Sunday, December 26, 2010

the holidays restful? (NFTPL #20)

i think so often as much as many of us love the holidays there are not a time of rest or relaxation...i know for me for the last several years they have been a time of great stress because often i was very broke or out of work with the families I worked for traveling to see family. when i had gotten christmas bonuses they would go to paying bills for the month or getting christmas presents for people not for something fun for me. even this year the "christmas money" i received was used to pay bills and once again i did not really work most of this month.

yet unlike years past i didn't need to stress about it and i was actually able to find rest during this sacred time of reflection. one of the reasons was that i had enough money to pay all of my bills at the beginning of the month so what i had in my account was what i had and i didn't have to worry about whether or not i could pay this or that. also i am blessed to be living with my best friend and her parents so i didn't have to worry about paying for food or the large amount of gas to get home for christmas. but what really made the holiday restful was the fact that we did spent both weekend away from home in a hotel and the family condo with aunt & uncle and cousins, all of which combined to bring rest for the holiday. it was such a delight to engage with teenagers and a elementary student who genuinely loved and enjoyed each other. i was reminded of how much i miss the times when i get to be with both of my brothers and revel in that sibling comradely. but above all else the best part of christmas was the fact that on christmas morning i got to go swimming and have a martini right after breakfast...if only every day could start like that i would be a happy camper or at least with the swimming!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

crashed (NFTPL #19)

it's been raining a lot here in los angeles over the last few days, unlike the northwest who gets rain frequently, rain here can be and usually is very dangerous. the last time it rained this badly was January of 2005 when my best friend was getting married, that week several houses fell down mullholland drive and laurel canyon! so even being the ever experienced rain driver driving here in the rain kind of freaks me out a bit mostly because people don't know that it isn't the best idea to barrel along as one would in the sun. why driving home this afternoon i was being tailgated by a semi-truck doing at least 65 in a torrential down pour with very little visibility. needless to say when it is badly raining here in los angeles i am very happy when traffic is forced to drive under 50mph. this happened as i was coming back from sierra madre a town about fifteen minutes north west of us. oh and one more thing when there is an accident even if it isn't on the road it slows or stops traffic because people always want to look at it which is something i don't understand...since by looking at it you could cause another accident since you aren't paying attention to the road. anyway as i was slowing inching up the last hill before exiting the freeway i was on to get on the other freeway i need to get home i saw the flashing lights to my left. what i noticed as i got closer and close was that there were over five fire trucks and three police cars. in that instant i realized something major had happened but i still couldn't see the cause, just as i was almost parallel with the emergency vehicle i caught a glimpse of a car door pulled up and off it's hinged right next to a palm tree. someone had wrapped their car around the tree that was the reason and need for all the aid vehicles. in that instance i lost my breath, tears and sobs filled my throat and it was all i could do to keep focused and drive. my mom that what i kept thinking and my heart raced as i prayed begging prayer for whoever had been in the car and all the people who would be affect by this event. i prayed that it would be a place for light and hope to enter instead of darkness i prayed that God would used this horrible thing to glory to offer redemption, reconciliation, and renewal. i know what it is like to have your whole world shatter in an instant because of stupid weather and is awful and horrible and it's taken me years to heal. yet when i see a horrific car accident i revert to eleven years ago to walking off an airplane and hearing the news that my mom may not make it through the night. i wish that no one else ever has to hear thoses words...and if they do that they find and are offered love and grace and hope that overrides the shattering of a crash.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

of transitions and the unexpected (NFTPL #18)

i start school again three weeks from tomorrow, while i am excited and up for the challenge of it, i find myself thinking about how different my life is that then life that i had wanted. even six months ago i would have been awestruck to hear that i would be attending seminary again, it just wasn't on my radar. i have never really felt like a theologian or felt the need to be a pastor ( a pastor's wife maybe but only when a cute and interesting man was involved) from the time i can remember all i ever wanted to be was a professional artist. yet here i find my self going back to study theology, granted i am working on an emphasis of art and cultural, but in the end i am studying and working with people who want to for the most part be pastors and work in christian organizations and that just isn't where my heart is. it's weird good but weird...i don't seem to understand why i keep ending up in this conundrum. for the most part nobody but me seems surprised by this course from the outside perspective it seems to make a lot of sense, and yet so often when i have prayed and sat with these choices i have felt that i was being told that this path leads me back to being able to act and create art, God hasn't forgotten those desires it's just that the timing is different than i expected it.

which i can understand even now looking back at my life i can see how if i hadn't been at spu when the accident happened how easy it would have been for me to go off the deep end...seeking various forms of mental and emotional obliteration. when i was younger i was not as solid in my self and easily would have lost myself in all the alluring temptations of college (sex, drugs, alcohol and rock-n-roll)...maybe it was something that my subconscious mind knew and that is why i chose to attend the only christian school i had applied to. not that there wasn't things going on there...but unlike many of the public or non-religious school that my friends went to, activities at spu had to be hidden because we did have a morality clause. for me the fact that i had a choice to engage in activities or not was really helpful in finding balance. i did break several of the clauses but i also did it in a very safe and controlled spaces with people i could trust instead of constantly encountering all of these things without a place of safety and escape. at times i have regretted the fact that i didn't have certain experiences or make certain choices, yet i also know that fundamentally i am practical and think about the implications of said choices. i mean it's hard to justify say sleeping with someone you just met at a party when you brain is ticking off all the possible diseases they might be carrying not to mention the fact that while birth control is 99% effective that it is only that percentage effective when used properly and i can say based on other experienced that most of the time drunk people are not going to be able to effectively use much of anything that is smaller than a breadbox and even then it's risky.

in addition i find that during this time i am so overwhelmed by the blessings and provisions that have been offered and bestowed upon me. i feel so filled with thankfulness and gratitude that my heart at times feels as if it will hurts!

it will be interesting to see what comes next on this journey.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the need to be chosen (NFTHPL #17)

i find that i keep coming back to this central desire in my life...the need to be chosen and seen as unique and lovely, specifically in regard to relationships. it's seems so silly to say and yet it keep rearing it's head when i am not looking blindsiding me with the full weight of feeling unlovely and unwanted. today i found myself once again wrestling with the need and desire. sure this must have something to do with my father, the fact i never went to prom, the lack of a long term relationship, and the history of some very unhealthy and destructive relationships during college. yes yes all of those elements along with my own self hatred and insecurity have been the tools used to create this obscene presence in my heart and mind.

does it really matter part of me wonders, why this is here but rather what matters most is that it is here this sculpture of gaping need. it is that evil voice in the back of my mind sitting poised to crush any wayward notion of hope. today driving in traffic on the 10 with brmc on the i-pod and shiloh taking a nap in the passenger seat i found my heart swelling with anger and grief over the damage that i have both allowed and been party too that made me think i was nothing and worthy of nothing. all those voices that have invalidated my intuition and said that to be chosen was not for me..."no, no you are the servant girl, the best friend, this is not your story." some how i was made to believe that i don't get to live the princess, brave strong woman's story. one of my favorite lines in the christmas movie "the holiday" is when the kind old screen writer tells kate winslet that she needs to live her life as the lead in her story not the supporting role. i often feel that i have done nothing with my life, especially today when none of my previous graduate credits transfer into the new program, i have three degrees and a lot of debt but not much else. as more and more friends go on to fall in love and have relationships, get married and have children...i find that i feel even younger and inexperienced that i all ready do. some how in my brain the relationships, career, children route feels like real life and in contrast mine feels empty and unstated.

i know and fully admit, drunk or sober, that i bought the whole fairytale life of marriage and children and proms and college sweethearts, mind you it wasn't all i wanted but i figured it was just what happens...something that lands in your lap and you don't have to do much work to get it because that's just the way life works. boy was i wrong! it doesn't even appear, at least not in my world, relationships were more like the rare and hard to find truffle (which by the way tasted like ass after all the hard work) and i was ill prepared with a child sized plastic shovel. oh and then there is the pesky manner of my own self protection in the guise of a sign that reads "what the hell do you want, who do you really want to talk to, and (best of all) don't F**K with me" even as i type the words of my well worn signs that evil little voice trills over and over "but if you were really worth it those signs wouldn't matter..." in the end i feel broken and childish and way to young and old for my own good...but most of all tired of being alone and waiting and waiting and waiting for someone who never seems to come and the final nail in the coffin i am just way to damned suborn to just take secret heart wants magic and fairytale and fireworks because i deserve it...i think.

honestly, i want someone who challenges me, who believe in God, and is cute and talented in his own way. or at least a nice substitute for a while who happens to be a great kisser among other things.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the joy of an act (NFTPL #17)

today i was given the chance to paint while serving in my church and it was great. for a hour and a half i painted hot air balloons for the children's classroom. while there are still so many ideas still bumbling around in my head that need to jump out on to a canvas in the near future just the act of dipping a brush into paint and applying that onto something was so rejuvenating and grounding. there was an easy felt in my being for the rest of the day because of that simple act repeated over and over again.

it is so easy for me to forget how much creating and having the mental and spiritual space that creation brings is vital to my well-being. with out it i loose direction and focus. while i was at mars hill i found that often painting helped me find clarity when i was stuck on a paper or idea. because of that i realize going into this next program i NEED to make it part of my process, much like i need to make doing early drafts and research early part of my rhythm and process. the grounding which comes out of painting for me is so vital and yet it is so very easy to ignore that calling inside.

today shiloh and i were talking about art over dinner and i realized that so often we (collective we) forget to incorporate those artistic practices that give us life into our life. i want to make space to create it a vital and central element of my life from now on and be open to what happens with that creation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

banging things in my head...(NFTPL #16)

there seems to be so many different things banging around in my head as of late. mostly they seem to be little nuggets of inspiration, kernels of future study, or that child like nudging saying it's time to paint. today driving home after a full day which included a bit of childcare in the morning, la traffic, attempts but not success at napping and then a dinner at a urban ministry...all the subtle nudging swelled and grew as BRMC's "The Toll" echoed through the sound system of my best friend's car via my ipod and i thought my heart would burst with all the inexpressible gratitude and emotion. still three months after moving to los angeles i find that i am still being amazed and blessed by the unexpected. some days God chooses to be more showy, as anne lamott puts it, and today was one of those days.

it started with a sermon as i drove in fog slowed traffic at 6:30am. edwin, the pastor of the church i attend was talking about the lack of passion people have today and how we are called to live lives marked by passion for the vision of God and those specific unique gifts that we each are given to use passionately for the blessing of others. my heart cried out hearing those words, he went on to say that it is not enough just to know your skills/gifting/calling/passion but it is also important for you to know how specifically you utilize that. he spoke about his own need as a writer for someone to come along side him and type out his works and story. at which point i was dumb struck by the solid knowledge that i need people to come along side and create with is one of the aspects to how i uniquely utilize my skills and gifting.

the same idea of passion came up this evening...John Perkins (major name in racial reconciliation) spoke about passion as the calling to live with people, to take on their suffering and emphasize with their situation and help change it. he also spoke about the fact that currently we have lost passion as church and people in general because we have everything we want at our fingers. which was similar to edwin's talking about the current lack of passion in people.

i began to think about things that i am drawn to the places and issues where even when unintentionally i speak with fever and passion. one of them is women and abuses that happen to women and girls. which lend to musings on the disconnection between some people who i have known who are passionate about social justice for women who are trapped in various forms of slave trade and human trafficking yet who do not treat the people they are in relationship with in the same manner of dignity and respect. i recall an author who has written a piece in eve elsener's "a memory, a rant, a prayer" about his experience in exposing human trafficking in thailand and yet in his first book glorified the object focused random sex he had in and after college. it feels like something is missing...that there is a underlying current of something missing in that equation. i wondered what it would cost to fully give to reconcile the dissonance in my life so that my integrity was solid through and through with out the discontinuity...yet still bringing my humanity, hope, love and truth to every encounter i have with another.

i think both of the wise men i listened to during the day were right about passion and i think that maybe through the fusion of gifts, passion, truth, love, and faith that integrity and hope can be found...or at least a meaning and purpose for one's unique and beautiful life that is greater than just filling the gaping whole of desire but rather roots and grows a tree of deep meaning out of that life.

and in the end i want to do something good and creative and positively changing in the world and in the lives of others. and so my heart wells with joy and anticipation about the journey that i am on to get to that place.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

musings (NFTPL # random insert)

just some random musings about life...

i am finding that the more "real" school becomes the more i disassociate from the reality of it. i start taking graduate classes again in less than a month yet i find that more than anything i have this desire to bury my head in the sand. then i feel guilty for disassociating and it gets all wonky in my head. isn't it so very funny how when you want something badly and worry and stress about it and then *pow* it's there in front of you suddenly that thing you wanted becomes something to stress over for other reasons. or at least that is what happens to me....god help the next man i date!

in other news it's been a week since i was with anyone under the age of 23 and...i am missing being around children and babies. which is weird because after eight years of working in child care i am constantly worried that if i continue to spend my life raising other people's children that i really won't want any of my own. recently though i have found this buried desire for children jumping out of my heart at the weirdest places, like just now while watching a music video i was suddenly over come by the desire to have children of my own, well that and the desire to have children with a man who can play guitar well (is hopefully a musician) and at the least has good taste in music. often when i am struck with this desire full on i feel the need to erase and remove the desire. i think that comes from the twofold fact that 1) i still have at least five years of school left on my plate and b) the more glaring reality which is that i haven't had a serious relationship nor met anyone i would want to have said serious relationship with in many many moons. so the whole wanting a child thing becomes a sad and fearful thing in it's seeming impossibility.

lastly, while i miss the snuggling down that come from a north west winter wonderland...i love the fact that there is no snow in my future and that the heaviest form out outerwear i need is a sweater or my leather jacket! oh los angeles you make me so very happy.

and here ends my random thoughts

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Community (NFTPL #15)

So on the days I am working I have started this habit of listening to older sermon series from Mosaic ( Currently I am listening to the series from last spring on Ecclesiastes. Yesterday the message was all about community, how much of what Solomon is saying about life being meaningless has to do with his view of relationships, what motivates them and his profound sense of loneliness. One of the aspects of the text that Erwin spent a significant amount of time talking about was the concept that life goes better for us when we are in community (I want to acknowledge the fact that communities can be destructive as well but for now I am going to focus on the positive aspects). Part of it is practicality there are many things we are incapable of doing on our own. For example, it is so much easier to massage knots in your shoulders if you ask another person to do it than trying to do it your self. By design we are created for community we become more creative when in dialogue with another we aspire to greater things based on the encouragement and when the unexpected or sorrowful enters our lives the support of others at times is what gets us through the darkness.

To listen to this was for me a rush of encouragement and frustration. I am one of those people who needs and desires community so much so that at certain times I have placed the needs of others above my own in a way that inhibitated my ability to succeed. And still community is still one of the central ways I encounter life, so as an artist I find that I am more creative when in some form of community context. Ever since I was little I have dreamed and desired a relationship that was an out pouring of artistic and relational conectivity...I want my partner to be my partner in life and art. Hearing this sermon bubbled up that desire again to a more central part of my brain but it also helped me better understand how I need to have others to create....with out that connection I find that my artistic expression get stymied and stiffled. And while knowing this is good, very good it also becomes a place of frustration when there aren't others around to encourage the creativity or to colaberate with. Not having that sense of community can cause me to stop the act of creation. There are so many things that I could say on this but I will leave that for another post...

Getting what you wanted...(NFTPL #14)

I have spent most of my life not getting the things that I wanted. I can remember a few instances for Christmas or birthdays getting that one thing that I really really wanted to get, but mostly it was the things that I kind of wanted but would have eventually gotten for my self. This not getting what I wanted was specifically acute in regard to dating relationships...all through high school and college the guys who liked me were never the boys that I was interested in dating. For most of my life I have thought that God was out to get me or that I had some how done something so horribly wrong that I was only good enough for cast off know like the tennis shoes you get for christmas that you need but aren't the incredible Frye boots that you had been lusting after all year? I believed to my core that if ever I deeply wanted something that there was absolutely no chance at all that I would have it.

Over the last several years God had been trying to change this perspective...hitting me over the head a few times until I get that God is good and REALLY does want the best for me. This changing view has been acutely evidenced over the last few months, specifically since doors started opening for me to move down to Los Angeles. I have found while living in this process that if I let go, breath, do what I need to do, and trust that God will take care of me and bring blessings. One of those provisions of God's blessings came yesterday in my inbox. The last year has been about applying and preparing for a secondary Master's degree. At first I thought it was going to be attending Claremont Graduate School for an MA in Cultural Studies & Media...yet over the course of this year it has change to finishing a larger theology degree at Fuller Theological School and going on to get a Phd in Theology and Art from Fuller. I had sent in my application at the end of October and had everything but one recommendation in by the first week in November...the final piece came in the thursday before Thanksgiving and I was pretty sure I wouldn't hear anything until next week sometime. But wednesday morning as I was going over the plan for the day with Shiloh and checking my email there was a letter in my inbox from Fuller. I had been admitted into the program...this lead to a furry of phone calls, text messages, & emails letting everyone know...and yet all day Shiloh kept asking me if I was excited because I was pretty much my usual temperment with an added layer of stress. I found it hard to just stay in the moment of "Yay" I got into school but instead immediately was thinking a head to scheduling, funding, ect.

Reflecting on this as I drove to work early this morning, I realized that I haven't developed the ability yet to just be happy when I am given something that I really wanted and have asked God to provide. I am more comfortable with disappointment than I am with the gift of getting.What was more acute to this reflection was the fact that in so many ways getting into school was something that I knew with a decent amount of certainty was going to happen there was absolutely no reason I would not be admitted. So then given the certainty of God's provision I freak out I wondered how much I will try to dispell joy when I am given something I really desire and think is impossible...such as a relationship with someone I actually like or a job that is in my field and passion? How great is my inhability to hold joy and thankfulness for God's gifts, will I try to destroy that just so that I can remove the discomfort that being given abundance and blessing brings? I hope and believe that I am being offered little things so that with each one I can learn better how to live in blessing so that when those HUGE wants and desires of my heart are presented I don't completely destroy or run away from the beautiful gift. I also hope that in the midst of this journey I learn to see blessing, joy and learn to bless even when everything sucks and light feels like it is left forever...I hope that as I seek to further my skills, talents, and education that I also further grow in relationship to the God who seeks to bless and love all of God's GOOD creation.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanks Giving (NFTPL #12)

What does it mean to be thankful? This is the thought that has been running through my head all it just something you do once a week or is a form of whole life transformation? What does a disposition of thankfulness look like? As I have pondered I have been struck by the thought that it is a gratitude for all that is placed in your life the good and the bad (which God turns into good). It is the act of saying I am blessed through the crazy friends and family members who try my patience because through my encounters with their brokenness and love I am reminded of my own. It is the willingness to eat the awful and hurtful things that I could say because I am seeking to love. When it come down to it being thankful is having the outlook that seeks to bless instead of curse...the offering of grace when it is the last possible thing you want to do. Grace and Thanks giving are best seen when they are hard to give, not easy. This I think is the lesson of thanks giving, the sacrifice of giving it even when it is hard and brutal.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dying to self...(NFTPL #11)

So the church I am currently going to here in Los Angeles is all about service, but not in a overwhelming way. To them service is just the extension of grace and getting out of your self. Sometimes calls at churches to be in service can feel very guilted and pushy but that isn't how I feel with Mosaic. Tonight the sermon was about baptism and the death to self which one is called to by following God. Now I can't even count the number of times I have heard words or sermons around these topics but especially the dying to self can get very warped in how it plays out in the church.

For example when we were talking about gender in the church in my last graduate program, we spent a lot of time talking about the fact that women or other people who have no voice, power or position with in certain communities of believers (outside of the expectation of them serving others) are told specifically when they seek to step into greater things God has for them are told that they must "die to themselves" essence your calling and gifting is in valid a spiritual "woman get your ass back in the kitchen and make me some food". Or it is the person who has given so much of themselves with out resting and being filled up who is asked to give even more when they are bone dry.

This is not Mosaic's approach, and every time I hear one of the pastors encourage serving others I find that my heart is spurred on in a desire to be of service. In fact I find that I want badly to be useful to others to have something to offer out of what little I have. I also find that as I seek out tiny ways I can serve each day that I feel more aware of God's little a rainbow I saw this afternoon. Just those little things that say hi & yes, I do know what I am doing and it will be ok. And as funny as it is seeing those moments and letting go has taken dying to my typical responses...which is a dying to self.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

No More Control (NFTPL #10)

I have issues with control...well really I have issues with trust. I find it really hard to believe that people will actually follow through with what they say they will do (well there are a few people that I trust for the most part). Anytime I have something important that relies on another person I internally freak out a bit. I'm not exactly sure how this whole issue came about especially considering that I have been acting since I was little and anyone who have been to a play knows that it is all about trusting that the other person will show up but yet here I am in my early thirties and scared that people will unintentionally screw me over. More than anything my lack of trust I think is rooted in a spiritual issue, for much of the last seventeen or more years I have questioned whether or not God is trust worthy. From an early age growing up in a church environment I was told that God was good and trust worthy...yet I also from that same young age experienced family members becoming very sick, friends from pre and elementary school dying or their parents dying, and my Mom having a miscarriage at 6mth a long. As I entered my teenage years the weight of these instanced coupled with more trama watered the question of God's trust took until my second year of graduate school for me to maybe believe that God was for me and not against me.

Since then, especially with in the last twelve months, I have grown in leaps and bounds in my willingness to trust God and others. Enter two incidents and I find my delicate trust begin to slip a bit. The first being that after three weeks I am still waiting for my last recommendation which is the last bit of my application for my next graduate program...part of me know's that my former professor will get it in because he said he would but another dark and worried voice is afraid he won't. Each morning I wake up and have to give this over to God trusting that God's timing is perfect and my vision is limited. The good voice in my head says things like "it's God wanting to be showy and bring it in with a big POW". Second incident is that my temp nanny position ends this friday and that means I am out of work, and since the last conversation I had with them was that they wanted me to stay through at least january I had taken a breather from looking and applying for work. This meant that currently I didn't have any interviews lined up.

Now given these two things I could freak out and make my self sick with worry or I can say ok God you are good and for me and I trust you help me in my lack of trust. The latter is what I am choosing to do, especially since I had two lovely friends remind me that God has always provided when I needed work and that they both are blessed through hearing how God shows up for encourages them to trust too.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

music that keeps on giving...BRMC love(NFTPL #9)

ever since i took my best friend to her first "small venue" concert a few months ago, we went to see BRMC at the Glass House, their music has been flowing as an ever persent element of both of our soundtracks. even though i have been a fan of theirs for the last several years, i hadn't really realized how incredible they are, i mean i knew but i didn't know. i had seen them previously and hands down it was the sexiest concert i have ever been to and i have been to see plenty of bands but they are like fire! the more and more i listen to them the more i am aware of the power, magic, and beauty of the world they create. today while sitting in traffic i decided for the whole drive i would listen to their newest album (beat the devil's tattoo) and nothing else. and holy healing rock and roll batman!! this album is incredible... sweet feeling, a love song wrapped in the guise of full on rock hard on. if i hadn't been listening with my whole mind i wouldn't have caught the hopelessly romantic lyrics. then there was the conversation with death/goddess called aya and inspiration went on a swirling treasure hunt through my mind. i think i am going to get a very interesting painting and possibly a short story. but most of all i love this band because they are talented men who love what they do and love the people they do it for which is what i think and hope all artists should want to be. they are vehicles of blessing and change portraying the power of art in the life of others.

heart to brmc!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ch-ch-changes (NFTPL #8)

Isn't funny how you can be so certain about something and then pow you come in contact with something that totally shifts your direction. Or maybe just slightly turns you a few degrees off from that course you were so set on. So when I came down to Los Angeles almost two months ago I was still planning on applying to Claremont Graduate School for a secondary Masters, with the idea of starting in January of 2011.

But like many things in life, especially major transitions, nothing has gone as I expected it. Including getting the twenty pages of research writing and letter of intent for my application and retaking the blasted GRE all of which is required for Claremont. In addition I have found out about more possible programs that could work with what I want to teach as a professor and might in the end be a better fit with who I am and what I want to do than Claremont...oh yeah and the price tags are cheaper! So as I enter into my third month living in California I find myself becoming open to the shifting and rumbling of direction that God is doing. I have no idea what or where this new twist will lead the one thing I do have is a greater sense of peace about not knowing and a growing ability to trust in the unknown. For the first time in my life more of me is excited about the possibility of new changes than fearful that everything will fall out from underneath me. If nothing else being here has been a place to breath and trust.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I've Been Away a Year and a Day (NFTPL # 6)

Six to seven years ago my dear friend Jillian took me to the Tractor Tavern in Ballard, Wa to see Deb Talan. Little did I know how defining that night would be or how I would walk away bound to Deb and her now husband Steve Tannen both as solo artists and as the band The Weepies Since that first night, on what was their first tour as a couple and band, I have not passed up a chance to see them play live.

Two nights ago I was given the chance to see them again after a four year touring absence due in part to their having two little boys (if only they needed a nanny). My best friend had gotten me tickets as a birthday present months ago. When we got there I was a bit tired and grouchy...sunday had been full of driving all over Los Angeles for interviews and picking my godmother up from LAX, total side note I HATE LAX both as a traveler and pick up person it is a horribly confusing place makes me miss good ol' SETAC, any way all of that to say that I was super tired and as much as I LOVE to see Deb and Steve play I was not in the best concert viewing mood. Yet things started to move up as soon as we got to the historic El Ray theatre. First of all when we pulled up and got in line there was with cute redheaded girl in front of us who looked so very familiar but I couldn't seem to place her. Do you ever have that, where you see someone and you know that you know them but can't for the life of you figure out where you know them from? Then it hit me...she's an actress in a show that both of us watch. Since I was in line first I got to watch as Shiloh realized who this girl was...her face was glowing. "Is that?" she inquired. "Yes" I smiled back. And her next words I kid you not were, "Oh I have to text my parents right now". To which I laughed and said of course...her parents are super cool and fans of the tv show too.

Pretty soon we were in the theatre and suddenly I got this huge rush of homesickness for Seattle. The El Ray is beautiful and big what would constitute a mid-sized venue(if you keep out area shows which I do) in Seattle, about the size of the downtown Showbox if they also had an up stairs bar a quarter of the size of Nemos. First this is weird because I had never seen the Weepies play at a venue bigger than the Tractor in Seattle. There is something so wonderful and intimate about seeing a band you love in a venue that isn't that big. It becomes more like seeing old friends play than seeing a huge show. Don't get me wrong I want great things for this band but it is also hard when a band you have been seeing for years suddenly has all these fans with the screaming people that accompany the larger size shows. I remember a friend going to see Death Cab, who she had followed since high school, when they became super big..three albums ago, and her frustration with all the drunken frat boys who had suddenly taken over the show. That was a bit how I felt last night...but then they started playing and I remembered why I love seeing them play live in the first place because even before they got married Deb and Steve embodied a good right relationship on stage. Ever since that first show years ago their interaction and banter was the visual image of what my lonely heart wanted so badly. While both incredible solo artists they together are even more magical, and there is such whimsy and tenderness between them. I remember when one of them was playing solo stuff the other if they weren't playing would stand just off to the right of the stage gazing at the person on stage just beaming.

It has always been my hearts desire to find a life partner who I could co-create with and who I looked at and who looks at me with that glow that comes from being with someone you truly adore and feel so blessed to be with. The Weepies, from what I see, have that. Going to see them play calls to that desire drawing it out for me to examine again and offer it up to one who knows the end of my story. It is both a lavish and heartbreaking experience for me. So often I find my heart and mind echoing the lyrics of Deb's song "How Will He Find Me?" For unlike her I have yet to find my other half and so many days as an artist I feel my self floundering about wondering what the hell I am doing and if I will ever get to a place that does not include raising other peoples children but rather one where my talents and skills are well used and my huge heart is met by another... for now I have the Weepies to inspire and remind me of hope and that others have tread all paths of this journey before me and found life and art and love and beauty.

How will he find me-Deb Talan

If I don't stand out like a star among the moons
if I am always late and he always backs away too soon
I walk the world with a skin so thin
I can wear no adequate protection
everything comes crashing in.
If I'm too wide open for this place
but not enough for him to recognize my face

How will he find me
with no one's arms to gather me together?
How will he find me?
Only held by gravity, faded with uncertainty
no longer young and not that pretty
how will he ever find me?

It never seems to matter, the tears I cry.
There's a well inside of me that never runs dry
from being born I guess, and born in life until we die.
The music and the hope for love keep me alive
still I wonder, how will he find me?

And what shall I do with a drunken heart
with goggle eyes and the troubling hunger
reaching forward to trick mirror men
leaning out and in again.
If love is a game how can it be creation?
And if I'm wasting my time
how will he find me?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

(NFTPL #5)

Beautiful grace, these are the words that come to mind when I think about church this evening. Tonight I found God again in a well known night club in downtown Los Angeles. Church shopping has never been a favorite thing for me, so often it is awakard and weird because of being highlighted as the vistor. When I moved down I got a list of churches from friends to check out and try, one of these churches was Mosaic. I knew that it was more in the emergent vain similar to churches like Imago Dei in Portland, Fremont Abby & Church of the Beloved in Seattle, and Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids. In all honesty I had been trying to avoid going to one of the trendy churches but today because my dear best friend was sacked by illness I figured I would give it a try. To prepare and get a taste for the church I spent a few hours last night listening to sermon podcasts from the church. And just listening to these messages my heart was excited.

So this morning I decided that I would check out the service closest to me in Whitter before I went to a job interview this afternoon. I was so proud of my self getting up and out of the house to get to church. So with my map quest directions in tow, yes I totally need a gps badly, I set out to get to church in the 20 minutes google said it would take for me to get there. Only it didn't it took me an hour and a half to get there by which time church was over. Now at this point I could have given up and just tried another time but for whatever reason I felt compelled to go to church today. So I decided that I would try one of the evening services after my interview. In the end I decided that I would hit the first downtown evening service because the two pastors that listened to last night both preach at this service.

Anyway I got there directions in hand..and it was great. There was someone painting off to the side during the service and the music was good a little rock concert but good. In that moment I realized it is ok, because we are the generation that finds God in the concerts and movies and books what have you and it is good for a church to see where God is speaking not forcing God to be where we think God should be. Ok back to the service, it was like every aspect of the service was speaking to me...something that hadn't happened at the last few churches I have been to. The message was out of 1 John and the idea of becoming light it went beyond that, he spoke of light meaning that we are translucent light shining out from us. That when we are connected to God and bearing that light brighter as we are more connected to God and others. It was beautiful and I was drawn back to God. And next week I will go again.

This move has been so good for me, a continuing space for me to learn to trust. On of the little gems in the service tonight was this "faith draws us into the light" when he said this it was like being hit in the face by the Holy Spirit..."this is what I have been saying to you all week".

Thursday, September 30, 2010

waiting (NFTPL #4)

This is a week of waiting, waiting for things to come together. It is hard this waiting. I have now been in Los Angeles for a month and yet I have yet to find a job...I have had several interviews and am looking every day for work. I alway forget how hard it is to find a job. This has been true for me ever since I graduated from college before that I never had a problem finding work. The hardest thing with not having a job is that it leaves a sense of limbo, and I don't do well in limbo.

And yet it is good for me to learn how to function with in a state of limbo because we don't always get to have things the way we want them or when we want them. One would think by know that I have if nothing else master this...for years my life has not been what I expected or wanted it to be and yet I still struggle with letting go. I am good if it doesn't have to do with work or if I have enough money in my account to feel safe, then I can let go and go with the flow, but if those aren't in order then I freak out. Trusting is the root of waiting I think, trusting that God is in control and will come through even when it feels as if it won't.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fairytale of One size fits all (NFTPL #3)

A conversation today got me thinking about the fact that there are very little if any things in life that are one size(way) fits all. Now mind you I am not talking about a laisseze faire attitude about everything in life, I do believe there are certain absolute things like the call to love others as yourself, humility and seeking justice and mercy, caring for those who are in need, ect.

But what I was hit with was the fact that so many things are not absolute or guaranteed in life yet many of us think and walk around like they are exactly that way. We expect them and act entitled and then get our feather and whatever else all ruffled when things that we thought were certain aren't for us or those we love. This happens I believe in every sphere of life...I have found it to be very common in a Christian context which I find very interesting and counter to what scripture holds to be true about God and God's way of interacting with is never the same in fact it is the antithesis of one size fits all. One of the most beautiful aspects of God's action in history is the diversity in which God chooses to act. God's action is always different, for example look at the way God chooses to in regard to Balaam via his donkey (numbers 22:28-30).

In my life I have had to learn this truth. Nothing has gone the way that I expected it to, by 19 I was essentially with out parents, and I still haven't had a job that pays well or that is something I love. And yet I have a life that is chosen uniquely for me by God, so that I can be the best light bearer that I can...offering the gifts and skills I have been given to bless others. Looking back I can see points where the light of God has made it past my failures and touched others. Continuing on this journey I hope to become more and more the person I was created to be. While I have never wanted to live a "typical life" the playing out of that has been very different than what I have expected yet instead of getting upset or angry or jealous I am choosing to embrace this as my life, because really this is the only life I get.

Friday, September 10, 2010

music videos, questions and what did i just do? (NFTPL #2)

So many things bumbling around in my head while I stare out the window and look at the beauty of the sunset...dusk here in Los Angeles is a very beautiful time of night.

As I have said before this transition is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be...I find I am daily fighting the ever present voice of doubt trying to completely throw me off kilter. Mostly this consists of reminding me of what I miss, like knowing where I am going and having people to hang out with. This little voice fails to mention the fact that I am in general better tempered here than in the gloom or that I needed to get away from the safety that comes with being too familiar with a place (not always a bad thing but it was for me). It's a funny thing missing some place that you had need to leave for sometime...I almost cried over shots of Portland in the Loretta Lynn video "Portland, Or" Maybe it is the feeling of being known and knowing that I miss so much...when at my best friend's house or out with her family I don't miss things nearly as much as when I am at my godparents or out on my own. Which would mean that my thoughts about being know are spot on. All of this aside I know in my heart when I am truly being honest that staying in the Northwest was not an option for was a resignation a releasing of hope and desire because it meant that I hadn't tried or ventured out on my own. I want a life filled with boldness, adventure, and challenge for me staying in a place that was comfortable would mean saying no to those aspects of life...I don't know how else to explain it except to know that it is true.

In addition to those clever little bits of nostalgia the darned voice keeps rolling a few lines from "Away We Go" specifically the lines "Burt are we fuck ups?" "No...what do you mean?" "I mean we...don't have this basic stuff figured out...basic like how to live...we have a cardboard window...I think we might be fuck ups." It's a sentiment I often have felt this spite of the fact that I have lived on my own since I was 18 I still feel like somehow I made all the wrong choices and will never be able to get to a place of stability or even for that matter having money in my savings account! And then everywhere you turn people are getting older, you're getting older and everyone is having babies and getting married and buying houses and getting "real jobs" and here I am living with my parent's best friends(very thankful don't think I am not) and watching what little money I have flow out of my account like an ever increasing dripping faucet and the only man who has hit on me in the last nine months was the scary drive through worker two days ago! Faced with all of that I have to I a fuck up? Granted I have three degrees and am hoping to gain at least one more and I have done well as a nanny and gotten a lot of positive encouragement from the people I have worked for but I still look at my life and feel like it resembles the first crappy apartment one gets fresh out of college that goes with the crappy job and the (if you are so blessed) weird little troll of a boyfriend. It isn't the place of a thirty something highly educated woman no, it is more (no offence for this generalization) the den of your resident pothead who is so baked all the time that eating, smoking pot, and (fill in the blank) takes every ounce of life he or she can muster. Which still makes me wonder am I a over talented over educated fuck up?

Speaking lastly of I spent sometime watching music videos online out of the ten or so I watched I found that there we only a few that were decent. Now let me say that I am of the opinion that a music video should be interesting and entertaining and that the more creative and thoughtful you are with a video the more it will stick your song in the mind of your views and fans. There have been several videos in fact that have pushed a song into greatness for me and several that have been MAJOR disappointments because the song was so great that paring it with a stupid video just made my inner artist cry and wish that I had the resources to make something better.

These are just a few of the videos that I find interesting both the panic at the disco and the decemberistis videos really sold me on the songs. I believe that music videos should tell a story just like the song the band has created tells a story...and when I am offered a three to five minute video of the band just looking pretty and singing the song I wonder why in the hell anyone bothered to spend money on a video in the first place! And while I am ranting about music videos here's another thing...I wish that instead of creating videos of only the radio friendly hits that some of the other songs on an album would get made into videos. I find that some of the most interesting songs on an album, musically and story telling wise, are often not the hit single.
Like with the movie and television industry I wish there was more good and less crap! So I end this with something good...a music video my very talented and hip brother made for our friends' band, The Quiet Ones a incredible band from Seattle, Wa, for their song " Sound of the Fog" and it features one of the guys from Blitzen Trapper (another talented band from Portland, Or)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Notes from the Promised Land (#1)-rest or my lack there of

I realized as I went to title this post that I needed to change the context because I am now living in the city that I have wanted to live in for the last five years, which means I am no longer in the desert/passover place. With this new setting in mind I review the new problems that arise when you get to the place you have been wanting to be and surprise surprise it has it's own little idiosyncratic elements. Like the Israelites fear of the Promise land, giants and to many people to few of them, I am confronting my own fears of busyness and in ability to rest when it is offered.

For example today, while I was able to get more writing done hurray, I also found that there is an underlying frenzy in my body and spirit because I don't have anything solidly set up for work and I haven't received the last few paychecks from my time in Oregon. And so I feel it in my body welling up in an almost obsessive need to get answers of some kind right now. So I spent a good portion of time worry and stressing about job and applying for things that aren't exactly what I would like or need because at least they are "something". This is my lack of rest coming into play..instead of getting a list of things done for the day and then calling it quits so I can rejuvenate for the next day. I compose a never ending list that makes me feel incredibly overwhelmed by it's sheer magnitude and then don't stop when by so act of grace I actually finish it. Overachiever much! My expectations for what I can and can't do are pretty whacked...for example I thought I could write a whole research paper and study for the GRE while working 50hrs a week in only a month! And the best part is that when I don't reach that self created goal I get very self contemptuous and frustrated in my failure. In all of this I disregard God and what God has said about resting. IE that rest is good and needful.

Monday, September 06, 2010

changes (NFTD #35)

I have made many changes and choices in my life. To move away from home to another state to go to college, the choice of getting a piece of permanent art on my body, where to live, where to work, whether or not i should go back to school, ect.Yet out of all the decisions I have made in the past ten years I am finding this most recent one the hardest of them all.

While wonderful and good, moving to Los Angeles has also been super hard. I feel like I am drifting a bit uncertain of what to do or where to go. When I moved back to Portland for the transition period nothing really was all that new, things and people had changed, but I had sense memories tied to so much of that city that I intrinsically knew it. The city was redressed and so was I but we were not strangers. Even though I have been down to Los Angeles at least once a year for the last four years it still seems a very strange place to me. I don't know where things are or how to get to them...I constantly and having to rely on others to know the city. This is a hard thing for someone who spent the last ten or more years knowing her home town like the back of her hand. My usually independant nature is feeling very insecure and clingy as of late. It is a odd feeling to have especially when you have wanted to live somewhere for so very long. I never thought that this transition would be the hardest one for me..I thought it would be easier than it has proven to be.

Yet in the midst of all of the transition and change and fears and what not I know that this is the place for me and that by making that choice I will be blessed and taken care of.

Monday, August 23, 2010

on getting older (NFTD #34)

today i have crossed over the bridge and have landed on the right side of thirty. while i know age is well for the most part just how young you feel inside it is also a marker of where you have been. if i wasn't moving in four days i would most likely be marking this transition of age with some body art...leaning heavily towards a tattoo of birds in flight either on my right wrist or left shoulder...but that along with some kind of tree tattoo will have to wait for another time when money isn't so tight. (see above)

for now i have creativity and pondering to mark this transition. what i find most interesting is how little i feel like i am in my thirties. unlike many of my friends i have yet to find my career, partner, or child instead i have three degrees, beautiful friends, many ideas, the freedom to move, and hope for the future. it is so funny to think of where i thought i would be at thirty one, married, successful in something i love, maybe with a child or two. by the time my mother was thirty one she had both my brother ian and myself, had been married to my father for six years, and owned a home. my father at 31 had just meet my mom, had been to vietnam, been married before, and traveled around the country. yet neither of theirs paths are mine and mine is, i am learning with aged wisdom, is the right one for me. as i look out on this new year i see hope and beauty...i am finally moving to the city i have wanted to live in for the last five years, i have found things i love and am working hard to make them a way to support myself, i have scrubbed off much of the baggage that has hindered me from the past, and i believe in the presence of miracles even after one turns twenty three. i'm sure that there will be struggles as well, there already has been, yet i am now looking at them as the means to make things more rich and beautiful instead of just sadistic torture devices. thirty one is going to be a good year no matter what happens.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hipster here, hipster there...(NFTD #33)

i just took a quiz as to whether or not i would qualify as a hipster if graduating from mars hill grad school and going to grace seattle hadn't sealed that sometime ago. and it turns out according to the quiz yes in deed i am 90/120% hipster. what i find interesting is that in several of the questions on the quiz i actually would have answered more hipster if there had been an answer. for example on of the questions was why i wasn't a catholic and didn't have a place for they don't ordain women or married priests (one of the reasons why i am more anglican that catholic) also when asked about the face of american christianity tim keller, rob bell, and mark driscoll where my only options and as much as i like the first two i was broken up that there weren't any women or you know any diversity listed at all in this new face. then there was the question about christian film and ted haggard (there was no place to say i was sad and angry that one should have to hide their sexuality). but really as amusing as it is in thinking more about this book which the quiz was promoting it made me sad because so much of what "hipster christian" culture comes out of is a reaction to the church culture of the late 1970's and 1980's. at least for me that was a time where christianity was confined to what we do and don't do, us and them mentalities. so i can totally understand how for many in my generation including my self faith needed to become wider and more fluid in contrast to the starkness of being cloistered in a subculture. i will not be surprised if our children make fun of our current expressions of faith and bumble their way through to another moment with in the life of the bride.

here is a link to the site if you are curious how hipsterific you are

ps oh and if we are still musing about christianizing things then i guess we are still living in a ghetto of christianity which i believe is really counter to the intent of being a follower of christ. just saying

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Ramona Quimby or creativity and parenting (NFTD #31)

Today I was allowed the great privladge of taking a nine year old to see the new version of "Ramona & Beezus". And all I can say is THANK YOU! It was such a great production of this story all the elements were creatively, well done and perfect.

First of all I have a long personal history with Beverly Cleary's books. When I was growing up my grandparents lived two streets away from Klickitat street in NE Portland. Everytime we would go over there (at least once a week) taking a walk around the neighborhood was a must do. I am pretty sure that I actually trick or treated several years on that well know literary street. And of course as most Portland daughters have done since the books came out, I devoured them and wanted to so badly to be one of the characters in the book. We also watched the Canadian made versions as children. I was always more Beezus like than Ramona. And then when I was in high school I got to assistant direct our production of "Ramona & Beezus".

There has always been something special about these books, really all of Beverly Cleary's books, that captures life well. As I watched the movie I was struck by how balanced the parent and other adult characters are. I loved how the parents encouraged and celebrated Ramona's unique view of the world...she is a child who is seen in her creativity and unique out look on life. Especially Mr, Quimby, delights in wonder of Ramona's way of seeing the world. Sitting in the theatre watching this delightful and honest portrayal of parenting for the first time in a really long time made me really desirous for a child (not now but eventually). It inspired me to remember the good of my childhood and see a future where I would want to create a space for that kind of exploration and creativity in a child of my own. Having spent the last seven years raising other people's children has taken away for me a lot of the desire to have children...I want to do something with my life before I have to give it up again. I love children but being with them day in and day out while a blessing is not what I want to or feel I am best at giving the world. In addition because of all the suffering and painful incidents in my life I struggle with seeing good in the world. This leads to a fear of raising a child in such a place where I can loose and watch the suffering of those who I love. And as if all of that was not enough I somehow went through childhood with out feeling safe or balanced. As an adult I struggle with entering life from a place of balance and rooting. All of this makes me scared to have a child because I don't want to pass along those those fears or lack of faith. Yet while watching the movie I had a sense of peace about the whole idea...this little voice in my heart was saying "yes, i do want to be a mother and inspire creativity and beauty in my child". In addition it might have been the chance to spend the day with a child who was excited in sharing this adventure. Whatever the reason I was blessed to have this experience.

And HIGHLY suggest you all seeing it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

transitions (NFTD # 30)

in just over a month i will be packing up my car and moving down the coast. this move is the completion of a dream that has been over five years long...the dream to move to los angeles. and yet i find that i am freaking out a lot about this move...afraid that i will still feel lost and adrift even in los angeles. i think it stems from the feeling that i am some how broken and that all of the bad things that have happened in my life i have somehow created. i know this isn't true it's just my fear talking and trying to take over my trust and faith. yet isn't it funny how those voices of woe can be so powerful...they are aren't in actual reality but have this ability to cloud the TRUTH of reality. out of all the times i have hoped to make this move, it is this time everything had gelled, it works. and yet in the midst of all of this overwhelming "YES" i am still questioning whether i will be provided for when i get there. how silly is that because if everything has opened for me to move down then why would it suddenly stop opening when i get there?

but really i think that more than anything my freaking out has to do with the transition...while i like them i don't always do well with transitions. for example for two out of my three graduations i just *happened* to skip or get out of. of course i had great excuses but the reality is/was that i always feel awkward at events like these (major life changes such as weddings, baby showers, ect). i used to say that it was because i didn't like formal occasions but the older i have gotten the more i realize that it has to do with desires, hopes, and disappointments. what i mean by that is that transitional moments are things that should and need to be celebrated and commemorated, they are things that every society has some kind of means of marking. every day we change and grow but there are times when say at a wedding(commitment ceremony) where this marks a change in the life of the person, for from here on out they are now promising before others that they will make their life with this person even when it gets rough. what makes these types of things so hard for me is twofold 1. (before) but most acutely since my mother's car accident and injuries over ten years ago my family had been fragmented and therefore if it is an event for me there is a great chance that very few of my family would celebrate with me (especially if it was not convient like say in another state) and even if they did come i would be more focused on their lack of getting along that celebrating this event. or if it is for someone else this brings up the hollow place of my desire to have parents who are engaged with my life and a family that is supportive and loving in spite of their differences. 2. i don't do well being in focus...while a part of me totally wants to be valued and celebrated the dominate part wants to hide in the shadow because it is easier...which i think stems from my own self contempt or dislike...i feel bad because i am not where i think i should be in life. 3. as a single and slightly neurotic and insecure person these events end up feeling like chinese water torture because you are single and as of yet not nearly successful enough to warrant having been single this whole time! all of this leads to a push pull when it comes to celebrating transitions which in turn leads to indecision and lack of celebration which in turn makes me feel unloved because *of course* no one read my mind only my bravado attitude covering my desire and there for no marking celebration has been planned.

which is why i am learning to speak up more for what i really want, which starts with admitting what i want, and then finding someway to mark these transitions. because each step of the path is good, it leads one to their unique journey which is theirs and theirs alone. and for my next step i travel down the coast to see what, good and bad, awaits me in the city of angels.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fear (NFTD # 29)

Tonight I was confronted again with one of the main reasons I am most scared to have children...that the world is falling apart. I don't think it is fair to bring a child into a world that is so full of violence and fear. Most likely this is because I wouldn't want to live in that. When thinking, watching, or reading something about a place filled with strife my first thought is how could you live in that and my second is that I would never want to have a child. I know the world and life are never safe nor will they ever be...but there is something deep inside me that is scouting out housing in the north pole or at least as far north as there are Canadian villages to escape to when all hell breaks loose. My best friend and I both share the belief that when it comes down to it in the threat of a totalitain government, fanatical religious government or one world power northern Canada is the safest place to be given how cold it is. Although this is countered at least by both "Watchmen" & "A Brief History of the Dead".

No matter whether or not the Northern or Southern Poles are safest given any threats, the bigger issue is that I am fearful and it ruins my present life which is really all there is. I can go for a bit of time with out thinking about all possible destruction sinarios and then something comes across my path and once again I find I am in the fear tailspin. There have been certain times in my life when I have had to cut off contact with news and people in my life because the fear based pressure was too great to even breathe. I hate this feeling the one of impending death and dread...I want to be filled with calm and focus and trust. But really I am the scared and blubbering child shaking in the corner trying to find something to make her feel safe again. And that being true how could I possibly embody a world opposite my blubbering self for a child or children to see?

Yet I think in all honesty I do...I do this every day. For as a nanny I am constantly reassuring children that there is both good and bad in the world, and even though there are bad things and people making bad choices there are still many good things in the world too. And like any good fairytale or mythic story in the end the goodness the lightness the love wins over the bad. Aslan rises up and the table cracks in half, Frodo does get the ring to safety, and Harry Potter does live. Each of these stories reminds all of us of the truth, that in the end good (truth, justice, love, mercy) all over come the bad (greed, will to power, hatred, injustice, and death).

Friday, July 16, 2010

surprising your self (NFTD #28)

i took the above photo last summer while out with my brother's on one of the hottest days in seattle. they, my brothers, are each in their own right talented photographers. i on the other hand am not known for my photographic skills i can tell you why a photo works or doesn't work but i generally find it impossible to get the image from my head to escape the camera. typically it ends up looking nothing like what i was thinking. who know's why this is especially considering the fact that the first word to escape my lips was "picture".

yet every once in a blue moon i take a photo that is not too bad. i can't say how it happens just that for that moment in time something choose to work instead or not working. maybe my brain stopped over thinking it, maybe i got in the groove, or maybe i just hit the right combination of elements needed to create a picture. looking over photos last night i saw this one and realized that the light and shadows and textures and colors all worked so well together in this photo.

it was such a surprise to see this photo that i had taken. funny how that happens sometimes where there is this thing that you really can do but something in your brain is stopping your ability to do it and then you have a moment where you are open to this blocked area and for a bit of time the light parts. similar to that moment on a cloudy and rainy day when the sun is able to find a space to come through. times that those are little blessings and gifts i want to be able to see them more easily.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

heels (NFTD #27)

ok so i just don't get high heels. every once and a while i whip out a pair in attempt to look sexy or chic and desperately try to where them all day long. yet the only heels i can manage to wear all day are my boots (mostly cowboy). and that is contrary to most incarnations of women "should" wear. in every movie i have seen in the last few days the main character if she is female is wearing heels (varying in size and length) especially if the director is wanting to emphasis her beauty. in the older film down periscope i was aware of the fact that when in dress uniform lauren holly's character (the only featured woman in the film) had the most form fitting and uncomfortable uniform which included three inch heels. tell me how is one who works in the navy suppose to walk in heels on a boat?

so why a rant about heels tonight...i think it was watching brittany murphy prance about in four inch heels tonight that made me question why this shoe was necessary? even on "what not to wear" is the heel upheld as a gift from the fashion gods. yet how many of us get more pain that benefit from our high heels? i can't tell you how many times i have heard someone say specifically about heels "well it's the price we pay for beauty"...but is it? i have yet to find (outside my aforementioned boots) a pair of heels i can last more than a few hours in. even stage heels which are suppose to be comfortable i can't seem to hack more than an hour in. and yet i keep going back hoping that some day i will find the magical set of heels that i can wear until Jesus comes back to earth and they will feel just as comfortable as my clarks, running shoes, or danskos. these mythical heels will be comfortable, sexy, and completely easy to walk in even for a klutz like me who has broken her foot not once not twice but three three times ladies and gentlemen.

alas these shoes have yet to appear...leaving me to wonder why we fall to easily to the myth of impossible and painfully uncomfortable beauty. and one parting thought how the hell could carrie from sex and the city run better in manolo blahniks than she could in tennis is with that. thank you and good night.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Camp (NFTD #26)

watching "stagedoor" this evening brought up a lot of emotions for me. it is a documentary about a famous children's theater camp in the Catskill Mountains.

the first emotions viewing brought up, were my ache and desire to preform. i haven't don't anything acting wise in over a year and longer even for musical theatre. i miss it, it was the thing that i wanted to be more than anything else all through growing up. and here at 30 finally moving to los angeles i wonder if i can ever really get back to that first love or if i am to old, to out of practice, and it is gone forever? being on stage creating a character is like nothing else. there is something so incredible about the chance to tell the story of another which becomes magically you telling your story as well. and the language and the a character you always have the right words to say even if you aren't able to say what is most true it always comes out. the chance to preform is such a lovely gift to be offered.

secondly it made me want to go back and fight harder as a child for those experiences, my mom did the whole theatre camp, massive dance and acting classes thing and didn't want to push us. wanted it to be our decision which in the end meant that i didn't get the chance to go to the few things that were offered. and then there was the accident which i am beginning to see limited more things than i realized. loosing my mom i think left me orphaned in a way that made me seek safety over adventure. where as with her around i may (or may not) have had the courage to move forward and really work towards becoming an actor, instead of just trying to tread water and survived in a f**ked up world where i can loose my mom at 19. i also found my self mad at mom for not pushing me to keep taking ballet, piano, and going to auditions and camps like stagedoor or perry mansfield where she went.

lastly i just hope that someday i will get to the place where i feel i fit, just like the kids in this movie, where i finally can say here is where i belong. this is one of the things i miss most about theatre being in a company of a group of people coming together to create something. last fall while working on a short film i was reminded of why i love and miss that kind of creative communal expression. maybe someday i can return to that even if it is not in a professional capasity.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

childhood (NFTD #25)

as a nanny one of the wonderful things that comes with the job is the chance to take the children you are watching to their various activities. this week i got to go to see the final presentation for gymnastics class. and what a delight it was. all the girls of different shapes and sizes, but what really stuck me was the lack of self consciousness they had. Unlike a room full of girls about three years older, the girls seemed still comfortable in their skin. As I watched them I looked too at the mothers, grandmothers, teachers, and other women with in the room. All of us were most likely self conscious from years of conditioning...some very evident in the way they posed their body and tugging at their clothing while taking pictures of their children. In addition one of the most coordinated, talented, graceful, and focused girls was also the heaviest child (she wasn't big but given the standards today even for children she was). It made me so happy to see these lovely girls who were unencumbered by the bullshit of beauty, at least for the three hours they were in class.

As I sat there watching them move fluidly through their routine beaming with pride at their accomplishments I wished that all women and girls could experience that kind of freedom. We get so bound up in the condemnation of the beauty myth that we become limited in our lives. At least I do...Even through out all the things I had done in my life there is always this voice in the back of my head saying things like "nothing matters if you aren't pretty, attractive, desirous to men" I walk into places apologizing for being me, for being a woman who does not fit into the narrow standard of beauty. It's funny how I can look at a woman like Beth Ditto or Gabby Sidibe, and think they are beautiful and talented but not see that same beauty in myself. I hate that this comparison and subsequent self destruction is still present in my life and the life of others. Why do we as women feel stuck no matter who we are?

When do women get the chance to embrase themselves as women and find that elusive freedom that most of us at least got a taste of in childhood? When do we allow girls to remain in that state of freedom for longer rather than push them into adulthood....or better yet when can we image to them an adulthood that carries with it that kind of childhood freedom and embrase of women of all shades shapes and colors as beautiful with something of value to offer them and the world?

I hope that if I am ever blessed with the chance to have a daughter or daughters that I will image strength, confidence and beauty and will raise them with in a community of strong men and women who love women and men well. I also desire to raise sons if I have them to love and bless women in all the beauty and wisdom they have to offer.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

beautiful.... (lost NFTD # unknown)

i struggle a lot with issues of acceptance and beauty...what woman doesn't. when one is constantly assaulted with airbrushed perfection it is incredibly hard to not have moments of self hate. as an actress i found it even more of a struggle, given the nature of the entertainment industry where even women who are skinny are told that they need to be "fixed" by loosing five more pounds or getting this and that waxed, when you are a bigger girl (one of the pc terms for being curvy and heavier) things are ever more pronounced. In fact part of my decision to take a break from acting for the last two years had to do with being in seattle (where most of the roles are type cast) and having a majorly limited options for work. in this time between seattle and los angeles i have been working through many barriers and walls, one of them being self acceptance.

through my best friend's foray into makeup as a form of self expression i have been encouraged and challenged to express myself more in the area of fashion. and i have found it to be a twofold wonderment a) it has allowed me to search and find positive expressions of diverse beauty 2) hell it's fun to play dress up whether you are 3 or 93. why do we assume that when we reach adulthood that the "play" needs to stop. (very mars hill idea that one need to relearn how to play) watching lady gaga videos and encountering women like beth ditto and the beauties of the "manfattan project" stir up not only my feministic passion but my christian passion. we are all made in the image of God and that image is good and beautiful so why the hell do we so often undermine this!!!! (yes i know the world is broken and messed up but...) this passion comes out because i HATE that people, women especially are told the opposite of this, that really there are so many things that need to happen before they are acceptable. in a country that celebrates it's diversity our view of said diversity is pretty messed up.

really what all of this ramblingness is about is my desire to see more people who look like me and my friends called beautiful and i want to see the beauty in myself, to be so confidant in who i am that nothing really phases me.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

what is justice? (NFTD #24)

seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God (micah 6:8)

watching documentaries about the issues of the world or ever just the simple act of turning on NPR makes one wonder if justice ever does happens? even now as I write this I sit listening to a Vanguard(Missionaries of Hate, 4:1) documentary on the 2009 proposed Ugandan anti-gay law. This law if it was in-acted would make at a minimum penalty of life in prison and maximum would be the death penalty, currently being gay in Uganda is illegal (until 2000 only male homosexuality was covered under this bill). no matter what your view of homosexuality and gay marriage I would hope that anyone would say that being gay is something that shouldn't lead one to be imprisoned or killed!
this is just one example of at least twelve stories I encountered today in a span of and hour and a half of radio and new tv.

with each story of injustice i feel my heart break. because this is not the way the world is suppose to be...we all know this deep in our hearts. it's the reason we love stories where the under dog wins and where those who have been abused receive justice. and yet i often feel like we also have lost the action that goes with this call to justice. We feel deeply but our feeling doesn't seem to move us to acts of seeking justice...why is that? it seems to be only that which doesn't demand our whole energy and our lives. we can purchase items from the "red campaign" and support a cause with out really dealing with the effects that aids, tb and marlaria have for those in the third world because it has been made easy and accessable. we worry about human rights abuses and the sujection/abuse of women in other countries, while failing to deal with the abuses and human traffiking that happens here in the States.

another example of this is the film "this film is not yet rated" once again i was blown away by the stupidity of people in regard to artistic expression. In addition, it is also a great reminder of how only certain expressions of love and power are acceptable. So many of the cuts to films specifically revolve around female sexuality & gay sexuality. Violence is absolutely acceptable with in films.

I love that Kevin Smith's top idea for a new rating system has the top offense is rape and abuse of women (ie films with the kind of content would receive a R or X rating). Through our continued suppression of healthy expressions of gender and sexuality and our glorification of violence we sublimally promote these world views. A world where women are not allowed to have healthy or pleasurable expressions of sexuality, where womens' naked bodies are not well protected but seeing the male form naked requires heavy restrictions, where we can blow up and kill many people and things creating a sexual frenzie around this imagery with out the realistic psychological effect of this action...also the failure to see the insidious and harmful nature of the so call "pg 13 & r rating" because of what is or isn't allowed to be seen.

this lacking of justice comes from various places for various reasons but in the end it leaves me sad and broken hearted.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

fashion, make up and role models

just a few brief thoughts...

i have been watching some make up blogs in part because my best friend is totally incredible and wanting to do something when i am down for the 4th of july. which lead me to beth ditto of gossip (a band i had been hearing about but just hadn't listened to) and lady gaga (same as above).

and i have to say that there is a secret diva/wild child hidden inside of me. looking at both of their looks and fashion sense inspires me to be more creative and get beyond my plain face. maybe it's the fact that i got rid of more clothes this weekend and in doing so "found" some things i had forgotten.

whatever the reason i am ready to play & have fun. good thing i am soon moving to lala land.

FYI check out both ladies especially beth she is a feminist, body positive & queer role model and calls the nw home how cool is that!

down the sci-fi rabbit hole (NFTD #23)

as of late i have been spending my free time researching a paper on zombies, working, or zoning out to torchwood/buffy the vampire slayer. my darling shiloh friend assures me that this is the grief working it's self out in my system. all i know is that i haven't been able to write for the last two weeks and i had felt for the most part that i am slipping down a hole.

what i mean is that there is this pile of things that needs to get done and yet i have been finding my free time suddenly gone on the alter of these two shows. to top it off these tv shows are crawling with things that want to jump out at you or hide under your bed. not the usual fare for a girl prone to vivid technicolor dreams and nightmares. in general things scare the hell out of me, mostly because my creative brain takes over.

through out this process i have bemoaned the fact of writing and things not getting done in my idea of how things should get done. which in turn had set off my neurotic brain, into quires around whether or not i would actually get to los angeles and wondering if everything had fallen apart...

which lead to a phone call tonight. my dad's best friend for over forty years. he and his wife offered me their spare bedroom. what is so great is that last night i was praying and mediating about everything; fears around moving, fears around never passing the GRE and subsequently never getting into school, never being able to write anything good again, and essentially just being worthless. and then today another encouragement to move and get into school. because los angeles is where i need to be and going to school is what i need to do even if it takes some (god forbid) work that my presistance will pay off in the end. therefore as usual shiloh was right it's the grief and not my permenent state.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

tears and restoration

it is not a just world...these words from a tv show ring in my head as i think about my grandfather and my family.

over the last week i have been on an emotional roller coaster, a week ago tonight was the last time i saw my grandfather. i sat in a hot room next to his mostly immobile frame that occasionally shuttered from the increasing tremors wrought by parkinson's disease. and i talked...mostly incoherent ramblings about memories, work, and what i was reading. i seriously wonder if i finished any thought or idea. at the end i kissed his head squeezed his hand one last time and said i love you and then walked into the heat of an ending day. the moment i left the parking lot my fingers started dialing numbers as i tried to stay the tears rapidly forming. by the time my father's voice emerged after several voice mails and six miles i could hardly form a coherent sentence. images flooded my mind of walking into the intensive care unit and seeing my mom. she was swollen to three times her size because of all the water that was retained in her body. there were tubes coming out all over and she was in a coma and had been for about a week. jenny was the only reason i was even in that room with her, my brave friend who now works as a nurse, because i know i could have never at 19 passed that thresh hold with out her there with me. and again it was talking and singing "church songs" and telling my immobile mother how much we loved her. loss hurt so badly but for me watching someone you love waste away or be trapped in a captive state such as a coma is awful. it feels like your heart and all your fear has been ripped out of your body and it is all you can do to remember to breathe.

only once have i been able to have a good, a relative term with what i next say, experience with saying bye before death. and that was with my dad's mother. i went to see her a few days before she died knowing it was our last talk i was able to tell her how much i loved her and how much i cared and she was still able to converse with me and tell me how much she loved me and cared.

i wish i could have anne lamott experiences with death where in reflection i could find the beauty in sitting with those in an ephemeral state bravely and openly sending them off to sheol. but i can't i hate that people have to waste away to nothing a shell of their former selves, that we have to see those we love suffer and be placed in a transient state of being. i hate that i do and don't have a mother and that through out this week of loosing her father that i am more filled with loss. this is the same loss i am sure i will be flooded with on my wedding day (if ever there is one) and the birth (or adoption) days of what ever children i am blessed with. it is the cry of a child looking at all of this pain "GOD this is not fair, we were not meant for this" and i believe God sadly concedes "the world is not fair, not now at least"

and there is where i remember "thy kingdom come thy will be done on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN" we are made for earth and we are commissioned to bring healing and restoration to earth so God's will is over the earth. i don't believe this means drilling for oil or voting republican or supporting a group just because they say they are a christian organization. it is the continuation of the call to "love the lord your God with all your heart soul and mind and love your neighbour as your self" "he has shown you oh man what is good. and what does the lord require of you? to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God" and the on going theme of caring for the orphan, the widow, and the stranger (other) these are the ways in which God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven. it is in hope that we seek for justice, mercy, and love...the hope is that there will come a time when death no longer rips out our hearts because death and disease will be no more. i believe that all of creation was created and named "good" and that part of the job of a believer is to seek to wipe off the tarnished bits and bring the "good" to the surface. to participate in the restoration of the whole of the created order which is everything in creation, or as the hymn goes "let everything that hath breathe praise the lord".

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Being single is such an interesting space to be in....on one hand you are free to do whatever you want to. if you decide that you want to move to the tip of chile to run an eco-hotel catering to drunk germans then that's what you do with out having to ask or consider the effect it will have on anyone else. on the other hand it sucks realizing that most of your friends and all the men you have ever loved, been involved with, slept with what have you are coupled and possibly procreating like freaking rabbits while you go home to an empty bed. the good and the bad, there are days when the freedom is something i want to bathe in and other days where i would give anything to have to factor another person into my decisions.

i firmly believe that we as people are fundamentally created for relationships (with a lover as well as other forms such as friendships, family, ect) yet what happens when the specific area of romantic relationships is and has been lacking for years? what to do with that longing and desire for connection. the wisdom and practicality in me says that waiting for the right relationship is good and anyway we really don't need a distraction right now. in turn the other side of me is screaming that she would like some freaking human contact...what's that line of carries from the la/train episode of "sex & the city" "I just want to feel the weight of a man on top of me". sleeping alone sucks, as well as sleeping with someone can if i recall (yes it really has been that long). so what's the remedy there is only so much chocolate/alcohol/ (insert form of numbing) before you are so frustrated you just want to hit someone or something.

there is no answer just being present with what you are feeling and not let it conquer your brain and take control. neither a hijacked or obsessive brain will be a salve for this place. if i ever find a solution i'll let you know for sure it is not moving back into your parent's house and working all the time. maybe it is just being and forgetting about everything except for what you are working for.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

heart break central

listening to "this america life" this morning on my long list of unlistened to podcasts, the tears fell down my face in buckets. it was dan savage's story about his mother's death that caught my heart so much. a major part of the story focuses on dan's conflicting experiences with catholic faith. i was struck again by the fact that so many people get to this place where the faith that they have been offered doesn't have the capacity to stand in the fact of other truths.

rob bell speaks to this reality in his book "velvet elvis". in bell's take people have not been taught that everything can hold elements of truth and just because that truth isn't being conveyed directly by sanctioned people or groups does not negate the truth that is being conveyed. my friend rashelle says "it's truth, it works. just because the person doesn't define themselves as a christian doesn't make it any less true" my heart breaks for people who grew up in the church and at some point feel they have to walk away. it hurts because i understand their reasons i have been at churches where i had no place and i have experienced the ugliness that can be done in the name of God. reading "dance of the dissent daughter" i understood and have felt all the reasons why sue monk kidd would choose womanist faith over traditional christianity. in many spaces there hasn't and isn't a space for women with in christian communities as leaders and teachers and people with something important to offer. yet even in the face of this, even while attending a church that doesn't allow women to preach i still couldn't leave the church. to me she is the corpse bride dancing joyfully and yet loosing limbs here and there. filled with life and yet not always whole, she bumbles on. i believe that one day she will be whole a jewel coming out of heaven dressed in splendor but for now like everything else she is a work in progress. it is my belief that those of us who call ourselves the follower of Christ are charged with helping to fixed the broken and bumbling aspects of creation making thing on earth as they are in heaven. one of those things is recognizing that all of creation and life bears the image of God and therefore truth is present and possible in many things.

i wish that we would choose to teach our children how to be wise but not afraid of life and the world. this is God's creation it was named good and even through it is chipped and cracked in places it is still holding some of that goodness. this was not the story i was raise in, i was taught to be afraid of everything in life...wisdom and discernment were things i learned but they were not offered as a means to test. one of the reasons i fear having and raising children of my own is that i do not want to transmit fear of creation and life, rather i would want to offer my children thoughtfulness and wisdom and curiosity and faith and love that overcomes fear, seeks justice, and loves Jesus and in turn loves people. i am working on cultivating these characteristics so that on the off chance i have children i will be able to pass on faith like that of dan savage's mom...not rattled by things that don't perfectly fit with in a box of faith but the understanding that for those things to be true faith doesn't have to be thrown out the window.