Fine-tuning “fine”….

be inspired

“So how are things?”
I’m casually asked.
I know the rote response is “fine”
~with a lilt if I mean it.
~with a measured sigh if I don’t.
Even “hard, but fine”
doesn’t break the rules.

And yet the question
oddly tickles my soul
so instead of sliding into autopilot
I play with the response in my mind
to see what actually fits.

“Well, I have a whole passel of problems.
Just a plethora of conundrums without obvious solutions.
And I’m feeling intimidated by them
even as I stand here smiling as if I’m on top of things.
Which I’m not.

And yet,
September is singing over me.
And there are real apples at the farm stand
-not the polished Stepford apples in the grocery store,
but freckled and dimpled and blushed.

And there is the sound of sweet soft wood being split for kindling.
And the unrushed sound of a broom slowly sweeping.
And the way wildflowers are spilling down embankments
now that the nights are turning cooler.
(And there is so much more pie nowadays.)

And I just found a pair of reading glasses on my head
right when I wanted to really see the print.
And there were these awesome glass doorknobs on the bathroom door in the back of that store
…..ones like I hope to have someday.

Lots of things are looking bright.
Pansies have just arrived; I can’t help grinning as I greet their pretty faces once again.
And I found the first just right stocking stuffer
and set hopeful baskets in the closet to collect the others to come.

And just this one day I’ve seen twinkle lights on trees,
sleeping bags soaking in fresh wild air on the clothesline
and a pile of stones carefully stacked by little hands
(more beautiful than anything I ever saw in an art museum).

And there were smiles exchanged between strangers,
and the way curiosity lifted me up past the weight of some fears,
and a leaf falling softly on my windshield at a stop light.

And bubbling and brewing inside of me
is the story of the woman who pushed past discouraging things
to break open her alabaster heart
and pour it out at the feet of Love wrapped in skin.

Because she saw all that was real and beautiful in Him
~she saw her everything.
The fragrance of that love drifts over me
even while other things rust and unravel.

And somehow my heart joins with hers
and sees a bit more clearly
which things have longevity
and deserve my attention and gratitude
(And which things don’t).

So I guess I’d have to say that things are, well,
they’re fascinating…..stunning……gorgeous……brilliant!
I’m in a good place.
Things are fine.”



  1. Just Be Real on September 14, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Being in a good place is good. Thank you Jen for such a beautifully written post. Blessings to you.

  2. rachel awes on September 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    oh friend,
    YOU are the real apple…
    delicious, juicy, full, beautiful, fresh.
    i love to nuzzle in
    near your tree,
    every single time.
    you tap the fine in me.
    i wish i could run next door
    & hug you, but maybe someday.

  3. Hindsfeet on September 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Autumn, this time of year, it really is a balm, isn't it…..Love how lavishly you applied it to our souls here…What buttery-rich wonderfulness in your words…

    Thanks, Jen….feeling much more "fine" than before my little visit…(I'll have to remember this for my next yoga class, when they tell me to go to my "happy place" ; ) )

    Peace peace peace…..
    (loved the "Stepford apples" line…Brilliant. : ) )

  4. Mary on September 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    love this. you started out with the reality of yes, there are problems, but oh there are so many things to take heartfelt joy in at the very same time. they can exist hand in hand!!

    Blessings and hugs!

  5. Nancy on September 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I've pondered this question so many times when people say "how are you" and without thought say fine…..You have put the whole issue into perspective and said it so beautifully….Focusing on the joy instead of the sorrow leads to a grateful attitude of which yours is obvious….I am always inspired by your words…….


  6. LeeAnn on September 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Oh I'm so glad you are in this sweet spot. Pushing past the discouragement and breaking open your alabaster heart to pour on the feet of love! So beautiful Jennifer and your post is soooooo encouraging!!!! I could imagine your words put to the shepherd boy David's music, had he known you way back then. They just seem to flow like the sweet steams of flowing water that he speaks about in the Psalms. Your words bring splashes of joy to me! Thank you for the refreshment!

    Pushing past too!
    ā™„Lee Ann

  7. maribeth on September 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Sounds like "unspeakable joy" to me. Having grand moments of these myself lately.

  8. PaperPumpkin on September 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I'm fine, too! I love this, Jennifer. I laughed when I read about your joy when you discover that your reading glasses on on your head right when you wanted them most…I am genuinely thrilled and filled with gratitude when that happens!!! hahahaha! The little things…And, I just adore your Hopeful Baskets!ā™„

  9. Bren on September 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    For the book. Love this, makes me laugh, makes me think, makes me mindful of the words I speak or don't speak.

  10. poetic-chronicles on September 16, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I like your prolific writing, and your Janis Joplin wild quest! šŸ™‚ Like you I'm enjoying september treats and delights. What a positive gal you are, that's really great šŸ˜‰

  11. Relyn on September 27, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Things are fine. Because you have His eyes to see. Because you have a heart for Him. As we serve Him, things will always be fine. Better than fine – good. Even in the hard times. God is good, all the time.

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