Tuesday, December 31, 2013


How corporeal and gossamer
        How relinquished from my grip
How familiar and foreign
        How fragile and intense

How like a sanctuary
       How like a risk
How like a sundrenched waltz 
       How like an aphotic kiss

How it could betray
        How it could defend
How like a fractured dream
        Bandaged with sanguine ribbon

Queen Anne's Lace (for M)

A few years ago I wrote this for a friend, after one of her favorite flowers. It is a little obtuse because much of the poem's meaning lies in the meaning of the plants mentioned, and in different times and cultures they could mean something positive or negative, so if you want to delve into flower symbolism further in order to understand it, feel free. 

They filled her depth with nettle
Painted her mouth with oleander's nectar
Told her to pick marigolds and fashion daisies in her hair.

But her mouth drips with the scent of violets,
And her hair tumbles in sunflower waves.
They tried to smother her heart in black petunias
But the maranata unfolds as if it were basking in radiant day.

Though surrounded by thistles and forsaken like anemone
She is the alyssum, a delicate warrior worthy beyond this earth's beauty.
Though struggling in a bed of browallia, her cries are carried into the ebony,
She will sit beside a King's throne, her crown pinned with the lace of the Queen
Glimmering in vervain, worshiping in the holy of holies.

Rushing Is Not a Virtue

Somewhere in my crazy life, I imbibed this strange lie, that if I just rush through my work, my lunch break, my time cooking, my time cleaning, my exercise, my time relaxing, my time with friends and animals, my time with my spouse, my time contemplating (yes I see the irony in rushing through contemplation), that I will get to some zenith of rest and perfection that I've been waiting to arrive at since birth.

That will not happen.

"The ripeness of the apple is it's downfall." 
-Mary Oliver

I've spent the better part of twenty-six years perfecting being fast at whatever I do. A person I follow on facebook posted a picture of a beautiful pie she made and I thought, "I don't have the patience to design something like that." Because beautiful pies take patience, attentiveness, and presence in the moment, and I'm too busy floating away from the moment so I can get to the next one so I can reach that imaginary zenith. 

Rushing is not a virtue. 

There are myriad ways in which this has impacted me negatively but the chief way is this: I no longer nourish myself. I can't remember the last time I just went on a walk just to enjoy it. Or sitting on my back porch and watching the sunset. Or taking the time to cook a meal, slowly and methodically, in a way that is full of love for the art of cooking and the people I'm preparing it for. I am now extremely burned out and frazzled in body and mind. I have no peace.

Sometimes you do have to rush. My job hinges on being fast and efficient at my work. But the rest of my life doesn't have to. And somehow, I've missed this.

So for 2014, I've picked a theme for myself, to hold as my resolution: nourishment.

The etymology of that word is interesting. In Old French norriss meant to "raise, bring up, nurture, foster, maintain and provide for."

I want to provide for myself. So 2014's resolutions do include some practical goals, measurable goals that I mentioned in an earlier post, but it also includes remembering the spiritual discipline to stay in the present moment.

My profile photo is a portrait of an amethyst necklace I own. I purchased it from a store that also promoted the healing properties of crystals. I don't know much about that topic (my first reaction is to consider it hokum), but while I was at the store I read about how amethysts symbolize the virtue of being still. I bought it because I need a tangible symbol to do just that.

Here's to savoring 2014.

Friday, December 27, 2013


In 2013, I:

Maintained my weight loss from 2011 and 2012, but would like to use 2014 to get down to my ultimate goal.

Earned a veterinary assistant certificate from Midlands Tech.

Was promoted to assistant animal care supervisor and then promoted to veterinary technician in our spay/neuter clinic.

Adopted Hoppy (Sir Fred Hops of Hopperton Place), a tabby who had been abandoned near a friend's house.

Adopted Pinot, a cat who had been abandoned in our neighborhood.

Lost a dear, dear friend.

In 2014, I:

I hope to get down to 140 lbs, my ultimate weight loss goal. (Size 8-10).

Will begin taking classes to earn my paralegal certificate from Midlands Tech. My plan is to use my legal skills in the nonprofit sector (specifically in animal welfare if at all possible) and perhaps eventually go to law school once we know where my husband's PhD is going to take him.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lies of My Grandmother

"Everyone else
is a completed,
polished project
And you have to keep striving
to make sure you
don't get behind,
because you are already so far behind."

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fifty Proof Grace

Part of growing up has been shedding fungelical beliefs for grace-saturated ones, because *that* is the Gospel. The Gospel is fifty proof grace and restorative Shabbat, the belief that you are always secure and loved in the arms of Christ, and that if he must correct us what better parent to turn to, because he will do so justly, rightly, full of love for His child, His friend, His bride. 

I'm convinced abusive people come to religion to use it as a weapon, because they can use a two-dimensional view of submission and forgiveness to their advantage. This is why I think it's extremely important for churches to teach that it's okay to disagree with people in authority, it's okay to say what you think, oppressors should be punished and removed from any position of authority, and when people make mistakes (or sin, but that's a word that's been loaded with so much baggage for me that I'm not sure I can use it except when it's in the liturgy, and it's not because I don't believe the concept, but because the three lettter word itself has been distorted for me), you fall hard on the grace of Christ, not the shaming of your elders.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent 1: Be Brave Enough to Wait

We're only one day into Advent, but as I prepared for the season, one thing kept coming back to mind:

Be brave enough to wait. 

There are two things in which I am sorely lacking: bravery and patience. So when I begin to fret about the future, I want to make choices immediately, and I want them to be the least risky choices, the choices that demand little from me.

There are some things in my life I sorely desire, but because they come with a lot of risks, I don't take the plunge. I'm not advocating that I should be imprudent, but that I should put the work and careful planning into pursuing the things God has laid on my heart but which scare me the most.

One of the reasons these plans scares me that they mean I will have to wait. For some reason at the tender age of 26 I have bought into this lie that I am running out of time and I have to hurry.

I have all the time I need for what God wants me to do, but I have the most difficult time believing this. The clock feels like it's ticking and I feel behind. I have to cram in the lesson at the last minute, and hopefully, I can finish the exam with an A.

Waiting for these things doesn't mean sitting twiddling my thumbs and it doesn't mean rushing the process like I did before big exams in college. There are many small steps I can take to get to my intended goal, but they scare me more than the big picture. The acts of daily faithfulness and their attendant tedium and monotony terrify me more than mountaintops or valleys. I want to be at the top of the peak, not grabbing onto the next bit of rock with all my might, not knowing when I will reach the top.

But Advent teaches that the good things are worth being brave enough to wait for. Not just good things, but The Good Thing, the manifestation of all of our hope. Bigger than any plans I have or that He has called me to is Him, and He is worth waiting for, and He is worth trusting as I wait and attend to the duties He has given me in the present.