Thursday, December 19, 2013

last one for a long time

I liked this blog when I began it. I enjoyed following a few other bloggers. I appreciated all of your comments. I've neglected this space for a year or so and am quitting it now.

I am not done blogging. I have two blogs and hope to merge them into one site sometime next year. One is a blog chronicling my Book Project (which is in better shape than five years ago), and the other is a space where I'll post my writing.

If you've followed here and want to keep reading, please find me at

Words on Paper



Thursday, April 18, 2013

gun control

Well, I sometimes cry about politics. But I appreciated Gabbie Gifford's response to the Senate, posted in the NY Times.

Monday, March 11, 2013

what comes next

I am near the end of two writing workshops and am full of words but don't know where to put them. I am not sure what direction I want my blog to take. Right now it serves to update in the smallest sense of the word. My blog also serves as a holding pen for half-finished essays. And I occasionaly vomit emotions all over and post the mess online.


So I am going to take some time to think about what this space is about and decide what comes next.

It might move. I'll let you know.

Or it might stay with a new purpose. I'll let you know that too.

Give me until April to think about it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

claire wants

Claire wants a green dress.
Claire wants a hairband.
Claire wants a chocolate.
Claire wants milk.
She wants the milk now.
Claire wants more.
Claire wants another one.
Claire wants a yogurt.
Claire wants to go outside.
She wants to go now.

Claire wants. She wants. She wants wants wants wants! This morning she was crying because she wants light-up sneakers. We've had this conversation before. I said we'd buy sandals next month because next month the weather will get hot and she won't want to wear tights and shoes to school. She needs new sandals. But she wants light-up sneakers. She might get a choice next month if we find light-up sneakers and sandals; she can pick which ones she'll wear through the end of the school year.

This morning I said I understood her: I want. I want I want I want! Sometimes I want good things. Sometimes I want what isn't for me, or isn't for me now. I get it! I was trying to tell her that: I understand how much you want light-up sneakers! I understand how much you want a green dress! There are things I want that much too!

These conversations aren't going to go away. They haven't left me. I think about what I want. I question my intent or motivation. I want I want. I am saying Thank you out loud and that quiets a few wants: thank you for coffee, thank you for crepes, thank you for Legos, thank you for imagination. Sometimes I say no to myself even if I don't have to, not for the pride of self-denial, but because when I say yes, I take more than I need. More mocha, more chocolate, more screen time, more clothes.

If I tell Claire: Look at what you have! Enjoy what you already have! then I need to do the same. I am looking at what I have right in front of me: a laptop that gets a little hot but still runs, a small blue tin full of fortune cookie slips dating back to high school, a blue cloud Grant painted, Fiction 100, a small carved dish from Colombia, an orange scarf my sister loaned me for the year, a dark chocolate biscuit with sea salt, bottled water, my notebook. (Tell me to clean my desk).

I like what I have. I want I want. But I am thinking about Claire learning to manage her want. It is easy for me to buy a green dress or find light-up sneakers. And she would be so happy. For an hour. For a week maybe. I want more for her though.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


Sometimes I really don't like going to church. And other times I don't like going to church. And very occasionally, I like going to church. We pack apple slices and crackers for the kids. They have crayons and paper. During the message, Justin and I draw fish or boats or trucks. We hear the sermon and it might resonate with a truth we're learning. We sing. Claire and Grant like to dance when they aren't trying to crawl up us.

Over the last couple months, my attitude about going to church has sucked. I haven't seen the point of it. I don't have that honey-soaked-spiritual experience when the worship leader prays. I cry at the wrong times. I bite my lip and wish I was at home. I look around and get super judgy about the singles with the space on their laps to open fat Bibles crammed with tiny notes in the margins. I get annoyed at prayers the length of Lutheran sermons. I itch when the worship team calls us all to cry out to Jesus and I half-whimper, God help. I don't like to clap when I sing. A lot of the time I can't see the words to the songs anyway. And when I turn inward, I see a tangle of need need need. God help.

I much prefer reading my Bible and praying alone or gleaning wisdom from fellow believers when we meet for a small study or lunch. I have long joked that if I lived in a cave I'd be a really holy person. Well, maybe. But God asks us to meet together and I've been having an awful time seeing the goodness of a large gathering. I keep going. I don't like getting there. I grit my teeth and chafe at the time because I'd rather go grocery shopping or draw chalk pictures in the courtyard on a weekend morning. Even so, I crack open to truth and wisdom and the services give me something to think about. Still, I wish I actually liked going to church more.

Monday, January 21, 2013

we're raising two of these!

Justin and I feel pulled between places we call home. And now Claire and Grant will grow up thinking about what home means. As a family, we'll be together, sorting this out. Hm.

Check out this film on Vimeo. It's called "So Where's Home?"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

a weary fifteen minutes

In November when I had to write something each day, I couldn't go by mood or the editor in my head. I had to find a post. I've been looking for a post for this new year and there is nothing peppy or fun to report and I don't want to take this blog into a sad dive of Why I Should Go See Someone.

When I was a junior in high school, I was curled up at one end of the couch crying. During another crying episode, my mom explained to my brother that this was hormones and I laughed a little and cried more. This time, on the couch, Mom asked if I needed to see someone. I don't think we ever talked about therapy as a real option before that day and when I thought for a moment - likely a teary, snotty moment - and said no, I didn't think I needed to see someone, we didn't talk about therapy as a real option again.

I'm reading this book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. In college I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test and fudged a few of my answers to skew more extrovert. I knew how it worked and extrovert sounded more fun. But this week, running through the introvert checklist, I'm there. I think I always was, but I'm much happier living it now - though I am not living as introvertedly as I'd like. I'll talk more about that in another post. But one characterization of introverts is sensitivity. Another is thinking a lot. Check, check.

And I write most of it down when I need to put words to what is happening in my mind and heart. So while I have thought about paying a therapist to do something to help me understand something, I find great solace in the friendships I have here and a church family that lets me ask questions. And revelation in my prayer and journaling. Usually teeny tiny revelations. I wait for the wild, big truths that knock me over.

I've written before about saying goodbye to friends. Such an expat experience to make a fast friend and carry deep experiences and conversations with that friend and then say goodbye as quickly. And I can't keep all the friends I say goodbye to and that hurts in an achey way until I think about something else.

So yesterday I learned that two good friends of ours are leaving Kuwait on Sunday. And I spent most of the afternoon and evening swallowing shock and waiting to think how this really worked. Last night I lay in bed crying because I will miss them very much, but also because I am so weary of saying goodbye. Saying goodbye means you miss them more later.