Thursday, November 26, 2015


Everyone handles it differently - the need to seat an unusually large number of people. In our little apartment, we pull out every barstool and storage bench and line the living room walls as people awkwardly balance a plate on their knee. Adam's family is the sort to bring out folding tables and folding chairs, spreading people throughout the house if necessary, but also ensuring that everyone has an actual chair at some sort of an actual table.

It's interesting to see how different people translate hospitality - whether that's I will gladly sit on the floor, and you're welcome to sit on my floor with me comfortability or we will empty the church fellowship hall of folding furniture in order to seat everyone properly deference. As long as there's an open and inviting metaphorical table, I don't really think the actual seating arrangements are that important.

Like today: my grandparents, parents, in-laws, and Littles (and Adam and I) gathered to share a grateful meal together. There wasn't a lot of scrambling for seats (both Littles were perched on a corner of the table on folding chairs, but they had the only provisional seating), but that wasn't the point. We laughed - talked - complimented all those who had a hand in the cooking - went back for seconds - and all felt warmly welcomed and graciously included.

I want to live willing to fill every empty chair and delighted to accept someone's invitation to join them on their floor - focusing on community, grace, and gratitude, and laying aside criticism, pride, and entitlement... to bring others to my table with the same attitude that Jesus invites us to His.

It's Five Minute Friday - a weekly flashmob of bloggers that gather, internet-wide, to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!

Still, Fragrant, Thankfulness

Today there was stillness. Some of it sought out (by me, in the form of reading and knitting), some of it forced (in Adam's case - he'd overdone it the day before and ended up resting most of today), and both Littles were persuaded to take naps (if not at the same time).

Today there was co-creation. Food, of course (a collective effort, made by many cooks), but also last-minute crafting, a little bit of restorative knitting, and family bonds that were forged stronger than they were before. It's a wonderful thing get a group of people who might not have chosen each other's company otherwise to sit around a table together for the mutual love of another person (or pair of people).

Today there was gratitude. For 2000+ gifts and all of the ones that I don't write down (or even, to my shame, notice) - and on this New Year of Gratitude, of sorts, I resolve to cultivate a better attitude of thankfulness before this season comes 'round again.

2171. A normal day, but with a roadtrip at the end of it
2172. Safe travels under a huge orange moon
2173. Brooklyn and Tobin going to bed gracefully once we arrived, past their bedtime
2174. Parents and in-laws that like each other
2175. Dinner without conflict (none was necessarily expected, but I realize not everyone has that)
2176. Tobin thinking sweet potatoes were amazing, and Brooklyn's patience with a houseful of people who all wanted her attention

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Four more weeks until he's one... Soon begins the yearly challenge of celebrating a birthday and Christmas, separately, but very close together - soon, but not just yet.

We've spent the past week fairly quietly, at home as much as possible - both because of cold, wet weather, and also so that some of us {coughmecough} could emotionally prepare for time spent around a lot of people in an environment outside of my control, also known as Thanksgiving. I've never really struggled with my own expectations - I'm not Pinterest-driven enough to torture my husband and kids with unrealistic visions of saccharine perfection - but sometimes I run afoul of other's expectations of me. I've been drinking tea and making space and reading up (Modern Mrs Darcy and Quiet Revolution have some helpful thoughts), to get ready.

I love my family. And I love Thanksgiving - the history behind it, the traditions and rituals and potential for reflection. It's very appealing. What's less appealing is the clash of dynamics, backgrounds, opinions, and beliefs that leaves me feeling like I'm the only person in the room who's different, as well as the only one who's trying to get along (an illusion created by hyper-analysis and over-observation).

But for now, we're relishing our warm sanctuary from the cold outdoors, finding new ways to stay busy (stacks of books, piano practice, teaching Brooklyn new songs to sing), and counting gifts. Soon I'll start on the pre-trip laundry and packing, but until then, I'll be grateful for the moment that I'm in.

2159. A jammy day, after a series of busy, errand-y ones
2160. A consecutive chunk of time spent reading and knitting - both restful and productive
2161. Quietly watching a quiet movie, together
2162. Upstairs vacuuming at 8am - I'd overslept my alarm and needed to be up
2163. A perfect knitting class
2164. Spending the afternoon/evening all together as a family
2165. Sweet Sunday school teachers
2166. An hour spent laying on the couch, reading, since I couldn't nap
2167. Community group leaders who are willing to arrange trustworthy childcare, despite not having kids in need of watching
2168. Encouraging words from someone whose commendation (especially in the commended area) means a lot to me
2169. Brooklyn "playing" the piano while Tobin accompanied on the maracas
2170. Space to be still at the end of a long, emotionally draining day

Monday, November 23, 2015

Where Healing Begins

I have a surgical scar from where a malignant cancer was cut out of me five years ago in two weeks. You could lay me bare on an examination table and never find it, though – it’s a scar of the soul. Yet despite being outwardly invisible, I still go to great lengths to make sure it stays hidden. The shame of it haunts me, overshadowing the miracle of grace the Physician worked in making me new, and chills my heart even as, in a strange paradox, I knit hats to warm the heads of patients with physical cancer.
It was a darkness, a secret, eating me up from the inside out, finally grown to the final stages where it becomes visibly obvious to even the strangers you encounter that there is something wrong, some dark force that is slowly consuming you, and I was all but numb. But God (that really is, I think, the repeating phrase in the Bible that encourages me most)… but God, by His love and grace, made me whole and wholly His. The healing of my spirit was so extraordinary that it extended into the physical – I felt lighter, my head was clearer, my outlook changed, a song and a smile rose more readily to my lips. I stood on the brink of new life and plunged in, wildly and gloriously free for the first time in a long time. But even when I spoke of hope, contrasting it with the darkness, I never gave the darkness a name so I could speak it. It was simply Darkness...
To continue reading, head over to Amber's place, where I'm honored to be a guest today!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Dwell. One of my very favorite words. Lingering and pondering and getting cozily comfortable are concepts that can get behind with the abandon I generally give to whatever I pursue, and I also love its verb/noun dichotomy - that a dwelling is place in which to do that lingering and pondering and settling down.

To me, it's cup of tea - a knitting project in progress - a fresh page in my journal and fresh ink in my fountain pen - reading books on the couch with Brooklyn - snuggling Tobin to his tiny heart's content - watching a movie with Adam, but only half paying attention to the movie - replying to letters - accepting the challenge of finishing a stack of library books before they're due back... introversion and community blended together in perfect harmony.

And that's the sort of dwelling I'd like our home to be - one that's as inviting as a cup of tea, as warm as a scented candle, as engaging as a challenging project, as loving as baby snuggles and toddler hugs, and as hard to walk away from as a good book.

It's Five Minute Friday! A weekly flashmob of bloggers who gather, internet-wide, to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!


Margin. The white space around the words in a book that makes it easier to read. It's also a good place for adding our thoughts to those of the original author's, for some of us (weirdly, the only book I will write in is my Bible - to the extent that Adam got me a journaling Bible with wide, lined margins after watching me struggle to fit a thought in the small space that bordered the page of my regular Bible).

Yesterday evening was our church's monthly New Community service - we sang some songs, celebrated a few baptisms, had communion together... and we were all given a pretty sheet of paper and couple of prompts, then the even greater gift of time to write out our gratitude.

Consistent gratitude is something that takes effort - intentionality - time - and margin. My slow, methodical system values a sacred space in which to ponder... and I'm grateful for a faith home that considers thankfulness (toward God and toward each other) of sufficient importance to carve out that space corporately. 

2150. Taking a coat, even though it was warm, because I ended up using it to keep Tobin dry
2151. Needed knitting time
2152. An unexpected conversation with a friend
2153. Practicing peace on the balcony, wrapped in a blanket - the cool air was head clearing
2154. Adam taking care of cleaning the living room and kitchen after I went to bed early with a headache
2155. Space for gratitude
2156. Tobin taking a good morning nap - he needed the rest, and Brooklyn and I enjoyed introverting together
2157. A library-and-cookies-afterwards day
2158. British television series - perfect for knitting

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Deluge drowns the hustle,
   forcing stillness;
low clouds form a blanket,
   drab but cozy;
water pours,
   washing away 
      every sound
         but its own.

Inside, a kettle whistles -
water's steeped with tea,
   sweetened with milk and honey,
      soul-warming, spirit-calming.

Layers enwrap like so many hugs:
   a favorite sweatshirt,
   a fuzzy throw,
   a sprawling knitting project,
      yarn and fabric filling my lap
         like a contented cat.

Today, I think, is a good day for introverting.