Saturday, March 16, 2013

soup: mothers, artists, grace

We finally painted the dining room, took down the terrible metal mini blinds, and I really like how it turned out. The problem with renting is knowing how much to commit. Every single decision comes with the question of how long will we be living here, and we simply have no idea. I do not bring anything into our house without imagining packing it into a box one day. Finally we just decided to go for it anyway, and I am glad we did. Now, whether to paint the kitchen? 

I find myself feeling ready to be settled in a place. I like the idea of committing to a forever home, a neighborhood, and dwelling there for years and years. I like the idea of neighbors keeping company through generations like my grandparents, and banisters warped in places by the same hands growing older. I want to plant trees and gardens.

I like the idea of these things, but I also like to dwell in possibility. I like the possibility of putting everything in storage and us working remotely so we can travel around the world with the kids one day. I like the flexibility of renting, and I'm not sure I could choose a place I am ready to commit to for the rest of my life, like the ideal I imagine.

And so we rent, happily.

Stevens, the perfect English butler, has given his life to the service of Lord Darlington who is later discovered to have been a Nazi sympathizer. So dedicated to his profession, Stevens misses the most delicate emotional moments of life and now looking back must admit that he did not serve a great man, and in the process lost his chance at love and fulfillment. It is a heartbreaking book, and explores the question of how much do we sacrifice to a career or personal ambition? 

To my fellow mother/artists friends- if you read only one post, let it be this one. These words were life to my angst-filled soul . . . 

There are embers glowing inside you that won’t.go.out even though you have a human critter or two (or five) to care for and really don’t have spare minutes for artistic flame-fanning. You have a few domestic goddesses in your life and a few childless superstar artists in your periphery, and as my poet-friend Beth Ann Fennelly wrote:“I want membership in both clubs.” If we dedicate heart and soul and all our waking hours, we may at best become “Honorary Members” which feels sort of like a southern “bless-her-heart-she-tries.”

Other good things . . .

When the days are long and the minutes are longer: Chatting at the Sky (how can her every post be so darn beautiful? And she just finished the manuscript for her third book!)

In the kitchen this week I tried these sweet potato, black bean, and roasted pepper burritos. Two thumbs up all around.

This: what if the wilderness is actually the mailing address for God's people?: guest post at Sarah Bessey

my word: study in brown
I sat in my cramped airline chair and thought about the word, Who stood on the rim of eternity and spoke out those mountains and plains, these galaxies, this sun; the raindrops and tigers and pansies and tulips and the tiny green frog that sings in the tree outside my window; all these people with their hearts and lungs and blood and bones.
The Word. Made in His image, we are.  Speakers, writers, sharers, Word-breathers.
Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong. It is no wonder if we sometimes tend to take ourselves perhaps a bit too seriously.  ANNE LAMOTT : advice to writers

The house is quiet this morning, (thank-you Daylight Savings, I never thought I would see the day my children slept until 8:00), and I just looked up to see snow falling, everything is covered. 
May you find yourself surprised by grace this weekend. 

Friday, March 15, 2013


the blue tarp over the swingset waves frantically to me as I watch from the kitchen window
-finally broken partially free after a hard winter and snags now, and falls limp, and then rears brilliantly to life for a moment

on Saturday they will carry homemade cards and packages of new magic markers
and shrug off their coats and greet each other
with wild gaping smiles
these friends and
all of these teeth shed through the winter
they will not lift a hand to cover a smile
or hide the hole beneath tight lips, no
they will slide a tongue to demonstrate
how one dangles
comparing gaps
and grins
they will take giant bites of birthday cake
and chew with their gums and believe
in joy and
growing older

while we take a hammer to mend
our tarps
another season
and only under the safest conditions
lift a hand
to whisper
bare the empty places

but I wonder-
this hole
in our theology
our psychology
our story
our health our heart
maybe we still are losing teeth and
growing up and
out of childish things
to make room for new--
   truer than true
and will we arrive at Heaven
with sloppy packages
and art
and questions
and wild gaping
seven-year old grins

Sunday, March 10, 2013

and then the sun shone

Homeschooling as an Introvert: the blessings and challenges

Why can't learning look like this?: FIMBY- love this

 In fact, the learning I do for me is a key piece of the interest-led, lifelong learning homeschool philosophy. How can it not be? How do we teach our children that learning is an ongoing process, something that they will apply themselves to their whole lives, if we aren't actively engaged in learning something?

Be sure to check-out my friend Jo's new blog, All Seven Seas, as they prepare to move to Alaska!

Do I have enough Christian in me to make it through motherhood?: Emily Weirga

One day, we will have time, again. To read, to reflect, to meditate. And all we'll do is sit there with the books open on our laps missing our children. Missing the way they used to fill our laps and spill our coffee.

Reconstructing the Bridge Metaphor: Deeper Story

You choose this. You choose Jesus because you believe that this whole, wild thing is true. And then you spend the rest of your life clinging to him. You hang on for dear life, because you are aware – for the first time ever maybe – that you are suspended over the bottomless void of your own selfishness, your own hate, your own broken heart. That the only thing steady here is this cross.

Clean Eating 101 : the Gracious Pantry

Focus: I have a lot of trouble focusing and have been trying, with some success, to use the Pomodoro technique. This seems to work for my personality and my season of life. It is simply twenty-five minutes of intense work followed by five minute breaks. I was glad to find this focusbooster app from my friend Ryan's blog.

Ruth posted this quote on facebook a few days ago and I think it so true:

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive." -James Baldwin

I thought this was beautiful:
Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.
At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.

Finally, Happy Birthday tomorrow sweet Josie Bloom!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

how to make art:

Do a little planning, 

but not too much.

Then jump right in.

Trust yourself.
Wear your art.
Appreciate the art of others.
Give it away.

Show it off.

Then, move on
(you may need a friend to help you with this).

If you must deal with trouble,
be sure to wear your most hopeful shade of pink.
Gather some like-minded magical friends to talk about it.
Preferably, while reclining.

Then take a nap,

and make more art.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February Reads

Hello, Blog, it's been a while ...

In February I chose to Pay Attention to the kids.

I always pay a lot of attention to my kids, of course, but every so often I experience a phase when I find myself pulling every parenting book off the shelf to re-read because it I am sure I don't have a clue what I am doing. February was one of those phases. On vacation and since we've been back I have been paying extra attention to the kids and hardly any attention to very much else. It seems to be helping.

And I am reading a bit.

The Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen

I loved this book. There is so much joy and comfort in these pages. I am going to read it at least once more during Lent.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

I read this book with my friend Sally and we both loved it. I follow Evan's blog and even if I don't agree with every conclusion, I love, love how she researches and embraces tough questions. There were times while reading the book when I wanted to weep with relief or frustration from some of the familiar things I have accepted without really considering other angles. I appreciated her tongue-in-cheek approach and the humor that flows through her writing, but also the sense of reverence for Scripture and the deeper meaning she concludes from each of her somewhat farcical experiments with "Biblical Womanhood." I am looking forward to reading her first book, Evolving in Monkeytown.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

This is an amazing, engrossing novel spanning three generations of the Trueba family, an influential family in 20th century Chili. I couldn't put the book down for the way that the story unfolds, and also an excellent lesson on Chilean history which I knew nothing about. I am looking forward to reading more of Isabel Allende.

The Three Martini Playdate by Christie Mellor

I was desperate for a little comic relief in parenting this month, and this was a quick and laughable read. Even though it felt a little judgmental, I did appreciate some of the no-nonsense parenting advice.
...The point is, people have been bearing and raising live young since the beginning of time, which is why we all are here, after all. Yes, each tiny baby is a miracle and yes, they are, in fact, wee and precious, but so were you at that age, and now look at yourself. 
I happened to pick this book up when I was picking up a daughter from a playdate, at one of Cleveland's Little Free Libraries. These mini libraries are placed on street corners or in yards, stocked with books free for the taking. Of course I absolutely love this idea, and am dying to put one in our yard.