RSS

Come Rest Awhile

bench in leaves

Sit with me and rest awhile.

Watch all the leaves fall down.

There is no stopping winds of change,

No silencing the sound.

No way to push back time that ticks

Or changing cold air style.

There is nothing to do at all my friends,

So come sit with me a while.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Writing and Cooking: Creating without Fear

On my stove

My diced potatoes are softening on the stove. I grabbed a pot I think is a stock pot, and in it  I have combined the recipe ingredients I hope will turn into yummy-sounding loaded baked potato soup. Whatever I end up with will be what I serve my family tonight for supper.

On my laptop

There are storylines swirling in my head. Characters are starting to populate my thoughts and I realize in this very moment, I too am in the stage of softening. Fiction writing is a form of letting go for me. I have held my writing so tightly to my chest. Writing for me has been more about editing, revising, controlling, manipulating. The only stories I’ve allowed myself to tell are the real ones because my writing can be legitimized by something tangible. Made-up worlds are foreign to me and I realized today only by letting go will I have anything new to offer the world.

Quote of the day:

Why not go out on a limb, that’s where are the fruit is.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Living Life Unfinished

finishThe dog began to bark and I knew my prep time had come to an end. My visiting friends from Woodbury had arrived, and it was time to take them through our new home. I simply laid down the strawberry slicing knife, ignored the fact things didn’t look quite the way I had imagined they would, and walked to the door.

It took everything in me to pretend I wasn’t bothered by how unfinished I felt. Actually, at this phase in my life, unfinished is the way I feel practically all the time.

My kids are in school full time, have been for years, and I have less finished on a daily basis than I ever did when they were crawling around under my desk.

I used to be able to finish blogposts (edited and polished and ready for the world.) The lives of our growing children has interrupted my finishing. Actually, for quite some time now, I have stopped starting…because I know I will rarely have a chance to finish the way I hope.

We’re not finished with a lot of things around here. We’re not finished emptying out the detached garage that is currently housing those must-move-with-us-but-probably-won’t-ever-unpack boxes. (we moved in April) We’re not finished hanging pictures or shopping for wall art or furnishing rooms that don’t have pieces to fill them. We’re not finished organizing the clutter in the house or training our children in the ways of the world or to pick up their own rooms.

I’m not finished culling through boxes of photographs or organizing my books onto shelves or putting piles of my paper into a functional system. I’m not finished learning how to cook and bake and I’m certainly not finished with so many writing projects that I have energy enough to start but lack time enough to finish.

This is my life

unfinished

unpolished

unedited

Before I even had a chance to finish this blogpost I got a text from our oldest. Usually the first sign I will not be finishing what I’m doing.

texting

Our across-the-street neighbor, who is dying of cancer, has been out nailing and painting his mailbox the last few days. Maybe he is trying to finish it before the weather changes…or he runs out of time. I can only imagine the list of things he hopes to finish in the time he’s given and once again I am challenged by the life being lived across the street by someone whose life is finishing.

Maybe life isn’t about finishing at all. Things are always unfinished, but while I sit waiting… paralyzed to start things I don’t think I can finish well, I miss out on moments that could complete me.

I’ve decided completion doesn’t always look like finishing.

So, I am writing without being able to finish well. Sending my writing into the world is the way my life feels most complete. My new way to write reflects my new way of living…unfinished…unpolished…but unapologetic. Take it or leave it.

Middle Sprout has decided to learn how to play volleyball. Many of the girls had to step out on the court without really knowing how to play. I need to approach life the way a 7th grader approaches a new activity. Sometimes you have to get out there and do what you are not ready to do.  I don’t know how to write without really finishing, but my life demands writing and I’m not really living if I don’t do it the way I can in the moments I’ve been given.

The 3 lessons I’ve chosen to grow through this week:

You have to host before the house is ready.

center flowers

You have to serve before you are finished learning how.

haley serving

You have to write what comes out in a morning…and post it before it is finished

 

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Walking in Dad’s Shoes by Sitting in a Cast

cast and crutches

Injuries mean a loss of independence. It is a loss of the way life has been and a miserable process of acceptance that life is not in our control. This particular injury is providing even further enlightenment I hadn’t expected.

It’s a joke, really, that we have control in our lives. The truth is we can’t control ANYTHING! We can’t control freak injuries or illness. We can’t control procrastination in others or a lack of attention to detail. We can’t control whether people around us want to do the things we ask of them and we certainly cannot control whether they go about doing those things with a smile. We can do things to influence others, but we really don’t control any of it.

I try though. I see tendencies in myself to fill when I’m hurting. Fill by achieving something, fill with food or booze. I am my father’s daughter that way I guess. I find a temporary relief in “feeling” full. I have approached my many injuries as an opportunity to fill with something else.

This injury I am not maintaining the full…I am purposefully emptying instead. Except for one day a week I am restricting sugar, carbs, caffeine, and alcohol. I was scheduled to do a 28-day cleanse starting the day after my injury, so I know God intended for me to endure this injury empty. The process has been eye-opening and HARD.

I don’t like having lost independence. The ice makes it REALLY hard to get around outside of our house. I have taught myself to drive left footed, but I am incredibly hesitant to go any place where I will have to park the car and crutch on the slick surface more than 100 feet.  It is a scary deathtrap and it will stay that way until the temperatures start to rise.

So I’m dependent upon help. Needing help, asking for help and accepting help is getting easier for me, but it is still a struggle. The bigger problem this time around is the struggle with my kids. They have had a hard time transitioning from kids depending on mom to mom depending on kids. And I’m not doing well with helping them. It’s not moving quite fast enough and I’m admittedly frustrated. My dependency needs were immediate and their willingness to pick their heads up from various electronic devices hasn’t happened in quite the way I had imagined it would. They are acting like, well, kids!

This is it. This is what my dad battled, isn’t it? He got to a monotonous part of his life and was struck down by a torn Achilles tendon. He denied the injury for so long he ended up in a much worse place than he would have been: a full-leg cast and weeks of immobility. He could control nothing when he thought he was controlling everything.

He lived in a house with four children (some of whom were similar ages to my kids) who were slipping out of his control too. They were at an age of their own independence and it was excruciating to watch from the couch. All he wanted to do was get up and drive somewhere…anywhere. He couldn’t. He was stuck. He was stuck in a life that wasn’t meant for football gods from small-town Nebraska. He saw he was in a life out of his control: the one that included the 9-5 (or 9-9) job as an attorney with a wife and kids. Those kids… god, 3 of the 4 of them were girls too. What use were they anyway? None of them could even play football or replicate even a small version of his football story. They played soccer: that sissy sport with sissy rules that were worth arguing about with those men who called themselves refs. And his son, well, football wasn’t going to be for him either. He was too cerebral, too much of a dreamer, too naturally gentle to be the reflection of anger and aggression that was filling him.

I wonder whether he ever gazed at himself in the mirror during those dark days. Did he make eye contact with himself and see the demons rising from within? I would bet it was too hard for him to look.

I don’t know that a torn Achilles tendon threw him over the edge, but when he tore the other one playing touch football, it was the start of an unraveling no one could have predicted. Two torn Achilles tendons in 18 months would be a lot for anyone to handle, but if you are struggling to understand the worth of your life, it would be devastating.

I am having a chance to see, firsthand, how truly tough this immobility can be at this stage in life. It may only be 10 weeks, but currently sitting in the middle of it, I can attest to the bouts of frustration, anger, sadness, self-pity and questioning.

Injury is temporary but aging is permanent.

He must have come to that conclusion too. Did he start to wonder whether all the hard work was worth it when he was facing an ugly truth: he was just as mortal as the next guy? His accolades didn’t matter as much as everyone had told them they would, and he was starting to realize it. There was one thing he could control though. No one could tell him to stop drinking if they never saw him do it. His next greatest achievement was hiding that from everyone.

families where grace is in place

My cleanse has been perfectly timed. Also well-timed is a book club book I am reading called Families Where Grace is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen. VanVonderen is one of the intervention counselors featured on the compelling A & E series Intervention. One particular section of the book describes an inner circle of self and an outer circle of self. The inner circle can only be filled by God’s grace and love and the acceptance that who we are is enough. The outer circle is the one we create (and fill) to make us feel as though we are complete.

Maybe no one told my dad that he mattered without things or achievements. Maybe they tried, but he didn’t listen. He had been filling his emptiness and neediness with accomplishments and accolades his entire life. He thought covering up shame again and again would be enough.

He probably never considered that God might be waiting with the news that who he is…is enough.

Emptying needs to be happening for me right now. There is plenty to learn and work through for myself and with my children. “Filling” would only keep me from the great work I’ve been tasked to complete.

                     

Copyright Choosing to Grow 2014                                     www.meaganfrank.com

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Whose Plans are These Anyway?

path on the lakeI laugh at my last two entries. Not the light-hearted giggling “hee, hee, hee” of a little girl, but rather the evil “bwa, ha, ha, ha” of a deranged woman.

Dear Self from Last Year’s Blogposts,

I’ve got news for you sweetheart…stop trying to lay your own life plans!

Yeah, right. You’ll just move into the cabin on a lake and build your dream home. Ha! No problem. Sure, you’ll have a hard time closing doors and packing up boxes, but you are really pretty clueless. You won’t see those things you’ve boxed for practically a year. And, honey, you have NO IDEA what your life journey will look like the next ten months. Just relax, would ya’?  There is plenty to see and hear and learn and NONE OF IT IS IN YOUR CONTROL!!

Let go. Sit still. Oh yeah, and if you refuse…there will be outside forces to take care of that for you.

Sincerely,

The Crazy-eyed Future Version of Yourself (jaded and sarcastic)

Back then…two whole posts ago…I thought things were simple. We would move to a new town, start a new hockey adventure and build a home…hilarious! Before I became hardened to reality, I figured one of the hardest things we would do would be to agree on the color of the kitchen backsplash.

God had other plans for us.

Progression of My Plans            God’s Plans
Work for my husband during the summer and   see him lots Work for my husband, stress with him about a new business…see him 5 minutes a day
Move to the lake and start building a new   house Move to the lake and realize the lake has many building restrictions
Cheer for Big Sprout as he starts playing   soccer again

 

Enjoy Middle Sprout as she blossoms into a young lady

 

Watch Little Sprout leave behind any anxieties she had in a bigger school

Co-coach with hubby for the middle school soccer team just so all the   kids could play

 

Be challenged by the nastiness of pre-teen hormones and attitude

 

Realize that innate anxieties move with you

 

Enjoy the temporary nostalgia of no   dishwasher and one bathroom for 5 of us Extend time in close living quarters through one of the worst winters in   30 years
Enjoy the warmth and coziness of our   cabin on the lake Force close huddling because the furnace goes out
Establish independence in the new town Force dependence when my car dies on the side of the highway in -15   weather
Ok fine…find a house in town and keep the   cabin a cabin You’ll find one, but it won’t be ready for you for a while
Well then should we plan to just make the   cabin as big as we can? You could, but it won’t be all you need
Well I’ll just make the most of it then:   snowshoe, cross-country ski, lakeside yoga Wait a second…you need to rest now. Sit still. You need to heal your   ruptured Achille’s tendon anyway

If I’ve determined anything in the last year it is that God wants creativity and imagination. He knows that it takes energy to create and imagine in chaos and with all we’ve faced this year we have been tapped dry. We could never have had enough energy to do what we’ve been asked to do. So yes, we relied on Him more. And He has come through.

Again and again, we’ve had what we needed.  We are suited for this town and this town is suited for us. They accept our crazy. They may not understand it, but they do accept it. We know now what it is to live in difficult circumstances and we have an appreciation for the many blessings in our lives. We are surrounded by good people who are willing to help us…again, and again, and again.

I am no longer in the planning or predicting mentality. I am resigned to live in the moment.

In this moment, I am sitting on the couch with my driving leg propped on a pillow as the staples work to mend the surgically repaired tendon. The heatless sun is shining on the snow-covered lake and I have time to blog. Time I have not had for months and months. (you poor people!)

I make no predictions about my next post, or my next house. What I know is I have a place to sleep tonight and probably tomorrow. I have food to prepare in the fridge and children to parent this evening. What would be the point of planning out any further than that?

 

                     

Copyright Choosing to Grow 2014                                     www.meaganfrank.com

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

“Closings” and “Openings” on the Calendar

thCAV9C62T

Later today we will close the door at our house for the last time. We’ve gently shut many doors this past month, but this one will be the hardest.

The dry-erase calendar in our kitchen has been counting down the days until we pack up our final belongings and head out of town. Over the last few weeks, a number of activities have been listed on that calendar: Move furniture to storage, Concerts, Birthday parties, the last day of school, Middle Sprout’s fifth grade graduation, end-of-year recital and… Final day.

These events mark the closing of an era, of a year of study, and of a year of life.  They needed to be on my calendar. We are meant to acknowledge and grieve the end of things because how else can we be fully open to the beginning and joy of other things.There are doors closing all over the place, but there are equally as many doors opening. So for the big changes in life, we need to mark them on the calendar.

There are other things, however, and arguably the more important things, that aren’t ever listed on a calendar. These are the moments I’ll miss most.

946207_10151531260732745_449610305_n

When you live on a cul-de-sac life happens in impromptu fashion.

Bike gangs emerge, kids gather at the park and kids ask one of my favorite questions: “Can I go see if they can play?”

If it weren’t for the rain outside today, I bet the embers of last night’s cul-de-sac bonfire would still be smoldering in our neighbor’s driveway.

The bonfire, like so many of the other impromptu gatherings that happen in good neighborhoods, was not on the calendar. It came together over the course of the weekend and is the perfect closing for what our time on this street has been.

The night games unfolded in their yard and as the adults stood around chatting, all of the kids, ages 7-17, ran and tagged and fell and laughed. Marshmallows and chocolate melted into sticky gobs and as the eyes of my kids drooped heavily, they resisted going home because they knew what I knew…this was our last impromptu bonfire for a while.944400_10151511412077745_2112992674_n

Bonfires were new to me when we moved to the Midwest. We cannot regularly set fire to things in Colorado, so I hadn’t ever really known the power and draw of a good fire. The cul-de-sac bonfires will be among my favorite memories of living here. It’s magical, quite honestly, and the connection and community that can be sparked around a fire pit is hard to replicate somewhere else.

So last night, I walked somberly from across the street knowing it was the last time I would walk home from an impromptu cul-de-sac bonfire. I know full well it is not the last time I will gather with our friends, but I do know our world, and their movement in it, is about to change considerably. We cannot rely on the freedom of proximity and instead of living moments without a calendar we’ll have to more purposefully use the openings in our calendar to plan ahead.

I hadn’t considered the symbolism of the note I am leaving for the new owners of our house. You’ll notice I wrote it on the dry-erase kitchen calendar.

calendar

It says: Welcome to your new home. You will be happy here. Please make an effort to get to know the amazing people who are your neighbors. You could not be luckier to have people on this street who care so genuinely about one another. We will miss a lot of things about living here, but most definitely what we will miss the most are our awesome friends and neighbors!

                                                                       www.meaganfrank.com

Copyright 2013  Meagan Frank             Choosing to Grow

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 9, 2013 in life balance

 

Tags: , , , , ,

For All the Houses My Husband Built…

We’re finally building a Home.

Picture2

The five of us congregated to the family room and found sitting spaces on the floor, the futon and the fireplace. We had successfully moved the bulk of our furniture to storage and my husband was preparing for his return trip to Colorado.

Middle Sprout asked her dad, “What do you remember most about living here, dad? You do know it’s your last night here…ever.”

My husband sat quietly with her question and I could tell he was struggling for a meaningful response.

“Christmas,” he quietly reflected. “I loved Christmases here.”

What a surprising answer, I thought. We didn’t spend one single Christmas Eve in this house.

I’m sure he meant the time leading up to Christmas with the sledding, snowball fights, ice skating, tree decorating and the singing of Christmas carols. Christmas season is the time of year when our schedules slow and we are able to spend our most quality time together as a family. It’s traditionally been the only block of time in the year when my husband doesn’t work himself to the bone.

I’m glad those are the memories he cherishes.

I’m glad he didn’t pick the projects and renovations, or the times he was away from the house for work and hockey (which were numerous) or the hours he worked at his home office in order to provide for this family. I’ve come to appreciate his compulsion to construct, improve and provide.

For not one second of our marriage have I gone without provision and I am genuinely grateful for that. I do, however, look forward to relishing more time together in our new home.

We’ve lived in seven places and renovated five houses…it’s time for us to come home.

We are setting ourselves up for a radical lifestyle change, and there are parts of it that make me anxious. We have gotten very good at seeing the potential in a pre-loved home. He fixed, repaired and together we prepped all of those properties for eventual sale. We have gotten good at the business of house ownership.

I have no idea how we’ll be at the art of home-making. Picture1

I’ve just recently become comfortable with the frenetic, working energy of my husband. He loves by acts of service and I’ve taught myself to love him for it.

It takes time to get used to the rhythm of a person and we’ve just started to perfect the movement around and away from one another.

I hope we can find comfort in being still.

It will be a strange adventure for all of us to build a home from scratch. I’ve never put much color on our walls (or hung art, or bought rugs). I’ve only picked out the improvement that would make the most sense as an investment.

We’ll be busy during the build…of that I have no doubt. I’m simply preparing myself for when the dust finally settles.

Our house ownership mimics our marriage in many ways. We have noticed and worked to repair and improve the places that needed some love. I hope we are never comfortable sitting still long enough that the house simply erodes around us.

I’d like to say I know for sure it won’t…but we’ve never done this before, and we have no practice at this sort of home ownership.

I’d love to hear what it is about your house that makes it a home. (I’m looking for ideas and inspiration)

 

                                                       

Copyright 2013    Meagan Frank                           Choosing to Grow                                 www.meaganfrank.com

 

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 768 other followers

%d bloggers like this: