31 Days of LIKE A TREE: In Which I Write Every Day In The Month Of October


Welcome to my writing Series!

After many fits and starts I am participating in Five Minute Friday’s 31 Days Of Writing Series. This series is not going to be very topic-y. Just my from the gut spontaneous writing on the seasons and layers of my life in general, following the daily prompts given every day in the month of October.




{ click here to start at the beginning of this series }

Or simply keep reading for today’s post.


October 3rd: Capture {31 days of writing}


If you look at my 4-square grid above I think I did a pretty good job of capturing the trees outside my door in Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

I could, and  you could too probably, pontificate and write about each season:

the lessons

the images they invoke


It is after all the encapsulating {meaning to capture} theme of this very series.

However, something that keeps getting impressed upon me is that if we really are “people of the way”, followers of the Great “I AM” then getting our hands  on, wrapping our minds around any one concrete thing;

be it God,








is simply a form.

It is a glimpse of glory.

As soon we try to capture it, snare it like a prize, to then feed ourselves- the glory fades.

This understanding sends Achieving and his wicked sister, Preforming, packing and out the door.

What woman would not love to kick out that uninvited guest?

“For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of the flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a far off country we have never yet visited” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Then, Reason and Logic instantly raise a polite but insistent hand:

“Excuse me, madam” it says, “then what pray tell, are we to do?  Float away on a warm fuzzy cloud all day?”

Fair question.

I headed a prayer vigil this March at our church. No one really attends activities centered solely on prayer, and so, getting there early I parked myself on the front altar, knelt down and prayed. I never looked up to see who attended for about an hour and a half.  I would not even let Tim tell me “who came, who did not”. Like King David taking the census, to see how capable Israel really was, I did not want to know. Not looking around counting heads an image came to me. It  has stayed with me for over six months:

A Song over us, and a River going through us.

That it is.

Attend to that.

Hear that barely audible song.

Feel that slight graze of living water inside of us.

Then you don’t have to get it all figured out, perform, or attend that next Christian conference, concentrating on self-help, with just enough Jesus and Bible verses peppered in so as to keep the Evangelicals coming and buying.

Hate to burst your bubble friend, but we will never capture IT?

What is the heart’s cry of what you need?

What is that deep pain that needs to be healed?

Unanswered question that keeps you all hours of the night?

It hurts like Hell, I know.

Get your hands off of capturing it, to placate self, and the ancient of Days with His life-giving water will carry you along on a good path singing a new song over you as He does.


Not in an instant, not in a day, a month, a year. Everyday He will simply be there besides you.

He captures you.







click here to read this series from the beginning

October 2nd: five minute friday {31 day writing challenge}

Today’s word prompt is: Five Minute Friday, which I know is actually three words.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe all, like children, need reassurance.

Not a bad thing.

Five minute Friday gave me reassurance.

Reassurance that it is okay, to not be okay.

Reassurance that while I may not fit snugly in with those around me, I somehow feel nestled in with this group. URL addresses on screens being the only connecting tissue.

The thing is, fitting in is a lot like camouflage. Blend in with your immediate surroundings to stay safe, to survive even.

 The lovely summer months produce a monochromatic blanket of green ribboned through on every high tree.  The sameness is nice.  So nice you don’t even notice it.

When I read what other souls have authentically cast out, like bread upon the many waters, I see varying shades of color.  It pops out and grabs you, and makes you wince at the same time, because usually it comes from something that caused pain. Each five minute friday offering does not end the story in the pain, or disappointment, or the why? Each offering, and I try to do the same, ends in:


Not that the universe may eventually shift its luck back on us.

Not on ourselves pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps.

But in Him.

He already has walked this road before us as a Man, and is right besides us as God now.

And we fill up with sanguine crimson color.



Day 2 of Five Minutes Friday’s 31 Day Writing Challenge.

Click to read more or join in.

October 1st: calling {31 day writing challenge}


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI always have wrote stories.

And I never, ever, let a soul look at those stories.   I started this blog and felt so dumb and embarrassed I did not tell anyone. I link my posts with facebook sometimes, then wished I did  not, then go slinking back again, like an addict keeps going back to get her hit.


I don’t want others to know. I see the world different, I feel things differently, and then for some insane reason write about it! And I go slinking back, not out of self-destructive vice, but by a compulsion, that this is for someone else’s good. Not necessarily mine.

It is the calling of a writer.

We have to completely abort this beast of a lie that a writer is someone who is paid for their craft. There must be contracts and money involved. “Don’t you know little one” I hear The Savior say “that is how this broken, sin-scarred world operates”?

If you are called to do anything, anything that sets you apart, especially if it is creative, hard to explain,  it simply is.

DNA coursing through you.

Tuesday afternoon. It was dark and raining. But it was the lovely type. The house was spotless, my soy candle filled the room with a delicate fragrance. Yet I could not find peace. Could not even sit still.  As nervous as a cat when she knows a bath is coming, I squirmed and circled. I did not know what was wrong and why I was feeling this…this something I could  not even name.

Hours later.

I simply wrote. A story. Not a new one, by any means. In fact, I bet it is tucked hidden on your table or on your shelf right now in your house.

It was The Gospel of John chapter 6.  And I had to write it out in a story.  I have never done that.  It was really weird. But wait!  It gets much worse.

Afterwards, laying my pen down, feeling exhausted but relieved, I got that little poke in my conscience.  It said: “Unlike all your other stories you write. Not  personal stories but creative ones, it is not to lay buried. It is not to go on your blog even:

Type it out.

Hit print.

Read it to a whole room full of people at the Bible study you attend on Tuesday’s night.

I wanted to laugh, then throw up, then get drunk.

That is not me!

But somehow, I did.

It is my calling.

Lots of days I wish it were not.

“Why can’t I be normal Lord!” is a repeated lament.

One thing, and one thing alone, gave me the courage to be ridiculously brave and foolish:

It is not about you.  It is about Me.

Yours truly, Jesus

But it is my calling.

Like it or not

Take it or leave it.

Embrace this part of you, by emptying you.

And then see how He surprises you in how He fills you up.


Like a Tree

31 DAYS“Be glad you live in world that has Octobers” ~Anne Shirley of Ann of Green Gables

October is one of my favorite months.

September proved to be overwhelming and torturous, as life and the human experience sometimes is.

But it is a new month, and a new season, in that triple- layer- cake- way, that only God can orchestrate.

One layer, of my “many slices” is, for the first time, to participate in one of the many 31 day writing challenges that pop up and congest Bloglandia every October.

I chose five minute Friday because this group is:




Every day my butt in a chair in front of our PC screen as soon as the family leaves for school instead of picking up breakfast. Like the leaves outside my door right now, this series may meander and flit and skip. It may land in a dirty puddle and look completely unattractive some days. Then surprise you by being lovely and bright and sanguine the next. And like the autumn leaves on display in Upstate New York where I am from, leaves that draw thousands of tourists every year, all it REALLY is this:

Simply another stage, season, layer, of its life cycle.

The most awesome, being when it is completely empty of the chlorophyll that initially gave it life. That is when the spectacular show begins. That is when everyone whips out his or her camera and breaths, “I want to remember this”.

Do you want to be remembered for something before you lay down forever?

Get ready to be emptied.

However, unlike the cycle of a leaf, YOU, “who are much more precious than the lilies of the field” have years, decades, of Springs, Summers, Autumns, and Winters. And our final laying down? It is NOT to be eventual worm food like the maple leaves in my lawn will soon be, but Eternal Glory with Jesus Christ.

So, if you so wish, check in every day to read my quick 5 minute post { i promise!!} about this seasonal layer of emptying to be one day full. Five minute Friday picks the topic, as listed on the chart above, and I will just type whatever pops into this tired brain and let my fingers fly.

click here to direct you to all posts in: Like A TREE


pools and pumpkins


It happens every September in these parts.

Hot and humid give way to cool and breezy.

“I’m bored” gives way to “I have too much homework”.

In the span of less than five days that switch has gone into effect in this home.

However, unlike the flip of a light, it is not neat and effortless; so nominal we don’t even take note.

Much more than weather patterns and “back to school” routines my life has abruptly switched gears.  My last week of work was their first week of school. Their first week of school is a now a county over,  where they all attend the same small rural school.  It is where my husband works.

“Dad” is now the grumpy bus driver hollering over his shoulder to “quiet down”! and “sit down”! as he glances in the rear view mirror to see limbs flying. The first day of school last week was in the 90s and humid. Today, a week into school the girls all have on hoodies and jeans and I can see my breath in front of me on my morning jog.

The silence and openness of my days:

It feels like a healing balm and yet it sets in a faint panic.

A niggling in the way back recesses of my mind of:

what now?

What is this going to look like?

Like cleaning out the attic or switching dentists.  You know it has to be done, but it is not urgent. The more you tell yourself its far off, the more you find yourself feeling annoyed and tired  and asking how do I start?  That is how it feels because  I don’t know exactly how I am supposed to be spending my days.  I don’t know exactly how the kids going to school a near hour away is going to play out over the school year.  As with the majority of decisions Tim and I make, our reason for doing so does not fall into neat boxes of obvious and practical, or how our peers do things.

I am only on day two of officially not working and I am already feeling indulgent about taking this time off. It was very much a mental health issue, my leaving of work; and no one knows how to put a finger on that. Everyone at work assumed I got a new job. Everyone assumes our kids live in the district where they attend school.

You leave your job for a better one.

You send your kids to school across town.

Words like “deep rest” and “better atmosphere” do not easily flow from our mouths. I find myself talking fast with a lot of teenage-like fillers of “ya know…” and  “its just kinda like…”

Then my husband’s boss told him the school needs substitute teachers. It even pays better. And better yet, being a state institution it is going to take awhile for the paper work and back ground checks to clear so it will be a month away before I start.

Really a providential answer.

I found myself being so relived I could tell people a normal answer for once!

These long sunny breezy September days will find me:

Jogging in the morning.


Sorting out the thousands of photos frozen in our computer and adding some more.

I can actually clean my house, not manage the clutter and clothes.

I plan and make meals, not dole stuff on plates.

I start counseling again, to put a fine comb through my brain, as it were, so maybe I can have some answers, and not just feel guilty.

Extra time and breathing room will allow me to think through changes in my diet, research nutritional options.

Space in my day will give space for other people. Especially people I would not normally hang out with. Because I know that a cloistered uninterrupted lifestyle will feed the beast of my depression and introspective thinking.


I am looking at my nice, positive, pro-active list.  Like bullets on a to do list of How To Fix Leah  and wonder:

if I have it all figured out, why is this panic still in the inky shadows?

I think because it is still not smooth. I still do not feel relief and peace for very long. My husband does not get it. Isn’t my life now instantly better and easy? All my ducks are in a row a I have plan for every area of my life.

And yet,

It still feels dumb and indulgent, and I still get in bad moods, and quiet frankly, new situations and good plans do not make problems go away do they?

My own fallenness and this world’s keep marching along.

And both Tim and myself are trying to wrestle the good out of it, by believing in faith our acts will bring more blessings from Our Lord for our entire family.

Will produce testimony that Christ is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Every since deciding to put our house on the market this Spring and knowing our kids will be going to a different school district irregardless of whether we sell or not, I have felt dis-jointed. Quitting work just dis-located things further. Awkward in my own skin. I talk a good talk and write a good yarn about faith, but every day I find myself so tired of the struggle. My tiredness and lack of tangible fruit asks me a thousand times a day:

what is the point?

are you sure you are doing it right?

are you sure it is not just YOU?

So, I ask the Lord:

“is it always going to be like this”?

“will I forever be waiting and hopeful things will get better”?

“what if it is just this broken woman and world”?

I had to feed our ten rabbits this morning. By the time I got back there the sun had completely warmed the morning fog away.  Our pool is still open; bright blue and littered in the first fallen leaves.  Our pumpkins have spilled into our still green backyard lawn; perfectly round and rosy orange. Such a weird jux -a- position.  Summer with Fall creeping into it, in our pool. And Fall pushing its ways into Summer, in our pumpkins.

Usually when things like this {you know all metaphoric and nature-y} I take a picture. It is, after all, perfect blog fodder. But I decided not to because quite frankly our backyard is not very pretty.  And there was no way to possibly capture my pool and my pumpkins without zooming out and revealing our messy, stuff-strewn backyard.

Because we like, live here. You know…kinda like a family.

But I don’t want to show it for some reason.  I want to macro zoom and capture:

“peaceful fluttering leaves floating upon blue tranquil lapping water. And the promising swell of healthy sanguine gourds offset by verdant green grass with the morning dew still clinging to the blades”

You get the point I am making right?

For some reason I think my life, each season, each lesson, should be poetically beautiful and attractive to the eye, if it is good.  After all, we all know the bad or sinful, or lazy or wrong looks ugly because it produces ugly things, right? I think it is, but that does not mean doing the opposite will produce the  instant opposite. But that is what we are taught and what we expect.

Doesn’t the Bible teach us that sin is pleasurable for a season, and then brings forth death?  Why do I think doing the right thing won’t be hard or uncomfortable or even ugly for a season, to bring forth eventual life? {Life being the good}.

I should of been okay with the all the cluttery stuff and our dirt patches in our grass being in the picture.  Its presence is the evidence of life  being lived  here!

We all rant and rave about how this air-brushed- photo -shopped- selfies  business is so detrimental to our youth.  But we Sunday-school-attending-Bible-quoting- adults still want to project  and believe we have the right to attain a perfectly- air-brushed- edit-out-the-flaws self-life.

This is a long, circulatory, rambling post, but I sure hope it helps someone see that it is okay to not be okay. To not have all the answers, or not feeling all that jolly today because when you pray all you get is: ” be obedient and have faith”, again.

Because, as always, when we get down to the nitty gritty of what Jesus really taught, of how He really lived, it was not about Him, but He who sent Him to live on the planet. You and I are on the same plain of experience of the Messiah  if you feel disjointed with a not so attractive, a hard situation or life in general. Keep obeying anyway.

We live to show others not only is He real.  He can be trusted.


broken not shatterd

SAME_five minute friday


There is this kinda depressing/creepy song on the radio right now. It plays on the top hits channel that I am forced to listen to with two middle-school aged daughters.

Its title is:

“my heart is a ghost town”.

He opens his depressing ballad with the lines of:

I used to believe in God and James Dean but Hollywood sold out and all the saints closed the gates and would not let me in” {or something close to that}

It precedes to list all those things that fail him.

He “has a dream all the machines are unplugged and all his friends can’t be found”

He concludes, “my heart is a ghost town”.

It switches to this haunting whistling and psychedelic rhythmic beat that is undeniably catchy and creepy and dark.

I have heard it twice driving my old minivan in the last two days by myself {okay I just accidentally confessed that I listen to top hit music channels sometimes, without my girls around} and really listened to what this young man was expressing.

He is a sad, hopeless, poet.

He is honest.

He is 100 percent right.

Nothing fills the vacancy in man’s heart, but the son of Man.

Religion in of itself is a slow death of an ever hardening heart.

Driving through the ATM line and then to Wal-Mart I prayed for this young man, this pop star, whomever he is.

I thanked God that He allowed his craft and talent to be an outlet.  He is being blessed with success if he is on the radio, and he dared to be honest. I prayed for his ghost town heart to perceive in the distance a glorious light which is Christ, coming down for us, raising up in victory for us.

A weird, worldly, creepy, irreligious pop song showed me that when it comes to true needs of the human heart we are all the



Linking up late with the lovely crowd over at Kate’s Place for Five Minute Friday.

**please read my post-post**

I wrote this post in five minutes at my Barnes and Noble cafe and then had to leave;  not linking it up with 5minfri because I knew there were too many typos. Later, I googled this song and immediately found out the artist is Adam Lambert; discovered on American Idol a few years ago and a homosexual.  I have tremors in my hands and my heart is beating funny right now because God is speaking to His Bride on how we should be looking at the gay community as individual souls first.

**My disclaimer* *If you google this video it is very creepy.  I did not watch the entire video because of the feeling it gave me.

Take that as you will, but would please join me in praying for Adam, a lost soul because of the human condition as a result of Satan’s deception, just as we once were.


HERE_five minute friday


One-thousand tasks to be done & zero plans fulfilled

Four children who need now & a single dream still fuzzy in the horizon

A do-er who needs to be a fighter

Right here

Right now

Invisible battles

Hints of somethings

Half-true phrases

Spinning around;right here

“doing is not the same as fighting” He says

Doing finds just the right stride and propels forward

Fighting finds the accurate stance and stands firm

Right where I am.

Right here.


stand your ground

Linking up late in the day at Kate’s Place for another Five Minute Friday after a full day instead of part of my usual quiet morning routine.

But I am here.


Toast the moon


It had been a hot July day.

The kind of day where you better get the housework done by noon, and dinner is put in a crock pot because if anyone turns on the oven in our small kitchen the make up is going to start melting off my face.  The better part of the afternoon was spent in and out of our small above pool we got for free on Craig’s list last summer {that incidentally took most of the summer to assemble and put back up}. I finished Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman in a low slung beach chair with my feet in the pool. There is something about Southern fiction that gets me all romantic and philosophical at the same time.

After three straight days of reading Scout and Atticus Finch I even find the running dialogue in my head to have a slight dra-awl.

I loved the book because it made me laugh and think and recommend you read it, {here is my review on goodreads} before you delve into all the online chatter about it. Harper Lee tackles delicate and controversial topics, and readers deserve the right to interpret a story using their own two sides of their brain prior to reading the two sides of online debates. Including my review!

There is a scene where Scout goes night swimming with her long time beau Henry. Before getting our pool I had not gone night swimming since I was a teenager. The long hot days of summer turns the evenings into a different type of animal:

Darkness is a relief.


Night sounds of summer bugs are a seasonal symphony.

We drink chilled white wine instead of dry red.

The girls stay up late.

We go night swimming.

One of the best investment I have made is stringed deck lights.

DSCN1088It is the perfect way to stretch out the cool relief of night.

Our deck is our summer living room.

Dinner digests on old deck furniture with our feet up on old weathered picnic benches turned coffee table.

Air conditioner and television not required.

DSCN1072A dull orange glow orbs across the pool deck in a swag of perfect circles and dimly reveals the oily dark waters of the pool looking romantically inviting.

However, come 9:30 at night I am tired and pretty unmotivated. Peeling off clothes and squeezing into a not quite dry Lycra and spandex suit seems like a lot more work than I am capable of doing right now. But the moon is almost full and the breeze has picked up and if I remain seated and still much longer I will probably just fall asleep; and that feels like a waste.

So I swim.

At first by myself as everyone else is occupied in their own pursuits at the moment. It strikes me that there was a time when the only thing I lived for was to get a little bit of alone time. Then, like a sudden shift in the weather no one saw coming, I find myself secluded and tucked with my own uninterrupted thoughts, often. And as human nature always dictates, getting what we always wanted does not really make us happy.

From the pool the back of the house looks like a happy face.


the face of our home looking at me

The figures of my family going from one room to another blur by between the fabric curtains.

It is easier to pray and take it all in when one is all alone that is for sure. And what is it that I pray and dwell on the most? My family of course. I listed out #2,000 on my gift listing gratitude journal and it did not take me long, as I thumb past over three years of entries to see the girls and Tim dominating the stats.

And yet.

I am incapable of loving them well, of being present and patient, unless I get my scheduled introvert fill of secluded silence. And just like the hot glare of summer sun over the long July days makes the pitch night all the more inviting, my ” I just need to be alone” stretch of time mellows me to love better.

But man was not made to live in the night, now matter how cool and inviting and philosophical.

And man was not made to be alone.

So I toast the moon and walk back inside a noisy, messy, every single light on, home, filled with those I love.

toast the moom


TEN_five minute friday

2015-07-20 14.13.19

I know what is behind me.


“Where do you see yourself in ten years”?

The casual question kept forming, and fuzzy indistinct images would follow.

Then we started reading through Francis and Lisa Chan’s book You And Me Forever: Marriage in the Light of Eternity, and wouldn’t you know that was one of the first reflective questions.

In ten years our first born will be 23: a year older than I was when I birthed her.

The rest of our girls’ ages line up like dominoes in my mind eyes:




I can’t even began to picture adult and near adult children.

What I can picture is the blur of the last 13 and the heavy pressure that sits right underneath my collar bone and steely will calcifying in its place to muster all my Mama Super Power to slow down and pay attention these next 10.

Our moving is not really about:

getting the built up equity out of this first house

a different school district

less commute time

lower taxes

more land so we can plant more tomatoes

it is really about them.

It is about the next TEN.

They need me physically less and less as their legs get longer and longer and their figures more shapely {Tim doesn’t want to talk about it}

But a mother knows they need my light touch of being that blur in the background presence.

Always waiting to come into the sharp focus when THEY decided they possibly might need ME.

Five women under one roof need space from each other with several threads of good connections to others. Other faces than those they see sitting at the kitchen table each morning. They drift in different directions during the day, but at least for the next 10, they drift back, like perpetual morning mist and evening fog to Mom and Dad.

To our home.

I pray for a double spirit of intuition for the next 10 so the blur of another decade has genuine joy threaded all through it.

blur of the past


Joining up again with the deep thinking, creative, lovely, crowd over at Kate’s place for another Five Minute Friday.

Join in or simply spend a morning reading other contributions.

I bet you’ll be glad you did.