Sunday, September 21, 2014

Just another day at the circus and happy fall

"Happy Fall Equinox!" one of my friends from Whole Foods says today.
I can't believe fall is actually here and we have to say goodbye to summer, I tell her.

We decide we'll just keep moving.

Keep moving, or you'll get run over. That's all you can do.

I don't even know how that applies to summer and fall, changes and when we want to hold onto things that can be hard to let go of, but I decide it's worth a try.
Summer and I, we were an unfamiliar pair this year. Even if I've been begging for change, it seems it's never long until I want to be back in the middle of warmth and familiarity, even the unfamiliar-familiar of this year. Summer always seems better than the cool of the fall, the newness I'm not quite ready for. I choose to believe there are good things to come, even if these are unknown things.
I'm sending you off summer with a group of pictures to remember your free spiritedness. To remind me of what is light and hopeful. I hope you still remain in some way.
We had a creative festival outside last weekend and people were drawing on the streets in sidewalk chalk. Pretty amazing!

 Your average cd tree...

Did I mention I was trying to put my lifelong dream of being in the circus into action?
Where's Waldo note to readers: no, I am not in this picture
Flashback note to readers: remember when I kinda sorta talked about a circus wedding (only kidding?). Just reminding you of all the fun times you can have at a circus/carnival.

Remember when I said I have a twin who is a professional hula hooper? Okay, not a real twin, but perhaps. I'm not kidding that it might be an awesome next career path.
The friend I was with tried to get me to juggle make-up because I told her juggling is my favorite.
No, I am not in this picture either. I just observed but I did go home and practice juggling. True story. Juggling is seriously my favorite.
(Since I didn't have a picture of juggling, this picture has nothing to do with this caption. Plus, I can't even explain this picture.. or this whole event actually...)

This is just a pretty photo of downtown in summer. Because I am not always at the circus.
But I do wear (other people's) shades because that sun is shiny, yo.
And, a reminder of my family and candid pictures and grandmas who like to talk as much as me..
I'm not of the selfie-love but my friend's sweet three-year-old loves airplanes so I had to take a picture on board because I'm "his best friend." Maybe it's the juggling?
linking with kate for (a little more than!) five minute Friday on hold

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Walkin on, walkin on...

“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”    

-Anton Chekhov


Things break. Today I found little specks of glass on my kitchen floor from a bottle of lemonade that fell right through a too-full brown grocery bag yesterday and then there's the shattered iphone I've been looking at only through lovely cracked glass for weeks now. That's what happens when a phone hits cement at the perfect contact point.


I waited to get a replacement phone because it was still functional and probably some other reasons, but now with the hysteria over the new iphone 6, it's as good a time as any for non caring technological folk to make a dash for it. For the lesser model that is, just so I can stop staring at broken glass all day long and pieces of tape and not to mention parts of the phone that are ready to fall off. 


It could be worse. It's functional, right?

Aren't most things that break, though? Maybe not my lemonade bottle, but my phone, which seemed to be broken in as many different places as possible, still works. 
I have to compensate, strain to see, but it works. Or does it? Maybe for a time.
I won't spend anymore of my time talking about phones. I don't like phones all that much if you can't tell. But I still prefer talking over texting. I guess maybe letter writing might be favorite.
But back to the important things.
I can't talk so long about brokenness today. I thought I'd say a few more things but I'd rather show you pictures of cake.

And other things that show me slivers of light:
odd candid pictures/awkwardness*I'm sorry friends, but I think it's true to life

 more friends
celebrating everydayness - joy -- the non awkward. I have a couple of those moments.
 birthday twin and birthday hats
(This floated round and round Facebook -- not sure who to credit. I think I saw it on this lady's page originally)
I'm not sure why I like this. Perhaps because in a perfect world we would exist without computers, too. I do like the idea of pretending it's 1993 (oh, so sad that that's our back-in-time-date) but it's possible I belong in the early 1900's somewhere.

this is pretty neat. broken glass can be beautiful
image credit
broken glass cupcakes! no joke

Broken glass can be fun but also can hurt. It's pretty like the glass you find on the beaches of ohio-home. It's tasty if you make them into cupcakes -- I can just tell. It's musical like this song I can't help but jam to as I clean up the mess it brings.

And it makes you search for light even when you squint to see through. Maybe?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Crossing streams and outsmarting the woods

This past weekend I decided I needed to get away. Do you ever feel like that? I hit some nearby trails and literally went into the woods. Where one minute it is pavement, the next it is trees, trees, and more trees. I know, that is what you call the woods. But, I am not one for direction-sense, hence unmarked trails can be a problem. And as much as it is fun and adventurous, there were moments of standing by rocks and looking at streams, contemplating do-I-want-to-jump-over that? It builds character, I'm convinced, to go into the woods when you least expect it and to train yourself to take chances. Yes, jumping over rocks is a very small thing. But it's still something.
 I thought I would take a little walk in the park, but apparently, I needed some more space and time and a chance to be a little bit free.

I decided to mark my journey along the way with pictures because I know my tendency to get lost. I figured the pictures would give me clues to where I was should all the trees and shrubbery start to look the same (it did).

I got a little distracted by the rushing water but tried hard not to lose sight of where I was going and where I turned off. My mind went right to an Ellie Holcomb the middle of dry ground, there is water. One of my most favorite things. Thanks, God.

Moving on, I saw a map on a tree. I kid you not. This is what it looked like. There's no way anyone could find their way out, it looked like a plot of land for a corn maze to me! Nevertheless, I snapped a picture of this distant view in case it would come in handy later with the magnifying glass I did not have with me.

Alas, I spotted pavement (across the creek which I decided to jump over). Landing on an isolated greenway that actually would have me going father in the wrong direction did not seem like a good idea. I crossed the stream yet again and went back into the woods. At this point, if anyone was watching from their homes by this road, it certainly would have been comical.

I forgot to tell you that during the escapade I also texted a couple people, you know, for good measure. I tried to enjoy nature and peace and quiet, but lunch with a friend was coming up quickly and I hadn't left my post yet (a.k.a. the same ten feet right by the *stream that I kept jumping back and forth over).

So, I decided to text my friend nonchalantly to say "call me when you can" which really translated to, "if you really want lunch you might need to bring it to these woods."

I was just warning her. But, I wasn't too worried. I knew I had outsmarted the woods and I just retraced my steps back by looking at the pictures on my phone. Little cabin tucked beneath the trees? Oh, yeah, check. Keep going straight and then turn left. You get the picture. I may have no direction sense, but I remember my landmarks, and my pictures never tell a lie.

Thanks for going through the journey with me (again). It's been a long time since I've done a picture walk on here, it was time for one -- in the most literal sense of the word.

Have you ever been lost or had to be creative with how to get out of the woods? If you're someone who needs to seek out the rhythms of nature to stay balanced, how do you do this in your life?

AND, if you could use this little shed-house for anything, what would you use it for?
I really love the door.


Happy wandering, friends....
*I'm aware that for people, who let's say, hike on a regular basis, these 'streams' are laughable. Well, to that I say, I've been living side-by-side a city for a very long time. Guess what? When I did come out of the woods, it turns out the park playground had been close to me the whole time. I might have to venture out a little farther next time to realllly get away.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Seven {What I am learning from August}

I love August. It's my birthday month and it's still summer (two solid reasons, in my opinion). In honor of my birthday on August 7th, I came up with seven things I've learned this month for Emily's monthly link-up. Only kidding, it just happened that way, but it sounds so much more I-thought-this-through-look-I'm-a-planner, which everyone knows is not true. Instead, I'm up past my bedtime (again) because #4.

1. My life is currently like the end of The Giver.

This one might be the hardest for me because like songs or movies that have good endings, I want things to resolve. Always and forever. But some things don't resolve right away. They take a long time. If you've seen The Giver you know what I mean when I say that there are days it seems easier to just take an injection in the morning so you don't have to feel -- but that ain't living, folks.

Part of me does want to shout "Precision of Language" all the time now though.

2. I learn, re-learn, and learn some more that I love my friends. And family, of course.

There I go again. Precision of language. You need to watch The Giver if you haven't. That was a fave book in high school, too. Although, I'm not much for stories that leave me hanging. Life is enough of a cliffhanger most of the time.

3. You don't have to get out of town to go on vacation.

That's what they call a stay-cation. Sometimes you can even have it at your neighbors' house. When they are all out of town in three different cities. And not necessarily because they even want you to watch their house or feed the dog (they took the dog with them). But because it's nice to have a vacation..from your problems (is that a movie line or just the truth?) every once in awhile. Even if it's just down the road.

4. Writing is a necessity, not an option.

I have to write. Especially when there's too much going on or life is confusing. It clears the blur. Even if it's just a journal. Getting back to a focus and remembering that my voice is not gone even if it feels like it for awhile is important.

5. God is good..all the time.

Yes, we overuse this, but we all have something needed to repeat back to ourselves, and it might change from season to season. This season, I need to remember God's goodness and His trustworthiness, that it's not dependent on me and my circumstances or what happens in my life. I can be grateful and know that God is a good God who is out for our good and works things for good.

I just said good about five times in one sentence, but I think that this month I need to be reminded of that. I had a dream and in it was Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts. I've never dreamed about a book before. I hadn't even been reading it lately. It was clearly sitting on a table all by its lonesome, as if to say, 'pick me up!'

Tonight I went back to that book for the umpteenth time. I read and reread books and perhaps if only I grew my library, but my favorites continue to be my favorites. 

If I only remembered to count the graces.

I would see His goodness everywhere?

I choose to remember I can have grace for myself, too. That each day is another new day and tonight is the end of a day done.

Sometimes it's all so serious.


6. There's always a piece of August that is parties and celebrating.

I turned another year old (young?) this month and I know that all the gifts...the big birthday years and the small changes we make as we learn, slowly, month to month, year to year, they all come from the Maker.

This birthday was so much fun! See number two.

7. Reminders of broken things come in all forms. Like a mangled phone?
There's tape on my phone, the one that smacked into the cement and now is hanging on for its poor, dear life for a few more days. So just imagine me in my party clothes and all the works for my birthday celebrations this month because a) I am not technological and b) perhaps also lazy with my phone and its pictures. I know I've said it before, I'm going to work on it.

Speaking of not being up with the times, I think as a role reversal, if I am going to dedicate myself to trying harder with current technology, kids today should get a blast from the past. I asked someone today if they use chalkboards. Answer:  "What's a chalkboard?"

Look outside. I think the sky might be falling.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When you can't follow prompts

This week was eventful.

A pipe burst around midnight on Monday to start off the week right. A little water damage gets things rolling.

There was the always favorite: relationship confusion. Everyone loves this but I typically choose not to write about the single life because either I'd have to change the name of the guys or my own name. And that's just way too confusing to keep track of.

I went over to my friend's house on my lunch hour to try and connect with her but she wasn't home. I heard a beeping sound and thought I set off her alarm (I have a habit of walking in people's houses unannounced). Frantically, I called her and she didn't pick up.

Side note: My parents got an alarm because their house got broken into a little while back. I thought the same thing would happen, that within minutes the police would arrive.

The police never came. I found out my friend doesn't actually have an alarm.

Once again, for the second week in a row, nothing I'm writing about has anything to do with the prompt for five minute Friday.

I'm okay with that.

This is the best I can do. But don't feel sorry for me because I got to swim by myself at my neighbor's pool tonight even though the awkward check-in guy kept eying me because he knew I was pretending to live there.

Over here, the calendar still says "July." Well, one of them. Promise. I haven't turned it yet. It stays summer a long time in North Carolina. I know you thought it stayed summer a long time, but I mean a long time.

The radio announcer told me today that fall is coming but I don't believe him.

I guess the seasons do change and we have to turn the calendar and the pools close eventually and how come every year I have to write several odes to summer starting and ending?

Question (s): Do you ever feel like your life does not follow a prompt even when you are given one? Do you ever feel like it's easier to break the rules on paper than in real life?

What month would you keep on your calendar all year long if you could?!

linking with kate for five minute friday for (a stab at) reach

Friday, August 22, 2014

Finding your voice, pizza and not talking about change

Today's five minute Friday prompt is change.

Of course it is.

Here are the words I told my friend before she left my house, exactly five minutes ago.

"I don't like change much." -me

You know what I do like? Create your own pizzas. In theory, anyway. Tonight, the guy at Whole Foods let me choose my own ingredients and my favorite kind of cheese. He was bored, perhaps. He said he had never made a pizza with feta and goat cheese on wheat crust with broccoli and mushrooms. Weird combination, but it sounded good at the time.

Create your own pizza sounds good in theory. But in reality, it tastes about as good as it sounds, especially since it's not what they usually make. I can't actually complain because I was delighted that someone gave me so many options and did not find this order strange or complicated -- at least not to the untrained eye. But, maybe sometimes more options is not better?

I'm not sure what pizza has to do with change. I think change has to grow on me, again and again. Like weird pizza. I got three big slices, and I still have extra in my fridge, so there's time.

It seems like I would rather talk about pizza than change.

That and I lost my voice for awhile. I think I'd like to talk about that, too.

I lost my voice. Literally. It was weirder than the pizza. People I talked to on the phone didn't recognize me. Funny because I had been looking for my writing voice again -- I was afraid it was getting lost somewhere in the sea of my current state of life. Maybe things needed to recharge. My voice is back now.

If you've ever lost your voice, either kind of voice, maybe you've wondered if it wouldn't come back. Maybe your voice got scratchy and six octaves deeper than your actual voice. No?

So, it's been a little odd around here, but you know, there's always a story.

I'd love to hear you talk or not talk about change from your corner of the woods. And if you ever think your voice has gone lost, literally or figuratively, but you're still dying to speak to the world with whatever muffled sounds you can let out, I understand. I will do my best to listen close.

linking with kate

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Getting out of the bubble...and thank you Patch Adams

I wish we did more about mental health everyday.

I wish I didn't only talk about the seriousness of my job to a few people and the fact that in my work I see kids -- kids! -- who are hurting enough that they sometimes feel like the best solution would be for them not to be here.

Suicide is not a foreign word that I only hear about when something happens to a beloved celebrity.

Still, my heart hurts for the loss of Robin Williams as I know many others do as well.

It seems surreal and the world only looks more broken from the outside looking in.

What about on the inside looking out?

What if talking depression and suicide and taking kids to the hospital and safety plans was a normal day? I don't talk about my job like it's any more sacred than anyone else's. I just wonder sometimes if God has graced me with a burden for something that runs deeper than seeing headlines and causes me to ask a lot of questions.

The whole thing scares me, honestly. I knew Robin Williams struggled at times throughout his life, but I've never been one to follow the personal lives of famous people much. I always loved him as an actor though. His wit and unashamed humor was mysterious to me, and I secretly aspired to be him, his Patch Adams persona that is.

Ironically, I'm getting to live out that dream a little bit now, but it's not all clowns and story time. I never actually thought it would be. I knew if I worked in a medical setting and regardless of where I did counseling, I would still see people who struggled in all kinds of ways. My goal isn't to make them laugh, even though like Patch, I use humor to heal. I mostly want them to have space to grow and be encouraged that things can change.

It's so hard for so many. And the continuum is so large. While I don't think I have experienced depression in a clinical way or to where my life has been severely altered, I've experienced times where it's been an offshoot of other things going on. I can remember a season of my life where I didn't laugh. Me, who loves to laugh, above most things.

The continuum is large, people. We need to get out of the bubble we're living in. I don't talk about this much. But it's important, and it's worth struggling through with the people in your life, it's worth asking hard questions, it's worth listening. It's worth staying when you want to go.

Whether it's in your job or your home or the corner of a coffee shop with your closest friend, every day, not just a day we hear about it in the news, should be a day that we ask how things are going. And sometimes, the best thing we can do is to not have all the answers but be willing to walk alongside someone who is struggling.

There are no quick fixes to make the pain go away after such a death. It saddens me. I am not minimizing it. I am thankful for his life and his work even if I did not know him.

What I can do now is think about those in my life and not wait until the next time the headlines we fear are local news.

When someone comes and talks to me, one of the things that concerns me most is what their support system looks like. How have they gone this long without talking to anyone? There are so many more complex issues about mental health problems and yes, we all know the stigmas. 

But, in my own experience, it took that one person, one friend willing to step out when things were bad, before they got worse, to say this couldn't go on.

Can we not just pray or talk about it, even though these things are great. Can we meet with people? Can we help pull them out of the pit even if they say 'it's all fine?'

It can't just be a counselor who sees you every week. That is a start and a first step for sure but it can't be the end.
It can't be the end.

Be reminded, if you are hurting, that when you feel trapped, there are people who want to come around to surround you. This is a good post when we want to look past just the words. And this one. You see, friends, because real people struggle or have struggled. There is hope.