Word of the Year 2014: Embrace



In the eleventh hour on the final day of January, I will finally commit to a word of the year. I've been pondering on what word I should choose since December, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to go with my initial inspiration or try to come up with something more interesting. Because we all know that everyone else's ideas are always more interesting, right? But I didn't want to copy anyone else either. I have unique circumstances, and I believe this word came to me because it is what I need to strive to do better at in my daily life.

The word embrace is an action word; it's something we do. I want to embrace life more fully this year. I'm not talking about taking a walk on the wild side more than I flirt with it already. I'm talking about taking time to embrace each moment I am given, stepping back to appreciate what I have in the moment, and stopping the practice of wishing for something more. To embrace the ever present love that surrounds me and not allow anything or anyone to detract from my recognizing that I am loved.

Embracing differences and sameness with deeper appreciation.  Embracing my faith. Embracing my successes and embracing what I learn from my failures. I want to embrace the many layers of life in which there are room to pull them closer. 

Embrace is also a label to describe something we do when we hold onto each other, more simply known as a hug. When I am in an embrace with my children, I want to be more present and embrace them with more emotion, so they might know with a surety that they are loved. There are days when I am on empty, and I can't seem to muster enough warmth in the hugs I give. I want that to change this year.

I hope to more often embrace friends and family, in both senses of the word. 

Another thing I thought of is that, just maybe, a few of you might want to work on embracing life more fully, too. Join me. I can pretty much guarantee you'll be glad you did. 

Past Words of the Year:



a tiny slice of gratitude

Learning new things takes a lot of energy! I was so busy with planning, organizing, and learning today that I feel completely exhausted right now. My eyeballs are even rebelling. Even though I do feel messed up tired, I am very thankful for my opportunity to be in school learning and leading and growing. My life is truly blessed with having too much to do. 

Now, we wait for midterms and see how I feel about it all. 

JUST KIDDING! 

Seeking to Become - January 2014



I've pondered on what I need to do differently in regard to certain people I struggle with in my life, and I discovered (or I should say rediscovered) a verse that gives direct instruction on what the Lord would have me do.

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. 
 Matthew 5:44

I had read and heard these words countless times before, but they struck me in a new way when I found them again. I needed direct instruction in this weighty matter, and I received it. The commands are strong and undeniable. It is not just a suggestion to love and bless and do good to those who do not love us in return.

The challenge to become more Christlike has become more difficult as I take this verse to heart and work to implement it in my life. Over the past month, I have been working toward changing my approach to and perception of certain individuals, and I believe that progress can be made and this will make a difference.

I invite all to join me in this endeavor to follow this specific teaching of Christ. May He bless our honest efforts and help us see the blessings that will come from them.




my gift, my friend

Smooth as silk you slide
between the moments of my life
you arrive in a way announcing
your effervescent presence
yet your way is unassuming
and divine in every caring facet
for which a friend or lover
could ever wish or want
you are yourself and I am mine
with our motives ever intertwined
reciprocating kindness unmeasured
and always hoping for the best
with no thought for self but for the other
meeting in the middle—satisfied.


Just a bit

You write hidden messages between each line
Saying what you would not write in ink
Telling me how you know I have let you in
But you don't want to open up that door
Saying—without words—how much fear
I instill within your heart because of all the hurt
Still raging within my own, even though
I want it to be calm—it isn't—and will never be
Because I am a passionate fish swimming
In a direction you can't imagine yourself going
Somehow you are able to dance around
The trouble spots as if they were no trouble
Sparking inspiration and gladness in your midst

You write of admiration, friendship, and kindness
Crafting, carefully, each letter so offense is absent
Intuition tells me you are a gentleman
Hidden in wolf's clothing
A treasure, a diamond in the rough
I see you and cannot help but wish
That we were both swimming up stream
Together, instead of assumed opposites
Intuition, a blessing and a curse
Nipping at my heels and helping me push off
Feelings that would only break me
If I had to face one more closed door
And still—you gently allow me
To leave it cracked open

Getting back in the saddle

I'm telling you, this whole single-parent-nontraditional-student-freelance-editor-creative-writer-self-motivated-awesome-person thing is really getting to me. I actually let myself get pretty down hearted over the past several days. But, I woke up to a fresh day with fresh words whispered into my heart and mind, and I think I am going to set all that grey aside. It's certainly worth giving it a go. And I'm pretty good at going once I get going. If that makes any sense.

So—when does one take a break? Seriously. I'm pretty sure me neglecting my blog over the past week or so counts as a vacation in writer land. I just haven't had a break on any other level.

I keep catching myself wishing for a roadie to Texas or Disneyland. Laundry piles remind me of hikes in the mountains, which leads to cabins and campfires and tin foil dinners. Homework takes me to places like Las Vegas, Italy, Scotland, and some little bed and breakfast in Tennessee (I've been researching for some articles I might write). Day dreaming about seeing places I've been wanting to see but not having a way to actually go is driving me up the wall. I would just about give my right pinky toe to meet a certain person I've become pen pals with. I can't tell you how many times I catch myself plotting that adventure (I really can't tell you—they might read this and think I'm off my rocker).

You might be wondering what is the point of all this rambling. I will tell you. My point is that I want to get to writing again and this is what you get.

No one ever said that getting back in the saddle had to make any sense. 

an epiphany of positivity

The other day I had an epiphany.

After a hectic morning of getting children off to school before getting my own self out the door,  I was finally driving down the road almost numb, lost in thought. Some of you might get this way when everything seems to pile up, too, so that is why I want to share what came into my mind and then settled into my heart.

Feeling completely overwhelmed, my thoughts were not easily collected, but collect them I did. Negative thoughts like, "Why can't you get things done?!" and "Why is the house a mess almost all the time now?" and "I don't think I will ever really accomplish any of my goals" and "No one will ever want what I have to offer" were whirring through my head. Loserly and ridiculous would best sum up my general thoughts about myself.

Some of you might not know this yet, so I'll tell you—I have a strong anti-self-deprecation platform that I preach. All of the aforementioned thoughts then turned my thoughts to thoughts of hypocrisy: "If I won't practice what I preach, then what the heck am I doing calling people out for being so mean to themselves?" Friends will get going on about how they aren't good at this or that, and I tell them to just stop it. Stop comparing yourself to other people. You're awesome. Everyone has gifts and talents and makes valuable contributions to the world. No one can be and do everything. 

I recalled several occasions when I'd get all uppity with friends in the hope that they would take me at my word that they are wonderful people as they are and stop the negative self-talk. In turn, I've had many people try to comfort me in my anxieties over the divorce, school, single-parenting, and being lonely. Everyone cheers me on, telling me that I'm doing so well. There have even been occasions when I've been told that I'm "inspiring." Really. They used that exact word. I don't think my friends are liars, but I will admit I didn't ever really believe all the nice words because I thought they were just comfort words said in the moment to help me cheer up. I didn't accept them as truth. Then, the epiphany happened.

In an instant, all the worry and care and negativity left. I realized that I am doing awesome like everyone has been telling me. They don't have to see the crazy mornings or the messy house to reassess their assessment of me because none of that really matters. They don't even need to hear all the pipe dreams I've got bouncing around in my head all the time but am not accomplishing—yet.

I am getting out of bed every day. My children have clothes to wear, and those clothes are even clean. We have food to eat every day, and that food is always fresh and delicious and usually nutritious. We live in a HOUSE, for crying out loud! I have a home filled with beds, sheets, blankets, a furnace, fridge, pantry (full to the brim), and there's a yard with fruit and nut trees, strawberry and raspberry patches that I planted myself, and a garage that holds a car and exercise equipment I haven't used in over six months because I'm so busy with attending my dream university on SCHOLARSHIP and actually learning how to achieve life-long goals of becoming a poet, author, editor, and teacher. Not to mention another thing but I'm the mother of four wonderful children. They drive me nuts like any child would do—it's their job—but they do it like professionals! How can I blame them for being overachievers? They take after their mother. You know what else? I might have a lumpy bumpy, big-bootied body, but it's mine and I can walk and dance and ski and play and haul said big booty up and down stairs to get to classes on time. That's, like, seriously awesome. Especially when my calves don't cramp up.

I might not be achieving what I'd like to achieve right at this very moment in time, but I am achieving many great and glorious things. I have a family and faith in God. I have literacy and higher education. I can think and speak and write.

Every day this week, I've had to remind myself, but this is what I say, out loud, when the negativity creeps in: What you call halfway doing things is your best, and it is enough; it is more than enough. So just stop it. 

And I do.





sliver of warmth

the moon's sliver shone on me tonight
glistening across new fallen snow
somehow its glowing beams held me tight
wherever you are—no illusion
this soft light tenderly reached my heart
soothing my wants and cares for a space
when every word you said broke me down
handing me my wish for a moment
beaming until imagined heat fades
a smile glimmers across these lips now
sweet remembrance will haunt them ever
a voice in the distance pulls at us
never knowing how much it could hurt
to never feel the warmth of real touch

not for the faint of heart

I don't know about you, but I am getting mighty exhausted with the busyness of life. I try to cut things out when I get to feeling this way, but somehow life has run away with itself and I can't quite get back to a manageable pace. There are a few things that keep me going though. The first thing I need to say is that they aren't really things, more like people. My children are one of my boosts, and friends are another. Friends come in many packages for me. Some are family or neighbors, long-time friends or social media buddies, a stranger with a kind word in an elevator. My support group is nearly endless. And I'm sure that's the only way I am able to keep going despite the crushing pressures I sometimes find myself under. Like right now. 

This adventure called life takes strength and courage, and when I'm running low, I always have someone there waiting in the wings to share some of theirs with me. 

I appreciate each of you. 

safe

Searching for faces
old and new
Looking for someone to help me
Feel safe
The mirage is always off
in the distance
Never reachable, yet always
pulling me

Toward a better future
Toward the light and beauty
of something bright and lovely

Wandering in the night of day
The fear of never being worth the stay
Creeps into every crevice of this heart
Setting sweet love behind an armed guard
Damage control is not enough
Tangled up frayed ends left undone

Pointless ramblings go unanswered by the mocking crowd
Assertive and mean at the same time
It doesn't make any sense
Except how you explain it seems to
Make me feel safe

Dive straight in
Head first
With no thought
Run into the wind
With lightning at her heels
Fire in her eyes
Electricity in every touch
Throwing it all in
Taking the gamble
Because this time it might be
Maybe it could be
Will it be? Possibly?
The final time to fall and never have to wake up
From the ethereal dream of a love
Which fire never ever dies
Engulfed in eternity
Blissful
Beautiful
Boundless
In its perfection

Only to be burned at the stake
Every single time
Her heart is put on trial

So
She remains
Afraid

Though we do not wish it true, when you stop to think
Aren't we all at the mercy of those within arms reach?

Be the mercy I seek
The rest and safety of a thousand years
Lift me out of this wretched
State of affairs
Calm my nerves and keep me
Safe