God Gave Me a Zeppelin Shirt.

I'm not very good at letting myself feel things when I should. At least that's how I reprimand and rationalize myself when the feelings just won't stay stuffed down. I'm hard on myself. I think we all are, in different, debilitating ways. We want to function. We want to fulfill expectations with a reality that will make us feel better about the things we just can't control.

We want to compartmentalize.

Relationships here.

Work there.

Emotions in the corner.

Insecurity somehow slips into each of those tightly bound spaces and unravels everything. The what ifs and the fears and the happy possibilities become tangled into a magnificent twist of confusion and worry.

We understand nothing.

We do nothing.

I do believe, in optimistic and maybe naive moments that we can work our way out of self destructive habits. I want to believe that each of us can learn to live in the moment and see outside of our selves. And I know, like a blind man feels with distinction a tree, a face, a hand of something he cannot see, that God is there, is present in my day-to-day guiding and protecting and providing for me. But I also feel the gravel, the steep hill and rushing currents as I work through the hard, unknowable, incomprehensible things. Each movement forward feels shaky and precarious. I don't like being unable to see the end of the road and I don't like not knowing how long it will or won't take to get there, wherever there is.

It's these thoughts that catch me when I'm alone and squelch my solitude, my peace. And so last night, there I was, alone in my thoughts, putting away dishes before friends came over for coffee and listening absent-mindedly to Led Zeppelin in the background, when my husband came up behind me to dance - a regular occurrence. He placed his hands on my hips and swayed to the bass beat and for a minute I let him, lost in the song and remembering how exactly we wound up here.

It was my love for Led Zeppelin that made me impulse-purchase a really rad t-shirt right before I went to college. And it was the t-shirt that made Matt notice me from across the classroom way back in the day [2005] when we were just two kids, trying to survive college and find someone whose music taste didn't make us vomit. And it was those early spring nights when we listened to vinyls and cassette tapes and talked about we had in common that made us realize: there's no one else that we'd rather rock out with than each other, forever and ever, I Do, amen…

And now here we are, adults, married, dealing with day-to-day life together and wondering, each of us, where we're headed and how to get there. And it's not always glamourous and he's not a famous rockstar [yet] and we're flat broke, and he sometimes comes home to find me weeping into a couch cushion or zoning out as I stand over a sink of dirty dishes, but we have each other and that's really good. Because I had no idea that buying a Zeppelin shirt would be the catalyst for changing my life and meeting my future husband. And whatever happens or doesn't happen - real or in our insecure imaginations - we have that opportunity to stop in the midst of it and see how far we've come. God provides, in surprising and subtle ways that we aren't capable of imagining or orchestrating on our own.

I need to stop, listen, dance in the now, where I'm safe and sound in what He's already given me.
I am not alone.

[Engagement photo taken by this talented dude.]



Today. It's just one of those when I wish with every fiber of me to do something - an impossible, unstoppable, heart-in-my-throat, no-turning-back thing that will express the breadth and depth of what I cannot say. I'd dye my hair pink, quit working, move to a foreign country and go sky diving in some breathtakingly beautiful place I've never been. Today I would go back to Interlaken, Switzerland and capitalize on the "adventure capital of the world" and go bungee-jumping, without a worry about safety or cents or holding down my lunch. I'm young, right? Let's do it now before I'm not.

Today I would swim in the ocean even though I'm terrified and not very good at it. I'd reach out and touch things I've never seen before and roll around in the waves just so I can feel out of control. Because I am. Everything is. I would do it all if I thought that it would expel the breath I'm holding. Today it is hard for me to breathe.



book·ish: Shakespearian Prints and Journals

A friend of mine is on a trip to the Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada and I am just mad with jealousy. I might feel better if only I could purchase these gorgeous Shakespearian journals and prints on Etsy.

He's such a stud. Swoon. 


1. (of a person or way of life) Devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests.
2. (of language or writing) Literary in style or allusion.
3. (of art and all manner of lovely things) devoted to the written word as a form of art and as a way of seeing the world.
4. (of SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com) anything of the aforementioned characteristics as they are found on the interwebs and reposted by Bethany, because bookish and writerly things always give reason for amusement.


Apocalypse Now, Baby.

Not really. Well, maybe.

Actually, let me just say,

1. I do believe a rapture and apocalypse will occur as it is written in Scripture.

2. I do believe in Jesus and believe that He came to give life in all its fullness, and that people who reject His love will be left behind in the event that He does return to earth.

But is He coming tomorrow, as fringe "believers" have predicted? Most likely not. God doesn't really adhere to human schedules or man-made mathematical schemes imposed on Scripture to calculate Jesus' return. And even if He did, would we be left behind simply because we disagreed on the day and the hour? No.

Even so, I find it fascinating to listen to radio hosts discuss what they would do with their last days on earth, and read about friends on Facebook planning a rapture party, and seeing tweets about what people would do if the world were to end tomorrow. What would we do if we knew the end was coming?

All week I've been meaning to write a post for you folks, but the words have been halting, at times snarky and depressed, and other times the words have flown freely into a form that I love, but that I think might best be reserved for a time when they aren't so stinging and sad. Have you ever struggled with that, friends? You write down a good story - a true story - and then realize that if anyone reads it, no matter how well written, it could cause more pain than it's worth?

I realize that many writers don't trouble themselves with this. After all, it's the truth. But deep within me, the part of me that is more than a writer, but a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a wife, a friend, knows that it does indeed matter. Some subjects are better left alone. Or perhaps they are better saved for another space and time, like a novel that critics and historians may suspect to be partially auto-biographical, but the writer has no comment on the matter, or maybe left behind in a journal that the writer hopes no one will ever do the dishonor of reading, even in death.
Maybe I should invest in invisible ink.
I could just leave those thoughts in my head, but they take up a lot of room.

I am often caught up in what I should be saying, but I think that it's also important and all too often overlooked to decide what should be left unsaid. I've reached the end of this week, having left the pieces I wrote unpublished. And let me tell you, as hard as it was to decide to leave it alone, I'm thankful I did. I've left tomorrow unencumbered by an irreversible choice.

And so, the only thing I have left to say at the end of a long week and the day before what probably isn't the end of the world, is live your life with intention. 

I have this terrible habit of skipping to the end of my books and reading the last pages. It's a control issue and my shrink and I are working through it.... :)

Really, though. It's incredibly frustrating that I can't live life that way. Just a sneak peak would be really helpful when I have absolutely no sense of how to handle life. But since I can't I am learning that to live with the not knowing, to be at peace with the yet unportrayed ending, means that I am forced to live within the moment I'm given. I have to choose my words and actions with intention.

No one knows how and when and where their life is going to end - we each comprehend this in our own sense. Maybe your parent has a terminal illness or your best friend died in an accident or you just lost your grandparent or you're fighting for your own life. In any case, take time to enjoy this moment, when you're here and capable of intentionally loving and living your life.

Have a good weekend, friends. 


book·ish : Pride and Prejudice Tee

Out of print clothing. This tee makes me want to curl up with a Jane Austen and drink some tea on a rainy day. 


1. (of a person or way of life) Devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests.
2. (of language or writing) Literary in style or allusion.
3. (of art and all manner of lovely things) devoted to the written word as a form of art and as a way of seeing the world.
4. (of SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com) anything of the aforementioned characteristics as they are found on the interwebs and reposted by Bethany, because bookish and writerly things always give reason for amusement.

P.S. You can also follow my bookish board on Pinterest!


My To-Read List

So I'm sitting at my local Starbucks on a Saturday morning for the first time in awhile. The scent of my grande Bold Pick wafts over from the table next to me, and people chatter to one another over their coffee. A really cute older couple are meeting on a first date at the table next to me. He is wearing a flat cap and a sweater vest. She looks like a brunette Martha Stewart. It's sweet to hear them talk about their grandchildren and the apartment complexes they live in and insurance premiums and their favorite places in the city.

This morning I was tempted to simply post the draft I had written earlier this week, the one that I would have posted for you on Wednesday had Blogger actually been working. Yet, it seems that the unexpected extra time was the best remedy for the inexplicable hesitancy I had in posting it before, because after reading the draft again and skimming through old posts, I realized - I've said this before. This happens to me often. More often than I'd like to admit.

So instead I'm going to touch on a subject I haven't mentioned in awhile: what I'm reading. Last weekend I went to see the newest film adaptation of Jane Eyre starring Mia Waskowska and Michael Fassbender and Judy Dench (love her!). I loved it.

I have never read the book, which I feel slightly ashamed to admit as an English major.  My best friend owns the book and let me borrow it after we saw the film and I am now about one fourth of the way through it and enjoying every page. Literature of that era is often hard to adjust to because of the vocabulary, but Charlotte Bronte wrote from Jane's perspective with distinct frankness, making it an easy read. My best friend claims that I'll fall in love with Mr. Rochester even more than Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, but that remains to be seen. 

My goal this year has been to read at least one book per month, but I haven't been disciplined thus far. I think I can have Jane Eyre read by the end of May if I read at least two chapters per day. With my nine-to-fiver and freelance work, plus writing this blog and all the other responsibilities I am tied to, reading for pleasure all too often takes a back seat. Yet, when I am reading a book I enjoy, I feel much more edified and inspired than when I'm not.

So here is my to-read list for the next few months; hopefully I can stick to my goal and get through all of them:

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

One Day by David Nicholls

O Me of Little Faith by Jason Boyett

Quitter by Jon Acuff

Blood, Bones, & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Love in the Time of Cholera by Bagriel Garcia Marquez

Love Wins - Rob Bell

Surprised by Hope - N.T. Wright

Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg

Bossypants by Tina Fey

As you can see, my list is a mixed bag of fiction, theology, "self help," foodie reads and writing advice. I'd love to know your reading list. Are any of these on your list or have you read them already?

Have a good weekend, friends.


On a Hot, Beautiful Day.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Happy Tuesday, friends. 


book·ish : Literary Earrings

I'm starting a new column dedicated to my English nerdiness!

Exhibit A:
 Literary earrings. 


1. (of a person or way of life) Devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests.
2. (of language or writing) Literary in style or allusion.
3. (of art and all manner of lovely things) devoted to the written word as a form of art and as a way of seeing the world.
4. (of SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com) anything of the aforementioned characteristics as they are found on the interwebs and reposted by Bethany, because bookish and writerly things always give reason for amusement.


Inspired By.

Today is a good day, friends. It's Friday and I leave to go back to Michigan tomorrow morning for an exclusive visit just to celebrate my mom and all she's done for me. Another reason to be happy: today feels like May - sunny and 65 degrees for once! And despite an impromptu outfit change at the last second [the result of a bad incident involving sour milk in an iced coffee that wound up on my white blouse] I am loving my outfit today, which always makes my day more upbeat. And I found a new album to fall in love with. And I've drafted four poems since Monday, one of which I posted yesterday. And I have a new idea for a weekly post that I will be implementing sometime over the weekend or next week.

For now, I'll leave you with links to some posts that fueled some creative sparks for me this week:

I love magnolia blossoms. Gorgeous photo above found here.

Some really important thoughts on creativity: A creator doesn't just talk about their work. They work. [I struggle with this issue daily.]

I sometimes feel this way, too.

I've posted this sweet wallpaper on my desktop as a reminder: to worry is a waste of time, energy and resources.

Further proof of those eight steps: Jessica has been style-blogging for four years now, but it's been a long process of growth. See the evolution of her personal style and blogging here.

And a beautiful depiction of life's complex symmetries found here. I dare you not to tear up.

Happy weekend, friends.

[Follow my blog with bloglovin!]


Poem : That One Time in the Garage

I stretch my hand to stop you in the doorway
It's taken me years to find that kind of courage
And I've steeled myself now -
Don't Leave.
Words, like molasses in my mouth,

A flicker of fear -
your eyes relax,
my breath expels;
for once we draw near.

My arm, no longer a bar,
bends to you.
We are enveloped in relief.
You said thank you.


Dream, Quote, Move: Create.

I recently had a dream that I am still mulling over.
In the dream I was driving down a street in my hometown when I saw an author that I really respect passing out flyers and advertisements about his new book. I was so excited that I slowed down and called out to him. He recognized me, greeted me by name and then invited me to meet him at a conference he was speaking at later that same day at the high school I attended. When I arrived at the school, I searched but could not find him. Frantic that I was supposed to meet him but was late and lost, I continued searching but the more I looked and dashed down hallways and opened office doors into broom closets, the less I recognized my surroundings and the more lost I became. Gradually, I could not remember why I had wanted to meet him so badly, what we would have talked about, and then - who was I looking for? Where am I? What was I doing before? I woke up sincerely confused - what was that about?
I can make a lot of projections about that dream. Maybe in my search to speak with an author I regard so highly, who so often speaks to my own fears and insecurities and hopes and beliefs, who leads the kind of life and professional success I desire for myself, I confused my envy for his career with respect for his writing. Maybe, in some sense, I am doing this in my waking life and God was trying to reveal how fruitless it is to pursue someone else's success rather than being satisfied with the simple act of practicing my passion. I can already write. I love the act of writing, and I love to read, and people enjoy reading my writing. What else do I need that I don't already have, and could that author have given it to me?

Or maybe as a friend suggested, the author represents the writer in me, the part of me that writes for writing's sake and does it well and is self-assured in it, and I somehow feel that I have lost her and am desperate to reconnect with her.

Or maybe, like my husband says, the dream is a lesson in not reading too much right before bed. But like I've mentioned before, my dreams often reveal important things about my life and have a lot to do with my writing.

Either way, the dream has lingered with me for several days, begging the question:

Am I pursuing success, or am I pursuing my art?

I often get self conscious about my blog. It's a blog about the process of creativity and writing, but how often am I posting my writing versus posting my thoughts on writing? There is art, and then there is talking about art. Like this post, for instance.

I started to write a different post today, but as I reflected on this quote I stumbled across early on Monday, my thoughts took on a new form:
"If you have a rhythm, if you get up every morning and work for a few hours, and you like the getting up and the work, and you don’t think about how great it will be when it’s done, but rather how great it is every day that you get to get up and do the work, your creation will be tremendous. Don’t think about the finished product. Stop rewarding yourself with something that doesn’t exist, and may never exist. Instead, think about how delightful it is you get to do this, you get to make this, and how delightful it will be to get up and do it again tomorrow." -Don Miller
An interesting connection of seemingly unrelated dots, I think.

I've written four poems just since reading it, but why? That's more poetry than I've written in three years, easily. It could be any number of things. Maybe it was the simple act of enjoying the form and the act of writing rather than pursuing some imaginary success and "reward that may never come" as Miller put it.

I still struggle with the idea of submitting or posting my work. I can stand on both sides of it and make cases against whether or not to expose my work to anyone. If I do, I could get rejected. If I don't, what's the joy and purpose of doing it at all?

Miller addresses this question, too:
"Most of the things we worry about as creators never happen. We are not as rejected as we think we are; in fact, our creation has given us a greater community, even if we do have a few critics. And we did not fail as badly as we thought we would; and if we did fail, people hardly noticed. Most of the fears we entertain as creators have to do with hypothetical situations, things that could happen. But this is a waste of valuable creative energy. Most likely, things we think will happen won’t. A creator takes risks, a consumer lives in safety. Are you a creator or consumer?"
I know the answer to that question: I want to contribute. I want to create. But sometimes it feels easier, safer, to link to someone else rather than say it myself. It is sometimes easier to talk about doing it, rather than actually doing it. Because writing is an act of vulnerability. It is an act in voicing thoughts and allowing people to study, scrutinize, reject or partake in who I am and what I believe. I'm good at gathering and collecting inspiration, bad at making that brave, vulnerable movement into the next step: creating.

In the spirit of making the move, tomorrow I'll post one of my poems that I wrote this week. So what move are you struggling to make this week, friends? Take the leap with me.



Be Bold and Mighty Forces Will Come to Your Aid

How was your weekend, dear readers? My weekend was a flurry of travel and visits with family in my small Michigan hometown. I'm thankful that I live in Chicagoland where I can work and visit the wide-open arms of its sweeping skyline whenever I want, and that my rural roots are just across the lake. In 4.5 hours [I'm not speeding, I promise, Dad!] I'm able to make the trek home to say hello and spend time with my parents and two younger brothers.

250 miles seems so short when I compare it to being halfway across the world or when I think about how far-flung some of my other family has become. Yet, I sometimes wonder at how far one can get in less than a day's time. We left on a sunny Friday morning, and before I knew it, it was Sunday afternoon and my grandmother and I were driving the curve back around Lake Michigan to Chicago where I found myself sitting at a friend's bonfire eating brats and burgers as the sun slipped behind the trees. As with many Sunday nights after a weekend visit, How did I get here? was the singular thought floating around in my head as I crawl into bed.

I'll be headed back this weekend just to spend time with my mom for Mother's Day. As you go about your week, I encourage you to take a moment to give thanks for your mom, or any woman in your life that has nurtured you and encouraged your dreams. If she's here with you, healthy or fighting for her life, be sure to give thanks for the time you have together. If she's gone, my prayers are with you as you reflect on her legacy and wish that you could tell her thank you one more time. Write her a love letter, because you and I both know that the task of raising you, helping you grow, wasn't always a picnic, but she put her brave face on and taught you how to live life in this world anyway...

[Post title taken from Basil King, not Goethe as Frances McDormand says in the above clip.]