My grandmother Christine was a wonderful woman. There was never a moment that I didn't feel her love. She made plain pancakes that filled an entire dinner plate, and cut them into tiny squares and drenched them in butter.  She kept a box of ice cream cones on top of the freezer and pulled out the cherry vanilla ice cream when my sister and I spent the night.  I didn't even like cherry ice cream, except when I was with her. When I learned to drive she told me she wasn't scared to ride with me. I knew she was telling the truth because she didn't push her foot through an imaginary brake every time we crossed an intersection.
Last night, my friend Hannah asked me, "Why The Coming Appetite? Why did you name it that?" 
Grammie Christine coined the phrase.  At least, she's the only one I've ever heard say it.  A coming appetite is a noun. It is when you think you aren't hungry, until a plate of food is placed before you and, to your surprise, you eat the whole thing. It's a hunger you didn't know you had. Grammie would often defend her empty plate - shortly after claiming she didn't want anything to eat - by saying, "I guess I had a coming appetite." 
I named this site The Coming Appetite to honor her, because I admired her cooking and I loved the way she made me feel.  I named it that because it made me remember her, and I hoped others would remember her too.  But my conversation with Hannah last night got me thinking. It made me wonder if there is something more to the phrase that Grammie used, and to the notion that we hunger without knowing it. 
I mean, it happens to me all the time. A coming appetite. I don't know that I'm hungry for something, until I get a taste. I don't know I'm hungry for rest, until I spend time sitting alone on the porch and then feel refreshed.  I don't know I'm hungry for connection, until a girl friend makes me laugh so hard I have to cross my legs. I don't know I'm hungry for Jesus, until I realize that my soul and my every moment is full only when I have dined on His love. And then - it's then that I realize I am positively starving. 
Grammie Christine - she never left a full plate in front of her. She tasted it, just to see if maybe she was hungry after all.  I think we all have full plates before us, too.  Plates of peace and mercy, hot and fragrant.  Plates of grace and forgiveness, so sweet on our souls. Maybe it's time that we take a bite - if only a nibble at first - to see if we too have coming appetites.  And if so, let's eat until we are completely, utterly, and perfectly stuffed. 
 
 
Picture
I have a ragged notebook in my lap.  I spilled some coffee on the front of it and left it in my school bag with a leaky water bottle.  The pages are curled and bled through and scribbled on. They don't flip right on the binding anymore, and get stuck and crumpled when I turn them.  And right now, this notebook is my most treasured possession. 
In November, I was feeling frustrated.  It's a feeling that comes when I don't write.  It wasn't that I didn't want to - it was that I felt I couldn't.  Whenever I sat down to do it, I had nothing important to say. Nothing that anyone would care to read.  I would pick up my pen, scribble a page, then flip it and write something new.  No matter how badly I wanted to put something important on paper, I felt every word, every line, every idea was a waste of my time, and anyone else's.  They weren't right, and I knew it.
But I still felt the quiet urging to write. So I made a deal with myself.  I found a notebook that was simple and rugged, burnt orange with a soft leather cover and gold binding. And I decided that I would write in it everyday.  One poem. I wasn't allowed to use the excuse that my words weren't good enough or important enough.  I had to write. But nobody had to read it.
Was I a regular Pablo Neruda? No, not nearly. Did I ever feel like not writing? Mostly every night. There were many nights when I would climb into bed past my bedtime, and with squinty eyes and a drooping hand I'd scrawl a couple words on the page and call it good. There were a few days I missed. But, there were more that I didn't. 
I figured that if I wrote every day for a year, and had over 300 poems to show for it at the end, maybe, just maybe, there would be something of importance there.  The statistics were good, I reckoned.  This afternoon, I filled my first notebook.  For the first time in my life, I didn't put something down because it "wasn't good enough." I wrote the good, bad, and ugly. How precious that notebook is - a reminder of my foremost thoughts throughout the year's daily grind. It is full of thankfulness to the Holy One, sadness in the deep dark of winter, fear and anxieties, and rejoicing in daily pleasures and special treats. 
Oh, how thankful I am that I did not put this down. This is the poem that I wrote this afternoon on the final page of my notebook, as I flipped through the pages of my thoughts and held them tightly against me. 
Poetry Should

Poetry should be
A direct line into
The darkest ponderings
And sweetest proclamations
Of the human mind.

For, everyone is a poet
If only they can be honest.
 Is there something that is hard and lovely and imperfect that you, too, need to pick up and not put down? I urge you - start it today. Nobody else has to read it or see it or eat it or know it. But do it every day.  The satisfaction is rich and sweet. As for me, I will celebrate tonight.  And tomorrow, I will fill the first blank page in my next notebook. 
 
 
I am sitting at my kitchen table right now.  Outside, fat drops of rain are falling hard off the roof onto the porch.  The drizzle today has been constant, and the world is a wet gray-and-green. Even as I sit, I am fighting the impulse to jump up and do something - anything - that would keep me from being still. I think, A cup of tea would be nice as I type and Oh, maybe I should just start a load of laundry so I can fold it later. I notice that my plants are drooping some and think I better water them.  I look out the sliding glass door and fuss over the spots and streaks. I see that it's 4:39 and remember Ethan will be home soon, that I should start supper. 
Something inside me, though, made me sit down here and look out at the rain. I've been wishing it would stop raining for weeks, it seems. I feel like I die a little more every dreary, mid-50 degree day.  I want summer now.  Maybe that's why I can't stop moving.  Maybe it's like a day of waitressing; if you have lots of tables and busy yourself with running food and smiling at customers and cashing people out, you don't notice the time passing.  All of a sudden, it's the end of your shift and you are left with a wad of cash and aching feet.  
But... do I want to just be left with a wad of cash and aching feet? Is what I really want for the days of the school year to flash and finish and be just a memory, just a flurry of unceasing movement? I don't it is. 
I think I am rushing towards summer because the moments now seem dull to me.  I keep hoping that the summer will be full of sweet moments.  I want it to be quiet when I want and loud when I want. I want long mornings and late nights and coffee on the deck and books on the beach. But then again, if my memory can be trusted to tell the truth (which it can't always), I remember writing just last fall that I was ready for a school routine and warm wool socks and bubbly Crockpots. 
I think I need to be still tonight. I need to stop hurdling through one season to get to the next. I don't want to get through life with just achy feet to show for it at the end. We put up a bird feeder on our porch and since I've been here, looking through the glass, I've seen a chickadee, a woodpecker, and a cardinal.  They chirped and picked away and scattered seed here, there, and everywhere. I can't read their minds, but they didn't seem too concerned about tomorrow.  I think I'll sit and watch them for a while.