Thursday, October 30, 2014

To Love and Do

My mom and I took a walk the other day. As the cacophony of leaves created a noisy, yet soothing soundtrack we talked much as we usually do about many of the same things we usually do. One of which is journaling. As I already have elaborated on this week, my mom has taught me many things as she herself has learned them over the years. Besides quilting, she has also shared journaling. 

Writing in that manner is probably one of the greatest sources of spiritual development in my life. In the deep recesses of my childhood closet hide more than a decade worth of spiral bound thoughts. And while there is much less complaining about youthful woes, chores, homework and groundings, not much else has changed. I still choose to go there to contemplate first. These pages are filled with recognition of faults, expressions of sin, repentance, stubborn defiance, mourning over friendships and relationships, but also of wonderful discoveries, impassioned ideas, stories of God's faithfulness and fairness, new friends, newfound dreams, and really happy memories. 

As I'm on the brink of closing another journal, I look at the slow growing stack and love these penned moments of myself. They are imperfect and messy and not very eloquent, but they are the truest expressions of my thoughts and it's important to me that they have a place of their own. There is a reflection in those scrawlings where I take ownership of myself and Jesus meets me there regularly to point me back to Him. 

While I hold an affinity for journaling myself,  I don't see journaling as some grand value everyone should agree fact, it's the opposite. I am first and foremost a proponent of people finding things they like to do or find helpful and meeting Jesus there. Painting, home decor, horseback riding, brewing coffee, restoring a car, trail running. Jesus meets us in creativity because He Himself is the Creator. And in that we are free to do what we love and experience Him in it. 

"The moment good taste knows itself, some of its goodness is lost," CS Lewis wisely wrote in Surprised By Joy. Inevitably because of sin everything we do is already only half good, and we but continue to lose more when we look to the thing in itself to give us substance. The sharpness and beauty of all creative things comes from its innocence. To follow the path of ability and knowledge with abandon, not expectation, is the only way to truly experience creativity the way it was intended. The ambition to create a beautiful thing is not a problem, it is when we lose our love of creating that turns it into something less good. We search for beautiful results because we enjoy them. If we stop enjoying the search or the result, then beauty in its essence has no purpose. 

I also hope to convey that the creativity I am talking about is not in the absence of hardwork and patience but the absence of futility and vanity in the name of attention or self-satisfaction. In fact, when we are truly doing what we love and enjoying the One who enabled us to love it, we are free to work hard because we are uninhibited by laziness, insecurity, comparison, or fear of rejection. We stop doing what we love in the name of impressing people and actually end up finding the most freedom to just like doing it. 

I journal because it is a form of beauty of me. It may not be blog or novel or Kinfolk worthy, but our creative endeavors aren't always meant to be shared. Sometimes they're just for us to know with our Creator, and that, my friends, is the whole idea. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


My mom is currently resurrecting my high school graduation quilt from the grave. There was a cataclysmic incident in college with my roommates dog where she forewent manners and destroyed a corner. As we were formulating a plan to bandage the poor thing (the quilt, not the dog), I just was glad. Glad that my mom did this for me. Glad that we could share in the vision of the quilt 2.0. Glad to be with my mom. 

There is not a couch without a quilted cloak, or a bed without a sock-like shroud in my moms house. My mom has always been a sewer and quilter. Some of my earliest memories are of her sitting in her basement chalet surrounded by a moat of cotton and twill. Many nights I remember going to sleep in my pink room with the duet of my mom singing while her Bernina hummed harmony rising from the air ducts below my room in a soft lullaby. These quilts are one of many of her offerings of hospitality to us.

Quilts are not the only way I see this etching of hospitality on my childhood. When I was 8, my mom began to sacrifice some of her alone time at Whistle Stop, a local coffee shop, to me. There I learned what it is to enjoy simply the presence of another without conversation, her with a Beth Moore study, me with American Girl and Junie B. Jones novels. Over the years, we shifted to Starbucks and we progressed to C.S. Lewis, Timothy Keller and art journaling. The silence remained but were also shared with occasional punctuations of conversation for me to share an interesting quote or to inquire about her reading for her Counseling classes. 

My mom has always welcomed me and my siblings. We have always been invited into her world to share time, knowledge, questions, a snarky comment, or her bread. She has portrayed hospitality in the most vivid way possible. Not just inviting us to her home, but into herself. The older I get the more I find these little nuances in my life and I just want to pause and remember them. To pen them and hold them dear to me because they are unique to my family. And let me be honest, while I share a lot of things with my mom, I don't share her love for quilting....which is why I write about it instead.