I sit at the kitchen table for hours, working towards the next deadline, squeezing out only a letter at a time. The resistance is in full force today, pushing hard against my desire for progress. One word turns into two. I make a sentence. Then delete it. I forget how to do this, it seems.

I open a new tab, click over to check email, my worst enemy at times like this. Also, my most comfortable friend. I see a (1) in the inbox, Ann has a new post. I read and take her in. Ben Harper comes on Pandora and I cry through The Three of Us.

This post has a video. If you are reading elsewhere, you may need to click over to listen.

I cry for no reason, except everything. Sometimes the art overwhelms me, and I just can’t keep up with the longing of it all. I am heavy with thankful and burdened to communicate, and those two things bump shoulders squeezed tight in my heart, both trying to come out of a too-small-space in words and stories, neither quite making it.

I finally give up, make a grocery list, run a load of laundry. Find the tennis shoes, pull the hair back, wash the apples. Ideas start to rattle around, connections are made ever so slight. And I realize as I do, it’s true what Agatha Christie said: The best time to plan a book is while doing the dishes. In that place, I discover the sweet act of grace it is, that living life is what inspires the art. God made it so that we have to live it first, to receive all the gifts from his gracious hand, before we can think about offering it in words to others.

I think of all your photos from yesterday, your snapshots of grace from life, in death, with family, in nature — all that living captured still in time. All those undeserved gifts showing up in colors and pixels. But they only existed because you lived them first. The living, then the art. Your photos were beautiful. And I thank you for sharing them.

There will be one more chance to link up before this series ends (soon!) but I haven’t decided which day yet. Maybe Friday? I am very organized.