community in a pizza box

given my lack of cable TV, the fact that i think Matt Lauer is pretty, and the day doesn't feel like it can begin until i hear the opening music of the Today Show, every weekday morning, i download the previous day's podcast, and watch the Today Show from the day before.

i guess, more accurately, i watch the Yesterday Show.

while it's not a perfect situation— i do get my news some 24 hours after the rest of the world— i make the best of it by figuring that at least i get the news... and to see Matt.

earlier this week {on a Matt-less episode}, i heard the story of the pizza delivery driver who noticed that one of their customers, an 82-year old woman who has ordered a pizza every day for three years, hadn't ordered anything for a few days. immediately the driver was concerned, clocked out of her job, and went to check on the woman.

when she got no response at the house, she called 911. paramedics found the woman lying on the floor, unable to contact anyone to help her.

now some might hear this and wonder why on earth this woman had been eating pizza every day for three years. that's a question for another day. what is sticking in my mind is that the pizza delivery person cared enough for someone on the periphery of her life, to put everything else on hold to find out what was going on.

which has lead me to a slew of questions i am asking myself... how soon would i notice if someone in my life dropped out of communication? are the people that God has given me to care about okay? how would i know if they weren't? and on and on...

it's easy to get caught up in my own daily problems. these days, there seems to be more than i can sanely handle as it is. but the amount of madness and activity in my own life does not let me off the hook when it comes to those in my community that God has given me to care about.

paying attention is harder than it sometimes seems it should be. paying attention means putting aside all that distracts me and focusing on something that needs attention. it means hearing stories that may be painful. it means not choosing to ignore, even when ignoring seems like all you can handle.

i will admit, in these past few months, i have had tunnel vision when it comes to my family, and not much beyond that has crept into view. but expecting all the tough situations to evaporate before i can give others my focus is highly unrealistic.

it's time for me to start paying attention again.


on my mind...

is it just me, or do long weekends seem to go by extraordinarily quickly?

regardless, it's tuesday, a new week, and while i had big plans for the last weekend, unfortunately, i was under the weather for a good part of it, and am still attempting to fight off whatever this actually is.

i hate the in-between. not quite feeling like my usual self, yet not sick enough to be home asleep in my comfy, warm bed. somewhere between café Americanos and chicken noodle soup.

it seems like i am always in the in-between.

some days it feels like i am perpetually 12-year old suzi... old enough to not be a child and 'know better', but still not quite a teenager.

all that aside, there are a few things on my mind today, and i thought i'd share them with you...

One Thousand Gifts | this beautiful book by Ann Voskamp has been the perfect companion for these late winter days. just go get it, you won't be sorry.

coconut M&Ms | i discovered these gems while in michigan a couple weekends back, and only bought one little bag, not knowing how i would love, love, love them. this morning, as i got to my office, there were three glorious bags of them sitting on my desk waiting for me. i have good friends.

le jardin du Luxembourg, Paris | it has been 1055 days since i have been in Paris, and am missing the place my heart calls home. in both my office and home i have a map of the city hanging on walls, and every time i look at it, my eyes naturally go to the spot of green that is the jardin du Luxembourg, a beautiful park on the left bank, not far from the hotel that i call home while in Paris. inside that park is a fountain and small pool of water that i would love to be sitting next to right this very minute. the Medici Fountain {shown right} is one of the best places to sit and think in the world. even though it isn't far from the madness of the Boulevard St. Michel, the noisy traffic seems to melt away and leaves you sitting in this timeless place, with a feeling that in that moment, anything is possible.

what fun we could have sitting there together, solving all the problems in the world... or just people watching.

that's all that is on my mind today. have a beautiful day.



you're probably already aware of this, but it's friday.


the last breath before the big exhale of a long weekend.

i was awake early this morning, so i packed up laundry in my bright orange Lug, and trudged through the mud and dark spring-like morning to the laundromat.

while the Streetsville laundromat has gone downhill in terms of upkeep in the years that i've been a patron, i find it to be an excellent place to write and read. something about not being surrounded by the usual distractions of home and possessions, i believe.

but whatever the reason is, it's also easier to think here.

this morning, i'm thinking of my three words for 2011.

it has been my practice for the last few years to pick a word that i want to focus on that year. sometimes it is one of the fruit of the Spirit. sometimes something else. but this year, even though—or perhaps, because—i was later in choosing the word, this year, i have three.

i tried to choose between them. even tried choosing two of the three, but nothing but the three of them together ever sat right with me. so, for 2011, i have three words.

my three words for this year are beauty, simplicity, and grace.

i won't get into them today. partly because i am still unpacking what each of them means to my life and how it will all play out, and partly because my laundry is just about finished. but you will be hearing me talk about these three things over these months. that much i can assure you.

have a beautiful weekend.


the day after love

it's february 15. the day after love.

the day when those of us who are serially single can peek our heads up over the blankets to see if all those naked babies shooting arrows have finally returned to wherever they live the other 364 days of the year.

the day when all that prettily wrapped pink and red candy is half-price at Walmart, and the truly frugal are out doing next year's gift shopping.

the day after.

{insert collective sigh of relief here}

i used to be extremely jaded when it came to Valentine's Day. i used to be the one saying that it was a Hallmark-driven excuse of a 'holiday' that only served to make some people a lot of money, while separating the rest of us from ours. after all, who really believes that roses actually cost more on february 14 than they do on march 14? seriously?!

but these days i have found my peace with this day of love, and it has everything to do with the remarkable people in my life. sure, there may not be that one special guy, but there are no shortage of friends in my landscape.

...friends who i find it difficult to differentiate them from family.

...friends who i haven't seen in years, yet still can laugh and talk like the long separation was but days.

...friends who i go out to lunch with every monday, who have been mistaken for my sisters.

...friends who talk and laugh and cry together over steamy cups at Starbucks, working through life, faith and everything else.

so, regardless what all the marketing says about February 14, my life is so full of love, how could i feel anything but blessed and extraordinarily cherished?
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved."
       —Victor Hugo, Les Misérables



Originally uploaded by misunderstoodQ
i think too much about waiting.

truth be told, i've never really been a good wait-er. {a brief stint waitressing proved that i wasn't much good at that either.} the every day, constant waiting that we all do, i don't have so much of a problem with that. perhaps it is the advent of the Kobo in my life, and the beauty of carrying around hundreds of books with me wherever i go, that has alleviated that.

but i'm talking about big waiting.

...waiting for dreams to come true.

...waiting for change, both in and around me.


what i seem to forget that none of these big things i am waiting for will actually happen unless my waiting is a time of active participation. unless i work towards the dream, practice the spiritual disciplines that will create the change, all my waiting will be for nothing.

today, once again, i am embracing the waiting, seeing it for the incubation period that it is. knowing that the seeds i plant today will yield fruit in another season.

as always, my job is to be faithful...



so many things run into each other, crashing, bumping and moving around in my mind. like bumper cars.

hit and bounce.

move on.

hit and bounce.

hit and bounce.

people, more importantly friends, i believe, come into our lives at times when we most need them. i've seen it happen time and again throughout my 16,000 plus days. so, for someone who sees books as friends, the arrival of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts has been a welcomed addition to my life.

a well-timed, beautifully written book can help clarify all that seems muddled and jumbled and impossibly tangled in my mind. and the combination of this book, studying Ecclesiastes with my small group, and good friends who listen as i try to detangle everything going on in my mind has made the last few days a gift.

not a completely pain-free gift, but a gift nonetheless.

but even as i read and pray and talk, recognizing the wisdom here, i realize that one cannot swallow it all whole and expect to live it out from that moment on perfectly. wisdom doesn't work that way. not much that is truly important in life does.
"For all real answers, don't they come in strata, gradations of understanding? —Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
for all the important things in life, time is the necessary ingredient. time to work it out, live it out, let the gift of wisdom seep into your soul and change you from the inside out.

so all these gifts, these words—written, spoken and prayed—are my companions through this season of too much silence, not enough answers, and a renewed discovery of grace.

my heart is filled with gratitude...



my heart yearns
for a myriad of things
these days

but the constant—
the one that never leaves—
is Paris.



i love my job.

today i got to email out to all of PORTICO's staff a new questionnaire for them to answer. ultimately, these answers will accompany their photo on the staff page of our website. it was such fun putting the questions together, but for me, the best part is when the answers come in.

getting to see the individual personalities come out in what are just a few short questions never ceases to amaze me, and always reminds me of how originally and uniquely God has created us all.

the problem is, i think i'm hooked now.

i'll make you a deal, i'll give you a sneak peek as to not only the questions, but also my answers, and maybe, if you're feeling brave or adventurous or you have nothing else to do, you could leave a comment with your answers to the questions, so i can keep the marveling going throughout the weekend.

what say you? here are my answers...

Farthest you’ve ever been from home: D’nepropetrovsk, Ukraine
Eye color: Blue, grey or green, depending on the day
Beach, country or city? City
Favorite cereal: Coco Krispies
Favorite crayon color: Cerulean Frost
Favorite dessert: Crème brûlée
Favorite book: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
If you could travel right now, where would you go? Paris, France {via Calgary & NYC}
If you were a super hero, what super power would you have? Omni-linguism {the ability to understand any form of language}

your turn...



“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.” —Caskie Stinnett
this quote pretty much explains how i used to feel about routine. whenever possible, i would take a different way in to work. i refused to be nailed down to traditional meal times. a career change took me from the banker's hours of a job at a credit union to a retail store position, and loved that my schedule changed every day, not to mention every week. basically, routine was pretty much a four letter word.

but i'm feeling different about it these days.

since getting home after almost a month with my family, i have been struggling to get back to even the most basic of schedules. from the time i wake up, right on through until the time i go to bed, i am pretty universally routine-deprived right now.

and now, it needs to stop.

i know myself well enough to know that if i begin to put too many rules in effect, that i won't do anything. so i need to work within my own limitations, and sell myself the benefits of doing the things that i know i should be doing, instead of simply saying, "do it!"

{does anyone else play mind games with themselves? does it actually work?}

so much of my day is lost if i waste the morning away, so it is important that i start things off right. but it's not even so easy as actually getting up the first time the alarm breaks into my sleep. it's going to bed on time. and making sure that the kitchen is clean before that, and the table is cleared of all distractions, and my life journal, bible and morning pages notebook are where i can find them. and my lunch is made and ready to take to work. and...

you get the picture.

so, tonight, while i do my much-neglected laundry, i will turn up Charlotte Martin's new CD {which you should totally get, by the way}, and i will get some organization and new routine-making happening in my little world.

who knows? by next week, i may be unstoppable...



i've been thinking a lot about joy lately.

about how it is too often mistaken for happiness. how it is a decision. but mostly how it has absolutely nothing to do with the situation that you find yourself in.

some of my favorite verses in the bible, from the end of the book of Habakkuk, reminded me of this...
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
—Habakkuk 3:17,18
the situation clearly doesn't matter. food or no food. wealth, no wealth. things to worry about, no worries, Habakkuk reminds that no matter what is happening in my life, i still need to be joyful, because none of these things can change that my God loves me.

so today, i am telling my heart to rejoice.

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