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This isn’t what I want to say, but the time has come to just say something to get back in the habit.

When I talked about wanting to lengthen my stride rather than churn in 2014, I didn’t know that would turn into four weeks of not writing and four weeks of not working out. (The goal was to slow down, not stop dead.) The longer I didn’t do these things, the more afraid I was to start back up again.

Do you ever feel that way?

The insanity of it is there’s nothing to fear. I’ve sat down with no words in mind and watched them come. I’ve changed into a hand-me-down red Sacajawea Camp thrift store tee and running tights before and made it through a workout. But something kept stopping me and telling me it was too hard and too risky.

Yesterday, I sent a panicky IM to Brad about how I felt anxious without any real reason. It was making me freeze up, pinging the muscles in my neck, and plain freaking me out. “Go work out. Go for a run. You need to take long, deep breaths,” he wrote back.

So I did. I broke my running fast with a two mile run toward the person who always points me in the right direction. Two blocks from home, I wondered why I hadn’t been able to write lately. I dug and dug into my mind and landed in my gut: I couldn’t find the confidence there to write. I’m afraid it won’t be worth the time you spend reading. I’m don’t know if it’s good enough to give you the bits and pieces of my thoughts before they’re an understandable whole. Or maybe that’s what’s more real? But is it also more indulgent? Then I imagined what it would take to feel confident. It wouldn’t take your praise (you’re all so kind about that already), it would take a change in me. Something in me needs to be calibrated. I can tell because as I imagined how it would feel to lose my self-doubt, I started tearing up. Right there on Coleman Avenue I almost started crying because I want so much to silence the voice that says what I have isn’t good enough.

I’m not sure what to do with that. What I did yesterday was run the remaining blocks home, burst in on Brad working, hug him, kiss him, then word vomit all over him, then run back to work.

Even more strange, all these thoughts come at a time when I’m inexplicably happy. I’ve felt so light and full of joy since Christmas that it’s begun to feel like a burden. Is something WRONG with me? Why is nothing bringing me down? Have I lost my ability to feel? I mean, I just read a book about teenagers with cancer and it didn’t phase me. (Let’s remember I’m the girl who always cries in the first few scenes of Star Trek where Thor Kirk’s dad sacrifices himself.)

Humans are weird. This human at least.

 

The Lone Bellow is the new Civil Wars. (Start here.)

Confirmed: Wuthering Heights can be ignored in both literary and miniseries form.

Oblivion is a terrible movie and I will never watch another Tom Cruise movie in my life.

You should read this, this, and this. This counts as my Top Books of 2013 That I Haven’t Already Talked About Here list.

Space is still cool.

I’m in a phase of not wanting sugar! Unfortunately, I’m also in a phase of wanting only potato chips.

Insanity workouts are insane. And Shaun T (yes, his name is Shaun T) reminds me of our friend Terry who owns a personal training gym and ALSO loves to “dig deep” and “push himself.” Whereas I prefer to “slack off” and “take a water break.”

You can watch a lot of Whale Wars and Miss Marple mystery episodes during a 30-day Netflix trial if you put your mind to it. Like, a lot.

And I’m not kidding about The Lone Bellow.

 

 

 

“The key to running fast is to run faster.”—
“Dad, I know that.”

I’m 22 years old and training for my first half marathon. Although, I’m not really training for my first half marathon so much as I’m learning how to run. I’m not athletic, I never will be. But at that point in my life I needed a hobby.

“The key to running faster is to either increase your stride or increase the frequency of your strides,” Dad said.

I’m thinking about that heading into the new year. This year, we churned. We hurried to pack our stuff to move, we hurried to find an apartment, we rushed to find a doctor for Brad and start a new treatment. We’ve been hustling. As inspirational as that word is to other people, it makes me want to weep, then take a nap.

In 2014, I’m lengthening my stride to push myself just a few inches closer to what’s important to me. I still want to reach for things that excite me, but lengthening my stride lets me relax and gently stretch myself without burning out. Slow, Less, and Small are words I’m embracing this year. (And “second step” is becoming my mantra.) It doesn’t feel like shrinking; it feels like making room.

Bottom line, here is my list:

This is the year of abandoning books.
I read under threat of failure this year. Not serious failure, just the goal I made on Goodreads to finish 52 books this year. If there’s one thing my “to read” list on Goodreads has taught me, it’s that life is short. No, really. Almost 700 books are on that list and there isn’t that kind of time in this life. So starting in 2014, if a book doesn’t grip me, I’m casting it aside for one that does. My reading goal this year is 15 books. I want to read slowly and notice. I want to know more about writing and storytelling at the end of a book than I did when I started.

Laugh less.
This is a social tic I’ve developed this year: nervously laughing after every single thing I say. I realized it last week when I skyped with my friend Shanna. She’s a rare citizen of my inner circle and I can be honest with her in ways I don’t know how to be with other people. But even so, I nervously laughed after everything I said, even more so after saying really important things. I could just be deeply awkward, but I think I’m actually out of practice and insecure. It’s been a year of losing the tent of old friends and painstakingly meeting new people. I almost always wonder what to say next while inside my head, I’m pleading like me! like me! Laughing less won’t solve this problem, but it’s a place to start.

Laugh more.
On the other hand! Please don’t feel bad for me when I say this year has had a lot more serious talks, hard swallows, good cries, bad cries, and goodbyes than it has had gut laughs. 2014 will be all about the peace and trust that free me to laugh.

Practice No List Sundays (and figure out what the sabbath is).
Every weekend I have a list and every weekend the list torments me. Easy solution? Ditch the list. At least on Sundays. For that one day a week, I’ll focus only on what’s right in front of me. This moment, this task, this conversation, this meal. Not those dirty floors, that appointment I have to make, that bag of clothes to hand wash, and those meals that need planned. As part of this, I want to study and think about what the biblical sabbath really is because Sunday doesn’t feel too different from Saturday to me, and I’m not sure that’s right. Maybe it is. I’ll report back when I know.

Love.
I’m not even sure how to describe this except that I want to love differently this year. Not a timid, selfish love, but a grossly generous and gracious love for all.  I can’t do this on my own. God, help me.

………………………

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In the spirit of Simple, Less, and Slow, try this tomato sauce from Bon Appetit. I was drawn to it because I have deep and ridiculous fantasies about someday becoming a master of Italian cooking and crafting next-level deliciousness out of a few tomatoes, some garlic, and magical thinking. This sauce is a step in the right direction. By the time the oven is heated to roast the tomatoes, you’ve done virtually all the prep. After that, it’s just boiling water. Plus, it made me brave enough to buy anchovies for the first time ever. So I ask you, dear readers: What do I do with the rest of my anchovies?

bucatini with butter-roasted tomato sauce
(at Bon Appetit)

We ate this with steamed broccoli because weirdly, we almost always eat broccoli when we eat pasta. I think it’s sort of a shoulder angel thing. It can’t be bad to eat pasta when you have virtuous broccoli perched on your plate, right? This roasts down to a jam consistency, so you don’t taste the anchovies specifically, but you do taste secret Italian mojo.

 

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When a Really Accomplished Someone turns out to have some of the same questions, worries, and thought patterns as you do, it makes you feel a bit brighter about your potential. For that reason alone, if you’re a writer or a person who feels acutely how much grace you require (that’s me!), you should read Flannery O’Connor’s book of prayers. (If you need another reason, the main text is only about 30 pages long, so it will be quick.)

Flannery journaled her prayers for a short time while at the University of Iowa writer’s workshop. These are written before she wrote the novel and short stories we know her for today and before she was widely recognized as a genius. She was like me or any of you who are peering ahead and wondering if the creative work you think so much about will ever actually be anything. And more: Will it ever be good?

Her prayers are bald and needy. Make me a better writer, God. Give me a story and make it good. Remind me to be charitable. Or, one of my favorites:

When I think of all I have to be thankful for I wonder that You don’t just kill me now because You’ve done so much for me already and I haven’t been particularly grateful.

How comforting that the prayers of great people don’t sound so different from mine or yours. And how comforting that God, this God who dug out the oceans and pierced the sky with stars, wants to hear about how we ate too many cookies, we ran into that person who is hard to like, we want our lives to mean something, and please help us focus, all in the same prayer–at least that’s how O’Connor prayed.

I’m plotting my New Year’s Resolutions and this prayer keeps coming to mind. I’m borrowing it for the new year.

But dear God please give me some place, no matter how small, but let me know it and keep it. If I am the one to wash the second step everyday, let me know it and let me wash it and let my heart overflow with love washing it.

Show me my something small, my second step, and let me wash it with love unending.

……………………………………..

If you’re a lover of quotes, as I am, here’s a few more from her journal:

Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon. The crescent is very beautiful and perhaps that is all one like I am should or could see; but what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge myself by the shadow that is nothing.

Don’t let me ever think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story–just like the typewriter was mine.

 Help me to ask You, oh Lord, for what is good for me to have, for what I can have and do Your service by having.

 Dear God, please give me as much air as it is not presumptuous to ask for.

 

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Behold, our bitty Christmas tree! It’s about two feet high without the boxes all covered in plaid. It was inexpensive at Whole Foods, came with its own stand, and was a pleasure to decorate (in less than an hour). We may never go back to a full-size tree.

I lie. We love giant Christmas trees.

Yesterday morning I walked to work in a half-sleeve sweater and my puffy vest. It’s going to be almost 70 degrees today. The automatic sprinklers are still running. Whither the ice-cold fingers? The ruts of ice on the roads? The small talk about gift wrapping and traveling and holiday menus?

In some moments, I remind myself the calendar says December 19 even if the temperature says May.

The IV is helping. When we sit on the couch at 5:30 in the morning, awkwardly snuggling around the giant IV pole in between us, I look at the Christmas tree and remember Advent is about waiting. I imagine my Israelite counterpart 2,100 years ago, before Christ was born, and wonder if she had the same thoughts I do. I’m tending my husband’s IV, she probably tended her children or sheep. But our thoughts could be the same. She read a promise but didn’t know when or how this promise would be kept. I read promises of goodness and healing and life but don’t know when or how they’ll be kept in our lives. She probably wondered if it would happen in her lifetime, so do I. She probably prayed for speed, she probably prayed for strength to trust, she probably looked around her and thought, Wouldn’t now be the perfect time for the Messiah to come? So do I. When I lean my head on Brad’s shoulder and dodge the IV line to gingerly hold his hand while it drips and drips, I think, Wouldn’t now be the perfect time for the Messiah to come? Wouldn’t now be the perfect time for God to keep his promise to wipe out pain and put mercy in its place? Even better, wouldn’t this be the perfect time for Jesus to return to Earth and make this broken place with its broken hearts new?

You never want something so bad as when you’re waiting for it.

My challenge in Advent and past Advent is to love the wait. Marinate in the wait. Our sitting and wondering is made sweet by Christmas music (if you’ve never played the Motown-y Christmas station on Pandora, do it now. It’s shameless. For something softer, try Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors’ latest Christmas album), plans for pancake breakfasts, and laughing hysterically over YouTube videos. With these small things, we pull peace out of the Not Yet.

 

Brad and I spent four long hours at the clinic today. He got a peripheral line for IV antibiotics placed and guess who gets to try her hand at giving him a treatment tomorrow? I wish the answer were my sister, Jill, because she’s an RN with skillz.

(In fact, one day she noticed the drug she was about to administer was the wrong dosage, so she alerted the management at her clinic and saved lives. Well, I don’t know if it was a life or death situation, but in my mind Jill is always saving lives. Anyway, the clinic was so proud of her they took her picture and made a poster of her to hang in all their clinics in Bozeman as a reminder to other nurses to be diligent about checking meds and their dosage. Like I said, skillz. My sister is on a poster and that’s DELIGHTFUL. And my parents have a postcard version hanging on their fridge and that’s DOUBLE DELIGHTFUL.)

But alas, Jill lives in Montana so tomorrow at lunch, this girl–who is an editor by trade and whose closest contact with science is following the Curiosity Rover on Twitter–is going to give an IV. Pray it goes well and our nerves stay calm. Because we do have some nerves going into this. We’ve spent most of the past six years choosing treatments specifically to avoid exactly this treatment. Antibiotics are hard on the body; IV antibiotics come with a line that needs to stay sterile, two other medications to keep the line clean and protect a precious organ, and time away from work for both of us. Plus, sometimes we’re still a little heartsore that nutrition and other natural methods weren’t a miracle fix. We so wanted that and still firmly believe those steps haven’t been a waste. I mean, look at all the good that’s come from them: We’ve procured a Vitamix (and persuaded at least five of our friends to do the same)! I know how to fill capsules with powders! We eat liver almost once a week! Even in California, we’re some of the weird ones! And (and this can’t be discounted), I’ve been known to cut so much sugar from recipes that Brad has to ask me to add some back in. (!) (!!!!)

Speaking of.

Since Brad has been allowed raw milk again, he’s had cravings for cereal. Guys, sometimes–like once every six weeks or so–we eat Panda Puffs. IT’S TRUE. I’M SORRY. We excuse it by saying it’s because neither of our moms are here to take care of us. So we eat cereal. Lately, I’ve been making granola to handle those cravings more responsibly. The first time I made granola (based on Megan Gordon’s Marge recipe), I cut the honey to barely 1/2 cup for a double recipe. My husband, who doesn’t do sugar, actually added more honey to his bowl. So this time, I added some of it back in. But not all of it. I don’t want to undo all the good work of the last six years.

cashew granola

cashew granola
based on Megan Gordon’s recipe on The Kitchn
makes roughly 8 cups

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (we found gluten-free oats at Trader Joe’s)
2 cups cashews, smashed into chunks
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup sprouted (or not) sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sprouted (or not) pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup honey
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix oats, cashews, seeds, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Heat the coconut oil, butter, and honey on low just until melted. Pour over the oat mixture, add vanilla and stir until completely incorporated.

Spread mixture onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Please don’t forget to line your pans like I once did. MISERY. Bake for about 40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Once the nuts start to blacken on the edges, take it out even if the oats in the center of the pan are still wet. They’ll crisp up (or they’ll get delightfully chewy and you will think you are the granola-making bomb).

If you like, stir in raisins or other dried fruit just before serving. Store in mason jars on top of the refrigerator because that’s what you have right now.

image: Earlier tonight, Brad was astonished and jealous that I can easily fit my hand completely into the jar to grab granola. Here, he demonstrates his frustration.

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There should be a word for the specific sweetness of going home.

For the familiarity of the geography that’s like your oldest pair of jeans.
For the first moment you see your mom walk through the airport doors after only hearing her voice for seven months.
For wrapping your arms around your dad and hearing his breath go in and out of his strong lungs, fueling his happy, “Hi, sweetie.”
For hours later returning to the airport to pick up your sister, both of you running with exaggerated awkwardness toward one another so when you reach each other, you collapse into laughter and hugs.
For hearing your brother’s laugh and seeing the wide smile that always comes with it.
For the quiet, matter-of-fact humor of your brother-in-law, touching your sister’s long hair, and hearing your wee niece say, “Hold me, Auntie Jo!” in her impossibly clear voice.
For doing it all over again with Brad’s family and realizing how sweet it is to have two amazing tribes to call your own.

……….

My mom emailed my siblings and I a poem this morning. In free verse, it said we give thanks for these run-of-the-mill moments. She modified it to include some of the things from this past week that only our family experienced. Moments that are probably cheap to other people: Jill packing only carry-on bags. Luci cradling the Little People baby Jesus from our nativity set in her dirty blanket. More.

Two lines from the poem say what I don’t know how to say about being home:

Drinking the wine
needing the bread

At home, we drunk the wine of unconditional love, inside jokes, spontaneous singing, baby giggles, and extravagant mealtimes. We all needed the bread of being together. It fortifies us for everything else.

……….

In the cab on the way back to our apartment, I looked at Brad and was so thankful that he is the part of my family I get to take with me everywhere. This marriage, this man is a gift I don’t deserve.

……….

Before we went to Iowa, my dad and I made plans to “cook ambitiously” while I was home. Here’s just a bit of what we made, with links where possible.

Deb Perelman’s 44-Clove Garlic Soup, a favorite of mine that was so rich, it should just be an appetizer.
Red-wine marinated beef heart (not as weird as it sounds–my family’s organ meat of choice).
This Stilton-laced cheesecake served with amber ale–delicious, though I made it as written and my stomach suffered afterward (but it was SO GOOD). Those who eat sugar and pasteurized dairy all the time shouldn’t have any problems.
Moscow mules in my sister’s vintage copper mugs.

image: My mom’s Christmas tree, always the most beautiful in my eyes.

 

This post could just as easily be titled, “The Day All My Dreams Came True.”

And no, I’m not exaggerating. Here’s proof: Last week, I dreamt I was paddling a row boat in a sea of chocolate buttercream frosting. The milk chocolate waves lapped at the side of my boat and were stiff enough for me to take a handful off the tip of the wave and eat it.

So though there weren’t any waves of milky chocolate buttercream to dip into at TCHO, the tasting at the end came pretty close.

Brad surprised me with tickets to the (free!) tour for my birthday and we both couldn’t wait. Did his anticipation include imagining glossy liquid chocolate swirling in a giant vat like mine did? I don’t know, but we should ask him.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetTCHO’s factory is on The Embarcadero, which is a wide, pedestrian-friendly street running along the eastern shore of the city. Tall, fancy financial buildings on one side, the piers and the bay (and Bay Bridge) on the other. It’s pretty.

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Look! The orange portal to happiness. You can’t see it in this photo, but there was a man sweeping the sidewalk nearby and to his credit he didn’t even blink while I shouted to Brad, “I’m SO EXCITED! I’m SO EXCITED!” as he took the picture.

When I walked in, I felt like a pilgrim who finally made it to Mecca. Shelves of wrapped square chocolate bars lined one wall of the tiny shop in the front of the factory. On the other wall, a barista counter stood beneath a menu with things like TCHOshot and Drinking Chocolate written on it. Thrilling.

A woman with a clipboard stood near the back of the shop. On our way to her, I resisted reaching out and touching all the bars just to hear their foil crinkle. Brad behaved like a well-mannered adult and remained casual. We signed in (early, waaaay early, because there’s a wait list for each tour and no way were we giving up our spots), then the woman gave us hairnets. I could feel the eyes of the other people in the store on us. Not because we looked ridiculous (we looked awesome), but because they were jealous. We were in.

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While we waited for the tour to start, we sampled dark and milk chocolate discs. I read the detailed tasting instructions on a sign above the chocolate (listen, smell, let melt and taste), but I was still an amateur at this point so I speed-tasted and thought, hmmmm, yummy, ok when do I see the giant vat of swirling chocolate?? Spoiler: After learning on the tour how to properly, slowly taste chocolate, these discs tasted completely different to me. Education. It’s amazing.

The first stop on the tour was to a little curtained-off part of the building (seen directly behind me in the photo above. You know, just past the hairnet.) to listen to a presentation about cacao, cacao farming, and TCHO. During the presentation, our guide asked questions and gave chocolate to people who answered them correctly. I’m embarrassed to say not only did I not answer any questions, but I was outright giving jealous side-eye to people who did. We all have our flaws…

Here are some of the things I didn’t know about cacao and chocolate before the tour:

// Cacao beans grow in large oblong pods on trees (I guess I thought they grew by themselves on bushes, which is completely ridiculous now that I think about it).
// If you opened up the pod, you’ll see the cacao beans (and probably your fingers) are covered with a spit-like fluid. Which begs the question: Who was the brave soul who encountered this disgusting goop and decided to press on in case there was something great in those shriveled brown nibs?
// The cacao “bean” is the nib.
// The beans have to ferment slightly before anything else can happen. TCHO apparently spends a lot of time developing the terroir of their beans–just like a vintner would with grapes.
// To make the chocolate, they separate the cocoa butter from the chocolate liquor. They passed around chunks of each. The cocoa butter is white and waxy. The chocolate liquor is hard as a rock, but if you rub it, it smells amazing.
// Many cacao bean farmers never get to taste the chocolate made from their beans. Since people are now throwing around sentences like “high-speed internet is a RIGHT,” I think I can safely assert that tasting chocolate made from beans you grew and harvested should be a given. (And high-speed internet is not a right.)
// You know those white plastic buckets you get at the hardware store? To use for cleaning or stowing things or whatever? The same plastic in that bucket goes into most of the chocolate sold in the U.S. Let’s all say it together: YUCK.
// To avoid introducing anything unnatural or gross or non-chocolatey into their chocolate, TCHO cleans their pipes and vats with cocoa butter. In between making different varieties of chocolate, they pump cocoa butter through until it comes out clean, then reuse that cocoa butter in the next batch of chocolate they make of that same variety. Make sense? So cool.
// The soy lecithin TCHO uses is non-GMO.
// The professional chocolate tasters on staff (I KNOW!) have palates so sensitive, they can taste a latte and tell you the milk was steamed for exactly 34 seconds rather than 30.

Obviously the tasting at the end was my favorite part of the tour. They walked us slowly through the steps: Break the chocolate and listen for a crisp snap–it means the chocolate was tempered well and doesn’t have air bubbles. Rub the chocolate, then smell it–some huge percentage of taste is actually smell, so help yourself out and sniff that chocolate. Then place the chocolate on your tongue and be patient. How it tastes when you first put it in your mouth will be different from how it tastes when it has melted completely. Plus, you get much more enjoyment out of much less chocolate. (Never knew you’d be coming here for budget tips, did you? Bam.)

After the tasting, we were released back into the store armed with a discount code to whisper to the cashier. (Isn’t this place great?) We vowed we would only buy something small after the tour to remember it by, but instead we bought enough chocolate to give tastings to both our families. I’m not kidding. I thought I loved Brad before he dropped almost $100 on chocolate.

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And then, because we were high on chocolate endorphins, we bought a TCHOshot, too, which is two ounces of melted dark and milk chocolate.

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When I took my first sip, my knees literally weakened and I gripped the bar to steady myself. Then I made Brad taste it and his eyes got big. It was beyond.

If you come visit me, I will take you here.

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My reading has come to almost a full stop. I’m not sure why, though I suspect my mind is subconsciously trying to cut down the voices in it. Actually, as I sit here writing this, I can think of a lot of ways I’ve been paring down in the last few weeks without recognizing or calling it that.

// I’ve tried to lose the pressure to write consistently (but you know that already).
// I’m reading less frantically.
// A poem* came to mind completely by surprise today. Maybe this is the moment in my life when I’m ready to like the slow, contemplative reading required of poetry? (Where should I start?)
// I’m deliberately turning to old reliable meals built on cooking beans ahead of time and making extra for another day.
// I deactivated my Facebook account.
// I’m finding joy in the narrow focus of caring for Brad’s physical needs, even if it’s just smoothing the blankets over his legs.
// Many workouts and runs have been skipped.
// The long-standing to-do list (make a doctor’s appointment, get my hair cut, look for a coffee table) has been tabled. Although I really do need to get my hair cut.

This morning on my walk to work I realized I’m cutting out all these things assuming if I laid the full weight of my energy on wanting more than suffering for Brad, I would get it. And my prayers have sounded like that lately, too, as if my emotional and mental intensity gives me the right to the answer I want.

And as I walked this morning, with my hands stuck in the pockets of my puffer vest and kicking at leaves as I went, it came to me: The cross.

Don’t all our stories end up on that hill and in that bare tomb?

As I’ve been praying with a hardened, demanding heart, I’ve forgotten the value of the gift we already have from God. His son, dead and alive again for us. For me. For Brad. I’ve placed a perfect life–not even perfect, just things like standing up when you feel like it, smiling without trying, fitting into shoes, and sleeping through the night–on my altar of worship instead of God. The ugly truth is that salvation isn’t enough for me. It’s not enough to fill me with joy, or give me unending love for others, or peace, or energy to do good. Salvation plus happy circumstances is what will do it.

It’s no wonder I’ve been sad lately. Circumstances, no matter how wonderful, will never fill my wandering heart. I need Jesus. Again and again, I need Jesus. If all the good left in my life is Him, maybe I’ll finally learn that’s all I need.

……………………..

*He Wishes for the Cloth of Heaven

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
                                               — William Butler Yeats

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I realize the post title makes me sound like a hippie. I’m not. But maybe a little bit since I did just make a bread entirely out of nuts and seeds this morning.

But anyway, hope and love are the words spelled in Morse code in the necklaces I’m wearing. My sister sent them to me in a box full of dried Midwestern leaves and acorns and sticker art from Luci. I loved it all, obviously. But I especially like having these two reminders with me. The beads string together to spell words that I string together to tell truth: Hope in the Love of God.

////////////////

There’s no suitable transition to the next thing I want to share with you:

This incredible video showing the known universe to scale. I watched it and learned my new favorite phrase: cosmic horizon. Watch it and think of how wondrous this creation is. And this is just what we know.