Monday, January 31, 2011


Author Norman Mailer says, "Over the years, I've found one rule. It is the only one I give on those occasions when I talk about writing. A simple rule. If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write."

Isn't the same true with any discipline we're trying to develop?  Count on me, I'll be there to pray or read or talk or write a letter... instead of waiting for inspiration.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


When I start feeling the least bit stressed about something, my brain immediately switches to "what-can-I-look-forward-to" mode.  I start my spring semester of graduate classes tomorrow night.  Three days a week of 12 hour days, 2 days a week at home to do homework and look after house stuff.  It is a bit tight, but very manageable for a few months, especially when you have a wonderfully willing and helpful husband.  :)

Nonetheless, I feel like I'm about to dive back into the water, not to truly emerge again until May 17th. Most people have heard me talking recently about how much I've loved having real snow- snow that piles up in banks behind our house, snow for sledding and trekking and building.  The kind of deep snow that muffles the noise of life (or maybe people just stay home), but outside in the morning as the sun turns every branch into a diamond speckled scepter, it is blessedly silent- quiet enough to not only see your breath but to hear it.  The kind of quiet that doesn't happen during any other weather event.  Ahhhhh.

So then why today, did I find myself daydreaming of my garden?  Why can't I continue to enjoy our present state of wintery whiteness?  Craziness. All I can figure is that my coping strategy must go something like this.

Brain 1:  "Can I handle this again?  Four months of reading and writing and studying and family and church too? Am I crazy?  When is the drop/add deadline date again?"

Brain 2:  "Of course you can.  Soon that lovely patch of mulching leaves in the back corner of the yard is going to grow warm and soft.  You'll add a truckload of organic mulch and work your tools down into the earth and just imagine the smell... that earthy, mossy, wormy fresh smell... that's the smell of potential, of hope because what is more hopeful than a seed.  So see?  You'll be fine because you'll get to plant a garden before you know it."

In what world does any of that make sense?  Yet that's what I'm dealing with here.  Odd.    

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lessons I'd Forgotten

Snow + temperatures right around freezing with no wind and sunshine= the PERFECT sledding day.  I couldn't wait to send the kids out into the snow AND join them.  We left the house at 9am.  I shoveled, they slid.  At 9:50, they started trickling over to see what I was doing.  I couldn't believe it.  How could they be bored of sledding already?  I used to sled for hours (it felt like).  So, I planted my shovel in the bank and joined them on the hill.  I watched them go down a few times, took some video and then realized that they were missing a few key ingredients for a perfect sledding day.

1)  If you walk back up the same trail where you slid down, it ruins your trail and makes it difficult to climb the bank.
2)  If you make some "steps" for yourself out of snow in a few key places on the snowbank, climbing back up to the top is much easier (and prevents you from ruining the sledding trails).
3)  To keep your sled from sliding backward down the wrong side of the bank while you're climbing aboard, flatten out a section at the top big enough for your sled and a couple of foot holds.  We even built a little bank behind the starting position spot to keep them from falling backward.
4)  Getting tired is part of the fun.  Make a snow bed/ fort/ cave for yourself and take breaks (important for Micah).
5)  If you're getting wet, get wardrobe help before you get too cold.
6)  The best sledding trails are made by sliding down the same spots over and over and not walking back up on the sledding trail.  Therefore, the more people you sled with, the more fun it becomes, so when we saw our neighbors out, we hiked over to join them.

Lesson I learned- sledding with a 5,6 and 8 year old is even more fun than sledding with a 4,5 and 7 year old.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mural #1

This is Isaiah's mural choice. He wanted jets flying together. I still need to outline them in black to finish them off.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Funny Zay

Tonight at dinner.
Isaiah: Can I be done?
Me: (looking at his plate with 3 bites left on it) Are you completely full?
Isaiah: Yeah
Me: Are you sure you're full.
Isaiah: Yeah, let me check.
He stands up and starts bouncing, jumping up and down like a pogo stick about 10 times.
Isaiah: Yup. Totally full. There was no sloshy sound so I must be filled all the way up.


Monday, January 17, 2011

There may be a valentine from the crisp boys coming your way soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The introvert in me

"But I would like to go away on Sunday morning to the heart of some great solemn wood and sit down among the ferns with only the companionship of the trees and the wood-winds echoing through the dim, moss-hung aisles like the strains of some vast cathedral anthem. And I would stay there for hours alone with nature and my own soul." L M Montgomery from a post of Marilyn Elliot's.

Incredible words that reminded me of the first way I knew God- the, at times, intimidating but always majestic, peaceful God who met me in the woods and fields of Rosedale on more than one Sunday afternoon. I felt a small moment of this on a run here in Keymar yesterday; there is nothing quite like it for me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On Being Inspired

"Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration" Edison in 1902

Recently Eric and I had the opportunity to participate in The Gathering, a conference for pastors, ministry leaders and their spouses. It was a wonderful week for us, and not only because we were able to connect with old friends. That was an important part of the event, and I appreciate that the organizers provide time and space for that, but for me it is valuable because of the opportunity to be wholly inspired.

Out of necessity, most of us spend the bulk of our time working- perspiring. To do our work well, it is necessary to take time out to be inspired. There are many things that inspire me in small ways every week- articles I read, beautiful photography in magazines, people who create things, conversations with friends, time with my children and of course Scripture and Biblical teaching.

But when it comes to long-term, big thinking kind of inspiration, conditions have to be just right- kind of like how you can make instant pancakes from the box every Saturday for weeks and be satisfied, but every once in a while, a big batch of homemade from scratch pancakes with the best ingredients, real whipped cream and fresh strawberries makes the instant kind seem old and artificial.

Good Biblical teaching + extended time to process the teaching with Eric + time to process the teaching with friends + no children or work responsibilities to also think about during processing time + pushing ourselves to write down some concrete take-aways= the perfect recipe for large scale inspiration. Thank you to everyone who helped create these favorable conditions.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Simile Metaphor Collection

Elijah after running: My heart is beating like a coconut rolling down a hill.
Elijah on urination: Pee is like horses galloping out of the gate. Once they get started you just can't stop them.
Elijah: If school were a human I'd give it a wedgie.
Elijah: I am like a hot rod and I just want to be a plain old Ford
Elijah on the fruits of the spirit: I've got them all covered except self-control. Its like a tiny green tomato and the rest are all big ripe ones. Especially love. Its like the biggest tomato we saw in the garden tonight.