Five Minute Friday: Door

Door.  I travelled to see a loved one this week who has been diagnosed with dementia.  She and a male friend had her door barricaded shut with a chair.  After a second knock, the man removed the chair which was wedged under the door knob and opened the door.

With this disease, I am never certain what I will encounter before I pass through her door. . .

During my visit, she showed me pictures of a man to whom she was once married.  She told me, “He was so nice to me.”  Having lived with this man she was referring to for several years while growing up, I know, for a fact, he was often not nice to her, his wife, as he had extreme sexist beliefs which manifested into condescending remarks and infidelity.

I had always joked with this woman after this marriage had ended that she had now transformed into a man hater of sorts since she often exclaimed, “I don’t need any man!”

This week I witnessed that her door on those negative memories with him had now closed, or, at the very least, for the time we sat together on her bed and sorted through pictures.

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In my forty-three years, God has presented me with a plethora of doors to open and walk through with my entire being.  Some I have entered with no thought to the consequences, some I have attempted to hold shut, and some doors I have clawed at wishing they would open just one more time . . . one more time.  Door.

Five Minute Friday: Good

Good.  What an appropriate term chosen on this day being Good Friday.  Yes, I think Kate Motaung knows what she’s doing.

Thinking about Good Friday itself, this is the day Jesus Christ gave His life for all of us.  God surrendered His son so that we may all have life after death, a heavy concept to wrap one’s head around, without a doubt.

In some countries, this day is a public holiday with schools and businesses closed.  A few states in this country observe Good Friday as a state holiday.

Good Friday often marks the beginning of a school’s spring break or acts as its conclusion.

What I do know is that God’s requiring us to do good unto others, being kind to one another, seems like a small request considering all which has been sacrificed for us.  Good.

Women Food and God

While attempting to organize and clean over winter break, I discovered Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God under my bed.  To date, I cannot recall who gifted it to me, but I wish I did so that I could thank her.  A HUGE thank you to woman blessing Christie.  This book rocks, and I do not say that lightly.

Roth had me by page two, “. . . our relationship to food itself is an exact microcosm of our relationship to life itself.  I believe we are walking, talking expressions of our deepest convictions;  everything we believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what we eat.”

Roth, a New York Times bestselling author and leader of workshops teaching the seven guidelines of natural eating, shares how she gained and lost the same weight over the course of close to fifty years before she learned to step away from negative self-talk in place due to years of harmful verbiage from her parents as well as others.  Instead, she chooses to truly listen and trust herself through meditation, inquiry, and mindful eating.

Paraphrasing on my part, Roth poses such questions throughout such as, “Are you truly comfortable trying to balance food, hoping it doesn’t spill on your jacket, while driving your car?”  Instead, Roth urges her readers and retreat participants to truly pay attention, “Pay attention to what you value.  Pay attention to how and what you spend your time.  Your money.  And pay attention to the way you eat”  (16-17).

One retreat participant, a single fifty-something woman, questioned Roth on her philosophy of eating minus any distractions including music, literature, television, etc.  The fifty-something woman said she enjoyed reading The New Yorker while eating alone so as to prevent loneliness.  When Roth questioned her further as to why she felt eating alone equalled loneliness, the woman responded, “‘Anyone knows that people who are living alone at fifty-two years old are losers.  Complete losers.  When I read and eat, I don’t have to face the fact I am a loser'”  (185).  Roth explained if the reading and eating gave her pleasure, this would be fine.  Instead, what the reading and eating was inevitably doing was causing her pain because the participant was doing it to avoid her learned belief that eating alone resulted in harsh judgement from others.

I know;  deep, right?  Women Food and God is deep, but in an inevitable eye-opening way.  I was truly bummed when I had finished reading the Addendum.  Roth writes in a manner where the reader feels as if he/she has just met a new friend who shoots straight from the hip which, I believe, is the best kind of friend to have.

Five Minute Friday: Still

Still.  I like this time of day, early morning.  A fan of sleep, I never thought I would say this.  All is still in the house with the hub, my two girls, and our dog sleeping.  I am awake because our dog needed to go outside, but she returns to slumber with hardly any effort on her part.  Instead of going back to sleep, this is my time to write, read, and reflect on recent events.  The only sound I can hear is the light hum of the heater in the background and the mild snoring of my black Labrador.

I wonder . . . is God here with me now?  Some days I can feel His presence while other days it feels as if He has left me here to fend for myself.  If I am still, truly still, I know He is here through the laughter of my children, the embrace of my husband, the encouragement of my friends, the fullness of my heart.  Other times, reading about Internet trolls harassing others, the slaughter of innocent children, the unkind words of one human being to another, I question His apparent absence.

So, I need this time carved into the early morning hours to be truly still.

Use Your Words for the Better Good

The other day I was discussing with my longtime loyal friend the lack of filters people seem to have when they speak to others with no thought to feelings or lasting repercussions of their words.  Words, I believe, should be utilized to build people up, encourage them, and make a difference in a positive manner.  Thus, a FREE means of making a difference in the world in which all people are capable of participating. . . amazing.  So, why such a lack of membership in such a tangible fraternity?

In discussions with my class over the social media Yik Yak, they were explaining how the posts were anonymous and typically negative in nature.  My response was, “Sounds as if people have too much time on their hands,” and “This could be a phenomenal medium used to encourage and praise,” without any need for author recognition.  So, why do people, regardless of age, use their words to bully others?

Believe me, I have been a victim of verbal bullying on more than one occasion as simply a human being, but also as a volunteer leader, volunteer coach, and volunteer teacher.  While informally researching this post, I talked with my salt-of-the-earth friends who never hesitate when it comes to donating their time and talents for others.  One friend told of how she and her husband were accused by a parent of bullying their child during a summer softball season.  This is the same woman who drove 3 1/2 hours with two young girls and a newborn to surprise me on my birthday and then turn around and drive 3 1/2 hours back that same evening.  Another mentioned a complaint by a parent when she cancelled a preschool soccer practice due to rain, and she responded with a reminder, “These kids are not training for the Olympics.”  A further woman blessing whom mentored me my first year of coaching over fifteen years ago advised of closed practices as a means of eliminating parental harassment from the sidelines, and she was oh so right.  It is no wonder people look away when asked to volunteer.  Yet, one rarely sees those who complain or critique stepping forward to answer the need for volunteers.  Brian Gotta wrote a Letter from a Coach which eloquently explains this phenomena.

I have had parents suggest I plan field trips and then fail to show with their child.  I have had parents complain about their child’s playing time, but then arrive for the games with player in tow late, time and time again.

This longtime loyal friend of mine who sat for hours in the waiting room with my husband while doctors removed my breasts, who allowed me to trim her hair after school in her classroom, who demanded I participate despite a carbuncle growing on my eyelid, who has been my voice of reason for over fifteen years, who uses her words for the better good ended our conversation with, “Sometimes I see all the mean and negative ways people act and wonder how much society disappoints God.”

Five Minute Friday: Fill

Fill.  When I think of fill, I think of how many little hearts I would like to fill with love.  Coming from a less than ideal childhood where I felt as if I was on the back burner most of the time, where my parents didn’t seem to consider the consequences of their actions in regards to their children, where two siblings lived in separate households an hour and a half drive from each other during their formative years, where my mother’s immediate exit from my father resulted in a marriage to another man became the new norm for an eight-year-old.

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Now having an eight-year-old of my own, I see this as God giving me the opportunity to fill this little girl’s heart with as much love as possible, and this is what I strive to do day after day.  The Hub and I tried desperately to have this little girl for close to four years. . .  and I mean desperately.  Thus, she is a gift from God we do not take for granted, but cherish.  She is wanted, and we shower her with our love on a daily basis.

Hearing or reading about a child’s heart who is not being filled or has not been filled is difficult.  For, I truly believe, every child is an opportunity for a heart to be filled.

Write for five minutes, and share your idea of FILL  here.