Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Today I am struck by a word.

 Last night my mama heart constricted tightly as my eldest lost not one, but both of his front teeth.  Ahh!  My baby is growing up.  Every time I look at his beautiful smile I am literally reminded of how quickly he is growing up and how I want to intentionally choose to be present in each moment. To be wholly present in order to fully enjoy all that each moment holds.

Immediately after the tooth incident I kissed all of my men good-bye and drove across town for a meeting.  Later that night when I came home I inquired about the rest of the evening. I was surprised to find out that Myles decided that he wanted to wait to put his teeth under his pillow for the tooth fairy to retrieve.  Puzzled by this I asked Eric why Myles did not want stash his teeth tonight.  "He wants to wait until we are all home and we can put them under his pillow TOGETHER."

TOGETHER.  What a profound word.  What a powerful word.  What a neglected word. I am reminded by my little man of the incredible simplicity and significance of being together.   I pray that I would be more mindful of my choices.  That I would put togetherness over productivity.  I would esteem togetherness with my family over the opinions of others.  That I would look for ways to allow togetherness to be inclusive.  May I be purposeful in my days so that when I look back I would smile as I reflect on being together.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Joyfully Creates

I tend to hold them closely.  Not daring to utter them even to my soul mate, my dearest friends, or trusted confidants.  I protect them from prying eyes.  Out of fear I guard them.  Believing the lie that if no one knows them they are safe, I am safe.

But every day my eyes fall of the tin sign hanging at my desk.  The one with the quote.  The quote beautifully written and picturesquely designed.  "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams." Henry David Thoreau   Confidently?  But if I walk confidently in the direction of my dreams then people will know what they are.  If people know what my dreams are then I become vulnerable.  If I become vulnerable I put myself at risk.  Wouldn't it be better to quietly and secretly crawl towards my dreams?

Living in this false sense of security comes at great cost.  Constructing walls in an attempt to protect myself in fact creates barriers to relationships.  It prohibits authenticity.  It leaves no room for community.

So, I am forced to ask my self what truth will I decide to live by.  Do the benefits of going "confidently in the direction of my dreams"  outweigh the risks of vulnerability and possible failure? As much as my head tells me no, stay safe in your seclusion, my heart tells me YES!  Yes, walk, run, jump "confidently in the direction of your dreams!"  Push past the fear, knowing that in the running and jumping I may fall.  But if I do fall there will be others around to help me get back up and start walking again.

For each of us our dreams take many forms.  From the seemingly small to the astoundingly enormous your dreams matter.  So in that vein, today I would like to share one of my dreams. Joyfully Creates.  As many know one of my passions is knitting.  I could do it all day and all night and not grow tired of it.  Several people have told me that I should try to sell my items, but I have lacked the confidence to pursue this.  What if my things are not good enough?  What of people don't like them?  What if I can't make them fast enough.  What if ...  So, I have nervously laughed and said, yea wouldn't that be great and then promptly done nothing to make this dream a reality.

I have decided that it is time to start going confidently in the direction of my dreams.  Joyfully Creates is the name of the knitting business of my dreams.  I am not 100% sure what that will look like yet.  But I do know that I need to throw off the fears and the "what ifs".  Instead embracing confidence and community and the possibilities that lie ahead.

Will you join me in walking confidently?  Will you start to dream and share and become who you were made to be?  What would your world look like if you did?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Snow Day

The phone rings abruptly at 5:30 am.  Our first snow day of the year.  A few more blissful moments of sleep. Blanketed in down while the wind and the snow whip outside our windows.  A seven year old tiptoes in, crawls under the covers.  "It's a snow day!"  comes the announcement from Dad.  Shouts of glee from father and son commence.  A five year old stumbles into the room.  His brother shares the exciting news.  More celebrating.

I learned a few things yesterday as I walked through my first snow day as a mom of kids in school full time.  In years past I have celebrated snow days because as a stay at home mom of little ones it meant that I had an extra set of adult hands to partner with me through the day.  I could get a few extra things done.  Or maybe steal a few minutes to myself.  Snow days were fabulous.  They were equal parts fun and useful.

As I switched off the lamp on Monday night I mentally went through my to-do list for Tuesday.  A day full of hours to work on crossing things off of my list.  My list that feels so important.  My list that can easily become a task master instead of a guidebook.  My list with which I have a complicated love-hate relationship.

When the phone rang at 5:30 Tuesday morning My List became in serious jeopardy.  This was not going to be a day to get a few extra things accomplished.  No, indeed.  As I stood at the dawning of a fresh wintry morning I realized that I had a choice to make.  I could fight and struggle, clawing my way through the day clutching my list.  Or, I could take the gift that was being offered to me.  The gift of a day with no where to go, to spend with the people I love most.

I am so thankful that I accepted the gift and opened it, for what a treasure it was. Sure, my house is a disaster.  I am even further behind on my list than I was when I went to bed Monday night.  But, we spent the morning in pajamas instead of rushing out the door.  I got to watch a Dad and his boy write their first screen play for an upcoming movie that they are creating. I cradled my coffee mug while playing Legos.  I sat on the wood floor until my backside hurt delighting in my seven year old as we looked through last years school work and art pieces.  Both of us marveling at the beauty and the growth that has occurred in what feels like such a short time.

We are walking back in the house after shoveling.  I look over and I see my husband laying in the snow gazing into the sky, soaking in the beauty of the snow flakes pouring down.  It is a small moment in time.  I am conscious of the choice.  Dinner needs to get started.  I lay down in the snow next to him.  I take the hand of the man I love and join in awe of the dance of white encircling us.  I beckon Boston and Myles to join us.  We all lay together, laughing, trying to keep our eyes open to the wonder and beauty that is falling on us.  Falling all around us.

The dinner dishes have been done.  A boisterous game of floor hockey played in the basement is finished.  Pajamas are on, teeth are brushed, and stories have been read. Uncontrollable giggles erupt as the boys  "hide" and are "found" under their blankets.  Finally, prayers are said and doors are closed.  I settle into the couch when I hear a little voice call out, "Mommy, can I have have one more snuggle?"  Up the stairs I go.  The answer a resounding yes!  It is in those moments that I realize that I made the right decision.  To say yes to this day for the gifts it could hold.  To say yes to these moments instead of yes to my list.  May I continue to say YES!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lifelong Love of Learning

A natural inclination towards slowness forces me to incorporate a strategy that many people wiser than myself teach and advocate.   The basic premise of this strategy is the concept of living your daily life guided by the standard of your personal "mission statement".  In other words,intentionally evaluating your life, deciding what you value most and then using those values to help you decide what things you deem significant enough to pursue, and which things, although possibly good things, should be left undone.

 I say that my bend toward slowness forces me to implement this because I simply am incapable of doing everything.  For better or worse it is just not a part of who I am.  Yet, I like everyone else do need to be purposeful in choosing which pursuits are most important and not just haphazardly allow my choices and schedule to be determined by default. At a later date I will share more about my mission statement, but for now I want to share a little about one facet in particular,

One of the tenets that guides my life is the passionate pursuit of life long learning. Having the ability and the opportunity to engage the world, to learn so many things in so many ways is a tremendous privilege.  It is a powerful privilege.  A privilege that I seek to cultivate.

Education and knowledge may seem common place. For many of us going to school, learning to read, having access to information is simply a part of being human.  So ordinary. As expected as breathing. It is so easy to forget that for much of the world these things that we take for granted are not a given. Many people have to fight and struggle in order to procure an education.  They long for knowledge and treasure the opportunity to learn.

Learning is a beautiful gift.  A gift that holds much potential and power.  A gift for young and old alike.  Not one to be discarded after graduation caps have been tossed and diplomas earned.  No, in fact I believe that when those days are done we are given the keys to an incredibly exciting and never ending adventure!

Every day we are presented with the choice to learn.  We learn from each other.  We learn from experiences.  We learn from books, and art, and music. Our resources are endless.  We are given the opportunity to dive into learning, to bask in the waves of knowledge and be saturated with it's beauty.

For each of us learning will look different. Part of the beauty of our world is the rich diversity created by the mosaic of different people. People with different interests and talents.  People full curiosity and questions. The important thing is not how you learn, instead what is important is that you are learning.  Find what intrigues you.  What piques your interest and leaves you longing to learn more? Find that thing and passionately pursue it.

I have recently been introduced to a new avenue of learning, and I have to say I love it! It has opened up a whole new world to me.

As many of you know, one of my passions is social justice.  I read all I can get my hands on regarding this topic.  I even began exploring the option of obtaining my Masters of Arts in Social Justice.  One evening Eric and I were discussing this option.  I was reminiscing with great affection the days in college when I could audit classes just because I wanted to learn the information. I could take the class not for the credit, but for the experience.  I wasn't motivated to learn because of the grade I would receive but purely for the knowledge I could glean.  It was beautiful.  Eric turned to me and casually said, "You know that you can take free college classes on line don't you?"  Wait! What?!  How did I not know this?

In fact, he is correct.  Renowned, major universities offer free courses on an endless array of topics. You can just sign up and begin learning!  You can dedicate as much or as little time as you have available to the course.  You work at your pace.  There are benefits to doing the class according to the prescribed schedule, but how you do the course is completely at your discretion.  It truly is an amazing resource!

There are several websites through which you can sign up for these courses.  Two that I recommend are and .   Currently, I am taking a course from Columbia University entitled The Age of Sustainable Development.  Thus far, it has been a tremendous growing experience.  I listen to the video lectures, I take notes, and I do the assigned reading.  The excitement of broadening my scope of understanding and gaining the tools to help build a more just and beautiful world is hard to capture with words.

I can hardly wait to take more courses.  The possibilities are endless.  This is a way of learning that excites me, it is not the only or the best way to pursue knowledge.  Maybe you have always wanted to learn how to play the piano.  Sign up for those lessons.  Maybe you would like to explore your genealogy.  Go to your library and discover the resources they have available.  Maybe you want to learn to cook or knit.  Find someone who has the skill you would like to cultivate and talk to them. (I may know someone who would love to help you with knitting, wink wink) Maybe you have secretly longed to learn a new language or learn how to fix a car.  Whatever it is that you would like to learn, take a step towards it. Give yourself, and the world around you, the gift of knowledge.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pen and Paper

It sits on my brown nightstand.  A rough wooden 4x6 frame.  It resides next to my miniature Eiffel tower and my anniversary rock.  The rock shaped like a heart, found while walking hand in hand along the shores of Lake Michigan celebrating 12 years of walking through life together.

 A simple picture frame.  So simple one might look right past it.  Yet, its contents are a treasure.  A recipe.  The family recipe for cottage cheese pie penned in the scrolling handwriting of my beloved grandmother.  

She was one of the most vibrant and loving people that I have ever met.  She made life so very rich. She celebrated. She embraced. She selflessly gave. She radiated Jesus to everyone that she encountered.  
The frame bookends my days.  It is a beautiful reminder of the sort of person that I want to be. My glance falls on the familiar frame and I smile. Her memory embraces me. I remember who she was and I am inspired to choose moment by moment to love and to serve

A pie pan.  Nothing fancy or gourmet.  I turn it over and my breath catches in my throat.  A physical reaction to the surge of emotions flooding this moment.  I had not expected to see her beautiful handwriting.  Quickly written on masking tape so as to identify her pan at one of the many gatherings she was always a part of.  It is so ordinary, the jotting of a name.  But somehow when I see it, run my hand along it, it somehow transforms into something more.  It is a balm to that ache of deeply missing her.  

A card delivered in the mail from one of my favorite people.  It is addressed to our family and inside the author has written a message to each member of our clan.  My mind has returned to those words repeatedly since reading them.  There was something significant about seeing those words written in her hand.  The words took on a depth that may have been lost in any other form.

There is something deeply personal about handwriting.  It is unique, almost like a fingerprint.  Messy or neat.  Choppy or flowing.  Tiny or large.  It matters not what it looks like, it matters that it is yours.  It is beautiful because it is yours and yours alone.  

In our fast paced, efficient world we have lost the art of handwriting.  Sure, there is a time and a place to embrace the digital form, but I believe that we should also hold dear the pen and paper.  

Putting ink to paper captures something. A small piece of time, a piece of you. It is tangible, tactile, timeless.

What if we took the extra few minutes to write that note to a friend instead of sending them an email or a Facebook message.  What if we sat and penned our thoughts into a journal.  What if we jotted a quick note and tucked it in a child’s lunchbox.  What if …

As I turn the page on the calendar this week and embark upon a new month I am challenging myself to be intentional about writing more.  My goal is to hand write something everyday, and to pen something of significance at least once a week.  Maybe you would like to join me as I work to cultivate this habit. I would love to hear how you have been touched by a handwritten piece or how you incorporate writing into your world.  Let’s be creative together, documenting this beautiful life that we have been given.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Very Long Absence

Let me start by stating the glaringly obvious.  I have not written anything in a very, very long time. The reasons for this prolonged absence are varied and complicated.  Some reasons are legitimate and others are excuses. Yet, as I have waded and trudged through them, slowly analyzing, I have come to realize that I truly miss writing.  

Writing forced me to lead a more examined life.  I chose to look for the meaning in the mundane, in the minute, and in the momentous alike.  Moments that often scuttle by unobserved, undocumented become much more significant. Through the mixing and kneading of thoughts I learned a great deal. 

I also realized that I really missed the conversations that were started through this blog.  I was so blessed and encouraged through the written and verbal conversations that transpired.  I miss those, and I would love to have more of them.   

I hope that you will extend me grace for my very long departure. I hope that you will join me again as we seek to learn from the slow, simple life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Charlotte's Web Wisdom

I had another post all planned out.  I had even started writing it.  But then I overheard this quote and I was so struck with it's simple, profound wisdom that I just had to share it.

My Myles is absolutely addicted to audio books.  Now, when I use the word addicted I mean it quite literally.  As soon as he stumbles down the stairs in the morning he turns on his CD player with a story in it.  He has stories in the car.  He will listen to stories all day long.  We have made the rule that the stories must be paused while we eat, but he is a serious book worm.  And I love it!

Often the stories filling our home will be listened to over and over and over again.  Such has been the case this week with the beloved classic Charlotte's Web.

 Like most people I have read the book and seen the movie, but it had been sometime since doing either.  Tonight Myles was listening in the playroom which is right next to our kitchen.  I was filling the sink with soapy water when I was utterly astounded by what I heard.

I shut off the water, went into the playroom and rewound the CD to make sure that I had heard it correctly.  Sure enough I heard it again.

Charlotte has assured Wilbur that she will save him from the awful fate that awaits most pigs.  But Wilbur is scared.  He wants to know what her plan is.  She tells him that she doesn't have a plan yet, but she will.  But when, he wants to know.  How can I help he asks, his anxiety bursting with every phrase.  Charlotte, always calm and gentle speaks these profound words to Wilbur,

“Never hurry and never worry!”
The simple beauty and truth of these words so resonated with my heart.  How often I am Wilbur running around fretting and worrying.  I become riddled with anxiety, when what I really need to do is embrace the wisdom of the spider, "Never hurry and never worry." 
I think that I shall have to go back and read Charlotte's Web  in it's entirety.  Who knows what other nuggets of wisdom are waiting to be rediscovered.