Changes coming down

Confession: I am missing something from my days. It’s called Margin.

What a funny thing margin is, always hanging around the edges, not out in the open where it’s easily calculated or measured. You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.

I’m starting a few changes to my blog for the next few months.

The first one is that I’m taking a break from advertising. Most of my ads were due to expire at the end of May, and instead of renewing or soliciting new ones, I decided to let them phase out. There are two reasons for this—one is that I’m tired and the other is that I partly hate myself when I advertise. I’d be interested in your feedback on this. Advertising is such a great idea, up front; and I truly think it’s been good for me, and you, and businesses. But it takes work to maintain, especially since I’m handpicking the businesses. And sometimes I feel like I’m selling something (myself maybe), when all I really want is just to write. I started running ads last August, so we’re going on a year now and I’m ready for a break.

The second change is that I’m taking a break from blogging.

(This is one reason I’m breaking from the ads—how else can I take a writing break?)

I’ve had a recess in mind for some time. The original reason was that I am interested in writing Other things, and I never have time to do both—but now I don’t have time to do either, so that’s kind of funny. After I’ve given heart to all the other things in my life I don’t have any left to put here. I’m being a wife and a mommy. Writing is an important way for me to process life, but having margin is even more important; I feel the need to cut something out until we settle into this new normal.

Also I have a few personal issues I need to work on, like reading more Scripture, coming close to my church community, and cleaning my bathrooms. I’m going to get right on those.

This is the first open-ended break I’ve taken. I’ll jot a line in a week to tell you about the coffee giveaway results.

I’m not sure when, but I’ll be back.

I’ll miss you,
Shari

Two pictures that make me incredibly happy

Recently I came across two pictures on social media that filled me with joy.

They are wildly different: the first, pristine and elegant, mysterious, imaginative; the second, grainy and smudgy and hopelessly outdated. Look at this.

magic-realism-paintings-rob-gonsalves-100

Rob Gonsalves is a Canadian artist who likes playing with optical illusion and duplicate realities. Here is more of his work, but I find the painting above simply unbeatable. I could enjoy it for hours. And I think I probably have…

childhood

The second picture is from my childhood, posted for Throwback Thursday by an old friend. It makes me super happy, partly because our dresses are so hideous and partly because we’re all so glad. I’m the squirt on the left. My brother is behind me, and I believe my cousin (who’s having a birthday party) is showing off the food in his mouth. Three family friends, all sisters, are with us.

I had an amazing childhood.

When I look at this picture I just think, “Alright. I wore knits and I survived. My kids are going to be okay too.”

*****

What brought you joy today?

Tea talk

Dear people,

If you know anything about me by now, you will know that when I start Dear People I’m about to be particularly truthful with you. Much as I dislike blogging about blogging, it’s time for another little heart-to-heart about where we’re at. Can we pretend it’s just the two of us talking over tea?

Quite frankly, I’ve been rather scared of you ever since our little explosion at the beginning of December.

(You will here note the conspicuous absence of a pingback to the post. That would reopen a can of worms I prefer to seal with seven seals.)

(Do you use one lump of sugar or two?)

I’ve always loved blog comments. Sometimes I used to post on purpose right before leaving for the weekend, because I loved to come home to a row of your words and thoughts. But now I’m worried you’re going to come after me with a shotgun. It’s kind of that Piglet thing of being a Very Small Animal wondering about Heffalumps. Do they come when you whistle? And how do they come?

I am not a person who enjoys public controversy, and can usually only bring myself to say a hard thing when I feel goaded into it by the silence of others. I see that my blog would be a livelier place if I could say all the inflammable things I think.

But then I would have to shoot myself.

Unless of course you did it for me.

If nothing else, the experience relieved my occasional fear that I am writing to a pack of young liberals who won’t blink no matter what I say. You may or may not have noticed, but you definitely blinked.

As much as you would think I’d have known better about using That Word in this forum, I didn’t. I thought I would get more flak for the word “gluten;” that was the one I had vowed never to touch again. Putting them both together into a single post was nothing short of kamikaze, but unfortunately I didn’t quite realize that until afterwards.

I won’t say I didn’t deserve it.

I am still the same person who blogged here in December. I still believe in the things that influenced me to express those viewpoints in those words. But. While I am so, so grateful to the Lord Jesus that our approval comes from Him and not from people, I am not such a fool as to be careless of what His people think. You have the Spirit too, and if you say something is a problem, I want to sit up and take notice. I am currently in my “eat no flesh while the world standeth” phase: all bad words are safe from me.

I just feel a little jumpy. I don’t know what will send you, and there’s still some fire gear on my heart I’m having a hard time writing off. I thought it would help if I told you.

Thanks for listening. I’m glad we had this talk.

(More tea?)

-Shari

Is freedom of speech a Christian value?

So I’ve been thinking about the tragic Charlie Hebdo shooting and wondering.

I’ve lived within western democracy for so long that it’s hard to think in any other terms, but is freedom of speech a Christian value?

That is, was it important to Christ, and should it be to His followers?

You can hardly claim it for yourself but refuse it to others. Is it valuable to Him that we each may speak freely what we feel and believe, and grant to others the same privilege?

Why? Why not?

The SAD Regimen

Confession: I never could get the hang of January.

This year I am blessed. I have energy and focus and I love my life, but some days some days I worry myself sick over the silliest things, and I just can’t think of that WORD while I’m talking to my children (and so I stammer until they supply it for me) (multiple times in a day). Some days I can feel it like ghostly fingers: tendrils of SAD fear and fog creeping into my mind.

I have been here before and I remember how to cope, to live, to heal; and I know that I am loved and that spring will come again before I know it. So I hang in there, and I bless Jesus for conquering darkness. I make small goals for myself and do them—even just cleaning my bathroom or making that phone call. I eat protein and fruit. And I tell my husband how I feel.

Dorcas Smucker wrote an article called What Works for Me: the SAD Regimen. Read it, if you or someone you love has down feelings in the winter. It’s excellent advice, the best I’ve read on the topic for a long time.

April is coming!