Walls, Writing,and What You were Made For

It’s the original walls. This home, built thirteen years ago by Russian hands. This home in which we’re the third owners, third occupants. (Photos above not of my home. See credits below)

Foreclosed and bank-owned when we found it, knee high in thistles and clover, we know very little about this house’s past owners. Intriguing clues surface at unexpected moments: the splatter of dusty rice pellets in crevices behind the stove and a solitary chopstick (giving us instant kinship with them– us with our curries and African sauces, and at-least-weekly rice meals); mail addressed to Vietnamese or Thai names; and rumors of Russian families with lots of young men who liked bonfires under the moated stone tree.

A year into living here now, the house feels like home; the yard is brimming with rhubarb, flowers and produce; and lawn mower patterns trace square mazes of olive green grass clippings. Several walls have original paintwork still, though–a concession to time limits and energy. Sitting in Daniel’s room this evening, I stare at the walls, seeing old staples high up in the wall from holding another family’s posters.

Who lived here, I wonder? What was on these walls? Where did they put their bed, their dresser? Was it a child like our Lego-tinkling boy beside me, or someone else? Relatively clean, the walls still boast the plaster I swiped on some months ago to flatten and hide chips and dents on the surface. Original paintwork looks back at me, as I stare silently at the walls, picturing the clamoring sounds, stories, relationships, and lives of the two families here before us.

It feels surreal yet intimate, and I fall quiet. Plastic Legos shuffle and clank beside me, and stories  fill my mind.

I’ve been reading books on writing this month, and just turned the last page on a book tonight that leaves me eager to buy my own copy so I can mark it up with pencil underlinings and notes. (Two books are making their way to me already through warehouses and book fulfillment lists.) The authors speak of hard work, and daily determination to sit down at a desk and simply write. It recharges and inspires me, so I request a turn at the family computer, brew a pot of decaf coffee, and wrestle my five year old to bed. An hour later, the keyboard is mine, the coffee is just slightly scalded, and silence descends on my dimly-lit dining room. Black computer keys clatter inside as semi trucks rev by outside, and a small boy drifts off to sleep.

I don’t know about you. I don’t know what passions and skills God has grown deep inside of you, but for me, words –both spoken and written– are music to me. Others’ words weave me in, pull me along, slip me away, and inspire me. And mine? They form, haltingly, awkwardly, but unceasingly and I desire to have them reflect truth, reflect Him, and be for his glory.

So, for you tonight, my friend? Be encouraged. God has placed skills, passions, and dreams inside you, on purpose. He crafted and created you. Don’t doubt it. Don’t give up, and DO “fan into flame” the gifts he put inside you. You were made to bring glory to him. Practice your art. Persist at and hone that skill. Then run to hang it on his huge, cosmic fridge. “Abba, Daddy, look what I made for you!” in childlike naivety and wonder.

Linking with Ann tonight whose writing and love for her Abba make me thankful too. 

What are your passions or art? How are you honing it this week? 

 Photo credit #1 and photo credit #2. “Finestre Sulla Valle” 1969 by Contini Emilio.

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  1. Floyd on July 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Good for you. If God put inside you it has to come out. Inspiring post and story. I'm traveling down the same path. Passion and persistence, sister. Thanks.

  2. Jennifer Dougan on July 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Passion and persistence, Floyd, to you as well. 🙂 Thanks.


  3. Unknown on July 30, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I think you really do have a gifting for writing. I always feel like I'm dipping my toes into a good book when I come here.

  4. Jennifer Dougan on July 30, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Thank you, JoAnn. You encourage me, and I'm glad to have YOU on this blogging world too. 🙂


  5. Jayne on July 30, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    You have a beautiful way with words. I can't draw a stick person, but I love to write. Sometimes I still have a hard time getting the picture in my head onto paper in words, but you have a real gift for it. May the Lord bless your efforts.

  6. Mary on July 31, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thanks for the comment on my blog – I came over here after I read it. Thank you as well for encouraging others in their gifts. I feel that love for words too – I know what you mean.
    I also loved how you wrote about sharing your faith with muslims during Ramadan in France. That was refreshing. Thanks for connecting!

  7. Unknown on August 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Beautiful words Jennifer…thank you for sharing your writing thoughts and for stopping by Our Adventure with Boys. Blessings to you…

  8. Southern Gal on August 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Love this. I'm going to begin art journaling soon. I love quilting and sewing so this is a different direction for me.

  9. Breakfastinmoscow on August 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    love this post, Jen. You paint lovely word pictures. Glad you got some writing time in – I can relate! Doesn't it feel great to do what it seems like you were made to do?

  10. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 12:50 am


    Getting that picture from my head to the page is hard. Yet for me, I don't even always have the picture in my head yet either, and I'm hoping that the writing draws a picture as it types too. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Hi Mary,

    Nice to get to know you too. You have that love for words too? Ahh, a kindred spirit. 🙂


  12. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Thanks, Jenna.


  13. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Southern Gal,

    Art journaling?! Fun, tell me more what that looks like to you?


  14. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Elizabeth at Breakfast in Moscow,

    Hello lovely girl! Fun to hear from you. How is your ballet writing going?


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