Perfectly Penned

The pen slides perfectly into my welcoming hand. It cuddles cozily against my thumb and fingers. United, in seamless harmony, pen and hand perform the most amazing of tasks- my thoughts become visible. No longer are they floating through my head unseen. As I think them, they are written. Printed. Perceptible. Perfect. My human hand flows across pages with grace, capturing my many emotions, dreams, hopes, fears, challenges, successes, and prayers. Uniquely. My handwriting.

Then it strikes me. Will my great grandchildren know the beauty of this marvel? Will they experience the collision of notebook, pen, hand and brain, all in delightful accord?

My mind dances with dreadful visions of a possible future. Kindergardeners sitting at their little desks…. learning the alphabet on… ipads? Tap tap tap… their tiny fingers slide across the touchscreen. No need for the handwritten word anymore. Only scrapbooks, journals, and school papers of the growingly distant past remind the world that once humanity could write. Pen in hand. Then. Stylus in hand.  Now. Tap tap tap. ipod, iphone, ipad, and… ibrain.

I wonder if there isn’t some beautiful connection between the development of our brains and the synchronicity of our hands and hearts. What is the cost of this distant fate? The elderly will reminisce the days of handwritten greeting cards and love notes. “The good ‘ol days” they’ll say. I’m sure I will be among them, Lord granting me the days of life to do so.

But its faster. More exciting. Easier. Convenient. Efficient. Time-saving. Freeing.

Will we sell ourselves to technology for immediate gratification? Will we forsake the trials of patience and and the character-building of waiting… all for what appears “easy”?

Computers crash. Technology fails. Batteries die. Electricity is expensive. Spam. Phishing Schemes. Identity Theft. Privacy Lost.

And here I sit typing 🙂 Not bad. Unless I forget how to write. Pen and hand. Unified. Unique. Unforgettable.


All Words Are Pegs to Hang Ideas On -Aesop

I love words.

I love that a combination of printed letters, together, form a word that holds much meaning. I am always careful to pick my words, intending them to say exactly what I mean for them.

Lewis Carroll wrote, in Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

How true this is for me! No more, no less. It is not the quantity of words that I love. It is their precise meaning. “Words should be weighed and not counted” (Yiddish Saying).  It is that the simplest choice of a word can so entirely change what you mean to say. This love affair with language has caused me, often, to think carefully before I speak. Weren’t we told to do that growing up? I mull over my word options as if they were delicious delicacies. My mind thrills in the choices just as my mouth salivates with the aroma of something yummy. I mean what I say.

Unfortunately for me, words are not so carefully tended or admired by all. Many people speak with such carelessness that words spew forth as shallow as a baby’s wading pool. Empty. Void. Meaningless. This is the greatest tragic use of the word, tossed out in all vanity and selfishness. The speaker has forgotten that words are not just for them… but for the listener as well. “The more the words, the less the meaning, and what does that prophet anyone?” said the most wise man of all time, King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 6:11).

How I have often wished that I could go around communicating in whatever language piqued my fancy! To make up sentences using a variety of languages would be divine!  For example, I want to insert any one of the four Greek words for “love” in place of my English variant. How wonderful to use a word that specifically points to the kind of love I feel, rather than grouping them all into one sad and lonely utterance. How fantastic it would be to say, “I sure Phileo chips and salsa!” Then I could more appropriately say, “I eros you,” to my wonderful husband. Different loves.

Actually, I have a small confession. We use multiple languages in our house. We all speak, on varying levels, Spanish, English, Sign Language, and much smaller portions of Hebrew, Italian, French, and a couple others. We use them to say what we mean. It’s marvelous. A guest in our home may overhear (or, in the case of Sign Language, see) us communicating affection in any given language at any given time. My three year old has caught on and begun to create his own language and words to best express his thoughts and feelings. (On that note, I think most toddlers create language as they too, having been “mute” as babies for so long, enjoy expressing themselves in so many ways.)

Mark Twain said it best, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—‘tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

I will conclude this little dedication to the word with a “word” of caution. Many people have been hurt by words. Many have been so hurt that, sadly, words hold little value because the action behind them proved to be truer. I have experienced this loss of assurance in words handed to me as well. I have come to the realization that it is not the word that is false, but the heart of the person wielding it. Thus, I have chosen to be a person whose words speak their intention, speak the truth of my heart, so that my deeds are in accordance.

Nathaniel Hawthorne summed it up well when he said, “Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them!”

May we choose to be people of profound integrity, honoring the gift of language that we have been given, being good ambassadors of our endowment of verbal understandings, and self-controlled enough to employ them at the best possible time in the best possible way. “A word out of season may mar a whole life” (Greek Saying).


The Beginning

I’ve been mulling over the purpose of this blog. I’ve decided that this will be a place where we (you and I) share the things that bring our life passion and excitement. We all want a life of quality… one well lived and above and beyond the mundane and monotonous.

I know I have many experiences in life that have lent themselves to meaning far greater than myself. Experiences that enlightened my perspective, reformed my view, or simply held great significance that was worth noting and retaining. Many of these moments have been recorded  and filed away.

Knowing this, I pulled out journals from my past and began perusing the pages, hunting for those grand moments that make the rest of life bearable. And though I found those moments penned by my hand at various stages in life, as I knew I would, I actually found something far greater. I remembered how important it is that we record our life stories.

For many hours over the last days, my heart and mind were sucked into the past through the pages of my journals. Emotions surfaced that I had almost long forgotten. Visions and pictures danced in my mind as the words unlocked doors of memory. What most amazed me was how far I’ve progressed as a person in life! The girl on the pages of my first year married is a very different girl than the one married almost seven years today! Same pen, perhaps, but very different person. The man I described in that first year is also incredibly different, and I realized how much more in love I am now than I was then. Things only realized in light of the hardships and pure pleasures that we have experienced.

I read through so many prayers… of thanksgiving, of praise, of pain, and of total anguish. How many times I realized that my prayers or words had been fulfilled in future events and days to come. What a huge blessing to remember that I had prayed many of the things I am now experiencing.

My trip backwards through the years did not require a special time-travel machine. It did not require large sums of money or even sick days from “work” (or, mommy-hood, in my case). I simply traveled through a  journal in which I had so carefully treasured much of my heart and its meanderings.

Not only was that experience incredible for me…. to remind me of where I’ve come from, the mistakes I’ve made, the miracles I have seen, or the blessings I have been a part of… but I know those written words will also one day unlock the “mystery of mommy” to my children and grand children. Along with photo albums, those words document the heart and soul of their mother… something I only hope to have pieces of when my own mother passes. And its a void in my life for those people who’ve passed and left little of themselves to get to know through their writing.

Maybe you don’t feel like a writer. Maybe you hate to read. Maybe you love it! Regardless, may you find some time each day or even week, to record your prayers, wishes, hopes, dreams, and goals. Record your struggles and your successes. May your words become the hope of generations to come, inspiration for those you live among today, and a preservation not only of your past, but of the legacy you are aligned with. Go forth and journal! 🙂

Journaling tips:

1. Remember that whatever you write is visible to anyone… as safe as it may seem. Only right what you don’t mind someone seeing!

2. Journaling can be very therapeutic. If you must write things you don’t want others to see, DO! Then destroy it if you need to! I’ve done this many times!

3. The journal does NOT have to be fancy. Go to a dollar store and buy a spiral notebook. You can also find books designed to be journals at stores like Amazon, Barnes n Noble, Borders, etc.

4.Not every entry has to be about some supernatural experience or moment of significance! If you really have nothing to say, just write about your day! Start with what you did and see where your hand goes!

5. Don’t give up. If a month goes by, fine! Sit down and journal whenever you have the chance. Find some quiet time to reflect on your day, your life, your favorite song or food… and record it.

6. Discretion. I have many times written emotional letters to people and given it to them- when really it should have been only for me. If you want to write a letter to someone, do. Then keep it. Put it in your journal. I’ve done this with emails too. Usually the second or third time I write it, I’ve been able to weed out the things that don’t need to be said and have actually written a letter I can give.