Learning with Little

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It’s been quiet around the blog of late.
My head has been full of thoughts and heart full of feels and none of this has made its way to derring-do.

A desire to put forth only “stuff of substance” has kept me quiet. And this morning, I know it is time to slog it out…to say hello to anyone who may have stopped by everyday derring-do.

After catching up over the high points of a few decades, a friend recently challenged my word choice – verb use actually. She challenged me to switch my use of “finding” to “creating” as in, “I am creating my way home” or “I am creating space to risk love again” and “I am creating a welcome home for pals and the Peeps.”

Since that conversation, I’ve been very ponderful.

We know the words we use can make all of the difference.

Science reinforces this with studies demonstrating the power our words – often unspoken and in our own heads – wield on how we think of ourselves and others.

How do we describe others? How do we describe ourselves, our day, our spouse, our car (the Sweet Vibe), or the hopes we have? One of my favorite studies on the influence of language used includes the phrase, “Love is a collaborative work of art”, Johnson & Lakoff.

I am thinking life is a collaborative work of art as well.

Faith traditions reinforce the power of language; who hasn’t heard the proverb which begins “as a man thinketh” or the idea of the tongue as a small bit which maintains great power?

In this time of little house living for all of its whys and purposes, I have learned more than mansions could hold about the business of living…and loving. True to form, it has not been easy, but it has been a beautiful messy unburdening of my soul.

When I returned to Kansas a few years back, my plan did not include the stripping away of a carefully curated narrative which fluttered behind me like a colorful kite. Nor did I plan to move into a wee apartment at the top of janky wooden stairs and to aim low for career attainment. But that is what happened.

And it made all of the difference; I have been learning heaps with this “little.”

Little capital.
Little to tidy up.
Little work to bring home.
Little shock and awe.
Little pride and arrogance left in the drive from Texas to the Flint Hills.

Despite my best efforts to fill this little space with distractions and party lights, the universe has granted me the benefit of large swaths of awareness – space unfilled, but not empty.

For instance, this week my little home hosted a birthday party with a bottle of wine worth nearly my monthly rent, a gardening fray, an impromptu dance party, a bird nest building, and one small-but-mighty-loud nocturnal squirrel.

Easter came and went. Laughter, new/old friends, conversations with the kids, wonder, a windy hike on the Konza, a hilly run, tears, more laughter, yoga, cooking, reading for joy, reading for class, impromptu cocktails with the effervescent neighbors, fuzzy pup ears to scratch, listening, learning, and 4 am-frisky-squirrel-wake-ups.

My home may be small, my Sweet Vibe may be over a decade old, and I am nearing “classic car” status, but my life is big.

I have a big life. 

Finally stripped of “should haves” and “Southern Living” expectations, my life is full. Smarter people than I can find their big lives without traipsing about the globe or losing all the stuff. Apparently, that’s not my way, but I’m okay with that. The outcome is becoming grand.

In this little life, I have
family-KIDS-who want to hang out and discuss love and the issues of the day
friends of every hue, shape, imagination, attainment, leaning, and more
a terrific job thanks in no small part to my former job and the people/quiet therein
reawakening dreams and hopes
curiosity and comfort in my own skin
so much compassion received I cannot help but extend it
morning jogs about a sleeping town with my best pal and hikes with the other
new friends who laugh easily though they see clearly
an unobstructed view of the morning sun from my bed and evening sun from the couch
growing cache of memories to keep me giggling when I’m 104
Happy Camper Merlot
bubbles
baby birds in the nest (soon)
a gentle sense of purpose and wonder
an embarrassment of riches.

Yes, I miss a few things lost along the way.
Morning coffee shared as the sun comes up.
Someone to sit with me while I pay bills or do homework (ack.)
A garden
Covered porch/entryway which does not holler “in the middle of a do-over, here!”
A pup
People nearby in our home to share dish detail and details of the day
A certainty of faith
Skiing and climbing mountains.

But I’m not dead yet.
Which is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in this time of little derring-do
and creating space.

* * *
For years, I asked for two gifts, a subscription to the Plumb Visual Thesaurus and a car detailing of which I did not participate. Well, I purchased my own wordy subscription and am making plans to have someone spiff up the Sweet Vibe. I can supply gifts to me.


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