A World of Pure Imagination

Greetings, Blogworld.

Happy Friday!

I’ve been tucked away in my little condo way too much lately. I’ve been inundated with work and personal study, both of which I thoroughly enjoy, but both of which tend to keep me indoors for long periods of time. And let’s be honest- who really wants to go outside right now? Dear inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest, in case you didn’t know, that was a rhetorical question.

It has been insanely hot in Atlanta. I’ve sworn heretofore that Atlanta has been dubbed “Hotlanta” because it happens to be where a bunch of beautiful people live, but now, after enduring my third consecutive August in Atlanta, I’m pretty sure that was naïve or just plain wrong.  Please take a sister’s word for it: Atlanta is called “Hotlanta” because, well, it is hot as heck-fire. I have a smile across my face right now because I’m thinking about my friend who recently moved to Kuwait. Yep, Kuwait. I just glanced at the weather report for Kuwait tomorrow and it looks like it is predicted to be a balmy 118. She would rebuke me for grumbling about a good ole classic 100 degrees but I would quickly retort: “It’s the humidity that makes it unendurable.” She wouldn’t be impressed though, and well, I don’t really blame her. So let’s put it this way: relatively speaking, the heat has been pretty nasty around here. I ran into my neighbor earlier today and she told me she has gained several pounds this month because she refuses to leave her house. We both shook our heads and carried on for a good while in mutual astonishment until finally there was nothing left to do but to prophesy about the glory days to come: autumn in Georgia. By the way, “autumn” sounds way more glamorous than “fall”, right? Autumn in Georgia covers a multitude of summer sins. Some folks get annoyed when people small talk about the weather, but I get a kick out of it. I like that the weather is something that everyone has something to say about, no matter how bashful the person may be or what season it is. The weather is just good neutral common ground, you know? Also, you can get really good and worked up over the weather and you won’t hurt anyone else’s feelings. It’s kinda fun.

But back to my recent case of condo fever. Several months ago I explained to my Mom that I think I am equal parts homebody and wanderlust. She laughed at me, not with me, and explained that I’m more like 99% wanderlust. “Your boots were made for walking, sweetheart.” That’s how she put it. She may be right. A perusing of a world atlas can be sacramental to me. When Colin and I were first dating he told me that he wanted to have an entire wall of his house dedicated to a huge world map. Although I was slightly horrified by the aesthetic ramifications of a big map mural, I had never loved him more.

I love to travel. To see a new place and to experience a new culture. But there is this little thing called adulthood. And responsibility. For some weird reason our landlord keeps demanding that we pay rent every month. Plus, there are events like weddings and family reunions that stack up and demand a big percentage of that small slice of vacation time each of us are allotted.

I’ve had the travel itch lately without the practical availability to travel. I’m like a bird in a cage. I know there is a fabulous destination out there with my name and respective 50-degree weather attached to it, but I just can’t make it happen right now. The very idea that there are people walking around places like Tuscany or Madrid, well, it makes me feel like I’m missing out on something that might have been. I mean, for crying out loud, somewhere over the rainbow, there are people mounted on the Alps eating Swiss fondue.

The most serious symptom of my condo fever has been chronic daydreaming. I can’t remember a time period of my life when I daydreamt this much since my fifth grade teacher taught us long division. Back then, I used to drift off and imagine Willowbrook Mall was my own personal closet. I would roam to and fro throughout this gigantic shopping mall, from Limited Too to Gadzooks, to pick out my new outfit for school. Don’t ask me how Limited Too and Gadzooks were able to coexist in my daydream because I’m not sure. But they were.

Some twenty years later my daydreaming hasn’t matured or progressed all that much. I won’t tarry long on this for sake of my own tender ego but I will say, I have eaten lots of freshly picked strawberries on the rolling green hills of the shire with a handful of delightful little hobbits. I also cried the other day when I heard the theme song from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. You know, the song: “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination”? Who wouldn’t want to drink from a waterfall flowing with milk chocolate? Or pick the fruit from a tree that renders elephantine gummy bears? And what about red and white polka dotted mushrooms the size of giant patio umbrellas, bulging with buttercream icing?

And you’re thinking, Oh Melissa, you need to get out more. But that is exactly what I’m trying to tell you, dear, I can’t leave the house right now. So in attempt to deal more constructively with reality, I’ve been trying to take note of the beauty around me during the particular season I’m in. I don’t think the drive in me to constantly see something new all the time is all that bad. Sure, it could be bad. But for the most part, if it’s harnessed properly, I think it’s okay. Not to mention, it is kind of part of being human. At least for a lot of us, I think. Having said that, I would like to learn how to discover beauty in a season of repetition. Not a season of suffering or hardship, but just a season that is filled with mostly repetitive tasks. A season when I’m feeling a little domesticated and maybe a little bit too familiar with my surroundings. The whole “wake up, eat, work, eat, go to bed” monotony can be disillusioning over time and sometimes someone needs to look at us and say, “Snap out of it! There is beauty to behold, even in your mundane little world!”

All this typing has made me think of the paragraph from G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy.

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. Heaven may encore the bird who laid an egg.” (See Part IV “The Ethics of Elfland” in Orthodoxy)

If you haven’t read Chesterton before, you need to immediately. Orthodoxy should be required for baptism. I’m kidding, I think. Chesterton was a man of extraordinary brilliance and imagination and even if you think he has lost his mind at times, his writing will make you think differently about the world we inhabit.

But I’m not done talking through my dilemma. I wonder if imagination itself is one key to enjoying and delighting in the mundane. What if, instead of dreaming about how bright the city lights are in Bangkok, or longing for a cool starry night out on a ranch out in Montana, I took notice of the way the sun dances on my old cracked hardwood floors from the hours of 6-8 pm, as if they were its vintage stage? What if, each time I saw a butterfly, I imagined God standing at an easel painting the delicate and intricate patterns displayed on its wings?  Or, what if, instead of being annoyed by the boisterous giggling of two people in my local coffee shop, I thanked God for the gift of laughter and comic relief or imagined the kinds of things that may bring a smile to His face.  I wonder what my life would be like if I used my overactive imagination, not to daydream about far away lands or fantasy peoples, but to make sense of and delight in my own little world and the people I encounter on a daily basis.

I’ll never forget when I first read an excerpt from one of Kyle Lake’s final sermons. For those of you who are not familiar, Kyle Lake was the pastor of University Baptist Church in Waco, TX. He died, far too young, in October of 2005. I did not know Lake personally but I did attend his church on several occasions when I was a Baylor student and had the opportunity to hear him preach. Somewhere along the way I heard that they read the following excerpt from one of his final sermons at his funeral:

“Live. And Live Well. BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now. On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun. If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE. Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time. If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well. Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed. If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own. If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And grieve well. At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift.”


I like that.

I want to be present.  In every season.  Even the ordinary ones.

“Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” James 1.17


266 Responses to “A World of Pure Imagination”

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Gravatar.com. Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.


  1. 201
    Brittany says:

    What an encouragement this post was to me! I was just talking to my husband today about some discontentment I am feeling. This has shed new light to an “old” situation and I am grateful!

  2. 202
    Melissa Ford says:

    Thanks Melissa. I really needed to read that.

  3. 203
    Missy S says:

    Hey Melissa,

    Great post! Thanks for asking the question about how to thrive spiritually in a season of repetition & monotony. I’ve been pondering that myself lately, so I will enjoy reading the siestas responses! I love Chesterton & that particular passage! Thanks for reminding me of it!


  4. 204
    anni says:


  5. 205
    Debra Hanson says:

    well said! Especially the 3-year-old snot part. That is your mother coming out in you. Love to read you guys.

  6. 206
    Janice says:

    This is sooo where I am right now…trying to see the beauty of the moment instead of wishing away where God has planted me. Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. 207

    I feel like your twin sister right now! Your older, less educated twin sister. I TOTALLY get where you are coming from! I have that vivid imagination you just described, and nearly daily desire to go somewhere and experience something other than doing dishes and picking up toys (just to name two of my daily routines). I am a SAHM to a brood of 6 kiddos all under 13, and my current season of life is indentured servitude. I have had times where I have to force myself to enjoy it, and, by the grace of God, times where I love it more than the breath in my lungs. However, no matter what I may be feeling about my season of life, the one constant is that God gave it to me, God ordained my season, and God has my life in His time table and on His map. I just gotta run my race with perseverance.
    One thing that helps me a lot is to ask God to give me His eyes and His heart for my life. That I would see what He wants me to see, and love what He wants me to love, and that the rest is just extemporaneous.
    Hang in there sister!

  8. 208
    Tracey says:

    melissa, thank you!! this post is good thinking on how to live life & be able to look back w/ no regrets. i like it. 🙂

  9. 209
    Stormy says:

    I completely relate. Being a single gal, I’m the only one paying that landlord and all those other bills. Saving up for a vacation seems almost impossible at times. (Though, I am going to the LPL in Richmond, VA next weekend with my mom and my sister, so I’ll take that as a mini-retreat!)

    There are lots of times I want to say so long to my home and go somewhere new and exciting. One day.

  10. 210

    Love your stuff. Great reminder for this 33 year old mother of three (6 yr, 5yr and 3 yr) with lots of dirty laundry and four nasty toilets and dirty dishes and unmade beds…let me go find the beauty and adventure in each of those things!!

  11. 211
    Crysta says:

    Lovely post, Melissa~ It is very true — how easy it is to think of where we would like to be instead of where we are…and because of this, how much we miss! Captured imaginations, so often the Lord brings this necessity to my mind — it was good to meditate on another aspect of capturing, a capturing that says: Lord, I want to see all the beauty that you have for me in this moment…I do not want to miss a thing! Thanks so much for sharing your captured thoughts~

  12. 212
  13. 213
    Donita says:

    As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama of two boys…
    As an introvert…
    As a melancholy…
    As a teacher and studier and reader…
    As a homebody…

    I regularly need the reminder to Be Present.
    Thanks for a well timed reminder!

  14. 214
    Sandra says:

    Thank you Melissa for opening my eyes and mind even wider to God. He is most definitely awesome in all that He does. Everything around me is from and of HIM. Thank you Lord for all that you surround me with.

  15. 215
    Kelly says:

    Thank you for sharing that exerpt from Kyle Lake’s sermon. God used that to speak straight to my heart! I’ve been at home the past 3 weeks with my brand newborn beautiful baby girl, and (along with sleep deprivation) have been starting to resent the monotony of my new schedule – feed my angel, soothe her, lay her down to sleep and then try to get a few household errands done before the process starts over again. I’m constantly watching the clock wondering if it’s time to feed her again, or how long she’s been asleep, or if I’ll have a chance to check my email before she starts crying again. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy every single precious minute I get to be at home with her before my maternity leave ends 🙂 Praise God that He speaks to us!!

  16. 216
    Melissa says:

    You are a wonderful writer. I feel an affinity to you Moore’s. And I definitely feel like I could meet you at church and become best friends with you. That’s an awesome, God-breathed thing… I read this blog everyday.

    Thanks for following him and writing about your lives…sharing your thoughts…being real.

    It is a gift I cherish. Thank you for giving it so freely.

  17. 217
    stillanon says:

    thanks Melissa for sharing your heart-thoughts with us…it is a joy to read-go along with you….i love chesterton ,too =i love that he makes me have to think REALLY HARD and then he manages to translate margaret wise brown for us “adults”!!!! much joy to you and your mother as you walk through james together! we’re all waiting for the revelations!

  18. 218
    Joni says:

    What a wonderful post! Just what I needed to read. Life has been so busy of late with new challenges and frustrations. This post just helped me in my attitude. Thank you for your insights, Melissa. 🙂

  19. 219
    Dawn says:


    This was so completely beautiful, funny and just what I needed on this, my 44th birthday. Am I really that old? Ummm, yes…complete with an amazing husband, a totally beautiful and sweet grandbaby and my baby, a Senior in High School. Wow the years do go by quickly, but this post made me stop a moment and breathe in life.

    Thanks for this….Just what I needed this morning.

    Much love to you……Dawn in MO

  20. 220

    I LOVED this post. Your writing “voice” was singing to me! I understand the wanderlust too, even the wall-sized map mural. But we can find extraordinary beauty and adventure in our every day, too. Thank you for reminding me. And oh, those quotes.

    Love those quotes.

  21. 221
    Andrea says:

    Even though I want to sound more imaginative here I enjoyed your blog post!

  22. 222
    Paula R. says:

    Melissa, this post was a great blessing to me today! I am a happily married missionary wife and yet sometimes it is easy to get caught up in past ministry highlights or memories of wonderful times with friends and family back home ~ or ~ caught up in visions of future ministry plans or future family visits on furloughs. But you’ve reminded me to stop and enjoy TODAY!

    P.S. I just downloaded the Kindle version of Orthodoxy! 🙂 Thank you, Jesus, for modern technology!!!!

  23. 223
    Esther says:

    Thank you so much for speaking to my heart. I have felt just like this lately, and your encouragement was just what I needed.

Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: