Do you have those moments when some life situation allows you to suddenly and clearly understand some other matter you’ve been struggling with? I do.

The moment came last night as I was carefully taking apart a book.

Every one of us has the potential to be remade. Though the pages may be stained with spilled beverages or grape jelly, though several different people may have written their names and ideas on the insides, though the spine may be broken and loose, though we have images and ideas bound onto us, and though we find ourselves on a thrift shop shelf for fractions of our worth, we can be remade.

We can be recreated.

That is good news, folks.

Are there any areas of your life you want to remake into something else? Your health? Your relationships? Your habits?

June is a terrible month for me. It always has been. Maybe it always will be. But today, I find myself determined to at least try…to take it apart and make it something new. So my first attempt is to acknowledge something good about June (just like I acknowledge that a broken, beat up, dirty book has a firm cover that can be used for my journals):

I finished the first draft of my novel on June 3rd.

Comments are re-opened, and I hope to hear from some of you. :)

Pax Domini.


Why Toilet Paper?

Jennifer asks the question on her blog.

This is a story.

She was thirteen years old, struggling as all girls do to make sense of her life and her own self. Her world was crumbling. Her grandfather–the only father figure she had ever known–had died; her siblings were growing up and moving out; her mother had moved them to a new city; her new school was as warm and welcoming as communism; and her new church was hokey. H-O-K-E-Y. Depression settled first upon her with the silence and wonder of October’s first snow, then buried her with the fury and drift of February.

She felt utterly alone, utterly isolated, utterly forgotten.

Her journal was her only solace. Day after day, she inked her frozen prayers on the pages, determined to cling to her faith rather than abandon it. She asked God to show her why He had brought her to this place. She asked Him why she existed at all. She asked Him where her father was and why he didn’t love her. She asked Him if there was anything beautiful or worthy of love in this life He had given her.

One Saturday evening, the girl sat in her bathroom shaving her legs–more for the privacy than for the need to shave. She wasn’t paying attention, really. Her thoughts were on Michelle, a girl at school who seemed to loathe her with incredible determination. The girl didn’t blame her. She pretty much loathed herself the same.

The girl hardly felt the razor slice through her skin, leaving a small pool of blood on her leg. She reached for the toilet paper, pulling several sheets from the roll and pressing it to her leg. As the crimson soaked through the toilet paper, the girl saw the design for the first time. How bizarre, she thought, to create toilet paper with such a design that nobody would ever take notice of or appreciate. And why would they? It was toilet paper, after all. The most common, crass invention, purposed only for disgusting things.

The girl was perplexed by it. She stole a spare roll of the Quilted Northern from below the sink and returned to her bedroom. Pulling out her secret stash of colored pens, she began to color in the design. Little circle by little circle, flower by flower, the toilet paper flourished out of its roll and into hands that would cherish it and ink its beauty.

As she did, she spoke to the toilet paper. “Even you are beautiful to one who will love you and give color to your design.” It was in her own voice that she heard God’s answer to her own feelings of commonness and unusefulness. Perhaps all she had ever needed was to know that there was a plan–that she, being who and where and what she was, was exactly as God desired her to be. Perhaps all she needed now was to allow Him to bring the color back into her life.

And He did.

The toilet paper has stayed with me for these many years. It will follow me to my grave, I’m sure. What began with colored pens and a search for purpose, grew into letters, poetry, songs, essays, bookmarks. It takes time and care. Have you ever tried writing on or coloring toilet paper? I dare you  not to rip it. I dare you not to let your ink bleed through it.

Take your time. Do and say the things that need doing and saying. Be careful, be intentional, and love your toilet paper.

Almost Christmastime

One of my all-time favorite Christmas songs was Almost Christmastime, sung by David Meece. I first heard it on the little white cassette tape that mom bought for us one year. At my former blog, I shared the story of a couple Christmases ago when my mom bought me a copy of this CD. I mention the song today only because I haven’t listened to the CD yet this Christmas. I listened to it some months ago when I was still looking forward to the season, but now that the season is upon us, I haven’t listened to it. I will remedy this today.

Still, with or without the song, it is “almost Christmastime!” I am excited. I’ve been busy preparing for the day, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.

I have finally finished felting my oven mitts and trivets. They are spread out to dry on the kitchen table and the coffee table. The trivets are drying very well, but the oven mitts are taking longer. I sure hope they are dry by Thursday! I have to admit, I love the way these have turned out. Even the colors I wasn’t terribly taken with have felted into a nice variegation. I just love how they’ve turned out. I am biased because I love red, but I do think Jesse & Sara’s turned out the best!

I still have to make three journals–for Clayton, for Daniel, and for Joy Forever (Joel & Erin’s baby). I am hoping to work on these today and get them finished. My only dilemma is that the tables are covered with oven mitts!

I’ve been baking, too, which is always fun. I still have pretzels to dip, which I’ve been putting off because of my lack of table space. But I’m hoping to make a dent on that today, as well.

I wanted to write a short little poem to put in the front of each of the kids’ journals. I’m not thrilled with what I’ve come up with, but I think it will do. I didn’t want it to be too heavy or too light, because it needed to be age-appropriate for kids ranging literally from not-born-yet to going-to-college-next-fall. If you have any ideas or think I could do better, let me know. Here’s what I’ve got–short and sweet:

Whatever your dreams,

whatever your fears,

when you are happy

and when you cry tears,

Your life is a gift

and in every season,

the Lord works together

all things for a reason.

So whatever life brings–

whether smile or frown–

remember each moment

and write it all down.

Okay. I’m off to…I don’t know. But I’m off!

Pax Christi!


Pre-Coffee Thoughts

It’s morning, I think. My brain didn’t get the memo, but the sun is up, and so am I. Forgive my disjointedness. Maybe I’ll offer a more coherent blog once I’ve had my coffee. For the time-being, you’ll have to settle for my update thoughts.

  • I’ve felted three of my Christmas projects. Agh. Nobody told me what a pain in the derriere felting could be. Still, the gifts are superbly cool. It is well worth it.
  • Is there truly such a thing as Christian Hedonism? What I mean to say is…can the idea of Christian Hedonism honestly (and adequately) be defended by scripture and orthodoxy? I’m doubtful.
  • Twelve-sixteen…Joy Ison, wherever in the world you are, Happy Birthday!
  • So about this Health Care Bill…I’m reading the Constitution again to see if I can figure out how it might be considered “constitutional” to require Americans to purchase Health Insurance. No worries, I’m sure some constitutional lawyer somewhere can squeeze it out.
  • And about IHOP…I’m very worried about this movement. I’ve been following Ben’s series of blogs about the IHOP “awakening” and it has helped me to consider more angles of this. In regards to IHOP, Ben and I happen to disagree fundamentally, I think–but he has some great perspective, nonetheless. If you’re not already reading Ben’s blog, go there now.
  • Twenty-seven days until Kristin comes home from Iraq!
  • Glenn Beck is on the radio! Woot! I’m gonna go be a sick, twisted freak now.

More after coffee.