In lieu of trying to belong to any number of societies: Chesterton, Sherlock Holmes, the Inklings, and so on: I propose and establish one of my own. Don your intelligence cap at the door; dust off your logic and imagination; did you bring your inspiration and encouragement? We are shapers, my friends; lit lamps; light-bringers. Bring quotes*; poetry should be uplifting and thoughtful, or witty and clever, (or both). Humor is encouraged; laughter is invited back. Pull up a chair. Anyone for tea?

* C.S. LEWIS, J.R.R. TOLKIEN, SHERLOCK HOLMES, G.K. CHESTERTON, N.D. WILSON, AND P.G. WODEHOUSE, ARE ENCOURAGED

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

{snippets and brief notes penned among the flurry of November days as we usher in winter, with its festive sparkle and season of hope}

{It is really properly snowing out today. Big, fluffy, swift-floating flakes settle on everything. Even the grass doesn’t melt them away anymore. Each car and house has a fuzzy little snow-layer, the air is thick and full. It’s the kind of snowfall that is an adornment for the world. November’s jewelry suspended in the air.11-3}


{This morning I drove straight toward the beaver moon in the full dark of early morning. A few weeks back I opened the back door upon a brilliant Orion, courageously shining out of the night sky over my city.11-4}
~


This is a season of bright hope and warm expectancy, and as such I feel that it should be neither postponed nor hurried. In fact, I find that easing into the season's celebratory preparation a bit early gives rather more time for reflection and appreciation than less. The fact that there is so much hype and commercialization of the Christmas season, I believe to be a reason in favor of an early start. Giving yourself ample time for a slow and methodical savoring of the season. Not plunging in to every aspect at once, even after Thanksgiving; but pulling out bit by bit, the traditions and beautifications and festivities, in order to surround yourself with reminders of the glorious hope that is ours.

As some of you know, I begin with the first snowfall to welcome winter and joyous tidings all around. Out comes Charlie Brown, and with those first notes of O Tannenbaum, I am enveloped in memory, inspiration, and the festive spirit. But I don't go crazy. I begin to wear fair-isle, and perhaps a red scarf. I bake gingerbread, and start to make gift lists. On deer-hunting opener weekend, I rummage through the storage room and emerge (finally) with the Christmas decorations for just my bedroom. And over the next week I slowly clean and arrange. 

My early morning commute changes tune, as I finish the Fellowship of the Ring just in time, and began November with 'Shepherd's Abiding'. This Jan Karon novel, filled with the joys and preparations of the season, begins in October; so one doesn't feel as if we've jumped the gun. But is filled with the joyous spirit, the busy and the methodical, the glad anticipation and child-like wonder. Of course with my volume of driving, I'm through it in a few weeks, leaving time for my favorite Christmas CDs, a bit of listening to the radio; time for prayer, thinking, brainstorming, and the like. I've ordered the Dark is Rising through Overdrive so that long about January, when it's available again I can listen to it!

It is a time to prepare the mind for Advent so that you don't feel so distracted when the first of December rolls around. Posts like these, are particularly good at reminding me of what matters and what fills me with joy. Luke and Psalms and Isaiah, as well as poetry and other literature, awaken the soul and help me to feel, remember, sing.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, snowflake-making commences, and decorating the work-place begins. Plans for Friendsgiving get under way to the sound of mellow Christmas jazz. Lists are begun and then checked seventy-twice. And my mind threatens to explode over the fulness of heart, plate, and schedule. Which means of course, that I must schedule, list, and plan in some rest time. That includes sit-downs with notebooks, evenings to do nothing, closeted devotions and contemplation, yoga, baths, possibly some dancing, and some leisurely cooking of Good Food.

~

“In this story, the sun moves. In this story, every night meets a dawn and burns away in the bright morning. In this story, Winter can never hold back the Spring… He [God] is the best of all possible audiences, the only Audience to see every scene, the Author who became a Character and heaped every shadow on Himself. The Greeks were right. Live in fear of a grinding end and a dank hereafter. Unless you know a bigger God, or better yet, are related to Him by blood.” 
― N.D. WilsonNotes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World
~


~

Cheers to this season of lights and Son come down!
Blessings upon your preparations, however it is going,
and may you find peace amidst the flurry.

kitchen therapy and giant bookstacks (along with the rest of life)



These days are filled with many things: catching the last of the sun before sunny October turns to slate November (both of which I adore); reading all over the place (I'm currently reading ten books that I can think of at the moment); journalling off and on, writing where I can; working with food as always--for health and wellness, for relaxation and therapy, for creativity and pleasure; studying French; singing; oh and of course Work--the work with the title, aka being a barista--wherein I care about coffee and people a lot and get paid to wake up really early.

This yoga video I did yesterday, is just exactly right for tired and working me, who didn't feel like doing yoga until I had (finally) pushed play, and my hands were anjali mudra (at the heart).

And this one I did today is, I feel, the essence of yoga. Where the difficulty comes (the stretch, the effectiveness and challenge) is all in the breath, the stillness, and how you hold yourself.


Today, as I cooked up some Tom Kha, I watched youtubes of Nigella, which I find equally relaxing and inspiring.
Here's a delightful one.

Here's such a good article I read this week (thanks for passing these along Mama!)

Oh and look at this beautiful opportunity!






Bible   (always. but more exciting every day)
Lord of the Rings (Lothlorien currently)
Orthodoxy   (Chesterton, a reread)
The Woman Who Smashed Codes   (nonfiction)
Life Together   (Bonhoeffer)
A Gentleman in Moscow   (Delightful)
French Women Don't Get Fat    (inspiring)
Fablehaven   (a loan, 'try this!')
Summer Lightning   (because, P.G. Wodehouse)
Magnus Chase: Ship of the Dead   (on my phone-kindle, Rick Riordan ftw)

Literary Divings


These days I stay at work after I clock out to stay in the working zone and use the energy that I've developed over my busy hours. And I like the atmosphere. The regulars are all known to me, and even those I am less familiar with I feel a human connection to because of their patronage. Strangers and acquaintances are likely to stop and inquire what I'm studying, all spread out across tables, and friends are likely to stop for conversation. Rarely is the distraction too hard on concentration, so I enjoy stopping to talk. It is stimulating, often encouraging. 
The other day a man, pausing near my table, noticed my copy of Orthodoxy by G.K.Chesterton, and asked if I was a fan. When I said I was, he asked if I ever attended the Chesterton Society meetings, or if I knew they existed. I said it sounded familiar, but I had never gone. He told me about it; and when he found out that my studying was voluntary and not assigned for school, he said, then I should definitely check out the Chesterton Society. I found that delightful and encouraging somehow.
Above is pictured my current stack of reads. I've just finished Death by Living, and am working my way through the others. Orthodoxy, as well as DbL, are rereads. The Woman Who Smashed Codes is a new non-fiction book, and delightful so far. As I read, and listen to lectures on C.S. Lewis and writing, (and read about the reformers, look up music and topics that I've thought of between times)... I take notes, and copy down quotes, doodle, list, and journal. Here are some excerpts from that notebook.
_

"No man who values originality will ever be original. But try to tell the truth as you see it, try to do any bit of work as well as it can be done for the work's sake, and what men call originality will come unsought." CSL

"You cannot produce rational intuition by argument, because argument depends upon rational intuition." CSL

"Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain." CSL

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." -Jesus

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." -Jesus

"And the curious disappearance of satire from our literature is an instance of the fierce things fading for want of any principle to be fierce about." GKC

"These tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water." GKC

"Meaning is the antecedent condition to both truth and falsehood." lecture by Michael Ward

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

"It is very hard for a man to defend anything of which he is entirely convinced... that very multiplicity of proof which ought to make reply overwhelming makes reply impossible." GKC

"In life and art both, as it seems to me, we are always trying to catch in our net of successive moments something that is not successive." CSL

"A willingness to act when the way forward is unclear and the result is definitely uncertain." lecture by David M Whalen
_


Here's a link to a brilliant article on a female theologian from the sixteenth century. Such an inspiration! 

Productive Rest



Sometimes, a rare opportunity arises in which I don't have to get up to a pre-dawn alarm. And when that coincides with a Saturday, it opens up a panoply of restful opportunity. Some Saturdays are best started with a shower, cozy clothes, and a pot of tea (hash browns optional). And sometimes, to add even more novelty and rest, I'll watch some tv in the morning. What? ssshhh. Now off to listen to good things while I clean my room....

Meanwhile:

Someone's book piles look remarkably like mine...

Happened upon this article and found it very encouraging .

Very much enjoying my daily emails of brief bios of the reformers: here's the intro post if you want to check it out.

Now I'm back, a couple of pots of tea later, and my room fully organized. Also, several Hillsdale lectures on C.S. Lewis listened to: a wealth of stimulating food for thought, full of both nourishment and things to mull over; and I finished the writing course from N.D. Wilson.
During the week, I've been reading through Orthodoxy and Death by Living after work, both of which I've read before and love. I'm also studying French now! as some of you know I have long wanted to do. I am greatly enjoying the 'homework' I've set myself these days. My brain wants stretching. I'm writing more as well, and just went and practiced some algebra for no apparent reason. It's refreshing. More later.

Peace

Fight the Fog Friday

I had such great intentions to blog yesterday and the day before. I had such great plans yesterday to post Thursday is for Thankfulness, and also for Throwbacks because I hadn't posted Wodehouse Wednesday the day before.... but oh well.
I will fight the fog.
I will start reading Chesterton.
Sometimes I will fight the flab as well (sometimes I just eat potatoes and bacon).
The hobbits have made it to Bree.
Here's the Wodehouse anyway. Because one needs it.


"I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled." P.G. Wodehouse, the Code of the Woosters

"I'm not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it's Shakespeare who says that it's always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping." P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest

"Mike nodded. A sombre nod. The nod Napoleon might have given if somebody had met him in 1812 and said, 'So, you're back from Moscow, eh?'" P.G. Wodehouse, Mike and Psmith

"A certain critic--for such men, I regret to say, do exist--made the nasty remark about my last novel that is contained 'all the old Wodehouse characters under different names.' He has probably by now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have outgeneralled the man this time by putting in all the old Wodehouse character under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy." P.G. Wodehouse, Summer Moonshine

"It was one of those cases where you approve the broad, general principle of an idea but can't help being in a bit of a twitter at the prospect of putting it into practical effect. I explained this to Jeeves, and he said much the same thing had bothered Hamlet." P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Morning

"I pressed down on the mental accelerator. The old lemon throbbed fiercely. I got an idea." P.G. Wodehouse

Tuesday is for Tolkien

Apparently I get in moods with particular proclivity for alliteration. It seems to jumpstart my blogging at least, if not my actual creativity. 

Autumn has come. The weather is only a dash cooler, but the air has that distinct clarity that renders color and shape more solidly, and puts my aesthetic senses on high alert. Texture and light have become again, dramatic elements of my universe. More solid it seems. More visible and tangible than at other times. My mind turns again to art, to education, to cleanliness.

My Tuesday was also for Ted Talks today, like this one that I listened to while scrubbing the stairs (so hard the paint came off too). If you liked that one, check out this one that comes after.

But my day began with 'A Shortcut to Mushrooms' on my morning commute, easing into 'A Conspiracy Unmasked' as I drove homeward after work, (also brief friend-chats, reading from Weight of Glory, having the mechanic glance at my car, and picking up mounds of lovely food from Aldi).

mushroom pie
So pleased to have Tolkien and Lewis bouncing around in my head these days. May it ever be so! Hoping to add some Chesterton in the days ahead, as well as some study on Jack himself, and probably some perusal of PG Wodehouse while I'm at it. Also, books that come to mind for this sort of weather (coming at you from two very different genres, get ready): The Reluctant Widow, and Innocence. Must collect those from the library before too long. Inter-library loan here I come!

And without further ado, let me hand you over to the Tolkien himself, by way of Gildor Inglorion, and Faramir, Ranger of Ithilien (still my favorite)

'Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.'
~three is company~

"Sit at peace! And be comforted, Samwise. If you seem to have stumbled, think that it was fated to be so. Your heart is shrewd as well as faithful, and saw clearer than you eyes. For strange though it may seem, it was safe to declare this to me. It may even help the master that you love. It shall turn to his good, if it is in my power. So be comforted."
~the window to the west~

'For myself,' said Faramir, 'I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace: Minas Anor again as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens: not a mistress of many slaves, nay, not even a kind mistress of willing slaves. War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour  all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the Men of Númenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom. Not feared, save as men may fear the dignity of a man, old and wise.'
~the window to the west

Monday Musings


Listening to Psalms on my early morning commute
Making and drinking plenty of coffee for work
Chillin' with the girls on the kitchen floor
Making homemade noodles and chicken soup
Reading Lewis and Tolkien
Falling asleep sitting up & heading for an afternoon shower
Tacos and house talks with the girls
Thinking of ways to utilize and stretch my brain
Anticipating some autumnal weather this coming week

from yesterday

I was born longing for days like these. Days when the autumn wind comes rushing in, and the tips of my toes are cold against the floor, even through my socks. When gold-corduroy jackets and soft button-downs are called for, and rain begins half-way through the morning. Days when I look just right without eye-makeup, and dress in cozy grays for the coffee-shop morning. When geese periodically honk overhead all throughout the day, and I notice the nearby treetops are burnished orange and impending crimson.

I was born with longings too deep to describe... for beauty, for change like leaves, for sky and hope, for love and family and feasting, and for more that cannot be explained or quantified. I long for God, more every year. And I'm beginning to ask for more of him when I long for all those glorious things that he likes to give me anyway.

Like today, when I get to spend hours of the afternoon making food for the week: chicken and veggies in the oven, fried rice on the stove; hot cider-tea for The Hobbit movie night tonight. A fresh pot of tea, and some positively joyous internet-perusals. Motherdy passed along the link to this gem. I look forward to her blogging of course, but check out the link to her Pinterest boards! --to die for. An aesthetic kindred, right down to hobbit-holes and narrowboats. I also read a bit from Lanier, and scrolled through a bit of homeyness a la Susan Branch.


It's September for real

I like to think of my birthday as a beginning. A first. September makes that easy. The brisk days are beginning. It is time to start wearing my goldenrod-colored jackets again. The change of tone in sky and barometer bring on a depth of poetic soul that I crave, and that only resinates just so with the timbre of autumn. Tea and cider are in fashion again, along with the he-who-must-not-be-named of coffee: I'm not actually anti-pumpkin-spice (nor in league for the suppression of eggs) but one must brace oneself. I must admit, though I must have made hundreds, I've never actually drunk one, not being fond of the effect sugar and dairy have on me.

It is time to think about soup again; a good time to start a new Bible-reading schedule, get back into daily yoga, perhaps blogging. A good time to find solitude among trees and ache for civilization in the falling of leaves.
Every time is a time to search around for the best playlist, or create a new one to suite the mood. Just around the corner are the days for Vince Guaraldi... I thought I smelled gingersnaps while I was balancing in tree earlier.
I found an enamel-covered cast-iron dutch-oven (whew, what hyphenation!) at the Salvation Army, which made me nearly giddy with joy.
More cleaning and decorating is on the docket... Who knows when I'll get to those. No matter.

This year, September began with more than the usual amount of excitement and ceremony. Some dear friends got married last week (already it seems quite an age ago) and so the days surrounding were busy with preparation and with all the many, very dear people who rallied round for the big day. Those were unforgettable days, filled with laughter and hard work, prayer, soccer, and dancing. I was blessed to be a part of that time.
The ceremony was magically beauteous, held among drooping trees and beside running water, saluted from above by v's of geese headed south.

My birthday was nestled in there among the festivities, unforgotten. I wore my happiest dress, and when I opened my door in the morning I was met by a stair-well full of roommates ready to wake me up. There were pancakes with candles, pounds of bacon, coffee....😍 and early morning conversation, which is a favorite of mine.

As I embark on my twenty-fourth year of life, I contemplate the world before me with not a little amount of amusement, excitement, and peace. I am ready to be surprised; planning to be amazed. This last year has been harder and better than many I have known. My scope for what God can and will do, for what he loves to do, and for what he does that I love, has continued to expand. My world gets bigger, and more beautiful; the rock I stand on is more solid than physicality could make it. I may be unsure of many things, but I am certain that I will see the goodness of the Lord. And I will continue to praise him whom my soul longs for. And that the One who cannot lie has declared me whiter than snow.

There is no better news than that.

And these days I'm quite exhausted. I find myself napping most days, falling asleep in random places: chairs, the car (not while driving... usually), during movies of course, the bath. Worry not, should soon be more or less caught up. But weeks of festivity can wear you out! While still in recovery mode, I've been enjoying NCIS LA which finally came through my library. And the last couple of days I have so enjoyed Adriene's Shakti practice, and yoga for the spine.

And this video is amazing and crazy inspiring. Listen to Sam Dancer and see if he doesn't make your list of coolest humans:

Shout out to my brother Will who's competing at the Granite Games this weekend!

Cosmic Dance

"What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as "play" is perhaps what he Himself takes most seriously. At any rate, the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Bashō we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash--at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.

For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.


Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance."

- Thomas Merton, new seeds of contemplation

Day 365


I can't believe it's only been one year! Our #letsmovetominneapolis adventure; the roommate experiment; my Year in the City that has involved so many people, so much laughter; work, responsibilities, decisions, bills, accidents, roadblocks; family, nature, art, beauty, difficulty, darkness, greater light, joy.
I am a different person....  as often happens.
I don't have the words to say just how. To remember all the places friends have pressed in to my life, to explain the new liberties I've found, to express how utterly surrounded, rooted, and gripped I have been by the love of God. It's hard to explain the combination my life holds, of work--busy, automatic, multi-tasking, training--; and the intensely engaged fellowship and conversations at home and in groups; sports and all manner of taking-advantage-of SUNshine; art, books, reading, writing, cooking, (often squeezed in around the edges); the exhausted napping that happens regularly... I have a beautiful life, a crazy one, and unusual. Brimming with the loving care of God, and new things to learn about his heart and his living words, and his beauty.

I recently got to spend a few days away from work and the city. A little time with Mama and Dad. Time for musing, writing, reading:  (finished) Notes from the Tilt a Whirl, (read) 100 Cupboards, Death and the Joyful Woman, (plus a few short story rereads), (started) Death by Living, Clouds of Witness, Dandelion Fire. All but one of those were rereads, but so refreshing, edifying, inspiring, and uplifting.

Last night I got a chance to do some watercoloring. Something I need to take more time for, it's delightful!

Have I mentioned how much I love Jack Johnson's music? It's about my favorite thing right now.

And have you heard Can't Live Without You by Owl City? Still loving it.

I've been watching some Hawaii 5-0, writing letters, catching some sun, waiting for my next book to be available, playing around with rhymes and lilts and chords. Work; exhausted naps on dripping hot afternoons with fans blowing and turning. Making pancakes.
I'm craving green beans again.

Anyway, there's a little glimpse into my days recently. I wish I were a little better at posting on here, especially since I'm off most other social media, but days fill up. And often, the things I would share are too hard to explain, or too personal to rush, or not quite my story to tell. We'll see how this looks as God continues to show me my story in the unfolding of each day around me.

Thanks for coming on this journey with me, of my Year in the City!
Here's to Year No. 2 and the stories that lie ahead! 
Find something to laugh about today. Live like a story, say what you would want your character to say, walk with your arms swinging free like a Narnian. We walk in the liberty of the spirit of God, the work and righteousness of Christ, and a love uncontainable.
My spirit is cartwheeling into this new year~

In honor of summer

written a few days ago

Yesterday was a long work day, and not very warm; so I'm celebrating the Beginning of Summer today instead. I've spread out my sunning blanket (cool fabric, light and fluffy, and I don't mind getting tanning oil on it) and a beach towel, and grabbed my water bottle, notebooks, and laptop. I even began cutting up the watermelon, but haven't brought it outside yet, for fear I'll eat the entire thing.

This year has been long. And short. Tight-packed with all manner of lessons and growths, fellowship and friends, ministry, food, hard moments, breakthroughs, and many stretching experiences. I realize I haven't done very well on the posting-every-day which I started out trying to do. But over all, this whole Year-In-The-City thing has been a great success. And I hope you weren't expecting to get rid of me, Big City, 'cause I'm sticking around for a while.







Thoroughly enjoyed this article this morning.

And while we're on the topic of childhood... my seven year old nephew's birthday has renewed my love of planes, as I search high and low for awesome ones like I grew up with. I forget periodically how nerdy I am about WWII aircraft. And how much airplanes just get me, every time. I've been wearing my prop earrings the last couple of days (that I got at the Air and Space museum--love you Smithsonian!). You know they have the Wright brother's actual plane?

And while we're on the subject of nephews, I just got another one! Rejoicing all around. I get to see him soon, and spend some time with the precious (not as) littles!

Learning every day more of who I am in Christ. Spirit, heart, voice. Thank you to all who are journeying with me.



fill your lungs and run

I dance in wonder
At scattered stars across the sky
My eyes shine with joy in reflection of the glory I see every day:
A swallow’s flight, a footprint’s depth
the sound of water ripples
and birdsong pervading the morning
the scent of tea
and the breath of God in the rise and fall of wind
The taste of buttered toast, and ocean spray on your lips

I fill my lungs with air and my heart overflows

Profusions of dandelions growing in the roughest spots
destined and determined to find the light
death and resurrection stitched on their existence
in colors of the sun 

Every shimmer and lullaby of trees, a song for me
Every light and shadow telling a story:
sorrow and hope
grit and glory
the grave and the conqueror 
death for a moment
life for eternity

Each line of song from Chris Rice, Adam Young, John Mayer
That struck a chord to my heart’s depth
Every book, every word that recalled the one true story resounding in every corner of the universe…
They play together in my spirit, daily.
Truth. Hope. Longing.
Harmonizing with Aslan’s story for years and years to come

As my feet pelt the earth beneath me——ordinary dirt, teeming with life, supporting every footfall for centuries——my eyes lift up to the expanse of sky: moon, sun, galaxy on galaxy, wealth of wonder and unknown,
(all that I may learn some day or never need to know), 
I look beyond the mountains and horizons to the Maker beyond our time and space

With my eyes fixed higher, I hope to see new wonders every day; to see clearer what I’ve known.

And I confidently wait to see a charger, to see my promised returning in more light than I can see.

Pour out your love upon the ground
And see Him returning on the clouds

Fill your heart with the scent of roses and thunderstorms,
with big hugs, long stories, campfires, starry skies, and old jokes
This beauty, love, and laughter is more armor than your enemy can penetrate
You are ready for war
You are an artist of peace
Joy is your strength
You are a cup overflowing

Invited to the biggest wedding feast earth and heaven have ever seen…

As the bride

Safe like a lion

Are you afraid to go somewhere with God, to explore different aspects of God, because you're not sure you can justify it to someone you respect?
Here’s the thing: God isn’t concerned about whether you can justify the way he works to someone else

He’s not concerned that you get it all right
He didn’t die so that now, you could get it right.
He knows in fact, that you can’t get it right
He says, that’s kinda the point
He says, follow me
He says, believe that I love you

Let down your walls of fear and preconceived notions
Let all the truths that you know, that you’ve known and believed all your life…
Let them rush from your head to your heart:
God is not only capable of doing far more than you ask or think
He wants to help, to find, to rescue… 
To fulfill the deepest desires of your heart
It makes Him happy

Ask
God will speak

Every love and every joy tells the story that His love is that for you and more, that his joy in you and for you, is bigger than that
You cannot imagine it too great

When we are open to the floodgates of the love of the living God, there’s no room left for fear
Love and fear are like light and dark
They can’t coexist
And living without fear strips our enemy of his greatest weapon

When we open ourselves to God and to love, we open ourselves to people, we open ourselves to pain
The inconceivable goodness and power of God will break us
We can’t hold it
But he makes us new
We begin to see people the way God sees them
To love and be loved by them in bigger proportions than we thought possible… 
Even open ourselves up to their pain
And when we open ourselves to pain, to people, to God, within the safety of the love of Christ, what is there to fear?
Nothing can sneak in over the wall, batter down the gates, see through our camouflage,
Because we’re not hiding anymore

We are beloved of the father
Seen and known
Understood and accepted
Redeemed and made new

And when we live in the freedom and authority that that brings
Our lives are light
Our love is like fire
Condemnation is a lie
Fear has no place
And walking in the spirit looks an awful lot like following your heart


Literary whirligigs

I think it must have been the lighting of early April days, because Friday morning was filled with brief moments of de ja vu. Mostly fictional and nostalgic, as if the angles of sunlight reminded me of certain days--childhood days filled with books. I was contemplating black sesame seeds and was suddenly in the world of Wodehouse: reminiscing, laughing to myself, and planning to grab one from the library and relive all that humor. As I stretched out in yoga, chilling in supta baddha konasana, hands behind my head, I inexplicably thought of the Melendys, and was transported to Then There Were Five; not reliving a certain memory, or even replaying book-scenes in my head (which I am perfectly capable of doing), but more, I was just enveloped in the atmosphere of it for a moment. And then it was gone. There was another that I wanted to share, but it seems to have slipped my mind for the moment. Perhaps it will return.
Also, I suddenly recalled the name of someone who gave a boring speech about ten years ago. Where do these nuggets of information hide? And why can't I delete them and make room for some present material? Or the geography of the earth for instance?

Also I found an excuse to wax (in)eloquently about Lorna Doone on Thursday. Any excuse is a good one, when it comes to John Ridd.

I've been reading in all the corners of days, Louise Penny and Ellis Peters. Cadfael especially restores and inspires and deepens my mind in a way that few books can. I look forward to getting back into Lewis and Chesterton as well, and I have several books on hold through the library that are brand new and haven't even arrived at the libraries yet. The second installment of N.D. Wilson's Outlaws of Time, as well as Wilson's prequel to the 100 cupboards series 😱, and Meghan Whalen Turner's fifth book in the Queen's Thief series!!

Driving through the country last week, I wrote a sort of poem, using the voice memos on my phone. So it's a little rough, but the joy of springtime must out. The glory of this season of Easter pervades these days, pouring sunshine through curtains and lifting our hearts.

Fingers of light across the sky
Misty billows hung clear-shadowed against the blue
Young hawks find freedom and fly
Robins and chickadees sing from every branch. Their song is true.
Joy brushes across my shoulder and crinkles the corner of my eyes
As sunshine opens up the day, creating light and space, like love
Purveyor of change, in beauty undisguised
April's touch in dancing sunlight on my cheeks. It is enough.
The kiss of spring to melt each heart
And comfort every bone inside your chest, awakening a thaw to every marrow
Breathe in and refresh every part
Open your arms to the brightness ahead and laugh for tomorrow

Spring rises now, laying aside his winter garments
And wrapping hope around his waist
Lingering at your feet to bathe, cleanse,
And wipe away fear with hope



And speaking of poetry, here is Malcolm Guite's sonnet for Palm Sunday

Saturdays are for...

rest.

There is something very special about days-off falling on Saturday. As a barista, this is often not the case for me. But when it happens, there is a child-like, sabbath-quality to that rest. The grey-skied March weather is very conducive to this sort of day. Not the assertive and outwardly-productive kind of day. But the kind that is refreshing, peaceful, and rejuvenating to mind, heart, and body.
I started off the day looking at airbnb's in London, just because. Because I was curious, and because I love London, and entirely plan to visit someday. Perhaps sooner than later. And yes, I'm definitely going that route when I visit. Who wouldn't want a little slice of a real London home, along with a handy local to ask where the nearest tube entrance is, and which curry is their favorite?

I went on to watch a couple of documentaries I found on youtube. Brilliant ones on bridges, which I found utterly fascinating. I got a complete history and science lesson, not to mention engineering--I learned how a suspension bridge actually works. Mind blown! Here they are if you are at all inclined:
Bridges of New York City
Construction of the World's Tallest Bridge: the Millau Viaduct

Saturdays are also for crossfit. Every day is my yoga day, but Saturdays, especially if I don't work, are the perfect time for a WOD. I'm starting very small. I don't want to give up on this, so we're not going big right away, and for now I don't have much equipment. But I'm using the crossfit style and mindset (and my bro is kindly writing workouts for me). So here we go! Lifestyle of health, fitness, strength, mobility #bemorehuman

Then I tackled all the bookmarks on my laptop, edited and organized them all, deleting a large percentage of them. What a refreshing reboot to my electronic world. And I found some things that I'd forgotten about: this great music, this totally tear-worthy youtube of Amy Pond clips, and so on.

I came downstairs to find Will tuning the piano. I made curry and a pot of tea, and hung out with the familiar 'ting, Ting, TING' of tuning sounds. I ate food, called my other bro, waxed eloquent to Will about bridges and my day in general, looked up Jenna Coleman hairstyles (I need a trim), and now I'm writing this.

Soon I'll clean the kitchen, and do yoga before bed. Maybe start another book. I finished Louise Penny's Bury Your Dead last night. Absolutely brilliant. I also found my copy of Mere Christianity finally, right where it ought to be...

There's so much going on in my life that is new and beautiful, and crazy and full of the goodness and bigness and surprisingness of God. I can't relay it all now; but it's really cool. New ministry opportunities, commitment to community--some expanding, some focusing. Pouring hearts out into speaking life and living love, and living in the truth of the power of prayer. The eye-opening and mind-blowing glory in the every day.

Did you hear the robins? I've known they were back but I just saw my first one the other day, singing his heart out in the tree outside work. It made my day, let me tell you. And the mud is spreading, and some days the sunshine is truly warm! I refuse to wear a coat most days now.

Yes, I'm sorry I haven't gotten to write more on my blog here, but I wouldn't trade the active, social, and very present life I've been living instead. I'm learning to juggle the bookworm in me with the people-person in me. My heart for chatting over coffee, and laughing over pizza, for trading of ideas and sharing of days... with my art, yoga, reading, writing, and thinking soul.

Life is just crazy, you know? I'm all lists and plans one moment, and spontaneity and freedom the next. I always think I'll figure it out one day. Or not, you know. Life is glorious anyway, its heights and depths. Sometimes I just need days like this to step back, explore the city of my mind, and see this beautiful, spinning world as a curious, blinding whole. Like a scout climbing the highest tree to look out over the canopy, I come down grinning, to tell the others 'It is good'.

i want to know if you can see the stars tonight


I write today from the peaceful and inconvenient bonds of convalescence. Having quite abandoned decent self-care in the form of healthy sleeping and eating habits over the weekend, I have come down with a thorough cold and flu that's been making the rounds.

I consider it to be my own fault, with no bitterness. I don't know whether I shall ever become that one kind of responsible figure I know myself capable of being: who wears flannel about her throat during all inclement weather, and turns down a dance for a nap that would do her health good.

For now I am content that I know how to be "good" and employ this knowledge in good earnest on days like these. Since I came down with the wretched thing yesterday, I have dutifully cancelled engagements, taken naps and vitamins; made soup and porridge, and drunk honey-lemon water in quantity.

I have occupied my time, when not sleeping, with Dorothy Sayers' magnificent volume Busman's Honeymoon, which I needn't tell you is delightful in every regard. Last night as well, I enjoyed 'You've Got Mail' at the brilliant suggestion of my roommate Amy. I'd forgotten how visually beautiful everything was, especially Kathleen's flat. And I about died with joy over the streets of New York City, as usual. And I think we can all agree the soundtrack does the heart good.

Today the March sky remains cloudy, and birds can be seen tossed about as they try to fly against the wind. But the mercury is in the lower sixties and the air entirely agreeable. I was able to avail myself of the weather momentarily as I ambled out to administer brief ablution to my car in the form of pine sol and ground coffee.... one doesn't want spilled chili to languish in one's principle mode of transportation.

Having finished there, one's thoughts naturally stray to the long and hot bath. But I was able to stop off at the mat for today's yoga, not wishing to make one concession where others might follow. And I was able to move carefully and with awareness (which is, after all, the point) so as not to over-tax the body while still moving breath and muscle.

But now, yes, I am ensconced in a bath, doused liberally with four-thieves oil. That hot and fragrant steam doing wonders for the head. Very necessary too, as I have already employed pseudoephed in minimizing the pain to my spine induced by sinus pressure. I'm now contemplating soothing suppers and an evening movie.
~

As for my appalling lack of blogposts of late, I can only say that as days stream busy by, it can be increasingly difficult to write about them, or to find time to write about anything else. And the more heart-filled and full of glorious moments they are, the more I don't want to belittle that swirl of living, by one quick line of a post, attempting to sum up what a week has held. Impossible.

So I shan't try. Little bits that make it in here--like Tuesday morning drives to work when the ducks are flying over in pairs and you know spring is on it's way in: the ducks are back! And looking for nests (Wednesday morning it was geese)--when little bits make it in here, you know that there are a hundred other moments it would be impossible to share here. Inspiring quotes, and enlightening conversations; words of wisdom, love shared, fellowship over food. Fears and joys, and giving to God. Ministry opportunities, and prayers answered; and nights when your head hits the pillow and you have no idea how you're going to face tomorrow.
And then the sun rises
and the birds are singing to you
and people smile
and music moves you
and God is closer than your breath
and suddenly all you want to do is live and love well.

Sharing

I haven't been posting much again... Difficult to find what I want to share sometimes. Busy days, swirling thoughts, dancing feet, learning heart, tired eyes, moving fingers, coffee and tea and a thermos of soup. Books and movies, friends and conversation, catching up with Mom, chasing children. Birthdays, sickness, work and exercise.
The cold is back. I'm dreaming of summer in good earnest now.
I'm still here; finding here; finding stillness.
Missing my brothers and friends who are away; wishing them the best there is to enjoy, but also wanting them to come back and share this space, and talk with me about life and hearts and things that matter.
Excited for the days ahead and what they will hold and bring and teach. What I can see, notice, appreciate; light to bask in. I want to speak life and love well.

I'm back here just to share a thing or two...

A spring poem by CS Lewis  on a favorite blog of mine... someday I'll see Addison's walk at Magdalen myself. Until then...

"still everything happens for a reason is no reason not to ask yourself: am i living it right?" - John Mayer

Out


Sorry I've been pretty out of it in the posting realm these days. Juggling work, life, gorgeous weather to appreciate (keeping an eye on that forecast for tomorrow, since I have to drive...) and driving out to my parent's to spend a couple of days with a bunch of crazy kids. It's good, I'm good, are you good? oh, good. Back soon.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek."
9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!  - Psalms 27

unseasonable warmth




one of these days I'll get back to posting properly...
First teatime outdoors of 2017
enjoying the sunsets and sunrises lately

Isn't Love Cool?

If you haven't been bowled over recently by the realization of God's overwhelming love for you, know that is what I want for you, and more than that, it's God's heart for you as well.

As I journey through these days, growing exponentially, processing the enormous work of the Spirit through our weekend retreat... the seeds planted, the walls broken down, the plowing begun... I'm just giddy with the glory of it.

Grace upon grace... there's just been an outpouring of prayers answered, and new joys, and reasons to rejoice with gratitude. Just want to mention a few things that I just love to death.
Friends. This isn't an accurate representation of course, but I don't have a good photo: we're always too busy being our hilarious, busy, and conversational selves

I'm just crazy about my city. Love this place. When the day clears up, and I see it gleaming before me... or when I get home after the weekend and look out my window to the lights glowing through a strip of trees, and the moon shining brightly above...
Early morning sunrise. Even when you've been up for three hours before this happens, it's a great view to have from the workplace.