Five Minute Friday Link-Up :: Present

present, Five Minute Friday, presence, gatherToday I’m joining a talented group of writers at Five Minute Friday. This community connects each Friday in an online, unedited free-write based on a one-word prompt. My timer is set for 5 minutes. Let’s see where this week’s prompt—PRESENT—leads me.


Likely many are thinking of the list of presents they need to buy, wrap, ship, or deliver. In our family, we’ve created a new process, thanks to the pandemic.

However, before I share that with you, I’d like to tell you about the decision my husband and I landed on some three decades ago. Each Christmas I’d make a list of things I needed/wanted, jot down the store where it could be found, size (if necessary), color, cost. Then Bob could take off shopping with a lot less frustration than if he had to come up with the list and figure out where to shop. 

After watching his frustration for several years, we discussed a new way to give and receive. We asked what gift could we give each other better than we had given on August 15, 1981—ourselves! And so it has been since that long-ago discussion. We don’t buy each other gifts at Christmas or other holidays, not even our anniversary.

Now to today’s process for our kids, grandkids, and great-grands this Christmas. Since we are under lockdown in Oregon and we’re both immune-compromised, I’m shopping online for gift cards. Each family member who lands on our Christmas list will receive one inside a Christmas card via USPS. Hopefully, they can enjoy the delight of shopping for themselves online and not be disappointed.

However, with Advent upon us until Christmas Eve, present means so much more than I’ve written above. I’m stepping outside the busyness, the noise, and minimizing the financial element and stress of the season, only imposed by society and me. I’m inviting in the Christ Child, Jesus, as the presence I’m seeking this Christmas.

2020 has been a long slow slog for all of us. I think His Presence is what is needed for each of us. Being present with Christ is so comforting, soul-satisfying, and joy-filled. Why not make that the present you give to yourself on Christmas Day, 2020?

Saviour, Christ, born, nativity, Star of Bethlehem
Attribution: https://bityl.co/4iKO

Featured image attribution: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


Note: Images added outside five-minute time limit.

Five Minute Friday Link-Up :: Back

Today I’m joining a talented group of writers at Five Minute Friday. This community connects each Friday in an online, unedited free-write based on a one-word prompt. My timer is set for 5 minutes. Let’s see where this week’s prompt—BACK—leads me.

FMF, #FMF, back, prompt

Right now, in this very moment, my days are focused on the word “back.” In a variety of ways, yes. But because of one distinct meaning for this word. 

First of all, I think of back, and I think of making a comeback. I really want to come back to writing more. More of anything–essays, memoir shorts, perhaps my memoir–I just want to write. And I haven’t done much of that for almost four years. Why?

When I toy with the word “back,” I also think of the last almost four years. The chronic pain in my lower back and legs kept me distracted, unable to focus, therefore unable to write. At least that’s how I’ve experienced it. It might be different for others, but then it’s my back, my pain, my experience I’m writing about now.

So, following surgery in March, I’ve been working hard to come back from that almost four years. I’m not there yet. There’s more rehab to get through, more progress to make, more fog and darkness to push through, and more prayers to pray and patience to learn.

When I’ve accomplished all this, with God’s help, I’m certain I’ll be ready for a comeback to so many things, but most of all, to the joy of writing.

 

Feature Image Attribution: engin akyurt from Pixabay 

 

Five Minute Friday Link-Up :: Pace

Today I’m joining a talented group of writers at Five Minute Friday. This community connects each Friday in an online, unedited free-write based on a one-word prompt. My timer is set for 5 minutes. Let’s see where this week’s prompt—PACE—leads me.

pace, patience,

The word “pace” has many meanings:

  • The timing of music and the necessity for all to keep the same pace;
  • The pace car that keeps everyone at the same speed until the gun goes off to start the race;
  • The beat of your heart has a pace;
  • The runner has a pace to win, breathe, relax;
  • A mother has a certain pace depending on where she is in her day;
  • So many other meanings that I don’t have time to list.

I’ve always walked at a fairly fast pace. In the last few months, I’ve earned that isn’t my normal pace any longer. The work I’m doing with my physical therapist is my road to getting back to my normal pace. However, for now, my pace is something new and irritating. It’s slower than I’m accustomed to.

Granted it’s getting faster by the day, but for me, it’s not fast enough. When that happens and I sit and brood, the pace of the rest of me slows down. I get depressed and frustrated. I have only one pace left at that time.

I invite God to come and sit beside me, and I ask him to teach me patience and acceptance. He chuckles. God reminds me, “Sherrey, I’ve been trying to teach you patience all your life.” And He’s right—He has.

So, I smile and tell myself to pace myself. Take what comes a day at a time, one step at a time, and one day I’ll find myself walking like I always did.

 

Feature Image Attribution:

Manfred Antranias Zimmer from Pixabay

Five Minute Friday Link-Up :: Hospitality

Today I’m joining a talented group of writers at Five Minute Friday. This community connects each Friday in an online, unedited free-write based on a one-word prompt. My timer is set for 5 minutes. Let’s see where this week’s prompt–HOSPITALITY–leads me.

Growing up in the south, I developed an understanding, at least my own childlike version, of hospitality. Every time a new family moved into the neighborhood my mom would bake cookies or cake and, depending on the weather, carry along a pitcher of iced water or tea. To my mind, this was hospitality.

As time went by, my belief changed and hospitality became a party, hosted by me with a tidy house, lots of food, and me scrambling at the last minute to make sure everything was as it should be. Everyone else had a great time. I ended up collapsing in a chair or across my bed when everything was said and done.

Now I’m in my retirement years and all that hustle and bustle has gone by the wayside. What is hospitality in my life now? Reaching out in my community to foster a good understanding of what hospitality should be is what we should place as a priority. True hospitality is what we find in the story of Mary and Martha. 

When Jesus happens upon the village where Mary and Martha live, Martha is eager to invite him into their home. Mary takes a place at the feet of Jesus and listens to him. Martha, on the other hand, is distracted by many tasks and chores, so much so she asks Jesus to tell Mary to come and help her. To this request, Jesus responds with “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, The Message)

To clarify, Jesus isn’t saying one of the women is wrong while the other is right, or vice versa. They are each serving up their hospitality in different ways. Martha extended the hand of welcome to Jesus and invited him into her home, while Mary sat down to listen and give her attention to Jesus’s words. Mary and Martha have chosen different paths of ministry.

(Time used to confirm Scripture citation and to select images was not included in the 5 minutes.)

Five Minute Friday Link-Up :: Distant

Today I’m joining a talented group of writers at Five Minute Friday. This community connects each Friday in an online, unedited free-write based on a one-word prompt. My timer is set for 5 minutes. Let’s see where this week’s prompt–DISTANT–leads me.

 

Five Minute Friday, distant, word prompt

 

I had no idea when I agreed to a revision of two previous spinal fusions and additional hardware placement lower in my lumbar spine what a long healing and recovery process it would be. As the journey began on March 6, 2019, I knew it was a much bigger surgery than others, but I had no way of knowing the collateral issues that would greet me after surgery. The finish line going in wasn’t clear.

It was obvious when I woke up to a right leg that I couldn’t feel below the knee that my goal line was in a far and distant land. It was not close at hand. My three-day stay in the hospital turned into six days followed by two weeks in a rehab center. Navigating my way into our home at the end of that two weeks, I sprained my right ankle extending the distance to the finish line by more time than I wanted to hear.

Physical therapy now appears to sit on a far and distant horizon. Each week, as I shared in my Wednesday post, it seems I come home with aches and pains I didn’t have when I left. The same thing happened this week so it is obviously standard operation (no pun intended) to push the patient into accepting the saying, “No pain, no gain.”

Yet, I know that the surgery itself was a success and all pre-operative pain is gone. This is a good thing, believe me. So, I’ve decided that my go-to verse, Jeremiah 29:11, still stands true as ever. I can go to distant places, including distant finish lines, as long as my God is with me. And He is!

 

Verse, Scripture, Jeremiah 29:11