See…what ha-happened was…

I washed my phone with the sheets.
No lie.
I woke up Tuesday morning ready to run and thought, “Let’s get those sheets washed while I’m at it.”
Except when you use your phone as an alarm clock, sometimes that phone crawls into bed with you so you can snooze…snooze…snooze.
And it did not crawl back out before the spin cycle.

This may seem to have nothing to do with blogging. Except that…
I have two step verification on my wordpress blog
for which I never printed the back up codes.
So when my phone is well and truly drowned, I can’t log into wordpress.

Epic fail on my part.

In the meantime, I am still phoneless, but now I have a my own website.
It’s where I will be blogging from now on.
You can hop on over there to see how I feel about not being able to finish 31 Days with flair, but finishing all the same.
And where I’ll be headed next.

WordPress really was fabulous and did get me back into my account long before a replacement phone was acquired. But it’s time I graduated anyway. Thanks so much for being part of 31 days here.

I hope you’ll join me in my new place too.

The Mo’Joy Blog:  http://mojoyblog.com/blog/

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The Art of New Things

I’m not always good at new things. I love the idea of new things, but many times I can’t quite get behind them enough to follow through. This is why I was a bit nervous when I signed up for the the 31 day blog project again. The concept  of writing something every day is exciting, and even more exciting is the idea that people would come and read my words, but the space between the warm fuzzy of your comments and encouragement and the time it has taken this month to write all these thoughts is wide and there are days when I haven’t wanted to keep working my way across.  But here we are with only a few more days at the end of the month, and I have a plan to keep writing, and a plan to move just a wee little bit from here to my own website, another new thing to learn.

I sometimes think the idea of newness is a bit addictive. New is shiny and flashy and exciting until the time comes to put the work into it deserves.  Then it’s… well, it’s work.  Work isn’t always flashy or exciting so we abandon the old, new thing and move on the the latest, greatest new thing – on and on we go until we have piles of new things all around us but nothing has really changed at all, except for the amount of space our new things require.  And we just keep searching for that next “new thing” fix.

The reality of newness is that it isn’t an concept, a one and done approach to life, but an art.  Each and every new thing is an art and we are one of two people. We’re the people who just keep buying more art, or we are the artist.  The artist sees something beautiful and works to bring it to life.  The medium doesn’t matter, what matters is the true genesis not in acquiring but in creating. Ask any artist and he will tell you that beauty doesn’t just happen.  It’s work. It’s work and sweat and sometimes tears. It’s falling and failing and trying again, sometimes starting over completely from scratch. It’s not walking away when the shine wears off because you know that somewhere, buried deep, is a thing of such immense beauty that the world is less without it.

This is true newness.
We are the artists and the medium is our lives.
We can keep dressing life up, and masking it in all the trappings the world has to offer, or we can get to the real work of peeling away the dross and the excess, bringing to light a beautiful new thing that’s never been seen before, nor will be again.

But we have to decide to stop looking everywhere else and focus on the work at hand: our own unique life.
What we make of it will be our life’s work or our life’s waste.

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Rev. 21:5

 

31 days button

Before I Die

I have thinkerly days sometimes. Usually when the wind blows wild and I feel restless.
Today is the perfect culmination of thinkerly conditions.  Fall is like that.
I spent some time thinking about what I want the last week of the 31 days project to hold, now that we’ve looked in my closets and discussed what’s in the pantry.  Where to we go from here?

I think we’ll spend the next week going outside the box of house keeping and talking about what to do with life once we’ve eliminated the things that weigh us down and steal from us.  Clearing our homes is just the first step, there is a life to be lived after that, and maybe its time we examined more closely what sort of life we want that to be.

A few months ago I watched this inspiring talk. It entered my mind again today in all my thinking. It’s the perfect prelude to what’s coming next. I hope you’ll take a few moments to watch it. It’s worth your six minutes.

Some days are like that, even for a Minimalist

This morning I experienced my first minimalist fail in two years: I threw away our extra coffee pot. I don’t know when I did it, though I know it was sometime during the moving process. I don’t know why I did it, possibly some form of moving delusion or purging euphoria. What I do know is that I wanted coffee and thirty seconds prior to discovering my purging error, the bottom cracked out of what I now know to be the only coffee pot in the house. . Fortunately I had not disposed of the camping coffee cups my brother purchased for us the year four hurricanes marched through Florida and we went weeks without power. Eventually, a lovely friend came to the rescue with a spare coffee pot, the result of a very recent marriage and the joining of two households.

Then my power when out.
Then my internet went out once the power came back on.

I looked outside to see if the sun had turned red or a black hole was forming but that didn’t seem to be the case.

Oh, and right now, I’m blogging from my phone.

Normally I would simply grab my things and head to Starbucks for a few minutes of wi-fi and maybe a bagel. Instead I’ll be taking my daughter to chemistry lab in a few moments. After which my mom is arriving from Tennessee.  This is why going to Starbucks is out.

It also means that once again, I am delaying the “kids stuff” post. But I do have a few observations in the midst of my first world crisis. Often times we, yes even me, hold on to things “just in case.” It’s why I kept a spare coffee pot for two years.  But there comes a tipping point in our lives where we have to decide if we are to continue to rely on the accumulation of stuff and money as wards against just in case, to keep life constantly convenient, or are we going to stop grasping so tightly to everything but the one thing that will keep us from drowning?  Let it go. We cannot be prepared for every blip, bump and eventuality. We sure can’t guard against real catastrophe with stuff and money.  When chaos strikes, and it will, it won’t be our stuff that saves us. It is entirely possible we won’t be saved at all but will have to walk right through the fire from beginning to end. When that happens, it will be what we’ve gained  in the letting go that carries us: the relationships, the family, the friends that have taken root and flourished in the open spaces of our lives.  We weren’t meant to get through life on our own, but we keep building these imaginary castles of self sufficiency on foundations of a greedy American dream at the expense of the people who are simply waiting for us to need…something.

I’m not at all saying that today was a catastrophe. It has been particularly frustrating.  Take it from me, home school becomes exponentially challenging when there is no power on a heavy technology day.  Frustration, catastrophe, these things happen no matter how many coffee pots we store in the closets.   But had I only needed to reach for a spare, I would have missed out on the pleasure of allowing someone to touch my life in the simplest of ways.   I’m glad I threw my old junk away after all.

***Edited to add: after I typed this with my thumbs on my phone, I couldn’t get it to post no matter what I did.  It took the Hunky man coming home and unsnarling all the technology to finally be able to say anything at all.

Intermission

Having blogged nearly 15,000 words in fifteen days, today I am giving my words and my fingers a rest. And sharing this instead. Take a moment to breath and hear some beauty, and watch the joy in people’s faces. It’s almost better than the sound…almost…

More minimalist instructions tomorrow. We’ve still got kid stuff and kitchens to cover this week.

Numbering

I lost another friend today, a sister (sistah to be specific).  We probably would never have met had we lived normal lives in the normal course of time. Instead we got cancer.  Sheryl died leaving behind a husband, a nine year old daughter and a nineteen year old son. Because we shared so much for so many years, I can’t help but put myself in her place and wonder what I will think of my life when I reach the end of my days.

When I was twenty-two, I became mortal. Oh sure, we’re all mortal but there aren’t many twenty year olds who stare it in the face. I lost my hair and my eyelashes and my health and my dignity and for time we thought I’d even lost my fertility.

When I was twenty-four I became immortal again at the birth of my daughter, the first of three in the next three years.  I bargained with God for days and months. To see them be born, to see them walk, to live long enough for them to remember my smile.  I counted them off as though they were prayer beads, “Thank you Jesus, full of Grace for one more day.”

But time passed, and I began to count less frequently. Children walked and talked and ran. Days passed into years, even into decades.  I count infrequently now. Birthdays and anniversaries inspire me to look behind me at the string of beautiful shining days filled with so much more than I dared hope for so long ago when a gentle doctor spoke deadly words with tears in his eyes.

So many days.

These days are why I am passionate about living with less. It isn’t really less at all but a way to honor all the answered prayers for days I didn’t earn or deserve by living them with joy and love, not wasting them with grasping and fear.  I’m holding loosely to things because one day I will be like Sheryl, on my death’s bed looking back over my life. It won’t be the fashionable clothes or the investments or the cars or the rooms filled with things that I will want near, but the people I have made space to love deeply, the memories we have created and all the experiences I wasn’t to busy to do and enjoy.

This is why I am a minimalist.
Because life and time are finite, but they don’t have to be filled with finite things.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
    so that we may grow in wisdom. ~Ps. 90:12

31 days

Time Out

You know how you get to the end of the week sometimes and you feel like there just isn’t anything left?  Words pelt you like small bits of gravel. The things you kept meaning to get around to but just couldn’t quite get your hands on seem to taunt you when you round the corner or just at the moment you start to sit down.  That’s me tonight. It’s been a busy week. Not bad busy…good busy, in many ways very  good busy. But good or bad, being an introvert means even the very best company withdraws from my bank of ability to cope with life and its demands. It’s Thursday night, and I’m scraping the bottom of the account.

This is why I am so happy it’s Thursday.
Thursday is my Friday. And tomorrow…
Well, tomorrow is the very best of days.  We call it Sabbath.

I realize Sabbath isn’t a word that makes everyone comfortable. It’s antiquated and odd. It also smacks of extreme orthodoxy, and yet I’ve spoken before about how it’s one of our greatest untapped gifts. When I started 31 Days, I spoke about my family’s unorthodox schedule.  Where ministry is concerned, there is always a need.   We could fill every hour of every day for the rest of our lives working, working for good, valuable, important things.  Thank God we don’t have to. Thank God that He set it up from the beginning for His people to have a time out.  Not a day to run all over town getting things done, not a day to overhaul the closets, the attic and the garage. Time out.

Time to sleep, to read, to sit, think, enjoy…Sometimes we play games and watch movies. Sometimes we lounge about in jammies until well after noon.  Sometimes we go places together, or Hunky and I go out to lunch.  It’s our time out…out of society, out of culture, out of calendars and schedules and to-do lists. Outside of the all the things the world tells us are so very important. Things it cannot manage without us for even one hour.

A foul lie if ever there was one.

We are not nearly so important. We don’t like to hear that very much, but it is true. For thousands or millions of years, depending on your world view, before we came around and for however long time has left when we’ve moved on, the world has been just fine without us. So we, my family and I, don’t have any problem at all checking out for one day a week and simply resting.

Yes, it takes preparation to manage a day away. It takes saying no to things and skillfully managing the other six days.  Time out doesn’t just happen.  It gets easier with practice, more familiar and anticipated. It’s the very thing I need at the end of every week when I’ve expended every bit of my storehouse.

And now…I think I’ll step out for a day or so.
Goodnight.