I’m not a practical person,
and what’s more – I have no shame about it
In fact, I count it among one of my favorite attributes
this world was built for practical people
and so I don’t always fit so well
Again, I count this as a positive
because comfort often partners with complacency
and dreamers have no time for either
We who find inspiration in the magical
We who wrap our minds around what could be
instead of what is
We have no room in our busy thoughts for:
the logical option
the safest choice
or even the wisest one
So while that doesn’t make life any easier
or the practical ones who wish I was just a little
of what I actually am
It does make life so very real
I awaken as I wonder
And sometimes I want to invite this reality-broken world to try
just a little bit harder
to find their way to
because it’s so beautiful here
Here the light doesn’t shine,
The moon doesn’t wax or wane –
in and out of winking stars
daydreams are born and borne again
How I wish time didn’t hold
Practical gets things done
But dreaming makes things worth doing
Both are necessary
and I willingly enter into the world of reality
As long as you understand that it is only a vacation
from the place we dreamers need to stay
to feel peace
to be free
to go home
“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
So here we are … a new year … a new set of 365 chances to do it better than we did before. This year will not be perfect, so don’t expect it to be. It will present its own set of challenges, but that doesn’t mean it will not be a grand and delightful adventure … so pack your bags … update your passport … and book a vacation for your imagination to plan the wondrous possibilities that abound. I’m speaking to myself here mostly. I tend to be the queen of fantastic plans that get booted out when the reality of my schedule comes trundling in – but this year I’m determined to do things differently. So here are eighteen thoughts (not resolutions) I will be thinking throughout the year. Let me know what number resonates with your heart. I’d love to know I’m not “thinking” alone. Be well dear ones. Be courageous as you march to the beat of your brave new heart this year.
- Be intentional when talking to people. Slow down enough to read their eyes and feel the theme of their story.
- Embrace people fully … hug with both arms and hold on with healing hands.
- Laugh without reservation. Giggle unashamedly and let mirth bubble over spilling into the lives of others.
- Listen without an agenda, timeframe, or plan to fix anything or anyone. Just hear the words that are said, and the ones that aren’t.
- Wait expectantly for the Holy Spirit to move. Be open to the reality of a faith that lives and breathes without my permission or direction.
- Allow pretend to be real enough to inspire.
- Be grounded. Be humble. Be real.
- Dance! Whenever and wherever the music moves. Disregard the audience or invite them to twirl along.
- Reconnect with nature. Breathe in the wind and tell the trees your story. Allow the forest to comfort you. Allow the water to wash your spirit clean.
- Sleep. Give up time to rest and refresh your mind in dreaming.
- Write daily. See what you say when you don’t force a story, push an article, or hurry a poem. Let words filter around you and catch only those that are willing to stay without a net or jar.
- Spend time with the stars. Be in awe and wonder at the majesty of ancient light.
- Talk to God. Speak to him as a friend. Interrupt yourself if needed with the things you’ve been longing to say … be silent together, as only the closest of friends know how to.
- Draw. Sculpt. Paint. Create. Don’t worry about finishing. Don’t make it perfect, just do. Try. Play.
- Reach out to that person … the one that tugs at the edge of your mind for the overdue attention you’ve been longing to give but repressing. They are worth your time, they are worth the effort of loving them. Call. Write. Visit. And go with the intention of easing the division you’ve laid.
- Love. Carve out time to be who you need to be … for you … for them … for the version of truth that can only come from unreserved affection.
- Discover justice in stepping in for causes that are small. They may only matter in the moment, but they matter. Don’t shy away or count them as trivial, walk intentionally into situations that may be uncomfortable, but that will lead to a greater change.
- Believe that this moment is your moment. Wait for no one’s permission to grow into the self you’ve been waiting for. Introduce yourself to the you of tomorrow and welcome the reflection you see.
Remember to tell me what number you’ll be journeying on!
All my love,
There are so many thank you’s I wish to express to you, but mostly, I am just grateful for your company. Sometimes, as a writer, you can feel quite alone with your thoughts. From time to time your weary-penned heart wonders if anyone else is out there sharing your silent conversations. The blessing comes in the comments, and every time you “talk back” to me, I am encouraged to write again. Over the years with this blog, I have nearly a thousand followers, and my blog has reached over seventy-five countries. What an amazing thought … what a delight to know that words have power and presence. I pray that this year you are all encouraged, that the tandem light of joy and peace merge and blend within your spirits and keep you delighted in the magic of every day.
Love and sparkles to you my friends. Here is a poem to start your new year.
There in the miraculous reflection of the stars lies the answer to the question
of whether darkness can vanquish light
Not only can it not extinguish what is …
it can’t even dissolve what was
Stars are echoes of illuminations past and yet here
in the present
defiant in their persistence
We are drawn to the same gleaming purpose the same luminescent call –
to alight the beat of a heart
to inspire the dream of a mind
to encourage the magic of ordinary expressions of love
What could be more noble than the pursuit of enlightenment?
What could hold more power than the memory of incandescence?
So carry on in the twilights you’re given
toward what’s pure, though at times you may crawl Have the faith to redeem what is broken inside
Let the giver of perfect wisdom plant words that will heal And believe in the power of a wish-turned-prayer
Sometimes all it takes is one person
one person to have one conversation
that leads to a single assurance
igniting an ember of hope
and suddenly overwhelmed becomes
and power transfers from fear
Isn’t it magnificent what one can do?
The way restoration washes over weary
when just the right pairing of comforting words
knit your spirit back together?
Whether the vessel used to pour out solace
or the parched heart receiving it
there is something so beautiful about the connection
of one soul tending to another
and it seems that somehow
the resonant ache in the broken places of this life
albeit in small ways
but even a drop of grace is enough
to awaken a dormant conviction
to un-break a fractured heart
to alight a selfless intention
So be the one you need to be
whether in giving or in taking
expend or release
bestow or ascertain
because the truth is
they are of equal virtue
Ultimately – the world just needs to remember
how to feel
and recognize how the presence of one
becomes the potential of two
two who are no longer alone
but united in the mission of growing into the possibility
that one conversation
one ignited hope
is all it takes
to keep the world in balance after all
“Never say goodbye, because goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting.” Peter Pan
I have been faced with the very unpleasant reality that my children are growing up. It seems everyone’s are. Like an unmistakable epidemic, every day, little dears and darlings are getting one day older, and wiser – closer to reality, and farther away from the subtle safety of pretend.
There is beauty in knowing, and there is heaviness too. I know it is the way it is supposed to be, and yet some part of me clings to the idea of little hands in mine, and tiny feet making big sounds that echo down my hallways. I feel like a hypocrite, because all I ask God for is their health and their ability to grow into who they are meant to be, but now here we are and I want just a few moments more to collect in pretty imaginary bottles to store on the shelves of my memory.
I am not sad.
At least not for any significant lengths of time.
Because I am blessed – blessed to have someones to admire as they question, and wonder, and begin to understand. I wish at times (all of the time), that I could protect them from so many truths of this torn world, then, slowly, I recognize that that would be the very worst kind of love.
True love is to meet in, not guard from. It is the “I’m here and you’re here and it’s hard, but I’ll love you through it” kind that matters most. My mom and dad loved me that way. They love me that way still, and a love like that has power.
But just as significant as it is to step into what is real, is the necessity to keep the ability to dream close by. Imagination is like a friend we can call upon whenever the business of life gets just a little too heavy to carry all at once. This belief is at the core of my parenting, of my teaching, of my writing. It is at the essence of what I hold most dear. God has planted a wondrous escape, an intentional diversion, an enchanting haven for our minds to find rest and rejuvenation.
My daddy and I love Neverland. I have spoken of it often in previous writings I know, but it isn’t the place, so much as the ability to recall the memory of magic. Of happy. Of wishful thinking. And when we become overwhelmed, he and I remind each other of J.M. Barries most beautiful words … “You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”
As a mother. As a daughter. As a teacher. As a friend. I promise to forever try to be someone who can remember the light of a star … the wish wrapped in the penny cast … the hope that tomorrow really will be better than yesterday.
In my thoughts, in my prayers, and in dreams for my children, and for every child of the world – including precious you – remember to cling to wonder … even if you have to bottle it to remember. Put joy on your shelf. Re-introduce yourself to the idea that growing up and remaining forever young aren’t mutually exclusive. Find love in every age; enjoy every day – even the hard ones. For there is good in the opportunity that every new breath brings.
Knit gold into the fabric of your being. Silver-line each impending cloud.
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” Hamilton Wright Mabie
It was over a year ago now, that much I remember, when I fell asleep crying because I knew that someday, I’d have to tell my son the truth about Santa Claus. I remember it distinctly, because the moonlight was bright, and my pillow was salty and damp with heavy tears continuing to stream and soak in as I silently continued to weep. It was the idea of someday that pained me – the idea that someday I’d have to make him grow up just a little bit more … and it hurt, but I carried on and calmed myself with the solace that “someday,” was not today.
A few days ago, “someday” came. As a child I never understood the term bittersweet, or when people tried to tell me that pain could be beautiful. But now? As a mother? I understand.
He came to me on a Friday night, after school, after piano lessons, rumpled and boyish and wonderful. “Hey mom?” he hedged, “I know that Santa is real, but I just wanted to ask you, because … well … he is right?” And as much as I wanted to, as many times as I had before, this time was different because this time, his eyes begged to dispel a truth he already half-wished he didn’t know. Every time I’ve ever had to have a difficult conversation with my children, I’ve prayed God would just let me know the right time – and this was his.
In a series of too-short moments, I explained that Santa was a real and wonderful man. I spoke of his history, and his mission, and the way that he helped people believe in the beauty and love of giving. I said I believe in Santa, because I believe in his mission, and the magic and wonder of his mission lives on through us.
And he cried.
And I cried.
And I lifted that beautiful, long-limbed boy into my too-small arms and cradled him for just a moment. In the stretch of tears and sniffles, he turned to me with a weak smile on his now, somehow older face. “I understand mom,” he said, “and I believe in his mission too.” Then his expression shifted to something of worry and he asked, “But last year mom, when I got the new video game system – it was so expensive … I’m so sorry!”
And I cried again. Here this boy. This wonderful, God-given gift, who I would have done anything for just to give him one more day of believing, was selfless enough in his own heartbreak to worry about our bank account. After telling him it was nothing, that we gave from Santa’s spirit of giving, he looked at me with his deeply-watering eyes and hugging me said, “Thank you so much.”
I have experienced many a treasured Christmas, but this understanding, his ability to love beyond disappointment – that was a gift beyond words.
Wherever you are in the realm of the magic of Christmas … of first wishes, fond memories, or once-upon-a-snowflakes, I wish you the delicate, yet miraculously shatterproof love that keeps a broken heart beating … a tear-streaked face smiling … and a spirit believing – anyway.
Tis the season … you know the one – BLACK FRIDAY, CYBER MONDAY, and every other ridiculous Christmas sale in the world! But you know what? A small part of me kind of loves it. I realize that this might seem inauthentic coming from someone who usually posts pictures of nature and family, but I’m just being honest, and a little bit girlie … shopping is fun.
Marcelene Cox once said that, “The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her.” I’d say that is true half of the time. To shop for necessity is very different than shopping for fun, and this is the season of fun. This is the season of long layers, of high boots, and cute (not functional) hats. This is the season where stores present their A-Game, trying to entice, impress, and woo you – and who doesn’t like to be wooed? I love that this is the time of year when someone is hired just to say hello to me when I walk in. I love the displays that obviously took weeks to install and set right. I love the familiar melodies, the dash-of-pine and cinnamon scents, and the feel of warmth in every article of clothing artfully displayed for me to try on.
Shallow though it may seem, shopping actually holds some pretty precious memories for me. I remember being a kid and having my dad take my sister and I out to the mall at just about this time of year. Every store was literally bursting with colors and sights, sounds and smells; I’m pretty sure my dad couldn’t wait to get out of there, but he came anyway – for mom.
“Alright girls,” he’d say, “you need to help me find something special for your mom because she’s one special lady.”
One holiday season, I stopped at a jeweler and pointed to a matching pearl earrings and necklace set. Though my memory has faded out the pristine details, my dad tells me that I absolutely refused to accept any gift for my mother besides that set. Now, twenty-something years later, she still wears it.
Another milestone of holiday shopping was with my mom, sister, and grandmother. While they’d be scanning the aisles for deals, I would sometimes look right along with them and just as often ride the cart down those same aisles (regardless of the furtive glances tossed my way) just so I’d not have to walk another step. My mother always teared up a little when she saw the “generations” just being girls together.
Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, shopping is an intimate gesture, and usually done with those we love and trust the most. Sadly, though I have an abundant blessing of friends and family, I often find that they are scattered across the country and I am left to shop alone. My mom always says, “I don’t mind being alone, I like my company.” Most of the time (for myself) I agree, but sometimes my own company simply isn’t enough. That is when I find a great opportunity to make what I call “insta-friends,” random-strangers that I call on to tell me their honest opinions about whatever it is that I’m considering purchasing. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to be a friend in a pinch!
Speaking of friends, I want you to know that this is what you have been to me – all of you. You, my readers, are my silent company … my writing support system … my team, and I thank you for that. The realization of this, that you are my confidants, has made me realize that I wish I could shop with all of you! While that is practically impossible, I was inspired to start a mini-boutique on my site. THIS QUOTABLE LIFE BOUTIQUE is my attempt to put words into gifts. If there is an interest, I plan to grow the baby business with PayPal and an increased product line, including collaboration with other witty, wordy artisans, jewelers, and crafters. We shall see, and time will tell, but I am so excited for you to take a peek, share with your friends, and express your desires and wishes for what you’d like this to be.
Some come boutique with me! Let’s make this moment, this itty-bitty start our own holiday shopping memory. If you have interest in a product, simply contact me through the CONTACT ME PAGE, or on the THIS QUOTABLE LIFE BOUTIQUE page!
Love you darlings, and as always, thank you for your love and support,
“Imagination often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it, we go nowhere.” C. Sagan
It is often that I find myself longing to return to a place that I don’t even physically travel to … but whenever my mind hasn’t wandered there for too long, back to that sacred, holy place of peace – I am sure to be less than the whole of myself. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for God’s having given me such a strong imagination. I’d love to know your thoughts, and your thanks this season. Enjoy your “Somewhere,”… here’s how to get to mine.
Somewhere between the here
and the now
there is another place
a place where there is room
and to wonder
It is sometimes a secret
sometimes a lost place
seemingly far away
just barely on the fringes of our memories
we cannot forget
our desire to find it again
To follow the invisible compass
back to the song
of the spirit
that makes sense
it is there
placed in a place
we could never truly lose
without losing ourselves
So somewhere between the here
and the now
find the beat of the heart
the pulse of the mind
the light of the soul
know the way
I hope that you take a moment to nourish your ability to imagine. Be thankful as I am so thankful for you.
Today was a little tough. Okay … a lot tough. There was nothing particularly awful, no singular tragic event or definitively difficult set of problems. It was just the sort of day that left me feeling defeated, deflated, and a little worse for wear. Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across the passage in 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says, “You are a new creation.” What a beautiful thought – a new creation. After days like today, after strings of monotonous moments that didn’t go according to plan, I wonder, at times, what God designed me for and if I’m very far off from his original blueprints.
Was I really created for deleting a string of unwanted emails? For buffering stress-inducing conversations and scenarios? Is my purpose to have less time than I’ve ever had before to be instead of do? For some reason, I don’t think so. I don’t think that was meant for anyone. In his infinite wisdom I don’t believe that God handcrafted us with unique talents just so we could waste them in the pursuit of mediocre days where one is indistinguishable from the next.
So how do we downshift? How do we recycle and reclaim our spent hours? Honestly? I have no idea. But I think it has something to do with attitude. In her infinite wisdom at ninety-five, my grandmother said, “It’s just so easy to be happy.” And you know what? She’s right. No one, not one single person on this earth has it easy. We are all struggling with past pains, present dangers, and future fears. There is not one among us who is unscathed or scarless. We each have crosses to bear and burdens we cannot share. Still, I agree with my grandmother. Even with the weight of your own small world on your shoulders, it is possible to be happy. Happiness is an action, a state of being, and a calling on your life. So. Be. It.
Right now, right here, writing to you … the hour is much too close to tomorrow. My blinks are drawing themselves out, my eyes burn beneath sleepy, lavender lids, and my body has begun that tingly stage of quiet revolt against another long day that isn’t done. Still – I decide, here and now, to be that “new creation” I think I was designed to be.
She is confident, this version of myself, and her smiles are given freely. She is stronger than she looks, but sensitive enough to know when to be real. She is creative and caring, and she never lets the opportunity to make someone’s day go by, even if it costs her the most precious gift she has – time.
She is happy, this girl in the blueprints. And even now, so am I.
Be a new creation, and introduce me to who you were designed to be! I can’t wait to meet you. Can you?