Monday, October 26, 2015

Confession on Middle Places

I sat in the early service Sunday morning and I felt good. My usual defensive posture wasn’t entirely gone, but it felt distant. The liturgical reading for World Communion was taken from a poem, and I loved the words. Even my son’s teenage I-Don’t-Want-To-Be-Here slouch felt normal.

As I wrote in my journal and listened to my husband preach, I realized this makes two Sundays in a row that I have felt safe in church. Granted, both of these Sundays involved my husband giving the sermon, but they were at two different churches. The first one was a little country church that felt so much like home. I couldn’t help but relax there. Every hymn was familiar, lyrics I grew up singing from the pages of a red Baptist hymnal.

I don’t think the hymns or the location or even my husband made the biggest difference though.

I think the change began with confession.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

My Safe Place on Middle Places

Today, I sat in my therapist’s office and talked about my grandmother’s house. I am starting EMDR therapy, and that means I will be going backwards in time. I will be revisiting the scenarios that have left me a big ball of anxiety this year. While doing this, my therapist wants me to have a “safe place” to land inside my brain, a mental place I can visit when I need to regroup.
As soon as she said, “safe place,” I pictured Grandma’s house.
It’s not that nothing bad ever happened there. I cannot tell you the nights I spent afraid of ghosts and spirits living in the walls. And, lawdy, my cousin Richard found all sorts of ways to torment me. Threatening to lock me in the cellar and feed me possum stew were his favorite “jokes.”
It’s not about the absence of stressful events. It’s about being a kid and being 100% myself.
I didn’t fit in at school. I got made fun of for having the wrong clothes, crooked teeth, greasy hair, etc… The boys I liked never liked me back. Friendship was often a minefield in elementary and middle school. I was also living with undiagnosed ADHD. I was disorganized, always in trouble for not keeping my bedroom clean enough, always losing papers or turning in messy assignments.
But not at Grandma’s house.
Continue reading on MIDDLE PLACES.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Currently: Now for October Eves

Current Books: I am about halfway through Small Damages by Beth Kephart. I also have a book of short stories open near my chair. I read a story between novels. I recently finished Wonder and More Happy Than Not. Both were amazing books.

Current Playlist: I'm still listening to Oceans (Donde Mis Pies Pueden Fallar) a lot. Other than that, I have been catching up on Writing Excuses and the Happier podcast.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: On Sunday, I watched the first 10 episodes of The Fosters on Netflix.

Current Color: Poppy red

Current Food: I just bought candy corn and peanuts.

Current Drink: Coffee with caramel-vanilla creamer.

Current Favorite Favorite: Encouraging feedback on my first writing assignment for a class I am taking.

Current Wishlist: Our Disney trip to go well.

Current Needs: Self-discipline when it comes to getting my tasks completed efficiently. I need to de-clutter my office and set up a writing area where I can concentrate and get some work done. I have a lot of it to do.

Current Triumph: I handled a crisis with my oldest while Corey was out of town without losing my composure.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: My own self-doubt and fear. Also, middle school math.

Current Indulgence: Eating out way too often.

Current Mood: Mostly good, tense from time to time.

Current Outfit: Jeans and a CLS t-shirt, Chucks, banned books bracelet, bright blue socks

Current #1 Blessing: Our Disney trip is paid for. Dining reservations are made. Hotel room is booked. Park days are scheduled. My best friend and her family will be there with us.

Current Quote: “Doubt is unsettling to the ego, and those who are drawn to ideologies that promise the dispelling of doubt by proffering certainties will never grow. In seeking certainty they are courting the death of the soul, whose nature is forever churning possibility, forever seeking the larger, forever riding the melting edge of certainty’s glacier.” ― James Hollis

Current Photo:
Ready to head to Memphis for Carrie: The Musical

Title taken from:“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!” ― Humbert Wolfe

Writing to Understand Myself on Middle Places

I don’t regroup quickly.
Take this move, for instance. Even when it was clear to both my husband and myself that he had finished his time as a youth minister, I could not wrap my head around leaving the church we were serving. Slowly, God walked me into acceptance and then I was able to fully embrace the new path.
The key word there is “slowly.”
And, I admit, slow is relative. More than speed, my regrouping requires solitude. I don’t think clearly when someone is standing there waiting for me to think. I hate being asked, “Where should we have lunch?” I don’t know. If you had asked me yesterday and given me a day to think it over and research restaurants, maybe I would have a suggestion. But now you are waiting on me to decide and my brain has shut down.
If I struggle that much deciding on a place to eat, you can just imagine me working through big things like naming my children, picking which literary agent to sign with, choosing whether or not to homeschool, and figuring out my stance on controversial issues currently in the news.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Alone on Middle Places

Sometimes I don’t believe in God.

It’s not often, but there are moments when I step outside of myself and shake my head. I don’t get it. How can any of this be true?

But then I reconnect.

Sometimes, the reconnection is strong and I am bowled over by God’s presence. How did I ever doubt?

Sometimes, the reconnection is loose, and my grip remains uncertain. Am I sure? Was that God or just coincidence? Did I hear the Divine’s voice or my own?

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

My Writings on the Web

I know I don't blog here as often as I used to. I now write weekly for Middle Places and I am sending out poems and such to other locations. I don't want to make posts here just to make posts here. I like writing when I have something to say.

Today, I thought I could share with you some things I have written recently and published in other locations. Mostly, these are from Middle Places, but I also had a piece published on a site called Crazy Good Parent, and it was a pretty big deal kind of post for me.

The Crazy Good Parent post is called Post-Traumatic Parenting Disorder. It was a cathartic and scary piece to publish.

This month, I wrote the theme piece for Middle Places. October's theme is REstore.

I also wrote this piece about dealing with cynicism in my religious life. I quoted Rachel Held Evans and confessed to something I am really struggling with. Read about it in The Bitter Uprising.

I went to a book festival and writers conference in Memphis and ate a little humble pie. You can read about that in Show Up Scared.

I am still working hard at learning to speak Spanish. I wrote about that and about the regret of missed opportunity in Estoy Aprendiendo EspaƱol.

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