upgrade our phones with every new release because of the promise of faster speeds. We tap our fingers impatiently on the dash if our food doesn’t appear as soon as we arrive at the drive-thru window. We have information immediately available just by uttering, “Hey, Siri.”

We are the generation of instant gratification.

However, I’ve learned that the things worth doing take time. I’m a terrible crafter for this reason.  I get so focused on the result that I get frustrated while crafting because crafts don’t happen immediately. They take effort. They take time.

The same is true of knowledge, wisdom, truth. In our age of #fakenews, it’s often hard to determine what’s truth. We are in an epistemological crisis because of our desire for instant gratification. We don’t make the effort to discover what’s true.

Truth involves a time investment. Study. Research. I’m reminded of this Spurgeon quote, a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is pulling its boots on. 

So it is with spiritual truth as well. How did Jesus put it?

 “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Abide. Take it slow. Know truth. Be free.

 

/time

Epic fail: that one time I quit Facebook and only lasted a month…

epic failWell, if you’re a regular reader and you were paying attention last week when I announced the blog re-launch, you may have noticed I encouraged you to go like the blog’s Facebook page. And that might have caused you to pause and think, wait, I thought she quit Facebook for 2017

Well, you are right, friends. I’ve failed at staying off the Facebooks for the year. And here’s why:

  1. Parties, community news, church events, you name it…are all announced and organized on Facebook now.  I consistently felt out of the loop on what’s going on locally because I didn’t have access to it. I even read our local newspaper daily, but that doesn’t provide the depth of local information that a social media site does anymore. And though I love Twitter, it’s just not the same kind of resource for local happenings as Facebook is.
  2. We recently joined a new church, and Ryan and I decided together it would be better for connecting with new church members if we were on Facebook.
  3. I had more than one regular blog reader tell me that they enjoy reading my blog, but don’t always realize there’s a new post because they accessed it through Facebook originally. Sure, you can sign up to receive new posts via email or see the Insta and Twitter new post announcements, but that isn’t ideal for everyone. I want to remove barriers to my friends engaging with my content.

So, there you have it. The big reasons I rejoined Facebook. However, let me just say that I truly enjoyed the break from it. And I’m not putting the app back on my phone. And since I deleted my account, I get to start over fresh and new…no backlog of friends that I took one college course with 10 years ago and then never spoke to again. It’s a clean slate.

The last 1.5 months off Facebook were liberating, and I have no regrets about doing it. I do regret that I didn’t make it the whole year, but I’ve also learned this in the process:

I absolutely think taking an extended leave from Facebook was the right thing for me to do. My reasons for doing it were sound. However, the time commitment I chose may have been too ambitious.

 

I hope you all don’t judge my epic fail too harshly. And I would absolutely still encourage you to take an extended social media break. It has done wonders for my mental health lately, which made the decision to return to it that much harder.

Have you had an epic fail recently? How did you feel afterward? What did you learn from it?

Bedlam Basketball and A Birth Story


Our firstborn turns FOUR today. I can’t believe it. She’ll be starting school this fall, and pre-K enrollment is two weeks away. Cue all the feels. Since I’ve never shared it publicly before, and in honor of her birthday, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you about her birth story.

Anxiously Awaiting

Let me begin by saying I had a fairly ordinary pregnancy, physically speaking. Though our personal lives were in an uproar at the time, my overall physical condition was good. So, as my due date approached, I felt very anxious not knowing what to expect. I hadn’t experienced any Braxton Hicks, so I didn’t even know what a contraction might feel like. People said things to me like, “oh when you’re in labor, you’ll know.” But I remember thinking, yeah but how will I know? 

Though I do struggle with some anxiety, it’s not significant most of the time. However, my pregnancy hormones left me feeling apprehensive about giving birth. On top of that, the episode of Downton Abbey where Sybil gives birth aired during my last few weeks of pregnancy. I was a royal sobbing mess as I watched it. Then, because I’m a crazy person, I decided to catch some episodes of TLC’s A Baby Story. So what I’m trying to tell you is that my frame of reference for giving birth was entirely shaped by television. My state of mind wasn’t exactly in a good place.


Since this was my first baby, I didn’t expect her to come by her due date. I’d heard countless stories of first pregnancies going long, so that was my expectation as well. I hadn’t shown any signs of labor coming soon in my weekly prenatal checks. My 39-week appointment was just 2 days before my due date, and I had barely dilated and had very little effacement. By all appearances, she was going to stick it out for a little while longer.

Is this a bad backache, or…..?

So when my back was aching at around 4 AM the morning of my due date, I didn’t think much of it. As most of you moms know, back pain during pregnancy isn’t exactly unusual, and especially so for me because I had serious sciatic nerve issues with my first pregnancy. I just thought my back was hurting from sleeping in an awkward position or something.

By about 4:30, I realized that the back pain was a little unusual because it kept coming and going. It was a rhythmic pain. Cue alarms and signals firing in my brain. I began to suspect I might be experiencing labor pains, but I thought it was likely false labor. Again, I fully expected to carry her for at least a few more days. So, around 5 am, thinking I was likely experiencing false labor, I decided to go take a shower. I’d heard or read, I can’t remember, that I should take a shower if I thought I might be having contractions, and if they persisted afterward it was a good sign I was in real labor.


So, I swung my legs over the side of the bed, planted my feet on the carpet, and stood to head for the shower. That’s when it happened. My water broke.  I won’t go into the gory details, but let me tell you it was something straight out of the movies. And after my water broke, that casual back pain turned full throttle and it was on.

Eastbound, loaded up and birthin’

Ryan was awake because I had told him I thought I might be feeling contractions and I was heading to take a shower. So after I stood and the floodgates released, I said, “uh Ryan…..my water just broke.” He bolted upright and I think he said something to the effect of “seriously? are you sure?” I can’t remember now. Nevertheless, he quickly got out of bed, and we both started getting ready to head to the hospital. We woke his parents (we lived with them at the time, long story), gathered our things, and loaded up into the car.

In hindsight, we should have grabbed trashbags or something to cover my car seat. I think we grabbed towels, but they were practically useless. Since my water broke, every contraction released a fresh gush of fluid and we lived over an hour from our hospital.

Ryan and his offspring are all members of the Cherokee tribe, so my prenatal care was managed by them and our children were born at the tribal hospital in Tahlequah. I had to ride in that car for over an hour, having contractions every few minutes. I truly thought we weren’t going to make it. I learned later after we arrived that I really hadn’t dilated all that much. Ha! It felt otherwise.


We arrived at the hospital and checked in. By the time we got there, filled out the paperwork, and I got hooked up to all the monitors and machines, it was approaching 7 am. Of course, they immediately asked if I wanted an epidural, and at this point, the labor was painful but not unbearable. I decided to pass on the epidural for now.

Bedlam Basketball and a Birth Story

A few hours go by. My midwife comes in to check on things, and I thought for sure I’d be getting close to time to push. My contractions were strong, coming closely together, and I’d been laboring for about 6 hours. I was certain it was time to get this show on the road. Imagine my disappointment when she told me I’d only dilated to a 6 (you need to be at a 10 to start pushing, in case you didn’t know).

Since little missy was apparently going to take her sweet time, I told them to go ahead and load me up with the drugs. Regardless of your position on epidurals vs. natural birth, let me just tell you this: getting an epidural is a scary experience. As the anesthesiologist instructed me to hold very still while he inserted the needle, I thought (and may have even said aloud), um are you kidding me a tiny human is taking a jackhammer to my pelvis and you expect me NOT TO MOVE!? 

Anyway, so I got the epidural. Labor was pretty smooth sailing from then on. I texted and checked Facebook to bide the time. I remember one friend texting back, “you’re texting in labor?!?!” Listen, y’all….those epidurals don’t play. I didn’t get one with my second (that’s a whole ‘nother story), and regret it in hindsight.

I labored for another few hours. I tried to get some sleep, but that didn’t happen. Finally, the Bedlam basketball game came on TV so I had something interesting to watch. Then, around 2pm, my midwife came in to do another cervical check. It was time!

So, while the Sooners went on to the lose to the Cowboys in overtime, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl.

Altogether, my labor was about 10 hours. It would likely have been shorter without the epidural, but I don’t regret getting it. It’s interesting the things I remember about the experience now, four years later, and the things I don’t. They say you forget the labor pains, and I guess I have to an extent (I still remember every bit of them from my second child, though). I remember watching the Sooners. I remember the look on Ryan’s face at the sight of his newborn daughter. I remember the love in his eyes as he watched me labor and give birth. I remember the sensation of her leaving my body, the feel of her tiny body on my chest, the flood of relief that washed over me at the sight of her.

I know this post is too long, but I didn’t want to split it into two parts. This story is just the beginning of our adventures with Sweet Baby Ray. She has changed our lives in innumerable ways. I’m thankful for four years of being her mom and the many adventures we have ahead of us. Happy birthday, Sweet Baby Ray!


As a side note, bedlam basketball still falls on the Saturday around Ray’s birthday, so Boomer Sooner! 

 

If we were having coffee

having coffee

One of my favorite things to do with friends is to chat over a cup of coffee. This was something my girlfriends and I started doing in high school, and it carried into college and beyond as well. I don’t get to do it nearly enough, anymore. Busy schedules, babies, budgets  and distant borders now make having coffee with a friend increasingly difficult. That’s why today I’m going to share with you what I’d tell you if we were having coffee.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how terrible my work life is right now. On the surface, my work life seems ideal: I work from home, I have a robust amount of autonomy, I work almost entirely independently and I get to set my own schedule. However, all is not as it seems. Our board of directors have recently made broad institutional changes that are affecting top level leadership and impacting me directly. These changes have been abrupt and ill-planned. The morale among my team and the organization as a whole is low, and it’s not a great place to be. So, I’m updating my resume and brushing up on my interview skills.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about how Oklahoma’s schizophrenic weather is causing my allergies to go bat crazy. I can’t breathe, my throat itches and I’m hacking like a middle-aged chainsmoker named Barb. Ryan went out for some allergy meds tonight, and all of the major brands were sold out. It seems I’m not alone. Oklahoma’s extended forecasts have had more highs and lows than the Zingo at Bell’s. Go home, Oklahoma weather, you’re drunk.

If we were having coffeewe would inevitably talk politics. I’ve generally avoided these conversations since law school, but I believe our country is in a critical place and we need more engaged citizens. And while I don’t expect to win you to my side, I thrive on the exchange of ideas. I think we’re all better for it when we can dialogue with those of different worldviews.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how Ryan’s starting a new ministry position in a local church that has us so excited. Since moving here last summer, we’ve really struggled to find a church home. However, a church just a few blocks from our house recently hired Ryan as their bivocational worship leader. This new faith family has made us feel incredibly welcome already, and I’m so thankful for new possibilities.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how my firstborn is turning four years old this week and I don’t even know what’s happening. Tonight after her bath, she asked me to blow-dry her hair, and I was struck by how much of a little girl she is now. All signs of my baby are gone and it’s exhilarating and devastating all at the same time. I’d also tell you that parenting her is the greatest challenge of my life so far (and I’ve had many). I’m daily forced to my knees in prayer for how to be the mom she needs, and it’s a humbling road to walk. Where all my mommas of strong-willed humans at?

Okay,. Your turn. If we were having coffee, what would you tell me?