Midnight Clear

A friend e-mailed me yesterday – “Julia! Where’s the family Christmas video?!” And I realized I had only posted it on Facebook and not shared it through my other usual online portals.

I’m so touched and encouraged to hear every year from loved ones who look forward to this. Yes I am unmistakeably an introvert, but the older I get, the more I treasure the presence of others in my life.

So – happy holidays to you and yours! May you be filled with courage and kindness as you step into the new decade. We need you today and always – your voice, your face, your perspective, the passion, joy, challenge, wisdom that only you can bring us.

Taking Everything Slow

“Why do we always lose our childlike faith/ the moment we attain our childhood dream?” A song about aging, moving west, failure that heals and progress that kills. And some other stuff I’m not sure about . . .



Take this song and shove it if you want to

Take this tune and turn it out of doors

These words are just a caffeinated frenzy

Scribbled on the napkin of your soul


I used to be a ballerina poet

Dancing through a rainbow-colored world

Now I dig for water in the desert

Jump for joy each time the thunder rolls


Oooh, I’m taking everything slow.

Oooh, how slow, how low can I go?


I rode out west to chase the infinite sunset

To swallow ghost towns whole inside my heart

To lose my old religion in the canyons

But morning always catches up with me


Oooh, I’m taking everything slow.

Oooh, how slow, how low can I go?


Hold that thought close to your unblinking mind

Watch how it withers right there on the vine


They’re taking applications for a mystery

They’re ticking off a transcendental(bucket)(l)ist

With wrecking balls and shopping malls to heal us

And freeways to escape our burned-out past


Remember when you couldn’t wait to grow up

To live your life exactly as you pleased?

Why do we always lose our childlike faith

The moment we attain our childhood dream?


Oooh, I’m taking everything slow.

Oooh, how slow, how low can I go?


Rubik’s Cube the Movie – the Song – the Dance Mix!

In case you aren’t in my family or among my brother’s Facebook friends, here’s a little video song he and I co-created that you may not have seen yet. He filmed his son solving a Rubik’s Cube, then posted it on Facebook sped up, with “Flight of the Bumblebee” for a soundtrack. But he was concerned about copyright laws, so he asked if I would write a song for the video, which he then reposted, copyright-infringement-free.

Today I made a dance mix and posted it on my Soundcloud page, where you can download it for free: https://soundcloud.com/julia-tindall-bloom/rubiks-cube-dance-mix 

Incidentally, the original video length was 3:45. My nephew has now honed his record to 1:11! Proud auntie here.

Apple of My Eye

In early June in Minnesota this year, it seemed we lived in a world of rain, a land of gray. I think we spent two continuous weeks under granite skies, and my nine-year-old daughter began to feel it in her light-hungry soul. The perpetual gloom, combined with the haunting bedtime thoughts about death and loss that are common to her age, brought an above-average precipitation of tears welling up from a previously-unplumbed depth of grief and questions in her being. We were packing to move across the country that month, far from the familiar hugs of grandparents, a thousand miles from the back doors of the neighbor girls she loved like sisters.

This girl was not my idea. I was not inclined towards having children, because although I have always adored babies, children (those little people who want birthday parties and sleepovers and repeat, “watch this!” over and over and interrupt intelligent conversations to repeat their favorite lines from inane movies and litter the world with cheap plastic toys and fingernail polish) are not my strong suit.

I was a child once. And this does give me a window on my own daughter’s childhood. But just as her birth was not my idea, neither is her self. As I wrote here, she is a whirlwind of imagination and action. My child self was a model of compliance. Trying to understand her most mystifying elements through the lens of my childhood too easily leads to comparison and value judgments.

But when I remember that Luthien was never my idea, and that her continuing unfolding is not my idea, I relax a little more into the One whose bright and colorful idea she is. I support, encourage, seek to inspire, educate, discipline, celebrate and love this inexplicable human, but she is not my grand idea to be worked out precisely the way I think best.

She is the apple of my eye and the stars in my night sky, but apples don’t feed eyes and stars at night don’t keep their beholder warm. My baby, my child, my girl came from me, changed and changes me, has marked me forever – and yet, she has her own road to travel, distinct from but ever intertwined with mine.

Here’s a song I wrote in those gray weeks in June.


You are the apple of my eye

But eyes cannot eat apples

You are the stars in my night sky

But stars are too far away to keep me warm

You are my darling baby girl

And babies need their mothers

I am your faithful failing world

I rock you in my arms and cry along

A long long night

Oh will it ever end?

A hard hard fight

I wish we both could win

You are a flash of color bright

Inside a kaleidoscope

You ask me sometimes late at night

Is anybody there looking through?

You are a mirror in the woods

Reflecting all around you

You show the trees they’re looking good

But secretly you’re lonely for a face

A face of love

A face with patient eyes

A face you’ll know

From your feeling of surprise

You’re growing into summer now

You’re thirsty like a flower

With all my heart I’ll show you how

To spread your petals out and drink the rain

The rain that soaks

And chills you to the roots

But don’t lose hope

The sun will come out too.

This Town

“It will never be this good again” is a lie we should stop telling ourselves. That’s what Todd Henry says in this article, whose content I first heard on his Accidental Creative podcast.

I’ve been facing down that particular lie with extra determination over the past year, as my husband Nathan and I made plans to move out of our Minnesota prairie hometown, across the country to the foothills of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

Nathan was born and raised in our hometown. I was born there, moved away at age nine months, moved back at age ten years, moved away at age twenty-two, moved back with my husband and children at age thirty. I joked that this town was like a bad penny that just kept turning up in my life. During the twelve years I spent growing up in this town, like many of my peers I dreamed of leaving it, not always appreciating the goodness and beauty all around me.

I married Nathan and then moved to the big city up the road, got a job, bought a house, birthed a child, conceived another – and then began to dream of moving back to the prairie town, where my parents lived, where I could walk the same park trails I walked as a teenager with my dog, eat at the hometown restaurants I knew so well, relive childhood memories and make new ones with my own children.

And that’s what we did – for seven storybook-perfect years. While I have always enjoyed traveling and even moving (in those years between nine months and ten years old, I moved with my family through four states and about a dozen homes, always excited to pack up and drive to the next place), now that we had two young children and all of their grandparents right in the same town, now that we had a (mortgage-free, rent-free) house and even perfectly scheduled part-time jobs so that neither of us took on the full load of domestic work or a full-time day job – it became difficult to see “it will never be this good again” as a lie. It felt like the inarguable truth.

We had always enjoyed visiting the mountains. Nathan took at least one trip to Colorado every year to do some adventuring. But whenever we had discussed possibly moving there, the call of the mountains was never quite strong enough to overcome the comfort and security of the prairie town.

Until last summer, when our little family was all there together, and for the first time, together, we felt the mountains moving us.

Our prairie town has no glaring deficiencies. Most people will tell you “it’s a great place to raise kids.” It is filled with beautiful parks and a sparkling river, kind people, small-town charm. It is the quintessential Shire, a happy idyllic space of farm fields, fragrant woods, and chatty neighbors. For seven years, our family lived well there, and many families have lived well for generations in this same town.

This song and account of my family’s move is not really about towns and mountains, you know. It’s about knowing when it’s time to step out, time to leave that comfortable thing you’ve always known for that strange and beautiful adventure that is undeniably calling to you. It’s about recognizing when your perfect situation is beginning to choke the life out of you, to smother you with security and lull you to complacency with its comforts.

It’s about embracing the unknown and holding out hope that unprecedented goodness lies ahead, not in the mountains or the prairie town or the shining city to which you are venturing, but in the journey itself.

Speaking of the Shire, I’ll call on J.R.R. Tolkien to close out this post. Here are three fitting quotes from The Fellowship of the Ring.

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Out On the Road

It’s April in Minnesota and our green breathing earth is covered with snow. But I still believe . . .


Everywhere we look it seems that
Everyone has better things
to say to one another than the things we tell each other
Everything feels old and faded
Like those jeans that were your favorite
The ones with patches like the patches we’ve made for each other

but then we go

Out on the road
with the wind in our clothes
the sky overhead
and the green breathing earth
all around us

Every time it rains I tell myself
That somewhere something’s growing
And when I step outside tomorrow the world will be so clean
Every day you look at me like
Everything is new and though
I can’t believe, I still believe, I hold you in my arms

and then we go

Out on the road
with the wind in our clothes
the sky overhead
and the green breathing earth
all around us

Hail Britannia

What? It’s September already? Here at The More I Learn the More I Wonder, we are doing more wondering and wandering than writing these days.

But also writing and recording more music. This videosong is our tribute to British imaginations and their lifelike creations.

There are lots more songs in the works and a full-length album getting near the end of gestation too. So, though the blog is taking it easy, it doesn’t mean I am!