Thursday, August 13, 2015

Shower, Bats and a Recorder

"Tonight's the best night to view the Perseid Meteor Shower between midnight and 4 a.m. Look up and to the northeast," they said. It will be fun, they said.

I'm 40-cough years old and have yet to see a meteor shower no matter how many times I've looked. So, before I go to bed I make a deal with one of our daughters. "If you set your alarm to get up for the shower, wake me up and I'll go outside with you." Deal.

Shortly after mid-night we are donning hooded sweatshirts, sweat pants and boots. What, Fashion Police?! It was cool out last night.

What did I learn looking for said shower?

There are way too many bats flying around like they own the place. Which, in turn, brought back the bad memory of when two bats were flying laps inside our house. Although this happened many years ago, the trauma is real. I may have had a hard time falling asleep last night as I was reliving that traumatic time in my life.

I decided that I'm okay "holding up the house" as my viewing partner ventures out into the yard to get a better look. With the bats. BATS. Swooping bats. The house and I bonded and I'm okay with that.

I can neither confirm or deny we may have broken up some sort of "bug" party complete with music. Or perhaps we have a neighborhood ghost. (shrugs) Same thing. The music sounded like someone playing a recorder except way better than a 4th grader who is forced to learn the instrument. It was actually quite creepy especially when my viewing partner said, "I have never heard that before." And stopped.

I, also, wondered why I have never learned to spot anything more than the big and little dipper and some dude's belt. Apparently one was to look a constellation that starts with an "S" then look down and find another that starts with a "P" and you'll see the meteor shower. Ummm....I saw the little dipper.

I looked straight up and saw lots of stars. I thought that was a great start. I tried not to blink until my eyes began to dry out. I thought, perhaps, just maybe, I saw one or two meteors but then I couldn't figure out if it was because I finally blinked or if the bats swooping into my view made an optical illusion.

So, basically that is a half hour of sleep I'll never get back.

What did you learn last night?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Come. Sit. Breathe in Relief. Simply Tuesday.

"Oh, yes, that happened to me, too. When it happened to me, I just..."

From that point I take off with an elaborate story complete with facial expressions and hand gestures. [Big sigh and shaking my head] No. I'm not dramatic in the least.

In the past, I thought it was helpful for the other person to know she isn't alone. Problems, fears, you name it, happen to all of us. But, am I competing with the other person when I throw 'been there, done that, survived' into the ring of discussion and make it about me?

I'm not saying relating to a person by saying, "it happened to me" isn't helpful. But, I believe there is a time and place for it.

I'm reading a great book by author Emily P. Freeman entitled Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World. It is one of those books in which you've highlighted a tremendous amount of sentences and/or paragraphs it has you wonder if you should own stock in the yellow highlighter company! I come from a long line of "you do not write or highlight in a book...books are for reading". So, to say I have actually colored most of my book...well, the struggle is real.

As I was innocently reading chapter 7, I began to feel conviction in my soul. It is a chapter of connection and competition and a mention of the dreaded people-pleaser. [dun-dun-dunnnn] Hi. I'm Deanna and I'm a people-pleaser. [sigh] As the author so aptly wrote, "It's an issue of safety and control [ouch], which is a subtle form of competition, the enemy of connection [double ouch]."

When I turn the conversation to me, even though I think I'm helping, I really begin to take away her safety in our communication. I steer away from her and point to me. "...people need our with-ness" not me trying to think of what to say next to make her feel better. Counselor, I am not. Fixer, sometimes...okay most of the time...people just want someone to hear them not fix them. Did you hear me? Really hear them. And, when we really hear them, "we need not compete, we need only to connect".

Am I practicing what I've just confessed? I'm trying. Really trying. When I revert back to my old ways, I'm much more aware. It gives me permission to be. To hear.

I can invite her onto a bench of connection and safety. A bench where the world slows down and breathes. A bench of stillness - of just being. A bench of sharing and being heard. A bench where the Holy Spirit talks to us and through us. A place of smallness in this huge world.

When is the last time you've sat still for five minutes and just breathed? Yeah, I can't remember either.

Psst...come close. Inhale and release. Felt good, huh. Go on - sit, breathe, and be okay in your smallness.

More about Simply Tuesday:

Emily's book is about so much more. I highly, highly, highly [have I convinced you to read it yet?] recommend Simply Tuesday. You'll look at our "church-y" words in a brand new way...and hopefully stop using some of them. You'll see it's okay to be small in a world full of voices shouting one needs to be big in power or fame to make a difference. can make a huge difference in the lives around you by just being you.

So, basically...go buy it already!!

(Silly legal stuff: I received an Advanced Readers Copy and am part of Emily's launch team. I was only asked to give an honest review and help promote the book.)