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Posts tagged ‘food’

The Serious Business of Sampling the World

With utter delight, he gobbles down bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, a sliver of a grilled cheese sandwich, and slices of chicken. He chews while also smelling then smearing his food on his highchair, his dimpled cheeks, and his tiny chin. Some bits of bites he tosses over the edge of the tray, then looks surprised to see his meal on the floor below. He babbles and waves his arms as he awaits another spoonful of yogurt then runs it ‘round his mouth and grins as bright as sunshine at dawn. Food is a tangible joy to this one-year-old grandson of mine.

He tastes the world, not just at mealtime, but all the time. He is sampling his way around his universe. Pine straw that sits atop the grassy backyard, burnt-orange maple leaves, a wooden brown-and-yellow giraffe held tightly in his fist since he removed it from his birthday puzzle, the bunched cotton material near his mouth that pooches up when I zip him into his footie pajamas, thick cardboard pages of his new book Jamberry, his soft blanket, the strong swing strap that holds him tight as he flies through the air, his precious ten little fingers when nothing else satisfies: they are all worthy of a taste, of a try.

Where we adults are prim and proper, using knife and fork to eat our food, he feels his meals: the textures of squishy squash and firm cheese, of gooey yogurt and crunchy cereal. His fingers are as green as the avocado and as orange as the sweet potato; his face a mishmash of color and flavor. He engages fully with every sense every moment he is awake. He strokes the cat’s fur, sometimes grabbing a handful. Then, if it’s not noticed quickly enough, he aims it straight for his mouth. He scoots across the rug, pulls himself upright around the coffee table. On tippy toes he edge his way over, lunges for the mug left there by one of the houseful of adults gathered to celebrate his first year of life. He slurps the ladder as he’s helped up it so he can then coast down his miniature slide. His fingers, nose, tongue are all on the go as fast as his little legs are, feeling their way through his day.

We think we’ve gathered to help him catch on to this thing called life as we celebrate him, this starter of a new generation. But instead, it is he who is doing the celebrating and we who are beginning to catch on once more to gobbling most anything, tasting our way through the day, sampling our way across our universe, echoing joy with grins as bright as the sunshine.


In the serious business of sampling the world, I had almost forgotten the taste of wonder.






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Editing Process



Like runners headed for the finish line, my coauthor and I enter the final sprint of editing our book: The Life of the Body: Physical Well Being and Spiritual Formation. Six months from now, the words being typed on my computer will show up on a shelf in your local bookstore. The marketing and sales folks over at InterVarsity Press are moving up from behind the scenes now, getting ready to launch and celebrate the results of this adventure in words.

The reality of editing this book is about refining my jumble of words into something that actually says what I meant to say.  In the course of writing, writing, writing, I’ve read, read, read my own words, and those of my co-author. I’ve edited my words. I’ve rearranged paragraphs. Together my coauthor and I revised and revisited our document over and over and over again before we ever sent it on to the publishing house.

Yet even that’s not enough to move my written words from intention to publication. The manuscript itself, like a new baby at a family reunion, makes the rounds to be known and understood: author, co-author, editor, author, coauthor, copyeditor, proofreader, author, coauthor. Into the mix, possible endorsers and a few select friends and family greet the new book, catching a first glimpse of what is within the covers of this future publication. Affirmation and congratulations are coupled with suggestions and questions for additional corrections. Typos are pointed out, subject-verb agreements begin to line up, and sentence structures in need of some serious realignment are straightened up. Editing invites me to reexamine what in the world I was trying to say in the first place.

Editing a book, however, is about far more than rearranging words on a page. Editing a book edits me. I pace myself, here in the middle of the romp of writing to hone my voice so I can offer it forth. Do my words speak my life? Does my life speak my words? Are there places I stumble and need strengthening? Are old injuries of heart or body preventing me from running fully present and fully forward? Do these words align with God’s heart?

It’s easy to pontificate about the wonders of this body that God has created. It’s fun to experiment, dialogue, and research about how food, the earth’s care, and exercise matter to my growth as Christ’s follower. It’s a delight to invite readers to join in the conversation at the junction of body and heart living.

The hard part of editing a book, however, is to also allow God to edit my life. I write a book. God writes then edits my life’s story. Sometimes, I’d like to delete some of His chapters and verses or some I’ve written when I could have let Him be the Author. Sometimes, I wax eloquently when Jesus is inviting me to stillness and quiet. Sometimes, I push forward when, instead, I need to linger, waiting on the Spirit’s signals for when to sprint ahead. In the end, I hope the words of my life say what God wants me to be.

Always, the Author and Giver of life is giving me another opportunity to become like the greatest Gift and Story, Jesus. Always, that’s going to require more editing on His part and more willingness on mine to be refined and redesigned.

Where are you noticing you are being edited today? What story is God up to in and for you in the editing?


© Lane Arnold

June 19, 2012