Five Minute Friday: Motivate


Gentle Reader,

Sheets of ice and snow have been sliding off the roof all day. The dogs don’t like it. They think someone is attempting to break into their cozy little cocoon filled with warm blankets, delicious treats and belly rubs. The crack and the crash moves them to frantic barking, but they don’t know where to direct it, so they just run in circles while I am by turns amused and annoyed by their noise.

It’s a brand-new year and a brand-new word. Kate says: motivate.


I’ve got to be honest: I adore junk food, I hate exercise and getting up early makes me angry. While I don’t mind eating a nice salad or black bean burger and I don’t dislike the way I feel after a good workout session, sweat dripping and endorphins flying (there’s nothing good to say about getting up before the sun), I am gluttonous and lazy.

Despite the lifestyle changes I’ve been forced into over the last few years, fundamentally, in the core of myself, I want to eat greasy pizza and binge-watch Netflix all day.

We assume that, in a magical moment of transformation, accompanied by an epic score written by John Williams, we’ll come to love the things that we have to do in order to take care of the bodies that God gave us. Perhaps that’s true for some, but it certainly hasn’t been true for me. I don’t believe that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. I don’t care about the number on the tag inside my jeans. I have been known to mutter impolite words while doing triceps push-ups.

Sometimes the thing that motivates is more primal, more simple. For me, it’s this: I do what I do because I want to stave off cancer and organ transplant for as long as possible.

Maybe fitness isn’t your issue. Maybe you’re one of those people who bounds out of bed in the morning, fresh-faced and ready for a 5-mile run or some weightlifting. (Are you human)? Instead, your struggle is in studying Scripture consistently. Or quitting smoking. Or reckless spending. Or lying. There are as many hurdles as there are humans.

Four days into the new year, now is the time to really think about why you want to fight the battle, why you want to change the thing. What are you pursuing? What’s the goal? Don’t assume that what works for someone else is going to work for you. Don’t think that if you do all the steps that some successful self-help seller is peddling that everything will be rainbows and unicorns.

Find your own motivation.


Taking a page out of Andrew’s book tonight and sharing this beautiful song that I have loved since I was a teenager. I feel like I could take on an army every time I listen to it.



War of the Words

Along the Way @

Gentle Reader,

It’s a chilly almost mid-October afternoon. My coffee has grown cold. I’m dazed and confused, to borrow the film title, following a wicked days-long headache. Caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror earlier and I look like death warmed up. Ghostly pale skin. The pupil of my right eye is dilated, which makes sense, as that’s where the Witch-King of Angmar has been stabbing me repeatedly.

Shout out to Tolkien.

There’s been a lot of talk about protesting. What good does it do? When should it be done? Who can protest? How should protesters conduct themselves? What does it all mean? When is life going to return to normal?

And now this.

Click the link.

Read the article.

This short entry, posted on one small blog that resides in a dusty corner of the internet, is my protest.

In a battle over words, I use words.

Without them, specifically the written variety, I wouldn’t be able to communicate. I wouldn’t be able to process the world around me. The love affair began at age 6, on the day I picked up the pen and committed unknowing plagiarism with the composition of a Sherlock Holmes story. I haven’t put it down since.

Should writers be people of integrity? Should we tell the truth? Yes. I was blessed to have a college journalism adviser that could spot a fabrication or a “stretching” from miles away. Once he even yelled at me for manipulating a quote from one of the local papers. The reporter had contacted him and complained. (Haven’t told anyone this story until today. Because, you know, shame and stuff). Fairness and accuracy matter.

Nevertheless, the “disgusting” press can write whatever they want. It’s up to the reading public to hold journalists accountable. It’s up to editors and owners to dish out discipline. Anyone can sue for libel. If laws are broken, then justice should be swift and direct.

None of that means that the printing rooms should go dark at the whim of a public official. The government – local, state or federal – is in no position to dictate to or control the press, thanks to James Madison and the people who thought the Bill of Rights was a good idea. We, especially Christians, do not want state-controlled press. We do not want the president, any president, to have a say in what goes to print.

Why especially Christians?

Think of your brothers and sisters around the world, men and women who risk life and limb to get their hands on even a single page of the Bible.

Censorship, in any form, will only harm everyone in the end.


Photo Credit: Alexa Mazzarello

Observations on a Friday Evening

Along the Way @

Gentle Reader,

Goosebumps rise on my forearms, competing for space among the freckles. Standing near the kitchen window, I peer through wood slats, moved to somehow find words for the indescribable. Nobody can capture the fleeting, never-repeated beauty of a cloudy sunset. Not writers, not painters. Not really. All we may attempt is a mediocre copy of a genius that lies beyond our reach.

And yet we keep stretching, hoping to grasp it.

The little hairs stand on the back of my neck in response to the chill. It is spring but not yet warm. Faded leaves, left behind in Autumn, blanketed in Winter, out of place now, cluster around the tree trunks. I imagine they are jealous of the tender buds on the limbs. A juxtaposition of death and life, a mingling of seasons.

A dance, the steps of which we never quite learn.

Nature can never be reduced to the clinical, the parts. We try to box it up. Contain it. Master it. Yet there is something beyond the mechanics. An echo, a calling. We study but long to peer beyond.

Palest of yellows. A tinge of orange. Fluff above shifts and shudders.

The dogs bark at nothing. One runs through the little door, plastic and metal banging. Disturbing the scene.

Reverie broken, I turn from the window. Back to the now.

This now – I don’t care for it, for here there are many questions. Foremost in my mind is whether I should even continue this writing thing. Wondering if I’m any good at it. If the hours I spend with the pen and the keys matter.

I have no answer and I do not look for your pity.

My eyes move back to the window and the distance. Light has faded. Nothing but clouds now, obscuring the first stars of night. My mind conjures up strains from “Somewhere Out There,” sung by the little immigrant mouse in the child’s movie. He looked. I look.

The kettle whistles. Time for a cup of something hot, a comfort in the unanswered.


Image credit: Micah Hallahan

Blown Out


Gentle Reader,

I have been so tired.

It’s been building for a few months.

I had not been able to figure out why.

Then, in a rush, I remembered –

Finished writing a non-fiction book about…you don’t need to know yet. Crafted a book proposal. Self-published a book of poetry. Ran a launch team. Became vegetarian. Took up (mostly) daily exercise. Had a partial hysterectomy. Led a small group. Helped run a women’s retreat. Spoke at a conference. Spent half the year blogging through Zephaniah. 

All of that on top of normal things like work and taking care of a home and being a wife, daughter, sister, friend.

No wonder.

Some people thrive on busy. I do not.

I’m taking a sabbatical.

Be back in the spring.

I’m sure this a blogging sin of some sort. No doubt I’ll see a big dip in stats. May even lose some of you, dear readers. I can’t care about that. My writing voice is roughly equivalent to the first day of strep throat, when you can hardly breathe, let alone speak. I need space and silence.

So Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that. May God bless you.