This and that.

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My Superstar Husband just got home from playing music in Sweden; a trip that took a little under 3 weeks.

If this was eight years ago, I may have taken you through a day by day series on how I was coping with him being gone while I worked and taught and took care of all the kids. Now I mainly just get on with life, and try to find a few minutes every day to sit by myself in the quiet. This is my season. I am fully in it: teaching, working at many things, finding rare moments of solitude. I won’t be in it forever. The kids won’t be home forever. I want to enjoy it. 

Of course, eight years ago I had four kids under the age of eight, so it was a little rougher on me when Chinua left on extended trips. Now I have these great teenagers who both give more and take more in many ways. (They take so much mental energy, and they give so so much help to the household.) 

The main thing I found when Chinua was gone this time was that I was fine for a week, okay for a week and a half, and then during the last week, I lost my spark. I felt dull and listless and I found myself going through the motions. I really like the man I married. He plays the piano, guitar, trumpet, mandolin, he is ridiculous and silly, he brings a lot of life to our house. I don’t know what I would do without him.

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Sometimes the most valuable thing that someone brings to a relationship is their essential self. I’m seeing that more and more lately- how we each bring something that is entirely us, that no one else can bring, and there is no way to replace it.

You are so valuable, Reader. I hope you know it.

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Leafy’s current obsession is medieval armor. We have all these little chain mail links around the house because he has been making chain mail out of wire. 

Whenever I tell Leafy something good about himself, he gives a little hop. Leafy’s hop is one of my favorite things. It’s how I can tell that he is happy and well. We all love our Leafy Boy so much. I am pretty fierce with love for him. 

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Life is so busy in every single area that I’m trying to focus on getting little bits done here and there, rather than having large chunks of work done. Ro and I replanted three crepe myrtles on Thursday (little bits), I have a nice fiction writing streak going (little bits), I’m working my way through emails (little bits), I’m decluttering as I go. Reading to the kids. Making a loaf of bread or knitting a couple rows. Making a phone call or making a copy of a passport. (Little bits.)

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I’m so close to finishing the first draft of Demon’s Arrow (World Whisperer 4) that I can taste it. I’m doing little bits every day… I’ve been in the creative mud so much with this book that I have to take it more gently. But it’s so, so close. I’ll probably share some first draft stuff over at Patreon when it’s done. 

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Kenya and I have our first collaborative painting up at Etsy. I love working with this girl. I’m also working on getting some blank cards up in the shop. I’ll have individual cards and a choose-your-own 6 card set. 

Every day I pray for the kids in the cave. The wait feels unbearable. 

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The world is full of grief and anger, wrongs that go on and on, sorrow and power hungry giants. Today I pray that I can make my home a place of peace, that people would feel welcome here. I pray that our community space can feel like walking into love. I pray that my corner of the Internet would feel welcoming to all, to every single person, especially those who are longing for a home. 

I love you, Readers. God loves you. You are swimming in love. I pray that you can feel it.

Canada Day Sale of A Traveler's Guide to Belonging

Right now, A Traveler's Guide to Belonging is on sale for $1.99 on all major ebook retailers. Hooray! Get it here. 

Also, have I ever been in such mud with a book as I am right now? Yes, yes I have. I am SO CLOSE to writing The End on the fourth World Whisperer book, but this book might kill me. And then I'll need to be resurrected to write Book 5. I think it's worth it though. 

And Chinua is in Sweden playing music. He's been gone for about two weeks and will be back on Friday. Send help. And chocolate. And noodle salad. We miss each other badly. Thankfully I have these great kids to hang out with.

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Now you can support my writing on Patreon. Patrons can give as little as $1 a month, and get extra vlogs and posts. A special thanks to new patron, Teresa Q. I really really appreciate your support, it helps me to keep going with writing and publishing my work.

A Round Up of What I'm Reading.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

I thought I'd do a little round up of books in my life right now. I am a reader, through and through, and I always have a lot of books around me, around my bed, on my desk, traveling in my bags, on my phone, and at my table. I read before I go to bed, I read in the moments in between, and I listen to audiobooks while I'm cooking or painting or cleaning. 

The very first book I want to tell you about is written by a friend of mine! Cate M Ruane is the pen name of my friend Cate. We have traveled together and lived together in our wild life, and she has been an Auntie to my kids. We talk about books as often as we can, and now she has published her book, Telegram for Mrs. Mooney. I read one of the earliest drafts of this book, and I read the published book, and I thought the same thing both times: 

I love Tommy Mooney. He is one of the scrappiest, quirkiest characters I've ever come across, and he is so lovable, so adventurous that I can't help but adore him. Cate M Ruane's first book is a cleverly drawn picture of war, culture, art and a fascinating era, through the lens of a twelve year old boy. It is World War II mystery, but it is more. I highly recommend it! And soon more are coming. Even better. 

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What else have I read recently? For my book group, I listened to the audio of A Gentleman in Moscow, which was excellent. Both the book and the audio version were like returning home at the end of a long day. A Gentlemen in Moscow is refined, lovely, full of characters you actually like.

I also listened to Killers of the Flower Moon, The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, which is quite a title. I'm so glad I read it. The Osage murders happened early in the twentieth century to the Osage tribe, centering around, surprise surprise, racism, oil, and wealth. It's another glimpse of the horrific way Indigenous people have been treated in the Americas, but the book is easy to read/listen to.

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Also on my To Be Read list are two books that I missed reading for Book Group when I was in India: Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan, and A Country Between: Making a Home Where Both Sides of Jerusalem Collide, by Stephanie Saldaña (a book that people have assured me I will love). I'll let you know how I like them. 

I'm brushing up on my teenager skills. I have two at the moment, and one approaching swiftly. This is what happens when you have three kids in three years, the teens just keep coming. I have always loved teenagers and get along with them really well, but that doesn't mean I am not misunderstanding and being misunderstood by my own. After a few locked-horn battles, I am reaching for some reading. I'm currently listening to How to Listen so Teens Will Talk and Talk so Teens will Listen. And I have yet to dip back into Boundaries with Teens and Parenting Teens with Love and Logic, but they are on my Kindle.

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Recently I read I'll Be Your Blue Sky, by Marisa De Los Santos. I always love her books, finding unexpected depth in her stories. I'll Be Your Blue Sky was the third in a sort of series about a girl named Clare and the people around her, and it was beautiful. 
 

Also on my Kindle TBR list:

The Spirit of the Disciplines, by Dallas Willard
Abide with me by Elizabeth Strout
The Omnibus of the Crosswicks Journals, by Madeleine L'Engle
32 Yolks: From My Mother's Table to Working the Line, by Eric Ripert and Veronica Chambers
The Sacred Enneagram, by Christopher L Heuertz (I'm a 4)
The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness, by Timothy Keller
 

What are you reading lately? Anything good?

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Now you can support my writing on Patreon. Patrons can give as little as $1 a month, and get extra vlogs and posts. A special thanks to new patron, Teresa Q. I really really appreciate your support, it helps me to keep going with writing and publishing my work.

An open letter to Jeff Sessions

Dear Sir,

I am concerned about your text. Perhaps you would like to quote a handbook on intimidation tactics instead of the Bible. I am not sure that you really want to quote scripture, because you might just have to dig a little deeper and what you find might hurt you, hurt you like thorns and nails, hurt like whip marks on your back, when you are asked to let go of your wealth, your reluctance just might choke you. When you read, “Whoever receives a child like this receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me,” you might falter, when you look at the cages you have created, when you hear the crying and suffering of tiny ones, you might realize that to cause this is to join the other side, the ones hurting the God who is walking among them, weeping.
And when you look into it, you might find that those scriptures (about respecting leaders) were first written to people who were revolutionizing love, who stood in the fire rather than give up their faith, who
lost their very lives
to save their souls
and what can save your soul
when you have sold it to hatred, when you have given it to fear
when you have birthed fear of the other
the Jesus I know turned to the thief on his right and said
we will be in paradise together, brother
and Paul says but for the grace of God
there go
I
and the entire book you are quoting says
that clinging onto security will kill you in the end
better to give it up
better to offer others more safety
than to hold onto our own and
become evil
and true love actually sometimes allows itself to be killed
to help a person in need
And it is not merely revolutionary
It is a revolution
where the first are last and the last are first
and the least of these, the hungry and alone, are so important
that ignoring them puts you in great peril and so I am not sure that you
really want
to quote
Scripture
to further your self righteous
cause.

***

Give here to provide assistance to families separated at the border.

 

This and that.

This morning is heavy and humid already, with a hint of cooling rain on the horizon. In a few minutes we will get into the car to drive to Mae Hong Son, about 2 and a half hours away, to renew our visas at immigration. The drive is very beautiful, though immigration days are long. 

I have a few business-y things. Kenya and I are opening our new website soon... with little starts and stops. We're selling our own art, as well as some collaborative pieces. It's a fun, interesting process as we get used to working with each other. Anyhow, I've been painting up a storm and I have a couple of new paintings in my shop.

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This brown bear.

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And these quail. You can find them here.

Also I'm putting a call out for reviews on my World Whisperer Boxset. If you have read the books, will you consider reviewing here? Thank you, reviews help so much with getting the books out to the world.

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This week will be full of writing and painting and teaching. I'm still hard at work on World Whisperer 4 and it's going to be worth the wait. It's a hard book to write, though! Oh my goodness. Every day is so full of the best things. Kissing and hugging and helping kids sort through conflict, deep discussions of faith and love with the kids and friends who drop over, or friends at the garden. All these things are worth it on this Monday morning. I know it is still Sunday for some of you. (Happy Father's Day!) But how is your week shaping up? What things are there to look forward to? To be curious about?

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Now you can support my writing on Patreon. Patrons can give as little as $1 a month, and get extra vlogs and posts.  I really really appreciate your support, it helps me to keep going with writing and publishing my work.