The moon looks extra radiant tonight. When I was grabbing the computer just now, I saw moonlight reflecting off of our neighbors house through the window above our mantle. I went to our office/craft room/studio/sunroom/we haven't settled on the perfect name for this space yet to get a better view. I'm glad I did.

Cora came up to me during "quiet time" while I was in the middle of reading some of the speeches given at the Republican National Convention (I believe I was in the middle of Paul Ryan's), and confidently said, "I'm going to marry Tyler." Tyler is a cute boy with red hair at school.

"Oh really?" I asked. "Why's that?"

Shrugging her shoulders with a sweet smile she said, "I don't know. And I might marry Blake, but I'm not sure."

"Do you think one of them is cuter?" I realize now that this is a silly question to ask a four-year-old.

"No. What do you think?"

"Well, I like Tyler's red hair and Blake's eyes."

"So I should marry someone with beautiful eyes and red hair?" I couldn't help but let out a laugh with this one.

"That part doesn't matter too much. Who do you like to talk to the most?"

"They mostly just talk to each other."

We went on for a while longer. Cora's future husband has yet to be determined. It was such a fun conversation. Hopefully this comfort in talking about boys will continue throughout the years. Later, when we were eating dinner, she also mentioned the girl she would marry. I like finding out who her favorite friends are by who she would marry. And I like that there's someone with red hair in the running. If I can't have redheaded babies of my own, maybe someday I'll have redheaded grandchildren. There's still hope!

Sweet Memory

I was looking through some pictures when I saw this one. Everything about it made me smile. We laughed and laughed at the headband. Cora was three weeks old wearing one of two little preemie outfits that were my favorites. They were so soft and cute. This one had little puppies on it. She was swaddled, but only half-way, she didn't like when we would swaddle her arms but loved having the rest of her body wrapped up tightly in a blanket. 

We're sitting on the couch we got as a "YAY we graduated from college" present to ourselves. Cora's spit-up pretty much destroyed the upholstery. Oh the sacrifices. And in the background my Saint Anthony jug-o-water and Sue Monk Kidd's The Mermaid Chair are sitting next to the rocking chair where I would nurse Cora. You can also see the soft glow of the night light. I would wake up every three hours, on the dot, to a little face nuzzling up next to me. We'd make our way out to the chair in the living room where the epic feeding would begin. It took me a week to read The Mermaid Chair by night light during those nightly feedings. Sure, it was great when we no longer needed the assistance of a shield for mealtimes, and I could feed her in bed and get a lot more sleep. But those three-and-a-half months of getting up with her in the earliest hours of the morning and going to our special spot for her forty-five minute long meals were so precious. My heart is [extra] overflowing with love her tonight.  

I dream of Dot.

This evening, I have been taking my time strolling around Dot. More specifically, her kitchen. I think I've finally plotted out the perfect plan. We have several plans for her, all based on the budget we may have/dream we have. Tonight it was the dream one, and it was perfect. The one minor glitch is that it would involve taking out a window, which might get sticky with the historic preservation guidelines for our neighborhood. But it's down the road. Image inspiration via pinterest:

 This kitchen has been my idea of perfection for quite some time. It's efficient, simple, and I love everything about it.

 I saw this one today, and I love the whole blog post with its images. The house has the same feel as Dot with all of its light. Our kitchen is nowhere near this size, but I LOVE all of the open shelving and how wonderfully all of the rooms flow together.

 I saw this on a friend's blog a few days ago, and then again tonight when I was looking for ideas. I like how compact and useful this is. We don't have a solid wall to run cabinets/counter along in our kitchen like this one because the door to our laundry room is right in the middle (so if this was ours, there would be a doorway from the dishwasher to half the cabinet under the sink), but seeing how compact everything is while still being completely open pushed me over the edge to knowing that a wall should come down between our kitchen and dining room. And while I'm sure Dot's cabinets will be white Shaker style, I have this thing for grey right now.

I'm drawn to this one for the lines of the cabinets as well as the open shelving and glass front cabinets.

Subway tile and white marble...sigh. I've given up my dream of white marble because I feel like it's impractical in a kitchen that will be a workhorse. I like the peninsula.

I've also been staring down our laundry room. I painted it yellow many months ago, but I don't like it. I thought it would grow on me. Honestly, I just ignore it now, but I'm going to paint it white. It's so beautiful and clean. We're eventually going to get a new washer and dryer (a dryer that doesn't burn our clothes!) and stack them and build some cabinetry in our laundry room as a pantry, but for now, this little picture feels inspiring to the space. Maybe one day, we'll even have a tankless water heater.
We wouldn't have drawers underneath because of the future stacking plan, but I love the curtains and what would be a great counter space, you know, for folding.

And lastly, the girls' room is complete in my mind, it's just a matter of actually getting everything to make it a reality. I found an awesome mid century dresser for their room that needs to be refinished. I've thought about painting it, stripping and staining it, everything. I was pretty much set on a super glossy red, and then I read the transformation of another mid century dresser that had been stripped at stained.
The pictures speak for themselves. If the potential is there, I want the after.

Creativity, dreams, and regret.

 My friend Jennifer posted this quote yesterday, and it has been on my mind.
The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death.  
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the desire to create, create, create -- so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off...  
They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.   
Pearl S. Buck
I've gone back and forth between proudly singing Jewel's I'm sensitive, and I'd like to stay that way, and praying that I would be less sensitive. It's a funny line to walk. Right now, Pearl's quote and this quote are holding hands in my brain.


Last night I had a dream that the husband of a cousin-of-a-cousin was killed in a car accident over night. One of the causes: too much sweet tea. I don't know either. But it left me unsettled. Some of my dreams have turned out to be premonitions. One of the craziest was in 2005. We were sleeping in one of the dorms on the campus of Graceland University for the Community of Christ's large annual youth event called Spec[tacular]. I dreamt that an Air France plane was flying slow and low in a grey sky over deep green field. Suddenly, the nose turned toward the ground and it crashed. I told Jake about it when we woke up. A few days later, an Air France plane ran off the runway and burst into flames in Toronto. All of the passengers survived. Phew.

My dreams had some down time for a while, I think because I was super sleep deprived for so long after Magnolia, but they've been much more vivid, and I'm remembering them more often lately. I've missed them. But not the kind I had last night, but I haven't heard any terrible news, so I'm going to try and forget the whole DUI of sweet tea dream. He was also driving an old school red Taurus station wagon. I don't think they made the color of red I saw for that model of wagon. I'm knocking down this dream's credibility.


I had a great run today, but I'm never taking my girls to the child watch at the Downtown YMCA again. We don't usually go to that location (because I wasn't impressed with CW the one time I took my girls before), but I missed my run yesterday because I was going to go visit someone, and our normal Y doesn't have child watch on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I just couldn't believe one of the workers and her account of an interaction she had with Magnolia (Cora was at school). How is it that so many people who have no idea about children end up working with them? I was so close to saying something I'm sure I would have regretted, even though I sort of regret not saying anything. The worker wouldn't have been the right person to say it to anyway. I apologized to Magnolia for taking her there as soon as we were in the hallway. It was a good reminder that I should always follow my gut.        

(to remind myself)

A friend recently asked if I'd read any of Wendell Berry's work. I hadn't, so Jake picked up a few books from the library on our way to Arizona. We've been going through his poetry collections. One poem, among many, that's been on my mind is one about his craft.

How to Be a Poet 
(to remind myself) 
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill - more of each
than you have - inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your work,
doubt their judgement. 
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places. 
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came. 
I love the description of words coming out of silence like prayers. We all have the ability to hear those words, and they can be the inspiration for action in many different ways. Wendell Berry brings them together to form poetry. I could just as easily think of this poem as "How to Receive Inspiration" or maybe "How to Grow." Many of the words that come to us are lost because we're not listening, or too distracted by other things to give them meaning in our lives.

We "reconnected" our internet at home because it's easier for Jake to grade and communicate with his students. He doesn't have typical "office hours" as he goes straight from class to accompanying, so to avoid spending extra hours away from home, he can take care of part of that here. With that said, my three-ish weeks of no internet at my disposal was great. With the exception of wanting to be able to check my email daily, everything else was better than I imagined. I checked out books from the library....and I started reading them. Crazy. I'm a few chapters into a calculus book even. Spending my time the way I imagined it could be spent made me realize that's really how I want to live my life: "three-dimensioned [...] away from screens." It's a struggle, certainly, but I've seen the light. ;)  


While admiring the baby chimpanzees at the zoo today, one of the adult chimps came toward the window with a piece of green poop in his mouth. It was hanging there just as casually as a lollipop. When he was right in front, he grabbed it and started eating it like a pickle. He sat enjoying each bite, pausing a moment to lick his fingers. I diverted my eyes.

As he turned to make his way back to where he’d come from, he flashed the coconuts hanging in his ballsack, and I suddenly heard his voice in my head.
I have freakin’ coconut balls and eat poop pickles – What now? ß [with a head dipping shoulder shrug]  

Float my boat

After a great trip to my homeland, Arizona, we made the trek back to Oklahoma. We stopped at Cadillac Ranch, just west of Amarillo. Half-buried cars. I'm still processing how cool this is. The girls were sleeping. Jake went out to take pictures while I watched. When he got back, he said one of the floatiest things to my boat:
You're the Cadillac Ranch to my barren landscape. 

Giving it up, sort of.

We did this crazy thing today. After talking about it for a few days, and thinking about it for several months, we called and cancelled our internet service at home. It's effective tomorrow. It's a good thing we're leaving for Arizona early in the morning. Ease into it.

I'm not giving up the internet entirely. It's useful. It's big. I enjoy it. But I use it way too much. I find myself planning my life on it much more than living it. I remember when I went through the phase of thinking in facebook status updates a few years ago. I was mortified. This website and one of its features was so inside my head that most of my thoughts consisted of clever little lines having to do with whatever I was doing. It was a good jolt.

My girls are on-line a lot. It's easy. For them and me. I plug away right along with them. I want them to be in the real world. Not the one on a screen. I want that for me too. I want to be in other people's presence more. I want to share in their company more. Face time. Not over a screen (though I love screen face time with people far away).

I know that being on-line is just as normal as normal can be nowadays. And I'm not against it, but something about it isn't working for me. One of my favorite things to do is just sit and think. More and more, instead of just sitting and thinking, if I have a spare moment, I'm looking something up. I'm getting bored more often, unable to be alone with my own thoughts because my thoughts are so often dictated by what I'm looking up.
I have everything
and something is always missing
I am fulfilled and never content
I am interested and bored out of my mind 
I've tried to limit time on my own, and I do all right for a while, and then I find myself in the same situation again. When I was running yesterday, I thought about how I ran when I was younger because I was good at it. Now, something about running has to do with this quest to figure out why I stop running before I'm tired. Why I can't talk myself into keeping with it. Pushing myself the extra little mile, especially when there's no real point to my exertion other than just doing it. This no internet at home thing will be a lesson in self-mastery. And since this is week one of half-marathon training, maybe I'll come out with all kinds of new insight about myself. New insight, and new ways of living that go along with it.

So for the next three months (the trial period we've given ourselves), I will be planning deliberate trips to the library and other places with free wi-fi. My internet browsing will have a purpose and a time constraint. My biggest fear was not having my blog at hand all the time (and being able to drop an email to friends whenever I want). I love blogging. I blogged before there was blogging. I would write down various theories and thoughts and email them to everyone in my contact list - back when I was SpRChiC85. I even had an old aol website called "Watch Out World, SpRChiC's comin' to get ya." I can write whenever - wherever, and post it during my deliberate on-line time. What I'm most looking forward to, besides special sacred think time, is not telling my girls "Just a second" when I'm looking at things that aren't even important. I don't want to miss out on them for things that don't matter. And that has been happening way too much.


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