Eleven Things I Learned in May

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I’ve been silent a good while.

 

Listening.

 

Wrestling.

 

Homeschooling.  I’ve taken that leap again…she who said she would never…ever homeschool…again.  But after our move to GA Madeline was drowning with math that didn’t make sense and a month into our semester Caedmon whispered this: “Mom, I love learning in the quiet.”  And so we will continue to walk forward through homeschooling one step at a time.

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In January I began teaching Healing Care Groups at Holy Cross Cathedral…what we call “Journey.” Fourteen people signed up. I hyperventilated. (You can’t create vulnerable community with fourteen people!) Two weeks later I broke them into two groups and Monday and Thursdays we use a fantastic curriculum by Terry Wardle from Ashland Seminary that I’ve been using for six years.  This year I’m adding more Anglican theology, even a few icons! (Andrei Rublev’s Trinity gave us a theological framework for where self-giving love truly begins.) And once again God has done miracle after miracle.  No joy comes close.

 

And this is what I’ve learned this May, the humorous and the hard-won:

1. Forty surprised me with its weightiness. Madeline and I sat on a porch swing in the white garden at the Vines for a bit, white blooming dogwood trees all around. She wandered off to click pictures of white azalea bushes with my camera and I listened until it seems to me the Lord sat down on the swing and took my hand and said this, “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.” Peace slowly settled onto my fortieth birthday.

One of Madeline’s shots:

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2. The strawberry crop ripens early here in Georgia. And they grow monsters down here.  We spent thirty minutes picking down one row and came home with four gallons.

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3. While we chopped buckets of strawberries, juice dripped across our cutting boards and we listened to this: Brennan Manning’s Parable of Willie Juan. The children surprised me afterward with their lovely insights. I can’t get enough Brennan Manning right now.

 

4. I’ve decided eggos with homemade strawberry jam and whipped cream is the best brinner ever.

 

5. I’ve also decided Candy Crush is from the devil:)  I’m pretty sure I could hear Wormwood guffawing as I wasted time trying to get to one more level, my heart racing, involuntarily seeing switches in my sleep.

 

6. Clarity. This month a personal credo began to take shape: Position people to encounter Christ.  It drives away fog, keeps me grounded, removes my ego and helps me make decisions. What I’m learning? Set a feast and then get out of the way.

 

7. I will no longer yell/loudly encourage at soccer games. At the last game of the season I saw one man from Latin America turn to his wife exasperated at the American parents causing a ruccus. I no longer want to be one of them.  I will now carry lots and lots of Big League Chew gum and hide behind a camera.

 

8. I play with my children more at the beach. I dig in the sand, make dribble castles, jump waves, and giggle as we run along the surf trying not to get caught by a wave. My question is, why don’t I play more often? (This is me and my darling niece, Maggie.)

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9. I’m painfully aware I have not learned to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry,” the Dallas Willard quote that undid me over Lent.  I crave stillness and yet often go entire days without taking a breath.  #PocketsOfStillness will wind its way in and out of my writing here over the next few months…because I write to wrestle toward freedom. Follow me on the journey?  Share with me yours?  How do you carve out moments for stillness? If you carve out an intentional pocket of stillness, use the hashtag #pocketsofstillness and we’ll be able to watch the fruits of solitude on twitter and instagram.

 

10. Oh yeah, I’m done with perfectionism.  Done. With. It.  So this is what I’m hearing about the process of writing right now:

1. Pray.

2. Listen and receive word.

3. Craft and play, wrestle and bless.

4. Release fully and blow the seed on the Wind.

5. Come back to Rest in God. Hide in Him, worship, and practice my smallness.

6. Pray and get ready to hear again.

 {Pray. Receive. Craft. Release. Rest. Ready.}

No more perfectionism as if my ego is at stake…Receive and Release.

 

11. Staycations are divine, especially when your children are at someone else’s house. Thank you Miss Debby!  Friday night we stood three hours through a bizarre live show at the Buckhead Theatre seeing Postmodern Jukebox. (We can’t get this clown, which climbed up on stage out of the audience all cream ruffles and comic sincerity out of our head…all six foot eight of him…)

 

 

But the next morning we had mimosas, custard-like French toast and hours to chat and remembered with a sigh what a great decision we made nearly twenty years ago.

 

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I’m joining the always-inspiring Emily Freeman @Chatting at the Sky to share my May learnings.  And by the way, my Instagram is where I often post my learnings throughout the month. Click here to follow MTRSUMMER.

 

And you, Friend, what have you learned over May?

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7 Comments

  1. Good morning, Summer–it is so good to “read you” again. It has been awhile and I so enjoy your writings. I don’t know Instagram or tweet or anything like that except email. I too am on a journey taking courses thru Ashland TS for the certificate program. I am also in a Healing Care Group. It has been quite stretching and wonderful. Blessings on your ministries. Stillness and quiet is a gift. Diane

  2. I came to visit from Chatting at the Sky. I enjoyed reading this post. I too, love reading Brennan Manning. Happy Monday to you!

  3. A great big YES to not playing candy crush in our sleep, fresh picked strawberries, and plenty of silence, watching, and listening.

    Love that Emily has linked us up in the comment section today!

  4. Oh how I’ve missed this! I don’t do Twitter or Instagram..(to be honest, I don’t understand Instagram). I don’t need anymore social media. I was terminated from Walmart after 26 years, and then ended up in the hospital for 5 days. I’m struggling in all aspects of my life. Thank you and welcome back!

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