Thursday, July 12, 2012

creative movement

That's my favorite phrase to describe an upcoming relocation of my worldly possessions, most commonly from one abode to another. Because it's never just packing boxes into vehicles... it's using creativity to decide where the items INSIDE those boxes will be moved TO. The living room? The closet? The bookshelf? How will it all look when it's done? Hopefully more organized than the last time....

I'm getting ready to move in a couple of weeks. It'll be the largest space I've ever had all to myself before. I'm stoked. I've been cramped for years... in fact, it's quite safe to say that I've never known what it is to have too much space to my name. I'm about to! But haven't been there yet.

I have this impression that my life will suddenly become amazing, not to feel cramped. That I'll be less restricted in mind as well as body. That I'll be less distracted, less frustrated, more able to let loose and create and keep house. I picture myself being more at peace with the world once my living situation is rid of its angst and confusion. No doubt there is SOMEthing to the idea, and feng shui masters would probably attribute a great deal of my discontent to my living situation.

But as excited as I am, I'm worried that I'm wrong. That I've set an undue amount of worth on this idea and that my mindset will actually change very little if at all.

I was witnessed to recently by a Wiccan who was very concerned about my freedom in life. I was told that, for my own sake and the quality of my life and happiness, I needed to abandon religion and God and be free. It was a tragic idea because a relationship with God is all about freedom. And yet as I sit here, I don't feel free. I feel trapped. Not by rules or religion or anything like that... but inside my head, with fears and insecurities and disappointments the impenetrable walls around me. I get lonely but the feeling I get when I'm around people is worse than the loneliness. I desperately want to have someone to love, but that seems to be its own sentence because I know full well how poor I am at even loving myself and ought not to be trusted with the heart of another. I can't stop to smell the roses because I forget what I was doing, lose all steam, am immediately overcome with weariness of soul and can't bring myself to do anything productive. I just end up wasting my evening staring at the computer....

It's raining tonight. Just a very gentle spattering on the pavement outside my window on the pavement below. I need it to drench my heart, loosen the kinks and calm the waves. I need the flow of the water to show me where the rocks of pride are that are forever tripping me up. I need peace.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Mountains and rain drops. I couldn't help myself.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

church soapbox

I promised myself I was going to be a more consistent blogger this year. Sorry, self....

I just attended "The Very Last Next. For Now." (inside joke, lol) this past weekend. It was on the subject of the church. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time whatsoever, you might have already guessed I had mixed feelings about THAT being the topic of a week long church service.

I'm a Christian. My decisions revolve around my relationship with God, revering Him, and reveling in what He reveals to me about life more abundant. I have Christian parents. I even have a few Christian friends. And I attend church 40-something weeks out of the year. I go because I've found a church that offers sound doctrine on the stuff I consider to be "of most importance," the music is both meaningful and enjoyable (not the most common combination), and people who are better than average at being real, welcoming, and lovers of God. But the topic of "the local church" gets me on my soapbox faster than just about anything else, and not in a way that paints it favorably.

Perhaps it's that it's portrayed as being simple. So long as you attend and humble yourself enough to pursue people who may or may not be pursuing you, and convince them to build deep and meaningful friendships with you, and are serving and being involved in the church services and events, and sign on the dotted line to become a member, you should have a strong Christian walk. Lose those things, and you will surely fail.

Each member of my family, my college experience, and many friends are testimony to the fact that it's simply not that simple.

Don't hear what I'm not saying. I've seen people struggle through very difficult spiritual times where they needed a strong brother or sister to be at their side, and because they didn't have it, they lost the battle for years at a time. Cultivating the humility to serve and to be open with strangers is healthy and good for the heart. Having friends serve as a mirror can be extremely helpful if they have the humility to say something, you have the humility to listen, and you had been avoiding the one in your bathroom. It's even true for some that if you sign on the dotted line, it's like signing a marriage contract, and it frees them to commit fully where they would have made excuses and been unfaithful otherwise.

I've just never been one of those people.

 No doubt it's due in part to being an introvert. One of the speakers this past weekend spoke of the "summer from hell" where he was doing research in a dream-come-true scenario but with no connection to the outside world while doing it. No friends. And he was MISERABLE. And I sat there thinking... EVERY summer was like that for me. I sat at home and did cross stitch or rode my bike or watched movies or read... there were no friends in my summers. Or my winters for that matter. Springs and autumns weren't great either. Some people react differently to... people.

I also like to think of myself as a thinking person. Analytical, contemplative, slightly above average intelligence according to my standing in high school (although I attended private Christian school, and that might bump my placing up somewhat...). If you are already capable of searching your heart, finding weaknesses and watching for them in your life with the intention of growing in those areas... if you read texts written by and take advantage of the great minds of the faith... if you commune with God and seek His face and input into your life... you have singlehandedly taken care of many of the reasons why "they" will tell you you have to have Christian friends. At your local church. Where you ARE a member.

Is it that I'm so rare that they don't think it's even worth mentioning? Or is it that they're afraid of admitting that there are exceptions because they think people will assume they're the exception and stop meeting with the brethren?

What irks me too is whenever I approach someone - spiritual leaders in the church - they never seem to hear me. What I'm saying is outside the realm of possibility in their minds, and so they either reinterpret what I've said or they discount it as pride or ignorance or even a sign that I might be drifting from God. And they respond accordingly - with care, but with advice and truths that have nothing at all to do with what I approached them about. I'm left feeling like I have no powers of communication, beaten into the ground, and still wishing someone would.....

What IS it that I want? What am I hoping to hear? What is the question?

Maybe I just want someone to tell me I'm not crazy. Y'know, to have one of those people who praise the necessity of wrapping your life around the church to say, "Sure, I can see how that would work for some people."

In the same way that a marriage contract is just a piece of paper - good only to make breaking the promise expensive to those who don't respect it, and good for nothing to those who would have remained faithful even without it - I'd propose that the cut and dried standards they so rigidly set forth as the formula for a prosperous spiritual life ought to be seen as helpful ideas rather than the ten commandments. You won't go wrong if you follow their instructions... but neither will you necessarily go wrong if you have your primary fellowship with believers who don't attend the same place you do on Sundays, if you spend time with C.S. Lewis in coffee shops rather than going to the church ice skating party, if you occasionally skip church to spend time in prayer by the waterfalls, if you spend time with people who teach you about God's love and wisdom and abundant life even though they don't have a relationship with Him. Truth is truth.

Having a church service every Sunday morning was a great idea. We DO need to charge our batteries, get challenged, be reminded of the centrality of our relationship with God. Very helpful stuff. And if you can find a good friend who'll mentor you, hey, more power to you. But while I'm sure pride factors into my frustration, it also causes me great concern whenever ideals are preached as standard and required. It breeds guilt in the weak, or else anger or discouragement.

At the end of a weekend where the message was, "You NEED to make the church the center of your life!" (wait, I thought that was supposed to be God?) they addressed what was probably the vast majority of the crowd - those who "might feel discouraged" by the fact that these ideals were nothing like their own experiences. And that they should not lose hope because God is all we NEED. Wait, what? Double standard, much? The answer I walked away with, the solution that balanced it all out for me, was that God IS all we need. Period. And regardless of what they might preach about involvement in the church, I can rest in the assurance that God loves me. And that His love is all I need because if I DO have any needs that could be provided by relationships in the church, He will provide those relationships. Because HE loves ME. And His love is strong enough to make sure I lack no good thing. If you're honestly living your life in an attempt to honor God as far as your understanding of Scripture and wisdom go, then no one should ask more of you.

If it were good for me, I would have it. And that's enough to wipe all guilt and worry away.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


It's never too late. I get it. 40, 60 year old first timers.

But when do you stop hearing, "Oh, you still have plenty of time!" and get someone who understands?

"You're almost 30 and you're not even dating? Uff. I'm sorry, friend....

I know that stings."

Saturday, March 31, 2012

bad guys and good guys

Have you ever noticed that you tend to compartmentalize people into bad guys and good guys? I hope someone else out there does... or else I'll REALLY feel like a bad guy!

Every story you hear seems to portray people in this way - David and Goliath, Jesus and the Pharisees, Cinderella and the Step Mother, John Preston and Father, the Jews and Hitler. The good guys usually have some sort of flaw, but the bad guys are just BAD.

Life don't work that way. I'd like to propose that people mostly think they're doing the right thing as they do it, or at least that what wrong they're doing is excusable because it's one of the the least evil options that will let them get their own way... they don't acknowledge evil actions as "evil" so much as "well... but this is what's best for ME." Or think about Hitler from Hitler's perspective. Didn't he think he was doing the right thing for his country and humanity? I'd argue that few people do evil things that they regard as inherently evil, for the sake of doing something evil, because they enjoy hurting people. Most people are much too preoccupied with themselves and how to make themselves feel good to worry about how it'll affect someone else - for good or bad.

I try to believe the best about people. That they didn't know what they were doing or it was an accident or they were just having a bad day. This can mean I spend a LOT of time thinking about the actions of others for the sake of viewing it in the best light. Some people make this harder than others, like, for me, it's easiest with people I either don't know from Adam or who I am already very close to (funny how that works) but I digress.

I was deeply hurt recently by someone very close to my heart. I tried to explain it away, to make excuses for it, to see if I was overreacting... but no. It really was a conscious decision to deliberately deceive me on multiple levels with no intention of coming clean about it if at all possible.

Mom, I know you're going to want more details. Please don't ask me. I don't want to dwell on it any longer.

My point in sharing this is: what now? Do you get angry? Do you walk away never to speak to them again? Do you forgive them and pretend you didn't find out their secret? That's the other thing I hope I'm not the only one guilty of, and it's in the same vein - I desperately want to deal in absolutes. Either I forgive you and we're okay or you're guilty and I'll try not to hold a grudge but you are no longer part of my life.

But I tried to see it from their perspective. The deception was intentional, but what was the motivation? Unfortunately for my desire for absolutes, this is not the "best friend" who turns out to be Tony Stark's Obadiah. It's just a normal person who sometimes thinks it better to withhold the truth for the sake of their image or because they think their pursuit of pleasure and happiness will disappoint/hurt someone and lying about it would cause less pain than if they knew the truth. Clearly they weren't TRYING to hurt me, but rather the opposite... in a twisted, self-serving sort of way. The goal was not to make me feel bad... only to make them feel good. They were just trying to please themselves and probably trying NOT to think about the way the consequences would effect those around them. Is that loving? Is that considering others above yourself? No. But to say it's intentionally UNloving is misleading, and that's what I tend to do.

And unfortunately I imagine that's what happens in a lot of marriages that fail. It need not even be infidelity. It could just be, "He obviously doesn't love me. How many times have I told him to put his socks in the hamper??" You feel unloved. You've even given him the benefit of the doubt and EXPRESSED your frustration rather than expecting him to read your mind and KNOW that a guy should pick up after himself even after he's married. But from his perspective? He had a hard day. He was distracted. Probably thinking about YOUR cute butt swishing around as you cooked dinner downstairs! I'm not a guy, but I know cute butts take precedence over laundry.

Few things grieve me as much in life as people who take offense at harmless thoughtlessness and mistakes, which is why I try to see things in the best light. So sometimes you can't explain away the circumstances or exonerate them entirely, but I think usually you can rest assured that the pain you feel wasn't part of their plan. Whether they blinded themselves to the wrong they did or they really just didn't know, they didn't mean to cause you pain.

I'm not saying that makes it okay. I'm not saying they're in the right in what they did. I'm not saying it's not sin and inherently wrong to fail to act lovingly even at the risk of your own happiness. I'm not saying you aren't allowed to run from certain situations that endanger you mentally or physically... or guard your heart against the words of a friend who isn't always truthful. What I AM saying is that forgiveness can be a lot easier if you try to see the situation from their side. When I feel sinned against and don't forgive, it's easy to get angry and judge and say harsh things and... indulge in the same sin and become the "bad guy" who is just out for self-serving and concentrating only on how *I* want to feel. But that person who hurt me? They're not the bad guy... they just weren't very good. True of all of us most of the time, yes?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ripped in 30. Or something.

So... I turned it into "Ripped in 75." But I think I've decided I'm done. Like, I officially just did the week four workout for the last time.

I did week one for a week and a half.
Week two needed two weeks.
Week three stuck around for three weeks.
And week four... well, technically I DID do it for four weeks, but that first week was the week of my birthday, and I only did a workout once that week. I was too busy celebratin'. :-/

I did it that way because I'd get to the end of the week and think, "I'm still struggling with this. And the next one will be MORE difficult?? Let's try this again...." That's why it took me so long. YMMV.

So it begs the question.

I mean, I've never ACTUALLY done anything like this to completion. "Do XYZ for ## days and look like THIS!" And granted, there is a proposed meal plan to go along with the workouts that I did not follow, but I have eaten pretty well the whole time.

Did I lose weight? Yes! Only about ten pounds, but it's a great feeling to see a different tens-digit when I step on the scale. I'm finally starting to see my clothes fit a tiny bit better, too.

Did I build muscle? HECK yeah! I've possibly never been this all-over toned in my life. It feels great.

Am I ripped? No. No, I would not consider my condition to be one of rippedness.

So the question I'm begging. What do you do when you're done? Even if you reach your goal weight and look ripped and are friggin excited about how healthy your life has become... one day, the plan will end. Are you supposed to go out and buy another DVD? (Amazon reviews of her videos are funny, btw. people grade them down because THEY can't do them. what's funnier is one comment will say "I'm only in decent shape and it was too easy for me" and the next will say "I workout with weights and run all the time and this was too hard!" o_O) Do you just do the most difficult workout over and over for the rest of your life? Obviously you can't just STOP because your body will quickly get worse than it was when you started.

I guess they put time limits on it for all the people who are anxious - they have a swimsuit to buy or a prom to go to or a wedding to slim down for... they want to know how long they should do a certain workout so they know when they have to start in order to make it to their goals on time. Maybe.

Me? I think I'm just going to start over. See if I can make it through and only spend a week on each workout this time, LOL. And each workout is totally unique so I'm really not bored with any of them on this DVD yet... but I imagine one day I will be. *worried face*


Christy sent this to me at work back in 2010. I think of it often... and have to bite my tongue from using it. At least now I can use it with my family. ^_^

In order to continue getting-by in America, we all need to learn the NEW English language! Practice by reading the following conversation until you are able to understand the term


With a little patience, you'll be able to fit right in.

The following is a telephone exchange between maybe you as a hotel guest and call room-service somewhere in the good old U S A today.......

Room Service : "Morrin. Roon sirbees."
Guest : "Sorry, I thought I dialed room-service."
Room Service: "Rye. Roon sirbees...morrin! Joowish to oddor sunteen???"
Guest: "Uh..... Yes, I'd like to order bacon and eggs.."
Room Service: "Ow July den?"
Guest: ".....What??"
Room Service: "Ow July den?!?... Pryed, boyud, poochd?"
Guest: "Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry.. Scrambled, please."
Room Service: "Ow July dee baykem? Crease?"
Guest: "Crisp will be fine."
Room Service: "Hokay. An Sahn toes?"
Guest: "What?"
Room Service: "An toes. July Sahn toes?"
Guest: "I... Don't think so."
RoomService: "No? Judo wan sahn toes???"
Guest: "I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'judo wan sahn toes' means."
RoomService: "Toes! Toes!...Why Joo don Juan toes? Ow bow Anglish moppin we bodder?"
Guest: "Oh, English muffin!!! I've got it! You were saying 'toast'... Fine...Yes, an English muffin will be fine."
RoomService: "We bodder?"
Guest: "No, just put the bodder on the side."
RoomService: "Wad?!?"
Guest: "I mean butter... Just put the butter on the side."
RoomService: "Copy?"
Guest: "Excuse me?"
RoomService: "Copy...tea..meel?"
Guest: "Yes. Coffee, please... And that's everything."
RoomService: "One Minnie. Scramah egg, crease baykem, Anglish moppin, we bodder on sigh and copy .... Rye ??"
Guest: "Whatever you say.."
RoomService: "Tenjooberrymuds."
Guest: "You're welcome"

Remember I said "By the time you read through this YOU WILL UNDERSTAND 'TENJOOBERRYMUDS' ".......and you do, don't you?!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It is for freedom that we have been set free. Galatians 5:1

I live in a constant state of varying degrees of angst, anger, and mourning over the condition of the American church and the lives it destroys.

What I mean by that is simple - the more "deep thinking" people I meet, the more atheists I meet. Atheists who were once church-going people. And I've not met ONE who had nothing to say about being judged by those in the church - either for something they'd done, a struggle they were having, or a question they'd asked.

Whatever became of "No one comes to the Father but by Me (Christ)"? In other words, who are you to condemn someone for their flaws? It is only Christ who can save, not works. Whatever became of "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing"? In other words, the most important thing you can do as a Christian is to love the people around you, not judge them.

Yes, I have selfish motives too. I'm single. I'd rather NOT be. But the kind of man in whose company I long to be is a thinking man. A wise man. An intellectual, if you will. People of this kind are few to begin with, so it's exciting when I find one... until I discover he's just another who couldn't bear up under the burdens of the pharisees.

Maybe it saved my soul after all - not to be too involved in my church and relationships therein, as I was growing up.

C.S. Lewis is one of the most widely read Christian authors, right? (I've never heard that stated statistically, but it just about has to be true, so we're going with it.) He's AMAZING. If so many have read his works, so many of which deal directly with the dangers of tradition without meaning and the need to integrate active love into every fiber of your being, why hasn't the church caught on?

It's never JUST the treatment from church, of course. They start thinking independently and their conclusions conflict with what they've heard growing up, so they eventually abandon it completely for the life that makes more sense, logically. The problem there is that it's so absolute. Which makes SENSE because the church tends to present itself as absolute, starting with "Jesus is the only way to salvation" (true) and going to such extremes as "gays deserve to be persecuted" (untrue). In fact, in some churches, you can get in trouble or at the very least shunned if you start challenging what's said, but if you can't bring yourself to shake the underlying message that everything they present is absolute, then you MUST reject it entirely. And therein lies the problem. Because guess what? Every church is full of flawed, sinful, foolish people. Sometimes out of hate, sometimes out of ignorance, a message is taught that is either inherently or subliminally wrong and becomes a stumbling block.

All it takes is, "Of course evolution isn't true. The Bible says otherwise. Stop asking questions." Do you REALLY know that God didn't use evolutionary properties in the process of creation? Were you there? After all, "A thousand years are like a day." Or perhaps, "Stop doing that. You're a disappointment to your family and to God." How horrifying. Christ DIED out of love for that person. LOVE. An awareness of sin that inspires growth is one thing; paralyzing guilt is something else entirely. The former builds up; the latter drives the person either to weakness and numbness or rebellion.

And so they go their own way. They say, "I can do a better job of living than this. I can be happier because I won't be guilt-ridden, I'll actually love people - unlike all those judgmental Christians, and I'm going to start enjoying life." When in fact, if they'd taken the flaws of the church with a grain of salt and studied the Scriptures for themselves and come to their own conclusions about what was said rather than accepting what was said from the pulpit as absolute, they might just have seen that debilitating guilt has no place in the life of a Christian, our second greatest commandment IS to love people (and we have better reasons for it than anyone else in the world), and "it is for freedom we have been set free."

"Go and sin no more" might not mean "If you sin again, you're going straight to hell" so much as it probably means "Go live life to the fullest. That means not letting this foolishness bog you down any more. A full life requires the use of wisdom, and she's knocking... but letting her lead you requires an alert mind and open heart."

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I love my little coffee shrine. It's so zen.

Monday through Saturday I get up in the morning, put the little filter in, put two rounded tablespoons of Folgers in the filter, fill the pot up with water to a little past the "2" mark, pour it in and turn it on. One spoon of sugar, two sloshes of creamer, and hot coffee into a cute mug like the one you see here, and voila!

Sundays I go fellowship with my coffee shop owner friend, Ian, before driving two minutes up the road to go to church. I like Ian. He's really, really cool. Don't know many Catholics, but I'd wager he's one of the coolest ones available. And he makes me good coffee on my coffee-making day of rest.

I don't know. Maybe it's that it's one thing, however small, that I can count on to ground my day. Coffee and quiet time. I don't even need it for caffeine - it doesn't have that effect on me. It's just... an innocent little indulgence into habit and routine that makes me happy. I even try to keep that surface cleared of other stuff just because, even if everything else in my life is a wreck, THIS little place I go to in the morning can be clear of clutter and distraction.

Coffee's ready.

Ripped in 30

In regard to my own journey to a healthier lifestyle, I wish I had more to report.

My awesome little brother found out that I like Jillian Michaels workout videos and gave me what is rumored to be her most difficult video to date. To give you an idea, I like workout videos, I stay pretty strong and was in tolerably good health when I started. I could even do more pushups than my Marine brother! So you're supposed to do each of four workouts for one week and by the end of 28-30 days, you'll be ripped. But I can't handle it. Week one was 10 days. Week two was 14. I'm in "week" three now and I'll probably give it a solid three weeks before venturing into the most difficult workout on the DVD. And I've been doing them four or five times a week. >_<

And maybe it's mostly my diet - I'm careful but I haven't been restricting as much as I was at the beginning of the year. But I've only lost like six pounds in the five and a half weeks that I've been doing this workout and trying to get healthier. And I LOOK really toned, but I don't notice my clothes fitting much better at all. Kinda bummed about that at this point. But it's still good to feel like I'm doing something for my health. ^_^

Happy Thoughts, Healthy Body, Hopeful Future.

That's the title of a "tumblr" I started following a few months ago. The author calls herself "Em" and she's almost ten years younger than I. And I love her site because it's so uplifting. Pictures of beauty. Reminders that women can be beautiful despite their size because the attitude shines out. An emphasis on healthy living not because you need to be skinny but because you need to be... healthy. All sorts of positive sayings for all people. Enjoying the simple things in life.

Do I agree with her on 100% of everything? Not quite. And she brings little to no input that indicates an adherence to any specific religion. And she's SO AWESOME.

Also, I think she originally started the site to chronicle her fitness progress. She ended up losing less than ten pounds (according to the before and after picture I found... this was all long before I started reading), but because she did it "the healthy way" and started working out more and building muscle, you'd have thought she'd lost 30-40. My. Hero.

Em, if you ever stumble across this entry of mine, I have so much respect and admiration for you. Thanks for being a consistent bright spot even on dark days.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Men are like cars, part 2

And then sometimes, on those very rare occasions, the car is exactly what you were hoping to find, inside and out.

And sometimes, on even more rare occasions, the guy you had good vibes about for no logical reason actually turns out to be someone you really enjoy... and who wants to get sushi with you sometime soon.

Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut and go for what you really want while you can.

(this is so unlike me...)


EDIT: Unfortunately, unlike cars, you can't take men to a mechanic to make sure everything is as sound as it seemed on the first couple of outings....

Friday, January 20, 2012

Men are like cars.

Car hunting is like man hunting.

You see mostly cars that aren't what you're looking for. They're out of your league, they're crappy, they're not the right color, they're just downright ugly, they don't work right.

Then you find one that looks good. The outer appearance is exactly what you're looking for, the age is right for your needs, it has all the perks and quirks that you've come to love (or wished you had) in previous cars, the transmission from this gear into the next is the kind that you need.

But you have to spend some time with the car before you can really know if it's right for you. If it looks good on the inside, whether it really can get hot and cool when you need it to be, whether its "get up and go" is reliable, how well it will open up (and also protect), whether it has a tendency to overheat....

I test drove my first beetle last night. The price was pushing my limit but the picture looked okay and the miles were low. But then I got in the car. It looked like CRAP. The whole interior was falling apart, cracking, the "radio" sounded like it was playing through a set of earbuds, the starter struggled, the engine struggled, and you got that grimy feeling you get when you've spent a while at a bowling alley. Oh, and there was black duct tape on the outside of the black car.

Black isn't my preference anyway. I'm looking at a green one tonight. It might be out of my league, and I've little confidence that it'll still be available by the time I get my turn. But I'm giving it a shot. Here's hoping the inside looks good because everything I've heard sounds amazing. Sometimes you actually get exactly what you're looking for....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Why is it more difficult to rest in God's goodness for the big things than the little things? Like, when it comes to my relationship status, my health, my job, my living situation... it's easy to say God's in control of whatever was, is, or will happen to me and so I don't need to fret over it. These usually feel like "big things."

Somehow my car seems like a little thing.

I mean, I HAVE one, currently. They're everywhere. They can be bought with money (unlike health, relationships, jobs, etc). But having to buy a new one is full of problems - will my old one die before I find one? Will the new one die before I've gotten it home? Will it be a huge disappointment and a bigger waste of money? Who can I trust?

I suppose maybe it's hard to imagine Him caring about the "little things" we care about. But the fact of the matter is, His control and care is not directly proportional to the size of the danger.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I drew, tonight.

There's something so joyous about studying the face of someone who is gleeful - especially when studying to draw a portrait. No matter how attractive they were to begin with, they become more and more so as you study the angles of the mouth, the squint of the eyes, the creases of the cheeks in order to reproduce the joy they radiated when the picture was taken.

Of course, I had it easy - I was drawing my brother, who is already attractive, from a picture taken the week he got engaged, so you don't get much more gleeful than that. I kept giggling, "He's so CUTE!" in the coffee shop. ^_^

It's really difficult for me to work on a piece of art in my own home. I guess I got the hang of it with the Celtic cross I did last year... but it's hard to get into that groove with a new piece for some reason. It's like I have writer/artist's block somehow. So rather than worrying (too much) about all the empty calories, I went both to my wine tasting (wooooohoo) and then to my Sunday morning coffee shop around the corner and sat for a couple of hours working on Josh's portrait.

I have this burning to share the beauty of the world in my art, either by photography or by drawing something that makes the viewer think or just get excited about seeing an everyday thing in a new light. I think that's fantastic. But so often I put it off in order to clean or do laundry or work on another project or... whatever. It's so bad that one of my New Year's resolutions is that I'm required to allow myself four hours a week to draw, lol. But it's complicated because even if you HAVE a new piece of art or photography, you still have to GET it into the computer and edit it and re-size it and upload it and so on... it becomes so overwhelming. So maybe I need to allot ANOTHER couple of hours to that sort of thing, lol.

I really like trees. And reflections. Can you tell?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

After any goal is reached....

"Think about how hard you just worked.

Most people don't show up in their own lives. They go through live every single day without being focused and bringing their "A" game.

Transformation is not a future event. It is a present activity. That is why you must bring everything that you have in every moment.

And it doesn't have to be perfect! It's not about perfect. It's about effort. You bring that effort every single day and that's where transformation happens. That's when change occurs."

~Jillian Michaels

HOW TO BE ALONE by Tanya Davis

Dad shared this with me. I liked it. Thought you might, too....

HOW TO BE ALONE by Tanya Davis

If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you've not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren't okay with it, then just wait. You'll find it's fine to be alone once you're embracing it.

We could start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library. Where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books. You're not supposed to talk much anyway so it's safe there.

There's also the gym. If you're shy you could hang out with yourself in mirrors, you could put headphones in.

And there's public transportation, because we all gotta go places.

And there's prayer and meditation. No one will think less if you're hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple. Things you may have previously based on your "avoid being alone" principals.

The lunch counter. Where you will be surrounded by chow-downers. Employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town and so they -- like you -- will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with eat lunch and run, take yourself out for dinner. A restaurant with linen and silverware. You're no less intriguing a person when you're eating solo dessert to cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger. In fact some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies. Where it is dark and soothing. Alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.

And then, take yourself out dancing to a club where no one knows you. Stand on the outside of the floor till the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one's watching...because, they're probably not. And, if they are, assume it is with best of human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats is, after all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you're sweating, and beads of perspiration remind you of life's best things, down your back like a brook of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you.

Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, there're always statues to talk to and benches made for sitting give strangers a shared existence if only for a minute and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversations you get in by sitting alone on benches might've never happened had you not been there by yourself.

Society is afraid of alonedom, like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements, like people must have problems if, after a while, nobody is dating them. but lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it.

You could stand, swathed by groups and mobs or hold hands with your partner, look both further and farther for the endless quest for company. But no one's in your head and by the time you translate your thoughts, some essence of them may be lost or perhaps it is just kept.

Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those sappy slogans from preschool over to high school's groaning were tokens for holding the lonely at bay. Cuz if you're happy in your head then solitude is blessed and alone is okay.

It's okay if no one believes like you. All experience is unique, no one has the same synapses, can't think like you, for this be relieved, keeps things interesting, life's magic things in reach.

And it doesn't mean you're not connected, that community's not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. Take silence and respect it. If you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it. If your family doesn't get you, or religious sect is not meant for you, don't obsess about it.

You could be in an instant surrounded if you needed it.
If your heart is bleeding make the best of it.
There is heat in freezing.
Be a testament.