What I need is Mo' Joy

Let's talk a little bit, as a friend speaks with a friend. I have something to tell you.

I'm moving.
Some of you will come along with, and some of you won't because moving can be like that.  The sticky people sometimes surprise you, and the ones who fall away fade slowly and leave little ghost images of themselves on your soul. I know because I've moved before.

I'm moving to a new blog because it's time, and it's important.  But I want to try to explain why it matters. Sometimes, no, often times, I feel broken because it's been three years. Three. Entire. Years. since life went so far off the plotted course, and I think I should really be "over it" by now. I do. Most days are like backstroking under clear azure skies, but there are still some days that I'm dancing ballet in quicksand, and I want to hide under my favorite blanket where no one can find me forever and ever and ever.  I'm that kind of broken.

I've been wrestling with this problem for some months quite intensely, wondering if it isn't time to move fully on, wondering more how the heck exactly I will that into reality, because believe me, I want it.  I want to be rid of, done with, completely over that shame and hurt. I'd trade untold riches to obtain it. But as much as I want it, I can't make it happen any faster than it's currently unfolding.

My sistah Laura, a most amazing woman, shared a blog with me last week: Shame is a Prison and I'm Breaking Out. Personally, I think you should read the whole thing, but if you don't, at least read this one paragraph:
That first meeting with the pastor, nearly 3 years ago now, began an ongoing fight against my own fear of being shamed, rejected, and branded a threat again. It is getting better now, but I still sense it with nearly everything I post. That church tried to shut me down and control me with intimidation (church discipline is no small thing). It was all about power and control, and what I’ve realized is that this was rooted in fear.
It's entirely possible that she crawled right into my head and pulled these words out of my brain. Yes this, this is exactly how it feels, still, three years later. This. And it's time to move away from this, to take another step out into the light from that dark and overshadowing day.  When I moved here, to Deepening Years, it's because I had to hide.  I had been cut-off and was not allowed to contact anyone from my church community, nor they us. Even when that time was ended, I still was hiding. "My own fear of being shamed, rejected and branded a threat again"  followed me from Florida to Georgia, from one blog to the next. It's quieter now, but it still lurks behind the words that make it to the page, and behind the words that don't make  it, because many times those words can't hurdle the fear. I've written things here that were (and are) sheer agony to reveal, like ripping my skin off and leaving exposed nerve to deal with the response. It's been a necessary place, a safe place, a building place, but I think it was always only temporary.

I'd like to say I'm done with fear and shame, but that wouldn't be true. What I am is done with letting it be what keeps my words from having a voice.  I'm done hiding and I want something shiny, fresh and new. I've chosen a name:
MoJoy Abundant

It's not quite ready for public traffic yet, but we're getting there. I'm completely ecstatic.  I hope you'll travel with me to this next stage in life.


Winter Talk

It was on the first day of winter-
not by calendar's counting
but the first November day
when sky lingers low and brooding,
darkness cling
misty rain whispering
icy promises-

I love the way the air
she says
eyes agleam with wonder and mischief,
It's sharp in my chest
and fills my nose with
and bright leaves

She glances askance
as if to say
she's sharing
secret treasures.
I grin affirmation and share again,

I love winter's birth air
by February it stales
with bitter edges
But in the first cold days
Your alveoli crackle and
eyes tear sudden.
Winds dance sugarplum dreams
and snow globe visions.
When winter is young our hearts
with welcome and it tastes
so sweet.

We sat
quiet then-
some minutes.
The heater humming
brittle dry warmth
wet wheels
shush us homeward.

I knew you'd get it, Mom
she says finally
I can't say that to everyone

I know, my beautiful girl.
I do.


Empty Spaces

I've noticed something about myself.  I have a problem with empty spaces. This is a rather amusing discovery after having spent the past year working on a far more minimalist lifestyle. Empty rooms, these I like. I like not having things to tend to, clean up and care for. The non-domination of stuff is very freeing. But it doesn't just free up square footage, it also frees up time, possibility and opportunity. These are the empty spaces that can make me freeze.
Take this page. Sometimes I open it up without any idea what words are going to fill the space. Suddenly, all possible thoughts and thought combinations rush to the front of my mind and begin to push, shove and shout over each other just like my kids do in the morning. When they do that I leave the room, when my thoughts do that, lately, I've been leaving the room. Which leaves this blank page...just...sitting...here.
I'm discovering that without a funnel for my focus, I'll just throw thought and effort to the wind in hopes that something of value will eventually spring up.  However, this isn't how I want to be. Just as too narrow a focus is limiting, no focus at all is simply wasteful. It makes no good use of time, space or talent.  I tell people constantly that there are ten thousand great things to take part in in this life, but chances are that less than one percent of those great things were meant for me to throw myself into. As I find myself free to do and engage in more, I also need to be very, very mindful that more doesn't become too much.
I often have that problem when I write. I want to write about everything. I worry about losing people if I don't connect with each post. But the fact is that narrow or scattered, there are people who aren't going to connect, and there are people who may connect for awhile and then drift away when what I have to say is no longer relevant to them.  That's natural. It's the way life works. I have done the same thing on many occasions.
I also am not terribly disciplined about writing down ideas when they come to me to use later. My Hunky and I were talking about blogging the other night; he was bragging...err..telling me about his queue of over fifty half written blogs he has stored away.  I need to develop this discipline so that I am not always sitting down to an overwhelming blank screen.  My unruly thoughts are in for a rude awakening when that happens, like dogs running fast on a short rope.
I used to think that art and talent were things that just happened, randomly choosing a select few to fill up and spill over.  I don't discount the seed of talent and the spark of a gift, but I also know now that those are merely tools, worthless unless I make the effort to pick them up, and use them correctly and often, and for their specific purpose. Inspiration is never going to sweep into an empty space and make anything. I am the one who directs it and uses it to affect change, beauty, and serve a purpose.


Big Words

I looked back the other day. I've been blogging since 2004 in one place or another. 2004. That's a lot of years, a lot of thoughts, a lot of mess to work through.  I don't have a great deal of what I've written in the past and to some extent I regret that, but at the same time, I look at what I have written, not all of it, but more than half of it, and think to myself, "I don't really want anyone to read that and relate it to me."

It's taking me a long time to grow up.

I had said at the beginning of this month that I was going to blog about writing. And that I was working through a book, 31 Days to Finding your Blogging Mojo to kindle those thoughts. Then I re-read the first day.

What central "feel" do you want your blog to have?

And hmmm.
I mean really, HMMMM.

Let's face it, the content I write, there's plenty of other writers out there adding  their voice to the fray at least as well as I, if not better. There's mommy bloggers, minimalists, runners and Christians aplenty, all with something to say. There's even a few pastor's wives with the guts to have words and opinions for public consumption (this isn't a slam on pastor's wives, it's a jab at the people who sit around waiting to critique and fault find with every thought church leaders express).
And opinions?
Don't even get me started about opinions. I spent the last six months actively avoiding that vitriolic cesspool.  I've gone the polarizing opinion route (I do have them, lots of them. I am highly opinionated), and found it to be a real energy waster when I have only limited energy and so many things of actual value to spend it on.
For awhile I went the "what I accomplished today" route with my writing. At that point in time I had a lot of small humans and a lot of stuff, and I suppose I needed to feel like I was doing something. But I honestly don't care to read the laundry list of people's days, as much as I utilize the list here in my real life, and I no longer have such small folk or so much stuff. Or a need to write about how it all fits together.

These are the things I don't want.  But what DO I want? And perhaps even more important, what do you want?  I'm putting words out there, so you know I'm wanting people to read them. We won't play games with that fact.

This is the concept that tied me in knots.
I've thought about it so much these last weeks. What voice do I want to have? What do I want people to think of when they think of my words.  There's a permanent nature to writing that is hard to erase from the page and from people's minds.

I want my words to be beautiful, to breathe life, to be simple and uncover wonder. I want to bring joy and Hope into a world filled with discontent and squalor. I want people to walk away feeling lighter.

Yeah, that's not intimidating at all, is it?
But I can't allow the bigness of these visions be what keeps me from pecking out these little blurbs of thought and life onto the page each day. I've been waiting...maybe for something easier or smaller to work its way out of me, but this is the real vision.


Such small words with such magnificent weight.  It's what I want in my day, in my life, in my words.


This is the End?

It does seem rather anti-climactic
So, I have to ask myself, did I fail at 31 days?

I did not post for an entire 31 days, at all.  Or even close. I really should have known that going home was going to derail me. I thought I was prepared, but I wasn't. There are a million reasons, and I am not done unpacking them mentally enough to share them yet. It was both a wonderful, really wonderful, and difficult trip. I saw my brother, Travis for the first time since his treatment and surgery. I wasn't prepared.  He is getting better; he really is, but, oh. Oh my heart. The summer has taken its toll, and I was not prepared.

But I digress into excuses instead of dissecting the month's goal.
When all is said and done, no, I didn't meet the lofty standard I set, but I did write.  I wrote a lot. Compared to this summer, I wrote a tome of weight and depth.
And, I found an answer to prayer and dove in with my whole self at Middle Places.  I've been challenged every week with what I write there, and challenged even more by the writing of others.
I cooked, read, visited and enjoyed a lot of new things. More than I wrote about. More than I listed. I remembered how fun it is just to be fun. I laughed a lot. I met a lot of new people.
And you, you all came and read and commented and sent me notes and encouraged me. That was good. It was really good.

I honestly look back at it and say, "Ok self, you did a great job out of the gate. Now how do we get better?"

Blogging is kind of like running, you have good days and bad days, days where you fly and days where you barely crawl. But even at the end of the bad run, you can tell yourself that you ran way better than the people who never got off the couch.

I got off the couch.
I got off the couch, and I have a plan to continue, to not get back on the couch and sit under the blanket with the bag of M&M's and stare mindlessly at the television while life slips by (I've done this. Sometimes it's how I survive, so that's not judgement.).

One of the new things I was introduced to during my month, was by one of my new Middle Sisters: 31 days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo. I started it, and I wanted to write about it. But you know, after the first time, it wasn't a new thing. So I could only write about it once which posed a quandary.

So I decided.  November? Well, November I am going to blog about blogging. You get to share. You get to  discuss and participate. It's going to be fun. There will be other things here as well, but by golly, I'm working my way through that book.

And certainly, I'm going to miss some days.
Life is like that.
I am very much alright with that if you are.
Let's go.