A challenge

Question o’ the day: where have all the good words gone? What has happened to the adjectives that used to make our language so rich and tasty? Has our culture effectively wiped out all but curse words as a way to enrich our conversation?


I ask, because I care.


Reading anything by Jane Austen feels like a 7 course meal for my brain. I find myself daydreaming about the days when people spoke and thought in sentences like this one:


“Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.”

Priceless. Here’s today’s translation:


“She thought he was a blowhard asshole.”


Doesn’t do nearly so much for me.


I dream of a time when things were odious instead of “gross”, a person who was “nice” was affable, and instead of becoming “pissed off”, one became vexed. In those days, if someone was condescending to you, it made your day, charity was not a disgrace but a blessing, and every woman longed to be handsome.


Alas, we cannot return to those days. But we can fight against the tide of lackluster description and unimaginative interjections by choosing to enrich our own vocabulary. We can arm ourselves with brilliant words and lob them at banal conversation like grenades of enlightenment. We can be guerrillas in the fight against vapid vocabulary! WHO WILL JOIN ME?!


Okay then. Here are a few words that I expect you to wield vigorously and frequently in the days to come. Feel free to add to the list and share with the group. 


Pulchritudinous [puhl-kri-TOOD-n-uh s]: characterized by or having great physical beauty and appeal. “Why does that pulchritudinous guy have to be my cousin?” (this word is a favorite of my eldest daughter and she would be extremely vexed if I did not include )


Swoonworthy [SWOON-wer-thee]: worthy of swooning over. “The new scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby is positively swoonworthy.” (I kid you not, I thought that I had invented this word, but I did a google search and found that it is already being bandied about! Huzzah!)


ennui [ahn-WEE]: A feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest. “I suffer from ennui when I hear most conversation these days.” (My brother used this word in a high school poetry assignment and I have viewed him as a Truly Great Writer ever since)


Wally [WAH-lee]: cheap or flimsy. “That particleboard desk is just so wally.” (This one I really did make up, as a substitute for the old term “mickey mouse” as describing something inexpensive. Have you been in the Disney Store lately?)


You have your orders. Now get that camo on and get out there!




Funny how moments of Grace sneak up on you. This morning I was flipping pancakes and I was observing how cool it was the way they puff up all nice and fluffy and golden brown, when suddenly I was struck by a feeling of Ultimate Blessing; acutely aware of how precious pancakes are in a world of hunger and, almost as dangerous, gross overabundance.



Then as I folded laundry it happened again. Tiny underpants took on a holiness all their own as I contemplated the tiny buns that fit into them, and how their many respective owners fill my days with laughter and trauma. Yes, even trauma, for the way it stretches me and challenges me to be more than I thought I could be. 

I found my 3 year old contemplating his pile of train paraphrenalia with consternation and as I built him a functioning track for them to ride upon, the air seemed full of benevolence, and his sunny bedroom felt more like the nave of a cathedral.


The sun is shining today, and in a dark and dismal month it fills me with warmth and wonder. I am most grateful that The One who removed the scales from Paul’s eyes still performs the same task for us today.


Thou hast given me so much, give me one thing more–a grateful heart.
~george herbert


Winter, how do I loathe thee…

Let me count the ways…
I loathe thee with the depth and breadth and length
of my ice-bound driveway, which is beyond my mortal strength
to clear, nor e’en a teen’s, no matter what it pays.
I loathe thee for the mercury that stays
and hovers, torturingly, ‘tween “frostbite” and “frozen death”.
I loathe thee with my every frosty breath.
I loathe thee as your dark clouds block the rays
of my old friend, the sun, and no more can I see
a glimpse of him through skies blanketed with gray.
I loathe thee from beneath my layers of fleece
that help but little–I loathe thee with each goosebump raw,
each shiver, gasp, of all my life!–so dear Lord, please,
transport me to the tropics, so I may thaw.

A little ditty

And what of me?
‘Tis that the sea
It thunders in my soul.



The thought of it
Smooths roughened bits
From my heart’s ragged shoal.


When I am near
All else seems drear
Pure thought begins anew.


‘Tis that the sea
Reminds of Thee
And ever thus shall do.


Matthew 6:20

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”


Some scriptures just make you uncomfortable because you know they are speaking to you but you don’t know how to answer. That my treasure was not in heaven was never really a question in my mind…I just never quite knew how to go about putting it there. It takes an act of the will, but if our will wills not to act, sometimes God wills it for us, just to show us the way.


I feel hollow inside, and empty. I have a reminder at regular intervals of the passing of a life from this world to the next, and I feel a little colder every time it happens. I feel broken, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but words like “defective” and “used up” keep floating through my brain.


A little piece of my treasure is in heaven now, though I couldn’t put it there myself, and a small part of my heart has gone there with it. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to get the rest of the broken pieces there too.