It’s pouring down rain here. And nothing says it’s fine to idle away another hour on the couch with your blog and your coffee like pouring down rain.
Writing is the most shapeless, formless thing I’ve ever endeavored. The most accurate modern day manifestation of the Creation story. In the beginning the Spirit of God hovered over what was dark and formless until He spoke words over it and gave it shape and meaning. When it comes to writing I can hover like Harry Potter on a Nimbus 2000 but finding just the right words to bring substance to a blank page is hard. If you don’t believe me, try it.
Today I’m fresh off two long, luxurious days on the Mendocino Coast. I wrapped up a big job last week and next week I’ll travel to the arctic depths of Chicago to start another. Sandwiched in between was this quick getaway and it’s all blessing. There’s something about fixating on that once shapeless mass that was there in the beginning, given light and named the ocean that brings all of you back to your rightful place. It does for me anyway. In a quiet room with a wall of windows facing the water I sat and watched the waves swell and break over the rocks, so close that the thundering sound was constant. Cozied up next to the fireplace I looked long as the clouds shifted ushering in the rain, the occasional rainbow spilling out and onto the flat horizon bringing it deceptively close. I like to be reminded that there is a space that has and will never know the sound of an Apple ringtone. Looking at the ocean gives me relief that still most of the planet is filled with space that knows nothing of hurry. A space where the quiet will never, for all of time, be interrupted with a text chime or the pristine horizon bombarded with pop-ups. A space that has no context for the words striving or want. Where anxiety and rush are, and will forever will be, entirely unknown. Fleeting fashion, irrelevant technology, aging, heartbreak, comparison. Of all these things the ocean is blissfully unaware. All it knows is glory. It’s not working tirelessly to become a better, more oceanic version of itself. It was created and it is satisfied. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Satisfied? And it is forever a faithful reminder of these things because like God, it existed in the beginning and it is unchanging. It’s a reminder for as far as the eye can see that God is constant above chaos. Literally.
If you haven’t spent quality time by the ocean in awhile, I would highly recommend it.
Nothing reassures me that God is in control the way the ocean does. In some bizarre reverse logic that only He can fashion, being reminded of how small I am makes me feel like I can take on the world because all of a sudden the world looks different. A great big world makes me so very small and the less ‘important’ I am the more free I feel. One long look reminds me that there’s no possible way for me to experience all of God’s glory here on earth in my lifetime. There’s so much that I will never know no matter how much I read or travel because life and loss and language and beauty are happening at a million miles a minute. So how do you know what is worth your precious time and your numbered days? Often the only thing I’m straining to hear is whether or not I’m spending my time and life on what matters precisely because I, we, none of us get a lot of it.
Powering down and checking out. I need it so much more often than ever before. My life sounds like sirens and traffic and text chimes and grocery stores and my neighbor singing off key in the shower and insecurity and thoughts that most of the time I’m not taking captive at all but are running willy nilly like unsupervised children on a sugar high because, well, mom’s doing the best she can. God is in the whisper which means sometimes I need to leave just to listen. And it works. I fill up. I reset. I come back with a strong aversion to being anywhere near my phone and even if only for a short time, I feel like I’ve regained a sense of self and of priority.
The light in these photos looks to me like the sound of quiet. Like if you were cozied up on a rainy morning (like this one) with this kind of light and a bowl of homemade granola you just might experience a similar kind of oceanic peace. Maybe that’s a stretch. But it’s not a bad substitute in the interim.
My favorite iteration (and there have been many) yet.
step one // adjust oven racks to top and bottom thirds and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. in a very large bowl stir together the puffed millet, oats, flaxseeds, amaranth, salt, and cinnamon. combine the honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan and heat gently until the honey is loose and you can kiiiiinda stir them together. pour over the oats and stir to coat evenly. let the mixture stand, stirring once or twice, while the oven preheats to 325.
step two // divide between the two pans and bake until the mixture is dry and the color looks similar to the pictures above, deep golden brown, about 35-45 minutes. rotate the trays every 10 minutes or so, stirring at least once. when the color is getting close check on it more frequently. watch that the top sheet doesn’t burn. cool completely before tossing in the additions and storing.
4 cups puffed millet
4 cups oats
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup amaranth
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
slivered almonds (not pictured but I wish I would have added them)