Discover more from More Beautiful Than Necessary
On babies and aches and scars
2 babies, a good book, and a new essay
I was supposed to have spent the last half hour writing but I’ve been distracted with our state’s high school volleyball rankings this morning. It’s possible, if all the cards land in a certain way, that the team I coach will have a playoff game against the team my oldest daughter is the assistant coach of. (That grammar seems wrong, but I’m working the writing muscles again and it will all come back, I’m sure.) Volleyball has consumed my life a bit the last two months but it has been a blast. Coaching young women is teaching me so much.
A lot has happened since August and most of it has been wonderful, but living a life doesn’t always allow for the consistent writing of it. There is so much to say and do and enjoy and pray about, and this time of year is always nuts. This fall is different but still busy. It’s the first time in many many years that we haven’t had a child in school or sports, and someday I'll write about the whiplash of it all.
In truth, I haven’t stopped writing in this busy season. I’ve just been doing most of it in private. I am slow to process things but I know enough to know I need to record things, hit “save” on the thoughts, and leave them for a later time.
I’ll let you in on a few things I’ve been thinking about and one thing I have written for you:
The number one most important thing consuming my thoughts and prayers and plans right now is that BOTH of our daughters are pregnant!!!!!! They are due within 3 weeks of each other1 in the spring of 2024, just before our first grandson turns 2. What a wonderful plan, right? We are so excited.
In September I received a package in the mail from Amy Lee, and I spent the next two weeks devouring her new book This Homeward Ache. The writing and thinking is as beautiful as the cover of the book, and you need to get your hands on a copy. She writes about beauty in all the ways I want to write about beauty, but she does so from a background and perspective that I could never imitate, and that is something that encourages me as both a writer and a lover of God—there is so much room, so much abundance and spaciousness, one never need to be jealous of another’s skills. Amy is one glorious aspect of the character and creativity of God, and she opens doors for others.
The beauty that hurts, this exquisite pain weighted with solemnity and wonder, is thus a joy steeped in longing and a longing steeped in joy; our sense of separation from eternity brings both the relief and the pang of knowing that things are not as they should be.
~Amy Lee, This Homeward Ache
One thing I have written is my quarterly essay for The Cultivating Project, which has a new domain name and spruced up website. The site is now organized by edition—a new one for each season of the year—and we are happy to announce the first ever print edition of Cultivating Magazine is ready to pre-order. It will be a lovely, full-color magazine, worthy of your coffee table or library, full of the great writing you know from my fellow Cultivators (like Amy Lee).
An excerpt from Sometimes He Gives Scars, at Cultivating Oaks Press:
“I am among the blessed, according to Jesus, because I have not seen and yet believe. I have not put my finger on the wound of Christ, have not made a meal for a dead man to eat. I have a gift of faith and have never really doubted the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus—it’s a wacky story but I’m standing on a spinning planet suspended by invisible forces in a vast and ever-expanding universe, so I can believe in things I don’t fully understand or even see. In truth, I want God to be beyond my comprehension. It seems necessary for the ways of the Creator to be far above the minds of the creation.
I still have doubts, though, and they come in the form of His specific attention. I doubt Christ’s willingness to be intentional and attentive to every person’s singularity, and I question whether He is just good en masse, to all of us, in a big, sweeping motion of His nail-scarred hands. I think maybe He cares in general about all the birds of the air and so, obviously, for me, but sparrows hit my window and lay dead in the yard, to be carried off by my dog or the neighbor’s cat, and I don’t see the intimate care in that. Billions of birds. Billions of people. If you care, do something.”
Take care, friends. May God give you folks to rejoice and weep with, as each season allows. I’m grateful for you.
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Fun fact: Shelby was due to be born on Bailey’s third birthday but she was 15 days late. They’ve almost always shared a birthday party and almost always complained about it when they were kids.