Thursday, March 11, 2010


When we moved into our home, the cement pot with the green trim was already there. The pot quickly became a favorite spot to plant petunias. In the summer, we'd often end the day by watering the flowers and then sitting on the steps, near the pot, to appreciate the early evening warmth. As you can see from the photo at left, it also became a great place for pictures. Every time my daughter had a brand new outfit, we'd pose her right there, next to the purple petunias. 

Last fall, that all came to an end. I woke up one Saturday morning—my favorite day of the week—to the scene you see below: a smashed pot. No doubt some drunken college student thought it would be a funny prank. I didn't. And while the event didn't ruin my day, it certainly made an impact on me. I couldn't avoid the scene of the smashed pot on the front sidewalk. 

Sometimes life is like that. We wake up hoping for a happy, carefree day—and life hands us broken stuff. The write2build task has been harder than I thought it would be. Despite my plan to write about my strengths, broken stuff kept showing up in my life. My daughter got sick, dashing any hopes of getting work completed. Another friend moved away. Mother nature handed us day after day of gray, gloomy days. I'd show up at my journal planning to chronicle my strengths and end up complaining. I was mad at my life and mad at myself for not being able to write my way out of it.

But then it hit me. Before I could write2build, I had to write2dump and write2release. Once I paid attention to the broken stuff, I could write2build. Learn from me, dear writers. Pay attention to what your soul needs. We're still writing about our strengths, but if you need to vent, do it! Write2dump, write2thank, or write2build—do what works for you!

This past week, singer Brandi Carlile and Indigo Girl Emily Saliers released a new song called, Let it Go. In the chorus, they sing some good advice for those of us who are writing2transform: 

and that old time war of words,
just the sermon in your head,
Let it go, let it go, let it go

Blessings writers!


  1. Okay... So I'm commenting for selfish reasons, to get my name in that jar of yours, but its a comment...right??

    I think we Lutherans have something called the "Theology of the Cross" that explains that. Besides all that fancy mumbo jumbo, I think the point of it is that God shows up MOST when the pot is shattered in a million pieces than when the pot is in one piece. At least that's when we see God the most in Christ. When he's broken and hanging on a cross. Then we say with the centurion: "That was the Son of God!"

    And in the same regard, God shows up MOST when YOU are complaining and can't find anything right in the world. When life's a mess, God is usually closest to you. But when life's going great, we have little use for God. Look for God when things have shattered and your most likely to find him.

    Maybe a good question for your journaling would be: "Where is God in all of this?" And instead of working to build, work to watch and see where God is ALREADY mending and building and raising you up to New Life in Him.

    Just a thought...and a comment(and like a said for a selfish reason too! :) )

    Bill Dohle

  2. Rochelle,
    I can completely understand lamenting something like a broken flower pot on the front step. It sounds like it had deep meaning for you and the family. It makes me so angry when others are that inconsiderate of other people's property.

    I like the idea of writing2dump; I'm sure that's what most of my journaling life has been. I'm intrigued by the others, writing2build and writing2transform in particular. Perhaps you have written about these exercises elsewhere in your blog. I will have to keep looking. I think these exercises would help me in my goal of writing a memoir.

    Thanks for all you give and share with so many!

    Love you, my dear friend.


  3. Bill, thanks for the theological reflection. I like the idea of looking at the mess and asking where God is in the midst of it. Caroline Myss once invited listeners to make a timeline of their worst moments. Afterwards, she encouraged them to go back and look for the graces that accompanied each challenge. Because they definitely do!

    Sarah, you are so welcome! Love you, too! Yes, the other stuff is in other places in the blog. And, it seems to me, that all of our journaling transforms us. You know what I mean?

    :-) Rochelle