Beyond Because

Monday, September 11, 2017

April 21, 2017

I've been kicking the phrase "beyond because" around since the end of June.

It comes from a little poem by E.E. Cummings, that I mentioned before.

The poem has to do with doing what you do beyond because. It makes me think of carrying on without any particular reason. No matter what. It makes me think of being who you are and putting one foot in front of the other even when you're not sure what you're actually doing or even why you're doing it.

It's living life without having to explain things every step of the way. The because is implied in the doing and because of that it stretches beyond it. It's a given.

One thing I want to be a given about me is my faith in God. I want my walk with Him to be THE thing that IS the because. THE thing that stretches beyond it. Every now and then I meet people like that. It's an admirable quality and seeing it expressed in another person is always a gift.

Like the lark who wings his why beyond because, these people know what it is to do what we were created to do and to keep doing it.

The lark of this poem won't let me be. I'm a person that is obsessed with whys and becauses and yet longs for diligence to carry on. The lark doesn't worry about those things. He flaps and flies and carries on because that's what he was made to do. The because is implied and the why is lived.

God intends for His people to be such larks. Winging our why beyond because by His strength and for His glory, now and forever. We see His grace in one another and the why is beautiful and the because is understood.

Here's to winging our why beyond because...Whatever it may be!

Currently: September 2017

Friday, September 08, 2017

September 8, 2017
September is the perfect month. Summer isn't quite over and yet the back to school season has
everyone feeling as though they've been granted a fresh start. I've been thinking about all of my favorite fall things lately as I do my best to soak up every bit of summer that we have left.

This summer went by at a slow and steady rate. It was FULL. It didn't seem like it flashed by and yet I'm definitely not ready to bid it farewell just yet. I traveled and we had a part to play in a handful of productions. There was plenty of time for beach days and hiking and somehow I spent less time with my friends than ever, but it didn't bother me too much.

A new month is here and I'm currently...

Celebrating: The pieces of summer that are hanging on, my birthday, and this new season of life that we've entered into.

Watching: We finally finished up Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. We've also watched Compete to Eat, The Help, Monk, and a little Sue Thomas. I've been in the mood for Downton Abbey, but haven't actually turned it on yet.

Welcoming: Change. For the first time in my life...I'm not completely sold on the idea, but I'm doing my best and trusting God with the rest.

Preparing: My fall resolves. I've had some specific themes on my mind and I'm doing my best to zero in on the tone I want this fall to have.

Photographing: Hardly anything. I haven't used my camera camera in MONTHS. I've been itching to get back into it.

Linking up with Anne and Lowanda!

What makes your currently list?

Reading Lately: Summer 2017

Sunday, September 03, 2017


I keep saying that 2017 is the year I've read a lot less than I have over the last few years. Sorry if you've been missing the book related posts. There is something about reading less that makes getting lost in a good book even more meaningful and enjoyable than it normally would be. I'm not sure how this happens, but it's definitely something I've noticed. 

So, I haven't read much this summer...Here's a look at what I have read and what I thought about each one. 

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger // After taking part in a fiction writing contest (that I didn't place in) and running across a reference to Salinger's short story "A Perfect Day for Banana Fish", I knew I needed to take some time to read some short stories. So, I picked this volume up and did my best to enjoy the stories even though I was in it to observe the craft. My relationship with Salinger is an interesting one...I don't particularly like or relate to his characters. He has a way of getting under my skin. And THAT is why I keep coming back for more. He challenges me in a way few authors do. I read a few of these stories out loud to whoever happened to be in the living room and let him remind me that short stories don't have to be tidy. They can raise questions and confront people with uncomfortable topics. They can have a moral that isn't resolved. In short, it went the way it always does.

Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon // Somehow, I had placed a hold on this book at my old mail order library. Since moving, I haven't really been using their services because I thought postage might be too much. Well, they contacted me and said, "You have a hold on this book. Do you want it?" To this day, I have noooo idea how this hold took two years to catch up with me or even WHY I placed this book on hold. It came in the mail and I read it feeling like I was "supposed" to. The whole time I wondered what I had gotten myself into and by the end of the book I gave it three stars. It's the kind of quick, easy read that doesn't really stick with you. This one happened to be about a wedding. It made me cry and caught me in a bit of a vulnerable place. It's about a good guy settling down with a special lady and the two of them being joined by a bunch of friends who might as well be family who are just as happy that they've found each other as they are. Every now and then, something this sappy is good to take some time on.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling // My journey to the end of the HP series was a LONG time coming. I've written about the whole thing here, there, and everywhere. While this book wasn't my favorite in the series, I still gave it five stars. It took me MONTHS to make my way through it. While I wanted to finish the series, I guess I didn't really want it to end. The intensity of the conflict between Voldemort and Harry came to a head...The movies cannot prepare you for the way these books will impact you. Especially when it comes to this final installment.

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Berstche // After slowly making my way to the end of HP and not reading much else all summer, picking this light hearted book of essays on friendship up with my book club friends was the PERFECT way to transition to the end of summer reading. I'll admit, I was a bit embarrassed to be carrying this book around or to TELL people what I was reading. In a lot of ways, it felt like a kind of summary of the last two years. I've "dated" quite a few girls trying to find my people in this new town. I've integrated myself into different circles and have wondered when I'll find one that feels even a little bit like the circles of friends I've left behind leading up to now. Rachel's take on and journey to friendship is considerably different than mine, but reading her stories was entertaining. She was crasser than I would have preferred, which means I won't be plopping this book into people's hands.

Troubling a Star by Madeleine L'Engle // This was the first of the "books to read before you turn 27" that I assigned myself in the month leading up to my birthday. I picked it up at a thrift store sometime last year and was waiting for the perfect time to read it. When I got into it, I was pleasantly surprised that Vicky was getting ready to celebrate her birthday too. She remembered her Grandfather and reflected on his wisdom every now and then as the mystery unfolded. This wasn't the best book plot-wise, but it was as beautiful as L'Engle's prose always is. The details made the story come to life and the themes were perfect for chewing on during the days leading up to adding another candle to my cake.

So, that's what I've been reading this summer. 

What have YOU been reading lately? 

On Time

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

September 6, 2010

It's time for my yearly "when the next age is a month away" post. Only, this time around, it's 17 days away. UPDATE: It was on the day I wrote this, at least...

I've been thinking about time in general lately. It might be because summer is almost over and my birthday is just around the corner. It might be because we're coming up on the second anniversary of us moving to this new town (that really isn't new anymore). It might be because my youngest brother started college (on my parents' 21st anniversary and the day of the big eclipse). It might be because my friends and I are now the ages my parents were when so many of my memories of them were made.

I've been blogging for so long now that I've watched people who have become friends dream up and accomplish so many things. They've gone from college students to career women. They've gone from internet dating to finally finding someone to settle down with. They've moved across the country and back again. They've become mothers and grandmothers. They've lost loved ones and celebrated recoveries others have made. I say "they", but I'm talking about YOU.

Following along and emailing when we can has been a real treat. As I read your words and scroll through your pictures and keep you in my prayers, I can't help but think about what you're doing and what I'm doing and how we got to where we are now.

I never knew it when I registered this domain name all those years ago, but blogging has turned out to be something that has helped me to be honest with myself. A lot of people talk about the comparison game and give up on social media because they get so caught up in the picture perfect lives people post about...I'm not saying there is nothing to that, but I can say it's different for me. I think you'll know what I'm talking about, because it's probably true for you too. We CAN look at people's posts and get sad or jealous...but, we can also look and be grateful. We can let our gut reactions tell us things about ourselves that we may not have noticed or been willing to admit.

Emily and Dan's bravery of moving to CA and then to NYC and finally back to VA showed me the beauty of living life TOGETHER. They've gone after what they wanted and admitted that sometimes that changes.

Rachel and Christopher's recent journey to becoming parents had me begging God to see them through and trusting that He would. Now, their precious baby girl is here and I still haven't stopped feeling absolutely giddy when I think about them.

Amy and Eddie found each other and got married and moved to New England. Every time Amy posts anything Eddie related, I'm reminded of the special work God did to bring them together and I tell her about it every single time.

I could go on and on...Each one of you shares your story and I see the hand of God. You post the best parts and sometimes we email about the worst parts. Watching you be who you are and go after what you love and press on even when you're not sure you can teaches me more than you'll ever know.

I've learned and finally been able to admit that as much as I don't want to be hurt or trapped or betrayed...I actually do want to get married. I would like to transition from being the single lady who is always helping other people with their house and kids to the married lady with a house and kids of her own. It snuck up on me.

It wasn't until sometime over the last year as I scrolled through "we're getting married" posts and saw the happy faces of content toddler after content toddler that I finally realized what had been happening. I know it didn't happen in that year. I know it didn't happen over night. God was doing a work and I have no doubt in my mind that it was the testimonies of beautiful marriages and day to day motherhood that you've shared as they've slowly but surely come into being that have brought this about.

It's good to be honest. It's good to trust God. It's good to be brave. 27 is 17 days away and in a lot of ways, I'm amazed. I'm getting closer and closer to 30. Most of my friends have already made it there. I'm in the middle of transitioning out of what has shaped my life for the last 10 years. I know who I am and I know who God has made me to be. Ultimately, this life of mine is about Him and His glory and it's great to look back on the last 26 years to see His hand. I know how I got here and I know how I'll get to where I'm going.

I'll keep reading your posts. I'll keep praising God with you and thanking Him for what He has done. I'll keep swapping emails and texts. I'll keep going to Him with the things that are getting under your skin. And...Your lives will continue to do the work He has for them to do in mine.

Time goes by and brings all kinds of changes. There has been a lot of change in me. I wonder what kinds of changes the next ten years will bring. Whatever they are, I'm excited to share them here and to watch as yours unfold as you share them from wherever you find yourself.

Harry Potter Quiz

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

So, you guys...I finally finished reading the entire Harry Potter series for the first time. It was already like a month ago now, but I'm here today so that we can talk about all things HP.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed in the series. Rowling's writing was pretty amazing, but somehow, it wasn't quite as dreamy as I expected it to be. The characters that I thought I knew so well from a childhood of movie watching, turned out to have sides that I had yet to see. For the technical problems I saw in the writing of the books, the characters made up for it.

Book 5 was by far THE hardest book for me to read. I put it down for a long time because Umbridge was making my blood boil. And yet...As it was with Narnia, the book that got under my skin is the one that I look back on with the most fondness. I always loved the first book and I always said the third book was my favorite, but now that I've read them all, I know that five is the book that stayed with me the longest. The joy I felt at Hagrid's return is an experience few books have been able to create for me.

These stories tell the story of good and evil. They bring us face to face with the things we see and admire and dread in ourselves and in one another. Using a made up world that mirrors the spiritual and physical realities of our own, Rowling wrote something to life that will outlive us all. And rightly so.

How about some HP questions and answers?

Favorite book?
I've always said book 3 and then I wrote a review saying that book 6 was my new favorite when I finished it. So, it must be 6.

Favorite character(s)?
It may be cliche, but I grew a super special fondness for Hagrid that I never had before. Another character I finally grew to appreciate is Dobby. He drove me crazy causing trouble in the movies, but things were different in the books. 

Scene that stuck with you?
I'm going to go with the various talks around the fire in the common rooms. I want a family room modeled after one of them!

Quote you <3 i="">
 "'...Don't you see? Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back! Voldemort is no different! Always he was on the lookout for the one who would challenge him...'" (Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, pg. 510)

Favorite movie adaptation?
#7 pt 2 will always be my favorite. I watched it over Christmas break a few years after it was released and it was the perfect ending to the saga. I remember thinking to myself, "We made it."

SPOILER: Biggest surprise?
Learning that Lupin and Snape are good guys. I have never been able to trust either one of them. I'm still not sure I do even though I'm supposed to.

Character you really didn't care for? 
Umbridge. That woman is evil in human form.

Do you know anything interesting about Rowling or the books or the movies or anything else HP related?
I read that she never got to really go over book 7 with edits and that it bothers her that it shows. I also read about the time she locked herself up in a hotel room to write and found that the stuff of dreams. If the stories about the girl who played Luna in the movies and Maggie Smith's cancer are true, that's inspiring! That's all I've got for now.

Is there one book that you think you NEED to read again?
The one I want to read again is book 3, just because. The one that I should probably read again is either 4 or 6. I flew through 4 and was super impacted by book 6.

What house would you want to be sorted into?
I always thought I was a Ravenclaw. The new site assures me I'm Hufflepuff. I'm so confused, but they're probably right.

Hogwarts or Ilvermorny?
I'm going to have to stay loyal to Hogwarts.

Memory tied to reading the series?
I started reading book 7 in the Boston Airport. I picked a spot by a huge window and had Dunkin' Donuts on the other side of the wall I was resting up against. It was lovely.

I also want to remember finishing the series on July 30 in my favorite ratty old camp chair in the garden I never got around to planting this year.

Food obsession?
Where do I begin? Chocolate to ward off the effects of dementors. Hot coccoa and tea. The lavish meals at Hogwarts. The role food played in these books caught me by surprise. I enjoyed every minute of it.

How old were you when you first finished the series?
26. It was a long time coming, you guys!

Fav time of year to re-read it?
I expected to fly through them in a summer, which would mean that would be when I would want to re-read them. But, I think they're best suited to late fall and winter reading. We'll see if I stick to this belief!

Do you want people to read them (why or why not)?
Yes, I most definitely do. The thing is...These books deal with every theme we face and wrestle with in life and don't exactly seek to provide answers. They give you a safe place to confront them and leave you to think through the issues yourself. It's quite an accomplishment!

Which character would you definitely be friends with?
I had trouble settling on a character. I asked my Mom her opinion and she said (with zero hesitation), "Draco...You'd befriend him and bring out what little bit of good there is in him." She's not wrong. Like Anne Elliot before me, I'm always becoming friends with the people nobody else has time for.

After some thought (and a little help), I came up with Colin Creevy and Dean Thomas.

Which professor would you most like to have?
It's going to be a nurturing woman or a wise man. Which leaves Madame Pomfrey (technically a nurse) or the ever loved Dumbledore (technically the headmaster). Maybe Firenz! I'm definitely going with him.

Funniest moment? 
For some reason, the humor in these books caught me by surprise. Certain ones had me laughing constantly. I don't have a specific scene in mind, but I know Peeves made me laugh quite a few times!

Saddest moment?
There were points in book 6 when I got super, super sad. The kind of sadness you can't shake. I also found myself missing Sirius right along with Harry. And of course...the detentions Harry got from Umbridge literally made my blood boil. I cannot take children being mistreated by cowardly adults.

Happiest moment?
In book 5, when Hagrid returns. I got unexplainably happy over that moment.

LOTR, Narnia, or HP?
I still haven't read LOTR, soooo, I'm not really qualified to make a choice. Narnia is a faster read (I read those in one week). I'm going to have to pass for now.

Which family would you most like to be a part of? 
I think I would fit best in the Granger family. But, I'd want to have a family like the Weasley's. Don't we all? Also...Neville's Gran is pretty awesome, even if we had to wait until book 7 to see why.

Copy and paste these questions so that you can answer them in the comments, on your own blog, or in an email to me!!!