Tuesdays Unwrapped

It’s been nearly six months since John stepped down from his position as youth pastor, a title he held for twelve years. We have enjoyed these past months, remembering why he is a pastor, learning the shape of his soul.childrenWe have been quietly attending a small church near downtown. The kids did well with the transition – but I am a woman who, as a girl, moved around churches and schools and states like it was my job (I only exaggerate a littleso I probably haven’t given them much room to not do well. I mean come on, we didn’t move houses or schools or anything. Just church.

I realize it isn’t fair or thoughtful of me to filter their experience through my own. Just because I grew up with more extreme life transitions doesn’t mean theirs isn’t valid or difficult.

They haven’t been thrilled with leaving what was familiar to them and we’ve made some space to talk about it. But this month, something is happening I didn’t hope to expect. They’ve started to like this new, small gathering of believers. They’ve not wanted to miss, have asked if we could play with friends after church.

This past Sunday, they sang one song during an evening service with the other children. They were eager to participate and seemed to have fun, but most of the kids are younger than they are. During group performances at our former church, they blended in with the group. But on Sunday our daughter was the tallest one on stage and she didn’t seem sure about how to handle that feeling. I don’t think she’ll want to do that again. Sometimes it hurts to grow up.

I suppose we will have insecurities no matter where our feet take us. But we are continuing to walk to new places even though sometimes we find things we don’t like. Today I’m thankful for new friends, for the space to remember how the Spirit speaks to us, and safe places to feel insecure.

Tuesdays Unwrapped 2013

I hope you’ll choose one gift of your ordinary day and find the miracle secret it holds. Write it out, breathe it in, capture its image, see it new. And then come here to tell us all about it by linking up below. If you are new to this community, here is all the information you’ll need to prepare your post. All are welcome.

Our Final Tuesdays Unwrapped: I’ve enjoyed these few weeks of unwrapping simple gifts with you. Thankful for this space for our community to share the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected gifts of our regular lives. We’re so glad you’re here.

Tuesdays Unwrapped

It was a Friday, not a Tuesday. But it was a moment worth unwrapping. John, in the front yard of my sister’s house, playing football with our kids and her kids. The day was cold so I mainly watched from the window. But I stood there for longer than was necessary.

footballIt felt like home, watching them all together like that. Being on the land, standing in the warm living room, listening to Mom and Myquillyn chat in the kitchen about how much longer the ham needed to cook.

footballI loved every minute of it. We live in these moments. We live with these people — who teach me to listen, to forgive, to have patience, to understand. These are the moments that make a life, rounding out the jagged edges of lists and deadlines and everyday schedules.

footballBut these moments come small and silent in the midst of our busy days. The won’t beg to be unwrapped, they simply present themselves and move softly on. May we have eyes to see them today.

Tuesdays Unwrapped 2013

I hope you’ll choose one gift of your ordinary day and find the miracle secret it holds. Write it out, breathe it in, capture its image, see it new. And then come here to tell us all about it by linking up below. If you are new to this community, here is all the information you’ll need to prepare your post. All are welcome.

A gentle reminder: I’m happy to offer this space for our community to share the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected gifts of our regular lives. Thank you for respecting this space and not using this as an opportunity to market your lovely products. Let’s keep this a simple time of honoring our moments and unwrapping the day. We’re so glad you’re here.

Tuesdays Unwrapped

Every time I walk up my stairs, my eyes follow a long, curvy line of ink that travels just beneath the banister. I’m guessing my son is the artist, though I haven’t asked around.

home

The ink has been there for weeks, maybe months? I’m not sure. But I notice it everyday now.

I know what you might be thinking. It’s Tuesdays Unwrapped, so Emily is going to say how normally that ink would bother her but today she’s remembering how it represents children young and still at home. And so she’s going to leave that ink mark there on the wall as a sweet reminder.

Nope.

Every time I see that ink mark, I remind myself to clean it when I come back downstairs. Then, like giving a mouse a cookie, I think how I shouldn’t just clean the ink but actually the whole wall needs painting.

I reach the top step thinking about Sherwin Williams Alabaster White and then remember reading somewhere that the White House paint is called Whisper and by the time I come back downstairs, the ink is forgotten.

Today, the gift is two-fold.

One, the ink is forgotten. There was a time several years ago – five maybe? – where ink on walls would have had me angry, searching for someone to blame. But the truth is it’s just not that big of a deal. And I celebrate the gift of my own growing up, my own ability to recognize what needs my attention and what doesn’t.

The second part of this gift? I also celebrate my children growing up. This is supposed to happen. I don’t need to try to hold on to marks on the wall or handprints on windows in an attempt to somehow preserve their childhood.

There is not something wrong with the universe when my daughter, nearly as tall as I am, can slip my shoes on to play outside and they don’t fall off.

Sometimes I gawk at her, breathless as I watch her run out to her bike with the movements of a girl but the growing body of a young woman. Sometimes it feels like the world has gone mad because this is my baby girl!

But this is supposed to happen, this growing and changing. And I celebrate a girl growing up.

I celebrate a boy who should know better than to write on walls but does it anyway.

I celebrate my almost-ten years of parenting that has taught me not to freak out about little things.

What do you celebrate today?

Tuesdays Unwrapped 2013

I hope you’ll choose one gift of your ordinary day and find the miracle secret it holds. Write it out, breathe it in, capture its image, see it new. And then come here to tell us all about it by linking up below. If you are new to this community, here is all the information you’ll need to prepare your post. All are welcome.

an invitation to unwrap your Tuesdays

It’s no secret I have a thing for Tuesday.

This blog is called Chatting at the Sky because of a line in a song called Tuesday by Sarah Masen. Tuesday is the most sensible day of the week. It is a perfectly ordinary, no-fuss, introverted day.

red berries

What happens on our Tuesdays is usually not very extraodinary. Which is exactly why it is so important. Here is where we keep time, in this home with these people and this skin on. Here, on this ordinary Tuesday, is where we learn to be human.

For those of you who have been around a while, you may remember we used to unwrap the daily gifts every Tuesday around here. Then in November of 2010, I had to stop hosting Tuesdays Unwrapped every week. For the past two years, I brought it back just for the month of December and this year, we’re doing it again.

tuesdays-unwrapped-700x155

I hope you’ll join in on Tuesday December 3, 10, and 17 during the season of Advent as we celebrate on purpose the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected gifts of our daily rhythm. I hope you’ll choose one gift of your ordinary day and find the miracle secret it holds. Write it out, breathe it in, capture its image, see it new.

And then come here to tell us all about it by linking up.

Tuesdays Unwrapped 2013If you are new to this community, here is all the information you’ll need to prepare your post.

If you would like to see some examples of the types of posts people share, you can check out some from last year.

I hope to see you next Tuesday.

Speaking of link ups, I’m planning to post my Things I Learned in November here on Friday – I know it’s probably the worst possible day for a linky because US Thanksgiving and all, but I can’t figure a better time to do it. So I’ll post this Friday and you can link up your posts with me any time between this Friday and next Friday, December 6. And let me just say I have learned Some Things this month. It’s linkys all around!

tuesdays unwrapped

tuesdays unwrapped

It’s Tuesday in December, and that means we’re unwrapping the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected. Whether you are in a season of work or rest, celebration or grief, take a moment to see where you are, who you’re with, and what might be worth unwrapping. Will you take a moment and unwrap your moments here with us? Need help linking up? This post should answer your questions.




tuesdays unwrapped

“I think it is more important to celebrate a birthday than a successful exam, a promotion, or a victory. Because to celebrate a birthday means to say to someone: Thank you for being you. Celebrating a birthday is exalting life and being glad for it. On a birthday we do not say: Thanks for what you did, or said, or accomplished. No, we say: Thank you for being born and being among us.

Henri  Nouwen, Here and Now

birthday cake

My sister-in-law had a birthday this weekend. We all went out to eat together, kids gathered on one end with crayons and cups with lids. After the meal, we went back to her house, piled on couches in their living room, offered her gifts and listened to stories.

We didn’t make a whole day of it or go over the top with decoration. But we did get together. And there was definitely singing.

We do this same type of simple gathering for every birthday in the family, from the littles to the bigs, both on my husband’s side of the family as well as on mine. Every time we sing Happy Birthday, I tear up. I can’t help it. And now, after reading Henri Nouwen, I understand a little more of why.

You are here. You are you. Thank you for being among us.

It’s the second Tuesday in December, and that means we’re unwrapping the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected.

This is your life, where you are right now, the things you hold in your hand. Whether you are in a season of work or rest, celebration or grief, take a moment to see where you are, who you’re with, and what might be worth unwrapping. Will you take a moment and unwrap your moments here with us? Need help linking up? This post should answer your questions.



tuesdays unwrapped 2012

The book is due in less than a week and the computer decides today would be a great day to run out of space. I dared not close out my document, moved instead to save it. No luck – no more space for documents. No more room in the inn.

That’s a terrible comparison. I take it back.

I go into Finder to check out just how crowded it is in there and would you believe that not only do I still have complete copies of my first two books saved in my documents, I also had page proofs and corrected proofs saved as well? That means I had three copies of Grace for the Good Girl and three copies of Graceful on this computer, not to mention all the other hundreds of files.

And all the while I work away at this next manuscript all Save-y McSaverson, and my computer finally stops being a good girl and shouts enough, woman. Clean me out already.

I found the old files, moved them to the trash, waited the twenty minutes it took for the trash to empty. I do exaggerate, and I do know I have the manuscript backed up in several other places already, but one thing I do not do? I do not freak out.

When things like this have happened before, I have freaked out. I have run (and fast) down the road of crazy, insisting I needed a new computer, cry into the sleeve of my dirty sweatshirt, gnash teeth and hate everything. I have done that and then I have calmed down and done all the things I actually did first this time. Like realize it’s not that big of a deal, delete some files, and carry on.

I’m not saying I won’t ever freak out again, but I’m thankful for progress.

It’s Tuesday in December, and that means we’re unwrapping the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected. For me today, I’m unwrapping the gift of avoiding the messy and facing the unexpected without falling apart.

Now, do you know what is happening in me as I realize this is what is coming out for my first Tuesdays Unwrapped post? I feel compelled to delete it and share instead something about my family or my home, something to prove that I’m not a workaholic and I do see things beyond my computer screen, afterall.

But I think that would be a mistake and would miss the entire point of what we’re doing here in this space. This is your life, where you are right now, the things you hold in your hand. Whether you are in a season of work or rest, celebration or grief, take a moment to see where you are and not where you wish you were instead.

Taste the air of the moments that surround you and unwrap them here with us. We can’t wait to have a peek.


the kind of gift to unwrap early

It’s dark in the bathroom and the floor is cold. My mind moves slowly as I stand there blinking my way into the day. Staring at my feet with intensity, I will them to either move toward a shower or just head straight for the coffee.

In that brief moment, light falls through the window soft, across the rug, the tiles, my feet. Just as quickly, it fades out again and I’m in the dark. I turn my head to the left and peek outside to see where the brief light came from.

The sky is still dark with the gray of morning but the heaviness lifts for a moment. Then a cloud passes over the moon.

And so it’s December and the gifts can pass by like light from the moon peeking through clouds in the night. Too fast, too fleeting. Let’s slow a little together and unwrap the gifts that are hard to hold.

For those of you who have been around a while, you may remember we used to unwrap these daily gifts every Tuesday around here. Then in November of 2010, I had to stop for a while. Last year, I brought it back just for the month of December and this year, we’re doing it again.

I hope you’ll join in on Tuesdays during the season of Advent as we celebrate on purpose the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected gifts of our daily rhythm. For tomorrow, I hope you’ll choose one gift of your ordinary day and find the miracle secret it holds. Write it out, breathe it in, capture its image, see it new. And then come here to tell us all about it by linking up.

If you are new to this community, here is all the information you’ll need to prepare your post. I hope to see you tomorrow.

update on speaking, books, and Tuesdays in December

My microwave is working overtime this morning. I’ve re-heated my coffee eight times already. Since my brain seems to only want to work in compartments today, I thought it appropriate to do a bullet point post. Ready?

  • I spent last weekend in South Carolina with the ladies at Shandon Baptist Church – what a lovely group. My dear friend Melissa traveled with me – have you met her? You should.
  • My next speaking gig isn’t until December 29. For any of you college girls in Cru, I’ll be at Encounter this year – the Mid South Regional Winter Conference. Let me know if I’ll see you there!
  • Graceful has been available for two months now. It is a relief to finally have her out in the world and I’ve enjoyed hearing from those of you who have read the book – either on your own or with your small groups. If you’ve read it, would you mind leaving a review at Amazon or Barnes and NobleI hate asking more than you could possibly know, but reviews are so helpful.
  • Remember that time I told you I was going to send out newsletters and then I did a few times and then I stopped? Yeah. I’d like to be a little more consistent with it. My goal is to send subscribers exclusive content, suggested reading, and short updates once a month. If you want to be sure to receive November’s, you can sign up here.
  • Book number 3 is due in less than five weeks. What? I know. I have nothing new to tell you about it except that I am thankful for the opportunity to write it. I can’t wait to share it with you next year.
  • Speaking of next year, I think we’ve finally passed the normal dates and are entering into the dates that, when we were kids, seemed futuristic. 2013? For real?
  • Now I’m just wasting your time.
  • One last thing! I’m thinking of bringing Tuesdays Unwrapped back just for the month of December again this year. Any thoughts on that? Would you want to play along?

tuesdays unwrapped :: the last one

It sounds simple: go outside, step into the quiet, if just for a few minutes, and see what rises to the surface. But we can’t do that! It’s almost Christmas! We must do that. It’s almost Christmas. This is perhaps one of the most frustrating disciplines I’ve faced lately. Mainly because what rises to the surface is not very spiritual sounding. It isn’t profound, deep, or even very interesting. I’m tired. My hair is dirty. That leaf looks like a puppy. But I keep walking, avoiding on purpose the temptation to critique myself. Just keep walking.

Things don’t change. Problems are not solved. Angels are not singing. Rainbows are not bursting from clouds. There is no light shining like a halo around me. Simply, I am quiet. And that is it’s own miracle. With the rhythm of walking, breathing, being with God and what is true about me, there is a slight and almost imperceptible shift. My frantic movements are not so frantic now. I see things I would have missed.

We tend to pray with words because we aren’t brave enough to pray from our groaning soul ache. And so we chatter away with our Dear God, just…and we miss him in the middle of all. this. noise. He’s still there, though. He doesn’t roll his eyes or cross his arms or tap his foot with impatience. He hears all the chattering and he sees what lies beneath it. Even in the noise, He gathers us up and pours Himself out.

I come home after my walk, cheeks red from the wind, camera filled up with images of hope, soul breathing more deeply. I spent the time listening, but I can’t tell you what I heard, exactly. The language of the soul doesn’t always translate well into English. Instead, I lean my weight heavy into Him, longing to live in the quiet even in the midst of the noise. I know that may not be possible, not the way I hope. But this walk was a gift for reasons I’m not really sure of yet. And for that I am thankful.

We would love to read about your Tuesday walk by inviting you to add your link below. Be sure to include the permalink to your Tuesday post. If you need help to link up, this page will hopefully answer all of your questions. Be sure to link back here to Chatting at the Sky so that others can find our community. If you wrote a regular Tuesdays Unwrapped post, by all means still link up! I’m delighted you are here and so thankful for this community. What a gift these Tuesdays have been. The links will be open to add until Thursday evening.