Home Is…

Home is walking into the house and not having to say who you are.

Home is making a batch of cookies and having them all disappear within two hours.

Home is being in my pajamas and not combing my hair until 2 in the afternoon on some days, just because I’m busy doing other things and it doesn’t matter.

Home is long talks with Mom or my sisters.

Home is crazy with people coming and going at all hours and not being sure who is home or when.

Home is hashing out internal conflicts until it makes less sense than it did before you started – and then maybe doing it all over again with the next person that innocently walks into the room.

Home is laughing till you cry at Andy Griffith or Caleb’s most recent pun.

Home is changing…always changing…because the people that make up “home” are human and humans change.

Home is two hours of Bible study on Sunday morning without realizing two hours had gone by.

Home is praying together…which is too beautiful for words.

Home is watching Mom paint beautiful pictures…starting with a blank canvas which shortly becomes colorful amazingness.

Home is sharing news and happenings and encounters.

Home is chair legs scraping on the dining room floor, and a long table set for six feeling like too many people are missing.

Home is respecting differing opinions…or telling each other that we’re crazy but that’s okay.

Home is spontaneous hugs from my brothers, because “you can never have too many hugs”.

Home is rolling eyes and careless words and hurt feelings and love that overcomes all of that.

Home is refuge.

Home is rest.

Home is….home. And I am so thankful for that.

It’s A Conspiracy

It all started while chatting with my young niece the other day. She lives half a continent away, you see…so we were instant messaging. Just sharing little things, talking about new hairstyles and parties and cupcakes. Then my very young, adorable niece innocently asked,

What is your main goal for 2014?

Ummmm…..right. Should I tell my wonderful little niece (who informed me that she has 13 goals on her list) that I haven’t even THOUGHT about goals or lists or 2014?

Um…I want to get really good on my pottery wheel.

OH! AND…

Another of my goals is to blog more. I haven’t done much at all lately.
Wow…thanks a lot most-adorable-niece. Now you’ve got me thinking about all the things I need to/want to do.
I needed that. I did indeed need that little push.
Then it was like a conspiracy. WordPress kindly sent me my year end stats…informing me that I had blogged a total of 5 times on “Something Sage” in the last year. WHAT?!?! Only 5??? I knew I was out of the loop, but really?
But you see, it’s okay for WordPress to do that since they then offered me a solution. Zero-to-Hero, here I come! Not sure about the hero part, but I’m done with zero.
So today, I will introduce myself.
I’m Sage.
I like to write. It helps me sort things out and work things through.  Crazy to call myself a writer though.
I’m kinda crazy.
I like to play music – feels like music has always been a part of my life. I’ve never stuck to one instrument enough to be good at it, and couldn’t call myself a musician with a straight face.
I smile often.
I like to be creative – it brings color to life. Thinking of myself as an artist makes me laugh.
I like to laugh.
I’m an auntie to 2 nieces and a nephew, a sister to 8, a daughter to 4, a granddaughter to…9, I think. My life is surrounded by family. I love that.
I’m learning that what you seek in life is what you find, so we must be careful of what we seek.
I want to seek first the Kingdom of God. I want to find truth. I want to pursue love and grace.
I am shown such love and grace by God and others. I hope to show others that such love and grace are real…and available.
I’m Sage.

My Mother’s Website…and Giveaway

I am so proud of my mother.

Not only has she been making some beautiful art (which you can see and enjoy here), and not only is that art being carried in a real live art gallery in Guthrie, Oklahoma, but she also built her own website…and made a calendar which can be purchased on said website. (I got mine in the mail the other day. BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!)

Momsart

She’s doing a giveaway….which I’m being really slow to pass along to you – so you’d better just pop on over to her website and leave a comment to be entered to win. Better do it now. Like…now.

Cause time is short…and I really, really, really want YOU to win!

 

Please see my mom’s comment below for directions on how to enter the giveaway. Cause I forgot to add that little bit of information. Go Sage!!

Of Sunsets and Moonrises

Isn’t life interesting?

My life is…even in the backwoods of the Ozarks with the Ancient Ones.

Interesting, I mean.

Every day is an adventure with new discoveries or challenges or growth or sorrow or opportunity.

Some people think my life is “on hold” while I’m here. It isn’t. Life is happening. Like time and the ocean’s tide…it cannot be held back. I know this. I feel this.

Can’t believe I’ve been here for over 2 years now. I haven’t moved here. I still consider home to be…well…home. But I’ve realized in the last couple of weeks that after years of hating Arkansas and saying that I never want to live here, I am actually putting down some roots. Actually beginning not just to appreciate…but dare I say….enjoy this place?

I’m not at all comfortable with these heart discoveries. I still view my time here as very temporary, and tearing up roots sounds painful. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want to have another place to miss. I don’t want to be conflicted.

Doesn’t that sound cold? But it’s true.

I realize that it is spring. The chiggers aren’t out yet. Don’t take those last paragraphs too seriously. I will most likely be back to “normal” in a couple of weeks when I’m overly hot and outrageously itchy. But I have surprised myself. And now I’m even confessing on this blog for all to see.

I wonder how many of you realize how huge that is?

I served fish at my third annual fish fry here at the volunteer fire department. As I stood there working with the other women of the auxiliary and greeting people as they came down the line, I felt so happy to be part of this community…connected to these amazing people and characters who make me smile and warm my heart by making me feel loved and accepted and appreciated, or just by being themselves. So interesting.

Spring is gorgeously in bloom all around. The dogwoods thrill me. They are so quiet and pure and unassuming….yet brilliant. Lilacs, forsythia, quince, wisteria, daffodils, crocuses, peach blossoms, apple blossoms, pear blossoms…wow.

And green is back.

How I longed for green through February and March. That was another surprise to me. I’m an autumn/winter girl. Spring is lovely, but just leads to summer’s heat and bugs. Yet I found myself anxious for spring to arrive as never before. That had a lot to do with my garden. Yes…my garden. For the first time I really planted a garden, with the help of our neighbor and friend. He doesn’t know much about gardening either…so we’re learning together. And I’m so excited. Can’t wait to start serving up produce grown in our very own back yard!

The evenings have been especially lovely around here lately. They seem to have some special call for me. I cannot be inside. When I am inside, I feel like I’m missing out on a gift…an incredibly lovely gift.  So I go for walks or putter around the garden, or sit down at the lake and breathe and ponder. I don’t want to waste a single sunset. Ever again.

Which brings me to my story…

A few nights ago, I walked down to the water and watched the sun set in all it’s warmth and wonder. It had been a long week and I realized how exhausted I was by conflicted emotions, draining relationships and physical labor.  As I walked back up the hill, I saw the huge, cold, pure white fullness of the moon above the horizon in the opposite direction, and stood in awe as the whippoorwill’s song was punctuated by my grateful, humbled, beating heart.

The next night I took my camera with me to take some shots of the dogwoods in the woods as I waited for sunset time to come. I felt a tug to go up a nearby nob, but quickly shook the notion, since I wanted to be down at the lake to see the fire and water gloriousness.

But wait….what about the moon rise? I wanted to see the moon rise too…that brilliant, cool purity that I had seen the night before.

I found out that sunset and moonrise were going to be about 5 minutes apart. Since the moon was going to appear over the hills behind me, and the sun would sink well below at the water’s edge, I knew I couldn’t see both.

“Stick with the original plan, Sage. Just go down.”

I started down the road that led to the lake. Then I stopped.

“But I want to see the moonrise. That beautiful, beautiful full moon!”

“Sunset…all that warmth and color and reflection on the water.”

“But the moon is part of me!”

I was standing in the middle of the road. Frozen from motion. Exhausted. Conflicted. Ridiculously indecisive. Suddenly this had become so much more than where I was supposed to be in five minutes.

The sunset is warm and familiar and what I had planned. I knew what my goal was when I left the house. It was all so clear. I wanted to see the very last colors of the day’s end.  But the desire to see the moonrise was so strong and unexpected. It was the beginning of the light of the night. And it was going to be beautiful.

Tears slid down my cheeks.

What in the world?!?! I was standing. In the middle of the road. At the top of the lane to the lake. Crying. And completely unable to make a decision about what direction to take.

Sunset or moonrise? Sunset or moonrise? Sunset or moonrise?

“Sage….if you stand here two more minutes you’ll miss both…and then you’ll have something to cry about!”

Guess what I did? I prayed. As if this was a life changing decision.

“Yahweh, what should I do? Where do you want me to go? What is Your plan?”

And I felt the answer…”Go up. To the high places.”

I looked down the road toward the lake. Suddenly it seemed so dark and lonely. I knew I couldn’t go there.

“Go up.”

“But there are SO many reasons not to go up.”

“Go up.”

So I did. Fast. Almost frantically. My time was running out. But if I could make it to the top of the nob, maybe I could see both the sunset AND the moonrise…and that would be perfect! “Wow, God…what a great idea!”

But even as I thought that, I felt deep inside that this wasn’t about seeing the sunset or the moonrise. Words like “refuge” and “strong tower” and “high places” swirled around my head as the path to the top curved around the hill.

I was breathless and sweaty when I made it to the top. But that’s okay, cause if I’d had any breath it would have been taken by the view anyway. It was amazing. My words, and even these pictures don’t do it justice at all. I could see so much of this winding river of a lake from up there. And hills, and trees and sky and loveliness in every direction.

And clouds. Clouds in a circle around the horizon…blocking the sunset and the moonrise both.

But it didn’t matter. Not in the least tiny bit. Being up there I was above the sunset. Above the moonrise. I had found a Refuge…my Strong Tower. Up on the High Places. I was on my knees in praise. I was standing with my hands lifted in prayer. I had an overwhelming peace and felt the all-surrounding presence of my Father’s love. Close. Comforting. Real. Vastly real.

“Father of mercies, Lord of all comfort, Lover of my soul.”

It didn’t matter about sunsets or moonrises or Arkansas or Oklahoma or Iceland or Timbuktu. Gently, lovingly I was reminded that God is my strength and my portion. That my life is His and that my main desire is to live fully for Him…wherever He wants me for as long as He sends me. I don’t need to be anxious. I don’t need to hold back. I don’t need to be jealous of my heart. It’s His. He is my satisfaction and my joy.

“Father of mercies, Lord of all comfort, Lover of my soul.”

I stayed till almost dark. It was a mountain top experience I didn’t want to end. But my Father wasn’t done showing me His love. Just as I came to the road off the hill, a full, orange, warm moon showed itself through the clouds. Tears of gratitude blurred the first few lightening bugs I saw, but suddenly my path was lined with hundreds of them. I have never seen so many at one time. Ever. And they lit my way for the half mile walk back to the house. The whippoorwill song was punctuated by coyotes yipping and howling. The air was soft and fragrant.

“Father of mercies, Lord of all comfort, Lover of my soul…thank you.”

PS. The moon and firefly pictures are ridiculous, I know. I apologize. Really need to learn to use my camera in low light. But I had to post them anyway. I just had to.

…and counting.

In a very short time I’ll be leaving a decade behind. Isn’t it funny…..one minute changes everything somehow. And yet really…it changes nothing.

After all…it’s only a number.

Yes…but what a number!

I spent my entire 29th year depressed that I was going to turn 30 and that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. That wasn’t helpful. At all.

Living and learning, as they say, I’ve spent my 39th year determined to use my up-and-coming birthday as a springboard – the start of a year long celebration. I think that’s supposed to happen every 50 years (year of jubilee) but I can do it again in a decade. Every good thing that happens this entire year will be “for my birthday”. Just warning you all to be prepared to hear that phrase happily and often.

I feel like I should write a post full of deep thoughts on turning 40. But I have tried, and I think what I’m finding is that I have no deep thoughts on it. Upon further reflection and deeper examination, I find there to be several possible explanations for that: (Did anyone else notice that last sentence doesn’t sound like me at all, or is it just me?)

a) I’m not REALLY turning 40. There has been a mistake somewhere along the way.

b)I’m turning 40 with the Ancient Ones in a community full of people decades older than me. I’m still the baby of the neighborhood and everyone treats me like a child…so it’s almost a moot point really. Would be completely different if I were turning 40 at home where I would be “The Ancient One”.

c) Turning 40 is accompanied by so much hype and sensationalism, but I’m looking at it very pragmatically and realize there is nothing to it.

d) The entire idea is so utterly ridiculous to me that I can’t take it seriously.

e) I am in total denial.

f) All of the above.

A few months ago I half jokingly said I would dye my hair and pierce my ears on my 40th birthday.

I’m not doing that.

Quite honestly, I’ve grown thankful for my gray hair. Since I still feel like I’m 25, I’m using my quickly graying hair…and yes, even a few wrinkles…to remind me that time is passing…and that I need to be aware of who and where I am in my life. Nice as we think it would be to always be 25…we’re not. And there are different times and seasons. I don’t want to miss out on the beauty of the seasons by dreaming that springtime will last forever. (How incredibly wise and mature does that sound? HA!)

And…..I’m still not good at making decisions or figuring out how I feel about poking holes through my ears…again.

Anyway…

Next time I post…I will be 40. How’s that for unbelievable?

Hypersensitivialityism

It is 7 AM, and I have been awake for almost 2 hours. Not by choice on this Sunday morning that I was prepared to sleep through.

I lay in bed for an hour trying to get back to oblivion. Obviously…that didn’t work. Instead, I lay, acutely conscious of the sound of my blood flowing through my head.

This endless rhythm that I became aware of a couple of nights ago is teaching me.

(Well, not endless. It isn’t endless.  I know that. It just feels that way at 12 or 2 or 5 in the morning. Actually, I am very thankful that blood is flowing through my head. And every other part of my body. And I hope it does for years and years.)

Anyway…as I lay there, acutely conscious, I made up a new word. Hypersensitivialityism. Like it?

hy·per·sen·si·tiv·i·al·i·ty·ism: being overly sensitive to trivialities and ending with an “ism” because, as Grandpa Vanderhoff said,  “When things go a little bad nowadays, you go out, get yourself an -ism and you’re in business.”

I don’t know why I can suddenly hear my blood flow. But I’m glad that I can’t always hear it…or all the other workings of my body. Wouldn’t that be annoying? It would be like living, working, breathing and sleeping in a large, noisy factory of valves and pressure and machinery. I’m thankful that my hearing isn’t overly sensitive. What if it was? What if I could hear all that was said or dropped or slammed in the neighbors’ houses? What if I could hear all the cars in the county? What if all the trivial noises all around us were suddenly amplified by 50. Yikes.

Yet I love so many sounds: rain on the roof. laughter of loved ones. ocean swells. baby snuggles. happy sighs. wind through pines. whistles. bird songs. guitar strums. mormor’s swedish accent. thunder rumbles. echos. voices of friends. deep cello notes. pounding surf. rushing rivers. harmonies.

And on and on and on.

Yesterday, I had a migraine. My migraines are beginning to fascinate me, where once they simply aggravated. Yesterday’s was particularly interesting. I had pain, but since it wasn’t debilitating, I spent the day noticing hypersensitivialityism. To everything. I was nervy…in every way.

My olfactory nerve was working overtime, let me tell you. I ended up opening windows all over the place. And there is still something in the fridge that needs to be found and disposed of. But yesterday was not the day for the job. Trust me on that.

So many wonderful fragrances, but somehow an overly sensitive olfactory system would be a curse. Still, I am so thankful for the smells I love: rain. daffodils. fresh-baked bread. herbs cut out of the garden. line-dried sheets. coffee. clean babies. mormor’s night cream. papa’s basement. home. rocky mountain air. pine needles. the ocean. balsam pillows from Suze. vanilla.

And on and on and on.

I love sunshine. But yesterday, after the clouds disappeared, the sunshine literally made me wince. When I was driving back from town, bright flashes of light caused pulses of searing pain that I couldn’t believe. Normally, I don’t blink twice about shadow lines on the road, or chrome bumpers and car doors tossing reflections around like clowns juggling two-edged swords. I am so thankful that I do not always experience hypersensitivialityism in this way. I don’t want to walk through life in dark, shaded places. I love light.

It’s easy to talk about hypersensitivialityism on the physical level. But it goes deeper than that. I told you….I was nervy in every way yesterday. I was amazed at the things that irritated and grated on me. There are times when a life of solitary confinement would be beneficial to me…and all around me. Maybe I can just leave that there. This blog post doesn’t have to become a confessional.

Yes, hypersensitivialityism relates to emotions as well. I am so thankful for emotions. Living life numbly is no way to live. Trust me on this. I know. Living life with love, excitement, happiness, depression, anger, sadness, peace…such a blessing. Such a very mixed blessing.

But how often do I allow myself to be angry and depressed and sad just because of hypersensitivialityism? How often do I assume I know another’s motivation or meaning when the cause of pain is merely miscommunication or misdirection? How often do I allow guilt or anger to rob my joy or steal my peace because I can’t let go and trust? How often do I miss out on valuable instruction because hypersensitivialityism doesn’t let me accept criticism honestly?

Sensitivity is good. I want to be sensitive to the feelings of those around me. Seems like it would be pretty vital to good relationships, actually. And I want to be sensitive to God’s direction and instruction. I don’t want to shoulder my way through this world without being aware. No thank you!

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. I don’t want to let hypersensitivialityism steal that fruit any more. Defining the enemy is the first step to conquering it, right? Right.

And there you have it. Lessons learned from listening to my blood flow at five in the morning. Who knew?