This past Sunday, MM and I came across a definition of "abundant life" in an essay of Dallas Willard, who described this kind of life as what we lose as a result of nondiscipleship:

The abundant life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10):
- Abiding peace
- A life penetrated throughout by love
- Faith that sees everything in the light of God's overriding governance for good
- Hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances
- Power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil

MM and I want that kind of life. We feel like life needs to be more than drudgery and taxes and buying lots of stuff. We want a life of beauty, truth, love, and adventure. And we suspect that we will find those things in uncommon, perhaps unglamorous, places.


Last night we stuffed our little house with 24 people and almost as many pumpkins.

It was loud!

Filled to the brim with shrieking children playing tag in the kitchen; chattering adults cutting, carving, scooping, and creating pumpkin masterpieces in the living room; and quieter folks laughing and swapping stories on the front porch. The scent of popcorn, spiced cider, and caramel sauce wafted out the door to mingle with the crisp October night air, a mix of trees and moonlight and fireplace smoke. Cheery jack o'lanterns grinned down the steps as new neighbors and old friends mingled, taking photos of their creations.

This morning we awoke, tired and sore, to a house bearing the marks of a really good time: pumpkin guts stuck to the card table, kitchen counters piled with dirty dishes, and a brotherly note left in plastic letters on the fridge: "Max is stinky!" (Oh, poor Max.)

The whole thing cost about $30 to put on.

What abundance!

i don't think i ever posted this...

Its from a while ago. From before MM and I were married, which wasn't really that long ago, but sometimes feels like it with how much has happened in such a short amount of time. Anyway, an old post:


Its been a busy few months. MM and I continue to bond and grow in love and faith and strength as we learn to know one another. This past weekend, bathed in the sunshine and birdsong of a spring afternoon, we finished two of our pre-engagement books. We've been working on them for months, so we feel like this is a big accomplishment.

For such small books, these sure packed a wallop! We've had hundreds of hours of deep discussion on a range of topics: What are your passions? What are your top five fears? What experiences have you had with pornography? How much debt have you encured? How do you like to be treated when you are sick? What are your thoughts on pre-nuptual agreements? Describe the jobs you've had...

This has been an amazing process of discovery, and we are so glad we did this. We feel like this gives us a really good foundation for our relationship. But we're also glad to finish these intense questions. We're looking forward to more sunshine and birdsong. A bit of sabbath rest after all our hard work.

Last night, instead of watching the movie we'd planned on, we lay on my couch watching the moon pass through the patch of sky observable through my window. Beautiful and peaceful, it made me feel calm and at rest. A rare feeling for me.

This is what matters. The moon making its way across the night sky. The one I love in my arms. A stretch of time with nothing to do but BE. Time set aside - sanctified - for rest. Deadlines. To-do lists. Schedules. Emails. All those belong to kronos time. This is kairos. Time infused with meaning and purpose. This moment is about feeling small and loved in this big, ancient world. This magnificent universe filled with moons and stars and quasars. This moment is about wonder and delight in the magic of a moonlit night.

Lovely. Sabbath.


the land of the living

As Wesley said, "life is pain."

Oh how well I know that! I have had 20+ years of physical and emotional pain that have threatened to do me in more times than I can say. Not many people know this about me, because for a variety of reasons I have needed to just suck it up and deal. There wasn't time/space to express all that pain with others.

Over the years, I made time privately to grieve and rail against it all, and did what I could to heal. And I knew that to keep from despair, I had to find ways to affirm goodness. Like Sam in the movie The Two Towers, I need to affirm, "that there is goodness in the world. And its worth fighting for." Or like the Psalmist, who says he would have lost heart if he had not believed, "that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

For the last few years I've been fairly wallowing in pain (back, hip, shoulders, thumbs - my freaking thumbs hurt now? Seriously? Gah! - , jaw... soul...) so its been doubly important for me to seek out goodness and light. To name it out loud.

Along with the daybook and friday fave five entries that I post here, I keep a gratitude list in my journal. My journal is where I pour out a lot of the pain I'm working through, so its important that I write down goodness there. I use sparkly pens to write blessings in the header of each page, a glittering thread of beauty amidst all the yuck and blerg.

The other evening I sat on my porch and the streetlight caught some of the glittery ink. It had been a hard day near the end of two hard weeks. The sparkles reminded me that in the midst of much pain there is still good, albeit in simple ways and small spaces.

I sat for awhile staring at the sparkles and listening to crickets and the neighbor's water fountain. Breathe. Notice. The scent of cool water on dusty sidewalks. The deep prussian blue evening sky. The warm light from the window. The sway of this rocking chair. The slink of that cat. The love and safety in your husband' heart.

There is good in this world. In the land of the living.


things that are making me happy today

1. Catalog Living - oh how this blog makes me laugh. Such a simple idea, and so funny.

2. My pencils. I am purging my extensive collection of office supplies and only keeping the stuff that makes me super happy. I have a fun batch of pencils - bright colors, fun designs, momentos of various events ("Vote for a Float," "Women's Retreat"), and the remnants of 2 bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils given to me with love.

3. My new notebook. Oh, the shoes! So cute. And chick. It makes me smile every time I open it to check my calendar, write another task on my giant task list, or jot down meeting notes.

4. Our home office. We moved the desks around, got a ginormous Billy Bookcase, and have started to sort, file, organize, and settle in. We still have a lot of work to do, but it is nice to know where my colored pencils and glue sticks are.

5. Working next to MM all day. Its just so much cheerfuller with him around. :) He whistles and sings and laughs at stuff all day long. One time he burst out with, "oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Macarena!" For no reason. Just felt like saying it.


fake friday fave five - with furniture and food

Lots of goodness this week. Here are five:

1 Our bed got moved! Oh, I am beside myself. I keep going in there just to look at it! We have a ridiculously ginormous bed and an old house with small rooms and plugs and air vents in weird locations, so arranging furniture is tough. When the store delivered the bed, we told them to set it up against the only wall in the bedroom with no windows. Bad idea. It has been a nightmare to get in and out of and to make. Plus, if either of us drops anything on the side squished up against the wall, we have to go spelunking to retrieve it. Lame.

Also, our bedroom closet is too small do accommodate my usual preference of closet shelves instead of dressers. After a bunch of measuring and calculating and research, I decided that we needed to move the bed, and get two small dressers to use as night stands on either side. Solves the awkward bed problem, the nightstand problem (they don't really make nightstands tall enough for our ridiculously ginormous bed), and the closet problem. Yay!

2 Three work from home days! Normally, I like going in to the office to work. Its good to be around the team, etc., But the office set up for this gig is less than ideal. One giant room. No cubicles, so our desks are jammed together ala The Office. ("It is a fitness orb.") And there isn't a separate room for conferences and meetings. Loud. And it's freezing cold! Gah! I hate being cold! Makes me not want to work. Makes me want to curl up with a blanket and a warm cup of cocoa and a book. That's not conducive to productivity.

So, I worked from home three days this week, and got to be comfy and warm and eat snacks and visit with MM, who also worked from home. He was in the office. I was in the dining room. We could meet in the kitchen for lunch and snacks. It was awesome, and I cranked out a lot of work! Offices of the world take note: cold is the opposite of good.

3 Broadway! Last night was the first show of the new series. A guaranteed monthly date with my dear friend with dinner and a show is, as the commercial says, priceless. We had a yummy dinner and a good, newsy, girlie chat. And the show was good! (We've had some profound disappointments before - Starlight Express.) It blessed my socks off to enjoy good food, good art, and good conversation with my good friend.

4 House Church! Our little house church took a hiatus when MM and I got engaged. We're very small, and there's no way MM and I could go every week with only 11 weeks to plan the wedding and honeymoon and find a house and move. (I still get tired, just thinking about it. We rock, man!) Anyway. We started meeting again in September to figure out what we want to do during this next season. This last week we actually got to do a trial run of our new format, and it was good to just be in those rhythms again. I'm really looking forward to this next year of worship and growth and connection.

5 Enchiladas! MM and I made enchiladas this week for dinner. I hadn't made them in a loooong time. (My last house didn't have an oven.) And MM had never made them. We both lurve enchiladas, so this was tasty and awesome, and fun cuz we did it together. Now, our cooking styles are quite different. MM is some kind of top chef - excited, loud, stressed, experimental, and brilliant. His food is art! (He wants to do Italian/Mexican fusion enchiladas next time.) I am Rachel Ray - chill, cheery, and basic. My food tastes good, but it is basically "dump things in a pan and heat it up." (Not that Rachel Ray is "dump things in a pan", but she's always saying, "I'm a cook, not a chef." That's how I feel.) Bottom line: way fun to cook with my husband. Also, yummo!