Thursday, March 29, 2012

practicing last words

I've never seen the trees bloom this early before. I have to remind myself that it's still March, that we could still have snow for many weeks. (Of course, it would immediately melt on the warm ground, so my heart doesn't really care.)

This has been a winter and spring that I will never forget as long as I live. It's the year that I braced myself and winter just petered out before it ever really arrived. It's been a season of mercy and warmth and unusual freedom. It's been a little bit of heaven.

Being the pessimist that I am, my thoughts have turned to worries over global warming and possible dire consequences down the road. (Don't tease me, I've always been this way.) But even if that's the reality there's nothing wrong with enjoying the sun while it's bright in the sky. Even if this is the first rumblings before the world caves in, I'm content today. In fact, I'd like to take this opportunity at the precipice of possible calamity to tell you all that I love you, and to thank God for you and for this moment. It's really all we have when everything else goes dark.

Does that strike you as unnecessarily bleak or weird? It doesn't matter. I like living this way. It's good to practice dying so that you can truly live. What would you suddenly care about if you knew everything was unraveling around you? What would be more or less important to you? How would your priorities change?

Even if the world is going to last for another one hundred million years just as it is today, it's good to live with the challenge of these questions. It wakes me up to the loveliness and preciousness of the leaves budding on the trees and the deep goodness of the opportunities to love blooming all around me.  It helps me to practice my last words so that I say them well and say them out loud over and over and over again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


We have swarms of ground bees busily doing their thing in our front yard. They usually last about a week or two and then they either settle down or move on (or die for all I know). I don't know anything about them except that they are a sign that life is back. Last year they alarmed me a little bit and I thought about trying to get rid of them, but now I just feel content to let them be. They're not out to harm me. In fact, they're on a mission to spread good things in my world. They're only a "problem" if I start to think they're out to get me.

I wonder how many other things in my life are this way? I wonder how many other things that I view as "problems" are actually intended for my good? If I'll just allow them to do their good work, my life will thrive and beauty will bloom. I'm going to be thinking about that for a while. Things like grief, dread, fear, anger, hunger and confusion are not intended to leave me miserable and empty. They are there like swarms of bees loaded with the pollen of my heart. If I'll patiently allow them to work as they were intended I'll see the goodness growing in the ground of a willing life. I'm pretty sure if I saw them as enemies and tried to get rid of them they would do the good work of covering me with the stings of my own foolish impatience.

So today, I'm welcoming the buzzing that signals growth. How about you?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

my body

I've lost five pounds this week, but before you congratulate me on my amazing discipline I'll confess that I'm taking medication that makes the thought of food seem like the worst idea ever. Still, it's a nice start to something that really needs to happen in my life. I'll take it. 

When I visited the doctor last week and stepped on the scale I was shocked (OK, not really that shocked) to find that I weigh more than I ever have in my entire life. It was more than a little disturbing and depressing to me. I can cut myself a tiny bit of slack because I've experienced a ton of illness in the last several years that involved long stretches of laying on the couch and comforting myself with chocolate. But it hasn't really done me any favors. Chocolate doesn't look all that great anymore when it turns into blobs of goo all over my body.

I've been on a little bit of a kick these days on Pinterest. I've been finding all of these DIY beauty ideas and all kinds of good ideas for food. For some reason I've been drawn to purchasing a lot more organic fruit and veggies and I feel compelled to take better care of myself. (This all occurred before the shocking doctor appointment revelation.) It feels good to be caring for myself in new ways. I'm thinking now that this was God preparing me to start on a new journey. God is merciful that way. He generally gives me a heads-up before he announces that he wants something new from me. I like that about him. 

And how weird that God wants me to be well. I mean, he could have asked me to do all kinds of things, but the thing most on his heart for me was to be well. I'm terrible at that and always have been. So I suspect this will be an ongoing struggle. And I'm scared to death that I'm actually talking about this publicly. Generally when I take on something involving my own health I do it very privately and don't let anybody in on it because then if I fail I won't have to face public humiliation. The flip side of that is I don't get any public encouragement either. 

I'm not going to be terribly rigid about this because I want these changes to be something I can sustain. I want to focus on healthier eating choices, smaller portions, daily yoga and three cardio opportunities a week. I'm hoping this will give me more energy, help me shed some of that weight, and will result in fewer incidents of illness. Wish me luck and blessings and feel free to ask me how I'm doing if you like. I'll be doing this for the rest of my life, but only one moment at a time. I'm inviting all of you along for the ride because I know you're lovely and wise and loving. I'll be needing all of that for a very long time.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I know I've been quiet lately. I'm just getting over a nasty sinus infection and bronchitis that lasted most of two months. Sorry about that. But I'm feeling pretty good now (other than the side effects of the meds) so I'm hoping the words will be flowing nicely from this point on.

Today was family breakfast. I made breakfast burritos and I've gotta tell you, I pretty much rocked it. Saturday mornings are my favorite time of the whole week. I get to see my grandkids and that's all it really takes to make me smile.

Wyatt has really been growing and changing quite a bit lately. You know that timeframe when all of a sudden they start doing something crazy and new every day? He loves to climb and get into everything and when you try to redirect him he has a really impressive scream. Sarah says he sounds like the Nazgul from Lord of the Rings, and that's very accurate. You can't help but laugh at him. So I thought I would share this little treasure with you today. 

The last several weeks here have felt more like June and July rather than March. I'm not gonna complain. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

just right

Greyley and Indigo
Dave and I had dinner with some old friends Saturday night. They cooked us a meal that you just had to taste to believe and we chatted for hours afterwards. We bounced between gut-splitting laughter and heart-splitting stories filled with pain and loss but also love and redemption---all in the perfect proportions. (Goldilocks would have said, "Just right.") I love those moments in life where it's safe to be exactly who you are. No pretending. No having to read messages buried beneath the actual words you're hearing. No fear. It feeds your soul and makes you feel like a soft rain just washed years of dust off your heart.

At around 9:30 we heard their daughter calling for help from the other room. Her brother had fallen asleep in her arms and she needed someone to carry him to bed. I ran for my camera and snapped this picture, partly because it might be the sweetest thing I've ever seen and partly because it was a perfect metaphor for how the whole evening felt to me. You have to be pretty darn trusting of someone to fall asleep in their arms, and I'm pretty sure if we had stayed just a little later and had been a little more tired we all would have woke up the next morning at the kitchen table rubbing sleep out of our eyes and laughing like little kids.

Thanks Lori and Nate. We love you guys.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I don't know what part of the world you're reading this from, but it's 63 degrees and sunny here and that is very weird in the best possible sense. My toes said hello to the sun for the first time since last fall. They were happy toes. The grandkids and Janelle stayed a little while after family breakfast to enjoy the day with Dave and I. Does it get any better than this? I don't think so.

It's good to be alive.