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Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

Not Friday Five

So Friday got away from me last week, but I have some gems to share with you from the Internet, so here we are on Monday.

Summer is my second wind of trying new things. It’s also the season that I tend to eat the best (because really, it’s just too hot to eat anything but salad and fruit. And also snow cones). So a lot of the things that stick out to me that I want to save for later are food and indoor fitness related, because running outside right now until October? That’s ridiculous. And then there are the things that always stick out to me, like livable wages and social experiments. So…enjoy!

  1. I also like tacos, though, and so I need this book. I’m not sure this can be considered a cleanse in the traditional sense, but I’m willing to listen. Because tacos.
  2. I like stories like this, even though they’re clickbaity and possibly staged and insert-all-the-cynical-things-here. All wages should be livable. Living is what working is for.
  3. I might take tap and ballet again. That would be fun. And also indoors. Win-win.
  4. This made me laugh and laugh. Also, I can attest – accurate. Don’t #notallmen me. Because that’s not the point. The point is that it doesn’t have to happen every time; it happens enough that, statistically speaking, it’s likely just as much the result of societal conditioning as it is individual asshattery, so we as a society should look into cutting it out. Also, if you feel defensive, maybe ask yourself why. Is it because it really didn’t apply to you, or is it because maybe it applied a little and you feel uncomfortable that you may have made this impression? Honor that discomfort. Maybe deal with that instead of reacting defensively. As an aside, when I use this kind of response when people compliment me, and they like it, it makes me like them even more. My people.
  5. Last, I love this. This Gen-Xer agrees.

I’m thinking about sending another newsletter soon. I have some writing news that’s exciting and different. So if you want to hear me yammer on about it, you can sign up here. Also, there’s usually a recipe. I mean, it’s summer, so it may be for a snow cone. But it would be a delicious snow cone!

 

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Creed

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I’m eager for Easter this year.

Usually, I’m better at Lent – better at reflection, better at the grieving that ends Holy Week – than I am at celebration. But I’ve had enough of heaviness this year.

Every week, we recite the Apostle’s Creed, and sometimes the words are hard to say. Not so much the part you’re probably thinking about – the creation, the virgin birth, the resurrection. As a born mystic raised Southern Baptist, I clung to these stories. Sometimes the irrational literality of their interpretation of these mysteries was the only thing that kept me tethered to my otherwise small and rigid faith.

So…

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

 I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I have no problem saying these words. I believe in the triune God who seems to delight in making rules about how the world works just to have the fun of breaking them. That’s a God who understands us.

It’s the second part that often gives me fits. It starts off fine…

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

But then…

the holy catholic church*,

This one is hard. I hardly believe in the church at all. That is difficult for me to write. I desperately want to believe that the church could be the church. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, but I don’t see the church feeding the poor or caring for the other in big enough, consistent enough ways to make an impact. I include myself in this. We tend to give out of our excess rather than out of our sacrifice. I wonder how the world would change if we switched that up.

the communion of saints,

 I often feel like an outsider in my faith. I have adapted to Lutheranism, but I still feel new after being in the church for years. But hearing the talk of some friends I used to go to church with feels absolutely foreign to me. I find it harder and harder to remember what it was like to be in that headspace.

But there is grace here, too. The Lutherans handle me. I’m usually offended by things like that. I’m not fragile (she exclaims in a feral manner)! I won’t break (she whimpers)! But honestly? I’m glad for their gentleness. I’m relieved. I’m still skittish – way more than I would have been able to admit eight years ago when everything fell apart. They meet me there.

And there is grace in the moments when I voice my feelings of otherness, and a friend, visibly relieved, exhales, “Oh…me, too. I thought it was just me.”

the forgiveness of sins,

We are much more apt to look for fault and boast of our deal-breakers. I’m certainly guilty of unforgiveness, and there are cases where I haven’t forgiven myself and don’t necessarily think I deserve it. There are instances where I long to be forgiven, but if I were in their shoes, would I want to forgive me? I’m not sure I would. And yet forgiveness is central – essential – to this faith.

This is not to say that one shouldn’t have deal-breakers. It is important to know what you will not abide in relationships with others.

Nor am I saying we should rush into forgiveness under the guise of holiness. It is unhealthy to project a false peace just so I don’t have to deal with my anger and hurt. It is also useless, because Jesus can see my soul and is not fooled by my cowardly emotional shenanigans.  I suspect that a lot of what I interpret as God’s silence is Jesus sitting beside me – calm, patient, somewhat amused – as I plug my ears and hum, trying to pretend I’m not exactly where I am.

the resurrection of the body,

 The week before Palm Sunday is usually my favorite in Lent. We get the stories of Lazarus and Ezekiel and the dry bones, and hearing them is like being thrown into the rapids of a river. Those are the stories that force me to choose between sink or swim. It’s invigorating. And terrifying. And incredibly wild.

and the life everlasting. Amen.

 This part gives me pause. Everyone told me that my 40s would be better than my 30s. In a few ways, they were right. But mostly, I just feel like I’m running out of time. Like…is this it? Is this abundant life? I mean, mine is a nice, little life. I have only a few major complaints. But is nice enough to make the thought of everlasting appealing at all? If not…then what? What exactly are we asking for here?

 

In true Holy Week fashion, I have more questions than answers. What keeps me saying these words week after week is that I’m becoming more okay with that.

 

Marvia Davidson is hosting a series on Holy Week reflections, and I’m linking up. Join us?

 

*little “c” catholic, meaning the universal church

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So…thanks

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My tree is up and slowly being decorated. I haven’t seen this weird little ornament that I made during childhood in years. Thankful, step 1.

Many of my friends are talking about how hard it is to be thankful this year with so much going on that is not good.

Part of me is sympathetic – pain does make thankfulness more challenging. Another part of me is whistling to the tune of “Welcome to my world…” This is how life feels all the time when one keeps up with the news – when one chooses not to shut out the brokenness of the world to protect oneself.

After a while, you get used to holding all of it. You get used to the both/and of opposing realities. It helps to have someone to talk to (a professional, that is). It helps to actually do the things that someone suggests. It helps if you are not as stubborn as I am.

At first, you might have to take thankfulness in steps. They don’t take a lot of time, so you don’t have to ignore the ongoing developments in the DAPL protests or Trump’s bad administration choices. You don’t have to sacrifice the time it takes make calls and meet needs.

You need ten minutes. Ten minutes to list what makes the world worth saving.

Your list will look different from everyone else’s list, and no one gets to tell you what should be on your list. In fact, just throw that word “should” out the window. You won’t be needing it here.

Your list does not have to be for public consumption. Only the highlights of mine are usually public. The apartment. The space. The relative peace and quiet of a neighborhood with an older-than-college-student demographic. Friends. Family. The specifics are personal.

My readers are on my list. I’m thankful for you. So…thanks.

Feel free to share any highlights from your list in the comments.

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Snapshots 8.8.16

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“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. ” This is the Nat King Cole song that runs through my mind (and now my speakers) as I think of what to say about last week. And although, unlike NKC, I do not wish that summer would always be here, because OMG hot, I am relishing the fact that I finally get to have a summer. I don’t even mind that it’s just a few weeks long.

I think I read more last week than during June and July combined. I had ice cream and Whataburger, and I painted my nails. I finished off the sun tea.

What does summer mean to you?

 

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[Public Service Announcement: This might get rambly, but it’s spring. So really?  I’m happy if it makes any sense at all.]

I am participating in Susannah Conway’s April Love challenge on Instagram (and also probably a little here, too).  Because I need it.

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I need April love.

It’s hard for me to see beauty in the spring. Not because it’s not there. It’s everywhere. It is literally blooming all around me. Joy and the promise of peaches (which – let’s face it – are pretty much the same thing as joy) are abundant.

But spring is my dark season. I’ve experienced a lot of loss in springs gone by. It’s a season of mourning for me. But it’s also Easter, which is celebration. And it’s the busiest time of the year at work, so there’s no time for wallowing. There’s this constant battle of melancholy that I have to repress just to function.

[And I know that I’m lucky to still have the ability to push through and function.  Some people don’t have that luxury. Some people require medication and loads of professional help and still have it a lot worse than I do. So I’m grateful, too. It’s a confusing, mixed bag.]

Also? I’m pretty sure that every year, Spring tries to kill me.

The following picture perfectly captures my relationship with the natural world during spring:

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Notice that it’s a little blurry.This is what the process of taking this picture was like:

Me: Oh, almond blossoms! How pretty you are! Let me get a…

Gust of wind and dust: Nope. *blows suddenly up my nose*

Me: *sneeze* *cough* Just.  One.  Picture…Please!

Wind: *BLOW* Behold my mightiness. Oh, hey there, pollen! Long time no see!

Pollen: Hello, my old friend. I hear you have a job for me!

Wind: All in her face. Up her nose and in her eyes, if possible. Really get in there.

Pollen: I’m on it! *flies in my face*

Me: Come on, wind.  Could you stop blowing dust and pollen on me for one minute. I just want to take one… *leans closer to almond tree*

Wind, Pollen, Dust, possibly the Apocalypse: She’s getting too close!! She might start enjoying it!! Make it hit her in the face, team! *swarm* *attack*

Me: DAMMIT! WHY ARE THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS TRYING TO KILL ME?! WHY?!?!!

I know – complaining about the weather is not super productive. It’s the adult version of a temper tantrum. It’s not like the wind, pollen, and dirt are going to hear me and say, “Oh, that’s an excellent point you make. Our bad. We’ll go away now.” Complaining changes nothing, other than possibly making me a less pleasant person to be around.

[And for those of you spring lovers who are feeling high and mighty right now, feel free to replace “wind, pollen, and dirt” with “snow” or “ice” or “cold” or “cloudy skies” or “rain” or “heat” or “swarms of bugs” or whatever one could possibly find to hate about fall. You may have good reasons for feeling how you do (as do I), but you are not innocent in this. Don’t even try to pretend that you are.]

In recent years, I’ve become a proponent of temper tantrums. If I could whisper that, I would. It seems scandalous to say. I was never allowed to throw them as a child. My mother would not approve.

And I get that. Temper tantrums are embarrassing. They are socially awkward. They’re demanding. They halt everything within earshot. They pretty much put conversations and lives on hold until they’re over. They’re selfish – an attribute so maligned that we go to great lengths to deny the reality that we just…are. And temper tantrums tend to reveal – not conceal – that reality.

They’re also honest, and that’s healthy. I mean, if tantrum is your constant state of expression, maybe see a professional who can help you talk it out or assess whether your chemicals have gone awry, because that level of frequency might be indicative of super high stress levels which, over time, are not healthy. But to be alive and awake and active in this world is to be periodically pissed off by something or someone in it. Whether you are two or seventy-two, I wish you the grace to say so. I wish you the grace to rage.

But.

You know what else I’m a proponent of? Getting up off the damn floor when you can. And right now, I can. So I’m going to look for ways to love April, even though it’s hard, and I’m going to see how others are loving April, too.

Join us?

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In Like a Lion

It’s that time of year again when people are ready for spring and it’s not coming fast enough for them so they’re beckoning it, and I’m sitting here like, “Shhh….it will hear you.”

Because the spring will come. Oh, it will come. But it won’t stay long. It will stay for its obligatory twenty minutes at the party, and then it will take its leave, and what will replace it?

Ten thousand days of summer.

This sweet lady at church yesterday said, “It was supposed to be warm today, but it’s so chilly.”

I replied, “I think it’s supposed to get up to 54.”

She looked at me like she was thinking, “Um…yeah. That’s what I just said.”

Oh. A temperature of 54 degrees is cold to you, while to me, it’s very much what I imagine Heaven will be like.

I waver between two reactions:

1. Wanting to collect the names of everyone whom I see lamenting the cold weather on social media so that I can set them up on an email list that will bombard them daily with complaints about the OMG-HEAT when our nine months of summer begin. Because payback. You ruin my perfect weather; I ruin yours. And fight every urge within you to tell me to “cheer up” when I am overheated and nauseated and feeling hopeless because I cannot get cool and cannot keep anything down because OMG HOT.

and

2. Embracing the inevitable and welcoming spring, urging it to hang on as long as possible, because the longer I can avoid turning on my A/C, the happier my world will be.

So far, I’m doing pretty well embracing. I embraced this little gem last night:

blue moon

It really does taste like the first peach of the season. The first peach soaked in beer, of course. But the first peach nonetheless.

So go ahead and come, spring. And feel free to stay awhile. And if you could also stay 65-70-ish, that would be great, too.

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I have a hard time getting enthusiastic about summer.  This summer is not so bad, for two reasons:

  • It’s hot.  No – you don’t understand.  I live in Texas.  It’s HOT.  We’re having what we call a “mild” summer. I am grateful for this.  Unfortunately, “mild” in Texas means it’s only supposed to get to 97 on Monday.  Yippee.
  • Summer usually means less money in the bank because I usually don’t teach.  This unfortunately also coincides with having all the free time in the world to daydream about traveling and other expensive luxuries…because I usually don’t teach.  But I managed to pick up a class this summer.  My student loan corporation will be happy.

But even during the worst summers, I have to admit – it’s certainly pretty:

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So I am thankful.

I am keeping track of beautiful moments and words this year on my Beauty board on Pinterest.

I am also linking up with Amy Young’s Trusting Tuesdays – check it out!

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