what’s eight weeks?

I have said it before and I am sure I will state it again:

I could never live anywhere that did not have the four seasons.

I am too restless for a mere two.

Summer in the Northeast is pretty much ten weeks.

Ten weeks of guaranteed heat, of no hectic school schedule.

That is what summer is for me: not feeling cold, not having school.

That first week school is out and the one prior to it revving back up again; don’t count.

Bumping up next to school demands sullies it.

So that leaves eight weeks.

Eight weeks as wide and welcome as blue skies over a waving meadow.

I have the added blessing of working for a public school so that means no work schedule as well.  I am a substitute teacher so it also means no pay.  We just call hot dogs and watermelon diner about twice a week and drink less wine to cope.

To help pay for our beach vacation we took the day after school was let out I worked nearly full time in June.  To many, that is like saying: I got out of bed in the morning in June.  So what?  But with four daughters still at home, a home I have to keep in order or I turn into captain scary crazy pants, I only allow myself to work part time since going back to work.

Ergo: working everyday all during the week drained the life force out of me.  And of course, keeping in how this world always works, this June had several extra stressers thrown in.  My continual motion, my ceaseless brain trying to organize, my seized-up then sputtered out Adrenalin glands, were all functionally poorly by the end.

Our vacation of four days in Maryland was very much needed, but I still had residual out-of-wack inner man issues.  I felt horrible for my struggling to relax and enjoy when everyone else was.  I should naturally too. The accusation of:

“There are billions of people right now who could not even fathom what a vacation is, much less have the luxury of escaping a beautiful home to travel to another beautiful place to stay”.

This is absolutely true of course.

However, my personal guilt over the validity of this, was very misplaced. It did not have to do, in reality, with the turmoil I was feeling.  I will have to tackle my privileged Western guilt for another day, I suppose.

So we returned. The unpacking and the buying of groceries done. I had those eight weeks staring me in the face.  I will be honest: I still had this invisible stifling pressure bearing down on me, like a swimmer going deeper and deeper down in the water.

I knew I needed a game plan of how to handle NOT having a game plan, if that makes sense.

This is what I concluded would be the most beneficial way for me to deal with eight weeks of warm freedom:

*Wake early to write every morning after coffee outside with chickens and the dog

* Work in the garden every evening after dinner and daughters are organized to do their dinner duty

* Spend that time between my am and pm bookends of writing and gardening maintaining the house, keeping animals alive, raising daughters, maintaining a relationship with the husband, keeping up with others in my life via texting and prompt text reply, emailing, and actual face-to-face interaction, usually over food and alcohol.

* A few times a week volunteer at the local library

* Allow myself to see how I can serve at church

 

That is pretty much it.

My writing/gardening is strictly weekdays.

My in between writing/gardening that allows home maintenance feels like a luxury of unprecedented time, that calms me more than I can say.

My volunteer times are at set times and days, otherwise the pressing, draining need that are the nature of volunteer organizations will drain a person until they burn out.

This leaves ample room to allow my relationships with others to expand, unfurl, send out runners, like cucumbers in July.

Not to say I only keep up relationships in the summer, that would be odd. But it is undeniable that it is easier and therefore more pleasant in the summer. It repairs the damaged widening riff of my winter silence.

Without breathing room for relationships human existence gets dwarfed, sometimes to the point of blight-ridden and shriveled so much so he or she no longer even looks like their real selves.  For the believer in Christ, this is especially damaging as the spiritual relationship with the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, is the springboard in which all our other relationships stay healthy, life-giving, bear good fruit.

Really, isn’t that what we all love about Summer so much?

It is the season of good fruit.

I’m no artist, but I love painting outside signs for my garden.

The fact that they soon get covered in nature and will be completely rotten in a few years, takes the pressure off to make it look like something I bought; lets me not be bothered by the fact it looks like something an elementary student did.

Cheers.

 

why I wrote a manifesto

It has been over six weeks since I posted anything here at manyslices.

There are lots of reasons. The big one: we finally moved!

Also, because I was not sure exactly why I should keep writing once we get the internet at our house.  Yes, that is right…it has been four weeks now with no internet at our house. A situation that needs to be fixed!

Not being on social media, makes you take a long hard look at social media.

Just like moving makes you take a long hard look at why exactly you are making such a drastic, expensive life change.

It comes down to the bigger picture and belief in the why of life.  Or at least the why pertaining to why we do what we are doing in our life.

As I write this it is our third day at Cape May, NJ.

Our annual Spring marriage time out:

I suddenly have more time, less stress, and wi-fi!

Shortly before moving I read a link on a blog my cousin writes about the importance of having a manifesto attached to your blog as a way of making the point of your writing space more clear for your readers and for yourself.

Clarity is good.

And hard to come by.

But between packing, and negotiating contracts, and worrying about mortgages and rent at the same time, manifestos for my personal blog got put on the lukewarm, out of near sight, back burners.

I missed writing, however.  And so I knew that I needed to continue when I could.

So before I could dive into a particular post I needed to spend time on the why I decided.

Why should you read this?

What is it I believe?

And what is the overall theme of this space?

So please check out my “many slices manifesto” at the top of my page. Or simply click this link.

Read it slow, resisting the urge to speed read an over 1000 word anything when on the web.

I hope to be back soon with lots of photography and stories and perspectives of what it is like at our new country house and home.

Cheers.

TIME_five minute friday

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“time is all we have”

“the times they are a changing”

“no man knows his time”

and my personal favorite:

“time is more like a time-y whime-y wibbly wobbly…thing” {David Tennent in Doctor Who}.

We see the times, we feel the times.

We look back and shake our heads at the speed of it.

We look around and see it slipping pass us, tugging at us like persistent wind.

We try to peer ahead into it, a gypsy with her own concocted magic ball, and try to conjure a concrete good future, but let’s face it, most of it is swirling unknown mist.

When I think of the word TIME I recall Moses at the burning bush.

Taking off his sandals at this wonder he can’t wrap his head around, but instinctively trembles at:

He wanted to name it, asked his unknown God why couldn’t he and his people have a definitive name just like everyone else’s gods.

The answer:

The Great I AM.

A kinda lousy answer for those of us who needs specifics.

But the only right answer.

Time and God dwell in the same realm:

Near as your breath, awesome in its reach, and a bit of a mystery, but good.

Stop.

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Linking up today over at Kate’s place for another Five Minute Friday.

A great group of hearing, writing souls, on the best work day of the week.

Click to read lots of thoughtful, quick posts, or get brave and write your own.

Cheers.

 

 

Reflect_five minute friday

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I look at 2015 and quite frankly I see a mess.

I see my quitting my job because I am falling apart and can’t keep it f%*#))$ together.

I see God opening up a door and letting my four daughter’s school and my new employment be in the rural school district where my husband has worked for a decade; another county away, 45 minute commute.

I see how when I decided to do the crazy 31days of writing challenge here of FMF, it fell exactly at the same time when I was in between jobs and falling apart and needed a life line, please!

Writing, along with others or course, was a pecked out life line.

When I reflect on 2015 I see us putting our house on the market, again; 3rd time,

and waiting with expectant hope in a God who  blesses-

shaken together

pressed down

running over.

When I reflect on 2015 I see a God who just shows up.

Stop.

Linking up with the talented brave souls over at Kate’s place for a Five Minute Friday Link Up.  Read more by clicking on the link to be blessed and inspired OR get brave you…yes, I am talking you!…and submit your very own.

Writing real and brave is a fix that needs no withdrawal.

Cheers.

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With Jesus it is always “OKAY”.

{Thank you writer John Greene and Hollywood and Instantgram for the inspiration of my twelve-year-old’-birthday- party. She has read Fault In Our Stars twice and watched the movie twice too.

Post,

Cheers!

 

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.

Why?

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.

Cheers.

WRITE_five minute friday

two evenings in a row

that witching time when dinner is done but bedtime routines are far off

that narrow slice of my 18 hour whirlwind day

i’ve blown it

i’ve blown it by plopping down in front of this very keyboard and pc screen i am in front of now

{with dust and crumbs between the spaces of the clicking letters, smudges on the screen, graffiti and trash on the desk top they sit upon}

and intending to read some long neglected blog writers who seldom fail to not inspire or make me smile and or think,

or intending to click out my own contribution to write and publish

i, instead, mess around with my blog “bling”

you know, all the cool tech-y stuff on your blog margins

the comment tracker

the  link ups

the facebook like button

a category cloud

author grid

stats

my goodreads reviews

the thing is i am satisfied, dare i say, happy, with my WRITING but not my “blog presence” as the social lingo goes

did i mention that i suck at all things technical?

we are taking dyslexic and ADD

so my golden hour of ignoring my children, house, laundry, becomes hijacked

i am mad and discouraged

i say irrational things like:

“i hate people and the internet”!

then this week at a Bible study and worship group i can not get into the songs and worship

my mind is so full of chatter from dozens concerns

and i hear it:

the word “un-clutter”

getting out my pen and small purse-sized notebook i always carry

i WRITE it down

&

of the three specific areas The Lord is talking to me right now

what is at the top of the list:

my writing and my blog

really?

there are people around me tonight i know who are battling cancer, tying to claw there away from a childhood or a marriage filled with abuse

and i am scribbling down notes about a blog!

the other two were specifics about my homeschooling and my intimacy with my  husband {which is so more serious, so i don’t feel quite so shallow}

un-cluttered

and so all blog bling has disappeared into the black hole of the internet

my new look on this old site is un-clutterd

just my words

words i try to make brave and true and lovely and sometimes sarcastic

for you

Cheers.

Linking up with the brave talented writer Lisa Jo Baker, for her 5 minute friday link up

a group of people who just WRITE

simply WRITE

simply WRITE

five minute friday:WRITE

ideas are cumbersome loads to try to carry around in cute little purses

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feelings are slippery little faeries that flit and taunt and exasperate

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truth is light that seemingly filters and changes as we cock our head, squint our eye, shift our restless feet

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WRITING

-like photography-

captures the cumbersome load

the slippery faerie

the spectrum of light

some things are worth capturing

calling your own

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regardless how awkward that which we want to carry never seems to settle easy into the curve of our own hip

some things beckon, even when common sense says :

“surely , rational, busy, adults should think it better to not indulge”

and truth JUST IS-

the squinting and readjusting does not really change the power of the sun, you simply are recalibrating the glare

And so I write

tacking it down in a journal, on my mac laptop in dimly lit cafes, for my eyes only

or pining it up here

bloglandia wander land 

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because so much

is out there

Cheers

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*PLEASE NOTE:    “bloglandia wonderland”   is not a real thing…just something I made up.

It links you to Five Minute Friday