a lampshade, a firefly & lessons from silly (#wholemama).

I learned Silly from a woman who once affixed a gold-covered lampshade to her keister.

The lampshade came with matching gilt miniskirt, a bright red overcoat and bearded, tentacled forest green hat, all of which she fashioned or sewed herself. Lest you think the outfit thus far was nothing short of amazing, she also held a hidden switch in her left sleeve. Whenever she raised her arm to sing, the lightbulb at the end of the lampshade would magically turn on.

See, for example, Exhibit A, and the bright light emanating from the right side of the picture. That ain’t no 80’s camera mishap, y’all. 

But it’s a real, live human firefly.

And it’s my mom.

IMG_8791Back then, for one memorable weekend of our lives, we let go of all mommy endearments, and we just called her Farley McFirefly. Because, you see, her outfit wasn’t merely for Halloween purposes, solely designed for the amusement of our neighbors (although she did, as pictured, go door to door with a most sparkly derriere, and they did, after all, let her in – I mean, wouldn’t you?)

Really, it wouldn’t have been right to keep it to ourselves, because this outfit was for Jesus. 

My mother took center stage in the church sanctuary and glowed for God. She sang her heart as one of the adults cast in the kids’ musical, ass all aglow while insect tentacles reached heavenward.

“I cannot fly, ’cause of my brrrrrroken wing,” she sang in lilted Scottish accent, “but I can give the glory to God!”  

At ten years old, my brother and sister and I stood on stage with her, back-up chorus to her most shiny, fearless self. We, too, were trying our hardest to glow. We, too, wanted to give the glory all to God. But we didn’t have the guts to do what she did, to parade around the stage belting and blinking in rhythm to the songs of Psalty’s Camping Adventure.

I remember the waves of mortification:

My mom is dressed as the largest, weirdest bug you’ve ever seen. My mother is parading around the stage with a huge lampshade on her butt. She is blinking, brightly, even violently, for crying out out loud. And they’re all laughing at her.

But I also remember the pride, the simultaneous delight that birthed from watching her most fearless self, the pleasure that overtook all feelings of doubt: 

She’s the one making them laugh, on purpose, just because. 

She could care less what anyone thinks about her.

This woman, my very own mother, is fearless.  

Because that’s the thing: We call it silly. We tell the stories of lampshades on butts, and reading stories with funny voices, and embracing the jocular with our children and with each other, and we call it silly.

And embracing the silly, provoking the giggles, entering into the moment with wide-eyed wonder is most important. 

But today I realize that silly is not merely silly. The type of silly my mother gifted to me – and to many of the lives that she’s touched along the way – was and is that much more than mere child’s play. Sometimes silly is just on the outside, a facade to the reality underneath.

And for her, and perhaps for you and for me someday too, to be truly silly also means to be Brave and Courageous and Strong. 

Now that’s the kind of silly I want to be and do and embrace in this Thing Called Life.

How about you? How are you silly? Where did you learn silly? And did your mom ever dress up as a human lampshade with her blinking backside? Didn’t think so. I win. (And don’t worry, all permission was given for the posting of this picture and story). Join the #wholemama movement, and write about silly today!

Whole Mama

what i’m into :: june & july 2015.

Oh friends, I know. Once upon a time I was so very good at highlighting what I did every month, but it looks like every other month will be the new regime. And this is perfectly, most wonderfully okay because it means that we’ve been living life to the FULLEST. So, a very small recap of the past two months!

We had professional pictures taken …with our three-year-old sporting these amazing swim trunks:

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We made jam. Like, bonafide, homemade, hot and steamy jam over the kitchen stove one June afternoon.

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I got real brave and put on my Big Girl Panties to take the boys to the Warriors parade:

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And this girl moved to the next town over:

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I also read a few books, including these favorites:

The Geography of You and Me (Smith), 4/5 – A perfectly fun YA summer read, chalk-full of just enough angsty teenage romance.

Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome (Riley), 5/5 – Y’ALL. I LOVE THIS BOOK, so much so that I WILL CONTINUE TO USE ALL-CAPS TO LET EVERYONE KNOW. A memoirist, author Reba Riley is hilarious and knows how to tell a good story. The book comes out on August 18th, so if spiritual memoirs are your thing, head to Amazon stat.

I Told My Soul to Sing (LeMay), 4/5 – Okay, so you know I have a thing for spiritual memoirs [um, hello current manuscript] – so if the aforementioned + a good dose of Emily Dickinson floats your literary boat, check out Kristin LeMay’s book.

The Year of Reading Dangerously (Miller), 4/5 – I know, why read a book about reading books when you can just, uh, read the book(s)? But I love Andy Miller’s snarky British humor, and subsequently, his journey through a handful of books. [Note: he does not go through all of them.]

The School of Essential Ingredients (Bauermeister), 5/5 – Ugh. Just lovely. Effervescent prose meets super yummy food …if only there were recipes!

Mr. Kiss and Tell (Thomas), 4/5 – The Veronica Mars series is just plain fun; while I still haven’t checked out the actual television program, I’m loving the books!

11/22/63 (King), 4/5 – True confessions: I’ve always judged a book by its cover, and the cover I’m talking about is Stephen King. And now I know why his writing is so prolific.

You Are One of Them (Holt), 4/5 – Super interesting. That’s all I have to say. Okay, maybe not: Cold War Russia meets the 80’s meets a quasi mystery. Like I said, nothing short of interesting.

Teach Us to Want (Michel), 4/5 – Jen is a friend of mine through the Redbud Writers Guild, and there’s a reason why her book won Christianity Today’s book of the year. Check it out!

Go Tell It on the Mountain (Baldwin), 4/5 – Like King, while I carried my own opinions about James Baldwin, I’d never actually read any of his writings at length. My conclusion? Hard but good.

Also read: Fly Away Home; Rock-Bottom Blessings; The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up; The Dharma Bums; On Chesil Beach; Falling Together; Babyproofing Your Marriage; Longing for Paris.

Currently reading: Go Set a Watchman; The Cultivated Life; Jacob Have I Loved; Three Daughters; Sailing Alone Around the Room

If you’d like to unite as book nerd friends, forever and ever, amen, then let’s be friends on Goodreads!

Otherwise, here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to: 

We flew to Idaho to visit family and friends, and drank chocolate milk with real potato flakes in it from this place. Um, do they deliver to the greater Bay Area?

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We consider ourselves lucky to live in a place that beckons visitors come our way – most of whom I didn’t even get pictures of, let alone with (which I usually take to be a pretty good, embraced-the-moment proof of visit).

But I did get to see and meet this writerly friend of the heart:

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Otherwise, this almost-one-year-old got all he wanted for Christmas in July:

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And this little dude started school…

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on his third birthday!

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Finally, I received the gift of gifts in a weekend away, all by my lonesome, so I might sit with my words:

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We’ve entertained, a lot. We’ve hosted and we’ve grilled, a lot. We’ve been knee-deep in conversation and we’ve gone on lots of little adventures around the neighborhood, a lot. We’ve leaned into love and into life the best we can, which I think, is the best we can do. At the end of August our little family of four will head out for a real vacation, but in the meantime, we’re embracing summer for all it’s worth.

What about you?

xo, c.

So, what have you been into the past couple months? What have you read and eaten and watched? Who have you seen and who have you hosted? Share some stories!

on being ordinary (#wholemama).

A month before graduating high school, I took a computer-generated aptitude test. It told me I should be a cruise ship director, so I arrived at college with high hopes of sailing the friendly seas, Paula Abdul-microphone resting cheek side and cute captain’s hat on my head.

me, kind of.
me, kind of.

By the time school started, I wasn’t exactly sure how that plan for my life fit into a somewhat limited supply of academic majors. So, I changed my major to broadcast journalism, hoping to take my love of children and microphones and words to Sesame Street. I figured I’d have a better shot of making it as the Famous Person I Was Meant To Be next to Bert and Ernie rather than try and land a spot on the 6 o’clock nightly news.

Midway through the year, I’d declared all hopes of public broadcasting rubbish, and instead decided to change the world as a high school English teacher.

It seemed a smarter and perhaps even more realistic major. Besides, I mused to myself, eventually I’d be crowned Teacher of the Year, and then the doors would open wide for my real shot at fame.

Eventually I did become a teacher …but I didn’t win Teacher of the Year.

And eventually I did (and continue to) spend a good deal of my time holding or having that Paula Abdul microphone rest against my cheeks, even though it’s still never been on a fictionalized Manhattan street nor atop a boat.

But I’m still not famous. And I’m pretty sure I’m not ever going to be, at least not in the way I hoped and dreamed I would be for a long, long time. Those dreams I had of being extraordinary, of making it big and perhaps – if I’m really honest – of therefore proving my Most Special Self, have come to a satisfying conclusion with the arrival of children, with the reality of time and life and maybe a slice or two of humble pie on the side, too.

Because in all actuality, I’m pretty normal. In fact, I’m average and ordinary and maybe a bit of a strange bird, depending on the day, depending on who you ask.

I’m just me. 

Right now, I sit on my favorite blue and brown chair, the one with whimsical swirls and matching ottoman. My feet are propped up and a heating pad warms my mama-muscles, arms and back and shoulders that carry babies, that work to calm and soothe frustrated three-year-old boys.

Sunlight streams in from the front windows, and in the distance I can hear robins fighting for air time against the earsplitting jackhammers of our neighbors’ front driveway. Both of the boys are asleep in the back of the house, and when they wake up we’ll make our way to the Y. While they sleep I find my way through my words, digging to discover and uncover what’s already there, the truth behind a single word, a known phrase. Sometimes I read and sometimes I fiddle around the house, but mostly, usually I just sit with my words.

Life, as I know it, is pretty slow, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot of sparkle, when I know I could be doing more and being more and living more.

But really, this simple, ordinary life contains more than a lifetime worth of extraordinary achievements and advancements and awards.

On Saturday, we had our first Family Movie Night. The HBH (Hot Black Husband) got the TV all set up while Cancan and I laid out blankets and pillows, yoga mats and Bear-Bear, the oversized Costco gift of a teddy bear that also acts as an indoor climbing structure for him and his brother. We shut the blinds and snuggled together on the floor, eating buttery popcorn and holding hands and giggling at the The Aristocats.

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And Cancan’s been talking about it ever since, wondering when we can have Family Movie Night again.

I sometimes I forget that the ordinary moments that make up our lives are actually more-than-extraordinary. I forget that all of these todays are the best days of our lives.

And what a gift to realize that I don’t need any more Extra-Special Ordinary in my life, because this ordinary is more than enough.

Might it be the same for you?

Whole Mama

So, how are you ordinary? Have you embraced the ordinary in your life? I’m linking up over at Esther Emery’s blog for the #wholemama movement …and I invite you to do the same! 

rituals: saying no (suzanne burden).

Well friends, welcome back! I do hope you enjoyed last week’s #rituals FLASHMOB, and if you haven’t already checked it out, head back to read the words of Addie, Aleah, Kari and Jen. For now, we’re back as regularly scheduled, and this week I’ve got the lovely Suzanne Burden here with us. Suzanne is another friend of mine from the Redbud Writers Guild, and her words ring so, so true for me. Even if it’s hard, there is so much power in saying “no.” Enjoy her ritual.

Flickr Creative Commons: Walt Stoneburner
Flickr Creative Commons: Walt Stoneburner

“Moving on from ___________” read the subject line in my email.

You can do this, I assure myself.

Historically, I don’t like to quit things.

I am an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs personality scale—and let me tell you, we can get things done. Consider it a function of our sheer stick-to-itiveness when we feel passionate about something.

(Read: we can’t always let opportunities, things, jobs, or people go when the timing is right.)

(And also: it could be that rituals just might help us say no more effectively.)

So I sent the email. After several years, a recent statement on the organization’s values and beliefs helped me to realize our philosophies were no longer the same. I had become “not the best fit,” and I needed to move on. I mentioned how thankful I was for the opportunity.

Coincidentally, this morning a coauthor and I dropped—as in, ceased—a publishing project I’ve been working on for a year and a half. We ourselves received a lot of “nos” and then a “we’d like to change it to this” that just didn’t work. I cannot even count the hours and emotion that went into what appears to be a failure, but at the moment, is a clear redirection. It may resurrect itself in a different season, but for now, I am being called to put the lid on all that effort. I do so with a mixture of relief, sadness and anticipation.

Dr. Henry Cloud calls them “necessary endings” in his book of the same title:

“Although we need [necessary endings] for good results to happen in life and for bad situations to be resolved, the reality is that most of us humans often avoid them or botch them.” (p. 9)

I am tired of being afraid of confrontation, of fearing that a new opportunity will not come along, of dreading saying something wrong so that I never say anything at all.

Without “nos” I cannot truly say “yes” to this one wild and precious life of which the poet Mary Oliver writes.

And so I am saying “no” a lot these days. I am praying, not lengthy prayers, but Lord, help me do the next right thing. To say yes to the good, and a firm, even glad “no” to the not-best.

In the process, I am learning that healthy people in our lives are often so grateful when we say no with intention and grace. They are often relieved. You see, our nos redirect them, too, and hopefully into a better scenario, a better relationship, a better fit.

I have realized that my ritual involves prayer, discussion with a close friend or mentor and checking myself physically for whether a situation inspires passion, anxiety or passivity in me. I am listening to my body’s response. I invite God to speak to me and I listen to the emotions called forth through my unique personality, gifts and experiences.

Why do I feel anxiety in the pit of my stomach or tension in my shoulders? Will this contribute to my wholeness and flourishing and that of others? Does it align with who I am, not what will please someone else?

When the no feels right, sometimes the words are simple and don’t require too much thought, and I try to offer them in the moment without regret: no, but thank you for asking. Other times, an explanation is needed, and then the next phase of the ritual kicks in.

Check in with the other party. Confirm my thought and prayer process in this decision. Kindly and firmly offer my no. Wish the person the very best in their endeavor and their mission and wellbeing in life.

If it is a significant “no,” like the one I experienced today, I will soothe myself with a bit of chocolate or a walk. I will journal. I will pray a prayer of release, my hands turned upward. I let the “no” flutter past without fanfare, catching the breeze and blowing away, that I might be fully present for the next “yes.”

Saying no is one of the most important rituals I can practice if I am to start again with joy: a moving on, an open door, a new chapter. My mind clears, empty of the weight of less-than-best commitments, and I wonder, like a small child peeking around the corner, “What’s next?”

My eyes peeled, my heart opening, I am nearly ready for the “yes.”

suzanneburdenSuzanne Burden lives in the Indiana heartland, where she enjoys her husband’s mad cooking skills and the benefits of living in a city where she knows her neighbors and can always find a parking space. She agrees wholly with CS Lewis when he writes: “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” Suzanne is the coauthor of Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God and can be found at her blog or on twitterIt’s Cara again – so, here’s a question for you: how today do you need to let your yes be yes and your no be no? Even more, how did Suzanne’s words inspire you to say no? Leave her some love!

rituals: when i am a regular (addie zierman).

Well, it’s the last day of the #rituals FLASHMOB (exclamation point), and I for one, have loved the time leaning into lives, hearing the stories, learning the hearts. And to finish up this week’s gift, we have writer, blogger and speaker Addie Zierman, or one I call a seamless weaver of poetry & prose. I’ve been a fan of Addie’s since her first book came out, and loved then getting to know the real deal when we roomed together at last year’s Festival of Faith & Writing. Enjoy her ritual!

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On days when my kids are elsewhere, I drive 0.7 miles to The Bean Coffee & Wine Cafe, order a medium light roast in a mug while chatting with Jess or Emily or whoever’s barista-ing that morning, and settle in at the table by the window to write.

Mostly now, I don’t even have to order; they see me and grab the mug and begin to fill it up. “How’s the writing?” they ask, and I tell them about the new deadline or the new edits…or, if it’s a bad day, I quickly change the subject.

I am a Regular — a title that I covet more than almost any other that I’ve earned — and this is my ritual.

Of course, there are a million places in my own home that I could write if I wanted to.

I could close the door to my bedroom and sprawl on the bed with my laptop. I could sit on the red couch by the bookshelves or at the kitchen table. I could go way, way down stairs to the cave-like guest room and burrow under the covers of that guest bed like a gopher.

Recently, my youngest decided to move into his big brother’s room. They sleep together now on bunk beds, and I’ve commandeered the rejected bedroom for an office, complete with an inspiration board and a small desk facing the window, looking out over our pond. I can sit there and work, and I can look out at the ducks cutting across the water.

I could write in that office. I should write in that office…and sometimes I do.

But the house buzzes with all the things I really ought to be doing. From the kitchen table, I can hear the dishes taunting me from the sink — Wash us. Wash us. From my bed, I have a front-row seat to the overflowing hamper in the closet, and sitting on the couch, I keep glancing past my computer at the floor that needs to be vacuumed. Not only vacuumed but carpet-cleaned. I wonder if I should rent a carpet cleaner? From there, it’s a short jump to pricing them online and Pinterest-ing carpet cleaning solution.

Even in my office, I get distracted by the windows that need washing, the kids’ artwork that needs to be scanned and filed, the letters that need to be posted.

So I’ve made a habit of going to The Bean instead.

The Bean, where the two old farmers come in every morning to have a cup of coffee together. Where they nod at me and grunt hello, and then they sit across from one another with their mugs, talking in low voices.

The Bean, where the pastor from the charismatic church down the road comes to work on his sermon and where the quiet Asian kid with a long ponytail works on his Mac and where pods of women pull tables together for book clubs.

Every so often, I end up there on the morning that the Andover Cycling Club shows up, sweaty and Spandex-ed and raucous after a long ride.

I have logged hundreds of hours writing at The Bean. I know most of the staff by name; the other Regulars, I mostly know by face. None of it is particularly intimate, and it’s not what we traditionally think of when we talk about friendship. But just being there among them makes me feel braver, healthier, less alone.

After all, there is so much about writing that is lonely. It is the most solitary thing, to crawl up inside your own memory and imagination and try to commit it all to paper. At the Bean, my earbuds pump music into my brain as I work, and I am given wide berth and wide smiles and free refills and the most stunningly simple kind of support.

The night I received the first, daunting batch of edits for my most recent draft, I went to the Bean to drink wine and sob in the corner, and the server on duty refilled my glass inconspicuously and never said a word about it. When the next batch of edits came through, they brought a bottle of wine to my table in a bucket of ice — an overpayment for the copy of my first book that I’d given the owner.

These are precious moments to me — gems on a string.

But just as important are all the average, regular days. The days I pull into the parking lot, order the coffee, settle into my table. The days when nothing particularly special happens except fingers on computer keys, words on a blank screen, good coffee sipped from a big, ceramic mug. Nods from the farmers. Hello’s from the baristas. The small rituals that are building me, day by day, into a writer.

Addie Zierman Official Author PhotoAddie Zierman is a writer, blogger and speaker. She has an MFA from Hamline University and is the author of When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love and Starting Over. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and two sons and blogs regularly at addiezierman.comIt’s Cara again: doesn’t this make you want to head to your local coffee shop and make that place (and those people) your ritual? Well, it does me. Encourage Addie by leaving a comment. (Contest is now closed).

rituals: training (kari wilhite).

Friends, like I’ve said, treat of treats this week in #rituals FLASHMOB week. Let me then introduce you to Kari Wilhite from Dreadlocks and Goldilocks. You may remember Kari’s words from the 2014 series, “The Little Things.” She joins us again today with another story, first told through prose and then through poetry. I’m so grateful for those dreamy, poetic types who teach me to pause and sit with rhythmic words. 

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For years my husband and I have dreamt of hiking on the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park.  It is a 95 mile round-trip trail with endless ups and downs resulting in a cumulative elevation gain of more than 20,000 feet.  There is actually a lottery system to get approved to get a back-country pass for this trail. Well, we didn’t get in! We plan on finding another trail to traverse, though not the one we were really hoping for. And we’re okay with that. Nonetheless, I continue to train.

And isn’t it really about the transformation in the training process anyway?

So, I train.  I put on my backpack after the kids leave for school.  I have filled it with bricks from a patio project gone-bad.  They aren’t the most comfortable, but this adventure isn’t meant to be.

In this piece I reflect on the ritual of going into the woods behind my house. I do this about 3-4 times a week.  I am gone for anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes.  It is a very therapeutic ritual in solitary training for my body and my spirit.

And the one thing I am learning: even in rituals there is something always new to see, if I’m just willing to look, listen and learn.

I strap them on
they feel real nice
in awkwardness
I fling the pack
heavy on my back
out the backdoor I go
this ritual: what will I learn today?

up the paved road
behind my house
and spy my trail-head
hushed, a tad eery
this ritual: what will I see today?

these back woods
aka dirt-bike paradise
perfect pot-smoking oasis
garbage dump for the careless
it becomes spiritual
more than physical
almost immediately
as I see signs of
messy humanity
in the middle of the forest
this ritual: what will I come across today?

I see debris
of broken-down motorcycles
relationships gone-bad
scattered papers of:
a pornographic magazine
junk-mail advertisements
a beautiful wedding invitation
a plastic children’s book
how did all this get way out here?
this ritual: what will I think of these things today?

my heart breaks
as I see these things
in this ritual
I whisper a prayer
I cry inside at the
madness of it all
as I’m out in these woods
this ritual: how will I respond to it today?

I get giddy with joy
for I see a baby owl!!
I get hesitant with wonder
for I see a snake up ahead!
I get apprehensive with fear
for someone told me
a bear, a cougar have been seen
I dare not telling many about this
this ritual: am I taking too many chances today?

in this ritual I not only
train my legs
my lungs
but my love
and I return home with
reminders of this ritual
and how each time
it speaks something new to me
a rock
a piece of garbage
a wedding invitation
a heavy stick
a photo of a snake
a child’s toy
a magazine page
even a muffler off an old car

SubstandardFullSizeRender-4Kari lives in Bonney Lake, WA with her husband (who happens to be a pastor) and four children (2 teen boys and 2 elementary school girls). She loves to write poetry, encourage women in their stories, dance with the disabled and high-five the vulnerable. And, oh man, Cara again: did you not find yourself enveloped within Kari’s words? I think poets must have a special place in heaven. Leave her some love below!

rituals: there is a dawn in me (aleah marsden).

It’s Guest Post Flashmobs-Tuesday Week …are you excited or WHAT?! I am delighted to have Aleah here with us today, who is just as authentic in-person as you’ll read in her post today. She’s a writer and a friend, a mama and a cheerleader to others, and a cohort of mine through the Redbud Writers Guild. I have a feeling you’ll more-than-enjoy her words today. Savor them, indeed!

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4:10 am: My alarm pings on my phone and a sleepy smile spreads across my face. Technically, it’s Saturday morning, though the sun won’t rise for another hour or so. I dress quickly and quietly, careful not to wake the other still sleepers; husband in a twirl of sheets taking up three quarters of our bed, nor the four passed-out littles across the hall.

I grab my bag, intentionally packed the evening prior, with my laptop, charging cords, blue ballpoint pen, journal, Bible, sticky notes, books, highlighter, wallet, and indispensible ear-buds.

I step out into the star-smattered dark filled with awe as I breathe deeply, a small thrill of aloneness. I sing along to whatever song woke up with me in my heart.

In the winter the heater in our nineties, manual Honda Civic kicks in when I get to the first stoplight. I’ve trained myself to always pull into the first left turn lane; the second lane’s sensor is broken and I have wasted too many precious minutes waiting at a deserted intersection for the lights to cycle to left arrow green.

Starbucks never looks prettier than 4:30am; empty and alluring, a shiny newness aglow with hope, alight with possibility. A yawn escapes as I grab the bundle of newspapers off the curb and my eyes adjust to the warm light within. I set the papers on the end of the counter where a barista is pulling pastries from boxes to fill the refrigerated case.

“Spinach feta wrap?”

“Yes, please. And a tall Pike.”

“Room?”

For all my hopes, dreams, and longings to fulfill in the next five hours?

“A little, thanks.”

My table is in the back corner with an unobstructed view of the coffee shop, next to a coveted power outlet on the wall. Once, a new barista was sitting there when I came in. She thought she was opening, only to arrive and find out her shift didn’t start until 5am.

I sat a table away from her and anxiously sipped my coffee for half an hour until she moved.

I’m not sure which variable of my Saturday morning “office hours” is the most important part of the equation. Is it the alarm? The way I leave my clothes folded on the corner of the dresser? The first left turn lane? Two Splendas and splash of half and half? The savory first bite of feta and egg white? Opening my soft leather Bible and pulling out the brown satin ribbon marking my place?

In the words of Michael Scott, “I’m not superstitious, but I am a little ‘stitious.” I have experienced the magic of flow—that near-mythical experience of being in-synch with your work—too often in just this space, in just this way, to risk messing with the details.

Whether or not my writing is any good that morning has become secondary. The value is found in showing up. In all the rest of my life spent wrestling words and wrangling four kids, rarely do two days look alike. I am undisciplined and frazzled and taking it a day at a time all the time, but every week Saturday morning comes for me with open arms and a hot paper cup of freshly brewed house roast.

This has become my one almost defiant act of consistency. I smile as I sip and ponder Thoreau’s perfect words in Walden: “Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me.”

new profile picAleah Marsden is a writer, editor, and Social Media and Communications Manager for Redbud Writers Guild. She blogs at DepthoftheRiches.com about life, faith, and Bible study. Her work has been featured in Books & Culture and The Banner. Connect with her on Twitter: @aleahmarsden. It’s Cara again: and did you not just LOVE Aleah’s words, the picture she painted, the view into her Saturday morning ritual? Thank you for sharing, friend. Show her some love!