First-Time Courage


Tonight, my daughter will embark on a milestone of childhood: her first sleepover…and an away-from-home sleepover at that. This little girl is Elizabeth’s best friend ever, and her family has already taken Elizabeth to heart with their kindness and generosity, for which I am immensely grateful.

I have no problem admitting that my child is far braver than I ever was as a little person. She loves the New (especially New People). I hated sleeping away from home and, whenever I tried, I would usually end up calling my parents to come get me. I was such a creature of homeostasis that I always preferred for my friends to come to me for sleepovers. In fact, I am not sure I can remember a time when I actually stayed at a sleepover that wasn’t at my own house. Huh.

Again, my girl has proven herself to be far braver than her mom at times. Admittedly, she is a little nervous amidst her excitement. I absolutely get that and have been encouraging her to be brave, reminding my dearest girl that having courage and being brave do NOT mean being unafraid. Rather, it is still being afraid (even if just a little bit) and choosing to do the thing anyway. I remind my girl that her friend loves her and that it is obvious that her family already does, too, and will take excellent care of her. Also, she gets to spend 24 whole hours with her best friend! How cool is that?

So, this afternoon, I will watch my daughter step into her courage for something brand-new, exciting, and maybe a little bit scary. I will hug her, kiss her, wish her the best time ever, and remind her that I love her always and am very proud of her and her bravery. Then I will breathe deep and let go.

This is scary for me, too. As scary as her moving into her new room upstairs bit by bit. It means change, growth, a shift in how things have always been. But it will be fun for her and good time with her best friend; she will enjoy it. So I will have Courage so that my daughter can have Joy.

Courage, dear heart.

Image from Today’s Parent

Borrowing a Lion’s Courage


I have never seen myself as a particularly courageous person. I do not willingly rush into new things. I waffle. I drag my feet. I demure in preference of the safety of the Known. Even if I struggle in the Known, I often prefer that to the Unknown Struggle.

I feel timid in these moments. I feel weak and cowardly because I am aware of myself mentally recoiling at the thought of starting over or moving into the new and unknown. I hate that feeling. I hate how frustrating it is–for me and for the loved ones trying to help or encourage me in next steps.

It is days like these when I truly wish that I would find Aslan lying under the massive silver maple in my backyard, physical, tangible, touchable. I wish I could bury my fingers and face in his mane, breathe in the sunshine that scatters from it. I wish I could snuggle between his massive paws, reassured, and hear that gentle rumble of, “Courage, dear heart.” I wish to borrow it, wrap it up in my heart, strap it to my arm.

I want to be courageous. I want to be brave. I want to move forward into the Unknown. I want to be strong and take heart. I know that there is a new chapter awaiting me. I have been asking for it, and I want it. Stepping is scary. But I want to be courageous.

This month, I am going to try to start being so again. Walk with me?

Golden Glorious


It was her first sunset. All on her own. She dipped her brush and set its tip against the sky. She painted a fiery glow behind slate-grey clouds, lining their edges with light. Beneath the clouds, she then hung the glowing orb of the sun in all its bittersweet dragonfire, drawing it lower and brighter with all the delicacy of a single hair. Its glow spread like a flower opening its petals against the ever-darkening clouds that blanketed above.

It was slow yet quick work, the splendor only there for a few moments but the painting of its descent painstaking and detailed nevertheless. Finally, all that remained of the light were amaranthine clouds, their undersides touched with pearly pink, the golden glory now replaced with an amberesque awe.

The sun drawn down, the air turning blue with night cool, she lifted her brush away. The deed was done, the masterpiece painted. She just hoped that, maybe, someone had been watching. Maybe someone had enjoyed her work. Her first sunset.

= =

While the resplendence of the light still warmed the flush of her cheeks, the pictures flew from her phone like rapid fire. Pictures of this glorious sunset witnessed from where she had sat on the hood of her car, letting the evening deepen and cool around her. The groceries could wait. This had been more important and definitely more beautiful.

Sunset


The final moments of the day hover at the edge of the world like a last belch from the throat of a great dragon.

A dragon that would gobble up all of Time.

And it does, swallowing the Day down and exhaling Night in return.

Its flame eats itself opposite to the custom, breathing out velvet smoke where, once, fire burned bright.

Grow


For the past month, I have been intensely engaged on a journey to better health and fitness. I have developed better habits over the past few years altogether, but, at the beginning of the school year, I decided to be more closely concentrated on my eating habits and expanding into new exercises and fitness goals. Since then I have done better than I imagined I would or even could, and I have met several goals/milestones already. Honestly, I am ecstatic! This is so wonderful to me, and I am excited. But I also worry.

What if my growth stops? What if my progress peters out? What if I get discouraged? What if I give up? I don’t want to do any of these things. I want to continue growing and bettering myself. I want to keep getting and feeling stronger.

It can be so easy to be excited about a new chapter or journey, and it can be equally as easy to feel discouraged when things start to settle into routine, slow down, stop entirely, or, for the love of sanity, move in the opposite direction. As I continue on this journey, I will remind myself that work will not happen on its own; I have to do my part to get results of any kind. If I have a goal, then I need to act like it, even if it just one little step that I take that day. Every step towards growth helps.

Space


It is a universal truth that our house lacks space. There is stuff everywhere. That’s what happens with life: it can fill up with stuff. Therefore, it can be difficult at times to carve out a space for myself in our house. Somewhere that is mine. With future plans in motion, I am hoping that will change with some work, but, for now, it is what it is.

My space right now seems to be my desk as school (but even that gets taken over) or, more frequently, the car. I spend a minimum of 90 minutes per day driving. Often, the car is the one place in which I can be still and alone, usually before I pick up my daughter at the end of the day. There, I can listen to Audible and lose myself in a story or helpful book while I drive. I can think. I can pray. I can let the outside world slip away while the road slips past under my tires.

I do not necessarily like to drive but the car is often my refuge. I have fond memories of long talks and Glee sing-a-longs with my husband when we would travel hither and yon before our little girl came along. I can think of long stretches of quiet as I drive to the gym on Saturday mornings or laughing to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” with the fresh new sunlight warm on my arm as we head out to a leisurely brunch. I have screamed out frustration, hurt, and anger in the car. I have poured out my heart and soul on telephone calls as I drive just to get away. The car is where I can be close to and alone with that loved one for just a little longer. The car is where I can linger.

It’s where I can make sacred space for myself.

Evening


I love evenings. when the light turns blue and the shadows lengthen, deepen, and the verdant trees become dark outlines. It is like the earth exhales long and slow. I rarely venture out into the evenings now, into the twilight-blue, unless it is to take out the trash. I am usually consumed by dinner, bath time, bedtime prep. By the time I am done with all of those responsibilities, evening has passed me by and it is long since dark outside.

I miss evenings. I miss the blue air and opaquing shapes of trees and houses. It does my soul good, and I want to get back to that. I shall step out my door and breathe in evening tonight, breathe in its beauty, its slowness, its rest. Such moments are precious, and I could use a little more precious in my life.