Monday, November 4, 2013

Femmeography: A Wake Up Call

I scheduled a photo session with Natasha, even though the photos on her website scared me. The women in those photos were so brave, bold, beautiful. According to the definitions of perfection we all have stamped on our vision, none were perfect. But these photos were better than physical perfection; women who were really beautiful; strong and silly, fierce, tender, joyful. These are virtues I want to see in myself, but it’s so much easier to emphasize the fearful, weak, and ugly parts of myself. 

I feel awkward in photos. Lots of people feel that way, I know. All the same, I’ve never been one who shoves the camera-wielding friend away or creates elaborate ruses to get out of group photos. It’s part of living, being in photos. But it’s been there, that little fear, locked away every time a photo op comes up. It pounces out with an almost-unconscious checklist: 

-check your makeup (I’m probably shiny. Wish I’d put on mascara this morning) 
-arrange your expression (don’t do that awkward smile this time, please) 
-at least make sure your crazy hair isn’t overwhelming the photo. (not much to do at this point...better pull it back) 
-Pose (I’m so not good at this...I’m so not good at this). 

It’s so negative. I’ve developed a practice of thinking about photos of as things that make me look good or bad, instead of simply a perspective of who I am. 

Going into my the photoshoot, I wrote down 4 fears and 3 hopes for the experience. 

Fears: 
I will feel awkward.  
The dancing (I have no rhythm.) 
I will do something wrong, somehow. 
I won’t be brave. 

Hopes: 
I hope to feel brave. 
I hope to feel beautiful. 
I hope I am more awake. 

 After the shoot, I wrote down some thoughts right away: 

"This was about paying attention, about being awake to light and movement, conscious of the smallest movements that are usually so unconscious. I did feel awkward dancing, but it helped me let go of picture perfect, doing all of the things you usually avoid in photographs. While stretching and just moving around on the floor, I felt that pressure of tears behind the eyes, like when a poem is stirring but I can’t quite express it yet. It felt natural, but unnatural, the movements were not performance, but the perspective of the observer was there."


They are the essential things; understanding that gravity is there, pressing down on me, holding me close. Being aware of how my arms, hair, and face are reacting to the breeze and the light and the gravity, and the contact points of body meeting the ground, just me being present in the world. 

Just after the shoot, I noticed I felt drained, like after getting a massage or exercising muscles you haven’t used in some time, the way your legs feel a long hike, exhausted but aware of every square inch of tissue. 

After Natasha sent the photos, I had some more thinking to do. One of the things that stood out most to me were the photos where I made funny faces into the camera. It made me realize that beauty isn’t about a static pose. It is more feeling than a way of looking; it’s a surrender, a giving in to being myself, instead of trying to look a certain way. 

I have an expressive face, and while this was great for making friends laugh when I mimic or tell stories, I always felt very awkward about hamming it up for the camera; it’s very different making people laugh in real life because it is about the moment and context. When captured in a photo, it always made me feel foolish and ugly. 

So making faces for the camera, smushing my face around with my hands at Natasha’s encouragement, it was one of the things that really forced me to let go and surrender to the process. It wasn’t about performance or masks, it was accepting the structure and form and the possibilities in my face. 

In the photo that struck me most powerfully, I had been sitting and just stretching, right at the beginning of the session, limbering my neck, trying to relax and not overthink. I massaged the tension muscles in my neck and concentrated on that, on resting, when Natasha said quietly “Open your eyes.” I jumped a little and popped my eyes open; I had almost forgotten she was there. That was it. No preparation. No checklist. No pose. One person being awake, and another there to witness with the camera. 

In that photo I see the poet and the thinker and the listener. I see boldness and vulnerability, and both terrify me. The woman in that photo looks eerily powerful, like she could do anything. 

My friend Corrie wrote me a note when I showed this photo to her: “I loveloveLOVE the photo. It’s the most REAL YOU photo I think I've ever seen...all that I think and know and believe about you in one stunning photo. It's how I see you and somehow captured in a photo. (Isn't that a funny thing. That sometimes our real selves just completely evade a photo.)” 

I often struggle with feeling invisible. Though it feels selfish to me to acknowledge not feeling seen and known, I notice an airless, dangerous quality in my thinking when I’m in an “invisible” patch in my life. The outside perspective is missing; the friend who says “you’re not crazy,” or “yes, you’re acting crazy, tell me what’s really going on?” It’s the friend who sees you, and often simply by having a perspective that is not yours, helps you understand yourself better. That’s what my Femmeography shoot felt like. 

In the days and weeks following, as I thought about the session and received my photos from Natasha and processed through writing about it, it made me want to move more, to do yoga and to walk outside more often. I felt a deeper understanding of how makeup and poses are so far from being the whole story on beauty. 



"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
She can laugh at the days to come." --Prov. 31:25
I’ve only shared my Femmeography photos with a few friends, but the conversations instigated by the photos have been deeply meaningful. They’ve ranged from Corrie, for whom seeing and talking about my photo opened up a deep longing to instill an understanding of true beauty in her daughters, to Luz, who laughed and got tears in her eyes because she said she had missed seeing some of those expressions on my face in recent years, and reminded me not to hide behind my masks, to Anne and Christy who both kept using that word “brave” as they looked through the pictures. Walking away from this experience, I wish every woman could do a Femmeography session; I want every woman I know to do something like this, to make peace with understanding of her own physical presence.




If this process interested you, please go check out Natasha's beautiful work at www.femmeography.com, like her page on facebook and follow her work on twitter. I've been fascinated by the conversations the idea of Femmeography has brought up, and I'd love to hear more. What are your thoughts on real beauty?

I've been shot


Natasha Komoda // http://www.femmeography.com/

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What not to write

Has anyone ever told you not to write?
That you are toxic, too honest, too much?
And have you, like me, listened?
And slowed, stopped, 
sealing off the cave of your so-called poison-pen,
forgetting the source that rises as tides change, slips around the stone seals
daily washes, refreshes, heals.

Untitled

Monday, August 5, 2013

Seattle Art


Mirror installation in Carkeek Park, 8/3/13



One of my favorite things this summer has been the opportunity to start dipping a toe into Seattle's rich arts culture. I've been to art walks, corporate creative studio tours and events,  artist lofts and studios, and run across brilliant glimpses of public art (created, found, and a bit of both) around the city, and met some wonderful artists with great stories to tell.






  
Wheeler street stairway, along my daily commute path





There's a great sense of connection, so far, within the creative community; it's a small world, a city inside a city, but it's lively and smart and vital.










June artwalk, my friend Luz inside a light-and-fabric sculpture

Holly Ballard Martz’ grief knot (grieve not) 2012, 12” x 12”, encaustic and mixed media on panel.
Last Thursday I went to the Pioneer Square first Thursday artwalk again, and ran across the most beautiful and thoughtful series of work I've seen in a very long time by Encaustic and multi-media artist Holly Ballard Martz. The show was a meditation on mental illness, depression, grief, risk, and healing, much of the work rooted in the artists' relationship with her daughter. It struck me deeply, and I'm still figuring out why and thinking about some of her beautiful and heartbreaking narratives.



Monday, May 27, 2013

Time for Home


I have just as much time as anybody else. But time, probably for all of us, feels like the one thing there is never enough of.

A month ago, I got offered a new job. After a week of agonizing decision-making, I accepted it, although it felt like I didn't have enough time to decide.

As soon as I accepted the job and wrote up my resignation letter, I went on a weekend retreat on an island in Canada that had been planned by a friend for her birthday, months before. There wasn't enough time to pack, and once I was there, there wasn't enough time to hike the green-spring mountains, wander the white-shell beaches, sit at the fireside in the Hummingbird Pub or in front of the little stove in our luggage-crammed cabin and talk about stories and deep things, watch the lazy seals below and eagles above, to wait on the cliffside to see if the orca whales would put in an appearance. One evening, several of us sat in the hot tub on the cabin's deck for 4 hours, just talking...and it wasn't enough time. 

The new job was in a new city a couple of hours away...too far away for a daily commute.

Time to move.

I don't have enough time to pack my life up by myself, and so well-meaning friends and relatives have obligingly packed up most things, including the can opener, the corkscrew, salt and pepper, and most of my dishes. I saved the french press--multiple times.

I didn't have enough time to finish all the things I wanted to do at the old job, and it seems like there isn't enough time to cram in all the learning I need to fill my brain with for the new one.

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” - Leonard Bernstein

My new employers graciouslly offered me some precious time in the form of my first month's work letting me be in Bellingham on Fridays in order to wrap up all the work on me moving out, fixing up the house to be rented, and helping to manage the details of finding renters.

Friends in Seattle offered to let me stay at their house for 2 months, until my new apartment is ready, precious time with people who are helping me stay sane during this transition.

"We think the opposite of scarcity is abundance--more time, more money--when the opposite of scarcity is enough...just enough." -- Brene Brown

I wrapped up my fourth long weekend with Memorial Day, so I had even an extra day off. The home is empty, clean, and freshly painted, ready for the new vandals renters to destroy live in. I still feel a little bruised when I think of the almost-four years. My lavender bushes and herb garden, raised from seeds. The dark-purple lilac bush start from my mom, which I will never see blooming from my window. The tiny attic room with one blue wall and overlooking the garden. The green-velvet lawn I mowed every week of the summer, listening to U2, or Angels & Airwaves, or Vampire Weekend. The front porch where my sister and brother-in-law got engaged. 

My house was an anchor. I welcomed many dear old friends home from the far reaches of the world at Christmas and during the summers, and I loved that my house was the place to hold those precious gatherings. The walls are soaked with memories from new friends, too, game nights and movie nights, and decadent meals and pies and homemade pizza and the Great Piecaken Caper.

It is enough time...all it had to be. Enough, and the time is past.
It was a home, but I am not home yet.



Saturday, May 18, 2013

One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master; 
so many things seem filled 
with the intent to be lost 
that their loss is no disaster. 

Lose something every day. Accept 
the fluster of lost door keys, 
the hour badly spent. 
The art of losing isn't hard to master. 

Then practice losing farther, losing faster: 
places, and names, 
and where it was you meant to travel. 
None of these will bring disaster. 

I lost my mother's watch. And look! 
my last, or next-to-last, 
of three loved houses went. 
The art of losing isn't hard to master. 

I lost two cities, lovely ones. 
And, vaster, some realms I owned, 
two rivers, a continent. 
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster. 

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) 
I shan't have lied. It's evident 
the art of losing's not too hard to master 
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster. 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

-roots & reasoning-

No matter how common
The sense is
For a tree to start
walking, if only a few steps,
just to make
space
for something good
like a bird bath, or
to allow a sapling sunlight,
the moving still
does violence to the roots
not made for moving but for growing deeper.

And yes, recovery will come along
by threads within and green above
an almost-imperceptible re-learning
to trust the earth you're in.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Breakage

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It's like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
       full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

--Mary Oliver, "Breakage"


P7101647.ORF

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday Lyric: Shut Me Up, Joe Henry

The song wants to repeat just now 
It sings itself to show you how 
It throws away its finest line 
Just to keep the feel and time 
Just to keep the feel and time 
It throws away now it's finest line 

The word wants just to leave my tongue 
To turn your face and when that's done 
I've got no use for what it proves 
It only means the way you move 
It only means the way you move 
I've got no use now for what it proves 

Close your eyes and shut my mouth 
The day has worn it's welcome out 
It pats you down and cuffs your hands 
And makes it's bed right where you stand 
The prayer wants to believe in you 
And does in spite of all you do 

It sings itself just like a song 
When hope is weak and pride is strong 
When hope is weak and pride is strong 
It sings itself now just like a song 
The thought wants nothing more than to show 
How little now you really know 

It burns then it turns cold and mean 
Taking any offer sight unseen 
The song want to repeat just now 
It sings itself to show you how 

It throws away it's finest line 
Just to keep the feel and time 
Just to keep the feel and time 
It throws way it's finest line 
It throws away it finest line 
Just to keep the feel and time

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On being a grown-up

I always have to start typing, stop, and change the font to Helvetica in Blogger. I can't think in Times New Roman. This has nothing to do with On Being a Grownup. Or it might...I don't know. 

It is 10:09 pm, and I've just gotten home from the office. Or rather, I got home at 9:15pm, took out some trash, washed some dishes, put a lot more dishes in the dishwasher, started a load of laundry, wiped down the kitchen countertops, wiped down the stove, wiped down the fridge, cleaned a lot of stinky old food out of the fridge, brought out another bag of garbage, made my current go-to dinner of Trader Joes frozen Naan (2 minutes in the oven at 400,) and Madras Lentils (2 minutes in the microwave), and finally sat down at my laptop.

I have a number of things to do before I hit the hay. I need to look at the flight  times for my flights over the long weekend. I need to pay some bills. I need to put my new license tabs on my plates before I get a ticket in the city parking garage tomorrow. I need to finish laundry.

I need to do some paperwork for my volunteer work with a small youth ministry in the county. I help to run 3 catering events for them every year, but this spring I've got a family wedding on the date, so I'm trying to do a good job of transferring every tiny detail in my brain to a team of new (but fabulous) folks, and prep them as best as possible for the madness that is managing a team of 12-18 year olds, impressing the Health department, and not giving food poisoning to the population of the event.

Other things on my mind are yardwork, the fact that the downstairs bathroom faucet and the upstairs bathroom toilet seat need minor repairs, and the fridge has been whining loudly. My car has taken to showing a "COOLANT" code every few days, although last time I got my oil changed the mechanic said the coolant was fine (so now, take it back to the same mechanic, since he sort of owes me an explanation, or find a new mechanic?). I have an old TV to bring to Goodwill, and my car trunk is full of clothes I've been meaning to bring to the consignment store.

No one but me has to think about handling or helping to handle any of those things...sometimes that is totally scary. I make plenty of mistakes in every day life, it's scary to think that I have no backup in my health, finances, home care, and work. 

I don't have anything smart to say tonight. Being a grown up is scary. That's it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I was sick for 22 days of January (I counted because my friend Jenny told me that the average duration of a cold is 18 days). The bug has taken down at least half of the office, in cycles, and pretty much my whole family. I haven't been that sick in a while, so it was a bit of a novel experience. 

When I get a common cold bug, I try to stay home as soon as I feel it coming on (because that's when you're contagious, people!), if I have a fever, or if I'm just in some sort of ridiculous pain. Other than that, I try to go to work while taking the best possible care of myself which means, in no particular order, the following:

-quitting coffee (I don't crave it, and I already feel like junk. why not?)
-getting a lot of sleep. A LOT.
-taking a delayed-arrival schedule at the office (let's face it, mornings with a cold bug are especially yucky. If I can go to work an hour or two late, I'm much more likely to feel better and be more productive the rest of the day. BONUS: avoiding the post-sick-day email marathon.)
-drinking tons of herbal tea (especially ginger and peppermint)
-making toddy at night. (boil some sliced fresh ginger in water, add: whiskey + citrus juice(or fresh cranberries) + honey)
-making chicken soup.

This time around, I got laryngitis. I haven't had laryngitis since I was teaching 6 periods of 7th grade english, and assumed I probably wouldn't have it again since I am no longer in a profession where I have to talk all day. Wrong! I was without a voice for most of 5 days.

Since I don't typically speak before I get to work, I discovered that I was without a voice only due to the fact that my mom called me that morning before I left for work. After trying and failing to shout hello, I had to hang up and text message her, apologizing for hanging up.

'Ginger - Zingiber officinalis - Ingver' photo (c) 2008, Stan Dalone - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
After about 1 hour without a voice, I started searching pinterest for laryngitis cures. Both raw ginger and garlic are widely touted as being helpful for laryngitis (toddies are also helpful, but not for during the workday. I do have standards. Also, for the record, I did not chew raw garlic at the office.) Chewing raw gingerroot instead of sucking on cough drops definitely helped, but I also relied on putting a significant dose of ginger into my chicken soup. 


Being sick so long had an upside; I was able to perfect a spicy, gingery egg-drop soup that I could enjoy by the bucketful. It always sounded good, even though nothing else did, and it had enough sinus-clearing spice to get through the taste-bud fog. 

Chicken-and-egg soup (and cure for laryngitis)

3 cups chicken broth or stock (vegetable stock if you prefer)
1-2 cups water
2 tb grated fresh gingerroot
2 tsp fresh sage
2 cloves fresh garlic
3-4 TB cornstarch
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-2 cups fresh watercress
2 large fresh eggs

Bring chicken broth, water, grated ginger, garlic pepper flakes, sage and black pepper to a simmer and simmer for 15-20 minutes so flavors can blend. Mix a slurry of cornstarch and a few tablespoons cold water, add by spoonfuls to the broth mixture, stirring constantly to avoid lumps until the starch is all added. Do NOT allow to boil, but simmer until broth thickens slightly.

Lightly beat the 2 eggs, and then use a spoon or whisk to drop the egg mixture into the broth, stirring to break up egg as it cooks instantly in the hot broth.

Stir in the chopped fresh watercress leaves, simmer a few more minutes until the greens are cooked, and serve.

Options:

I've been keeping it simple and and focusing on the broth because of being sick, but you can add any number of veggies or noodles or rice noodles, depending on your preference, or actual chicken meat, if you prefer. 

Sometimes I'll stir in a few trader joe's chicken potstickers and let them cook in the broth for 10 minutes at the end. yum!

Watercress isn't very common, but I bought a couple of hydroponic plants once for a recipe and planted the roots to see what would happen. Now it grows naturally in my garden each year. The greens are spicy, almost horseradishy, and it's very hardy, flourishing in our (mild pacific) winter, so it's harvestable right about this time of year.



This will be pretty strongly gingery and spicy so temper it if you wish. I sometimes add a dry white wine in place of one of the cups of water, which adds a nice sweetness to balance the ginger-spicyness. If it's not spicy enough, try a little swirl of sriracha or chili oil, or for the truly brave,Trader Joe's has started selling a Ghost Pepper spice grinder. It comes with warning labels, and my dad officially declared it too hot, which is a first.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Secret Garden

It's that "secret garden" season here when you go outside one day and notice that overnight, unlooked-for, there are green shoots and rosettes peeking out of the ground. Maybe it's because you haven't been paying attention, or more than likely, you've been leaving in a rush in the morning and coming home after dark. But once you notice a few tiny plants, you feel a little gush of Hope, seeing once again evidence of rebirth from death and you think how much you've missed it. 

Like Mary Lennox, you start looking for the signs of green. And you find them. And you start clearing away the dead brown leaves and sticks of last year, not realizing how hard you're working until you come back into the dim house and realize that the sun and wind and wet earth has done you more good than you've done the garden. And then maybe, you think, it's not the Hope that has been absent from the garden, but you.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Villainness

If I confess
culpability
will that satisfy?

I confess
brokenness
it's not enough.

I must confess,
simplified,
villainness.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday Lyric: Welcome by Hey Rosetta!

You'll be a bright light coming out of the dark 
All the doctors blinking hard 
You'll be lightning coming out of the storm 
It's a message, it's a miracle 

 You'll do all right 
You've got your mother's eyes 
You've got your daddy's head 
Everything you need 
 For this hard ride 

They'll be strapping you on 
All the ups and downs and you can't get off 
Yes, trouble we're handing off 
And you've got to do better than us 

It'll be all right 
You've got lots of time 
Got your daddy's love 
Everything you want I can feel you and what you're gonna be 

You'll be stronger, you'll be smarter than me 
Oh baby, I'll say it again 
You're the most incredible thing 

 Sorry, this is it 
It's cold and hard and badly lit 
And there's no backing out of it 
So forget where you've been 
It'll never be that good again 

And we must only look ahead 
Soon you're thirty three 
And everything you tried to be 
Is pulled apart by fear and greed 

 Let young hands build you up 
And carve your face in honest rock 
With sunlight on your noble jaw 
May young hands build you up 

I'm happy that you've come along 
I'm happy that you've come, I
'm happy that you've come 

 Oh baby, I'll say it again 
I'll say it again, 
I'll say it 
You're the most incredible thing 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

They tell me 
There is a purpose
And a promise

A smile. A word of advice. A pat on the shoulder.

"It'll be all right. God knows what you need. He is enough for you. Do you have any recommendations on where to get curtains? Would you be available to help with the wedding setup? Do you know how to make little paper chains out of book pages?"

And they return, strengthened by Good Samaritanship, to their family circle.

Shaking their heads a little when they think of me, looking to their loved ones, and feeling a little more grateful for their warmth and closeness, the loving touches, the enduring importance of family, the only thing that really matters. "We can do anything, as long as we've got each other," they think.

Perhaps this is my purpose.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Lyric: Emphasis, Sleeping At Last

Death is promised to the bee who's sting protects the colony. 
Was it's life worth nothing more than honey for the queen? 
Life is a branch and it is a dove, handcrafted by confusing love. 
Sign language is our reply, when church bells make no sound. 
In hollow towers and empty hives, we craved sweetness with a fear of heights. 
Was it all just a grain of sand in an hourglass? 

The smartest thing I've ever learned is that I don't have all the answers, 
just a little light to call my own. 

Though it pales in comparison to the overarching shadows, 
a speck of light can reignite the sun and swallow darkness whole. 

Death is a cold, blindfolded kiss. 
It is the finger pressed upon our lips. 
It puts an unwanted emphasis on how we should have lived. 
Life is a gorgeous, broken gift. 
Six billion+ pieces waiting to be fixed. 
Love letters that were never signed, sent to where we live. 

The sweetest thing I've ever heard is that I don't have to have the answers, 
just a little light to call my own. 

Though it pales in comparison to the overarching shadows, 
a speck of light can reignite the sun and swallow darkness whole.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Word 2013



I was encouraged last year through SheLoves Magazine and Alece Ronzino to discover my One Word, a way of setting forth into a new year without creating a list of shoulds and guilt-inducing to-do's. 

Resolve was my OneWord for 2012.

Resolve comes from a Latin root "resolvere", meaning "to loosen, undo, settle". It indicates determination. It can mean to reduce or disintegrate something, separate it into foundation elements (as in chemical solutions, if my rusty high-school memories serve me right). In musical terms, it means to progress from dissonance to consonance.

I had chosen "Begin" as my word last year, but it didn't feel right. Resolve sort of became a theme as I determined to reduce some of my commitments and sort through some of the habits and behaviors that had become too comfortable for me.

I knew great changes were coming in 2012; my sister, who had always been there to tackle life with me, was getting married and I wanted to work through that transition well by resolving myself as a stronger (no pun intended) person who could be well alone, and by learning better what community will look like in my life.

In 2012, I worked through RESOLVE by a couple of key decisions:


-I started seeing a counselor in June. I wanted to review and get perspective on my habits, neuroses, fears, and relational attitudes. I wanted to get heathy. Counseling has proved to fit more into the "loosen, undo" part of the definition. It's like a big snarl of inaccurate beliefs had knotted up in my soul. Counseling pulls out the threads one by one, straightens them out, shows them up for what they are, names them. Meanwhile, the knot just gets bigger and more gnarled-looking, despite the fact that it's being solved, little by little.


-I reduced some of my major commitments and intentionally freed up some time for focusing on creative work, reading, and relaxation. I set up regular massage appointments, and joined a gym.



-I took a vacation (!) for the first time in...well, since I've been in my current job, 5 years.


This year, I think that while I am still in the process of resolving, the word that I've discovered (I think discover is the right word. In my experience, you really discover a One Word through listening and evaluation, rather than controlling or choosing it) for 2013 is PRACTISE. 

That's right, the britishism archaic to us North Americans that distinguishes the verb from the noun form. Once again, it's not the word I wanted. Friends have chosen big words. Freedom. Look. Rejoice. Begin. Awake.

But after dwelling on Practise, I'm liking the challenge.

Practise is action. 
Practise is choosing to do something small and often, in the commonly forgotten moments.
Practise is creating something where there was nothing.

I am good at Practise when it comes to watching television, or reviewing my Pinterest feeds. I'm good at it when it comes with an auto-deposit (thank you, Compassion International), so I can set it up once and forget about it. I'm good at it when I'm getting paid.


I'm less good at Practise when it comes to the dailiness where there is only stillness and 'doing the work', where there is little encouragement and less accountability...and when the other option is the snooze button.

So, Practise is my OneWord. I have ideas on what that will look like, but I'll specify that a little more later on.

Have you chose a OneWord, a theme, or made resolutions for 2013?

Early Indicators

Adding a glaze of poison to every bit of daily bread,
it accumulates; weightless snowfall over ice until,
subject to the least provocation and deadly,
it waits, laden.

The last straw
breaks silence until
condemnation 
swallows whole.

Oh, and courage is to point to the lies believed,
the early indicators of hidden dangers.
Oh, and courage is to speak them,
to reveal them, voracious.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 1, 2013

2013, you space-age number, you. I don't know what you will bring in, but I know you will wreak havoc as your predecessors have. I pray you'll bring peace, direction, and joy for many, but I know you'll bring changes.
P1160369
I am 33 in 2013 (for most of it, at least).

2013, I must confess I doubt you. I'm a little bit afraid of you. You've already taken some things from me, like both of my roommates who will be leaving to marry their sweethearts this year.

2013, you might take the house I love away, or you might bring in new people into it. I'm not sure which will happen yet, but both involve major change. One mostly involves furniture-moving, the other involves learning to live with new and exciting sets of neuroses. 

2013, I'll keep taking my Sanity Lessons, which means you likely won't bring much rest as I work to pay for them. 

2013, if you're listening, I'll whisper my small hopes for you.

Bring family. I spent some lovely blue evenings at the close of 2012 with some of my precious friends whose hearts so long for family and home. Bring them love, and peace under the mysteries of its absence. Raise up connections and families for those who need them in their loneliness; among our churches, among our homes, let us love one another.

Bring inspiration. I forget that it is still all right to be inspired, sometimes. To have ideas, to get hopeful, to start projects in the hope of finishing them. Bring discipline and its severe joys.

Bring reminders, daily, momentarily, of thankfulness. Break our dependencies to numbness, novelties, and noise.