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just write {120}

January 28th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

The sunshine is deceitful, as it smothers us in warmth through the windowpane, the wind threatens to burn an icy finger through the glass and tear us in two. Another day of unbearable cold, a mysterious lethargy forms over me and I pick up the phone to call work and say that I’m not coming in.

Then I sit. No energy or resourcefulness. I catch up on reading, cuddling a purring cat to share the chilly sunshine spots. Clear and unbroken, the snow beckons, the cross-country skis lay forgotten in the arctic cold, the golden light outside playing strands of color across the floor and I resist opening the door to feel it’s light on my face. The cat burrows in to my chin, pressing his head to me as if to say ‘This is where you belong.’

I experiment in the kitchen, turn on the oven, roast a few potatoes and make a quick bread in my cast-iron skillet. It works, and it doesn’t, but I eat what cooked well and poke through the rest of it, sunshine warm on my back and the hum of the oven keeping time with the furnace exhaust that floats by the window. From the chimneys across the yard, white puffs billow, hang in the air close to the rooftops. A few tornados of snow kick across the blank white canvas. The ice on the edges of the windows hasn’t even melted yet and it’s after noon, now. I try not to think of the animals out there in this cold.

Brownies come together in a pan, thick, swirls of chocolate, butter and sugar spun together, dark chocolate chunks melting within, a blue flame coaxing flavor and magic alchemy. After their fragrant turn in the warm oven, the scent rises to the ceilings, filling the house and chasing off the chill of the day. The potatoes rest on the baking sheet, skins wrinkling as they cool. A memory flashes through my mind of sitting bathed in summer sunshine on the faded redwood steps outside, birdsong keeping company with the wind through the leaves, and me, dipping my fork in a bowl of fried potatoes, salient with smoked salt and grinds of sharp pepper. Once more, I watch the streams from my neighbors chimney, smoke clinging low in the sky.

The sky is a cold, icy and brilliant blue, and the furnace hums on, and on, and on.

Join us for the 120th version of Just Write, over at The Extraordinary Ordinary

just write {89}

June 18th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

I’m good at so much, but lately, I feel like I’m not good at anything at all except moving through each 24-hour period.

I made an amazingly tasty batch of Kamut-Millet pancakes last week, thick and dense with the good stuff, and we ate them daily for three days. Each time I took a bite I thought ‘I need to share this recipe!’. Then my mind goes elsewhere; I end up thinking that it’s just a pancake. Everyone has their favorite pancake recipe, as do I, and right now this one is my favorite, but that might not be the case tomorrow.

So I didn’t share the Kamut-Millet pancakes. Yet.

Then there was the surprising and incredible Chickpea Fries that were made, last week too. It was a good week for food in our house. There’s still a few strips of thick dough, wrapped tight in plastic in the refrigerator and I can have them photo-ready within an hour, if I want. They are so unique and wonderful.

But I haven’t shared those yet, either.

Last Saturday I drove home from work through the most drenching rain I’ve ever seen in my life. From inside the car, it overwhelmed the wipers, on high no doubt, and filled the lowest spots on the highway with pools that covered our tires, sending waves of water as high as the pick-up truck roofs as we carefully drove through them. The drops were immense, and it lasted my entire 25-minute drive home. I kept on, doggedly driving through it, mesmerized by it’s sound on my roof and the pelting of the windows and with all the water that’s fallen on our state this Summer, I kept thinking to myself ‘Where does the rain go when it’s finished?’ The rivers and streams pour through their channels, fat, swollen, and furious; Minnehaha Falls roar over it’s edge with a noise you can hear from blocks away. The air is so thick with water and the mosquitoes so fat and starving. My legs are speckled like I have some disease, and I can’t find the bug spray.

I did manage to plant the very last of our garden; lovely and colorful Rainbow Chard, a row of Broccoli, more Basil, more Tomato plants (does 7 seem like too many???) as well as Lemongrass and a strange, lovely herb called Curry Herb, of which I have no clue how to use but it’s scent, like soft curry, is so intriguing. I run my fingers through the Lemon Thyme with each passing of the fragrant garden plot, then lift them to my nose to inhale, close my eyes to that around me and just breathe in the scent.

In our scurry around and keep busy world, this might look like nothing at all. But to me, it’s huge, that life-affirming scent, the soil under my feet, rich with black, healthy dirt and fat earthworms. Like sitting in the sunshine on my faded redwood steps, soaking up the warmth while I eat breakfast and sip coffee. It’s nothing, to the busy-ness and go go go. But to me it’s everything. Like sitting idle, magazine in hand, coffee by my side, while two cozy felines snuggle on my lap. It’s nothing, to the schedule every minute people, but to me, and to them, it’s the world.

The Kamut-Millet pancakes, those Chickpea fries, that garden, my breakfasts, purring cats. It’s all so good.

It’s Just Write Tuesday over at The Extraordinary Ordinary, who just landed in Texas to begin a new chapter of her life.
Minnesota will miss you, Heather. I’m so blessed to be able to understand, to know and to be friends with a soul like yours.
Thank goodness for the Internet.

just write {87}

May 28th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

There’s a mist that seems to hang in the early morning air, heavy and humid from the water lapping at the shore, the cool morning temps that kicked the furnace on at 6:45 this morning.

I’m glad to be awake actually. Dreamless and sleeping deeply, the stiff mattress transferred all it’s solidity to my shoulders and upper back and I wince slightly as I turn over, grateful to have slept for multiple hours in a row in a state so blissfully unaware. I’d left the bedroom window open, and through it, as the furnace roars it’s morning greeting from the other room, I can hear the birds conversing in the trees. The entire lake emptied out yesterday; windows closed to the humid and cool air, shades drawn and fishing poles tucked away and last night as the profound silence settled over the empty lake, I gazed out at the darkness, no campfires dotting the shores, the black expanse of water just down the slope of the yard and I thought of how alone I feel here like this, yet how safe and centered it makes me.

I sip coffee and slip on my running shoes. For more years than I can recall, my one recurring dream has been of me running; a strong and powerful dream that leaves me breathless in it’s attempt to tell me what I can do. It’s always the same, every single time; I am running, breath strong, powerful muscles and stride, determined, and capable. Every time it graces my sleep, I awaken charged and ready and think I can conquer a marathon. I haven’t dreamt this particular dream in a while, but it’s memory clings in the very fibers of my life, a reminder, or gentle prodding.

Somewhere in me, I know there is a runner that is screaming to get out. So I run.

It’s nothing like my dreams, but I don’t expect it to be. You aren’t born capable of anything, except living in the day to day. Our abilities and strengths lie deep within us, and if our dreams can show us, without doubt or hesitation what we are capable of, then we owe it to ourselves to listen. I walk, loosening my legs and that stiff upper back, and when I finally turn off the two-lane and on to the dirt road, I break in to a soft run, feeling muscles in my legs and hips loosen even more. For a few moments, it’s wonderful and just like my dreams, then my lungs start protesting, fighting with my body over control of my brain and I’m forced to slow to a walk again.

But I keep going. I walk. Then I run. Then I walk again. It gets easier, but it really doesn’t. Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight; a good relationship doesn’t just occur without a little work, homes aren’t built without careful planning, well placed boards and a solid foundation and a runner doesn’t just awaken from a dream and take on a marathon.

This is the moment where we say to ourselves “I know I am capable of so much more.” So I keep going. I run/walk around the South side of the lake to the highway, and here I have to decide-  do I turn around, knowing that steep hill is behind me and I will have to run UP that if I return this way? Or do I keep going, through the woods on the other side, past the Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Woodland Violet, under the towering birch and cottonwood? I keep going, through the trees, stopping on the dirt road to raise my eyes to the green canopy above and give thanks for the strength to continue, to chase after this crazy dream of running at 49. I’m energized, and I’m warm. I’ve stripped off my jacket, I’m in my running tank and the air is cold on my sweaty skin but the dream tells me to keep moving.

To keep running.

Whether it’s about running, or just a metaphor for my life, I’m compelled to listen to the dream, to figure it out, not give up. I’m compelled to keep running, whether it’s to an eventual 5K, to the end of the month, another year of marriage, planning of hopes and dreams or just to the end of this day, on an empty lake under heavy gray sky. Maybe the dream isn’t about the act of running, but the race before us, the daily shuffle-step that often falls with a dulling thud in it’s monotony, the dream urging me to keep my head up, keep breathing, shoulders down, back straight, eyes forward. To just keep going.

Visit The Extraordinary Ordinary for this week’s Just Write. 

just write {83}

April 30th, 2013 | 9 Comments »

Warm sun quickly filled my bedroom that morning, and I was struggling to put on clothing that felt right for the sudden jump in to Spring. What if the church where I was going would be air-conditioned and cold? What if I looked like I’d spent too much time on this? It was only a short conference, only a group of women, immersed in faith, coming together in the flesh to adhere as a body, to understand community and relationships and trust in one another.

It wasn’t that big of a deal, really. I kept telling myself that. My bare legs felt odd. My shoes felt odd. I felt odd. I wanted to shrug off the skirt, the clothing that wasn’t yet right, the feeling in my chest of my heart jumping in anxiety and just stay home. Stay safe.

The smiling faces of two dear friends greeted me in the parking lot, making my anxiety less acute. I knew a dear friend waited inside. Why did I feel apprehensive? All of us that day live our lives in faith and attempt to seek grace on a daily basis. We are not so different.

But we were the one thing that most of us fear; we were strangers.

I thought I would be safe, seated with people I knew and trusted, who’s faces gave me comfort, smiles that made my heartbeats calm. I could breathe among their energy, feel safe and secure there but the dreaded icebreaker came along and everyone started talking. The room closed in immediately and heat rose within me, breaking beads of sweat on my face that made me want to cry. I wanted to flee, run as fast as I can away from the fear and into the safety of myself.

I hate feeling so uncomfortable, so vulnerable and wide-open and yet so closed off and insignificant all at once. What did I have to offer them? What could they possibly gain from me? Who did I think I was bringing myself among strangers, to try and let down my guard and climb over my walls and in to another garden to see what life is growing there?

I wanted to run, to withdraw and disappear and not smile and talk and exchange knowledge and information or anything that would remove the bricks I had placed, one by one. Among friends I am at ease. I am soothing and comfort, hugs all around. Among strangers I become the old and broken, the one left behind too many times, the one forsaken. I won’t extend myself or reach out. I will stay shrouded in my own broken self.

I listened when the words began to flow, when the voices spoke out from the screen about community and relationships. I listened when the voices spoke of staying through the turmoil and hardships, through the dark valleys and tears that don’t stop and time that feels sluggish and muddy. Through times of hurt and misunderstanding. Through days that aren’t crystal clear, bright, and perfect. When we commit to one another in friendship, in marriage, in God and hope, we commit to stay, regardless. We have time to heal ourselves and others; time to build and understand, time to grow and accept and appreciate. We don’t have to be in the same places as those we choose to sit with on our friendship benches. We don’t have to have children the same age, be at the same stage of life, or live within the same neighborhood.

We don’t even have to be the same age.

And I have lamented endlessly that I seem to be the grand dame of my friends, the oldest one, sometimes by far and away over what feels like too many years. How can I relate to them when ages make them young enough to be my children? But the words spoke clearly to my heart that God draws those together who can most learn from one another and age, time and distance means nothing when the heartstrings are bound with His love. I’ve crashed around on rough seas and been thrown, tumbling heels over and over, sandpaper roughed up with life’s cruelest touches and maybe, just maybe I have something to say that they need to hear.

The room was stuffy and the coffee was good. There were cupcakes so delicious that I may have eaten more than one. I may have stayed in my chair and not ventured around the room to meet many others, but my heart was filled with words that spoke with razor-sharp truth to exactly what I needed. I’m home, in this world, with the people God has placed in my life, just for me. And I needed to climb over that fence of apprehension, drive across miles of concrete, greet friends I’ve never met, sisters in Christ and stay, regardless.

Just for us. We’ve found our bench where we can gather. And all we have to do is show up.

This is the 83rd installment of Just Write, hosted by Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary.

{{sponsored by (in)courage- home for the hearts of women, on Saturday April 27th, 6,000 women met in 590 places in 20 countries around the globe to connect beyond the computer screen and embrace community and friendship. This is the 2nd year I’ve gone and despite my anxiety, it was clearly the place I needed to be.}}

just write {79}

April 2nd, 2013 | Comments Off on just write {79}

April thoughts:

The garden plot where I grow my food is free of it’s snow cover. This makes me deliriously happy. It also makes me far too eager to pick up my shovel, and all I would get for that is the ‘tink tink’ against the frozen ground underneath. I didn’t transfer the two Peony plants last fall. I should probably trim back the Japanese Lilac this Spring. There’s another garden patch that was overcome with weed last year, where my Clematis grow and I need to fix that. I want the fire pit to drain and dry out so I can burn wood that stirs my senses with it’s deep, woodsy smell. I want that flattened grass to come back, the patch that’s been buried under all the snow we’ve pushed off the patio all Winter long.

I want my patio chairs back. I want to crack open that one amazing bottle of white wine that I have on hand, anticipating the very first beautifully warm day that I can sit there, sipping liquid gold elixir in celebration of Spring. Last year, I sat outside on March 17th, in a skirt and alabaster legs, in awe of the warmth around me.

March certainly came in like a lion, and most assuredly didn’t go out like a lamb. We went for a walk on Easter, the last day of March this year, and my earlobes were numb from the wind. My thighs burned and were bright pink when we got home. That’s not lamb-like.

The light changes daily, stays longer, grows warmer. Morning chill still penetrates the windows, but the afternoon sun drowses me, lulling me to think I can shed layers, pull off the socks and absorb its rays. Still not there yet. The cats sit on the steps, eyes half shut to the softly blazing sky, nose high to the wind as the endless parade of Spring dances across their faces. I lift my own nose high in the air and can smell the earth awakening. It stirs in me the need for change. I place my hand on the warmth of the brick underfoot, delight in birdsong, watch carefully for buds on trees, the first green shoots pushing through last Fall’s remnants, the Crocus and Poppy rising from their Winter sleep to wave in the breeze as if saying Hello.

April is sweet and soft and perfectly Springtime. It’s a slow and delicious transition to light and less, to green and storms, thunder and rain. April is soft earth rejoicing in renewal; cold mornings and warm afternoons and long walks in the twilight after dinnertime. It is promise and hope and redemption and the finest reward after a long Winter. There is nothing quite like April.

This is the 79th week of Just Write, over at The Extraordinary Ordinary.

just write {77}

March 19th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

I jolt from a deep sleep. Again.

Intently, with heart pounding, I listen to the night for the noise, for anything that warranted a shock from unconscious to wakefulness but I hear nothing. Again. Now I’m awake. But I’m sleepy too and the brain begins churning. Because it just can’t seem to stop.

There is a stirring at my feet, as the cat sighs, snuggles in deeper in the chill. I feel the internal warmth begin and I push back the blanket. Stick out a leg. The sweat rises on my face slightly and although I’m hot, my flesh is cold in the night. It passes. I pull the blanket back on. My husband breathes quietly. Evenly. I’m glad he sleeps soundly. The wind hits the window, angry in it’s late Winter rampage. The air in the room feels cold and the furnace is silent.

The boy bangs the wall in his room across the hall as he turns in his too-small bed, and I think yet again that we need to get him something larger.

I think of the soreness in my shoulder that kept my workout the night before to a minimum. I think of the painful lump in my chest that scares me to pieces and the doctor visit in the morning and why something that’s likely no big deal has such power over me. But then, it could be a big deal. My heart races as the thoughts consume me and I pray for peace, feeling it wash over me. I’m thankful for Him.

I think of the Hoya plants in my sunroom, with the aphids that I can’t get rid of, and that I’ll likely have to throw them out and start over with new plants. Tiny new plants to raise. I can’t even recall how long I’ve had them. Longer than my near 19-year old child has been alive. No soap, no washing, no nothing relieves them of their pest. They tentatively begin a new leaf growth, only to be attacked by the tiny yellow bugs, forcing them to stay as they are. They can’t be happy.

I think about Pinterest and how I hate it. How a simple website can drive inferior feelings in to me harder than any words could ever do. I think of longing and want, and how so many ‘pin’ things to boards instead of seeking them to pin to their very hearts. To keep forever. They gaze at photos, dream of ideas, places, stuff stuff stuff. We all need less stuff.

I think of my friends. My saving Grace. Love pours through my tired soul. They fill me up and I could never explain how. Or why.

I think of the dust that settles in my home. The cleaning I hate to do. I think of the chores of daily life and the days that I struggle with taking care of myself and taking care of my life. I hate how they pull me in opposite ways. I hate how I simply turn my back on both, sometimes and disappear. In a magazine. In my blog reader. Seeking the pins for my heart that I can’t find.

I think of glorious food. And I think of un-glorious food. That which feeds my body and those not so great items that feed a part of me that still scrambles for a foothold in my life. The past. The present. One life of excess that lives no longer against the means of health and wellness that I know supports my 49 years so much better. My mind knows. My heart knows. My stomach has refused to forget.

I have no idea how long I’ve been awake. But I’m not awake and I’m not asleep. I wait, hoping for the warm drowsy feel to begin coursing through me, pushing me back to unconsciousness. I start to think about coffee and I want to get up and make a pot. It’s 4:30am. The furnace kicks in, barking back the cold wind outside and a few moments later, a quiet ‘Meow’ breaks the silent night. I can get this one to snuggle down and relax, as it’s too early to wake Mike but the furnace is the calling card that tells this feline that morning has come. He climbs on my chest, purring and lays down. His heavy weight is soothing, purring a rhythmic rise and fall that hypnotizes me, his breath falling against my chin and the drowsiness begins.

We both doze. We both wake. He moves to my legs, draping his 16 pounds down, pressing me to the mattress, helping me even though he doesn’t know it, and we both sleep again.

When Mike finally rouses to the more insistent ‘Good morning!’ meows, I ask him to close the bathroom door against the rising morning. I need to sleep. It’s my morning to sleep as late as I want. And after the nights’ ruminations, I need this. He closes the door and escorts the cats downstairs to begin their day.

The sleep washes over me and I’m out.

It’s Just Write 77 over at The Extraordinary Ordinary. Stop by for a visit, won’t you?

just write {76}

March 12th, 2013 | 5 Comments »

I had to let go. Give in. Step back and admit that it wasn’t working anymore, that we couldn’t do this. It was too much for us.
And I hated that I cried about it. It’s just a damn car.

I’m not materialistic at all. I don’t seek out names, brands or designers for my clothing. I can’t afford that. I like comfort. Classic styles. I don’t dress like a girl, although I’m trying. I can’t wear heels. I like comfort. But I also like to look good.

And I’ve had my share of all aspects of living that have been shabby because they had to be; because I couldn’t afford anything nice. As a kid, we were so poor. My Mom shopped at Ragstock when all the clothing was dumped in giant buckets that you sifted through. Before it was funky and retro and a place to go to actually buy something ugly to wear. This was decades before thrift was cool. Thrift is the way to go now. Reduce and re-use. Someone’s trash is your treasure. I shop thrift stores constantly and I love what I find. I like to be comfortable. I don’t love my clothing like some women. To me, it’s just something nice to wear.
I make sure I look good, but I don’t obsess over it.

That car, though….. I admit I was obsessed about that car. I loved that it was the third Audi I’ve had in my lifetime. I loved that it was a car I’d dreamed about owning from those years of my life when all I could afford was a rattling, rusty old junker. I loved that it represented an accomplishment, a growing up of sorts, a maturity. It was a high-end automobile. Those four circles thrilled me. The heated seats were a luxury in our cold Minnesota winters. The back-up sensors on the bumper meant I’d never hit anything. The seats adjusted so perfectly that I felt more in control driving that car than anything I’ve ever driven in my life. The stereo was incredible.
It had it all.

On some level too, it recalled the ex-boyfriend who laughed in my face when I told him that my dream car was an Audi, who told his dad, who also laughed at me and said the most ridiculously patronizing, most patriarchal and condescending thing I’ve ever heard in my life. To click open the switchblade key, to turn the ignition and hear it purr, to touch the accelerator and move faster, racing along like a homesick angel, it laughed in defiance of those men who laughed their ignorance at me. ‘I’ll show you.’ I thought then.
Every time I turned the key, I thought of those voices and laughter and humiliation.

But that’s not why I cried.

It became too much. Too much money. Too much for the premium gas. Too much for the tires, for the needs it had. For the maintenance to keep her purring smoothly over the miles. I felt hollow watching the gas pump rise. I cringed at every noise that might suggest failure. And when the shuddering began, when the thick white smoke started to cough from the exhaust pipe and the ‘Check Engine’ light flashed, my belly turned upside down. Part of me felt like we’d failed. That we’d lost the ability to maintain. That we were giving it up because the means to care for it just wasn’t happening. We weren’t getting anywhere with our lives. We should be at a better place than this. I felt like we failed us. It didn’t matter that it was 10 years old. Those 150,000 miles weren’t enough of a clue.
The failing engine was a metaphor that said “You aren’t functioning properly. You can’t keep going.”
That by saying goodbye to it, giving it up meant that we had to return to rusty old clunkers that said
“You’ve failed. You had it in the palm of your hand and you’ve failed.”

I’m not materialistic. At all. I felt silly, sobbing with my head on the table when we talked about replacing it. I refused to look at the cars that my husband found. I didn’t want to scale back. To step down. I knew I had to. But I didn’t like it. We found a good deal. The car was well-maintained and meticulously taken care of, a good car with low miles and it’s ok to drive. There are no heated seats, but I have a sheepskin seat cover that helps. The stereo is ok. There is no sensor on the back bumper and I have to be more careful.
The gas pump won’t spin so high anymore. We are saving more money with it.

We didn’t fail. Neither of us. We tried. But this wasn’t the priority, this Audi, and it was acting like it had to be. It needed more TLC than we could offer. It was time to move on. We likely won’t have another one. I’ve already had three and shouldn’t be disappointed. I honestly thought we’d be further along at this point in our lives, that we’d have a higher level of comfort, that we wouldn’t need to continually scale back, cut down, reduce, omit, pare back, budget and do without.
But we didn’t fail.

Just Write {76} is happening over at The Extraordinary Ordinary.
Go check it out. 

imperfection {just write 69}

January 22nd, 2013 | 2 Comments »

I have a beast living inside me, as I suspect we all do. The thing is, no one talks about the beast, their beast and I think everyone tries to quell it’s ugliness. But when one person says ‘I have this part of me that I hate.’ then others can sigh with relief and think better of their own beastliness and suddenly, one person’s beast releases the chains on another.

My beast rises from the ugly part of me that I’ve worked so hard to move away from. I shudder when I recall how my life used to be, with rage and selfishness and ghastly behaviors. I ached when I remember how lonely and empty it was, that the beast chased away the light and goodness and anyone resembling a friend or companion. I didn’t know how to be a good friend (and I worry that I still don’t….) and I grabbed a tight hold with beastly claws on to anyone who came too close because I was so desperate for someone to say ‘Hey, you’re not that bad.’ when I didn’t even believe it myself.

Or worse, when someone came in to my beastly world, I’d hide the ugly down so deep that I’d be afraid of it, afraid of what it would do if I let it out and that fear would push me far, far away from any good, any light that tried to pierce the shield around me. And I’d hide, retreat and stay quiet, pulling away so as not to awaken the fury. The only result of that, once again, was empty rooms, and heart.

We know so little how to remodel ourselves when young and inexperienced. We think a few hastily made decisions are good, then we pass a few years in our new self-house and suddenly realize how barren it is, how the echo of ourselves fills the hollow rooms and we realize we had no idea how to make it beautiful. But after so many misaligned decisions, too many chances taken that never pan out, it can become a staggering weight to bear that feels far too heavy and we think we’ll never see light through the boarded up windows. And the air in our self-house grows stagnant and old, we sink to the floor, eyeing the door, afraid.

And I’m so thankful to the years of transformation, to the patience of my own heart to look deep within and say ‘This just isn’t right.’ and for the strength to raise a hammer and begin to tear down all the ugly walls and bad paint and poor renovations, to uncover the windows so the light can shine in, and the breeze blow, to remove all that was done in haste and indecision over the years, messes made to try and cover other messes and ugliness. We all work so hard to architect our lives before we even know what we’re doing, and some of us spend years learning over and again of how little we actually knew. It never works to paint over our broken souls.

Still, part of that past beast remains, a hair trigger inside that rages and bites hard and hurts, clawing the closest person near me, desperate for what it wants or needs. I’m often startled at my own rage when it pours from me, pouncing on anyone within arm’s range with it’s ire, surprise and hurt filling their eyes. I’m a five year old again, selfish and ugly and screaming to be heard. I’m shocked and saddened at myself, again, because when I look around at my current self-house, I see more beauty than I ever thought I’d own. I see what my hands have done to the walls, the floors and the decor, how lovingly they’ve restored all that was old and dysfunctional. And I think I’ve chased the beast away permanently.

But apparently, I haven’t. The beast still pounces, unannounced, unexpected; lurking in a dark corner or under the floorboards, it’s still there in spite of my renovations, leaving me to wonder if I can ever do enough to tame it for good.



It’s the 69th week of Just Write over at The Extraordinary Ordinary.
Please stop by for a visit, and to explore the links posted.

patience {just write 68}

January 15th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

I’m not the best at being patient for something I really want, but lately (as in, getting older) I’ve realized that there within me lies a vast ability to be able to sit back and await a perfect timing of sorts, a coming together of all the angles and planes and equations that make up the exact picture in your head that you wish to share with the world.

And sometimes, just resting in quiet, re-arranging images in your head about what you want, what you see for yourself and those aspects of you that you share with the world seems more necessary than anything else. Stepping back. Taking a break. Making new assessments. Planning, or simply just dreaming. I’ve been working through some of those very images regarding this blog, a new design and direction, and in the waiting and the quiet, I’ve gotten a sort of clarity that rarely happens in haste.

It happens with a lot of people during the turn of the calendar to a new year. We all plan for goals and unlimited potential when January shows it’s face; we plot the next 12 months in bullet points and gym memberships and pantry staples and menu ideas. We eagerly share our ‘Best Of’ 2012, and openly state our intent for 2013, then we leap. I’ve had lots of calendar changes in my life, and leapt more times than I can count and what I’ve discovered in that leaping, with a fistful of papers filled with bullet points and vague options of personal change is that without clear directions and plans and focus, those bullet points make me land awfully hard. Like flat on my butt hard and that stings. I think ‘But why didn’t this work?’ and yet, I know.

This space has been quiet for a while, and yet, behind the curtains, it’s teeming with life. It’s like entering a darkened auditorium, an empty stage played out, but you know that back stage is vast amounts of scurrying and busyness and plans that are coming true. It’s taken a long time to rehearse the play, but very soon, the curtain will rise and it will begin.

That’s about to happen, friends. We’re close. There’s been some rehearsals, some re-writes, some script changes and costume design updates. There’s been a lot of dreaming. Lots of proverbial pictures have passed through my mind, some have been discarded and others stick around. The dress rehearsal is close and I’m so thankful for your patience, as well as my own. I am hoping the new direction and design will be a good one, for all of us. It feels pretty good so far.


It’s Just Write 68 at The Extraordinary Ordinary.
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i chose joy {just write 66}

December 18th, 2012 | Comments Off on i chose joy {just write 66}

I never watch the news on television, and I wasn’t about to start now.

I barely read a newspaper any longer either. The fixation in the news media on the horrors of our world are far too much for this tender heart to bear. So I didn’t read the newspapers. None of them. And I stayed away from the news online too.

I skipped over Twitter and Facebook too, skimming my eyes over the constant coverage, the grim details, the unbearable sorrow. When a few of my Twitter friends chose to constantly tweet about it, I really had no other choice. I blocked them. I hated it, but that’s what I needed. I read a few of their words on their own blogs, but even then I decided I couldn’t finish these posts. So I didn’t read their blogs anymore.

There was only one, this one, that I read, and re-read and read over and over again. This was the one that people needed to read.

I don’t need to read all the news about it. No one needs to fixate on it. It does no one any good, but we, as a society, can’t seem to look away, and the sorrow played out through sensationalist journalism is a drug that we can’t seem to give up in our lives. And it does no good but to make us anxious, panicky and mournful.

I did talk briefly about it with close friends, over dinner, and wine and connection. But it was more about how to cope, and understand, then about details. I don’t want the details. Why does anyone want the details?

Instead, I chose joy. And it was the hardest joy to choose.

And I prayed. Every time I thought of the sorrow- and believe me, even without the constant onslaught of tweets and status updates and everything else, I thought about it A LOT– and when I did, I prayed. I prayed for the families. I prayed for the souls lost. I prayed for our nation, and the anxiety it caused. I just prayed.

I chose to pray every time I thought about it. Because quite frankly, I didn’t know what else to do. Nothing will help; no arguing, no pontification, no lobbying, no pleading, no nothing. Panic won’t help. Anxiety won’t help. Fear, by God, fear will not help.

I chose joy. I chose to buy our Christmas tree, drenched in the weekend’s rain. I chose to pull out box after box of Christmas decorations and deck my halls. I chose to light up our house and dwell in the light, not the darkness. I chose joy. I chose to sing. I chose to smile and hug and think of the birth of our Saviour. I set up our Nativity scene and prayed some more.

I chose joy. I begrudge no one for their choices, and their means to understand.

But for me, I chose joy.

This is Just Write 66.
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