Insomnia and Thought


Sometimes, late at night, the world seems to slow.  Thoughts grow clear.  Emotions calm.  But sleep is shy.  The early hours pass, a slow, silent stream, mirroring the stream of thoughts that intertwine with night.

Tonight I am thinking of you, your smile.  Do you remember the day we met?  I remember how you stood against the wall, your face full of hidden thoughts.  Not at ease, and not afraid.  Self contained, yet outward looking.  I wanted to know who you were, and so, I adopted you.

We are so different now, from who we were back then.  Those years when we searched side by side.  Yet, it seems to me, that you are less changed than I.  You are still not at ease, and not afraid.  Self contained, yet outward looking.  Your face is still full of hidden thoughts.

I think of you tonight, and as has always been the case, I cannot imagine what you are thinking.  Hopefully, sleep has come to you, but what of your day?  I piece together my memories of things you have said and try to understand, but the truth slips away, like water between my fingers.  Perhaps no one can fully understand another person, but friendship is to try.

So here, early in the morning, I think of your smile.  Your kind smile in response to mine.  The joy in your voice, after we have talked for hours, days.  Your insatiable interest in trivia.  Your bitter smile, when I make you talk about something that angers you.  Your waiting silence when I’m lost in thought.  The condescending look you give me when we argue.  Your trustful, honesty when I ask you how you really are. Your smile, rippling with excitement, when you have experienced something glorious.

As dawn approaches, and another year flows toward you, may you experience many glorious things, and smile.




Of Courage and Selkies


For each of us, there is something we dread to face.  Something impossibly horrible.  Sometimes that thing is short, over in a flash, and gone.  Other times it drags on, for weeks, years, and each day when you wake, your first thought is that it is still there.  It is not easy to face our fears for a day, but it is far more difficult to live with them.  Where is the courage to face a life in which every familiar thought bears the face of terror?

Stories make it sound easy, even exciting.  They can give no sense of the burden of time.  The moments bereft of hope which stretch on and on.  The thoughts that come unbidden to stifle every smile.  There is no one-time act of courage which can pull you through.  It keeps returning, and like some ancient monster, seems to grow stronger with each blow you deal it.  Where is the courage to face a life in which every familiar thought bears the face of terror?

Even at the worst of times, one can be distracted.  One can escape, lose oneself, in the thoughts of another.  One can even laugh.  The laughs are tasteless.  Utterly disconnected with who you are.  Stolen from another person’s life.  Where is the courage to face a life in which every familiar thought bears the face of terror?

There is a beauty in acceptance, like a cold, grey, dawn.  When one realizes that there is no where else to run.  One steps out of the dark corner and says to one’s fear: “Yes, you belong to me, and I will live with you because I must.” Then one can see, that there was never any other way.  That is where courage is born.  The courage to resist hiding, day after day, to keep looking your fear in the face.

Courage is artificial.  Something put on, like a costume.  But like the selkie’s skin, once donned, it becomes a part of you.  Put a good face on life, and it may even smile at you.


Blue Sky Tag: Jane

Sometimes life gets complicated.  Instead of the one door you had prayed for, God opens three or four at once.  There simply isn’t time to sort out all your thoughts on what you have been learning.  And, if your blog happens to be about lessons you learn through daily life, you tend to get confused about what to write.  What better time to get tagged and answer questions about yourself?  Thanks Bethia Lark! Please, before reading further, go check out this sweet girl’s blog at


So here we go, eleven things I am sure you are all dying  to know about me:

1: What is your favorite fantasy character? This can include common characters such as princesses and kings, as well as characters you made up, or even creatures found in fantasy.

I have not read a lot of fantasy, but Boromir from the Lord of the Rings has always     intrigued me.

2:What is your favorite book?

Till We Have Faces By C. S. Lewis.

3: Dating or Courtship or Other?

All of the above, depending on how you define them.

4: What is your favorite time period to write/read about?

The last hundred years.

5: What is your favorite eye color? (For writing if you’re an author or just in general if you’re not.)

I generally give my characters grayish eyes, or brown.  I don’t know why because my favorite eye color is blue.

6: If your dominant hand were to be taken from you, what are some ways you would cope using your other hand?

With prayer for patience.  Have you ever tried to draw with your non-dominant hand?  It is excruciatingly frustrating!

7: Do you already have your future kid’s names picked out? If so, what are they? (If you don’t want to answer this off the wall question, then pick a question a lot of people ask you and answer that, stating what the question is first, of course.)

They are constantly changing but my current favorites are Alister and Annalise.  I tend toward names that start with vowels.

8: What is/was your favorite subject in school?

Epistemology. (The study of how we know what we know.)

9: Describe light. Try doing it without using the sense of sight.  (I know this isn’t really a question, but I’m running out of material here.)

A waking call without a sound, a single giant turn,

And I could be:

The fluid, winsome, childlike, trill, the greeting of a bird.

A prickle on the back of the neck, a warmth on the face,

And I could be:

The eager, upward, reaching, tree, gleaning the empty air.

A wandering wind born of chill, a  requiem,

And I could be:

The swirling, rippling, dancing, lake, beneath celestial darts.


10: How has having siblings, or not having them, as the case may be, shaped your life and character?

In more ways than I can count!  Being the middle and the shyest of five allowed me the hide a lot.  But also, having a wide age range among us has made me very comfortable being friends with people much younger or older than me.

11: What is your most precious possession?

My pens, I hate losing them.


Now, according to the rules I should pick eleven bloggers to answer eleven questions from me.  So here are the lucky eleven . . . actually, there are only six, sorry about that, I don’t know that many bloggers.

Lightly Salted Caramel at

Semiprowriter at

Christian Mihai at

Emily K. Joyner at

Deidra Alexander at

Natalie Breuer at

Now for the questions:

  1. Which book do you recommend most often?
  2. Dark, milk, or white, chocolate?
  3. Do you pronounce the name Augustine with the accent on the second or third syllable?
  4. What type of music makes you want to dance?
  5. On a scale of INTJ to ESFP what is you mbti obsession?
  6. Favorite quote?
  7. What do you think would be your ten year old self’s reaction to your present self?
  8. Dog or cat?  This is an imperfect world so you can’t have both.
  9. Favorite word?
  10. If you could learn any one language effortlessly what would it be, and why?
  11. Which fictional character would you most like to be friends with?


Introverted Thoughts

IMG_2076Dear Stranger,

Do you know how much you fascinate me?  I watch you from across the room and wonder who you really are.  What you are thinking and why.  It doesn’t matter how you look, what you wear, whether the words I catch at intervals are beautiful or ugly,  how old or young you are, in the end it doesn’t even matter who you really are. I long to know you because you are not me.  I cross the room and introduce myself.  I watch you take in my long skirt, my soft, high, voice, my odd, unidentifiable, accent.  Our dissimilarity makes you uncomfortable, and I see you wonder why I came to talk to you.  Would you believe me if I told you it was because I am in love with you?  Because I am in love with the world?


Dear Acquaintance,

Do you know how much I like you?  Perhaps we have never spoken, though we know each other’s names.  Perhaps we have spoken, but found so little in common, that we only spoke of the weather.  Do you know that I am still searching for a way to get to know you better?  Would you believe me if I told you that I am in love with the little I know of you?  Because I am in love with the world?


Dear Friend,

Do you know how much you mean to me?  We have had so many conversations, wonderful conversations!  Often, when I sit alone, I think of them and smile.  Yet now, when we meet, I have nothing to say.  When thoughts and questions come to me I treasure them up for you, but they feel incomplete, artificial, fragile.  Does my silence bother you? When we sit without speaking, for long, thought-filled, moments, do you wonder if our friendship is waning?  Would you believe me if I told you that I have fallen in love with who you are?  That simply laughing and talking is no longer enough, I long to work with you to make a better world.  Because I am in love with the world.


Dear Family,

Do you know how much I love you?  You have watched me grow.  You know I hide away my plans, even from you, until I am sure I can accomplish them.  You know how many hours I spend alone.  How often at meal times, I am detached, absorbed in my own thoughts.  How I gravitate toward tasks which only one person can do.  How I do not ask questions, if I can help it.  And how, often, when I do speak, it is about something childish or trivial.  Do you ever wonder if I really care about you?  Would you believe me if I told you that all of you are continually in the forefront of my mind?  I am in love with you all, because it is my privilege to work alongside you to make a better world.  And I am in love with the world.


Tracing Sunlight


As a child, it was my firm belief that the sun was the most beautiful thing in the world.  I would regularly wake up early to watch it rise sparkling through the trees.  In the relatively flat land of my childhood home, it seemed impossibly close, just beyond the belt of trees.  Midday was more difficult.  I would gaze into the blue sky above the horizon and tilt my head back.  But I never came close to actually seeing the sun at its height.  I gave up and watched its rays glitter on the surface of the creek or dance among the shadows of the leaves.

It was a wonderful thing to me when I learned that light was an actual physical thing which travels outward from its source.  I remember thinking with awe, when light fell on my hand, that I was touching part of the sun.  To be forced to fear light, seemed a most horrible fate: the fear of beauty itself.  The imagery of light played a huge part in the stories and poetry I wrote at that time.  One poem, which I threw away soon after writing for fear of anyone finding and reading something I held so personally, was a retelling of the Psyche and Eros myth.  It pictured Eros as the sun, beautiful, but too deadly for a mortal to come near in his true form.

Now, my eyes have become easily strained and over sensitive to light.  Occasionally, I have to wear a pair of dark sunglasses for days on end, even when indoors.  On good days, a single glance through a window at midday can give me a headache.  I increasingly live in a half light.  At first, the lack of freedom irked me.  I longed revel in the midday sun, to tilt my head back and see it’s glow through my eyelids, to watch it glitter on the water.  But as I sit in my dim room, a faint glow of the midday sun reflected from the lawn outside sifts through the closed curtains, and the wonder of the sun’s beauty returns to me.  I may now be the Psyche of my poem, closed away from the full sun, but still its indirect rays reach me, bringing beauty with them.  I reach out my hand to the light, and trace, in my mind, the unbroken thread that leads toward its source.

In the Bible, God Himself is pictured as too holy for a human to look upon.  Even the seraphim cover their eyes in His presence.  Yet, though we cannot now stand before Him, like the sun, His rays reach us.  We can when we hold in our hands a tiny new leaf, just emerging from its sheaf,  trace an unbroken thread to the very mind of God.

~Jane Blake



I feel like the general concensus is that 2016 was a hard year. I know it was for me. But it was also a year full of surprises-both good and bad. 

As this year is coming to a close, I just received my greatest surprise of the year. A surprise of – possibilities. 

So, you’re probably thinking, yeah, yeah whatever. We all have possibilities. What’s the big deal? But for me, this is huge. 

Have you ever had a dream-a good dream? A holy dream? One that was completely normal and God-honoring? Have you ever felt like that dream was stripped completely away from you, never to be fulfilled-not even a little bit? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. Even if it wasn’t something that big, I’m sure we’ve all had something similar happen. And has that stripping away of that dream ever scarred you so much that you stopped dreaming? You stopped aspiring and just took every day as it came at you with no fantastical thought for the future? 

That’s what I had done. After several dreams had been stripped away in the refining fire, I had stopped dreaming. I had decided that it hurt too much to dream and so I would just take one day at a time and not dream of the future. I would only live in the present. Then as I healed, I started to dream again, but never got too attached to those dreams. They resembled fantasies more than dreams. But there were also dreams that I had shut out completely from my life because why hope for something impossible? 

Not so long ago, maybe a month ago now, I had a friend give me a gentle lecture. He brought to my attention that not only had I accepted my “fate”, but I had then ceased to allow for even the slightest possibility that maybe my dream could come true. I had cut it off and discarded it; regarding it in a hostile and distant manner. He pointed out that by doing that, I was claiming control over that area in my life and not surrendering it to God the way I should. 

At first, I’ll admit, I was annoyed with him. Who was he to tell me that this dream was even a slight possibility? But as I pondered his words, I came to realize-he was right. I had not and was not surrendering this area to God to do with as He saw fit. Instead, I had made my mind up and said, “this is the way it is going to be.” Slowly, I began to surrender it to God. But I still held it in skeptical contempt. It wasn’t until I was able to look at the dream and honestly say, “Not my will, Father, but Thine be done.” that I reached full surrender. 

At full surrender, I got bowled over. All at once this dream that I had considered dead and impossible suddenly became very alive. I began to have hope that maybe, just maybe, I could see this dream fullfilled. I don’t know what God is up to. But I know that He is a God of surprises, and we have to not only trust Him, but accept the radical and unexpected in our lives while living in full surrender to His will. 

As we turn the page to 2017, let’s live our lives in full surrender, eagerly waiting in open anticipation for the surprises that He has in store for us that will radically change who we are. 

Of Yellow Leaves and Gossamer


The days begin and end with subtle longing.  The mornings grow cooler.  The cherry tree by the spring is bare and the sourwood leaves, bright red. The meadow is thick with  goldenrod, glowing in the evening light.  A small bird perches picturesquely on one flower stem and then flits away.  As I walk back toward the house my feet crunch on the first maple leaves.  I breath deeply and feel a tingling in the air.  It is fall.


Fall, the season for plaids, knits, and boots.  When hot tea, hot chocolate, hot apple cider become first desirable, and then indispensable.  When we eat a large orange squash, called pumpkin, in as many forms as possible.   When we buy wool socks.  A season especially adapted to the purpose of cuddling cats.




I  came close to writing that I have always loved fall, but that is not quite true, I dreaded it last year.

The winter before last had been really hard for me, it was my first winter in a new home heated primarily with a wood-burning stove, and most of our wood was green.  On top of that it was an unusually cold winter.  So when the leaves began to turn, I started complaining.  The sound of crunching leaves seemed foreboding.  I felt nothing alluring in the brisk mornings.  Not even hot apple cider could reconcile me to the idea that the cold was coming.

Looking back on that time, I find my attitude strange.  Why did I allow worry to blind me to so much loveliness?  There are things well worth dreading, things worse than cold, but should we ever allow our fears to eclipse the good things we still enjoy?  There is ingratitude in such a choice.  Life is often harsh and painful, but there is also a subtle beauty here, as fleeting as a thread of gossamer, or fall itself.  I think the appreciation of these small, gifts; a smile, a breath of wind . . . mark the line between wise concern and worry.  Worry is an obsession, it consumes us and everything around us, wise concern acknowledges both the good and bad and responds to both.


Writer Rambling: What do Sunglasses have in common with Faerie?


There is an imaginary world which people have been playing with for centuries, its name is Faerie.  Faerie, by all accounts, is not full of miniature winged creatures.  It is a fluid, alongside world, that people occasionally stumble into.  A terrifying, yet beautiful, place where certain actions we count as trivial become momentous.  Edmund Spenser and Shakespeare wrote about it in the sixteenth century, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien in the twentieth and what each has written is different.  There is no authoritative tale of Faerie.

In my mind, what Faerie is, is not as important as, what it does to us.  I like to think of it as my sunglasses.  Because of a sensitivity to light, I occasionally have to wear sunglasses for days on end and I have noticed something interesting about my particular pair.  They tend to make it look as though there is a thin film of dirt on everything, all the colors are grayish, with one exception.  If the sun is shining on something pink, red or orange, or that warm colored thing itself is glowing, the color is intensified.  Sometimes, I forget that this is happening.  A few weeks ago while sitting around the bonfire with my family I commented an how beautifully red the fire was.  When my family looked confused I realized that my glasses were tricking me again.  My first reaction was disappointment, what I had thought was beautiful was a fake.  But then, my siblings wanted to see the fire through my glasses too, and, while watching their reactions, I realized that even though it was not real, it was still beautiful.  I do not want to only see a muddy world with rich, glowing, warm colors, but I am glad I know what it looks like.  I will never look at a fire quite in the same way again.

Similarly, tales about Faerie often distort the world.  Normally, there is no reason why Anodos should sing to his beloved instead of embracing her, but in Faerie to embrace her is not simply a mistake, but a fatal sin which ends up destroying his life.  That sounds rather odd and unrealistic, does it not?  It is a tale crafted to distort reality, so that certain aspects of the world can glow with a greater intensity.

Realism is often stressed in writing.  You cannot make such and such a character do a certain thing, because it would be unrealistic.  But sometimes an unrealistic view of the world can be a good thing.  It can allow us to see the real world in a new way.

~Jane Blake


Artist Ramblings: Perfection


I read a quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci yesterday which said: “A work of art is never finished, it is only abandoned.” This is painfully true.  It is rarely with satisfaction that I put a work behind glass, most often it is with a sort of desperation.  I know it is not perfect but I do not know what else to do.  It is even more rare for me to look at a work a year after finishing it and enjoy the experience.  But at some point I have to say, this is good enough, and move on.

One never loves a work of art with the same intensity after one has laid it aside.  For, while working on a piece, one can see in one’s  mind how it ought to look and have confidence that it can be perfect.  But when it is finished it rarely matches that vision.  Only two of my finished drawings have I ever wanted to keep for my own pleasure.  Both of them were requested by people who saw them and I did not know how to politely refuse.

Life is artistry.   We can catch a vision of perfection, but we cannot reach it.  And even when we come close, we cannot keep what we have made.  No matter how much we manage to improve the world or ourselves, there is always more to do, and things that were lost that must be done again. Then, when our work is ended, not finished, we loose everything in death.

But God is the keeper of perfection and we are His works in progress.  Of all artists He alone can see the vision, bring it into being, and preserve it forever.  He creates perfection from our imperfection. He is never dissatisfied with His work.  He will never loose it after it is perfected.  He will never abandon us.

~Jane Blake


King of Hearts

IMG_4546Our culture throws around the word “heart” all the time for different reasons. “You’re a girl after my own heart” or “he’s got heart of gold” or “we need to get to the heart of the situation”. But what is the heart? How do we define it?

Besides the anatomical definition of a muscle that pumps blood, this was the most thorough definition I could gather from the dictionary. Heart: The inner part of any thing; the seat of the affections and passions; the seat of understanding; the seat of the will – hence, secret purposes, intentions, or designs; secret thoughts; secret meaning; conscience.

In other words, it’s the center from which everything else flows. The center of life.What keeps us going. Where our drive comes from. Where our actions stem from. The starting point for every action and resolve. It’s – well – the heart. So, when we talk about whole body education, we need to start with the heart.

When we have toddlers in our care, do we start out by teaching them that 2+2=4? No, of course not. We first teach them to share. We teach them not to hit others. We teach them to obey us. In short, we teach them right from wrong. We start by training their heart.

As these toddlers grow into little kids – 4, 5, 6, 7 years of age – we start taking this training to the next level. Instead of just saying this is right, this is wrong; we begin to quicken their conscience. We ask questions of them like, “do you think you should have done thus and such?” And then we explain the whys behind the right and wrong.

Then these kids become teenagers and their “heart-training” takes on a new form. They know right from wrong (usually), and yes, we still need to prod their consciences every now and again. But now we start to hone in on some of the others aspects, particularly the drive. What drives those teenagers? What really lights them up? Where do their passions lie? How can we guide them to nurture the good drives and root out the bad ones?

After years of growth and pain (agony, even), these teenagers become twenty-somethings: ready to test their heart as they take on the world. This is when all of those years of training and trial-and-error are put to the test. These kids walk out that door into the world, and the weight of right and wrong is put fully on them – they must know the difference and how to act accordingly. This is when their drives and passions steer them as they must make choices that will shape their futures – choices about jobs, education, relationships, and hobbies.

It’s a big world out there. And the battle against and for our hearts is fierce. The question is: how well have you trained? Will you stand against the onslaught or will you be a casualty? Can you face the world and overcome it or will you be trampled by it and have your heart torn apart?

As Christ-followers, we can walk into the world with confidence because we do not have to fight our battles alone. We have One who fights them with us and for us. Oh, that doesn’t mean that our lives will be lollypops and roses. Oh no. Instead, that means we will face the fiercest fighting with the greatest onslaught. But we do not go undefended. Instead, we go having every resource at our disposal. And when we follow our marching orders, those resources are available to us at the drop of the knees. But I do not mean to imply that we will never be wounded in action. Or that there may not be days that it seems that the enemy is gaining ground. No. What we do have is the assurance that our hearts will never be taken – even when everything else is in flames. And because of that, we will always keep fighting. We will keep going. We will never give up. And we will always have our hearts safe with the One who guards it best.

So “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23), surrender it to the King of Hearts, and actively train it to face the battle ahead.