My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I'm going.~Anna Funder
The boy burst into my life with two backpacks full of plastic train tracks and myriad miniature train engines that he enthusiastically emptied in the middle of my living room. "I love trains," he exclaimed. "Wow," I said. "You have a lot of tracks and engines that you brought over." He beamed at me, blue eyes sparkling behind a fringe of blond bangs. The boy, I'll call Marco, (to protect his confidentiality) and I planned to collaborate in an effort to increase his reading skills. I wasn't sure where to go with the agenda, but I knew it would need to include trains.
I said, "Marco, what are you going to do with all these train parts?" He said, "Miss Priscilla, I'm going to build a track for my trains to run on."
"Great! Show me," I said. I thought to myself, "Get to know him, Priscilla. Pay attention. Learn why he loves trains so much. Learn from him. Put away your agenda.
In about twenty minutes Marco constructed a complex train track. And while expertly connecting the tracks he told me about his favorite engines that he placed at various stations. And it was then that an idea came to me. God's leading, no doubt. "Marco, why don't I put the reading cards around the track at all your stations? When your engines move to that station, you can read the cards. "Ms. Priscilla, that's a great idea. We can have a vowel party!"
God can help me to believe there is a reason and a plan. God can help me be happy. The lure of that is almost irresistible.~Cara Wall (From The Dearly Beloved)
I woke loaded with anxiety and overwhelm. I had so much to do. People and companies to contact before departing for the other side of the ocean. A house to prepare. Packing. I usually take too much. All the ounces to figure out. My bag overstuffed. This is my tendency--to crave certainty and demand perfection from myself. Let fear of the unknown win.
By God's grace, I listened to a podcast and heard a quote by Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California: Fear drives my mind into forbidden territory.
I said out loud. "I won't slide into anxiety and allow the reality of uncertainty to paralyze me." I prayed, "God, what is the antidote?"
It comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes at the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger quieter life come flowing in. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. We can do it only for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us.~C.S. Lewis (From Mere Christianity)
The morning's entrance began with sunlight like fire behind the stand of trees at the back of my house. An ordinary day. But that evening, I walked out my front door. Nothing was normal now. Police cars lined the parking lot, blue lights twirling silently atop the vehicles. Three long, red fire trucks parked near the entrance of my condo complex. A neighbor walked up to me as I stood on my porch. "Something horrible happened. A four-year-old boy drowned in the pond. He didn't make it."
"What's going on?" I whispered.
My neighbor, her face tear-stained, her cheeks flushed deep pink, said, "I don't know any details. The child didn't live here. He was visiting. That's all I know."
Resist chronology. It will always try to impose itself.~Verlyn Klinkenborg (From Several Short Sentences About Writing)
I'm partial to linearity, chronology. Give me a straight line and let me follow it. A to B to C. Beginning. Middle. End. No curve balls. Please no curves. I dream of hopping on a bike and following the cobalt thread of the the ocean--going forward in a straight line. No thinking about where I need to turn. But even that thinking is fantastical. I live on a sphere. Curves are my reality.
A few years ago when I was still working as a counselor, a colleague came to my office. Said she was moving to California. That's where she was from. "I want to be closer to my family," she said. "I miss them." I asked, "Did you get another job?" "No," she said. "And I'm not a hundred percent sure it's the best thing to do, leaving what I know here and re-locating to the other coast. But I have to try. I won't know if it's right if I don't try." I said, "That seems pretty scary." "It is," she said. "But I have a plan. It works every time I'm feeling uncertain." "Tell me," I said.
There's a kind of unspoken conspiracy to ignore how difficult life is, or to reframe it as something romantic--a heroic challenge we overcome on our way to the good life. In this conspiracy we each try to hide our scars, even from those closest to us and sometimes even from ourselves...think about someone you know who is living the good life: someone well dressed, confident, smiling, high achieving, maybe even attractive and intelligent and funny. Nine times out of ten, they are carrying around something unspeakably painful. And often, when you learn what that pain is, it'll be something completely unexpected.~Alan Noble (From On Getting Out Of Bed)
In my study, I have a black and white photo of a trio of gondolas tied to a dock in the waters of Venice. The gondola is a significant symbol for me. When I was weak and ill with cancer several years ago, I had little strength for anything. I couldn't climb stairs. I was bald from chemo treatments. No eyelashes. No eyebrows. My face round as the moon from side-effects of the medication in the chemo cocktail. I would visualize myself resting in the gondola, not having to muster strength for anything other than to feel a fresh breeze on my face and trail my fingers in the sun-dappled, sea-green Venice canals. I imagined the Lord as my gondolier. In my vulnerability, I abandoned my control to His guidance. I learned then, at least somewhat, the mystery and comfort of His presence when I was broken.