Beyond Borders

courage. faith. action.


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Releasing the Unfinished.

31 days a writing challenge

 

I am kind of a word nerd. So when I sat down to write my post for today, I grabbed the dictionary to find the definition of quiet. I thought if  I am writing about it for 31 days, I should probably know what it really means, right? When I think of quiet the first thing that comes to mind is “without noise.” A quiet child. A quiet room. But there is much more to this 5 letter word than a hushed child.

The word quiet belongs to many parts of speech; noun, adjective, adverb, verb, each with it’s own definition, but all similar in nature. Then there is the transitive verb. What is a transitive verb you ask? We all know verbs are action words, well a transitive verb is an action word that has an object that specifically receives that action. Confused?

 Read this sentence…

I baked some cookies.

 

Now let’s break it down…

“I” :: pronoun, the subject

“baked” :: transitive verb, the action

“cookies” noun, the object receiving the action.

I performed the action of baking. Baking what? What received the action? The cookies. You can see this in sentences such as I played the piano. She smelled the roses. He hit the ball.

See how that works? Transitive verbs always have an object receiving an action.

Ok, grammar lesson done.

 

Quiet

transitive verb  :  to make secure by freeing from dispute or question (merriam-webster)

 

In all honesty our home and our lives always seem to be in a state of chaos. There are not many days that we make it through without a sensory meltdown, migraine, or some other form of misread behavior. Trips to the grocery store can take hours. and you count on the 3 year old screaming, climbing out of the cart, or throwing items from the cart. The 12 year old does everything she can to calm her. She wants everything to run smooth and everyone to be happy. But she can’t control it. And many times her senses overwhelm and she flees in frustration. Inside our house, there is always toys to be found in every nook and cranny, dishes in the sink, laundry waiting to be transformed. The vacuum cleaner stands by in the living room just waiting to be called to duty. It hasn’t seen its home in the closet for well over a year.

This is our normal. This is our everyday chaos. This is where we long for quiet.

But today, I realized there is something greater that binds us in shackles while it robs us of our quiet. We let the words of others seep into our lives. We listen to their silent judgment. They make us question our decisions. But these are our children. They have special needs. Those needs can create chaos, but they also crate beauty. How can they not know the beauty that is found in our chaos? Because to put it mildly, our chaos upsets their quiet.

Whether it is someone who is a part of our lives or the strangers we see in public places, each one of them has an opinion of what really is going on in our lives. It doesn’t matter if it is whispered words of what they would do different, stares of disapproval and shaking heads at the checkout counter, it is all the same. Their opinions. To them it seems our children are spoiled and misbehaving, and we have no control of them. But they are not. Neither intend to be defiant, be disruptive, or meltdown. Don’t get me wrong they both have the natural instinct, as does every child, to push their boundaries, but in most instances their bodies are frustrated. They cannot communicate what they are feeling because they don’t understand what is causing the frustration and the result is not pretty.

We allow these words and actions to seep into our minds, they strike us deep and cause pain and anxiety. We dwell on them much too long. We begin to question our decisions, our doctors and our therapies, our instincts. We feel the grip of the shackles as they tighten and we fight to be free. So why do we do it? Why do we let these people cause us much turmoil? Because we want them to see us. We want to know that they support us. We want them to understand us.

But this is where that transitive form of quiet comes in – to make secure by freeing from dispute or questions. Does this not infer that we could be free from the anxiety and the chaos it creates? If we stood firm in our convictions and choices; and remember that every decision and action was not without much thought, research and prayer, could we not live out the transitive verb of quiet?

To make secure (calm the anxiety) by freeing (breaking the shackles) from dispute or question (the comments, looks and stares)? It is a choice. I imagine what that looks like…

We quieted the chaos by believing in ourselves. Believing God. And there was freedom.

 

This post feels far from being finished. But learned this week about releasing and that is exactly what I am going to do.

 

This is day three of 31 one days of finding quiet in the chaos. To read all of the posts in this series click here.

 

 


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Laughter. It is Good Medicine.

31 days a writing challenge

 

We had planned on meeting for weeks, but something always came up and we would cancel. But not this week, we were determined to make this happen. Of course, just as every week prior, everything was going wrong… husbands had to work late, kids were melting down, dinner was overcooking (ok, burning), it was rainy and foggy, and it just seemed appropriate to cancel again. But we didn’t.

Both of us headed out doors, not knowing if the other had left yet, but we were not going to be stopped. We needed this time. We needed to be free of responsibility if only for a few hours and just be grown up little girls. So we met at that coffee shop. We found our seats, gathered our goodies and we talked for hours about the summer and family and drama and kids. Outside the air was misty, and people were milling all about. The line inside was long as it circled around us. We watched the women dressed as if it were the dead of winter (it was 65 degrees after all) and the teen girls in short skirts all of them matching. I am not sure we ever did decide whether they were tennis players or cheerleaders.

We sat at our table with our t-shirts and sneakers. Both of us feeling a little battered and bruised from the day. Behind us sat a gentleman that I swear was taking photos of us. You know how you hold the phone just so? As if you are trying to read something, but really you are snapping a photo of some funny scene?  Yeah that. That’s what he was doing. But really he wasn’t. Moments later another gentleman joined him, coffee in hand, and they sat for nearly as long as we did. Both trying to determine the working of the antiquated phone the gentleman held in his hand. They left shortly before we did. We on the other hand decided to close the place down. It was 10:00. Such rebels the two of us.

We still wanted to hold on to our few moments of freedom, squeeze every last second out of them, so we moved outside into the mist and sat on the curb and chatted some more. Yes we really did.

 

curbchat FullSizeRender-4 IMG_4191

 

 

With all our chatting and spying, I mean people watching, our night was a success. We  stole away from our lives tucked in neatly at home. We guarded our time. We let our souls breathe, if only for a moment. And it was good. But this wasn’t the highlight of the night. At least not for me. This would come in our final moments of our visit.

My friend she is always camera ready. Ready to capture the moments of this life that are so important, yet so easily missed and forgotten. She snaps them to remember. This night her camera was at home and we were left to my phone. We politely asked the lady jailing the chairs and tables as if they might runaway in the night, to snap a pic. She snapped off a few and we thanked her, but for some reason they all seemed dark with too much contrast. We decided to snap a few selfies trying to fix the contrast, and this is where it happened.

I laughed. We laughed.

My phone was turned the wrong way as I snapped the pictures. Because you know I am an expert in taking selfies. Except I’m not. As I turned my phone and scrolled through those pictures of the night sky. I laughed. We laughed. We stood and snapped more and I was still laughing, but my mind?  My mind was resting.

I felt young and carefree. Like the girls in matching skirts, I was young again for a moment. Transported back to our younger days when she and I would take breaks at work, walk to the coffee shop around the corner and get iced mint chocolate chip frappucinos.  Back before life had taken hold of us. Back before autism and migraines and celiac disease. Before marriages. Before new life and death. Just for a second I was living in the moment. Fully present.

 

And there was quiet in the chaos.

 

 ***********

 

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Proverbs 15:13

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
Psalm 126:2

 

This is day two of 31 one days of finding quiet in the chaos. To read all of the posts in this series click here.

 


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Friends, Circles, Fitting In.

On Fridays, Lisa-Jo Baker invites you to write for 5 minutes without stopping, without editing. 5 minutes on a word prompt. There is a whole bunch of ladies that write and link up and even have a twitter party the night before in anticipation of the event. Yeah, it get’s that exciting! You can find them on Twitter here #FMFParty….. For more information about 5 minute fridays click here.

 

This weeks prompt is Friend

 

GO.

I read yesterday of circles. Standing outside of them and feeling the lonely awkwardness because the ones in the circles never stepped back a bit to let the circle widen. Staring at the backs of heads, stiff shoulders like impenetrable fortresses. Fortresses for the elite, and all the writer had ever seen is the way she didn’t fit. How she grasped at conversations like crumbs falling from the table. And each attempt feeling like the beggar she knew herself to be.

Her words pierced straight through my heart and I felt the hollow emptiness. I wondered how she could read my mind, because that was my story written right there in her story. Because in my life there is no room in the circles for autism, and food allergies, and chronic illness, and little ones that well you just don’t know what to do with them. There just isn’t circles for that. Because it is just too messy.

And she is living my story, and suddenly I wasn’t alone anymore. Until I was…

Because in my real life, He hasn’t shown me those circles, the ones that step back and widen. Instead He brings me two special friends, in the oddest of circumstances and the saddest. They live in different states.  They encourage me. Breath life into me. And when I have nothing left, and the tears are falling and I don’t have words, they raise their voices for me. Pray over me. Bring God right into my room. My quiet place. He shines so bright. These women see the ugly and the messy. And they do it anyway.

So I wait on the Lord for those circles, and I cherish the holes He has filled with these two women who brave through ugly and messy and we love through backlit screens and keyboards.

STOP

 

And because I had just 5 minutes to write, I didn’t have time to mention my sister who has always been my one dearest and truest friend. Though our lives are heading in different paths right now, and I don’t see her as much. She is still my heart. Always. Then my two long time girlfriends who have we have kept in touch over the last 16 years, these two are always a text away to say please pray. And these two the same they have their paths and their circles, but we are always here for each other. They are all important to me and I love them so.

 

To read more stories about Friends, check them out here.

 

This weekend (in)RL is hosting their annual webcast, the conference that you don’t have to leave home for… the one for community. This year’s theme the power of story. I am joining in on my own, because I want to know what it looks like to share your story. God is calling me to do this, here in this space. You can join in too. It’s free. And if you wish to find community to share it with host a group, or join one of the 436 groups already meeting.

 

 


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Shoes for the Shoeless

The seed was planted in April 2009. All of us. Me, my husband, my daughter, hovering around a tiny screen, scrolling through pictures of children needing sponsors on the Compassion website. How do you choose one child over another? When each ones eyes burn right through to your heart, and all you want is to scoop them up and bring them all home. Here to our home. Then my daughter speaks it, “she has no shoes. That little girl right there. No shoes.” She’s pointing at the screen. My daughter just 7 years old at the time, her heart breaking for the little one on the other side of the world who has no shoes. She wonders how she walks around in the gravel, in the garbage that she sees lying all around as we read about her country. She decides it right then. She wants us to sponsor those that don’t have shoes. Because in her mind of 7 years old, that would be the worst thing ever.

Fast forward to today. 2014. And this post falls across my screen, Losing My Religion, and Logan’s words paint the reality she is living right now in Uganda. I see it through her eyes, and I cannot NOT unsee it. And how did I not know that in Uganda,  “if one parent dies or leaves and the other parent remarries, it is the new spouse’s prerogative whether or not to keep the prior relationship’s child as their own?” Or this, “Parents can’t afford to care for their children, so they drop them off in baby homes where at least they will be fed?” Me. A momma of a little one that we fought so hard to keep. In all regards an orphan herself, she is now ours, and we are humbled that God would choose us to be our parents. These words they break me. As I just can’t see how someone could abandon their child. I don’t understand why I keep going back and reading the post. But I do.

How do I become so comfortable in my little world that I don’t see the big picture? When just a year ago, I spoke the words, of doing right here from my home, because that is all I can do right now. Why I am not doing? What am I not doing?

Logan she is in Uganda with a team of bloggers on behalf of Sole Hope. “A group of passionate, committed people who are putting closed toed shoes on African children, one pair at a time. We are also holding medical clinics, providing education, and jobs for and with the beautiful souls in Uganda. It all started with an encounter with a YouTube video–a video that broke Asher’s heart, took us WAY out of our comfort zones, and led us to Uganda.”

And I still don’t see the connection. Until I do.

It’s a no brainer. Logan lays it wide open right here. She tells of her holding these children, jiggers being pulled from their tiny feet. The pain is unbearable and she feels right there with them. I feel it too. And its a no brainer how to stop this pain.

Carey is right there with her and she says this “What I absolutely love, love, love about Sole Hope is that they have invented a way for you, right where you are, to make a difference AND create community. It is so very simple.” and this, “You may not be in Africa but your jeans can come. Send them on over.”

Now I see it. The connection. And God is whispering it. And I do it. Right then and there. I order a kit. A kit for 50 people, to cut shoes out of jeans from a pattern. Simple. A no brainer. And I don’t even know 50 people. But this is what God is telling me. My daughter and I we commit to ourselves, to God, to these little children… 100 pairs of shoes. One hundred pairs of shoes by the end of April. How do we make it happen? I am not sure. But God knows.

Maybe you want to participate? Bring your friends? Send your old jeans? Supplies? Maybe? God knows. And I wait on Him to fulfill it. In the meantime, the kit is on it’s way and we are planning a party. A shoe cutting party.  And it will be grand.

And I pray it…

Break my heart for what breaks yours, Lord.