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Archive for March, 2014

Rainy Day Ode

When it starts to get to Spring and everything turns bright and sunny, I start craving rainy days.

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I know it is counter-intuitive. Late March through May is just about the most perfect weather that we get in Oklahoma. But, the rain, the gray and the gloom, that’s what wakes me up. It wakes up the earth, the soil, the worms. It reminds me that symbols of stress and strife, as well as, sideways 27 year olds can be redeemed into something that bursting with life.

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Several months ago, in a fit of boredom, or perhaps inspiration, I googled “random holidays.” I found a website dedicated to such things and I put one or two (or 50) dates into my phone of holidays that I found interesting. Because, you know, maybe I wanted to do themed Instagram photos (that was a real thought in my brain). But, also because the celebration of everyday and arbitrary is my favorite bit of magic.

 I’ve gone a few months without much acknowledgement of these holidays, but today I noticed it was “Make up Your Own Holiday.” Day. I looked and my phone and said, “Ok, I’ll do that,” and Book Character Crush Day was born. Then I added an International to make it seem more legitimate and International Book Character Crush Day was born.

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International Book Character Crush Day is a day to honor the crème de la crème of book characters – the ones that make you swoon, the ones that make you want to be best friends. Whoever it is that makes you feel all the feels. The ones that you think about and talk about for the rest of your live long days.

I won’t be talking about Mr. Darcy. He’s great. I have actually fallen in love with every man I have ever seen play Mr. Darcy, and I tell you this so you will know that my love is deep, but Mr. Darcy is not my first Book Love.

Shiloh Irons is.

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Who is Shiloh Irons? He is a 6’4’’ blond nurse circa early 1880s. Orphaned as a baby, raised by three German sisters, boxer and Confederate soldier – until an injury brought him to a field hospital where he found a natural talent as a nurse. In the first book, he comes along side our independent and smart heroine Cheney Duvall (who is a DOCTOR) as her nurse and I think that basically makes him a feminist.

I cannot possibly see how you are not also already in love with Shiloh Irons, so I will say this. This eight book series that features Shiloh is the Cheney Duvall, MD series by Gilbert and Lynn Morris, and they are my most reread books of all time. I hold them dear to my heart and have for many, many, many years. I know they are slightly ridiculous (is there a way to make Christian Historical Fiction not at least slightly ridiculous?) but these books and their characters taught me about love and friendship and God and family and, in their own strange way, feminism.

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So, even though my older sister mercilessly made fun of me for these books, I’ll share them proudly. Because like so many things that seem so little and insignificant, they are actually running through my veins like oxygen changing my blood from blue to red and most of all keeping me alive.

The real conclusion to this is that we are all real lucky they have never made a film version of any of these novels because, if my reaction to Mr. Darcy is any indication, I would surely be stalking the man who played Shiloh Irons.

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Four years ago today, my heart changed. I didn’t know it would because all they (the proverbial they) told me all my life was that parenthood changed you, and it has never been hard for me to believe. Books, songs, starry nights, hard conversations – all of these things have changed me, so a little person in my care? Why, of course, how could it not. But, four years ago, it wasn’t I who gave birth to this wild, brave little thing.

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Seven years ago, Jenny got married, one of my very first, dear friends to get married. Seven years ago, Taco Bell was still a regular part of my meal plan and I wore almost exclusively dresses and band t-shirts, but Jenny got married and together these past seven years we have grown and shifted throughout many seasons of life. She pushed and prodded places of my heart that I tried to forget about and I am endlessly and deeply thankful for this.

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Three years ago and five months, I realized I had fallen in love. To be fair, Jenny finally just moved back and I had not much seen Bug prior. But, there we all were, going to Target and I played my first made up on a whim game for her and Jenny said, “I’ve never seen you act like this.” I tried to tell her that she hadn’t seen me much around children, but mostly I had no idea that a heart could grow so quickly. The deep friendship and love I had for Jenny was suddenly magnified and exploded and turned into confetti on its way down and little Bug and I would dance and dance under it.

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Three months ago Bug started calling me Anna, exclusively, giggling with delight when I would respond with, “Yes, Elsa?” Bug and I are make-believe partners in crime. We are committed to bits (I mean, 3 months committed and going strong), believe in dancing in public and singing loud. We share no genes and no names (except the ones we make up ourselves), but we both have fairy hearts. We both have sparkle right behind our eyes that let us see the magic in everyday life and thanks to Bug my regular heart has grown, Grinch style, but my fairy heart – it grows and grows and keeps on growing every day. Two years ago, Jenny and I were obsessed with the Enneagram and already trying to figure out what Bug would be like when she grew. I know enough to know that we won’t be alike in many ways. Bug will be more fearless and more free than is natural for me. I will watch her and learn from her and tell her until I’m old and grey that I’m so thankful to have had her to learn from. That she helped me to sing louder and dance wilder and grew my fairy heart to see that there is so much more magic than I had remembered. That I can see all the magic I once saw, when I was her size.

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Little Bug, happy birthday. I’m so thankful to have you, and darling, you’ve got me. Always.

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Steadfast

Last year, I found it to be startlingly good and hard and simple to pick one word for the year. With fearless running through the back of my mind, it shaped my decisions and thoughts like water – slow and deep*. So, this year, I thought I would do the same. If fearless helped me to remember to live life out to the edges, I knew that 2014 would be about digging down deep.

I turned 27 a little over a month ago. An age that is unremarkable in many ways (since I’m not a musician), but remarkable to me in that it indicates my entrance into my late 20s. My life looks very different than I once thought it would, but I would surmise that this is a common trick of life and instead of whistling out to the edges, it is time to dive into the deep of life. The edges of life have been beautiful and taught me things I needed to learn, but the deep, the deep is where I need to go next. I don’t want to live life just wide – with lots of cool Instagram pictures and neat stories, I want to live life deep as well.

And so, steadfast.

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I chose steadfast because I needed a little more faithfulness, sturdiness, stick-to-it-ness in my life. If I’m planting deep roots, then it is happening by getting my hands dirty every day. If I’m going to go deep, I need to sturdy up my lungs for this long dive. I’m still going out to the edges, but I’m also sinking into the middle.

Maybe because I love Etsy, or maybe because I’m slow and in need of constant reminder – I always get something to remind me of my word. I usually pick necklaces because I’ve found that there is something significant in what you carry around your neck and close to your heart all day long. I can buy rings and earrings and bracelets because they are cute – but my necklaces, they almost always have secret meanings and simple reminders. I need it that way.

So, here I am, nearly a quarter a way through 2014 and sinking into steadfastness. Come along side me, ok?

*Optional Doctor Who Tangent – the Water of Mars episode. I have a deep relationship with water, but nothing reminds me or its power (in a terrifying way) like that episode. It might remain the most terrifying episode to me ever.

**I bought the steadfast necklace on Etsy and I have bought several things from Liz and I love her and she is great and you can make this necklace say anything and you should all buy something from her. She didn’t even ask me to say this, I just really, really love her shop.

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