Inklings from within

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Day Thirteen

What’s your favorite picture of yourself?

I can’t say that I’ve given this one much thought. The one photo that came to mind, I couldn’t find. So I started sifting through a box of old photos and picked a few. These pictures have less to with how I look in them, and more to do with how I feel in them. The memories they evoke. What I am surrounded by. These have been scanned into the computer so excuse their old school fuzziness.


Home. I’m incapable at the moment, of describing everything this photo evokes.


Best Men. My two little brothers. My not-quite-husband. My brothers and I were born in quick succession. Eighty-one, eighty-two, eighty-three. I cannot imagine life without them. My now-husband just fits. There’s no perfection here, just a steadiness. These are the good guys. Sometimes loud, sometimes quiet. God-fearing. I look at that picture and I feel at home. It makes me feel better about the first picture. Because I know we made it out alive. This story has a good ending.


Home again. Home is at this man’s side. For as long as we both shall live. We couldn’t have known the minefields we’d dance through, but we’re still dancing. Nevertheless.


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What is your ideal summer day? Where would you go, what would you do or eat, and who would you be with?

I’ve taken a few days off from these questions and for good reason. The day I was supposed to answer the above question, I was, in fact, enjoying an ideal summer day. The annual Miller family reunion was this past weekend and I so enjoyed it. I had skipped a couple of years so it was really good to be back and connect with the people with whom I share a mysterious bond. Because it is mysterious to me…why should a few shared genes or blood cells or something, (I’m unqualified to discuss our biological similarities) knit our souls together? I know that those biological similarities don’t always knit souls together. At least not in love. And so I am most grateful for the love, imperfect as it is, that has knit my mom’s family together.


 In the kitchen (for family who cares, in the back its Emmanuel, Roy, Barbara, and Robert;
front is Ivan and Mom)

My mom’s brother’s stories are my favorite part of the reunions. There is an inner “uh-huh”, a kind of confirmation, a recognition of myself and my siblings, that I experience when their tales are being told. When they told the story of Grandpa scaring his sons by pretending to be a mountain lion, I laughed. When Robert simultaneously laughed and cried while talking about Roy’s recent stroke, I wiped away tears. And then laughed because Roy said he’s no longer sleeping on his belly because he’s afraid of heights.


Love this picture (Eddie, Mom, Ivan)

I caught up with dear cousins, laughed at their kids jokes, squeezed my nieces and nephews, and ended each day with my siblings. The food on these ideal days? Oh goodness. Table after table, a buffet of so much deliciousness.


Dreamer (Andy)

One story that struck me in particular, was about my uncle Andy, pictured above. I think Eddie told it, and as I remember it, the boys were in the barn doing their chores when Andy suddenly went running past Eddie, through the barn door, and outside. A few minutes later he came back in and said, “Ih hop un gaeluh airplane tsenah! Swa gael!” (forgive me, that may not be very sound PA dutch) Translation: “I saw a yellow airplane! It was yellow!” Reportedly, Andy, as a young boy was fixated on airplanes and aviation. I think they teased him about it plenty, at least they do now, but he would not be swayed.

In the afternoon of our second day together, people were suddenly moving out from under the pavilion and looking expectantly at the sky. “What’s going on?” I wondered. Someone said, “Andy’s doing a flyover!”

And suddenly I was transported. Blown away. A young Amish boy who dared to dream, and whose dreams were not squashed. He loved airplanes and there he was flying over our heads, dipping his wings to say hello. Uncle Andy is my hero for more than one reason, but on July 15 2012, he became an inspiration. To me. The humming sound of the airplane overhead, and the warmth of love and hope inside- it was the perfect summer day.

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Day Eleven

Perfect first date

My first date with my husband was a somewhat awkward dinner at Ruby Tuesday. We sat across the table from each other, played with the straws in our drinks, and wondered how we should behave ourselves. How were two people who had been friends supposed to act now, with this shift in the relationship? After a few minutes we decided to just keep on being ourselves. Friends.
Love, I have found, for us, is a friendship set on fire.
Our first date was not in a spectacular setting, there were no rose petal pathways set before us. But it did set into motion a relationship, a marriage that is sacred treasure. So yes, it was the perfect first date. It worked.

(almost done with these; I’m getting tired of talking about myself.)

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Day Ten

Ten things that make you happy.

(in no particular order)



10. Belgian Design– And in particular, the work of the man pictured above, Axel Vervoordt. No design philosophy has ever struck me so perfectly to the core as the simplicity of Belgian design. I intend to do an entire post on this subject in the near future.


9. Estee Lauder Automatic Brow Pencil Duo- I don’t think of this pencil as making me happy, but, when I can’t find it, I feel some serious anxiety coming on. As a child of the 1980’s who ZEALOUSLY over plucked her brows, I rely on this pencil each day to feel presentable. Sometimes I use it after I shower just before getting in to bed. I’ve used many different kinds of pencils over the years and this at last, is the one. No sharpening needed. When it’s all gone, the top pops off and I replace it with a refill. Thank you Estee Lauder.













8. Water + Sunshine– This summer more than ever, I am enjoying the feel good benefits of the this combination. It is an amazing way to let go of tensions and stress.


7. Boxers– These dogs make me happy just looking at them. They love their people maybe more than any other kind of dog. (that’s purely my opinion) Their eyes are not to be resisted.


6. Autumn– The clear, crisp air. Sweatshirts in the evening. Apple cider. Pumpkins. I wish I could live in a land of eternal summer, but autumn is what makes living in a seasonal climate worth it. Did I mention football?


5. Bonnet Movies– The greatest of which is Masterpiece Theatre’s 2006 Jane Eyre. Currently I’m working my way through the Lark Rise to Candleford series. I do not tire of British humor and their delicate sensibilities. 🙂


4. Travel– Sometimes I start to panic when I think of how much world there is left to see and how much I will probably never see. Every corner is a curiosity to me, some more than others. But I will gratefully experience whatever I am able to, and the rest…..I’ll just wait for heaven.


3. Nieces & Nephews– I cannot express the joy each one of them brings me. Truly.

2. My Family– No picture. These last three all kind of fudge together but that’s OK. Each one brings its own unique joy. My family is….people I want to be with. I’m too tired to really wax on…so I’ll just leave it at that. 🙂

1. My Husband– Patient. Kind. Faithful. Enduring. Funny. Caring. Loves me and I love him. And we promise we always will. And that’s enough to make any girl happy.


I apologize if this post is not coherent.

I’m so tired but determined to get this posted before I go to bed.



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Day Nine

In what ways are your own worst enemy?

“14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Romans 7


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Day Eight

Ways to win your heart

*Take me somewhere new. Seriously, nothing thrills me more than going somewhere I have never been before. It could be a new bookstore or a new country or a new park, it really doesn’t matter. I have a keen desire to see everything I can possibly see before I die.

*Be kind. Obviously we all have moments where we’re not kind to each other, but what is our reaction when a harried young mother drops something? When we see an elderly lady unloading a cart full of groceries into her car? When we see a kid being picked on? My heart melts when I see someone reach out to help a stranger.


*Be my niece or nephew. If you are lucky enough to have been birthed by one of my sisters or sis-in-laws, than you’ve got my heart in the bag. Done deal. No further action required.


*Surprise me! Unexpected happinesses are a delight. A paper letter in the mail is one of the best!

*Be a baby animal. But not unless it comes naturally to you.



Day Seven

What character traits do you admire most about your parents?

You know how more is caught than taught? I don’t know how exactly, but I know that I caught my attitude on “races” from my father. I really don’t think I can point to a particular conversation or interaction, I just know that from a young age I understood that there was no difference between myself and someone with a different colored epidermis. Although there are a plethora of things I’ve been “un-catching” from my father, I give credit to his attitude on this issue. When I married someone whose skin tone I was not lucky enough to share, there was no hand wringing, no internal dilemma as to what life would be like as a “bi-racial” couple. And almost six years in to marriage, it is as much a non-issue now as it ever was.

My mom? Oh goodness.

1. In the midst of grievous hardships and heartbreaking disappointment, she never placed us children between herself and her husband. Never pitted us against him. Ever.
2. After years (20+) of heartbreak, she left. And took her 5 youngest children with her. It is the single bravest thing anyone I know has ever done. In the family and church culture we grew up in, it was just not done. Twelve years later I shudder to think where we 5 youngest, or at least myself, would be if she had not flown away with us.
3. She is just chill. The biggest thing I remember her fussing over is having a clean house when company came. She never gave us children a curfew, didn’t question our every move, and we obliged her by not getting into (serious) trouble. She laughs along with us in the crazy stunts and conversations we kiddos sometimes get into. Every once in a while she will deliver a ZINGER of a sarcastic comment that sends us into peels of laughter.
I’m not saying she’s perfect, but the older I get, the more I realize she’s pretty darn close.