Five November Goals

Well, nothing like setting goals for a month seventeen days into said month. But better late than never, yes?

First, let's look at last month's goals:

1. Rework my fall wardrobe. Done! I didn't get it photographed for you, but I'm happy they're hung in my closet and easy to access.

2. Write every weekday. I don't know if it's the fall air, NaNoWriMo spirit or knowledge of a year closing in on me, but writing has been strangely consistent!

3. Coffee on the porch. Yes, oh the lovely stillness of vibrant leaves whispering to me.

4. Create something autumn-y. Wha-wha-whaa. Didn't happen and I'm not really sure why. Too busy, I guess.

5. One fun, family adventure. Yes! I love crazy outings with my favorite people; they make me laugh so much.

Now for November:

1. Read two new books. I've been on a reading frenzy; it seems the cold weather always spurs me on.

2. Write every weekday (besides Thanksgiving break). I'm on a roll, might as well keep it up!

3. Finish cleaning out the garage so I can fit my car in. It's not too overloaded but I need to take things to Goodwill.

4. Write a letter. I love this old-time tradition because I adore getting real stuff in my mailbox. It's rare, but I love it.

5. Get a new haircut. I probably change my hair a tad every month but I want something that feels fresh.

How is your November going so far?

Grasping Grace

Grace is an elusive word for me.

It's the middle name of my second daughter and it's a concept sitting far beyond my grasp. As much as I'd like to relish in what the dictionary defines as "free and unmerited favor"; I don't. Instead I find myself wrapped in rules and assumptions while running feverishly in the direction I hope is best with my measuring stick in hand adding up successes and failures.

Grace refuses to measure.

It can't be earned. It can't be won. It doesn't rest in the confines of any box. The idea of grace is foreign to those of us living in the land of comparison.

Cannot be measured? What kind of crazy talk is this? How would you know you're succeeding or failing?

You don't. Grace is the utter acceptance of it all, the absence of assumptions and the open arms of believing the best.

What if we had grace for ourselves? What if we lived our daily life not measuring ourselves against others or our own expectations? What if we took ourselves as we are, pouring out free and unmerited favor? What if we did that for others?

I imagine the world would look a lot more compassionate if we did.

Happy {Elvish} Halloween!

My theory is, you're never too old for dressing up. 

Happy Halloween!


I've been reading...
Notes from a Blue Bike, Tsh Oxenreider
So Good They Can't Ignore You, Cal Newport
Speak, Nish Weiseth

I've been watching...
The Killing (second season)
Parenthood (first season)

Fun outings at...
Wedding decoration party

I love seeing...
Pumpkins everywhere
Leaves changing color in all stages

What have you been up to lately?

Seeking to Understand

When someone believes differently than us, why is our first impulse to criticize rather than seeking to understand?

When I entered motherhood, I was filled with fear about not knowing what to do or about doing something wrong. Mothering can be full of judgments, ones that we heap on ourselves, ones that are put on us and ones we put on others. It's this underlying fear to ~ oh please ~ not be wrong. People begin asking questions that feel like a game of finding out which team you're on: Natural birth or epidural? Breast or bottle? Crib or family bed? Stay-at-home or work?

And suddenly you're on a side and that side feels crucial; as if your side will determine whether or not you're a good mom. Of course, no one wants to be a bad mom. So when we see others who are not on our "team", we criticize them for bad parenting.

We do this in every area of our life. Why did she take that job? Why did he cut his hair like that? What possessed them to buy a house in that area? What they chose was different than what we would've chosen so it feels wrong to us and often we equate wrong as a fact rather than an opinion. We think it is wrong rather than thinking it's simply different.

Seeking to understand each other's view is scary because it might cause us to doubt our own ideals. It puts a spotlight on how many choices we have and how many we've made. It makes it clear how many ways there are to do this life and that's terrifying because it feels like leaving ourselves open to failure.

But gripping our opinions so tightly that we don't leave room for another's thought is a terrible existence. It cuts off people we could learn from. I know, because I've been guilty of it.

What if, instead of jumping into criticsm, we sought first to understand? What if we made that our impulse? What if we reached out to see things from their eyes instead of assuming we know all there is to know?

I've have had friends love me through our differences but I've also been judged by others for my decisions; we all have. Feeling judged is yucky and pushes you away. It feels more tender to have someone love you through differences; that's magnetizing and draws you near. I want that to be my character; it's still a huge work in progress.

I still feel the pull of impulses to argue with someone and make them see my side. I still have those moments when I'm sure I know what that person meant by their comment. But I am learning to let go, not assume and walk in understanding. 

I want others to feel loved by me, understood by me and accepted as they are. I long for my first response to be seeking to understand. I'm not there yet, but I hope to be someday.

Why do you think we struggle with understanding?