Wild Words: Dining Room

August 27, 2014
I keep thinking back to when I first saw the photos of my dining room on the real estate website. My husband and I had been wanting to buy our own home for years, but the timing was never right. But in the midst of searching through endless listings, I found this picture of a dining room, warm and bright with sunlight streaming in, falling all over the floor. It felt like home, just looking at it. This house wasn't the "ideal" of what we were looking for. We had been looking for something with more space - something where we could each have an office (I write, he composes music) and maybe a playroom/schoolroom for the children, as we wanted to homeschool them. This house was smaller by several hundred square feet. Still much more room than we'd ever had before. But I hesitated because it didn't fit into the box.

But when house after house fell through (we had put in several offers and even had a contract fall through), we came here on a rainy day in May of 2013 with our realtor to walk through the house. 

Our kids loved it immediately. Our daughter ran into the large living room, lay down on the new carpet, and started making "snow angels." Our son enjoyed how is voice echoed through the dining room and bedrooms with their hardwood floors. I remember standing in the dining room, looking out through the double glass doors at the rain pouring down onto the deck, closing my eyes, and imagining the sunlight streaming into the dining room, streaming over me where I stood. 

We made an offer on the house. The owners liked the offer. But then, during the inspection process, we found out that the roof had to be replaced and there were moisture issues in the crawl space. We sat on the floor in the living room with the home inspector, listening as he listed off the things that needed to be fixed before FHA would approve a loan. I looked at my daughter, making snow angels on the floor, and I cried silent tears. How do I tell her this isn't going to be her home?

In a miraculous turn of events, the roof inspector, who came to give us a second opinion, told us that the owners may be able to claim the roof under their insurance, as there was extensive hail damage. Our realtor talked to them, and the roof was replaced without us having to pay a dime toward it. The moisture issue in the crawl space was remedied, without us having to pay a dime for it. And in July, we moved in. 

It's been a little more than a year since we moved into our own home. The sunlight still fills the dining room, warming the walls and floor, brightening the atmosphere, although the dining room often has a cluttered table, books everywhere, backpacks and a purse on the floor, and a million random preschooler paintings floating about. It's not always as pretty, aesthetically, as it was in that picture that first captured my attention. But it holds its own beauty. And I want it to always be inviting - to me, my husband, our children, and whomever might walk through our door. I want to be able to offer a cup of tea and a chat to a friend as we sit in my dining room, enveloped in the warm light of the sun.

Wild Words: Ancient-Place-Experience

August 6, 2014
I have to travel the world. It's an insatiable need. I must stand on rocky promontories on the coast of Ireland and feel the sea spray kiss my face. I need to watch the sun set over a glassy lake in the Swiss Alps. My soul craves the lush foliage of the ancient forests of China. I have this deep need to visit the Grand Canyon, the Rockies, the Redwood Forest, and plant my feet where the native people of this land walked hundreds of years ago with a deep respect for the earth. I want to see Machu Picchu. I need to experience the wonder of Aurora Borealis.

I need to feel the earth and its wonders with an ancient knowing of place. And I feel this need growing all the time. It hits me randomly , unexpectedly. When I'm drinking coffee in the morning, or watching my children ride their trikes in the driveway, or when I'm writing.

I can't escape it. My soul swells, sighs, with anticipation of digging my toes into ancient soil, of breathing in the salt and air of the Irish coastline, of witnessing the amazing light show God made in the north. It makes my breath catch.

But how am I supposed to travel? How am I supposed to experience these beautiful, amazing things? I can't even afford some normal, everyday things. So, how does one travel? How does one fill that soul-requirement of ancient-place-experience?

I could dream. Imagination in and of itself is quite a wonder. And my imagination does take me to some wonderful places.

But it's not enough. It's not enough to just think about it. I need tofeel it. To experience it. I need to be there, to let the earth speak its secrets to my soul. I need to hear the whispers of those who have gone before me. I need my feet to walk to the same path, my soul to follow the same wind.

I need to absorb the spirit of the earth by experiencing these places, these wonders.

I need to breathe in and exhale their stories, their life. My own life feels incomplete without these experiences.

And I don’t seek them out of selfish gain. It would be lovely to visit places simply because the experiences would make my life more meaningful. But, I feel this connection to these places I’ve never been, like the stories are calling out to me. Stories of pasts that never were. Stories of futures that could be. Stories of beauty, devastation, life, death, ethereal wonder. The stories find my soul, and they tug at me, pulling me until I have no choice but to follow.

So follow I must. Somehow, some way. Someday.

I want someday to be now.

Focus: Fire

August 4, 2014
I recently found out about the “word for the year” movement (you can find more information on it here), in which you choose a word that represents an overarching goal or theme for the year (or in some cases, like wands in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, the word chooses you).

Even though we are more than half-way through the year, my word (which clearly chose me) has been mysteriously popping up all over the place. I started noticing it as a theme about a month ago, and since then I have seen its mark everywhere.

What is my word, you ask?

FIRE.

Fire is probably not a word I would have chosen on my own. I love looking at fire. I think it’s beautiful. But I’m naturally hot-blooded, so heat and I don’t agree too well. I’d have to say that fire is the element I least identify with – water, wind, and earth are fine, but I’ve never really considered myself a fiery person. I don’t look at myself and see a conflagration of passion. I see calm, laid-back, easygoing, hesitant to make waves, content to stay in the background.

And yet, this theme of “fire” has been coming up all year. It started, I think, when I first heard Ellie Goulding’s song “Burn.” It really struck a chord with me. It’s kind of been my theme song this year – I’ve posted the video a million places, it seems. I even art journaled the lyrics.


And then I went to a revival service (or, well, services) last week, and the speaker talked about the fire of the Spirit burning us up. And those days were deeply meaningful to me, and I walked away changed, yet again.

And even this week – even today – the word “fire” has cropped up several times. And I keep seeing it. And I don’t think it’s going away. I think this is the message God is trying to tell me: that in order to be complete, fire has to be a part of me. Water (emotions), Air (intellect), and Earth (senses) are all great. But without Fire (passion), those other things are…not all they could be. They’re lifeless.

Fire is what keeps us on our toes. It warms us, makes us run, makes us dance. We celebrate with it. We fear it. It represents the pulse of life, but can also be the sting of death. Fire never stays the same, it is always changing, always moving. Sometimes it grows, blazing, shedding sparks and sending waves of heat shimmering through the air. Sometimes it dwindles, hushing itself into embers and ashes. But still, the light is there.

So for the rest of this year, I’m going to explore the concept of fire in my life, in my soul. I want to see what happens when I light it up, what happens when I set my passion ablaze. Where will my writing go? Where will my faith go? I believe that the flames will only make them wilder and freer.

So I’m going to strike my match and find out.