This Writing Life

 

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Currently, my writing garden is mostly clumps of dirt. Wet, heavy, soggy, bogged down clumps of dirt.  (Trying to insert a garden metaphor to this post – seeds and all that)

People talk about their muse, and only being able to write when she shows up.  Is the muse always a she? Other’s talk about writing whether she shows up or not.  They say writing is a discipline so make it a daily habit.  I see the argument on both sides, however, I tend to lean more toward the needing to be inspired category of writing. If I try to write when there is no inspiration it feels flat (much like what I’m writing now, but I will muddle through because you have a right to know if I’ve stopped writing or not).  I’d like to know the answer to that as well.

I hope I’ve not stopped writing, but the truth is that for a long while the words have been scant (like a garden without flowers. Sorry).  I mentioned it several months ago.

I love words and how they interact; I love aligning words to paint a picture (or arrange them into a lovely bouquet. again, sorry).  The writing of words is in my blood.  I can’t imagine a life without writing.

The truth is I’m struggling with words and life and fatigue.  I feel as if I’ve lost my passion for all the things that make my heart go pitty-pat.  I’ve been so consumed with caregiving and managing my own self-care that frankly, I’ve become depleted.  I’m not complaining, just trying to put the absence of words in perspective.

I’ve done a lot of thinking and wondering lately if maybe this season of life does not include writing.  Is it possible that I’m to put the pen and paper on the shelf for a time so I can concentrate on other priorities?  I don’t have any clear answers.

What I do know is that my husband needs my support; my parent’s health needs require our help and my own health needs dictate that I must have proper rest in order to not deplete my energy or cause a flare. Most days that is all I can manage.  So, I don’t write.

I also know that social media hogs more of my free time than I’d like to admit.  Because it’s easy and doesn’t require much effort or brain power.  The time would be better spent reading which is a necessary thing for writers to be doing.

I miss the not writing.  I think a few of you might too, based on some things  others have said.  I don’t want to neglect the gift of writing and I don’t want to take it for granted. I don’t want to be presumptuous and assume that people can’t live without my words, but I also don’t want to let down the handful of people who tell me my writing is meaningful to them.

So, I’ve plucked the petals one by one, to write, not to write, to write….  Do I shut down the blog, keep it open without writing, or make an effort to write at least once a week or….. on and on.  What about social media? Reading? You get the picture.  I’m really not clear at this point.

So, what does all this mean?

  1.  For now, the blog will stay open (you can go back to the beginning and read all the posts if you’d like).
  2. There will not be a regular posting schedule (nothing new about that). In all honesty, I wouldn’t expect much until Fall ish.
  3. I will write when I can and if you subscribe you will get an email when I do.
  4. I may participate in the 31 Days of writing this October.
  5. I have already done away with my blog Facebook page and will be spending less time on my personal Facebook page.
  6. I’m rarely on twitter and will consider dumping it entirely
  7. I really don’t understand google + and never go there so will dump that account if it’s not necessary for my gmail.
  8. I don’t have Instagram (wrong phone) but would love an account. Because pictures. I enjoy taking pictures and sometimes they speak when words can’t or won’t.
  9. I will attempt to read more for spiritual growth and for writing growth.
  10. I will be spending time praying about the direction of my writing. I appreciate your prayers too.
  11. This fall I will be attending a writers workshop which will help give some clarity.
  12. I will update you when I have more insight. Please be patient I don’t know how long it will take.
  13. Comments are useful and welcome as I would love to know your thoughts.

In conclusion – I am a writer.  Who is not writing much these days. Rather than stringing words together in a passionate fevered pitch and seeing them bloom on the page, it has been more like standing in a downpour turning clods of dirt. While I’m being drenched by the deluge, I will continue to plant seeds in hopes that they will not wash away and in due time will produce a harvest.  (How’s that for a garden metaphor).

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Digging in grace,

Teresa

 

 

 

 

 

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And I Pray Hard

This post has been hard for me to write and I’ve struggled with whether or not I even need to share. I’ve embarked on a health journey that will be an ongoing part of my story. Writing about it helps me see how I am processing and will hopefully give me perspective. Since you sometimes read what I write, you too are part of my story, so I thought maybe you wouldn’t mind if I shared with you.  The original post was too long, so I have broken it down. Today’s part is more general and reflective after living a  year of discovery that led to a diagnosis of a chronic autoimmune disease. The main take away is that God is faithful, even when I have questions; especially when I have questions.

And I Pray Hard

God is good, even when life is not.  I know that.  But yet, sometimes I wonder why he allows me to suffer.  I find myself wondering why I’m being punished.  I know that is not Biblically sound, so I try to banish that kind of thinking immediately.  Even though I know better,  I wait for the other shoe to drop.

I remind myself of all the good that God has bestowed on me and remember the times he has restored my health, but I still find myself wavering on a shaky tightrope between faith that he will heal and fretting that maybe I’ve run out of get-well tickets.  Again, I know that is faulty thinking.  I know better.  And I pray hard because I don’t want to give in to such fear.

Because it is fear brought on by attacks of the enemy who is constantly trying to defeat our walk of faith.   If he can convince us that God is out to get us then he can render us useless and a quivering heap on the floor, bound by fear, unable to fulfill God’s purpose for our life.

Even in those times when we need healing, and God chooses otherwise, he is still good, and we can still have faith in his promises.  He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.  He is faithful.  I know that, and I cling to that and do my best to head in the direction of hope.  And I pray hard, thanking God for his goodness even in the midst of my bad. 

Life for me last year was a very up and down journey that ranged from despair and depression to faith and hope and back again.  I’m sure over time I will be able to unwrap some beautiful gifts from the journey.  I do believe that in all that is hard, God works on our behalf and teaches us great truths.  When bad things happen to us, he doesn’t leave us to stumble in the dark.  He is right beside us, holding us under his feathers.  He knows life can be scary and uncertain, but he also knows that he is our only certainty.  I know that too.

The truth is we live in a fallen world that is rampant with sin and disease.  Sometimes, for reasons we may never know or understand, we fall prey to the fallen.  We know that bad things do happen to good people.  But God, in his great merciful love for us, holds us tight in those times and works on our behalf. We don’t always get the answer we are hoping for, but we always have the hope of our father.  In his time, he will make all things right.  Some of us may suffer this side of heaven, but he knows all about suffering, and he knows how to comfort.  And I pray hard because I need his mercy and comfort as I live in a fallen world.

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Praying hard for grace,

Teresa

5 Things 2015 Wanted Me To Know

100_4469.21. NOD TO THE NOT (it’s ok to pause)

It’s ok NOT to choose a word for the year.  I had chosen a word in previous years but at the beginning of 2015 it just wasn’t a priority.  I survived the year without a special focus word.

Taking a blogging break is ok.  I trusted that my loyal readers, those that are my community, would not forget about me and would be waiting to encourage me when I came back.  They didn’t, and they were.

2. THE WORDS WILL COME, GIVE THEM TIME (After all, you are a writer)

I rediscovered the joy of using a pencil on paper.  Nothing can compare to that sweet, scratchy sound.  I need to practice this art more often.

Even though the writing was meager in 2015 and not writing scared me a little, I learned to trust that, in God’s time, the words would flow again. Because I have to write.

I want my writing to make people feel as if they have come home.

Hope*ologie was great, but Hope*writers is even better. I need a writer(ly) community that says what I do matters.

3. PRACTICE CONSISTENCY AND OBEDIENCE (how hard can it be)

I’m not a morning person, and there is no shame in that.  Not being a morning person may sometimes mean that I do better with my quiet time in the evening rather than the morning.  One thing I’m learning about quiet time is that consistency is key.  Regular time in the word is beneficial no matter what time of day you engage.

Sacrificing for Lent is not the point.  Sacrifice is nothing without obedience.  Obedience is a daily submission to God’s will for my life.  Godly obedience is not the kind of obedience that sounds like a bunch of rules.  Rather, it is a willingness to give Him complete control  It is 365 days a year, including the forty days of Lent.

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4. EMBRACE  THERAPY, ACCEPTANCE, AND RESTORATION  (God is your buckler)

Binge watching 7th Heaven preached to me in lots of ways; it was my therapy for a large chunk of time during the first half of 2015.  One of my favorite posts in 2015 was What I Learned From Watching 7th Heaven.

Y’all, I fell in love with Southwestern Virginia.  We spent some lovely days visiting a friend and explored the back roads near her hometown.  It was restorative and gave me much Joy In My Father’s World. And, lots of pictures.

Back in 2013, I realized that I need to make peace with My mom having Alzheimer’s, but it wasn’t until sometime in 2015 that I was able to accept that it is what it is, and only God has all the answers.  Instead of wasting time grieving over what we’ve lost, I’m starting to embrace the path we are on and I’m beginning to realize that you can never truly lose someone, you just adjust to a new normal.

More than ever in 2015 the truth in Psalm 18:2 sustained me:

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

I  also relied on Psalm 91 and knowing that he covers me with his feathers; He is my buckler which according to Merriam-Webster means “one that shields and protects.”  I have discovered that I love the word buckler.

I also found strength from the support of my husband. He takes care of me and loves me well. I love doing life with him.

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5. ENJOY A SEASON OF STRENGTH AND QUIET (embrace the real you)

I’ve always loved Autumn, but this year I realized that the way I describe Autumn also describes me.  Makes perfect sense.

I see Fall as both a little bit spicy and practical.  It is no-nonsense, but serendipitous all at the same time.  It is a warm hug as well as a brusque nod in passing. It is a steadfast heart that loves without condition, but won’t be trampled.  It is chaotic and fragile, but stands strong in the storm.  It is a little rough around the edges, as well as gloriously beautiful in spirit.  Like me.

2015 taught me that by God’s grace I am stronger than I think.

October loves me – she sent me several postcards this year during the 31 Days Writing Challenge

November is a melancholy month when the skies are gray and somber, and the first real chill is in the air.  Lights come on earlier, and we settle in for quieter evenings. I’m ok with that. Because I’m a little bit melancholy.

Advent is a time of waiting for “Emmanuel, God with us“, or as my mother says, “I’m so happy, God is in the house.”  A welcome note of praise to celebrate the arrival of the Christ Child…

and then, we slipped quietly from one year into the next.

Growing in grace,

Teresa

Linking up with Emily for What I Learned in 2015

Quiet Christmas

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This year is different.  Priorities have changed. Christmas is quiet. Making time for family and friends is intentional.  Hustle and bustle are are not welcome. Instead, we are waiting for Christmas.  “God is in the house” and “Jesus is here somewhere”  are the overriding themes as we prepare him room.  

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One of the ways we have prepared him room is to take a less is more approach.  we’ve been doing this the past few years, but this year we did even less. We kept it basic and simple and left room for peace to enter our hearts and time to focus on the Christ Child.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

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Our hope is that you are finding ways to celebrate that bring peace to your heart and that you too are waiting for Christmas.

Even though we kept the decorations simple, I’ve captured a few photo memories to share with you.  Enjoy!

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Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey,on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

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I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12

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I also wanted to share a picture of the tin can drummer boy my father made – I think it is very folk artsy. And, even though we didn’t put up a tree this year, I took a picture of my parent’s little tree to share and included a picture of my tree from last year.

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Thanks for stopping by!  If you’d like to see how others are decorating for Christmas, be sure to stop by the Nester’s tour of homes where several other bloggers are linking up today.  If you have a blog you may want to link-up as well.

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I’ve been writing a weekly advent devotional – you can find them by clicking the titles: Waiting On Pure Delight (week 1), Watching For God With Us (Week 2) and Preparing To Make Him Room (week 3).  Come back next week and join me for Week 4 where we’ll talk about Praising his coming.

 

 

Quieting in Grace,

Teresa

 

Learning in October

I see Fall as both a little bit spicy and practical.  It is no-nonsense, but serendipitous all at the same time.  It is a warm hug as well as a brusque nod in passing. It is a steadfast heart that loves without condition, but won’t be trampled.  It is chaotic and fragile, but stands strong in the storm.  It is a little rough around the edges, as well as gloriously beautiful in spirit.  Like me.  (Teresa L. Hardymon)

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I always refer to October as mine.  I mean, I’m happy to share her with you, but she is my October.  And, she did not disappoint this month.  The color came on slow, intensified just when I thought she was going to fade without much splash, then lingered just a few days before blowing away on the winds of change.

I went on a girls excursion last week with a friend.  We left on Wednesday and remarked that there wasn’t a lot of color yet.  By Friday, October had exploded all over the place and the color was wonderful.  It was enough to make me shout praises.  I went crazy and took lots of pictures which I shared here.

Then, a couple of days later, when the color was still good, but falling and the light was more gray than bright, I took a gander around my own small, hometown and took lots more pictures which I shared here.

October sent me several postcards which I shared on several days as part of the #write31days event.  She really loves me a lot, which is why she sent me the cards.  Just to remind me of all she has to offer.

In addition to all the love, there were a few things I discovered this month that I thought I’d share with you just in case they might be of interest or help to you too.

THE PERFECT PURSE –  How did I not discover the perfect purse before?  For years, I have struggled to find a purse that I love to carry and that loves me back.  I find a bag, love the look or color, imagine that we’ll have a long relationship, but then disappointment inevitably settles in and I’m once again on the hunt.   I think the hunt is over!  I discovered the bucket bag (mine is similar and this one is on my wish list too).  It has been wonderful. It was half-price which was great as well.  In September I wrote about what was in my purse.  I loved that orange bag and still do, but it is frustrating to carry, because everything shifts around and I’m always digging to find stuff.  NO MORE!  The bucket bag keeps everything exactly where I put it!  I started carrying this bag around the first of October and I have yet to be frustrated.  Everything has a place and stays there.  I can find things.  The strap is adjustable so I can balance it just right for me.  It sets comfortably on my shoulder without slipping.  I finally have a bag that is stylish, roomy, comfortable and organized.

NEW FAVORITE ARTIST –  I love good music.  I love being in a small intimate group listening to live music.  I had the opportunity earlier this month to do just that.  One of our favorite little pizza hangouts, Pasquales, has been having live music.  Many evenings, it includes my nephew, Austin, and his friend, Andrew, who make up the band The Mountain Sound.  On the particular night we went to Pasquales they were performing with other musicians from the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music which is part of the MSU music department.  They performed as Blurred lines and I met a new favorite singer,  Becki Alfrey.  The girl can sing.  She did a lot of Patsy Cline numbers and it was just heavenly.  She doesn’t have a CD out yet, but I’m hoping she does soon.

GO TO YOUR CLASS REUNION –  I’ve never gone to one of my class reunions. ever. Until this October.  And it wasn’t an official reunion.  It was a non-reunion year, when a group from our class wanted to have a little get together at a local bowling alley.  They set up a Facebook invite and invited everyone they could think of from our class.  I received the invite and thought maybe, but probably not.  My friend T and I discussed it.  We were both leaning towards not.  I said, well, let’s keep our options open.  The day of I was pretty sure I wasn’t going, then T called to check in and said we were going.  So, that was that.  I AM SO GLAD I WENT.  It was just a small group, but it was a great time of catching up and remembering.  We loved it so much that everyone decided to make it an annual thing.  I can’t wait to go next year.  I won the prize for being married the longest (31 years).  I don’t know why I waited so long.  Sometimes it was logistics because I lived too far away.  A lot of times it was the awkwardness of not having seen anyone but a handful of people since high school.  What I learned from this event is that in many ways we are the same people we were then, but in so many ways we have matured into the what I want to be when I grow up version.  We have lived life with it’s challenges, lessons and gifts.  We know how important friends can be.  We have a shared history together, as well as our own history lived apart.  Going forward we will make new history together.

RACCOONS ARE NOT AFRAID OF US, Y’ALL –  My parents have had a raccoon visit them several times this month.  It nearly attacked my dad on the first visitation, brushing against him on it’s way by his chair.  Then, on another evening, when my mom was sitting on the porch by her lonesome, he got a little braver and they made contact which resulted in a few scratches on her hand and ankle.  She yelled pretty loud and I heard her while siting in my kitchen.  I called to make sure everyone was ok, and went over to check on the scratches.  I called our local animal control guy, who said he didn’t have a trap and wanted to know if my dad had a gun (not sure exactly what his job description is supposed to be, evidently it doesn’t cover coons).  We thought about borrowing a trap and trapping him, so we could make sure he didn’t have rabies.  But, since the scratches were surface and the coon hadn’t shown any signs before or after the incident of being rabid, and after reading up about such things on the internet, we decided my mom was safe and not in danger of getting rabies.  Since it is now was well past the incubation period  and nothing has happened yet, I think we’re safe.  The coon showed up a couple more times, but hasn’t been seen recently, so I’m guessing he has moved on.  We hope.

I CAN’T DO EVERYTHING –  I’ve been slowly, but surely, giving myself permission to slow down and not worry if every “i” is dotted or “t” is crossed.  I’m trying to look at what I have done and be thankful, rather than feeling guilty about what I haven’t done.  Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than others are, and we set higher expectations than necessary.

TAKE THE MEDICATION ALREADY – I have also been learning that sometimes taking medication is our best option and if we are willing, it can help us to feel better.  I’ve recently been diagnosed with MCTD, an autoimmune disease (I hate that word). Thankfully, it appears that I’m not showing major attacks on my body yet and my doctor wants to get it in remission before it gets worse, so I’ve had to take a new medication to help build up my immune system and help with pain. The aches and pains are better, however the deep, deep fatigue lingers.  Which is why number 4 is necessary.  Taking naps is also becoming a necessary part of my daily routine and this too is a learning curve.  I’m sure this journey will teach me many things.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

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I am learning in grace,

Teresa

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman and others over at Chatting At The Sky for the October What I Learned.  Won’t you join the party?

Small Town Memories

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Dear One,

I’m so glad you enjoyed the picture show the other day from Shaker Village. Those images will bring you many happy memories of time spent there.

Today, I’m inspired to show you the beauty of your small town.  I’m glad you took the time recently to look close to home for the memories that are ready to be made right outside your own front door.  There are some lovely spots to capture gorgeous Autumn.

Such as Lover’s Lane, trees and houses around town, a church, the big tree in your former Principal’s yard, the Middle School and a small town cityscape.

I hope seeing the beauty in your home town will establish your sense of place. Because we all need to belong.  We all need a sense of place.

There are lots of pictures!  Enjoy!

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Making memories in grace,

Teresa

All photos were taken in Flemingsburg, Kentucky and are the property of StoneLeaf & Co.  Please don’t use without permission.

This is days 28-30 of a 31 day series. Click image to go to the series home page.
This post is for days 28-30 of a 31 day series. Click image to go to the series home page.
Click image to see the response posts from my sister’s blog
Click image to see the response posts from my sister’s blog