Friday, February 26, 2010


On my trip to Savannah I forgot to take contact solution. I didn't realize it until I had washed my faced, donned my PJ's, and was ready to take out my contacts. Boo. So, I thought, "No biggie, I'll just sleep in them and get solution tomorrow."
That sounded like a good idea until midnight, when I was blinking my dry eyes furiously and counting the minutes I away until I had to get up again. So, I gave up, chucked them in the trash, and conceded to wearing glasses for the next few days.
There's nothing conceptually wrong with glasses. But I did face two issues. First, I would catch my index finger poised an inch from the bridge of my nose, ready to push them back up so I could see. And in that moment, my inner geek reigned. I try to keep her under wraps, but glasses make her bolder.
Second, and this is the kicker, it was impossible to wear sunglasses. I squinted from Savannah to Atlanta today. So, I'm grateful for a number of aspects of my usual eye care situation. But given four hours of a wrinkled brow, I'm particularly grateful for sunglasses. Not only do they spare me the wrinkles and discomfort of scrunching my forehead, but they look cool. Super cool. (Take that, inner geek. Who's eating lunch at the cool table now?)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sail Away

I am in Savannah today for business. It was a long day. Not at all bad, just long. And by the time it got done I was ready for dinner and some mental cotton candy. So, I scooped up a new book I've been looking forward to and tucked it in my red purse, zipped my coat up to my neck since it's roughly the temperature of Siberia, and headed toward the river to a little Greek restaurant for an evening of light reading and heavy food.
The stairs that go from Bay down to River are narrow and old, so I kept my head down to watch as I descended. It wasn't until I was safely on the cobbled street below that I glanced up and saw it. An old-fashioned ship, complete with masts and a crow's nest, and it's name, Peacemaker, etched along the prow in gilt letters. (Prow? Stern? Bow? Poop deck? I'm not sure what you call the back....Prow sounds the best in context, though so we'll stick with that.)
It rode sedately there on the water, just behind one of the ornate fountains that decorate River Street.
For half a second it was two centuries ago.
I love it when you get a magic moment that transports you out of the mundane. They are all the more precious because they're fleeting and rare.
Thank you, Father Dearest, for the little reminders that you are timeless, ageless, and magic. For moments of refreshment and wonder that remind me I am not of this world, nor bound to it forever.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pass the salt!

If I had to be a flavor, one flavor, I would be salt.
I. Love. Salt.
It is not only a standalone winner, but it actually makes everything else taste better when added. Well, maybe not peaches, but it is vital for a proper chocolate chip cookie, not to mention all snacks and most entrees.
And, it's natural! Sea salt. Sounds exotic, doesn't it? Tastes pretty darn good, too. I'd hate to think of a world without salt. I'm sure I'd be a lot lighter, but still, it would be so....bland. God was mighty thoughtful to put an enhancer in such vast quantities all over the earth. I wonder if He did it just because He knew, back before there was land and sea, that Jesus would say "You are the salt of the earth." (Matt. 5:13, fyi). That would be just like our extravagant Father to provide an example of Christianity that tastes good. And, it really is the perfect analogy. Salt is natural, free, plentiful, and always enhances its environment.Wouldn't it be grand if people thought of us the same way?
Thanks, God, for seasonings that are universally delightful. And please let me be a bright flavor in the lives you let me touch.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I have a meeting tonight in the burbs, which for a city girl is kind of like driving to Timbuktu in traffic, and then hanging a left. I came straight up from the office so I could beat the after-work rush and arrive some time before Thursday... which I have.
The up side is I didn't have to sit and stare at miles of angry red tail lights. The down side is I have a bunch of time on my hands.
Which leads me to today's bright spot.
I ran a few errands and then thought, "Gee, wouldn't it be nice if I had someone to talk to?" And thanks to a little forest green piece of plastic in my purse, I can. Yes, my cell phone. Was it less than twenty years ago that answering machines were the wave of the future? Less than ten that I had to go back to my college dorm to see if anyone had called?
It's hard to even remember what that was like. But now I just scroll through the digital phonebook and I get to talk to my Dad about the apple harvest of the Northwest among the other goings-on of life. In a world, job, and passion where its easy to feel isolated, my ghetto green phone keeps me from getting too lost in my own head.
Thanks, God, for family and friends and cell phones with which to talk to them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lucky 13

So, most writers get involved in a critique group in which they share their work with each other and, as you might have guessed, critique it. It matters a LOT who is in your group because these people have the potential to build you up and hone your skills. Their feedback can highlight your habitual gaffs and spot it when you start to slump or your character has a personality crisis. And, the coveted :-) in the comments box makes me go, "Yes! Maybe I can do this!"
Of course, if they're incompatible partners, who don't get your style or don't care enough to be honest, you could end up with your 'writing voice' hacked to bits or a manuscript that is not your best work.
It matters.
And that is why I am so thankful for mine! Shout out to ACFW Crit13 (Heyo! Holla back y'all). We have the occasional quiet week, but for the most part I hear from these girls regularly. We started off last week with a "what's that word" email that led to heeelariousness. The kind where you sit alone and laugh out loud and don't even care when the other Borders patrons give you the fisheye. Later in the week though, stuff came up and I got emailed prayer requests and added my own reply to the chain confirming that we were, as a group, ringing God's phone off its hook.
I've had times when I was just beat down by the daunting task that God has called me to, and these gals encouraged me to keep at it, made the elusive title of 'author' seem like a possibility.
And when I gave them my precious baby (that's how we writer types talk about our manuscripts) to evaluate, they did so honestly but with love. So, it wasn't always fun to read the comments, but worth it? Oh yeah. My baby had some ugly spots that are much better now.
Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." If I had written it I probably would have referred to platinum, or silver at least. Much more flattering to think of oneself as at least a semi-precious metal. But, the point is still there (no, not an intentional pun, though it works with my humor, no?). They make me stronger. Not just as a writer, as a Christian.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Peewee has a new outfit

My older sister sent me a picture today. In it, my one year-old niece (whom I affectionately dub Peewee) has ladies undergarments draped around her neck and a smile that has a dash of mischief. Maybe two dashes. Julia said she was folding laundry and Peewee kept taking unmentionables out of the basket and pulling them over her head.
It's one of those adorable pictures that could be stashed away and, in about fifteen years, shown to potential boyfriends. I say could because I don't think we'll do that. I don't think we really should. I would hate for the sweet little girl grinning like an elf in the photo to be embarrassed for her antics, for wanting to wear mommy's clothes and be noticed. I want her to look back at the photo, if she ever sees it, through the eyes of those who love her and were enthralled by the cute, and goofy things she did.
I love that Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." I think its very hard sometimes to forget whose watching or worry about what they'll think. It stifles our joy, our willingness to be goofy just for fun and to smile fully as we enjoy something just because.
I know there's a lot of times I'd like to play and I stop myself. Being naturally ungraceful, it's in my public image's best interest to sit out most athletic events. But how amazing to be free of that. To live in a single moment, unwary of the perception of this earth as I play in the presence of my God. I think in heaven we'll play dress up and turn cartwheels. We'll worry not at all about looking suave and instead be caught up determining exactly how much joy a single moment can hold.
Thank you, God, for childhood. For nieces and their smiles, for your affinity for the childlike, and that however old I may become, I can come to you undignified and know you'll smile.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ensconced in heaven itself

I have a spot on the futon (read: poor girls' couch) that has a table at the elbow to put a cup of cocoa on. I prop my feet on the coffee table and read. It's a lovely way to pass a Saturday morning or any afternoon, as evidenced by the fact that it is six thirty now and I have moved for the first time in a couple hours. I do love to read.
Now, while I love the apartment I live in, I hold no illusions about the quality of craftsmanship involved in its construction. When you get within six inches of the windowpanes, you feel the air temperature drop by at least ten degrees, same with the door. So, it takes some work for our shoddy heater to raise the temperature to seventy. Today I had to nudge it up several times until it reached seventy six to make that happen. This is not a big deal, other than I had to set down my book, painfully wrenching my mind and imagination from the story that entwined them.
This would not have been the case if I'd gone to my room, instead of the thermostat, and retrieved my down blanket when I first grew cold. There is NOTHING like a down blanket. The way it is infinitely soft, and almost instantly warms you. The way its soft weight seems not just to trap warmth but to generate it. More than once I have stayed curled up for longer than I meant to just to avoid leaving the nest of a down. I envy ducks, they must be so comfortable with down against their skin.
It gives a whole new meaning to Psalm 61, I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. If just a blanket can feel so nice, what of the gentle embrace of my God? I long to curl up in the downy safety of shelter of His wing, nestled close by His side, warm, dry, safe.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I have been banished from my apartment tonight, but I don't mind. My roommate is having small group and I fully approve. So, for the next two hours, I will sip peppermint tea from a paper cup and read a book I bought today. And, as is evident, use the Internet to write, and then perhaps order some more books from Amazon... (who am I kidding, there's no perhaps about it. Super Saver shipping, here I come!)
Was it only a matter of years ago that all this was impossible? That I would have been tethered by cord that attached the Internet to my computer? And not just the cord either; have you ever tried to haul a desktop to your local coffee shop? Not a fun prospect.
I am so grateful for wi-fi. I suffer from chronic cabin fever and if I had to stay at home to use my computer (or sit in a terminal in some Internet cafe...lame) I would go stir crazy. Or give up on using computers, one of the two. But no, I can drop my attache over my shoulder and set up shop with the world at my fingertips as I enjoy the semi-public atmosphere of my local book shop. And then, when I get tired of that scene (I cite the cabin fever severe cases one can have an attack in public places if any one location is dwelt in too long) I can relocate to a coffee house and pick up where I left off.
I would never have survived back in the day where one could expect to be born at home, be raised at home, and then spend one's life cleaning and maintaining the home. If I sometimes wonder if God's plan for my life has gotten lost under a two-week old coffee cup shoved in the corner of His desk, I never worry that He sent me in the wrong era. I don't profess to be a patient person, and though I pray daily to be more so, I think God knew I would do best in the age of instant Internet access.
So, thank you God for this modern age in which I am blessed to live, the Internet which I take often for granted, and the books I am about to use it to purchase.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bless me.

My roommate asked me this morning if I'm coming down with something. Not coming down so much as it has me in a sleeper hold and shows no sign of letting up any time soon. Right now I'm that girl whose hand you don't want to shake because there's a small nation, nay a whole world of germs, holding their own Olympics right there on the surface of my palm.
So today I'm grateful for modern medicine. As soon as I can work up the gumption to go to Kroger, I'm going to smother those symptoms like Aunt Donna after a long absence. Only instead of repeated cheek pinches, my drugs herald death! Take that athletic germs.
My nose can hardly wait, nor can the rest of me for that matter.
It's crazy to think about the complexity of the human body and how almost any malady can be dealt with by taking a little pill. I know just enough about science to realize how much I don't know, and I'm glad that God made really smart people who have figured out ways to make life more comfortable. I am amazed by the way our bodies themselves regenerate and compensate and fight back against infections and illnesses. It's something that happens without conscious thought or design. I sneeze to remove germs, (though, obviously to no great affect this time around), and my body tells me when its time to just go lay down and let the natural processes do their work while I sleep. I cough to remove...well, you get the picture.
All that leads me to say, thank you God for the wonderful ways the human body functions and that it's intentional. Thank you for knitting me together in my mother's womb. And thank you, when my army of antibodies and white blood cells and whatnot are losing the battle, there's a whole grocery store aisle of stuff to aide the good guys.

Friday, February 12, 2010


It was one of those days when it seems the relevant world wakes up and thinks to itself "Hmm, today would be a good day to sit on Kimberly's head." I am glad that, in Christ, I am more than a conqueror (it's in the Bible somewhere...).
Today I am grateful for red wine. Ahh. When I can't find rose colored glasses, the occasional glass of rose colored liquid is mighty fine. Note, to my fundamentalist brethren and sistren, I do not condone, or partake in, drunkenness. But a mellowing glass of the fruit of the vine (which our Lord did actually make out of water as His first miracle) is heavenly.
I mean, it's lovely to look at. The rich, mysterious color almost seems purple until you hold it to the light and its vibrant scarlet is revealed. And the smell....I have never detected fig or starfruit or chocolate in a glass as my more sophisticated counterparts undoubtedly have. But the full aroma, both sweet and biting satisfies almost as much as the flavor. Almost. When a strong, yet gentle, zinfandel caresses your tongue, you come to know the meaning of balance, and why it is so much better than extremes. Not too sweet, not too strong, but definitely present and with an impression that lasts long after the sip is gone.
God, thank you for wine and how something that is thousands of years old can bring a new perspective of peace, levity, and culture to a snowy Friday afternoon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happiness by the ounce

I think I've mentioned before my affinity for caffeine. Of course, she's best in her native coffee, but can't be over appreciated in any form. Well, yesterday I was teaching a group of peers a new information system and I was pretty wiped. So, naturally, I wanted something sweet and bubbly to boost my energy. vending machine.
Now, I totally could have dealt with it. There was a water fountain. But - and here comes the sweetness of blessings - although I could have gone without and been fine, I didn't have to! My boss had a spare diet soda in his car that he let me have. Yay! And then, when he wanted more soda, since I'd downed his last one, he made a run to the Rite-Aid. I asked him to bring me a diet Coke and poked around my purse for a dollar. Well, he's a southern gent, so he wouldn't take my dollar and then he came back with two diet Cokes for me! They were that slightly smaller size (I don't know why they do that...I was good with the 20 ouncers) so he just got me two instead of one. I would have been pleased with just the one, but out of nowhere, my blessing was doubled.
Yes, I do realized I'm talking about artificially flavored bubble water. But the point was not just the soda. It was that someone would be generous when they had absolutely no obligation. I wouldn't have known he had a spare soda if he didn't say anything. And then, have that blessing doubled, nay, tripled out of kindness.
It made me want to be generous to someone who I have no obligation to and who has no obligation to me. It made me want to give freely so that another soul could feel lighter just because. So, I'm grateful for kind people and soda and tomorrow will inentionally look for a way to be a blessing to someone else. Just because.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Page turner?

I love not so much to travel as to be in other places. I don't have a fabulous car (no offense to my Impala, but really...) and I would never have survived the covered wagon days. But after four hours on the road today I rolled into Charlotte, NC and....I was disappointed!
Why? Because one thing I do have is a killer book on CD. Brilliant. Whoever originally thought, "wouldn't it be nice to be able to read without having" I thank you. I'm about halfway through a gripping tale of intrigue that had me cruising for a lunch spot just to hear what happened next.
I am passionate about stories and I'm sure I'll be grateful for them repeatedly. But for a girl who thinks the motto "Life is the journey, not the destination" is something people say just to fill the boring semi-quiet after too many hours of wheel-on-pavement, books on CD make all the difference in the world. Then my mind can travel at the same time I do (while always maintaining appropriate awareness of my vehicle and its direction of travel...ahem.)
Even now, as I watch the artistic genius of Food Network competitors turning chocolate into the images of famous landmarks - in case it didn't look good enough just sitting in bar format - I am mulling over the story and looking forward to Friday's stint home, when hopefully I'll finish the novel and be spared a Saturday morning of conjured errands, just so I can drive.
Thank you, God, for brilliant stories you give your people to tell, and for strokes of genius like the dramatic reading of a good book on CD. Thank you for cars that make it possible to travel hundreds of miles in mere hours....and thank you that I don't have to do that too often.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


So, Atlanta is dear to my heart. It's not just the place I've passed the last ten years, its my home. One of the things I love about Atlanta is that, although its a big city, it still has trees. Anyone whose spent a length of time in a major metro area understands what I'm talking about. We may not see stars, but we see green!
And today as I sit, surrounded by the cheerful red walls of Borders' cafe, and gaze out the window (because I ought to be writing a report for work), the first thing I noticed was the high rise condos that loom black and stalwart behind the EFIS and glass of the mall. (Note: EFIS is fake stucco. It's flammable. My job makes me think like this.)
Then my gaze wanders to the right and snags upon the delicate boughs of trees not yet dressed for the sunshine. I love the image of their naked, delicate limbs fanned like lace across the sky. It makes me get all contemplative, about how something with such a fragile beauty is actually mighty and old, how the tender parts are kept high and safe, and how even when coated in an array of greenery, lovely in its own right, the lacework is still underneath, hidden from the hot summer sun until the winter light shines again. It makes me wish I could hold it in my palm, or make my home just underneath, so each time I looked up, I'd get to see the stark contrast of fine black against a wash of silver-blue.
Thank you God for the little pretties in the world, for the way trees are trees whether I notice them or not, and for the imprint of something deeper than the visible that they leave on my memory.

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like....Spring!

Today I am grateful for shadows! Or at least I think so, I can never remember if it's shadows mean Spring or no shadows mean Spring....I'm grateful for groundhogs at any rate because although I don't have much confidence in General Beauregard Lee's ability to predict the arrival of spring (he's the Punxatawny Phil of the South for those who live above the Mason-Dixon), he did say that Spring is on its way. Hurray!
And if today is any indication, whichever weatherman is responsible for Groundhog Lee's opinion is right. The sun is out, and I have shed my coat for at least the next few hours. It is a day custom-made for ukuleles and ice cream sandwiches and maybe even an open-toed shoe.
Sigh. I suppose on some level I'm grateful for the winter days, short enough to be called stubby and cold enough to be labeled harsh, because without them, this day may not stand out as lovely. However, that level is very deep and rarely accessed, and I'm happy to leave it un-plumbed at this time. No, instead I'll revel in this Psalm 23 kind of day. The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Knitted comfort

I have this kelly green sweater-hoodie. It zips up the front and pockets like a sweatshirt over the tummy. It's getting a good crop of fuzzballs and there is currently a crumb on the sleeve.
No, it's not a fashion least not one I would intentionally make. But, on this windy Friday morning it is my favorite sweater because it is so soft. It feels amazing, stretching lightly over my arms as I work. Its warm but not heavy and, in the way only a quality piece of clothing can do, its not only comfortable, but it exudes comfort.
Isn't it funny how something tactile can affect the untouchable parts of us? The soft brush of ....(looking at my tag)...acryllic/polyester/wool/spandex blend on skin can stir a sigh of contentment that goes beyond a hoodie and man made materials. But it does.
If green sweaters could speak, this sweet, ugly thing would say, "Relax. It's Friday. You'll get done what you need to and all will be well." And so it will.
Thank you, God, for little comforts and little reminders that, indeed, all will be well.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

As I lay me down to sleep

I'm posting late again because I had to be at work early. I stayed up late preparing as well. For two days I've been teaching my colleagues a new information system at work. It's a good system and I like teaching, but it was pretty taxing, honestly. I had to be on, had to be ready to answer any questions, had to be nice even when people got tired of sitting all day and turned snippy (or at least I had to try to be nice....) I think it went well and felt good about the whole thing when we wrapped up at noon today. Then, after a few more hours of work, I came home, curled up with a book, and read until my eyes quit focusing and I drifted off into the warm arms of sleep.
Ahhhh. There is nothing quite like waking up completely limp, without an alarm blaring or work calling. The slow awareness of self and surrounding alighting on your consciousness. A long, lazy stretch of totally relaxed muscles.
Isn't sleep amazing? I mean, imagine if God had made us not to need it, to be functional and alert without stop for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. If night time was just second shift.
Ugh. I think even if I didn't need to, I would want to sleep. It is a chance to be still in a hectic world, to be vulnerable and safe, to let your mind run free in a dreamscape. There are a lot of studies now reflecting the importance of getting enough sleep. I say, good. But I didn't need convincing in the first place.
Psalm 121 verse 3 says He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed he who watches over you will neither slumber nor sleep. Thank you God for watching over me so I can rest, for being strong and vigilant always, so that even if I could, I don't have to. Thank you for an experiential image of the renewing and refreshment you offer me each day (and sometimes again in the afternoon). I will rest in you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Girl's best friend

I. Love. Sparkles. This is one of those areas where I fall neatly within the brackets of a stereotype. Accessories, I think, are the frosting on top of an outfit and in my opinion, the more sparkly, the better. It is amazing to me that something as simple as a rock, when cut and polished, becomes a ruby, a diamond, an emerald. And since I'm poor, a cubic zirconia (or glass for that matter.) Wearing something pretty makes me feel pretty, and for that I am grateful. I have some really pretty green glass earrings that look like emeralds and they catch the light and shimmer.
I am tired and its getting late so I won't go into the symbolism of finding beauty in the hard places and the need to be cut and polished to shine.
Today, I'm just grateful for sparkles that require no effort on my part to add shine and interest, for sparks of color that ignite faithfully every time the light hits them and make me lovelier.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roy G. Biv

What is your favorite color?
Simple question, but I always feel like a dolt when I try to answer. Truth is, most of the time I don't have a favorite. It's hard for me to imagine one color I would love to the exclusion of the others. It is the variety that makes each beautiful. Today, for instance, it is pretty gray outside. The bright pink lid of my coffee mug smiles up at me from my desk, and when no one is looking, I smile back.
Pink. Great color. Cheerful and warm, hence the proverbial rose colored glasses. It brings to mind spring and life and vibrant energy (as I type this it occurs to me that this particular association may have something to do with the fact that it is the lid to my coffee mug, but still.)
Now, if my desk were pink, I would probably vomit marshmallows. Like a said, great color, but better in small doses.
I love the bright blue of a summer sky and I love the variegated green of the smokey mountains when they're all leafed out. It's almost impossible to be gloomy in the presence of a bright lemony yellow. Here again, though, I pause. If the grass were bright lemony yellow, I bet Tylenol Headache sales would skyrocket.
Nope, overall, I can't pick a favorite. It is the concert of rich hues, bright and subtle, that weave a beautiful picture on this earth. Thank you God for inventing color, even beige, because amidst the variety are spots of glory that would be lost on me if they were all I saw.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Girls' lunch!

I had lunch yesterday with a relatively new friend. She is sweet as can be. It's funny how with friendships there's almost always that 'first date' period where you try to present your best self. It's natural and I think we all do it to some extent whether we know it or not. While its normal and can help ease things when you meet someone, it can paralyze a relationship. There's only so much surface area to a person and once you've covered it....awkward silence. Tap your nails. Suddenly remember a vital appointment.
It's scary for us to go one step deeper for several reasons, at least. One is, what if they don't like me? What if the ugly part of me isn't worth the pretty part? Another reason is, what if they don't want that? Some people are so surrounded by surface-friends, that it might take too much effort to dig a little. I bet all of us have done that thing where you say something honest, let your roots show, and look up to find yourself talking to a dust trail and a dot on the horizon.
So this was my blessing yesterday. Lunch with my friend Charlotte was fun and...(drumroll)...real! She is one of the good hearts that makes you feel comfortable, like she likes what she sees in you just because. And even if your ugly shows a little, she'll like you just the same. It's so freeing to feel like just being is enough.
I think this is a tiny taste of how God sees us. I am just Kimberly. Just...enough. On bad days, on good days, in the limelight or backstage. Thank you God that you love who I am and not what I do. Your love sets me free.