"Tell your story. Tell it on your bruised knees if you must, tell it at the risk of madness, scream it at the top of your lungs." –Andrew Lam

Month: March, 2013


When you work in a floral shop, you get to know men.

I know that our plant delivery guy keeps Superman stickers on his cap because his ten-year-old put them there. I know he loves biscuits and gravy from Stella’s. I know I’ll most likely get a free plant because he likes to see me smile. I know he’s getting a divorce. I know he’s rough around the edges and has a very good soul.

I know within a few seconds of a guy walking in if today is a birthday or an anniversary. I know the secret admirers behind the mysterious cards. I know the men who will buy two dozen roses to save face. The ones who believe flowers cover a multitude of sins. The ones who merely want to get lucky vs. the ones who truly believe they are lucky.

But the men who burst my heart wide open?

The man from the class of ’44 who sends flowers to every funeral of a classmate and tells me not many are left. The same man who spends eight dollars every week on a small bouquet for his wife in the nursing home. “It’s me again. She just really likes flowers. Needs something cheerful to look at. Nope, I don’t need a vase.”

The middle-aged man who examined every flower, told me which ones were her favorites, and carefully chose the colors. Told me why, at checkout, he didn’t need a card. She passed this time last year. They weren’t for her grave. “I want to put them on the table. I just want them in the house. They remind me  of her.”

I watched P.S I Love You last night. I figured it was on because yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day and the setting of the movie is Ireland. I forgot I wasn’t supposed to watch this one or The Notebook when I’m by myself. Especially not when I watch my husband dress for work in a bullet-proof vest.

 Imagine me ugly crying and hyperventilating on my couch. Taking breaks in hot bathwater to calm myself down during commercials. I saw this movie in theaters–it wasn’t like I didn’t know the storyline. But I feel movies, you know? I live them. I exhaustedly live them. I’m jumpy. I have vivid and terrible dreams. I feel. Hard.

Do you remember in that movie, the way he looks at her? The words he writes? The way he knows her? Guides her? Cherishes her?

Last night I felt like a mad woman who wanted to furiously etch every memory–every tiny gratitude.

For the way he tells me I’m precious to him.

Holds my face in his hands.

Noticed me in every crowd.

Says he’s proud of me in a way I believe him. 

Rolls away the stone in my heart.

Makes it bust wide open.

Makes my heart look forward to,

for the love of GOD, going HOME to the South where we both feel most alive.

To our places.

A house.

A baby and puppies we can actually keep this time.

But I’m also looking forward to getting off work tonight and knowing he doesn’t have to leave. We will catch up tonight. Make love and coffee in the morning.

I’m looking forward to spring and fishing and mushroom hunting and walks with him. But I’ll also watch this March snowfall with him. Hold him tight.

My adrenaline-junkie husband better stay alive and with me until his classmates die off and I’m in the nursing home. I’ll take flowers every week, please. I just like flowers. I need something cheerful to look at.

But now? Now I’ll take all the ways he loves me. Guides me. Cherishes. Me.   

Thank you to the giver of every good thing. For giving me a love that does not change.

A solid man who doesn’t shift with the shadows.

The man who sees–in all my darkness–still sees a heavenly light.

I love you (P.S).  

joy dare/currently/favorites (basically, things that make me happy happy happy)

quiet mornings, a coral vintage-looking dress (and the lovely friend who altered it for me), company, after dinner coffee and hot tea, the gift of books, new songs, progress, cooking for others, gratefulness, moscato d’asti, watching the instincts of a mama dog, the way josh talks to the puppies and made a whelping box, free wine samples in tiny cups at bridal fairs, finding good blogs, wordpress, clean floors, flowering plants, vitamin d, polka dots, sleep—I’m thankful for sleep and for getting enough of it, cleaning out my purse and makeup bag (and replacing with new,un-gunky goods), coconut cream pie from Stella’s, eating there two nights in a row, succulents in random pots and coffee tins, my mini ivy, my African violet,  grandpa Earnie phone calls (I miss him. And grandma Mabel. So much. ), in-law visits, sister visit soon, lobster tails, singing with Josh, Earl Grey, stationary, snail mail, yellow, thoughtfulness, Duck Dynasty (I can’t help it; the show reminds me of home sweet home, jack), puppy kisses, American cherry limeade water (summer in a bottle), puppy photo shoot this weekend, getting the hair chopped off next week (just tired of the heaviness of it), the opportunity to go back to school, cowboy boots, This quote:

“I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self-respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it is the beginning of everything.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

(Thanks to my sis for sending the Fitzgerald quote). I love Fitzgerald. And I love that the quote made her think of me.   

And this quote:  
“Don’t you get it? She’s the
house! She’s the plain white
shutters, the sparkling glass
windows, and the perfect white
picket fence. She’s the ordinary
stuff. But you…you’re the red
door. And when people come
by, yeah, sure they see the
house. But for some reason, they
always end up looking at the
door. It’s always in the corner of
their eye. You can’t ignore a red
door. And the house is nice, hell,
the house is perfect. But then
there’s that door. It’s almost
painful to look at. You’re the
door.” –Chuck Palahniuk

Always. I’m that bright door. The sore thumb. The mismatch. The memorable. Can you relate? You know how some people have perfect landscaping? I’m the one who would scatter wildflowers. The one who wants to grow something wild and unruly.

My last favorite of this post…

These moments when, in the panic of living, I realize I’m not breathing. Like I’ve been holding breath underwater. And when I come up for air, I have to relearn the rhythm. So I listen. Feel the   



again, again

chest-to-chest, toe-to-toe


transferring the heat of him

the very breath, connected to the oxygen

pulling me back to solid earth.

and holy ground.

A Thousand Daughters

Love woke me up this morning.

Love and puppies.

And knowing at work today new plants would be delivered. I could get my hands in potting soil and roots and bulbs. And knowing I might buy an African violet and eat a slice of carrot cake from Stella’s.

You must find things to look forward to, he says.

I’d paint jars sunshine yellow and make a wreath in the shape of a square. Because sometimes it’s fun to be a different shape than what others expect you to be. I’m not a circle, am I. No. I have a lot of angles. I might be an octagon-trapezoid-isosceles. Something irregular like that. (I was never any good at geometry).

Funny things happened this morning while getting ready.

The first funny thing is I actually got ready.

And the second funny thing?

The sun was shining. Full on shinin’ instead of doing its little peepshow tease. Full on shinin’ instead of acting drunk in the sky. So I actually washed my hair. Actually applied makeup. And I wrote…in my head. I never write in my head. I’m a walking ditzy dum-dum until I have paper in front of me.

And while I painted a pop of peony-pink on my lips, thoughts swirled like yesterday’s snow. Jumbled. But feels so good.

To think again.

To feel.

That movement.

You know?

I started thinking about flocks and shepherding

and the quote that says, “I’ll live as though I have a thousand daughters.”

Sons and daughters, I had. Had a door to stick post-it notes of encouragement. A whiteboard to write quotes and song lyrics. Stories to expand to life. Characters we turned into humans. Heart-to-hearts about parents and dreams and relationships and lust and love and struggle and God and hope and being who we really are. Café days where they found their voices. An avenue. A stage.

A whole big flock.

I was the young one. And so they followed me.

My heart’s kind of sticky that way.

So what’s a shepherdess to do?

I tried to find new sheep when we had to migrate.

But they weren’t mine.

They weren’t mine to tell them it’s possible to be in the world and still not of it. Not my place to give advice. To tell them what worth and holiness are most certainly not measured by.

To talk to them like young adults. Or say they should be in school. They should get to live–at least a little bit–the way they want to.

It’s not up to me. This is not the same place as there.

I don’t get to tell them what to see. I don’t even get to tell them the place to look and let them decide what they see.

So I had to back up. Back off. Back away, far away.

Then found myself in a season where my own heart had to be tended to.

In that place again–

Made to feel like my truth is just not a good example.

Not a lifesong.

Ugh, better to be fake. To be reserved. Not the wild-hearted you that danced with abandon.

Oh, but the gritty and the grace. Your own deep truth, daughters.

That’s the melody. Makes the song worth singing.

Tone down good passions? I can’t. I just find other ways. I’m sick of the way we give into the lies that we are too much. And not enough.

When love wakes me up in the morning, I want to…write. Write again.

And tell all the daughters.

I may never get to have a daughter of my own–though I have named her.

But I will write for my daughters. I will write as though

I have

a thousand daughters.


My Labrador, Jovie, nurtures nine joyful puppies. Four yellows, three chocolates, two blacks.

I have secret names for them all–Biscuit, Nugget, Nella, Scout, Boo, Georgie, Pip, Sassafras, and Honeysuckle–just as I have human names for real children. Just as I remember every student I had by name. I cannot call the nine-day-old dogs Pup 1, Pup 2, Pup 3. I couldn’t even discipline their mama when she was a pup.

Because I wanted her to love me best. I wanted to be her favorite. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

I check on them, I do. But not every hour like husband does.

See, I’m more in awe of mama instincts. The delivery process. The bath-time licks and constant nursing. The arranging and rearranging and safekeeping and keeping warm. Instincts I don’t know if I possess because I’m so inside my own head. Because when I don’t know what to do I go into shutdown mode.

I see more of me when mama barrels out of whelping box, finally free. Poor thing needs a little space.

But as soon as she hears the yips and yelps, she returns. Puts up her paws. Waits for me to hoist  her up–back to her babes.

Mama dog is calmer now. Rests her chin on my knee. She’s a little blue. Exhausting, pouring out love. Somehow she must know six more weeks are all we get.

I can tell you which one has a little white stripe on its chest, which one looks most like its mama, which one has a tiny patch on its paw, which one is chubbiest, and which three pink noses are turning brown.

I can also say I want to be indifferent.

Because I do not get to keep.

Because with investment comes the inevitable process of detachment.

And to me, there’s not much difference between puppies and places and friendships and children and students.




Barren tree trunks rising from water in foregr...


I often don’t know how I get the bruises.

My skin is delicate; this northern winter has kept it pale—as transparent as frozen water and these words.

Snowfall. Skyfall. Another winter storm predicted.

The wool socks, the layers—they fail. They cover my bruised legs but do not keep me warm.

My husband sees the mysterious bruises, concern always in his eyes.

The same way he sees every hidden thing.

While making overdue love.

While sleepily opening one eye to watch me dress in the cold morning.



On my thighs.

I have no explanation for bruises just as I have no explanation for

A lack of communication

And avoidance

And how I’m feeling

And what I want.

I do not know.

True, I have a low tolerance for pain

But I also can’t identify

The source.

Award Season

The lovely Courtney from http://dressupandtwirl.blogspot.com nominated me for the….

Thank you! Courtney’s blog is definitely one you will enjoy, so be sure to visit. The neatest thing about this experience is the opportunity to discover other bloggers and connect. How rewarding it is to read the words of honest human souls.

I love questions. I love living my way to the answers. This award required answering questions and following rules that I (mostly) obeyed. Fellow nominees, you must answer the eleven questions, ask eleven new questions, and share eleven things about yourself. (Since I thought the questions I asked were stellar, I decided to answer them for myself instead). The last step is to nominate eleven other bloggers for the award and let them know you’ve nominated them in a comment on their blogs. So let’s pretend I’m all dolled up like Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars except I don’t fall. (Actually, I’ve tripped up stairs several times before, and–let’s face it–this blog is about bruised knees). It’s okay to fall.

Without further ado, I bring your Courtney’s thought-provoking questions and my answers:

1.Describe your perfect hot drink. You have a warm mug of something… what’s in it?

A “frost on the pumpkin mocha” if it’s autumn and a “snowflake mocha” if it’s winter both made with whole milk and whipped cream. Absolute perfection.

2. What are your morning rituals? This question made me realize how much savor my slow, quiet mornings. I tend to wake up with a lot of adrenaline and anxiety.  When I taught and had an hour commute, I woke up in a tizzy, panicked because I usually didn’t have enough fuel in my tank, ate dry cereal right out of the box, attempted to apply makeup at stop lights, and listened to K-love for a full sixty minutes in order to get calm enough and filled up enough to teach. Now, I wake up before my alarm. I put on a pot of coffee, check on nine puppies and mama dog, work on whatever Beth Moore study I’m doing at the time (right now it’s James), read blogs, wash dishes, take a bath, and then drive a short distance to either work at the floral shop or tutor (both places are incredibly enjoyable and have even more coffee).

3. If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, which color would you choose?

Deep purple. Or coral. Or…my yellow shoes always put me in a good mood. Can I wear my yellow shoes?

4. What have you secretly believed you’d be really good at if you were given the chance?

I think I would be a good literature or creative writing professor. I admire three strong female professors at UE who made classes more than just lectures. They taught in an exciting interdisciplinary way that always stayed relevant and sophisticated. They taught with personality and allowed us to get to know them as people. The result: inspired students who looked forward to their classes and remembered what they taught and how they made them feel. With my high school English teaching background, I think I can do that too. I would love to have the freedom to teach the way I want to teach without worrying about standards and rules and parents. I love the campus atmosphere. I want to be a lifelong learner.

5. What one thing bothers you most about the world?

Bullies. Gossip. Entitlement. Censorship. Standardized tests. Apathy. Judgment. Hate. Hypocrisy. Mixed-up priorities.  A lack of being the hands and feet of Jesus.

6. Facebook or twitter?

Facebook. I know this makes me sound old and out-of-touch, but I don’t understand twitter.  I am, however, an idea girl….so I adore Pinterest!

7. Describe your perfect Saturday.

A morning Bible study at Little Prairie with great conversation. Laughing with my sister. Visiting all of my loves in Evansville. Reading a book in a hammock on a sunny day or sitting in an artsy café writing on a rainy day. Taking my dog for a walk. Fishing. Enjoying a delicious meal (I’m such a foodie). Sitting around a campfire with friends.  Doing anything with my husband—if I get to spend time with him, it’s a good day.

8. What is one habit you are trying to change?

Oh goodness. I have so many bad habits. I’m scattered and messy. I forget to write down the balance after I record a check. I also worry too much. I’m a people pleaser. I crumple during confrontation. I’m not the best communicator. I jump to worst-case scenario. I have an inferiority complex. I leave all my froo-froo hair stuff and lotion on the bathroom sink (sorry hunny). I bite my nails. I procrastinate. I don’t know how to grocery shop/meal plan. My mind seems to always be in the future or the past. I’m socially awkward. I can be really stubborn. I’m trying to get better at all of these things.

9. What is one of your God-given gifts?

I hope one of my God-given gifts is writing. I guess we will see when I start my MFA this summer. I think encouragement is maybe the biggest gift. I hope to fill up holes in hearts by giving people what they need to hear so that they can have confidence to become what they are capable of being. I especially have a big heart for teenage girls who need to understand their potential and beauty and worth.

10. Polka dots, stripes, floral, or leopard-choose one and tell me why

Polka dots are so fun, but I can’t seem to pull off that look. I choose floral because I love flowers, my favorite scarf is a floral print, and I’m really looking forward to spring. ❤

Now it’s time for my own questions and how I would answer them.

1. Favorite beverages: water (I guzzle it constantly), raspberry-peach bellini tea, coffee, moscato d’ asti, diet coke

2. Favorite book(s) of the Bible: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes

3. Describe the perfect tattoo: It would be small, on my middle left side right under that area where the side of your bra would hit. The tattoo would read, in fancy letters, “Fuoco nelle vene” which is an Italian phrase meaning “fire in the veins.” Because that phrase describes me.

4. Favorite word(s): peace, dwell, savor, haven, grace, passion, creativity, sanctuary

5. Favorite places: The South, Dale Hollow Lake, Barnes and Noble, Coffee Cottage, Florida, SoIL, Nassau, The Cozy Cabin, around any campfire, on almost any lake

6. Favorite scents: perfume: Burberry Britt, Very Sexy Noir, Amber Romance. Candles: Ginger Fig, Sweet Woods.

7. Favorite body part and why: My left ear is deaf. It is my curse and blessing, my lack, my testimony, my story to tell. So-called flaws are interesting. I like my blue-grey-green eyes when they are bright and happy. I also like my barely size 5 feet and my back. I like eyes and backs and shoulders in general; I think those body parts are beautiful and strong and seductive.

8. Favorite time of day, day of week and month of year: Morning. Thursday. May/June and September/October.

9. Where do you want to travel? Italy, Greece, Australia, Africa, Ireland, England, Canada, North Carolina, Maine, Vermont, Texas, California

10. Describe your best memory. Four-wheeler riding with Josh during a storm (the first time when I was fifteen and then the deja vu time he proposed in the same conditions). Night swimming. We Care circles at UE. And my sweet Memorial send-off.

New nominees, you also get to answer those same questions. Here they are again:

Favorite beverages

Favorite quote

Favorite book of the Bible

Describe the perfect tattoo

Favorite word

Favorite place and why

Favorite scents

Favorite body part and why

Time of day, day of week and month of year

Where do you want to travel?

Describe your best memory.

And those new nominees are (drumroll, please)..

Courtney at http://vintch.blogspot.com

Tobi at http://huntingforbliss.wordpress.com

Miss Ashley at http://copiousmusings.wordpress.com

Jeanine at http://nakedgirlscout.blogspot.com

Jennifer at http://jenr1313.wordpress.com

Micaela at http://theundergroundmicaela.com

B. Lilly at http://totameawolf.blogspot.com

Barb at http://imhookedonbooks.wordpress.com

Other must-read blogs?





They’ll inspire you, too. ❤

Check out all of the above links and get ready for several onbruisedknees posts tomorrow. We need to catch up, don’t we. May you savor your weekend. Happy reading.

Academy Award

Academy Award (Photo credit: Wikipedia)