Monday, August 29, 2016

Chasing Dreams on Middle Places

I’ve been learning Spanish for a while now. I’ve been teaching myself steadily since August of 2015, but off and on for a few years before that. I’ve made a lot of progress and also very little, according to your standard of measurement.

Recently, I got the chance to carry on a very broken conversation with my friend’s mother. She is from Brazil, so she speaks Portuguese, not Spanish, but we managed to piece together enough to share a bit about our children and our husbands. I felt so proud to be able to do that, and I also felt horrified at how little I know. Learning something new is fun … and difficult and frustrating and exhilarating.

I love it.

Today I was reminded of how one instance of juxtaposition can teach you something brand new. It’s sort of like an epiphany – that moment the light bulb clicks on, a fuse ignites, your brain buzzes, smiles, sparks to attention.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Currently: The Best of Summer Gone

Current Books: I have too many open at the same time, and I am trying to wrap a few up. I started Daring Greatly on the flight to Honduras, and it is really good. I am just struggling to focus on non-fiction right now. That's also why I am only halfway though Foolsgold, even though I started it well before my Honduras trip. I'm reading from Original Voices before bed each night. That is a mix of poetry and prose. For poetry, I am more than half through The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins. That is another I was reading while in Honduras. I'm reading through my copy of Three Simple Rules to help me with small group facilitating. I just started The Hypnotist's Love Story to continue my Liane binge. I just finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and also the audio of Lit Up (very very good).

Current Playlist: "Trust in You" from Lauren Daigle. I listen to it on repeat as I drive to work each morning. It's getting me through a rough time. That line... "Letting go of every single dream"

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Binge-watching Downton Abbey on the weekends. I will finish the series this weekend or next.

Current Color: Bright blue, bright red... bright colors

Current Food: I am craving pupusas.

Current Drink: My coffee every morning is so wonderful. I bought more Hope coffee from Mi Esperanza, and it is just perfect.

Current Favorite Favorite: The feeling of publication. It never gets old. I have three poems up at Scarlet Leaf Review this month. You can read them HERE.

Current Wishlist: A few new outfits, new black boots before winter, to try LulaRoe leggings, a writer's retreat

Current Needs: A bit more energy, because I am now extraverting 6 out of 7 days a week. I'd also do well with a girls' night out.

Current Triumph: I have my lessons planned through September, and I actually wrote a new poem today.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: I've had a cold and I can't seem to fully recover my voice. It starts out okay each morning but reading to kids all day, talking loudly over kids all day, singing silly songs with kids all day... I need some quiet time.

Current Indulgence: Doing this post and working on a poem when I have food to cook and still need to clean up before tonight's meeting.

Current Mood: Is exhausted a mood?

Current Outfit: My Buenas TARDIS El Doctor t-shirt, my favorite skinny jeans, grey and white polka dot shoes

Current #1 Blessing: Peace in my home, with my husband and my kids

Current Quote: Hope is a function of struggle. - BrenĂ© Brown

Current Photo:

Limited edition shirt from Out of Print Clothing

Title from:

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” 
― Sylvia Plath

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wildlife Teaches Me on Middle Places

I love to learn.
Back when I homeschooled, my main goal was to teach my kids one thing: Learning is fun.
Once someone realizes it can be fun to learn new things, they keep going. They learn more. They try harder and dig deeper and go for the gold. Who knows what they will learn, but God uses all of it to mold them into the people He meant them to be.
Recently, we moved to a house backing up to a patch of woods and a pond. Our new location reminds me that learning for the sake of learning is fun.
Yesterday, I peeked out the window and spotted a dark bird with a curved beak. It was in the water, right at the edge, and when it walked, I saw the legs were a bright yellow-orange.
I whipped out my phone and typed “pond birds” into Google. It only took a few clicks to locate the right critter. I have a green-backed heron. I read about his diet and social behavior.
One thing I am learning from the local wildlife is that mamas are mamas, no matter their species.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Returning to Abiding on Middle Places

I go to the dentist. A lot.
Weak teeth are a genetic trait in my family. I could go into all of the detail of my mouth and how I have landed my own time share at dental offices, but it’s pretty boring stuff. Suffice it to say, I spend a lot of quality time with my dentist.
I have had good dentists and bad dentists. Some office staffs treated me well, and some have left a lot to be desired. My current dentist is a good one, and his office staff is helpful and kind. Since my teeth are a huge source of discomfort and shame for me, feeling cared for at my dental office is important.
I was thinking of this recently, lying in yet another dental chair, sucking in gas to keep me from panicking or gagging. Most dentists have TVs over their chairs now, but I don’t care to watch them. Instead, I close my eyes. I try to breath evenly. I count to 100 in Spanish while mentally drawing the numbers to match the words. It’s somewhat meditative if you take away the needles and drills and spit.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Rainbow and Silvia

I don't know how to blog about Honduras.

I didn't journal as well as I'd planned. I didn't open my laptop unless I had to. I did a lot of verbal processing, thanks to Jamie being with me and willing to listen.

So now, here I am, back in America. I want to share so much with all of you, but where to start?

People ask, "What was your favorite thing?" That is a hard question, but I am going to give you two brief answers. These are just snapshots of moments that rise to the surface when I pause for any length of time.

The Rainbow - Three of us drove to the scouted location for a well that will be dig at Tierras del Padre (home to a tribe of Lenca people). As we wound down a backroad, I spotted a rainbow. It was so beautiful I couldn't take my eyes off of it. As the clouds moved, more of the rainbow showed through. It was a full arc of colors across the sky and even part of a second rainbow peeking out on the left side. Tim pulled over so I could climb a little mound of dirt and get a photo without power lines (we were just a few feet from where electricity ended). The best part? The end of the rainbow seemed to settle right on the location for the new well.

Silvia - Everything about Silvia made my trip better. Her smile, her shyness, her hugs, her quiet words... But the best was on the day I met her. Silvia brought me a book and asked me to read it to the group of kids that had just gotten out of school. They gathered around while I read in my halting Spanish. Silvia helped me with unfamiliar words. After, I asked the kids about my Spanish, "bueno o mal?" And they promised me, "bueno." My heart was soaring when Silvia asked me to keep the book. She carefully penned her name in the front cover. It just so happened that a friend had left me with a children's book written in Spanish. I pulled it from my bag, scribbled a note to Silvia, and gave it to her as a thank you.

There is so much more I could write about, and I probably will write about it. For now, I can only offer you snippets of days, flitters of thoughts, moments I hold in my hands like rubies in the sunlight. I keep finding new facets of their beauty.

Peace to you, friends.

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