Running Fast


I run more than I used to. And much faster.


For the longest time, I had a set running scheme. Twenty jumping jacks, hop on the treadmill, start at 6.4 speed, increase the speed one tenth every half mile for two miles, slow back down to 6.4 for the third mile, speed up a decimal every quarter mile until I hit mile 3, then speed up to 7.0 until I got to 3.11 miles, or a 5k. Stop. Stretch.


I’ve always been sluggish. I’ve never been quick on my feet. My legs are disproportionately short and squat compared to my longer, leaner torso. I’m not built for speed. I was proud of my nine-to-ten minute miles, since 7th grade me could barely puff out a mile in 14 minutes and always had to stop and walk.


Then I had a conversation with one of our church teens. He’s a he, considerably taller than me, with long skinny legs and long flailing arms. He attends the school I attended when I was a teenager, and one of the features of their physical education program (as is the case with every phys. ed. program) is a regularly scheduled timed (and graded) mile run. We were comparing mile times; I rather proudly told him I could run a mile in about nine minutes.


He looked at me in wonder. “Nine minutes?” he said, almost pityingly. “That’s like, a D.”


Even though I know this boy well enough to know that he would never intend to hurt, I broke a little inside. I had worked hard for several years to get that fast. I was only able to make it to the three-mile mark in the last four years (my first time was when I was 20). I have managed very well for a person who is not genetically predisposed to athleticism. I’ve rarely even experienced “runner’s high”—running doesn’t feel good until I’m finished running. The act of running isn’t very fun, but it’s the most straightforward thing I’ve figured out to do that helps me stay healthy. As someone with no coordination, questionable depth perception, and a visceral aversion to group activities, sports are a significantly less enjoyable fitness option. Yoga, though and fun and challenging alternative, doesn’t get my heart rate up. I love feeling my heart thud confidently through the miles; I love the feeling of my springy knees; I love coming to the end of a few miles knowing I earned the warmth radiating from and through my muscles. So I run. Not fast. Just determinedly, and consistently: at least five times a week at varying distances.


I wasn’t about to take anyone’s pity for not being able to run fast. The following Monday, I started a mile at my usual finishing pace (7.0, or about an 8.75-minute mile) and sped up a bit every minute. I surprised myself with my first 8.25-minute mile.


Of course, I couldn’t let myself stop there. I had to get faster, and I had to be faster over longer distances. I kept my established pattern for 5ks, but kept increasing my starting speed. I would do 2-mile interval runs, alternating a minute of sprinting with a minute of running at an easier pace until I reached 2 miles, always finishing at my maximum speed. I would run a mile at a time, going as fast as my legs and lungs could carry me. I supplemented with weighted leg exercises, like squat jumps and calf raises and walking lunges and many, many more. I would choose my pre-run meals carefully, making sure that I would be full but not too full and sufficiently carbed up for my fastest and easiest pace.


Soon I could run 2 miles in 16 minutes, which quickly shrank to 2 miles in 15:23. My 5k time went down from 28 minutes to 25 and change. Occasionally I can go for 4 miles without killing myself (although my feet have taken a beating).


This week, I ran a 5k in my shortest time ever: 23 minutes and 58 seconds, or about 7 minutes and 45 seconds per mile. Today I ran 4 miles at an easier pace of about 8.5 minutes per mile, finishing in 32 minutes and 43 seconds.


All of this information is, I understand, more or less meaningless statistics on a runner who will probably never run in any race longer than a 5k. I realize that there are hundreds if not thousands of people out there who can run much faster than me and who probably think a 7:45 mile is embarrassingly slow. I understand that, so laugh all you like.


But I am proud of myself. I am fast, sort of. And I am getting faster.

Brace Yourselves


Autumn is coming.

Autumn is coming and I am prepared.

All of my sweaters are condensed into one drawer. A pair of second-hand leather oxford shoes arrived in the mail today. My flannel shirts are hung in my closet with care. I’m knitting a long, warm scarf.

I bought one of those crazy Peruvian patchwork jackets for a fraction of its original cost because the zipper doesn’t zip. I’ve wanted one for years, but didn’t want to shell out the $40 to own one. This one is forest green and orange and pink and covered in vine-like embroidery and looks like fall itself and was only $8. It’s hanging by my door, begging to be worn on long walks and shuffles through heaps of crackling leaves. Who cares if it won’t zip? I never zip my jackets anyway, not unless it’s really cold.

My colorful clogs have been sitting in a bin by the door, waiting. Just waiting.

I’m born again every fall. I write more. I think more. I breathe more. I take more walks. I drink more coffee. I’m freer, wilder. I wear my hair down after months of doing everything in my power to keep it off of my neck. I can see everything more clearly.

Autumn gives me hope.

The air cleans itself up. The sky gets bluer. It’s harder to think about all the awful things going on in the world when it’s autumn.

Autumn has always been about fresh starts and new beginnings. Every school year starts in fall. Every new term starts with a new stack of books and new pens and pencils and notebooks. All those blank pages, so crisp and full of potential. All those heavy books, too thick to devour in one bite, that must be taken in piece by piece until they’re a part of you.

Autumn means new adventures. Although I’ve never done much traveling in Autumn (and I probably never will), my mind travels with a little help from a lot of books, and that is usually enough.

I love Autumn.

Which is why this unrelenting heat is unbearable on almost a spiritual level. It was 95 degrees outside today. Ninety-five. My soul is ready for bonfires and marshmallows and pumpkin spice lattes, and it’s 95 DEGREES OUTSIDE.

But I’m hopeful. It’s supposed to rain next week. Rain means a cold front. Rain means a change in pressure. Rain brings change. Rain brings the autumn.

And I’m ready.



Few things trigger my anxiety more than having a cluttered home.

My mother will laugh as she reads this, because I do not hold the title of “tidiest person in the Rambler household.” In fact, I’m pretty sure I was never even the runner up. My definition of orderly doesn’t always align with most people’s. As a general rule, though, I prefer to see straight lines and empty spaces and recognizable stacks and clean surfaces and no trash littered around. I do like having more things to look at—those sleek, modern spaces with no more decoration than a vase on a table are, in my mind, impersonal and cold—and since I own so many things there tends to be quite a bit to look at and to keep in line.

I can tolerate clutter to a point. I generally know where things are. I may not be able to easily access them at all times, and when I’m in the middle of a project or a semester I prioritize art over tidiness, but I always try to keep things clean.

My orderliness comes in waves. Over time, clutter and dust and grit build up in my space: bits of paper, stacks of books, discarded clothes. I’ll ignore or put off the rearranging of these possessions until I see clutter everywhere and seeing the clutter makes it difficult for me to breathe. Empty spaces are driven to extinction by little piles, little assemblies of things I’m sure I’m not responsible for and weren’t always there yet somehow are now.

I’ve lost control of my space. It will get to a point where I don’t know where things are. Until I can get it under control again, to a state where everything has a place and sits there, ready for use, I cannot enter my home without feeling extreme stress.

So I’ll snap and clean everything.

On my own, when I had a room in my parents’ house instead of a whole apartment, I could keep a state of order and cleanliness for a solid two months, maybe more, before noticing the need for a straightening up.

Add another person—particularly a person whose standard of orderliness is (perhaps, maybe) even less conventional than your own—and that length of time dwindles rapidly to the course of one week, maybe, before everything is in disarray again.

It is one thing entirely to convince oneself that items like pencils (or pens, shoes, clothing, whatever) need to be returned to the same location after use for greater ease of finding that item again when needed in the future. It is another thing entirely to convince the person you live with that the practice of returning things to a designated location is a good idea.

One person trying to keep a good habit is hard. Two trying to do it together is harder.

That aside, even with the best intentions towards tidiness and minimalism can be thwarted by the arrival of new items into a small space. And, over time, once enough items accumulate, even my perpetually somewhat untidy (and hoard-y) self decides it’s time to get rid of some stuff.

All that to say I’ve spend that last two weekends getting rid of stuff.

I got rid of clothes. I got rid of yarn. I got rid of kitchen stuff I haven’t used in a year. I tossed old papers. I cleaned out drawers. I cleaned out the closet. I cleaned off the dresser. I got things out from under the kitchen table. I reorganized the cabinets in the kitchen. I sanitized counters. I scrubbed and shined and vacuumed. I took bags of stuff out the door never to be seen again.

I can see so much more of my floor. The nightstands are free of superfluous nonsense. You can open the closet door all the way inward. My dresser drawers open and close without a fuss. You could perform surgery on my countertops, they’re so sterile.

Most importantly, our shared space is now much more serene, much easier on the eyes, and we know where everything is and can access it easily.

I hope it lasts the week.

Sick Day


Last week, I wished I could get sick.

I’m one of those people who really likes being alone. By “alone,” I don’t mean going to busy places by myself, shopping by myself, driving by myself (although all of those activities can be very therapeutic). No, I like to be by myself, in a quiet room, doing quiet activities. All alone.

I don’t get to do that. Being alone might happen for a few hours on Saturday. Might. I spend most of my waking hours around other people. While I’m sure that’s probably very good for me, I don’t get much time to recharge.

But, I reasoned, if I get sick, then I’ll have an excuse to stay home, not leave my apartment, not talk to people, and do whatever creative stuff I want. Aside from being sick, I thought, I’d have a mini vacation.

One week later, I am sick. Not deathly ill. I was sicker back in January when a cold erupted into a mongrel flu-sinus-infection hybrid that floored me for weeks and also somehow gave me insomnia. No, this time I have a fever and a headache and decreased appetite. Piece of cake.

I mean, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. But other than that, I’m great.

I got a whole day to knit and write and read. I’ve taken two bubble baths in the last 24 hours. I’ve dived into a stack of Poets & Writers I’ve been meaning to catch up on for months. I wrote in my journal. I cranked out six inches of a double-knit scarf.

Funny how something as seemingly inconvenient as a sick day can turn out to be such a blessing in disguise.

Of course, my first day of classes is tomorrow, and I don’t want to miss it. So there’s that.

If only I could have gotten sick a week ago.

Not that I’m complaining of course.



I’d be so skinny if it weren’t for all the food.

I’m an active person. I work out five days a week, six during the school year and I need to unwind a bit on Saturdays.  Running and weightlifting and stretching. Intervals. Bodyweight stuff. Yoga. I’m like a cat in a puddle of sunshine in terms of activity for all the hours of the day spent not in a gym, but for that one hour I am in the gym, I’m a machine. I’m on fire. I’ve shaved about five minutes off of my average 5k time in the last three months. I run about 10 miles a week. I can hammer curl 15 pounds and do 20 full-body pushups in a row without collapsing. I am a firm believer in a daily minute-long plank. I limp after leg day.

Yet, in spite of my herculean efforts in the gym, I’m encased in a lingering layer of comfortable fluff. Mostly in the sitting region. And, as I age, more around my waistley region. There’s a roll or two (or three) present when I sit down. I’ve got my fair share of cellulite and stretchmarks. There’s nothing remotely fitness modelish about me, and there never will be.

For the most part, I enjoy being stronger and faster than I’ve ever been so much that I don’t notice the persistent fluffiness, and even if I do, I don’t let it annoy me. After all, my diet is more conducive to weight maintenance than loss.

I eat healthy, too. I make everything myself. I eat mostly veggies and fruit with some meat and grains. I drink water, coffee, and fruit juice in moderation.


People keep giving me dessert.

Okay, there keeps being dessert available and I keep eating it.

Because dessert is delicious.

Because whoever came up with the phrase “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” clearly has never had my mother’s homemade chocolate cake. Or my peach pie, for that matter. Or, well, food.

But all things should be consumed in moderation.  Including dessert. Especially dessert.

I keep telling myself I’m going to go off dessert for a while. No sweets but dark chocolate (because it’s good for me). I feel much better, have more energy, and run faster when I cut back on the sweets.

The trouble with this plan is that all seasons are eating seasons. Let me explain. All seasons have some sort of treat that I absolutely must have (or absolutely will encounter and be unable to resist) at least once while that season lasts.

Spring: chocolate cake (for my birthday), cake at all the graduation parties and weddings, Easter candy.

Summer: peach pie, peach ice cream, ice cream in general.

Fall: pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes, Dunkin Donuts’ pumpkin cake doughnuts, pumpkin everything, if there’s pumpkin in it I want it, also apple pie. And Halloween candy.

Winter: baked chocolate pudding, Christmas cookies and other miscellaneous goodies.

My fitness life is a cycle of nibbling away at treats I love every season and not being given adequate time to detox before another season of deliciousness strikes me in the core (and the thighs and the tush and, well, you get the picture).

To make matter worse, I work an office job. There is always baked stuff. Our department has a doughnut fund. I have a hard time saying no to doughnuts.

Life is too short not to enjoy the sweet things. Even if it’s not very dietarily responsible.

So as long as there are seasons, there will be sweets, and as long as there are sweets, I’m going to be fluffy.

Oh, well. Pass the cookies. I’ll run an extra mile.

Summer Lost


Look, here’s the thing.

I feel like I don’t know how to write anymore.

I have a million things running through my head all day, all of them interesting, but bungled. I can’t pay attention to my own thoughts. I can’t pay attention to anything.

It used to be that I could make the time to sit and put thoughts on paper, but this is the first chance I’ve gotten in months so you’ll excuse me if this is a bit stream of consciousness but I am trying to capture the moment before it flies away and I have to go back to taking care of everyone else and important things like dusting and laundry.

I used to draw, too. My happiest memories of my teenage years include long nights of listening to music and drawing at my roll top desk. I would draw until 3 in the morning. Or knit. Or make Photoshop art. Or write silly song lyrics or work on that novel I’ve been “working on” since I was thirteen. My summers were spent with creating things. Not always beautiful things, but things I was proud of.

Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” makes more sense now than it did when I read it two years ago. Woolf hypothesized that all a woman needed to pursue her creative genius was a year’s salary and a room to herself where she could make whatever she wanted.

As it is, I’m making a year’s salary by writing other people’s emails for them and not much else.

Sometimes I wonder, though, if it would be any different if I had all the time to do whatever creative things I wanted to do all day. Would I just waste that time away?

You see, there’s a curse that comes with perfectionism. You become so afraid of making mistakes that you don’t make anything at all.

But you want to.

I started this blog about Christianity and feminism. It’s my favorite subject, but I’m too intimidated to write about it for fear of being shot down for not knowing enough. Or saying things right.

I want to draw, too. And knit. I used to have so much skill in my hands, but now it seems all my hands are good for is taking really quick dictation. One year as surrogate-email-writer has done a world of good for my typing skills but nothing for my imagination.

This summer has been a list of days. Not bad days (eh, there were a few) but a lot of average ones.

I keep waiting for the moment in the movie of my life where the montage music will start playing and in a few moments that novel will be done and I’ll stare at its printed pages, weary-eyed but proud.

A lot of work goes into those montages. It’s not that it’s work I’m not willing to do, but there are so many other things to do that everyone tells me are more important. Spending time on what I love seems selfish and silly in comparison.

Yet, somehow, here I am. I’m still writing. I can’t help it. I may not have anything new to say yet, but I had to say this much or bust.

And that is all.



It’s summer. This should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, it’s July, and while that may mean chilly temperatures for our friends in New Zealand, here in Southeastern America it means heat.

Heavy, sticky, disgusting heat.

Heat that seeps through the drywall. Heat that no car AC can hope to defeat. Heat that filters in through unshuttered windows and hovers above leather seats and steering wheels.

The South is humid. Unlike the West, where the air may be hot but remains breathable, the perpetual 50% humidity of the South turns air of any temperature into barely inhalable soup. Puddles from occasional rainstorms stay for days, and sweat has nowhere to go.

Summer in the South means you never. Stop. Sweating.

Okay, maybe normal people do. I don’t.

Something happened to me when I started my 20s. Something awful. I used to be one of the few teenagers that never, ever got a pimple, glistened vaguely during workouts, and smelled like a flower garden 88% of the time. But my 20s hit and boom, acne and buckets and buckets of inexplicable sweat.

I suspect I have some rare breed of adrenal issue that I might just have inherited from my father. We both have issues with heat. My father and I both start feeling uncomforatbly warm at around 70 degrees (that’s 21 degrees for my friends in New Zealand). We start dripping sweat at 75. Eighty and we’re swimming in our own natural coolant. Ninety and we’re drooling over travel brochures on northern Russia.

I seem to have an added complication to my sweat issue. I sweat when in situations where I have to socialize with strangers or even acquaintences. I sweat at parties. I sweat when I get in front of people to speak, sing, or otherwise perform. I sweat if I sit still too long. I sweat when I stand too long. I sweat if I have to wait in line anywhere, especially government offices. If you see me in any social context where I am thinking of the next thing I have to say, you’ll probably see me with my hands tucked under my arms, not because I am nervous or emtionally gaurded but because I’m trying to gauge just how large the sweatstains under my arms are growing and at what rate and what on earth can I do to hide them.

And that’s just in the fall and winter. In the summer the nightmare gets about 1000x worse.

My poor long-suffering spouse spends his July evenings in flannel pajamas burrowed into a pile of quilts while I sprawl out in shorts and a tank top next to our window AC unit which is allegedly blasting 60 degree air while my sweat glands remain unconvinced. (That’s 15 degrees for our friends in New Zealand.)

And yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Just buy some antiperspirent deoderant. Problem solved.” Yes, sure, but only if they manage to put it in a spray bottle and in large enough quantities to coat my whole body in it every day from May to November.

Or, as an alternative, I could just relocate to a different climate for the summer months. Somewhere like New Zealand.




Adulthood is Stupid


I’ve been an adult for a few years now. I’m 24. I’ve lived on my own, paying my own rent and my own bills, for about two years.

Being an adult is stupid. It’s the biggest nope that ever was.

So far I’ve discovered that even though your peers are all adults, the playground bullies haven’t left. They’re just taller, and usually they have more money and influence than you.

Everything you thought would be great about adulthood when you were a kid comes with strings attached. You can eat whatever you want, but you also have to pay for it. You don’t have to go to school anymore, but still have to park in front of a desk for eight hours anyway. You can go wherever you want, but you need to think about how much gas will cost and where you have to be tomorrow and whether or not you’ll be fired if you go away for too long.

Being an adult apparently requires having a lot of Stuff even though Stuff isn’t really necessary for a happy existence. If you don’t want a huge house and want to build a tiny one, there are laws against that. If you don’t want to pay a huge power bill and switch to solar, there are laws against that. If you want to start a small business or be self employed so you can skip the rat race and have a job that allows you to escape the articifical and stressful environment of corperate America, you’ll get taxed out of doing that pretty quickly.

Your whole life you’ve been told to go to college so you can get a job. So you go to college and learn to do something you’re good at. Trouble is, the new expecation for entry-level positions usually requires 1, 2, 3, 4, even 5 years of experience in that particular job field before they’ll even think about hiring you. You need both a college degree and real-world job experience before you can get paid so you can eat and pay rent. While you were busy studying away, making As, and working part time to ease costs a bit, all the jobs you care about have decided your degee isn’t good enough for them anymore. Most of us take the first job we can find, even if it’s a job we hate, and we don’t get the chance to gain experience for the jobs we’d actually enjoy.

You discover pretty quickly that renting a living space eats all the money you could be putting towards a house, especially since rent costs as much as a morgage payment if you want to live close to where you work. So you don’t buy a house and you don’t buy a new car because you don’t want to be in debt. Yet, as a newer adult, you’ll probably get flak for not going into debt for things you can’t afford in an economy you didn’t ruin. You’ll want to skip it all and live in an RV or live out of your car so you can actually go see the big world you live in, but refer to paragraph 4. Also, gas prices.

Even if everything is going well for  you in your corner of the world (relatively small rent, a job you enjoy or at least tolerate, a fairly healthy social life), there’s the rest of the planet. It’s exploding. If there’s not a plague, there’s an earthquake. People are killing other people because they’re different from them. Rapists go free while their victims are punished for being victims. Human beings are still sold as slaves. Children die for the crime of being conceived. Riots. Wars. Rumors of wars. And you can’t do anything about it.

The worst thing about adulthood is that even though everyone who is an adult has experienced adulthood and knows how hard it is, very, very few adults have any compassion for other adults. You can’t talk about the injustices and absurdities of this oversized playground without some snot-nosed kid in the sandbox yelling “Grow up and deal with it!”

Oh, sure, we’re growing up and dealing with it, but that doesn’t fix a single thing.

The only thing about being an adult that’s worth talking about is marriage.

Marriage is the best.

Because at the end of a long day of dealing with all of the above, you can come home, and your Spouse is there. You can make dinner together, talk about little things or big things or medium sized things, laugh together, dream together. You can shut all the nonsense out for a while. You don’t have to be what anyone expects you to be. You can be kids, sort of, for an hour or so before bed.

And somehow, by some sort of deep magic, those few hours are worth all the rest.

Family of Three


No, we don’t have a kid. Nor will we for the foreseeable future.

I’ve discovered I need to clarify that as often as possible.

But we do have a typewriter.

The typewriter belonged to a faculty member at Undisclosed University who, after a long and successful career as a teacher, had decided to retire. She is a published author, and as far as I know hasn’t given up on writing (she just released a new novel in the past year and has a contract with one of the larger publishing houses). At the end of this semester, she put out a table in the hallway outside of her office and started piling up books that she no longer wanted so passers by could take them away to good homes.

I walked away with an armload every time I walked by. My husband (a graduate assistant at UU) had his office right across from her, and gathered a few books for himself as well. We’re not the kind to pass up on free books.

One afternoon I came home to find my husband parked at the dining room table brooding over a large metal object. He looked up at me, beaming.

“Look what I found!”

I looked. Before him was a large mechanical typewriter. It was in stellar condition. The word “ROYAL” was stamped in large silver letters above the keyboard.

That scene from You’ve Got Mail popped into my head: Meg Ryan coming home to what’s-his-face, the columnist, toying with a new typewriter at the kitchen table, and she points out that it’s only one of several.

“It was Mrs. Page’s,” he told me. “It’s in perfect condition.”

“Mrs. Page’s?” I gasped. She’s a published author. I took her introductory Creative Writing course when I was a sophomore in college. Her novels are excellent; she’s personal hero of mine.

We own her typewriter. The typewriter she used to draw up her first published manuscript. I don’t put much stock in the concept of luck, but I feel that surely now that I have her magical typewriter, anything written in this house is blessed with success by the spirit of the beautiful woman whose novels have touched so many hearts.

The typewriter is our baby. By “our,” I mean my husband’s. He found the user’s manual online in PDF format and studied it on and off for days. He bought a new ribbon for it on eBay. He sent hours figuring out how to set margins and indents–even how to make columns and line spacing. I found index cards with snippets of typed phrases scattered in odd places around our apartment for weeks.

“Look at it,” he said once or twice, “there’s no wires, no circuits, nothing! One hundred percent mechanical!” He’d hammer down a few keys, each keystroke sounding like the rapport of machine gun fire. “I want to use it to type out my papers next year.”

I made a mental note to buy some ear plugs.

So far this summer, it has sat quietly in a wicker chair, waiting the day it will move into my husband’s new office. But for now it waits, it’s mechanical calm encompassing so many of our hopes and dreams. For my husband, it seems to symbolize the possibilities and promise of a new semester at seminary. For me, it represents writing, and the hope that with a little determination and a little effort, I can be finish something, shove it over a transom, and hope for the best.

I’m Back


Hello, loves.

I’m back.

It’s been too long.

I’ve been married for almost one full year. I’ve got another year of graduate school under my belt. I’ve had a big girl grown up job for a year.

I’ve barely written a thing.

So I’m back.

I started this other blog, and it scares me. My subject matter scares me. There’s so much I don’t know and I’m passionate about the topic but very poorly equipped to talk about it. There’s so much that could be said and I can’t possibly say it all at once.

I find myself in the same predicament I was in when I started this blog almost five years ago. I was in college, working towards a degree in creative writing but hardly doing any writing at all. I had hoped once I got out of college I’d have a job that would pay me to write things, but I’ve no such luck. And I haven’t written because I haven’t felt free to write and I haven’t been making the time to do so.

I need a place where I can write like me.

So I’m back.

The Liberated Woman


The new blog has arrived.


I remember the time I first heard the phrase “liberated woman.” I had just graduated high school. I was on a trip to Kansas City, MO with my classmates and my speech coaches to compete in a national speech and debate tournament. We had made a stop in St. Louis to visit the Arch.

There were four girls on the team. Two of them were best friends (still are), and they were the Debaters with a capital D. Both analytical. Both brilliant. Both fiercely independent. I remember my coach, a burly little man with a voice like a foghorn, holding up his camera for a group photo. The two girls put their hands on their hips, stuck out their chins, and smiled into the sunlight.

“There they are!” my coach jibed, “The liberated women!”

I was not included in the group of liberated women. And I wondered why. I wasn’t…

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I remember where I started. I was a creative wriitng major whose time was consumed with course work which kept me from doing what I went to college to learn how to do well: write.

I started a blog to force myself to write.

And I have. I have written every day for four years.

Is writing easier now? Writing is never easy. Writing is hard work. Writing takes time and dedication and craftsmanship, all things which I’ve not always been able to apply here. Sometimes I wrote posts in the last thirty seconds before midnight. Sometimes I wrote posts days in advance. Sometimes I wrote with passions about something really important to me, and sometimes all I could brain out was a list.

But it is much easier to write what I really think. It is much easier to be honest and objective with myself than it used to be.

This blog has helped me realize I am far better at creative nonfiction than fiction. Far better at poetry than at short stories. Far better and pantoums than song lyrics.

Far better at being me than being anyone else.

I will not post tomorrow. I’m not entirely sure when i’m going to post here again–I haven’t gotten that far. I plan to publish the first post on my new blog on Friday, but the best laid plans of mice and men, so they say, oft go awry. If I start the new blog on Friday, I’ll be sure to put a link here.

I may not post. But I will write. I will always write. Old habits die hard.

I can’t stop now.



After all, how else could I have survived the last four years?

Sure, there’s laughter. Laughter is one of the best survival tools ever implemented by man. Laughter is why this blog began. In person, at least, I’m really good at getting people to laugh. I’m even pretty good at getting myself to laugh at impossible or difficult circumstances.

But there are some things even laughter does not help or heal. And that’s where faith stepped in.

I was stuck in Croatia the day they joined the EU. Stuck in an airport surrounded by people who did not speak my language and could not explain why my flight was delayed, why I could not meet my connecting flight, and how I could possibly tell my parents where I was or why I wouldn’t be home on time, if I got home at all.

Fate could not have delayed my flight and landed me in the line to get my flight rerouted. Fate could not have put me in line behind the one person in the airport who was fluent in English and had a phone capable of calling my parents home number from Zagreb, Croatia. Fate could not have put me on a flight sitting next to an EU representative who was questioning his Greek orthodox faith and would let me open my Bible with him as we searched for answers to his questions.

God could. God did. God always will and always does.

The last four years have been a series of seemingly insurmountable odds. I could not have overcome them on my own. I could not have survived on my own. People will laugh at me, tell me of course I did it on my own, that my dependence on God is some kind of sick self-deprecating fantasy.

But it isn’t.

I didn’t do it alone because I am never alone.

God gets full credit for every last moment of it.



It’s easy to be fearless until you’re staring down the lion’s throat.

The thing about blank pages is that there are no limits. No limits but yourself. Yet that limit keeps us from dropping so much as a blob of ink on the page for fear that a blob out of place will send our lives into a downward spiral.

The future is our darkest enemy. It has no face, shows only its back, and is hidden by a cloud, darkly.

The future could keep us from doing anything, unless we choose to be fearless.

There are lions in the streets, we cry. But we are the lions.

But God shuts the lion’s mouths. We can walk unafraid. I can walk unafraid. No matter what happens, no matter the headlines, no matter the lions, I can walk toward the future and they won’t bite me.

Fear silences us, but faith lets us sing.