Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grandma Dot

This week would've been Grandma Dot's 99th birthday. If she were still here, she would celebrate by accomplishing a feat that most 99-year-olds don't do. She celebrated her 80th birthday on a water slide, and hosted a huge backyard tea party for all her friends for her 90th. Grandma died at 91. She's a hard woman to forget.

She married at 39 and bore her first child at 41 {Thanks, Grandma, for taking the pressure off :) }! Grandma was THE Hostess. Never fancy or pretentious, she knew how to put everyone at ease. So at ease, in fact, that she developed mild narcolepsy...and even fell asleep while hosting a neighbor for tea. I remember her laid-back but engaged manner, and the genuine interest she had in people around her.

Because she lived in Canada, we never saw her much, but she wrote warm letters and visited often for Thanksgiving. She had a twinkle in her eye that resembled mischief, and she was the first to help with pranks when we had the idea. The man my Dad is tells all about the kind of woman my grandmother was. Grandma was gone before I really got to know her, but I have a feeling we would have been kindred spirits. She was a dear soul. She found tremendous delight in being alive and cherished more friends than anyone else I've met. Grandma Dot was resilient, persevering, joyful and determined. She will always be a treasure.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Same Lame Same

This past week filled up quickly with unusual and unexpected activity, but my brain was full of things to tell you. I hope to get it all out over the next few posts. First item on the list: my suburbia rant. I felt very strongly about it when I left California nearly nine months ago. I wrote about it here and promised a more detailed post to follow, which is just now happening. Still, at the mere mention of moving back to the suburbs, a warrior inside me wakes up, puts on his armor and starts marching toward whoever spoke the idea.

"Why is it such a big deal??" you ask. When I'm completely honest with myself, it's not entirely superficial. In fact, most of it is an effort to save the creative part of life and to preserve our design as humans to reflect and live beauty.

Pastor Matt this Sunday spoke on eight elements of worship, and I think he's been spying on my thoughts. It resonated so much with what I felt deep in my heart. I'll share this quote on 'creativity as worship' with you: "We believe our creativity is to be a fundamental part of our life of worship -- as individuals but also as a community. Therefore, we yearn to celebrate God's creativity -- and ours -- as a worshipping community by being creative and taking risks while refusing to seek security in suffocating predictability."

Suffocating predictability? Precisely. I've met people who pull into the wrong driveway...because they can't tell their own house from their neighbors'! And because existing in a place where everything is the same lulls our souls into a deep sleep. We stop thinking. I stopped thinking for about a year and just followed the crowd. Living in Valencia, I observed life closely. Valencians are uncomfortable painting their nails a different color than the lady next to them. They're uncomfortable having a normal, natural body or a naturally beautiful face that tells the stories of their lives. They wanted to hide who they really were in order to be like everyone else. They drove the same cars, decorated the same way, dressed the same, talked the same, ate the same, smelled the same, had the same interests. Same. Same. Same.

When you think about the reason suburbs were created in the first place, it sounds like a good idea. A great idea, even. They were created with family in mind, as a place children could be raised in a community. Community was the reason. If you live in a suburb today, odds are you don't know your neighbor's name, or maybe even what they look like. What does it look like from the outside? Doors and windows closed. 7am: garage door opens, car backs out, garage door closes. 6pm: garage door opens, car pulls in, garage door closes. Doors and windows closed, light from television flickering. 11pm: lights out. Are you twitching yet?

Doesn't it make you want to paint your front door purple? To gut the insides and rebuild a haven that is your family's expression? To throw the television into the street and invite friends over to discuss ideas and actually know them? Please tell me I'm not crazy.

It's not about living in the suburbs. It's about keeping the creative core of who we are alive. And that, Emily and Dawn, is why I won't move to North Carefree and Powers. I rest my case. :)


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Give Me Simple

Okay dear souls, I'm sharing my business website with you, and it makes me a pinch queasy. It's been in the works for a while, and I finally got everything together. If you visit and have a thought about the site, I'd love to hear it. But go somewhat easy on me -- I didn't hire anyone to help me.

So here it is:

a million thanks. xo

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Black, White, or Both?

Does life ever humor you with its contradictions?

In the same moment, you can...
be going everywhere yet be going nowhere.
cry and laugh.
be confident but terrified.
be rich and broke.
yell and not be heard.
fail and succeed.

I'm sitting on my deck right now watching the golfers (one in particular), chuckling at what must be his present irony. He's concentrating, winding up, following through, swinging so hard he almost swung full circle. Now he's gazing, hopeful. Will the ball do what he wanted it to? No. No it didn't. All the effort, the focus, the hours of behind-the-scenes practice, just to watch the ball land exactly where you didn't want it to. It's no wonder I don't golf.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Clever little song

We're not supposed to have favorites, I know. But who doesn't? And who's counting? My favorite kinds of people are the clever ones, the ones who can say something that leave you thinking you've never thought that thought before. Even though you have.

Musicians and writers are especially good at this (at least the good ones are). My beautiful friend Erica introduced me to this song by Jason Mraz, and I've hardly been able to stop listening. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Love. Perhaps the most overused and misunderstood word in the English language, it's easy to see why love is underrated and overrated at the same time. I love to travel and I love to run. I love chocolate and I love my mom. I loved my Subaru, I don't love my Ford. I love Jesus my Savior, and He loves me.

You see? Confusing. Of course we all assume the intensity of the love based on the context. But have you ever wondered if we actually don't differentiate and only think we do? What if our brains register love for orchids in the same category as love for family? Hot disaster. I only say this because I've recently wondered if I truly believe the Bible when it speaks of God's steadfast love for us, or if I skim over it as I would someone writing of their love for Michael Jackson. There's a massive difference, and I've been shocked to realize that I have to consciously process it in order to realize it.

I'm not suggesting that we add more 'love' words to our language (although it's not a bad idea). That's not my point. Love is sacred. It is pure, its beneficiaries don't compete for love. It's given freely, fully, completely. Love originated in God, and it knows no condition. We can't search its depth, and therefore can never be beyond its reach. It is the safest place to be.

Psalm 63:3-4. "Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands."

I had been thinking about this for several days, and timing was perfect. A few days ago, some people I LOVE very much told me that my tongue was malfunctioning. Or maybe it was my heart that was in the wrong place, but either way, I needed to be inspected and fix my DRA (dirty rotten attitude). This is painful to hear, especially when your name means "full of grace" and that is what you hope to be. But because of God's steadfast love, I need not despair. He is a refuge, a safe haven that wants love and humility from His children.

This is love:
Ephesians 1:7-10. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth."

In love is hope. precious hope. precious Jesus. worthy of all our best and deepest love.