Friday, November 22, 2013

Freefall to Fly

It has been awhile since I have written without thinking if I have a "good" thesis or if the citation correct or trying to lucidly write more jabbering thoughts into coherence. So I take a five-minute break today and join with other writers at Lisa-Jo Baker's Blog. She gives the prompt; we feed the words.

Today: FLY
Go.

Safe. Secure. Planted tightly and neatly between cotton sheets and brick walls.

The baby bird falls from the nest and suddenly I am free-falling hoping break his fall.
But, I cannot break his fall. What he needs is to learn to fly on his own.

So flying behind him, trying to catch up, I fly scattered in a sky I have never been before.
One that I do not want to know.

But I follow close, strenuously strangling behind.
Then I sense stronger wings than mine beckoning me to hide under their shadow.

They lift me high and I fly straight and safe.
I am beside my fledgling and beckon him into the shadow with me.

It's his choice.

In free-falling we learn to fly.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Women Rising


Was August  the last time that I have written?! My school has started (Grad.studies in English Lit.) and yes, I have been busy. Right now I should be writing a literary critique on Uncle Tom's Cabin (which I am looking forward to). I had always wanted to read this iconic novel and I did! wonderful to understand why Abraham Lincoln is to have thought to state, "[the writing from] the little lady that started the Civil War."

My intention is to blog, but time eludes me. I STILL wonder at how bloggers consistently write AND live the life they are writing about! Even the Five-Minute Fridays have blinked by and now the autumn leaves are falling from the trees....yes, I WILL get the LOV header changed--as soon as my good friend helps me to do it!

Today, however, my excitement beckons me to the screen to share with you what I think is part of a grand moving of God upon women. The IF:Gathering hosted by Jennie Allen.
 IF:GATHERING
Unable to attend the conference in Austin, TX, I am thrilled to be able to host the event locally (within the comfortable confines of a cozy living room with friends, hot coffee, sweet treats, and lots of Buffalo-Chicken dip).

God is doing something globally-He is doing a stirring IN women FOR women. Do you feel it? Get ready; it's contagious.

Soon I will expound upon the plans that He has given me to start an organization to help women and girls who have been sexually exploited in such countries as Liberia, Tanzania, Costa Rica, and where ever else He may lead. Whether you are on the board on such an organization or whisperings prayers for such ministry in your closet- YOU ARE NEEDED.

Please join us.


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Friday, August 30, 2013

Worship

It's fun Friday and I get to throw caution to the wind as I join other adventure writers here.
The writing prompt: WORSHIP

I love what LisaJo says this morning: You already ARE a writer. No need for publishing, no need even for followers. Do words bubble out from the pool within? Do you write for yourself even if no one will read it?
You are a writer.

It takes courage to place our thoughts and feelings into concrete form of pen-and-ink, or let them flow through our finger tips to keyboard onto the screen.

What are we afraid of?

not writing perfect prose? by whose standard?

not painting our words like Monet? or LisaJo?
.
I so enjoy reading LisaJo's posts. She creates beauty with her talented way of creatively and uniquely  forming words into picture ideas.I would love to have more of that skill. But I have my own unique voice. And so do YOU.

Even if we all share the very same message, we each have a distinct way to convey it. When our words post in a blog or FaceBook, those for whom it is meant will read it. Have you had the experience that you have a "lightbulb" moment when an idea or message that you have heard a hundred times is illuminated for the first time in your understanding? That is why we need to keep writing-we never know just who needs to hear our words at the very moment in their lives when we write them.

Caution to the wind. Write from you heart.

Write for One, and that is WORSHIP.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Last

I really enjoy these Five-Minute Friday writing sessions. Knowing that I can produce some thoughts onto the screen and only expend a  few moments in a packed schedule, leaves me feeling satisfied. Ideas for blogging come to me like the consistent waves of the ocean upon the sand. But a damn stops the ideas midway; the damn of "life." I am too busy LIVING to stop and W-R-I-T-E. Not a very good existence for one who wants to write. 

But, one must live the experiences in order to write, right?

Every author that I have read about writing, exhorts of the mandatory need of disciplined writing-even, when there seems to be no time. Well, unless my blog posts have the subject structure that I want to present them in, I do not post them. I fear they be just incoherent ramblings (kind-of like I am doing now ; )

So enough rambling and let's write! for five minutes. LisaJo Baker's prompt today is LAST.

GO:

The afternoon sky is hazier than last month. Grass is drying into a wheat-tan color. The newspaper is full of colorful flyers advertising back-to-school sales.

The last days of summer are here.

Two boys now grown preparing for the first days of college. Mama preparing her heart (and celebrating inwardly!)

Mom freezing corn for home-made chicken corn soup that will fill the nostrils with aroma mid-winter.
Canning tomatoes for fresh spaghetti sauce.
Washing curtains that are neglectfully covered with puffy, gray dust.

School-clothes shopping even though the girls are HOME-schooled.

One daughter changing dance academies. Another gaining a new tutor.

Mom also starting graduate studies, making preparations to register a non-profit organization.

So much change.

The last days of fervent ice cream licks, the tongue trying to beat the melting-heat, will soon be over.


Reluctant hearts relinquish the inevitable last days...but looking expectantly ahead, knowing that Last Days mean there are First Ones ahead.
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Friday, August 16, 2013

Small

Today's writing prompt for 5-Minute Fridays from LisaJo Baker is SMALL.

GO:

raindrops. seeds. new apple blossoms.

These things I think on, when I think of small.

You, who spend your life within those same four walls day-after-day, wiping runny noses and dirty bottoms, cleaning greasy hand prints off of the refrigerator-again, do not think your day is small.

You, who sit at a desk answering telephone calls with a memorized, amiable response, do not think your response is small.

You, who travel to the same job with tasks never cease to be filled with buckets of stress and you wonder if the long hours and just-enough-pay-to-make-it-through to the next paycheck is making any difference, your effort is not small.

For raindrops become tidal waves of refreshing wet at just the time.

Seeds grow thriving green plants.

And little, pink apple blossoms grow into fruit bearing trees.

Nothing is your life is SMALL. YOU are not small. 

He makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
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Friday, August 9, 2013

Lonely


 Good Morning! Today I am writing with the Ladies at LisaJo Baker's site. The Main Momma gives up a writing prompt and in five minutes flat we see what our fingers can spin. The results of which is as much of a surprise to me as to you.

Today's prompt is LONELY.

GO:

Mirages of classmates gathered together laughing, talking, having uproarious fun with one blonde girl sitting on the sidelines. She wants to feel apart-of them. Yet she feels so alone-on the outside looking in. She tries in her mind to forge words together that would guarantee belly-laughs ensuring her of belonging. Yet, the ideas cannot form. So she sits and laughs at the right time. And wonders when she will fit in. If ever.

Now- The blonde girl is grown. She attends bible studies, parent meetings, church functions, community projects. She purposefully looks for the "outsiders." Her eyes scan the periphery of the crowd, guided not so much by sight as by instinct. The radar goes off. She smiles and hopes that her warm words cover the one so she does not go home feeling lonely.

In the paths that we cross today, we may encounter a lonely soul. Trying lifting her with a smile.
Maybe you are the lonely soul. Do the same. Your smile may just lift yourself.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Story


Hello. How are you today? It is Friday, already! Moreover, it is August 2nd!!! Can anyone believe that?
Twenty-three more days till school lessons start. Not quite ready yet. There is so much I want to do before I begin lessons (for my Masters in English literature). We have not eaten enough ice cream nor gone to the drive-in....

But, TODAY. Today, I am going to sneak five minutes to write before I go in the yard and determinedly relieve my flower beds of weeds.

LisaJo's writing prompt is STORY.

Go:

Who doesn't like a story with a happy ending?

I think that is why I prefer nineteenth century literature over twentieth.
Life in the nineteenth century was neat, orderly, square with predictable endings.
At least, that is the manner that many authors treated the stories.
Stories representing what society wanted: clean-cut answers
to difficult situations. Of course, this was not reality.

Reality was stories of black slaves receiving slashes that cut open their skin.
Irish immigrants, starving, sailing to America in hopes of finding life only to
work their fingers to the bone pounding railroad ties into the earth.
But denial, or rather perspective is a powerful tool.


The twentieth century brought two World Wars that broke any idealism.
Cynicism replaced faith, hope, and trust. The stories written largely reflect the
chaos in culture and within. Stories with unraveled endings.
Dystopias replace the warmth of the hearth.

But what is a story without hope? not one that I care to read.

Can you take a story with despair and from a hopeful perspective write a new ending?

How will you end the story of your life?

STOP.

All by Grace,
Nicol
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Confessions of a Transformed Heart


I  want to share a book with you today that will take your mind out of within your four walls. As you read Nancy Shepphard's book you will be taken to reflect on your own spiritual journey.


My son and I were headed to Liberia to learn of the culture and to inquire about possible future ministry projects. When I found out that the hostess of where we were to stay wrote a book about her thirty years experiences of life as a missionary, I purchased it and had it sent express. With Nancy's easy to read style and engaging and sometimes humorous prose, I devoured the book on the thirty hour travel to Africa. I felt as though I already knew Nancy and her family intimately by the time I greeted my hostess in person.
I was delighted to learn that Nancy is as candid and funny as she presents in Confessions.

The insights she shared gave me a jump-start into understanding the Liberian culture. And Nancy's "Confessions" will stir your own heart as one longing to fulfill God's destiny for you.

(Thank you Nancy for being so hospitable. I am thankful for our friendship that blossomed in Liberia.)

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Friday, July 19, 2013

BELONG

Today's prompt from LisaJo Baker is one of the most beautiful words in the English language-
BELONG.

GO:
This is easy for me to write about today.

The emails coming from Liberia, reaching out to me before I have had a chance to reach...

One man who works at the UN his shares his faith and asks for help in continuing his father's mission work of educating Liberian children in a school sixty miles from the capitol.

Another young man with whom my son Asher and I shared food, faith, and fun sends his warm regards and shares the current events in his life.
                                                                     Asher and Prince

A new friend, Shirley, beautiful inside and out, tells me what a blessing it was to have Asher and I at her home where she could cook for us. (The most delicious meal that I had in Liberia by far! Plantains, rice, and a whole fried fish, including eyes, which I did not venture to eat.)
                                                                         Shirley and I  


Belonging is sharing. Belonging is loving.

To Belong is to be Loved and that makes us beautiful.

Over vast oceans, across barriers of culture, He makes us belong to one another.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Present

It is Friday today! This post is linked with LisaJo Baker's blog where we write for five minutes on her given writing prompt.

Today's is PRESENT.

GO:

When I read the prompt for today, I was not sure which meaning LisaJo had in mind for the homonym PRESENT. Did she mean the "here and now; this moment of reality" or "a wrapped up gift"? From reading her post, I soon realized that she meant the present of the "here and now."

But (in perhaps waxing too poetic) I am still considering them both. Our present is a present, isn't it? For yesterday is gone, a mirage of memories. Tomorrow is not yet, a figment of our imaginations.

But we have TODAY. Right now. To wallow in. Jump in. Celebrate. Sleep away (which is sometimes delightful too). Fill with worry. Or anger. Or bitterness. Or joy, contentment, and peace.

TODAY is a present for ours to open and unwrap and use in the manner we desire. I am sure all of us would agree that we want to spend our time wisely, making the most of every PRESENT moment, so that each minute would shine as a diamond. But it is the very minute stitches that create form in a quilt, giving it shape and design. To look at one stitch in isolation of the many others is to see only thread going through material. But viewed in unity with all of the others reveals a beautiful work of art, a blanket of practicality and beauty at the same time.

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So today when you wipe that little nose, shred the carrots, clean the smears off of the mirror, drive kids in a chauffeured relay race-Remember you are stitching  the tiny stitches of the PRESENT.


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Friday, July 5, 2013

Beautiful

Writing Five Minutes with other ladies, joining together to post on the prompt BEAUTIFUL at LisaJo Baker's blog http://lisajobaker.com/2013/07/five-minute-friday-beautiful.

GO:

Black eyes covered with failing cover-up.

Black and blue turning purple and green from where the thick fingers grasped the forearm to stop the protests.

Hearts turned hard and calloused from the frequent blows.

Eyes vacant.

THEN- a ray of Love pierces the darkness.

Bringing with it the healing power of softening the hardness.

A new learned trust allows the callous to slough off and as the color of tissue turns
pink again so does the heart. Soft, pliable-full of hope and a returned Love.
Her eyes are full of Life.

He makes all things BEAUTIFUL in His time.


STOP.

To read amazing stories of God's restoring love, please visit the Project Rescue site. http://projectrescue.com/resources/videos/ 

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Friday, June 28, 2013

In Between


Writing thoughts like candy gum drops-one sweet bite at a time till five minutes is gone.
Five Minute Friday is now with LisaJo Baker and the other lovely ladies and the writing prompt
is IN BETWEEN.

GO:

Before-here-there.

Behind-present-forward.

Past-Present=Future.

And so much is IN BETWEEN.

The In Between is full of planning, preparation, hope and sometimes worry.

So much of our time is In Between. Today I am prepping for a beach visit. It's one of those not-really-planning-activity-because-I-need-to pack days; I will be doing activity at the beach.

I feel the pull to write about living in the PRESENT and sucking in the sweet marrow of the moment.
For the rest of this summer, my current present, I feel the need for carpe diem.

My Winter and Spring were overflowing with term papers, research projects, and final essays about women in culture, culminating in a baccalaureate degree, a trip to Liberia that is certainly life-changing as I plan registering an NGO, and the life-stuff of two adult sons (now 18 and 20) a teen daughter and a tween one, husband, and a dog. Fall does not look any less full as I begin my studies for a Masters degree in English.

BUT-In Between are the blessed months of summer. 
Thank God for times of refreshing (Acts 3:19). 



Sweet tea, lemonade teeming with ice cubes, ice cream dripping down the chin, drive-in movies, splashing in the pool, and reading while swaying in the hammock.

Yes, thankful for times of refreshing, those in between times!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kid Hangover?


Are you a cranky Mom? Or more like me, a Mom who gets cranky?

There may be a very good reason for your grumpiness that you have not considered. I read Anne's blog post from Modern Mrs. Darcy this morning and want to share it with you. I think so many of us NEED to recharge in quiet, and not realizing that, nor pursuing this need creates a cranky atmosphere in the home.
First I will share my comment to the post:

 Yes! I am one too! I understand the kid-hangover and the over-stimulation. Has anyone mentioned Wal-Mart as a TRIGGER? I predictably get headaches from shopping there- bright, fluorescent lights and excess visual stimulation. One of my daughters is similar to myself, needing and enjoying alone time. But my eleven year-old is an incessant talker=Mom wanting to hide in bedroom. Since we are usually home together all day, I have made sure to incorporate some alone/quiet time into my schedule: a soaking hot bath and an hour to read before bed usual do it. 




This is not selfish time. It is necessary for either recharging or rebooting. Think of you computer: sometimes it simply needs to be turned off and revamped. While sleep does this for our physical bodies, and to an extent our minds, introverts need time to download the day's processes, conversations, etc. Being introverted or extroverted is not merely about how much we talk or exude energy but how we REFUEL our energy.

If you can relate read more of Anne's post HERE.
YES! I am one too! I understand kid-hangover AND the over-stimulation. Has anyone mentioned Wal-Mart as a TRIGGER? I predictably get head-aches from shopping there-bright lights and excess visual stimulation….one of my daughters is similar to myself, but my eleven-year old incessantly talks=Mom wanting to hide in bedroom. Since I am home usually all day, one way in which I had to give myself boundaries (from the audio noise) is to make sure I have an hour before bed-no-kids-time.
I am sure that you have mentioned before that introverted and extroverted is not merely how we exude energy but how we RECHARGE. Another safety-net feature to my life-hot,soaking baths (of course, by myself). - See more at: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2013/06/its-more-than-a-kid-hangover/#comment-26271

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Rhythms of Life- FMF

Today's prompt from LisaJo Baker is Rhythm. That word evokes a lot of music within my heart. I will write for just five minutes like the other ladies.

GO:
Rhythm and cadence and keeping time, marching. Step. Step. Step. Music flowing-with crescendos and rests.

The music of Life plays on.

Ten days past walking under bright sunny African skies and later listening from my bed the study pouring of


rain as the clouds are squeezed. Bright eyes and big smiles offering us hospitality and welcome. Round eyes dancing with glee as they play with balloons of every Crayola color. Two days of travel to arrive over the green, neatly manicured farms of Martinsburg, Pennsylvania. In this respect the Liberians are correct, I think: from here, America is second heaven.

""Mama!" and more welcoming hugs and kisses. Incessant chatter and the "finding "of our luggage tied with yellow ribbons on the return conveyor belt where only two other passengers await theirs as well.

Immediate planning for the birthday of the youngest-turning eleven. The event rivals the arrival of Princess Kate's new royal one. Two parties this year-one for Grandparents and another for friends, makes for a week of planning and preparing.

VBS craft leader-I can do that; I already have that tune memorized. And it is Friday ALREADY.

Next week I expect the tune to slow. I need a SELAH to take in the last month.

I am thankful for the kaleidoscope of rhythms.


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Friday, June 14, 2013

Listen

I say it every week with some incredulation (yes, if you write the words-you can even make some up to fit your purpose): It's Friday already.

Last Friday I sat in Liberian humidity, hair soaked from roots to ends as I typed the LOV post. This morning, I am being refreshed by the too-cool-for-mid-June morning air wafting through my kitchen window, wearing thick comfy socks and a robe on top of pajamas. So I did not literally melt in Africa, but there we many times that I was sure I would end up in a puddle to be drunk by the ever-thirsting terracotta earth. I feel like shouting-I survived Africa! ( :   

But honesty prompts me to confess that I DID have an air conditioner in my bedroom (though with continuously open windows and it not being turned on in the daytime, the room maintained the ever-moist atmosphere), a shower whose weak flow only gave out twice while my head was lathered with shampoo, electricity in the Guest House (albeit also went off at inopportune times), and access to the internet.

Those of you who know how high-maintenance this chic is, will have some appreciation of my trip-and I didn't even complain! except when I think about being smooshed in a United economy airplane seat with a toddler sitting behind me kicking my seat and wailing for a good part of the trans-Atlantic flight (who decides who has the right to the shared arm rest? The bigger elbow? After leaning seven hours to the right, I claimed  the left arm rest when the passenger beside me went to the lavatory by maintaining elbow position).

Yes, beyond all reason, I still put on make-up everyday, knowing that all but the waterproof mascara would be rubbed off by my sweat rag-a.k.a. wash cloth (which I was happy to learn that most everyone carries one with them, even to church, though at a "nicer" church that I visited, I noticed that most of the ladies used white handkerchiefs; I just used mine twenty times as much).

I did have ICE (yeah for filtered water!!!) and even ice cream in Africa. So I am thinking that I cannot sing a victorious survival song till I go into the interior-with no running water or electricity (does anyone know of a solar-generated fan? please let me know!). Next visit!

Now that I have shared THAT- Today I write with the ladies who visit LisaJo Baker's blog where this unique cookie-cutter gives us a ONE word prompt with which to bake up a theme recipe in five, flat minutes.

Today the prompt is LISTEN.
GO:
 

It takes three days for my auditorially-challenged ear to tune in enough to understand maybe fifty percent of the Liberian English dialect spoken with soft-leathery tones in sing-song cadence. My head becomes too quickly tired from making sense of the every five words that I do understand. English can be spoken in as many flavors as there are Ben & Jerry's icecream.

I listen. Till like a newborn who falls asleep when there brain is overloaded with stimuli, I relish the quiet breaks.



Women. Empowered women. Courageous women. Women with visions to make their home country a restored, healthy haven after the ravages of a fourteen-year civil war destroyed governments, homes, bodies, and hearts.       






I listen to how lives have been changed by the benevolent work of many. I hear their plead for more help as the need seems bottomless. Haven is the dream desire, but they will settle for clean water, every belly full, opportunity for every child to gain an education, a place where victims of thoughtless violence can receive counseling.


I listen and consider what ACTION I can now take with the words that I have heard.

STOP.
 

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Fall

Friday already! I have sooo much to write about our trip here in Liberia . . . but I cannot place it all into words right now. I wish that I could upload the pictures that I have on my phone. Please come back next week and visit LOV, by then I will be home.

So I am glad that I can participate in LisaJo Baker's writing prompt that she offers every Friday. We sit and just type the words that flow for five short minutes. Maybe I can give you just a tiny glimpse into the environment that we visited yesterday.

Today's prompt is FALL.
GO:
60,000, probably many more bodies in make shift homes of corrugated tin and cinder blocks-cinder blocks if you are doing well, jammed like sardines in less than a quarter square mile.

The women come to the office room to meet with the "whi-woma-" faces shining like ebony glass. The tape rolls on my phone and she explains life in West Point as the other women nod in agreement.

"Twenty girls a month come to see us. They have been raped. Some of the parents do not want them taken to the hospital" . . . because their offenders are friends and uncles of the family. The girls that do get taken to the hospital by these volunteering women are checked and tested for AIDS and other deadly diseases. They soon return receiving some counseling from the women at the Center, to return from whence they have come.

There exists no other alternative.

They have been made to fall- to feel the terror of victimization.

Right now I can only pray that they will discover that He can pick them up out of the ashes.

STOP.

Please pray for me as I prayerfully consider what manner my ministry can be of future hope to them.


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Friday, May 31, 2013

Imagine-

Well, I am writing another Friday. I'm not sure the links will work , but I am going to try to post anyway. The writing prompt for today is IMAGINE. Love that word; it contains the ocean and the sky and all of the stars that we see and cannot see.

GO:
Humidity that sticks like a bee to honey.
Showers that stop their flow mid-lather because the generator ran out.

Smiles of whiteness set in ebony cheeks.

Dirt, and dust, sweat.....oh the sweat, a towel sops it off my body.

Round brown eyes with a glass reflection looking into mine with
curiosity and wonder.

Rare feelings of feeling the minority-being the minority.

Horns, blasts, motorcycles driving fast.
"Welcome" and more "welcome"s-
Imagine-I am in Liberia.


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