cloudy with a chance of grace

We pulled up to the house, my Love and I, under a beautifully overcast sky. The air was warm with a chill breeze around the edges, and I asked him if we might take a walk instead of retreating inside to sit in front of our respective screens. He wasn’t sure. It was the sort of day that made him want to simply sit. I suggested retrieving a book and finding a bench and he agreed.

I scampered into the house and returned with One Thousand Gifts. Our honeymoon had come to an end, but we had a few chapters to read yet.

A couple of blocks later I realized I didn’t have to wait until we found our bench, so I slipped one hand around his right arm and held the book open in the other. He guided me around puddles as I read.

When we came to the bench, he spread his great coat open so that I could join him in and on it (the bench was wet). A few drops of left-over rain shook loose from the leaves overhead, spattering the spread of pages. The paper dried in time for me to turn the page.

And so we sat, my love and I, breathing freshly-washed air and absorbing grace-soaked words from almost-damp pages. I had forgotten how excellent a companion a book makes.

I must make a habit of carrying one with me.

on reading, choking, and remembering to breathe

We started reading One Thousand Gifts while on our honeymoon. Cuddled in bed, I would read aloud until tears choked up my throat and my husband would have to take over.

We started another book too — The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson. Hodgson’s voice is as unique and expressive as Ann’s, and the story is as intense in its own way, but the experience wasn’t at all the same. See, we read an eBook version of The Night Land, and as wonderful as this story is, reading from a phone screen is not nearly as beautiful as reading from a book.

The tactile sensation of turning pages and weight shifting in your hands as you near the end of the book; tattered paper cover or hardback wrapped in shiny sleeve… Why have we forgotten this joy?

We read from screens more than paper. Even if we aren’t sitting in front of computers, we have smaller versions in our pockets — or more likely in our hands.

I used to carry a book in my bag so I would always have a way to fill the moments-in-between. We don’t have moments-in-between anymore. We have filled the cracks that used to let in light and make it easier to breathe with a digital glow that is slowly suffocating us.

I feel that choke-hold when I take a walk in the fresh air and try to breathe deep. I swallow hard, trying to loosen the noose that pulls me home to check email and social media.

Next time I think I’ll take a book.

life {written in blood}

I scratch paper with pen tip
and words bleed onto the page.
A few are the right words.
Precious few.

I scratch out the wrong ones,
lines parallel like animal claw marks,
and I feel the throbbing pain.
I bleed.

I bleed more words onto page,
filling it to overflowing and then,
turning page to scratch up another,
I hesitate.

Beautiful, clean, pure white virgin paper.
How could I touch it to
make it bleed for my pleasure?
And yet…

And yet without pressure and pain
the page will remain simply itself.
It cannot create, carry, and bear
new life.

No, not without someone pressing in.
But in pressing through the pain
something can come to be —
to live!

don't fall asleep waiting for morning

Change is terribly exciting;

sometimes terrifyingly so.
I'm not one to seek it out
or embrace it when it surrounds me.
Except when I do...
Practice makes perfect,
and I've had plenty of practice these past few years.

Visiting a dozen states and living in two...
Launching a brand...
Writing a book...
...and now, getting married.

Some change is good, after all.
This recent one certainly has been:
An invitation to begin anew,
to reexamine goals and priorities,
to establish good habits
and choose to live the life I want.

It makes me ask the question: why wait?

Like the song I love that speaks of
"mercies new every morning"
and points out the fact that
"it's always morning somewhere,"
while the dawning of a new day
is a lovely time to begin a thing,
why wait?

Even if for now
all you see is darkness,
the dawn is somewhere
over the horizon.
Why wait for a perfect sunrise
when you can get a head start now?
Then, when the sun does rise,
it will illuminate the great work
you have already begun.

I'm glad I didn't wait
to write a book
until I had a publisher.
I'm glad I didn't wait
to sew a dress
until I needed a custom wedding gown.
I'm glad I didn't wait
to cook and clean
until I had my own kitchen.

I'm glad I didn't fall asleep
waiting for the morning.

on reasons, excuses, & proper motivation

I’ve disappeared for a while.

I used to post to this blog every week.
In fact, I published 90 blog posts in 2016—
almost two for every week in the year!

And then …
2017 …
Silence …

True, I have continued to share
installments of my serial novel, Consumption,
though I’ve gotten behind there too.

I have my reasons,
of course.
A person always does.

I could tell you that two weeks ago I became engaged
and in six more weeks I will be married.
I could tell you that my family was visiting
and that my sister has moved in with me.
I could tell you that the overwhelm triggered a mental shut-down
and an emotional break-down.

I could tell you that these are the reasons
I’ve not stuck with my commitment
to publish here every week.

But that would be sharing excuses,
and sharing excuses is the wrong motivation,
which is part of why I haven’t said anything until now.

Now I tell you about my engagement and wedding
to share the joy of anticipated marriage.
Now I tell you about time spent with my family
to speak of the gift that such time is.
Now I tell you about shut-down and break-down that I am overcoming
to encourage you to do the same.

Now I write this to you
not to offer excuses for the past
but to establish a bond for the future.
I’m back, and I will continue to write.
Not perfectly, but when I mess up,
I’ll come back and carry on.