Confession: On my schedule for this evening is this task – BLOG.
Come on. Write something. Produce, Shari.
I wish writing were something I could package up fit into neat chunks. Most times, I am decent at this – accessing the muse when the clock says go. I always have a few ideas simmering. These days, between pushing a book deadline hard, journaling, and staying current with my healing workbooks and people, I am fresh out.
So here is a chat fest, a few of the things I am doing and thinking at 8:00 pm on a Tuesday evening.
Beside me on the couch sits a child in an upside-down angle we might call somewhat unconventional, reciting antique words at high volumes. “What’s that?” I ask. “The Preamble of the Constitution. I memorized it in third grade,” she informs me. (She’s now in fifth.) She’s at the part “…Ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense… and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…” I basically have no idea, but it sounds good to me. She says she is doing it because I told her to rattle her brain out before I hear her Bible memory again – Romans chapter 12 entire.
Upstairs, an eighth grader is playing with a preschooler, on requirement for fifteen minutes while we practice. Ryan and Aarick are at the fire station for training.
Near me is snoozing the most adorable puppy. We decided we love raising dogs, and we added another female Shih Tzu to our collection. (Total of two, nothing too grand yet – and it will probably be a good year and a half before we breed this one.) She’s a cutie. She has an adorable habit of hanging the tip of her tongue out of her mouth, and her name is Chelsea. Meanwhile, Skye is expecting another litter of puppies, due within two weeks. We can’t wait to meet them. She’s like a barrel. Any pictures I take of her look slightly obscene. So here’s Chelsea again.
I’m pretending I’m listening to Romans again but I’m actually typing. “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit…”
A week or two ago, I got an email with the subject line “Title for your book.” I had trouble breathing until I could get to reading it. My publisher gets final say on title and cover image, and I had some understandable angst about this. But guess what they picked. Peanut Butter and Dragon Wings: a mother’s search for grace.
Oh MY. I told you guys parts of that story long ago, and incorporated it into my book as chapter ten of twelve. It’s my favorite chapter at the moment, to be honest, and the folks at Herald Press haven’t even read it yet. They like that title because it is vivid, and because it holds “the everyday tasks of caring for children” set against “the luminously beautiful moments that sometimes appear in the midst of the everyday.” Isn’t that gorgeous? They asked, “What do you think? Can you live with that?” and I said YES.
I really like the subtitle they created. Better still, they are listening to what I am trying to do, and I love that about them.
It’s a strange thing, but writing has given me new perspective on a few of our stories that didn’t make sense at the time. I’ve had to go back and write them over with new knowledge. And over. I wonder if all stories are like that.
Only two more weeks before turning in the manuscript for editing. I’m almost done with Lap 1, and I’m grateful. Last week, when I was working here on the porch, Jenny came to see me and fell asleep in my arms while I wrote.
Now Chelsea is sacked out on Jenny’s muslin blanket. Jenny will be five at Christmas, but she loves that blanket. If she were my first child, I would have put a stop to it long ago. She is usually required to leave it at home or in our vehicle, although occasionally I forget and she sneaks it into church on a particularly emotional morning. I cannot tell if I am becoming a better or a worse mother, but both I imagine.
I made biscuits and sausage gravy for supper, only Regan baked the biscuits that I prepared ahead, and Aarick fried the sausage, because I was late getting home from talking with my mentor. It’s been a hard month, with old secrets and new fears. My body is tired and I muscle my way through my tasks, and then nap, or sit on the couch with Jesus on the days I can’t get started working. It’s not a bad way to live, but it takes energy.
Lots of emotion going on. The things that should make me a little bit angry scratch open all the anger and make me livid. Not violent livid but silent calm livid, which is worse in some ways. The things that should make me a little bit stressed crack open all the stress and I bite my skin and run the same circles over and over and over on the tracks in my mind. The things that could make me worry just a bit start edging themselves near to straight-up panic.
But today I powered through outdoor work, a huge chunk of it I was determined to get done. I’ve been pushing off tasks for days and maybe weeks. Painting the puppy bed. Cleaning the garden. Doing a quick trim-and-weed on four flower beds. I repotted a magnificent mum from my friend, and planted spring bulbs I picked up in Holmes County, hyacinths and purple-mix tulips. That feels good.
I came away from talking with my mentor with new hope. I don’t know if you realize this, but there are no irredeemable things in Christ. Did you know that? I forget and need reminding from time to time. His blood is able to make foul things clean, cheap things precious, broken things whole. Bless his name.
My preschooler is snuggling her blanket and leaning into me. “Crackers and milk, mom, how ‘bout that? How ‘bout that?”
Alright then. Bedtime snack for kiddos, and after they are in bed, the luxury of a silent hour of darkness, with tea.
I hope you had a good day. Did you?