One Thing.


It’s been a rough couple weeks as far as writing goes. Not having electricity will do that. A yard full of tree removal folks will do that. So will internet providers who want to get into the basement on days when you feel like your house had a tornado inside. And playdates (which have been gifts) and trips to the library and kids who are staying up waaaaaaaay later than usual.

Writing has been a little rougher than usual.

And I’m choosing to give myself a little/a lot/a truck load of grace.

I know. I want to have A Cup of Dust done on September 1. 44 days. And I could let myself boil over thinking about that one.

If I don’t hit my own deadline the world will keep spinning. I won’t explode. Everything will be just fine.

The other day, when the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief people were here, one of the women put her hand on my shoulder. She told me about the wind sheer that hit her home years ago. It tore into her house, nearly harming her children. She smiled and told me I was doing okay.

“One thing at a time. Somedays it’s good enough just to keep the kids fed. That’s all right, you know,” she said, her words a gift.

And then she proceeded to haul branches out of my yard, clearing space for my kids to play in again.

That was a gift, too.

One thing at a time builds up to two. One word makes a sentence makes a paragraph fills a page ends up being a chapter.

Somedays one thing at a time is colossal.

The other day, John Blase posted this on his Facebook status…

“Updike once wrote that there are days when the most spiritual thing you can do is place the empty milk bottle out on the steps. Yeah, not many of us do the milk bottle delivery thing these days, but his point was that sometimes a single act of defiance against inertia, even something as seemingly mundane as switching out an empty milk bottle, is a truly beautiful thing for it indicates a movement, albeit slight, in the direction of Life and Grace. Maybe you ‘switched out the milk bottle today’ and that was all you could muster. You may doubt the value in that act, but John Updike believed it means something, and so does John Blase…so that’s two of us at least, one of either side of you, saying ‘attagirl’…or ‘attaboy.’ Hang in there. Don’t give up.
Sleep well, sleep warm, my friends.”

And that, my friends, was yet again another gift.





9 Comments on “One Thing.

  1. Thanks, Susie, for that quote at the end. It really encouraged me today. There are days ahead that will be rough, and knowing that perhaps just getting out of bed to face that day is enough. Thanks for the help!!! I’m forwarding it to someone else who will need that encouragement in the days ahead. Love you!


  2. Great words! The more you introduce me to the John Blase, the more I find I like him. That was powerful.
    I am so glad that you are finding healing words and comfort. I am praying that whatever happens with your personal deadline that you will be reconciled to it. A Cup Of Dust will be a book no matter what state it is in on September 1st. I believe in your writing and know that God will pull everything together in his time; the house, the book, the publisher. (Also, 44 days is a sadly small number. Stay away, fall!)
    I like the approachable image of one thing at a time. That’s something we can do. That’s all we can do.
    You go girl!


    • The thing about John Blase is that he’s a real nice guy. I’m glad you like him. He’s a good one.

      Thank you for this encouragement. I needed it. You are fabulous, you know?


  3. We’ve been praying for you, friend… And thanks for these words. I’ve kind of stalled, and am giving myself grace to stall, and start again. And again. And again. Thank the Lord for bottomless grace refills, eh?


  4. My excuse for not writing is lame in comparison. but packing and moving has thrown me off my writing routine. I hope next week I can start to get back on track. May the same happen for you!


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