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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Some Thinking, Some Reading, Some Listening and Some Snacks

So I've been crazy busy lately like everyone else in the world. I've been preoccupied with our home remodeling and fall sports and Joe's senior stuff and whatnot, and I really miss writing. So I decided that this morning I would give myself a break from the ordering of housewares and the oxicleaning of baseball pants and the purchasing of various graduation necessities.

Basically I need a break from the general throwing around of credit card numbers and writing of checks. I need to sit still and type words that don't cost me anything.

So here I sit in my house all alone. It is so quiet. All I hear is the hum of the fridge. This is it. All of those profound, important, inspiring thoughts I've been having for weeks are about to just show up and I will write for hours.

Here we go. This is me.

What? You don't look exactly like Jennifer Aniston when you are deep in thought? Because I do. It's weird. I can't explain it.

Anyway, after a few minutes of looking fabulous and thinking, I went straight to Facebook and took a quiz (as the most successful writers do, of course) titled "Can we guess your birth month based on your favorite foods?" Then I moved on to "What percent Disney princess are you?". I think my percentage dropped quite a bit when I had to get up in the middle of that quiz to clean up dog vomit.

So after all the thinking and all the wasting of time, I realized something. Let's be honest. The thing most people in our fair land are thinking about and talking about and writing about is the election. I've been thinking a whole lot about the election and reading a whole lot about the campaign and even occasionally sitting at my computer and writing about this whole mess. At different points in the last week or so, I've read over my words and I've thought to myself, "You know what? I will just hit publish now. I will put all of my thoughts on this campaign out into the universe."

And then I say, "Hey, Self,"

Some writing  is just for me to work out things in my head and heart and is best left to discussing with my people around my table because frankly, the Internet has lost its ever-lovin' mind.

The only thing I will say about this election and the Internet is that I'm not sure how we ever got through debates in the past without Twitter. Twitter is my soulmate during debates. I have undying love for Twitter during debates. I know there are no more debates, but if there were I would marry Twitter during the next debate.

Ok, so let's go in another direction and discuss some opinions on things that don't generally invite people to comment on a post using words like "idiot', "liar", "hypocrite" or the newly popular, "bad hombre".


This is the stack of books I'm planning on reading after I stop getting sucked in by quizzes inviting me to determine what kind of sandwich I am. Anyone have any thoughts on any of these? I am half way through both Audacious and Present Over Perfect. I will say that Present Over Perfect is teaching me and speaking to me in ways that make me weep. I did not expect to be so moved by it. I also look forward to reading books that keep me from both wasting time on social media and also, from weeping, so Liane Moriarity usually does the trick.

What are you reading? I'd love to hear so go ahead and leave a comment. I would not, however, love to hear your thoughts on the election. 'Kay?


Have you tried this stuff? I'm not sure I should even recommend it because I'm pretty sure it should be against the law. What is not mentioned in the ingredients is that there appears to be some sort of white chocolate or similar glory happening in there. It also doesn't mention that it's illegal. Just to be safe, I'd say hide it from your kids, your husband and any narcotics detectives that might stop by your home.

Speaking of snacks, I need to give you a warning. If you are of a certain age and from a certain state like me, perhaps you are used to just grabbing your favorite salsa off the shelf without using your tired, old eyes to actually read the label because you're sure that Cool Hand Luke would never let you down. Let me warn you so that I can save you from a similar fate. CHECK YOUR LABELS, GRANDMA. Before I watched the Texas Longhorns lose to Cal a few weeks ago, this is what I accidentally ate.

Pineapple Salsa. No bueno. Stop messing with salsa. No more mango. No peach. I do not even want a bean in my salsa. Stop it.  #makesalsanormalagain

What insanely great or completely inappropriate snacks are you enjoying lately? I'd love to hear, so go ahead and leave a comment. I do not care at all which candidate you like or dislike or want to throw your shoe at.


I heard this stunningly beautiful song this summer and I can't get enough of it. I'm so tied up in knots about a million different things lately. "Thy will be done" is pretty much the only phrase that unties all those knots. I think it's worth a listen every.single.morning.

I've also listened to this a few times a week lately. When I don't know what to do which is pretty much all the time lately, I just have to remember to give Him my heart and He'll speak if I listen.

What song unties your knots lately? I'd love to hear, so go ahead and leave a comment. I do not want to know your thoughts on immigration or the Supreme Court or puppets.

Well, friends, I think those are all the thoughts I can write about for today. It's a beautiful day here right outside of our nation's capital. The sun is shining, the sky is blue. It's a perfect day to bust outta here. I'm going to limit my time on the internet today. I'm going to read some books and eat some snacks and listen to some tunes. And also, in the name of keeping it real, I'm going to do some laundry, unload the dishwasher, clean some toilets, pick up a prescription and get my car washed, thus making my Disney Princess Percentage fall even farther. *sigh*

Lastly, I'm going to pray a lot. Thy will be done. Thy will be done. Thy will be done. He holds the whole world in His hands, friends. We're going to be just fine.

Have a great day!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2016


Well, Joe.

You. My firstborn. You are eighteen years old today.

I am stunned, bewildered, and perplexed. I am proud, grateful, and hopeful. I am pensive, reflective and introspective. Just choose an adjective. Any adjective. I am all of the adjectives and all of the synonyms for all of the adjectives about this day.

Because this day is, of course, about you. And you changed everything. At 5:25 am on Tuesday, October 6, 1998 you made everything in the whole wide world different than it was at 5:24 am on Tuesday, October 6, 1998. Most especially me.

This is what I always do on this day. I go backwards. I lament that we can't turn back time. I study our photos closely to look for a glimpse of the young man who towers over me now in that newborn baby's face. I study me closely to see if I recognize that young, naive girl who had been given a tiny, little person not only to raise up, but to help raise her up, too.

On this day eighteen years ago, everything about me seemed the same on paper. Same name. Same social security number. Same DNA. Same address. Same hair, same eyes, same face.

But suddenly, I was more because of you. More of everything.

I was more important. I was more hopeful. I was more grateful.

And at the exact same time, I felt more scared, more unworthy and more inadequate than I ever have in my life.

What I didn't know then is something that I learned day in and day out as I watched you grow and is something that I am absolutely certain of today.

God gives us exactly the child we are meant to have. He gives us the child who will teach us things we need to know. Basically, the Lord appears to know what He's doing.


God gifted me a child who would teach an anxious, people-pleasing, rule-following, play-it-safe girl to try to be better than that and braver than that. He sent me a child who has always felt completely comfortable in his own skin. He sent me a child who knows who he is and whose he is. He sent me a child who can (and has many times) walked into a room full of strangers without a thought. He sent me a child who is kind and compassionate. Who is assured and confident. Who is driven and purposeful. I am frequently awed at your willingness to jump at any opportunity that comes your way. You always think "yes" first. You always believe you can do anything your heart desires. You are so very different than me in that way. This is how I know for a fact that you are wonderfully and marvelously made by your Creator. Your mama had nothing whatsoever to do with those amazing parts of you.

Your life is stretched out before you, Joe. An open book of possibilities. A story to be written by both you and God - the two of you only.

I will fight hard against worrying about you as your adult life begins today. I will struggle to let you go and I will feel anxious that the open book of possibilities will include disappointments and failures. Hardships and struggles. And oh, by the way, those things will be included in your story, bud. But when I feel worried or anxious, I will simply look to you and I will be brave again.

Because I know this of you, Joe. You have growing to do. You have learning to do. You have maturing to do. But there is wisdom you have at the age of 18 that I didn't have until I was 40. That I might not fully have even now. And I know you will reach out your hands and take hold of the plans God has for you with your eyes wide open and with your heart and your mind focused on Him and who He has made you to be.

I know this because I trust that the God who sent you to me and stayed with us all of these eighteen years is the same God that will send you out into the world. And He will not leave you. You will be brave because He made you that way. And I think perhaps I will be braver because He sent you specifically to me to help me become brave, too.

Happy Birthday, Joe. Keep looking up. Your future is blindingly bright.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who created a good work in you will perfect it until the time of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:6

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Weed-Whacking Guide

Last week I wrote about the fact that September has me tangled up in the weeds of tasks, busy-ness and the relentless pursuit of productivity and efficiency. I was being choked by an endless list of to-dos and I needed desperately to change my pace and undoubtedly, my attitude.

So here's what I did this weekend. I told myself that something (someone) has got to change. I told myself that I needed to take care of myself. I needed to breathe in some serenity and calm.

Ahem. How does that work? Serenity and calm are not in my wheelhouse. The good news is I know someone who is an expert at those things. (At least if there isn't a car going by or a pack of kids on their bikes.)

You see, I'm pretty sure that my dog, Mack, knows a thing or two about self-care. He can definitely be a fun, active little puppy when new people are around, but in general, if he chose a life verse it would be "Be still and know." and also "Leave me alone." Mack can be still and know for hours. He can lie around or wander around simply sniffing nothing. He sniffs at the grass, sniffs at the air, and stretches out his little body to as long as he can make it, laying his head down on the driveway or on the lawn or on the deck - basically wherever he can lay his head. So I walked outside with the master and stood there next to him without my phone, without a podcast, without an option for scrolling facebook, without my running shoes, without my list and pen and even without a book. I thought I'd just sit or stand or even lie down in the grass next to him and just be.

I lasted about 2.5 minutes until I said out loud (to my dog. who doesn't speak English), "Mack, this is ridiculous. I can't do this. Shouldn't we be at least making a list if we aren't going to try to do anything on the list? How can you honestly just be there and do nothing? What are you accomplishing? Aren't the tasks growing exponentially while we just sit here and smell stuff? Like what are you smelling anyway? I don't smell anything at all. There is no scent here. How do you sleep at night knowing you didn't cross one thing off of your list? I give up. You are totally in touch with your needs. You are the champion of chill. You're not even netflixing with your chill. You win. I can't do this."


Listen, friends. Rome wasn't built in a day. I decided I could slow down this weekend without completely slamming on the brakes. So I have some suggestions for those of us who aren't quite as adept in being in touch with our deepest needs for rejuvenation as Mack is. I still was able to have a relaxing weekend just by choosing to do some things that fill me up and make me feel like me. I tried really hard to not rush anything. Yes, I did laundry, I cleaned some toilets, I went to the grocery store and I ironed some clothes. And of course, I went to some baseball games because DUH. But, I just did everything slowly. I just made sure I was breathing. I don't know how, but it worked. Here are some other things I enjoyed this weekend. 

(Let's realize that I'm still making a list here. I am powerless over the list.)

1. The Bye Week 
The Texas Longhorns had the week off. This is when we realize that the Lord's timing is perfect, right? I think God knew I could not handle a game this weekend and needed a break from holding my breath for the Horns. I didn't watch any football at all and I think this restored my soul a little bit.

2. Fall TV

TV got a bad rap for so long, but then the Iphone and the Internet came in and and almost made TV seem like a reasonably healthy activity to me.  I love tv that helps me turn my brain off for awhile. I watched This is Us, Grey's Anatomy, Designated Survivor, some episodes of Scandal and the first few episodes of Shameless (Red Alert: Shameless is shameless. It's not for everyone and it most certainly can't be watched when any of your people are any where near the tv . . .like not within five miles of the tv. Be near Lord. Amen.) 

3. Reading

I finished Love Warrior by Glennon Melton, I think the words "brutal honesty" were created for this book. Really introspective. Really deep. Really painful. Really good. I also started Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I've got these in the queue: Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarity, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer since I am the last person on earth that hasn't read it. 

4. Online Shopping

This is where I probably need to make a disclaimer because shopping should not be used to manage stress. And sometimes I do the thing I know I'm not supposed to do. But everything was 40% off at JCrew Mercantile. And I only bought one thing, so no biggie, 'kay? And this photo doesn't do it justice because it isn't that boxy, it's actually navy, not black and it has a cute gold zipper. And it's finally getting cooler so flannel will be returning soon. And plaid makes me deliriously happy. So there.

5. Running/Walking/Hiking

I went for a run one day and then later I went hiking at Bull Run Park with a friend. Again, we have a misleading photo because the flowers of course were not blooming (and also that's not Nancy and me), but it was still really beautiful and quiet and calm. We talked and walked and talked and walked until there weren't many words left. Grab a girl, grab your shoes and move yourself. It works. 

6. Talk to your kid about nothing
One early morning while my son was outside waiting for his ride to his game, I should have been starting the laundry, or jumping in the shower, or cleaning up the breakfast. Instead, I walked outside and shot baskets with him and we talked. About nothing really. But he laughed. I laughed. I didn't ask about school or girls or even baseball. I don't even remember anything that we talked about. It might have been our best conversation in months.

7. Sleep

I slept 10 hours on Friday night. And this is either here nor there, but when I woke up after that epic sleep, I looked in the mirror and my hair looked amazing. I've no idea why, but before I was even fully awake I sent a text to a couple of friends telling them that I think the sandman runs a dry bar if you stay in your bed long enough.

Okay. So that was my weekend. And I feel like I should point out that I made a list of seven things which for chronic list makers is really hard to do because who in the world is able to stop at seven things on a list? Five things, yes. In general, the list-addicted among us feels that if we don't stop at five, she must go to ten. It's just a thing.

I stopped at seven.

My list is not the boss of me. I win.

Have a great day, friends. Do a little weed-whacking of your soul each day. We'll keep working at it and before we know it we'll be sitting on the lawn with my dog singing Kum Ba Yah.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A September in the Weeds


I wish I was finally coming back here to write something light and airy and funny. I wish I could bring myself to write about the fashion at the Emmys (I missed it) or a new fall tv show (haven't watched a one) or maybe an uplifting commentary on a scripture (sorry, no words on the Word). None of that is what I'm writing today.

I'm so tired I could spit nails. I mean I don't know if tired people actually spit nails. I think that's angry people. Tired people are too tired for spitting. I'm tired. Obviously too tired to come up with the correct hyperbole.

Come to think of it, tired people do eventually become angry people. And sad people. They become people no one wants to be around. And I'm precariously close to not even wanting to be around myself. Which poses a problem in many respects, not the least of which is that the goal here is to write something someone might want to read and that might require being somewhat pleasant. :/

For that reason, I keep avoiding this space. I don't want this to be a "woe is me" place. There is quite possibly nothing more irritating than a person with a reasonably healthy marriage, reasonably healthy children and a reasonably safe place to lay her head at night whining online. Especially if someone is posting very cryptically and asking for prayers and thoughts and attention, but won't really let you in on what's really going on. Well, no veiled references here. No trying to peak your curiosity that something seriously tragic is happening. I'm not on the edge of disaster. It's just basically this: (and it's golf season, so stay with me)

I'm utterly and completely in the weeds. Knee deep, lost the ball, gonna have to take a penalty stroke. Furthermore, while I'm fishing around here wondering what club I need to use to get out of this mess and find my way up to the glorious, light filled green, I'm probably going to get poison ivy which I will spread to my entire family.

Actually, I'm possibly right on the edge of disaster, it seems.

"September in the Weeds" appears to be a thing around these parts. So I'm going to hope that this raging, whining post won't seem so selfish. I'm hoping that anyone who's picking up what I'm putting down can just look at this as a "woe is us" post and then maybe we can get down to the business of pulling back the weeds that are choking the very life out of our days and find some light at the end of this tunnel, even if it might be that the light happens to be as far off as October.

Often, writing lifts my burdens. I can make a joke or observe something silly happening among the men and the mess around here. But nothing seems funny because there seems to be no time for funny. No time for introspection. No time for any thought of substance.

Back to School seems so inviting for mamas after the free for all of summer. For me, the days were to look a little bit different even compared to school years past. With one in middle school and two in high school and one of those two graduating in less than a year, my kids are much more independent and well they should be. I imagined our family falling into a comfortable rhythm. I was sure that outside of running my house and (assisting in) keeping my people alive, I would spend my days writing and reading and deciding how those things might work together to create, not necessarily a greater purpose, but perhaps a wider purpose for me. I was imagining that the fear of the oldest leaving would be assuaged by this new plan I would create for myself.

To do that I was looking forward to regular routines, consistent meal times and bed times. I'm not sure what I was thinking because I don't think all five of us have had dinner together since some time in August. And bed times aren't even a real thing around here anymore. I remember when all of kids were asleep by 8:00 pm and I had a few hours to watch Project Runway and drink a glass of wine or actually talk to my husband.

(Is Project Runway even on anymore? Because unless Tim Gunn  has decided that a Red Sox uniform is the new black, I think that ship has sailed.)

The only thing that September has brought to my writing life is the composition of list after list after list. And a calendar full of drop offs and pick ups. Of appointments and practices and meetings. Meetings where I sit across from people and am not really listening because I've one foot out the door. Appointments where I'm tapping that foot on the waiting room floor in impatience because I need to get to the next thing. I'm not really looking anyone in the eye. I'm not really communicating with anyone. I'm not really living a full life of observing and connecting and relationship. So what on earth does a writer write about if not observations, connections and relationships? And even more, how does a mother do her mothering, a friend do her friend-ing, a wife do her wife-ing or a Christian do her Christian-ing if she's not observing and connecting and relating?

Exactly four months ago I stood in front of a church bursting at the seams with people in shock at the sudden death of a husband, a father, a friend. I urged them and promised myself to find freedom from busy-ness, franticness and a task oriented life. My voice shook with sorrow and with conviction as I tried to understand what God needed us to know in the wake of unspeakable tragedy that rocked our community. I told myself and those in that congregation with the truest sincerity that we should  pay more attention to our people and their souls. I determined that I would treat the ones God had gifted me as blessings to be cherished and not as problems to be solved or cargo to be shuffled from one place to the next.

I have failed miserably at this in the last few weeks. Perhaps even in the last couple of months. And I'm so ashamed. A great number of people looked me in the eye that May afternoon and seemed to honestly be touched and changed by the death of our friend. They believed in what I had said. They believed that I believed it. I believed me, too.

Why is it so hard to keep believing in what we know to be true and right and honorable? Why is it so hard to fight against this notion that we must be efficient and productive and on task at all moments of the day? Who decided this was a good idea? And how are we going to survive it? More personally, how are the members of my family going to survive me, if I continue in this frantic, unrelenting race to cross things off a list instead of establishing the walls of this house as their home? How will this be a safe place to fall at the end of the day? How will this become a place of grace and forgiveness and comfort? How will they know that these rooms offer a refuge where you are off the hook from performance and duty if I am unwilling to let myself off the hook for even an hour a day?

In the midst of wandering around wanting to write yesterday, I picked up a book, Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, which I received over three weeks ago and had yet to touch. As I was too busy to start from the beginning, I flipped through it. I landed in the middle of a chapter in the middle of a page out of any context and I read this:

"My regrets: how many years I bruised people with my fragmented, anxious presence. How many moments of connection I missed - too busy, too tired, too frantic and strung out on the drug of efficiency.  You don't have to damage your body and your soul and the people you love most in order to get done what you think you have to get done. You don't have to live like this."

I flipped a little farther and found this:

"What would our lives be like if our days were studded by tiny, completely unproductive, silly, nonstrategic, wild and beautiful five minute breaks, reminders that our days are for loving and learning and laughing, not for pushing and planning, reminders that it's all about the heart, not about the hustle."

Well, now. Perhaps one should have picked up this book when God put it in her mailbox at the beginning of this September of suffering.

This list I clutch and cross off is not my friend. It doesn't make me laugh. It doesn't listen to my dreams. It can't talk to me about Brangelina or the woes of the Texas Longhorns defense or about the anxiety I feel about my son going to college. It just goes along with me telling me that we're doing important, necessary things. It makes me feel like my needs and my wants, my connections and my relationships must wait for another time.

Busy-ness is lonely. Tasks are not life giving. Being surrounded by numerous people and beautiful things and admirable accomplishments and still being lonely is the loneliest place to be in all the world.

I didn't get it right after our friend Tom died. Maybe for awhile I did, but I fell right back to my addiction to busy-ness.

Today I'm going to try again. I'm going to go for a run and then I'm going to sit with Jesus and I'm going take the time to start this book from the beginning. I'm going to go outside and sit with my dog and look to the sky to ask forgiveness. I'm going to look up at our friend, Tom and tell him I'm sorry. I'm going to tell him his death did change me. It will change me.

I'm going to begin again. I'm so grateful to my God that He allows this redemption. I might not get it right today. Or maybe I'll get it right for a little while and then mess up again. But I will remember this - again found in the pages of Niequist's book - at least for today.

God hasn't invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful - as beautiful on the inside as the outside. - 1 Thessalonians 4:7, The Message

Thanks for returning here, friends. You've no idea how much it means to me. Come out from the weeds today. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He is humble and gives rest to our souls. It's there for the taking. Let's go get it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Returning to Me Daybook: September 13, 2016

Outside my window:
It's the most perfectly perfect September blue sky day in Virginia.
I am thinking:
about women and friendship. My sister and I were talking yesterday about how much easier it was to nurture our friendships when the children were little since so many of us were stay at home moms who desperately needed each other to get through our long days. It's too easy now to get bogged down in kids' activities and work tasks and volunteering and to forget how important it is to make time for our girlfriends. One day these children and their activities will float away. And as Melanie Shankle wrote in Nobody's Cuter than You, "We absolutely need our girlfriends because no man wants to hear all the words we have to say in the course of a day." Amen?
I am thankful:
for the technology that let me watch the Texas game while in Delaware on the beach with my toes in the sand this weekend. I often think that the smartphone will be downfall of humanity, but then I remember the WatchESPN app and I quickly recall Romans 8:28. I'm not sure that the apostle Paul was exactly referring to college football when he said that the Lord works all things together for good, but it was awfully good.

In the kitchen:
there's been a remodel going on for what seems like 6 years. I have some serious patience issues when it comes to this. I blame Chip and Joanna Gaines. It appears that this stuff doesn't occur in one day, so that you walk in to angels singing and a Magnolia Market candle flickering on your giant island after a brief one hour episode. One day we had a beautiful new island but it was covered in a piece of cardboard. Then one day we had appliances and then one day we had counter tops. Still another day we had some bar stools. I have a backsplash now. Things are looking up and it's going to be beautiful, but just so you know Chip and JoJo are pretty little liars. ;-)
I am wearing:
running shorts, a #mathiasstrong tshirt and running shoes
I am listening to:
contractors installing an oven and range hood.
I am going:
to have to do a bunch of sandy laundry from our trip to Rehoboth Beach this weekend where we were for a baseball tournament for the littlest man.
I am reading:
Joe's college application essays (pause for deep, cleansing breaths). I also just received Love Warrior by Glennon Melton and Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist in the mail. I read exactly two books this whole summer. That is a record low. I miss reading and I don't think it's an accident that I didn't write much more than I read this summer. As a teacher, I always told my students that good writers read. A lot. I didn't do a lot of either this summer and I miss both so much.
I am hoping:
for a fabulous dinner idea to just pop into my head at any minute. Better yet, that it might just pop on to the table, too.
I am looking forward to:
celebrating our high school golf team tomorrow night at our end of the season banquet. We'll be specifically celebrating this guy and his senior teammates. How in the world?

I am learning:
to say no. This is not necessarily about needing to say no to other people's requests. It's not really about being a people pleaser. It's not about having a better system or a new organizational plan. This is really about figuring which things on my list most fill me up and make me the person God intends me to be. It's about finally choosing what I really want to do and how much of it I can honestly, feasibly do while still understanding that I have four other people in my home who need to eat and wear clothes. ;-)  To do the thing that is really my heart's desire, it means cutting out other things I really want and like to do. It's hard to make choices like these. It can hurt other people and it can hurt me. I hate it, but the truth is I cannot do everything and anything I want to do. Last week, as I screeched into the high school parking lot for College Information Night, I had to sit in the car before I walked in because I realized that I wasn't breathing right and my head was pounding. That wasn't about Joe being a senior, although that makes me lose my breath, too. It was because there is just too much. That day, last week, last month. It's all too much. And the "too much" is not all frivolous and unimportant. The things I'm doing. The places I'm going. The people and tasks on my list. There is not one thing I'm doing that does not feel vitally important when I write it on the list. And yet, I don't think God wants me to do all of this. What I have found in the last month is that I have one foot out the door no matter where I am or who I am with lately. God is not requiring me to have just part of me in a million different good things. I am learning that decisions will have to made that require me to take both feet out of some things I love, so that I can put both feet in the things He is really calling me to do. That night in that parking lot, trying to catch my breath, I learned that His still, small voice is getting pretty insistent and pretty loud. It's time to listen and learn NOW.
I am praying:
for patience and calm and serenity.
On my Ipod:
I've been running through several of Jamie Ivey's Happy Hour podcasts. Jamie interviews a different woman each week. They are mostly Christian writers/moms/bloggers/charity volunteers. It is honestly like having a glass of wine and chatting with a friend. They talk about serious things and fun things. It's a delightful way to pass the time while running errands, watering the 50 plants you just had put in your backyard or just sitting on the deck watching the clouds.
I am wondering:
If there is anything more beautiful than a sunset over the bay in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

I am pondering:
. . . writing requires work. Kind of hard, brutal, sanity-threatening work. All the writing dreams in your head have to transition to your ten fingers on a keyboard, and I’m afraid there is no other way. Work requires time, which of course, you have none of. This is the writer’s dilemma. You will not miraculously become a writer by carrying on exactly like you are. It’s a whole thing and you have to make room for it. . . Writing will take time away from other things: sometimes kids, sometimes spouse, sometimes a thing you used to do, sometimes sleep. Work does this. You don’t get to keep everything as is and also add writing. That is not how the time/space continuum works -  Jen Hatmaker
A verse for today:
"For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay." - Habakkuk 2:3
One of my favorite things:
A group of 11 and 12 year old boys who transform from little kids screeching and riding the waves one day to fearless, focused competitors the next day. They won three games in a row on Sunday in their tournament and took the championship from kids who are older, taller, bigger and have more facial hair than they do. I can say with all honesty, that I will never tire of watching them play.

A few plans for the week:
ordering things for the kitchen, sending things back, baseball practice, orthodontist and eye doctor appointments and the first day of the new year of Community Bible Study.
A peek into my day: 
Some rest for the weary.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The (Arguably Irrational) Joy of being 1 and 0

Hey, Y'all.

Hey. Hey. Y'all. Are you there?

Do you remember me? I've been gone forever. Like 6 weeks. The longest since I've had this blog. And I've missed it. I've missed writing from my heart and writing from my mixed up brain. I've missed writing about Jesus and about the Nordstrom summer sale. I've missed seeing your comments and hopefully making you laugh or just stop for a second to see extraordinary blessings in an ordinary day. I've missed it like crazy and I've felt less of me without it. So if you're here, thanks for coming back. You're my favorite person ever. :-)

I thought for sure that the first week that the kids were back to school, I would be writing about all the matters under heaven, but the thing is:


And also:


And, furthermore:


I'll be back soon with lots of stuff. Like thoughts on my pastor's amazing summer sermon series on the fruits of the spirit. And the fact that it's my oldest's senior year and that makes me have to sit down and put my head between my legs at least once a day. And that I went to visit Magnolia Market this summer with my mom. And I have a new Stitch Fix post to write. Oh and I've got a least five posts worth of first world whining about the kitchen remodel I've got happening right now that left me without a kitchen sink or dishwasher for a month. And speaking of being Caroline Ingalls, we're going to need to discuss the fact that my friend Nancy sent me a text full of confusion along with a photo of Banana Republic's newest offering: the prairie dress.

What is that? In between the casual wear and the work wear they're offering the "I need to pick up some flour at Olsen's Mercantile wear"?

Lots to discuss. But the thing that really lured me back to this space even though I have 346 things to do before 10:00 am today is this.

Y'all. This game. This double overtime. This precious new quarterback who looks so young that I want to pack him a lunch and take him to the playground. This senior quarterback who barrels through people like an actual Longhorn steer. The record crowd in my stadium. Our coach jumping into the arms of our offensive coordinator.

I CANNOT EVEN. My Longhorns are 1 and 0. The joy this gives me is completely irrational.

And I will tell you that the game itself was not one bit enjoyable. The bad guys scored right away, but then we did the same really quick. And then it was bad. And then it was good. And then we were up by 17. But then it was bad again and the world was dark and scary. But then we were ahead with very little time left. But then they blocked an extra point attempt and ran it back. I thought it would be a six point return and we would be losing, but then it was only for two points so we were tied. So there was overtime. TWICE.

Basically I died and came back to life like six times during the game.

But the end result was that I have walked around as if the world is brighter and full of more hope than is reasonable for a clinically sane person to believe just because of football. But how 'bout this? Because God loves me so, it just so happened that one of my dearest friends from college was in town the day after the game so we went to have margaritas and Mexican food in the middle of the day to celebrate and catch up. And by the end of our time together we had decided we would win the National Championship. We decided that our young quarterback was given to Texas specifically by the Lord for such a time as this. We determined that very soon we will be weeping tears of great joy as we watch him accept the Heisman Trophy.

Yes, I went all the way there.

So, anyway, my heart is already starting to beat too fast and I'm starting to get panicky about all the things on all the lists and all the time that keeps running out on me to get all the stuff done. Maybe this month is like that for you, too. If today brings you more than your share of OH MY GOSH I CANNOT EVEN DEAL WITH SEPTEMBER, just remember these words:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

And also:

Tyrone Swoopes busted through all the bad guys and reached that football over the line. 1 and 0, baby. I'm not sure if you're aware but that's an undefeated season, friends.

All is right in the world. Hook Em Horns

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The View From Behind The Tee Box (Repost)

I have spent many days in the past few weeks driving a golf cart over rolling hills, trying desperately to keep my eye on a tiny ball shot through the air and holding my breath as it rolls toward a black hole on a perfectly manicured green.  I've had to bite my tongue so that I won't bring out my "baseball mom voice" to cheer too loudly when things go right.  I've tried to conjure up jedi mind tricks to stare hope and perseverance back into my son's thoughts when things go wrong.

As for my personal experience with the game, it was short lived.  I took lessons seventeen years ago and played a few holes with some girlfriends that long ago summer.  The next summer found all three of us pregnant and spending our summer shopping for strollers and cribs.  It was - to be sure - a devastating blow to the future of women's golf.  My experience was that I could hit five ridiculously awful shots and then one perfectly beautiful shot. It is true that in that one shot, anyone, on any course, suddenly believes that he or she is the next Tiger Woods.  Those perfect shots were very few and far between for me, so the time I spend on the golf course now includes no clubs, just carts and cameras.

From behind my lens, I have determined that golf is both infuriating and exhilarating,  In watching my son play, I feel like I am observing some fickle girl who makes him feel like he is the love of her life, only to change her mind minutes later, breaking his heart.  And then she comes back, flicking her hair and batting her eyelashes, making him feel like a hero again.

That two-bit tramp. ;-)

Still, as frustrating as this game is, it takes place in the most perfectly serene of settings. I have to be still and quiet and my being welcomes that.  I am surrounded by white puffy clouds, brilliant blue skies and trees of every sort and size.  Often I find myself pulling up next to a mama deer and her baby. They are rarely fazed by me.

My son, his teammates and his opponents are calm and measured. (Mostly calm and measured.  Admittedly, my boy's own baseball voice makes an appearance on occasion)  They help each other in reading putts and clarifying rules.  They are polite and dignified, talking quietly with each other and encouraging opponents with, "Good ball." or "That'll play.  Nice shot."

The golf season for me is a welcome change from rowdy baseball crowds and blazing sun.  It is soft breezes and singing birds.  It is whispered encouragement and gentlemanly handshakes.  And for a few hours this:

It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place this world is when one is playing golf.
-Robert Lynd

God finds me in both the oddest and the most ordinary of places.  Reminding me of the gift of this day, the gift of this creation and the extraordinary gift of this boy.

"No other game combines the wonder of nature with the discipline of sport in such carefully planned ways.  A great golf course both frees and challenges a golfer's mind.
- Tom Watson

"I'm about five inches from being an outstanding golfer. That's the distance my left ear is from my right."
-Ben Crenshaw

"What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive."
~Arnold Palmer

"They call it golf because all the other four letter words were taken."
- Raymond Floyd

"Golf is the closest game to the game we call life.  You get bad breaks from good shots, you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies." 
-Bobby Jones

"One of the most fascinating things about golf is how it reflects the cycle of life. No matter what you shoot, the next day you have to go back to the first tee and begin all over again and make yourself into something."
~Peter Jacobsen