Five Minute Friday – WITH and BETTER

Two for one today friends.

But firstly Happy New Year.

I hope it’s treating you well. I hope it promises much. I hope your doing OK.

So now those words

So the word WITH was the final Five Minute Friday word for 2018. I wrote zero words and totally missed the link up but as words sometimes do this one stayed with me anyway.

And now the first prompt word for 2019 is BETTER and I got me some thoughts on that one as well so as I said two for one but I won’t keep you long.

WITH

We were together, I forget the rest.

Walt Whitman

Very appropriate for the time of year when being with family and friends is such a big part of our Christmas and holiday celebrations.

And with this last Christmas I was reminded all over again that being with the people I love wins out hands down without question over

  • having everything go to plan
  • ticking all the boxes on our “this is what we do at Christmas” list
  • having the house all spruced and Christmas ready

Of course it’s lovely when things do go to plan, when the food turns out how it’s meant, when the house shines as I like it to and guests and or children, take your pick behave the way they should.

Lovely yes – but not essential to joy shared and thanks given and a good time being had. Not even nearly.

So this year things didn’t go to plan and in quite a spectacular way. Ken went into hospital on the 23rd of December with a badly infected wound on his foot and is still there as I write this. Daddy not being home for Christmas was a big disappointment for the kids, not because they thought they would miss out on anything but because we wouldn’t all be together at home.

But as we found out a bung foot and a hospital bed aren’t enough to ruin Christmas. Change of scenery you might call it, a slight detour.

So on the day, we traipsed ourselves up to the hospital after present opening at home and in amongst the antiseptic smells and hard light of the hospital ward we had ourselves a sweet little Christmas. I drank tea out of a plastic cup and we ate the lollies and chocolates that had been left at Kens bedside. The kids pulled a solitary Christmas cracker and laughed up big in telling various versions of the joke inside. We took funny photos and gave Ken his presents and though stuck in hospital Ken God bless him simply has a way of making the kids laugh and making any situation a bit of fun.

We spent the latter part of the day with the kind of friends who are family and my sister and I ate lunch there mid afternoon in the cool breeze of the verandah. A pot luck of what everyone had brought along. I discovered then that I’d left the lemon juice out of my signature Christmas dish so I splashed a bit on there and then and it all got eaten just the same. We played board games which got funnier by the minute, ate cheese, sipped some wine and I was happy just to be in the company of these good people I call my friends and family, all of us with our raggedy edges, all of us a bit tired and worn, all of us keeping gratitude and hope close by.

We focus a lot on the details of Christmas – and of course the things we do – the wrapping and baking and arranging and decorating is part of our celebrating – but it turns out only the tiniest increments of any of these are needed when the people your with are the main event.

Christmas is in the withness

And you know what, the kids won’t remember too much all the details that we bend ourselves in half over, that we think are so important to them – but I bet they’ll remember how they felt, they’ll remember the fun, they’ll remember the feeling of being safe and loved and seen. Thats what gets sealed beneath the skin, that’s what hints at the eternal.

So straggling my way into the new year I’m reminding myself

Choose being WITH, choose along side, choose the long chat, choose playing the game and sharing the joke. Choose to stay with even when it gets uncomfortable and awkward because that’s all part of it too.

The rest is all just decoration.

Now to that other word. BETTER – this one was simple.

I say better Christmas spent in a hospital room with good medicine than Ken not with us at all. They were our options.

Better a simple gathering with the ones you love than an abundance without them.

Better a plan go astray than losing everything.

better Gods ways than mine.

A sudden turn of events may feel like a derailment, it might feel like a good hard kick in the shins, it might even make us wonder what will become of us all, but it has a way of making realer, more honest, truer people of us.

Better that than a game of charades.

And better a grateful heart than a bitter one.

Any day, anytime.

We may not depict these ordinary places on Christmas cards. We may not celebrate them in song. But this is where we live and wonder lives here too Christie Purifoy (Roots and Sky).

Thanks for reading friends. You can read what others have done with there five minutes worth here.

Would love to hear your thoughts so feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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Five Minute Friday – One

Five Minute Friday = prompt word, five minutes, just write. No overthinking, no over complicating.

This weeks prompt word: ONE

Here’s the length and breadth and height and depth of my wisdom at present on how to live life when time seems short but things to do are relentlessly plentiful.

Do one thing at a time.

One thing at a time and I seem to get as much done as when I’m trying to spread myself between seven things all at once.

I remind myself of it, I write it in my diary, when my head is racing and my fingers and toes start twitching, “Just one thing” when I want to be doing all the projects and writing all the words and reading all the books and fixing up maybe fifty things in my garden and then theres washing to be done and phone calls to make.

But we’ll never do it all will we ?

And we can miss the best of it trying to. We can miss the simple beauty of a thing when we give ourselves to it, when it’s seen in a certain light, the soft corner, the subtle detail, faces, conversations, the kinds of thing you have to slow down for to soak in.

And it can be such a relief to let yourself do one thing at a time – fold the basket of clothes (always with a cup of tea at hand) or cook the dinner – stand and stir and taste and pour – or read the book (more tea) or pull the weeds (sheer therapy) or paint the chair or write the words or go to the meeting.

And let the other things be. Let them alone.

One thing at a time.

When you’ve a thousand possible things to do.

Wave the white flag and surrender.

Choose just one thing and then do that.

“Gripping, grabbing, grasping all feel like the only way forward when we’re terrified and vulnerable. We want to believe we have some kind of control. But our real strength is found in opening our hands. We say ‘Here God. Its all yours. Help me breath and begin again”. Leeana Tankersley

See what others have done with there five minutes here

Five Minute Friday – Crowd

Five Minute Friday= prompt word, five minutes, just write.

No overthinking, no over complicating.

This weeks prompt word: CROWD

Two’s company, threes a crowd

Except my front garden didn’t get the memo

Its wild and totally overgrown at the moment with fishbone fern that people still pay good money for in the shops, with agapanthus and seaside daisy and some other long reedy things that provide a bit of a screen from the road. They crowd in on one another – the more the merrier apparently and are only kept from going completely mad by the garden bed edging laid in a curvy romantic fashion by me years ago now.

There was nothing here when we came, sparse, tidy, a no nonsense perfectly respectable, make you want to weep it was so forlorn and boring front yard –  so this seems like an abundance, joyous almost and despite its waywardness it looks beautiful to me. Its hopeful, it makes me smile, relentless in its growing, gone a bit mad but better than nothing at all – better than all straight edges and lonely grass.

Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground – you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things up, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it gets  Bird by Bird page 28-29

I like the story it holds – one of redemption and rediscovery and it’s still being told. See I know whats under all that overgrowth –  theres a little path and a pond with four gold fish in. A fountain and a whole lot of rugged looking bush rock arranged to look nice that I rolled from the back yard to the front. A down hill journey I’m pleased to say. Yes underneath is the garden I made out of nothing years ago when money was scarce but time was plentiful . Plants grown from cuttings and other peoples throw outs or rescued from the roadside. Discards and misfits your welcome here.  And look what you’ve become. Look how you’ve grown.

I feel a bit like my garden at the moment,  stretched to the limits, messy, overgrown.  Its crowded at the moment, man it feels crowded –  thoughts mainly, too many thoughts and too much pressing in – but running around the edge like a long ago planted border that hems me in and holds me fast is hope, hope in His goodness and favour, gratitude too for a life that by anyones standards is a good life –  two children, a family – theres no question its gold. Theres fresh mercy every morning, a chance to begin again, theres untold grace, theres a good story being told.

Stretched to my limits maybe but the borders will hold.

To read what the other FMF crowd have done with there five minutes click here.

Five Minute Friday – Way

Five Minute Friday= prompt word, five minutes, just write.

No overthinking, no over complicating.

This weeks prompt word: WAY

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No way !!!!

Yes way

The first two words shout out big and bossy like they know all there is to know. Like they’ve decided and that’s all there is to it.

The second two are whispered but they’re determined, not easily put off, resilient, resourceful and they just might have a secret weapon up there sleeve.

I spend lot of my life trying to figure out a way to get a thing or two done around here. See when it comes to home projects it’s alway ALWAYS!! been a juggle of limitations of one or another. I’ll have plenty of one thing (ideas and hair brained schemes mostly) and a scarcity of another (money, time, expertise, teams of able bodied tradesmen). The size and shape of the limitation/s changes randomly. At the moment it’s mainly time. Now that I work full time I never seem to be home and being a homebody with a capitol H it presents all sorts of frustrations to my “have to have a project in the works” self. Seeing a few things done, making progress, keeping things fresh and moving adds enormously to my sense of well being. So not having a lot of time to do these things small or large, presents an ongoing challenge.

but I do like a challenge.

And there’s always a way.

There has to be a way.

(My five minutes ran out about here).

One way I’ve worked out to keep things moving along is to simply do smaller projects that don’t take much time. And when I say small,  sometimes they’re minuscule. Ten minutes sometimes. Half an hour to an hour at most other times. Works the same way. Small project done = enormous satisfaction = sanity saved.

Here’s a sample.

I also worked out long ago that a good way to get something done, especially something big is to break it down into smaller parts. Twenty minutes concentrated effort on one thing in succession is my favourite.

But

I think I might have taken this idea to the next level just lately. You’ve heard of “death by a thousand cuts”. Well this is finished project by a thousand tiny goes at it.

I have a lovely set of French doors leading out to my back deck. Photos below you can see them in the background.

They were given us for free by a client in Kens painting days. They’ve been installed here now a good long while. They’re solid and beautiful but they need a really good sand and oil to make them sing. Famous last words those and who in their right mind wants to or has the time available to sand down a set of double French doors. I do apparently. I decided I couldn’t bare looking at the water stains, the rough edges and greasy finger marks any darn longer.

The only way I could think of that was remotely within my capabilities is to do one teeny tiny section at a time, and because sanding is horrid I decided five to ten minutes a day is the most I was prepared to do it. I’m up to day number five – it’s my weekday project – (the back fence is my weekend project). Just before I leave for work, I put a cloth down, sand for five to ten minutes, wash my hands and go to work.

I have accomplices. Other like minded people egging me on.

It might be a while but I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Any projects happening your way. Would love to here.

To read what other people have done with there five minutes click here.

Also joining in with Grandmas House DIY Link Up

Five Minute Friday – Stuck

Five Minute Friday = prompt word, five minutes, just write.

No overthinking, no over complicating.

This weeks prompt word: STUCK

Now theres a word I can relate to.

“I feel stuck” is a phrase I’ll say all dramatically quite often – more often than I’d like –  to myself, to God, to anyone who’s bothered to ask or listen. It can often relate to bigger broader life issues (more drama involved)  but often it just relates to everyday what I’m doing around the house type things,  creative projects (there are many), my words, my writing – I get stuck between where I am and where I want to be and this struggle to move forward, to gain momentum feels like a common theme that I grapple with.

Sometimes its a “deer in the headlights” type stuck, a fear paralysis –  wanting so much to make the right decision that I can’t make any decision at all. Or it’s the result of wanting so much for the end result to be somehow perfect (like it ever will be) that I become immobilised. Or it relates to something put off for so long, that I’ve made such a big deal of in my head, any step forward seems inadequate.

The one thing I’ve learnt about “stuckness” though is that by putting one foot forward followed by another, and the tiniest foot will do  – you’ll find yourself moving forward even while your still feeling stuck. Small steps will get you moving – even  if feels like inch by inch at first – but your moving and that’s when things have a red hot chance of unfolding and becoming clearer. Simply put; your on your way and things look so much different from that vantage point.

I’ve written some words about the value of simple small steps that I’ll be sharing with you soon that were inspired by these words from  Leeana Tankersly.

 – – – small steps often keep us going when we run out of steam with the grand gestures.

A thousand times yes.

Grace follows every small step, every not giving up, every time we let hope  move us forward – grace follows, heaven cheers and thousands walk with us because thousands of ordinary people are taking small brave steps of their own.

Feeling stuck?

Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible  Francis of Assisi

Read what others folks have done with their five minutes here

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