IMG_1715These pairs of words were the bane of my existence in fifth and sixth grades. Discerning the most representative relationship between two words seemed like a pointless, tedious, exhausting job. And yet, after so many worksheets got so ground into my psyche, I’m counting on the deep recesses of my mind to know what to do with the analogies I’m acting out today. Continue reading

happiness list, 5.6.15

 1. I live in a jungle.

Over the last few weeks, the front porch has been the place to be.  Vines and bushes and trees are bursting out all over with life and bright, happy, new, green leaves.  (and lots and lots and lots of pollen…)

2. I got a new book.

One of my favorite, favorite writers, Lauren Winner, just published a new book, and though I’ve been carrying it around since last week, I haven’t gotten a chance to gobble it up.  (Hopes pinned on this weekend…)

3. God used my sermon.

More and more, I’m falling in love with sermon-writing.  It’s hard to get into a groove, especially when I preach once every two months or so, but last Sunday’s effort was a joy to contemplate, write, and deliver, it spoke to my heart, and it spoke to the hearts of many who heard and read it.  I’m so grateful to get to be a vessel sometimes!

happiness list: highlights of the week

1. By Wednesday morning, I was dragging heavily. I still haven’t determined whether it’s allergies or a dreaded warm-weather cold (I think it’s both), but whatever it is, this orange-ginger-mint concoction knocks it out.  I never would have gone for such a combo, but in my hazy desperation, the “ginger” stuck out to me at a coffeeshop, and I fell so hard I found it at the grocery store later that day.

  2. The super-valid excuse to stay in bed today: rain.  Cold rain (well, 50-something degrees qualifies here in South Carolina) is practically Mother Nature prescribing stillness and softness. 3. Speaking of Mother Nature, these determined, wiry, speedy little sprouts have me excited for the incomparable tomatoes of high-summer July.  I’ve heard they’re to go in the ground on Good Friday (whenever that falls each year), but in my profession, that translates at least to Easter Monday–I’ve got other stuff going on next week!

oh peas, no!

20140509-172930.jpg(actually, they’re tiger beans, but this priest couldn’t resist the bad AWESOME joke)

This morning I had coffee with a fellow writer friend.  I confided in her that I’ve felt challenged the last few weeks, lots of honesty roiling inside of me, eager to get free.  But I haven’t found a gentle, gracious, sufficiently-shrouded way to say these things yet, so I keep quiet–and very little comes out of the faucet at all (case in point: this dear space over the last six weeks).

Looking at my dear little bean plants in the garden this afternoon, I noticed something very disconcerting: their hard, protective shells were shriveled on the dirt.  Discarded.  Dried up.  Spent.  Returning to the dust.

The sort of click that you hear just-cracked safes make in the movies sounded in my head.

It’s only in taking off the outer barrier–the nice, cozy, practically indestructible casing–that allows the plant to grow, to feel the sunshine, to blossom, and then to bear fruit.  Growing does each of us good in and of ourselves, and to a much lesser extent, does good for those around us, watching our growth, encouraging their own growth, we hope.  The bearing fruit, though, that’s when we can really thrive, because that’s what we’re made and meant to do–to share the beautiful, hard-won, unique gifts that God places inside each of us.

But ugh–we’ve got to shed that outer shell, making ourselves open to attack, criticism, weather, ugliness.

Another wise friend of mine said recently, “With the immense support I have, how could I let my fear get in the way?”  With the immense support we have in our great triune God, how could we let our little limiting casings get in the way?