You guys just would not believe the technical difficulties happening here this morning. I know, you also don’t care. So I’ll spare you, except to say: if you’re reading this it’s a miracle. A miracle, I tell you!
Today I am honored to be at Erin Margolin‘s place telling you about my writer roots. Even though it means an extra click, I really hope you’ll go over there and say hello to Erin. You can read my post while you’re there, too. How convenient.
I met Erin at Blissdom Conference in 2011, and have been a fan of her writing (and her, in general – she’s pretty awesome) ever since. She’s writes honestly, with humor and heart. Erin hosts a Your Roots series on her blog, where others can share their stories of how we came to write and why we continue to write. It’s a thrill to be part of the Roots series today!
If you’re visiting me from Erin’s place, thank you. I hope you’ll hang around, and please feel free to click on all those social media icons in the top, right corner. I’d love to connect with you on Twitter and Facebook, or wherever it is you like to do your social media-ing.
I’ll see you back here next week. Until then, have a fantastic weekend. And don’t forget to visit Erin’s blog. Did I say please? If not, consider it said. Thank you! read more
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- Relate every Bible Study discussion back to 50 Shades of Grey. “The suffering in Biblical times reminds me so much of Ana, how the bondage drew her closer to Christian, just like Paul’s blindness made him a believer. You know?”
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- Speaking of Quarter Pounders…
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- Tell the PTA to stuff it. As in those packets of back-to-school info that you will not be stuffing this year. There are at least 100 eager kindergarten parents just dying to get involved. You have months worth of People magazines and reality TV to catch up on.
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(Photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography) read more
I feel the need to write something here, but all of my good somethings are still bad. They’re unfinished, at any rate.
Here’s the deal. Once my head cleared after this, summer started. Did you know the schools are very firm on that last day? No wiggle room there, friends. You must collect your children on the last day, and then you must keep them until school starts again.
I later edited this calendar, because it turns out that if you have a schedule-less mentality, you might almost forget to go to swim lessons.
Truthfully, summer has been great so far. With a few caveats. Namely…
There is not enough deodorant on the shelves of Target to handle the heat. I expect to have sweat pooling in the creases of my eyelids when I’m in spin class; I do not appreciate that level of sweat accompanying a trip from my back door to my car. (I promised myself that I would not spend all summer complaining about the heat. This is one promise I probably won’t keep; consider yourself warned.)
I love not having a school schedule, with daily drop-offs and pick-ups, and lunches to pack, and backpacks to sort. Also, I hate not having a schedule. It always takes a few weeks before we figure out our summer routine. (Please see the next caveat for a more detailed – and riveting – status update on our schedule-setting.)
I spent the first week of summer with an infection I called Coughing, Aching, General Misery, Fever, You Are Dying Disease. The doctor called it bronchitis. It was accompanied by a delusion-inducing fever that had me thinking I was the Countess of Grantham and all of my servants were plotting against each other, thereby neglecting their duties. Once I kicked the fever and accepted that I do not have servants (because that would be wrong), and that the only person willing to polish my
chandeliers cheap lighting is, well, neither servant nor countess, we were squarely in week two of summer. I am behind schedule in developing a schedule.
In summary: hot, sick, no schedule. But summer is still pretty fun, even if my to-do list is not quite ever ta-done.
A note… I don’t really blog about blogging, but just as I felt I needed to write something here, I feel I should saysomething to my blogging friends: when you see the weird troll lurking for many hours on your site, it’s not a troll. I’m just catching up. I’ve read here and there, but mostly I’ve marked a lot – a lot – of stuff as to read. I’ll be by soon.
:: Am I the last person to start watching Downton Abbey? Anyone else have a bit of a crush on Mr. Bates?
:: How long does it take you to get in the swing of the summer schedule, or lack thereof? read more
It’s the last week of school at our house. Hold on a second, because just typing that sentence made me break out in hives and I need to do something about the itch.
Okay, I’m back with a gin & tonic, and the hives feel much better. You silly people thought I was going to get medication for my hives. Well, you take your medicine and I’ll take mine.
Anyway, it’s the last week of school and also… the last guest post until fall. We will pick up again when school starts, and until then you’re stuck with just me, writing about whatever I can manage to pull together while the children
set the house on fire play quietly with educational toys.
For my last guest writer, I have someone very exciting: my brother! Matt is one those people. You know the type: he’s really good at everything he decides to tackle. This could lead to some nasty sibling rivalry, as I excel at being perfectly mediocre in most things. Luckily for you, though, I like Matt in spite of the fact that he’s smarter than I am. He’s here today talking about one of his passions. Enjoy!
A guest posting spot. I’ve made it (never mind the nepotism).
When my sister asked me to write a guest post here, I was flattered. And then overwhelmed with the number of things I could write about. Things I wonder about? Everything. Anything. It seems the older I am the more things befuddle me, like human nature, nature itself, and Natural Light (Why would anybody drink that? Besides a good ad campaign – adding nati as a prefix does, in fact, make words funnier).
So I limited the the things I wonder about to things I know a little about, and that pretty much leaves: drinking beer and gardening. We’ve already covered some beer drinking, so let’s stick with gardening.
Here is my latest gardening question: Why do we insist, as a people (Americans, Texans, Humans) on landscaping the way we do?
Before you give up and start reading the back of your cereal box, this is an interesting question, I promise. To focus the question to something that we can dig into a bit, we’ll talk about 1) why must we have a lawn 2) who decided which plants belonged in the front garden (or yard) and which belong in the vegetable garden?
Now, I know most readers have never really thought much about their yards, and kind of like it that way. But yards are about fashion. Just like the car you drive, the house you live in, and the clothes you wear. The fact is, American Garden fashion is, for the most part, stuck in a particularly nasty fashion trend. Where you see a large, grassy lawn with three shrubs and one tree, I see outdated fashion. Your house is wearing polyester bell bottoms. And your house is not doing it ironically.
First, the lawn. I could really bore you with the historical background of landscape design, but I’ll boil it down: we are all pretending to be landed gentry in England that live in a rolling parkland. This is a gift from Fredrick Law Olmsted. He gave us this concept… and Central Park. Let’s call it 1-1 on his ledger.
As you may have noted, we are not landed gentry, and we do not live in England. We do not need acres of grass to water and mow and water and mow and complain about. Do you really like your grass that much? I doubt it. So lets rip some out and replace it.
Replace it with what?
Mostly, you should replace it with some stuff you don’t have to take too much care of. Because let’s face it, we kind of suck at that. I’m thinking some pathways, patios, and seating areas. Try to eat up 1/3 of your front yard with stuff that doesn’t grow. You and your water bill will be grateful. Now for the rest, leave some lawn (again, 1/3 would be nice). It’ll help you fit in with your neighbors, and most of us long for that. As for the last 1/3, grow some stuff that is easy to grow. Pick natives and plants adapted to your area – any nursery or landscaper can help you decide.
This brings us to the second part of my question: Why not vegetables in your front yard? Crazy, you say? I know! But we should all be so crazy.
Vegetables need sun, water and good soil. You have that. The idea that they are not pretty is just fashion again. Petunias and the like are the equivalent of whatever kind of jewelry is considered tacky (I have no idea, I stink at jewelry shopping, ask my wife). Most vegetables, though, are beautiful, easy to grow and then… you eat them! Why grow grass if you’re not a horse or a cow? Do these animals roam about your neighborhood? No! Can you eat flowers? No! (Okay, some. But let’s not get into that just yet.) Grow something you can eat and your neighbors can eat.
Okay, sorry for the sermon. I get a bit preachy about this, because I think it’s the truth and needs to be spread. In 30 years when your new garden is horribly dated, you can rip it out and put in the full lawn that is all the rage. But in the mean time, hey, who wants some tomatoes?
:: Why do we grow and water all this grass in Austin when our lakes are going dry?
:: Could we end hunger if everyone grew some veg and gave away 50%?
:: Why I can’t find a wider range of English Style Bitter Ales? Am I the only Austinite who likes them?
About the Writer
Matt Evans is an equine veterinarian whose avocations include gardening, oil painting, writing and swilling ale. He lives in Dripping Springs, Texas with his beautiful wife and two amazing daughters. His passion is gardening for good and for awesome – you can read about it at christchurchgarden.com.
The last week went a little like this: strep throat for one of my kids, strep throat for me (thanks, kid), cancer diagnosis for someone I love, a birthday for one of my kids, more fever for a kid.
Did you catch that? A piano fell on our heads.
It was not a simple diagnosis (are they ever?), and the potential for bad news was huge. Looming. Hanging over our heads.
Surgery first. Then questions. And a whole lot of sleepless nights, foggy days, and anger at people and things that didn’t deserve our anger.
But also. Also a lot of laughter, albeit of a slightly nervous variety. And prayers. And hope. And again with the prayers. All this while keeping the day-to-day going.
And then? Well, call me a believer.
But first call me a doubter, a questioner. A dubious suspect-er of this life being futile.
And then it happened.
We got the best possible news. We got exactly what we asked for. Exactly what we were told was highly unlikely, extremely rare. It happened. I’m humbled. And a bit embarrassed at some of the nastier things I thought about God and life.
I know – believe me, I know because I’ve experienced it – that sometimes prayers are not answered in the way we want them be answered. Sometimes it feels like they weren’t answered at all. I’ve walked through hard times so bizarre and painful they seemed like fiction.
Sometimes we get exactly what we ask for. We get the very best news. We get a gift we didn’t believe would come, even though we asked nicely. And not nicely. We asked over and over again, always with a question in the back of our minds.
This whole thing, our piano as it were, isn’t over-over. There are more decisions to be made, more information to gather. But we’re standing in a much nicer spot than we were in a week ago. The view from here? Pretty sweet.
And so I’m humbled. Grateful. Relieved.
And in need of a good night’s sleep. I think I just might get one of those tonight.
So you and I, we’ll chat next week.
Thanks to all of you who sent kind notes, prayers, and offers of help. You’re all my very favorites. read more