A walk with my brother

Yesterday I went on a four mile walk with my big brother.

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He’s the brother who was the strongest and toughest man I knew.  And he knew it too.

He got married when I was about 5 or 6, so I don’t remember a lot about him as I grew up.  But he was always a big presence in my life.  And sometimes I was a little afraid of him.  He knew a lot about so many things.

Yesterday we walked in the mild-for-January sunshine and talked about Parkinson’s disease (his thorn in the flesh) and depression (mine).  We talked about how much he hates it that his voice is giving out on him and how he wonders if it’s worth trying to sing in choir this year.  We talked about our latest reads,  High and Low by Keith Foskett for him–and Changing My Mind for me. (My book is Margaret Trudeau’s memoir of her life with bipolar disorder. She’s our prime minister’s mother.)  We talked about how our walk with God has been characterized by choosing sheer faith in His love and grace, not the emotional closeness marked by wonderful experiences with Him that some people have. We talked about anointing with oil and our uncle who took his own life in desperate depression. David read me a few verses from the Psalms that he had saved on his phone for me.

My brother’s body is not as tough as it once was, but his spirit is stronger and more beautiful than it has ever been.

As we parted with plans to walk again next week, he said, “Come here.” He gave me a hug and we said “I love you.”

Today it’s grey and cold.  There are very cold temperatures and snow predicted for the weekend.  In my quiet house, I battle depressed feelings, just keeping them at bay.  But I pray that these ugly thorns will make us better people-softer, stronger, kinder, and more honest.  It’s a good day because I can frame those words in my mind and mean them.

In Philip Yancey’s book, Prayer, he says this, “Most of my struggles in the Christian life circle around the same two themes: why God doesn’t act the way we want God to, and why I don’t act the way God wants me to.  Prayer is the precise point where those themes converge.”

I pray hope and faith for each of you today.  And would you pray it for David and me too?

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I dare to dream

I’ve had about 10 beautiful days of feeling SO much better and I just wanted to tell you that.

I don’t know if it’s the copious amounts of Vitamin D I’ve been taking, being more religious about daily walks, meds finally starting to do their work, your kind prayers, or the fact that I’m as excited as a school girl about going to Indiana for a ladies’ retreat this weekend.  Maybe all of the above. Whatever it is, I’ll take it and say “Thank you, Jesus” from a full heart.

I was humbled and blessed by the outpouring of love, kindness, understanding, and prayers after my last post.  I don’t know what to say but thank you.  For those of you who struggle like me, my heart is with you.

We bake big batches of cookies around here. I am writing this between filling cookie sheets and doing laundry.  (The laundry is a big batch too.)

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Have I ever showed you a picture of our house?  Here it is, taken yesterday.

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Sometimes I feel like the high schooler who isn’t sure what to do with her life.  I don’t like to say it, but I struggle a lot with the jobs that keep a house going.  I’d like to hire a chef first of all, followed by a seamstress and one of those people who organize people’s houses and lives for them.  Then I’d hire a painter and decorator.  And someone to deal with the produce from the garden. With that in place, I think I could handle the regular laundry and cleaning and garden work and I’d go off and volunteer at the hospital or get a job at the soup kitchen or take a writing or art class or study psychology or do something that involved people.

In some ways I love my quiet days at home, though.  And I could do any of the dreams above part-time and still have quiet days at home.  (And Dan would be behind me in any of the above, as would my church friends and all of you.)

But really my dream is to write.

And maybe to speak occasionally.  (I wanted to write that last sentence in very little writing so you couldn’t read it, but I can’t seem to find the font size here, so I’m letting you in on the secret.)

But there’s this constant frustration because I don’t know what to write or how to put it when I do.  And I know that it’s hard work and I’m afraid of that.  And what I do on my blog is write about wanting to write instead of actually writing.  You get the picture if you read here very much.

Yesterday I read a book from cover to cover. (Another evidence that I’m feeling better: being able to concentrate enough to finish a book. Granted, it wasn’t deep at all.) It was an old book that I loved as a teenager from the Beany Malone series by Lenora Mattingly Weber called Pick a New Dream.  I finished it and just ached again to write.  So many good lines that I just “get”.  Such a sweet romance, the old tale of suddenly realizing the boy next door is more attractive than the suave fellow who is full of himself. And in the book Beany dreams of becoming a writer, but finds out she’s better suited to work at a community center with troubled kids.

Anyway.  I dare to dream too.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my husband and children with every fiber of my being.  I get satisfaction out of creating a meal that they enjoy and our house is not in shambles.  I love growing flowers and peas and weeding the garden.  I enjoy choir and tea with my neighbor and having guests.  But I still want to write and learn and grow and tell depressed people they’re not alone.  I don’t want to grow old and grouchy and small minded.

What is that quiet dream you have?  Tell me.  I’d just love to hear it.  Or maybe you are living your dream already.  You’re selling real estate or skincare products.  You just love being at home and you decorate your house and sew lovely clothes. You have your own little pottery barn (That’s for you, deep8!) You blog or grow a huge garden or work at the library.  Tell  me the dream you’re living right now. 

Well hello there

For the first time in a very long time, I feel like writing again.

I sweep the floor quickly, picking up the wood chips that are a big part of floor sweeping this time of year.  Then I put soup together in the crock pot for supper tonight.  The day is clear and very cold. The wood fire feels wonderful.

2018 has been a hard, hard year. It started off in the early months with a strange, unexplainable emotional breakdown for me, followed by a scary mental illness diagnosis that left us reeling in its aftermath.

Then the darkness came.

All I wanted to do was lie in my bed.  Curled in a ball or sprawled out, sometimes feeling a deep chasm of nothingness, sometimes feeling debilitating anxiety. Spring came and I still didn’t want to leave my bed.

We somehow survived.  I’d drag myself out of bed to make food for my family and do the laundry.  I’d make myself go to town and church because I knew that if I gave up on that, I would only sink lower.

Then came summer and I felt safe enough to post on Facebook that I had hope again after weeks of depression. The good months gave me joy.  We went traveling.  I posted on my blog.  People said that I was quieter than usual. It’s probably the mood stabilizing drug I take.  (I hate these drugs but I can’t do without them right now.)

When fall came the darkness returned.  It wasn’t just the shortening days.  It was deeper and darker than anything I’d experienced.  Depression feels so selfish and narcissistic.  What do I say when people ask”How are you?”  Do they want to know that I’m struggling again?  Even writing this feels so self-centered.

My favorite things hold no meaning.  I can hardly stand to read Facebook and Instagram, where whole, healthy people’s lives stand in stark contrast to mine.  I have no interest in books and blogs and having company, all the things that usually rejuvenate my extrovert personality.  My house feels dirty and cluttered, even though I try hard to keep up with the basics of housekeeping.

I worry incessantly about my family.  How will they come through this? I’m not disciplining and organizing like I should.  They fight.  They spend too much time on screens.  I feel helpless about being a mom.  How are you doing today, Mom? asks Alec. Are you depressed today, Mom? asks Andre.

I lie in my bed to escape, but the anxiety follows me there.  My brain feels like I imagine hell to feel, on fire with hopelessness, anxiety, despair.

Sometimes I wish it was stage 4 cancer or something.  At least then I could go home to Jesus soon and be at rest.

This time around I don’t talk about it as much.  Why burden others with something they can’t do anything about?

I read comments like this on Facebook and know again why I don’t talk about this to very many people. Someone writes: There is an epidemic in this country and it’s “anxiety and depression.” Nearly everyone has it and it’s because they have no solid foundation in Jesus.

I’m sure the writer meant well.

Dan holds me.  He offers understanding.  The children try their best, but they’re just as tired of my long face as I am of my entire self.  I feel like a shell of who I once was.

I pray.  I do an online brain detox, exercises that isolate toxic thoughts and bring them into the captivity of Christ by replacing them with promises from God.  I walk with my sister in -20 weather.  I start taking large doses of vitamin D.  I take what the psychiatrist prescribes. Sometimes after a morning of sleeping way too late and waking up with what a hangover must feel like, I run around the house barefoot in the snow to try to arrest the depressed feelings.  I try to make gratitude lists and lists of beautiful things, but on the worst days I can’t seem to do even that.  Again I  feel so very selfish.  I have everything I need and more.  Why the darkness? Kind friends ask how I’m doing and sometimes I kind of lie and say I’m pretty good, while other times I tell the truth.

And that, friends, is where I am.  Right now I am on day four of feeling like a human again. I’m tired of hiding away, pretending.  But it’s also scary to put the truth out there.

I started recently on some natural supplements that use the gut/brain theory and are specifically designed for people with mood disorders.  My cousin who has suffered from depression for six years feels like they have really helped her.  But they’re very expensive and she says it took her six months on them to see real change.  Can I last that long?  I’m such a skeptic.

Each good day is like a beautiful gift, wrapped exquisitely in shiny paper.  Music and laughter take on new meaning.  When all is darkness, there is still grace.  The Christmas lights twinkle on a dark night.  The fire glows.  I make myself get out and skate with the kids and for awhile I forget.  Christmas pictures and letters come in the mail and I savour them.  My sister sits with me and I feel like Jesus cares because He gave me her.

It all feels so focused on self when I write this.  I will end the monologue with some pictures from our Christmas, which was so nice despite my moods. I should edit them to give them better lighting, but I don’t really know how, so here they are:

Here is a picture of Victoria and her young man from Mexico.  They met at SMBI last spring and have been writing to each other for the last seven months. He was such a sport about the cold and tried skiing and skating and was way too good at both for a beginner.  We all enjoyed his visit.

 

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Victoria and Leonardo do the dishes.086af139-35ec-4707-9d6b-c1a0d79e7c4b

We sang with family on Christmas day at my brother David’s house.617d4d0f-4c34-4983-89b7-ddfbaeaa8ef6

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Two brains play chess.109e65d0-79c3-4450-ba0d-aaeb535bea1b

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Three cousins very close in age: Veronica, Annie, and Victoria.

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And a screen shot of this sweet picture from Facebook memories the other day.  These fat cheeked babies are growing up so much.580c13eb-9231-4546-8fbc-907dbcf51d95

It was so therapeutic to write this.  I don’t do well with keeping secrets.

I pray grace for each of you in the New Year.  Today it feels like 2019 will be a year of many good things.

 

 

What shall I write?

It must be fall.  My facebook newsfeed is giving me ads like this again.

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There is a pesky fly bothering me as I sit at the computer.  And I’ve been wearing socks and a sweater on these chilly mornings.  And there are a few yellow leaves showing their pretty faces.

This poor, neglected blog.  I haven’t written since February.

They shouldered their backpacks and went back to school yesterday.  “Are you going to post this on facebook?” they asked.  “Not necessarily,” I said.  “I hate when you say that,” one said. They are in grade 11, 7, 6, and 4 this year.  Bryant is 16 and driving them all to school. Time.just.flies.

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Our trip to family camp in Montana went well. On the way south, we stopped at the Imax in Edmonton and then at my mom’s close to Lethbridge.

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Liesl had made a little friend at family camp last year and was so happy to see her again this year.  They played together nonstop.

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After Montana, we went on to see Dan’s family in Wisconsin.  They always feed us so well and shower love on us.  We leave feeling full of both.  Of course we bring home some Wisconsin cheese curds and lebanon bologna from Miller’s Market in Hayward, which is the store owned by Dan’s sister Kim and her husband Todd.

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A ballgame with the cousins.  I just love stately Wisconsin trees.

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On the way home, we stopped to see the world’s largest buffalo in Jamestown, ND.

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Andre was excited that one of our haybales was in the Dawson Creek parade.

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Victoria is off to teach school in Oregon. She is teaching special ed at a new church school near Bend.  We miss her very much.

I’m supposed to submit an article by September 10th to a little writing group I’m part of and I have no inspiration for what to write.  I might post it here after my friends critique it.  Do you have suggestions for me? I’m not Dorcas Smucker, so I won’t get 295 answers, I realize.  But what would you like to hear about?

Happy Thursday, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February doldrums

February 21.

I’m slowly working at cleaning my bedroom on these quiet February days. After supper dinner was prepped this evening, I went for a little walk down the lane. (I always think of how much nicer and classier dinner sounds than supper.  But I feel like a hypocrite to use it in writing because we don’t use it around home.) On the way back, I was thinking about what I should do with the hour until supper was served. Should I clean another drawer, read facebook, or write something?

I decided to write something. But hmmmm…… what should that be?  I found an Anne Lamott quote in my Things that I Was Sorting today that I just adore.  Maybe I’ve shared it before on my blog, but it gives me hope in a world where it seems like everything has already been said and who needs my plaintive little voice from up here in Alberta.

It says, “All the good stories are out there waiting to be told in a fresh, wild way. Mark Twain said that Adam was the only man who, when he said a good thing, knew that nobody had said it before.  Life is like a recycling center, where all the concerns and dramas of humandkind get recycled back and forth across the universe.  But what you have to offer is your own sensibility, maybe your own sense of humor or insider pathos or meaning.  All of us can sing the same song, and there will still be four billion different renditions.”

February 22.

And that was all I wrote last evening before dinner and Bible study, so I’ll finish this morning before facing the clutter in my room again.

I’d love to start a series on my blog of writing about the people I know and love best. But maybe I should get their permission first.  After speaking to lots of ladies in Indiana at a ladies’ retreat, I discovered that the compliments that meant the most were those from my own people that I see all the time.  I mean….I loved the others too!

But when my family and the ladies from my church told me they watched the YouTube videos and gave me kind, affirmative words, it just meant the world to me. Because all of those strangers don’t know the real me–the one who talks too much at church members’ meetings sometimes.  They don’t know the me who worries over the church not getting cleaned properly, the one who grumbles about mud, who sometimes rushes in trying to be a peacemaker when people aren’t ready for it or already have their stuff under control.  The strangers don’t know about my messy garage and that I can’t sing high well at all. So that’s why it’s good to affirm the people we know the best.

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My aunt in Minnesota died and I’d love to go to her funeral and sit with my mom and hug my cousins. But I was gone to Indiana for five days in January.  And since then I’ve been feeling emotional and unstable.  I guess that sometimes when you pour yourself out, you become really vulnerable. Because that’s right where I am.  God and friends have been so kind, though.  I just need some time to rest and refocus.  So the trip to Minnesota probably isn’t happening.  I feel sad but resigned.

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I’ve thought of joining Instagram because it’s the thing now.   I like it that it has less drama than facebook. Or so my teenagers tell me.  But I can’t think of a good name.

threegreendoors after my blog? (The sad part of this is that our house no longer has three green doors. But that doesn’t really matter.

Or should I go with dugoutwillow, which is my gmail address? Does that sound cheesy? We have dugouts here in BayTree, Alberta. They’re manmade ponds and some people use them for drinking water.  Willows often grow up around them.

Or is it best and coolest to just go with your name? lucipeacheymartinherself?

Or maybe gooseyluci? Or  lucigoosey.  I have a few friends who call me that, Rhoda Miller from Belize being one of them. That looks very silly and self demeaning in print, doesn’t it?

Anyway, this is all very frivolous and unnecessary discussion, considering school shootings and Prime Minister Trudeau’s trip to India, US beating Canada in Olympic women’s hockey, and Billy Graham passing away. And recent attacks in Syria.

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Billy Graham’s passing reminds me of one of the people I love that I should write about someday. Brian LaRochelle is 45 years old and has Downs syndrome.  He came for supper dinner yesterday and the first thing he said when I picked him up is that he is so sad that Billy Graham died.  He had a book along of the Graham family and he was poring over it in his spare time before supper, looking at the pictures and noting that Ruth Graham’s maiden name was Bell.  He loves news like that and carefully prints it in one of his many notebooks.  He’s fascinated with maiden names.

 

One of the best things about yesterday was singing “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” with Brian as it played on a CD he lent to us of the Gaithers, singing A Billy Graham Music Homecoming, obviously while he was still living.  I’m not a Gaither fan at all, but I’d sing with Brian any day.

Happy Thursday to you. If you are in the February doldrums, here’s something for you.

Ordinance 1753839-J: “It shall be unlawful, illegal, and unethical to think, think of thinking, surmise, presume, reason, meditate, or speculate while in the Doldrums.”  –Norton Juster, US author.

You are welcome for my insightful February blog post.  And I love you even if we’ve never met in real life.

 

 

 

I need to remember

It’s been a warm December, much to the sadness of the hockey players at our house. The rink at school is covered in water. After November’s wild reminder that we live in the north, with great snow piles and cold, cold weather, the chinook winds blew.  It’s kind of a nice reprieve, but walking anywhere is treachery right now.  The world is covered with ice.

Sometimes I get these vibes that tell me I need to write things down so I don’t forget them entirely.  Just little things–like how much noise 15-year-olds with newly changed voices make.  It’s like the baby who just started hearing his own voice, so he keeps trying it out.  But the 15-year-olds don’t realize how HUGE and LOUD their voices are.  But I want to remember these days, big male voices reciting verses from John 1 that they’re memorizing for school programs in the bathroom while they get ready for school.  Or singing the Hallelujah chorus.  And the same 15-year-old asking, “Mom, are you doing laundry today? Can you make sure my sweatpants are a priority?”  I think this is because he wants to use them to go work out with his cousin.  I couldn’t find the sweatpants when I sorted laundry.  I looked all over…and found them in his sister’s drawer.   Someone small was putting away laundry and in a hurry.

I want to remember 1o-year-olds wondering as they clear the breakfast table about how the inside of a chicken is created that they can produce and push out eggs with hard shells.  And the whole mystery of how, unless there’s a rooster around,  eggs can’t hatch into chicks.

I watch my 11-year-old daughter doing her hair on Sunday morning and “get all the feels”–to use that expression that I don’t even like but is so fitting.  For realz. 😉

She can braid beautifully and does a nice Dutch braid on Liesl’s hair.  Then she’s struggling with doing her long hair in a French braid–and then it’s frizzy at the back and she thinks she needs to redo it but there’s not time.  And oh boy….how DID she miss getting a whole long strand into her braid? Panic!   We chop it off since it’s not too thick.

I get all the feels about this because I remember preteen hair agonies and I still sometimes have them.  But it’s so much better to be on this side of life and remember that no one is looking as closely at us as we think they are.  And I try to impart this wisdom to my girls…and to the boy who thinks his haircut is lopsided.  But I know they also have to let life teach them those lessons.

Then this morning the girls wore the sweaters they found at Value Village that are matching.  Natalia wore the green one for a few years and now it’s too small.  But she found a pink one the other day.  So last night they were picking out dresses that matched them, though Tillie isn’t sure about stripes with florals. Here they pose right before we leave for school with their matching French braids that you can’t see.

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And Tori texted this morning from the LAX airport that she would do the street meeting weekend again in a heartbeat.  She flies home today.

And oh.  I’m blessed with such crazy beautiful music these days. I swoon every night while I prepare supper over Natalia’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and think of the words of that beautiful carol, the last two verses my favorite.

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

And Liesl and Andre are pounding out “Drummer Boy” and “Good King Wenceslas”-and it’s not that they’re exceptional players yet or anything.  But I couldn’t be prouder of them.

So I’m just recording these memories mostly because in the flurry of the rush

to get coats on for school

and soup made for supper

and homework completed

and trying to deal with the annoying whining about things not being exactly fair chore-wise

and learning to let your older kids make their own choices without having panic attacks,

I need to remember and record.

I’ve been looking for the perfect pair of boots.  I have such picky tastes and being Mennonite and over 40 complicates things.  There’s this ladies’ retreat in Indiana coming up and I’ve always hated the idea of standing out….like when I go to a church more conservative than ours, I try to be respectful with what I choose to wear.  I know some people love to make a statement of their freedom, but that’s not me.  However, I also care about clothes and things more than I possibly should–and I realize it more than ever because I see it in my children now.

But anyway.  Boots.

I want something dressy, but not racy at all. Not too buckly.  Not too high (definitely nothing over the knee) because those catch on my long dress.  A chunky heel, but not too high and blocky.  Comfortable.  No cowgirl vibes.  I’ve looked a lot of places and last night on amazon I found what seemed perfect. But they were $652.

Maybe I’ll just have to go with these.

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Kidding.

I actually don’t need boots at all and will probably end up wearing something I have, which will be just A-OK.

I had this insight  the other day when I read about Mary the mother of Jesus:  she kept all the mysterious and beautiful things about Whom she was mothering and pondered (treasured) them in her heart.  She didn’t instagram them.

I don’t know where that puts me, because I sure like to tell people my thoughts.

(But I guess her beautiful magnificat  is recorded.)

I just remembered a lovely painting  of Mary that I want to share again, so I’m going to do that.  Somehow it doesn’t go with those boots up there at all.

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This painting is by Liz Lemon Swindle and I love how it’s not the typical sleeping Jesus with Mary sitting serenely nearby.  I think it’s the Jesus who understands us in our preoccupation with things that really don’t matter, like frizzy hair or the perfect boots.  But I’m glad that same Jesus calls us to things beyond the temporal, beyond things we can see and touch and feel.

Thanks for reading here.  A beautiful Monday to you.

 

 

 

 

 

haphazard things that go through my head

 

Tuesday, Nov. 7.

It’s so snowy and cozy today and it makes me want to write and write. Instead, I made some online purchases, called Dyson about the vacuum cleaner power head that’s acting up, and made chili for supper.

I wrote the italicized words below the other day for facebook, but then decided against posting them. It felt so not worth complaining about when church shootings happen and friends lose their longed-for baby at 18 weeks…and the world is full of so much bigger matters than perfect Christmas plans.  But I will post them here and now because you have to choose to come here and read.

“-I dream of simple Christmases, of buying just a few needed meaningful/needed items for the people in my life–and of all of us mostly giving up our own wishes and buying loads of things for Gospel for Asia instead.

 -I dream of quiet mornings and happy family times, of inviting the neighbors in and not stressing about cookies or perfectly roasted turkeys.

 -I dream of having all gifts bought online by the end of October so I can restfully sit around and address Christmas cards while the snow falls.

 -I dream of joyful shopping trips to fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Reality is November 1st–and two afternoons spent online looking through CBD’s 50,891 Bible options, the one I finally decide to order not available until April, the customer service lady kindly tells me. It is 347 pairs of boots viewed on Amazon. It is forgotten Paypal passwords, high shipping costs, and time that feels wasted. Oh. And let’s not forget trudging thru dollar stores with bickering family members looking for shoebox items and running around town when we should be home for dinner to find soccer ball pumps for shoebox children.

I feel guilty complaining about such 3rd world stresses. I will conclude my whining by saying simply:

 I am not a shopper. My mother was amazing because she always made Christmas special, even though we weren’t rich. So much for good intentions. I resign myself to frantic Walmart purchases on December 23rd and crazy cookie baking and present wrapping on the 24th. The joy of the season be upon you too.”

But TODAY I actually made some purchases, so now I can be one of those annoying people who says, “I’m done with my Christmas shopping and it’s only November 23rd!”

Maybe.

 

I’ve been going through a crisis with writing, which is pretty normal for me if you read my old blog posts. It’s a new crisis, though.  It’s about loyalty and vulnerability and authenticity and respect.  All of a sudden, with children who care about what I post about them and the pictures that are shared of them and a husband who is of a more private nature than I am, I feel like I can’t really write about life anymore.

Oh…that’s exaggerating slightly. But it’s kind of true.  I love my old blog posts and facebook memories, full of little kids saying funny things.  They didn’t know or care  what I wrote about them.

It’s like this: I am an open person and can talk to someone I met recently about pretty much anything, as long as I have a sense of the person being someone who can handle it, who is interested…whatever.  But we are not all made alike.  Dan and I had a big discussion about this the other night and his feeling is that even when someone is written about in a good light, it can kind of strip them of their personhood if we put our own slant on who they are. (Oh dear.  Does this sound like a controlling man who won’t let people see into his life? He is not that at all!)

Here is an example. I wrote one night on facebook that Andre was looking up online what kind of music dogs like.  I thought it was cute.  Andre is 10.  The next day at school, one of the “big boys” said to him, “I heard you were looking up music for dogs.”  Andre was surprised and asked how he knew that.  His mom read it to their family from facebook, said his big friend.  The friend did nothing wrong.  The mom did nothing wrong.  I don’t think I did anything wrong either.  But here Andre is, his curious little ways out in the open–and all of a sudden he’s embarrassed.

I can start asking my family permission about everything I write. I can be generic and general and boring.  I can just quit writing.  I can pay my children to use their stories, as Dorcas Smucker sometimes does.  I could start writing under a pen name.  There are options.

But I feel sad about this.  There are thousands of health blogs and religious blogs and parenting blogs out there, many of them helpful and good.  But soon their flavor runs together and they all start to taste the same.   But the one thing that makes us different from every other person is our own story. That story involves our family and church group and neighbourhood and workplace and school life.  So it involves people.  People are funny, messy, annoying, mean, overwhelming, strange–you name it.  They are hundreds of positive things as well.  But how DO you write and speak with authenticity when your life is full of people–and life with people involves faults and conflicts and all kinds of stories, lots of them negative?

People write deeply honest things and they are really the only things that touch me. But lately I just feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place.  If what consumes my mind is my son’s music choices, my sister’s mental illness, my friend’s marriage problems, our financial stresses, my larger family’s relationship problems, and the neighbor who is having a nervous breakdown, how do I write about them? (Some of these are hypothetical situations, some are not.)  🙂

I know this is not a new problem. You’ve faced it yourself, I’m sure.  I have a good friend who has quit blogging for this reason.  She is so involved with people that she can’t write anymore.  The people who make her life interesting and difficult and unique are also her online friends.  I guess it helps me see more why social media gets bashed for being the place where we only show our best.  Our real life struggles usually involve other people and if we care about them, there are so many stages of relationship that we can’t really talk about.

Anyway. Enough on that.

Wednesday, November 8.

We are still in the romantic first stages of winter. The cold, crisp air is invigorating.  The wintry sunsets are beautiful, the frosty world beckons. I sit close to the fire and drink coffee and life is sweet.  The kids have their first skate on the dugout and I enjoy the winter sunshine and exercise I get from scraping snow off of the ice for them.  The northern lights were SO fabulous last night and the moonrise so breathtaking as Dan and I drove home from a dinner the veterinary clinic puts on every November for cattlemen.

The romance will all feel old and drab and white by the end of January.

It’s a good life, despite not being able to write about so much of it. 😉

The Texas church shooting impacted our family a lot, thinking about the terror of having half of our church (of a similar size) mowed down in a single morning.

Dear Jesus, won’t you please come soon and set things right?

But until then, we march on. With You to guide us, it’s going to be okay.