What Happens When You Go Viral: On Wanting to Give Up

I recently found out that the hit count on my Relevant article back in June was over 1.6 million. The editor told me it was the second-biggest traffic day in the history of their website. That’s mind-boggling to me.

If you had asked me a year ago what I thought it would mean to have a piece get that much exposure, I would have assumed it would be my big break. That it would boost my blog, lead to freelance opportunities, help connect me to the right people. That it would be my open door into the world of professional writing and publishing. That it would bring me validation and satisfaction. It would reassure me that what I’m doing here isn’t pointless and that my story matters.

Do you want to know the truth?

It hasn’t done any of those things. For a few weeks I received a lot of emails and messages from people thanking me for my story. I got to write a few guest posts on the topic. But no one has offered me a job and I haven’t landed an agent. 1.6 million people read something I wrote and my blog still has fewer than 200 followers. (If that’s not discouraging, I don’t know what is). And as much as I would love to say I don’t care about any of that, in the world of professional writing ( by which I mean writing in some capacity that pays the bills) numbers are what matter. How many subscribers do you have? How many followers on Twitter?

All I’ve ever really wanted to do since I was in kindergarten is to be a writer. I’ve tried other things and I’ve cultivated other interests, but writing is the only thing that has consistently excited me. I’m under no illusions that I could make a career out of blogging, but I would love to have enough paid work as a writer to support my family while doing something I love. And, like most writers, I would love to write a book someday. But these past few months I’ve become more and more convinced that I am not cut out for what “being a writer” means today.

Being a successful writer is no longer about craft or talent or art. It’s not about having the deepest insights or the most profound observations to share. It’s often simply about who can shout the loudest. Like high school student council elections, success in the blogosphere is a popularity contest. It’s about who is the most provocative, who is the most visible on social media, who is the most aggressively self-promoting.

I admit that I’ve dipped my toe into that pool. This summer I (very reluctantly) got a Twitter account. I hate it. I almost deleted it within 30 minutes of registering. I’ve tried to network with other bloggers, to write and invite guest posts, to comment other places, to submit pieces to other publications. But pursuing self-promotion doesn’t feel right to me. Reading someone else’s posts and looking for ways to insert myself and my work into the comments goes against some of my core values of sincerity and authenticity. These are things I’m not willing to compromise on.

In my last “What I’m Into” post I confessed that I’d been reading like a chain-smoker, using other people’s words to try to hide from own. I’ve read a few posts about this struggle lately (here and here ). Honestly, I was a little shocked and disheartened. One of my friends is working on a book and has landed a really great agent. One has a completed manuscript she’s starting to send around. I look at them and think, “If only I had an agent…” or “If only I had a finished manuscript…” Perhaps they look at me and think, “If only I had a million-view article…” And yet, we seem to have hit a collective wall. We are all struggling to feel that what we are doing matters.

I confess that I frequently get angry with popular and successful writers whose blogs I find poorly written and uninspiring. I don’t believe in quantity over quality – in pushing points that don’t need to be made just to generate content. There are a million voices out there and there are many moments when I don’t think the world really needs mine. If all I’m doing is adding to the noise then I’d rather be silent.

I want my writing to be about creating something beautiful—about art and passion and sincere wrestling with (sometimes fragile) faith. I want it to be about telling truths and naming every day grace. I want it to matter.

I’ve been rolling a book idea around in my head for at least eight months. There are some stories I want to tell, but I am afraid. This stage I’m in as a writer is one where I carve off a chunk of my heart and fling it out into the world and watch it disappear into the distance without even the consolation of hearing an echo back to let me know I hit something.

I am afraid of failing, yes, but here is an uglier truth. I am also afraid of hard work. Or rather, I am afraid of hard work that goes unrecognized and unappreciated. I am afraid of 1.6 million people who say, “Your words don’t matter.”

I want to give up.

And yet, I can’t quite do it. I can’t completely walk away. Because this space has changed me. In some ways it is healing me. I’ve made friends here. I’ve found a tiny community of artists who are fighting to say something true. These people inspire me. And I’ve experienced moments of extraordinary grace from readers, some whom I’ve never even met in real life, who have sent encouraging emails and have shared their own stories, who have sent me articles and books that are dear to them, and even one who bought the most beautiful cook book I’ve ever seen and mailed it all the way to Korea.

Jim Carrey once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

I’ve never been rich or famous, but I can tell you that as a writer, having an article go viral is not the answer. And it seems that having an agent or finishing a manuscript is not the answer. Satisfaction and conviction that this work is good and that it is worth doing has to come from somewhere else.

I don’t know what the next few months will look like here on the blog, but I’m committed to trying to figure this out. Should I write? Should I not write? What should I write? And why? And for whom?  Hopefully I will find a way forward–a way to be able to do what I love without compromising the kind of person I want to be.


****EDIT: I just wanted to add a  note letting you all know how much I appreciate all of the kind and supportive comments I’ve been receiving on this post and for all of the new followers. I am really overwhelmed by your generosity and support. Online interactions can sometimes be so negative and all of your kind words have really touched me. I may not be able to respond to each and every comment, but please know that I’ve read every word and I appreciate them. I know I’ll come back to them in moments of discouragement. I’ll be checking out a lot of your blogs over the weekend. There’s a phrase we use in Korea that means “Don’t give up! You can do it!” It more or less translates to “Fighting!” in English.  So to all of my fellow writers, artists, and creators, “Fighting!”

Image source: Wikipedia.org


The Dilemma of My Generation: When “You Can Do Anything!” Means, “You’d Better Make it Good!”

Not many people know this, but for the past several months I have been diligently pursuing applying to PhD programs in cultural anthropology.  Travel, different cultures, and many of the issues of applied anthropology have continued to fascinate me and as I’ve thought about what to do in life I’ve started to lean more towards further study of anthropology. I was thinking of pursuing the PhD because I wasn’t aware of much that could be done with just the master’s and because I thought having the PhD would give me the option of working in the non-profit sector or teaching in a university. I’m all set to take the GRE on Tuesday and over the past few weeks I have started contacting programs and asking more specific questions. Most programs require you to go into them with a very specific research question in mind and many recommend that you’ve already dialogued with a professor who would be willing to serve as your advisor. It’s a lot more work than simply filling out an application.

As I’ve started to get responses from people I’ve contacted I’ve become more and more discouraged. Not only has no one so much as said, “thanks for looking at our program” but they have by and large responded with an attitude like, “Why do you want to this? “ or “Why are you bothering me?” Yesterday I got in touch with a Wheaton grad who recently earned his PhD from the University of Virginia. He basically told me that if I get a PhD I will lose my faith, change all of my political views, and be completely unemployable because I’ll be overqualified to work with non-profits and I will be in a very, very competitive pool for the few available university positions that don’t even pay enough to support a family on.

I’ve become overwhelmed with the sense that maybe I am not pursuing this because it’s really the passion of my life and I know that it’s what I’m supposed to do, but rather that I’m pursuing it because I am so tired of not having goals or something to pursue and if I got into a PhD program that would give me something to spend the next 6-7 years working towards. Which probably is not a good enough reason.

I have a theory about people in my generation. Particularly people who have been blessed with a lot of opportunities. People who have good, supportive families and went to schools like Wheaton and have been told all of their lives that they are exceptional. The theory is this: being told that we are exceptional, having it drilled into our heads that we are destined for greatness has ruined us for ordinary life. Believing that I am extremely gifted and talented and that I could do anything I set my mind to and that I have been given privileges in order to do something amazing makes every ordinary, mundane day seem like a failure. I feel like I am not living up to my potential or to the expectations of all of these people who believe in me. I can see and agree that I have been given opportunities that not everyone gets and despite pulling my hair out trying to figure out what I’m meant to do with my life, I can’t help feeling that I’m squandering the gift of those opportunities. I feel that I have to (and want to) do something cool and significant and amazing with my life, but I have no earthly idea what it is and the feeling is beyond frustrating. Sometimes I feel like God is teasing me. Like he is saying, “I gave you all of these opportunities for a reason, but I’m not going to tell you what it is. But if you don’t figure it out on your own, you will be held accountable.” I know God’s not really like that, but sometimes it definitely feels that way.

It is the moral gem we learned from Spiderman, “With great privilege comes great responsibility.” I genuinely feel that if I don’t do something amazing with my life, I will have wasted it. Thank you, John Piper. And so today, as I sit in my cube and design flyers to sell properties and maintain databases, I feel that I am indeed wasting my precious life. Watching it slip past me day after day and week after week as I plod along doing the same thing with very few highs or lows to break the monotony.  I am striving to make the most of my days. To be a good friend, employee, co-worker, and wife. But mostly, this doesn’t feel like enough. Beyond the expectations of others, I’m disappointed in myself. And I am so afraid of life always being this way.  I am afraid I will finish life having seen and done so little. This is not at all a critique of those who do feel fulfilled by staying in one place or working a corporate job or just raising a family. But it is true that I have an insatiable desire to see and experience everything. I literally stay awake at night longing to see the canals in Venice and the Greek islands and the Great Barrier Reef and being afraid that I never will. It’s silly, I guess, but it’s true.

Every so often I strike out and choose a course of action from my list of possibilities (writing, non-profit work, academia, kindergarten teacher, pastry chef) and every time I am advised, “You shouldn’t pursue this unless you are 100% certain that this all you want to do in life ever, ever, ever.” And  between the “you can’t” s and the “you shouldn’t” s I’m advised to “wait” until I know. And I feel like I’m never going to just “know.” It’s completely unhelpful and infuriating, particularly when so many of my friends are in grad school or are already teachers or nurses or photographers, pursuing their chosen profession. Meanwhile I actually feel  hindered by all of my options. When you are led to believe that you can be anything you want and do anything you want and you are already an indecisive person (me!), it is a tremendous burden rather than a freedom to be asked to decide or to discern. Ultimately, all I want is to honor God with my life. To do what he has gifted me and called me to do. But I am so tired and so discouraged by doing nothing while I wait for him to tell me. And I’m tired of him not telling me. And I’m tired of feeling that any direction I try to move in is blocked.

This isn’t uplifting, but this is true. I know God has a purpose for my life, but I sure wish he’d share that information. And I know I’m not the only one.

When God is Silent

I feel like a rug has been pulled out from under me the last few days and it hasn’t just left me flat on my back staring up at the ceiling with a headache. When my metaphorical rug was pulled out from under me it revealed a giant hole where I thought the floor was and left me falling through it like Alice down the rabbit hole with nothing to grab hold of and no end in sight

My brand-new nephew

This is my nephew, Jasper Mason Trahan, about four hours after he was born

Over this weekend my breathtakingly beautiful sister graduated from high school and I met her very first boyfriend, I got to hold my nephew when he was just 4 hours old, I got to see my family and friends from home, some of whom I hadn’t seen since my wedding last summer. I also learned some really upsetting things about people that I love. The type of things that I have no control or authority over, but that still make my heart so heavy. And while I was gone my husband received a job offer out of the blue that would move us to a place that I really don’t want to go.

In the past few days there have been three separate things that I was really excited about that I feel have now been tainted or taken from me entirely, the biggest of which being our move to Raleigh. We had already made a decision we felt good about and were making plans to move the first week of July. We even had a place to stay free of rent for the summer. I had been applying to jobs almost daily and Jonathan had made arrangements to transfer with Starbucks until he lands another job. One of my dearest friends is also moving to Raleigh this summer where she’ll be in school for the next 5 years.

And I had found a darling little cottage we were going to look into renting…a white cottage with a stone pathway and a beautiful garden and an office loft for writing

My breathtakingly beautiful sisters at graduation. Maggi (left--graduate), Anni (middle, 16) Me


To be asked to give all of that up for a place that holds no charm for me is staggering and painful. However. To refuse to give up my dreams and my wishes in order for my husband to walk through a door that God has opened for him is unbearable. How do you love someone selflessly and still be completely honest with them? How do you make a decision that could change the course of your life without feeling any excitement about it? How do you lay your life down so sacrificially that you never, ever regret it?

I can’t stand the feeling of regret. Just last week I got in touch with someone I hadn’t spoken to in years just because every time I thought about him I still felt regret over the memories I had from the time I knew him. It’s the worst feeling.

I briefly shared the situation with a friend of mine from home and she said, “You will never regret going where God tells you to go.” I needed those words and I so appreciate the encouragement that comes from them, but I am still at a loss. Neither of us have a clear sense of where God is telling us to go. A week ago, we obviously thought he was saying Raleigh, but now we don’t know. And my husband isn’t even sure he wants to take the job being offered to him, but doesn’t want to regret turning down a good job to go to a place where he doesn’t have a job lined up at all.

When we got married, I committed to lay my life down for Jonathan. Somehow I (foolishly) couldn’t conceive of a situation like this one in which it could really mean the sacrifice of more than my choice of movie or not complaining about him watching sports. But I really did mean it. And if God told me to do this I would. But right now all I’m hearing is heavy, heavy silence.

Thought I'd try to lighten the mood with a few more Two days old

Jasper with his Mommy, Amanda, doing Blue Steel

There is no failure

At the beginning of this week two of my roommates from college were in town visiting. It was the first time we’d all been together since my wedding in June. It was wonderful to see them and so strange to realize that we’ve been out of school for almost a year and how quickly that’s gone. It’s strange to think that our college experience is over and all we have left are the memories.

For the most part I had a wonderful college experience–I made lifetime friends, I learned so much academically, socially, and spiritually, I met my husband, and I learned how to drive in the snow. But what I found myself thinking about as we reminisced were the things I wish I’d done differently. The things that, if given the chance, I would do over.

During a significant portion of my jr. year I was pretty severely depressed. There was family drama happening at home, two of my roommates (the same two who were visiting this week) were studying abroad half of the year and the resulting living situation was tense and stressful. I was terribly lonely and felt that I had few friends which made me put a tremendous amount of pressure on Jonathan to be available to me anytime I wanted him. And on top of all of this, a friend of both of ours made some choices that we couldn’t understand and for which I judged him severely. For some reason, although his choices didn’t directly involve me, I took his actions as a personal offense. I handled the situation so poorly that I lost that friend and hurt someone else in the process. There are times even now that I cannot believe Jonathan still chose to marry me after seeing that.

When I reflected on these things that I wish had been different I realized that even if I were able to go back, there was very little I could have changed about the situations themselves. What I would have changed is how I responded to them. I would have stopped myself from taking responsibility for things that weren’t my responsibility (the family drama, whether or not my roommates were getting along, whether I thought my friend was making the right choice.) And then I realized that while I regret some things about that time in my life, without it I might not have changed. With it, I have the hope that in the present and in the future I will handle myself differently.

At Weight Watchers they say, “There is no failure. Only feedback.” What they mean by that is that if you have a week where you don’t make the healthiest choices, and the result is that you gain weight, you shouldn’t see the gain as a failure. Instead, it’s your body’s natural feedback to the choices you made and that feedback tells you that if this isn’t the result you want, you should make a different choice. I think in many ways the rest of life works that way too. While it does us no good to live in the past or to dwell on our mistakes, I think much of our success and growth in the future depends on our past.

I look back on that year, and on other situations over the past few years and see things that I wish I’d done differently and I am faced with a choice. I can either live a life filled with regret (and trust me, this is easy for me to do. I am the queen of beating myself up over things) or I can look at things I wish I’d done differently and do them differently. Now and in the future.

Things I Want Today

I have been so encouraged to have so many people respond in various ways to my recent posts. I am saddened that so many of my sweet friends share these feelings of frustration, of failure, of purposelessness. But at the same time, I am encouraged by the knowledge that I am not alone and that none of you are alone. It’s so much scarier when I think that everyone else has it all figured out and I am the only one who’s missed it. I may not know exactly what the reason for all of this is, but it seems pretty clear that if so many of us experience this at some time in our lives, there must be something we are supposed to learn through the process.

A few weeks ago I had a phone conversation with my mom where I despairingly told her, “I don’t like where I am and what I am doing with my life right now, but honestly, there’s nothing else that I specifically want to do either. I can think of plenty of things I wouldn’t mind doing, but not a single one that really excites me.”

She said to me, “You’ve told yourself no so many times and you have tired yourself out so much that you’ve stopped dreaming altogether.” Astute observation, Mother. Touche.

On one level, I am very much a dreamer. At least, I’ve always had  a vibrant imagination. Watching the summer Olympics when I was 8 or so, I was convinced I would become an Olympic gymnast. I took tumbling lessons. I even competed in tumbling meets. I remember the meet where I finally took home the gold. I stood alone on the platform, medal hanging proundly around my neck, my purple leotard showing off my muscular physique.  If only I’d known, the reason I was standing there alone was because I had been the only tumbler competing in my divison, my purple leotard made me look like a giant grape, and the only part of my physique that was being shown off was a little too much of my butt as the leotard worked it’s way farther and farther up it. Same song different verse with being an actress, Miss America, a singer, Anne of Green Gables, a soccer player, poet, princess, even (really) a marine biologist.

Despite the fact that my pursuit of most of these ambitions ended poorly, I was never discouraged from moving on to the next thing. As I grew up however, another side of me developed, a side that is intensely practical. A side that says, “You can’t.” Oddly enough, it doesn’t apply to other people, only to myself. If my husband or a friend suggests that they want to visit Mars or make a movie or own an elephant my response is genuinely, “You should totally do that!” But if I want to do anything that seems the least bit impractical, my response is, “I can’t.” I want to travel Europe, but I can’t. I want to write a novel, but I can’t. I want to learn to bake like a pastry chef, but I can’t. Too much time, too much money, I’m not talented enough, there are more important things for me to do, I’m to selfish…and on and on and on.

At the end of the conversation with my mom she gave me some advice. “When you think of things that you like or want, even just things you want for today, write them down. Then practice saying yes to things you can say yes to.” Although we had that conversation several weeks ago, I haven’t actually done that, but I have been thinking about it and I’ve been thinking about where it’s coming from.

My mother is probably the most selfless person I have ever known, in spite of having lived a fairly difficult life. She was married at 18 and had my brother days before she turned 20. She has been a mother for all of her adult life, and an amazing one at that. She gave up many dreams in order to give us ours. And now, for the first time in her adult life, she is finding the freedom to pursue her own. Instead of continuing to tell herself all the things she can’t do, she has started to say, “Why not?” and it has opened up the world for her. This spring, she started taking classes at the local communtiy college, working towards getting her Bachelor’s degree. She’s started talking about a Master’s in Social Work somewehre down the line. I admire her so much and am so excited for all that she’s discovering.

So, I say all of that to say…maybe she has a point. Maybe I should learn to enjoy and to cherish all that is and can be “yes” in my life instead of wallowing in what is “no.” Or worse yet, speaking no where it doesn’t even need to be spoken. So…these are things I want today:

To cuddle with my husband

To take a hot bath while reading a book

A new nightgown–Nightgowns make me feel pretty.

To watch Anastasia

Soup bowls for the soup I’m making for dinner

So…I bought 4 cheap soup bowls from Target. When I get home from work I plan to spend at least 30 minutes sitting on the couch talking to Jonathan and cuddling with him. Before I go to sleep tonight I am going to take a bath. I am going to make a plan to watch Anastasia (rented from the library) in the next few days. And tomorrow I am shopping for a (cheap!) nightgown that makes me feel pretty.

Your turn to make a list. Things you want today. Please share. 🙂

Burn Out

I think I have finally reached the point of total and complete burnout as far as my job is concerned. After months of struggling with a sense of purpose in what I’m doing and some frustration with the monotony of it, I’ve finally reached a point where even the weekends aren’t enough recuperation and nothing seems to encourage me. While I genuinely do love the kids I am with, I am tired all of the time and I am bored out of my mind. I am completely out of patience and feel that I cannot answer one more question. Except for naptime in the afternoon, I spend 7-8 hours a day entertaining and verbally responding to a preschooler and a toddler and half of that is correcting, cajoling, convincing, rebuking, or coming up with creative and interesting things for them to do. I’m worn out. I’m committed to this job until the end of May. Intellectually, I know that’s not forever. But right now, it feels like forever. And every morning when my alarm goes off everything in me screams, “NO!”

Jonathan and I continue to wait for good news from the schools he’s applied to, but so far there hasn’t been any. We’ve begun to discuss where we’ll go and what we’ll do if school isn’t on the table for next year. It’s somewhat exciting to think about moving somewhere new based on nothing more than an interest in the location, but it can also be overwhelming and frightening. Mostly though I am frustrated and feel defeated. I am so tremendously proud of my husband for applying to these programs that are highly selective and are evaluating your creative work which is often so deeply personal. I think he is so brave for pursuing something like this and it took a lot for him to even allow himself to pursue it simply because he felt it was impractical. I am frustrated with God because I don’t understand why he would have given him this dream and given him the courage to pursue it if it isn’t even going to work out.  And I feel completely at a loss as to how to encourage him in the midst of this. I don’t know how to make him believe that whatever the outcome, he is tremendously talented and gifted and that I respect and admire what he’s done so much. Just saying the words doesn’t seem to be enough.

I also had a tremendously selfish conversation with my husband in the midst of all of this where I whined about not being seen as a writer or taken seriously for my writing. It was juvenile and pathetic and the truth remains that I have not produced anything new creatively in almost a year. This is my own fault. No one sees me as a writer because, well, I don’t write.

So friends, this isn’t a witty, endearing, or uplifting blog post, but it is an honest post. I feel like I am failing. I am failing as a nanny. I am failing at being an encouraging, supportive wife. I am failing as a writer. I feel empty. Like I have nothing left to give. But this one promise keeps echoing through my mind. A voice that says, “My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

Wake-up Call

One of our kittens, Bart,  is developing a very nasty habit of sitting outside our bedroom door at 6 am and howling while clawing the carpet to bits in an attempt to get us to wake up and come out or at least let him into the bedroom. The first time he did this was last Saturday morning, our greatly-anticipated chance to sleep in. Not only was he loud and obnoxious, but I obviously didn’t want him tearing up the carpet, so my husband got up and put him into the bathroom and closed the door. Our apartment is very small and the bathroom door is directly across a narrow hallway from our bedroom door. Bart then began to hurl his body repeatedly against the bathroom door, making more noise than he had been before. After a few minutes of that we had to let him out of the bathroom where he became so emotionally distraught that he threw up on the carpet.  Needless to say, we did not get to sleep in. In fact, Bart’s ridiculous behavior inexplicably launched me into a complete emotional meltdown.

I found myself lying in bed, sobbing in frustration at this stupid little kitten who just wouldn’t shut up and let me sleep. And after I started crying, I found that I couldn’t stop. As I sobbed my way through the morning, I thought, “Why am I being so emotional? Am I going crazy?” followed quickly by, “Am I pregnant?!” which launched me into further, gut-wrenching sobs–If the cat waking me up caused this kind of trauma, imagine my response to a baby doing it every night for like 6 months straight!

I kept trying to figure out what the problem was…clearly I was not really that emotionally distraught over the cat. Annoyed and frustrated, yes, but not overwhelmed with emotion. I came up with a few things that I had been upset about over the past week or so, but really none of them mattered that much to me. I kept trying and trying to verbalize something I didn’t even understand. My sweet husband sat with me, let me cry, and tried to encourage me until I had finally worn myself out, still not really knowing what the problem was.

It took me until yesterday, 4 days later, to figure it out. Last Friday (the day before my meltdown) we had heard a rumor that Ohio State would be notifying the applicants who were accepted into their MFA program that evening. Both my husband and I are beyond ready to find out where he will be accepted and where we might end up next year. The Ohio State program was the first one to notify and if he were accepted into it we would be able to relax a little knowing we had at least one option. As Friday passed we both grew more and more anxious. By Friday evening we were both so restless we decided to go out. We went to dinner and then a movie and didn’t hear anything. By the time we went to bed we were both feeling a bit of a letdown from all of the expectation.

I was frustrated. I was frustrated that we didn’t hear anything and disappointed that the rumors had apparently been false. If I’m going to be honest though, I was more frustrated that I couldn’t control it. There was not a single thing I could do that would change the situation. I couldn’t make any of those schools make the decision I wanted. I couldn’t control how soon they made the decision or when they told us about it. We have to wait and no matter how much I hate that, I can’t do anything about it. And Saturday morning when Bart was intent on waking us up at 6 I hated it, and yet was powerless to stop him. And I couldn’t stand the feeling anymore. I exploded.

One of the things I am constantly reminding Sami of when I’m nannying is that she is not in charge. Whether she’s bossing Dylan around or trying to assert her opinion about whether or not it’s time to clean up, she’s needs to be reminded that she is not in charge. It isn’t something she likes being reminded of and sometimes when I ask her, “Sami, who’s in charge?” she will smile mischievously and say, “Me.” But no matter how much she wants it to be true, I am still the one who decides what we are having for lunch and when. I decide when it’s naptime and what activities we are going to do that day. When we go to the library, Sami chooses books and then I read through all of them and decide which ones we’ll take home with us.

It’s so silly to me when Sami tries to assert that she is in charge, contrary to all evidence. And yet, I see a great deal of myself in her. In my own, perhaps more subtle way, I have also been trying to assert control over things that I am simply not in control of and was never meant to be. And I wonder if God looks at me the way I look at Sami–smiling to himself a little at how silly this little girl is being, who thinks she can control things by sheer willpower in spite of the fact that all of her days are held in his hand.

This morning when Bart woke me up at (thank goodness!) 7:30 I was greeted by a stunning visual reminder of a simple, powerful truth. Outside my window were snowdrifts from last night’s blizzard piled up 4 feet high against the glass and I thought, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”