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it gives me a pit

deep in my gut

when i hear the words of women

harshly cutting

casting judgment

drawing lines in the sand

we war with words

“just a stay at home mom”

“why have kids if you’re not going to raise them”

words that divide

words that wound

words that soak in deep

judgments uninformed

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when we refuse to engage

we lose so much

because we envy?

all that time at home

the giggles and noise and every day together

all that adult conversation

quiet and concentration

the recognition of achievement

because we regret?

choices we made

to go to school

not to go to school

choices to have one more

or a dozen

choices to only have one

choices not to have one at all

choices to volunteer for the PTA

choices to teach our kids only at home

choices to advocate

choices to let them learn for themselves

choices we are making still

some living lives not chosen at all

choices carve caverns between us

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because we don’t take time

to contemplate

to try to understand

to look beyond the surface

we cut ourselves off

from others who live out

a story different from our own

we decline – not at all gracefully

to do the hard work

of hearing each other’s stories

of holding each other’s hands

of being each other’s friends

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well, i am standing down

refusing to contribute

cynicism and suspicion

assumption and criticism

walls between us

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i choose instead

to see the best

to assume there’s more

to listen

to really hear

to firmly put aside

defensiveness

anger

pride

to reach out

to stretch hard

to love relentlessly

women who mother one

women who mother many

women who do not mother

women at home, working

women at work, working

women working it out

every day, laying their lives down

making choices deeply considered

choices different from each other

choices to put our children first

to sacrifice for them

to be our best for them

to call out their best by our example

sisters all

daughters of the king

full of destiny

full of purpose

full of life

valuable and valued

worthwhile – every one

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one on encouragement

BTS

compassion, I get
and that’s close
to encouragement – it’s hard
to balance between
noticing good
and nagging for better
it’s in the tone
in the heart
in feeling out
the heart of another

how can i pour courage in?
how can i call courage out?
how can i help courage grow?

i know you can do it
you are so brave
so smart
so kind
so perservering
you did that well
i’m proud of you
i’ll be right here
how can i help?
i knew you could do it

BTS2

One on How I Take It

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not every day
not any more
since I endured
an aching head
letting habit go
because my tiny
daughter grew inside

not black alone
not any more
cream and sugar
sitting listening across
from new friends
an old one
someone needing time

not for speed
not anymore now
instead slowing down
to listen better
to really hear
for contemplation’s sake
taking it slow

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(photo credit: Erin Blinn Photography (c)2013)

One on Diving

Starting Blocks

I was a swimmer
Diving only from the blocks
Never the high dive

Which turned the water
An illusion
That might not break your fall

I was a swimmer
Who won by finishing
Without touching the lane line

Persistently, quickly
Churning out laps
Fly, back, breast, free

A tiny girl then
Before puberty conspired
To give me curves

Interfering with my aerodynamics
Aquadynamics?
Slowing me down

I was a teammate
Walking the length of the pool
Shouting encouragement loud

Before puberty conspired
To make me self-conscious
Afraid of what people might think

I have relearned fearlessness
In encouragement
Shouting loud celebration

Of hard work
Of effort
Of overcoming obstacles

But I never regained
My speed off the blocks
Though I can still swim far

And I still won’t
Dive off the high dive
But I will jump

Cheering them on

One for 2013

Simplify
one word for 2013
wherein I have – to start
too many things
taking up too much
precious time
and attention
that could otherwise
belong to my tiny girl
or her big brother
or her daddy, my love
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Simplify
where can we live
with less
what takes up
too much space
in my house
in my mind
in my heart
how can I reduce
slow down
notice
where can I be
more intentional
present
uncluttered

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Simplify
hold on
only to what matters
set free
the things that do not
things least of all
people most of all
resources
carefully allocated

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Simplify
so in the end
we have
just enough
and no more

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The gentle reminders
That I am known
And loved
Knowing not only
Are my very hairs numbered
But the desires of my heart
Are affirmed and treasured
By the One who made and called me

Two words –
One old from a prayer meeting
Years ago
Spoken directly to my heart
Almost forgotten
Bouncing yet another
Not-my-baby
Quietly to sleep
Gently the words:
I will give you your own

And now she grows so quickly
Coming very soon
A fulfilled promise

The second just this morning
A blessing that spoke
Directly to the heart of me:
Grace and motherlove
Giving birth to hope
Gathering in
Holding close
Not only those who are mine
Not only those who are His
But those unloved
Those unwelcome
The motherless in need
Of encouragement
Of being held close
Of hearing even the hard things
Delivered in love

Part of my deepest heart
Gone a bit dormant lately
Ready to reach out again

Saving my life right now
Are two communities:
The echoes
Of the one that grew me up
And the realities
Of the one embracing me now
(Mostly) grown
Places of knowing and being known
Thin places
Where the kingdom comes
Where Love breaks through
To save

Synchroblogging: http://sarahbessey.com/in-which-we-are-saved-synchroblog/

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As I sit and type
Her tiny body moves within mine
More distinctly every day
She runs a hand across my middle
Just above my belly button
She kicks high
One tiny foot
Up near my rib cage
And I know she is running out of room
That her feet will soon find my bones
And all this movement will be far less comfortable
My tiny daughter
Her body
Long promised
Moving within me
Instills deep calm
Even as she stretches out my skin
And tiny red marks streak out
Along my belly
Her daddy and I run our hands
Over this ever-more-prominent curve
Her brother leans in close
To whisper good morning
And I love you
We seek out her movement
Finding unending delight
In this small engagement
And I know I will never
See this body
These curves
Ever less than perfect
In the same way again
Appreciation newly born
Paving her pathway
Her body teaches me
To love my body
A favor I hope I can return
Long before she carries
A tiny life inside her own

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