1. Thank you and 2. Continue please

I feel silly continuing our conversation this week, when my days are jampacked with community and family events – Mother’s Day, piano recital, field events, end of school, high school graduation for my firstborn. I will write about some of those things soon, and right now I am busy living them. But if I don’t share the following comments soon, they will become obsolete – and I wanted to say thank you.

(And drive home an important point. Brace yourself.)

Thank you for talking to me.

Was I right or what?
You were there,
words on the tip of your tongue,
not checked out or bored but crowded around waiting.
I could feel you.

(And in answer to your question, yes – I did regret
saying I’d answer you all.
You can see that I can’t do that all the time, can’t you?
But it was fun too,
talking together.)

I am not as brave as you think I am.
I’ve told you that before.
(If I were really brave, I’d share a follow up post
with questions
for all the people too stubborn to comment on the last post,
people who rolled their eyes at commenting when asked to.
Oh yes, I can see you too.
I like the stubborn and snarky ones,
in moderation.)

But about bravery:
Put yourself in my shoes for just a moment.
How can I write to a people I can’t see?
I cannot connect to a crowd (much less a faceless crowd),
only to individuals,
which is what you are.

I know it’s vulnerable to speak up.
Believe me, I know
how vulnerable it is to speak up.
But, or rather and so,
if you want me to keep writing, this has to be
a two way street,
more chat room than soliloquy
or I dry right up.
I can’t help it.

So thank you for being brave.
I loved that when you talked, you also started talking to each other,
with a prayer and love and empathy and reassurance.
My favorite things.

You don’t have to speak out in this particular space,
don’t have to show your heart to Shari –
because I’m just one woman writing; this place one spot in thousands.
But if you want connection, you have to show that heart somewhere.
(Preferably IRL, you know? but online is good too sometimes.)
if you want me to share mine in this space,
you should trade me a little bit
from time to time.
And yes, I mean you. Not her or them. You.
Will you do that for me?
I hope you already are, in many beautiful places.

Thank you.


Fun giveaway coming up soon.

If there’s something you’d like to hear me talk about soon, share it here… ???? even though I’m really bad at following up on suggestions like this. But maybe you will spark my interest. For myself, I’m perfectly happy continuing to write about chickens and TP.

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Shank Heidi
2 years ago

High school graduation? I had no idea your boy was that old – and I’ve been reading your blog for years. So what are his post-graduation plans? You must share!

2 years ago

Hey Shari…
Do you have an email address you’d share? If you do, I’d forward a piece I jotted down a few years back…

2 years ago

Shari – yes I’ve been a mostly silent reader. Thankfully the Lord still gives you the grace to write to us silent ones. “I am not as brave as you think I am”… Oh how true. Those who know me IRL may need to know that, but neither am I brave enough to show them the weak side. Thank you for articulating hard things. I am fighting bitterness – and by God’s grace Jesus will bring beauty through this current trial- and your blog helps soften my scabbed heart.
Thank you, so much. Keep up the fight, sister.

KC George
2 years ago
Reply to  Julia

Julia, your words are my own. Thank you for sharing them. I love that… Shari’s “blog helps soften my scabbed heart.”

2 years ago

What about the ones of us who were neither too stubborn or too bashful, just too snowed under the children and dishes and laundry at moment? Anyway, they’re outside (children, that is) and I’ll only say that when I am old, I hope I will have found the secret to living a balanced life.

2 years ago
Reply to  Claudia

Smiling and nodding over here….although if I’m really honest it’s that I stress too much over finding the right words (yes, even for a short comment!) And then it got to the point that I felt bad for adding another comment for Shari to have to reply to….

2 years ago
Reply to  Deborah

Me too! I’m finally sitting down feeding my 4 month old baby while the other 2 are in bed. When I’m on the phone and my 3yr old has said my name 5 times before it sinks in, I feel like I have my priorities mixed up…no excuses, just saying….
Having said that, I hear what you’re saying, Shari. I don’t blog, but if I would, I’m pretty sure I’d be the same.

Natalia Showalter
2 years ago
Reply to  Deborah

Well. Sis and ‘sister’-Grinning and nodding here too…snowed under with end of school responsibilities and deadlines (as my laptop sets patiently in front of me, while I stress over the right words and think that Shari Zook could ‘whip this out’ in 20 minutes). The laundry churns, the garden waits, sort of, and a sweet thoughtful friend and mom to one of my students blessed me with bountiful riches for supper! I am feeling so uplifted an undeserving.
I have occasionally commented, your honesty inspires me, and I have read the ‘Corn People’ to my students.
FYI- the Greenbrier River and trail in WV is a wonderful, off-the-beaten- path vacation spot.

2 years ago

Your admonitions here are taken to heart. Thank you. One sided conversations are so not fun. Your week sounds busy and happy in an exhausting kind of way. Bless you.

2 years ago

Yes. I’m a silent reader over here too. We all could list excuses, right?! But if we kept everything to ourselves, we’d be these shriveled up people. My oldest keeps me very busy and needs lots of time with Mommy that some days I feel I don’t have time to sit and think. But I’m thankful for the many sweet God moments through out my day. God knows what we need. I think it’s so easy to become wrapped up in our own world and we need to think less of self and encourage others. Thanks for encouraging us through your writings, Shari. God bless you all!

2 years ago

You’ll be pleased to know, I’m sure, that what got me this time was just being so tickled to see you call me snarky out loud???? And you weren’t wrong, there’s a touch of it there. Also, snowed under applies, and stressing over finding the right words. I love that you tied this to real life, because that’s where I want to live and part of what holds me back from engaging on line much. I don’t want to find a false identity there and my real-life people are SO important to me. But I also value what I learn here and places like this, so I try to control the snarky????
Part of me would like to tell you where to place me in real life, and part of me is too shy. I have commented before, but I can’t remember what I said, so I don’t expect you to either.
I do appreciate and relate to your words, here and in your book. Blessings!

2 years ago

I am a mom, pastor’s wife, enjoy dabbling in photography, shy (not always quiet because I babble to cover up my awkwardness) in crowds, one on one kind of person! Your blog encourages me, makes me cry, makes me laugh, blesses my day, and I hope you keep writing .. even if it is about TP ????

Sylvia Horst
2 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

Give me one on one any day!

2 years ago

You could ask all readers who live in foreign countries to write a comment. Maybe there will be topics to write about.
There are so many differences between cultures. How do Christians live in different countries?
I’d also like to hear about raising teenagers. My oldest is 7 but time passes quickly.

2 years ago

The quieter ones,
We’re here all right
Hunched over the journal,
Crying at sad music,
Staring at the stars,
Feeling emotions so deeply
We might come out in China.
Our hearts are big with care
And we listen with intent eyes.
We reach out to touch
Beauty and each other.
We love life and living.
We don’t always have to be seen.
But today we peer out to say hi
And to thank you Shari
For calling our names.
It all means a lot.

BJ Nisly
2 years ago
Reply to  Dawn

“Feeling emotions so deeply We might come out in China.” Love it, I’m tucking that away for future use. 😀

Sylvia Horst
2 years ago
Reply to  Dawn

Love the “feeling emotions so deeply we might come out in China” phrase too!

2 years ago

Please continue to write, I enjoy it so! Im not sure what to write, but we too, are coming to the end of school. Dare I say that im kind of dreading it? I thrive on alone time and am more productive on my own… but, I’ll try to embrace it, and enjoy it and make happy memories!!

2 years ago

You can write about how to be honest with others. We can be tooooooooo pohlite and hurt relationships instead of build them. And how to recieve honesty.

Another idea is to get the widows to talk about what they miss about being married. And what they intentionally did that improved their marraige even if it was difficult to do.

For the older (coz the day i was born i was single) singles , get a discission on something they did that they don’t regret doing–be it an extended trip, an investment in people, or large project.

BJ Nisly
2 years ago

I can be stubborn and snarky, but I also plead my silence to busyness and not knowing what to write and as Dawn says in the comments:
Feeling emotions so deeply
We might come out in China”
On Sunday, when a dear young wife and mom asked me how I’m doing I asked her if she wants the answer to be shallow or if I should go a thousand feet deep? She promptly said she wants the deep answer, and she got it. In return I received wise words and encouragement and her prayers. I admire your ability to go a thousand feet deep (well, maybe 500? ;)) with a mostly silent group of readers.

Sylvia Horst
2 years ago
Reply to  BJ Nisly

What a treasure!

Mary Ann
2 years ago

I’ll be brave and step out to comment. It feels safer to read the blog, and then keep scrolling. Since I’m in my 70s and I’m a grandma my imagination tells me the younger ladies have so many wiser things to say than me. But I wrote a Budget letter (does anyone do that anymore?)for a number of years which is like a blog and I made friends through that. Knowing someone read my news was rewarding.
Shari your spring events bring memories of madly sewing three dresses for school programs and if the girls were lucky they might get a new dress for the picnic too, or the field trip. Oh yes, the boys needed to look presentable too for the program and the picnic. Were the Sunday pants long enough and were there jeans to wear that didn’t have holes? Gardening was squeezed in as weather and time allowed and if anyone mentioned spring cleaning I told myself I’ll spring clean next fall! Now my days are much slower and quieter which is enjoyable. But I don’t regret the time given to all those events.
It was good to meet you in Lancaster at the book signing. Keep writing!

2 years ago

Silent reader here too, basically because people IRL take up most of my time!???? But I do love reading other people’s thoughts and ideas. I often fancied that I might like to be a writer someday, but so far that is still “some day”. Anyway, thanks for using your talent in this place!

2 years ago

I had this ready to post on your previous post on Thursday but wanted my husband’s permission first and forgot to ask him. Then I was in bed sick for 2 days… enough of excuses.????
I laughed and cried while reading your book and numerous posts on here as well. Thank you for sharing your story on here, please keep writing!
The last picture I took with my phone is a picture of a quote and a bouquet of irises and bleeding hearts. The quote says “Spring a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be.” I think spring has been exceptionally beautiful this year. But then maybe I see it with renewed eyes after the hard we walked through last year and witnessing first hand the beauty of a changed life. My husband spent 9 mo. at Pure Life Ministries last year and while it was the hardest thing we ever did, the Lord used it to change us both. I can’t praise God enough! Don’t quit praying and crying out because God can change hearts!!!

2 years ago

Hi Shari! I am really late in responding, but not because I was against it. ???? I am one of those that has had some fast-paced life happening lately, and too, I tend to be sparse in my comments to someone I don’t know. But all the same, let me just say I’ve been impacted by your blog. Beautiful honest words. And fun stuff. Your book I read the 2nd time, right after the first time, which is something I have rarely done. Maybe I was just hungry for such honesty and courage from someone who’s been through alot, but who is still radiating beauty. Then just recently I was privileged to listen in on the podcast by Herald Press interviewing you. Here again, Shari, I was moved. Your feminine voice acknowledging how in the past you felt anger when you wrote out parts of your story but how you found that anger changing to compassion.. Thank you for modeling this kind of grace. I’d enjoy meeting you someday.
As for my life right now….I am a lead pastor’s wife, we have 7 children from age 22-8, and we’re in the process of renovating another house that we bought, and just last week put our present home (which we built 11 years ago) on the real estate market. So life is rolling with this crazy momentum lately. Mostly I’ve been loving the ride. But some days leave you kind of breathless. Inevitably there’s also days of pain and sadness, but I love that there’s Jesus and grace.
Keep up your way of impacting people, Shari. And thank you.

2 years ago

Boy, being accused of being stubborn and snarky. That’s enough to get the words flowing! ????
My excuse for silence comes in the form of super busy weeks and 5 beloved children and aging parents and the Best Husband.
I always love a quiet morning like this one to read a few blogs I love and post an occasional comment to keep the blogger blogging ????

Aimee Stauffer
2 years ago

I don’t feel like I have the time either, but I’m glad when you take time to write to us all!

I’d like to hear/see more about gardening and flowers from you . . .

2 years ago
Reply to  Aimee Stauffer

Yes, I was thinking gardening as well! (No more blueberries though, they make me too envious ????)
Another topic might be tips on time management and priorities.

2 years ago

Hey Shari! I have commented here before but tbh I wasn’t sure if you liked what I said! But now I realize you just didn’t have energy to reply to everyone. So let me repair my quiet streak and let you know I enjoy your writings. Too tired for further comments but they may come in the near future….

2 years ago
Reply to  Delphine

Hey I’m back after a long weekend of staying up to the wee hours of the morning. It was really wonderful and encouraging to spend time with my single friends. I love my married friends too so life is just a balance.
Isn’t the weather so beautiful right now? Just makes me think of summer vacations, sunsets over water, and camping among green trees! I hope you are blessed with many fun summer activities and energy to face them all.
You may pray for me as I have reached a point where my current cleaning jobs are getting old and I don’t know what to do if I stop them. It seems like someday it would be fine to try something new!

2 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

Hey don’t feel bad! I’m glad you weren’t disapproving of my words.???? take care!

Martina Charles
2 years ago

Hi! I stumbled across your blog from Kendra Martin’s recent email. And I’m already looking forward to reading more here. I met you at the book signing at Piccadilly tea house and your book is one of my new favorites. I also love your way with words and your beautiful openness. I hope that I can lead by this example as a pastor’s wife as well.
We recently moved into the town of Columbia PA and I feel like my world has finally slightly slowed down the crazy swirl since moving, but each new season here brings something new and interesting.
Blessings as you continue writing.. I will be coming back 🙂

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