Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Not Writing're getting a fresh post tonight because one of my all-time favorite teachers may be stopping by to read my blog (hi, Mr. Wilson!). He was my high school English teacher---helped to stir up and cultivate my love for writing--and I saw him tonight for the first time in several years. And of course he asked if I am doing any writing.

Um. Well. I blog...

He asked for the address, so I told him that if you google my name, it's the first hit. Then I came home and pulled up my blog to look at it through the eyes of a new visitor. Let's see: Picture of Elijah. Thankful Thursday. Another Elijah photo. Thankful Thursday. Quote from someone else's blog who's actually writing fresh material. Thankful Thursday...

Um. Well, my son is cute, at least.

I told Mr. Wilson I'd done some freelance writing and editing for a ministry organization (which is true). But the truth is, despite my writing degree and my history of being a prolific journaler and my professed love of words, somewhere along the way I stopped actually writing. I told myself I was editing instead (because it's easier because I'm afraid of failure because I love it). I think deep down I know that's a copout.

That's probably why when I see Mr. Wilson, or think of Dr. Mary Brown (my college writing prof, another all-time favorite), I feel a little ashamed. I wish I could show them or tell them about the latest essay or poem or article I've been working on, something that would make them proud of a former student. I'm satisfied with the choices I've made; it's a blessing and a privilege to be staying home with Elijah. But there's no reason I can't also still be writing. And I'm not. Not even on here, lately.

So I'm writing tonight, for no real reason other than to say I'm not writing...and I'm not sure why. But they say the first step is to acknowledge you have a problem.

My name is Amy Kannel, and I sometimes call myself a writer but I don't actually write. And I need to do something about that.

Friday, April 25, 2008

You Supply the Caption

Here's another gratuitous Elijah photo--I thought it might be interesting to have you come up with a caption for his funny expression/pose. Have at it in the comments :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday, Take 75

Thanking God this week for...
  • time with some friends on Sunday night and Wednesday
  • our new iPod
  • sunshine when the forecast called for a week of rain
  • this fantastic CD (really a 2-EP set)
  • finally coming in under budget this month for groceries
  • the glorious truth of unconditional election
  • John Piper's sermon series on Romans 9 that's helping me and Steve to understand and embrace this truth more deeply
  • faraway friends coming to visit this weekend!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Writer's Block

I'm in a bit of a funk these days, and have a touch of writer's block. Lots of things are weighing heavily on my mind and heart, but I'm lacking the words to articulate them--or the motivation to try. So for now, I'll leave you with a new photo of my little guy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday, Take 74

Thanking God this week for...
  • Steve's hilarious realization yesterday: we're pretty sure that Elijah's shrieking is his way of calling the dog :)
  • long walks
  • baby monitors
  • box fans
  • the families from church who signed up to sponsor Compassion children last Sunday
  • nice weather for hanging diapers outside to dry
  • tulips
  • encouragement
  • being used by Him to encourage others

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Strange Blessing

This morning I had the strange blessing of grieving for a little boy named Noah. I say it was strange because I never met Noah--and because he died over a year ago--and because it is strange to call grieving a blessing. But I say it was a blessing because I have been profoundly moved by Noah and his family and their story--and because my heart has been, I hope, forever changed.

My friend Julie wrote about this blog last Friday, so I spent the weekend going back to the very beginning (August 2006) and reading about Noah whenever I had a few moments. Today I reached January 2007--the month baby Noah died--and I didn't want to continue reading. It was heartbreaking. But it was also incredibly beautiful.

I fell in love with Noah along the way, and I was amazed and inspired by the unshakable faith and hope of his mom, Adrienne. Today I am squeezing Elijah a little tighter, and asking God to stir up in my heart the kind of trust and passionate love for Him that Adrienne and her family have.

Head over to Noah Steven: Crowned in Peace only if you are prepared to fall in love with a beautiful have your heart broken...and to gain a fresh vision of the glory of God and the hope of heaven. You really have to start at the very beginning (scroll to the bottom). I haven't even caught up to the present--this is the first time I have ever gone back and read through an entire blog that's existed for so long--but it's that compelling. Noah touched countless lives during his seven months on earth, and even now as he enjoys the physical presence of God in heaven, his unforgettable legacy continues to capture hearts like mine.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday, Take 73

Thanking God this week for...
  • the fact that we almost never have to rock Elijah to sleep
  • the enjoyment of rocking him last night and watching his sweet sleeping face
  • protecting both Elijah and me from getting hurt when I tripped and fell on the stairs this morning
  • drywall going up in the guest bedroom!
  • sunshine
  • libraries
  • old friends who care enough to call and ask questions like "how's your heart?"
  • commenters on yesterday's post (please keep up the discussion!)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Biblical Fellowship is Not Coffee and Donuts

A while back, my blog-friend Zoanna wrote a tribute to a friend who had died, recalling one of the most important lessons he taught her. I delayed posting about it until now because I wanted it to spark discussion, and I wasn't reading blog comments at the time. Now that I am...I'm bringing it to your attention:

'Biblical fellowship is not coffee and donuts,' Roger explained one night. Oh, maaaan, you just ruined my day by telling me that! No, it can include coffee and donuts, but it MUST include Jesus. Christians standing around talking about sports, family, finances, or even about the church--is not biblical fellowship. We often call it that, but that's simply Christians socializing. Talking scripture, sharing a testimony, relating how God has answered prayer--such things as these constitute biblical fellowship.

Oh, how this resonates with me. I long for (but rarely experience) this kind of fellowship! Yet if I'm honest, I'll also admit that for some crazy reason I struggle to pursue it. I complain that I am SO tired of sitting around talking about babies or recipes or weekend plans...but do I take the initiative in asking good questions to help the conversation move into this kind of biblical fellowship?

So here's where I want to open it up to the audience: Do you experience biblical fellowship often? Ever? With whom? When? Do you think that everyone is wanting it, but isn't sure how to take the steps to get there? Or do you think that some people just aren't willing to take the conversation to this level? What do you think prevents us from actively pursuing this? What could we (I) do to grow in this?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


"Will [this] feel like a good investment of my life when this vapor's breath of preparation for eternity is over?"

The question pierced my early-morning brain fog when I read it yesterday in John Piper's book Taste and See. What a way to express what life is: "a vapor's breath of preparation for eternity." How would my life look different if I viewed it in this way?

I am here preparing for eternity, by the things I read and do and say and pursue and enjoy--and I have a very brief window of time to make my preparations. How can I live now so as to maximize my joy eternally, to set myself up for the ultimate capacity for enjoyment of God in heaven?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thankful Thursday, Take 72

Thanking God this week for...
  • the sound of my husband reading to my son
  • the ability to buy lots of children's books
  • having lots of children's books given to us already
  • literacy
  • a shocking, humbling, encouraging letter in the mail
  • money to fill up our cars with gas and get groceries, even though prices are climbing
  • a husband who helps me get up early in the mornings even when I am grouchy
  • the feeling of having my hair played with
  • pizza
  • people who continue reading my blog even when my posting is so lacking
  • His Word
  • music that glorifies Him and ministers to me
  • His once-for-all sacrifice in the death of Jesus to bring me to Himself