Listen Beyond the Words (Five Minute Friday)

A peaceful Sunday morning coffee had turned into an unpleasant argument. My hubby and I are very excited about the prospect of removing the ugly dog fence that adorns the back of our home and turning the space into a lovely patio. We’ve been here, in our first house, for about 9 years. And that eye-sore out my back window has always bugged me.


For years I’ve pictured a sweet little love seat on my patio, where I can sit in the morning and read my Bible in peace. A cozy chair I can curl up in, with a blanket in the evening, reading a new novel…maybe a string of Christmas lights for ambiance.


So, when hubby handed me the Sunday Paper circular ad, pointing to the patio furniture section, I dove in. He pointed out a pretty table and chair set and I pointed to the picture next to it. A “conversation set” complete with two chairs, coffee table and a love seat.



That’s when it started.

“We don’t need that. We need a table,” he said, in a very dude-ish, matter of fact way.



I answered in a calm voice, “Well, if I had to choose, I’d keep using this old table and get a conversation set.” It just made the most sense to me. We already had a table, even if it wasn’t pretty…it was functional. And the love seat set cost a couple hundred less than the dining set. I should get points for that!


But he didn’t budge. He said we’d have no place to store it. We didn’t need it just because our friends had one. On and on it went until I “gave up” and said…not so sweetly…and quite sarcastically, “Fine, pick whatever you want since I’m sure you will be the one out there the most.” I picked up my coffee, my computer and stormed away. In a huff. Like a two-year old.


Then, as I obsessively scrubbed my kitchen counters, just for something to take my frustration out on, I began to think it through. My husband is a loving guy. Why is he not listening to me? But I realized I wasn’t trying to listen to him, either. It came down to the story beyond the words (as it usually does). I had been planning what I wanted on that patio for years. But I’d never shared that with him. And vice versa. He likes to entertain…to have people over for dinner. So he’s been picturing a nice large table where we can sit with friends, having dinner…a glass of wine…and maybe play a card game or two. But he had never shared that with me. His rational thoughts were hidden behind quick, dismissive words.


When I realized all this, I apologized to him for my huff and he apologized for being dismissive. I learned I was right about what he wanted and why and I explained to him that I had been thinking about a set like that for years.

I’ve thought about this more in the last week. How many times do tempers flare in relationships because we aren’t listening to the heart that’s behind the words? Because we’re not bothering to listen to the true story that’s found beyond the words?  I’m trying to be more careful about really listening to what is motivating my family members when they act out. And I’m learning to better communicate what I’m feeling as well.


In the end, I decided he was right; we should get the dining set.


And he decided I was right; we should get the conversation set.


He “won.” And so did I.

(I’ll update with a picture when the project is done :))

Click here for the UPDATE: One month later…



This post was inspired by Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday prompt word: Listen. I’m usually very strict with myself about the five minutes. But today, that timer went off and I was only half-way through the story. So…this is more of a ten minute post. (Sorry Lisa-Jo!) If you’d like to join the hundreds of bloggers who participate in Five Minute Friday each week, click here for the details. It’s a blast…join us!!

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Brave (Five Minute Friday)

I wish I had written down this beautiful woman's name when I snapped her pic. She was precious...and I'm sure she was brave. She had seen so much.
I wish I had written down this beautiful woman’s name when she asked me to take her pic. She was precious…and I’m sure she was brave. She had seen so much.

Five minutes…Go!


When I think of brave, I think of something I hope I am. I’m not really sure because I don’t know that I’ve really been tested. When I hear of what people in third world countries have had to face, I wonder how I would hold up.

I’ve spoken with women who watched, helpless, as their families were scattered and killed when rebels invaded their small african village.

I’ve listened to a very brave man recount the time he had to hide his entire family in a stream to avoid detection by those bent on killing just because they could.

Many of my friends in Sierra Leone, Africa, endured unspeakable things when the rebels came through their villages. And yet those who survived have an enduring spirit. They are still moving forward and caring for their families. They are still showing love to their neighbors. They have even shown forgiveness to those who caused them harm.

That’s brave. I hope that if I’m ever put to such a test, I will do whatever God asks of me and I will do it regardless of what may happen to me. I hope I’m that brave.

Stop. Time’s up.

How about you…have you had an experience where you discovered you are brave? Please share in the comments section. I know others will be encouraged by your story!

Note: This one was hard for me not to edit. There’s so much more I could say…but I’m going to be brave and just hit publish, anyway. (And the first thing I actually thought of when I heard the word brave was the fantastic Scottish accent of Merida in the movie Brave…but I had no where else to go with that one ;))

It’s five minute friday again! Each week, hundreds of bloggers take Lisa-Jo Baker‘s weekly prompt word and write for five minutes…no editing, no over thinking….just writing. To find out more, click here!

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Just Jump! (Five Minute Friday)

Five minutes…Go!


Jump is scary to me. I think of standing on a cliff…water below, crashing against the sides of the cliff. And for some reason, I’m supposed to jump. But I’m scared to take that leap. I can even feel the butterflies in my stomach as I write.

There’s a part of me that is outgoing and loves change. But there is another part that doesn’t like to put myself out there to try new things. I don’t want to look foolish so I don’t want to try whatever it is that people are telling me to do. It’s usually physical things.

I was clumsy and awkward as a kid. I was the one picked last in gym class. I excelled in things that required writing or singing or anything academic or artistic. But physical education, coordination, any of those kinds of things…just didn’t come naturally.

I don’t know when I realized it but it was some time in the last year or two…I still avoid those things that I think will make me look foolish….like I’m back in gym class with a red face cuz no one wants me on their team.

So when my eight year old asked me to jump on the trampoline today, my first instinct was to say no. But then I decided…why not? I need to do more of those kinds of things with my kids. They need to see me laughing and having fun. So we jumped together…we laughed and I think that was the first time I was ever picked first for someone’s team 😉

photo credit: Charlotte.Morrall on Creative Commons
photo credit: Charlotte.Morrall on Creative Commons

Stop. Time’s up!

This post is inspired by Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Fridays. The idea being that one prompt word is given on Friday and hundreds of bloggers take 5 minutes to write on the subject. No editing…no perfecting. Just five minutes of writing. (If you’re one of my blogging friends, why not join in?)



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Mom, Can I Have a Hug? (Five Minute Friday)

Me and my boys...chillin together, enjoying the here and now.
Me and my boys…chillin together, enjoying the here and now.

Prompt word: Here. Five minutes…Go.

Here. Makes me think of being here…in the present. Too often I’m not. I’m ruminating over the past or dreaming about the future. My 11-year-old is really good at pulling me in to the here and now.

photoI’ll be fast and furious, fingers flying across my keyboard…emails to be answered, blog posts to write, twitter to check, Facebook to update when suddenly I feel a soft hand on my back. “Mom, can I have a hug?”

If I’m really focused on my MacBook screen I’ll give him a little side hug. And he’ll call me on it every time. “Mom, can I have a real hug?”



Every time it pulls me into the here. Into the now. I turn away from the shiny screen and look my boy in the eyes. I wrap my arms around him and squeeze. He whispers, “You’re so warm.” It’s his way of saying thank you.

I know that I have to learn from the past and I have to plan for the future. But I don’t want to miss the now. I want to be here for my kids.

How ’bout you? Do you struggle to be here…to be present?


Stop. Time’s up!

This post is inspired by Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Fridays. The idea being that one prompt word is given on Friday and hundreds of bloggers take 5 minutes to write on the subject. No editing…no perfecting. Just five minutes of writing. (If you’re one of my blogging friends, why not join in?)





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