the mandolin rain

It bothers me that every time I go to write, “I” is the main word that wants to go first.

“I went to the store this evening…”

“I have no idea how I find myself listening to the most random songs…”

“I saw a girl dancing in the parking lot tonight…”

This book, The Artist’s Way, talks about making a habit of writing three handwritten pages every morning.  The author calls the exercise “the morning pages”.  For a while I was doing it in the early early morning, and my one rule for writing was “You cannot start the morning pages with “I””.  It was very hard to do and it still is.

The point of the morning pages is to get your other thoughts out of the way.  You’re supposed to write whatever comes to mind.  There were several things that came out that surprised me, and one time I wrote twelve front and back pages.  It turned out to be the most restorative writing session in several years.  It felt incomplete when I stopped, like there was so much more that could’ve been said, and yet, there was peace at the end.

I saw a girl dancing in the parking lot tonight.  I’d just pulled into the parking lot, and was about to pull the keys out of the ignition, when Madonna’s song “Holiday” came on the radio.  It was like I was literally being pulled out of my van by an outside force. I thought to myself, “THIS!  Why don’t I exercise like THIS every day??? There would be no dread, no excuses, no regret for neglect. I would never know anything other than joy.”

That very moment, a young girl somewhere around the age of eighteen or nineteen, came spinning into view as she danced across the parking lot to her boyfriend’s car.  I’m assuming it was a boyfriend, for she looked to young and too new to be married.  They seemed as though they were swift and in a hurry, thought that was, on second thought, their everyday speed.  He was happy.  She was happy.  I was happy watching them.

 

sister and martha

(Republished because the first time the end was cut off-one of those technological difficulties I haven’t figured out as I use my phone and my computer when writing a blog. One to upload pictures and the other to type with…)

It’s true I’ve been running a low-grade temperature for days, but the truest of truths is that I wanted to be alone.  Everyone else went to Wednesday night church, the second evening service in the season of Lent. Not long after my sister started texting me, and somehow we got to talking about Mary and Martha.

Following the minor hospitality fiasco at their house, Jesus told Martha Mary had chosen the better portion.  Rather than Martha-ing away for the guests, it seems as though then it would be better to be a “Mary”.  Though I’ve always identified with Mary more than Martha–certain I would be the one sitting at his feet–I never liked the unequal leveling of the sisters. It isn’t right for Jesus to love Mary more.

But Jesus doesn’t love Mary more than He loves Martha. In John 11:5, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”  Jesus loved Martha, and Mary isn’t even named! For reasons unstated, when the two sisters hear the news Jesus is coming, Mary stays home, remaining seated.  Martha leaves the house to go meet Him.

It is Martha then who gets the longest dialogue with Jesus, and I believe, speaks some of the strongest, most faith-filled words in the entire Bible.

Martha returns to her sister, and only after hearing Jesus is here and asking for her does she rise up quickly to go and find Him.  In John 11:31, perhaps we get the answer now why Mary hadn’t gone before, “When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to weep there.”

Not long after that Jesus wept, too,

prompting then the Jews to say,

“See how He loved him!”

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***

Isn’t it blessed and wonderful, friends?

Truly Jesus loves us all!

 

on walking again

There was a warmth in the afternoon air yesterday.  You needed a coat, and gloves, and a scarf, but those additions were sufficient, and the cold was not cold enough to reach your skin through your clothes.  It was warm enough, however, to slowly melt the snows.

I’ve been telling myself I would get to moving more once the warm weather comes. December, January, and February have passed, and the first day of Lent seemed good enough as any to do at least one of the things that tends to go missing in the winter.

It’s the weather, I’m sure. Two days now I have cried for no reason.  Too many aspects of life are not ideal.  Not enough sun.  Not enough movement.  Not enough friendship and human interaction.

There isn’t the loneliness here that there used to be there.  What it is, instead, is an abundance of solitude.  It’s any reader’s, and writer’s, any introvert’s dream world.  I’m trying just to “own” this blessed and peculiar passing season of life, to use the time wisely for myself and my family, and to let the time have it’s needed impact on my being.

I keep hoping that these decades of homemaking will make me into somebody different. I want to come away with useful skills and ways to serve the greater good.  A month ago I started working (very) part-time as a cook. Camp was short on help, and when my husband suggested I consider it, I was simultaneously amused (Ha!!!) and intrigued.

You know what I’ve discovered???  In fifteen years of feeding a family–I’ve learned some things!  I know how to grocery shop, I know how to make soup, I know how to make a bread basket look pretty with a colored cloth napkin.  Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day to prepare and cooking breakfast for other people is something I LOVE doing.

It’s snowing again today and it’s good to be home.  March snow is not the same December snow.  While one is the promise of goodness to come, the other is a signal to keep keeping on. It’s not that I want winter to leave–I love snow–it’s just that I’m ready to feel the sun shine again, to get some natural outdoor exercise, and to get started on my herb garden.

its purest form

I’ve been reading so much this winter I think it’s starting to drive me crazy.  There comes this point where you can’t take in anymore words until you stop what you’re doing and get some out.  I cannot just keep stuffing my head full of words with the assumption they can just stay up there for the next twenty or thirty years when I’m ready to access them.

I downloaded a book on my Kindle, (A)Typical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ by Abigail Dodds.  I found Abigail’s writing through her articles on the blog Desiring God. I started reading her book this afternoon, and now, I’ve got that frustrated reader feeling. It’s that feeling you get when you come away frustrated but don’t exactly know why.

I’m actually getting tired of all the womanhood/feminine/manhood/masculinity talk, not because it doesn’t matter, but because my brain is maxing out–there’s just so much to be read. One thing Abigail talks about is how there is actually a lot of overlap in the Christian characteristics of our male and female natures.  To think about being a woman apart from Christ, apart from your true identity as a Christian, is a dead end, a failure to see.

Is it weird to say, that the closer I feel to God, the less attached I feel to my identity as a woman?  I’m less interested in what it means to be feminine, and more just contented and soothed and secure in my identity.  The rogue sexual diversions disappear.

But it somehow, then, feels like I’ve lost something, some kind of passionate part of myself.  And I wonder, “God, what is it?  What is it now that you have given us to eat, this bread that is here, whole, and perfect to sustain us? How are we to love like Him?”

~~~

“I’m tired of the ’empire-bustin’ Jesus.  I believe above all there was a magnetism to God’s great Son that drew people like flies, even children allowed themselves to be held in the crook of his arms.  You watch children, they’ll hesitate if they sense fear.  Whether it was tenderness, or gentleness, or kindness, I’m not sure.  Of course, it’s quite possible it was love in its purest form, all the love that ever was and ever will be wrapped up in a beautiful brown-skinned middle Eastern man whose very voice caused men to drop what they were doing and run hard after him, and caused the very demons to high-tail it to the edges.  Jesus busted empires, sure, no doubt.  But I believe the main thing he did was walk the world he so loved, moved at every step by compassion, stirred in his bowels by the sheep who had no shepherd.  Amen.”

~John Blase, Twitter (emphasis mine)

 

 

it’s a boy!

My sister texted me this morning, “You’re officially out of the little years!” She’d known it was my youngest son’s birthday today, but couldn’t remember if he was six or five.  I told her not to worry, that I’d apparently had the same problem myself, having bought a five instead of a six.

And so it was.  Another humbling, humorous, motherhood moment, and I, in its midst, set the number aside.  The littlest one didn’t notice–and yes, to me, he is still little, but changing, and growing.  I understood what she meant through, on being officially out of the little years.

And so it is!

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I’m not sure how to express laughter in words.

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or gratitude, and love, or happy tears, or amazement

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JOY!