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New Angles and Hairdos

This morning I didn’t feel like spending any time on my hair. There were other things needing my attention. Plus, each time I brushed it, I noticed more gray strands and I really didn’t want to think about that. So, I put my hair up and moved on. Then my daughter came downstairs. She spotted me and immediately declared that she wanted her hair to look like mine.

IMG_20180919_090525_720.jpgIt was a simple enough request, but the contrast between what she saw and what I saw was striking. What I held in low esteem was the same thing she aspired to gain.

Yes, it was merely a hairstyle in this case, but the same reality crops up in all sorts of scenarios, between all sorts of people. That part of ourselves we would give anything to change, how often is that precisely what others wish they could possess? I think it happens more often than we could possibly realize.

Maybe instead of trying to eliminate or replace what is naturally a part of you, you could choose to enhance that part. Polish it up. Use it to serve others, as well as yourself. Ponder why it was part of God’s design of you in the first place. And if someone expresses a wish that they could be like you in this regard, don’t dismiss their aspiration. Dismiss your gut instinct to talk them out of it. Then, consider how that part of you might be a blessing and a strength if you could just find a new angle from which to view it.

Like the angle of a sleepy-eyed daughter looking up at her mother, with love and nothing else shaping her view.

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Night by Night

Last night I cut nearly all my hair off (or at least, I paid someone to cut nearly all my hair off). I haven’t worn it this short since high school, or maybe freshman year of college. That’s 10 years ago! After a decade of hairstyles reaching my shoulders, if not longer, it was awfully strange to have nothing to grab at the back of my head while I washed my hair in the shower this morning. It felt like I was washing someone else’s hair. But it’s mine, and I am actually loving the new, easy-doesn’t-begin-to-describe-it cut and all the compliments it’s garnered thus far. It’s fun to keep track of the adjectives people choose when they notice the drastic change I made.

Tomorrow night I shall roll my packed suitcase out the door and hit the road. I’ll only drive as far as my parents’s house in the U.P. but early the next morning my mom and I are scheduled to depart for Traverse City, MI. The Traverse City region happens to be one of my favorite places to visit, with its bays, beaches, sand dunes, cherry orchards and boutique shops. It is also the setting for The Mercy Hour. Mom and I will do our best to strike a balance between chilling out and researching the book’s setting during our four days there. Prediction: I will be inclined to stay.

Of course the approaching journey means tonight is to be dedicated to filling that suitcase and readying to leave as soon as I finish work tomorrow. The little more than a day standing between me and my road trip just feels extra. Expendible. Such days can be annoying if I’m caught up in the spirit of anticipation, but with a tweaked attitude they can instead become a worthy challenge. Maybe it’s yet another sign that I need to learn how to chill, but I enjoy taking what feels like an expendible day and changing it into the opposite: a day of accomplisments and enjoyment. The expendible day is tailor made for all those little tasks I have put off, for crossing lines off the to-do list, for praying for all those people who asked for my prayers, for watching that movie I have wanted to watch, for calling that friend I meant to call sooner, for reading a book, for driving over to the adoration chapel, and for (of course) writing. I don’t know that I’ve ever met an expendible day I didn’t change into something else by the time it ended.

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All By Myself

What can a girl do with a whole weekend by herself, no plans, no people? Finish writing the first two chapters of her new novel, that’s what. When my weekend began, I had a measley two pages written. Come Sunday afternoon, two full chapters are ready to be typed up. That’s what happens when I spend over four hours in a quiet coffeehouse on a Saturday and attend early Sunday Mass so I have the whole morning and early afternoon to continue writing. Add in a houseful of clean windows, three loads of laundry done, two Brewers games watched, groceries bought and a third of a book read, and you have the sort of weekend I need to be having more regularly. Allow me a moment of happy pride in what was, dare I say, a weekend designed just for me… … … Thanks.

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Delighting

With its start-of-summer feeling and easy, laid back mood, it was a weekend to put a smile on my face. Those weekends don’t come along as often as they used to so I soaked in the minutes and hours as thoroughly as I could. Tailgating and rooting for the Brewers at Miller Park on Saturday, then strolling around Madison on Sunday before seeing Jason Mraz in concert… talk about an abundance of fun!

It may be due to the distincly Mraz-ish atmosphere of the concert, but I am feeling lighthearted today. No, I know it wasn’t only the charm of Mr. A to Z’s musical talent. The unburdened mood is also due to my brief time spent in prayer before Mass yesterday. The Lord reminded me of the treasure of His love and the relief of entrusting my oft mistaken heart to Him. Then throughout the day, He dropped hints. Hints of sweetness, goodness and delight: the 2nd reading during Mass that was a passage from my favorite chapters in the Bible; the warmest sunshine of the year with not a single interfering cloud; blooms at the botanical gardens- pink, white, red, yellow, blue, purple and scents straight from heaven; curling my toes into plush new grass; the entirely unexpected find at the random used bookstore (who knew the brilliantly quirky British film, “Cold Comfort Farm,” was originally a novel?); a chance to begin reading that find atop a rooftop terrace overlooking Lake Monona; then the enjoyment of the music with my constant companion of enjoyment, Jessica. God does like to see us smiling.

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Two Minute Blog

I have two minutes before I need to close up the office and head home. On tonight’s docket: planting the daffodils that are blooming in the flimsy plastic holders they came in at the store; gym; more laundry (lately it never ends); writing chapter one of The Mercy Hour (I hope). Someday I’ll get around to watching the “Chuck” season finale that was on Monday night.

The Brewers swept their series against Pittsburgh! Which puts them over the .500 mark for the season thus far. Happy about that! Also happy to know I’ll see Braden Looper pitch on Saturday. Really didn’t want it to be Suppan or Parra.

The sky that was bright and blue all day has suddenly clouded up. I’m not sure what’s up with that. Even if it rains I am going to have to plant those flowers. They can’t wait any longer.

Okay, I’m out of here. Homeward, I depart!

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Rainy Saturday

At my kitchen table sits my grandmother with her crossword puzzle book and me with my manuscript and laptop. Every so often we both glance up from our respective work to watch the cardinals and mourning doves fluttering about in the rain outside. The bird feeder by our deck is nearly empty and I really should venture out and refill it. She’s on her third mug of coffee and still her head bobs as she slips into a doze between crossword clues. I can’t say I am wishing to be anywhere but here at the moment.

Tonight I’m seeing Matt Maher in concert. He and his band are fantastic and fun, and the other band in the lineup sounds exceptional too. Honestly though, my excitement for tonight isn’t so much tied to who is performing but to the chance to worship. I am impatient to sing along, to lift my voice and my hands and close my eyes and praise my God. I miss the Festivals of Praise at FUS and the Masses there with not only beautiful music but a congregation that sang with full voices and hearts. Tonight I will worship in that franciscan fashion that used to characterize my spirituality and which I long to recapture.

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Winning the Game (I hope), Losing the Afternoon

Told myself I would finish editing my manuscript today. Instead I am transfixed by the Brewers game on my television screen. Who is this pitcher on the mound and what did they do with the mess that was Suppan in his previous starts? I can’t stop watching. Must see Suppan gain another scoreless inning. Okay, I’ll compromise. I’m hitting mute on the commercial breaks and turning my eyes to chapter nineteen until the top of the sixth starts.