Barbara Brown Taylor likes to ask the question, "What's saving your life right now?" The question is open-ended enough that people can offer responses both profound (the support of my family) and superficial (Oreo Mint Cremes). Here is my partial list:
- A weekend away with members of Tiny Church for our third annual retreat at the lake. We had a great time. I wish it had been longer, but it was long enough to experience some transcendent moments: Margaret's silhouette against the sparkling water as she went kayaking for the first time. James's smile as he flew across the yard on the zip line. Getting sucked into a jigsaw puzzle and feeling that satisfying snap of the right piece locking into place. Playing some simple songs on guitar with one of our members who is learning the banjo. More guitar music and singing around the campfire. The smell of the campfire---one of my favorite smells in the world---that remained even the next morning. The relaxed way we all recounted these moments (and so many others) during worship by the lake yesterday. Not to mention the inaugural presentation of the Tiny Church iPhone Handbell Choir! They pulled off a lovely version of Joyful Joyful courtesy of this app.
- Despicable Me 2. Fun and surprisingly touching.
- The end of the swim team season. I love the sport of swimming, and I could watch my girls swim all day long---it brings me great pleasure. But it's an intense schedule; with practices every morning, meets on Wednesday evenings and every Saturday (and one Sunday), it sorta robs us of our summer. And summer is important. Charles Simic knows what I'm talking about.
- Voice lessons... reminders to breathe. Last spring I won four weeks of voice lessons through a silent auction. Finally cashing them in, and wow---unexpectedly profound. I took voice for a semester in college (in addition to singing in some ensembles), but this is on a whole different level. Let's just say the woman has a copy of Gray's Anatomy on the shelf of her studio, and last week I spent 30 minutes just learning how to stand properly. My homework was to drink water and practice breathing after every 8-10 words I speak. (I failed to remember this homework and will get chided for it, I'm sure.)
- Vacation anticipation. And this is a big one; we get on a plane for Iona (by way of Dublin) three weeks from today. Can't wait to be on that island... though I'm not sure I'm ready for the way that place works on me.
- Spicy Buttermilk Coffee Cake. We usually make it Christmas Eve morning, but it tastes righteously good in July too. Go figure! Here's the recipe.
- Jillian Michaels. This heat and humidity have been brutal on my running schedule. Thankfully the marathon training doesn't begin until fall. In the meantime, the 30-Day Shred has been a great challenge. Strength, cardio and abs, put together in a 20 minute workout plus warmup and cooldown. Perfect.
- Book of Mormon. So funny. So profane. So profound.
- Highlights. Y'all, this writing life is a privilege, but it's also a solitary slog sometimes. The other day I stumbled across a webpage that shows what people have highlighted in the Kindle edition of my book. What a surprise and a joy to see what the ideas that touch people the most.
- Dinner with friends last Friday night.
- The to-don't list.
What's saving your life?