Friday, June 21, 2013

sneak away. settle down.

Listening To: Stones Over Rushing Water by needtobreathe

So I told my brother that my phone was acting slow. And he suggested maybe I should delete at least 10 of the 457 pictures of my dog. Also, according to him, it helps to occasionally turn the phone off. Or close the apps down. Or, heck, update the dern thing. 


While deleting and moving old pics around, I found some farm pics I never got around to posting.

This first one is very important, because it proves that hearts once hardened to various new experiences can, in fact, be changed.


... is me in a Snuggie.

Friends, in my younger, more ignorant days I made fun of Snuggies, particularly the Snuggie commercial. (My favorite part is when the family is sitting together in the stands of a local sporting event, hollering and high-fiving in matching Snuggies, like a very cheerful little unit of druids.) I thought the whole idea of a Snuggie was kinda goofy. Who needs a blanket with arms?

And yet. Have you ever actually tried a Snuggie?

They are so soft and SO cuddly. 

I'm a believer. Tease me if you must.

Of course, I realize we are no longer in Snuggie weather. These days, the swampy south is muggy and beefy-humid-gross. But back when I first snuggie'd, the weather was early Spring-cool. I was down in Georgia, on the farm. I spent the day on a back porch over looking a lake (more on that in a second) with a stack of revisions and lots of coffee and ... the Snuggie. And it bliss, I tell you. Bliss! 

That was my sister's snuggie and I couldn't figure out how to hide it in my bag and cart it off without her knowing so... . I might get one of my own this winter. Maybe. Don't judge me until you try it.

Speaking of the farm, this is my favorite new farm critter. Have I shown you a picture of my sister's dog, Lola?

She's super-mini. I always thought Biscuit was tiny, but compared to Lola ... Biscuit is huge. Lola is squirrel-sized (slight exaggeration). Biscuit is 20+ pounds. The only thing I miss when I'm on the farm is ... Biscuit. But Biscuit doesn't mesh well with other dogs, so I never take her when I go. Thankfully, Lola is always down for a sympathy cuddle.

And she always has the same expression on her face. Excited? Tired? Mad? No clue. Can't read her Poker face. I think she has Einstein-hair. Which makes her look like she's always having an epiphany:

When I'm not hanging out with the fam, or Snuggie'd down with revisions, I love to walk.

My favorite path bends through the wavy grass in the field, around the edge of the lake, and through the woods.

It's an incredible feeling - to lose yourself in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes that's the only way to find your heart again, don't you think?

Whenever I walk that path, I do lots of praying and hoping and daydreaming. And so, obviously, I also remember things I've prayed for, hoped for, and dreamed for before on that same path. That's the way of circles, yes?

And it's kind of weird, because I think that kind of circular thinking could so easily make me feel like a failure. Because sometimes I realize what I've prayed about hasn't worked out yet. Or what I've hoped for hasn't come through. Or what I daydreamed while I kicked through the high grass and red Georgia dirt is ... closer. Maybe. But still not close enough to hold against my heart.

And yet, I never feel like a loser.

It feels like a very sacred path I'm walking - a sixth circle around Jericho, another round to remind myself that every little thing is going to be all right. Sometimes I catch the echoes of prayers and hopes I've whispered through the woods. Sometimes I whisper them again, and hope shakes loose all around me. Just the same as it did the first time I dared to believe.

It's just a good place to be, is all I'm getting at. I have places like that here, too. (One of my most recent favorite sneak-away-spots is Point Park. Have you been? It is breathtaking.) But Georgia holds a very special little piece of my heart. Actually, these two hold a piece of my heart: 

A big piece. Like, the giant squiggly-puzzle piece shape in the middle. (If you're fairly new around here, those two adorables are my niece and nephew. They are way, way too much fun. And they're about to embark on an epic road trip to Wyoming with their parents which makes me so jealous. I dreamed of taking an RV vacation when I was a kid. Sigh. :) 

They're the reason I'm most smitten with Georgia. But wandering through the woods is pretty awesome, too. 

Do you have a favorite sneak-away space when you need some time alone? 


  1. No judging. My brother and I made so much fun of pillow pets when we moved back and we've come such a long ways that he got me a longhorn one for my birthday for school next year. And I love it. :)

    Oh and I wanted to let you know I'm doing a giveaway on my blog of summer travel items including your book! I love Paperdoll so much and I'm excited for your new fiction book. I'm sure it's awesome!

    1. Pillow pets! Those are adorable! :) Thanks for understanding my snuggie-love.

      And gracious, I am honored you stuck Paperdoll in your giveaway!! :) (Your new blog design is adorable!!)

  2. That first picture makes me think of the movie Penelope. :)

    When the weather is not this miserably hot and ticks don't attack me whenever I leave the house, I like to walk on our farm. I technically walk as exercise, but I really enjoy it because it gives me time to think and see God's lovely creation.

    Speaking of your niece and nephew, did you know that I'm going to be an aunt this fall? I'm going to have a niece! I'm unbelievably excited. :)


    1. I read that on your blog! I'm SO happy for you!! You'll be the coolest aunt EVER :) And I can only imagine all the hipster-sweet stuff you'll make ...

      In other news, ticks are evil. They are out with a vengance here too. Ugh. :)

  3. I call my praying and dreaming hikes my Jericho marches too! They're the best.

    1. They are! Have you read The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson? It's one of my favorite books about prayer. Ever since I've read it, I think consciously of how often I really do "circle" while I pray. There's a certain level of praying and dreaming that's so bold and so right. I think. You're right, they're the best. :)

    2. I will most definitely need to read that book then!

  4. Lola is adoraballs. I want a doggie. But my parents would never go for that and in a year or so I'm off to college so I'll have to wait a few years. I love Georgia too. I was born there and then we moved back when I was a kid and we lived there for a few years. I loved my grandparents house growing up and my great aunt and uncle used to live on a lake. Sadly they've all moved and so those places are gone now, but I still have the memories. I'm a homebody. My room will always be a favorite.

    1. Also it was me that posted your picture on my board of awesome people on Pinterest. I saw your comment and so I think it was okay. I hope you don't mind me using one of your pictures that you took. But of course you had to be on the board, you've done more for me than you will ever realize. :)

    2. I am honored to be on your Pinterest board! Really, to know anything I've said or written has encouraged you ... that makes my heart heavy in the best possible way. Thanks for sharing that with me.

      And I'm a total homebody too and LOVE my room. I think it's partially because my dog and my books are almost always in here. How could it not feel like a hug, right? :)

  5. I got Dave a snuggie as a joke for Christmas one year. Guess who uses it all the time now? ;) I am a weirdo in that I love to walk and pray out loud and so must seek out places where talking out loud isn't going to get me locked up somewhere with padded walls. So, crazy enough, there is a cemetery here that I love to go to. Lots of room to walk and talk aloud, praying circles, just like you said. Hope this is your final walk around Jericho friend and that God crumbles walls that are in your way. Loves!

    1. Have you read The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson? If you haven't, you need to read it NOW. So we can go eat together and then talk about it. (ha :) But seriously, you'll love it if you haven't read it yet.

      I love old cemeteries too. Was it Max Lucado (...?) who said that every big life decision we make should be made in a cemetery? I have always liked that thought.

    2. I actually just finished Circle Maker and man, blew my mind! I am doing Beth Moore's Believing God study right now and God is really stretching prayers for me and challenging this thought that I can't dream big dreams and boldly ask for things. We need another rendezvous so we can discuss!

  6. Sometimes I just like to walk around my neighborhood when I need time away. I live in Arkansas so it's really scenic :)
    I have always wanted a snuggie I might need to go and get one for myself :) Those kids are so lucky they have an awesome aunt! I love your articles in Sisterhood and Paperdoll!

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Kelly! I'm so happy you made your way over to the blog :) I hear Arkansas is positively gorgeous. I've only been through a teeny part, and it was lovely. But I would love to see more of it someday. I'm inspired by nature too. I agree - it's crazy how even a short walk around the neighborhood can clear your head and heart. :)

  7. Hi Natalie,
    I'm Grace and first, I want to say that I am a huge fan of your book Paper doll! I was so excited when I found your blog!
    My sneak-away place is in a field down the street from my house. I live in the Texas hillcountry so its very woodsy\rivery\cornfieldish where I live. :) It's right between a pasture and a river. And in this field, among all of the pecan trees is this one, grandfather tree. It grows in this cool V-shape which is very abnormal for a pecan tree because they ussually grow strait up.
    Anywho, that tree has been my special place since I was about 7 and first discovered it.
    When I sit in that tree, I feel peace. Like just sitting there with the tree branches and the river, and well, the cows :), I just feel so right.
    So, yep that is where I like to go.

    1. Hey Grace! Your sneak-away space sounds perfectly lovely. I worked in Tyler, TX one summer and it was lovely. I so miss those big Texas sunsets :) I love outdoor places like that, too. Especially if I can hear a river rolling in the background. That's pretty much ... bliss :) Thanks so much for your sweet compliment about Paperdoll. I'm so happy you liked the book, and SO happy you said hello! :)