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Whisper, whisper

5 Sep

This post is inspired by Five Minute Friday: Kate Motaung provides a one-word prompt, and you write for five minutes flat–no extreme editing, no overthinking. Today’s word is WHISPER.

whisperWhisper whisper … very soft, very high … like the soft, soft whisper of a butterfly.

I heard those lines gently whispered from two rows back in the chapel, from father to two-year-old son. Their familiarity caught my ear, and I smiled to myself. I had read them many times to my own boy, from the pages of a favorite Seussian book.

It was a fitting suggestion for the setting: the boy was, perhaps, getting restless, and a reminder to whisper was needed. Oh, how hard it is for those boys to whisper. Or, you know, to simply not make a racket. Volume control is hard for big, bright souls in little bodies. (Especially those that missed their morning nap.) It is a daunting responsibility to teach them the where, why, and how of whispering. Where–in church and other special places where people need to listen and hear. Why–to show reverence, respect. How–well, we’re still figuring that out.

I love that the words we whisper, line after line, cuddle after cuddle, bedtime after bedtime, into the ears of our little ones become so deeply printed in our own minds. My parents, they of five children, can still rehearse entire volumes of board books of yesteryear (e.g. Stella the Spaceship: “Speeding through space dust, diving through the air, Stella gets hot, but she doesn’t care.”) And Dave and I already frequently and oh-so-cleverly allude to our own favorites (Urban Babies Wear Black, Are You a Cow?) in everyday conversation. I hope the words I whisper into my boy’s ears, whether they’re lines from a page or simple I love you‘s drifting straight from my heart to his, will become printed in his mind as well.

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Reach (with your whole heart)

29 Aug

This post is inspired by Five Minute Friday: Kate Motaung provides a one-word prompt, and you write for five minutes flat–no extreme editing, no overthinking. I am a slow writer and hate to leave thoughts unfinished, so I note the five-minute mark with an asterisk and then plow ahead ’till the work is done.

Also, the FMF blog community is helping build a South African community center! It’s wonderful. If you’re so inclined, you can learn more and donate here.

Today’s word is REACH.

IMG_0192-web2A small reach: It was a reach to rekindle this blog. A reach, because I’m used to writing for an institution or publication, not myself. A reach, because I extend a piece of myself, word by word, not knowing who will receive it, or how: with silence? with gratitude? with indifference? with scorn? A reach, because blogging has nudged me to be a more proactive commenter, with each comment and reply a gentle grasp for connection.

A bigger reach: It was a reach to write, to write with rawness, of the suffering of fellow humans.* A reach, because who am I to have an opinion on life in a world apart, on suffering I will never know? A reach, because with each word I say, This I feel. And feelings can be rejected. Or wonderfully, reciprocated and appreciated.

These words from a radio broadcast this week drifted into my ear and stayed blazoned in my mind:

“… shame is really easily understood as the fear of disconnection: Is there something about me that, if other people know it or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection?The thing that underpinned this was excruciating vulnerability, this idea of, in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.”

It is a reach to feel fiercely: to love, to fear, to hope, to believe, whole-heartedly. It is a reach–perhaps the boldest reach of all–to then share our whole heart: to declare, not unlike a trusting child to a parent, This I feel. Here is my heart and what it is made of. Do with it what you will.

To reach is the most joyful and painful requirement of love, of marriage, of parenting, of friendship, of writing, of God. When we reach and offer our whole heart, we tend to treat others’ hearts with compassion. To reach is to be human; even more, it is to be human toward our fellow humans.

Five Minute Friday: Tell

15 Aug

This post is inspired by Five Minute Friday: Blogger Kate Motaung provides a one-word prompt, and you’re supposed to write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing. No overthinking. Then, you read and encourage other FMF participants. It’s pretty great!

Tell-300x300

GO:

Tell the world (or at least anyone who will listen) when you feel something so deeply it hurts. That’s what I did earlier this week, and I’m so grateful I have this blog to allow me to tell.

Tell the world when you see injustice. That’s what people tried to do in Missouri this week. I hope the injustice turns into greater understanding and reform.

Tell those you love that you love them. Cliche as it is, you never know when you’ll have another chance to.

And sometimes, it’s better not to tell. Instead: think, and listen. The world will still be there when you’re ready to tell.

STOP.

Five Minute Friday: Fill

8 Aug

This post is inspired by Five Minute Friday: Blogger Kate Motaung provides a one-word prompt, and you’re supposed to write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing. No overthinking. Then, you read and encourage other FMF participants. It’s pretty great!

GO.

Rocks in a jar: it’s an object lesson I remember from many a family home evening and Sunday School lesson. The first time, you try and put in the little pebbles, then put in the larger rocks. You find the larger rocks won’t all fit. So then you take them out, start again. You put in the large rocks first, then fill in the remaining space with the little pebbles. What a miracle! It fits!

rocks{Image via Julia Webb/Flickr}

I’ve been occupied lately with worrying about whether I am filling my time well. The Internet is a consistent culprit; I know that’s a pebble and could do less of. I try to at least read my scriptures before I browse blogs and Facebook.

STOP.

The after five*:

… I figure the scriptures are a worthy big rock to start with, considering Christ is the rock upon which we should build our foundation. And He is the One who promised that those who hunger will be filled. What motivates me is a great one-liner I remember from general conference awhile back: “Let us be as quick to kneel as we are to text.” (Also, guilt. Guilt is a good motivator. I feel so lame when naptime is over if I’ve read five blog posts but no scriptures yet.)

Another big rock I want to work on in filling my day is serving others. I am such a hermit sometimes, it’s hard to stumble upon opportunities to serve, so I want to figure out something I can do from home. I also want to work on filling my day with work–in particular, I really need to be better about cleaning. I’m a little too laidback about housecleaning, so I tried to step it up and tonight I spent two hours scrubbing toilets and floors and sinks. I daresay it was fulfilling.

In other fill-related maters, I wonder what else I might do to fill my day with Little L. Most days we just hang out at home, with his playtime a loop of the same activities: playing with Tupperware, balls, and Legos; eating; making silly faces and tickling; and following me around while I ready food or do stuff around the house. No clever, Pinterest-worthy, ultra-developmental-enhancing activities there. Then again, at this age his attention span is too short and his coordination is just not quite developed enough to manage many of the ideas I’ve seen. Crayons still go straight to the mouth. So for now, I’ll be content with how we’re filling our days together. (I also read a post on this ridiculously hilarious blog recently that made me feel a lot better about this.) And I really do feel lucky that I get to hang out all day with such a delight of a boy.

Now I think I have filled this post with everything on my mind on the matter. (Maybe for another FMF I will fill the entire post with puns on that week’s word. I think that would be fun.)

 

*Because I can barely finish a few sentences in five minutes. I am in awe of the other FMF participants who manage to produce paragraphs of beautiful prose in that time. Perhaps one day I will evolve to that level.

Five Minute Friday: Begin

1 Aug

8-crop

This is my second time joining Five Minute Friday. Basically, blogger Lisa-Jo Baker (though she’s passing the torch to another blogger next week) provides a one-word prompt, and you’re supposed to write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing. No overtime. Then, you read and encourage other FMF participants.

GO:

The second I saw the prompt “begin,” it flashed into my mind: Lars. Walking. Soon. Baby? No, perhaps not much longer. Toddler. One who toddles.

But then I thought, no, no, that is just so mommy blog. It can be such a crutch to write soaring, feelsy posts about motherhood because it’s so dang easy. But FMF is all about writing what sprouts in your mind, allowing it to fall on good ground. So.

Little Lars, my baby, is on the precipice of walking. He will stand for a few seconds on his own. As soon as he realizes he’s doing it, he’ll promptly plop down on his bum. Why stand when you can crawl, perhaps? He doesn’t quite get the connection that standing leads to walking unsupported. But yesterday, he stood for a few seconds, and he noticed it. I noticed it, and squealed, “You’re standing, Lars! Good job!!” He smiled. He stood a few seconds more, then sat.

I just know he’s going to begin walking soon. And then he will begin to be a toddler. And then he will begin–continue in the everlasting process–of being less my baby. Which begins to bring tears to my eyes. Oh, how I love that baby. Can he please always be that?

STOP.

Oh, my. Cards on the table, I went a minute over for the last paragraph, but I hated to leave it unfinished. I don’t understand how all these other bloggers write so much in five minutes! Now I’m going to go cry and caress my baby’s head before I go to bed. Also, I’ve enjoyed reading the handful of fellow #FMFParty posts I’ve read and look forward to many more.

P.S. Reading through another FMFer’s post reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite LDS general conference talks as of late, this one by President Uchtdorf, that speaks so beautifully of beginnings (emphasis added):

“…Is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings. Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny. The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful. How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.”

 

Five Minute Friday: Finish

26 Jul

It’s a bit ironic that a start–my first attempt at partaking in Five Minute Friday–coincides with the prompt of “finish”. I’ve been admiring Lisa-Jo’s blog and the FMF posts from afar from awhile now, but when I read today’s post I knew I had to just dive in and do it. I totally connected with Lisa-Jo’s commentary on how it’s not as hard to start something as it is to stick with it . That’s how I’ve felt at times about this blog–I have found it to be an excellent outlet for the thoughts cluttering up my head, but sometimes I worry that it’s a little too aimless, and should I really be spending time on it? But I feel like I do need to stick with it. I recall another post from another fave blog, Young House Love–in their words, the middle makes no sense. But you have to keep plugging along until you make more sense of things.

In a completely different vein of thinking on the idea of “finish”, tomorrow my vacation with my family will be coming to a close. I watched the Disneyland fireworks from the hotel window for the last time tonight, and tomorrow morning we’ll be flying out and returning home to Daddy, some semblance of a nap schedule, and meals that don’t involve french fries. It’s been so magical (of course) being here with family, but it will be good to be home.

Also, a confession: I may have taken a few more minutes than five (really, only a few). Not a very auspicious start to Five Minute Friday, I know. BUT I feel it is entirely merited because a few minutes in I had to comfort baby back to sleep. I think that is worth something. And now, I shall finish this post and this day and rest for a long plane ride tomorrow.