My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.
Something in my heart flared.~Anthony Doerr (From Four Seasons In Rome)
I forget, sometimes, how safe God is. I share a few sentences from my book, The Light By Which We See, Love, Art, Marriage. This day in Barcelona helps me remember.
When I traveled to Europe, self-consciousness about how I looked rose to the surface. That day in Barcelona, in 2009, in April, I observed a woman board our train. Her dark hair gleamed, and her skin reflected no flaws. She had pink, full lips and gloriously white teeth--shiny natural nails. She wore a silver ring. I wanted to be her. Giovanni held my hand, his thumb gently rubbing back and forth over my freckled skin. The woman glanced briefly at us. She looked at our hands. Her glimpse wasn't even a second, but I saw a flicker cross her face--that expression that let me know she'd seen something intimate--something that wasn't a commonplace occurrence. Then she quickly looked away. If I hadn't been watching her so closely, I'd have missed it. Maybe she wanted to be me--sitting there with someone, connected to someone.
I could hear the rushing of the train, its loud rumblings, the clattering. My thoughts howled as loudly as the train. I cried out, my voice blending with the clamoring, thundering train. "Please stop. Please stop. God what is it? Let me want to be me."
Sometimes I push my thumb into an orange just for the scent of it, and it takes me there; the peace, the spaciousness of an unhurried afternoon, the quality of attention to small things.~Katherine May (From Enchantment, Awakening Wonder In An Anxious Age)
I am often distracted. My focus spins out of control. I get enamored with brightly lit concepts and ideas that steer me off course. Instagram images, video games, movies with too many episodes that I am tempted to spend hours and hours watching all at one time. Scrolling on linked in. There are so many authors promoting books. There must be thousands. There are actually tens of thousands. It is easy to compare myself with others who appear to have much more success. I am squinting into the brightness. I do not pick up my pen in the blinding glare.
One of my sisters taught me the phrase, "pick up my pen." She says, "I decided to 'pick up my pen' and write a book." She writes two pages every day. She is building something. My other sister just graduated from seminary. She is packing up with her husband and moving to Washington state to begin a ministry there. She is building something, too. Step by step. My sisters manage distraction well.
The bright side of the planet moves toward darkness
And the cities are falling asleep, each in its hour,
And for me, now as then, it is too much.
There is too much world.~Czeslaw Milosz (From The Separate Notebooks)
I dreamed last week that I saw a white arrow pointing forward. I wasn't sure what to make of the dream when I awakened. It was not an ominous dream.
Then yesterday, I was a greeter at church. A strong wind blew. Rain pelted the sidewalk. People began streaming into the church, some faces familiar. Some not. Then I looked up at the sky, and I noted patches of blue, the sun peering through. Two weather systems in the span of fifteen minutes.
Another parishioner greeted people with me. During a lull in people arriving, we began to talk about our lives.
This ascetic cubicle of regret...you couldn't go back he understood that now. You had to press on. You had to forge ahead.~Elizabeth Brundage (From The Vanishing Point)
I've been thinking about moving when you don't want to. When you are forced to. A good friend of mine had to pack up and move quickly. Rent a truck and find boxes. Boxes are hard to find. You have to scramble. So much tape. So many emotions that must be pared down along with all the things.
His mother came to help, kept things flowing. "You probably won't use that. Leave it here." She wrapped the oriental vases carefully, her hands strong. Capable.
And so a picture here, another there removed from the wall. You can see the outline of the frame, the paint slightly darker where the picture once sat, the hooks exposed. A naked, vulnerable space.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.~Psalm 16:6
Last week I sat with a group of women. The topic of bucket lists emerged. Most everyone spoke of magical places they wanted to visit--a desire to quench a thirst for adventure in fantastical locations that fueled their imaginations.
I had a different reaction. I didn't yearn to go anywhere.
I thought, "I want to enjoy the spot I'm in now. To savor the parts of my life that seem like manna every day." I like to read the Bible and hear the dryer tumbling as I sit in my green chair in the study. I like listening to Pandora and humming a song I remember as a girl. I like spraying Dolce E Gabbana Light Blue on my wrists and inhaling the good smell. The small luxuries of existence are like a bucket list to me. To feel contentment, joyful even, where I am.
To anchor into the day and want no more, not wish for things to change, or for people to be nicer or the rain to stop or to be prettier. Rather to gently crack open the spine of a book, hear the rustling pages, smell the fragrance of paper and ink. Absorb the story, drink my coffee.