This (above and below) is the way I want to live:
“Through the ups and downs of her life — and there would be many — Dorothy L. Sayers never stopped being that young lady intoxicated by summer, or the girl with the plumed hat and rapier: imaginative, irrepressible, pouring herself into her enthusiasms, so powerful a personality as to leave her friends exhausted after each visit.
“Except ye become as little children,” she said, “except you can wake on your fiftieth birthday with the same forward-looking excitement and interest in life that you enjoyed when you were five, ‘ye cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ One must not only die daily, but everyday be born again.”
From Patron Saints for Postmoderns by Chris R. Armstrong, InterVarsity Press
Today I am grateful for a renewed sense of joy in writing, in marriage, and in motherhood.
I am grateful for the hope that the life described above is within my grasp.
I am grateful for a brand-spanking new bit of non-fiction sent off to a literary competition (and that the experience of writing was reward enough in itself.)
I am grateful for a patient publisher awaiting a revised book proposal.
I am grateful for work that I love and an employer that loves me back. (See photo below.)
I am grateful for this giant baby within who will make his/her appearance in the next 30 days.
I am grateful for the newness of this spring and all it’s offering.
April 26, 2013 1 Comment
January 4, 2013 1 Comment
” 450 billion dollars are spent on Christmas each year in the U.S. alone while an estimated 20 billion would solve the world water crisis. Aiden Enns, founder of the Winnipeg-based Buy Nothing Christmas movement, believes there is something wrong with this picture.
“We know Christmas as the shopping frenzy of the year and some of us think it’s got to slow down. If we say ‘stop’, people will stop in their tracks and say, ‘what? Is he serious?’” And I am serious. We should st
“For me, the biggest thing is to find a way to alleviate suffering in the world and I think the way our capitalist, consumerist society is structured is fostering more suffering, so we need a way to pull back,” says Enns, who is a former editor at Adbusters and founder of the ad-free faith magazine, Geez. “I am feeling like we are swept up in the way that the world is working and our gift-giving reinforces the glory that some few have in wealth. In many ways this continues to impoverish us and is so far from the spirit of the gift of life that the coming of Christ was.”
Christ. Emmanuel. God With Us.
How is one to slow down in the season, preparing our heart in humility and peace, to receive the Christ child?
Read my full article ‘Consuming Christmas’ here.
December 13, 2012 No Comments
Thomas (1) & Madeleine (3)
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
― Albert Einstein
November 27, 2012 1 Comment
”I think the best results are obtained by people who work quietly away at limited objectives, such as the abolition of the slave trade, or prison reform, or factory acts, or tuberculosis [Lewis is not thinking small, here!], not by those who think they can achieve universal justice, or health, or peace. I think the art of life consists in tackling each immediate evil as well as we can.
To avert or postpone one particular war by wise policy, or to render one particular campaign shorter by strength and skill or less terrible by mercy to the conquered and the civilians is more useful than all the proposals for universal peace that have ever been made; just as the dentist who can stop one toothache has deserved better of humanity than all the men who think they have some scheme for producing a perfectly healthy race.”
- CS Lewis
November 14, 2012 No Comments
I forgot a post, didn’t I? Perhaps the most important one of all.
We all need to retreat, writers especially, to a place where we can dust out the cobwebs, settle into the pages, and write our hearts out. We need space to create: a wide table to spread our pages and uninterrupted hours to play our story out.
Visit a friend’s cottage. Book into a hotel. Hole up in your parents’ house.
Whatever it looks like, retreat. And let the words rip.
November 6, 2012 No Comments
I don’t know where you are at with things — if you want to write for reflection, catharsis, money – or all three! But I would say that for me the journey to writing had three stages.
1. First, I had to get over my fear of other people reading my writing – so I blogged and shared/promoted it.
2. Second, one day I decided that I had to define myself as a writer – say it out loud to others, write it down in my email signature. I felt like a total imposter at first, but it was a definite turning point.
3. Third, a couple of years later I made the decision that I write for pay. Period. That pay wasn’t much at first: ten cents a word at a Christian newspaper in BC, but that was the start and now it’s much, much more. (I should note that I do, on occasion, write for free for publications I love, such as Geez.)
(Have you noticed how short these posts are? It’s on purpose… Short enough to read in a mama’s spare minute!)
Join me again tomorrow for A Mother’s Writing Life Part 4: RETREAT. (ahhh… yes…)
November 1, 2012 2 Comments
I will keep this simple. Very, very simple.
Shauna Paull, the facilitator of the first poetry workshop I took after Madeleine was born, and a mother herself, passed on this sage advice: Write each line as it comes.
Photo by iHanna – Hanna Andersson, ihanna.nu
It felt like freedom because, at the time, lines — and very infrequent ones at that — were all I had.
Don’t discount a word, a line or idea. It could be a start of a poem, an essay, or the final line of your great American novel. Jot them on napkins, in margins, or on your smartphone. Slowly they’ll make their way to the page.
My off-line experiment at the beginning of the year was a reminder to be attentive to God’s still small voice. The idea came to me in flicker of the night while settling back into bed after nursing little Thomas. Originally I had thought I might try a year but I got a lot of (understandable) push back from my family. It came as a simple idea and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life — providing a heap of publishable material.
Lines make sentences. Sentences make paragraphs. Paragraphs make meaning. Write on.
Join me again tomorrow for A Mother’s Writing Life Part 3: STAGES.
October 31, 2012 No Comments
There are moms who blog (Emily, Sarah, Ann.) They blog beautifully and I don’t know how they do it. I’ve tried to be this kind of mom/writer but I don’t have the passion or the reserves. I also have a husband who travels, works long hours and I have no nearby family to lend a helping hand. So, the words I write make it only to print. It’s the only way I can get pen to paper, fingers to keys: the built-in deadline of creative paid work. It’s also the only way I can afford to write: I have to pay the babysitter.
My friend Emily wrote to me from Montreal and asked me about writing and motherhood. I hope my answers might help a few other writerly women out there.
Emily: “ I was so glad to see all the articles you’ve been writing, and even a book! Well done. It was encouraging for me, as well. I would very much like to get back into writing, but I’m not sure how to balance my schedule for it… I’m just wondering…
What is your strategy?
Do you have someone who watches the kids regularly so you can write?
Do you have a certain time every day or every week that you write?
Do you avoid other commitments in order to carve out time to write?
…By night I’m too worn out to write, or so I tell myself. Maybe that isn’t true. So yes, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.”
A friend who has 5 kids once told me that we must take the moments as they come. And that’s all they’ll be: moments. 15 minutes here, an hour there. Grab them with tenacity. Caring for children: one, two or ten, is all-consuming and in order to write (or do anything else) some things have to slide: housework, coffee dates, letting your kid watch Max and Ruby for half an hour.
I am one of those moms who ABSOLUTELY does NOT stay up after the kids go to bed and do stuff. I clean up and crash. So, for me, writing happens during nap time or when I hire a babysitter.
This past year I’ve done most of my writing two mornings a week — Tuesdays and Thursdays for 4 hours. After I’ve finished and the babysitter has gone home, I put the kids down for an afternoon nap and crash too.
Join me again tomorrow for A Mother’s Writing Life Part 2: LINES.
October 30, 2012 3 Comments
Asking people of all faiths to pray has gotten big backlash in Winnipeg for their incoming chief of police.
My immediate thought when I heard the story: “Man, that was ballsy. He must seriously believe in something to back that up.”
Talking with the Americans in our office this morning, they expressed that public statements of faith like this are expected, even demanded, by US citizens. Expressions of faith can become ‘thin’ – untrustworthy. Here in Canada they are shunned.
So, in a way, I am grateful. Because when someone is this ballsy in Canada, I trust them.
October 28, 2012 No Comments