Everyday Wonder

in the land of the living …

You might not know this about me, but I’ve got a lot of old scriptures rattling around in my head.

I was raised in a world where –for better or worse — the Bible was Law.  At the conservative private school I attended as a girl, I copied out long passages of scripture from memory, my girlish hand careful to pin down the exact placement of each comma and semicolon.  

Go on:  picture me now, a wide-eyed girl in a knee-length skirt and high-collared blouse, reciting whole chapters in front of the class.  Hear the lyrical lilt of the Psalms wearing rhythmic grooves into my psyche, the way the breakers wear grooves on the shore.

Decades have passed since then, and still — the Good Book is so deeply etched into the folds of my brain that its words often sound like my own thoughts.  

I couldn’t get rid of them now if I wanted to.


I don’t know why, but lately I keep circling back to a little snatch of words I’d all but forgotten:  I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).

The words are King David’s, but they might as well be mine.  

And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

In a different season, I might have seen that goodness as prosperity… Goals met. Accolades won. Or perhaps even some deep place of spiritual enlightenment

But now, I’m wondering if seeing the goodness of the Lord isn’t just a matter of noticing the dew on the clover:


The shadows playing on the sidewalk:


A sunset, washing gentle and gold over our Roanoke sky:


Maybe seeing the goodness of the Lord is a matter of faith: the simple, outrageous belief the smallest works of the Creator might be, in their way, holy… 

And I’ll tell you: this life is brief, but for now I’m here, and I believe that all this beauty is mine to see. 

And to share.

Here’s wishing you the same. ❤




Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: 5/25/2016

Signs & Small Wonders

When a Single Leaf Changes the Course of the Day: Day Thirty-Six

(Sometimes it’s tough to feel at home in your own city.  Which is why I’ve given myself a challenge:  each day, for forty days, I’m going to find *one* thing I love about this place.  And then I’m going to tell you about it.  If you want to follow my journey, start here.  Today is Day Thirty-Six). 

Today was one of those days when I found myself wishing and praying under my breath that an extra few hours might magically appear somewhere.

I had a list of errands as long as my arm.

Thanksgiving dishes to cook.

A church event to attend.


I swung by the house around lunchtime to drop off a load of groceries.  I parked the car in the driveway, got out of the driver’s seat and opened the door behind mine.  Just as I reached for a bag of groceries, a single oak leaf floated down from the tree above me, brushed briefly against my hair, and came to rest on the car seat right in front of me:


And I stopped what I was doing and stared.

I recognize an invitation when I see one.


When T and I started house-hunting in Roanoke three years ago, we looked for one thing above all else:  trees.

I knew I wanted to live in the city, but I also knew I wanted to watch the sky through a filagree of green.  And I wanted old trees:  the bigger, the better.

Because my husband works in real estate, we looked at a lot of houses.  Like, a lot.  We looked at so many that we started giving our favorites special names just to keep them straight:

The House on the Hill.

Walden Cottage.

The Bed-and-Breakfast House.

Back then, we called the house I live in now “Looming Tree,” because an enormous old oak stretched over the front yard, leaning crookedly across the driveway.  A child’s swing swayed gently in the breeze from a single, muscular limb.

We looked at fancier houses.  And bigger ones.  And places in much more posh neighborhoods.  But honestly, this dollhouse — a simple mid-century cottage on a tenth-of-an-acre lot — really got to me.

Mostly, I think it was that tree.


Fast forward two and a half years.  Most days?  I don’t even really see that tree.  I mean actually *see* it.

Meanwhile, it’s November now, and the front yard is littered with so many leaves you have to kick your way through.

Leaves snag under my windshield wipers.  They clog the gutters, catch in my hair.  They collect on the front stoop and blow into the foyer whenever I open the front door.

We haven’t even started raking yet, and there must be 50 bags’ worth we’ll need to get up before the city comes to collect them.  I would be lying if I told you this wasn’t the subject of considerable complaint.

But today?

Today, for just one moment, that single leaf settles on me like a crown.  Then it lifts off and trembles to rest on the car seat in front of me.

And I stop.

Turn around and look up at the bronze-leafed limbs above me.

I take a breath…


This place is good.