Surprise! your turn to talk

A rhubarb custard pie new-baked, because my friend Ellen said, “I’m going to get some rhubarb while it’s fresh and pretty. A dollar fifty a pound. Want to come along?”

Yum. Are you a rhubarb kind of person? Sit down and have a slice.

So now I am fresh out of Short Things to say, for the time being, and – did you know I was going to say this?

It is your turn.

I can’t help feeling like some of you have Things to say, but you are not sure you want to say them. Some of you have never commented before, and some have at one point but feel more shy now, and some don’t even know where to start.

You can start right here, telling me a Little Thing about you.

Every once in a while on this blog, we get into a strange holding pattern of inertia, and we have to start speaking out again to break ourselves from the habit of Who Talks (I love you guys) and Who Doesn’t (I love you too) (at least I think I would if I knew you).

I know you’re at a disadvantage – It’s not your space and you don’t know who’s listening and you don’t get to add a photo to do part of your talking for you. Also, maybe you feel tongue-tied with all you want to say, and does it really fit here? Or you know me in real life, and you hate joining the crowd like a stranger – Do you know that you matter most? Or maybe you feel like an intruder because you don’t really know me, and you wonder if you belong here – Would it help if I tell you that outliers are my favorite people, next to my best homies? And that all of us are outliers, somewhere?

I can feel you hovering on the outskirts, words on the tip of your tongue. It’s strangely unsettling, feeling your presence but being unable to see you. It’s harder for me to talk, too, when I don’t know who you are.

The wonderful thing is that I can feel my curiosity about you coming back. For a long time I was just drowning in my own goo, watching the vultures circling, and that’s no fun.

The Things in your head are worth saying, even though you worry they are not. As Milne says in The House at Pooh Corner: “When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

Truly. Let it be a Little Thing. Let yourself be seen for a moment.

Would you like if I told you I’d answer your comment? Sometimes I do that, though it’s a little hard. I think I can do it this time. It’s a more friendly meeting place when we’re both talking.

Here are some questions for you, to get you thinking. Just pick one, or make up your own.

  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What are three things you can see right now, that tell me something about you?
  • What is a fun activity you did recently?
  • Who do you love most?
  • What did you cook today?
  • Have you changed your mind lately? Was it worth it?
  • What are you worried about?
  • What’s the last photo you took with your phone?
  • Is there a crazy story you have to share?
  • What have you been wishing to ask me or tell me? I’m here.

This is only a Short Thought, not a Public Presentation, okay? No stress allowed. The first one’s always the hardest; after that it’s clover.

And if you’ve been here a long time and said a lot, you’re good too, to speak or to listen. I’m glad you’re here.

If I get five comments on this post, my star rating as a decent salesman will plummet considerably, but I think I can handle it. If I get fifty, I’ll host a giveaway. How’s that?

I’m here.


Update, May 10: Okay, I’m done listening now. Lol. Just kidding – I am still listening, but no promises to respond to any further comments. I am finally caught up!!!! Yay for me! And thank you all for talking!

One more update, May 12: Comments are closed. My OCD got out of control and I HAD to keep replying. 🙂

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2 years ago

As Milne says in The House at Pooh Corner: “When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” It’s funny I just read that recently and absolutely loved it too ???? I love books. We recently moved, and I realized once again that it doesn’t quite feel like home until the books are on the shelf. They’re such friendly things.
I enjoy your blogs. You have a beautiful way with words. I do better with the reading than the writing of words so I’m a silent follower most of the time ????

2 years ago

I loved your list of questions…. Some answers would be too personal for this space and some too long, so I will answer the safe question, “what was the last picture you took on your phone?”????

The last photo on my phone is a screenshot from a video call with my oldest daughter who is living in Greece serving with I58 for three months. I miss her like crazy. She’s my best friend, my right arm, and my biggest source of encouragement. I feel her loss deeply when she’s gone from home. She’s been gone six months out of the last year doing mission work.

Becky Martin
2 years ago
As a decent self respecting woman I will advertise my blog at this time????
And I will say that I love yours and I hear you about drowning in one’s own goo and Lord Jesus how long!!
And you don’t really want to see the last photo I took with my phone.
I mean, really.

2 years ago

Good morning, Sheri, Here are three things I see right now that show something about me.
1. A pink and green bouquet my sister received for her birthday and passed on to us because she went on vacation.
2. my planner open to this week with a pencil on top.
3. my morning cup of tea.

Esther Miller
2 years ago

I’m a silent follower ???? I really enjoy your blogs, Sheri.
Something fun I’ve done recently is planting seeds! Planting digging in the dirt is calming therapy for me! My onions and garlic are growing ???? the peas and potatoes aren’t up yet hopefully they didn’t drown! Radishes are coming and the lettce.
Does it work to say I made cinnamon rolls yesterday that we had for breakfast today ????
I’d have a lot of questions for you! But only one on one.

2 years ago

I want to be known for being kind and interested in people.

Right now I can see my baby and seven-year-old playing on the floor, my morning coffee, and many small messes that need to be tackled today.

I love your beautiful way with words.

Tabitha Schmidt
2 years ago

Wow! I actually read this post before a week went by, which tells you something about me right there.
The last photo on my phone is of a quote from one of the books I’m reading right now (The Late Scholar, a Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane story by Jill Paton Walsh). The quote is “‘All the world is mad, save thee and me,’ said Peter, ‘and even thee’s a bit odd.'” Delicious!
I got to meet you at your book signing in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago. That was cool.
A fun activity I’m looking forward to is going away with my husband for the weekend. It’s in honor of our 20th anniversary, which was in April, and it’s rather surreal to realize we’ve been married that long.
I’m looking forward to reading others’ comments!
Have a wonderful weekend!

2 years ago

I see a train passing on the opposite track, my trusty tennis shoes, and my very practical brown bag.

Rose Brubacher
2 years ago
  • What do you want to be known for?

I want to be known as a loving, caring person. Encouragement from others can brighten a dreary day!

I love reading your blog! And even more, I enjoyed the few times we were able to talk in person!

Crystal y
2 years ago

I want to be known as the friend, sister, wife, daughter, Mom, stranger – who stayed even when things got hard and messy. Someone who believes in a person even when they don’t believe in themselves. Someone so full of Jesus there’s no room to be filled with myself.

I’m a silent follower, but I’m here because I love your writing and your honesty ❤️

2 years ago

I love your blog by the way. That’s not what you asked though:) Yesterday I took new bubbles outside with my careful 5 year old and carefree 3 year old. And we blew bubbles. And our new puppy named Butterscotch ran and smashed those bubbles happily. That was fun. End of story. My baby is crying on my lap…

2 years ago

I want to be known for loving well and freely.

I’m worried that I will get buried in the little things that must get done – housework, for instance – and forget to lift my eyes to see the things that truly matter.

I heard you speak at REACH,and I’m still pondering it. Thank you.

2 years ago

Hi Sheri!
I only stumbled onto your blog in the last year or so, and subscribed for two reasons: #1- your words REASONATED with me! Ive been jealous at your bravado to speak things that are true, but are hidden deep in my heart because I’m scared to be so honest! #2 – we live only about an hour north of you and so you seem like home folk…virtually.????
The main focal point for my week has been sewing a dress for my daughter for her school program. The fabric is great; the fit is not. It agitates my perfectionistic tendencies to see a dress with character flaws….anyway, this is one area I changed my mind on: changed from “this pattern gotta be adjusted!” to “its gonna be ok….the program is Fri eve!” Has it been worth it? Im still trying to convince myself it was.
I don’t want to be known as someone bogged down with small things of insignifigance…. But sometimes its the insignificants that bog me down and keep me from doing the things that matter…like patience with my family, and being the hands and feet of Jesus in my home, neighborhood, and church!
Blessings to y’all….

2 years ago

I’m pregnant with twins, and hoping they keep growing appropriately so they can stay inside me a few weeks longer. Also, today is my birthday and yesterday my husband blessed me by spending the afternoon/evening with me – yard saling, shoe shopping, taking me out for supper. ???? It was lovely! ????

2 years ago
Reply to  Marlese

Happy birthday Marlese! ????????????

2 years ago
Reply to  Marlese

Heavenly Father, please bring these twins at exactly the right time and not a moment too soon. Nourish them and care for them as only you can. And hold Marlese in your arms as she waits.

Esther Mae
2 years ago

I see a fresh bouquet of lilacs (love the beauty and smell), the cookie jar with cookies made for the Wednesday night meal when 2 single fellas joined us for dinner. Also shared them with daughter’s family who are enjoying a week and half old baby girl after 3 boys (the youngest being 14 months old). Then there’s the computer in front of me ready to order birth kits for 2 clients due to have babies in the next month. I love sewing quilts and just got away from the sewing machine sorting some patches for the next row. I love being busy! (usually)

2 years ago

You might not want to see the last picture I took with my phone if you’re squeamish! It is a pic of the foot of my 5 yr old who was riding his bike barefooted last evening with his toes wrapped down over the pedal “like Curious George does”.. Unfortunately his foot scraped n he is now missing several patches of skin n 1 toe nail, tho it was still dangling there connected at the 1 corner! He thinks there must’ve been a little hill right in the middle of the driveway where he was biking, n that next time we move to a new house (no plans!) we should check out the driveway before we buy it!

Sheila Rudolph
2 years ago

Good morning! Three things I see right now is my 18 month old snuggled on my lap, my 3 and 5 year old emptying the dishwasher, and my house looking like a “before cleaning” Friday morning!
A fun thing my children and I did this week was go to a greenhouse and get some beautiful blooms and put them in dirt (that was more like mud) and loved every minute of it!
Your blog is one of my favorites…. even though I am a silent follower!

2 years ago

What did I cook today? It’s 8:43 AM, so not much yet. I spread cream cheese on a bagel for one child, and then hastily packed a lunch of a peanut butter and honey sandwich, several mandarins, a cheese stick, and chips. After taking her to school I heated up oatmeal, bacon, and rice and beans for the rest of us (in separate containers, of course). Breakfast was well-received by one child, but not the other. It’s okay. I think we have enough calories and love to move on to the rest of our day.

2 years ago

Another silent reader that enjoys keeping up with your posts. ????
The most recent photo on my phone is a picture of the most adorable 8 month old riding on his Daddy’s back. We made the delightful discovery that the Horseshoe Trail goes within half a mile of our house, so we bought a better carrier for our baby and have been having so much fun exploring.

Emily Yoder
2 years ago

I want to be known for kindness and compassion. One who lends a listening ear and a caring heart. Three things I can see are sweet potato plants that we’re growing for our garden, gluten free dark chocolate oatmeal cookies, so delicious! And glass dishes from my mother-in-law, she’s going through her stuff and downsizing since Dad died a year ago.

2 years ago

I wish I could be known for knowing how reach people’s hearts and having empathy. But I’m afraid I’m more known for being dramatic and impulsive. Sigh.
I read your book and loved it. Never have I seen words that expressed my heart so much. Now I know I am a real human. Thanks.

2 years ago

Sheri, love your posts , love gut honesty, loved your book and hated it because the hard didn’t stop ????. I love reading , ! I love music , love to write but only in my journal where no one ever sees it. The most funnest ????thing I did this week was call a friend last minute, go to a greenhouse together and go to tomatoe pie cafe for lunch . Btw I love hanging out with friends too .

2 years ago

Who do you love the most? As a grandmother I have been blessed to live enough years to see them! So outside my husband and children I am blessed to love my grandchildren. My own mother’s life was cut short due to a vehicle accident, so she never saw any of her grandchildren! Maybe that is why i consider it such a privilege! Besides praying for them I love to shower them with good books to read. My goal is to write a short note to all of them each month.
I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.III John 1:4

2 years ago
Reply to  Lois

My mama had cancer and prayed she would live long enough to meet her first grandchild. Her request was granted but she passed at the age of 44.
I had an accident that very easily could have been the End, so I, too, am very grateful the abundance of Life and grands!!

And that is one of my favorites verses too!!! ????

Esther Mae
2 years ago
Reply to  Lois

So grateful to know our children and grandchildren walk in truth. As grandmother I’d find it hard to write a note every month to all 47 of them! ????

2 years ago

I just recently finished your book Peanut Butter & Dragon Wings and it’s definitely become a new favorite. Absolutely loved how relatable, honest, encouraging, and humorous it is! Thanks!
On a personal note, my husband and I are leaving for our 1st anniversary trip to RI today. We love to travel.

2 years ago

The last picture I took on my phone was a (awful looking but special anyway) selfie with my 15 year old brother last night. It was such a beautiful evening and it was one of those rare times when I actually had time to go on a bike ride. My bro actually stopped in the middle of mowing the yard to go with me, so that was really special.

2 years ago

What are three things I see right now?
My firstborn son, 15, tall, and handsome bringing me a cup of coffee!
A trashcan in need of help. (!!!)
My trusty little fan, keeping my hormones cooled. Ha Ha!
Does that tell you anything about me? 😉
And, Oh, I love your blog! 🙂

2 years ago

My craziest story would be the story of my life, but sharing that would no longer be a Short Thought…it would quickly turn into a Public Presentation!
Who I love the most?… Jesus first, and then all the people that live with me! My hubby, and eight children, five of whom we just got finalization on their adoption paperwork two days ago. God is so good!
I’ve been a silent follower, but I love hearing from you, so I’ll return the favor.

2 years ago

I am a silent reader of your blog, but I devour your words, and I loved “Peanut Butter and Dragon Wings”
The last photo on my phone was taken last evening. It is of my youngest daughter, with a mile wide grin, and her big sister at a gym. Due to a change in custody schedule, I was able to finally take her to watch her hero sister play volleyball. There are a lot of layers of emotion in this photo, and I do not take it for granted… this unexpected gift in the midst of the hard.

L. M.
2 years ago

Good morning, Sherri! I also am one of those quiet followers..☺️ I’ve often felt we could share a cup of coffee (or tea) and talk for hours! The honesty of your experiences has made my heart ache, yet also gave me courage that we don’t walk alone..By Gods grace, I want to be known as a lady that chose truth, and was tender and courageous.. I want that my life reflects Jesus in such a way that others have courage to press on in their own journey.

2 years ago

Shari where do I start?
I’m Vicky, wife & mom to three littles ranging 9 – 3.
My world started to change when I read your book. I was in a bad place mentally & spiritually. I immediately booked myself into the El Roi retreat to hear you speak in person (I live in northern Alberta so it would be quite the treck, but worth it.)
The Lord had other plans, at the time I was suffering intense morning sickness. I ended up canceling.
Fast forward a few weeks & my morning sickness seemed in our earthly minds for nothing. We lost our precious baby at 15 weeks.
Since then I have grown in ways one can only imagine. I have been amazed at how such immense pain can come hand in hand with such great peace. Gods grace has been immeasurable!
So I guess I felt lead to comment, to maybe be of some encouragement to the hurting out there.
God truly has purpose for your pain & it will all be worth it. Just don’t give up….. just when you think it’s the worst it can be, it can get worse yet! But in the process you may be amazed at what beautiful work God is doing in you!
Bless you all!

2 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

Oh, Vicky, I’m so, so sorry. I felt so much empathy for you in the middle of your morning sickness, when you cancelled your retreat registration. Now my heart breaks so much to hear of your loss. God hold you close.????????

2 years ago

I see:
-My newborn feeding in my arms
-Calla lillies growing on the windowsill, waiting for warmer weather
-Clean, folded laundry on the island

You know I love your words and this place on the internet. ????

2 years ago

I want to be known as gracious and wise but I struggle to be real/honest sometimes because I want to be liked and don’t want to come across as being judgemental or a know-it-all.
My baby is pulling my hair and picking my nose and babbling because I’m not nursing him to sleep. I guess he gave up on screaming for now. My last picture is of him because he was 11 months yesterday.

2 years ago

I can’t make up my mind what to
I see an issue of Daughters of Promise magazine which is part of my TBR( to be read) pile of other issues of DoP magazines and books. I see an empty coffee cup that needs refilling. I see the I outside wishing it would snow again.

I wish we could meet in person for coffee or tea.????

I want to be known for loving the Lord and being kind.

I was only going to answer one question but changed my mind. I think it was worth it .????

Now I’m going to fill that empty coffee cup now.

Rebekah B
2 years ago

I just recently discovered your blog while reading your book and feel like you are a kindred spirit, Shari. ???? I wish I could invite you to my house in Thailand for a cup of my favorite Thai tea and get to know you in person.

Three things I see as I sit on my little balcony:
-a torrential tropical downpour
-palm leaves glistening with raindrops in the light of street lamps
-a mosquito buzzing by my face

Last edited 2 years ago by Rebekah B
2 years ago

A fun thing I did recently:
walked into an airport Starbucks and spent $8+ on an iced coffee and a slice of lemon loaf—a deliciously impractical and out of character thing for this penny pinching lady to do!=)
Also, I loved your reference to Pooh. The Bear of Little Brain is just so relatable!

2 years ago

This post was too good to read and remain silent. The last photo on my phone is a collage of random book stacks and shelves for today’s photo challenge #can’t live without. . . I just rocked my fussy baby to sleep, am expecting my school children home for lunch because !hooray! it’s the last day of school and the closing program is tonight plus my oldest son is graduating so we have family staying overnight. This was a delightful little fresh breeze in my morning.

2 years ago

3 Things I see

  • A rock painted & gifted to me from my nephew.
  • A little drying bundle of sagebrush from last Sunday’s adventures. It still smells amazing when I lift it to my nose. That smell & juniper berries takes me straight back to my childhood, the best time of my life.
  • My empty coffee mug reminding me to stop procrastinating and go get some work done. ????

Your bravery with words blesses my life – even though I am mostly a silent reader, so you might not know it. ????

2 years ago

My favorite line from this post was watching the vultures circling. You may not have meant it to be funny but I laughed because that is so accurate in real life some times.

Something fun I did lately was take my one year old to market for fruit, and donuts and of course soft pretzel sandwiches. Last year this time it felt like the little fussy baby stage would last forever (I knew it wouldn’t).

I want to be remembered for being a good listener and caring deeply about other people. And for laughing a lot.

And I didn’t cook this today but I made fish tacos last night that were so delicious I couldn’t believe I made them.

Shirley Martin
2 years ago

I do want you to hit 50 comments so here goes…
This morning I made caramel french toast and it was a success for both the egg and the pancake lovers.
I enjoy your blog. Thankyou for sharing in this way.

2 years ago

Okay. So honestly I don’t talk 1. I don’t want to be a cheesy Christian. 2. I am dubious of salesmen. I don’t like the feeling of being conned into some crazy theory that “Awww— You’re so sweet.” When my insides stink.

Palm trees are swaying, my grading books rest the table, Grandpa (the ebony one) just hobbled past.

2 years ago

From a silent follower…Today I made a strawberry milkshake for my son. He had his wisdom teeth taken our yest.
I love reading your words, they express what’s inside my heart, but cannot say it in so nice of words!
Thanks for sharing your heart.

2 years ago

I had to smile as I read this post. On my own blog, I too feel empty of words at times. And at all times love the comments. 🙂

I love how you’re so relatable, Shari. Does my heart good!

2 years ago

My last picture was taken just hours ago of some airline food. I feel like North American airlines could take some lessons from South American airlines. My husband and I are currently ‘laying over ‘ in Panama on our way home from Bolivia.

Vivian T
2 years ago

I would much rather be doing a creative project than cleaning my house. That’s a thing about me.
And a thing I want to share that nobody asked for is an Idea for moms and teachers. We have a little tin with about 30 cards which have “categories” written on them. E.g., Bible person, tree, color, something to wear, country, fruit, object in this room, mammal, body of water, etc. Sometimes we go through the alphabet, drawing a card for the next letter, or use them for speech practice (think of a word with this sound). Recently it came in handy for focusing on things we could be thankful for.
Greetings from the PNW where it’s pouring rain today.

Vivian T
2 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

Wow, so many things that don’t enter my head to pray for! Guess I need more practice. 🙂
Thanks for schlogging through the comments. When I saw you had actually started replying to everyone, I made a point to come back and see what you said to me. 😀
Blessings for your busy week and big events.

2 years ago

Something I have been pondering lately (due to a podcast I listen to) is how we limit ourselves by our thought patterns. And how we accept a diagnosis as a label and it becomes our identity. I want to embrace my season of life and its challenges instead of wearing it as a label.

Anna St.
2 years ago

Reading in one of the Peters recently (II, I think?), a verse that stood out to me was the one that commands us to have fervent charity, because charity covers a multitude of sins. Not just charity, but fervent. And to start thinking about my reactions and thoughts – ouch. I would that God could be glorified by the fervent charity He would give me the grace to have.

2 years ago
Reply to  Anna St.

That “charity covers a multitude of sins” brings up so many questions. I do love it!

2 years ago

………And yet another silent reader as of last fall. ???? Earlier this year I finished reading your blog all the way from the beginning. Thank you for your words.
The last picture on my phone is of the evening sky from last nights walk. Walking is where I turn to get out of my “goo” when the vultures are circling.
After the first comment it’s clover?!?!? ????

2 years ago

After reading through the comments, this silent reader is wondering if you recently changed the spelling of your name. ???? A nod to my stickler-ism.

Martha F
2 years ago

I’ve been a silent listener for a few years. But enjoying your honesty with real life.
My favorite place is in the kitchen cooking for family & friends. Yesterday for supper I made a Mexican meal with home-cooked tortillas.

2 years ago

Very new to this blog… I’m not so good at writing but love reading and enjoy your blog very much.
Didn’t cook much today other than grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch but I do love to cook.

As far as “projects” … we moved to another state about 4 months ago and are currently living in a small rental until we build a house on our new property. So we are trying to make a new place feel like home and also preparing for Baby # 5’s arrival in approximately a week and a half.

And I’m drooling over the rhubarb dessert and wondering where I could find rhubarb. ????

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