Five Minute Friday on Sunday

I’m a couple of days late to the Five Minute Friday party this week.  I started a post on Friday, but got stuck designing an image for it and never got around to posting.  So, I’m using the stock FMF image and moving straight into the post today.

write-4

This week’s prompt is “steady”.

I have problems with steady.  I lack consistency and often miss out on things (like this week’s Five Minute Friday on Friday) because I get caught up in perfection or anxiety or fall down the rabbit hole of the internet.  So, I don’t post on a steady basis.  I don’t clean on a steady basis.  For that, I paid the price yesterday with a fly larvae infestation in my trash can and kitchen that was absolutely disgusting and took hours and throwing away two trash cans, a broom, multiple rags and a couple of towels to get it all cleaned up.  If I would have taken the trash out sooner, I may have been able to avoid that mess and additional cost.  I don’t grade on a steady basis, so during the school year, I am often dealing with piles of grading that needs to be done.  I don’t read on a steady basis, so I have books and books and more books that I want to read, but never get around to doing so.

Why do I lack this steadiness?  I’m not really sure.  But, I need help to get more steady.  I want to be steady.  Steady as a rock.  It has something to do with discipline and motivation, but it also has to do with being willing to follow a plan.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Well, there you go…my life of lacking steady.  This weekend has hit me hard.  I am in the midst of a summer sore throat and cold that is kicking my butt.  I dealt with the disgusting fly larvae yesterday.  I have way too many things on my agenda this week and although I still have a good eight weeks left of summer, I feel like it is slipping through my hands like soft water right now.  I can barely feel any of it as it goes through my fingers.

So, what to do about it?  Well, I will definitely be praying about it.  But, I am also going to be looking at getting some guidance as well.  Hopefully, I can be consistent about praying and looking for guidance about being more consistent.

MONDAYS.png

Project Hawaii Five-O: Lava Tube Capital of the World

Part of my “project” for Project Hawaii Five-O is traveling to Hawaii in my fifth decade.  I went there in my 20s a couple of times, but both were organized by someone else and involved swimming events that were required time for me while there.  So, I didn’t get to do a lot of the traditional touristy things while visiting.  This trip, I would love to be able to plan and fund some great excursions that capture the fascinating parts of the islands.  So, as I find things about the islands that seem interesting, I will share them here.  If you are a traveler who has frequented the islands, I would love to hear your favorite spots as well.  So, please share in the comments below.

For this installation, I’ll be focused on the Lava Tubes of Hawaii.  I saw National Geographic’s article, “Inside the Deep Caves Carved By Lava,” and immediately put these on my list of places to visit when I go to Hawaii.  My interest partially stems from the dramatic differences, but also similarities, between the caves near my hometown (Lake Shasta Caverns, for example) and these caves in Hawaii.  As the National Geographic article explains,

There are two ways to make a cave: fast and slow. Many of the world’s most iconic caves—Carlsbad Caverns and Lechuguilla in New Mexico, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky—were carved out over millions of years, by the plodding drip and flow of acidic water through soluble limestone.  By contrast, lava caves, widely known as lava tubes, are formed in a geological instant—a year or two, sometimes weeks—by an eruption from the Earth’s crust.

Considering the history of places like the Lake Shasta Caverns and the quickness of these lava tubes is fascinating.  The article makes the case for limiting tourism in these extremely environmental and cultural spaces as well:

A lavacicle is a fragile thing, and it takes only one misplaced handhold to permanently disfigure a cave…

Many native Hawaiians consider lava tubes kapu, or sacred sites, because of their frequent use as ancient burial grounds. In Hawaiian tradition, bones contain a person’s mana, or spiritual energy, and aren’t to be unnecessarily disturbed.

So, as a responsible and caring visitor, I think I will stick to the National Park Service’s Crater Rim Drive Tour on the Big Island of Hawaii that offers a look at the Thurston Lava Tube or Nahuku rather than a more commercial venture.  The description on the National Park Service’s page reinforces the danger of tourist travel through these caves:

This lava tube was discovered in 1913 by Lorrin Thurston, a local newspaper publisher. At that time the roof of the tube was covered with lava stalactites, but those soon disappeared to souvenir collectors.

Thurston_Lava_Tube

Life as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Story

I recently read “so yeah, maybe your story isn’t actually over” on Kaitlyn Bouchillon‘s blog, Every Story Matters.  It struck a chord with me as I have been in one of those desolate, dry, desperate places that she describes lately.  And it felt good to read about how those places can come back to life and be filled with beauty, hope and joy again. And I immediately thought of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories I used to read in Junior High…here is a page from a new electronic version they have nowadays:

Choose your own adventure

For those unfamiliar with this concept, as you are reading the book, you could choose what you wanted to have happened and then go to a corresponding page.  There were numerous ways to read the book, so it was like getting many books all in one.  It was a fun way to read a book.

It turns out that life is a lot like this as well.  We make a choice based on a small amount of information and we charge ahead into the story that results.  But, like the books, the choices can sometimes be fraught with disappointment.  It isn’t as exciting as we thought it was going to be.  It leads to scary things and we don’t really like scary things.  A character that we really liked ends up leaving the story.  Unfortunately, unlike the books, you can’t just go back to that original page where you made the decision and choose a different page.  In life, we have to continue on, trying to piece back together parts of the story that we might have lost or destroyed along the way to this one.  We can never get back to the exact point where we made the choice, but we can look at what is in front of us and make a new and better choice now.  OR we can change our perspective and look at the story we ended up with and tease out the good things about it.  After all, every adventure story has to have some struggle and conflict or it is just boring!

So, I figure if I can wake up each day and look at what is in front of me as an opportunity to choose my adventure story, the tough things might seem a little more meaningful and the easy, fun things will seem a little more of a gift than an expectation.

Dont worry about failure

Sometimes it is much harder to live an adventure than to read one.  But, just like a good adventure story is worth the read, a good adventure in life is worth the risk.

 

Worth the Worry – FMF

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community this week.  If you have not visited or participated in this community, I encourage you to give it a look.  It is really supportive, instructive and inspirational!

write-4

This week’s prompt is “worth”.  At first I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about, but now it is there and ready to pour out.  So, here goes:

Is it worth the worry and pain and suffering?

I can’t tell you how many times I asked this question as I sat at my infant daughter’s bedside in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and then a Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. For months, I sat and watched her as she dealt with IV lines being placed and taken out and put somewhere else in her tiny, tiny body.  As I watched a ventilator breathe for her and her only signal of pain and suffering being her blood pressure because of her inability to cry out or complain.  And I wondered…is it going to be worth it?  Am I putting her through all of this only to come out with more pain and suffering?

You see, there are no guarantees when your child has a heart problem.  We were put on the transplant list, but even then, the result is questionable and could be short term.  But, something told me that it was going to all be worth it.  That any amount of worry and pain and suffering was worth having this little girl with us.  Whether that time was short or long, it would be worth it.  I knew that for myself.  But, sometimes I questioned whether I was projecting something on to this baby that she didn’t want or need.  So, I had to put it in God’s hands.  And when a heart came for her less than one month after she was listed, I knew that God had spoken.  This little girl was worth all of this to Him.

We are now nearing eight years post-transplant (a couple of weeks away) and she is a beautiful, thoughtful, funny, anxious, loving daughter.  In those eight years, we have had many things to worry about.  She has suffered through a lot of painful procedures and scary events.  But, she has not only lived and loved but thrived.  And I am thankful every day for God giving us this chance to worry and feel pain and to suffer for such a long period of time. I hope that He will give her many more years with us, but I know that even if it isn’t as long as I hope and pray for, that it was all worth it in the end.  She has changed me and changed her little corner of the world in so many ways.

Long term life after transplant is pretty typical now, with many going 20+ years before needing a new one.  Advances in medicine are happening every day that may lend us a hand in making her life even longer with the heart she currently has.  But, we just don’t know.  None of us really do, but for us, it is a little more apparent, a little more highlighted.  But, any anxiety I feel about the future is so worth it every time I look at her smiling face.

Kidwell Park June 2017

________________________________________________________________

I went a little over the five-minute mark.  But, it seemed worth it.  🙂

 

And so it begins…at almost fifty

Welcome to brand spankin’ new blog!  I was previously blogging over at More at Forty, but since I’m now pushing fifty and I’m wanting to take my blogging to the next level, I needed a fresh, new space with a new direction.  I think I’ve found it!  I’m glad you stumbled upon it and I hope you will find something interesting and useful as I build the blog from the bottom up.

THE NEW YOU

You may have come here based on the “almost fifty” in the title.  Are you someone who is getting ready for the fifth decade and thinking “what have I done with my life?”  Or maybe you are happy with where you are in life, but you are thinking “what do I do now with my life?”  I am much more of the former than the latter myself, but we’ll save that for another blog post.  Whether you are almost fifty, younger, or older, I think we can all relate to reaching a point in our lives where we are settled in, but not necessarily comfortable in that place or even our own skin.  I am there.  I have been there for a while now, but I’ve reached a point where I have now realized that it is up to me to get out of that place where I am not really comfortable and seek out a place that is more “me”.  Like this one:

frank-park-39441

Just me on a beach, looking fashionably casual.  Instead, I am riding the waves of eight-year-old and forty-eight-year-old discontent, hating my hair and most of my clothes and living pretty far inland.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my near five decades of existence it is this – you can be whoever you decide you want to be in life with God’s help and approval.  But, you have to know who that is in order to become it.  That is the hard part.

the only person

I started out life as a swimmer and a gymnast.  I followed that “destiny” through high school (when gymnast fell away and swimmer took center stage) and on into college.  I then became a swim coach in my 20s.  But, I longed for more.  I returned to finish college with a new identity of “academic” and pursued speech and debate.  In college, after six years off, I was a debater who enjoyed a good party atmosphere and was looking for intellectual pursuits.  I went to graduate school, became a debate coach at the age of 30 and that was my lived “destiny” until 2009.

In 2009, at the ripe age of 40, I had my daughter and my new “destiny” was mother and provider.  Now, as I approach the next decade of life, I feel like God is again calling me to a new destiny.  Not one that requires me to leave those other identities behind (after all, I am still an academic and debate coach along with being a mother and provider), but one that is more about who I REALLY am in God’s plan.

In each of those “destiny” time periods, I made quite a few mistakes and I was not always happy with who I was.  Often, that was the impetus for change.  I am more satisfied with who I am now, but I want just a little more.  I want just a little different.  I want to achieve things I never thought possible.  I want to be more in control of my life.  I want to be able to self-determine my destiny instead of having it happen because of reactions to other things in my life.  I constantly place limits on myself and my identity.  Instead, I need to push past those limitations.  We are all guilty of painting ourselves into a box at times.  Whether it is based on others’ expectations, our own expectations and identities or just lack of creativity and imagination, we limit ourselves.  I want to remove those limits as I move into my fifth decade.  So, what are some of those limits I want to remove?

  • I can’t travel. I don’t have the time or the money or the energy.
  • I don’t manage money well and I chose a career that doesn’t pay that much. I will always struggle financially.
  • I am not fashionable.  I don’t have the time or the money or the energy to work on myself that much.
  • I am disorganized and messy.  I will always be running late, losing things and living in chaos.  It is just who I am.
  • I am not creative.  My mind doesn’t work that way.  I am logical and academic, not creative and capable of DIYs.
  • I lack discipline.  I just don’t have stick-to-it-iveness.

So, if I remove those limits and look to all the gifts God has given me, here is what I have in my fifth decade of life:

  • I am a traveler.  I go places, see things, and enjoy them.  I make time for it, save money for it and it energizes me.
  • I am a great money manager.  I am supplementing my income through writing and workshops and I am spending, saving and giving in ways that make me feel joyful.
  • I am beautiful.  I love playing with my hair and dressing in clothes that are flattering, comfortable and fun.  I love playing with makeup and taking care of myself.  It makes me feel confident and capable.
  • I am living simply.  I have what I need and love and not a thing more.  This means I can keep those things nice and tidy.  I also keep a calendar and plan ahead and make time for fun.
  • I am creative.  I do fun, creative projects and I am successful at them.  They bring beauty and joy into my home and into my life.
  • I am disciplined.  I can see the things worth investing time and energy in and I pursue those whole-heartedly.

That second list sounds like the makings for a pretty good decade of life.  I have one more year before I start that decade, but I figure some of these things need a bit of a foundation built before I can really get building the life I want and that God has designed for me.

So, there you have it.  Project Hawaii 5-0 is off and running…or should I say, off and riding the waves!