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Friday, June 26, 2015

Be

Over the last year the blog has been quiet although I would argue I've been busier than ever living out my theme of writing or making a better story out of my life.



I've been writing a better story I've just not jotted it down on paper. Or on your screen. Or in the blogosphere. Whatever.

I'm actually living.

I'm doing and organizing and scheduling & then doing all I've scheduled & organized. 

I miss writing. Not for you, or my audience, but for me. Writing is often how I process my feelings. It's also how I'll become a better story teller. And that's what I want people to say at my funeral, "She was really great with words!". 

Nevertheless I miss writing. So if I love it & if I want to write, I had to ask myself why was I not creating space in my life to practice it? 


While reading Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle, I was recently reminded, that when I am constantly running there is no time for being.
And when there is no time for being there is no time for listening.
And listening - to myself, to my thoughts or that still small voice - is what prompts me to question and wonder and process and ultimately ... write. 

And so that's what I leave you with today; how can we ever know anything  (know anything for sure? know why we believe? know what to do?) if we don't ever take the time to sit and listen and be still?

Before we plan and process and organize what if we made space to be quiet
and pause
and listen?

Because I fear if we never stop to listen how will we ever hear?

This idea of being still, or making quiet time isn't new to me. But it is one I've wrestled with consistency  throughout every age and stage of my life. 



It's always a good reminder.

And hopefully, it will help me get back to writing again.

What about you? What would you do more, or less of, if you could take some time to be still?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Tale of Three Trees




I don't have a green thumb
but I have three trees.

A crab apple tree. 
A cherry tree. 
And two years ago we planted an apple tree.


the 1 yr the cherry tree bloomed
The crab apple tree blossoms beautifully every year, grows miniature crab apples, drops them to the ground and sprouts the messiest, most stubborn chutes you can image. They've managed to choke out every geranium, mum or Hosta I've ever tried to grow around its trunk. 

It's a beautiful, worthless mess. 

The cherry tree is my husband's favorite. He's longed for cherries from that tree every year, for ten or more years and each spring he is disappointed. In 2011 I wrote how the tree bloomed beautifully and it seemed inevitable that fruit was coming. And while a few sweet red cherries came forth we never got enough for a pie or cobbler. I think the birds enjoyed that year much more than we.

That was it. The tree never blossomed again and last year suffered an infestation of Japanese Beetles and has not recovered. I fear it needs to come down altogether.

a baby apple tree
However, our third tree, a tiny fruit tree we planted two years ago near the cherry tree in hopes of coaxing a little pollination, holds a lot of promise. A lot. This year the tiny, baby tree was covered in beautiful blooms and now, has tiny, baby green apples hanging so delicately we watch them in awe. Sometimes I think we're watching them grow.

But we can't help it were so proud to have produced fruit after a long exhausting battle with wimpy impotent trees.

I've lived here 18 years and never eaten the fruit of the land. 

But I long to. And now, maybe I will this year. 





Except, after dinner yesterday, just as I sat down on the couch nestling in with a book in front of the picture window I looked out across the yard and 2 neighbor children were picking my apples.

I stood up, banged on the glass, ran to the door, flew out on the porch and screamed, "You can't pick my fruit! That's MY fruit!" The dog was barking, my family ran out behind me to see what all the fuss was about and together all of us looked like lunatics.

The children apologized and I returned inside.

Man! That is MY fruit. I've tried so hard and waited year after year. All I want is to grow something myself and eat it. 



People, growing fruit is hard.


We don't appreciate the time and effort it takes to get something of substance worth savoring. 

What if this is true about other things?
What if the stuff that matters takes time to grow and build? What if the stuff the sprouts up overnight with little or no effort, in all its flash and sparkle, is nothing but weeds?


And worse, what if after all that effort people want to take what you've worked and waited for?







I know, we all want stuff faster but what if there's good stuff in the waiting???


Don't rush it.
Fight the urge to hurry.
Don't settle for quick and shallow roots.
Wait for substance.
Give fruit time to grow.

And leave the weeds to themselves. 
Because growing fruit is hard.

But fruit, not weeds,
time, not quick results
is what people long for.

And if I can ever get my three trees AND a green thumb, to get it together well ...
then I'll share.

And the world, well okay - just my neighborhood - would be a better place.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What's All Good?

I have 2 things stenciled on the walls of my home.



A handwritten documentation of each my children's growth
and




this -


vinyl letters with my favorite phrase;


"It's all Good!"



For as long as I can remember Romans 8:28 was my "life verse", that is, scripture that provides me with unwavering inspiration.

Aaron and I even put that scripture on our wedding invitation 23 years ago. It was our way of declaring that the union of us, and everything to come, would be a good thing.

Then, when I learned I was expecting twins, #4 & #5, the burden of large family didn't feel like something good. Rather it felt more I had been abandoned by God or fate or the laughing stock of Mother Nature. It was then I first began to doubt the very words that had always brought me hope.


Part of me wanted to throw the "It's all good" mantra out of my life, but another - albeit very small - part of me hesitated wondering - maybe even hoping - that somehow those unexpected baby girls would in fact be a good thing.


And boy were they ever!

Now, with over 40 years of living experience I realize I was a very naive bride,
but I wasn't in fact, entirely wrong. It's all good, doesn't mean it is all literally good.
Or that everything will turn out well.
What it means to me - today - is that the sum

of everything that comes to me
both pleasant and unpleasant
good and bad
wanted or unwanted
can be taken in

and used to mold me,
shape my character
and write a better story out of every single story element that has come my way.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015 at 08:46PM

The chapters are coming quickly now. It's a page turner. Stay tuned
via http://ift.tt/1FiOOCQ

Monday, March 30, 2015

I Can Do Hard Things

There are so many things about living that are beautiful
and awesome
and fun;
like the signs of Spring after a long winter
or unsolicited hugs from my teenage sons
or when my girlfriends get together and laugh until our sides hurt.

But there are also many things that are hard;
like working full time
or burying your child
and loneliness.

I've recently come to believe hard things can't be avoided - you can't pray or wish them away or out strategize them. Hard things come and it's my opinion that our reactions and attitudes towards hard things can greatly impact how well we survive those seasons.

Listen, I don't know about you, but when something is tough there is no way I want to make it any more difficult than it has to be.
AmIright??

So while I don't believe there is any prescriptive information that we can all follow to survive hard times - I mean we're all different and unique and different personality types ... what I have learned from my own trials and tribulations is what not to do in hard times.

So here's my NOT To-Do list when experiencing hard things:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I'm (Still) Too Sexy for my (For Sale) Van


We're talking about selling the van. This van. The van that takes soccer mom to a whole n'other level.  I'm done getting 11 mpg. I've used it to move my oldest in and out and into college. The gas gauge is unreliable and the the drivers seat only adjusts if you scoot forward and right simultaneously. Also, I walk to work now and my 2 sons are or have recently acquired their driver's license. There's no way I will EVER GIVE THEM THE KEYS TO THIS PARTY ON WHEELS.

Most people sell and trade and buy cars without much thought. Not me. Not this time. As we prepare the van for resale I see it as the end of a parenting season. No more car seats, car pools and car-avans to games. Seasons are changing for the Tribe. And it smells like new leather seats.

In honor of the van I'm sharing the following post I wrote a few years ago. It's called
'I'm too Sexy for My Van'

Thanks for reading .....


In August 2007 I bought a 15 passenger van.
That's because in August 2004 the twins were born.
The Sikorski's went from 3 kids to 5.
We needed a bigger vehicle and it only took us 3 years scouring every used car lot in a 200 mile radius to find a suitable one.
It wasn't fancy.
It was white.
It didn't have any of the bells & whistles.
Just 4 benches.
It wasn't even a cool color.
Did I mention it was white?
But it was clean. It wasn't ancient. And I could afford it.
I signed all the papers and transfered all our toys, blankets, diaper bags, trash and car seats from the
old mini van to the new passenger van.
I thought the kids would be excited!
Now they could bring a friend along.
Now we had extra seat belts.
Everyone except me was thrilled. I still wasn't sure how I felt about the up-size.
I mean I actually felt demoted on so many levels.
I went from soccer-mom-in-a-mini-van (that CAN be cool, right?)
to
bus driver.
The van is just so ... white.
And big.
And plain.
It looks so ... so ...
Well lemme try and give you an idea:
We rolled into town in our new purchase.
Fresh wax job. Shiny tires.
And our friends noticed our new ride.
Some asked,
"I didn't know your church got a new van until I saw you driving this!" 
and
"Gosh, is that thing longer that an ambulance?" 
and
"I saw your van at the grocery store. Now I can always tell where the Sikorski's are!"
and
"Halee, either the assisted living van is here or it's your mom out front!". 
Slightly humiliating, I'd say.

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