Thursday, May 29, 2014

Love makes you free

Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love. -Wally Lamb


I sat down to paint tonight, but I turned up with nothing.

I chose writing instead.

In that battle, writing usually wins. Still, I had my paints out and colors ready.

It got me thinking how the last time I painted I came up with some interesting color schemes. Life was funky then and painting is a great activity for that. I had some darker than usual edges and it turned out to be an abstract-nothing-you-can-visualize kind of picture but it was still art I promise.

Colors tell a story all their own.


Speaking of stories, I decided it's time to write a bit more about what fuels some of my passion. I'm not saying colors or feelings are my passion but like mom blogs who talk about homeschooling or artists or crafty people who talk about art projects they are doing, I realized there are things I love and are part of my world that I don't talk about or share information about on here. Mostly because I don't think people are interested or it doesn't apply to them. Y'all, I don't have kids and I hardly do 'real' artwork or cook or any of the things you do, but I still read your blogs, unless I start to feel like a poor specimen of the population. Just kidding.

We are meant to accept what different people offer. It's so unique! Even if I keep thinking one day I will remember all the tidbits you shared about your kids or that I will make a car that moves, I am thinking that any car I make will probably not move and I won't remember all that you said about your kids.

What I will remember is you.

You, friend.

I wasn't going to post the following because it was long but maybe someone will remember something about Dr. Seuss and freedom. Probably not though and that's okay. I'll tell you anyway.

Basically, the book My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss is a winner. Dr. Seuss + colors = yes.

Another activity to go along with it for working with kiddos involves feelings discovery cards with colors on the back of each feeling. They are arranged in color families.

Scared, angry, happy, free, sad, and safe...

I matched each individual card with its family or color and tried to guess them since the game is new to me.

I got stuck on a couple, those feelings families can be tricky! Loved for instance. The card loved got me.

Did it go with happy, safe?



Of course. Loved. Free.

My mind flashes to God. 

Freedom is something I chase often and still have trouble with it many days. In an instant though, none of that matters and I am reminded how the love of Christ shows up for me anyway.

Then I am free to love others, too.

Freedom is one of the best things I know, but also so easy forget to remember is true.

I know, I know, love is more than a feeling, but for the purposes of this game...

Love and freedom are linked.

And outside the game?

Same thing.

inspired by five minute Friday with lisa-jo

Saturday, May 24, 2014

What the cobwebs teach me

I have an elegant spider web on my porch right now. I got close tonight when I was eating dinner and all I could do was stare at it.

I can't knock it down
just yet because it's too pretty.

Do you know the difference between a spider web and a cobweb? Check out Cobwebs Vs. Spider Webs. Don't worry, you don't have to pick a side -- they are both intriguing. But, I have to admit, it's easier to brush aside the irregular, abandoned cobwebs.


Such a great thing happened. I get to work at a place where I'll have regular hours and still get to meet with kids and when I do activities with them and they use paint, I won't have to put wet paintbrushes in my bag because it doesn't involve driving around to the whole free world. 

I don't normally talk much about work on here but I read an article by Don Miller and he talked about creating and actually not being afraid to make something happen. 

I'm excited about counseling more than I was before. I feel like I make something happen when I work with kids because I think they are great.

Before, if you asked me I would have told you I enjoyed the kids I worked with and still think of them because of the intensive nature of the jobs I had, but why is it that the jobs resembled cobwebs to me?

So irregular.

No order. My body is still adjusting from those years of a chaotic schedule.

These aren't intended to be complaints. Good, good things happened there.
Today, I filled out some documentation and I realized that I have a fuller picture of the gamut of kids and their mental health needs because of having exposure to so much. That's just one of the good, good things.

What do you do when you start to make a spider web, or what resembles a spider web to you, with intricate patterns and carefully laid out pieces and beauty and, well, you realize that you've been making a lot of cobwebs before?

Cobwebs don't get a good rap at all. Neither do jobs without much order or other things in life that are confusing, like difficult relationships and maybe our lives are never quite 'regular' as much as we try to make them so.

I'm thankful for the spider web but maybe it's a little unnatural?

Maybe there are a few cobwebs or a lot of cobwebs thrown in there much of the time?

I learn again and again how to live amongst the irregular.

There are times I am too hard on my chosen field, on difficult relationships. I scorn the dust they pick up and the pain they bring. I can barely see the beauty because there are cobwebs, and well, there are cobwebs.

I'm sorry to say I destroyed a cobweb tonight. It was right next to the spider web.

I mean, in reality, it makes sense.  Why do we need all these webs hanging around?

But it's curious that I left the pretty one.

We want to keep what makes sense to us.

Odd shapes can turn into something lovely if we just look long enough.

inspired by five minute friday -- close

Monday, May 19, 2014

On where we go when we're not here and the beauty of art...and coffee

I'd like to be one of those people who has funny things to say when they are going through strange or hard things. I know it's okay to be serious when I write sometimes -- sometimes being the operative word -- but if I take myself too seriously, bad things will occur and it will spark things in me like adult acne.

But I've also learned that you need time to sift through things before you put them out into the world. I believe in realness and rawness but I also believe some things, not all things, should be thrown out there.

I don't mind sharing my life with people, and am a person who believes vulnerability is good, but does anyone else struggle with feeling like it's hard to write when you know too much would bleed out?

There's a balance in there somewhere. And it's important to find it.

One of my chief purposes of writing is to 'expose the unexposed,' as Anne Lamott says. Isn't that a goal of all writing? What about all living? We each do it a little differently to be sure.

I'm treading lightly at the moment.

Is it hard for you, reader-friends, as it is for me?

Sometimes, I like to imagine us sitting down and having a cup of coffee, or maybe tea or lemonade, and mostly, I feel like my writing is a simple conversation that I wish I could have with you in person. Probably if we met though I wouldn't order coffee because I've only had coffee approximately three times. But, irony is one of my best friends, and the good news is I'm working on a new project. Guess what? This project is enabling me to sit down with people and have some kind of coffee type drink with them and write about that encounter. Stay tuned.

This makes me happy, and kind of makes me not care if I go away for a little while because I know I'll be back, and I know I'll see you.

I met some ladies this week at my job and they keep telling me I remind them of this girl who used to work there. Within five minutes of meeting me they thought I could be her twin or something. What's she doing now? I asked. Oh, she's traveling the world with her new husband and apparently she's doing something with hula hooping (??). I did not get the details but she it sounds like she's some kind of international star now. Okay, I made that last part up.

I always know that life is getting better again when I can laugh.

I wanted to share some encouragement about art, life, music, and the broken/beautiful from some of my fave people and websites:

Stephanie's story: broken is beautiful: I've already posted this awhile back, but I love it and this website. Reminds us of the gift of imperfection and beauty even in brokenness.

Natalie Closner of the band Joseph: love me some new music.This here post is another (real as it gets) interview with Joy and musician Natalie, 6:10-6:50 talks about acknowledging what is difficult because otherwise the world is a "very fake, superficial place" and inviting people to have hope amidst the tension.

Broken Beautiful: Video by Ellie Holcomb. End of the video = dancing in fields. That's all.

Where do you go when you're not here?

Linking with emily

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Speaking of yellow, part two

Yesterday, I put yellow nail polish on my fingers and wrote about it because yellow makes me happy. That might be a given but I never used to have this fascination with yellow. I think it's an odd color actually. It seems like people don't know what to do with it and that makes sense to me. I bought a pair of yellow pants a few weeks ago. It must be nearing summer. Summer is when my yellow comes out in mega doses and I have no shame.
When I wrote about yellow yesterday my pictures and computer messed up so I didn't get to put any visual aids (think school teacher). I'm slowly becoming a more visual person.
I thought you would miss out if you didn't see all the beauty that yellow brings -- even if you haven't drank the yellow kool aid.
Yellow can be so shockingly bright that we need to hide our eyes from it but it also stands out so much that you can't look away. I love that you can't get away from it.
In the past few years, yellow has been making an entrance in my life and so I wanted to share a peek into my persistent yellow world, thanks to Pinterest.

For Christmas, I got the book The Persistence of Yellow. I recommend it in the way I recommend a collectors item if you like all things baseball or all things Lord of the Rings let's say but you might not appreciate it unless you collect all things yellow. It's good we are all different or this life would be boring.
"On Tuesday, she woke up and realized she had forgotten the definition of the word 'Impossible.' She decided it must not have been important." - Monique Duval, The Persistence of Yellow
Your turn. Tell me what you love. Colors, places to explore, something I wouldn't know about you.

Grateful jar and yellow nail polish

Right now, I'm grateful for yellow nail polish. I'm grateful for more than that but it helps to have something tangible.

That's what I like to do even though I'm not very good at it.

I try to remember to remember so I can turn my heart toward gratefulness again.

I keep lots of jars in my house and I fill them with pieces of paper and sometimes coins.

Some of them are for prayers because I do better with praying for people when there's something tangible written down. Like the yellow nail polish thing.

{ Side note: yellow nail polish is a tangible way for me to remember I am actually a joyful person even if some days I make art that doesn't have any yellow in it and it's abstract and with lots of dark colors. If you like dark and abstract art, I'm not knocking it, but I have a book on my desk called The Persistence of Yellow and I just happen to like yellow a lot. }

Some of my jars are for money and these are somehow the smallest ones and it doesn't help that I keep taking out quarters to go to the beach or vacuum my car but I will make it to the Cayman Islands someday but at the rate my collecting is going, I am going to need a few dozen more Cayman Jars.

Some of my jars (okay, maybe just one because again, I am not very good at remembering to put stuff in this one) are for writing down things that bring me joy and things I'm thankful for -- this can be pretty much anything and they are interesting to go back and read because it's whatever is going on at the time like one said "for starting to clean my closet!" I know that seems inconsequential but cleaning my closet is a major ordeal as perhaps it is for you so when I embark on this journey, it is a thankful moment.

I decided to revisit this jar tonight because it's always good to remember and see God's faithfulness even in small ways. I was documenting the 1000 gifts process for awhile on here but got away from it. It's a constant work in progress, the act of seeing and remembering. Even though there is 'dark and abstract' everywhere, there is light and yellow nail polish, too.

- for art and creating even on hard days
-new babies of my sweet friends and how you bring life! Babies on the way for long awaited friends
-that in your presence is fullness of joy
-good news for friend’s mom’s cancer
-Friday bible study girls who encourage
-new job and how You provide!

-flowers from my favorite parents
-mom who talks to me even though we get disconnected twice
-getting to laugh with old church girls
-how You heal, redeem, comfort
-getting to go to conference and learning about human trafficking
-serving at church – getting to know friends who have been a light and laughter to me
-old Sarah and Julie videos
-lots of sweet friends who bless my life all the time
-new bamboo plant (replacing my old friend Aloe Plant)
-pandora stations that play great songs over and over -- reminder to celebrate.
anything is possible.
-reminder to celebrate again

inspired by five minute Friday prompt grateful -- linking with lisa-jo 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Love Your Voice Guest Post at About Proximity

Today, my lovely writer friend Lisa let me share my voice over at her site. I'm writing about the beauty of taking it slow but today was busy and I couldn't get this post up until now (irony, anyone?). Thank you reader-friends for following along as we change, grow, and learn as writers and people in this community.

I'm thankful to be at Lisa's place today getting to share some of my own words in a space that renews me every time I visit.


Being in proximity of renewal often means remembering there is an ebb and flow to life. I can’t live as an on-the-go person all the time or be part of every group or ministry or organization even if I believe in its cause. I’m thankful that renewal often comes with the changing of the seasons and causes me to pause and remember I am only helpful to others and the things that get me excited if I take time to slow some days. Slow isn’t bad....

Whether your life is full of movement or in a stand still, I hope you have time to hop on over to About Proximity. And if not, I'll still love you. But, really, you should go...

Friday, May 2, 2014

What my aisle 18 friends taught me about people

I learned a lot of things in April. It was a full month to say the least. Since I have been participating in Emily's Thing's I Learned series, I have been trying to pay more attention in and around me.

I'm learning that when I'm in the process of learning (does that even make sense?) I need to stop and consider a bit more first. Instead of sharing lots of things this month, I'm going to share one thing in the form of a story. Sometimes all I remember is story. Sometimes all I want to remember is story.

Although there are tons of takeaways from this month, and heaviness and messiness and all sorts of other things get in the way of the little things, it's the little things and the daily-ness where I do my best living, after all. 


The guy two seats down on the plane sat in the wrong seat. Of course, it was the day that there was a lady who needed accommodations with a wheelchair and he was in her seat. Ten minutes later and four people around me who had to move, people were getting irritated that we were behind schedule. Turns out, they had the lady sit right next to me. They asked me if I minded moving in the middle so we could get going and wouldn't be too delayed. I said no it was fine and the guy next to me laughed at the confusing game of Tetris we were playing.

From the start, all of us in aisle 18 talked. I mean, talked. I don't know if it was the way we got started or the fact that the lady seemed so uncomfortable at the whole plane staring at her but she sat down crying. I was stuck in between the guy next to me making comments and asking questions because he was definitely listening to my conversation while I was trying to console the crying lady who kept putting her head on my shoulder and was trying not to mess up her eye makeup.

He would say things like "oh, you get migraines, what do you do for them?" because I was talking to the lady about her recent accident and other pain issues explaining that I've experienced lots of pain, too. Finally, all three of us started talking and carrying on and at one point I think the whole plane was staring at all three of us because we were being so loud.

It was a nice transition from how it got started.

I don't know how it happened but by the end my new friend started snapping pictures of us from her phone and then all of a sudden the guy to my right and I both gave her our emails because (naturally) she asked "how can I get these to you?" We were pretty sure we would never receive them because we had trouble with email process, I mean most people don't take pictures let alone email on planes, do they? Maybe I am behind the times.

It felt like we were acting like we met in some restaurant on the street and became new friends, but no, we were thousands of feet in the air sitting two feet away from dozens of other strangers who were pretending to be asleep but were listening to us talk the whole time.

At the end of it all, when we were getting off and had to part ways, she had to stay on for a minute to wait for the wheelchair and said to us: "Best.Flight.Ever." I feel like that's something people say after a cruise or a beach trip, but not a plane ride? I laughed and we said bye and when I got off the plane I said to the guy, "I'm so glad we could make that more fun for her."

And he said something to me that was profound. He said that she totally did, too. He said that she made that plane ride for us. "She made me laugh," he said.


It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I'm the girl who wants to make everyone laugh, to make sure people are comfortable, to cheer up someone on the plane who is pain. But, at the end of it all, what impression was left but that SHE made US laugh and WE were better off for being with HER.

Of course.

The interactions we have in life are telling. We might go into them because we think people need us or because of our personalities or just because you have an hour to shoot the breeze on an airplane (I'm sorry, I am that person), but the end result is I am different because of you people. The ones that I meet. The ones that come into my life briefly or stay for awhile.

And thank you, Aisle 18 friends. I hope you are well in the world.

I hope you don't mind that I am sharing our picture. It just proves that this thing actually happened.

linking with Emily

Thursday, May 1, 2014

#Riskrejection and going headfirst into a dumpster

I'm tired and it's late and I'm at war with myself about whether to write or paint or sleep.

Apparently, writing wins again even though I've had my art supplies sprawled out on the table for three days, make that three months now. Zero points for sleep yet again.

I'm determined to paint because brushstrokes are good for when life is confusing, which is generally most of the time. I hate to say it, but looking back at some of my paintings, my color wheel is highly representative of my various emotions and I think there was a whole orange-brown thing going on at one point that I'd rather not repeat. See, painting teaches me things.

All things risk and rejection, it teaches me that some people won't necessarily get it when I hang up misfit paintings or give them away, but this does make for fun moments. Remember, if I give you a painting and you hide it away in a box, I will find that box someday.


I practice risking in small, concrete ways to be sure even though my general form of risking feels like something that happened to me tonight. It feels like looking for my keys in the dark. In a dumpster.

I know that's an odd metaphor for risking, but honestly, is risking not sometimes awful and makes you want to puke and is frightening because you think you are going to have to go headfirst into a dumpster?

Let me explain.

Tonight, much to my dismay, when I threw my trash into the dumpster, my keys were also in the same hand and when I let go of the bag, the keys tumbled in accidently. This kind of thing should not surprise me, but I was dumbfounded. How does that even happen? It was pitch dark. I was locked out of my apartment with no lights to look inside the completely full dumpster and most of my neighbors lights were out. Lovely.

Again, being me, I had no problem knocking on neighbors' doors because my first attempt to grab hold of the keys by fumbling through the dumpster blindly was a fail. I heard the noise of the keys fall further down and then I gave up.

On nights like these I remember why I love my neighbors so much.

It took a few minutes of sifting through the trash but thankfully, we (as in me, because I had gotten myself into this mess) did not have to go in too deep. We found them! I didn't have to go in headfirst after all.

(Side note: I sort of hate the idea of having to crawl completely into a dumpster. And I probably would refrain from telling you this story if that actually happened and my neighbor had to watch me. What does that tell you about me?)

If this has happened to you, you might have a newfound love for flashlights. They are my new favorite. Having a light in the dark means despite all the trash around you and the possibility of really and truly climbing in garbage, you will find what you're looking for. 

The irony of this story? I told my neighbor never to repeat this to anyone, but here I am telling you all.

Risk and rejection.

And then this. Landfill Harmonic is the best.

How is this for strange? I was thinking of this today before the whole dumpster incident. I can't even explain it.

Remember, "the world sends us garbage....we send back music." Or keys.

linking with amy for a little more #riskrejection this month
and emily for imperfect prose