The Truth About Who You Are

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Of the two sets of quiet that bookend each day, I write best in the hours before dawn’s early light. Today, however, my brows furrow intensely as I grasp for words that seem super glued inside my head. My usual morning chai can’t even dislodge them.

It’s then that my early riser ambles down the stairs. She comes over to hug me before stretching her long limbs over my curled up legs on the sofa. She is content to snuggle near me. In that moment when my words come slow, the feeling isn’t necessarily mutual. I really want to make progress on my article, so I try to plow on just a bit more. But soon my mind throws its hands up in the air, and I set the laptop aside to give her my attention. We talk for a bit as I finish my chai, and she wants to know what is this morning’s Olympic gold medal count. I pull the laptop back over, and we discover the United States and Russia are tied for first with 18 golds while Netherlands sits in second with 17 golds.

She sees a picture of a gold medal winner with a rounded section of his prize between his teeth.

“Why do some winners bite their medal?” she asks.

 “I’m not really sure,” I answer, shrugging my shoulders. “Maybe it’s just tradition? Maybe they saw others do it first so they think it’s the thing to do.”

“Maybe they don’t even know why they do it,” she replies sleepily while reclining back on the sofa.

It’s then a few of those words for my article break free. I lean back, reposition her legs over my own before placing my laptop on both.

I sometimes want the parts of my life to stay in their boxes, my family time to sit right here, my writing time to sit over there. But this often makes for frustrating living. Those worlds slide into each other throughout the day, like when I slice vegetables while discussing middle school issues with my son or when I prepare breakfast while quizzing my daughter on spelling words. Even intentionally focusing on one thing – or person – is a good way to tug free sticky ideas related to something else.

I can more easily accept this about the parts of my life than the people in it. I’m embarrassed to admit how often I’ve wanted to place folks into neat and tidy boxes, too.

To read more, visit here where I’m hanging with one of my favorite people – and one of the most gifted writers – on God’s green earth. Grab your favorite warm beverage treat and join us?

For the Times You Think You’re on the Outside Looking In

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My eyes open to wide-awake sunlight rushing through my window blinds – my first clue that something wasn’t right. I grab my phone and see my alarm has been going off for sometime, but I had the volume control turned down too low for me to hear.

I swing my legs out of bed and take a quick look outside: white, white, white. I grab my phone again and check my email. And right there, between sale advertisements for Elsmore Swim Shop and Barnes & Noble, is the blessed email that reads like a belated Christmas gift: District 49 schools – 2 hour delay.

Hot diggity.

Snow delays are a double blessing: you can avoid the early morning, rush-around crazy but the kids still have to skeedaddle for most the school day.

David is on terminal leave (which just means he is enjoying some extended time off before he begins full time in his new job) and right now he is making buckwheat pancakes for his crew. James and Ethan relish extended laziness in bed and Faith curves into me on the sofa.

My arms circle her and I think about how much I love being right here on the inside looking out.

I’ve struggled much with the opposite lately, thinking I’m on the outside looking in. I stand in the snow outside and cup my hands on the cold glass – or on the computer screen or phone picture – and see a scene I’d love to curve into myself. Women talking by the fire, eyes bright with dreams come true, or at least talking about plans in the making. Sometimes I can turn that the right way and say Thank you, God, for giving them this gift. Sometimes I turn it the wrong way and say Why, God, can’t You give me that gift? 

That choice is a one way trip to the corner of Lonely and Feels Sorry for Herself.

Seasons change and you can outgrow your middle school brain right alongside mile-high bangs and baggy sweatshirts. But while the clothes may not ever work in fashion or fit, the thoughts sometimes revisit.

Or maybe you don’t have to look anywhere because the Enemy does such a good job convincing you you’re forgotten, that you make up your own fireside scenes in your imaginative little head. You are off and running with them, running to the first friend or sister you can find. With downcast eyes, you ask her to tell you your fears aren’t founded. My friends’ words are kind and sympathetic with a dose of reality. Even as they wave me right on in to a fireside seat and I’m thankful they are safe people, I still want a do-over where insecurity doesn’t get the last word.

But you know, every time I’ve stayed put and talked to God about it – telling Him all my whiney, feel-sorry-for-myself concerns and fears – I’ve never felt the pang of wishing for do-overs. I’ve only heard Him tell me trust me, daughter, trust our history together and believe what I say about My plans for you

After we eat butter-slathered pancakes with maple syrup, Faith turns up the soundtrack to Frozen. Voices sing with over-the-top theatrical fanfare and I die laughing. When I stop to take in the scene around me, I can’t help but say out loud,

Thank you, God, for all that’s right here where I’m on the inside looking out.

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