Posted in Joy: 2017 Word Meditation

Joy! the breaking news

Well, just because I’ve been absent from blogland doesn’t mean life has been dull and boring. No sir! In fact, quite the opposite. But rather than write out a lengthy description, I figure the following photograph sums it up quite nicely:

Circa our 10 year wedding anniversary in July of 2018, we’ll be expecting a new Brookes. And even though Nayt, the cats and I have no idea what we are getting into, I am all smiles as I think of the miracle God is doing RIGHT NOW.

Joy indeed.

Posted in Being real, Joy: 2017 Word Meditation, Media Mondays, Thoughts

Joy & Sorrow: kindred spirits

Hey all, remember Media Mondays? (dusts them off) Yeah, me too.

I’ve previously mentioned my affinity for Ann Voskamp’s words (and heart and life). And this weekend, I read a blog post on her website and started weeping. That’s right, straight up ugly crying. So, for this Media Monday, I’ll leave you with this piece of my heart:

Joy can still be found in brokenness.

To be honest, I don’t really understand why I had such an intense emotional reaction to Katie Davis Majors’ words. I deeply resonated with her book Kisses from Katie when I read it many years ago. And I had no idea that she and Ann Voskamp were connected.* But something is stirring within me as I keep living on this busted, broken planet full of busted, broken humans (of which I am one). We get it so wrong. We fall so short of God’s hopes for us. And yet…there is still very real joy to be had.

For the most part, I’d say emotions are a pendulum which swings between two polar opposites: sorrow and joy. But no. Sorrow and joy can occupy the same space. They are not extremes that come nowhere near each other. To be deeply, profoundly affected by sorrow can mean I experience real, tangible joy. Because the Author of my life is near those who are brokenhearted. And He really is.


At house church this weekend, some dear friends related their week as they engaged with a beloved family member going home. Really going home, to the Lord. And I was reminded that there is more than we see. There is so much going on behind the scenes, in the reality that is unseen, and that God is there too.

And I imagined myself, at the end of my life, turning to see Jesus literally come to meet me. And that thought wrecked me.

Right now, we see in part, but then…we will see REALLY. What I experience now on this planet is a shadow in comparison to what is to come. I forget that, cause these shadows have weight; they can hurt me, they aren’t wispy and light. But there is more. And I am not alone.

And if I’m willing to live in the place sorrow lives, sorrow will not be all I experience. Cause joy lives there too. And God is close to the brokenhearted. God is willing to be wounded to sit with those who are hurting. Wow. That is just echoing in my brain and I’m truly hearing it. If I claim to love Him and want to be like Him, I will sit in my sorrow and not run away. I will stay through the tough stuff, I will let the arrows & slings of His enemy come, because He is right beside me and there is true joy to be had, right here, right now.

Bring it on.




*I am thrilled Katie has written another book. And I am equally thrilled that two women I profoundly respect for their reckless abandon to Jesus are friends. I want Ann Voskamp, Katie Davis Majors, Sara Groves and Audrey Assad to all come over to my house for the realest, most raw worship session ever. 🙂 Hey, a girl can dream. 🙂

Posted in Crafty madness!, Homesteading, Joy: 2017 Word Meditation

On the home-front

I recently had some off time that was lavished on the home-front. Now, I’m just as excited as anyone to take vacations to exciting places, don’t get me wrong. But how often do we truly have energy & time to spend within the walls of the places we call home? With work at the bookstore and other “less professional” jobs keeping me busy outside the home-front, time slips away from me and my home becomes “that place I sleep sometimes.” How sad to pay a mortgage or rent on a space you don’t enjoy or even use for the majority of your waking hours!

The to-do list for home-front related chores is often steep and overwhelming. I picked at a couple nagging ones this week:

Exhibit A: a draft blocker for our housemate’s room, cheerily created from the legs of some jeans I cut off into shorts this year!


Exhibit B: a custom pincushion from a hand-embroidered hankie my Aunt Greer made me, I am so pleased with how this turned out!


Exhibit C: an autumnal wreath to replace the springy one I made earlier this year, cause it’s Fall now! (squee!!!!)


I also “Marie Kondo”ed my dresser drawers, which was fun. Never heard of Marie Kondo? OH MAN, she is the absolute guru of minimalist thinking. I read her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2015 and it only gave me more impetus toward reducing how much stuff I surround myself with on a daily basis. I am nowhere near “done” in this area of my life, but I have enjoyed owning less and redefining the word “necessary”.

Anywho, I also had the great pleasure of hosting a sewing circle in my home yesterday. More details on that to come later, for sure. I’m a beginner sewer (is that a word?), but I have greatly enjoyed taking classes at Treadle Yard Goods here in the Twin Cities. I also benefit in the amazing local support, encouragement & instruction from my friend Amanda who makes her own clothes (among other impressive feats). And as I surround myself with people who are comfortable playing with fabric, I have become less harsh on myself. Instead of getting anxious about messing things up, I’m learning to treat sewing like playtime. If I mess up a project, it’s just part of learning this skill.*

I greatly enjoyed my stay-cation. It was full of my home, among many other things, and I didn’t realize how lucky I am to have such a beautiful space within which to be. It is so lovely to invite others into a space you intentionally design and set apart to welcome others. It’s so lovely to get those proverbial ducks in a row. And to quote Charlotte Lucas in the P&P version most true Austenites shun for its departure from the text, “{Oh Lizzy} it is SUCH a pleasure to run my own home.” Well said, Charlotte. It is a pleasure indeed.






*big breaths everyone and maybe don’t throw the bobbin at the wall when it snags the underside of your project to oblivion…

Posted in Joy: 2017 Word Meditation, Things I'm reading

Fangirl adventures

I recently finished The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry. Actually, “finished” is the wrong word. I devoured the third and fourth books, Messenger and Son, over the course of 4 days. Upon completing Son, I was in the frustrating position of having read something truly remarkable and yet having no one with which to talk about the plot. Not one person of my general acquaintance has read all four books in The Giver series. I found this odd, especially as I work with 20+ booksellers, of which a majority have read a plethora of young adult fiction. But then I discovered The Giver was published in 1993, much later than I had originally thought. Gathering Blue, book 2 in the series, wasn’t published until 2000, Messenger in 2004 and Son was only published 5 years ago in 2012. Well, no wonder my colleagues and friends hadn’t devoured this series in their adolescence. The series wasn’t completed until 5 years ago!

That being said, as soon as I finished Son, I had the satisfying emotions that accompanied my completion of The Wrinkle in Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle and The Dark in Rising series by Susan Cooper (both have become “go-to” recommendations for my nieces, friends’ children and customers at work). If you have not read The Giver, you need to. End of discussion. But really, I want you to read it so that you’ll get hooked and read all 4 books so I have someone with which to talk about the fantastic series finale.

It was a bit before midnight when I finished Son, and I was so energized by what I had read that I was wired. I wrote my little review on Goodreads and came to the sad conclusion that I couldn’t immediately chat with someone about the book. So, I did what any normal bibliomanic would do, I stalked Lois Lowry on the internet, found her website and paragraphed a few emphatic, heartfelt sentiments to her via her website. Yeah, I’m not even embarrassed by how much of a fangirl move that was.

Because, get this, Lois Lowry wrote me back.

That’s right. The 80+ author of The Giver quartet took time to personally respond to a fangirl’s email. Mz. Lowry has so many better things to do with her time. I was NOT expecting a response. But, needless to say, my respect for this woman has now skyrocketed. And I would like to publicly state, if there is any way to make a person geek out EVEN MORE over a book, it’s to have that book’s author personally contact them.

And here’s what’s great, she was genuinely sweet. She responded to my specific words, (agreeing in my hopes for a particular character’s unwritten conclusion) and thanked me for reaching out to her, adding that it is always so special to her when readers are touched by what she has written. What a sweetheart.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to over here, just chatting it up with Lois Lowry (and reading amazing young adult fiction). My life is so glam.

Seriously, go read The Giver books. Do it right now! I want to know what you think of the Tradesmaster and Einar and Claire and Jonas and Kira and Matty and all the great characters in the series. And until one of you read Son, I will be waiting here…with baited breath.

Fangirl out.

Posted in Joy: 2017 Word Meditation, Media Mondays

Amazing, Must-See Beauty


On this Media Monday, I want to share a video I watched yesterday. I don’t know how many of you know who Ann Voskamp is, but I am a long-time follower of her blog and books (and I got to meet her last Saturday, but more on that later…). Every weekend, she publishes a blog post with random photos, videos and thoughts to inspire joy. It’s her way to meditate on what is true and good and noble and holy (Phillipians 4:8). Usually, if I’m honest, I don’t make time to read her blog or slow down enough to meditate on joy.

But due to some unasked for circumstances, my Sunday was glacially slow. 🙂 And I visited Ann’s blog to stop and taste some goodness. And I saw this video and sat with my mouth hinged open at it. So, I thought I’d share it here too:

Amazing Must See Beauty

How about THAT???