Middle…

Hello and Happy Friday!

Most Fridays I join the lovely little community over at Five Minute Friday, with a weekly writing prompt by Kate. This week’s word is Middle…

I hear it all of the time honestly, middle… 

You don’t know what I’m in the middle of. 

I’m sorry, Ive been in the middle of ________. 

I think the biggest thing standing against me is that I’m a middle child.

Middle child, middle of divorce, middle of a big project… We seem to, as a people, keep ourselves purposefully stuck in a middle. We allow this seemingly negative space to hold us captive to something else, even when those somethings may lead to better, even desired new spaces for us. There may be some honesty within our middles, but we also use our middle as an excuse- as a crutch…

There are many overused, yet accurate, statements such as the middle of the road, or middle class, which also- though not technically negative, are infused with just the right amount of something unpleasant that we equate them as such.

Let’s be honest- middle is safe, most of the time. (and not in a really great, rescuing us from danger sort of way) We walk the middle line, metaphorically, so that we don’t have to decide or claim ownership of a commitment completely. If we don’t actually decide, or choose, then we can’t be wrong. If we we aren’t wrong, we won’t fail. While these subconscious patterns elude us into believing we are being responsible, we are inhibiting our personal growth.

Sometimes we will veer from our safe middle ground, and we will get hurt. That’s ok. This is how we grow.

What if we tried to drive down the middle of the road? We would cause absolute disaster. The middle may sometimes be the best choice, (obviously not when driving) but the middle isn’t as safe we often want to believe.

~

Since I have you here, I wanted to share a few things SUPER quick, so that we can get on with our reading of other Middle themed posts and (Hallelujah!) our weekend!

  • There is a new season of Heartland, on UPTV and I’ve linked a teaser for you!
  • Our new episode of the Collective Podcast features an interview with writer Brie Jacobson, as she shares her story about surviving the Route 91 Music Festival shooting, in October of 2017.
  • Lastly, I did CampNanoWrimo this month and finished a 50,000 word writing challenge! So much lay ahead, regarding this precious (to me) manuscript of mine. I’m hoping to have the first draft done very soon, and move into editing. I have such a supportive readership, and so I wanted to thank YOU for that! This is as much our project, as it is mine. We’re all in this together….

October 1st, 2017…

On the Collective Podcast today, we have a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting that happened at the Route 91 festival, in 2017. She bravely shares her story and, while it may seem obvious to state, shines a spotlight on how most of us have gone back to life as usual, while the survivors from that day (and let’s be honest, many other brutal days, with other locations and other acts of violence) can never regain the normal they knew before…

Please listen to Brie share her story in episode 46…

And also, please do something beautiful in memory of these souls who lost their lives. Do not allow life to minimize them into one dimensional memories- these were living, breathing human beings, just like you and I. Look at their faces, learn about them. We need to, as a society, reacquaint ourselves with people and less with disconnected news blips.

these days…

This has been the first summer that we have lived in our little nearly-lake side cottage. We piled our boxes and possessions in during the sticky post-summer remnants of last fall. In these summer months I have walked the tightrope stance of being annoyed that early mornings were so bright, and wishing I could bring myself to wake up earlier. Isn’t that funny? There I am, sleeping away (and I’ve never been a great sleeper anyway,) when the beautiful sunrise comes peaking in and I grumpily shade my eyes only to later wish something (anything) could help me wake up earlier. How often are we guilty of begging for an answer, when the solution is right before our eyes?

Well, 4 a.m. yesterday and 4:30 a.m. today have me (reluctantly) up and facing the day. Yesterday it occurred to me that a few weeks ago, the sun would have been right on my tale, but this day it seems, doesn’t have its rising scheduled until pretty much 6 a.m.

The days are getting shorter…

And truthfully, I am sad about this.

The longer summer evenings have, for the first time that I remember, caused their own set of issues. My husband’s hours, for work, had him heading to bed long before it had even considered setting, and so I would struggle. While I should retire, as well, it was full sun outside. The result was, almost always, me up past 1 a.m. because this night owl knows how to self sabotage, apparently… (I hear you saying well no wonder you were struggling with the 4:30 rising sun! I know, I know…)

Complications aside, I love a long evening. I love the breezes as they chase away the heat of a day, as the sun sets late. All too soon it will be pitch black at four in the afternoon and the sun won’t be rising until hours after our early work day has began.

I am sad because shorter days mean that we are on the downslope of this year. This year who, for its first half felt unfairly brutal and stripping, and then suddenly I’m left whiplashed and wondering where it has gone.

As we age, this passing of time happens at lightening speed. It may also be fair to point out that my crotchety regards to early sunrises and late sunsets can also apply (a bit) to older age as well. I could remark about how I can’t win, but the common denominator here in all of these ill-fated trains of thought is simply me.

Last night I had a video call with my sister, who was buying school supplies. I felt a mix if things. I had noticed their appearance, in our local Target, last week. I had avoided them, an act pretty unlike me, as I love school supplies. I guess I wasn’t quite ready to embrace the impending change of season, not quite willing to surrender my grasp on summer.

But still, these days are getting shorter.

Last night, around the time of the video call, my husband and I were at an outdoor blues concert. It was amazing and lovely, peacefully and summery, when all at once two things occurred…

One, I looked up at a girl’s t-shirt which read class of 2024. I scoffed and made some low-breathed remark like yeah right, she looks a little tall to be a kindergartener. Here we are, on the literal cusp of 2020, and I sat clothed in full denial because how? (seriously though, how is this even possible? And is asking this a sign of old age?)

Two, halfway through the show, as the sun was beginning its descent, people started packing up their chairs and picnic remains. The slowly fading sun had escorted in the bugs, ready to have their evening feast on all of us.

The days are getting shorter.

Also, next Monday’s show will be seven days worse…

Do you love the late summer sunsets or prefer the cooler, early evenings of Autumn?

What makes you beautiful…

Growing up, I had no idea that I had a lazy eye. I never remember anyone mentioning it, or any discussion of any kind. Kids were cruel about so many things- I was bullied often for smelling of cigarettes and for my white skin, but the eye never came up. In fact, I was twelve years old when my foster mom became fixated on helping me improve it (this never worked). As I grew older the eye seemed to develop a personality all its own, resulting in many uncomfortable and hard things. It was easy to hate.

I wish, at my forty-three years of age, I could say that I now embrace my lazy eye as beautiful, but that would not quite be true. I have embraced it, however. It has become one more way to filter out the less than genuine people, the ones I really don’t want around anyhow. I know that if someone loves me, the eye won’t matter. I know that my eye has become a large contributor of my ever growing empathy. I value differences in others. I can think of a hundred ways that I have learned to accept this ugliness about me, and how it has made me a better person.

Has there been anything in your life that makes this relatable?

This world is growing increasingly harder on kids. Recently another child has taken their life because the cruelty of other kids was simply unbearable. Whenever I stumble upon something that can empower children to embrace their differences, I become a major fan. That’s why I am excited to share a new family film with you. Opening this weekend is the movie Uglydolls. (Trailer)

In the adorably different town of Uglyville, weird is celebrated, strange is special and beauty is embraced as more than simply meets the eye. Here, the free-spirited Moxy and her UglyDoll friends live every day in a whirlwind of bliss, letting their freak flags fly in a celebration of life and its endless possibilities. The endearingly unique residents of Uglyville occasionally look to the sky above the town, where a new UglyDoll will appear and be embraced by the community.

Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) loves her square-peg life in this round-hole town, but her curiosity about all things leads her to wonder if there’s something – anything – on the other side of the mountain which nestles Uglyville. Moxy gathers a group of her closest friends and sets off to find what’s on the other side. They discover another world – Perfection – a town where more conventional dolls are trained in protocols before they graduate and are sent to the “real” world to find the love of a child.

In Perfection, Moxy and her crew are subject to the manipulations of Lou (Nick Jonas), the perfect doll in charge of training recruits. Here, the UglyDolls will confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing because who you truly are is what matters most.  UGLYDOLLS releases in theaters this Friday, May, 3.

Grace and Forgiveness…

The Easter season has always been a personal time of reflection for me. While I may evaluate my life and own action/choices, I try to focus more on the condition of my heart.

How is my compassion? My empathy? My grace for others? Am I harboring resentments? Sometimes I may not love the answers I find, but as essential as healthy diet, rest and self-care are to our quality of life- heart tune ups are vital too. I don’t often talk about my faith in this space because unfortunately there are Christians who have sullied shared faith with judgement, exclusion and bigotry. I hope that anyone who reads in this space knows my heart is love– Period. In this season of reflection though, I can’t help but consider the final words that Jesus breathed, as he hanged there aching, broken and fading from this life: Father, forgive them, for they known not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

I want to take that loving grace and wrap it snug around myself, Warm, like a freshly scented blanket from the dryer, safe and comforting. Thank you, Jesus, for understanding ME always… Which, isn’t a bad attitude to master, really. I honestly don’t always accept that as reality though, and I certainly struggle giving myself much grace at all. I can reflect on my journey as a wife of 25 years, as an adoptive parent, and as a daughter of broken and damaged people- and I can think of these words there. Within this passage in Luke there is such deep, uncomfortable and hard to grasp truth. They don’t know what they are doing. Hurt people, hurt people. Broken people break. I can’t change how the ones I love the most will react, receive or choose- but I can keep myself in check. When I get wounded by the shards of their moment- can I give them grace? Can I remember that though I FEEL like they should know better, they truly may not?

Men beat, bloodied, relentlessly mocked and then crucified Jesus. Surely they knew it was inhumane and so wrong to take such satisfaction and pleasure from these things, and yet… And yet Jesus himself empathized and showered them with grace and, dare I say it, understanding

Have you been watching the History Channel series “Jesus: His Life”?

“Jesus: His Life” explores the story of Jesus Christ through a unique lens: the people in his life who were closest to him. Each of the eight chapters is told from the perspective of different biblical figures, all of whom played a pivotal role in Jesus’ life including Joseph, John the Baptist, Mary Mother of Jesus, Caiaphas, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Mary Magdalene and Peter.

 

Each figure takes a turn guiding viewers through the emotional and epic story of the most famous man in history, through his birth, death and resurrection, all conveyed through a combination of scripted drama and interviews with prominent religious and historical experts. Utilizing some of the world’s most respected Biblical scholars, historians, faith leaders and theologians, the series weaves together the canonical Gospels, historical sources and cultural context to create a complete portrait of Jesus – the man and the Messiah.  The series finale airs this Monday, April 15 on The History Channel at 8pm ET/PT.