July 2, 2023

life ponderings

I wrote a poem once, just after my mother died, that began with the line, “grief is a strangeness of being”. I have returned to that line time and time again since then. Because I’m deciding that life is actually a strangeness of being. Relationships, which make up the core of life I think, are such interesting, funny things. I reached this time of my life, the “middle age” part of life, and as I look back and I look forward and I try to decipher what it all means, who I am, and what God is doing…it all just feels strange and weird at times. :) I recently read an article where the gentlemen was speaking about this very thing, the strange bits of reaching 40 and how life is such a mix. Hitting the age where I can look back and recognize so many things I didn’t know back in my teen years and my twenties. Things where experience is the only teacher. Suffering and grief. My ideals of what I imagined life could be and how my desires could possibly play out…take marriage and children for example. On the one hand, those are beautiful gifts that some are given and are a wonderful treasure. A beautiful part of life that should be cultivated and prayed over. But along with those comes the also true reality that they are HARD. I have friends and acquaintances who are walking some really hard roads in those areas. Or take family life. Imagining I’d have my parents around to walk beside and help and ask questions…suddenly that’s no longer even a possibility… What does one do with that in our culture? It feels odd and “other”. 

I just got back from a week in northern Idaho, a state I’ve never visited before. (I did drive through a portion of the southern bit as a friend and I drove from Washington to Yellowstone a long many years ago, but that hardly counts as “visiting”.) It was beautiful! It truly is a beautiful area, with mountains and pine trees, a huge lake and big sky. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing that part of this great big country of ours. But I also faced the awkward, uncomfortable feelings of spending time in close proximity over the weekend part of my trip with people I’d either never met before or didn’t know very well. I don’t know that I’m absolutely a full on introvert, but I do have a great many tendencies that way. So facing the uncomfortable bits with no one I knew super well to fall back on and knew I could cling to of sorts and they would understand me…in crowds that can be a bit nerve-wracking to say the least. And I’d forgotten just how much walking through experiences in the midst of that uncomfortableness wears on me. How easy it is to doubt myself when I’m there. How easy to fall back on old, bad habits of assuming what I perceive as my weak points seem even more glaring and obvious to others. Which means pride and a misunderstanding of who God created me to be come to the forefront and can overtake my thought life. Ah, but now with a bit of time and a sweet conversation with a friend who simply “gets” me and loves every bit of me that she’s been witness to (and goodness has she witnessed a lot through the years! :), I’m seeing the trip and myself a bit more clearly.

Why is it all the things God works in and through us seem to dissipate when we’re landing face first in the midst of whatever thing makes us uncomfortable? As I sit here in a coffee shop, happily sipping on a Mexican mocha and simply taking a bit of time to sit back and ponder life…to write something…anything really…this is my element. I treasure these moments of just being. Sitting in the midst of people, where I could interact if I choose…or not if I choose…instrumental music in my ears and my laptop open before me…words flowing (though who knows if these words makes sense to anyone but me)…this is one of my top happy places. And I forget that. I forget that I need to find ways to incorporate this kind of thing when I’m heading somewhere I’m going to be uncomfortable. To at least make time for it after the uncomfortable experience is over…so I can remind myself that the uncomfortable situation really, truly wasn’t as bad as the awkward that my brain lingers within. Much of the time that uncomfortable was super good for me, number one, and number two, it was likely much more enjoyable than I feel like it was…

Why is it so easy to get caught up in the negative feelings and forget all the good ones I’ve felt? Because that trip had SO many good ones. It’s just that the harder ones rise to the top of the pile of feelings so quickly and linger there…linger so long that I can almost forget there are good ones down underneath! Our enemy is far too good at what he does…but praise Jesus HE is greater. And He brings the friend conversation, or the time to journal, or whatever means He chooses to use to remind me that I am far from forgotten and that the truth of my feelings, the truth of what I’ve experienced, the good things He is doing, the good things He has already done, the transformation He is working inside me exists and is real and true!

I am the recipient of someone else’s choices, someone much younger and less mature. I am the inheritor of a previous generation’s foolishness—and also, the fool…I am both alive and dying at the same time, keenly aware of the end and lucid about what has been. Anne Lamott once wrote, “I am all the ages I’ve ever been.” Anyway I’m not sure if it’s possible to ever feel the age you are, when in fact, you are all of them.” – Jeff Goins

I feel that way, I especially felt that way in Idaho. Feeling the weird juxtaposition of who I am now and who I was in my teens and twenties, which I always carry with me, but was confronted with more fully as I saw people who I don’t really know but saw a lot at different points in my youth. Looking at people I remembered from back then, people I didn’t know then either but assumed a whole lot of incorrect things based on my limited perception of their actions and who their friends were. Recognizing how I have changed in the intervening years, having forgotten that they were doing the same outside of my sphere of seeing, and now viewing these same people from this perspective. Seeing different ones from the different eras of my life. Some who were completely new and I was seeing through the eyes of a forty-one year old. Some who I first viewed through teenage eyes and now trying to figure out who they are in this time and place (likely parts of who they’ve always been only I didn’t really know them then either). Some who were part of the intervening years between my teens and my forties, the twenties and early thirties that I spent growing up and figuring out who I thought I was…and now viewing them through the eyes of one who has since experienced suffering and grief which has changed and shaped who I am now and how that has shaped me and how it has changed my perception of them again…

I carry all my ages with me now. And as I learn to navigate the me of now, carrying all the me’s of before, allowing God’s continuing work to transform them all…my perception of others has changed. It’s that strangeness of being I talked about before. Recognizing my own strangeness of being right alongside of other people’s strangeness of being and learning to accept and love all of us, including myself. Growing more compassionate, more committed to prayer and lifting those I have contact with, even limited contact, up to the throne of grace. Becoming more aware on the daily that this one life we get is hard. Who we are in a human sense is always changing…yet who we are in the glorious eyes of our Heavenly Father never does! He has loved and is loving and will continue to love each and every single bit of all the me’s from then to now to eternity! And He draws me to love myself as He loves and from that place of acceptance and wonder to then love others with unselfish abandon. To see them through my ever changing eyes which rest on our unchanging God and allow both views to bring me to love and love and love, ever and always.

October 15, 2022


 Hello my lovelies,

If anyone is actually even still following along with this space. I've missed this blogging thing at times, at a lot of others, I haven't. Life has been such a journey in recent years and it culminated in my being unable to feel enthusiastic for blogging. And I don't know that's really changed. But today I felt inspired. And hopeful. So here I am. For the moment. 

My book reading habits have severely changed the past few years. Grief of losing both my mom and dad in the last 6 years, living overseas for 8 months, and processing through where God is leading and guiding...My life looks a lot different than when I first started this blog how many, many years ago! I'm still writing/journaling though. Still writing some poetry. So many this'll show up occasionally here, maybe not. I don't really know.

I guess this is all just to say hello. I hope anyone who ever followed along here enjoyed their time. I have been SO grateful for the friends I found through this adventure! I hope you're doing well, at least mostly. :) I hope life is giving you small moments and pockets of joy alongside all the crazy chaos that seems to happen a lot. And I hope beauty and wonder give you glimpses of hope!

til next time (I hope)

:: seeing ::

Sometimes a moment
a sparkle of light
a colorful window of joy
is all it takes to spark a whisper of delight inside my soul.
I smile as the sunshine breathes 
Happy and Welcome!
My brain is full of information...
the darkness and sadness of the world tugs at my heartstrings
the broken and weeping world just outside this door...
But also?
Just outside this door
this window
there is Wonder
and Awe
in the tiniest blooms of pink and purple
I see the imagination of my Father there...
I look across the street and...
there's a yellow door almost hidden in the bushes on either side
a blue house
a yellow door
the green of the bushes
the pink and purple blooms
Then I catch the barest glimpse of a father carrying his son
they slip down the alleyway just down from "my" door
a split second of time I see them
but just that merest moment...
breathes renewal to my eyes
There is such evil, yes
such awful, heartbrokenness
things on HE can handle and fix
and yet...
and yet...
and yet...
slowly He opens my eyes
to witness
to glory in
to breathe hope in my soul
there is yet Truth
and Beauty
and Joy
in the tiniest
quickest of moments
Never discount
the power of Beauty
of Home
of Wonder 
to breathe HIS glory
to prove HIS existence
even in moments I don't understand
HE is still and always
moving, working, changing, renewing
This world is singing His praise
and when He opens my eyes to See...
so am I

August 29, 2020

Emma. 2020


Hello, my lovelies! So yeah, I have finally watched the newest version of Emma. I actually first watched it several weeks ago and after a rewatch or three I decided I should really get my thoughts down in print. :)

So here's the deal. I was excited for a new Jane Austen adaptation, I really was! But I was a whole lot uncertain. As I've been pondering that uncertainty since, I've decided there were several things that played into it:
  • I read the book for the very first time only a couple years ago and while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it like I expected to. So I think my disappointment was affecting me even this long while later. (Incidentally, now that I've watched the film, I really want to reread the book!)
  • I tried watching both the Gwyneth Paltrow version and the Kate Beckinsale version years upon years ago and rather disliked them both. It wasn't until I saw the Romola Garai version that I fell in love with the story. And I haven't even watched that one for a couple years. So perhaps I was fearful of more disappointment...? Or maybe even that I might like this one better...? I don't know. (Side note: SO many of my reader friends LOVE the Paltrow version! I'm thinking I should really give it another chance as I can't even remember what it was that I didn't like about it...)
  • I LOVE Jonny Lee Miller's Mr. Knightley. So much so, I think I just didn't want to even imagine someone else in the role...
  • SO much talk about the bloody nose scene. And I will have more to say on that later, but all I heard about this scene before watching it simply put me off.
  • And lastly, I read and listened to a lot of reviews once the film officially came out. There was a mixed bag of thoughts. Some loved it, some hated it, some couldn't stand the bloody nose scene but liked everything else, some liked this or that part better or this over here was awful. Suffice it to say, I think I overdid it on reviews and just should've watched it for myself.
One weekend I decided it was now or never and bit the bullet. And what do you know but that I really loved it! All my silly worries and here I ended up really enjoying myself. :D I'm not sure it overtakes the Garai version as my very favorite, but it certainly stands tall right next to it!

What I loved:
  • The humor. This version is hilarious! I was not expecting to laugh quite so much. The Garai version is funny, but I think the length of it means that we get a mix of light and serious moments (as is appropriate!). This one has its serious moments to be sure, but there is simply a general feel of lightheartedness about it that I felt right from the beginning all the way through to the end.
  • Since I liked the humor, I ended up LOVING the bloody nose scene! Go figure, right? :D (I know, I laugh at myself. ;) Once I was into the flow of the story, by the time we get to that scene I figured out just what it was going for. As a reviewer I listened to stated it, in every other version that scene is played for romance. The great romantic moment, the climax so to speak. But in this one, the great romantic moment comes later, so this scene just flows hilariously onward and after numerous rewatches of it (yes, I rewound just that scene multiple times, I confess it) I still laugh at Emma's messy and real portrayal. As another reviewer stated, it showcases just how much of a mess she is and yet why we love her by this point of the story. And certainly why Knightley loves her because if he can deal with Emma and her dramatics, bloody nose and all, then he's truly in love! :D
  • The Emma and Harriet friendship. I confess to having struggles with all the different versions of actually liking Harriet all that much. But Mia Goth did an excellent job of walking the fine line between naive (rather than idiotic) and just simply being a good friend to Emma. One of the reviews I read said the focus of this one is really the love story between Emma and Harriet and I have to agree. It was beautifully played out between those two actresses.
  • Johnny Flynn as Mr. Knightley. I already admitted that I LOVED Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal, so I really wasn't expecting to love this new guy. But it worked. I'm pretty sure I love them both equally now. The way they each play their interactions with Emma herself and watching as they figure out they're in love with her...they each work perfectly in their particular versions. So I am happy to rewatch either and both again and again and again. :D
  • All the actors and actresses actually. I thought they all did a fantastic job with each of their characters. Not going too over the top, but yet keeping with the lighthearted and real feel of the story.
  • Okay, I also admit Bill Nighy as Mr. Woodhouse was fabulous! He was a lot more nimble than I usually picture Mr. Woodhouse but it worked. There are two scenes where I absolutely loved him the most: 
    • when Emma is crying right after the Box Hill scene and the tenderness and fatherly-ness of his clear desire to comfort her yet he awkwardly doesn't quite know how so he ends up simply sitting with her in her sorrow. SUCH a beautiful moment!
    • the big romantic scene at the end when he remarks about the "draft" and then totally sets up the moment for Emma and Knightley. :D His sly looks at the beginning of the scene just crack me up! He knows precisely what's going on, even if he pretends he doesn't.
  • The colors and the costumes! SO much color and glorious costumes! There are several of Emma's outfits that are just gorgeous.

What I could've done without:
  • The particular scene with Mr Knightley at the very beginning. Luckily, it is easily skip-over-able.
  • The awful relationship between Emma's sister and her husband. It did make for some funny moments, but I definitely prefer the way the Garai version portrayed them!
  • This isn't really a thing I wished for less of, I actually wish there were even more scenes with Ms Taylor/Mrs. Weston. The first scene between her and Emma is so sweet and then she's barely in the film from there on out. I get that there were likely time constraints and all sorts of things that played into that decision, but still. I wish she'd showed up a bit more. And Mr. Weston too!
So there you have it. I laugh at all my worries about what I imagined this version would be like. Because clearly I rather enjoyed myself overall based on the lengthiness of my thoughts! :D Now. I am off to do another rewatch. (My birthday was this past week, so I can still celebrate with Jane Awesomeness, right?? I agree completely! ;)


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