Thursday, July 31, 2008

Meet my new friend, Joe

Four friends, really. I met them in San Francisco.
And then I sucked them dry.
And one petite little flower, Jasmine - as in tea.
In Chinatown.

What a city! What a time!
What great coffee!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

El Camino de Santiago - and my life journey

Earlier this evening, I talked to my daughter about El Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage that begins in southern France and ends in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. For hundreds of years, travelers have walked this 30-day trek through the mountains, towns, hills, and valleys of northern Spain. All along the way, inns and shops, markets and farmers welcome the walkers, providing sustenance and places to sleep.

Some people begin and end the journey with a group of family or friends previously known to them.

Many begin the journey alone, and end the journey with new "family" members and friends previously unknown to them.

Every night, beside beds, sleeping bags, and tent poles, weary walkers remove bloodied boots from aching feet.

And every morning, they replace those boots, repack their meager belongings, and get back out onto the road. To continue the camino.

Some days great distances are covered on the walk.
Some days only a few kilometers pass.

Together they walk, eat, drink, rest, and ponder the wonder of the way.
Alone they ponder their lives, their loves, and the future that they cannot know.

A dear friend of mine walked the Camino a few years ago and regaled me with stories of his experiences. I laughed. I cried. I asked dozens of questions. He took me to a few of the towns he had walked through. He introduced me to the owners of one of the free hostels available to the walkers. I sat with a few of them and drank tea on a drizzly afternoon a few years ago.

El Camino de Santiago. The Pilgrimage of St. James.
El Camino de La Vida. The Pilgrimage of Life.

As I talked to Kristiana tonight, I recognized how similar El Camino de Santiago is to my life.

The starting point: birth.
The ending point: death.

Friends and family that I know began the journey and
walked the earliest stages with me.

I have made new friends and adopted family members,
some of whom still walk with me
while others have left me at various points along the way.

There are rest stops, welcoming hosts, and breathtaking vistas.
There are blisters, headaches, and crying jags.

Some days ooze with energy and excitement.
Others enervate me, sapping already waning supplies of strength.

There is joy on this journey.
There are victories and triumphs.
There are co-travelers that encourage me along my journey,
that carry my burdens,
and that bind my wounds when I injure myself.
I am grateful that I have had many, many loving companions
who have carried me through so many stages of my camino.

There is also deep sorrow along the way.
Loneliness and fear threaten to keep me from embarking on the journey somedays.
There are thieves and marauders,
attackers whose only goal is to derail me, discourage me,
and belittle me for attempting to undertake the journey
with intentionality and faith.
Fortunately, I have run into few attackers.

El Camino de Santiago ends at the door of the magnificent cathedral in the ancient city of Santiago de Compostela. Backpacks are laid aside. Hugs are exchanged. Tears are shed. Songs are sung. Stories are shared.

El Camino de Mi Vida will end at the portal of death. I hope that before I cross that threshold, I will lay aside some of the burdens that I am carrying. There are some hugs being saved for upcoming reunions; I long to give them to their rightful owners. Tears are shed daily. Songs sung and danced to with my children, friends, and fellow Bloghers. Stories are being told, written, shared as often as possible; that's why I'm here.

Someday I hope to walk the Camino de Santiago.
In the meantime, I will walk this camino.
Right here. Right now.

All of the photos on this post were taken in Northern Spain in January 2007.
In the company of one of my dearest friends, the one who walked El Camino de Santiago.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The remains of this day...

Most days, when I stop and look down at the place where I am standing,
I recognize that I am standing on holy ground.

When I look up and notice that people around me are attempting to capture their lives in their own unique way just as I am seeking to capture my own, I recognize that I am not alone in this place where I am standing.

On those days, I recognize and am profoundly grateful for how blessed I am.

But on some days, days like today, my words are misunderstood,
as though I have spoken or written them in a foreign tongue.

On days like that, like today, every step I take, no matter how gingerly attempted,
lands on the tenderest nerve endings of someone else's already-tender psyche,
(and it is always someone dear that i clumsily injure...)

I wonder how hard it will be to buy a first-class ticket,
book passage on a one-way journey,
and disembark in an undisclosed port,
never to be heard from again.
I have my alter-ego's name picked out already.
My bags are nearly packed.
Fare thee well, one and all.

Bon voyage.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Living on the edge...

Taken at Pier 39 in San Francisco last Sunday.

See the sea lion in the front on the right? The one that looks like it's asleep and about to roll off into the bay?

That's how I feel right now.

Like I'm about to roll off the end of my life into a deep bay. Deep waters.

Unpredictable tides.
Rough seas.
Lonely shores.
Indistinguishable landmarks.

A week ago today, I was in San Francisco. At the BlogHer convention. Listening. Talking. Laughing. Eating. Meeting new people. Consolidating friendships with people I already knew.

And all the while, being asked to consider and express where I stand - or, like the animal in the picture, where I lay - on various issues. Marriage. Divorce. Love. Infidelity. Commitment. Poverty. Homelessness. Politics. The upcoming election. Faith. The church. Racism. Sexism. Parenting. Immigration. War. Genocide. Homosexuality. Every one of these topics and so many more came up in dozens of conversations I engaged myself in and listened in on.

It had been at least a decade since I had been in the company of so many thoughtful, respectful, open-hearted, welcoming, and strongly opinionated women. Easy answers were not easy to come by - and not allowed to lay unexamined. They still aren't.

On many topics of the topics discussed, I felt like one of the crowd of sea lions crammed onto that middle dock, surrounded and covered by friends and compatriots. On others, I felt like like the sea lion living precariously on the edge, pretending to be asleep. Hoping no one would try to wake me up and require me to speak the truth of what I believe. I was forced to admit to myself that some of the places where I stood with the crowd were both unexpected and comforting. And some of the topics where I stood alone were surprising even to me.

Living on the edge.

Today, I sit at my computer a week away from a trip Kristiana and I will take to Nicaragua with 28 other people from our church. We leave next Saturday, the 2nd, and return the following Saturday, the 9th. Teaching VBS. Playing soccer. Repairing churches and school buildings. Feeding hungry people. Taking clothes, toys, school supplies, and all the grace we can cram into our bags and hearts. Loving the unloved. Remembering the forgotten. Caring for orphans and widows. Spreading the love of God with all we encounter.

I alternate between feeling excited and apprehensive.
Delighted and disquieted.
Intimidated and intrepid.
How could it be any other way?

This is the stuff of life.
Living on the edge.

Yup, I feel a lot like the dozing sea lion on the end of the pier.
Teetering, tottering. Being shaken by the crashing waves.
A solitary soul with no one to lean against or cling to.

But don't wake me up.
Not yet.
I'm in the middle of the most amazing dream.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Looking back and looking ahead...

Sitting near gate B77 at San Francisco Airport, somewhere around midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning.

The return trip began at 9 pm, Pacific time on Sunday evening.
Shuttle to the airport for a 12:30 am flight out of SF.
Three and a half hours to sit, journal, reflect, pray, and get ready to return
to my extraordinary and ordinary life.
That was the longest chunk of time I had alone all weekend.
(Note to self: You have got to be careful to take more solo time next year.)

Arrived in Houston a 6:20 am (4:20 SF time.)
Departed Houston for Charlotte at 8:30 am.
Arrived at 11:35 am. Drove home.
Rested one hour. Drove to Daniel's tennis match.

Ate dinner. Cleaned up the dishes. Hung out with Steve and the kids.
Gave out a few gifts. Went to bed. Exhausted.
Kristiana woke me up at 9 am this morning; I felt drugged. In a bad way.

The whole day was a blur; I am writing the details here to remind myself of what I did on the outside.

On the inside, I was and still am a whirl of emotions. I met some of my blogging superheroes, spent quality time with a few of them... with the sad exception of Jen Gray. (We are gonna need to carve out some time together, girl. But it was great to meet you and have a few seconds to hug anyway.) Breakfast on Saturday was at the table with Jen Lemen, Odette, Andrea Scher, Tracey Clark, Maya Stein, Lisa Ottman, and me! They number among the most beautiful, thoughtful, joyful, soulful women I have ever known. Wow!

Here's the thing: the BlogHer conference itself was great.
The breakout sessions were better than expected.
It ought to come as no surprise, but it was the people,
the messy, funny, weepy, angry, excited, engaging, hopeful, peaceful people
that made the journey worth every hour spent in an airport or crammed into a musty airplane.

In elevators, at tables, in hallways, at restaurants, at the swap meet, and in staircases, we told our stories.
We interrupted each other with hugs and "uh-hunh"s.
We drank lemon drops, glasses of wine, capuccinos, and ice water while we talked.
Our stories were different in detail - but the same in outcome.
Families torn by divorce and violence.
Relationships worn down by apathy and boredom.
Women upended by fear, loneliness, and suicidal sorrow.
Newfound strength, peace, forgiveness, and comfort in our own skin.
Adopted children and unborn children.
Unexpected love and undeniable despair.
All of us, each of us vibrantly alive. Achingly alive. Relentlessly alive.
Not only have we lived to tell the story, but we have also taken the insanely inexplicable, unnecessarily dangerous step of writing our stories down.
And then making them known to the mostly non-judgmental and unflinching public.

The view from my window on the Houston to Charlotte flight yesterday morning.

Looking back, I realize that this is my 500th blog. The 500th time I have shown up here at the computer and unearthed yet another small sliver of the landscape of my thickly overgrown soul.
Powered by deeply buried spiritual coal, dangerously and precariously excavated,
once set aflame, this soul of mine emits smoke, soot, and pollution -
As well as light, heat, and enough life-brightening energy to power my life for a few more flights of fancy.
Looking back, I see that the spinning engine of my life, The Spirit, has carried me on tail winds and hurled me against headwinds that have threatened to throw me wildly off-course. And provided me with those amazing women. I am deeply grateful.

The view from my window as we landed in Charlotte yesterday.

Looking ahead, I see land beneath my wings, the same cement runway of a life that I left behind.
With skidmarks and oil slicks, the ancient treadmarks of blow-outs and blow-ups gone by.
But also one of the safest places for me to land, to collect the emotional and spiritual luggage that I haul with me on my many journeys, as well as the souvenirs I pick up along the way.
There remains ahead of me much to unpack about the BlogHer conference, the people I met there, the relationships tended to there, the lessons learned, the conversations engaged in, and the parts of me that I dredged up and now must put through the refining process.

But before all that, I need to get myself back to east coast time.
And fold two loads of laundry.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On a journey...

Looking down on the coast of Italy as I flew back to the States in January of this year.


In less than twelve hours, at 4 am tomorrow, I will leave this house I love and head to the airport I love to fly to San Francisco, a city I love. (Okay, maybe the word "love" is inappropriate in this context, but I'm too lazy to pull out the Synonym finder at the moment. I apologize.)

The BlogHer conference begins tomorrow night with a "social" for newbies, those of us who have never attended BlogHer before. I'll be there - excited, nervous, anticipating the moment when I will meet several of my blogging sisters. Many hugs will be shared. Many tears will be shed.

And somewhere along the way,
at sometime during the following four days,
I want to find a quiet corner, a shadowy place,
to sit and ponder the wonder that is the internet.
Underground cables.
Distant satellites.

Far beyond all those wonders
or perhaps hidden beneath and behind all those wonders
is the marvel of the human heart and spirit.
The yearning we have to know and be known.
To love and be loved.
To listen and be listened to.
To bare something of ourselves to an invisible and unknowable universe.

To take a chance. To risk refusal and rejection.
To sacrifice anonymity and isolation.
For the chance to touch and be touched.
It is inexplicable, this urge.
It is also irresistible.

It is blissful and treacherous.
Surreal and serene.
It is the stuff not only of whimsy and fairy tales
but also of self-evident and purest reality.

Conferences such as this one, along with travel of all sorts,
unfailingly provide me with fodder for journaling, blogging,
dreaming, hoping, wishing,
along with the greedy urge to plan for future trips.

Every time I take a trip, I pull out a cherished volume entitled,
The Way of the Traveler, by Joseph Dispenza.

Here are a few gems that I return to often:

Once we begin to see travel as an inner journey, it is possible to turn every trip we take into a spiritual practice - a hero's adventure that enlivens our hearts and enlarges our souls. Travel becomes a spiritual experience for us when we are conscious at every moment that our physical transportation from place to place has a metaphysical counterpart. Understanding that, the road takes us inexorably to an encounter with the "stranger" at the heart of the journey - the transformed self.

Undertaken with awareness, travel surely is one of the most available and most effective means to nourish, broaden, and quicken the soul. The destination does not matter as much as the attention we give to the understanding that
all travel is inner travel.

The road stretches out before me. I know I will encounter obstacles. The path will sometimes appear circuitous or worse, perilous. I have fears. But still, I go.

Helen Keller wrote: Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Taken in a rocking chair at Charlotte Douglass International Airport late last fall.

Indeed. So tomorrow, I will be off on a daring adventure.

I was wondering...

Dear Ann Landers

If cigarette butts are so disgusting that even the people who smoke
can't stand to have them in their cars,

And why are the rest of us forced to live with the poisonous leftovers
of their poisonous habit? And to pay for their outrageously
expensive treatment when their
poisonous habit catches up with them?

I was just wondering.

Sincerely, The Charlottean sick of watching drivers ahead of her
toss cigarette butts out onto the road
- even when we are in a drought and are being warned
of dangerous fire conditions on a regular basis.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Paradise You Can Own

Around this time of year - who am I kidding? This is true all through the year - I begin to dream of going on vacation. I dream of beautiful beaches with warm water. I dream of the Wyndham resort in Puerto Rico that we went to three times. I dream of tropical fruit drinks with umbrellas in them, and barechested men bringing me those drinks. Mango mojitos. Caipirinhas. Margaritas. I dream of hot rocks massages and salt scrubs. I dream of large, airy, sunny guestrooms with beds and bathrooms that are cleaned and remade by invisible staff. I dream of meals that I neither cook nor clean up after, and chocolates and clean thick towels that appear mysteriously every evening. Sometimes I even dream of owning a beach house with its own staff of quiet and efficient persons whose only job requirement is reading my mind - and then making all my vacations dreams come true.

There are a few home decor magazines that come to us in the mail on a regular basis. (The free kind. The ones that are sent because we once bought a couch someplace. Believe me, I don't ask for them.) Luxury homes with swimming pools designed by people who promise that their enclaves are "conveniently secluded." "Security with style" - with a photo of a rather tall and ominous looking fence. Showers with 12 showerheads - I have a photo of that shower beside me as I type. Offers of homes on secluded islands. Offers of islands for sale - entire islands. And ultimately, the readers of these magazines, people like me, are offered "paradise you can own." Yes, I get to own paradise.

Lest I raise my environmentally-conscious eyebrows in disdain, I come across an ad for a certain design firm that advertises thus: "Homes that make less of an impact on our environment are becoming more sought after everyday. At Swan Design, we are educating our clients on environmentally friendly design." And just so I know how creative they are, the ad informs me that they won awards in 2006 for "Best Custom Home Design over 5000 square feet" and "Best Renovation over $250,000."

Along with the perfect house comes the right car.
The right car comes with the right person who looks right in the car.
So I've gotta get/buy the perfect body, the perfect outfit, the perfect accessories.
Gotta have the whitest smile and the smoothest skin.
The flattest abs and the shiniest hair.
The highest-paying job - or jobs - to maintain it all.
The wherewithal to return to the mall or the showroom
to replace any or all of the above every three years
or a neighbor/competitor gets something new -
whichever comes first.

No need to share it. I must keep it to myself.
No need to maintain it. A private and invisible staff caters to my every whim.
No need to hold back. I can have it all. I can own it all.
No need to cut back. I can have less of an environmental impact in their 5,000 square foot home or renovate my own for more than a quarter of a million dollars - and save the planet at the same time. Why wouldn't I want it all?
No need to admit how stressful all this is to maintain. I can never let them see me sweat.

Yes, paradise I can own - at a hefty price, but it can be mine.
All mine.

Deep sigh.

Do I really need to own paradise? Do I need a house with more than 5,000 square feet? Heck, do I need the house I am already in - with its more-than-sufficient 3400 square feet? Why do I need 12 showerheads to get my one body clean? Why do I need a pool out back and a vacation home at the beach? Why the high and forboding gates? Which is the goal: to keep others out or keep me in? That invisible staff I expect to cook for and then clean up after me - those are beautiful men and women whose dreams are no less noble than my own, who deserve to rest and relax as much as, if not more than, I do. Why can't we share paradise? Why am I supposed to want all this stuff and want to keep it to myself?

When will I realize that all this exclusivity, all the stuff that I buy, hide, hoard, and keep behind locked doors and gates brings with it great loneliness and fear? The bigger the house, the more stuff I need to buy to fill it. The more stuff I buy, the more insurance and security I need. The more suspicion I need to maintain whenever someone unfamiliar steps into my neighborhood or drives down my street.

Exclusive and gated communities.
Exclusive and gated resorts.
Exclusive and gated lives.
Exclusive and gated fears and loneliness.
Is that really what I want to own?

No, I say. Throw open the gates and doors.
Let's welcome one another into our homes, our lives, our love.
Let's eat together and make our own sweet concoctions to drink.
Play games together. Tell stories to one another.
Create art and collages and jewelry together.
Pray together. Cry together.

I need to stop believing the lie that a bigger house, car, bank account or bra size will make me happier or more secure or easier to love.
Stop believing the lie that I am unworthy of love and acceptance because of my failures or frailty - unless I own the right piece of paradise.
Stop believing all the lies that say I can own paradise.

Abundant life is possible.
Joyful life is possible.
Peace-filled living is possible.
Forgiveness and restoration are possible.

But I cannot buy any of it.
I cannot own it.
I must stop trying so hard to create it for myself
- and simply receive it. Enjoy it.
It's already been done. Given. Paid for.
Paradise is already mine. Now and forever.

Jesus said it so simply: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid... These things I have spoken to you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

An oldie, but a goodie. Taken in Sevilla, Spain. October 2006.

Anybody care to join me for a joyous dance in the moonlight? This coming Saturday night up on the roof of Macy's in the heart of San Francisco - I'll have my dancing shoes on! Be there - or be square!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Simple Abundance

Lisa wrote this: "Indeed, bliss does not come from striving. It comes in the ease and flow and everyday stuff that life is made of. It's up to us to recognize and embrace it. And now my arms are wide open. Where's your bliss coming from these days?"

Where does my bliss come from these days?
The simplest pleasures of life. The quiet moments. The slow moments.
The smiles across the classroom. Laughter in the minivan with the kids.
The insightful and delightful stories on NPR. Ceiling fans. Incense.
And a few other things as well.

* Watching my son play his first competitive tennis match today. His goal was to win one game - not one set, not the whole match, just one game. You see, he began to play in earnest just two weeks ago. He decided he wanted to play against people other this his immediate family members. After I got over being offended by that desire, I encouraged him to "go for it." The final score was 6-1, 6-2. He won three games! Broke his opponent's serve twice.

* Sitting courtside with Steve and Kristiana under a shade tree.

* Going to a homeschool bookfair this evening with Steve. Having him lean in close and say, "You definitely don't look like the stereotypical homeschooling mom." I said, "Thanks be to God." We both laughed!

* Two blissful sessions of teaching Spanish at PDS this week. Beginning to ponder the possibility of applying to teach there next summer.

* After yesterday's 90 minute session together, one of the students said to the other, "Wow, that went by fast." Music to this teacher's ears!

* I've lost three of the six almond-cluster pounds I'd complained about earlier this week.

* Earl gray tea with demerara sugar.

* Playing card games and Scrabble with Daniel while Kristiana was at school.

* Reading the inspiring blogs of women I admire. (See the side bar on this page.)

* Seeing my words on someone else's blog.

* Beginning to pack for Blogher where I will meet several of those powerful, ingenious, creative, courageous wordsmiths.

* Anticipating late night conversations, early morning coffee-powered exchanges, journaling my way through the conference sessions, solitude on my way to and from the airport, flying. I love to travel!

* Four consecutive days of rain here in Charlotte this week. Deep soaking rains.

* Drying towels and wet clothes after Steve and Daniel danced on the deck in the rain.

* Being 850 pages into a 973 page book - Pillars of the Earth. And loving it. Not much is more blissful to me than a good book, a cup of tea, and some dainty nibbles.

* Having one of the women in my journaling class come in on Wednesday night and say, "I am so glad to be here. I've been looking forward to this all week. It's great to be with family."

* Several conversations this week with friends whose concern for a challenge I am facing these days was deep and true. Your prayers are being heard and answered, Lisa, Karen, Cathy, and Bonnie. Thank you all.

* Acknowledging some of the many blessings I have received in this life is bliss!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A jumble of thoughts and questions

What am I happy about right now?

* I am at home alone for a couple of hours. Quiet. Peace-filled. Bliss.
* I just returned from Earth Fare, one of my favorite supermarkets. Then again, I like nearly every supermarket. How can anyone not be happy to be surrounded by fresh food, yummy snacks, flavorful drinks, and dozens of people all hoping to feed themselves and their loved ones well?
* Ice water and ice cold watermelon on a hot day in Charlotte.
* Today I had the chance to work with two Spanish 2 students at a local school for over an hour on their Spanish. Kristiana is taking a lit class at Providence Day School. After I dropped her off for her first session last week, I made the decision to go back up the hallway in order to talk to the Spanish teacher about what textbook he uses with his students. One question became several - that's me, the perpetual geek! The questions began to come my way, and in the end, he invited me to come back and tutor two students. So there I am, back in the classroom, teaching other people's daughters. I didn't realize how much I'd missed the classroom. I am enjoying this opportunity to look them in the eye and tell them how smart they are, how much they already know, and how well they are doing. They are soaking it all up like two very thirsty little sponges. I will return on Thursday.
* When Daniel and I arrived at PDS before the tutoring session, we saw Kristiana heading out of the building for her break. We called her over. She spoke to us rather briefly, then she declared that she wanted to go and have her snack with other students from her class. Yes!!! She is breaking free of us, of me. I am so happy for her.
* Reconnecting with distant friends and deepening relationships with local ones.
* I am going to San Francisco next week for the Blogher conference. Yup, a conference for those of us who bare our souls to the world online. The majority of attendees will be women - which will be an added blessing. Don't get me wrong; I like men. I love men. But women are awesome, too!

What am I sad about right now?

* The usual stuff: flooding, famine, wild fires, political unrest around the world. Just to name a few.
* Realizing that for all my rhetoric and angst, I am not doing all I can to help the many people I know who are suffering.
* Not being able to spend as much time with the ones I love as I'd like. Watching them withdraw from our relationships. Watching them withdraw from themselves, as though a joy-filled life isn't possible for everyone.
* The fact that I still am affected by the myriad voices that try to make me feel guilty for my inadequacies, doubts, and contradictions, even though I know that guilt has no real or lasting effect on my behavior or my thinking.
* I have gained six pounds in the past three months. Apparently all those chocolate almond clusters from Trader Joe's have decided to stick around for a while.
* These weeks of summer are flying past. Soon we will start homeschooling again. My daughter will be in 10th grade - three short years until she is off to college. Daniel will be in 7th grade. He will (most likely) return to Charlotte Christian as a 9th grader. Within a couple of years, I will bid farewell to my babies.

My mind is a jumble of thoughts and questions.
Emotions and sensations.
Unity and claustrophobia.
Hunger and gluttony.
Peace and turmoil.
Inertia and frenetic movement.
Love and apathy.
Grace and criticism.
Constriction and freedom.

It's all right here. In my head, my heart, my home.
In my soul, my spirit, and my body as well.
And as I walk this life journey, I am learning to take these questions,
these contradictions, these confounding dilemmas and
spill them - not only into my journal but also here on the blog and
run them up the flagpole of my life and
wave them around, above, and before me
like a flag - not only of surrender but also of victory
fearlessly, light-heartedly,
shamelessly, unapologetically.

This photo was taken at Misty Meadows, the ranch where Kristiana takes horseback riding lessons.
The path is not clear. It appears to end at a stone wall.
But every step of the way is so very beautiful.
And there are treasures to be found beneath each footfall.
Kinda like my life.
I confess: I am a mess.
Sometimes a weepy, discouraged, and overwhelmed mess.
Sometimes a contented, elated, and grateful mess.
A mess nonetheless.

Apparently these are the lyrics from an Alanis Morrissette song. I copied them from someone else's blog.
They speak so directly to so much of what I have been thinking and feeling in the past few weeks and months.
I am a bristling, writhing bundle of contradictions.
Life is so hard. It is so good too.

Hand in my Pocket -

I'm broke but I'm happy
I'm poor but I'm kind
I'm short but I'm healthy, yeah
I'm high but I'm grounded
I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed
I'm lost but I'm hopeful baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be fine fine fine
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five
I feel drunk but I'm sober
I'm young and I'm underpaid
I'm tired but I'm working, yeah
I care but I'm restless
I'm here but I'm really gone
I'm wrong and I'm sorry baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be quite alright
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette
What it all comes down to
Is that I haven't got it all figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving the peace sign
I'm free but I'm focused
I'm green but I'm wise
I'm hard but I'm friendly baby
I'm sad but I'm laughing
I'm brave but I'm chicken shit
I'm sick but I'm pretty baby
What it all boils down to
Is that no one's really got it figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano
What it all comes down to my friends
Is that everything's just fine fine fine
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is hailing a taxi cab...

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Prayer on Independence Day

My God
I have feared joy.
I have held back from
the fullness of life,
bound by invisible threads
of old loyalties.
I have imagined that you
begrudged me my joy and fulfillment,
that you would intentionally
disrupt my happiness,
stifle my freedom,
rein in my delight.
Now I see that you
have always been calling me forth
like Lazarus from the tomb:
"Untie him and let him go!"
You desire the fullness of
life for me,
abundant, overflowing.
Unbind me, free me for joy,
that I may be fully alive.
You have held nothing back from me.
Help me to hold nothing
back in this life,
to live it to the fullest,
to drink deeply of joy-
your joy which you desire
to share with me forever.
-Phillip Bennett

Quoted in The Enduring Heart by Wilkie Au, page 22.

Here's to freedom!
To unbridled joy!
To unguarded love!

May God bless all people everywhere!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I've been published!

Check this out! Click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the page. My name should appear at the end of a short comment.

While you are there, check out the entire JourneyWoman website. It's a fantastic website that encourages and supports women on our travel adventures. Even if you aren't going anywhere, this website is well worth some serious perusal.

I am so excited!!!