Tag Archives: today

one for Megs

 

“Celebrating a birthday reminds us of the goodness of life and in this spirit we really need to celebrate people’s birthdays every day by showing gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness and affection. These are ways of saying ‘it’s good that you are alive’; ‘it’s good that you are walking with me on this earth…'” Henri Nouwen

meghan

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog for almost everyone in my family but ran out of steam just before the end of the year. Meghan, my younger sister by 18 months, has reminded me from time to time that though we are quite close, I had stopped the birthday blogs before her birthday that year. She’s mentioned being unimpressed.

Never fear. Birthdays come annually, and Meghan’s is tomorrow. Here are some things you should know about Meghan. She loves fiercely. She gives generously. She communicates clearly. She works hard. She organizes our motley and over-sized crew for holidays and birthdays. She got on a plane the moment Betsy Claire’s birth happened so that she could hold our very first niece and be there for Bridget. That’s the way Meghan does life: giving of her whole self to those she loves.

Oh, and Meghan is really, really, really funny.

When we were kids Meghan and I shared a room for most of our growing up years. As adults we shared several apartments.

When Mom had cancer, Meghan and I took on nine of our younger siblings for one very long February while Mom and Dad were away seeking treatment. We had no idea how to handle the kiddos in the midst of everything going on, but somehow, together, we did it. And only one of us got bit by one frustrated tiny brother. Way to take one for Team Blinn, Megs! We even managed to keep the kids alive.

We live fifteen minutes apart now, and we talk on the phone most days. We don’t agree about everything, but I cannot, cannot, cannot imagine my life without my beautiful sister. Her birthday is cause to ponder God’s goodness to me, to our family and to the world. When you’re gifted someone as fantastic and beautiful as my sister is, you can’t help but uttering the best one-word prayer I know. Thanks.

Happy birthday, Meghan! Can’t wait to celebrate it up tomorrow night.

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today: Sunday, saving me now

Sunday, and I wake, hitting the snooze button three times while I determine that my hair needs washing. Plans for an early morning run abandoned in favor of clean hair for church result in a longer-than-normal walk for the dog. We walk a loop of birds chirping and insects buzzing. Still, it’s relative silence. I shower, say prayers, plan the day. Tea brews while I stir oats and unload the dishwasher.

I take a moment to realize I’d awakened with time and space (after abandoning my run) for quiet. We need more quiet, I think, most of us. The television is off, no music plays, and I am home alone. Just these few minutes, they are saving me. Right now. God makes his presence known. He is here, has been here.

How often I miss him for the busy. How consistently he is willing to meet me where I am. And now, still and silent on a Sunday morning, Sabbath. Joy comes and oft craved peace joins it. Steady breaths and quiet heart beckoned to life, again and again.

Joining with the amazing Sarah Bessey, whose blog feeds my soul.

today: a Wednesday not so long ago

Some days are about stopping, forced pauses and seeing. Life abounds. God, here.

On A Wednesday not so long ago, I felt walls closing in on questions I could not answer. I lacked sleep and perspective. Blinded to goodness, I staggered through the day, wallowing and grumpy. The sun shone, though, beckoning me outdoors. I leashed the dog and packed my camera. I walked. And I saw. It was a return to gratitude and perspective. Life abounds, God, here.

tonight: horizon

“Bravery is leaning into love.”
-Emily Wierenga (her exquisite blog, here)

This image, from summer? Sigh. Love.

wide horizon,
and sitting, chilled so pulling a sweater tighter
broad expanse,
and dreaming, filled so opening arms up wider
deep wonder
and believing, still so soaring ever higher
grateful dancing
and God, here, so I’m alive-r
grateful dancing
and God, here, so I’m alive-r

today: valentine

He races his bicycle on the weekend, and he rides fast. He doesn’t always win, but sometimes he does well. And his pleasure in it is evident. He tells stories of racing weekends, face expressive and bright, relishing the fact that he gets to do this and that he does it well enough to be competitive. He knows that not everyone who has the desire to excel in a sport has the opportunity or ability to do what he does. He is passionate, and he is thankful. Collin was made, among other things, to ride a bike. It’s a window for him through which he sees how to live fully. I love this about him.

Getting to be with someone who has a grasp on what it is to live out of who he is moves me. Collin provokes me to want to live life alive in the way that he knows how to be alive. We aren’t perfect in our relationship by any stretch. In recent months, we’ve needed to learn how to disagree, fight and let go, and at times, we’ve both been exasperated and frustrated. I’ve needed to stare my selfishness in the face. It’s not always pretty. In the midst of growing a relationship, we find ourselves aware of our fragility and vulnerability, especially on the days that have been hard. And yet, that hunger to live so alive and so full, it drives us, both of us. These past months for me have been a process of learning to love and be loved right in the midst of life happening, good and bad, ugly and beautiful, allowing hope to trump fear.

Last night, we prepared dinner together and worked on our various tasks, chatting. He walked the dog to the mailbox. I made him a smoothie. The eve of Valentine’s Day was quiet and restorative. We are busy, separate and together. We wanted some quiet and normal before this week gives way to company and races and photo shoots and too lengthly to-do lists. We prayed before he went home, thankful for a great day and asking for good sleep and an awareness of God’s presence. I know that not everyone who wants someone to do life with has someone, and sometimes relationships break, fail, abuse, hurt or die. I looked at Collin last night, and I found my heart passionate and thankful that he is here and that he is mine. Collin is one reminder of God’s kindness in my life. He gives of his heart with confidence and grace, and he speaks words that welcome me into his story. He cultivates beauty in my life. He expects goodness.

I love that we are friends.
I love that we are taking our time.
I love that this is the page my life is on.
I love that he is my Valentine.

I was made, among other things, for this, here and now.

Thanks for indulging my need to record a little Valentine’s Day verbiage.

today: february

“Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It’s February, and one year ago, North Texas sat still and silent, held captive by sleet. This afternoon, I ran ten miles in 70 degree weather, arriving home sweat-soaked and thirsty. Quite a contrast. It still feels like winter, if not in temperature. It feels like winter, because life moves slower for me this time of year. I find time to think and pray, to create for the sake of creating, to stop and reflect and be. I crave wonder.

It’s February, and I’m looking forward to this month of quiet before things steadily build momentum for the rest of the year. I’m hopeful. And I think there will be stories to share. Last night I sat with friends who were praying for me, and I realized that sometimes I forget to remember all the goodness and grace in my life. For months I’ve lamented the writer’s block that seems to strike whenever I sit down to blog or journal. “I have no stories to tell,” I moan to my audience of no one. But alas, that is untrue. I have stories that weave a beautiful story, a compelling story, a redemption story. I just forget to tell them sometimes.

It’s February, and this blog is written with one purpose: to say it’s time for me to write. So write I shall. And wonder shall ensue. What provokes wonder for you?

today: the new year, finally

There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.
-G.K. Chesterton

The first trip of 2012, a visit to Bellingham to visit Carla and her family. Carla and I became friends over conversation and coffee in Poland where we did mission work. It’s been over a decade, and our friendship grows and thrives in spite of distance and sporadic connection. We last visited almost two years ago, when her daughter was born. It had been too long.

I arrived to snow in Seattle, and the shuttle that took me north on I-5 crawled as the storm dumped inches and inches of white powder. Cars swerved, some into snowbanks along the sides of the highway. It was slow going getting here.

It’s been slow going these days here too, the temperature creeping down, down, down while the pile of snow went up, up, up all through yesterday. Today the temperature stayed well below freezing. I ventured out for a few minutes for a walk, but other than that, we stayed indoors, simmering chili and baking brownies while we played with little Luci, talking and laughing and enjoying the slow quiet a winter storm allows.

It feels good to be quiet, to sit here with my dear friend. The restfulness of this trip came unexpectedly. At first it seemed like the snow might slow us down; now it’s evident that the whole of this visit will be a full stop. Limited to the confines of Carla’s home, I read and pray. My only work, responding to emails and phone calls. These few days are the perfect beginning to a New Year (of which the first two weeks were spent wrapping up the previous one, at an almost frantic pace). I finally find myself awakening to expectation for all that is to come.

Here all that is before me is to be in the moment in a warm house with yummy food and like-family friends. In this place, my heart has stilled and my mind has calmed. I hear God whispering words true and love deep that makes me anticipate this new year. The last year passed a whirlwind, beautiful and busy and at times chaotic. I grew a business and a relationship and traveled a lot of miles and photographed many, many families. My sister married; my brother got engaged. My dad had and recovered from a stroke. When I stopped and reflected throughout the year, I was mostly grateful but often tired.

This year God’s whisperings are of life full and thriving, of learning quiet and rest, of trust and generosity. He invites me to leave behind the chaos and the busy, challenging me to believe more is possible. Perhaps I will learn to sleep and rest and play right in the midst of it all- is this not life abundant? Perhaps so doing will eradicate the chaos. I wonder if that is what could be.

I guess this serves as my new year’s post, a couple weeks in. More to come, hopefully soon.