Tuesday, July 29, 2014

packing boxes and stirring up dust (for chris)

We packed up nearly three and a half years of belongings that we'd bought, found, written or been given into a hundred boxes and bins and buckets.  We only moved a street over and a few more up (or down) but it's a bit of a different world leaving an upstairs not quite two bedroom flat for a little house with a washing machine inside and no massive flight of stairs to climb with three children in tow.  Choice is a luxury and we made the decision quickly as it was the best time to do it and also the worst.  I couldn't believe how much dust got stirred up everywhere, especially between us.

The actual moving day was a breeze because somehow we know lots of people with strong arms and spacial awareness.  It was the packing and sorting and choosing and unplugging and cancelling and fixing (oh the fixing) and scrubbing that did us in.  The scrubbing is good for us though, isn't it?

If only we could have moved house with all of our stuff when we were just engaged.  We would have been so much nicer to each other.  But in five years of marriage there is a comfort and a solid feeling and who we really are is brave to come out a little bit further.  We've never had so many consecutive evenings of arguing, each wave receding but only increasing in intensity the next night.  We got through it, a little wounded of course but also knowing our vows were still wedding us tight, and that's a beautiful thing to know.

Two days after the move, boxes EVERYWHERE and I still wanted to go to church because I'm a pastor's kid and that's what we do.  I was driving home with our two littlest in the backseat of our station wagon.  Our girl asked where we were going and I said, "We're going home".  She started to cry, "Not going home!! I want to go see my brother!"  She thought "home" was the name of our now empty flat; though she spent her whoooole life there that space meant nothing to her if her brother was somewhere else.

I'm glad our children have a house with rooms that will better suit our needs (and my sanity, as you are well aware).  I'm glad we are a bit further from the pub noise on weekend nights and closer to the playground and some dear friends and the sea.  I love our bright white walls and big kitchen table and I'm so glad you'll have a little space in the back to make music, I can hear you strumming a a tune even now.  But more than anything, more than anywhere, I want to keep hanging up my curtains with you.

Someone could offer me the biggest house in a neighbourhood with no strange men or stray dogs, with a promise that all my laundry would be taken off the line for me, folded and put away daily and stacks of paper would cease to accumulate on counter tops - but I would turn them right down if you were going to be somewhere else.  Even if there were laundry piles everywhere.

Monday, July 7, 2014

a few words on writing

I'm a big fan of D.L. Mayfield's writing - it's usually crazy good and the things she writes about are what I need to keep me uncomfortable and examining my life.  I was super flattered when she said some very nice words about my writing and 'tagged' me to write about the process.  

I don't have much of a writing process right now as not too much writing happens around here.  But the new baby is pretty happy cuddled up with his dad watching Saturday Night Live so I'm giving it a shot.  (And now a week later I'm frantically editing while the baby sleeps and the big kids are out.)

1. What are you working on?

I apparently cannot grow babies or raise babies and do very much writing at the same time.  Hopefully I'll increase my capacity to write when I can but for now I rely very heavily on 'happy feelings of inspiration and confidencewhich I don't seem to have much of these days.  Most of my process happens in my head so I'm probably 'working on' things for quite a while before I actually start writing.  I did write an essay for SheLoves Magazine called "These Universal Labour Pains".  I just gave birth for the third time and had three very, very different experiences - I look forward to processing that a bit here, hopefully soon.

I really love to write music and that happens much less often than writing words, but when a song is finished (and even recorded sometimes - I married the right boy!) it is extremely satisfying for me.  One of my favourites is called "Come be You".

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre? 

The dominating factor in my life right now is that I've given birth to three children under the age of four in my first five years of marriage.  Much of my writing here (so far) is thoughts on pregnancy, labour and birth, pursuing gentle parenting and every now and then I'll write about the boy who rocks the babies to sleep at night.  These topics can be fairly exclusive depending on how they are written and many people carry wounds in these areas, especially around birth.  I often think, 'What if a woman read this post who wasn't able to breastfeed, or their baby died during childbirth?  What if a reader is divorced or single or hasn't been able to become pregnant easily?  What about someone reading who is from a different faith background, or none at all.'  I want to make space for everyone in what I write which is slightly noble but I'm not sure if it's possible or the best pursuit.  Sometimes these questions cripple me and sometimes they just keep me quiet for awhile.  I want the things I write to be true, but not just for a fairly privileged white, married girl.  I've got a long road to walk in that regard, but I'm walking.

I've had experiences in different cultural contexts, especially with women, and they shape how I think and write.  I'm also drawn to write about suffering and where God possibly is in it all.  Although I had a very safe childhood I've experienced trauma and loss a few times in my adult life and I like to write through the layers of it all when it comes up.  I've also seen miracles happen and want to honour the variables, the unknown, the mystery surrounding healing that sometimes breaks into our space and rewrites our future, and sometimes, sadly, does not.   

 And I want to write again and again how I've found nothing, nothing, nothing but good in God's heart.     

3. Why do you write what you do?

What really encourages me to write is meeting someone who has read my stuff and hearing that they've really connected with it.  That happens occasionally (usually a friend of a friend) and it's such a deep and genuine blessing to my heart.  I want people to process through and find healing in their experiences, to connect with people they would have otherwise passed by, and to think crazy, crazy things about God's love for the whole world, and even (and especially) for themselves.  I have a pretty small audience but it means so much to me when what I write is meaningful to someone.  I know I should write even when nobody cares, but that's hard at this point in life. 

Having a public space to share my ideas encourages me to actually think a bit beyond my day to day activities (two wild children, so much laundry and a newborn) and to work through them a bit.  The fact that I even have a little piece of online grass in the sunshine encourages me to grow something when I have the time - I'm not sure I would write much at all if I didn't have this blog.  That's sad, but at the moment it's true.  

4. How does your writing process work?

I usually have an idea gestating in my warm dark brain for quite awhile before I have a chance to write about it.  I've probably pitched it to Chris (fanboy) or maybe a close friend.  If have the energy and motivation to write, it's in the evenings.  It has to be an early bedtime evening for the big kids (around seven) and then I type furiously for a couple of hours, usually writing it all in one sitting.  Occasionally I will edit in the morning but usually Chris pressures me to just publish.  It's often around ten pm and that's when 'grumpy becca' comes out (I don't function well past 9:45 which many people in my life can attest to) so Chris is the one who sizes the picture and posts it to Facebook for me.  I'm usually falling asleep brushing my teeth at that point.  And being grumpy.  It's great.  Chris really believes in my writing and encourages me to write any evening we are free; 9 out of 10 times I'll accuse him of being bossy and suggest we watch a show instead.  He reads every post and often gives me editorial suggestions which I either accept or yell, "Chris!  I would never say that!  Get your own blog!"


I'd love to tag two of my favourite writers, one is a friend in real life, Michaela Evanow, and another has become an online friend, Kathleen @Becoming Peculiar.  Both are mamas who live out their values intentionally, have a child to care for and one growing inside so I'm curious how they make writing happen when they do.  

** Bonus Picture for No Reason:  This is the lunch I packed for my first date with Chris, when he had just flown across the country to see me for the first time in over ten months.  He tells me now, seven years later, that he was slightly horrified.  He knew what he was getting himself into, that's for sure.