Monday, August 22, 2016

Currently: The Best of Summer Gone

Current Books: I have too many open at the same time, and I am trying to wrap a few up. I started Daring Greatly on the flight to Honduras, and it is really good. I am just struggling to focus on non-fiction right now. That's also why I am only halfway though Foolsgold, even though I started it well before my Honduras trip. I'm reading from Original Voices before bed each night. That is a mix of poetry and prose. For poetry, I am more than half through The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins. That is another I was reading while in Honduras. I'm reading through my copy of Three Simple Rules to help me with small group facilitating. I just started The Hypnotist's Love Story to continue my Liane binge. I just finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and also the audio of Lit Up (very very good).

Current Playlist: "Trust in You" from Lauren Daigle. I listen to it on repeat as I drive to work each morning. It's getting me through a rough time. That line... "Letting go of every single dream"

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Binge-watching Downton Abbey on the weekends. I will finish the series this weekend or next.

Current Color: Bright blue, bright red... bright colors

Current Food: I am craving pupusas.

Current Drink: My coffee every morning is so wonderful. I bought more Hope coffee from Mi Esperanza, and it is just perfect.

Current Favorite Favorite: The feeling of publication. It never gets old. I have three poems up at Scarlet Leaf Review this month. You can read them HERE.

Current Wishlist: A few new outfits, new black boots before winter, to try LulaRoe leggings, a writer's retreat

Current Needs: A bit more energy, because I am now extraverting 6 out of 7 days a week. I'd also do well with a girls' night out.

Current Triumph: I have my lessons planned through September, and I actually wrote a new poem today.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: I've had a cold and I can't seem to fully recover my voice. It starts out okay each morning but reading to kids all day, talking loudly over kids all day, singing silly songs with kids all day... I need some quiet time.

Current Indulgence: Doing this post and working on a poem when I have food to cook and still need to clean up before tonight's meeting.

Current Mood: Is exhausted a mood?

Current Outfit: My Buenas TARDIS El Doctor t-shirt, my favorite skinny jeans, grey and white polka dot shoes

Current #1 Blessing: Peace in my home, with my husband and my kids

Current Quote: Hope is a function of struggle. - Brené Brown

Current Photo:

Limited edition shirt from Out of Print Clothing

Title from:

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” 
― Sylvia Plath

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wildlife Teaches Me on Middle Places

I love to learn.
Back when I homeschooled, my main goal was to teach my kids one thing: Learning is fun.
Once someone realizes it can be fun to learn new things, they keep going. They learn more. They try harder and dig deeper and go for the gold. Who knows what they will learn, but God uses all of it to mold them into the people He meant them to be.
Recently, we moved to a house backing up to a patch of woods and a pond. Our new location reminds me that learning for the sake of learning is fun.
Yesterday, I peeked out the window and spotted a dark bird with a curved beak. It was in the water, right at the edge, and when it walked, I saw the legs were a bright yellow-orange.
I whipped out my phone and typed “pond birds” into Google. It only took a few clicks to locate the right critter. I have a green-backed heron. I read about his diet and social behavior.
One thing I am learning from the local wildlife is that mamas are mamas, no matter their species.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Returning to Abiding on Middle Places

I go to the dentist. A lot.
Weak teeth are a genetic trait in my family. I could go into all of the detail of my mouth and how I have landed my own time share at dental offices, but it’s pretty boring stuff. Suffice it to say, I spend a lot of quality time with my dentist.
I have had good dentists and bad dentists. Some office staffs treated me well, and some have left a lot to be desired. My current dentist is a good one, and his office staff is helpful and kind. Since my teeth are a huge source of discomfort and shame for me, feeling cared for at my dental office is important.
I was thinking of this recently, lying in yet another dental chair, sucking in gas to keep me from panicking or gagging. Most dentists have TVs over their chairs now, but I don’t care to watch them. Instead, I close my eyes. I try to breath evenly. I count to 100 in Spanish while mentally drawing the numbers to match the words. It’s somewhat meditative if you take away the needles and drills and spit.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Rainbow and Silvia

I don't know how to blog about Honduras.

I didn't journal as well as I'd planned. I didn't open my laptop unless I had to. I did a lot of verbal processing, thanks to Jamie being with me and willing to listen.

So now, here I am, back in America. I want to share so much with all of you, but where to start?

People ask, "What was your favorite thing?" That is a hard question, but I am going to give you two brief answers. These are just snapshots of moments that rise to the surface when I pause for any length of time.

The Rainbow - Three of us drove to the scouted location for a well that will be dig at Tierras del Padre (home to a tribe of Lenca people). As we wound down a backroad, I spotted a rainbow. It was so beautiful I couldn't take my eyes off of it. As the clouds moved, more of the rainbow showed through. It was a full arc of colors across the sky and even part of a second rainbow peeking out on the left side. Tim pulled over so I could climb a little mound of dirt and get a photo without power lines (we were just a few feet from where electricity ended). The best part? The end of the rainbow seemed to settle right on the location for the new well.

Silvia - Everything about Silvia made my trip better. Her smile, her shyness, her hugs, her quiet words... But the best was on the day I met her. Silvia brought me a book and asked me to read it to the group of kids that had just gotten out of school. They gathered around while I read in my halting Spanish. Silvia helped me with unfamiliar words. After, I asked the kids about my Spanish, "bueno o mal?" And they promised me, "bueno." My heart was soaring when Silvia asked me to keep the book. She carefully penned her name in the front cover. It just so happened that a friend had left me with a children's book written in Spanish. I pulled it from my bag, scribbled a note to Silvia, and gave it to her as a thank you.

There is so much more I could write about, and I probably will write about it. For now, I can only offer you snippets of days, flitters of thoughts, moments I hold in my hands like rubies in the sunlight. I keep finding new facets of their beauty.

Peace to you, friends.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Abiding on Middle Places

The word “abide” is stalking me.
It keeps coming up in Scripture, in the book I am reading (The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning), and other places.
I have not been very good at abiding this year. There was a time I thought of myself as a contemplative. Last week, a friend sent me an invitation to a “day away” event at a labyrinth, because people know how I love labyrinths. But when was the last time I walked one?
Turning the word over and over in my head, feeling its curves against my tongue, its texture on my teeth, I have wondered, “How does one abide?” Or, more accurately, how does one return to abiding?
I have come up with a few answers.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Searching on Middle Places

Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting.”  ― Haruki Murakami
What am I searching for?
I thought I knew.
I have pursued book publication for so many years, it has become a part of my daily existence. Who am I? A writer with an agent, dreaming of a book deal, pounding out novel after novel, hoping this will be “the one.”
It sounds more hopeless than it is.
It isn’t hopeless, but it started to feel that way this year. Publication processes move like an ice age, so my slow inching toward my dream is not a sign I am a bad writer or on the wrong road. However, when the hopelessness sets in, I was forced to ask myself that first question again. What am I searching for?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Honduras: July 9

Today, after doing a couple of touristy things (visiting two Catholic churches, eating pupusas and plantains in a street café), we rode to the base of the hill where Diamanté is located. Last year, most of my trip was spent in Diamanté, but this year I have not visited.

We pulled up by a small cinderblock building. On top of the building are two white plastic tanks. This is the well. There is a pump and someone has to turn on the pump and refill the tanks multiple times during the week. Various missionaries and one Honduran pastor handle that.

As soon as we got out of the truck, a man in the field behind us began smiling and waving. He walked across the road and spoke with Tim. Jamie and I stretched our legs and looked up toward Diamanté, the village where I built a memory house in 2015. We chatted about how things have changed from last year and when we may go back to see that house. Tim unlocked the building and went inside.

Then there were two little boys, niños, beside us. Their mothers stood nearby, holding buckets, waiting to draw water from the well and carry it back up the mountain to their homes. I went back to the truck and grabbed a plastic bag one of the other mission groups left behind for us. I pulled out a tennis ball and held it up to one of the boys, saying, “Pelota?”

The boy smiled. I handed a tennis ball to him and one to his friend. Jamie started up a game of catch. More children appeared with more mothers and a few fathers. I gave out all of the tennis balls, one Frisbee, and a bag of toy dinosaurs. I snapped photos while Jamie told one boy to throw the ball, “Tira lo.”

We laughed as the kids missed the balls again and again and finally started trying to catch with their feet. In America, we play some form of catch almost from birth. In Honduras, they play soccer instead. If we’d had a ball to kick, those boys would’ve showed us up. Instead, we were asking them to use their hands, stretching them out of their comfort zones.

Then the tanks were full and there was water.

Water poured from above, overflowing the plastic containers, raining down on us. The women laughed, scrambling to grab buckets and catch the falling water.

I asked Tim how to say “Water from Heaven.”

Agua del paraíso…

Agua del cielo…

As the water poured, I snapped pictures. The women grinned at my camera and laughed with me. The children shouted, ran, threw the ball and giggled when it hit someone or bounced into the tall grass nearby.

“Listo?” Jamie asked the kids.

“¡Sí!” a little boy cried, shrieking with joy.

My heart was fuller than the tanks above the well. My mind drifted to the church family growing back home, The Well @ Lewisburg.

This is why we chose to call our new church The Well. Because when the water is flowing, when joy is falling from heaven, people come. Community forms. Language matters little, because thirst and happiness are experiences universal.

I wiped drops of water from my glasses, and I prayed for drops of joy to be flung far and wide, here in Honduras from the well at Diamanté and back home in Olive Branch from the Well at Lewisburg.

Today, may you be thirsty. And may you drink.

May you be filled. And may you overflow.

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