Deane's Blog

Dear Rachel #2

WritingDeane WattersComment

Dear Rachel,

I've been away from my writing desk for quite some time! It was an intense summer and my blog writing took a back seat to the many other things that were pulling for my heart and attention. I did not step away from journaling in my daily notebook however because that is where much of my processing, planning, praying, and remembering takes place.

Playing with words has continued to entice me even though I couldn't sit down with my computer in my writing studio. This month, while on vacation, I found ways to keep them in front of me by doing some tiny writing assignments* on my Instagram feed. I really love when a photo challenge is offered there. These challenges gives me a daily word and I find a photo to share and then play with words to make it more meaningful to me and hopefully to my followers. The shortness keeps it fun. How do I pack a punch in just a short paragraph? I find that often the words just tumble out and fall together beautifully! Sometimes I go back to read them and savor how they sound together. That is a word geek at her best! 

Here is an example. A few weeks ago we visited Yosemite National Park in California. Before embarking on our 5 hour hike, we stopped in front of a mountain view, got out of our car and walked into a meadow across the road so we could more easily take in the gigantic view. I took this picture:

Standing here in front of El Capitan, I can only raise my eyes. There is no thought about where we'll hike next or what we'll be having for dinner. I can only stand in awe and try to take it in. But I can't. It's too magnificent. I can only be present and allow praise to rise from my soul.

Standing here in front of El Capitan, I can only raise my eyes. There is no thought about where we'll hike next or what we'll be having for dinner. I can only stand in awe and try to take it in. But I can't. It's too magnificent. I can only be present and allow praise to rise from my soul.

The daily prompt was #present.

 

These mountains offer themselves asking nothing in return. We can drink in their loveliness and enjoy with no guilt, no fear, nothing false or addicting. It is just pure beauty in its rawest form. Straight from the hand of God.

These mountains offer themselves asking nothing in return. We can drink in their loveliness and enjoy with no guilt, no fear, nothing false or addicting. It is just pure beauty in its rawest form. Straight from the hand of God.

The prompt was #beauty.

So, even while being away from my more thoughtful writing, I have been able to use precise wording and quick thought to express my heart and feed my need to write.

So, Rachel. You asked me about ways to play with writing and this is one. Combining it with photos and followers who can like or comment gives a bit of accountability and a fun way to enjoy to the process. Tiny writings take the pressure off and enable us to relax with words and keep "mr. critic" from accusing us of not getting to our writing. Sometimes this is all we can do and of course it is always "good enough."

(*Thanks to Christine Squires from bookwifery.com for giving me a name for this kind of writing.  You can visit her at  https://www.bookwifery.com/blog/the-importance-of-tiny-writing-assignments to read how she gave herself tiny writing assignments during Hurricane Irma.)

 

Me and My Sweethearts

FamilyDeane WattersComment

I love being a grandma and this picture tells you why.  These four. Each one different. Each one eternally precious. Lucy Rosa 4, Charles Chesley 3, Annie Pearl 2 and Oliver James 2 months. Thank you Hannah White for the preservation of this priceless moment in time. 

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Anniversary #38

Deane WattersComment

Just think...thirty-eight years ago today we said yes to each other. "You are my beloved. You are my friend." Yes we said it and we've lived it. We haven't always felt it but we have KNOWN it, believed it and leaned on it when life felt worn through and weary. 

The number sounds high but the years have gone by like a breath and here we are, once again, celebrating that which we can hardly take credit for...except that God enabled us to honor our promises, the ones we said to each other and to him. We said yes with promises to stay, no matter what. We said yes for our future children, for our faith, for our own integrity, for the God who ordained marriage and even likened it to his relationship with his church, and for not growing old alone.

Marriage has been for us a journey of maturing, finding safety, growing in trust, seeing deeper, accepting differences, loving anyway, waiting for, discovering things hidden, seeking to know and to be known, letting things go, accepting what is, focusing on the good, watching, speaking up, keeping silent, being quick to encourage, finding comfort in each other, letting things be what they are, watching, growing, thriving, challenging, letting self be known, offering a vulnerable self, marveling at the wonder of the years, stepping down, standing up, managing disappointment, letting go of what isn't, praying, trusting God and each other, offering forgiveness, asking for forgiveness, respecting differences, being satisfied with what is,  keeping the spark, never giving up, hearing each other, inviting each other in, looking for the good, not taking offense, laughing as often as possible, building each other up, letting the other be who she/he is, maleness, femaleness, trust, kindness, patience, going to bed angry sometimes, waking up in love again, supporting interests, staying committed and never entertaining leaving.

Oh what a rich tangle of life together! I wish I could say we did it perfectly and that we always knew the way but isn't that the way of love? Navigating as through a jungle, fraught with danger, but together we have been able to see our way through, hand in hand, only to find each other still saying yes, still depending on  God for the determination to keep on looking for and finding grace in each other's eyes.

I love you, Brian. You and I are a good team. I'm thankful, humbled, and amazed that God saw it fit to bring us together and to keep us going strong these many years. 

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thirty-eight years

Dear Rachel,

WritingDeane WattersComment

Thanks for your email.  I feel quite honored and excited to be asked by you to share a bit about my writing journey. It has been a long road and I'm a bit of a slow walker but word by word, piece by piece, I have come to where I am today. I'm delighted for the opportunity to look back at my writing life and to encourage you to move forward in yours as you head into your final year of college. As a young girl I  loved to read and to write. I looked forward to essay test questions in high school because I could write around answers easily. It was a pleasure to put the words down and see what I could come up with. Recently I found a Five Year Diary that had been given to me on my thirteenth birthday. For five years I religiously wrote a sentence or two every day about whatever seemed important at the time. I discovered how boy crazy I was since there were a whole lot of entries about guys: how cute Chuck was, how James in my class didn't ask me out, how I would love Joel forever! But it also showed me that when I was a teenager I knew the power of words. I used this compelling tool to understand my feelings, to lament over my struggles, and to pray. I really didn't critique my writing much then because it was just for me. It didn't feel like pressure because it was more of a release, a tool to strengthen and to grow me.

My family had many tensions and being the youngest of four children I found that paper and pen were my greatest friends. I journaled to discover and untangle how I felt about everything in my world. It was all very complex to me. My favorite person in the whole world was my mom and the pressures she felt influenced my view of life. The search for peace in her marriage led her to church, which then led her to a deep life of faith and prayer. I found her to be my guide and ally in every way and as I grew, I also became a woman with a deep faith, full of hope and trust in God.

As life would have it, I graduated from high school and college, traveled for a year with a Christian singing team, went off to my first teaching job, met my husband and got married. Within a few years we gave birth to our first son. I found ways to write during these years by adding to my personal journals, writing articles for women's ministry newsletters and sometimes putting together devotionals for baby or bridal showers. Homeschooling our children in the elementary years, I offered them many opportunities to write and to grow in their understanding of the effect of words. I'll have to admit that all three can pack a powerful punch with their words today, these many years later. In those years I longed to develop my own writing skills but often decided that I didn't have the time. And maybe I didn't.

After working with a counselor friend and taking some classes at Keys to Living and House of Hope, I realized that this practice of not giving myself enough time to attend to the things I really loved was a pattern of not truly caring for myself. I also didn't really know myself because I was more tuned into other people's needs rather than my own. So I began a journey of self discovery. I hired a life coach to help me determine my life purpose.  The Enneagram Personality Test told me that I am a Peacemaker. No surprise. Carefully going through the book, Strength Finder, I found more parts to this person I call me and was delighted to find bits of my true self tucked beneath the layers and years of unsureness and insecurity. I read many books, participated in many Bible studies and took classes to help me understand more.

One of the things I learned was that I needed to pay attention to the me God created and not spend so much energy wishing I was someone else with other strengths and talents. He, in his glorious plan, gave me the love of writing (among many other things) and I  could  respond with a yes that would lead me farther into knowing myself better and allow me to go deeper in my faith. I decided to offer myself time to honor him by developing this gift of writing.

So five years ago (or so) our daughter set me up with my first blog site. Finally, a place to write with a way for others to read my writing! I wrote with much joy. But a new difficulty arrived with this space... there was always an opportunity for  readers to leave comments....

To be continued...