The door in our basement squeaks. It is a loud and angry squeak. Each time my husband comes home from the farm, he enters through this door. That hinged “hello” is how we know he is home.
I could easily spray some grease on the whiny hinges but there is something comforting about hearing that squeak followed by his footsteps coming up the stairs. It’s a squeak I probably won’t grease any time soon.
This past weekend a friend of mine came to me with a problem. She has another friend who is going through a divorce. The divorce, as many divorces are, is not a pretty one. Unfortunately, the couple has some young children. The divorcing couple have not only pushed one another away but they have checked out on caring for their kids. My friend has helped care for the little sweeties a number of days each week for about 6 months and the weight of it is taking a toll on her own homelife. Each time the phone rings with a call for her to watch the other kiddos, it is a “squeak” that makes her cringe. Continue reading “Squeaks We Don’t Need to Grease”
Humanity is a colorful lot; not just in skin tones but in the relationships we build, the actions we take, and the habits we form. Within each realm of humanity there are always those assigned to protect and supervise the masses. Who better to observe the practices of other humans than someone who is responsible for keeping them safe?
Through my blogging exploits I have made some tremendous writing friends. One of the individuals who I am proud to call my friend is Lucy Brazier. While Lucy and I have never met in person, we have exchanged comments and compliments via our sites and I am excitedly close to finishing her first book A Portergirl Novel: First Lady of the Keys.
As the book points out, we Americans believe porters are just people who carry bags, but in England porters are guards of a sort and protect and manage the safety and security of properties as keepers of the keys. Through the adventures of Deputy Head Porter, the first ever female porter at Old College, the idiosyncrasies and interactions of those in a most unusual academic setting are brought to light. It is in her chapter “Suited and Booted” that I found an exceptionally powerful statement about the importance of understanding and being an active part of humanity.
“People are important. They make the world what it is. They have made me what I am. Never forget the importance of humanity; without it, we are nothing.” (pg. 31) Continue reading “The Importance of Humanity – Wise Words Wednesday”
About a month ago my children discovered the movie The Greatest Showman. It is a musical based on the life story of P.T. Barnum (played by Hugh Jackman). In the film Barnum invites individuals who are considered “freaks” to become part of his show. Some of Barnum’s “freaks” include the bearded lady, the world’s tallest man, the world’s fattest man, wolf boy, and acrobats. As far as musical movies go, it was an alright show.
Of course the cruelty shown to the “freaks” in the film led to questions from my kids, and they wanted to know, “What’s a freak?”
I explained to them that the term “freak” comes from “freak of nature” meaning that sometimes things occur in our world that make humans or animals freaks of nature. In their infinite innocence they understood that being different makes someone or something special but also makes the abnormality a target for cruelty and ostracism.
With true indignation all of my kids ranted about the the mean things done in the film by citizens who were afraid of or hated the “freaks” in Barnum’s show. I just reminded them that, in real life, they should be kind and accepting of others who are different. Continue reading “What’s a “Freak”?”
Whatever your stance on tattoos, the power of self-expression through ink cannot be denied. Just as writers have put words to paper for centuries, tattoo artists have given power to the markings on their human palletes.
Recently our friend Evan experienced a very dramatic change in his life. Like most, he was angry and confused at first, but after time to think things through, Evan has started the task of moving past the hurt and letting the emotional wounds become battle scars.
As part of his healing process Evan chose a way to make God’s word a permanent reminder that the plan for us is bigger than we can ever understand. He chose the simple scriptural emblem of “Isaiah 14:27.”
Nothing can stop God’s plan for your life.
Continue reading “Inking God’s Plan”
“You need a ‘safe’ word for when someone is doing things or saying something that hurts your heart,” – Kim Borgmeyer
As all parents do, some friends of mine and I were discussing school and the upcoming school year. Some were concerned about the amount of “just kidding” that the kids were doing and how uncertain we were that most would consider their jibes or insults as “jokes.” In addition there were some comments made about when teachers “joke” and the words do not come across as “funny” to the students.
My friend Kim suggested that each classroom have a “safe” word. A word that any student could use to the teacher or other students to signify that what was being said or done was hurtful to them. It could be anything from “rotten apples” to “pink giraffe,” but whatever the word was it would always show that the other’s behavior was not okay.
I thought, “Man, that’s brilliant.” Using a “safe” word is a terrific way to signify the impact of the moment and keep everyone aware of the power of their words and actions.
Of course everyone would need to understand that the “safe” word should only be used in real instances of bullying or disrespect. It should not be a word or phrase to be used lightly or in joking situations and everyone would have to abide by the understanding that it really was a “safe” way to say, “Hey, that’s not okay.”
This reminded me of a time when I gave a nickname to a student. All of my yearbook students had nicknames. It was our tradition. The nickname given to this particular young man was awarded completely out of comradery and friendly ribbing but, as things sometimes do, the nickname evolved to become something that was negative in my student’s life. It was not until after the spring awards banquet that I learned he thought the nickname meant I didn’t think he was smart.
Continue reading ““Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday”
Every day is an adventure. We are faced with literally thousands of decisions during each trip around the sun. The toughest part of making most decisions is going with our heart, while using our brain.
Often it’s not necessarily the morality of a choice, but rather the practicality of a decision that can weigh heaviest on us. Yes, you may LOVE how that new handbag would look with your new shoes or eating double quarter pounders, but are either really the best way to enhance your life?
You may still be angry with what someone said or did in the past, but think about your actions and reactions before you and your hurt heart go running your mouth. Adding negative words to a bad situation only compounds the pain. Continue reading “Take Your Brain With You.”
As I lay listening to rumbles of thunder this morning, I could not help but think of a conversation I had with my good friend Emily. We were discussing my writing and how I just hadn’t put much out lately on my site. I just haven’t felt that my messages carried enough weight, as if my words weren’t impactful enough.
With each roll of thunder, I remembered what Emily said to me, “Even if you only put out one sentence a day, there is someone who is feeling the same as you or who can relate to your words. You are their voice when they maybe can’t say it for themselves.” Continue reading “While Thunder is the Voice of the Storm…”
In tough situations we often find ourselves unable to come up with the right words to say. That inability makes handling the circumstances even tougher. Here’s the good news: sometimes nothing needs to be said.
Just showing up and offering to listen or hug those hurting in the situation can be the most perfect proclamation. A simple squeeze of the hand or a covered dish for supper can sound like the kindest statements. Handing someone a tissue or taking over childcare duties is a true testament to your support and understanding for the suffering they are enduring. Sometimes we just don’t have the words, but we do always have the ability to make things happen and ease pain of the circumstances.
When my grandfather died, I was unable to attend the funeral because I had just endured a major surgery. My aunt came and sat with me the day of his funeral and said nothing. She simply hugged me, made lunch, did the dishes, and took care of the laundry. She knew I didn’t could speak of my grief yet and understood that sometimes it isn’t the words that make us feel better.
Sometimes we just don’t have the words.
Last night I attended the visitation of a man I had never met. I attended because two of his daughters (Mary Kay and Tina) are friends of mine. As I approached the front of the line, I wondered (as most do): what can I say that will help? Continue reading “Sometimes We Just Don’t Have the Words”
Some mornings it takes a little bit of extra coffee and sunshine to get my confidence going. Other mornings it takes an army of awesomeness to prove I can handle whatever the day has in store. Most mornings my mojo is inspired by the fact that I have to get my minions moving and on the bus.
Last week I ambitiously tried to open a new bottle of vitamins. The vitamins were recommended by my friend Emily and I was excited to see if they would help boost energy and assist in keeping focus as my exhausted brain faced another week of grading, parenting, and farming.
The problem was the cotton was stuck. I did not have the mental or physical dexterity to remove the stupid cotton ball from the bottle. As the sun had not risen yet and my coffee had not brewed, I was not sure I had the capacity to get to those vitamins. I was stuck in in my self-doubt (and cotton). In fact, I was so stuck; I video recorded myself trying to get the dumb old cotton out of the bottle.
With just a bit of persistence (and a fork), I was able to free the cottong and try out my new vitamins. Continue reading “Don’t Get Stuck in Doubt”
When I sat down to write, I knew I only had 15 minutes and about a thousand ideas for today’s post. What I didn’t know what would come of those limited minutes and limitless thoughts.
Here it is.
Spring stresses me out.
Each quiet moment I find tears hiding behind my eye lids. My mind is anything but silent. The days constantly hum with demands, to-do lists, and the tings and pings of technology. My muscles are exhausted. My feet do not want to move. My brain seems to be on whatever fertilizer the farmers are spreading on their fields.
While each season has its ebb and flow, I always feel like spring is the craziest. The sunshine and breezes entice me outside, but the labor of pulling weeds and putting away delinquent Christmas decorations remind me that caring for our home is a never-ending task.
As the baseball schedules are made, vacation plans penned, and wardrobes are rotated from sweatshirts to shorts, I can’t help but feel completely wiped out.
What is it about spring that is so exhausting?
Spring is a time for planting, growing, new beginnings, and some seriously serious stress. The school year’s end is looming and, while summer is so nice, the tests, papers, and traditions that simply MUST be upheld make the last months more demanding than most. Spring stresses me out. Continue reading “Spring Stresses Me Out”