Posted in Celebration, Childhood, Faith, Family, Grief, Motherhood

Long. Slow. Deep.

Breathe.

Just breathe.

Long.  Slow.  Deep.

Breathe.

Words said to me over and over again with every single contraction I had as I labored with each of my four kids.

Breathe.

Just breathe.

Long.  Slow.  Deep.

Breathe.

Words I say to myself whenever my heart starts to race, my palms get sweaty and my brain is off to the races, filled with anxiety and dread.

Breathe.

Just breathe.

Long.  Slow.  Deep.

Breathe.

Words the Tender Lover of my soul speaks to me when the heartache both within and around me feels unbearable.

Breathe.

Just breathe.

Long.  Slow.  Deep.

Breathe.

Words that I imagine were spoken to Mary by the women in her caravan coaxing her through the laboring pushes and birth of Jesus and the comfort and joy that prevailed in the afterbirth.

It’s past midnight.

Someone I love was in much pain earlier.

Most days, I would push it aside and go to sleep.

Not tonight.

I’m sitting at my table just breathing.

In and out.

Breathing in her pain.  Long.  Slow.  Deep.

INHALE.

Holding my breath for just a few seconds as I hold her before the God who is with us in the middle of our pain, our heartache.

Breathing out the love of God to her.   Long.  Slow.  Deep.

EXHALE.

I’m not in the physical room with this one I love.  I can’t be right now.

I can’t take away her pain.

I can’t make it magically all better.

But I can breathe for her.

I can breathe with her.

Long.  Slow.  Deep.

In the story of creation, God took the dust, the dirt, the ground and breathed life into it.  His powerful, beautiful, love-filled life.

What sprang forth in all its beauty was us.  You and me.

We were glorious.
We were sacred.

But we were also fragile.

But God didn’t and doesn’t stop there.  He didn’t and doesn’t create us and then leave us alone.

We are still glorious.
We are still sacred.

And we are still fragile.

We need Him, His breath of life, every single day.

In our pain.
In our fear.
In our sadness.
Even in our joy.

We need His powerful, beautiful, love-filled life.

That’s why I breathe.

Long.  Slow.  Deep.

For those I love.

For myself.

Often for those I don’t even really know, but can love because they are glorious, sacred and fragile just like me.

Each of us takes about 20,000 breaths per day.

20,000 chances to inhale our individual and collective suffering.

20,000 chances to hold each other and bring each other to the One who holds us in the palm of His hand and in the recesses of His heart.

20,000 chances to exhale His unending and unfailing love to one another.

But most of our breaths are rushed, fast, and shallow.

We move at a pace that requires this.  Rushed.  Fast.  Shallow.

It’s no wonder we miss out on the powerful, beautiful, love-filled life that God has to offer us and we have to offer each other.

So tonight, at this dark and quiet hour, I don’t want to miss out.  I want to be present.  I want to soak in the power, the beauty and the love that is ready at the waiting.

I do nothing else but breathe.

Long.  Slow.  Deep.

For the one I love.

For me.

And for you.

Posted in Family, Grandparenthood, Health

The EstherGizer Bunny

“What’s your reason for waking up every morning?”  (Huffington Post)

I lay in the dark, my grandson’s eyelashes brushing against my neck as I held him close.  Only moments before, I had been power-washing a fence and had heard his cries over the monitor.  “Not yet, Broden,” I thought, “I have much to do.”

This has been my cry for as long as I can remember.  “Not yet, ___________ (fill in the blank with any given human in my life).  I have much to do.”  I am a doer, a cross-it–off-my-list person, and proud of all that I accomplish in a day.  My daughter, Sarah, calls me the “EstherGizer Bunny,” hence the blog post title.  I can accomplish more in a day than most can in a week.  It’s just true.

But today, that is not to be.  I have about 10 things I could be doing, all big projects that will supposedly “save the world,” including writing a meaningful blog post, organizing Sarah and Cody’s garage, making nutritious meals for Sarah as she goes back to school this week in her new position as a second grade teacher, writing another chapter in the book I am writing (BIG REVEAL IN ABOUT A YEAR), yada yada yada.

Today, I choose what my heart truly cries for.   I choose to stop saying “Not yet, _________.”  I choose love.  I choose holding Broden in the dark.  I choose relationship over task.  I choose dancing with Allen at the wedding of a friend tonight.  I choose being present to people over checking boxes.  I actually choose myself.  Those to do items will get done or THEY DON’T HAVE TO (good news for my EstherGizer Bunny heart).

If you need more today, read my Go with the Slow (I Love Turtles) post.  It was a great reminder for me once again as I was writing this.  It puts the EstherGizer Bunny right back where she is supposed to be.

 

 

 

Posted in Health, Marriage

Go With The Slow

“And the turtles, of course…all the turtles are free, as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.” (Dr. Seuss)

In the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare, I am the Hare. In fact, my daughter calls me the EstherGizer Bunny.  I move at break-neck speed much of the time: my brain, my feet, my hands, my heart and my mouth. When I was a young mom, our elderly neighbor, and whom my young children called “Grandma,” said to me, “I watch you out of the window heading to your car and I don’t think your feet ever really touch the sidewalk.”

I was wiggly, energetic, smart and super-speedy as a kid. I did my first three grades in two years and then skipped right over fourth grade, landing me in fifth grade when I was just eight years old. Break-neck speed. “Can’t sit still.” Lots of childhood memories of those words from the adults around me.

I’m a fast thinker, typer, talker, mover, decision-maker. Probably most of the reason I have tended to be on the thin side during my life is that every cell of my body is wiggling.   Other people get tired thinking about what I do during a day.  You get the picture.

For some reason, though, I have always loved turtles. I was fondly known as the “turtle rescuer” for quite some time.   I loved “helping “ them get where they needed to be. After all, I am much speedier than they are. (SIDENOTE: If you find a turtle in the road, move them in the direction they were heading. Never turn them around. The turtle is on a mission, and if you turn it around, it will simply go back across the road when you drive away. —the Turtle Rescue League)

Little did I know, in my young and “rescuing” years, that turtles didn’t really need my help.  I needed their help.  I loved the Turtle in that tale I mentioned.  I remember the moral of the fable so clearly: “Slow and steady wins the race.” But I am not slow and steady.  I am fast and wobbly.  Why does he win?  Doesn’t the fastest always win? However, somewhere deep in my heart, I knew this was profound truth.

Several years ago, I began to read an author by the name of Dallas Willard.  I actually heard him speak not too long before he went to be with His Savior.  He seemed kind of “turtley” to me.  Slow and steady.  In fact, deeply steady.  “Why is he like this? What does he have that I don’t have? I want this.”  As I got to know him better through his writings and videos, I found that he only had one piece of advice for those who would ask him: “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

Slowly (intended thought) I have found, even though I don’t act on it nearly enough, that my very well-being (emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental), depends on following his prescription.   Stay-tuned for more on this in the future.

But for now, go with the slow.  Be a little more turtley!  As they said in one of my all-time favorite movies, The Master of Disguise, and I ask myself on many days, “Are you turtley enough for the turtle club?”   (Click HERE for quick look at the movie clip and a good laugh!)

Are you a turtle or a hare? Would love you to just write a one-word answer below letting me know. I don’t mind being a hare, but I certainly want to be a hare that has learned the lessons of a turtle. Maybe a turtley hare!