Reading, Reviews

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

I recently picked up Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and was stunned by the artistry of it. Robinson can weave together a tale and truth, grace and reality, love and hardship so well! I force myself to read her work slowly, to take in each word and try to truly Lila (Gilead, #3)realize what she means. She is that kind of writer. This year she released a new book, Lila. It is a different perspective of the marriage detailed in Gilead. Lila is the wife of John Ames, the main character of Gilead, and this book named for her is about her back story and how she came to the town of Gilead and proposed to the elderly pastor. Lila faces lots of hardships before coming to Gilead, none told in too much detail but the full weight of them is there between the lines. The theme of homelessness returns in this book, which seems to be a topic that’s on Robinson’s mind a lot. Lila starts reading a Bible when she comes to Gilead. She grapples with the fact of what happens on earth coexisting with the truths about a good and just God. I wouldn’t say she draws very clear conclusions, but she makes progress as the book goes along. The story line is amazing, and the way it weaves perfectly with Gilead is mind blowing, kind of like the 2nd and 3rd Bourne Trilogy movies, when you realize it’s all happening at the same time.

Beyond the plot and all its nuances and important themes, there are passages that stay with me for their beauty. Maybe it’s because I’m a sleep deprived mom of three children age 5 and under, but this one was my favorite:

That sound of settling into the sheets and the covers has to be one of the best things in the world. Sleep is a mercy. You can feel it coming on, like being swept up in something…You had to trust sleep when it came or it would just leave you there, waiting.

Well, isn’t that the truth.

If you haven’t read Robinson before, start with Gilead.  I haven’t read Home, but I plan to very soon!

Everyday Life

A Piece of White Paper

It seems like there has been an out and out frenzy in the blogging world for months. All the writers feel the need to post something profound about the same topics: first Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and now New Year’s. Don’t get me wrong! There have been some awesome posts that I have really benefited from. But I’m starting to feel like there is a thought overload in my life. My brain needs some calm, still space, completely empty of other people’s thoughts. How about yours? I love resolutions (LOOOOVE). Thinking and planning to live intentionally is one of my favorite things in the world. But if I could give you one thing on this New Year’s Day, it would be a blank piece of white paper.

Here it is:


You can just stare at it if you want, and soak in the emptiness of it. I imagine this is the kind of cathartic gazing a person could do who lives in a snowy climate. All that white, clean landscape surrounding you…ahhh. But the rest of us have to resort to a piece of white paper.

The best thing about this piece of paper is you can do whatever you want with it. Listmakers can get out a pen and write a list. Resolution makers can make some resolutions. Ranters can write out how badly 2014 went and just get it out of their systems. Artsy folks can make a snowflake to remind them of the beauty of white space, and then paint the snowflake black and frame it on white lace and enjoy the funky simplicity of all their handmade decor (I’m jealous of you, if you can’t tell). Painters can paint on it, sketchers can sketch on it, sports junkies can make a paper football…the possibilities are endless.

Or you can just throw it away. More power to you.

If you really, really must know, my New Year’s resolution this year is just that: white space. I want more emptiness on my calendar, in my home, on my counter tops, on my to-do lists. I want more empty white journal pages staring at me in the morning and I want time to fill them. I want to spend less time reading other people’s blogs (though they are really wonderful!) and more time writing on my own. I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings when I say ‘no’ to some things so I can say ‘yes’ to other things that are less obvious to the world but just as important. I am desperate for calm places in my life, and space for the true fullness of love and friendship to overflow into.

Hey, is it okay if I just frame a white piece of paper? It would be super symbolic! Okay, yes, that’s dumb. I’m hopeless when it comes to textural art. But there it is, your white piece of paper from me. Do what you will with it. Either way, I can’t thank you enough for reading my blog in 2014 and I am honored that you choose to read my words in this world of so many thoughts competing for the space in your life. I wish you a joyful 2015 and I hope you will be able to claim some white space of your very own to enjoy the blessings that the year will bring.

“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16

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