October was too short…

Life is too short to ice cakes; cakes are good without icing.
Life is too short to read all the church periodicals.
Life is too short not to write regularly to your parents.
Life is too short to eat factory baked bread.
Life is too short to keep all your floors shiny.*

October was too short.  Time passed so quickly this month– so quickly that I just couldn’t keep up with all our happenings here in real time and I must confess I’ve felt a little guilty.  [smile]  But October was too short… Full of little anniversaries of our first date and first kiss and bigger celebrations like my 30th birthday and our first wedding anniversary, October is already a busy month in our household, but happily we added a bit more hustle and bustle with a record total of 7 overnight guests this month (my parents and our seminary friends), the wedding of dear friends in Georgia, and of course Halloween.

Life is too short to let a day pass without hugging your spouse and each of your children.
Life is too short to nurse grudges and hurt feelings.
Life is too short to worry about getting ready for Christmas; just let Christmas come.
Life is too short to spend much money on neckties and earrings.
Life is too short for nosy questions like “How do you like your new pastor?” Or—if there’s been a death—”How is he taking it?”

October was too short.  The busyness of October bubbled over into our lives at work as well.  At the beginning of the month, Caleb celebrated his first baptism and we welcomed four new members to “The Church.”  What an exciting Sunday!  That evening at the prayer class I’ve been teaching, I had a hard time focusing our discussions because so much joy was spilling over from the mornings activities.  [smile]  “The Church” is slowly growing and we are blessed to bear witness.  This was my first full month in my new job with Appalachia Service Project and essentially I spent the whole month establishing and living into new routines.  Since October 1st, I have made trips back to each of the centers in Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia.  I have loved discovering how I am being called to be present for these young adults who are serving in these centers.

Life is too short to be gone from home more than a few nights a week.
Life is too short not to take a nap when you need one.
Life is too short to care whether purses match shoes or towels match bathrooms.
Life is too short to stay indoors when the trees turn color in fall, when it snows, or when the spring blossoms come out.

October was too short.  The most brilliant transformation during the month happened to the mountains.  Slowly the greens of summer have been replaced by the yellows, reds, deep purples, and oranges of fall.  It’s really been quite a spectacular show!  We’ve tried to be intentional about using down time to take in the colors as much as possible.  We’ve taken long drives, biked the Creeper, and spent mornings just sitting by the great floor to ceiling window in our living room.

Life is too short to miss the call to worship on a Sunday morning.
Life is too short for bedspreads that are too fancy to sleep under.
Life is too short to work in a room without windows.
Life is too short to put off Bible study.
Life is too short to put off improving our relationships with the people we live with.

October was too short, but I don’t feel like we’ve let it pass by without taking in the fullness of this very special month.  So I didn’t write about it all until now… at least I have the memory of having lived this October in a way that I can happily proclaim with orphan Ann-(with an)-e Shirley that “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers!”

-Margaret

*Poem by Doris Longacre, the author of the Mennonite cookbook More with Less and the book Living More with Less.

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“Love is not a disease.”

"Beautifully written.  Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy." -Christopher Paulini

“Beautifully written. Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.” -Christopher Paulini

I just finished reading a fantastic YA crossover fantasy novel– Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.  I categorize it as a YA crossover novel because while it’s intended for young readers it certainly packs enough action, suspense, and complexity to be appealing to a more discerning palate like mine.  [wink and smile]

Briefly an overview:  Seraphina is Hartman’s debut novel about a world where dragons and humans co-exist in relative peace.  I enjoy reading fantasy novels, but haven’t read enough to have come across many dragons or be very familiar with dragon-lore.  So I’m not sure if this compliment is misplaced, but one of the things I loved about Hartman’s treatment of draconian typology was that her dragons are able to adopt human forms.

This motif of degrees of humanness is what puts Hartman’s work in the top tier of fantasy writing because it is able to draw a universal parallel between this imagined world and our real world.  The complexities of living in a world where appearances are not necessarily trusted and that persons are judged by their parentage is reminiscent of our world’s continuing dialogue on race and privilege.

Love and friendship between species (human and dragon) is Hartman’s recurring theme.   The title of the post is a piece of wisdom imparted from one character near the end of the book when he begins to recognize that love between human and dragon is something to be celebrated and not condemned.  Fascinating thoughts and a good reminder that love is without borders.

Definitely recommend you pick up this engaging fantasy.  With the sequel due next year, I predict Hartman’s dragons are going to be the next “it” book.

-Margaret

An epic day and updates

Yesterday was in the words of Barney Stinson “LEGEND– wait for it –DARY.”  [smile] Perhaps that was bit of an oversell, but I’m so happy to be able to share that I was offered and accepted a job!  Stay tuned for further details when all the necessary paperwork is completed and I can make an official announcement.  For now, just want to say thank you for sticking with me through the ups and downs of the job search.

In other news, I spent some time yesterday afternoon updating the About: My Blogging Bio, Creative Reading, and Nearly Ordained Cafe tabs above.  After checking out some of the stats from yesterday’s “Nearly Ordained Cafe” post, I realized that I had gotten really far behind on updating what posts have actually been written under this category and the “Creative Reading” category and that it was hindering visitors from finding other posts they might enjoy.  I’ve rectified that issue and updated “My Blogging Bio” to reflect our graduation and move to Tennessee.  It’s about time, I guess.  We have been living in Kingsport for almost 3 months! [smile]

Finally, I have added a Publications tab under the About page.  Through the process of applying for jobs over the last few weeks, I have finally gotten up the courage to actually name one of the career aspirations that I’ve up to this moment have kept quite close the chest (particularly here):  I would love to write professionally at some point in the future. Perhaps this is not quite as big of a revelation to regular readers and those who know me in life outside the blogosphere, but naming this ambition here feels like a big step in a very right direction.  Who know what might come from it?  [smile]  So if you’d like to read some of what I’ve already published check out my “Publications” page and if you are publisher and you like what you’ve read, I would love to hear from you. Email me at margaret.n.frazier@gmail.com.

– Margaret

Courtesy of 12 year old “Mag”

A fantastic thunder storm has rolled into our little part of Tennessee and the heavy rain has made the mountains disappear in a hazy fog of grey-green.  Our lights keep flickering and I’m hoping against hope that we don’t loose power because tonight is Caleb’s choir practice.  I love our house but do not want to be stuck here in the dark alone.  The stormy weather reminds me of a passage I wrote in my diary when I was 12 that I ran across yesterday when I was going through some boxes.  Pardon the misspellings and the improper use of punctuation I was only 12 after all.  [smile]

Diary, I need to write some descriptions in you. So that I might learn to write well.
The day was as drery [dreary] as a young boy who has just lost his true love.
-Mag

I have a sneaking suspicion that 12 year old “Mag” might have been just a bit pretentious and definitely a completely hopeless romantic.  [smile]   In the entries that follow I gush about my crush on a boy named Alexander, going to shop for school supplies, attending the funeral of someone in my dad’s church, and my first observations of middle school!

August 22
1st day was OK. I think my teachers will be pretty good… Things that have changed:  No more holding hands or smucking [I have no idea what term “Mag” is trying to spell here!] at school, and All the boys talk “Deeper“.  It is so wierd [weird]!  I think it will be a good year, Mag
P.S. I think Alexander likes me.

The post script is written with a heart drawn around it and hearts before and after Alexander’s name.  I must have been really into this guy.  Actually I think it’s indicative of an interest in boys in general because before he diary peters out less than a month later I mention at least 4 other boys who I like!  [smile]

I remember wanting to be in love for such a long time and becoming frustrated with ups and downs of waiting for “love” to happen.  While I waited, I read about love in the pages of Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice and The Rosary and thought I was becoming an expert on the subject.  [smile]  In the process of reading about such independent heroines, I found the courage to not just wait for love to come along, but also to live life and have my own adventures in the meantime.  When I look back on my almost 30 years of life, I am so grateful for the whole of it.  I am grateful for my wonderful childhood with loving parents and perfectly annoying younger siblings.  I am grateful for the boy-crazy middle school, high school, and yes even college years.  I am grateful for my years of adventuring in far off lands.  I am grateful for the amazing man who surprised me the forever searching romantic and swept me off my feet.  I am grateful for our current adventure and so grateful for the opportunity to take a moment to reflect.

The storm is passing and I think –fingers crossed– that I am out of danger of losing power.  Best of all I can see my mountains again.

-Margaret

His and Her’s: Writing

We have both spent the morning at our computers writing.  Caleb’s putting the finishing touches on his sermon for our first Sunday- this Sunday!!- at “The Church.”  He’s going to do great!  I know because I’ve gotten a sneak peek.  [smile] I’ve been blogging.  We’ve had a fun morning doing our own thing, but being together.

I envy the way Caleb can put words on a page.  He gets a thought in his head and can pound out two or three pages in no time.  Pondering over every word and the placement of every clause, I write so much slower.  His speed and productivity was particularly frustrating when we were in classes together.  It seemed like he wized through assignments that took me forever.  [smile] Really its a matter of two different processes.  He lets everything he’s thinking just spill out and then goes back to edit.  I’m a more of an edit as I write type.

After posting one of my blogs recently, WordPress in its inspirational and congratulatory way spit back this quote from Carlos Fuentes who after a quick search on the worldwide web I found was a Mexican novelist.

Writing is a struggle against silence.

As soon as I read it, my writer’s soul sighed with the assurance that I am not alone in my struggles to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard.  It is so much easier not the write, to not express thoughts and feelings.  Silence is more comfortable and it feels safer, but there is so much joy in the struggle of writing I can’t give it up. With our move to Kingsport, my opportunities for employment seem both wide open and completely closed because once again I find myself at a crossroads where I must choose which path to go down.  When I think about what I would most like to employ my time with, I have to admit a little voice within wishes it could be this– writing.  Whether writing curriculum for Cokesbury; articles for Sojourners or Archaeology Magazine; or as Caleb suggests the next great American novel, writing is what I enjoy despite the struggle and it would be wonderful to find some way to do this and support our family.  Someday perhaps I will be able to, until then I’ll just jot down my musings.

-Margaret

“Chicken Gangs of Broxton”

Yesterday evening we said goodbye to Broxton, but because I’ve had an impromptu week long series of posts inspired by that sweet small town I thought I would round up my observations today.  Thanks for indulging me!

Not much changes in Broxton from visit to visit.  A new plant may appear in the garden off the porch or Granddaddy may have a new brand of coffee to serve in the morning, but otherwise everything pretty much stays the same and I like it that way.  [smile]  Over the last few visits, however I’ve noticed that something is different.  Broxton has been invaded by nefarious gangs that wander the streets all hours of the day and congregate on street corners. The leaders wear red masks and headdresses.  All their groupies are dressed to the nines in full feather coats.  They are robbing the little robins and chickadees of the precious little food they’ve stored away.  Broxton’s been overtaken by the “Chicken Gangs!” [smile]

Somehow a flock of wild chickens have taken up residence in Broxton.  [smile]  It really is the most delightful thing to watch them wandering back and forth from the neighborhood bird feeders.  I must admit that I was simply entranced.  Of course the enchantment of the fowl wears thin in the early morning hours when the roosters begin to crow.  [smile]

I thought perhaps Broxton had a new free range law governing personal chickens, but Grammy assured me that they belong to no one.  They roost in the shrubs around the church and around my grandparents house at night.  How the flock came to be is a mystery though the flocks increasing size is most certainly due to no one robbing their eggs!  The whole mystery of their appearance really begs that age old question:  Which came first the chickens or the eggs?  [smile]

I realize I’m being a bit silly, but they really are fascinating creatures to watch.  They do move about like little gangs.  While I didn’t see any fights erupt, I do imagine that a few rivalries among the roosters flare up every now and then.  I like to think that their fights play out with the pizazz of the street fights in West Side Story!  Now that they are here I hope they’ll stick around for a while so that I can enjoy them on my next visit.

-Margaret

PS– I was hoping to have a picture to accompany this post, but the chickens and roosters must have sensed my interest in their antics and were hiding out all day or maybe they’re on the lam.  [smile]

His and Her’s: Poetry

His and Her’s: A weekly series on “Daily Musings on Life Together”

The “His and Her’s” post from last week was so fun to write and so many of our friends seemed to enjoy reading it that I thought I would try making it a regular occurrence.  It may piddle out after a while, but I’ll go with it while it works.

This week we are tackling poetry.  April is poetry month; don’t you know?  [smile]   I must confess that these are taken from our wedding website, but I wanted to share them here.  The purpose of the poems was to introduce each other to the friends who would joining in on our wedding that might not have met Caleb or me yet.  The poem structure sort of happened automatically.  They don’t rhyme, but if I remember correctly from my middle school poetry class poems don’t have to.  [smile]  Oh well, I guess that’s enough stalling.  Please read on with lots of grace.

My poem for Caleb:

Caleb and Kramer!

Caleb and Kramer!

I’d like you to meet my Caleb…

he’s the “George Bailey” of Embreeville, TN,
and by coincidence his favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life…

he’s a lover of all things Jimmy Carter and an Atlanta Braves fan
and I think it was his plan all along to end up with a Georgia girl…

there’s nothing more he loves than dancing to Tonto at a wedding,
and he’s the only person in the world who can get me on the dance floor…

he’s always pronouncing the in-breaking of the kingdom,
and I know he’s going to be a great UM minister…

he’s sentimental, caring, protective, loving,
and most importantly he’s the man from the mountain who swept me off my feet.

With love- Margaret

Caleb’s poem for me:

Only Caleb makes me smile like that!

Only Caleb makes me smile like that!

Allow me to introduce to you my beautiful wife, Margaret…

Margaret is a traveling star who has traveled and lived in many different places,
so it makes sense her favorite song is My Traveling Star by James Taylor…

Baking is her favorite thing to do, pizza is her favorite food,
and her favorite place in the world is in her purple room…

She loves to read and she is an incredibly gifted writer,
and I tend to believe she is going to write the next great American novel…

She’ been a Valedictorian, class President, Archeologist, Methodist missionary,
and I know her gifts and talents will continue to help change lives…

She’s hospitable, intelligent, nurturing, enchanting,
and I thank God that she loves to dance with me by the light of the moon.

With love- Caleb

-Margaret

PS- I just added a new page under the “About: My Blogging Bio” tab in the header.  Check it out!