My Pen and I: In Sickness and In Health, ‘Til Death Do Us Part

BlogBkSo I had told myself I wouldn’t post personal updates. I want to give my readers more. But I hope you get something out of these stories. This post is about my blogging journey. How I’ve been on my face in the dirt this month, knocked over by hail and tree. How those nearest and dearest to me sat me up to the sun.

The happy part first: The friend who taught me to pilot this blog sent me a birthday ecard this week. I had to share it with you. No bolt of revelation, no profundity to shake anyone. But it’s been a hard month and it felt good to smile:

A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, ‘Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late! Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late!’

While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again!

As she ran she once again began to pray, ‘Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late…But please don’t shove me either!’


Gift Number Two, this one from a fellow poet. It was perfect. Yes, the picture on top. All last year I wanted to get myself a nice blank notebook for the on-the-go writing. You should see the piles of haphazard blog notes in my office. I’ve started filling in my precious blog book with future posts, my heart to yours.

Gift Number Three, a card printed just for me. My husband hit bull’s-eye. It was the most thoughtful card he’s ever picked out. Many of you have read of my daily struggle to keep up the writing while homeschooling and dreaming about vanquishing the dishes.

These gestures of love sweetened the bitterness of February. I can share only a glimpse of what it’s been like but the flu got me good this time. I could count on one hand the number of decent night’s rest I got all month, barking my lungs out ’round the clock for a brief reprieve at three in the morning. There’s a lot more I could regale you with. So why did I continue writing? Because I couldn’t talk, teach, read to my son for all the coughing, but I could talk to you. At least after someone stopped hammering my head and rubbing jalapeño all over my skull. Why am I talking to you?

My brain kept writing.

Through the tears and the hopeless madness, my brain went off on a life of its own. I’ve experienced in a fresh way how powerless artists are against our calling. It is the sunflower that knows to follow the light, the monarch butterfly that migrates to the same place every year refusing to be deterred by 2000 miles of wind and elements. Life tries to get in the way but nothing can bridle a writer’s reflex. Clutching my ribs, I hacked away and reached for my pen like the half-conscious addict who gets his hand around the bottle. I was rehearsing what I realized I will be doing on my deathbed. Raise a stick of a finger to entreat pen and paper so I could share what it was like, night’s closing in on me. I haven’t stopped writing because that’s what we freaks called writers do.

95 thoughts on “My Pen and I: In Sickness and In Health, ‘Til Death Do Us Part

  1. Congratulations on your first year! I love that creative pull, too. It’s almost like you have to catch it before it flies away, so you work like mad to capture it, whether it’s to write it down or design it or paint it. I love that feeling, because you know after all those hours that you produced something pretty good.

  2. Happy Blogbirthday! The card is awesome. What encouragement. I too am down sick with flu for the third time since the start of the year. I am so anger yo feel shoved into bed by God. Maybe I should write? Get well. I am so grateful for your blog. 😉

    • How’s the job hunt coming? This sounds like a period of searching for more than a job, though. With your interpersonal and communication skills, I’d hire you in a spiffy, Brad. Keep networking. And looking up.

      Are you on LinkedIn?

      Thanks much for the blessing.

  3. Diana, I hope March is a better month for you. I love reading your posts; you have a wonderful way of getting to the ‘heart’ of a matter. This particular post was no different. Happy one year celebration on your blog – may this new year be a good one for you and your writing.

  4. Aw, you’ve been awesome, K. In truth, I am sitting here a bit surprised at the response to this one. I make myself bleed and give all of myself in a post to earn the likes. But ah — I guess I literally suffered enough this Feb lol. The 1st year for Holistic J is coming up in a few wks. But thank you so much for the love and support. Don’t take ’em for granted.


    • “Life tries to get in the way but nothing can bridle a writer’s reflex.”….I know what you mean and seem to write in my head, whether awake or asleep. Thing 1 and Thing 2 gave me an IPad this year so I am so thankful to capture all the half written and half baked ideas there….it holds my brain now. I am so sorry you have spent so much time barking, it is indeed very hard to put thought to paper on any day, especially when your brain is turning to aqueous humour of infection and breathing is an after thought. Here is hoping the sun will stay around for a while and dry this winter up a bit! I too loved the little girl poem, but isn’t that just like God….sometimes being late is His goal….just ask the many people who were late to work on 9-11 in NYC and the Pentagon
      (My dad being one of them)… Blessings on your blog birthday. God has given you your abilities for His purpose.

      Oh how fun it will be to journey with you and see how He fulfills that. Hugs to you sister.

      • Thanks so much for the sweet, rich post. Went down like piña colada. Yes, awesome when He’s “late.” That is amazing about your dad. I grew up in NYC, swing danced on the top floor Windows to the World. I’m grateful for the encouragement and your ongoing support, and am happy to share in your journey as well.


  5. Congratulations! I so appreciate all you put into your blog; and thank you for it. Those things we are called to do…it’s as though we cannot not do them, no matter the cost. Well done, and here’s to another year of great writing! Clink!!

  6. Happy blog birthday, I hope you have many more wonderful blogging years left in you. Your posts are always enjoyable to read and you have a wonderful way of reaching out and touching your readers.

    Many happy returns 🙂

    Heather xxx

    • Thanks for taking a moment for the warm blessing, Heather. Seems I’m confusing readers. 😛 The bday of the blog is coming up. But I did start blogging on Tumblr exactly a year ago. I really appreciate the feedback.

      Lotsa luv,

      • Well, let me take this opportunity to wish you a happy Tumblr birthday then! 😆

        You certainly have my sympathy in regard to the flu; I caught a really bad strain a few years back and it took me nearly six months to completely recover from it. Thankfully I haven’t had the flu since (touch wood that I’m not tempting fate by saying that!). Either way, having any strain of the flu is never a pleasant experience.

        I hope you feel better soon!

        Heather xxx

      • =) I’m glad to hear you’ve been flu-free so long and borrow hope from that, Heather. I deleted that part about the bday of blogger vs blog LOL. Too confusing.

        See you on your board when I can,



  7. First of all, congratulations on your one year of blogging. I am new-ish to your corner of the world, but by looking at the fellowship that you’ve built up here, I would have imagined it was years that you have been at this. What a gift and joy to have created a space of openness and gentleness and affinity for the written word. And who says we don’t suffer for the art? Barking up the wrong tree, if you ask me. (cliche and bad pun – double whammy that will get me barred at the next writing circle).

    I love the images you portray of the writer turning to the Source of what brings us to the page or keyboard. That pull, that indelible mark upon our spirits to put together our thoughts into magical prose. Or at least, heavily edited magical prose. It’s the pull though. That’s it for me. I am illiterate in almost every other medium imaginable, and so the word is my hot molten steel and my soul the hammer. Tough, slogging work, but the transformations are always steady and true. Doesn’t mean I come up with diamonds. I sometimes shovel coal up for inspection, but nonetheless, it’s the process. I trust the process and it trusts me to move it.

    Thank you for this, Diana. I can’t tell you how honoured and blessed I am to have crossed paths with you.

    I hope you feel better soon.


    • Paul, it is you who have done me such the honors. Pun forgiven. *wink*

      I have said both on my blog and over at OM’s (under the Keep It Real post) that the heavy editing is my way of finding the full, whole, real me to offer you all.

      If you in fact are illiterate in many other areas, your masterful literacy in the world of words more than compensates.

      Love and respect,

  8. i love your penguin notebook! =D its cute. i didn’t realize you blog your ideas into journals. that’s hardcore. i write in journals/notebooks too, but those are mostly prayers and reflections to God, while my blogging is specifically written knowing i have an audience. i never thought about fleshing out blog ideas into journals before…

    and congrats on your first year of blogging! =D may God bless you with another year of blogging as evidenced by growth, wisdom, and joy. =)

    • I meant to get a blog book all last year. Just fell by the wayside – I was too busy blogging! All on whatever scratch paper I could grab wherever I was. The gym, restaurants. Thank you for blessing me with your loving support.


  9. First, I’m so sorry that you have been so sick. Second, Happy Birthday to you and your blog! I too find myself on sleepness nights, out here with pen in hand or hands on keys more often. There is just something in us that we have to get out onto paper and share. But then that’s the case with all creative people. I pray that your health is restored soon and that you can once again get some sleep. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  10. I hope that by now you are fully recovered from the illness that tried its best to keep you down. Here’s praying for blessings for you, your son and, husband as well.

    Yes, you are truely addicted to writting but in many ways maybe its the best therapy for getting over a severe illness. Writing makes you happy and enables you to contribute something worthwhile to society.


    • So so sweet. I’m slowly on the mend, Yvonne. I was so touched you and the rest assured me of your prayers last time. My son is doing better than I am. Thank thank thank you!! That is something. You SEE me because you choose to. You see how great a happiness it is for me. It’s an ongoing guilt trip, though. Juggling it with the mothering.

      Keep up the beautiful photography and the care you give those animals. They sure know they are loved. By Yvonne.

      I feel full from your blessings.


  11. Apparently you’ve never experienced writer’s block? I have! But then all of a sudden there’s a compulsion to write and it can’t be resisted. Ideas flow and the computer keyboard resounds with clicks of satisfaction as the story unfolds.

    • Ha ha. You aRe a funny man, Ian. Writer’s block. Hm. I have it in my own way in that I can’t just whip up something spontaneously like some bloggers/writers. At least in keeping with the standards I have for what I produce.

  12. I’m having a problem with WP at the moment so I can’t see your pics 😦 BUT, how wonderful that you have those around to bless and lift you up.Then again, you also have your writing. This is just how it is 🙂 Loved the Sunday school story 🙂 Happy belated birthday and hope you are feeling a little better …xx

  13. I don’t know why but this makes me somewhat teary-eyed. Especially that you kept on writing. I love that you love writing, I love writing too. I have nothing else but writing. By the way, Get well soon and congratulations on your one year of blogging, may your ink never run dry

  14. Happy Birthday, Diana! Wishing you better days ahead. Your blog is very meaningful to me. Your high standards of excellence and thought-provoking posts inspire me to dig deeper and aim higher with my own writing.

    • SHIRLEY. You rock. Sweetness aside – and thank you for the bday wish – I added your comment to a Comments’ Hall of Fame list I’ve started. Some of the most precious feedback I can highlight, share with my son some day perhaps. It’s hard bc while I hate to sound like a braggart, most of the comments that come in are seriously amazing and affirming. Some, mind-blowing. But I greatly appreciate the feedback on how my work has impacted yours. That’s what it’s about, as I’ve said. So what that you all read about me. I don’t want to do a whole lot of that because it is your own blogging and writing that should be affected somehow from your time here.

      All my love,

  15. Here’s hoping the winds of March blow illness away! This post explains a bit to me why writing does not flow for me as much as other bloggers … it is not my ‘natural’ artistic talent. But I’m glad it’s yours! 🙂 Great health to you, Diana!

    • I’m always glad when a reader ends up with greater self-awareness from reading me, Cindy. I think you’re modest to say that, but hey, if it’s something that hit you and makes sense, so be it. But you have a lot going for you. The insights, the spirit, the relationships. And I’m always happy to read your writing.

      Thanks for the blessing and faithful read.


      • Thanks, D. Actually, your post set me free in a way. I struggle with feeling like I don’t write enough, but truthfully, I don’t want to write what isn’t flowing. I’ve often wondered if the lack of flow means I shouldn’t write. But after reading your post, I don’t think so. I have an artistic bent (music is my vein), yes, and I have seen some “crossover” into other arenas (like crafts and writing). Your post gave me permission to write whenever it flows and no pressure. 🙂 Thanks!

      • LOVE it. LOVE it. THANKs for sharing this with me. I had just finished responding to Shirley on this post who told me how my writing has impacted hers. To you both I say I am so glad that you can see yourself in my writing. That, always my aim.

        I learned in college it is as important to know what one’s calling is not, as it is to know it. Yes, free yourself. You might do more of the music and craft with your blog, too. =)


  16. Thank you for sharing. Your words are a sweet balm to our hearts.
    Keep on… run and walk… together let’s be of good courage 🙂


  17. Happy Birthday to you! Thank you for sharing this, those gifts are lovely! I absolutely relate to your description of being knocked down this month…I feel like this whole winter has knocked me down. But I can say the same thing about needing to do your art, even when I was feeling sad, tired or like I was run over I still wanted to paint and was always thinking of what to paint next and how I can always improve. I know that this “down” time has also brought me back to writing, I hope to express myself as well as you do! Thank you for visiting my blog and following…I have enjoyed reading from you 🙂

  18. Great post–and Happy Birthday!! Sweet story about the little girl. Sorry to hear you’ve had the flu. We had that never-ending cough, January. Feel better soon! I saw this quote on another blog today: “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.” Franz Kafka

  19. Pingback: Blog of the Week: Diana of A Holistic Journey « Dancing with Fireflies

  20. I have this intransigent belief in serendipity … my absolute proof of unknown forces operating in our lives. Your great post was a gift to me today. And I found it serendipitously … checking out your blog after you liked one of my posts.
    I needed to know that someone else shared in this mysterious compulsion which drives one to write in the middle of the night, with a raw throat and body wracked by endless coughing. Tears of frustration and exhaustion making the monitor blurry. Still the brain won’t stop twitching and demanding expression.
    I’m working on a book with a lot of technical research and checking up required. You’d think I’d just put it aside and rest. But no way ….
    So glad to know this compulsion isn’t a personal insanity … but is shared by another writer. And a good one at that. Thanks for brightening my day.

    • =/ I’m sorry you’re not writing under more accommodating circumstances. But all the more do I appreciate the feedback. It’s awesome when we meet a kindred spirit, esp in the world of art. I do hope you manage some rest. Sleep sure does help us see our words with the relief of clarity and joy. Thank you for sharing your heart with me, N.



  21. I’ve been flittering through the log of your blog entries and you’ve hooked me! Already, you’ve given so many gifts of top class pointers for blog writing, I’m honoured that you have found me way up north in BC, Canada and appreciate your encouragement. Like migrating birds our words travel far when they’re from the heart!

    • Aw, wonderful hearing from you, Jane Catherine. I am so glad my blog is of help, and pleased you see it all comes straight from the heart. Thanks much for the follow. It’s a special community here. Very bright, responsive readers. Looks like you fit right in. Hope to talk again.


  22. I stumbled across this old post of yours [realized after reading, how old it was – and good I checked, cause I was going to wish you speedy recovery 🙂 ] and I love how you’ve detailed the eternal quest of a writer to, well, just write. Write whether they can or cannot, physically. Incidentally, since it’s almost exactly a year since this post, it must be your blog’s birthday month again. I hope you keep your pen engaged, and face fewer and fewer obstacles to what keeps you truly happy – writing.

  23. Thoroughly enjoyed bumping into this one 🙂 and thanks for giving me the opportunity to do so by dropping in at mine 🙂 great writing here !! Will definitely be a regular on this one hence 🙂 happy writing !!! Cheers!

  24. How did I miss this one before? Must have been one of those horror times for me too and we do all have them more than our share of times don’t with. Well now one year has gone by and I see you are chirping along once again. Good! You provide us much food for thought.

  25. I ‘ve read several of your articles now – they are insightful. And thanks for liking my ” I’m Vacuuming…” post. Mothering is a tremendous experience if we hold it in the highest light. My daughter’s tell my husband and me that they think THEY did a good job of raising US! They certainly woke us up more times than I can count, and kept us moving along on the right track.

    • Hi Ellie. Ha ha ha I love that. They certainly do raise us…by humbling us. Yes, holding up motherhood in the highest light. It is, I believe, the highest of callings. (Frightening!) Thank you for connecting.


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