Busy Beavering

My mother-in-law gifted me a tote of Ma Ginger’s yarn last week. Most of it dates back 15 or 20 years, in every shade of the rainbow. The pile was a remembrance of the afghans she and Aunt Belle used to crochet by the dozens.


Age and dementia has stolen away her ability to make things, but it seemed appropriate to bring the yarn to life after so many years in storage. And being a few weeks before Christmas…hats for the all the little people it is!




A Little Slice of Life

I have a weekly Wednesday date with a friend to chat via Gmail while we work on writing projects.

All this to say – I should be writing something inspirational, when really I just want to stew about a name change.

You think it would be something simple like a trip to some friendly government branch. There’s a grandmother behind the counter with glasses and a national flag hanging behind her. You exchange pleasantries, recipes for peach pie, perhaps… sign your name and that’s it.

Instead, for the last 8 months I’ve been playing the adult version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. One thing effects another, which effects another, until I finally realize that for the next two years – the only thing that acknowledges me a Howell will be my library card.

And so tomorrow I head to the Social Security office for my fourth visit (not counting the times they weren’t open) and perhaps after that, a little jaunt to the DMV.

Until then, perhaps I’ll simply write my name as it suits my fancy. Mind your own business government offices!


Olivia Grace Flewelling Howell Pearl Natalia McDonnelly III




Now that the weather is turning to finally match pictures of Thanksgiving pies, I find myself pulled outdoors again.

The sun becomes my friend and I pull up the blinds to welcome her.

We’ve unpacked our camp chairs from their summer hibernation in the car and they rotate from place to place on the patio. All our tramping to and fro introduces a nest of pine straw on the door mat, but we are content with the trade off.

For the first time in months, it feels like the wind can be friendly again. I ask, “Are you quite finished knocking your falling branches about?” The boughs nod and it’s in me to believe them.

I feel the urge to pot and repot my plants – one last hurrah before we close the doors. The peppers may not survive the weekend, Wesley says.

Some squirrels scold us in their hiding.

A southern weather apologist, I am not. The pros and cons would smother me in 90 degree Julys – a muggy mockery.

The only thing I’m learning to say with certainty, in fact, is the thing I’m learning to say in all things.

That this day is enough to be content. That this little joy is enough to be grateful for. And that His strength, is enough to carry me through.




Things That Go Bump in the Night

I’ve been spending more time alone recently, thanks to night shift and grown up obligations like…work.

The struggle, after months of bedtime company, is quite real. I’ve reverted to the wolf-dreaming child who lay awake with nervous cramps – fearing, dreading, imagining the worse.

I haven’t been this way for years, but in His goodness, the Lord has brought sunset as a way to teach faith. To teach that reason is not always the antidote to fear.

My cynical mind can’t be convinced of innocence anymore and as result, I find worry can’t be swept into the back of my mind. The unknowns put on convincing masks that no strategy of mine can untie.

So when night comes, my wisest course, the strongest choice; is to challenge them into the open and introduce a Protector like no other. The one who knows the End, the Truth, the Reason.

To admit fear out loud and give it up, is the only way to grow an inch. The only way to step outside and breath the dark in deeply. The only way to close your eyes.

So goodnight – I’m taking the gifts of busy hands and brave heart – and just hunkering down in the wings of Providence.




Then Sings My Soul

When your feelings are hurt, who hears about it first?

What about when you spill the water, break the computer, grouch, grumble, kick the door?

And if the CD in your mind plays the blame over and over, then where is the eject button, a new refrain, the alternate melody of your heart?

These days I’m paying attention to what is written in my mind and particularly, what songs speak to me. To fill my mind with True things, so they’re the first on my tongue.

There is something to be said for the overflow of a heart, well fed.

To be a  first responder of wisdom. And the simple prayer when days take a turn is: Lord, grow praise in my heart, so on the front lines of circumstances awry, I will glorify You.



Restart and Repeat

He knows where we are. He knows who sins against us, and who we sin toward.

He knows our thoughts and failings and the very things that keep us awake at night.

And there is nothing that can shock or shake Him from relentless, sovereign mercy.

Our sins are many. Our hearts break.

And new every morn, His mercy is more. A shelter to the brokenhearted.