Friday, March 23, 2012

friday fancy

I'm not sure how many of you all wear TOMS Shoes. It's a great cause. You buy a shoe and they give a shoe to child who needs 'em. They're pretty comfortable too. I was gifted a burlap pair last year to take on my trip to Cambodia (which you can read about by visiting the "elsewhere" tab at the top of the page). They were the only shoes I wore my entire time overseas. Seriously. 

The trouble is, and any of you who wear the classic TOMS know this, is that if you wear them hard enough or long enough, the fabric will begin to fray. And soon your little piggies will start to poke out the front. The thing is, except for the holes at the toe, the shoes still have plenty more wear. I suppose we could all start walking around with our big toes exposed, or we can find a fix. 

Ashley over at came up with a little tutorial for a custom repair. Her blog is worth a read for all sorts of creative inspiration. Photography. Crafting. DIY shoe fixes. And last night I finally used her tutorial to fix my sad looking TOMS. 

I didn't get a before picture for you all, but this was the quick shot a took with my phone on the way to work this morning. I'm not sure that I'm in love with the fabric I chose, but I figure it's an easy change if I decide to go with another color or print. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

i run

I am a runner. I admit it's been awhile since I last put sole to pavement. But I still identify as a runner even when I've taken a few months off. (I've woken up to snow and ice the last two mornings in this mountain town. Can you blame me for taking the winter off?)

I don’t remember when I first started running. I was in 7th grade when I first joined a team. My brother ran cross country and I wanted to be like him. My parents had a rule for junior high aged children: participation in a sport was required every season. So it was natural for me to join the cross country team after spending so much time watching my brother run.

I don’t remember a lot about that year. I don’t know what my times were. I don’t remember my first practice. I don’t even remember everyone on the team.

I do remember the candy bars and notes of encouragement Mrs. Anderson would leave in each of our lockers on race day. They always corresponded to the race. Like Rocky Road on a particularly hilly and muddy course. I do remember the one time I came in dead last (who forgets something like that?). But mostly, I remember the piece of paper Mama gave me to slip in my shoe for my first race.

It was just a slip of white paper. Like a fortune found in a cookie. But it didn’t contain advice or promises of good luck. Printed on this paper were the words of Isaiah 40:31.

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I don’t think it made me run any faster that day. But I’ve had the verse memorized ever since, and it comes to mind at just the right moments. The moments when I know I’m not strong. The moments when I’m simply tired-out. The moments when I can’t see what’s up ahead and I’m not sure I want to keep headed in that direction. The moments when I need hope.

Has someone ever given you words of encouragement that have stuck with you in tough times? 

Monday, March 19, 2012

of lying faces and operatives

I’m a terrible liar. Along with his looks, I inherited something from my dad that we call the “lying face.” Really truly. We call him out on it all the time.

“Not so, Dad! You’ve got your lying face on. I can tell,” we chide him. Typically over something highly inconsequential.  Often something he is teasing us about.

He’s convinced he doesn’t have a lying face. But he does. It’s something in the way his eyebrows raise and his mouth curls. 

I don’t look in the mirror when I try to tell a fib, so I’m not sure what my lying face looks like. I just know I’m not very convincing when I try to weasel out of something or attempt to evade the truth. I’m just not a very good actress. My true feelings are like a neon sign flashing across my face.

Now, I kind of like spy shows. The trouble is after I watch them, I often wake up from dreams in which I’m speaking languages I don’t know, in countries I’ve never imagined traveling to, while eluding big burly captors to complete my mission. It makes for a restless night of sleep to be sure.

My only conclusion is somewhere in the recesses of my imagination I must have a desire to conquer my lying face and inability to act and become a covert agent.

Are you one of those people who remember your dreams? Do you think they reveal anything about your hidden desires? Or are they just a result of eating the wrong thing for dinner?  (Liverwurst and buttermilk anyone?)

Friday, March 16, 2012

friday fancy: chasing rainbows

In preparation for St. Patty's Day, I've got my green on and Irish Pub music playing. 

Friends have been posting photos of rainbows all week. Although it's been raining and I've heard there's been at least one rainbow gracing the skies of this mountain, I haven't seen one yet. (I do have some poor cellphone pics of a rainbow I saw a year ago.)

When I was growing up, I lived in a farm town. Whenever we'd see a rainbow, Mama would load us kids up in the minivan (if we weren't already strapped in) and we'd go chase the leprechauns. Seriously. We wound our way through wheat fields and kept our eyes on the end of the rainbow. Mama said we might see leprechauns. At the end of the rainbow, she promised a pot of gold. But in all the times we chased it, we never did find the end of the rainbow. 

How do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

breaking free of isolation

I used to live in a big city, or just outside it. It often took 30 minutes to drive 3 miles (for comparison’s sake, let me point out that I can run that far in less time). I lived with two girls who I rarely saw. And even though the apartment complex I lived in was full of people, I didn’t know a single neighbor’s name.

I’d ride the train system into the heart of the city and not say a word to anyone. No, “Hi. Have a nice day.”  No, “What’s your name?” It wasn’t just me. People road the train with their headphones on or their noses in books. They walked with their heads down or gaze averted. They strode with purpose always rushing off to the next thing. And I soon learned that same behavior. Don’t smile. Don’t make eye contact. Mind your own business.

I was surrounded by thousands of people from all sorts of diverse backgrounds, but I had never felt so alone and I grew tired of that isolated life. I was ready for a change of pace when I moved to the mountain town where I live now. 

This town offered a place where I could walk to work in 10 minutes. A place where I might not only learn the names of my neighbors, but visit with them about life and family over a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

The funny thing is, even though I interact with far fewer people on a daily basis and I don’t have roommates splitting my rent, I feel less alone than I did amidst all those people. It’s not an easy thing to break out of isolation. It takes work. It requires intention. But it can be learned.

Just as I once learned to walk with my head down, I now have learned to smile at passersby. To strike up a conversation with a stranger. To seek out people when I’d otherwise be alone.

I came across an Oswald Chambers quote today that says to beware of isolation or you will become an oddity, “Something utterly unlike what God wants you to be.”

Are you living an isolated life? What do you do to combat it? 

Monday, March 12, 2012

a silence of mockingbirds

Calling all book clubs and readers out there. If you didn't know, my mama writes books. Yes, some people say writing is in my blood. The good news is, Mama's new book, is available and being shipped. It also was recently selected to be the Baton Rouge community read book. 
If your book clubs is looking for a new read, or you're looking for a book to curl up with during these last few stubborn weeks of winter, check out A Silence of Mockingbirds

Karen Zacharias files a crime story readers won't put down and will never forget. A SILENCE OF MOCKINGBIRDS will open eyes, raise voices, and save lives. - Winston Groom, New York Times Bestselling author

If you're worried the book will be sad or hard to read, let me remind you of Flannery O'Conner's words: "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." 

Maintenance Note: I understand some people were having trouble leaving comments. I've updated the format, and hope that it simplifies the process.  Do let me know if there are still issues with this. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

friday fancy

When I was in junior high, the other kids used to say that I sounded like an "old lady." I'm not 100% sure what they meant by that. I used big words? I spoke in a proper fashion? My voice was shaky? At the time, I admit I was more prone to say, "Oh dear," when startled or upset rather than something more salty. Honestly, though, I don't know what it means to talk like an old lady. But I apparently I did. 

This week I was again accused of being an "old lady." Why? I went to a quilter's guild for the first time. And it was pretty inspiring. 

I'm kind of a learn by trial and error type of person. I'll generally teach myself something before I take a class or ask for help. Sewing isn't something I've been doing long. And while I am generally a rule follower, I have a hard time following directions when it comes to cooking and sewing. I tend to guesstimate and "wing it" (a lot). 

I am working on a project that I can't share yet. But I was inspired by all the unique and different quilts in progress. I was many times more productive at the quilter's guild, then I typically am at home. Plus I was surrounded by people who know oh so much more than I do. When I ran into a problem, I simply had to turn to my neighbor for help. 

Photo by Kayla at Central Oregon Modern Quilter's Guild
I had to crop it to hide my project. No peeking!

Who or what have you been inspired by this week? Do you have any creative projects in the works? 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

tough ladies

I come from a long line of strong women.

Women like Grandma Shelby. Widowed at 28, she was left to care for and raise three young children. She went back to school to get her GED and eventually her nursing degree. For as long as I can remember she worked as a prison nurse. She’s a tough, tough lady.
Grandma Shelby and me

Women like Grandma Gwen who took two children into the jungles of Ecuador with her husband to minister to the native tribes. Then welcomed another son into this world while in country. She’s the one who could be found on Sunday morning’s alongside her minister husband playing music or singing, teaching Sunday school or cooking meals.

Then there’s my own mama. I remember falling asleep to the clicking of her keyboard many nights, then waking up the next morning to the same sound. She uses her talents to speak out for those who can’t. To speak out against issues like child abuse.

I’ve had an easy life thanks to these women who worked hard to make a better life for their children. I’ve had opportunities so many young girls don’t. I was encouraged to go to school and to pursue my own dreams.

Maybe it’s because I know how they struggled to create this life for me. Maybe it’s because I know not every girl gets the chances I got. Maybe that’s why I care so much about women’s rights. Maybe the reason the girls at Transitions Global mean so much to me is that I know every girl ought to have the chance I got. Every girl deserves to be protected.  To feel safe. To have a chance to pursue her dreams.

Today is International Women’s Day. Who are the women who have shaped your life? Who have encouraged you to pursue your dreams and passions? 

And check out some other strong women I know doing important things at Someone's Child.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

gut pains: justice conference 2012

My close friend from my college days was a non-traditional student who came back to school when her girls were teenagers. She worked, she went to class, she raised her daughters, she cooked dinner for her husband, and took her poodles for long walks. And if that wasn’t enough, she was also the editor of the school newspaper.

Our friendship didn’t happen instantly. I remember the first class we took together. I was 20, and she sat on the other side of the room and always got the answers right. I didn’t have near as many responsibilities as she did, and still she had better grades. Being in the same class hit a competitive nerve. As much as she challenged me, she also inspired me. Gradually, we got to know each other and she opened my eyes to issues that at 20 and 22, I wasn’t even considering. Issues of child abuse and neglect and food insecurity.

Food was a big thing for her. She was always feeding people. She worried that I didn’t eat proper meals and skipped breakfast too often. She brought nutrition bars that I didn’t like but tried to eat anyway. She talked of swapping eggplants over fence lines with neighbors. She passed along recipes for granola and broccoli casserole. And on our walks, she’d point out where she’d plant a community garden if she owned the land and could.  

As I sat at the Justice Conference the other week and listened to Max Finberg the director for the USDA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships talk about the hunger issues students in America face, I thought about my friend and her passion for the hungry.

According to the USDA millions of American households face food insecurity each year. And children who receive free or reduced lunch during the school year, often go hungry on weekends and school vacations. Have you walked into a grocery store lately and noticed all the choices? Not only can we in America choose to buy apples, we get our choice of a dozen varieties.  Not to mention organic. Or maybe you’ve noticed your grocery budget has increased. Have you thought how the rise in prices have affected those already struggling to make ends meet?

At the Justice Conference, Walter Brueggemann said that the Greek for the word “compassion” indicates an emotional upheaval in the gut—to get upset. Stephan Bauman, President and CEO of World Relief, said that seeing injustice in the world should “call us to a collective scream.” And when your passion is awakened, Bauman said, “Don’t be a slacktivist.” Get deep into it. Choose one thing and do it.

Rick McKinley, pastor of Imago Dei Community in Portland, also spoke at the conference, and said that it is up to each one of us to cry out against the injustice in our own communities.

My friend has a passion for the hungry. She concerns herself with those whose gut pain comes from going to bed without dinner.  Where is your passion? What are you going to do to about it? 

Monday, March 5, 2012

a series of random events

I don't know about you, but my weekend consisted of a series of random and unexpected events, including cars, boxing and animal sightings. It was a glorious weekend of sunshine and laughter. Head on over to Mama's blog to read all about it.  

Friday, March 2, 2012

friday fancy

As an artist of sorts, I'm always looking for inspiration. Looking for the unique ways others express themselves. And I just have to tell you, I live among some pretty creative people. 

I'm not a fan of cold weather, and yet, I live in the mountains. Winter has been kind this year, but the snow came back. And it was that very snow that gave me a chance to sit back and admire someone else's artistic flare. 

I live in a pretty rad neighborhood. Just take a look at what my neighbors did with the snow: 

Crazy creative, am I right? I couldn't sculpt a clay pot if I tried. (Trust me, I have. It looked like a half-flattened, pockmarked, moon rock dyed pea green. Complete fail.) It certainly would never occur to me to create a masterpiece out of snow

What has struck your fancy this week? Have you seen anything inspiring? 

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Welcome to Want of Writers!

Where did the name come from? Boethius. A philosopher who once wrote: "Now, how many, most famous while they lived, are altogether forgotten for want of writers." He was addressing the issue of fame and goes on to add that stories often die with their author. But I happen to be a storyteller. While I have no aspirations of fame, I go on writing stories in the hope that a few won't be completely forgotten.

This is a place for telling stories. A place for sharing. For living. It's my hope that you'll feel at home here. That we'll be able to swap stories and inspire each other. 

Grab a hot (or cold) beverage, curl up in your favorite chair (like SheldonCooper I’ve already claimed my corner of the couch), and join the conversation.  

(I'm still making a few changes around here after a couple of starts and stops in the land of blog. Please bear with me as I figure it all out.)